Friday, 30 March 2018

Review: The Defiant Heir

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

Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a course of action.
Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction.

Amalia and Zaira must go behind enemy lines, using every ounce of wit and cunning they have, to sway Vaskandar from war. Or else it will all come down to swords and fire. 

Nothing kicks off a book like a spot of light pyro and a murder. There's political intrigue from the start with a war brewing and Falcons being targeted. Much like the first book there's action and fast paced parts mixed in with the slower parts. I was hooked in by the intrigue and the action, and trying to work out what Ruven was up to and what was happening. I really loved getting to explore more of the world of the book and getting to explore Vaskander and meet the Witch Lords who where certainly an....interesting bunch! I really do love the world of the book it's so interesting and original and populated by such interesting characters. 

Zaira continues to be my favourite, she's just such a freaking badass and I continue to empathise with her and root for her. Amalia I'm kind of on the fence about at points still, and I felt for her towards the end of the book and we do see her changing and becoming the person she needs to be in this book. I'm excited to see how much more she'll change and develop as a character over the course of the next book! 

We get a brand new character in the form of Kathe and he's exactly the kind of character I love. I think I ship he and Amalia more than I ship she and Marcello. He's more interesting and their banter and relationship is livelier and more interesting than the rather dull one she has with Marcello. Sorry dude! 

The plot pulls you in with the various different elements and the intrigue, there's multiple douchey characters aside from Ruven, for example, Caulin is definitely up to something, I don't trust or like him at all. As we end the book, we're left wanting more with an idea of the direction the next book is going to go! Amalia's proceeding with her bill but no doubt there's going to be some pushback and I'm hoping to get a better look at the Council of Nine and the inner workings of the politics of the world! 

Manga: Kiss Me At The Stroke Of Midnight 4

Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight Vol 4
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Kaede has set up a date to give Hinana her long-awaited first kiss, and the two of them enjoy a magical day at a theme park. But before they can share their promised kiss, a chance encounter with Akira brings unforeseen complications. Then, even more drama unfurls when Kaede's ex-girlfriend catches wind of the fact that he is now dating someone else...! 

Kaede and Hinana head to Charmingland and Kaede is acting like a little kid which is pretty hilarious. It's all going fine until Akira pops up and puts a spanner in the works and ruins Kaede's plan. The story kind of hits the point where in Cinderella it'd all be over because you know how it goes...they kiss, they live happily ever after etc, but this series is going beyond that because it's real life. 

Which means we're in for some drama because Kaede's ex-girlfriend Shu makes an appearance and she's clearly going to cause some trouble and Mitsuki definitely had a hand in it. What is the dude's problem!? I have to say...I really do love Shige, he's hilarious, bless him. Also, the author mentioned Lockheart Castle is a real place and I need to go because it looks awesome! 

There's a lot going on this volume, Kaede and Nana are doing the cute couple thing, and there's lots of fluffy moments, but Mitsuki and Shu also make their moves and I feel like we're going to be hit with a lot of drama and some possible angst in the coming volumes. So I feel like this is the calm before the storm, preparing us for what's to come. It should also be mentioned that Akira has to finally grow the balls to make a move....right? I feel like with Kaede's ex showing up, Akira's going to have an opening.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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. 

Oh. My. God. THIS BOOK. I can't even. I'm always kind of wary of books that have been overly hyped, and by the time I got to this book, it had been out for a little while, and everyone loved it and was raving about it and I was so wary, because my track record with hyped books hasn't been great...but it completely freaking blew me away and has to be one of my favourite books of 2018! The film rights have already been sold and I am so ready for the movie!  

The opening was poetically sad, and it hooked me from the beginning with the action, excellent pacing and history to the world...not to mention the characters! This book is huge, but the chapters are nicely sized, switching between the POVs of our three main characters, and to be honest with you...I sat and read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down and I just kept having to know what happened next. I just couldn't find a place to stop reading that would allow me to function! 

Zelie is a badass who won't take any sh** from anyone. She's determined and she's strong and brave and she keeps on fighting. She's an MC you can really root for and empathise with and just be cheering for. Amari...she took some warming up for me because I wanted to shake her a couple of times in the beginning. I had much the same feelings towards her as Zelie in the beginning but she grew on me and to be fair to her...she's actually quite the badass herself once she starts believing in herself. 

Inan, my first thoughts on him where "oh dude, you've got magic". I wanted to feel sorry for him, I really did, but he made it kind of hard in the beginning. I couldn't make myself trust him, his mind connection with Zelie was screaming Kylo Ren at me and I wasn't going to make that mistake again. I sympathised with Inan and I got where he was coming from but he still frustrated me because he just kept on doing idiotic things and you where like "Don't do the thing Inan....don't do it" and then he went and did it. I enjoyed his struggle, not in a mean way, but it was brilliantly written, him overcoming everything he thought he knew and struggling to deal with the new developments in his life...even if he didn't make the right choices. 

Naturally I ended up loving Roen immediately, and I'm going to be needing more of him in the next book! Also...I ship he and Zelie so bad and I'm so freaking intrigued by him! He's literally the exact kind of character I love immediately and become obsessed with. 

