Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #28

This week I've got the mother of all author returns!
I freaking love this author, you all know I do, and so you can imagine how super excited I am that she's bringing us a new series, and one that's a spin off of one of her best series!
Aaannd the second book I have for you, is another one I've found that promises to be fun, unique and original.

The Return

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…
It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet.

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.
But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.
Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

The Return is out February 26th, pre-order your copy here
Add it to your TBR here

Mind Games

Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late?

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer.

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing...

Mind Games is out March 5th, pre-order your copy here
Add it to your TBR here

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Heroines

Okay, so this is my first time doing Top Ten Tuesday, and I probably picked the hardest week to join, I can I narrow it down!? You're probably about to see a certain pattern in genre now haha! This is hosted by The Broke And The Bookish! I'd have linked them in the little title picture below, but I'm technologically challenged and couldn't work it out....sorry!

(In no particular order by the way, I'd be here all week if I did that!)

1. Celaena Sardothien- Throne Of Glass
Okay, so the Throne Of Glass books are one of my favourite series, and I love them so much, and Celaena was just too awesome, and I loved her from the first page. I can't wait to see what happens to her next and where she goes. I pretty much want to be her to be honest, she has mad fighting skills. 

2. Lucy Hamilton- The Drake Chronicles
Lucy, oh Lucy, how I love you, she's badass, she has hilarious aim, and she makes me laugh out loud in public places, and refuses to be a damsel in distress. I'm waiting for the day she gets her own spin off with baited breath! 

3. Alexandria Andros- The Covenant
So I'm not quite sure how to word this, but I think this is one of the first YA's I read, I stumbled on it on Amazon along with Drake Chronicles, and I instantly loved not only the books, but Alex as well. I loved Alex instantly because she's a badass, but she's not perfect and it made her more real, not to mention the fact that she is the snark Queen. And the way she can just take all the shit that's thrown at her and ultimately carry on. 

4. Daenerys Targaryen- Game Of Thrones
I love Dany, not just cos you know....dragons, but because when we first meet her she's a young girl, pushed around by everyone else, and through the course of the books so far you see her grow and change, and become this ultimate badass who's freeing people, and she has her dragons and she's gonna burn her way to the throne. 

5. Gwen Frost- Mythos Academy
So the last book in the series was on NetGalley and I got to review it so I pretty much read all the books in one go. I love the books and I love Gwen, she doesn't take shit from anyone, and she's witty and funny, and just awesome. I'm sure there's a pattern emerging here....snarky badasses. 

6. Isabelle Lightwood- The Mortal Instruments
Ah Isabelle, not the main character of the story, but my favourite nonetheless. This could be slightly because my friends have told me that I look like her, but she was my Queen throughout all the  books. She kills demons wearing high heels, like hello....awesome. She's badass through and through, but also has a vulnerable side, and she's perfect omg. 

7. Sydney Sage- Bloodlines
I love Sydney, quite possibly more than I love Rose from the series this book series is a spin off from. Yes I said it. She's smart, witty, and she cracks me up, and I have like the last three books left to read that I haven't got round to yet, and I can't wait to see her stick it to the Alchemists. 

8. Kylie Galen- Shadow Falls
This was a hard one because I had to choose between Kylie and Della, and I love both, but Kylie I did read first so here we are. In the beginning I thought she was kind of useless and was a bit like ugh can we not, but then I grew to love her as she changed and became stronger and stood up for herself and dealt with all the crap in her life while being kinda badass with the ghost sensing skills. 

9. Megan Chase- The Iron Fey
Megan is another one of those characters that you loved from the beginning, and watched develop in to a totally awesome character who takes no shit and does what needs to be done. I loved how strong she was and how she ended up being the one rescuing Ash at one point, and what she did to save everyone. 

10. Paige Mahoney- The Bone Season
Paaiiiiggeeee....I instantly loved her and connected to her, she's everything I love, strong, badass and willing to do what's necessary. She doesn't take shit, and she keeps on going and trying no matter what happens. She also makes me chuckle! 

Monday, 23 February 2015

The Eterna Files

The Eterna Files
Rating: 4/5 (2/5 if there is no second book and this is a standalone, see the end of the review for why)
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher

London 1882: Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police has just passed his test, and is newly appointed by Queen Victoria herself to Special Branch Omega Division. Omega's purpose is to investigate the paranormal and supernatural, whether people or events, secretly of course. Spire is skeptical of all things magical, paranormal and so on and with his desire to help people he's the perfect leader of the division. You see these aren't ordinary people, no the division is made up of spies, assassins, con men, scholars, scientists and a travelling circus.

Their mission is to find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality, and was dreamed up by Clara Templeton following the assassination of President Lincoln. But in the process of developing the compound, the hidden laboratory in New York was destroyed, and all working on it perished. Or did they? There's one who survived and the Queen is convinced the survivor has a sample of the compound and wants it attained at any cost. Even relations between the two countries.

Clara Templeton and her group are also searching for the compound and answers about what happened in the laboratory. Determined not to see the compound fall in to British hands, as none can understand what happened to America in the wake of the assassination. Luckily her lover is haunting her and his brother, and can offer them a helping hand then isn't it?

This book draws you in from the prologue with the assassination and how things got started, from that point I couldn't put it down and was utterly engrossed. The book is original, and set firmly in the Victorian era with a supernatural twist. It had a very nice gothic atmosphere which I particularly enjoyed.

I found myself chuckling along at certain parts of the book, and it was so fantastically written you got a feeling of the time and locations. Both of them. You see we switch between England and New York, and between characters and points of view smoothly to get a better picture of what's going on in both countries. Each narrative being engaging and actually adding something to the story. It was reminiscent of the space race to be honest, with how both teams in England and New York where searching for this cure for death (that's ominous enough) and both determined the other shouldn't have it, or both determined to be the first to it, you know, and it was a  bit silly, cos like I said....cure for death, but nevertheless fascinating and entertaining and at times frustrating to read.

The characters all came to life from the page, and where well written. I particularly liked Clara and I found myself enjoying her chapters more than Spire's to be honest. I felt like quite the traitor to my own country preferring the American chapters. The plot was fairly complex and was full of intrigue as you try to work out what's going on along with the characters. However the plot also provided a problem which I'll come back to in a minute.

