ARC Review: The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid

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****SPOILERS FOR “THE DIABOLIC” BELOW!****

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It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?

review

**** Huge thank you to Simon & Schuster for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

**** All of my reviews are spoiler free but if you haven’t read “The Diabolic” you may not want to continue. If you have read it then continue as you will not be spoiled here!****

Right when I didn’t think S.J. Kincaid could blow my mind any more, she did it again! I think it’s safe to say my mouth was open, jaw on the floor the entire time I was reading and that I’m also dying for the third book now. I NEED IT NOW! Prepare for a review that will probably mostly be me fangirling.

This review will be a bit shorter than usual since I don’t want to spoil anything but you can read my full review for “The Diabolic” here for a little more information!

PLOT

If you were worried, like me, that “The Diabolic” should have remained a standalone and the sequel wouldn’t live up to it: don’t be worried. I was very satisfied with this book and now I’m happy that it turned out to be a series because what would I do if I didn’t have more of Nemesis?! I think this one is equally as enjoyable as “The Diabolic” but parts also weren’t as great, however, seeing as how we really waste ZERO time setting anything up it was better in that sense. Kincaid throws us right into the nitty gritty immediately.

Extremely fast pacing, I’m talking about the kind of pacing where you can’t turn the pages fast enough to keep reading! I am a sucker for fast pacing and “The Empress” did not disappoint whatsoever, as I mentioned we are thrown into a breakneck speed at the start and it doesn’t let up until the last page. There wasn’t a single dull or boring moment!

And the twists! The twists! There are so many ridiculously good twists in this book and I fell for every single one! At one point during the story I think there were about 3 major twists on ONE PAGE. So yeah you definitely will not be bored with this book! There is a ridiculous amount of action and I felt so many emotions while reading, mostly I got so enraged by the antagonist that I wanted to crawl into the book and pummel him…but hey that’s how you know they’re doing their job and the author is a fantastic writer!

I also really, really enjoyed that Kincaid expanded a lot more on the world building for this series, seeing as how in “The Diabolic” we didn’t get much. It’s definitely really interesting and also a bit of a shocker too!

If you’re a fan of political intrigue, you’ll definitely love this. Trust me. Trust me!

Kincaid’s writing packs the usual punch, and by that I mean it was fantastic and made me an emotional roller coaster the entire time I read this book.

Also that cliffhanger ending will destroy you so be prepared!

characters

Really the only characters I continued to love were Nemesis and Tyrus and that’s simply because they’re really the only characters with any substance. They’re complex and develop A TON during the course of this story and really learn their limits. They both continue to be badasses out smarting everyone, which is all I will say!

There were a couple other secondary characters that were okay and came into the story a couple of times but they weren’t very complex or developed, in my opinion. Still they were there and definitely progressed the plot…..a lot.

The antagonist was pretty dang good though too in the sense that I wanted to choke them out the entire time…..just means they were well written because that’s what the author wanted you to think!

romance

I burn. I pine. I perish for this romance! I will always and forever be a big fan of Nemesis/Tyrus especially since I’ve been rooting for them since “The Diabolic” so of course their wonderful romance continued on in this book and made my heart happy.

in conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed with this sequel! Usually sequels, specifically in trilogies, suffer from middle book syndrome in which they really drag on and are mostly there to set up the last book. However, “The Empress” suffered no such syndrome! It packed a huge punch and still managed to set up the last book magnificently!

What I Loved:

  • Can I say literally everything?
  • Twists and political intrigue
  • Fast pacing, non stop action!
  • Great writing
  • Great main characters
  • The romance
  • Did I mention plot twists?
  • Great additional world building

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I kind of wish the secondary characters were a bit more important, but they did serve their purpose! (hence the 4.5 instead of full 5 star rating)

RECOMMEND

If you read “The Diabolic” and enjoyed it but aren’t sure if you want to read the sequel…do it. Just do it! It’s fantastic and I promise you, you will not be disappointed!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

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What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

review

**** Big thank you to HMH Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review****

I’m not normally a big fan of historical fiction or magical realism but with this book I found myself really enjoying both genres. Overall the word that comes to mind with “The Disappearances” would be delightful (the finishing word, if you will *book inside joke*)!

