Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria

Book Review: This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria


Release Date:
February 2nd 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible: she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father – their nation’s greatest traitor – once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother… and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Review

This Golden Flame is the fun and fast paced adventure of a young orphan woman named Karis who is forced to serve at the Scriptorum for the rest of her life. All Karis wants is to be reunited with her brother, but he was shipped away by the scribes and she has no idea where. In her search for answers she uncovers a hidden automaton with a mind of his own. This discover rockets Karis onto a path of danger and rebellion as she attempts to find her brother and stop the Magistrate gaining unlimited power.

This Golden Flame is set in a really fascinating world and I really liked the Greek inspired setting. The idea of automatons was really interesting and I enjoyed learning about their lore and history. The story is a bit on the predictable side but nonetheless it was well paced and enjoyable to read. Victoria has a really nice writing style and the story is well structured.

The thing that most intrigued me about This Golden Flame was the characters. There’s great representation in this story and it was really great to read a story that focuses on platonic friendships rather than a romance. The story is told in alternating POVs from Alix and Karis and I liked them both as main characters. Although they were interesting my favourite character was Zara, the pirate Queen turned rebellion leader. I would love to read more about her and it would be fascinating to read a story from her perspective.

Overall This Golden Flame is an exciting adventure and a solid debut from Emily Victoria. If you love fast paced YA stories with fascinating worlds, this could definitely be one for you.

January TBR!

January TBR!


I can’t quite believe 2021 is here already! I’m so excited for all the 2021 releases that are coming out and I’m determined to try and stick to the TBRs I make this year. I’m looking forward to reading so many of these so lets dive in!

1. The Once and Future Queen –  Clara O’Connor
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…

Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood.

A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

2. The Burning Girls – C J Tudor
500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

3. The Heiress – Molly Greeley
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

4. Last One to Die – Cynthia Murphy
One of Us is Lying meets This Lie Will Kill You but with a chilling supernatural twist that will keep you guessing until the very end . . .

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there’s something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?


5. Hall of Smoke – H M Long

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.

6. The Island – C L Taylor
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

So those are the six books I’m hoping to get to in January. I’m hoping to get to a few more over the month but I’m trying to make my TBRs manageable so I complete them each month. I’d love to know what you’re planning to read in January and if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know your thoughts!

Book Review: A Court of Lions – Somaiya Daud

Book Review: A Court of Lions – Somaiya Daud


Series:
Mirage #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: August 6th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from Book Depository.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

Review

Court of Lions is the second book in the Mirage duology. The story picks up straight after the events of book one and we’re still following Amani as she is forced into life as Maram’s body double. Amani has a difficult decision to make as tensions continue to rise and the spark of rebellion is ignited. Is she willing to sacrifice everything to save her people and can she help Maram to become the Queen her country so desperately needs?

Mirage was one of my favourite reads of 2019. I flew through it in a single day and I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Court of Lions was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and while I did really enjoy it, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It’s a really solid book but I just didn’t connect with the story in the same way I did Mirage. In this second book it focuses much more on court politics, of Amani gathering followers and helping Maram to stand up for herself. Until the last few chapters the stakes didn’t feel as high – when the rebellion actually kicked off I couldn’t put the book down, but I struggled a little in the middle.

One of the stand out things about Mirage are the brilliant characters and the complex female relationships. I loved seeing Amani and Maram continue to grow and work together for the good of the country. I also really liked the romance that developed Maram and Aghraas. Court of Lions offered a satisfying conclusion to a really fascinating story and I’m keen to read more from Somaiya Daud in the future.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved But Never Reviewed

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We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday and this week the topic is books you loved but never reviewed! When I have quite a few review copies to review I tend not to review books I bought myself so there are quite a few books that I really loved but didn’t review, so lets dive in!

Copy of book cover (97)1. The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie
Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he’s on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian – leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman Captain Jezal dan Luthar, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he’s about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Copy of book cover (42)2. The Silvered Heart – Katherine Clements
1648. Orphaned heiress Lady Katherine Ferrers is forced into marriage for the sake of family honour… But with Cromwell’s army bringing England to its knees, her fortune is the real prize her husband desires. As her marriage becomes a prison and her privileged world crumbles, Katherine meets her match in Rafe – a lover who will lead her into a dangerous new way of life where the threat of death lurks at every turn…

Enter Kate Ferrers, highwaywoman, the Wicked Lady of legend – brought gloriously to life in this tale of infatuation, betrayal and survival.

