Monday, 24 April 2017

Review: The Witch's Tears

The Witch's Tears
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher. 

Can true love's kiss break your heart...? The spellbinding sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. It's not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She's drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry's not the only one whose fairy tale is over. Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they'd be mad not to take it...Some rules were made to be broken, right? The darkly magical sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS burns wickedly bright.

While the first book in the series didn't completely blow me away, and it had it's problems for me...I was curious enough about what would happen next to want to pick up this sequel, plus the first book had the flashbacks to the past which provided a nice source of intrigue. This instalment however...I found myself enjoying much less and there was no intriguing historical element to save it. 

In Witch's Tears we're 3 months on from the end of the first book and Merry and Leo are dealing with everything that happened and aren't having a great time. Merry's struggling with the covens rules and her grandmother, she feels lonely and very alone as she's arguing with Leo all the time. Leo is struggling to deal with his loss from the first book and feels somewhat inferior to Merry I think. They'er arguing and not at all being there for each other which was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the book for me. 

The thing I really liked about the first book was the relationship Merry and Leo had, how they where there for each other and helped each other. I loved it and it was a rare thing to see in a book. You usually see the kind of sibling relationship that we see in this book. So I was hugely disappointed. Their arguments where repetitive they argued about and did the same things over and over and over to the point I was rolling my eyes more than once. 

Merry was such a whiny, arrogant little cow in this book, and she seemed to have some sort of complex where she thought she was superior to everyone else because she was more powerful and didn't think she needed to do everything the covens way, and there was this whole conflict she was having with the coven that was just so juvenile and I got really bored of it really fast. The coven...the arguments with was all the same repetitive things over and over again and I got so frustrated with it all. Merry and her inner monologue became very, very hard to read. 

We get two new characters, Ronan and Finn. Both are wizards. Both are untrustworthy. Both I wanted to trust and both I didn't feel I could. The thing was, was that Ronan was so overly suspicious that it wasn't even a surprise when he turned out to be the bad guy. Like I knew it was coming. Same as the foreshadowing made it pretty obvious what was coming too. I reached the big reveal and I just...I was like "really?". 

Our other new character Finn seemed to be there solely to be Merry's new love interest. I think we could have got by okay with this book, without him to be honest. I don't know if I couldn't get in to the romance because Merry bugged me or because it was genuinely unnecessary but I feel like it was just thrown in there because we had to have some romance. Like couldn't Leo's romance have been enough? Poor old Leo had to have the bad romance while Merry got to have the good. And then the end happened and Finn's true purpose was revealed. To provide one point on the love triangle that will be present in book three. 

For most of the book not much happens at all except for Merry's whining and her arguing with Leo. I just...I'm not sure what to make of this series. I so badly wanted this book to be better than the first, maybe part of the problem was that I had some high expectations for it, that it would go above and beyond the first book. Instead I found the book a disappointment and more than a little bit boring. 

My problem is that, I am still curious about how it's all going to end in the next book. I assume it all ends in the next book anyway. The ending was enough to pique my interest. I'd like to have some questions answered, including questions that I still have from the first book that I was expecting to be answered in this book, but weren't. Part of me basically wants to see how it's all going to end, but part of me feels like I'm going to be disappointed and that the love triangle that's quite obvious is going to bug me. I like a good love triangle if it's done well, but I feel like I have a good idea of how it's going to go. In short...I don't know whether or not I'll read book three, but book two was a disappointment. 


Friday, 21 April 2017

Manga: Akame Ga Kill! Zero Vol 5

Akame Ga Kill! Zero, Vol 5
Rating: 5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Akame and her allies are on a mission to find the Revolutionary Army, but standing in their way is the leader of the Oarburgh Assassin's group! How will Akame overcome such a dangerous adversary? 

I'd expand on the synopsis usually but I really don't want to spoil the volume! All I'm going to say is that we're on the trail of the Revolutionary Army and things get.....grim. Very grim. Each volume gets more and more grim/rough whatever word you want to use. This volume has the grossest of gross deaths, I'm not going to lie! In case you weren't already aware, this series is certainly not for teens and this volume illustrates why, perfectly. 

The thing is.....I know what's going to happen to all of these characters from AGK, and so it makes reading some things really hard. Like scenes with Akame and her sister. And other scenes with other characters. Like as you can tell from the cover, we see Chelsea this volume and learn a smidge about her past and I was like waaaaa Chelsea! Green makes a confession and I'm like...bro...that's so not going to end well. 

My point is, we all know who's going to die, and we all know what happens to these characters, but it still manages to be devastating when a character dies because throughout these volumes we're made to care about them so much and this, and this volume in particular, is why I refer to AKG and AKGZ as the Game of Thrones of the manga world. Seriously. 

This volume moves at a great pace, there's some great links to the main series via Akame. Paper crafts anyone? And there are some brilliantly crazy characters to go with all the action. I kinda miss Esdeath. This volume really earned it's cellophane wrapper too. Seriously. Grossest death. *barf* and other stuff...but grossest death.  

I'm so intrigued and excited for volume 6. Well....mostly excited. I mean...on the one hand there's probably going to be a lot of bloody deaths in the next volume. And by probably I mean there totally will be. But on the other hand....a certain character may or may not still be alive. Like the chances are slim. But. We'll see.....who am I kidding. This is AKGZ. They're totally dead. *sobs* 


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Review: The Painted Dragon

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

When a priceless painting is stolen, our dauntless heroines Sophie and Lil find themselves faced with forgery, trickery and deceit on all sides!

Be amazed as the brave duo pit their wits against this perilous puzzle! Marvel at their cunning plan to unmask the villain and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with – no matter what dangers lie ahead . . .

It’s their most perilous adventure yet! 

I swear I'm getting more and more obsessed with this series with each new book! This is genuinely one of my favourites and I'm so excited by some of the developments in this book and what they could mean for book four! 

One of the things I love about these books are the illustrations, newspaper clippings, notes, and extracts from various books! I love them! They add such a great break to the narrative, and the histories for each of the paintings at the beginning of each part added another dimension to the book too. It's so much fun! 

The opening grabs your attention, and I basically read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down and I was excited to see what was going to happen next. Sophie and Lil are in high demand by the sounds of it, but Lil's career is also taking off so Sophie's going it alone a few times. We didn't get to see as much of Joe and Billy, and for the first half of the book there wasn't as much Sophie as usual either I don't think, buuuuttt....

We've got new characters! Leo and Jack! Leo is a lady from a wealthy family and her dream is to paint! Managing to win a place at a prestigious art school in London she comes to the city and is a large part of the mystery to do with the painting! I completely loved Lil and I'm excited to see more of her! Jack...oh my. I loved Jack too! He's Lil's older brother and he's supposed to be off at Oxford studying law, but instead he's snuck off to London to attend the same art school that Leo is attending. I loved him. Bless him he totally didn't believe all of Lil's stories obviously, it was fun to see him getting involved! 

I feel kind of weird about the book, because I feel like for a good chunk of the book Sophie was a bit absent, we focused on Leo a lot, and I really loved Sophie and connected with her. I know she goes on about the Baron a bit in this book and it annoys her friends, but I feel like it's justified after everything she went through because of him and the questions she had from the end of the last book. I missed her a little bit, I think! 

I'm not going to lie, I really ship Jack and Sophie. Like...I really, really do. He was such an interesting addition to the groups dynamic and knows nothing about sleuthing, and like I said..he clearly took all of Lil's stories with a pinch of salt. He was amazed at Sophie and Lil's antics more than once! I wasn't sure which way Jack was going to go at one point, but then the end happened and I was squealing, I'm so rooting for them in book four! I was shouting at Sophie at the end and everything! 

We get some appearances from some of our favourite characters, Mei and Song in particular I was so pleased to see! After the last book I was hoping they'd join the group and pop up more because I didn't want to lose them! I cheered when they made their appearance! We also got quick cameos from Phyllis, Hugo and Pendleton! I loved how everyone got involved with this plan towards the end of the book, it was such a brilliant scene! 

We got to learn a little bit about McDermotts past, and it was actually really fun to see Sophie and Lil investigating without his help, they where on their own. We also get to see the Suffragettes! I was wondering if they'd make an appearance and if the girls would meet them and then there they where in this book! I'm hoping we get to see more of them! But I love how well researched the book is, and all these little historical tidbits and facts are woven in to the plot and narrative. 

This book was brilliant throughout, it made you laugh, and I loved trying to put the clues together to find the culprit! There are plot twists and turns that keep you guessing, and there's lots of fun to be had throughout the book! Sophie's very own Moriarty is back and no doubt will be again, so I'm intrigued to see how that's going to carry on and conclude. There's an interesting thread to do with the paintings from this book, and I'm curious to see if that thread will be picked back up in another book and concluded at all! 

