A Powerful Page Turner // ARC REVIEW: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Title: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)
Author: Vic James
Publication Date: January 26th 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/3 of the Dark Gifts Trilogy
I Got A Copy Through: ARC From Pan Macmillan India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || The Book Depository || Kobo || Books A Million || Indigo || Google Books || Foyles || Waterstones
Blurb Description: For readers of Victoria Aveyard and George RR Martin comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.
NOT ALL ARE FREE.NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED. 
Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
“Always look at the people, not the mass. A face, not the crowd. Look at the world, not the ground. Every little detail you see is a victory.”

This book has been on my radar for quite a while now. It sounded like exactly something I would read and honestly, I have no idea why I waited so long to start reading it.

Before I began, however, I did read a few reviews that told me that this book contained a lot of politics, but honestly, that had me EVEN MORE excited to dive in! I do believe that a good fantasy book should have enough governance for it to be believable.  

Gilded Cage is a powerful page-turner, filled with politics and rebellion, family and courage, love and freedom that will leave you desperate for more.
SOME OF THE THINGS I LOVED INCLUDE:

1.       THE BRUTALITY: Honestly, I would have been disappointed if this book wasn’t brutal. A Skilled Aristocracy that have the power to alter and erase memories, control over the weather and the elements and healing that rule over common folk – HOW COULD THEY NOT BE BRUTAL? While it shocked me, all the brutality made the book what it was.

2.       THE REBELLION: When I read The Lunar Chronicles last year, the one thing that hit me was how the rebellion seemed SO EASY to orchestrate. IT ISN’T. Otherwise, anyone would do it. The rebellion or rather the growing unrest among commoners in Gilded Cage was believable, palpable and it made me feel like I was in a slave camp, right there with them.

3.       SILYEN JARDINE: If you know me, you know that I CANNOT RESIST A SLIGHTLY SOCIOPATHIC HUMAN/ VILLAIN LOOKING OUT FOR ONLY HIMSELF. Silyen was such a BEAUTIFULLY COMPLEX character with POWER and a BRILLIANT MIND and I cannot wait to see what Victoria James does with him next.
Image result for gilded cage vic james
4.       THE MULTIPLE POV’s: I usually find it hard to get used to/ remember multiple points of view in a book, but IT WAS SO WELL DONE this actually was a huge plus point for me. I LOVED EXPLORING the minds of all the characters – Leah, Abi, Luke, Gavar and even Bouda and Euterpe.

THINGS I WISHED WERE EXPLAINED MORE:

1.       THE SKILLS: The Skilled or the Aristocracy or the people with Magic’s abilities were SO VAGUE. Apart from a ONE LINE naming of all the various Skills, I got nothing. Do the Skilled have ONE SKILL or can they have a number OR does it depend on how Skilled they are? What even ARE the different kinds of Skills? I wish that these were a) described better and b) that we saw MORE OF THE POWER because there was more drinking than power being thrown and I NEED MORE, OKAY?
2.       Jenner and Abi: These two would be on the top of the list of romances I DID NOT GET. I swear, the minute she saw him Abi a) blushed and b) thought, “If he wasn’t an Equal (Aristocrat) he might be someone I let myself love and be loved by. WHAT. And then there were a few scenes about some office romance – but I FELT NOTHING. It was insta love that COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER but was such a C-plot line that it just felt like a waste.

A book DEFINITELY worth diving into. A brutal, powerful, political fantasy with high stakes and intense prose. I can’t WAIT for more! 4 stars.
Vic JamesVic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now writes full time.

Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.
What was the last fantasy book you read? 
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? 
Have you read Gilded Cage?
What did you think of it?/ I can't wait to hear from you!

Intense, Real, Heartbreaking // REVIEW: Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Title: Girl In Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Publication Date: October 6th 2016
Publisher: Rock The Boat UK // Delacorte Press US
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Rock The Boat UK (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || The Book Depository || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
It’s hard to describe what a book this deep, dark and intense makes you feel. Truth be told, I’m nothing but a bundle of emotions right now that I’m just trying to shove down so I can write this review semi-coherently.

