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Cookie Break

Writer, stationery addict & occasional cat pillow. Adorer of all things cute. Tea and pasta fanatic.

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Books I Love

I love to read, and when I read a book I love I write a review about it! Please bear in mind that I’m not a professional reviewer, neither is it the main purpose of this blog. I do not get paid for my reviews, neither can you bribe me into writing a positive review for a book I didn’t enjoy (then again, no one has tried to offer me cookies before…)

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)

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“Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.”

nano-reward-3What I thought:

After I devoured Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom last year I just had to read this trilogy, too ❤ So I treated myself and made Shadow and Bone my first read of the year ^-^

I knew that the more powerful Grisha were said to live long lives, and Darklings were the most powerful of them all. But I felt the wrongness of it and I remembered Eva’s words: He’s not natural. None of them are.

I instantly loved Alina. She’s a young woman who gets thrown into a destiny she couldn’t want less, with a power she can’t control and doesn’t want to possess, against odds she can’t hope to survive. I can’t tell if I loved her for her, or because she reminded me of my girl Rachael.

Because I read the duology first I came to Shadow and Bone with a different view point – the places, the people, the events that play such a big, vital part in Shadow and Bone I’d already heard of. Because of this I felt like I was coming back to a world I already loved, despite not having seen these places in the duology. The familiarity was there, and it was wonderful.

“You’re shaking,” he said.

“I’m not used to people trying to kill me.”

“Really? I hardly notice any more.”

Two things stood out above all others for me. One is the Russian mythology that plays a big part in this trilogy. I’ve actually done a bit of digging and love how Bardugo has adepted Russian folklore to fit her world! The world building is excellent, but then I already knew that 😉 The second highlight is Alina, and how she copes with her situation. She’s far away from familiarity when she arrives at the Little Palace, and doesn’t know who she can trust. Her own power is a mystery to her, and I loved seeing how she coped as the story went on.

I also love Genya. End of story ❤

If you’re looking for a fantastic fantasy trilogy, or if you loved Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, then I urge you to read Shadow and Bone!

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Have you read Shadow and Bone, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Review: Touch by Briana Morgan

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“The Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?”

www-11012017-2What I thought:

I’ve never been hugged before. I don’t know anyone who has.

And so begins this wonderful play about the basic human need to be touched.

The Seeker lives in a future where all touch is outlawed. Hugs are sold illegally on the street like a modern day drug, and past users, like the Seekers mother, are watched closely by probation officers. The Seeker is a young woman who wonders what it would be like to have her hand held, to be embraced by her mother, or to be kissed, and writes down her thoughts in her diary, but when her mother finds out she’s furious.

The Seeker’s desire to know tops her fear of being imprisoned, and she decides to brave the unthinkable and pay a dealer for a hug.

What follows is the moving story set in a world where a basic human right and need has been taken away, and one girl’s refusal to accept it. It’s a short story (I read the whole thing in thirty minutes) but its message is strong and the story and characters develop beautifully.

If you’re looking for a quick, poignant read then I can’t recommend Touch enough! I really enjoyed my first dive into plays and would love to see it on stage if given the chance.

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Have you read Touch, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

WWW Wednesday 8th February 2017

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

08022017-2Ashael Rising

I’m very nearly done with this now and should finish it on Thursday. It’s the only ARC I’ve got at the moment so I’ll be able to return to my tbr pile after this!

I’ve really enjoyed it, and should get my review written early next week. Since I only post one review a week here it’ll be a while before it’ll go live but it’ll be on Goodreads right away 🙂

Blurb:

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

***

What I recently finished reading

nano-reward-4Siege and Storm

I really liked Siege and Storm. I’d agree that it wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still flew through it and I love the Russian mythology weaving into it. I’m excited to read the final title in the series now and see how everything’s going to play out.

Blurb:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

***

What I think I’ll read next

nano-reward-5Ruin and Rising

This is still my next read… It’s taken me a while to get through my ARC since I read two books parallel to each other for a while, but it won’t be long now! I’m hoping to start it on Friday, maybe even Thursday. I’m really looking forward to it now!

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.”

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What I thought:

This book was magic, go read it.

My, that was much easier than expected! 😀

*ahem* *tries again*

The Night Circus is, above all else, about a competition between two young people who had no say in whether they wanted to compete. The game begins in a way every kid ever has dreamed off – when they are children, Celia and Marco begin to learn how to use magic, real magic, and use it to create, to heal, and do accomplish miracles. Neither of them realises what the competition is meant to achieve, only that they have to play it, that they can’t leave, and that it’s over when it’s over. Clear instructions aren’t given, and so they join Le Cirque des Rêves – Celia as the Illusionist, and Marco working from behind the scenes – without really knowing what’s expected of them besides victory.

“I tried to explain as much as I could,” Poppet says. “I think I made an analogy about cake.”

“Well, that must have worked,” Widget says. “Who doesn’t like a good cake analogy?”

(chosen because cake, and because I’m also struggling to explain)

The various tents that make up the circus are seemingly made of magic – with the only exceptions being Celia’s and Marco’s tents, which are actually made of magic. Everything is part of the game, and Celia and Marco are the only people aware of it. The game unfolds slowly and gets more intricate, more wonderful, more dangerous, with every bit that’s revealed. It was so intriguing to see how everything falls into place, especially once the pieces had begun to crumble.

One of my favourite aspects are the different sections. At the beginning of each new part, you get a brief but detailed insight written in second person. That way, Morgenstern takes you through her circus, not as a reader but as a visitor, and it’s a magical experience.

“But what’s the use in seeing the future if I can’t do anything to stop it?”

“You cannot stop things,” Celia says. “You can only be prepared for them to happen.”

I hope I’ll have the time at some point to read this again. There’s so much going on that I don’t think it’s possible to notice everything the first time around. I might even take notes next time! Word of advice? Pay attention to the dates and locations at the beginning of every new chapter, and savour every glance into the individual tents.

Also, do yourself a favour and read this.

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Have you read The Night Circus, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

WWW Wednesday 25th January 2017

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

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Siege and Storm

Progress on this is going more slowly than I’d hoped. Late last week I received an ARC which I need to have read by next week Friday, so that’s taken priority. I’m hoping to read bits here and there if there’s time, but it’ll be a short while before I can dedicate all of my reading time to this again.

Blurb:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

***

What I recently finished reading

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Shadow and Bone

I really enjoyed Shadow and Bone ❤ I had high expectations after SoC and CK, and was initially surprised to see first person narrative but got used to it fast. While I didn’t like it as much as the duology I still really enjoyed it, and since the trilogy is her earlier writing I expected it. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

Blurb:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

and-

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Touch

I’d been meaning to read this for a while, so when it was free one weekend I couldn’t resist. I haven’t read many plays before, and this one was my first one-act play. I really enjoyed the dialogue-heavy text, and because it’s so short I read the whole thing in half an hour!

Blurb:

The Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?

***

What I think I’ll read next

nano-reward-5

Ruin and Rising

Not sure when I’ll get to it, though, since I already can’t dedicate all of my time to Siege and Storm. The struggles of a book blogger, eh? 😛

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Review: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)

review-the-colour-of-magic

“Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…”

www-23112016-2What I thought:

I have no idea what I’m doing! 😀 Honestly, I don’t how to review this. You’ve either read this already, or, if you haven’t, you still won’t need me to tell you that Terry Pratchett is kinda a big deal in the magical word of fantasy stories. This isn’t the debut novel by someone nobody knows yet, it’s Terry fudging Pratchett!

So I’ll try to keep this short and save us all some time 🙂

I’m pretty sure that I’ve read The Light Fantastic some time last year year, or maybe it was the year before that… But I thought I’d start at Book 1. When I read the second one we didn’t have The Colour of Magic in my library, but we’ve recently ordered the shiny new copies which create a lovely rainbow on the shelf, and I really needed something mad and magical! And that’s precisely what I got – a bit of magic sprinkled with rather a lot of madness. It’s not often that Death is your favourite character, but the chap is a cat person, so there.

Picturesque meant – he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word – that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the ocassional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown.

