Review: Last Breath (Morganville #11) by Rachel Caine

Review: Last Breath (Morganville #11) by Rachel Caine
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Claire finds out that vampires aren’t the top predators. There’s something worse that preys on them. So if Claire and Morganville want to live, they will have to fight on to the last breath.

Wow. So this book turns Morganville on it’s head, and I’m impressed. Caine’s ingenuity is amazing, and the fact she keeps coming up with new and refreshing ideas for this small town astounds me.

There’s definitely something different about this book that the series really needed in my opinion. I’ve been feeling the tension throughout the whole series, but it ramps up so much in this one. There’s an overall feeling of hopelessness, and of real possibility of loss. I think the fact we now have multiple viewpoints puts everyone’s life on the line, and it’s kept me so interested in the series.

‘”Yes,” she whispered back. “I promise.”‘

Without giving away any massive spoilers, something massive happens in this book. Something I never saw coming, and made me question the comfortable routine I’ve got into with this series. Because the series is so long, it’s easy to expect everything will be okay in the end. But honestly, not anymore. I was shocked. I gasped out loud.

Talking of those other points of view, I loved them! Not only do we have our group of friends, but also an insight into Amelie’s head, the Founder of Morganville. She’s one of those characters you never know how to feel about, and it was great to find out more about her inner workings. Despite her flaws, I really love and admire her as a character!

‘And she kissed him, and kissed him, and kissed him, while the sun came up and bathed Morganville in one last, shining day.’

This series, that I thought had found it’s gentle rhythm, has been revitalised for me. What an awakening, and a new taste of a great series.

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Bite Club (Morganville #10) by Rachel Caine

Review: Bite Club (Morganville #10) by Rachel Caine
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Claire has come to realise that the undead of Morganville just want to live their lives. But there’s a new extreme sport being broadcast over the Internet – bare-knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against one another – or, worse, against humans. What started as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville.

I feel like these books almost alternate from being about a wider enemy, to being about something happening inside Morganville that brings the humans and vampires together. As you may have guessed from the synopsis, this is one of the latter and I really enjoyed it!

I actually think it’s a great way of writing about Morganville that manages to keep the tension for such a long time and for so many books, but I do enjoy seeing everyone working together.

‘”You think that because I want to do what’s right, because I want to make things better, I’m weak,” Claire said.’

The emotional scenes from Ghost Town continued in this book, and I really liked that. This book focuses on Shane, which was great. He’s a character with a really intriguing background that is discussed a lot throughout the series, and it was interesting to see more about his feelings in depth.

One way Caine showed this was through different viewpoints of the different characters. This is the first time in the whole of Morganville that we’ve seen multiple points of view, and it helps so much. Due to the books being in third person, it’s not so jarring when the viewpoints change, and in fact we just learn more as a reader without Claire having to physically be in every scene!

‘“Or that I’m stupid. But I’m not. It takes a lot more strength to know how bad the world is and not want to be part of that, give in to it.”‘

Unfortunately, Morganville still isn’t perfect, and I want to take this chance to warn you all again that it’s definitely a guilty pleasure series. Although I find them less trashy as the series carries on, there’s still a certain degree of cringe. Luckily, I love them for the entertainment value!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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T5W: Friends in Sci Fi and Fantasy

T5W: Friends in Sci Fi and Fantasy

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey. You get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. If you’d like to take part, join the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of bloggers & booktubers!

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When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts, a wizarding school brimming with ghosts and enchantments, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

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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.

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It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

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It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.
Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…
Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Which friendships do you love in sci-fi or fantasy?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Ghost Town (Morganville #9) by Rachel Caine

Review: Ghost Town (Morganville #9) by Rachel Caine
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While developing a new system to maintain Morganville’s defenses, Claire Danvers discovers a way to amplify vampire mental powers. Through this, she’s able to re-establish the field around this vampire-infested Texas college town that protects it from outsiders. But the new upgrades have an unexpected consequence.

So I’m 9 books in and I think I’m about to write my first 5 star Morganville rating! I’ve been loving these books so far but they definitely can come across as lacking depth sometimes. Well, this all changed in Ghost Town for me!

Caine tackled so many new subjects in this book. Claire finally kills the inevitable and faces the guilt that comes with it. Claire is then faced with a difficult decision, and chaos ensues shortly after (because, of course, periods of quiet are rare and short lived in this town).

‘”Stop it! Claire screamed, and put herself in front of Shane,’

My favourite thing about this series is always the group of friends. Claire, Shane, Michael and Eve are one of my favourite YA friendship groups, and the fact they stick together for so long really shines through. Each of the group are different, wonderful and complicated in their own ways and I love them for it.

I always flick through these books wanting and longing for the quiet moments between friends, which are often must needed respite between tense action scenes. For the first time in the series, Ghost Town seemed to combine the two, with the action and tension being based mainly on what is going on between the friends.

‘like she could protect him from words the way he protected her from fists.’

Without giving away loads of spoilers for this book, the emotion and depth is at 100%. I nearly ended up in tears in some moments, and it was the first time I felt such a deep connection to the characters. Caine’s writing has definitely developed since book 1 and it shows so much here!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James

Review: The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
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How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion. 
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

Lauren James is an auto-buy author for me. I loved The Next Together and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was one of my favourite books of 2017, so I picked up The Quiet at the End of the World pretty much as soon as it came out. And trust me, Lauren hasn’t disappointed.

Again, we have a female protagonist who loves engineering, which I admire so much. It’s so important and yet unfortunately uncommon to see female main characters in YA like Lowrie, and we need more of her to inspire future readers. And the diversity doesn’t stop there, with a bi main character, British/Asian main characters and a trans character. The Quiet even explores class boundaries.

‘Maybe that’s what matters. Maybe that’s what being “alive” is. It’s not some trick.’

I’m constantly on edge with Lauren’s books and she honestly writes plot twists like no one else! I was again left on the edge of my seat with this book, and it kept me so interested that I finished it in just a few days.

But alongside a fast-paced and thoroughly entertaining plot, Lauren manages to explore some of the deepest subjects humanity can comprehend – namely what makes us human. To throw such a huge topic in but not make the reader feel overwhelmed is beyond me.

‘There’s no magic chemical that gives something a soul. It’s about being loved and loving in return.’

This book was hopeful, lighthearted and emotional at times. I related so much to Lowrie and Shen, and ended up close to tears at some scenes. The uniqueness of the concept is astounding, and I endlessly admire Lauren for her ingenuity and creativity. The Quiet has quickly become one of my favourite books of 2019 so far!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #90

Stacking the Shelves #90

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought this week. Find out more and join in here!

You might look at this book today and think ‘hang on, didn’t you buy the other copy of this a few weeks ago?!’ Guilty, I did. But I have my reasons for picking up another version!

  1. The special edition is so precious and beautiful, I knew I’d panic about damaging it if I tried to read it.
  2. How beautiful is this cover? As soon as I saw it, I knew I’d like a normal hardback at some point too.
  3. I walked into a supermarket and there it was! Supermarkets are always a great place to buy books cheaply in the UK, and I couldn’t resist.
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All Magnus Bane wanted was a vacation—a lavish trip across Europe with Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter who against all odds is finally his boyfriend. But as soon as the pair settles in Paris, an old friend arrives with news about a demon-worshipping cult called the Crimson Hand that is bent on causing chaos around the world. A cult that was apparently founded by Magnus himself. Years ago. As a joke.
Now Magnus and Alec must race across Europe to track down the Crimson Hand and its elusive new leader before the cult can cause any more damage. As if it wasn’t bad enough that their romantic getaway has been sidetracked, demons are now dogging their every step, and it is becoming harder to tell friend from foe. As their quest for answers becomes increasingly dire, Magnus and Alec will have to trust each other more than ever—even if it means revealing the secrets they’ve both been keeping.

Have you bought any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 2

Let’s Discuss! My YALC TBR pt. 2

As I discussed on Tuesday’s post, I’m super excited for many trips this year including going to YALC 2019. YALC stands for the Young Adult Literature Convention and is kind of the only one of it’s kind in the UK. It’s like YALLFest or Bookcon for us. I’ve been twice before, but only travelled down to London for one of the three days. But this year, I’m going to be staying down with my lovely friend Chloe for the whole convention!

The other day we discussed books on my TBR by authors I’ve already read, but today I’m talking about authors who are brand new to me.

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Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 
Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

I’ve wanted to read this ever since it came out, and I’m so excited for it! I haven’t read all of the authors before, so it’ll be a good way to check out some new writers for me.

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In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Most of my YALC TBR is probably fantasy, and I love that! I saw this one and couldn’t resist.

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Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.
But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.
Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

I’ve had my eye on this since the release, isn’t it beautiful? I’ve only heard good things about it so I’m really looking forward to picking it up.

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Sephy is a Cross: dark-skinned and beautiful, she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.
Callum is a nought: pale-skinned and poor, he’s considered to be less than nothing – a blanker, there to serve Crosses – but he dreams of a better life.
They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts and Crosses are fated to be bitter enemies – love is out of the question.
Then – in spite of a world that is fiercely against them – these star-crossed lovers choose each other.
But this is love story that will lead both of them into terrible danger . . . and which will have shocking repercussions for generations to come.

I know, I’m a disgrace for not having read this book before! It seems like every YA reader in the UK has, and it’s definitely about time I pick it up.

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Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. 
Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

I love the look of this book, contemporary with a twist is just what I like in contemporary now!

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Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Another fantasy that sounds so intruiging.

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Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I’ve only heard good things about Schwab, and I feel like I’m so late to the party with her books. I’m excited to pick this one up!

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A century ago, scientists theorised that a habitable planet existed in a nearby solar system. Today, ten astronauts will leave a dying Earth to find it. Four are decorated veterans of the 20th century’s space-race. And six are teenagers, graduates of the exclusive Dalton Academy, who’ve been in training for this mission for most of their lives.
It will take the team 23 years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years spent in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

I was so drawn into this cover and synopsis. It sounds so intriguing and like something I’ll love.

Are you going to YALC?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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