Friday, 29 May 2015

The Penny Heart

The Penny Heart
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr!

Sentenced to death for a simple confidence trick, Mary Jebb escapes the gallows ... but her reprieve is harsh: seven years in the unforgiving penal colony of Botany Bay. Yet Mary is determined not to be forgotten, sending two pennies, engraved with a promise, to the two men who sealed her fate.
Timid artist Grace Moore jumps at the opportunity to marry handsome gentleman Michael Croxon - happy if only to get away from her drunken father. 
But when Grace takes on a new cook, the two penny heart love tokens reveal she is tied to a world she didn't know existed ... A world of deceit, double-crossing, revenge and murder.
Man I love historical novels, and this was so rich with history and well drawn characters, so it was kind of the best type of historical novel as well! The book was incredibly atmospheric and vivid, everything could be pictured clearly with incredible detail. I was drawn in to the world, and given such a rich, realistic taste of 18th century life. 
The atmosphere seeps off every single page, the foreboding wrapped around you from the first tone setting chapter. From that very first chapter you're drawn in to the world, and intrigued by the central character, who is incredibly complex. I may be alone in this, but I connected with Mary, and while at times I thought she was being a bit dodgy, and a bit...mean, shall we say, the majority of the time I felt incredibly sorry for her, and felt so much sympathy for her, I actually liked her more than I liked Grace. I could understand Mary, she had been brought up in the criminal underworld she didn't know any better, she was struggling to survive, and in the 18th century, it wasn't easy for the poorer classes to survive. 
I don't know what it was about Grace that irritated me, but she did irritate me so I found myself kind of on the side of Mary, she went about things entirely wrong, but after everything she experienced, and believe me, there where flashbacks each more horrifying than the last, as you learned more and more about Mary, you where more and more horrified about her life and what had happened to her. Then in contrast you had Grace who, yes she had to look after a drunken father, but it didn't compare really to Mary's hardships. So I think when Grace complained about something, or acted a bit high and mighty at times, she kind of annoyed me. Her problems seemed kind of trivial compared to everything that had happened to Mary. 
Literally, the author has created this character I was supposed to hate but I felt so deeply for her. Even though she was kind of evil. Like I said, I could understand her and her motives and what drove her and I felt so deeply sorry for her I kind of overlooked the evil bits. And then like I said, Grace seemed a bit airy fairy compared to her, complaining about ridiculous things. 
As a reader, you're one step ahead of Grace the entire time, and you read with this air of, I know something you don't know, but you don't know everything that she doesn't know,  you know enough to know that something is going to happen, something's going on and so on, and then at the same time, you don't know too much, not enough to puzzle everything out. There where pieces there but clearly I wasn't smart enough to put it all together so when the huge reveal came I was incredibly surprised, and at the same time, I had to admire the complexity of the plot. 
It was very complex, right from the beginning. You're trying to work out what happened, what's true and what isn't. There's the whole plot Mary has created that is impossible to guess at, as you read, there's tension building and building and you're on the edge of your seat waiting to know what happens next, unable to put the book down as you speed towards the climax that totally blows you away. 
The book was beautifully written, lending to the atmosphere and the sense of authenticity. I immensely enjoyed the recipes at the beginning of each chapter, they where kind of fascinating, as I'm assuming they're from the era, and I've marked a few down to try out, now if I really wanted an authentic read, I'd have added another level by reading the book and eating one of the recipes from the book, but I didn't think that far ahead! 
Each chapter was told from both Peg (Mary) and Grace's point of view. Each point of view was perfectly toned, and very engaging. Each voice was distinctly different from the other, in language and in personality. Both characters where brought to life right on the page and you could hear the difference in the voices as you read. Like I said, I just didn't really like Grace all that much when compared to Mary struggling on with her hard life. 
I always find myself learning something whenever reading a historical novel. In this particular one, I got a more realistic and less romanticised look at the life of a woman marrying in the 18th century, and the life of a woman living in the criminal underworld, trying to survive. In this book I also got a brutally realistic look at the penal colonies, and learned something of what it must have been like to live in one. I also learned of a Maori tribe and it's culture over in New Zealand, something of which I knew nothing about before. Before reading this book I only knew that the penal colonies existed and that prisoners had been sent there, but had known nothing beyond it. It was eye opening on more than one front and I enjoyed that the book was brutally realistic, rather than trying to make everything seem all romantic and perfect like a lot of historical books do, you got the honest truth. 
The Penny Heart gives you atmospheric settings, each with a different vibe to the other, and each that will stick with you, as well as memorably characterised and realistic characters that you end up feeling so deeply for as you learn more and more about them. Each setting is brought to life along with the characters and you find yourself really getting a taste of 18th century life, much as it must have been, rather than the now romanticised notion that most people seem to have of the times. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

I know you guys are going to be really annoyed right now that I've not done my own synopsis and given you more information on the plot, but honestly, if I did, it would ruin the book for you. When you start reading you're immediately sucked in to the story and the world, and it took me a couple of pages to realize I was going to love this book and it was going to become one of my favourites. It deserves every single bit of hype it gets and I'm usually wary of super hyped books! Which is why I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this.

I started to read, and I was loving it but I was wondering where this was going to go....and then it blew me away with the entire rest of the story. I read this in one sitting because I was absolutely enchanted with the world and the characters. I really want to regale you all with the entire plot, but the synopsis is vague for a reason, so I will just fangirl to myself! 

The world is so incredibly well built, sucking you in and keeping you enmeshed there with the characters as you read, it was so vivid and atmospheric you couldn't help but be totally engrossed in it and thus totally engrossed in the world. This book was a bit darker than I think I was expecting, and the atmosphere really lent itself to that, you could feel the malevolence of the Wood, feel the darkness floating through the air. It was truly brilliant. 

There where lots of descriptions, beautiful descriptions but they where also not overly done, so you weren't slogging through pages and pages of description. Just enough to help you visualise everything that's going on, where it's going on and picture the characters so well that they pretty much come to life right out of the book. At the same time, this book is incredibly entertaining, and one you'd read again and again. I got so much enjoyment out of this book and I will again and again. It truly is a fairytale, albeit a darker one. 

There's a subtle romance to the story that adds to the entertainment and it reminded me a bit of Beauty and the Beast in the beginning, he was SO like the Beast when Belle first comes to the castle, coming across all wrong and being way too rough round the edges. Yet Dragon, along with Agnieszka, just kind of make you go "aw" and are kind of totally heart meltingly cute at times. Or maybe that was just me? I thought they where cute so whatever. They where also as funny as they where heartwarming, and I just loved their entire relationship, so love/hate, so perfectly pitched, so perfectly written. 

I think one of the things that makes this book so perfect is that you don't know what's going to happen next, you're surprised from the beginning, because the synopsis is vague on purpose. You're constantly being surprised, and being pleasantly surprised not like...horrifically surprised. I was literally speeding through the book being delighted every time a new thing happened or a new fact came about. 

Each character becomes so real as you read, and all of them are just so, interesting, charming, intriguing, realistic, I could go on and on. I LOVED Kasia, and I had some angst about her at one particular rough part of the book when I was like OMG NO. But it was all good, her entire friendship with Anieszka was just...perfect. Seriously I keep using that word but this book is SO perfect. All of the characters where so realistically human I couldn't actually find a fault with any of them, most likely because the author has got the nuances of human nature down so well. Even Marek when he was being seriously questionable and I kind of wanted to smack him one...I could still see where he was coming from with his mother and everything. Marek is a prime example of how Novik has written some very well created characters, they're flawed which just makes them more believable, I wasn't too sure of Marek but then he redeemed himself and then I was like ugh not again and then I liked him again and yeah. I still understood where he was coming from no matter his behaviour. You could see both view points and so it was hard to judge any character. 

Even the Woods as it where, by the end of the book you understand the Woods and I even felt a bit sorry for them and couldn't even bring myself to dislike them. All of these characters are so well created, so fleshed out, multi-dimensional and so utterly charmingly realistic, you loved every character. 

While the book is very well wrapped up, there's no outstanding questions, I could still see a sequel, just because I want to know what happens next to some of the characters and I loved the world so much I don't want to let it go entirely. I kept seeing people saying this was a fairytale and I was a bit skeptical, but it really is, and the ending, it was so CUTE and so perfect for the two characters, and then Kasia getting a life for herself. Seriously. 

I keep seeing this compared to Robin Hobb, and while yes, fans of her would most likely love this book, this was altogether a much easier read than any Hobb book, while still being complex, and beautifully written and full of wonderful descriptions and settings and so on. It doesn't lack for anything. I love Hobb, really I do, but I'm first to admit it does take me a while to read one, I couldn't read one in one sitting like I did with this, and let me tell you. Thor: The Dark World, and Beauty and the Beast before that, where all playing in the background as I read. (I have to have the TV on to drown out the neighbours noise if I want to read). Anyway. I LOVE both of those films. Yet while I was reading.......I couldn't have cared less. I was oblivious. Totally engrossed in the book, and reading so easily. 

Uprooted deserves every single bit of praise and hype it receives, it's one of the few books that truly lives up the hype. It's a fairytale, but slightly darker than any Disney fare you would have spent your childhood knowing and loving, yet it still invokes the feelings you experience when watching a well loved Disney fairytale. 

Uprooted is surprising from beginning to end, magic saturates every page and engulfs you, the darkness, the malice, the malevolence and the general creepiness ooze off the page and embraces you, drawing you in to the world until the very last page has been read. But the story and the characters, characters so believably written they come to feel like new friends, will stay with you long after you have closed the book. Uprooted is a truly enchantingly magnificent read and I cannot praise it enough. There just aren't words, or I don't have them, one of the two! 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #41

Hey guys, how's everyone doing?
This week I've got one book that I'm intrigued by and not just because it has a pretty cover! It's just an interesting sounding story, and it's awakened my intrigue.
The second book is the first book in a new series by an author that I LOVE so of course it's right up at the top of my "Holy crap I need to read this like now" list.

Church Of Marvels

New York, 1895. It's late on a warm city night when Sylvan Threadgill, a young night soiler who cleans out the privies behind the tenement houses, pulls a terrible secret out from the filthy hollows: an abandoned newborn baby. An orphan himself, Sylvan was raised by a kindly Italian family and can't bring himself to leave the baby in the slop. He tucks her into his chest, resolving to find out where she belongs.

Odile Church is the girl-on-the-wheel, a second-fiddle act in a show that has long since lost its magic. Odile and her sister Belle were raised in the curtained halls of their mother's spectacular Coney Island sideshow: The Church of Marvels. Belle was always the star-the sword swallower-light, nimble, a true human marvel. But now the sideshow has burnt to the ground, their mother dead in the ashes, and Belle has escaped to the city.

