Book Review

Blackbird (Proof) Review

So during YALC we were standing just next to the HQ stand while they were unpacking the Proofs for Blackbird so by fluke we were the first in line for it.  Then, as we were in line for a signature from another author, I saw ND Gomes was signing next to us, so we queued to have our Proofs signed. Talk about being lucky!

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Blackbird by N.D. Gomes

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

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I keep saying this was an easy, light read and then everyone (bookish friends and non bookish boyfriend) corrects me to say the topic isn’t light and fluffy. But the writing is the kind of writing you can read quickly, without needing to re-read, or having to think too much. It is perfect for when you’re feeling a bit down and don’t want to struggle through a very complex read (LOTR anyone?).

Story wise, I do not understand the relevance of the blackbirds, except that it happened the same day and once or twice Olivia is compared to one, there is no connection with the murder or the events otherwise.

But that is my only real complaint. The murder flows well without going too slow or going too quick, and I liked how it explores the wreckage in the family, people forgetting Alex is kinda still alive and around, but also, the rest of the world is moving on, so this is well displayed.

I did guess soon enough who was the murderer but I didn’t know why, and a few other small twists, so that was good.

Moon Recommends

I don’t read many thrillers, suspense and such books in YA genre, but I do in adult fiction and the queen for me is Mary Higgins Clark. It is very hard for me to pick just one, since they are extremely amazing, so I will suggest Weep No More, My Lady mostly because it introduces her writing style but some of her characters that appear more than once (each book is usually standalone but some characters reappear in a few of them).

Of course, if you haven’t read Blackbird, go ahead and give it a go. You can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

Book Review

Everless (Proof) Review

During YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention), I managed to get a proof copy of Everless (not the fancy one they are recently sending out and which I wish I had a copy of) by Sara Holland.

Everless
Picture by the delightful Nikki, idea by me.

Everless by Sara Holland

In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

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I should’ve posted this review sooner, but after I finished reading Everless, I was in a slump. I couldn’t make myself read another fantasy book that had anything similar to it because I’d compare it, and it was a struggle tofind a book to read.

When I got the copy of Everless, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, it sounded fun but light and I didn’t expect it to be a wow book. As seems to be the case, books I underestimate, blow me away.

The first few chapters introduce you to the world of Sempera, the Gerlings, blood iron, the myth of the Sorceress and the Alchemist, and of course Jules and her own world. It is a slightly slow introduction but it doesn’t feel too much like an info dump and I was glad for that.

Without spoiling anyone, I was quite pleased with all the sudden plot twists (the only one I could see miles away was the one regarding Liam) since they weren’t that predictable but they also weren’t illogical. I didn’t feel like the plot had been useless now that the twist was revealed. Instead it slowly fit like a good puzzle.

One other thing I really loved about this is that there is no insta romance, no crazy love triangles and any hints of romance are just that, hints. Romance doesn’t take main stage and it doesn’t fill in plot gaps (and if you take it away you don’t really loose anything plot wise).

So all in all, a good fantasy, with interesting concepts, refreshing story and ideas, no insta romance and love triangles, good plot twists. Worth the read. (The sad part is that the book hasn’t even come out yet and then add to that that I already want to read the next one!).

Moon recommends

You read this book then curl up in bed until the next one comes out because you need to know what happens next. Go watch In Time film with Justin Timberlake, it’s like it but also totally not like it, but somehow my mind linked them and it is a fun link. Read some high fantasy, or something unrelated. I started Warcross to cure my book hangover, but you can also read some Trudi Canavan (like Thief’s Magic) or Robin Hobb (like Assasin’s Apprentice)and you’d be in great magical territory.

If you’d like to pre-order/buy Everless, you can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

Book Review

Six Of Crows Review

I had been reluctant to read this book after having read the Grisha trilogy. I did not like that. And I am still confused as to why they are called little Gregory, but that is just me knowing cultural bits of Russia (my little sister dreamed of marrying a Russian and moving there -don’t ask me why, we never really understood why- so she made sure we knew about the culture and the language, and you know, stuff… She does seem to have desisted of this venture, by the way).

