Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone has been one of this year’s most hotly anticipated releases. Tomi Adeyemi’s fantasy debut has sent the book world into complete overdrive. With currently a three book/three movie deals already in the works, this book has been sensationally hyped across the globe.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us. 
Now we rise.
Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.
Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Children of Blood and Bone is a story told in multiple perspectives, that of our main female protagonist Zélie, Amari the princess of Orïsha, and Inan, Amari’s brother and future king of Orïsha. Adeyemi crafts a beautiful, magical world within the pages of this book, allowing us to follow such strong and diverse characters within this entire story.
The detail in which the world is crafted sucks you right in just as much as following the actual plot does too. I savoured each and every page of this novel, and as I neared the end, started to slow my reading for fear of finishing this book. A sure sign at the wonder its pages contained.
Aside from the Sarah J Maas and Holly Black books in the world, I have not been as drawn to fantasy as I have to this story, and I haven’t been so invested in a fantasy world like this for a very long time.
The relationships crafted and the magic system in place within this world is beautiful. The sibling relationship between Zélie and Tzain and Amari and Inan, were a joy to watch unfold. Both so different, and yet so incredibly similar in a strange sort of way that made reading it’s development something to be just as invested in. What someone will do to protect the person they love, clearly prominent within this novel. The strength of each of these characters as they all overcome and face the challenges their world has thrown at them, and the fire within them to fight back and defend their right really leaves an impression at the end of this journey.
Adeyemi creates a beauty in the words she writes, you can clearly envision the world she is weaving, and become lost in the world as it unfolds around us. The action and twists and turns with each finished chapter keeps you gripped the entirety of this novel.
This is not like most of my reviews where I try to go into more detail on the story, as I really do not want to give much away. I saw the hype that was surrounding this novel, but I did not want to know too much about it until I started to read it for myself, and I can honestly say this is possibly the best way to go about it. Experiencing it for the first time with your own eyes, as opposed to someone else’s first means you can go in expecting nothing more than an enjoyable book.
But I will say this book is amazing, and by far my favourite book of the year so far. I have no idea when book two is due for release, but I do know as soon as it is out I am picking it up and finding out exactly where we are being taken to next on this journey. Tomi Adeyemi is an author to keep an eye out for and I am excited for anything and everything she does next.

I have given this a solid 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Cruel Prince - Holly Black

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

The Cruel Prince has been a highly anticipated release for 2018, and I had heard many a great thing about it. I have read previous Holly Black books in the past, and have always enjoyed her writing style. So when I saw what story would be told within this book, it left me very excited to pick it up. I love all things faerie, and fantasy. So throw in Holly Black, and her writing style, and it becomes an instant winner for me.

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

People call Holly Black ‘Queen of the Fairies’ this book is just yet another answer to that question of why, that you may be thinking. Holly Black weaves a tale so alluring that you simple cannot put it down. A few pages in and I was hooked. I was able to read the entirety of this book within a day. It did lead to many a grumble whenever anyone tried to interrupt my reading. But the journey that took place within the book made up for any offense I caused those trying to talk to me.

Holly Black was able to bring to life such a diverse range of characters, some that you love, some that you hate, and even those that you hate to love. Each character so broad and bringing to the table its own little piece of magic.

The Cruel Prince follows that of Jude, herself and her two other siblings’ life is turned upside down by the death of her parents, and being forced to live in the High Court of Fairie. Jude and her twin Taryn are left to battle living in a world where the fey detest her kind. But her strength and defiance, all be it get her into some sticky situations, lead to some tough kick ass moments along the way. I loved the edginess to her character, she may fear things, but she never let herself feel that fear. She stayed on top of it and made herself an incredibly strong protagonist for this story.

Jude’s twin Taryn, I’m not going to lie, I’m not a fan. They are the complete polar opposites, but I don’t know if it’s a sibling thing, so I know what it’s like to be told what to do and when to do it. But Taryn felt a little too false and too prim and proper for my liking. Very much a, you shouldn’t that but be doing this, sort of scenario. As the story develops she does come a bit more of an arc in the novel, much to my dismay. However, the contrast in the two, especially being twins was definitely a good way to go. Light v dark, good v evil, right v wrong…you can decide on which is which as you read it….

Vivienne was a brilliant character, her defiance and rebellion was refreshing. I loved the connection still to the mortal world, and the sheer unacceptance of the fey world. Seeing how Madoc responded to her, and despite her being older than Jude and Taryn, seeing a teenage rebellion almost did lead to a few smirks reflecting on my own teen years. I also loved that Vivienne was a bisexual character and was confident in it. I find in a lot of stories I have read about this world, not many touch upon such a component in a character so freely. So it was refreshing to see, and to see how her relationship was and had begun to develop.

Cardan, the cruel prince, or shall we say one of many cruel princes. I was unsure what to feel with this character, I feel like I knew where this arc was going and I’m glad it wasn’t some insta love story. As quite frankly, how many more of those do we need. But still Holly Blacks writing style makes you feel for the bad boy, not even just a bad boy, an arrogant chauvinistic pig of a bad boy. Yet I still could not get enough of his character, and was disappointed any time he was not within a certain chapter. Cardan and Judes relationship is incredibly turbulent, and incredibly volatile, and yet there is still that undertone of chemistry there. I cannot wait to see what direction this duo head in within the next book. It will be very interesting to see unfold.

The Cruel prince is an amazing tale of twist, turns, corruption and murder. It hooks you in and spits you out at the other end wanting more. I had to wait a while until I finished the book to writing this review, as I was left floundering. I needed book two, I had just finished a story that left me wanting more, and I was so invested in it, I feel a bit lost not knowing what to do with myself. If that doesn’t tell you that this book is more than just a bit good….i don’t know what is. I have no idea when book two is due for release, I can only guess it won’t be until next year *takes deep breathe* but I’m sure it will come around a lot sooner that I think….well it better anyway!

I have given this 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 12 February 2018

The Royals Series - Erin Watt

The Royals Series – Erin Watt

#1 Paper Princess

#2 Broken Prince

#3 Twisted Palace

I stumbled across the Royals Series one cold miserable Saturday morning. I’m not quite sure what I put into Amazon that brought these books up, but a quote by Jennifer L Armentrout and an intriguing blurb on the first book ‘Paper Princess’ made me purchase this pretty damn quickly. For purposes of avoiding any spoilers, I will only provide a brief description of the first book, and just my thoughts and overall opinion on the series as a whole.

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

I have to admit, I am one of those readers where if a book sounds too good to be true, I’m sceptical as to whether it actually is. So the fact the blurb jumped out to me, I wasn’t too sure if I would like the story as a whole. But I was pleasantly surprised, and considering I read all three books in one single weekend. I think that says a lot about this series and what Erin Watt is capable of producing.

Ella Harper is our lead protagonist in this novel; we are thrown right into the story, with no slow build up. We learn pretty quickly that Ella is a fight or flight type of girl, and as vocal as she may be, she is all about taking flight in a sticky situation. I quite liked Ella’s character, I like that even though inside she may be absolutely terrified, she would ensure to never show her weaknesses, which in all honesty, is an incredibly tough thing to be able to do. I really enjoyed the fact that in such a male dominated household, where quite frankly some of the actions of said men were incredibly chauvinistic and arrogant at times, she defied them all. Never allowing them to stop her from doing exactly what it is she wanted to do. From being plucked out of a world where she struggled, from simply surviving one day to the next, to this whole new world of extravagant luxury and money. It was an interesting transition to watch evolve throughout the story. I was shocked by the end of the first book when I learned only a month or so had passed, as I feel the events Ella is involved within and all the experiences she has during her stay at the Royal’s house, it certainly felt like it was a longer time period.

Paper Princess is certainly a bumpy ride, from meeting and having to live with the unwelcoming Royal boys, to transitioning to a new school, which gives the movie Mean Girls a run for its money. Erin Watt provides a story as entertaining as the next, and she certainly throws in some very unsuspecting curveballs.

I will warn you that each of these novels ends with a cliff hanger, well books one and two do. Twisted Palace is the last book as far as I’m aware that focuses on Ella Harper. But some of the cliff hangers really do leave you with your jaw hanging wide open. I had a small inkling as to where book one was heading, but book two wiped the floor with me. To which I absolutely love when I never see something coming such as that.

The character developments across the series are stronger in some areas than that others. I feel that we see more changes and development in the characters of Ella, Callum, Reed and Easton. However, I feel we were lacking a great deal in the area of the twin brothers Sebastian and Sawyer. I do have a sneaky suspicion this may be as a result to a spin off series possibly in the future, which I already know Easton has. So maybe Erin is leaving the twins to revisit another time as there is certainly a story where they are involved and I would love to get my teeth into it.

As a whole, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this series, to sit and binge all three over the course of a weekend, and to come out the other side needing more. I feel this is a real testament to Erin Watt and her story telling. I love to be surprised, and I love that as dubious as I was about this series, I really found it entertaining and gripping at points. I found them all to be quick easy reads, and I didn’t find there to ever be a dull moment. Not in the Royal house anyway.

I would say if you enjoy a quick easy read, with a story following a strong female protagonist and her essentially rag to riches story, with a lot of curveballs in between. Then this is certainly something you should pick up. I am now incredibly curious to see what other work Erin Watt has produced, and even more importantly picking up Easton’s story.

