Sunday 20 December 2015

The Girl at Midnight - Book Review

The Girl at Midnight - Book Review

(The Girl at Midnight #1)

Melissa Grey

YA Fantasy


Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives be selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s every known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the boarders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, though if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants … and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straight forward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.


I really enjoyed this book. The world building was creatively done with many fantastical elements, with each character unique and colourful - I especially loved one of the secondary characters, Jasper, and laughed so hard when I discovered him to be every inch a peacock!

However this story follows the life of Echo, a sixteen-year-old runaway thief who loves words and shiny things. When she was young, Echo befriended a magical race of beings known as the Avicen. With feathers for hair, and magick that can transport them to any doorway in the world, they live generally peaceful lives, hidden away from humans.
But the Avicen have a deadly enemy, the Drakharin - the people descended from dragons. And when war erupts once more between the two races, Echo will do anything to see her Avicen friends safe, even hunt down the legendary firebird - the one being with the power to bring about a lasting peace. 

But when Echo’s best friend is kidnapped, and she herself thrown into a Drakharin prison, she knows her chances are bleak. Yet when two rouge Drakharin offer to help, Echo attempts to set her prejudices aside. But the two Drakharin have their own agendas, and Echo must learn to tell the difference between friend and foe before it’s too late….

What really caught me about this book was how beautifully it was written. The writing is eloquent and the author’s love of words really shone through the prose. I can understand how this book has been compared to others such as The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (another favourite of mine) as I think both authors have a talent for weaving words to create vivid and magical imagery.

However The Girl at Midnight is very much its own story. The main plot is fast paced and filled with action, while several subplots offer intrigue and backstory that compliment the main plot nicely. And yes, while there are some cliches, they didn't bother me at all and I thought as whole the story flowed nicely.

I also adored the characters. Echo is witty, bull-headed and brave. I loved her sense of humour, and liked how her sarcasm took away the sting of some of the less-original scenes. Cauis, the Drakharin Prince, was a little broody for my taste but I thought he and Echo developed a most interesting relationship that didn't evolve into your typical kind of romance. 

Yet for me, it was the secondary characters who really made this story shine. While Echo and Casis were always in the spotlight, Jasper, Ivy and Dorian had their own dramas and word-play going on in the background. This helped make the story more three-dimensional  and gave it a depth that I enjoyed. Because of them I really felt immersed in this fantasy world Melissa Grey has created. 

Overall, a really great book that fans of fantasy would enjoy. I give The Girl at Midnight 4 stars! :) 

Saturday 12 September 2015

Poppy - Book Review

Poppy - Book Review
Mary Hooper
YA Historical
Poppy Book #1
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books


England, 1914, Poppy is fifteen, beautiful and clever, but society has already carved out her destiny. There’s no question of her attending grammar school - it’s too expensive and unsuitable for a girl. Instead, Poppy will become a servant at the big house. And she’ll keep out of trouble.

But Poppy’s life is about to be thrown dramatically off course. The first reason is love - with someone forbidden, who could never, ever marry a girl like her. The second reason is war. Nothing could have prepared her for that. As she experiences what people are capable of - the best of humanity and the very worst - Poppy will find an unexpected freedom and discover how to be truly her own person.


I always enjoy Mary Hooper’s books. They are generally short, read-in-a-day sort of stories that have strong, independent heroines and lots of historical facts concealed within their pages. Poppy was no exception and yet another really enjoyable read.

Set during the first world war, the story is told from the view point of fifteen-year-old Poppy Pearson. A simple parlour maid, her life is changed forever when the rich family she works for have their house requisitioned for use as a hospital. Deciding to seek her future elsewhere, Poppy, with the support of an old teacher, joins the up to the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) and soon finds herself nursing wounded men at one of the biggest medical facilities in England.