I’ve had an e-copy of Girl in Pieces for a while now, but for some reason, I could never quite focus on everything going on in this book through the screen of my iPad. And so, when I got my hands on a paperback, I dove right in.

This book is one of the most intense portrayals of a harsh life that I’ve ever seen, but always with a glimmer of hope in the background and I fell in love with it.
”Each aberration of my skin is a song. Press your mouth against me. You will hear so much singing.”
Girl in Pieces opens with a girl lying on the snow in front of a hospital, the red seeping out of her body and into the white underneath her. It will grip you right then, make you feel Charlie’s pain and understand it and leave you reeling.

Some opinions/ thoughts:

1.       Girl In Pieces is a deep, heavy and accurate description of what mental health problems feel like. While it is primarily about self-harm, it also deals with physical and sexual abuse, substance abuse and emotional abuse. It’s an intense book that I needed to keep putting on hold for hours before getting back to it.

2.       This book is authentic. It handles the ups and downs or the ‘good days’ and the ‘bad days’ of mental health and addiction with stark clarity. It also shows the below average standard of health care given to those who need it when they don’t have the financial ability to pay for it.

3.       Charlie Davis is a heart breaking character. She has had a less than ideal life, and my heart ached for all the four hundred pages I was in her head. I’ve never understood a character more, all I wanted was for her to find some kind of love and to be happy. She was unique, living a painstakingly real life in a harsh world and I only want the best for her.
Image result for girl in pieces kathleen glasgow quotes 
    4.       I didn’t get Riley and Charlie. It felt like a bad idea from the start, not to mention the ten year age difference and the fact that Charlie was a minor. I didn’t get it, but I understood where she was coming from. I hated it when, as she put it, made herself smaller for him to notice her. Even the book portrayed it as something that wouldn’t end well, but I did sort of understand why Charlie did it.

   5.       The middle got kind of slow. There’s a sort of lag in the middle when Charlie and Riley are together, when Mike is gone and Blue isn’t there and they’re forming this unhealthy routine between them when I found myself counting pages, waiting for something to happen.

6.       Mike was such a… filler character. I didn’t know what to think of him. I just didn’t. Also, BUNNY? A real name?

I don’t quite know what I’ve even said in this.

Image result for girl in pieces kathleen glasgow quotesThis book is a gorgeous and heart shattering rendering of what it is to find yourself and find your place when your biggest enemy is you.

I’ve never read a better, more intense, more real or more heart-breaking book on mental health and hard lives and I could not recommend it enough.

It was absolutely positively fucking angelic.  
Kathleen GlasgowKathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She likes Tyrion and Shireen, musty old paperbacks from used bookstores that have cats wandering the aisles, cheesecake, coffee, and the Isle of Skye. Visit her on Twitter (@kathglasgow), Instagram (misskathleenglasgow), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/KathleenGlas...) or her website (www.kathleenglasgowbooks.com).
What are some of the best books on Mental Health that you've read?
Have you heard of or read Girl In Pieces? What did you think of it?
I can't WAIT to hear from all of you.

April 2017 Anticipated Young Adult Releases

Every month there are just SO SO MANY books releasing that I NEED to get my hands on and so, instead of picking just one book to wait on, it's just easier to put them all together!

I have no idea how many of these AMAZING books will even release in India (where I live) but that doesn't make me want to read them less!

My exams start next week, and I'm trying to get some reading in before I'll have too much to cram into my brain and can't read too much.

Who, here are some of my most anticipated April 2017 YA Releases!

The Upside of Unrequited1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Releases Aprill 11th from Balzer + Bray
Description: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back. 
There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. 
Right? 
Literally2. Literally by Luck Keating
Releases April 11th 2017 from Harper Teen
Description: A girl realizes her life is being written for her in this unique, smart love story that is Stranger Than Fiction for fans of Stephanie Perkins.
Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine. 
It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her. 
But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word? 
The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.” 
Fireworks3. Fireworks by Katie Cotungo 
Releases April 11th 2017 from Balzer + Bray
Description: From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.
It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along. 
But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing. 
It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through. 
Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness. 
Blacksouls (Blackhearts, #2)4. Blacksouls by Nicole Castroman
Releases April 11th 2017 from Simon Pulse
Description: Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.
Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.
Letters to the Lost5. Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Releases April 4th 2017 from Bloomsbury
Description: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. 
What books are you DYING to read this April? 
Have you already read some of the books on my list? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Top Ten Books I DEVOURED In One Sitting (Top Ten Tuesday #25)

Hey Top Ten Tuesday-ers,

How is it going? I submitted my final project of the semester just yesterday, finished up college for the semester today (except for finals UGH) and well, for the next five days, I'M A FREE HUMAN BEING! And then I need to hit the books but...

