Thursday, 15 December 2016

Review: The Chess Queen Enigma

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

Evaline Stoker & Mina Holmes have reluctantly agreed to act as social chaperones and undercover bodyguards for Princess Lurelia of Betrovia, who has arrived in London to deliver a letter that details the secret location of an ancient chess queen that’s been missing for centuries. But when the letter—which will heal a centuries-old rift between England and the Betrovians—is stolen out from under Evaline and Mina’s watchful eyes, the two girls are forced into a high-stakes race to ensure they find the chess queen before anyone else does…including their foe, the Ankh. For the chess queen is not only a historic symbol of a woman’s political power, but it has literal power as well—the queen will unlock the chessboard, revealing both treasures and ancient secrets the Ankh would kill to possess. It will take Mina’s smarts and Evaline’s strength to beat the thief and untangle this mystery before it is too late. 

I really enjoy this series, it's fun, original and has an imaginative world, with memorable characters. The Chess Queen Enigma is a brilliant new addition to that series. It's fast paced, and there's plenty more shocking and surprising plot twists to keep you guessing. The ending has left me super excited for book four and intrigued to see what happens next, I need to know....things! 

I love Mina, and I love Evaline, but I think Mina is the one I connect to more and who is my favourite out of the two, I've never really connected to Evaline as much as to Mina! I do love the interplay between the two though, and how they work together. And I really ship Evaline and Pix, I'm not going to lie! I was expecting to have learnt more about Pix by this point in the series, and we do get to learn some bits about him, but not much! Evaline's other suitor is dealt with, but the love triangle wasn't really that much of a thing anyway! I was a bit disappointed about what happened to Evaline's other suitor though! 

I have to say, I feel like Dylan could have been in the series a lot more, he was there and there was this time travel element that could have been used in so many ways and I feel like it was really under-utilised throughout the three books. I've never really managed to ship Dylan and Mina because we didn't really get to see Dylan all that much! He was hardly in the books and I feel like he and the time travel thing ended up being quite random! I do quite like Grayling though, and I'm starting to ship he and Mina more and more throughout the books! 

The Chess Queen Enigma is a fast paced, fun, and intriguing read that takes you on an adventure and surprises you again and again. Plus it leaves you wanting more once you reach the end of the book! There's action and romance and cute moments, and humorous moments and it'll keep you reading until the end! Definitely a brilliant steampunk read! 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wishing For Wednesday #105

Hey guys! 
It's been a while since I've done a Wishing For Wednesday post, I know, but not only has there not been that many books coming out recently that I've been really excited for buuuuttt I've been super busy! I was going through the review books quite quickly until I hit a block with Empire of Storms, and then I was on set the other week and there where costume fittings and just general business! If I can I'll tell you guys about it sometime, if you're interested! 
Anywaaaaay I'm back with some exciting books this week, check em out! 

Poison's Kiss

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya a poison maiden is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. 

Poison's Kiss out January 10th, pre-order your
Add it to your


Sometimes our enemies become our only allies

The Windwitch Prince Merik is presumed dead, following a lethal explosion. He's left scarred but alive and determined to expose his sister's treachery. Yet on reaching the royal capital, he's shocked to find it crowded with refugees fleeing conflict. Merik haunts the streets, fighting for the weak. This leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

Hunted by the Cleaved, Iseult is struggling to stay free while she searches for her friend Safi. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan corners Iseult first, she offers him a deal: she'll return what was stolen from him, if he locates the Truthwitch. Yet unknown to Iseult, there's a bounty on her head - and Aeduan intends to claim it.

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. They find themselves amongst pirates, where a misstep could mean death. And the bandits' next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands. 

Windwitch is out January 12th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Review: Pantomime

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

In a land of lost wonders, the past is stirring once more . . .

Gene's life resembles a debutante's dream. Yet she hides a secret that would see her shunned by the nobility. Gene is both male and female. Then she displays unwanted magical abilities - last seen in mysterious beings from an almost-forgotten age. Matters escalate further when her parents plan a devastating betrayal, so she flees home, dressed as a boy.

The city beyond contains glowing glass relics from a lost civilization. They call to her, but she wants freedom not mysteries. So, reinvented as 'Micah Grey', Gene joins the circus. As an aerialist, she discovers the joy of flight - but the circus has a dark side. She's also plagued by visions foretelling danger. A storm is howling in from the past, but will she heed its roar? 

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book, but I read it in one sitting and found myself getting lost in the world of the book. Sure there where moments when not much was happening and the pace was a little slow BUT, the world was so unique and Micah/Gene was such a brilliant character to follow! 

I have never, ever read a book before with an intersex character and I've worried so much about coming across as rude or something when I'm writing this review or not being in a position to comment, but I feel like it was portrayed very well. Issues where faced, there was no faffing around. I felt for Gene/Micah, I sympathised with the struggle to find an identity, the struggles with sexuality. It was believable and written about very sensitively. 

I loved the extracts heading each of the chapters, acquainting you with the world and pulling you in that little bit more. I loved the character development, and we have such an interesting bunch of characters. I particularly liked Drystan, I was so intrigued by his past and what he was doing at the circus, and I liked Aenea and Frit too, I'm hoping to see more of Frit in the future! As for Aenea well, she devastated me at the end there. I wasn't sure if we where heading to love triangle territory or not but obviously not and I'm intrigued by the new struggles the characters will face in the next book, especially with what they've done if they're comments about them being "monsters" is anything to go by. 

I just felt like Pantomime was emotional and fun and unique and imaginative. I loved the group of characters that make up the circus and the interactions between them. There's action and romance and such a brilliant atmosphere. I'm so intrigued by the world of the book and the history to it, I want to see and learn more about it! There's plenty of self discovery and it almost has a coming of age vibe to it that I enjoyed. I just loved the vibe to the circus and the people there and the hierarchy and the little things that made it so believable and authentic. The book is so vividly written with the circus and the Vestige and the settings and everything. And the ENDING! I saw some of the twists coming but not that and I'm so excited to dive in to the second book! 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review: Empire Of Storms

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

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down? 

Buckle up kiddies, it's going to be a bumpy ride because we're boarding the unpopular opinion train. This review has been so hard for me to write. It took me like over a week to read this book and I'm not sure why. I'm not sure if it's because I was nearing a slump because I've been burning myself out trying to get through everything, or if it's because I was dreading the inevitable cliffhanger at the end, or if because some things in the book where bothering me and making it hard for me to read. I mean, once I picked it up and started reading, I was glued to the page, but then it would be a day or two without reading and without really being compelled to read it. Then it's taken me a good few days to write this because I knew it was going to be difficult. 

First off I'll start with what I did like, and first up is Elide. I really liked Elide in the last book and I liked getting to see more of her in this book and getting to know her more. I admire her and her perseverance a lot. We open with an interesting flashback, and when we join the story it's about three days since the end of QoS, and I'm not going to lie, I'd forgotten a lot of the finer nuances of what had happened in the last book, so I struggled a bit in the beginning with remembering things BUT I'm not going to lie, I loved getting to see more of the world and jumping right in. I seriously loved Skull's Bay, the whole pirates and Pirate Lord and Sea Dragon aspects to it. I do love me some pirates and dragons! 

I liked meeting and getting to know more new characters like Gavriel, and Fenrys and I really liked the two of them, particularly Fenrys. I feel for the guy and he was trying to help Aelin and I really hope to get to see more of him in the next book, as well as his twin! Gavriel was an interesting contrast to Fenrys and Rowan and the others as well, and his interactions with Aedion where interesting. I loved the banter between Gavriel, Fenrys and Rowan, it had me chuckling and I liked the dynamic between the three of them and was sad to see them split up at the end of the book. It did cement the fact that Lorcan is the grump of the group! I also loved how Rowan was all "Gods help them all if Fenrys and Aedion ever sat in a room together" I was sat there like, whatever do you mean Rowan? It's a capital idea, yaaaasss! Bring it! I'm so here for the Cadre. OH and we get some backstory to the Cadre and its members. 

We actually get a lot of new characters in this book, and all of them are interesting, and I loved most of them. Except for Darrow. I hated Darrow. I loved meeting the Cadre properly, I loved Ansel another new character, she had me cackling and I loved the plot twist with her, I can't wait to see more of her especially as there's this whole thing with her at the end with a new character which is going to be interesting to see what's that all about. There's a few new characters at the end that I'm intrigued to see more of, especially Galan, as he popped up to play at the end! 

We get to learn a bit more about Elena and the past and what happened in the past with everything. I actually hated Elena at one point but then I ended up feeling for her because it's all very understandable. She tried to give Aelin more time too, to be fair. Lorcan was also a love/hate character actually. I hated him at points, but then at other points I really liked him and felt for him. I'm so intrigued by Lorcan and his past. I was a bit sad that while we got all the Manon and Abraxos feels, we didn't get to see much of Manon's Thirteen, because I really love Manon's second! 

POV wise we get Aelin, obviously, Rowan, Dorian, Manon, Aedion, Lysandra, Elide and Lorcan in varying different chapter lengths. I love the switching of the POVs as it's necessary and always well done. But I will admit there where points when I preferred some POV's over the others as not much was happening or I wasn't that interested or invested. There's a lot of travelling in this book. And therein is one of my issues with the book. 

There is no Chaol in this book. Aside from the fact that as you've probably seen people arguing, as soon as he becomes a character that isn't physically perfect and is disabled, he's not present in the book. Now. I was under the assumption that so much must happen in this book that there just wasn't room to fit his story in without making the book thousands of pages. I know it's a flimsy excuse, but I figured Chaol's getting his novella with what happened, sure I want to know what he was doing NOW, but I'd have to deal. But as I read, there was so much that I feel could have been taken out and replaced with Chaol's narrative. Like I said, there's a lot of travelling in the book, and I think that some of it wasn't really necessary and unpopular opinion time...some of the space used for the romances could have had Chaol's narrative too. 

I love romance. I do. I really do. But there was just so much in this book. Like it seemed everyone had to be paired up, and any time things quietened down the characters where getting hot and steamy. I feel like in ACOMAF it was perfectly done but in this all the romance was just overkill. Sure I love my cute, heart stopping romance moments, but I'm reading this like...okay. But....all of this is going on and we're getting another sex scene? Or another "ship getting to know each other" scene. When you consider the fact that Chaol's narrative has been removed from this book it just seems a little bit superfluous. But that's just me. I mean there's so many ships, and I really liked Elide and Lorcan I'm not going to lie, even if some of there stuff I wasn't all that riveted to. 