Here she learns to deal with and care for the many thousands of men wounded in action. Lost limbs, broken faces and most of all, crushed spirits, one by one, Poppy learns to assist them all. But fear continues to dwell in her heart for her brother, fighting on the frontline. For as if facing bullets and bombs was not enough, she know’s he is a coward at heart and may do something stupid if it would get him out of the war… 

But Poppy is also distracted by the charming Officer DeVere. After a couple of romantic meetings, Poppy knows she is in love, but the gentry are still off limits to girls like her, but with social barriers crumbling left right and centre, she can only hope DeVere will choose to defy his family's wishes and pick her. But Devere has secrets of his own, and with the war raging no one knows who will live and who will die…

One thing I always love with Mary Hooper’s novels is how much I learn, and this book was bursting with historical detail. Things from the giving of white feathers to cowardly men who avoided fighting for their country, to the tin-nose shops where plastic surgery began, taking form in the shapes of new faces for wounded soldiers. 

The characters are also well written. Friendships develop throughout the book and I was amused when - since all the VADs are referred to by last name - Poppy failed to remember the first name of girl with whom she considered herself a close friend and confidant. 

Also the descriptions in this book really immerses you into a World War setting. Through Poppy’s eyes the readers sees everything, from the unity of the people to support the soldiers, the tears shed by those who mourn, the morbid details of the newspapers… the joint effort to keep smiling in a hopeless situation. However the descriptions are tastefully done and perfect to engage the imagination of younger YA readers without giving them nightmares. Instead, this book will offer them a heart-moving insight into life during the war.

I only have two smalls criticisms of this story. The first being that I kept holding my breath, waiting for something irreversibly bad to happen - although I was very much relieved when it didn’t. However I felt Poppy was lucky that most of the bad events happened to people she only knew vaguely. While this was good for Poppy, I didn't come to love her in quite the same way as some of Mary Hooper’s other heroines who suffered more heartache. 

Also I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, however I didn't realise there was a second book, Poppy in the Field. I now plan to get my hands on that as soon as possible to continue the story and find out what is next in store for Poppy. 

All in all, a very nice story. 3.5 stars!

Thursday 10 September 2015

The Bitter Kingdom - Book Review

The Bitter Kingdom - Book Review
Rae Carson
YA Fantasy
Book #3 of the Girl of Fire and Thorns Trilogy
UK Publisher: Gollanzc

Elisa is a fugitive.

Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight.

Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa ne Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy’s kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal  magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history.

But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for. 

Even of those who hate her most.


From beginning to end, this series has been amazing and I’ve loved every page of Elisa’s journey. The Bitter Kingdom brought about a spectacular conclusion to the trilogy and I can’t wait to see what else Rae Carson will throw at us with her next book. She is definitely an author to watch out for.

With her country on the brink of civil war, and her councillors conspiring against, Elisa is forced to flee her own city and head into the realms of the enemy. For they have stolen the man she loves, and Elisa will sacrifice everything she is to get her beloved Hector back, for only with him at her side can she have any hope of saving both her country and her crown. 

But Elisa is more than she seems, she is Gods chosen champion. Blessed with a Godstone imbedded in her navel, she is tasked to carry out a sacred duty that comes before all else, she only hopes that by ending the war, her task will be complete. But God, it seems, has other plans…

I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a trilogy quite so much. Elisa’s journey has been truly enrapturing. Through the series we have seen her evolve from an uncertain bride to a rebellious Queen. Facing the hardships of war, death and destruction, she has conquered her fears and at last emerged triumphant. A truly remarkable heroine.

However all of the characters are unique and contribute to the story in some big way. Hector, Storm, Mara, they all deserve an honourable mention. These characters made me laugh, made my heart ache and now the book is finished, I almost feel like I’ve said goodbye to very dear friends.  The characters played a huge huge part in making this book awesome for me and I’m glad most of them got happy endings.

In regards to the romance, I thought the scenes between Hector and Elisa were very well done. Throughout the three books their relationship bloomed slowly, based on a foundation of trust, loyalty and the kind of connection that can only be formed from the trials and suffering these two faced together. They make an excellent pair and after everything they’ve been through, I feel like they truly deserve each other.

