Thursday, 18 January 2018

Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

So this has been hanging around on my kindle a while now, and I thought I'd finally get round to it on holiday.

I love it when historical fiction and fantasy is mixed, but I don't see it very often, and this book mixed it beautifully.

Here it is:

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Jane Austen's high society and Cassandra Clare's supernatural underworld collide in the first book in the Lady Helen trilogy, perfect for fans of historical fiction and fantasy. 

London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her curtsy to Queen Charlotte and step into polite Regency Society. Unbeknownst to Helen, that step will also take her from the glittering ballroom of Almacks and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of demonic creatures, missing housemaids and deadly power.
Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of dubious reputation and infuriating manners. He believes Helen is destined to protect humanity, but all he can offer is danger, savagery and the possibility of madness. Not the kind of destiny suitable for a young lady in her first London Season. This delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and difficult choices has all the unnerving dark magic of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and the swashbuckling action of The Scarlet Pimpernel.


I definitely wasn't disappointed in this book, as I've said earlier I love it when historical fiction and fantasy are mixed, and this mixed perfectly. I loved the idea of Deceiver's, the name of the demonic creatures who look like humans, and I especially loved the intrigue of Helen being the first direct inheritor of the Reclaimer powers (the Reclaimer's are those who stop the Deceivers who step out of line) - I mean, who doesn't like a bit of mysterious powers in a book like this? It still wasn't totally answered in this book as to what Helen will turn out like, so I definitely can't wait to see where Alison will take it in the next few books.

And, guys, there was a small romance in this book. In fact, to my eyes, there's a small love triangle, and you know how much I love my love triangles!

Though, even more surprisingly, I don't have much of an opinion as to who I want Helen to be with in the book - the nice Duke, or Carlston (though I do tend to go for the dark, mysterious man in a book, so it's likely to shift to the opinion that I want Helen to end up with Carlston despite the difficulties there).

Talking of Carlston, I adore how his character was written - dark and mysterious, but you learn through the book that he, as a Reclaimer, is in a constant battle to not let his darker side take over once he uses his Reclaimer powers. Definitely an amazing character, who I'm definitely hoping we'll learn more about!

One of my hopes though is that Helen will become more powerful, and also more respected in the next book, as it left off at quite a precarious point - yet again I can't wait to see where Alison will go with that. It will definitely be good to see if Helen will go on to prove the point that women can be more useful than the Dark Days Club seem to think they are - especially one with directly inherited powers.

But, I don't have much more to say other than the blend of fantasy and historical fiction in this book is beautifully done, and this is definitely a book I will recommend to those with a love for mixed genres!

I give this book: 5 Cats!



Have you read this book? What coupling are you hoping to see in the next book? Comment below!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Harry Potter Spells Book Tag!


So, I saw this lovely tag over on Margarida's blog, and I asked to be tagged, which she did, and I was so glad because this looks so fun, and as you all know I am a giant Harry Potter fan, so any Harry Potter tag will be done by me if I can!


This tag and all the graphics were created by Kimberly Faye Reads, so check her out if you want to!

This is quite a long one, but I hope you read it all!







AN UPCOMING RELEASE YOU WISH YOU COULD GET YOUR HANDS ON RIGHT NOW!
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I have been waiting ages and ages to get my hands on The Witch's blood by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr, and it comes out around my birthday so I'm going to have a happy birthday!


FAVOURITE SERIES STARTER.





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Ooooh this is a hard one! But I think my favourite starter is Sabriel by Garth Nix, as it shows you the world perfectly but also could be read as a single book if needs be!




A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU ALL THE WARM FUZZIES.




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I don't really read warm fuzzy books, but one of my favourites to just sit and read in a nice cool cocoon of warmth is The North Child by Edith Pattou, because its just got a warm fuzzy polar bear in it, and the love story is so cute!



A BOOK THAT MADE YOU UGLY CRY.


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It's not very often that I cry at books, but one that always brings tears to my eyes is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. It's just so sad but cute at the same time!



BOOKISH HERO OR HEROINE YOU WANT AROUND TO PROTECT YOU IN REAL LIFE.

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Oh no! So many to choose from! Its so hard to choose! But one that springs to mind is August from the Book of Fire (I count him as a hero so it counts). Because who wouldn't want a nice tall Roman warrior around to protect you (and have some eye-candy at the same time?)



A BOOK YOU INTENTIONALLY SPOILED FOR YOURSELF.

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I must admit, I spoil books too often to count. Sometimes I just have to check the back to see what happens, I know it's bad but it's a habit I'm trying to break! But the one that comes to mind is Inheritance by Christopher Paolini, I just needed to know what would happen to Eragon after Angela's prediction from the first book!



A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD MAKE EVERYONE READ BECAUSE YOU LOVED IT SO MUCH.

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This is a hard one, because one of my first thoughts was Sabriel, but then I remembered Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, which is the first book in a series that I loved so much I read them multiple times. So, I'm going to go with that!


A BOOK OR SERIES YOU WISH NEVER ENDED.

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Well, come on guys, it's got to be Harry Potter! I know it had to end because school ended, and new side books are coming out regularly, but still I want moreeee.


A BOOK WITH AN UPLIFTING ENDING OR MESSAGE

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I love books with happy epilogues and endings, but one that springs to mind is It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne. The first book of hers I've read and it gave a great message that romance isn't always as it seems, and that you don't need romance to go where you want to go in life.



A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD FORGET YOU EVER READ.

I've never had a book that I haven't liked reading, so I can't answer this question. Though I guess I could cheat and say I wish I forgot all the boring textbooks I've read in my lifetime? Would that count?



AN AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A SLUMP.

It has to be Garth Nix, his Old Kingdom books (yes that's the series that Sabriel is in) always get me out of slumps if I can't think of anything else, and I do love his other books too!



A SWOON-WORTHY HERO OR HEROINE.

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One character came into my head when I saw this question: Rhysand from ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas. I know he's not the most obvious Hero, but come on he's absolutely swoon-worthy and to me he's a hero!



A BOOK THAT CAUSED YOU TO STOP DOING ALL OTHER THINGS UNTIL YOU FINISHED IT.

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This is my most recent read, and it got me out of a slump. Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I even stopped talking to someone until I'd finished because I got so into it (they understood my love of books).



A BOOK THAT WAS PAINFUL TO READ (FOR WHATEVER REASON) OR BROKE YOU.

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This has to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling. Who couldn't be broken with all those deaths? Fred especially broke me, why break up the twins?!


A BOOK THAT HAD YOU LAUGHING OUT LOUD.

The only book that comes to mind is It Only Happens in the Movie by Holly Bourne, again. It was a hilarious book at certain points and so relatable, and I know I'll be reading more of hers because I'm sure there are more laughs to be had.



A BOOK THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SEND IT (OR YOUR E-READER) FLYING.

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Oh, I get frustrated with books a lot when I don't know what happens, or with certain endings, or when the MC's do stupid things. The book that comes to mind though when I saw this was The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman. That ending was so good, but at the same time was so sad it made me want to throw the book (not that I'd ever throw a book).


BOOKISH WORLD YOU WISH YOU COULD VISIT.

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This is such a hard questions as there are so many worlds I'd love to visit. But one that springs to mind is Narnia from the books by C. S. Lewis. It's such a magical world and has talking animals, I'd love it!


A BOOK WITH A SHOCKING TWIST OR ENDING.

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Oh, hard to say! But a recent read of mine is probably the one I remember at the moment: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. It had an amazing twist at the end, and I can't wait for the next book!



A CHARACTER DEATH THAT DESTROYED YOU.

Okay I already mentioned that Deathly Hallows deaths broke me a bit, but I must admit, poor Dobby's death did make me ridiculously sad! Poor Dobby!



BEST SERIES CONCLUSION.

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Oh! I love most conclusions to stories! Would it be weird if I said Abhorsen by Garth Nix? Technically, the series has another book after, but this was a conclusion for me for the first one, and the newest book wasn't released for a while after, and I loved the way it ended!



I tag:


Do you agree with any of my answers? Comment below!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Review: After the Fire by Will Hill

Okay, so, I bought this book because of numerous recommendations by Zoe. She has been mentioning it for a long time, and when reading the description of this book I thought it sounded quite interesting.

It wasn't quite in my usual genre, but as you may have seen, I've started branching out, and trying to read a bit more YA that isn't fantasy, and I think this book was a great pick for me.

Well, here it is:



The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire? 


As you may tell from the description, this is a a very intense book, but I admit, I've quite liked the hard-hitting books lately that really get you thinking.

This book is all about Moonbeam, a 17-year-old who has grown up in a cult that centres around religion. It shows her story through both 'Before' chapters, where she describes different times in her life in the compound as well as retelling what happened in the lead-up to the fire, and 'After' chapters, where we see what has happened to Moonbeam, and a few of the children survivors, directly after the fire.

In the 'After' sections of the book, we meet both Dr Hernandez and Agent Carlyle, who are the ones interviewing Moonbeam to find out what she knows about the fire and the workings of the cult, though Agent Carlyle only comes into the book partway through as at the beginning Dr Hernandez was trying to get Moonbeam to open up after she had a lifetime of being told that 'Outsiders' were not to be trusted and shouldn't be talked to.

I must admit, one of the reasons I liked the book so much was the writing of the sessions between these 3, and the way they all interacted, especially Moonbeam and Agent Carlyle, I loved the dialogue between them at points.

But, the main reason I loved this book was because of Moonbeam. I loved how strong she was throughout the book, explaining her past and trying to overcome it, and I liked how she was written towards the ending, where although she had worked through a lot because of her sessions, she still had a way to go, which I think is really realistic. Moonbeam is now one of my favourite written characters, as she was written perfectly.

There was only one thing I wasn't too sure on, which was the ending (I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it). I was happy it ended the way it did, but I just wasn't sure on it, but either way it was still an amazing book, and one I will definitely be putting on my re-reads list.

I give this book: 4.5 Cats! (so close to 5, but I just wasn't sure on the ending!)


Overall an amazing book, and I definitely want to read more like it, what did you think of this book if you've read it? Comment below!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Review: The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen


So, I got this e-book from Netgalley as an ARC, in exchange for an honest review. I did start reading it before it came out, however I only just finished it, so technically it is no longer an ARC.

This book was published in November, so I am a little bit late, but I got around to it, and I definitely enjoyed it. Here it is:



Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the Lost Boys, of course.

A Scottish academic unearths ancient evil in a fishing village. Edgar Allan Poe's young bride is beguiled by a most unusual bird. Dorothy, lifted from Kansas, returns as a gymnastic sophisticate. Emily Dickinson dwells in possibility and sails away in a starship made of light. Alice’s wicked nemesis has jaws and claws but really needs a sense of humor.

In Jane Yolen’s first full collection in more than ten years discover new and uncollected tales of beloved characters, literary legends, and much more. Enter the Emerald Circus and be astonished by the transformations within.


There were two things that drew me into requesting this book from Netgalley. One is the cover. Green is my favourite colour, and the mixture of greens and yellows on this cover is such a beautiful eye-catching mix that I was drawn in as soon as I saw it available for request. (Can you tell the majority of things I request are because the cover drew me in yet?) Then the description had me hooked, I love a good re-imagining of the classics, and anything based on Alice in Wonderland will have me intrigued.

This was also my first time reading something that was purely short stories, as usually I only read full novels, and it was definitely eye opening for me, as it was so refreshing to be able to finish a story quickly on short journeys and not worry about having to remember what had happened when you stopped reading.

My favourite of this book was a story called Lost Girls - it switched up the story of Peter Pan, and painted a totally different picture of the goings on in Neverland, which I loved. It included numerous 'Wendy's' taken through the ages to Neverland and just what happened to them, and totally mixed up who the typically 'Good' characters were and who the 'Bad' characters were, which is different to most re-imaginings I've found.

At the end of this book, Jane Yolen also included a little summary of where she came up with the ideas for the short stories, and I liked that she added this. It helped you if you didn't understand what story the plot came from (as I couldn't tell for a few of them) and also showed you her inspirations.

Overall, a great book, and I'll definitely be reading more short-story compilations in the future!

I give this book: 4 cats!


What are your opinions on short stories? Have you read this book and got a different favourite short-story than me? Comment below!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

ARC Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I received this book from Netgalley in the form of an e-ARC for an honest review, so here it is!

I'd heard so much about this book before I requested it, and of course the cover also drew me in, but just the idea of a faerie world based book had me desperately hoping to be accepted, and I was.

I admit, I did a little happy dance when I saw the acceptance email. It took a little while to get to reading it, but over my holiday I devoured it and read it ridiculously quickly (even for me).

Here's the book:



Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal. 

As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.

But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . . 

So, I don't know how to explain how amazing this book was. I absolutely loved it, as I have always loved Faerie related books, but I don't see as many as I would like, so this was a great addition to my faerie/fantasy collection.

I liked that in this book there were a lot of traditional superstitions about Faeries, and it was nice that while I was reading this I could compare all the different superstitions used and see which ones overlapped with other books I had read.

In fact, I loved how different this book was to other Faerie books I've read - it was dark and totally fascinating, letting you understand the more darker side to the Faerie world (which was exactly like I have always imagined the Faerie world to be - dark and slightly twisted if you aren't careful). The writing style of Holly Black is beautiful, it really had me feel like I was in the book seeing what she described, and I sometimes have trouble imagining things in books.

My favourite character was Jude, the main character in this book. She went from a young, inexperienced child to someone that could navigate her way through the Faerie world with ease, and I can't wait to see where her character goes in the next book.

So, all I can really say to sum up this book is that is is beautifully written and the writing style is amazing, and all I want to do is curl up and read it again. It's definitely reignited my interest in Faerie books, which I am definitely grateful for.

I give this book: 5 cats! (and I would give it more if I could!)


Have you read it or are planning to read it? This book is out the 2nd January, and I would definitely recommend it for those who love dark and twisted Faerie tales! Comment below with your opinions, I'd love to hear them!