Sunday, 15 May 2022

Review: I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I got given a proof of this lovely book when it first came out for a review. I probably left it a bit longer than I should have to review it, but it was such a good book I knew I had to post my thoughts, even if late! 
Here it is:


For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

This book was like a blast of nostalgia from my teenage days when I had some serious fandom love - though I admit it was less boybands for me more books/films like Twilight. Though I did have a love for Blue, McFly and Busted! I will happily admit that.

It isn't often that I go to the contemporary side of YA, but I decided to start branching out - and so far nothing in this side has disappointed me - and they always make such a refreshing change from my usual fantasy YA. I also loved to see a take on modern day fandoms, as I was mainly a big fan when social media was just starting out so it was definitely interesting to read about this when social media is a lot more prevalent now and so I feel like fandoms are more investing than they were.

My favourite character had to be Jimmy. I loved him from the start, and kept on loving him throughout. I also haven't read a book where a MC deals with anxiety as intense as he did, so I think it really helped me to connect with him - you saw everything both his ups and downs and that was something that I think made the book so good.

Overall, I give this 4.5 cats. It was an interesting read, and I think I'll have to try some of Alice Oseman's other books too!

Have you read this book? Who was your favourite character? Comment below!

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Review: Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix

Guys, I cannot tell you my excitement when I found out that there was going to be another book in the Old Kingdom series coming out, this series is one of my favourite and I just knew that I'd have to read it, luckily Hot Key accepted me for an e-ARC and I just flew through it! (If you're interested the link to my Sabriel review can be found HERE)

Here's the book:

In the Old Kingdom, a land of ancient and often terrible magics, eighteen year-old orphan Terciel is learning the art of necromancy - but not to raise the Dead, rather to lay them to rest. He is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, the latest in a long line of people whose task it is to make sure the Dead do not return to Life.

Across the Wall in Ancelstierre, a steam-age country where magic usually does not work, nineteen year-old Elinor lives a secluded life, her only friends an old governess and an even older groom who was once a famous circus performer. Her mother is a tyrant, feared by all despite her sickness and impending death . . .

Elinor does not know she is deeply connected to the Old Kingdom, until a plot by an ancient enemy of the Abhorsens brings Terciel to Ancelstierre. In a single day of fire and death and loss, Elinor finds herself set on a path which will take her into the Old Kingdom, into Terciel's life, and will embroil her in the struggle of the Abhorsens against the Dead who will not stay dead.

So, if you're new to this series I will say you can start here if you would like, as it is a prequel to the original series starter, Sabriel. It is a mixed story of the younger lives of both her mother and father, which I found really interesting. You never hear much at all about Sabriel's mother in the first book, and you would have only known small amounts about her father, the previous Abhorsen, before this book came out. However, I would suggest reading the other books first purely because you meet a few of the characters from the other books - my particular favourite was Mirelle who you meet in the book Lirael.

Elinor was my favourite character in this, mainly because we got to learn a bit more about her history and it mixed in a lot with the Clayr, who are some of my favourite characters in Lirael (but I may be biased as Lirael is my favourite character of this series overall). We also got to see her come into her own as she learns about the Charter and how to use her Charter marks. I found this particularly fascinating as we had never really learnt too much about the Charter and how it is taught, but in this book you get to see the bare bones and how one would learn if they were just starting their tuition. I've always quite liked learning about the particulars of magic in different books, so getting into how you would learn the Charter magic was really exciting for me.

That is not to say I didn't like Terciel - seeing into his life prior to Sabriel was definitely exciting, and it was because of him we also got to see a bit more of Mogget (fans like me returning to the old kingdom will surely love to see the return of him) as well as how he became an Abhorsen. It's also very interesting to see his and Elinor's relationship develop through the book, and you really start to understand how his ideas changed on their relationship as you went through.

I could write for hours on this, but I'll keep it short, this is yet another great story from Garth Nix, and it is always a pleasure to return to the Old Kingdom when he brings out a new book. I don't think this review has given it nearly enough praise, but I tried to put my thoughts into words as best I could. Here's hoping there will be many more stories from the Old Kingdom to come, I'd love to see more development from so many of the other characters you see in the rest of the series too!

I give this book: 5 cats!

Terciel and Elinor is out today, and you should definitely go and pick up a copy, and whilst you're there get the rest of the series too!

Comment below and tell me if you have a favourite in the series.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

ARC Review: Fireborn by Aisling Fowler

So I got sent this book when I expressed some interest, because it sounded like something I would love. I don't read much middle grade fantasy anymore, and this has really shown me how much I miss it, some MG can be so interesting and I just flew through this on my commute one day as it was such a gripping storyline - I even almost missed my stop on the train because I didn't want to put it down!

Here it is:

Ember is full of monsters.

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them--so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve's new home is attacked, she'll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny--and the very fate of her world.

It's books like these that make me remember how much I used to love MG fantasy books - it was a quick read, full of interesting creatures and the plot was just perfect - it drew you in and kept you wanting to know more about the world the book was set in. Aisling Fowler has really written such a stunning book, one that can be loved by children and adults alike.

I absolutely adored the main character Twelve, she was just a hurt young girl with a past that haunted her, but she pulls through that and I really loved reading her come out of her shell and learn more about herself. I've always loved MCs that grow into themselves in books, and I think we will be seeing a lot more growth on Twelve's part if we see any further books in this world - and I really hope we do. She's one of the fiercest and bravest young characters I've read about in a while, everything about her really makes you love her more, especially in the end of this book where you really see her shine.

I think out of everything one of my favourite characters was Dog the guardian of the Lodge where the Hunters live. I always have a soft spot for animals in books, and, well, Dog is just one of my new favourites. I especially loved how he was throughout the book, helping with the young Hunters as he's let out for the first time in many many years. I really hope we see more of his dynamic with Twelve and the others in future books.

Overall, this is definitely a book I can see myself reading again, and I really really can't wait to see more from this storyline - I want to see where it goes and how everything comes together with Twelve's, and the other characters, storyline.

I give this book: 5 cats!

Fireborn is out next week on the 30th September, so you should definitely go and pre-order a copy if you like adventure, magic and magical companions, it's well worth the read!

Friday, 11 June 2021

Blog Tour: The Wood Bee Queen by Edward Cox

So, today is a review blog tour post for you all of this book. I got the email in my inbox asking if I'd like to be a part of the blog tour and the description on this book just jumped out to me (and the cover, I mean, come on how beautiful is it?!) so I knew I had to say yes!

Here's the book:

Somewhere in England, in a small town called Strange Ground by the Skea, Ebbie Wren is the last librarian and he's about to lose his job. Estranged from his parents, unable to make connections with anyone except the old homeless lady who lives near the library, Ebbie isn't quite sure what he's supposed to do next. His only escape from reality is his deep interest in local folklore, but reality is far stranger than Ebbie can dream.

On the other side of the sky and the sea, the Queen of House Wood Bee has been murdered. Her sister has made the first move in a long game, one which will lead her to greatness, yet risk destruction for the entire Realm. She needs the two magical stones Foresight and Hindsight for her power to be complete, but no one knows where they are. Although the sword recently stolen by Bek Rana, small time thief and not very good at it, might hold a clue to their location . . . and to stopping the chaos. But all Bek wants is to sell the sword and buy herself a better life. She's not interested in being a hero, and neither is Ebbie.

But someone is forcing their hand and playing for the heart of the Realm. Ebbie and Bek are destined to unite. They must find a way to stop the destruction of House Wood Bee, save the Realm, and just maybe save themselves in the process. All victories come at a price. The Oldungods are rising. And they are watching...

The first thing I will say about this book is that it was absolutely magical, and I loved that. If you've ever dreamed of being transported to another world, this is the book for you. Ebbie, the MC, is transported between the land that he's only ever heard of from myths and folklore (Strange Ground Beneath the Skea) and his modern day home (Strange Ground by the Skea) in this story, and it just really resonated with me and made me think of all the times I've ever wanted to visit magical lands that I have read about or heard about - if I could take his place I totally would. 

The main plot of the book is so interesting - it mixes some of the Gods we know, like Juno and Persephone, with new myths and superstitions and we also get to see just how Gods interferences can impact the life of the people who worship them. It was quite an interesting take on it, and showed what seems a bit like a chess game between two of the Gods involving the rest of the worlds that they look over which was such an intriguing concept to me.

Ebbie and Bek, two of the main characters, were written so well and you really started to like them as soon as you met them. Ebbie was especially easy to connect with as he was just as I imagined I would be if I took his place- full of wonder and awe whilst visiting the world that he has studied so much from back home. They were unlikely, and also slightly unwilling, heroes in this book and the way that they work together to help save the Realm is amazing - I particularly like Bek because as you learn more about her she just becomes a whole lot more likeable as a character.

I admit, I was a bit confused by the ending, but yaknow what - I liked that. It meant I can try and figure things out myself, and I'm sure it will mean it will be a fun book to reread. This is definitely one of my favourite standalone books of this year!

Overall, this is definitely a great read - it's a fast-paced, magical book that you can't help but love. I give this book: 5 cats! 

Don't forget to check out the other stops from the tour this week, which can be seen below!

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Review: Sistersong by Lucy Holland

 So, I'd been hearing about this book for a while and was lucky enough to get a physcial ARC (and what a beautiful orange ARC it is), but unfortunately a slump hit and I couldn't pick it up for a while.

But, I picked it up this month and just breezed through because I loved it so much! I will definitely be putting this on my top reads of 2021.

Here it is:

535 AD. In the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia, King Cador's children inherit a fragmented land abandoned by the Romans.

Riva, scarred in a terrible fire, fears she will never heal.
Keyne battles to be seen as the king's son, when born a daughter.
And Sinne, the spoiled youngest girl, yearns for romance.

All three fear a life of confinement within the walls of the hold – a last bastion of strength against the invading Saxons. But change comes on the day ash falls from the sky, bringing Myrddhin, meddler and magician, and Tristan, a warrior whose secrets will tear the siblings apart. Riva, Keyne and Sinne must take fate into their own hands, or risk being tangled in a story they could never have imagined; one of treachery, love and ultimately, murder. It's a story that will shape the destiny of Britain.

I have always loved historical fiction inbetween my fantasy fix, and this mixes the two beautifully - it's set in a Britain that is slowly losing it's magic, and shows the journey of 3 sisters learning just how they can try and continue to use this magic for themselves. This was also based on an old English ballad called The Twa Sisters, which I found intriguing, so I decided to look it up and see what exactly the book was based on - and I suggest you do too if you read it as it's so interesting to read about and see the similarities.

I do like that this book had the POV of all the sisters, though I do admit sometimes I got so frustrated with a couple of them - that may be because I'm quite good at figuring out what may happen in a book though. However, I think the character of Keyne was amazing - they were so well written and their storyline was absolute perfection. They were born a daughter, but throughout the whole book are fighting to be seen as a son - and I don't think that Keyne's character could have been written better. You really saw their struggle throughout and their strength to push through all the problems.

To me it did seem a bit slow at first, but after a while you see why, you really need to learn about the three sisters and see what part they will play in the storyline, and you soon get hooked into it and begin to connect with the characters and see all the different points coming together.

However, I do have to say the best part of the book in my opinion was the ending - it was mind blowing. I was absolutely entranced by the storyline at the end, and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was I got so emotional just reading it and finally seeing the link to the ballad it was based on. On top of that there was even an epilogue that just closed everything together wonderfully, and for me it helped to make the story. I do love a good epilogue.

I could say so much more on this book, but I won't ramble too much and instead I will just say go and buy a copy, you will not be disappointed at all. Overall, I give this 5 cats!

Have you read this book yet? Do you like retellings and have any favourites to recommend? Comment below I'd love to hear opinions!