Friday, 29 June 2018

Blog Tour: Ravencry

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

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery.

I think you all saw this coming, after I read, loved and raved about Blackwing, am I right? I absolutely had to be part of the blog tour for Ravencry, and I shrieked when my copy arrived in the post! I've been anticipating this book so freaking much! Blackwing was a book that surprised me, pulled me in, and completely hooked me. It was dark, gritty and a brilliant debut and I instantly loved it....Ravencry is an absolutely fantastic sequel! The sequel we deserve...the sequel we need. 

If it's been a while since you read Blackwing, fear not. Ed's got you, with a *adopts Ian Sterling voice* "Previously on Raven's Mark"! I have to say, it was nicely done, it wasn't pages was the bare bones of what you need to know, and everything came flooding back. I remembered most bits, but it threw me back in to the world, prompted my memory and it was like I'd never even left. 

Ravencry's opening line immediately lures you in, and the first page in general pulls you effortlessly back in to the world of the book. You know what Ryhalt's doing is a Bad Idea and you know it won't end well...but I was kind of fondly chuckling like "Oh Ryhalt". It's just standard Ryhalt. There's no hanging about, we're straight in at the first chapter with a mystery presented to us, a plot to unfurl and it swiftly delved in to some action, before nailing us with the last line. And that's literally just the first chapter, it's all go from there and I was more than happy to make myself comfortable for the next few hours and get lost in the latest adventure....crisis....situation. 

Once again, Ed's writing is on point. The world closes in on you as you read, rising out of the murky depths of your memory until you're ensconced in the dark and gritty world of the book once again. Personally, I see everything in shades of grey and black when it comes to this world, the world comes across to me as dark and murky, and Ed wonderfully paints a picture for you with his descriptions. The world is built up some more this time round, and it's effortlessly done. I love cinematic, atmospheric and and vivid the writing is. The phrases, and language used fits the characters perfectly and helps to bring them to life, it fits the world perfectly, which helps to suck you in. 

The thing I love about the writing is that it brilliantly creates the world, fleshes it out, pulls you in, and the descriptions paint pictures...but the writing is swift. There's no long and stodgy descriptions as in some fantasy books. Plus Ryhalt's narrative voice is excellently brought back to life for Ravencry! Courtesy of Ryhalt, (and a few other characters, but mostly Ryhalt) we get treated to some brilliant sprinkles of humour. Honestly...he swears as much, if not more as I do and I constantly find myself cackling at his narrative and some of his one liners. 

He continues to be a relatable and realistic character for me. Never have I applauded and cheered a character so much as Ryhalt. Doesn't matter what he's doing. Kicking ass? Bluntly answering the one question all of us tattoo owners are sick of answering? Generally doling out some sass? All of it has me reacting some way. 

Of course, Ryhalt's great and everything, but there's a brilliant support cast too! Tnota returns, but we don't get to see all that much of him, which made me sad, but he does save the day so it's all good! poor Nenn returns to us this book. I love Nenn, and this book hit me right in the feels when it came to her. Right. In. The. Feels. She banters with Ryhalt brilliantly, she doesn't take shit from anyone, and she's an all round brilliant character....I screamed/shrieked at the events surrounding Nenn. Sorry not sorry. I stand by my statement that she needs her own book one day! 

Dantry makes a return too, but he is not the Dantry we remember and I was kinda sad about that. I mean I figured he might be a bit different after the last book but honestly...I felt so bad for him. I was rooting for him to pull himself together and get back on track, and I'm hoping we get to see that next book. He and Ryhalt could go on an interesting journey next book, and I'd be interested in seeing how they work together after everything that's happened. 

Interestingly Maldon Gleck is back. On the one hand...when I visualise him...he kinda creeps me out a bit. On the other hand, when I visualise him, and how he looks, saying some of the things he says...he makes me chuckle. He's an odd one. I ended up quite liking him actually, he's funny in his own way and he's quite the scary genius when it comes to weapons. I'm actually looking forward to seeing more of him, I loved his interactions with Ryhalt and the banter they had. 

Along with the old, we get some new characters. Amaira who becomes kind of like a daughter to Ryhalt, I was so hoping what happened to her wouldn't happen but it has, and I'm looking forward to getting to see some more of her, and see her come in to her own. Valiya...I actually liked Valiya and I was kinda sad Ryhalt didn't go for her, even though I understood why. Betch....I can't talk about Betch. It makes my heart hurt. 

