Currently Reading

Currently reading: The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas [Review]



Written by: Sarah J. Maas.
Published by: Bloomsbury.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 1st September 2015.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . . She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return. Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world."


I am something of a latecomer to the world of Sarah J. Maas and the amazing Throne of Glass books. I only read Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight last year, before deciding in my wisdom, and with some people saying that book three had literally killed people with all the emotional goings on, to leave Heir of Fire for as long as I possibly could so that the wait between book three and the gargantuan (seriously, it's huge, you could hurt someone with it!!) Queen of Shadows, would be somewhat short and remotely bearable... So picture my face late August when I finished Heir of Fire and wanted to cry and shout because I had a whole week and a half to wait for Queen of Shadows. I was not a happy bunny! Thank god I decided to wait, I do not think I would of managed a year without having a breakdown!.. Any who... on to Queen of Shadows, which quite literally ripped by heart from my chest, threw it on the ground and stomp, stomp, stomped it into a pulpy, bloody mess. 

This book is seriously one of the best I have ever read, and I would go as far to say it is my favourite book I have read in 2015 so far! Yes, it is not perfect, but nothing ever truly is, is it? But this book was epic, it had scale, it had action, it had romance and it had friendship. There was blood, and guts, and revenge, and more sexual tension than you could wave a stick at! It had it all and then some!

The book opens with a very short chapter that had me holding in the tears from the very beginning. Poor Dorian has been taken over by a valg demon after his evil father placed a wyrdstone collar around his neck. I LOVED this chapter and the chapters from within his mind, showing what was actually going on inside him, the conflict, the fear, the complete loss of self, and thought this was a really cool way for Sarah to add a new element to the story. We knew from Heir of Fire and from people wishing to die once they had been possessed that it cannot be pleasant, but to actually see it and feel it through Dorian's eye was amazing, albeit it horrifying and very sad to witness. 

I loved that we got to see a lot more of Manon, who is really becoming one of my favourite characters in the city. I loved Celaena so hard in this book it's crazy. Especially when she became Aelin and really let go, really fought. Some of the fight scenes in this book were incredible, and the climax of the book. WHOA! Do not even go there! I am really confused as to where things will go next as the ending of the book seemed pretty final, despite throwing some new elements into the mix. Aelin's powers are incredible though and I am looking forward to seeing them develop, along with the characters. I think that is the true magic of Sarah's works. Her characters are all so relatable, and believable and they all develop so well, changing as you would expect them to with age and with experience in this weird and dangerous world.

As per the usual, the cover is absolutely stunning! The design department at Bloomsbury are incredible and despite the covers being relatively simple with just Celaena standing on the front, they are so stunning and visually exciting and they look so beautiful lined up on the shelf. I am a massive hardback nerd and decided to re-buy all the books in US hardback to go alongside my UK paperback and let me tell you, it is a stunning collection and as soon as I get my new bookcase up they will be the first to find a home there!

When I finished the book, I wrote a very short review and I mean very. It was two sentences, and I am going to close my review with them because I stand by them and they sum up my reading experience perfectly. Thank you Sarah for another amazing read, for Bloomsbury for bringing into the forefront and to Celaena for being so bad ass! Bring on book 5!

Forget rattling the stars! Queen of Shadow tears them from the sky and scatters them to the wind. Stunning from start to finish, and it has left me gasping for the next instalment! 

Zom-B Goddess cover revealed!

FINALLY! We're nearly at the end and we will finally get all the answers to our zombie related questions... I hope!

Zom-B Goddess is the twelfth and final book in Darren Shan's incredible Zom-B series. It's been 3 years since the first book was published, and now, in April 2016 the grand finale will be making an appearance and what an appearance it is... FEAST YOUR EYES!!

WHAT!!! WHAT!!! What is life? That cover? Wow. It's the best of the series by far. It's epic, it's stunning to look at and after the quieter looking cover for Book 11, Zom-B Fugitive, it's exciting too. I love the colour of it, the armour B is wearing. Her expression - you better know she means business!

I for one am incredibly excited to see how it is all going to unravel and cannot wait for the book to get here!

Bravo Cliff Nielson for creating such a stunning looking series. All twelve books are great and really stand out.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and why I'm not that fussed...

So... Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Ugh... Okay then...

I really don't know where to start this, I really don't! I should probably be of using my energy into writing some reviews! You should see my draft section on blogger, it isn't pretty! Ha. But I felt like I had something to say and I needed to get it off my chest. I've been talking to several other bloggers on Twitter about this the last few days, but Twitter is such a limiting platform and 140 characters just is not enough space to rant like I feel I am about to...

Let me start properly saying that I adore Harry Potter. It's one of my all time favourites, it's probably the reason I got into reading in the first place and it is most definitely the reason why I got into writing (there is a story behind this, but that's for another day...) and I love JK Rowling. She's a major inspiration to me in so many ways, it's unreal. I think she is an insanely creative and clever individual and cannot thank her enough for this wonderful universe she's crested and the cacophony of characters she has birthed into the world for us to enjoy and love and hate and in some cases, love to hate. I love everything that has expanded from the books. The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The Hogwarts Library containing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch through the Ages. The movies. I want to go to the studio tour in London, I want to go to the theme park. I even have a Deathly Hallows tattoo (soon to be, hopefully, followed by another HP themed tattoo, but again that is for another day...) so it is safe to say I LOVE Harry Potter.

What I am not such a big fan of however is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Or rather how this story is going to be delivered to us. I have never been the biggest fan of plays. Even as a child I wasn't a big fan of going to see a pantomime at Christmas just because it never really captured my attention in the desired way. I would always rather go and read a book. Reading is my favourite way of interacting with a story. Being able to imagine things the way I want, the way my brain interprets the authors ideas and characters and world. It is so liberating, so exciting and so damn cool! I do like watching movies, but plays, there's just something I find so claustrophobic about them and I do not know why. I don't like the way how you cannot immerse yourself in the story again and again, should you so wish, without having to shell out a heck of a lot of money. 

You see, I don't live in London, nowhere near really, I am in a completely different part of the country, so this whole thing could become a really expensive affair. Train tickets alone will be in the region of £40-£50 depending on what day I go. The tickets themselves have a tiered system, so no doubt the cheaper ones will go pretty damn quick leaving just the expensive tickets. And then there is the fact that this is in 2 parts and that makes me pretty damn annoyed! The timings are ridiculous. Some days both parts are being performed. Part One seemingly in at 2pm, and Part Two at 7pm, which would mean you'd have to spend all day in the city and work out something to do in-between parts. Then there is the fact that depending on running time it's going to be pretty late when you come out and for people who have the worry of the last train home that would detract from any enjoyment you could get when watching the play. But some days they are only showing Part One, with Part Two the following day... I mean... WHAT?!!??! Some people will travel a long way for this and to come all that way only to get half of the story? Well it seems pointless in my opinion. 

I know if I wanted to see it I would want to see the whole thing regardless.

I just feel like there would be way better ways of sharing this story with the world than a bloody play. A play where special effects are incredibly limited and it worries me that when we've had such visually stunning movies in the series it will look so mediocre next to them. And then there's the international aspect. Fans from overseas may well travel to London to see the play, but at the same time there will be so many Harry fans that would never be able to afford to come, or for various other reasons might not be able to travel. What about them? Don't they deserve to enjoy the story just as much as everyone else? Yes, they do! 

When talking to various blogger friends on twitter we all said that it would be so much better if it was adapted into a proper book, and this seems to be echoed among a lot of fans as some have even made graphics, turning the picture above at the top of this post into an image of a book which looks amazing, I have to say. Even if JK isn't going to write it, there are more people involved in this story, the people writing the play. It's just so frustrating as a long term Harry fan who has been there since Book 4 came out I might not get to experience this story because it is in a medium that I really do not like - I dare say I might go, but I am worried by the fact that I probably won't enjoy myself as I cannot recall ever really enjoying a play if I am honest... I don't know... We'll see...

What are your thoughts on this? The play. The fact that it has been split into two parts, the cost of that. Do you think it would be better as a book, or film... It intrigues me as there are a lot of people excited for this new story, and rightfully so, it's just the medium!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness [Review]

Written by: Patrick Ness.
Published by: Walker.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 27th August 2015 (UK) / 6th October 2015 (US).
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Award-winning writer Patrick Ness's bold and irreverent novel powerfully asks what if you weren't the Chosen One? The one who's supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week's end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions... "


I am going to start this review with a confirmation. A confirmation that things are about to get real gushy around here, because my love for this book... UGH! I cannot contain it and I cannot even begin to explain it! Just... This book!!! Ugh! Life affirming! Just bear with me, we'll get there, I promise!

Longterm readers of my blog, or followers on my twitter, will probably know that I am a bit of a latecomer when it comes to Mr. Ness. I have only read his last few releases (from 2013's The Crane Wife onwards...) but what I have read I have loved and so I had high hopes for The Rest of Us Just Live Here. I mean the title alone had me hooked and demanding to read on, before I'd even read a single sentence of the book itself. And once I got into the real meat of the story I was not disappointed! I was surprised! I had formed an idea of what I thought the book would be just from the blurb and I was so wrong and I am so glad that I was because the book is way better than what I thought it would be!

We are all too used to reading the story of the hero, the chosen one, the one slayer in every generation, the boy wizard who alone has to power to stand up to the darkness, the blah blah blah. Yes, these make for exciting, high octane stories. But what about the bystanders? Your general citizen who isn't the chosen one? Who doesn't have any extraordinary power to help them save the day. What about them? Their lives are just as important, aren't they? Their stories. Sometimes the most important thing in the world isn't that there is a zombie invasion about to break, or a group of vampires ready and waiting to decimate your entire town. Maybe the biggest problem in the world is that you want to go to prom and that you're scared to ask the girl you want to go with. And it doesn't help when your mum is a politician, running for some office you couldn't care less about, neglecting you and your siblings more and more with every passing day. Isn't it that simple to understand? The world is so much more than disaster waiting to happen. There are far harder things to face than the big bad itself.

I really do not know what I can say that hasn't been said by countless others. Patrick Ness is a total genius. His characters are so real and relatable. Especially Mikey. OH GOSH MIKEY! I cannot begin to explain just how much I related to Mikey. I don't think I have ever in my life connected and related to a character like I did Mikey. His thought processes, and the horrible, gut-wrenching feeling that I know all too well. That you're the least wanted person around! I think it's such a fundamental human feeling to have. We all get it at times, I know, but some more than others. I've had my fair share of crap over the years and one thing I've always dealt with is feeling like an outsider. At school. At work. At home. Even in my own mind sometimes. So the moment I read that section of the book, and got deeper into Mikey's mind, I'm not going to lie there might of been a few tears. Just a few, but tears nonetheless.

The portrayal of mental illness, in the form of OCD in this book, was phenomenal. It felt real, at times shocking and most of all thought-provoking. I think it's all too easy these days for people to be so flippant about it. "Ooh, I've got a touch of OCD... My desk has to be immaculate, I hoover my floors every day." But for some people it isn't flippant. It's real, it's dark and it's scary and the way this book opens your eyes to it is amazing, and for that alone Patrick should be proud of himself for writing such an incredible piece of work. I also feel it is so easy for people to be dismissive to people with mental illness. Some people brush it off, don't believe in it so to speak, claim that it is put on. But the message in this book that it isn't your fault, that you do need help and can get it is a wonderful, beautiful thing. BRAVO!

