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.

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|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?

Bout of Books 10 – Sign Up & Goals Post!

Bout of Books
Hello everyone! I’m going to be taking part in Bout of Books again. However, since it’s during exam time I have a tiny goal of just 2 books. My normal pace is about 1 book a week, so I’m hoping to double that. Before I show you the books I’m hoping to read though, here’s where you can find everything about Bout of Books.
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Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott
I’ve been wanting to read this one ever since it came out, and after hearing a friend rave about it, I think it’s about time I read it!
Summary: Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

Victoria Scott’s breathtaking novel grabs readers by the throat and doesn’t let go.
– from Goodreads
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Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
I’ve had this as an ARC for quite a while, and after starting it a little bit I feel bad about taking so long to read it. Hopefully I can get it read!
Summary: The Darkness has had a Prince for a long, long time. Now the Queen is coming.

For years the realm of Terreille has been falling into corruption, as the powerful Queens who rule it have turned to cruelty.

But there is hope – a prophetic vision has revealed the coming of a Queen more powerful than any other. And once the foundations of her power – father, brother, lover – are in place, she will emerge from the darkness, bringing freedom.

For she is the living myth, dreams made flesh; not just any witch, but Witch.
– from Goodreads

ARC Review: 18 Truths by Jamie Ayers

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Title: 18 Truths (18 Things, Book #2)

Author: Jamie Ayers

My Rating:blog 2 leaf rating
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After being unable to save her best friend from death, Olga Gay Worontzoff is spending her summer with boyfriend Luke, becoming Spirit Guides, helping the recently departed find their place in the Underworld.

However, Luke starts to pay a lot more interest in their first assignment, Grace, than Olga would like. Feeling hurt, she begins her plan to find her best friend, Conner, in the hopes that she can rekindle their friendship and maybe even confess the love she has held for him. But, to do this, she has to get involved with the demons – enemies of the angels who run the Underworld – and this places everyone she knows in danger.

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When I began this book, i thought that the prologue was enjoyable to read, and set the scene just enough to get me asking questions and to keep me reading. However, I did think that the change in perspective was confusing as there wasn’t really an indicator of the change, so I still thought I was reading in the perspective of the other character, Conner.

I enjoyed the beginning. It wasn’t too heavy on the romance, and the plot had amazing potential.

But, by the end, this was a two start book for me. Why? The characters. They ruined this book. And the sudden obsession with the romance from the middle onward. It descended into a mess of a love triangle (Not sure if it counts as a triangle really, more like a square), and a lot of it seemed to read just like highschool drama.

Don’t get me started on Olga – she was everything I hated in a protagonist, female or not. She claims that she loves both Luke and Conner, Luke being her boyfriend, Conner being her life time best friend who she loved. She claims that she doesn’t want to hurt either of them. Then, SHE KISSES CONNER IN FRONT OF LUKE. There is NO WAY this is okay. EVER.

I skim read the last 40% of this book, because I was waiting for it to pick up. Unfortunately, it didn’t, and I was left, as a reader, feeling disappointed.

I read the entire book without even knowing it was the second in a trilogy. By the end I was aware that it was part of a series, since I could see there was going to be a sequel, but I have no idea what would have happened in the book beforehand.

TBR Pile #2 – April 2014

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Well, last month’s TBR Pile ended up being a DISASTER. I didn’t read a single print book that I had planned to read in the entire month, which I feel fairly bad about. I did read a few ARcs though. Hopefully this month will go better. Here are the books I did read:

Seven books in one month doesn’t leave much room to complain for me, even if I didn’t really stick to my plan. Reviews are already up for Stolen Songbird and Knight Assassin, and reviews will follow shortly for the others!

Here’s the books I fancy reading this month. It’s a much more modest selection this time.

Owned/Library books:

tbr pile

eARCs from NetGalley:

ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen

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Title: Stolen Songbird (Malediction Trilogy, Book #1)

Author: Danielle L Jensen

My Rating: blog 5 leaf rating

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Cécile is a pretty girl awaiting the chance to see her mother and further her singing career. Unfortunately, the trolls in Trollus have other ideas.

Cécile is kidnapped and taken into the cursed city of Trollus, sold off to the royal family and then is married to troll-prince Tristan – a captivating and beautiful man who’s magic even rivals that of the King.

When all Cécile can think of is escaping Trollus, the trolls themselves beg for some kind of release, unable to leave their city, buried beneath stone and hidden from the sun. However, Cécile is soon taken by the city,with its complicated politics and the troll’s magic. She find that she could be the only hope for the half-blooded trolls who are looked down on by the rest of society, and her escape becomes a significantly more complicated affair.

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I loved this book so damned much.

The fantasy and world building aspects were nigh on perfect, and the originality of writing about trolls in YA was done very well. I loved learning more about this strange world Cécile de Troyes had been thrust into, and the complete range of characters and personalities running throughout the novel was great too.

I loved Tristan, not just because he was a very attractive character, but because his growth was portrayed so well. He could be a fearsome character, but he was very lovable as well. His sections of the book were particularly well written and I loved reading from his perspective. Cécile also has chapters written from her perspective, and I found that very enjoyable, and I think that the multiple perspectives worked very well, especially towards the end when the plot thickened and everything started getting very tense.

Ah, the ending. I loved it and hated it at the same time. I loved it, because I felt so involved and in love with the characters by that time. However, the ending hurt. Because it was the end (of the first book), and I had absolutely no control over what was happening and it was a lot of stuff that I didn’t want to happen. I hate it when I get very emotionally invested with characters and then they go through hardships.

I literally cannot wait for the next books. But I have to.