Sunday, 11 December 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White: Book Review


No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she'll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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Throughout the two decades of my life, never have I ever read such a suspenseful and thrilling historical fiction novel. And I Darken is the first I have read from Kiersten White and I am so glad that I asked for a review copy from Penguin Random House New Zealand a few months after it had released. Historical fiction has never really been a popular pick of genre for me but in truth I’ve always been fascinated by the monumental events and people from centuries ago that have inspired thousands around the world to learn from their successes and mistakes. Prior to reading this book I’d absolutely no knowledge of ‘Vlad the Impaler’, being the inspiration for the gender-swapped protagonist Lada Dragwyla, or his mark on the Middle Eastern world. Since reading the last page with utter satisfaction, I have realised how much I want to return to the world of Lada, Radu and Mehmed. The second novel of this highly anticipated trilogy has recently announced as Now I Rise, which has me writhing in a bittersweet excitement – if the And I Darken is anything to be compared with I would have to say that it might just tip both of Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses series’ off the top of the ‘most exciting and compelling books’ list for many readers around the globe.

If Celaena Sardothien and Rose Hathaway made the ‘top ten of badass heroines’ list then it would be no shock to me if Lada Dragwyla could step right into first place, bearing only her wrist knives and smart tongue as weapons, without a single complaint from anyone. First of all, major props to Kiersten White for being able to write a historical fiction with a gender-swapped protagonist and at the same time weaving in an LGBT element with one of the characters. I can’t say too much about that last bit without spoiling it for everyone but I’ll tell you now that I picked up on it pretty early so it was almost blatantly obvious without having to be written in to desperately add it just because the readers want it (I’m referring to the recent outrage at Sarah J Maas’ books having the opportunity to include it but obliviously missing the chance, though this has not put me off reading her work, personally). I did not see that coming at all since it is a historical fiction but I was tremendously happy to see that come into play. I’d briefly researched the history of ‘Vlad the Impaler’ to understand the backstory a bit more and figured, from what I had found out, that Kiersten had possibly only decided to change that particular character’s sexuality in order to give the plot more of a controversial direction (considering the rules of their religion back then which still threads through to this day) and make things far more interesting. If any part of this book was written absolutely perfectly, it was how the LGBT twist was able to push the limitations of this legendary story and turn it into something unforgettable and heart wrenching! I loved it!

I’ve always been a fan of writers who go above and beyond when writing fiction by pouring their heart and soul and extensive vocabulary into their work. Kiersten’s writing stood out like beautifully written poetry, filled with various metaphors, similes, and a handful of symbolism, which helped enhance the overall effect of the ending. Much of the dialogue from characters such as Kumal, a man that Radu builds a strong bond with once they reunited three years after meeting in the Ottoman Empire, is presented with far more meaning than anything I’ve ever come across. If I were to advise you to read this book for any reason other than the plain fact that the story is fantastically captivating and heartbreaking (in an agonising but addicting way), it would be because of the words that illustrate the story with absolute detail and give it more meaning than anything you might have already read. Kiersten has definitely won me over with her retelling of the brutally blood lusting man that had once inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I couldn’t be more pleased than to have read a book that has significantly inspired me to want to delve further into the various historical tales that shaped the world into what it is today. As sad as it makes me to know that war is still a very real thing happening so close to the countries that are mentioned in this novel, I hope that this book will influence many other people such as myself to learn more about these highly controversial events and make them want to do something that might help those who still live in situations like this.



✨  Things I LOVED about And I Darken!  ✨  

* Lada Dragwyla is probably the most inspiring female protagonist to symbolise the true meaning of feminism. She is introduced as a young girl who is striving to win over her father’s love and is extremely protective of her little brother, who she constantly refers to when antagonised as “her Radu”. Although throughout the novel she occasionally becomes tempted by the idea of love, she never lets it win her over to the point where she is vulnerable enough to lose something that matters the most to her. Radu is the only one she truly loves and constantly proves that she will go through hell before she would let anyone try control her by using him to do so. As much as I may have fought with my siblings at a young age, I don’t think I would have been able to let someone smack them to try and force me to obey an order. I probably would have lost it and attacked whoever had threatened my little brother or sister – Lada had reasons for her ways, though Radu may not have understood for a long time, and I respect her for doing what she had to do to survive and protect the only family that mattered to her.

