The Art of French Kissing ARC Review

Hello Everyone!

Welcome to my first ARC review! I’m pretty excited about this one! 🙂 Thank you for NetGalley for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Title: The Art of French Kissing
Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Expected Release Date: June 5th 2018

I really enjoyed this book, it was a perfect February cutesy contemporary book, really fluffy, nothing really heartbreaking. It is your perfect “sitting down on your sofa and read some easy book after a hard, soul-eating day” book.

The Story

The story takes place in a cooking competition, where the winner get a scholarship to the most prestigious cooking school. Our main character is Carter Lane, who is a cooking enthusiast – she loves cooking and a natural talent in it. In the beginning of the story her application is accepted to the cooking competition, which is her best chance to become the chef who she wants to be.
The cooking competition aspect is really good, I loved that during the different challenges we can look into the brain of Carter – we see what is she thinking while cooking, how much she is lost in the food, how passionate she is about food and cooking. I loved this part, it made Carter so real, as this is what I feel as well when I do the things I really love to do.
Of course during the story we meet our arch nemesis /love interest of the book – Reid Yamada. The book is basically build around they relationship. Of course nothing happens that we don’t anticipate, the story is easily predictable.

The Characters and relationships

Sometimes I felt that the characters are built very well and has depth to them, but in the next second I’m not sure in it – especially Reid. Sometimes they decisions and reactions are just too much. Carter is really bitchy sometimes and makes you ask why with a bit of sense would you do this? In the other hand I loved how they relationship is built and unfolded in front of our eyes, the chemistry between them is perfect.
The side characters are getting a lot of role in the story, which I loved, they are not just there to have more characters beside our main characters.

The Writing

I really enjoyed the writing style, it was easy and natural. The aspect that I really loved was how the different fandoms were inserted into the conversations of the characters, it made the story and the characters very real. Fandoms in real world are helping build relationships in the real world as well and I loved how the author used this to help building the connection between the characters.

Overall I would recommend this book to those who love an easy, fluffy contemporary with a cute romance, and those who really, really enjoy food 🙂

Love,
Szandi

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody – Review

Hellooo everyone!

This year I haven’t placed much books to my ‘Favourite‘ shelf. I read many good books, but there weren’t a lot where I felt instant love which brought me through the story like a firestorm, and devoured it nearly one sitting because I enjoyed it so bloody much.

But then on the 1st of August I started to buddy read with Fran the amazing book that came in the July FairyLoot box – the Daughter of the Burning City. I fell in love in the first couple of pages wich lasted until the very end, I read it basically every time when I had a little free time.

So please let me introduce you to the Gomorrah Festival…

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Book Title: Daughter of the Burning City
Author: Amanda Foody
Genre: YA fantasy
Favourited: Yes
Rating: 5/5

Book Summary (From Goodreads)

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

The Story

I went into the book with not many expectations – I learnt from Caraval that maybe I love the circus themed books. I thought that this book is going to be very similar to the Caraval, but how wrong I was!
In the first couple of pages I wasn’t sure how to react to the things I’m reading I just knew that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! The dark athmosphere of Gomorrah just went right under my skin and I was pulsing with it throughout the book. It is a vivid and whimsical imagination this book has with such great descriptions that you can smell and taste everything in Gomorrah. I became one of it’s citizen in the first chapter.
Then the story is starting and I just didn’t understood anything… how you possibly can kill an illusion? The first time I was just shocked, just like our characters. The investigation is starting and we start to learn things about Gomorrah we never though is the part of this forever moving city. We learn everything from piece by piece with Sorina, we are not sure, who our killer is and what the motivation behind the murder is, but as we go deeper and deeper we kinda feel that not everyone is that we first thought will be. I must say, that I was assuming from the half of the book who is behind the murders but I wasn’t sure. I think the mystery was very well built and it kept me interested.

The Characters

I loved the characters in this book! Sorina is maybe one of my favourite female protagonist, not the typical one which I really like. She is a girl who knows the boundaries of her powers, has a bad part of her which is afraid and feels she’s only a freak, but she had this badass side with this amazing ability of creating illusions, so powerful illusions that she was able to create a family for herself. I loved that we see her weaknesses and she knows her weaknesses as well.

The illusions were amazing. Every one of them has their own personality. Some of them are created better and we learn more deeply from them, but in the case of Unu, Du and Hawk we don’t learn much, but at the end of the day they were only children. Nicoleta on the other hand is very well developed, we learn how much she works on help the family stay alive and how very much this exhausting her. Venera break our heart when she talks to Sorina about the men she slept with and told her that they just want to know how does it feel, to sex with a girl who only is an imagination.

The writing style

The writing style of this book was amazing. The athmosphere was very well described and the descripitons were very on point.

I must say that this book was the biggest surprise of 2017 for me, I didn’t thought that I will enjoy it this much nor that it is going to have a place between my favourites. Very much worth a read!

Cheers,
Szandi

Roar by Cora Carmack – Review

Rating: 4/5
Genre: YA fiction
Favourited: No

My first ever buddy reading experience happened this month, I buddy read this amazing book on Instagram with Fran. We had weekly talk about the book and we both enjoyed the book a lot!
I received this book in June’s Elementalist FairyLoot box, I actually knew what the book is going to be once the theme was released in May 😀 I was really excited about this book, the premise sounded amazing, and it didn’t let me down!

The book is about a princess named Aurora, who borned to a Stormling family, who can defend their cities with their storm magic. The problem is that Rora have no magic in her and she and her mother tries to hide this fact from the world, so Rora is about to have a marriage with a guy from another Stormling family. The guy seems amazing in the beginning but she learnes out things about him that she don’t like and one time when the guy sneaks out to the city she follows her. She finds a place where people are selling storm magic, and finds people who are storm hunters. She decides that she joins them to hunt down magic for herself with which she can protect her city without the need of this marriage.

The Story

The story is really well developed. We learn a lot about this world and it’s magic system slowly through the book. The start is slow and we learn a lot about Rora and her feelings, her powers – and I must say, she’s badass! The book has multiple POV, which is really good because we learn more about the characters and their motivations this way. There wasn’t any moment in the book which I felt boring or unnecessary, it kept me interested all the time.

The Characters

Here I feel some issues. Though Rora is a well developed character and I can elate to her, the other characters felt really simple and one dymensional to me, they don’t really had any depth. I hope that in the following books they are going to have some development and as we learn more about them they are going to get some depth.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn about a really interesting magic system and world and misses a fantastic high fantasy novel.

Cheers, Szandi

The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Orson – Review

Rating: 3.5/5
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Favourited: No

The first book I finished in July was The Sandcastle Empire (TSE). I got it from the June ‘Make it out Alive’ Owlcrate box, and it came with a beautiful exclusive cover, which I instantly fell in love with. This review doesn’t contain spoilers.

The Sandcastle Empire is a dystopian fiction, in which a tribe, named Wolfpack leads the humanity and everyone who isn’t part of the Wolfpack was put into gulags. Our main character Eden is a girl who lost her family and lives in a gulag for two years. Her last hope is the Sanctuary, which is a place where people can live in peace.
One day she has a chance with a couple of other girls to escape from the gulag, and they head to the island where Eden hopes they can found the Sanctuary. They find the island, but it is not exactly was Eden hoped…

The Story

I was a tiny bit disappointed with this book to be honest. The start was awesome, the first chapter was just blew my mind. But as the story went on, it became boring and I just felt confused all the time.The plot twists were predictable, but I liked the ending of it – I just hope there is going to be a second book, because I need to know what is going to happen next.
I loved the writing style and loved the athmosphere of the book.

The Characters

This is the point where I feel TSE has the most issues. Most of the characters were really one-dimensional and I didn’t really cared about them. Sometimes I didn’t understanded they decisions and the feelings of Eden were weird some places, though Eden was the only relateble character.

If you are craving for a new dystopian book and you want a fast read and don’t feel like that you want to invest into characters, then I recommend to pick up this one.

Cheers, Szandi