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Showing posts from June, 2016

Review: Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik

Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Rating {★★★★☆}

We rejoin Captain William Laurence and Temeraire almost where the last book left off - with the Chinese discovering that the egg that they had sent to the French intended for Napoleon is now in the hands of the British Aerial Corps and that a rare and revered Celestial dragon is now living in a society that does not hold their dragons in nearly the same esteem as the Chinese and they have him actually fighting in their battles.

The intricacies of politics and cultural differences make this a slow read, but Novik's writing is always incredible for me and is so engaging that I enjoyed this even with the slow plot development and the overall pace of a three toed sloth.

If you can get past the fact that it is going to be a slow one and that you will see more of the background politics of war than the actual battles themselves (although there are a couple of action scenes), you will find that dry humour and a lyrical narrative fill the pages …

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy - Cassandra Clare

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Rating {★★★★★} 
“We all change the world, with every day of living in it"
What a great collection of stories for any Shadowhunter lover. Now, I'm not sure how these would go down for someone who hasn't read all or some of the Shadowhunter series before as I cannot put myself into that bubble. I already know and love a lot of these characters and through Simon's eyes I came to know and love so many more. Not only does this have flashbacks and guest appearances to characters from all the series before (Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs, The Lightwoods and many more) it introduces a new cast of people and a new type of Shadowhunter that I cannot wait to read more about in the future books.

I read this as a 'warm-up' for Lady Midnight and I'm so glad that I have. The stories take a bit of time to get on a roll with the first being a lot of rehashing and scene setting but they quickly transport you to Simon'…

Review: Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary

Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary by Susan Rennie

Rating {★★★★★} 

I adore Roald Dahl. And I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to get hold of an eARC. Thank-you NetGalley!

Roald Dahl is a personal childhood favourite and something I cannot wait to share with my children when they are old enough. I even enjoy re-reading the novels and rhymes as an adult, so I was just besotted with this dictionary! I think it is a wonderful addition to any library and I am going to be searching for a hard copy of this as soon as they become available.

Beautifully presented (with illustrations by Quentin Blake!!!!) and full of great facts and knowledge but also displayed in an entertaining and fun way which will make kids of all ages (even the adult ones!) truly enjoy this dictionary.

View all my reviews

Review: Starlight - Adrienne Woods

Starlight by Adrienne Woods

Rating {★★★★☆}

I always try to rate a book as soon as I close it so that I can capture exactly how I feel at the time and exactly where that book transported me to. This book is a wonderful example of why I do this because if I had waited until today to rate it, I probably would have dropped that rating to a three star, but truthfully this book was satisfying in so many ways and when I finally came to the close of it and reminisced about the entire story that I had read, I needed to give it the four stars because I really liked it.

There were so many great elements to this novel and in fact to this whole series, but there were also a huge number of letdowns. There were still, even in this last book published so many years after the first, so many glaring errors in both grammar and spelling. This has been a big issue throughout the entire series. I'm not sure if the physical books would be any better but the ebooks were pretty horrific.

Another factor f…

Review: Moonbreeze - Adrienne Woods

Moonbreeze by Adrienne Woods

Rating {★★★★☆}

Actual rating 3.5 stars - I more than liked it, but I didn't really, really like it.

Aaargh. This one was frustrating! I want to rate it highly, and yet it's a max 3.5 star read for me. However, even though the book (and entire series in fact) has it's ups and downs for me, I am so addicted.

I have only just realised how long this book was - 552 pages! It was a good thing - as I am seriously hooked on this series and there was a long wind up in this one where I was wondering if I was even reading the same series by the same Author. When this book hit it's stride, it really got going and I was back in my comfort zone. Unfortunately it was only at the 40% mark that this happened but with the size of the book at least there was still about 300 pages of good reading for me to go!

What frustrates me endlessly is that I can see exactly where the Author is trying to go and everything that she is doing. I can see the planning, the ca…

Review: Redefining Girly - Melissa Atkins Wardy

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween by Melissa Atkins Wardy

Rating : {★★☆☆☆} 

It was just Okay...

There were no great revelations in this book, no important secrets were unveiled.

Yes, it is important for our girls to grow up knowing that they can be whatever they want to be and they can go after anything they set their minds on. BUT! it's also Okay if they want to like the colour pink or identify with something 'girly' whereas this book just seemed to vilify anything like that. What is wrong with being beautiful? If my daughter wants the blue bike instead of the pink bike, she's welcome to it, but it's also equally fine if she wants the pink bike with the sparkly tires and tassels on the handlebars. What's wrong with the colour pink anyways?

