Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Review: Retribution Falls

Retribution Falls 
Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy Courtesy of the Publisher, Gollancz! 

Sky piracy is a bit out of Darian Frey’s league. Fate has not been kind to the captain of the airship Ketty Jay—or his motley crew. They are all running from something. Crake is a daemonist in hiding, traveling with an armored golem and burdened by guilt. Jez is the new navigator, desperate to keep her secret from the rest of the crew. Malvery is a disgraced doctor, drinking himself to death. So when an opportunity arises to steal a chest of gems from a vulnerable airship, Frey can’t pass it up. It’s an easy take—and the payoff will finally make him a rich man.

But when the attack goes horribly wrong, Frey suddenly finds himself the most wanted man in Vardia, trailed by bounty hunters, the elite Century Knights, and the dread queen of the skies, Trinica Dracken. Frey realizes that they’ve been set up to take a fall but doesn’t know the endgame. And the ultimate answer for captain and crew may lie in the legendary hidden pirate town of Retribution Falls. That’s if they can get there without getting blown out of the sky.

"What happened to your last navigator?" 
"Found out he'd been selling off spare engine parts on the side. He navigated himself out the cargo door with the Cap'n's toe up his arse"  
Okay guys, I have a new favourite series/obsession and you're looking right at it! I have a steampunk shaped hole in my life now that there's no more Gail Carriger books in my life and this has filled it and then some! Not that it's anything like Gail Carriger's books, this is brilliantly unique in it's own right! I would have to describe it as what would happen if Pirates of the Caribbean went steampunk. I honestly got such POTC vibes when I was reading and not just from Frey! 

I loved this book from the first page, it immediately throws you in to the world of the book with some action, and you start to get a feel for two of our characters, as well as it being freaking hilarious, it makes you want to know more! You get the chance to get to know the world/settings and the characters before the next piece of action kicks off and it's a rich and intriguing world, it has to be said! I really want to see more of it! It's vivid and extensive and incredibly well described, it's kind of fascinating. 

The characters are an interesting bunch. They're a rag tag group and all of them have secrets and mysteries that are fun to guess at before the big reveal. I particularly loved Frey and Jez, not going to lie! Frey is the Captain, you kinda have to love him, he's a little like Jack Sparrow, and he had some brilliant character development from the start of the book, coming to care for his crew more than usual. Jez was mysterious from the start, I had so much fun trying to work out what her deal was and I was totally wrong, it's going to be interesting to see it play out but she's a complete badass, and intelligent and just brilliant. Crake was interesting, he's the Daemonist, he's kind of funny and you can't help but feel for him when his secret comes out. There's also Malvery...the drunken doctor, Silo who had a  really nice history with Frey and bond, and Harkins and Pinn the two outfliers, Harkins is a little bit of a coward, and Pinn has some little fantasy going on about becoming rich and wealthy and going back to his beloved, he kinda needed a smack. 

"Alright, spit on this place. Let's get out of here and stab some backs!" 
"That's the spirit" 

While she's not part of the crew, I have to mention Trinica because I wasn't really sure what to make of her in the beginning, but as I read more about her and her backstory, I felt for her and everything she went through, I'd be interested to see more of her because she comes across really strong. I loved the characters because they're all a bit of a flawed bunch, and it made them relatable and endearing, plus I loved watching them go from this group of people who kinda just got thrown together and weren't all that down with team work, to this group who had loyalty and camaraderie and ended up becoming a real Captain and Crew. 

Retribution Falls is atmospheric, fast paced, and sprinkled with intrigue as you get hints about the characters and their pasts. It's full of originality, and it's completely action packed thanks to all the various battles. There's a cutlass with a mind of it's own, a golem, sword fights, gun fights, air battles everything you can imagine would be in a steampunk adventure. There's also plenty of magic thanks to the daemonism, and there's even a secret pirate hideaway! Retribution Falls is kind of hard to put down because it's such a brilliant combination of action, adventure, humour and steampunk. There's brilliantly fun characters, including badass females, their relatable and flawed and you end up rooting for the lot of them so badly. I cannot even begin to describe just how funny this book is, but it had me in stitches when I wasn't snorting it and trying to control myself, the world of the book really does suck you in! 

It also has to be said that in the back of the book it explains the rules of Rake and how to play it, giving you a deeper understanding of some scenes, and there's a few pages featuring the log book of the Ketty Jay so you can see what happened before the book started in Frey's hilarious narrative! I honestly was kind of blown away by this book because I wasn't really sure what to expect but it's definitely become one of my new favourites, and I have a burning need to read the other books to see what mischief they're all going to get in to next. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sneak Peek: The Song Rising

Hey guys! 
I've got some really exciting news...I'm one of the new Bone Season Advocates! I'm genuinely so excited because I really didn't think I'd get chosen so it made my day when I found out! I'm excited to get to share some Bone Season love around and hit you guys with exclusive sneak peeks and so on! Which brings me to todays blog post! 

I've been given an exclusive sneak peek of The Song Rising to share with you all, as have the other BSA's! I'm posting mine today to grab any stragglers who've missed the posts from the past couple days! This takes place right after The Mime Order and I can't even. I really can't! Prepare yourselves! 

*Warning: Spoilers ahead! If you haven't read The Mime Order OR Bone Season...you're gonna get spoiled if you keep reading!* 

If you haven't read either...what are you waiting for?! 

So....I give you...the Prelude to The Song Rising!

