Book Review – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Author Hazel

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It is a young adult, sci-if romance/fairy tale retelling.

Cinder is based on the popular fairy tale of Cinderella, and has a similar basic plot. Cinder is treated like a slave by her stepmother and stepsister, there is a young, handsome Prince to fall in love with, an enchanting ball and then the pivotal plot point of Cinder losing her glass slipper. Now imagine this beloved story, but in Cinder, Cinderella is a cyborg! She lives in New Beijing, part of the Eastern Commonwealth, created after world war IV. She is a mechanic, and instead of animals as friends, she has androids.

New Beijing is an emergent new society rising from the destruction of world war IV. Earth is plagued by a lethal disease called letumosis. It is also teetering on the edge of another war with Luna. Luna is obviously the moon, but in this story, it is inhabited by Lunars. The leader of this race is the evil Queen Levana, who supposedly killed her own sister in order to take the throne. Lunars have special abilities known colloquially on Earth as magic but scientifically it is explained as manipulation of the bio-chemical electrical signatures within the brain or ‘glamouring’. The emperor of New Beijing has letumosis, so Prince Kaito (Kai) is desperately seeking a cure whilst trying to avoid a political marriage with the evil Queen Levana. He first meets Cinder when he brings his beloved android to be repaired and the fantastic plot and budding romance begins there.

I absolutely loved this book. Marissa Meyer has woven in such a fantastic and intricate plot within the basic story of Cinderella. I love the sci-if aspect of the story and the futuristic time the story is based in. I loved and hated the characters. Iko, Cinder’s android sidekick was brilliant. I loved how she had an almost human personality and her and Cinder’s friendship was lovely. Although Peony was one of Cinder’s stepsisters, they had a lovely sisterly relationship. Dr Erland was an eccentric and a little weird side character, who lends a scientifically heroic hand to Cinder. He was really interesting. Then of course there’s Cinder and Prince Kai. An almost opposites attract relationship, I loved his gentle persuing of Cinder, even when she kept turning him down.

Marissa Meyer wrote Adri and and Queen Levana so well, I hated them(almost as much as Joffrey from GoT lol). Adri was greedy and manipulative and used poor Cinder almost to her death. And Queen Levana is the epitome of evil, leading an entire people with brain washing and manipulation, only succeeding in getting what she wants through these methods.

The story is so gripping and imaginative even with it being a retelling. The story is plot and character driven, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. The characters were so well written, all with distinctive personalities and relationships with each other. It will be interesting to see who else we meet during the rest of the series.

Overall, I loved this book, so much I want to read the next one, Scarlet, straight away, and I rarely read a series back to back. I highly recommend this book and I gave it 5 🌟. Happy reading :mrgreen:📖

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Friday Favourites – Female Protagonists

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Author-Hazel

It’s my turn this week to tell you all about my favourite female leads. Going through my read list on Goodreads and picking my favourites has made me realise that all my favourite females embody life and personality traits that I envy or idolise. I think a good aspirational character is a fantastic thing to read about in a story. It can influence you to better yourself or even better, realise you’re pretty darn great already. All my favourites have a lot of flaws which, I think, humanises them, making them more relatable and more enjoyable to read.

Kay Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell)

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When I was a teenager, and the teachers traipsed you down to the careers office, I was always drawn to the science and investigation careers. Primarily, a Forensic Detective. It’s my dream job, and if things had played out differently… who knows, it could’ve been. I loved reading about this fascinating career and all the different aspects of it, and I loved Kay Scarpetta; a strong woman holding her own as the chief M.E in a male dominated world. She made mistakes, but carried on anyway because she knew her role was important in potentially saving lives. And the woman can cook. Some of the mouth-watering recipes were described in the books.

Paula Myo (Commonwealth Saga by Peter F Hamilton)

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Paula Myo is a Police Detective. She’s brilliant and methodical. So methodical in fact she borders on obsessive. Perhaps because she was bred specifically to excel and want to work in law enforcement. The planet she originates from genetically alters the DNA of their humans so they are and will be pre-disposed to favour and be excellent in chosen careers. Paula Myo struggles with the love she has for her work and the fact she does not agree with her planets’ genetic manipulation. Her love of her job sometimes takes her into very dangerous situations and she has made many enemies over her lifetimes, but she won’t quit in the search for justice.

Avery Morganstern (Wait for you by J Lynn)

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Avery went through a terrible ordeal when she was 14, and because her family and town let her down she was forced to endure isolation and bullying throughout her teenage years. Although she is still very much affected by the tragedy she suffered, she’s trying to move on (and move away), get herself a College education and survive on her own without her parents. I admire her courage, strength and her ability to try and better herself even after going through something that would break a lot of people.

Elena Michaels (Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong)

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Elena doesn’t wear make-up, perfume or use scented bath/shower products. She wears comfy clothes. Essentially she looks like an everyday woman. But Elena is a werewolf. The only female werewolf. And she can hold her own amongst this heavy testosterone, alpha male environment. She’s tough but feminine and I love that combination.

Freya Beachamp (Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz)

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Although I was unimpressed by this book, I did like Freya. She’s full of energy and fun and isn’t afraid to dare and take risks. She followed her heart even though it put her in some sticky situations. She was conflicted by her feelings for her fiance’s brother and struggled with it throughout the story, making some questionable decisions along the way. She’s also the Queen of mixing up potions, creating elaborate concoctions for all occasions.

Do you have some favourite female protagonists?

 

 

 

 

Book Club Review – The Darkest Park of the Forest by Holly Black

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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Laura

I have to say, “well done me”, I picked a corker this month! I’ve had my eye on this release for a little while, and although I haven’t read anything by Holly Black before she is a firm favourite with some of the other Bookspa ladies, so I knew there was a good chance we were going to love it.

This book is fabulous. Never too complicated that you have to re-read whole sections of text, but never too boring that you skip them either, the story flows along at a good pace, weaving in and out of Fairfold and taking you in unexpected directions before reaching it’s rather epic final showdown. It feels sort of beautiful, and reads like a dark fairy tale – I kept thinking of The Labyrinth, especially during the faerie revelry. The colours and descriptions are vivid, and the variety of characters, both fae and human, only add to the magic and romance of the story. I loved Hazel and Ben, and the bond between them that is central to the book. I also loved that Hazel was a bit of a badass and didn’t need a knight in shining armour to save her.

I could write loads of gushing praise for The Darkest Part of the Forest, but all in all I think this is one of the best books I’ve read for a long time, and I give it 5 stars *****.

 

Hazel

I really enjoyed this book. I thought the pace was great, I was never bored. Holly Black weaved a magical tale with lots of little twists and turns that kept you wanting more. I didn’t anticipate any of them which made the story even more magical. Her characters were well fleshed out, I loved the relationships between the characters, especially Ben and Hazel’s. The romance was sweet, I loved Jack. Above all, I felt warm and fuzzy whilst reading this book even though some parts got pretty dark and scary, it reminded me of the fairy tales I read in my youth. Wonderful pick Laura 😀

Kiera

I’m going to start by quoting you one my favourite lines from the book. For me this just sums up everything I loved about it.

‘I have loved you from almost the first moment I saw you, wild and fierce and brave, running through the woods, your lips stained purple from blackberry juice.’

I knew from the moment Laura mentioned this book that I would enjoy it. I love the way the Holly Black writes, and she is up there as one of my favourite fantasy authors. It reminded me a lot of The Spiderwick Chronicles, but as a more grown up version – sounds good, right? It was! Reading about all the different faerie creatures and the awful things they got up to was fascinating, and having Jack’s perspective in the mix being fae but in human society was a really interesting view point. The relationships between the characters was such a massive element throughout the story, and really kept the plot moving. The way that you had to unravel the mysteries of the story was so satisfying and I was never disappointed by the outcome. All in all a story of childhood and whimsy and love and magic and imagination. Completely brilliant.

Friday Favourites – Standalones!

Author – Kiera

When I suggested doing standalones as a Friday favourite I thought it would be a really easy topic. What a fool I am! After having a look through my reading history I noticed that actually I read books in a series far more often that I do standalones. Once invested in a series I’m too impatient to wait and must read the next book as soon as possible. If not sooner.

So with that being said here is my little list of standalones that I have read and enjoyed.

 

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

mlnd“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

 

I finished this book today. It is completely adorable. A typical Young Adult Contemporary but one that addresses a few heavier issues. It made me laugh, it made me mad and it gave me that warm fuzzy feeling. If you are in the mood for something light hearted that still has some substance then I recommend this!

 

Ugly Love – Colleen Hoover.

ulWhen Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

From the Young Adult to the Adult. I read this a while ago after hearing an equal amount of good and bad things about it. I might be broken, because all the things people seemed not to like in this book I loved. It is angsty and some times you just want to shout at the characters, but for some reason that keeps me reading! Plus the sex scenes are pretty damn good.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black.

tcgictTana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

 

 

I know we have all read a million and one vampire stories by now, but I really felt like this book put a very different spin on things! It has a very modern setting and all the outcomes feel realistic. The fact that it is a vampire book that stands alone is even better. Who has time for twenty plus book series anymore?

 

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

rpoIn the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape

 

 

If you like 80’s culture/references, treasure hunting, the internet and generally things that are ‘nerdy’ then I have to ask you – why you haven’t read this yet? I really hope we come up with something like the OASIS (not the band. Ick) soon, because I was made to live in it! Virtual reality + all day in pajamas = heaven! This book left such a clear impression in my mind. The world building is amazing and I loved the characters.

 

There are other standalones that I love – The Night Circus, Illusions of Fate and Tiger Lily are ones that I really wanted to give a little mention, and if you’re interested they all have their own reviews here on thebookspa for you to check out.

Mini Review – The Witch of Salt and Storm by Kendall Kulper

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Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother – the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic – steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe’s power.

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches’ help to thrive.

Avery has never read a dream that hasn’t come true, but a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane tells her he can help her change her fate. Becoming a witch may prevent her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers it will also require a sacrifice she never expected. And as she falls in love with Tane, she learns it is his life and hers that hang in the balance.

 

Author – Kiera.

I have mixed feeling about The Witch of Salt and Storm. I really love the premise and the setting. The writing style was lovely and lyrical but it also felt a bit disjointed at times and I had to read a few things twice to understand what was meant. This might be considered a bad thing, and I know some people will find it off putting, but it fit the style of the story quite well. The first half of the book moved at a very slow pace. There is a lot of family history, lore and scene setting to get through. I found it enjoyable but it didn’t move the storyline along as quickly as I would have liked. I loved the magic system, and can understand the lure of the sea. Each of the Roe witches had a different ability from their connection with the sea, and was all so interesting! I just would have liked a bit more of it throughout the book.

There is a good mix of characters, and I found myself drawn towards Avery’s Grandmother and Tane. They both have quite turbulent pasts yet remain honest and likeable.

I know that Whaling happened and why it did. I also understand why it was an integral part of the story, but that being said it wasn’t something I enjoyed reading about.

Overall though I found it slow I did enjoy reading this. Historical fantasy isn’t something I have read much of, and this has definitely made me want to read more.

Friday Favourites – Books I loved as a child.

Author – Kiera.

I have an endless list for this topic of Friday Favourites. There is something special about childhood books, you always remember them fondly and get a real sense of nostalgia. With many of these picks I could tell you where I was when I read them, what I had been doing, who I with. I also have many of the copies I read stashed away in a box for safe keeping.

I’m going to try and be somewhat chronological with this post and hope I can narrow it down a bit, let’s see how that goes!

 

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Roald Dahl.

This one is probably pretty common, I don’t think there is a book lover out there that has not read a Roald Dahl book or two! I specifically remember reading The Twits, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach repeatedly. His writing style and the brilliant illustrations always made it so easy for me to picture his colourful characters. I even have the recipe book to go along with the stories, though I confess the only thing I really make is the Bruce Bogtrotter cake nowadays.

 

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Enid Blyton.

This is another author I read a lot of as a youngster. The books that will always stick in my mind are The Faraway Tree stories and The Famous Five. Clearly I wanted to pack my spotted handkerchief and go off on lots of fun adventures as a nine year old! While the Roald Dahl books appealed to me because of their characters, these were all about the imagery and world building. I think I checked all the trees in the local area to see if Moonface happened to be living in one. No such luck!

 

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The Switch – Anthony Horowitz.

I used to get given book recommendations most weeks from my teachers growing up. Before the days of Goodreads (how did we cope?) it was a case of heading the library and filtering through books until you found something that sounded good. So to have someone suggest a book you might like was always a great start. This was one of them, and the one that stand out most in my mind. I love Anthony Horowitz’s writing style even now and this is going to be one that I read with my son at some point in the near future.

 

 

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The Artemis Fowl Series – Eoin Colfer.

I was fourteen when this series started. It was recommended (as many books are) by my Aunt and we started reading them together. This is an amazing series to have someone to experience with. The story lines are fun and fast paced, the characters are hilarious and the world building is great. Even now we still make references to these books in general conversation. People must think we’re mad.

 

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And last, but not least! The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

Now, I’m going to say something that is probably going to get me in trouble. This is what I reading when everyone else was reading Harry Potter. I’m sorry, don’t hate me. As a teen I was very much – if everyone else is doing it, then I’m going to be doing something else. In this case it actually worked out pretty well, because this series will always be one of my favourite fantasy stories, and actually they are often compared to Harry Potter now. A boy who does magic, must be like HP.

This series had me laughing all the way through, even though it is gritty and all the characters are flawed. I think it set a standard for what I like and look for in fantasy novels now.

 

I’m going to leave it there, while there are so many more I want to mention these are the ones that always come to mind first. What are your favourite childhood reads?

Book Review – The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks–all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic…and the growing romantic tension between them.

Pirates and Assassins. Do I need to say more? Well alright then, you’ve twisted my arm!

As you might have noticed, this book is about pirates and assassins! How cool is that! This book had me from page one, and I finished it in a day. The first line is ‘I ain’t never been one to trust beautiful people, and Tarrin of the Hariri was the most beautiful man I ever saw.‘ I love the writing style, it makes me feel like I’m a pirate, and who doesn’t want to be a pirate! We follow two main characters through the story, Ananna (the Pirate) and Naji (the assassin) and it’s written from Ananna’s point of view. I really love both of these characters. They are completely different from one another, but then almost exactly the same too. They both have been brought up in environments in which each day is a fight for survival,  but they deal with things in their own unique ways.
Ananna is very forward with her feelings and quick to throw a punch, where as Naji is used to appraising the situation and hiding in shadows. So when they are forced together by the curse it’s interesting to see how they work as a team. Their relationship is tentative but you can feel the bond between them slowly growing and it’s wonderful.

The magic system was so fun to read about. I loved how different people in the book could draw power from different places depending on the magic they use. The fight scenes in this book were awesome! Nothing like some swashbuckling pirates with their swords and muskets battling it out on deck.
The only thing I would have changed with this book would have been the addition on a map. There is a lot of traveling around by land and sea, and I think a map would have helped me get my bearings in the world a bit better.

I don’t want to say too much more about this book, because it’s not a very long and I don’t want to ruin it for you. I really hope that you give it a read though. It is brilliant fantasy and definitely worth the read.

commission,The Assassin's Curse by may12324

I found this picture on pinterest and it is the perfect image I had for the characters. The link to the original image is – http://may12324.deviantart.com/art/commission-The-Assassin-s-Curse-480759309

Friday Favourites – Book to Screen Adaptations.

Author – Kiera.

I have struggled with this weeks Friday Faves a little bit. I am very fussy with adaptations, especially if it is from a book I really love! I like them to stick to the story as closely as possible and get quite disgruntled when they don’t. Hmph.

With that being said here are some of my favourite adaptations.

 

Bitten.

I really enjoyed the book, and the show is almost identical! There are a few changes, but in this case I can see how it will benefit the show. The books follows the same set of characters for the first two, then it starts flitting between different characters in each book. The series seems set up to follow the first set of characters throughout, so some changes have been made to make the storyline carry on from there. Both the book and the show have amazing characters, full of southern charm. I literally melt every time Clay says ‘Darlin’.

The Vampire Diaries.

I don’t think I have met anybody that doesn’t like The Vampire Diaries. The first book was written over twenty years ago, and has a very different feel to it than the show. Plus the show seemed to take some ideas from the book and then take it in any and every direction they wanted! Despite the differences, I really enjoy watching it. There is never a dull episode, and no town knows how to party like Mystic Falls.

The Lord Of The Rings (and The Hobbit)

We’ve all seen LOTR, right? I don’t know that many people who have read the books though. This makes me sad, because while they are heavy going there is a lot of detail in there that they just couldn’t fit into the films. Even with the extended versions! Though it seems to be the opposite with The Hobbit. While I have enjoyed the films (I haven’t seen the last one yet) there is an awful lot of filler to them. I love them in any form though. They are amazing.

Memoirs Of A Geisha.

I love the film. I love the book. If you haven’t seen or read it go now! They are both so atmospheric, full of passion and utterly captivating. You get glimpses into Japanese culture and traditions, and the complexity of the Geisha’s nature. I know some people thought it was an actual memoir, and that seemed to tick them off. As long as you go into this knowing it’s fiction, I don’t think it’s a problem.

Mary Poppins.

Mary Poppins is my favourite film. I have so many good memories attached to this film! I know it word for word and used to make my friends act out different scenes from it when we were out playing. I was a bit older when I read the book, which is a good thing because the Disney version is a lot lighter and fluffier than it’s book counter-part. They did a great job extracting some of the iconic scenes from the book and putting their own spin on them. Mary Poppins is not as likeable in the books, so it’s probably a good thing they did!

Book Review – The Crown Tower: Book 1 of The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan

Author – Laura

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Two men who hate each other.  One impossible mission. A legend in the making.

A warrior with nothing to fight for is paired with a thieving assassin with nothing to lose. Together they must steal a treasure that no one can reach. The Crown Tower is the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built and home to the realm’s most valuable possessions. But it isn’t gold or jewels the old wizard is after, and this prize can only be obtained by the combined talents of two remarkable men. Now if Arcadias can just keep Hadrian and Royce from killing each other, they just might succeed.

This book was recommended to me by my lovely Dad, who is an avid fan of all things sword and sorcery. The Crown Tower is actually part of a prequel series to the Riyria Revelations trilogy, telling the story of how the main characters, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, met and became partners. I haven’t read Revelations, but my Dad said to start with The Crown Tower as reading them in chronological order might make more sense to a Riyria noob. Of course, if you want to read them in order of publication by all means read the trilogy first. It won’t detract from the story, if anything I imagine you might even get more out of it than someone who hasn’t read it.

The first part of the story is focused on Hadrian, who has spent the last few years as a mercenary, killing for money. In an effort to leave his past behind him he sets off on an eventful journey to meet a family friend, who has some things that have been left to him following the death of his father. Hadrian isn’t very good at making friends, which makes for a few fun and games on the way.

We don’t meet Royce until later, when the friend, a professor at a school for the gifted, sends the two on a mission to steal something important. They have to work together, but the instant mutual loathing is a bit of a hurdle. Unfortunately for them, the only way to survive the job is by learning to trust each other. Which, of course, is easier said than done…

Alongside their story we also meet Gwen DeLancy, a whore who refuses to let herself and other girls be used and abused by the tavern owner or their customers. I imagine Gwen has an important role to play in future books.

There is plenty of action in The Crown Tower, and I immediately liked both Hadrian and Royce. I think that’s largely thanks to the brilliant writing. Alongside the fast paced action and beautiful descriptions of the world, I found this book unexpectedly funny. The humour is dry and sarcastic, and I loved the banter between the main characters. It isn’t written like a prequel, and there doesn’t seem to be any assumption about what the reader already may or may not know. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series – The Rose and the Thorn.

Although its more sword than sorcery (I imagine that changes as the story goes on) The Crown Tower is a great introduction into both Fantasy fiction and the world of Riyria, and perfect for Young Adults and their *ahem* slightly older counterparts as well!

My rating – 4/5

Check out The Crown Tower on Goodreads

Favourite Reads of 2014 & Goals for 2015.

Author – Kiera.

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2015 already? To wrap up our year of reading we thought that sharing a list of our favourite reads from last year, and our resolutions for this year, seemed like a plan.

 

The Razorland Trilogy by Ann Aguire.

‘New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters – or Freaks – who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight – guided by Fade’s long-ago memories – in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.’

I read the first book in this series in 2013 and loved it! For some reason I couldn’t find the next book in the series, until I was browsing a charity shop one day earlier this year and Outpost was sat there waiting for me. I think I did a bit of a happy dance. I got home, started it straight away and loved it as much as the first book! I then scoured the internet until I found a copy of the third book. Needless to say, I read it and loved that one too. For me this was everything I wanted from a Dystopian series. The world building is extensive and atmospheric. The characters have depth and you slowly discover their pasts as the books progress. There are characters you’ll hate, characters you’ll want to hate and characters you will love and root for. If you like Dystopia and are looking for something different, give this a try.

 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

‘When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.’

I found this book to be an emotional roller coaster, but in the best possible way. You really go on a journey with the characters and I sat and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Always a sign you enjoyed the book! I liked that you got to see different parts of the story from both Miles’ and Tate’s point of view and slowly uncover why he is the way he is. It’s also a steamy read, so if that’s what you’re looking for – look no further!

 

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

 

Half Bad by Sally Green

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

 

I’m not going to go into much detail about these three as I have already mentioned them in a previous post which is linked here – September 5th – Friday Favourites  (plus the girls might throttle me if I mention DoSB again. Sorry – not sorry)

The short of it is that these books are so completely different to anything I have read before. I found them to be haunting reads, ones you constantly find yourself thinking about months later. These will definitely be re-reads.

Reboot by Amy Tintera

‘Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.’

As you may have noticed Dystopia is one of my favourite genres. I think it is relevant enough to our world that it makes you stop and think about how your actions may impact the future, and that is a really powerful thing.

Reboot is no different. A virus has swept America, killing a lot of people. Permanently. For others it’s not quite as permanent and they are ‘rebooted’ and come back to life. Children are more adaptable and when they reboot, they take orders and go to work for HARC. Adults aren’t so adaptable and their bodies and minds don’t react well to rebooting.

I found the internal politics in this book really interesting. The lengths people will go to to save themselves, and also the actions people are capable of to fight against the injustice. There is a smidge of romance that gradually develops throughout the story, and it felt necessary to counter some of the awful things that happen with that dash of hope. All in all excellent read and I’m looking forward to getting my hand on the next book!

 

Goals for 2015

My goals for this year are quite simple really. I don’t want a massive numerical goal as I’ve found that last year I didn’t really read any big books. Most of my books were 400 pages and under, and while that’s not a bad thing, I have a few big books that are screaming for my attention. So this year I’m going to read them! I have set my Goodreads challenge as 52.

Finishing a series. I love a good series marathon. For some reason last year I did a lot of flitting between different books. I currently have six complete series of books sitting on my shelves that I need to start. That should keep me busy for now!

Reading books I want to read. I know this sounds obvious, but in the book communities there is always something new coming out that everyone is talking about. I do enjoy being up to date with what’s out, and it’s kind of required for this blog, but at the same time I want to go back to discovering books on my own every now and then. There’s a real sense of achievement in finding a book that looks awesome, reading it without any preconceptions and forming an opinion without knowing what other people thought of it first. I have missed that.

Last but not least – Re-reading! This is a direct result of my first three points, I think. I only re-read one book last year, which is quite sad really. I love reading a favourite book again, it takes me to a happy place. Feeling the need to read as much as possible has been a bit of an obstacle recently, so that’s what I’m hoping to eliminate with these goals.