Copy of book cover (98)3. Balfire Omnibus – Cate Tiernan
After seventeen-year-old Thais Allard loses her widowed father in a tragic car accident, she is forced to leave the only home she’s ever known to live with a total stranger in New Orleans. New Orleans greets Thais with many secrets and mysteries, but none as unbelievable as the moment she comes face to face with the impossible — an identical twin, Clio.

Thais soon learns that she and the twin she never knew come from a family of witches, that she possesses astonishing powers, and that she, along with Clio, has a key role in Balefire, the coven she was born into.

Fiery Clio is less than thrilled to have to share the spotlight, but the twins must learn to combine their powers in order to complete a rite that will transform their lives and the coven forever.

Copy of book cover (99)4. A Clash of Kings – George R R Martin
Time is out of joint. The summer of peace and plenty, ten years long, is drawing to a close, and the harsh, chill winter approaches like an angry beast. Two great leaders—Lord Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon—who held sway over and age of enforced peace are dead…victims of royal treachery. Now, from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns, as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms prepare to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky—a comet the color of blood and flame—six factions struggle for control of a divided land. Eddard’s son Robb has declared himself King in the North. In the south, Joffrey, the heir apparent, rules in name only, victim of the scheming courtiers who teem over King’s Landing. Robert’s two brothers each seek their own dominion, while a disfavored house turns once more to conquest. And a continent away, an exiled queen, the Mother of Dragons, risks everything to lead her precious brood across a hard hot desert to win back the crown that is rightfully hers.

A Clash of Kings transports us into a magnificent, forgotten land of revelry and revenge, wizardry and wartime. It is a tale in which maidens cavort with madmen, brother plots against brother, and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside.

Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory may be measured in blood. And the spoils of victory may just go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel…and the coldest hearts. For when rulers clash, all of the land feels the tremors.

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-26T175225.3045. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury
Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner. As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

Copy of book cover (100)6. Shadow Study – Maria V. Snyder
Once, only her own life hung in the balance…

When Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. She survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia.

Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands—and protect her relationship with Valek.
Suddenly, though, dissent is rising. And Valek’s job—and his life—are in danger.
As Yelena tries to uncover her enemies, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked.And now she must find a way to keep not only herself but all that she holds dear alive.

Copy of book cover - 2020-08-10T135836.6407. The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johnansen
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

Copy of book cover - 2020-08-10T135849.7908. Roar – Cora Carmack
In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Copy of book cover - 2020-08-10T135906.0779. Dark Matter – Michelle Paver
Out of nowhere, for no reason, I was afraid. My skin pickled. My heart thudded in my throat. My body knew before I did that I was not alone…

London, 1937. Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life, so when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway and at last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.

But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. Soon Jack will see the last of the sun, the sea will freeze and escape will be impossible.

And Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark…

Copy of book cover - 2020-08-10T140528.57510.  Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton 
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

So those are the top ten books I loved but never reviewed. I’d love to know some of your favourite books that you never got to review!

 

Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

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Release Date:
March 2nd 1997
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 355
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I still have my childhood copy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the brutal world of Shade’s Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? He is a sworn enemy of the Overlords, but his use of the children to gain knowledge and power seems uncaring and ruthless. Finally, Gold-Eye and his new friends set out to destroy the Overlords–with or without the enigmatic, dangerous Shade. Garth Nix, author of Sabriel, blends suspense, action, and high emotion in this excellent, fast-moving science-fiction story.

Review

Copy of book cover (22)Shade’s Children was a book I read and loved as a child and I thought it would be fun to revisit it as an adult. It was just as bleak and terrifying as it was all those years ago, and I absolutely loved rereading this childhood favourite.

Shade’s Children is set in a world in which everyone above the age of fourteen has disappeared. Now when you turn fourteen you are taken to the meat factory to be harvested. The story follows Gold Eye, a young boy who escapes the dormitories before he can be taken to the factory. While fleeing the monstrous creatures who mean to return him, he teams up with a band of Shade’s Children, and together they fight to survive against Overlords.