* There are multiple different languages and religions used that provide a vast amount of diversity. Lada and Radu are brought up speaking Wallachian naturally but are also taught other languages such as Turkish and Hungarian, which Lada decides to use to her advantage at certain points of the story, or just to make her own point to someone else. Religions like Christianity and Islam are heavily involved throughout this novel, and though Lada finds herself particularly favouring the Christian tales, Radu seems to accept his fate more easily while being forced to live in the Ottoman Empire by converting to Islam as a way to deal with his pain through meditation and prayer.

* While nearing the end of the book, I couldn’t help but notice the fact that I’d have to wait until July 6th 2017 for Now I Rise to release – such a bittersweet but agonising wait! I was not expecting to love this book as much as the hype beckoned me to. Since being disappointed once after reading a book that had been highly revered by many readers online, I was shocked to find that I was becoming more and more entranced by this story. Now I Rise may be a long wait before its release but I will be counting down the days until then!

* Radu is the most adorable character ever and he kind of reminds me of my little brother! He is kind, caring, devoted, and loyal – who wouldn’t want a brother like that? Lada definitely finds many faults in Radu’s sweet and soft nature, however it eventually comes in handy when Lada’s brutal nature cannot win her everything she may desire later on in their lives. We practically watch Lada and Radu grow up from the time of their birth in this novel so it is easy to feel like you know them at a personal level even though it is written in third person. From the point of view of both you are able to see, feel and think through each completely different personas who are able to orchestrate war in two completely different ways – it really proves how much words and actions can damage things or make something happen one way or another. Radu eventually proves to be ‘more than meets the eye’ as he grows into a young man who can influence men of various statuses, including the sultan, Murad, who was the one to imprison them within the Ottoman Empire in the first place. It truly shows that a pretty face can be more than you think!

* Love is portrayed as a weakness to Lada and Radu, however Lada is able to discern from who is okay to love and who isn’t. It may be the fact that Lada is supposed to lack beautiful features, that she is a female, or the that her father traded her and Radu to the Ottoman Empire to keep his claim on the Wallachian throne. Either way her portrayal of love hasn’t ever had a very positive effect on her ability to function without feeling like she would rather sink a knife into everyone’s throats instead of having to talk her way out of trouble. This is what Radu is brilliant at – being able to sway someone’s opinion of something or influence someone enough so that he is invited to important events with important people where he uses to his advantage by eavesdropping to find out important information that he can use against someone or to his benefit. Everyone loves Radu because he is charismatic and beautiful to look at, but he is unable to prevent his emotions from controlling his judgement like Lada is more so skilled at.

I’ve decided that there is literally nothing about this book that could have earned it anything less than 5 stars. I am still reeling over the ending and what will be coming next so I cannot stress enough how much I would recommend this to ANYONE looking for a gripping, intelligent, bloody, and eventful read. Even if you can’t afford to buy a brand new copy, there is always the library or your local second-hand bookstore!


Thank you Penguin Random House for the review copy!

Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: http://penguin.co.nz/

Go add And I Darken 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


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Monday, 29 August 2016

Early release of Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas controversy: Why can't we all be adults here?

In light of all the horrible controversy over Sarah's latest book, Empire of Storms, which is set to release September 6th this year, we've got to remember the one person who gave us great characters to look up to and root for!

The beautiful and talented Sarah J Maas!

Most recently we heard about Lindsay Cummings, author of The Murder Complex duology and The Balance Keepers trilogy, managing to find a hardcover copy of EoS at the Chicago Airport two weeks before the actual release date. This sent fans into a frenzy of emotions and chaos. At first this made me so excited and I was happy to see that a fellow author friend of Sarah's had managed to swipe a copy for herself.
When I woke up Saturday morning (NZ time) to check Twitter, I noticed that everyone had gone crazy over a number of other people who had also managed to get their hands on a copy (possibly from the exact same bookstore at the airport in Chicago where Lindsay got hers) and had finished it, along with either expressing their enraged thoughts about what had seemed to happen in the books or venting their anger by leaving abusive comments on the novel's Goodreads page.


A Snapchat picture of where I vented my frustration about the childish reviewers (a major understatement).

