Top Ten Tuesday – Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

 

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It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s post is related to the things which make me pick up a book. I super excited for this one! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Without further ado, here is my list:

Diversity

I absolutely love stories which include people of various beliefs/backgrounds, new cultures, traveling to new destinations, etc. This is the part of reading that intrigues me and what I find so endearing! Part of reading includes gaining knowledge but not just in terms of school curriculum but also to learn about the world around you and see life with an open mindset.

Forbidden Love Trope

I will admit it. I am one of those readers who absolutely adores the forbidden love trope! But NOT in a Romeo & Juliet sense. That’s a separate discussion lol I am referring to books such as the Prisoner of Night and Fog duology where there is a romance between a Jewish reporter and a German girl who grew up within Hitler’s inner circle. Such situations create an interesting and also thrilling premise for what’s to come in the novel and it also heightens the stakes and makes you root for the main leads even more!

Friendships

Reading about friendships is something that warms my heart. And when they are strong female friendships, I am even more excited! There are so many types of media that place women against one and I think we need to move in a more positive direction to urge women to support one another. Let’s face it. We are all on the same team. And we should try our hardest to understand each other.

Fantastical World

For me, reading is an escape and when I am transported to fantastical worlds, it gives me the utmost joy! It’s no surprise since I adore fantasy novels. One example would be the Shades of Magic trilogy. Victoria Schwab did an amazing job cultivating the world and magic system that you almost believe it’s real!

Enemies to Lovers Trope

I am definitely not a fan of insta-love. It just seems so unrealistic to me. So when I read novels which hints the enemies to lovers trope, I would automatically pick it up – No questions asked! I think this situation also gives opportunity for a lot of witty banter and hilarious situations and it makes a book even more fun to read. In addition, it also shows the growth of the characters and how their relationship evolved over time and I absolutely love seeing this process.

Favorite Authors

Through my book blogging years, I discovered so many authors which I have grown to love. Some include Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer, Sabaa Tahir and Sarah J. Maas. Their work is absolutely astounding and so well written and if you have not read any books from them, I would definitely recommend their novels since they are just so well done from character growth to world building. They showed so much potential in their debut novels and have delivered in their later works. There is absolutely no doubt that if I ever see a new release from them, I will definitely be picking that up!

Positive reviews

Another reason I tend to reach for new books is through recommendations from you lovely book lovers! I would not have found new novels which I have grown to love without the help of you guys! Some bloggers have recommended to me Throne of Glass, Stalking Jack the Ripper, Truly Devious and The Shades of Magic series and these are all books which I have enjoyed reading. So a big thanks to you guys ❤

Favorite genre – Sci Fi/Fantasy/Historical Fiction/Mystery

When a book falls within my favorite genre, I’m sold. It’s very difficult to convince me otherwise haha It may be a matter of preference but I honestly felt that most of the books I have read within these genres have turned out to be my favorite novels of all time so they have become a determining factor for whether I automatically reach for a book. However, I am trying to keep an open mind and explore new genres to expand my reading experience – you know?

Fairytale Re-telling

I have a serious weakness for Fairytale re-tellings, especially authors who place a dark spin to the tales we have grown up with through Disney movies or middle grade books. Recently, there are also tales of a villain backstory such as Heartless by Marissa Meyer and these are even more intriguing to read about. Although we are aware of the conclusion, it still makes it such an interesting read to see a character grow to become one of the most iconic villains of all time.

Synopsis

One of the most important deciding factors on whether I pick up a book would have to be the synopsis. It’s the basic outline of the plot and if it peaks my interest, I will automatically start looking it up on GoodReads, checking the rating or learning about the author. If it is something that intrigues me, I will definitely be checking it out!

What are your top reasons for picking up a book? And if you have done this week’s prompt, link it down below and I will check it out!

And a side note – Were you guys able to snatch those Avengers Endgame tickets this morning? LOL Those twitter reactions were hilarious! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Stalking Jack the Ripper Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.” 

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publication: September 20th 2016 by Jimmy Patterson

Pages: 337

Genre: Fiction; YA; Mystery

Rating: 4/5

Summary:

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is not like many women her age – organizing tea parties, attending silk dress fittings, or jumping in on the latest gossip. Instead, she lives a secret life unbeknownst to her father as an apprentice to her Uncle, a professor of forensic medicine. Amidst her dissection studies, she stumbles upon an investigation of a notorious serial killer who rampaged the streets of London. Despite the brutality of the murders, Audrey’s curiosity and tenacity pushes her to search for answers and reclaim justice for the victims. But as she gets closer to unraveling the clues, it leads her to the most blood chilling conclusion.