PLOT

First of all one of the downsides to this story is that it’s a little on the slower side with not a whole lot going on or a whole lot of action. However, the mystery of the Disappearances is definitely interesting enough to keep reading until the end. There are also quite a few little twists that I definitely didn’t figure out and while they weren’t mind blowing they were still exciting and tied things together.

The overall plot, as I said already, was very intriguing and well developed. I really enjoyed all of the Shakespeare themed tie ins and they get even better right at the end! Although speaking of the ending while I did like it I also felt it was pretty rushed, I mean here we were taking our sweet time for 400 pages and then all of a sudden it’s all resolved? It all made perfect sense fortunately but it just felt a little too soon.

The premise and the execution were well done and I really liked how unique the whole story was. A town being plagued by things such as colors, smells, and reflections disappearing is a really interesting concept! The way the townspeople deal with these things are also neat and this is where the “magical realism” aspect of the stories come into play but that’s all I will say!

I liked the writing style as well it was simple, easy to follow, and flowed nicely. It’s hard to believe that this is only Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her future books!

characters

I liked the characters they were all so…..adorable and sweet. Although everyone was pretty plain but definitely not in a bad way they just felt a little tedious at times.

Aila was a decent protagonist and I liked how she was pretty feisty at times. It was nice to see a YA heroine who had her head on straight!

As for all of the secondary characters: I really liked them. Dr. and Mrs. Cliffton were amazing and so were Will, Beas, George, and even Eliza. Everyone was developed well enough but not so much that they felt very complex.

romance

I actually really enjoyed the romance in “The Disappearances” which is really saying something! It was very much a slow-burn romance and I adore the friends to lovers trope. It also helps that I loved both Aila and Will separately and I thought they were really cute together.

Seriously though the key words here are: slow burn.

in conclusion

What I Loved:

  • The premise and overall execution
  • The “world building” or magic aspects
  • The writing
  • Shakespeare tie-ins
  • The characters were all great
  • The romance was fantastic and slow burn

What I Didn’t Love:

  • The slow pacing
  • The ending felt kind of rushed

RECOMMEND

I really recommend checking this book out if you’re a fan of historical fiction, magical realism, and books that have very unique plots!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta

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description

All sixteen-year-old Heather MacNair wants is to feel normal, to shed the intense paranoia she’s worn all year like a scratchy sweater. After her compulsion to self-harm came to light, Heather was kept under her doctor’s watchful eye. Her family thinks she’s better—and there’s nothing she wants more than for that to be true. She still can’t believe she’s allowed to spend her summer vacation as she always does: at her aunt’s home in Scotland, where she has lots of happy memories. Far away from all her problems save one: she can’t stop carving the Celtic knot that haunts her dreams into her skin.

Good friends and boys with Scottish accents can cure almost anything…except nightmares. Heather can’t stop dreaming about two sisters from centuries ago, twins Prudence and Primrose, who somehow seem tied to her own life. Their presence lurks just beneath the surface of her consciousness, sending ripples through what should be a peaceful summer. The twins might hold the key to putting Heather’s soul at rest…or they could slice her future deeper than any knife.

review

**** Big thank you to Random House Kids for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I actually really enjoyed reading this book and finished it in one sitting but I didn’t like it quite enough to rate it more than 3 stars though. It’s the kind of book to just pass some time but won’t really have any lasting affect on me, I don’t foresee myself thinking about this book much after reading it.

PLOT

The plot itself wasn’t that special, the pacing did drag a lot especially in the beginning and then the ending felt really rushed. I was also expecting the witchcraft and magical bits to be a lot more prominent then they ended up being, I liked what parts there were but I wanted more. Overall I just thought the general story surrounding the magic was really under developed and didn’t have much depth, there just wasn’t enough plot!

The dream sequences Heather had of Prudence and Primrose were a little flat although they did add a lot of drama to the story, there were definitely a few shockers in there. Generally though I didn’t feel like I knew enough about them to care what happened to them, they were the major conflict in this book and they were just meh. Also the way things were resolved in the end with these two was quick and easy, talk about too convenient.

I also didn’t really like the way mental illness was shown in this book, used as a plot device and nothing more. It’s also like her self-harm problem is being thrown in our faces throughout the story, I’m talking screaming in your face “HEY SHE CUTS HERSELF” like we get it but you don’t need to mention it constantly to get your point across. Besides that the cutting isn’t because Heather really has a self-harm problem it has to do with the magical part of the plot (all I’ll say because of spoilers), she isn’t “crazy” and the book throws that word around like it’s nothing.