Alphie wakes up groggy and confused in Blackwell's Lunatic Asylum. The last thing she remembers is a dark stain on the floor, her mother-in-law screaming. She had once walked the streets as an escort and a penny-Rembrandt, cleaning up men after their drunken brawls. Now she is married; a lady in a reputable home. She is sure that her imprisonment is a ruse by her husband's vile mother. But then a young woman is committed alongside her, and when she coughs up a pair of scissors from the depths of her agile throat, Alphie knows she harbors a dangerous secret that will alter the course of both of their lives...

On a single night, these strangers' lives will become irrevocably entwined, as secrets come to light and outsiders struggle for acceptance. From the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, a spectacular sideshow to a desolate asylum, Leslie Parry makes turn-of-the-century New York feel alive, vivid, and magical in this luminous debut. In prose as magnetic and lucid as it is detailed, she offers a richly atmospheric vision of the past marked by astonishing feats of narrative that will leave you breathless.

Church Of Marvels is out June 4th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

The Stars Never Rise

Sixteen-year-old Nina Kane should be worrying about her immortal soul, but she's too busy trying to actually survive. Her town's population has been decimated by soul-consuming demons, and souls are in short supply. Watching over her younger sister, Mellie, and scraping together food and money are all that matters. The two of them are a family. They gave up on their deadbeat mom a long time ago.

When Nina discovers that Mellie is keeping a secret that threatens their very existence, she'll do anything to protect her. Because in New Temperance, sins are prosecuted as crimes by the brutal Church and its army of black-robed exorcists. And Mellie's sin has put her in serious trouble.

To keep them both alive, Nina will need to trust Finn, a fugitive with deep green eyes who has already saved her life once and who might just be an exorcist. But what kind of exorcist wears a hoodie?

Wanted by the Church and hunted by dark forces, Nina knows she can't survive on her own. She needs Finn and his group of rogue friends just as much as they need her.

The Stars Never Rise is out June 18th, pre-order your!
Add it to your

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Awesome

The Awesome
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She's also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie's concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys. Which presents a problem when Maggie's mother informs Maggie that she can't get her journeyman's license for hunting until she loses her virginity.

Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Blood and gore and insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie's battled ghosts and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy - fitting in with her peers - proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don't stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like "matching" and "footwear." Of course, they also can't clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they're lame and Maggie's not. Because Maggie's awesome. The Awesome, in fact. Just ask her. She'd be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

"That felt like a waste of a perfectly good Tuesday, and there were much more exciting things to do, like hunt ghosts and punch pookahs. Maybe stab an elf in the neck for shits and giggles"

Well, this book is awesome by name and awesome by nature, and I know you're all probably groaning and rolling your eyes at that comment but it's true! I am in two minds right now, however, because the synopsis doesn't tell the whole story, the entire book isn't all about Maggie trying to get laid, there's other stuff going on, that I would say is the main plot, and I'm in two minds because I kinda wanna tell you about it but then I'd spoil the book! So yeah, just know that this book has a way more complex plot than the synopsis may lead you to believe. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I started reading, but it was even better than my expectations. This is the kind of book you pick up when you're having a bad day, feeling crappy or generally want a laugh. Seriously. There many, many points during this book when I was reading, and I just couldn't stop laughing at Maggie's comments, I was practically gasping for air and snort laughing and it wasn't pretty but it was fantastic. Don't read this in a public place. Seriously. Just don't. I challenge anyone to try and contain the laughter this book will bring you. 

This book is so vastly different from all the other books out there, it's twisted. Really it is. But it's also hilarious like I said. It's got it's originalities in it's vampire lore, it's got some other lesser creatures you don't really come across much in books, and it's got quirks. 

"But he was cannon fodder, a victim waiting to happen. He might as well be the token slut in a horror movie with a sign that said "Me First" hanging around his neck."

Like Maggie. She is a giant quirk. A giant quirk that sort of reminds me of a female version of Dean Winchester. No kidding. I loved her. She's straight talking, snarky, says what she thinks, and she's a badass. This book has some serious punch, and the snappy dialogue is a huge part of that. Maggie as a narrator is incredible engaging, because she's an interesting character, and she's witty, and like I keep saying...frigging hilarious and badass and also mildly inappropriate. She's also a normal girl. I loved that, I really did, there was none of this "my toned *insert body part* Maggie's just all talking about her untonedness and her muffin top and it was glorious because that along with her other worries and stuff made her seem so human and realistic. She really wasn't perfect and that was the best thing about her. She's literally my hero right now, I can't even. 

Maggie is also very confident, you can't help but admire her for her continued confidence no matter what the hell happens. She's so realistic she practically jumps out of the book and smacks you up side the head. The whole firs time thing could have been reaaaaalllyyy awkward to read, but it wasn't because it was so very well written, so realistic, not at all overly romanticised like most books do. The whole virginity thing was handled so well in the book, especially by Janice, I mean....her and Maggie where so comfortable talking about it, and so Janice-y about it, while still making sure all the bases where covered, and telling her to be comfortable with her body and safe and so on. 

"Ripping out someone's spleen was an anti-friendship activity"

I loved Janice as well, she was also a touch Winchester-y with her music choices, which I fully approved of. If they made this in to a movie it would have the most banging soundtrack ever. Seriously. Her and Maggie's relationship was just so strangely hilariously inappropriate, antagonistic, swear-y, snarky, ridiculous, almost sisterly, but it totally worked, and at the same time it was also so loving, and you saw it in certain moments and it was beautiful. 

"My mother forced a smile so bright, I thought sunshine would blast out her ass like a Care Bear Stare."