This was hard to rate however, and I have outlined the good things about the book, I want to give it four stars and I will, but there where points when I got a bit bored with the book and the constant descriptions of corsets and how crap it was for women, we know, we all know, there's no need to come up with new ways to highlight the issue every chapter, and at points it was quite jarring.

The biggest problem with this book is however, also the plot. That doesn't make sense, I hear you all cry, but bare with me. You see, for how long the book is....not much happens, but a lot does happen, it's very contradictory, you see there's clearly something more going on, and the English and the Americans are oblivious, so not much happens on that front because the English don't decide to go over to the US to sort their shit out until the end of the book.

And the end of the book is a problem. NOW. This has four stars because I am assuming that there is going to be another book. If there is not another book, I shall amend this to a much lower rating of either 2 or 3 stars. 

A bit harsh, you may think, but let me explain. The book ends. Just like that. The English plan to go over to the US, nothing's really solved, and Clara has passed out with a load of ghosts screaming bloody murder. That's it. The book ends there, which is why overall, while a lot happens in the book, it ends up feeling like not a lot or rather not enough happened in the book, and it essentially feels like half a book. Now if there's a second problem, in which case it's a fantastic ending because it's the ultimate cliffhanger, you're desperate for more, frantically clicking at your Kindle until you realise that's really it, and desperate for the next book.

If there is no second book then it's a very abrupt and kind of crappy ending. There's too many questions left unanswered, there's not enough resolution and it's incredibly frustrating because like I said, it feels like you read half of a book. The book literally ends mid climax and that is not okay, not because of like...feels and stuff, but it really isn't a great ending to such a fantastic book.

So yes, my review is contradictory and makes little sense, and is liable to change depending on what new information I receive after doing some digging. Apologies, but this book was right up my street, and was fantastically written and had so much good going on with it, but the ending lets it down tremendously if this is a stand alone book.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Return

The Return
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr!

It's been a year since everything that went down in Sentinel, ya know, the whole Ares thing, and Seth giving up EVERYTHING for Alex and Aiden to be together, and after spending the year being the Gods bitch, it's time for Seth to get his happy ending. Well sort of, there's gonna be a lot to overcome but you get my drift.

Apollo has a new mission for Seth, turns out the Gods had a plan C to sort out the whole Titan issue, and that plan was Demigods. Yup. Some of them have since been killed, but there are enough left alive to lock the Titan's back up, and Seth has to protect one of them. Specifically Apollos daughter. Unfortunately for Seth, Apollo will probably end up smiting him because Josie, well, she's feisty and she's beautiful and the whole off limits thing...not gonna stop him, and Apollo soooo won't be down with that.

Josie on the other hand, was merrily going about life at college, yeah she has a crazy mum but life was pretty good. Until a hot guy who is quite obviously totally crazy, comes and turns her world upside down. Next thing she knows Seth is road tripping her to the Covenant in South Dakota (doesn't that hold warm and fuzzy memories) and there's a Titan hell bent on revenge after her.

Sparks are going to fly, and Seth is finally going to be on his way to his happy ending, but first they have a major smackdown with a Titan to get out of the way and a couple of reunions and some truth talk about Seth and his past. But ya know...woooo!

"My mind was still stuck in the world where things like daimons, gods and Titans didn't exist. In a world where I could walk outside and not worry about being nom-nom'd on like Toaster Strudel."

Okay so I tried to do that as spoiler free as possible and I think I ended up making no sense but screw it because Seth is finally getting his happy ending like Alex did! Granted it's going to take a while and I can smell the heartbreak and the pain already, and believe me it's not going to be smooth sailing in the other books, but the romance, unlike Alex and Aiden, was there from the beginning, and they where together, none of the whole angsty wanting thing.

New Adult is totally right for Seth's story, I can't imagine him being YA but I'm sure younger readers are going to be in for a shock if they read this and I'm not talking about the language, y'all are gonna get way better acquainted with Seth.

I loved reading from Seth's view point, I felt like we got to know more about him and get more of a feel for him and everything than in the Covenant books and his narrative was engaging and entertaining and so very Seth. Then we have Josie as another narrator and she reminded me so much of Alex sometimes, which isn't surprising considering.....things. But yeah, she's like Alex but less tough, she's strong don't get me wrong but she's not as tough and rargh as Alex was, I loved Josie's babbling and omg she's like Alex but like not Alex, she has to learn to fight and everything and Seth is so right history is repeating itself!

Anyways, Josie's narrative was hilarious and her inner thoughts made me LOL, and the changeover was always at the perfect moment, when you where thinking about it needing to switch to show the other POV after an epic scene...boom it did, and the multi POV wasn't just the same scenes from two points of view either, it was very well done!

"The nervous knots from before were back, multiplying like mogwais fed after midnight."

So as you can guess, I loved Josie, she's like a tamer version of Alex...more well behaved, I don't even know, it was hard because in the beginning I was thinking she'd be like a second Alex, but while she is similar to Alex, she's totally different, and this makes no sense, but she's softer than Alex, I think is what I'm trying to say. She does the whole sarky, punching thing, and she babbles and has all these funny phrases, but she's not grown up in this life like Alex and she has only just started to face some of the hardship Alex has, and I'm sure Josie is going to toughen up a bit more over the course of the series, but I love her and she's the perfect match for Seth, and I could connect with her easily.

I think it's pretty obvious that I love Seth so let's move on shall we, seeing as I've already said we get more of an understanding of him and so on. Oh and he's a bit different, changed a bit, which was interesting. He did remind me of the Grinch at one point, ya know....."HELP ME MAX I'M FEELING". Anyways, we have a new characters, who are just as well developed and written and full of depth and larger than life as the old characters that we know. I liked Erin, I hope to see more of her in the second book she cracked me up and her and Josie gave me brotp feels.

"Holy fuck, I was probably starting to care"

So old faces surface, Apollo, obviously, but it's so weird because he was hilarious in the Covenant books, and he still is in this, and he was looking after Alex and so on, but in this....we get angry daddy Apollo and it's funny when you realise this is the same dude who got it on with Deacon and kept cock blocking Alex and Aiden! Still love him! Not to mention he legit quotes Star Wars....multiple times! We also see Artemis and Hades, and it sounds like we'll see more of Artemis, after her creepy little prediction, that I'm already dreading, because I actually like Artemis. Hades...well I'm sure he'll pop up again being annoying and collecting on Seth.

Deacon and  Luke where back, and I missed them so much, and it was great to see them again, it was like I'd never been away from the world or the characters, it smoothly just carried on a year on, if that makes sense, it was seamless transporting back in to the world and the world was just....this is hard to explain, but like the world was the same and there was no startling jolt like it'd been changed or anything.

But yeah Deacon and Luke, still loving Deacon's supernatural obsession, Marcus, man I missed Marcus, and Solos and Alex's Dad...that brought the feels, it really did. It was so great to see what these characters where up to in the aftermath of the Ares thing, and I mean....Horticulture.....really Luke?! Even good old Boobs makes a reappearance!

"Probably involved the blood of a dozen virgins or something equally archaic and creepy"

The world is expanded a bit, we see Nymphs this time, and we learn a bit more about the Titans and the Demigods, we see and learn about Shades. I loved learning more about the world, it's a world that is so well created in every single book, it sucks you in and is totally engrossing and it freshened it up a bit to see these new aspects of it and learn new things about it. Not to mention we meet a new, even douchier Titan. Yes it is possible, shocking I know, I hate to think what the others are like.

Most interesting for me when reading was seeing how the world of the Pure's and Half's dealt with the abolition of the Breed Order and Pure's and Half's now being allowed to be together. It was interesting, some people accepted it, but as we see a couple of times, some people don't and it's still a bit of a point of contention and some people still aren't happy and it's probably going to take a while but it was interesting to see.

"Holy shit, I was turning into Aiden St. Delphi. Being all saintly and shit, tampering down urges because it was the right and decent thing to do."

The plot was fast paced, lots happens, we go on a journey with the characters, the romance was less angsty than Alex and Aiden and happened from this book rather than in a book or two's time, there was plenty going on in the plot, and the plot is complex and intricate and the rich mythology is still present. Not to mention the awesome fight scenes. Being New Adult though it's less PG and Seth can really get his swear on.

The Return is everything I had hoped it would be and more. Everything I loved about the Covenant, but taken in a new direction, with some new characters, and what's shaping to be a complex and intriguing plot full of feels both good and bad. It's a fantastic start to the series, the foundations have been built, and it's a seamless continuation to a world we loved so much. Not to mention Armentrout's books always have me laughing in inappropriate public places!

I can't wait for the next book, and it feels so good to get back to this world and these characters!
Alex is mentioned guys, don't worry, but as yet, no appearance from her and I'm not sure how I'd feel if she did make an appearance....might be awkward for Josie? But yaaaaay Seth is getting the happiness he deserves and it feels so good!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Death House

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

Toby lived a perfectly normal life, there was a girl he liked at school who he was trying to impress for instance, but one blood test changes all of that.

Toby finds himself at the Death House, it's an out of time existence far from the modern world, Toby and the other kids with the defect live there, watched by the Matron and her nurses. They're studied, watched, for any indication of illness, and once certain symptoms make themselves known, the sick child is taken to the Sanatorium.

No-one has ever come back from the Sanatorium.

Toby is a quasi leader to his dorm of boys, and he spends his days living in fear, or immersed in memories of the past. But things start to change when new arrivals to the house, well....arrive. Everything changes, and death is closer than they think.

I loved this, it was so creepy and dark and original and I just wanted to know more and more about the world and the Death House and the Sanatorium. There's an unnamed illness, and the kids are randomly tested for it at school, if they make it to 18 without the defect being found, they're safe, if not they're taken from their family and sent to the Death House.

I loved how realistic and natural this book was, and it was most clearly these two things when you see Toby of the past, not fussed about taking the test purely because he gets to miss lessons. I mean, that's been all of us at one point hasn't it, I remember hating needles, but actually being okay with getting jabs done at school because I missed Maths! This and many other little things made Toby easy to connect to as you read.

Every character was believable and easy to relate to and understand. The setting was vivid, and incredibly creepy, as well as quite dark, I mean a lift that takes the kids away to their doom....loved it! The nurses and Matron where suitably creepy and villainous and clearly up to something/keeping something from Toby.

Toby makes a comparison between him and his housemates and Lord Of The Flies, and it's incredibly accurate because I was getting that vibe very strongly as I was reading. They make bets on people getting sick and pretty much are all over someone's weakness, and check each other for signs of illness, and Daniel? Totally Piggy. Just saying!

I'm not sure what else to say! It was a fantastic read, I loved the atmosphere of the book oozing off the page and the threads of menace, I loved the setting, I loved the little bits from Toby's memories, smoothly slotted in to the fast paced narrative. I particularly liked the whole thing Toby had with magic, and the memory with his mum, and how he'd believe for her, even though he was too old, and then passed that on to Clara and Will. The book was quite heartbreaking in a couple of places, and the ending was so heartbreakingly perfect. I pretty much read this in a couple of hours and it's been one of my favourite reads!

You really do come to care about the characters, and while the book is heartbreaking at times, it's also uplifting when you see the kids living and characters like Clara being so alive, even though you can feel this sense of hopelessness in the atmosphere of the book. While it seemed pretty clear what happened to the kids who went to the Sanatorium, it was also not entirely clear, you draw your own conclusions in a way. I found it such an original story, I know I keep saying it, but there where so many different elements combined to make this read so addictive, and I loved how everyone was kind of giving you side eye if you even sniffed, it was a very plague era kind of vibe.

The book is so just so well written and so captivating and so amazing, and just read it, please, I promise you won't regret it, you'll be able to speed through it an a couple of hours like me because you can't put it down, you get enchanted with it and the despair and darkness, and the little shreds of magic from stories mothers tell kids, and I can't even review this well enough because I don't have the right words to convey the fantastic book!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #27

This week I've got two I think you guys are gonna love!
First up is one that's going to be full of magic, and is looking like it's going to be incredibly original and unique so of course, it's made it on to my TBR, and hopefully on to you guys as well!
Second is a nice little historical YA, and we all know I can't resist a historical book!

A Darker Shade Of Magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

A Darker Shade Of Magic is out February 27th, pre-order your copy here! 
Add it to your TBR here!

 Mark Of The Thief

When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods -- magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic's newfound powers for their own dark purposes.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire's most powerful and savage leaders.