Along with the characters, the world building is vivid, I loved the descriptions and the writing. Children of Blood and Bone is so richly written and steeped in lore and mythology and history that I devoured greedily. I completely lost myself in this book, it was cinematic in that I could picture the whole book playing out on a little screen in my head. I rooted for the characters, I felt despair when it seemed like things where hopeless for them and so on. 

We go on quite the journey with the characters as they track down the artefacts and so on, but we also go on another kind of journey with them as we watch them grow and change as characters and develop in to different kinds of people. For example, the Amari of the end of the book is completely different to the one at the beginning and the same can be said for Inan and Zelie. 

Children of Blood and Bone has twists and turns and things I didn't see coming and some that I did purely because I had no faith in a certain character, and the ending left me wanting more and much like Zelie, I felt quite chilled. What exactly did Amari do? The wait for the next book is going to be excruciating because I'm so ready to dive back in to this world and get back to the characters and see what happens next! 

Manga: Waiting For Spring 5

Waiting For Spring Vol 5
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Summer vacation is in full swing! When Mitsuki and her friends go to the amusement park together, she's faced with plenty of romantic date spots and superstitions. When she finally works up the courage to ask Towa to ride the Ferris wheel with her, her plans are interrupted and she has to think of another way...but just when Mitsuki's about to throw in the towel, Towa picks up the game right where she left off. Alone together on the Ferris wheel, Towa's confession of a secret past may be more than Mitsuki is ready to hear. 

This volume hit me right in the warm and fuzzies you guys! Mitsuki kinda misses her chance to tell Towa how she feels and Ryuji misses a prime chance with Nana. I think Kyosuke spurs Towa on a bit and makes him think a little. He kind of lays down the challenge when he mentioned Aya and kicks Towa's ass in to gear! 

This volume is such a tease with the Mitsuki/Towa moments and the almost thing that happened. But we do make progress as Towa realises his feelings for Mitsuki......fiiiinaaalllyyyyy! But....Mitsuki and Aya do hang out for the first time and she has it out with him about lying to her about being a girl and all of that. They finally have an honest talk and we see deeper in to their friendship and in to Aya himself...but I'm still Team Towa although he might have a struggle on his hands in the upcoming volumes. 

We get some interesting tidbits about Nana dropped, and there's plenty of cute moments no matter who you ship, but with Towa realising his feelings and starting to attempt to do something about it about it..and Aya throwing down the gauntlet for next volume, things are really heating up on the romance front and after this volume we know exactly where everyone stands ready for some drama to kick off! 

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Review: Meddling Kids

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

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven't seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she's got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter's been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting. 

As a huge fan of Scooby Doo as a kid, I had to read this, I just had to! The title made me all nostalgic and brought a load of memories back and I eagerly dove in. I have to say this took some twists and turns I wasn't expecting and the narrative style was a bit jarring at points! 

We have second person, third person, and then at points we shift to what at first seemed like a police interview format, but upon closer inspection was a screenplay format. To be honest, I wasn't entirely a fan of this because I ended up with a bit of a question mark face as I was reading and it switched, and then kept switching. It kept jarring me and I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about it. Some of the descriptions and writing style was also a bit of a struggle for me, some of the sentences where so long, and then he kept making up words and it kept pulling me out of the story. To be honest, I just don't think I got on with his writing style at points, it kind of made me roll my eyes at points too, when it was yet another made up word, it started out being unique and fun but then I got bored of it pretty fast.  

On the plus side, I loved Andy, she was such a badass. The plot itself was twisty and turny and quite creepy, but I was intrigued the whole way through. I loved all of the pop culture references, I thought it was funny and entertaining. The book was full of horror, and adventure and it's very tongue in cheek. Plus the cast is diverse too, which made for a nice surprise! Interestingly this is like a mash up of Scooby Doo and Cthulhu and it was quite a blast to read, and it was interesting to see the teen detective club all grown up which is something that's not usually done (except that one Scooby Doo live action movie), but like I said, there where a couple of things that made me kind of side eye it. 

Light Novel: Sword Oratoria 5

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

The Dungeon's no place for a happy reunion!
After the massive battle that took place on the fifty-ninth floor, Loki Familia embarks on a triumphant return to the surface only to be interrupted by the appearance of an Irregular that forces them to make camp on the eighteenth floor. 
There, Aiz unexpectedly stumbles upon the unconscious form of a familiar white-haired boy, who a certain young elf couldn't be less excited to see. The other members of her familia are curious about him, hoping to find out more about the fastest-growing adventurer in history, but Lefiya has other ideas...
The prologue for this volume swiftly catches us up or rather...refreshes our memories of the previous volume and everything soon comes flooding back until we're right back with the characters. Aiz and Co attempt to return to the surface but have to hole up on the 18th floor, and swiftly end up meeting up with Bell, Welf and Lilly who narrowly escaped a monster of their own. Meanwhile the Gods and Goddesses meet up to share info and Loki starts to probe about the new monster species. Loki, Dionysus and Hermes are certainly an unlikely trio to be working together, and I find them entertaining! Freya....well, she's more and more suspicious by the volume, and Loki appears to be on to her, thank the lord someone is! 
I have to be honest with you guys, Lefiya is starting to irritate me now. Although she and Bell end up lost and alone together and kind of come to an understanding. They have to work together when they spot some Evils in the forests of floor 18 and get trapped by a new monster, and I did like seeing them working together and come to somewhat of an understanding. But Lefiya has seriously been starting to bug me ever since last volume, and this volume she kind of pushed me over the edge, and I'm not entirely sure I'll like her much anymore because I just find her so irritating now! 
Our characters are having quite the party on the 18th Floor, as Hestia and Hermes finally pop up and unite with both groups. There's much speculating this volume about Aiz and if she has the blood of a spirit like Welfs family. Turns out she is according to Riveria but that just deepens the mystery around her and leaves us with plenty of questions about her....for example, who are her parents? I need more information badly! 
We get to dig deeper in to the characters as well as the mystery and the plot as more details are layered in to the plot. Some of the characters we don't see a lot of and don't get much glory, get their chance to shine and we went in depth in to some of the relationships between the characters. 
To be honest with you all, not much happens in this volume, there's only really one battle scene. There's some humour, there's some depth added to the characters and relationships, there's some little threads and tidbits dropped in to keep you intrigued and then at the end a certain piece of interesting information is dropped...but overall it wasn't the most action packed and speedy of volumes, although I do assume all the information dropped is relevant to upcoming developments!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Manga: Kemono Friends

