book reviews, spoiler free

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Review

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back 
by Adrienne Young

Rating: XXXX

Published September 3rd 2019 by Titan Books

“He knew that I’d bring death since the moment he first laid eyes on me. And he was right.”

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

I was gifted an early finished copy of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by publisher Titan Books in exchange for an honest review, despite not being blown away by Sky in the Deep, the debut book by the same author I decided to give this second book a go as there defintley felt like potential and the cover and name of the book completely won me over.

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You might remember back in April I reviewed Sky in the Deep (you can find my review here) and I found it really predictable and didn’t hugely enjoy it too much as a result but I am pleased to report the sequel of sorts/companion story The Girl the Sea Gave Back felt like a vast improvement. If you haven’t read Sky in the Deep however do not despair as they can be read as separate books and you do not have to have read Sky in the Deep to understand and follow TGTSGB. I would say, however, that it is beneficial and gives the story much more depth. It is certainly a good story in its own right but I found I was already attached to other characters because of their involvement in the first book, especially Halvard who is a main character this time around and I had already decided I would lay my life down for him in Sky in the Deep.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back, for me at least, defintley benefited from having a little more of a fantasy element to it. The main character, Tova, is a truth tongue, she can communicate (in a way) with the spinners who carve fate into the tree of Udur and thus she can cast runes and use them to determine futures and outcomes. This really gave it a more interesting depth and the fact that Tova from a Kyrr, (a member of a mysterious clan from the headlands who keep to themselves) living among another clan called the Svell made for some brilliant narrative and conflict within as she tried to find her place. I really like that although Tova is young and relatively inexperienced she made smart choices and was an easy character to mesh with and see the world through her eyes.

Halvard is all grown up ten years after the events of Sky in the Deep and he is almost impossible not to love, he’s grown up to be honourable and thoughtful but as one of the first generations to have not seen battle in the fighting seasons, instead being taught merely to fish and hunt instead of fight he sometimes feels he is lesser and not worthy of responsibility placed on him by those around him. He is as wholesome as ever in this companion story and the love I already had for him only grew as he makes hard decisions and proves himself to be who his family and his village already know him to be.

The plot was paced fairly well, with sprinklings of battle here and there which were written very well, being both exciting and easy to follow. There is the smallest sprinkling of romance involved and I was worried that it would be very predictable and irritate me but honestly, it was okay and not made a huge deal of which I think was for the best. I found moments surprised me and I became quite invested in the outcome of all involved, The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a solid and enjoyable read.

 

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#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you think should be studied in school

Six for Sunday

Yikes! Steph from A Little but A Lot who comes up with these prompts picked a hard one for this week! I have no idea what would be beneficial to children today, I’m so out of touch! I will, however, list six books that I would have liked to have studied in school or that I think would be interesting to discuss.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel like this would potentially be a difficult one because it is so filled with grief and some behaviour that could be construed as negative (but realistic). I’m a little out of touch with how teenagers or those who had lost someone very close to them would feel about reading or studying this so not sure this would actually be the best of choices as it could be a sensitive subject but I think it’s something that I would have valued at a younger age personally.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
This is an incredibly important book. It showcases so many relevant topics, although this would probably be a 16+ book.

His Hideous Heart by various authors, edited by Dahlia Adler
I think this anthology of retellings of the works of Edgar Allen Poe would be a brilliant book to study, especially as it also includes the original poems in the back of the book too. Perhaps when studying this, students could pick a poem and write a story about that in the same way?

