Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Frostblood by Elly Blake: Book Review


The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

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.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

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The only reason it took me nearly three weeks to finish this book was because I was constantly trying to keep up with my university work while also balancing other responsibilities at home with my family. I definitely found this book to be absolutely refreshing and delightful, although the overall feeling I got when finishing was between a happy but bittersweet ending and slight dissatisfaction. I had originally requested a review copy from Hachette New Zealand because I found the cover to be thoroughly enticing and the synopsis had given me Throne of Glass and Red Queen feels. It definitely lived up to my expectations but failed to soar beyond that point. Really I'm just trying to say that this was just an enjoyable read for those looking for something that will definitely be interesting and a safe read if you're trying to avoid or get out of a reading slump. Preferably also for those that might be new to YA fiction and need something that would introduce them to what we harbour in our little world of fantasy.

"The book says that a west wind will blow when the child of light is born, a powerful Fireblood who will fight the darkness and destroy it forever."

Ruby Otrera was a character that I liked almost instantly because of her fiery (no pun intended) attitude and soft heart (for the things that meant most to her like her mother or learning how to heal using herbal remedies). When the Frost King's soldiers come to take Ruby for being a Fireblood, they kill her mother and lock her away where she is kept isolated and weakened with cold buckets of water, until she is saved by a very powerful Frostblood monk and a mysterious young man, who also harbours a rough attitude, who goes by the name, Arcus.

I felt like this story was very well written considering the characters back stories and motivations, and Ruby definitely gave an all round convincing performance as a young girl with little control over her Fireblood power. Having the monk, Brother Thistle, and Frostblood warrior, Arcus, there to convince Ruby that her power is most likely the only way to defeat the Frost King and melt the Ice Throne, which supposedly holds a dark power that influences the mind of whoever sits on it is a great motivation for her to stay and prove that she can begin to wield her fire with absolute precision. This comes with a lot of training involving peaceful meditation and even a bit of sword fighting, which is a nice twist considering a lot of fantasy heroines who wield magical powers only stick to training with that power. If you consider Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass, she was already a trained assassin before she started learning to wield her power, so having a protagonist who has absolutely no knowledge of how to fight is a nice change.

"You don’t know the effect your words have on me, Lady Firebrand. It took years to build up this ice. You will melt it and then I will be broken."

The descriptions are vividly written and the fight scenes are simple but effective, plus I love how the castle of ice and throne with darkness inside was described. I really felt submerged within this novel - it is definitely a beautifully written story, however I would have liked if there were more information regarding the back stories of their people and their Gods and Goddesses. I know that some fantasy treads lightly considering the lore since it can get super detailed and too much to handle without a whole seperate handbook of information, but personally I love the heavy stuff. Maybe in the future something like that would be released and I would just fall in love with this series even more!

"But history could be twisted and warped to suit the person telling it."

I have rated this novel a 4 out of 5 stars because it was an all-round great read, however it seemed to fall flat of a satisfying ending, despite the fact that it was very satisfying with most of the conflict resolved. I love books that end with a cliffhanger but then I always seem to hope for a happy ending, so I can never really win, can I? *Facepalms and keeps sipping coffee*


Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy!
Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: hachette.co.nz

Go add Frostblood to your Goodreads list HERE

Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE
Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE
Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE

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Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau: Book Review

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Testing trilogy comes a sweeping new fantasy series, perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sarah J. Maas.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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The reading slump I have been in for a few months now has possibly been absolutely eradicated thanks to this beauty of a novel. I have found myself reeling and craving more after finishing Dividing Eden and as always with great books I am counting down the days, through my Goodreads account, to when Eden Conquered releases next year on the 12th of June. This is definitely a great read for anyone who thoroughly enjoyed Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas or Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. You may be wondering where the magical elements might be hiding within the story - well just take my word and WAIT FOR IT... Read on and be bedazzled!




I think this is the first time I've read a book with twins as the protagonists. Carys is very strong willed, able to use a knife with apt skill, and is very protective of her twin brother. Andreus is a sweet talker of the ladies, an all round lovely guy who saved a young boy from the streets, and loves to help with the windmills and Masters of Light to keep the city safe from vicious monsters hiding in the deathly shadows of Eden. Together they are an unstoppable force who would die for one another, but then their father and older brother, King and Crown Prince of Eden, are assassinated and their mother is driven mad by grief. Thanks to the help of the Seer, Lady Imogen, the council are prevented from immediately handing the throne to the next eligible head and are forced to start a series of trials in which Carys and Andreus are divided to compete against one another to determine their capability of handling the title of King or Queen of Eden.

Strange, is it not, that a book you might pick up will seem like it is foreseeable. That's what I felt like in the first half of the book until I was blown away by so many changes and twists that made me wonder why I did not pick it up earlier. I mean, how could I have known! It was such a wonderful change with reading about two twins who are close and dedicated to protecting one another from ever-lurking evils behind every corridor and under every stone, soon pitted against one another to test their loyalties to their people and the seven virtues that their city was built upon long before their existence.



✨ THINGS I LOVED ABOUT DIVIDING EDEN!


  • Carys and Andreus are considered EQUAL! There is no sexism or prejudism over what they are except that no one but the Queen, who was supposedly too mad to be trusted, knew who was older than the other. In so many stories, movies, or TV shows, I see how the male will always get the throne no matter what. To have this story break out of that trope is a nice change.

  • Carys and her friend, Larkin, have such a close bond, no matter the fact that Larkin is a commoner and Carys is a princess. They have never let that change anything between them and to be honest, I totally root them together. Better than setting Carys up with a guy she barely knows, not when she knows Larkin inside out and they're already so close.

  • The tension was ablaze through the whole book and it definitely kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. There was always something going wrong and I know how frustrating that is in real life, but it's hellishly entertaining in books. Let's have more shit go wrong in novels please!

  • Magic and divination is in the book, no matter how little, and it is AWESOME! It's there and I'm happy. Not too much, not too little. Just enough to make you go hell yeah and run the streets praising the Gods for Joelle to bring a brand new fiery couple of protagonists in to root for!


  • It got me out of my reading slump. NEED I SAY MORE?



I have rated this book a 4.75 out of 5 stars because the last half of the book was the real turning point for me. I have to be honest, I felt like the first half was a little slow for me but that could just be the reading slump talking. I truly enjoyed this book and I'm so happy to have found yet another awesome fantasy with strong characters that prove that not everything in fantasy has to be a certain way. Do I really have to wait until June 2018 to read Eden Conquered though?



Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy of Dividing Eden! Go check out their links here:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz

Website: http://www.harpercollins.co.nz/


Go add Dividing Eden to your Goodreads list HERE


Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE

Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE

Find it on the HarperCollins NZ website HERE



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Monday, 3 July 2017

The Harry Potter Spells Tag! CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HARRY POTTER #HarryPotter20


I've been wanting to do an exciting and creative blog post for a while and what would be better than to do it celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Harry Potter! I haven't exactly read the books yet (if you count me being forced to read the Philosopher's Stone when I was ten and when I chose to skim read the Half Blood Prince before the movie came out when I was fourteen) but I plan to, and I've watched all the movies at least twice. Plus I just recently got a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Screenplay and I've been sorted into Hufflepuff so I guess I am valid enough to be able to post this (please don't judge me for not having read enough or being a Hufflepuff!).


1. Expecto Patronum!
(A childhood book connected to good memories)

I could have chosen Roald Dahl's Matilda, The Twits, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as I read all of those at least twenty times or more when I was still in primary school, but to be fully honest, my best childhood memory was reading Stacy Gregg's Pony Club Secrets series from the time I was eleven. These books basically introduced me to reading with a passion and also cured my obsession with horses - they didn't, however, help me get me horse riding lessons like I always wanted. But these made my life bearable during those hard years of pre-teen life and I will be forever grateful.

2. Expelliarmus!
(A book that took you by surprise)

I don't think I've ever read a historical fiction novel before but this one blew me past the stars and back. Not only was Kiersten White able to successfully write a story about a Vlad the Impaler that made my heart fill with excitement, but she did it by gender swapping Vladislav to create Ladislav Dragwyla AAAAAAND also adding in an element of LGBTQ! I was surprised because I saw no faults in anything and I don't think many other people did either - NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN PULL OFF SOMETHING AS BADASS AS THIS, GUYS! The sequel has also just released and I can't stop thinking about it because I'm broke and can't even afford to buy a $16 paperback... this post is soon going to be nothing more than a 'I need this but can't afford it but happy anniversary Harry Potter!' post.

3. Prior Incantato!
(The last book you read)

This has got to be the best contemporary novel I've ever read and best of all... it's written by a fellow kiwi (New Zealander)! I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it is probably the most accurately written young adult novels about being a teenager suffering from depression with themes including self harm, loss, and grief. It was terrible for my emotions but great to show how it really is for a teenager in this day and age.

4. Alohomora!
(A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before)

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was the very first review book I'd received from HarperCollins New Zealand and it will forever hold a place in the darkest part of my heart. I had never read a mystery or thriller before this one and it definitely scared the living daylight out of me but gave me a new appreciation for books like this that have bigger themes and symbolism for us to understand. It was moving and brilliant and beautiful and sad: just go read it and humour me.

5. Riddikulus!
(A funny book you've read)

I've never read something where I've laughed out loud more than once, let alone more than like ten times maybe. I still need to read the third instalment, American Monsters, but oh my, this was a read I wish wouldn't end! The protagonist, Amber, finds out she is a demon and ends up on a long road trip with a guy called Milo because she is running from her parents. Why? Because they want to eat her. Typical right? Well it's so worth it! You be the judge! This book did not disappoint and I hope you'll try it too!

6. Sonorus!
(A book you think everyone should know about)

I received this book from Tammy because I found her through YouTube and after I heard her read the synopsis, I practically BEGGED her to send me a review copy. She is such a darling because she sent me a copy all the way from the U.S.A to New Zealand and just recently sent me the sequel too. I absolutely loved this book! If you loved Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout then you will absolutely LOVE this book! Just saying but I could absolutely see Kat Graham or Zendaya as Jaylen if this were turned into a movie and I fervently hope it will be one day!

7. Obliviate!
(A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read)

It's so stressful when a book from your favourite book series comes out and then social media basically blows up with spoilers... well unfortunately this book was somehow released early in some parts of the U.S.A and I was spoiled about a certain character's fate before it was even out! So yeah... I just wish that had never happened. Otherwise I'm still excited to read it and hopefully will get to read this and A Court of Wings and Ruin veeeeerrryy soon!

8. Imperio!
(A book you had to read for school)

I didn't really read this because we got to watch the movie as well so technically I only read maybe a few pages. It's also the only book I remember having to read for school so here it is! It was a sad but beautiful story though!

9. Crucio!
(A book that was painful to read)

I hate being that person that hates a book but I really hated this one. It had terribly overused clichés and just made me feel like I was wasting my time on a book that someone clearly didn't really feel passionate about when writing. When I mean passionate, I mean writing a well-written novel that has meaning, purpose, and doesn't shove unnecessary themes in your face. This book might have seemed okay if I were ten years old, but I truly feel like this was absolutely cringe-worthy.

10. Avada Kedavra!
(A book that could kill - interpret as you will)

I also have to be that person where I am absolutely typical and say that A Court of Mist and Fury tore me apart limb from limb, organ by organ. Yes, Sarah's books have become somewhat of a cliché for posts like these, but I am dead serious (no pun intended) when I say that this book ripped me to shreds emotionally and I am so happy for that. I'm sure many other people chose books that were terrible or ones where the protagonist or their love interest dies and it's just absolutely devastating, but this just killed me because it was so good and I am so happy and scared to read A Court of Wings and Ruin because I KNOW it'll just do the exact same thing to my heart, if not do any more damage. Please have mercy on my soul, Sarah!


That is it! I hope you enjoyed reading through my little celebratory post for Harry Potter's 20th anniversary. I hope I can actually get around to reading them soon but I'll actually have to acquire them all first (Bloomsbury Australia, all eyes are on you right now)!

If you are reading this now, you are officially tagged! Please remember to tag me on your social media accounts so that I can see your posts. I would love to see all your answers - I tried to be creative with mine but I still feel like I need to be more selective. Improvements will be noted for the future!

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel: Book Review


Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

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The contents of this book had me in a whirlwind of captivation, despite the disturbing truth that comes with the Roanoke legacy. The one thing I loved most about The Roanoke Girls is that it pointed on something that is very real for some people and families and the lesson at the end doesn't sugar coat it. The author clearly did enough research to ensure that anyone reading this that might be able to relate won't feel like their experience was represented badly. I personally don't know what it is like since I've never gone through what the Roanoke girls did, but I can imagine that it would be almost exactly how it was portrayed in the book. Amy Engel stated that she had researched this horrible reality thoroughly to ensure her accurate portrayal of the events within her novel. I'm glad that authors like her have taken precaution and proceeded with absolute care when trying to present a novel that is not only fascinating, alluring, and filled with dark themes, but is also somewhat of a realistic setting which most people have sadly had to deal with in their own lives.

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”



Lane Roanoke was the sole focus of this novel, the story being told mainly through her eyes - though many of the multiple POV's were from the other dead Roanoke girls, such as Lane's mother, Camilla, Camilla's sisters and her aunties before her. All in all, Amy Engel did the most amazing job at time-lapsing between when Lane went to live with her cousin, Allegra, after her mother died when she was sixteen, and when she came back after Allegra went missing eleven years later. Never once did I get confused as to who I was reading about or what was happening and I definitely enjoyed how the story played out even though there were some tear-jerking scenes that broke my heart.

“Sometimes it's a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness.”

The dark scenes that plague this novel are intriguing but gruesome, much of it showing how the reality of the Roanoke's past have emotionally destroyed all of the girls. Lane and Allegra are now the remaining heirs of their grandfather and grandmother who have acted as guardians of Allegra after her mother ran away. The girls are known for their similarities in beauty but not in personality, however they both seem to grow closer thanks to the outcry of Allegra's need for attention and a sister who will have her back when there is no one else there for her. As Lane begins to realise the disturbing truth that hides behind the closed doors of the Roanoke mansion, her escape from the madness of her mother's deep depression seems to become more and more of a prison than a safe haven. When she returns to Osage Flats eleven years later, still harbouring the knowledge that she learnt all those years ago, things are strained with her family and the close bonds she developed with Allegra's friends, Tommy and Cooper. With the help of her first love, Cooper, she manages to find the safe haven she longed for and accepts the harsh reality that the Roanoke family will never be as innocent and desirable as what everyone else thinks. The message behind the Roanoke girls' growing madness made me realise how some people do struggle to accept the love they are given and feel that they deserve less than what they're offered when it comes to being happy. Lane goes through a number of gains and losses before she finds the answer to Allegra's disappearance and can start to heal from her past.

“You can't outrun what's inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try and turn it into something better. I may not know exactly where I'm headed, but this time I'm choosing my own destiny.”

This book breaks from the typical themes that most books show and I loved that even though the reality of this story was pretty out of the ordinary and scarily real for some people, it committed to being tender to the touch, a great thriller, and overall a gripping read that you all should pick up. I gave The Roanoke Girls a 5 out of 5 stars!


Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy!
Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: hachette.co.nz

Go add The Roanoke Girls to your Goodreads list HERE

Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE
Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE
Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE


Are you suffering with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety? Here are some helpful links from BetterHelp that you can check out and find tips on how to live a happier life:

BetterHelp Advice - Anxiety
BetterHelp Advice - Depression
How To Deal with Depression: Tips, Techniques And Finding the Right Treatment

How Do I Find A Therapist Near Me?



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