Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Review: The Iron Wyrm Affair

The Iron Wyrm Affair 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Emma Bannon, forensic sorceress in the service of the Empire, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn't help much that they barely tolerate each other, or that Bannon's Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. 

In an alternate London where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs. 

The game is afoot...

I see from GoodReads that I'm one of the few who actually really enjoyed this book?! I read a previous series by the author and it's very different from this so I was curious when I was sent this steampunk offering! I do love a bit of steampunk as you all know and I found this to be brilliantly written, and original. 

I was intrigued from the start of the book, and the book clips along at a fast pace. There's plenty of action to go with the intrigue and never a dull moment. I loved the world of the book, it's so easy to slip in to and to visualise the settings. The world is rich and fascinating and has the history to match it. I'm so curious about the history to the world and I need to know more! It's such an original and unique world, with plenty of quirks on the London we all know and...kind of love. Sometimes. When it's not rush hour. Among other things. 

I really enjoyed our cast of characters, I thought they had depth and where fascinating. I loved Emma, she doesn't take anyone's crap. She's strong and she's very proper and she's kinda badass. She's a Prime Sorceress as she's quite fond of pointing out over and over again. Her particular distinction is towards the...darker death side of magic. Emma's in charge and she very much knows what she's doing and what she's capable of, which made a nice change from the usual female MC's I've come across in books. I felt like we didn't get to know her quite so much as Archibald, but then I think Emma's supposed to be a bit of a mystery. I'm assuming some of her past is going to come out in a future book when they face off with the past. 

As for Archibald Clare, we got to know him quite well. He's a mentath and he's veeerrryyy Sherlock Holmes. He deduces a lot, and so Clare throws his thoughts out left right and centre, something Emma doesn't do so much. So we get a better grasp on Clare and his character and what he's like and so on. He's quite the opposite of Emma so I enjoyed watching them work together. He's very much like the Sherlock from the Robert Downey Jr movies and I wasn't surprised that was the authors inspiration. I loved that Clare wasn't afraid to get stuck in and get his hands dirty. Clare's point of view and his deductions, I found, gave us some additional insight in to Emma and her past and why she acts the way she does and so on, which I thought was an interesting way to let us get to know Emma rather than through her narrative. Like we get to know her, but not to the extent we get to know Clare.

While we only switch between Emma and Archibalds POV's, there's a third main-ish character I want to mention. Mikal. He's Emma's only shield and they have a little something something going on, it became clear. They also have quite the history by the sounds of it. I am so curious about Mikal and his past, but then I'm curious about all the characters pasts, not just our main three, but some of the secondary characters too. I did like Mikal, he's protective of Emma, a little bit dangerous and very strong and silent. 

I totally ship Emma and Mikal but I was really surprised by the relationship between the two of them. I kind of assumed that any romance/relationship would be between Emma and Archibald, but nope. I'm quite intrigued to see Emma and Mikal's relationship grow over the course of the next books because Emma's trying to fight any feelings she might have and Mikal may not even be aware of his. Plus there's their past. There's not any romance as such, I should point out, but rather it's pretty obvious Emma and Mikal like each other, and there's a little moment out of scene. 

I felt like the writing was authentic and rich, at points I did have to re-read because I'd lost something. Emma's point of view provides all the sorcery, and Clare as a mentath provides most of the steampunk aspects. He also talks everything out which was useful throughout the narrative. I enjoyed the switching between the two point of views because they each have a different personality and they each have different elements to their parts. The descriptions for the steampunk elements among other things where fantastic, the writing was vivid and imaginative. As I said the world is rich and the history is fascinating. The plot kept me engaged and intrigued, and it kept me guessing until the end with plenty of twists and turns. 

My one little gripe with this book is that I'm still so curious about the characters and their pasts. The book is fast paced and full of action, and I love that. But at some points as I was reading, past events particularly concerning Emma and Mikal, kept being mentioned and brought up. I'm not sure if I missed something completely, but I did feel at a point or two that I felt like I was reading a second book purely on that front. Because it was so obviously a first book, I was a bit confused. There where just so many allusions to past events that weren't fully explained unless I missed something, it was a bit frustrating at one point. I have a feeling we'll eventually find out as I'm sure there'll be a book that focuses on it. I just felt like it was a tad annoying as the book went on. 

All in all, I found this enjoyable and imaginative, and very original. I'm excited to see what adventure Emma and Archibald go on next, and I'm excited to see Emma and Mikal's relationship develop! 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Review: God Save The Queen

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

Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist. 

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle. 

I'm not going to lie, God Save the Queen drew me in from the beginning. I was so intrigued by the world and the plot and what was happening, and the setting and Xandra's narrative. I ended up reading this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down! 

