Thursday, 30 June 2016

Review: Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik


Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Rating {★★★★☆}

We rejoin Captain William Laurence and Temeraire almost where the last book left off - with the Chinese discovering that the egg that they had sent to the French intended for Napoleon is now in the hands of the British Aerial Corps and that a rare and revered Celestial dragon is now living in a society that does not hold their dragons in nearly the same esteem as the Chinese and they have him actually fighting in their battles.

The intricacies of politics and cultural differences make this a slow read, but Novik's writing is always incredible for me and is so engaging that I enjoyed this even with the slow plot development and the overall pace of a three toed sloth.

Yes, it's THAT slow.
If you can get past the fact that it is going to be a slow one and that you will see more of the background politics of war than the actual battles themselves (although there are a couple of action scenes), you will find that dry humour and a lyrical narrative fill the pages and there's a growing intrigue of a deeply layered and very clever plot.

The friendship of Will and Temeraire is featured again and their strong interpersonal bonds and loyalty to each other is a truly beautiful aspect of this series. They are growing and learning together with Temeraire's progressive thinking leading Will to question things that he has taken for granted for most of his life. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

←His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1)

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy - Cassandra Clare


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Rating {★★★★★} 
“We all change the world, with every day of living in it"

What a great collection of stories for any Shadowhunter lover. Now, I'm not sure how these would go down for someone who hasn't read all or some of the Shadowhunter series before as I cannot put myself into that bubble. I already know and love a lot of these characters and through Simon's eyes I came to know and love so many more. Not only does this have flashbacks and guest appearances to characters from all the series before (Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, The Lightwoods and many more) it introduces a new cast of people and a new type of Shadowhunter that I cannot wait to read more about in the future books.

I read this as a 'warm-up' for Lady Midnight and I'm so glad that I have. The stories take a bit of time to get on a roll with the first being a lot of rehashing and scene setting but they quickly transport you to Simon's new world and introduce you to his new 'family' in the Shadowhunter Academy.

There is a lot on the brink of this world with the events from The Mortal Instruments still echoing and repercussions still being felt. The new generation of Shadowhunters will have a lot on their shoulders and (hopefully) they will be the turning point for the entire race. There are a lot of deeply layered issues here - the treatment of Downworlders in general, Simon figuring out what sort of person and what sort of Shadowhunter he would eventually like to become, the pride (and prejudices) of the Shadowhunters that have come before and the beginning of the buildup for what I believe will be the major climax in The Dark Artifices.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed a Shadowhunter series before and I am now beside myself to start reading Lady Midnight

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Monday, 27 June 2016

Review: Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary


Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary by Susan Rennie

Rating {★★★★

I adore Roald Dahl. And I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to get hold of an eARC. Thank-you NetGalley!

Roald Dahl is a personal childhood favourite and something I cannot wait to share with my children when they are old enough. I even enjoy re-reading the novels and rhymes as an adult, so I was just besotted with this dictionary! I think it is a wonderful addition to any library and I am going to be searching for a hard copy of this as soon as they become available.

Beautifully presented (with illustrations by Quentin Blake!!!!) and full of great facts and knowledge but also displayed in an entertaining and fun way which will make kids of all ages (even the adult ones!) truly enjoy this dictionary.

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Review: Starlight - Adrienne Woods


Starlight by Adrienne Woods

Rating {★★★★☆}

I always try to rate a book as soon as I close it so that I can capture exactly how I feel at the time and exactly where that book transported me to. This book is a wonderful example of why I do this because if I had waited until today to rate it, I probably would have dropped that rating to a three star, but truthfully this book was satisfying in so many ways and when I finally came to the close of it and reminisced about the entire story that I had read, I needed to give it the four stars because I really liked it.

There were so many great elements to this novel and in fact to this whole series, but there were also a huge number of letdowns. There were still, even in this last book published so many years after the first, so many glaring errors in both grammar and spelling. This has been a big issue throughout the entire series. I'm not sure if the physical books would be any better but the ebooks were pretty horrific.

Another factor for me that was more to do with the plot planning - revelation disappointments. The mysterious and elusive ingredient that was built up and built up from the previous book? I was so disappointed to learn what it actually was.

The mystical orbs of the mighty Rubicon were also such a let down and at the end of the day ended up being a way to tie up a loose end that probably didn't even need tying up. It would have been better left alone.

