Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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Title:  The Falconer (The Falconer book #1)

Author: Elizabeth May

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones – Buy from The Book Depository

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Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

– Summary not mine; taken from The Falconer’s Goodreads page. 

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If I had to describe this book in three words, I would choose the first words that left my mouth as I finished the last page:
Oh. My. GOD.

To say the least, Elizabeth May knows how to craft a story, or she has some magical power that allows her to hold her reader’s heart in her hand, slowly cradling it at the beginning, gently carressing, and then, by the end, throwing it into a pit of alligators.
At least, that’s how I felt.

Aileana was the kind of kick-ass, sassy lead-role female I absolutely loved. I loved hearing about her fighting abilities, and her training, and her general skill in torching faery butt. I also liked how to herself, she was never strong enough. Then, when we meet Gavin and he witnesses her fighting for the first time, we learn that actually, she has some incredible talent. To put the icing on the cake, the fighting scenes were very well described and very vivid.
One of the other things that I loved about the book was something that was so incredibly unique and fulfilling, that I actually screamed with delight:
Both love interests were present in the story before the actual narrative began.
Aileana had known these people for at least one year. That meant no awkward and vomit inducing love-at-first-sight meetings, and a big thumbs up from me.

The steampunk elements of the story weren’t that much of a prominent interest to me, but I know that a lot of other readers would really like it. I simply saw it as an extra oddity in Aileana’s world.

The bestiary at the back was a wonderful addition to the book, and added a little fun to it. But, be warned. If, like me, you were looking the creatures up in the back whenever they were happened across in the story, you will come across spoilers. Minuscule ones, but still. I’m probably a minority that did this, so it probably doesn’t matter that much.

Now, for my only complaint about the book, which isn’t really a complaint, and isn’t really about the book. The blurb was awful. Simply, awful. If I had never heard of this book, and was simply deciding on the blurb alone, I probably wouldn’t read this book. Thankfully, I had heard wonders about the book, and I simply scoffed at the blurb and opened it up.

That ending though. Oh my.

Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

 

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Title:  Geek Girl (Geek Girl book #1)

Author: Holly Smale

My Rating: blog 3 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones – Buy from The Book Depository

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She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

– Summary not mine;  taken from Geek Girl’s Goodreads page.

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This is a more of a mini-review because while I really liked Geek Girl, there wasn’t really anything different, unusual or really striking that I could say about the book.

Geek Girl is one of those ridiculously funny books, that often you have to pause reading for, because some scenes are just so embarrassing (and hilarious) it’s like you can’t watch. But, it’s a book, so of course you have to read on. Thankfully, the humour makes this book an effortless read and so the pages fly by faster than a jetplane. The humour also makes this book accessible to anyone. Even though my boyfriend turned his nose up at what he clearly thought was a ‘girl’s book’ (he’s very scared of cooties), when I read some parts to him, he would snort with laughter.
This book isn’t something I would normally read (at all). I’m more of a fantasy, sci-fi chick, hence why those are the genres my blog focuses around. But I tried something different with Holly Smale’s book, and I can’t say I was disappointed, or felt that it was a waste of my precious reading time.

While Geek Girl is a mostly lighthearted book that aims to please, there are also some harder themes tackled in the book, such as bullying. Now, this is where my one discomfort arises. In the novel, Harriet is encouraged not to eat. And while she never gives in to this pressure, it isn’t addressed as an issue. It’s not pointed out that telling someone to lose weight is wrong. It’s simply brushed over, and I think that in a book aimed at young girls (the book has 11+ stamped on the back) this probably should have been covered, or at least Harriet should have shown her discomfort in the narrative.

Review: Banished by Liz De Jager

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Title:  Banished (The Blackhart Legacy book #1)

Author: Liz De Jager

My Rating: blog 5 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones – Buy from The Book Depository

sumary finalKit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

– Summary not mine; taken from Banished’s goodreads page.

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Banished is one of those books that is simply so awesome, so enjoyable, and so imaginative, that you have to take a break every hour or so while reading to just absorb its beauty. With a soul-gripping beginning, and amazing characters, this book will quickly rise up onto your favourites list whilst reading.

One thing that I really enjoyed were the excerpts of what seemed like lore books, or some kind of text book Kit might have studied from. It added to the story without adding too much, or spoiling anything. It gave the reader a better sense of Kit’s world, making it feel more whole and more enjoyable. Because of this, you can easily get lost in the story.

Another of Banished’s strengths is its amazing cast of characters. There’s Kit, main girl, who’s perfectly trained in kicking butt. Then there’s Thorn, faery prince, who you wouldn’t want to give coffee to (well actually, you might). There’s also Aiden, the sassy werewolf. Each quickly gained a place in my reading heart.

To break it down, Banished has everything a good story needs – mystery, the right kind of drama, the perfect amount of action, and the kisses that had to happen sometime (or risk the reader having a heart attack from the stress). The ending will leave you baffled, and at a loss, and most importantly, crying desperately for more.

However, when you try and review this book, you will come up short. It’s hard to formulate thoughts on something you loved so much.

 

 

|YALC – Saturday 12th July, AKA BEST DAY EVER|

On Saturday 12th of July, I hitched a ride with media and film students from my college and made my way to London for YALC at London Film and Comic Con. 

IT WAS AWESOME.

Seriously, I had so much fun. Here’s a rundown:

Surprisingly, I managed to sleep the night before and didn’t wake up ridiculously early in anticipation like I usually do for exciting things. Then it was off to meet the others at college to get on the coach, and off we went.

It took 5 hours to get there. (Worst 5 hours ever)

In the end, traffic was so bad we got out and walked the rest of the way.(we were walking for about 20-30 minutes, which isn’t too bad. I was just moody because we had been sitting in traffic for 40 minutes prior to that) Then, once we were finally there, I saw the queues for tickets. It was the biggest, most monstrous queue I have ever seen in my life. Luckily, we already had our tickets and were able to walk straight past the huge queue and go straight in.

Inside was incredibly overwhelming. I didn’t get any photos because I was too afraid of dropping my phone etc but other bloggers have HUNDREDS of photos of cosplayers and other bloggers. My favourite cosplayer was probably Slenderman. I love creepypasta and it was great to see such a good cosplay! I liked that when people tried to take photos, he would move and scare the crap out of everybody. Hahaha.

When I actually found my way to YALC, the first thing I did was head over to the Dystopia stand and buy a copy of Dystopia by Anthony Ergo, which I’m really excited to read! For £5, I got the book, soundtrack, signed bookmark and a wristband! So cool. I then met up with Lucy (Queen of Contemporary) which was amazing because her blog is one of the very first blogs I ever actually started following! I gave her a friendship bracelet as a little present (sad, I know, but it was cute!) and then wandered around the publishers stalls.

I also met up with these bloggers, which was amazing. I was so excited to be able to speak to them in person and meet them for the first time, ever! I loved how it wasn’t even an awkward meeting – since we had already spoken before, we had plenty to talk about! My only regret was that I didn’t get to spend longer with them.

Sabrina @ The Delirious Reader 

Sally @ The Dark Dictator

Emily @ The Book Bubble

Bella @ Cheezy Feet Books

I returned home with 8 more books than I left with, which I have to say, is a record for me. I also got plenty of bookmarks, postcards and other swag which was really cool! I wish I had picked up some of the badges, though. They would look awesome on my Books With Bite Bag!

Here’s the books I bought:

YALC Haul

I was so pleased to get Chobits, since it the first manga I ever read! I was only able to read one volume though, which I borrowed from a friend. Now I have the first four volumes!

Soulmates was already signed when I bought it, as was Slated! Slated wasn’t marked as signed though, so when I opened it up once I was home and found it was signed, I squealed! I also had a chat with Natasha Ngan and she signed the copy of The Elites that I had just bought. I’m so excited to read all of these!

I also got my copy of The Knife Of Never Letting Go signed – Which was amazing because Patrick Ness was the main reason I was so excited to go on Saturday.

I was so sad that I wasn’t able to go on the Sunday, but I had no money left after Saturday! (and I now owe Alex £14, so yeah…)

I hope everyone who went had an amazing time, and I hope those that weren’t able to go will be able to come to the next one!

Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

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Title:  Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children book #2)

Author: Ransom Riggs

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones– Buy from The Book Depository

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The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.

– Summary not mine; taken from Hollow City’s Goodreads page.

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Ransom Riggs is one of those wonderful writers where it doesn’t matter how much time passes between reading the first and second book – I easily fell straight into the story again, and before I knew it, I was 100+ pages into the book.

I felt exactly the same with the first book in that I loved the combination of vintage photos and the story. I think it’s one of the books major strengths, since it the story becomes more real and unique. In a way I like that it doesn’t tell you which photos are shopped and which ones aren’t, as it adds an air of mystery to the photos, and makes you question those strange looking photos that could go either way. Some are fairly obvious though, like the picture of the Emu-Raffe (which I found terrifying, by the way. And you can go ahead and laugh about that). I also love the style of the actual book – ridiculously gorgeous.