God Save the Queen has an original and unique world that's intriguing and complex enough without being too complex that it's confusing. It's like an alternate London, that's got modern aspects mixed with Victorian. Locke has built the world up fantastically, you're intrigued to know more about it and what to see more of it. You're intrigued by the history and politics and you can picture it vividly. There's slang words that are used by the characters, but they're easy to understand and you get used to them pretty quickly. It's a brilliantly fun and intriguing world! 

I loved Xandra, to the extent that I got annoyed at her siblings more than once. Xandra is a badass, but she's also complex and I'm so intrigued by her. She has her vulnerable moments, but I really admired her and her drive and her loyalty to her family. She's stubborn, a trait you can see when she spends most of the book in denial about what's going on, a believable reaction for the character Locke has created. Xandra is very protective of her siblings, and does so much for them, takes care of them and looks out for them. So it irked me the way she was treated by one sister in particular for most of the book. This sister chose an organisation over the sister that had done so much for her, and while I could see said sister's point of view, I really felt for Xandra and how she was feeling. Then towards the end the other two, who where looking at her funny at the beginning of the book and one of which implied she expected Xandra to be the first one to go crazy...where all pissy at her for not telling her something it was pretty obvious they wouldn't have believed. They'd probably have had her locked up in Bedlam. It irked me so much, and I'm sure Xandra will have to bow and scrape to get back in their good graces. 

Xandra's narrative was brilliant, it was funny and drew you in. It made reading the book fun, and there was always plenty of action and intrigue going on. I liked how the narrative was used to good effect to help you get to know Xandra, and her personality. I fully sympathised with her and was on her side. 

On the romance front, I liked Vex. He wasn't at all how I expected him to be after we first saw him. He was actually pretty sweet and adorable, and I ended up shipping him with Xandra so badly! I would have liked it if the romance had been drawn out a bit more though as it verged on insta-love and I'm not really a fan of that. I'm intrigued to see where their relationship will go! 

One character I really loved was the Goblin Prince! Bless his little heart. He was quite the kind little Goblin, and cute in his own way. I was so curious about him and his loyalty to Xandra, I'm hoping to see more of him in the next book because he's a lot of fun! 

The plot kept me guessing. I was fully engrossed and along for the ride and trying to put all the clues together! But there where plenty of plot twists that I didn't see coming. I genuinely didn't get it 100% right, I guessed some things but I was surprised plenty enough. 

God Save The Queen has memorable and fun characters with depth to them. There's action, intrigue and romance that all combine to create a fast paced, enjoyable plot that keeps you fully engrossed in the book and the characters. This book is genuinely a lot of fun and brilliantly original! 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Review: Breath of Fire

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

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all. 

So, I actually really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy although I freely admit it was a smidge cheesy/cringey at some points! The same can be said for this book, but it was still an enjoyable and fun read although I really do think that the first book might still be my favourite!

Breath of Fire picks up right where we left off in a Promise of Fire. The secret about Cat is totally out of the bag and Griffin has to deal with it. I so knew I was right when I was reading the first book! From there, we end up going on a Quest to find help in protecting their little Kingdom from the neighbouring one, and from there we enter in to a Hunger Games style death championship. With no hiding places. 

I was immediately sucked back in to the world of the book and happy to be reunited with the characters, there's angst and drama right from the start and I am a sucker for that, it has to be said. Although Griffin's behaviour at one point was a little bit questionable. I find him adorable and kind of sweet, but at the same time I want to smack him and I end up rolling my eyes more than once. Like I said, these books are a little bit cheesy/cringey at points but they're a great mood lifter! Plus there's all the Greek Mythology and I freaking love Greek Mythology. 

The author has clearly done her research on the mythology front and I enjoyed seeing more of it in this book! Plus spotting which other Gods made an appearance, even if in name only as assisting Cat. I'm hoping some of them will make an appearance in the final battle! I find Cat's odd little family of Gods and Goddesses who are always willing to help her out, oddly charming. You know who else I found charming? Titos the snake. He was kinda of adorable, especially his 'hug'. 

Cat has developed a lot in this book, she's more mature and she's taking on more responsibility, especially towards the end and I loved seeing that. I feel like Griffin kind of took a back seat a little bit and let Cat run the show and it was nice to see his trust and faith in her. I continue to really love Cat and Griffin, they're adorable together and I get serious warm and fuzzies which is just what I need lately! Although there's a plot twist and I was so hoping the author wouldn't go there because I'm not really here for that kind of thing, and I'm hoping it's not going to change Cat and her role too much. So yeah..not sure I really liked that twist. I was hoping we could do this story without that. I feel like all books like this, romance etc, have to have that. 

