Archive for the ‘Review’ Category:

Review: The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves #1) by Sally Green

Release Date: May 3rd 2018

Published By: Penguin

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief.

Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands.

Five nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner’s block.

In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town.

And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war.

Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

Review: This was my first venture into a Sally Green world, and I have to admit, I was left with some mixed feelings.

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Review: Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

Release Date: April 24th 2018

Published By: Pan Australia

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Princess. Prisoner. Orphan. Rebel.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s land and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess – a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword.

And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

ReviewAsh Princess is the first of a dark, heavy and intriguing fantasy, that will leave most readers loving this engrossing and treacherous world.

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Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Release Date: April 24th 2018

Published By: Hot Key Books

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Review: This title peaked my interest – why? Well, because I don’t like mermaids. Well that isn’t entirely true – I just generally don’t like mermaid stories. I don’t know why. But, I do love dark stories, so this one certainly had me interested.

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Review: Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein

Release Date: April 1st 2018

Published By: Walker Books Australia

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: We don’t pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.

Tash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing.

As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

Review: A small coastal town. A nearly decade old year mystery of what happened to a missing girl. A girl haunted by her past imaginary friend. A decade of falsehoods and lies, therapy and wondering. Now it will all come crashing back into Tash Carmody’s life.

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Review: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1) by Tomi Adeyemi

Release Date: March 8th 2018

Published By: Macmillan Children’s Books

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

ReviewChildren of Blood and Bone was one of the most promoted and highly anticipated books of 2018 – and I can totally see why. Debut author Tomi Adeyemi has crafted a fascinating story to submerge yourself in with the first in what I am sure will be an amazing trilogy.

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Review: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Release Date: February 1st 2018

Published By: Walker Books

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Review: Oh I do love a story that challenges moral ethics! A little bit of killing never goes astray either :)

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Review: The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Release Date: March 8th 2018

Published By: HarperVoyager

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

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

Review: City of Brass was one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. I had heard so much about it from those over the pond (the US got it earlier), and this fantasy debut had me all excited. So did it live up to my expectations? Absolutely!!!

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Review: The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert

Release Date: February 8th 2018

Published By: Penguin

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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

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

Review: A type of fairytale retelling, a creepy one at that, is right up my ally. I was very much looking forward to The Hazel Wood, and while I did really enjoy it, I didn’t completely love it.

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Review: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

Release Date: January 2nd 2018

Published By: Hot Key Books

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Review: I was very excited for The Cruel Prince, I mean, who does fae better than Holly Black? Black’s fae are dark, mysterious, ruthless, devious, cruel and alluring. And while I did see all these appealing traits in this book, the fae were not quite as dark or underhanded as I had imagined they would be.

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Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: October 10th 2017

Published By: Scholastic

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Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Review: Maggie and miracles, now here was a book to get excited about. I mean, what was not to love about the prospect of this book? It was Maggie (and I love her writing), a beautiful cover (which I am always a sucker for) and it is a standalone (always a welcome touch).

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Review: Before the Devil Breaks You (The Diviners #3) by Libba Bray

Release Date: September 27th 2017

Published By: Allen & Unwin

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: New York City.
1927.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming…

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They’re more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward’s Island, far from the city’s bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten–ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they’ve ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation–a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

Review: Wow. Another fantastic instalment in the The Diviners series!

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The Language of Thorns (The Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo, Sara Kipin (Illustrator)

Release Date: September 26th 2017

Published By: Orion

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Review: I am going to admit, I am not the biggest Grishaverse fan out there. I don’t dislike by any means, I just have mixed feelings about some of it – but I am still intrigued by the world and I will continue to read stories within it.

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Review: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

Release Date: October 12th 2017

Published By: Gollancz

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

ReviewThe Last Namsara had everything I could want in a YA fantasy: dragons, political agenda, mythology, oppression and a deadly heroine.

Oh, and did I mention dragons?

Who would not want this book?!

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Review: Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2.5) by Laini Taylor, Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

Release Date: September 12th 2017

Published By: Little Brown Books (US), Hodder & Stoughton (UK/Aus)

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Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: In this stand-alone companion to the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone series comes the story of Mik and Zuzana’s fantastical first date—as a gorgeously illustrated gift edition with bonus content included.

Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to make the first move, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy is not going to know what hit him.

New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Originally published as an ebook, this new print edition will include breathtaking black and white illustrations, plus bonus content in a gorgeous package perfect for new and current fans of the series.

Review: My dreams have finally come true, and they are so much better in real life than I could have ever of dreamt up myself!!!!

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Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Release Date: September 21st 2017

Published By: Orion/Little Brown

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Time flies when you’re plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

Review: I will admit that I normally stay away from stories revolving around time-travel – but this book just appealed to me in a way that time-travel normally does not. Travelling across history including ancient Rome and the Titanic, and add heists – where do I sign up?! (plus look at that gorgeous cover!)

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