Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter

Author: Melinda Salisbury
Edition: Scholastic Paperback (Early Copy)
Release: 5th February 2015
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Pages: 333 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has its price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girl she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous as the queen's, some truths should not be told...

Though this book started out well for me, after a while, there were a couple of problems which surfaced that I just couldn't overlook. However, before I go into more detail, let me just say this: I did enjoy this book and can easily see it being a big hit in the near future with a lot of different people.

Let's start out on a positive note. There were three aspects of the book which really stood out to me. These were the writing, the setting and the way the Gods came in to play in the storyline. All three of these I truly adored. The writing had an almost melodic quality to it and simply seemed to flow, pulling me through page after page. The setting portrayed a medieval feel and, being the fan of castles, big dresses and court drama that I am, well, it went down a storm. And the idea behind the Gods Naeht and Daeg also really interested me and I really enjoyed their roles in the storyline and the way they came into play.

Unfortunately, my problems were very much character based. And it's a really pity because I'm sure I would have probably loved this book otherwise. However, I do believe this all came down to my personal taste in characters so don't be put off by what I'm about to say. I started off liking the main character, Twylla, but, as time went on, I couldn't overlook her selfishness. Now, she isn't the type of selfish you're used to seeing, she's more of the subtle variety and, though I do believe she doesn't always know that she's being selfish, her actions and decisions just begun to irk me after a while. I also wasn't fond of Lief or the prince because I just didn't know what to make of them. The one character I did surprisingly like was Dorin. However, what's to say the characters won't develop and become more to my liking in the next books?

Yeah, that's another thing. I feel like this book would have worked well as a standalone but, now that I know it's going to be a trilogy, I'm really in-between about what I want to do. Should I continue? I'm not sure. Despite my problems, there were some things I really did enjoy.

Overall, The Sin Eater's Daughter was an enjoyable story. The writing was lovely and I loved the time period and atmosphere the author captured by it. And though I didn't find the characters that much to my liking, I do still recommend this book because I feel that came down to my personal tastes alone and I wouldn't want to see anyone giving this book a miss when I know a lot of people will love it.

THREE AND A HALF TOADSTOOLS TO THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER! :)
A big thank you to Scholastic for sending me an early copy of this book!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Suzy P Blog Tour: Author Guest Post!

In honour of the release of the final book in the Suzy P. trilogy, Suzy P, Forever Me, Suzy P. has taken to the blogosphere to go out with a bang. Today I'm lucky enough to be part of the lovely blog tour and be able to share an author guest post with you all. Enjoy!


Suzy P is back in Suzy P, Forever Me, the third novel in the Suzy series about fourteen-year-old Suzy Puttock, who somehow manages to land herself in trouble and embarrass herself wherever she goes!

This time, Suzy’s made a promise she can’t keep. And it’s kind of a big promise. To her entire school!

She’s promised super-famous band The Drifting will be performing at the Collinsbrooke fundraiser – yup, big fat uh-oh. And as if trying to sort out that mess wasn’t enough, she’s got Dad’s surprise birthday bash to contend with, and Dad is showing definite signs of a midlife crisis…

Suzy always manages to find herself in daft situations. Here are some of the signs that you might be like Suzy yourself…

1. Your life is one long series of embarrassing events.
2. Your family drive you nuts on a daily – actually, make that hourly - basis.
3. You never think before you speak and always end up with problems as a result.
4. Your hair is out-of-control curly and never behaves.
5. You regularly wish you could abandon your younger sibling in an orphanage.
6. You love hot chocolate with marshmallows, and think it helps any problem.
7. You believe dresses and skirts are not to be trusted.
8. You’re super grateful you have a fantastic boyfriend and great mates to help you through the tough times.
9. You firmly believe sleeping in tents should be avoided at all costs.
10. You’ve dropped your underwear on the head of someone you’ve never met before.

Can you identify with Suzy P? How alike are you? Share your similarities with us on Twitter @suzyputtock.