And the most frustrating of the plot-lines - angsty disputes and unnecessary misunderstandings. Yes, we have heard how these two main characters will share the greatest love ever seen blah, blah, blah, but we didn't get to see any of it. It would have been far nicer to read about the two of them finally getting along and working together for the entire book and then we could have focused more on the action of freeing Etan instead of summing it all up in a few paragraphs after Elena wakes from her coma. WE missed out on so much! There was just a lot of teenage drama where by this point of the series, when the main characters are now actually all adults, I was expecting further character development from these people and a heavier focus on what was actually happening in the world and a well written finale.

There are a lot of things that I could pick apart here, and in fact writing this review has frustrated me even more with this series, but at the end of the day I did love it. There has been a lot of growth from the Author throughout this series which excites me - I cannot wait to read more by Adrienne Woods There is something so addictive about this world, something that kept compelling me to read and read and read. Something that made me fall in love with these characters despite all the flaws. Some formula that Woods has got entirely correct and that urges me to ask you to give this series a chance if you are thinking of trying it. I was thoroughly entertained and captivated by this and that is one of my greatest priorities for a good book!

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Review: Moonbreeze - Adrienne Woods


Moonbreeze by Adrienne Woods

Rating {★★★★☆}

Actual rating 3.5 stars - I more than liked it, but I didn't really, really like it.

Aaargh. This one was frustrating! I want to rate it highly, and yet it's a max 3.5 star read for me. However, even though the book (and entire series in fact) has it's ups and downs for me, I am so addicted.

I have only just realised how long this book was - 552 pages! It was a good thing - as I am seriously hooked on this series and there was a long wind up in this one where I was wondering if I was even reading the same series by the same Author. When this book hit it's stride, it really got going and I was back in my comfort zone. Unfortunately it was only at the 40% mark that this happened but with the size of the book at least there was still about 300 pages of good reading for me to go!

What frustrates me endlessly is that I can see exactly where the Author is trying to go and everything that she is doing. I can see the planning, the carefully crafted sequence of events, the entire beautiful world that has been created for this series and I am in love with it. I have emotional bonds to these characters - I feel empathy. Woods has made me laugh out loud, she has made me cry and has made me read this series and almost nothing else for two solid weeks!


Even though the actual process of the development of these books has been done impeccably, sometimes the execution has failed.

For me, I like a slightly more subtle hand when it comes to making a point. It was mentioned numerous times that Elena could never trust Blake again. I get it - she had every reason to be wary of him. But really, we all know where this one is going. I also don't particularly like almost forcing myself through a couple of hundred pages and then realising why it was important further down the line.

Giggling.... There is a lot of it in this book. So much so that I had to mention it in my status updates. I don't think it's necessary for so much of it and at times it was inappropriate. There are so many other options - a chuckle, a snort, a snigger, a snicker, a soft laugh. In fact - personally when I read, I prefer fairly bland dialogue tags. It means I can read through the dialogue without being distracted by an adult having a completely inappropriate giggle. It hampered the character development for me because when an adult woman giggles in my head I am painting her as foolish or immature which is not where these characters should be. Grunting was another form of communication that I thought was overused.

The editing was also lacking with a few typos and grammatical errors. Not the Author's fault and something that I tried my hardest to read over but, especially in the first 40% of the book where I wasn't completely immersed into the world, these errors can be a complete distraction.

It also seems that at times Woods struggled to keep the focus of the plot. Yes, all the things that happened move the plot forward and they are getting us to the final resolution - however there may be slightly too much detail to keep the reader completely engrossed. Maybe a bit of plot overkill/over-development.

I do love this series; I'm both excited and terrified to finish it. That is why it is so frustrating when I can't give this 5 stars! There are just some tweaks that I, as a reader, would love to see to make it even more masterful.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Review: Redefining Girly - Melissa Atkins Wardy

17802207Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy

Rating : {★★☆☆} 

It was just Okay...

There were no great revelations in this book, no important secrets were unveiled.

Yes, it is important for our girls to grow up knowing that they can be whatever they want to be and they can go after anything they set their minds on. BUT! it's also Okay if they want to like the colour pink or identify with something 'girly' whereas this book just seemed to vilify anything like that. What is wrong with being beautiful? If my daughter wants the blue bike instead of the pink bike, she's welcome to it, but it's also equally fine if she wants the pink bike with the sparkly tires and tassels on the handlebars. What's wrong with the colour pink anyways?

