Category Archives: reviews

Books and Reading | Book Reviews | Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass Series 4/7) by Sarah J Mass

Queen of Shadows Book Cover Queen of Shadows
Throne of Glass Series 4/7
Sarah J. Maas
Young Adult Fiction
Bloomsbury Publishing
September 1, 2015
Kindle Book/Audio Book
576
Amazon/Audible
Celaena Sardothian (Aelin Galathinios)
Rifthold
Heir of Fire
Empire of Storms
Read from 2/11/17 to 7/8/18
Elizabeth Evans

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. Now she returns to the empire – to confront the shadows of her past ... The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series. Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. Aelin must stay hidden beneath her assassin's hood and draw on her mortal strength as Celaena to prevent the King of Adarlan from tearing her world apart. Only then can she fight for her people. Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance.

I started reading this book as soon as I’d finished reading the previous book in the series which is Heir of fire because i enjoyed that one so much. However I didn’t enjoy it much at all even though I did end up reading it in audio book format which made it more bearable as the Narrators Narration was great and it was far more atmospheric than it would have been just reading it. In fact I didn’t enjoy it so much that at the halfway point I was considering not reading anymore of the series but at the end of the audio book there was an excerpt from the next book in the series and listening to that made me want to read it’

Sarah’s writing style, plot and character development were as good as ever but I didn’t feel that I connected to Celaena as strongly as I did in previous books in fact i Just found her extremely annoying, although her relationships with the other characters were endearing on the whole. It slightly annoyed me how the story jumped between Celaena’s story and the story of the witch clans because I was just settled in hearing the story from one point of view when I found I was hearing the story from the other persons/groups point of view which was a little jarring. I can understand why Sarah wrote it this way because it meant that as the reader you were able to get both points of views of the main groups in the story but when it changed points of view it pulled me out of the story.

As much as I only gave this book a three star rating I did enjoy it a bit but it’s just not the best book in this series as it probably has “middle book” syndrome in that although it’s an Ok story the characters have become a little blah. However it is still a book that I would recommend it to anyone whose a fan of The Throne of Glass Series or enjoys reading paranormal, fantasy, Romance.

Books and Reading I Reviews I A Batter of Life and Death (Bakeshop Mystery 2/ ) by Ellie Alexander

A Batter of Life and Death Book Cover A Batter of Life and Death
A Bakeshop Mystery 2/14
Ellie Alexander
Fiction
St. Martin's Paperbacks
June 30, 2015
Kindle Book
272
Amazon
Julia Capshaw, Nina
Ashland,Oregpn
Meet your Baker
On thin Icing
read from 25/11/17 to 25/01/18

Welcome to Torte-a small-town family bakeshop where the coffee is hot, the muffins are fresh, and the cakes are definitely to die for... It's autumn in Ashland, Oregon-'tis the season for a spiced hot apple cider with a serving (or two) of Torte's famous peach cobbler. It's also the perfect time for Jules Capshaw to promote her family's beloved bake shop by competing in The Pastry Channel's reality show, Take the Cake. The prize is $25,000. But as Jules quickly learns, some people would kill for that kind of dough. Literally. Then, just as Jules dusts off her Bavarian Chocolate Cake recipe and cinches up her apron, the corpse of a fellow contestant is discovered-death by buttercream. What began as a fun, tasteful televised adventure has morphed into something of a true-crime detective show for Jules and everybody else on set. Who could have killed Chef Marco, and why? Can Jules sift out the killer before someone else gets burned?

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first one in the series although the story was a liitle slow to begin with, for the first dozen or so chapters. Although the story was slow going initially it was great to back in Julia Capshaws world again as well as in the middle of yet another murder mystery which she was in the middle of.

The characters in this book were really well written and believable, and I loved seeing the way Julias relationships with the characters from the previous book developed further as well as how her relationships with the new characters developed. Julias strong and loving relationship with her Mother but complete and utter confusion about her feelings for her estranged Husband Carlos, a fellow chef.

