Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

Blog Tour: Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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Series:
Strange the Dreamer #2
Release Date: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice–save the woman he loves, or everyone else?–while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-02T135442.190Strange the Dreamer was one of my favourite books of 2017, it completely sucked me in and so I went into Muse of Nightmares with the highest of expectations. I’m so happy to report that it was even better than I could have imagined. If you haven’t picked up this beautiful duology yet, now is definitely the time.

Muse of Nightmares picks up after Strange the Dreamer left off, taking us back to the characters we fell in love with in the first book. It was great to see them continue to develop and expand and I loved seeing how much they’d changed since the beginning of Strange the Dreamer. Muse of Nightmares also introduces us to some new characters – two sisters named Kora and Nova. I completely adored their story and was completely captivated in seeing how their story connected with that of Lazlo and Sarai. Laini Taylor writes these complex and multi-layered characters that are just a pleasure to read about – Lazlo Strange will forever be one of my favourite characters of all time.

Previous to this duology I had never read anything by Laini Taylor but I completely fell in love with her writing style in these books. It’s so beautiful and really brings everything to life that you cannot help but sink into this rich and magical world. The world building is excellent and it is put to good use in this book, giving us more back story and history of the gods. Muse of Nightmares delivers a fast and exciting plot and I was on the edge of my seat more than a few times. I think the story ended perfectly it was full of excitement and heartbreak and everything I hoped for. I for one am so excited to see what Laini Taylor is going to bring out next.

5 stars
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Book Review: The Near Witch – V. E. Schwab

Book Review: The Near Witch – V. E. Schwab

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Release Date:
March 12th 2019
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 354
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

There are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-24T180513.572This is the rerelease of Victoria Schwab’s debut novel featuring an all new short story titled The Ash Born Boy. The story is a dark and atmospheric tale that follows Lexi a young girl living in the small town of Near. The town is extremely isolated so when a stranger comes to visit the villagers become very unsettled. Soon after children begin disappearing from their beds and the mysterious stranger is instantly blamed for it. Lexi believes the stranger is innocent, but will she be able to prove it?

This was such a gripping read! I have fast become a fan of V. E. Schwab and I was so looking forward to reading her debut novel. Though it has been reprinted it has not been edited or changed since the original publication and it was fascinating to see how her writing has grown from this book to Vengeful and City of Ghosts.

The Near Witch is a story full of magic, mystery and danger. It kept me reading long after I’d planned to put the book down and I completely fell in love with Lexi and her sister Wren. She’s determined to do what she thinks is right (regardless of what her uncle thinks), she stands up for herself and she’ll do anything to protect her sister. The story unfolds beautifully and the plot is well written with an air of Neil Gaiman around it.

The creepy atmospheric setting is really brought to life in Schwab’s elegant writing and I could almost feel the icy wind of on the moor. While I really enjoyed this book it didn’t grab me as much as some of the authors other work but it was still a hugely fascinating read. The additionally short story too was a brilliant look at the back story of the visiting stranger. If you’re a fan of Victoria Schwab or you like magical tales full of atmosphere, I’d highly recommend this one!
4 stars

Book Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow – Ruth Lauren

Book Review: Prisoner of Ice and Snow – Ruth Lauren

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Series:
Prisoner of Ice and Snow #1
Release Date: September 7th 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that’s exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison …

An unforgettable story of sisterhood, valour and rebellion, Prisoner of Ice and Snow will fire you up and melt your heart all at once. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Piers Torday and Cathryn Constable.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-28T230803.617This is a beautifully written story about the friendship between two sisters. It’s an engaging, enjoyable story, and one I think a lot of people will really love. The plot is full of twists and turns and has that perfect blend of action and plot that fantasy fans will just love.

The main character Valor is a brave, determined young lady, and she’ll do anything to help her sister – even commit a crime. I admired her strength and courage, she’s a wonderful leading lady and I think she would be a fantastic role model for younger children reading A Prisoner of Ice and Snow. There are a few smaller characters that I would like to get to know as well as Valor, but perhaps that will come along later in the series.

The prison that Valor and her sister end up in is certainly a horrible one, and they depictions of the different settings – most notably the prison – is certainly vivid and well laid out. At only two hundred and eighty eight pages the book is quite a quick read, but there is plenty to keep you guessing and wanting more. If you’re looking for a fun enjoyable MG fantasy, Prisoner of Ice and Snow is definitely a book to pick up. I for one am particularly looking forward to seeing what’s next in store for the series!
4 stars

Book Review: My Side of the Diamond – Sally Gardner

Book Review: My Side of the Diamond – Sally Gardner

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Release Date:
October 7th 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received a copy of this through ReadersFirst
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Synopsis

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air. Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance? Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

Review

book cover - 2019-03-26T215251.793When I read the synopsis for this book I thought it sounded like a really fascinating read. When it arrived I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked, I love the way that it’s meant to look like the notebooks that Becky is so fond of. This is my first outing in a Sally Gardner novel – I have long wanted to read her books but never quite gotten around to it. The story is told from the point of view of Jazmin, who is dealing with the disappearance of her best friend Becky, but Becky’s disappearance isn’t all that it seems.

