Book Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A Chakraborty

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Read between: 23-27th March
Format: Paperback ARC
Number of pages: 533
Published: November 14th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Synopsis: Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for

Rating: 9dbae-4-52bstars

Review: City of Brass is a mix of the story of Arabian Nights mixed with drama and a bit of romance- although neither of my ships sailed! I was hoping for at least one of them to, I didn’t realise that both of one half (I shipped two people with one, okay!?) were going to die. 😦

There are two viewpoints- one from Nahri, a healer come con artist trying to make a living for herself in the marketplaces of 18th century Cairo. The second is from Ali, a prince in Daevaba, aka The City of Brass, and their paths end up crossing on an adventure….and a war.

Nahri also discovers the truth about her past with the help of a daeva (not a djinn- don’t call them djinns!) named Dara, and Daevabad calls to her.

I liked the magical elements and discovering the different types of magical beings, both good and bad- and the glossary at the back really helped me to understand the phrases used by the characters, and the types of magical being. I found myself flciking back and forth constantly!

Nahri and Dara’s relationship was love/hate and I was as shocked as Nahri when his true self was revealed- but I was also expecting something to happen. I admit the book was slow in places, but it was written really well that I couldn’t stop reading.

All the characters were well fleshed out- especially Ali’s father who was all kinds of mean! I didn’t like him at all!

Overall it was a good story- I loved the whole world, and I also liked that it was set in Africa rather than the usual speil of medieval Britain, with castles and dragons found in the majority of fantasy novels.

It’s brilliant, it’s different, and I’d definitely be interested in reading the sequel when it comes out.

4.5/5 stars. I’d definitely recommend it, I was surprised how much I loved it!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse.

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Read between: 15th-20th March
Format: ebook
Published: 21st March 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Synopsis: What if the one thing you want is the only thing you can’t have? With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance to have a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect. But becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter comes to stay, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
Rating: 3-5-stars

Review: Firstly, thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this book!

Lucy is 39, desperate for a man. Then she meets Jonah Carpenter at a christening and the rest is history! After a whirlwind romance, they get married and start trying for a baby.

Jonah already has a sixteen year old daughter from his last marriage but is desperate to start one with Lucy, and with both of them nearing their forties, it’s better late than never!

This is where the story takes a heartbreaking turn, and the author really understood how the characters felt. It felt real.

Lucy suffers three miscarriages throughout the story and each one felt worse than the one before. For me, it wasn’t the fact she lost the baby- it was the fact she lost hope.

It doesn’t help that Camille, Jonah’s daughter, is now living with them for the summer.

Lucy is very fragile character- she gets upset and jealous very easily and when Jonah tells her that she gets very defensive. However, the notes between her and her lost baby really reveal her heart…

…and they made a lot more sense after a huge secret was revealed.

As a reader, you know something happened to Lucy in her teens. It’s how the book starts! What you don’t know though, is exactly what happened.

It’s both shocking and sad.

It was a good read and I flew through the story. I wanted to know what would happen to Jonah and Lucy.

This is the first book by Amanda Prowse that I have read and I really liked it. I really like the way she writes.

3.5/5 Stars!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

Book Review: On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

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Read between: 9th-15th March
Format: Hardcover
Published: July 14th, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Number of pages: 345
Synopsis: Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .

On the Other Side will transport you to a world that is impossible to forget.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: Evie Snow has just passed away. However, in most stories, this would be where it ends- but in fact, this is where it begins. You see, before Evie can pass over to the other side, she must first let go of the secrets she has kept throughout her life to lift the burden and lighten her heart.

The main story follows Evie in her 20s, her struggle to find and stick to a career to keep her mother of her back (to stop her finding her a husband!), and the way she falls in love with a busking violinist she meets in the train station. The rugged, and talented, Vincent Winters.

I really enjoyed this story, despite picturing the author a lot of the time- the description of 27 year old Evie makes her look a lot like Carrie herself, as well as trying to work out what the time period was. It read like a modern day novel- escalators, tube stations etc but I think a young Evie Snow was living through the 1920s and there wasn’t too much to clarify that.

However, the aspects of the fantastical and magical realism took this book to another level I didn’t expect. There is definitely some inspiration from TV shows such as Once Upon a Time (I won’t say for what as that’s a spoiler) but the reason I didn’t give this book five stars was because of this element, I didn’t really feel like it fit…

I did like the inclusion of various LGBTQ+ characters though, including Vincent himself, because it gave the book more heart- and it was also interesting to have another perspective on how people were very anti the idea back then. Especially with one scene involving Evie’s parents and her brother coming out to them.