Mark Of The Thief is out February 24th, pre-order your copy here! 
Add it to your TBR here!

So check em out! Add them to your TBR's and join me in eagerly awaiting their release!  

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Sin Eater's Daughter

The Sin Eater's Daughter
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy (Look at how pretty that cover is!)
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Twylla lived her life destined to follow in her mothers footsteps and become the next Sin Eater, but she traded in one destiny for another when the Queen of Lormere herself came to take her away to the castle, to her rightful place is the embodiment of a Goddess, and you know....get to marry the Prince and someday become Queen.

But there's a twist, Twylla lives at the castle, and yes she is a lady, but she's also the executioner. Twylla kills anyone she touches instantly, as the Goddess embodied, it's her job to go to the cells each month and execute the traitors. Everyone avoids her and her touch, including the prince she's betrothed to, her long time  guard, Dorin, the only friend she has.

When yet another of her guards resigns, trials are held and a new second guard is chosen, his name is Leif, he's deadly with a sword, has an enchanting smile, and is from an enemy kingdom, one long treated with suspicion. He treats Twylla like a friend, and isn't afraid to touch her, but she's engaged to Prince Merek, and crossing the Queen results in being hunted through the woods. Fun times.

The Queen, however, may be madder than anyone thought, and she has a plan that's not only treasonous, but downright disgusting in some aspects. She wants to keep her bloodline pure and she wants an alchemist of her own, not to mention a war, and in order to get all this, she needs to enact a ritual from an old legend. How far is Twylla willing to go to save her Kingdom? What will she choose? Doomed love, or to save a prince?

So I got sent a proof of this by the publisher, and I was immediately in love with the cover, which is just as gorgeous as the finished copy! We all know I can't resist pretty books, and this book is not only pretty but made of awesome.

This books is gripping, enchanting, full of betrayal and plots, it has you on the edge of your seat, it's heartbreaking and utterly emotional, and it doesn't have the happily ever after you'd expect, it has a happy ending of a sort, but it's a surprising one, and one that I loved because you see her take a third option open to her and do what's best for her.

I wasn't entirely sure if there was a second book or not, and to be fair, this can stand alone, but after some checking I discovered that this is, in fact, the beginning of a series, and I'm excited by the direction the series appears to be going on, with Merek and the Sleeping Prince and so on, and to see what happens next with Leif, it's a fantastic start to an interesting and original new series. I really do say that a lot lately, but this is looking to be a good year for new YA series! I've not read a bad one yet!

The plot for this book is fantastically and intricately constructed, but while the plot is intricate, it's laid out on the page simply, so you can understand what's going on, as the intricacies come to pass, you find yourself being shocked and surprised at the twists, and wanting to know what happens next always. I did find the pace rather plodding, rather than fast paced, it was a good pace don't get me wrong, but it was just...plodding.

Each time I put the book down, I could easily pick up where I left off, although it did take a few chapters to really get in to the story, the plot and it's world was unique and interesting, and I was interested in finding out more about the world and the legends of it and this Sleeping Prince. The fantasy aspects of the book where fantastic.

There's such evil in this book in the form of the Queen, she's fully evil, like Cersei Lannister hasn't got anything on her. That's a nice aspect to the book, that adds to the drama of the plot nicely, the Queen is quite unpredictable and she cuts a terrifying character on the pages because of this, you never know what she's going to do next.

The book was stunning, with the background, the history of the world, the drama, the evil, the betrayal, the plotting, the politics and the legends of the world. Not to mention the world itself that was created so vividly on the page, I'd be interested to see this fallen Kingdom!

Twylla, for me, I connected with her, almost instantly, because I felt for her, but she did have moments when I wanted to smack her one! She intrigued me, with how she changed over the course of the book, and the allusions to how she acted when she first came to the castle, you could see she had changed, and was still changing. I enjoyed watching her come in to her own, stand up to the Queen and stand up to everyone and help to reveal the Queen's true self to the rest of the court.

I wouldn't really say this has a love triangle as she doesn't really have feelings for Merek, she's merely kind hearted enough that she would try and help him, so while she did have a choice to make between the two, it wasn't an actual choice as one was love and the other was her trying to do the right thing and help someone. The romance was quite cute, but it was a bit sudden, and there didn't seem to be much basis for it other than the odd glance and smile and nice thing done, so I couldn't really see the basis for it in the beginning, it seemed a bit sudden and a bit rushed, but it was cute anyway, and towards the end I could see more substance to it.

I think I found the pace rather plodding because there wasn't a lot of action in the book, and I usually tend to go for the action packed books, so this was a surprise for me because I found myself being enchanted by the book, and once I got in to it properly, I was fully involved in it to an addictive extent, I've had such terrible nights sleep this week because I kept staying up to read one more chapter, that usually turned in to more, and then had to be up early for work!

It says a lot for the authors skill that she got my attention with a book that is far less action packed than I am used to, but I was enthralled by her storytelling, and the seamless passing from the present moment back to the past briefly to keep us in the know with what had happened before we came to this part of the story not to mention the rich legend, as it where, involving the Gods and how they came to be and how Twylla's goddess came to be.

The Sin Eater's Daughter is an enchanting read, original, and the drama and the darkness make the book just as much as the fantasy elements and the mystery and intrigue. There's romance, but it was clearly very subtle to me! A character you can support and want to see succeed and who develops incredibly in the book.......a rich history to a vivid world...what more could you need? I'm intrigued to read the second book and see where the story will go next!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Wolf Winter

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

There are six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain.

A day's journey away lies the empty town. It comes to life just once, in winter, when the Church summons her people through the snows. Then, even the oldest enemies will gather.

But now it is summer, and new settlers are come.

It is their two young daughters who find the dead man, not half an hour's walk from their cottage.

The father is away. And whether stubborn, or stupid, or scared for her girls, the mother will not let it rest.

To the wife who is not concerned when her husband does not come home for three days; to the man who laughs when he hears his brother is dead; to the priest who doesn't care; she asks and asks her questions, digging at the secrets of the mountain.

They say a wolf made those wounds. But what wild animal cuts a body so clean?

Okay so GoodReads synopsis to retain the air of mystery because if I do my own synopsis it's going to be like "gush gush gush, actual information, gush gush, gives away entire plot accidentally, gush gush guussh" and no-one wants that! It's not often I get surprise book post, but man I could hug Hodder for sending me this. 

