Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Ice Like Fire Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway



I adored Snow Like Ashes, so I am so excited to be part of the UK Ice Like Fire Tour, thanks @Harper360UK for letting me be a part of it! I'm reviewing Ice Like Fire, and don't forget to check out the awesome giveaway (with signed bookplates) below!



Ice Like Fire
Author:
Publication Date: November 19th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins UK
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

 It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.



Let me start by saying that Ice Like Fire is vastly different from Snow Like Ashes. If you're expecting a lot of action, strong, bull-headed- and frankly, badass characters, you'll be sorely disappointed. You see, you'll be frustrated at the characters, especially our main three, they all have their reasons why they act like they do, but they're different from who we met in Snow Like Ashes.
 
But.

Yes, but.


It's a necessary adjustment. Meira finding out who she really is, Mather finding out who he thought he was, and Theron (well, I'm keeping my mouth shut on him), they're going to be different. They're facing the truth and the lies and what it means, fighting and hiding from it at the same time. Of course they're going to be different. Meira's adjustment is realistic. She's just been handed a kingdom on her shoulders and has no idea how to be Queen other than trying to do what's best for Winter. Which is a lot harder when she's fighting being Meira, and trying to be Queen Meira, which ultimately leads to mistakes and stupid decisions as she's struggling to piece those two halves together.
 
Mather...Mather has all of those things taken off his shoulders-officially, but they're still there, and he doesn't have a choice or voice for Winter, he's angry, angry at that and angry at the parents he's suddenly got that don't feel like parents. He has two halves of himself struggling. Prince
Mather and Lord Mather, just like Meira.
 
It's the same for the relationships that leave the love triangle strained on all sides. Meira and Mather. Queen Meira and Prince Theron. The choice between what is wanted and what is best for Winter, and the blurred lines between that and betrayal.
 
Although Ice Like Fire very much feels like the Middle Book syndrome, meaning not a lot happens for most of it because it's reeling from the first and setting up the third, I wasn't bored. And that's down to the writing for me, it's easy to read, flowing and kept me reading.
 
We get to explore different Seasons and Rhythms, and discover more of the world Sara Raasch created, and strengthens the building. Which is also why we have two perspectives this time. We have Meira's perspective in first person present tense and the other (I’m pretty sure you probably know who the second perspective is, but I won’t spoil it in case.) in third person past tense, which I thought would've been my issue, which it was in the beginning, but I got used to it.
 
Ice Like Fire wasn't what I was expecting, but it's a great set up for what feels like a badass conclusion to the trilogy.




Rating: 4/5

       




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

For my monster from his slab, began to rise, and suddenly to my surprise..




 

This Monstrous Thing
Author:
Publication Date: October 22nd 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…




This Monstrous Thing is a hard one to review, mainly because it's down to it not being what I thought it was going to be. In some ways, it was great, especially in the way that attracts me to certain books and keeps me reading, which I'll get to in a minute. But, in other ways I felt it let me down because it just...lacked something for me. So I'll get that bit out of the way.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Red Eye Halloween Blog Tour: Let's play dress up.



It's the last week of October, and with it Halloween, or as my neighbours think, time to put up the Christmas decorations. I wish I were kidding. 

So, in the spirit of Halloween and all things horror, I have the current Red Eye authors talking about their Halloween costumes growing up/what/who they would dress up as this year.

Monday, 21 September 2015

No Mourners. No Funerals. Except for My Poor Heart.




Six of Crows
Author:
Publication Date: September 29th 2015
Publisher: Indigo
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Grisha Trilogy introduced readers to the irresistible fantasy world of the Grisha - and now Leigh Bardugo brings us a new sweeping epic.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Leigh Bardugo's writing has captivated readers since SHADOW AND BONE was published in 2012. SIX OF CROWS will take Leigh's fans back into the world they know and love. As gripping, sweeping and memorable as The Grisha Trilogy, this is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore and Game of Thrones.


Let it be noted that, I read Six of Crows straight after Queen of Shadows, and it was not the wisest decision I have ever made. All. The. Feels. For. Days. And days. And days.