The subplot running through the book at the start of every chapter was also an awesome addition, and one that I think works very well. The characters we are dealing with have no idea that the end of the world might happen tomorrow. They are just going about their everyday life, but the indie kids fighting the end of the world know all too well what is going on. Some of the chapter openers had me howling, they had me concerned for the safety of Mikey and his friends, and they kept me wanting to read on because it showed a great contrast between the two sides. Mikey and his ordinary life, just trying to get on, and the lives of the superheroes trying to save the town and the world.

Overall, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a fantastic, life affirming and important read. As is becoming expected from Patrick, it is beautifully written. Funny. Emotional. Highly addictive - you just cannot stop at one chapter before bed! It's impossible! I cannot recommend this book enough - whatever you are doing just get it and read it. It really is a marvel!

Thank you for such a wonderful book, Mr. Ness, and thank you to Walker for allowing me to read it so early ahead of publication. I am so honoured!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Death Code by Linsday Cummings [Review]

Written by: Lindsay Cummings.
Published by: Greenwillow.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 26th May 2015.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Codeintroduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read."


Oh lordy! Oh lordy lordy lordy lordy LORDY!!! This book! Oh gosh I do not know where to start. Really, honestly and truthfully I don't! This book has been like something of a myth to me for so long. It was supposed to be coming but it felt like the wait just got longer and longer and longer, to the point where I wondered if it would ever come. That was how much I wanted, no... NEEDED this book in my life! I first read the first book in this two-parter, The Murder Complex, over Christmas 2013 and having to wait 18 months to see what would happen next and how it would all wrap up was so painful! But it came! It finally came and the book was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be.

Just as explosive and bloody as it's predecessor, The Death Code sees our heroine, Meadow, on the run from the Initiative again, but now, things are worse. Way worse. They have installed a metal box on the back of her skull - they call it a regulator, and torture Meadow in ways she never thought possible. But she is just a determined as ever, if not more so, to find and rescue her family, and her search will take her beyond the Shallows and deeper into a country in complete and utter turmoil.

Personally I enjoyed the book. There were however some aspects I didn't like, just as much as I loved. The ending did seem pretty damned rushed. The book, while fast paced by most books standards, felt slower than its predecessor, and it wasn't really until the last 100 to 150 pages that the pace really amped up and started to get exciting. But then BAMN. It was over. I was left begging for more, I tell you. Absolutely begging. There had to be more! There had to had to had to! Alas, there is not. My hopes for this becoming a trilogy have been dashed, as while the ending is open, it is clear that Meadow and Zephyr's story is finished the time being, and the fact that the acknowledgements confirm this saddens me greatly.

I just wish this series never had to end. I have fallen head over heels for these characters and their ways. Meadow is really pushed to her limits in The Death Code. Her health is failing but she still goes on, fighting harder and harder, pushing on harder than she has the rest of her life, knowing that she is running out of time to do what she has to do before it is too late. Her fearlessness really shines in this book and proves just how much of an influential character she is. And Zephyr is struggling to be honest with Meadow and feels like he is losing her. This aspect of their relationship was fun to read, to see how their dynamic has been changed by the events they have faced together and the things they need to do in order not just to save their lives but the lives of everyone they love.

This book, obviously being a closing chapter, has some very sad moments that made me want to put the book down so I didn't have to accept what was going on, and there is a twist near the end that made me reel before I forced myself to pick my copy up again and continue and thank god I did because that ending happened and I liked it, although it is very very open, WIDE OPEN, and it leaves me with hope that Lindsey might one day pick the characters up again. I beg you Lindsey... PRETTY PLEASE!! More Meadow and Zephyr please! More Koi! More Peri. Even Sketch... More Sketch, please!