I LOVED this. As soon as you start reading, you're intrigued, you're drawn in and as you carry on reading you fall deeper and deeper in to the story until it's been hours and you've finished it and you have no idea what the time is or any sense of anything but the book. I was so involved in the story, I was pretty much useless to anyone trying to talk to me! 

The world engulfs you, so it's kind of perfect to read curled up by the fire with a blanket because there's lots of snow and you feel the snow, the atmosphere starts to effect you and you feel the suspense, the danger, you feel the mood of the book, you can feel how haunting and dark it is. Said darkness, not to mention the cold, are practically physically real while you read. It's so incredibly vivid, I feel like I hopped in the Tardis and spent my afternoon in Swedish Lapland circa 1717. It's truly a book you can get lost in. 

The world building is simply breath-taking, the book is so beautifully written and described with such beautiful turns of phrase, the book just makes you keep wanting more, you keep wanting to read the beautiful words on the page, stay in the world, and the kind of decide for yourself, but I'm just desperate to be lazy and have another book! 

I love history, so I loved this, I loved the setting, I loved reading about it, seeing the way of life of the time, what was normal back in that time period and the superstitions, tales, and so on. I seriously can't get enough of it and I'm currently obsessed with finding out more about this time and this particular area of the world. 

The characters are beautifully created, they where each strong, you connected to each of them, they where so full of depth, it was a strong cast! It was fascinating to read the dynamics of the community, the relationships, the people of the time. We have three groups in this book, the Lapps aka natives, the settlers our homestead occupiers, and the people who live in town. We mostly see the settlers world, as it where, because Maija and her daughter are the main protagonists, and the murder was in their territory, but you get a good look at all three groups, a feel for them, and an understanding of how they all connect together, and to see how they all trust each other when someone comes prying in to things. 

I had no idea what was going to happen next, where the story was going, who the culprit was, I was pretty much along for the ride, going with whatever conclusion the character had....convincing myself it was right because of certain evidence, then, like the character, being wrong. I love books that are unpredictable! Nordic Noir Thriller indeed GoodReads! The plot was rich and intricate and was about so much more than a murder. Survival is a huge them of the book, you may have already guessed this from the title, but ya know...there's a seriously hardcore winter going on. 

Wolf Winter should be read by YOU, yes you, because it is utterly, incredibly atmospheric, beautifully written and imagined, utterly breathtaking, and truly fascinating as well as intriguing. Full of suspense, it combines two genres, historical and thriller, smoothly and with a smidgen of darkness making it original. Not to mention the unique and vivid setting! 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Red Queen

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

The world is divided in to Red and Silver, if you're a Silver, then you're practically a God (X-Men or is man?), an elite warrior with incredible abilities ranging from control of fire, to controlling people and anything in between. If you're a Red, then you're a commoner, poverty stricken, and treated like dirt. You live under the rule of the Silver's and you're conscripted in to the Silver's war if you don't have a job by 18. A war that the Silver's started and don't actually fight in. It's only the Red's who spill blood for this war.

Mare Barrow is a 17 year old girl from the Stilts, and to her it looks like nothing will ever change. Her three older brothers are away fighting, and Mare looks set to follow in their footsteps with no job, her only skill being to relieve Silver's of their valuables while they remain unaware. She lives in the shadow of her sister Gisa, a seamstress with incredible skill, who carries the entire family on her shoulders. But when Mare's BFF Kilorn is set to be conscripted after an unfortunate twists of fate, Mare makes a rash decision to save the both of them, and when she comes up with a plan to get the money needed to save the both of them, her timing isn't too great.

You see, she picks the one day, to enact her plan, when a terrorist group of Red's known as the Scarlet Guard decide to blow a couple of Silver monuments up. In the chaos that follows Mare has to run, but not before her sister does something stupid. Something that ruins the future for the Barrow's.

In another twist of fate, Mare happens to steal from the wrong person, or the right one, depending on how you look at it. The next thing she knows, she's working at the Silver Palace, right in the middle of the people she hates, and fate is really getting around, because she soon discovers that she's not so different from the Silver's, her blood may be Red, but she has an ability of her own, one that's going to threaten the control of the Silvers.

They think they can use her to quell a rebellion, but she's harder to control than they suspect, and they made her part of their game.....the question is...who's going to win?

"We will rise, Red as the dawn"


Calming down now, I'm calm, it's all good, let's get to business and discuss one of my favourite books  EVER, yes, just like that it's one of my favourite books ever, and this series is going to be so much awesome, and I can already tell it's gonna be one of my "re-read it until the book is falling apart" series. So...fair warning, fangirling ahead, and copious amounts of gushing.

Red Queen draws you in from the beginning and grabs your interest with the narrative and the voice of the character, not to mention the world we see a glimpse of at the beginning not to mention the action. I could immediately tell it was incredibly original and different, and that the politics of the world, the history and well...the world itself was rich, and I wanted to know more immediately about this strange new world and what was going on.

The world of Red Queen is created from page one, it's built up with each new bit of information, and the writing is incredibly descriptive. The world is vivid and I disappeared in to the world from page one, and from that point was totally lost to the real world, I hated having to leave the world to go and do something else, or you know....when the book was over, every time I just wanted to sink back in to the world and get lost again. It was engrossing and oddly enchanting.

Information about the world and it's politics/rules and so on are established from the beginning and built upon, slotted in to the narrative at just the right moment and combined with the narrative so smoothly that is doesn't impact the pace or flow, it just fits there at the right moment, so you know what's going on and what the importance of the upcoming/already happened event is. You get maximum information about this rich world, with none of the pages and pages of information to paw through before you get back to the story. Just how I love it! 

In Red Queen we see a section of what is hinted to be a fairly expansive world, we see Mare's village, the summer palace, and then the capital, Archeon (which I want to see more of!) and a smidgen of the Bone Bowl, all of this is in Norta, which is a small piece of the world. I'd be intrigued to see the area of the battle, more of the town supposedly deadly because of radiation where the Red's are hanging out, and I'd be interested to see some of the other Kingdoms of the world of Red Queen, like the one they're fighting against in their war! I definitely think the opportunity to visit different areas is there, and I'm excited to see what other parts of the world we get to take a good look at in the other books! Especially as there's the whole "if we have a rebellion the other Kingdoms will crush us because they won't change" thing going on. Is that true? I don't know, but I want to find out!