Things happen in this book. Developments. Something I think we've all been waiting for finally happens at the end of this book and I'm so excited for it and to see what happens with it in the next book! Not only does Woodfine have a fantastic pace in the books individually, but she has a fantastic pace with the series as a whole. Not to mention how she blends action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, and history with smidges (very small smidges) of romance to create each book! I'm so excited for the next book, and the synopsis for it at the back of this book has intrigued me no end! I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment! 


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Review: Lady of Magick

Lady of Magick
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 

In an ancient kingdom full of secrets, unease and myth, Sophie and Gray Marshall are about to be ensnared in an arcane plot that threatens to undo them both . . .

In her second year of studies at Merlin College, Oxford, Sophie Marshall is feeling alienated among fellow students who fail to welcome a woman to their ranks. So when her husband, Gray, is invited north as a visiting lecturer at the University in Din Edin, they leap at the chance. There, Sophie’s hunger for magickal knowledge can finally be nourished. But she must put her newly learned skills to the test sooner than expected. All is not well in the Kingdom of Alba, and before long the Marshalls find themselves beset by unexpected dangers. When Gray disappears, and none of her spells can find a trace of him, Sophie realises something sinister has befallen him. Delving into Gray’s disappearance she soon finds herself in a web of magick and intrigue that threatens not just Gray, but the entire kingdom.
As we start the next chapter of Gray and Sophie's lives, we're two years on from the end of The Midnight Queen and understandably Sophie is super stoked to get away from Oxfords sexist University and head to this worlds version of Scotland for a better educational experience. 
I love this series, I know the pace is rather steady but I love the way clues are scattered throughout the book so that when everythings revealed, things start to click in to place and you remember little things you read that led up to whichever moment or reveal it is. I love the way the author builds everything up and really sets the scene! The Midnight Queen, I can't be the only one that thought there was something mildly suspicious if not plain odd about the wedding....well in this book you see what it is and I was like HELL YES! I love the way the books have been joined together despite the time jump! Little threads that link everything together, and such attention to detail. Which reminds me, we get to see just how hard Sophie works which I thought was a nice touch, there's no way you can't be sucked in to the world and lives of the characters because you learn so much about them and what they get up to! 
I really enjoyed getting to see another part of this alternate Britain, and this time we're in Alba which is Scotland and I was so fascinated by all the history and lore we learned via Sophie! I was also super impressed that Sophie was trying to learn the language because you know...not many characters bother! Buuut back to Alba/ was fascinating! I can tell a lot of research has gone in to these books, and I love how the author weaves it all in to the plot! Hunter does a very good job of showing the politics, and the political tensions between England and Alba, and I liked that you got to see how the people felt about it all, and how it impacted Sophie and Gray's friends and in some cases friendship. Hunter makes everything so authentic and vivid that you easily slip in to the world of the book. 
Everyone's back, Gray and Sophie obviously! I continue to love the both of them both individually and as a couple. They're so cute together but I like how authentic the relationship is, they put a lot of work in to it all, it's not all unicorn farts and rainbows. I just love how they support each other so much. I thought we saw an interesting side of Sophie towards the end part of the book when Gray was missing. She was completely unlike herself and she had such a struggle, it was fantastically done as was watching her overcome it. I kinda missed Gray a little bit, because we didn't get much of him! The focus was on Sophie and Joanna. 
Ah Joanna. I liked her in the first book, even if I wanted to throttle her once or twice, and the same can be said for this book. She was being less stupid this book, and making better choices shall we say. She's growing up, she's working in politics and there's some romance for her that I was totally shipping way back from the start of the book and reading like YAAASSS! Much as I like Roland and am curious to see more of him...I was quite pleased the author didn't go with the obvious and put he and Joanna together. 
Speaking of Joanna's romance...Gwendolen was a great new character and I really felt for her. I love how Hunter brought in new characters, and we got to get to know them so they weren't just random new characters thrown in all of a sudden, I just thought it was a nice touch. Like I said, I like Roland, I'm curious to see what book three holds for him, and I'm so curious to get to know Sophie's brothers a little more! Aside from Gwen we have a few other new characters who I adored, Mor, Rory and Lucia and I'm hoping we'll get to see all of them again not just Lucia! They became such good friends to Sophie and Gray and really rallied around and helped Sopie! I love the relationships both romantic and otherwise in these books! They're so fleshed out. 
Lady of Magick has another complex plot with plenty of little threads throughout and clues for you to pick up on and try to put together. There's lots of twists that you don't see coming, and by the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen and how it was all going to end! I read this in two sittings and became so engrossed in the book that I was completely oblivious to everything else. Seriously. Sam and Dean Winchester could have rocked up, baked me a pie and exorcised a ghost and I wouldn't have realised. 
Hunter expands on a world that she's created and brought to life brilliantly with rich history and intense politics, all while keeping it interesting so that you're intrigued rather than bored. You can really dive in to this world and get lost, at times it seems familiar but then you remember it's an alternate UK and we're in a different time period! I'd say Regency-ish. I was kinda sad not to see as much of Gray but I do love Sophie so I was excited that we got loads of her. Joanna is a mixed bag for me as sometimes I want to throttle her and I always found myself looking forward to Sophie's passages, but the longer the book went on the more excited I got for Joanna's. Especially as she was more sensible this book.
I will never, ever get bored of Gray and Sophie's relationship and how cute they are together, nor of how authentic the relationships and characters are. Hunter brings her story and her world and her characters to life so well, and you can really sink your teeth in to her books because she does her research and takes the time to set the scene, and set everything up with amazing attention to detail. I love it. I love her writing and her storytelling! 
Lady of Magick is full of betrayal, treachery, magick, action, adventure and romance, and once again there's a brilliant mystery that keeps  you guessing! I can't wait to for book three and I'm so intrigued to see which direction it'll go in, seeing as how we've had a 2 year time jump from the first book to the second, it's not the direction I thought it was going to go, but I'm so pleased with how it's turning out! I really hope book three isn't the last! 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Review: Reign of Shadows

Reign of Shadows
Rating: 3.5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

When I was a bit younger, I was a huge fan of Jordan's Firelight trilogy! So I was super excited to get to read a new series from her. As soon as I started to read, I was hooked in. The world and the history to it was intriguing and shrouded in darkness and danger. Then a few chapters in.....there was an interesting plot twist that had me taking another look at how I viewed those first few chapters! I loved it. It made Luna even more admirable. 

I really liked Luna. She was confident, determined and brave and determined to do what was right, even if it meant giving up everything she wanted. She wasn't helpless or an invalid. I really admired her as a character and enjoyed reading about her. Fowler....poor old Fowler. He hasn't had the best time so you can't really blame him for being the way he is. He's all about self preservation but you see him changing over the course of the book right up until the end. 

I really liked the dual POV, it let us get to know both characters and their motivations better, especially in Fowler's case. I liked the romance between the two and watching it blossom and it was totally cute. There where a few things I didn't see coming throughout the plot, and a few that I did, and there was a nice fast pace to the plot, I was a bit sad that the book was so short, but I'm excited for the next one. 

I got some definite Tangled vibes from the book, Fowler and Luna kinda reminded me of Rapunzel and Flynn a little bit! Reign of Shadows left me wanting more and curious to see what will happen next! 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Review: The Great Hunt

The Great Hunt
Rating: 3.5/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger... until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them... or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface. 

I've heard good things about Wendy Higgins books, and I was intrigued by the synopsis for this. So I eagerly dived in and I was hooked from the attention grabbing opening. The Great Hunt is fast paced and action packed, although occasionally a smidge repetitive. Either way it was enjoyable! Although I wasn't pleased with the ending at all, it wasn't how I wanted things to end up, and I'm hoping the next book will fix everything for all the characters! 

There are some brilliant characters in this book, and I enjoyed all of them both main and supporting. We have the acrobatic Queen and Princesses! I really liked what we saw of Vixie, but it would be nice to see more of her. I loved Aerity our MC, she's determined and loyal to her people and family which I admired greatly while reading. She handled everything thrown at her with class and elegance, and never lost her cool and I admired her bravery. I quite liked Wyn and her relationship with Aerity, I was expecting things to get nasty between her and Aerity but nope, they where loyal to each other and there for each other the entire time. 

Tiern and Pax where an interesting pair, and I'm intrigued to learn more about the both of them and I loved the dynamic between the two of them. I love how all of the siblings and family members in this book support each other and look out for each other. I was expecting a load of backstabbing but it made a nice change for there not to be any. I also really loved Harrison and his friendship with Aerity although I had a moment of suspicion with him! I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about Leif, considering the ending of the book and his attitude to everything. We'll see I guess. 

I loved the romance between Pax and Aerity and watching the feelings grow and develop over the course of the book, I also have two other ships one of which I ship hard because it has the potential to be totally cute, and the other I'm not sure on because I'm not sure on Leif. But again...we'll see. 

The Great Hunt has a great medieval vibe going on, plus an intriguing world and history to it. I haven't read the fairy tale that this is based on, but this has a definite Grimm vibe to it as well and I enjoyed the storytelling. There's some great components to the plot along with the action and romance, there's the Beast and the mystery of what it is, why it's attacking people and how to kill it, plus the Lashed Ones and the dynamic with them and the politics of the kingdom. 

I also really loved the multi POV's going on, we mostly had just Aerity and Pax, but there where a couple of others in there too, and it kept the pace up, and the narrative going, plus letting you know more about each characters motivations and past. I'm pleased this is a duology as I think it's going to work really well, so I'm excited for the second and final book! 


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Review: Heartless

Rating: 3.5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans. 

Whenever a book is really, really hyped...I'm always wary. Mostly because half the time it's so hyped but it's not all that brilliant. I loved The Lunar Chronicles series, and I loved the novella Fairest that's all about the villain of the series. It was emotional, it made me feel for her so badly, and it gave you such an interesting insight in to the character and her motivations. So I was pretty excited for this book, and seeing what Marissa would do with another villain! 

I liked Catherine well enough, I felt for her and everything she went through in the book, it wasn't great, and then at the end my heart broke for her. It was unfair. It was sad. But you knew it was coming. Knowing Alice in Wonderland you knew there was no way the whole thing could be avoided. 

There where other brilliant characters, Chesire was fun and I thought it was interesting he was friends with Cath, plus there where a lot of other familiar faces including Hatter. I really liked Hatter and I was sad to see what happened to him, although I think the book should have maybe gone in to it a little bit more. I really liked Jest, he made me chuckle more than once and I was devastated by how things ended for him. He was such a fun character and I was so curious to know more about him and his past. Oh and I loved Raven, he's all "lady hath stumbled this midnight dreary" and "Nevermore" and I was like *heart eyes*. 

We have the romance between Jest and Catherine, that we all knew wasn't going to end well. Cath's problems with her parents and the King, and then the mystery of the Jabberwocky which I think I enjoyed the most! I was so curious and I wish it had been in there more. 

My problem with the book that was upon finishing it...I just felt kind of meh about it. I didn't strongly like or dislike it. I think the problem was that while I enjoyed the writing and how it fit so well with Alice in Wonderland, and you know...the food descriptions made me so hungry....I found myself skim reading for parts of the book because not much happened for most of the book. And while I know Cath didn't want the King, it got to a point where it all felt a bit silly to me, like just say no. Just. Say. No. But she doesn't, she keeps going along with things and then whining about everything and it got to a point when it was kind of annoying. It didn't really grab my attention at the start...then it did...then I found my attention wandering...and then I was interested again. It took me a fair while to read. 

While I liked Cath and Jest together and thought they where cute and everything...the instalove aspect bugged me as I'm not a fan, and the whole thing Cath had with the King and her parents and her inability to say no. Like she was kind of stringing poor Jest along. I know it wasn't going to end well, I know this all had to happen, but I feel like the book could have been shorter, or some things could have been improved on. 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Review: The Island At The End of Everything

The Island at the End of Everything
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time? 

You guys this book is stunning, both inside and out. I'm really not sure I can accurately review this to tell you guys how much you need this book! It was just so, so good! 

I completely loved the authors writing, her imagery and descriptions where beautiful, I loved how everything kind of circled around and came together for the ending. I genuinely was sitting reading the ending getting all choked up and at the same time kind of bouncing up and down in my seat like yaaaaayy! 

I loved Ami, Mari and Kidlat, I loved the three of them together and I loved them individually. I loved the friendship that formed between them, they kind of had a Three Musketeers vibe going on with the boat escape and everything. I was on the edge of my seat for that, and the scenes following that! 

Sad as it is to say, I liked being surprised by the characters that where kind. There where a couple that I thought where going to be nasty and they ended up being such great, kind characters. Having said that. I hated Zamora from the start. Like I really, really hated him. He was definitely unhinged and I was waiting and waiting for someone to deal with him or for him to get what was coming to him but nope. Never happened. Like I know that's how life is, but...I just really hated him. Really. 

The Island at the End of Everything is such a beautifully written, well researched, emotional book that I really think everyone needs to read! 

Monday, 10 April 2017

Review: Roseblood

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

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

"He's not dead you fools. Legends never die." 

I'm still not entirely sure what to rate this. I enjoyed it once I got in to it, but there are problems with it, so I'm torn between giving it a 3 or a 4, I keep changing it between the two! I'll probably change it again before I've finished typing up this review! The first thing I want to address is that this is being referred to as a retelling and for me, I felt it was much more a sequel, which is fine, but I was expecting certain things if it was a retelling! 

I started to read the book, and I wasn't really sure. I enjoyed the writing but it didn't immediately jump in to the story. There's a lot of info dumping in the beginning about Rune's powers and the school and it's history and its connections to Phantom book. I think it would have been better to scatter tidbits throughout the story, because it made the book really hard to get in to in the beginning. I did however, get more and more in to the book until I was engrossed and read a pretty big chunk of it in one go. 

I found myself lost in the dark, gothic and shadowy world of the book, it was very vivid and I could imagine the settings pretty clearly. There was an interesting authors note, so it's obvious a lot of research went in to the book. I enjoyed the twists the author made on real life and history. I also quite liked the twists to the original story, and how it was changed, and I really loved seeing Erik again. 

Erik has always been an interesting character to me, and I found it heartbreaking learning about what happened to him after Phantom ended. But I also found it interesting and heartbreaking to see the struggle he had between the 'monster and the man' as Etalon phrased it. I was rooting for him, but at the same time, he's suffered so much. I really liked Etalon too. He wasn't at all what I was expecting, in fact nothing in this book was what I was expecting so I was surprised more than once with the direction everything took! But Etalon was another interesting character, operating in shades of grey and wanting to do the right thing. 

I wasn't sure how I felt about Rune in the beginning. I felt sympathy for her and everything she'd been through but at times she really annoyed me with her behaviour and how she acted. I wasn't a crazy fan of the way purge and gypsy where thrown around either. Rune was pretty much the definition of a special snowflake and I think my problem was that while I could sympathise with her...I really wasn't that bothered about her. I was more interested in Etalon and Erik. 

I really enjoyed the supporting characters, Sunny, Jax and Quan, I felt like we didn't get to see as much of Audrey. I wasn't expecting Jax to be how he was and there was a dreaded moment when I thought we where going to get a love triangle. Kat and Roxie...I expected more from them but more on that in a moment! I have to say, I really loved Ange the red swan and Diable the cat as well, they where cute second characters. 

I found Roseblood to be a little bit chilling at times, and like I said, the writing was very well done. I enjoyed the authors writing for the most part. I couldn't stop my brain from singing Masquerade at one point and then at the end of the book my brain launched in to Down Once More. There's also a moment when Etalon says "go now" and all I could picture was the stage adaption for the 25th Anniversary, when the Phantom says the same thing to Christine, which is one of the moments that gets me everytime! Seriously, if you haven't watched the 25th Anniversary edition you're missing out! I saw both of the principals perform the first time I ever saw Phantom and I love the anniversary show so much! It's so good! I tried to find a video to show you but there isn't one on YouTube! 

As for the romance I'm not really sure, it had it's cute moments, and I enjoyed it in places but there where parts that where a little hazy and where I was kind of iffy about it. The biggest thing that kept me hooked was the mystery, what Erik was up to and what had happened and so on. 

Now for my issues with the book. I previously mentioned that it starts off slow with some info dumping, but there where also some parts that where a little bit confusing or where written confusingly and I'm not entirely sure if it was done on purpose or not. There where also things that I felt where never fully explained, like I still failed to see the whole thing with her grandmother, I don't think it was resolved very well and it seemed a little rushed. There where other parts that seemed a little bit rushed to me as well, particularly at the end as it felt like a rush to finish. I feel like some parts could have been expanded on a bit more or had more detail to them. 

Another issue I had was that we spent a lot of time getting to know Rune's new friends, and as such I was expecting them to play a much bigger part than they actually did. I was expecting them to get involved and help Rune, but their presence petered out over the course of the book, and after the set up, I felt like it was a bit strange and a bit of a disappointment. The same can be said for Kat and Roxie. I feel like the back and beginning of the book weren't that great but there's a good chunk in the middle that was really good. 

All in all, Roseblood was a bit of a mixed bag. I was so ready to completely love this book, and while I did enjoy it for the most part it wasn't a perfect book and it had some issues that led to a little bit of disappointment. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Manga: Species Domain

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

Offering a fresh twist on monster girls, Species Domain is chock-full of elves, dwarves, demons, and more.

It's a hilarious tale of beings born into the modern world with familiar mythological features—but without any of the magical quirks and powers that come with it. It’s not easy being pointy-eared or sprouting wings when your classmates are still predominantly humans, all awaiting your big magical debut, which will never come!

Every so often, a child is born with the features of a legendary being. From long, graceful elvish ears, to burly dwarven muscles, or an oni’s horns, you never quite know who, or what, you’ll see walking down the street these days. However, none of these individuals are born with the inherent traits their species are known for, and no one is more painfully aware of this than Kazamori. Born with the appearance of an elf, everyone expects her to wield magic, but she just can’t do it! Kazamori has managed to hide this fact until now, but when an ordinary human who can use his own science-based version of magic learns the truth about her, what’s a young elf girl in high school to do?

I had never heard of this manga before, and I probably wouldn't have if I hadn't been sent it to review...but you guys know how much I love elves and other mythical creatures so I as soon as I read the synopsis, which is above, I was like HELL YES! I started to read this, and it wasn't long before I was completely hooked! It's such a great twist on changelings, and I love the world the book is set in with all the different beings, I love how they have slotted in to the world and aaahh it was so much fun! 

So we follow Kazamori, an elf from the other realm that's come to our world as a changeling. She, along with every other changeling and mythical being in the world can't use magic, and this is something that really bothers Kazamori. She keeps herself distant from the other students, trying to maintain her Sylven image, and to make sure no-one knows that she can't actually use magic, despite the other students best efforts to befriend her. But a chance encounter brings her closer to Ohki, a student who doesn't believe in magic but in science. He's pretty nifty with his science, and some of the things he pulls of with science...well Kazamori is convinced it's magic, so she enlists his help in obtaining a device to make wind, the magic she's so sure she should have. But when the other students start to get the wrong idea about the time they're spending together....she has no choice. She has to make friends. 

This is genuinely such a fun manga, and it had me laughing so many times! I ended up completely hooked and I was so sad when the volume ended because I'm intrigued to see where it's going to go next! This is the first rom-com manga that I've read and I am loving it so far! 

I'm not going to lie, I ship Kazamori and Ohki so badly already just from the one volume! I'm intrigued by the history of the world and the setting, and I loved reading all of the scientific explanations for his devices that Ohki threw out! I really love Kazamori and I feel for her and how she must feel and the expectation she must feel too, and I can relate to her a little bit too. She made me laugh more than once as she tried to remain aloof from the others, and I loved watching her have to make friends with the others! 

I'm so curious about all the other characters in their group/club too! They seem like they're going to be a fun bunch to read about! Species Domain is a great start to a fun new series, and I'm excited to see more from it! 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Manga: Ghost Diary

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

Ghost Diary is a new ongoing manga series about a young exorcist's search for his sister after she vanishes, leaving behind only a mysterious notebook filled with secrets about hunting ghosts.

Sukami Kyouichi comes from a family of exorcists, the strongest of whom has always been his sister, who keeps a special notebook by her side that details how to defeat even the most malevolent of ghosts. One day, shortly after his sister rescues young Kyouichi from a haunted shrine, she goes missing. Six years later, with only the notebook as his guide, Kyouichi is confronted by someone claiming to have been his sister's friend. Who is this stranger, and what does she know about his sister's disappearance?

I'm not going to lie to you guys, I immediately knew I was going to love this manga like....a page in! The cover is colourful and draws the eye, and there are some truly beautiful colour pages at the beginning! I actually really loved the art as well, even though it's not the usual style that I enjoy! I was so intrigued by the synopsis for this, and it really lived up to all I hoped for. If you like Supernatural,  you'll love this as at points it kind of reminded me of the early seasons of it! 

Kyouichi is determined to get his sister Hanaichi back, he's certain she's still alive and somewhere in the town. Chloe Kowloon, a reaper, supposedly a friend of his sisters has decided she's going to help him in order to get her memories back, but that's not the only help he has. Kyouichi, the kid who can see ghosts, didn't have a great time at school and making friends, but luckily for him there's a group of people who are just as...odd or at least interested in the odd, as he is. Together, they all form the Occult Club...Mayumi who has a crush on Kyouichi, Yuushirou the grandson of a great detective who dresses like Sherlock, Kukuri who has her little buddy Aerosmith a sort of imaginary friend, Tatsumi the resident skeptic and genius son of a gangster. They investigate urban legends, mysteries and you know...the occult! 

I love the format of the manga, we learn about Kyouichi and his past with his sister, we learn about his new mission to complete the Ghost Diary and there's a great monster a chapter thing going on in the beginning which was a lot of fun! Some where creepy, some where just strange, but all provided entertainment and a great mystery, with sprinklings of humour throughout. 

There's an intriguing commentary on the work at the end of the volume, as well as some other bits scattered throughout. There's some great horror movie references and urban legends like Bloody Mary referenced throughout which are fun to spot! Ghost Diary is a brilliant first volume, there's mystery, romance, (I totally ship Mayumi and Kyouichi!) humour, and some creepiness mixed with the strange and odd! I really loved this volume and I need the next one nooooww! 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Review: Tales of Horror

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

A murderer is forced to reveal his crime by the sound of a beating heart, a mysterious figure wreaks havoc among a party of noblemen during the time of the plague, a grieving lover awakens to find himself clutching a box of his beloved blood-stained teeth, a man is obsessed with the fear of being buried alive – these are only some of the memorable characters and stories included in this volume, which exemplify Poe’s inventiveness and natural talent as a storyteller. 

I read a brilliant book called The Fall by Bethany Griffin, that's based on The Fall of the House of Usher, and ever since I've been itching to actually read the original House of Usher story, as well as the other stories by Poe! So I jumped at the chance to get to review this! For such a slim volume, there's a lot packed in here! The contents is as follows: 

MS Found in a Bottle
The Devil in the Belfry
The Fall of the House of Usher
William Wilson
The Man of the Crowd
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
A Descent into the Maelström
Never Bet the Devil Your Head
The Masque of the Red Death
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Black Cat
The Pit and the Pendulum
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains
The Premature Burial
The Oblong Box
The Purloined Letter
Some Words with a Mummy
The Oval Portrait
The Imp of the Perverse
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
The Sphinx

Once again, the notes section in the back of Alma's editions where invaluable in understanding the text and offering tidbits of the time period and how things where then, more so than can be gleaned from the text itself! 

I looooveeee Poe's writing style. You can feel the unease radiating off the page. The shorter stories manage to draw you in with only a page or two, quite a feat in my opinion! They're lastingly creepy too, perhaps not overtly terrifying, but still sinister and creepy and a great read to send a shiver down your spine. These stories are atmospheric and vivid, I could clearly picture each of the settings and considering how short some of these stories are, it's impressive how much detail there is without bogging down the story. I'm not particularly terrified of anything that happens in these stories, but I still found myself in the characters shoes with goosebumps erupting all over my arms, and my skin practically crawling. I find all of the characters to be interesting whether good or bad or you know....really, really twisted. I'm always intrigued by their motivations.  

Out of all of the stories, along with The Fall of the House of Usher and Premature Burial (skin crawling goodness), I really enjoyed Murders in the Rue Morgue as when I started to read it, I recalled that I'd read a book that was based on it a while back! So it was intriguing to see the original! It was one of the longer ones, but it drew me in and while it didn't creep me out all that much, I enjoyed trying to puzzle out who the killer was and how it was done! The detective was very Holme's like! I also really enjoyed Masque of the Red Death and you know...Some Words With a Mummy because....Egypt and I love Egypt! 

Tales of Horror is a great collection of stories with interesting characters and various levels of creepiness. Even if you aren't scared of being buried alive, Premature Burial will freak you out. Words With a Mummy is oddly fascinating and The Murders in the Rue Morgue has a Holmes feel, but that's just me personally! 

Review: Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Bored on a hot afternoon, Alice, a bright and inquisitive child, follows a white rabbit down a rabbit-hole, and finds herself in Wonderland, a very odd place indeed. This unique story mixes satire and puzzles, comedy and anxiety, Mock Turtles and Gryphos to provide an astute description of the experience of childhood. 

Awkward confession time.....I haven't actually properly read Alice in Wonderland before, and I've never even looked at Through The Looking Glass before! I've read bits of Alice In Wonderland, and then I've read loads of books that are retellings or inspired by and obviously I've watched the animated Disney movie. But seriously. I've never properly read Alice in Wonderland! So I was quite excited to read both books! 

There are some really gorgeous illustrations in this edition, and I really enjoyed them paired with the story! I actually feel like I've read Alice so many times because of various retellings etc, there was something so familiar about the story! I enjoyed the writing style, the silliness to the story and the satirical elements to it. I also enjoyed the world and feeling like I was venturing through Wonderland with Alice. Alice however, I couldn't get along with. I'm not going to lie she kind of bugged me and I spent a lot of my time being annoyed at her, I'm not going to lie! 

I wouldn't say that Alice in Wonderland is a favourite classic of mine, but it was an interesting read and I'm pleased that I've finally read it properly! I also have to say, that the writing and language used in the book was very easy to read! I know some people struggle with classics because of the language  but this one was a breeze! 

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