Anyway, less family tales and more review, here it is.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

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I gave this book a chance because Nikki suggested I should and she loved it. So I did. I can thankfully say I don’t regret it.

The book is a big jump from the Grisha trilogy and it is better written and the plot is more refreshing, it is more unique and there are less cliches. The characters are quite varied and it is all in all interesting. Of course, I have a soft spot for Inej (the rest are okay).

Story wise, I was a little annoyed that most of the book is them getting ready or looking back and making the journey to the actual heist, which feels like a filler and I wanted more of the actual action. And then we get to the heist and there is so little of it, it feels rushed.

It gets three foxes because I felt for the characters and I found this “world” better than her previous trilogy (I know this is a duology). I did enjoy it but it didn’t leave such a mark on me that I’d give it the extra foxes, so 3 it is.

Moon recommends

To give this book a chance if you, like me, didn’t swoon (or anywhere near that) for the Grisha trilogy. It is not a bad book and that is a good thing. I am not entirely sure which other book to recommend alongside this one. I don’t have many heist books in my repertoire that come to mind and the only books that came to mind as I read this was the previous trilogy. However, now I need to read Crooked Kingdom and maybe then I may suggest something else.

In all fairness, I can think of Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell as an interesting read if you liked Six of Crows, or maybe if you are into grim dark (caution because this is grim and dark), Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (or anything by Mark Lawrence, you may enjoy Red Sister more, as it is a little less dark and grim). This second book is definitely all about anti-heroes, so make sure you know what you are getting into when you decide to read it.

Side Note: I did draw Inej for Inktober this year, so that tells you at least character wise there was a win for this book.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

 

Book Review

Everything, Everything Review

I borrowed this book from a friend because the film was coming out and I had to have read the book before, but then didn’t give it much thought. I grabbed it because I felt I should read it and that was that.

Want to guess who finished it in one sitting?

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. 

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At first glance and after finishing this, I was pretty happy with the book. It is an easy read with a lot of space and is basically a love story. It also filled me because I had just been mentioning a day before reading it that I wished there was a book that talked about living with photophobia/light sensitivity (which is not the same as being allergic to the world). So I was in a good point to read this at the time.

However, I saw the plot twist early on and part of me feels bad about how the illness was handled. I admit I struggled to understand why the mother had to be a doctor, and how they managed to have the airlock, and then why they had a nurse coming and going, all those comings and goings, and all the food Maddie was having.

Either way, I’d say that it could’ve done better representing illness but as a light read it was good and a little bit different than usual.

Moon recommends

This book is the light and fluffy version of Lies like Love by Louisa Reid. Somehow I managed to read Lies Like Love first which is why I probably guessed pretty much all the plot here (the one in Lies Like Love is a bit more dark and slightly different). If you are in it for the romance then stick to Everything, Everything.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

Book Review

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop Review

As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to buy it.

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Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett

Franklin the dragon loves stories and loves reading stories to people too, but everyone is too scared to even talk to him. One day, he meets a girl named Luna who, rather than being afraid, is fascinated to meet Franklin, having recently read all about dragons in one of her books. They instantly become friends and talk nonstop about what they’ve read: books about roller-skating, King Arthur, spiders, and how to do kung fu. Together they hatch a plan to share their love of books with others by opening a bookshop―a flying bookshop, that is―right on Franklin’s back!

Franklin, a well-read and peace-loving dragon, and Luna, a young girl with an independent spirit and an insatiable love of reading, make fantastic role models for young children. Franklin’s Flying Bookshop brings the magic of classic fairy tales into the twenty-first century through exquisite illustrations, and will enchant children as well as anyone who loves books.

