Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis contains some spoilers.

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…

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: 15th August, 2013

Pages: 418

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens

Format: Paperback

Source: Gift

I’m pointing out the obvious when I say that YA is full of trilogies and series. Sometimes the second books in these trilogies and series suffer from Second Book Syndrome. This occurs when a sequel falls short of its predecessor. I’ve read many YA sequels that fall into that category and I had a feeling that Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas might do the same. Luckily, I was wrong and Crown of Midnight turned out to be a brilliant sequel.

It became clear to me when I read Throne of Glass that Maas is definitely a natural storyteller and the sequel confirmed this. The prose is beautiful and Maas had me feeling many different emotions whilst reading Crown of Midnight. Maas also has the ability to change the way I feel about a character in a second. The characters have been developed extremely well, which is something I’m grateful for, as lately I’ve been coming across a lot of flat and under-developed characters in YA. Celaena goes through so much, Dorian becomes more likeable and is coming into his own and I have no idea how to feel about Chaol anymore. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series just so I can be in the company of these characters again.

I’m going to avoid revealing anything about the plot as I want this review to be spoiler-free. All I will say is that so much happens in this novel, which is another thing I’m thankful for. Some sequels just bridge the gap between the first and final books, with very little happening and characters that don’t develop. With Crown of Midnight, I never knew which direction the plot was going to head in and this kept me on the edge of my seat.

As with Throne of Glass, the world building in Crown of Midnight, is fantastic and I had fun exploring this world along with the characters. I also loved learning about its history and politics, as it helped to make Celaena’s world detailed and appear very real.

I don’t have anything negative to say about Crown of Midnight apart from the fact that there is something that stopped me from loving this book enough to give it five out of five stars. I felt the same with Throne of Glass and, annoyingly, I have yet to work out what that thing is. Having said that, this is a series that I definitely recommend to fans of YA.

4/5 stars

 – Liz

#FridayReads 11/09/2015

Just in case you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Monster Volume Three by Naoki Urasawa

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis contains some spoilers.

Johan is a cold and calculating killer with a mysterious past, and brilliant Dr. Kenzo Tenma is the only one who can stop him! Conspiracy and serial murder open the door to a compelling, intricately woven plot in this masterwork of suspense.

Could Johan have a dual personality, like Jekyll and Hyde? Tenma calls on Dr. Gillen, an authority on criminal psychology, to psychoanalyze Johan. But Dr. Gillen secretly concludes that it is not Johan but Tenma who has committed all the serial murders. Dr. Gillen then tries to lure Tenma into various traps, intending to use him in his own experiments.

Karl, a student at Munich University, visits a blind billionaire every week to read books to him as a way to pay for school. One day he encounters another young man named Johan who once did the same job for the billionaire. From that point on, strange events continue to befall Karl. Who is this young man named Johan? Is he the Johan that we know?

Monster is definitely one of my favourite manga. If you like manga and haven’t yet picked up this series then do it now! You’re missing out!

I will also be reading:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

I’m pretty sure I’ve found a book that will become a favourite of mine. All the Rage is such a powerful book.

What will you be reading this weekend? 🙂

– Liz

The Spook’s Secret by Jospeh Delaney Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis contains no spoilers for the previous books in the Wardstone Chronicles series.

As the nights draw in the Spook decides to travel to his winter house. His apprentice, Tom, hates the desolate place. There are feral witches in the cellar, menacing creatures stirring on the nearby moors and a sinister stranger threatening Tom’s master.

What does the mysterious stranger want?

Is the Spook’s past catching up with him?

And what dangers will Tom face if his master’s secrets are revealed?

The Spook’s Secret by Joseph Delaney

Release Date: 1st January, 2007

Pages: 480

Publisher: Red Fox

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

With The Spook’s Secret by Joseph Delaney being the third book in the Wardstone Chronicles series, I’m going to try and keep this review as short as possible in order to avoid spoilers.

