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Those Beloved Books: The Six of Crows Duology

What’s this? A new feature on the blog? Oh, go on then…

Sit down, relax why don’t you? Today, we’re going to take a tumble into the streets of Ketterdam – but don’t stay there too long! Someone will have your valuables. Instead, hurry along to The Crow Club – and just hope you’ve caught Kaz Brekker in a good mood.


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Six Of Crows is one of those books that was sat on my bookshelf for a good while. I ummed and ahhed over it for a while. Then I did work experience and Crooked Kingdom was thrust into my hands. “READ IT!” came the cries. Alas, it also ended up on my bookshelf next to SOC. I ended up reading other things, until recently. I saw it on my shelf, shrugged and said ‘Why not?’

What an idiot I was for leaving it on the shelf for so long. Six Of Crows threw me head first into the dark underbelly of Ketterdam, and I instantly fell in love with the cast of characters. A gang! A tough guy with a tragic past! JESPER! Oh, how I fell hard for these characters. I remember a conversation I was having with a friend when I’d started reading the book and was a little way in. “Kaz pulled out someones eye! His EYE!” I screeched – and THAT is when it hit me that this book was going to be a firm favourite.

The story follows Kaz Brekker, criminal mastermind and practically leader of The Dregs, one of Ketterdam’s more brutal gangs. Everybody knows not to cross Kaz Brekker if you want to keep your bones in tact. Kaz has been offered a sum of cash he could only dream of – thirty million kruge. All he has to do is break someone out of jail. The catch? The jail is the notorious Ice Court, an impenetrable fortress housing only the worst type of criminals. Does this make Kaz want to give up? Of course not. Thirty million kruge is a lot of money. So, he gathers up the only crew that he knows will be able to pull it off.

It’s hard to pin down which character I loved the most, but each one is crafted so finely I wonder whether it will ever be possible for me to choose.

  • You’ve got Kaz, a ruthless-yet-struggling teenager, dealing with his past and the ghost of his brother. Nicknamed Dirtyhands in the streets, he wants revenge, and will stop at nothing to get it.
  • Inej is Kaz’ right-hand-girl, a former acrobat-turned-assassin, who is so silent and deadly you won’t see her coming until it’s too late. She struggles with her past and dreams to be away from Ketterdam.
  • Jesper, the excitable sharpshooter who would rather gamble everything away than face his fears and worries. He’s a bit of a loudmouth, but has nothing but good intentions in his heart.
  • Nina, a Grisha Heartrender who loves waffles, flirting, and singing terribly. She knows she’s good at what she does, and is one of the few bubbly characters in the books. Nina is one you’d want on your side.
  • Matthias, former Grisha hunter and former convict. Wrongly imprisoned for slave trade, Matthias is smuggled from jail to help the rest of the gang in the much bigger heist. He struggles with doing the wrong thing, and is an all round ‘good guy’.
  • Wylan, the disgraced son of Ketterdam’s wealthiest merchant. Wylan is a fine artist, and knows a thing or two about crafting bombs, making him the dark horse of the group. He wants to prove himself.

The cast is fantastic, and each one so finely represents themselves that I would gladly read spin off books based on them separately. None of them let their disabilities get in the way of what they want to do. Kaz walks with a limp and cane, and strikes fear into people’s hearts with said cane. He struggles with PTSD, but has coping mechanisms to get him through the day. Wylan doesn’t let his dyslexia get the better of him, despite the past treatment he has received, and becomes one of the strongest members of the group. Jesper uses his ADHD to his advantage, channeling himself behind the excitement of a job to get shit done. I can’t say enough about how wonderful these characters are, and how much they now mean to me.

Leigh Bardugo knows her stuff. Damn, she has built a fascinating world, and she knows exactly how to keep her readers gripped. Just flicking through the book to write this post has made me want to read it all over again. So, I think I will. In the new year, I’m going to reread the duology – why don’t you join me? I’d love for you to share the adventure with me – whether you’ve read it before or you’re new to the Dregs. I’d love to hear from you guys! If there’s enough interest, we’ll do a thread on Twitter of our read!

(And we can all gush over how awesome Kaz is because he totally is.)

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BOOK REVIEW: They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

I’ve finally been able to dry my eyes enough that I can review this book! Even when the title gives the ending of the book away, I still wasn’t prepared for it. If you haven’t read this book yet, I will urge you to do so with a whole box of tissues.

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera is easily his best book yet. I haven’t read More Happy Than Not, but I didn’t enjoy History Is All You Left Me as much as I did TBDATE. I was thrilled to bits that I loved this book – even though it was utterly heartbreaking. The story is told between two boys, Rufus and Mateo, who both receive a call via Death-Cast on September 5th telling them that they will die that day. They aren’t told when or how, just that they’re going to die. Mateo is a shy and unconfident teenager, shouldered with responsibility since his father fell into a coma, and the news that he will die without saying goodbye is terrifying. Rufus is more outgoing, but is full of anger and grief since the death of his parents and sister only a few months before. Reaching out to each other via the Last Friend app, Rufus and Mateo discover a close and powerful friendship – even if it isn’t destined to last long.

This is a beautifully written insight into the reactions surrounding death, and how different people cope. Mateo is terrified, and spends a few hours hiding in his house. Rufus holds a funeral with his friends and tries to say some heartfelt goodbyes. As the two boys come together, you’re glad of the friendship they form and how they manage to encourage each other to do things. Rufus encourages Mateo to live. Live as though nobody is watching, and we see through the book his confidence grow as they share memories and moments together. Although the book prioritises the chapters of the boys, we also see snippets of other characters that all weave into the narrative, and in turn affect things going on right before our main characters eyes. There are characters who return after a few chapters, characters who have also been called by Death-Cast, and characters who impact their lives far more.

They Both Die At The End is such a clever and powerful book – I honestly can’t put into words how much I loved it and how much the end affected me. I sat and cried for a while afterwards because I couldn’t believe it, and even writing about it now gives me the chills. It is beautiful. It is brave. It is powerful. It is everything a book should be. A book should be able to make you feel an array of emotions, and then leave you empty afterwards because you’ve finished it and don’t know what to do. This is one of those books, and I applaud Adam Silvera for his skill and talent.

If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and cry into the pages again.

Final thought: We’ll ALL cry at the end of this powerful book. 5/5

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BOOK REVIEW: Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Thank you so much to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this beautiful Oliver Jeffers book! It is truly gorgeous!

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers is essentially a young child’s guidebook for life on earth. Written for his son in the first two months since his birth, Jeffers lays out a simple guide on life on earth – what the planet is made of, the different types of land, and the creatures that inhabit it. Full of his iconic illustrations, the images are labelled with helpful descriptions and explanations –  there’s a particularly beautiful page all about the sky, the stars, and the planets that I absolutely adored. My favourite pages have to be the human and animal pages – with two double page spreads full of lots of different people and many species of animals – from a tiny ladybird right up to a huge whale!

This is easily one of Oliver Jeffers’ most beautiful books, fiercely rivalling Lost and Found for how gorgeous the inside of the book is. The story is simple but strong, but the artwork is what truly makes this book a stunning read. I spent a good while on each page taking every detail in to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Make sure to take a peek under the dust jacket too for an extra surprise!

Final thought: A gorgeous Earth guide for youngsters from a brilliant talent. 5/5

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BOOK REVIEW: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club

Stella Starflake Pearl knows deep down that she’s an explorer – she’s got a middle name and all explorers have middle names! Defying the rules that no girls are allowed to explore, Stella tags along with her father on the latest Polar Bear Club expedition. When trouble out on the ice strikes, Stella is joined by Shay, a wolf whisperer, Ethan, a magician, and Beanie, a medic-in-training on an unforgettable adventure that will see them face off against some scary foes and put their differences aside to protect each other.