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

Welcome to Japari Park! On an island of animal-human hybrids, friendship and laughter abound, but what else lurks beneath the surface? Based on the sleeper hit anime that took Japan by storm! 

I speculated that there may be a dark element to this based on the synopsis, but I was wrong in that aspect! However, the art is super cute, and I really liked the way the characters where drawn so beautifully, and the scenery and settings are excellent. 

Nana is our main character, and she's tasked with looking after Ezo and Serval mostly. Ezo isn't thrilled with her new caretaker but Nana slowly gets closer to her and it's fun to see them bond and grow closer...not that Ezo would ever outright say it. Nana has to teach her about human society and common sense etc a lot more than the others I would say! 

Kemono Friends is fast paced and it dips in and out of the characters lives and the lessons they learn from Nana as well as learning more about them! Plenty of other characters pop up throughout the volume as well, and I loved getting to know each and every one of them. 

The characters are certainly lively and Ezo is genuinely such a brat...but she's kind of loveable as well. There's plenty of humour and I liked the way each friend/character was drawn and had a personality to match the animal they where. They where a genuinely interesting and fun bunch to spend time with throughout the volume! I feel like some of the lessons being taught to the friends applies to real life too to be honest! 

Kemono Friends is a fun, entertaining read, with a few messages scattered throughout, told via amusing situations involving a bright, and colourful bunch of characters! 

Monday, 26 March 2018

Manga: Baccano 2

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

NEW YORK, 1930
Three years after the Phantom Father incident, Firo is about to get a promotion within the Martillo Family. But the intricate web of fate has other plans in store for him as the elixir of immortality nears its completion, setting off a chain of events that brings together gangsters, alchemists, and everyone in between!
Let the crazy ruckus continue! 
I completely and utterly loved the first volume of Baccano, and it threw me some curve balls with the supernatural twist and got me plenty intrigued with the mysteries. As we start this volume we're hit with a time jump of three years from the end of last volume, which I thought was an interesting development and again....I wasn't expecting it! 
We're now in 1930, post stock market crash! The full colour page immediately grabbed my attention and I was so ready to dive in to this it's chunkier than the previous one which had me all excited too! 
Firo gets promoted to Executive in the Camorra, something I was expecting to see him struggle towards throughout the coming volumes, and I'm intrigued to see what path this will take as it keeps blind siding me every single volume! 
Edward, an Inspector and seeming nemesis of Firo and co appears at the start, along with two new characters. Miriam and Isaac...and I can't even. They're all "We're gonna rob people. We need to keep a low profile." and then being kind of idiotic and bumbly and then trying to be all tough and scary. They're kinda funny and mostly harmless...I think. I actually quite like them, I think! I'm hoping they'll be a permanent fixture. They took us quite the interesting journey as we got to know them and finally figured out what their motivation is, bless them. 
We also meet Dallas, who's a new bad guy going against the Gandors and the Mafia in general by the looks of it. I was actually feeling quite bad for him at one point but by the end of the volume I was like "okay dude...dig your own grave, I'm out". I think he'll be sticking around for a little while, so I'm basically assuming that the new characters introduced in this volume are our permanent cast for the coming volumes after the time jump. I'm kind of looking at Volume 1 as a prologue at this stage! 
Ennis....I felt kind of sad for her. I didn't actually realise she was a she until Firo pointed it out. All thanks to the deceptive art work! She provided a shock twist with who and what she is! She works for Szilard, who's returned to the city after three years...duh. The liquor of immortality is nearly complete, or complete until disaster strikes. Curious as I am about Maiza...he cracks me up and I love his interactions and relationship with Firo! 
We get plenty more background on Szilard and Maiza and what went down on that ship in 1711. Alchemists and alchemy, which I was so not expecting from a manga that I thought was all about the mafia! There's some interesting information/lore on how it all works, and I'm a sucker for the details in this series! 
I love the Gandors, Luck in particular! Their friendship with Firo is cute and hilarious at the same time, and I like how they switch their personalities depending on the occasion. I'm so excited we're getting to see them in this volume as I wasn't sure if things may have changed in the three year gap! Although things aren't looking good for them at the end of the volume! 
The historical detail, including slang in the dialogue is genuinely amazing and I'm living for all the various different kind of details in this volume, both historical and otherwise! My one gripe is...where  is Claire?! 
As we head towards the end of the volume, things really start to kick off and to quote the volume....the stage is set! There's certainly going to be a lot of chaos coming up, and I'm excited to see all of these various different, yet interesting characters all working together or against each other or whatever! Upon completing this becomes clear that we should treat vol 1 as a prologue, introducing us to the characters, while this volume really kicks off the story! 

