#Recommendsdays: Historical YA Part 1

This is my first recommend Wednesday: These books are very similar, but such fabulous reads!!

Part 1: Ancient Rome

Blood and Sand by CV Wyk 

The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus…

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.
result_15192095302967167858906013418978.jpgRoma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and sword maiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favour. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

My Review of Blood and Sand is Here…

The Valiant

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

IMG_3914When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Rating: ★★★★★

Series: Vampire Academy, #1

Pages: 332

Genre: YA Fantasy, Vampire,

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“Only a true best friend can protect you from your immortal enemies.”

Review

I couldn’t review Twilight & Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, without adding a review for Vampire Academy.

I love the Red/Black cover, it’s very striking and the whole series stands out on my bookshelf really well.

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

The novel starts halfway through the story. Lissa’s parents & brother have been killed, and they’ve been on the run for the two years. quickly, the story evolves, into a face paced adventure into their world.

High school Bully, cliques, Murder, Body Changes, and secrets are all adding up to a very sinister, funny, Young Adult fiction.

Hygge: The Ultimate lifestyle for Bookworms

Hygge: A Danish and Norweigan word for a feeling of cosiness and good wellbeing.

About two years ago, this word was everywhere in the UK. People were Hygging (?) left right and centre. The Little book of Hygge by Meik Wiking was in every major supermarket.

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If I’m honest, I wasn’t that into it, thinking ‘God this is like avocados- it’s just a phase’ I may have been wrong about both. I won’t be buying any avocados soon ~(yuk) but Hygge, may have stolen my heart.

I’m sure you can tell from this blog I am a bookworm, (I prefer Book Unicorn, actually. I am NOT a worm) so I going tell you why I think Hygge is perfect for all Book Nerds…

  1. Books go really well with drinking, tea/coffee/Hot Chocolate/mulled wine.
  2. Hygge is about slowing down, making time to read
  3. Candles– Who doesn’t love lighting their favourite Book scented candle
  4. Creation of a cosy atmosphere- Blankets, cushions, comfy chairs etc.
  5. Build relationships – Book Clubs, online and offline communities.
  6. Leaving the Drama in the Books…
  7. Gratitude to the amazing authors, publishers, reviewers, Bloggers, Fans, creators of Book Merchandise.
  8. Finding your Tribe- Most Bookworms are Introverts, they are not overly fond of big crowds. Find 1 or 4 people to chill with, reading listening to music is perfect.
  9. Comfort food– Okay this is a personal one. I love to munch on popcorn, or gummy bears or cake when I am reading

I am here to be your hyggespreder. I am starting a new section of my Blog all about Hygge, including some recipes, seasonal tips, Cosy Room ideas, relationship building, and tips on how to make time for all of this..

Review: Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Princess Diaries meets Twilight

Rating: ★★★★☆

Series: Jessica, #1

Pages: 351

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Jessica gets a visit from a Romanian enigmatic vampire Prince – he’s also her fiance. He is there to win her heart, and take her home to prevent a war, and rule the Vampires.

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The cover and the title, makes it sound like yet another YA vampire book, and although its both of those things, it is also quite an emotionally charged book.

I’ve read more Adult Vampire Books- eg, Black Dagger Brotherhood, but I felt that Lucius was far more intense.

“…If anything else, all I ever did was love you….”

The Book was really funny.

“Why?”

“Because…because he’s so tall,” Mindy explained, like height was proof of good character. “And did I mention European?”

“Yes. It’s so much better to be stalked by a tall European that an American of average height.”

Lucius was funny, considering he was so serious, he was also quite funny.

“I like pink.”
Lucius sniffed. “It’s just red’s sorry, weak cousin.”

“Jessica. For god’s sake,” he said. “Allow me to do at least one common courtesy for you. In spite ow what ‘women’s lib’ teaches you, chivalry does not imply that women are powerless. On the contrary, chivalry is an admission of women’s superiority. An acknowledgment of your power over us. This is the only form of servitude a Vladescu ever practices, and I perform it gladly for you. You, in turn, are obligated to accept graciously.”

I really loved this book, it was funny, a clever premise, the only problem is that the novels stopped at two. It needed more into the world. furthermore, there was no real ‘Guide’ feel to it, and there was no real dating either, but with a different title, I could have given it 5 stars.

Now whether the title was the publisher/editor change, I’m not sure but it doesn’t seem that the author had this title when writing the book.

I think the author could develop the series a bit more, but is very delightful read. 5 stars

Review: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Rating: ★★★★★

Series: Twilight, #1

Pages: 498

Genre: YA Fantasy,

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Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her Father, Charlie.  She attends the local high school, where she meets Edward Cullen.

Edward is unlike any teenage boys his age, he has ice cold hands, his eyes change colour, he talks like he’s from a different time, and he is super fast. Bella is intrigued by him, but he gives the impression he hates her, and she doesn’t understand why.

Until she finds out that he is a Vampire. As are his family.

“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”

I read Twilight quite a few years ago, probably about 11 years ago, and it spurned what I call my second wave of book obsession… Previously when I was at school I read Night world, and Vampire Diaries, but they hadn’t fueled my obsession yet.

I was hooked, I consumed every book as soon as they came out, equally I loved the films so much.

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What I connected mostly was Bella’s awkwardness. She was socially inept. So was I. she preferred to read. So did I. I was 19 at the reading the first, and I was just happy that I could identify with a character who was a similar (at the time)  age as me.

Edward- well, I loved him too. not so much in New Moon, but that’s for a different review!! Everyone pretty much knows the story now, of how the lion fell in love with the lamb, but as I get older I find myself wanting to re-read Twilight again.

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An amazing phenomenon of books and movies that have had mixed reviews since its inception. I personally love them, both as a teenager and now, and I feel very grateful, that because of this Genre of books, I have found further books, I feel so lucky to have read.

 

Review: A Fault in our Stars by John Green

Rating: ★★★★★

Series: No

Pages: 313

Genre: Contemporary, YA

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

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John Green has captured something so rare in a book. Although this book is predominantly about dying, it’s kind of had the opposite effect on me. It made me feel so much and some things weren’t always positive, BUT I have never felt so much in one book before. To me, that is a sign of a good book.

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

I sobbed my heart out for this book. A book had NEVER EVER done this to me. It wasn’t shocking, but it was incredible. I have never read anything by John Green previously, an I haven’t yet, I am a little bit worried, he’s going to make me cry again… Damn man.

“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”

When I was reviewing the book on Goodreads, one of the reviewers has a very negative reaction to this book. That doesn’t bother me, everyone is entitled to their own opinion BUT the comments were bordering on cyberbullying. That is not cool. It is the first time in my Social Media Experience have I witnessed that, and from Book Fans, I am horrified… sorry rant over…

Stupid heart-breaking book!!

 

 

Review: Not if I Save you First by Ally Carter

Rating: ★★★★★

Series: No

Pages: 304

Genre: YA, Contemporary

After Maddie’s Secret Service dad takes a bullet for the president, he takes Maddie somewhere he thinks they’ll be safe – far away from the White House and the president’s son, Logan.

But when Logan comes to Alaska, so does the danger.

If there’s one thing Alaska has taught Maddie, it’s how to survive. And now her best friend’s life depends on it ..

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A little bit childish for me, but not unenjoyable. She is the daughter of a secret service agent, and he is the son of the President of the United States.

The bad guy is a Russian, quite apt I think in this political climate, whether true or not ( I have no head for politics)

The novel was a little clique in places, but it did have some clever twists. Ally Carter, clearly has her genre sussed. The language she uses is perfect for her audience and leads both protagonists on a journey, that is relatable (as much as you can for a presidents son)

Overall, A lighthearted fun read, with an enjoyable plot, and really funny dialogue.

Dear Logan,
Someday I’m going to write a book: How Not to Die in Alaska – A Girl’s Guide to Fashionable Survival.

I bet you don’t know that a hair pin can make an excellent fishing hook. You may think you can use just any kind of mud for mud masks, but trust me, you CAN’T! In a pinch, nothing starts a fire like nail polish remover. Alaska is tough. You might know this, if you ever replied to my letters

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Rating: ★★★★☆

Series: No

Pages: 384

Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairy Tale re-tellings

Synopsis

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronesses…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

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Once again, this was a book that was hyped up on Bookstagram. The cover is beautiful and the chapter headings have this wonderful snow and forest theme. Throughout the book, when the beast’s monologue/letters are written with splashes of blood.

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

The beginning of the book was slow. REALLLY slow. I thought for sure at some point I would abandon the book. The ending did feel kind of rushed to get the story to a conclusion, but overall I really did enjoy the book.

