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Review: Everless

December 14, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: EverlessEverless by Sara Holland
Published by Orchard Books on 4th January 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy, Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself.

I’d heard so much love for this book among fellow reviewers who’ve also been lucky enough to get early copies so I was excited to delve into this new fantasy series. However I must admit, I started reading Everless with a little trepidation. Could this book live up to the early hype? The simple answer, for me, is yes.

I actually had a whole section written to try and describe this book but honestly my draft was long and I just didn’t feel it did the book justice. So we are just going to skip that bit and I refer you to the synopsis above!

This is a hard book to put down, and yet I didn’t want it to end. The concept of time as a currency, extracted from the blood is so creative. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Sara Holland has created a fascinating, rich world where the gulfs between rich and poor are not only measured in monetary value but in time, lifespan.

There’s so much to like in this novel. The storyline is absorbing and mysterious, with characters that I certainly became invested in. It’s a clever, well-written novel that may on the surface appear like others in the genre but is actually quite unique. It has a fairytale-esque feel to it, with the same looming darkness our favourite tales contain.

All in all, this is an excellent, addictive read. I genuinely cannot wait to read the second book in this series. I really think Everless will be hugely popular in 2018. Expect to see this book everywhere.

five-stars

Review: The Cruel Prince

December 7, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Cruel PrinceThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Series: The Folk Of The Air #1
Published by Hot Key Books on 2nd January 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars

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.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him—and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Jude is a child living with her parents, her twin Taryn and her older sister Viv when a stranger appears at their door and kills her parents before her eyes. The murderer? Her Mother’s faerie ex-husband Madoc who has come to retrieve his daughter (Viv) whom he previously thought dead. He takes the two human twins with him, returning to Faerie and raising them all as his own. That’s the background.

Madoc is the High King’s General; because of this he has the power to demand that the human twins be treated as his own. So Jude and Taryn are educated with the Faerie gentry, schooled in swordsmanship by Madoc and attend functions at Court. Madoc has remarried, his new wife Oriana is not Jude’s favourite person, but she very much loves her younger brother from this union, Oak.

But not all of the faeries are happy to have humans in their midst, least of all humans with privilege and protection of the General.

Jude dreams of becoming a Knight – a fanciful ambition for a mortal in Faerie but one that she is determined to fulfil. She knows she can’t live under Madoc’s protection forever and if she wants to stay in Faerie rather than return to the mortal lands she is going to need to find some power of her own. Her twin is content with finding a marriage to keep her in Faerie but Jude wants to follow her own dreams.

Jude is educated with the High King’s son Prince Cardan, and his group of gentry faerie friends. They are not fond of humans and even less so of the twins, making life difficult for the twins. This animosity between Jude and Cardan is a theme that runs throughout the novel.

When the High King decides to leave his throne, a succession must follow. Any one of the King’s offspring could wear the Blood Crown, but it’s Prince Dain that the High King has chosen.

So when Dain makes a proposition to Jude, she realises that this could be her chance to find power and forge her own destiny.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the progression of Jude’s character and the quick escalation of the issues she had in front of her.

Through Jude, Black explores what it’s like to be different in society, to stand out from the crowd and to suffer the consequences of such differences.

Black’s land of Faerie had me thoroughly enthralled and I loved the contrast of the normalcy of going to Target in the mortal lands and the magic, and darkness, of Faerie.

While this book begins somewhat sedately (well, aside from the brutal murder of Jude’s parents) everything soon escalates to the point that you just want to keep reading. It’s a book full of betrayal, loyalty, families, scheming, ambition and secrets.

It is packed with fantastic characters. I’ll admit to being somewhat confused by the different court and placing some of the characters to begin with – I was a bit overwhelmed by names at the start. One of these thoroughly interesting characters is Prince Cardan who is at the heart of the cruelty, taunting and abuse that Jude encounters in Faerie.

I think of the things I liked most about Black’s characters is that they are flawed. No-one is perfect, each has their own stories and desires. Couple that with Black’s descriptive writing, fantastic world building and captivating plot, it’s hard not to love this book.

five-stars

Unboxing: Owlcrate’s Castles, Courts and Kingdoms

November 24, 2017 in Bookish Posts, Owlcrate, Unboxings

We all know that I love a good bookish subscription box, you can find previous unboxing I’ve done here. I’ve long wanted to get my hands on an Owlcrate box and this month I managed to get one of their Courts, Castles and Kingdoms boxes.

box

Owlcrate is a YA subscription box that ships from the US (although they are actually a Canadian company) so if you live in the UK you need to factor in their shipping costs. However right now is the PERFECT time to buy as Owlcrate have Black Friday offers running. You can buy their past boxes at a 25% – 50% discount, get money off a new subscription or gift (see codes here) and if you’re a current member they have a discount for you too (here).

Before I show you what came in my box, let me just tell you that these codes are also valid for Owlcrate Jr, their subscription service suitable for 8-12 year olds!

OK, so on to the box. As ever, I’ve put the contents in a spoiler section below. My box arrived really quickly, I was so impressed by that!

Apologies for the photo quality, my excuses are threefold – November in Scotland means terrible light, I no longer have a camera and I’m awful at photography!

View Spoiler »

I’m so completely thrilled with this box, and am very impressed with Owlcrate and their service. This box is sold out but if you sign up with one of the Black Friday codes you’ll receive December’s box, Seize The Day.

next box

What do you think of the November Owlcrate?

Christmas Gift Guide For Book Lovers

November 16, 2017 in Bookish Posts, Christmas, Gifts

Every year I do a wee post with some Christmas gift ideas for book lovers. I know it’s still mid-November and some of you might not be thinking about the holiday season yet, but at least one of the items I’m going to recommend is limited in quantity so I thought it best to get this post out!

Signed Books

Let’s start with that limited item then – V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic Collector’s Edition.

ADSOM Collector

Forbidden Planet have SIGNED copies of the UK version. There are only 200 copies of this signed, special edition. I have my copy and it’s stunning! I believe all of the first edition US special editions are signed but this signed, numbered copy is perfect for Schwab fans!

Next, I have to mention Jen Campbell.

The Beginning of

Jen will sign, dedicate and even wrap her books for you! I posted a mini-review of her short stories collection, The Beginning of the World In The Middle of the Night, recently – it would make a gorgeous Christmas gift! Just order on Jen’s website!

In that same post, I gushed about Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns.

The Language of Thorns

Waterstones still have some signed copies available however they are in-store only. You can check on their website to see if your local store has a copy though. I had a nosey and there are definitely some still strewn across the country.

Artemis

I haven’t read this book yet, but, if you have someone in your life who loved The Martian, Waterstones have signed copies of Andy Weir’s new book Artemis available. UPDATE – these are now Click and Collect only, so check to see if your local store has a copy.

One of my favourite items to give (and receive) over the past few years has been the illustrated copies of Harry Potter. The latest edition, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released last month and Foyles still have some signed first editions available (note this is signed by the illustrator Jim Kay, not JK Rowling).

HP 3 signed

I think they make beautiful gifts for young and old alike! They are stunning books and well worth collecting.

If you’re not so sure what signed book your loved one would like, may I recommend a voucher from Goldsboro Books?

Goldsboro

I’ve had several books from them, and receiving a parcel from them feels so special. They often offer exclusive editions as well as specialising in signed first editions and have a Book of the Month service, so a GB voucher is the perfect gift for book collectors in your life!

Subscriptions

It’s no secret that I love Illumicrate, the quarterly book subscription box. I’ve been signed up since the first box (you can see all of my unboxings here). So, obviously, I think an Illumicrate subscription would make a fantastic present!