Characters: 

Audrey Rose WadsworthSmart, Witty, Kind, Fearless – Its official. Audrey has fallen into my top favorite female leads of all times 🙂  She has such a great combination of strength, tenacity and intelligence which makes you want to root for her throughout the novel. Despite these esteemed qualities, she does have her weaknesses too and that showcase her to be more relatable as a character. Nevertheless, I loved her curiosity and her passion for forensic science and it was so refreshing to see her fight for women given the time period that the novel is set in.

“By my blood, I will make this right or die trying.” 

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Thomas CreswellCharming, Witty, Arrogant – Oh Lord. This guy haha A close representation of Thomas’ character would probably be Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles whom I adored from the start and Thomas was no different. I swear, the amount of eye rolls and laughter I experienced whenever he would comment with a sly and witty demeanor is exponential 🙂 And when paired with a feisty heroine with sass of her own, you get the most entertaining banter ever! I loved it!

“I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.” 

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Final Thoughts: 

After finishing Truly Devious, I was in the mood for some more mystery novels and this one immediately caught my attention. Everything about the premise was so interesting and I am happy to say that the author delivered an awesome story! One aspect of the novel which I really enjoyed was the setting. The late 1800s London was very well delineated and I honestly felt as if I was walking through the streets with these characters. It was also refreshing to read about a heroine who is from a mixed background – half Indian and half British. It’s not so often I come across characters who I can relate to! And I loved the bits of Indian heritage that the author had woven into the story but I would have definitely liked to have seen more of it.

In addition, the author does a fabulous job setting the tone for the novel, creating an eerie yet mysterious atmosphere which entangles you into the story. I will say that there were certain parts of the novel which completely creeped me out! But if you are a fan of forensics and criminal investigations, then I would definitely recommend this book to you!

Have any of you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all with another bookish post!

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BTS LOVE YOURSELF BOOK TAG

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What could be better than putting together the two things I love in life: BOOKS AND BTS ❤ I’ve been an ARMY since Day 1 and it’s so heartwarming and beautiful to see how much they have grown and accomplished! I am so proud of them! This was a group that helped me through the toughest points in my life and constantly reminded me to love myself and they will forever hold a special place in my heart ❤ As for my biases, it would most likely be RM (Namjoon) and Jin (Seokjin) but they are all so sweet and adorable I’m unable to choose between them lol

A huge thanks to Beaucoupbooks for creating this awesome tag! Please check out her page, it’s amazing!

The Rules

  1. Tag/pingback @beaucoupbooks in your post so I can see!
  2. Feel free to use the graphics on Jess’s page.
  3. Tag at least one other person to do this tag but really, you don’t need to be tagged to do this post, anyone can.

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My love for books started with Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. Ever since the movies came out, I wanted to know what the hype around this series was so I picked up the first book, then the second and before you know it, I was not only Potterhead but also a book lover.


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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – If you have not read this book . . . THEN READ THIS BOOK. OMG. Everything about the world, the African culture, the characters and the plot was just brilliantly crafted. So fast paced and addicting! Plus – the author is also a fellow ARMY like me hahaha


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Edward Cullen  – HMM I think some people might disagree with me on this. Plz don’t hurt me!! However, I have to say that my reading taste has changed from 10 years ago. When I initially picked up this book I did fall into the Twilight craze but now when I look back on it, my feelings towards the characters are quite impassive, especially the relationship between Edward and Bella. I find it to be quite unhealthy due to his possessiveness.


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A Darker Shade final for Irene

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab – I absolutely devoured this series and it was so hard for me to part from it since I was attached to the characters. However, I do know the author is working on the Threads of Power series which is set in the same world as this one so it’s comforting to know we are getting more books! 🙂


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Levi in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – What’s not to love about Levi? He’s so sweet and adorable. I love his relationship with the main character since she does remind me of my self. I don’t usually pick up contemporary reads but I really loved this one!