There where so many characters in this that where just perfectly pitched, and unexpected and interesting and you want to know more about. Like Jeff. Jeff is a vampire, and I find it oddly hilarious that he is called Jeff because it's not very vampirey and there's this line where Maggie's like "SOME HELP HERE JEFF" and I literally nearly cried laughing, I found it so funny because he's a vampire, and he has all the vampire teeth and I could just picture the scene so well and yeah. But anyway, I want to know more about Jeff because he's clearly some sort of big badass. 

"These were not the dulcet Russian tones of a kidnapping giantess. No, this voice belonged to one Jeffrey Sampson, resident pain in my ass and fang bang extraordinaire."

Ian was not at all what I first thought he was going to be. He ended up being surprisingly cool, and kind of the exact right match for Maggie, even though they where kind of totally different from each other. Their romance was sweet and really cute, and seemed very natural and organic.

Lauren was like the worlds most socially acceptable Zombie, she was so nice and thoughtful yet badass at the same time, and I really want another book because I want to know what happens to her! Does she get to go home? Which would actually kind of suck because she totally should just stay with Janice and Maggie forever and ever and be awesome. 

"It was Clash of the Titans, except in this case Titan One was an undead girl who murdered ducks and Titan Two was a giantess with a propensity for tit smother."

 There where some other characters as well, I particularly want to know more about the other hunters we met, and see some more of the creatures of the world the author created.

Regards to the setting, it was very well described, you could picture it, but the main thing that draws you in to the world is Maggie and the other characters as well as all the action. The setting was well written, the atmosphere suiting each occasion. I enjoyed the bits of lore thrown in here and there, and the unique little details about vampires and holy water and other various beasties. 

"That's it, Maggie. Defend your cereal choices 'til your dying breath. Possibly literally. Focus, you boob"

Plot wise, like I said, this isn't about Maggie getting laid, there's all these politics going on between the vamps and the hunters, and there's a small incident with some repercussions and it's pretty much a huge adventure that has you racing from page to page. I read most of this in a couple of hours before I had to stop to sleep, it's easily read in one sitting, mostly because you don't really want to put it down. 

The book was very surprising. I've read so many books at this stage, and a lot of the time the same things keep happening again and again. Not so with this book. While I was reading certain parts, every single time I thought I knew what was going to happen....the exact opposite did or something totally surprising, and it was fantastic and incredibly refreshing, I was really kept on my toes. I mean I was like "Okay this is the part where she walks in on her mum getting murdered.....wait...okay.......still kind of similar to what way.....AWKWAAAAAAAAARDDDDDDDD". So yeah. 

"I realised it was time to break out the song trick. All my row-your-boat intentions flew out the window; for some horrible reason, the only song I could think of was the Sex Pistols "Friggin' in the Riggin'"-possibly the crudest song in the history of rock and roll."

The Awesome is fast paced, profanity laced, badass, action packed and completely and utterly twistedly hilarious and also kind of dark, surprise of a book. It's punchy, it's snappy, it's so very slick. It's the best thing ever to be honest, and it really needs to be a series because I am SO ready for more, I mean there was a freaking vampire doing pilates and listening to freaking nature CD's. I haven't read anything quite like this before, and it was just.....uuuh....dammit.....I can't think of another freaking word.....awesome. There. I said it. Again. BUT IT'S TRUE. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

The Girl At Midnight

The Girl At Midnight
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy Courtesy of the publisher

Beneath the streets of New York City there is a hidden civilisation. They are called the Avicen and they are an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo was just a child, a runaway pickpocket when she was taken in by the Avicen and grew up among them, they are the only family she has ever known. Echo now survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market. 

Echo is many things, clever, daring, sometimes brash but above all, she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries old war between the Avicen and their nemesis the Drakharin crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act. 

Legend has it that there's one way to end the conflict once and for all: find the firebird. The firebird is a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It's down to Echo to find the firebird, no easy task. But if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants....and how to take it. 
What she isn't expecting are her unlikely helpers. 
But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might set the world on fire. 

"So. Here we are. A flame-throwing thief, a deposed prince, an apprentice healer, an ex-royal guard, and a career scoundrel taking on a war on two fronts. What could possibly go wrong?"

Since The Mortal Instruments ended I've been looking for a new series to fill the gap and none have come close to it, until now. I haven't been this excited about a book since that particular series either, not that this is another TMI, it's not, okay so it's got a secret New York, but that's about it. This is very different from TMI, but is most certainly for fans of the book, it's hard to explain, but it has a similar vibe to TMI, a vibe that makes it impossible to put down and just makes you so ridiculously excited to read it. 

TGAM has all the elements I love, imagination, adventure, action, magic, a quest, mystery, humour, a vivid world, romance and a badass heroine as well as a colourful cast of characters, each as interesting as the other, whether they're a main character or a secondary character. Not to mention a race of people (Drakharin) with dragon like qualities, some more than others, and a race of OTHER people (Avicen) who have bird like qualities. So much awesome. 

Like I said, I'm not saying this is the new TMI, I'm saying, I haven't read a book that's made me feel like TMI has in ages, made me feel the excitement of each new page, made me stay up until 3am because I can't put it down, grab a few hours of sleep and then start reading again, made me wonder at the world created and totally lose myself in it, made me wish I was a character from the book, made me fall in love with the book from the first page. TMI is one of my favourite book series, my friends and I love it and are always talking about it and whenever a new one came out some of us would literally spend all night reading it and whatsapping about it while we read. I suck at picking ONE favourite series but if I had to pick, it'd probably be TMI. TGAM is the first book I have read, that has come anywhere close to inspiring the same kinds of feelings in me that I get when I pick up a TMI book for a re-read. Seriously. 