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Reasons I loved this book:

  • This book has a lovely green dragon, Franklin.
  • Franklin loves reading. So many books to read.
  • Franklin wants to read to people.
  • Luna listens to Franklin.
  • They both love to read.
  • There’s books in it and fun things like a mice band.
  • Franklin makes his dream come true with help from Luna.

It is a really cute book with gorgeous illustrations (it is also a BIG book) and the wording is perfect for read out loud storytime. It made me laugh and it made me want to go to Franklin’s town and fly in the bookshop (how cool is that?).

Moon recommends

You try this book out, it is utterly gorgeous. I’m not that good at recommending children’s books but I can recommend the Dragonology book which is about the same size and makes a great companion. Any extra dragon books are a good idea. But do get this one, it is ever so lovely, and the illustrations.

(Moon showed this book to one of her friends and she ended up recommending to book to one of her friends and now we are a chain of “hey, go buy it, it is awesome, even if we are adults”).

If you’d like to buy a copy for yourself, you can find it here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

 

Book Review, Books

Letters to the Lost Review

I bought this book when Amazon had the 3 for £10 offer to complete the 3 books (I had two ready in my basket). Funnily enough, the book arrived damaged and Amazon had to replace it (I am so grateful for quick replacement, I had a new book the next day and they didn’t require I return the damaged one, so I ended sharing that book with a friend).

I just have to say I didn’t know what to expect from this book at all. I hadn’t read another of her books before.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young has always written letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope. 

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past. 

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither of them knows that they’re not actually strangers. When real life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. This emotional, compulsively-readable romance will sweep everyone off their feet.

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I wanted some light reading when I chose this book. I didn’t really know what I had just decided to do and how wrong I was going to be.

It is a light read in the sense of “you end up reading it in one seating and you don’t realise time has gone by”. But on the other hand it is anything but a light read. It is a book full of emotion.

Both Juliet and Declan are dealing with grief and issues stemming from it, having lost someone in their lives. The letters (and then emails) they start exchanging help them find themselves, and it gives them a safe space to talk about things they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The intricate details of relationships (and I am not talking specifically of romantic ones but just human ones) blew me away. Specially as you get to understand more about them alongside Juliet and Declan, and start to see things with new eyes just as they do. It also meant I kept asking myself if I wasn’t doing some of the same prejudice/ didn’t think of it that way kind of things in my own life.

One more thing I’d like to add is that this is a book about grief and loss, and it does so in a gentle way, full fo compassion, showing you grief is seen in many different ways, can affect many different aspects and show itself in many ways. Each one of us goes through it in a different way and we heal in different ways, and as we heal (or not) we may be ignoring the giref of someone else. Definitely an eye opener.

Moon recommends

You go and read this book right now. Seriously, please read it. It is worth it. The only other book I know that deals with grief in such an interesting way is A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle and it’s “prequel/companion” The Arm of the Starfish. I also recommend you read them in the order mentioned despite the fact Arm of the Starfish is a prequel, mostly because part of the things Adam decides to do are influenced by what happens before but knowing why he does them changes a little the feel of the book. Either way, try both.

You can buy a copy of Letters to the Lost here. (Also, apparently there is a sequel on Rev’s story!)

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

Book Review, Books

Nyxia Review (Proof Version)

Today I am reviewing Nyxia. I received this proof copy on my Illumicrate box (August 2017). I was not sure what to expect to be fair. Also, be warned that this review may include spoilers.

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Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human. 

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I debated a lot between 3.5 and 4 fox rating. In the end I stood it up against my other 4 fox books and it wasn’t just there (maybe a 3.75? 3.80 but I don’t have enough foxes for that).