Friday, 23 March 2018

Manga: Angels of Death 2

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

As amnesiac Ray and cutthroat killer Zack try to break out of the basement, they finally arrive at the graveyard that is Floor B4. There, a boy who's become quite taken with Ray has been lying in wait... 

So, I completely and utterly fell in love with this series from volume 1, and I'm trying to work out how to play the game on my Macbook, so I've been eagerly waiting the next volume and I pretty much devoured it straight away! 

I really want to like Zack and I low-key ship he and Ray, I'm not going to lie. This volume gives us some background on Zack and his past which I've ben curious about since the previous volume and I wasn't entirely expecting to get such a chunk of backstory so soon. He's almost heroic at one point in this his own, creepy, serial killer kinda way. Bless him. 

Ray and her lack of emotions is genuinely fascinating to me, and I have so many questions about her and her past and why she is the way she is, and who she is and so on. I was hoping for some clues or tidbits this volume but nope! Zack is taking his pact with her pretty seriously, much to my surprise, and it seems she is too. To be honest, if this goes the romance route it's gonna be one weird romance but I'm so ready for it! 

The murderer of the volume is Edward Mason, the creator of the grave stones and he seems to know Zack, presumably from them living in this complex together. It was actually pretty funny. Eddie is one of those creepy kid characters that make you dislike kids a little bit. He's also been taking fashion advice from Jack Skellington. I's a sack but it looks kinda like a pumpkin. I actually empathised with him at the start, before he went full crazy. Because I could see where he was coming from. 

That's the thing about these characters, you kinda like them or empathise with them before they flip their switch and reveal the killers they are. In Rachel's case you feel for her and you're curious about her but there's also something off about her and that feeling grows in this volume. Much as I ship she and Zack, they're kind of unsettling both separately and together. In Zack's's mentioned again that while he's a serial killer, and you find out his past and two of his victims, (I mean fair play, you can't say they didn't have it coming) you hear again how he's failed to kill anyone in the building and I genuinely think/hope that there's more to him, that he might not be who we think he is. I'm hoping he'll surprise us! 

I love the detail given to the characters at the end of each volume, and in the volume itself. So with Eddie for example, he's really fleshed out, considering you only get him for one volume, and you really get to understand him as a character. It's really well done, it makes them more than just throwaway characters for one volume. 

This volume focuses on the one floor, B4, and it's a speedy journey through it, Zack and Ray come to more of an understanding, and then we get a glimpse of our next killer who looks like yet another vastly different one to the others we've seen so far! 

Once again, the art is oddly cute, considering the murderers and serial killers, like Eddie is hella creepy moving in the dark and appearing and disappearing, and his whole grave thing...but his mask is just so damn cute! It's odd to feel tension reading certain scenes in this and it being because of a cute pumpkin/sack headed kid. I don't think I'll ever get bored of this series, there's so many interesting aspects to it, and the characters and their development are really well done! 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Review: The Belles

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

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. 

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. need to read this book, it was freaking awesome! I wasn't entirely sure if it was a standalone or not but after the ending, there's no doubt and I'm excited for the next book...I need it like, yesterday! I also wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book but it actually blew me away.  

The Belles is intriguing from the start and I found the descriptions to me vivid and bright. The settings all sound very beautiful and colourful and bright...but there's a darkness seeping in along with the feeling that something isn't quite right at the palace and the tea house and so on. It's literally like looking at a colourful, beautiful exterior and then scratching it a little bit and seeing the dank, dark underbelly. There's little tidbits dropped throughout that have you thinking "hang on a minute..." and giving you a sense of foreboding as you try to work out what's going on. Literally nothing is as it seems, situations...characters, none of it. 

I have to say, I really loved our MC, Camille, she was imaginative, and bored of being told what to do. She questions things and makes her own decisions....she's inquisitive and I loved her for it. She see's something's wrong and she doesn't just ignore it and go about her day, she investigates. Bree I really loved, I was a bit wary of her at first but it became clear she's loyal to Camille and I liked the relationship between the two. Camille and her sister Belles had a brilliant dynamic and relationship amongst them, even if Amber was being a brat a few times and I wasn't sure I liked her...I eventually warmed to her. I'd have loved to have seen some more of the relationship between all of them, but I'm hoping in the next book we get to see more of Amber and Edel and get to know them more!

Remy....I ship he and Camille so bad and I'm not sure if I'm supposed to but I was all set to dislike the grumpy pants....and then I just ended up loving him. Bless him, he tried so hard to try and be friendlier and you got to know more about him and it's impossible not to end up liking him. Although he does give you pause towards the end! As for Auguste....he's charming. Which made me suspicious from the start. I wanted to trust him, I really did, but I couldn't quite bring myself to because I always felt there was something slightly off about him. 

