The Sons of Thestian by M.E. Vaughan (The Harmatia Cycle Book One)

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Original Title: The Sons of Thestian

Year Published: 2016

Published by: Mag Mell Publishing

Number of Pages: 550

First Sentence: Run, damn you, run!”

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

The Prince Jionathan is plagued by visions of death. With the King on his death-bed, and the tyrannical Queen in power, the Kingdom of Harmatia lies in peril.
Fleeing the city in fear of his life, Jionathan is shadowed by Rufus Merle, a young, secretive Magi tasked with bringing him home.
Now, with the help of a fearsome Sidhe warrior named Fae, they must traverse a dangerous faerie-wood together.
Against bandits, faeries and cursed priestesses, these unlikely friends travel a path fraught with danger, not least from the blood-thirsty Night Patrol and the dark conspiracy that shrouds them.

My thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book! It was filled with adventure, great characters and was really well written. You will laugh, gasp in terror and possibly shed a tear or two during the reading of this. Absolutely brilliant. It uses celtic mythology in a great and seemingly original way. We see many authors using Greek and Roman mythology so it was nice to see Celtic mythology for once.

Jionathan, or Jionat, is one of our three main characters. He is also pretty fantastic. He is a young lad struggling to live with the horrible visions he has of the future. And oh yeah, his brother is dead, his father dying, his mum not doing to good with her second pregnancy and a step-mom who is a total b***h. Phew. He still manages to be witty and sarcastic, with a kind of upbeat way of looking at the world around him. Yeah, out of the three he might seem like the “dull” one, but I think there is a very good reason for that. He is a boy with a difficult past, being hounded by terrible visions of the future and a home situation that is pretty bad. I think anyone would come off as pretty serious and very troubled if that happened to them. This in Jionat though, makes him seem slightly dull in comparison to the other vibrant characters. However, I still loved him and rooted for him from the get-go.

Rufus was just freaking fantastic. With his wit and sarcasm, he is totally my type of person. His comments literally had me laughing out loud several times during the course of the book. He also turns out to be more complex than he first seems, but none of the revelations of his character that we get feel forced or too much. In fact, they feel really natural and you kind of go, “ah, that makes total sense”, when you come across them.

Fae is the third and final member of our main trio and an absolute boss. I loved that she was totally badass, but still quite feminine. Authors seem to have a hard time balancing these two aspects of women, but Vaughan does it perfectly with Fae. I really enjoyed the tantalising dips into her background and hope that we get to know more about Fae in the second book, as she is a very interesting and enjoyable character.

To avoid writing a full essay on this book, I will just swiftly say that there are so many great characters in this book. Even the villains are compelling and interesting, and more complex than they seem at the start. Our main villain, Zachary, had me totally pissed with him for most of the book, until one chapter when I just went: “Oh. Oh no… I see now. And now I kind of like you…”.  A big point in favour of this book are all the amazing female characters. They are just brilliant and I really enjoyed getting to know them all. I kind of want to get a massive blanket and cuddle with all of these characters. Except for the Queen maybe…

The plot then. It is most definitely epic. It was so much fun from start to finish and definitely had me hooked. It is pretty much perfectly paced with excellent twists and turns. It is a clever plot and the ending was heartbreaking yet the perfect conclusion to the story. And no, I will not reveal any of the plot, I will leave you to enjoy the plot for yourselves. Just know that it is brilliant and very well written.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, a thousand times yes!

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Angelbound by Christina Bauer

19520843Original Title: Angelbound

Year Published: 2013

Published by: Monster House Books, LLC  

Number of Pages: 532

First Sentence: It’s been one month, three days, and six hours since I last ‘got my gladiator on’ and battled in the Arena.”

Goodreads Rating: 34/5

Plot:

Eighteen-year-old Myla Lewis is a girl who loves two things: kicking ass and kicking ass. She’s not your every day quasi-demon, half-demon and half-human, girl. For the past five years, Myla has lived for the days she gets to fight in Purgatory’s arena. When souls want a trial by combat for their right to enter heaven or hell, they go up against her, and she hasn’t lost a battle yet..

But as she starts her senior year at Purgatory High, the arena fights aren’t enough to keep her spirits up anymore. When the demons start to act weird, even for demons, and the King of the Demons, Armageddon, shows up at Myla’s school, she knows that things are changing and it’s not looking good for the quasi-demons. Myla starts to question everything, and doesn’t like the answers she finds. What happened seventeen years ago that turned the quasi-demons into slave labor? Why was her mom always so sad? And why won’t anyone tell her who her father is? Things heat up when Myla meets Lincoln, the High Prince of the Thrax, a super sexy half-human and half-angel demon hunter. But what’s a quasi-demon girl to do when she falls for a demon hunter? It’s a good thing that Myla’s not afraid of breaking a few rules. With a love worth fighting for, Myla’s going to shake up Purgatory.

My thoughts:

This was an okay book. The characters and the plot were interesting and overall everything about this book was okay. However, it lacked that certain something to make it great. Also, for some reason, it was not what I expected. I can’t put my finger on why but it just wasn’t what I expected when reading the blurb.

Myla was fun and sassy. It was amazing to have a female main character that was totally badass and took no crap from anyone. However, she is so badass that it actually becomes a little silly at times but it was still fun to see a female character allowed to be badass without anyone looking down on her.

Lincoln, however, was a cocky little brat  and I kind of wanted to punch him in the face throughout the whole book. He is rude to Myla at first, and for quite some time through the book, and apart from being physically attracted to each other, I don’t actually see why they should be together.

That was one of the severely bad things in this book. Had the romance been either completely removed from the plot or written differently the book would have been better. Now it felt forced and I was more annoyed with it than anything else.

So I do realise that I right now make it sound like this book totally sucked. That is not correct. It was a good book, with some great characters and a quite interesting plot, so I do think it is worth a read. At some point I will give the other books in the series a chance, because I do think they might be good to read.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

ARC Review: Civil Blood by Mark Gelineau and Joe King (Best Left in Shadows #2)

29500084Original Title: Civil Blood

Year Published: 2016

Published by: Gelineau & King  (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 80

First Sentence: 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

One city. Two worlds.

The King of Aedaron reigns in splendor, while far below, in the streets and alleys of the underworld, a different kind of king emerges.

Alys and Dax have always been caught in the middle. Once they fought for love, and their worlds tore them apart. But now as they are forced back together, they must choose whether to fight once again.

But for what? And against whom?

In the world of Lowside, nothing is as it seems.

Even each other.

My thoughts:

Gelineau and King are two very splendid authors and have, as I’ve said before, quickly become two of my favourite authors. Their stories may be short but they are entertaining and so much fun to read.

This is the second book in the Best Left in Shadows series, my review of book 1 can be found here. Civil Blood picks up almost immediately after the first one left off. This means that we get thrown into action from the get-go, which was lovely. Considering that this is a short story, it is also quite necessary in order to get a fully developed plot onto those few pages. And it is fully developed, and it does feel like you read a 3oo page long book instead of an 80 page short book. Another reason why I love these books is that sometimes I crave a good story but can’t be arsed reading a full book.

In this book we get to know Alys and Dax a little better, and also get to know more about their shared past. That got me really curious reading the first book and it was nice to get some of the questions answered by reading this book. Alys is still a proper badass and Dax an awesome sort of sidekick. We also got to know some other fun and interesting characters who had ties to either Alys and Dax or both of them.

How Gelineau and King manage to write such amazing short stories is a mystery to me, but I’m very glad that they have the ability. I look forward to reading anything else those two write within this universe. Their writing is superb, the world interesting and the characters diverse and human.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles #1)

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Original Title: Finnikin of the Rock

Year Published: 2011

Published by:  Perfection Learning

Number of Pages: 399

First Sentence: A long time ago, in the spring before the five days of the unspeakable, Finnikin of the Rock dreamed that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh to save the royal house of Lumatere.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Finnikin was only a child during the five days of the unspeakable, when the royal family of Lumatere were brutally murdered, and an imposter seized the throne. Now a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere’s walls, and those who escaped roam the surrounding lands as exiles, persecuted and despairing, dying by the thousands in fever camps. In a narrative crackling with the tension of an imminent storm, Finnikin, now on the cusp of manhood, is compelled to join forces with an arrogant and enigmatic young novice named Evanjalin, who claims that her dark dreams will lead the exiles to a surviving royal child and a way to pierce the cursed barrier and regain the land of Lumatere. But Evanjalin’s unpredictable behavior suggests that she is not what she seems — and the startling truth will test Finnikin’s faith not only in her, but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

My thoughts:

This book was absolutely amazing. When I first started it, I for some bizarre reason, thought I wouldn’t like it. It was just one of those weird feelings you get sometimes, but oh boy, was I ever wrong. This book almost left me speechless. It has some twists and turns that you didn’t predict in advance and it was just so cleverly written.

Finnikin is amazing. I absolutely loved him. He is a boy who had to grow up way too  fast. But he never complains and always does his best to ensure that his people don’t have to suffer more than they already do. He is our voice and guide in this book and you will love him.

Evanjalin was a character I thought I would hate. For the first half of the book, I didn’t like her because of her actions and overall personality. But in the second half, we get a reason for it and I came to love her just as much, if not more, as I love Finnikin. She is amazing and I will protect her against anyone who thinks differently.

We get several other characters that are both interesting and fun to read about. What can be said in the negative is that in the full cast there is actually just a fair few women. The positive thing about it is that all of them are strong, different and well written. But so are the men, and they play bigger parts than the women we do meet. A little more women would have been nice, but other than that the characters are amazing.

The plot is so good and you are definitely taken on a brilliant adventure. It is paced pretty perfectly and you never get bored (at least I never got bored). I was not in the mood for this type of book when I started reading it but it grabbed a hold of me and didn’t let go. That says a lot about how good this book is. The book as a whole is well written and I’m gonna pick up book number two asap!

Do I recommend it? 

Holy crap, yes!

A Dawn Most Wicked by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly #1.5)

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Original Title: A Dawn Most Wicked

Year Published: 2013

Published by: Epic Reads Impulse

Number of Pages: 150

First Sentence: I perched on the edge of Eleanor’s hospital bed.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Daniel Sheridan is an engineer’s apprentice on a haunted Mississippi steamer known as the Sadie Queen. His best friend–the apprentice pilot, Cassidy Cochran–also happens to be the girl he’s pining for … and the captain’s daughter. But when it looks like the Sadie Queen might get taken off the river, Daniel and Cassidy have to do whatever they can to stop the ghosts that plague the ship.

Fortunately, there happens to be a Creole gentleman on board by the name of Joseph Boyer–and he just might be able to help them …

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable novella within the Something Strange and Deadly universe. In it we get to go back in time and see how Daniel first came in contact with the zombies, and how he met Joseph and Jie. We also get to meet the one and only girl he has loved and is the reason why he has conflicted about his emotions concerning Eleanor.

I love Daniel and it was so nice to get to know him better. It was very interesting to see where he came from and how he got involved with Joseph and the zombies.

As always, Dennard’s writing is superb. Despite being only 150 pages long this is packed with action and it is perfectly paced and balanced. The pages just flew by and it was so much fun to read.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes.

Roller Rink Witchcraft by Raven Snow

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Original Title: Roller Rink Witchcraft

Year Published: 2016

Published by: N/A

Number of Pages: 40

First Sentence: Play that funky music, white boy.

Goodreads Rating: 2/5

Plot:

In the small town of Waresville, witches, goblins, and ghouls are money in the townspeople’s pockets. Without the magic stores on every corner and spooky tour bus ride, how would a place nicknamed “Wheresville” survive? But when Harper “Foxxy” Beck, owner of the Funky Wheel and all-around groovy witch, finds her murdered accountant plastered to her floor, the citizens are taught a valuable lesson about creatures that go bump in the night: they kill. Turning Harper’s world on its head, the police arrest someone close to her, and she’s forced to investigate to clear her friend’s name. But as this foxy lady gets closer to the true identity of the killer and the alluring Detective Bennett, the man actually assigned to the case, the quiet town of Waresville turns into a dangerous place for a meddling witch.

