Fiction Books, YA Books

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart – ARC Review

Thank you to Hachette Children’s Group and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Grace and Fury was one of my top reads last year so I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel and it did not disappoint! Queen of Ruin is just as amazing as Grace and Fury! Tracy Banghart has now become an auto-buy author for me!

If you haven’t read Grace and Fury I highly recommend it! You can read my review of Grace and Fury here.


Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Banished by Asa at the end of Grace and Fury, Nomi and Malachi find themselves powerless and headed towards their all-but-certain deaths. Now that Asa sits on the throne, he will stop at nothing to make sure Malachi never sets foot in the palace again. Their only hope is to find Nomi’s sister, Serina, on the prison island of Mount Ruin. But when Nomi and Malachi arrive, it is not the island of conquered, broken women that they expected. It is an island in the grip of revolution, and Serina–polite, submissive Serina–is its leader.
Betrayal, grief, and violence have changed both sisters, and the women of Mount Ruin have their sights set on revenge beyond the confines of their island prison. They plan to sweep across the entire kingdom, issuing in a new age of freedom for all. But first they’ll have to get rid of Asa, and only Nomi knows how.
Separated once again, this time by choice, Nomi and Serina must forge their own paths as they aim to tear down the world they know, and build something better in its place.

Guys! This book had me up reading ALL NIGHT! As in I started it at 11pm thinking oh I will read for a little while and suddenly it’s 6am and I’ve finished the entire book! If that doesn’t tell you how much I adored it then I don’t know what will.

Serina and Nomi are so amazing though I do love Serina a little more. They both went through such a huge change in their lives and an unexpected one at that. Yet they handle it so well, they have such great character development and their relationship is tested again and again yet they come out stronger each time. The story is very much driven by the choices the sisters make and it really focuses on them two, rather than following lots of others around.

It’s safe to say that I loved the female empowerment in this book and in the duology, I loved how different ways to be empowered are shown, how different women were empowered in different ways and the things they did differed yet still was an act of rebellion which they were punished for. I loved seeing the women supporting each other, being their for each other and being able to rely on each other. It’s so nice to see rather than women being pitted against each other we see a lot in YA books.

I really like how it ended too, it wasn’t a perfect happily ever after, there was lives lost and compromises made to ensure that things will change for the better. It was a new beginning rather than a happy ending. Though I would have liked to see a bit more in how the changes that were spoken about at the end would be implemented especially dealing with the hostility that they will no doubt face from men and especially other men in power.

I also really liked seeing how men can be ally’s and actually support women without it diminishing them in the least bit. We see them actually supporting Nomi, Serina and the other women and not just being all talk. They also didn’t expect to be praised or put on a pedestal just because they supported the women. They just did what needed to be done.

I think one the things I would have liked to see more of is more development of Malachi and Asa, we barely see Asa in this book and although Malachi does want things to change for women I wished we could have seen more of him and his character development. I also would love to see more of the world, other places are mentioned in the book but we only g et glimpses so I would love to see what it is like for women living in these places and whether it’s much different for them.

I think what I’m getting at is that I want another book! A duology just isn’t long enough for me and I just want to spend more time in this world and with Nomi and Serina and see them be the badasses they are and change things for the better!

So if I haven’t said it enough, I really loved this book and the duology as a whole and I highly recommend you read it!

Fiction Books, YA Books

The Sharp Edge Of A Snowflake by Sif Sigmarsdottir – ARC Review

Thank you to Hachette’s Children’s Group and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book sounded really interesting so I was excited when I got accepted for an arc of this book. Though I do have to say I have mixed opinions about the story.


Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Hannah Eiríksdóttir has been banished from her home in London to a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. No, not Hell, but close: Iceland. There, she faces a new life working as a journalist for her father’s newspaper – a man she barely knows.
Imogen Collins has the perfect life as a social media influencer, showing off her glamorous London existence to adoring fans. But behind the filters lies a dark secret. She thought she’d buried it: But the Beast is back – a ghost from her past who’s threatening to ruin her future.
When a man is found murdered at the edge of the road in snowy Iceland the girls’ lives collide. Imogen had the motive. Can Hannah find out the truth and discover the reality of the girl beneath the filters?
Behind perfection often lies unbearable ugliness.