My most hated character of the book? Thierro. He was just...slimy. I didn't trust him from the start and I did feel kind of bad about that until my suspicion was vindicated! I spent so much time side eying him, and then he started up his merry band of was obvious he was up to no good. He also does that irritate, smirky expression with the little two finger salute thing. *shudder* I'm not going to lie, I wanted him dead pretty early on in the book. Unfortunately he heralds something much bigger, shall we say. An old face from the previous book makes their unfortunate return. 

My favourite character? Aside from Ryhalt...Ryhalt's Raven friend that loves to cuss and give brutal pep talks. Bring him back! 

Plot wise, the mystery builds up. We have the mystery of who took the Eye, and why. The mystery of the "Bright Lady". Not being funny...the Bright Order screamed shady and up to no good, I just couldn't work out what their overall aim was. As the mystery builds, different clues and threads are thrown in. There's plenty of plot twists, I found myself screeching and screaming at this book, reluctant to put it down...but also wanting to savour it and make it last. 

Ravencry is an excellent follow up to a blinding debut. Everything I loved about the first book was back. The action, the brilliantly written fight scenes, the fantastic cast of characters, the humour, the atmosphere...I was on the edge of my seat a hell of a lot this book, the wonderful descriptions, the cinematic air to it, the sprinkles of humour. The gritty, dark brilliance. All of it's back. 

Ed steadily builds the mystery up and the twists keep you on your toes. Then, the puzzle pieces all fall in to place as the plot explodes with action, drama and violence. And cursing. Because Ryhalt. Ravencry has so many heart stopping moments...but also heart breaking ones too. And thanks to the humour...and Ryhalt, I found myself laughing at the curse words at inappropriate moments. It's a wonderfully wild ride, we get back in to the Misery, we explore the streets of the city, all while trying to work the puzzle see how everything fits together and see what the bigger picture is. The characters are as memorable as the setting, and I was sad to leave them all behind as this book came to a close. You know what made me sadder? The ending. 

As the book comes to a close, with everything resolved (mostly), you're left to ponder "What next?"...for about two seconds before Ed hits you with his final line. His final, brutal, cruel line. The final line to end all lines. I kid you not, I sat there staring at it for a few minutes, slowly mulling it over, putting pieces together, and trying not to lose my shit. "How could you leave us hanging like that?" "Who said that was okay?" "What is life". All thoughts I had after reading that final line. Because if that means what I think it means...then holy shit. Ed has done us dirty making us wait for the next book after dropping that little bomb. 

Ravencry ends as explosively as it starts, and one things for sure...this series is going from strength to strength. The Raven's Mark is hands down one of my favourite fantasy series, and it continues to blow me away with each new instalment. If you're looking for a cracking fantasy read this summer...look no further! 

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Manga: How To Treat Magical Beasts

How to Treat Magical Beasts: Mine and Master's Medical Journal Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

In an age of science and forgotten magic, mythic beasts are beginning to disappear from the world. A young girl named Ziska, born into a line of mages, becomes the apprentice to a veterinarian of regular animals?but Ziska's interests lie with beasts of a more magical nature. Can she help these creatures of legend survive in a world that is leaving them behind?! 

First things first...the art is really gorgeous! The characters, and the creatures are really beautifully drawn! I found myself admiring the art properly on each page, rather than just zeroing in on the speech bubbles and giving the art a cursory glance like I sometimes do with some series! 

I thought the world was really interesting, science is taking over and magic is being forgotten and as the world forgets about magic, people can't really see the creatures. Ziska can see them because she's a magic caster and her master Niko can see them too even though he's all about science and medicine and uses that to help cure them. He and Niko use a combination of her magic and his medicine to heal them, which is a combination that makes a lot of time I find the series all about magic just use that to heal a lot of the time! Niko seems to know all about these creatures, and he's passing that knowledge on to Ziska! 

I was fascinated by all the magic and myth and legend throughout the volume. I loved all the information on the creatures and what they could do and how they're perceived. One creature was seen as a shooting star, for example! 

There's a bit of mystery as Ziska's magic could be more than it first appears, and we do get to see two different sides to it. One side you could arguably call the Dark Side. It'll be interesting to see if she's going to struggle with that, or if it'll be all healing magic, and rainbows. So far we've had a creature a chapter, although we're left on a cliffhanger as we experience a two parter! How To Treat Magical Beasts is a quirky, and fun little volume, with gorgeous art and I can't wait to see how the story will progress, especially as we're introduced to a fun companion for Ziska towards the end!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Manga: Sword Oratoria 3

Sword Oratoria Vol 3
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Aiz and her friends make their way to Rivira, the town nestled deep within the Dungeon, only to stumble upon a macabre murder! After determining the culprit must be extremely powerful, everyone seems to think a member of the Loki Familia is the most likely suspect?! Meanwhile, on the surface, Loki embarks on an investigation of her own, delving deep into the sewers to get to the bottom of a mystery that may affect her children's future--as well as that of all Orario...

