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Book Review – Empire Of Storms

Title: Empire of Storms [Throne of Glass 5]

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Length: 689

Rating: 4.5 star (rounded to 5)

Series Review: 0.5123, 4, 5, 6, 7

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Description/Synopsis:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Timesbestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

At last me reread is completed! For those of you who don’t know after finally reading Tower of Dawn a month or so ago and realising that I didn’t really remember any of the few things we glimpse in Chaol’s book that are happening in Empire of Storms, that I needed to do a series reread of pretty much the entire series before the final book comes out on the 23rd of this month. I am so damn excited for that book its not even funny. But we aren’t here to talk about Kingdom of Ash, we are here to finally talk about Empire of Storms which I didn’t review the first time around. This time I did the audiobook and I really enjoyed them so I would recommend this series in audiobook form. I will also try to talk about the things that happen in this book without influence from what I know from Tower of Dawn, and mostly talk about the feelings that I had in both readings. For those of you who have for some reason not read this book this is where I leave you. I liked this book more the second time around, it was a little slow to begin with but the ending is just everything. MAKE SURE YOU READ ASSASSINS BLADE BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK. Goodbye people who don’t want to get spoilt!

Thank god pretty early on in this book most of our plot points/characters actually converge on one another so this time around my review may be more than just my opinions on characters. Just like in most of the books in this series, the book starts off a bit slow and then explodes into whatever the hell that ending was.

We get a bit more backstory in this book about what happened in the first war. By this I mean we find out that Elena is just a stupid idiot that didn’t bother to ask her father what the Eye of Elena, otherwise know of the wyd lock, what it was actually supposed to be used for, and used it to lock up Erawan. Then because she is an idiot finds out that her mother Mala, the goddess of fire, gave up her mortal life to make this lock to send the Gods back to their own world taking the valg with them, and that her father Brannon was going to sacrifice his life to seal the keys and the gates shut behind them with the lock. But it could only be used once, and Elena blew it locking up a valg king that was just going to get free again at some point. So now someone of Mala’s line and power has to give up their life to to fix the lock and send the Gods and the valg away for good. So Aelin or Dorian has to die now. Part of me sort of felt bad for Elena when we found out that she loves both Aelin and Dorian and had actually saved Aelin that night in the river years ago so that she could experience the full joys of life before she died, sacrificing Elena’s chance of getting an after life with the rest of her family to do so. But still, she was so dumb. So many things in books just wouldn’t be an issue if people would just talk to another human being!

Aelin works this out in this book. She works it out a bit before Elena explains it all to her and she vomits her gutts up because of this realisation. As time goes on though she sort of accepts this fate and goes on to put a bunch of plans in place to make sure that everyone she loves is looked after once she is gone and that her country would have a leader and heirs. Rowan, who is confirmed as her mate and who she sneaky marries near the very end, will rule and Lysandra who Aelin made promise to pose as her for the rest of her life so no one in the country knew Aelin was dead, would have heirs secretly with Aedion because they look so similar, not Rowan. Because of all this Aelin of course is very morose in this book and sort of in the previous one too. I have seen a lot of people say that they didn’t like her in either because she was acting so out of character but I really sort of have to disagree with those point. She is a different character. Celaena was a ‘carefree’ assassin who only had to worry about keeping herself alive. Aelin is a Queen cast out by most of her own lords and had to literally sacrifice herself to keep the whole continent/world safe. The two objectives couldn’t really be anymore different. When she decided to accept her responsibilities she had to let go of a lot of what made her who she was. And while she is so happy to have found all her friends and family and to have had Rowan for as long as she did, she is a woman that for a good chunk of this book knows that the closer she gets to saving them all and giving them all a better life, she gets a step closer to her own death.

