Blog Tour: A Gathering of Ravens – Scott Oden

31450847Release Date: 29th June 2017
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I was kindly sent a copy of this book by Transworld Books to review.

Synopsis:

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away.

Review:

This book absolutely blew me away. I first heard about this book on Twitter, with the tag line ‘Lord of the Rings meets Beowulf.’ If I wasn’t already champing at the bit to read it after that, the exciting synopsis (and that gorgeous cover) had me really eager to read A Gathering of Ravens. I started reading it pretty much as soon as it arrived, and I was instantly hooked. The blend of mythology and fantasy is just stunning, and I loved every second of it.

One of the things that particularly struck me about A Gathering of Ravens is the setting, it’s meticulously researched, with the  medieval Europe setting instantly comes alive in Oden’s writing. The atmosphere is dark and bitter, and the cold icy landscapes of Europe definitely made me shiver once or twice. There’s also plenty of battles and bloodshed,  making this book a really incredible story.

To be perfectly honest mythology is not something I knew too much about, I definitely find it interesting but I’m not as familiar with the different beliefs as some readers might be. That didn’t stop me enjoying this book though, the mixing of fantasy and mythology making that it a dark and enticing story, regardless if you’re familiar with the gods or not.

The characters are also similarly fascinating. Grimnir is such an interesting character, the last of his kind and determined to see his vengeance done. I also loved the fact that he was an Orc. He does a lot of not so nice things, and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way. Having Grimnir as the main protagonist is intense and interesting perspective to see things from. I loved the mix of other characters as well, from fae folk to dwarves. It all comes together to create a wonderful mix, that is seamless in its execution.

I will also say that while this isn’t an overly large book, it did take me a fair while to read. It’s such a complex story with so many different elements, I really wanted to take my time and savour every moment. The beginning of the novel is quite a slow burner, but I found that quite helpful as it gave me the chance to wrap my head around the different beliefs. The second half of the book does ramp up a bit more, particularly as you become more invested in the characters. I have seen online that this is the first of three stand-alone titles with Grimnir threading through them all, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what’s in store next. I loved this book from beginning to end, and if you’re a fan of fantasy fiction and mythology, this is an absolute must read.

Thanks for checking out my stop on the A Gathering of Ravens blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops below!


Feature: Top Ten Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start But Haven’t

Hi everyone! Starting from this week I’m going to be taking part in the regular Top Ten Tuesday feature ran by The Broke and the Bookish. I’m doing it to mix my posts up a bit and try some new things, so let me know what you think!

So this week is the top ten series I’ve been meaning to read bur haven’t started. This is basically going to be me hanging my head in shame at all the lovely books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t actually got round to yet.

 

16096824

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas.

Yes, I know. I love Throne of Glass so much, it’s probably one of my most favourite series and I have been planning to read these beautiful books ever since they first came out – I own all of them and they look stunning – and I hear such wonderful things about them, but for some reason I’m yet to get round to reading them. Maybe now that summer is here this will be the kick I need to finally read them!

 

22328546

2. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

This is another one that I can’t quite believe I haven’t got around to reading. I bought the first book with the intentions of getting into it straight away and somehow never did. Three books later and I still haven’t quite got around to reading it. It is fairly near the top of my TBR pile, but that changes quite a lot depending on what appears in the post!

 

23299512

3. Anything by Victoria Schwab

This is my secret shame that I have in fact never read any of her books. Each one that she releases sounds utterly fantastic and I have This Savage Song on my shelf at the moment, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I am also really desperate to read The Shades of Magic series because it sounds stunning. I’m definitely going to have to rectify this one soon!

13600168

4. Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor is an author that I’ve always had on my radar, but sadly never read anything by. (I know I almost can’t believe it either!) I did rectify that this year when the lovely folks at Hodder sent me a copy of Strange the Dreamer, which I absolutely adored. I am absolutely determined to start this series at some point in 2017, because I’m not itching for more of Laini’s fantastic writing.

28374007

5. Three Dark Crowns – Kendare Blare

This one probably isn’t as bad as the others because the first was only released last year, however I was desperate to buy this, rushed to the bookshop to get it, and – you guessed it –  I still haven’t read it yet. With book two due to be released in September, I’m determined to get this one read and not be completely behind on the series!

17554595

6. The Books of Babel – Josiah Bancroft

I first heard about this series from one of my favourite authors Mark Lawrence, who praised it really highly. It was top of my wishlist for Christmas last year and my Dad very kindly ordered them for me. Even after reading so many fantastic reviews for these books I still haven’t gotten round to reading them. I promise I’ll get around to it soon though!