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
This book is a great read but it also has some important messages about how we treat the world itself and what it means to be human, I feel like this could lead to some important and educational discussions and ideas.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
I feel like this book is so good at showcasing a group of very different young people and how despite their differences and disagreements they can still care about each other and still get along with dealing with some pretty hard times in their life and topics that may be difficult to broach otherwise.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Okay so this is probably boring for a lot of people but I studied Macbeth multiple times in school and I LOVED it. I was so glad we weren’t stuck studying Of Mice and Men or Romeo and Juliet but Macbeth had battles and witches and Lady Macbeth telling her husband to sort himself out and murder the king already, also regicide is always fun, let alone the characters and then going mad with guilt. Also, I won’t spoil it but that loophole in the prophecy hey? LOVE it. I think studying Shakespeare is cool but we defintley need to look at some of the more awesome plays instead of repeatedly studying the same things. (I would have loved 12th night or Hamlet in addition to Macbeth instead of doing Macbeth twice despite how much I loved it).

Okay so most of these probably aren’t great or realistic choices but I tried? Was there a particular book at school that you studied and really liked? I was particularly fond of The Crucible and that always stuck with me.

 

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – August 28th 2019

www wednesday

So I like to think I’m usually pretty well prepared and I tend to have my posts scheduled in advance by at least a couple of days. This is not the case today. I’m frantically typing at 8am ON Wednesday, August 28th because honestly, I forgot it was time for my fortnightly WWW Wednesday! I hope you still enjoy it though!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. I’m just under half-way through which I don’t think is too bad considering I haven’t had a lot of reading time this past week. I’m already enjoying it more than I did Sky in the Deep as there seems to be a bit more of a fantasy element to this one and I’m enjoying seeing or hearing about characters from the first book!

What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve been a bit slower with my reading as it’s the school holidays so the last book I finished was Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff and honestly, I’m still kind of reeling from it (review to come soon) because damn it was a stressful read (good but stressful) and I’m starting to feel a little terrified about Darkdawn…

What do you think you’ll read next?

Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff is out in just under a week from today so I don’t want to start anything too big because the moment that book arrives I plan to devour it immediately so after my current read I might read some graphic novels or maybe finally finish Six of Crows? WHO KNOWS?!

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read something recently that you’ve absolutely loved? Tell me all about it!

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Yellow Books

Six for Sunday

Its Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Yellow Books” which I wasn’t sure I would be able to do but it actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, I’ve even read some would you believe?

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Hotly contested as to its status as “canon” but I actually really enjoyed the Cursed Child screenplay, even more so when I actually saw the show itself which blew my mind. Scorpius is precious and must be protected at all costs.

Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne

A book I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get around to, this was gifted to me by the lovely Charlotte for our bookish exchange last year.

Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles

I read this early and although it’s not my normal kind of read I honestly loved it, it was hilarious and I can’t wait to read the sequel Life’s a Beach soon too.

Belles Library with a foreword by Linda Woolverton

I brought this book literally just because it was pretty and I liked its aesthetics but it’s also actually a really lovely little book filled with quotes from different books with little comments from ‘Belle’.

A Change is Gonna Come by Various authors

Another yellow book I was gifted by a friend that I have yet to get around to! This book is a collection of short stories and poems about change and features writers such as: Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne , Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood.

Another contemporary that I really enjoyed! This was interesting and had so many points of view, with each one being written by a different author and then also a separate narrator, I’ve never read anything quite like it.

spoiler free, Tags

A-Z Tag

tag Thursday

I’ve seen this book tag floating around for such a long time now but have never had the chance to do it myself! I found it while checking out Lois’s blog, Lois Reads here. I love a good book tag and this has been one of my favourites so far! I hope you enjoy the A-Z book tag!

An author you’ve Read the Most Books From

Probably Cassandra Clare because of the sheer amount of Shadowhunters books and I still haven’t gotten around to the Red Scrolls of Magic yet! A close second would probably be Maria V. Snyder.


Best Sequel Ever

I sound like a broken record but Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, I didn’t think anything would be able to live up to Illumiane but Gemina did a damned good job. I also want to give an honourable mention to Vengeful by V. Schwab because it was absolutely perfect. Vengeful is probably the best sequel but Gemina is my favourite.

