Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Light Novel: Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody Vol 1


Death March Vol 1 
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

29 year old programmer Ichirou Suzuki is on a time crunch to finish a colleagues work on a buggy game, in order to complete it all....he goes on a 'Death March' and he was way more of an aptitude for all nighters than I do these days! When it's all over he finally gets to take a nap....but wakes up in another world. As would we all, he assumes he's dreaming...but this dream is....strange. It would appear he's in a kind of game..similar to the one he was working on before his nap, and so he throws himself in to 'playing the game' using Meteor Shower to give himself a head start on the riches and titles. But it soon becomes apparent that everything is a little...too real. Too authentic. Perhaps he's not dreaming after all....

And so he begins his adventurous journey. There's dragons, knights, heroes, and labyrinths....and the odd moment of seriousness! 

First things first, this is my first time reviewing a Light Novel for you guys, so in case you're wondering what exactly that is..... a light novel is a Japanese YA book of sorts. The books are targeted at teens and they're typically no longer than 40k to 50k words! They usually have illustrations too, and I do love the manga type illustrations in these! 

So, this caught my eye because of the synopsis...I was so intrigued and curious and so I threw myself in to reading this, nearly as soon as I received it! I read this in one sitting, which actually isn't that hard for LN's, but I became completely engrossed in the world of this book! The opening paragraph was intriguing and pulled me in to the story immediately. Death March is fast paced, moving from one event to the next, although during the labyrinth portion of the novel, I was kinda disappointed that we skipped some scenes! Sure there isn't much action during some parts, as our adventurer gets his bearings in this new world and learns how everything works, but set up is necessary and I'd rather that than be completely confused! I think the balance between that and action for a first novel was well struck. Plus it's intriguing enough that it keeps you reading during the slower parts. 

I loved the world of this book, it was vivid and engaging, and I completely slipped in to this world and got lost in it. It was a bit of a jolt when I finished the book and came blinking back in to reality. I'm so intrigued by the world, and I'm hoping we'll get to explore a lot more of it! There's hints that previous Japanese people, like our MC, have visited this world before and at the end we're left with the proof that he's at least not the only one! The world is very fantasy, with elements to it from other places, and Satou interacts with it like it's a game..with a map and storage and so on. 

I loved the characters, Satou reacted exactly how anyone would....keep telling yourself it's just a dream until the last possible moment when you then have to question what the hell is going on. Seriously, I don't know about you guys but if I was in his position...I'd be milking the dream theory for as long as possible to avoid fully freaking out and losing my s***. His commentary was entertaining, especially as you know it isn't a dream and he's like "well this is a dream" a lot in the beginning. I liked that he just wants to keep his head down and doesn't want to reveal his level, and I really liked how he took the beast girls under his wing! 

Speaking of, I loved Tama, Pochi and Liza and how they bonded with Satou and his relationship with them. He's like a big brother/father to them, which is kind of adorable. I'm intrigued to see more of them, and hopefully with Satou taking care of them, we'll see them and their personalities develop as they become more their own people, we kind of started to see that happening as they gained some confidence around him and he taught them to defend themselves. 

While I enjoyed the opening, and getting to know the world, I think my favourite part was towards the end. The first two thirds of the book are setting up and building up to the next phase as it where. Then for the final third we have the Labyrinth which I really enjoyed as we got some action, and got to see some character bonding and it added another layer to the world of the book as well as setting up some intrigue for the possible bad guy and given Satou a title that might come in handy! The very end also set up for an intriguing second volume as we become aware that Satou might not be the only person from back home in this strange world! 

Overall Death March volume 1 is entertaining and engaging, and at times it's a little bit silly but it also has it's serious moments. Satou provides an entertaining narrative as well as a bit wry and sarcastic at points. The world pulls you in and is built up around you very vividly. For a first volume, it worked perfectly! Bring on volume 2! 

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Review: Tales From The Shadowhunter Academy



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

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.
  

