Monday, 31 August 2015

Poppy Pym And The Pharaoh's Curse

Poppy Pym and the Pharaoh's Curse
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher 

Poppy Pym has grown up in the circus, eating candy floss for breakfast and learning about lion taming ... until her circus family decides she needs a more traditional education, and they send her to boarding school. At first, Poppy has trouble fitting in at St Smithen's, a school that is very different from the circus. But when an ancient Egyptian ruby comes to the school and dangerous accidents start occurring, it's up to Poppy to save her new home and solve the mystery of the Pharaoh's curse!

Well this book was a fun read, and a fun mix of different themes! We've got a boarding school, a circus, a mystery and some Ancient Egypt thrown in there all blended together to make an entertaining read! You all know I can be lured by anything involving Ancient Egypt and I loved the echoes in this book from real history. If you don't know what I'm talking about take a look at Tutankhamen and his "curse", you might find it interesting. 

Poppy Pym was an easy read, and fast paced, easily read in one sitting. There's plenty of action and plenty of humour thanks to the colourful cast of characters, particularly Poppy's circus family! They where a lively and interesting bunch! The mystery kept you intrigued as you tried to put the pieces together and work out who the culprit was. Overall it was a very well written, entertaining book with a fantastic heroine that will keep you laughing the entire way through! 

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Copper Gauntlet

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

Callum Hunt’s summer break isn’t like other kids’. His closest companion is a Chaos-ridden wolf, Havoc. His father suspects him of being secretly evil. And, of course, most kids aren’t heading back to school in the magical world of the Magisterium . . .
It’s not easy for Call, he's struggling to deal with the revelations of Iron Trial . . . and it gets even harder after he checks out his basement and discovers that his dad might be trying to destroy both him and Havoc, I mean...what else could all the creepy ritual paraphernalia be for? 
Call escapes to Tamara's house where he find out Aaron has been there all summer being celebrated as the Makar...the weapon against the enemy. Upon their return to the Magisterium things only intensify. The Alkahest-a copper gauntlet capable of separating certain magicians from their magic-has been stolen. The Mages think it's the Enemy of Death....but Call knows it isn't. He knows exactly who's taken it but he can't believe it. 
Call, Aaron, Tamara and Jasper. Yes you read that right, Jasper, head off on a mission to retrieve the Alkahest but it would seem all isn't as it appears. The closer they get to their goal, the more dangers present themselves. But it couldn't be the Magisterium sending them...could it? Call and his friends are getting closer and closer to a dangerous truth, one Call doesn't want his friends to find out. 
As the mysteries of the Magisterium deepen and widen, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take readers on an extraordinary journey through one boy’s conflict -and a whole world’s fate.
This is a satisfying sequel to the first book, it has to be said! I loved the first book, I couldn't not love anything Cassandra Clare writes! This episode was a lot more action packed than the first, we don't spend a lot of time in the school, it's mostly in the world above as they go about their quest. We also get an interesting look at Tamara's family. I got some definite Harry Potter vibes off this book, but it's not actually anything like Harry Potter. We dive straight back in to the world and the action straight away, and the book keeps up a fast pace throughout. 
The world continued to be rich and original and exciting, it really does suck you in and I was kinda sad we didn't spend much time in the Magisterium this time, I love that place! The lichen and the toadstools etc. Either way, whether you're in the school or not, the book is so well written and atmospheric that you get lost in the world, and even the real world has it's own magical quality. 
I continue to love the magic in the book, the levels at the school, how the magic works, the wristbands and the different gems. We learn about a different gem in this book, but it's a spoiler alert so I'll leave you to read and find out yourselves! We also learn a lot more about Chaos magic and how it works and what it can do and so on, and we see a proper elemental, like....not a little lizard. 
The thing I loved about Call in the first book was that he wasn't perfect, he's got problems with his leg and can't do half the things he wants, and I thought it was unique for a main character to not be all super fit and muscly and active. While I liked Call, I did find him a bit...trying at times. In this book he's a lot less bratty, he's grown as a character and was a lot more likeable. Calls really struggling in this book with the revelations from the previous one and he's kind of analysing his own behaviour to see if he's an "Evil Overlord", the way he did it and it was written was actually quite humorous although sad at the same time because of how it was making Call feel. I really felt for him this book and was rooting for him. I know a lot of people might look at him negatively because of the times he resents Aaron, and you see it a lot in this book as he's struggling with who he really is and everyones all about Aaron and only cares about Aaron, rather than looking down on him for it, I could see where he was coming from. 
I loved the friendships between the three in the first book and those friendships where really tested in this book and it was sad to read. His friends didn't have the reactions I was hoping for which added some angst and conflict and made the book emotional. Although, not everything was hunky dory at the end, Aaron was hard to read, there could be some upcoming conflict between Aaron and Call. Tamara really divided my opinion in the book to the point she was annoying me, like after she did that thing and was bleating on about "you can tell me anything" like really? 
Jasper was in this book a surprising amount. I really didn't like him in the first book, I kept waiting for him to scream "MY FATHER WILL HEAR ABOUT THIS!", but at the same time I could understand him and where he was coming from and I actually wanted to see him more in the second book...which is this book...and he was in it yay! I wasn't expecting it really! Jasper isn't a complete douche, you get to know him more this book and understand what he's dealing with at home and how his snark is a reflex. He was actually quite nice once or twice and sort of came to seem like one of the gang, although in true Jasper fashion he's not getting all touchy feely about it. I really want to like him, but everytime I start to he does something a bit harsh and I'm like whhhhyyyy! 
There's lots of threads to the plot again which keeps the intrigue up as you try to work out what's going on,  and who's  behind what. There's plenty of twists and turns, some I did half guess at or see coming, but then others where completely surprising and I didn't see coming, so it was an equal balance that kept you guessing. Then there's another huge plot twist at the end which is game changing to say the least, and there's a nice new mystery ready for the next book. 
The Copper Gauntlet is a strong sequel, showcasing character growth and adding even more to the characters. More's been added to the world, and more intrigues to get you excited for the next book. I easily read this in one sitting because once you get started, it's kind of hard to find a place to put it down! 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Court Of Fives

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

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.

Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the two Fives competitors—one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy—causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.

The plot of the book is what drew me in, is what made me want to read it so I was excited to receive a copy of the book to review for the publisher. As I started to read I will admit, I was thinking "okay....not too sure I'm going to like this". I'm not sure what it was about that first chapter or the few after but I wasn't really feeling it and I wasn't really feeling Jes and her family's interactions, I think. I really don't know why I found myself thinking I'd made a terrible mistake in wanting to read this. But I'm glad I persevered and finished. It's safe to say that I wasn't sure how this book was going to go, but while I wasn't all that enthused at the beginning, the characters didn't...jump out at me I suppose, and I didn't get in to it right away, it reached a point where I was hooked. 

It took me a good few chapters to warm up to Jes, the same can't be said for her siblings, I didn't start to like one in particular at all, I actually find her very annoying. The others I didn't really feel like I got to know properly in that brief beginning. Either way, in a few chapters I'd warmed up to Jes. Why?  Because I'd started to understand her, what her life is like, why she's doing this and so on, whereas before I was a bit like "whaaaat? What is your problem?". Once I started to get to know her better and understand her, I found myself connecting to her until I was firmly on her side in all matters and rooting for her as she went about her shenanigans shall we say, so as not to spoil! She's brave, she's got some insane brain where she can map out all of this stuff at super speed, she's kind of a badass. Girls got balls, I'll give her that! Gargaron doesn't know what he's gotten himself in to. I'd say "poor sod" but I just watched Order of the Phoenix and was reminded that I must not tell lies. 

Kal I was never quite sure of for most of the book, it's only when Jes started to get to know him that I came to like him and be on his side. The synopsis on the book cover is different to the GoodReads one and says the he tears Jes's family apart so as I was reading and meeting him I was kind of looking at him like how you'd look at a snake. Waiting for it to strike. I wasn't at all sure of him until certain events happened. Then I kind of thought he was a bit of a pansy like not standing up to his Uncle and just doing as he's told, but over the course of the book he really changes and I came to like him more and more as he revealed more of himself and what he's like and if certain things do occur over the next however many books....I mean...there could be worse people to fill the post right? But actually coming to quite like him, and he being one of my favourite characters made the ending of the book so brutal and heartbreaking. I mean....I'm actually worried for him and everything because things probably won't end well. 

There's a supporting cast of characters the majority of which I feel like we didn't get to know enough, I want to know them better! Bettany we saw briefly and I'm hoping for more of her in the future. Amaya is said character I never warmed up to, she annoyed me the majority of the book and then at the end surprised me and now I'm not sure what to make of her, like out of nowhere she stopped whimpering and was like "Yep..I'll go first down this dark hole in to the water....s'all good". She did spark my curiosity though with her love interest. Consider me well thrown off the scent. My romance radar is usually spot on! I got the wrong sister! Maraya is another interesting character because of how she's treated by society and I'm thinking now she can come in to her own and it'll be interesting to see more of her and get to really know her. She was kind of me though, knowing all the historical facts and such. There's a couple of other characters like Thynos and the other adversaries who I'm very intrigued by and can't wait to see more of. 

There's such a large and colourful cast of characters, I mean Gargaron is literally full villain, and he's the best kind even though I hate to admit it. You really do hate him. I already can't wait for him to get his comeuppance. *refrains from quoting The Mummy*. Each character has flaws, that makes them more believable and realistic. Some characters are more developed than others I would say, I mean the other sisters clearly have more going on than they appear, but as yet we don't know much about them other than what Jes knows and it's clear she's a bit of a Jon Snow in that area. The characters that are mainly in this first instalment have plenty of depth and layers to their characters, it's just a case of waiting for the other characters to get their time to shine. 

Having said that, while individually I'm not too sure about Jes's sisters, altogether they where so much fun to read about. In the beginning I was a bit like "Woah okay who are you lot?" but there's a specific sequences of events at the end where you see all of them together, and they're relationship with each other was so well written. Not to mention with their mother, that these scenes where fantastic to read as they all work together and come together to save themselves. They really do stand strong together and have each others backs. I want to see more of their mother to be honest, because in the beginning she didn't come across too well I don't think, with Jes's observation planting thoughts. But as the book goes on you see the dignity she has, the way she can keep going out to these events and being scorned by most but still holding her head high, and helping Jes without her knowing it. Amazing. 