This book was SO MUCH FUN! The first page starts with mention of unicorns, so I was already pretty sold, but a few chapters in we get miniature dinosaurs, fairies, and a tiny igloo full of penguins! The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club is a fun-filled adventure book with some mystery thrown in – Stella has never met her real parents, and was instead found in the snow by Felix, who she considers her real dad. There is always a mystery surrounding Stella, with her creepy nightmare and snow white skin and hair. It’s always great to have something strange focused around a main character – it makes me want to know what’s going on!

Alex Bell has created a really good cast of characters; Shay is kind and very much the protector of the group, Ethan is a selfish, stubborn kid with a sad past, and Beanie is good with facts and is quite an eccentric character. These are a great cast and I can’t wait to see more from this world and what adventures they get up to!

Final thought: A frosty adventure with plenty of heart! 4/5

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LGBT+ Favourites 🌈

Sharing is caring, right? So what sort of person would I be if I didn’t share my favourite LGBT+ reads with you?! Not a very nice one, that’s for sure…

I’m always on the lookout for new LGBT+ reads, whether they’re focused on an LGBT+ character or feature them well within the pages. I would love to have more recommendations from you guys – but please enjoy my list of my favourite ones!

Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Simon. Simon, Simon, Simon. I LOVE Simon VS The Homo Sapiens Agenda. Can I wait for the film? No, give it to me now! Simon VS follows the ups and downs of Simon himself, a closeted teenager who has been sharing something special with an email friend know only as Blue. When an email falls into the wrong hands, Simon ends up being blackmailed and his – and Blue’s – privacy is at risk. He has to deal with confusion, changes in his friendship group, and much more. Simon is such a good book, and I can’t wait to reread it and fall in love all over again.

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

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The Rest Of Us Just Live Here is a book that deals with many different themes. OCD, parental ignorance, anxiety, descendants of Gods, teenage love, and the occasional chosen one thrown in. The LGBT rep in this book is done right – it’s not over the top and the character doesn’t become a ‘token’ of the LGBT+ community. It’s just part of who he is, and it’s not a big deal.

If I Was Your Girl

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I cried at the end of this one. If I Was Your Girl tells the story of Amanda, and is told both in the present day and in flashbacks. Amanda is moving back to her hometown to start again; new school, new friends, and she is determined to stop people getting too close. Getting too close means finding out the truth. This book is beautiful, and we need more honest books about trans people because this was so damn good. Haven’t read it yet? Ask for it for Christmas and READ. IT.

The Art of Being Normal

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Another brilliant book for trans rep, featuring both a trans male and trans female character. The Art Of Being Normal is one of those important books that will stay with you forever. David wants to be a girl – he knows deep down that his body doesn’t match his gender. David ends up befriending Leo, the new boy at school, and the two become close through their differences and similarities. I read it in practically one sitting and loved these brilliant characters.

Noah Can’t Even

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Somebody hold me. PLEASE. Noah Can’t Even has been – by far – one of my favourite books this year. I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to go to the launch party and meet the author (Simon if you’re reading this, you are a STAR). The book focuses on Noah, unlucky in love and awkward as hell. When his best friend Harry kisses him at a party, Noah starts questioning his own feelings and thoughts on his identity – all while navigating the awkwardness of secondary school. Reading this book was an absolute riot – I laughed, I cringed, and I fell in love with two relatable characters.

George

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George is such a great book. Short, but great. George wants to be the lead in the school play of Charlotte’s Web – she dreams of being such an important character and knows that she can do it. The only problem? On the outside, George is a boy, and the teacher won’t let a boy play the role of Charlotte. A fantastic tale of trust and friendship, which I loved. It was brilliant that George was able to rely on her best friend and for the ending to be happy.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

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*squealing noises*
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. Seriously! There is so much perfect representation in this book! You’ve got Monty, an anxious bisexual boy in love with his best friend. Percy, said best friend who is gay, mixed race, and is also in love with Monty, and finally Felicity, who is just so damn cool and doesn’t take any of her brothers shit. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is full of adventure, excitement, pirates, and plenty of kisses. I urge you all to read it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of these books yourself! Or perhaps you’ve not heard of some of them and want to add them to your own TBR?

 

 

The Would You Rather Book Tag

I’ve been tagged! Woop woop! The lovely Nikki over at Nikki’s Novel Niche has tagged me in the ‘Would You Rather’ blog tag! So, let’s get to it!

 


WOULD YOU RATHER…

HAVE UNLIMITED MONEY FOR EBOOKS, OR A 5,000 DOLLAR B&N GIFT CARD?

In this situation, I’d definitely pick the gift card. What an absolute DREAM to be able to spend so much money in a bookshop! I like having the physical copies of a book – I can take it everywhere with me, snuggle up into an armchair with it, and I don’t have to worry about the battery dying midway through a chapter. £5,000 on books? That’s a LOT of books!

WOULD YOU RATHER…

MEET ANY DECEASED POET OR J.K. ROWLING?

I’m not a big poetry fan, so meeting J.K. Rowling would be an absolute dream come true for me. As a Potter fan, who would turn down the chance to sit and have a chat with the creator of Hogwarts and the rest of the Wizarding World??

WOULD YOU RATHER…

WRITE THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS BOOK OR VISIT THE WORLD OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOK FOR ONE DAY?

This is a tricky one…

A lot of my favourite books have somewhat unsafe worlds; I really don’t want to walk the streets of Ketterdam or be around the misfortunes that feature in ASOUE. I’d only really be comfortable in the Wizarding World! Plus I’d never want to leave there so…not a sensible choice!

I’ll go for writing the famous book, cos then I will have written a book which would be absolutely amazing.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

CHOOSE ______ OR ______ ? (INSERT CHARACTERS FROM YOUR FAVORITE FICTIONAL LOVE TRIANGLE.)

Now…I hate love triangles. I can’t stand the trope at all! Whenever I read a love triangle in a book, my eyes automatically roll and I groan. So this is a hard question. I’ll choose Peeta out of Peeta or Gale, because at least he can make me bread.

WOULD YOU RATHER…

EXPERIENCE HOGWARTS IN A VERY REALISTIC AND ACCURATE VIRTUAL REALITY, OR TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD FOR A YEAR, AT NO COST?

Travelling, hands down. The virtual reality would be just that: virtual. It’d have to end eventually. If able to travel for a year around the world, I’d jump at the chance and definitely make the most of going to all the places I’ve always wanted to go!


That’s me! I’m tagging…

Katie @ Katie Judges Books
Simant @ Flipping Thru The Pages
Crystal @ Lost In A Good Book
Linda @ Linda’s Little Library
Caro @ Between The Pages

If you enjoyed the tag, feel free to give it a go yourself!

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Why I’m Excited For…

This week, I’m talking about…

THE FANDOM by ANNA DAY

Fandoms. Fans. Cosplay. Comic con. Super-intense-love-for-characters. If it exists, there’s most likely a fandom behind it. If you haven’t seen any sort of fandom, please let me know so I can help you out from underneath the rock you’re under. Fandoms are everywhere, and now there’s going to be a book about fandoms?! YES. PLEASE.

The Fandom snatches Violet and her friends from Comic-Con and plunges them into the world of their favourite fictional world. Now it’s up to them to get the plot back on track and get back to the real world. Sounds amazing right? Not when the world of The Gallows Dance is a society split by race and the characters are on the edge of a revolution. Violet has to step into the shoes of the main character and try to go with the flow of the world – but will her prior knowledge of the world be a help or a hindrance?

Chicken House were wonderful enough to send this book over for a review, and I’ve mentioned it before here on the blog. It’s so exciting to have this awesome book on my TBR pile, and I can’t wait to get transported into the world of The Fandom.

The Fandom releases on January 4th 2018 – so get your early access passes now and pre-order this beauty! For now, get to work on that fanart in preparation of release day!