Although the plot was slow going to begin with the author had written it so well that it kept me the reader want to keep reading so I could find out what happened. From when one of the chefs in the Baking competition that this book was based around was murdered and Julia was drawn in to the mystery of the murder. The descriptions of both the characters and scenes were so well written and beleivable that I actually felt like I was in the story my self.

I would recomend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries particularly those that are known as cozy and based around baking.

Dragonlove (Dragonfriend #1) by Marc Secchia

Dragonlove Book Cover Dragonlove
Dragonfriend #2
Marc Secchia
YA Fantasy Romance
CreateSpace
September 6, 2015
Kindle Book/ Audiobook
528
Direct from Author/ Audible
huamalia,
Dragon friend
Dragonsoul
Read from June 10 to October 22 2017
I received this book from the author for review purposes but this doesn't effect my views on the book.

When a woman loves a Dragon, that love will change the world. Six years have passed since Hualiama and Grandion defied the Island-World's most sacred law. They burned the heavens together as Rider and Dragon. For his crime, Grandion the Tourmaline Dragon suffered exile and imprisonment. The Dragons forced Hualiama to forget her past. Now, the suns must set upon the age of the Ancient Dragons. Amaryllion Fireborn, last of his kind, bequeaths Hualiama an astonishing legacy. She is the Dragonfriend. Raised by Dragons. Burned by Dragon fire. Oath-bound to a Dragon. Crossing the Island-World in search of her Dragonlove, she will forge an indelible mark upon history. As war between Dragons and Humans engulfs the Islands, Hualiama must unravel the secrets of her tragic past in order to confront an evil that threatens the very existence of the Dragonkind. For love that is tested in the crucible of fate must burn, or die.

Book Reviews| #Review Books,#Edelweiss| Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns Book Cover Three Dark Crowns
Three Dark Crowns #1
Kendare Blake
Juvenile Fiction
Pan Macmillan
September 22, 2016
ebook
Edelweiss
Arisnoe, Mirabella, Katherine
Fennbirn Island
Read from May 20 to September 21
I received this book from Edelweiss for review purposes

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of beasts. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn't solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it's not just a game of win or lose . . . it's life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. Three Dark Crowns is a heart-stopping fantasy from Kendare Blake, acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood.

I would like to thank Edelweiss and the books publisher for allowing me read a review copy of this fantastic book but the fact that I received it for review will have no bearing on my feelings about the book.

The book is written in the third person narrative as well as being told from the perspectives of each of the three main characters. This was an extremely good way of doing it as it meant that you not only got an insight into the lives of the three main characters but also some of the main people that were responsible for the care of each of them as well from their points of view, which was great.

All the characters were well developed and multi-dimensional which meant that I was able to connect with them on many different levels and for may different reasons. I loved the fact that each of the Sisters had different gifts Naturalist (Arsinoe), Elemental (Mirabella) and Katherine (Poisoner). I am really keen to see how all the characters are developed further in the next book but especially Arisnoe the Naturalist as it looks like she’s possibly going to have more than one of the gifts.

The plot was well written and developed which made it really believable. Although I would say that it could be very information heavy at times, which although needed in order to build the world adequately enough for a first book it meant that it was slow going at times. Because the plot in this book was very information heavy I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to how the plot develops further as there were areas in it where things were not explained fully so I can’t wait to see how these gaps are filled and possibly expanded upon.

In summary, I gave this book a 5-star rating because I enjoyed the plot and characters and am looing forward to reading the next book in the series. As well as the fact that I would recommend this to and/or buy it to anyone who enjoys YA fantasy.

Book Review | #Personal Book | Poisoned (Snow White #1) by Katherine Pine

Poisoned
Snow White Volume 1
Katherine Pine
YA Sci-fi Fantasy Fairy tale Retelling
IWM
February 26th 2013
ebook
192
Amazon
Snow White, Rose Red
The Mirror, The Huntsman
Read from 23/12/13 to 12/12/16

Poisonous mists settled in the lowlands 17 years ago, rendering ninety percent of the land uninhabitable and killing over half the population. Most blame their misfortune on industrialization or the fey, but some curse Snow White, the princess who was born poisoned.