I found the book to be quite emotional, quite frankly. I mean, being on Jes's side and connecting to her, I really came to feel what she felt. There where so many scenes that made me so angry as I was reading that I kind of wanted to throw the book. Then there where the sad, heartbreaking scenes when I was just kind of sitting there, listlessly, like that can't have just happened! Among these emotions, there where happier scenes as well, that made me smile along with the characters, that made me laugh. I am confused with my feelings towards some characters, I was initially fairly angry at a couple but I'm not sure if I feel that same anger now that I've finished the book. Either way you'll feel some feels. 

While I found the book slow to start and a bit difficult to get in to, once the book got going I was hooked and to be fair, it had a fairly snappy pace from the start. I did find myself reading longer than I should at one or two points because of plot twists and the need for answers. There where a fair few plot twists, some I did see coming, but some I did not and was genuinely surprised or dismayed depending on what was happening. There's one final plot twist that I didn't see coming. Like I saw the mini twist before it, but then it was like BHAM have another one and I was like....oh no. NO. This large plot twist has definitely set up some drama and action for the next book. I do not like it one bit! 

There's some romance in the book, in case you hadn't guessed. It starts out quite slow and subtle, then develops in to an actual romance but it's not going to be an easy one by any means. There's so many laws in the world the characters inhabit that it's fairly impossible, but then things can change so we'll see. It was cute though. Like really cute. Although at times I'm kinda like "Jes is going to eat him alive". There's an opportunity for an interesting love triangle I think. Just saying. Let me know if you work out who I'm talking about! *wink wink* 

I enjoyed reading all about the history of the world of the book and the game of Fives and it's rules and how it works and pretty much everything. The book has a very rich history to it, which would normally be a good thing, and it is, and I did enjoy reading about it, it's just that it's so tangled I got so confused multiple times and couldn't remember what was what. I'm thinking that it might be too overcomplicated, but maybe it just needs more explaining. The politics where explained a bit better though and I had a faint understanding of those. I got even more confused when there was a scene explaining who Kal is related to and even the characters summary didn't help! I did wonder once or twice if the authors main focus was all on the Fives and explaining the rules of it and so on. The plot was very nicely done though. It was complex, intricate, there where all these threads coming together and you're trying to work out what this piece of the puzzle has to do with that, as you're getting dropped new pieces all the time. Then at the end you see the bigger picture come together and you're like...of course! There's definitely more to the world of the book and some secrets to it's history, which could be why it seemed so garbled and confused. 

I think my favourite parts where the Fives themselves, and the scenes where Jes as running in them and reading about how her brain works it out, and her interactions with the other adversaries, it was all very well done. There was a tension and suspense in the atmosphere of those scenes that really brought them to life. The one at the end in particular was electric and the final sentence gave me chills! 

All in all, this was an intriguing start to a new series, and despite the few things I had an issue with, I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series! I do so love a book that I can get lost in and practically taste the atmosphere in! 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #54

Hey guys! 
It's that time of week again when I do my best to help you swell your TBR's! 
First up is a fairytale retelling! Cinderella to be specific, I don't recall reading a Cinderella retelling so this one intrigues me no end! 
Second is a book that is another that I stumbled across on GoodReads, seriously that site is so dangerous to my wallet and bookshelves! Anywho, I dare you to read the synopsis and not be at least mildly intrigued! 

Ash and Bramble

When the glass slipper just doesn’t fit…

The tale of Cinderella has been retold countless times. But what you know is not the true story.

Pin has no recollection of who she is or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress. She only knows that she is a Seamstress, working day in and out to make ball gowns fit for fairy tales. But she longs to forsake her backbreaking servitude and dares to escape with the brave young Shoemaker.

Pin isn’t free for long before she’s captured again and forced to live the new life the Godmother chooses for her—a fairy tale story, complete with a charming prince—instead of finding her own happily ever after.

Ash and Bramble is out September 15th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

The Scorpion Rules

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Prefecture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

The Scorpion Rules is out September 22nd, pre-order your!
Add it to your

Monday, 24 August 2015

Lair Of Dreams

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

Scroll down to the bottom for a treat I've cooked up for you all! Enter the world of the Diviners!

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." Everybody loves her, and they love her "engagement" to Sam even more, little do the public know that it's all a show. 
Letting the cat out of the bag may not have been the best idea Evie has ever had...what with the Shadow Men lurking around every corner keeping tabs on her and her friends.
It would seem that not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners abilities....

Meanwhile, Henry comes across another Dream Walker, Ling, and the two venture deeper in to dreams than they ever have before, pushing their powers to the limit. Perhaps not the best idea when the City is gripped by a spreading sickness, the Sleeping sickness, where people go to sleep and never wake up. Tensions are high as the residents of Chinatown are blamed but it becomes increasingly obvious that there's a malevolent force out there fuelling the sickness. 

Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

Okay guys, I tried to give you a little bit more of a synopsis than GoodReads or Amazon had without entirely spoiling the book, I should have used the back cover of the book itself but I finished reading the book at 5am and so this review is being written after a nice long sleep, some time to wallow in the hangover and so on. So the book is nowhere near me. Basically. I hope my synopsis suffices. 

I have waited years for this. Literally, the Titanic 84 years GIF is incredibly appropriate. I had to re-read Diviners so I could remember what had happened. I've got to be deadly honest here. After all of that wait, I found the book to be a worthy sequel, not quite as good as Diviners, but then this book is a whole other ball game and I'll explain that later, either way, I still enjoyed the book. However, I know Diviners wasn't everyones cup of tea and this one may not be either. Fans I think will be pleased. 

We pick up the story 2 months after the end of Diviners and you're immediately transported back to the world, it's like being reunited with old friends. This book focuses more on Henry and Ling which is both good and bad. I wanted to know more about Henry and through this book I did, but at the same time I was sad not to see more of Evie but we did get to see a decent amount of her! Anyways, Evie has a radio show and everything and I couldn't help but smile when it was her first scene and she was doing the show and just being Evie. I should also mention that this is the book that decided whether I am Team Jericho or Team Sam. But more on that later! 

I love how Bray opens these books, and this opening was not as creepy as Diviners (when I went to re-read Diviners my bedroom light flickered as I was reading the first chapter so it was extra creepy), it was more haunting and it gave me chills. I was also incredibly curious about where the place was and who the person was. I was literally burning with curiosity the whole book and like the plank I am I didn't put it all together until way later than I should have but then as with Diviners, Lair of Dreams is full of plot twists and turns that you don't see coming. You have to just sit tight and hold on. 

I continue to love the creepy little POV's of the victims. The first book was all murdery so to me, was very very creepy, like "may have trouble sleeping" creepy. But this one was creepy don't get me wrong, but on a lighter level, I just found it all to be more haunting. Especially as I found myself fully immersed in the world and could practically hear the music in my head. 

The plot definitely thickens in this book. You've got Evie's radio show nemesis and I have my suspicions about her...allegiances, shall we say? There's other fake Diviners coming forward and Evie and her gang are being tailed by creepy Shadow Men. Then there's Sam who's enlisted Evie to help him find out more about Project Buffalo and his mother and what they find is...chilling to say the least. The stakes are getting higher and higher and the web more intricate. Just starting the book I had a horrible sense of foreboding after the dark suit people at the end of last book, and then this entire book I had a sense of something bad was about to happen. Not just because of the dodgy blokes but how the ghosts where acting. This series is definitely building towards something big, like a certain big bad you could say, but I'm not sure whether it will arrive in book 3 or 4. 

Like Diviners, Lair of Dreams has a very rich, very intricate plot. It's complex. There's threads from the first book, threads from the overarching storyline, and then the threads from the plot of this book and for each character and their own lives. All of these threads are woven together in to a plot that is quite frankly as moreish as something really moreish that you like to eat. Basically. You keep wanting to go back for more, and the fact that it has a fairly clipping pace makes it easy to just binge read the book. Literally I read it in two days. I did stay awake until 5am reading it to finish it but shhhh. 

The thing I love is that the books are clearly very well researched. I found myself fascinated by the trains in this book as I had no idea they'd existed before the subway. The information isn't shoved at you all at once in one giant info dump though, it's everywhere. Dialogue, world building, little mentions. You learn all of this knowledge that's threaded in to the plot and it's such a fascinating and rich time, there was so much going on. I loved seeing the news headlines in the book, some of which I know where true because back in school I remember learning about the two people and their evolution theories. When you read Diviners, or Lair of Dreams you get a real feel for the time and New York in that time. You get a feel for the political/religious/social climate, and in this book in particular you get a real feel for what it was like for a certain ethnic group and it was shocking on it's own, let alone when you sit and think about what it must have been like for the person. Or maybe that's just me and it's an actor problem, putting myself in other peoples shoes.

Amongst all this history, the speakeasies, jazz, flappers, racism and suspicion, a supernatural element and story is woven in without seeming out of place. It's seamlessly threaded in, driving the story. The ghosts, Diviners and general occultness doesn't seem at all out of place, it seems like it belongs there, in this long ago New York. For me this book was a whole other ball game. It's mainly focused on the dream walkers, which should be obvious from the whole sleeping sickness thing, and so there's more chapters of Henry and Ling. I think this book was less creepy because it wasn't some serial killer out murdering people, it seemed to be a plague of some sort and you knew something creepy was going on, but it was more....I kind of want to say mellow than the other book in that there where no cut up corpses all over the place. It's got to be said, the dream sequences had a definite dream-like quality to them. I think people who loved the complete creepyness of Naughty John are going to be a bit put out by the change in gears, but then this change keeps the world fresh I think. Rather than having raging serial killers everywhere. 

The blend of historical, supernatural, romance, horror and humour is still a blend that is very well done and that I enjoyed reading every minute of. It's such an interesting blend of genres and I'm struggling to recall if I've come across it before Diviners or not. Either way, Bray makes the genres work together and a lot of the time I'm laughing out loud, usually at something Sam or Evie said. Or in this case trying NOT to laugh out loud because it's a ridiculous time of night. I also think the ghosts and other...things in this book are an original take, I kinda felt like this book at points was like a 1920's episode of Supernatural! It's got to be said, it's one of those books where you end up shouting at the book and the characters things like "NOOO NO DON'T DO THE THING" for instance. 