I honestly just adored this book. It’s dark and gritty and absolutely stands the test of time. It was just as gripping and absorbing as the many times I read it as a child. The world is completely fascinating and I loved learning about this unique dystopian world that Nix has created. While everything isn’t necessarily explained, the world building is solid and the plot exciting. Despite this book being published over twenty years ago, it definitely still stands up as a brilliant YA story.

Shade’s Children is just over the three hundred page mark, but I absolutely raced through this. You’re dropped right into the action in this one and it’s an absolute roller coaster ride. This story has such a tense, eerie atmosphere as Gold Eye and the gang fight to survive. If you’re looking for a dystopian tale that will have you reading long into the night, you definitely need to check this one out.
5 Stars

Book Review: The Cold Is In Her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale

Book Review: The Cold Is In Her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale

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Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

Review

Copy of book cover (29)The Cold is in Her Bones is the dark and compelling Medusa retelling you didn’t know you needed.

The story follows Milla a young girl who lives on a remote farm. She’s not allowed to go into the village and her whole world is her brother and parents. When a young girl named Iris comes to live on the farm as a potential match for her brother Milla learns about the demon who possesses the young girls in the village. When Iris is becomes possessed by the demon and taken to live in an asylum, Milla must use all her courage to rescue her friend and the town.

This is a beautifully told story, and I really enjoyed Arsdale’s writing style. It was dreamy and very fairy tale like. She creates some really fascinating and compelling characters, both Milla and Iris are fascinating and I was really intrigued by Hulda and her story. The story particularly focuses on relationships – Milla’s relationships with her mother, wiht Iris and with her brother. It was so interesting to see those relationships adjust as Milla continued to uncover the mysteries of the demon and why she possessed girls in the village. The characters all felt well fleshed out and it was easy to root for Milla as she fought to safe the village.

While I enjoyed this story overall it is a slower paced story and I did feel it dragged a little in some parts. It is a very loose Medusa retelling, so if you’re looking for something close to the original tales this probably isn’t it. If you’re looking for a fair tale like tale, full of haunting imagery and lovely writing I’d definitely recommend giving this a go.
3 Stars (1)

Book Review: Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

Book Review: Little Creeping Things – Chelsea Ichaso

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Release Date:
June 2nd 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day, and her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down.

But then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-20T140551.502Little Creeping Things is a dark and compulsively readable thriller from Chelsea Ichaso. The story follows Cassidy, a teenage girl struggling with the guilt of starting a fire that killed her neighbour when she was a child. On top of the guilt she is frequently bullied by Melody Davenport, one of the most popular girls in town. At party Cassidy jokes about murdering Melody and days later Melody goes missing in the exact way Cassidy suggests. As Cassidy begins to panic she receives a text – I’m so glad we’re in this together. Cassidy must race to discover who murdered Melody and prove she had nothing to do with it.

Little Creeping Things is a fun and really solid YA thriller. Cassidy is a fascinating unreliable narrator, constantly questioning if what she’s seen is real. She is plagued by her guilt over the fire and it’s interesting to watch her tangle herself deeper and deeper in this mystery. The story also has plenty of typical high school drama with crushes and mean girls in this small town. There is also a romance plot which I found a little on the irritating side, being much more interested in the murder and the mysteries surrounding the fire.

Little Creeping Things is an addictive read. It’s one of those books you sit down to read a chapter or two and you look up and you’ve been reading for hours. I read this nearly in one sitting, it’s such an easy story to get lost in. There are a few twists and turns and although I guessed who did it pretty early on, that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you love fast paced YA thrillers (with delightfully creepy covers), this is a perfect summer read.
4 Stars

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

Book Review: Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan

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Series:
Girls of Paper and Fire #1
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 385
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-28T161834.015Girls of Paper and Fire is a book that has been on my TBR for absolutely ages. I’ve heard incredible things about it so going in I had some pretty high expectations. The story follows Lei, a young girl forced to become a courtesan for the Demon King. Being a Paper Girl is the worst fate imaginable for Lei, who wants nothing more than to remain at home with her family. While forced to learn skills befitting a woman at court, Lei falls in love – a forbidden romance that if discovered, could be her death.