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Currently Reading

I had planned to read something different but this morning I decided to read The Girl the Water Gave Back by Adrienne Young.


Drink of Choice Whilst Reading

I tend not to drink too much while I’m reading as I tend to do little and often usually but if I’m settling in for a long read I usually have a cold glass of squash but as it gets colder I’ll be breaking out the hot chocolate for sure.


E-Reader or Physical Book

I jump between both but tend to lean towards physical books, mainly because there’s just something about looking up at my bookshelves full of all my favourite books and the memories they hold. I do like that that if I finish a book at 3am I can just download it’s sequel on my kindle – I do not recommend this if you plan to sleep ever.


Fictional Character You Probably would have Actually Dated in High School

I feel like there would be many unrequited crushes on my part, Ari from Once and Future, Mia from Nevernight, Finn from Aurora Rising, Jace from City of Bones, Stormer from Jem and the Holograms and Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries. I feel like Simon Lewis from the Shadowhunter Chronicles would probably be the only one I might have actually dated with our similar nerdy interests.


Glad You Gave this Book a Chance

Gah! There have been SO many books I’ve read on a whim and absolutely loved so I refuse to pick one, The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, Adrift by Rob Boffard and Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy.


Hidden Gem Book

Sanctuary by V.V James, it’s not really that hidden anymore, especially after it was the book in the Illumicrate box last month but when I read it months ago I was so happy to have found it when I wasn’t looking for it.

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Important Moment in your Reading Life

When I read The Two Princesses of Barremare when I was (a lot) younger, for the first time and I fell head over heels in love with the characters, I felt so immersed in their world and they felt like real people to me when I was younger and I really think that Addie facing her fears helped me in some ways to become who I am today.


Just Finished

I finished Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff last night and I am…wrecked.


Kind of Books you Won’t Read

I don’t like super heavy adult books and I’m not comfortable reading anything that features miscarriage.


Longest Book you’ve Read

I’m fairly certain this is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at 734 pages but with A Discovery of Witches coming a close second at 688 pages. I don’t really read a lot of long books.

Scrap this, I just double-checked and actually, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassie Clare was the longest book I’ve read at 912 pages. Ouch.

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Major Book Hangover because of

The only one I can really think of was after I read Lord of Shadows by Cassie Clare. The ending wrecked me and I think I was just a little burnt out after reading a couple of huge books in a row, I didn’t read for almost three months.


Number of Bookcases you Own

There are two small bookcases in our hallway filled mostly with Manga and I have another four in our bedroom, one of which is only half-sized and mostly contains video games.

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One Book You’ve Read Multiple Times

I haven’t reread a lot of books lately, I used to reread The Hobbit every year but it’s been a little while now and I just haven’t found the time to get back to it, that and I have so many great new books to read that I don’t feel like I could justify it. I do however listen to audiobooks before bed quite often and I always pick ones I’ve read/heard before so that I can actually get to sleep. The most popular is either Illuminae, Gemina or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them because I adore Eddie Redmayne reading it.


Preferred Place to Read

I love to read on my comfy sofa in our bedroom! I’ve made my own little reading nook which is also where I film my YouTube videos on our old sofa that we were going to get rid of because it had a rip in it but it was too comfy and I couldn’t part with it so I just have a blanket covering it and it’s all good! I do also tend to read in/on my bed quite a lot too.


Quote that Inspires You

It’s probably a strange one and there are a lot of great quotes out there that I also love but this one has always stuck with me from Warm Bodies by Issac Marrion. It reminds me to speak up, whether for others or myself I don’t want to be silent either in my words or my actions and I will keep on going.

“I long for exclamation marks, but I’m drowning in ellipses.”


Reading Regret

I wish I hadn’t stopped reading. It was really only a few years but I can’t help at despair at all the books I could have read in that time and all the great books I missed. Still, I came back and that’s what matters.


Series You Started but Need to Finish

Six of Crows I guess? I got about halfway through the first book and had to get another book read for a blog tour but haven’t got back to it yet.


Three of Your All-Time Favourite Books

  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Unapologetic Fangirl for

Lauren James, she’s an absolute instabuy author for me and I have yet to read one of her books that I haven’t adored.

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Very Excited for this Release More than Others

Darkdawn. I am both excited and terrified to be honest. I NEED ANSWERS.

Also Queen of Nothing. I hate to be so predictable but eh.


Worst Habit

Requesting or accepting books to review when I already have a ton to read. I’ll go to check a release date or something on Netgalley and end up requesting books because I’m a narcissistic idiot. It’s the same when I receive emails from publishers, I see a book I just KNOW I would love and would kick myself for not requesting and then it sits on my shelves forever. I’m trying to get through my backlog now.


X Marks the Spot – the 27th Book on Your Shelf

This is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I loved this book so much, it was the first Laini Taylor book I’d ever read and her prose is absolutely poetic. This was my second book from Fairy Loot too so it has the blue-stained edges and is signed and personalised to me after I met Laini a couple of years back at YALC.

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Your Latest Book Purchase

Technically it was the Goldsborough edition of Darkdawn I guess? It won’t arrive until mid-September but I ordered it yesterday when a few extras went up for sale. Before that, I brought books at YALC and can’t remember which one I brought last.


Zzzz Snatcher

I stayed up until 4am reading The Quiet at The End of The World after hitting a plot twist at around 2:30am. It was worth it but I do not recommend it if you have a dependent child waking you up at 6am.

I hope you enjoyed the A-Z book tag! This has given me an idea for a simialr book tag myself but with a twist so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon! I won’t tag anyone in particualr but you’d like to take part feel free and make sure to let me know so I can check out your answers!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 14th August

www wednesday

It’s been a slow reading couple of weeks for me! With little man off school and then being ill the past few days I’ve not been able to get very much reading done at all but I did finally tick an eagerly anticipated book off my TBR though!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

I’m really gutted I haven’t been able to read much of this at the moment but I’m already really enjoying what I’ve read so far and can’t wait to finally get back into it now I’m feeling a lot better. Will admit I’m a little scared of having to wait for Darkdawn after finishing this though.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

You’re probably seeing a pattern here right? I’m SO glad I finally got around to reading this book because, as expected, I absolutely freaking adore it. Nevernight is basically the story of Mia joining Murder Hogwarts and I love me some boarding school stories AND assassins, this is honestly the perfect book for me. Also, it may have broken me for a day or two as well. I made a YouTube video about it. (warnings for a sprinkling of bad language and spoilers after being warned in advance).

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Finding Home: Volume Two by Harri Conner, What Magic is This? by Holly Bourne

Assuming I manage to finish Godsgrave before Darkdawn releases I plan to have a binge read of some graphic novels I have on my TBR at the moment and I received a finished copy of What Magic is This? From the lovely folks at Barrington Stoke this weekend and I think because it’s a nice short read I should be able to fit it in no problem.

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read something recently that you’ve absolutely loved? Tell me all about it!

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 31st

So in the aftermath of YALC (event report coming tomorrow), it’s time for the last WWW Wednesday of the month.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you Currently Reading?

I am finally reading Nevernight!! With Darkdawn just around the corner and Jay coming to the UK in September it’s finally time. I’m flipping love it so far and I’m almost halfway through already!

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Do you Dream of Terra-Two? Just before YALC and I found it pretty underwhelming sadly. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t find it interesting enough for me but I’ll talk more about that in my review to come.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I was going to say definitely Godsgrave next but it depends how Nevernight ends as I do have a growing pile of review copies to read atm and I feel like maybe I should get at least one of them read in between but we’ll see, I know I need it read before September for Darkdawn and MEETING JAY HIMSELF!

Tell me how you’re reading has been going? Have there been any books you didn’t like or DNF? Maybe you read a book you really liked? Tell me about them!