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Review: Royal Bastards

July 29, 2017 in Book Reviews, 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: Royal BastardsRoyal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 30th May 2017
Genres: YA Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey . . .

Royal Bastards is an easy-to-read, action packed read, that although fantasy is not super-intense fantasy. Narrated by our main character Tilla, the story is told in a modern style. It’s banterous, playful and witty while simultaneously dangerous, bloody and violent.

We follow a bunch of five teens, 4 ‘outsiders’ and a Princess who are thrust together when they see something they shouldn’t have and find a bounty set on their heads.

Tilla is the daughter of Lord Kent of the Western Province and a low born woman. All she has ever wanted is to be legitimised, allowed to sit at her father’s side rather than at the bastard table at the back of the hall. But her father now has trueborn heirs and so Tilla spends the majority of her time with her half brother (same low born mother) Jax. I really liked Jax and the playful nature of their sibling relationship.

Then we have Miles, the bastard and only son of a Lady, Lord Kent’s best friend. We have a Princess who seeks to defy convention and a Zitochi warrior, Zell, who is sullen, serious and strong.

I very much liked the fact that although narrated through Tilla, we got to know the other characters and their back stories. I felt we saw the progression of each of the characters, with Tilla obviously being the predonimant one.

As fantasies go this isn’t too heavy. If you feel intimidated by fantasy then perhaps this YA fantasy would be a good place to start?

I did find the light narrative style to be somewhat at odds with the violence and implied violence. I guess it showed Tilla’s naivety as this disparity definitely seemed to lessen as the story progressed.

All in all, a good read with some interesting characters. I believe this is the first book in a trilogy so I look forward to book two.

three-half-stars

Review: Gather The Daughters

July 22, 2017 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, General fiction

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

Review: Gather The DaughtersGather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed
Published by Tinder Press on 13th July 2017
Genres: Dystopian
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars

Gather The Daughters tells the story of an end-of-the-world cult founded years ago when ten men colonised an island. It's a society in which men reign supreme, breeding is controlled, and knowledge of the outside world is kept to a minimum. Girls are wives-in-training: at the first sign of puberty, they must marry and have children. But until that point, every summer, island tradition dictates that the children live wildly: running free, making camps, sleeping on the beach. And it is at the end of one such summer that one of the youngest girls sees something so horrifying that life on the island can never be the same again.

I can’t quite bring myself to use the word ‘enjoyed’ to describe how I felt about this book. I mean it’s deeply unsettling but it’s so compelling, I couldn’t put it down!

Melamed’s writing is in itself beautiful, but for me, it’s her telling of the story through multiple characters that really makes this book. You slowly develop an understanding of what’s going on, aided by the perspectives of the multiple daughters.

I’m truly hesitant to reveal too much as I feel it could impact upon Melamed’s storytelling. However, if you’re looking for a book to keep you reading and don’t mind battling that constant unsettled feeling, that deep unease that comes with reading about families, relationships and communities that lie out with the social norm then get reading!

**WIN A COPY**

If you are in the UK the publisher is currently giving away TEN copies over on Goodreads. Here’s the link. Good luck!

four-stars

Review: City of Saints & Thieves

July 6, 2017 in Book Reviews, YA

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

Review: City of Saints & ThievesCity of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Published by Rock The Boat on 6th July 2017 (UK)
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Street-thief Tina breaks into the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed at night fighting to keep your eyes open so that you can read just one more chapter? Well, that was me with City of Saints & Thieves – I just didn’t want to put it down.

Our protagonist Tina lives on the streets, works with the Goonda gang, steals to survive, checks in on her sister every Friday (her sister is in a school) and plots revenge on her mother’s killer. Ever since her mother was shot dead in Mr Greyhill’s luxurious mansion, Tina has been seeking revenge. So after five years she’s ready to work with the Goondas to execute her plan and bring down Mr Greyhill. Except, when she enters the house to steal from him she is caught by his son (and her former friend) Michael. Michael is determined to prove that his father is innocent of her mother’s killing and so the two find themselves working on a murder investigation that uncovers dark secrets and takes them on a journey from a Kenyan city to a village in the Congo.

This is such a stunning debut novel. Anderson herself has worked with refugees of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, many of whom shared their own harrowing stories with her. While this is a work of fiction, she has drawn from these experiences in order to create a fascinating, page-turning, heartbreaking story that is formed from real life. She educates the reader, brings attention to the lives of these refugees and to those still living in the villages of the Congo. Personally, I learned a lot from this novel.

