Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

Blog Tour! Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1)Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1) (Chronicles of Ixia #7)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okokokok, so I am a HUGE fan of the Chronicles of Ixia novels. The first book, Poison Study is my absolute favourite of the series, a five star read that I 100% recommend!

The Chronicles of Ixia started with the Study trilogy (Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study) following Yelena, then Maria V. Snyder gifted us with the another insight into this world with the Glass trilogy (Sea Glass, Storm Glass and Spy Glass) which follow a character called Opal. Now Shadow Study is the first in the Soulfinders series but its technically like book 7 in the Chronicles of Ixia.

So this book has been long awaited by me, I thought we were done with this world and so when I heard about this book I absolutely had to get my hands on a copy. It’s set 6 years after the events of the last book and follows Yelena, Valek and Janco with chapters alternating from each of their POV. This worked quite well and I enjoyed being in Valek and Janco’s head, a new insight from the previous books. However, at times, it was quite frustrating being cut off at the end of each chapter and knowing I had to wait like two chapters to carry on with what was happening, it occasionally pulled me out of the story whilst I tried to remember what was happening.

I love the characters in this series, I mean Yelena is one of my all time favourite heroines. She’s tough and resourceful but she’s not perfect and she doesn’t pretend to be. She’s honest and loyal and overall a really really likeable character (although I will admit she annoyed me temporarily in Fire Study, but she really came through and hey, nobody’s perfect!)
And Valek, oh Valek! What can I say? SWOON SWOON SWOON. Top of my book-boyfriends list! He’s everything I want. He’s more than just a love interest, he’s a brilliant character (assassin I might add!) all by himself. He’s not petty or shallow in his relationship with Yelena, and there is no insta-love! Its a perfect slow-burn turned epic love! My favourite thing about him is he doesn’t treat Yelena like a fragile girl, he knows what she’s capable of and he lets her handle things. He doesn’t coddle her when she’s being stupid, instead he calls her out on it and lets her deal with it and then doesn’t hold it against her afterwards. YES VALEK! He’s perfect.
So yeah, clearly I really enjoyed Valek POV chapters, especially getting to experience the flashbacks of his past and how he became the badass assassin he is today.
And YES! We got more Ari and Janco! I LOVE THEM, they’re just fantastic.

Another of my favourite aspects about this series is the world-building, my oh my, it is fantastic. Its all historical fiction, fantasy, magic and assassins ugh I can’t get enough.

AND DEAR LORD THE ENDING! THE GORYDAMNED ENDING! I NEVER EVEN SAW IT COMING OMG!

So what the hell are you waiting for?! GO AND READ! (I definitely recommend reading poison study and the other books first if you haven’t already! You can still follow this book without them but they are so damn fab why would you want to?!)

I am so damn excited for the next book, it’s unreal. Please let me know your thoughts on this book, or any of the Chronicles of Ixia books, I wanna fangirl with you all!

View my 2015 reads so far!

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Posted in Reviews

Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

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The Book: The Fire Sermon
The Author: Francesca Haig
The Pages: 423
My Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars

Published on: 26th Feb, 2015

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
Nobody.

They were born together and they will die together.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

Review.

I received a review copy of this in 2014 and I was beyond excited. The premise was so original and everyone was buzzing with anticipation. It did not disappoint. (and ooooh cover-lust)

Every birth now results in twins, one boy and one girl, one perfect Alpha and one mutated Omega. The omega twin is cast out as soon as they are identified as the weaker twin and the Alpha is free to live unburdened. Or not quite unburdened, as when one twin dies so does the other no matter where they are. I mean come on! How awesome does that sound?!

I thought the world building was good and Francesca’s writing created some brilliant imagery for me. I loved the world they lived in (though obviously it had his major faults) the different landscapes and terrain Cass and Kip travel through was beautifully imagined. I really enjoyed travelling with them.

The main character Cass, while I didn’t immediately connect with her, nonetheless felt very real. She was complex and a kickass heroine. She wasn’t unrealistically strong or tough, but she was brilliant and her main strength wasn’t her abilities but the way she viewed the world and her compassion.

Kip, although I loved him, never felt real to me, which was really sad because his character could have been the most interesting. He was always with Cass but didn’t just blindly agree with everything she said, if he thought something different he’d voice it. Plus I love reading about amnesia, even if it wasn’t hugely focused on.

YES! WOOP! YAAAA! Why am I exclaiming in joy?! -because there was romance in this book and it was NOT insta-love! See how easy that was authors? Never an excuse for insta love, bleugh.
No it wasn’t the sloooooooow-burn romance that I love so much, but it felt natural to me so yay, well done to Francesca!
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And oh I just loved reading about the relationship between Cass and Zach. Sibling relationships are so not focused on enough in a lot of the YA I’ve read recently. I love it because no matter what happens between siblings that connection cannot be broken, it can be damaged but never destroyed. I love it, I love it, I love it! Aaagh, it just adds a whole new dynamic to the conflict.
I especially loved reading about their childhood and because they were raised together longer than usual they had chance to really bond in a way that other twins hadn’t. I think that’s what makes Cass so special.

This is a really rambled (is that a word?) review because I just cant make up my mind about this book. It was good and I enjoyed it but it didn’t blow me away (so no to a five or four star rating). However the idea is interesting and original, the twist at the end was awesome and yay siblings!
So I’d probably rate it 3.5 and definitely recommend you give this a go!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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The Book: Red Rising (Red Rising #1)
The Author: Pierce Brown (yum)
The Pages: 382
My Rating: 5/5 stars

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Review

Red Rising was one of those books that everyone raved about back in 2014 when it came out, it was recommended a million times and had sat in my amazon wish-list practically since it was released. Im a bit wish-washy with my sci-fi, sometimes I love it (a la Ender’s Game) but sometimes I struggle to get into it, so this book kept getting pushed to the back bench of my TBR.

Eventually my wonderful Papa bought it for me for Christmas (along with some other exciting titles I missed from 2014) and so I thought fine then, get over here, you are finally gonna get well and truly read.

And oh gosh oh gosh oh gosh. Every. Single. Piece. Of. Hype. Was. Deserved.

The first line was just in your face epic, “I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.” –like okay Pierce, challenge accepted, go ahead, blow me away.
And he did, but not right away.

The first few pages of this book had me questioning the blogosphere’s sanity for hyping this up so much. It seemed like another typical dystopian and there was so much slang and jargon thrown at me I was struggling to make sense. I felt like I needed a dictionary.
However I persevered, determined to work out what all this bloodydamn slang meant, and oh I am so glad I did.

This book is unapologetically brutal, Pierce Brown does not hold back. There are surprises and plot twist strewn throughout and eventually you learn to expect the unexpected every time you turn a page. My goodreads updates as I was reading were all basically like this: “aaaaaaaagh no please no why do you do this?!”
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I’m not sure I can articulate my love for the characters of this book, (so please excuse the fangirl nonsense that is about to happen). Darrow is amazing, just like seriously wow. He’s not a whingey weak character who bitches and moans everytime their life gets hard. But he’s not super-human either, by which I mean he still struggles with the difficult decisions he has to make and his mistakes and regrets stay with him. But he doesn’t let them ruin him, he gets on with it, cheering for the underdog all the way. And he’s tough, my god he is tough. I’m not sure I could have done the things he did, no matter the reason. I admire him and I love everything about his character, his strengths as well as his faults (especially his rage, oooh my *fans self*).
The side characters are just as fantastic. Pierce is the kind of writer that makes me realise I could never write a book. He’s so talented. Every character was real to me, and every death left me reeling, I was that invested in these characters.
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Eo? Man that girl had spirit! She’s the type of character that I’d want as a sister, or maybe a girlfriend, who knows? She’s that amazing.
And Sevro? AMAZING. I truly love this guy, how freakin’ cool is he?! I howl for you Sevro, AAAAOOOOO!

This is YA, Dystopian sci-fi at its very best. Amazing characters, bloodydamn amazing world-building and enough plot twists to give you whiplash.

This book had me up till 4am just to finish it because I literally could not put it down. It’s left me with a serious book hangover that has me craving the next book with the same ferocity I crave my morning coffee.
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I’m speechless, it was epic and I’m not sure how I’m ever going to read another book because how is it ever going to compare to Red Rising?

Pierce Brown may be a literary wizard but one thing is for sure, if you have not read this book GO GO GO AND READ IT RIGHT THIS SECOND NOW PLEASE.

(what are you waiting for? Get out now and go read!)

Posted in Reviews

From The Archives: Review: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin

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The Book: The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin
The Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
The Publisher: Palomino Press
The Pages: 352
My Rating: 3.5/5

“Rachel Griffin wants to know everything. As a freshman at Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts, she has been granted the opportunity to study both mundane and magical subjects.
But even her perfect recollection of every book she has ever read does not help her when she finds a strange statue in the forest-a statue of a woman with wings. Nowhere-neither in the arcane tomes of the Wise, nor in the dictionary and encyclopedia of the non-magic-using Unwary-can she find mention of such a creature. What could it be?
And why are the statue’s wings missing when she returns?
When someone tries to kill a fellow student, Rachel soon realizes that, in the same way her World of the Wise hides from mundane folk, there is another, more secret world hiding from everyone-which her perfect recall allows her to remember. Her need to know everything drives her to investigate.
Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel finds herself beset by wraiths, magical pranks, homework, a Raven said to bring the doom of worlds, love’s first blush, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.
Curiosity might kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin!”

Review
Funny, uplifting and magical, this book was so brilliant!

I’ve been trying to read books that are different from what I usually read, and so I wasn’t 100% sure that I was going to fall in love with this book. The idea sounded like a young children’s book. However, whilst this book could easily be enjoyed by younger children, it’s definitely YA, which we know can very well be enjoyed by all ages. And I really did enjoy it! I could barely put it down!

The main character, Rachel Griffin, is such a lovely main character. She’s younger than most MC’s from this genre which was really nice to experience. She’s clever, loyal and not as bubble-headed as a lot of girl main character I’ve come across, (you know the type, oh look a boy! I’m in eternal love cause he smiled at me! Yeah right). She’s got so much passion and drive, I was tempted to make little flags and root for her whilst reading! She’s a really well written, well portrayed character who develops throughout the book. She and the other main characters felt real to me and stayed with me after I’d finished the book!

The story and the plot line were excellently written, and really gripping. I read the whole book in the space of two days, I had it out every spare minute even on the bus and whilst walking a couple of times! I mean come on! A book with dragons, magic, tiny lions and allsorts of monsters, how could you not love it?!

This book was very light hearted, and whilst there were some terrible things going on (doom of worlds and the like), the book lacked a serious side to it. This isn’t a negative of the book exactly but it was something I felt was missing. There were no scenes that utterly shocked me or make me feel like crying, which is something I like in a book because then it has everything you could want.

Overall this is a really enjoyable book and I really recommend you give it a go!

The next book in this series is out now! My review will be up (hopefully) next week!

Posted in Reviews

Quick Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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The Book: The Night Circus
The Author: Erin Morgenstern
The Publisher:
The Pages:
My Rating: 4/5 stars

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Review

This completely magical, utterly breathtaking masterpiece is a definite ‘must read’.
Read it and you will be taken into the most sensational, enchanting world, full of magic, mystery and love.

Eric Morgenstern has created one of the most imaginative, beautiful books I’ve ever read. He has also created my perfect circus. The Night Circus or the ‘Le Cirque des Reves’ (the circus of dreams) is essentially a magical circus that appears in different places. You wake up one morning and it’s there. It opens at nightfall and closes at dawn. You enter not knowing what to expect and you wander through the seemingly endless circles of tents watching gymnasts, magicians, sampling the exquisite, mouthwatering foods and drinks and having the most spectacular experiences that you never would have dreamed of or believed.

But this circus is more than just the best most mysterious circus ever to exist, it is also the venue for a ‘game’ a game with no rules, a game that only a few know is happening and the players are unaware of eachother.

The story of the night circus is brutal at the same time as its gentle, menacing at the same time as its enchanting and fills you with longing for all its wonder and brilliance to be real.

The imagery is just so unreal, it brilliant. Some seriously skilful writing. It’s not the most exciting book in the world but there’s enough going on and enough gorgeous scenes to warrant a four star rating. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but I’d recommend it.

I can never fully express exactly why I loved this book so much, there’s just something so delicately beautiful about the world it’s set in and it’s dazzling characters, it’s a fragile sort of fantasy that i believe we all crave.

If you read to escape then there is no better world to escape to than the world of The Night Circus.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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The Book: Siege and Storm (The Grisha #1)
The Author: Leigh Bardugo
The Publisher: Indigo
The Pages: 378
My Rating: 3.5/5

The Darkling cupped my cheek with his hand, and when he spoke, his voice was almost tender. ‘This is just the beginning,’ he whispered.

Alina thought she could run from her past and escape her destiny. She can’t.

Mal hoped he’d done enough to protect the girl he loved. He hadn’t.

The Darkling, more powerful than before, is hungry for revenge. He needs Alina.

Soon Alina must choose between her country, her power, and the man she loves — or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Review.

Ok ok ok, so Leigh Bardugo’s writing is just so spectacular. I just flew through this book, the same as I did with the first in The Grisha series. The booked utterly gripped me, I was pulled into the story from page one and it just would not let me go until I’d devoured every page. The imagery and world-building is extraordinary (and now I really want to go to Russia).

There were some issues though. For example in the first book she hinted at hidden depths to the Darkling, and I really loved his character and was hoping for more from him in this book. I didn’t get it. I want to know MORE about him. What are his motivations? We know he wants power but what’s his main goal? Is there any humanity left? Is there anybody he loves? There’s just no character development at all for him in this book. He’s a big bland 1 dimensional baddy. Super disappointing, I’m hoping we get deeper into his character in the next book. (AND WHAT’S HIS FRIGGIN NAME?! — that would be the first question I’d have asked him but no one even considers it or thinks about it!).

I’m loving Alina’s character however. Say bye bye to typical high moral super nice main characters. Here we have Alina, with her little inner darkness. I like it. Not sure if we’re supposed to like it but I do. I’m all ‘take that power, use that darkness, you don’t have to be nice to do good’. I like her, yay Alina!

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However, although I like her character, I’m struggling to connect to her. She doesn’t feel real and I can’t bring myself to care about her enough to start waving little Team Alina flags and so on.

Mal. Oh gosh. I kinda loved him in book one. He was charming and confident and not immediately pining over Alina. It took him time to really see her. And h was loyal and nice. But, ugh. In this book he was Mr bland potato head. Blindly loyal, hates her doing anything that doesn’t involve her being in love with him. Doesn’t accept her for who she is. I’m not sure if he’s really a bland boring character or if his relationship with Alina is turning him into a whiney wuss. He’s still in love with little girl Alina who doesn’t have powers or responsibility outside of loving him. Now she’s all powerful and he cant cope with her super dark heart coolness.
Move on Alina, move on. Go get someone like…

Sturmhond!

Oh my oh my…

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*swoon* He’s a PIRATE, and he’s funny and cool and cool and sarcastic and did I mention he was A PIRATE?! I can’t decide whether I ship him with Alina or they should just be best pals I ship him with me. But he is definitely one of my favourite characters. I hope he has a huge role in the next book!

Despite the issues with characters and such, the book is still incredibly enjoyable. The writing is THAT good that it just doesn’t matter that much. Whilst you’re reading you’re just immersed completely in the world of Grisha.

Go forth and read this series if you haven’t already. Now I’m off to start book number 3, Ruin and Rising!

What did you think? Anyone else struggle to decide whether its fantastic or just mediocre? Share your thoughts!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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    The Book: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)
    The Author: Leigh Bardugo
    The Publisher: Indigo
    The Pages: 307
    My Rating: 4/5 stars
    The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

    Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

    The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

    But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

    Review.

    The hype monster (bogeyman for bloggers) got a hold of this entire trilogy and relentlessly smashed into my face again and again, screaming that it was the most incredible book ever and I would face imminent death by hype overload if I didn’t read it RIGHT NOW.

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    Now, as you well know, when a hype monster smacks you with a book, that book loses abit of its fantastic-ness with every SMACK (5 star reviews everywhere) SMACK (endless recommendations) SMACK (readitreaditreaditreaditnow)… Until eventually you’re left with a book that leaves you massively underwhelmed.

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    BUT! I can say (with a smile upon my face, no less!) that I thoroughly enjoyed Shadow and Bone. YAAAAAAY FOR ME.

    The setting was fab, I loved it from the Little Palace to the mountains to creepy-as-hell Shadow Fold. There was no massive info-dumps, we learnt about the world and it’s ways as the story went on.

    There was action, romance, sexy times (you know you love ’em), suspense and even some heart-breaking moments.
    It’s all love and power and betrayal. Its basically brilliant.

    The characters are, well honestly they’re pretty super. The main character Alina is sarcastic and sassy, just how we love our main gals. But she wasn’t some super beautiful, goregeously stunning perfect girl *hair swoosh*, she was pale and plain. I know plain looking MC’s aren’t new but all the books I’ve read recently have had girls with perfect looks who are all, you think I’m pretty?! Like ugh, shut up already (I’m talking to you Violet from The Jewel).
    Mal was nice, I liked that it wasn’t the typical best friend scenario (I’m looking at you Clary and Simon– Mortal Instruments and so many others). He was real and I kinda love him. Just a bit! Or maybe a bit more than a bit…
    Genya was one of my favourite secondary characters ever, now that’s a tough woman/girl. She was awesome and real and please can she be my friend?

    Ok ok ok, omg omg omg… if you know me at all you already know where this is going…

    The Darkling…
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    You should know by now that I love me a bad boy (evil boy), and the Darkling was that. Even before we met him peoperly he oozed evil badboy hotness. And we see him get all human (ish) laughing and emotions and hotness.

    But But But. ( I won’t spoil anything ) I just feel so betrayeddddddddd. (That’s Leigh Bardugo’s awesome writing for you, I was FEELING along with the book and oh my heart).

    tumblr_inline_nax9y0HZYn1syd9pa And oh it was pretty clear what was gonna happen but still…

    tumblr_mx08fboWcK1rzik3go1_500And despite everything that happened I haven’t given up hope, I STILL LOVE YOU.

    812472But for now…

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So why oh why is there a missing star when I’ve pretty much raved about this book?

Well partly that pesky Hype monster is to blame ( I picture him like that huggy thing from the old cup-a-soup adverts, but holding a book and pummelling my face with it.) I was expecting this book to BLOW ME AWAY, I thought I was going to be left in a million pieces with my heart torn out and trampled whilst still saying yay thankyou great book can I read it again please please please…

Instead, whilst I couldn’t fault it, it was just gently-brilliant, not in-your-face-fantastic.

Overall, stunning cover, brilliant book and I’ll without a doubt be reading the next two books, just hoping they’ll blow me away!

Now I know you have an opion on this book (if you’ve read it)! So tell me! And if you haven’t, are you planning to?