The world is kind of hard to explain and probably about to make a mess of it right now, to me, it seems to be out of time. At points I thought it was a new fresh world, but then I'd start to wonder if it's the future of our world, and so it seemed quite out of time to me. At points the world seems to be quite old school, and by that I mean kind of olden days, medieval, perhaps, with the dresses and the armour and the fighting and some of the events, but then you see technology being used like cameras and so on which gives it a more futuristic/up to date feel to the world, added to the general awesomeness of the powers of the Silver's it creates a unique world that is enchanting.

The politics of the world is quite impressive, with the houses and how they feel towards the King and the royal family, and how a Queen is picked and how the Red's are treated, I love how the reader can insert themselves in the story, because you know......we are the Red's. So you connect to the Red's as a whole on that level, or at least I did! Now this might just be me, but I kind of felt like some of the politics of the world, and the "terrorists" in particular and the war, seemed to echo some of the news broadcasts you see today in the real world, if that makes sense.

"Anyone can betray anyone"

I loved all the different abilities and the different houses/families, talkies, strongarms, magnetrons etc while the abilities are mostly nothing new....they where used in a new way in this world, and had a different meaning, and there where a couple of different ones thrown in there, but from the different families with the different abilities and colour, you could really see how intricate the world is, and that's not including the history of the world or the politics. I also loved how the Silver's acted, how they reacted differently to situations than a Red would and you could see that so clearly through Mare and her sudden dual identity.

Speaking of Mare, I connected to her immediately, I absolutely loved her and she's the type of female lead I love, with all the sarcasm and everything. She's the type of character whose skin I can easily slide in to as I'm reading. I connected to her so easily for more reasons than I already said, it wasn't just the sarcasm and so on, but it was because of her whole story, and how she feels, and how she's been treated by her family and so on, I could empathise with her so easily and I could understand her and see where she's coming from.

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.” 
Some of the other characters, however, I couldn't work out, so I was pretty much in the same boat as Mare. I'm talking about Maven and Cal, my opinion of them kept changing as I kept reading, one minute I thought Cal was soooo great but then he'd do something or say something or fail to do something and I'd get the hump with him, but then he'd be so adorable again and I'd be like "he can't possibly be the bad guy in this world". It was exactly the same with Maven. With Maven I felt exactly like Mare did. I thought he was going to be exactly like his mother, totally evil, and I kept expecting him to turn round and be a dick, and have some secret plan going on to screw over Mare and the Scarlet Guard, but I actually ended up liking him and thinking "I really hope he doesn't become a dick", but then there was the mother of all plot twists, that I really didn't see coming even though I should have and was half expecting it, but Maven kept doing things to make me think he wasn't the enemy and so on. But yeah, plot twists and booooommm he went full douche.

The author has written the book so incredibly that it's hard to predict, or if you do predict something that happens, you convince yourself it won't happen because there's no evidence it will and then the thing you didn't think would happen, happens and you're totally shocked and surprised. The author has written Cal and Maven in the book so they're switched for most of the book, we think Cal is the enemy because he won't do what's right, even though he's totally sweet and totally likes Mare and she likes him but won't admit it, and we think Maven is the hero, when in reality it's actually the other way round and Cal's the good guy, but Maven/the author has manipulated your thoughts so subtly through the characters and so on, that you're wrong. It's so hard to explain but you'll see. Everything you think as you read is wrong, and you don't realise until right at the end.

“Many things led to this day, for all of us. A forgotten son, a vengeful mother, a brother with a long shadow, a strange mutation. Together, they've written a tragedy.” 
But the thing was, as much as Maven and the King where dicks, I could also see where both of them where coming from. Cal is the last thing the King had to remember the woman he loved, and I'm not even going to touch Maven's issues, but I did feel for him more than once, and I could understand him and see where he's coming from, as much as I dislike him, to the extent I've half given him the benefit of the doubt and I'm like "maybe it'll come out that his mother is controlling him and making him do it" and yes I do know how stupidly unlikely that is, but I really did feel for the poor sod. 

I would really like to see more of Cal in the next book, he was in the book a fair bit, don't get me wrong, but I'd like to get to know him better, possibly as Mare does! They had a couple of scenes together, but we mostly saw her with Maven, so yes, I'd love to see more of Cal and Mare together, and get to know him a little bit better now Maven is out of the way. I'd also love to see and learn more about Kilorn, Julian, Shade and Farley, as I really liked what I saw of all of those characters, but we didn't get to know them all that well, and seeing as what happened at the end of the book...well...happened, I'd love to know them better this time round! Not to mention Mare's other brothers, they where hilarious and I loved them! Gisa...well....I feel a bit of resentment to her because of poor Mare, but we'll see!

As you can probably tell, the author creates all of her characters, including the secondary ones, very well, so well that you feel what they feel, and they come alive right in front of you. Each character has hidden depths to them, and have more going on than you would think, and each is, like I said, beautifully created, you can picture them clearly, and you want to get to know them better. They're another reason why it's so hard to leave the world! I'd LOVE to see more of Lucas, but nooooooooooo.

"In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don't know if I'll ever smile again.” 
Like I said, I never knew what was going to happen next, I had my own ideas of what was coming up next and was always wrong, and surprised, and even if  I had half guessed, I was STILL surprised. Red Queen has you on the edge of your seat with all the action, and the secrets and the general wanting to know what happens next! Any theory you have, the author will convince you that you're wrong, so you're even more surprised when you where, in actual fact, at least semi right. Red Queen is a roller coaster of action, and feels and so much happened, I LOVE it when loads happens in a book and you go on a real journey with the character not just in terms of plot, but in terms of the characters development.

This book was so hard to put down because there was never a good enough place to put it down, there was never a lull in the action, or the intrigue or the general OMG, and the world is so engrossing you just don't want to leave it. I was so gutted that I couldn't read it in one go like I wanted to, I had to be up super early for work every day, and so I had to keep stopping and starting, but it was so easy to disappear back in to the world each time, and get back in to the action and instantly remembering exactly what had been going on.

