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Crystal Storm – Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms, #5)

An epic clash between gods and mortals threatens to tear Mytica apart . . . and prove that not even the purest of love stands a chance against the strongest of magic.

MAGNUS and CLEO are forced to test the strength of their love when Gaius returns to Mytica claiming he’s no longer the King of Blood but a changed man seeking redemption.

LUCIA, pregnant with the child of a Watcher, has escaped the clutches of the unhinged fire god. Her powers are dwindling as she goes forth to fulfill a prophecy that will keep her baby safe . . . but could mean her demise.

JONAS treks back to Mytica with a plan to overtake Amara, but fate takes hold when he runs into the beautiful Princess Lucia and joins her on her perilous journey.

AMARA has taken the Mytican throne, but with no way to unleash the water magic trapped within her stolen crystal, she’ll never be able to seize glory and get sweet revenge.

And what kind of darkness will descend–and who will be safe–after Prince Ashur reveals the dangerous price he paid to cheat death?

“Now brush your hair, lift your chin and pretend you are the most powerful person in the room.”

Yaaas, I really liked this one! I loved the change in relationship dynamic with Magnus and Cleo. While they could hardly stop arguing and disagreeing for two seconds, there was something about the angst and the tension that was just soooo good. I just loved seeing them explore that side of their relationship – and what was better, was the fact that things didn’t work out easily or perfectly.

I liked Lucia a bit more in this one. I feel like Lucia really does have multiple personalities. This is not in a way where her character develops or changes organically in different situations, it’s more that she’s just mashed together and the author can’t decide whether Lucia is going to be softhearted, cold hearted, a bad ass, a raging sociopathic bitch – and honestly the constant change is annoying and giving me whiplash.

I’m confused by some characters motivations. Maybe I wasn’t paying proper attention but what even was Olivia at the end? I’m confused.

That ending – it just felt rushed. This whole book has been fairly fast paced, but this was just too extremely fast and it felt like so much was packed into about the last 30 pages. The upside with this though, I guess, readers will be going to the next novel with all the hundreds of questions left to answer.

But I did really like this. Like I said, it was fun and fast paced and other characters – like Amara – were just so interesting. They’re not necessarily characters I love, but with Amara you have to kind of take a step back, especially as a woman, and see where she’s coming from. That is one thing I like about this – powerful women (Nerissa, Lysandra, Lucia, Cleo). It just sucks half the time they’re killed/overshadowed by the males and their needs to be “manly”.

Also – can we please protect Felix at all costs??

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Frozen Tides – Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms, #4)

Plans are laid and the players are determined…but nothing can prepare these unlikely warriors for what the elemental gods of Mytica have in store.

Cleo: Reeling after a shocking realization about Magnus, the golden princess must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a queen.

Magnus is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he has what it takes to rule his people.

Jonas: The defeated rebel leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to become a pawn in the dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

Lucia: Heartbroken and blind with fury, the betrayed sorceress allies with the awoken fire god, who also seeks revenge.

In Mytica’s darkest hour, four crystal orbs will determine who will die…and who will live in glory forever.

 

Some sought revenge against their enemies with the edge of a sword. Her plan for vengeance began with the edge of a smile.

 

Oh my god?? I actually really, really, really liked this one?? Like don’t get me wrong – it’s still trashy. I’m still in shock that Jonas has some how managed to stay alive. He makes some of the most stupidest choices ever. He has such luck – but those around him? Yeah, not so much.

I can’t really put how I like this series. It’s so bad BUT so good. But the writing is improving, the characterisation and the plot has improved and I’m just left like ????

It’s very addictive and I haven’t been able to stop reading. I will be moving on to Crystal Storm immediately, where a massive book hangover will probably follow.

Just

AHHHH.

That’s me. That’s my feelings.

Also I really adore Fenix. He’s so sassy. And I’m beginning to really love Magnus. Jonas is stupid but I appreciate him too. Lucia was SOOO annoying in this one but she improved towards the end.

Is it just me that thinks the ages are stupid though? I always forget that Cleo is 16 and everyone else is a similar age.

But anyways,

ON I GO TO CRYSTAL STORM. WOOO.

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The Hawkweed Prophecy – Irena Brignull

The babies were born as the clock struck twelve. A bat fell from the air mid-flight. A silver salmon floated dead to the surface of the river. Snails withered in their shells, moths turned to dust on the night breeze and an owl ate its young. The spell had been cast.