So yeah, this book is not only an exciting start to a fantastical new series, but it's the start of what's looking to be my new favourite series, my new series that I will eagerly await the next instalment of, pre-order and then spend an entire night reading so I don't get spoilered and because I can't wait any longer with it sat staring at me. A new favourite series that I will return to whenever I need a pick me up. It's going to be right up there, I can tell you now without having read the other books. Honestly, this book is my favourite release of 2015 so far, and I will fight anyone who disagrees. Prepare for rambling ahead....

Echo is everything I love in a heroine. She's strong, feisty, and she makes me laugh and chuckle and I love her to pieces. I connected with her straight away, and loved her from the first page. She's tough but she's not perfect. She's a little bit hard on the outside but squishy on the inside, and she's had a tough time and that's obviously effected her, she doesn't let people in easily. Over the course of the book you see her change a lot, after the museum she struggled a little bit, I don't want to say she was broken because she wasn't really she was just dealing with a lot. You see her go through a lot and you see different sides to her and she's a very well written character with plenty of depth. She comes across as very human, she's realistic and believable as a character because of all of the above, all of the things that make her un-perfect. 

"Simmer down, Socrates, it's just a cookie"

Caius is just as damaged as Echo, he's been through even more than she has, Echo is dealing with feeling like an outcast in her own home and then everything with her real home and everything that happened there, whereas Caius also has some issues with family not quite the same as Echo but there where some. Anyway, Caius too is emotionally closed off. Caius, however, comes across quite horribly in the beginning. Genuinely, when I started reading, and we first met Caius I was like "okay, this is the bad guy who's gonna be a total evil douchebag and I'm going to hate with a burning passion" then a few chapters later I was like...."dammit he's my fave". Then from there Caius just kept changing and developing, as his walls dropped and he became less stand offish and you got to know him better along with Echo, and you started to like him more and more until he's pretty much your precious flower and he's totally adorable and really sweet, and you vaguely remember back in the beginning when you thought he was gonna be the evil bad guy and you remember it like it's 100 years ago. So yeah, I loved Caius too hahahaa. 

Dorian's character development also deserves a mention because it was a thing of beauty, I'd be more specific but I don't want to spoil things. I'm just excited to see where his character is going to go now!
Jasper, well I loved Jasper, he made me laugh so much, just as much as Echo did, and the way he was with Dorian just....*sigh* and also *evil laugh*

Ivy, I'm looking forward to seeing more of Ivy because I'm waiting for her to get her awesome hero moment and to get more of the spotlight. I liked her, she was another strong character, she was badass in her own way. After everything with Dorian...she still helped him. She comes across as quite calm and level headed as well. She's also a really good friend to Echo, and I love her and Echo's friendship, it was the definition of true friendship to be honest, they most definitely fit some of the tumblr memes and things about "real friends..." haha 

So it's safe to say that each and every character is well written, with plenty of depth and background making them who they are, no matter whether they're a main character or a lesser character. Each character has their own distinct personality, each character is different and each character develops so well over the course of the book. Each character makes you want to know more and more about them and their lives. 

The world is rich and colourful and imaginative and it's so vividly written and created that it sucks you in and blocks out the real world, you can get totally lost in this fictional world that is also kind of real because you know...New York. But we don't STAY in New York, there's a cathedral in Strasbourg, jaunts to Japan and a few other locations, and each and every setting is written so that you can clearly picture the place, and feel like you're there. Which didn't really help with my whole, I want to travel vibe! Anyway, the book, the world, the settings, the scenes, they're all very cinematic and atmospheric, and each setting has a different vibe, and all of this combined with the plot and characters help to suck you in. 

The mythology of the world is rich, enchanting and detailed, and I love it when there's loads of cool and original mythology for a world. You get so much information about these two peoples and their past without being bogged down with pages and pages of information, it's all woven in to the narrative and dialogue perfectly, but I still left the book wanting to know MORE! I was literally so fascinated by the mythology and history of the peoples of the book and their world. Like the Echo right?! That kind of thing. I soaked up every bit of information in this book and I'm excited for more in the next one.  

"First One-Eye, now you. Am I being stalked by the cast of America's Next Top Dragon?"

The book is multi POV and it's the best kind of multi POV to be honest because it was so well done! First of all, the POV's are mostly Echo and Caius but there's a few bits from Dorian and Ivy and Jasper, all of which are interesting and add more insight to the characters, than just hearing about them from Caius and Echo. Each change is smooth, engaging and  each character has a different and distinctive voice and not just in narratives either. I mean I'm sitting there reading Tanith's lines in my head and doing them all smirky and evil (I don't know why I do evil characters with British accents, especially considering I'm British) because I can practically hear how they should be said, and then Echo all american and snarky and casually delivering hilarious lines.

I know it sounds weird, but it's an acting thing and sometimes I do it automatically instead of you know...just reading. Seriously, I've been known to read books and pick a character and say their lines and include accents and everything, to stretch my acting muscles and I promise you it's a serious acting exercise we got taught to do! Except with this book it was too hard to pick one character because they where all so richly created.  

Secondly, you get both sides of the story from the different POV's, the Avicen side and the Drakharin side, not just of the whole conflict between their peoples, but the search for the firebird and the motives and so on. Caius for example, wanted the locket back because of who it belonged to, (which made him seem more human when you still thought he was the bad guy). Both he and the Avicen wanted the bird to end the war for their people. You could see both view points and understand both peoples, which in the beginning, is what made it so hard to keep seeing Caius as the bad guy. Tanith problems there, she is the big bad after all. 