One of the other things I enjoyed was seeing how all the characters are connected, meaning the ones that don't know each other and haven't actually met. It's really ingenious how it's been done, and then towards the end of this book you could see it all coming together and it's made me so excited for the next book! Not to mention the bit near the end where it catches you up with the characters after events, it's really set up some threads for the next book! 

The world building is the best thing about this book, it's such a rich and lively time and the author brings it to vivid life. You really feel yourself sucked in to the world, you can practically hear the music, smell the smells no matter whether it's one you'd want to or not! I think the references to music, books and movies of the time, even only in passing, for instance a character noting what someones reading or mentioning a historical figure, definitely helps immerse you in to the world, at one point I found myself adopting flapper-esque fashion while reading and slipping out a slang word or two. Although I was sad there where less song mentions and lyrics in this book than Diviners! Either way you can feel the glamour of the time. 

There's a fair amount of slang in the book, and I remember the first time I read Diviners, it seemed so strange to me. On the re-read and while reading Lair of Dreams it just seems natural now. I've found myself slipping some in to everyday conversation, like I said, and just getting the oddest looks, and being like "uuuhhhhhh it's for an acting job". The author makes the slang words seem normal, it's not overdone and seemingly out of place. The author has created a very authentic portrayal of the 1920's with very authentic characters and dialogue. 

I'm in love with the writing. I couldn't read the book without finding some quotes that really spoke to me and where just so beautifully written. There's a lot of thought behind the words which can be seen in certain sections of the book. The writing is so compelling and rich and evocative that it really is the final piece that brings you in to the world of the book. It has such a pull that you can't stop reading and get lost in the world. 

I've got to warn you, this book was heart breaking. Or at least, I thought it was. The "villain" in this book, if you could call it that, genuinely makes you feel for it. It was such a sad story and one that was all too true at the time of the books setting. It's such a contrast to Naughty John who just.....ugh. Hated. But then it got worse because there was a scene nearer to the end of the book, and you're all going to need some sort of coping mechanism, chocolate, wine etc. I'd had a suspicion that I became more and more sure about as the book went on, and it was confirmed, and I love the character so much and the scene genuinely made me shed a tear or two. I NEVER cry when reading. Ever. Books don't generally set me off but this one really, really did. I was just like "Why so cruel Libba, why so cruel?!". 

Speaking of characters, the characters in the book are so incredibly full of depth, with rich and detailed back stories that I love delving in to and always find myself wanting to know more. I think a few questions where answered by delving in to the past of Will and Addie and even Sam some more, not to mention Henry, but I think there's still so much more to know! 

I find myself connecting to Evie and relating to her the most. There's a quote from her that I shared on my Tumblr and literally, that is me. That is how I felt for sooooo long and it was there in words on the page. She's definitely my favourite, she's lively and brave when she needs to be, she's loyal I mean look what she did for Mabel?! But there's more to her beneath the flapper veneer. After what happened last book, she's definitely dealing with a lot, we're talking nightmare material, and she's living for the moment after everything with her brother. She wants to forget what happened and I get that on an entirely other level, she doesn't want to remember all the things she's seen and it makes me sad the others don't get that. She's trying to cope with all the bad things she's seen and experienced in the only way she knows how. 

There's not much Jericho in this book, or Mabel again. Jericho I'm still intrigued by, he's a bookworm but he had that huge reveal last book and I'm interested to see where that's going to go. I find Mabel to be kind of dull but after this book I think she's going to take a surprising turn and I'm excited to see that, see her break out from everyone else's shadow. Theta, like all the other characters, has a very interesting backstory and I'm intrigued to see more, especially as she's dealing with her little secret and trying to stop it. I love her friendship with Evie and Henry. This group has all come together by happenstance and I'm interested to see how Theta is going to handle her power. Theta is the kind of fierce protective friend that also tells it to you straight and I love her to bits! Memphis has a whole lot going on with his brother and another, rather sinister character, and I'm really desperate to see more of him! Henry is another favourite, we delve in to his past more and some questions are answered. He's such a lovely person and I'm always rooting for him. We get huge Henry POV's by the way guys! Get excited! Ling is the Chinese girl we met very briefly in the first book I believe, she has her own POV as well and offers us a lot of insight in to life for the Chinese at the time, which wasn't all that great. She was fascinating to me because of her interest in science, and how she's trying to use science to explain her power. She's also delightfully blunt. 

Sam is probably my other huge favourite. When we first met him in the first book I had no idea he'd be such a big part of the story and in this book we see way more of his past and it only thickens the plot and adds more questions. Sam makes me laugh too much, but he and Evie together have me laughing out loud and snort laughing and rolling on the floor with their banter. Sam has the best one liners and always has a snappy comeback but then he also has a darker side when it comes to dealing with his familys past, and in this book it was nice to see another side of him until it was all ruined because the author was like "here have some angst to make the wait for the next book even worse". 

Time to talk about the romance. The thing about the romance is that it's not the main point of the story, it's just one thread and it's not always in your face. I went in to the book undecided on whether I was Team Jericho or Team Sam, and with the romance usually taking a backseat I was expecting to be 50/50 the whole time. But no. This book has made me Team Sam. Sam and Evie may just be my OTP. Why? Because in the first book you didn't really see Evie and Jericho falling for each other per se. Or at least I didn't. In this book, I really enjoyed watching Sam and Evie banter and then start to fall for each other as the charade went on. So how things where left has left me a little heartbroken. Like I'd love for them to continue the charade in the next book, but I have a feeling Sam will go back to being a douche and they'll be all separate and I'll be sad. I'm personally hoping he'll fight for Evie because they where so cute together it was insane. I got more of a feeling for their romance then Evie and Jericho's I guess you could say. 