I loved seeing all of my favourite characters again, I'm so curious about Carver and his past and the tidbits we saw weren't enough but I'm not sure if we'll ever get the full story as it's not really relevant to the plot that I'm aware of. I totally ship Flynn and Jacosta and I'm hoping book three brings that to fruition, especially after Flynn's behaviour in this book! I did crack up at poor old Flynn's expense at one point, because Cat was like, "I'm starting to think emotion terrifies him. I can utterly relate". Poor Flynn. 

And speaking of Jacosta...I was so pleased to see her coming in to her own and stepping up to help out. She's on her way to being a total badass like Cat, she's already not doing bad as it is! I'm excited to see where her character goes. Piers...I'm struggling to remember if I liked him in the first book, I wanted to like him because he's Griffin's brother, but I didn't warm to him this book and from the looks of the sneak peek at the final book...I'm going to hate him. We get a couple of new characters, Appoline's sisters are going to be interesting and I hope we do get to see more of them! Ianthe is the other new character and I really liked her and I really hope she's actually genuine! 

One of the things I loved about the first book was still present in this one, albeit not as much unfortunately. That being Cat's banter and friendship with the rest of her team. I'd loved to have seen more of it although I loved seeing her and Kato in the labyrinth. 

That being said, some of the scenes at the beginning with Griffin...I was like HELL NO. He was behaviour was way out of order. But he did redeem himself. While the book is fast paced, I felt like this time around it was a little too fast paced. I'd have loved to have seen more of the epically huge Arena battle and the time spent there. We zipped through the labyrinth fast and after setting up the challenges with a certain individual to be a big thing....they where over pretty fast and then we never saw the dude again. I feel like there where a lot of points in the book that could have been fleshed out more, or pulled out for a bit longer because I feel like we did rush a bit too much through some events and jump a lot of time. After the ominous comment made to Cat...I was expecting a character death. But the only character to die was one we met for two seconds and had no real attachment to, so we where kind of made to think the stakes where really high...when they really weren't. I never really felt like Cat or any of the others where in serious danger. 

While I did enjoy the first book a little bit more, Breath of Fire has plenty of magic, action, mythical creatures, Gods, Goddesses and humour to keep you interested and reading. I love the mix of fantasy, mythology and romance, and it's exactly the kind of book I look for but rarely find! I'd love to read more of this particular blend of genre/theme! After the ending of this book, I'm intrigued to see how it's all going to end, although I will admit to my anticipation being slightly dimmed due to the revelation about Cat at the end. Sorry but I'm just really not here for that kind of thing! 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Review: Sharp Ends

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

A Beautiful Bastard: The Union army may be full of bastards, but there’s only one big enough to think he can save the day single-handed when the Gurkish come calling: the incomparable Colonel Sand dan Glokta.

Made a Monster: After years of bloodshed, the idealistic chieftain Bethod is desperate to bring peace to the North. There’s only one obstacle left – his own lunatic champion.

Small Kindnesses: The hopes of Shevedieh, the best thief in Westport, to turn her back on crime, come crashing down when she finds a huge drunkard sleeping in her doorway. Doing the right thing always comes at a price…

The Fool Jobs: Curnden Craw has been sent with his dozen to recover a thing from beyond the Crinna. One small problem. No one seems to know what the thing is.

Skipping Town: Shevedieh and Javre, ill-matched adventurers, find themselves forced to flee yet another self-made disaster.

Hell: ‘I have seen hell, and it is a great city under siege.’ The fall of Dagoska through the eyes of a young acolyte.

Two’s Company: Javre, Lioness of Hoskopp, runs into Cracknut Whirrun on a bridge over a remote canyon. Can Shevedieh persuade either of these proud heroes to step aside?

Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Three not entirely innocent bystanders are sucked into the chaos of Monzcarro Murcatto’s vengeance.

Some Desperado: There is no honour among thieves when the outlaw Smoke finds herself being hunted down by her own comrades.

Yesterday, Near a Village Called Barden: Royal Observer Bremer dan Gorst reports to the king on another ugly little skirmish as summer dies in the North.

Three’s a Crowd: It’s a foolish man who steals from the best thief in Styria, and when Horald the Finger steals her lover, it’s time for Shevedieh to stop running and start fighting. For those who work in the shadows, though, few things are ever quite as they seem…

Freedom: Being an absolutely true account of the liberation of the town of Averstock from the grip of the incorrigible rebel menace by the famous Nicomo Cosca.

Tough Times all Over: All Carcolf wants is to take her package from here to there, but in the city of fogs and whispers, there are always a dozen other rogues with their own ideas.

Sharp Ends combines previously published, award-winning tales with exclusive new short stories. Violence explodes, treachery abounds, and the words are as deadly as the weapons in this rogue's gallery of side-shows, back-stories, and sharp endings from the world of the First Law. 