I'm not going to lie, I was waiting to read these novellas until they where in a bindup because I'm impatient! I was so intrigued by this novella collection, after how the final TMI book ended, I think we where all left with questions and needing to know what happened next! I did wonder if Cassie might do a Shadowhunter Academy book series, but she gave us a novella collection instead! As it stands, I ended up reading Lady Midnight before I read this, which was fine, but I think it would have been a bit more exciting if you'd read this before Lady Midnight, as it'll get you excited for it with all the tidbits and hints! As it is, it did give me a huge urge to re-read LM plus it made me excited for Lord of Shadows, not to mention The Last Hours trilogy. After reading a couple of the novellas in this collection, I AM SO HERE for The Last Hours! I can't even begin to explain my excitement for this trilogy now! 

I loved the layout of this book, the quotes from the upcoming novella, the comic style pages at the beginning of each story...it added a nice sense of intrigue. As I started to read, everything came flooding back from the last TMI book and from Lady Midnight. I will admit, I do find it hard sometimes to keep all the family trees straight in my head, especially with the gap between books and how long it's been since I re-read some of them, so once or twice I got confused and had to google something to remember who someone was. 

Jace still cracks me up, he and Simon in this collection make me chuckle. I felt for Simon, and his predicament and I really had missed Simon's nerd humour. I loved George Lovelace! He was my new favourite character as I was reading! I will admit, I was worried for a moment and thought he was going to be a douche, but then he was just awesome! Following Simon to the dregs track and everything! Brotp right here! I really liked some of the other characters, Beatriz, Juliet, Marisol, Jon I just wanted to punch most of the time though! I genuinely lost count of how many times I wanted to sock him one. 

One of my favourite moments was Isabelle guest lecturing purely to threaten the girls away from Simon and George being like "We're just bros!". I cracked up so much! I really needed the doses of humour scattered throughout the stories! My favourites where usually the ones written with Maureen and Sarah though! Like for instance....The Whitechapel Fiend...WESSA! So much Wessa! And we got to see some of the other TID characters and oh my God....Jessamine! My feels...I can't even. I miss TID. I need to re-read so badly! We got to meet James....little bookish James. I'm so going to love him! Also....WHO'S GRACE JAMES? *wiggles eyebrows* We also got to meet the other TID children....Henry and Charlotte's, Gabriel and Cecily's, Sophie and Gideon's....I loved Matthew and James. I'm so genuinely excited to see more of them in TLH! GIVE IT TO ME NOW. 

So much happens in these novellas, there's Sizzy angst. There's Malec. My lord the Malec feels! The blasts to the past are authentic and vivid. I remembered how much I loved Jace and between him and Simon had many a chuckle while reading! Jace and Tessa...we don't get to actually SEE the scene which disappointed me greatly, but we did get to know it happened! There's more background to characters and events, like Mark and Helen and what happened with their father and the faerie. I can't even. All this time I thought the story was true, but then at the end....well...you'll see! 

I really hated Robert Lightwood but this book made me see him in a different light and made me feel a tiny bit sorry for him. I'd warmed up to him, basically! There where new ships to ship! Like Marisol and Jon...her interactions with him cracked me up so much! Definitely one of my favourite parts! But that ending. WHY CASSIE WHY. I can't even. I'd laughed my way through this book, through the feels. I was excited for a satisfying ending. But it all ended in tears. Of course it did. I should have known better! 

All in all Shadowhunter Academy is a brilliant collection of novellas that brings TMI to a close and sets up nicely for The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours! I loved getting to see more of the history of the world of the Shadowhunters and getting to see the TMI gang one last time...well..properly anyway! 

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Review: The Hammer of Thor


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

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. 

I completely loved Sword of Summer when it came out, I am still yet to read Percy Jackson but I had to get all over Magnus Chase because Norse Mythology. I'm such a mythology lover, and I hardly ever read anything with Norse Mythology and Sword of Summer.....my word. I was loving it. It was like heaven. I loved the twists and the action and the characters and all the mythology! So I've been anticipated Hammer of Thor hardcore! 

In Hammer of Thor we get a new character and Alex is my fave. Completely and utterly my fave. Alex is a child of Loki, and Alex is transgender and gender fluid. I was SO stoked to see this kind of representation in a series by such a well loved, and wide read author. I loved how open and blunt about it Alex was, and the pronouns to be used each day, I'm not a leading authority on transgender and gender fluid people at all, but I feel like it was really well done and the thought of kids reading about such a character and learning and being more open minded filled me with a little bit of hope for the future. I loved Alex. I can't say it enough, the shape shifting, the badass-ness. MORE ALEX. ALL THE ALEX. 