This book was somewhat of a hard read for me, as someone who's struggled with their appearance since I was a teenager, and often wished for the things in this book, you know...being able to effortlessly change how you appear and so on. This book shows what's wrong with that. It makes you question it. It makes you see that it wouldn't be a good thing, it shows you what could go wrong and Camille herself just wants people to love themselves and that's what she wants to achieve with her gift, it was actually a really lovely message for the book, if not a hard one to accept. 

It genuinely did not take me long to get fully sucked in to this book, there are so many snakes throughout I was never sure who could be trusted, and there's a completely psychotic Princess. Sorry not sorry, but she genuinely is a psycho. I'd say I love to hate her, but really I just hate her, she's awful. There where so many fun, imaginative little details thrown in, I have to say, it really let my imagination run wild as I pictured the world. The pace was good anyway but towards the end it really picked up and then plot twists get thrown at you one after the other and one event triggers others until the book finishes with a bang. Like seriously....I'm gonna be needing more and I'm gonna be impatient while I wait. 

Manga: Graineliers 2

Graineliers Vol 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Luca and Abel have been rounded up to work on the construction of a government research facility, but it's actually a trap to identify carriers! The National Grainelier Special Education and Research Institute chair, Nicolas, has laced the water with an herbicide that's harmless to humans but disastrous to seed carriers. With suspicion hanging heavy over the young men, will Luca's secret be discovered? 

As we open the volume, Luca's secret is dangerously close to being discovered and while he's not fully outed, I guess you could say, he's still pretty much discovered. He and Abel are separated and Luca is heading towards Headquarters with Nicolas and his guard...until something goes wrong. 

There's a fun twist about Nicolas that's going to prove to be veeerrryyy interesting, considering what it implies and the other bits of information we get from some other sources throughout the volume. Things aren't entirely what they seem, and I'm excited to watch it play out and see what he can help Luca with. 

Hugues continues to be mysterious as the volume starts and he clearly knows more than he lets on. As the volume progresses, he turns in to one of the more interesting characters. He's a part of Insecte, the opposition to the Graineliers and something of a terrorist group and he invites Abel to join, which is something I didn't entirely see coming. I'm really enjoying how the world is getting embellished upon and built up more and more with each volume, with new elements being brought in. 

Abel certainly has a decision to make and I'm intrigued to see what he chooses. 

Graineliers is certainly fast paced, and I'm actually enjoying how it's moving things along because it does so without sacrificing world building or backstory, which this volume proves as we get more backstory on the world and how the seeds work, as well as having some blanks about the characters filled in. Things are presented differently in this volume as secrets come to light. 

Abel and Luca are on different paths now and I'm excited to see how they'll grow and change in coming volumes. Plus there's still the mystery of Luca and what seed he has and his father and so on, all to be untangled and revealed. I still can't quite decide if I like Nicolas, and I guess it'll depend on how the next volume or two plays out! This volume in certainly full of surprises! 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Review: The City of Brass

The City of Brass
Rating: 2.5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

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 . . .

Okaaaaay so everyone loves this book and I've been told multiple times how amazing it is, and I finally got a chance to read it after being super busy. However, I'm kind of still not sure how I feel about it. My main issue with the book is that I spent three quarters or so of it kind of bored. Don't get me wrong, I thought the world building was brilliant, but I don't think we needed to spend quite so much time on it, because for me, it really affected the pace and I found myself kind of mildly bored and waiting for things to happen. I also got a little bit confused a few times too which made it difficult for me, the ending was mind blowing though! 

I love anything to do with Egypt or folklore in general, and this book sounded badass, djinn....a con artist MC.....this had been on my radar since last year! I thought the book was richly written, and like I said, the world building was brilliant. But it took me a while to get in to the book, and I spent most of the time reading waiting for things to finally happen, which they did towards the end of the book. By that point I felt like it came maybe a little too late, there was just too much for most of the book where nothing was really happening, our MC doesn't even hit the city until probably half way through. Like the beginning seemed promising and I thought it was going to be fast paced...but it slowed right down and while I loved the writing and the world building...the pace was an issue. 

Don't get me wrong, when everything kicks off at the end it was exactly what I'd been hoping for. Epic battle scenes, with rich writing and detail and information thrown in...but it took so long to get there that I couldn't quite appreciate it. I feel like it would have been better if some of the information had been thrown in here and there rather than all shoved in to the front half of the book. I very nearly gave up on this book because of the slow pace, and the confusion I felt when it came to the rules and inner workings of Daevabad. 

I find myself saying this phrase again but....don't get me wrong, I love it when a book has a meaty amount of political intrigue to sink my teeth in to, it pulls me in and gets me hooked on the book and even puts me on edge at points depending on the book. But when it came to this book, yes, the political intrigue drew me in to an extent, and at points I was feeling quite tense...but I was also very confused for a chunk of the book and even after reading the information at the end of the book I still don't feel like I have everything straightened out. 

There was just too much information and I couldn't sort through it all, it was overwhelming and I felt like a lot of it was all going over my head. I just couldn't wrap my head around most of it. I have to say, I feel incredibly dumb because I still don't know what the difference between some of the factions are and what their problem is exactly and who was working with who against who and why, it made me feel quite fed up to be honest which was disappointing to me. In short....and I never thought I'd be saying this, the world building, while brilliant, was just so damn complex it swiftly crossed over in to confusing and I just couldn't straighten out who was what....Djinn? Daeva? I have no clue. 