Okaaaayy, so I've read most of Joe Abercrombies books except for the First Law Trilogy, so I went in to this fully expecting to spoil myself, and I'm not really sure how much I've been spoiled to be honest...but I'm so pumped to read the First Law Trilogy now! Not that I wasn't before, but after glimpsing the world and characters I'm ready to fully dive in!

The book cover is completely gorgeous but the pages before each story have these really pretty map pages....you guys know how much I love maps! Out of all of the stories, Small Kindnesses, Skipping Town and Three's a Crowd are my favourites from the collection, I'm not going to lie! A couple like Hell and Wrong Place, Wrong Time I didn't really get as grabbed by. 

From what I understand, a fair few of these stories are backstory to various characters and such, like A Beautiful Bastard lets you see another side to Glokta, Hell and Some Desperado. We meet the worlds most dickish character in Logen. I'm probably not going to like him in the books at all. And we meet my two favourite characters of the entire short story collection. 

Shev and Javre. There's a whole host of colourful and interesting characters but I loved Shev and Javre the most and a lot of these short stories centre on them and I'm perfectly fine with that! Three's a Crowd was my ultimate favourite, although I confess to finding myself disappointed by the final Shev and Javre story in the collection. We appeared to be going in chronological order, but I'd hoped when I saw Carcolf's name in the final Shev and Javre story, that we'd see a conclusion to what happened at the end of Three's a Crowd but Tough Times All Over didn't do that. So I was a little bit disappointed. 

As usual with Abercrombie his settings are vivid and atmospheric, his characters are brilliantly written and his writing is superb. The collection is well put together, with Shev and Javre seeming to be the two characters that are the common thread. I don't usually do short story collections, but I really enjoyed this one, and it's made me even more excited to finally read the First Law Trilogy! 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Review: Unconventional

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

Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing...until author Aidan Green - messy haired and annoyingly arrogant - arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi's life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned. Things like falling in love... 

Okay....I loved this book! It was just the pick me up that I needed and I read it in one sitting, in a couple of hours. This book is funny, accurate and relatable and the romance gave me the warm and fuzzies over and over! 

I love the letters, texts, emails and fliers etc breaking up the narrative and adding a fun little bursts throughout the book. I had a lot of fun spotting the authors and books that I love and freaking out! Melinda Salisbury was mentioned and I was like AAHHH MELINDAAAA! The end of the book has some fun little extras, Bede's Pineapple facts and an extract from Aidan's book which where nice little touches too!

There are so many brilliant characters in this book. I really liked Lexi, I connected to her and I felt for her and I understood where she was coming from. I wasn't too sure about Aidan in the beginning, I was totally on Lexi's side, but I ended up completely loving him once you see the other side to him. Like Lexi he was also very relatable and you could sympathise with him. I really liked Lexi's mum although I wasn't too fond of her dad for the most part. I wasn't sure I'd like Bea either but I ended up loving her too! 

Sam was one of my favourite characters, she was hilarious and a brilliant friend and I loved her constant cosplaying! I kinda wished I was her with all the outfits! I also really loved Bede and Nadiya, the dynamic and banter between the group made me chuckle, and warmed the cockles of my heart. They where a brilliant group of characters! OH and Damien totally surprised me, I will admit! 

I loved the romance, it gave me the warm and fuzzies, it was totally cute and I loved watching it develop. I liked the dynamics to it, with Aidan kind of having two different personalities. Aidan..and then Haydn the sought after debut author. Lexi was trying to decide which she'd fallen for, and was dealing with feeling kind of inferior to Aidan and the way his life is changing. I liked the little totally uncool moments that Aidan had. But I really, really loved watching their relationship develop and their feelings....so cuteee! 

I also have to talk about the setting, because I was expecting this to be set over the course of one convention so I had a couple of things that I thought where going to happen...but I was completely surprised and I loved it. The book is set at lots of different conventions, over a period of time and it completely delighted me and added to the fun! 

The final thing I want to say? I NEED Piecekeepers to be a real book. I NEED IT. Every single thing I read about Piecekeepers in this book I was like...I need this book. This is a book I would love. Please tell me this book exists. I need it. It has every single thing I love in a book and the extract at the end just made it worse because I read it and was like..moooreeee! I'm really, really hoping Maggie might write it if we all beg her enough! 

Unconventional is a fun, humorous, cute, easy and warm and fuzzy inducing read. There's a lot of emotion and heart to this book, alongside the fun. The characters are relatable and the settings are familiar and accurate. All in all, it's a brilliant book, and it lifted me out of my little slump! 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Review: Blood Upon The Sand

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

Çeda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further their rule. She knows the dark history of the asirim—that hundreds of years ago they were enslaved to the kings against their will—but when she bonds with them as a Maiden, chaining them to her, she feels their pain as if her own. They hunger for release, they demand it, but with the power of the gods compelling them, they find the yokes around their necks unbreakable.

