Saturday 22 April 2017

King's Cage - Book Review

King’s Cage - Book Review
Victoria Aveyard
YA Fantasy
Red Queen Book # 3
UK Publisher: Orion

Other Books in the series:
Glass Sword


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

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

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


I have really enjoyed this series so far, but I must admit that this third book didn’t exactly start with a bang. Having said that, I did enjoy the in-depth look we received into all the characters, even if I did feel the first half was really drawn out.

This third book picks up straight from where the previous book ended. Mare is now Mavens prisoner, and with her will broken and lightning powers leashed she soon finds herself the new king’s puppet. Thankfully Cal - the exiled Prince turned rebel - will do anything to see Mare set free, no matter the lives cost.

Now with brother fighting brother, and the powerful new-bloods battling the God-like silvers, Mare’s country is being destroyed from all sides…

I’m still pumped on all the action and thrilling revelations that came with this book’s ending. Enough so that I’ve almost, almost forgotten how little I actually liked the beginning. For me the problem was that Mare is super withdrawn and depressed (although considering she spends months locked in a room unable to use her powers it’s understandable) but not exactly fun to read. 

However what did redeem it for me was the in-depth look we got at Maven’s backstory. Although still the villain, he is easy to pity for his childhood and we get a glimpse at the boy he could have been had his mother not turned him into a monster. Mare’s pity and soft spot for Maven is finally relatable. However I the first half of the book was so long winded that I was going a little crazy waiting for something to happen.

The action, when it came though, was definitely worth waiting for. The latter half of the book unleashed all the intrigue, explosion and first-book-goodness that I was waiting for. I actually thought it all became very Game of Thrones like, what with the backstabbing, new alliances and additional characters, not to mention a couple of new POVs woven into the flow. 

As for the romance, for the most part I liked it. Mare and Cal’s relationship has always been deep and meaningful, yet they both remain quite selfish people. This in particular came across really well in this book, and I’m super curious to see what will be in store for them next. 

All in all, this is a good read but I thought it was a little filler like. I probably would have liked it more if the beginning had been at least one hundred pages shorter - however I’m still excited to read the final book in the series which will release next year. Overall, I would give King’s Cage 3 stars!

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What are you thoughts on this series? Are you enjoying it so far?

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Cogheart - Book Review

Cogheart - Book Review
Peter Bunzl
MG Steampunk
(The Cogheart Adventures #1)
UK Publisher: Usborne 


Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat…

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her though the shadows. What could they want from her?

With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realises that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart…

Murder, mayhem and mystery meet in this gripping Victorian adventure.


Cogheart was utterly charming. I thought it had a style similar to Cornelia Funkes Inkheart, mixed with a dash of Neil Gaiman’s imagination in stardust. Throw in a bunch of airships, some mechanical wonders along with a helping of friendship and hey presto! A magical book is made.

Set in a fantastical version of Victorian London, the story follows eleven-year-old Lily as she sets out on a journey to find her missing father. Pursued by silver-eyed men who are certain Lily holds the key to unlocking her father’s “secret work” Lily must dodge every scheme they throw at her… or see a powerful weapon fall into the wrong hands…

A really great book! There were so many aspects of this story that I enjoyed. First I loved the world-building, full of airships and mechanical people/animals, but I was saddened by how the humans of the world treated the technology so coldly and without feeling. However this offered a sharp contrast against Lily’s warm character and I adored her own mechanical family. They were so amusing, with distinct personalities and word choices of their own, “Clanging crumpets!”

However I felt the beginning of the story quite slow and it takes several chapters to pick up the pace.  It’s not until Lily runs away from her guardian that the story starts to take a more interesting turn, but these beginning chapters also allow the reader to get a feel for Lily’s tom-boyish character.

Sadly though I actually saw the big plot-twist coming, but it was delivered in a dramatic manner that I think younger readers will enjoy this immensely. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I'm most curious to see where Lily’s adventures take her next!

A heart warming Middle Grade read. I give cogheart 3.5 stars!

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Has anyone else read this book? If so I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments :)

Looking for more Middle Grade Adventure? Try THE DREAM SNATCHER or TIME TRAVELLING WITH A HAMSTER

Monday 10 April 2017

Dark Tempest - Book Review

Dark Tempest - Book Review
Annette Marie
YA Fantasy
(Red Winter Trilogy #2)

Other Books in the Trilogy:


Emi has dedicated her life to becoming the perfect vessel for the goddess Amaterasu, but the insidious betrayal of another deity has changed everything. Now Amaterasu has charged Emi with an urgent mission: to find and free the earthly gods before mankind is brought to its knees beneath divine tyranny.

At her side is Shiro, the mysterious fox spirit. When she first saved his life, she could never have imagined that behind hid cunning and confidence, he was lost - his power bound by a devastating curse and his memories obscured. His veiled history is somehow tied to the missing gods, but he can’t remember how or why.

As their search leads them into the murky depths of the spirit realm, the shadows of Shiro’s past begin to emerge. With each brief awakening of his true self, she loses a little more of him. The fate of the heavens and earth rest in her mortal hands, and she must find the missing gods before time runs out for her world - and for Shiro.


I am totally addicted to this series! Although this second book gets off to a slightly slow start, when the action does kick off it does so with a bang! The drama, the mythology… the romance (did I mention its the forbidden, heart-racing kind) Ah, I just want to jump about and squee! It’s so so so good!

Picking up shortly after the last book, Emi now finds herself in an even bigger predicament. Tasked with freeing the Earthly Gods before the solstice, Emi must fight against strong enchantments and powerful demons - all while maintaining her purity - but even as she struggles to control her ever-growing feelings for Shiro, the handsome Kitsune demon, she knows her first duty is to her Goddess Amaterasu and the world, but love might just prove to be Emi’s biggest weakness yet… 

This story really blew me away and I devoured it in less than a day. The action (once it starts) leads into a super fast-paced plot, all twined with elements of humour, romance, backstory and underlying intrigue. 

While the main plot really captures attention, it’s the slow burn romance between Emi and Shiro that has really hooked me. This second book see’s their relationship growing stronger and they are becoming more vocal about their feelings. It’s all made even more delicious by the fact that fate and Gods are vying to keep them apart. So dramatic! 

There is also a lot of character development. Emi now uses both her wits and growing magical skill to help in battles. She has earned the respect of the Yokai travelling with her and all the while she stays strong, despite the many burdens on her shoulders.

Shiro is still the sarcastic fox we came to love in book one, but we get a deeper look into his past which offers up a more vulnerable side to him. His interactions with the crow demon Yumei are totally comical and all the characters in this book deserve a huge applause. 

Dark Tempest, like its predecessor, also has lots of Japanese culture woven into the story. Words, food, etiquette, mythology and so much more - they all combine to make a really authentic tale that reads just like an anime in my head. 

And isn't the cover for this book just gorgeous? And the illustrations inside… they are all beautifully done and really help bring the world to life. I honestly can’t gush over this series enough. If you haven't already, go check out the first one, RED WINTER, it won’t disappoint. 

An easy 5 stars!

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Have any of you read this series? If so I would love to hear you're thoughts in the comments :) May we all gush over this book's awesomeness together :)

Thursday 6 April 2017

Sea - The Huntress Trilogy - Book Review

Sea - Book Review
Sarah Driver 
Middle Grade Fantasy
(The Huntress Trilogy Book #1)
UK Publisher: Egmont


In the sky, the fire spirits dance and ripple. Grandma says they showed our Tribe that I’d be captain, before I was even born.

Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka….


This was a really unique story with a fabulous young heroine. With Pirates, deadly sea monsters and a spice of magic, this was a splashing start to a sea churning adventure.

When Mouse’s dad goes missing—and a long-lost crew member returns to claim the vacant spot of navigator—Mouse knows something is amiss. Then she finds a hidden message that leads to dangerous waters, depths where myths come to life and crew turn on their captains…

Admittedly, this book was a little confusing in places, and Mouse’s unique voice took me several chapters to click with. At first I didn't even realise Mouse was a girl! However once I got into the rhythm of the story, I soon found myself swept away. 

The story offers a really unusual set of characters, all memorable by there personalities, physical traits or magical abilities. However I didn't understand the motivations of some of the crew, and look forward to the next book to see if more puzzle pieces are slotted together.

One of things I really enjoyed though was the dialog - words like, “heart-courage” and “heart-thanks.” All simple words that conveyed so much. I also liked that Mouse was gifted with the ability to speak to animals, and I found the animals speech really entertaining. Several times I even laughed out loud.

In terms of plot, the story moves at a fast pace although I feel we don't know the bigger picture yet (again, something I hope is revealed in the next book) but overall this was a most enjoyable read and it's a series I definitely will be continuing. 

All I can say, is that due to the writing style I really hope new readers persevere and give this book a chance. Despite the choppy beginning you’ll find that once you click with the story, you will be well and truly hooked!

3 stars!

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Have any of you read this book? If so I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments :)