Book Review ~ ‘Lord of Secrets’ by Breanna Teintze.

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Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
Series: The Empty Gods #1
Genre: Adult Fantasy,
Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

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SYNOPSIS

Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .

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Yes, yes, yes! ‘Lord of Secrets’ is just the kind of fantasy I love to read, and has stayed swimming at the front of my mind ever since I finished reading it.

To start, I just have to talk about the magic system. Everytime I think about it, I want to punch the air. It is spot on. Teintze has created this amazing world where Wizards can’t just use their magic without a second thought. Magic in this world has side-effects. Our main character Corcoran (or Gray as he prefers to be known) knows this all to well, and in his battle to save his Grandfather and friends, has to fight the various side-effects of using his magic. The smallest spell, first scribed on the skin and then cast, can cause nausea or headaches, the bigger ones causing unconsciousness and more. I LOVED how the magic in this book wasn’t just something that was used without thought, but something that had as many drawbacks as it did advantages.

Character wise, Teintze has it spot on. Gray is not only a likeable character, but a realistic one. He struggles with a physical disability, he can be a sarcastic bugger, and tries to use humour to get himself out of awkward situations, but you really root for him as he grows to accept his faults, and takes responsibility for them. He truly has a heart of gold, and I loved getting to know the man underneath his sarcastic bravado. In turn, each of the secondary characters are so well fleshed-out that you come to care for all of them, even the ones that you disagree with. In this tale of necromancy, noone is evil for the sake of evil, and there is a human side to every character.

What I loved the most about this story was the humour which is flecked thoughout in perfect taste. Necromancy is a huge part of the plot in this book, and as well as drawing on the heartfelt side of raising the dead, there are some brilliant light-hearted moments too, which make you laugh in despair as Gray and his friends have to put up with a cocky necromancer who doesn’t seem to understand why they may be offended with his raising-the-dead behaviour. There were a couple of moments where I was a little confused about some of the mechanics of the necromancy, with some terms being used when discussing it that I didn’t fully grasp, but I still managed to keep level with the story, without feeling too behind.

Overall, this was a strong start to the ‘Empty Gods’ series, with a intoxicating mix of magic, family, friendship and of course, necromancy.  I cannot wait to see where Teintze takes these characters next.

4 Stars. 

* Review copy kindly provided by Jo Fletcher Books in exchange for an honest review*


 

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Book Review ~ ‘The List’ by Patricia Forde.

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The List by Patricia Forde.
Genres: Middle-Grade, Fantasy/Sci-Fi.
Release Date: 1st August 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship.

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.

On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

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Book Review ~ ‘The List’ by Patricia Forde ~ 4 Stars!

A heartfelt and inspiring tale set in a scarily recognisable near future, The List is a wonderful middle-grade tale of the power of words.

Cleverly twining etymology into her dystopian world, Patricia Forde allows us to see the strain that comes within a society where words are controlled by the regime. As a lover of words, and fiction, it was uncomfortable in such a brilliant way to see Letta and her fellow companions in Ark speak only List approved words. It was so intriguing to see how when you get rid of one word, how easy it is to then follow suit with others.

I adored Letta’s character and her love for words leapt from the page. In her battle to find out what happened to her long-lost family and her master, the Wordsmith Benjamin, you will root for her as she forges unexpected alliances and battles for the rights of words.

A really powerful book aimed at a middle-grade audience, this will make the reader think. There is also some set-up for future books in this world, which will give the reader a bit more closure, as I feel the end to this book was quite rushed. Nevertheless, I definitely recommend to readers aged 9-12, who want something that will challenge their thoughts and beliefs.

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Patricia Forde

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Book Review ~ ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.
(The Bear and the Nightingale #1)
Genres: Historical, Fantasy, Fairy Tales.
Release Date: 12th January 2017

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SYNOPSIS

A young woman’s family is threatened by forces both real and fantastical in this debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain,intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, the father hides the gift away and his daughter, Vasya, grows up a wild, willfull girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Bear and the Nightingale’ by Katherine Arden ~ 5 Stars!

Lyrical, Fantastical, and Awe inspiring, The Bear and the Nightingale is up there with Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, and has me still thinking about it.