Don't forget if you have the previous editions of The Bone Season books you can buy the signed Collectors Edition pictured above, that will match! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Wishing For Wednesday #98

Hey guys! 
It's Wednesdaaaay again and I totally forgot to do this last week because I suck, my bad! This week I've got two reads I know you guys are going to be really excited for! 
First up is a book that goes with one of my favourite trilogies and I can't wait to get it and read it and I'll probably save it for Halloween because you know...spooky! 
Second is one of my most anticipated books of the year, and I'm 99% sure it's in the same category for you guys! I cannot wait to get my hands on this and I'm jealous of everyone who already has it because it's so freaking huge and I just NEED IT. 

Tales of The Peculiar 

Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—the collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the locations of time loops—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories in this deluxe volume of Tales of the Peculiar. Featuring stunning illustrations from world-renowned artist Andrew Davidson, this compelling, rich, and truly peculiar anthology is the perfect gift for not only fans, but for all lovers of great storytelling.

Tales of The Peculiar is out September 6th, pre-order your copy....here
Add it to your TBR...here

Empire of Storms

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?

Empire of Storms is out September 6th, pre-order your copy....here
Add it to your TBR...here

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Review: Summer Shadows

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

Summer lives under a terrible shadow. It drains her, manipulates her and threatens to steal her future.

A high-stakes mission offers a temporary escape. She must use her mind-shadowing abilities to hunt down her target and find the truth.

Hal Robinson is a soldier. He does not get distracted. He wins. But what Hal wants begins to shift once he meets Summer.

They must learn to trust each other if they are going to protect the Savant community. But will their secrets allow them to find a happy ending of their own?

Okay, so on the downside, this is the final Benedict Brothers book which sucks because I'm going to miss the world! On the plus not only is it the perfect ending, but it's the story we've all been waiting for...Victors. Poor old Victor finally gets happy ending you guys and I couldn't help but cheer a little bit! I've been so excited for this book, but also kind of dreading it because you know...final book! I stalked Joss's GoodReads page when I finished and there are no other books, not even for the Struck series :'( ANYWAY...

I felt for Summer, as we've seen her in the other books she's been a fantastic friend and she's also been shrouded in mystery, I wasn't really sure what to expect from Summer and what was going on with her but I was surprised and intrigued by the angle it took. She has an incredibly sucky home life, her father may love her, but he also puts a lot on her and manipulates her. Her mother is an addict of sorts and her brother can't control his gift and it upsets him to the extent he doesn't want Summer near him seeing inside his head. I actually felt sorry for her brother and for the rest of her family as well as for Summer. Summer was a brilliant character, she just does so much for everyone else and wants to help and she was relatable on the book front. She loves to read and I loved all of her references, like Hal says, she's like a walking encyclopaedia and I loved how intelligent she was. 

Hal was hilarious, he got Summer's back up straight away and brought out her bratty side. As Summer observes, he's kind of like Marcus and Angel, flaring up with a temper and then shaking it off and putting his point forward calmly, he's like a male version of Angel and he was the perfect match for Summer. She knows all the literary type things, and he knows everything she doesn't like Disney and so on. He was adorable when he was looking after Summer making sure she ate and everything, but he was also kind of a jerk a points. A loveable one but still! To put it in perspective, Summer calls him a rough squaddie, and he calls her Made in Chelsea! 

I loved the way the books went, in each book there's something a little different about the romance and the obstacles and I was curious to see what it was in this one. In Summer Shadows we get a Savant who's parentage means that other Savants would treat them differently, not want to be involved with them, maybe not able to have a soulfinder. I was expecting it to be more of an issue than it was, but, then, I couldn't see one of the characters letting it happen! We also have another rare Savant. I thought it was interesting to see the dynamics between the two and how they overcame everything, in Angel Dares there was a pretty big obstacle and Marcus didn't really handle things all that well but in this, Hal knows all about Savants so he wasn't as....freaked as Marcus, shall we say! 

Speaking of, I got to see all my faves and I loved seeing Marcus and Angel again! After how they struggled in Angel Dares and how they didn't really fix things until right at the end..I was excited to see them in this book, and see the two of them together, happy and with everything sorted out, and Marcus making use of his Gift and joining in the action! 

There's obviously the usual suspects in this, Mist and Alex, Victor obviously because he's finally getting his happy ending and man was it satisfying! Even if we don't see all of the Benedicts, they all are mentioned at one point or other and all help out and it was brilliant! There's also a load of old and familiar faces making an appearance from various other books from the series! All the big guns came out in this one! 

We also get a lot of new characters introduced. Last book we had Kurt who I want to get his story! But then I want more Savants in general. So. Yeah. This book we get Hal's brothers, and another Savant family and I'm like...but there's so many more stories to be told! I'm kind of hoping that while the Benedicts series might be over, we get some more Savants books because I seriously love this world, and Joss's writing and the books are ones that I re-read over and over again and they always provide a pick me up! Plus, you can't just introduce us to the Robinsons, Hal and his two brothers, and not give us Lucas and Scott's stories! 

Summer Shadows is not only a much awaited story, but it's the perfect ending to the series. Everyone's got their happy endings, we get to see everyone one last time, and a lot of story threads are wrapped up, including one from Stealing Phoenix. It's a very satisfying read! I read this in one sitting, it's not hard to do, I pretty much always read these books in one sitting instead of savouring them like I should, I just have no self control when it comes to these books! Summer Shadows, and all of the books in this series, are easy, fun reads that bring the warm and fuzzies along with the action and adventure and keep you reading in anticipation. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

Review: Duskfall

Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Borrow 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Titan! 

Stuck with arrows and close to death, a man is pulled from the icy waters of the Gulf of Nahl. Winter, a seemingly quiet young fisherman’s daughter, harbours a secret addiction that threatens to destroy her. A young priestess, Cinzia, must face a long journey home to protect her church from rebellion. A rebellion sparked by her sister.

Three characters on different paths will be brought together by fate on one thrilling and perilous adventure.

I am a HUGE fantasy fan and Titan always deliver for me, and I was really excited to read this because it sounded completely awesome. For me, this book was incredibly mixed. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and I'm so intrigued to see what happens next but it took me until the end third of the book to get really interested in the story. 

I was intrigued from the start, but once I reached 200 pages, I found my interest waning and I think a part of it was a character that was bugging me. But I kept on, and then it hit the final part and I became more and more invested in the characters. Now, I'm not sure if my lack of interest in the middle part and my irritation with a character was down to the fact I wasn't in the mood or what, but this boo does have good points, don't get me wrong! 

I thought Knot was intriguing, it was him that kept me reading! I wanted to know who he was, what he was and find out more about him and his past. I wanted to know more about the world of the book, I wanted to know more about the history of the world, but sadly there wasn't as much as I was hoping for but maybe in the next book! 

Astrid was one of my favourite characters, she was completely and utterly hilarious, "Don't worry about me. I was only tortured, stuck full of holes, and then assaulted by an entire building. Nothing serious." She made me laugh so much and I loved her, and I'm so intrigued by her and who she's working with and what she's up to. I also really liked the glimpses we saw of Lian but I feel like we didn't really get to see enough of him, so the ending of the book had less of an impact for me to be honest, which is a shame because he finally got over Winter. Nash and Kali where intriguing, they where mysterious and I'm still SO curious about them and the people they work for! 

I actually really liked Cinzia, I was curious about her and her relationship with her family, why she didn't come back once in seven years, how she fit in with the other characters as everyone else was linked at that point and it took a while for the connection to be made. I really felt for her, she had lived her life one way, dedicated her life to her religion and then her sister Jane comes in and blows it all away. I felt like her sister could have been better about it, I didn't really like the way her sister spoke to her once or twice, it was kind of...condescending maybe? Her sister was quite selfish at some points as well, and considering how much she messed things up for her sister she could have been a little nicer to her. 

The character I had a problem with was Winter. Yes, she shows how human she is and she is very flawed, but she just irritated me. One minute she was acting like marrying Knot was the worst thing in the world, and like she had no choice but to do it, and was essentially using him to get out of her village. The nest she's like "oh I must find him" and goes after him and kills a tonne of innocent people to do it. Then she's suddenly in love with him. Like dude make up your mind. She seemed quite selfish at times, and she was quite rude to her travelling companions, including Lian, her best friend. It was well written and interesting to see her struggle with her addiction, but for the most part I didn't actually like Winter all that much. The amount of times her inner monologue was all "She knew it was silly" was a little bit repetitive and yeah. She bugged me and once I hit 200 pages it made it difficult for me to want to keep on reading. I only managed it because I loved Astrid and was intrigued by Knot. 

You can probably already guess that I didn't get the romance between Winter and Knot. We see Knot found and then boom, it's skipped a year and they're suddenly getting married and Winter's all like "I have to do this" and blah blah, but she's not exactly thrilled about it and like I said above...she randomly started following him and then decides she loves him near the end of the book. I didn't buy the romance between the two, or see it at all. For me it didn't really make sense, and I was pleased the romance was kept to a minimum. 

I liked the friendship between Knot and Astrid, and I'm rooting for Astrid to do the right thing and not what I think she might do! I had problems with the romance like I said, and I also kind of had a problem with the group as a whole. We get multi POV's but Winter is so self involved I didn't really get her connection to anyone except for BFF Lian. They where all kind of thrown together, and Winter didn't like anyone except for Astrid, Knot and Lian so her POV made it hard for me to see the 'growing friendship' and 'camaraderie' between them. Like I honestly don't think any of them give a damn about each other except for Winter, Knot and Astrid, they don't really care about Cinzia and co. So it's an odd group. I'm not sure if there was supposed to be a bond between them and I missed it or what. 

As you can tell from some of what I've said, there's a lot of questions to be answered still and a lot of things to be found out.  The beginning is slow as the world is being built up around us, the rich politics and religion, the history. But there was so much more that would have been good to know and I'm hoping we'll get to learn it in the next book. You get thrown in the deep end with the language of the world and it makes it hard to get in to the book properly. I got confused a couple of times which impacted everything. There where also a couple of editing mistakes that I think I only picked up on because I wasn't too focused on the story, like Winter saying she had five crystals left when it should have been four. 

Duskfall had it's good points, it was funny, there was plenty of action, a rich world, politics and religion. It was vivid and atmospheric, and I loved Knot, Astrid and Cinzia. I wanted to know more about the world and the characters, I was intrigued the entire way through which kept me reading when I might otherwise have given up because of my problems with the book, Winter for example. But I knew from early on she was going to bug me! Everyone keeps going on about the cliffhanger, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, it leaves you wanting more but it's manageable! I'm definitely intrigued to see what's going to happen with the other characters as everything has gone to hell, literally. I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen to Cinzia, Knot and Astrid and to find out more about each of them. Especially Knot! 