One part I did really enjoy in Aelins story though was when she finally gets to Skulls Bay and talks to Ralph again. While in Terrasen Aelin’s group gets word that the witches are flying to take back Rifthold and kill Dorian (didn’t I say it was dumb to leave him behind), and she sends Rowan to save him and tells him to meet back up with her at Skulls Bay to try and win Ralph and his pirates and his secret people that have been in hiding for years, to fight on her side in the war because Aelin and Ralph don’t have good history (read Assassins Blade). Now Rowan might have come to late to save Dorian if Manon hadn’t of turned on fellow witches and kept him alive long enough for Rowan to actually get him out. We will talk about the Manon bit later, but Rowan gets him out and gets him to Skulls Bay and is just sort of chilling with his old Cadre members Fenrys and Gavriel (Aedion’s dad), trying to convince them and Ralph to help them out while waiting for Aelin to rock up. Then of course she does it in style, and while they are going to Ralph’s office to talk some more they turn on the lights and find Celaena just sitting in his seat smiling. I think this scene is probably my favourite Aelin scene because she was Celaena for a brief moment. She could drop all those weights holding her down and act like a part of her old self again. Yes she does have other funny and witty moments, I really liked the part where her and Dorian were talking and he thanked her for sending Rowan and she says:

Rowan is always looking for a chance to show off. Dramatic rescues give him purpose and fulfilment in his dull immortal life.

That line was amazing, but she in those other moments she isn’t as carefree as she was in Ralph’s office at the start.

The scene though where Lysandra was fighting sea wyverns in Skulls Bay though was truly the opposite of fun though. She just manages to kill two babies and then three adults rock up and she can’t transform again to get out of the water because she is too drained and only just manages to kill them. I honestly didn’t think she was going to get out of that scene alive, only her quick thinking saved her.

Manon. I love her so much and I was so stressed for her pretty much the entire book. She killed withces to save Dorian so when she goes home all the other witches are demanding blood for those killed and it was decided that Manon had to kill Asterin for the life she took. Then right as she is about the kill Asterin she tells her and the rest of the Thirteen to run and she swings to kill her grandmother. Of course she doesn’t succeed and her and her grandmother fight and her grandmother reveals that she killed her mother and her father who was infact a Crochan prince and they had hoped that Manon would be the witch to bring peace and return them to the wastes, but her grandmother made her a Crochan killing machine who infact had killed her own half sister so she is now the Queen of the Crochans. Manon gets away just before her grandmother can finish her off thanks to Abraxos and then spends forever just on the brink of death until Abraxos takes her to the safety of Aelin’s crew. There are many fun moments with her and Dorian but she is sad because her whole life has turned upside down and she thinks that the Thirteen are dead, and Aelin wants her to unite the Crochan’s to her side despite the fact she has spent her whole life killing them. But then Elide finally turns up and we have few touching moments with her and Manon until Maeva’s armada comes to nearly kill them all but Abraxos saves the day by having left to go find the Thirteen days before and arrives in the nick of time. Manon isn’t at the battle though because she is off having chats with the gods, Elena and Aelin about how the war needs to be won and she asked the gods since she has valg blood in her does that mean she is going to get sent off to a different world too which we don’t get an answer for and this stresses me out some more because I don’t want a world where Manon isn’t in it.

I am really looking forward to the final battle she will have with her grandmother in the last book.

I think I said that most people get paired off with other people romantically in the last book but they really do in this one. There is a lot of sex, some good and some repetitive. Elide and Lorcan get paired off in this book and I don’t mind it. She actually stands up to his bullshit and puts him in his place when he is being stupid. Their storyline wasn’t one I really felt like I needed though. The moment she see Aelin and Aedion again wasn’t quite as touching as I wanted it to be but was still good. Lorcan’s purpose in this book though pretty much seems to be just to fuck things up which made their whole story a bit hard to swallow. Its basically all his fault that Maeve came at the end when Aelin was drained of most her power because he freaked out over an army that arrived that was on their damn side and called her to protect Elide. Like Maeve was ever going to protect Elide. Aelin just manages to give the wyd keys to Manon before Maeve tortures her and captures her in iron chains, mask, and casket and whisked away to places unknown to be tortured for the rest of her life, which we have just found out is immortal because she will ‘settle’ into her immortality within the next five years, Aelin went through all that willingly to keep Elide safe and because she had set everything up for her friends to finish the job.

