Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

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Gwyneth Shepherd’s sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon–the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
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Rating: 3 stars

This series has been given rave reviews on Goodreads and on BookTube, and I fear I’m going to one of those who disagrees. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this first book in the series, I did. It was very entertaining and I don’t regret reading it. But it isn’t a five star book, I can’t quite understand people’s reasons for giving it that rating.

There are a number of problems in the book and some of which were probably caused by errors in translation. The book was originally written in German, and it was most likely translated into American English, which isn’t good when the book is set in England with English characters who apparently speak in American English. I kept finding myself pointing out things that are wrong to English culture or words the characters speak that mean something different in England than America. It started to bug me after a while, because it came across as being inconsistent with what the story was trying to portray. Other than this, the writing is easy to read and would probably be enjoyed more by the younger teenager.

The characters were rather average, nothing different from the thousands of other YA characters that I’ve read about and not going to lie I’ve already forgotten their names. I feel like they could have been fleshed out a lot more and the author wastes words by having the main character ramble in her mind about things that don’t really contribute to the plot in any way whatsoever. It’s a shame really because the plot is actually really good, I just feel like it could have been written a lot better.

Like I said I didn’t dislike the book but I doubt I’ll remember it in a months time. I think I probably will read the other books in the series if I should ever see them in the library but I’m not going to go out of my way. I would recommend it if you’re looking for something relatively fast paced and really easy to read.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

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Based on the Emmy Award–winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Twenty‑four‑year‑old grad student Lizzie Bennet is saddled with student loan debt and still living at home along with her two sisters—beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. When she records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, she has no idea The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will soon take on a life of their own, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
When rich and handsome Bing Lee comes to town, along with his stuck‑up friend William Darcy, things really start to get interesting for the Bennets—and for Lizzie’s viewers. But not everything happens on‑screen. Lucky for us, Lizzie has a secret diary.
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Rating: 4 stars

First things first, last year I was absolutely obsessed with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a web-series on YouTube. (If you haven’t heard of it get right on over to YouTube and watch it. NOW. To help you along here’s the first episode):

I absolutely loved it. It was literally my life during my second year of university, and I probably spent more time following the huge amounts of interactive media that went along with the series (e.g. Twitter) than I did writing assignments. Anyway, I think any Jane Austen fan would enjoy this series, unless you’re one of those people who gets offended by any slight alteration to the master piece that is Pride and Prejudice, in which case I’d advise to stop reading.

This book is basically a written form of the series, with a lot more detail and extra scenes that we obviously don’t see in the videos. The book is written in the form of a diary although after reading this book, and having attempted to write a diary myself, it is not a very realistic diary. But who can say the web-series is considered realistic?! So I feel this point is invalid when talking about how good or how bad the book was.

Evidently, from my rating, I enjoyed the book. How could I not after devoting so much of my time to the series?! What I loved most about the book was Lizzie’s voice. It was extremely entertaining and I felt it captured Elizabeth Bennet in modern form perfectly. It was intelligent and witty and highly enjoyable. The adaptation from page to screen and back to page again was very well done, considering the time in which they wrote the book. I particularly enjoyed reading more about Lizzie’s relationships with her parents and sisters.

However, there were aspects that left me still wanting more. I feel they published this book out of fan demand and yet they barely embellished at all on the most important aspects (in a fangirl’s eyes) of the story: Darcy’s first “proposal”, and Darcy’s second “proposal”. The parts I really wanted to know more about and there wasn’t anything new. Even the ending was incredibly rushed compared to the rest of the book and it was a little underwhelming. The book would have got the full five stars if the ending was better constructed. There was a week after Darcy’s second “proposal” that the viewers didn’t really know anything about and I thought this would have been a great thing to embellish on in the book but nope. We get a small amount of clarification. BUT NOT ENOUGH!

But overall, I do think this is a book worth reading if you love Pride and Prejudice adaptations. I did enjoy it despite its set backs and I probably will read it again at some point.

Death Sworn by Leah Cypress

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When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
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Rating: 3 stars. 

Regrettably, this was disappointing. When I found the book on Goodreads a few months before the release date I was super pumped to find a new Young Adult book/series about assassin’s. I had become a little obsessed with them after reading the first two books of Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, and not going to lie I had pretty high expectations. The premise sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. But it fell flat. 

It wasn’t a bad book, I enjoyed it enough. Enough that I will continue on with the series. But it wasn’t anything special. The plot was kind of what I was expecting it to be, awesome. But the characters were not good. None of the characters are particularly remember-able, which would obviously take a lot away from the book. With better characters this series could be amazing. It’s a shame as I was so prepared to love this book and I feel a little heartbroken that I didn’t. 

