Romanov – Nadine Brandes

SYNOPSIS

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.

REVIEW

This is my first Nadine Brandes novel and I’d seen it a lot on bookstagram so I thought I’d pick it up. I enjoyed reading this book and I found the plot interesting and I loved both the historical side and the spell casting side. This was a really interesting interpretation of the events that occurred!

In terms of characters, Anastasia is a strong willed protagonist who tried to protect her family and remain strong throughout her exile. Her relationship with her brother and father was portrayed really well and it keep me wanting to read more. Alexei’s character annoyed me because he did not resemble a thirteen year old boy. I understand that with the pressure of his royal status and his health condition, it was expected for him to be a strong character, however, he did not come across as a child at all, therefore it made the writing confusing at times.

I personally like that the author used Russian words throughout the book as it really hit home for me and added a sense of authenticity, however, I can also understand that sometimes it was too much and for people with little to no knowledge of Slavic languages, it may be confusing.

One thing that I really did not like was the romance. It seemed forced and both Anastasia and Zash did not click. I felt like the romance was unnecessary because the characters would have been better off as friends. That being said, I loved Maria’s romance with Ivan!

I would say that for the first 200 pages the book primarily focuses on portraying the Romanov’s hardships and their day to day lives in exile, however, as the book progresses, we encounter the magical side and a bit of a chase. The history of the Bolsheviks, The White Army and the Romanov’s was not described much, which I think was a bit of a let down, however the plot was exciting and I enjoyed the book overall.

3/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

The Anari – Adrianna J. Tetnowski

SYNOPSIS

Ariadna Vikander was once a Priestess of the Sisters of Aphur, but her longing for a new life in which she was free to explore the glorious brutality of the world forces her to make a fatal choice.

Now part of The Anari – a guild of expert assassins and thieves – Ariadna is slowly becoming one of the best. But her place in the institution came with a price. 

When she forsakes her oath in order to kill the family who had betrayed her instead, Ariadna’s fate entwines with that of a young girl on the run from a demon dictator, who has the unholiest of intentions for her.

REVIEW

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I remember reading the blurb and thinking, “this sounds so fast paced, unique and exciting”! Luckily, it did not disappoint. I you are a fan of Game of Thrones or The Throne of Glass series, then you will absolutely devour this book. Some things worth mentioned is that there is some adult language through this and a lot of sexual reference so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone under the age of sixteen.

I found the protagonist – Ariadna, an interesting and complex character. An assassin with a difficult past is not a uncommon theme, however I really enjoyed how she is a strong woman who stands up for herself and really develops as a character throughout the novel. The main development is shown through her relationship with Preeya, who is also a great character and goes through a lot of changes throughout the book.

The romance is good and although it was a bit fast paced, it fit the plot and the characters personalities. Despite this book being centred around mercenaries and assassins, they characters constantly make their own minds up and live by certain codes of conduct. I loved the way Kanra was portrayed, it was very creepy and added a lot to the plot. He is definitely a scary villain, which was refreshing in a way, since a lot of novels portray the villain as some tall Greek God!

Overall, this book was great, however, I did have a few issues with it. There were certain phrases that were used multiple times and became slightly repetitive. At the start of the book, a lot of characters are named that are part of The Anari, and it was hard to keep track of who was who, even though as a read further, I realised that they weren’t really relevant.

Definitely would recommend this book! 4/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

SYNOPSIS

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

REVIEW

I didn’t like the Grisha Trilogy at all but everyone told me that the Six of Crows duology was completely different and a lot better. I trusted the recommendations and headed into this book with relatively high expectations. I was not disappointed! Six of Crows was interesting from page 1 till the very end!

The biggest flaw (in my opinion) when it came to the trilogy was the lack of character development. Everyone was annoying (except Nikolai) and it made me not care about the plot or what was going to happen to the characters. When It came to Six of Crows, I loved every single character and simply could not stop reading when one of them was in danger.