Suzy P, Forever Me, Suzy P and the Trouble With Three and Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders are available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about the books or the author, do visit Karen online at www.karensaunders.co.uk, ‘like’ her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/karensaunderswriter or follow Karen on Twitter @writingkaren. Suzy tweets too, @suzyputtock, so don’t forget to follow her, too!

A couple years ago, I read and LOVED the first book of the series, Me, Suzy P. (review HERE), so I really do whole-heartedly recommend giving it a go!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Review: The Glass Sentence

Author: S.E. Grove
Edition: Viking Hardback
Released: 12th June 2014
Series: The Mapmakers Trilogy #1
Pages: 489 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Series Website | Author's Website | Buy the book!

It is 1891. Almost a century ago, the Great Disruption threw all the continents into different time periods, from prehistory to the far future. It remade the world. Explorers took their lives into their hands; mapmaking became a fine art, a mixture of science and magic.

Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers. Eight years ago, her parents went on an urgent mission, and never returned. She lives with her brilliant, absentminded uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, who is teaching her everything he knows. Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Her new friend Theo, a refugee from the West, comes along. From the moment the two of them get on the train, their lives are in as much danger as Shadrack's - because he has entrusted Sophia with the most important artifact in his collection.

She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

The Glass Sentence is one of the most complex and intricate books I've ever read in my lifetime and I absolutely loved it. Every moment I spent reading it, I was in complete awe of the world and plotline being crafted in front of my eyes and the sheer scale of detail and thought that S.E. Grove must have put into creating it. It was an astounding story and one that could only have been written by a master storyteller.

The world in this book is overwhelming in its complexity and richness - you will never have read a book with a world even remotely similar to this one before, I assure you. Every time I picked up this book, I'd flick through the pages at a deliberate slower pace, soaking up every stray detail of the world I could find and storing it away in a treasure chest in the back of my mind, revelling in the sheer and utter intricacy of it all. Grove's writing, the way she describes the world and builds it up until you feel lost in the pages, is one of the most entrancing styles I've come across. I think I'll still be processing this world in days to come.

Though Sophia is of a middle grade age, the book does not read like middle grade at all. I truly believe anyone of any age could find something to admire and love in this book, if not everything about it. However, I really liked the way Sophia's age came in to play in the storyline. It gave the story a layer of child-like imagination and fantasy. I loved how serious and determined and caring Sophia was yet still with a childish boldness that made her question everything around her. There were also a great variety of side characters who I couldn't help but adore because they were all so different from one another.

I really don't get why this book isn't being screamed about from every rooftop everywhere. It really deserves way more attention - which, after reading, you seriously think it would be drowning in already! I can't wait for the next book. I can only wonder at how it will delve into this unbelievably developed world and reveal yet some more of its secrets!

To conclude, The Glass Sentence is a stunning debut from an author who implements imagination like nothing you've ever seen. I still find it jaw dropping how complex and original the world is and how the plotline propels the story forward in a way which makes the whole book seem like something so special. If I've convinced one of you to read this book, or even to consider it, I'll be very happy indeed. An astounding novel.

FOUR AND A HALF TOADSTOOLS TO THE GLASS SENTENCE!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 22 January 2015

My Finished Series!

There's been a lot of these types of videos going around booktube lately and, since I really enjoy watching them and am also interested in my own series read count, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon. *spends ten minutes going through goodreads to find completed series* Unfortunately, I'm rather disappointed with my number (it seems I start a lot of series but never finish them -.-) but am up for showing you the ones I've read in their entirety anyway. To make myself feel better, let's just pretend I've forgotten a bunch I read when I was younger (which I probably will have, honestly)...

Harry Potter
 
 
First off, of course, we have the legendary HP series. Words cannot describe how phenomenal and utterly amazing these books are. I'll never be able to repay them for the comfort they've given me over the years and the way they've shaped me as a person.