We all want our children's self worth to come from within, but I think it's important that this is true for both little boys and little girls.

Review: Frostbite - Adrienne Woods

Frostbite by Adrienne Woods

 Rating {★★★★☆}

This is the third book in the Dragonian series, and everything got even more interesting for me in this one.

I have to admit, I thought this was going to be a pretty predictable but fun little series from the first book. I really enjoyed reading Firebolt. Thunderlight was a little wordy but still a good read and then I finished Frostbite. Let's be honest now, it doesn't matter which book it is or what the book is about, but if you are pondering on the events of the book, can't wait to get back to reading it AND it gives you enough feels to have you in tears a couple of times through the book - you have to say that you enjoyed it and that it is a good book!

I really got into this third instalment in the series. I have similar issues with this book as I did with the first two, but not enough to make me bring the rating down from 4 stars. I did find myself having to reread a few passages just to make sure I got the correct series of…

Review: Thunderlight - Adrienne Woods

Thunderlight by Adrienne Woods

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

I am thoroughly enjoying this series. I could only truthfully give this one 3 stars, but I'm late at writing my review and I know I have already rated the next one 4 stars so don't be disheartened! This entire series is well worth the read although I admit I am only on book four out of five. I just already know that I'm going to be reading them all.

I have mentioned in a previous review that these books aren't perfect. I have to mention a few of the small things that bugged me the most and brought down my rating -

Editing – there were a lot of errors in my copy of the book e.g. their instead of they’re and other typos. Often this sort of error will completely snap a reader out of their ‘zone’ which is NOT a good thing.
The characters - A lot of the decisions felt forced and slightly out of character coming straight off the first book. Not only that, but the characters at times seem like they are just going through th…

Review: Firebolt - Adrienne Woods

Firebolt by Adrienne Woods
Series: The Dragonian #1

Rating {★★★★☆}

YA Fantasy
Published September 19th 2014 by Fire Quill Publishing

Source: Fire Quill Publishing via NetGalley
Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.
Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.
Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.
Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.
I am so thrilled that I found this series. What an entertaining read this was for me and even though the writing isn't perfect I got sucked in within the first couple of chapters and was reading more for enjoyment than from a critical point of view.

Elena is a fairly normal sixteen year old girl - or…

Review: Amanzimtoti: The Ridge - Carmen-Shea Hepburn

Amanzimtoti: The Ridge by Carmen-Shea Hepburn

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly some trigger warnings: Self harm and references to child abuse. Generally I would say this book is for mature audiences only - there is quite a lot of strong language, some violence and also casual use of alcohol and drugs.

Amanzimtoti: The Ridge is a coming-of-age novel centred around Wayne Du Preez who, at the beginning of the book, is about to embark on his final year of high school. The book goes through approximately six months of his life when a boy from his childhood reappears - a boy he with whom he shared his first kiss. This boy has returned to Toti and has brought his childhood memories and his fears with him.

I liked and enjoyed this book and thought it was a very brave and promising debut novel. I truly look forward to reading more from Carmen-Shea Hepburn

As an expat living in Southern Africa next door to South Africa where this b…

Review: The Curse of the Bruel Coven - Sabrina Ramoth

The Curse of the Bruel Coven by Sabrina Ramoth

Rating : {★★☆☆☆}

The Curse of the Bruel Coven is narrated from Vivienne's POV, a seventeen year old girl still suffering from the recent death of her mother. Early in the story she finds out that she is adopted and that her birth mother is a witch. Not only this - her family has had a curse placed on them for generations and as a first born daughter this curse directly endangers her.

Let me start off by saying that I did actually enjoy this book. It genuinely has an interesting plot and has been well thought out. It was because of the writing that I have to bring this down to two stars only.

The biggest problem that I had while reading this was the irregular rhythm of the story; there is no discernible cadence to the narration and everything happens so quickly with no prelude or warning. At times even the sentences seem abrupt.

A well written book should have a lyrical unfolding with each word drawing you deeper into the world. The…

Review: The Iron Daughter - Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

This one was a tough one for me to both rate and to review. I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this book.

Kagawa's writing drew me in. The world is well imagined and richly described - sometimes possibly too richly described. I'm not too well versed on the fae and faerie/faery lore, in fact I've only recently really started reading faery books. The sheer amount of species (I think this is the right description?) that these books have is astounding. I'm trying to keep track of not only the Summer and Winter courts (Seelie and Unseelie) but also piskies, redhats, goblins, phoukas, wisps, Unicorns and a large other number of Nevernever creatures. Some of which was unnecessary and unimportant.

