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! 

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