In terms of plot, this story never has a dull moment. Moving from one catastrophe to the next, the characters are thrown into deadly situations which not everyone emerges from. A lot of the story is told while the characters are travelling, and the sense of underlying urgency in the beginning kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. A really gripping read.

So overall, I give this book - and the trilogy as a whole, 5 stars! This is definitely a series that will forever have a place on my bookshelves. A brilliant piece of YA fantasy. In you haven't already, I wholly recommend you pick up the first book, A Girl of Fire and Thorns.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

As White As Snow - Book Review

As White as Snow - Book Review
Salla Simukka
YA Mystery
(Lumikki Andersson Book #2)
UK Publisher: Hot Key Books


Lumikki Andersson may be innocent, but she’s no Snow White…

Three and a half months have passed since Lumikki Andersson was left for dead in a snowdrift - a bullet wound in her thigh and frostbite creeping into her skin. But the scorchingly hot streets of Prague in summer provide a welcome contrast to that terrifying time, and now Lumikki just wants to move on - forget the events of the past year, forget about the Polar Bear’s crime ring - and escape her parents oppressive concern… she’s alone again, which is just how she likes it.

But Lumikki’s peaceful solitude is about to be shattered. She is approached on the street by a nervous young woman, who, unbelievably, thinks she might be Lumikki’s long lost sister. Lumikki is unconvinced - although Lenka’s story seems to ring horrifyingly true - but there is something weird about her. Something jumpy and suspicious. 

Turns out Lumikki is right to be wary, as Lenka is part of a dangerous religious cult who believe they are the descendants of christ - and that Lumikki is one of them, and must be martyred alongside them. On the run for her life again, Lumikki must once more draw all of her powers of resolve and strength if she is to survive…


Despite being quite short for a YA novel, I really enjoyed this story. The plot was intriguing  and the main character, Lummiki, once again managed to capture me with her bad-ass toughness and logical view of the world. However , compared to the first book in the series, As Red As Blood, I did feel there was less action in this story, with some parts of the plot not as fleshed out as they could have been. However,  it was still a nice book to while away a long train ride.

While the first book began in the cold of winter, this second book starts in the oppressive heat of summer. Venturing to Prague for a holiday, Lumikki wants a few weeks to herself, away from her concerned  parents and the new found fame that arose after she helped uncover a local crime-circle.

But mystery seems to follow Lumikki wherever she goes, and no sooner does she arrive in Prague when she is approached by a young woman claiming to be her half-sister. And as much as Lumikki wants to deny the claim, she suddenly finds herself plagued with nightmares that just maybe, are long suppressed memories from her childhood. 

But Lenka is no ordinary girl, and suddenly Lumikki finds herself forced to flee for her life when she inadvertently uncovers a cult of religious fanatics… fanatics who wish to go out with a bang! And they plan on taking Lumikki and her new half-sister with them…

What originally captured me with these books was Lumikki’s character. After being extensively bullied as a child, she has grown up tough and independent, yet so emotionally scarred that she detests physical contact with strangers and is quite the loner. However she is still compassionate enough to help people in trouble, and so openminded that she often sees things that others would pass over.

While parts of her past are still only hinted at, this book saw quite a few things revealed through a series of flashbacks. There is no romance in this story, yet we finally discover more about the person who broke Lumikki’s heart last summer, and I’m really hoping they will make an appearance in the next book. Also Lumikki’s childhood remains a mystery - and although we have been give more parts to that puzzle - the picture is still not clear enough to see. A great way to assure that I will be reading the next book!

I also really enjoy Salla Simukka’s writing. Its vivid, while also being direct and to the point. The description is great and the suspense is usually high. Mainly told in Lumikki’s POV, a couple of scenes are written from the POV of mystery people and that certainly keeps the reader intrigued and guessing. However I did feel like the book finished a bit suddenly, and as I said before, parts of the plot could have been expanded on and given us a bit more meat to chew on, so to speak.

