Book Review: Sea Witch – Sarah Henning

Book Review: Sea Witch – Sarah Henning

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Series:
Sea Witch #1
Release Date: July 21st 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was given this book for Christmas.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

Review

36502054 (1)Sea Witch is the first in a new fantasy series which reimagines the story of The Little Mermaid – but from the perspective of the sea witch. This first instalment is a dark and exciting story, and one that will definitely leave you hungry for more.

Sea Witch follows Evie, the daughter of a Fisherman and her best friend Prince Nik. The two are still reeling from the drowning of their friend Anna several years previously, so when Evie discovers a young woman who looks exactly like Anna, she immediately agrees to help her – but who is this mysterious girl and why does she look so much like the friend that drowned all those years ago?

This story was completely different to what I was expecting. It’s a clever tale that brings a really fresh perspective to a story that has been reimagined so many times before. It’s got plenty of twists and turns and the story is well paced – really allowing you to get to know the characters and the world.

I really enjoyed the setting in this story, the seaside Kingdom, beautiful scenery and twisting waves were all really brought to life in the story. I liked the characters too – they were well fleshed out and I thought Evie made an excellent protagonist. There were some plot points that I felt were a little predictable but I still enjoyed the overall execution of the story. The story jumps in time with each chapter containing a scene relating to the past and the friendship between Anna, Evie and Nik. I really liked this as it gave the reader the opportunity to get to know the characters and see how Evie and Nik cope with the loss of their friend.

The one negative I have about this book is the romance aspect. There are several romances taking place throughout the course of the story and I did feel that there wasn’t all that much to them. I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone so I won’t name characters but the romances felt a bit forced, meaning I had less of an interest in the characters getting together. Despite this I still enjoyed the overall conclusion, and thought the ending was particularly well done.

Sea Witch is a really dark and fascinating tale, and if you’re a fan of retellings, you’re definitely going to want to try this one. There’s a second book coming in August, so you won’t have too long to wait to find out what’s in store next.
4 stars

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Hutchinson
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in Sainsburys
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

Review

40554141Daisy Jones and the Six tells the tale of world famous Daisy Jones and the Six, a rock band that took the world by storm in the 60s. After a hit record and sell out shows – the band suddenly disbanded and no one knows why. Now years later, the band recount the tale of what led to them breaking up.

Now I’m going to point out straight away that this is completely not the kind of book I would normally read. The majority of the books I read are Science Fiction and Fantasy, so this is completely outside of my comfort zone. I picked this up because of all the hype for this and another of Reid’s novels – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – and thought it might be quite an interesting read. What I didn’t expect was to be absolutely blown away by this book, and have it be one of my new all-time favourites.

Daisy Jones and the Six is told in a really fascinating way, the book unfolds as a series of interviews – with the band recounting their time recording music and touring. The story is exclusively dialogue, there’s not really anything in the way of scenery descriptions or anything of that nature. Despite that the story completely came alive for me and I felt like Daisy and the band were real people – in fact by the time I was finished I wanted to google the band to learn more about them. The story really makes you feel like these people were real, and brings to life the sights and sounds of life in the 60s.

Daisy Jones and the Six holds nothing back and there’s plenty of drink, drugs and the difficulty of dealing with fame. It’s a fascinating tale and you get the sense early on that it’s going to end badly, yet you absolutely cannot look away.

The story is emotional and heart breaking in the best possible way and I honestly struggled not to bawl my eyes out at it on the way home from work. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Daisy Jones and the Six, and it’s definitely a book I keep thinking about despite finishing it a while ago.

I’m so glad I took the jump and tried something out of my comfort zone, because this is absolutely a new favourite. I’m incredibly keen to try more from this author and if you’ve seen the buzz around Daisy Jones and thought that the book isn’t your cup of tea I’d definitely suggest giving it a go – you might just find a new favourite.

5 stars

Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

Book Review: Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan

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Series:
Something Dark and Holy #1
Release Date: April 2nd 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from Wordery.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

Review

wicked saintsWicked Saints is a dark and wild ride of a book! The story follows two warring kingdoms, and the people who will do anything to make sure they are their kingdom are the victors. We follow two people – Nadya, a young woman with divine powers who has lived all her lives in a monastery, and Serefin, a powerful blood mage and High Prince of Tranavia. The two are on opposite sides but are fighting with everything they have for survival.

This book is a bit of a rollercoaster. It’s a dark dark story, full of magic and blood. There are a few trigger warnings for this book, particularly for self-harm so I’d definitely recommend checking that out before picking this up if you feel it might be a problem. The story is full to the brim with adventure, a quest for power and a determination to succeed. It makes for an incredibly intoxicating story, and I definitely didn’t want to put this one down.

I thought the story was really fascinating, and the world building well-constructed. The two kingdoms fighting over religion was really interesting and I thought Duncan breathed some new life into this idea that’s been done many times before. The magic system was really intriguing and I enjoyed learning more about the gods with each chapter.

The story is split into alternating viewpoints with Nadya and Serefin and I actually enjoyed both characters plot arcs equally. I liked Serefin’s back story – the high prince with an incredibly strained relationship with his father – who just wants the war to be over. I did feel like Nadya could have done with a bit more of a back story – it would have been interesting to see more of what life was like in the monastery for her.

Overall the story is well paced, growing more intense and quick as it reaches the climax. There were quite a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and that certainly made me enjoy the story all the more. I won’t say too much about the ending so that I don’t spoil it for anyone, but I did feel that it was over very quickly. I felt like we were building and building to this big moment and it was over very fast. I am however super excited to see what will happen in the next instalment of the series. There’s already been quite a bit of hype surrounding this book so I can definitely attest that it’s worth it!
5 stars

Book Review: The End We Start From – Megan Hunter

Book Review: The End We Start From – Megan Hunter

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-16T112145.125.pngRelease Date: May 17th 2017
Publisher: Piacador
Pages: 160
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 midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds.

This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

Review

33858905I loved everything about this book. From the eye catching cover to the beautiful prose, this book took my breath away and I devoured it in one sitting. The story is set in a dystopian world that has been ravaged by floods and follows a young mother as she seeks to survive in this new world. It’s a very short book, only one hundred and sixty pages, but in that short space of time a lot happens to the young protagonist.

The thing I really loved about this book was Megan Hunter’s writing style. It’s very lyrical and absolutely beautiful to read. It was part of the reason why I kept turning page after page and before I knew it I’d finished it. The book is a somewhat cautionary tale on the negative effects that pollution have on the environment, and I think it’s a really superbly written story. It’s full of heart and emotion, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it.

This book is really haunting, and it stayed with me long after I finished reading it. In fact several days afterwards I was still thinking about what a stunning book it was. The young mother’s plight as she gives birth, searches for food and is housed in a refugee camp is both harrowing and also realistic, as it’s infinitely possible with today’s destruction of our environment.

If you’re looking for a small book that packs a big punch, The End We Start From is definitely going to be one of the big books of 2017.
5 stars

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-12T182815.479.pngSeries: Aurora Cycle #1
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 478
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Review

book cover (45)Aurora Rising was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I adored the Illuminae Files and I was hoping this would be just as fun and exciting. If it’s even possible Aurora Rising was even more incredible than I had hoped and it was an immediate five star read.

The story follows Squad 312, a group of Legionnaires who are flung together as the academy dregs no one else wants on their team. When squad leader Tyler discovers the girl he rescued from space stowed away on his ship it sparks a series of events that they might not live to see the end of.

Aurora Rising is just the most fun and fast paced story. As can be expected with this space epic it sets a pretty relentless pace and I was constantly trying to squeeze chapters in because I was dying to know what would happen next. There’s a really brilliant cast of characters and I grew really attached to all of them. The book is full of sarky, sassy moments and plenty of banter between these wonderful characters.

The plot is really intriguing and I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the story – some of the surprises were a bit obvious and I saw them coming – but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. There were some emotional moments too and the story certainly ended on an enticing cliffhanger – I’m dying to find out what’s in store next for the squad.

There is a bit more romance in the story than I was expecting and a case of insta-love that I’m not so keen on but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. Overall I thought this was a really fantastic read and if you enjoy fast paced action stories or you’ve read work by these authors before, I’m sure you’ll love this one.
5 stars

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

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Release Date:
July 6th 2017
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 325
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book when I was an Intern.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'” 

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Review

33590076I was really struck by the eye-catching cover for How to Stop Time and so when I picked it up and read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. I really loved this book and absolutely raced through it. The writing is so addictive that I honestly couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of this book, mainly because it was a unique spin on the being who lives for centuries idea. Tom is not immortal, he simply ages slower than the rest of humanity. It’s a rare condition, and this idea makes the book seem all the more believable.

I loved reading about Tom in different time periods, as he interacts with some of those most well known in history, each time period really comes alive and Haig’s writing really brings out the sights, sounds and smells of those periods. I think it’s definitely a mark of a fantastic story and a fantastic writer that each time period is so distinctive and vivid. The book is of course split into two different points, one from Tom’s past as he adapts to live in different periods, and his present day life as a history teacher in London.

This book was really the kind of book that sucked me in for hours on end, and definitely stayed with me after I finished reading it. There’s been plenty of hype about this book, and in this case I can say it is absolutely justified. It’s beautiful and will make you happy and sad in equal measure. Tom is a wonderful protagonist and this is a stunning book. This is my first time reading a book by Matt Haig, but after this whirlwind it definitely won’t be my last.
5 stars

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

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Series:
DC Icons #1
Release Date: August 28th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 364
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

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Review

29749085This was a bit of an odd read for me. I love DC Comics, but have never really clicked with Wonderwoman. When I heard that Penguin were doing a YA series of DC heroes I jumped at the chance to read them, even more so when I found out that Leigh Bardugo (one of my favourite authors) would be writing one. However I was still a bit unsure how it would go when Wonderwoman wasn’t a story I was all that familiar with.

It took me a little while to get into the story. I found the beginning with Diana on the island a little slow, but as soon as Diana got to New York, I was sucked in and couldn’t put the book down. I’m so glad I was given the chance to review this book, because it’s honestly one of the best superhero stories I’ve ever read.

Warbringer really has it all. It’s full of action, Diana fighting bad guys and kicking butt, being the strong and fantastic heroine. It’s also full of mythology and meticulous research, a wonderful cast of characters – I loved scientist and all round geeky girl Alia and her best friend the fashion and style icon Nim so much. The one thing that really took me by surprise was how funny the book was. Bardugo gives Diana a really distinct voice, and it’s a wonderful story watching her be both Amazon Princess and a young woman doing normal things (interacting with boys, making friends, living up to the expectations of her mother). It’s a well crafted and multi-layered story that I lost myself in for hours on end.

As well as the fantastic characters and funny moments the story is just a really intriguing concept, the idea of the warbringer and the effect it has on the world. There were plenty of twists I didn’t see coming, and that made the story all the more enjoyable. This has even more solidified Leigh Bardugo’s place as one of my favourite authors, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s next in store for the DC Icons series.
5 stars