We all want our children's self worth to come from within, but I think it's important that this is true for both little boys and little girls.

Honestly, there was so much repetition and such a failure to engage me I'm struggling to keep this rating as high as 2 stars... I have to confess I skimmed a lot of this book. The underlying topic is a good one, but I think this author has just taken it too far. The last thing our girls need are their mothers pushing them towards traditionally male toys, professions and colours just to prove a point.

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Review: Frostbite - Adrienne Woods


Frostbite by Adrienne Woods

 Rating {★★★★☆}

This is the third book in the Dragonian series, and everything got even more interesting for me in this one.

I have to admit, I thought this was going to be a pretty predictable but fun little series from the first book. I really enjoyed reading Firebolt. Thunderlight was a little wordy but still a good read and then I finished Frostbite. Let's be honest now, it doesn't matter which book it is or what the book is about, but if you are pondering on the events of the book, can't wait to get back to reading it AND it gives you enough feels to have you in tears a couple of times through the book - you have to say that you enjoyed it and that it is a good book!

I really got into this third instalment in the series. I have similar issues with this book as I did with the first two, but not enough to make me bring the rating down from 4 stars. I did find myself having to reread a few passages just to make sure I got the correct series of events. There is a lot happening in this one and a lot to keep up with.

I do enjoy that there is a real struggle in these books - the main character is not automatically amazing at everything and she has to train and suffer and strive to become good. Yes, she has a dark Dragonian mark and will have amazing powers but that being said she was not brought up in a world where dragons existed and so she struggles both to accept all of these things and to bring her powers under control.

There is also a lot of thought and careful planning in this series with foreshadowing in all of the books. It is not very subtle but I do feel that Woods' writing is improving throughout the series. I'm looking forward to being engrossed in book four.

For my other reviews of books in this series :

Firebolt - Adrienne Woods - Check out my review on my Blog
Thunderlight - Adrienne Woods - Check out my review on my Blog

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Review: Thunderlight - Adrienne Woods


Thunderlight by Adrienne Woods

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

I am thoroughly enjoying this series. I could only truthfully give this one 3 stars, but I'm late at writing my review and I know I have already rated the next one 4 stars so don't be disheartened! This entire series is well worth the read although I admit I am only on book four out of five. I just already know that I'm going to be reading them all.

I have mentioned in a previous review that these books aren't perfect. I have to mention a few of the small things that bugged me the most and brought down my rating -

Editing – there were a lot of errors in my copy of the book e.g. their instead of they’re and other typos. Often this sort of error will completely snap a reader out of their ‘zone’ which is NOT a good thing.
The characters - A lot of the decisions felt forced and slightly out of character coming straight off the first book. Not only that, but the characters at times seem like they are just going through the motions that are required to get us from a) to b) in the book. Each of these decisions/actions was a plot device but could have been better written to make it more believable for me. Elena and Lucian’s relationship wasn’t easy, but it did seem like there wasn’t quite enough substance to it for them to be so entirely in love
The events - sometimes I think the author needs to step out of the characters shoes and look at the happenings of this story as a world wide point of view. What effect would these events have on the rest of Paegeia and what would be the overall reaction? I know we’re kind of viewing things from inside a bubble here, but there is talk of the rest of the world and sometimes I don’t think the impact is felt hard enough all around or explained well enough in the book
The Dialogue - I also have a problem with the dialogue at times feeling a little flat – hardly any of the characters seem to have their own inflections. Also the use of adverbs and adjectives a lot of the time (I said evenly, Sir Robert said confidently, she said smiling, She said with a wink, Isabel said with concern, “This is so exciting,” Lucille sang, Becky shrieked).
Concentration on unimportant things – sometimes the author seems to get diverted with describing things that aren’t overall notable or even necessary to the plot and this can distract the reader from the essence of the story. This book lacks a little focus.

Don’t get me wrong – I do like this series, a lot in fact. It has all the makings of being incredible – an interesting, well thought out and fairly well built world, an exciting set of characters that the Author is able to build upon throughout the books, a great story line that the reader can see has been carefully considered and planned and it has managed to keep me hooked. I am definitely invested in this story and these characters and will be continuing to read through the wee hours of the mornings until I’m finished!