Poppy Hooper has managed to deceive her father into believing that there is nothing mysterious or unnatural about her. He ignores the cats that find her wherever she goes, the spiders that weave beautiful lacy patterns for her, even her eyes – one blue, one green with an extra black dot orbiting the pupil.

Ember Hawkweed is a pitiful excuse for a witch. When the other girls in her coven brew vile potions, Ember makes soap and perfume. Fair and pretty, Ember is more like a chaff than a witch. One of the Hawkweeds will be queen of the witches – but everyone knows it won’t be Ember.

When the two girls meet, Poppy discovers her powers, and finds out the truth. Bound by their unlikely friendship and the boy they both love, the girls try and find their place in the world. But the time of the prophecy draws nearer – and the witches won’t give up the throne without a fight.

The Hawkweed Prophecy, to quite simply put it, was a mess. What started off a strong and intriguing dark fantasy quickly faded away to nothing but a badly written fantasy/romance. This book had the potential to be a great fantasy with great female characters, as it started off so.

Where to begin? First I must talk about the structure and how this novel switches between perspectives suddenly. There’s no prior warning. Nothing. One minute you’re reading something from one persons point of view; and then someone elses the next! This heavy juxtaposition between the perspectives was dreadful – it was confusing and I often got lost on whose point of view I was in and why. Honestly – the meaning was lost. I read the same scene over and over again from many different point of views. I wouldn’t mind if it served a purpose, but it did not, and instead it felt long winded and dragged out.

OH THE LOVE TRIANGLE / INSTA LOVE. Poppy literally meets Leo, and then the next day she’s invited him into her house alone. When he leaves, she brings his mug up to her lips and places her mouth where his just was.

I just ? ? ? no.

Oh and Ember. As soon as she meets him she’s instantly in love and of course Poppy then thinks it was her destiny to bring these two people together. Sure. Ember has never seen a man before, Leo’s the first, so? It’s not like she had much to compare him with? Not to mention that Sorrel, in her own twisted way, has an infatuation with him.

And Leo . . . well boy can’t make up his mind, can he? One minute he’s making out with Ember and then running to Poppy saying how he’s desperately in love with her and how she’s his true love. . . and then he’s making out with Ember again. HE. CAN’T. MAKE. UP. HIS. MIND.

To me it’s like the author can’t actually decide what she wants. It’s just a mess – one minute it’s going in a solid and clear direction, and then any development or characterisation that’s been made is out of the window. It’s like every time the author sat down she changed her mind but didn’t want to backspace what she had written. UGH.

Oh and the female characters. Petty? Check. Stupid? Check. Stereotyped? Check. I mean of course we have to have a mean girl. Of course we have to have the whole “special snowflake” thing. And Ember . . . I just. The author promotes her prettiness as what was it . . . being fair haired and pale? Don’t hold me exactly to that – the characters were so boring and bland they all began to blend together as one.

WHAT WAS THE PLOT? No, seriously. I’m asking you. It started off strong with a classic-switchero, and of course, THE PROPHECY. But was soon taken over by the mindless “romance” scenes and Poppy and Ember continually moaning about how they don’t fit in, while Raven is just being a weirdo and an abuser to her daughter.

Side note: I really loved Ember’s and Poppy’s friendship to begin with. I think it started off too quickly – but I liked the companionship and comfort they found in each other and the dell. But that soon faded away to nothing but petty jealousies and hate. Sometimes the touch of sisterhood would come back but then the moment was robbed by thoughts of Leo.

Anyways – back to the lack of plot. Yeah. It kept disappearing. I think if this book had focused more on that then it would have been better. I did like how we saw Poppy actually practice, and it wasn’t just on a whim of “hey! look how good I am at this thing I’ve never learnt before!” but still. It wasn’t great.

Oh and the PARENTS. I mean they were all shitty. Especially Poppy’s father. He blamed Poppy for something, that wasn’t her fault, making her feel guilty and worthless all because he didn’t want to out himself and his secret. So he used his daughter to get what he wanted and basically punished her for the thing he knew he shouldn’t have. Make sense?? I am trying not to spoil too much.

ANYWAYS – much like the plot, I am going off track. But yeah. Moments where the plot was put back in I was like WOO we’re getting somewhere only to be robbed of it like two pages later. I’m not happy about this.

The writing was okay, even if the writing structure was not.

OH! ALSO. THIS WITCHCRAFT. It’d be nice to actually understand how the spells work? Like one minute they have to chant and then spells happen? Other times, like in the duel, they just hold out their hands and blast? Then they talk about only some can shape shift BUT THEN WE GET TONS THAT CAN SHAPESHIFT? Other times we have to use ingredients for spells?? HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK? TELL ME. MAKE ME UNDERSTAND. I just don’t think the system was properly explained and there was NO excuse for that. While Poppy was inexperienced, and Leo had nothing to do with the witch world, the rest of the narrators did. So there’s no reason why this could have been clearer.

Oh. The world-building. For starters, I was confused with what time period we are in. Secondly, and maybe I wasn’t reading clear enough, but where is this set? America? Some made up town? WHERE? How come no ones accidentally walked into this hidden forest place that’s just outside town that looks like it came from the 1400’s? Does magic protect it? WHAAAT? TELL ME.

I am silently screaming in frustration.

Oh and the ending. Throwing out these plot twists of HAHA, but it was obvious?? Like ?? It’s not like it was subtly hinted at so if you didn’t come out and give that explanation for it it would be a pile of shit?? I’m just surprised the characters didn’t figure it out sooner. SO. OBVIOUS.

But yeah. I think that’s it. Maybe. That’s all my important points – if I were to nitpick further I could possibly run out of characters.

So overall, I liked the idea. It had a strong start and sometimes was strong in plot, but for the most of it it wasn’t. Rather it favoured a dodgy love triangle, poor characterisation, and lost sight of the point of the whole novel. I doubt I’ll be continuing on with this series, but I am a curious person . . . so I’ll probably read the second one. . .

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If My Moon Was Your Sun – Andreas Steinhofel, Nele Palmtag

Did you hear the story about Max, the boy who kidnapped his grandfather from a nursing home ? You didn’t see it on the news? Well, let me tell you about it.

Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, with full-color illustrations and a read-along CD audiobook featuring twelve classical pieces for children by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for a review!

I don’t usually read children’s books, unless me nephew, Roman, 2, comes up to me and demands for me to read them. Usually I get a page or two before he runs off and picks out another one. That’s about all.

But tomorrow my other nephew, Joshua, 6, is going to sign up to receive his first library card. Josh likes to read – the other day I sat while he read Aladdin at me. And that got me thinking about all these books out there, waiting and ready for him to discover. I’ve been a reader all my life, and all I can do is hope and gently encourage him for having that same passion.

If My Moon Was Your Sunis written in such beautiful prose. It may be a children’s book but it was deeply thoughtful and beautifully written. It’s not too over the top; it’s simple, easy to read and understand, while at the same time encouraging intelligence of the reader and for them to think. For young children, whose minds are open to so much information, it’s important to treat them like they’re smart and they’re not stupid. This book does exactly that; it engages in a conversation.

You closed your eyes, you breathed deeply in and out, and in no time at all you felt rooted and alive.

This book tells the tale of a young boy, Max, breaking his Grandfather out of the Nursing Home. This is written with the view of a scared boy whose afraid of losing his best friend, his protector, his Grandfather. It’s from a boy who wants adventure. It’s about loving.

“That someday I’ll ask, do you remember? and you won’t remember anymore.
And that someday . . . someday you will forget how much you love me.”

“Max. Don’t be afraid. You don’t need to be afraid of anything, my boy.”

So this small book is beautiful, and I love the message of loving and comfort it sends through via the relationship of Max and his Grandfather. I don’t think I got the best reading experience that I could have as I didn’t listen to the audio BUT having said that, the book was still amazing without it. Also, I can’t forget to mention the illustrations that were simply BEAUTIFUL. They were done with just enough detail and childlike manner that they suited the atmosphere and the theme of the book PERFECTLY.

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Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I’m a massive fan of the Lunar Chronicles, it’s one of my favourite series of all time, so to say I went into this one with very high expectations is a bit of an understatement. And the outcome. . . It was okay. I’m pleased, but I can’t say I’m delighted.

So this is the origin story of The Queen of Hearts, so it’s the tale of how she become what we all know her for. But oh my, the first 300 odd pages felt like an opening. While it was enjoyable, I just felt like it began to drag. The last 100 or so pages were fabulous, and it’s a shame the beginning of the book wasn’t written fast paced with tension.

