Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Short Break

Hi everyone,

I'm just popping in to say that I've been taking some time off from reviewing due to various other commitments. But not to fear, it's a new year so I shall be back shortly with more awesome book goodness.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas

Title: Heir of Fire
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 11th September 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can't bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back... The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king - for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

First and foremost The Throne of Glass series is Spectacular with a capital S. This series is one of those rare gems that ensnares every bit of your consciousness in its world and Heir of Fire is no exception. For Celaena and company the stakes are higher than ever and Sarah J Maas delivers a book that will make you cry, laugh and love. There is a maelstrom of emotions brewing in this book that will transport you to another place, taking you on an engrossing adventure. Heir of Fire is in short epic and empowering.

Heir of Fire is what I would call a crucible book or better yet it is a book of self-discovery.  Every character, especially Celaena are put through the ringer and are forced to decide what part they want to play. Heir of Fire challenges all of its characters to figure out who they are and where they want to go. Loyalties are tested, new allies emerge and everything changes. Picking up right after the events of Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire follows Celaens’s journey as begins to learn about her fae powers. The events of Crown of Midnight left Celaena broken and now she has to confront her past and reconcile it with the powerful women she has become. It’s not easy; rather it’s a messy struggle that takes her through darkness.  Back in Rifthold, Chaol and Dorian have to deal with Celaenas secret and secrets of their own. There is not a lot of outward action in this book, like the previous instalments. Much of the action in Heir of Fire is about the characters themselves figuring out where they are headed. All of their stories intertwine together and come to a head for an explosive climax that will set you reeling. It sets the stage for an explosive book 4. Which I would like immediately, if at all possible.

Heir of Fire shows us yet again another facet of Celaena and her friends.  Maas peels back another layer to revel another side to them.  What’s beautiful about Celaena is that she is beautifully flawed. She is not just one thing. She is an assassin. She is strong and fierce and beautiful. She’s stubborn and sometimes mean. She loves the finer things in life such music and clothes, but she is also a girl who has had to deal with a shit ton of bad. In this book she goes to a darker place. We get to find out a lot more about her past and her family. Her struggles make relatable and her ability to overcome her them make her empowering. 

We meet a host of new characters that enrich this story.  Maas gives you new heroes, villains and everyone in between that you want to champion, love or loathe. We meet Rowan who is a fae prince and his tumultuous relationship with Celaena is such a treat to watch unravel on the pages as find common ground and each other. He and Celaena are on similar paths and their story is wonderfully intertwined. I need more Rowan. Manon was also another favourite. She is a blackbeak witch and has been raised to be a murderer with no heart. But even with her dark heart her story about her thirteen and her wyvern Abraxos is fascinating. Her growing relationship with her wyvern changes how she perceives the world and her place in it. It helps that she’s a complete badass. I really want to see what happens when her and Celaena meet. It would be nothing short of explosive. Aedion was another fabulous character. His love and devotion to his nation and Celaena was something fierce and needs to be admired.

What I love about this story is all the layers. It’s part of the reason why Sarah J Mass is such a freaking talent. There are so many different pieces moving in sync to give you a massive adventure. All the pieces fit together smoothly and build to an epic climax, which will leave you wanting to build a time machine, if only to find out what happens next.   There is also not one point of view that felt boring or not needed. Whether you are reading Manon’s story or Chaol’s or Celaena’s , you feel drawn to their struggles and triumphs. You care about what happens to them.

Heir of Fire is a must read for everyone. One of my favourite books this year. Just go read it. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #35

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
I'm reading On the Fence by Kasie West. I simply adore this book. Kasie writes some of the sweetest contemporary stories.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished reading Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. This book hit all the right notes with a perfect mix of romance, friendship and healing. I also finished reading Eternal Night by Carina Adly MacKenzie. I really like the mythology and backstory of the gods but the ending felt a little rushed.

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for me will probably be What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick. I'm seem to be gravitating towards contemporary reads lately. If you have any favourite contemporary books, let me know.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #34

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
I've just started reading A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall and by started I mean I'm on page 1. This book sounds sweet and romantic. I also love the premise of one love story told from 14 different perspectives.

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished reading Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini. I love the world building in this story. All the small details woven together create a really unique story about alternate universes.

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for me will probably be Eternal Night by Carina Adly MacKenzie.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Monday, 1 September 2014

A Little Spring Reading

It’s the first of September and that means that the Hogwarts Express is ready to leave and that spring is finally upon us (despite it being grey and rainy outside today). The days are getting longer, the weather is finer and there are plenty of books to be read in the coming months. So I thought I would put together a list of books that are being published within the next three months that I really want to get my hands on (my bank account is going to be crying by the looks of this list). 

It’s description as Downtown Abbey meets Cassandra Clare sold me completely on the premise. It sounds just like my cup of tea. Besides the cover is gorgeous. Don’t you just love the birds flying out of the teacup?

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas – September 11th
I just finished read this and the third instalment in the Thorne of Glass series is nothing short of a brilliant emotional ride. A freaking awesome book is what it is. You get to find out what Celaena’s been up to and meet a whole host of new characters you will love. A must read!

I need to know what happens next for Cassie, Ben and the gang. The 5th wave was one of the best books I read last year. It's also one of the best alien invasion stories I’ve read. If we get taken over by aliens and it happens like the 5th Wave then we’re all massively screwed.

I needed this book in my hands like yesterday. I’m willing to make a sacrifice to the book gods. That’s how much I want this book. I need more Titus and Iolanthe, but mostly just Titus.  If you haven’t read The Burning Sky yet then you’re missing out on such a unique story. It’s like the magic of Harry Potter meets She’s the Man but its so much more than you can possibly imagine.

The premise of this book just sounds so freaking cool. I mean a world with a world. Plus the blurbs of this book are hilarious.

This contemporary romance just sounds adorable and sweet.  The kind that’s bound to leave a smile on your face.

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums” – How spellbinding does this book sound? It’s a dark fairytale that was inspired by The Nutcracker. Need I say more?

This book was inspired by Arabian Nights and is about a Jinni. It’s a different supernatural being, one that I haven’t read about in the past.  It sounds fresh and exciting.

Marie Lu is one of my favourite authors. I loved the Legend Trilogy and can’t wait to read her new series, which is set in a renaissance time period.  Plus it looks like it has plenty of bloodshed within its pages.

I have been waiting for this book for more than a couple of months. If I’m honest, I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about it.  It’s a YA fantasy book that looks to be an epic sweeping tale. I just want it already.

If you haven’t read The Raven Boys yet, why haven’t you? I love this series and the third book just looks to be just as heartbreaking as the previous one. Two words: Blue and Gansey.

Compulsion byMartina Boone – October 28th
I’ve heard so many good things about Compulsion.  It’s got a swoony romance and a gothic feel to it. Sounds like something right up my alley.

I will read anything by Julie Kagawa. She is an amazing author and her latest new series will be terrific. It’s about dragons living among humans and a secret society. If that didn’t sound cool enough there is already movie in the works.

Just look at the cover. Isn’t it beautiful? If the cover isn’t enough to convince you to pick it up than the premise should. It’s about a manhunt through parallel universes.

Disruption was one of the best YA books I have read this year. Maggie is such a great protagonist (great protagonist =badass). Plus there’s Quentin Mercer and great world building.  I need to know what happens to Maggie after the first instalment.

What are you looking forward to reading in the coming months?

Monday, 28 April 2014

Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: 8th April 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Description: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth. With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.

I often find that there are different types of books. There are books that capture your whole attention. These are the books that are soul crushingly beautiful and put you through a maelstrom of emotions. On the other hand there are certain books that are wholly entertaining. These are the stories you read to have a good time and they often leave you with a huge smile on your face. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins falls into the second category. It is a wholly entertaining read that is infused with guaranteed fun. It isn’t one of those books that are full of mindless fun and forgettable the moment you close the last page. There’s plenty of action, prophecies and oracles to contend with. If that wasn’t enough, it also has witty dialogue, fun banter, kissing and a fierce protagonist all set in the South.  Its got all the ingredients that will make you fall in love with Harper and co.

Rebel Belle is about Harper Price. Harper is many things. She is a cheerleader, president of the SGA and Homecoming Queen. She is also a top student. Strange events lead Harper into becoming a Paladin (a protector/guardian). Now she is in charge of protecting David Stark, her nemesis and a boy she doesn’t particularly like. Harper is one of my favourite characters. She’s a go-getter that is ambitious, smart, funny, nice and loyal.  She believes in being nice to others and following traditions. I love how much she’s devoted to her community and family. Harper grows up quite a bit in this book. She has to make a choice and she makes the choices that are right for her. She isn’t quick to jump into situations, she actually thinks things through and I loved that about her. The thing about Harper is that she does not fit the mean/bitch stereotype and it was such a refreshing portrayal of a girl who is a cheerleader and a homecoming queen. I personally found it cool because I have known girls like her high school, girls who are popular but also genuinely nice people.  There need to be more protagonists like her.

Hawkins has a great funny and witty voice in all of her books and you can see it here again in Rebel Belle. There are plenty of one-liners that will make you smile. I love the setting of the South and all of the quirks that go with it such as apology cakes, cotillion and manners.  Like all Hawkins books there is such a sweet romance in this book. The book deals with owe relationship fading and one that is just beginning to develop. Hawkins shows how a relationship can fizzle out and how people can grow apart in a very realistic way. I also love the love/hate relationship between Harper and David. David is a journalist and pushes all of Harper’s buttons. The banter was so funny and over time slowly begin to become friends and something more. Hawkins once described their relationship as similar to Blair and Dan from gossip girl and I think that a very accurate description. So many fireworks.  The Paladin plot really kicks off towards the end of the book and I’m really looking forward to seeing what lies in store because it’s sure to be awkward.

Rebel Belle is nothing but an entertaining book. There is fun to be had.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Review: Starling by Fiona Paul

Title: Starling
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: Harper Collins (AU)
Release Date: 24th March 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: In the stunning conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, there is nothing more dangerous that a secret closely kept... Cass and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they separate to pursue the only evidence that could save them, their worlds-and their romance-are torn apart by spiteful friends and murderous enemies. When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order's twisted plot, Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom. But it turns out Luca has a shocking scheme of his own. From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, from clever courtesans to vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and once and for all decide her destiny. Who will fly beside her when she finally finds her wings? This historical romantic thriller is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, Anna Godberson's The Luxe, and Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners.

Starling by Fiona Paul brings to a close Cassandra’s story and what a story it is filled with murder, secret societies, science experiments, courtesans, masquerades, romantic trysts and blood. Lets not forget the blood. Starling instantly pulls you back into its lush world of hidden secrets buried in the darkness of Venice.  It’s truly a satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series as Cass’s story comes to a full circle and she figures out who she is and what she wants. We also get a conclusion to the love triangle that has forever been brewing.

Starling has a lot more action than the previous instalments. Picking up from where Belladonna left off, Cass and Luca have managed to escape from the Doge’s prisons but now they must find away to find a way to end the Order of the Eternal Rose. In her exploits Cass meets some exquisite new ladies that will no doubt enchant. We also get to see some favourite characters return such as a certain magicigian, Felicianna and the mysterious Falco. Overall Starling’s spotlight is on Cass as she finds away to deal with the Order and figures out what she wants on a more personal note.  Cass always seems to find herself in precarious situations only to escape and land in more danger.  Out of the oven and into the frying pan needs to be Cass new motto because she is truly put through a lot. The setting of Venice has always added so much colour to the story, always enhancing the mysterious and vivid tale being told. Paul beautifully brings Venice to life and with it all of its secrets.

When we first meet Cass she’s a girl who is running from her future and trying to escape the chains that confine her. She doesn’t know who she is and what she wants.  By the time Starling comes to a close we see a different Cass than who we first meet. What I love about Paul’s writing is the wonderful character development. It’s brilliant to watch Cass develop slowly from an unsure young lady into a woman who knows what she is capable off.  She is tested time and time again and she emerges as a strong, vibrant and caring girl. She grows leaps and bounds throughout the entire trilogy as she escapes from murderers, saves those she loves and protests those closest to her.  Cass finally comes to realise what she wants.

Luca and Flaco also have great character arcs. They are very different people at the end of the book. Luca is no longer the studious quiet boy and Falco is not just the passionate artist. I love how much all the characters shine in this book, especially all the secondary characters such as Luca, Falco and Felicianna. There each have their own stories that are beautifully woven in with Cass’s.

Paul has done a great job in balancing all of the romance in this book. The love triangle is one of the best ones I have seen in YA fiction. Luca and Falco are both different in their own way and push Cass in different directions but I greatly appreciate all of the thought and emotion that went into picking the right guy, instead of having Cass end up with the hottest. In the end Cass does make a choice and it’s the right choice for her.

Starling is a satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy. If you want a series set in a Venice where murder abounds than you should check this trilogy out. Plus there is heaps of romance to be found.