The ending of the book and how things where left, not just with my new OTP, has left me wondering how I'm going to cope with the wait for the next book. I just really need Sam and Evie to be all cute and non angsty and things to be fixed. Then there's the threads building up the next book and I'm just like "You can't just leave me hanging?!". I seriously have one hell of a book hangover and I really don't know how I'll handle the wait for the next book. I mean if it's three years again, I might have to do an Evie and resort to drinking a lot of gin. 

Lair of Dreams is a worthy sequel to a book that has lodged it's place in my heart as a favourite. Opening up the book and starting to read was like being reunited with old friends. The world building was beautiful, sucking you in to the world of the book with the help of it's overpowering atmosphere that wraps you in it's thrall. The writing is beautifully compelling and evocative, the characters full of depth and as lively as the times they live in. The romance fun to watch develop, and completely cute. Although there is an impending love triangle, I have every confidence it's going to be well done and a hard one to call. The plot is rich, complex and has a pull that keeps you reading until all hours. It also keeps you guessing, as you navigate the twists and turns of the plot! All in all, Lair of Dreams is a decadent yet hauntingly creepy book, that leaves you wanting more! Please don't make us wait three years again Libba! 

So, now my pesky review is out of the way I'm sure you all want to know what this treat is? This idea I mentioned having? It was actually inspired by the book. All of the lyrics in it, or songs mentioned, I was curious and wanted to check them out, then I realised, perhaps other people would want to know too! Not to mention other things, like buildings and people mentioned so behold my bright idea! 

Linked right below here is a pinterest that I have filled with pictures of New York in 1926 or at leas the 1920's, as many buildings, people, books, movies as mentioned in the book as I could find, as well as a few other interesting things to give you a feel for what Evie's world is like!

I have also created a playlist on Spotify containing all the songs mentioned in Diviners and Lair of Dreams, there are less from the second book but they're all there! I've tried to find the version closest to the time of the book I can, some where harder than others and so some aren't from 1926 exactly but from around about the right time. Actually I think the only song not from 1926 might be the last song which is 1910. Anyways, the songs are in the order they appear in Diviners and then through to Lair of Dreams so you can read along if you like! Enjoy :) 

Get to know the time of The Diviners over on....pinterest!

Follow Alisha's board The Diviners on Pinterest.

Listen to the music of The Diviners right there! 

Friday, 21 August 2015

The House Of Shattered Wings

The House of Shattered Wings
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Gollancz! 

Paris has survived the Great Houses War – just. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens continue to live, love, fight and survive in their war-torn city, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over the once grand capital.

House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, lies in disarray. Its magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.

Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, a alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation. They may be the architects of its last, irreversible fall…

It's just gone 3am and I've literally just finished this book, and I think I'm still trying to process what I've just read. It's unlike anything I have ever read before, I'm not usually one for murder mysteries or crime books, but this can only be described as a murder mystery. But it's the ultimate murder mystery and perfect for readers like me, who are more in to the fantasy genre. The scale of the book is immense, the world is painstakingly crafted and it oozes originality in spares. I'm not entirely sure if this is a standalone or the start of a series, but I'm rather hoping for the latter. I kinda feel like I've absorbed some of the characters from the book which is why I'm typing rather poshly rather than my usual fangirling screeching! 

In the book all the Fallen angels, who have divided in to Houses, had a war around about the time of WW1 I think, if my understanding of the book was correct. Now it's a good chunk of time later and the fallout of that war, Paris is looking a bit worse for wear, it could be said. The backdrop of this crumbling, decaying version of Paris certainly lent a gothic feel to the book. The world of the book, this alternate Paris was very well created, and brought to life. I've never been to Paris unfortunately, but I could picture how it looked, I was completely pulled in to the world. The world building was just so vivid and very well crafter that I couldn't not be. Not to mention the atmosphere. There was SUCH an atmosphere to this book, I mean it seeped off the pages and lent this whole dark, element to the book. 

Like I said, the book is original. The setting, the world, it's not the first fallen angel story, but it's the premise and the murder mystery element of it and how the Fallen are done that lends it an originality and makes it interesting and makes it stand out from the crowd. There's so many interesting elements to the book, and not just writing/genre wise, creature wise. Many are mentioned. We meet two. One of them I won't mention because it was a plot twist that I didn't see coming and I actually put the book down and was like "no way, how did I not get that" being obsessed with this certain mythology. I will say that while it followed the mythology, it was done in a very dark and twisty kind of way, an original way, that's probably a lot closer to the truth of it than how it's often portrayed in other books and movies etc. 

The other creature we meet is dragons. I love dragons, I really do, and these dragons where fantastic. They're not Game of Thrones "RARGH" large dragons, they're more...kind of traditional Chinese dragons? I loved this take on them, this imagining of them, and I particularly liked they're little kingdom and the atmosphere it had and how it was as decaying as the city. Kind of makes you take a long hard look at yourself and pollution in general because I'm fairly certain that's how the fish feel when we dump all our crap in their home. Sorry to get real world problems, but it was a thought that I had. 