I very much enjoyed Anderson’s writing and her use of Swahili and Shen to further the reader’s experience and once again bring the reader closer to the real life of the Kenyan streets.

As for the story itself, I was thoroughly caught up in Tina’s life. I found myself thinking of her even while doing other things – always a sign of a well-written character. Plus I couldn’t shake the thought that although fictional, this could be a real life young girl.

I have a lot of admiration for Anderson for the way she writes. She has created a fictional story around real life events, tackled difficult and upsetting issues while maintaining a flowing and fascinating narrative throughout.

In short… read it.

four-half-stars

Illumicrate #7: Unboxing

July 1, 2017 in Bookish Posts, Illumicrate, Unboxings

Life has been pretty tough lately so I apologise for the lack of posts. I do have some great books to tell you about so hopefully I’ll be back on track again soon. In the meantime, here is my very delayed Illumicrate unboxing. If you want to check out what came in previous boxes just click here.

illumicrate

 

We were told in advance on social media that this box would have TWO books – which I actually completely forgot until I opened the box!

I’m not going to bother with a spoiler section as this post is SO late, but obviously, if you don’t want to know what was in the box stop reading now!

spoiler card

This quarter’s box was packed to the brim. I really love this map bookmark exclusively handmade by Penguin Co.

bookmark

It’s actually so pretty that I’m too scared to use it! Plus, I do love a good map. I’m now very tempted by their other designs in their Etsy shop.

I’ve had this keyring on my house keys since the box arrived.

keyring

This Harry Potter themed keychain is from Nutmeg and Arlo and I believe the blue colour is exclusive to Illumicrate.

I instantly fell in love with this door hanger and print from TJ Lubrano which is, again, exclusive to Illumicrate.

BatB

In fact, the print is now framed and on my bedroom wall.

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a Flickerink candle for a while now so needless to say I was delighted to find this Mermaid Lagoon candle in the box.

candle

It has a lovely tropical scent, but I haven’t yet tried burning it.

In celebration of Sarah J Maas’ ACOTAR series, Merwild created the Feyre artwork for this mug.

mug

I love how she has incorporated the colours from all three of the books.

Onto the book – Truth or Dare by Non Pratt.

book

In fact, it’s a SIGNED copy…

signed book

…which arrived with a letter from the author!

I said there were two books. Well, the second book was an ARC of The Waking Land by Callie Bates, along with an author letter.

ARC

My post is so delayed that you can, in actual fact, get your hands on the finished article now.

As ever Daphne included some extra goodies in the box.

extras

What a box, eh?

full box

I’m so pleased with it and also very happy that there’s now not too long to wait for the next box!

Daphne shared with us that the August box will include an exclusive Illumicrate edition of a book where “girl power reigns in this story of a true icon” AND we will get it pre-publication. I suspect I know what book it is and I AM SO EXCITED!! Make sure you order your August box so you don’t miss out. Check out the Illumicrate website for all of the information.

Did you get this Illumicrate box? What did you think?

Will you be ordering the August box?

Review: Dark Immolation

June 23, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

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

Review: Dark ImmolationDark Immolation by Christopher Husberg
Series: The Chaos Queen
Published by Titan on 20th June 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

There are rumours in Ashta - a new religion is rising, and Cinzia, one-time Cantic priestess, has escaped the Holy Crucible. Fleeing from Navone, Cinzia travels with Knot, a man of many parts, and Astrid, the child-like vampire. They are gathering followers, but the murderous Nazaniin are still on their trail. Meanwhile, Winter is losing her grip on sanity, grappling with immense powers beyond her understanding. Where she goes, chaos and death follow.

Dark Immolation, the second book in The Chaos Queen quintet, is a title I’ve been looking forward to all year. Last June I had the pleasure of reviewing book one, Duskfall (you can find my thoughts here) and this debut novel impressed me so much I couldn’t wait to revisit the world and its characters.

Dark Immolation continues where Duskfall left off. While we get answers to many questions in this book there’s still plenty to keep us wondering!

The characters in this book are what really makes it for me, and Husberg flawlessly glides from the POV of one character to another. Knot and Astrid are as brilliant as ever – I’d love to hang out with those two!

Sometimes the second book in a series can feel a bit of a letdown but I absolutely did not feel that with Dark Immolation. I enjoyed the continuation of our characters’ adventures as well as some glimpses into the past and the Void.

This is a series that I’m so glad I picked up. I can’t wait to see what Husberg has in store for us in book three!

four-half-stars