I think the part I loved the most about this book was the setting in Scotland and the inclusion of some Scottish folklore. I thought the author did a wonderful job with describing the places and the people and the culture, it just made me long for Scotland more!

characters

Heather was an okay MC, not annoying but not very memorable either. I did, however, love her friends especially Fiona she was feisty and added a big fun factor to the story. So basically all of the characters were good, not bad or great, just good.

I also really loved how female friendships and family relationships were portrayed in this book, it’s all about love and support with no abuse or hate.

romance

The romance in “Bad Blood” was another thing that was just sort of alright, nothing special. I liked the love interest, Robby, he was pretty adorable and that Scottish accent was swoon-worthy.

What I DID NOT like was the fact that Heather had absolutely ZERO interest in Robby her entire childhood and teenage-hood and loved his older, cuter brother more. Then Robby loses weight and “gets hot” and suddenly Heather is interested. I just thought that was unbelievably shallow of her since she couldn’t give him the time of day before.

in conclusion

I enjoyed this book but it did have a few problems and just wasn’t anything completely mind blowing. Like I said though it was still a decent read, just not anything that will be sticking with me for a long time.

What I Liked:

  • LOVED the setting in Scotland
  • The characters were pretty good, especially Fiona (she was awesome)
  • The portrayal of female friendships and family relationships

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Kind of slow paced and the ending was rushed and too convenient
  • I didn’t like the way Heather’s self harm was portrayed
  • Heather’s end of the romance was pretty shallow

RECOMMEND

I would say “meh” I’m not going to go around recommending it since it was just alright but if some of the points I made sound interesting to you then go ahead and give it a try. Like I said it isn’t a terrible book and it isn’t a fabulous book it’s just a good book that will give you a moderate amount of enjoyment.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: The Women In The Walls by Amy Lukavics

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description

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.

review

So of course I was really pumped for this book since I LOVED the author’s debut novel “Daughters Unto Devils” (full review here), but while I enjoyed this book it just wasn’t as good as the debut book. Still a very solid read though especially if you’re a YA horror lover!

PLOT

My biggest problem with this book (and why it didn’t get a 4 or 5 star rating) was that the beginning of the story was extremely slow paced and kind of boring. There really wasn’t any real creepiness, horror, or gore at all in the beginning of the book but it had ALL of that within the last 50 pages or so. Honestly, the ending was what made reading the whole book worth it! It was fucked up and weird in the best and creepiest way possible, I wish I could say more but I can’t without spoiling it! There’s also a bit of mystery towards the end as well that made the atmosphere a little more eerie.

Speaking of the ending it is open-ended and I thought it was the perfect way to end it. I feel in horror books open endings really work, the add that much more to the creep-factor because you don’t know what REALLY happened or what will happen afterwards…… I personally loved that it was open-ended because of that reason and it was just like “Daughters Unto Devils” in this manner.

Women (as the title hints at) play a very important and big part in this book as well, basically any and all men are useless side characters and the women hold all the power and sway. Of course I’m going to say this is a plus!

There also is some representation of mental illness in the form of cutting, Lucy (the MC) does cut herself. However, even though I have zero personal experience with people who do cut themselves I felt that the matter was kind of brushed over in this book. It plays a pretty big part in Lucy’s life and yet it never really gets an attention. I just felt it should have been a little bit bigger of an issue with the characters….

The writing was sort of just “meh”, nothing too spectacular. I felt it was better in her other book “Daughters Unto Devils”.

 A HUGE plus for this book is the fact that there is no absolutely zero romance. That’s right there is no romance in this YA book, and isn’t that refreshing?

characters

There was not a whole lot of character development but that’s to be expected with a book that’s only 278 pages long. I didn’t really connect with Lucy or any of the other characters, I felt really distant from what was happening to them. Lucy did have her moments where she stuck up for herself and her family and yelled at some of those arrogant country club people but for the most part she was just okay.

