Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

So, I will be one to say I was exited when I learnt that Christopher Paolini was writing a new book, as I do love the Eragon series. When I found out it was a sci-fi book I was definitely intrigued, I've recently found I like space themed books, but I have never really tried to read a whopper like this. I absolutely adored it though, and definitely recommend it. Here it is: 
Kira Nav├írez dreamed of life on new worlds 
Now she’s awakened a nightmare 

During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human. 

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .


Can I just say, I was absolutely lost for words when I finished this book, it was that amazing. It was everything I expected when I first heard about it, and so much more. I was a bit intimidated when I first went into the book, not having read much sci-fi and also with how long this book is - over 800 pages! However, once you start you get sucked straight in. Even with the more scientific references you are still able to keep up with the book, and the plot really draws you in.

When you really get into the story you get hooked so easily as there's so much action and really big twists that you would never expect, but I suppose that's what's best about this book. In fact, the plot to this book was just mind-blowing, so much so that it kept me on edge wondering what was going to happen and the last 20% blew me away, it was so full of emotions and I even teared up at one point it was written so beautifully. 

I got my finished copy not long before publication (thanks to Tor for my review copy) and I just had to take a look through at the diagrams in the book - I love diagrams! They will definitely come in handy when I have a re-read, and I think a re-read is definitely in order just to see if I missed anything.

Overall, I loved this book and it's just proven that Christopher Paolini is an amazing writer, and one I will always read. I definitely recommend picking up a copy of this beast of a book.

I give this: 5 cats!


Have you read this yet? Comment below if so to tell me what you thought!

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Blog Tour: Extract of Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

 Hi All, something a bit different today - I have an extract for you! Jennifer Donnelly also wrote one of my favourite books of 2019 (Stepsister) and so as soon as I was asked if I wanted to be on the blog tour for her new book Poisoned, another retelling, I knew I had to take part!


Here's the book in case you were wondering what it's about:


Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen's huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman took out his knife . . . and took Sophie's heart.

It shouldn't have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule -- a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she'd heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can't extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.


So, without further ado, here's the extract:

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


ONE


The day before . . .

“Tally ho!” shouted the queen, spurring her fierce courser on.The hounds had flushed their quarry. A gray wolf broke from the cover of a blackbriar patch and ran for the deep woods.The pack swept after it, baying for blood.

The bravest members of the hunting party followed the queen, galloping hard to keep up with her, but the princess, riding a swift nimble palfrey, boldly streaked past her. She chased the wolf at breakneck speed, weaving in and out of trees, her skirts billowing behind her. She jumped a stone wall, a stream, a tangle of brush so high, there was no telling what lay beyond it. Her hat came off; her black hair unfurled like ribbons of night.

The queen couldn’t catch her. Nor could the princes, Haakon and Rodrigo. I saw them flashing through the woods, the queen in white, her nobles in rich hues of russet, moss, and ochre. I saw a baron crouched low over his horse’s neck, his hands high up in the animal’s mane. He narrowed the distance between himself and the queen, but just as he was about to pass her, his horse stumbled. The baron lost his balance. There was a cry, then a sickening crack as he hit the ground.


“Leave him, huntsman!” the queen shouted. “Leave anyone who falls!”

The man lay crumpled under a tree, his eyes closed, his head bloodied. I thundered past him; the rest of the riders did, too. Only the princess cast a look back.

We trailed the hounds, navigating by their cries, swerving through the woods as they changed direction. I lost sight of the queen as she rode through a pocket of mist, then found her again, some moments later, with the pack. And the princess.

The hounds had surrounded the wolf. The creature was huge and fearsome. It had killed two dogs already. Their broken bodies lay nearby.

And him? Oh, yes. He was there, too.

He was always close by. Watching. Waiting.

I heard him in the wolf’s low growl. Felt him in the nervous stamping of the horses. I saw him rise from the depths of the princess’s eyes, like a corpse bobbing up in a river.

And then, without warning, the wolf charged the horses, snarling. The palfrey whinnied and reared, but the princess kept her seat. The courser’s nostrils flared, he flattened his ears, but he stood his ground as the queen jumped down from her saddle.

Circling the fray, she shouted at the hounds, exhorting them to attack. They did, barking and slavering, snapping at their prey’s haunches. The wolf rounded on them, but it was one against many. The hounds knew it and grew bolder, but one, small and slight, hung back from the pack.

The queen saw it; her eyes darkened. “Fight, you coward!” she shouted.


The hound tucked its tail and retreated. Furious, the queen snatched a whip out of a groom’s hands and started after the dog.

“Your Grace! The wolf is escaping!”

It was Prince Haakon. He’d just caught up to the pack. The queen threw the whip down and ran to her horse, but by the time she’d swung back into her saddle, the pack—and the princess—was already gone, in hot pursuit once more.

For a long and treacherous mile, the princess pursued the wolf, until a ravine brought them up short. She stopped her horse a few yards from the edge, but the wolf ran right to it. When it saw the sheer drop, it tried to backtrack, but the hounds closed in from the left. A tangle of blackbriar, a good ten feet high, ran from the woods to the edge of the ravine creating a wall on the right. The frantic animal paced back and forth, tensed itself to jump across the chasm, but saw that it was hopeless. Shoulders high, head low, it turned and readied itself for its last fight.