CSI: Sword Oratoria...I mean, Sword Oratoria Vol 3, see's Aiz and co (minus Bete) head in to the dungeon for some chilled roaming about....before getting involved in a murder mystery on floor 18! Meanwhile Bete is with Loki who's out for revenge after the events of the previous volume. 

Guys, I'm becoming more and more convinced that Bete is a softy, much like Loki secretly is! Bete gets quite a nice amount of page time this volume, as well as his own time to shine, which I was quite pleased about because I'm curious about him!  

Volume 3 brings us plenty of action and mystery as both teams have a mystery of their own to solve. Loki is starting to try to put pieces together, as is Finn down on level 18. The volume ends with a shock surprise twist and leaves us with plenty of questions that are hopefully going to be solved in the next volume?! It's certainly a compelling volume...

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Review: A Secret Beat

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

Alexia Falls is eighteen, living in her parents' New York penthouse and working with superstar boyband The Keep. But with her heart set on independence and a career behind the camera, she trades it all for a take-it-or-leave-it internship at London's Bright Star Productions.

There, she meets fellow intern Greta. Greta's East End upbringing couldn't have been more different from Alexia's, but she's every bit as hungry for her big break.

But both girls have secrets.

While Alexia doesn't want anyone knowing about her privileged connection to The Keep, Greta has been anonymously running their #1 social fan-feed since she was at school. And when the gossip columns somehow get news of the band's latest scandals, suspicions and accusations start flying...

Real art demands integrity. But staying in the music business requires the opposite. Can you stay true to yourself when your heart follows a secret beat? 

Okay, to be brutally honest, this book was a bit 50/50 for me, and much like the previous book, I feel like the odd one out! 

I have to say Alexia did better than I would in her old job, I'm not going to lie. I liked her for following her dream and for doing what she wanted to do despite what everyone else said. That's something that really resonated with me and struck a chord with me. I was rooting for her and it was kind of hard not to. I wanted her to do the right thing, I wanted her to succeed. But when she went and did The Thing, I was so disappointed in her, and I was rooting for her to overcome it. 

The thing that annoyed me was....plenty of people struggle for money and manage to not sell out their friends. She had people willing to help her out, give her a place to stay...but she was determined to do everything on her own she wouldn't accept it...even if it meant she had to go and do what she did. She also grated on me a bit when she was banging on about how it was difficult not having much money, and how it was so difficult being so rich and privileged and having college paid for. Also....she did The Thing, got paid for it...and then used a chunk of it to buy back a designer dress? That was odd to me. 

Greta was incredibly relatable. I wasn't sure I liked her at first because of her low-key snakey attitude towards Alexia. I mean...she had no interest in doing any of the stuff Alexia was doing, she was there purely for the famous people, but she was being a certain way towards Alexia once she found out about The Keep. She shouldn't have lied about The Keep, but honestly...she really turned things around. She seemed really snakey/shady in the beginning, but my opinion of her changed a lot over the course of the book. By the end of the book I liked Greta more than Alexia. 

There are some familiar faces if you've read the other book...Max, Amalie, Lee, obviously. My fave Geoff made a return and was just as hilarious as ever, with his inappropriately funny comments. I will admit, I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, after the previous book I kind of assumed there was going to be some romance to this but there wasn't. 

A Secret Beat has a nice pace, and it's an interesting look at the seedier side of the entertainment industry, you could see Alexia falling in to that hole and you knew it was going to happen. A Secret Beat takes a look at ethics and morals, as well as friendship and being true to yourself, all backed up by an A+ playlist! 

Manga: Tanya The Evil 2

The Saga of Tanya the Evil Vol 2
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After being reborn, Tanya has earned the right to be called an Ace and is steadily climbing the ranks. But as much as she wishes to be placed in the safety of the rear, for some reason she keeps winding up at the very edge of the front lines! While swearing revenge on Being X, Tanya's days of brutal combat alongside her beautiful subordinate, Visha, have begun... 

I have to say, the art for this series is brilliant, once again! The war scenes are fantastically drawn, and I like how it doesn't glorify it or try to make it cute either, it's quite brutal and realistic. The only "cute" thing is a creepy, crazy eyes kind of way. 

Speaking of, Tanya's at it again with her self serving thoughts! They hilariously contrast with everyone else who has entirely the wrong idea about her, it never fails to make me chuckle. One of the other characters, her new subordinate Visha, actually thinks she's a "kind person who wants peace" and I fully snorted out loud. 

Tanya does give me a chuckle, she's this little kid cursing and being low-key evil, but she also gives me the shivers at the same time!? 