Not to mention I LOATHED Lucy’s dad with a fiery burning passion, talk about worst dad ever! He basically shows zero emotion towards his own daughter and ignores her when she comes to him about things. It really ticked me off so I thought it was worth mentioning.

in conclusion

Overall I did enjoy reading this book although it was a little painful to get through the beginning but ultimately that ending is worth it! I don’t think this one was as good as “Daughters Unto Devils” though but I will still read anything Lukavics comes out with.

What I Liked:

  • THAT ENDING!!!!
  • Women play a big part in the plot and men are useless side characters
  • ZERO romance

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Not a lot of character development (hated Lucy’s dad!)
  • Up until the last 50 or so pages is slow and a bit boring
  • The writing is “meh”

RECOMMEND

Even though I didn’t like this one as much as “Daughters Unto Devils” (which I highly recommend checking out) it is still a pretty good book and the ending is insane! If you’re looking for a short YA horror book with zero romance to distract from the creepiness this one is for you! I definitely do recommend at least checking this book out.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1) by S.J. Kincaid

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Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

review

I just KNEW I was going to adore this book although at first I was skeptical, “The Diabolic” managed to 100% win me over though with it’s utter perfection (or really it just contained everything I look for in a book and did it awesomely).

I really don’t have to much to complain about and thus will spend this review trying to convince YOU to read this book!

PLOT

Also just one little side note here! This book WAS supposed to just be a standalone and apparently it is now a trilogy which is a little upsetting to me since I thought it was all wrapped up 100% and I’m not sure I’ll like it having more books now since the ending was completely satisfying. I’d also love to hear YOUR thoughts on this too so leave some comments down below!

Now before I start gushing about how amazing this book is I will start with saying this book takes a little patience at the beginning! When I first started reading I was thinking to myself “Wait, I thought I was going to love this book? Why does everyone else love this book? Am I even reading the same book?”. Turns out I just needed to push my way through the beginning of the book to get to all of the awesomeness! So the beginning is a little slow to start and actually a teeny bit boring honestly but I understand that it was needed to set the stage for all of the cool stuff that happens later.

As I said the beginning is a little slow paced but once it gets going it really gets going! The rest of the story is very fast paced and action packed without any dull moments or lulls. And the  plot twists are BRUTAL by which I mean they’re pretty jaw-dropping, there’s conspiracies, politics, mind games, betrayals, and revenge! How could you ever get bored?

One thing I really thought was interesting was the setting and world building for this story. The galaxy (universe? space in general?) is run by an Imperial Court/Senate type of thing with the ruling figurehead being an Emperor. So this had a very Roman feel to it mixed in with the futuristic/space-y atmosphere. How is that NOT awesome?

I also thought that the world building was just minimal enough to keep you interested and not confused especially since this book was SUPPOSEDLY a standalone when I read it. It was just enough and it was perfect, however, now that this is a trilogy I’m sure they can (and should) expand way more on the world building.

characters

Let’s just say the characters are pretty amazing in this story especially the main character and her love interest I thought the development and complexity was spot on.

Nemesis is our main character and she is a badass, vicious, and ruthless…..I loved her. Her sole purpose in life is to protect Sidonia (who is her charge basically) and she will do this at all costs even if it means sacrificing herself. Her personality is very robotic and animalistic she doesn’t exactly have feelings or experiences like humans, however, she does care for Sidonia and Sidonia cares greatly for her as well and insists Nemesis is human too. Thus we see a lot of conflicting emotions inside Nemesis as she develops throughout the story as she tries to deal with her nature and her growing human feelings. SO MUCH COMPLEXITY, IT IS AMAZING!

Then there’s Tyrus. Holy crap I absolutely loved his character so much, I thought only Nemesis was complex and developed but Tyrus is right up there as well. He’s so clever and when I say clever I mean so unbelievably smart and devious with all of the plot-hatching and mind games. He’s just awesome, okay?

The secondary characters were also pretty great, they had JUST enough development to keep them interesting although overall they paled in comparison to Nemesis and Tyrus. Everyone had their own agendas and additions to the story. Plus the villains are so VICIOUS and cold-hearted that you just loved to hate their guts.

romance

Let me describe this with a gif:

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I rarely love YA romances and especially not this much! I adored the romance in this book to little bits and pieces, it had a kind of “forbidden love” feel to it and there were definitely NO tropes or cliches with it either this was a complete slow burn romance. I think that Nemesis and Tyrus fit so well together because they’re both ruthless but also with a strong underlying goodness to them.