We get a few different POV's, they switch smoothly and with perfect timing. I was reading a proof, and they kind of all ran as one. Some of them I'd be able to tell where a different character, but other times I did get a mite confused over who it was talking, but I'm assuming that in the actual copy of the book there'll be those little page break asterisks that'll let you know a particular section has ended, so it's not really a thing. 

The characters where all interesting, very interesting, and very full of depth. I enjoyed them all, whether I liked them or not. I mean Selene...kinda didn't like her, but I did kind of get her and her motives. But still....didn't really like her, but then I'm not sure if I was supposed to? To be honest, I spent the vast majority of the book feeling how Phillipe did, you could say I was on his side, but I did share his view point, and I really got where he was coming from. He made good comments, and Selene being a Fallen and so not really human, just didn't get it because she'd do whatever she had to for her House. The conflict was interesting, particularly as you have Isabelle who is a new Fallen and trying to find her place in the House. But it has to be said, I probably connected to Phillipe and Madeline best, and I was fully on Phillipes side. 

Madeline I liked, I felt for her so badly with all she had to experience, and her flaws made her so much more realistic. Her flaws also made her so much more human, and it was a stark contrast between her and Selene and the others. Sometimes the Fallen, like Emmanuel, came across as just regular folk, all nice and bookish, Aragon was also a nice Fallen who was more human than the others. Selene and Isabelle however, where distinctly not human and there was something about their voices when they where narrating that broadcast it loud and clear. They just came across as other. But yes, Madeline and Phillipe where my two characters that I supported. There was a twist with Madeline and her old house and I literally had to put the book down and go "WHAT!?!". Lets just say that like Selene, I do not understand Asmodeus one bit. If there's another book though...I'd like to be able to. 

Emmanuel I loved because she was all bookish, but I was sad we didn't get to know more of her or see more of her. Isabelle was a hard character for me. I kinda liked her in the beginning, how she treated Phillipe and their strange bond and everything and she seemed like she might be different. But then like, I think halfway through, she started to become like a mini Selene, she wasn't exactly pleasant and I was sad to watch her change so much over the course of the book. So as you can see, the characters are a complex and interesting bunch! 

The plot kept me hooked. I was enchanted by the world and the characters, but I was fascinated by the politics of the world of the book. They where complex and very intriguing, not to mention very well written. You understood the politics of the world and the history but there where no overblown, drawn out explanations. The book was compellingly written and had a fast pace. I found myself awake until 4am one night with half the book finished and no clue where the time had gone. I'd just started to read and then something had happened and then something else and then I had to read one more chapter to see what had happened. There was action but not ridiculous amounts. The intrigues of the plot are what will keep you reading until silly times at night. 

Something is killing the people of the House but who is behind it and what is it? Phillipe has some of the clues and so you're trying to put it together as you read, I was more focused on it being a spell than an actual thing so didn't even touch that particular mystery, but there where so many plot twists and turns that I didn't see coming that I found myself surprised right until the end. I always wanted to know more. That was the thing. The book kept praying on my mind, tugging me back. It didn't care that I needed to sleep, or needed to do other things, it was just pulling on my sleeve going "read me! read me!", and I did. Because I have no self control. 

The House of Shattered Wings is a murder mystery set in a sumptuous and enchanting world, that will draw you in with it's vivid world weaving, and infectious atmosphere. Not to mention the flawed, but deeply interesting characters who are given so many dimensions that you're left wanting to know more. The plot and it's twists will keep you up reading until all hours because you'll just want to read that one more chapter to know what happens to that character you're starting to become attached to, and before you know it the books done and you're squinting at the light wondering when the sun came up! 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

BLOG TOUR: The Dead House

Hey guys! 
Time for a blog tour! I'm really excited to be part of this blog tour because it's a bit unusual. It's a mirror one in honour of the two characters in the book. I've got Carly's answer to todays question and YA Interrobang has Kaitlin's! I've also got a review down below if you fancy checking it out. 
Today's question is:

What is your favourite scary story? 

Carly: For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a puppy. It was my heart’s desire from as early as I an remember. I broke my heart weeping, begging my mother to let me have one. She always said no. It was too complicated, she said, to have a dog in the house when Kaitlyn and I were so . . . different. I couldn’t take care of a puppy if I was only there half of the day. And Kaitlyn . . . well, she didn’t want anything. No dog, no friends, nothing. She only wanted me, she would write to me.

When I was twelve, the puppy urge came on again, really strongly. But my school had noticed a decline in my homework and were keeping a closer eye on me. A puppy was simply out of the question. One morning, I opened my eyes to a Message Book entry that was longer than any Kaitlyn had ever left me before. It was a story—a whole story, just for me. 

This is what she wrote:

Once upon a time, there was a young girl, fresh out of university, living with her puppy, Lucky, in a pretty grimy flat in a backward part of London. She didn’t care. She was out of her parent’s house, qualified, employed, and best of all, she had her puppy. The girl and her puppy were closer than close.

But of course this joy at her new-found freedom didn’t quite stop the nervous fear she sometimes felt at night, all alone, without her University roommates or the sound of her parents in the other rooms, like back at home. Sometimes, she would get scared. 

