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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Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones.

 

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
(Wintersong #1)
Genres: Romance, Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: 7th February 2017.

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SYNOPSIS

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, a fantastical coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother has always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter, she claims, the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister Käthe safe from harm. But Liesl finds refuge only in her wild, captivating music, composed in secret in honor of the mysterious Goblin King.

When Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.

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Book Review ~ ‘Wintersong’ by S. Jae-Jones ~ 5+ Stars!

My God, this book. Just wow! I mean, just…umm. *speechless*

I may ramble incoherently, as I often do about the books I love, but this stunning book is so rich, sexy, magical that I feel I need to just scream about it from the roof-tops.

Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.

First off – That beginning. Oh my god! Fairy tales are a big favourite of mine, and from that first paragraph, I was enraptured, I could picture it in my head and was excited for the story to come. Music and magic coming together are a match-made in heaven for me, and as the story unfolds the sensual effect of music, magic and love left me breathless.

Secondly, the characters will stay with you for a long time after you finish reading. Liesl,  Käthe, the Goblin King – all were so well-developed and so extraordinary that they leapt off the page and I could see everything about them that I needed to to really believe in them.  I understood the battle of light and dark in the Goblin King, I felt Liesl’s reluctance to find herself, after years of helping her siblings find themselves, and Käthe, the girl who realises after it is too late how much she loves her sister.

Written in mind for the elder YA audience, this book has everything in it I wish I’d had to read as a teenager. Deeply, but not overtly, sensual, I would not recommend it for under sixteen years old, but there is something about this book that will trap you in its spell and let you recognise your own desires through Liesl’s experimentations with her music.

A stunningly written, sensual and fantastical romance, Wintersong is a must-read for fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Angela Carter.

5+ Stars!

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


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Book Review ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill.

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Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerill
(Clash of Kingdoms #1)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: 27th December 2016.

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SYNOPSIS

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, a legendary bounty hunter—that is, until her father is murdered. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart.

She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a force to be reckoned with.

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Book Review ~ ‘Ever the Hunted’ by Erin Summerill ~ 4 Stars!

An exciting and engaging debut from author Erin Summerill, Ever the Hunted highlights this author’s talent for storytelling and world-building, and starts us on a journey that will take you across kingdoms in the fight for truth.

Ever the Hunted introduces us to Britt, a young girl left to fend for herself after her father’s murder months earlier. Britt is a strong character and I loved seeing her develop throughout the novel, especially as she becomes softer in heart, yet harder in mind. Her prior relationship with her father’s accused murderer added an exciting element to the story, and I loved seeing how she had to question what the evidence suggested, and with what her heart was telling her.

There is some gorgeous world-building in this novel, and I loved the story behind the clashes of the two kingdom’s (something I’d like to see further explored in future books in the series).

Overall this was a superbly written adventure through foreign lands in search of the truth, and I am excited to see where the series will take us next.

4 Stars!

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


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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 ~ ‘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 ~ ‘All the Birds in the Sky’ by Charlie Jane Anders.

 

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All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Contemporary.
Release Date: January 26th 2016.
Publisher: Titan Books.

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SYNOPSIS

From the editor-in-chief of io9.com, a stunning novel about the end of the world–and the beginning of our future

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

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Book Review ~ ‘All the Birds in the Sky’ by Charlie Jane Anders ~ 5 Stars!

I came out of reading ‘All of the Birds in the Sky’ with a huge smile on my face.With equal parts charm, wit, magic, science, pain and loss, I experienced every emotion when following Patricia and Laurence as they navigate through life both together and apart.

Blending elements of fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism, dystopia, and experimental literature, All the Birds in the Sky managed to beautifully bring together storylines and concepts that shouldn’t mesh, in a exciting and dynamic way. Patricia with her life as a witch, and Laurence with his life as a scientific genius, they teach each other about parts of life that they tend to forget.

I loved the pacing of this book, particulary in how we see Patricia and Laurence as children first, and how this story isn’t swept aside as a forward or introduction to their adult lives, but as the beginning of their story, which shaped how they would be in the future. I loved getting to see the struggles they faced as children in an environment that couldn’t accept them.

There are some brilliant supporting characters that you will laugh along with, hate at sight, and wish to fight alongside during this book. You will love Theodolphus Rose (whether or not you’re meant to, I’m still not too sure), and you will smile throughout.

5 Stars!

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


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Book Review ~ ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge.

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy
Release Date: 7th May 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

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SYNOPSIS

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter. . . .

A beguiling tale of mystery and intrigue.

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Bookseller Review ~ ‘The Lie Tree’ by Frances Hardinge ~ 5++ Stars!

I don’t normally curse in reviews, but my god, this book was f***ing amazing!

‘The Lie Tree’ is one of the best books I have ever read; EVER! And I read a lot of books!
Winner of the 2015 Costa Children’s Award and then the overall 2015 Costa Award (the first Children’s book to do so since Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass in 2001), Frances Hardinge’s Young Adult novel will suck you into the harsh reality of a young girl’s life in the 19th century.

Faith is the kind of heroine that I want in my YA fiction. Restrained by societies ideals and overlooked because of her sex by her father who she idolises, Faith doesn’t let this stop her from being what she wants to be, and when her father is found dead in mysterious circumstances it is up to Faith to uncover the secrets that led to his death and protect the specimen whose secret he died protecting.

Highlighted throughout are brilliantly interwoven elements of the historical issues of the time; feminism, evolution and religion, and a fantastic splattering of fantasy which brings the story together in a way that will enchant and amaze the reader.

This book is everything! Please read it!

5++ Stars!

*Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for providing me with a proof copy*


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