Friday, 27 January 2017

Light Novel: Strike The Blood 5

Strike The Blood: Fiesta for the Observers
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Aya Tokoyogi and six other hardened magical criminals have broken out from imprisonment. Their goal--to completely erase the 'Witch of the Void,' Netsuke Minamaya, from existence. How these events will unfold in the Demon District will depend on the actions of the strongest vampire to ever exist, Kojou Akatsuki. 

I've been reading the manga volumes of this and I kind of got sent this by accident because I thought this was the manga, but was the light bad! I'm a complete moron sometimes! So, the manga isn't too far behind this from what I worked out when I read this after you know...reading volume 5 of the manga! But yeah, I don't think the manga is too far behind! 

The thing I liked about this series, is that it's vampires, something that's been done over and over again...but it has it's own twist to it to make it interesting. I'm so curious about Kojou's powers and the different things he can do and I'm looking forward to seeing more of it over the course of the series! I don't usually read this kind of manga/light novel and I started to read it, and was torn...but it kept pulling me back in because I was so curious about the vampires and the powers and the story! 

I really liked the writing and translation in this volume, right from the beginning it set the tone, and created an atmosphere and it drew you in. It's fast paced, we get different POV's so we can get a good picture of what's going on with the story and why people are doing things. There's some revelations in this volume and the plot progresses in an interesting direction which has me curious about what's going to happen next and I'm wondering if I should start reading the light novels now as well as the manga! 

I love manga, but with the light novels you get more information and background to people and events and actions, and obviously you get a better understanding of characters motivations! I'm not going to lie though, I totally ship Kojou and Yukina so I'm not really here for Asagi and the others, like it's amusing but sometimes it does bug me, and it can be a little bit ridiculous at points but like I said..the unique twists and the plot have hooked me in too far for me to get out! 

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Review: Mafiosa

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

Protected by an infamous mafia family, Sophie is living a dangerous lie, pretending to lead a normal life. But the deceit can’t last for ever. Her heart belongs to a killer and Sophie’s the prime target of a rival clan. She’s determined to seek revenge on her mother’s murderers, but can she pay the price – can she be a mafiosa?

The third and final instalment in the explosive YA Blood for Blood series which started with Vendetta and Inferno.

I genuinely am so sad this trilogy is over. I rarely ever read contemporary, I don't usually like contemporary because I prefer reading books that are far away from real life, but I ended up reading Vendetta and Inferno because so many of my blogging friends loved the books. I picked Vendetta up with trepidation...and ended up reading it in one go and completely loving it. Genuinely. Vendetta is the opening act. Inferno is the climax. And Mafiosa is the grand finale. 

Yep. I'm saying it. Mafiosa is the best of the three. Each of the books build up more and more and get better and better, and Cat Doyle outdoes herself every single time. With Mafiosa we're straight back in from the ending of Inferno, near enough. Sophie's out for vengeance and you can't really blame her after the events of Inferno. I'm right there with her baying for blood! I genuinely hated Jack. I was torn about her Dad. Because that's the thing, Doyle whips out these plot twists that entirely spins situations on their head so I was never sure about Sophie's dad and whether I should be hating him or not! She makes characters that have many different facets to them. 

Sophie refuses to take anyones crap in this book, sure I wanted to shake her more than once because C'MON SOPHIE. BACK AWAY FROM NIC AND TURN TOWARDS THE SHINING BEACON THAT IS LUCA! But I understood her, and how she was feeling and why she was handling things the way she was. She was a badass in this book, and I continue to completely love her friendship with Millie. It's so well written. So authentic and Doyle puts such a lot of effort in to showing how important friendship is. We see Sophie and Millie go through a lot and come out the other side, they get through it together and they understand each other. I forever love Millie, I wasn't too sure if she'd end up with Dom again or not, but I liked how things went with Millie! She also cracks me up so much! 

Nic....oh Nic. How I wanted to smack you one. I was so hoping he'd get a little bit maimed but my dreams weren't realised. Considering my Team Luca status Nic really irritated me. But then he went from irritating me to really, really bugging me. He wouldn't take no for an answer. He kept on. Despite all the crappy things he did to Sophie he wouldn't comprehend the fact that she didn't want to be with him. I wanted to punch him in the face. Especially when he essentially punished her for not choosing him. Seriously dude. Someone's more like a certain psycho Falcone than they want to believe. 

I'll tell you a character I really loved this book, much to my eternal surprise. Elena. Yep you read that right. I really liked her this book. We saw a different and intriguing side to her, I'd actually love to know more about her. I've been picturing Cat Doyle writing a trilogy about Elena and her sister! I genuinely really liked how she interacted with Sophie and I was devastated about how things ended for her. I also really loved Valentino in this book, I probably shouldn't find him funny when he's being big scary Mafia boss, but his reactions are so funny some times. Like after Luca's declaration to Nick. He didn't even say anything and I was chuckling! I also really love Gino and a few of the other members of the Falcone Mafia, like...I shouldn't find them funny but there where a few scenes that had me chuckling! 

Luca. I can't really talk about Luca, I'm still not over him and the ending of the book. I can't. Poor, precious flower Luca. I always felt for him. He clearly had dreams and plans he wanted to do, but he ended up as the Underboss, and he rolled with it and he tries so hard to keep Sophie out of everything, to stop her from getting too involved and changing in to a version of herself he knew she wouldn't like when she eventually looked in the mirror. Plus Luca goes through a lot in this book and I just wanted to hug him! 

I loved the romance in this book. All the warm and fuzzies. Luca is top book boyfriend material. I loved it, it was so well written and Doyle nails the forbidden romance aspect without making it overdramatic and overdone. It was just right. The angst. THE END. THE ENDING THOUGH. Spoilers so I can't talk about it but oh my God. I genuinely got a little bit choked up through all the warm and fuzzies and the internal cheering. I can't even. I'm so not over this book! 

I think I like this trilogy so much because it's different to other contemporary books that I've read, you've got a strong sense of tension and danger as you read, you find yourself holding your breath throughout certain scenes. There's action, intrigue, mystery and plenty of film worthy scenes. Plus the fast pace and the relatable characters. It's such a great combination. 

I hate it when trilogies come to an end because I always want more. With ends perfectly. So I had that odd feeling of being so happy but also so sad at the same time because it was over. Cat Doyle ends this series fantastically. She genuinely does. Like I said, it's the grand finale. It was heartbreaking because of a twist and what happens to some of the characters, but it's also such a sweet ending for Sophie and Luca. I did love the kind of lingering sense of danger with the final scene....I mean....if Cat wanted to write another book that's an ominous dangling thread right there! (PLEASE CAT, PLEASE, JUST ONE MOOOORREEEE)

Mafiosa is the perfect ending to such a brilliant series. There where feels, all the feels. There where warm and fuzzies, action, tears, heartbreak, EMOTIONS ALL OVER THE PLACE. Plus there was the usual blend of action, and suspense and mystery. Not to mention the plot twists and the way that Doyle keeps you guessing right up until the end! 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Manga: Big Order Vol 1

Big Order Volume 1 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Official Synopsis: 

When Eiji Hoshimiya was asked his heart's desire, the young boy could never have predicted the catastrophic consequences. Ten years after the "Great Destruction," the world has been reshaped with gifted individuals called "Orders" emerging, people capable of reshaping reality to their whims.

When some of these Orders start hunting Eiji, though will he have to summon the power that nearly destroyed the world? 

So, in this volume, we meet Eiji. Eiji made a wish ten years ago that resulted in the great destruction. He wanted to be a hero....but the world was nearly destroyed and ever since he's refused to his power again because of his fear of the destruction it caused the first time round. He doesn't want a repeat performance. But unfortunately for him, a female assassin and Order comes after him seeking revenge for the pain he caused 10 years ago. Eiji finds himself not only using his powers once again to save his sister...but he finds himself embroiled in a coup d'etat of sorts with an organisation of Orders who have big plans. 

Okaaaaayyy so, of course this grabbed my interest because, hello, it sounds like a superhero type thing! But this is a little bit different. The powers the Orders have, have been granted because of a wish they made. Seriously...make a wish and BOOM the mysterious Daisy will give you a power. I'm kind of jealous because it's way easier than you know....exploding a particle accelerator Flash style! I loved the angle, I thought Eiji's power was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing each characters power and trying to work out what they wished for, because some of them are a little bit twisted. They aren't exact wishes per se. 

There's romance of a sort, but it's a smidgen messed an entertaining way! Rin, said previously mentioned assassin, wants to kill Eiji. But thanks to his Order, she's unable to kill him...and because he was careless with his Order....she's his partner/girlfriend too. Awkward. Like I said, it's messed up but it's also hugely entertaining because Rin doesn't give up and she just keeps on trying to kill him or luring him in to situations that'll kill him. The character dynamic between the two of them ended up being really interesting because of this, and I'm intrigued to see where it's going to go! 

I was pulled in to the story by the plot and immediately intrigued as to what exactly Eiji did, and the ending left me wanting more. There's plenty of action to keep you turning the pages as Rin tries to kill Eiji, and all the Orders with their different powers clash in various different situations, I think we all love a good battle scene! I also found there to be an intriguing look at morality towards the end of the volume as one of the Orders came to a realisation. 

However...there is a however, sorry guys. There where a few moments when I was sitting there looking at a battle scene or whatever, and I was poking holes a little bit, because I didn't understand why a character didn't do this, or that and save everyone some trouble. I think this was largely due to the fact that the powers and their limitations where never really laid out for us. We don't get a full detailed explanation so it's kind of left up in the air. We had no defined parameters for them. So you'd think you'd worked out what one power could do but then it'd do something you didn't think it could or it wouldn't do something you'd thought it could, and with characters stepping in here and there it was hard to try to work it out for yourself. 

Tl;dr: There are a lot of unexplained things that are likely to bug some readers. I mean if you don't care then cool, carry on, but if unexplained things are going to annoy you then maybe give this one a miss.

Big Order has super powers and plenty of action and adventure. The plot is its main driving force, but the relationships and interactions between characters provide intrigue and entertainment throughout. Especially in the case of Eiji and Rin! I liked the art, the characters, and I'm intrigued to see what the overall plan is and what Eiji is going to do about his situation because I'm like 99% sure that the dude in charge is up to something and completely untrustworthy...but we'll see! There are a few problems with the powers and their parameters, and there was a really weird turn at one point that had me just happened!? Is this really happening?! But for a first volume, I think it was pretty good and I'm definitely intrigued to see how things play out and to learn more about the Orders! 

Wishing For Wednesday #108

Happy Wednesday guyyyyss! 
I'm coming at you from my scheduled posts because right about now I'm probably getting poked and prodded and trying on dresses and shoes and such. Yep. Costume fitting time! I know some of you guys don't like scheduled posts, but I only wrote this last night, I'm not that organised! 
ANYWAY. First up today I've got a sequel that I've been looking forward to for a while, the first book was sooooo good and I recently read and reviewed a novella for the series....and I'm even more excited for the next book! 
Next up is a book that I wasn't sure was being published over here and I uhmed and ahed over it...but now it's being published over here! Ghosts freak me out, so logically I shouldn't read this....but I will...and I'll get creeped out....and yeah. We must suffer for our bookishness! Besides, there's gonna be romance, so I can handle the creepiness! 

Blood Upon The Sand

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. 

Blood Upon the Sand is out February 9th, pre-order your!
Add it to your

Ghost House

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.

Ghost House is out February 9th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Light Novel: Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Vol 1

Death March Vol 1 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

29 year old programmer Ichirou Suzuki is on a time crunch to finish a colleagues work on a buggy game, in order to complete it all....he goes on a 'Death March' and he was way more of an aptitude for all nighters than I do these days! When it's all over he finally gets to take a nap....but wakes up in another world. As would we all, he assumes he's dreaming...but this dream is....strange. It would appear he's in a kind of game..similar to the one he was working on before his nap, and so he throws himself in to 'playing the game' using Meteor Shower to give himself a head start on the riches and titles. But it soon becomes apparent that everything is a little...too real. Too authentic. Perhaps he's not dreaming after all....

And so he begins his adventurous journey. There's dragons, knights, heroes, and labyrinths....and the odd moment of seriousness! 

First things first, this is my first time reviewing a Light Novel for you guys, so in case you're wondering what exactly that is..... a light novel is a Japanese YA book of sorts. The books are targeted at teens and they're typically no longer than 40k to 50k words! They usually have illustrations too, and I do love the manga type illustrations in these! 

So, this caught my eye because of the synopsis...I was so intrigued and curious and so I threw myself in to reading this, nearly as soon as I received it! I read this in one sitting, which actually isn't that hard for LN's, but I became completely engrossed in the world of this book! The opening paragraph was intriguing and pulled me in to the story immediately. Death March is fast paced, moving from one event to the next, although during the labyrinth portion of the novel, I was kinda disappointed that we skipped some scenes! Sure there isn't much action during some parts, as our adventurer gets his bearings in this new world and learns how everything works, but set up is necessary and I'd rather that than be completely confused! I think the balance between that and action for a first novel was well struck. Plus it's intriguing enough that it keeps you reading during the slower parts. 

I loved the world of this book, it was vivid and engaging, and I completely slipped in to this world and got lost in it. It was a bit of a jolt when I finished the book and came blinking back in to reality. I'm so intrigued by the world, and I'm hoping we'll get to explore a lot more of it! There's hints that previous Japanese people, like our MC, have visited this world before and at the end we're left with the proof that he's at least not the only one! The world is very fantasy, with elements to it from other places, and Satou interacts with it like it's a game..with a map and storage and so on. 

I loved the characters, Satou reacted exactly how anyone would....keep telling yourself it's just a dream until the last possible moment when you then have to question what the hell is going on. Seriously, I don't know about you guys but if I was in his position...I'd be milking the dream theory for as long as possible to avoid fully freaking out and losing my s***. His commentary was entertaining, especially as you know it isn't a dream and he's like "well this is a dream" a lot in the beginning. I liked that he just wants to keep his head down and doesn't want to reveal his level, and I really liked how he took the beast girls under his wing! 

Speaking of, I loved Tama, Pochi and Liza and how they bonded with Satou and his relationship with them. He's like a big brother/father to them, which is kind of adorable. I'm intrigued to see more of them, and hopefully with Satou taking care of them, we'll see them and their personalities develop as they become more their own people, we kind of started to see that happening as they gained some confidence around him and he taught them to defend themselves. 

While I enjoyed the opening, and getting to know the world, I think my favourite part was towards the end. The first two thirds of the book are setting up and building up to the next phase as it where. Then for the final third we have the Labyrinth which I really enjoyed as we got some action, and got to see some character bonding and it added another layer to the world of the book as well as setting up some intrigue for the possible bad guy and given Satou a title that might come in handy! The very end also set up for an intriguing second volume as we become aware that Satou might not be the only person from back home in this strange world! 

Overall Death March volume 1 is entertaining and engaging, and at times it's a little bit silly but it also has it's serious moments. Satou provides an entertaining narrative as well as a bit wry and sarcastic at points. The world pulls you in and is built up around you very vividly. For a first volume, it worked perfectly! Bring on volume 2! 


Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy

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

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

I'm not going to lie, I was waiting to read these novellas until they where in a bindup because I'm impatient! I was so intrigued by this novella collection, after how the final TMI book ended, I think we where all left with questions and needing to know what happened next! I did wonder if Cassie might do a Shadowhunter Academy book series, but she gave us a novella collection instead! As it stands, I ended up reading Lady Midnight before I read this, which was fine, but I think it would have been a bit more exciting if you'd read this before Lady Midnight, as it'll get you excited for it with all the tidbits and hints! As it is, it did give me a huge urge to re-read LM plus it made me excited for Lord of Shadows, not to mention The Last Hours trilogy. After reading a couple of the novellas in this collection, I AM SO HERE for The Last Hours! I can't even begin to explain my excitement for this trilogy now! 

I loved the layout of this book, the quotes from the upcoming novella, the comic style pages at the beginning of each added a nice sense of intrigue. As I started to read, everything came flooding back from the last TMI book and from Lady Midnight. I will admit, I do find it hard sometimes to keep all the family trees straight in my head, especially with the gap between books and how long it's been since I re-read some of them, so once or twice I got confused and had to google something to remember who someone was. 

Jace still cracks me up, he and Simon in this collection make me chuckle. I felt for Simon, and his predicament and I really had missed Simon's nerd humour. I loved George Lovelace! He was my new favourite character as I was reading! I will admit, I was worried for a moment and thought he was going to be a douche, but then he was just awesome! Following Simon to the dregs track and everything! Brotp right here! I really liked some of the other characters, Beatriz, Juliet, Marisol, Jon I just wanted to punch most of the time though! I genuinely lost count of how many times I wanted to sock him one. 

One of my favourite moments was Isabelle guest lecturing purely to threaten the girls away from Simon and George being like "We're just bros!". I cracked up so much! I really needed the doses of humour scattered throughout the stories! My favourites where usually the ones written with Maureen and Sarah though! Like for instance....The Whitechapel Fiend...WESSA! So much Wessa! And we got to see some of the other TID characters and oh my God....Jessamine! My feels...I can't even. I miss TID. I need to re-read so badly! We got to meet James....little bookish James. I'm so going to love him! Also....WHO'S GRACE JAMES? *wiggles eyebrows* We also got to meet the other TID children....Henry and Charlotte's, Gabriel and Cecily's, Sophie and Gideon's....I loved Matthew and James. I'm so genuinely excited to see more of them in TLH! GIVE IT TO ME NOW. 

So much happens in these novellas, there's Sizzy angst. There's Malec. My lord the Malec feels! The blasts to the past are authentic and vivid. I remembered how much I loved Jace and between him and Simon had many a chuckle while reading! Jace and Tessa...we don't get to actually SEE the scene which disappointed me greatly, but we did get to know it happened! There's more background to characters and events, like Mark and Helen and what happened with their father and the faerie. I can't even. All this time I thought the story was true, but then at the'll see! 

I really hated Robert Lightwood but this book made me see him in a different light and made me feel a tiny bit sorry for him. I'd warmed up to him, basically! There where new ships to ship! Like Marisol and Jon...her interactions with him cracked me up so much! Definitely one of my favourite parts! But that ending. WHY CASSIE WHY. I can't even. I'd laughed my way through this book, through the feels. I was excited for a satisfying ending. But it all ended in tears. Of course it did. I should have known better! 

All in all Shadowhunter Academy is a brilliant collection of novellas that brings TMI to a close and sets up nicely for The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours! I loved getting to see more of the history of the world of the Shadowhunters and getting to see the TMI gang one last time...well..properly anyway! 


Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: The Hammer of Thor

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

Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon - the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki - and the price he wants is very high. 

I completely loved Sword of Summer when it came out, I am still yet to read Percy Jackson but I had to get all over Magnus Chase because Norse Mythology. I'm such a mythology lover, and I hardly ever read anything with Norse Mythology and Sword of word. I was loving it. It was like heaven. I loved the twists and the action and the characters and all the mythology! So I've been anticipated Hammer of Thor hardcore! 

In Hammer of Thor we get a new character and Alex is my fave. Completely and utterly my fave. Alex is a child of Loki, and Alex is transgender and gender fluid. I was SO stoked to see this kind of representation in a series by such a well loved, and wide read author. I loved how open and blunt about it Alex was, and the pronouns to be used each day, I'm not a leading authority on transgender and gender fluid people at all, but I feel like it was really well done and the thought of kids reading about such a character and learning and being more open minded filled me with a little bit of hope for the future. I loved Alex. I can't say it enough, the shape shifting, the badass-ness. MORE ALEX. ALL THE ALEX. 

Aside from Alex, all of our favourite characters are back we get to learn more about Hearth and see his home and more of that situation with his family. Sam....poor Sam. She has a lot to deal with this book after Loki outs her as a Valkyrie to her family and Amir, and she handles it astoundingly. Unfortunately we get more Randolph. I kind of want to hate him a little bit but I mostly just feel pity. I hate Loki too, we get lots of Loki. I really don't like him...but he's kind of funny and I'd keep snorting involuntarily when I was reading scenes with him! OH and I really liked Inge! I'm kind of hoping to see more of her! We get some more of Amir, and the poor guy is struggling a bit in this book. The whole Norse Gods/Valkyrie thing is a lot to take in to be fair! 

Although I was a little sad we didn't get to see more of Magnus's floor mates, and we didn't get much Blitz either, but I really did enjoy getting to see more of Hearth! Hearth is one of my faves, and I'm sensing a bromance between him and a certain God of vengeance! 

Magnus is as sarcastic, funny and dorky as usual, but you root for him hardcore. He does the right thing even when he doesn't have to, he's brave and heroic when he needs to be, and I love how he deals with the whole "oh you're dead and the son of Norse God" thing.  I'm not going to lie, while Ricks books aren't like OMG ROMANCE EVERYWHERE, LOOK AT ALL THE HEARTS AND FLOWERS, they're more lowkey.....I'm seeing a ship for Magnus. I don't want to spoil it for people, but I am curious as to whether I'm the only person who saw this ship and was like YES. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE ONE. Genuinely, I will ship this with my dying breath. Also, is it wrong of me to lowkey ship Hearth and Blitz? I know they're friends and everything but I was kind of torn this book because Inge....but Blitz....I just see ships everywhere, it's a problem! 

Hammer of Thor is just as hilarious as Sword of Summer, I love the chapter titles, they always give me a good chuckle! But I really needed the humour the book gave, I hadn't been reading it for five minutes before I was chuckling! Magnus's sassy narrative gives me life! I love the balance of humour and the darker, more serious moments in the book. There's action and adventure, sure maybe not so much as the first book, for me things seemed a bit slower than the first book but there was still plenty to enjoy and the set up for the next book...I can't even! 

I loved the world of the first book, it was atmospheric and vivid and really brought my imagination to life. I'd hoped to see more of the Nine Worlds in this book and Rick has granted that wish! We get to see Alfheim, and after recently rewatching SAO I needed to check that mental image at the door. I loved how Rick portrayed the world with his own twist, it had it's own atmosphere and I loved seeing how different it was to the other worlds we'd seen, ditto the Giants world. I do love opening this book and being in a completely different place, although he did it again! When I finished the book, I once again had a burning need for MORE. I'm excited to see where he's going to take us in the third book! 

I should mention that we get to see more Gods! I did get a shock momentarily because I forgot that Rick didn't go with the blond haired Thor for this, and my brain had to recalibrate! I loved reading about all the Gods and getting to meet more Gods and Goddesses. I love how Riordan makes them his own. As far as I'm aware Rick is very true to the original Norse mythology, he just coats it in sarcasm and marks it with his own stamp! OMG. Heimdall. Just wait for Heimdall. Thanks to Marvel I had a certain image of him, and this book completely 180'd him! 

I LOVED the ending. I have to say. We get to see Annabeth again briefly, and I love how Rick interconnects the book. Annabeth references events from Trials of Apollo so it's a minor spoiler at the end if you haven't read it yet...but there are hints. I'm thinking we might get a team up. I've been dreaming about this team up and I shouldn't get my hopes up because I might be reading in to things...but I'm kind of hoping Percy and Magnus are going to meet in the next book, at least! It also made me excited for the next Trials of Apollo book! 

Hammer of Thor is a brilliant continuation of the series, with more Gods, more mythology and more humour! Not to mention the action and adventure! I loved how the next book has been set up and I'm so excited to see where this is going to go...also MORE ALEX! 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review: A Hero Of Our Time

A Hero Of Our Time
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity.

Causing an uproar in Russia when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov’s brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism – accompanied here by the unfinished novel Princess Ligovskaya – remains compelling to this day. 

I've been meaning to read this one for a while, as I've heard from several people that it's very good. As I started to read this, I was starting to think that this would be another classic that I didn't love as much as everyone else. But then I hit a certain part of the book. That part would be Pechorin's journal. A Hero Of Our Time is like a lot of little stories within the main story. They're all linked and most of them show our main character from the outside, as it where. 

I was a bit eh, about the beginning of the book, I didn't truly get interested in this book until we reached the part that was told from Pechorin's journal. I was utterly fascinated with the character and this glimpse in to his mind. I found it intriguing to see how he operated, what he was thinking and feeling. What his motivations where. I mean, he's not the nicest person. I think it's supposed to be ironic or poking fun. But it was interesting to see how he ticked. Also, this part had a dodgy duel, which spiced things up a bit, and there was the whole thing with Mary which ya was cruel of him and everything, but it was by far the part that was the most interesting. 

Strangely enough for the time period, it was actually quite easy to read prose/language wise, so the translation was very good. As well as having a stunning cover, this edition has the usual notes which made understanding the novel all the easier! It also had another story in the back and I'm not sure if it was originally published with Hero Of Our Time or if it was separate or added after or what, but it added some more background and linked really well to the main book! 


Review: The White City

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

Since escaping London's inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won - though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within. 
Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they're looking for, and learn the secrets of Down. 
But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home. 
After all, if there's one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it's more than they bargained for. 
I was intrigued by the cover for this book, and then the synopsis, so I jumped at the chance to review it! I also got to read the previous book, Down Station as well! I will admit, as I started to read Down Station I wasn't entirely sure about it, but I got drawn further and further in to the book. The portals kind of made me think of Primeval, especially with the revelations from this book! 
Having read both books in a row, I think that The White City is a smidge better than Down Station, the previous book had too much of Mary and her memories for me. I mean the first couple of times I was like "okay fair enough" but then it was happening a bit too often! I really liked the vibe to the first book though with the castle and the dragon and everything! 
Now in White City, we have our group in possession of all these maps, and they're looking to create one giant map, basically. But you know...Crows. They decided to give him a second chance and make a deal with him and you know....I think we all know that's not going to end well! Thinks aren't all hunky dory for team Down because one character blames Mary for another's death which leads to endless tension and unrest between them all. Not to mention some manipulating of a poor, innocent pirate! Oh yes. This book has pirates. I really do love pirates! 
The thing with this book, is that I was never sure who to trust, there's distrust and betrayal everywhere! Crows, Simeon, Elena and so on. It was hard to know if Mary and Dalip where making a mistake or not, so this book definitely has you on edge as you try to navigate the way to the White City with the characters, and try to work out who's going to screw them over! I was intrigued by the twist at the end of the book regarding who's inhabiting the White City and what happens to Dalip. While some questions are answered there are plenty that aren't, and there's plenty of intrigue left to set up for more books in the series. 
I found The White City to be different, original and full of action and adventure. I liked Mary and Dalip and was rooting for them, even though I don't always agree with Mary and occasionally want to shout at her! The book pulls you in to this strange world, and it's certainly an intriguing world. I enjoyed getting to see more of it in this book. I do think they where idiots to trust Crows and I was shouting at them in the beginning because it was so obvious that he was going to betray them! The White City will answer some of your questions, but it will also leave you with more ready for any next books in the series! I didn't 100% love this book, but I was intrigued by it, and I was pulled in to it and the world of the book! 

Wishing For Wednesday #107

Hey guys! 
Happy Wednesday! I've had an anxiety/worry ridden few days but it's all good now, I'm happy to report! For this weeks WFW I've got two exciting reads for you! 
The first one sounds like it's going to be a bit of fun, and an entertaining read! 
The second is the next installment in a series that I thought was a trilogy, but it seems there's a fourth book, and will no doubt bring pain and feels, so the pairing of these two books together is ideal! You can read the first after you've read the second when you need a book to help  you through it! 


Lexi Angelo is a Convention Kid - she's got a clipboard and a walkie talkie to prove it.

Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoyingly arrogant author and he's disrupting her perfect planning.

In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned... Things like falling in love.

Unconventional is out February 1st, pre-order your!
Add it to your

King's Cage

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

King's Cage is out February 9th, pre-order your!
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

BLOG TOUR: Gilded Cage

Hey guys! 
Welcome to todays blog tour stop for Gilded Cage! I completely loved the book and I'm excited to share that with you! My review for the book is down below, but first....I have an exciting article from Vic James to share with you all! I'm genuinely excited about this article, it's all about Vic's research at the Vatican awesome is that!? I am incredibly jealous that she got to go to there and read through all the books and...I can't even. Just read and you'll see why I'm so jealous!  So without further ado here's the author herself... 

Let’s give the Vatican Archives their full name, shall we? The Archivum Secretum Vaticanum. There – doesn’t that sound even sexier?  
 They sit in the heart of the Vatican, nestled next to the slightly-less-secret Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, in which you work at desks beneath a vaulted ceiling painted with extraordinary frescos. 
I spent a year living in Rome, finishing a doctorate on English Catholic writing in the reign of Charles I. (Yes, that’s why the divergence-point for the alternate Britain of GILDED CAGE is the English Civil War! Poor old Charles, beheaded by Cromwell’s regime in real life, meets an even worse fate in GILDED CAGE: magically tortured to death by a wicked revolutionary aristocrat.)  
In Charles’s reign, a century on from Henry VIII’s Reformation, England was a Protestant country. To the Vatican, England was a rogue state that required re-conversion. While in Britain, Catholics had been enemies of the state, hunted down and persecuted. With the reign of Catholic-sympathising Charles I, that persecution finally eased.
So the period was ripe with intrigue. States took an interest in the political affairs of other countries, and tried to gather intelligence on them and influence them. (Yep, politics never changes….) I was studying documents relating to the Vatican’s intelligence-gathering on Britain, and the English Catholics living in Europe.
Here’s where the Secret Archive (ASV) gets really incredible. Its catalogues are hand-written. These indexes are often centuries old. I had to do a master’s degree in Renaissance bibliography just to be able to read the handwriting and learn how to handle the texts! 
It’s also all in Latin and Italian, so to be granted access to the Archive, I was interviewed in Italian about my research. I can read Latin, but talking Italian was a whole other matter. I used my dismal picked-up Italian mostly to order coffee. It didn’t help that the librarian interviewing me was one of the most handsome men I’ve ever met. Oh dear! I mumbled my way through and, incredibly, they gave me a researcher’s pass.
So that was that. I spent many happy hours in the ASV, during one of the most memorable years of my life. There is something miraculous about the survival of letters and documents long after the person who wrote them is dead. In the blots of ink, the gradual fading-out of ink before a pen was re-dipped and replenished, you are so close to long-lost lives. 
Although GILDED CAGE is set in the present day, I’ve had to reimagine two thousand years of British history to write the Dark Gifts trilogy. Figures from those past centuries have breathed and spoken to me, as I’ve written, just as they did when I handled those documents in Rome.  
And then, a few years later, I saw the movie version of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons in which the Vatican Archives are shown looking like this and … NOPE.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Alisha, for asking such a cool question, and for loving GILDED CAGE! If anyone has any questions - come and find me on Twitter @drvictoriajames !
Vic James is a current affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, and Gilded Cage is her debut novel. She as twice judged the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize, has made films for BBC1, BBC2, and Channel 4 News, and is a huge success story. Under its previous title, Slavedays, her book was read online over a third of a million times in first draft. And it went on to win Wattpad’s ‘Talk of the Town’ award in 2015 – on a site showcasing 200 million stories. Vic James lives and works in London.

Gilded Cage by Vic James is the first installment of the Dark Gifts Trilogy. It is published in paperback 26 January 2017 by Pan Macmillan £7.99

There are a lot of fantastic blogs taking part in this tour so check out the rest of the stops! 

And now....on to the review! As per usual, I got carried away and wrote way too much! 

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


Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?  

The thing that sold me on this book was the synopsis! The comparisons intrigued me, but it was the synopsis that hooked me in! But I still wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started to read the book. I threw the comparisons to Red Queen and Game of Thrones out of my head almost immediately because it became obvious that this was nothing like either, it was something entirely different to both, and better! 

The opening of the book was enticing and I was immediately intrigued by the world of the book. It was modern, but the estate had an old timey vibe thanks to the horses and a few other things. I really liked the mashup, I'm not going to lie, and I'm assuming that's why this is compared to Red Queen. The world of Red Queen is way different to this, it's more fantasy-ish with some modern things sprouting up. This world, is very modern and dystopian, and it's the Equals I feel that have an old timey vibe to them, as well as the estate! 

I really enjoyed the characters both main and supporting. Our main three characters are Luke, Abi and Silyen. We get Luke and Abi's POV's the most, and I really felt for Luke and I admired how he made the best of a bad situation and threw himself in to helping others even though he was in an environment where most people wouldn't bother. I was rooting for him and enjoyed his journey in the book. He and Abi are both brave and kind people, and while I was sad for them, I did enjoy seeing how the world effected them. Abi was determined to get her brother back, and she knew something weird was going on both with Leah and after the incident with Bouda, and she wasn't afraid to poke about. If I had to pick, I might have to pick Luke as my favourite! My thing with Abi was that Luke was out there taking part in this revolution, but when he got to the estate Abi was more cautious, and after reading Luke's exploits, Abi's kind of paled in comparison, but I'm excited to see where she's going to go in the next book, but more on that later! OH and I loved the Club by the way. You know....the rebellious group in Millmoor that was full of nerds and hackers and completely freaking awesome! 

Along with our loveable characters we also have those that are less so. The Equals are powerful, Gavar has no problems with blowing things up, and most terrifyingly of all..Equals can mess with your mind, as was brilliantly and chillingly shown with Abi's POV. Most of the Equals also have a penchant for cruelty, and I do like a dark read, so I really enjoyed how the author didn't flinch back from showing us just how cruel and evil the Equals could be, as well as exploring that grey area between good and bad. There where characters that I hated and will always hate, like Papa Jardine. But there where other characters that I couldn't decide on. They weren't wholly bad/evil, but the weren't angels either, which quite frankly, made them all the more fascinating to read about. Every single day you see people doing what these characters do, it's all about nuance, and people do things thinking they're doing it for the right reason, and people who do things for the wrong reasons and so on. 

In this category we have Silyen and Gavar. We get both POV's but Silyen is one of the main three. I just couldn't decide how I felt about them throughout the book, but I wanted to understand them and I wanted to like them, I was genuinely reading like "Come on guys, I really want to like you, GIVE ME A REASON!". Silyen was uber creepy, and his POV added a nice dose of foreboding more than once. He does good things, but he does them as part of whatever plan he's putting in to motion and I just cannot decide if he's doing something good or bad. I wavered between the both over the course of the book. Whatever he's doing I'm fairly certain he thinks he's doing it for the right reasons, whether or not he's doing a good or bad thing. 

Gavar was another character, although the author has reassured me I will get reasons to love Gavar so I'm excited! Right from the beginning, Gavar was in the 'bad' column. He's big and scary and ragey and I just figured he was the big bad guy. But then as we saw more of him throughout the book, I started to wonder if he's really all that bad. I started to wonder if he had a reason for what he did at the beginning of the book, if he regretted it, or if it was a rash decision he made in anger. Because for someone who's seemingly as bad as he is, he really does love his daughter, and he's really nice to a ten year old slave. I think it was the scene when he was berating a servant for knocking in to Daisy that had me wondering about him. Then we got his POV and I started to understand him a bit better and I related to him and I really understood him when you saw him and his father together and how he felt, plus he really did care about Leah. And then he does the Thing for Daisy and I was like damn Gavar! Because everytime he does a good thing, he also does bad things. But the more the book went on the more you saw Gavar doing these good things and I was like JUST LET ME LOVE YOU GAVAR. GIVE ME A REASON PLEASE. 

These characters. They really make you feel all the feels, and they really make you think too! There's plenty of other fascinating characters throughout the book, Jackson, the Angel, Renie (like Genie ;) ), Jenner, and Daisy. Daisy I wanted to shake her in the beginning, hero worshipping Gavar. Of course as the book went on and I started to struggle with my feels about Gavar I minded it less. Jenner I couldn't decide on because I didn't see much of him. I do feel like he needed more of a backbone though, because he's so damn nice and in the world of the Equals...I don't think that's a good thing. Bouda, was admirable in her determination but hard to like, and then there's Papa Jardine. He was such an a-hole. I'm 99% sure he's sleeping with who I think he is and I really want Gavar to go for him. Genuinely Gavar is one of those characters who's kind of an a-hole but you still root for them to be better, and they ended up being your precious flower and you don't like people who are mean to them :') I got so emotionally invested in this book because all of the characters....they just grab you and they've all had bad experiences, none of them are little rays of sunshine who've had it easy. 

There's suffering and pain, and it makes you so emotionally attached to the characters it's unreal. Whatever a character has consequences. Ones that you can see, and feel and it was SO well done. I also loved how believable the characters and their reactions to things where, it made the book more enjoyable and more authentic. And I have to say, all of the female characters are so well written, it was brilliant to see in a book. 

I just love how the author has created these characters that make you think, they're neither good nor bad, they're in that grey area and it brings up all these questions. It's made reading such an experience! I have to say, I'm really loving the authors writing style. It pulls you in, I loved her writing and imagery, and I love how she's created this world, and she's gone all out. The book, the plot, the characters, it's all so rich and well developed and so brilliantly done. It's authentic. She doesn't flinch from the hard stuff. Like the slavery thing. She goes all out. She doesn't flinch from the ugliness of it, it's all there in the story. Then she balances that with the hope you feel through Luke and the rest of the Club, and the friendship between the group. You see this dark, ugly place, but there's this little ray of light in it. The subject is given the gravity it needs and is just so well balanced with everything else. 

I really should mention the multi POV's in a bit more detail! Obviously Abi and Luke are regulars, and you get Silyen and Gavar a couple of times, but you also get a couple of others like Bouda and Euterpe. I just really loved it. You got to know some of the characters a little bit better, you got to understand them and their motivations. Each character had their own voice, different from the others so you could tell who was who without the name at the top of the page. It kept the pace of the book going, and added to it, it provided a lot of the reveals and a lot of information that we needed to know. Plus it added the tension because you'd finish one POV and be WHAT HAPPENS NEXT YOU CAN'T CHANGE TO ANOTHER PERSON. Then you'd read the next POV and it would be the SAME situation! 

I think the world was excellently built, you understood the politics and the history and wanted to know more about it, and there's a lot more to learn I think! But I also enjoyed the little things, like you know...some of the people at Millmoor casually doing a chat show with a radio in Australia who's government and situation is entirely different. I loved that aspect. I was curious to know which other countries didn't have Equals in charge and I really enjoyed the varying politics and situations of the countries. No one country is exactly the same, and this book follows that rather than having the whole world in the same situation. I enjoyed the magical system, and learning about it, plus it was nicely terrifying like I said, because they can mess with your memory. There is nothing more terrifying than that! Plus there's lots of secrets about it still to be found out! 

Okay. So I loved the book. I even have a complicated relationship with Gavar going on. (Please Vic. PLEASE HAVE MEANT IT WHEN YOU SAID THERE WHERE REASONS. I need justification for semi-loving such a usually mean character!). But there is one tiny little problem that I had. Just one. I love romance okay, and I was excited for some romance between Abi and Jenner. Abi is frequently mentioned to be reading those cheesy/trashy romance novels with Equals instead of like Aliens or whatever. So I was intrigued to see how the author was going to do it. Especially as she's intelligent enough that she's on her way to med school, and Jenner was marginally responsible for Luke ending up in Millmoor and all the things she see's the Equals do over the course of the book. But we didn't actually see that much of Jenner. We didn't see much of the romance. We saw Abi having a crush on Jenner, one of the people who technically owns her, sure he's nice and he's not like the others, but he does what his mummy tells him and when the Thing with Bouda happens...does he do anything. Nope. He angsts it out to Silyen who says one of his best lines ever and I actually cackled. The romance isn't a huge focus of the book, I was just disappointed as the romance is mentioned on the book, and we hardly see it develop, there's the odd moment and then there's that huge show between the two of them at the end and it just felt a bit odd seeing as throughout all of Abi's POV we've hardly seen her and Jenner together or interacting. It almost seemed like it didn't need to be there to me. Plus Jenner rubbed me up the wrong way when he told Abi he asked his father for her and she was like "I know" like...dude. I would punch anyone who said that to me! 

The ending though. I can't even. The reveal that I didn't see coming a mile off and really should have put together had me gasping out loud and shrieking like a banshee. Then Abi...damn. I really, really want more of her in the next book because my opinion of her shot up at that point. I just can't with the ending, and I need more NOW! I have to wait until September but it's just SO FAR. I also really want to see more of Euterpe and Sosigenes (I really hope I spelt his name right from memory), and their history, whether it's in this trilogy or whether it's in ebooks or whatever! There's so much to this world that you want to know more about, I'd happily read a history book on this world and the magic in it! 

Gilded Cage is a brilliant, rich, complex and vivid read that makes you feel real emotion as you make your way through the book. It explores the nuances between good and bad. Doing good things for the wrong reasons and bad things for the right. It makes you think. There's suffering all around and your heart will break for you favourites. Gavar and Silyen provide an interesting crisis for you as you try to work out whether they're really all that bad. (JUST ONE REASON GUYS COME ON!). You really want to like them, you really want them to be redeemable and I'm looking forward to seeing if they are or not. The more evil characters are truly that and I feel a burning hatred for them. The magic system is fascinating and the Equals are not only cruel but terrifying thanks to one power of theirs. The female characters are brilliantly written and strong. Gilded Cage has many, many twists, none of which I saw coming, and I was gasping and shrieking and going "no no no" when I was reading the book and I hate to think what my face was doing! There are so many OMG moments throughout the book, and as the world sucks you in, it becomes very hard to put down. 

Gilded Cage is brilliantly written, original, unique, and utterly engrossing. You'll want to know more about the world, the magic, the history and the characters and you won't want the book to end because that ending....I Talk about leaving you wanting more! I genuinely haven't been emotionally attached to characters to this degree before, it's kind of insane, and it's a world that has stuck with me even though I'm long since finished with reading it! I'm incredibly excited to see where this is going, and to see what more there is to learn! 

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