ARC Review of Coral by Sara Ella

I received an e-ARC of Coral by Sara Ella!

“I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”

So for those who haven’t heard of Coral, coming out in December ’19, here is a quick blurb:

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—tale, “The Little Mermaid,” Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

 

My Review:

☆☆☆☆☆ / 5 Stars

 

Coral interested me for two reasons:

  1. I wanted to see how well it handled the topics of depression and suicide.
  2. Mermaids are cool. (Have you not seen my Instagram?)

Clearly, one reason is more adult than the other. Did I feel like I got what I came for? Yes, because hello, MERMAIDS.

Okay, slightly more serious talk now.

I’d call Coral a hard-hitting contemporary with an essence of magical realism. In real life I’m close to people who struggle with these sorts of problems and so I felt the topics were handled well in the story and it was insightful.

The story has three points of view it jumps between, Merrick, Brooke and Coral (the mermaid). All three POVs seem unrelated at first and so the book does require some patience, it’s not massively fast-paced but a story that lets you get to know the characters and makes you root for them to solve their problems.

Coral is our fantasy element, a mermaid who is worried to feel because that’s not what mermaids do.

Merrick is struggling to mend his broken family, or at least the pieces he cares about and tries to do the best he can.

Brooke is struggling with depression and perhaps the hardest point of view to read but the people she meets throughout makes it so much more rewarding to read about as we see how they affect her as a character.

Overall the story comes together like a puzzle, which makes it a fulfilling read at the end. I loved it by the end, it’s one of those novels that’s a journey. Sara Ella handled the topics brought up well. I seriously loved the book quotes Hope and Brooke share, they’re from modern stories like Divergent and it made the characters feel more modern and rooted in the real world.

 

 


On another note, why is this blog a little quiet?

I’m mainly active on Instagram as Ensworldofwords. I talk about bookish things nearly daily and take loads of pics, so go take a look! I’m updating my blog when I read mostly ARCs and updates about my own novels.

Love the mermaid featured? It’s a custom by UndertheSeaCrochet on Etsy. You can also find more examples of her work on Instagram. Use ENSWORLD15 to save on a mer of your own! 🙂

The Gilded Wolves Review – is it too early to say this is my favourite book of 2019?

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RATING: a roller coaster ride that ripped my heart out and then devoured my soul. Would read again and the rest. It’s a trilogy and I can’t believe I have wait an undetermined amount of time for the next book!

I’m on the hunt for new series that will destroy me since Throne of Glass and The Dark Artifices ended (because isn’t that what normal people do?). I think I’ve found it in this series! It’s like Six of Crows but with less ruthless deeds and more Glamour and magical wonder. And riddles. There are also little diagrams in the book of them, which is a nice touch.

It’s also got that ragtag misfit crew going on – another similarity to Six of Crows.

Severin is our dark and brooding leader who wants what is rightfully his.

Laila the beautiful girl, who loves baking, taking care of the group, but is also a clairvoyant and has a mysterious past.

Zofia the logician, who also likes fire a little too much. She’s also autistic and I thought Roshani portrayed that very well.

Enrique our historian, who I sympathise with so much because while he isn’t magical he studies palimpsest, records and objects. (Things to do with archives and manuscripts warm the cockles of my heart.)

Tristan the cute little nugget who loves tending his garden and a rather large tarantula.

And Hypnos, who is fabulous and maybe helping and maybe not.

I usually dislike books with multiple POVs but it switched between all the characters and I loved them all. I’ve never read any other of Roshani’s books but I loved The Gilded Wolves from the descriptions of 19th century Paris to the banter between the characters. This is definitely a must-read if you’re a fan of YA fantasy.

Again, but Better Review (eARC early copy.)

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Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

5 / 5 Stars

Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal — but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?

Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change — there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!

Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.

Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic – the possibilities are endless.

 —

I was lucky enough to have been selected for an eARC copy of Again, but Better from Netgalley! I’ve been following Christine on booktube for years and so this book was up on my TBR anyway. But I’m so happy I got to pick this up earlier, and I’m still going to buy this book when it comes out.

Christine has been really mysterious with her writing and I get why – it’s special when it’s just your own creation and it could change so much in the drafting process. My novel is not even the same story when a friend of mine read it five years ago. But because Again, but Better was so mysterious, I had no clue what it was about – except that it was ‘contemporary’. If anyone follows my dusty little blog still you know that I read mostly fantasy so I wasn’t slated to love this book. BUT I DID.

What’s it about? Well, the book’s synopsis is actually stellar for once in giving you a run down. For the most part. I’m hesitant to give spoilers because if you’re a watcher of Christine’s videos then you know you can’t mention a certain thing because then you’re waiting FOR THE THING. IT RUINS THE THING. Maybe that was even too much, if you get it.

Anyway, this book is great for those who are bookish. Shane calls her notebooks Horcruxes, she talks about her love for Cassandra Clare books, Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code. Her love of books and writing really shines through with this novel. The writing itself feels like how Christine talks in her videos. It’s definitely a book to pick up if you’re an avid watcher of her channel.

All I’m gonna say is, it’s not your average contemporary novel. And I don’t mean it in that sensationalising way headlines use to rope readers in. Again, but Better is about a character struggling find her dreams, who wants to discover herself, love and live her life to the fullest with all the struggles that come with that. She starts off at the age of twenty and we also see her life later at twenty-seven too. It’s full of quirky jokes and shows Christine’s own love for Cassandra Clare’s humour. It’s a cute, fun read and if you love contemporaries and perhaps a bit more, then ADD IT TO YOUR TBR!

Lamppost. (You’ll know what I mean on May 7th when this book comes out!)

Also here’s a non-spoiler-y quote that shows off Christine’s humour:

“I jump around, baptizing everyone in the vicinity with my drink.”

Shane goes to a club and dances and this quote tickled me. I hope you guys enjoyed the review and it was informative but not too spoiler-filled. 🙂 Happy reading!

 


 

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You can find me on Goodreads as : Emma Nicole

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

5/5 stars

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Bright We Burn is the third and final book in Kiersten’s trilogy about the female Vlad the Impaler, Lada. I originally picked it up as I have always rooted for crazy-strong and battle-ready YA heroines. The And I Darken trilogy promised that with Lada and it did not disappoint, but it also shows that side of her to an extreme. It was based off of history and I’m no historian in order to compare how truthful it was but, wow. Lada was ruthless. It is gory and she is an empowered hype train but the novel is also emotional, Lada has feelings, she experiences tough things and her character changes over time and within the final novel of the series. She was no cookie cutter tough girl.

Now I Rise did suffer a slight lull in the pacing I found, Radu stuck out more to me as a character who changed in that book. In Bright We Burn it seemed like almost every character reached a just conclusion. No one felt too open-ended unless it was done so specifically.

Radu continues to evolves as a character and as we reach the end of the book, it took a turn I did not expect, but also respected. Perhaps those who are familiar with Vlad the Impaler’s history knew what was to come but I am not so. The novel felt like it had to end like this (I’m talking about the last 50 pages) and I felt like I wasn’t cheated from an ending. It shows Radu and Lada on two opposite sides and…

Possible kind of spoiler ahead – basically me talking about how I felt.

It was almost sad to see Lada like that at the end. But it was also essentially what she wanted. The novel says as much.

I almost wanted to hate Radu because of the comparison to Lada and how I could identify with his happiness so much more by the end. Radu was a character that irritated me for being weak originally and still somewhat in Now I Rise. But I liked him by the end and was once again reminded of that by Bright We Burn.

I also found it funny how I wanted Lada to change and become someone almost more human at the end, but that was never who she was. – It was all so fitting.

 

Favourite Quote:

What sustains you?”

“The blood of my enemies.” – Lada.

 

I feel like we need more books like this. That changes norms in a way that almost feels fantastical but also somewhat grounded in history. I like how religion featured in characters lives and not a fantasy religion thats used to show how open and different a fantasy world is. These are religions that matter to characters and I dont see enough of that in YA literature unless its branded as religious.

I want to gush about this series in greater detail, something I will hopefully get to do in the weeks to come when I’m less likely to spoil those who follow this series.

 

 

An unpopular opinion? – A Court of Frost and Starlight Review

I actually read this the moment it came out but for a number of reasons I never got to post a review and then I though I’d do a video review… and chickened out!

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So unpopular opinion of A Court of Frost and Starlight – I loved it. From what I’ve seen online not many people did because it was like, hello, where’s the plot? And I get where people are coming from when the rest of the ACOTAR series has been about WAR. But the blurb of this novel and Sarah pretty much said it was about the after. So I was fully prepared for something softer.

Overall, it was a pretty laid-back novella (its not a novel. I think it was slightly miss-marketed, or at least not Sarah J Maas size novel). It felt like a contemporary romance novel to me but set in a fantasy world. The topics covered could have been felt by a normal human, worrying about Christmas presents and family and love.

I was really taken aback by the size of ACOFAS (does the shortened title sound like a sneeze to you too?). I thought it would be a novel and before I’d opened my Amazon box I thought they’d sent me the wrong thing! However, I think it was perfectly the right size for this story.

The story itself… I’m a massive ACOTAR fan so I loved it. The novella was basically fan service and I love the fact this could get published because enough people loved the stories and the characters and wanted more.

So I would say get it if you want to read more Feysand and just read about the daily lives of these characters after the tragedies that befell them. There are no huge huge fights. But also don’t get it if you’re not super in love with these characters.

I rate it a 5/5 stars because, yes, I am biased. But I knew what I was getting in to.

 

 

 

I’M BACK! ~ Books I read during my hiatus

IIIIIII’MM BAACK!

*springs out like the Chryssalid no one asked for and definitely didn’t want*

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(Also a picture of me desperately looking for good reading material.)

 

 

Jokes aside I have narrowly survived the most part of my degree and so I can now focus on fun! I have however hit a major book slump, which I’m hoping A Court of Frost and Starlight will fix when it comes out on May 1st.  I had to be back before that came out, I wouldn’t be a true fan otherwise!

I read a total of books between essays and worrying over essays – not too bad if I say so myself.

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  1. First up is Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia.

I would call it the We Are Okay of 2018. I felt a really deep connection with the character and it also made me look at myself too. Deep. I loved the story and I’d give it 5/5 Stars. Eliza and Her Monsters is about a girl who has a massive online following for a webcomic she created under a pen name but didn’t want anyone to know who she really was. It was really interesting to see how everything played out, her relationships online and in the real world. I also loved the cover! ❤

 

2. A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

4/5 Stars. It was slow going in comparison to the first book although the stakes rose massively by the end which redeemed it. The characters were definitely effected by the events of the first novel and that was nice to see! We see a lot more Lila and also her time on a totally-not-pirate ship. I loved the introduction of the character Alucard Emery and he is probably one of my favourite characters because of spoilers and is just generally well written. This also ends at a wonderfully evil point that will make you neeeed the third book.

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3. The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo

3/5 stars. I was passing through Waterstones when I saw it on display and it was a very pretty display of vines and I liked the cover. I’ve now also lost it in my apartment, which serves me right for being vain I suppose.

I prefer crime shows rather than novels but occasionally I try not to read YA books. The Invisible Guardian plays upon Spanish mythology and legends, which effect the investigation over a serial killer. It also delves in to the main character’s history and I liked that part. The way the myths were handled just didn’t suit me, it didn’t seem all shiny and new because I’ve read a lot of fantasy already. I haven’t done my homework but it was interesting to know that Spanish paganism was similar to what I know of British – in ways. It’s the first in a series which I probably won’t continue. It seems Redondo is trying to create a paranormal crime series.

 

Let me know your thoughts!

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Punch book slumps and chryssalids ~

 

and don’t forget to…

 

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A Book “Review” of The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

Originally I wasn’t even going to bother posting about the book because even after a week of finishing it I can’t get over this book and then I realised I’m basically doing it a disservice by not being an utter fangirl for a second.

The Lost Plot is the 4th book so if you haven’t read the first (The Invisible Library) Then goooo before you spoil yourself. Seriously, pick up the book if you like:

  • Secret agents who collect books to stabilise dimensions.
  • Action, intrigue magic and fae.
  • Hints of romance.

Sounds great, right? Yeah go pick up the books and don’t look any further so you don’t spoil them for yourself! 🙂

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The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman

5/ 5 Stars 

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In book 3 Irene had just escaped and possibly defeated Alberich so I was super ready to see how the story continued. Despite all the crazy events that happen in this book, the story felt very real to me. Kai and Irene are trying to deal with what happened in the previous novels. Fire freaks Irene out a little bit and Kai hates enclosed spaces. These little quirks really made the characters more real to me.

We get to learn more about dragon politics, which is the opposite of fae politics. The Masked City (book 2) was all about the fae and how they’re more likely to be cliche because they’re beings of chaos. Dragons are supposed to be about order but this book shows how disordered they can still be.

The dragons and the fae are perhaps the most interesting concepts in the series. Genevieve is very aware of them and so she puts her own spin on them in her books and makes it so they’re tropes on purpose. This is what makes the books so interesting to me.

Also I love alternate dimensions, how different countries are powerful and for what reasons and then how everything is effected because of it. It’s like one great big domino effect.

I can’t stop waiting for something to happen between Kai and Irene (I’m not going to say if anything does in book 4). I’ve been waiting for it since the beginning and I’m still not tired of waiting. Although I don’t think these books will ever be romance heavy.

Irene’s obsession with Sherlock Holmes and therefore Vale was really quite cute and why she chose her Librarian name as Irene.

Lastly, I found in book 4 there was a lot less speculating between the characters that used to bog down the previous books. The Lost Plot was a quick read and I loved every minute of it!