Archive for the ‘Review’ Category:

Strange the Dreamer Samplers – 10 Things I Learnt

   

 

OMG! I have been ridiculously spoiled by certain someones, and I now have my little Laini Taylor obsessed hands on both the UK and US Strange the Dreamer samplers!!!

Now I don’t normally read samplers, because I find that they are nothing but dirty teases – but of course I was going to read these… and this is what I learnt.

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Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Release Date: February 11th 2016
Published By: Orion  (UK/Aus) / HarperTeen (US)
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Review:  This review contains spoilers for the previous book in this series: Red Queen. You can read my review of Red Queen here.

I loved Red Queen – it was dark and edgy, with sass and action, so naturally Glass Sword was one my most anticipated sequels of 2016!

Sequels are always exciting! They can make the whole series a success, be the start of its demise, or anything in-between – and sadly, I think that Glass Sword is somewhere in-between.

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Review: The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman

Release Date: May 19th 2016
Published By: Bloomsbury
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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder.

Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

Master storyteller Jessica Warman keeps readers guessing in this arresting page-turner.

Review:  Late into the night on New Year’s Eve 1986 a sleeping 4 year old Turtle (real name Tabitha) was kidnapped from the basement of her home where she slept with her 7 year old sister Sam and Sam’s best friend Remy whilst the neighbourhood adults partied upstairs. Sam and Remy pretended to be asleep but saw the man in the Santa costume come into the basement and grab Turtle. And yes I will admit that the similarities to the JonBenet Ramsay case did come to mind when I was reading this.

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Review: And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) by Kiersten White

Release Date: June 28th 2016
Published By: Delacorte Press (US) / Corgi Childrens (UK/Aus)
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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Review:  There are a few ways to get me excited about a book, and they include a gorgeous cover, tell me it is historical fiction and promise intrigue and brutality. And of course, put Kiersten White’s name on the cover! So And I Darken pretty much had me from the very beginning.

I am a big fan of Kiersten. And even though she has ruined unicorns for me forever, I still adore her and her work. And while it is exciting when an author you love brings out a new title, it is always a little scary – what if you don’t love this book as much as the others? What if you are disappointed after you have hyped it up in your own mind? So, excitement and fear aside, I entered this world with all, and no, expectations at all – and I was NOT disappointed!

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Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Published By: Bloomsbury
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Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: Feyre is immortal.

After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate.

She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.

 

Review:  This review contains small spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses. Review for A Court of Thorns and Roses can be found here.

Excitement! A Court of Mist and Fury has arrived! OMG, another awesome Sarah J Maas book to devour! What could go wrong??

Well, a few things actually.

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Review: Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: January 25th 2016 (Aus) /January 5th 2016 (US)
Published By: HarperCollins (Aus) / Disney Hyperon (US)
Pages: 486
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: This journey is only the beginning…

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Pulled back through time to 1776 in the midst of a fierce sea battle, she has travelled not only miles, but years from home.

With the arrival of this unusual passenger on his ship, privateer Nicholas Carter has to confront a past that he can’t escape and the powerful Ironwood family who won’t let him go without a fight. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value; one they believe only Etta can find.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by an enigmatic traveller. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta from Nicholas, and her way home, forever.

 

Review: Passenger is one of the biggest YA releases of 2016. Although I am not the biggest fan of time-travelling stories, I know that I was ridiculously excited for its release, after all, it is written by Alexandra Bracken who gave us the wonderful The Darkest Minds series, it promised us mystery, ships, deceit, longing, adventure, pirates and time-travel. And well… just look at that gorgeous cover!!!! Who wouldn’t be excited about this book?

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Review: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Release Date: February 23rd 2016 (Aus/UK) and January 5th 2016 (US)
Published By: Tor
Pages: 412
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

 

ReviewTruthwitch is the new fantasy series to hit the YA market with a bang! Filled with magic, intrigue, adventure and action, this is an exciting new series from Susan Dennard that will pull on your imagination and leave you wanting more.

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Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 29th 2015
Published By: Orion-Hachette / Henry Holt and Company (US)
Pages: 465
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Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

Review: Entering the Grisha world once again, Leigh Bardugo does not disappoint with Six of Crows. With its own unique style and flare, Six of Crows is far enough away from The Grisha trilogy to enjoy separately from the original series, but with just enough of the magical Grisha world for fans to love this new and interesting story.

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Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Release Date: November 1st 2015 / October 20th 2015 (US) / October 22nd 2015 (UK)
Published By: Allen & Unwin / Knopf Books (US) / Oneworld Publications (UK)
Pages: 602
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

ReviewIlluminae was set to be one of the biggest YA releases of 2015 – and although I was excited for this book, I am going to be honest, the thought of reading it scared the shit of me.
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Review: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Release Date: January 1st 2016 / September 22nd 2015 (US)
Published By: HarperCollins / HarperTeen (US)
Pages: 336
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Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

 

ReviewWhat We Saw is a story of a small town rocked by rape allegations. And while this story is not from the POV of the victim, or alleged offenders, it does not shy away from the horrors of such a situation. It shows the true horror – the bystanders. This is the backstory. The story of those who know the victim and the accused offender(s). Of those who may or may not know exactly what happened. Those who are either willing to let their personal opinion of the people involved be the judge, or those who are wanting to find true justice.

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Review: Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson

Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Published By: Hachette / HarperTeen (US)
Pages: 332
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Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis:Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking:

Never interfere.
Never be seen.
Never walk the same person’s dream more than once.

Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.

Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town, and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

From talented debut author Robert L. Anderson comes a stunning, complex, and imaginative story of the fine line between our dreams and reality.

Review: Dea walks through people dreams – that is just what she does. She doesn’t know why she is able to do this, but she knows that she needs to do it. If she doesn’t, she starts to get sick. But that is not the biggest issue that dream walking has – there are very strict rules – never be seen, never interfere and never walk the same person’s dreams more than once.

Her whole life has been filled with rules, clocks, dangerous mirrors, and dreams – and that has been okay, until she meets Connor. Connor is the mysterious new boy, and more importantly, he has mysteries of his own. And this is where Dea decides to break some of the rules. Some very important rules.

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Review: Fall (Twinmaker #3) by Sean Williams

Release Date: November 3rd 2015
Published By: Allen & Unwin / Balzer + Bray (US)
Pages: 512
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:The mind-bending conclusion to the Twinmaker trilogy.

Clair’s world has been destroyed – again. The only remaining hope of survival is for her and Q to enter the Yard, a simulation as detailed – and as real – as the home they have lost. But in the Yard there are two Clair Hills. The other Clair is headstrong, impulsive, suspicious – just like Clair herself used to be, and their very existence is causing cracks.

As Clair searches for a solution, a surprising new ally emerges from the ashes. Together they fight their way through the digital and political minefield in the hope of saving Jesse, her friends and the whole of humanity.

‘Williams marries accessibly explored moral ramifications of future technologies with a strong, capable teen heroine and heart-pounding action.’ Kirkus Reviews

ReviewThis review contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

Fall, otherwise known as Hollowgirl, is the third and final book in the Twinmaker series by Aussie author Sean Williams.

In Jump (Twinmaker) and Crash (Crashland), we have been taken on a journey of d-mat, fabbers, abstainers, artificial intelligence, lost friends, unlikely alliances, betrayal, unknown loyalties, mistakes, dedication and disaster – and Fall (Hollowgirl) completes the story with all of this, plus even more twists, duplicities, turmoil, determination and action.

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Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Release Date: October 22nd 2015
Published By: Macmillan Children’s Books / Disney Hyperion (US)
Pages: 336
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife. When Lo-Melkhiin – a formidable king – arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice – leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king …if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it. And perhaps she is

Review: I am going to admit, I am a little torn over A Thousand Nights. I both really enjoyed this book, as well as found some parts of it a little lacking.

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Review: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch

Release Date: October 13th 2015
Published By: HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray (US)
Pages: 479
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis: It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.

Review: This review contains no spoilers for Snow Like Ashes. Review for Snow Like Ashes can be found here.

After the events of Snow Like Ashes, Winter may be saved, but the nightmares continue. They continue in the hearts of those who survived, from the memories of those lost and betrayed, and in the struggle to break the chains of tyranny. Winter has been saved from the evil that ruled it for so long, but it has yet to be freed. Winter is still enslaved due to a great debt owed to Cordell, and while that debt cannot go unpaid, Meira does not want her kingdom to fall into ruins before it can become whole again.

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Review: Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray

Release Date: August 26th 2015
Published By: Allen & Unwin (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (US) / ATOM (UK))
Pages: 613
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Purchase: Click here to purchase

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis: After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to ‘read’ objects, and therefore the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title ‘America’s Sweetheart Seer’. There’s just one downside – a sham engagement to the irritatingly handsome Sam Lloyd.

But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities… and across town, a mysterious sleeping sickness is spreading through Chinatown, leaving dead dreamers in its wake.

Can the Diviners descend into the slumberland and catch a killer?

ReviewLair of Dreams is a fantastic instalment in The Diviners series, filled with darkness and mystery, comedy and heart, tension and determination – everything that is needed to entice you into this magical 1920’s New York.

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