Thirdly, the scenes kind of crossover, so you'll be in one scene and the character will look over at another character in time to catch a character reacting to a conversation that happened in the POV immediately before. So you don't get double dialogue, you just get crossovers and little moments like that. It was seriously, very well done. I'd do better if I explained it in filmed terms to be honest, but none of you are here for me getting in to that and those specifics! I also liked how there'd be moments when something would be said in one POV in one conversation, and then be referenced in another POV like a TV show and the POV changes are different shots. It added to the cinematic element. 

The writing is slick, and the story flows nice and smoothly, there's action from the start, the very first page, and then all the way through keeping you captivated until the very end. There is never a dull moment, which makes it super hard to find a place to put it down, I was like "one more chapter before bed...just one more to see how that plays out, or what's going to happen next". There's always points where you go "OOOOOOHHHH" as a puzzle piece falls in to place, and each chapter ending leaves you wanting more, which is why, like I already said, it was hard to find a place to stop. Which is why I found myself starting to read at 12am, and then the next thing I knew it was gone 3am in the blink of an eye! 

I could have red this in one sitting easily, but I did have to sleep. I kind of wish I had been able to read it in one go because it was so excruciating to press pause and put the book down, I was thinking about it and eager to get back to it whenever I wasn't reading it. But at the same time, I'm kind of glad I got to drag it out and spend longer in the world with the characters. That's the kind of book this is. The kind you can read in one sitting, stopping only to pee, but you don't want to because you don't want it to end. 

"He was trying to make small talk. What fresh hell?"

The book is a proper quest type book, there's maps to follow, clues to work out, traps, mystery and everything that makes a good quest. Plot wise it's seemingly quite simple, to save their respective people, a group of enemies turned allies must follow the clues to find the firebird and end the war. But it's actually so much more complex than that. The book has some very detailed politics for both worlds that are all brought in to play and are going to effect the firebird discovery and search. There's power struggles, people trying to get along while dealing with all their emotionally damaging personal stuff and so on, 
I'm making it sound so serious, and it is, but there's so many times I found myself laughing out loud or trying to restrain myself from laughing in a public place. The humour in this book is so on point, and being a snarky person myself, I was pretty much cackling at some points. 

Romance. Ah the romance. The romance is subtle. It's there, and it becomes more obvious at some points and then towards the end, but for a large part of the book it's very subtle. Even when it's all obvious and out in the open, it's still secondary to the plot, it just adds some interesting dimensions to the character and the story. 
Now, let me tell you about my ships. 

I ship Jasper and Dorian SO HARD. Do not get me started on that time when something happened and I spent a good few chapters thinking the worst like "OMG NO WHAT YOU DIDN'T JUST..." kind of bad before I reached the "oh never mind, s'all good, I didn't panic" part. Don't worry Melissa, my feels will recover in time, and my heart....and my trust. (I'm just kidding!). I'm SO excited to see how this plays out because so far it's so well done, and you're kind of sitting there wanting to prod them together while you read and you're like "DORIAN SERIOUSLY". But yeah. I'm waiting. Impatiently, but waiting. 

Do not even get me started on how badly I ship Echo and Caius. Sorry Rowan. (What even happened to Rowan? Poor Rowan) It's not that I don't like Rowan, it's just that he seemed okay in the beginning and I was excited to get to know him and watch the romance and everything, he was the best friend before he was the boyfriend and everything, and I wanted to see their relationship. But we didn't get to see too much of Rowan or get to know him at all, although I feel like the author's done this on purpose and then next book we'll get load of Rowan, which would mean less Caius which is boo but Rowan intrigues me, I'd like to say if that happened I'd find it hard to choose between the two but I don't think I will haha! Rowan, at one point, didn't even defend her and they've known each other since they where kids and he just kind of stood there. Caius who'd only known her a few days was essentially doing Rowan's job, protecting her. So yes. I am firmly Team Caius. 

Caius just seemed so mildly terrifying in the beginning but then you get to know him and you see he's actually kind of broken from all the bad stuff that's happened to him, and he's actually quite sweet and kind of perfect and very sigh inducing and it's really hard not to shop him with yourself. I mean echo. Yes. 

Anyway, I enjoyed the fact immensely that this romance between them slowly developed and came to life, and then there where some warm and fuzzy "AWWWWW OMG" moments and then Echo kind of backed off a bit because of some personal things. The romance would still be there, but it wasn't all something romantic happens, and immediately they're together and then it's happy relationship land for the rest of this book and the other books. Almost immediately there's a problem, and then there's obstacles to overcome, and it's just not going to be an easy journey to the two of them being together. Especially with Echo feeling torn about her family and where she belongs and what her family would think of her. But they work so well together! Neither of them lets people in easily and then there they are! They where literally so cute together, and I was all like "aaaaghhh no" whenever something would happen, either one of them drawing back or a new obstacle. I just wanted them to be together haha! At the end I was like "sooooo are they together now or?". 

"Can we get this show on the road? I have places to go, people to steal from, you know how it goes."

Regardless of whether they are or not I get the sense that it's going to be a relationship or a journey to a relationship that's going to have a lot to overcome until they finally get their happy ending. Especially as Echo needs to deal with a lot before it can be all sunshine and rainbows. Which also makes the romance quite interesting, that and the chemistry between the two. But I ship them so hard, and it's going to be interesting to see where it goes. Especially considering the Rose element and the fact that Rowan could pop up more in book two. 