Just as she leaves her Ashryver cousin(?) Galan from Wyndlen shows up with all his army, and all the silent assassins from the desert amass in force to help fight for Aelin. Then we also have Ansel from the wastes came just before with her army, we have the army Ralph is putting together, all the guys Chaol is supposed to be getting wherever he is, all the Cousins Rowan convinced to turn against Maeve on the eve of battle and to fight for Aelin, and now the Crochans Manon has decided to rally. She made them a huge damn army to ratlle the stars and I just had to sit there and go ha Aedion, you were such a dick in this book doubting her and you should feel horrible about questioning her what she was actually doing for the country and her people. She set all this up for you guys and didn’t expect any of you to bloody help her in return except Lysandra who is basically giving up her life for Terrasen, and maybe Dorian who might have to use the lock to help get rid of the valg since she is all locked up.

And thats where the book ends and where I am going to leave this review/recap. I really enjoyed this book especially the end, and I am so keen for the next book it isn’t even funny. This is porbably my longest review for the series so far so I apologise if it was a bit hard to get through, and I will say sorry in advance because I don’t think the final review is going to be much shorter. Please, please leave comments down below. All I want to do is talk about things that happened in this book and how everyone thinks things are going to turn out. It doesn’t look like we are going to get a happy ending where either Aelin or Dorian doesn’t die despite Rowan flying off to find Aelin and declaring that he would not stand for an ending where either of them were gone. Maas does like a happy ending though so maybe Rowan will have success. GAAAHHH so many thoughts and feelings. I look forward to speaking with you all!

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – The Passion of Dolssa

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Title: The Passion of Dolssa

Author: Julie Berry

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Length: 271

Rating: 4 (4.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame.

Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town.

The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies.

When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank HarperCollins Australia for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a full review! Sorry its been a long time in the making.

While I received an ARC of this book to read i noticed that my motivation for reading wasn’t very high last year when I received this book so I went out and got myself the audio book. I loved it. I would strongly recommend this books audio version. Its super easy to listen to and has good voice actors.

There was only one thing within this book that I didn’t completely fall in love with, and that was the high religious component to the plot. I don’t remember how I came about to get this book from the publishers, I don’t remember if I asked for or if it was just sent to me, and I didn’t remember this when I listened to it either so I went into this book pretty much not knowing anything about it, and I was not overly thrilled to find out that her passion was for god. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, I have nothing against people being highly Christian or anything, but I myself am Pagan so I am not really interested in reading about that Christian faith. Other stories I have reviewed such His Dark Materials have been marked down because of the high dose of religion. BUT it is major part of the story, and the more I got into it, really the less it bothered me.

The plot of this story was just spot on. It was very dark and had some pretty gruesome parts in there while also having some lighter moments. The way it was written had me waiting on the edge of my seat and making me eager to get back into the car again or made me sit in the car longer than was necessary so that I could hear the conclusion to something. I don’t remember finding anything predictable and parts of it nearly broke my heart. Everything was beautifully described and the pictures that Berry painted with her words were spot on.

All the characters in this book are well developed and thought out. There isn’t anyone in this book for the sake of trying to move something along needlessly or that seemed pointless. They were all well developed and had a purpose and enhanced the story by them being there, whether that took the story to a happy or sad place it didn’t matter. Despite the plot being very powerful this would have to be a character driven novel because each part was decided wholeheartedly by the characters.

The characters were great by themselves but they were also great in groups. Each relationship is introduced in a sort of gentle way that by the time you are done learning about each relationship you feel as though you are part of it and it just straight up hurts when something happens to any of them. You hurt because you care about them, and you hurt for those who also love them.