Monday, 15 August 2016

Classics: The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Edward Prendick, the single survivor of a shipwreck, is rescued by a vessel carrying a menagerie of savage animals. Soon he finds himself stranded on an uncharted island in the Pacific with the strange vivisectionist Dr Moreau, whose experiments have led him to break the laws of nature, stitching together man and beast with horrific results.

Okay...nobody shout at me but this is the first H.G. Wells book that I've read and I completely loved it! I'm in love with the Pocket Penguin editions in general, and the notes for this edition of Moreau really helped when reading. They let you know what all the nautical terms where and met, and offered historical insight in to the novel and what may have influenced it as well as some critical reviews and what they made of certain parts of the book, which was just as interesting to read about as the book itself. 

I was hooked from the introduction of this book. It sent a shiver up the spine and immediately intrigued me and I was intrigued for the entirety of the book. Who is Moreau? Why did Montgomery have to leave? What exactly is going on with all these creatures?! I got a little bit of a Jurassic Park vibe, purely because you have an island filled with all of these creatures and the people in charge lose control. But in this case it's more animals reverting back to their original instincts, rather than getting free of their enclosures. 

I'm not a science person, I'm a history person, but even so I found the science to this book fascinating, especially with the notes that added some historical insight in to it all. I perhaps didn't understand all of the finer points in detail but I got the gist of it. I found the island to be a vivid creation, and the creatures really spring to life. The entire point of the book, the morality and ethicalness of it make you think, and it's cleverly done. Entertaining rather than a lecture. 

The book may be short, but it manages to explore a lot, genetics, religion, psychology, experimenting on animals, ethics and more. It's a read that definitely makes you think, and is brilliantly written. I hugely enjoyed it and found it a breeze of a read, oddly enough! It was also quite creepy at points! I'm thinking I need to read all of his other works sooner rather than later! I have been meaning to get to them, I swear! The Island of Doctor Moreau is an entertaining read, that you can read easily in one sitting, and that'll have you thinking about it long after you've put the book down! 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Review: Paper and Fire

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

With an iron fist, The Great Library controls the knowledge of the world, ruthlessly stamping out all rebellion, forbidding the personal ownership of books in the name of the greater good.

Jess Brightwell has survived his introduction to the sinister, seductive world of the Library, but serving in its army is nothing like he envisioned. His life and the lives of those he cares for have been altered forever. His best friend is lost, and Morgan, the girl he loves, is locked away in the Iron Tower and doomed to a life apart.

Embarking on a mission to save one of their own, Jess and his band of allies make one wrong move and suddenly find themselves hunted by the Library’s deadly automata and forced to flee Alexandria, all the way to London.

But Jess’s home isn’t safe anymore. The Welsh army is coming, London is burning, and soon, Jess must choose between his friends, his family, or the Library willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in the search for ultimate control…

When I read the first book in this series, it took me a little while to get in to it. I'm a huge fan of Rachel Caine and her books and she's one of my auto-buy authors, but even if she wasn't, I'd still have picked up Ink and Bone for the premise. Once the book got going...it hooked me in even deeper. The thing that grabbed me about the first book was the world. It was original and fascinating and rich and you wanted to know more about it, so while not much happened in the beginning...you kept reading for the world. 

In this book, it's action packed from the start, and all go from then on. There Epehmera's are intriguing and add to the story, help you understand characters motivations and what's going on behind the scenes, they're a nice touch that breaks up the narrative and provides plenty of information. There are plenty of action scenes throughout the book, fighting, running from automata, fighting automata and a prison break among other things. I was hooked in to the sequel a lot faster than the previous book! The last book ended with a note of intrigue and my suspicions turned out to be correct! There where a few surprises in this book, and a few that I worked out, but it kept you guessing, kept you reading. 

I loved being back in the unique world of the book, it's one of my favourites and I'd love to slip in to it! In this book, we get to see more of the world as our characters take a trip to Rome. I was fascinated to see this new area of the world, what it was like, how it was different and so on. It was a nice contrast to Alexandria, I liked the fact the automata differed for instance. We also get to revisit London and there's the promise of seeing yet more of the world in the next book, which I can't wait for! Things are obviously different in Alexandria, to how they are in London and Rome and the differences between them where interesting to read about, and each setting is painted vividly for you as you end up right there with the characters. 

I love the characters. Not just their personalities and everything, but I love their friendships. Dario and Jess, sniping at each other, but still caring. Their banter cracks me up every time and I love thier scenes together. Khalila and Jess and their brother and sister type relationship, worrying after each other. All of them have brilliant relationships with each other, and in some cases they are quite complex. There's a lot of Jess and Glain in this book as we follow them through training and their first assignment, I loved their scenes together, and seeing how they work together and get on. It was nice to see more of Glain as she intrigued me a lot in the first book! I just love reading about this group in general, how they interact, how they're loyal to each other after everything they experienced in the first book and so on. 

Jess is a character I can feel for, how his family treat him and so on, you can't help but feel for him. He's changed in this book after the events of the first book, he's developed from the character he was when we first saw him. Dario provided some shocks and surprises, and bless him, he keeps trying to be more like Jess and it's not really working out for him! He's plenty intelligent and capable on his own and he really does care about the others. Khalila makes some big decisions and she is one of my favourite characters, she had some hard choices to make and I love how she's there for everyone. Thomas (I KNEW IT) has changed a little after his experiences, but I'm waiting to see the full extent of that, perhaps in the next book. Morgan is struggling with her fate, and still blaming Jess and goes on a bit of a journey regarding that. I enjoy her and Jess's relationship, it's not without it's problems and difficulties, and they're quite sweet with each other. Santi and Wolfe...I just love them both individually and together. Santi is so protective of him, and they work well together and they're SO CUTE. Which they probably wouldn't like as a descriptor but oh well. I love how Wolfe is kind of gruff and everything but he does care about them all and he helps Morgan as best he can. Santi...he's trying to help Glain and Jess and all of them, and I loved how he was like to Jess, "I like you" or something. 

I need to talk about Brendan because we get an extract from his Codex and I really felt for him. I feel for Jess and how he's treated, but you see another side of Brendan in this book. You understand where he's coming from. I really hope things work out for him and he can be reunited with his new friend at some point. I didn't much like him in the first book but in this book you saw glimpses of a different Brendan. He was still a douche at points, he did the right thing in one case and tried to do it in another but didn't quite manage it. He wanted to help Jess but couldn't go against their father. He's an interesting character because I keep rooting for him to do the right thing, and he seems like he might. I'm actually hoping to see more of him next book and hopefully see some more character development. 

The ending of the book...I cannot even with that cliffhanger. I KNEW something was going to go wrong and then it did. I'm hoping things will work out because they could use the help of the Burners, but I'm not entirely sure if it's going to be much better than Jess's original plan with his dad. We'll see. But it leaves you hanging so badly! I'm so excited to see what happens next, to see if they can fight the Library and to see this new part of the world of the book and how it differs from the others. I love this world so much and I can't wait to get back to it. 

Paper and Fire is a brilliant sequel, with more action, more adventure, more danger and more of, well...everything. More background to the Library and the people in charge, more background to some of the characters, Wolfe in particular. There's reveals and character development and glimpses of some characters trying to be better. You understand some of the characters more. Understand more about the past of the Library and the way it operates. There is so much more in this book to enhance the world and the characters, and plenty of action to keep you occupied! 

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Wishing For Wednesday #97

Happy Wednesday guys! 
I hope you're all well and enjoying your summer! This is up really late, I know, but I've been super busy lately and I clean forgot about it until like 1am last night when I realised and I pretty much crashed out not long after, then I've been taking photos this morning and lamenting my sunburned and blistered shoulder :') BUT IT'S HERE FINALLY! 
First up is the sequel to an intriguing and original book that I read last year, I completely loved it and the ending had me crying out for more because I needed to know what happened next so I'm excited to find out! 
Second up is the next book in a steampunk series that I love to another level! Honestly I'm so in love with George Mann's books, but I do need to read his Ghosts series still! ANYWAY, I feel like I've been waiting years for this next book! 

Poisoned Blade

In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands. 
Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives--the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. 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 her traveling party puts Jes 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.

Poisoned Blade is out August 16th, pre-order your copy.....here
Add it to your TBR....here!

The Revenant Express

Following their bloody encounter with the Executioner, Sir Maurice Newbury's assistant Veronica Hobbes is close to death. Desperate to save her life, Newbury and Veronica's sister Amelia board a sleeper train bound for St. Petersburg, in the hope that Gustav Faberge might have the answer. But there are enemies on board, and Newbury and Amelia will need all their strength and cunning to survive the Revenant Express.

The Revenant Express is out August 30th, pre-order your copy...here
Add it to your TBR...here

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: Bite

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

Kid is trying to survive in a world gone mad.
Hungry, thirsty and alone in a desert wasteland, she's picked up on the side of the road by Wolf, Dolly, Tank and Pretty Boy - outlaws with big reputations and even bigger guns.

But as they journey across the wild together, Kid learns that her newfound crew may not be the heroes she was hoping for. And in a world that's lost its humanity, everyone has a bit of monster within them...

I was curious about this one, I wasn't entirely sure it was my thing but you don't really read about Cannibals all that often and I was curious to see what the author was doing with it! I've not actually seen Mad Max (don't shout at me!) so that comparison actually means nothing to me, but once I started to read and the book really got going, I found myself invested in this band of misfits and I had to know what happened to them! 

Bite is bloodthirsty, there's blood and gore and severed limbs all over the place. You find yourself rooting for this group of cannibals, these murders. You end up loving them, and wanting them to come out on top. You can feel for them, the world has been well and truly messed up and they're just trying to survive. They're an interesting bunch of characters, you don't get much history form them, just little bits. I genuinely liked all of the characters. Kid becomes the baby of the group, the others look out for her like older siblings. 

Wolf isn't the greatest most of the time, he's kind of selfish among other things but he has these little moments with Kid that override it. 
Tank takes on a big brother role, and I loved when he refused to leave Kid and looked out for her from that moment on. 
Dolly keeps an eye on her and also looks out for her. I was most curious about her, not going to lie!
Pretty Boy though....you rooted for him to be a better person, to be less of a coward and he did surprise me a time or two, but I was sad with how things ended for him. The group has such a strange loyalty, and brilliant relationships that really make the book, along with their personalities, despite what they do they still have feelings and friendships and are still loyal when noone else is. 

The world is vivid and atmospheric,  you can see the wasteland they're travelling across. The plot slowly hooks you in as the characters come up with more and more insane plans, and they succeed despite their lack of preparation and planning. They rush in to things without thinking basically, and have better luck than most I think! The book is darkly funny and full of twists and turns but this is definitely not for the faint hearted! 

Monday, 8 August 2016

Review: Behind The Throne

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

Meet Hail: Captain. Gunrunner. Fugitive.

Quick, sarcastic, and lethal, Hailimi Bristol doesn't suffer fools gladly. She has made a name for herself in the galaxy for everything except what she was born to do: rule the Indranan Empire. That is, until two Trackers drag her back to her home planet to take her rightful place as the only remaining heir.

But trading her ship for a palace has more dangers than Hail could have anticipated. Caught in a web of plots and assassination attempts, Hail can't do the one thing she did twenty years ago: run away. She'll have to figure out who murdered her sisters if she wants to survive.

So mention Star Wars to me, or any SW character and you'll have immediately sold me on a book, mention Han Solo in particular and I will be going GIMME GIMME! What made me excited to read this? Being told the main character was like a female Han Solo. I read this book in one sitting and I was completely and utterly hooked. It did not disappoint. Hail is indeed a female Han Solo and I completely loved her and was rooting for her every step of the way, right from the opening chapter. She doesn't want to go home, but she gets dragged back and she has to do her duty, she was never supposed to be Empress or Heir...but now she is. Her inner struggle about it all over the course of the book was interesting to read, and very believable, you could relate to her and what she was feeling. 

The opening of the book is tense and thrilling, and it doesn't really let up from there. You've got lots of action, plot twists, a fantastic main character in Hail, and a funny, and intriguing supporting cast who all work well together on the page and help to bring the world of the book to life. Speaking of the world, the world building is fantastic. The ruler is always female, the females basically run things, the kingdom broke away from Earth and is having some trouble with the Saxons and I'm sensing more is going on, which I'm intrigued to see play out! So the world is incredibly rich as it's politics and religion and so on. It's all so intricate and described so you understand without being bogged down in information. Behind The Throne is pacey, and there's never a dull moment. 

This book draws you in, you get deeper and deeper in to the story and then you realise it's been hours, your hungry and you kinda need to pee, but it's so good it's hard to put down. I loved the characters as much as the world they inhabit. Hail is my favourite. I loved her from page one. She made me laugh so many times with her comments both aloud and in her inner monologue. She was a badass, she was struggling with her duty and everything going on around her. I felt for her and I was rooting for her and she was a character that just felt very real. 

Our supporting cast are intriguing and have just as much depth as Hail. Zin and Emmory where definitely my favourites. They where both amusing, together and separately! Zin is all proper and polite, and Emmory...not so much! So you'd have Zin nudging him to make sure he apologies for any impropriety or anything else and I loved seeing Zin loosen up over the course of the book, it was hilarious! I liked how Emmory kind of had this entire career change but he rolled with it and you see him and Hail become a team, Emmory and Zin really get her and understand her and how she thinks and the three of them are the perfect team. 

There's a few other characters I loved and can't wait to see more of, Cas for one! Bless him. That's all I can say really, poor guy! Alba and Stasia, Hails Chamberlain and maid. I loved the two of them, much like Zin and Emmory once they got to know Hail, they really knew her and cared for her and where looking out for her. Which was rare in this book with everything going on, Stasia was quite fierce for a maid with her knife and her orders! There's also all of the rest of the guards for Hail, they're a great bunch and you get a feel for them, even if you don't see them much, of course there where new ones added in at the end, and I'm waiting to see what they're like! The characters are just totally brilliant though. They all fit so well with Hail and figure her out pretty early on and just roll with it. 

Our bad guys. There are many. Some of them are very obvious like Ganda and Laabh. They screamed shady, as did Nal who I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw. But there's more going on to them and what they're up to. Laabh though. He really takes the cake. I was reading and I was like....I can't believe he did that to his own mother and sister? I knew it was him as soon as he was mentioned as a suspect, I just knew and he wasn't even sly. He has a sucky poker face. Bial is more intricate. I was never sure whether to trust him or not, I'm probably pronouncing his name wrong, but the way I'm saying it I'm like...you're clearly up to no good....but is he?! He gave me pause many times, I just could never make up my mind about him! 

Behind The Throne is a fantastic Sci-Fi read that hooks you in and keeps you reading with it's fast pace, action packed plot, brilliant characters and rich world. It's funny, laugh out loud funny, it's tense thanks to all the political intrigue and the Game of Thrones style royal treachery, and it's very intricate, there's a lot more going on than what's on the surface! I'm so intrigued to read the next book and meet certain characters that have been mentioned a lot, and see more of my favourites from this book and find out who the hell Wilson is! I'm not going to lie to you, my brain is picturing that damn vollyball from that Tom Hanks film! ANYWAY! I'm not much of a Sci-Fi reader because I'm quite picky, but I legitimately sat down and read this in one sitting because it was SO GOOD. 

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Month in Books: July

Hey guys! 
Soooo I did a lot better this month at reading! Last month was horrific and I was all reading slumpy and it was such a slog to read anything, even good books. This month I'm right back at it again, and I'm working my way through the backlog my reading slump gifted me. I'm making speedy progress because I have a lot of reading time on my hands, thanks to being on set! Although there was more talking going on than reading, which is unusual! 
All of these have been reviewed right here on my blog, or will be in the near future! Scheduling is a nightmare right now because I'm trying to get all of them out as fast as possible! Which is why there's none of my other usual blog posts up, but TBR Bites, and Bookshelf Tours will be coming back shortly when I've calmed down with the reviewing! :) 

I'm doing quite well with Classics these days and it's not taking me as long to get in to the writing style of some of the older ones as it has before! While I was a bit iffy at the beginning, I did find myself being drawn in to the story, at one point it felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland but more adult, and I'm probably the only one who thinks this but at some points it felt a bit Terry Pratchett as well! 

