Book Review: Hold Back the Tide – Melinda Salisbury

Book Review: Hold Back the Tide – Melinda Salisbury

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Release Date:
March 5th 2020
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows what happened to Alva’s mother, all those years ago. But when dark forces begin to stir in Ormscaula, Alva has to face a very different future – and question everything she thought she knew about her past…

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T140949.950Hold Back the Tide follows the story of Alva, a young girl living in the remote Scottish highlands with her father. Her mother mysteriously disappeared and Alva knows her father is responsible. Whilst living day in and day out with the person she believes murdered her mother, she dreams of escaping to a new life. When dark forces begin preying on Ormscaula Alva has to do everything she can to help the town survive, and uncover some difficult truths about her family.

Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite writers, I’ve loved everything she’s written so far so I was extremely eager to read this one and I had really high expectations. From the get go this story hooked me in, I loved the dark and eerie atmosphere and the bleak remote setting Salisbury created. Salisbury created an incredibly vivid world and from the very first chapter I didn’t want to put this down. I absolutely adored The Sin Eater’s Daughter, but this might be my favourite book from her ever.

Alva is a brilliant protagonist, Salisbury manages to fit in tons of character development as she learns the dark truth of Ormscaula, what happened to her mother and fights for the survival of the town. She’s a strong protagonist and one I was absolutely rooting for from the get go. The secondary characters in the story are likewise well developed and fleshed out. There is a little bit of romance but it is very subtle and doesn’t take away from the main story.

Hold Back the Tide is one of those books that you don’t stop thinking about long after you’ve finished reading. It was creepy, genuinely made me uneasy at some moments and has an absolutely unbelievable ending. I can’t recommend this one highly enough and this book will be without a doubt on my favourite books of 2020 list.
5 Stars

Book Review: Bloodchild – Anna Stephens

Book Review: Bloodchild – Anna Stephens

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Series:
Godblind #3 (See my review for Darksoul here!)
Release Date: September 5th 2019
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 508
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Rilporin has fallen and Corvus, King of the Mireces, reigns over an occupied land. The raiders and their dark religion have conquered, but victory came at a terrible price – the death of a god – and sparks of resistance glimmer on all sides.

In the south, Mace gathers the survivors of Rilpor’s armies. Among the fierce tribes of Krike, Crys and Dom search for allies and for the truth of what binds them to the Gods of Light. And in the royal palace itself, Tara – once a soldier, now a slave – hopes to ignite a rebellion.

But time is against them. A child will soon be born with the power to return the Dark Lady from death, and the long-prophesied final battle for the future of Rilpor and Mireces, of humans and gods, is near.

Review

Copy of book cover (22)Bloodchild is the third and final instalment in Anna Stephens’ dark and brutal Godblind trilogy. Picking up straight after the events of Darksoul, the story follows our group of protagonists as they fight for supremacy. But Rilpor’s army is severely depleted, the Dark Lady is gone and Rilirin is soon to have her child that is integral to the Mireces plans – who will survive?

Godblind and Darksoul both made it to my favourite books of the year lists so going into this I was pretty prepared for it to be epic and unputdownable. The stakes in Bloodchild are even higher – the story is dark, brutal and addictive. Stephens has such an incredible writing style that I didn’t want to look away from this book for a second. Bloodchild follows the same characters as the previous books and we are treated to multiple POVs as we see each character attempt to survive and win the war. There are so many characters I’ve grown to love over the three books – Crys, Tara and Rilirin to name but a few and I loved seeing them in the last part of this epic tale.

Rounding up such a massive story is pretty difficult but Stephens does an incredible job. The ending was spectacular, not only was it fast paced and gripping but it was heart breaking too. One of the things I love most about this series is the way you get to know and love characters from both sides of the war – those fighting for the Red Gods and those for the Light. It’s a fascinating and compelling tale and if you love Grimdark fantasy this is a series to get reading immediately – you won’t be disappointed.
5 Stars

Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

Book Review: Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston

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Series:
Once Upon A Con #3
Release Date: June 16th 2020
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T175826.598When I read Geekarella I fell completely in love with the geeky and adorable characters Ashley Poston had created. When I picked up Princess and the Fangirl I had some pretty high expectations and yet again I loved absolutely everything about it. So when Bookish and the Beast was announced it pretty much became one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairy tales so I was incredibly excited to see Poston’s take. If it’s possible I loved this one even more than the previous two books and I am pretty much obsessed with this series.

Bookish and the Beast follows Vance Reigns, a character we’ve met briefly in previous books. He’s incredibly famous and wherever he goes scandal and wrongdoing seem to follow. To get out of the spotlight Vance is shipped off to a remote town till things cool off. There he meets Rosie, a young girl struggling with everything – the death of her mother, her college applications and her future. When the two are forced to work together it’s clear they can’t stand each other but after weeks of working in a library will their feelings stay the same?

Bookish and the Beast is honestly just the perfect sweet contemporary read. This book is pure escapism, it’s sweet and cute and just the best read to get lost in for a few hours. I love going to comic con and I love all the fandom references that are littered throughout the book. Rosie and Vance are brilliant characters and it was so easy to root for them. There’s quite a few secondary characters I really liked too and it was lovely to get glimpses of characters from the previous two novels too.

This story is beautiful and addictive and I didn’t want it to end. (I also kind of want Ashley Poston to write a Starfield series because honestly it sounds like the kind of thing I would just love). I loved the way Poston incorporated the aspects of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and I cannot wait to see what story she tackles next.
5 Stars

Book Review: King of Fools – Amanda Foody

Book Review: King of Fools – Amanda Foody

July 23, 2019 (12)
Series:
The Shadow Game #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: April 30th 2019
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Pages: 602
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

Review

Copy of book cover (13)King of Fools is the second instalment in Amanda Foody’s incredible Shadow Game series. The story follows a group of characters living in the City of Sins, attempting to navigate the world of crime, magic and excess. After surviving the Shadow Game in book one, Enne and Levi now have bounties on their heads and must do everything they can to survive in this cut-throat city.

