Monday, 26 September 2016

Review: The Fifth Season


The Fifth Season 
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Orbit! 

A season of endings has begun. 

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. 

It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. 

It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. 

This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.


I wasn't sure what to expect when I received this book, the synopsis intrigued me, it's a fantasy and I love fantasy books and I'd been told good things. As I started to read, I got more and more intrigued. The opening of the book is brilliantly done, pulling you in and piquing your interest in the world and characters, heartbreaking as one part is. The Fifth Season is unlike anything I've ever read before, it was utterly fascinating and completely original. 

As you read you have three point of views, with three different plot threads. As you read you start to see that they're not all taking place at the same time, that they're at different periods of time and I loved trying to work out how they related to each other, and what events in one meant for the other. It was a brilliant way of telling the story and it really drew me in and had me avidly reading. I had a suspicion becaue of two words in a chapter at one part of the book, which made everything click in to place for me narrative wise, and then it was confirmed not too long later and it changed my entire perspective of the book and what i'd been reading and it was a mind blowing moment! 

Our first point of view and plot thread is Essun, which is told from the 2nd person. Essun is a mature lady, and she is who we're following in the present, as it where. She's trying to track down her daughter who has been taken by her husband, who's just killed her son because he found out that her son has orogeny, a trait he inherited from her. People with orogeny are hated and feared, they have the ability to manipulate thermal, kinetic and related forms of energy to address seismic events and they can do a serious amount of damage as well as helping quell shakes and tsunami's and such. From my perspective, while I understood why people feared and hated the orogenes, some of the time they use their abilities unconsciously when scared for example, at the same time, I kinda figured that they where the only thing keeping people alive in the world of the book, where things like shakes occur rather a lot. ANYWAY. Essun is determined to make her husband and the killer of her son pay and she wants to get her daughter back. 

Then we have Damaya, a young girl who's been found to be an Orogene by her parents and is being kept in the barn like an animal. She's taken away by a Guardian, the police of the orogenes as it where, and she's headed to the Fulcrum to be trained in her power, and it turns out the Fulcrum has a secret at it's heart. 

Third we have Syenite, she's an adult who's been trained at the Fulcrum and has achieved the four ring level of service. She's being sent out on a mission with a new mentor, a ten ringer, and they discover something unusual when they reach their destination. Syenite has more power than she realises. Through Syen, we see an entirely different side of the Fulcrum and what it expects and demands of it's orogenes, and what they do to those who can't control themselves. 

I found the characters to be well fleshed out, and intriguing, and there's plenty of character growth throughout the book. There's also plenty of other characters that help to bring the story to life. Hoa, Alabaster, Schaffa, pirates and aliens and waaay more, but I can't really say too much more about the characters without entering spoiler territory, and trust me...this book is brilliant because of the huge surprise that's to do with the narrative and characters. So that's all your getting character wise! But I thoroughly enjoyed the narrative and the characters throughout the book. A lot of the supporting characters where so intriguing and I still want to know more about them, especially Hoa! 

The Fifth Season has a fascinating world with an intriguing history that I'm so eager to find out more about, and there's even a bit in the back of the book about the seasons! The world is vivid, Essun's narrative in particular feels particularly desolate and there's a dystopian, post apocalypse vibe going on. There's originality in every page, I found the science aspects fascinating (highly unusual for me, I suck at science), and the plot moved at a nice pace. There was plenty of intrigue, with action and some insane plot twists. The Fifth Season kept on surprising me, and I was totally blown away by the narrative and the twist with it! The only tiny little niggle I have is that when I started to read it, all the slang was a smidge confusing, but then I realised there's an appendix at the back that explains everything so check that first! 


Friday, 23 September 2016

Review: Nevernight


Nevernight
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY IT NOW. NOOOOW! 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.


So. I've been sitting staring at this page for around about 90 minutes, trying to decide what to write and where to start, because I loved this book so damn much. Like, I've really had to reign myself in when writing this review otherwise it'd be spoiler central. I could honestly write pages and pages about how much I loved this book, it's one of my favourites of the year, and it's tied with ACOMAF for complete and utter favourite. I remember stumbling across this book on Goodreads having never heard of the author before, (sorry Jay!), and being intrigued by the synopsis. I thought it sounded like fun, and I was eager to read it. Within the first couple of pages I knew this book was going to be a favourite, I just completely fell in love. 

