House of Earth and Blood

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Crescent City #1


Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.          Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.          As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.          With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

This book was one Hel of a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve never read such a full, saturated story in many years. I laughed, I cried, my heart broke, my soul sang. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Bryce is, as you’d expect after her best friend is murdered, wears both physical and emotional scars. Determined to solve her murder, she falls into all the worst possible scenarios but our antagonist, Hunt; a slave to the Archangels, begins as stand-off-ish character with a lot of his own opinions, right or wrong… but who wouldn’t be if you were enslaved!


I was unsure of the world and the characters at the beginning and in the middle of the book but the final half of this book was what really sold me. Every little detail in this book was part of the story and it all came together so brilliantly. Also, I wish Hunt really existed because I was swooning! The love story in this was amazing and the ups were so sweet and heart-warming and the downs really felt like a break-up.

I did a combination of listening to the audiobook and physically reading this purely because I wanted to keep reading it when I was doing chores. The voice actor, Elizabeth Evans, was amazing at really bringing the characters alive more than they were already. After I started listening, I kept hearing Evans voice for Bryce because it fit so well to the character I pictured.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in characters before.

This is the first book from Sarah J. Maas I’ve read and already have another popular series of hers waiting to be read.

Amazing, shocking and enchanting. I can’t recommend this enough! For her first novel in the adult-fantasy world, it was incredible. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.


Hardcover

803 pages

Published – 3rd March 2020

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury Publishing

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Wanderers

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Chuck Wendig

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.          Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.          For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

This certainly doesn’t disappoint!

This wonderful mix of science fiction, contemporary, mystery and thriller is something that I’ve rarely come across.

I’ve never read anything by Chuck Wendig before this but I feel like I should definitely check out some more of his standalone novels. The cover of the book fits with the mystique that the book runs with.

Set in a small town in Pennsylvania we meet our first protagonist, Shana, when her younger sister Nessie suddenly begins to sleepwalk, but she can’t be awoken. Shana is the typical teen, desperate to spread her wings and do what she loves, but her father is absent, her mother is missing and her younger sister Nessi is constantly overshadowing her. Though her sister is a big part of Shana’s motivations, we begin to see cracks in the family.

We also meet Benjie, our second antagonist who is an ex-CDC doctor working on understanding and treating “new” pathogens, bacteria and fungal diseases. But we find that his past is not all that clean, when he was fired from the CDC.

With a page count of almost 800 pages, I didn’t find myself bored or feeling like it was uninteresting. With the ever-present mystery of what is infecting the sleepwalkers and its where’s and why’s, and the individual character development. We meet a vast array of side characters and protagonists which, at times, got a little confusing but you aren’t left confused for long.

As we progress through the book we learn that everything is not as it seems and the plot twist leaves you feeling quite stunned but it’s not an entirely unbelievable twist. The descriptive writing is, though quite sparse, more than enough to really picture the surroundings.

The book opens discussions about many very important topics; climate change, racism, religious belief, and so many more. I feel like the author was using the real-world issues of our own mortality and the constant threat of an extinction-level-event. It gives the reader a place to reflect on global issues that we all face that can be changed.

This novel fit well in many different genres that I feel like it would be an interesting read for so many. The descriptions and the explanations into the science behind this enigmatic infection makes me feel that Chuck Wendig really took the time to research his plot.

I wasn’t entirely amazed by this novel and part of me wonders if its purely the size of the book. But in reflection, I don’t see how this could be shortened, which is a good argument for its cohesion and clarity. If you’re a fan of long, science fiction with a contemporary setting, you’ll devour this!


Hardcover

782 pages

Published – 2nd July 2019

Publishing Company – Del Rey Books

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

V E Schwab

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.          France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.          Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.          But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

From the best-selling author, V. E. (Victoria) Schwab, comes a lyrical tale that has been anticipated by fans all over the world.

I only discovered Schwab this last year and she has rapidly become a favourite author that will send me swooning after every page. Known for her many series of fantastical fiction including A Darker Shade of Magic which won the hearts and souls of so many.

Combining fantasy, mythical, contemporary and historical fiction, I was surprised at how smooth and easy to follow this was.

We follow Adeline LaRue, or Addie, who, desperate to change her fate and explore the world, makes a deal with the darkness. But, after begging for freedom, she made a terrible error by not choosing her words wisely and everyone she ever meets will never remember her. Until she meets Henry, a lost employee of a quaint bookstore in New York who is the first and only (other than the dark) to remember her and give her the power to say her name.

Written so we follow Addie and Henry, we also follow their past, making it a captivating read. During the time-jumps to centuries past, it paints our history in a more realistic, less romanticised fashion giving it that little more believability.

This is a much slower and (for Schwab and her previous works,) a subtle plot leaving all the extra room for the emotional suspense this book provides of love, loss, grief, identity, loyalty, depression, suicidal thoughts and the trickery of war. Schwab has been very open that this single novel has been ten years in the making. As I was reading I couldn’t help but see the real-life turbulence of the mind reflect in the characters situations. I can see that this tale and Addie will resonate with so many and is a tale that will stay with me for another 300 years.


Hardcover

560 pages

Published – 6th October 2020

Publishing Company – Tor Books / Titan Books

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Every Heart a Doorway

Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Seanan McGuire

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations.    No Visitors.   No Quests.            Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.          But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.          Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.          But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.          No matter the cost

Though it was a short tale, it left me wanting more.

The main plot to this story was one reminiscent of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. A very well done ‘who-done-it’ with fantastical elements. It did leave you wondering who committed these acts right up to the reveal. However this didn’t feel like the main cause for this book.

Each character felt individual and, though it was a novella, I could really picture each character. It focused more on Nancy, our main character, what fantastical land she travelled to and why she came back. We also get to know a handful of other characters, Kade, Sumi, Jack, Jill and Christopher. Though they didn’t get as much focus, I still learnt enough about them to feel like I connected with them.

There was representation of asexuality, gender identity and gender fluidity, but it doesn’t just talk about gender identity, however. I felt that this spoke of a far more important topic that often gets forgotten until our later years: individuality, identity and self-acceptance. It really felt like an important read for teens to help understand their turbulent emotions

The brief times that parents are mentioned in this novella, they are unaccepting of change and just want their little baby back, which, as we can all agree, is a very true fact of life. It shows the split between teens and their parents, one wanting to start spreading their wings and learn who they are. And the other just wants to keep them just as they were. But by doing so, causes more damage to their relationships.

I also felt that it had a little nod to mental illness. That the doorways to these worlds is a symbolism for how many feel about a mental illness. Once you’ve gone through the door to the darker side of the mind, you can never forget it.

This story spoke to me in a way that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It made me feel like individuality and difference was more common-place than society would care to mention and that there is always at least one person who has been through a similar door to a similar world. I can’t find any faults. It is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of this year. It is one, that I think, should be read by any new teen or anyone who is struggling to find themselves.

“… the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”


Hardcover

173 pages

Published – 5th April 2016

Publishing Company – Tor Books

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