Boy oh boy was I glad to finally get to this and I can't believe how long I've been missing out! I read the first two thirds of this in one sitting and had zero regrets! I got completely drawn in to the world that had been created, and Schwab always manages to get me hooked! Brilliant characters, plenty of originality and some amazing scenes. The opening for instance...this book definitely starts with a bang! (This post is scheduled because I'M TOTALLY MEETING HER TODAY! LIKE POSSIBLY RIGHT NOW IF YOU'RE READING THIS AT 7ISH!)

The third installment in Kagawa's Talon series and boy was it a doozy. The title of the book...the added POV...I knew it was leading to something and I had a bad feeling the more and more I read this. I loved Ember's character development, her very real struggles with everything that's happened, I briefly rooted for Dante to come to his senses, the romance is resolved. Ember makes her choice. But then the end comes in to completely ruin your life. I'm basically still in denial so don't get me started on it. 

One of my most anticipated reads! Witch Hunter was an instant favourite of mine and I completely loved it! I'm forever sad that this is only a duology, but hopeful that there might be books with other characters! I rated this a 5 because for all intents and purposes it was a cracking sequel and conclusion. Giant bloody battle? Check! Romance? Check! Obstacles so the romance isn't too unrealistically easy considering the fallout from the last book? Check! Elizabeth struggling now she's changed? Check! I totally loved seeing Elizabeth struggling with no longer having her stigma...no longer being able to do what she did before, feeling that her entire value was placed on that stigma by others, the conflict it caused with John. Everything wrapped up nicely? Check! Although I still need more Elizabeth and John and Fifer and Schuyler There is one issue with this. One. Malcolm. I had an extensive conversation with Naz about this and I won't get in to it too much but he ended up being quite the...hero in this book. But at the same time after what he did to Elizabeth he didn't get any punishment and I felt like we where supposed to feel sorry for him? I didn't know what to make of him, and I would have liked him quite a lot if not for his actions in Witch Hunter. 

This was a re-read for me, because I wanted to re-fresh my memory and because I think The Custard Protocol may just be my favourite of all Carriger's series. I just love Rue and Quesnel so much and I ship them so hard, so I re-read this super fast, it actually helped to pull me out of my slump enormously! It's such a great continuation of the main series, but with new characters and their own story, with the occasional appearance from our favourite characters. This book is genuinely a lot of fun and one of the best Steampunk books I have ever read! Or I should say series with lots of mini series. 

The sequel to Prudence and...as I was devastated to find out...the final book in the Custard Protocol. Turns out it's a duology *ugly sobbing* It perfectly wraps everything up not just with Rue and co but with her parents as well. There's an ongoing plot thread that hints of where mentioned in PP, and in this book you see it finally come to fruition and get dealt with. Everything feels like it's been finished well, but I'm still hoping Carriger might change her mind because I need more Rue and Quesnel! I read this book so fast it was ridiculous and the romance is adorable, and the world is captivating and it's just perfection. 

I enjoyed this book immensely. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I was sold on the whole "Guardians of the Galaxy meets the Hobbit" description. Now this book is huge, it's like 500 pages or something and even I struggle with that many pages sometimes, but I breezed through this thanks to the writing style, the action and how freaking hilarious it was. It's genuinely laugh out loud funny and the Dragon's POVs where just brilliant it has to be said. The characters are memorable and interesting and really bring the world of the book to life for you. 

Perfect for any fans of OUAT who also happen to have Red as one of their favourite characters! It's a quick, easy, and fun read, with an adorable romance that makes the show and the scenes to do with Peter and Red all the more heartbreaking. You get to learn more about Red and her life and what she's been through before we meet her in the show and FYI there's a character who is the most vilest girl I've come across in a while! 

Sing is the perfect summer read. Genuinely, it's got a cute romance, a relatable character and a beautiful setting that's described vividly so you feel like you're there. It also has its surprises, especially the ending, I wasn't expecting that ending I have to admit! But it did make a nice change to the usual. 

New Pompeii had some serious Jurassic Park vibes but with Romans instead of dinosaurs, like personally I'd take the dinosaurs because they aren't gonna toy with you first and make you fight people. They'll just eat you straight out. Probably. Maybe. New Pompeii starts out slow but soon reels you in with an intriguing narrative told from two different people, I was nerding out a little bit it has to be said! 

I took part in the blog tour for this book and it completely blew me away. I read it in one sitting and was surprised at every single turn. Even the bad guys weren't who I was expecting! The ending though...that was the biggest shock of all! I loved our MC, I loved our supporting cast and it was an original take on werewolves that had you glued to the page to see what would happen next! 

How did you guys do for reading this month? 

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Review: Red's Untold Tale

Red's Untold Tale 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Titan! 

It's Wolfstime, the foreboding period around each full moon when villagers must protect their homes and families against the giant, ferocious wolves that roam the forest. On the day Red turned thirteen, Granny gave her a special red cloak upon which a spell had been cast to protect Red from wolves.Red is now sixteen and is desperately trying to fit in among her peers, save Granny's failing bakery business, and, of course, protect herself from wolves. Her crush on Peter and her determination not to let the mean girls sabotage her blossoming romance cause Red to make some questionable choices.Will these choices let the wolves in? Will Red pick the right battle? Will her skills be strong enough to keep her alive?

Once Upon a Time is one of my favourite shows okay. It cheers me up, it makes my day, it has stunning costumes and I'm not gonna lie, I would trade a spare organ to get to be in it. Red is one of my favourite characters from the show, she's not in it enough in my opinion, and so getting to read this...to learn more about her and her background? Amazing. 