I just finished my binge of Jane The Virgin and IT IS SUCH A FUN SHOW. I especially loved the last few episodes that fast forwarded three years and well, I can't wait for next week's episode!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week's topic is Books You Devoured In One Sitting. So, here goes!
Just Listen1. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
One of the first proper young adult books I read (because it was the first one that started a long cycle of breaking my heart) I read this book in ONE SITTING when I was twelve years old. This book affected me in so mant ways and cemented Sarah Dessen as an auto-but author for me. It was heartbreaking and perfect and I think I've read it AT LEAST FIVE TIMES SINCE. 
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2)2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
This just sort of... happened while I was procrastinating studying for an exam last year and the next thing I knew, I'D FINISHED A BOOK and none of my portions for the exam. This was HANDS DOWN my favourite book in The Lunar Chronicles Series and Scarlet and Wolf and my Series OTP. 
Can You Keep a Secret?3. Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
When I went to MY FIRST EVER Comic-Con late last year with two of my best friends (we honestly don't believe that we even went) and bought this book for just Rs.100 at The Bookworm, Bangalore. It was SUCH A STEAL DEAL and I came home the next day and read this book all over again, despite the fact that it was only the third time!
Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2)4. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
I got to read this book A YEAR AND THREE MONTHS AGO when the Guardian Children's Books sent me an ARC of this book. I dropped EVERYTHING the second it got here, and spent my ENTIRE DAY reading all through classes in school, and during my breaks and even when I came home. BEST. BOOK. EVER. 
The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)5. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
I borrowed this one from my local library on a whim three years ago and instead of studying for my chemistry final, I DOVE INTO SAMANTHA SHANNON'S ABSOLUTELY UTTERLY BEAUTIFUL WORLD. I'm so excited that The Song Rising releases in India in JUST nine days because that means SERIES BINGE (I've forgotten what happened in Book 1) (Can you blame me?)
Only Ever Yours6. Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill
This is a dystopian book based on real life social perceptions of what women should be, and what they should look like. It is basically a BEAUTIFUL Description of the Patriarchy and all that is wrong with it, in a dystopian setting and I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. SERIOUSLY. 
Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries, #11)7. Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot
When this book came out and I rushed to the bookstore to buy it, I FREAKED AND READ IT ALL over one evening and night. Despite the fact that I was ACTUALLY OUT with my friends, I gave them as little attention as possible and dived back into Mia and Michael's world. It felt like a repetition of The Princess Diaries but for older readers and well, I still don't know what I really think of it. 
Gemina (The Illuminae Files, #2)8. Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
I flipped open this book in January of this year, mostly because the SUSPENSE of what wold happen to Aidan, Kady and Ezra next was KILLING ME. The only reason I sped read through this was because I was OH-SO-DESPERATELY waiting for my precious Illuminae characters to make an appearance again, and I NEEDED TO GET THERE SOON. It felt sort of second best compared to Illuminae to be honest. 
Paper Princess (The Royals, #1)9. Paper Princess by Erin Watt
I'd heard about this book (or rather seen people owning it on Bookstagram) but I never really knew what it was about until my sister asked me if I wanted to buddy read it with her. Over the course of one weekend, we devoured all three books in The Royals series and I LOVED IT. Sometimes, trashy romances are SUCH FUN!
Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4)10. The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole
I received this ENTIRE series as review copies last September and after a slow start to book one, I got COMPLETELY sucked into this world and fell in love with all the players. I can't believe that there has been NO NEW NEWS about the next book in the series, even though it's already supposed to be out. *cries bucketloads of tears*
How long does it take you to get through a book?
Which are the books you DEVOURED WHOLE in just one sitting?
I can't wait to hear from all of you!