FullSizeRender (11)

However, Daphne has a special, limited edition box lined up for January…

It’s The Howler Edition, curated and inspired by Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy. You could buy this one-off box for a loved one, give them a voucher telling them they are getting one for Christmas and eke out the festivities when their box arrives in January.

Sticking with the subscription box theme, there’s still time to order the December box from Book Box Club.

The theme is Winter Fairytales and will feature TWO books. I have a sneaky suspicion I know what they are and, having read one of them, I can tell you that they will make the perfect gift!! The December box will be the first box I’ve received from them so I can’t tell you much about them, but if you want to find out what their previous boxes have included you can find them here.

A final subscription idea, Fairyloot. The December edition of Fairyloot has sold out, but you could buy a loved one a subscription starting from January.

box

It’s a while since I’ve managed to snag a Fairyloot box but you can find my previous unboxings here.

Bookish Goodies

My sister gave me a beautiful tote bag from Fable and Black for my birthday and I love it!

Since then I’ve been lusting over their shop and considering some Christmas purchases. They have some gorgeous items, something for everyone!

Sticking with Etsy stores, I was first introduced to Nutmeg and Arlo when they appeared in an Illumicrate box a few months ago. We received a “swish and flick” keyring which I love and use every day!

keyring

The site is full of cute gifts – possibly my favourites are her Game of Thrones pins though!

My final recommendation is, of course, for bookish candles. This year’s suggestion is Book and Nook, a company I used earlier in the year. I received one of their monthly boxes to celebrate the publication of ACOWAR.

Sadly I don’t have a post on it, but I loved all of the scents! I’ve been savouring them and am nearly finished burning my last candle from the box.

So there’s my wee 2017 Christmas gift guide for you! I hope you’ve found it useful. If you’re interested in perusing last year’s guide you can find it here.  Happy gifting!

What are your gift suggestions for book lovers?

Short Stories For Autumn

November 8, 2017 in Book Reviews, Short Stories

There’s something about this time of year that lends itself beautifully to curling up in a favourite chair with a cuppa, a blanket and a compilation of short stories. Don’t you think? So today I thought I’d share with you two of my recent reads that I think are perfect for reading right now!

Short Stories For AutumnThe Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
on 26th September 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
five-stars

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

I’ve long been a Leigh Bardugo fan and her Grishaverse is one of my favourite worlds to visit. So when she announced she’d be publishing a collection of Grishaverse short stories inspired by myth, fairy tale and folklore I was beyond excited! Like many folk, I’d read a few of the tales years ago but this collection brings together three of these stories and three brand-new tales! What’s more they are packaged within the most gorgeously finished book I think I’ve ever seen!

This beautifully illustrated edition contains imagery which changes with every turn of the page – the more you read, the more of the image you see until the final page when we are introduced to the final full-spread illustration.

As you’d expect from Bardugo, her stunning, rich writing pairs perfectly with these illustrations. Each tale is beautifully crafted – each page one to savour. I can’t recommend this enough, it’s just a thoroughly breath-taking book.

 

Short Stories For AutumnThe Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
on 2nd November 2017
Genres: Short Stories, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
four-half-stars

'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.'

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world.
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

I’ve been excited for this book for a long time – Jen Campbell’s first collection of adult fiction. Up until now, she’s written non-fiction, poetry and this year she released her first children’s picture book (it’s fab) so I couldn’t wait to dive into this collection of short stories. I wasn’t disappointed!

Jen shares with us 12 tales which draw upon her love of myths, fairytales and their histories. Her writing is captivating as she weaves stories that are all individual and highly memorable. It’s dark at times, strange and whimsical too – and you’ll find it impossible to put it down after each story. I intended to savour this book but I devoured it, I didn’t want to leave Jen’s writing. The perfect mixture of fantasy and magical realism, this book is not to be missed.

I hate to mention the word Christmas so soon but this would make the perfect Christmas gift, and Jen will even sign, dedicate and wrap copies for you if you order through her website – the ultimate special gift!