One, Two, Three by Elodie Nowodazkij | Review

Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
Release Date: June 26th, 2014
Rating: 5 Stars
I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, this does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review in any way.
Description from Goodreads:

When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down – like her mother – or open up to love. 

Last year, seventeen-year-old Natalya Pushkaya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive. 

But a car crash changed all that – and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career. 

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present. Keeping him an arabesque away proves to be a challenge for Natalya and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell. 

When upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself. 

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him – and destroys herself?

I absolutely adored this book. I have a serious soft spot for ballet, I am in no way a dancer, but a girl can dream. One of my favourite all time films is Center Stage, a ballet film following the lives of students at the ABA, and it got a mention in this book!! There’s no point trying to hide it, I had a full blown fangirl moment to my mum and sister when I got to that page! Now of course the ballet element to this novel is not the reason that I gave it 5 stars; sure it totally added to my enjoyment, but the book was just something else!
Natalya has a whole lot to deal with at only seventeen years-old, her father died in a car crash with her in, her mother turned to alcohol, her uncle has cut communication with her, and she has a serious injury that could call an end to all of her plans as a prima ballerina.

It’s safe to say that Natalya struggles with everything that she is going through, and quite rightly too. Not only is her life changing around her, her outlet has been taken away from her. Natalya has to go to normal school and negotiate this totally new life, she reconnects with an old friend, and makes some new ones along the way. I loved the fact that Natalya endured some real struggles through this book, she one hundred per cent went through her fair share of ups and a lot of downs, but I think going through all of that with her only made me feel for her more.

I felt really connected and invested in Natalya and her story. I loved this book and highly recommend!

‘One, Two, Three’ by Elodie Nowodazkij
5 Stars

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Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas | Review

     Title: Heir of Fire
     (Throne of Glass #3)

      Author: Sarah J. Maas

      Release Date: September 11th,
      2014

Description from Goodreads:
Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…


The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the King – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

I thought that the ending of Crown of Midnight finished with a cruel cliffhanger (read my review here), but oh no, Sarah J. Maas upped the ante with Heir of Fire. It left me blown away and more than a little stunned with a whole load of questions.
I am definitely of the opinion that the books in the Throne of Glass series just keep getting better (and longer). I pretty much read Heir of Fire over one weekend, I found that I just did not want to put it down, and it had me reading long into the night!
In Heir of Fire Celaena is no longer in Adarlan in the King’s palace. I really liked that we got to see a new country, a whole new setting that just shows how great Sarah J. Maas is at world building. The introduction and exploration we as readers were able to experience of Wendlyn in my opinion added greater depth to the world that the Throne of Glass books are set in. Wendlyn has a key element that Adarlan does not posses, and that is magic. There has been talk of magic throughout the first two books, but after magic was banned and disappeared completely there was no real sight of it in the previous books. Heir of Fire saw the use of magic and Fae forms and I loved learning about it all!
Heir of Fire introduces new characters and new POVs. We get a whole new set of characters in the form of witches, in particular Manon. Manon is the heir to the Blackbeak clan and follows form as another strong female character crafted by Sarah J. Maas. I really enjoyed reading Manon’s chapters, they definitely served to create a greater understanding of what the hell is going on with the King and they wyrdstones. 
In addition to Manon, we also meet Aeidon and Rowan, both Fae males. The dynamic between Aelin and Rowan was enjoyable to read, I could sense the chemistry between the two and I’m looking forward to seeing their relationship develop further in Queen of Shadows. I liked Aeidon. I liked him more than Dorian and more than Chaol. I want more Aeidon, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! 
I am really looking forward to reading Queen of Shadows very soon! What do you think of the series so far? Let me know in the comments!
‘Heir of Fire’ by Sarah J. Maas
5 Stars