On another note, a few good things about the book was the whole magic system, I found it very interesting. Although it wasn’t vastly original, its still different enough to want to pick up this book for. Hopefully this aspect will grow with each book in the series (or trilogy, no idea what it’s going to be). It has me a little excited for more on that front. Fingers crossed that Cypress will deliver, 

Overall, really just another book to add to a pile of “meh”s and “maybe”s. For me this is a series I will have to keep an eye on, I feel like it’ll get better. I hope it will get better, 

 

Need by Carrie Jones

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Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.
She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.
In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.
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Rating: 1.5 stars

This book is more of a preteen book rather than young adult. A minor blip from the publishers for marketing it as YA. I didn’t like this very much. The writing is bad. I read this book a few weeks back and I am having to scour my memory to remember what actually happened. The story in itself is not terrible, it was entertaining enough and I quite liked the romance aspect. Although honestly? It doesn’t take much to make me like romance.

I feel this book should have been longer. At just over 300 pages it isn’t exactly short but the plot really needed more embellishment. About 95% of this book is the main character and a few side characters (that barely make any appearances) wondering around and thinking with only 5% of any kind of action, and the action was mediocre at best squished into about 5 pages. I’m actually not sure how the author managed to stretch it to 300 pages, as there was hardly any character development at all, in fact I’m not really sure we know all that much about the main character. It’s sad really because this book has so much potential to be a really good story. It probably would have been better to have merged this book with the second in the series: Captivate. So there is actually more happening. For a Preteen/YA paranormal book its pretty dull.

This is probably one of the few books that I wouldn’t recommend. This is the kind of book you would read if you had nothing else left.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

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A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.
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Rating: 3.5 stars.

This book was good, I liked it and I’m glad I read it but there was some aspects of it that I didn’t really like at all. Although it is a very good story and very well paced and thought out. I have always loved books that were set in Japan, I find the country fascinating and I liked the sound of the “Cinderella meets Memoirs of a Geisha” storyline. Despite the world in this book being set in a “fairy-tale Japan”, I still found it rather captivating and interesting.

However, I feel like the story could have benefited from more world building, a little more talk about the history I think would have  made the plot more solid. Not to mention that I only barely connected with the characters. Most of which were very 2D and lacked any originality. I couldn’t stand Suzume’s mother, although that is obviously intentional, but seriously what a selfish horrible character. On another note, I quite enjoyed the romance aspect it wasn’t a major part of the plot but I think it embellished it nicely and although in places it could have been more in-depth  I think it worked well.

There is only one other part of this book that I disliked and that was the ending, although essentially it wasn’t that bad but I felt it was lacking. I still have numerous questions about the side characters and it’s annoying that I’ll never know what happened to them because this book being a stand alone. Ugh!

On a more happy note, I really enjoyed the magical aspects of the story, it was fascinating and it was very original. A nice breath of fresh air from the usual. Despite there not being as much of this “magic” as I would have liked it worked. I don’t have anything bad to say about it really.

I do recommend this book if you’re interested in stories set in Japan/ Asian countries, original magical ideas and an action packed novel that is a little gut-wrenching.

[Series Review] Blood of Eden trilogy by Julie Kagawa

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To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.
Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.
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Overall rating: 4.5 stars.

You’ve probably thought already that you will never have anything to do with stuff involving vampires again. The topic has been exhausted over and over again and yet the genre still isn’t dead, it truly is an immortal genre in fiction. Its safe to say that Twilight has essentially made the genre go into overkill, and the influx in vampire novels since Stephenie Meyer’s success haven’t really been of any significance. With the exception of the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, who’s series could be deemed a success even with the flop in box office of the movie. Even with Anne Rice’s books, and of course the classic Dracula, the genre has always been sought-after in popular culture. But it is obvious it is starting to get repetitive. Luckily, I picked up this series for a bit of fun not expecting all that much. I’ve read Kagawa’s previous Fey series and loved it, so I was eager to give her other books a try. So, so, so glad I did. Not going to lie, I think this might be my favourite Vampire series. I do have a soft spot for vampire books, and I’ve read a lot of them. Although none have really stuck with me. This trilogy is epic. It deserves hype.

The Blood of Eden series centres on the character of Allie, who struggles to survive with everyone else in a post apocalyptic world which has been ravaged by disease, and which has been taken over by vampires using humans as cattle. Allie refuses to become a blood-bag so has to scavenge for food on the outskirts of the walled city. The walled city which keeps out the imminent death which awaits on the other side.
There seems to be a popular craze at the moment for apocalypse/dystopian style books so I suppose there was evidently going to be an attempt to incorporate this into the vampire genre.  It is a good mix. This series certainly brings back a lot of the “dark and disturbing” to vampires, that has been very lacking in the past 10 years. It was thoroughly enjoyable and kind of scary at times!