Ultimately though I enjoyed this story - probably more than I did the first which is unusual for me. However I now know more about Lumikki, and because I read this book more for the main character than anything else, that’s probably why As White As Snow appealed to me more. 

Overall, the series has really captured my attention. 3.5 Stars!

Wednesday 26 August 2015

The Blackthorn Key - Book Review

The Blackthorn Key - Book Review
Kevin Stands
MG Historical
Book #1 in The Blackthorn Series
UK Publisher: Puffin

London 1655. Fourteen-year-old Christopher Rowe is apprenticed to master apothecary Benedict Blackthorn. In Blackthorn’s shop, Christopher learns the delicate secrets of transforming simple ingredients into powerful medicines, potions and weapons. His beloved master guides him with a firm, steady hand - instilling him with confidence and independence that prove increasingly vital as Christopher learns of a mysterious cult preying on the most learned men in London.

The murders are growing closer and closer to home and soon Christopher is torn from the shop with only a page of cryptic clues from his master and the unambiguous warning: Tell no one!

Helped by his best friend, Tom, Christopher must decipher his master’s clues, following a trail of deceit towards an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart. 


A fantastic and brilliant MG read! Christopher’s character charmed me from the start with his curious nature, a nature that always seems to get both him and his best friend into trouble. This book is a really great start to what promises to be a very enjoyable new series.

Apprenticed to a master apothecary, Christopher spends his days learning the delicate art of brewing medicines, mixing potions and experimenting with his masters more powerful and dangerous formulas. But when a cult begins killing off other apothecaries throughout London, it is only a matter of time before they find their way to Christopher’s door.

Now accused of a crime he didn't commit, Christopher’s learning is really put to the test. Using his skills to hide himself within the streets of London, he has only the help of his best friend and a page of cryptic clues to help him prove his innocence. 

But can he crack the clues and follow the trail  his master left for him before its too late? Yet as each piece of the puzzle falls into place, Christopher finds himself in the centre of more trouble, as clue by clue, he uncovers a secret that could change the course of the future. For the power to wield death is now in Christopher's hands…

I really enjoyed this story. Christopher is a fun and resourceful character who faced trial after trial with every chapter. I’m curious to learn more about his past, something that I hope will be explored more in the next book, however the beauty with this first book was that with every new catastrophe, Christopher’s future looked more and more uncertain. It is a story that will be enjoyed by both boys and girls alike.
The plot is fast paced and full of historical fact and things of interest - I love learning when it doesn't feel like learning - and I think the author did well in keeping true to the time period. Also the book held plenty of mystery. With indecipherable clues, secret societies, hidden passages and bodies turning up left right and centre, this books certainly keeps you on your toes.

My only criticism was the ending. While I enjoyed it, and certainly didn't see it coming, I was a little confused over how some parts came to be. But maybe its just me not connecting all the dots… However everything came to a satisfying conclusion and I will most definitely be reading the next book. 

Overall a gripping adventure that will leave you thirsting for more, I give The Blackthorn Key 4 stars!

Monday 10 August 2015

The Wolf Wilder - Book Review

The Wolf Wilder - Book Review
Kathrine Rundell
MG Historical
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books


Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.


I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and overall the author moved me with her beautiful writing and storytelling. This is one of the most emotional and profound MG books I have read in a long time. It is a spell-binding read!

Twelve-year-old Feo has grown up in the wild’s of Russia. With just her mother and the wolves they seek to ‘un-tame’ for company, Feo is fierce and strong with a great sense of loyalty and an even greater sense of the world of snow and ice that surrounds her. But when the Tsar’s military come calling, her world changes forever. 

When her mother is taken captive and the wolves she loves become the targets of the army, Feo sets out on a journey that will change all of Russia. Determined to rescue her mother, she gathers her pack of wolves and heads for St.Petersburg. But the commander of the army has a debt to settle with Feo, and now like a dark shadow, he stalks her footsteps, promising retribution for the injury she gave him. 

In this heart wrenching tale, Feo will experience love, loss and friendship, and learn the true meaning of being brave and standing up for your own beliefs. The Wolf Wilder is a book that will remain with you long after you turn the last page!