George by Alex Gino | Review

      Title: George 

      Author: Alex Gino

      Release Date: August 25th, 2015

Description from Goodreads:
BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY, wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part…because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I’ve never read book about a transgender character before, although after discussing transgender children at uni it was certainly something that interested me. Which is why I couldn’t wait to start it.
From the very beginning George is referred to as she and her in the narrative, she’s set off as female, despite her anatomy. George is only in the fourth grade, yet has an understanding of her gender, that despite what her body is saying, she is a female. This might seem like a theme that’s too old for a child of George’s age, but Alex Gino portrayed the child-like innocence that showed George’s age. This was done through the dialogue and language used, and the insult ‘some jerk‘ that was so young and not insulting that it couldn’t help but endear you to George even more. 
In the book the school are reading Charlotte’s Web, something I have never read, but it seemed to really touch George. She adores Charlotte, and as her class are putting on a play, she wants nothing more than to play Charlotte. Her best friend Kelly is extremely supportive of George’s dream, and together they rehearse Charlotte’s lines, ready for auditions. I really wanted to see George succeed and perform his Charlotte in front of the audience, but Ms Udell had other ideas. She had no time for George’s audition, telling her to stop joking around. My heart went out to George, especially as Alex Gino oh so cleverly hammered in the ‘boy’ ‘boy’ ‘boy’ throughout the book, and I don’t know about anyone else but it gave me strongly mixed feelings towards these adults. One of which was George’s mum, I got so angry after more than one interaction that should not have gone the way that it did. I wanted to take George in my arms and hug her, telling her it’s okay. Because she clearly needed support from the people around her, and I’m glad Kelly was there to give it to her.
George is a middle grade book, therefore the language is not the most complex thing in the world, in fact I have seen some reviews where people have used the word ‘simple’. Why I am able to understand their opinions, I don’t personally agree. For me, it was the simplicity of the language and the innocence that it created that really impacted me. I was so intrigued about Alex Gino after finishing George that I went ahead and did a little bit of Googling. I found this article in which both author and book are discussed. What I really liked about this interview was that Alex Gino recommended more books with LGBTQ+ themes, which I will most certainly be checking out!

George is a brilliant book that everyone needs to read. Seriously, go out and read it right now.

Have you read George? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
– TO YOU, FOR WHEN YOU FELT DIFFERENT –
‘George’ by Alex Gino
5 Stars

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas | Review

     Title: Crown of Midnight

     Author: Sarah J. Maas

     Release Date: August 15th, 2013

Description from Goodreads:

Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan’s deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies’ blood – but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors – a captain and a prince – and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom…

I took my time reading Crown of Midnight, and that was definitely not down to lack of enjoyment! I thought that Throne of Glass was fantastic, I couldn’t fathom how Sarah J. Maas could make it any better. But she did, oh boy she did.
I’ll start by saying that I’m Chaolena all the way, I squealed and sighed as their relationship developed, because really how could you not? I love Chaol so much, he’s loyal and caring, and I just love the way he looks out for Celaena. Sure, he kind of messes up a bit and Celaena goes bananas, which I understood, but come on girl! Get over what he did and fall back into Chaol’s loving arms, please! (Because if you don’t I’ll hop on in to your fictional world and happily oblige!)
I now need to say a big thank you to Jumana from Books by Jay and Nicola from Nicola Reads YA for commenting on my review of Throne of Glass and helping with the weird name pronunciation issue. I’ve not yet converted to the proper pronunciation of Chaol, but I’ll get there!
Okay, so I feel that a lot went down in Crown of Midnight, and due to spoilers I won’t go into too much detail of the specifics.
I understand why what happened happened, but I was still saddened because I really liked the character! There were so many twists and turns, some of them I didn’t see coming, and others, Celaena I’m looking at you, I called earlier on in the novel.
Sarah J. Maas is my new favourite relationship writer, and Chaol is my newest book boyfriend love! While I didn’t particularly love Dorian in Throne of Glass I warmed to him so much more in Crown of Midnight, his character has developed so much, and it’s actually lovely to see.
I’m intrigued by Roland’s character, I’ve seen a lot in the bookish sphere of the internet where people have been saying good things, though I didn’t look too closely because I’m not about that spoiler life! I’m guessing he’s going to be playing a bigger role in Heir of Fire or Queen of Shadows, both of which I own and will be reading!
My love for the series, Celaena, Chaol and Sarah J. Maas grew after reading Crown of Midnight, and I’m looking forward to even more feels in Heir of Fire!
Have you read Crown of Midnight? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
‘Crown of Midnight’ by Sarah J. Maas
5 Stars

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Review

    Title: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

    Author: Jenny Han

    Release Date: January 1st, 2014

Description from Goodreads:
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.