Rose needs to just not. Like when it got to the bit about her and you read what happened, (I don't like her) then in your mind the repercussions are piling up and you're not sure which ones are going to be relevant. Like the Rose thing is going to effect my ship goddammit! Rose is going to bring some heavy and annoying doubt. 

It's going to add an interesting element, the whole "Who's really feeling this? Is this really my feelings" thing. For me, the romance is done, I have my ship, I'm waiting for them to get their happy ending. For the book in general, this could possibly open up an interesting love triangle, rowan the best friend and boyfriend I'm assuming will get a shot in the second book, he didn't impress me this book though! And then there's the whole obvious attraction to Caius but the doubt because of Rose. It'll be a very interesting and well done love triangle that makes sense if it goes that way.

It's going to add an interesting element, the whole "Who's really feeling this? Is this really my feelings" thing. For me, the romance is done, I have my ship, I'm waiting for them to get their happy ending. For the book in general, this could possibly open up an interesting love triangle, rowan the best friend and boyfriend I'm assuming will get a shot in the second book, he didn't impress me this book though! And then there's the whole obvious attraction to Caius but the doubt because of Rose. It'll be a very interesting and well done love triangle that makes sense if it goes that way.

The entire book is fast paced and action packed, but the last 60 or so pages, it really ramps up and things are kicking off and there are some really OMG NO THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN *SCREAMING* *THROWS BOOK* moments that you don't see coming, the book was full of twists and turns, and surprises and shocks like DOES THIS MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS type things and "oh snap" moments, but the big guns really came out at the end to make you even more desperate for the next book, which is just MEAN. It's a hard enough wait as it is!

I found it interesting that there was a clear difference between the two people. Drakharin seemed all about the blood and violence, Tanith in particular, they seemed more brutal and stiff and formal, even when growing. The Avicen in contrast didn't appear as bloodthirsty. They didn't seem to be the antagonisers. Although Altair's a total d*** and totally shady. Echo's story is when it really hits home, with Ruby being the standard mean girl, it made the Avicen seem normal despite their feathers. The Drakharin are definitely odd school though. Although, the Avicen being prejudice to Echo did get my back up on her behalf. It seemed very firmly, the Drakharin are the bad guys, they're all murder happy, we're just defending ourselves and we didn't do anything wrong. But I'm curious as to whether that's really the case, the Avicen just seem too...squeaky clean, if that makes sense. 

"'What will you do?' 'The same thing I've always done. Run when I have to and fight till the end."

The ending though. The most BADASS final line ever for a book. Perfectly set up the rest of the series in the last few chapters, while concluding this book perfectly and without sacrificing the plot. Plenty of surprises and originality until the end. The colour of the fire? So my kind of thing. The ending leaves things concluded, in the sense that they've found the firebird and things have been resolved, but still open, there's a war to stop, and they have to go on the run. So you have a vague idea of what's going to happen next, but at the same time not really. Kind of the perfect ending. 

Leaves you wanting more without an unbearable cliffhanger of angst. Although I'm impatient and I loved this way too much, so the wait for the next book was gonna be excruciating for me cliffhanger or no. But yeah, perfect ending, badass line from Echo, book two set up, and book one wrapped up with a few threads to take us in to book two. 

Sorry for the rambling guys, rather than a review this has become a huge fangirling, talking out loud type post, but I was typing "notes" that ended up being way too detailed, as I was reading, and every time I'd be done reading it for the day I'd type up some notes that where more detailed than they should be and thus this is practically a novel. (Although if you do want to discuss the book with me feel free to pop me a message or comment!)

So. TGAM is a fantastic debut and an epic start to a new, original and action packed series that will keep you on your toes until the very end. Full of twists and turns you'll never fail to be surprised, the world will pull you in and keep you engrossed until the very last page. I would suggest arming yourselves with supplies before you start reading! There's characters you'll love and characters you'll love to hate, and endless amounts of humour. TGAM is a combination of many different elements that have come together to create an enchanting and magical read. 
I'm just gonna leave you guys with this beaut quote though...

"Sometimes, when I'm feeling sad, I like to be around all these books. They're very good at making you forget your troubles. It's like having a million friends, wrapped in paper and scrawled in ink."

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Maximum Ride: Forever

Maximum Ride: Forever
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

The world has been destroyed, what's left is unrecognisable. With their new home unsafe, the flock is divided as visions and arguments and the aftermath of events pull them in different directions. The flock is split while they all search for answers. That will be and is their downfall. Max is alone. Things happen to her that shouldn't happen to anyone. Each flock member is being hunted. Loved ones are lost, found and lost again. But everything has to come to an end, and when in take out the crazy terrorist guy who destroyed the world and is trying to kill you.

I can't even right now. I really can't. I started this series when I was in school and now it's really finished. For some reason I thought Nevermore was the final book and then it turns out this one is and I can't even, I'm feeling so many feels right now and it was really the perfect ending ever. I'm just sad the series is over to be honest, it's been such a fantastic series to read and ugh. So many feels.

This book hooks you from the first page, and it's action packed and fast paced right from the start. We get multi POV's, which is perfectly done, adding to the tension and the mystery and the general "OMG"ness. The narrative was mainly from Max's point of view, and her narrative continues to be engaging and entertaining with an amusing inner monologue that has you chuckling. I've really missed Max and the flock guys!
Each other POV has a distinctive voice, and each adds something to the story, making it dimensional and complex and multi layered, while switching between them smoothly and with perfectly pitched timing.