The Colour of Magic follows Rincewind, a failed wizard who knows but one spell (when I say he “knows” a spell… It’s there, somewhere, at the very back of his mind but it’s shy, I guess?) and Twoflower, a tourist with the incredible ability to not recognise danger when it punches him in the face. He also has this awesome little luggage which runs after him and eats people who threaten him. Rincewind shows Twoflower around, who has a long list of dangerous things he wants to see and do – the kind of situations no sane person would want to place himself in on purpose. Twoflower is oblivious to any form of mortal danger and confuses it with adventure on a regular basis, while Rincewind is a massive coward, so there’s a lot of natural conflict between them.

“But you’re a demon. Demons can’t call things weird. I mean, what’s weird to a demon?”

“Oh, you know,” said the demon cautiously, glancing around nervously and shifting from claw to claw. “Things. Stuff.”

Also there’s dragons. Not real ones, as such, but imagined ones, who can get a little see-through when the imaginator’s focus wavers. It’s fine, though, they’re perfectly save to fly. Unless you’re terrified of hights, like Rincewind, and remember an event from the future where you fall from a great height, like Rincewind.

If you haven’t read this already by some miracle, please do. Even if fantasy isn’t your usual genre, even though this book was like nothing I’ve read before in a good and very mad way, I think it should be on everyone’s tbr list. Terry Pratchett isn’t the Father of Fantasy for no reason. This is a must read for everyone!

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Have you read The Colour of Magic, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Review: Surrender by G. R. Thomas (The A’vean Chronicles #2)

review-surrender

“Sophia Woodville’s life is anything but ordinary. You can’t be ordinary when you’ve discovered your’e an Earth-born Angel. Alone and suddenly powerless in the stinking heat of the Daimon realm, Sophia has been betrayed by the one person she trusted most. She must find a way to escape and continue her quest to unravel the clues left for her eyes only, fighting the Zombie-like Rogues to preserve the prophecies of Enoch. Only then can the Fallen Angels return to their homeland and humanity be released from the grip of Yeqon and his evil horde.”

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What I thought:

I really enjoyed Awaken (Book 1 in the series) and fell in love with Thomas’ writing then, so I knew I had to have this one, too! I was especially chuffed when she offered me an ARC (or rather, I begged for one), so my repeated thanks to the author! ^-^

It was really nice to be back in Thomas’ world. Her writing has this odd familiarity to it, which made this read just as smooth as the first book in the series.

Because of everything that happened at the end of Awaken Sophia missed everyone badly, and I did, too. Her characters are so real and human that reading about them again felt like a small reunion.

The fire in my palms burned harder, yet my resolve weakened. I had nothing, I thought I had nothing, but right there on the floor under threat of an excruciating death, I had something. And I couldn’t let that go.

If you’ve spent any time on here at all you’ll know that I love a good plot twist, and this book has a few which packed one hell (… no pun intended) of a punch, especially towards the end. One right near the end specifically hit me hard.

We already knew that there’s someone amongst Sophia’s newly gained family who spied on them and betrayed them, and in Surrender the mystery thickened. I really hoped it’d be someone I knew and loved because that would have hurt more, but I guess I’m just a little masochistic when it comes to plot twists.

The characters developed beautifully, especially Sophia who had to decide between her loved ones and the greater good several times. She has grown a lot in Surrender, and it was great to see how she coped with these decisions.

A place of dread both had only ever heard talk of, and there they were, in the central station of Earth’s very own Hell.

My personal favourite was a scene near the end; a conversation between Koi and Belial. It was such a thoughtful exchange and so beautifully written that I’ll be marking it for future reference.

Surrender is a fantastic sequel to Awaken. It has answered some of the questions from Book 1, and has left plenty others to be answered in the concluding title. If you haven’t read this series already I highly recommend that you do!

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Have you read Awaken or Surrender, or have I tempted you? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

WWW Wednesday 11th January 2017

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

Happy New Year, my fellow book addicts! ❤ I hope you all had a great, book-filled start to the year 🙂 Would you believe it’s been a year since I’ve started doing this bi-weekly?!? :O

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

nano-reward-3Shadow and Bone

I’ve been dying to read this trilogy ever since I finished Crooked Kingdom, so I treated myself to all three when I won NaNo last year. I’m still reading The Night Circus as I’m preparing this post on Monday, so I’ll only just have started it by the time this post goes live!