I'm going to tell you a tale of horror and strife now, you see, I had to stop reading this book with 50 pages left. 50. I had to be up early for work and for the first time in my life I decided to be sensible. The struggle was real guys. It was legit the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I still don't know how I managed to force myself to put the book down. It was right at the OMFG NO WAY I CAN'T BELIEVE IT WHAAAT moment, where you NEED to keep reading because you HAVE to know what's going to happen next. And. I. Put. The. Book.Down. I deserve a medal. The entire next day was total torture until I could finish reading it. I have stared in to the abyss. Seriously. 

I'm a lover of all things unique and original, so this book was literally heaven. There where so many little original quirks, like the Silver's version of blushing and so on, and I loved seeing each new little thing that added little touches to the world to make it really come alive. I'd made the people and the world so original and Red Queen is a breath of fresh air to the genre!

“I see a world on the edge of a blade. Without balance, it will fall.” 
Romance. I know you all want to know about the romance, but as you can probably tell from the whole character paragraph, I had NO idea who to ship her with! As I started to read I assumed I'd ship her with Kilorn, but I didn't get enough of a feel for him to form an opinion, other than he kind of threw some things back in her face, so he's on my no list. I shipped her with Cal immediately, as soon as they met. You could say I shipper her with Cal the entire way through the book, and here's where things get complicated. While I shipper her with Cal, because he was so sweet and adorable and it was too cute, Maven obscured that, by saying certain things about his brother and doing the things Cal wouldn't, I kept wanting Cal to do certain things, and he wouldn't but then Maven would do something like joining the SG, and Cal wouldn't try to make change, and I'd ship her with Cal but then I'd have moments where I was like okay maybe she should be with Maven, as he's clearly better, but then Cal would do something else and I'd be like no don't be silly, Cal and Mare need to be together and there's just a couple of obstacles in the way.

Cal was way too cute and adorable to her, saving her, being all jealous, it was honestly so cute and made you all squirmy inside, so of course, I'm Team Cal. I reached a point where I was like "this is going to be an intense love square" but then Maven did the thing and now I'm like I can handle the triangle that Kilorn will help make, I trust the author to write is incredibly well as she's written everything else, so it's going to be a good one! Her and Cal are the more interesting pairing I think, as they have so much to overcome, and it's so complex, especially after the end of Red Queen. I can't even. It will be fixed in the next book though, right? RIIGHT?!

To be perfectly honest though, for the majority of the book, the romance was kind of secondary to the plot and everything going on with the Guard and Mare learning how to be Silver and how to use her powers and who she really is and how she exists and so on. So the romance was there but it was pretty subtle most of the time, there was the odd big gesture, but you where mostly focused on the plot, especially when Julian was all "here have some info I found, it'll change your life". I'm intrigued to see where the romance is going to go, what with my ship and all, don't get me wrong, but I'm more excited to find out what's going to happen in the world next with the rebellion, and everything.

There where so many points of intrigue in the story, what happened to Cal's mother, what Julian's beef is with Maven and so on, that you're always focused on the story and coming up with your own theories. Always wanting to know more about the book and the world.

“Words can lie. See beyond them.” 
My reaction to the end of the book? Lots of swearing, a mini temper tantrum and OMG's. I ship Cal and Mare so hard and the end just killed me, because they need to be together and then Shade and omg. And then the direction the plot has been pointed in for the next book? SO EXCITED. So much OMG.

Red Queen really brings the feels, it makes you feel all the feels, it's fast paced, there's never a dull moment, the world is vivid and original and the history of the world is rich. Red Queen is fantastically written, always intriguing, and is set to be an incredible and popular series, fast becoming a favourite of mine. Most importantly Red Queen is original, different and unique, and it's a true breath of fresh air in to a genre filled with books that are far too similar. It stands out from the crowd and the romance/triangle/square, will have you freaking the hell out, while being all "awww" at the same time. You have been warned!

I cannot wait for the next book, seriously, I really can't, I need to know what happens next, I need to see Cal and Mare getting back together again and repairing their relationship and I need to see them being all badass and taking down he who shall not be named, Kind of douches. 
The wait is going to be excruciating. I have the book hangover, of all book hangovers, and I loved every minute of it! A little bit of X-Men, (seriously Cal's supposed to marry Magneto) a liiiittle bit of the Selection, a splash of Dystopia and a dash of fantasy. Boom.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

We Are Pirates

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

A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay.

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he’d like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter.

Gwen is his daughter. She’s fourteen. She’s a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she’d like to be an adventurer and an outlaw.

Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal.

Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure.

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.

Also, it’s about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.

GoodReads synopsis so as not to give anything away today, I'm afraid! I'm terrible at being all spoilery when I do my own synopsis! 

I was a huge fan of Lemony Snicket when I was a kid, I remember being given the first two Unfortunate Events books as a Birthday present and from that point on being totally hooked, although don't talk to me about the movie adaption, I can't be dealing with that! So I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of the authors latest offering, an adult offering at that! 

You may not know this, but I'm a smidge obsessed with pirates, if you watch a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie with me you'll probably want to smack me one because I sit there and quote along under my breath I seriously know the majority of the lines and I'm so pumped for the next movie! But yes, em! 

So it's pretty obvious that I loved all the references to pirates, fictional and otherwise, in the book and all the piratey type books! I think my TBR has swelled from this book! This book and the pirates in it where a total laugh! A laugh with a huge dose of WTF?! and all the strangeness and weirdness of Unfortunate Events, which was fantastic for me as a fan of the Unfortunate Events books, and I loved that the author doesn't lose those qualities about his writing when doing adult books, it gives adults a chance to have some fun too! I should say "us adults" but I'm 21 and still convincing myself I'm not an adult yet, I'm merely a YOUNG adult, so sorry. 

Handler has a distinct way of writing and it was evident here in the book with the whole "at this point in American History" bits, so readers waaaaaaay in the future won't get confused, was reminiscent of the Unfortunate Event books when he would clarify words and their meanings. 

I'm not quite sure how to review this book, I loved it, really I did, but I don't want to spoil what awaits you, and I'm loathe to try to explain the wonderful weirdness of the book! The book sunk it's grappling hooks into my brain, boarded, and pretty much stole it. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about it. 

I think because the book seemed so real. None of the characters where perfect, like real life humans, most book characters are all perfect and not at all like a real human, but these where characters that made plenty of mistakes and had a lot of shit going on that they had to deal with. They grew, they changed and they adapted and the characters where so natural, real and organic. I connected with Gwen easily, and she was my favourite, I think she made me think more, and she affected me more when reflecting on the book. 