Ace of Shades was one of my favourite books of 2018. I loved every second of it and I’m absolutely kicking myself that it took me so long to pick up King of Fools. This time the stakes are even higher, the story more intense, and I honestly did not want this book to end. Despite it being over six hundred pages, I raced through it at a ridiculous pace. King of Fools is a roller coaster ride of a read and it doesn’t let you go till the very last page.

Foody has created a vibrant and exciting world in this series. I loved getting the chance to learn more of the history of the city in this instalment and explore more of the talents that people possess. Foody has done an excellent job with the world building, it feels so detailed and full of life. The story is told in alternating chapters between Levi, Enne and Jac and I loved seeing each of the characters grow as they ventured out on their own.

King of Fools is a heart pounding read and one you definitely don’t want to miss. There are a few heart breaking moments and if this is how Foody ends book two, I’m equal parts excited and terrified to see what’s coming in Queen of Volts.
5 Stars

Book Review: Viper – Bex Hogan

Book Review: Viper – Bex Hogan

July 23, 2019 (10)
Series:
Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1
Release Date: April 18th 2019
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from Waterstones
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

He will make me a killer. Or he will have me killed. That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T141424.761Viper is an epic pirate adventure that follows Marianne, the daughter of the infamous Viper – the most dangerous pirate in the ocean. He’s supposed to be the defender of the people and protector of the realm, but he has become corrupted and cares only about gaining power. He’ll stop at nothing, and remove everyone who gets in his way. But when his own daughter stands up to him, will she be able to stop him and protect the kingdom?

Honestly I loved this book. I really love pirate stories and this was just the perfect swashbuckling adventure. High stakes, fast paced action and a brilliant cast of characters. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. Bex Hogan has created a vivid and fascinating world in Viper, the islands were such interesting places and I loved the dash of magic added to the story too (the Sea Serpents were so cool). It was so easy just to get completely swept up in the story and I ended up racing though this book.

This is quite a dark tale and there was a bit more gore and violence that I would typically expect from a YA book. It fit well with the story though and made the atmosphere even more tense as Marianne fought to survive. The story does feature some romance and while I don’t particularly enjoy romances I thought it was a really nice addition to the story. It added another layer without detracting from the main plot.

Viper is the swashbuckling adventure you didn’t know you needed. It’s a heart pounding read and if you’re anything like me it’s going to have you running to pick up the sequel.
5 Stars

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones – Seanan McGuire

July 23, 2019 (9)
Series:
Wayward Children #2 (Read my review of book one here)
Release Date: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 190
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this on Scribd.
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

Review

Copy of book cover (11)Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the second instalment in the incredibly popular Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. This instalment follows two characters we met in book one – Jack and Jill – and gives the reader a chance to find out the story of the twin sisters and how they ended up at Eleanor West’s school. Travelling to the moors we see the sisters take extremely different paths, but the moors is a dangerous place and will they both survive?

Jack and Jill were the characters I was most intrigued by in Every Heart A Doorway so when I heard that book two was a prequel featuring them I immediately picked up book two. If possible I loved this book even more than the previous one, the moors is such a fascinating world and I didn’t want this stunning tale to end. Like the previous book the world building is excellent, giving the reader a chance to learn about the world as we delve further into the story.

I am in awe of how much McGuire manages to pack into such a small number of pages, and I found it difficult to put this one down. Jack and Jill are fascinating characters – twin sisters but different in so many ways. I also loved Doctor Bleak and the Master. McGuire is brilliant at creating complex characters you can’t help but adore.

Fast-paced and exciting, Down Among the Sticks and Bones was everything I wanted and more. It gives the reader a chance to get to see Jack and Jill before they go through their door, which I also really loved. I’m hopeful the sisters will return in later books. The Wayward Children series if fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait to visit a nonsense world in Beneath the Sugar Sky!
5 Stars

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire

July 23, 2019 (1)
Series:
Wayward Children #1
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 176
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: I listened to this book on Scribd.

Synopsis

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Review

Copy of book cover (1)The Wayward Children series is one that’s been on my radar for a while, and when I saw the audio books on Scribd I thought I would give them a go. I completely fell in love with this magical, fairy tale like story and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series has in store.

The story is set at Eleanor West’s home for Wayward Children – a place where children who have come back from other worlds can stay as they attempt to find the door back to the magical land they went to. Nancy is one such child, determined to find her way back as soon as possible. But not everything is as it seems at the school, and Nancy and her friends must uncover the darkness lurking in the heart of the school.

This unique and engaging tale completely captured my attention and I ended up listening to it all in one go. It’s a beautifully written tale, full of magic and whimsy. It also has plenty of darkness and gory moments too and the detail and complexity of the world building really shines through in McGuire’s writing. I’m not normally a big fan of novellas because I always feel like I want more, but this 200 page story is the perfect length, giving you a glimpse of other worlds that we will hopefully get to see more of in the subsequent books.

The characters in this book were so fascinating. Jack and Jill were definitely my favourites but for such a short book there’s an immense amount of depth in the characters we meet. There is a wonderful amount of diversity in the characters and I can’t wait to see the characters grow as the series continues.

This is an incredible start to the series and I can only hope that the rest of the books are as gripping and addictive as this one. If you haven’t started this series yet, now is definitely the time to do it.
5 Stars