Divergent
 
 
A series I really adored with a protagonist who was amazing to follow. If you asked me to name a great fictional role model, I'd probably say Tris. She's human and flawed, sure as hell fights for what she believes in and always, always, always strives to do the right and moral thing. She's brave, smart, selfless, kind and honestly one of the best, most complex, amazing fictional characters you'll ever come across.

Dark Touch
 
 
A really fun, entertaining series I read a few years ago and loved. Really light reads I'd recommend marathoning in a day.
 
 Delirium


A thought-provoking trilogy I enjoyed.

Wings
 
 
A really fun series I adored when I read it a couple of years back. The world entranced me and I'm pretty sure kick-started my love for reading books with magical creatures. The covers are some of the most beautiful ones I've seen too.
 
The Hunger Games


My introduction to both the YA and dystopian genre. Adored these books. So fast paced and thrilling.

Inkworld
 
 
Read this trilogy when I was younger and really adored it. Fictional characters coming to life - what more could you ask for?
 
Chestnut Hill
 

Absolutely loved this series as a tween. I've always been very horse obsessed and a series all about four friends in an equestrian boarding school was perfect for me. I'd seriously recommend this to tweens and teens obsessed with horses - you'll love it.

Matched
 
 
A so-so series with some beautiful writing.

The Mortal Instruments

 
An alright/good series with some instalments better than others.

The Infernal Devices

 
One of my favourite series of all time and home to one of my favourite characters of all time too - Will. Except, I loved all the characters and the different relationships and the setting and time era and... just everything. They're pretty epic books, okay?

Have you read any of these series? What did you think of them?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Review: Doon

Authors: Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon
Edition: Blink Paperback
Released: 29th July 2014
Series: Doon #1
Pages: 399 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Series Website | Buy the book!

Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes?

When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt - and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation.

Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for... or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.

To all of you out there obsessed with booktube, I'll give you one guess as to why I picked this book up (or, rather, requested it for Christmas). *gives you a second* If you're answer is Sasha from abookutopia, you guessed right. Ever since she started raving about this book on her channel, I've wanted to read it. So much so that, leading up to Christmas, I was desperate for it. Luckily, Santa managed to find a spare copy lying around to pop in my stocking and, in doing so, made my day just a little more special.

What you'll find when reading this book is that it has a very fairytale-esque feel to it. The world of Doon feels like something you'd find in a Hans Christian Andersen tale. And I loved that about it. It's a world you want to fully immerse yourself in. If the opportunity ever arises one day to experience this world first-hand, I'll be jumping in head-first. It's that entrancing. I also love how it's set in Scotland (or somewhere within it anyway ;p) as my country is very rarely used as a setting and I always love coming across books where it's involved - especially if it's close by where I live!

Though I didn't fully connect with the two main characters, Veronica and Mackenna, they were still likeable and good protagonists. I liked Veronica more than Mackenna though - who I thought was a little selfish at times. Jamie was probably my favourite male character so it's safe to say I shipped him and Veronica.

To conclude, Doon was a very entertaining read laced with fairytale themes and an essence of magic. I adored the world - it really drew me in and made me want to be experiencing it right along with Veronica and Mackenna. I'd definitely recommend Doon to people who enjoy a good ol' fairy retelling or something a little out of the ordinary. An overall fun read!

FOUR TOADSTOOLS TO DOON!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Simultaneously liking and disliking a book...

So I'm sitting here a little perplexed, having, over the past few days, read the first two books in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. I hadn't particularly meant to pick up the first book but, as it went, I was in some kind-of vampire kick and on the look out for another vampire book after The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. Vampire Academy happened to conveniently be on my shelf.
 

As I was reading it, I didn't find myself to be particularly enjoying it. The main character felt a little selfish and full of herself to me and these types of characters are not usually ones I get along with and ones I find deject from the storyline. But, at the same time, I was still turning the pages of the book and not thinking to put it down. There was still something compelling me to keep reading. (getit, compelling me? ;p don't say you didn't smile)

Anyway, once I finished, I mentally placed it in the slightly-more-enjoyable-than-okay category and got ready to move on. But a few hours later, I decided I liked it more than I initially thought. Granted, I'd watched the film straight after reading the last page which, admittedly, could have spurred my love for the book, in itself, and the premise of the series but... There just seemed to be something telling me that this wasn't the kind of book I should of nit-picked. And once I decided that, I really wanted to continue on with the series.

