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! 🙂

Review of Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

I received an eARC of this novel in return for an honest review! 🙂 Here’s the blurb below it comes out 1st October! ( I can also not believe I got this so early.)

43611226IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed.

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her friends begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

 

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

3.5/ 5 Stars

 

I was super excited to get an eARc of this book as the blurb made it sound right up my alley. Warrior princess must fight a demon to save her country with the help of her friends? Consider me intrigued. Also the cover is beautiful.

Asterin was needless to say, awesome. She learnt how to swordfight, she’s a powerful mage and she doesn’t give a damn about the rules.

Luna, Asterin’s friend and basically magicless was strong in her own way. She was soft where Asterin wasn’t and had a relationship with the Elite’s captain. I loved reading about this girl’s soft strength.

Rose is just an utter badass.

Orion was sweet but I wish we got to see more of his relationship develop with Harry. It just sort of happened and I’d rather have liked to see it rather than it be kept secret from the reader as well as his friends for part of the time – and they all worked it out pretty fast anyway.

I didn’t really love the other characters so much. There were a lot of them introduced to us in the beginning and I feel this really affected the pacing of the novel. It felt slow in the beginning, as Asterin didn’t receive her ‘call to arms’ until about a fifth in to the book. It made the plot meander in the beginning and while I enjoyed learning about the characters I was just wondering where this was going if it wasn’t for the blurb. Then in the middle again the story seemed to really dragon on as they searched for the demon.

I wanted to root for Quinlan and Asterin, but they were very hot and cold towards each other. It was fun at times to read and others, I just couldn’t work out why Asterin was suddenly fuming at him. Also Quin’s level of cheesy made me embarrassed for him at times.

Overall I liked the story but the pacing was what really got to me. If you perhaps don’t mind a bit of a slower read then you’ll probably love this book. The magic system in this book was a real gem to read about and I liked how fleshed out the world’s history was too.

 

 

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

The Wicked King Book Review

I succumbed to the hype around The Wicked King by Holly Black last week and picked up a copy. It’s getting 5 stars left right and centre, but also some threes and harsh comments. Why?

It’s mostly down to Cardan and Jude’s relationship. A lot of people are in love with their crude relationship and I too, found it interesting and drew me in to reading further. But most of the people docking stars from the book is because of Jude and Cardan’s relationship and the message that they worry it could bring across to younger readers. YA is after all aimed at roughly fourteen to eighteen year olds and those on the younger scale could think the toxic relationship depicted is okay – their reasoning not so much mine.

But The Wicked King doesn’t really say hey, this is alright. The ending to the story (which I won’t go in to further detail) does not in anyway make the reader think the choices made lead to good consequences. So, I wouldn’t say the Folk of the Air series idolises toxic relationships, if that’s a worry. It’s definitely not a good relationship, but it’s interesting.

I gave it 4 stars. Mostly, because I found Jude irritating. I loved the ride this book took me on but I didn’t love Jude’s stupid decision making. I get she was in over her head and could I have done any better? Probably not. But I wanted her to rely on someone anyone. In hindsight I feel a little harsh giving it this rating as it’s definitely a book I’d reread.

I also can’t wait for the next instalment of the series! What were your thoughts? What did you think of The Wicked King?


 

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Also I know this blog has been a little bit quiet as of late and that may have been because I’ve enjoyed starting my less eloquent Bookstagram, a little too much.  I’m @ensworldofwords. DM I’d love to hear your thoughts on anything bookish 🙂

 

Review of Kingdom of Ash, the end of the Throne of Glass Series

I finished Kingdom of Ash around two weeks ago now and I was at a loss for words for so many reasons. For the start I’ve been a fan of this series since only the first book was out and the prequel short stories.

*ahem* Spoilers ahead for the stories up to Kingdom of Ash, so if you haven’t read the first five books look away, or be spoiled.