Also without naming whos or whats there is a bit of a LGTB romance in here toooooooo!

in conclusion

I very much loved “The Diabolic” it was all kinds of vicious and trope-free and just really unique! There weren’t really a whole lot of things I DIDN’T like about it thus giving it the 5 star rating.

What I Liked:

  • Ruthless, vicious characters
  • A badass main character
  • SO MUCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT/COMPLEXITY
  • The romance was so freaking cute and I ship it so hard!
  • The setting and world building were interesting
  • The plot is fast-paced and there’s constant action
  • Space politics and mind games!

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The beginning was hard to get into (the pacing was slow to start)
  • The fact that this went from a standalone to a trilogy even though the ending was perfect for a standalone!

RECOMMEND

Most definitely I recommend giving “The Diabolic” a read! Especially if you’re into YA sci-fi, vicious/badass characters, and you like a little politics in your plots! Also if you like action because there are things constantly happening!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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Book Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

review

I just have to rate this book a full five stars! I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction or romance but the way these ladies wrote it I couldn’t help but love it. It’s hysterical, fun, light-hearted and so very unique and I want you all to go read it ASAP!

PLOT

The story in “My Lady Jane” is essentially a twist and sort of retelling of English history involving the Lady Jane Gray, King Edward VI, and Lord Guildford Dudley who are our POV narrators. So if you love the history of this time period then I’d say you’ll probably have a lot of fun making comparisons between this book’s re-written history and the real history, I know I did!

A large part of deciding whether you’ll love this book or not really depends on what kind of mood you’re in and what your sense of humor is like. DO NOT go into this book expecting something tense and dramatic because it most definitely is not any of those things. “My Lady Jane” is silly, light, and charming and full of hilarious lines and references to Monty Python and The Princess Bride (although on the latter I cannot specify too much as I haven’t seen the entire movie, don’t kill me). So if all of those things sound appealing to you then you’ll  with no doubt love this book if you don’t take it too seriously because the book itself certainly doesn’t.

While I don’t necessarily consider this YA Fantasy since it’s mostly a historical retelling it does contain some elements of fantasy such as magic. Basically we have Edians who have the ability to shape-shift into a certain animal and live among the rest of us normal humans. I very much loved how this magic was incorporated within the “real” history and plot both while also adding to the overall cuteness and fun of the story.

The pacing was great too, I thought there was never a dull moment with “My Lady Jane” and couldn’t put it down. Another great feature was the writing I thought it was just brilliant, fun, and blended everything together nicely making the book a joy to read through.

Overall I think the plot has plenty of cute romance, action, and adventure all seamlessly melded together in very clever ways. It’s not too dramatic or serious and just a very fun, entertaining story.

characters

The characters were all absolutely fantastic and I adored them, they were clever, witty, and interesting. Each of our protagonists developed in their own way throughout the story and had vivid personalities of their own making for some fun and three dimensional characters. I don’t have any issues with the main characters whatsoever and even the villains were fun to hate….because no one can hurt my precious characters! No one!

Jane is a girl after my own heart, honestly probably one of the most relatable characters I’ve had the pleasure of reading about. She’s bookish, a bit silly, and quite spunky.

Edward was one of the more funny protagonists I thought his narration was hilarious. He’s also a big softy and generally I thought he was adorable and precious and needed to be protected at all costs.

Gifford, while a great character in his own right, was my least favorite just because I personally thought his personality didn’t shine as brightly as Jane’s and Edward’s. He was the more boring one for me while reading although I must say I DID love his perspective during certain parts that I shall not specify because spoilers!

romance

This romance was a winner and I will say when I am convinced to love a romance in a YA book then it is usually a five star read for me. It did not necessarily have me swooning but it was a well done, slow-burn, trope-free romance and really that’s all I’m really looking for. Even thought the romance is a big part of the plot it doesn’t ever take over completely and over shadow all of the other things going on, which is always appreciated by me.

Gifford and Jane were very cute and I felt that their romance was realistic because at first they don’t care for each other in the least bit and slowly fall in love. Realistic romance folks! That’s all I want! No tropes here!

in conclusion

I LOVED this book plain and simple and had zero issues with any of the aspects of it. I NEED these authors to write another book together STAT!