So, so many ships spring up this book. I liked seeing some of my previous ships develop more, especially ones that I knew where close to happening anyway, and like I said...I do love the romance, it just seemed a bit much this book, and there was a really big focus on it. Everyone paired up, and then I was waiting for someone to die, or something bad to happen to mess with all of them, I knew it was coming, I had that feeling, and then it did! Now, I love Manon, but I'm really not getting this whole thing with her and Dorian, that's one of the romances that seemed to me to be randomly shoved in there for me to give Dorian and Manon someone. I just don't ship it as much as the other ships. I'm also not sure what's going on with Fenrys like does he have a serious thing for Aelin or? 

And I have to mention the language used for the romance/sex scenes because there's only so many times I can hear certain phrases before it starts to make me cringe a little bit. You know what ones I mean, they're in every romance scene ever. It didn't help with the overkill thing. 

So yes. Unpopular opinion I know, but I just can't help how I feel about the book. I still love the characters and the world of the book, I just feel like this had some huge shift to romance and while I love Rowan and Aelin, and Aedion and Lysandra and Elide and Lorcan and everything, I was reading all these scenes like...but Chaol could have slotted in there. Or there. 

So much happened at the end of the book and was revealed, I loved watching the characters see more of the world of the book and interact with each other, and get to know more about pretty much everything! But damn those last chapters. I can't even with it. It was like 4am and no-one was awake and I was glued to the pages, and I honestly wanted to cry. My heart broke. I mean at least nobody died which I was expecting, but still. Actual cracks could be heard from my chest. My poor Aedion and Rowan...and Lorcan. I'll give him that, even though I wanted to smack him one. I do so love watching Elide interact with the Thirteen though! 

So yes. EoS was a bit of a mixed bag for me, and it's kind of overshadowed by the fact it took me over a week to read it and I can't put my finger on why. Like I read ACOMAF and QoS in like two days each. So this was really unusual for me. I'm leaning towards burnout but yes. I would be very interested in everyone else's opinions on the Manon x Dorian thing, as well as the lack of Chaol and so on, so feel free to lay it out in the comments! 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Review: Of Sand And Malice Made

Of Sand and Malice Made 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Çeda is the youngest pit fighter in the history of the great desert city of Sharakhai. In this brilliant new story, a prequel to Twelve Kings, she has already made her name in the arena as the fearsome, undefeated White Wolf. None but her closest friends and allies know her true identity.

But this all changes when she crosses the path of Rümayesh, one of the sadistic creatures known as ehrekh which were forged long ago by the god of chaos. They are usually desert dwellers, but this one lurks in the dark corners of Sharakhai, toying with and preying on humans. As Rümayesh works to unmask the White Wolf and claim Çeda for her own, Çeda's struggle becomes a battle for her friends, her life, and her very soul.  

When I read Twelve Kings, I completely enjoyed it for a multitude of different reasons! It was so good you guys! I've been so excited to read this and get to see more of Çeda's life before Twelve Kings. I loved getting to dive back in to the world of the book, it all came flooding back as I started to read! I think I'll have to recommend that you guys read Twelve Kings before reading this, because Twelve Kings has all the world building that you need! I don't want you guys to read this and be confused about things because you don't know what this or that is, it'll take away from the book! I mean, I spotted a few things that needed more explanation, but then at the same time, you could read this before and then get all excited to find out what it actually you could read it either way. Look at that, I just talked myself in a circle! 

One of the things I loved about Twelve Kings was it's intricate and rich background history and legends and myths, so I obviously loved getting to see one of the legends/myths of the world up close and personal in this book!  I previously loved Çeda's determination, intelligence and her skills, so I loved getting to see an earlier version of her than was in Twelve Kings. Getting to see her train and fight. I so badly wanted to see more of her and my prayers where answered! 

This may only be like 200 pages, but it's still richly imagined, well written, fast paced and has lots of mythology. It provides an insight in to a younger and earlier Çeda, and you get to see Emre too! There's also appearances from a couple of other familiar faces throughout the novella, and I loved getting to see them again, because I enjoyed the characters so much that I wanted to see more of them! 

Of Sand and Malice Made is a brilliant addition to The Song of the Shattered Sands series, it adds another layer to world and characters, and lets you get to know some of the characters even more, so you can see how much they've developed and changed when you read Twelve Kings. There's stunning ilustrations, a fast pace, and a brilliantly rich story that draws you in and keeps your attention, while the twists keep you on your toes! 


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review: Star Wars Catalyst

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

Lauded Star Wars author James Luceno returns to pen an intense tale of ambition and betrayal that sets the stage for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. War is tearing the galaxy apart. For years the Republic and the Separatists have battled across the stars, each building more and more deadly technology in an attempt to win the war. As a member of Chancellor Palpatine's top secret Death Star project, Orson Krennic is determined to develop a superweapon before their enemies can. And an old friend of Krennic's, the brilliant scientist Galen Erso, could be the key. Galen's energy-focused research has captured the attention of both Krennic and his foes, making the scientist a crucial pawn in the galactic conflict. But after Krennic rescues Galen, his wife, Lyra, and their young daughter, Jyn, from Separatist kidnappers, the Erso family is deeply in Krennic's debt. Krennic then offers Galen an extraordinary opportunity: to continue his scientific studies with every resource put utterly at his disposal. While Galen and Lyra believe that his energy research will be used purely in altruistic ways, Krennic has other plans that will finally make the Death Star a reality. Trapped in their benefactor's tightening grasp, the Ersos must untangle Krennic's web of deception to save themselves and the galaxy itself. 