Also, I’ve never been a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I think I’ve watched one Tim Burton adaptation and that was a giant nope, as I discovered my fear of the Cheshire Cat (he seriously freaking creeps me out, please no). Because of this, I don’t have much knowledge and this book didn’t really help. While it’s not meant to copy the original etc, it seemed to seriously lack world-building.

Maybe if I went into this with lower expectations and it having read the Lunar Chronicles, I might have given it a star higher. That said, I did like it, but you won’t find me screaming about it from any roof tops in the near future (what is time???? Look at me, making references).

So I can’t say that I loved this book, since I was just so let down by my expectations of what I was going to get from this book. 3 stars!

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Paris for One and Other Short Stories – JoJo Moyes

From the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author of “Me Before You” and “After You,” a sensational collection featuring the title novella and eight other stories. Quintessential Jojo Moyes, “Paris for One and Other Stories” is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.

This ARC was sent to me by Penguin UK via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to both publisher/netgalley for sending me this 🙂
Usually I leave my DNF without star ratings, since I feel like because I haven’t read it all I shouldn’t be marking it. But I feel strongly with this one and my low rating at this moment in time. I am in no way closing my mind to this book, I might come back to it later, but right now. . . no.

I don’t think short stories are for me. I feel like within this collection the stories weren’t fleshed out enough, they all began to blur together and feel the same, and I never really noticed a difference in the characters. Overall, I found the stories I did read to mostly be boring. It could be down to that this isn’t my usual genre (and when I do read it, I’m quite selective and picky about what works) and that the situations these characters were in are things that I myself do not relate to. Example, several of this were about married couples which I am not, so I found it hard to connect/empathise with that. Maybe I was just in a sour mood trying to read this, who knows, but right now I know this isn’t for me. Maybe one day!

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Someone Else’s Summer – Rachel Bateman

About a sister who is lost when her older sister dies, until she stumbles upon a bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever. Publication is scheduled for spring 2017.

I really, really enjoyed and liked this book. What I mainly liked about it was the realism. To me, in most books that usually deal with losing a loved one (like a sibling), all it takes is falling in love for them to magically forget their grief. Their grief only comes out here and there, like a “oh, yeah, that should also happen,” but this story doesn’t do that. The death of Anna’s sister Storm compels her to go on this journey in figuring out her sister, herself, and trying to sort through the grief and to learn if she’ll ever be able t0 – or even want to – move on and live her life as fully as her sister once did. Anna’s grief follows her everywhere and within everything she does. This doesn’t make the book depressing though, it’s not all constant tears and dark thoughts, rather I think that we see Anna grieve in a good way. It’s a more on-point representation than I’ve read in the past, like I’ve previously said. She doesn’t fall in love and magically forget about her sisters death, and I really liked that.
But I did find some issues with it. This book was so cute and adorable and I did really like Cameron, but sometimes he felt a bit too plain. His character wasn’t really developed, and we didn’t really know much about him other than he lived next door and was Storms best friend. This book had lots of potential to develop other interesting dynamics, but it just fell short. For example, with Anna – she sometimes felt like the 3rd wheel to Storm and Cameron, and that’s why she did the stuff she wanted to do (even though really, she didn’t want to) but this was only said, not really built upon. If it was, we could’ve connected more to her character, and to Storm’s, if we were able to feel the pain/regret at how separated they had become. Also, sometimes things felt too perfect: want to crash a wedding?? Well guess what? The hotel your staying at is hosting a wedding, yeah, no freaking way! So yeah, sometimes it felt a bit too clean and polished, with how perfectly things lined up for them, which took away from it being more realistic, grounded – and dare I say took away the potential for it to be more emotional – because everything was working out okay, really smoothly.

But overall, I really loved and enjoyed this book. I liked how it showed the grieving process, and while I had my issues with it (like Piper. I thought I liked her, but no) I still found it really enjoyable and would recommend it. It has a nice romance, but also tells the story of a young girl, who not only lost her sister, but lost her on way in life and is trying desperately to find it.

I have some favourite quotes, but I’m going to check them against the published edition when that’s released 😛 thank you Netgalley/the publisher for giving this to me in exchange for an honest review 🙂

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It Had To Be You – Melissa Kate (Crystal Valley, #2)

Emma Wyatt has had enough of her ex best friend and his lady killer ways. Gone was the sweet boy of her youth and in rides the womaniser. But this time he has ready gone and done it!

Oliver didn’t expect to be coupled with Emma. She was in an awkward situation and he couldn’t help the words that came out. She should be grateful, he saved her.

Now the whole town knows. And Emma is pissed! She’s going to kill him.

But a heated argument leads to a fiery moment of passion and suddenly the two are fighting an unlikely attraction that neither saw coming. But Oliver has a secret that could tear them apart…

It Had To Be You contains many of the typical formulas. To begin with, we have the typical man vs. woman trope, of him being secretly in love with her & her having a strong distaste for him – this leads him to think of her as a ‘challenge’. There’s the whole fake relationship, which started out because of a jealous ex, and continued on because they didn’t want to upset his mother. Sometimes it all felt like a bit too much, and that the author was putting all these different ideas in to make it as interesting and dramatic as possible. Unfortunately, while the book was still good, I think it would have benefited from focusing on a couple of specific angles and not too many at once; this just leads it to feel underdeveloped, and because of this it was often hard to sympathise and have a connection with the characters. Nothing felt at stake, and I didn’t feel compelled. But still, despite all that, it was still a cute story and if your looking for a second-chance romance story that all works out perfectly, then I’d recommend this one to you.

 

 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I’m a massive fan of the Lunar Chronicles, it’s one of my favourite series of all time, so to say I went into this one with very high expectations is a bit of an understatement. And the outcome. . . It was okay. I’m pleased, but I can’t say I’m delighted.

So this is the origin story of The Queen of Hearts, so it’s the tale of how she become what we all know her for. But oh my, the first 300 odd pages felt like an opening. While it was enjoyable, I just felt like it began to drag. The last 100 or so pages were fabulous, and it’s a shame the beginning of the book wasn’t written fast paced with tension.

Also, I’ve never been a big fan of Alice in Wonderland. I think I’ve watched one Tim Burton adaptation and that was a giant nope, as I discovered my fear of the Cheshire Cat (he seriously freaking creeps me out, please no). Because of this, I don’t have much knowledge and this book didn’t really help. While it’s not meant to copy the original etc, it seemed to seriously lack world-building.

Maybe if I went into this with lower expectations and it having read the Lunar Chronicles, I might have given it a star higher. That said, I did like it, but you won’t find me screaming about it from any roof tops in the near future (what is time???? Look at me, making references).

So overall, I found this book okay. The world building was bland, but Meyer has such a wonderful writing style that always makes me continue to read on. The description of cakes were my favourite, and I think the best thing about this book was Catherine’s passion for them. Unfortunately, this book along with the amazingness of the Lunar Chronicles, led to this book promising me too much, and unfortunately it didn’t quite deliver in the way I was expecting it too. I feel like this book is the definition of good ideas, just not executed greatly.

While I do own a hardcover version of this, I’d also like to thank NetGalley for sending me a copy to review.

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The Thousandth Floor – Katharine McGee (The Thousandth Floor, #1)

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

Let me start of by saying: I can’t wait for the sequel. Seriously, with an ending like that I’m dying to get my hands on to the second book to see how things are going to go down (and a lot of things will be going to go down). I feel like this first book was a great, enjoyable set up to what could possibly be a 10x bigger, better and more explosive sequel. I’m excited.

From the beginning of the book we know someone is going to die by falling from the Thousandth floor, but we don’t know who. To my utter disdain, it was not the person I was secretly wishing would fall off…(I can’t say much more without giving away major spoilers). The person who died was also one of my favourite characters and whose POV I was looking too. Not all of these characters I got on with, one in particular and one I just found to be sort of creepy.

This book has a hybrid of genres that can appeal to many different tastes! It blends teen-fic with futuristic elements (I’m talking about call tech), drama, romance, suspense. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would, as I went in thinking it would be another superficial novel of girls with secrets and pretty dresses (so okay…it was, but it was more than that, and it was enjoyable. Mostly. And then one of my faves died. Sigh).

I mentioned my disdain for some of the characters in this book, and the other problem I had with this was that I didn’t get the way the Tower operates for a while. I still have my questions and am slightly confused, and I think the outside world building could have been better. It seemed only certain details where mentioned like a light bulb moment of “oh yeah, did I forget to mention —– which makes —-??” It didn’t hinder my experience much, but I was confused that this tower wasn’t just a massive hotel but literally was like a whole world just covered in a glass tower (like a really large shopping mall…just with hotels inside, and peoples houses/apartments).

If your looking for a cool new light-ish read that will still keep you intrigued and wanting more then look no further!