See my review for Book One here
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Book Two
Written by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa Sheinmel
Published April 26th 2016
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia
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Sunshine's Luiseach powers have been fully awakened. For months now, Sunshine has felt spirits everywhere. She hears their voices, feels their emotions... It's intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it's impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control (and hoping for answers to her never ending questions) she agrees to start training with her Luiseach mentor, leaving her family, and her friend Nolan, behind.But Sunshine's mentor doesn't understand her attachment to the humans in her life, and she can't forgive his abandonment of her so many years ago. The only thing getting Sunshine through the terrifying and creepy training is her new, distractingly attractive, friend, another young Luiseach.Though Sunshine's mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns the truth about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race... And the crucial part she has to play in repairing it.
We also see Sunshine taken away from her mother to be cared for and trained, leaving Nolan behind. I enjoyed the lack of romance, not that Nolan and Sunshine are officially together as she cannot touch him without experiencing excruciating pain. But the separation element allowed Sunshine to grow as a character and also establish why she was abandoned as a newborn child.
Where The Haunting of Sunshine Girl was all about establishing Sunshine as a character and learning about her abilities. Sunshine is a girl who is still unsure of herself, often lacking in confidence but while making her relatable despite her abilities. It also felt like a more mature installment in the series, which I really enjoyed. I missed Nolan's character, as he is absent from the main storyline but readers still see glimpses of their separation through Sunshine's dreamscape, a new development with her abilities.
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl series is captivating, entertaining and has invigorated the young adult paranormal genre. With the emphasis on Sunshine, her place in the world and not reliant on romance, it's a breath of fresh air. The Awakening of Sunshine Girl is often brutal and fierce, introducing a horror type suspense to the young and young at heart. Really enjoyed it.
The Final Verdict
May contain spoilers for book one. Check out my review here
Written by Derek Landy
Published April 8th 2016
Thanks to Harper Collins Australia
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Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell, five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill, a small town with a big secret, a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.And that night is coming.
Milo and Amber haven't had the best working relationship, seeing he was firstly employed to ensure her safety. Now the two have fallen into an awkward partnership under the guise of a being on a road trip with her Uncle. But along their journey, their relationship begins to change, the usually gruff and stoic Milo seeming more at ease with his teen companion. And Amber could really use a friend.
The town of Desolation Hill reminds me of Pleasantville, a facade of perfection but under the surface lies a sinister secret and Amber and Milo aren't the only tourists in town on the eve of the pending festival. It was a strange mix of lightheartedness and horror, and while the main storyline kept me intrigued, the new characters introduced were a little too many and left me unable to connect with the storyline. The introduction of Kelly and her group of van driving investigators of the strange and paranormal were akin to the Scooby Gang, dog included. In among the death and destruction, it was a bit too jovial and as a reader, it felt a little awkward and forced.
I can understand why Amber is lacking in self confidence, but the emphasis placed upon how plain and ordinary she is as a human and how extraordinarily beautiful she is in demon form still makes my eye twitch. The romance was welcomed in that regard as Amber's love interest could see her human beauty, but I had wished that she wouldn't have needed that potential romance to feel validated.
There's also a reappearance of a past character that seems to make little sense. Appearing with little fanfare and disappearing just as quickly in a blink and you'll miss it series of moments. I'm hoping readers will learn more about why he's hanging on, in an incredibly creepy form that's at odds with his original character.
I loved Demon Road, the humour, the adventure and the horror elements blended seamlessly to create a wonderfully entertaining storyline and although I did enjoy Desolation overall, it felt a little too busy with the introduction of too many new characters. I hope the third series installment will return to the magic that was Demon Road, with Amber's storyline at the forefront once again rather than trying to be a little too funny and falling flat.
The Final Verdict
ADSOM: Book One
Written by V.E. Schwab
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published February 27th 2015 by Titan Books
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Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
ADSOM has astounding worldbuilding. This was what I adored most out of a plethora of other things. I'm pretty sure Victoria Schwab prides herself on being original - if she doesn't then she really should because wow. WOW. I was blown away by the uniqueness of the four London's (Red, White, Black and Grey). Each one had its own rules, its own people and its own magical standing allowing for differentiation betwixt four very similar yet different worlds that our character(s) traverse throughout the plot. Despite the fact we don't get to see anything from Black London, we're still provided a vivid image of what it's like. I definitely found White London the most intriguing.
“I'm not going to die," she said. "Not till I've seen it."
Her smile widened. "Everything.”
Fantastic writing & a captivating plot. I'm new to this authors work, but if I'm honest I haven't heard of anyone who doesn't like her writing. It's applauded everywhere I go, and by everyone I've spoken to and rightly so. It has everything and more, there is no doubt in my mind that if anyone was born to write it was Victoria Schwab. More importantly though, is the fact that she is a thourall plotter. I was hooked from page one, I needed to know where Kell and Lila's story would lead which kept me reading well into the night even when I was beat. I've added one more author to my short list of favorites.
A Darker Shade of Magic was an adventure that left me wanting more. I did not ever expect to enjoy this book as much as I did, and I'm thankful to all those who recommended it to me (even if it took me twenty years to pick up a copy). I'll have to get a copy of AGOS as soon as possible. I'm even considering getting a quote tattoo (unsure of what yet, there's so many great lines but that's how much I loved it!). Buy it, check it out - just read this series guys!
grunts. i'm so tired tbh.
May contain spoilers for book one. See my review here
Written by James Smythe
Science Fiction, Dystopian
Published April 12th 2016
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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The moment she learned the horrible truth about her life on Australia, the derelict ship overrun with violent gangs, Chan Aitch made it her mission to save everyone she could from their fate worse than death. But her efforts were in vain. Now, everyone she cares about is dead or in prison, and Chan is more alone than ever before.As the only person to have escaped Australia’s terrible crash-landing back to Earth, Chan is now living in poverty on the fringes of a huge city. She believes Mae, the little girl she once rescued on the Australia, is still alive , but she has no idea where Mae is, or how to find her. Everything on Earth is strange and new, and Chan has never felt more lost.But she’ll do whatever it takes to find Mae, even if it means going to prison herself. She’s broken out of prison before. How hard could it be to do it again?
One of the qualities that sets the Australia series apart is how unpredictable it is. It doesn't rely on romance to further the storyline, nor does it follow the standard young adult format of instant love and overwhelming blocks of world building. Chan is a character who knows how to adapt. On board Australia it was fight or flight, but on the ground she's aware of how the new society works through observation of others. She knows she no longer needs to defend herself and although risking being captured, her life isn't being challenged by those determined to dominate. I love her. Fiercely.
May contain spoilers for book one. Read my review here.
They thought they were the only ones left. They were wrong.After the unexpected revelation at the end of the first book, Donna and Jefferson are separated. Jefferson returns to NYC and tries to bring a cure to the Sickness back to the Washington Square tribe, while Donna finds herself in England, facing an unimaginable new world. Can the two reunite and prevent an even greater disaster than the Sickness?
As the storyline progresses, the readers learn more about the new world through multiple points of view. Luckily each point of view has a unique voice and spans across the globe, especially Donna and Jefferson. Jefferson is working with the Patriots who have an agenda of their own beyond saving the New York teen population, while Donna is sent to Cambridge and begins to migrate into college life. New friends, exploring her surroundings while having the occasional drink with her new friend in Rab. In The Young World, I found Donna's character likable but in the latest series installment she's incredibly annoying.
"Who in the what, now?"Well now that you mention in Donna, although she didn't start out that way.
"Within the what?"
"Tutor? Am I, like, that dumb?"
With her new Valley Girl persona, Donna's new surroundings seem to have little purpose to the actual storyline overall. Luckily those chapters are offset by Jefferson, who I enjoy much more as a character despite being incredibly straight laced and wise beyond his years. I would have loved to have heard more from Peter's character, who for me made The Young World much more enjoyable.
Overall, I did enjoy The New Order but the series may have benefited from being a duology as much of the content felt unnecessary. It was Jefferson's point of view that intrigued me most and the only progression within the storyline. I was thankful that the pop culture references were few and far between, but I still feel as though the storyline is clinical and a little too cliche. It needs more emotion to be able to invest in it's characters and their plight. Looking forward to the series finale, but still with some reservations.
The Final Verdict
Ruined: Book One
Written by Amy Tintera
Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Published May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen
ARC received for review
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A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.Seeing as that is a very long synopsis and is self explanatory, I don't think that I'll have to add my own little tid bit so I think I'm just going to hop right into my review for this little beauty! There were some things that I REALLY enjoyed about Ruined, and some things that just tweaked me the wrong way so there's definitely a so-so feeling from me at the moment about this book.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
The writing was good. I greatly enjoyed how easy it was to read Ruined. Amy Tintera has this way of making things simple - but kind of underdone. With fantasy sometimes authors can get way too complex, sometimes so complex that it detracts from the story. This was not the case. I could follow along quite easily, and the book flowed incredibly well which made for a quick read. There was no vast world or complex web of plots. It was very to the point, which amounted to weak worldbuilding, but has just enough to give readers a basic idea of the setting and history.
That being said, there could have been way more than what we're given. Yes, for once I slightly enjoyed not being bombarded with the history of *this* kingdom, and *these* people but in the same breath, I'm a sucker for a heavily painted world. And with Ruined we're given the bare minimum to be quite honest: an evil King decides to slaughter the Ruined (those who posses magical abilities). The Ruined queen has two daughters: one with powers, one without. The Ruined must flee while the magicless Princess must thwart the evil King, and save her sister. The book really revolved around only two Kingdoms: Lera and Ruina even though we're not told much about either.
"No one feared Emelina Flores, the useless daughter of the most powerful queen Ruina had ever known.
But they would."
Exciting plot, but little to no challenge for our main characters. Let's be honest, the plot sounds bad ass. A girl must go undercover, marry a prince, free her people and take down an evil royal family? Sign me the hell up, right? Or so I thought. I was intrigued, I basically read this book for the plot. But Em (our MC) barely struggles. She gets in a fight? She wins. She marries an unknown prince? She ends up falling for the nice prince. She wants to know top secrets? All she has to do is ask. Things are too convenient and given freely. I like to have heart palpitations while I read, especially when characters are in a hot zone - sadly there were no sweaty palms with this one.
The characters were okay - but not great. Em was your typical badass. She can fight, she can scheme, she even has a magical sidekick named Aren. Cas was so nice, he had very little faults, basically a Gary Sue - unrememberable but had some witty humor (I have faith he'll get more interesting in book two for sure now than he can spread his wings). I don't have much to say about them which probably isn't a great thing. What I want to talk about is the King and Queen of Lera (the ones who have ordered the death of the Ruined people). These two are supposed to be baddies (I think?) but they were not scary at all. Laughable really. Empty, copy and pasted villains.
>>>>> The sister, Olivia holds great promise though, she gave me a few chills. MAKE HER BAD.
BLOOD AND CARNAGE One of my favorite things about Ruined, which made it standout was that Amy is not scared to get her characters hands dirty. Within the first few pages Em is already bathed in the blood of her enemies. There is torture and death and I just found it refreshing to see the gritty side of fantasy. I wish more authors would do this. It really brings to light this inner conflict of who's right and who's wrong. I can't wait for more of this in book two.
The ending sold me on the fact that I will happily read the sequel. I do believe that this will be a story that gets better with the next books. It wasn't perfect and it definitely had some flaws but I really did enjoy it regardless. I'm hopping that Tintera will make things more of a challenge as that was my biggest issue with Ruined. But overall I'm strangely excited for book two. It wasn't astounding but at the end of the day it was a fun read.
reading, possibly eating. maybe sleeping.
Written by Morgan Matson
Published May 2016
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia
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Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.Future? A top tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible, which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around. Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby, pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer premed internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all, working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
Morgan Matson has crafted an incredibly and light hearted contemporary that also touches on real issues, such as absent or working parents, the scrutiny that teens face and the friendships that bind one another. It was not only sex positive with Andie and Clark having discussed the physical aspects of their relationship, but menstruation. It's rare to find a young adult title that mentions it beyond a tampon spilling from a characters handbag, and even then it's painted as a horrifying experience. I adored the romance. Not only between Andie and Clark, but also Andie's best friend Palmer and her long term boyfriend Tom. I loved the group dynamics and friend Toby who was forced to spend the summer unable to text, but rather could only communicate through emoji images. I had no clue what she was saying, but it added a sense of fun throughout the storyline.
The Unexpected Everything is wonderfully written with humour and charm, making it one of the loveliest young adult contemporaries this year. You know that feeling when you sleep in on a rainy Sunday morning. Cookies where the chocolate chips are still warm. When you spend a cold winters day reading and drinking tea or one of those bone crushing bear bugs to let you know you've been missed?
The Final Verdict
The Unexpected Everything is that feeling and I adored each and every moment. And the dogs. Don't forget the dogs.
This book contains a trigger warning for rape
Written by Amy Zhang
Published March 21st 2016
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia
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A heart wrenching novel about best friends on a collision course with the real world from Amy Zhang, the critically acclaimed Indies Introduce and Indie Next author of Falling into Place.Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That's how it's been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It's the perfect friendship, as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang masterfully reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie's disappearance in an astonishing second novel that will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver and Jay Asher.
Stars and stars, night after night, secrets spilled in a world too big for sleep.
We fall asleep to fairy tales, and the world rotates and revolves and time passes and we grow up and understand that they are false.
The Final Verdict
When We Collided
Written by Emery Lord
Contemporary, Mental Illness
Published April 7th 2016
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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Meet Vivi and Jonah. A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him.
Since his father passed away suddenly, Jonah has taken on the role as caregiver to his three younger siblings while his older brother and sister both work and attend college. Working in his father's restaurant, Jonah wants to follow in his footsteps and become a chef. But the plans for his own future are put on hold while his mother is unable to care for the children, driven to the safety of her bedroom while her depression is left untreated.
Although both Vivi and Jonah's mother were suffering from two different aspects of mental illness, it was written with care and emphasises how differently we cope with grief and depression. Although both share a connection, the romance wasn't love but rather a support and escape from their lives, an all consuming need for companionship.
I was utterly smitten with the Daniels family and especially five year old Leah. The family dynamics were wonderfully written, but I had hoped that there had been more discussion between the adult children in regards to their mothers mental state. Being young, I assumed that it was because they couldn't recognise the symptoms in their mother or emotionally, not wanting to see there may have been a bigger issue than just grief they were dealing with.
When We Collided was so wonderfully written, endearing with likable and darling characters. Emery Lord is an incredible contemporary author, creating flawed yet realistic characters that are lovingly brought to life throughout the pages. Immersive and engaging that also touches on serious social issues, it was absolutely beautiful and one recommended for all contemporary young adult lovers.
The Final Verdict
The Royals: Book One
Written by Erin Watt
Mature Young Adult, Romance, New Adult
Published April 4th 2016 by Everafter Platinum
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From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.Ella has lived a hard life. Ever since she was born she's been on the move alongside her mother who does her best to make the next buck. However, when Ella's mother dies from cancer she's all on her own. Doing her damndest to stay out of the foster system Ella forges her mother's signature in order to attend high school. To stay afloat Ella follows in her mothers footstep and takes up stripping in order to pay for rent and food. Until one day a mysterious man comes to find her, claiming to be her fathers best friend and her new guardian. Ella decides that it's in her best interest to go along with Callum.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.
It's in her new home where Ella finds that Callum has five brutish sons. The Royal sons all have one thing in common: Hating Ella and doing their best to force her out of the family. The boys are cruel and have a hold over the students at their posh, rich kid school - they have no qualms about turning everyone against Ella and transforming her life into a living hell. Ella is determinded to do her two years and go to college - something she can only afford with the Royal's money. She does her best to convince herself she can do it, but a girl can only take so much.
Paper Princess was honestly like a pleasant little book holiday for me. Something new, and something exciting. I've never really been one to take a gander down the New Adult hallway. Paper Princess is marketed as Young Adult, but I think it's safe to say that it's for the older teens due to some of its sexy time content. There's nothing extreme, just the right amount to make a person blush. This book has to be one of the most addictive I've read in awhile. I put it down at 3 AM and was thinking about it until I fell asleep. It's one of those stories that's constantly on your mind when you're not reading.
While this isn't a life-changer novel with some profound story, it was good fun. I wasn't sure if it was something I would enjoy but once I started I could not stop. I loved the voice of our main character, Ella Harper who is a junior in high school. Everything about her was so easy to relate to. Her voice was realistic and had an actual personality. Plus the girl knows how to hold her own - she's a survivor and won't take shit from anyone - even if she's intimidated by them. I have a girl crush on her tbh, she's just that amazing. Weakness just isn't in Ella's vocabulary.
“You should know whatever game you're playing, you can't win. Not against all of us. If you leave now, you won't be hurt. If you stay, we'll break you so bad that you'll be crawling away."
The attraction between Ella and Reed was so hot. There were sparks flying mixed in with all the angst and hate. It was both frustrating and phenomenal. There's one hell of a cliffhanger with these two.
The five Royal brothers were also amazing. Let me rephrase that. The brothers are actually assholes, douchebags - especially in the beginning. If you're looking for a gentleman who treats a girl like she's a delicate flower you're not going to find that here. I was actually disgusted by the brothers at first, they were absolutely horrendous to Ella but that's part of the plot, don't give up on them with the first few impressions. While Reed is the MC brother of the book, I fell in love with Easton. Each one of them has something that grows on you. The aspect of family is huge. If you mess with one of them, you mess with all of them. Their bond is so magnetic.
Erin Watt (a pseudonym for the duo of Elle Kennedy/Jen Frederick) was magnificent at crafting the plot. I was never bored, not even an inch. I was always engaged and ready for the next chapter. The writing was great, like a drug to my reader soul. I could never get enough and am going to go through some nasty withdrawals before the second comes out in July!
Paper Princess does have some mature themes, but it's not the main focus. I can forsee this being one of my favorite series for sure. It has all the right elements: kickass girl, brooding boys, angsty plot and amazing writing. Join me in the trash can and read this book guys. I had my doubts but holy fuck was this a great read. It has actually forced me to pick up another book from one of the two authors because I'm not ready to get off this train. I'd sell my soul to the devil to know what happens next.
Just give me book two please, it's all I want.
and racism of the era. (And well beyond the era, sadly.) But at the same time I wanted a school librarian in Bugtussle, Arkansas or wherever, to be able to shelve FRONT LINES without the wrath of dim parents coming down on them. So I carefully masked the "f-word" and the "n-word". The first because the various religious nuts might raise a stink, and the second because even writing that word once is difficult for any decent American, and can be so easily misconstrued. I generally hate masking, but "the n-word," as we tend to say, is so fraught, so larded with unspeakable violence and deep hatred that it has lost any worthwhile use except as illustration.
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Shattered Realms: Book One
Written by Cinda Williams Chima
Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Published April 5th 2016 by HarperCollins
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Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?Adrian sul'Han, dubbed Ash is the son of Han and Raisa. He is the prince of Fells and a gifted healer. When tragedy and murder strikes close to home, Adrian is forced to flee his home, and his family. There he takes the road to Oden's Ford living under a guise. The prince of Fells is believed to be dead. Adrian has his own vendettas. He's on a mission to kill the King of Aden - a man who has been targeting his kingdom and his family for more than twenty years. However, his path may be more dangerous and surprising than he ever imagined when he takes up a position as the King's best healer.
Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.
Jenna Bandelow lives in the crook of a small, and notorious mining town. Since she was a child she has worked the perilous mines, this is until one day the King of Arden comes. That day she must plunge into hiding and assume the identity of a boy for the King is on the hunt for a girl with a peculiar mark on the back of her neck. A mark that Jenna just happens to have. There's more to her story, but Jenna is a mystery even to herself. What she doesn't know, is that Jenna is something so powerful that forces across the sea will do anything to get their hands on her.
Ah! It felt so good being thrown back into this wonderful and harrowing world that Cinda has crafted for her readers. Having been a big fan of her previous series, I was so excited when I heard that Flamecaster was coming out. Especially learning that it follows the son of the two main characters from the original series. Although, I'll admit I was a bit nervous that this would be a huge letdown since that's how many spin offs usually go. I did find that this book offered a whole new light on the world I was previously accustomed to. While this is a spinoff, I really don't think you need to read the original series (even though it's incredible and you should!).
>> There's a few minor plot twists that will only make sense if you've read TSR. You don't technically have to have read them, but they won't have the same effect if you haven't.
Flamecaster started off fairly slow. The first few chapters are from the perspective of when our two main characters, Adrian (Ash) and Jenna are twelve/thirteen - which had me in a sweat. If I'm honest, I don't really enjoy reading characters that are under the age of sixteen. But thankfully we then come back to the present where they are older teens who are set out for vengeance. The characters in themselves were wonderful. Ash was my favorite out of the two. He spoke in such a witty way sometimes, and really just had me smirking. Jenna was intelligent and had such a mystical aura surrounding her - I'm so curious to know what she is.
Guys, Cinda Williams Chima knows how to build a world, okay? She's probably my favorite YA Fantasy author. The Seven Realms comes to life effortlessly. I'm able to envision the land, the roads, the towns, even the history without a problem. But even better, I have so much fun creating her creatures/villains in my head. There are these sadistic blood sucking priests who hunt Ash, there are DRAGONS. One dragon in particular that had me screaming with happiness. I care more about the dragon at this point than the humans. SO EXCITED. WHY DID I READ THIS BOOK SO SOON? Now I must wait for a year!
The secondary characters were so good too! I don't want to say much but I especially loved Destin and Strangward, I really hope we see more of these two in the sequel. I lowkey ship them, and I'm not even sure if I was imagining some special spark or not. Lila was kickass and probably one of my favorite females in YA Fantasy. She took no shit from anyone and knew how to hold her own. I can't wait to see the friendship between her and Ash grow, their banter was amazing.
The only thing I had an issue with was what seemed like a stinking heap on instalove between Ash and Jenna. While I could ship them, I just wish we'd had more of a slow burn like in the original series. I'm not giving up on them yet though - they have a lot of potential that I hope we can slowly build up in between books. Other than that little wrinkle, this book and Cinda's writing was nothing short of fantastic. The plot, and the plot twists were well written and satisfying. I wish more people would read her Seven Realms series as it's fairly underrated.
Cinda Williams Chima has to be one of the best storytellers in the YA genre. Flamecaster is only a fraction of what the Seven Realms series has to offer - and even then, it's more than what I've gotten out of other fantasy series. The writing, the characters and the world is so rich and full of life just as fantasy should be. Reading this book early was one of my biggest mistakes, I'm literally dying to know what happens next and since it just came out I'll probably have to wait more than a year. At least it'll be worth it. Highly recomend this to my fantasy lovers out there.
Kynndra is lowkey dying to make more edits on tumblr.
Written by Sarah Ayoub
Contemporary, Coming of Age
Published March 1st 2016
Thank you to Harper Collins Australia
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Five teenagers. Five lives. One final year.The school captain. Ryan has it all... Or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?The newcomer. Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends…The loner. At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.The popular girl. Well, the popular girl’s best friend… Cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?The politician’s daughter. Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?
Matty's storyline was by far the most touching and emotional. He is seen as a loner, hiding behind is hood and shutting off the world around him with his music. But at home Matty is the breadwinner. He works to keep food on the table and the bills at bay, while his mother's depression slowly eats away at her, unable to seek treatment for an illness she refuses to recongnise.
The popular girl
The good girl
The Final Verdict
Possible Spoilers Ahead. proceed with caution.
The Raven Cycle: Book Four
Written by Maggie Stiefvater
Urban Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Published April 26th 2016 by Scholastic Press
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Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.
For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.
This review is going to be spackled with the good, the bad, and the so-so aspects of The Raven King. I'm going to be as thorough as I possibly can, but I'm writing this only hours after finishing the book. I'm actually having issues feeling anything for what conspired from page one through to page four hundred and thirty-eight. This factor makes me sad, as I've been a fan of The Raven Cycle for three years - my Tumblr is even 80% dedicated to the bird boys, as my dear friend Kelly likes to call them. I like to start with the bad, as it is whats at the forefront of my mind at the moment.
There are multiple character arcs featured within that are completely useless. Now, this is just my own opinion, and mine alone. I know a few folks who would argue against such a statement. But seeing as this is my review, I'll tell it how I see it. The best way I can describe this factoid, is that there is tons of filler. Chapters that ultimately offered nothing to the story other than a few extra inches to the spine. These chapter made this book drag and drag some more for me. So much so that when I was done with TRK, I was not upset that I had finished one of my most beloved series - but rather relieved I didn't have to endure it any further. Which is not how one should feel after three years of being invested in a series, its characters and its magic.
The relationships were unequal. This was one of my biggest frustrations that I felt while reading TRK. Now, I have to be very tentative in explaining myself here, as there is a huge fan base surrounding this series and I'd much rather not get mauled. The two prevalent relationships are Blue + Gansey, and Ronan + Adam. Blusey was continually shoved down our throats, they were in love and felt like they couldn't live without one another. It was wide open and colorfully shown. Which is dandy, but I painfully desired Pynch to receive the same treatment. Yes this is a fan desire and judgement. I felt that Pynch should have been solidified, treated just as her straight characters were but instead I got the sense Maggie was being too cautious just because it was a M/M relationship.
>>>>> Now before my head is on a spike, yes Maggie gives us cute little nods that Pynch is a for sure thing. Yes, I know not all people move at the same pace. Yes, I loved LOVED the scenes with my two sons, but I expected more to be completely honest. The easiest and most immature way I can explain it is that I wanted them to be facebook official. Sue me. I felt cheated after my three year journey of shipping them. It just didn't sate me having to read in-between the lines.
The plot and events were anticlimactic + it had a rushed ending. We had a huge, huge amount of buildup which initially led nowhere. Yes, twisted and dark things happen but only momentarily. This being a grand finale, I discovered that I've essentially wasted my time on such a unfulfilling ending. An ending that was not only unexciting, but incredibly rushed. I felt blindsided when I got to the epilogue, it brought a whole new meaning to "that's all there is" for me.
>>>>> That being said, the epilogue was touching. I enjoyed it enough. I loved that it was simple yet had a hopeful note to it. The only complaint is that there isn't the slightest mention of Noah (a character whom was prevalent since day one). Whatever, we can't all be winners.
Character growth was A+, good job Maggie. The saving grace of this book was the characters. It's why I fell in love with the series in the first place. Adam Parrish had the biggest evolution betwixt our cast. He also happens to be my favorite. Actually the entire way our cast of characters interacted was decent. The strongest and most vibrant however had to be the scenes featuring Adam and Ronan considering they did most of the dangerous things in this segment. But in general, I think the entire gang became entirely different and improved people considering where the were at back when they started they quest to find a Welsh king.
The Adam and Ronan scenes were amazing. The best. The highlight of this book for me. Without these two lads I probably would have DNF'd because it felt like they were the only ones involved in the story/plot. Blue, Gansey and Henry were too busy at toga parties.. Or something. *shrugs* I guess you could say I distanced myself from this series.
The writing was of course vivid and brought to life a vivacious world inside the readers head. I haven't met very many people who don't praise Stiefvater's writing to the moon and back. Gods, she knows how to write that's for sure. Especially when it comes to describing settings and creatures. I loved Opal, ugh she was a delight and I wanted more of her + her two dads, Adam and Ronan xP Though it does come off a bit stiff and overdone at times. I can't write a review without muttering some form of appraisal for how well she weaves the alphabet into wicked sentences.
As a fan of this series I am disappointed. I think it could have been far better - or at least I imagined it would be. I finished and felt very little for what I'd just read. It's not a series I would ever desire re-reading unfortunately. I do hope that other fans were far more fulfilled than I. Nonetheless, my heart still loves Adam and Ronan. They are what kept the story and the magic alive for me. But alas, the story is over and I for one am happy to be done with The Raven Cycle series. It's been a decent three years, friends. I hope Noah found peace *grumbles and walks away*.