Meghan was a lot less annoying in this book. Not lovable, but I didn't despise her in this book. The love triangle that was inevitable from book one reared it's ugly head and was, for me, a downside of this book. Fr…

Review: The Crown - Kiera Cass

Rating : {★★★☆☆}

For some reason all the way through to the end of this book I was thinking that this was the second book of a second trilogy. Only once I realised that there were no more loose ends and I had no idea what she could possibly write into another book did I think to check and I found that this was the end of the Selection series, and sadly I was not disappointed to learn that there would be no more. 

I was not a huge fan of the original Selection series but Cass has a very easy-to-read writing style and I found myself wanting to know what happened. I went into the second batch of instalments of the series with trepidation and was actually pleasantly surprised with The Heir. While it wasn’t exactly a literary masterpiece, it was gratifying: A light and fluffy entertaining read and the characters were believable and contrary to many other readers’ opinions, I enjoyed being in the head of Eadlyn Shreave.

Unfortunately I found The Crown to be an underdeveloped and rushed storyli…

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J Maas

Nooooooo! It's finished! I want more, I NEED more!

This book. This book was an incredible follow up to ACOTAR. I wouldn't have dreamed that Maas would go there, but she did - and it was AMAZING. Heartbreakingly AMAZING.

I'm still trying to put together a coherent thought of how to describe this book. But it was awesome. 

This book was not a love story, although the romantic aspect was definitely there. 

It is about change - and Feyre has changed in such a fundamental way it cannot help but effect everything that she is. 

It is about a journey of self discovery, of discovering so many things about yourself and facing these things with all the courage you can muster. 

It is about people not necessarily being who you thought they were, about you not being who you thought you were. 

It is about making the reader sit on the edge of their seat and then finally coming to a close that will leave everyone wailing - HOW WILL I WAIT ANOTHER YEAR!!!!!!!!!????????

Review: His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik

5/5 Stars!

This book is not going to be for everyone - let me make that very clear. It is a pseudo-classical historical fantasy so if you are not remotely interested in reading about the Napoleonic wars or in reading a mostly classic prose - walk away now. The fact that there is the fantasy aspect of Dragons will not be enough to make you love this.

William Laurence, youngest son of Lord Allendale had run away from home to become a midshipman in the Royal Navy and had risen to the rank of Captain by the time we meet him on his ship, the Reliant as they seized the French frigate Amitie. Upon this ship they find an unhatched dragon-egg on board, a truly valuable prize. Unfortunately this egg is very close to hatching and the only time a dragon can be harnessed and brought into service is at the time of hatching. Service in the Aerial Corps is not considered prestigious and the officers generally have a low rank in society so naturally there was a great reluctance for anyone to take the po…

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

This is somewhere between 3 and 4 out of 5 stars for me... But closer to 3 than to 4. Ultimately I enjoyed it, and I will pick up the next book soon. I am thoroughly looking forward to the movie though! I mean, Tim Burton!!!! Yes please!

Initially (actually for most of the book) I truly struggled to feel any sort of empathy or affinity to the main character - Jacob. He is the very epitome of spoilt brat. A poor little rich boy whose parents adore him has a wonderful upbringing and yet is constantly whining and wallowing in his own self pity. What's to feel sorry for? In truth I didn't find any of the characters particularly complex or well developed so there just wasn't much to latch on to to be taken away in this world Riggs has created.

The plot dragged here and there and went into some pretty strange places. I did love the pictures but I'm also conflicted on this as I felt that a whole bunch of them could have easily been omitted - it was more of a case of 'how ca…

Review: Abhorsen - Garth Nix

Abhorsen (Abhorsen #3)by Rating {★★★★★}

Wow - Garth Nix is a truly talented and unique author and I have been thoroughly enjoying this Abhorsen series.

Not only is the fantasy aspect of this series distinctive and extraordinary, the writing itself is rich and tells a vivid story.

In this, the 3rd book in the series, everything comes together to create a battleground that anyone immersed in this story will find hard to forget. The strength of characters and their development, the ever building pressure of the climax - this is a wonderful fantasy series. It isn't all happy resolutions neat endings but that just makes it more believable.

I cannot wait to pick up the next book in this Universe.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

←Lirael (Abhorsen #2)

Review: Lirael - Garth Nix

Lirael (Abhorsen #2)by

Rating {★★★★☆}

What a solid second book in what is shaping up to be a truly awesome series. 

I had my doubts when reading Sabriel, but I fell in love with the world, with Sabriel, with Touchstone and Mogget and the very unique magical system that Nix developed. 

Lirael was a slightly more sprawling book with a LOT of setting up for the third book (which I would recommend having in hand to read as soon as you finish Lirael!). The characters are a little angsty, a little irritating and some of the premises for the third book are a little hazy here, but I am sure this is intentional. 

Despite all of this, I still fell in love with Lirael, Sameth, especially the Dog and I am harbouring deep fears for the tertiary characters in this book (including Sabriel and Touchstone). 

I cannot wait to pick up the third book in this series and I am sure it is going to be devoured in some very late night reading.

See more of my reviews of books in this series:

←Sabriel (Abhorse…

Review: Glass Sword - Victoria Aveyard

3 out of 5 stars.

I wanted to love this one more and I wanted to give if at least 4 stars, but I keep thinking about the things that bothered me and even though the last 25% of the book completely rehooked me and made me certain I will pick up the next book as soon as possible, I'm afraid I have to stick to this 3 star rating.

This book failed me. There were a number of disappointments and after truly enjoying Red Queen and waiting for this sequel in anticipation I feel let down. This is not what I wanted it to be.

The main character, Mare Barrow bored me with her often repetitive and tiresome narrative. She was far too much of a self obsessed special snowflake in this book and I found her an utterly confused and confusing mess. She could have at least been consistent and yet she seemed to swing between being a useless husk of a girl, reluctant to hurt people and then suddenly having almost omnipotent power and going on a bloodthirsty killing spree. I'm afraid I just couldn'…

Review: The Heir - Kiera Cass

This book was exactly what I needed right now! A light, fast read and, IMHO much better than the first 3 books! Not what I expected at all. 

Eadlyn was flawed, believable and most importantly for me - realistic. Yes, annoying may come into it at times, but I can deal with that when for the most part I am rooting for her! 

Having read the first 3 books, I already know that the world building wasn't going to be fantastic - the politics are not going to be complex and believable but THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT. It's not a book to be taken seriously at all. It's pure entertainment and I truly enjoyed it for what it was.

Review: Sabriel - Garth Nix

Sabriel (Abhorsen #1)

by Rating {★★★★☆}

This book was not what I expected in so many ways. And yet it was very good. 

I picked this book up having been recommended by Goodreads because I like Tamora Pierce. I think I expected this to be more like one of her stories - filled with adventure and yet a young YA book. While definitely filled with adventure and packed with action, this is a much darker YA book and not necessarily filled with happy endings. There is sacrifice, there are difficult decisions and there is a dark and forbidding tone throughout. 

It's not an easy read. Nix is sometimes overly descriptive but the overall style is serious and straightforward. While a wonderfully unique fantasy world it was quite a slow starter but once the plot picked up it was well paced through to the end. The character development wasn't great, and the onset of a sudden romance didn't make sense to me, but I feel the series is well worth the while. Will be picking up the next boo…

Review: Sword and Verse - Kathy MacMillan

Unfortunately the first 50% of this book was just really, really tedious. There was instalove... And learning how to write. And that was pretty much it. The plot picked up towards the final 30% and I did enjoy the book overall. I just feel as though you shouldn't have to force yourself through the book to get to the good parts...

Review: Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia

That felt like a looong book. It's always hard to tell when you read digitally and all you see is the % creeping up. I've read long books, many long books. But unfortunately this one felt long.

My first surprise upon opening this book was to find out that it was from a male POV. I had to adjust my entire outlook again to go with this as I had assumed it was a female POV, and not just because that is my normal read - because Ethan Wate just wasn't very masculine and made for a fairly flat, pious protagonist. I mean, seriously this guy loves describing clothes, reads classical poetry and is extremely chaste.

I'm not from America, never been to America, don't know much about America. This book played heavily on Southern US stereotypes and to me was fairly offensive in the way that this was done. By about 60% through the book I was just SICK AND TIRED of Ethan constantly thinking he was just THAT much better than EVERYONE else in the book and all the locals were just por…

Review: Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

.Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
3.5 stars out of 5, but the ending rounds it up to 4 instead of down to 3.
I read this book as a part of a YA book club. The more I think about it, the more I like this book. It was fun. It was girly. It was a breath of fresh air. But it also wasn't what I was wanting at the time, which made it tough for me. I'm not really all that into chick-lit so this was a bit tough to swallow at first. But the writing is good, the plot was good and overall the book was light and fluffy. Will I read the next book? Yes I will. Would I recommend this book? Only to people looking for a light hearted chick-lit fantasy read

Review: Uprooted - Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: {★★★★★}

YA Fantasy
Published May 19th 2015 by Del Rey

Source: Purchased
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate al…