Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: The Dark Prophecy

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

The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.

He and his companions seek the ancient oracles - restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus - but this is easier said than done.

Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn't kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo's way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate - a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.

To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

I was SO excited to get back to Apollo and what's going on with him, I've been really looking forward to this book and it didn't let me down! Genuinely, I am loving this series! I still haven't gotten around to reading Percy Jackson yet but I'm not having any problems reading this without having read fact this series just makes me want to hurry up and get to them! I pretty much have every Rick Riordan book on my wishlist because after reading this and Magnus Chase I'm convinced I'm going to love each book and Riordan can do no wrong. I'm so here for all the mythology. 

I will say, I know that there are spoilers for the Percy Jackson series in this book, but I'm really not bothered by that, and if you're not bothered then go ahead! I genuinely think you can read this with no problems having not read PJ. I know enough about the series from various different things to recognise certain characters and I feel like there's enough in the narrative so  you won't be left scratching your head. 

As we start reading The Dark Prophecy we're straight in with the action and I for one, had everything from the first book come flooding back pretty quickly! Our little group, Apollo, Leo and Calypso are just arriving in Indianapolis and their arrival doesn't quite go to plan! We get some creepy new villains, and some fantastic new characters in the form of Emmie and Jo. I LOVE Emmie and Jo. I need a series that's just all of their adventures. Undecided on if I like Britomartis or not though! 

Speaking of Britomartis, I had never heard of her and she wasn't the only one in this book. I love mythology and Greek mythology is one of my big favourites, like that and Egyptian I've been obsessed with since I was quite young, along with Chinese, Norse is newish to me. SO I've read any book I can get my hands on that features Greek mythology, and I like to think I know a fair bit, I've even read a few non-fiction books about it. But I seriously didn't know who Britomartis and a couple of other ...beings where. So I loved being surprised with these little mythology tidbits that I had no idea about. I learned aaaalll kinds of cool things in this book and it really kept it fresh.

Right from the start there's plenty of action and intrigue and I love how easily this book carries on from the first book. It's like a rolling plot, it just keeps going..until you know...the last book but you know what I mean. I actually thought it was nicely paced, fast paced, and with enough going on to keep you hooked. And once again...this book is freaking hilarious. I love it. I was feeling really down and I actually purposely picked this up because I knew it was going to make me laugh. I just find myself sitting there chuckling as I'm reading. 

Apollo's narrative voice and his little haiku's make my life complete. So freaking funny. The book is always funny, with plenty of humour, but one of the main contributors towards that is Apollo's narrative. He speaks like a God. Of course he does, he was one. But because he's a Modern God, and he's totally with the times, Apollo has this mashup of God Speak, pop culture references and the odd modern phrase. It gives me life. I love it. I just love reading his voice. It's such a brilliant perspective. 

Apollo's character development in this book is brilliant. He's come so far since we first met him, and I've loved watching it. He's a God so of course he thinks the world revolves around him and he has a tendency to be narcissistic BUT in this book he really starts to think about others more and you can see he's starting to care about others, help others and generally not let them die, particularly those he's close to and interacts with a lot. You can see it multiple times in this book, particularly Meg. I haven't actually warmed up to Meg all that much so I haven't decided if his loyalty is misplaced or not yet. Like....she was a bit traitory and then she's so..mean? I don't know. Apollo is my little precious cinnamon roll. Anywaaaayyy it's so nice to see him growing and changing as the boos progress and I'm intrigued to see how he gets on with his sister as opposed to the rest of the Gods. I'm really excited to see where his character goes, I hope he still retains some of his narcissism though, he wouldn't be the same without it! 

The one thing bugging me is how mean everyone is to Apollo aka my precious bubba. Apollo's optimism and endless cheer is truly inspirational considering how much everyone gives him a rough time. He gets blamed for everything or at least most things, and seriously...Meg is so mean/rude to him. Leo and Calypso give him such a bad time too like some of it is just the friendship and is more jokey but there's so much that's like...okay guys. Let's stop picking on my cinnamon roll now. The thing is, I get why they would because of how he was..but he's getting to be such a better person now. He tries so hard with everything, and helps out, and I just REALLY love Apollo okay. He's such a refreshing main character.

I'm so excited for the next book, this is one of those series that I genuinely look forward to the next book with no chill whatsoever. I'm so impatient. The Dark Prophecy provides some great clues and insights and things to look forward to next book in general. I'm so ready to find out who the third emperor is and see Camp Jupiter for the first time! Unless of course I've made it to the PJ and Heroes of Olympus books by then, in which case switch out "for the first time" for "again". Things are promising to get even more interesting and even more awesome next book and you know...there's a PJ character that pops up right at the end and I knew immediately who it was and got so ridiculously excited. Like shrieked the name and jumped up and down excited. 

