January 2016 Reads

Tuesday 23 February 2016

I don't think it's any secret that I love everything there is to love about reading. I love reading books, reading reviews, wishlists, sample chapters and I love reading about what books other people are reading! So I thought I'd share what books I read in January, because it's been ages since I wrote about books here!

Aswell as reading ALL of the packing lists and travel itineraries on the planet, I managed to read 2 novellas and 3 novels in January! Not a bad effort, in my opinion!

1 - Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard ****
This is a novella of the Red Queen series, a book that I read last year and absolutely loved! Glass Sword, the second installment, is out now. I still haven't managed to read it yet, but I did read the 2 novellas that Aveyard published to tide me over.

From Goodreads, "Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life."

This novella tells the story of Cals mother, the events leading up to his birth and what happens in the aftermath. I really enjoyed getting to hear Coriane's story, learning about what she went through with the Royal family and Silver nobles. I don't want to mention anything in particular for fear of spoilers, but I did love this novella! I love novellas because you get to read about unknown backgrounds and history in more detail than the main novel, and you learn more about the characters and their lives.

2 - Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard ***
This is the second Red Queen novella that I read like ast month.

From Goodreads, "Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow."

Instead of travelling years back in time like Queen Song, Steel Scars is much closer to the present day of Red Queen. It tells the story of Farley and members of the Scarlet Guard, a rebel society trying to overthrow the Silver tyranny that's corrupting the land. It's an interesting read because you learn more about the mysterious Scarlet Guard, and I'm a complete sucker for any sort of extra information in the books that I read. For some reason though, I didn't enjoy this novella as much as Queen Song. I don't think I connected with it as well as I did with the first one, even though I enjoyed finding out what happened in the run up to Farley meeting Mare!

3 - The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon ***
The first novel that I finished last month, and the first in a 7-book series by Shannon.
From Goodreads, "The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people's minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.
It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die."
It took me longer than usual to get into this book, and even as I was reading it I felt like I wouldn't be able to finish it. I wasn't sure if I was enjoying it, and it wasn't a book that I would normally go for! Clairvoyance as a magic I found strange and quite hard to come to terms with, especially as there are so many different types, it can be hard to keep up with it all! I'm also not a big fan of vampire stories, and even though the "bad guys", the Rephaites, aren't technically vampires it is definitely hinted at throughout the story.
However! In saying all of this, I did actually end up enjoying this book and immediately started the second one when I was finished. I don't like to leave books unfinished, which is why I persevered and pushed through, but by the end I couldn't wait to find out what happened next! It is quite slowly paced, with loads of worldbuilding and even more info-dumping, but for a brand new series with a completely unknown world I guess that is necessary!

4 - The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon ****
This is the second book in The Bone Season series, and I found it alot better than the first!
From Goodreads, "Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal prison camp of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the survivors are missing and she is the most wanted person in London...
As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on the dreamwalker, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city's gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take centre stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided."
So I enjoyed this book alot more than the first! It felt like the story was actually going somewhere, there weren't as many huge, confusing info-dumps and even though the beginning is quite slow, the pace in this second installment really picked up speed. I could barely put this book down, almost every chapter ended in some form if cliffhanger that made me desperate to read on. We learn alot more about the characters and Scion, London in 2059 which is a futuristic, Victorian, completely unrecognisable society! We also discover more about the gang system and their leaders in amazing detail. There is so much action and drama and betrayal, and in my opinion this installment is much stronger than the first! I can't wait for the next book, and I'm so glad I pushed through the first one!

5 - Grave Mercy by Robin LeFevers ****
Last but not least, my favourite book of January!
From Goodreads, "Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?"
This is a historical fantasy novel set in an alternative Brittany, who holds a precarious independence from France. It's the first in a series, His Fair Assassin, which follows the paths of 3 different girls. This story centres around Ismae, an assassin raised and trained in a convent of nuns who serve the god of Death. She is sent to the high court of Brittany as a spy for the convent, but what she learns there is enough to make her question where her loyalties lie. This book is filled with mystery, betrayal, romance and intrigue, but it isn't overly fast-paced. The writing style might take some getting used to, it's a mixture of historical court language and modern phrases, but I actually really enjoyed it!

That's it for January! I'm already on my sixth novel for February, so this had been a really old reading month.

What have you been reading recently? Leave me some recommendations!