The Spook’s Secret is the strongest book in the series so far. Joseph Delaney had me hooked and I wanted to keep turning the pages as I needed to know what was going to happen next. The style of writing and pacing is consistent with that in the previous two books and Delaney seems to have a knack for writing scary scenes. This series is a middle grade one but a couple of the spooky scenes in this book certainly gave me the creeps!

Each time I pick up the following book in the series, I find myself liking the main character, Thomas, and the way he tells the story a lot more. Other characters like Alice, who annoyed me greatly in the first two books, have developed in a good way as well. The Spook’s dialogue and his mannerisms have become a bit repetitive but perhaps this will change as the series progresses.

One of the reasons I love this series is because of the author’s use of English myths and legends and especially those relevant to the English county of Lancashire. In this series you come across all different kinds of beasties and creatures, which helps to create an entertaining book. I would have loved this series as a kid.

Overall, The Spook’s Secret was a great edition to this series. The plot was interesting enough to keep me up at night and I’m keen to pick up the next book, The Spook’s Battle, soon. This is another series I encourage readers of all ages to read.

Favourite Quotes

“The lad stopped banging at the door and his face turned a bright red. “I asked for you down in the village,” he said, pointing back towards Adlington. “A carpenter came out of his yard and pointed the way up here. He told me to knock hard at the back door.” “Aye, but he said knock, not thump it back into a tree,” said the Spook angrily.” (Page 124-125)

4/5 stars

 – Liz

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis doesn’t contain any spoilers.

Third bone-breaking, belly-busting adventure in the series that puts the “funny” back in… um… funny series. That didn’t really work, did it?

If you’ve read the previous Skulduggery books then you know what the Faceless Ones are – and if you know what the Faceless Ones are, then you can probably take a wild guess that things in this book are going to get AWFULLY sticky for our skeletal hero and his young sidekick.

If you haven’t read the previous Skulduggery books then what are you doing reading this? Go and read them right now, so that you know what all that stuff in the previous paragraph was about.

Done? Good. So now you’re on tenterhooks too, desperately awaiting the answers to all your questions, and instead you’re going to have to wait to read the book. Sorry about that.

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy

Release Date: 1st August, 2009

Pages: 412

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

My review of Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy is going to be a short one as this is the third book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series and I don’t want to head into spoiler territory. Having said that, let me tell you my thoughts.

So far, the Skulduggery Pleasant books have been nothing but fun to read. I can always rely on Derek Landy to put a smile on my face as this series is so funny. This might sound a little odd, but it takes a lot for the written word to make me laugh. The humour doesn’t usually come across in the same way that it does when someone speaks the words. Derek Landy, however, has a great sense of humour and I don’t think I’ve come across a funny passage in these books that hasn’t made me smile. The dialogue is definitely the best part about the writing. I wish could write dialogue like that!

The pacing throughout the series so far has been excellent. There are no long and slow sections and there are plenty of action scenes. I never experienced a dull moment whilst reading this book and the ending has left me wanting more. I’m sure that readers of the intended age range for this series (middle grade) would have a blast reading these books. I encourage readers of all ages to give these books a chance, however, as they are so entertaining. I have a feeling I’ll be picking up the next book in the series very soon!

Favourite Quotes

“There’ll be plenty of time for boys when you leave college and become a nun.” (Page 34)

“Sorry, you’re the two strangest people I’ve never seen before that I’ve seen in a long time.” (Page 127)

“A theory is the academic equivalent of a guess.” (Page 206)

4/5 stars

 – Liz

#FridayReads 21/08/2015

If you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

This is the third book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy. I’m really enjoying this series and I think the humour in the books is fantastic. I’ve almost finished Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones so once I’m done with this book I’ll be turning my attention to:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The Wardstone Chronicles is also a great series to read. The Spook’s Secret is the third book in the series and I’m looking forward to returning to the world that the author, Joseph Delaney, has created in these books.

What will you be reading this weekend?

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz