20 February 2017

REVIEW: Three Dark Crowns

THREE DARK CROWNS
by Kendare Blake 



Pages: 405, paperback
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: 22nd September 2016
ISBN: 1509804552
Received From:  Macmillan Children's Books via Netgalley


Summary 

Three sisters. One crown. A fight to the death. 
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. 
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or lose . . . it's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. 
The last queen standing gets the crown.

Review

I am a huge Kendare Blake fan, as is most YA readers I believe with her stunningly creepy novel Anna Dressed in Blood on the top of a lot of peoples favourite books list. So, when I heard she was releasing a new series I was already jumping up and down with excitement. Three Dark Crowns is completely different to anything I have read from Kendare before but that is by no means a bad thing and it was all I hoped it to be and more. This is why. 

Three Dark Crown is the story of three young Queens who each have their own special ability. Mirabella can control the elements and lives in the Elemental city of Rolanth under the protection of the priestesses. Katherine was raised by the poisoners, the current rulers of Fennbirn, they thrive on poison and are the most deadly of these three gifts. Lastly there is Arsinoe, a naturalist who was raised to be the peoples queen and isn't afraid to get her hands dirty. However, these three queens are triplets and as their 16th birthday is upon them they have to start preparing for the battle ahead. The battle that will see one queen on the throne and her two sisters dead. Although, not is all as it seems and these three little queens are different to past generations, as you see, not all of them have the abilities they say they do. 

This is one of those reviews where I'm going to have to skip over a couple of things as I don't want to give any spoilers but holy moly this is a good book! The story line is so well crafted that I was sucked into Fennbirn within a couple of pages and I can not wait for book two... yes there will be a book two! I think everyone who reads this will connect more to one of the queens than the others, although as much as I have to say I'm a little in love with Katherine, Arsinoe was my queen and I can't help but have my fingers crossed for her. The reason I love Kendare Blake's books is that not one of her characters are flawless, which in turn makes them more real. All three queens have their moments where they could do with a slap but could you honestly imagine being raised knowing you are born to kill your sisters? Talk about being dealt a bad deck of cards!



Over the course of the book you get to know each queen and for lack of a better word their 'courts', although its a little less formal than that, as they get ready for the moment their lives have been leading up to. The festival that will mark the start of the Ascension Year (the year they have to kill each other). There are so many different characters to get your head around but each one is well crafted and original. The story arcs are solid and interesting and there wasn't a moment where I thought "what was the point in that". Every moment meant something and connected to something else and I would love to spend a day in Kendare's brain just to see where all the magic and mayhem is created. 

Overall I loved this book! It is exciting and easy to read. The characters are three-dimensional and easy to connect to. I would recommend this people who love fantasy, strong woman protagonists and old world magic. To me this felt like a nod to folk lore in a completely contemporary way and I couldn't put it down. 



Oh P.S. So many potential book boyfriends I'll let you take your pick... let me know in the comments who took your fancy? 


15 February 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #6



SOMEONE ELSE'S SUMMER
by Rachel Bateman


Pages: 320
Publisher: Running Press
ISBN: 0762462191

Summary 

Anna's always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm's summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm's list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm's dream summer would eventually lead to Anna's own self-discovery?

Quick side note, can we all just take a moment and appreciate this cover!!! 
Major feels



PUBLICATION DATE:
9th May 2017


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






13 February 2017

REVIEW: Ariadnis

ARIADNIS
by Josh Martin


Pages: 356
Publisher: Hachette
Publication Date: 9th Feb 2017
ISBN: 9781784298210
Received From: Hachette


Summary 

Back then I thought that if it weren't for that cliff, our cities would be one and there would be no need for all this fierceness toward each other. But then I learned about pride and tradition and prophecy, and those things are harder than rock. 
Joomia and Aula are Chosen. They will never be normal. They can never be free. 
On the last island on Erthe, Chosen Ones are destined to enter Ariadnis on the day they turn eighteen. There, they must undertake a mysterious and deadly challenge. For Joomia and Aula, this means competing against each other, to end the war that has seethed between their cities for nine generations. 
As the day draws nearer, all thoughts are on the trial ahead. There's no space for friendship. No time for love. However much the girls might crave them. 
But how you prepare for a task you know nothing certain about? Nothing, except that you must win, at whatever cost, or lose everything.

Review

I got this book through unexpectedly and was so excited to read it! I had heard whispers about it on the bloggosphere and it completely lived up to the hype surrounding it. The story is original, the characters are unique and overall I really enjoyed reading it. Aridnis came out last week so if you muggles haven't read it yet I would recommend it hole heartedly! 

The book itself follows not one but two chosen ones over the cause of a year as they work towards their shared destiny. Generations of chosen ones have all worked towards this moment and Joomia and Aula now have to compete against each other to end a long war between their two cities. Joomia's city is built within the trees under the cliff in which all civilization lives with its people taking knowledge from nature, where as Aula's lives on raised levels atop of the cliff. Both believe their way of living is the way forward for what is left of the human race but it is up to our two protagonists to battle it out and win the knowledge that will make one city great. 

Okay, so lets start with the things that stopped it from being a 5 stars. Firstly it took a little while to get into, the beginning didn't instantly grab me and I think that is because I was struggling with all the different names for things. If I'm completely honest I'm probably still pronouncing half of them wrong when I talk about this book to people. It shouldn't be that big an issue but when you have to pause to spell out some of the names in your head a couple of times it does slow down the reading and in hand makes it hard to get into to start with. However, that is the only real flaw I found and if I did half rankings it would be 4.5 so don't let this put you off as it is a great book!

The story arc of Aridnis is like nothing I have ever read before. I've read so many different dystopian books, where something has happened and we have a new world order and seeing how the human race copes with the world the author dreams up. With Dystopian there is a habit of plots crossing over and it seeming very familiar but this book was not like that at all. The premise is original, the characters are diverse and magical and the promise of book two looks to be exactly the same.

Overall I really did like this book and after I got my head around the unusual names I wasn't able to put it down. I NEEDED to know what happens next and the characters found a place in my heart and I found myself on tender hooks waiting for the next plot twist.

10 February 2017

BOOK BLITZ: Romeo & What's Her Name

ROMEO AND WHAT'S HER NAME
by Shani Petroff

Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: February 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Summary 

Understudies never get to perform
. . . which is why being Juliet’s understudy in the school’s yearly “Evening with Shakespeare” is the perfect role for Emily. She can earn some much-needed extra credit while pursuing her main goal of spending time with Wes, aka Romeo, aka the hottest, nicest guy in school (in her completely unbiased opinion). And she meant to learn her lines, really, it’s just:
a) Shakespeare is HARD,
b) Amanda, aka the “real” Juliet, makes her run errands instead of lines, and
c) there’s no point because Amanda would never miss the chance to be the star of the show.
Then, Amanda ends up in the hospital and Emily, as the (completely unprepared!) understudy, has to star opposite the guy of her dreams. Oops?




EXCERPT


I stood there like a lump, waiting for my line. Finally, I turned toward Kayla and repeated, “I said, LOUDER-ETH.”
She fed me the line again. Supercrazy loud this time. “I would not for the world.”
It was so loud, the crowd heard it and started to laugh. Not the snickers from before, but those evil, full belly laughs people get when watching home videos of someone getting kicked in the groin. Wes was going to hate me for putting him through this. This torture needed to end.
“Methinks,” I said, “I could use-eth a book-eth.” Come on, Kayla. Take the hint. “You know-eth. A BOOK-ETH where-est I can recite-eth beauteous words to thee . . . thou . . . whatever. I NEED THE BOOK-ETH.”
As I was shouting that last book-eth, I got my wish. The script came sailing from off stage left and hit me in the back of the head. “Ow,” I unintentionally yelled, to the delight of the crowd. It weighed a ton.
“Sorry,” Kayla whispered. “My bad.”
I didn’t care. I’d get over the pain faster than the embarrassment I was suffering. I was just happy to have the script. At least I was until I realized Kayla hadn’t bookmarked the page I needed. It was the complete works of Shakespeare. There was no way I would find the right page. Not to mention that since the book was with me, Kayla couldn’t even feed me lines anymore. R&J wasn’t a tragedy. My life was.
I was so flunking English.
“Would thou like some help, my sweet Juliet?”
Did Wes just call me sweet? I swung around to face him, but I wasn’t paying attention to where I was stepping and my foot went right off the balcony. Wes lunged forward to catch me, but why would anything go right for me? So instead of Wes stopping me from hitting the floor, I took him down with me.
I was lying on top of Wes Rosenthal. Only, this was not like any of my daydreams. This was mortifying. I rolled off him and jumped up. “Are you okay?” I was visibly shaking.
Wes stood up, too. “Don’t worry-eth, Juliet,” he said without any anger in his voice. He even smiled at me. For a second I thought that meant he didn’t hate me for the craziness I was causing. But then I remembered he was acting. He actually took what he was doing seriously, and right now his part called for him to be in love with Juliet.
Wes said some line I assumed was to get us back on track. But I had no response. I couldn’t take it anymore. The laughter of the audience. The panic coursing through my body. The thought of making Wes suffer more. It needed to end.
So I did the only thing I could think of—something super Elizabethan. I put the back of my and to my forehead, pretended to swoon, and let my whole body fall back to the ground with a loud thump.
“I am so sorry-eth, Romeo.”
“It’s okay.” He sat down on the ground next to me and took my hand. I felt little sparks fly through me.
I shook my head. I couldn’t let him go through this anymore. “No, I know how-eth this play end-eth. I think I shall stab-eth myself now to save-eth us both.”
“Finally,” someone in the audience yelled out.
I picked up an imaginary dagger and began to plunge it into my heart.
“No,” Wes said, stopping me before I committed imaginary suicide. “Our story is not over yet. So let’s just say, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night ‘til it be morrow.’”
I was pretty sure that was supposed to be my line. But I decided I probably shouldn’t point that out. Then he stood up and walked off the stage.
After a moment, someone finally took mercy on me and brought the stage lights down.
The scene was over. But I knew all too well that my embarrassment was just beginning.


Author Bio

 
Shani Petroff is a writer living in New York City. She's the author of the “Bedeviled” series, which includes Daddy’s Little Angel, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dress, Careful What You Wish For, and Love Struck, and is the co-author of the "Destined" series which includes Ash and Ultraviolet. She also writes for television news programs and several other venues. When she’s not locked in her apartment typing away, she spends a whole lot of time on books, boys, TV, daydreaming, and shopping online.



XBTBanner1

8 February 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #5



HEARTLESS
by Marissa Meyer



Pages: 464
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 1509814132


Summary 


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. 
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen. 
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.



PUBLICATION DATE: 
9th of February 2017 
TOMORROW!!!


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 







6 February 2017

REVIEW: Wintersong

WINTERSONG
by S. Jae-Jones


Pages: 512
Publisher: TITAN Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
ISBN: 9781785655449
Received From:  TITAN Books


Summary 


All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. 
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts. 
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world. 

Review

"It takes love, you see, to bring the world back to life"

I have always has a fascination with the Goblin King, ever since I watched Labyrinth as a child. The line, "Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave," being one of my favourite quotes of all time! SO when I got the opportunity to read Wintersong by Titan Books I jumped at the chance. If Bowies Goblin King enchanted me, S. Jae-Jones' broke my heart and had me praying for a happily ever after. 

"You might prefer the pretty lie to the ugly truth"

Wintersong follows nineteen year old Liesl as she crosses the veil between the living and the dead to save her sister Käthe from the Goblin King. However, once Underground Liesl is forced to chose between the life she knows or the beautifully terrifying possibility of a world unknown. Taking comfort in her music and the melodies she creates Liesl is drawn to the darker side of herself and encouraged by the Goblin King she begins to find her place in the world underneath. However,  there is a price to pay for being the Goblin Kings bride and it is more than Liesl ever imagined. This time her music might not be able to save her. 


The Goblin King is the Lord of mischief and he pulls the strings of this story into something dark and captivating. His trickery paints a tale so beautiful it is terrible, much like the character himself and each twist in the Labyrinth opens up another side to Liesl, the King and the world underground. He is the perfect companion to a character such as Liesl because he temps the selfish side of her and in hand teases the reader with the promise of something unexpected. However, as the book develops you began to see the man behind the crown. His selfless side is powered by Liesl's and you see that for one to be selfish the other had to be selfless, for one to be dark the other must be light and for one to be free the other must be caged. 

"Your music was the only thing that kept me sane, that kept me human instead of a monster."

Liesl is an interesting protagonist because there is so much depth to her. She is not simply the innkeepers daughter who devoted her life to her siblings best interests that we see at the beginning of the book but she has a core that plays music the world has never seen. She is both selfless and selfish and the contradicting sides of her personality cause her the most devastating of heart breaks. Wintersong to me was the story of Liesl, innkeepers daughter, girl, woman, Goblin Queen, composer and so much more. The Goblin King gave her the opportunity to truly be herself, to truly live without fear of judgement and through that she grew into a character than you couldn't help but connect with. When she laughed I laughed, when she cried I cried and when it came down to biggest decision of her life my heart broke for her. 

"I would rather light the flame, knowing it will go out, than sit forever in darkness"

Overall Wintersong was the perfect read for this time of year. It is haunting and the writing style is effortless. It is a story of family, love, devotion and you can't help but loose yourself in its pages. It is a story that no matter the outcome will unhinge you but you can't help love it anyway. The Goblin King is enchanting, Liesl is music at its truest form and together they tell a story that will have you in tears at 4am in the morning. 

"You are the monster I claim." 






1 February 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #4



THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING
by Jeff Giles



Pages: 400
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
ISBN: 1408869071


Summary 


It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X. 
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.



PUBLICATION DATE:
9th of February 2017


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to! 






30 January 2017

REVIEW: The Shadow Cabinet

THE SHADOW CABINET
by Maureen Johnson


Pages: 374, paperback
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 5th February 2015
ISBN: 1471401804
Received From:  Hot Key Books


Summary 

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death. 
With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out... 

Review

**Spoilers if you haven't read the second book**

I started this series when I was still in college about five years ago now and I remember being terrified! The ghosts that haunted the streets of London literally were the thing of nightmare so when the second book came out, The Madness Underneath, I was hooked instantly. The ghosts may not have been quite as terrifying as the Ripper, who had made me cringe, but they were still scary. However, the reason I loved book two so much was that we go more of our all seeing ghost busting team! Saying that the ending of the second instillment broke me and when Hot Keys sent me the third book I couldn't bring myself to read it. With Stephen dead I didn't know if I really wanted to read on but after almost two years I finally picked The Shadow Cabinet off the shelf and started reading.

The Shadow Cabinet continues where we left on in The Madness Underneath. Stephen has just died, Charlotte is missing and the whole of London is on the hunt for Rory. This instalment of The Shades of London sees the team tackle the ghosts of their pasts and opens up a whole new world with the introduction of Sid and Sadie. These two gruesome characters are the reason behind Jane's madness and why she's so desperate to get hold of Rory. With ghosts old and new and a vital member of the team gone will this ghost busting team make it to the end of the book? Only one way to find out. 

"
"We see people come back all the time," I said.
"No. We see people who didn't leave. There's a big difference.""


Much like The Madness Underneath the ghost element that had scared and entranced me so much with The Name of the Star was missing and I was a little disappointed. Yes, there were ghosts and odd moments that felt like it was drawing on the foundations of the original book (especially in the second half) but it was mostly focused on one thing... Jane. In the second book Jane kidnapped Rory's 'friend' Charlotte and at the start of this book the hunt is on to find her. The whole story felt more about the people rather than the ghost to me and without Stephen and Rory and Callum not talking it really didn't grip my attention the way I hoped. 



There were new elements introduced to the series however, with more information into Jane's background, all things occult and a little firecracker named Freddie who tries to integrate into the ghost hunting team. Although With Stephen gone its not exactly the best timing at I can totally see why Callum doesn't approve as it feels a bit like they are trying to replace Stephen. The story line as a whole is good although it may not have been all I hoped for it still kept me interested and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. 




I'll admit the first part dragged on a bit but I love the series so much and I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. The second half was much more like the Shades of London books we've come to know and love and if you haven't yet read it I would recommend it. I won't say too much else as I don't want to give the game away but when book 4 is realised (as far as I know there isn't a title yet, but I will keep you posted) I will be reading it. Although unlike with the others I think I'll be reading more out of curiosity than seer excitement. Worth a read if you haven't already, as I do have high praise for the rest of the series. 


27 January 2017

January Round up

New Year and 2017 is the year of the blogging for me. I took a couple of years out due to university commitments and I was only able to post the odd review. So this year I am going to keep on top of my reviews as I've missed the book blog community and I'm so happy to be back in the game. So to start things off I am going to be doing monthly round ups of what I've read, what to expect in the month to come and most of all my book of the month. 


BOOK OF THE MONTH
A Quite Kind of Thunder
by Sara Barnard



Mini review

A Quiet Kind of Thunder delves into what it is like to suffer with a crippling anxiety in a way I could never explain. It is easy to imagine Steffi and Rhys walking down the halls of any high school telling a story that is charmingly addictive. 

Gif review 


for full review of A Quiet Kind of Thunder




WHAT I READ IN JANUARY 

1. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (5 Stars)
2. The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson (3 Stars)
3. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (3 Stars)
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Pecuilar Children by Ransom Riggs (4 Stars) **Audio Book**
5. The Memory Book by Lara Avery 
6. Shadows of the Forest by Emma Michaels (DNF)
7. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (4 Stars)


WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY 

Reviews 
Wintersong by .S. Jae-Jones
Ariadnis by Josh Martin
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco 


Q&A
Interview with Kendare Blake all to do with her newest novel Three Dark Crowns. I was super excited to be able to to this Q&A so I hope you lot enjoy it as much as I did. 
In the best possible way


25 January 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #3



CARAVAL
by Stephanie Garber


Pages: 416
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250095255


Summary 


Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .  
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. 
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. 
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.



PUBLICATION DATE: 
31st of January 2016


What is your #WaitingOnWednesday this week? Comment below as I'm excited to see what everyone else is looking forward to!