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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – The books that Gail Carson Levine wrote were one of my top book crazes back in day. I loved the spin she took on classic fairy tales and the pre-teen me absolutely loved them. Definitely makes me nostalgic about my middle school years hehe


SINGULARITY

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – I would read anything by Marissa Meyer and it would instantly make me feel better lol I think it’s safe to say that she is one of my favorite authors of all time! I started this series during a difficult period in my life and it gave me the escape I needed and most importantly: hope that things will get better in the future. And this pretty much mirrors the reasons why I love BTS as well 🙂


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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Another series which I am completely in love with. Am I the only one who loves the cover change? I finally got to see someone who looks like me on the cover! AHHHHH!!! That’s so cool!!! And this was a novel which taught me that I am capable and stronger than what I give myself credit for and I highly recommend it!

 

Thank you all for reading! I would definitely like to open this tag to anyone who wishes to do it! Keep spreading the bookish and BTS love!! I purple you!

And for all my fellow ARMYs out there, let me know your bias and favorite songs! ❤

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Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another Bookish post!

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Truly Devious Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams. They are not supposed to be famous for murders.

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publication: January 16th 2018 by HarperCollins

Pages: 416

Rating: 5/5

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to read novels of various genres and I am so excited that I picked up this one! Truly Devious completely strays away from the typical fantasy novels I usually reach for and it definitely surprised me!

Summary:

Amidst a late April night of 1936, a business tycoon’s named Albert Ellingham found that his wife and daughter were kidnapped and the only real clue was within a mocking riddle signed as Truly Devious. And now present day, Stevie Bell, a girl who wishes nothing more to have a successful career as detective, ventures into the Ellingham Academy as a student. She has one goal in mind: to reopen and solve this cold case. In a sudden twist of events, the past returns to the Academy and the students are surrounded by a death which has them shocked and bewildered – Was it an accident or was it murder?

Characters: 

Stevie – Goal-oriented, Diligent, self-driven – Don’t we all love a smart female lead? I was really thrilled to read about character like Stevie who is able to notice quirks that maybe we as readers may sometimes miss. I definitely found her relatable since she also seems grounded with her awkwardness in social situations despite having a brilliant and intuitive mindset.

Janelle – Smart, Kind and Driven – Janelle was a such a pleasure to read about and I loved that the author included diversity within the novel. Although we did not see too much of her within this book, I definitely found her to be a character who values relationships and her friendship with Stevie.

Nate – Distant, Secluded, Writer – As with Janelle, I felt that we did not see too much of Nate in this book and he did not have much layers to his personality as we see with Stevie. However, I did find him to be a great friend to Stevie even with his grumpy personality.

Final Thoughts: 

Written in a dual past and present day perspective, this novel is surely a thrill for fans of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. I would say that the present day narrative does flow slowly; however, the author does this for a reason as she tries to enable the reader to understand the present day characters, environment and circumstances. The flashbacks were interesting to read since we get glimpses of secrets and twists to the cold case. The author did create a good balance of when and how to switch from the past and the present so we as readers understand the case well enough to follow with the present timeline.

There is also a moment in the book where a major plot event occurs and after that, I couldn’t help but fly through the pages. I just could NOT put it down. That was how addicting it was! The author kept you on the edge of your seat and offered many twists and turns that had you scrambling to figure out who the culprit could be. AND THAT ENDING!!

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Overall, I think Truly Devious is a wonderful read for anyone who loves mystery novels and the second book is definitely on my 2019 TBR!

Until next time, keep reading and I will be back with another post!

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Wolf by Wolf Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Her self-reflection was no reflection at all. It was a shattered mirror. Something she had to piece together, over and over again. Memory by memory. Loss by loss. Wolf by wolf.” 

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 20th 2015

Pages: 388

Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Set in an alternative history during the year 1956 where the Axis Powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan hold significant control over the world, Wolf by Wolf details the journey of a young girl named Yael who vows to restore unity to the world through destroying the one man responsible for her people’s suffering: Adolf Hitler. After her heartbreaking and terrifying experiences within a death camp, Yael tattooed five wolves on her arm to serve as a reminder of the ones she lost, each representing a significant part of her character. Through cruel and painful experimentation, Yael develops the ability to skinshift – allowing her to exhibit the facial features of a character she chooses to imitate. As a result, she proves to be a brilliant candidate for the Resistance to take part in the imperative mission to bring down Hitler. By winning the annual Motorcycle Tournament under the character of the previous year’s champion Adele Wolfe, Yael would be given the opportunity to dance with Hitler himself at the Victor’s Ball. But the mission seems to grow complicated as Luka, Adele’s former love interest, and Felix, Adele’s twin brother, enter the picture. Even with the growing relationships with the other candidates, Yael must prove herself to be as ruthless and daring enough to bring down Hitler and his regime.