The princess had moved closer. She could see the scruff of white at the animal’s throat now, the ragged edge of one ear. The wolf looked up at her, and she saw the fear in its silvery eyes. In a heartbeat, she was out of her saddle. Striding among the frenzied hounds, she drove them back, yelling at them, stamping them away, until she’d created an opening for the wolf.

“Go! Get out of here!” she shouted at the creature.

The wolf spied a small opening at the bottom of the blackbriar. The thorns were curved and cruel; they carved stripes in the desperate creature’s snout and tore at its ears, but it pushed under the dense vines and disappeared. The hounds rushed after it, but their snouts were tender, their hides thin; they could not break through.

The princess thought she was alone; she thought that no one saw this, but I did. I’d caught up to her but stayed hidden. I hunted many things for the queen, not all of them wolves.

I saw the princess lean her head into her horse’s lathered neck. I saw a deep weariness settle on her shoulders like a shroud. I saw her press a hand to her chest, as if to soothe a fierce ache under her ribs.

How it cost her, this charade. How it would cost us all.

Hoofbeats sounded in the distance. Shouts echoed. By the time the queen drew up, with Haakon and a few other riders, the princess’s back was straight again, her weariness buried.

“I’m afraid our sport is over, Stepmother,” she said with feigned regret, nodding at the ravine. “The wolf chose a quicker death.”

The queen rode to the edge and looked over it, frowning.

“What a pity,” she said, “that we are robbed of our kill.”

Her eyes traveled to the hounds, then to the blackbriar. Her gaze sharpened. The princess did not see what had caught the queen’s attention, for she was climbing back into her saddle, but I did. Snagged in the thorns was a tuft of fur. Gray fur. Wolf’s fur.

The queen’s frown hardened. “Blow for home, huntsman!” she commanded.

I sounded my trumpet, and the hounds set off, noses skimming the ground. The small, frightened one, her tail still between her legs, skittered along at the edge of the pack. The riders followed, chatting and laughing.


As the hoofbeats faded from the clearing, there was a dry, rustling sound, like the whispering of silk skirts. I looked up and saw a crow, blueblack and shrewd, drop down from the high branch where he’d perched.

He let out a shrill caw, then flew off into the Darkwood. I hear his call still, echoing down the centuries.

It sounded like a warning.

It sounded like a death knell.

It sounded, most of all, like laughter.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*

Poisoned is out now, and available to order, so if you liked the extract and want more, go off and buy a copy! Hopefully you will soon be seeing a review on this book too.

Also, don't forget to check out the other stops on the tour! 



Sunday, 4 October 2020

Blog Tour: Queen of Volts by Amanda Foody

 So, I have been on the tours for all of the books in this series and I knew that when I saw that HQ were asking for people to join in with the third and final book, I had to be a part of it. My review for this stop on the blog tour is below!

If you are interested, you can find the previous book reviews HERE (Book 1)  and HERE (Book 2).

And, here's the book:


Return to the City of Sin, where the final game is about to begin…and winning will demand the ultimate sacrifice.

Only days after a corrupt election and brutal street war, one last bloodthirsty game has begun. The players? The twenty-two most powerful, notorious people in New Reynes.

After realizing they have no choice but to play, Enne Scordata and Levi Glaisyer are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But while Levi offers false smiles and an even falser peace to the city’s politicians, Enne must face a world where her true Mizer identity has been revealed…and any misstep could turn deadly.

Meanwhile, a far more dangerous opponent has appeared on the board, one plucked right from the most gruesome legends of New Reynes. As the game takes its final, vicious turn, Levi and Enne must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies.

Because in a game for survival, there are only losers…

And monsters.

Guys, I cannot get over this book, it was packed with action from the very beginning and it was just the best final book in the series. In this book you get to see even more POVs - Levi and Enne like usual, but also Sophia, Lola and Harvey as an added extra, it was great to get into the minds of even more characters and see what they were thinking during the whole process. I never thought I'd like a series where more and more POVs were added in each book, but for this series it works and totally changed my mind - it really helps you to see all the different points to the plot as the new game begins.

I mentioned in the King of Fools review that different points were slowly coming together, and in this book you finally see all of these drips of information morph into one big spectacular plot, with so many crucial points in previous books all making sense. Whilst reading this I had multiple 'lightbulb' moments, when I finally saw just what Amanda Foody had been planning and hinting at - it all came together and made this into the perfect finale to a series.

I won't spend too much time on talking about Enne and Levi,  but I will say I adored them in this book, the relationship between them is so beautiful, and their journey together throughout the series, although tumultuous, is so intense and in this book it all finally comes together and they make such an amazing team. I admit, I squealed at times in this book with the dynamic between these two, I just love it and I love their coupling.

The final moments of this book were sheer brilliance, and I think that Amanda gave us the best ending to the series there could have been, I won't spoil anything, but for me it was amazing and just what I wanted when I finished this series - I hope you all agree when you read it.