There seemed to be major tension about how certain readers thought that the Throne of Glass series was racist, abusive and discriminating through multiple characters actions, dialogue or have said that people of colour have seemed to be killed off more than others. In my opinion, some people on Twitter have gone way too far. They may say that there is no evidence of death threats towards Sarah, but that does not change the fact that there is plentiful hate and biases about particular themes that may appear throughout the series. Some people just can't seem to be adults and review a book in a more respectable manner. Someone take these children back to their mommies and daddies.
One anonymous source seems to point out that Sarah is not a good author and just writes in steamy sex scenes to cover up her lack of talent for plot lines and character development whilst comparing her work to Fifty Shades of Grey. Well sorry to disappoint you but Sarah actually has talent for writing and she didn't become a best selling author from writing a trashy S&M novel. Must I point out how much character development Celaena Sardothien went through in the first four books to get to where she is now in her story? Got a problem? Fight me.

Despite the horrors of this situation, there are still many devoted fans who are trying to support Sarah through this rough patch. A couple of hashtags #SJMDefenseSquad and #ToGIsJustBeginningParty started in an attempt to push the haters away and put a positive light on the imminent release of EoS.





 Please remember that when you're voicing your own thoughts and opinions on the internet, people will be affected in one way or another. Sarah J Maas, who I have personally met in person at her book signing in Auckland City, New Zealand last year in September, is such a wonderful, talented and down-to-earth individual and she has feelings like every one of us. If you have trouble with the concept of cyberbullying, try put yourself in her shoes or imagine saying what you've said to her face.

You are book lovers, book reviewers, fandom fanatics, etc. Please remember why you love to read and the fact that just because a book doesn't go in the direction you'd hoped or it doesn't contain a certain theme or aspect that you wanted, it doesn't give you a free pass to go and obliterate the author with your harsh words. Be a kind human and spread love and if you feel the need to review a book in a not-so-nice way, do it professionally through a blog post and leave it at that or talk to your friends about it through private message or even in person. Don't forget to be civilised and humane.

This world already has way too much hate and sadness. Do your part to make it a better place to live in so that we can all come online with confidence and celebrate what we love most.

A photo of Sarah and I at her Auckland, New Zealand signing in September 2016.

by Ella Fleming-Christie

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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Unrivalled by Alyson Noel: Book Review


Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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I went into this novel thinking it would be another type of Gossip Girl novel and that's the main reason I was aching to read it so bad. However, that did not prepare me for how gripping and entertaining the characters and plot line would be! This was completely it's own story and it didn't replicate GG in the slightest! New scene (Los Angeles), diverse characters, and a whole new way of seeing the rich and famous will have you pining to read more and more and MORE! I haven't read much of Alyson Noel but I can tell you now that I definitely plan on it!

The story starts off with pretty, little, innocent, Madison Brooks who is currently living it up in her dream life with a perfect acting job, a perfect-ish boyfriend and a perfect cover for her past. It isn't until three little nobodies by the names of Layla Harrison, Aster Amipour and Tommy Phillips who start to make things go terribly wrong for Madison, and it's all because of a competition where she's the golden trophy that everyone wants. Her boyfriend, Ryan Hawthorne obviously manages to get himself caught up in this mess which is where things get pretty interesting and steamy. The multiple point of views give you a 360 angle of everyone's lives so that you get to know each and every one of these fame suckers and their reasons for intertwining themselves in a dodgy LA nightclub promotional competition with the infamous Ira Redman. Unfortunately, no one trusts this guy but everyone is desperate for something and this gig seems to be the only way out for most of the contestants. Every character in this novel has a distinct reason for needing this competition which makes it so much more of a riveting read. Something about all the gossip, lies and greed seems to weave its way into your mind and tug at it so much that you just don't want to put it down! To be fully honest, I was a little confused at the end about how it had ended. Although this was the case, I thought about it a little more after I had finished and then I finally put all the pieces together as if I were a character myself trying to realise the culprit. This novel will definitely send you on a journey through the planning and scheming just so that one person can be on top - whether it be for money, fame or ego.

Things I LOVED about Unrivalled!:

* Being a blogger, I absolutely craved the idea of Layla Harrison being a gossip-junkie! She starts her own blog called, Beautiful Idols where she posts latest news about celebrity downfalls so that she can try use the revenue to live off in New York where she hopes to study. Having grown up admiring the anonymous bloggers in movies writing about gossip or just their basic everyday lives to give guidance to others, this part definitely hit me in the feels!