 

Characters:

Yael – Strong; Smart; One of my favorite aspects of Yael was that she was very goal oriented from the start and her passion and determination for her mission is truly remarkable.

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Adele Wolfe – Passionate; Strong; Although we see Adele Wolfe for a limited time within the novel, we can already see that she is strong and capable of standing on her own.

Felix Wolfe – Protective; Supportive; Smart; Felix was enticing from the start. He loves his family and will do anything he can to keep them together.

Luka – Extroverted; Bold; Strong; Adele’s former love interest who has a strong passion for winning the game despite knowing that Adele (Yael) is participating.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you have not read this book, please pick this up!

It is a thrill ride and it had me hooked from the start. One of my favorite aspects of the entire novel is the writing and storytelling – it is absolutely amazing and so well done. The setting does shift from the past to the present many times within the novel but I never felt as if it slowed the pace or left the plot lagging. It was done at the appropriate moments to add depth to the character and progress the story. By revealing her past experiences, we learn why Yael is the way she is and what are her weaknesses/regrets/strengths. It was through these areas of the book where I found her to be relatable since she is a strong character; yet she also had her own monsters/vulnerabilities’ within her which made her seem more human.

I have also developed a strong appreciation for the historical fiction genre. As with writing any novel, research is crucial to develop a thorough world/setting. However, with historical fiction it is imperative to maintain accuracy to previous events in order to provide credibility to the reader. While Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history novel, I truly appreciate the author’s efforts for creating a work of literature while maintaining a believable world and an accuracy to history. Previously I have read Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anna Blankman which had a sense of mystery and intrigue entangled with the historical fiction genre which made it a compelling and brilliantly crafted read. This was the first novel that really helped me to venture into a new genre and through reading Wolf by Wolf, I will definitely be picking up more in the future!

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Have any of you read Wolf by Wolf? What are your thoughts on it? And if you have any historical fiction recommendations please let me know 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I’ll see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Legendary Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Your future can be whatever you wish. We all have the power to choose our own destiny.” 

Author: Stephanie Garber

Published May 29th 2018 by Flatiron Books

Pages: 451

Rating: 5/5

I loved the first book, Caraval, and OMG I love this one even more! Everything about the setting, the plot and the characters are so rich and dynamic that you can’t help but be glued to the pages. LOL I even had to rush to class since I was busy finishing up this novel 🙂

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Summary:

After the events of the first Caraval, Tella is required to repay her side of the initial bargain she made to save her sister from a terrible arranged marriage. Her contact requires her to once again enter Caraval to retrieve Legend’s true name. This time the game is more darker, mysterious and real than she ever imagined. As determined as she is to win the games, Tella realizes that there may more at stake than she ever realized. Stephanie Garber dazzles with this electrifying sequel which adds additional layers to the original story and heightens the stakes to the point where you can’t help but be thrilled by this novel.

Characters:

Tella – bold, brave, intelligent – I personally did not enjoy Tella’s character in the first book but she definitely earned my appreciation in this sequel. I think everyone can find certain qualities in both Scarlet and Tella which they can relate to and the more I read from her perspective, the more I understood her and ended up really liking her character.

Dante – the tall, dark and handsome HAHA – Just as I enjoyed reading about Julien in the previous book, I really liked Garber’s portrayal of Dante in this novel as well. Garber can seriously write some great male leads 🙂

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Favorite Quotes:

“Once a future is foretold, that future becomes a living thing and it will fight very hard to bring itself about.” 

“. . . she liked to say that love trapped and controlled and ripped hearts apart. But the truth was she also knew love healed and held people together . . . “

“There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.” 

Final Thoughts:

Garber once again weaves the mysteriousness and potential danger throughout her writing as she did with the original Caraval – but this time the imagery and detail is exquisite and very well done. You can tell that her writing improved from the last book. She keeps the reader hooked from the very beginning with stories from Tella’s mom and she slowly starts revealing details which sets up the plot of the book. It does not lag from the start and this is one of the strong points – it had my attention from the very beginning. Do not get me started on those cliffhanger chapters . . . I honestly could not stop reading.

The plotline within this sequel is a little more intricate because of the addition of the multiple characters and the folklore of the Fates. Speaking of the folklore, I loved how she gave a story/background to each Fate. It was interesting how she pointed out the different magic that the Fates had yet each of them had a flaw. With sequels, additional story lines are added  to thicken the plot but sometimes it would be overwhelming and difficult to follow but everything seemed to flow flawlessly with Legendary. Every single character, new and old, were placed perfectly and the new setting at the palace definitely added to a darker tone of the novel.

We are automatically thrown into a web of mystery from the start of the novel and cannot help but keep asking questions. I was constantly curious about the characters, the additional story lines, and ultimately, where the line of reality/fantasy exists in the game. We are all told to believe Caraval is only a game. But as we venture deeper and deeper into the story, we can’t help but question: Is this really just a game? 

Have any of you read Legendary yet? What are your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you soon with another bookish post!

A Darker Shade of Magic Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” 

Author: V.E Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

Publication: February 24th 2015 by Tor Books

Pages: 400

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Rating: 5/5

Alright FAM, I did it! After prolonging this for ages, I finally read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab and OMG this is a masterpiece. A STUNNING MASTERPIECE. Although I would say that it takes a few pages (60-70 pages) for the plot to thicken but OMG once it does, you are in for a fantasy thrill ride since the pacing just keeps you on the edge of your seat! Even when I reached the half point of the novel I knew this would become one of my favorite books of all time and yes, it has! As of now, I still have yet to read the other books in the series but so far, this is a phenomenal start. I am so happy I picked this one up!

Summary:

Within the A Darker Shade of Magic, there exists parallel Londons identified as Red, Grey, White, and Black and each world/society is very different from one another. Red London is the world which thrives with magic, White London suffers due people’s urge to control magic and Grey London is the world where magic does not exist. The fourth parallel universe is called Black London and this world used to exist long ago but it has been closed off from the rest of the Londons.

Kell is from Red London and he is an Antari or beings who have the rare ability to jump between the different worlds. His role is to serve the Maresh Empire as an ambassador to deliver messages between the leaders of the different worlds. Kell also tends to smuggle tokens from one world to another until one day he smuggles something which he is not supposed to and this sparks a magical but also dark adventure across the different worlds.

Characters:

Kell – Reserved, Understanding; Protective; Sassy, A sweet darling OMG – it is impossible not to like him; Kell was such an interesting character to read about. You could almost feel the loneliness he goes through each day but even though he carries this burden, he is very protective and shows his empathy and care for those around him.

Lila – Brave, Ambitious, Cunning; Lila was an absolute pleasure to read about. She is so fierce and adventurous and always tends to get into dangerous and crazy situations but she is smart enough to know when to run and when to fight back.

Prince Rhy – Overconfident, Charming, Adorable lol; We do not see a lot of his character in this book but I hope to see more of him in the future since although he is a Prince and tends to be spoiled at times, he has a lot of empathy as well and you can’t help but love him.

Holland – A very complex character with layers and I found myself on the border at times. There were moments where I would pity him and other moments where I would have nothing but anger towards him but he is a very interesting character and I did like reading about his role in this book.

Final Thoughts: 

Overall, there are so many things to love about this novel: Those nail-biting action sequences, the witty banter between the characters (seriously though, the moments with Kell and Lila – I couldn’t help but laugh out loud), the mystery and intrigue of the parallel worlds, the unpredictable and dark magic system, the list is endless.

The writing is also so well done! It had the perfect blend of details to paint the image of the various Londons but also simplistic to keep the plot fast paced. Victoria also adds a lot of heart and raw emotion to the book which is why she does exceptionally well at storytelling. The world-building is spectacular. When sculpting a world within fantasy novels, one of hardest things to do is to make your world/society believable but Victoria does this effortlessly. Everything is explained so well that there is no confusion at all.

All the characters have multiple layers to their personality and some of them tend to be not fully good or bad – they would sometimes operate in the grey area but you still can’t help but cheer for them. I think this is partially why the characters are so well loved in this series, they have their strengths but also some flaws as well but that it what makes them human and relatable to readers.

In all honestly, this book definitely lives up to the hype. I strongly recommend it!

Also, if you all are up for a bit of fun, check out Buzzfeed’s Quiz:

Which London Do You Belong To? 

YAYY MEEE ❤

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Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all again with another bookish post!

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