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.

 

 

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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: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, Book #1)

Author: Patrick Ness

My Rating:blog 5 leaf rating

sumary finalPrentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

from Goodreads

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The first thing that struck me about The Knife of Never Letting go was the interesting writing style. Todd’s narration is written in the dialect used in Prentisstown, and since it is coming from his perspective and he cannot read or write, it makes sense that longer words would be spelt phonetically. This made me feel a lot closer to Todd and his story, which I really enjoyed. It also demonstrated how different his world is, and gave the narration personality. I also liked the rather artsy way that the Noise was portrayed – the text in different fonts, showing whether the thought was harsh and quick through a spidery, scrawled text, or whether it was calm and methodical in a very conservative font. It really made me understand how the noise worked, even if I did have to focus and read each thought, trying to gain some insight into who it was.

What really drew me into reading the book in the first place was its very unusual concept. Unusual is a good thing when reading, especially since a lot of books can sound the same, making them quite boring. Even so, once I thought I knew what was going to happen and had been lured into a false sense of knowing the world, a big surprise made me take a step back for a moment, and then read on vigorously for the next three hours. I’m not sure whether this is Ness’ storytelling or my complete lack of observation (it may be a bit of both), but either way I liked it a lot.

Throughout the novel there is a huge sense of foreboding, which at some points made me want to read on more, and at some points made me feel like I was going to go into cardiac arrest. I knew that bad things were going to happen, but the suspense was almost unbearable. The book is very powerful, and very violent. Not just in terms of plot, but in the way that the novel is unforgiving and completely ignorant of the reader’s feelings. In more than one instance, I felt uncomfortable reading violent scenes, but I knew this was Ness’ desired effect.

By the end of the book I was expecting a very large cliff hanger (which I got) and I’m sure this is some evil plot Patrick Ness conjured up to put his readers through the most pain. Nevertheless, I’m eager to read more and will seek out the rest of the trilogy, and the author’s other books, to devour and savour. As a footnote, however, Manchee will never be forgotten (and Ness, never forgiven).

Release Day: Something Missing by Hazel Robinson

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Hello and welcome to my release day post for Something Missing by Hazel Robinson! The post features a lot of information about the book and Hazel herself, and she has also stopped by on the blog to give an interview!

TITLE: Something Missing (Book #1 – True Love)

AUTHOR: Hazel Robinson

Visit Hazel’s website!

RELEASE DATE: May 1st 2014  (TODAY!)

AUDIENCE: Adult

THEME: Romance, Life, Coming of Age

Hazel’s Biography

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Hazel lives in the small town of Rishton in Lancashire. England, with her husband, three children, two cats, dog, rabbit and lizard. She fills her days dashing between school runs, pets and housework and at night she comes to life either writing or watching her favorite program ‘Supernatural’.

Her road to writing started with a love for paranormal romance novels, and after finding a passion for tragic romance she set out on the mission to share her own story. After long nights writing and a lot of ‘Supernatural’ episodes she is finally ready to share ‘Something Missing’. Hazel loves nothing better than sitting with a cup of tea, a chocolate biscuit and a good book.

I’ve always had a passion for reading but over the last several years it has become an obsession, a few months ago I decided to put fingers to keys to keyboard (or pen to paper!) and write “Something Missing” a story I’ve had hidden away in the back of my mind for a long time.

Book Synopsis

When Susan is left orphaned, she begins a harrowing journey through the care system. Left with both mental and physical scars, Susan approaches adulthood with a self-destructive impulse. However, there is hope in the figure of her childhood friend, Max; the first boy she ever  kissed.

Now a grown woman, Susan returns to her childhood home of Winchelsea, where she hopes she will find the answer to the gap in her heart that she’s carried with her since she left. With Max by her side, she attempts to find the path her life should have taken, to build a home, to heal old wounds, and to finally create a family that will stop the terrible feeling of something missing.

But Max has a secret, one that risks destroying all hope of a happy ever after, unless they can find a way to heal one another.

Interview with Hazel Robinson

Hello and welcome books, food and other things! It’s very nice to have you here. To get us started, why don’t you introduce yourself?

*Waving hello frantically* Hey everyone, I’m Hazel the author of Something Missing which I hope you’re all going out and getting your copies of.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No not at all, I have had my fair share of jobs and I have been to college a few times but nothing gave me the immense feeling of accomplishment that writing does.

What are your favourite authors and how do you think they have influenced you as a writer?

I owe a lot to A.L.Jackson not only does she pour everything she has into her books but she also inspired me to write Something Missing. She was the first person I spoke to when I had the idea and she has been amazing since day one. I also love authors like Pepper Winters and T.K.Leigh, their books are such a pleasure to read and I appreciate the work they put into their books.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Never give up! It’s not easy being a writer, you have brick walls at every turn but the writing world is full of people that will help you every step of the way, from fellow writer to bloggers and just book lovers in general. Also, pair up with a writing buddy, someone that can give you the extra push on the days you just can’t write, have writing sprints together, run ideas by each other – this will help you a lot.

What else do you enjoy other than books and writing?

I love trips out visiting castles, other old historic buildings, and visits to the park with my children. I also enjoy curling up watching ‘Supernatural’, of course!

What were the main inspirations behind your now released novel, Something Missing?

Romance books, particularly A.L.Jackson books. They are full of emotion from start to finish, they have you in tears from page 1 and I love that, I love a book that tests all your emotions. I’m a real sucker for a love story, the whole finding your soul mate idea and I wanted to share a little of that magic with other people.

What do you suggest fans read whilst waiting for the sequel to Something Missing?

Well, Something Missing doesn’t have a sequel. The True Love Series is several standalone novels each with their own tragic love story, but until the next book does come out my suggested list would be any of the A.L.Jackson books, The Glow By Helen Whapshott (amazing new book) and Blackbrooke by Emma Silver. If you like the dark twisted type of love story look up Pepper Winters – you will find her books amazing.

Well, that’s all from us! If you’d like to purchase Something Missing, it’s available as an e-book on Amazon UK, or as a paperback from Amazon UK/US.

But, if you’re a book blogger and are interested in a review copy, email littlebirdpublishinghouse@yahoo.com

If you’d like Hazel to do a blog appearance or interview, you can email her at h.f.robinsonbooks@gmail.com

ARC Review: The Dark World by Cara Lynn Shultz

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Title: Dark World (The Dark World, Book #1)

Author: Cara Lynn Shultz

My Rating: blog 3 leaf rating

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Paige Kelly is an outcast at high school, mainly because of her ability to talk to ghosts. Her best friend, Dottie, is a ghost who haunts the building. But, when the high school gets an influx of new students, including Logan, things start to get weirder.

Logan isn’t phased by the stories he hears of Paige. To Paige, this is what constitutes as definitely strange, especially when Logan has to protect her from a fire demon that attacks during detention. Soon, Paige is thrust into the strange and age-old war between warlocks and demons, since it turns out that she is actually very valuable to either side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was drawn to The Dark World because of the beautiful cover, and I’m so glad that I requested it on NG!

The books has a very different take on the whole ‘talking-to-ghosts’ power there is in some books. Normally, it is someone’s biggest secret and blah blah, but this was different. People know that Paige talks to supposed ‘imaginary’ friends and she has to suffer for it. I was very sympathetic towards her, and I couldn’t believe that people would be so horrible after her traumatic experience.

I really enjoyed the book because of the action that happened. There were some very epic demon battles in it, which I enjoyed reading very much. They kept me on the edge of my seat, and I found the book hard to put down. It was  a nice, easily read story and I found the pages just flew past.

The characters were likable (well, the ones you were supposed to like!), especially Dottie and Logan. Dottie was an adorable girl, and definitely the kind of best friend every girl needs. Even though I found she was a bit needy sometimes, I knew this was because she had been so lonely before. Logan was this book’s hotshot, and wow! I may have a new book boy crush.

Review: Fated by Benedict Jacka

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Title: Fated (Alex Verus series, Book #1)

Author: Benedict Jacka

My Rating: blog 5 leaf rating

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Join Alex Verus in his previously calm but now hectic life of running a magic shop and trying to stay under the radar of other mages. His unusual skills in magic allow him to perceive the possibilities of the future, which comes in handy when he needs to pull off stunts that have very little chance of success.

When he becomes a person of interest to both Black and White mages, he knows that something is up. Soon, he discovers that he is wanted so that an ancient relic containing a powerful magical item can be opened. But this isn’t any ordinary job, and as it becomes more dangerous, Alex Verus can see just how many life threatening futures are appearing, and how many safe and peaceful ones are escaping his clutches.

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This is one of those books that you just can’t get enough of – Alex Verus is a witty and funny protagonist who explains his mysterious world very well in his own way, and with a unique casual tone that keeps you reading.

I thought Fated was unusual because I don’t often read books with male protagonists (though I would like to read more), but the conversational tone was fun to read and it really fitted Alex as a narrator. It also became apparent that it wasn’t a book that was concerned with fitting into a specific age genre – it read like YA, even though Alex is older than most YA characters.

The side characters in the novel were just as lovable. Luna quickly became a favourite of mine (even if just for her name and how she was so relatable), and even certain adversaries became favourites. Thirteen was a particular favourite, and I was hoping that she would be a recurring adversary since she was so cool.

Fated is also a book that doesn’t really use that many tropes or clichés (apart from the obvious black/white mages but that is understandable), for example, I was expecting a lot of chemistry between Luna and Alex but it seems that by the end of the novel, their relationship is very slow-going, if going at all. I liked this because I am a solid hater of insta-love and unnecessary romance. I like action!!

Review: Maze Runner by James Dashner

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Title: Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, Book #1)

Author: James Dashner

My Rating: blog 5 leaf rating

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When Thomas awakes and finds himself in the Glade with no memories, he thinks that things couldn’t get any worse. But, they do.

He soon meets the Gladers with their own slang and own lost memories, and learns of the Maze that shuts the Gladers in (or out) and protects them from the dreaded Grievers. But with Thomas comes other changes to the Gladers routine of life, and they blame him for it. However, Thomas thinks that he can find his way out of the maze.

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Maze Runner is a very imaginative and unique story.

In the beginning, the reader has just as many questions as newbie Thomas, and I liked that. The reader makes discoveries along with him, which makes you want to read on and on.

There were so many interesting characters in the book, which was great. Chuck was a wonderful character, he was annoying but funny at the same time and I understand why Thomas liked him so much. I had an instant dislike for Gally, and my general feelings for the characters were strong.

Grievers were really good enemies – even though I didn’t picture them as they were described (I thought they were more like giant slugs with metal hands) I thought they were quite intimidating which added to the story. I really enjoyed the last half of the book because there were a lot of new questions and plenty of action going on.

I found that Maze Runner fits as a series. I didn’t find out very much in the first book, and that was okay, because I know there’s two other books to come that will answer my questions. This is good because it means there won’t be much pointless filler, and hopefully the next two will be just as good as the first.

My only complaint is that maybe more could have been done with Teresa. I think that she could have had more presence, and more of her own personality. She was present for at least half the book, but I knew her just as little as characters that were introduced in the last few chapters. Hopefully in the next book there will be more of her.