I promptly bought and downloaded book two, Frostbite, on to my Kindle app and surprise, surprise, really quite enjoyed it. More so than the first book. Maybe because of the fact I stopped critiquing and gave the storyline a proper chance to draw me in.

It did. And now I want to continue on with the series.


I just find it so strange how, initially, I thought I didn't particularly like the book that much yet, only a few hours later, came to realise I enjoyed it more than I thought. Enough to continue on with the series anyway. And it's happened before with other books. I'll initially think that book was okay but then, at some later point, realise I enjoyed it more than my brain let on.

It's so bewildering. Like, how did this happen? Did I fall in love with the idea of the book but not actually the reading experience? Or did I actually deep down enjoy it but not let myself admit it at the time? Like, ahhhh. I'm sorry if this post is confusing. I've just got some very confused feels right now toward this series and wondering what the heck goes on up in my brain.

Does anything like this happen to you?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 16 January 2015

Spoiler Free Sequel Reviews: Idols & The Infinite Sea!

Author: Margaret Stohl
Edition: Harper Voyager Paperback
Released: 3rd July 2014
Series: Icons #2
Pages: 418 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

The following synopsis contains spoilers for the first book but the review does not.

The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can kill us. Most of us.

Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon Children, the only humans immune to the Icon's power to stop a human heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated - and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in search of this missing child, Dol's dreams, feelings and fears collide in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives - and stop one heart forever.

I absolutely adored the first book in this series, Icons (review HERE), so was really excited to continue on with the series and delve into Idols. The first book introduced a plotline and situation unique to the dystopian genre and I was excited to see how it would be developed in the next book. However, I had problems with the sequel and my love for it was nothing like my love for the first book.

Time for the bullet points.
  • I got confused. I felt, quite a few times, I should've reread the first book to fully understand what was going on. In any sequel, I like it when the author does a quick relay of the previous events somehow but I just didn't get that in this book and forgot things crucial to the storyline.
  • After reading the first book, I stated in my review how I'd love for the author to explore and develop the relationships of different people in the group and the dynamics of the group as a whole but, unfortunately, I didn't feel like anything was explored or developed. Or not much, anyway.
  • There was a point in the novel which seemed to slow the pace down, so it got a little boring for a while. However, the pacing, in general, was decent.
  • There were points in the book where Dol was jumping between her two suitors and it was reminiscent of America Singer from the Selection trilogy. I was not happy.
Now let me point out the good things.
  • I really liked the cultural aspects woven into the book. Especially when they were in Southeast Asia. It was an enjoyable part of the story for me.
  • The characters were still flawed which I liked. It gave them that extra depth and made them feel more real.
Though the book did have it's good points, it was a disappointment considering how much I loved the first book.
 THREE TOADSTOOLS TO IDOLS!
 
Author: Rick Yancey
Edition: Penguin Paperback
Released: 16th September 2014
Series: The Fifth Wave #2
Pages: 300 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

I don't know, maybe just to be on the safe side don't read the following blurb if you haven't read the first book but, as before, the review is spoiler free.
 
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Admittedly, I didn't much like the first book in this series. It was good, but not great, and I think the hype monster might have influenced my feelings toward it. However, a few people were telling me that the sequel was better and I should continue on with the series. I did. And I'm glad I did.

Two of the things I really enjoyed in this instalment were the pacing and the characters. The pacing was fast and I never seemed to lose interest in the storyline because of it. However, I think the characters played a bigger role in investing me. I really liked the relationship dynamics between different characters (particularly Ben and Cassie) as well as the varying personalities of them all. Cassie had a fiery attitude. Ben was flawed (which, if you haven't caught on, I love). Sam evoked my maternal instincts. I also liked how we got a glimpse into the past of one of our side characters, even if it wasn't the happiest. Also, maybe you've clued in, but I kind of ship Ben and Cassie (even if it's delusional). I just think there's something there and I really like the way they interact. Evan's okay and I warmed up to him a little more in this book but he still isn't... y'know. Ringer also grew on me. But, like, only a little bit.

