Adult Books, Diverse Books

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse – ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I had heard great things about this book so I just had to request it and I really loved it!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.

This is an ownvoices book so I was really looking forward to reading this. The main characters are Native Americans and the story is rich with their culture and folklore. This was one of my favourite parts of the book. I especially found it fascinating because unfortunately I don’t know much about their culture but from my understanding it felt like it had really great rep.

It’s a dystopian world set in the future, a future where climate change has caused catastrophic damage to the earth and the world is not like the world we live in now. There are water shortages and not much technology like we’re used to now. And the gods walk among us and so do the monsters.

Maggie is a monster slayer and is well known amongst Dinetah, right from the beginning we see her fight a monster and her abilities that make her such a lethal monster killer. We are thrown right into the action and I loved that. She makes difficult decisions and is brave yet she has difficulty with expressing how she feels. She has a great character arc and grows to learn to accept herself.

We also get a lot of information about the history of the clans and tribes and the stories and at times it felt a little info dumpy at times but I understand why the author felt it was necessary and I actually really enjoyed reading about the stories and history.

We are also introduced to another character, Kai, who joins Maggie to try and figure out where the monsters are coming from who keep killing people all over Dinetah. I loved Kai from the moment we meet him and my love for him just grows as we learn more about him and see what type of person he is. One of my favourite things about Kai is that he is kind and supportive and doesn’t push Maggie to do something she isn’t comfortable with. He also helps Maggie learn that she is more than just a killer and deserves more in life.

The story was really interesting and can get quite dark and brutal at times. There are some plot twists and although I had an idea of what they could be I still enjoyed the revelations. I really enjoyed learning more about Ma’ii and his trickster ways. He was such a complicated and interesting character and you can’t quite figure out his motives. Both Maggie and Kai are complex and mysterious and there is more to both of them than we see initially.

I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait to be able to read book two because I really need to know what happens after THAT ending!

Books by Muslim Authors, Diverse Books, Muslim Shelf Space, YA Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World by London -ARC Review

Thank you to Disney Hyperion for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review.

I had heard great things about this book and I was so excited to be able to read it early and be part of the street team! This book was amazing and I cannot wait for the second book!

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Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people, often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.
When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.
Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture–and her father might be lost forever.

 

I am so happy I was able to read this book and you all need to go buy it too! It is a phenomenal debut and I am so looking forward to reading everything London writes.

Light is an ownvoices book with a British Pashtun Muslim main character. I absolutely loved seeing her in this book and that she was so very British! There was some very British references especially her love for tea! It was such a great thing to see, it felt like home.

I also loved how much of her Pashtun culture was included in the book. The food references especially had me craving everything! This book is full of wonderfully diverse characters from Leyla and Ari to others they meet along their journey. Even in London the community is so diverse and it was just normal to them, I really loved seeing that.

Hope is all I have right now; it’s as unending as the oceans – and I must hold on to it.

I really loved Leyla, she is smart, resourceful and courageous yet she still feels afraid when she fears for her life and freezes which made her so much more real to me. But she doesn’t let her fear control her life which I loved seeing. She is determined to find her dad no matter the danger.

Ari is other main character who is Leyla’s companion on her journey to find her dad. He is broody and angsty and I fell in love with him immediately! He is such a complex character and there is so much more to him than what we initially see. He is patient and kind and brave and protects Leyla and helps her to overcome her fears. I really loved them both together and how their friendship grows and of course their banter and bickering!

This book has some incredible world building, we first get to explore London with Leyla and how it is recognisable as our London yet so different as everyone now lives underwater. When Leyla leaves London to find her dad we get to explore more of the UK with her and the world that London has created was so intricate and detailed and SO BEAUTIFUL. While I am not a fan of going in open water, I did make me want to be able to see that world.

People always find a way to keep from losing one another – from losing themselves.

The story is full of mystery and intrigue and as the story goes on we realise that not everything we know about the world is true, it made me want to read just one more chapter because I needed to know what was happening! Also the mind blowing plot twists! I did not see them coming! They left me in shock and wandering what else that Leyla believed to be true wasn’t. The ending also left me reeling, it’s one hell of a cliffhanger and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to survive the wait for the next book!

One of the things that I loved was how despite there being some very heavy topics and intense parts of the book, London wove humour through it so well and the lighter moments had me cracking up! The way that the people thought we lived before everyone lived underwater, nostalgia with rose tinted glasses. It was such funny moments and I loved it so much!

Old world trains were spotless, and everyone chatted, knew one another. It was safe as houses. And they never broke down – not once. Zero delays!

I could go on forever about all the things I loved about this book and I highly recommend you all read it!

Book Recommendations

Books I Love By Authors In The UK – Part 1

In this post I want to share some of my favourite books by authors in the UK. I feel like several of these authors deserve more love and that you should all go read their books!

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1 The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – I am impatiently waiting for the next book because I love this series so much!

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2 The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – I adore this trilogy! And Alwyn has recently announced that she will be releasing a new series set in the same world!

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3 The Summoner and Contender series by Taran Matharu – I loved the Summoner books and I recently read the first Contender book and loved it too! It’s also ownvoices! You can read my reviews of The Outcast here and of The Chosen here

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4 All the Things we Never Said by Yasmin Rahman – A book dealing with mental health and suicidal thoughts and how important friendship can be. You can read my review here

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5 Viper by Bex Hogan – Pirates and Assassins and a bloodthirsty and violent world and I loved it! You can read my review here

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6 Darren Shan Saga by Darren Shan – A childhood favourite about vampires and I really loved the whole series!

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7 Gilded Cage trilogy and Sanctuary by Vic James – A dystopian UK where those who don’t have powers must serve those with powers for 10 years and are effectively slaves for that period. Sanctuary is a dark witchy book and I loved all of her books! You can read my review of Sanctuary here

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8 She Wore Red Trainers by Naima B Robert – I really love all the books Naima rights but especially this one as it’s a Muslim love story! You can read my review here

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9 You’re Crushing It by Lex Croucher – I really loved reading through this book. It’s about mental health, building your self-esteem and so much more.

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10 I Am Thunder and Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan – Both deal with very relevant issues and I highly recommend reading them! You can read my review of Kick the Moon here

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11 A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby – I really loved this book that deals with growing apart from friends, being true to yourself and standing up for what’s right. You can read my review here

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12 Jinxed by Amy Alward – This book was one of those books that I came across accidently but I ended up falling in love! It’s a dystopian sci-fi with unapologetically nerdy, smart female characters who excel in STEM areas. You can read my review here

So when I started writing this post I actually realised I knew a lot more UK authors than I thought so there will be a part 2 posted in a couple days!

Diverse Books, YA Books

The Chosen by Taran Marathu – ARC Review

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

Having loved the Summoner books by Taran Matharu I was so excited when he announced his new series The Contender especially as it was set in a world with dinosaurs! And this book did not disappoint!

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.
Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.
But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.

The Chosen opens with Cade already in this alternate world faced with a creature he’s never seen before so right from the beginning we’re thrown into the action. I really liked that as it made me even more intrigued about the story and how Cade ended up there.

We get the backstory of Cade and his classmates throughout the book through Cade so we slowly get an idea of why the characters behave the way they do with each other. It was interesting to see the dynamics between them all and how they had to try and get a long because of the situation they were in. They have conflicts and don’t always agree on things but I wish we had gotten to see more of that in the story.

The story is fast paced and lots happen throughout the book. They have to face dinosaurs and lots of other creatures. I really loved how immersive it was and how he weaved real history and fiction together, the history nerd in me totally loved all mentions of historical facts! The history is actually an important aspect of the story too and one of the reasons that Cade is chosen to be taken to this world.

I really liked Cade and how he thinks before taking action, it’s unusual for a teenage boy to think before he barrels into things so that was nice to see. I really liked seeing the own voices rep as Cade is half Indian and how his culture and family dynamics are. We also see the racism and discrimination he receives from some of the other boys because of it. He is looked down upon because of his lower social class and everyone assumes he is guilt because of how he looks and that he isn’t rich. I liked that he does battle with these emotions and how it makes him feel despite being a top student his opportunities are taken from him. I really hope we get to see more own voices rep in books.

Another character I really liked was Quintus, who Cade meets in this world, he helps Cade and the others and even teaches them how to use some weapons. He has hearing difficulties and we see how he is unable to communicate with others and how that makes him feel isolated and lonely. Cade also meets a group of teenage girls while on this world and they also help him and I loved seeing them flip stereotypes that girls aren’t as capable as boys.

Throughout the whole story we are left to wonder why Cade and the others have been sent to this world. There is a lot of intrigue and mystery and it made me want to read just one more chapter. The ending of the book was so intense and kept me on the edge of my feet. They have to face these terrifying creatures and there are some things that happen that I was not expecting at all which left me reeling. We only get an idea of why Cade has been sent to this world right at the end which of course is then left on a cliffhanger and I just want to know what will happen next!

This book is full of action and intrigue and unlike any other book I’ve read. If you love dinosaurs and history then I highly recommend you pick up The Chosen! I am already dying to know what will happen in the next book!