Çeda could become the champion they’ve been waiting for, but the need to tread carefully has never been greater. After the victory won by the Moonless Host in the Wandering King’s palace, the kings are hungry for blood. They scour the city, ruthless in their quest for revenge. Unrest spreads like a plague, a thing Emre and his new allies in the Moonless Host hope to exploit, but with the kings and their god-given powers, and the Maidens and their deadly ebon blades, there is little hope of doing so.

When Çeda and Emre are drawn into a plot of the blood mage, Hamzakiir, they sail across the desert to learn the truth, and a devastating secret is revealed, one that may very well shatter the power of the hated kings. They plot quickly to take advantage of it, but it may all be undone if Çeda cannot learn to navigate the shifting tides of power in Sharakhai and control the growing anger of the asirim that threatens to overwhelm her. 

I have been so pumped for this sequel, I cannot even, with how Twelve Kings ended...I needed the next book! I consoled myself with the novella, but it wasn't enough. And now...I've finally read it! I'm so excited by where this series is going, and this book was full of twists and turns and another ending that has you wanting to scream because you're so curious...but you're going to have to wait soooo long for the next book! 

Blood Upon The Sand has an action filled opening, and immediately draws you in to the plot. You're right there in the scene with Ceda and from that point on, I was lost in the world of the book. It was easy to get pulled back in to the world of the book and pick up where we left off last time. 

This book makes it very apparent how much Ceda has changed since we first met her way back in book one. She was always a strong character, but she's changed and developed so much over the course of the two books, and after everything that happens in this book I'm intrigued to see how that will change her...or what it'll change her in to. We get lots of flashbacks to flesh out Cedas past, and the relevant new information that's dropped in this book, which I enjoyed because they're nice breaks from the main narrative. Plus I'm totally curious about Ceda's past and this book answers some big questions from the first book! There are definitely some surprises both to do with Ceda and to do with others. I literally felt so dumb for not putting some of it together. In case it wasn't obvious...I still totally love Ceda and her parts where my favourite! 

We also got some parts from the Kings POV, as well as Ramahd and Emre. I quite liked Emre's parts as well, plus the Kings because they where intriguing. There's some....turmoil amongst the Kings shall we say and it was interesting to see the King's POV. Ramahds POV I was kind of meh about. I remembered almost everything about Ceda and Emre, and the Kings. I struggled to remember Ramahd and Meryam and I really didn't think much of Meryam this book, I'm not going to lie. There are a lot of characters, and I did find it hard to keep track of them in this book, especially as it's been a while since the first book! 

I have to say, Emre has changed a lot too since the first book and I really like Emre! I connected with both he and Ceda, and their motivations, and I may or may not ship Ceda and Emre. Like seriously Emre, sort it out because we all know Ceda's too stubborn! I also wanted to mention Davud because I vaguely remembered him from the first book and I liked him and what we saw of him, so I was intrigued to see him take on a bigger role in this book. It was nice to see more of him, and I'm incredibly intrigued to see where his story is going to go! 

Along with the familiar faces, there are some new faces too! Sumeya I'm including as a new face, because we didn't see her as much in the first book. Now...I actually really like her. And I really, really felt for her towards the end after learning more about her. I loved her relationship with Ceda and I'm kinda hoping she'll side with Ceda and everyone because I love her! I quite like the other members of Ceda's hand as well. Aside from one. But more on her in a moment. I lost my liking for a couple of characters in this book it has to be said. Looking at you Zaide. Looking at you hard. Also Ramahd, vaguely remembered him but he's totally dropped Ceda in it. As well as a couple of others. 

Now. The member of Ceda's hand that I didn't like. Yndris. How I hated her. She was a spoiled, bratty, immature little girl and she's the daughter of the Confessor King. She was a constant thorn in Ceda's side and I was hoping for her death continuously. What a little cow. Seriously. I was reading like..."We should totally just kill Yndris!" *rage face*. If she's still alive in the third book I'm going to be annoyed, anytime she was in a scene I was just....ugh. 

The plot is complex, there's plenty of threads and the book is huge, but the intrigue and Ceda keep you reading. There are starting to get to be a lot of things and characters to remember which was hard at times, especially as I didn't have time to re-read Twelve Kings before I started this! The novella was tied in quite nicely if I'm remembering correctly, and there are many epic battles. I loved the dynamic between Ceda and Emre, and Ceda and the rest of her Hand. I was on edge watching Ceda walk a tightrope between her secrets and what she was up to and her Hand and Yndris who keeps stalking her. There's plot twists, and shocking secrets and questions answered and then the ending. Ceda going off like that...I'm so curious about what's going to happen next! 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Review: The Ninth Rain

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

The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces - talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza 'Vintage' de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure'lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall... 