However, one thing I found with the first book, I found with the sequel too. The writing style. As much as I don't want to admit it, I got confused quite a number of times - whether it was purely down to the writing style or simply my general understanding of what was happening in that moment of the storyline.

Overall, I really did enjoy this one and now feel invested in the series and will be carrying it on, despite the one problem I still continued to have with it.

FOUR TOADSTOOLS TO THE INFINITE SEA!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 12 January 2015

My 2015 Blogging and Reading To-Do List!

Since the idea of creating 2015 resolutions for myself seems too scary and, therefore, too final for me, I'm going to do a 2015 blogging and reading to-do list instead. Disclaimer: I in no way believe I will succeed in doing all these things. Or any of these things, in fact. We'll see.

  • Do monthly wrap ups.
  • Attempt to read 50 books (but, seriously, no pressure).
  • Try to complete the 2015 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge (again, Rachel, no pressure).
  • Try and read books from a variety of genres. Try some historical fiction. Maybe even a contemporary or two.
  • Pick up a few graphic novels.
  • Read what you want when you want and DNF a freaking book if it's not for you - admit when it's just not working out.
  • Try and do some more blogger collabs.
  • Some more author interviews too?
  • Get a library card for the local library and start using it.
  • Maybe even borrow some books from the school library considering this is your last freaking year.
I can't think of anything else to add right now but, if I do, I may just come back and add it on to the end of this list so I can keep track of all the things I'm hoping to achieve this year with my blogging and reading.

What about you? What's on your blogging and reading to-do list?

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Review: Angelfall

Author: Susan Ee
Edition: Hodder & Stoughton Paperback
Released: 23rd May 2013
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Pages: 326 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

It has been six weeks since the angels returned to Earth and destroyed the world as we know it.

When they fly away with a helpless little girl, her sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...

To all those people out there that cringe and whinge and hum and hah over angel books, you'll probably like this book. It's nothing like the overly romanticised angel books we've read before. It's a fast paced, action packed story that sheds a completely different light on the celestial beings. Been there and read Fallen? You wouldn't even think to compare the two stories. Seriously. Angelfall is a really unique angel read. I really enjoyed it.

The story throws you straight into the action. You sometimes forget how good it feels to suddenly be thrown into the midst of a good, ol' fashion showdown. Before this book, I hadn't read a book in ages which did that. It was a real breath of fresh air and I was gripped straight away. I knew from then on that I'd be in for a very fast paced and thrilling storyline.

The main character, Penryn, was likeable. Brave and determined - your usual heroine in an apocalypse novel. The love interest? I adored him. He was imperfectly snarky (which made me giggle from time to time) and mysterious - Penryn and him tending to knock heads quite a lot, challenging each other. But not in the way that they just appear like two angst-up, hormone-induced teens. Their dynamic was entertaining and I can sure say I ship them.

To conclude, Angelfall adds something unique both to apocalyptic novels and angel books alike. I recommend you read it if you were once open to angel books (and *gasps* actually enjoyed a few!) before they became too much. Even if you're not? This book still reads more like an action-fuelled apocalyptic novel anyway.

FOUR TOADSTOOLS TO ANGELFALL!
(First review of 2015, woooo!)
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 2 January 2015

The (Belated) Christmas Book Haul!

I've decided to spice things up today... *drums fingers* Instead of writing a really long post to talk about all the books I received for Christmas (and leading up to it!), I made a video! I hope you enjoy! :)

(I'd hoped to have had this video up by the end of 2014 but there was a whole load of hoohah trying to upload it! Hopefully it'll work now! Also, as a sidenote, the video now appears to have a white light filter on it or something. I don't know how this happened and it's annoying me. -.-)




Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo