Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) – Now up on my BookTube Channel

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

My Rating: ###/5

GoodReads Rating: 4.21/5

Published September 3rd, 2019

 

The below is a summary of my rating and review. A full review is now up on my BookTube channel Octothorpe Reader.

 

I was gifted a copy of Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin by Jonathan Publishers for an honest review.  I did a buddy read with Sandra from @sandsandstories.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.And love makes fools of us all.” – GoodReads

PLOT / STRUCTURE:

####/5

WORLD-BUILDING / SETTING:

####/5

THEME:

##/5

CHARACTERS / CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:

###/5

DIALOGUE:

#####/5

 

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BOOK DEPOSITORY

 

House of Salt and Sorrows – a Snapshot Review

House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

My Rating: ##/5

GoodReads Rating: 3.98/5

Published August 6th, 2019

This is not a full and comprehensive review, but merely a summary of my thoughts on the book.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:

#/5 – There is no character development.  The characters remain exactly the same throughout the story, and they seem insubstantial to start with.  I don’t remember anything about Annaleigh, other than she was the MC.  The attempt at romance was feeble.  The entire book could’ve been written without any kind of romance as it added absolutely nothing of value to the story.  I skipped through most of the romantic scenes towards the end.

WORLD BUILDING:

#####/5 – Yes.  Yes. YES!  A million times yes!  Can someone take this world and write a really good fantasy series about it?!  The atmosphere, the landscape, the setting – everything about this world is magnificent.  I love the dark gloomy islands, surrounded by storms and rough seas.  I love that you can taste the salt and hear the waves crash against rocks and feel the strength of the wind.  I would’ve loved a map though.

WRITING STYLE:

###/5 – The writing style starts strong, but trickles away as the story unfolds.  There are gaps in time towards the end, that have nothing to do with the sequence of events.  I don’t know if this was done on purpose to illustrate the confusion the characters are experiencing – I got the feeling the writer just needed to quickly conclude the book.  It was either a genius move or utter laziness.

PLOT:

##/5 – Again, it starts strong.  You are gripped and sucked into their world of grieving and dancing.  There is a sense of appreciation for the retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.  Edge of your seat events unfold, but then it just gets bizarre and confusing.  Towards the end, I dreaded picking it up and finishing it because it was just not making any sense!!!  The theme of the book changes at 80%.  Yes 80%, where the story should reach its climax and start concluding, you are introduced to all these new settings, characters, and histories – it left me feeling “What just happened????”.

VILLAIN & CONCLUSION:

#/5 – Which one? Each one is more forgettable than the previous one.  The ending is laughable, confusing and bland.  What happened to Verity? Why couldn’t anyone see Cassius?? Who is the Weeping Woman???

The Beautiful – a Snapshot Review

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh

My Rating: ##/5

GoodReads Rating: 3.65/5

Published October 8th, 2019

This is not a full and comprehensive review, but merely a summary of my thoughts on the book.

PLOT:
#/5 – The plot is very limited and, in some instances, non-existent. Some chapters could’ve been stand-alone(s), as they add no value to the movement of the story.

STRUCTURE:
###/5 – The structure is well-thought-out, but the pace is so slow, that I lost interest 30% in. I was ready to DNF at 40%. I pushed through as I was one of the first people to jump up and down about this book.

WORLD-BUILDING:
##/5 – Here is a city that has so much rich history and culture. The potential is limitless. If you think of New Orleans, you see vibrant colors and celebration, you hear music, you feel curious and intrigued by mystery and a little frightened of all the rumors and legends. All of this could’ve been a beautiful backdrop to a fast-paced, well-loved and complex story (helloooo The Originals ? ? ? ! ! ! !), but it was mentioned ONCE. There is ONE Mardi Gras carnival scene.