I have nothing but praise for Ransom and his writing. I love that the children weren’t all likable all the time, since I just felt closer to them. They felt like brothers and sisters. I also really commend Ransom’s ability to write about so many characters at once. Often characters can be left out of conversations, or forgotten about, only to reappear later on. This isn’t the case in Ransom’s writing; all of the dialogue is just right.

I love that this is pitched as a YA novel, when really it could be enjoyed by just about anyone (I’m going to run an experiment – push these on my mum, who isn’t a big reader and see what happens). I just want to run in the street throwing nicely passing copies of the book out to people. If that’s not a sign of a good book, I don’t know what is.

When I said I had no criticism for Ransom, I may have lied. Just a tiny bit. Here’s a few pointers I’d love for him to respond to:
1.The book was over way too soon. Why not 700 pages? Better, 1000?
2.I loved your book so much its nigh on impossible to form a proper review. Please fix this in the next book.
3.When is the next one?

Review: Deadly Delicious by K. L. Kincy

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Title: Deadly Delicious

Author: K. L. Kincy

My Rating:blog 4 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from The Book Depository

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An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills.

Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl-she’s no witch-but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire.

Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…

– Summary from the Deadly Delicous Goodreads page.

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When Karen Kincy posted on twitter asking for reviewers to look at her witchy MG novel, I jumped at the chance. I had read one of Karen Kincy’s books before, and I had really enjoyed it, so I was thrilled when right away she agreed to send me a review copy. Due to exams at the time, I wasn’t able to give my attention as quickly to the book as I would have liked, but soon I found myself unable to resist and started reading it.

I soon discovered that Deadly Delicious is a wonderfully fun read, one that I would have definitely eaten up as a middle grade reader (like I did as a young adult one…) and one that I couldn’t recommend enough. Age boundaries were pushed out of the way as I was reading, and I was soon absorbed into the 1950’s, accompanying MC Josephine on her tasty adventures.

I loved being able to hear the character’s accents as I was reading, and being fully absorbed into the conjure cooking culture of Josephine and her family, and the other witches in the novel. Whilst remaining unique and apart from the traditional idea of witches, it still plays on the stereotype with certain ingredients, like moon butter and twisted nails.

Josephine was a very lovable main character, and most certainly a good witch, but there were times where I couldn’t help but wonder about Authelia and her side of the story. Just why had these girls fallen out? Why did Authelia and her friends feel the need to pick on Josephine? I’m hoping that these questions will be answered in future books, if Karen Kincy is planning on turning this into a series.

One of the main strengths of Karen Kincy’s writing was that it wasn’t patronising or ‘dumbed down’ to appeal to children. It was simply a fun and vibrant read, filled with tasty recipes and sassy grandmas.

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

18079804book info finalTitle: Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1)

Author: Sally Green

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

Buy from Amazon – Buy from Waterstones – Buy from The Book Depository

sumary finalHalf Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

– Summary not mine; taken from Half Bad’s Goodreads page.

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I received Half Bad as a gift from a friend, as a very early birthday present. I was given the choice to have it early or to wait, and I chose to have it early – some time later, the book was read, but my birthday was still distant on the horizon. Needless to say, I enjoyed the book an incredible amount.

Half Bad had me gripped from the first page – the first person, present tense that is rarely used in books really surprised me, and set Half Bad apart from other books right away. I was curious to see whether the entire book was written this way, but when main character Nathan reminisces of his past life, the tense changes to fit this. This immediately caused Half Bad to strike me as a unique and very enjoyable book.
Do not be fooled by the use of the trope of white and black magic, because the world of Half Bad is still very unique. As I read on, I discovered that Half Bad was literally my perfect type of book. There was a lot of action, a fantasy world that absorbed me, and just the right amount of focus on the romance. There were also so many hints at things that made me want to read on, and the interesting characters really helped make the story come together.
I didn’t find Nathan’s father, Marcus, as menacing as he was made out to be, though. Don’t get me wrong, he was very menacing, but when he actually turns up in the book, he’s not the big raging ball of hellfire I was expecting. This may all change in the sequel though, and I may be forced to eat my own words.
One thing I really enjoyed was the family relationships in this book. Nathan is close to his grandma, but even closer to his half-brother, Arran. The bond between them is very strong and there were more than a few heart-wrenching moments between them, which only added to the pain and difficulty Nathan is forced to go through. These aren’t the only interesting characters though – Celia was also a favourite of mine, because even though she’s portrayed as a very evil, horrible person, there’s also a strange kind of bond between her and Nathan. Their relationship is incredibly complicated, but I hope something good will come of it.

When I finished this book, I just wanted to scream and through it across the room. I loved the ending, but I also really hated it because I wanted more of the story. It will be a long wait for Half Wild, though, and I might just go mad in the time it takes for a copy to reach my hands.