What I Liked Loved:

  • The romance was sweet, trope-free, and not the sole focus
  • The protagonists were all wonderful, funny, and developed
  • The plot is clever, unique, and hilarious
  • The magic is interesting and adds a lot to the plot

What I Disliked:

  • Nothing. I rated it 5 stars for a reason!

RECOMMEND

YES! A BILLION TIMES YES! This book is perfection and I highly recommend reading it! Although like I said earlier if you want something more serious and dramatic steer clear but if you want a light, silly book that’s tons of fun then “My Lady Jane” is for you!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

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ARC Review: Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim

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Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

review

**** Big thank you to Sky Pony Press for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

This is one cute and intriguing book although it took me a while to get into it which is why I feel like I can’t give it a full 4 stars, but I do think “Timekeeper” is very much worth your time. (See what I did there?)

PLOT

“Timekeeper” is essentially a story all about how a young clock mechanic falls in love with a tower’s clock spirit and it is adorable. While the romance does play a big part in the book it is not the main focus of the story, and thank goodness for that! There’s an added mystery involving bombs, clock towers, and towns whose time has stopped, that adds a lot to propel the story forward and damn was it good as well as unpredictable.

The setting is also something we don’t see too often in YA and that would be steampunk. Of course this is an alternate reality England mixed in with steampunk and while I liked the setting I also didn’t at the same time. This is a steampunk book but I thought it definitely could have used MORE, all we get in the story that even makes this feel like steampunk is the clock towers (which are essentially JUST clock towers) and the occasional mention of automatons. That’s it. I just felt like we could have used more mention of the gadgets and machines that make steampunk what it is.

As you can obviously tell this book is about clocks and time and since Danny, the MC, is a clock mechanic we do get quite a bit of information on how the clocks function and such. While this could potentially bore some people I thought it was actually quite interesting and it’s definitely not info-dumping, we don’t get overloaded with so many mechanics that you’ll get insanely bored.

While the mechanics of the clock towers themselves are interesting there is nothing in this book more intriguing than the clock spirits. The minute clock spirits are mentioned I wanted to know more about them, which of course I did slowly throughout the book and was not disappointed. I think they are the most creative part of this story and add so much magic to it.

There’s also a bit of added Greek mythology with Chronos and Aetas the god of time who gave people the ability to weave time into the clock towers. While it didn’t necessarily add a lot to the central story I thought it was a nice touch and helped build on the universe Tara Sim created.

While I really loved the story overall I will say that it really dragged in some parts, especially in the beginning. The story didn’t grab my attention until about 30-35% of the way in where we got introduced to the mystery.

characters

The characters were just kind of okay, I didn’t absolutely adore them but I didn’t hate them either. They weren’t as developed as I would have liked and overall they felt a little too young…..they’re supposed to be teenagers and they seemed like middle school age which is probably because of the writing.

I liked Danny as a main character and Colton is the sweetest thing ever. I also liked a lot of the secondary characters although I wish they would have been a little more fleshed out.

As I said they’re just okay, nothing too special.

romance

Usually it takes quite a bit of convincing to make me enjoy any YA romances but let me tell you Danny and Colton are the cutest couple ever, seriously they’re downright adorable. I really enjoyed their romance, it’s so sweet and heart-warming. There is a degree of insta-love between them but it isn’t extreme and it was easy to look past.

As I mentioned earlier their romance plays a big part in the book but it isn’t the sole focus at all. I love having a wonderfully written romance that doesn’t take up the entire story.

Also if you couldn’t tell it’s a LGTB romance which adds to the diversity!

in conclusion

Overall I was really impressed and happy with this book but I had a few “meh” issues with it which is why it didn’t receive a full 4 stars. I will definitely be looking forward to the sequel though.

What I Liked:

  • The story was unique and interesting
  • The romance didn’t take over the entire plot
  • World-building was pretty spot-on
  • The added mythology was intriguing
  • The romance was SO FREAKING ADORABLE

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The characters were just sort of “meh” and not developed enough
  • The steampunk setting didn’t seem steampunk-y enough
  • The pacing dragged throughout the book

RECOMMEND

Yes I recommend reading “Timekeeper” it’s a very original, charming story. If you’re looking for diverse books this also fits the bill!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy