Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

Okay, I actually haven’t done a book tag in a while and was hunting for one (I know) when I stumbled across the Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag on Dreamland Book Blog, where the lovely Beatrice has tagged anyone who wants to give it a go!
(The original tag was created by Book Syrup on YouTube, and this is the original video)

Here goes:

1) Best Colour Combo On A Book Cover
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Okay, for me that has to be Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. This book is honestly stunning – the blue and gold go together perfectly for me and they fit right in with the theme and genre of the novel.

2) Best Typography/Font On A Book Cover
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My favourite typography is from Briar Rose by Jana Oliver. I fell in love with the font in the shop, and I’m still in love with it now. The thorns perfectly capture the darker side to the tale and I reckon it’ll always spring to mind.

3) Best Simple Cover
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Does Running Girl by Simon Mason count as simple? I’m counting it as simple. I like it because it’s clean and straightforward, which I find hilarious because it’s about a murder and the mystery behind it which isn’t straightforward at all.

4) Best Endpages
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It was only when I started searching for endpages that I realised how few hardback copies of books I actually have. In the end I stumbled back across My True Love Gave to Me by various authors (edited by Stephanie Perkins) and found these cutesy endpages. They’re so festive and the bright pink really brightens up my bookshelf.

5) Best Map
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For this one, I have to go with The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. Technically it’s a map of a school, but I’m a sucker for a good fantasy school with interesting names for places, so here it is.

6) Best Naked Hardback
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Again, I realised that I own basically no hardback books and the ones that I do literally have solid black covers with silver writing down the side. Not that I dislike them, because honestly I think they look awesome, but none of them particularly stand out. Virtually my only one with anything vaguely interesting on it is Summoner: The Novice by Taran Matharu and it’s a pentagram, so…yeah. Sorry guys!

7) Best Back Cover
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So I’m going back to my childhood with this series and it’s the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton (who also wrote the Famous Five and Secret Seven books). The covers are just fun to look at and don’t have huge blocks of text covering up the illustrations.

8) Best Chapter Headers
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After much searching, I actually found two for this one – both of them Peter Pan retellings. The first one is Capt. Hook by J.V. Hart, and it has little illustrations about the chapter title that I don’t think I properly appreciated the first time round, so I may need to re-read it! The other one is The Child Thief by Brom, which has a much darker tone and illustrations that take up an entire page.

9) Best Illustrations
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Hands down Nicholas St. North by William Joyce. If you’ve watched Rise of the Guardians then you’ll recognise some of the characters, because the film is based on this series. I only own the first one, but the illustrations are absolutely stunning.

10) Best Spine
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For this one, I have two. Three Dark Crowns because it is bright green and it always catches my eye. The Darkest Part of the Forest because it’s one of the only ones that I can read of my shelf without squinting.

11) Favourite Cover On Your Shelves
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Okay, so I’m going to go for runners up first: Six of Crows, Eyes like Stars, The Night of the Solstice and Tiger Lily are all worthy contenders and I love them to pieces.
But my favourite has to be The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, because it is gorgeous. The blue and the white make it stand out so much on my shelf and yep, it’s definitely my favourite.

So that’s the tag! I’m not tagging anyone to do it, but if you’d like to then please feel free!

Holly xx

Crooked Kingdom – Book Review

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Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Paperback: 536 pages
Published: 27th September 2016 by Orion Children’s Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

Where to start?

Where indeed.

Well, my heart is in shreds.

I mean.

Ouch.

Anyway, I should probably get on with the review.

Firstly, the characters:

Kaz is still ruling the back streets of Ketterdam and is more lethal than ever. His backstory is explored a little bit more in this book and he is still a cunning guy. Some of his actions are just straight up vicious, but it’s good to read a character who’s always 2 steps ahead.

Inej is still a murderous queen and I love her to pieces. I also adore the friendship between her and Nina, because it is so rare to get a platonic female friendship in books like this. (Her friendship with Jesper is precious too, oh dear Lord.) I like her character development and how she grows as a fighter from the middle to the end of the book – it’s fascinating.

Nina actually became one of my favourite characters in this particular book. Her fight against the jurda parem is long and drawn out, but it makes it that much more realistic. Her flirty nature made me grin more than a few times as did her and Matthias with their constant bantering.

Matthias developed SO MUCH. He’s still not quite as bad as the others, but his opinions toward all of the others and their underhand methods go from resignation to mild acceptance, which is something. I’m glad he learnt to accept his last and his inner demons.

Jesper continued to crack me up throughout the whole book. Out of all the characters, he was probably still my favourite. I loved his relationship with his father and the insights we got into his past too. He finally used his powers again, to do something that should have been impossible, but don’t they all.

Wylan. Oh, Wylan. My other favourite. (Okay, I give in – they’re all my favourites.) This guy really came into his own in this book. His backstory was explained more, we got some answers that we definitely weren’t expecting, but he developed into someone much stronger than I had ever expected.

The relationships between all of them developed further and they just all fitted so well. Kaz and Inej became closer. Nina and Matthias actually kissed, as did Jesper and Wylan.

I’m still chuckling over this little gem from Wylan by the way:

Kuwei turned to Jesper. “You should visit me in Ravka. We could learn to use our powers together.”
“How about I push you in the canal and we see if you know how to swim?” Wylan said with a very passable imitation of Kaz’s glare.

Heh.

Onto the plot itself.
There were so many twists and turns in this book. When I thought I’d sussed it all out, something else cropped up. Kaz’s schemes got the better of me and in the end I gave up trying and just enjoyed the surprises.

In particular, this part:

But he was still surprised when he heard the shot.

I thought it was a bluff.
Apparently not.

In short: Everybody is double-crossed and it’s brilliant.

I’ve got to say, I still haven’t quite got my head around all of the nationalities, but I think I’m getting there. Reading the other books might help with that to be honest, so they’ll probably go on the list.

In case you hadn’t already guessed, yes there is a death.
No, I’m not going to say who it was.
But I did cry.

In all it was a very satisfying read and I would recommend both books wholeheartedly to anyone.

Any thoughts?

Holly xx