As the only person who can survive entering the poisoned woods without a gas mask, Snow White has dedicated her life to studying the poison and finding a cure. This obsession draws her deeper into the woods and its secrets, where nothing is as it seems. When Snow White saves a man who should never have been saved, she unleashes an evil more horrifying and destructive than the poison.

“The people in the village silently worshiped Snow White, but the servants Poisoned (Snow White, #1)feared her. They remembered the beauty and kindness of the late queen. They never forgot that she’d died by her daughter’s hand.”

I read this book as part of the Snow White Volumes 1 to 3 bind up and it was also the first book I had read by this author. I enjoyed reading this book so much that as soon as I finished reading it I immediately started reading the second book (The Mirror) in the bind up. This was a really twisted retelling of Snow White with the story of Rose Red thrown in for good measure. Snow White is a complex character who it was hard not to feel sorry for due to the fact that she is poisoned like the kingdom she is Princess of, and the fact that she is guilt ridden because she’s responsible for her mother’s death. It was great how Katherine twisted the sentient mirror into an actual person who’d been imprisoned in a dungeon, the poisoned apple being the fact that she was born with a disease (‘poisoned’) and the wicked stepmother with the evil that lurks in the poisoned kingdom.All the characters were well written and believable if not always likable. I loved the fact that all the male characters were portrayed as being grotesque although they did have some redeeming characteristic like beautiful eyes or showing great love. <br /> Snow White comes across as quite a confusing character because although she is fairly strong, determined and loving she also doubts herself so much that she believes she’s the one who’s poisoned her kingdom rather than the mining accident being the reason

All the characters were well written and believable if not always likable. I loved the fact that all the male characters were portrayed as being grotesque although they did have some redeeming characteristic like beautiful eyes or showing great love.                                                              Snow White comes across as quite a confusing character because although she is fairly strong, determined and loving she also doubts herself so much that she believes she’s the one who’s poisoned her kingdom rather than the mining accident being the reason it’s poisoned. The story skips from her young self to her present day life but in both, she is a very depressive character but it is understandable as she’s not only been born ‘poisoned’ but is also the reason her mother is dead. She met Princess Rose when she panicked in the aftermath of killing her mother and tried to escape the tower.                                                                            Princess Rose was quite a confusing character to understand because her words and deeds tend to have alternate meanings. Although her father, the king wants Snow White dead she attempts to stand by Snow White until the end. Yet she nor the King stop Snow White from running into the poisoned forest. By the end of the book, it was starting to become clear that she was going to become the evil queen because she’d found the man who called himself Mirror, so the Mirror.

The style in which the book was written could be a little confusing to follow because at the start of chapters it was hard to tell whether it was being set in the present or past. However, once I got into the chapter properly it became much easier to decipher when it was set.

I thought the twist to the lore of Snow White in this book was really imaginative and wish that I had come up with it! This is why I started reading the next book in the series so I could end some of the loose ends and the cliffhanger from the first book.

This book is a YA sci-fi Romance Fairytale Retelling and it fits very well into these genres so I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys books from the genres.<br /><br />
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Book Reviews | Review Book | #NetGalley | Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige

Stealing Snow
Stealing Snow #1
Danielle Paige
YA Fantasy Retelling
Bloomsbury Childrens
September 28, 2016
E ARC
304
NetGalley
Snow, Queen MArgot, Jagger, Bale, Gede, Kai, The River Witch,
Whittaker Institute, Secure Mental Hospital Upstate New York; Algid
Read from September 09 to October 17, 2016
Although this book was received for review it doesn't effect my star rating or views of it in any way

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn't belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door - and Snow knows that she has to leave .She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she's destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate .A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige's irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

This is the first book of Danielle’s that I have read all the way through although currently, I am about a third of the way through Dorothy must Die which I am enjoying. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover and loved Snow she was a great Protagonist.

The book told the story of Seventeen-year-old Snow, who suddenly finds herself in another world called Algid where is not only a Princess in the world’s royal family but also controls snow after spending all her life in the high-security asylum called Whitaker in Upstate New York.

This is a retelling of the Snow Queen Story which Frozen I based on as well but as I have never read the story so I have nothing to compare it against but I intend to read it now though.

All the characters were written in a way that they were multi-faceted enough to be believable and easy to connect with whether I liked or disliked them. While being developed enough that you were able to get to know them while there still being enough room for them develop further in future books as this is the first book in a new series. It was interesting how Snow believed she was in love with Bale her friend from Whitaker but was she really or was it just the effects of the cocktail of drugs she was on. This was evident when she met Jagger and Kai the two boys she meets and falls for once she’s in Algiid.                                                                                Bale was an interesting character because although he was portrayed as a drugged up arsonist you can already see that there is going to be more to him from what you see of him once he’s in Algid and I can’t wait to see how he develops in the other books.                                                                        Jagger and Kai are really interesting characters who are some of the characters that have got the most room for development in the other books in the series. I feel that Jagger is the one to look out for most of all out of both of them not least because he’s one of the robbers. It’ll be interesting to see how Jagger and Snows Romance develops or whether her romance with Kai develops any further.
Kai and Gerdes relationship was really interesting as they considered each other as Brother and Sister but there was very clearly a far deeper relationship between them and it was revealed in the book.
I really disliked Snows parents as people because of the fact that they’d allowed her spend most of her life in an asylum believing she was insane when in fact she wasn’t, then once they were all reunited in Algid were obviously using her for their own purposes due to the prophecy.

The way Danielle wrote about the two worlds “the assylum” and “Algid” was really well done as it drew you in while opening your eyes to what life is like in both worlds. You were drawn into the story through this because of the descriptions given also when it came to life in the asylum the fact that I opened your eyes to what life is like in one especially a high secure one. I loved the fact that the portal between this world and Algid was an old tree with strange symbols carved into it as well as the fact there was such a variety of terrains in Algid.

This was a solid start to what I am sure will be a great series and I cannot wait for the next book. I will read it again but I will do so in audio book format because I am sure it will be a far more immersive sexperience that in book format. This is a book that I would both recommend to anyone or buy for any one I know who enjoys YA Fantasy with a retelling/romance element to it.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank NetGalley for allowing me to read this book for review purposes but I want to make it clear that this in no way has any effect of my feelings about the book

Book Reviews | #Review book/#self published | Mille Hardiman and the Red Parrot Fever by Eddie Owens

Millie Hardiman and the Red Parrot Fever
Eddie Owens
Eddie Owens
ebook
direct from author
Millie, Barry, Gwen, Chunk
Bognor Regis UK
Read from 18 -23 October 2016
Although this book was received for review it doesn't effect my star rating or views of it in any way

Millie Hardiman is a thirteen year old from Bognor Regis, with a wild imagination, who dreams of becoming a writer.

When Millie’s scriptwriter Dad, Barry, has writer’s block, Millie becomes his muse for the daytime television soap, Double Top.

After her success on Double Top, Millie creates a Sci-Fi, teen drama, The Adventures of Martian Girl.

Millie falls in love for the first time with Wolf Van Der Beek, an arrogant, South African child actor.

This is a story about friendship, first love and growing up.

Millie Hardiman and the Red Parrot Fever

Wow Great funny heartwarming book about love, family friendship and the importance of not making up stories (lies) all the time. Thank you Eddie for contacting me to review this book.

This was the story of a teenage girl named Millie who lived life to the full never considering that the stories she was constantly making up could actually have a detrimental effect on her life until one day one it does… She is a witty and fiercely loyal girlwho calls her parents by their Christian Names and tries to get away with calling her teachers by their christian names as well. She also helps her father (Barry) to write stories for the TV series he writes for.

I loved reading about Millie’s outlandish stories Continue reading

Book Reviews | #Overdrive | Salt to the Sea by Rueta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea Book Cover Salt to the Sea
Ruta Sepetys
Juvenile Fiction
Penguin UK
February 4, 2016
EBook & Audiobook
352
Negalley & Overdrive
Read from 3/3 to 22/10
I received the EBook for review from Netgalley but that didn't in any way effect the views I had of the book or the star rating I gave it.