The writing, as ever with Lindsey, is top notch. So fluid and fast and immersive and totally faultless. It draws you in so deep that you cannot get enough, falling deeper into the world of the Shallows and the secrets of the Murder Complex and what Meadow's connection to the system means and the consequences it brings. Overall the book is a satisfying conclusion to what has been an, albeit too brief, fantastic series. I cannot praise Lindsey enough, or thank her for such an amazing reading experience over the last few years - I cannot wait to see what the future holds and finally get around to reading the Balance Keepers books too! I also cannot recommend these books enough. If you want a fast paced, high-octane read that you'll speed through and fall totally in love with, then The Murder Complex, and The Death Code are for you!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard [Reviews]

(NOTE: I don't know why this wasn't posted earlier, it's been sat in my drafts section for god knows how long?! I honestly thought I had posted this! Oops! Oh well, here it is now and I've updated it with the title of Book 2.)


Written by: Victoria Aveyard.
Published by: HarperTeen (US) / Indigo (UK).
Format: Hardback.
Released: 12th February 2015.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change. Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control."


You know that feeling you get sometimes when you've finished a book, almost like you're in a coma? You just can't pick anything else up. You can't do anything else. Think about anything else. You just want to lie there and weep or think about the wonder you have just read. Well, Red Queen is that sort of read folks. You definitely need to buckle your seat belts because once you start reading this book you are in for one hell of a bumpy ride, let me tell you!

From the very beginning Red Queen is bloody, feisty and heart-racingly addictive. It'll have you gasping at every twist and turn and racing through it at break-kneck speed! It is literally non stop. Every page, and I mean every page, will have you desperate to read on. I just could not get enough!

The world of Red Queen is so utterly unique and high-octane that you cannot help but fall in love and wonder what life would be like if you lived in it. There are the Reds. Lowlife. Dirty. Disposable - only there for the pleasure and enjoyment of the Silvers. And of course the are the Silvers. The elite. The powerful. The desirable. There's no love lost between both bloods, the Reds suppressed by the Silvers for centuries, treat as slaves and nothing more. I found this so interesting as it was another way of looking at race and the way people are towards one another, just because they are different. The world itself, the palace in particular is so beautifully described and conceived. I almost wanted to be a Silver for a day, just to get to see it for myself!

We meet Mare. She's going to be conscripted, she knows it. She doesn't have a job or a trade like her sister, and she knows that like her brothers before her she will have to go and fight in a war that the reds shouldn't even be involved in, but then she meets a mysterious man who she tries to pick-pocket before he realises what she is doing and catches her in the act. The next thing she knows she's being whisked away to serve the Silver royal family, the people she despises most in the world. But things do not go smoothly and soon it turns out that Mare is a special type of Red. A unique Red. She exhibits Silver powers which she should not and soon she finds herself wrapped up in more danger than she knows how to handle and to hide herself from her enemies she must masquerade as a Silver. The Queen loathes Mare but tolerates her as she is taken in to become a consort to the prince, Mavern, but it isn't Mavern she is interested in. It's his older brother, Cal, their heir to the throne and the very same person she tried to pickpocket in the first place.

Danger is aplenty as Mare tries to fit into a world with which she doesn't want to be a part of. She must play the game carefully, but she cannot help but make enemies in the process, it just happens. But not only is she making enemies, she's making powerful allies to, and with a rebel group, the Scarlet Guard, growing in power and profile Mare is putting more than just her life on the line as she helps them get an establishment inside of the palace.

The book builds to an electrifying crescendo with a twist that will leave you reeling and absolutely gagging for book two, which we now know is titled Glass Sword and has an absolutely stunning cover, just like Red Queen! The book is beautifully written and the prose just draws you in so completely that the book has this major cinematic feel, no wonder there are whispers of it being made into a movie and not that far away! I honestly cannot get over just how much this book captured me and took me over completely. I just could not get enough of Mare, and Maven and Cal, and of Reds and Silvers. It was just so wonderful and something I think everyone needs to experience. When it was released, Red Queen went straight in at number 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list and it is clear to see why and to say that it is totally deserved! I cannot wait to see what Glass Sword, and indeed Book 3 have in store for us, and with some novella's due in September 2015 and January 2016, it looks like there is plenty more to enjoy within the world of the Red Queen. I cannot wait!