Review: The Bone Witch

NER REVIEWS (theonewitch)

Author: Rin Chupeco
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Witches | Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Read: from August 23 to September 4, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492635826 
(Hardcover)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

 

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Witch was a rather peculiar book. I say this in a good way because, trust me, this book wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. And that was one of the best qualities of it.

And I have to warn you, before you continue reading, that this review won’t make any sense at all! It’s a rather complicated book to review which so many things I still haven’t figured out but I’ll get to that in a moment. I will try my best to explain myself properly but I’m pretty sure it’ll end up being one of those reviews were nothing makes sense!

Okay, here we go:

One of the main reasons I really wanted to read The Bone Witch (apart from the extremely beautiful cover… I mean, look at it!), was the premise. A young girl who finds out she’s a bone witch, a witch who can resurrect the dead and then leaves home in order to become a rather powerful witch? Yes, please! It sounded just like up my alley and I couldn’t stop myself from requesting it on NetGalley when I got the chance.

So, the book starts with our main character, Tea, telling her story to this bard who wants to write a book about her. So she’s starts by telling him about when she found out she had the power to resurrect people. And she found it out by resurrecting her dead brother – who later ends up having this amazing capacity to joke about his death and being “dead” that is hilarious. After being pushed aside by her family and her village, another bone witch finds her and takes her away so she can train to become a proper bone witch with the asha – women with magical ability. 

And this is where things become messy. This book is complex guys, trust me. There are a lot thing I’m still not sure I fully understood the concept. Somethings I’m quite sure I didn’t grasp them entirely.

So, we have the asha who are witches who can use any elemental ability and then you have the dark asha who are the bone witches – these ones are kind of rare. Each one trains in order to become this sort of Geisha but also train to fight against these monsters – the daeva – who are dead but once in a while resurrect – the bastards! But only the dark asha can truly kill them. And you also have the deathseekers who are the like the male version of the asha – apart from the geisha part – they’re more like soldiers trained in magic.

Then there’s these heartglasses that contain a person’s “heart” and some people can read their emotions through their colour – Tea is one of them. And there’s the forger and his apprentice who can create people’s hearts by using someone else’s memories – this is a topic I’m still not sure about but I do like the whole heartglass concept in general.

Then, the most complicated part for me since I feel like this part of the story was simply thrown out at us readers instead of properly explained; the Faceless and the False Prince. As far as I could gather, the Faceless are the followers of this False Prince but who the heck this prince is, I have no idea. Maybe in the upcoming books – or book – we’ll get to know him and his history properly but for now I’m kind of lost.

Alright, I think this covers the things I’m still slightly confused about but, and despite the fact I didn’t fully grasp the idea Rin Chupeco had intended to express, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the action of the book. 

In my opinion, a person can enjoy a book even if he/she didn’t fully understand the main universe. As long as the main plot and the characters are interesting enough, I don’t see why you can’t enjoy it.

Anyway, moving on to the things I did like.

Tea from the future telling her story to the bard. I loved it! It makes you super curious about what the heck happened that eventually led to Tea being where she is.

Tea and Fox’s – her brother – bond and relationship. The fact that she resurrected him created this deeper bond between then that allows each other to know what the other feels and thinks. And Fox turned out to be one of the best characters in the book due to his sense of humour.

Tea’s “sisters” who help her train alongside her mentor, Mykaela. Those two, Polaire and Althy were, perhaps, my two favourite characters in the whole book, before Fox! Their humour, their opposite personality and abilities just made the story so much lighter. I hope to read more about them in the upcoming books!

And something that happened at the end of the book, a discovery that has to do with Tea in the future (or is it the present?) that had me surprised and so excited even though I saw it coming like miles away.

Anyway, the first half of the book dragged a little for me because it was a fantasy YA version of Memoirs of a Geisha (totally stealing it from the blurb and since I saw the movie but never read the book, I think I can compare the two of them!). It was more centred around Tea’s duties as a servant first and then as an asha in training – the practising her dance moves, singing, etiquette, history and whatnot.

But then you had the magic element to the story where Tea trained how to fight against weapons and magic alike, how to control her ability as a bone witch and how to use herbs and all.

There isn’t much I can say more about The Bone Witch to be honest  and I feel that my review did little to express my true feelings about the book.

I mean, I’m pretty sure you are thinking: “but you have so many negative – negative might be a strong word here – things about this but ended up rating a 3 cups?”

But, trust me on this when I say that this is one of those books I cannot explain why I kind of liked it despite those negative things – I can only say: “read it!”. It’s a sort of book that you simply have to be the one judging – a review, or someone else’s opinion, won’t be that enlightening to you.

In the end, The Bone Witch was a rather interesting and peculiar read. It’s also a book that I think will make you think and will move your feelings in strange directions. And despite all those things I didn’t grasp – which I’m hoping to understand upon a second reading and/or with the sequel – I understood t enough to realise the potential of it, how great it can become. I will definitely continue reading this series.
Ner

Review + Spotlight: Labyrinth Lost

NER REVIEWS (labyrinthlost)

Author: Zoraida Córdova
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1
Read: from August 19 to 23
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492620945
(Hardcover)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

“Enchanting and complex. Every page is filled with magic.”-Danielle Paige, New York Times best-selling author of Dorothy Must Die

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Let me begin by just saying that I never read anything like this before. At first I thought this was a different kind of witchcraft, of religion and when I finally picked it up and submerged in the story, I realised I was wrong. And I loved it because it made me enjoy the story even more.

Labyrinth Lost is about Alex who is a Bruja – a specific kind of witch based on the Latin witchcraft. On her Deathday (in celebration of her powers finally appearing), she casts a spell to eliminate her powers but instead she sends her family, dead and alive, to Los Lagos, a parallel dimension where Gods, spirits, strange beings and much more dwell. With the help of a strange boy, Alex embarks in an adventure that will surely change her.

Alex was a great character to read about. Her past helps build her trepidation when it comes to her abilities but the way she develops throughout the story made up for her fears. When we first met her she’s a scared teenager who kept her powers hidden from her sisters because she’s scared of them. What she doesn’t know is that her powers are special and she’ll need them later on the book in order to save her whole family. In Los Lagos we see this other side of Alex that was hidden behind her fears and I adored watching her grow, watching her develop not only this amazing magic she has but also herself as a person.

I have to admit that I’m super curious about Nova, the boy Alex meets and tells her about what to do to block her power during her Deathday. He’s a lost soul who is trying to find himself in the world and what we find towards the end of the book was, for me at least, completely unexpected. I’m pretty sure there’s much more to his character than meets the eye and I hope he’ll be able to redeem all his wrong-doing in the upcoming books.

The romance in this book wasn’t your typical boy-meets-girl love. This book explores a romance that grew from friendship and tries to break boundaries. It wasn’t the romance I was expecting but I was so happy with what I got. I’m trying not to spoil you because I found it refreshing to discover it by myself instead of instantly knowing what it was about. Zoraida Córdova really broke some lines writing this romance and I can only respect her for doing so and doing it amazingly well.

The magic, as I mentioned right in the beginning of the review, wasn’t what I was expecting nor was it something I knew in details. This particular kind of witchcraft, more based on the Latins beliefs and religions, centred in Gods and spirits, was a gulf of fresh air. There are so many kinds of magic in the world and being able to emerge myself in a different felt amazing. At times I would be slightly lost since I am not accustomed to this particular kind of witches. But then Alex would explain it and as soon as I found the flow, it was easy to be mesmerised by it.

I dare say that even though I enjoyed this book, only when Alex and Nova enter Los Lagos did I became completely hooked in it. Los Lagos sounded like such a thrilling rollercoaster of fantasy. This parallel world was filled from top to bottom with everything fantastical. It reminded me of the movie Book of Life minus the songs.

The book ended in a cliffhanger that had me gasping for more. It ended with a figure from the past that I’m pretty sure will have a huge impact in Alex’s life. This might sound a little bit unfair but one of the reasons I couldn’t rate this book higher than 4 cups/stars was the cliffhanger. So many questions! So many theories! So little answers and I have no idea when the sequel comes out.

Zoraida Córdova‘s writing was easy and it flew with the story. The author managed to give Alex a voice that some of us could relate to and at times her sarcasm was a delight to read. The little bits of excerpt from songs, prayers and others at the beginning of each chapter was a nice touch since it connected really well with what was going to happen.

Overall I think Labyrinth Lost was a great read set in a different spectrum of magic. There is loads of fantastic elements to the story, some creepy moments, characters that are unique since they are so different and a lesson at the end that I think pretty much everyone will relate to. I recommend this book if you want something magical yet different and if you like pure and raw fantastical adventure in a completely different universe.  

Book Spotlight

NetGalley and Sourcebooks were kind enough to send me material to host a Spotlight for Labyrinth Lost and I’m super excited to share an excerpt of the book and a giveaway. There’s also the booktrailer to present you to this creepy and magical world 😀

In the meantime, if you guys like colouring like I do, check out the amazing colouring page that Sourcebooks has available for Labyrinth Lost here. Need to print my own so I can colour it! If, or when, you have coloured it, leave me a link down below on the comments so I can see it 😉

Praise for Labyrinth Lost:

“This work is a magical journey from start to finish… A compelling must-have for teens” –School Library Journal, STARRED review

Córdova’s (the Vicious Deep series) magic-infused, delightfully dark story introduces readers to an engrossing, Latin American–inspired fantasy setting and an irresistible heroine” –Publishers Weekly

A brilliant brown-girl-in-Brooklyn update on Alice in Wonderland and Dante’s Inferno.Very creepy, very magical, very necessary.” Daniel José Older, New York Times bestselling author of Shadowshaper

 “Labyrinth Lost is more like reading Paradise Found. Zoraida Córdova brings us a new generation of witches, enchanting and complex. And every page is filled with magic.” Danielle Page, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die

Córdova’s world will leave you breathless, and her magic will ignite an envy so green you’ll wish you were born a bruja. Delightfully dark and enchanting. An un-putdownable book.” -Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles and Shiny Broken Pieces

“Córdova’s rich exploration of Latin American culture, her healthy portrayal of bisexuality and her unique voice allow this novel to stand out among its many peers.” –RT Book Reviews

“Cordova draws inspiration from Ecuadorian, Spanish, African, Mexican, and Caribbean folklore and mythology to craft a page-turning tale about a young bruja unsure of her place in the world.”Bustle.com

“Córdova pulls elements from Greek mythology and Spanish and Latin American legends to craft a memorable world in Los Lagos, a supernatural realm that is as fascinating as it is threatening. The history and customs of Alex’s family’s type of witchery are also carefully constructed, giving readers a complete world to sink into with satisfaction and wonder.” -Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“This succeeds with its lush use of Latin American mythologies, an unexpected love story, and, above all, in Alex’s complicated relationship with her family. Alex is a necessary heroine, and this dark fantasy nicely” -Booklist

Excerpt:

1

Follow our voices, sister.
Tell us the secret of your death.
—-Resurrection Canto,
Book of Cantos

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.

Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”

But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane–wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.

When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.

A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown–ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.

The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred–year–old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once–lovely face.

Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.

So I opened the basement door.

Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.

A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.

“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.

Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.

I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.

They were dancing.

Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.

And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.

Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.

Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.

The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name:Alejandra.

She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.

Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”

There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.

My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.

Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”

I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.

I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.

“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.

Then she went back down the street–lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”

Book Trailer:


About the Author:

zoraida-head-shotZoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York.

She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series.

She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro or visit her at zoraidacordova.com.

Author Website | Labyrinth Lost Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Author Tumblr | Labyrinth Lost Tumblr | YouTube

Giveaway:

  • 2 (two) copies of Labyrinth Lost with signed Labyrinth Lost bookmarks (ends September 19th – US & Canada only)

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Ner

Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 296 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Magic | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from August 4 to 13, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781503935600 
(Paperback)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and 47North for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

At first glance this is definitely my kind of book – magic, fantasy, ghosts, etc… But when I first started reading this book it turned out to be quite different from what I first thought. It ended up being a little bit more complex than a simple fantasy and magic book and in a way I really enjoyed it. But I think that since I was expecting something different, I ended up not fully appreciating Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet.

This book is about Maire, a young woman who doesn’t remember anything from her past but has a gift: she can infuse her cakes with whatever sort of emotion she wants. One day she’s capture by a band of raiders and sold as a slave to this stranger named Allemas. He wants her for her power, making her cook and selling her talents. At the same time, Maire is being visited by a ghost who might hold the key to her past. 

Maire was a character that I really enjoyed. At first the fact that she doesn’t know anything about her past might be a little uncomfortable but you get to know it with her, at the same time as Maire. And she’s a strong character; with Allemas she does through so much but never once falters and keeps going, keeps surviving.

The ghost, Fyel, is an enigma. It’s certain he knows Maire and that he could help her remember. But he can’t tell her everything, always speaking in riddles and never once giving her a straight answer. He can’t, actually. At first you don’t really know what to make of him but as the story unfolds and Maire begins to slowly remember her past, we also begin to understand who Fyel is.  

As for Allemas, at the end I wasn’t expecting his true identity, his true propose. During the whole book he is this strange man who seems to be having a battle with himself. Almost like a child in a grown-up man’s body. But the truth is so different from what I could come up with. It explained a few things about him but others I was left a little bit in doubt.

The story on itself was deep and complex, not at all what you first thing when you start reading the book. Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet ends up being a book about something far greater and grander than simple magic. It is magic, but a different kind of magic that goes beyond simple witchcraft.

The writing was easy to follow and it flew after a few chapters. I struggled slightly in the beginning since I wasn’t actually managing to set the story straight. But when I began to understand Maire’s voice, understand the background setting around her and got involved in the story, it was a rather fast and easy reading.  

There was a small part of the story that I really like and you can say it’s only details – they don’t actually add nothing to the story only to help Maire’s powers. Twice in the book Allemas tells Maire to use her abilities to other people and it ended up being connected with a few fairytales/classics. I’m not going to tell you because it’s fun to realise it as you read Magic Bitter Magic Sweet. But I can tell you that when I connected the dots, I found it quite intelligent.

Overall, Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet was a good book but the complexity of it made me enjoy it but not love it. It has magic, a really good character and a plot that was definitely not what I first expected but in the end, despite all the qualities of it, it was only a book I enjoyed. And, as I mentioned before, the fact that I was expecting something different and was kind of disappointed (perhaps disappointed is a strong word but the lack of other) with how it turned out to be, I couldn’t rate it more than 3 cups/stars. Still, it was a nice book with a twist in the end I liked and a bit of a lesson in the end.
Ner

Review: And I Darken

NER REVIEWS (andidarken)

Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Pages: 484 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Historical | Romance
Idiom: English
Series: The Conquerors Saga #1
Read: from July 16 to 25, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780552573740
(Paperback)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Random House UK Children’s for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a while to come to terms with myself when it comes to this book. And I Darken was a book I couldn’t rate straight after finishing it because I was conflicted. I mean, I liked it, a lot, but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on that just didn’t allow me to rate it. I had to distance myself from it in order to organise my ideas. And, now, after almost a month, I can say that this book was amazing!

Before advancing into the review, I need to say that I felt a little bit bipolar while I was reading this. If you follow me on Goodreads and have been up to date with my reading status there, you might have noticed that while I was reading And I Darken, I kept switching from “not entirely sure about this” to “ok, this is getting super interesting” in a matter of pages. I think it just took me a while to get into the writing style, to follow the voice of the narrator and the story itself. In the end, I couldn’t actually see this book written in any other way.

This book is pretty much the beginning of Vlad the Impaler’s story but with a twist – it’s a gender swap story and it’s Lada the hero. Set in the Ottoman Empire in the fifteen-century, Lada and Radu are pretty much abandoned by their father in this huge and intimidating Empire, leaving their home, Wallachia, behind. As they grow up, Lada begins to plan her revenge and a way for her to reclaim her home back. Until she meets the Sultan’s son, Mehmed, and Radu and Lada are torn between their home and their friendship.

Lada was a character that I found hard to understand at first. I mean, she’s a kick-ass character indeed, managing to be more than a woman in such a close-minded empire where women pretty much don’t have any right. She loves her brother Radu and would rather hurt him to protect and save him than let him enter her heart and see him in pain (she prefers to be the one hurting). When she meets Mehmed, she becomes more of a determined young woman than a scared child. And when she falls for Mehmed, she reveals another side of her that spent most of her life locked. But for me, the best aspect of Lada was her want to be a warrior, her determination to be more than a concubine in a men’s world – she wanted to be someone worth following. Her insecurities are part of her will to protect both her brother and Mehmed. Under her mask of bad-ass hero, she’s a human being trying to save those she loves.

Radu was, in my opinion, the most developed character in the story. He is the opposite of Lada. He’s frightened, pretty much her shadow while growing up. Until he meets Mehmed and his determination is to save, protect and love him. He grows into this young man that is no longer afraid. And though his relationship with Lada has its ups and downs, there’s always this bond between that is unbreakable no matter what.

Actually, Radu’s story ended up hooking far more than Lada though I enjoyed both of them. Why? Radu has a secret that in such a medieval period and part of the world is pretty much tabu – Radu falls in love with Mehmed! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a twist I admit I did not see coming. And somehow it was a twist that made the story and the relationship between siblings so more interesting and intense. Was it a weird love-triangle involving siblings? Yes, but the fact that both of them love the same person in different ways was very interesting and gave Radu such depth I couldn’t help but feel for him.

Mehmed was the character that helps the siblings as they are thrown into this new world where they’re nothing more than leverage. He helps Lada and Radu have a place, a meaning and even though he wasn’t my favourite character, he played a big part in their lives. Without Mehmed, Lada and Radu wouldn’t develop the way they did and wouldn’t grow up to become such powerful players in this big empire. I think his character has a lot more to offer in future books and I’m waiting for him to understand Radu a little bit more.

The writing at first sounded strange to me. The narrators voice sounded off, distance. Only when Lada and Radu finally meet Mehmed and their friendship blooms, I began to feel the narrator’s voice. I guess that was one of the main reasons I was, at first, reluctant in continuing reading this book.

But when I finally got into the narrator’s flow and found its voice, I began to enjoy the book so much I was pretty much hooked. 

The historical aspects of And I Darken were somewhat knew to me since this is part of history we barely know that much and getting into this new world was slightly strange. The Ottoman Empire really gives the story such a complex background to the book that it makes it even more interesting.

Overall, And I Darken is a great book filled with action, political intrigue, religion diversity, secrets, betrayal and history. I dare say this is an intense book that will make you curious about history, determined as Lada and cunning as Radu. I became attached to the siblings and will be waiting for the continuation of their story. I cannot wait to see Lada as the Impaler.
Ner

Review: Zenith

NER REVIEWS (zenith)

Author(s): Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Publisher: Mirabel Inc.
Pages: 62 (epub)
Format: epub
Genre:
 YA | Sci-Fi | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: The Androma Saga #1
Read: June 1, 2016
Source & Shelf: Kindle App | Kindle
ISBN: 9781311167606

Cups:
3,5 Cups
GoodreadsKoboAmazon

Synopsis

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

From internet sensation Sasha Alsberg and author Lindsay Cummings comes a new serialized space opera, full of action, fantastical intrigue, and steamy star-crossed romance.

For fans of popular sci-fi books and fantasy books for teens such as Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Wool by Hugh Howey, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, and A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: I wrote this review before the news of Sasha’s and Lindsay’s announcement concerning the future of Zenith – the book is going to be published through Harlequin Teen in 2017. In the meantime, congratulations to both 🙂 

As a fan of Sasha Alsberg‘s BookTube channel, abookutopia, I had to get my hands on her debut book alongside friend Lindsay Cummings (also the author of The Murder Complex). And, let me tell you, this was an amazing book. But it was so short… I mean, I want more.

For those who don’t know, Zenith is a serialised book series, meaning that the authors will be publishing the book in individual parts. And this first part was an amazing kick-off for what I can already see as a kick-ass series. 

Zenith is about Androma, or Andi, and her all-female crew who are space pirates. Yes, you read that right, space pirates. They are travelling space in their ship the Marauder until they are on their way to a mission but get caught.

Andi was such a kick-ass character to meet. She’s also called the Bloody Baroness and the name really suits her – she is deadly. I am really looking forward to know more about her past, to know her better and to simply continue exploring this character that has the potential to be one of the best female characters in YA. Sure, there is a Celaena Sardothian vibe to her but I managed to skip that and enjoy Andi.

The rest of the girls were also kick-ass characters but as of right now, because of how short this was and was mostly centred on Andi, I didn’t connect with them. But I’m positive that with the rest of the series we might get to know them better and deeper.