In the cruel winter of 1945, four very different young people narrate their stories. Joana, Emilia and Florian are part of desperate group of refugees trekking across Germany, bound together only by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Alfred is a German soldier stationed on that ship. This hugely touching, inspirational novel is based on a true story. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. It is the biggest maritime disaster in history, killing more people than the Titanic. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, has brilliantly brought this story to light and created a group of unforgettable characters with unmissable stories.

This book follows Emilia, Johana and Florian on their journey through a war-torn Prussia with their travelling party to obtain a safe voyage elsewhere. Then when they reach the Port we meet Alfred a German soldier on the Wilhelm Gustloff and they all end up in the middle of the disaster of the sinking of the ship which saw more people die than did on the Titanic.

Although the book was fast-paced and enthralling in EBook format (from NetGalley) that I stated reading it in I found it difficult to feel fully immersed in the story which is why I was glad when I found it in audio book format on overdrive.  As soon as I started listening to the audio book version of the book thanks to Narrators I was immediately completely immersed in the story and the characters as individuals as well as a travelling group

I am really glad that I have finally read this book because I had never heard of this disaster which caused the deaths of 9,000 men,women and children before as it isn’t something that appears in history much. Continue reading

Book Review | #non-review books | Beauty (everand ever after) by Caroline Lee

This was the first Time I had read a book by this author and I so glad that I did as her writing was very easy to read but also caught your attention immediately which is why I read the book in twenty four hours. It was a loose Beauty and the Beast Retelling set in the old West involving a twice widowed single mother and a blind disfigured famous viloinist. I enjoyed this book so much that I intend to buy two more of the books in this companion series.

All the characters were extremely well written and multi faceted which meant that they were easy to connect with for different reasons. This was also what made me want to read the other books in this companion series so I can get to Know all the supporting characters from this book a little better. I particularly liked how naturally the relationship between Arabella and Vincenzo developed and how she was happy to give it a chance even after discovering who he really was. It was also interesting to read about what had made them the people they were.

The world of Everland was well conceived and captivating so the combination of this and the development of the relationship between the two main characters was what made this book into such an amazingly captivating and engrossing read. I also loved the easy loving relationship that there was between Arabella and her young son. Even though it was such a short book the characters, plot and world building made it one that was hard to put down.

I gave this book a five star rating because I was so invested in the characters in the book that it made it an easy read. As well as the fact that I would not only recommend it to anyone that enjoys reading romance and retelling/imagining stories as well as buy it for anyone I know who I think will enjoy it for the same reason as those who I would recommend it to.

Book Review | #Overdrive/#non-reviewbooks | The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

The Girl in the Red Coat Book Cover The Girl in the Red Coat
Kate Hamer
Fiction
Faber & Faber
February 24, 2015
EPUB
304
Overdrive
Norfolk, England; USA
Read from September 25 to October 16, 2016

She is the missing girl. But she doesn't know she's lost. Carmel Wakeford becomes separated from her mother at a local children's festival, and is found by a man who claims to be her estranged grandfather. He tells her that her mother has had an accident and that she is to live with him for now. As days become weeks with her new family, 8-year-old Carmel realises that this man believes she has a special gift... While her mother desperately tries to find her, Carmel embarks on an extraordinary journey, one that will make her question who she is - and who she might become.

I have never read any of Kate’s work before but due to the ease of read that I experienced with this book I will read her other books in the future.

All the characters in this book are well written and believable. The little girl (Carmel) who’s the main character in the book is really lovable and is so well written that she’s believable and easy to connect with. I loved the fact that Carmel never believe that her mum was actually alive.                               Even though he took Carmel the man who kidnapped her he was actually underneath everything he was genuinely a caring person but had just got unintentionally pulled into something that was out of his control.

All the way through the book from the moment Carmel was taken as the reader I got the feeling that she would come back to her parents.

I can honestly say that as I enjoyed this book so much I will read it again in the future as well as actually buy a copy if it as well. With out reserve I can also say that I will read any of this authors work in the future because the writing was almost lyrical in places which added to the stories mystery/intrigue. The book is also one that I will both recommend to and buy for anyone who enjoys fiction in the mystery thriller genre as it fits in to the genre well.