I enjoyed the point of view of both Gwen and her father, I thought the change was seamless and each change made sense and came at the right moment. I feel some readers may struggle with the prose, or atleast some of the wording, like I already mentioned the narrative and the whole "at this time" thing, it may be hard for people to get around, as well as the general strangeness of the book. 

I found the book entertaining, intriguing, different, original, I mean a bunch of kids and other accomplices being olden days pirates in modern day America?! When we think of pirates these days we often either picture the modern kind (usually involving illegal downloads or possibly Somalia) or Johnny Depp and multitudes of guy liner, it's rare one would think of the real Blackbeard or any other fictional pirate, and I loved the characters following the pirate rules from books and history, and trying to be a crew to experience some sort of bond, or create their own family. 

I think after reading this book, you pretty much could become an old school pirate if you wanted, the book tells you everything you need to know about pirates! You watch these characters struggling with their lives, trying to go on an adventure like in the books. Although I will say I was a lot more interested in Gwen and her crew than in Phil....sorry Phil. 

The characters are all entwined, even the ones you wouldn't expect, and it's a.....guys I really don't know how to properly explain! Sorry! You just need to trust me, and go and read this, and enjoy it like I did, and bask in the strangeness that is awesome! 

We Are Pirates is real, strange, different, original, fun, entertaining, and even a smidgen heartwarming at the end, it may not be some people's cup of tea, but you need to give it a chance! It's not often us adults get to read fun books! You will come to love the strangeness! 

Wishing For Wednesday #26

This week I've got two little gems to share with you!
The first is an intriguing new addition that I can't wait to get my hands on when it's out! Described as The Handmaid's Tale meets Blood Red Road!
And the second is the third in a series that is literally one I've been waiting my entire life for, it has everything I've wanted in a book and so the serious is made of awesome!

The Glass Arrow

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.
In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

The Glass Arrow is out now! Order your copy here! 
Add it to your TBR here!

The Lost Chalice

Relic hunter and archaeology expert Kendall Morgan has a lot on her mind. After finding the Fountain of Youth—and discovering that Nathan, her handsome billionaire boss, might actually be her long-lost childhood love—she could really use some time to think. Except a two-thousand-year-old Protettori guardian has just teleported into her bathroom, desperate for help.

The Reaper, an ancient and sinister being consumed with finding the world’s most powerful relics, is after the Holy Grail. Now Kendall must use her sixth sense to find it first. With both Nathan and her brooding bodyguard, Jake, by her side, Kendall sets out to find the lost chalice in a dangerous quest that will test her abilities, her heart, and everything she thought she knew.

The Lost Chalice is out now! Order your copy here!
Add it to your TBR here!

Friday, 6 February 2015

The Raven's Head

The Raven's Head
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher

Vincent is an apprentice to the Librarian of a Lord, but in truth he's more like the Librarians person slave. When their Lord's legitimacy is called in to question and the Librarian "finds" an ancient tale to clear up any doubt, Vincent stumbles upon the truth and it's powerful enough to destroy his master. But Vincent makes a mistake, his attempt at blackmail backfires, and he finds himself being hunted, on the run from certain death if he's caught, and in the possession of an intricately carved, silver ravens head. A head that appears to talk to him, and appears to be steering him in a certain direction. Any attempt to sell it, fails, no-one wants the unlucky omen. But soon Vincent finds himself in a town, a town where boys are being left with the White Canons, who are most certainly up to something, what with boys disappearing in the night.

Vincent tries to get rid of the bird to Lord Sylvain. This particular Lord is an alchemist, one with an all consuming obsession with bringing back his dead daughter. Vincent finds himself in danger because Sylvain and the White Canons have this little idea that Vincent is a predestined sacrifice, to die in their experiment.

So, I think this is my favourite Maitland book so far, I thought it was Vanishing Witch, but nope, totally this one! The Raven's Head is delightfully dark, and this darkness is woven throughout the plot, a plot that is gripping and twisting, written in vivid detail. Not to mention it's incredibly creepy at some points! The thing I love about Maitland's books, is that there's clearly been a lot of historical research put in to the book, and this research, woven in to the writing and descriptions, gives you a vivid painting of the time, you're walking in the world created, pretty much, and the atmosphere just swallows you.

The book is fascinating, and at times unbelievable, you know, it's totally unbelievable that certain things would have been the norm back then, and it kind of stuns you for a minute as you take it in...realize it was normal back then, and then picture living in that time with things like that going on. The pace is just right, fast paced, but not rushed, and it's not dragged down with endless reams of information.

There's different points of view, each one changes at the right moment, each one adds something to the story, rather than just going over the same scene, if you know what I mean. There's a larger plot going on that's complex, and each character is a different component that brings something to the story, to the plot. It really is set in an interesting time, and it truly drew me and hooked my attention firmly in the story and setting, I seriously loved all the history and the stories and the superstition and all the magic woven in to the story, because there's loads of each to keep you intrigued! Not to mention the little bits at the beginning of the chapters, that are to do with alchemy, that are all real pieces of information.

The Raven's Head, understandably and probably obviously, has lots of birds in it, lots of different birds, and I thought it was a nice touch to have them throughout the book. I loved how the ending left you wanting more, you want to know what happens next, but you can't, because there's no sequel, so you have to decide for yourself, the cycle is clearly continuing and you're wondering, how long will it continue? Will it stop? Will they achieve what they want? It's truly hard to guess what's going to happen next, because there are stories within the main plot, particular a certain characters parents, and it's impossible (at least for me) to work out the connections, the links and what's going to happen with the next twist.

Seriously, I can't say this enough but Maitland will have you utterly enthralled and enchanted with her storytelling, and how she uses her words to create beautiful but dark images, and twist so much and so many different threads in to one plot that keeps you glued to the page. Maitland had me utterly fascinated by the time period and yearning to know more about it, more about alchemists of the time, and I was quite sad to leave the story, but also, despite wanting to know what happens to the characters next, you feel oddly satisfied with the ending.

Two words to describe this? Dark and magical. And you need to give it a go! Having said all this, despite how much I was fascinated by the time, if Doctor Who shows up with his Tardis, this is the last time period I'd ask to visit!

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