All in all The Dark Prophecy is another brilliant instalment in this series, more action, adventure, fun and humour. I'm loving Apollo's character development, and I loved watching him bond with Calypso and Leo more. I'm still a bit iffy about Meg, but we'll see what happens! Riordan is the King of mythology, I have to say! Especially in this one when he cracks out some lesser known mythology and educates us all! I'm 100% super stoked for the third book...if only it where out sooner waaaa! 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Review: Strange Magic

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

Rosie Strange doesn't believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.

Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.

Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all.

I'm not going to lie...I was mostly interested in this because of the cover and the whole witches thing. I'm from Surrey, which is one of the places that did have witch hunts (something I really would love to learn more about but can't find anything) and oddly was the Essex witch hunts we learned about in school. Either way, it's something I've always wanted to know more about.  

The main thing that I loved about this book was all of the history woven in to this, I learned so much from reading this book and fact was woven very cleverly with fiction. The authors take on events and filling in the blanks fit rather well and I didn't seem at all out of the realms of possibility. I just really enjoyed the historical elements to the book and all the little tidbits both witch related and otherwise. Although, I had no idea witches and criminals couldn't be buried in actual graveyards, and I now have visions of unearthing some poor soul when we have to dig up the ground for something we're doing to the genuinely never occurred to me. Shame on me. 

I loved Rosie, although I was a bit iffy towards her at the beginning, I ended up liking her more and more, and I loved her relationship with Sam and how it developed over the course of the book. They made quite the team! It had a great pace, it was atmospheric and mildly creepy at points and it kept me intrigued and interested throughout, as well as fully entertained at some of the humour! It's actually quite a witty read! The end of the book seemingly sets up the next book which has me incredibly intrigued, as much as ghosts freak me out. I'm not a sceptic like Rosie unfortunately, I wish I was and reassure myself the paranormal doesn't exist but I've watched one too many ghost hunting shows to be fully comfortable! Seriously, I didn't sleep properly for a week after seeing Paranormal Activity. Anywaaaaaay, I'm intrigued to see where this series is going to go, it was a lot of fun! 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Review: House of Furies

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

After escaping a harsh school where punishment was the lesson of the day, seventeen-year-old Louisa Ditton is thrilled to find employment as a maid at a boarding house. But soon after her arrival at Coldthistle House, Louisa begins to realize that the house’s mysterious owner, Mr. Morningside, is providing much more than lodging for his guests. Far from a place of rest, the house is a place of judgment, and Mr. Morningside and his unusual staff are meant to execute their own justice on those who are past being saved.

Louisa begins to fear for a young man named Lee who is not like the other guests. He is charismatic and kind, and Louisa knows that it may be up to her to save him from an untimely judgment. But in this house of distortions and lies, how can Louisa be sure whom to trust?

Featuring stunning interior illustrations from artist Iris Compiet, plus photo-collages that bring Coldthistle House to chilling life, House of Furies invites readers to a world where the line between monsters and men is ghostly thin.

So, you guys might remember I featured this on my blog back in January as one of my new releases that I was looking forward to! I don't usually do horror, but there was something about this book that intrigued me, the cover and the synopsis both piqued my interest and it sounded like something a bit different to the usual! Even still wasn't what I was expecting, and I found myself completely loving it! 

House of Furies is dark and atmospheric and it's that atmosphere along with how vivid it is that draws you in straight away and keeps you hooked to the page. I was hooked nearly immediately, and couldn't put it down, I read it in one go and the atmosphere to the book is one of the things that really makes this book memorable, and adds just something a little extra to it. I feel like a good horror book should be atmospheric but this is just perfect. I don't know how to explain it exactly, it just fit so well and I had such a good mental image as I was reading! 

You get these really cool extracts from Morningsides book that have these brilliant illustrations with them, and I felt like that was a nice extra touch that added a few hints here and there! I really enjoyed the mythology and lore surrounding the monsters/mythical beings/creatures that went in to this book, it fascinated me and definitely left me wanting to know more! Speaking of Morningside...I actually really loved him. He was smooth and intelligent and a little bit mischievous at one point, and I loved his interactions with Louisa. He cracked me up more than once as did their banter. I ship them a fair bit, I'm not going to lie! 

For me, Louisa was a great main character, she was believable and had the same kind of reaction that I imagined most of us would have when confronted with her situation. My thoughts about Lee and certain things often mirrored hers with her doubts and so on. Her situation with Lee particularly was very well done, I was pretty much with Louisa the whole time, first trusting him and not seeing how he could be bad and then the doubt seeping in. So well done. 

I found all of the characters to be a memorable bunch, they where interesting and I wanted to know more about them and what they could do and what brought them there and their pasts and just everything basically! Mary, Chijioke and Poppy in particular, I'm not going to lie! Plus you know...Morningside. 

I loved the way the author blended together the historical and the supernatural with the gothic touches. The storytelling was brilliant and like I said..atmospheric and vivid! It was just plain creepy at times, but it was always intriguing. And I'm so excited to see what happens in the next book and to get to know the characters even better! I need way more Morningside, I'm not going to lie! 

All in all House of Furies was a brilliantly written, atmospheric and vivid read that intrigues you from the start and keeps you hooked until the last page. The characters are an interesting and memorable bunch and the book leaves you wanting more! 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Review: Dragon Teeth

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

Michael Crichton's recently discovered novel—an adventure set in the Wild West during the golden age of fossil hunting.

The year is 1876. Warring Indian tribes still populate America’s western territories even as lawless gold-rush towns begin to mark the landscape. In much of the country it is still illegal to espouse evolution. Against this backdrop two monomaniacal paleontologists pillage the Wild West, hunting for dinosaur fossils, while surveilling, deceiving and sabotaging each other in a rivalry that will come to be known as the Bone Wars.

Into this treacherous territory plunges the arrogant and entitled William Johnson, a Yale student with more privilege than sense. Determined to survive a summer in the west to win a bet against his arch-rival, William has joined world-renowned paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh on his latest expedition.  But when the paranoid and secretive Marsh becomes convinced that William is spying for his nemesis, Edwin Drinker Cope, he abandons him in Cheyenne, Wyoming, a locus of crime and vice. William is forced to join forces with Cope and soon stumbles upon a discovery of historic proportions.  With this extraordinary treasure, however, comes exceptional danger, and William’s newfound resilience will be tested in his struggle to protect his cache, which pits him against some of the West’s most notorious characters.

I've loved Jurassic Park since I was a kid, I remember watching it on Sundays whenever it was on and eating apple, mostly it would be on at Easter and despite owning the video and then DVD....I'd always watch it. I pretty much know most of the lines! I was wary of Jurassic World..but actually ended up really enjoying it too. I've been meaning to buy and read the original Jurassic Park books for a while but haven't quite gotten around to it yet, so....this is my first Michael Crichton book! 

I recently read a book by another author that was based on the Bone Wars, and my curiosity has since been piqued about that period of history and those events. I was super excited to read this because I figured it was likely to be more historically accurate and full of more history than the other book I read...and I was right! I completely loved this, and I breezed through it in one sitting. 

Dragon Teeth is fast paced and absolutely packed with historical detail and fact. But all of that is woven in to the narrative and it's so well done that it's not like history is being shoved down your throat and it doesn't affect the pace of the book at all. I was absolutely fascinated, not just with the events of the book...but with the parts that where true, and the historical figures and all the tiny little historical details that you wouldn't think twice about. This book has clearly been well researched and it made it such an authentic read. Perhaps he got a hankering to write this book after doing Westworld and Jurassic Park...I don't know. I'm not familiar with the publication order of his books and films etc. 

There's plenty of intrigue to keep you reading, it's vivid and draws you in. I got completely caught up in the adventure and action of the book. I genuinely had a moment or two, especially at the beginning, when I couldn't quite work out if it was all real or not, I had to double check that Johnson didn't actually exist! I was intrigued to find out that one of the other characters, Sternberg, did though...and that he had published a book about the trip Cope takes in this book...although obviously that trip has been tweaked and changed for the purposes of this story. 

While I liked the science, seeing the process of how the bones where found, excavated, kept safe to travel, catalogued and put together and so on....I loved the characters. The characters really made this story memorable for me, along with the historical detail and so on. We had Johnson, a fictional character who goes on quite a journey in this book. I really enjoyed seeing him grow and change and mature over the course of the book as he goes from a pampered rich boy to being able to fend for himself. He has to battle to get home, facing a dangerous journey, not just because of the overly bleak and deadly landscape but because of the Indian wars going on at the time, various nefarious characters and other obstacles, natural or otherwise. Johnson becomes quite the hero, more so on the way back than on the way there, despite facing the trials and tribulations of the journey there. 