The characters were pretty interesting and I was always eager to know what was going on, there are quite a few different narrative voices and I felt sometimes the plot did get a little lost in the different layers, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I think the concept for this book is quite an original one, and it makes for unusual reading. There’s also some really beautiful illustrations inside which help bring the story to life.

The book is really short, only 240 pages so I pretty much flew through it. I did feel like it could have done with being more in the action, rather than just being told about it afterwards. The story is told in quite a unique narrative style, which does take a bit of getting used to but this little book makes for a really interesting social commentary, mixed in with aliens and science fiction. If you’re looking for something a bit different to read, this could be right up your alley.
3 stars

Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

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Release Date: May 1st 2019
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 260
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC of this via Netgalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-01T143051.847Mark Lawrence has once again made me completely fall in love with a wonderful cast of characters and an intensely gripping story. One Word Kill follows Nick – a mathematical genius who learns he’s dying of cancer. Nick and his friends play Dungeons and Dragons to escape this harsh reality but when a strange man begins following Nick and brings him some dire warnings, the gang’s real life becomes crazier than they ever thought possible.

This book is a wild ride. From the very first chapter I could feel myself getting absorbed in this story and I really grew attached to Nick, Mia and the gang. The characters are so well described and I loved watching the different dynamics as they interacted with each other and I really liked seeing how things changed with the introduction of Mia to the group. Lawrence seamlessly weaves science fiction elements with worries about being able to dance at parties and it made for a really fascinating story.

The story is full of plot twists and I definitely didn’t see some of them coming. One Word Kill is multi-layered, dealing not only with Nick’s cancer treatment and the mysterious stranger, but also a dash of romance and the secrets of Mia’s past. I felt like each part of the story blended incredibly well making for a fast paced and incredibly gripping plot.

Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors and One Word Kill definitely wasn’t a disappointment. The story flows so well that I found myself sitting down to read a few pages and still sitting a long time later because I just had to find out what was going to happen next. Compared with some of Lawrence’s other books this one is on the shorter side and it has definitely left me itching for more in this series. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, time travel and a rag tag bunch of kids trying to save the world, One Word Kill should definitely be next on your purchase list.
5 stars

Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

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Release Date:
March 9th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2..5/5

Synopsis

A beautifully written coming-of-age novel from an acclaimed literary voice.

A lost boy. A dead girl, and one who is left behind.

Robbie doesn’t want anything more to do with death, but life in a village full of whispers and secrets can’t make things the way they were.

When the white hare appears, magical and fleet in the silvery moonlight, she leads them all into a legend, a chase, a hunt. But who is the hunter and who the hunted?

In The White Hare, Michael Fishwick deftly mingles a coming-of-age story with mystery, myth and summer hauntings.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-17T225218.697This book is a quick and interesting read that touches on that difficult topic of grief. The book follows Robbie, a young boy who’s dealing with the death of his mother and the remarriage of his father. The book is a short one – under two hundred pages and most likely you’ll get caught in this fascinating story and read it in one sitting.

The White Hare is a bit of a strange book, it is at times eerie, and I wasn’t always 100% sure what was going on, or where the plot was heading. I enjoyed the mixture of folklore, magic and realism, but I did feel like the ending left me with quite a few questions. That being said, it is a lovely read, watching the characters grow as they deal with the grief of losing their loved ones – Robbie’s friend Mags is dealing with a death also.

I really liked the characters in The White Hare – Robbie who acts out because he misses his mum, best friend Mags who knows more than anyone else about the white hare myth, and Robbie’s dad who’s just trying to do his best. They are very realistic characters, each trying to deal with their grief in the best way they know how.

I loved the idea of the white hare legend – which I won’t say too much about so as not to spoil the story – but I would have loved to know more about this myth and where it all started. I thought The White Hare had a really nice satisfactory ending, and overall the book is a good read. If you’re stuck in doors on a wintery Sunday this month, The White Hare is that perfect magical and heartwarming read to get caught up in.
3 stars

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

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Release Date:
19th October 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-14T052617.195I was so excited to read this little beauty because I loved The Gospel of Loki and have always wanted to read more of Joanne Harris’s books. The story follows a young woman who lives in the woods, She has magical powers which she loses when she falls in love with a local lord’s son. Based on The Child Ballads, this book is beautifully written in a lyrical and poetic style.

The book is a short one and can probably be read in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down, The story is fairy tale like in nature, but in many ways more dark and twisted. The story is full to the brim with magic and folklore, and makes for a breath taking read. The story is told in the space of a year, encompassing birth and death, love and revenge. It might only be a couple of hundred pages long but it contains a lot within those beautiful pages. I’d love to see Joanne Harris write more of these beautiful stories.

If you’ve read any of her other books, you are bound to love A Pocketful of Crows. The book is also beautifully designed, which made me fall in love with it even more. If you’re looking for a book that will capture your imagination and leave you wanting more, A Pocketful of Crows is definitely the book you need.
4 stars