So I have a confession to make…I only read the Grisha trilogy for the first time a book before Six of Crows, and feel free to shot at me for waiting so long (and if you’re yet to read it, READ IT. NOW. GO. GO. GO.) because holy damn, I fell in love. But, you know the problem that enlists with that now, don’t you? How is a companion or a spin off series in the same world, going to beat the original? 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Shhhh...Or Else.





The Unquiet
Author:
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books 
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~


 For most of her life, Lirael has been training to kill—and replace—a duplicate version of herself on a parallel Earth. She is the perfect sleeper-soldier. But she’s beginning to suspect she is not a good person.

The two Earths are identical in almost every way. Two copies of every city, every building, even every person. But the people from the second Earth know something their duplicates do not—two versions of the same thing cannot exist. They—and their whole planet—are slowly disappearing. Lira has been trained mercilessly since childhood to learn everything she can about her duplicate, to be a ruthless sleeper-assassin who kills that other Lirael and steps seamlessly into her life.

An intricate, literary stand-alone from an astonishing new voice, The Unquiet takes us deep inside the psyche of a strong teenage heroine struggling with what she has been raised to be and who she really is. Fans of eerily futuristic and beautifully crafted stories such as Never Let Me Go, Orphan Black, and Fringe will find themselves haunted by this unsettling debut.



IS IT BAD I’M ONLY NOW NOTICING THE COTTAGE ON THE COVER? Probably. The comparison to Never Let Me Go-which I haven’t read-so guess who’s out of her depth? Yes, Me-but now I do want to read it because The Unquiet was bloody brilliant. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

From Russia, With Love







The Wolf Wilder
Author: 
Publication Date: September 9th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

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’m torn about The Wolf Wilder, because there was just something about it that felt missing to me, I enjoyed it, but at the same time I was expecting something more. I don’t have a lot to say about The Wolf Wilder, it’s pretty short, and not a lot is going on, so I’m doing a little more What I Liked vs What I Had a Problem With.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Edge all the way to the Water. (I don't know, I couldn't come up with something catchy.)





Edgewater
Author: 
Publication Date:  September 8th 2015
Publisher:  Amulet Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 



Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl, but now she’s lost everything because of the secrets and lies of the people around her. It’s been 12 years since Lorrie’s mother skipped town and left Lorrie in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a neglected, decrepit mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege.

When Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator, takes an interest in Lorrie, her shame for her family and lifestyle runs deep. But what she doesn’t know is that Charlie’s family is hiding something, too, and that their secrets are inextricably tied. Now Lorrie must confront the truth about her family—and everything she ever thought she knew about herself.

I have mixed feelings about Edgewater, mainly because for the most part, I wasn’t really into it, but once I got passed the first half, it started to get better, and the ending really did save it for me, mainly because while I saw one twist coming, I hadn’t even thought of the second one, so that surprised me.
That said…I was bored for most of it, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t, ugh – I – need- to -  put- this- down- boring, just not a lot was happening, and my main issue is with Lorrie. Firstly, I have to say she isn’t a terrible character, but she isn’t exactly nice either, and I do get it, and I get her frustration, but she was burning her bridges with people along with it, and she was so full of anger and self-pity and had no empathy whatsoever with her family that she went into the bitch zone. And for most of her characterisation has something important to do with the plot, so I can’t say what, but I will say she does grow, she isn’t entirely likable by the end, but she’s getting there.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Yo, Queen of Shadows, I'm really happy for you, I'ma let you finish, but Crown of Midnight was the best book in one of my all time favourite series.




Queen of Shadows 
Author:
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

 Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.



Actually, the more I think about it, the angrier I'm getting. Plot wise, I fucking loved it. It was sly, and sneaky and conniving and just SO DAMN GOOD. And most of the side characters, WERE SO DAMN GOOD. And, I, personally, LOVE Manon, yeah, the first lot of her chapters were rather boring, but they did add up to something, and that was just perfect.

Everything else? Nope.

So, here's a game for you.

Friday, 4 September 2015

#DarkSummerRead: Guest Post by Virginia Boecker and Giveaway!



Look who has free reign of the blog, yes, indeed, it's Virginia Boecker, talking about creepy stories and summer and imagination. Enjoy! And thanks for taking the time to write the guest post, Virginia! We also have a giveaway for the #DarkSummerRead below!



When I think of childhood summers, I think of the month my brother, cousins, and I spent together with our relatives, far from home. They lived in a small town (the inaptly named Metropolis), on the edge of a lake at the end of a long dirt road, surrounded by trees of all shapes and sizes filled with creatures of all shapes and sizes. Both house and town were a bit of a place time forgot: creaking doors, odd drafts, and strange nocturnal sounds in the former; roadside food stands, barefoot children, gravel roads, and rust-fendered trucks spewing exhaust in the latter.

The days were hot and sticky, the air full of humidity, the sound of cicadas, and the briny scent of catfish and bluegill that stocked the lake.  The five of us spent hours on the water: canoeing (read: tipping the canoe), sailing (read: idling; there was never much of a breeze), fishing (read: watching the fish; none of us wanted to hook a worm) swinging from the death-defying heights of the tree swing before returning home to make homemade ice cream (always vanilla, always more melted than frozen.)
Our afternoons were the things of stories. Our nights were too, albeit stories of a different kind. We took advantage of being temporarily parentless to indulge in the things “forbidden” to us at home (no, not that): hair-raising books and movies of the R-rated variety.  Stephen King’s Christine, Friday the 13th, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None were a few of our favorites: they were what frightened us and got our imaginations running. We took the stories and made them our own, twisting them in an ever-escalating effort to raise the hair on one another’s neck.
Maybe those ancient trucks we saw rattling around Metropolis during the day were waiting somewhere at night, maybe in a garage like Darnell’s, their fenders popping out dents by themselves, their ripped vinyl seats stitching themselves back together, the long broken radio tuning itself to a long-defunct am station to play 50s hits from Buddy Holly, The Coasters, Dale Hawkins, before turning out, driverless, to cruise the streets.
Maybe the lake wasn’t just a place for fishing and fun. Maybe a boy drowned here once too, the body never recovered. Maybe he’s come back for revenge, living in a shack in the woods, sharpening his machete by day and stalking the woods by night, looking for children alone, away from their parents, to flay with his machete… (now I’m freaking myself out.)
Or maybe, just maybe, my loving aunt and uncle weren’t so loving at all. Maybe they brought us here to atone for our “crimes” (being tardy to class, passing notes during class, doing poorly in class: this was all high treason for thirteen year old). There would be no escape from this house, from this town, until justice was served. We could choke, we could drown, we could be stung by wasps or have an “accident” with a kitchen knife or simply, one by one, the five of us would begin to disappear.

Since then, time has caught up: the home of our summers has been remodeled: no more cold drafts from nowhere or things that go bump in the night. As for Metropolis itself, riverside casinos have swept into town, bringing with them paved roads, heeled feet, and restaurants. My cousins and I have moved on, too. But any time we get together we still love to dig into the archives, pull out a VHS or a paperback or two, and delve back into the dark summers of our past. 


--------

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Dark Room Blog Tour: Review & Extract








Dark Room
Author:
Publication Date: September 10th 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishig
 ~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

When Darla and her feckless dad, Hopper, move to Saffron Hills, Darla hopes it'll be a new start for the both of them. But she stands no chance of fitting in with the image-obsessed in-crowd at her new school. Then one of her classmates is brutally killed when taking a photo of herself. A murder Darla herself predicted in a bloody vision. When more teens die in a similar fashion it appears that a serial killer is on the loose - the 'Selfie Slayer'. Darla alone is convinced that the murderer might not be flesh and blood.






Dark Room is the latest instalment in the Red Eye series, and it seems that I’ve been loving every other book in it, and although I have a few little issues with it, it was a damn good one. Dark Room is very standard for YA mystery/crime, it follows the same formula and isn’t anything new, that being said, the added use of technology and a surprising killer made the Dark Room stand out.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Things Get Blown Up






The Blackthorn Key
Author: 
Publication Date: September 3rd 2015
Publisher: Puffin

 ~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

London, 1665. 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


You know what I loved about The Blackthorn Key? It is so unique, and so interesting, and we’re talking about a middle grade book here, and I know that sounds bad, and I’m being a little harsh, but the problem I have with middle grades, the rare times I read them, is that they feel underdeveloped to me, but The Blackthorn Key is none of those things.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

I HAVE NO MORE FEELINGS




The Winner's Crime
Author: 
Publication Date: Published March 3rd 2015
Publisher:  Farrar Straus Giroux
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement... if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them

-Warning- This isn’t a review, it’s more of a blabbering mess of I HAVE NO MORE FEELINGS
.
Let me tell you how this book went.

THE ANGST. THE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGST. THE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGST. THE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGSTTHE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGSTTHE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGSTTHE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGSTTHE FRUSTRATION. THE ANGSTTHE FRUSTRATION.The-


-shit hit the fan.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#105)



"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.


Expected publication: September 29th 2015 by Indigo 



The Grisha Trilogy introduced readers to the irresistible fantasy world of the Grisha - and now Leigh Bardugo brings us a new sweeping epic.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone.

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Leigh Bardugo's writing has captivated readers since SHADOW AND BONE was published in 2012. SIX OF CROWS will take Leigh's fans back into the world they know and love. As gripping, sweeping and memorable as The Grisha Trilogy, this is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore and Game of Thrones.


I'm cheating, I already have it, but i'm currently reading The Grisha trilogy and can't wait to get to it because holy crap, you guys. Why didn't I read them sooner?!

What're you reading?

Monday, 24 August 2015

It'll Make You Lose Your Concentr8ion (Because it's boring, not because of the ADHD)





Concentr8
Author:
Publication Date: August 27th 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
 ~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

In a future London, Concentr8 is a prescription drug intended to help kids with ADD. Soon every troubled teen is on it. It makes sense, doesn't it? Keep the undesirable elements in line. Keep people like us safe from people like them. What's good for society is good for everyone. Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze have been taking Concentr8 as long as they can remember. They're not exactly a gang, but Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet, watchful sidekick - the only one Blaze really trusts. They're not looking for trouble, but one hot summer day, when riots break out across the city, they find it. What makes five kids pick a man seemingly at random - a nobody, he works in the housing department, doesn't even have a good phone - hold a knife to his side, take him to a warehouse and chain him to a radiator? They've got a hostage, but don't really know what they want, or why they've done it. And across the course of five tense days, with a journalist, a floppy-haired mayor, a police negotiator, and the sinister face of the pharmaceutical industry, they - and we - begin to understand why ...This is a book about what how we label children. It's about how kids get lost and failed by the system. It's about how politicians manipulate them. Gripping and controversial reading for fans of Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness




DNF'ing 170 pages in, because I tried, okay? I spent ages getting through the first 100 pages, just hoping it would get better. It didn't. I'm bored out of my mind. Seriously bored. Watching paint dry would be more interesting, I know it sounds harsh, but honestly, I would rather watch paint dry.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

It's all Fun and Games Until Somebody's #NotAskingForIt






Asking For It
Author:
Publication Date: September 3rd 2015
Publisher: Quercus Children's
 ~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
FROM THE WINNER OF THE SUNDAY INDEPENDENT NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR AWARD.

It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes...



Last year, Louise O’Neill’s debut, Only Ever Yours was a much needed book in YA, and I loved Only Ever Yours, it was honest, and It was easily one of my favourite releases from last year, and just easily one of my favourites. Now, Louise O’Neill has written another much needed story that everyone should read. Upon finishing reading Asking For It, I wanted to cry, and hug Louise O’Neill for writing that much needed book and hit a wall. And eat my feelings in gelato, and I honestly don’t know how I’m going to give it justice while talking about it at all, because there are just no words.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#104)



"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.


Expected publication: January 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux




“I try not to think about it, what I did to that boy.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenna Marsden has a secret.

She’s haunted by a violent tragedy she can’t explain. Kenna’s past has kept people—even her own mother—at a distance for years. Just when she finds a friend who loves her and life begins to improve, she’s plunged into a new nightmare. Her mom and twin sister are attacked, and the dark powers Kenna has struggled to suppress awaken with a vengeance.

On the heels of the assault, Kenna is exiled to a nearby commune, known as Eclipse, to live with a relative she never knew she had. There, she discovers an extraordinary new way of life as she learns who she really is, and the wonders she’s capable of. For the first time, she starts to feel like she belongs somewhere. That her terrible secret makes her beautiful and strong, not dangerous. But the longer she stays at Eclipse, the more she senses there is something malignant lurking underneath it all. And she begins to suspect that her new family has sinister plans for her

It's calling me.

What're you waiting on?