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Book Tour – Unravelled by Briony Marshall

Published by The Writing Hall

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for a review as part of Love Books Tours 🙂

Synopsis

“For crying out loud! I can’t even cast on now.”

Claire has never unravelled anything before, being a confident knitter. But now, to her dismay, everything she creates is a disaster, riddled with dropped stitches and glaring holes. It’s almost as if her hands have a mind of their own. Maybe it’s because her longest relationship to date has just ended, or perhaps it has something to do with the fact her career is on the ropes.

“Don’t get frustrated with your needles! The problem lies with the knitter, not the knitting,” said Adrian, owner of Oddballs wool shop. Following his advice, in the desperate hope it will cure her woolly woes, Claire begins to turn her life around. Her grand plan involves FishTank, the online dating site. She convinces Adrian that if they sign up and find love, their problems will be solved (and she’ll have at least one area of her life sorted!). The trouble starts when he has far more luck in the romance department than she does.

But it’s little wonder Claire can’t throw herself into dating. She’s already found her perfect match.

A must-read for avid knitters and those with a passion for crafting, this comical yarn will melt any reader’s heart.

Will they? Won’t they? Romance enthusiasts will be rooting for the pair to be knitted together, forever!

Posted in beauty and the beast, book review, faeries, fantasy, fiction, retelling, supernatural, Uncategorized

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

*sigh* I have joined the Maases (he he he)

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Published yonks ago (2015) by Bloomsbury


Synopsis (just in case you don’t know)

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


Review

Yikes! I am so behind with this series!

The ACOTAR series completely passed me by when it came out – I missed it, I didn’t know it existed for a long time but then I kept hearing about it. I resisted still, I thought I had left it too long, that I wouldn’t be the right audience for it and to be honest I didn’t know which books went with which series when it came to Sarah J Maas!

So it took a lot of prodding and encouragement from my fellow readers over on Instagram but I decided this year I was at least going to dip my toe in the Maas worlds (it still took six months after I made the decision). Several people told me to read ACOTAR first and I had seen those beautiful new covers coming out but I just couldn’t wait. I bought the older covers second hand and set out to join in a readalong on Instagram with a few others.

Now I must apologise to the entire reading community and all the Book Gods. I’m sorry I didn’t read this sooner, it was right up my street and I shall always listen to you in future! 

I enjoyed it a lot, I loved the instant world-building and how fast-paced the story was. I kept pronouncing Feyre wrong so I’m glad Maas cleared that up in the narrative. Despite having the book split into five sections, I read it in three and I’ve really enjoyed experiencing this for the first time alongside those who have already read the books because they have made me excited to see where it’s going. I have to say I haven’t read any series specifically around faeries that I’ve enjoyed (I tried Cruel Prince and didn’t click with it). Faeries tend to drop in on my reading but don’t take centre stage, especially fantasy novels not set in our world so this was a pretty new phenomena for me.

BUT I’m not going to say it was perfect. After all the comments on the internet and references I had seen everywhere on Bookstagram. I just couldn’t help but notice the breathing and the purring and the tongue clicking. How many times?? I know it is going to get worse and I tried not to focus on it but maaaaan these tiny things are annoying when they pop up in every conversation! My only other drawback was while I was reading I couldn’t help but feel that Feyre fell pretty easily into her new life … yes she thought about leaving at first and then all of a sudden, nope she was cosy. I guess for me, when she first arrived in the Spring Court I thought Feyre could have been a bit more suspicious about what was going on.

From what I can gather, most people say this series gets better so I have all my fingers and toes crossed since the other two books are a bit chunkier than ACOTAR which I have to say was a pretty energetic and adventurous opener. I’m excited to be on this journey and I’m bringing you all along for the ride … sorry! Let’s see what the Night Court is like!

I would also like to stress that this book had some sexual content in it and although it’s labelled as Young Adult … I would not have been comfortable reading this as a teenager!

Also, it is currently less than £2 for Kindle here in case you don’t have a copy …

Goodreads Rating  4 / 5

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction, gifted, Uncategorized

Book Tour! The Very Real World of Emily Adams by Samantha Rose

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Published by Immortal Works LLC – June 2020


Synopsis

“Be a rebel. In a world of darkness, become light.”

Emily Adams has lost everything. Injured from a fight with her now officially-ex-boyfriend, she’s fled to an unfamiliar city with nothing but the change in her pocket and a broken relationship with her father. As hope slips away, she seeks to put a permanent end to her pain…

Until an enchanting encounter with a magic man in a dress changes everything.

Given a new chance at life, Emily embarks on a journey with her new BFF, a mysterious clairvoyant, and a band of musicians to stop the monsters that threaten the world. And she may uncover something even more impossible-if she can let go of the past and believe in herself enough to embrace it.


Review

Firstly, thank you to Love Books Tours for inviting me on this one and providing me with a copy of the book.

This book was absolutely bonkers. My original thoughts were that Samantha Rose must have had a dream of all this, woken up in the middle of the night and scribbled it all down. I didn’t know where the narrative was leading me at all so it was a complete surprise.  In the beginning I thought I was reading a contemporary novel – here was our protagonist, struggling with her mental health and here was a boy coming to save her but I soon ate my words there were monsters, aliens, mystery and adventure all rolled into one.

Quite quickly into the novel, Emily is involved in the weirdest situation. I don’t think I have ever read a book that flips the story upside down quite like this one. I enjoyed how the characters and narrative kept me guessing and I liked how when it came to saving the world, the human girl didn’t magically get involved and manage to do what the super humans couldn’t. Plus on the opposite side of the spectrum – she didn’t constantly need saving either, sometimes humans need to know when to stay out of the way!

The world today doesn’t make sense and I think that’s the message I got from this story. The world of Emily Adams is that little bit more crazy, but that is what she needed to find herself and settle in a new life. When we first meet Emily, she is lost and looking for a way to end her life. When Lipstick Rick appears and helps her out, she is given a chance and she turns her life around and helps out a lot of people in the process. I think it is just trying to tell us that a little nice can go a long way, sometimes you just need someone to ask if you’re okay.

Throughout the book I was happy with how Emily was represented –  I empathised with her a lot. It is realistic to feel like you’re doing things wrong and it is common to feel like you are always in the way – without shouting and screaming about abusive relationships and how these can cause mental health issues, Samantha Rose uses good descriptive paragraphs to put you in Emily’s mindset, she uses a lot of words to get you there though. It made me a little uncomfortable at times but it was a good discomfort – it gave me hope that Emily would come out the other side and grow as a person now that she had found better people to become part of – I’m sure a lot of us can understand that. The friends that Emily makes in the novel were sassy and I was all for the sarcastic retorts which often made me laugh.

I guess it’s ironic that Emily Adam’s ‘very real world’ is an accurate representation of the actual world. I don’t want to say too much more here and ruin this for anyone who hasn’t read it because while I can admire the strangeness of the story I did feel little bit disconnected at times – the narrative felt like it jumped around a lot – some situations came from way out of left field and I did get a little tired towards the end. Lipstick Rick’s speeches are so long and while it is a joke within the novel, I just don’t think we needed so many words.

I gave this book 3 Stars – it was okay, I’m happy to have read it but I wouldn’t read it again. I am interested to see what Samantha Rose thinks up next though.

Goodreads Rating 3 / 5

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Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Published in the UK by Harper Voyager (Left) Sep 2019 & US (Right) by Harper Teen


Synopsis

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment dog her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a West African world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.


Review

First of all thank you to Harper Voyager and Netgalley who sent me a digital review copy (sorry it’s late …)

I really enjoyed several aspects of this book – the setting being the main one. The world Rena Barron has created is beautiful, I really felt like I was there in person while I was reading about it. The details included were rich and complex but well written so while I felt the writing was detailed, I didn’t get confused and need to reread anything or get lost.

My drawback for Kingdom of Souls is that while it isn’t the longest of fantasy novels out there, it moved incredibly slowly at first. I found myself really pushing to get through the first half of the novel and then the second moved so fast I didn’t feel that enough of the narrative concentrated on building the characters before we got to the action. I would love to know more about the magic system as I really enjoyed that! At times I thought the narrative skimmed over details which could have been explored for the reader’s benefit although, with another two books coming, perhaps we will get those details soon!

So despite the slow burn first half, the second half of the narrative is non-stop. By this point I was enthralled in the world and enjoying the character’s progression. Arrah is a great protagonist to follow, she isn’t perfect in the sense of the word – she doesn’t even have magic, but she wants it so desperately. I really felt for her and enjoyed following her journey through the story, her allegiance between two ‘clans’ is hard leaving her feeling like she doesn’t belong in either.

As a debut novel I am impressed with Rena Barron – I’ll be keeping an eye on her – and as the first novel in a series I’m really looking forward to continuing on with the story and seeing more of the characters. I feel like we’ve only glimpsed this fantasy world and because it is so rich I’m left wondering how three books is going to be enough?

Goodreads Rating 4 / 5

You can read more about the novel, the author and the world here.

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Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

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Published 23rd June 2020


Synopsis

Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown and an occasional roll in the hay to relive all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits…

When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues her from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae – and Zaf is begging Dani to play along.

Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. But grumpy Zaf is secretly a romantic – and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. With every fake date and midnight meeting, Dani’s easy lay becomes more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired?

Or is the universe waiting for her to take a hint?


Review

Thanks go to the publisher and Netgalley for my digital review copy!

If you’re in need of a quick, sassy, steamy read then look no further as it is this (would also recommend you check out book one – Get a Life, Chloe Brown although it can be read stand alone). Talia Hibbert is a breath of fresh air with her quirky and stubborn characters, easy to read narrative and entertaining plots.

Dani Brown is smart and strong willed. She knows what she wants and what she wants is Zafir Ansari, the hot rugby player-built security man of the building where she works. The good news is Zafir wants Dani just as much. The only problem is Zafir is a hopeless romantic and Dani Brown does not let herself get attached which is why, when the two decide to have a fake relationship to help Zafir’s social media presence, things can only go wrong!

I really enjoyed Hibbert’s take on the fake relationship trope, it ticked all my boxes for a super easy read. After devouring Chloe Brown a couple of months ago I was well prepared for Hibbert’s easy-going writing style and somewhat … erm … descriptive sexual encounters *blush* – I definitely made sure to read this one where it couldn’t be read over my shoulder!

When not describing the sexual tension between her two characters, Hibbert gives an accurate representation for Chronic Illness and Mental Health issues in her books – Zafir suffers with anxiety and this resurfaces when he starts being recognised on social media which in today’s society is so relevant. Hibbert uses Zafir’s anxiety carefully and not without poise but also with a certain level of knowledge that I can appreciate. She doesn’t beat around the bush in describing how anxiety makes you feel and how it can be triggered by the smallest of events or thoughts which also becomes relevant to Dani, when she reveals how her past has shaped her personality.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown is straight on to my must read summer novels and I eagerly await Hibbert’s next installment in the Brown Sisters series!

Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5

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Maker’s Curse by Trudi Canavan

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Published by Orbit – May 2020


Synopsis

Rielle is now the Maker, restorer of worlds. She has lost count of the number of worlds she has been sent to save.

Tyen has cast off his old identity. No longer a spy, he now attempts to teach new sorcerers and find ways to counteract the war machines that are spreading throughout the worlds.

But when an old enemy brings news of something worse than magically dead worlds and dangerous sorcerers – a threat unlike anything the worlds have faced before – Rielle and Tyen must reunite if they are to have any chance of saving humanity.


Review

It’s here! The final book! 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Orbit for my digital review copy!

The Millennium’s Rule series is complete and I am sad but also content. This really was a journey and since I finished the book I’ve been reading all about why it took so long to complete, the obstacles Trudi Canavan has faced and it makes me appreciate it so much more.

I’ll try and keep this spoiler free 🙂

I really enjoyed this series. For me, Maker’s Curse was the weakest of the novels but only because it had so much to live up to. Four novels over 500 pages long each is A LOT. That is a huge amount of story to tell and I’m not quite sure how Canavan keeps everything straight in her brain … she may be taking lessons from George R R Martin … although at least Canavan pays out haha, sorry!

Highlights of this series are most notably it’s character driven narrative but also it’s massive multi-world building and the magic system. I always love how Canavan writes her magic systems! Tyen and Rielle stay as main protagonists throughout the entire series and while they tackle huge problems for humanity they also overcome issues caused by their own personalities – just like real people! Unlike real people though, they get out of situations far too easily. Maker’s Curse had the potential to put Rielle and Tyen into some really difficult scenarios and just when you thought it might happen, it didn’t.

In respect of the enemy of the novels – this is where I became disappointed. The Raen was a great villain in that we saw every side of him including his background, his good traits and his bad traits but we don’t have that in Maker’s Curse. Instead a new enemy is introduced and I have to say, dealt with far too easily. To go from such a high in the first novel, to such a low in this one was very underwhelming. Building up prophecies to have them just be taken care of so easily just fell a bit flat for me unfortunately.

Despite this, I did very much enjoy the tale of Tyen and Rielle and I’m sure I will revisit them in the future. To be able to easily follow such intricate and rich plot lines is one of the magics of Trudi Canavan’s writings, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Goodreads Rating 4 / 5

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Successor’s Promise by Trudi Canavan

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Published in the UK by Orbit 2017


Synopsis

Five years have passed since the Rebels confronted the Raen. Five years, in which the boy Rielle rescued, Qall, has grown up among the Travellers, with no memory of the life that was stolen from him. Five years of chaos, barely contained by Baluka and the Restorers. Worlds are at war, some overrun by deadly machines, some drained of magic by power-hungry sorcerers. As Qall comes of age, and Rielle and Tyen’s hard-won peace is threatened, their loyalties are tested – and Qall’s very existence is at stake. Because Dahli is still determined to restore Valhan to power, and he will stop at nothing to succeed.


Review

Successor’s Promise falls as the third book in the Millennium’s Rule series. It takes place five years after Angel of Storms and in that time both of our protagonist’s have cemented themselves in some kind of resemblance to normal life. Rielle is working as an artist, designing tiles and working with a group of decorators in an Emperor’s palace. Tyen is working in a small factory and occasionally meets with Baluka and Dahli while he tries to find a way to restore Vella, once again being a friend to both ‘sides’.

It’s very hard to talk about this book without spoilers for the first two!

So beware SPOILERS FOR BOOKS ONE AND TWO MAY BE BELOW!

 

What I loved most about Successor’s Promise was the complete shake up of who the enemy was. The first two books focussed on The Raen as the enemy and he was so multidimensional it completely blew my mind. Seeing him from the different points of view was fantastic. Rielle, who saw him as a friend; Baluka who saw him as a monster and Tyen who was caught in the middle was very well written in my opinion. It really helped to get some interaction with Dahli as well who obviously adores The Raen. Instead of a typical enemy who is mysterious and has overwhelming power, The Raen has power and a conscience. You get to read about his history and why he makes the decisions he does. While he’s not all good, he’s not made out to be all bad either which is emphasized by the use of his actual name – Valhan.

In Successor’s Promise, this continues in the form of Dahli – he’s the new threat, but only because he wants his love back. Throughout the books you get the sense that Dahli is almost hypnotised with Valhan and his power, committing terrible acts purely because he is so blindsided by affection. Book Two saw Valhan try to get his memories into another body, one that is also powerful and could be his Successor but which would mean an innocent would be sacrificed to do it.

So book three continues Rielle’s story because she needs to protect that innocent –  Qall; who Dahli believes can still be a host for Valhan. This ties in quite nicely with Tyen’s need to find a way to restore Vella to a body doesn’t it?

But obviously, things never go to plan and lots of adventure ensues and to be honest – it works. Trudi Canavan is in no rush to tell her story (each book is over 500 pages), she encompasses World and Character Building, mostly in equal measure which could make these books slow for some readers however for me, it was a nice steady pace and I felt that every option could be hashed out and come to a comfortable conclusion. I loved the interaction between Tyen and Rielle in this book, it seems to have been a long time coming but it was worth the wait. They really complement each other and although they work well together they actually do things wrong too which was really engaging to read.

Goodreads Rating 4 / 5

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Angel of Storms by Trudi Canavan

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Published by Orbit 2015

Synopsis

Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose… except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?

Review

The second novel in the Millennium’s Rule series sees the main protagonists Tyen & Rielle in totally different scenarios to the first book. Over the course of this novel they move closer and closer together but they also grow so much as characters and I started to really enjoy them both for the talents they were bringing to the table.

Rielle is quickly swept away from her home world and becomes involved with a totally different culture in the travellers (my favourite people in this series). The travellers are a group of gypsy like people who travel between worlds constantly to trade their wares between the different cultures. Baluka, the son of the family she stays with, becomes her protector and tries to teach her how to use her magic.

Tyen on the other hand has settled down to teach mechanical magic in a school, but when rumours of a powerful sorcerer come to light he finds himself entangled between the Raen as his spy and the rebels as a leader. I still feel close to Tyen as a person. He makes decisions for the right reasons but constantly manages to find himself in the worst situations.

Throughout Angel of Storms I really grew to admire Rielle. Now that she is outside of her world she is learning to question everything she has been brought up to believe in, including Angels. She is making connections with other people and really pushing outside of the boundaries I as the reader saw her in. Rielle is smart. Her behaviour has been shaped by the experiences she went through in Thief’s Magic, while she is still naive in some ways, she is also now more confident in herself and her abilities and her journey is really nice to read through.

Overall, Angel of Storms is a nice follow on from Thief’s Magic and offers an excellent pace to drive the story. The worlds are complex and the relationships the characters are tackling are complicated but Canavan writes confidently and clearly so there is little confusion with the decisions made in the narrative, they are believable as people and it’s easy to empathise with them. This was a re-read for me and I enjoyed it a lot (perhaps more than  the first read).

Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5

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Thief’s Magic by Trudi Canavan

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Published by Orbit (May 2014)

I adore Trudi Canavan’s writing. Ever since I opened The Magician’s Guild (a long time ago) I’ve devoured every novel that she has deigned to gift to the world. I love how she creates these amazing worlds, magic systems and characters who come to life within the narrative and make you feel at home. It’s always a comfort coming to a Trudi Canavan novel so to read Millennium’s Rule series in lockdown was just what I needed.

I read Thief’s Magic back in 2014 when it was first released and I followed up with Angel of Storms in 2015 when that was released too. Successor’s Promise wasn’t released until 2017 – I bought it before going on holiday so I could read it in style but when I found out that it wasn’t a trilogy but a quadrilogy … I decided to wait until I had an idea of when the fourth book would be released before I would read it. Bring on 2020 and the release date of May 20th gave me a push but I needed to re-read the first two books (oh no! ha!).

The Millennium’s Rule series is ambitious to say the least! The series is set in a multiverse, there are thousands and thousands of worlds and each world has its own rules, systems, fashions, language etc etc etc yeah I know – mind blown. Thief’s Magic is the first novel of the series and is told from the perspectives of two protagonists – Tyen and Rielle who hail from two very different worlds and who don’t know each other … both can use magic although only one is trained and they are both, obviously destined to have an amazing story to tell.

Tyen finds himself in a difficult situation when he discovers a book that used to be a woman – details are in the book (lol) but you can use your imagination. Vella holds thousands of years of history in her ‘memory’ and Tyen is duty bound to hand over his discovery to the School of Magic that he attends. So when he doesn’t do that, he is branded a thief and leaves in search of a way to give Vella her body back.

Rielle lives in a world where magic is forbidden so when she discovers at a young age that she can sense it (and therefore use it) she hides her ability from everyone. Her world believes using magic is stealing from the Angels and as magic leaves a void where it was used, hiding it from the priests who serve the Angels is difficult and comes at a cost.

The development of the characters and the worldbuilding in Thief’s Magic is phenomenal. While the novel builds a lot of aspects up and acts as an introduction to the series it also tells a powerful tale on it’s own. Every detail has been thought of and just when I think I know what to expect, another curveball comes my way. Out of the two characters I much prefer Tyen, probably because he reminds me of myself. He is a sensitive character who finds himself in difficult situations, struggling to choose a side. His relationship with Vella is complicated, ranging from student, teacher, friend and protector which is interesting to pick apart. 

Through the narrative you really get a strong feeling of who the characters are and how they will respond in certain situations. Both Tyen and Rielle find themselves facing challenges which push them out of their comfort zones and force them to adapt and grow throughout. I loved seeing them both evolve and by the final chapter I couldn’t wait to see how their story would continue.

To any fantasy fans who haven’t given Trudi Canavan a go I would recommend you start!

Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5