Sunday, 15 September 2019

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin
Publisher: HarperTeen/Harper360
Released: 3rd September 2019
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.
(from Goodreads)

Do you like sarcastic and witty protagonists? Do you enjoy the enemies-to-lovers trope? Do you like morally grey characters just trying to get by in life without dying? Then you’ll love Serpent & Dove, which has fast become one of my favourite books of the year.

First and foremost, Serpent & Dove is about witches, and one witch in particular: Lou. Lou was someone I immediately took to (maybe because we share the same morbid sense of humour but who knows really) and I loved that she just didn’t care what other people thought of her. She had a very difficult past and as result didn’t trust many people and didn’t have many friends. The friends she did have though, were fantastic. Her relationship with her best friend, Coco, was one of my favourite things about this book. Gotta love women supporting women and Coco really stuck by Lou even though she could have run off to safety by herself. Lou never forgot that, and it was clear how much they cared about each other. Coco was also fabulously hilarious and a powerful witch with cool abilities, so bonus points for that.

Lou was not the quiet sort; she didn’t intentionally search out trouble, and yet trouble always seemed to find her. In this case, in the form of Reid, a Chasseur (essentially a witch-hunter working for the Church) who absolutely did not want to be mixed up with Lou and her mess. But the world works in mysterious ways, friends, and so Lou and Reid found themselves married, much to their chagrin.

Is there anything better than the enemies-to-lovers trope? Than two people who hate each having to get married and then slowly realising that maybe they don’t hate each other after all? I’ll answer the question for you: no there is not.

I’m a sucker (cue Jonas Brothers) for this trope and it was executed perfectly. As Reid was a Chasseur, he started out pompous and arrogant and judgemental. He wanted absolutely nothing to do with Lou. Until he did. First he found her annoying, then he found her endearing. First she was crass, then she was funny. First she was tough, then she was vulnerable. I honestly just can’t get over how well Reid’s transformation was written. He went from someone so easy to dislike to someone I was so invested in that I was literally shouting at my Kindle for him to stop being an idiot. He slowly came to change his views, began to realise perhaps he didn’t know everything after all, perhaps Lou was worth caring about. He still made mistakes, but he realised them. The characterisation – ugh! I loved it.

There were actually a whole host of other great characters too, but I’ll just point out Ansel because he was exactly the friend Lou needed when she was living with Reid and the other Chasseurs and he must be protected at all costs. I swear if something happens to him in the next book…

Plot-wise, essentially there were witches, and witch-hunters hunting witches, except the witch-hunters didn’t know who the witches were and well, you get my drift. Many things ensued. I loved how there was no clear divide between who was good and who was evil. Yes, the Chasseurs were bigoted and brainwashed and knew practically nothing about the witches they were murdering, but then there were also witches killing people in the most gruesome ways and not caring who found the bodies. Lou herself had done very bad things, but also very kind things. I liked how everyone was a bit morally grey because it felt so much more realistic than saying witches are good and witch-hunters and bad and so the witches must win in the end. That’s just not how life works and certainly wasn’t how the world worked in Serpent & Dove.

The pacing was also excellent (I finished this book in a day because I couldn’t stop reading) and while some of the plot was ever so slightly predictable, the book was so addictive that I didn’t even care. And the ending! I need the sequel. Now.

Overall, I adored this book and highly recommend it to all fantasy readers (or anyone who enjoys a good romance). Read it!

PS: Reid swearing was everything

PPS: I wrote a bunch of notes about this book that I didn’t include in my review because it’s a couple of weeks after I’ve read it now and don’t know what I’ve written because I honestly can’t read my own handwriting… 

Monday, 9 September 2019

Monday, 2 September 2019

Favourite Books Read in 2019 So Far (Described Using GIFs)

The title says it all, so in no particular order:

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

America Ferrera Superstore GIF

oh my god wow GIF

season 3 nbc GIF

Image result for bradley cooper book gif

The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3)

addams family halloween GIF

Bossy Beyonce GIF

Boss Women Entrepreneurs GIF

true love anna GIF

Sad Sadness GIF

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)

season 8 episode 10 GIF

Scooby Doo Mystery GIF

Trust No One Bridesmaids GIF

adventure time kiss GIF

messages communicate GIF

what is happening andy samberg GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Noah Centineo Peter Kavinsky GIF

Sarcasm Sabrina GIF - Sarcasm Sabrina The GIFs

Teen Wolf Stephen Lunsford GIF

I Ship It GIF

The Dark Knight Alfred GIF

Other favourites that couldn't been GIFified for various reasons (including lack of relevant GIFs but mostly because my shitty laptop refused to load more GIFs without crashing because it's so oooold):

  The BindingThe Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1)42391655. sy475     38714357

I'll also be posting GIFified versions of my worst books read in 2019, so look forward to that (or don't, I can't tell you what to do).