Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Review - Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade

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Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade
Published 5th November 2019 by Tor Books
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 9/50

I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
The Shroud of Prophecy tests fate to discover what happens when the path of good and right, the triumph of light over darkness, the only path to salvation… fails.

Everyone loves Mathias. So naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

Mathias is thrilled for the adventure! There’s nothing better than a road beneath his feet and adventure in the air. Aaslo, on the other hand, has never cared for the world beyond the borders of his sleepy village and would be much happier alone and in the woods. But, someone has to keep the Chosen One’s head on his shoulders and his feet on the ground.

It turns out saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. Mathias is more than willing to place his life on the line, but Aaslo would love nothing more than to forget about all the talk of arcane bloodlines and magical fae creatures. When the going gets rough, folks start to believe their only chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the stories go. At all. To make matters worse Aaslo is beginning to fear that he may have lost his mind…

My Thoughts
The premise of this one really intrigued me. The idea of flipping the chosen one trope completely on its head really appealed to me and I'm pleased so say it didn't disappoint. I found the plot really interesting. I loved the idea of the Foresters and the use of magic and it was because of these things that I enjoyed the story. The book itself wasn't actually very long for an adult fantasy however, it did take me a while to read. I did find it to be a bit slow in places but that being said I still enjoyed my reading experience.

The main thing that I felt let this one down was the characters. I enjoyed the ideas behind them, as I said before, the Foresters and the magic however, they fell a bit flat for me. I would of liked some more character development, especially of the main character and a little bit more of an exploration of the character himself as opposed to his constant inner monologue.

Overall I enjoyed the story and I thought the plot was interesting. It's because of this that I am planning on continuing on with the series and I hope we dive a bit deeper into the characters in the next one.

Overall Rating 

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Review - A Queen on Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

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A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff
Published 21st January 2020
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 6/50

I was gifted an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Orphaned, exiled and hunted, CĂ©rulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.


My Thoughts
The big selling point for this book, or the series as a whole, is that one book will be released each month allowing for you to basically binge the whole series if you want to. I definitely think this is a great idea as I, for one, do not like waiting for the next instalment in a series.

This book is full of things I love in fantasy, royalty, politics, plotting, scheming the lot and I really enjoyed reading it. There wasn't necessary anything new in this story however, what was there I feel was done very well and the plot kept me hooked throughout. For a 500 page book it actually read very quickly. The writing was very detailed and the world building was great. The author has developed an extremely complex and interesting world but not one that was too complicated that you found yourself getting lost.

The plot was interesting too, I particularly enjoyed Cressa's storyline and would of liked a bit more from her (if you've read the book you'll know what I mean) but Cerulia's story was interesting too, especially as we neared the end of the book. Cressa was probably my favourite character. As the story went on her character developed in such an interesting way and she became determined to do what was right for her daughter and her country. I found Cerulia's character a bit annoying at first however as the story went on she grew on me and towards the end of the book she really became her own distinct person, I feel like there's a lot more to come from her as the series continues.

Overall I really enjoyed this one and I would recommend it to lovers of classic fantasy. I'm pleased I haven't got to wait long for the sequel because I'll definitely be picking it up at the end of this month.

Overall Rating 




Saturday, 1 February 2020

January Wrap Up

We finally made it! January's finally over and, I don't know about you, but it felt like a very long month to me indeed. I did however have a very successful reading month. I managed to read 7 books, including some rereads and I stuck to my TBR! 


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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Reread)
Published 31st July 2019 by Indigo 
Star Rating - ***.5 (original rating 4*)
Goodreads Challenge - 1/50

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Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe 
Published 4th April 2019 by Zephyr
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 2/50

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Collision by Victor Dixen 
Published 18th April 2019 by Hot Key Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 3/50

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J K Rowling (Reread)
6th October 2015 by Bloomsbury
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge 4/50

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The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes (Audiobook)
Published 12th February 2019 by HarperTeen
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 5/50

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A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff
Published 21st January 2020 by Tor Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 6/50
Review - Blog Review

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Pumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell
Published 5th September 2019 by Macmillan Childrens'
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 7/50

Currently Reading

Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade
And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness (Audiobook)

As you can see January was a great month in ratings too, with all but one of my reads being a 4*. I hope to keep this up this momentum into the rest of the year. 

What was your favourite read of January? I'd love to hear about it. 



Monday, 27 January 2020

Blog Tour Review - Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe


Wolf Light by Yaba Badoe
Published 9th January 2020 by Zephyr 
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 2/50

I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Born in wolf light, the magical dusk, in Mongolia, Ghana and Cornwall, Zula, Adoma and Linet are custodians of the sacred sites of their homelands. Yaba's debut novel A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars was shortlisted for the 2018 Branford Boase Award and nominated for the 2019 Carnegie Medal.

When copper miners plunder Zula's desert home in Gobi Altai, and Adoma's forest and river are polluted by gold prospectors, it is only a matter of time before the lake Linet guards with her life is also in jeopardy. How far will Zula, Adoma and Linet go to defend the well-being of their homes? And when all else fails, will they have the courage to summon the ancient power of their order, to make the landscape speak in a way that everyone will hear?

Rich in elemental magic, myth and the mysterious magical dusk, Wolf Light is Yaba Badoe's defiant call to protect our environment, to conserve our heritage and to hear the ancient power that connects us.

My Thoughts
I read this authors first book in 2018 and, although I enjoyed it, something missed the mark for me a little bit with that one. However, I said in that review that I thought this author showed potential and I was interested in checking out anything she wrote in the future and I'm glad I managed to get my hands on a copy of this book. 

I really enjoy this authors writing style. It's quite flowery and lyrical, definitely fairytalesque and I think that it fits really well with the fabulist themes throughout the story. I found myself moving along with the flow of this story and as a result I finished it quite quickly and I felt quite immersed within the book. 

As with this authors previous work, this book features some interesting and important topics. This one discusses the impact humanity is having on our natural world through things like deforestation and I think this was a really interesting theme to focus a novel on. The magical way the author wove these themes throughout the book, I felt, worked really well and it left me with a lot of food for thought on the subject. 

This story is told through 3 different POVs from 3 very different characters from different parts of the world. I loved this diversity between characters, each had their own important places and people but this overarching theme brought them all together and I loved their interactions. This group of 3 female characters were fantastic, they each had their own individual personalities but they fit so well together and I loved the strong, supportive friendship group that they formed throughout this book. 


Overall I really enjoyed this one, and I'm glad I gave this author another chance. I particularly enjoyed the writing style and I really loved the group of characters in this story. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for this authors future work and will certainly be picking up any more books that she writes. 

Author Bio

Yaba Badoe is an award-winning Ghanaian-British documentary filmmaker and writer. In 2014 Yaba was nominated for the Distinguished Woman of African Cinema award.She travels frequently to chair film conventions and lecture.Her most recent documentary was The Art of Ama Ata AidooHer debut novel, A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars, published by Zephyr, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018 and has been nominated for the 2019 Carnegie Medal.

Twitter: @yaba_badoe

Thank you to the publishers, Zephyr, for the opportunity to take part in this tour. It's been great. There's still a lot more coming up on this tour so if your interested check out some of the other stops below. 

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Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Review - Spellhacker by M.K. England

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Spellhacker by M.K. England
Published 21st January 2020 by HarperCollins Children's Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 67/50

I was gifted an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure.
 

My Thoughts
I haven't actually read anything by this author before however I was super drawn in by the synopsis and I'm pleased to say it delivered. I really enjoyed this genre blending book and all of the story that went along with it. There are elements of fantasy and sci-fi throughout this book, as well as it being set in a world with dystopian traits so there's definitely something for everyone in here.

The writing was fast paced and engaging and I finished this book in a couple of days and that's something I haven't done for a while so the story really did pull me in. I liked the magic system too, I thought it was quite unique and I liked how we didn't just have magic wielders and mundane people in this world but we also had the addition of something called a techwitch which is someone who can wield the magic, or Maz as it's known in this world, with the help of technology. It felt like the author had put a lot of thought into the magic system in this world, we had lots of different strains of Maz that all did different things, I also liked the addition of the glossary pertaining to the Maz at the start of the book, this was really helpful.

The characters in this book were great too. I loved all of the LGBTQIA+ rep and it didn't at any point feel like it had been shoehorned into the story to further the plot. It was natural to the story, which I appreciated. I also loved the friendship group and found family aspect that surrounded these characters. I loved how they looked out for each other and I enjoyed the commentary on found family vs blood family. The one thing I will say is that, as an adult, I did find Diz's character a little frustrating. She had a lot of anger and frustration pent up and a lot of her issues could of been solved if she had only talked to someone about them however, I think this will be very relateable to a lot of teenage readers.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The plot was fast paced and I really enjoyed the magic system and the blend of genres within the story. The characters were great to and I really appreciated the diversity throughout. I will definitely be adding this authors other books to my TBR list.

Overall Rating


Saturday, 18 January 2020

Children's Book Spotlight - Molly's Magic Brolly by Sarah Morrell


Molly's Magic Brolly by Sarah Morrell
Published 22nd September 2019 by Blue Falcon Publishing

I was gifted a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from publishers website)
Molly is desperate for a nice, new dolly. So when Grannie sends her a special gift, Molly is sure it’s the dolly she’s been dreaming of…
but she’s in for a surprise!
Molly’s Magic Brolly is an enchanting tale of new adventures and old friends.
This beautiful picture book will take young readers on a journey of magic and wonder! Aimed at children up to approximately 7 years old, it contains an important lesson about gratitude and appreciation, which is brought to life by playful colour illustrations.
My Thoughts
Another great children's picture book from Blue Falcon Publishing. I don't think I've received a book from them yet that I haven't liked! This ones written using rhyming phrases which is one of my favourite writing styles for children's books. I love the way the story flowed and there were some aspects of repetition throughout that will encourage the children to join in with the story telling. Some lovely illustrations throughout too that children will love. 
I agree with the above synopsis and I think that this book does a great job and prompting important discussions about gratitude and appreciation with older children however, the fun writing style and lovely illustrations will appeal to younger children as well. On first sight this book does seem geared towards girls however, I think that many children, girls and boys alike, will enjoy this book so please don't let this put you off. This is one I will be sharing with my class and I hope they enjoy the experience as much as I did. 

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Top 10 Books of 2019

I don't know about you but I love this time of year for blogging and booktubing as I enjoy hearing and reading all about everyone's end of year wrap ups, what they loved, what they didn't and what they hope to achieve in the new year. 

Today I'm back with my top 10 favourite books of 2019. You'll see as we go through that I read some of my favourite series this year along with some wild cards thrown in there. These books aren't in any order of preference, only the order in which I read them throughout the year. 

The Wicked King by Holly Black

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Music and Malice in Hurricane Town by Alex Bell

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan 

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Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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No review for this one because I found that I struggled to talk about it without spoiling a lot of both this book and the first one. Just know it's one of the best sequels ever!

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan 

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The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale 

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I don't have a full review of this one as I read it towards the end of the year when I was taking a bit of a break from reviewing. This book really surprised me. It was magical and whimsical but explored some intense topics at the same time and I would highly recommend it. 

So that's it, my favourite books of 2019. As you can see I read a lot of Jay Kristoff this year, he's definitely a new favourite author. I finished up quite a few highly rated series this year too, including the Folk of the Air series by Holly Black, The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff and The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 

I'd love to hear about your favourite reads of 2019, let me know in the comments.