Have a look at my other reviews for books in this series:

Firebolt - Adrienne Woods Check out the review on my Blog

View all my reviews
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Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Review: Firebolt - Adrienne Woods


Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

Rating {★★★}

I am so thrilled that I found this series. What an entertaining read this was for me and even though the writing isn't perfect I got sucked in within the first couple of chapters and was reading more for enjoyment than from a critical point of view.

Elena is a fairly normal sixteen year old girl - or so she thinks. Her paranoid father has uprooted them every three months (for reasons unknown) since she was born so there's always been that aspect of her life that wasn't exactly normal - living on the run. What she didn't realise is that her father was actually a dragon. A real live (and massive) dragon. In this fantasy world, dragons are able to shift into humanoid form. There are two types of dragon's - metallic and chromium. The chromium dragons are... not as nice as metallic dragons and have, in the past, given all dragons a bad name and dragons were hunted by humans to the point of an all out war between the two species. The slaughter of the dragon's continued until a King of Paegeia fell in love with a dragon and they discovered that the metallic dragon's didn't pose a threat and that the dragon's could be ridden. The rider is called the Dragonian and each dragon can be claimed by a single Dragonian. An enchanted wall was created between the human world and the realm where humans coexist with dragon's and magic (Paegeia),but not to protect the humans - to protect the world of magic from those that wanted to harness and abuse it for themselves.

The entire world is complex and fairly well thought out and written. Some of the dragons (mainly the chromiums) have specific powers like breathing fire or spitting acid, healing etc.

There's far more I could go into but suffice to say it's an interesting concept and Woods managed a balancing act of fleshing out the plot, keeping the action up and making the entire story flow well from start to finish.

This book is definitely YA, and is centred around a group of teenagers that act fairly true to their age, so if you're an adult and/or are expecting or wanting the kids to think/act more mature than they are then this probably isn't for you.

As I have mentioned, it isn't perfect. Sometimes some of the plot devices feel a little clunky and there's a certain air of predictability about this, although not a lot is revealed within the first book. There's quite a lot of teenage drama and blushing involved, as well as a few points where I actually was jarred out of my 'zone' and thought really? but I was truly entertained and let myself get lost in the book. Before I knew it, it was all over and I was reading an excerpt from book 2. I suddenly realised that and I am going to need to purchase the next book in this series as soon as possible!

If this book even remotely interests you, try it! It is currently only 0.99c on the Kobo Store (as of the date of this review).

Thank you NetGalley and Fire Quill Publishing for this opportunity to read and review this book

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

Review: Amanzimtoti: The Ridge - Carmen-Shea Hepburn

Amanzimtoti: The Ridge Amanzimtoti: The Ridge by Carmen-Shea Hepburn

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly some trigger warnings: Self harm and references to child abuse. Generally I would say this book is for mature audiences only - there is quite a lot of strong language, some violence and also casual use of alcohol and drugs.

Amanzimtoti: The Ridge is a coming-of-age novel centred around Wayne Du Preez who, at the beginning of the book, is about to embark on his final year of high school. The book goes through approximately six months of his life when a boy from his childhood reappears - a boy he with whom he shared his first kiss. This boy has returned to Toti and has brought his childhood memories and his fears with him.

I liked and enjoyed this book and thought it was a very brave and promising debut novel. I truly look forward to reading more from Carmen-Shea Hepburn

As an expat living in Southern Africa next door to South Africa where this book is set, I appreciated the 'local' references and slang but I did find that there was a lot of it interspersed throughout the narrative. For an aspiring International book, I would have preferred to have seen the slang more limited to the dialogue.

The actual plot was good and the characterisation was fantastic. I felt a strong connection to Wayne and to his two best friends, Travis and Jessica. I did feel that Wayne's first kiss and the incident that most of this book is actually centred around happened when he was extremely young (a sexual experience at age 9?) and as thus I found it a little hard to wrap my head around. However beyond this, the characters are complex and believable and one cannot help but be drawn into their world.

While the writing itself was good and easy to read and immerse myself into I did find the detail at times to be too tedious. For example at a braai they were having we are divulged with the fact that Jessica served Wayne up with steak, boerewors and chicken. None of this was actually important except maybe for the fact that Jessica actually got the food.