THEME:
#/5 – The theme is unclear, and you are not even sure if there are actual vampires until much later in the book

CHARACTERS:
###/5 – As with We Hunt the Flame, the characters are why I wanted to finish the book. The characters are well rounded. There are characters that you want to fall in love with and there are characters that you want to love-to-hate and hate-to-love. The characters are relatable and interesting.

DIALOGUE:
#/5 – Most of the dialogue are thoughts and memories. Very little is spoken between characters and when done, feels disjointed and has you wondering: “what did I miss??”.

The Deathless Girls – a Halloween Treat!

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

My Rating: ####/5

GoodReads Rating: 3.76/5

Published September 19th, 2019

Trigger warnings:

  • Threat of sexual assault
  • Animal cruelty and death
  • Slavery and abuse

I was gifted an unproofed copy of The Deathless Girls by Pan Macmillan South Africa for an honest review. This is an unpaid review. I did a buddy read with Tams @bookwolftams.

Ok, first things first, I loved this book and please, please, PLEASE can I have more Kiran Millwood Hargrave to put in my pocket and keep for rainy days.

So when you (see, I said when, not if, because you will want to) pick up this book, you need to put aside the misconception that this is a retelling of Brides of Dracula by Bram Stoker. It is not a retelling; I would classify it as the prequel to Brides of Dracula.

On the eve of their divining day, twin sisters, Lil and Kizzy are enslaved by a cruel lord and brutally taken away from their traveler-family. They are forced to work in a castle, along with Mira, a fellow slave girl. Lil feels drawn to Mira in a way she is not sure she understands. But is Mira, Lil’s happy ever after? Or does fate have something else in mind?

In this book, sacrifices are made, journeys are traveled, and loyalties are tested between sisters, friends, and alliances to understand how the Brides of Dracula became the “weird sisters”. It’s dark, gothic and twisty.

As an only child, I do not have first-hand experience with the bond that exists between sisters, but this book is so beautifully written, I had no problem relating to the unconditional love and the fierce protective instincts sisters have for each other.

The thought-provoking and dark feminist theme is captivating, I could have easily finished it one sitting. Tams and I did a buddy-read and to give ourselves time to read other books and of course; “adult”, we read it over a period of 7 days. At no point, was there any frustration or any “what just happened?”, “what is going on?”, “when does the story start?”. No, both Tams and I just agreed right from the first chapter: “Oh my gosh, I love this book so much!”.

A clear message throughout the book that resonated with me is that home is not a place, but that home is where your person or your people are. Home is wherever you choose it to be and you can change your fate and you are in control of your future.

How far would you go to be free again?

We Hunt the Flame – a Snapshot Review

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

My Rating: #/5

GoodReads Rating: 3.82/5

Published May 14th, 2019

This is not a full and comprehensive review, but merely a summary of my thoughts on the book.

PLOT:
####/5 – The plot is interesting, well-thought-out and unique.

STRUCTURE:
#/5 – There is no structure to the story. Plot twists and plot reveals felt disjointed. It was hard for me to get into the flow of the story.

WORLD-BUILDING:
###/5 – The world-building is creative and there is a history to the land and its people. The world-building fits well with the plot of the book. I was excited when I saw the map in the book, but the map fell short in information and didn’t assist me in understanding everything. Important areas in the map are not labeled or labeled with a different terminology than what is described in the book.

THEME:
##/5 – The theme is clear from the start of the book but gets muddled in amongst the over-detailed storytelling as the story progresses.

CHARACTERS:
####/5 – The characters are why I wanted to finish the book. I fell in love with the characters in We Hunt the Flame immediately and rooted for each one of them all the way. There are several strong and complex personalities, struggling with their grief and trying to come to terms with whom they have become. They all have one mission in mind – discover the lost artifact and restore magic to the land.

DIALOGUE:
#/5 – The dialogue is almost non-existent, flat and unstructured. This made it hard for me to imagine any sort of friendship, relationship or kinship between the characters as they barley uttered more than a couple of words to each other.