Something I also noticed more when picked my ARC up for this review that I feel needs mentioning as well is that Berry did a truly wonderful and great job at researching the time period that she set the book in. There are historical notes, additional readings, and glossaries for it all in the book! I think she did such a wonderful job that if you took out the dates, people could probably still work out what time frame in history they were reading about. You can also go into it knowing absolutely nothing about the 1200s and still just know and understand and visualise everything in perfect detail. I really love when an author puts that much research into their stories.

This is where I am going to leave you for this one. This book book was surprisingly good, and had me totally hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction in any regard. For those who are turned off by religious things like me, take me word for it, you wont care about it by the end. I think most people would enjoy this book, if only the word of it was out a little more.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – The Handmaid’s Tale

the handmaid tale

Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Genre: Classic, Dystopian

Length: 324

Rating: 5 Star (4.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I love love loved this book.

I thought the plot was great. Dystopian is a genre I feel has sort of been played out a lot. While I still enjoy reading most of them I don’t find that I get anything new from them that often. I feel as of this book actually brought something new to the table.

I loved the plot. While I don’t consider myself a feminist I could nearly feel the spark in me after reading this book. The downfall of rights for women in this book just blew my mind, and we got the perspective of a woman who was considered as one of the ‘lucky’ ones. Just the thought of not being allowed to read killed me. Thats like my main joy in life, I don’t know what I would do with myself if it was illegal for me to read.

I was really absorbed in everything Offred was doing. All her memories of what things were like before really put lots of things in perspective to how she was living now. I both liked and didn’t like Offred. I admired that she could adapt, but some of her choices and thoughts drove me a little crazy. With her memories I don’t know how she doesn’t go crazy and just ruin the small bit of safety she has. I wanted her too.

The writing was beautiful. It only told you as much as you needed too know in a very subtle and very powerful way in which you cannot help but get swept up in.

I will put a warning in for the ending though. Just talking about the ending is really a spoiler so if you don’t want to know anything about it and the previous paragraphs got you interested go read the book and find out yourself. Now onto the ending. There are really two endings to this book. The second ending I don’t think should have been in there at all, it put me out of the feel of the story. The first ending was very open ended and this will annoy some. I am torn about it. I both liked it but I also really want closure.

There we have it folks. This was an amazing book but if you want closure I suggest thinking about it before you take a trip in this book. If you don’t mind pick it up right now, it was stunning.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – The Invasion of the Tearling

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Title: The Invasion of the Tearling [The Queen of the Tearling 2]

Author: Erika Johansen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian

Length: 480

Rating: 5 Star

Release Date: June 9th, 2015

Book Series Reviews: 1, 2, 3

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Description/Synopsis:

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to say a big thank you to HarperCollins through Edelweiss for allowing me to read this book ahead of the publication in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this book. While the other one took a very long time to get anywhere and was pretty mush setup for the series, this one I found moved much faster. Yes, the book is still a slow at times, but stuff is pretty much always happening so you barely notice. Also unlike the other story, we are receiving too very different storylines in the book.

In this book Kelsea takes on the ability, an ability that she cannot control, to have visions of the past. In these visions we see the life of Lily, a woman who lived before the crossing that lead to the creation of the Tearling. I found these parts really interesting. This world we are seeing is so different to the one we get with Kelsea, and I am forever questioning why on earth we are getting told this story and how it will all connect back to Kelsea. It was also really interesting to see the effects it was taking on her physically.

The end to Lily’s story. Wow. Did anyone see that coming? Seriously. I hadn’t a clue at all. Totally threw me off. I liked it for that, but I worry about the direction that is going to make the story go in. When I pick up a book like this that is not really the kind of direction I want it to go in, but I suppose I will have to wait and see how the plot develops.

Now with Kelsea we focus more on this impending invasion from the Mort because she cancelled the treaty by stopping the slave trade. This part of the story moves a lot slower than Lily’s, and while I really liked reading about Lily we seemed to focus more on her than Kelsea and thats just wrong. The here and now are really what we should be focussing on, and because of Lily’s constant interruptions we didn’t move very far in this side of the plot at all. The Mort don’t advance on the Keep until the very end of the book. Kelsea herself seemed to take several steps back in terms of development as well. She snaps out of it at the end, but I am with Mace throughout most this book. She acted like an idiot a lot of the time. I totally understand WHY she had a mental, but still. Her ending to this book is something that I am gushing over. Oh my god. Cliff hangers everywhere! Anyone who has read this book should come to me straight away to discuss them.

We had some some questions answered which I wont go into because of the spoilers, but we still have many that were not. Like who the hell her dad is, where on earth the sapphires/magical necklaces came from and just the general sauce of magic and so on. I like stories that have things unfold throughout the book but at this point I kind of feel like these things are getting left out for the wrong reasons.

It may seem like I have done a lot of complaining in a review which I have given 5 stars, but that just goes to show how much I liked it despite the flaws I have mentioned. It was truly an awesome read and I am so excited for the movie. The wait for the next book might literally kill me. I recommend this book to anyone who even remotely enjoyed the first one. It is still slowish, but much more happens and a lot of things you don’t expect. The writing is amazing.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – The Fiery Heart

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Title: The Fiery Heart [Bloodlines 4]

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural

Length: 420

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded down to 4

Book Series Reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Related Book Series: Vampire Academy

Silver Shadows giveaway
Ruby Circle giveaway

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Description/Synopsis:

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Im sorry to those of my readers who were interested in a non spoiler filled review, but I cannot give you that this day. I need to talk about these events in detail. All you need to know if you don’t want to be spoilt is that it was better than the last book to me, and that I suggest you have the next book handy when you finish because you are not going to want to wait to read it. Now either go forth and read the book and come back or read on for spoilers.

I really don’t even know where to start with this book, it just have so many things that need to be spoken about and I know I am not going to be able to put them all into this review without it going on for ages.

First off, YAY ADRIAN POINT OF VIEW! I don’t think I need to remind you guys that I just love Adrian and it was really great to be able to see from his point of view. He goes through so much character growth in the series in general but in this one he goes in leaps and bounds. He stops drinking, smoking, and even starts taking mood suppressors all because of his love for Sydney and that’s what she wanted. She gives up coffee for him too (pretty much), which is a really big deal because coffee is basically her blood, but Adrian just went so far because of his love. While I loved how sweet he was and I loved the change of getting a view into the inner workings of his mind, it seemed to me that everytime that anything romantic was happening it was from his point of view, and I would have liked to get some of that from Sydney’s as well.

I really liked the idea that Adrian had about perhaps the magic Moroi have chooses the Moroi rather than something they just come into when they mature.

Now Sydney. Sydney was very un-Sydney in this book I wanted to reach in and pretty much slap some sense into her. Yes you are in love and you get to be happy but you don’t get to be so stupid when so many bad things can happen to you. I knew from the start that Zoe was going to be no good, and I new that damn phone and the second Angeline started on about those bloody cupcakes in the cafeteria that they would be their bloody undoing. And for someone who was so focussed on not letting Zoe catch on, she was really bad at making her think things were normal. She blew her off pretty much every second of everyday and thought it was fine because she was supposedly doing school work, but it was made clear that none of the other Alchemists thought it was something to worry about. So so so dumb. Why does everyone have to take a turn in the hat of stupidity?

I am so surprised that pretty much no one worked out they were together, I mean Eddie at least should have worked it out quicker. I am also so surprised that they didn’t tell people they could tell. I was pretty much yelling at the book going “JUST BLOODY TELL THEM!” It would have solved so many issues. I mean, what the hell was Rose going to do if they told her? Nothing that’s what. Eddie found out in the end and he took it in his stride just like I knew he would,as would a lot of people. The only person really that shouldn’t know was Zoe and Sydney just completely blew that. I hated her so much, specially the scene when they go out with their father and she tries dobbing on Sydney.

Did anyone else pretty much feel like they were waiting for something horrible to happen the entire book? Because I sure did. When they crashed their car I was sure Strigoi where going to come get them, and then they were in the hotel (which was just an awesome bit of the book, finally a chance for them to relax and be together). Also, the second I got Adrian’s point of view I knew something was going to happen to Sydney. Thats what happened in Allegiant, Four’s POV got thrown in because stuff goes down with Tris and point of view other than hers needed to be happening for the book to still work. So the entire time I was like the Alchemists are going to get her, the Alchemists are going to get her. Then they did. Poor poor Sydney. I wonder how this whole captured thing will effect the court deal.

I think one of my favourite parts in the book was when they took a trip to Court. It had great effects after some bad stuff for them to develop their relationship. I loved the night when they slept in the same bed and hugged all night long. I also really like where the tattoos are going in the book. Using tattoos with restored Strigoi blood fused with spirit to use as a vaccine when they work out how to mass produce it, and using other tattoos to stop the Alchemist from being able to put brain wash people with their tattoos. I am very interested in seeing where that goes.

I think I should probably stop here because this review could just keep going on and on. In summery, this book was great, go forth and read it. I have actually started the next one already, but after 120 pages I was getting really frustrated (in the book is really suspenseful kind of way) and had to put it down. Stay tuned for the next book!

I am also doing a giveaway for Silver Shadows and Ruby Circle so if you would like to enter click on the links to take you to the rafflecopter giveaways!

Silver Shadows giveaway
Ruby Circle giveaway

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Snow Child

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Title: The Snow Child

Author: Eowyn Ivey

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fairytale Retelling

Length: 386

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded up to 5

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Description/Synopsis:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Normally I would round a rating up or down if it lands on a .5, however, I can’t do that this time. I loved this book so much I can’t give it a 4, but the ending prevents me from just giving it a 5.

But gosh this story was just so beautiful, I think it was by far the most beautiful one I have read this year.

No warm blood in me doth glow, water in my veins doth flow.

Yet I’ll laugh and sing and play, by frosty night and frosty day.

Little daughter of the snow.

But whenever I do know, that you love me little,

Then I shall melt away again, back into the sky I’ll go.

Little daughter of the snow.

We are presented with an old sad couple that seem to be in a never ending cycle of sadness and despair after giving birth to a still born baby, neither of them knowing how to get nor really trying to get out. In a rare moment of happiness they go outside in the snow in the new home in Alaska and decide to build themselves a little girl out of snow. The next morning their creation is destroyed and there are foot prints only leading away from where the snow child once stood, and a small figure appearing and disappearing at the edge of the trees wearing a blue coat and red scarf. Then the little wild, spirited girl Faina enters their lives.

I still don’t even know where to start with this review. The entire time we are reading we are just thinking and thinking about how Faina came to be. Is she a child born from snow as is told in Mabel’s storybook? Or is she a poor orphan child that has grown up in the wilderness as is suggest by the events we encounter with Jack? And if she isn’t a mystical being, how does that explain that ending?

To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers.

One structural thing, that was at least in my ebook copy of the story, that I found really interesting was that when anyone was talking to Faina or ever really just about her, their words don’t have any quotation marks, but when they are having conversations about or to anyone else while Faina wasn’t involved, quotation marks were used.

The introduction of Faina in their lives, not only gives them something to love and be joyous about, but it also teaches them that even when she isn’t around there are still things to love and still people that care. I feel she taught them that you can’t run from your problems at that there is still things to be happy and hopeful about.

We are allowed to do that, are we not Mabel? To invent our own endings and choose joy over sorrow?

Through her they find their love for each other, and their love for this new land that they live in. I have to say that I felt that love too. I just wanted to dive into the pages and play in the snow and run with foxes and be as mysterious and fleeting as snowflakes on the wind. Faina was an entity that was just out of reach and something we never really completely felt part of. She was just too mystical.

I think the friends they make in Alaska are the sweetest people ever. When they help them with the farm despite the protests and basically just move into their house, my heart melted for our old couple. I really like the relationship that was developed between Jack and Mabel and Garret. It took me awhile to see where that section of the story was going but by the time it happened I had accepted and saw there was no other way for it to go. I was freaking out about it the whole time though. With the state of Faina ever being in question many of the events had me panicking.

Then the ending. Oh the ending. I will not go into detail about because I don’t want to wreck a book I want everyone to read, but the ending though was one we thought could of been coming, it didn’t leave me feeling complete. Something was wrong with it and it kind of shattered this beautiful sad and mystical feeling that I had been enjoying throughout the book.

So yes, read this book. I think many people should at least give it ago. If you are looking for something action packed and fast paced, I think you should stay away. Far away. But if you are looking for something more subtle and flowing, much like the flow of a creek or the fall of light snow, then you need to pick this up. Just beware the ending.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Fire Prince

The Fire Prince

Title: The Fire Prince [The Cursed Kingdoms 2]

Author: Emily Gee

Genre: Fantasy

Length: 344

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded up to 5

Series Review: 1, 2, 3

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Description/Synopsis:

The long awaited and much anticipated sequel to 2011’s The Sentinel Mage. The Fire Prince continues the saga of Prince Harkeld, Innis the shapeshifter and the imperiled Seven Kingdoms.

The Seven Kingdoms are in the grip of an ancient and terrible blood curse. Thousands have died. Thousands more will die. Only one man can end the curse.

The fugitive Osgaardan prince, Harkeld, is that man—whether he likes it or not. But the bounty on Harkeld’s head is high. He has outrun his father’s soldiers, but he can’t outrun the assassins who seek him—Fithians, trained in the art of killing. Even the Sentinel mages who guide and guard him are no match for Fithian steel. Faced with the ever-present threat of death, Harkeld must learn to use his fire magic. Or die.

Meanwhile, dark plots are unfolding in Osgaard’s gold-tiled palace, snaring Princess Brigitta and those she loves. And in the eastern kingdoms, young orphan Jaumé journeys with a band of mysterious and dangerous fighters, heading north for a purpose he does not understand.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This will be filled with spoilers, so move on if you care about those things.

I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley. I loved this book. In some ways it was better than the last but in others it wasn’t quite as good.

I think the thing I loved the most was the growing kind of love that Innis and Harkeld, but of course he doesn’t realise that any of it is real! He thinks its all part of his dreams. I like the fact that the romance is growingly slowly and is so complicated. Harkeld still has no idea about the truth and if he did find out it would have bad effects on his relationship with the mages, but now that Innis has told Cora and others about the fact these dreams are happening she must eventually spill the beans to him because its an invasion of his privacy.

We also get characeter development. Harkeld not only has to deal with the fact that he has witch blood, he is infact a witch. He agrees to train with Cora so that he doesn’t hurt anyone with his extreme power and so that a mage will remove his magic at the end of the quest. He must also deal with the fact that he feels like the mages keep on tricking and betraying him. While these struggles were just as interesting as in the first book, they also got on my nerves. He still thinks degrading things about the mages yet he is training to be one right now so he has no right to think those things specially since he knows them better now. Innis must also develop. Thanks to the fact that Petrus caught her breaking Primarily Laws without reason to share dreams with Harkeld, which cause serious issue with their own relationship, she has to finally admit how much she is struggling with the want to be Justin and the dreams.

We still get the other two stories woven through. Brigitta’s story seems to go from bad to worst to over the moon happy to much much worst. We got alot more of this side of this story in this book. We also see more of her brother Jaegar. While this side of the story takes place in their kingdom, we get many hints that Jaegar may not be all he seems. He gets blisters on his body and a touch of his burns some of Brigitta’s clothes. His is magical? If he is how come his power is hurting him? It has already been said it cannot hurt the person is came from unless they set their hair on fire or something. Brigitta proves herself time and time again that she is a strong person who doesn’t give up. We also get Jaumé travelling with his assassins. He thinks they are off to help the prince, and when they finally catch up to him he finds out just how wrong he was. The book ends before he must do anything and it kills me that I have to wait to find out what his choice will be from here.

The story answered alot of the backstory and magic related questions that I had asked myself through the first book and I really appreciated. That cliff hanger though I didn’t really appreciate. It ends with Harkeld nearly dying and in a desperate attempt to save him ends up revealing that she is infact Justin. Then the book ends. We get nothing else. How am I going to live until the next book comes out, between this one and the last there was over a 3 year gap. I pray that they don’t make me wait that long.

I recommend this series to any he has patience and a love of simple but very well written fantasy.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Sentinel Mage

SENTINEL MAGE MOCKUP

Title: The Sentinel Mage [The Cursed Kingdoms 1]

Author: Emily Gee

Genre: Fantasy

Length: 411

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded up to 5

Series Review: 1, 2, 3

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Description/Synopsis:

Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.

In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.

Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him.

But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I was really surprised and pleased with how much I loved this book. After reading some of the reviews on goodreads I was a little bit worried that I had gotten myself into something I wasn’t going to find really appealing. How wrong I was! I really have to wonder why people didn’t get into this story because I soaked it up like a sponge.

Some people said that it was a cliche kind of book and I have to agree here. The content isn’t very original with a curse, a journey, assassins, and a war, the elements are all things we have seen in stories before. However, the fact that I have read about all these things before I didn’t even notice because they were put together in such a good way. The pace of the story was very steady. Its not slow through the chunks of world or character building, and the action back parts of story don’t move so fast that you feel worn out after everyone. If this kind of pacing isn’t for you I might suggest skipping this one, but I found it really enjoyable and really helped prepare me for the books ending.

The story is presented to us in multiple The first one we are introduced to is Jaumé, an young eight year old boy whose family was effect and killed by the curse. At first I thought he was in the book purely to show us how the curse was actually effecting people but as the story went on his tale became more complex and I really cannot wait to see where it goes from here. We also get the view point of Princess Brigitta and her household to show us how things are going in lands that are not yet affected by the curse and the tension of brimming war. I really liked Brigitta, she is a strong character who learns to overcome and endure the horrible things that happen to her on a daily basis and is willing to risk her life for the good of others. Then we have the travelling crew of mages like Innis and Prince Harkeld which tells are the hardship of those trying to destroy the curse. I really can’t wait to see how all of these are going to connect and link further on in the story!

Innis and Harkeld would be our main characters in the story I think and they have steady character development through the book. Innis has to deal with having to act as a man for most of her time and having to deal with the fact that she likes it. She likes feeling physically strong. Harkeld has to deal with being around ‘witches’ who he considers monsters, and the fact that he himself has witch blood and magic powers. The magic powers isn’t brought up until later in the book but you could totally see it come from the start. Then they both have to deal with this budding romance that is introduced through the form of dreams. Innis is the only one that understand that they are both having them but Harkeld still has to get over the fact he is dreaming about witches. I wonder to myself if this romance will turn out to be a way to convince Innis that being a man isn’t so great and Harkeld that witches are not so bad, but I will have to wait till I get more of the story to find out.

There were parts that were not very thought through though. It is mentioned that Fire, Shapeshifting, and Healing are the main and most common mage magic, but is never explained why that actually was and that annoyed me. Harkeld seems to be very perspective on which shapeshifter is which when they are not in human form, yet he doesn’t seem to question why one of them is always missing, specially Innis who he kind of keeps tabs on. I also didn’t fully care about most the characters.

So yes, if you like steady fantasy stories that will get bigger with each book I would recommend this book to you. I am so excited to start the next one.

 

Till Next Time…