There was also some confusion for me about the time period in which this novel takes place. It is definitely a contemporary setting with all the main characters having cell phones (before they have graduated from high school) so this to me puts the books at least post 2000, however there was also mention of a Hi-Fi at a party with tapes and cds scattered around it. By the late 90s and 2000s it was definitely all cds, even more so for the young adult generations like those we are reading about, and 2001 saw the launch of the iPod which revolutionised the way we listen to music on a global scale. A small and forgivable incongruity, but nevertheless one that stood out for me while reading.

For most of the reasons above I felt like the story only really hits it's stride from about 40% into the book, where most of the excess padding is removed and every chapter actually becomes significant, which is why I can only rate this one at 3 stars. The rest of the book however was quite gripping and as I said, I truly look forward to reading more from this author.

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Review: The Curse of the Bruel Coven - Sabrina Ramoth

The Curse of the Bruel CovenThe Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth

Rating : {★★☆☆☆}

The Curse of the Bruel Coven is narrated from Vivienne's POV, a seventeen year old girl still suffering from the recent death of her mother. Early in the story she finds out that she is adopted and that her birth mother is a witch. Not only this - her family has had a curse placed on them for generations and as a first born daughter this curse directly endangers her.

Let me start off by saying that I did actually enjoy this book. It genuinely has an interesting plot and has been well thought out. It was because of the writing that I have to bring this down to two stars only.

The biggest problem that I had while reading this was the irregular rhythm of the story; there is no discernible cadence to the narration and everything happens so quickly with no prelude or warning. At times even the sentences seem abrupt.

A well written book should have a lyrical unfolding with each word drawing you deeper into the world. The author should be an artist painting a picture with their words – a work of art that leaves you reeling with emotion and empathy for the characters. With this book however I struggled to immerse myself. Vivienne narrated all the actions of the characters instead of letting us build a relationship with them. This happened, and then this happened and then this happened. Within the very first chapter we find out that Vivienne is adopted and they are heading out to New Orleans to find her birth mother. Within the first 24hours of the story she has discovered she was a witch, met her family, learned to use her powers and agreed to help find her birth mother who has been kidnapped. There was little to no emotion other than what we were directly told about, little to no characterisation and little to no complexity.

Things just seemed to come about far too quickly with everything falling into place too easily. How did a picture of the MC with another woman lead her to realising she had been adopted? Why was that her very first reaction? They looked alike, but they could have been related in any other way however our MC arrived at the correct conclusion almost instantaneously.

A woman standing outside of a storefront, holding a small child. I recognized the child as myself, but the woman holding me wasn’t my mother. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The woman bore an uncanny resemblance to me. We shared the same dark, curly hair and warm olive complexion. My heart thumped so loudly I thought it might burst through my chest.
I wriggled the photo out from behind the plastic to examine it further. The photo was unmistakably taken in the French Quarter of New Orleans. A place I’d never been. Or so I’d been told. As I turned the photo over, I saw the names Claire and Vivienne handwritten on the back.
What did this mean? Was I adopted? No wonder I looked nothing like my parents.

Perhaps if this book could have been doubled in length it would have given the author more opportunity to create some padding for her story and allowed us more insight and connection to each of the characters.

Overall this book has many pacing and flow issues, a lot of awkward dialogue but great potential.

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Review: The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2)The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Rating : {★★☆☆}

This one was a tough one for me to both rate and to review. I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book.

Kagawa's writing drew me in. The world is well imagined and richly described - sometimes possibly too richly described. I'm not too well versed on the fae and faerie/faery lore, in fact I've only recently really started reading faery books. The sheer amount of species (I think this is the right description?) that these books have is astounding. I'm trying to keep track of not only the Summer and Winter courts (Seelie and Unseelie) but also piskies, redhats, goblins, phoukas, wisps, Unicorns and a large other number of Nevernever creatures. Some of which was unnecessary and unimportant.

Meghan was a lot less annoying in this book. Not lovable, but I didn't despise her in this book. The love triangle that was inevitable from book one reared it's ugly head and was, for me, a downside of this book. From the opening chapters until the final declaration it was a matter of "I think I've seen this before. I know how this ends." And seriously - there was one part especially that was way, way OTT. I mean, ridiculously too much. One silvery tear. Cliché much? Also I hope that Puck can go back to being his normal self though - he seemed a bit too juvenile in this book for my liking. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood for his humour though.

I felt the plot was better fleshed out in this book and the ending set up something I'm really looking forward to in the next.