A beautiful historical tale of family, fairytales, and the dangers of mass-hysteria, Katherine Arden has created a story with tones of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat and Russian fairytales that have been passed down through generations. We follow Vasya’s story, a young girl who grows up without her mother, and is in a world that is hovering between modern religion and practice, and the rituals, beliefs and superstitions of old; Spirits are to be given offerings in exchange for their protection, the signs of nature listened to and heeded, slowly being feared and shunned in favour of a christian way of life.

Vasya has a gift to speak with the spirits and demons that surround her village, but with this gift, as paranoia grows in the village, and her stepmother’s hatred for her grows more and more, Vasya is in danger of forces both real and supernatural as she tries to keep those she loves safe.

A magical tale that will take you to the freezing winters of a small Russian village, and will creep into your heart like the tiniest of icicles, making you shudder and gasp as you follow Vasya’s fantastical story.

5+ Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Review ~ ‘The Thief’s Daughter’ by Victoria Cornwall.

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The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall
Genres: Historical, Romance
Release Date: January 3rd 2017.
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away.

Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.

Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.

Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned.

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Book Review ~ ‘The Thief’s Daughter’ by Victoria Cornwall ~ 5 Stars!

If, like me, you are having Poldark withdrawals, then look no futher. The Thief’s Daughter is a gorgeous tale of love and betrayal that will have you reading up until the wee hours of the morning as you follow Jenna and Jack on their journey to find their place in the world.

Victoria Cornwall’s debut novel is set on the gorgeous coast of Cornwall, and the descriptions will whisk you away to another time and place where you will feel the wind in your hair, and taste the sea air on your lips. I loved Jenna and warmed to her from the get-go. Strong, fierce and loyal, she was the perfect lass to keep our hero Jack on his toes, whilst also being a definite heroine in her own right. Their romance was paced perfectly, and I could feel the tension building, as well as understanding her insecurity following her abusive past marriage. Her strong morals, and dedication to the family that didn’t deserve it, made for some fantastic scenes, especially when her decisions caused her to be at loggerheads with Jack.

And Jack, what can I say? Now that is my kind of hero!

A beautifully written historical romance, that delves into the dangerous world of smuggling and questions how far you can and should go, even for those you love. I cannot wait to read more from Victoria Cornwall!

5 Stars!

*Review copy was kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover.

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Little Girl Lost by Janet Gover
Coorah Creek #4
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 2nd August 2016
Publisher: Choc Lit

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SYNOPSIS

When a little girl goes missing, an entire town comes together to find her …

When Tia Walsh rides into the small town of Coorah Creek on a Harley-Davidson, Sergeant Max Delaney senses that everything about her spells trouble. But Tia’s trouble is not all of her own making, and the dangerous past she tried to leave behind is hot on her heels.

Sarah Travers has returned home after three years of college to find that her parents have been keeping a devastating secret. Her childhood crush, Pete Rankin, is facing his own struggle with a harsh reality that will take him away from the girl and the life that he loves.

Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete are all trying to find their future, but when a little girl goes missing in the harsh outback, nothing else matters except finding her safe.

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Book Review ~ ‘Little Girl Lost’ by Janet Gover ~ 5 Stars!

Oh how I loved, loved, loved this book! Janet Gover never fails to deliver with her heart-wrenching and beautifully delivered tales of Coorah Creek, and Little Girl Lost is no exception.

First off, I read this in about five hours one evening. I knew if I started it I wouldn’t put it down until I had finished, and I was fine with that, so I chose an evening where I didn’t have work the next day. A Coorah Creek novel always means an evening locked away reading. Second off, I finished this and then couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking about the characters, the place, the story. I was obsessed.

Little Girl Lost is told from the view of four different characters. Tia, Max, Sarah and Pete all have one thing in common, Coorah Creek is a town that is hard to shake from your blood. Only Sarah is native to the town, so it was great to see her perspective after returning after years at college, and to see how it differed from Tia, who at first can’t take to the friendliness of the close-knit community without fear. A delivery driver Pete who always loves when one of his deliveries calls for a trip to Coorah Creek, and Max who has happily made the place his home, despite having had different plans for his future. I connected to each character on such a deep level, and loved seeing Tia and Max, and Sarah and Pete grow closer in their own ways, and how they had to overcome personal issues of all kinds to find happiness.