Overall, I give this book 5 cats! (as well as the series overall)


Make sure to check out the other stops that were on the tour as seen below!



Sunday, 5 July 2020

Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

So I have been in a bit of a blogging slump, and after a few months I decided to come back with a bang and review this amazing book I was gifted by Tor Books - Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard. 

It's an usual review in that I haven't reviewed the first two books in the series (so please be aware the synopsis may contain slight spoilers!), but I loved all of them just as much as the third and you should go and pick the series up.

Here's the book:

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Loyalties will be tested as never before.

The Raider King’s plans to claim the Witchlands are under way. Now, his forces sow terror in the mountains, slaughtering innocents. After finding the slain, Aeduan and Iseult race for safety. And despite differing goals, they’ve grown to trust one another in the fight to survive. Yet the Bloodwitch keeps a secret that could change everything . . .

When Merik sacrifices himself to save his friends, he is captured by the Fury. However, Merik isn’t one to give up easily, and he’ll do whatever it takes to save those he loves. And in Marstok, Safi the Truthwitch agrees to help the empress uncover a rebellion. But those implicated are killed and Safi becomes desperate for freedom.

War has come once more to the Witchlands. Perhaps if Safi and Iseult were united, their powers could bring peace. But chaos is not easily tamed.


I am probably not going to be alone when I say this was my favourite book of this series so far - we got to see a whole lot of Aeduan and Aeduan with Iseult was even better. I loved that we got to delve into Aeduan's thoughts and past and really got to see him as his own character and it was so eye-opening, whilst also being slightly heart breaking too. Aeduan I have to say is my new book crush (yes the list is getting long but who can blame me?). When it came to the end of the book my heart was just invested, the writing was amazing and I will officially die with my ship of Iseult and Aeduan, they are so beautiful together and suit so well.

I may be gushing about them, but that isn't to say there's nothing else to gush about in this book - there is so much that it's hard to keep track. I don't think I'll actually be able to put into words how much this book sucks you in and gets you connecting with all the characters - there's just so much to unpick. Even though the main focus is on Aeduan you get to see so many sides to the other characters like Safi, Vaness and even Vivia - which I will say is such a surprise in this book. You really get to know Vivia more and really see what is going on in Nubrevna and I liked that little insight into her after everything that happened with Merik. Overall, I just think that this book is filled with numerous little threads that are slowly coming together to make a series that is going to be spectacular.

I can definitely say I am waiting with baited breath to see what comes in the next book, especially because it has been revealed it's going to follow Iseult - and wherever she goes Aeduan will follow, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a spectacular follow up that will blow even this book out of the water for me.

As well as that I got gifted the paperback of this book, which also had a sneak peak at Witchshadow, the next in the series, and I can say that I audibly gasped when reading it - it cut off at such a teasing place that I know I will be pre-ordering it ready to get it as soon as possible. It's definitely looking like Susan will pull off yet another stunning book in this Witchlands series.

Overall, it's a no brainer that I'll be giving this book 5 cats!

If you haven't yet, I highly suggest you go and pick up Truthwitch, the first book in the Witchlands, as this is shaping up to be one of my favourite newly found series. Special thanks to Tor for helping me discover it and fuelling my obsession by sending me this book!

Saturday, 4 April 2020

ARC review: The Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth

It's not often that I read adult fiction, but when I was asked if I'd like a copy of Veronica Roth's new adult fantasy book, I knew I had to try it as I loved so many of her books. If I was going to jump into adult fantasy I may as well jump in with an author I already know and love right?

If you haven't heard about it, here it is:

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Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice - catastrophic events known as Drains - leveled cities and claimed thousands of lives. The Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him.

After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you're the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled?

Of all the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD - and her huge attitude problem - but really, she's hiding secrets from everyone . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.

On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One's defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One's ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold - bigger than the world itself.

And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give.

I will say now, this was quite a complex and hard-hitting book - it deals with so many deep subjects, PTSD, addiction, depression etc. but all of it was written so well that you felt like you were really able to connect to the characters and I really  liked that about this book. I particularly found it interesting to read about how each of the 'Chosen Ones' dealt with the aftermath of their victory differently. Sloane especially is one of my favourite characters, some of her parts really pull you in and make you sympathise with her.

This was definitely a book that kept you on your toes, you thought you knew where it was going, and then bang there was another plot twist dropped in and your mind is left scrambling trying to figure out how you missed it. These twists were amazingly written, so much so that you felt like you should gave guessed what was happening all along.

The book was actually split into different parts, so it was easy to break into different sittings if you're not the biggest or fastest reader, which I think is useful for many potential readers.

Overall, I really liked how complex and different adult fantasy fiction is, I think that this has made me want to read a lot more of it. I definitely know that if Veronica decides to write more adult fantasy I'll definitely be reading it.

So, I give this book: 5 cats!


Are you planning on reading this or are you planning to read it? Comment below with your thoughts.
This book is out on the 7th of April and I definitely think you should go and pick it up!