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Monday, 6 June 2016

Review: The Crown - Kiera Cass


Rating : {★★★☆☆}

For some reason all the way through to the end of this book I was thinking that this was the second book of a second trilogy. Only once I realised that there were no more loose ends and I had no idea what she could possibly write into another book did I think to check and I found that this was the end of the Selection series, and sadly I was not disappointed to learn that there would be no more. 

I was not a huge fan of the original Selection series but Cass has a very easy-to-read writing style and I found myself wanting to know what happened. I went into the second batch of instalments of the series with trepidation and was actually pleasantly surprised with The Heir. While it wasn’t exactly a literary masterpiece, it was gratifying: A light and fluffy entertaining read and the characters were believable and contrary to many other readers’ opinions, I enjoyed being in the head of Eadlyn Shreave.

Unfortunately I found The Crown to be an underdeveloped and rushed storyline and too many of the plot lines were far-fetched. I know that this book is Young Adult and I shouldn’t expect something like the political aspects of the plot to be well developed, but they should be believable and I don’t think that Cass gives her intended audience enough credit. 

Too many of the characters were underdeveloped and this led to a lack of connection and a lack of empathy on my part. I found that I didn’t even care which of the boys won her Selection.

Overall I'm disappointed. This could have been infinitely better than it was and kept the same major plot devices and storyline. My overall opinion of this book? Everything was rushed. I would only recommend this book for die-hard Selection supporters or those that simply have to know what happens. 
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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J Maas


Nooooooo! It's finished! I want more, I NEED more!

This book. This book was an incredible follow up to ACOTAR. I wouldn't have dreamed that Maas would go there, but she did - and it was AMAZING. Heartbreakingly AMAZING.

I'm still trying to put together a coherent thought of how to describe this book. But it was awesome. 

This book was not a love story, although the romantic aspect was definitely there. 

It is about change - and Feyre has changed in such a fundamental way it cannot help but effect everything that she is. 

It is about a journey of self discovery, of discovering so many things about yourself and facing these things with all the courage you can muster. 

It is about people not necessarily being who you thought they were, about you not being who you thought you were. 

It is about making the reader sit on the edge of their seat and then finally coming to a close that will leave everyone wailing - HOW WILL I WAIT ANOTHER YEAR!!!!!!!!!????????
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Review: His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik


5/5 Stars!

This book is not going to be for everyone - let me make that very clear. It is a pseudo-classical historical fantasy so if you are not remotely interested in reading about the Napoleonic wars or in reading a mostly classic prose - walk away now. The fact that there is the fantasy aspect of Dragons will not be enough to make you love this.

William Laurence, youngest son of Lord Allendale had run away from home to become a midshipman in the Royal Navy and had risen to the rank of Captain by the time we meet him on his ship, the Reliant as they seized the French frigate Amitie. Upon this ship they find an unhatched dragon-egg on board, a truly valuable prize. Unfortunately this egg is very close to hatching and the only time a dragon can be harnessed and brought into service is at the time of hatching. Service in the Aerial Corps is not considered prestigious and the officers generally have a low rank in society so naturally there was a great reluctance for anyone to take the position of the handler of the dragon. There was a draw whereby a somewhat unsuitable midshipman's name is drawn. Laurence had previously noted:
"Laurence would have liked to keep Carver out of it, as he knew the boy had a poor head for heights, which struck him as a grave impediment for an aviator."

However the dragonet completely ignores Carver, instead addressing Laurence who even through his reticence manages to harness and name the dragon and thus becomes his handler.

The story continues through Laurence struggling to come to terms with the culture shock of the Aerial Corps, going through training and the eventual retelling of the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Dover, all while coming to view Temeraire his closest friend and the bond between them becomes a friendship like no other.

This book is full of dry humour, interesting characters, a rich and incredible storyline and a wonderfully unique way of integrating the dragons and the aerial corps into our history. Novik is a master!

Throne Of Jade (Temeraire #2)
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Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs


This is somewhere between 3 and 4 out of 5 stars for me... But closer to 3 than to 4. Ultimately I enjoyed it, and I will pick up the next book soon. I am thoroughly looking forward to the movie though! I mean, Tim Burton!!!! Yes please!