* In my mind, I pictured Madison as Blair Waldorf, Layla as Serena Van Der Woodsen, Aster as Vanessa Abrams and Tommy as Dan Humphrey. Disagree? Well it doesn't make it any less of a read. It just excites me because I'm currently marathoning GG on Netflix and I just can't seem to get it out of my head.

* Could the drama have gotten any more heated? I couldn't bear to put the book down at certain points! And the ending! God help me if I have to wait another whole year for the sequel! More GG on Netflix? I think so!

* The nightclub promoting competition was more than lit and I want to know if this happens in real life! If anything could get more catty than two girls and a guy trying to win a competition by using the hottest stars in LA to beat each other, it would be a high school or college with pretty similar personas in New York. Don't tell me you aren't itching to read another contemporary novel like this one.

* Like I haven't been able to stop mentioning (probably because I'm obsessed all over again), it's bringing the Gossip Girl world back with more heat and game so you better get out your glitter headbands and pick a spot on the Walk of Fame to sit because it's about to bring the hate-game to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL!


So if you just need that new type of gossip based drama novel or you just want a good read in general that you won't put down (unless you have to of course) then pick up Unrivalled and I promise you that you will not be disappointed! I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars!




Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz

Go add Unrivalled 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

Saturday, 6 August 2016

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas Book Review


“Tell me what you see.”
“A world divided in two.”

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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If the last book, A Court of Thorns and Roses was anything to go by, you'll know that this book will be a hell of a read. Love, heartbreak, comedic dialogue, steamy scenes, major action, magical moments and emotional flashbacks will have you rolling on the floor laughing and crying at the same time! If I could convince anyone to become a bookworm, I would immediately recommend this book. Even though it is a sequel and you wouldn't really understand much unless you read the first, this book would have to be the one I'd tell anyone to read first just because it's totally amazing and once you get in, you don't come back!

Let's come back to the fearless protagonist, Feyre. She is now blazing bright with all her high fae glory and argumentative comebacks, however this time around, the unforgettable memories of her rough time Under the Mountain has left an imminent mark on her mind and soul. As a former sufferer of depression I can understand her every struggle after having been ripped to shreds in every way possible by Amarantha. Thankfully, maybe not to Feyre's delight, Rhysand saves her just when she thinks she might make a big mistake and our world starts to open up with glorious opportunities when we finally get to see the Night Court in it's true habitat. In this instalment we also get to see the Summer Court and more of the human's side of the wall where Nesta, Elain and their father still reside. However, everyone is inevitably in way more danger than the first novel and for those hardcore fans who may be reading this, it may not be so hard to figure out who might be behind that evil cunning plan.

The plot couldn't have been structured anymore perfectly and if I were Sarah's best friend, I'd be asking her if I could sit quietly in a chair next to her while she writes so I can learn of the secret powers she has which helps her make her novels such masterpieces (as creepy as that sounds, I'm just a budding author who needs these secrets to make a living also). Everything that is written falls into place so well and with every turn, there is a twist, even if you don't realise it at the time. This is where I tell you that you'll be re-reading it a few thousand times after you finish your first round. The dialogue is witty, hilarious and well put together. The characters are all widely diverse which is another thing that I love and something that needs to be talked about, and practiced more, in YA literature. One main thing that was brought into this sequel was the idea of mates. Now this is a spoiler free review so I won't say who, but this absolutely hooked me because it's such a romantic and sexy thing––one of which I wish humans took more seriously––that honestly I couldn't bear to put the book down once I had read the scene where it was introduced. Love is such a massive theme in YA fiction these days, aside from the main plot it usually gives the characters more motivation to strive and work for what they want and who they want. As much as people may try to shoot good novels like this one down for tiny little things, they can't lie about the fact that this had to be one of the best books written since the Harry Potter series (braces for other-fandoms impact)! I honestly think that if it hadn't have been for Sarah's godly-literature skills and sexy chapter reads, I don't think I'd be doing any of this right now. I would probably just be moping around trying to find better inspiration for my book but failing epically because I wouldn't have such a talented person to look up to. Now I'm feeling like next time Sarah comes to New Zealand, I'll have to give her a massive hug for giving me the best guidance of my life (and for saving my life too)! 💜


✨  Things I LOVED about A Court of Mist and Fury

* Rhys has WAAAYY more of a storyline this time around and despite my first thoughts of him from ACOTAR, I've completely turned around since then. That being said, I am someone who always gives second chances! Go Rhysand! You have won my heart, High Lord.

* If you think there's any book that is written better than this, apart from the Throne of Glass series of course, then we're going to have a problem. Well not really, I don't like fighting over what series is better but I cannot accept that anyone would not like these books. Both of Sarah's book series are currently being adapted for the big screens! ACOTAR will be a movie trilogy and ToG will be a TV series! Nothing would be better to replace Game of Thrones and Divergent with than these two! Yup, I'm a happy chick!

* Feyre learns that she got a little extra mojo from all the High Lord's of Prythian than just her High Fae form! I mean (ACOTAR SPOILER COMING.....) being resurrected by each of the strongest High Fae's in the land doesn't come without a price. And if Feyre's going to have any bigger purpose in this novel, it's going to have to be this way and I'm not even disappointed in the slightest! But you could tell that already anyway so I'm just going to wait patiently for the movie of ACOTAR and TV show of ToG to come out!

* Could this novel have gotten any steamier? I mean I know Sarah mentioned that she had basically banned her family from reading it but that alone did not prepare me for what was to come! I don't usually like anything that resembles erotic fiction - however the content inside this book was actually bearable enough that I didn't put it down. Maybe it was just the love of the relationship and feels that came with it or maybe it was because I knew there was more to it than just the act. Either way it was the definition of #RelationshipGoals and that's what I loved most about it (This last part may or may not have made me want to cry because this relationship definitely wouldn't exist in real life because males don't seem to be as perfect as this one did unfortunately...).

I loved this book more than words can explain and for that I have to give it a 5 out of 5 stars! Not just because I seem to love ALL of Sarah's books and that is mostly so because of the fact that she is an amazing author and actually does slay the author game with every book she writes. (Plus I've been using her first name instead of her last name because I think once you've met the author, it's safe to say you've passed that stranger line "inserts cool emoji here"). Thanks for making my month yet again and I'm stoked that Empire of Storms is coming out in the next month because I'm going to need another massive dose of awesome feminist power from Aelin very, very soon!

Go add A Court of Mist and Fury 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

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?



Friday, 1 July 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken Book Review



Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.


SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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Knowing about the hype this book had, I went into reading it with utterly high expectations. I had requested it specifically because I had heard how much everyone loved it and were recommending it. Unfortunately it did not have the same effect for me and I think having those expectations too high at the start may have been the reason I expected too much from it. Aside from the fact, it was a good book and I did want to keep reading. Maybe reading Desolation prior to this put me in a reading slump so maybe that's why I didn't seem to enjoy this book as much as I wanted to.

The main character, Etta Spencer, seemed like a typical girl who had a passion for a musical instrument, just like anyone else would. I loved how all she wanted to do was be the best she could be and how she found the beauty in playing - the way she could lose herself in the music and forget about the audience. As lovely as it is to see a character enjoy a normal hobby, this was definitely short-lived due to the unfortunate event of her being thrust into this new world without knowledge and then finding out later that it was her instrument that kick-started the action. I felt like she didn't have an amazing character development and the fact that she let herself be distracted by her love interest when she is meant to be trying to save the world (a constant trope that seems to be never-ending) was a bit of an annoying thing while reading. Yeah, the romance was cute and might have kept the storyline alive a little bit more, but that was what bothered me. I was hoping to see more action left with way more dramatic cliff-hangers and deaths (Sarah J Maas has seemingly set my bar way too high). Nicholas seemed like a real person, the way he spoke, acted and made decisions. He was more focused on the idea of getting what he wanted in terms of being free and that seemed to enhance the plot thankfully. I had really high hopes for Sophia but she just ruined her chances of being a likeable character - however she could possibly redeem herself in the next book.