"The countless endings she'd gifted, the orchestra of screams, and she, the scarlet maestro" 

The opening is interesting, I've never read anything like it before. You meet Mia for the first time and watch as she goes through two firsts in her life, that are very different. It was written amazingly, and I was reading it like...wow. Okay. This is going to be good. I was hooked from then on. I completely and utterly loved the writing style and the language used, and the descriptions and ugh. It was beautifully written, an odd contrast to how much savagery is contained within the pages. Although some of the descriptive sentences did have a murdery tinge to them! Jay is a fantastic storyteller, I'm not going to lie to you! 

I loved the footnotes, they where amusing and had me snorting and cackling to myself as I read them. I wasn't expecting them, I haven't read a book with footnotes in a very long time, and they seemed kind of Pratchett-y, but they fit so well with the book as well as adding some more intrigue. I liked that they added information and background and history a lot of the time in a fun, humorous way that stopped the narrative from being clunky with a tonne of information. It helped you to understand the world of the book and some of the comments where just hilarious. 

"Would it kill you, to serve [stab] some fucking [stab] salad?"

I loved the cast of characters. Mia was strong, she overcame a lot and you see how far she's come since the events of her childhood, she was determined in her goal and her principles. She was snarky and badass and I loved watching her grow as a character over the course of the book, facing the 'darkness within' and her memories of the past and what happened to her and her family. Making friends. Letting someone love her, and letting herself love someone. Mr Kindly the non-cat shadow, her companion and her one true friend. He was always there for her and while I was kind of suspicious of him a lot of the time because hello....strange shadow creature, he cracked me up more than once with his reprimands and comments. 

Tric. Oh Tric. I wasn't too sure about you in the beginning, but as he grew on Mia, he grew on me too. He was funny and badass, and he had an almost vulnerable side to him when he spoke to Mia about his past, and I really felt for him. I loved his relationship with Mia. Romance is not at all the main point of this book so there's none of the usual romance type things. They're buddies, fellow assassins in training, both wanting the other to succeed, and then at one point things change and I liked how it was done, keeping the focus on the plot. I liked how Mia was content to just have some fun, have a physical relationship. It made a change from the usual romance you see, and it fit so well with Mia. I shipped her and Tric SO HARD. 

Aside from Mia and Tric there are other assassins to love and hate. I loved Ash. She was hilarious and a perfect friend to Mia. A master thief and she helped her out a lot, although I did get a bad and ominous feeling after she stole something for Mia. I'm not going to say anymore about Ash. She broke my heart. Carlotta, another favourite of mine. She was intelligent and I loved her humour. Naev, her friendship with Mia and her willingness to help her so much. Adonai and Marielle, an odd pair, but an interesting couple of characters. I'm so intrigued by their backstory and their history and I loved the idea of the 'magic' they used taking something. Each of the characters intrigued me, I wanted to know more about them and more of their backstory, like Hush, I was SO curious about him! I wanted to know what made each of them choose the assassin life. I'm also so intrigued by the mentors for each of the halls, I LOVED Spiderkiller I mean, she did the whole, 'hey you might have murdered someone, well done' head pat. I actually cackled. I was SO curious about Cassius too! But also the others, like I NEED more backstory for them all!  

"You'd be surprised how motivating a grumpy ex-murderer with no testicles can be" 

Alongside my favourite characters, there where also plenty of characters for me to dislike. Jessamine. Man I hated her. SO MUCH. Like to another level. I spent the entire book eagerly waiting for someone to gut her. There are plenty of villains in this book that you just love to hate. I couldn't help but smile when they got what was coming to them. This book made me SO bloodthirsty, I was like "Ugh I hate this character, FILLET THEM MIA". All the time. All.The.Time. I can't even! I can't wait for the next book and for Mia to get her targets. It's gonna be AWESOME. 

Plot wise, I loved the dual plot that we had going on at points. We had present Mia, heading to the Red Church and training, and then we had past Mia as a child and how she came to be a murderer in training, and what she went through as a child and so on. I really liked it, you got to know Mia on another level, and saw how she developed and became the person she is, and it answered a lot of questions too about her past. It was fantastically done. The pacing was perfect. The plot had intrigue and fighting and murder and plenty of threads twining together to keep you reading, keep you guessing, keep you trying out theories as you try to work things out. Vengeance is stamped all over this book, and I spent the entire book wanting Mia to get it, and the most brutal and savage way possible. I felt so connected to Mia that I was rooting for her, and I wanted what she wanted. There are some brilliantly savage scenes that I should probably blame video games and Game of Thrones for desensitising me to, to the level that I actually cheered once or twice. Hey. They had it coming. There's also plenty of adventure and humour and epic fight scenes, and even a little bit of torture. 


Nevernight's pages are blood soaked. Seriously. Blood is everywhere in this book. It's gory and vicious and pretty damn glorious all at once. The plot is full of savagery and never once does your interest wander from the page and the plot and what's happening. It's all Nevernight all the time. Even when you're not reading the book! The world is one that rises up around you, and you can vividly picture the settings, and you want to see more of this fantastically imagined world that's been created. It's extensive and itching to be explored, I'm hoping to see even more of it in the next book! Along with that, it's cinematic, each scene playing out in your minds eye perfectly and it's atmospheric. The Red Church gave me the shivers once or twice. I know the back of the book says it's not Hogwarts but like...it's a murdery kinda Hogwarts, and your teachers are willing to poison you and lop off limbs. I mean...I'm sure Snape's wanted to poison a student or two, can't really blame him! 

Nevernight is a truly engrossing read that has you hooked from page one thanks to the beautiful storytelling and writing style, and the imaginative world. I loved every single page, except for page 553 (369 in the finished copies, I checked) because that one broke me. There are huge plot twists, although I TOTALLY know who Mia's brother is or rather where he is, it's about the only thing I did manage to work out. Having said that..I could still be wrong but STILL. Nevernight will hurt your feels. It will break your heart. But it's a truly fantastic read, and Jay even has a super awesome bookworm in there, lurking in the aisles of the athenaeum (I totally want the athenaeum and a bookworm), there's a tonne of originality in the book and it's just a brilliant read. Truly. READ IT NOW! I promise you won't regret it, and all of us are here for you when you hit THAT page. 

"The books we love, they love us back. And just as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us."


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Review: Songs About A Girl


Songs About A Girl 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Charlie Bloom never wanted to be 'with the band'. She's happiest out of the spotlight, behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. But when she's asked to take backstage photos for hot new boy band Fire&Lights, she can't pass up the chance. 

Catapulted into a world of paparazzi and backstage bickering, Charlie soon becomes caught between gorgeous but damaged frontman, Gabriel West, and his boy-next-door bandmate Olly Samson. Then, as the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles upon a mind-blowing secret, hidden in the lyrics of their songs...


I got sent a proof of this kind of randomly when I received another book to review, I'm not going to lie, but I kept hearing about the book and got more and more intrigued by it. We all love a bit of boyband lit, let's be honest, and this sounded like something a little bit different and as I started to read my brain started to race because...something was going on...I just wasn't sure what. I had plenty of theories, let me tell you, some of them where downright ludicrous, but when the big reveal came..that was one theory I never considered! I was blown away. There's romance in the book but there's mystery too, and I loved that combination of the two! 

This book is freaking hilarious, it had me laughing out loud multiple times, and I actually read all of it in one go, in a couple of hours...I'd only meant to read a couple of chapters. It was SO good, I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened with Charlie and Olly and Gabriel, I had to know what was going on with the lyrics, and then the book ended and I STILL HAVE TO KNOW THINGS. I'm so damn impatient, I just NEED to know! I'm so not over the mystery aspect of the book, I wasn't really expecting it. Like I knew there was a 'secret' but it wasn't at all what expected, and I didn't expect the mystery to feature so heavily! Of all the boyband lit I've read, this is one of the best, I can't even, I got so damned hooked on the book! 

I loved the friendship and banter between Charlie and Melissa, although I was completely shocked by that revelation. Seriously. It never crossed my mind, clearly I'm in an idiot but whatever. I loved Charlie as a narrator, she was a breath of fresh air, and I loved how she really didn't give a damn about the band and their fame, and she was a very authentic and genuine character. I loved her so much, I was rooting for her the entire way through and I got so attached to her I got so mad on her behalf a couple of times! 

I'm not going to lie, I was kind of Team Olly in the beginning, and I still am a little bit, but we got to know Gabriel more than Olly, and I ended up really loving Gabriel, even if I did want to smack him one at one point. They where both so damn adorable though, it should be illegal because I was torn between the two for like, the entirety of the book, even though Gabriel was clearly the one Charlie would end up with. I really do feel kinda bad for poor old Olly though, bless him. I'm interested to see what's going to happen with Charlie and Gabriels relationship in the next book! ALSO I'M SUPER INTRIGUED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT BECAUSE LIKE I KEEP SAYING I NEED TO KNOW THIIIINNGGGSSSS. The ending was CRUEL I TELL YOU. CRUUEEELL. 


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Classics: The Twelve Caesars


The Twelve Caesars
Rating: 4/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

'Twenty-three dagger thrusts went home as he stood there. Caesar did not utter a sound...' This vivid, racy account of the men who wielded absolute power over ancient Rome - including maniacs, tyrants, warriors, sadists and murderers - is the source for nearly everything we know about one of the most dramatic periods in history. 

Okay, so to give you guys a bit more information, Suetonius was the private secretary of Emperor Hadrian and he used the imperial archives along with eye witness accounts to create this book. It's a pretty epic biographical work! I wouldn't say it's for the casual reader either, fans of the time period will most definitely love this, whereas people with a casual interest might not find it as good as others, because there's a hell of a lot of information in this book, it's completely fascinating. 

There are twelve sections, obviously, from Julius (the one who got shanked, speaker of the infamous 'friends, Romans, countrymen' line), and the founding of the Empire, through to his successors who kinda screwed it all up a little bit (looking at you Nero), and then the recovery of the Empire with guys who, quite frankly, I had never heard of before reading this book. Not going to lie to you. 

There's all kinds of information in this book on each of them, military, family, what they looked like, achievements, and so on. You get a tonne of information in numbered points, and they paint vivid pictures of each individual person. Quite frankly, I was reading about some of them and it was like Game of Thrones and I was sitting there reading like...how did these people actually exist? It was eye opening to say the least, and it completely blew my mind that not only did they exist, but that they got away with everything they did. The book really does bring them all to colourful life. 

In addition to that, the Pocket Penguin edition has a term and place name glossary in the back, some family trees and pages of notes with even more information to help you as you read. Okay sure, it may have been a bit of a slog at points, but it makes for a very interesting read nonetheless! 


Wishing For Wednesday #100

Hey guys! 
Happy Wednesdaaaay! 
I'm all over it this week, I've been so sucky lately with remembering to do this, and doing my other usual blog posts because I've been buried in a book. Seriously, I've been such a little reading gopher the past week or so, and I'm totally on a roll! Next month is going to be all Halloween all the time so brace yourselves! 

ANYWAY. The first book on my list is one of my anticipated sequels, and I'm so excited to get reacquainted with some Norse mythology! I seriously loved the first book, it was the first by the author that I read and I'm excited to get back to the world. Also THOOORR! 
Second up is the next book in a series that I love! I mean...I've only read the first book so far, the others are chilling on my shelf BUT I loved it and I plan on getting to the other books soon, like a Finish it February but not in February kind of thing, and book 5 is out so it's kind of the perfect excuse, right!? 

The Hammer of Thor 

Thor's hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon - the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn't just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can't retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer's return is the gods' worst enemy, Loki - and the price he wants is very high.

The Hammer of Thor is out October 4th, pre-order your copy...here
Add it to your TBR...here






Shadows of Self 

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

Shadows of Self is out October 6th, pre-order your copy...here
Add it to your TBR...here

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Review: The Witch's Kiss


The Witch's Kiss
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Sixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?

I probably should have saved this for Halloween seeing as I'm reviewing this so late, but I decided stuff it, I was too intrigued to wait! Witch's Kiss wasn't exactly what I was expecting when I read the synopsis, but I enjoyed the book none the less! 

The Witch's Kiss has an ominous and atmospheric opening that pulls you in to the story immediately, and the book continues to be atmospheric throughout. There's plenty of intrigue right from the start as the plot flares immediately to life! Not being at all biased but I loved the Surrey setting, it was a really vivid setting for me, because there's plenty of little villages like the one in the book all around. 