I'm sure I'm not the only person who's ridiculously excited for Rogue One!? I have a friend who worked on it, doing something techy with editing, and I was so insanely jealous because hello getting to watch the raw footage! Who among us wouldn't sell a spare internal organ to get to work on Star Wars? I love the original Star Wars trilogy, the prequel trilogy not so much. Sometimes I pretend it doesn't exist, I might try re-watching them another day, but the originals are my ultimate favourites! I loved Episode Seven, probably because it was quite similar to A New Hope! I've been so curious about Rogue One, it's set before A New Hope, and all the trailers look so damn good, and this book has made me even more excited for it! 

I love how all of these books fill in gaps in the Star Wars universe and give you more in depth looks at the films, and this one sets up Rogue One for us nicely. It introduces us to Jyn, gives us her backstory, her parents story, gives us the political climate, what's been going on, and if you've seen the trailer......the scene with Young Jyn in the field type place, with her dad...that now makes so much sense. I'm 99% sure I know what that's all about now! This won't spoil the film for you, and you don't need to read it before you see it, but if you do read it, I think it'll flesh out the film more and give you a better understanding of everything, you get a better feel for the characters and the events! 

Catalyst is hugely character driven, the book focuses on Galen Erso and his family, as well as Galen's relationship with Krennic. Who I totally hated. So much. You read about Galen and how stoked he is about his work but you also have Krennic's POV so you know what he's up to and what's really going and I really loved that effect. I think my favourite characters was Lyra however, and I'm not at all worried about her lack of presence in the Rogue One trailer, (someone tell me she's there and I missed her!). I loved how she was questioning Krennic, I loved how well she and Galen worked together, I loved how they complemented each other personality wise. 

I liked that we got to see how Galen came to be working for the "bad guys" as it where. I liked seeing how you could end up working for the wrong side, thinking you where doing the right thing, and I enjoyed watching Galen's thought process on it but I also love how he immediately believed Lyra and heard her out. I'm so intrigued to see what Jyn will be like, right at the end we get her POV and it's made me so excited to see what she's like. I've got kind of an idea of what she may be like, but yeah! I'm loving getting excited for Rogue One and going in to it with this additional information! 

Classics: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Invited to an extravagantly lavish party in a Long Island mansion, Nick Carraway, a young bachelor who has just settled in the neighbouring cottage, is intrigued by the mysterious host, Jay Gatsby, a flamboyant but reserved self-made man with murky business interests and a shadowy past. As the two men strike up an unlikely friendship, details of Gatsby’s impossible love for a married woman emerge, until events spiral into tragedy.'ve heard mixed things about this classic, but I wanted to read it myself to form my own opinion, and upon finishing it...I'm just not sure how I feel. I enjoyed aspects of it, but there where other parts I didn't really like so much. 

I liked the look in to the time period that GG provided, The Diviners is one of my favourite books so I'm always intrigued to learn more about the period, and I enjoyed getting this view of it. I liked that the language and writing style made it easy to read. I liked Nick as our narrator, he provided an interesting view point of the whole Daisy/Gatsby thing that was going on, and I felt for him when he was trying to sort things at the end for Gatsby. I felt for Gatsby himself and I was gutted at what happens to him. I enjoyed the writing, the setting, and most of the characters, really I did. 

But...and there is a but, while I did get drawn in here and there, there where parts that didn't keep my attention. I'm sure I'm not the only person who didn't like Tom as a character, but I might be in a minority when I say I didn't like Daisy that much. I just didn't like her. She was so blah. And I don't get why everyone is so obsessed with Gatsby and Daisy and why they ship them so much. From my understanding of the novel, she married someone else because he was rich and Gatsby was not. Then she had her thing with Gatsby. Then she hit someone with a car in a kind of confusing scene, and then went back off with her husband leaving Gatsby to be set up by Tom for the blame. She didn't choose him nor did she even come to his funeral. Like I'm sure there's some huge in depth meaning to it all that I just didn't get, because sometimes I'm really thick when it comes to classics. But yeah. 

The edition itself was lovely, there weren't many notes needed as this is a short book, but I found the information on Gatsby and his wife fascinating! And also incredibly depressing/tragic at points. I love learning about the authors and the context to their novels from the time period they where writing in! 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Review: Red Sun & Kalifus Rising

The Red Sun
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the author! 

After meeting a strange dwarf in his garage and finding out his substitute English teacher is a witch, twelve-year-old Sam Baron travels through a stonefire to the magical realm of Orkney where he finally learns the truth about his past: his mother is a witch and his father is a descendant of the Norse god, Odin.

"The Red Sun" is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it's up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?

Drawing on Norse mythology, this fantastical story will enthrall middle grade and tween readers with a taste for adventure. As Sam grapples with dark and dangerous elements from his past and confronts his own simmering anger over long ago events, "The Red Sun" sears with wild imagination and breathtaking moments. Follow "The Red Sun" for the high-flying magical ride of your life. 

Okay, you all know I'm a huge Norse Mythology nerd, so it shouldn't surprise any of you that I read this! The covers are gorgeous, there's a tonne of Norse Mythology and it has SUCH Percy Jackson vibes! 

The opening of this intrigued me, the story was fast paced and there was plenty of action and humour throughout the book! I enjoyed the world building, I thought it was vivid and imaginative, I really did get huge PJ vibes when I was reading, so I think fans of him will love this book. I felt for Sam, he's constantly having to choose between two sides of his family, and he's been thrown in to this situation and none of it's really his fault and he's not having the best time! I rooted for him, and I loved his group of friends, Keely, Howie, Leo and Mavery. All of them banded together to help him and I was so intrigued by all of them. This book was a lot of fun, and a quick read! 

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

Sam Baron just freed Orkney from the ravages of the Red Sun—but now, imprisoned by Catriona, leader of the Volgrim Witches, Sam finds the darker side of his half-god, half-witch heritage released, and he fears he might destroy what he saved. Unable to resist the witches' enchantments, Sam has become their most potent weapon, and is leading an army of monstrous men against Skara Brae. 

Sam’s only hope for salvation lies with his three best friends and a mystical artifact known as the Moon Pearl. Keely travels north in search of the pearl, while Howie prepares for the gathering onslaught. Leo seeks a powerful artifact in the underworld, and faces an ancient evil that could be an even greater threat than Catriona and her cronies.

As Sam's friends rush to save him, other forces are at work in Orkney's shadows—forces that could help free Sam, or condemn him to the darkness forever. 

I eagerly started this straight after finishing Red Sun because I was curious to see what was going to happen to Sam next, and I actually think I loved this book even more! Red Sun was good, but Kalifus Rising is even better! 

We get to see more of the world of the book, and it's even more imaginative and vivid, there's still loads of Norse Mythology, Loki pops up which I'm excited about! The start to this book with the flashback grabs your attention, and when we rejoin Sam it's been a couple of months since the end of Red Sun. There's loads more action in this book, it's action packed from the beginning, there's lots of character development. 

Sam has an interesting struggle again in this book, and I enjoyed seeing the darker side to him. We get to see more of other characters like Teren and Gael, and there's new characters Jey, Galatin and more that I'm excited to see more of in the next books! What I really loved about this book was not only seeing more imaginative corners of the world, but getting to see more Sam's friends. We get to see way more of them, they each have their own mission/quest and it allowed you to get to know them more, and you got to watch them grown and change. I think Howie's was particularly interesting because he goes from being his kind of not really heroic character who has no idea how to fight, to the hero who's swinging a sword around and summoning undead armies. But he still retains his sense of humour. I feel like Keely came in to her own as well and Leo  has the potential to be even more interesting in the next book after the events of this book! 

The ending for Kalifus Rising leaves you wanting more and I'm really enjoying this series, and the mythology woven throughout it. It's fun, it's got a lot of imagination to it and it's a nice quick read for me! 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Review: Conjuror

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

Sixteen-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life, and travel in time through paintings. They work for Orion—the Animare MI5—protecting the secrecy of their order and investigating crimes committed by their own kind. It's dangerous work. But when they are sent to Edinburgh to find a teenage boy who can alter reality with his music, they are drawn into something more dangerous still. For this boy, Remy, is the Conjurer's Son. And he carries something that could change humanity forever. 

Okay, first things first, I didn't realise that this is like a spin off from Hollow Earth. I went in to this without having read that trilogy and I did perfectly fine. Once I started to read about Em and Matt it became apparent that okay maybe Hollow Earth is about them and the events that are mentioned, but it wasn't like I couldn't read this without having read them. I still understood everything, I wasn't confused, and I still enjoyed the book. I do think I'll be going back to read Hollow Earth at some point though because now I'm super curious! 

ANYWAY! I saw John talking about this on the TV and I was instantly curious about it because it sounded so original and like it was so much fun, and I wasn't wrong! The opening of the book is spine tingling, and from that point on I was hooked. The book was so intriguing and so different and so much fun. The book was vivid, and it was fast paced with plenty of action and adventure to keep you going! The ending of this book, perfectly sets up the next book and I am SO ready for it! I have so many questions that need to be answered, plus Matt and Caravaggio crack me up! 

Character wise, I loved all of our main characters. Remy so determined in his goals, but still able to accept help from others, he has so much courage and I loved reading about him! Matt and Em I also really loved, I loved their telepathy, I loved their loyalty to each other and how they supported each other and their banter made me chuckle! There's plenty of suspense and tension and danger and there's some brilliant snark to add a lightness to it and make you snort and cackle! 

OH I have to mention a line, I'm reading the book and then it's like "Time is much more wibbly wobbly thank you think"....well played Barrowman, well played! My brain immediately went to that scene and I definitely smiled at that! I got such a Dr. Who feel to the book too, like the good Dr. Who so the Eccleston/Tennant era, so I loved that little word play that was close to that particular line! 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, the entire time I was reading I was like "Damn I want that power" whenever Matt used his. Don't get me wrong, Remy's power is totally cool, and there's so much power in music as it is, but I'm not musically inclined, and history nerd that I am...Matt's power spoke to me. I need it. I want it. He gets to see in to the past and I WANT THAT POWER! So cool! 

Conjuror is a great diverse, easy read, full of action, adventure and mystery. There's tension and suspense. Danger...but there's also laughter and humour to offset it. There's so much originality to this book, and I loved the relationship between Em and Matt, and Remys relationship with the two of them. They worked so well together! I'm so stoked for the next book, because I'm low key shipping Matt and Caravaggio, I'm not going to lie, and I want to see more of the Moor! This is shaping up to be a brilliant new series! 

Review: Poisoned Blade

Poisoned Blade
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher. 

Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes's only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes's traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos—the prince she still loves—is fighting against their country's enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal's life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion...She must become a warrior. 

I really liked Court of Fives, it was original and intriguing, but this didn't do it for me. I'm still intrigued to see how it's all going to end after the ending of this book, but for this book...I don't know what it was. It was a combination of things, I guess, but for most of this book I wasn't enjoying it and characters where irritating me, and then towards the end for the last part of the book...that was the only part I was like okay this is cool....but then it ended. Like I said, I'm intrigued to see how it all ends but I'm not entirely sure about the next book in general based on this. 

Poisoned Blade picks up right where Court of Fives ends, and I was loving it...until I found my attention wandering and I started to skim passages. Mostly descriptions of Jes running the Fives, and some of the fight scenes, and some other scenes, I just had to skim read. I can't decide if I wasn't in the mood, or what, but I just wasn't feeling it there not too far in to the book. Don't get me wrong, there where some good plot twists, but I feel like there was so much thrown in to this book that it was hard to keep track of things at points, I mean...the book was fast paced, which is usually a good thing but I felt like there where parts that could have been expanded on, and other parts that shouldn't have been. There where so many plot lines, this could have been a couple of books, rather than just the one and it might have worked better. I feel like there's too much that's been tried to be crammed in to this book so it's a lot of different plot points that aren't expanded on enough. 

Jes bugged me a lot this book, like you know when a character is doing something stupid, that will screw everything for them but they do it anyway? That's Jes. It took me a bit to warm up to her in the first book, but then I started rooting for her so hard, I didn't have that in this book. I wasn't rooting for her as much as I was in the first book. I felt like she kept making stupid choices, and blundering about, and it was all so high stakes but Jes always came out alright no matter how stupid she was. It's kind of hard to see how she gets everyone to go along with all her plans when she keeps making idiotic choices to be honest. She just annoyed me, because it was so ridiculous. No matter how dangerous the situation, or how many times she should have died by rights...she always managed to survive and that and her "cunning" plans are so at odds with all the stupid decisions she makes and said blundering about. She keeps going on about keeping her mother safe but endangers her a load of times and I started to roll my eyes a little bit every time she made the stupid choices. 

On the plus. I liked Amaya a lot more this book. Sure she was still a selfish idiot at points, but I really came to like her in this book, you could see how good she was at blending in and gathering information. She had uses and skills to an extent, I actually really liked the camaraderie she and Jes had going on. I wanted to see more of Bett and I sincerely regret that now. I actually disliked her more than I ever disliked Amaya in the first book. She was so condescending to her sisters and all up on her high horse. She was a total cow and I can't even with her plot twist. I didn't see that one coming at all and it definitely grabbed my attention. 

Temnos was potentially very interesting and I thought he was being set up for something but then that was cut short and I feel like that could have turned out better. I kinda think he was only killed to try to get you to gasp and be all "Oh no" and to add some blood and brutality to the end situation. Kal is kind of a douche but then he gets is balls back and punches someone in the face and it's awesome, I've liked his character development in this book. My opinion of him changed so much over the previous book and I was glad to see him develop some more and come in to his own. Menoe still bugs me too and unfortunately it looks like she'll be lurking around being irritating more in the next book. 

OH and I'm 99% sure we're being set up with a love triangle between Jes, Kal and Ro. I'm so not here for that, I don't get the whole Ro/Jes thing and then Amaya made that comment and I stared at the page for ages like...really? Did I miss that or? Because they're not together all that much and it seemed kind of random. If a love triangle is done well, then fair play. But this is kind of shoved in to book two, and I'm not sure how many books we're getting but having a love triangle shoved in to the third book is just thank you. All the best love triangles I've come across have been present from the beginning, and it's been so hard to pick a team because you love both pairings. That's not present in this book, like I said, I've hardly seen Ro and Jes interact and the whole thing just seemed so random to me. 

On the plus, another good thing about the book is that we got to see more of the world of the book, more of the politics, and more of the links between the past and the present and the Fives which intrigued me in the first book as there where many hints that there was more to it than it seemed! 

Overall, this book frustrated me so much. Don't get me wrong, books are supposed to make you feel things but I don't like reading a book and being this level of frustrated with a protag. It made it hard to enjoy the book, and a lot of it didn't interest me at all. There's so much thrown in to this book as well as a possible love triangle that I don't feel is necessary, and it just wasn't as enjoyable for me as the first book. After the exciting ending to the book, I am intrigued to see what happens in the end, but I'm not as excited for the third book after reading this. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Review: Swords and Scoundrels

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

Two siblings.
Outcasts for life.... together.
What could possibly go wrong?

Vocho and Kacha are champion duelists: a brother and sister known for the finest swordplay in the city of Reyes. Or at least they used to be-until they were thrown out of the Duelist's Guild.

As a last resort, they turn reluctant highwaymen. But when they pick the wrong carriage to rob, their simple plans to win back fame and fortune go south fast.

After barely besting three armed men and a powerful magician, Vocho and Kacha make off with an immense locked chest. But the contents will bring them much more than they've bargained for when they find themselves embroiled in a dangerous plot to return an angry king to power....

Okay you guys I'm going to be honest with you, the synopsis for this intrigued me so much but I was kinda side eying it a bit because of the title and cover. I wasn't too sure what to expect based on the two, but I kept coming back to the synopsis like...okay this sounds really awesome...and it was! I went in to the book excited to see what it was all about and to have some fun highwaymen hijinks! 

I was pulled in to the book from the beginning by the banter between Kacha and Vocho and the action and the atmosphere! I read this in one sitting because I couldn't find a good place to put it down! I loved the world of the book it was so original, there's clockwork guys and my brain then switched to Steampunk mode! Seriously, there's a Clockwork God, Clockers who have taken the place of Nobles, and the city is built on clockwork and the city changes as the cogs move and it was so awesome! The world of the book was vivid, and original and atmospheric, so I ended up getting pulled right in to the book! Plus there was a tonne of intrigue and mystery going on! 

There's a fairly intricate plot going on, with lots of different threads coming together both past and present. There's political unrest what with the whole, King wanting to be King again and needing to get the prelate out of the way thing, on top of all the intrigue and mystery! I got drawn in to what was going on, coming up with my own theories but mostly I was along for the ride and to see what happened next! There's plenty of action, and I loved reading all the fights, I got a Musketeers vibe from our little group as they fought their way through the book! I loved how some parts of the book where slightly dark but there was plenty of humour too! It was genuinely funny in parts, and I really loved Kacha and Vocho's banter with each other, it cracked me up more than once!

There's three different POVs, Vocho mostly, with Kacha and Petri thrown in to and I really loved this it gave some much needed insight in to each character, and what their motivation was. Petri in particular, it allowed you to get to know him and understand why he was acting the way he was. Plus it helped to add to the relationship between the two siblings, it showed their different sides of things. I really loved the interludes throughout the book, it was a great way to give us a look at Kacha and Vocho's past, how they grew up and so on, how they came to have the complex relationship they do. It also let us see Petri and Bakars past too and how things came to be where they where in the book in the present. It was all well woven together, and I think the changes in time where smooth and didn't upset the narrative. I loved getting the history and the backstory and the insight in to the characters in such an interesting way and it gave you some real OMG moments too! And then the multi POV's came in handy even more. 

I loved reading about the complex relationship Kacha and Vocho had. It's an integral part of the book, I don't have any siblings so I can't say if it was normal or not, but I found it fascinating. They where so protective and loyal of each other, and they both have ambitions and they're competitive to an extent. I loved how Kacha stuck by Vocho. I really liked Kacha, she was a badass, she fought hard to get where she is, she doesn't take any crap from anyone and she's so loyal to Vocho. The pressure she felt to be perfect for everyone was also very relatable. 

Vocho too is relatable, particularly his childhood with Kacha. I understood why he acted like he did, I've felt the same thing with another family member myself, the feelings like you're not good enough compared to that person. I got it and it made me feel for him. I understood why he acted like he did, even if sometimes I wanted to smack him upside the head because Kacha's his sister and she's so loyal to him! He kinda jumps in without thinking, there was such an air of mystery to him because at one point you're not sure what he's really like! Vocho is kind of a loveable idiot I think, and he's hilariously vain! But there's more to him than that. All the characters are complex, and I'm interested to learn more about them, as well as the world of the book, Dom and Petri just as much as Kacha and Vocho! 

Speaking of characters, there's plenty of other characters throughout the book that you come to either love or hate. On the hate front we have Licio, the Idiot King. Sabates, the Evil Magician, although he made a nice change from the usual "I'm magical and aloof because I'm magical" kinda bad guy. It was super cool and creepy how they used their magic! On the love side we have Cospel, poor suffering Cospel. Dom...oh Dom I want to know more about you. Dom isn't at all what he first appears, funny as he is in the beginning. I actually spent most of the book going "Come on Dom, mate, I really want to like you...don't screw it up now!". He didn't let me down in the end, in case you where wondering! Then there's Petri. I'm not sure how to feel about Petri. I kinda thought he was going to be the bad guy, but it was hard to dislike him because I got his motivations and related to it, and he seems to genuinely care about Kacha, he knew everything Vocho did and was protective of her. I'm not entirely sure if I ship them or not, because I'm still not entirely sure what went on with the note thing, because Petri seems genuinely confused about what he did and I don't think he's that much of an arse. Then there was the moment at the end! 

Swords and Scoundrels is a light fantasy, it's fun and has humour as well as it's dark moments. There's plenty of action and mystery, and a brilliant brother/sister duo and relationship to draw you in. The world is original and vivid, and that combined with the characters, action and plot will draw you in and keep you reading! I'm thinking I need to read the next two books in the trilogy ASAP to see what happens next, because it's far from over and the next book has been well set up! 


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Review: Recreated

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

Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity.

Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering.

For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

I've been deliberating over this rating for a while. I completely loved the first book, I loved the mythology and the characters and the romance. I loved the originality to it with the twists on mummies and Egyptian mythology. Both books are clearly well researched and I just LOVE all the mythology. But this book was hard for me to rate because there where a couple of things I had an issue with. I wanted to give this 5 stars but I think I'll have to give it four instead. 

All the things I loved from the first book where present in this. The rich mythology, the originality, the memorable characters that are easy to relate to and have depth to them, and the fast pace and smooth writing. Plus the romance. I love the romance between Lily and Amon, and I love how it's still going strong in this book, and they're so cute with each other and so in love. Warm and fuzzies people, warm and fuzzies. We got to see more of Anubis, and meet more of the Gods and Goddesses, Horus, Amun-Ra, Osiris and so on. I loved getting to see more of them, after meeting Anubis in the first book it was something I really wanted to see and Houck delivered! Could have done without Horus's moves though. Hassan is back, and so are Asten and Ahmose another thing I wanted after the first book as I loved the brothers so much! We got to lean more about Asten and his past, and I really felt for him, and from the way things went I'm assuming next book we're going to get to learn a lot more about Ahmose. Kinda like a book for each brother! 

As well as the old, we got to meet new characters, Cherty, Tia, the Mother Tree, Ashleigh who I really liked! She cracked me up! Tia I liked and I loved her friendship with Lily and how they interacted. That said, towards the end, once I realised what she was up to...well...I understood why she was doing what she was doing, I got it. But at the same time, I love Lily so much and so I wasn't really down with what Tia was doing. Ashleigh too at points. I understood why, and I got their point of view but still. Anyway, we got plenty of new characters to love, and get to know! There's even two more ships, and I ship them, but at the same time it's very complicated, and more on that later! 

Recreated is all go from the beginning, I love the mix of mythology, action and romance. I loved getting the creation story of the Gods and the story of Seth from Amun-Ra, I also liked the little story at the end of the book! There's a really great Relic Hunter feel to the book in the beginning, or Indiana Jones, whichever you prefer. There's a quest like vibe to it, sort of, as they journey through the Netherworld, I also felt like it was kind of Alice in Wonderland-y. Journeying through the world, and all the strange things Lily came across. I loved getting to see the Netherworld and learn more about the mythology that inspired the book, I loved how vivid it was and how it sucked you in to the book. It was original and fun, and imaginative and I love Houck's world building. 

Now there where also bits I didn't like. Lily undergoes a transformation in this book, hence the title Recreated. Lily really struggles with what she is, and I'm interested in how it's all going to end although I have a feeling I'm 99% right with what I think is going to happen. My problem is with the other people in Lily's head. For most of the book Tia is in Lily's head and it's hard to tell who is in control. When everything with Asten happens, it confused me and I didn't really like it. I loved Lily and Ramon's relationship in the first book and I loved the beginning and then this whole thing came out of left field and I really didn't like it. Call me crazy but yeah. Then we have Ashleigh in Lily's head. The attitude of both just irritated me more than once, as Lily, at least in Ashleigh's case, didn't really agree to having Ashleigh in her head and Ashleigh was taking over left right and centre. Now. I like the new ships. I ship them. It's cute. But not at the expense of Lily and Amon's relationship, and I'm just not down with the whole cheating thing that's going on, even though I know it's not really cheating, if you know what I mean? I'm 99% sure that they're all going to get separated and it's going to be totally cute with each of the brothers being all happy and everything, but for now, I'm not digging the whole Lily having three people in her head and what's going on with it. It just bugs me. And when it happened with Ashleigh at the end I knew it was going to happen and I was like okay, really? 

I also found the "effects" of the Heart Scarab a bit....too much. Like the whole Horus thing. I didn't see it as being all that necessary to the story, it was just there for whatever reason and I found myself rolling my eyes a little at it. So this book has been hard for me to rate, because I really really loved the first book, but this one kinda went down in my estimations. It wasn't what I was expecting at all, and there where plot twists that I didn't see coming. But now I feel like I know exactly what's going to happen with this series, or at least a large part of what's going to happen, at least with the romance anyway. It just didn't sit well with me, and at points I was a little confused about what was happening, really. 


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Review: Romeo and/or Juliet

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

What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around the castle all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? In this New York Times bestselling version of Romeo and Juliet, you get to choose where the story goes. Packed with exciting choices, fun puzzles, secret surprises, terrible puns and more than a billion possible storylines, Romeo and/or Juliet offers a new experience every time you read it. And, as an added bonus, all the different endings feature beautiful and quirky illustrations by some of the best artists working today, including New York Times bestsellers Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Randall Munroe, and Jon Klassen. Whatever your adventure, you're guaranteed to find lots of romance, epic fight scenes and plenty of questionable decision-making by highly emotional teens.

Okay guys, I have to give this book a quick review today because I used to LOVE those "Choose your own adventure" books when I was younger, before it became you know...weird to read them! Anyway, I got sent this in the post as a surprise and I opened the package and I was looking at it like...what is this? And I was just staring at it for a few seconds before I realised and then I was like OH MY GOD. THEN I started to flip through it real quick to check it was true and then I freaked out a little because you know Shakespeare but choose your own adventure all rolled in to one! 

So basically I freaked before I'd even read it properly. I have to say, I love the illustrations in this! They where scattered throughout and they looked so good! Romeo and/or Juliet is humorous and fun and very well created. The author slightly mocks the play that he clearly knows very, very well as is evident from his writing. You can literally have hours of fun with this as you choose different paths. You can choose to follow the play, or you can play around and go different routes and twist how things end up! There are so many options! Right from the beginning it made me chuckle because you could choose to play without spoilers, or be spoiled from the beginning! I also love how you can learn about the authors right from the beginning before choosing your character! 

I just had so much run reading through each section and then weighing my options and then repeating it all over again. It's a lot of fun and certainly makes Shakespeare way more fun than it usually is, sorry guys! I loved the twists and the unpredictability of the options and what was going to happen. Romeo and/or Juliet makes for one hell of a nostalgic read, I'm not going to lie! 

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