I adore Kaz! He is so mysterious and tough. I love how he is so powerful, yet he is also so young. He has lived a life of hardship and struggles to care for people yet he protects his crew. He is just and fair when it comes to them. Inej was awesome! She’s so badass and kind. She was hurt in her past which made her strong and I loved the fact that she knows what she wants. There is no insta-love in the book or love triangles! It was refreshing!

I loved the chemistry between Nina and Matthias! They both amazing characters and really clicked well. There back story was so interesting and it was great to see how their relationship evolved through the book.Wylan and Jesper were both great characters! They were really funny and added a bit of lightheartedness to the group. I can’t wait to see their relationship blossom in the next book!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

5/5 ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

SYNOPSIS

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

REVIEW

I adored this book, it was very amazing! It was so magical and romantic!

I loved all of the characters. I really liked Diana as a character because she was a storing character. You can really tell the difference between Young Adult and Adult books when it comes to character development. It was refreshing to read a book about adults as opposed to teenagers. Diana is an intellectual who studies the occult and alchemy, which I found fascinating! I know some people did my like this book because it becomes quite scientific in some places but I thought the explanations were great and really interesting.

Matthew is a vampire. Need I say more! He was a typical possessive and protective man who runs off his vampire/animalistic instincts. I found it interesting that he was French as it really added a lot to his character. So did his love for wine! I love that he has his non-biological family that he cares for and they all just took in Diana despite the bad blood between Vampires and Witches.

This book is a beautifully complex love story. The romance is beautifully portrayed and although I did think that it was fast paced, it did my annoy me because it was animalistic and was not supposed to be realistic.

I can’t wait to learn more about Diana’s magical abilities in the next book and I love the concept of time travel! I love Elizabethan England so I’m really excited to read the book in this series. I general I feel like this book was an incredible beginning and so cannot wait to learn more about Witches, daemons and vampires!

4,5/5 stars ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – GLOBALBOOKMANIA

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

A Reaper at The Gates – Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

REVIEW

This book was so good! 🖤

When I began this series Helene Aquilla was portrayed as an antagonist but throughout this series I have forgiven her for everything and began praying that she stays alive! Her new romantic interest is so subtle and beautifully portrayed! I’m so happy she finally got over Ellias and is has someone that truly cares about her!

I find the supernatural element of this series so interesting and with each book there are more and more revaluations! There is so much magic and secrecy throughout this series! Each book so far has dropped a massive bombshell of a revaluation and I for one can say that I did not see it coming.

Laia has grown so much as a character and she is a lot less annoying now! She has become strong and a leader yet throughout all of the trials she’s been through, she hasn’t lost her morality! Her and Ellias are simply perfect and I hope they have the chance to finally be together with no issues.

Marcus is also such an interesting character and he is descending further and further into madness through his guilt. If anyone has ever seen ‘Reign’ (The Tv Show), then you’ll know what I mean when I say that Marcus reminds me of the king.

The only downside to this book was that it lost me a little bit at times! It was very political and there was a lot of plotting and planning which sometimes got a little confusing. Overall this was a very emotional book. I can’t wait for the final book to come out!

4/5 stars! ⭐️

INSTAGRAM – Globalbookmania

GOODREADS – KATERINA TURNER

Turtles All The Way Down – John Green

SYNOPSIS

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

REVIEW

This book is so hyped up which is perhaps one of the reasons that I feel so let down by it.

I will start by saying that I loved the way mental illness is portrayed and Aza character is great! She goes through her ups and downs. Her character is so frustrating but it makes those that have been through mental illness relate to her and those that have had friends with mental illness understand how frustrating it can be when you don’t understand why someone behaves a certain way.

Unfortunately that is the only good thing about this book. The plot line was so boring and made very little sense to me. Some of the character were not developed at all and they just seemed like they were just there for the sake of it. I did not understand the point of Daisy and Mychal’s relationship or the instalove between Davis and Aza. The crime aspect of the novel really intrigued me as did Noah’s character but in the end the revelations were boring.

I really wanted to like this book and I felt like it had so much potential but it just didn’t work for me. I love John Green’s writing but the plot of this book was such a let down!