Initially (actually for most of the book) I truly struggled to feel any sort of empathy or affinity to the main character - Jacob. He is the very epitome of spoilt brat. A poor little rich boy whose parents adore him has a wonderful upbringing and yet is constantly whining and wallowing in his own self pity. What's to feel sorry for? In truth I didn't find any of the characters particularly complex or well developed so there just wasn't much to latch on to to be taken away in this world Riggs has created.

The plot dragged here and there and went into some pretty strange places. I did love the pictures but I'm also conflicted on this as I felt that a whole bunch of them could have easily been omitted - it was more of a case of 'how can I put this picture into the story' as opposed to the richly created world I was expecting of this hyped up book. It was a wonderful idea, poorly executed.

Essentially, I'm going to read the next one, if only to find out what happens to all the ymbrynes. The ending was a slight twist on what I was expecting, but I mean, I'm not expecting the world to actually be blown up here. 
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Review: Abhorsen - Garth Nix


Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3)

Rating {★★★★}

Wow - Garth Nix is a truly talented and unique author and I have been thoroughly enjoying this Abhorsen series.

Not only is the fantasy aspect of this series distinctive and extraordinary, the writing itself is rich and tells a vivid story.

In this, the 3rd book in the series, everything comes together to create a battleground that anyone immersed in this story will find hard to forget. The strength of characters and their development, the ever building pressure of the climax - this is a wonderful fantasy series. It isn't all happy resolutions neat endings but that just makes it more believable.

I cannot wait to pick up the next book in this Universe.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

Lirael (Abhorsen #2)
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Review: Lirael - Garth Nix


Lirael (Abhorsen #2)


Rating {★★★★☆}

What a solid second book in what is shaping up to be a truly awesome series. 

I had my doubts when reading Sabriel, but I fell in love with the world, with Sabriel, with Touchstone and Mogget and the very unique magical system that Nix developed. 

Lirael was a slightly more sprawling book with a LOT of setting up for the third book (which I would recommend having in hand to read as soon as you finish Lirael!). The characters are a little angsty, a little irritating and some of the premises for the third book are a little hazy here, but I am sure this is intentional. 

Despite all of this, I still fell in love with Lirael, Sameth, especially the Dog and I am harbouring deep fears for the tertiary characters in this book (including Sabriel and Touchstone). 

I cannot wait to pick up the third book in this series and I am sure it is going to be devoured in some very late night reading.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

←Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3)→
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Review: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard


3 out of 5 stars.

I wanted to love this one more and I wanted to give if at least 4 stars, but I keep thinking about the things that bothered me and even though the last 25% of the book completely rehooked me and made me certain I will pick up the next book as soon as possible, I'm afraid I have to stick to this 3 star rating.

This book failed me. There were a number of disappointments and after truly enjoying Red Queen and waiting for this sequel in anticipation I feel let down. This is not what I wanted it to be.

The main character, Mare Barrow bored me with her often repetitive and tiresome narrative. She was far too much of a self obsessed special snowflake in this book and I found her an utterly confused and confusing mess. She could have at least been consistent and yet she seemed to swing between being a useless husk of a girl, reluctant to hurt people and then suddenly having almost omnipotent power and going on a bloodthirsty killing spree. I'm afraid I just couldn't read this as character development. The only redeeming feature was the fact that Mare's 'friends' did not allow her to be so stupid all the time, and yet 

The plot meandered and was bogged down for a lot of the book and then the action/battle scenes were poorly executed and confusing. When a couple of pivotal (to me) characters were killed and I was so confused that I had to go back and reread the passage a couple of times and yet I still didn't feel much emotion I realised that this book just hadn't grabbed me. It wasn't doing what it was supposed to do. I wanted to be able to cry and rage and have compete empathy for the characters and yet... I didn't. The supporting cast had become one dimensional, unimportant both to Mare and to me. 

The last 25% of this book promised better things, and obviously the cliff-hanger ending and my own nature of never leaving things unfinished will lead me to read the next book, but I will be going in with my eyes wide open and far lower expectations.
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Review: The Heir - Kiera Cass


This book was exactly what I needed right now! A light, fast read and, IMHO much better than the first 3 books! Not what I expected at all. 

Eadlyn was flawed, believable and most importantly for me - realistic. Yes, annoying may come into it at times, but I can deal with that when for the most part I am rooting for her! 

Having read the first 3 books, I already know that the world building wasn't going to be fantastic - the politics are not going to be complex and believable but THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. It's not a book to be taken seriously at all. It's pure entertainment and I truly enjoyed it for what it was.
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Review: Sabriel - Garth Nix

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1)

Rating {★★★★☆}

This book was not what I expected in so many ways. And yet it was very good. 

