Wednesday, 26 April 2017

All the things I loved about STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor




29748925Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus



The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.



What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?



“Weep slept. Dreamers dreamed. A grand moon drifted, and, and the wings of the citadel cut the sky in two: light above, dark below.”


Meet my favourite book of 2017. STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor is the lyrical and mysterious adventure I didn't know my bookish heart was longing for until I read it. I have too many feelings and emotions to lay out in an ordered explanation so here is a scrambled and unordered list of all the things that I loved and adored and made my heart sing about STRANGE THE DREAMER. Also peppered throughout are all my favourite quotes from the book as it was impossible to write any sort of review without showing examples of of how beautiful this novel is.


“I think you're a fairy tale. I think you're magical, and brave, and exquisite. And I hope you'll let me be in your story.”  

First of all, Lazlo Strange. 

Oh Lazlo, how I love you. Why? For so many reasons. Because Lazlo is a dreamer and all dreamers can relate to a dreamer. Because he loves books and cherishes them like they deserve. Because he loves fairytales and legends and magic and wonder. But most of because Lazlo is KIND. Because he is caring and sweet and gentle. I am so tired of boys in YA that don't know how to be kind or think kindness is "weak" and so Lazlo and the kindness that just comes out of him in such waves, with no expectation or bitterness or selfishness behind it is a breath of well-deserved air that YA needs.


“He wasn't an alchemist, or a hero. He was a librarian, and a dreamer. He was a reader, and the unsung expert on a long-lost city no one cared a thing about.”

The dreamy writing style. 

The dream-like quality of this book is heavenly. The writing was so smooth and honey-like and reading it was completely luxurious. Even though it was always exciting and there were tense moments, I felt so relaxed and at peace while immersing myself in its pages. I also adored how dreams were a big part of the book itself though. The way Taylor wrote about them was so unique and fascinating not to mention beautiful to read.


 “On the occasions that he did look up from the page, he would seem as though he were awakening from a dream.”

The slow pace.

I'm not a huge fan of slow books. I like action, I like fast-moving plots and storylines. I like battles and war and heists. But man did I adore the slowness and tranquillity of pace that STRANGE THE DREAMER took. It worked so well. And while it is definitely a fantasy, I loved how the book never followed any cliché or typical plot line that many fantasies follow.


  “He dreamed of deserts and great empty cities and imagined he could feel the minutes and hours of his life running through him, as though he were nothing but an hourglass of flesh and bone.”

Never knowing what to expect.

Following on from the above paragraph, I loved the not only slow and meandering pace of the book but also the fact that I never had ANY idea or clue what was going to happen. Not one! And because I read a lot of fantasy and it's my favourite genre, I kept thinking I KNEW what was going to happen, KNEW who was going to do what or what was going to happen to who, but always, ALWAYS, I was proved wrong. And I LOVED IT. Not knowing what to expect and to have everything that happens in the book be a complete surprise made reading the book an even better experience.


 “He had loved the library, and had felt, as a boy, as though it had a kind of sentience, and perhaps loved him back. But even if it was just walls and a roof with papers inside, it had bewitched him, and drawn him in, and given him everything he needed to become himself.”



It fed my soul, specifically my writing one.

 I felt so INSPIRED when reading STRANGE THE DREAMER and also after I'd finished reading it as well. I am so in awe of everything about Taylor's writing prowess, but especially with her way to write so beautifully. I came away with a new enthusiasm for all my writing projects which I didn't realize I needed until finishing this book.


“He read while he walked. He read while he ate. The other librarians suspected he somehow read while he slept, or perhaps didn't sleep at all.” 

I absolutely CANNOT WAIT FOR BOOK TWO. 

Next year is so far away! How am I possibly going to be able to wait that long to find out what's happened to my sweet and bitter darlings?! I am dyyyyyying right now as I speak, my bookish soul that's still so lit up from the beauty of STRANGE THE DREAMER is slowly shrivelling when I think of the long, long, L.O.N.G. wait I have for the second book.


 “Like nightmares, dreams were insidious things, and didn't like being locked away.” 



::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::


 HAVE YOU READ STRANGE THE DREAMER?????!!!!! WHAT DID YOU THINK??

Monday, 24 April 2017

Mini Reviews :: My Lady Jane, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman, Blood For Blood & Unfiltered



29856520 Publisher: Walker Books AU
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus



A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. 


Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger - and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. 

But that's the least of Jane's problems. She's about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.


The number one thing you should know when going into MY LADY JANE as this book is SO FUNNY! I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so many times when reading a book and like

All the characters were adorable and so loveable!!! Jane was literally me and every other bookworm reincarnated AND I LOVED HER SO MUCH!!!

 “He wanted to tell her she'd have more room if she'd just get rid of her books, but he supposed that in her case, it would be like telling a mother she'd have more room if she threw out her children.”