This book sounded so interesting and we got to see the story unfold from both Hannah and Imogen’s point of view. So we get to see more than what the characters around them know. We see how appearances can be deceptive and not everyone is who they seem.

Even though the book seemed like it would be really intriguing I have to admit I was a little bored at times. I had issues with the pacing of the story and felt it dragged in the middle. I also found the different points of view a little confusing to keep track of who’s point of view I was reading at first though it did become clearer as the story went on.

I did really enjoy the setting, it’s set in Iceland and it was really atmospheric and gave that dark vibe that really went with the story. It also sounded really beautiful and made me want to visit even more!

Another thing I really loved was the Instagram posts that were included with the captions. What the captions actually say and what they were actually thinking about when posting it. The difference between what they actually write and what they are thinking and feeling was really great to see. Especially as social media is such a big part of many people, especially young people’s lives. What you post and what you say in your post can be seen by everyone and it makes people want to seem “perfect” at all times in the public.

There was quite a few themes in the story, from effects of social media, ethics of journalism, sexual assault, family and murder being among them. I really liked that they were included and spoken about especially how social media can influence people and the ethics of what journalists write as they are also influencing people’s views. Sexual assault was also a pretty big theme in the story and affected how Imogen was throughout the book and you can see the toll it takes on her yet she is blamed. And you can see the parallels in real life society currently, with everything happening in the media lately.

I did feel however that as the story is pretty short there was a lot of themes covered but not enough time dedicated to delving deeper into them. I wish we had gotten more conversation about the sexual assault and how social media affects people’s lives.

I think my biggest disappointment in the book was the ending. I felt underwhelmed with the ending and who actually turned out to be the murderer. I felt that it came out of nowhere and I just felt a little confused as to why this person decided to murder the man. I wish there was more build up and we got a bit more at the end to explain better the persons motives, especially as we barely see this person throughout the book.

Overall I did enjoy this book and thought there was some interesting themes explored in the book but I was a little disappointed by the ending.

Fiction Books, YA Books

Viper by Bex Hogan – ARC Review

I was sent an eARC of this books from Hachette Children’s Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the beautiful cover of this book it instantly attracted me and when I saw it was a pirate book, I was sold! And this book did not disappoint! I loved it so much and I’m really looking forward to the next book.


Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.
He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.
But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.
He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.
She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?
A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

This book is fast paced, action packed and very brutal and bloody and right from the beginning we see how brutal Marianne’s father is and the type of people she has grown up around. Yet, despite growing up like this, seeing all the violence, she still is unwilling to murder someone, which makes her a disappoint to her father. She defies her father in small ways despite knowing she will be punished, and I loved her from the first chapter.

When I started reading I quickly realised that not only is this a story of pirates but of pirate assassins! And I fell in love even more. I will warn you though, it is very violent and there is lots of suffering. It’s a lot darker than I thought it would be. Yet there is still hope in the characters despite everything they go through.

Marianne has to go through a lot to stand up to her father. She doesn’t know who she can trust or who will help her achieve her goal. I loved her determination and how kind she was. She wants to be a healer not a killer yet she is definitely capable of being a killer, she chooses not to. I loved her story as she discovered who she was and who she wanted to be and what she’s capable to being. She chooses her own destiny despite one being laid out in front of her.

One of the things I loved was how distinct each island was that Marianne visits. That we actually get to spend time on the island too and explore them with her. And just like the islands, the people who live there are equally as diverse. And the time spent on the waters was so interesting too, from seeing how powerful her father’s ship and crew is to learning about the sea creatures that are just as scary as the pirates themselves.

I don’t want to say too much about the characters as it will spoil some of the plot for you but I will say that there are several characters that help Marianne and I loved all of them! I hope we get to see more of their stories in the next book.

If you love pirates or assassins and action packed books, I highly recommend picking up Viper when it releases on April 18th.