The setting was vivid, atmospheric and cinematic. You could practically feel the ash choking you and smell the rather....unpleasant...smells. It was quite scary when you consider all the things going on in the world that could lead to a similar thing in the present day. This well crafted setting is part of what sucks you in to the story, and it blocks out the real world. 

Fang and Max....the first ship I ever shipped. These two caused me some major feels this book, and I still love their relationship and how natural it is, and it doesn't half make you go "awww", and this book you saw it naturally progress even more, and while the circumstances where extreme, it seemed natural and the logical next step, as well as the happy ending to a horrible chain of events.

I still got annoyed at Angel once or twice, I haven't liked her much for a couple of books now because ever since the first book I've been firmly on Max's side, and Team Max. But this book, I kind of started to understand Angel a bit more and how things have affected her.

This book was such an emotional journey for me as a reader who's been with this series for so long, yet everything is tied up, everything makes sense, everything fit and everything is resolved, it was a truly perfect ending to a well loved series.

The plot had so many twists and turns and at points it was truly heartbreaking with shocking moments when you had to pause, because you can't believe you read that and it can't really have happened because the author wouldn't really do that to your beloved characters, and then something else would happen and you'd be all happy and then something ELSE would happen and you'd be devastated again. Old characters resurfaced and brought even more feels! 
You could feel the suspense oozing off the page, feel the blood drain from your face whenever something horrible happened to the characters. The plot was a mystery you try to work out, but I was glad I couldn't to be honest, because it meant I was surprised until the end, and when everything clicked in to place you where kicking yourself for not working it out earlier. I couldn't have come up with anything even like what actually happened.

Maximum Ride: Forever was the perfect ending to a fantastic series. Full of action, adventure, and heart stopping fight scenes, it was the perfect continuation. With everything you loved from the other books, all the characters you loved are back and you get one last deeper insight in to them. Forever was beautifully written and as heartbreaking as it was heartwarming. I'm really going to miss having new instalments of this series!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #40

This week I have two books I'm stupidly excited for!
The first is the final book in a series I've been reading for ages, like since the first book came out! I got it at the library and then ended up buying it myself because I liked it, and I've been eagerly waiting each book!
The next book is the adult spin off from the Lux series, and you all know by now how much of a Jennifer Armentrout fan that I am so it shouldn't be surprising this one has made it on the list!

Night School: Endgame

The spy is gone but the cost has been high - the rebels at Cimmeria Academy have lost their leader and Carter West is missing. Nathaniel can taste victory. But Allie and the other survivors aren't done yet. First they have to get Carter back. Then they plan to make Nathaniel pay.

I know, I know, there's not much information in the synopsis, but that adds to the excitement, don't you think? 

Endgame is out June 4th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!


This is a stand alone novel that is an adult spin-off of the Lux Series You do not need to read a Lux book to read Obsession and vice versa.

He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.
Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?

Obsession is out June 4th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air. 

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. 

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia. 

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this book if I'm honest, and it took a direction I was utterly surprised by, I don't know why, I kind of thought it might be like this Josephine Angelini book I had read a while ago, but Magonia is totally original and colourfully imaginative. 

I have never read anything quite like this before, it's a blend of contemporary, science fiction and fantasy, dashes of magic with heavy doses of imagination that takes you out of this world and deposits you in to the world of the book 100%. 

There where heavy doses of realism in this book, and I loved all the facts woven in to the story about UFO sightings and Magonia and so on, I was discovering these historical events that I had never heard of before, and I'll most likely have a sneaky Google later to find out more. 

I'm always looking out for books that are doing something a little bit different and this one definitely is, rather than the same brand of mythologies, we get an entirely new and original one. The mythology for this book is richly fascinating, and totally original, it really gives your imagination a prod. There was a world that was invisible to us regular people and surrounded by air, there where fantastical and unusual creatures, and at times it reminded me a bit of The Grisha, as well as Stardust but that could just be the fact it's an airship. 

The characters are imaginative and intriguing, and very well written, and I'm hoping they'll make a come back for another book! This was written almost like a fairy tale and I can see the comparisons being made with Neil Gaiman. 

I will admit, I did find it a bit hard to get in to, it was quite slow going in the beginning and then everything suddenly happened and at one or two points things felt a little bit rushed. Reading the first chapter was an adjustment as it felt like listening to someone nervously ramble on, and it was a huge information overload with loads coming at me all at once, but after a while I kind of got used to it and I was intrigued enough to read through it all. 

Aza's narrative, was engaging and humorous, and her character development was huge. At the beginning she really annoyed me, and I didn't much like her, yet her narrative was compelling enough that I carried on reading, intrigued. But over the course of the book, she changes and you grow to like her more and more. The writing itself was atmospheric which helped to suck you in to the story and really made some scenes utterly perfect.

Love triangle alert! I feel I should mention this, but never fear. This is one done right. I don't want to spoil it but let's just say it was well done, it made sense, romance lovers will be quite happy! I loved Aza's relationship with Jason though. I really did, it was so well done and they where so made for each other it must be said.

The highlight of the book for me was the world building though, it was a truly imaginative and fantastical world created from unknown mythology and there where ships in the sky and birds, singing birds, talking birds and everything and it was just such a vividly rich setting you couldn't help being sucked in to the story and kind of feel like you where floating along as you read. 

Magonia is a captivating read and I'm intrigued for the second book where I'm hoping for a few questions to be answered and to learn more about the world created. There where some bits that I didn't like, it was a bit slow to start, but by the end I was enchanted with the world and the characters and unable to put the book down! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...