Aside from Alex, all of our favourite characters are back we get to learn more about Hearth and see his home and more of that situation with his family. Sam....poor Sam. She has a lot to deal with this book after Loki outs her as a Valkyrie to her family and Amir, and she handles it astoundingly. Unfortunately we get more Randolph. I kind of want to hate him a little bit but I mostly just feel pity. I hate Loki too, we get lots of Loki. I really don't like him...but he's kind of funny and I'd keep snorting involuntarily when I was reading scenes with him! OH and I really liked Inge! I'm kind of hoping to see more of her! We get some more of Amir, and the poor guy is struggling a bit in this book. The whole Norse Gods/Valkyrie thing is a lot to take in to be fair! 

Although I was a little sad we didn't get to see more of Magnus's floor mates, and we didn't get much Blitz either, but I really did enjoy getting to see more of Hearth! Hearth is one of my faves, and I'm sensing a bromance between him and a certain God of vengeance! 

Magnus is as sarcastic, funny and dorky as usual, but you root for him hardcore. He does the right thing even when he doesn't have to, he's brave and heroic when he needs to be, and I love how he deals with the whole "oh you're dead and the son of Norse God" thing.  I'm not going to lie, while Ricks books aren't like OMG ROMANCE EVERYWHERE, LOOK AT ALL THE HEARTS AND FLOWERS, they're more lowkey.....I'm seeing a ship for Magnus. I don't want to spoil it for people, but I am curious as to whether I'm the only person who saw this ship and was like YES. THAT'S IT. THAT'S THE ONE. Genuinely, I will ship this with my dying breath. Also, is it wrong of me to lowkey ship Hearth and Blitz? I know they're friends and everything but I was kind of torn this book because Inge....but Blitz....I just see ships everywhere, it's a problem! 

Hammer of Thor is just as hilarious as Sword of Summer, I love the chapter titles, they always give me a good chuckle! But I really needed the humour the book gave, I hadn't been reading it for five minutes before I was chuckling! Magnus's sassy narrative gives me life! I love the balance of humour and the darker, more serious moments in the book. There's action and adventure, sure maybe not so much as the first book, for me things seemed a bit slower than the first book but there was still plenty to enjoy and the set up for the next book...I can't even! 

I loved the world of the first book, it was atmospheric and vivid and really brought my imagination to life. I'd hoped to see more of the Nine Worlds in this book and Rick has granted that wish! We get to see Alfheim, and after recently rewatching SAO I needed to check that mental image at the door. I loved how Rick portrayed the world with his own twist, it had it's own atmosphere and I loved seeing how different it was to the other worlds we'd seen, ditto the Giants world. I do love opening this book and being in a completely different place, although he did it again! When I finished the book, I once again had a burning need for MORE. I'm excited to see where he's going to take us in the third book! 

I should mention that we get to see more Gods! I did get a shock momentarily because I forgot that Rick didn't go with the blond haired Thor for this, and my brain had to recalibrate! I loved reading about all the Gods and getting to meet more Gods and Goddesses. I love how Riordan makes them his own. As far as I'm aware Rick is very true to the original Norse mythology, he just coats it in sarcasm and marks it with his own stamp! OMG. Heimdall. Just wait for Heimdall. Thanks to Marvel I had a certain image of him, and this book completely 180'd him! 

I LOVED the ending. I have to say. We get to see Annabeth again briefly, and I love how Rick interconnects the book. Annabeth references events from Trials of Apollo so it's a minor spoiler at the end if you haven't read it yet...but there are hints. I'm thinking we might get a team up. I've been dreaming about this team up and I shouldn't get my hopes up because I might be reading in to things...but I'm kind of hoping Percy and Magnus are going to meet in the next book, at least! It also made me excited for the next Trials of Apollo book! 

Hammer of Thor is a brilliant continuation of the series, with more Gods, more mythology and more humour! Not to mention the action and adventure! I loved how the next book has been set up and I'm so excited to see where this is going to go...also MORE ALEX! 


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Review: A Hero Of Our Time


A Hero Of Our Time
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity.

Causing an uproar in Russia when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov’s brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism – accompanied here by the unfinished novel Princess Ligovskaya – remains compelling to this day. 


I've been meaning to read this one for a while, as I've heard from several people that it's very good. As I started to read this, I was starting to think that this would be another classic that I didn't love as much as everyone else. But then I hit a certain part of the book. That part would be Pechorin's journal. A Hero Of Our Time is like a lot of little stories within the main story. They're all linked and most of them show our main character from the outside, as it where. 

I was a bit eh, about the beginning of the book, I didn't truly get interested in this book until we reached the part that was told from Pechorin's journal. I was utterly fascinated with the character and this glimpse in to his mind. I found it intriguing to see how he operated, what he was thinking and feeling. What his motivations where. I mean, he's not the nicest person. I think it's supposed to be ironic or poking fun. But it was interesting to see how he ticked. Also, this part had a dodgy duel, which spiced things up a bit, and there was the whole thing with Mary which ya know...it was cruel of him and everything, but it was by far the part that was the most interesting. 

Strangely enough for the time period, it was actually quite easy to read prose/language wise, so the translation was very good. As well as having a stunning cover, this edition has the usual notes which made understanding the novel all the easier! It also had another story in the back and I'm not sure if it was originally published with Hero Of Our Time or if it was separate or added after or what, but it added some more background and linked really well to the main book! 


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Review: The White City


The White City 
Rating: 3/5 
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

Since escaping London's inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won - though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within. 
Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they're looking for, and learn the secrets of Down. 
But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home. 
After all, if there's one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it's more than they bargained for. 
I was intrigued by the cover for this book, and then the synopsis, so I jumped at the chance to review it! I also got to read the previous book, Down Station as well! I will admit, as I started to read Down Station I wasn't entirely sure about it, but I got drawn further and further in to the book. The portals kind of made me think of Primeval, especially with the revelations from this book! 
Having read both books in a row, I think that The White City is a smidge better than Down Station, the previous book had too much of Mary and her memories for me. I mean the first couple of times I was like "okay fair enough" but then it was happening a bit too often! I really liked the vibe to the first book though with the castle and the dragon and everything! 
Now in White City, we have our group in possession of all these maps, and they're looking to create one giant map, basically. But you know...Crows. They decided to give him a second chance and make a deal with him and you know....I think we all know that's not going to end well! Thinks aren't all hunky dory for team Down because one character blames Mary for another's death which leads to endless tension and unrest between them all. Not to mention some manipulating of a poor, innocent pirate! Oh yes. This book has pirates. I really do love pirates! 
The thing with this book, is that I was never sure who to trust, there's distrust and betrayal everywhere! Crows, Simeon, Elena and so on. It was hard to know if Mary and Dalip where making a mistake or not, so this book definitely has you on edge as you try to navigate the way to the White City with the characters, and try to work out who's going to screw them over! I was intrigued by the twist at the end of the book regarding who's inhabiting the White City and what happens to Dalip. While some questions are answered there are plenty that aren't, and there's plenty of intrigue left to set up for more books in the series. 
I found The White City to be different, original and full of action and adventure. I liked Mary and Dalip and was rooting for them, even though I don't always agree with Mary and occasionally want to shout at her! The book pulls you in to this strange world, and it's certainly an intriguing world. I enjoyed getting to see more of it in this book. I do think they where idiots to trust Crows and I was shouting at them in the beginning because it was so obvious that he was going to betray them! The White City will answer some of your questions, but it will also leave you with more ready for any next books in the series! I didn't 100% love this book, but I was intrigued by it, and I was pulled in to it and the world of the book! 

Wishing For Wednesday #107

Hey guys! 
Happy Wednesday! I've had an anxiety/worry ridden few days but it's all good now, I'm happy to report! For this weeks WFW I've got two exciting reads for you! 
The first one sounds like it's going to be a bit of fun, and an entertaining read! 
The second is the next installment in a series that I thought was a trilogy, but it seems there's a fourth book, and will no doubt bring pain and feels, so the pairing of these two books together is ideal! You can read the first after you've read the second when you need a book to help  you through it! 

Unconventional

Lexi Angelo is a Convention Kid - she's got a clipboard and a walkie talkie to prove it.

Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoyingly arrogant author and he's disrupting her perfect planning.

In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned... Things like falling in love.
 


Unconventional is out February 1st, pre-order your copy...here!
Add it to your TBR....here







King's Cage

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

King's Cage is out February 9th, pre-order your copy...here!
Add it to your TBR...here!
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