I will mention the things that bugged me the most first, and then load you up with those that I really liked. On the thing that jumped to me the most is Emmet’s mental file system. From what the book explains, this is for when you are angry and you file it away under a letter. But through the whole book, Emmet files SO many things away and a few that I would not have considered “anger” (they were things that would have made me suspicious or curious or bothered me or even that I would consider useful). Either Emmet has serious anger issues (so that almost everything makes him angry) or the file system isn’t explained as well as it should (I am seriously hoping for the latter). Also, it bugs me a lot that Nyxia is this unexplainable substance that can protect you from being harmed by itself but also when it pleases it, lets you get injured by more nyxia. Yet there is a lot of mind control. And everything is solved by Nyxia. Maybe it just needs to be better explained or something, but I am not pleased with how Nyxia is (but that can be just that I like science to back my sci-fi).

On the good things is the diversity, both in gender, colour, race, country, etc. but also in personality. The characters were mostly unique though I admit with so many of them, at times I wasn’t sure who responded to which name (I could remember that the character doing X had done Y before, but what was the name was beyond me).

It was interesting to see all the interactions between them. Also, this has an Ender’s Game feel (much more than a Hunger Games one) but thankfully it is not the same.

One of my favourite things was how mercy, compassion, teamwork, relationships and competition were explored throughout the book. Kaya, Morning and Vandemeer are my favourite characters.

This may not make my utter favourites but I am really looking forward to the next book and to learn what Eden looks like. I don’t think that they are actually prepared at all for what is to come but we shall see.

And Babel is horrid, but this is just a part of making a good villain (not in a villain that is good but rather making one well), with lots of layers and secrets.

Moon recommends

To read this is you like sci-fi and challenges. Maybe a competiton is interesting or corporations with hidden agendas. You may also be interested in Ender’s Game or maybe one of Anne McCaffrey’s books, a) if you’d like to explore how we deal with a planet that has another race in it and we want to keep it, then try Donna’s series starting with Decision at Donna, b) or if you prefer to wonder about strange substances and mining them I’d recommend the Crystal Singer series, starting with Crystal Singer, or c) if you’d like to explore what happens when humans are slaves of another race and part of an experiment on freedom try the Freedom series starting with Freedom’s Landing.

If you’d like to grab a copy of Nyxia, you can get one from amazon here.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review, Books

Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy Review

Today I am going to review the complete opposite of my last book review, a children’s book.

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Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

Ronaldo is the top flying cadet at the prestigious Reindeer Flying Academy. He dreams of getting his flying license, just like his hero, Vixen. 
In this first exciting chapter in the ‘Ronaldo’ series, our hero is faced with his toughest flying test ever – The Endurance Challenge! 
Can Ronaldo triumph over mean bully, Dasher, and win the ‘Golden Wings’ medal? Spurred on by Rudi, his quirky, loyal best friend and with a belly full of his favourite carrot pancakes, Ronaldo takes on the challenge of his life! 

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When I first saw this I hoped it wouldn’t be too much of a Christmas read, but decided to put that notion aside and give it a go. Oh boy was I wrong! This was a really cute read and my only complaints are a) there is no physical copy of this book available and b) I wish it was longer.

Of course, neither is actually a bad thing. The story is the right length for young readers (if I am not mistaken the target reader is 5-10 years old) and it is nicely broken up into little digestible chunks by illustratons of what you are reading. This brought a smile to my face as I was reading and made it even better. I think as a younger reader, the pictures in the book will encourage them to read it and not feel like it is a ‘boring book’.

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This is most certainly not a boring book and now I am curious what other adventures Ronaldo and his friends get into (also, I am ever so grateful I don’t have a knitting reindeer granpa).

As an extra thing that made me very happy, all the references to actual flight academies and flight training were good and my aicraft crazy self was like “look, this is the right term to use, oh that one is a good use for this situation, I like this”.

Moon recommends

I recommend this book for anyone young at heart (or in actual age). It is also a good read aloud book, with a lot of room for “voices” and fun sounds. It has a Christmas vibe but in truth can be read anytime (it did make me wish it was winter and I had a fire next to me and some hot chocolate).

If you are interested in reading this, it is currently available for Kindle on Amazon here.

Disclaimer: This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have done. There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.