Sunday, 27 November 2016

Weekly Round Up #10



Here's my weekly roundup. I'm linking to The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and #IMWAYR hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.


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It's been a busy, busy week with the family I spoke of arriving and then my SIL also visiting with her family. I still managed to get some reading done but my blogging has taken a hit. I will get around to responding to everyone that's taken the time to leave comments and thanks so much for visiting!

What I read last week:

Cinder26210840

My review of Cinder with my buddy reader will be up at the end of next week. :) I did enjoy it and I can't wait to read more of the series. 

What I am currently reading:

Caraval

I'm loving this one. There's a bit of a Forbidden Game vibe and I have no idea what to actually expect next. 

Up Next:

Edge of Everything



New Arrivals:


NevernightBound By Blood and Sand

This week I had two pretty exciting titles incoming! I'm not sure where they are on the TBR but I'm excited for them both.



And that's my week! How did yours go? 
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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Review: Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill


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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
My Rating : {★★★★☆}

Young Adult Fantasy Fiction
Expected publication: December 27th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers 

Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
I normally rate a book as soon as I close the cover because then I feel like I better capture how the book made me feel - what effect it had on me and how it left me. This one though I needed some time to step back and really think about because... I hated how the author left this book. Had the last few pages or even the very last page been different this would have probably been a solid four stars from me, but now I'm wavering between 3 and 4. I'll probably stick to 3.5 stars rounded up.

The writing is clear and easy to read, and for the most part it is compelling, but I was annoyed with how the author tries to hammer home her points at various times (Britta is an amazing tracker, Britta finds it hard to express her emotions and is not used to being touched). For me it made Britta harder to like and as the main character and the book being from her POV I really wanted to connect with her from the get-go.

The world building was just enough for me, especially for a debut novel and there are no info dumps which was great. It's not a grand sweeping Tolkienesque world but there are still coherent qualities of history and geography. I don't need epic tomes of world building to create a good fantasy and Summerill exercised brevity well here.

The execution of some of the typical YA tropes and cliches was actually done well although I did find the romance a little eye rolling at times and it was painfully obvious that they both want each other however I can forgive the angst.

The magical elements were interesting and I found them to be quite well thought out - there was a cost to the magic and you could tell there were limits even though these weren't clearly defined. I'd like to continue to see structure to this in the sequels as I hate it when fantasy writers fall prey to 'the magic wins all'.

The characters weren't brilliant, but they were given more depth as the story went on and I grew to like Britta more and more. Cohen was annoying at times but at the end of the day I also liked him as the love interest.

Now, that last page... It's so hard to talk about without it being all spoilery, but the author really threw a spanner into the works and it's basically there just to queue the cliffhanger for book two. I didn't appreciate that at all and I already have a few ideas of where the author will take this. I'm hoping that most of them are wrong. In fact I'm hoping that this ambiguous cliff hanger is actually cleared up within the first few pages of the next book and we can all move on because I can't see myself enjoying the potential that it's brought about. I could be wrong though! And I really hope I am.

In short this book holds a lot of potential, especially for a fantasy ready that enjoys adventure along the way. It isn't particularly fresh or gritty but it was enjoyable for the most part and I am looking forward to the next one.
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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

TTT: Reasons I'm Thankful for Books



I've been around the blogosphere for almost 6 months now (6 month blogiversary next month!!!) and I have absolutely loved seeing everyone's Top Ten lists when they come out, so I've decided to also give it a try! It probably won't be a weekly feature for me but I'm hoping to participate when I can. I'm linking up with The Broke and The Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday Prompt : Thanksgiving Freebie


Books Can Change The World


Look up a few lists of books that changed the world - there's plenty of them! Words are so powerful and when many powerful words are put into one book - they can change how the entire world thinks. #BannedBooks are even a thing - books that so powerful that people have found them threatening or dangerous. Words and ideas change the world.




Books Can Challenge The Way We Think


Books can challenge the way we think about things, even the way we look at the world. I'm not just talking about spiritual books that challenge your mind, but even the most basic of books can teach us something or make us see something from a different point of view. Every time we pick up a book we are choosing to look at the world in a different way, from someone elses point of view - and that teaches empathy and makes books so formative.



I spent a lot of my teenage years reading and many, many nights I spent curled up with a good book. This saved me from endless possible bad dates, and having ended up very happily married with a truly fantastic hubby I am so happy that I had so many perfect evenings at home with amazing books.




Think about it - without books, there wouldn't be this amazing bookish community with such a huge online presence. Not only that, but some of my favourite conversations with people have been about books. We can fangirl together, we can debate over things, we can swoon over bookish boyfriends - there's so much about books that can be discussed! I've even met people just because I've seen that they are reading something that I have read and loved!


Well, not really - but they do calm her down enough that she does eventually go to sleep. I mean, she's two, and pretty much against all forms of sleeping, so the fact that she is lulled by words? Almost a miracle.



Books don't care how I look - I can read with absolutely no makeup on, hair poking out every which way and the books will never judge. Books don't even care if I can't pronounce the character names! I can read any time, any place, any how and the book will always be there for me (provided I remember to take it!)


Laughing out Loud. Laughing until I cry. Straight up crying. Making me empathise with a character so deeply that I feel all that they feel - I cry for them, I hurt for them, I am frustrated for them and when I finish my book I long to read more about them. Wanting to throw the book at the wall. Despair. Jealousy. Loving. Losing. Hoping. Hearbreak. ALL THE FEELS.


I don't even have to leave my bed, and I've been so many places - so many places in this world and in so many others! It changes the entire scope of my day. Of course I love real travelling too - but ah! Life! There's work, and more work and obligations. I cannot physically travel all of the time - but almost every night I'm reading about somewhere else and I am transported from my life.




Whatever you are experiencing, there's probably a book about it. And even if there isn't books can still help you deal with your current emotions. Fictional characters can be so relatable!



Above all else, books are in so many ways awesomely powerful.



What are you thankful for? Do you believe in the power of books? For what reasons are you thankful for books?

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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Weekly Round Up #9



Here's my weekly roundup. I'm linking to The Sunday Post hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer and #IMWAYR hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.


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Firstly, I have to take a moment to rave about something I'm super excited about - the official trailer was just released last week! 


Again, this week has been busy - just gearing up for the silly season I suppose. We have family coming in this week that we won't be able to spend Christmas with so while they are here we will be doing our Christmas with them and we're actually going away for a weekend (queue blogger panic stations - will I actually be able to schedule my posts ahead???), and then it will be December and we'll be really headed for Christmas! 

What I read last week:


Ever The Hunted

Ever the Hunted - I'm conflicted about this one. For the most part I really enjoyed the book but I hated the ending and it's leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

What I am currently reading:

CinderCaraval26210840

I'm buddy reading Cinder with a good friend and we both read multiple books at once so we're setting weekly goals and having chats about what we're reading (it's like our own mini book club!). The story has really drawn me in though so I'm struggling to pace myself and not just devour the whole book in one sitting. 

Caraval has been great so far - although I'm not very far in. 

Teagan of Tomorrow - slightly different to the rest of the series so far but still enjoyable and sweet. 

Up Next:

Edge of Everything

This one has me excited. Don't be fooled by the cover folks, this is not (just) a YA Contemporary! It's a Paranormal Fantasy Mystery Thriller and I've seen good things about it. I haven't read any of the reviews yet because I don't want to go into this with any preconceptions, but I'm seeing a few higher starred ratings! 


New Arrivals:

No new ARCs! Yay me! I have been so disciplined to manage two weeks of no requests in a row! And my ARC pile is finally looking like I might actually get through my commitments for the year. If I am still looking good next week I shall go and reward myself by getting click happy on 2017 titles!

I did however get a few new (to me) books in this week that were my own borrowings/purchases. No actual commitments though.


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I am most excited about Walk on Earth A Stranger. I read Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns series and loved how things progressed with each book going from strength to strength and I've seen some great reviews for the first couple of books in the Gold Seer trilogy so that will probably be high on the TBR.



And that's my week! How did yours go? 
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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Review: Frostblood - Elly Blake


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Frostblood by Elly Blake

My Rating : {★★★★☆}

Young Adult Fantasy Fiction
Expected publication: January 12th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

Source: Hachette Australia via NetGalley
The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby's powers are unpredictable...and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.

For starters, the ARC copy that I received is visually stunning. Firstly there is the cover that I love, and then there is the graphic artwork contained on the main pages of the book. Look at this!


It's gorgeous, right?

The writing is not bad, the plot is not bad, but there's just no excitement; there is nothing new here. There are a number of YA tropes being used, the characters are a little flat, the romance is predictable and there's just too many instances of 'I've seen this before'.

☑ Young female protagonist with unbelievable power running through her veins (aka The Chosen One) who by the way loves to read
☑ Slightly broken male protagonist/love interest (aka The Tortured Hero)
☑ Main character suffered a tragic loss and is now bent on REVENGE
☑ A war that caused the breakup of their society and our Chosen One now needs to save the world
☑ A love triangle (although admittedly this was very half-hearted but still unnecessary) After re-thinking this one I'm taking it out - there wasn't a love triangle exactly - it was more like complications

I wanted something fresher, something to keep those fires burning and yet in some ways these very things that I am complaining about actually helped me to enjoy this book more, so I feel a bit hypocritical here!

When I first started reading I found it a little difficult to find my footing and somehow the familiar tropes and cliches helped me and gave me something recognisable to hold on to while I figured out where things stood: I was thrown into a new world with everything happening around me quite quickly, everything seemingly chaotic and too abrupt. There was no deft world building, no carefully crafted visions. Yet despite myself I was intrigued and compelled to continue reading.

Keeping in mind that this is Blake's debut perhaps the series will mature and develop into something better. There were obviously glimmers of something that kept me curious and eager to know more: I will definitely read more when the next book comes out. It was fast paced and entertaining but unfortunately there just wasn't enough ooomph to carry the book through and had the climax carried some more punch I may have lifted my rating.

I really struggled to rate this one and had originally only given it 3 stars, but after a few more days of reading other books and this one still playing on my mind I have to raise it to 4 stars! There's nothing really wrong with it - there's just something lacking that I hope falls into place with book two. There's a lot of potential here and even with the cliches and tropes I enjoyed the world and I'm interested to see where Blake will take this.
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