Friday Favourites

Friday Favourites – Books From Your Favourite Genre

This weeks Friday Favourites is to share books from your favourite genre. Mine is fantasy but I thought I would share a specific type of fantasy books I love and that is historical fantasy!

So here are some of my favourite historical fantasy books and I have also linked my reviews to try to convince you to read theses because you are missing out if you haven’t!

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Diverse Books, YA Books

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – ARC Review

Thank you to Hodder Books for this arc in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely adored this book, it’s become one of my fave reads this year. I am also a proud member of the Scarlet Gang!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

This book is incredible and you all need to read it. This is coming from a person who hates the story of Romeo and Juliet and yet this book has my whole heart!

The setting was so wonderful to read I loved that it was set in Shanghai in the 1920s it was both magical and dark and I loved it. I loved the mystery and how we are slowly fed information about this mysterious contagion and monster. Is it something supernatural? What or who is causing these deaths. It made me want to read just one more chapter.

These days…the most dangerous people are the powerful white men who feel as if they have been slighted.

I really loved how Chloe took the story of Romeo and Juliet and gave it a fresh spin and honestly this is better than the original. Roma and Juliette are the only ones worth reading about. The angst and chemistry between them and how we meet them after they had already fallen in love and been betrayed so they already have all this history between them which makes their relationship even more interesting especially as we slowly learn about it through flashbacks and how it affects them in the present. I loved the setting too where we see not only gangs fighting to rule but also the west coming to “improve” things. There was so many different groups all fighting for power and it is the people who suffer most in their battles.

Killer. Violent. Ruthless. All those and more – that was who she was now.

Juliette is my queen, I absolutely loved her! She is ruthless and does what needs to be done to look after her people and the people of Shanghai. I related to her a lot, how she is a capable leader but because she is a woman people don’t take her seriously, she can’t make a single mistake otherwise she will lose the support of everyone. She wants to do what is best for her people but she also has to manoeuvre around politics and how people don’t want to change.

Her character was so complex and I just completely fell in love with her. The ruthless and unfeeling exterior she has to always show to others so she won’t be seen as weak and how she pushes down how she feels especially towards a certain white flower, it was just amazing reading about her. I loved the discussions on how she never fit in, in the west but because she had spent time there she no longer fit in, in Shanghai either. It was so relatable, right down to how her name wasn’t western enough so she had to change it to suit them.

His title gave him power. Power kept him safe.

Roma was a cinnamon roll and I really enjoyed reading about him too but Juliette has my heart. I loved how he was soft and sweet but like Juliette he has to show a ruthless exterior. He also has to deal with his family not completely trusting him because of his history with Juliette and I really loved how he was never domineering or controlling when working with Juliette. I loved seeing how much he cared and loved his sister and how he would do anything to protect her.

A love like theirs was never going to survive in a city divided by hatred.

I loved every single interaction between Juliette and Roma. The tension and the angst, the pining and their electric chemistry that grew as the story went on and they slowly started to open up to each other again. I loved their dynamic and how they could only show their vulnerability to each other and also feared showing vulnerability because it was dangerous for them. I cannot wait to see them in the sequel especially after the events of that ending! Although I do hope they have a better ending than Romeo and Juliet did.

I loved the side characters too, they were all interesting and complex and had their own story arcs which I was invested in too. Honestly all the characters in this were so well written. I loved all of them and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the sequel especially after that ending.

This book was incredible and discussed so many important issues while also creating a dark and gritty atmosphere. The story will suck you in and the characters will have you completely hooked onto their every word and you will think about this book long after you finish it.

YA Books

The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant – ARC Review

My friend Anisha had this ARC and she kindly let me borrow it to read and I’m so glad she let me borrow it as I absolutely loved it!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

This book was dark and brutal with characters who were ruthless because that was the only way to survive and showed the stark contrast between the wealthy and poor. I loved the main character, Nina, so much. She was so complex and interesting and I loved seeing how much she grew and changed because of the circumstances she was put in.

She lived in a world where having people you loved in your life made you weak as they could be used against you yet she still loved fiercely. She takes Ettie in and becomes an older sister for her and her fierce protectiveness for Ettie drives her to do whatever it takes to protect her, which makes her become more and more ruthless but she is smart and patient too which makes her even more dangerous to her enemies. Yet they underestimate her time and time again because she is nothing but a young thief to them and they are some of the most powerful people. I loved seeing her plan heists which would be impossible for anyone else, showing how smart, inventive and creative she is.

Her relationship with Ettie was my favourite thing in this book, especially as it contrasted so differently from the brutal world they lived in. Ettie was so sweet and even I felt protective over her, she would tease Nina over boys, was sassy and loved listening to stories and was such a little chatterbox that I completely fell in love with her.

