Monday, 27 March 2017

March Wrap-Up: #BookReviews of reads from my March #BookHaul

After my time away in February, I've been slowly getting back to normal life and therefore... reading books again (hurray!) and this post is a wrap-up of all the books I read in March. And in January. I thought I'd include them in this post seen as I didn't do a book haul or wrap-up posts for books I finished in January.

So here we go... (click on the book covers for more details on these books)

I actually completed a whole trilogy in January! The 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancey.



I've been led to believe that readers are divided when it comes to this teen/YA series, but I'm in the group that loves it. I enjoyed the first book (I gave The 5th Wave 3-stars), despite dystopia/alien invasion stories not being a favourite of mine, and the series got better and better (4-stars for book 2, The Infinite Sea and 5-stars for the finale, The Last Star). The writing was great and there were plenty of twists-and-turns, as well as some really sweet romantic moments. If you like teen dystopia, give this a go.



I also read the fourth book in Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series, Queen of Shadows, and it was heart-poundingly good. Four well-deserved stars! It left me gasping for the next book. Yes, like a lot of readers and fans, I was rooting for a certain... outcome (I won't say what so not to spoil you) and was disappointed when that didn't materialise ("yet," she adds, hopefully) but it still did not detract from how much I enjoyed this book. This series has a huge following and though I was among the many fans who were gutted when it was announced that the sixth and final instalment in this saga wasn't going to be out this year after all (I believe the new release date is summer 2018), I must say a part of me was slightly pleased - I'm not quite ready to let this series go just yet :)

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, book 2 in her Shiver trilogy, was another read in January. This got 3-stars from me.



 
  









I picked up the the first book in the series (Shiver) last year for two reasons:
1. I'd read Maggie's Raven Cycle series and loved it so I wanted to read more of her work.
2. I've seen readers billing it online as a Twilight rip-off, and wanted to see if/how so.

As I looked further into this series, I discovered that the first book in the trilogy had actually been written before Twilight was published, and I felt bad that it was incorrectly being shamed like that. I mean, an author can't rip-off something he or she hasn't yet read, can they?

So, was it actually a similar story to Twilight, but with werewolves instead of vampires? In my opinion, no it's not. The plot was different, the characters were not similar in terms of personality, and the dynamics of the relationships in the books are nothing like they are in the Twilight saga.

Did I enjoy the first two books in the series (I haven't read the third yet, and I'm not necessarily itching to read it - I haven'r requested it at my local library where I got the first two books)? They were okay. Nothing like the Raven Cycle. The style of writing is so different and I think the Shiver trilogy is aimed at a younger audience than the Raven Cycle. 

The latter series, I loved, as mentioned in my post in January about the books I read in 2016; it was my favourite of all the series that I finished last year, so that is the series I will urge you to read if you're looking for a slightly more sophisticated YA fantasy with beautiful writing. Want to know more about the Raven Cycle? Click on the gorgeous cover image below to learn more about this 4-book series, which kicks-off with The Raven Boys.





The two disappointments in January, for me, were And I Darken by Kiersten White and The Deepest Cut by J.A. Templeton. I know Ms. White is a favourite author of one of my favourite BookTubers, so just because I didn't love this book, doesn't mean you won't either.




 

The Deepest Cut was a free e-book I downloaded onto my iPhone and it wasn't horrible but I wasn't that impressed either. It just felt too predictable and was a bit too long for my taste when it comes to the type of story it was telling.

Now for the books I read in March. First up: The Infernal Devices

 

It's the prequel series to the bestselling Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which I read last year. A lot of readers prefer the Infernal Devices series as opposed to the Mortal Instruments, so I was eager to dig into this teen/YA paranormal romance series.

My Rating: Book 1 = 3-stars; Book 2 = 4-stars; Book 3 = 3-stars

I'm afraid I wasn't as blown away by Clockwork Angel (book 1) or its main characters as a lot of readers are, and I didn't love it like I loved City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments, Book 2), which was the first book in that series that I read. That's the thing about reading books that I look forward to based on the hype online - my expectations are high and when the book doesn't quite reach that level, it's a bit anti-climactic. In saying that, my expectations for the Throne of Glass series (click on the cover image of book 1 below for info) were sky-high based on the hype and those books exceeded my expectations and I loved them...




Reading Clockwork Angel, I could tell that the Infernal Devices series would get better with each book, which is exactly how I like my series and book 1 did improve and pick up pace towards the end, so I started reading Clockwork Prince (book 2) straightaway. And I really enjoyed it. There were some really funny, laugh-out-loud moments and it was an all-round good read. If like me, you find book 1 to be a 3-star read, don't give up on the series. Book 2 is very good.

 

Book 3 however... Sorry, Shadowhunter fans, but I found the series finale, like City of Heavenly Fire (the final book in the Mortal Instruments series), a bit to long and paced too slow.



There were some funny scenes in the beginning but I struggled through it the same way I did with CoHF. If it weren't for the Epilogue of Clockwork Princess, I would've rated this book 2.5 out of 5 but I've bumped it up to 3-stars because I liked the final scene in the book.

One of the best things about this series is the friendship and love between the two male lead characters (it reminded be a bit about the two male friends I'm writing about now; a contemporary romance which I started writing last year). I enjoyed reading about two boys who are such close friends and would do anything for each other. It makes a nice change because it's usually the female leads that have a strong friendship with another female character.


Next, another teen/YA romance, but of the contemporary bucket: Anna and the French Kiss 

 

I'd seen this book in my local library for some time, but the cover wasn't something that screamed out, Read me, read me! to me, so I avoided it. But this author and this book come highly recommended by one of my favourite BookTubers, so I picked it up to see if it lived up to the hype.

My Rating: 3.5-stars (rounded up to 4 on Goodreads).

I haven't read too many YA contemporary books (the YA books I've been reading tend to be fantasy/paranormal ones), so I can't compare it to others of its genre, but it was good read, a page-turner sometimes. It wasn't, for me, as good as Where She Went by Gayle Forman (cover below), the one YA contemporary book I can think of that I've read in recent years, but I think its worth checking out if you're looking for something in this genre. 

   
 
2016 was a year that I'd cut down on reading crime and mystery/thriller novels, but I've been suffering withdrawal symptoms. So, who better than my favourite crime writer Harland Coben to help me get back into this genre with Fool Me Once?














My Rating: 4-stars

Mr. Coben is the king of shock twists at the end, and this book was no exception. That's not a spoiler, because if you've read any of his awesome books, you'll know there's always a shock twist at the end. You expect it. Wait for it. Know it's going hit you like a car crash. You just don't know what that twist is going to be. 

In terms of e-books, I read Shearwater by D.S. Murphy 

I read the beginning of this novel a while ago (the full novel hadn't been written or published yet) and have been eagerly awaiting this complete book.






















My Rating: 3-stars

I really wanted to love this book. It had a great premise and I really enjoyed the beginning of the book when I read it last year (an extended preview of the full book, in a way), but it was too long due to unnecessary repitition of information and I felt that it needed to be cleaner and tighter. In saying that, the author has only recently started writing fiction after completing his PhD in Literature last year, so for a debut, it's not bad.

The below two books were the ones from my personal bookshelf that I've been meaning to read since I bought them, but.... you've guessed, I didn't get around to them. Like I said in my book haul post, with books that I buy or download on my iPhone or Kindle, I tend to think I can read them any time, and don't get around to them as I prefer to read the library books before I need to return them. These will roll-over to next month's TBR. Or the next, or the next... eek!

 

I'll publish a April Book Haul and Wrap-Up post next month.


Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:
 


Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 


Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.


And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords



PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!

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