We have Cope and Marsh, who are vastly different to each other. I have to say...I'm team Cope. I wanted to punch Marsh in the face more than once, I'm not going to lie.  He's so paranoid and he kept trying to sabotage Cope over and over, even going so far as to poison water. Cope...well I could let him off having a temper because I'd be pretty pissed off at Marsh's constant sabotage and trouble making and attempts to buy or steal bones instead of doing the work himself. Cope seemed the more honest, and hard working of the two and he really helped Johnson after Marsh abandons him. I'm intrigued to read more about Cope and Marsh. I was actually annoyed to learn at the end of the book that Marsh 'discovered' more Dinosaurs than Cope...I can't help but wonder if he managed all of them honestly. I'm going to have to buy Sternberg's book and read it because the notes at the end of the book said the feud had actually been toned down and I'm curious! 

We also have Wyatt Earp, I had to google him. I had to. I wasn't sure if he was a real character or not and then when I got to the end and there was his little mini auto biography I had to google him to see it was true..even though it was pretty obvious! I had been surprised to see Sternberg was real too! I'd assumed the only real people in the book where Cope and Marsh...but anyway. Mind blown by Earp's life story. I actually really liked him, he became quite the friend to Johnson! Along with the memorable characters I liked...there where also the memorable characters I hated. Marsh. The Curry brothers. The annoying, suspicious woman who's name escapes me now I've finished the book...she had two names anyway! 

Dragon Teeth is a rollercoaster of a read that I guarantee you'll be able to devour in one sitting. Crichton really brings the West to life, with saloons, gunfights, and desolate, dangerous landscapes. There's history in every page, the book has clearly been well researched. There's a lot of information about the various Indian tribes, and how they where treated, and the wars between the Tribes and the US Military. Let's just say the US weren't painted in a flattering light in this book, and I can't say I'm sorry about that. I was pleased Crichton didn't try to gloss over or hide how badly the Native Americans where treated by the US Government and Military and so on. It was horrendous and should be portrayed as such. 

After reading this book, I definitely have the urge to read up on Marsh and Cope and the time period, and do some research of my own! Not to mention actually get around to getting copies of Jurassic Park and reading them! Crichton really brought the Bone Wars, the West and the historical figures featured in the book to life and I was riveted from the first page. 

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Review: Runemarks

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

Seven o’clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the end of the world, and goblins had been at the cellar again. . . . Not that anyone would admit it was goblins. In Maddy Smith’s world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, fairies, goblins, magic, glamours–all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. The “ruinmark” she was born with on her palm proves it–and makes the other villagers fearful that she is a witch (though helpful in dealing with the goblins-in-the-cellar problem). But the mysterious traveler One-Eye sees Maddy’s mark not as a defect, but as a destiny. And Maddy will need every scrap of forbidden magic One-Eye can teach her if she is to survive that destiny.

As you guys know, I looooveeeee mythology so I had to read this! Norse Mythology is something I've been becoming more and more interested in as times gone on. Originally I loved Egyptian and Greek and that was it, but then there was Thor and then there was Magnus Chase and yeah. Obsessed. I've heard good things about this book, and also has loads of mythology in it! I wasn't disappointed. 

Runemarks is a very rich book. The writing is rich, the world and the mythology are rich. I really enjoyed the world of this book, it was vivid and atmospheric, and you could get completely lost in it as you where reading...much like the characters who where actually lost at one point. teehee. As for the mythology...I was loving it. We get Loki telling us all about certain things and events, which was freaking awesome, and then we get the mythology woven in in other ways...and then we get the Gods. 

I loved the Gods. I loved how they where written, I loved seeing them interact with each other and how they worked together with Loki to overcome the problems that arise for them in this book. I loved that Loki was Maddy's companion for a good portion of the book, Harris really made him multi dimensional with depth. Sure he did bad things but...I personally really loved his character in this book. He was easy to like and you understood him in this book. I loved his interactions with Mimir and the other Gods, he was hilarious! I'm intrigued by all of the Gods, and I hope to see more of them in the next book, we got to see some of them but it was more towards the end and it'd be nice to get to know all of them a lot more! Plus more Loki! 

The characters where all very interesting, and brought to life brilliantly. Maddy I empathised with and felt for her and her whole situation at 'home' if you can call it that. I really rooted for her. Unexpectedly I found myself rooting for a Goblin called Sugar...didn't see that one coming let me tell you! He made me chuckle more than once, our reluctant hero! While there where plenty of characters to love there where also ones I hated. Nat. Oh how I hated him and his buddies, I definitely cheered at the end. 

I'm not sure if I'm the only one but I really did get some Pratchett vibes more than once as I was reading, the opening in particular really gave me those vibes, actually! 

Runemarks has a steady pace, and a narrative that's kept interesting and fresh as we switch from character POV to character POV, meaning we can also keep tabs on what's happening and where! The world building is brilliant, and you end up with a vivid and atmospheric setting for every scene, plus...I still want to know and see more about the world! Harris's writing is brilliant, pulling you in and weaving a picture for you as you read...not to mention the way she has melded fantasy and mythology. I loved hearing the mythology straight from Loki but I loved seeing aspects of it woven in to the meeting Jorgi for instance! And on top of all of that, Harris has populated her story with interesting and memorable characters...including the ones you don't like! 

If you love Norse Mythology then this is the book for you! It was such a brilliant read, and I can't wait for book two! 


Monday, 10 July 2017

Summer of Manga!

Hey guys! How's it going? 
Who's looking forward to the Summer!? Schools out soon which means it's time to start gathering together your summer reading list! 
I thought I'd help you out on the manga front with some of the new manga for this Summer! All of the ones I've selected are series that are starting this summer with the first volume, there's a sneaky light novel or two in there as well! Let me know which ones you'll be checking out! 

Tales of Zestiria

The manga adaptation of the bestselling Japanese RPG, released in English for the first time!

Sorey is a human boy who has lived all his life in The Divine Forest, side-by-side with heavenly, but secretive creatures known as Seraphim, which includes his best friend Mikleo. While investigating the old ruins near their home for Seraphim lore, they meet a young woman named Alisha, a knight seeking answers to the calamities drawing their world to ruin. Upon learning that the Seraphim may have a connection to the destruction, Sorey decides it's time to leave The Divine Forest. With Mikleo and Alisha at his side, Sorey will seek out the truth behind the catastrophes--and discover his own hidden powers in the process. 

Beasts of Abigaile

Beasts of Abigaile is a brand new supernatural shoujo manga series that follows a young woman's fantastical adventures in the mythical country of Ruberia - and all the trials, tribulations, and attractive half-beast people that come with it! In this exciting new series loosely inspired by the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, readers will be drawn into a beautifully illustrated story of magical adventure and romance. Tsukishiro Nina has just arrived in the beautiful country of Ruberia, and its charming denizens and lush scenery are like a fairy tale come true. Yet suddenly, Nina finds herself set upon by strange attackers until she is rescued by a mysterious young man with a steely gaze, calm disposition - and wolf ears! Whisked away into a grand adventure, Nina must keep her wits about her if she's to learn the secret of Abigaile Castle in a magical world where everyone either makes her blood boil or her young heart race!

Generation Witch

Generation Witch is a new slice of life manga series with a magical twist. This charming story line follows the lives of several young witches as they struggle with the dual challenges of wielding magic and teenage angst, and will appeal to fans of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Witchcraft Works. In the world of Generation Witch, 1% of the population are witches. Most non-magical people look up to these witches and envy their power, but as witches already know, sometimes these abilities can be more of a curse. When growing up already requires all the luck and effort a teenager can muster, what happens when you throw spells, brooms, and bubbling cauldrons into the mix?

Occultic Nine

An all-new supernatural light novel series that inspired a hit anime!

What happens when eight eccentrics cross paths on a paranormal blog run by a high school NEET? A whole lot of weird! Gamon Yuta runs an occult-related site he hopes will one day make him rich. But before his dreams can come true, strange things occur when the lives of these nine oddballs collide. Can they solve a case that transcends reality and could alter the very fabric of our world?

Waiting For Spring

A sweet romantic story of a soft-spoken high school freshman and her quest to make friends, Waiting for Spring will delight fans of earnest, fun, and dramatic shojo like Kimi ni Todoke and Say I Love You.Mizuki is a shy girl who's about to enter high school, and vows to open herself up to new friendships. Of course, the four stars of the boys' basketball team weren't exactly the friends she had in mind! Yet, when they drop by the café where she works, the five quickly hit it off. Soon she's been accidentally thrust into the spotlight, targeted by jealous girls. And will she expand her mission to include... love?

Golden Kamuy

In the early twentieth century, Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto scratches out a meager existence during the postwar gold rush in the wilderness of Hokkaido. When he stumbles across a map to a fortune in hidden Ainu gold, he sets off on a treacherous quest to find it. But Sugimoto is not the only interested party, and everyone who knows about the gold will kill to possess it! Faced with the harsh conditions of the northern wilderness, ruthless criminals and rogue Japanese soldiers, Sugimoto will need all his skills and luck—and the help of an Ainu girl named Asirpa—to survive.

Kigurumi Guardians

Lily Hoshino, the beloved artist behind Mawaru Penguindrum, offers her cute and twisted take on the magical girl genre. You probably never thought Sailor Moon needed more hot older guys in full-body mascot costumes, but Kigurumi Guardians will bring you around!Hakka's second year of middle school was dull as it could be, until a suspicious cow mascot ("kigurumi") shows up in her room, holding a sign that reads, "My Name Is Ginger." But this isn't (just?) a stalker, it's a magical being that's come to convince Hakka (and her friends) to become Guardians, and save the world! Hakka is understandably confused, until she's suddenly attacked, and a beautiful young man leaps in to save her. Can this handsome knight and the weird kigurumi be... one and the same?

Otome Mania

The story of a young woman living her gamer dream!

Yuzumi Otome is a master gamer and game creator, and has finally landed her dream job in an otome game company. Now, she will do whatever it takes to conquer the industry. But is success worth it? Will it truly bring Yuzumi happiness? Or will she spend her days wallowing in anger and anxiety? What must Yuzumi do to release a successful game?!

Compulsive Gambler

Hyakkaou Private Academy. An institution for the privileged with a very peculiar curriculum. You see, when you're the sons and daughters of the wealthiest of the wealthy, it's not athletic prowess or book smarts that keep you ahead. It's reading your opponent, the art of the deal. What better way to hone those skills than with a rigorous curriculum of gambling? At Hyakkaou Private Academy, the winners live like kings, and the losers are put through the wringer. But when Yumeko Jabami enrolls, she's gonna teach these kids what a high roller really looks like!


Friday, 7 July 2017

Review: Royal Bastards

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

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . 

My lovely blog readers, you might remember this book from a post I did waaaaaay back in January all about debut reads coming out this year that I was excited to read! That's right....I've been wanting to read this book since way back in December when I wrote up the post, and when the synopsis for it was waaaay shorter. I have seriously been looking forward to this book for so long. It sounded interesting, original and like a really good adventure! We all see bastards pop up in fantasy books, Jon Snow anyone? But they're always sidelined usually and shoved to the side, so I was intrigued to see a book focusing on a group of them. 

I immediately loved this book. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I got things I wasn't expecting right from the beginning! I loved Tilla and Jax, and I loved their relationship and how much they loved each other and where really there for each other. I loved their interactions, they had such a great sibling relationship and Jax always backed her up, it was really nice to read about. 

Tilla I loved one hundred percent. I empathised with her and related to her so much and how she felt and everything. I seriously related to her hardcore. How she felt about her place in the castle and with her father hit me right in the feels. I mean we all want to be accepted by our family, and loved by them and that's all she wanted. I was right there with her for most of her emotions and thoughts, and she develops over the course of the book in to such a great character. A badass who'll do what she thinks is right despite the consequences to her. I respected her so damn much by the end of the book. Especially because Tilla is just a regular girl. No super powers. No special training other than what Zell teaches she's super awkward when she's fighting sometimes....much like any of us would be in her situation, I loved it. 

From the moment we meet the other bastards, I was hooked. I loved the banter between Tilla, Miles and Zell right in that first interaction, and then we threw Jax in to the mix and I just loved it. They cracked me up and there was tension and friction but it was nice to see them overcome it and I liked watching them bond and the camaraderie develop over the course of the book. They had such a great dynamic. Sure they where a little cliche, the bookworm, the princess and so on, but they where so brilliantly brought to life. 

Lyriana was a hard one for me, at times she really annoyed me and I'd roll my eyes at her and her actions, it was so stereotypically damsel in distress and Princess-y and I freely admit I called her whole thing with Jax from the beginning because I could see it in my minds eye, and it was you know...a bit of a cliche....but Lyriana ended up being so much more than the pampered annoying princess I first thought she was. I ended up really feeling for her, and she comes out of her shell and like Tilla, develops in to such a brilliantly badass girl. 

I'm torn between Jax and Zell for my favourite character I'm not going to lie. I was even warming up to Miles until a certain scene between him and Tilla when a big, red warning sign started to go off in my hand and sadly I was so right about him. Now I kinda just want him dead. Sorry Miles. You could have been epic. Zell had such hidden depth to him that you didn't really see much at first, he just seemed to hold himself separate from everyone else, and Jax has more going on under the surface to. I have to say I really enjoyed the character building in this book, the characters had layers and they grew and developed over the course of the book, even if not for the better. 

On the romance front, I had one ship, and one ship only. Tilla and Zell. I shipped it hard. No-one was getting between my ship. No-one. There was so much potential for a love triangle but nope. Not happening. Tilla knew exactly what she wanted. Sure she didn't go about it in the right way, but I can't really blame her. A lot was going on. But I loved the relationship between Zell and Tilla and I just....really ship it okay. And you know.....Jax and Lyriana where cute. A little predictable. But cute. 

Royal Bastards is fast paced, with characters that really grow and come in to their own. There's plenty of humour to go with the action and romance, and it all blends together so well to create an enjoyable read. Helped of course, by the solid plot and it's so easy to sit and read this in one go. It's devourable. That's a word now. Shhhh. Don't get me wrong, there where a few parts where I could see what was going to happen next, but the originality, writing, characters, world etc all outweigh that for me, plus there where just as many things that I didn't see coming. 

The world was fascinating, there's a history to it that we find out some chunks of, but I'd love to know more. I'm so curious about it, I feel like the world has a really rich quality to it with this vividly dark history that still springs up in the current time period...literally. I'm intrigued by the magic system and the rings and the Titans and everything. I'm really hoping that there's going to be a second book and because it'll probably be in Lightspire we'll get to learn more about the world and the magic. I'm also super excited to see more of the world, like the previously mentioned Lightspire. Don't get me wrong...the book ended well. It was satisfying, but..there's so much more to find out, and see in this world and it'd be nice to see how everything turned out. I won't be disappointed if it's a standalone...but I'd really love another book or two to get to learn more about the world and see more of the characters. 

I should warn you guys though, this book is really vivid. Which was great for the majority of the book...but I could have done without the vividness when it came to the scene with the spider creatures because I was so grossed out. I hate spiders. One might even say I'm arachnophobic know...really vivid spider creatures....doing whatever they where doing...and I could heart the skittering noise and *shudder* It's like Shelob all over again. 

I had two little quibbles with this book though, and only two. The first thing is that this is a fantasy, set in a fantasy world and I felt like our little group where a bit too modern when they spoke. I don't need them to be speaking all Game of Thrones-y and old timey, but it just felt a bit too modern and contemporary. My other quibble is literally just me being full on salty about what happens to one character, I'm not going to lie. I just....Lyriana spent hours in an earlier scene trying to save that little girl yet when a certain character is injured she just doesn't even attempt to heal them and goes in for the sobbing and the kiss and the goodbyes and then the character dies and I was sitting looking at the book like....what? Really? And I could clearly see how it was all going to play out immediately after that and I was just like...I don't know. It seemed a bit abrupt and plot devicey. Maybe I mis-read something. Maybe (probably) I'm just hella salty because favourite character. 

All in all Royal Bastards broke my heart...but it was a wild ride and I loved venturing through part of the world of the book with the characters and seeing them develop in to even better characters. It was also nice to have such a relatable main character, I'm not going to lie, even if she hit me in the feels more than once. I really, genuinely want to see more of the characters and the world, so while GoodReads doesn't say whether there's going to be a sequel...I'm really hoping there is! Action, adventure, magic,'s just such a great blend! 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Review: Stranger of Tempest

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

Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Shattered Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's principalities, he walks the land in search of purpose. He wants for little so bodyguard work keeps his belly full and his mage-gun loaded. It might never bring a man fame or wealth, but he's not forced to rely on others or kill without cause. Little could compel Lynx to join a mercenary company, but he won't turn his back on a kidnapped girl. At least the job seems simple enough; the mercenaries less stupid and vicious than most he's met over the years. So long as there are no surprises or hidden agendas along the way, it should work out fine.

Stranger of Tempest intrigued me when I read the synopsis, it sounded like it was going to be a good and potentially humorous read. I'm not going to lie....I wasn't expecting it to be quite as good as I found it! I genuinely really enjoyed this book, and I hated to put it down. I had a lot of fun reading this! It even reminded me a little bit of the Ketty Jay series...that's the vibe I got! I also got some Lord of the Rings vibes and not just because of the Balrog-eqsue monster on the cover....all I'm going to say is the Mines of Moria. 

Stranger of Tempest drew me in from the beginning, it has such a brilliant opening! One of the best I've read! It was at that moment that I knew I was going to enjoy this book, it cracked me up and intrigued me. It was a great way to introduce Toil and the others. 

I liked Lynx, he was a relatable book nerd and food addict on the surface, but underneath he's an ex-soldier dealing with a lot of stuff from his past and PTSD and so on. He's a really good fighter, and he has his own code of honour...his people are also hated, which meant he doesn't always have a great time around other people. I liked reading about him, I liked his perspective it was interesting and he's got a very mysterious past still. I'm still not sure how I felt about Sitain, she bugged me once or twice and I wanted to give her a shake, but to be fair to her she did realise most of the time when she was being ridiculous. I'm intrigued by her mostly because of her magic. I can't wait to see more of it and see her master it. 

There are so many great characters in this book, I liked all of them to be honest, except for the traitor. Forever disappointed he and his accomplice didn't get their comeuppance. I even loved Reft, the not as scary and mean as he looks guy! Kas I completely loved, she's a badass and she cracked me up so many times, I need more of her in the next book! Toil is more difficult. I loved her, but she's also mildly untrustworthy, let's be honest. She did still become part of the group, sort of, and like Kas she's a badass. I'm so curious about her character, I was as I was reading about her anyway, but the ending intrigued me even more. I need to know more about her and her past! Like I said...there's a lot of interesting and memorable characters in this book!

Stranger of Tempest is hilarious. Seriously, there's plenty of humour blended in with the action, magic, danger, tension and more serious aspects. It was brilliant. I found myself chuckling away as I read this so many times. The ending had me full out cackling as everything came full circle in a brilliantly humorous way. 

I really enjoyed the storytelling, I couldn't put this down, it was a struggle and then I was excited to get back to it as soon as I could. It's been a while since I've been genuinely excited to get back to a book and even only managing to read a chapter kept me going. I felt like the narrative really flowed, the switches from past to present and character to character worked so well. Once the past caught up with the present, the narratives merged smoothly in to one. It was fast paced, and you'd learn about something or someone in either the past or the present and then see it or them in the opposing narrative. I just thought it was brilliantly done. It kept me interested, kept me intrigued and I liked the way everything was connected and wove together. I genuinely enjoyed every single page, and I finished this so fast! 

To be honest, I just loved it all. The world and the creatures and the magic in it, I loved learning about it and reading about it. The magic system was so interesting, with the guns and everything and the different classes of mages. The monsters where intriguing and a little bit different. The world was vivid and atmospheric. I liked the way the mercenaries where formed in their Deck, it was a nice little touch and the deck and the game where explained without being overly complicated, which I liked. It didn't take too long either. I love it when a book has complexity to it, without being so complex it's a slog to get through and you have no idea what's going on half the time! I loved the plot, the humour, the writing, the characters. I loved the banter between the mercenaries and how they all interacted, there's a great mix of characters, and plenty of strong female characters which was brilliant to read about, and it was just such a good read for me! 

The plot from this book is wrapped up nicely with a little thread of intrigue for the next book....which I need now! RIGHT NOW! I refused to read the sneak peek at the next book in the back of this one because it would make the wait even worse! 

Stranger of Tempest is a fast paced, fun read with memorable characters that you want to know more about! It's a brilliant blend of humour, action, magic, adventure, and more. The writing and storytelling are very well done, and done in an interesting way to keep maximum intrigue and the plot hooks you in. Stranger of Tempest is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I can't wait for the next book! I have plenty of questions, there's still plenty more to learn about the characters and the fragments and I'm so excited to see where this is all going to go! 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Manga: No Game No Life, Please!

No Game No Life, Please! Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In a world where everything is decided by games, adorable (but foulmouthed) Izuna Hatsuse is a young Werebeast girl who wants to learn more. As she follows Sora, Shiro, and the others, what answers will she find for herself? LET THE GAMES BEGIN! 

Okaaaay so, I haven't read all of No Game No Life, but I know most of the story. This is a spin off from the main story and to be honest...I didn't find it at all difficult to slide in to the world. You guys.....Izune is so cute. So very, very cute. But so very, very foul mouthed. I loved it. It actually made me chuckle once or twice, as well as you know....sitting there all "oh no she diiiiidn't". I actually really enjoyed having such an unusual main character! I'm so intrigued by her and intrigued to see where her story goes! 

Obviously Sora and Shiro make an appearance, and I know who they are, there are a few other characters that I'm sure pop up in the main story, but I'm getting to know them in this side story and I'm so intrigued by multiple characters. I'm also more intrigued than ever by Shiro and Sora and I feel a need to get the rest of the NGNL volumes! 

I really liked the world, it was such an interesting one and I love how it worked. I couldn't help but picture what our world would be like with the same rules. Still can't decide if it would be a good thing or not! The chapters are fun and the art is adorable and equally fun. There's plenty of fun additional material, which I'm a sucker for! A short story and some four panels that add to the volume and characters. 

This volume moves at a good pace, acquainting you with the characters and the world...or reacquainting as the case may be. There's also a nice big bombshell at the end of the volume that intrigues you for the next volume! Whether or not you've read the main series, this is an enjoyable read, and certainly provides plenty of intrigue both about the direction of this story and about the main story! Izuna makes for a refreshing main character too, I have to say! 

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