Seeing the town members band together to help find a missing girl was one of my favourite sections of the book. You could see through the masks that all the characters usually wear, as they let down their own defences all to help an outsider family. To see this family grow closer because of the ordeal was equally heartwarming!

I also adored the undertone throughout the novel of the main character being the town. Janet Gover beautifully portrays the town as the mother of all who shelter there, and it is this that makes me want to revisit it time and time again through these books.

With a host of great secondary characters who fellow series lovers will recognise, reading Little Girl Lost really is like coming home again.

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Review ~ ‘Aerie’ by Maria Dahvana Headley.

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Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley
(Magonia #2)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy,
Release Date: 20th October 2016.

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SYNOPSIS

Where is home when you were born in the stars?

Aza Ray is back on earth. Her boyfriend Jason is overjoyed. Her family is healed. She’s living a normal life, or as normal as it can be if you’ve spent the past year dying, waking up on a sky ship, and discovering that your song can change the world.

As in, not normal. Part of Aza still yearns for the clouds, no matter how much she loves the people on the ground.

When Jason’s paranoia over Aza’s safety causes him to make a terrible mistake, Aza finds herself a fugitive in Magonia, tasked with opposing her radical, bloodthirsty, recently-escaped mother, Zal Quel, and her singing partner Dai. She must travel to the edge of the world in search of a legendary weapon, The Flock, in a journey through fire and identity that will transform her forever.

In this stunning sequel to the critically acclaimed Magonia, one girl must make an impossible choice between two families, two homes—and two versions of herself.

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Book Review ~ ‘Aerie’ by Maria Dahvana Headley ~ 5 Stars!

How far can you go to keep someone safe, before it can tear you apart? Aerie follows up to te wonderful Magonia with this question in mind as Aza Ray returns to Earth in a new body, and struggles to find where her heart and body belongs. Her boyfriend Jason will do anything to keep her with him on Earth, but what will it cost him?

An emotional, powerful and action-packed sequel to Magonia, Aerie packs all the punches, and as before, I had tears in my eyes on many occasions. Aza Ray’s devotion to her family, yet her yearning for the clouds sends a message to teens everywhere who feel torn between which way they want to go in life. I adored Aza Ray’s return to the sky and Magonia and how new alliances were formed, as the line between good and evil blurs.

The story is again told from the dual perspectives of Aza Ray and Jason, and Maria Dahvana Headley superbly puts their original and unique voices to page. Jason’s autistic and compulsive tendencies are brilliant to read and you really get into his mind. It was great to also see that Aza Ray’s internal voice hadn’t changed despite everything she had been through. Still quirky, still fun, still confused, her voice was what drew me into the story in Magonia and I loved returning to her mind again.

New characters and songs are introduced and Aerie will take you on another adventure into the skies that you’ll never forget.

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


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Book Review ~ ‘This Savage Song’ by V.E. Schwab.

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This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
(Monsters of Verity #1)
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 7th June 2016.

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SYNOPSIS

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

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Book Review ~ ‘This Savage Song’ by V.E. Schwab ~ 5 Stars!

An electrifying and exciting first novel in the Monsters of Verity series, This Savage Song was unique, thrilling and intriguing from the word go.

Although a little slow to start the main action as we are introducted to the hero and heroine of our story and the lives they lead, there was plenty of brilliant moments that had me falling for the Flynn family and their battles, and that hurt my heart for Kate Harker and the lack of affection she received in her life. The world was set up to perfection and I really felt the fear, the savagery and the desperation of the citizens of Verity.

It’s been noted by other reviewers, but I also just have to express how happy I am that there was no romance between Kate and August. Their relationship as it was was just perfect! Any romance would have felt forced, and even friendship was something so difficult for them to achieve. In this story the focus was on their friendship and learning more about themselves and their flaws and strengths by seeing themselves as the other does. It made the story shine and I adored it!

In This Savage Song, there are monsters as you’ve never seen them before. August is a born monster, but all he wants is to be human. Having to hurt people leaves him guilty and his mission is to protect the innocent from the ruthless Harker regime. Harker is a human, but his dealings with monsters has made him one, and he can’t love his only daughter who, desperate for recognition and affection, believes she must act like the monsters he so loves. But when Kate and August meet, they must learn to trust each other, and to see the world differently for the first time. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Monsters of Verity series, as I can already tell it will be another favourite!

5 Stars!

*Review copy kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*


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