Thursday, 31 August 2017

Light Novel: Rokka Vol 2

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers Vol 2
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After discovering the seventh Brave and escaping her trap, the newly assembled Braves of the Six Flowers set off to fight the Evil God--only to find yet another Brave! With the clock ticking until the Evil God awakens, the seven set off into the Howling Vilelands with the impostor in their midst. A fiend appears, telling Mora her time is short. Not only that, but a commander of the fiends suddenly appears before the Braves. Could the seventh have something to do with it? Amid the chaos, a fierce battle begins!

I am loving this series so much! So, so, SO much. I love the manga, and I love the light novel although I do think the light novel is a notch above the manga! I've been so excited for this volume ever since I read the last page of the previous volume. The first volume just ended so perfectly and everything was wrapped up but DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNN there was another twist and I've been in agony waiting for this volume! 

So I went in to this volume anticipating epicness and more shocking twists and learning more about the characters. I was also hoping that the impostor was Chamo or Mora because after last volume I really didn't like either....I wasn't disappointed in one aspect, the other is more complicated! 

Right. So. There I am, settled down, ready to read this in one go because I specifically made time to read this without interruptions! I open the page and I started to read and I'm confronted with....

...The awkward moment when the volume opens with your favourite character having been murdered. I may have shrieked. I may have sworn a little bit. I may have been completely devastated. Then my brain kicked in and I remembered how things went in the first book and I started to run through every single possible explanation and scenario. I was still wrong. Towards the end of the novel I started to guess/hope about the ending and I was correct but right from the start I was devastated and waiting to see why this all came about. 

We have the new character of Rolonia joining our team this book. She knows Adlet and Mora and appears to be quite close with both. We actually got to know even more about Adlet and his past via her. She's timid at first but then incredibly scary in battle and the more I learned about her the more I had to admire how hard she worked to get to the stage she's at and how courageous she is. 

This volume is quite Mora centric, so obviously we learn a tonne more about her and her past. It was interesting to have this insight in to her and it changed how you perceived her and her actions in volume one. You understand her a lot more. I'm still undecided on whether or not I actually like her. I understand her, I understand her actions, and I know she didn't really do what she was supposed to and she was actually quite intelligent about it but I'm still a bit wary of her. Although, thanks to Mora we got to meet a couple of other saints that I'm very curious about! I loved Marmanna best, she was hilarious. We need her on Team Brave! 

Chamo I have to say is growing on me like a fungus. She's developing and changing and being a bit more grown up. She still irritated me more than once with her behaviour and how she acted but she is slowly, very slowly growing on me. 

Interestingly enough we learn a tonne more about the Fiends and their hierarchy which is going to be important in the coming volumes. We learn aaalll about Tgurneu, Cargikk and Dozzu the three commanders who are running things...sort of. We get to meet the latter two briefly as well, which provided some interesting insight in to how things are running and some coming intrigues. 

We get a nice chance of scenery too in this volume! Finally moving from the previous location to the Vilelands and the Bud of Eternity. We hear a lot more about the world too and I'm excited to get to see more locations. I feel like this series has some really brilliant world building and the settings and scenes are so vivid for me when I'm reading! 

Rokka Volume 2 is a brilliant continuation to what's going to be an epic series. There's more history to the world and characters. There's another mystery or two rather, with lots of different threads to it. There's more intense battles, and I'm talking really intense battles which fit the fast pace perfectly. These volumes really do have a cracking pace and the world, characters and setting suck you in! It's truly one of my favourites, it always surprises me and blows me away when I read. We leave this volume with everything seemingly solved and ready for the next battle but twists AGAIN! And we have one or two more threads to carry us over to volume three and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next, and how those plot threads continue! 

Rokka is hands down one of my favourite series, and I genuinely look forward to every single volume! 

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review: Strange Practice

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

Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.

Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.

I was so intrigued by the sound of this, I'm thinking ooohhh Helsing...undead, various supernatural creatures etc but I wasn't really sure what to expect. As I started to read, I very quickly realised this was going to be one of my favourite books and series, and I completely fell in love with it. It's such a cracking read! 

 I was immediately hooked on the plot and characters. It's so fun, and so different and I actually found it to be a very refreshing read to be honest. I loved Greta so much, she had such a great narrative and point of view, filling you in on the different types of creature and other little bits and pieces. She made me fully cackle more than once. I was really rooting for her, and I loved that she was so intelligent and passionate about her work, and she was strong too. 