It’s definitely a lovely story. Evie is a wonderful character, whose love remains undivided even while she’s in, what is technically, purgatory. I love a character with a big heart, because then they make me feel all warm inside.

It’s not a perfect book, I’ll admit, but it’s heartwarming, which I think sums the book up rather well. It ended just the way I wanted it to, too. So I wasn’t disappointed!

A beautiful read.
4/5 stars.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike, #3)

Read between: 19th-21st February
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 574
Published: April 21st, 2016
Publisher: Sphere
Synopsis: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…


Rating: ef735-star5

Review: J.K Rowling, under Robert Galbraith, has once again created a gripping novel full of drama, grisly murders, and Strike’s past comes back to haunt him. It all starts when Robin is sent a parcel…which turns out to be a woman’s severed leg!

I knew from then this book was going to be dark. The last book, The Silkworm, was dark, but this one was much darker. I think this is probably down to the fact that someone is killing and mutilating women. Why? To get to Cormoran Strike.

There were four different suspects, which made the story interesting, especially the chapters that followed the killer’s actions. Each murder was very well described- so much that I was so worried for Robin when he nearly had her!

Thank god she had a rape alarm on her! I hate to think what would have happened if she hadn’t…although there is going to be a fourth book so I doubt she would have been killed off…

Besides that, she’s also experiencing relationship problems. Will she marry Matthew or is it over for good?

I don’t want to give too much away so I don’t spoil it, but I didn’t work out the killer! I had narrowed it down to two out of the four, but I was still wrong! I had a 50-50 chance though, so I was pretty pleased that I managed to get close enough. It was quite hard, and I was shocked when they revealed which man did it.

I’m glad I managed to finish this book before the TV adaptation airs on Sunday (25th February).

I’d definitely recommend this book- if you’re a fan of quite heavy crime or Rowling’s writing, pick this up! It was nice to be back in Cormoran and Robin’s world, and follow them on their latest case.

5/5 stars!
Thanks for reading!

~Katie
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Book Review: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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Read between: 5th-18th February
Format: ebook
Originally published: 1878
Published: 16th October, 2012
Publisher: Vintage
Synopsis: Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenin provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: This book is rather hefty, but I was hooked into the story immediately thanks to Tolstoy’s writing style and the short chapters! Due to the book being split up into eight parts, it did take me a long time to read it it. I’m glad I did though! I only knew of the story through the 2012 film starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law- but there is so much more to the story!

It opens by telling us that Stiva (Stephen Arkadyevich) has been unfaithful to his wife, which sets apart an opinion of his character, as well as the theme of the entire novel; love, infidelity, and jealousy. We also meet all of the main characters (bar Karenin). Dolly, Stiva’s wife, her sister Kitty, Kitty’s suitor, Count Vronsky, Levin- who loves Kitty, and of course, Anna, who originally appears in the novel to try and fix her brother, Stiva’s, marriage.

However, Anna’s arrival just causes drama and it’s from there that the story really begins.

It leads to Kitty being heartbroken, ill, and she becomes quite childish. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long and I actually really liked her character development. Anna also isn’t the most subtle of women, especially with her closeness to Vronsky, as it is noticed by everyone how close they have become. Including her husband, Karenin.

One thing I liked from the book, especially in the second chapter, is the detail Tolstoy puts into certain scenes. I loved the detail of the horse race, from the sound of the hooves to the view of the spectators- the reader could really imagine being there. I also really liked the main focus on Levin and his life on his farm- including the part where he helps the peasants working on the farm to mow the fields with scythes.

His life is the main focus of Part Three, as well as the main theme of the book, jealousy, rearing it’s ugly head. Karenin cannot divorce Anna, due to his reputation, so Anna has to choose between her husband and her son, or her lover. She cannot have both- despite her love for her song being so strong.

I completely blame her for her dilemma- and the sad thing is, she doesn’t learn!

However, I really appreciated the fact that Karenin forgives Anna and Vronksy when he thinks she is dying, it shows him to be a much better person than the both of them, a fact, I think is proved by the fact that Vronsky tries to kill himself! Guilty?

Can Anna and Vronksy actually be happy without the shadow of guilt always following them around?

On the other hand, Kitty and Levin are very happy when they eventually get married- even though, surprise surprise, there is some jealousy between them (but there’s is always reconciled.) Whereas Anna doesn’t care about her son, as she can’t see him, and she now has another child to care for.

Although it is clear she doesn’t love her the same as she loves her son….she has a very changeable personality, making her very fickle!

I think the hardest thing about this book is that every now and then, the characters spoke in French or German, and I had to stop reading in order to translate it as I’m not fluent in either language. It made the reading experience more of a chore, and a little bit less enjoyable.

There’s always a mix of forgiveness and jealousy in each chapter/part e.g Kitty meets Vronsky years after he rejected her for Anna and she manages not to get upset that her broke her heart. However, after Levin meets Anna for the first time, Kitty gets angry thinking he loves her (!)

Their moods change a lot. It’s very confusing.

I’ve seen the film, so I know what happens to Anna at the end, and to be honest, it felt like a relief. She wasn’t the most agreeable of characters.

It was a good story, the mix of characters meant there was always something to read about and I was able to see the characters develop as the story progressed, especially Kitty and Levin’s relationship!

I can see why this book is a classic- even if the title character could be incredibly irritating! I can’t fault it though, and I’d definitely recommend it!

4/5 stars!

Well worth a read!

Thanks for reading!
~Katie
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Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

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Read between: 25th January- 4th February
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 391
Published: May 30th, 2006
Publisher: Anchor Books
Synopsis: A delightfully dishy novel about the all-time most impossible boss in the history of impossible bosses.
Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile, fabulously successful editor of “Runway “magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts “Prada! Armani! Versace!” at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child.
THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA gives a rich and hilarious new meaning to complaints about “The Boss from Hell.” Narrated in Andrea’s smart, refreshingly disarming voice, it traces a deep, dark, devilish view of life at the top only hinted at in gossip columns and over Cosmopolitans at the trendiest cocktail parties. From sending the latest, not-yet-in-stores Harry Potter to Miranda’s children in Paris by private jet, to locating an unnamed antique store where Miranda had at some point admired a vintage dresser, to serving lattes to Miranda at precisely the piping hot temperature she prefers, Andrea is sorely tested each and every day—and often late into the night with orders barked over the phone. She puts up with it all by keeping her eyes on the prize: a recommendation from Miranda that will get Andrea a top job at any magazine of her choosing. As things escalate from the merely unacceptable to the downright outrageous, however, Andrea begins to realize that the job a million girls would die for may just kill her. And even if she survives, she has to decide whether or not the job is worth the price of her soul.

Rating:
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Review:

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I went into this book hoping to love it, despite the fact that it had really bad reviews, because I love the film! However…that was not the case. I’ll explain why.

Andrea Sachs wants tot write for magazines, always has. So when she gets a job working for Runway magazine in New York, it looks like she’s on her way to achieving her dreams. However, she didn’t imagine that she’d end up doing no writing at all! Instead, she is junior assistant to Miranda Priestly. A woman who strives to have everything just as she wants.

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The boss from hell? Andrea thinks so-but despite how much she hates her job (a job that people tell her makes her the luckiest girl in the world!) , a fact she often repeats, she sticks at it. She wants her dream job, and apparently this is the only way to do it.

The fashion industry is tough. Miranda is tough, so why does Andrea not expect that?

Many moments in the book had my agree with her, but most of the time I found her incredibly ungrateful. She gets to meet famous designers, wear designer clothes that would otherwise have been thrown away, and get paid decent money! Just because her boss is a bitch, she decides that’s a good enough reason to hate everything the job entails.

The plot is good- I don’t know if a fashion magazine in the US is run exactly the way it was in the book, but it was interesting to see the inner workings and meet other members of staff. Especially Emily.

I actually really like Emily, especially when she let Andrea know she’d made a mistake. Someone had to tell her!
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I also wasn’t surprised that Andrea’s boyfriend dumped her. I knew how busy her job was, but there was no need to blank him completely because Miranda needed her, or might need her out of the office.

Miranda was definitely written as bitchy and needy in order to make the reader feel fro Andrea. In a way it did, in a way it didn’t.

I liked this book, don’t get me wrong. I liked the fashion elements, but there were some character traits I wasn’t keen on. However, I actually think I prefer the film adaptation to the book in this case! That might just be because of Meryl Streep and her fabulous characterisation of Miranda.

It’s a good story. I really wanted to love this book but I guess that’s just a matter of opinion.

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Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: After You by Jojo Moyes

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Read between: 9th-14th January
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 409
Published: 30th June 2016
Publisher: Penguin
Synopsis: Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home. Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life? What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does. But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for- or just more questions? Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live, and if she’s going to ke ep it, she has to invite them in…

Rating:9dbae-4-52bstars

Spoilers for Me Before You below. Continue reading