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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Blog Tour + Review ~ ‘Freeks’ by Amanda Hocking.

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Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Romance
US Release Date: 3rd January 2017
UK Release Date: 2nd February 2017

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SYNOPSIS

Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…

Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.

When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.

But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.

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Book Review ~ ‘Freek’s by Amanda Hocking ~ 4 Stars!

What an exciting, intriguing and spine-tingling novel! A travelling Carnival with paranormally talented members and acts? Count me in immediately!

We follow Mara, a young girl who has grown up as a member of Gideon’s sideshow, as she is pulled in different directions as she enters her final years as a teen. Desperate for an occasional escape from the sideshow, where the locals don’t view her as a freek, and she can be her own person, without the pressures of having to look after her clairvoyant mother and the sideshow family, she meets Gabe at a party, and suddenly she realises all that she has been missing out on. But even as their relationship deepens, darker forces attacking the sideshow mean that they aren’t safe, and no local person can be trusted.

I adored the carnival feel to the book, and loved getting to know the characters, the animals and seeing the feats of supernatural talent that the sideshow members could perform. Although I loved Gabe and Mara’s growing relationship, and their sweet scenes together, it was the times I spent with the sideshow cast and crew that I loved the most. I really connected to their world, their views of each other as family, and you could really get that sense of the members ‘Running off to join the circus’! I would have loved to have seen more of their acts, to experience more of the magic which we saw second-hand through Mara.

I loved how dark this story got. As a dark force hunts down the members of the Sideshow, I was sitting on the edge of my seat. What I really admired was how Mara wasn’t the girl to always save the day, but was hunted along with the others, and her powers are only discovered towards the end of the story, and not at the beginning like many ‘Chosen One’ stories.

An exciting story which packs a punch, Freeks is a definite must-read for fans of mystery, magic and family!

4 Stars!


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Amanda Hocking

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Book Review ~ ‘Stealing Snow’ by Danielle Paige.

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Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Stealing Snow #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling,
Release Date: September 20th 2016

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SYNOPSIS

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave.

She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate.

A wonderfully icy fantastical romance, with a strong heroine choosing her own destiny, Danielle Paige’s irresistibly page-turning Snow Queen is like Maleficent and Frozen all grown up.

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Book Review ~ ‘Stealing Snow’ by Danielle Paige ~ 4 Stars!

Stealing Snow was an exciting and engaging first installment to Danielle Paige’s new series, which showcases her ever-growing literary talent. In a very different world to Paige’s Dorothy Must Die series, Stealing Snow takes us on a very different adventure which sees the Snow Queen retold as never before.

My favourite part of this novel, strangely, was the opening chapters. The atmosphere that Paige created throughout the scenes in the Institution were brilliantly claustrophobic, haunting and nail-biting. I really got to know and root for Snow early on, even though we didn’t know who she exactly she was. Her lack of knowledge of the real world made her escape that much more exciting and frightening.

The world of Algid was brilliantly built, and I loved entering this magical world, where not everything is as it seems, and where the Snow King’s power is held over everybodys heads. Seeing Snow struggle to accept the new knowlegdge of her birth right, and the part she must play in fulfilling her destiny, was pitched perfectly, and I loved how she was unwilling to be a hero, and only wanted to save the boy she loves.

My favourite character was Kai. I LOVED LOVED LOVED him. I cannot wait to see more of him in the rest of the series, and hopefully he and Snow can be reunited.

My only issue was the love-square. Three love interests in the space of 375 pages was too much. Particularly for a girl who has spent her life in an asylum. I felt it was unnecessary to make Jagger a love interest, as their relationship would have been stronger, and more rounded without a romantic interest. I felt she needed an older-brother style protector in Jagger, and would have benefited better from that, and hurt more from his subsequent betrayal.

Nevertheless, bring on Book 2, I say!

4 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 ~ ‘Into the Dim’ by Janet B. Taylor.

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Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
(Into the Dim #1)
Genres: Young Adult, Time-Travel
Release Date: March 1st 2016

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SYNOPSIS

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.

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Book Review ~ ‘Into the Dim’ by Janet B. Taylor ~ 5 Stars!

Intriguing, exciting and beautifully written ‘Into the Dim’ took me on a journey where I could never guess what would happen next.

When I find a good time-travel story I lap it up, because it has to be done so carefully to work. With ‘Into the Dim’ it was the scientific elements mixed with folklore that had me believe in the characters travelling, and I loved how the author brought these elements to life, and twisted them to make a unique portrayal of this fantastical travel.

The author has a beautiful writing style which I think will really appeal to Young Adult readers. It gives enough gorgeous detail of the old manor in Scotland and the surrounding country, and the historical detail of the times gone past, without bogging down the reader. It all helped alighten my senses to these different worlds, without being hard work. She also brilliantly contrasted the modern day Scotland and the past London, so I felt as a reader than I had travelled along with the characters.

There is mystery and intrigue that will have you nervous for Hope and her companions, and a sweet, slow-burning romance that I can’t wait to see progress further in the next books, however above all else, it is a story of the strength of family, whether blood or not. Hope’s determination to save her mother is what will have you reaching for a box of tissues.

The only issue I had with this book, was actually not the fault of the author, but in marketing. Being described as ‘Outlander for Teens’ was actually very misleading, as ‘Into the Dim’ is an entirely different story. The only similarities I could see were the setting of Scotland, and the element of time-travel, but that was the extent of it. I really hope that this marketing decision won’t affect readers enjoyment of the book, and urge readers to not expect ‘Outlander’.

5 Stars!

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


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Book Review ~ ‘You Were Here’ by Cori McCarthy.

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You Were Here by Cori McCarthy.
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: 1st March 2016.
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire.

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SYNOPSIS

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jake couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can- by re-creating Jake’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She’s not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she’s joined by a group of unlikely friends- all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend; the heartbroken poet; the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome; and…Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable-reveal parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panes and word art poetry. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park, You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak, and inevitable change.

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Book Review ~ ‘You Were Here’ by Cori McCarthy ~ 5+ Stars!

How do you review perfection? Likely I’ll just ramble on for a few lines about how amazing this book is, why you need to read it, and then just say wow a few times, but I hope you’ll get the hint and just grab a copy for yourself.

‘You Were Here’ is a book that you need to experience for yourself, because that is the sort of book and story it is. You don’t just read it, you experience it, feel it and come out of it a different person. You grow with Jaycee, you learn from Jake and you see things from perspectives you hadn’t thought of before. Told from five different perspectives, ‘You Were Here’ is the ultimate form of storytelling. Told through words, comics, art and thoughts we see five teens struggle as they come to the end of an era, and are leaving behind their lives as they know it for the start of adulthood.

Jaycee clings to the past as she mourns for her brother Jake who died in a tragic accident years before, Mik, a selective mute atones for his past sins, Natalie and Zach who struggle to end their long-term childhood sweethearts relationship, and Bishop who has experienced the loss of love for the first time. Together they help each other to understand and grow as they attempt to let go of Jake’s ghost, and Cori McCarthy wrote the whole story to perfection.

A beautifully written book which captured a part of me, there is suffering, romance, growing up and heart-ache as our protagonists have to learn to let go of the past to make way for the future.

5+ Stars!


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