Tanya is sent on a rescue mission, and this volume has the story moving along swiftly as we see some more brilliant tactics and Tanya's ruthless drive to succeed...before moving along to college?! I can't believe I find myself rooting for her?!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Manga: Star Wars Lost Stars

Star Wars: Lost Stars
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

The Empire can be seductive, particularly if you're an aspiring young pilot...
Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree both know this very well when they enroll Imperial Academy, eager to pursue their dreams. When Thane discovers the darker side of the Empire, though, and defects to the Rebellion, the pair's lifelong friendship will be put to the ultimate test.
Will Thane and Ciena's relationship -- or even they themselves -- survive this galactic conflict...?
For those of you who don't know, this is adapted from a book by Claudia Gray, which I haven't actually read, but I have read one of her other series so I was expecting big things from this and I wasn't disappointed! 
Lost Stars starts with action as we enter on a X-Wing/TIE Fighter battle, chase kind of thing, before we head off to Hoth where things crossover with the movies and we get to briefly see Han and Leia which had me squealing! 
Our MC Thane smoothly slots in with them, he's out to rescue and save Ciena, his old friend...but she's with the enemy and she's kind of out to kill him. Awkward. They make their declarations pretty early on and it's almost comic, the contrast. You know "I'm going to save her" "I'm going to kill him". 
Interestingly, we jump back in time for most of the volume, seeing Thane and Ciena's friendship, how it started, their education and training at the Imperial Academy and so on. They and the other cadets don't really scream evil so it kinda changed how I looked at them. I didn't look at them and thing "Wow the Empire, they're terrible characters". I even momentarily looked at the Empire a little differently. Momentarily. Like for a few seconds. 
Nash intrigues me, he's Thane's old friend and he's from Leia's planet Alderaan and you can't tell me he's cool with what went down. I'm interested to see if he joins Thane or if he sticks with the Empire. He's a fun supporting character though! 
The story is paced nicely, there's a good amount of world building and building up of the characters as we go back in time to get to see how they became friends, how they ended up working for the Empire and in Thane's he came to end up leaving. This volume shows us what sparks all of that off, and gets us ready for what's to come next because this is just the first part...the first little chunk actually, I think! 
Lost Stars smoothly ties in to the Star Wars original trilogy, and I squealed whenever I saw Leia or Han! I also particularly liked the art work, not just the OC's to the story, but Han and Leia are brilliantly drawn too and there's a lot of attention to detail to make sure it matches up with the canon! This is definitely going to be an interesting and fun story!

Friday, 22 June 2018

Manga: Compulsive Gambler 5

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

The Battle of the Stars may be finished, but the event is far from over! And what better way to tie up loose ends than...another gamble?! Choosing to go against Manyuda in her Public Match, Yumeko is now faced with a game called Choice Poker. But if the advantage lies with whoever has the bigger pot, can Yumeko manage to come out victorious against a student council member with near limitless pockets?! 
The battle of the stars is over but it all gets a bit Sherlock and Yumeko goes about revealing the anonymous person who interfered. It's safe to say the Student Council members are definitely having a crisis. Which you know...I had no problems with because Kaede is the shadiest mofo. I really don't like Kaede, I think he's a ****, and I haven't really liked him since the start, I've actually been waiting for him to get his. I was so ready for he and Yumeko to go head to head, and the volume picks up from where we left off...and it doesn't slow down at all. The Vice President is even thrown in to the mix. I was so on edge you guys! 
Yumeko...she really is insane isn't she? The art shows that whenever it comes to the gambling, but taking part in this game...this gamble...she's so insane. I had my hand over my face at one point like "why Yumeko? Why?!". Interestingly we get some insight in to Sumeragi and I actually quite felt for her. She's becoming quite the interesting character and I actually look forward to more of her! 
This volume is so tense, and we spend the whole volume like "what's the deal with the Student Council President?!" because after the reveals in this volume...there's definitely something going on and then there's the cliffhanger...this volume is certainly full of surprises and the plot seems to be heading in a certain direction. Nothing makes me quite as tense as a volume of Compulsive Gambler....

Blog Tour: One Small Thing

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

Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again. 

I'm not going to lie....I really enjoyed The Royals series. Yes it's cheesy sometimes, but cheese is a comfort food, as is occasionally cheesy books. This is my first book by the duo that is Erin Watt, that's not from that series, and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect to be honest. One Small Thing is an emotional read about forgiving people, and giving someone a second chance. 

I have to say this book made me quite ragey. Right from the start Beth's mum got my back up. I was genuinely outraged and ragey on her behalf. Honestly I felt just as frustrated and irritated with Beth's parents as Beth did. Her life was so suffocating and while I get her parents's way OTT and just not okay. 

I was fully on Beth's side, I felt for her. I wanted her to come through everything. It was interesting to see her struggle, and I felt what she felt as I was reading. Everyone deals with grief differently and I feel like Beth was persecuted because she wasn't dealing with it the same as everyone else. I got so immersed in to her head as I was reading, I ended up becoming so invested. I got her, I understood why she was doing what she was doing, and I respected her and Chase a lot for the decision they came to. 

Speaking of, I actually really felt for Chase. He made a stupid mistake, he paid for it and he feels terrible about it...but he was still treated like garbage....and was still punishing himself. He and Beth's relationship was intriguing to read about, they both have stuff to deal with, and overcome and they both help each other do that. 

As for our supporting characters....first up we have Jeff. Wow. I didn't like him at all. Right from the start he rubbed me up the wrong way, and he just got worse and worse until you saw him for what he was. I had a building suspicion about him as I was reading, and I'm kind of disappointed no-one called him out for the part he had to play in everything. I did kind of like Scar at first, she was a really good friend even if she did sometimes presume how Beth felt. I was screaming at her at some points of the book, because I knew what was going to happen and I so badly didn't want her to go down that path. Props to her for being self aware enough to get out. 

One Small Thing is completely different to the Royals series. but the writing was on point as usual. The pace was excellent, we have two compelling characters to empathise with and root for, and I feel like this was kind of a raw and real read.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Review: Fury From The Tomb

Fury From The Tomb
Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Saqqara, Egypt, 1888, and in the booby-trapped tomb of an ancient sorcerer, Rom, a young Egyptologist, makes the discovery of a lifetime: five coffins and an eerie, oversized sarcophagus. But the expedition seems cursed, for after unearthing the mummies, all but Rom die horribly. He faithfully returns to America with his disturbing cargo, continuing by train to Los Angeles, home of his reclusive sponsor. When the train is hijacked by murderous banditos in the Arizona desert, who steal the mummies and flee over the border, Rom - with his benefactor's rebellious daughter, an orphaned Chinese busboy, and a cold-blooded gunslinger - must ride into Mexico to bring the malevolent mummies back. If only mummies were their biggest problem... 

I really, really, really, wanted to like this book. I love The Mummy, I love Indiana Jones, and I was so excited to dive in to this. The opening chapter piqued my interest and sent a chill down my spine. It's a mashup of historical, supernatural, adventure and horror. It's nicely creepy at points and we get to journey through Egypt and Mexico. It should have been a wild ride, and an unputdownable read. 

It wasn't for one reason. The narrator and our main character. I don't usually have a problem with first person, but honestly? Rom doesn't half harp on, for pages and pages and pages, before ever getting to a point. It got old incredibly fast, because I personally felt like it bogged the pace right down. It reached a point in the book, not even halfway, that I was tired of his narrative, I wasn't connecting with him as a character at all, and didn't particularly even like him. I only finished this book because I sped read it and largely skimmed all of his waffling. I'd be lying if I said my attention didn't wander, and I kind of had to force myself to keep reading. 

Honestly, I thought this book had so much potential and I was so excited for it, I was anticipating it being a series full of history and adventure...but I ended up severely disappointed and with an aversion to first person narration. I think if a lot of Rom's nattering had been cut out, this book would have been half the size, and a lot better paced. 

Manga: Wake Up Sleeping Beauty 4

Wake Up Sleeping Beauty Vol 4
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Shizu's grand scheme to get Tetsu to play soccer one last time was a big success, and has become a catalyst for change for everyone involved. One of the biggest changes comes from Chihiro, who works up the courage to tell Tetsu his biggest secret. Will this revelation tear the friends apart? 

Shizu is getting more and more out of her shell and finding things she likes, and I'm living for it! Each volume see's her growing and kind of forming her own self a bit more. There's tension this volume though, with Tetsu and Ryo, but luckily the two of them work it out and it's super cute! 

We fiiiiinally get some background on Chihiro as well as his friendship with Tetsu and how it all started! There's also an epically brilliant plot twist with him, which has me excited to see how it's going to play out! 

Meanwhile things are going so great with Tetsu and Shizu, they're so cute together and he's totally caught feelings, and I spent a lot of the volume internally squealing! of course enter Shizu's father who is a prize a-hole and drama ensues as he reveals some things about Tetsu. Nothing too serious, just you know....that he's being paid to be her friend. I should have seen something like this coming when I started to get all happy/excited about the developments of the volume. 

Honestly, things look pretty bleak for Shizu, but there's a daring escape leaving us curious to see what's going to happen next! There's also a nice bit of mystery about what happened to Shinobu before he died. 