Suddenly, her long-standing roller rink is a battleground for a satanic witch, and suspects are popping up everywhere she looks. When a second body appears, shattering everything she thought she knew about the murders, Harper needs to decide whom she can trust. With the help of her cape-wearing best friend, her hunky detective, and her terrifying witch of a grandmother, Harper must use the clues before her to solve the case. But in a town with hundreds of years of feuds and spooky happenings, will she be able to dig up the truth before hers is the next head on the chopping block?

My thoughts:

Thankfully this was only a short story. It was very “messy” and it felt like the author had tried to cram too much action into it. The plot feels jumpy and sure it’s a short story but I’ve read short stories that are perfectly balanced and crammed with events. This was crammed with events but so badly balanced.

It doesn’t help that the main character, Harper, is annoying and very unlikable. I did not connect with her at all and kind of wanted to give her a good angry shake most of the times.

The romance feels forced and was a totally unnecessary element. It also develops way too fast and doesn’t feel believable.

I don’t know what else to say apart from once again saying that this wasn’t a good short story.

Do I recommend it? 

Not really.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #3)

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Original Title: Heir of Fire

Year Published: 2014

Published by:  Bloomsbury Childrens

Number of Pages: 562

First Sentence: Gods, it was boiling in this useless excuse for a kingdom.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Consumed by guilt and rage, Celaena can’t bring herself to spill blood for the King of Adarlan. She must fight back…

The Immortal Queen will help her destroy the king – for a price. But as Celaena battles with her darkest memories and her heart breaks for a love that could never last, can she fulfil the bargain and head the almighty court of Terrasen? And who will stand with her?

My thoughts:

Holy crap this series is just soooo good!!!! I’m so very much in love with it and all the characters. I find myself reading them at a really slow pace, but that does not mean they aren’t fantastic. I think it’s my subconscious trying to make sure that I savour every single moment of these books.

The third book opens with Celaena badly dealing with what happened in book number two. We get an assassin that hardly cares about anything anymore and just want to sunbathe on rooftops and get drunk on cheap wine (sounds like my kind of summers). She has been so deeply wounded by her past and it has finally caught up with her and absolutely floored her. This book is all about rebuilding her and making her stronger. I loved it. I loved that Maas wasn’t afraid to show that Celaen wasn’t ok. She is hurt, confused and just can’t find it in herself to fight anymore. She still perseveres and that is something that makes her so amazing. She proves that it’s possible. We also get to learn about Celaenas past, which was fantastic.

How about our boys then? Both Chaol and Dorian try to deal with what has gone down recently in their lives and in true boy fashion they aren’t very good at it. They are also reeling from what went down in book two and some of the thruths that have been revealed. This was another character development that felt realistic and so very important.

Our new characters are absolutely amazing. Rowan, a fae and Celaenas new trainer, had me alternating between wanting to punch him in the face and cuddle him on the couch. What an adorable douchebag. I loved seeing the development of his and Celaenas relationship and how they navigated around each others scars (don’t worry, there is no romance here). Another adorable douchebag is Aedion, Celaenas cousin. He and Chaol form a great working relationship and through him we learn more about Celaenas past.

Someone who became my favourite, but whom I hated from the start, was Manon Blackbeak. She is a witch and a total badass. She is of course, being a witch and all, one of the antagonists, but it is of course more complicated than that. I look forward to seeing where Maas will take this character in future installments.

The plot in itself is good, but it’s not that action filled. I suppose you can argue that this book is a sort of filler. A lot of ground work is laid down in this one, but it’s necessary and it is still very entertaining. I loved seeing the development of the characters, revelations of their pasts and overall seeing how the plot thickens (hurr hurr). Filler or not, this was a great book!

Do I recommend it? 

Holy crap, yes!