Blurb:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

***

What I recently finished reading

www-14092016-4The Night Circus

This book was magic. And such a perfect way to kick off my bookish year, too! I doubt I’ve noticed everything that goes on inside and away from the circus, so I think reading it again at some point is a must! I’ll hopefully get around to reviewing it this week, so keep an eye on my Goodreads account for that. The review will be live here in a few weeks, too.

Blurb:

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

***

What I think I’ll read next

nano-reward-4Siege and Storm

I’m going to binge read this series until there’s nothing left to feast my soul upon ❤

Blurb:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Also-

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Touch

I’ve been meaning to read this play for a while (not only because the author happens to be my editor), so when it was free last week I had to get it! Because it’s so short I’m planning on reading it one morning this week as a break from my edits. I’m thinking a nice cuppa tea, some biscuits and a warm blanket will be perfect with it ❤

Blurb:

The Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

Review: Isle of Winds by James Fahy (The Changeling #1)

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“Isle of Winds is the first instalment in a Middle-Grade age fantasy series.

Robin Fellows lives with his grandmother and lives what appears to be a rather ordinary life for a normal twelve year old boy.

But when Robin’s Gran dies, quite suddenly and a bit mysteriously, his world is turned upside down. A long lost relative comes out of the woodwork and whisks him away to a mysterious new home, Erlking Hall, a quiet estate in the solitary countryside of Lancashire.

Suddenly Robin must adjust to his new reality. But reality is no longer what he thought it was…

Erlking has many secrets – as do his newly found Great-Aunt Irene and her servants. After a strange encounter on the train and meeting a cold, eerie man on the platform, Robin begins to notice odd happenings at Erlking.

There is more than meets the eye to this old, rambling mansion.
Little does he know that there is more than meets the eye to himself.

Robin is the world’s last Changeling. He is descended from a mystic race of Fae-people, whose homeland, the Netherworlde, is caught in the throes of a terrible civil war.

Not only this, but in this new world there is a magical force that has infiltrated the human realm.

Before he can wrench power from the malevolent hands of the Netherworlde’s fearsome tyrant leader, Lady Eris, he must first search for the truth about himself and the ethereal Towers of Arcania.”

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What I thought:

Isle of Winds was my second read by this author. Hell’s Teeth was a massive success for me, so I had to read this one, too!

As it turns out, Isle of Winds is nothing like Hell’s Teeth. In fact, the two couldn’t be more different! Isle of Winds is magical, enchanting, and the effortless writing and inclusion of magic in our world reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s writing several times. If that’s not enough to convince you, read on 🙂

Any minute now, Gran was going to jump out of a bush, crying “I got you! Snakes and ashes!”, and they would go home again.

But of course, being dead, she didn’t do that.

To summarise, Isle of Winds is about a boy, Robin, who doesn’t realise how special he is until his eccentric and wonderfully weird grandmother dies, and he has to move in with his aunt – who happens to live in a mansion, complete with large gardens, strange doors, and – oh, yes – an entrance to the Fae realm.

My personal highlights were the dialogue, which was natural and smooth and made the characters all the more real (in their magical strangeness), and Erlking, the mansion Robin’s aunt has been the warden of for many years. It’s made it onto my list of fictional places I need to visit, so if anyone could forward a form or something I can fill in, that’d be great!

The characters are well developed and the world, especially the Fae realm’s ties with our world, is beautifully created. While all the characters bring something unique to the story my personal favourite was Woad for his childish, eccentric personality.

“Old stories and tales,” he said eventually, with an air of dismissal. “I stopped believing in prophecies long ago. Stories don’t keep you warm at night, or out food in your stomach.” He narrowed his eyes at Karya. “Not all that is broken can be fixed, little twig.”

“Hope is never broken,” Karya replied, levelly meeting his gaze.

While this book is targeted at a younger audience I didn’t feel like it was too young for me. It’s a magical tale about adventure, friendship and bravery, and as such works well for any audience. It’s an easy recommendation for me!

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Have you read Isle of Winds, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

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