2,5/ 5 stars ⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Vicious – V E Schwab

SYNOPSIS

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

REVIEW

OMG I LOVED VICIOUS! 🖤

Eli makes me want to commit murder! I cannot stand him and I found Serena really annoying. She doesn’t redeem herself in my opinion in the end although some many argue differently.

The relationship between Victor and Sydney is adorable! I loved Victor and thought that he was an awesome character. He may do some bad things but he’s a good guy at heart.

Mitch and his chocolate milk just made me laugh. I love the idea of having someone who is described as big and intimidating but is actually really sweet. I love how V E Schwab portrays the fact that we shouldn’t judge people by their appearance because it’s such an important lesson to learn for everyday life!

Overall I thought this was brilliant and I can’t wait to finish Vengeful!

5/5 ⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

A Torch Against The Night – Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

REVIEW

BETTER THAN THE FIRST BOOK!

I enjoyed reading An Ember in the Ashes but I wasn’t completely blown away by it and I didn’t crave the sequel. That being said… this book blew my mind! It was so fast paced as it start off exactly where An Ember in the Ashes ends. Laia and Elias are on the run and they are headed North to free Laia’s brother!

Throughout this we meet so many new amazing characters! We learn more about characters from the previous book! There are some horrific deaths throughout this book that really rattled me. The so called ‘villains’ throughout this book were not as extreme as the in the previous book, however Marcus is quite a horrific emperor (not a spoiler… it was too be expected).

If you are like me and you hate love triangles, you will love this book. I felt like the romance between Laia, Keenan and Elias was really annoying but it’s barely mentioned in these books (and there is a massive shocking plot twist) because the focus is on survival.

I loved learning more about Helene Aquilla – Blood Shrike. From coming across as very cold hearted to now being someone who loves her family, friends and the Empire. She is such a brave badass female character!

I love the supernatural element of this series and I hope to find out more about it in the next book! I want to know more about Laia, Elias, Cook and Helene Aquilla.

4,5/5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

* I’m hosting a giveaway on my instagram! There is a chance to win a trilogy box set! This is an international giveaway that closes on the 1st September 🖤

Eliza and her Monsters – Francesca Zappia’s

SYNOPSIS

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

REVIEW

I fell in with love Francesca Zappia’s writing when I read ‘Made you up’ so when I saw ‘Eliza and her monsters’ it was immediately added to my TBR.

I will say straight away that I made a mistake by listening to this as an audiobook as opposed to reading it as a physical book. The book has a lot of drawings and online text with usernames so as an audiobook it can get confusing.

Moving onto the actual plot itself… wow! It’s a powerful and very realistic book. Eliza is a very cool character and I would love to have her as a friend. If I read this a few years ago I would have been able to fully relate to Eliza because I was nerdy and also fought with my family and those around me who thought I was just lazy as opposed to realising there was more going on.

The writing is beautiful and I really enjoyed the plot. In a world where everyone has different personas online nowadays, I think that this book is so relevant and interesting! I’m glad that it portrayed ‘online friendships’ as being realistic whilst also pouting out the life is great in the physical world too. The family relationships that go up and down are stereotypical of a household with teenagers. Sensitive subjects are discussed with the right amount of information that allows readers to understand what is going on but without glorifying mental illness. There is an element of romance within this novel however it isn’t discussed in great detail which I enjoyed as I didn’t think it was important.

Overall an amazing book that I would highly recommend!

4,5/5 Stars ⭐️

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

SYNOPSIS

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

REVIEW

This book sat on my TBR shelf for ages and for some reason I kept putting it off. I’m so glad I’ve finally read it because I truly enjoyed it and cannot wait to read the next book in the series!

I love the characters and the plot itself. The only thing that I did find a little irritating was the odd love triangles going on. One of them was understandable, but the other made no sense to me. It seemed awkward and forced.

The novel starts off straight by jumping into a really extreme and scary scenario which sets the pace of the book and the descriptions were great. The world building could have been a bit better but overall it was unique and interesting. I hope that throughout the series the authors goes into some of the characters backstories as it would be interesting to understand how certain characters became how they are in the book.

RATING – 4,5/5 STARS

Instagram – Globalbookmania

Goodreads – Katerina Turner