With this volume, we see Shizu continue to grow and change and start to come in to her own. The romance steps up and moves along, as does the plot! Plus we have a nice villainous character come strolling on in. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Review: War Storm

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

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal's betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart-and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her-Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all... starting with the crown on Maven's head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal's powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything - and everyone - in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced? 

The ending of the previous book left me screaming and not just with what happened, but that final line! I've been anticipating this final book so badly, and I'm so lucky I got one of a few review copies! It's actually taken me a while to type up this review because I feel like I had to process everything I'd just took me a while to read too, I'm not going to lie. I took my time with it, and savoured it because...last book! 

War Storm jumps straight in where we left off. Cal and Mare's's an interesting one. We all know what happened last book and it's interesting to have an MC self aware enough to know her feelings but also know each of them has things more important than the other. Plus Mare doesn't mope about it. She gets on with things, she gets things done. Yes there's some pining doesn't actually interfere with what Mare has to do, which is more than can be said for some books! 

I'm fairly sure I said it in my review for the previous book, but I'm saying it again...I actually really like Evangeline. I started to like her last volume, and this volume...I was fully rooting for her. She's such a brilliant character! We've gotten so much insight in to her, and she's a POV in this book. I empathise with her, and I feel like she and Mare have a few things in common. I particularly enjoy her and Mare's banter and interactions, it gives me life! Was I a little bit disappointed in Evangeline not hanging about to kick some ass? Yes. But she got the ending I hoped she would. Although I still feel like her brother needed some vengeance wreaked upon him. 

One of our other POV's this book is Iris. I will admit...I don't particularly like her, she's all about stabbing Maven in the back, but I just didn't like her. She also kind of faded out of the book by the end. Speaking of Maven....he takes creepy to an all new level each book. This book he was downright chilling at one point, like a serial killer level creepy. I have a love/hate relationship with Maven. I hate him but I also love him, because he's a brilliant villain. I was so, so hoping he'd get a redemption arc this volume...but I was left disappointed with how things ended with Maven. 

We get a sprinkling of new characters, like Carmadon, who was hilarious! He's Davidson's other half. There are some familiar faces, and we get to take a look around Montfort which I've been itching to do. When the series started the world seemed quite small, but with each book it's been expanded more and more. 

Our POV's for this volume are, as usual, Mare, with Evangeline, Iris and a bit of Maven and Cal. The pace is steady, building up towards the grand finale with plenty of action and drama to keep you hooked. Aveyard still has some plot twists up her sleeve and you know no-one is safe, so it's kind of got you on the edge of your seat! 

Everything is wrapped up so well and while there was a sprinkling of disappoint for certain characters was a solid, and mostly fitting ending. I've loved watching the characters grow and develop over the course of the books and you can see how far Evangeline has come in this book, not just our other characters like Mare and Cal. We all hated Evangeline in the beginning, I think, but she's honestly one of my favourites now! I've loved going on this journey with Mare and I respect her as a character for her choices at the end of the book, even if I was a bit disappointed. Either way, I'm still gutted this series is over, I'm not going to lie! 

Manga: Seven Deadly Sins 26

Seven Deadly Sins Vol 26
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

When they were accused of trying to overthrow the monarchy, the feared warriors the Seven Deadly Sins were sent into exile. Princess Elizabeth discovers the truth - the Sins were framed by the king's guard, the Holy Knights - too late to prevent them from assassinating her father and seizing the throne! Now the princess is on the run, seeking the Sins to help her reclaim the kingdom. But the first Sin she meets, Meliodas, is a little innkeeper with a talking pig. He doesn't even have a real sword! Have the legends of the Sins' strength been exaggerated...? 

We pick up right where we left off and we're in the midst of a battle with two of the Commandments and the Goddesses....back in the past of course. Elizabeth steps up because she wants to fight for once and do something herself, plus she wants to save the two Commandments because...Elizabeth. She has her shining moment aided by Sariel, Tarmiel and Meliodas.  

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Gowther is shady AF, and will never not be. I don't think I'll ever be able to trust him to be honestly. But we learn the truth of him this volume, and a side story that fills in some blanks about him and shows us a bit of young Bartra and his sister Nadja...which admittedly did hit me in the feels and I kind of do understand him but still...super shady. 

The pace for this volume is cracking, we're delving deeper in to the past and the pasts of the characters and what makes them tick. There's another cliffhanger ending and it's kind of a heartbreaking one to be honest! Luckily there's a few bonus chapters at the end that are fun and kind of soothe how you felt reading the volume! It's a battle heavy volume with a lot of blood and sad moments, but we get a real idea of what went down 3 thousand years ago.  

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Manga: Is It Wrong 9

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Vol 9
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

After a close call deep in the Dungeon, Bell and his party are making good progress on recovering and they've even reunited with their goddess after her ill-advised trip into the labyrinth. But as soon as it seems like they can relax, Hestia is goddess-napped and there's no time to lose if her familia wants to save her! While everyone is distracted, even more danger approaches... 

We start the volume off with Bell...fanboying. Which was cute and there was a nice chill vibe until Hestia and Hermes rocked up, causing a commotion. Hermes is so totally up to something, I think we all know that, and meanwhile Bell is caught between Hestia, Lilly and Aiz. Hermes isn't really helping as he's such a bad influence on poor, innocent Bell. 

We finally get the tea on Lyu, this volume, and I was so here for it. Plus. Hestia went full goddess and was mildly scary for about ten seconds there, actually! I know she's a goddess but I kind of forget that a little bit, and this reminded me! 

There's a lot of action and fight scenes this volume, and the pace has definitely picked up again with this volume. We've got sprinkles of mystery throughout, like I said, we know Hermes is up to something...but what? He is a bit of a creep though, I'm not going to lie. 

The dungeon isn't happy having Hestia and Hermes there, and Bell, Lyu, Hestia, Lilly, Welf and Mikoto and co are left preparing to fight a floor boss because Bell is Bell and has to help the butt hurt dude who tried to beat the crap out of him. Soooo we're left hanging when it comes to the ending. 

Aiz and co are briefly seen as we cross over with Oratoria again, but this is definitely a wild volume with a lot of action and a lot going on throughout! 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Review: Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts

Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts Vol 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

A young girl has resigned herself to being he next sacrificial meal for the Beast King...but the king is no mere monster! Love is more than skin-deep in this gorgeous fantasy manga. 

I'm not going to lie to you guys, I got some hardcore Beauty and the Beast vibes from this one! I feel like Yen Press has really got my back with all these fairy tale retellings...Mermaid Boys and the Little Mermaid, this and Beauty and the Beast....I'm living for it! 

I eagerly dove in to this ready to see what it was all about, and right from the start I was hooked. Why? Because there's a certain character and I was like "Wooooaaaaah he looks like Anubis...oh wait...he actually is...HELL YES I'M GONNA LOVE THIS". Anubis is kind of a nag, but he's also really funny although I kinda wanted to smack him at one point. 

Sariphi has such an attitude and it's freaking hilarious, she had me chuckling from the start and you can't help but empathise and root for her. Her sole purpose was to be "sacrificed" to the King of Beasts. But she's not actually bitter or anything like you'd expect. 

The King is the definition of the tortured hero, he's trying to protect everyone and everything and harming himself in the process but no-one's aware of it. Except for Sariphi towards the end, but still. His human form is gorgeously drawn, and his beast form is reaaaaally reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but fiercer! 

Oh and Cy and Clops are totally adorable! 

The story moves along at a nice, fast pace! Introducing us to the characters and kicking the plot off. There's political intrigue and unrest to go with the humour and romance, and there's even some drama thrown in too! The art is gorgeous, and cute, I loved how the beast people are drawn! I also particularly liked the world, it's a fun world, and we get quite a lot of information about it and how it all works, it's really intriguing! 

The ending certainly leaves you wanting more and I'm definitely curious to see how this is all going to play out and where the story is going to go! Oh, and there's a brilliant bonus chapter too! 

Friday, 15 June 2018

Manga: Baccano 3

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

Firo's big day has come, and everyone's enjoying the celebration--Isaac and Miria so much so that they've had a bit of a change of heart! If one criminal syndicate is just too nice to rob, then surely another will do...Meanwhile, Szilard learns that the object of his search is right under his nose. Soon nothing will stand between him and ultimate knowledge...! 
The day is finally here, Firo has his ceremony and becomes an Executive, so there's celebrations all round, including Miria and Isaac....and me. Unfortunately Dallas and co are after Firo, and the Gandor brothers return to see the damage...and they aren't happy. 
There's ominous undertones to the story from the start, thanks to the voice over/narrations added in. It's all to do with that box, and every time I saw it, or a piece fell in to place, I could start to form an image of what was going to happen and my brain was screaming NO, fora large part of the volume. Everything really starts to converge in this volume and come together. 
I have to say, I want to shake Ennis so bad. I wanted to like her, but she's on the wrong side and she's kind of an idiot, like I get why she is, but she was so frustrating for me! My hatred for Szilard literally knows no bounds with this volume. 
Miria and Isaac have grown on me so freaking much, and actually really love them! So I was screaming at them not to go to a certain place! They're just funny, and bless them...they really do try and do the right thing and try to help their new friends. 
This volume moves quickly and there's a lot of tension and action throughout. There's some heart breaking and heart stopping moments but in the end everything is wrapped up nicely! I have to say it's a satisfying end for the characters, and one I kind of didn't see coming so I shrieked a lot when I read certain chapters! 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Review: Brightly Burning

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

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet. 