20560137

7. An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

I don’t think I’ve met anyone who didn’t absolutely adore this series. I know I’m only two books behind, but with two more on the way I’m going to have to move quick to catch up!

7171637

8. The Dark Artifices /The Infernal Devices /The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare

I am the worlds worst Moral Instrument fan. I loved the series – though I haven’t actually finished it, I still have City of Heavenly Fire to read. Since then Cassandra Clare has brought out a whole host of titles in the Shadowhunter world, and I have dutifully bought them all and haven’t read a single one. I’m not sure why, maybe I’m secretly worried they won’t live up to The Mortal Instruments?

23437156

9. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

As soon as I finish my dissertation I’m going to lock myself in a room and read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. To be perfectly honest this is the one I am most ashamed about. Leigh Bardugo is probably one of my favourite authors and I loved the Grisha series so much I can’t begin to describe how good it is, but I’ve not read this magnificent looking duology. What is wrong with me!?

11235712

10. The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

Finally my last series that I still haven’t got around to reading is The Lunar Chronicles. These books sound so fantastic, and I’ve read lots of lovely blogger reviews about them, I actually own the entire series as well, but I haven’t read them. I’m definitely going to have to spend a lot of the summer catching up on some of these!

So those are the series I definitely need to read. What series have you been meaning to start but haven’t?


Blog Tour: Show Stopper – Hayley Barker

33961568
Release Date: 1st June 2017
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages:400
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land are forced to sell their children to a tra

velling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

Review:

This book caught my eye when I heard people talking about it on Twitter. The premise combined with the gorgeous cover art really sucked me in and I was really desperate to read it. Even though I’d read the description and a few blogger reviews, this book was still completely unlike what I thought it would be. It’s a dark and brutal story about a future England in which ‘pure’ English people are the ruling elite, and everyone not completely English is a ‘dreg’ and forced to live in service to them. This idea is topical at the moment with all that’s been going on recently, and I think it was a really fascinating take on the subject. It’s handled very well and makes for a really gripping read.

The book is split into alternating points of view, between Ben one of the pures, who’s mother is actually the Minister for dreg control and Hoshiko, a young girl forced to perform in the dreg circus, which pures flock to every night in order to watch them before dangerous stunts and die. I really loved the way it was split between the two characters, because not only does it give you two points of view to the story, but it’s really interesting to see how they are both trapped by their lives – Hoshiko because she’s forced to perform for people every night with very little food, doesn’t get to see her family and is treated horribly. While Ben lives in a nice house and has things much better off, he’s also trapped and isn’t allowed to express how he feels, or suggest that what his mother is doing is horrific.

There are plenty of shocking moments in this book, and it kept me hooked for hours on end. My other half remarked on several occasions that it must be a bloody good book because I hadn’t moved for long stretches of time because I was utterly desperate to know what happens next. Hoshiko and Ben are both brilliant characters, they’re complex and flawed people, but they’re deeply likeable and you definitely root for them the whole way through. They’re joined by a whole host of really interesting characters, and I was particularly intrigued by Silvio – the ringmaster of the circus. He has a very dark past and Barker uses this to really show how it affects him as an adult.

The other thing I really loved was the way in which the Circus were like a family, despite the horrible conditions forced upon them. They look after each other, help each other when they’re injured and share a hope that things will get better in the future. It’s a really beautiful subplot in the story, showing the importance of family even in the toughest of situations.

Along with all these fabulous characters the glittering circus is a great setting, and it really comes alive in Barker’s prose. There’s lots of action and a fair bit of gore to keep you hooked and wanting more. This book is a really fantastic example of dystopian YA and I loved it from beginning to end. If  you’re looking for the next big YA book this summer, this is definitely the one.

Thanks for checking out my stop on the Show Stopper blog tour, be sure to check the other stops listed here! ->


Blog Tour: The Things We Thought We Knew – Mahsuda Snaith

33791604Release Date: June 15th 2017
Pages: 304
Publisher: Transworld Books
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads. 
Source: Transworld kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis:

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs, and looked up at the stars and imagined their own constellations. And then, one day, Marianne disappeared.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed in her mother’s council flat, plagued by chronic pain syndrome, writing down the things we remembers. As her words fill page after page, she begins to understand that the only way to conquer her pain is to confront the horrors of her past.

Heartbreaking, seductive and utterly unforgettable, The Things We Thought We Knew is a rich and powerful novel about the things we remember and the things we wish we could forget.

Review:

Welcome to my stop on The Things We Thought We Knew blog tour! This is stunning and powerful novel, and it completely blew me away. The really stunning thing about it is the writing, which is crisp and evocative. It really drew me in straight away with it’s magnificent writing style. I was completely hooked as Ravine tells you her story.