They aren’t love letters than anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved – five in all. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

I finished reading To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before a couple of weeks ago now and I can’t get it out of my mind. In fact, as soon as I finished reading this book I went onto Amazon and ordered the sequel.
To begin with I didn’t think I was going to enjoy To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean struck me as immature, young and definitely gave the impression that I was going to be getting annoyed. I was wrong. It didn’t take me long to fall for Lara Jean, what I once saw as childish and annoying  became charming and endearing. She was such a relatable character!
It’s scary when it’s real. When it’s not just thinking about a person, but, like, having a real live person in front of you, with, like, expectations. And wants.
In my opinion she came out of her shell when her sister Margot left for university in Scotland, and when Margot came back it was pretty damn clear that Lara Jean had matured.
Okay, let’s move on to OTP. I did not ship Lara Jean and Josh, at no point did I want them to end up together. Firstly, it’s not cool to date you sister’s ex. Secondly, he only becomes interested when there’s someone else in the picture. He acts on jealousy and that not’s fair. If you’ve read the book then you’ve probably guessed that I was a Peter fan. He’s absolutely lovely with Kitty, and if you ask me the way into a girl’s heart is by being lovely and sweet to her younger siblings.
I really enjoyed how Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship came about, both of them with ulterior motives, trying to prove that they’re over people. The purely platonic start to their relationship allowed for the much coveted slow-burn romance. Through fake dates,  sweet notes, teasing and spending a crap tonne of time together they get closer and start to realise that maybe it might not be that fake after all. I could have jumped up and down and screamed hallelujah.
I really loved To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before, my Lara Jean and Peter shipping was strong, which is always a good thing! My review of P.S. I Still Love You will be up soon!
Have you read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
‘To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before’ by Jenny Han
5 Stars

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass | Review

     Title: Throne of Glass

     Author: Sarah J. Maas

      Release Date: August 7th, 2012

Description from Goodreads:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offered her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I never really thought of myself as a fantasy girl, contemporary, yes, dystopian yes, but fantasy? I wasn’t convinced. But since joining the bookstagram community, and watching booktubers (new obsession) I noticed that everyone was talking about Throne of Glass. I wasn’t going to miss out on the latest big hyped series, so I went ahead and ordered the first two books. I read Throne of Glass with some trepidation, not sure if the high fantasy would be up my alley. I can tell you now that it is, oh boy it is! So I took a look at some of the books that have made their way onto my favourites list, and what do you know there’s a serious fantasy presence!
There was a whole load of factors that made me love Throne of Glass, one of which being the kick-ass character Celaena Sardothien. The book starts off with Celaena being taken from prison to the prince, and although she’s in a vulnerable state, noticeably thin and malnourished, she still manages to sass the guard and the prince. You have to be a strong person to go through what Celaena went through and come out (mentally) fighting fit. Her internal commentary on the whole situation was really amusing, all in all it added up to me loving her immediately.
Celaena was not the only character that I really liked, Chaol Westfall caught my eye almost instantly. He takes his job of guarding Celaena really seriously, he doesn’t trust her at all. One of the things I really loved about Throne of Glass was that as the story developed so did Celaena and Chaol’s relationship, as did Chaol’s trust in Celaena. I liked Chaol so much!! He was my favourite male character, I found Dorian far too interested in himself, and what he was getting from his dealings with Celaena. In my humble opinion, Chaol has more to him than Dorian, there was so much left to discover in Chaol’s character, I’m not saying that Dorian is a boring one dimensional character, but Sarah J. Maas left me wanting to read the next book in anticipation of the development of Celaena and Chaol’s relationship.
If you hadn’t guessed, there’s sort of a love triangle in Throne of Glass. I do not like love triangles, I think they’re pointless and infuriating. Yet, I did not feel that way while reading Throne of Glass, in fact I may have actually liked the love triangle! That’s right, I finally understand why people on booktube have said that the Throne of Glass series contains their favourite love triangle! At first I scoffed when they said it, never thinking that I’d enjoy a love triangle, but I was wrong. I have an OTP, it may be clear from what I’ve already said that I was very pro Chaol. Honestly, I didn’t see the attraction to Dorian, other than the small detail of him being a prince. I really hope that in Crown of Midnight they’ll be more Celaena/Chaol action!
After finishing Throne of Glass I can only say that Sarah J. Maas is a master of dialogue. I could have read a book full of nothing but conversation, not something I say about every book I read. I basically loved everything about Throne of Glass, the world building was fantastic and meant that the book was easy to follow, I’m not ashamed to admit that some fantasy books can loose me in vivid descriptions of multiple mystical creatures.
The only thing I can honestly critique about Throne of Glass is that the names are extremely difficult to pronounce. It took me watching a YouTube to video to realise how to pronounce Celaena’s name, and to do this day I don’t know if I’m mentally saying Chaol right!
I absolutely adored Throne of Glass, as soon as I’ve finished my current read I’m jumping into Crown of Midnight!
Have you read Throne of Glass? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas
5 Stars

Rook by Sharon Cameron | Review

     Title: Rook

     Author: Sharon Cameron

     Release Date: 28th April 2015

Description from Goodreads:
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a saviour of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalising game of cat and mouse.

Well, knock me down and call me Susan, that was one hell of a good book. 
I first heard of Rook through the Perustopia Book Club, I wasn’t initially all that sure about the book of the month, but I saw a lot hype, took the plunge and bought the book. Boy am I glad that I did!
Sharon Cameron’s world building is something else, in a dystopian novel it’s important for the world to be believable. Although the world in which Rook is set may have been slightly confusing at first, I soon got the hang of the former Paris, the Sunken City and the Commonwealth. I loved the world that Cameron created, I could almost close my eyes and picture myself scaling a wall, or sneaking out of an Upper City apartment.
In my eyes Rook is pretty damn unique, there may be a similar book out there that I have get to read, but for me Sharon Cameron’s twist on dystopian is something I have not seen before. You may be wondering what I am talking about, the complete and utter lack of technology, stemming from the belief that it was technology that killed everyone and caused the change in the world. Therefore in Rook technology is banned, as the ruler want to avoid the dependence that killed the previous generations. So although Rook is set in a dystopian future, it is in fact in keeping with more medieval times.
Not only is the world that Sharon Cameron created brilliant, so are the characters. From the confident and self-assured Sophia, to the absolutely stark raving mad LeBlanc. It’s through reading the different POVs that the characters really develop, I loved reading LeBlanc’s POV, he was just the right amount of crazy while being able to justify absolutely all of his actions. I really wasn’t that keen on Spear, he got it into his head that he and Sophia were meant to be, and his POV actually came across a little creepy. 
René Hasard is a spectacle at the engagement party, decked out in a gold jacket and black hair powder. At first he seems ostentatious and shallow, wanting only to flirt and remain at all time the centre of attention. However, as the story progresses we see the multiple sides to René Hasard’s character. As more of René and the Hasard family got unravelled the more I fell, and the more I shipped! That’s right, serious shipping went down in Rook, the amount of times I sighed dreamily and clutched the book to my chest I can’t even begin to recount. I think it’s pretty safe to say that I felt everything with this book, and I loved every moment of reading it!
Rook gave me a hefty book hangover, I’m SO glad that I decided to buy it, and I wish I could start it all over again!
Have you read Rook? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
‘Rook’ by Sharon Cameron
5 Stars