As you guys know, I loved the Copper Cat trilogy that Jen wrote, and if you've seen the front of the last two books...you definitely know! I am so ready for a new trilogy from her, so I eagerly dived in to this book. I was intrigued by the synopsis and after loving her first trilogy I expected great things! I wasn't disappointed. 

My interest was piqued from the beginning, the letter extract at the beginning and the wording of it intrigued me, and I eagerly turned the page ready to get lost in a new world, and ready for story telling time. Jen weaves her magic from the first page, conjuring the atmosphere and painting the scene so you're sucked in fast. I was completely gripped by the book and lost in the world of it. I could picture each setting vividly, each setting had it's own atmosphere. The Winnowry was dark and dank...cold and unfeeling. Ebora eerily quiet and decaying, like a lavish, gilded mansion that's fallen in to wrack and ruin. The relics/abandoned ships are creepy and otherwordly. Each atmosphere makes you feel something, and pulls you further in to the story. 

The prologue really draws you in and sets the scene and the tone for the book. I immediately wanted to know more about the world of the book. The Eborans tree had some Norse mythology echoes around it, and I'm intrigued to see if there's going to be any connections. Especially as there's a crow/raven on the front. 

I really love Jen's storytelling and her writing, it's not just the settings that are rich and vivid, the characters are too. She creates them so perfectly you can easily picture the characters, and you connect with them and they have interesting histories and you want to know more. They're always so dimensional and I really loved the new group! Jen has very rich imagery and I love it! The history to the world is also rich and intriguing, as is the world itself. The plot is complex with threads woven together and full of intrigue and little hints and clues for you to try and put together. 

Speaking of our new characters....like I said...I loved them. We have Lady Vincenza "Vintage" de Grazon. I liked her. I liked her a lot. And I knew I was going to love her from the first moment we saw her. She's the leader of the group, and she doesn't really care what anyone thinks of her. She does her own thing. Vintage is obsessed with the Jure'lia a force of invaders that have tried to take over the world again and again and have always been pushed back by the Eborans and their war beasts. Vintage investigates the ships and artefacts left behind by the Jure'lia in a bid to understand how they work and what the deal is with the creatures they attract. She's intelligent and kind and totally my favourite. 

Tormalin is an Eboran hired by Vintage who's fled his home because he doesn't want to hang around there waiting to die from the Flux like everyone else. His people are dying out after their tree dies taking it's sap with it. In a bid to save themselves they went a little bit vampire...and that had it's consequences. Tor is very old, but also has a tendency to act like a bratty teenager here and there. I actually quite liked him, I loved his banter with Vintage and he cares deep down....past all his preening. 

Our final group member is Noon. I wasn't sure what to make of her at first, she's a witch. A Fell-witch, and she's basically locked up in a prison for witches that's sold as a way to keep them safe but really they're used to make a drug that their jailors get rich on. It's more like a Victorian Asylum where women where admitted for "their own good" and stupid reasons. It's quite frankly chilling. Noon can absorb any living things life force and use it to create Winnow fire. I liked this magic system and it created some interesting scenarios and debates among the characters! 

We literally have an Eboran who's hated by most and known as a bloodsucker and has some mild vampire vibes going on. A complete nerd and scholar who doesn't give a damn what people think but cares for her companions. And an escaped convict who can suck out your life and set things on fire. It's totally awesome and I loved the dynamics between the group and the banter and how they all worked together. They weren't really comrades for most of the book, but there would be moments when they where for a little while, or when you could see one of them cared about the others. Two of them hated each other on first sight which was interesting to watch play out! I totally ship Tor and Noon as well, I'm not going to lie.

I have to say, there are some brilliant creatures in this book, with the promise of more in the next book and I'm intrigued to see what other creatures we'll get. So far we've got giant bats, and guys...I need my own Fulcor bless her. And we have a dragon called Vostok. I love dragons. I really love dragons. Tor might have a new creature friend too. 

The book has intriguing letter extracts and diary extracts scattered throughout to provide an interesting background and history to the world and characters, that provides the most amount of information...but in an interesting way and without info dumping. It also makes a nice break from the narrative! 

Towards the end, I started to have a certain picture of the enemy in this book, and I don't know if it's just me, but I'm not sure if we're about to have a Sci-fi vs. Fantasy battle in the next two books. It really kinda felt like it but it might be my own mental image. I really felt like the Eborans and everyone in the world of the book where the good old fantasy characters, and the Jure'lia are the alien-ish creatures trying to takeover. I'm intrigued to see which direction this is all going to go in! 