“And most of all, she loved the way books could transport her from her otherwise mundane and stifling life and offer the experiences of a hundred other lives.”


I loved the whole character cast in here as they were such cute little oddballs! Jane (of course) was my favourite but G was hilarious and Edward was adorable!

The history was extremely well-written! I'm always slightly wary going into historical retelling as there's a fine line between retelling history and making a hash of it, but MY LADY JANE pulled it off perfectly.

I did find that by the time I got to the middle of the book, it did start to drag for awhile. Although still funny, the story didn't seem to go anywhere at all and it meandered around for what felt AGES before it finally got back to the good bits.

Sooooo many favourite quotes! But my number one favourite was this one:

“No horse jokes," he said.
"My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book---unharmed!---I will give you a carrot."
He brandished the book at her. "Was that a horse joke?"
"Neigh."
"Was that a horse joke?”


::Thank you WALKER BOOKS AU for the review copy!::
Actual rating 4.5!


33795542
Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: January 5th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus


Eighteen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. When she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.

Sheriff Del Goodman, a close friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers: it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives, Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the Hattie behind the masks, and what happened in that final year of her life. . .




What an absolute MINDCRASH of a book this was! I am an utter sucker for anything that has crime/murder in it and THE LAST ACTS OF HATTIE HOFFMAN mostly satisfied my inner crime junkie although it fell a bit short in the end. I stayed up far too late trying to finish it though, which says something right?!

Really enjoyed the multiple POVS. I'm still not sure if I liked Hattie or disliked her! The fact that we knew she was dead from the very beginning of the book meant that I did struggle a bit to get attached to her character because I knew she was dead. However reading her chapters was really interesting and addicting and definitely my favourite.

I was constantly confused over who the murderer was at it was one of those rare books that I actually had no idea at all who the killer might be. However, it was disappointing when it was revealed who the murderer was in the end. I DID NOT expect the murderer to be the person they turned out to be and in some ways that was interesting, but mostly it was just irritating because the reason that no one (including myself!) guessed who the murderer was because the police 'investigation' did a crap job investigating the person in question.

::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::


31116030
Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus


There would be blood. Blood for blood. Blood to pay. An entire world of it.

For the resistance in the Third Reich, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun. Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against Hitler’s army, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But in the midst of the chaos, Yael’s past and future collide when she comes face to face with a ghost from her past, and a spark with a fellow rider begins to grow into something more. Dark secrets reveal dark truths and one question hangs over them all—how far can you go for the ones you love?



Although sadly not as good as WOLF BY WOLF in my opinion, BLOOD FOR BLOOD packs such an emotional punch. The twists and turns that this book took, the characters who feel so real with their heart-wrenching and heart-breaking stories and arcs, and the chilling, disturbing but so addicting storyline that questions, what if Hitler actually won the war?

OH MY GOODNESS, the teeeeeears I shed while reading. I cried and cried and CRIED at some scenes, ESPECIALLY ONE NEAR THE END. My heart broke and I still feel like crying when I think about it. I knew some characters were going to die...just not the ones that did. However it made me furious that the people that died, died and the people that definitely deserved to die miserably and painfully SURVIVED!!! This angered and frustrated me so much but I understand (GRUDGINGLY AND BITTERLY) why the author did it.

The ending is where the whole book was let down. It was extremely rushed and unsatisfying and I think partly I was so disappointed in it was because the rest of the book had been quite slow and some parts had really dragged. Not to say I didn't enjoy the slow parts - I really did! - but the whole book  felt like it was building up to have this absolutely action-packed, heart-in-mouth, emotional ending and instead we got about 10 pages of lackluster and disappointing half-hearted drama.

Although a bit disappointed, I finished BLOOD FOR BLOOD crying my eyes out and filled with so many conflicting emotions. Yes some parts weren't as good as others, but it still goes down as one of my favourite book series of all time.

::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::



32737127
Publisher: Penguin NZ
Release Date: March 20th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus


In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She's learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.



I read this book in just over an hour and even I was surprised how fast I whipped through it. A collection of personal essays discussing Collins' experience from eating disorders to heartbreak, each essay is quite short and filled with Collins' experience with the subject in question and her advice on it. Inspiring quotes are littered throughout the whole book and the whole feeling of the collection is to uplift and encourage as much as possible.

As sweet as this book was, it just wasn't my thing. Personally, I found the the essays were too short for my taste and I struggled to enjoy them as each of the topics they talked about were covered (in my opinion) so briefly that I didn't really feel like they were talked about at all.

Some of it was interesting and eye opening (for example, I didn't know that Lily suffered from eating disorders for years) but some of it came across as slightly patronizing. I can imagine that it will be a very inspiring and loved read for some people but personally it just wasn't for me!

 ::Thank you PENGUIN NZ for the review copy!::

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Mini reviews :: Frostblood, The Black Key, Barefoot On The Wind & The Graces




31134210 Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: January 12th 2017
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus
In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby's powers are unpredictable...and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.