It wasn’t a book I would have stayed awake all night reading, because it didn’t hold my interest enough. That being said, between the dedication and the below Quote, I did fall in love with the author a little. Her descriptions of the forest and of the beauty were incredible, and I loved the imagery her words brought up.

It did have a Historical Fiction sort of feel, as the magic in the story was very nondescript which I did enjoy immensely, but I wish there were a bit more actions in the story.

The ending was OK. I know there are a lot of negatives about the ending, and it’s not your typical HEA, but it was interesting and for me probably the best part.

“She moves like beauty, she whispers to us of wind and forest—and she tells us stories, such stories that we wake in the night, dreaming dreams of a life long past. she reminds us of what we used to be.

She reminds us of what we could be.”

Recommend for those who love Fairytale Retellings, and brutal heroines…

“if you’re reading this book, then you’re also that child reading by flashlight and dreaming of other worlds. Don’t be scared of her, that inner Beauty, or her dreams. Let her out. She’s you, and she’s me, and she’s magic.

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Rating: ★★★★★

Series: The Folk of the Air, #1

Pages: 384

Genre: YA Fantasy

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I received this as part of January 2018 Fairy Loot subscription Box. It was a book I was already super excited for because there was this HUGE hype about it.

Accompanying the book, Fairy Loot also included a candle called Prince Cardan, and very talented artwork of said Prince.

So, here I was Fangirling already because I thought YES– A book to fill the space between Sarah J Maas Novels– more Fae Warriors.. whoop whoop!.

Nope…

I had never read Holly Black before, I thought her novels were usually a bit young for my taste, but I had heard great things about her writing.

The Cruel Prince is about three sisters, taken by Fae’s and forced to live with the one who murdered their parents. The story mostly focuses on Jude, the middle sister. Brought up by the Fae, she is often bullied especially by Price Carden – The Cruel Prince.

Basically, the King is due to step down, a new prince to take his place, but with rivalries between his sons, the court is deadly. Jude is caught in between when she agrees to become a spy, in order to save her sisters.

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.”

I’ve given the book five stars because I loved it; I really did. It wasn’t Sarah J Maas, and I was right that Holly Black appeals to a much younger audience than YA.

The only issues I had was that the book was called The Cruel Prince because he was barely in it. I really hope his character improves in the next novel – The Wicked King which is due out 8th January 2019.

Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

This is Probably the hardest book review I have ever written.

I contemplated writing this because of 1) the subject matter 2) My reaction to this book. I’ve put on my Big Girl pants, so here goes…

Forbidden

First off, this book is about an incestuous relationship between a brother and a sister. There I said it… Obviously, this book is controversial and taboo, BUT it’s one of the most moving, shocking books I have ever had the pleasure to read.

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.”

Let’s start with the title & cover. Many books I’ve read have the same title. Mostly Paranormal books, where ones an angel the other a demon.. etc.. But really I don’t think the author could have picked a better one. The cover is genius. The barbed wire indicates prison and of course in a heart shape, which only reinforces the Forbidden part.

“At the end of the day it’s about how much you can bear, how much you can endure. Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.”

Prior to reading this book, I had not read anything by this author, and I haven’t read anything since, although when I look back, I can’t say why.

You know when people say they have a Book Hangover… I couldn’t stop thinking about this book WEEKS later, that’s how heart-wrenching this story is. The Story is slow, to begin with, but I liked the Britishness of it all.

“Out of the millions and millions of people that inhabit this planet, he is one of the tiny few I can never have.”

I come from a working Class background so I could relate to some of it, but (and I don’t know if this is harmful to the book or not) it was based on what I call ‘benefits Britain’- I don’t mean to be derogative but think Jeremy Kyle.

Their situation, I’m sure nowadays, isn’t unusual, but it is tragic, made only better/worse for their love for each other.

“There are no laws, no boundaries on feelings.We can love each other as much and as deeply as we want.No one, Maya, no one can ever take that away from us.”

I recommend this book to everyone. Ignore your initial misconceptions. Give it a go, you will not be disappointed.

WARNING: This book will make you Laugh, ugly Cry, Gasp, and possible throw it across the Room.

 “As the light begins to intensify, so does my misery, and I wonder how it is possible to hurt so much when nothing is wrong.”