The Ninth Rain is a brilliant start to a new trilogy by one of my favourite authors! There's action, adventure, danger, romance, humour and intrigue. Plenty of life threatening situations, and plenty of characters to flat out hate. Jen's storytelling is as usual brilliant and pulls you in to the world she's created, and the characters and plot keep you glued to the page. I'm incredibly excited to see where this is going to go after the ending of this book! 

Friday, 12 May 2017

Birthday Book Haul!

Hey guys! 
Welcome to my super late Birthday Book Haul! Like my birthday was the 16th of March and it's taken me this long to sort my crap out and do the blog post...oopsie? 
I feel like you guys gave me my own birthday present because I totally hit 1k Twitter and Instagram followers just in time for my birthday, so thank you all for following me!
Now....on to the book haul! 

So, two of my favourite bookish friends, Shazina and Nazima, totally spoiled me! They know me so well, and there was much screeching when I opened these and I can't even! I love you guys, and thank you again <3 

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Black Moon by L. A. Weatherly
Clockwork Prince Manga by Cassandra Clare & Hyekyung Baek
Frogkisser by Garth Nix
Grave Matters by Jana Oliver 

I've been anticipating Traitor to the Throne for sooo longgg, and Black Moon is the final book in a trilogy that I love and you guys have seen me raving about more than once! I'm completely obsessed with the Infernal Devices manga, and I pretty much read this straight away :') Frogkisser is a standalone book from Garth Nix and I love his books, and this one sounds like so much fun! Grave Matters is a novella that goes with one of my ultimate favourite series, it's between book 4 and the brand new book, and Shazina is the only other person I know who loves this series as much as I do! 

Next up are the bookish goodies I got from my family, I always do a list, and then try and resist the urge to buy things from it and I have to constantly remind myself I can't buy things from it :')
I really did get spoiled this year, which kinda made up a little bit for how crappy the actual day....well...week was. 
Soooo check out part one....

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
Chaika the Coffin Princess Vol 1
The Hobbit bY J R R Tolkien
The Legend of Zelda Legendary Edition Vol 3  

I'm excited to have got the last two books in the First Law trilogy, I feel a binge read coming on! Chaika is a manga I've been eyeing up for ages because the title intrigued me and it looked cute. I'm totally obsessed with Zelda so I'm collecting the Legendary Editions aaannndd yes. Another edition of the Hobbit. But this one is a facsimile first edition...it was necessary okay!

Aaaannnd thanks to my family, my Brandon Sanderson collection is complete! I literally have every single one of his books now, and I just need to have a giant binge read of all the ones I haven't read yet!

Aaannndd my Robin Hobb collection is also now complete yaaaayy! I totally got every single one of my books (17 in all) signed at her event in Milton Keynes on the 3rd, and Robin dedicated all of them and she was the complete best!

I have been after this set for so long y'all have no idea, they're just so pretty! And the set comes with a cute little bookmark that matches Little Women! 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Heidi by Johanna Spyri

I actually knew I was getting this because I was with my mum when she bought it, she was hoping I'd forgotten about it and to be fair...I kinda had..mostly. I freaking loved Fantastic Beasts way more than I was expecting too, and so I had to have this on my list! 

The Case of Beasts by Mark Salisbury & MinaLima

In case you didn't know, I totally collect a few classics sets, and the clothbounds are one of them! I don't get all of the clothbounds, because some of them don't have the best covers, but I've been after each of these, and I can't believe I got this little stack! 

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence 
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

I pretty much have all the Harry Potter Funko's at this stage in life, I'm only missing a couple, this being one of them! My mum got me these Meraki Candles...but I had to order them myself because she doesn't know how Etsy works :')

I also got the Fairy Loot March Anniversary Box and you guys it was the beeeesssttt! The box was my favourite colour, and it had one of my most anticipated reads in it....Strange the Dreamer! It's got blue sprayed edges and it's got doodles and aaahh it's the best! 
The box also came with all you see pictured! Totally cute bookmarks and a hand mirror, a scarf that I'm going to get sooo much use out of because dragon scales! Some totally adorable fairy lights and an amazing smelling candle from Steph at Geeky Clean! (If you wanna order from Steph use my code REALITY17 to save!)

I got treated to my first ever Meraki candles box! I haven't had time to take proper unboxing photos yet..but check out the four candles from in the box! Essos is from Game of Thrones, Narnia is..well...Narnia. Elendel is from Mistborn and I'm so psyched to finally have a Mistborn candle. And finally.....RIVENDELL! I have my first ever Lord of the Rings candle and I'm totally ecstatic. I just need a load of LOTR candles I'm not going to lie. Rivendell smells the best, it's my new favourite so I'm hoping it'll win the poll! 

Along with the candles the box came with an LOTR tote bag *Screeches* a bookmark and a Percy Jackson pin! 

There's a couple of books I haven't featured because I completely forgot....the US hardback of Vicious for example! 
I hope you guys enjoyed my haul, it's been forever since I last did one! I'm hoping to start doing hauls again soon! 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Review: Freeks

Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book going in, but I was intrigued by the Carnival element. I certainly wasn't expecting the supernatural elements, the synopsis I read...well I assumed it was just a regular serial killer type thing and it was going to be a murder mystery at a carnival, so I was surprised, but I'm not sure if it was a good surprise or not. 

For most of this book, I was a bit meh. I did contemplate DNFing it but the creepy supernatural element made itself known and I decided to hang on a bit longer. It essentially saved the book, because I finished it but I wasn't all that invested in the book. I wasn't eagerly turning pages. I was just kind of...meh about the whole thing. 

I love all things 80's and I have a penchant for 80's movies and music, but I was sad there wasn't more of that included, more references and things. At one point the time period was kind of indistinguishable from any other time period. It didn't stand out to me as distinctly 80's except for maybe one or two times. But then I did resort to skim reading this book just to finish it so perhaps I missed something. 

The romance was kind of cute, but it was a bit insta lovey and I don't really like insta love except for in very rare cases...and this wasn't one of them. I kinda felt like it was there just to be there. I found the book to be very predictable, and like I said...it never really grabbed me and had me gripped. I was just mildly intrigued and wanted to know what the creature was. 

I did like Mara and her determination, her sudden switch to budding Buffy was a bit swift. The other characters are a colourful bunch with different abilities and backgrounds. The book was darkly atmospheric at points. My favourite part was probably the last part, when the mystery was coming to a head, and things where happening, and everyone started gearing up for battle. But the rest of the book for me was just a blur that I genuinely can't remember all that much about and I only finished it the other day. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Review: Every Hidden Thing

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

Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.

But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.

As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other? 

I didn't see the same information that's on GoodReads when I agreed to review this book, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started reading the book....but I was pleasantly surprised and I would definitely agree with the whole 'it's like Romeo and Juliet crossed with Indiana Jones' comment! I actually really enjoyed this book! 

As soon as I started to read this, I was hooked and sucked in. I immediately adored it and knew I was going to end up loving this book. There's a lively opening, that's amusing and really sets the scene for the upcoming rivalry at the dig site, and quickly provides some background and substance to it as you see it first handed. 

I immediately loved both Samuel and Rachel and I loved getting both of their POVs and getting the insight in to their personalities and the motivation behind their actions. I'm not usually one for insta love, like our dear Samuel felt, but I felt like it was a bit different with this book. Sure Samuel feels something straight away when he first meets Rachel, and his feelings grow from there. But interestingly enough, Rachel doesn't feel as strongly as Samuel, it takes a while for her feelings to grow, and I thought that was an interesting change to the usual. 

I actually really loved the romance. I thought it was cute, and it was fun to watch the romance blossom among the fossils and the rivalry between their fathers. I liked that it wasn't straight forward and that there where problems and obstacles to overcome. 

I really loved the history to this, and even without having read the authors note, it's clear a lot of research went in to this book. I'm actually quite envious of the author getting to go on a dig! Like seriously jealous. There's also some interesting information on the Bone Wars provided by the author, handy because I was curious while reading, as to whether there was that kind of rivalry when it came to find fossils and dinosaur bones back in the day. I feel like this was a nice and authentic read, the racial tensions of the time are presented without being swept under the rug and ignored. You read about how the Americans where expanding and taking more and more Native American land and trying to push them all on to reserves. Understandably  the Native Americans weren't really happy about that. I've read books set in this time period and setting before that either ignores it all or paints the Native Americans in a very unfair and nasty light. But I'm not Native American so I can't really speak completely to the representation of it in this book. 

One thing the author did really well was to create the setting and the atmosphere. It really helped to pull you in and I felt like I was there with the characters digging up the bones! The author really manages to help you picture and imagine what it would be like to find a dinosaur fossil. I found myself pausing at one point to digest the first big find, and just picturing what it would have been like, and thanks to the authors writing and the characters I could. You could feel the awe and the excitement. 

Every Hidden Thing is a humours and fun read. A fantastic blend of history, romance and adventure...oh and dinosaurs! That's three of the things I love most in a book! It's definitely got it's own Indiana Jones thing going on too, and it made me think of the beginning of Jurassic Park at one point too. I so badly want a sequel to this! 
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