As for the characters, I found myself oscillating between liking them and disliking them. Nahri I initially started out liking, she's the kind of MC I love and cheer for, she had attitude, she was a con artist who survived on her wits and was kind of a badass because she was so independent. She did what needed to be done and she was smart, plus she could heal people. My issue with her was that she swiftly went down hill, she irked me more than once and I wanted to smack her a time or two but by the end of the book I felt like she became like every other MC I've ever been disappointed with, you know the ones? The ones that make stupid decisions for no good reason and become a little bit useless and irritating, and it was such a disappointment for me because she was so promising in the beginning.

Nahri is one of our view points, the other is Ali, and I was never entirely sure I liked him. Mostly because I was confused about who was on who's side and why and who the bad guys where supposed to be. I liked him in the beginning....but then I disliked him a bit because he was a wee bit stupid and gullible at points, and then I started to like him again in time for him to jump on Nahri's "Stupid decisions" bandwagon and then that was it for me. I was just so frustrated and done. Plus there where hints of a love triangle and I'm really not here for that. 

Dara was another source of mixed feelings for me, he was mysterious and I was intrigued by him and his past and as we got tidbits of what had happened to him and what he'd done I really felt for him, but he reached a point when I was kind of done with him because he became so arrogant and was kind of a d***. Like I get his view point, I really do, but at this point Ali was pretty much the only character I cared about and then Dara came in and started acting like an arrogant prat and I just couldn't get over it. By the end of the book I really didn't like him, and I didn't particularly like Nahri for going along with him. I didn't particularly care for their romance either. 

I loved the legend and myth that went in to the book, and the writing was vivid, towards the end of the book I did get pulled in by all the plot twists that kept changing my perception of things and the action and the treachery and plotting, and I was kind of devastated by the end of the book...and then the prologue? The prologue was epic. Unfortunately it's a bit of a slog to get there, as you have to wade through over 300 or more pages of info dumping that goes from being manageably complex to swiftly making you confused AF, which kind of overshadowed the whole reading experience for me. I don't know...maybe I'm just dumb, but like I said...I'm still not entirely sure what was going on with the different tribes and so on. Alongside the info dumping the only other thing really happening is the flirting between Dara and Nahri and I was too busy being confused to really focus on it, or care much for it. 

I don't think I've ever been sadder to give a bad review to a book to be honest, because I was just so excited for it and eager to read it and it ended up being such a struggle for me. 

Manga: Aoharu x Machinegun 9

Aoharu x Machinegun Vol 9
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

"I lost everything...I don't have anything left in this world..." 

Toy Gun Gun and Star White team up for the counter battle against 11 DOGs. While fighting alongside Midori as a two-man cell, a glimpse up at the sky brings memories rushing back to Matsuoka. 

This volume opens interestingly as we get an in depth look at Matsuoka's past and his relationship with Midori, and how it all went wrong...sort of. I have plenty of questions along the same line as Matsuoka, but we get to see how he got involved in the survival games and so on. 

Speaking of Matsuoka, he finally manages to get a grip on himself, which I've been shrieking at him to do since last volume. It's been interesting watching his little break down and how he pulls himself out of it and overcomes it. But it looks like he and Midori won't be friends ever again despite working together in this volume. 

This volume finishes off the battle with 11 Dogs, but it plants seeds for some interesting developments next volume. Yukimura has a strange memo in his hand at one point which I'm guessing is a plot set up for the next volume?! Or possibly the future. But you know...I need to know NOW! 

And damn....this volume ends on such a cliffhanger like....FINALLY the reveal is nigh, and I've been waiting for it for ages because how can Matsuoka be so dumb, but the volume's like "nah mate, wait until next volume" like.....I HAVE BEEN WAITING PATIENTLY FOR 9 VOLUMES FOR THIS ALREADY DAMMIT, I NEED IT NOW! I'm so ready for next volume, because things are certainly going to change and there's going to be some drama after this volume that set some things up and filled in some important backstory for us! It really does have an excellent plot pace! 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Review: The Hazle Wood

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

Alice has spent most of her life on the road, always one step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at her heels. But when Alice's grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her isolate estate - the Hazel Wood - Alice discovers how bad her luck can really get.

Her own mother is stolen away - by a figure who claims to come from the supernatural world where the fairy tales are set. Alice's only clue is the message left behind:


To rescue her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began...

I picked up an ARC of this at YALC and recently got a finished copy in Fairy Loot and so I finally got around to picking it up and I thought I'd do a quick review for it! I've seen a lot of people loving this book and raving about it but I'm honestly kind of on the fence about it. 

On the plus side, this book was so very creepy, and there where plenty of plot twists throughout the book. I also really loved the way the stories where woven throughout the main plot. I really liked Finch too, but he wasn't enough to make up for my issues with the book. 

Aside from the time I spent confused and feeling kind of dumb, to be honest, I really didn't get on with the MC Alice. I just didn't like her. I thought she was kind of a cow to be honest, and I really didn't care what was happening to her. I get why she was like that because it's explained at the end of the book, but she was really very horrible, particularly to Finch who was going out of his way to help her. I can't really blame him for what he did to be honest. 

I also found the book to be quite slow and I pretty much forced myself to get through it because everyone had been raving about it and I felt dumb for not loving the book yet, and it made me feel like I didn't get it. However, once I'd finished the book....I still didn't really love the book. The plot just never fully drew me in, and while the writing was flowery, it was also kind of....pretentious. I didn't actually think this was a YA book at first to be honest. Overall it left me feeling underwhelmed and slightly stupid. 

Manga: Days of Goddess

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

While adventurers crawl the Dungeon, the gods and goddesses of Orario are always working hard behind the scenes for their beloved children! The deities who remain on the surface might not brave the labyrinth's depths, but they're just as busy--all of them occupied with duties like managing their familia's business, striking deals, gathering information, or going shopping, stuffing their faces, lounging about not doing much of anythi--adventures! So many adventures! Who can really say what happens in the sometimes precious, occasionally chaotic day-to-day lives of this charming pantheon?

I've been waiting for this volume with baited breath because I completely love Hestia, so I've been excited to see her in the spotlight and see some more of her finally! 

The art is so freaking cute, I'm not going to lie! I seriously love it! The intro to Orario did get a wee bit repetitive but they cut it out after a couple of the shorts. The little shorts themselves where hilarious, and we got to see more of Hestia's everyday life and what she gets up to! Her interactions and relationships with the other gods and goddesses where shown more too which I love! Some of them are like a bickering family. Plenty of familiar faces pop up throughout the volume, not just gods and goddesses! I think Miachi might be one of my favourites now too! I can't quite decide on Loki, but we do get to see a lot of her! We also see Bete like we've never seen him genuinely can't be unseen and will haunt me whenever I read the main series! 

Some of the lines they used cracked me up so much, "Is it wrong to try and work in a dungeon" and so on. I fully cackled. We also get treated to drunk Hestia, Miachi, and Eina and it is freaking hilarious. I'm going to be needing more of that! 

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this spin off, but it ended up being hugely entertaining and had me laughing so much! I also wasn't expecting the shorts to be quite so connected, I guess because of how it was described as four panels I assumed it was going to be separate stories for each of the shorts! I really enjoyed seeing more of Hestia and learning more about her and the other gods and goddesses because I've been so curious about them and how they interact! The interactions between Lilly, Welf, Hestia, Bell and Aiz where hilarious too! 

Days of Goddess is genuinely so funny, and it's not afraid to make fun of itself if all the "is it wrong to *insert word here* in a dungeon" gags are anything to go by! I actually really enjoyed this, like I knew I was going to enjoy it anyway, but it was even better than I was expecting! I look forward to more! 

Monday, 19 March 2018

Manga: Forbidden Scrollery 2

Forbidden Scrollery Vol 2
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In the mystic realm of Gensokyo, library worker Kosuzuna awakens to her ability to read demon books. This volume crosses over with the games Double Dealing Character and Hopeless Masquerade of the Japanese hit franchise, Touhou! 

The art is quite simply, freaking gorgeous and I love it! The stories are brimming with yokai and myth and legend and sprinkles of our world. The characters are entertaining and intriguing and while the stories are separate, each one is fun and has a lot of depth and detail to it, which I find a pleasant surprise! Although I did wonder if this volume might start to form a plot, with each chapter being linked and so on, but the stories cover one chapter, two at most and remain separate. But like I said...surprisingly they have a lot of detail to them! 

I feel like this volume lets us get to know the characters and their personalities more than the previous volume, and I'm more and more intrigued by them. I'm a sucker for myths and legends too...not to mention yokai so I eagerly read each chapter, let alone volume! The stories themselves continue to be entertaining and colourful too! 

Manga: Love and Lies 4

Love and Lies Vol 4
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The system of governmentally-arranged marriage is supposed to make everyone's life easier, but it's not working for Yukari Nejima. His class is staging a production of Romeo and Juliet for the school festival--and the girl he loves, Misaki, is playing Romeo! Opposite her as Juliet is Yukari's best friend, the perpetually-misunderstood Yusuke. With Yukari working backstage and his governmentally-assigned partner Lilina in the audience, the class play is going to have more star-cross'd lovers than anyone bargained for! 

Yukari asks for advice from the shady government dude (Yajima) from before who could prove to be an interesting character, judging from the snapshot of his backstory that we got, I'm actually hoping to see more of him. I don't think he's entirely down with the notices. Anyways, Yukari opts to follow his feelings, which are kinda complicated right now because he's caught feelings for Lilina methinks. 

Interestingly Yusuke's dad makes an appearance and we finally get to know Yusuke a bit more, which I've been waiting for. The more volumes I read, the more and more certain I am that my suspicions about Yusuke are correct, it's just whether or not the manga is actually going to address that. It'll add an interesting development to the love triangle...square...thing. Whatever you want to call it, it's certainly deepening. 

Some new faces appear and things might finally be getting interesting as I feel things have been quite slow for the past volume or so, and it appears someone may have messed with the government notices, which is yet another interesting development that this volume hits us with! It's added a nice mystery element that's caught my curiosity. 

Friday, 16 March 2018

Manga: Clockwork Planet 7

Clockwork Planet Vol 7
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Amid all the conspiracies and plots, the government is forced to come to a stalemate. When threats from mysterious parties and all-powerful weapons seem impossible to overcome, the leader of the military coup starts calling the shots. What's more, the leader's intent behind the coup is more dangerous to humanity than any could have imagined. Japan's national crisis has hit its peak, and Naoto and his friends stand at the core! 