I have given this series a 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, 11 September 2017

I Heart New York - Lindsey Kelk

I Heart New York – Lindsey Kelk

Let me paint a picture for you, it is a gloomy, wet Sunday, not quite cold enough to put the heating on, but chilly enough to dig out the slipper boots from under the shamefully dust ridden bed. Settled down nice and cosy on the sofa, with very little to watch on TV until X Factor starts at 8pm. The choice of picking up a quick, fun read springs to mind. After a scroll through Amazon Kindle and spying one of my favourite authors Lindsey Kelk’s selection of books, and a title containing one of my favourite cities. I Heart New York seemed the perfect match for the day.

Angela’s running from the world’s worst wedding for a new life…
Fleeing her cheating boyfriend clutching little more than a crumpled bridesmaid dress, a pair of Louboutins and her passport, Angela jumps on a plane - destination NYC.
Holed up in a hotel room, Angela gets a New York makeover from her NBFJenny and a whirlwind tour of the city that never sleeps. Before she knows it, she’s dating two sexy guys and writing about it in her new blog. But it's one thing telling readers about your romantic dilemmas, it's another figuring them out for yourself …
Angela has fallen head over heels for the big apple, but does she heart New York more than home?

To my delight, I Heart New York is the first book in the ‘I Heart.. .’ series, a series I shamefully have not encountered until now. I Heart New York was a fun, easy read. It was just what I needed to read to pass the time on my Sunday, and already it has me hooked enough that I am set to buy the next book in the series as soon as this is posted.

A Singles Girls To Do List, another of Lindsey’s works has been an all-time favourite of mine. So I should have expected no less from picking up this series. Maybe it was the similarity in my age to that of the character in the book. But without knowing it, I needed to read a novel about someone finding themselves again. Seeing a character uncover an inner strength they never really knew they had inside them. Angela, was a brilliant protagonist from start to finish. We see her grow as a person; grow with confidence, passion and her career. All things maybe a few of us hold ourselves back from doing from fear of failure or the fear of the unknown. Angela was the definition of, it is never too late to change what you hate, to change the path you feel you have been dealt, as at the end of the day, you are the one in control. So essentially live the life that you want to live.

I Heart New York was filled with an array of characters, from Jenny Lopez at the hotel, a fun vibrant character, who really helped Angela come out her shell. There was also Gina, Jenny’s friend from the hotel and old flat mate, as well as Vanessa and Erin too. A great group of girls who not only had fun with each other, but also all became a support system for Angela, as well as towards each other as well. They each had their own hang ups to bear and battles that they are fighting through. But it was great to see the fun they all had together, and really made you feel a part of the group.

A Lindsey Kelk book would not be without its love interests, all of which I am going to be very brief about, but let’s just say I am happy with the choice, and my gut went that way the entire time. Lindsay just knows how to get them right all the time. I say that, things could all change in book two…so I could end up eating my own words….But for now. Yes!

Overall, I Heart New York, is a fun, light hearted novel, about one girls journey from one crappy situation, and just how she goes about changing that, and getting over that. It is 100% a girly series, but a great pick me up, and leaves you feeling empowered at the end. It is funny, relatable, and just one bumpy ride at times. But will have you wanting more as soon as you finish. Bring on book two!

I have given this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

History Is All You Left me - Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left me is the first book I have read by Adam Silvera, and it certainly will not be the last. I went into this book not really knowing what to expect, I had seen a few reviews, but nothing to really spoil the journey I was about to experience. I was actually quite grateful that this was the case.

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

History Is All You Left Me is an amazing contemporary novel. We follow the journey of Griffin, who is dealing with his grief and slowly piecing together his history with his ex boyfriend and best friend Theo, to see just how we have gotten to this point. I have to say within the first few chapters of this book Adam Silvera’s writing had me instantly feeling for these characters. I knew nothing really of Theo, and yet there I was, upset and with a lump in my throat with the memory of him through Griffin. This was something I noticed Adam did a lot through this novel. You may not know much about a person, but you felt for them and deeply.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, this book is sad. For someone who knows what it is like to deal with grief, or those who can imagine what it is like. Even those who have experienced love loss, or heartache at what could have or should have been. This book will have you feeling all of the feels. You could be laughing one second or revelling in the cuteness of a moment, to suddenly having it all snatched away from you, with what felt like a fist straight through the chest to feel that heartbreak and sadness. Extreme to say maybe. But it will get you, every time.

The characters in this book are brilliantly written, all of them so deeply flawed and human. Everyone had their own battle to fight, or their own issues to work through. With the addition of grief in itself just being that darkened cherry on top of a pretty craptastic cake. But this is what you will love about these characters. They are all so real and all so flawed, you will find a way to relate to them.

History Is All You Left me is a story following love, loss and friendship within a circle of boys. Who all find their own way of trying to deal with heartache. Jumping between present day and the past or ‘history’ as it is known. To tell the story that is needed to be said, needed to be resolved in order to move on and come to terms with what has happened. Such a complex story unfolds, with a web of relationships all weaving together, and yet all circling around that singular character, Theo. Revelations are made, and twists and turns were unexpectedly thrown in as serious curve balls you would not expect. This really is one massive emotional rollercoaster, and yet one you don’t want to stop.

I would say if you are looking for a good contemporary, with brilliant characters and to which is beautifully written. Drawing you in even deeper as each chapter passes. Then I would seriously suggest this book. The writing style is brilliant and the story flows perfectly, even when jumping between varying time lines. I can honestly say, I am now looking forward to the next book I pick up from this author and what other journey he has planned for me.

I have given this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Hex - Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Hex – Thomas Olde Heuvelt

This is the first book I have read by this author, and it is the author’s first debut English novel. When I saw reviews and comments stating this author’s writing style had similarities to that of Stephen King, along with the seriously creepy blurb, I just knew I had to read this. I wasn’t disappointed. I read this book in one sitting, in less than a day. I had been hooked right from the get go.

Whoever is born here, is doomed to stay until death. Whoever comes to stay, never leaves.
Welcome to Black Spring, the seemingly picturesque Hudson Valley town haunted by the Black Rock Witch, a seventeenth-century woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Blind and silenced, she walks the streets and enters homes at will. She stands next to children's beds for nights on end. So accustomed to her have the townsfolk become that they often forget she's there. Or what a threat she poses. Because if the stitches are ever cut open, the story goes, the whole town will die.
The curse must not be allowed to spread. The elders of Black Spring have used high-tech surveillance to quarantine the town. Frustrated with being kept in lockdown, the town's teenagers decide to break the strict regulations and go viral with the haunting. But, in so doing, they send the town spiralling into a dark nightmare.

The story Hex is told from varying viewpoints of people who live in Black Spring. We have Steve Grant, a doctor working at a school. Whose family were outsiders and moved to Black Spring 20 years ago. Tyler, Steve’s teenage son, and actively involved in Project OYE (Open Your Eyes) with a group of other teenagers. Robert Grim a member of Hex, an organisation in place to keep track of the Black Spring witch, and ensure she is shielded from the outside world, with no risks of exposure. Then finally Griselda Houlst, a widowed butcher’s wife who idolises and worships the witch. I found it so interesting seeing each narrative within this story, so many different views and opinions. Parents merely wanting to protect their family and some going to such extremes in doing so. A teen wanting his freedom back and a man trying to ensure a town remains safe. You were really able to become involved within the story and paint the picture of a town that essentially ran off rules, regulations and out right fear. I felt at moments as if I was watching a horror movie, bracing myself for the jump scares with each page I turned.

Within the first few pages of this book I was a bit confused, with the appearance of ‘Gramma’ as the Grant family called her. At first I thought it was actually a family member until the mention of a cloth covering her face and her being stood in the corner of the room, which made it question how unusual this would be to greet a family member who had come to visit. I found the interactions to be quite funny, and I thought maybe the blurb was far scarier than what the actual book may be. However as the book continues, it soon shifted and started to become much darker. I only realised how much of an affect the witch had on me, when I finished the book and went to turn off the light to go to bed. I had this instant fear that she would be in my room, at the end of my bed. That was when I knew that this novel had sucked me in so much that I was fearful of such a character, which is not so easily done to me. I am always able to disassociate myself from any book I read, so credit to the author there for bringing this character to life with his words.

The novel did take a slight dip in the middle, and I’m still not so sure how I feel about the ending of it all. But the writing and the premise in this book was brilliant. Knowing this was translated from Dutch and the town names had been altered too again is a credit to the author. There were some really emotional pull at your heart string moments in this novel, to which I never realised how invested I was in characters. I almost felt a bit cheated at points due to how invested I was, if things were not heading the way I had hoped for them. This book is dark, incredibly dark. But it made it all that much grittier to read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can see how it will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love a good scary story, especially one involving witches. Learning the history of the town, and the witch and what has led them to this point was fascinating. But then also seeing how barbaric council members were, in what is essentially a modern day era, was terrifying.

I would say if you like the works of Stephen King, and you like a good horror story. I would say pick this up. It is certainly a book I will tell others about, and I would even say would be a perfect book for the autumn/ winter time when Halloween comes around. What better way to scare you silly than this.

I have given this book 4 out of 5 stars.