I'm going to straight up tell you guys that Brightly Burning is a retelling of Jane Eyre and I had to read the original when I was in school....and I actually liked it okay!? So I was super eager to get my hands on this and I eagerly dove in and read it in one go. Because I have no self control, and it was really entertaining! 

I loved Stella immediately, she loves book, she's bold and she had a nice attitude. She wouldn't be walked all over and she was intelligent and I was fully on Team Stella. Hugo...I knew I was going to like him from his first line. He and Stella bond over their love of books, but he can't really handle his alcohol....not that you can blame him for drinking to be honest. He's also kinda relatable because he also prefers to be alone! Shoutout to Rori, the ships AI, because she was a brilliant touch! 

The other characters are an eclectic yet brilliant bunch, Iris, Sergei, Orion, Jon, Bianca (who I was prepared to hate and kind of did in the beginning but she turned it around in the end), I loved getting to know them and they brought some fun and life to the story. 

Brightly Burning is a brilliant reimagining/twist on Jane Eyre and I loved it, I dived in with high expectations and it exceeded all of them. I loved how things where twisted and changed and I loved anytime I spotted something or a reference to the original! I freaking loved The Rochester too, it had brilliantly creepy vibes at points. 

The world building was very well done and it was an intriguing world too, the set up with the whole "is Earth inhabitable? Do we go back down or carry on floating up here?" complete with a shady government dude. Which added a tonne of intrigue along with the mystery with the virus and the Rochester and so on. For me, it was an original/unique world and I liked the detail and depth it had, as did the characters. 

Brightly Burning has a fast pace, and there's never a dull moment. I got fully hooked and read it in one go, the plot kept me reading, as did the romance and the humour. It was a wild ride and it kept me fully entertained and I shouted at the books multiple times whenever a twist happened. Some of them may have been a smidge predictable, but it was still an entertaining and enjoyable read! I have to say, the story was beautifully wrapped up too....although I think there's room for a sequel, and I wouldn't say no to one! 

Manga: The Devil is a Part-Timer 11

The Devil is a Part-Timer Vol 11
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Chiho has collapsed, and Maou and company have figured out that it must be the work of an Angel. The only thing left to figure out is whether they're holed up in Tokyo Tower or the Sky Tree. When the group finally finds whoever's responsible for hurting their friend, the ultimate Maou/Alciel combo is going to paint the town red! 
Every time I read a volume of this series, I lament the fact that it still hasn't gotten a second season of really is such a gem and this volume is no exception. 
Volume 11 opens with quite the battle...I mean, shopping trip. You could be forgiven for the mistake with how our little group, some more than others, carries on! They quite brutally exposed sales people and their methods....I've worked in 3 different stores and can confirm the accuracy of their statements too. *nervous chuckle* I have to say, much as I love Maou....Ashiya continues to be my favourite because of situations exactly like in this volume. He just cracks me up. 
Speaking of Maou....he's suprisingly perceptive, even if he goes about voicing it the wrong way. I mean, we all know Rika has a thing for Ashiya. Unfortunately Maou has a tendency to be a bit too blunt about things, and Suzuno....well she gets a bit violent because of it. They do have quite an interesting discussion about what they are and what they should do with erasing Chi's memories and so on. They got quite deep actually, I didn't think Maou was quite capable of that! 
It's actually quite nice to see Suzuno has gotten to know Maou and co well enough to know he isn't behind what's happened to Chiho, it saves us quite a bit of time. It really hit me in the feels this volume, how far their bond as a group has come! 
We're straight in to the next story arc this volume, Raguel has made his move, and it isn't long before the gang figures out he's after Emilia's mother, Laila. There's some interesting reveals about Emilia and her family that leaves her (and us) with a lot to think about. Alongside that we get a nice bit of action as Maou Devils-out and goes up against Raguel and Gabriel! 
I have to say, Gabriel is so irritating and he's not above getting a verbal jab in at any of the demons. He also drops loads of hints, like okay mate, have a day off. *Eye roll*. 
Volume 11 is fast paced, with the usual doses of humour that have you laughing out loud, as well as some drama and action...and some twists and developments to liven things up. There's a particular development with Chiho that could prove to be interesting...things have certainly picked back up for this series!
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