It could be the dark—and then she’d put her hand under the bed where Lucky slept, and he would lick her palm reassuringly. She would feel immediately comforted to have him there, and would have no problem going back to sleep.

Sometimes it was just the thought she was all alone. And, again, she would slip her hand under the bed, and Lucky would give her a reassuring lick. 

One night, it wasn’t the dark that startled her awake, nor was it the idea of being alone. It was a sound. 

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .
She got out of bed, and checked the kitchen taps. One was a little loose, so she tightened it, and climbed back into bed, slipping her hand underneath the bed, where Lucky licked it. She smiled and closed her eyes. 

But the sound came again. 

Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . . 

Irritated, she got out of bed and checked her bathroom sink. The tap was a little loose, so she tightened it and went back to bed, slipping her hand underneath so Lucky could give her a reassuring lick. 

She fell into a light doze.

But the sound came again

Drip, drip, drip, drip . . .

This time, pretty pissed off and tired, she went into her bathroom and checked her sink. The faucet was tightly closed. She stormed into the kitchen and checked the sink there—same story. The toilet wasn’t dripping or refilling, but she could hear the dripping! 

Finally, she realized, she hadn’t checked the shower. She pulled back the curtain and stumbled back.

Hanging from the showerhead was her precious puppy, Lucky, his head almost wholly decapitated. Scrawled in the white tiles, in Lucky’s blood, read the words: PEOPLE CAN LICK TOO.

I loved Kaitlyn more than ever after I read that story. She was telling me that a puppy could be another way for someone to hurt her. And that was why she didn’t want one. She was warning me not to be blinded by trickery. She was taking care of me. I still want a puppy, but now I get why she doesn’t. And I can live with that.

Head over to YA Interrobang to see what Kaitlin has to say! 

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

Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Fair warning, this book is going to suck you in and it's partly because it's so easy to read and follow and partly because of the huge amounts of intrigue as you try to workout what the hell is going on until it takes a turn for the strange and then you're like "woah, okay, now it just got creepy" *runs around turning all the lights on and staring suspiciously at the mirrors and dark*. You should probably aim to read this in one sitting otherwise you'll end up totally obsessing over it and won't get anything else done until you can read it again anyway. You should also probably read it in daylight. Finishing the book and writing this before bed time was a tactical error haha. 

Like GoodReads says, it's a psychological thriller with the feel of an urban legend to it. You can easily picture it as being the kind of legend in your particular town about a building or a person. It had this very real and believable quality to it that made it all the more chilling. It's definitely unsettling to read, some parts more than others, and particularly towards the end. This book gets its hooks in to you from page one and those hooks stay firmly lodged, even after you've put the book down. 

The atmosphere in the book was incredibly palpable, and that's partly down to writing and partly, I think, down to the format of the book, the different mediums used to tell the story. Some of them gave off huge creepy vibes, some of them gave of this vibe I can't describe. You know when you're reading the police transcript and you can see in your mind how it looks on screen, how it would play out in a movie with the music that's kind of intrigue/creepy and you're getting all these hints dropped about what's to come, and it sends a shiver down your spine and a creeping sense of dread? That is the feeling you get reading certain parts of the book. There needs to be a word for it, and if there is my mind is blanking and not coming up with it! 

As I'm sure you've guessed from above, I actually found this book to be quite cinematic. Unusual considering it's told through transcripts a lot, but I could picture how it would play out, how it would be set up, blocked and so on. As I was reading my brain was playing it all out for me. To be quite honest with you, I really wasn't sure what I was expecting this book to be about, but I was mildly surprised when all the supernatural/paranormal stuff kicked off, but it was a good surprise, although swiftly followed by "sweet Jesus, this is going to majorly creep me out. I used to love Most Haunted, but it always, ALWAYS, creeped me out and made it hard for me to sleep. That show freaking haunts me and I think this book is going to as well. 

The format thing reminded me a bit of The Three and Day Four, the way it used all the different mediums, then gave you all the "evidence" and lets you kind of make up your own mind as you read, and at the end leaves you with no definitive answer. Was she mentally unstable or did it all actually happen like that? It's up to you to decide. That and the build up of dread. I loved the way the book was set out though. The diary entries, police interviews, medical notes, film footage/CCTV footage transcripts. It not only was an interesting approach to take, it added an extra creep factor, an extra dose of intrigue and sense of foreboding as you're reading (DAMMIT THAT'S THE WORD I WAS LOOKING FOR ABOVE METHINKS!), but it also keeps the narrative fresh as you go along. 

I'm not really sure how to describe characters to be honest, they where an interesting bunch to be sure. Kaitlyn/Carly in particular where truly fascinating to read about. Not to mention Naida and her beliefs and so on. The rest where interesting in their own ways but mostly in a "IS IT YOU!?" kind of way in regards to certain little mysteries that have to be solved. 

I'm not really sure what else to say about this book without giving too much away! It's so, so creepy, chilling, it's incredibly dark and you get the darkness oozing off the page. Even after finishing the book I'm still gripped by it, I still have questions, I'm still wondering and thinking about it. No word of a lie, this book will grab you and not let go no matter how much you try to shake it off. It's incredibly written and fantastic to read. 

Don't forget to check out the other dates of the tour! 

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