This book deals with some really dark and difficult topics including drugging, buying and trafficking women. Which was quite difficult to read at times and to see the state of the women especially as we see it through Nina’s eyes. She lost her older sister to that so her determination to save Ettie is fuelled by her not being able to save Azelma.

The world building was incredible especially as through Nina we see the poorest parts of Paris and the richest and we also see the underground where all those who aren’t accepted because they are different in some way live. We see how the poor are dying from starvation while the wealthy live so lavishly that they throw food away. We see how the powerful and wealthy keep the poor in a vicious circle of starvation and death to control population and how that results in a people deciding to rise up against them.

The cast of characters were sp great too and their interactions with Nina made the story so interesting and I really hope we get to see more of them in the next book as I would love to learn more about them. I loved how the court was set up and how the lords protected their own but they also should have done more to protect the women that the tiger drugs and traffics. It was interesting to see their justifications and eventually their realisation that they should have done something.

This book was such a great read. I was completely hooked and the second half especially kept me on the edge of my seat. I felt so stressed on Nina’s behalf because I just felt so strongly for Ettie that she needed to be protected at all costs. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book especially with that ending!

Fiction Books, YA Books

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn – ARC Review

Thank you to Netgally and Zephyr for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this story and I am looking forward to the next book!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?
In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

This book is about a group of young friends trying to help those who have no one else to turn to and in doing so they get in way over their heads and end up in a very dangerous situation.

I loved all the characters, they each had their own storylines which also overlapped into the main story so it made them more complex and interesting. We are told the story from the point ofview of Camille and Ade so we can really get into their heads and know how they feel and what they think throughout the story but I would have loved to get a point of view for Al and Guil too as they were such interesting characters. I hope we get it in the next book!

They each have roles in their group and feel the pressures of fulfilling it especially when they feel out of their depth. I really loved seeing how they struggled along the way but that they were there for each other and supported each other even when they fought.

Olympe was another really interesting character, this is who they break out of jail and there is more to her than they were told. She has these mysterious powers that no one really understands fully but each side of the revolution wants to use in their war. As she is being hunted the group of friends try to help her hide which created interesting dynamics as they didn’t always agree on what to do.

I also loved seeing how immersed in the history of the time the book is. I actually learned quite a lot about that time period and the history nerd in me was thrilled! From the discussions of whether the earth is flat to not understanding electricity it is clear that the author has done a lot of research for the book to feel authentic.

The story is fast paced and full of action. It is brutal and dark at times and the plot twists were done so well! I especially did not see one particular twist coming and let me tell you I was left shocked and actually gasped when it was all revealed.

I cannot wait to read the next book especially after that ending I just need to know what they will do now and where the story will take us.

Fiction Books, YA Books

Romanov by Nadine Brandes – Book Review

The history of the Romanov’s has always fascinated me, most likely because of the film which I adore. So when I heard that there would be an Anastasia retelling I was super excited! And I really enjoyed reading the book!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The history books say I died.
They don’t know the half of it.
Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.
Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.
That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other

The story starts when the Romanov’s have been exiled and the last few months before they were executed. I already knew the history so I knew what would eventually happen to them and Nadine made me fall in love with her characters so it was really intense to read the first half of the story.

We see the story unfold from the point of view of Anastasia which was interesting to see as we get a different viewpoint than one that I normally see. We see her father’s abdication, exile and how the media overage looked from her point of view. She sees her father as a strong leader which is quite different to what history remembers him as. It made them more real past the history facts we know.

I spent the first half of the book on the edge of my seat knowing what was coming and yet it still devastated me. It was so much worse than I thought it would be and I really felt for Anastasia and Alexei.

I really loved how magic was woven into the story and how it affected what happens and was used as a way to explain how Anastasia could have survived. She was such a great character to read. She is feisty and outspoken and smart but she was also afraid and sometimes impatient. Alexei was another favourite character of mine, I really loved how his health conditions were part of him yet he still persevered despite all the struggles he went through.

I liked how the romance between Zash and Anastasia was slow and they were both hesitant as they were supposed to be enemies. It was left open ended too so we don’t know what exactly happened yet they were together. Even though we now know that no-one survived, it was still nice to imagine her finding a new life.

I just wish we had a little more in the ending, I just wanted more details and felt that it was a little rushed and I really wish we could have seen things from Zash’s point of view!

I think it would have brought more depth to the story seeing both sides of history.
Overall I really enjoyed reading this book! The way Nadine wove Anastasia’s story with magic was wonderful to read!

“It takes more strength and courage to forgive than it does to enact revenge”