The characters are all very well written. Feo is brave and knows how to survive the in the wild, yet when it comes to interacting with other humans she is socially naive and often unsure of herself. Friendship with creatures other than wolves is a new experience for her and her awkwardness is truly adorable.

Illya is another great character. A young, run away solider who aspires to be a ballet dancer, he is just as naive of the wolves as Feo is of people. Yet watching him slowly build their trust and gain courage from Feo was a lovely thing to see. Also I hope boys would be inspired by his character, and learn that its ok to pursue the dreams you want to regardless of what others say and think.

The villain of course also played a huge role. Scary with just a hint of madness, I liked how his end was brought about by the hands (and paws) of those he had hurt the most. A truly despicable character!

In terms of plot, I though the book read well. Although I got the impression that the book was aimed at older readers in the beginning, younger readers at the end, while the middle could easily have been a mix of the two. Although saying that, I thought the middle of the story flagged a little, but never enough to have me stop reading it.

As for the wolves, they were probably the most interesting of all. Each with distinct personalities, the book shows the dynamics of the pack and how they were treated by the world around them. From its historical angle, the book is really interesting and I enjoyed the backstories of the wolves immensely.

The ending was probably one of my favourite parts. So wonderfully worded that I couldn't help but tear up.

Overall, a heart stopping but beautifully woven tale that you will always remember. Just keep a box of tissues handy! 4 stars!

Thursday 16 July 2015

As Red As Blood - Book Review

As Red As Blood - Book Review
Salla Simukka
YA Thriller
(Lumikki Andersson #1)
UK Publisher: Hot Key Books


In the Midst of the freezing Arctic winter,  seventeen year old Lumikki Andersson walks into her schools darkroom and finds a stash of wet, crimson-coloured money. Thousands of Euros left to dry - splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumina ignores the cliques, the gossips, and the parties held by the schools most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business. 

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces around her -and she’s running out of time to set them right. when she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends, or herself…


When I picked up this book, I was under the impression that it was a fairytale retelling. However, while it has a couple of elements that sound familiar, I would have to say this book is only very loosely based on Snow White. There are no dwarfs, no poison apples, or any kind of Prince Charming. Yet it was still an enjoyable read.

When Lumikki enters the school darkroom, she finds herself surrounded by thousands of bloodstained Euros. Yet when she returns to the room a few hours later, the money is gone. Only the retreating footsteps of the schools bad boy give Lumikki a clue to follow, and only after an overheard conversation, an escape from some drug dealers and a fairytale themed ball in the woods, can Lumikki begin to unravel the mystery of the bloody-money…

I’m on the fence over how to rate this book, as I think what I enjoyed about it wasn't so much the story but the main character Lumikki. She is a loner with an interesting (possibly even abusive) past that is only hinted at every now and then. Because of this past she has learned the art of self-defence, and how to blend into a crowd and remain unseen. 

However on the other hand you also know she has two very loving and over concerned parents, so therefore I was confused at what made her past appear so dark, one of the main reasons I plan to read the next book. I just cant wait to find out more about how and why Lumikki became this tough and capable woman.

The other characters are all very normal (although quite self-absorbed) people and unfortunately I found most of them either stupid or annoying.  However the plot is quite action packed with lots of mystery that will keep you guessing. It kept me turning the pages as I wanted to know the reason behind the bloody-money among other things, and everything is brought to a very satisfying conclusion. Also while there is to be more books in this series, I was happy to see that this book didn't have a cliffhanger ending. 

A fast, intriguing read that ultimately, I liked. 3 stars!

Cleo - Book Review

Cleo - Book Review
Lucy Coats
YA Historical
UK PUBLISHER: Orchard Books


Her precious mother is dead - and it isn't an accident! The young Cleopatra - Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter - must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret sisters of the Living Knot. 

But now Isis’s power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her Goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis’s power - on pain of death!

But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the uber-hot Librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo’s powerful destiny is about to unfold…


I love historical fiction and was thrilled when I found out Lucy Coats had based a book on the adventures of a young Cleopatra. Woven through with facts and interesting tidbits about the Gods and daily lives of ancient Egypt, this book will open up your mind to a long forgotten time. Giving young readers a chance to put themselves in the sandals of one of histories greatest figures, Cleo is a very enjoyable read!

When the horns sound, declaring her mothers death, Cleo knows her own demise can’t be far behind. Deserting her home city of Alexandria, she and her beloved body-slave, Charm, flee to a temple of Isis where years later, Cleo emerges a fully fledged priestess. Now charged by the Goddess herself to recover a map stolen long ago, Cleo’s bravery is tested to the limits when she is forced to return back to the palace of her childhood. But much has changed while she has been gone.

Her two evil sisters now sit upon the twin thrones of Egypt and the whole kingdom suffers from famine and plague. Abandoning the true Gods, her sisters now worship the bloodthirsty Am-heh, better known as the devourer, and now his evil taint hangs like a dark cloud over the palace. Only Cleo, chosen of Isis, can save Egypt, but first she must find the map and restore power to the real Gods… but many dangers await her, and Cleo will need all her courage if she is to complete the tasks ahead…

I really liked this book, but ultimately I think a younger YA or older MG would be its true target audience.  I passed this book along to my friends sister who is thirteen and she just adored it! Mostly I think because Cleo acts and speaks in a very modern way in which the Tweens and Teens of this generation can easily relate to.

Cleo herself is actually a very girly sort of character. Conscious of her looks, she constantly doubts herself and often needs reassurances - and the occasional push from her best friend - before she gets things done. While sometimes she comes off as a little whinny, she is at the core just a young girl who has been thrown a big destiny. Yet there are moments when you see her growing into the confident, clever queen she is one day to become.

One thing I really liked about this book though was her blind faith in the Goddess Isis. Cleo trusts in her goddess to make everything alright, but I like when Cleo comes to understand that the Gods can’t be everywhere at once, and sometimes bad things happen and there is nothing anyone can do about it. It’s a harsh reality check for her, but I think it makes her realise people must make their own destinies. And while the Gods can’t always solve problems, they will always be there to listen to them. 

However a niggle I had with this book was the instant love between her and the hot librarian Khai. I really hope they get to know each other more in the next book as right now, other than there love of learning and devotion towards Isis, I don't get the impression they have much in common. Hopefully we will get to see their relationship develop more.

Otherwise this book does have a cliffhanger of an ending. Cutting off right at a very action packed moment which - not having the next book - can be quite frustrating. Although it does assure that I will be reading the next one :) 

Overall Cleo was a fun read with a very relatable main character. A nice book to while away an afternoon. 3 stars!

Friday 10 July 2015

Heir of Fire - Book Review

Heir of Fire - Book Review
Sara J Maas
YA Fantasy 
(Book #3 in the Throne of Glass Series)
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury 


Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak - but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth… a truth about her heritage that could change her life - and her future - forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat the, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The King’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before…


I completely adore this series! Sara. J. Maas never fails to astound me with the depth and imagination of her writing. Just like the rest of the books in the series, Heir of Fire was a brilliant and spellbinding read.

After becoming the King’s assassin, defeating otherworldly demons and revealing to the man she loves the well guarded secret of her heritage, Celaena is at last, ready to face her past. Now, this book sees her returning to the land of magick, where her fae aunt rules over the land with a firm hand. 

Insisting that Celaena be trained in the fae arts of magic, Celaena must face down old fears and learn to control her natural powers. But Celaena has been running from her past for so long, that facing it will take her down a perilous path that will attack her mind, body and soul… It is a journey that will either make her, or break her!

Celaena’s character development in this book is phenomenal. For the first time we see her weighing the decisions of her past by looking at the person she was, to the person that she’s become. This gives the reader real insight into Celaena’s mind and I loved how, as strong as she is, she secretly hates herself for abandoning her kingdom - admitting to her own cowardice - only now she is ready to do something about it. I cant wait for the next book where I hope we get to really see Celaena leave the assassin behind, and emerge the Queen she was born to be. 

This book also includes some new characters… and a new love interest, who comes in the form of Fae Prince, Rowan. Stoic, series and otherworldly handsome, he is a great addition to the cast. He challenges Celaena in a way most people aren’t capable of, and pushes her to excel beyond her limits, (even if it means beating her up everyday) yet beneath his tough exterior, he is quite the softy underneath.

Yet my heart still went out to the other important men in Celaena’s life. First Dorian Havilliard - the Prince and only child of the evil King of Ardalan. He has really grown from a womanising boy into a mature, and strong man. But he still has a ways to go. Not only in mastering his powers, but standing up to his father too. But I really liked that he is at last moving on from Celaena and has began a fresh romance of his own.

Of course there is also Chaol, the gorgeous captain of the guards. I loved when him and Celaena became a couple, even though it did damage his friendship with Dorian. However with their friendship on the mend, now I can only hope that Chaol comes to accept Celaena for who and what she really is. Because I think at the core, it is with Chaol that Celaena’s heart truly lies. 

Another great addition to this book is the witch, and Princess of her clan, Manon Blackbeak. Part of the Ironteeth covern of witches, she is strong, determined and feisty. If she were not currently fighting for the King of Ardalan, I believe she and Celaena would be (if not friends) deadly allies. There and similarities between their personalities and I hope they get to meet in the next book. 

In terms of plot, the POV’s are divided between the above characters and now each character is working to their own agenda, but I feel they all want the same goal. The death of the king of Ardalan. Yet the plot moves at a fast pace, jumping from one life threatening situation to the next. The stakes are high in this book and the suspense will keep you turning pages.

The world building in this story is also mind-blowing, but overall it was Celaena’s emotional journey that truly blew me away. With her past now come to light, I feel the reader now fully understands her as a character and I cant wait to see where her story will take us next. With a cliff hanger of an ending that will leave you thirsting for more, I consider Heir of Fire to be Fantasy writing at its finest. A truly epic read - 5 stars!

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Red Queen - Book Review

Red Queen - Book Review
Victoria Aveyard
YA Fantasy
(Red Queen Book #1)
UK Publisher: Orion


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with God-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a seventeen year old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the Silvers control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?


This book has been on my TBR pile for such a long time, and I can’t believe I didn't pick it up sooner! This was a great YA Fantasy, verging a little on dystopian. I will definitely be reading the next book!

Mare is one of the Red-bloods, just a poor girl from a hardworking family, living under the rule of the Silvers, who use their God like powers to control the lesser Reds. But when an accident befalls upon Mare, instead of killing her, she learns she too has great power. The power to control and create lightening.

Fearing what this could mean, the King and Queen invite Mare into their household. Spreading a rumour that Mare is actually a long lost silver from an old family name, only Mare and the two Princes know the truth. The genetics of the Reds are changing… and for the first time in generations, they may just have the ability to fight back against the tyranny of the silvers…

This book has several plot lines that twist and turn, keeping you on your toes as you turn the pages. Full of action, romance, deception and betrayal, it is a hard book to put down! Set in a world where power reigns supreme and only the strong will survive, there is a great cast of characters and nothing ever happened as I imagined. A great premise with brilliant descriptions and writing.

Mare is a strong heroine. Unwilling to except her life as a Red, she does everything she can to defy the Silvers rule, even going against her families wishes to just accept the hand fate has dealt her. Smart and quick-witted, she is a fighter through and through.

The Princes on the other hand are harder to read. As reader, I found I tended to like once Prince more than the other (generally Cal) although sometimes my opinions on them would swap. And while I would say through most of the book there was a love triangle, the ending of the book will shut down that theory pretty quickly. 

And what an ending it was! With lots of action, conflict and a total cliff hanger, the book offers up a few revelations that will make you beg for the next book. A great read! 4 stars!