September 2017 Warp Up

Hello!

I am here with my September 2017 Wrap Up! These are the book I read in the second half of September. Since #TheReadingChallenge took place in the first half of the month and I’ve already wrapped up those books.

I read a total of 6 books which I am really happy about. I read 1 Picture Storybook, 1 Anthology, 1 YA, 1 Historical Fiction and 2 Fantasy.

Onto the ratings!

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The Last Namsara

Author: Kristen CiccarelliThe Last Namsara

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Published: 3 October 2017

Rating: 4 stars

Professional Reader

‘Asha lured the dragon with a story.’

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

This book reaffirms my love of YA fantasy and my love of dragons. The world Ciccarelli has created is new and exciting. I adore the idea of telling stories to dragons and having the dragons tell you stories in return. I highly recommend!

Our protagonist, Asha is a dragon slayer and she wants to destroy them all. This is her amends for telling stories as a child and causing a dragon named, Kuzo, to burn down Firgaard. If she kills Kuzo and gives his head to her father she will fulfill her task and bring an end to the Old Ways. But more importantly, if she can kill Kuzo she won’t have to marry Jarek.

Sure we’ve seen the whole princess wants to terminate her arranged marriage. But it’s not often you see the princess than falls in love with a slave. I will point out that the slave, Torwin, was never her slave but her betrothed’s. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold. It was a slow burn, which was believable. Asha is a girl who has been told her whole life of cautionary tales of what happens to people who fall in love with slaves and that they are not like her. She spends most of the narrative fighting against the romance. She struggles with these beliefs but in the end, Torwin proves to be loyal and treats her like no one else does.

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Asha. We see that she is the best dragon slayer but the reason she is the best is that she breaks the law and tells old stories to lure them. She comes across as arrogant, entitled and more than a little dangerous—the perfect mix for an unlikable character. But, as the narrative unfolds, it’s as though she starts to trust the reader and shows us who she is beneath the dragon slayer exterior.

The dragons are not just sprinkled in there as standard fantasy elements. They are just as dangerous, threatening and intelligent as Asha. When they aren’t fighting for survival you see a side of them that’s curious and protective which reminds me of Toothless or Saphira.

I adore the way Ciccarelli weaves in the stories of this world. After a chapter, there might be a story told in fairy tale tradition. The story will be the one Asha tells within that previous section. This is an amazing idea. We get the story without it clogging up the pace of the action scenes.

While I adore the world and the dragons, I would say that it does feel like a debut and the plot feels predictable. However, since I was so captivated by the world, the predictable plot didn’t affect my enjoyment of reading this book.

Similarly, the secondary characters are only there to further Asha’s narrative arc. I don’t feel like I know them. Her brother, while mentioned multiple times he only appears when she’s in trouble. Her cousin, Safire, exists only as a hurdle to Asha’s task and to show her humanity. Everything that happens to Safire is done as a way to keep Asha in line. I would love to see these characters become more fleshed out in the rest of this series.

Overall this is a pretty fantastic start to a new series! I adore Asha and Torwin! The world is amazing—Arabian inspired, dragons, and storytelling. Who could ask for more? All I can say is that it’s going to be a long wait for the squeal!

August 2017 Wrap Up

Hello!

I am here with my — belated — August 2017 Wrap Up! These are the book I read in the first half of August. Since #TheReadingChallenge took place in the last half of the month and I will do a wrap up for that.

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Canary Club

Screen Shot 2017-08-13 at 4.15.13 pmAuthor: Sherry D. Ficklin

Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing

Published: 19 October 2017

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

‘When life makes you a criminal, only love can set you free.’

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

I didn’t read any of the novellas before reading Canary Club, but I don’t think you need to. Canary Club is set in the late 1920s New York and follows the lives of two characters, Benny and Masie in alternating POV chapters.

This book was everything I love about YA and Historical Fiction — life-like setting and swoon worthy romance. The 20s is one of my favourite eras to read about and Ficklin nailed it. I felt like I had been sucked into the era from the first page. She weaves in slang with ease; it never felt off-putting or unnatural for any of the characters. The romance was a slow burn, which I adored. I also enjoyed seeing their relationship unfold from both Benny and Masie’s POVs.

Benny and Masie have definitely become two of my favourite characters. I feel like I know them, that I could head down to a club and have dinner with them. In fact, all of the Canary Club gang feel real. Their speech, action and motivations are believable and a reality for this era.

Masie is a strong character throughout the book when see her fight for independence. She’s constantly rebelling against her father and society. She’s the daughter to one the city’s rising crime bosses. Her father keeps her and her brother, JD, under his control as he builds his empire. But Masie doesn’t want to live life on her father’s terms. She has dreams of Ivy League Colleges, faraway places and security. But can she find the strength to leave her family and do what she wants?

I adore Benny. We meet him as he’s let out of jail and on his way to his family, Mum and younger siblings. He is sweet and will do whatever it takes to keep his family fed and healthy. But he has a habit of always winding up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Quickly his luck lands him in the ranks of Dutch Shultz’s gang. This would’ve been a reality for many people at the time. You see the struggle they would’ve gone through. The only work they can find is running liquor to the speakeasies. It’s dangerous but it also pays better than anything else. Luck, drama, love and setbacks are thrown at Benny but never gives up.

I will be pre-ordering a physical copy. This is one of my favourite books of the year. Please grab a copy! Canary Club it’s stunning. It will suck you in, play with your heart and spit you out the other end. I highly recommend!