Book Review: Loki: Where Mischief Lies – Mackenzi Lee

Book Review: Loki: Where Mischief Lies – Mackenzi Lee

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Release Date:
December 21st 2019
Publisher: Igloo Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local supermarket
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

An epic tale across the realms. A deadly power that spans millennia. A story of struggle and betrayal, this adventure is told through the patchwork past of Marvel’s most misunderstood mischief-maker of all time: Loki: Trickster. God of Asgard. Brother.

This is the first of three young adult novels from New York Times best-selling author Mackenzi Lee that explores the untapped potential of popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The novels focus on exploring the duality of heroism in specific character stories from the Marvel Universe.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203255.309Loki is definitely one of my favourite characters in the Marvel universe so when I heard there was going to be a series of books featuring characters from the Marvel universe I was really interested in reading it. Loki: Where Mischief Lies is a really interesting take on the character, focusing in on the duality of his nature and giving readers a chance to glimpse him in more depth.

The story follows Loki as a young teenager in Asgard as he fights for his father’s approval and a shot at sitting on the throne. It patricularly enjoyed this part of the book, his antics in the palace, bickering with Thor and being sent on diplomatic missions. Odin then sends him to Earth in order to assist a secret society who believe a string of murders in London are a result of magic. Here Loki must navigate Victorian London as well as solve the crime and get back in his father’s good graces.

This novel is really fun and fast paced. If you’re a fan of Loki or the marvel universe you’re really going to love the chance to get to see new sides of the character and have his back story fleshed out more. While it’s an enjoyable read I did find the story a bit on the predictable side and I guessed some of the major plot points pretty early on. Loki is a brilliant character but I felt some of the others could have been fleshed out a bit more. I really liked Theo and the relationship between Loki and Theo was definitely one of my favourite parts of the story.

This is the first in a three part series exploring the Marvel Universe so I’m really intrigued to see which characters Mackenzi Lee chooses to folk on next. If you’re looking for a quick fun read with plenty of action and banter to keep you entertained, this could be just what you’re looking for.
4 stars

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

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Release Date:
January 21st 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
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

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

Review

Copy of book cover (95)When I read the synopsis for Spellhacker I thought it sounded like a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy and I’d been keen to read M. K. England’s other novel The Disasters so I was excited to give this a whirl. I ended up being completely obsessed with this crazy adventure of a heist gone wrong and a group of friends trying to save the day.

The story follows Diz, a teenager orphaned as a result of the infamous spellplague that killed thousands of people. Years later Diz lives in an apartment with best friends Jaesin and Remi and along with techwitch Ania they run a business siphoning maz from the corporation that controls all magic in the city. When their last job ever goes wrong they find themselves on the run for their lives, but is there something more going on than they know?

Spellhacker is a fast paced tale that hooks you in from the very first page and does not let you go till the very end. There’s constant action and adventure as the friends battle to uncover the truth and save their lives. The world building is fantastic and I loved the fresh concept of magic being controlled by a corporation, and citizens have to buy maz in order to make magic. The story is a really fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy, and honestly I loved every second of it.

One of the things I loved most about this story are the characters. Diz is a wonderful protagonist. She’s brave and stubborn, but she’s also deeply flawed and struggling to cope with the horrors of her past. Mixing her in with Remi, the crazy talented spellcaster who has also contracted the spell plague, and ‘parents’ of the group Jaesin and Ania. They make for a really interesting group and I found it really interesting seeing the group dynamics change as they travel to Jattapore and Diz begins to feel like the outsider. It really added another layer to the story and made the characters feel more realistic.

If you’re looking for a wild ride of a story, with plenty of adventure as well as wonderful characters and diverse representation, this is absolutely a must read. I can’t recommend this highly enough and I’m definitely going to be picking up The Disasters in the near future! 
5 stars

Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

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Series:
The Witcher 0.5
Release Date: January 31st 1993
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 360
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was gifted a copy of this for my birthday a few years ago
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-20T172205.612I must admit I was really intrigued about reading The Witcher series, I had played a little bit of the game and the books sounded like something I would totally love so when I got a copy of The Last Wish for my birthday I was super excited to read it. And then of course it lay on my bookshelf for ages, I got distracted and never picked it up. Fast forward to now with all the buzz around the television show and I figured before I dive into the Netflix adaptation, I might just give the first book a go. I’m so completely annoyed at myself for having waited so long to pick these books up, I absolutely loved The Last Wish and I’ve already ordered a copy of Blood of Elves, this is everything you could want from an epic fantasy series.

The Last Wish is actually book 0.5 in The Witcher series and is a collection of short stories introducing the infamous Geralt of Rivia. Each story heralds one of Geralt’s adventures, and gives you a glimpse at his powers and skill as a witcher. He’s a fascinating character and I loved getting to know him and the world that Sapkowski has built. Full to the brim with evil monsters and fascinating creatures, I got completely swept up in these stories. If I can find myself completely hooked after reading a few short chapters of a short story, I can’t wait to read the full length novels.

Geralt is supported by a whole host of brilliant secondary characters – my favourites were Dandelion and Yennifer. Yennifer is definitely someone I want to learn more about and I’m hoping to see more from her in future books. All of the characters felt well fleshed out and the world building was executed incredibly well. I loved the unique and exciting world that Sapkowski and the stories are definitely fast paced and full of action. I’m so pleased I finally decided to pick this one up, because I’m desperate to read the next one. If you’ve played the game or watched the Neflix adaptation I’d definitely recommend picking up the source material – you absolutely won’t regret it. These short stories will leave you hungry for more but at least there’s plenty of books in the series to keep you going.
5 stars

Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

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Series:
DI Adam Fawley #4
Release Date: January 23rd 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 416
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

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203203.131When a young girl is abducted off the street, DI Adam Fawley and his team jump to investigate this horrific incident. The young girl refuses to press charges and doesn’t want to talk to the police. The team get the feeling she’s hiding something – but what could it be? Another girl goes missing and suddenly a case from Fawley’s past is back to haunt him – but could the two be linked and will they find the missing girl before it’s too late?

This is the fourth book in Cara Hunter’s hugely popular DI Fawley series. I’m actually completely new to this series, I haven’t read the other instalments. I was completely hooked on this story and am definitely going back to read books 1-3 but All the Rage can easily be read as a stand alone, and you can easily dive into the books now and go back and read the others without getting lost in the story.

Cara Hunter’s writing style is so addictive and easy to fall into, I got absorbed in this tale so quickly. I loved the mix of formats in the story, there’s tweets, court reports, maps and interview transcripts that are all added in to bring the story to life. It really added another layer to the plot and make me want to turn the pages faster and faster. I also really grew to love the characters in this story – the team are a really interesting mix and I loved that the story gave you the opportunity to see not only their police work and how they cope on the job but also peaks into their home lives.

All the Rage isn’t a small book but I ended up reading it nearly over the course of a single day because I honestly just couldn’t put the book down. The story is a fast paced one and there’s plenty going on in this cleverly executed plot. Hunter has weaved a complex tale with quite a few things going on under the surface. The book also touches on a whole range of subjects from hate crime, revenge, grief, relationships and a whole lot of things in between. All the topics are handled well in Hunter’s writing and the story has so many clever twists and turns that you absolutely will not see coming.

If you’re a fan of fast paced police procedurals with brilliant characters, an unforgettable story and plenty of shock twists, All the Rage should definitely be the next book you pick up.
5 stars
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Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

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Release Date:
November 1st 2019
Publisher: Write Plan
Pages: 314
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.  Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-14T223454.977As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was dying to know more. The concept really intrigued me – a world where the majority of the population have altered their DNA? It was such a fascinating idea. When I picked up the book I completely fell in love with this world and these characters, a unique and engaging tale, one that is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.

The story follows Silver Melody, a young girl living in a dystopian future where the majority of people have taken nanite pills to alter their DNA. Silver’s parents are the inventors of these pills and after some people die from taking them Silver’s mother refuses to make them and is taken as a political prisoner. When President Bear announces that all unadjusteds are now required to take nanite pills, Silver knows she has to flee, but with a price on her head and hellhounds closing in on her – will she survive?

The Unadjusteds throws you in right in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop till the very end of the book. It’s a fast paced read and as the tension mounted I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next. The ending was a bit of a surprise but the cliffhanger has definitely made me hopeful that their might be a sequel in the works.

The world is really fascinating in The Unadjusteds and I loved seeing all the genetic modifications. Fairy wings, impenetrable skin, invisibility and everything in between. I also really liked the mix of politics and action, it added another layer to this cleverly executed story. It also really delves into the themes of technology and greed – with nanite pills curing so many known diseases, humanity takes it one step further by beginning to alter their DNA – but at what cost?

Silver is a really interesting main character, she’s strong willed, determined to succeed and sticks by her beliefs to remain unadjusted. I really liked her as a protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her character develop as she tries to survive. There is also quite an interesting love triangle in the story, it’s a nice addition to the story without taking away from the main plot. It was fascinating to watch Silver attempt to understand her feelings on top of everything else that’s going on. She’s certainly a powerful main character, and one I was rooting for the whole way.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fresh take on the dystopian novel, The Unadjusteds should definitely be your next read. A compulsively readable book that will definitely leave you wanting more from this world.
4 stars

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Release Date:
September 19th 2019
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this book in Waterstones
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Review

book cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932When I first heard that Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s YA debut would be based on the Brides of Dracula I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Dracula and all things related, and his brides are characters are definitely characters I would love to see more of. The story follows twin sisters Lil and Kizzy as their lives are ripped away from them and they become slaves of the vicious Boyar Valcar. As the harsh reality of their new life sets in they hear about the infamous Dragon, a bloodthirsty ruler who takes girls as gifts. When Kizzy is taken to the Dragon, Lil along with the help of her new friend Mira, must fight to save her sister.

The Deathless Girls is a really beautiful and engaging take on the Brides of Dracula. It’s a compelling tale and I found it so easy to fall into this story of evil rulers and bloodthirsty monsters. I had sort of expected this story to be about the lives of the vampires, but instead it is focused on the story that leads to them becoming the deathless girls. It wasn’t quite what I had thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hargrave’s writing is incredibly beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read previously – The Deathless Girls is no exception. It’s a cleverly plotted tale and I really liked going on this adventure with the characters. I similarly thought the characters were really interesting and complex – Kizzy is the beautiful one is often in the limelight, with Lil being in her shadow. I liked seeing the dynamics between the two sisters and watching them grow as characters as they race to the Dragon’s castle.

I’m not particularly a big romance person but I really enjoyed the romance in this story. I thought it was really well executed – the tentative, nervous beginning of the relationship to something much stronger. The Deathless Girls has some dark themes and also explores quite a wide range of topics. It’s a clever and intense story, one I think a lot of readers will really fall in love with. If you’ve read Hargrave’s other works too I think you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.
4 stars

Book Review: Blood Countess – Lana Popovic

Book Review: Blood Countess – Lana Popovic

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Release Date:
January 28th 2020
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-09T230850.338As soon as I heard the premise of this book I was dying to read it. A YA historical novel about Elizabeth Bathory? Where do I sign up!? Blood Countess is the gripping tale of a young girl named Anna Darvulia, who’s life becomes tangled with that of infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Starting out as a scullery maid in the castle, Anna quickly becomes her chambermaid and friend and as they spend more and more time together Anna finds herself completely under the spell of the countess – but how much of what Anna sees is an act and Anna soon learns Elizabeth will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

This dark, addictive story is one that I completely flew through. It’s a very compelling story one of love, friendship, murder and revenge. Popovic sets quite a quick pace and the story definitely ramps up the tension as the plot thickens. I loved the vivid 17th Century setting, Popovic’s writing really brought the time period to life and I fell in love with the isolated castles and ornate ballrooms of this story.

The thing that really made this story for me is the characters. Anna is a fascinating protagonist, she’s a kind and loyal girl – she’s trying to provide and protect her family and it’s so interesting watching her fall under the spell of the Countess, attempting to justify her actions and understand who she is under the surface. Similarly Elizabeth is a brilliant character, she’s deeply flawed, manipulative and power hungry. Blood Countess really gives you the opportunity to delve deep into the two characters and get to know them. It made for a truly addictive and exciting read, and one I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Blood Countess is a gripping, bloody tale with brilliant characters and plenty of atmosphere. If you’re looking for a binge-worthy story you won’t be able to put down, this is definitely one to pick up.
4 stars