Thursday, 29 March 2018

Review: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

So, I got this book because it was on a kindle daily deal, and I'd loved the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan too and thought I should give this a chance.

I'm glad I did as it was amazingly funny and gave me quite a few chuckles while reading.

Here it is:


How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favour. 

But Apollo has many enemies - gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Okay, I absolutely loved the Percy Jackson books (I'll probably re-read them soon and review them - so keep an eye out) so I thought that because this mentioned Camp Half-Blood I would give it a try as it would be set in Percy Jackson's world - and it was, he was even mentioned in part of it! In fact, you see quite a few old characters from Percy's books, but you still got a whole new set of MC's which was interesting to see.

My first little love of this book was the chapter beginnings - they all had a small Haiku at the beginning. They were amusing little anecdotes that gave you an idea of what may happen in the chapter you were on, and they will also definitely give you a little smile whenever you start on a new chapter (at least they gave me a smile so I hope they'll give you one too!).

When it comes to Apollo as a character he was one of my favourites out of them all - possibly one of my favourites from all the Percy Jackson books. He was funny throughout the whole book, and also gave me a few chuckles (I rarely laugh out loud when reading) and it was great to see his character development as he learnt to be more human - he slowly started to notice mistakes he was making in both his behaviours and actions and he started to change into a better person.

However, my love goes to one character in particular - Peaches the Kairos. I know, a weird choice, but he sounded so cute, and I want one of my own!

I can't wait to read the other books in this series, and I give this book 4 cats!

Have you read this book series? Did you enjoy it as much as me? Comment below!

Sunday, 18 March 2018

ARC Review: Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

So, I received a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review (and wow was the proof copy beautiful, it had lots of gold-leaf feathers on it, I'm in love with it).

This lovely book comes out on the 22nd March, and I suggest you go out and buy it ASAP:


Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

Although it did take me a little while to get into the book, I did end up getting pulled in quickly after that slow start, and I ended up loving the plot. In fact, I loved it so much I don't know how to do it justice when writing this review.

I will say, that this is one of the most interesting books I've read in a while - it had so many different issues throughout, and they all pulled together perfectly. All of the issues are written about beautifully and they all get their own time in the book - just the right amount of time so you don't think any one thing is getting focused on too much.

The main issue discussed come up quite quickly in the book - the idea of grief and how it will affect people differently, in particular the plot shows you how Jaya deals with it, her little sister, and also how Jaya's father copes by becoming 'obsessed' with the Beings and how they are falling from the sky, in the hope that he will catch one. I think that the blurb describes what the book is all about perfectly, and the backstory of the angel falls is outlined nicely.

I've not even mentioned the best bit - one of the relationships developed in this is between Jaya and Allie, a young girl that suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, making it a book that's perfect for people who want to see more LGBT books. It's not a main plot point - which I liked because a full-blown romance would have taken away from the main plot, but it had the perfect amount of romance to keep me interested and invested - I was so tempted to read ahead and see what happened (I didn't, I managed to resist!).

I will say however that I love the ending the most - it's like a full circle, coming back to where it all started for Jaya - her home-town and where her mother passed away. I love full-circles, and this one was just perfectly written - it even left it so that you can think what you want about what will happen in Jaya's future. This was such a powerful read for me, and I don't think I done it justice with this review, but I highly recommend you go and buy the book and make your own opinions on it!

But come on, a book about grief, with an LGBT relationship, a beautiful angel nicknamed 'Teacake', and even a cult! What more can I explain to make you want to read it?!

I give this book: 5 cats! (the only downside I could see is that I wish it was longer, I could read this forever!)

Have you read this or do you plan to read this? Comment below! This book comes out March 22nd, and I think you should all go get a copy!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Blog Tour: The Witch's Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

 I was so excited to be asked if I wanted to be a part of the blog tour for The Witch's Blood that I jumped at the chance! The last of the trilogy, The Witch's Blood came out on the 8th March, and you should definitely go and buy it.

My review of The Witch's Blood can be found HERE, and I asked Katharine and Elizabeth to write about what books inspired them to write The Witch's Kiss trilogy! But first, an excerpt of the book:

        Denise flung an arm out, pointing at Merry. ‘Ignoring orders, and going after that no-good brother of hers.’ She spat on the ground. ‘You’re no true witch. You never have been: you’re a freak, you and your brother both. How much dark magic did you have to use to break open the point of intersection like this? What did Ronan promise you?’
        ‘Promise me?’ Out of the corner of her eye, Merry could see Mrs Knox creeping closer to Denise. ‘He nearly destroyed my entire family!’
        ‘I wish he had.’ Denise muttered a spell, forcing a second witch who had been trying to approach her to fall back. ‘The whole lot of you together are worth nothing compared to my Flo...’
        ‘Flo was my friend. I miss her too.’
        Denise screamed with rage. ‘I’m going to make sure the Stewards destroy you, Meredith Cooper. I’m going to watch as they chain you up and strip out your power!’ She raised her hands. ‘And as for your brother –’
        It was like someone had switched off the volume: the witch’s mouth was still moving, but no sound was coming out. The fury and hatred on her face were replaced by shock, then realisation, then fear. Denise put one hand to her neck, her eyes wide.
        Merry walked forward until she was standing in front of Denise. ‘Nobody threatens my brother’. Some corner of Merry’s brain was amazed at how quiet, how steady her own voice was. ‘Nobody is going to hurt him ever again. Do you understand’

The lines above are from about halfway through The Witch’s Blood, the final instalment in The Witch’s Kiss Trilogy. After everything that’s happened in the previous two and a half books, particularly to big brother Leo, Merry is determined to protect her family –whatever the cost. This brings her into conflict with members of her coven; some have started to resent her abilities, others are simply frightened by them. And Merry doesn’t see why she should play by the coven’s rules, especially since they told her she couldn’t rescue Leo from the clutches of an insane male witch. But when Tillingham – Merry and Leo’s home town – is once again threatened by an ancient evil, both the coven and Merry realise they need to work together to save the people they love...

We had a lot of fun writing The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. Although the story develops dramatically across the three books, it started out as a gender-bent retelling of Sleeping Beauty. We have a sleeping prince instead of a sleeping princess, and a teenage witch instead of Prince Charming. And, unlike the Disney cartoon, there’s not a diminutive fairy in sight: our focus is for the most part on twenty-first century witches. Here are some of the books we read growing up that have inspired our own particular brand of magic...

 The Dark Is Rising Series – Susan Cooper. 

Anyone who follows us will know just how much we love Susan Cooper’s five book series, in particular the second book (also called The Dark is Rising). In this book our hero, Will (the seventh son of a seventh son), finds out that he is an Old One, a magical and immortal being destined to serve the Light in its fight against the Dark. Neither of us will ever forget the moment of Will’s magical awakening, on a cold midwinter’s morning. Cooper’s writing and world-building is rich and evocative. We love how she blends Arthurian legend, Celtic and Norse mythology with life in 1960s/70s rural England. In our own books, we weave together modern day living in a quiet Surrey town with the history and mythology of the Anglo-Saxons. Although The Dark is Rising doesn’t deal specifically with witchcraft, Cooper’s writing has greatly influenced our own.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum. 

The Wicked Witch of the West had a huge impact on us as children. We loved Dorothy, together with her loyal band of companions (Scarecrow, Tin Woodman Man and Cowardly Lion) but our imaginations were really struck by the Wicked Witch, or at least by her 1939 film incarnation. In the book, the Wicked Witch is portrayed as a decrepit old woman with three pigtails and an eye patch. In the film, she is not only gloriously green, but also has all the paraphernalia that we now associate with the archetypal witch: pointy black hat, black dress, black boots and a broomstick. Either way, in both versions she’s extremely unpleasant and, fortunately for Dorothy, water-soluble. The scene where she melts after Dorothy throws a bucket of water at her is unforgettable. There are a couple of witches in The Witch’s Kiss trilogy who are just as mean: thankfully they also come to suitably horrible endings...

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis. 

We were enthralled by the entire Chronicles of Narnia growing up, but in particular by this book. Everything about it is pure magic, from when the Pevensie children find their way into Narnia through the back of a wardrobe, to the moment they are crowned kings and queens at Cair Paravel. Narnia itself is wondrous: a land of talking animals and mythical creatures, Aslan the King (who just happens to be a lion) and, best part for us, the self-proclaimed Queen of Narnia – Jadis (aka, The White Witch). Jadis’s rule over Narnia is tyrannical; not only has she plunged the country into perpetual winter, she squashes any potential uprising by turning her opponents to stone. For a ten-year-old child, it doesn’t get much darker/better than that. Sure, we were glad when Jadis finally got her comeuppance, but we were also totally transfixed by her. And a tiny bit of her has found its way into The Witch’s Kiss trilogy. More than one of our characters has the ability to turn people into things they really shouldn’t be turned into...

The Discworld Novels – Terry Pratchett.

15849484As we grew up we embraced a more positive portrayal of witchcraft in Terry Pratchett’s humorous fantasy series. Formidable witch Granny Weatherwax has a recurring/starring role throughout the series (Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Lords and Ladies, etc). Certainly, on first acquaintance, Granny looks like your average witch – plain black dress, pointy black hat and so on – but she’s also wart-free, handsome and has piercing blue eyes. More significantly, with her fellow witches Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick, she forms a sisterhood of compassionate, powerful and thoroughly independent women: they bow to no-one, particularly not men, and definitely not wizards. Far from being a sinister figure, Granny is determined always to do the ‘right’ thing – not necessarily the same as the ‘nice’ thing. She’s also a leader in her community, a healer and a part-time mid-wife. Discovering Granny was a bit of a revelation for us. She is respectable and responsible, but underestimate her at your own cost: just because she doesn’t choose to turn people into frogs doesn’t mean she can’t. We’ve definitely channelled Granny and her coven in our own depiction of powerful, moral witches; Gran and Roshni in particular aren’t going to put up with any rubbish from the various modern-day wizards who show up in our books. Merry is quite similar to Granny too: although both have considerable power, they do ultimately choose to use their abilities for the good of others.

Thank you to Rachel for being part of our blog tour!

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Review: Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

So, I got a proof of this book in a goodybag when I went to a Waterstone's event for the launch of It Only Happens in the Movies. I admit, it didn't really seem like my cup of tea (but that's because I was silly and didn't look up the proper blurb, and only saw the small proof blurb).

I finally picked it up again now because it's released on March 8th, and I wanted to see if I liked it enough to review it before it came out - I did. In fact, I loved it!

Here it is:


A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah--blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish--finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. 

Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He's a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can't attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. 

With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she's ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she'd ever imagined.

So, like I said, I didn't look this book up properly until I started it, and now I am regretting this decision becuase it was an amazing book. So amazing that I sped through it in a few days. From the description on my proof copy, I didn't expect it to be set during the beginning of World War II, so when I opened it and got stuck in I was instantly sucked in.

I have always loved the Book Thief, it is one of my favourite books, and I definitely got Book Thief vibes when reading this book. But, not because it was the same kind of plot - no this is totally different. This book is about Sarah, a Jew with Aryan looks, who becomes a spy after meeting the Captain (a British spy currently working in Germany).

I loved Sarah as a character. She was strong for her age, and even with everything that happens to her she still manages to keep up with her mission throughout the book without getting caught. Throughout the book she has a voice in her head guiding her way - and helping her when things are likely to go wrong - and it really helps to up her spying game. Just overall she is definitely one of the more beautifully written characters I have come across in my many reads.

The thing I found most amusing was that she managed to play the part of a 'monster' (her words for the girls at the school) perfectly - and all with only a few papers that marked her as the perfect Aryan schoolgirl. The constant use of 'monster' in her head definitely tied in with the name of the book - something which I loved.

Overall, this book had me on the edge of my seat throughout, wondering just what would happen to both Sarah and the Captain, and the last part of the book especially had me wanting to turn to the end just so I could see (I managed to resist the urge), but it definitely was a very suspenseful ending - one that also left me with the hope to see more from Sarah in future books - but I'm not sure how likely that would be!

I give this book 5 cats!

If you are a fan of the book thief, I think you'll love this book. Are you planning on reading this, or have you read this yet? Comment below!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

ARC Review: The Witch's Blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

I got sent an advanced copy of this book by the lovely team at Harper Collins, for an honest review.

This is the third book in an amazing trilogy (see my reviews of book ONE and book TWO), and it comes out on March 8th! There will also be a blog tour post coming soon after, so keep your eyes out for that!

Here it is:


Just who can you trust when no one around you is who they seem?

Life as a teenage witch just got harder for Merry when her brother, Leo is captured and taken into an alternative reality by evil witch Ronan. Determined to get him back, Merry needs to use blood magic to outwit her arch-rival and get Leo back. Merry is more powerful than ever now, but she is also more dangerous and within the coven, loyalties are split on her use of the magic. In trying to save Leo, Merry will have to confront evil from her past and present and risk the lives of everyone she’s ever loved. Given the chaos she’s created, just what will she sacrifice to make things right?

I was so excited to be asked if I wanted to get an advanced copy of this book, as I'd been waiting for so long for it to come out, that I jumped at the chance. Even better I was asked to be a part of the blog tour - so you'll be seeing a tour post soon as well - keep your eyes out for that!

Anyways onto the actual review, I am glad to say that this didn't disappoint me at all - it was an amazing book with an ending that I think was absolutely perfect for the plotline. I couldn't have come up with a better ending had I tried (not that I would - I'm definitely not a writer, and if you read this book you'll surely agree that you wouldn't find a better ending!)

I'm even going to say that this was my favourite book of the three - it was darker, like the second book, but it also brought in some fantasy in the world that Merry was transported to - unicorns, dark elves, harpy's, etc. And of course, I love a good fantasy mix in - obviously there were always witches in this series, but the addition of fantasy creatures brought it to a whole new level for me.

Also, the black holly is shown on the cover (which I might say is absolutely beautiful - but all the covers in this series are) and I think it's a cute touch to the story.

One thing I adored about this book is the fact that it felt like there was a full circle from the first book to the last book - Jack comes back in, and the idea that the black holly will send you into a deep slumber has Sleeping Beauty vibes. This definitely leads back to the first book, which I loved because it was a twisted Sleeping Beauty story. So, overall I just  love the fact that it seemed like a full circle - something that I adore in films and TV shows, and which I now adore in books. (Got to admit that other book series I read now have a big expectation to live up to in that form)

I must say that I was always a Jack supporter in the first book, and I really did hope that something magical might happen during this book between him and Merry when I saw that he would somehow be a part of this book too. However, my heart was soon taken by Finn. I didn't expect it, but I loved him in this book - even despite the slight hiccup partway through, and I ended up changing my love of Jack to a love of Finn.

I am still proud to say though that I am a Leo lover. He is one of my favourite YA characters - mainly because he is always fighting despite the fact that he is the only one without magic in a family of witches. He constantly tries to help even though he may be put into danger, and even though he's had multiple heartbreaks, and this is something that I love - he's such a strong character for me - and I was so happy to see that he was included so much in this book.

As you can tell I could easily talk about my love of this book forever, but I just want to say one last thing, and that is thankyou to Katharine and Elizabeth Corr for writing such an amazing series, and for letting me be a part of the experience by sending me the second and third books. I'm definitely sad that this is the end of Merry and Leo's world, but I can't wait to see what other worlds they will be bringing me to in the future!

I give this book (and the whole series) 5 cats!

Have you read this series? Were you as excited for this last book as me? Comment below!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

ARC Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I received an e-copy of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, which will follow!

I was super excited to get accepted for this book! It contained mermaids, sirens, princes, and pirates, what else could I want? I'd been hearing about it for a while and thought I'd see if I could get accepted for it, and I did! Yay!

Here it is:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I had such high expectations going into this book, after all I don't think I've actually read a book about sirens and pirates before. It does seem to be the season for books about the high seas and mermaids and sirens etc. though doesn't it? I've seen a few that will be coming out! But that's off topic, I can say now that this book definitely lived up to my expectations - and it even exceeded them!

It's such a fast paced book, and has loads of action in it, especially near the end. Essentially though if I was asked to describe it for someone, I would probably say a lovely dark twisted take on the Little Mermaid - or should I say the little siren considering Lira is a siren?

I can't not mention Elian - he's both a prince and a pirate guys! How swoon worthy is that?! He's one of my favourite characters - a prince who just wants to be on the sea but has obligations back home as the first in line to the throne. We see little tidbits of his dilemma about choosing between his country and his crew in the book, with him accepting certain obligations and responsibilities - and it kept me on my toes wondering just what would happen to him - would he go back to his kingdom after completing his goal of killing the Prince's Bane? Or would he stay on the seas with his crew like his heart wants. He's just an amazing character, and one of my new heart-throbs of fantasy fiction - I hope you all agree when you read this book!

I will say this is a stand-alone book - just the one. I am both loving that, and hating it - loving it because it means you get the storyline all wrapped up nicely and there's no waiting for more books, but also hating it because it means I don't get to come back to this amazing world that the author has created - I really hope that what I'm saying makes sense to you all?

But, overall, I am giving this book 5 cats because it is so amazing!

Have you read or are planning to read this? Comment below! It comes out March 6th and I'm so tempted to buy a finished copy it was that good!