Red's Untold Tale is a fast paced, quick and easy read, that's also kind of heartbreaking if you've watched the show and know what happens to Peter. Honestly I loved the romance and friendship between he and Red and it makes the scenes from the show so much more heartbreaking and it made reading the book a little bit of a sad experience at points! They where so adorable together and it gave me the warm and fuzzies when I was watching it all play out. 

I felt for Red a great deal. She's lost her parents and it's just her and Granny. They're struggling to pay taxes, to bring in money, to get the business back to being a success and Red is doing everything she can to help Granny. She's also being bullied by the nastiest character I've met, Violet. Her and her friends are not only messing with Red but they're messing with Granny's business too and Red hasn't told anyone and no-one notices, I was a bit disappointed in Peter for that actually! I came to dislike Violet with a burning passion, but Red did the right thing in the end, although I was disappointed there was no apology to her. 

The narrative smoothly switches between time periods taking us from Red's present to different periods of her past...when she received her cloak for example. You end up getting a lot of glimpses in to Red's background and childhood. We also get glimpses of some of Red's Wolfstime dreams, and if you've watched the show...they're mighty interesting too. I loved seeing Red become the hero of the book, seeing everything she faced and her struggles. It was brilliant to see how she got to the place she is in the show, to see her become more fleshed out. 

Red's Untold Tale is a fantastic addition to the OUAT world, it takes a fan favourite character, and gives you more information on her, brings her more to life, and expands on her past and her relationship with Peter, both making the show more interesting and more heartbreaking if you watch it again after having read this. After reading this, I need to get my hands on the other OUAT companion books, if they're as good as this one is! 


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Review: After Alice

After Alice 
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of BookBridgr! 

When Alice fell down the rabbit-hole, she found Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But how did Victorian Oxford react to Alice's disappearance? Gregory Maguire turns his imagination to the question of underworlds, undergrounds, underpinnings -and understandings old and new, offering an inventive spin on Carroll's enduring tale. Ada, a friend mentioned briefly in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, sets out to visit Alice but, arriving a moment too late, tumbles down the rabbit-hole herself. Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and bring her safely home from this surreal world below the world. The White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and the bloodthirsty Queen of Hearts interrupt their mad tea party to suggest a conundrum: if Eurydice can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or if Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

I completely and utterly loved Wicked so when I spotted this on BookBridgr, I HAD to request it! Aside from the stunning cover....it's a brand new Gregory Maguire book and I had a burning need. I love his writing style, the writing is just so beautiful, "Spires and domes like so much barnacled spindrift poke through first", I'm just so in love with the writing style. Yes, it's hard to read sometimes because it's so wordy, so it's hard to get in to. There are words mentioned that I haven't come across before and have no idea what they mean so I have to look them up. But despite that, the writing is brilliant. I love it. In the Victorian setting of the book, it's perfect. It fits so perfectly with the setting pulling you in to the book and the story, but it can take a few pages to get used to. 

There are a lot of Alice in Wonderland re-tellings out there, and this one is interesting don't get me wrong. We follow Ada, a character briefly mentioned in the original books, as she follows Alice down the rabbit hole and is trying to locate her in Wonderland. She meets many of the same characters as Alice so we see a lot of familiar faces, Queen of Hearts, Chesire Cat etc, which was fun. I actually liked Ada. She was interesting and had an entertaining narrative. She's been forced in to wearing this metal brace thing, and with the arrival of a new baby in the family she's pushed aside. As you read the book you watch Ada move further and further away from her smothering family life and she was a character you could root for. 

In alternating chapters we also follow Alice's sister Lydia who was supposed to be looking after her sister but has managed to lose her. Alice is missing, merrily wandering through Wonderland, and Lydia is socialising with Darwin...yep. That Darwin. An American gentleman and the boy he freed from slavery, Siam. She's sent out to find her sister with the help of Mr. Winters, Siam and Ada's governess who is also searching for Ada herself, and I wasn't sure I liked Lydia all that much. She didn't seemed bothered that her sister was missing, she acted like she was older than she was, but I came to like her quite a lot and towards the end you could see she cared for her sister. The more I read the more of her character I understood. She's just lost her mother and she's trying to deal with that, she acts like she's older than she is because she's having to grow up faster. She's trying to make sense of what happened, to understand it all and she has to make all of these decisions that she's not ready to make and she no longer has a mother to turn to for help and advice. 

Ada's POV was interesting and full of adventure. Lydia's not so much. There was a kind of adventure to it, but not as fantastical as Ada's. There's none of the action, and it's more character based. This book isn't a light read, there's a lot of historical study going on here, the author examines family and society at the time of the book, it's quite sombre and not by any means an easy read. The book wasn't really what I was expecting. I love Wicked. But this isn't in the same ballpark. I feel like there's a lot of bits and pieces taken from the original and turned around to suit this book and it felt like I'd read some of it before. There was none of the originality that I was expecting and I found my attention wandering once or twice. 

I'm conflicted about After Alice. I loved Maguire's writing style and his beautiful imagery, I enjoyed the characters, but the actual Wonderland aspects fell a bit short for me. I was more interested in the scenes in the real world, and seeing what life was like for the characters there. Which rather defeats the point of an Alice in Wonderland retelling doesn't it? I just found the characters and their Victorian struggles so interesting to read about and had little to no interest in the Wonderland scenes as it all felt a bit  deja vu. 

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