There were perhaps a little bit information to construct the background information of the story that let me slightly confused. The world building was, I felt, thrown at us as if we were expected to already know it. However, since this was so short, I’m expecting to get the opportunity to know more about the galaxies.

I admit being super curious about Valen and Nor. These two characters were really mysterious and there wasn’t that many information about them. And I admit that there was very little of Valen, I can see him as a potential favourite character of mine in this series.

I have to admit that even though I truly enjoyed this book, I also feel it was too short for me to be able to review it properly. It was a nice introduction to this saga I give you that, but trying to review just half of a story doesn’t actually feel right. Still, for a 62 pages book, it was actually good.

The writing was easy and had some beautiful sentences. The only negative point is what I already mentioned about the world building.

Overall, Zenith was a short and sweet debut for Sasha and a nice introduction to this new YA series. I will definitely be looking forward for the continuation of this saga and hopefully, as it builds up more plot, it’ll introduce us to a lot more kick-ass moments.

Ner

Review: The Faerie Guardian

NER REVIEWS (thefaerieguardian)

Author: Rachel Morgan
Release Date: Octoer 27th, 2012 (originally April 5th, 2012)
Publisher: Rachel Morgan
Pages: 298 (epub)
Format: epub
Genre:
 YA | Urban Fantasy | Fairies
Idiom: English
Series: Creepy Hollow #1
Read: from June 27 to May 1, 2016
Source & Shelf: Kindle App | Kindle
ISBN: 9780994667908
(Paperback)
Cups:
3,5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Enter a hidden world…

Protecting humans from dangerous magical creatures is all in a day’s work for a faerie training to be a guardian. Seventeen-year-old Violet Fairdale knows this better than anyone—she’s about to become the best guardian the Guild has seen in years. That is, until a cute human boy who can somehow see through her faerie glamor follows her into the Fae realm. Now she’s broken Guild Law, a crime that could lead to her expulsion.

The last thing Vi wants to do is spend any more time with the boy who got her into this mess, but the Guild requires that she return Nate to his home and make him forget everything he’s discovered of the Fae realm. Easy, right? Not when you factor in evil faeries, long-lost family members, and inconvenient feelings of the romantic kind. Vi is about to find herself tangled up in a dangerous plot—and it’ll take all her training to get out alive.

My Opinion

It’s is one of those books you had no expectations whatsoever but managed to actually surprised it. Though it has its flaws, I ended up enjoyed The Faerie Guardian more than what I anticipated. Which is always a great surprise to be honest. Who doesn’t like to be surprised by a book?

The Faerie Guardian is about Violet, a fairy who is training to become a guardian. During one of her assignment, she’s followed to Creepy Hollow, her forest, by a human boy. And that was one of the main and biggest rules in her world. But when she’s about to bring him back to his world, they end up being kidnapped and a lot more follows after that event that will make Violet realise that there is more about this human boy than she thought. Not to mention that she has a rare gift that is being haunted down for evil proposes.  

It’s an easy story to follow but it sure begins to get complicated as you read the book. What I thought was going to be the main plot, ends up being pushed aside to give another story the centre stage and I enjoyed that particular aspect of this book quite a lot.

Violet was a nice character to met. She’s funny, sarcastic and a kick-ass young girl with a determined goal set: to become a guardian. When she meets Nate, the human boy she was assigned to protect from a evil creature, she breaks the rules and pretty much jeopardises her chances at finishing her training first. And that was perhaps the only think about Violet I didn’t enjoy the most.

Well, to be honest, their relation was mainly what I didn’t like in the book. It was too sudden, too fast and quick. I mean, we all know that most of the time books have insta-romance but there are some I can’t really enjoy. Not because I don’t like the couple but because it was simply too sudden! There was no time for the characters to get to know each other properly. It’s a romance I can’t seem to connect with because the characters didn’t allowed me to see it grow and develop.

But there is another character in this book that might be a potential love-interest and that one clicked with me way more than Violet and Nate. But I won’t get into that because of spoilers! But this character I’m talking about allowed me to get to know him and his relationship with Violet didn’t feel too rushed. 

I really enjoyed the whole Creepy Hollow universe. I feel this world has great potential and the little we got to know made super excited about it. The author didn’t throw everything about this fantasy world at us expecting us to know it already. Instead she allowed the characters to introduce us to their environment.

The plot, in the beginning, felt slightly rushed as if the author was trying to get the action started without wasting time. But it was only part of it as a lot more ends up happening towards the end of the book. The first half of the action – mostly related to Nate – only helped the plot to reach another plot and they end up being connected. And Rachel Morgan‘s easy and effortless writing helped connect the dots and made an entertaining read

In the end, The Faerie Guardian was a really huge surprise. It was a fun, quick read with a main character that I enjoyed (at times!) and a fantasy world that has all the potential to be amazing. Really looking forward to read more in this series and see where the story goes.
Ner

Review: Relentless

NER REVIEWS (relentles)

Author(s): Tera Lynn Childs & Tracy Deebs
Release Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Superheroes | Sci-Fi
Idiom: English
Series: The Hero Agenda #2
Read: from June 20 to 27, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492616610
(Hardcover)
Cups:
3,5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Revenge is easy, but justice is worth fighting for…

Kenna is tired of being lied to—and hunted by the very allies she once trusted. Unearthing the dark secrets of the superhero world has not only endangered her life, now her boyfriend faces execution for crimes he didn’t commit and her mother is being held captive in a secret governmental prison.

Kenna is determined to stand up for what’s right and save those she loves from unspeakable fates. It’s time for the betrayal to end. It’s time for the real criminals to face justice.

But the truth is even more terrifying than Kenna could imagine. A conspiracy threatens the fate of heroes, villains, and all of humanity. If Kenna’s going to survive, she must draw on her deepest strength: her resilience. Because when Kenna’s pushed to the limit, she doesn’t break down. She fights back.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Relentless is the second book and conclusion to The Hero Agenda duology. And, if you remember my first review, I really enjoyed the concept of this superheroes vs. villains series. Powerless was, overall, a great introduction to a brand new YA series and I’m glad to see that Relentless was also good.

Well, it did dragged a little bit but it was a great sequel nevertheless!

In this book we continue following Kenna and her group of villains and superheroes in order to overthrow the bad guy. Not wanting to dwell too much in the plot since it’ll pretty much spoil the first book, let’s just say that this one centred more in wanting to stop someone from doing something despicable to the whole world and, in the meantime, to save someone. I know, it sounds like the plot of every single YA book but let’s not forget that this is a sequel.

The characters in this book changed somewhat since Powerless. Kenna suffers quite a lot in this book – no spoilers, I promise – and I admit feeling pretty bad for her. Right in the beginning of the book she has two twists and turns that affected her emotionally. But I admit that she managed to endure quite a lot throughout Relentless and her bravery was, at times reckless but a way for her to cope with what she had to do. Instead of whining about how much in pain she was, she channelled it into action in order to save the world.

And of course that being finding a few truths, she finds out a lot more about herself. And there was one particular part I really enjoyed and that I did not see coming at all. In a way it makes sense and was a huge step towards Kenna decision to stop someone from hurting peoples. And it made her even stronger than she previously was.

Rebel, a character I had no connection in the first book changed and I admit beginning to like her a little bit more in this one. But there is something in her that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes me not particularly like her though she’s a great friend. I think she’s just one of those characters you can’t really care for (it happens!).

Draven’s character was, in my opinion, the character that didn’t change that much. He was the same though his mind was perhaps affected by the events of the end of book one. His relationship with Kenna continued to be sweet and adorable and I know he was the rock that held her together.

I have to say this: I continue to FREAKING LOVE Nitro! And in this book we have a new character that opens up Nitro’s character a little bit more. Not only is he Scottish, a villain but his love interest was not who I had expected. And I loved it. I love really love to have a novella solemnly about Nitro!

Even though there was not a single moment in the book where the characters could take a deep breath without running for their lives, I found that there were moments were the plot dragged slightly. Not as in nothing happening but as in Kenna’s inner struggles in dealing what was happening too repetitive and tiring! That is one of her major flaws: she repeats herself a lot! She has a thought in a chapter and in the next one she repeats it.

I found this plot engaging and truly action-paced. And I remember mentioning on my first review that I loved the fact that these characters failed at their attempts and I was glad to see it continued in Relentless. They are not the bunch of people that have a plan and can make it work with no problems whatsoever. They fail and it shows they have flaws and there’s nothing better than reading about flawed characters! It makes them human in a super world.

Relentless had a lot of twists and turns that I was not expecting (a few minor ones that were predictable though). From the plot to characters to actions, I was hooked and eager to read more and more.

This book was the conclusion of Kenna’s story but the authors certainly let the door open in the end. They didn’t disregard the possibility of more books set in this world and I like the idea of visiting this universe in the future (though I still want a book about Nitro first!). And their writing was so easy to read, Kenna’s voice sarcastic when needed to be and hilarious at the same time.

Relentless was an amazing book despite its flaws (dragging, a few things concerning secondary characters being perhaps too predictive). It had action, science-fiction, superheroes and villains, good vs. evil, friendship and romance and much more. The Hero Agenda was a great duology by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs and it’s the sort of book I could easily see as a TV-series. Definitely a series I enjoy and will continue reading if the authors release more stuff!
Ner

Review: Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes

Author: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Release Date: July 1st, 2016
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 300 (Kindle)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Magic
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #3
Read: from May 29 to June 2, 2016
Source & Shelf: Author | Kobo
ISBN: 9781942750048 
(ebooks)
Cups:
45 Cups
GoodreadsAmazon

Synopsis

“Nothing can save you now, Princess.”

How can anyone be tricked twice? Isn’t there even a saying about that? Zaria Fierce is determined to get things right this time and with the Drakeland Sword in her possession she’s ready to take on trolls, dragons, and whatever else may come… but first she and her friends are going to have to figure out just how much trouble they’re in at home.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you Keira Gillett for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes is the third (and possibly the last) book in the adventure series Zaria Fierce. This is a series I have been following since I was first contacted by the author, Keira Gillett, last year and I am so happy I accepted Keira‘s request to be part of this wonderful journey. I adored every single minute of this adventure and I’m looking forward for more books from this author.

This book happens immediately after the events of the second book – Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword – where Zaria unfortunately was tricked into freeing Koll using the Drakeland Sword. With the help of her friends and Hector, the Stag Lord, they venture into various realms in order to finally rescue Hart. And after they accomplish that, they have to get Queen Helena’s shoes so they can travel to the Under Realm to finally defeat Koll and his brothers.

One of the most important themes in Keira‘s books is friendship and I always marvel at how beautiful she describes Zaria and her group of friends. They always support each other and are always there for whatever comes their way and never once falter to protect the other. They develop in such a slow and fluid way you basically see these characters grow since book one and see their friendship becoming tighter. And Zaria was perhaps the one that grew up the most since the first book. After learning the truth about her birth parents, realising how important her role is in saving the world, she could just turn her backs and leave – or letting it all go to her head – but she stays and fights till the end though not without doubting herself. She’s brave and courageous and I will miss her. Well, I will miss all of them to be honest.

In the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes we finally met Hart – later known by a different name but I won’t spoil it for you. And, I have to admit this, when I read his description I couldn’t help but picturing the Beast after his transformation in Beauty and the Beast but in a much younger version. He’s a character that I would really love to know more, to have more adventures with him. He seemed to be as wise as his father and I wish to see his friendship with Zaria grow and develop… maybe into something more? Who knows 😉

As always, I’m completely mesmerised by how much the Norwegian folklore is present in these books. There were a few new “beasts” such as the banshees and the mares (which scared the living hell out of me to be honest) but the same old creatures made a cameo. We had the trolls, witches, the dwarves, the ellefolken, dragons, the lot. The fantasy in these books is strong and so beautifully explore and described I almost felt like I could wander through Norway and stumble upon these eerie creatures and realms.

Keira‘s writing is always fluid and easy to read and, even though I’m repeating myself it’s always worth mentioning, you can see how much she has developed as a writer since The Secret of Gloomwood Forest. The way she describes the characters, the setting, the fantastic creatures makes everything seem real. Not to mention how she approaches not only the Norwegian folklore part of the book with such a dedication, but other themes such as friendship, bravery, family and believing in yourself.

The illustrations by Eoghan Kerrigan are stunning as I keep mentioning. There was one particular illustration I adored above all else. Alongside Keira, he made this wonderful universe come to life and gave them a real aspect. I think that this book would be incomplete without his touch in it.

Overall, Zaria Fierce and the Dragon Keeper’s Golden Shoes was a spectacular conclusion to a great trilogy (though that ending left the door open for more adventures). Filled with magic, a great story line, amazing and real characters, wonderful settings and beautifully explored themes, Keira Gillett created a trilogy that I will always cherish and will visit anytime. If you like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, The Spiderwick Chronicles or simply love a book filled with Norwegian folklore and fantasy, then this is the ultimate series for you to read, devour and lost yourselves in.

Thank you Keira once again for allowing me to be part of this adventure. Bring the next one 🙂
Ner

Review: The King Slayer

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Author: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: June 14th, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Format: Ppaperback
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: The Witch Hunter #2
Read: from June 16 to 20, 2016
Source & Shelf: Sent by Author | Own
ISBN: 9780316327237
(Hardcover)
Cups:
5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

“I think, in time, you’ll either be my greatest mistake or my greatest victory.”

Former witch hunter Elizabeth Grey is hiding within the magically protected village of Harrow, evading the price put on her head by Lord Blackwell, the usurper king of Anglia. Their last encounter left Blackwell ruined, but his thirst for power grows stronger every day. He’s readying for a war against those who would resist his rule—namely Elizabeth and the witches and wizards she now calls her allies.

Having lost her stigma, a magical source of protection and healing, Elizabeth’s strength is tested both physically and emotionally. War always means sacrifice, and as the lines between good and evil blur once more, Elizabeth must decide just how far she’ll go to save those she loves.

My Opinion

*This review might contain spoilers*

Disclaimer: I won this book on a giveaway hosted by the author herself, Virginia Boecker. Thank you for providing me with a copy of this book.

The King Slayer is the sequel to The Witch Hunter, one of my favourite books from 2015. I loved the first book, so my expectations for the second book were slightly higher than usual. And let me tell you, it surpassed all expectations!

In this book we continue Elizabeth’s story as an old with hunter whose life was turned upside down after being accused of witchcraft. By helping the most wanted wizard in the kingdom and by finding out her role in all of it, Elizabeth begins to understand that nothing is exactly as it seems. In The King Slayer, after the events of the first book, she’s faced with some serious decisions that might kill her or those she cares about.

One of the things I loved about this book was how many of the small details from the first book play a major role in this one. And some characters that are only mentioned, happen to be important to the future of the kingdom.

I thought that Elizabeth’s character developed in such a slow and amazing pace. In the first book she’s thrown into a conspiracy that was against pretty much everything she believed in. In this one, after everything that happened, she’s careful to analyse people and consequences, always putting the others first and trying her best to save her friends. Though at times she was slightly reckless and perhaps a little bit too blind, I loved how human, brave and courageous she was.

John’s character broke my heart at times throughout the book. The fact that he’s carrying Elizabeth’s stigma (what used to heal her when she was a witch hunter), the fact that its magic is in conflict with John’s healing abilities, makes him a completely different person, someone who doesn’t care about anything else but end Blackwell’s reign. And it was terrifying how much he had to battle against it and pretty much on his own. The way he treated Elizabeth was so heartbreaking I felt sorry for her.

I missed George in this book. If you guys remember my review for The Witch Hunter, I mentioned that I loved his character, that he was my favourite in the book. And I was hoping to have more of him, to have his comic-relief in Th King Slayer but unfortunately his role played a role outside the kingdom and he only appeared right at the end. And I missed him so much! I’m hoping to have a novella solemnly dedicated to him because he is one of the best characters in this amazing universe.

There were two twists in this book that had me stop reading and basically stare at the book not believing what I was reading. Actually, there was one particular twist that I had theorised about but never thought would actually happen. And when it did, I did not see that result coming.

Virginia Boecker‘s writing is always effortless and so easy to read, her description of Elizabeth’s feelings and thoughts so well crafted you feel such a strong connect to each and every single character.

A few twists and turns made me gasp and hooked in the book since page one, such as the first book did. The action had me on the edge of my sit and the whole plot developed slowly and at the right pace.

Overall, The King Slayer was an amazing sequel and an awesome book. Filled with action, characters that I have a connection with and love dearly, magic, fantasy, romance and friendship. This is the sort of book I love to read, that has everything I love and will always cherish and treasure. 
Ner

Review: City of Bones/ City of Ashes/ City of Glass

Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: February 19th, 2008
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 485 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 YA | Urban Fantasy | Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Read: from April 2016
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9781416955078
(Paperback)
Cups:
5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder commited by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons–and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It’s also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know….

My Opinion

This was the third time I read this book and whenever I pick it up, it simply gets better! I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to contribute with anything new to this review but I decided to try nevertheless.

One of the reasons I have decided to pick up this book again and challenged myself to read both The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices this year has to do with the TV-show Shadowhunters. Now, I know the series is completely different from the books and it’s a bit cliche and the acting isn’t the best but the main reasons I stuck to it was Malec and Simon. Yes, I continued watching the series because of Alec Lightwood, Magnus Bane and Simon Lewis! For me, these were reasons that made the show at least bearable for me.

So, because I was literally falling in love with Malec relationship in the series and was loving Simon as a vampire, I have decided to pick up the series and read their story. So, yes, I re-started reading the series because, and solemnly because, of them.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to resume the story of City of Bones. We all know it’s about Clary who is literally thrown into this new world were demons, vampires, angels and whatnot are real. And then she finds out she’s a Shadowhunter and everything is turned upside-down and her life simply changes.

One of the things I really enjoy about these books is Cassandra Clare‘s writing. It’s super effortless and fast-pace. You start reading her books and you’re immediately hooked not only by the story but also by her writing. The story is gripping and the characters manage to add their own touch to it. Though City of Bones is mainly told through Clary’s perspective, you can definitely see yourself as part of the adventure. I don’t know about you but the moment I finished this book, I was immediately connected to these character as if I knew them all my life. They are so well created, and later on developed I can’t really say they are only characters but, in my mind, they are so real I could pretty much call on Alec and have him roll his eyes on me.

The whole Shadow World was also so well created. In City of Bones you pretty much have only a glimpse of how deep this supernatural world is.

City of Bones is the first gripping and exhilarating ride in The Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare sure did created an amazing first book in what I’m hoping to be an awesome series.

Looking forward to finish this series. 

  • Author: Cassandra Clare
    Release Date: July 7th, 2008 (originally March 28th, 2008)
    Publisher: Walker Children’s Paperbacks
    Pages: 4115 (Paperback)
    Format: Paperback
    Genre:
     YA | Urban Fantasy | Paranormal
    Idiom: English
    Series: The Mortal Instruments #2
    Read: from April 27 to May 16, 2016
    Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
    ISBN: 9781406307634
    (Paperback)
    Cups:
    4 Cups
    GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

My Opinion

City of Ashes is the second book in The Mortal Instruments series and I really enjoyed continuing this series and learning more about Valentine’s plans and see some of the secondary characters play a bigger role this time.

One of the things I found that this book had and I didn’t quite enjoyed it was Clary’s and Simon’s relationship. It was obvious that Clary only cared about Simon as a friend and found her sudden interested in him quite far-stretched. Like, it was a way for her to forget about Jace and what she felt about him.

The fact that you also get a glimpse of what lies further in the Shadow World helped me establish a strong connection to characters who only appear briefly in this book. Also, the hint at something more about Jace and Clary, their power and who they are was brilliant introduced.

Simon’s transformation into a vampire was the highest moment for me in the book. As I mentioned on my City of Bones mini-review, he was one of the reasons I decided to pick up the series and he surely doesn’t disappoint. He starts playing a major role in the series and not only as Clary’s best-friend but this time as a Downworlder.

The action was on point, leaving me on the edge of my sit. City of Ashes was a wonderful sequel to City of Bones.

Now bring me book three!

Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: July 6th, 2009 (originally March 24th, 2009)
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 508 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 YA | Urban Fantasy | Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: The Mortal Instruments #3
Read: from June 3 to 10, 2016
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9781406307641
(Paperback)
Cups:
5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.

My Opinion

Now I understand why this seems to be everyone’s favourite book in the series. Now I picked it up and read the whole action in Idris, I also have to admit this being my favourite in The Mortal Instruments!

First, the fact that we get to know the Shadowhunters famous Glass City was amazing. We trade the same old city of New York for a beautiful city filled with glass towers, what seem to be old houses (like Victorian sort of houses) and endless historical places in Alicante. I loved the descriptions of every single one of the places we encounter in this book.

Second, we finally get some answers! Freaking finally! Pretty much everything we needed to know is explained and answered in this book. And the most important question of all; are Clary and Jace really siblings?  

Then, we get to know more and more characters. Luke’s sister, Aline, the new Inquisitor, the Consul, Sebastian! A bunch of new characters to add more spice to the plot.

Ans speaking of it, Sebastian!! I try to stay away from spoilers but of course I knew that Sebastian was a very important character in this book. And, let me tell you, I hated him with all my guts! As soon as I met him I immediately disliked him! And then finding out his real identity, who he really is and what… I admit some of the things I found out about him I did not see coming. Though the most important of all I did see 😉

There were two deaths in this book that broke my heart! Yes, even the first one! I knew about the second because the Internet is filled with spoilers and even though you try not to read them, you always end up being spoiled unintentionally. But the first one was unexpected! I had hopes that that character would redeem himself or something… never that he would die like that! As for the second one… WHY?!

Clary and Jace kind of annoy me sometimes in this book. I know their feelings are a mess and they have no idea what to do but their constant struggle, their constant whining about it sometimes tired me. And Jace was a bit of a pain-in-the-ass at times. 

Of course that in this book we have the moment we all have been waiting for. At least I was! MALEC!!! I wish there were more scenes with Alec and Magnus but the ones I had were so freaking adorable and beautiful and my OTP is the best!

This book was super action paced, there were almost no time to take a deep breath before something happened. Every bit of discovery is relevant to the plot and everything single character plays a role in the action.

Not wanting to dwell too much on this review because there’s still three more books in the series and a lot more will definitely happen, City of Glass was the best so far in the series. I couldn’t put it down because whenever I did, I wanted to jump back into the story and see what was going to happen.

This is definitely a series to read if you like urban fantasy. It has romance, supernatural creatures, friendship, and much more. I’m so glad I’ve decided to finally read this series. I do not regret this decision!
Ner

Review: Tell the Wind and Fire

NER REVIEWS (tellthewindandfire)

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 360 (Hardcover)
Format: epub
Genre:
 YA | Urban Fantasy | Magic
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from May 14 to 29, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780544318175
(Hardcover)
Cups:
1,5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

In a city divided between opulent luxury in the Light and fierce privations in the Dark, a determined young woman survives by guarding her secrets.

Lucie Manette was born in the Dark half of the city, but careful manipulations won her a home in the Light, celebrity status, and a rich, loving boyfriend. Now she just wants to keep her head down, but her boyfriend has a dark secret of his own—one involving an apparent stranger who is destitute and despised.

Lucie alone knows of the deadly connection the young men share, and even as the knowledge leads her to make a grave mistake, she can trust no one with the truth.

Blood and secrets alike spill out when revolution erupts. With both halves of the city burning, and mercy nowhere to be found, can Lucie save either boy—or herself?

Celebrated author Sarah Rees Brennan tells a magical tale of romance and revolution, love and loss.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I wanted to really like this book, I really but really wanted to but unfortunately it didn’t conquer me the way I had expected it to. When I first read the synopsis I was immediately drawn to this story and since I have never read any book by Sarah Rees Brennan and everyone seemed to love her books, I was super excited to finally be able to read it. But, as I mentioned, it was one of those books you simply couldn’t enjoy despite it all.

Tell the Wind and Fire is a sort of retelling. Sarah Rees Brennan picked up Charles DickensA Tale of Two Cities‘ and created a brand new urban fantasy story set in modern New York city. But with a twist; the city is divided between Light and Dark magic. And that was exactly what made me want to pick up the book. But the world building and the magic felt complex and so intricate I couldn’t actually grasp its concept. I was rather confused by what made a person use Dark or Light magic and how it all really worked. And I also think that the fact that this book was set in modern time also didn’t help. I think I could have appreciated it more if it was set in a different time period.

However, there was one particular thing about the Dark magic that was actually really interesting and one of the reasons I managed to continue reading this book. The doppelgängers, magically created twins of Light people. A person uses a Dark magician power in order to create a doppelgänger to save some else’s life. And the whole idea of having Dark twins was rather exciting.

The story is about Lucie, the Golden Thread in the Dark, a Dark inhabitant who managed to move to the Light part of the city after rebelling against her father’s imprisonment. She’s dating one of the Light Council member’s son, Ethan, and she’s a sort of celebrity. Together, Lucie and Ethan are a powerful couple. Until one night Ethan is accused of selling information to the sans-merci, a band of radicals, and they find out that Ethan has a doppelgänger named Carywn.  

The characters, especially Lucie, felt flat and I couldn’t connect  with her. She sounded to repetitive at times and a little bit contradictory. Her relationship with Ethan was perhaps too perfect and I didn’t actually felt their chemistry. And when Carywn appeared in her life, even though she never once faltered in her feelings towards Ethan (and that as one positive point about her), I couldn’t really care about her.

Ethan was perhaps one of the few characters I could feel something towards. But, just like Lucie, he felt flat and too innocent. As for Carywn, I did liked him at first when he saved Ethan. He was quite the opposite of Ethan, much darker and mysterious. I really like what he did in the end of the book though. He was the most developed character in the book for me, at least as a character that you could see some kind of growth. 

This book had some amazing quotes. I kept highlighting sentence after sentence. Even though the book is told by Lucie, there were moments when she managed to surprise me with her point-of-views. Sarah Rees Brennan surely knows how to add a few quotes that makes us think about stuff or simply stop and say “wow, that was beautiful and deep!”. Here are a few examples:

“When you are broken and someone puts you back together, there isn’t any way to repay that.”

“This was death triumphant, walking among the living.”

“Love was the mystery nobody could solve, the fairy tale everyone loved to listen and not quite believe in.”

“Trying to make a difference meant that you risked doing harm.”

I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities and despite the fact that this book didn’t convince me, I am now curious to see how Sarah Rees Brennan picked up the original tale and transformed it into this book.

Overall, Tell the Wind and Fire wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t one of my favourite. The political aspects of the book were well written and explored but the lack of proper characters and their flatness, plus the complexity of the magic surrounding this book just didn’t add up to make this a good reading. But I will definitely give Sarah Rees Brennan another shot… just because I didn’t like one of her books doesn’t mean I’m giving up on her completely. And since she’s a loved author, she deserves another chance. But Tell the Wind and Fire wasn’t exactly my cup of coffee (see what I did here?!)
Ner

Review: The Inquisition

Author: Taran Matharu
Release Date: May 5th, 2016
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Magic
Idiom: English
Series: Summoner #2
Read: from April 12 to 18, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781250076311
(Hardcover)
Cups:
5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

More demons, epic battles, and fights to the death: introducing the unmissable next installment in the Summoner Trilogy…

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future – the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher’s tragic origins.

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the king announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together to triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE.

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there’s a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire.

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Taran Matharu for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

THIS BOOK! Seriously guys… THIS BOOK WAS SO FREAKING AMAZING!!! 

Side note: I knew when I read The Novice that we would expect great things from Taran Matharu! And I was right!!! 

Just like The Novice, I’m pretty sure The Inquisition will be yet another favourite from Taran Matharu. This series just keeps getting better and better! 

Okay, now for a coherent review instead of me rambling about how awesome this was. Because, trust me, it was THAT awesome!

The Inquisition is the second book in the Summoner series and it’s set one year after the events of The Novice. We continue following Fletcher’s journey with his adorable and cute demon Ignatius as they try to save Hominum.

The book begins with Fletcher facing the consequences of what happened during book one. I loved how Taran Matharu used the beginning of The Inquisition and Fletcher’s trial to remind us of what happened during The Novice. It was so clever and so well planned. Just brilliant!

Not wanting to spill the beans about the book because of spoilers, I’m going to resume by saying that stuff happened and Fletcher and his friends have to travel to enemy territory in order to complete a mission.

And, oh boy, that’s when the book begins to get so but so good! So freaking good! From halfway through till the end of the book I was so engrossed in the story I actually sweated in fear of what was going to happen. I kid you not!

We also get to know more about Fletcher’s past and who his parents really were. We are slowly beginning to understand more about his roots and his identity and it made Fletcher’s character develop ans grow in such a nice way. Because, trust me, all the characters in this book grew up so much and were very well developed. You can clearly see how they are the same but their perspective of life changed with their mission.

This mission really make them use their skills and magic and having the opportunity to read/see it in action was amazing. You can notice how well crafted and executed everything was.  

Some new characters, demons and magic are introduced. Cress was an amazing dwarf and she brought a brand new comic relief equal to Othello but in a different tone. The chance to get deeper into the dwarven and elven world was really well thought. I loved getting the opportunity to see and get to know more elves than Sylva.

As for the demons, I fell in love with Athena (I’m not going to tell you to whom she belongs to) and I kept picturing an hybrid Hedwig in my mind whenever I read about her.

Also, a shout out for Atilla’s demon! I cannot wait for fan edits and art to appear of his demon. Because from Taran Matharu‘s description, the demon is simply breathtaking.

There was a small twist at the end that I only saw coming towards the great reveal. And another one right at the end of the book, before the cliffhanger, that made me gasp in total surprised. Did not see that one coming AT ALL

Taran Matharu‘s writing continued to amaze me. I cannot explain to you how effortless and beautiful his writing his. It’s so easy for you to dive into his writing and simply get lost in this universe he created. And though a few elements of his fantasy kind of reminds you of others, just his writing makes it feel rather unique. I will repeat myself by saying I could read his writing without ever getting tired of it.

Overall, this was an amazing fantasy series that I cannot recommend enough to all of you. Filled with adventure, amazing characters, a beautiful writing and a story that hooks you straight away, The Inquisition manages to be even better than its already awesome predecessor The Novice. It delivers everything you wished for when you started reading the series and much, much more. A perfect blend for fans of The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Eragon. A simply astounding sequel. 

I can’t wait to see what Taran Matharu is going to deliver with the third book but I can already guess it’ll be such as good.

I also want to thank Taran for contacting me so I could get an e-arc of the book. That means a lot to mean. So; THANK YOU!


Ner

Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic

NER REVIEWS (cupcakestrinketsdeadlymagic)

Author: Meghan Ciana Doidge
Release Date: June 21st, 2013
Publisher: Old Man in the CrossWalk Productions
Pages: 232 (epub)
Format: epub
Genre:
 NA | Urban Fantasy | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: Dowser Series #1
Read: from March 17 to 29, 2016
Source & Shelf: Kindle App | Kindle
ISBN: 9781927850008
(Paperback)
Cups:
3,5 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.

My Opinion

Cupcakes, Trinkets, And Other Deadly Magic was a rather easy, fast and entertaining read that really helped me get out of a reading-slump. It’s a sort of guilty pleasure to read a urban fantasy book with witches and vampires and werewolves and sometimes that’s all you need to help you ease your mind. But add cupcakes to it and it makes it even the more interesting.

This story follows Jade in her normal routine as a baker on her own cupcake store and how her magic is to sense others magic. But all changes when a vampire comes knocking on her life and a series of murders will make her know the truth about a lot of things in her life. Things are not exactly what they seem and she has to face it blindly.

I was immediately drawn to Jade. She was an extremely funny character to read about and to meet. I dare say she was the main reason I liked this story so much. There was so much I could relate myself to her and so much more I wish to know. I felt like I was reading the story of a friend instead of a fictional character.

The main plot was easy enough to read a follow and it hooked you right away. You have magic and all the supernatural apparatus and it all makes the story far more interesting than you’d initially think. Also, the way Meghan Ciana Doidge inserts small bits of descriptions by using food, in this case chocolate all that makes a cupcake tasty, was extremely clever.   

Even though the story was fun and interesting, it was also slightly predictable. Before the real murderer was announce I already knew who it was so it wasn’t that big of a surprise. Though now I am curious to see how the story is going to evolve.

Still, predictable or not, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic was a great read and the sort of book that will make you enter a brand new world and get lost within it.
Ner

Blog Tour Stop: Review + Guest Post + Excerpt: Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword by Keira Gillett

Blog Tour Stop:
Review + Guest Post + Excerpt

Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword

ZariaAuthor: Keira Gillett
Illustrator: Eoghan Kerrigan
Narrator (aubiobook): Michele Carpenter
Release Date: November 6th, 2015
Publisher: Keira Gillett
Pages: 270 (Paperback)
Format: 
Epub
Genre:
 MG | Fantasy | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: Zaria Fierce #2
Read: from November 1 to 5, 2015
Source: Author | Kobo
ISBN: 9781942750031
Rating:
4cups1

Get the Book:
Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print)
atmbaddbook70x25

Synopsis

Princess, you are needed.

If Zaria Fierce had her say, being a princess would mean you’d never have to wait for news. In the eight months since Olaf tricked her, Zaria has felt a near constant mixture of restlessness, listlessness, and hopelessness. When the time comes to fix past mistakes, she is more than ready to climb aboard the ship sailing towards the giants. Summertime in Norway promises many more adventures, but also many more perils… something sinister lurks beneath the surface following her every move, haunting her, disturbing her dreams, and stealing her peace. Can Zaria figure out what it is and stop it before it’s too late?

NER REVIEWS

Disclaimer: Thank you again Keira Gillett for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was honoured to be invited by Keira Gillett to be part of her debut book blog tour, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, a fantastic book set on the Scandinavian folklore. It was a delightful book with beautiful illustrations and a story that had me hooked. The sequel is just as good as the first one, perhaps better and I’m so happy to be part of Keira Gillett‘s Blog Tour for Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword.

This sequel happens a few months after the events of the first book and Zaria and her friends are of to try to find a sword that will help them rescue Hart. One of the things I found amazing was the fact that the characters developed a great deal since the first book. I found them quite mature and definitely determined and loyal. Their friendship is something quite remarkable to read and Keira did an amazing job portraying each individual character. I had previously adored them all but in this book I became truly connected with them.

In this second book the friends and Hector travel through various different realms in search of this enchanted sword. I loved reading about these magical realms. The Norwegian folklore and lore are really present in these books, the fairytale side of Northern Europe simply giving the story a remarkable side that is unique. I’m beginning to get really interested in the Norwegian folklore because it’s so rich and so vast. Simply wonderful and Keira really knows how to transport it into her stories.

I liked having the opportunity to met new characters and go even deeper into the story. We slowly begin to unfold several things that were not explained in the first book. The pieces of the puzzle are fitting together and it only makes me super excited about the third book. I admit that I created a bond with these characters and with the story that can only be explained by recommending you the book.

Of course that Eoghan Kerrigan did a fantastic job with the illustrations again. They makes us not only visualise the story, but they also make the story real and alive, to me at least. I adore books with illustrations. Check them out:

zaria2chapter5b zaria2chapter6

I loved how he portrayed Mrs. Brown, a character I hope to get to read more about in the continuation.

In my opinion, I think Keira‘s writing in this book also developed. Her descriptions of not only the characters and their feelings but also of the setting was more detailed and, in a way, more beautiful. Just like the characters and the story are growing, her writing is also becoming quite amazing.

I congratulate Keira Gillett because her series only gets better. Not only are the characters growing with their adventures as we are as readers. As I mentioned on my previous review, this is definitely a story worth sharing with our family. And if I had previously said that this series was a delight to Narnia and Spiderwick fans,I will consider The Enchanted Drakeland Sword as a potential children’s version of The Lord of the Rings.

PS – just a side note: my blog is quoted on this book. Thank you so much Keira Gillett for such an honour ❤

Guest Post:

Magical Norway by Keira Gillett:

Hi everyone! I’m so grateful to be back at Ner’s wonderful blog. My name is Keira Gillett and I just published my second novel in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy. The trilogy is about a thirteen year old American girl who is transplanted to Norway and encounters the magical world when a river-troll kidnaps her best friend.

I love the world of Zaria Fierce, which crisscrosses all over Norway. In Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword, Zaria and her friends learn more about the magical realms hidden from human view. There are so many things to see, to do, and to discover. I thought I would give a brief description of each of the places Zaria and her friends have visited or heard about in the course of their travels.

Nicer map of #ZariaFierce world with glimpses into the adventure that is book two.

A post shared by Keira Gillett (@keiragillett) on

Glomma – The Glomma is a river that bisects the city of Fredrikstad and is the home of a nasty river-troll named Olaf. It was somewhere along this river where Christoffer was held captive in Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest.

Trolgar – The mountain-troll kingdom is hidden from humans. It lies deep underground and is formed from the cave system. The Wild Hunt is a tradition amongst these trolls. Don’t give them a reason to call one on you.

Álfheim – This royal city is home of the elves. They’re located north of Trolgar and near their allies, the ellefolken. The city is built into the trees themselves and the walkways look like spun spider webs. They’re masters of illusions, so who knows exactly what trickery they’ve done to keep humans out.

Under Realm – Not to be confused with the underworld, this magical void was the result of a great collaboration to imprison the dragons of the world. Why dragons? Because they are truly terrible and evil beings.

Jötunheim Is the region at the top of Norway where the sharp eyed observer can spot a giant. There are five tribes, three of which reside in Norway’s borders, the greatest of which is the Seiland Court. The other two Norwegian tribes are located even more northerly and touch the borders of Niffleheim and Jerndor.

Niffleheim – Once upon a time Niffleheim was connected in many places to the world, but after the Vikings and the Dragomir Wars they cut off the world, except directly over their territory.

Jerndor – As the High Court of the Dwarves, Jerndor is a gem of a city located just shy of Vadsø. They work closely with the southern dwarf society known as Malmdor to produce magical items from a special ore.

Malmdor – Not a very nice group of dwarves, they use slaves to run their mighty forges and furnaces. They also equipped a certain river-troll with chains to capture a young prince of the ellefolken.

To learn more about these magical kingdoms read Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest and Zaria Fierce and the Enchanted Drakeland Sword. Or check out my website.

Which kingdom is your favorite?

Thank you so much Keira for this amazing post about these wonderful places. It was one of my favourite things in this book to know these realms. Jötunheim and Niffleheim are two places I would love to see for real but I have a great attraction for the Under Realm… I blame the epic darkness 🙂

Excerpt:

Filip slung his window open and tossed out his backpack. It landed in a thump in the hedgerow. Aleks pulled it out and slung it over his shoulder with his own bag.

“How’re you getting down?”

“Hopefully with your stargazer.”

“Then why toss down your bag?” Aleks asked, exasperated.

“Just in case,” Filip said with a wink at Zaria.

She suppressed a smile. She looked to the others, “Does anybody have rope?”

Aleks and Geirr both nodded. Then Geirr unzipped his bag and pulled out a neat coil from on top. He tossed it to Filip, who snatched it up as it sailed by the window. He disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared moments later slinging the coil out the window. It unraveled to the ground.

“Good,” Filip said briskly. “It’s long enough. Now let’s see if it holds.”

Filip quickly scaled the side of the house and they gathered their belongings preparing to dash. Without warning, Mrs. Storstrand stuck her head out of a bottom window and shrieked at the sight of them.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” she demanded.

“Run!” Filip shouted, grabbing his friends’ sleeves and rushing for the street.

Aleks cursed and threw Filip his backpack while slinging his own around to the front and unzipping a pocket. He looked frazzled as he dug inside the opening. Mrs. Storstrand was quick. She was already out of the house and chasing after them. She threatened life and limb and the most terrible of all – letting Filip’s father know what he was about.

At last Aleks found the stargazer – a shiny purplish egg-shaped object perforated with stars – and almost dropped it in his haste. After a brief fumble, Aleks located the largest star, and hastily jabbed his finger into the hole. Just like that, Mrs. Storstrand froze mid-run. But so too did Christoffer, Filip, and Geirr.

Aleks looked at Zaria and to the others. “Damn,” he hissed. “Wait! How are you not frozen too?”

About:

Keira Gillett (Author):

Keira_Gillett_Author_2Keira Gillett is a technical publications librarian, book blogger, world traveler, artist, and now author.

She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in Drawing and Painting.

From an early age her mother instilled a love of the written word, as such she has always been a big reader.

Her first book, Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, is about a young girl who must complete a quest to save her friend from a nasty river-troll.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest 

Eoghan Kerrigan (Illustrator):

Eoghan_Kerrigan_Illustrator_1Eoghan Kerrigan is an illustrator from Kildare, Ireland who draws primarily fantasy characters and creatures.

He studied illustration in Ballyfermot College of Further Education and has produced work for various independent projects.

He has two cats and a soft spot for trolls.

Website Twitter | Facebook

Michele Carpenter (Narrator):

Michele_Carpenter_Narrator_2Michele Carpenter is an artist at heart, with a passion for acting.

She and her husband (also a voice actor) often work on projects together and help one another through the journey.

Together, they have three kids. Michele’s children love to hear her read stories and beg her to edit her narrations in the same room with them so they can listen too.

It’s partially for this reason that Michele has come to feel a personal responsibility to only record books that aren’t inappropriate for children or young adults–at their respective age levels and according to the maturity levels of the books they’re able to read.

“We never know how long we have on this earth and I’d rather leave behind a legacy of books that I’m not ashamed to have my friends, family and even future grandchildren, listen to forever.”

Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube
Ner

Review: Never Never

NER REVIEWS (nevernever)

Spinning Starlight

Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Pages: 368 (epub)
Format: epub
Genre:
 YA | Retelling | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from September 26 to October 5, 2015
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781633920392
(Paperback)
Cups:
3 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.

When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child – at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.

But grow up he does.

And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.

This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Spencer Hill Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Peter Pan is one of my ultimate favourite classics. It’s a book that changed my point-of-view towards growing up and kept my belief in magic and fairies alive when everything seemed to fade due to the cruelty of reality. And, as a person who enjoys pirates, I always had a soft spot for Captain Hook. Who doesn’t? So, when I found out about Never Never, I had to try to get it and read yet another background story of this rather misunderstood pirate.

Truth is, Never Never was a quite decent read. I liked it, really enjoyed it but didn’t loved it that much. It’s a funny and entertaining book about this amazing character but it kind of lacked depth.

In this book, a young James Hook leaves his ordinary life in London to spend a few days holiday in Neverland with none other than Peter Pan. But he’s tricked by Pan and he eventually spends more than a few days there… he spends a few years. He’s a member of the Lost Boys but never quite fitted in and ends up growing up and being thrown out by Pan. Since a child he dreamt of becoming a pirate so that’s exactly what he truly becomes: the fearsome and famous Captain Hook.

Though this book gives us a new insight of the endless possibilities of what Captain Hook’s background story was like, it was quite different from the previous retellings I’ve read so far. In here, Hook’s sense of revenge is what triggers his hatred for Peter Pan. He was tricked as a child and he was left in this world made of children’s dream and all he wishes is to return to London, to his life and family.

James Hook was a rather nice character to read about but I found him lacking something. I cared enough for him to wish that he would return to London but didn’t love him that much. Contrary to other Captain Hook’s characters I came across, this one didn’t exactly filled my expectations. However, his development was nicely done and it flew with the story.

Peter Pan was simply a douche (pardon my language)! I mean, we all know that Peter Pan has never been the best character in the world and in literature what with his eternal arrogance and childlike manners. But in this book Brianna Shrum created a character that we have no sympathy towards whatsoever. We actually end up hating him so much we wish Hook would really kill him. 

Tiger Lily was the love interest of Hook since he first arrived in Neverland as a child. His crush developed into something like a deep passion. I have to honest, it didn’t bother me at all this small twist in the story. However, it did bother me the fact that I didn’t like Tiger Lily’s character at all. Specially towards the end. She had all these conflicts inside her that I ended up not even caring about her. I felt that she didn’t deserve Hook’s affection, her girly attitude and endless inner struggles just made me get tired of her.

The writing was easy to read and it flew with the story. Brianna Shrum managed to write Hook’s growth in a way that was solid and fluid. His character was very well development and the way his feelings were written were rather beautiful to read. She really does have a talent to describe inner turmoil and feelings. 

I found, however, the end of the book rather rushed though it does feature one of my favourite quotes ever. It didn’t exactly felt like an ending but rather like a cliffhanger. There wasn’t an actual closure for me in the last chapter.

This was a rather entertaining and fun reading overall. Never Never was a really nice retelling of an endless classic with characters we are familiar with (the Darlings do make an appearance towards the end) and a new way to see this story with new eyes.

Ner

Review: Vengeance Road

NER REVIEWS (vengeanceroad)

Spinning Starlight

Author: Erin Bowman
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Western | Adventure
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from September 21 to 25, 2015
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780544466388
(Hardcover)
Cups:
4 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

For my first western book, I really liked it. It might have opened my appetite for more books within this genre which is always a positive thing. When you read a book out of your comfort zone and it surprises you in a positive way, it’s always a wonderful feeling.

Vengeance Road is the story of Kate whose father is murdered and whose thirst for revenge is bigger than anything else in the world. She sets this quest to find the person responsible for her father’s death and doesn’t think twice about her own safety. Until she comes across these two brothers who struck a deal with her and together they venture out seeking this murderer.

Kate was an amazing character to read. She’s definitely a kick-ass heroin, filled with bravery though a little stubborn at times. She’s very determined and knows exactly what she wants. Though there were moments when I felt she was being too selfish and reckless, her eagerness for justice made up for every flaw she had. 

Jesse and William were simply adorable. William brought the kind of comic relief the plot needed and Jesse gave the story that mature, less focused on vengeance point-of-view that Kate sometimes missed. The brothers were complete opposites but they filled the story as a whole.

The pace of the book is simply non-stop. As soon as the action begins, you can’t stop reading because you’re too hooked in it. The writing also helped since it was indeed written as I imagine western people would talk. That added an element of credibility to the story that made it even the more wonderful. Though Western movies are not my favourite genre, I couldn’t help but visualise those scenarios we are all so used to identify with this type of story.

There was a twist at the end of the book I surely did not see coming until the right moment. Though the whole mine and gold sub-plot gave the book the well deserved western-ish vibe to it, the main point of this story is vengeance and how far a person can go to seek the right kind of justice, a personal vendetta that Kate has to go through in order to be able to live freely.

Vengeance Road is definitely one of my favourites of the year. With amazing characters that go stronger with each page you turn, a writing style that makes you feel your within the story and a plot that hooks you straight away from the beginning, this book is addictive and captivating. Erin Bowman opened the door for the western genre within the YA community!

Ner

Review: A Thousand Nights

NER REVIEWS (athousandnights)

Spinning Starlight

Author: E.K. Johnston
Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Romance
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from September 8 to 21, 2015
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781484722275
(Paperback)
Cups:
25 Cups
GoodreadsTBDAmazon

Synopsis

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion/Disney Book Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I had a hard time rating this book. Why? Well, I had mixed feelings while reading and even after finishing it. The story was solid and beautiful, but there was something in it that didn’t convinced me that much.

A Thousand Nights is a retelling of the famous book One Thousand and One Nights, the story of Scheherazade and how she managed to stay alive by telling stories for that amount of time. I’ve never read the tales that compose the original source but I know the bases of it and have seen some adaptations. So, when I saw this book and read the premise, I immediately had to get my hands on it.

First of all, I didn’t exactly connected with the main character. I found her voice slightly robotic, too stoic and I had troubles focusing on her story. Her storytelling wasn’t exactly captivating to me, even though I managed to get into her voice towards the end. However, I did enjoyed the writing style which pretty much reminded me of an ancient tale. It’s just that the style didn’t matched the character.  

Second, there is one particular thing that made me slightly angry with this book. I don’t know about you but I need names! I need a name so I can call the characters, to feel that connection with them. No name to me means no link and in this book we only know a couple of names and none of them is the main character’s one. I know, stupid thing to be annoyed at. But it’s true.

Regardless of those points, this was a very beautiful story about bravery and placing the others above ourselves. The main character sacrificed herself to protect her sister from being one of the hundreds of girls murdered by the king. She would rather be the one killed at his hands than her sister and that was the beauty of the story for me.

The setting was delicious to read about. The desert, the villages, the palace, the culture. It was amazing. In my mind the whole scenery was rich and filled with colour.

There wasn’t an actual romance in this book but I couldn’t help but root for a sparkle. Specially when the main character decided to try to break whatever magic was surrounding Lo-Melkhiin (the only character with a name). 

Now, I didn’t particularly enjoyed the ending. The desert “fight” was actually pretty amazing but the aftermath was slightly anti-climax.

Overall, A Thousand Nights was a different tale with a beautiful writing style but it did not conquered me that much unfortunately.

Ner

Review: Gathering Deep

NER REVIEWS (GatheringDeep)

Spinning Starlight

Author: Lisa Maxwell
Release Date: October 8th, 2015
Publisher: Flux
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: Sweet Unrest #2
Read: from August 25 to September 2, 2015
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780738745428
(Paperback)
Cups:
3 Cups
Amazon

Synopsis

When Chloe Sabourin wakes in a dark, New Orleans cemetery with no memory of the previous days, she can hardly believe the story her friends tell her. They say Chloe was possessed by a witch named Thisbe, who had used the darkest magic to keep herself alive for over a century. They tell her that the witch is the one responsible for the unspeakable murders that nearly claimed the life of Chloe’s friend, Lucy. Most unbelievable of all, they say that Thisbe is Chloe’s own mother. As she struggles with this devastating revelation and tries to rebuilt her life, Chloe wants nothing to do with the magic that corrupted her mother…especially since she feels drawn to it.

Now, a new series of ritualistic killings suggests that Thisbe is plotting again, and Chloe is drawn unwillingly back into the mystical underworld of the French Quarter. To stop Thisbe before she kills again, Chloe and her friends must learn what they can from the mysterious Mama Legba. But when her boyfriend Piers vanishes, Chloe will have to risk everything and embrace her own power to save the one person she has left… even if that means bringing down her mother.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Flux for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sweet Unrest was one of my favourite books from last year. I loved it so much I had to get Lisa Maxwell as a guest-post for my read-a-thon. I was so happy when she accepted my invitation I was simply over the moon. If you haven’t seen her guest-post, check out her places to visit in New Orleans here.

I was surprised when I realised that Gathering Deep worked as a sequel to Sweet Unrest but through another character’s perpective. Whereas in Sweet Unrest we met Lucy and read her story, now we got the chance to meet Chloe deeper, to know her side of the story. Though it was an interesting point-of-view, Chloe didn’t convinced me as much as Lucy had done in the previous book.

Actually, Gathering Deep was not my favourite book in this series. And I truly blame on the short period of time the book is set and also Chloe. I mean, Chloe was a great character, but her voice didn’t touched me as much as Lucy’s. A pity really since having the opportunity to read Chloe’s version had me super excited.

In Gathering Deep we pick up after the events of Sweet Unrest. Chloe had been possessed by a spirit called Thibe who was in fact her own mother. She doesn’t remember anything at all and she struggles with it. Not to mention that the fact that all her reality becomes shattered with the discoveries of her mother’s dark side. And while Chloe has to deal with that, she realises that something supernatural is happening to her and when bodies with strange markings begin to appear in New Orleans, she suspects that her mother might be behind it.

Chloe was a character I had previously enjoyed and had actually hoped to know more about her. Unfortunately, there was something lacking in her character in this book, something that didn’t feel right about her perspective. Of course that in the beginning of the book we are too sympathetic towards her due to the fact that she doesn’t remember what happened. But that sympathy soon changes and I found myself struggling with her character. There were moments when she was so confused, that she was so uncertain about what to do that I got tired. However, her determination was something I did in fact enjoy. Not to mention the fact that she would place others before her. I liked that trait in her. 

Her relationship with her boyfriend, Piers, changed so suddenly from the first book and we owe it to the events of Sweet Unrest and Chloe’s confusion. She kind of treats him slightly bad in the begin, feeling that he’s being too protective. I found that she did not understand how much he cared for her. And that nagged me a little bit. Plus, the possible love-triangle in the book (though I’m totally fine with triangles) felt slightly forced and unnecessary. I’m still hoping for another sort of development towards this particular part of the story and if there’s another sequel/companion, I hope to see Piers and Chloe’s old sparkle back.

The visions that Chloe had were, for me, the best part of the book. I loved reading them. The fact that we got to know so much more about Thisbe and Roman was amazing and I wanted more. I’m hoping for some sort of novella or even a specific book about Thisbe’s past. 

Of course that the writing, the story and the setting were simply amazing. Lisa Maxwell really knows how to make you feel the creepiness crawl under your skin with just a few words. The way she describes pretty much everything is beautiful and I’ve never been so curious about visiting New Orleans as I am now thanks to her books. 

Overall, Gathering Deep works fine as a companion novel to Sweet Unrest but for me it didn’t reach the same level as the first book. Maybe it was the whole amnesia that Chloe suffered and the fact that book happens in a couple of days. I felt it slightly rushed. Still, a nice book for those who continue to wish a great Voodoo story set in the South with creepy tales and supernatural elements.

Ner

Review: Twilight Visitor [+ Giveaway]

NER REVIEWS (TwilightVisitor)

TwilightVisitor

Author: Réal Laplaine
Release Date: August 27th, 2014
Publisher: Netherworld Books
Pages: 216 (Paperback)
Format: Papaerback
Genre:
 Thriller | Sci-Fi
Idiom: English
Series: —
Read: from September 3 to 8, 2015
Source & Shelf: Sent by Author | Own
ISBN: 9781910105238
(Paperback)
Cups:
35 Cups
Amazon

Synopsis

On a secluded stretch of beach girding the idyllic coastal town of Afife, Portugal, sits a lonely man enduring the harsh and blustery winds, hoping to escape the tragic reality of his mediocre life. His solitude is broken by the appearance of a strangely beautiful and mysterious woman who engages him in a bizarre dialogue. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a global crisis erupts, quickly mushrooming in just 24-hours into a worldwide event which threatens the very survival of all mankind. Mateus Cordozo has no idea that his dysfunctional life is about to radically change, and that this woman is in fact leading him down a road which will challenge his core values as he faces the crisis – one which he has the power to prevent, if he chooses to.

“Twilight Visitor is an international thriller, with a complicated, intense plot and colourful characters. Its elegant prose, rich with original metaphors and succinct descriptions, creates an illusion of dazzling sceneries, almost palpable components of reality, and suspense, deftly mixed with philosophical and political dilemmas of contemporary life. The excitement of reading it ends only on the last page.” Alex Markman Author of Contra-ODESSA

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you Réal Laplaine for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Twilight Visitor was a rather surprising book. I was sent this book by the author himself and one of the main reasons I accepted it was the fact that part of the book is set in Portugal AND that one of the main characters is indeed Portuguese. I was rather curious to read a geopolitical thriller with a Portuguese character since this sort of books normally focus on the American hero.

Twilight Visitor is a thriller, a geopolitical book with a sci-fi twist. Yes, I know, not my normal genre of book to read but sometimes it feels rather enlightening to step out of our comfort zone and read something different. Though politics and myself don’t get along that well, I found the way that Réal Laplaine explained it simply beautiful and very simple, easy to understand.

The best way to resume this book is simply to say that this deals with the human worry of a possible World War Three happening due to the lack of natural resources. Let’s be honest, I think we all are terrified of a possible nuclear war in the future, a war that might happen for different reasons but all connected to the same thing. At least I know I am.

The Portuguese character is called Mateus and is spending time in Afife, in the Portuguese coast. I myself admit never having been there before but now I am slightly curious. He is an important piece of the puzzle to solve the worldwide crises and China from attacking further and to stop the incoming war. 

The writing style of Twilight Visitor was really well done. I found that the prose fluid smoothly and Laplaine has a way of explaining things that are quite, as I mentioned, simple yet with this beauty to yet that is almost hypnotic. I admit that one of main reasons I enjoyed this book that much was the writing.

This book is not centred on Mateus though but on all the political people involved in this war theatre happening. We can read the struggle of an American President with the decision to whether help Iran or to let China attack innocent people; of China’s leader cruel intentions of rescuing resources for his own country; of important figures worldwide trying to decide what to do in this moment of darkness. And there were also chapters which presented us innocent people in the middle of all of this who can’t escape fate. The countdown to the inevitable end was told like this, switching from one point-of-view to the other and that had me on the edge.  

I dare say that I was only slightly disappointed with Mateus role in all of this. I guess I was expecting him to have one of those super-heroes roles where he travels the world to stop the war. Instead he spends most of the book in Afife contemplating what to do since he was told that only him could save Earth.

Also, I have to be honest and say that despite the fact that Mateus is the great hero in the end (despite it all), he didn’t do it all alone and that small detail kind of disappointed me slightly. Even though that sci-fi twist gave this book an element of intensity and explained a few things, I found it slightly far-stretched. The fact that Mateus needed the help of a certain character (seriously, I was surprised about this twist and I’m not spilling the beans) kind of erased his credibility as an engineer. Still, I really enjoyed that character quite a lot and I think that together they could be a nice duo in future stories.  

Overall Twilight Visitor was a captivating book that deals with a current fear that the whole world feels with a slice of sci-fi thrown into it. The writing style, the characters that were strong and human enough to make the story believable and the heart-pounding thriller countdown to know how is the world to stop an upcoming war was the best thing about this book. If you like books with politics, the constant survival of the human race then this book is for you.

Giveaway Time:

Réal Laplaine was kind enough to provide a giveaway to accompany this review. There are five (5) paperback copies and five (5) ebook copies of this book up for grabs here on A Cup of Coffee & a Book. All you have to do is fill the Rafflecopter and fingers crossed you win it.
INT – ends October 31st.

Rafflectoper Logo

Good luck everyone 😉

Ner

Review: Witch Hunter

NER REVIEWS (1)

Spinning Starlight

Authors: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: September 21st, 2015 (originally June 2015)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 409 (Paperback)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy | Witches
Idiom: English
Series: The Witch Hunter #1
Read: from August 14 to 19, 2015
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781408335222
(Paperback)
Cups:
5 Cups
Amazon

Synopsis

Witches, watch out… Half Bad meets Kill Bill in this incredible new supernatural series.

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn’t look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn’t know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king’s elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she’s to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor – Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas’s curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate… and life and death.

The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.

My Opinion

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Hachette Children’s Books/Orchard Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was simply amazing! I had slightly high hopes for Witch Hunter and, guess what? It didn’t disappoint me! Not one bit! Actually, it was so much better than what I had expected.

Witch Hunter is about Elizabeth Grey, one of the best witch hunters in the realm. She’s sent to jail for a “misunderstanding” and ends up being saved by the most wanted wizard in the world. She has to help him in order to get her freedom but she’s then faced with secrets she never thought to be real and her all perspective on witches and magic begins to change.

If you are expecting a kick-butt book filled with amazing characters, magic non-stop and action pace, this is the book to read. In every single chapter there’s always emotion and action and the fact that these characters are brilliant only helps the insane plot. Trust me, I fell in love with this book.

Do you know those books that you can’t stop thinking about when you’re not reading them? Those books with so many great characters you feel you’ve known them all your life? Witch Hunter was like that for me. Whenever I was running my errands or other boring life things, my mind kept going back to this book wondering what was going to happen and repeating the chapters I had read. I was always eager to return to it and when I did, I was so hooked I couldn’t stop reading even if I wanted. So, when a book does that to me it normally means it’s one hell of an amazing book.

Elizabeth was an incredible character to read. I loved her development. When we first met her she’s too focus only on being a witch hunter and centred on what she was taught all her life. The fact that she begins to change her perspective, that she changes alongside the plot just adds fuel to her already amazing personality. She’s not a damsel in distress but has her times of confusion and perplexity just like a normal human being. 

Let’stalk about George shall we? I adored George! The moment he came into scene I immediately clicked with him. Even though there are moments when you are not sure if he has a different agenda, his character had the comic relief necessary to balance the intensity of the book.

His relationship with Elizabeth is simply adorable. They are always bickering each other and I admired their bond. Hopefully he won’t be part of a love triangle because I felt that their relationship is more brotherly than romantic.

As for Caleb, I didn’t trust him from the start. I can’t really put my finger on why but there was immediately something about him that didn’t convince me. And I also felt that he was so dissimulate, someone who only wants power. Of course he then had a small act of benevolence towards Elizabeth that was slightly surprising but it still didn’t made me like him.

The relationship between Elizabeth and John grew with the book which was something I appreciated. Despite the fact that it was predictable their romance, it wasn’t too forced and felt natural and it flew with the action and the plot. 

The rest of the secondary characters were also pretty good. Each added something new to the book and to the plot and Fifer really surprised me. At first I didn’t really liked her but she redeemed herself.

I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s everything I love in this sort of genre: kick-ass heroins, amazing secondary characters that are as great as the main one, a plot with some epic moments I wasn’t expecting (there were quite a lot of them) and a beautiful well written world. Definitely one of my favourites and one of those I will always recommend. Epic!

Ner