Girls of Paper and Fire has a really fascinating premise and while I really enjoyed it, I had expected to love it a lot more than I did. I really enjoyed Ngan’s writing style, but felt the world building could have been a little stronger in this book. There is quite a bit of info dump at the beginning and it took me a little while to wrap my head round the castes and rules of the world.

The story is well paced, and the last hundred pages are incredibly gripping as the action heats up. Girls of Paper and Fire ends with the promise of even higher stakes and more drama in book two, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Girls of Storm and Shadow will bring. The characters Ngan has created in this book are probably what I enjoyed most about this story. I really liked Lei and the other paper girls, it was fascinating seeing them come from different backgrounds and cope with the horrors of being a paper girl. The romance is well done too, it doesn’t overtake the main plot and Ngan gives it plenty of time to develop. I would have liked to learn a bit more about the Demon King. He felt like a bit cookie cutter for me.

Natasha Ngan has weaved a clever tale full of action, political intrigue and romance. A word of warning that the story is quite a dark one, and will have trigger warnings for rape and abuse. It’s an impressive start to this exciting YA fantasy series, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Natasha Ngan. Though it didn’t completely live up to my expectations I still really enjoyed this one, and if you’re curious about picking it up I’d recommend trying it out!
4 Stars

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

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Series:
One Of Us Is Lying #2
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.

But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.

The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T172732.088One Of Us Is Next is the sequel to YA thriller smash hit One Of Us Is Lying and returns to Bayview High a year after the events of the first book. A game of Truth or Dare has started among the high school students, but with a lethal twist. The students must work out who the mysterious person behind the game is and why they’re so determined to get vengeance on Bayview students.

I really enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying when I read it last year so I was really interested in the sequel. The story follows some new characters as well as Bronwyn’s younger sister Maeve who we meet in book one. The characters were well fleshed out and I really liked Maeve as a main character. She was one of the characters I was intrigued by in book one so it was nice to read a story from her perspective. We also get to see snippets of the characters from book one and what has happened to them since the story finished. I really enjoyed seeing where they had ended up.

Like McManus’ other books, the story is action packed and full of twists and turns. It’s a fast paced story and perfect for binge reading on a quiet afternoon. The story is a little predictable – I’m not really one for guessing plot twists and I figured it out quite early on – but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you’ve read the first one it’s definitely worth checking out the sequel and If you haven’t yet tried them out these books are perfect for YA thriller fans.
4 Stars

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

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Release Date:
May 7th 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this through Tandem Collective
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?

Review

Copy of book cover (20)Burn is the latest release from acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness. The story is set in world where humans and dragons co-exist and the story follows Sarah Dewhurst, a young girl whose father has hired a dragon to help on their farm. Sarah soon learns the dragon has other reasons for coming to the farm and she finds herself entangled in a prophecy to stop a war that could threaten the whole planet. But Sarah and Kazimir aren’t the only ones who know about this prophecy, when an assassin arrives at the farm Sarah must fight for her life and those she loves.

Burn is my third Patrick Ness book and definitely my favourite. I loved this unique and engaging idea – 1950s America where dragons and humans have to tolerate each other. It’s a fascinating tale and tackles a whole range of themes from racism, homophobia, grief and family. The world building in this book is truly superb. The dragons and humans idea worked so well and felt very natural. I loved that Ness gives the reader a chance to learn a bit about dragon history too. I found this really intriguing and added another layer to this complex tale.

The story is quite a fast-paced one, with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I ended up reading the book pretty quickly, especially the latter half of the book as the tension began to climb. Ness has created a gripping tale with quite a few surprise twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.

Burn features a really fascinating cast of characters. I really liked our main protagonist Sarah, as well as scholarly dragon Kazimir. Assassin Malcolm is probably the character I liked most. His story arc is really engrossing, as he goes from a member of the cult like Believers to an assassin. There is an immense amount of character growth in this book and it really kept me hooked.

Burn is an addictive read than fans of Patrick Ness are absolutely going to love. I definitely didn’t want it to end and if you’re curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up!
4 Stars