The latest volume of Clockwork Planet is action packed from the start, I loved how the whole attack was drawn, with Naoto and his phases and so on, and the contrast between Ryuzu and Anchor as they attack. Vermouth fully has me cackling too. Volume 7 has a completely hilarious opening chapter! 

The volume is moving things along when it comes to the plot, we have Halter making his return finally, and Marie appears to maybe have a cool power? Or is she just a genius? Or both? Who knows. But Naoto and co swiftly enter the palace and we meet HRH Hoshi. They finally introduce themselves as basically the second Y and present themselves as an enemy to all of Japan, therefore giving the army something to work together on and forget the infighting. 

However, our bad guy is fully gunning for Naoto. He's revealed to be Hirayama and we get a load of backstory on him and what his issue is. Not only that but things are looking pretty dire towards the end of the volume and Anchor runs off to try and save the day while Marie and Naoto have a bit of a bicker. 

Volume 7 brings in a new character who's going to be interesting for sure, and I'm intrigued to see what part they're going to play. The world itself is expanded upon, and we get a lot of backstory and motivations for other characters that we've been curious about. I'm still not entirely sure where this story is going as a whole, but the current arc is definitely shaping up to be pretty epic! 

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Blog Tour: The Bitter Twins

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

The Ninth Rain has fallen, the Jure'lia have returned, and with Ebora a shadow of its former self, the old enemy are closer to conquering Sarn than ever.

Tormalin the Oathless and the Fell-Witch Noon have their hands full dealing with the first war-beasts to be born in Ebora for nearly three hundred years. But these are not the great mythological warriors of old; hatched too early and with no link to their past lives, the war-beasts have no memory of the many battles they have fought and won, and no concept of how they can possibly do it again. The key to uniting them, according to the scholar Vintage, may lie in a part of Sarn no one really believes exists, but finding it will mean a dangerous journey at a time of war...

Meanwhile, Hestillion is trapped on board the corpse moon, forced into a strange and uneasy alliance with the Jure'lia queen. Something terrifying is growing up there, in the heart of the Behemoth, and the people of Sarn will have no defence against these new monsters. 

I've been waiting for this book eagerly, because the previous book, The Ninth Rain, had some mind blowing plot twists and blew me away and the end certainly left me wanting for more. One of my favourite things about this book is the lack of a lengthy recap going back over everything. We get glimpses of the war beasts via some different POV's, and then we're back with Tor and the crew and everything comes flooding back, with a brief reminder here and there. 

The POV's switch up as our group split up and head off on different missions. Tor and Noon head off on a search for something mentioned in the previous book, while Bern and Aldasair have a job of their own to do at Bern's home, and Vintage holds down the fort. Not to mention Hestellion's POV. I'm not going to lie, I really didn't like her in the first book and I still can't quite make my mind up about her in this book, I spend a lot of time side eyeing her and towards the end I was kind of mentally berating Tor for not killing her when he had the chance. I just can't decide if I like her. Having said that, it's interesting watching her character develop throughout this book, and I'm interested to see where she's going. 

On the subject of familiar faces, Tor has Kirune, his war beast, to bond with...and it's an interesting relationship in the start. Kirune basically ignored everything he said. Funnily enough I did get where Kirune was coming from and Vostok was irritating me too so I feel ya dude. I liked seeing Tor and Kirune bond and come together in this book, their bickering was pretty funny too. Tor finds out an interesting revelation that he has to deal with. I do want to smack Tor sometimes but he's one of my favourite characters. I feel like we start to bond with him and the other existing characters more in this book as we get to explore their characters more.

Noon....I don't know why, but at points in this book she really was beginning to bug me, she and Vostok both. I really liked her in the previous book, but this book...she was just annoying me a lot of the time, which I was kind of disappointed with. Although the final scene with her...I was cheering because finally! I'm so ready to see that scene! I have to mention Aldasair and Bern briefly because I freaking love them and I was so happy with developments for them in this book...well most. Something unpleasant happens to Bern that had me screaming, but he and Aldasair..HELL YES! I feel like we get to know both of them so much more this book and I loved seeing them come in to their own.

Vintage continues to freaking crack me up, she's got such a potty mouth and it has me in fits of giggles. I'd repeat some of her lines here but she has a lot of F-bombs. I really felt for her when certain things went down, it was something I didn't see coming, although I was shouting at her and Eri both because I knew full well what was going to happen and they where so blind to it! Eri is one of the new characters we meet in this book and I was kind of side eyeing him at the beginning, but I ended up really loving him, and he broke my heart in the end! The bickering war beasts where a highlight too, I'm not going to lie and it was interesting watching them grow closer with their respective warriors. 

The world building is truly brilliant, and the battle scenes are written so vividly. We take to the skies more for battles in this book because you know...war beasts! Which was an interesting change to the kind of battle scenes I usually see in books. There's so much freaking heartbreak and betrayal in this book, but also humour and action and just general epicness!  There's some more mad plot twists throughout this book, and we get hit with some huge reveals as what we thought we knew is turned upside down and expanded upon. 

And ya know...once again we're left wanting for more! This is such an original and intriguing series! 

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