I picked this book up having been recommended by Goodreads because I like Tamora Pierce. I think I expected this to be more like one of her stories - filled with adventure and yet a young YA book. While definitely filled with adventure and packed with action, this is a much darker YA book and not necessarily filled with happy endings. There is sacrifice, there are difficult decisions and there is a dark and forbidding tone throughout. 

It's not an easy read. Nix is sometimes overly descriptive but the overall style is serious and straightforward. While a wonderfully unique fantasy world it was quite a slow starter but once the plot picked up it was well paced through to the end. The character development wasn't great, and the onset of a sudden romance didn't make sense to me, but I feel the series is well worth the while. Will be picking up the next book ASAP.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

→Lirael (Abhorsen #2)
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Review: Sword and Verse - Kathy MacMillan


Unfortunately the first 50% of this book was just really, really tedious. There was instalove... And learning how to write. And that was pretty much it. The plot picked up towards the final 30% and I did enjoy the book overall. I just feel as though you shouldn't have to force yourself through the book to get to the good parts...
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Review: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia


That felt like a looong book. It's always hard to tell when you read digitally and all you see is the % creeping up. I've read long books, many long books. But unfortunately this one felt long.

My first surprise upon opening this book was to find out that it was from a male POV. I had to adjust my entire outlook again to go with this as I had assumed it was a female POV, and not just because that is my normal read - because Ethan Wate just wasn't very masculine and made for a fairly flat, pious protagonist. I mean, seriously this guy loves describing clothes, reads classical poetry and is extremely chaste.

I'm not from America, never been to America, don't know much about America. This book played heavily on Southern US stereotypes and to me was fairly offensive in the way that this was done. By about 60% through the book I was just SICK AND TIRED of Ethan constantly thinking he was just THAT much better than EVERYONE else in the book and all the locals were just portrayed as being.... dumb...... Dumb and close minded and bigoted. I'm pretty sure that NOT what it is like.

And the DETAIL! Having only read the first book in the series perhaps ALL of those facts and figures spouted are actually important. Maybe I need to touch up on my Civil War history. Maybe we need to know these ridiculously hard to read casts and parts of the Book of Moons. But they made my eyes glaze over and should I continue the series I won't remember them anyways.

This was a pretty densely plotted book - too dense. Too bloated. The idea of Casters and some of this uniquely crafted paranormal world was incredibly interesting. However there were just too many problems with the writing, the plot, the world building for me to overcome and enjoy.
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Review: Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins


3.5 stars out of 5, but the ending rounds it up to 4 instead of down to 3.

I read this book as a part of a YA book club. The more I think about it, the more I like this book. It was fun. It was girly. It was a breath of fresh air. But it also wasn't what I was wanting at the time, which made it tough for me. I'm not really all that into chick-lit so this was a bit tough to swallow at first. But the writing is good, the plot was good and overall the book was light and fluffy. Will I read the next book? Yes I will. Would I recommend this book? Only to people looking for a light hearted chick-lit fantasy read

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Review: Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This book! This book was awesome. Everyone should read this book.

I completely devoured this book, too fast in fact. I wish I could have drawn it out longer but I was consumed with needing to read it and read it at all hours of the night! I have never read anything by Naomi Novik before but I can guarantee you I am going to pick up the first of her Temeraire series as soon as possible. 

There wasn't much I didn't like about this book. I don't want to go too much in to the details as most of it is left vague by the blurb and it's better that way. But suffice to say that within the first few pages of this book I had already been drawn in so far and I knew immediately that I had picked up something fantastic. 

The main characters were well thought out, multifaceted and dynamic. Their interactions were all of the things: charming, funny, heart warming, heart rending and compelling. I especially loved how the characters stayed true to form - totally consistent with themselves - and didn't suddenly change or have unrealistic character growth just because of *love*. 

The Wood as a character in itself was so cleverly built and was always a creeping darkness lingering in the back of my mind as I read. There was a little romance, although it was far from the central feature but I found it believable and I found myself begging for more; more for me and more for my beloved characters.

I couldn't predict where this was going, and I loved following all the little turns on the path through to the end. 

If this book even remotely catches your eye, READ IT! It's worth it
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