I really liked the way that the story alternated between the current day and Ravine’s past, telling you stories from her childhood. It really gave you the opportunity to get to know the character. Sometimes with alternating times the story can be a little clunky, but the two time frames flow seamlessly in The Things We Thought We Knew. Ravine is a really well fleshed out character (as are all the others in the book) she’s complex and realistic and makes for a fascinating protagonist. It was really interesting to learn about the chronic pain syndrome that Ravine has to deal with every day, as well as coping with the disappearance of her best friend Marianne. I also really loved Amma, Ravine’s mum. She’s a strong and fascinating character, getting on with things despite all that she’s been through, and it’s really lovely to see her continually providing love and support to Ravine.

This story is a powerful and heartbreaking one, and really captures life in council estate Britain. The setting is vivid and realistic, and captures the sense that everyone knows exactly what is going on with their neighbours and those that live around them. The Things We Thought We Knew is a really stunning debut novel, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from Mahsuda Snaith. If you’re looking for a striking and compelling read (one with beautiful prose and a rather gorgeous cover) this book is definitely one for you!

Thanks for checking out my stop on the blog tour, be sure to check out the other stops listed below!


Book Review: Godblind – Anna Stephens

32072924
Release Date: June 15th 2017
Pages: 497
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I won a copy of this book from DHH Literary Agency in a Twitter competition.

This is my favourite book of 2017.

Synopsis:


There was a time when the Red Gods ruled the land. The Dark Lady and her horde dealt in death and blood and fire.

That time has long since passed and the neighbouring kingdoms of Mireces and Rilpor hold an uneasy truce. The only blood spilled is confined to the border where vigilantes known as Wolves protect their kin and territory at any cost.

But after the death of his wife, King Rastoth is plagued by grief, leaving the kingdom of Rilpor vulnerable.

Vulnerable to the blood-thirsty greed of the Warrior-King Liris and the Mireces army waiting in the mountains…

GODBLIND is an incredible debut from a dazzling new voice of the genre.

Review:

There aren’t enough words to convey how much I loved this book. This might be my favourite books of 2017, but it’s also shot right to one of my favourite books ever. Despite the massive TBR pile I have, I’m sorely tempted to start from the beginning and read it all over again. This book has so much in it I definitely think I would notice new things and find just as much enjoyment out of rereading it. It’s a stunning debut and if you’re a fan of grimdark novels, this should definitely be at the top of your purchase list.

Now that I’ve gibbered on about how wonderful it is, I’ll attempt to write a cohesive review on Godblind. This book is dark, brutal and visceral. This book is certainly not for the faint of heart, but after a single chapter you’re completely hooked in, and I spent several nights staying up way later than I intended. (My dissertation has also seen zero edits, because lets face it I’d much rather be absorbed in this fascinating world). The world building is really complex and well done in this book and the two religions are very well fleshed out – those that worship the Red Gods and those that worship the Goddesses of Light. Those that worship the Red Gods have been banished for many years, but the Red Gods are rising and all is not what it seems. This book is wonderfully written in all it’s gory beauty. It’s grim, compelling and a stunning example of fantasy fiction.

The thing for me that really made this book superb was the fantastic cast of characters. The book is told from alternating points of view – there are quite a few of them – but I really loved that, because there was sometimes a little bit of overlap, which gives you the chance to see events from different perspectives. Each of the characters are really complex and fascinating, I particularly loved Crys, Captain in the palace ranks, and Corvus, the war chief determined to make it to the top.

All the characters are very well portrayed, but the one thing about Godblind is the wide array of kick-ass female characters. My absolute favourite has got to be Rillirin, kidnapped and forced into slavery, she flees and becomes the fighter she always wanted to be. There’s also Captain Carter, the only female soldier in the ranks, who kicks butt and also deals with those that think she shouldn’t be allowed to fight, as well as a slightly terrifying priestess who will do just about anything to remain in power. I loved the wide array of characters, and it was that in particular that made me love Godblind so much. This book is full of surprises and I am so so happy that it is the first in a trilogy, because I’m already champing at the bit to find out what’s next in store.  This is everything you could possibly want from a fantasy novel so if you like your fantasy dark and disturbing, pick this one up now!


Blog Tour: Being Simon Haines – Tom Vaughan MacAulay

34620431Release Date: June 22nd 2017
Publisher: Red Door Publishing
Pages: 356
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I was sent a copy of the book by Red Door in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

Meet Simon Haines.

For a decade he’s been chasing his dream: partnership at the legendary, family-run law firm of Fiennes & Plunkett. The grueling hours and manic intensity of his job have come close to breaking him, but he has made it through the years and is now within a whisker of his millions: in less than two weeks, he will know the outcome of the partnership vote. He decides to spend the wait in Cuba in an attempt to rediscover his youthful enthusiasm and curiosity, and to clear his mind before the arrival of the news that might change his life forever. But alone in Havana he becomes lost in nostalgia and begins to relive his past…

Set against the backdrop of an uncertain world, and charged with emotion, Being Simon Haines is a searching story about contemporary London and aspiration, values and love. Painting a picture of a generation of young professionals, it asks the most universal of questions: are we strong enough to know who we are?

Review:

Welcome to my stop on the Being Simon Haines blog tour!  Being Simon Haines is certainly a fascinating story. Everything in his life has been garnered towards chasing his ultimate goal – being made a partner at Fiennes & Plunkett. Escaping to Havana while he waits to find out if he’s got the job, Simon starts to question whether barely seeing his family and spending all that time in the office was really worth it.

One of the things that really struck me about this book is the way that it is written. It’s very realistic, and reads almost like an autobiography or non-fiction piece. It really brought Simon and the other characters to life with the memoir style and the bits of humour thrown in to make it even more enjoyable. Simon is fascinating, he’s intelligent, driven and in someways admirable for being so determined to reach his goals. I really loved the way this book takes you on the journey of his whole life, from his time as a school boy to his current time in Havana. It really allows you to see Simon grow and become the person that he is – as well as highlighting just what he has sacrificed to get there.

I think that Being Simon Haines is a particularly refreshing book, looking at the problems and sacrifices a person has to face in order to make it in the big city. A lot of the time books focus on the wonderful journey a person takes to reach their life goal, but this is a different sort of story altogether. It is certainly a very thought provoking book, and I was completely captivated by the story, reading it over one weekend. Being Simon Haines is one stunning debut, and I’m certainly looking forward to reading what Tom Vaughan MacAulay writes next!


Book Review: The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

33875117

Release Date: 1st of June 2017
Pages: 320
Publisher: Tinder Press
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads
Source: Tinder Press kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Sarah Gilchrist is my new favourite heroine.

Synopsis:

Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and society. As part of the University of Edinburgh’s first intake of female medical students, in 1892, Sarah comes up against resistance from lecturers, her male contemporaries, and – perhaps worst of all – her fellow women, who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman…

When one of Sarah’s patients turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.

Review:

I loved this book from start to finish. Sarah Gilchrist is such a fascinating character. Forced to leave London in disgrace, Sarah is part of the first group of female medical students at Edinburgh University. She’s determined to become a doctor and help those in need. However those around her are not so thrilled at the idea of having female doctors, and there are those in her family who would much prefer she let the idea of doctoring go and get married.

I’m not really sure where to begin with reviewing The Wages of Sin. I loved it so much, and there’s just so much going on in this complex and addictive story. The first thing I adored about this book was the setting. I love historical fiction, and so when I heard about this book set in Victorian Edinburgh, I was absolutely dying to read it. Not only that, I did my undergraduate degree in Edinburgh, and at the time of reading the book I was interning just off the royal mile. It’s very rare you’re actually in a place where a book is set, and the fantastic depictions of Victorian Edinburgh really made the story come alive for me. I often spent my lunch break in cafe comparing the Royal Mile of today to the dark and eerie Royal Mile of the story.The descriptions of the medical procedures and events in the infirmary are also very visually depicted, bringing alive the stench and sounds of the medical world.

I also adored the characters, they’re so wonderfully depicted, and there’s such a range of interesting characters. Sarah is dismissed from society, yet she’s still determined to see her dream of becoming a doctor through. She’s strong and she fights for what she believes is right. I also loved Elizabeth, Sarah’s only real friend that she confides and finds solace in. Elizabeth appears as the perfect depiction of a good wife who stays at home, but she’s so much more. Professor Merchiston too is a fascinating character he’s both Sarah’s lecturer and some how tied up in the mysterious death of her patient.

The Wages of Sin is such a fascinating exploration into how women were treated in Victorian times, but enveloped in a dark murder mystery. The back drop of women being ridiculed and shunned for studying medicine, as well as obstructing them from getting the vote, makes for a really interesting and complex story. This book kept me guessing, and kept me wanting more. The book is incredibly well researched, and is definitely one of my favourite historical fictions ever. It’s full of darkness and corruption, This is a completely engaging book, and I hope this isn’t the last we see of Sarah Gilchrist.


Blog Tour: Block 46 – Johanna Gustawsson

33962003
Release Date: October 1st 2017
Pages: 300
Publisher: Orenda Books
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: Orenda Books kindly sent me a copy of the book to review.

Synopsis:

In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea’s. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea’s friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

Review:

Welcome to my stop on the Block 46 blog tour! Block 46 absolutely blew me away. Johanna Gustawsson has created a taught and gripping thriller, that refuses to let the reader go. The writing in this book is sublime, as readers we are instantly transported between Sweden, London and the Buchenwald Concentration Camps in 1944. It was this aspect that I enjoyed most about Block 46. The different locations and time frames are very visually depicted, and the reader becomes completely engrossed in this compelling story.

This book is a dark one, and tackles a very difficult subject in the holocaust. The plot is well paced, giving the reader time to come up with theories and suggestions for what is going on, only to refute them guessing again. There are times when the book is scary and a little uncomfortable – the horrors of medical experimentation in Buchenwald is one such example. The other thing I really loved about this book is the way that the multiple threads and narrative start off seeming completely unconnected, but then begin to join together as the story progresses, it really helped to heighten the tension, and made me very eager to know what was going to happen next.

I also thought the characters were really excellently portrayed in Block 46. Some were likeable and some weren’t – I particularly liked French crime writer Alexis – but each one was skillfully written and displayed Gustawsson’s talent for creating complex and interesting characters. I won’t say much about the conclusion of the story, other than saying that it definitely makes you think, and stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. Block 46 is a very impressive crime thriller, and I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series.

Thanks for checking out my stop on the Block 46 blog tour, check out the tour poster below for all the other fabulous stops!


Book Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

29748925Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Release Date: 28th March 2017
Pages: 536
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review:

Strange the Dreamer is without a doubt one of my favourite books of 2017. I always feel a bit of trepidation when I start a book that is as hyped up as this one, but it absolutely lived up to expectation, it’s a stunning book from beginning to end.

The world building in this book is just astounding. Everything is mapped out and there’s so much depth that I sunk into the story immediately. This is the kind of book I want to carry around with me all the time, it’s fantastically written with the most beautiful prose. Strange the Dreamer isn’t a crazy action packed story –  it’s much more of a slow burner – but I enjoyed it all the more for that reason. It gave you the opportunity to really get to know the world you’re in, and of course the exceptional characters.

Normally for me there’s always one or two characters that stick out as my favourite, but with Strange the Dreamer I loved them all – Lazlo, Sarai, Eril-Fane and Ruby, they’re all expertly crafted and fully rounded out characters. Each one is dealing with a complex past and I loved getting to know each and every one of them, I honestly cannot praise this book highly enough. If you only read one book in 2017, it should be Strange the Dreamer.

This book has pretty much everything a reader could want – there’s magic and mystery, action and explosions and of course a dash of romance. As well as all that the story is wrapped around the young characters coming of age and learning their place in this magical world. This book gave me one hell of a book hangover, and now I am (not so patiently) waiting for book two in this fantastic series. I also have to confess that somehow, despite owning several of Laini Taylor’s books, this is the first of her books that I’ve read. I am now away to barricade myself in a room, to catch up on the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series.


Book Review: Ink – Alice Broadway

32827036

Series: Skin Books #1
Release Date: 2nd February 2017
Publisher: Scholastic
Find it on: Amazon. Goodreads.
Source: I won a copy of this book in a Twitter competition run by the publisher.

Synopsis:

Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.

Review:

Ink follows the story of Leora as she deals with her fathers death and discovers that his past might not be all that it seemed. In this setting, every action and moment of your life is inked on your body. Live a good life and you’ll be remembered forever in the form of a skin book. Lead a bad life and your book will be destroyed. As soon as I read this premise I was desperate to read this book. Given tattoos can be such a source of contention in our society, I  just knew I had to read this.

The world building in this book was fantastic, the fables and the history of their community really came alive in the story. The idea of those with tattoos versus those without was just fascinating, and I really enjoyed the overall plot of the book. However I was less impressed with the characters. Leora is interesting enough and works well as the main protagonist, but I did feel more all round character development was needed. I enjoyed the aspects of her starting her apprenticeship and growing into adulthood, but I felt it a bit lacking in emotional depth. Most of the secondary characters felt like bit parts just there to push the story along, though perhaps we might see more of them in the books to come.

Despite this, the story is still a hugely enjoyable one. The premise is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before and the story keeps you hooked pretty much from the outset. I struggled a little with the romance aspect as I felt it was a little forced, but fans of romance plot lines might appreciate it more than I did. That being said, Ink is definitely a superb debut, and one that YA fans will enjoy. The cover art is also completely stunning, and I am very much looking forward to what comes next in this series.