I loved the character Celeana Sardothien, I thought she was fun and badass. She was the character my seventeen year old self at the time felt energised reading about. I loved how the story grew and took this massive turn in Crown of Midnight that I could never have expected ever – hello Aelin. The story plunged in to the world of the fae and this huge plot to stop the Valg demons. IT became HUGE. And I loved it. Heir of Fire was awesome. Honestly, I need to sit down and do a thorough re-read of this entire series when I can finally get all my books in one place.

Aelin/Celeana always had these mad plans that were fun to read about and usually only became apparent to the reader by the time her plan was in action. It was fun to read but I grew tired of these wild surprises by Empire of Storms. I still liked the surprises but I began to want to be in the know. She always felt a bit distanced. I don’t know if this was because I changed as a reader (I’m 23 now and I like to think I’ve changed and I know my tastes in books have too).

I was never a Chaol fan, he grew more intolerable for me as the books went on and so I was distraught at the idea of an entire novel for him. I tried to read Tower of Dawn and I did DNF it and then reaped the spoilers online so I was ready for Kingdom of Ash. I did quite like Yrene in the short story before she got Chaol-ed (it’s a verb now).

In the same vein there were aspects to the stories that irked me, how everyone was beginning to pair up and find love. This is a fantasy series so my disbelief is somewhat suspended but not to the point everyone finds love. So when people began to break up in Kingdom of Ash I mentally cheered that on for some damn realism. Heartless? Perhaps.

This is series amazing and evolves with every story. Celeana Sardothien even read differently from her prequels as an assassin. Sarah J Maas is amazing at writing books about characters who change, even in her other series the characters are so effected by the world and the events that transpire. Sometimes authors don’t capture this and their characters seem almost like they’re made of rubber. So I don’t think Kingdom of Ash could be reviewed as a standalone, it definitely wasn’t written as one. I like to try and rate books apart from what transpired before as if they could stand alone in their own awesomeness. But I don’t think I can with Kingdom of Ash because this was an awesome series and while I didn’t love Kingdom of Ash it is the end of a series that I would and will still call one of my favourite series of all time.

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

3.5 / 5 Stars

I read someone else’s review on Goodreads and they summed it up perfectly for me, but their comment has long since been buried and I can’t find it. What they basically said was, “they go to war…. and then another….and another war….and another war….” The story really hammered in the fact this is basically a WORLD WAR and everything is HOPELESS but we fight with HOPE. The odds weren’t in Terrasen and its allies’ favour. I felt that was very hammered in. I also don’t enjoy books about wars so it really wasn’t for me (I haven’t even read Lord of the Rings). I also didn’t like how a character who only appeared not so long ago was integral to ending the damn war.

It was LOOONG. So Long. Too Long. I agree with a lot of people that some of these tiny battles could have been cut out.

Aelin’s torture was brutal and that’s another thing with these books. They change so much I honestly don’t know what I was going to be reading. Like brutal torture, or pretty detailed sex scenes. I don’t mind reading sex scenes but I like to know that I’m going to be? Throne of Glass wasn’t detailed – I don’t recall it becoming detailed until Queen of Shadows was it?  Correct me if I’m wrong.

Speaking of those kind of scenes, I liked the evolution of Elide and Lorcan’s relationship as well as Lysandra and Aedion. I honestly just loved Aedion as a character and his struggles in the war and just rallying Terrasen. This book developed such a love for the idea of Terrasen.

I enjoyed the take on the gods. I like how they were perceived as gods and beyond the characters comprehension. But how they could potentially be just powerful beings from another world. I also liked how those gods’ histories also felt like legends and fairytales for Erelia.

Which brings me to the prophecy. Harry Potter inspired my love for a good ol’ prophecy. I like how we see how effected Aelin is by it and how it weighs on her as a character.

I love that we got some Aelin and Rowan. Aelin deserves all the damn happiness in the world.

Aelin was still a badass, swords and plots and fire-breathing bitch queen magic.

Dorian was awesome and his part in the story was amazing. He personally helped me understand Manon better and grow to like her journey.

The ending was fitting.

So overall, I rated the book 3.5 stars. I wouldn’t read this again if it wasn’t for the novels before this as the style of story wasn’t for me. The novel was also so damn long and could have really been 200 or pages shorter. However, I was invested in the characters and as a whole I felt it wrapped up the series fairly well. It can’t be rated as a stand alone and this rating doesn’t reflect my feelings on the entire series which I suppose I’d give a …

4.5 Stars

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

Bookstagram

Hey guys I know I’ve been quiet for a little while. It’s because I started up a bookstagram / author account. I’ve always liked bookphotography so it seems like the best place to do that. Also all the monthly challenges are pretty fun. So check me out on instagram, I currently go by emma_nicole_tge ! Im still going to be posting reviews on WordPress, believe me they are coming soon. I’ve got a back log.

Renegade by Mallory McCartney ~ Review

I got free copy on NetGalley in exchange for a review.

This book is a prequel to Black Dawn that came out earlier this year. I’ve never enjoyed reading prequels as they were meant to be read and always found myself loving the prequels when I hadn’t read the main series first. I think the Assassin’s Blade is the only exception to this for me. Renegade followed that rule as I loved the novel as story of itself and plan to read Black Dawn soon. I would rate this novel….

★★★★

Renegade by Mallory McCartney

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Six years before the Black Dawn Rebellion, Adair Stratton and Emory Fae are following in their parent’s footsteps and living at The Academy, a home for those who are gifted. The pressure to uphold the future of their parent’s dream falls on them. An outcast and feared by most, Adair longs to break away from the expectations dictating his future. Even if Emory tries to make him see differently. An unexpected group of friends keep him there, but as whispers of unexplained disappearances start reaching from the capital, Adair starts to doubt The Academy is all it seems.

An unexpected visit ignites new tensions as the roguish king from across the Black Sea, Tadeas Maher of the Shattered Isles, and his heir, Marquis Maher sail to Kiero. Notorious for their pirating and wrath- for the first time in years, they demand the Fae’s listen to their proposition for a new treaty, holding the news of Nei’s father’s abrupt death over them. Caught in the middle of politics- Adair and Emory, with the help of their best friends Brokk and Memphis search for the one thing that matters most- finding out the truth.

 

Why I loved this book:

  • The world was rich and full of magic, which left me wanting to know how it worked and how everything was linked. I liked the idea of the teens searching for answers on their own, it had this Harry Potter like charm. And I especially liked Emory’s cunning, which also showed it was something they all did often.
  • There was mystery to this magic filled world that the characters were unaware. I liked the fact we got to discover it (and its evil sides) with the characters.
  • It had a cute magic school vibe, but teamed with the fact the characters were so in tune with their surroundings so it was also a little ‘break out of their surroundings’, which I loved.
  • If you have heard anything about Black Dawn then you’ll probably know Renegade is about how a villain becomes one, I kinda found this out after researching hesitantly. I didn’t let myself know who would be the villain and this made it an even more interesting read as I spent a while guessing. The three guys; Memphis, Adair and Brokk all could have swung that way at different times and really hammered in the idea their choices defined them. I loved this.

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The doom and gloom – Negative Points:

  • I think there were maybe two scenes that had Emory’s point of view and I fell in love with her voice instantly. So this makes me really want to read Black Dawn but also made me wish I would hear more from her in the prequel.
  • I didn’t like Brokk, in the beginning I really dreaded hitting his point of view. He struck me as a bit too whiny, but I found I grew to stand him later as he matured and had to face things.
  • Lastly, I struggled to keep up with a few of the fight scenes. I re-read certain parts to see if I missed something but I still couldn’t seem to work out how some characters or their magic moved from one place to another. I get it that battle is hectic and all that but it took me out of the story as I struggled to work this out.

 

Overall it definitely makes me want to pick up Black Dawn!