The characters were all very interesting. Although I do think that some of the “companion” side characters had very stereotypical personalities. But the main character Allie is worth reading this series for alone.  A very strong character that really develops throughout the three books. There are good and bad sides to her character but honestly? Thats what makes a great character in my opinion. Her voice in the books is enthralling and certainly makes you want to keep reading.
I was very fond of Kanin’s character and I wish we could have seen even more of him in the series, I think his character could have been build on a lot more than he was. Jackal’s character was a little frustrating at times but he did bring a lot of dark humour to the story that made me laugh numerous times. Zeke was a good character, but in The Forever Song I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with him even a little annoyed.

Overall, the only thing stopping me from giving this series a full 5 stars are problems I have with the side characters. Otherwise, I would recommend this series to anyone that has lost faith in the Vampire genre and anyone with love for the gory! This is a trilogy I would certainly read again.

Outcast by Adrienne Kress

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After six years of “angels” coming out of the sky and taking people from her town, 16-year-old Riley Carver has just about had it living with the constant fear. When one decides to terrorize her in her own backyard, it’s the final straw. She takes her mother’s shotgun and shoots the thing. So it’s dead. Or … not? In place of the creature she shot, is a guy. A really hot guy. A really hot alive and breathing guy. Oh, and he’s totally naked.
Not sure what to do, she drags his unconscious body to the tool shed and ties him up. After all, he’s an angel and they have tricks. When he regains consciousness she’s all set to interrogate him about why the angels come to her town, and how to get back her best friend (and almost boyfriend) Chris, who was taken the year before. But it turns out the naked guy in her shed is just as confused about everything as she is. 
He thinks it’s 1956.
Set in the deep south, OUTCAST is a story of love, trust, and coming of age. It’s also a story about the supernatural, a girl with a strange sense of humor who’s got wicked aim, a greaser from the 50’s, and an army of misfits coming together for one purpose: To kick some serious angel ass.

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Rating: 4 Stars.

After reading Angelfall by Susan Ee, I have been incredibly eager to read more “Angel” books to check out if there are any other books just as fantastic as it. Outcast was a very pleasant surprise, I actually wasn’t expecting a great deal from this book. I thought the synopsis basically told the entire story, and the length of the book (300+ pages) didn’t really indicate that something spectacular was going to happen. I need to stop thinking like that. 

This book was actually thoroughly entertaining, and I read it in a day. I could not put it down, even though the plot line was pretty predictable throughout. But for me, this didn’t matter, it didn’t take anything away from the book there were a few surprises that I was not expecting. The writing was very good and I was quite taken with the main character Riley very early on in the book. One more thing I enjoyed about this book (which is sort of similar to Angelfall, but a little less so) is how creepy it was a times. It was just captivating. Also, the ending was a little bit of a roller-coaster ride, and I can’t believe I am okay with what happened, which I think is the best way to feel about an ending that was pretty damn heart-wrenching. 

I think there are various aspects of Outcast that might make people weary about picking it up, especially the religious aspect to it. Now I am an Atheist, but I’ve always had an interest in people’s religious beliefs and this book is very big on the religious front. It was really very interesting to read about this town’s responses to ‘The Taking’ and “angels”, because it is realistic in a sense that something like this probably would happen if these were the circumstances. But I’m not sure how people who have more religious backgrounds than me would take this book. So if you’re religious and thinking about picking this up then I warn you! 

There were also aspects of the book that I thought were very unrealistic, which is why I am giving it 4 stars. For example, the lack of curiosity from people in the town about Gabe. No-one really questioned why he was there and Riley’s parents literally just let him stay with them without questioning him about who he was and where he came from. The same with the town, a town which is constantly watching every little thing that happens there, and which basically ignores Gabe’s arrival. It doesn’t really fit with how Kress has portrayed the town. Also, Gabe’s lack of curiosity about what happened to him really bugged me and really didn’t suit his character at all, it was very unrealistic for someone from 1956 to suddenly wake up now with no curiosity as to what happened to him within that time… Whaaaat?! 

But other than that, I really think this is a book worth reading and it’s a shame it isn’t more well known. Hopefully in the future it will gain some of the recognition is deserves. It was a very enjoyable book, and I find it hard to think that someone could dislike it. 

Book Haul [#6]

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I went to Liverpool yesterday to see the comedian Sarah Millican (it was hilarious) and during the day I did a spot of shopping and ended up spending over an hour in Waterstones. Despite being skint. 

Autumn Rose (The Dark Heroine #2) by Abigail Gibbs

The highly anticipated sequel to Dinner with a Vampire
Autumn Rose has the chance to save the world she loves. But how much will she have to sacrifice to achieve it?
In Autumn Rose, book two of her breathtaking series, Abigail Gibbs draws us even further into the dangerous and romantic world of the Dark Heroines.

I wasn’t that impressed with Dinner with a Vampire when I read it last summer, but the ending made me want to pick up the next book in the series. Hopefully this book will be so much better. 

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan

We have fought battles that left more than a hundred corpses on the ground and not a word of it has ever been set down. The Order fights, but often it fights in shadow, without glory or reward. We have no banners.
Vaelin Al Sorna’s life changes forever the day his father abandons him at the gates of the Sixth Order, a secretive military arm of the Faith. Together with his fellow initiates, Vaelin undertakes a brutal training regime – where the price of failure is often death. Under the tutelage of the Order’s masters, he learns how to forge a blade, survive the wilds and kill a man quickly and quietly.
Now his new skills will be put to the test. War is coming. Vaelin is the Sixth Order’s deadliest weapon and the Realm’s only hope. He must draw upon the very essence of his strength and cunning if he is to survive the coming conflict. Yet as the world teeters on the edge of chaos, Vaelin will learn that the truth can cut deeper than any sword.

Ugh. I’ve been eyeing this book up since it came out. So when it was one a ‘buy one get one half price’ stand I grabbed it. I want to read more from the high fantasy genre and I think this will be one of the next ones I’ll read. 

The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1 – 0.5) by Sarah. J. Maas

Contains all five novellas.
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I was hoping these novellas would come out in paper copy! Hooray! One of my favourite series at the moment and so glad to have these in my hand. I have them on my kindle as well but I have been putting off reading them for some reason. I like to think they’ll be near the top of my reading list now I’ve got the paper copy. 

Lizzy Bennet’s Diary by Marcia Williams
When Lizzy Bennet’s father gives her a diary, she fancies she will use it to write a novel, as her real life is exceedingly dull. Then the handsome Mr. Bingley moves to nearby Netherfield Park, and suddenly life is every bit as thrilling as a novel would be. Who will he dance with at the Meryton ball? Who is his haughty friend? Will Lizzy ever receive a marriage proposal? Readers will have to read her diary to find out! Marcia Williams offers a lively introduction to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in a highly illustrated scrapbook-diary format, featuring such novelties as foldout notes from sisters and suitors, an elegant bill of fare, and an invitation to the ball.

This is amazing. I love it. So much. Usually I’ll buy anything that relates to Pride and Prejudice. I have an entire shelf in my bookcase of books relating to it (bit excessive, I know!) So I had to have this, of course. The fold out bits are awesome too. 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
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Rating: 4.5 Stars.

(Beware: A few spoilers)

I liked this, I liked this a lot. It was pretty amazing. I believe I have only read about 4 angel books in my life and only one of them was terrible, but I’ve met a lot of people who have read so many awful angel books that it always makes we weary about picking one up. I should probably drop this suspicion, and take more leaps of faith because this book did not disappoint and I went in with pretty high expectations. The amount of rave reviews I’ve read about this book, its hard to not have high expectation. Despite not liking certain aspects of the book, I still enjoyed it immensely.

I loved the fact this story was set in Prague. Its nice to read Young Adult books that aren’t set in the USA or UK, as the majority are…
It sort of gave a more quirky aspect to the book. I don’t really know anything about Prague, I have friends who have been there and loved it, but I’ve never been myself. I definitely think I want to go now.
However, I wasn’t overly impressed by the “heaven” slash “portals” part. I don’t know whether its just me being awkward, but I just found it incredibly hard to imagine the whole thing. I think there could have been a bit more description, in that respect. I’m hoping there will be more clarification on this in the next book.

The majority of the characters I LOVED. Karou is awesome! So is Zuzana. I love them. But I am finding Akiva a little… well, boring. (I’m sorry, don’t hate me!) He’s just a little dull and lacking in character depth in this book. I really hope this will change, I don’t want him to be yet another two dimensional love interest in a YA novel.
One character that I really love though is Brimstone. I was absolutely gutted by the end, and a part of me is hoping with all my heart that it is a mistake. I would have loved to find out more and more about him, but alas, I think that will never be now. (why do I always like the characters that die?!)
I’m also intrigued by Thiago, I want to know more about him.
Just one more, problem I have with the book is the humans reactions to angels and supernatural stuff. I find it a little unrealistic and frustrated me in places. If I met an angel in a street I’d be running as if my life depended on it not standing there taking pictures. Haha.

Overall, I think this book is a great start to a trilogy/series. There is a lot of background information and I really look forward to reading more about this world. It has a lot of potential to grow into something epic.