Ruthven is my second favourite character. I was like OOOOHH VAMPIRES YAAASS! HEY DRACULA! He was so freaking brilliant, and I loved his interactions with Greta. He too, had an excellent narrative and I loved all the little quirks about him and his personality and his history and oh my God he's just such a brilliantly created character and fits with literature about vampires and so on and aaaahh I love him! Lowkey ship him with Greta too. 

There's such a brilliant cast of characters, I loved Cranswell, Varney, Fastitocalon, Nadezhda....there are so many memorable and brilliant characters that you want to know more about and they're brilliantly characterised. I also ship Greta and Varney too! I loved the comments about his aesthetic too! I would LOVE to see more of Samael too, he was freaking hilarious. Like he had me in stitches and he's not there much. 

I loved the different points of view/narratives, they helped with the fast pace that the book had going from the start. It kept it moving forward and kept it fresh and in the case of the creepy POV, it added intrigue and mystery as you tried to put things together. I also really loved the history and mythology to the book too. I'm so excited by the world of this book and the characters and what's to come from this series!

Strange Practice is a refreshing, rich and brilliant read. It's fun, there's humour, mystery, murder, and even a little bit of romance too! It's kinda like CSI: Supernatural Edition. The characters are memorable, loveable and easy to root for, the plot kept you guessing and had some brilliant twists and turns. The world building is fantastic and I could see easily picture this hidden side of London. I'm eager to learn about more creatures, more mythology and lore, and more about the characters! Strange Practice is firmly one of my favourite books of the year, and it's my new favourite series. I can't wait for me and I'm eagerly awaiting any information on the sequel! 


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Review: Rotherweird

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

The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird's independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothingbefore 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town's long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

Welcome to Rotherweird!

So, I wasn't too sure what to expect going in to this book, I loved the sound of it. It sounded original and fun but I wasn't entirely sure what it entailed. I was expecting something Terry Pratchett-esque I'm not going to lie, as soon as I read the premise that author sprung to my mind, but Caldecott certainly does have his own voice! Rotherweird is different, unique, and it slowly but surely pulls you in. 

I'm a huge sucker for history, so I was invested right from the start with the historical aspects the book presented. The flashbacks and so on, I was living for them. I loved Rotherweird, it was perfectly created. You where curious about it and it's history, it was strange yet oddly practical. It was such an interesting setting, and it was populated by equally as interesting characters with some intriguing names. 

There's some brilliant fantasy elements woven in, Lost Acre, the mystical powers some characters had and then there where the creatures, or rather Chimeras. It was a nice touch to create an original and interesting setting. 

There's a brilliant and slightly creepy mystery running throughout the book as well, and I loved all of the different threads it had to it, and all of the clues and how it all came together so perfectly in the end. I got more and more engrossed in the book as it went on, trying to work out what was going on and what had happened and by the end of the book the apocalypse could have been happening and I would have no idea. 

My issue with this book is that there where a lot of characters thrown at you, and I got confused sometimes, trying to remember who was who and what they did and what relation they had to the story. A couple of characters really did seem to be a little superfluous. Slickstones son seemed to be there just to be a little sod and then die at the end as part of the story and I'm assuming the fake wife will be back? Or maybe not. At one point I thought she was going to put it all together but nope. I didn't really understand their purpose other than set dressing. 

For me, while I was intrigued by the historical aspect from the beginning, the book started off slowly and it took me a while to get in to it, I didn't get really, really engrossed until near to the end of the book when the pace picked up and things started to come together. Towards the middle I was a bit more invested and intrigued but the beginning was hard to get through for me. Multiple times I was confused about who that character was or what was going on. 

Rotherweird is an original and fun novel once it gets going, and it has a brilliant mystery to it made up of different threads that manage to come together perfectly. I loved working out the anagrams, I loved the way the creatures fit so well with creatures you see in the Elizabethan tapestries and art etc it was such a brilliant explanation for them. Yes I had a couple of issues with the book, but overall it was an enjoyable read! I'm excited that there's going to be a second book and looking forward to seeing what mystery is occurring next time round! 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Review: The Waking Land

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

It's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again... but this time by her father's mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna's veins. Now she must decide which side she's on, and whether she'll use her powers for mercy... or revenge. 

I appear to be one of a small minority who completely and utterly loved this book, after looking on Goodreads at other ratings! I have to say, I've had a huge reading slump, then I started to read again, but recently I've been slumping on and off and I've also been super busy with work and doing long hours so I haven't been able to read as much. I've also been feeling pretty crappy lately. This book has single handedly pulled me right out of every single slump I'm in right now. Reading and emotional wise. I really, genuinely enjoyed it. 

The Waking Land sucked me in immediately from the prologue, I was drawn so easily in to the world of the book. The history, the Gods, it's lore and so on where so rich and detailed, I was so eager to know more about it and learn more about it. I was utterly hooked from page one. The writing is beautiful and brilliant and creates a vivid world that you can get lost in. It's atmospheric, pulling you in to each and every scene as the writing builds the settings around you. It's cinematic for sure! 

There's a brilliant cast of characters populating the book. I loved Elanna, I was on her side from the start. I got where she was coming from, I could see her point of view and I related to and empathised with her not wanting to be used, and yet was being dragged away from what she's known just for that to happen. Not to mention the moment her own parents didn't recognise her and she found out about their ward. My heart literally broke for her. I loved watching her grow and change over the course of the book, becoming stronger. It's a coming of age story and Elanna fits that perfectly. 

Jahan...I shipped Elanna and Jahan so much it hurt. I loved him completely. I loved his banter, and his interactions with Elanna...not to mention his swagger. I loved that there was no love triangle, I could see where the story could have diverged and given us one but nope. Team Jahan all the way! I also loved how things between the two of them weren't as traditional at the end. Jahan was just one of those characters that brought a smile to my face and he was the perfect match for Elanna. 

Along with our main two, we have Finn, who I called straight from the start and his character took an interesting turn. Alistar was brilliant along with his hounds and I ship him and Sophy pretty hard. I would love a book about the two of them. I freaking loved Rhia, she was such a badass and for me...Rhia, Sophy and Elanna where the holy trinity. So ready for a book with all of them working together and being badass and in charge. Victoire was also quite excellent. The Butcher...well...I didn't want to like him, but it reached a point where I had to snigger at his snark, particularly when it was directed at Denis who I hated. 

I do feel like the storyline with Finn and Victoire was quite fleeting, it was there and not really resolved and then things happened and then it was gone, we never saw Victoire's reaction to things etc. Likewise with Elanna's father, I'd have liked to see them reunited and sorting things out. They where almost forgotten, I thought but then again they weren't ultimately the main focus of the book, Elanna was and there was a lot going on. 

The Waking Land has a fantastic pace, the world building is rich and vivid. There's action, intrigue and betrayal all woven together with excellent plot threads. I found myself totally hooked and read the book in one sitting, which is something I haven't done in a good long while. I finished reading at like 2am. Everything came together and wrapped up so well, and the ending was perfect, although I think there's a little opening for a second book, which I wouldn't mind at all! The Waking Land is definitely one of my favourites of the year and it's an intricate and rich read! 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Review: The Forever Ship

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

They were born together and they will die together.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose. The power to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

This review is actually hard for me to write. I loved the first book so much, it sucked me in and I was completely hooked. It was original and brilliantly written and such a great read. The second book lagged a little bit for me, but pulled itself back with the surprising twist at the end that made me reexamine how I looked at the book and the world of the book. 

Now don't get me wrong, as I started to read this I was straight back in to the world of the book. I loved Paloma, she was such an interesting character and had such different experiences from the others, I wanted to know more about her and Elsewhere. Zach is present quite a lot in this book and I actually found him interesting too, as we got to spend more and more time with him it was fascinating to see how he thought and interacted with Cass. There where some brutal betrayals and shock twists that had me gasping and completely blown away. 

I have two problems with this book. The first is that the pace at times is slow, at other times steady and then at others fairly fast. I'd plod through the slower parts and then rejoice at the faster parts. I don't mind a slower pace but the world is pretty bleak and even the happier moments don't really make a dent and with this third book I seriously found myself having to force myself to read it at some points. Yet 50 pages or so later I'd be totally hooked again and invested. Like, this is the third and final book and we spent a lot of time not really doing anything, there wasn't all that much action which I found disappointing as I'd been expecting an explosive finale to match the other two books. The action when it came, riveted me, but I do feel like towards the end of the book things where rushed a little bit. 

My other problem is that as the series went on, I got less and less attached to Cass, less emotionally attached/invested or whatever in her. I loved her in the first book and the second book, but in this book I found myself feeling kind of indifferent to her and not as emotionally attached at all. I was actually more interested in Zach to be honest, and part of me really couldn't blame him for how he felt towards Cass. I saw the Omega's point of view, and I knew Cass's but I also kind of felt for Zach a little bit too. That didn't make what he did right but I could see where he was coming from, something Cass couldn't seem to manage and that bugged me a little bit. That and Zach kept mentioning that Cass never really talked to him about anything, and yet she blames Zach for her eventually being outed. Part of me wonders if Zach would have been different had Cass really spoken and interacted with him. I don't know. 

Anyway, The Forever Ship continued to be atmospheric and vivid. The writing continued to be incredibly well done, I really do love the authors writing, she paints a vivid picture and the battles aren't glorified and neither are the deaths and so on. I just feel like this is the weakest book of the three. I mean the ending was satisfying and it was all wrapped up nicely but I felt no emotional connection to Cass in this book, I don't know why exactly, I don't know if the bleakness of Cass's narrative and the world finally got to me, or if I just wasn't in the right mood or frame of mind. But I found myself a wee bit disappointed all in all. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

YALC 2017 Haul

Hey guys! It's been a while since I've done a blog post that isn't a review! I had a reading slump and got super behind on my review books so I've been rushing to catch up again! I've also been super busy and working a lot so I haven't had much time! 

But today it's finally time for my YALC 2017 book haul! I'm only like 2 or 3 weeks late right?!

So, this was my first time attending YALC, I'd wanted to go a few times before but never really managed it! This year I headed there with my friend for the Friday! I pretty much picked that day because of all the authors I wanted to meet! Amy Alward, Alwyn Hamilton, Melinda Salisbury...all of whom signed my books for me! I so badly wanted to do the Saturday but I had to wait to be paid and then the tickets sold out! 

I feel like the Friday was actually a lot quieter than the Saturday probably was, so maybe it was a good thing for my first YALC trip....forever gutted I missed out on meeting Laini Taylor though! Although meeting the authors did reinforce how awkward I am when it comes to talking to them! 

Anywaaaayyy, on with what you're all here book haul! First up, are the books I fiiiinaaallly bought a copy of, Gollancz had an awesome deal on and I couldn't resist! People have been telling me to read Graceling for ages and I finally have a copy! I kinda think I should have got the other two books at the same time though! As for The Name of the Wind, I have the fancy hardback version but I need a paperback copy too because why not. I also managed to get an early copy of Alex & Eliza for a fiver! Seriously, they'd nearly sold out but I just managed to get a copy and I'm so excited to read it and it looks so pretty! 

The Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. 

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz 

1777. Albany, New York. 
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

Now, I managed to grab some samplers as I was wandering around, and I thought I'd share them with you guys because each of the books sounds amazing, and I'm so excited for them to be released!

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. 
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. 
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .
Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide. 
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding. 

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard. 
And now there's a spirit inside her. 

The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father's rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret. 
But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin

Nell Crane has always been an outsider. In a city devastated by an epidemic, where survivors are all missing parts—an arm, a leg, an eye—her father is the famed scientist who created the biomechanical limbs everyone now uses. But Nell is the only one whose mechanical piece is on the inside: her heart. Since the childhood operation, she has ticked. Like a clock, like a bomb. As her community rebuilds, everyone is expected to contribute to the society’s good . . . but how can Nell live up to her father’s revolutionary idea when she has none of her own?

Then she finds a mannequin hand while salvaging on the beach—the first boy’s hand she’s ever held—and inspiration strikes. Can Nell build her own companion in a world that fears advanced technology? The deeper she sinks into this plan, the more she learns about her city—and her father, who is hiding secret experiments of his own.

Fire Lines by Cara Thurlbourn

When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom?

Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets.

But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed.
Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

And now for the part you've all been waiting for...this next section is all about the ARCS I was lucky enough to grab Friday morning! Like...Jess and I walked in and pretty much rushed around each stand having a browse and seeing if there was anything that took our fancy, because we where only there for one day we wanted to make the most of it! We didn't manage to get one ARC that we'd been desperate for though, buuutt we did get a few others that al sound brilliant! I was terrible at checking Twitter and quite frankly couldn't run weighted down with books! 

Speaking of, as a little side note, I was only there one day but after that and seeing the activity on Twitter for the other two days, it became apparent that it might not have been organised as well as it could have been. Now I was high on the excitement of being there and surrounded by books and seeing bookish people and chatting to them and authors and so on, and if I hadn't been I might have had less of a fantastic time. Hollie's blog post has all the details but if you couldn't run or spend a fortune on 4G to get on Twitter aaalll daaaay, or didn't want to embarrass yourself  to get an ARC then you had no chance, so it wasn't great for a lot of people. It wasn't all publishers, I distinctly remember a couple of publishers using a raffle system for their ARCS which I thought was a nice, fair way to handle it! 

I have to give a huge thanks to Stevie though, because I'd been desperately after a City of Brass ARC and when I bumped in to her she mentioned that HQ where giving out something interesting...and I'm so nosy/overly curious I moseyed right on over and managed to grab one! Cue happy dancing! I also picked up the ARC pictured above with the samplers which I'm excited to read because it sounds amazing!

Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that's what Insiders are told. Twins Eli and Talia shouldn't exist. They're Outsiders. 
Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret. 

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever. 

She'll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process? 
The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut.

The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass--a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Wizards and Robots by & Brian David Johnson

When a young man breaks into her home claiming her life is in danger, Ada Luring's world changes forever. Geller is a wizard, on the run from his father's hidden clan who want to kill Ada and her mother. Sara Luring is the scientist who will create the first robot, the wizards' age-old foes.

But a robot has travelled back in time to find Ada, and will lay everything on the line to protect her, as she may just be the key to preventing the earth's destruction in the future. 
Ada, Geller and the robots must learn to work together to change the past and secure the future. But they don't have much time before a mysterious enemy launches its attack on Earth...
Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty - a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she'll soon discover that reality doesn't always have the happily ever after you'd expect...

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

Wunderkids by Jacqueline Silvester

15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and... two very different boys. 

However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. 

Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run. 

I have to say, I had no idea that Wizards and Robots was written by when I picked it up, or that Undercover Princess was written by a big YouTuber when I picked them up. I spotted an interesting cover, and then loved the synopsis and what the publisher had to say about it and ended up picking them up...then I got home and was like...OH! 

Wunderkids also isn't an ARC, but I've put it with them because I'm going to be reading and reviewing it! 

I have to say, I loved chatting to all the publishers about their books and what was best to read, especially at Gollancz! I went back multiple times because I couldn't decide what to buy and it took me ages to settle on the two I did get and I was holding myself back severely! 

This has been a super long post, but I hope you see a couple of books to add to your TBRS! And check out Hollie's post!


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Review: Legion

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

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all--dragons do not suffer human emotions--let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she's capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante--the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

I have been loving this series, it's unique and fun and I've been completely hooked. The love triangle is finally put to rest in this book, I do think it was dragged on a bit longer than necessary and it was getting very tired for me anyway. This book really felt like a YA to me. It was darker than the others, there was a lot of action and epic fight scenes, but I did find myself cringing a little bit at some of the romance scenes. 

I don't know what it was with this book. I really don't, I've loved Ember in every single book and she's really grown and changed as a character but in this book she really started to bug me. We got some interesting insight in to Dante and how he thinks and what his life has been like, he doesn't have the same view point on their lives as Ember and I think maybe getting so in to Dante's psyche in this book made my opinion of Ember change a little bit. 

We got to see some of their school lives and training, and I actually kind of felt for Dante and I could relate to him and how he was pushed to the side and so on. I could really see where he was coming from, and empathise with him and how he was treated compared to Ember. For me it really showed another side to Ember and I personally, started to perceive her in a different way. Like I said...she kind of started to bug me after that and more and more so as the book went on and we saw more and more through Dante's eyes. Then there was how Ember expected Riley to risk his underground and that whole thing. She just annoyed me this book and I really am annoyed that I got annoyed because it took away my enjoyment of the book and her as a character, and it made me cringe when reading the romance scenes. 

I have to say, I'm much more interested in Riley, Mist and Jade these days. I'm so curious about Jade and Mists and their pasts and the additional plot threads they're bringing to the table with the little mysteries they present. I want to know more about them! I was so pleased Jade was back, she could have some interesting information and I'm curious about the Chinese dragons in general. Then there's Mist who brings us a lot of intrigue and I'm dying to know who she's working for! I also totally ship Riley and Mist, I'm not going to lie! 

Legion is fast paced from the start, the cliffhanger at the end of the last book was so cruel and it's all resolved and sorted in this book and adds an interesting development, I'm sure there's going to be more to it! I did find some parts of this book to be a little bit predictable, but it was still enjoyable despite that. The mystery at the beginning added a whole CSI: Dragon Edition vibe to the book. Or maybe X-Files. 

For me, the last part of the book was perhaps the best, with an epically huge battle scene that had me on edge the entire time, not sure what was going to happen and who was going to die. I knew someone was after Ember's little speech and so on. The POV changes where short and snappy which added to the atmosphere and sense of urgency and tension and chaos. Legion ends on a note of intrigue again, and I'm excited to see how it's all going to end, and see how everything fits together and have all the little threads revealed and so on! I'm hoping I feel differently towards Ember in the next book too! 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Manga: Fairy Tail Vol 61

Fairy Tail Vol 61 
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

As the most powerful wizards of Fairy Tail face off against the remaining members of The Twelve, their hearts, relationships, and skills will be put to the test. The battle between Erza and Irene reaches an emotional conclusion, Gray shows how far he’s willing to go to save his dearest friends, and the love of a father sparks a shocking revelation from August. As Natsu and Zeref’s showdown approaches, both enemies and friends must ask themselves who their true family is! 

Two volumes left. There are literally two volumes left. I am so not ready. I'm really not. I'm going to be devastated when this is over. Absolutely devastated and finding out that after this there's only two volumes left has me taking my time reading this volume and trying not to rush through to the end...something I usually do with these volumes. I read them so fast it's ridiculous but I made a conscious effort to slow down and savour it more! 

With the final volume approaching things are moving quickly with the story, things are tense and edge of the seat and there's lots and lots of dramatic moments happening. Erza's battle concludes and hit me right in the feels, Magnolia is returned, it's revealed why Zeref needs Mavis's power, Natsu is back to normal *cheers* and ready to throw down with Zeref, and so much more. Gray faces off with Zeref alone and there was some serious ugly sobbing going down at Gray's plan and how everything went down and I was left kind of staring at the page like whaaaat just happened!? Did Mashima sensei really just do that!? 

One of my favourite scenes of this volume was a scene that perfectly mirrored an earlier scene in the series with Natsu and Gray. I genuinely can't even. This volume has seriously given me all the feels and knowing the end is nigh really doesn't help! I'm literally so full of tension whenever I pick up a Fairy Tail volume lately! 

We get to see Cana being a badass in this volume as she joins in with Gildarts tackling August. It was nice to see her get some more page time and use her abilities and so on. I also really love seeing her interact with Gildarts, it's funny and heartwarming and such an interesting relationship. I also spent a good chunk of time looking at August like "don't make Gildarts angry bro" but did he listen? Nope. So it kind of serves him right I guess. 

We get to meet Larcade in this volume, and I'd been spoiled about him a long time ago when the chapter originally came out in Japan and spoilers where all over YouTube and Twitter BUT I had completely misread his relationship with Natsu and Zeref. He wasn't at all what I was expecting and I actually felt really sorry for him. I'd quite liked to have seen some more of him and maybe seen him join the Guild and get given another chance. 

Another big moment of the volume is Natsu and Zeref having their showdown, something I've been looking forward to seeing for a while. Unfortunately it's interrupted by Acnologia making his appearance. I'm not going to lie to you guys. Acnologia is a complete and utter psycho. Seriously. I just want him taken out now. Like....come on guys. Time to do your Dragon Slayer duties and deal with him. Although I guess we owe him one for dealing with 'God Serena' for us?

As the volumes progress and we head towards the end, I'm getting hit in the feels more and more. This volume had me choked up more than once, and there was a really beautiful scene with Natsu and Gray. They have such an interesting relationship. They clearly care about each other but they always argue and fight, and in this volume...I think it's the first time Gray's called Natsu his friend. I could be wrong because it's been a while since I read the other volumes, but I think it is and the entire scene really choked me up. Then Natsu comes along like "you're my friend, right Gray?" and I just....*ugly sobbing*. It was so nice to see this genuine moment of friendship between the two of them and know that everything was okay between them after the earlier scenes. 

My one issue with this volume is that it's such a head**** about August and I was like whaaaaat!? and that was it. It would have been nice to see more of him and to see some more to that situation because SERIOUSLY?! 

Fairy Tail always puts me in a great mood, I always turn to it when I'm feeling down and needing a pick me up. It's one of those series where you wish you could join the Guild too, and I end up fist pumping and cheering so much when I read this series. It's obvious things are coming to a close as we're racing towards the climax of this final story arc. Things are getting more and more intense, there's more tension, more shock reveals and more intense battles. Not to mention heartwarming and heart breaking moments between characters. I was so in to this volume and so ready for what comes next and then...IT LEAVES YOU HANGING?! I'm so not cut out for this, I can't take the wait for the next volume after everything we learned in this one! 

One things for sure, this is one of my favourite series of all time and the final two volumes are going to be spectacular! 

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