I actually wasn't expecting much when I started FROSTBLOOD and so was happily surprised when it turned out to be such a good read! This is definitely what I'd call 'light' fantasy, as not only was it very easy to read, it focused alot more on the characters and romance than it did say the world and the plot. I would've liked to know more about the world of the book as the little bits we bits we got told about its history was so interesting.

THE ROMANCE WAS SO CUTE! I felt like I shouldn't have liked it but I enjoyed it so much! I'm such a sucker for hate-love romances and I loved reading the slow burn between Arcus and Ruby.

The humour was excellent! I wasn't expecting the level of snark and sarcasm that FROSTBLOOD delivered which was another nice surprise. Fantasy is my favourite genre but it's not often that I find them laugh out loud funny. I laughed out loud so many times while reading FROSTBLOOD and went back after finishing it just to reread my favourite funny bits.

FAV QUOTE:

  “Face them all like a warrior, whether you are one or not.”


::Thank you HACHETTE for the review copy!::





31144003Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Release Date: October 6th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

The third book in Amy Ewing's New York Times bestselling Lone City trilogy, The Black Key is perfect for fans of The Selection and Red Queen.

Violet and the Society of the Black Key are preparing to launch an attack on the royalty, and Violet has a crucial role to play. She must lead the surrogates as they infiltrate the Auction and break down the walls of the Lone City. But with her sister, Hazel, imprisoned in the palace of the Lake, Violet is torn. In order to save her sister, she must abandon her cause and her friends and return to the Jewel.



THE BLACK KEY was a nice end to the LONE CITY trilogy but I still couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed when I'd finished. While good, after being so wowed by the second book in the trilogy, THE WHITE ROSE, I think I was expecting a lot more action and finale then what actually happened

The development of all the characters came full circle which I really enjoyed reading but I thought the romance between Violet and Ash had fizzled. I was never a huge fan of their romance as I felt like it took over the other more interesting parts of the story, but I definitely felt in here that the romance was just not there.

The pacing was better in here then in the other books in the trilogy and I loved the twists and turns that the book took throughout the novel. It did get a bit slow in the middle but the action at the end more than made up for it.

FAV QUOTE:

 "These people are the air I breathe and the blood I bleed. They are my courage. I will not let them down."


  ::Thank you WALKER BOOKS AU for the review copy!::





29235197Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus
  
A companion title to Zoë Marriott's critically acclaimed Shadows on the Moon, BAREFOOT ON THE WIND is a darkly magical retelling of "Beauty and the Beast" set in fairytale Japan.


There is a monster in the forest...

Everyone in Hana's remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana's father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it - or be killed herself.

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects...


Be warned, the fist few chapters of this book are very, very slow. I kept putting down the book as I couldn't get past the snail-pace of the beginning. However, after you get through the first three difficult chapters, the book becomes so good and definitely worth the struggle in the beginning.

I loved the quirky retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I really enjoyed the Japanese setting and I wish more retellings were as different as this one was. I liked the fact the fact that even though the story was obvious a retelling of B&B, it had its own twists and turns to it that made the book fresh and exciting.

Even with the slow and boring beginning I was still going to give the book 4-stars but the ending - the very last page to be exact - let me down a lot. A weird plot twist happened and it did nothing to make the story better and I really wish it had been left out as all it did was raise questions that couldn't be answered because the book ended!

::Thank you WALKER BOOKS AU for the review copy!::




25365584
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release Date: September 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Paperplus

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.


Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.


Happily surprised! I didn't really know what THE GRACES was about when I started reading it and I think that's the best way to approach this novel. Everything this book hold inside is so unexpected - from the story that crackles and burns with mystery and magic on every page, to the characters and all their secrets, obsessions and selfishness that this book is about.

The writing was also so pretty: full of longing, wistfulness and envy which could've easily made the book a trial to read but somehow in here, it just sucked me into the story more and I couldn't stop reading if I'd tried as it was so addictive.

I've never read a book with a more selfish cast of characters and I absolutely loved that THE GRACES portrayed them in such a way that I loved to hate them but also hated that I loved them. The fact that that's exactly how all the characters feel about each other in the book and how it rubs off onto the reader who's reading about them, made me love the book even more. Absolutely stunning. I can't wait for the second book to see if it's just as good, selfish and mind-breaking as this one was.

 FAV QUOTE:

 “I ate and read my book, this particular kind of fantasy novel that I secretly loved. It was my favorite thing to do– eat and read. The world just shut up for a while.”


::Thank you ALLEN & UNWIN for the review copy!::


HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?? WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE AND WHY?? ALSO: FAVOURITE COVER?? (I'D HAVE TO WITH THE GRACES BECAUSE IT SO. DAMN. GORGEOUS. *heart eyes*)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...