I really enjoyed how the book used dreams and visions to show Merry what had happened in the past, and how Meredith and Jack became a thing. The book switched between the present and the dark ages smoothly, not just with the dreams and the visions and so on, but you get a story within a story for a couple of chapters, as Merry and Leo are told the story of the King of Hearts. It made for a very vivid couple of chapters, and as you learn about Jack and his past, you connect with the characters from that part of the story, it was very well done and kind of creepy in places! It gave the book another level of detail that allowed you to connect with the story more, and the characters from the past where developed as much as the main characters, which I found particularly interesting because I wasn't expecting it. 

I got some intense Sleeping Beauty vibes from the book, but like, gender swapped, obviously! Gwydion got his Maleficent on at the naming ceremony, and then there's the whole rescuing the princess from behind the thorn wall, and then Jack being trapped behind it, I loved seeing the parallels to SB but with a different twist on them! It was a little bit of a retelling in a way, you could say. For some reason the lake made me think of that horrible tree from Sleepy Hollow, the Tim Burton film, not the book! (I haven't read the book yet shhh) 

I liked Merry for the most part, she bugged me a couple of times but she was a genuine character, with an authentic reaction to the whole thing. She's a bit of a special snowflake, and the book has plenty of cliches but most of them have twists that make them interesting rather than the same old, same old. Merry knows all about her magic and I thought her struggle with it was interesting. She wanted to try her best, and she overcame her fears. 

Leo was definitely my favourite character, I'm not going to lie to you guys! I felt like Leo was the character with the most depth, and he should have been in it more, I was waiting for him to be more involved as it seemed the book was going that way at one point but nope. I wasn't sure if I'd like him at the beginning of the book, but he fast became my favourite because he was the kind of big brother everyone wants. He was determined to help Merry and he was really there for her as best as he could be, I liked the closeness between the two, and I just loved Leo okay. 

Jack was an interesting character, I wasn't too sure about him in the beginning either, I really felt for him once I got to know his backstory and got to know him, and I was rooting for him to be saved the entire way through, it was all a bit unfair for him really! Speaking of Jack brings me to the romance. When I read the synopsis I was expecting one thing. But that's not what happened in the book. From the start, the entire thing seems like it's doomed, and there's no way to prevent it, so maybe it's just as well that the romance wasn't there as much as I would have thought but in the end I didn't really buy the romance between Merry and Jack. 

In the flashes of the past, you see a fair bit of Meredith and Jack..that I could see. I could see how they had fallen for each other, but Merry and Jack...I couldn't see it. We have Merry and Jack who have fallen for each other over the course of everything, the L word is bandied around, it all gets very Once Upon a Time with the True Loves kiss talk...but I didn't see how Merry and Jack could have gotten to that stage. We didn't see them together all that much, didn't see them interacting all that much. I actually felt like there where some missing scenes that would have made it work better romance wise. I at least, didn't see them fall for each other. They met. They met again. Hung out a few times with Leo. Got some alone time and then BOOM. Kiss. Love. Etc. 

On the one hand, it's doomed from the start, so not having the romance shoved in your face every five seconds meant you didn't see it develop much and couldn't get attached to the couple. On the other hand...you couldn't get attached. I got plenty attached to Jack, I really felt like he was in an unfair situation and wanted him to be saved, but I didn't really care about the romance. There where other things in plot that took centre stage, which was good, but at the same time I was expecting more romance than there was and seeing as the whole TLK thing was thrown around, I felt like I should have seen more of the romance in the plot, especially as it was a little slow at some points. I seem to be the only person who had this problem though. I mean...maybe Merry's ancestors feelings where bleeding through or something I don't know. 

The Witch's Kiss had it's good points and it had it's bad points, while I was disappointed by the romance and didn't see it, I really liked the historical bits of the book! The flashbacks where so well written and really added a load of intrigue to the plot, as well as being vivid. I loved Leo, he was a fantastic character, and the book was really funny. It was a fun, easy read, and I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen next. You could quite easily read this as a standalone and I would have assumed it was if I hadn't seen a sequel on GoodReads, so I'm curious about what the authors are going to do next! I'm hoping for more history because SO GOOD. 


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