I really loved the way the plot was laid out and the idea of time-travel through portals. There aren't many books like this and that's what I did like out of everything. I feel like time-travel is a difficult thing to write about without being too unrealistic or illogical and Alexandra did a on-point job of making it feel like it could be something that would make sense in the real world. However I had a hard time picturing what certain objects looked like, maybe because I was skipping through the book due to my inability to focus or maybe because it just wasn't really described that well. I have to say that I did enjoy it to a point which helped me continue reading and left me feeling like I wanted to see how the story continues in the next instalment. Having different families being against each other and wanting revenge sort of reminded me of the Game of Thrones series (bear in mind I have only seen the TV show but am planning on reading the books at some point). I haven't read Alexandra's other series, The Darkest Minds but I do want to try it out at some point.

My overall opinion of Passenger is that I did like it, but not enough to consider it one of my favourites. I'm hoping the sequel is better because that might be the turning point of the series and determine whether or not I might actually feel like fully recommending the series. Etta wasn't the type of heroine I was really rooting for and for me that's a big thing when it comes to enjoying a book. I feel like everyone is different and personally I am quite fussy with what I read. A LOT of people did love it and I think that you should just pick up the book and see if it suits your personal preference of literature. I gave this book a 2.5 out of 5 stars!

Things I loved about Passenger!:

* The chemistry between Etta and Nicholas was really cute! However the fact that there was a major instalove trope made me feel a bit off about the whole relationship.

* The book is all about time-travel with the pro's and con's that come with it. The way it was explained was really well done and I think it could potentially have an amazing sequel if written well, if not better!

* Etta has a hobby of playing the violin which weaves in with the main plot which I absolutely love! It has a purpose and isn't left to be something that is put to the side because of the character's quest and responsibilities.


Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz?fref=ts

Go add Passenger 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

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Demon Road #2: Desolation by Derek Landy Book Review


THE EPIC NEW THRILLER CONTINUES.

The second book in the mind-blowing new supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.

Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.

Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.

And that night is coming.


SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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If you thought that Demon Road was the funniest and most thrilling book you'd ever read, well Desolation is going to comply wipe that title off of your favourites-list. The fact that most sequels don't seem to be able to live up to the first book in the series, it's literally an omen when a book like this, let alone a series like this, is brought into existence. Thank you, Derek Landy, for being utterly amazing at your job.

The first thing that really stuck out to me about this book is Amber's new love interest. Now I'm not going to go into too much detail as that would completely ruin the surprise. However, I will state that this book is diverse in so many ways. The fact that the author has gone way over the boundaries of what most writers would do when writing a novel is incredible because not many people will leave their comfort zone to explore different elements of life to add into a plot to make it way more realistic - go figure for a fantasy thriller novel! On that note, a bunch of new characters are added which keeps the story rolling smoothly and gives the book a more solid outlook with more point of views. An obvious fact is that Amber's parents return, along with their trusty - or not - sidekicks, Kirsty and Grant. Still hellbent on killing and eating Amber to gain her strength seems a little more complicated this time around than they had originally intended. However this does seem to be a little more darker and more brutal, believe it or not. 

Two older characters are introduced who are crazy funny and I think overall made the story more intriguing and gripping with their constant bickering and humour-filled lines. I love the idea that this book has included people of all ages from elementary school children to seniors who are just itching to have a big adventure and almost be young again. Not only does this sequel have even more characters involved but it has even more creatures involved! The Hounds of Hell come across as intimidating bikers who come across as mute pricks on wheels, but Amber and Milo still manage to make a joke out of them and manage to put them in their place a few times - demon to demon.

The whole story is fun-filled violence with gripping twists and laugh-out-loud humour that will make you choke on your coke. However it will immerse you into an even darker world with way more at stake and an even bigger enemy than the infamous Shining Demon. Overall I absolutely loved this book so much, I wished it didn't have to end as soon as it did. I am thoroughly upset at the fact that this series will only be a trilogy, however I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the next book will send it off with a bang (and maybe a lot more blood and deaths involved)! I gave this a 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Things I loved about Demon Road: Desolation!

* Amber gets a new love interest with a surprising twist! Great romantic scenes too!

* Milo is finally able to show everyone why he is really the 'Ghost of the Highway' and why he is so feared by those who have heard his name!

* More characters are added and even a dog with an awesome personality!

* Another Shining Demon is in the mix and everything about that is explained!

* Hell Night is as crazy as it sounds and you don't want to decide whether or not to DNF it until you read that part! But I know you won't DNF it. It's too good.

I really hope that if you read Demon Road, you will go straight to the bookstore or library and get Desolation because it is definitely one of those rare novels that keep the fire alive in a series. Let me know if you decided to pick it up because of my review! If you've already read it, tell me what your thoughts were on it! 


Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz?fref=ts

Go add Desolation 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

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Massive Update on my Life!: YouTube, Major Hair Change, ACOMAF! || FeathersandFaith - Ella Fleming-Christie

Hey ya'll! Ella here!

So I haven't posted in a while! I've been so busy starting Uni, doing an online course for a 'Diploma in Applied Writing (Level 5)' with NorthTec Whangarei. I've also been receiving a hell of a lot of books from HarperCollins New Zealand which has literally been a godsend and a curse at the same time...




I am currently reading Desolation by Derek Landy and holy moly is it as good as the first in the trilogy, Demon Road! However it's killing me because I just received A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas in hardback and my god is the 600 paged beauty the most gorgeous thing I've seen since Queen of Shadows released! I bet y'all it'll take me a quarter of the time to read ACOMAF as it has taken me to only get through 3/4 of Desolation!



So anyway, since then I've decided that my hair has needed a major do-over - therefore I cut like 20cm off and dyed it bold red. I absolutely love it and am almost dreading going auburn closer to the end of the year to play Clary Fray from the tv show, Shadowhunters for the Armageddon Expo in Auckland, New Zealand around October this year. Hey, at least my hair will be healthier by then! Here's a pic of what it looks like now :)



If you haven't already seen, I uploaded my latest video, "25 Facts About Me" yesterday and my god I got an amazing response from my amazing friends and viewers about the personal stuff I managed to reveal. It was really a heart-lifting and inspiring moment to know that so many lovely people care and want to keep supporting me as they always have been. Plus all the new subscribers, I really hope I'm doing my job and keeping y'all entertained! I try my best to not only bring you the best content, but also make it funny so that it's definitely worth the watch and that you might encourage others to check my channel! Here's the link to the video if you'd like to check it out! Please don't forget to like, comment if you want and subscribe to be notified about my newest videos!



That's about it for now apart from the fact that I'll be doing more video reviews from now on than written reviews as I am trying to make my YouTube channel bigger and more successful so I'll be posting more updates and personal content here like pictures from outings or books I've gotten, etc.

Please let me know if there is anything you'd like to see me write about, attempt to do or whatever. I love trying to provide what you guys want!


Thanks for supporting me and being amazing!

Bellzxoxo 😘


Find more out about my writing career at:



Snapchat: FeathersnFaith

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♡ I now have a P.O Box!:

P.O Box 21-290 Henderson

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Thursday, 7 January 2016

Girl In The Woods by Aspen Matis: Book Review



Girl in the Woods is Aspen Matis's exhilarating true-life adventure of hiking from Mexico to Canada—a coming of age story, a survival story, and a triumphant story of overcoming emotional devastation. On her second night of college, Aspen was raped by a fellow student. Overprotected by her parents who discouraged her from telling of the attack, Aspen was confused and ashamed. Dealing with a problem that has sadly become all too common on college campuses around the country, she stumbled through her first semester—a challenging time made even harder by the coldness of her college's "conflict mediation" process. Her desperation growing, she made a bold decision: She would seek healing in the freedom of the wild, on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada.

In this inspiring memoir, Aspen chronicles her journey, a five-month trek that was ambitious, dangerous, and transformative. A nineteen-year-old girl alone and lost, she conquered desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears, and fellow desert pilgrims. Exhausted after each thirty-mile day, at times on the verge of starvation, Aspen was forced to confront her numbness, coming to terms with the sexual assault and her parents' disappointing reaction. On the trail and on her own, she found that survival is predicated on persistent self-reliance. She found her strength. After a thousand miles of solitude, she found a man who helped her learn to love and trust again—and heal.

Told with elegance and suspense, Girl in the Woods is a beautifully rendered story of eroding emotional and physical boundaries to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map.



SPOILER FREE REVIEW
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If there were any way to present a memoir in a way which would inspire thousands then Aspen Matis has done it. Here in this beautiful written book lies a story of agony and betrayal turned inspiration and courage. In my time of reading books and watching movies, there has never been anything so delicate and bold at the same time, in my opinion. Matis has brought writing a real life story to a whole new level and unfortunately she had to be the bearer of this burden-turned-blessing. In this memoir, Matis described how the terrible moment of being date raped broke her confidence and trust in everyone around her, including her family, which ends up leading her to make a bold decision to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail - basically walking the entire trail from Mexico to Canada - in order to find herself again. From the young Debby Parker to Aspen Matis, a young, shattered soul walks through 2,650 miles of desert and mountains in order to transform herself into the strong, successful woman that she is today.

Like I have said in past reviews of memoirs, I hate the idea of completely criticising it because it is a real life story. To say this was a well-written book is a complete understatement. I thoroughly devoured this within a couple of weeks, just because I was busy and couldn't read as much. I did however spend almost a whole night finishing the last 200 pages and I would do it over and over again if I could. Diving in to such a highly acclaimed book made me feel fresh and renewed as I have never read anything so dense and wild - it had me hooked from the start. Matis has a profound way of using words to descriptively visualize the setting in your mind. I feel like most fictional stories don't have enough of this which shows that she really knows her stuff - plus she has an amazing and vivid memory which she manages to print on to the page flawlessly. Her determination to start and finish this five month journey with or without help from other trekkers is totally inspiring for all girls and woman alike - a true example of a leader and heroine. The fact that she also managed to deal with the majority of the hikers being men, especially knowing how she was raped by one at her college in Colorado, she finds the will to accomplish more than anyone else by making peace with these strangers and even hiking for a few days and nights with a few. Not only does Matis retell her story in full retrospect, but she vividly details the beautiful chemistry between herself and another hiker whom seems to respect her for who she is and sees the truth in her eyes. From trail magic to trail angels, this journey is one hell of a ride that you will want to be on.

Things I LOVE about Girl In The Woods:

* She had her name changed from Debby Parker to Aspen Matis! The basic idea of her decision to do this was the fact that she felt it discerned her from the person she used to be. After the hike she feels she has learnt a lot and transformed herself through a journey of nature and beauty, why else would you want to change your name? I feel like it fits her, especially seeing as she mentions the name, Aspen many times throughout the book.

* The beauty of the trail seems unimaginable unless you actually do it yourself! As much as Aspen managed to describe the beauty of this trail, from dusty badlands to treacherous mountain tops, I still feel like this walk would not be fully imagined until you actually go there yourself. Now I'm not saying that anyone should just take Aspen's advice and do this trail just because of anything. She had her reasons to do the trail but there is also another main point that I picked up while reading; taking walks in nature is purifying and beautiful and you can do it anywhere. Personally I love nature and being around trees and lakes so I would do this anyday I had the chance. It's just a shame there weren't as many photos of the trail as I would have expected!

* From Debby to Aspen: The story of a girl who became a woman! Coming of age stories are one of my many favourites and I would have to say that reading about Aspen's transformation made me feel empowered and invincible. The fact that she walked this trail at 19 years of age, which is how old I am at this exact moment, makes me feel personally like I could attempt the same and come out a better person too. It is inspiring to me just as much as it would inspire anyone else and though I respect Aspen for taking such a dangerous journey to find herself, I would not be so bold unless I had something to push me that far too. I think I'll just stick to day walks for now!

* Aspen is such a beautiful person and she is my hero! From what I have read so far about Aspen, not from her book but from interviews, reviews and praises, I feel like Aspen has proved to us females that we are just as tough as males and just because we are expected to sit tight, be polite and do whatever is expected of us, it's not what we have to do. We can go out and choose to trek crazy trails like this. We can choose to make a living on our own and be independent without a man to support us. We can be ourselves and not have to expect people to like us. Girls have a right to be heard and be important and powerful just as much as guys. Aspen makes me feel like I have a voice that will be heard because she proved to me that even though something precious was taken from her, she can survive and become stronger because of it. She won't let anything break her and because of that, neither will I.

Overall I have given this book a 5 out of 5 stars. This book was inspiring, beautiful, courageous, infectious and delightful. I couldn't have read anything more amazing and I just hope that one day I will be able to read her next book and by that time, her voice will be heard by millions.


Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for the review copy! Go like their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Harpercollinsnz?fref=ts

Go add Girl In The Woods 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