Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #BookReview#YA #FantasyReads

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wintersongTitle:
 Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 508 pages
Publication Details: February 7th 2017 by Titan Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Romance
Disclosure? Nope I bought it! 

Goodreads 

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‘Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.’

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Review

Inspired by one of my favourite films of all time, Labyrinth, I met Wintersong with equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. It’s not a short book at 500ish pages, but it flew by…however, I don’t feel like I can say I loved it. In fact I’m really not sure how I felt about it and I finished it a couple of weeks ago!

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Basically, The Goblin King steals away Liesel’s beautiful sister Kathe to lure Liesel to the Underground where he plans on making her his bride. Liesel has always dreamt of The Goblin King. She’s drawn to his beauty and his power, but also fears him. There is a passion between the pair but being The Goblin King’s bride means leaving her family behind and never setting foot overground again.

Wintersong was certainly cringe-worthy in places, and outright bizarre in others, and it never went where I thought it would which is a double-edged sword in that it’s good that it was unpredictable but bad in that I wanted things to happen that didn’t.

Overall, I enjoyed this strange, slightly melancholic tale that brought a new Goblin King into my life. I obviously pictured a young Bowie with a ridiculous wig and an even more ridiculous cod piece but that’s not the point (swoon). There were some deliciously dark moments in Wintersong, but the relationship between the MC and The Goblin King never truly felt right, not even in that ‘so bad but good’ way.

I do think Jae-Jones has written a lovely tribute to Labyrinth though, and I also loved the evident use of, and inspiration from Rossetti’s The Goblin Market which I’ve only ever read snippets of but now want to read in its entirety.

“We must not look at goblin men,
We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
“Come buy,” call the goblins
Hobbling down the glen.

– The Goblin Market

unicorn rating 4

(I rounded-up)

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Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan #BookReview #Thriller

cuttotheboneTitle: Cut to the Bone
Author: Alex Caan
Series: N/a
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: November 3rd 2016 by Bonnier Publishing
Genre(s): Thriller; Crime Fiction
Disclosure? Yep, I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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One Missing Girl. Two Million Suspects.

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls.

And she’s missing . . .

But she’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely?

Until the video’s uploaded . . .

Ruby, in the dirt, pleading for her life.

Enter Detective Inspector Kate Riley; the Met’s rising star and the head of a new team of investigators with the best resources money can buy. Among them, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, the poster boy for multiracial policing. But can Kate wholly trust him – and more importantly, can she trust herself around him?

As hysteria builds amongst the press and Ruby’s millions of fans, Kate and her team are under pressure to get results, and fast, but as they soon discover, the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much darker than anyone could have imagined.

And the videos keep coming…

Review

I was in the mood for a dark, crime thriller so I picked this book up slightly ahead of schedule and I enjoyed it a lot.

Cut to the Bone opens with a girl being kidnapped. I instantly found the writing-style exciting and intriguing. It’s sharp and very matter-of-fact which I’m sure some people with have an issue with but I lapped it up. 

We soon discover that the girl being kidnapped was Ruby, a YouTube star. Ruby does beauty tutorials and talks about her life, depression and other things on her Vlog, to a huge teen audience. She’s a good role model, she tries to use her experiences to help others. So when she goes missing there’s instant interest in it. But it doesn’t explain why commissioner Justin Hope seems to know about it before she’s even classified as a missing person- only hours after her disappearance. 

Like all good crime thrillers, Cut to the Bone is complex, with many strands weaving through it at once. There’s the unreliable cops, the exploitative media agents, ex-boyfriends, stalker-fans and a strange family, (amongst others) all thrown into the mix. Any one of them could be the culprit. 

Caan does a good job of throwing in some red herrings and keeping you guessing, and I couldn’t stop digitally turning those pages, although to be fair, I was never that invested it finding out who the killer is, because we don’t actually know if she’s dead.

I feel like I can’t really give Cut to the Bone more than 3/5, mainly because it wasn’t anything special. I enjoyed it and all, but it didn’t blow me away. It hasn’t stayed with me, you know!? Maybe I’m just in a harsh mood…

I also got pretty bored with all the drawn-out explanations about what Vloggers do and how they make money. I’m sure it’s just a case of timing, and that probably when the story was actually written Vloggers weren’t very well known, but it felt quite dated and well, out of touch. Like it was written by someone who has only just discovered the internet or something.

Anyhoo, for a debut novel, Cut to the Bone is a winner. The writing is quite different than your run-of-the-mill thrillers and that’s what really impressed me. 

Definitely worth a read – and I’ll be looking out for more from Caan in the future. 

unicorn rating 3

Cut to the Bone is out now on Kindle, but not due in paperback until November 2016

Lazy Saturday Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

thousandthflTitle: The Thousandth Floor
Author: Katharine McGee
Series: The Thousandth Floor #1
Format: Digital ARC, 448 pages
Publication Details:  August 30th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review

This book left me undecided. On one hand I enjoyed it and couldn’t stop reading, but on the other it drove me mad and made me want to throw it out of the window.

I shouldn’t be surprised because I’m not a huge fan of multiple narration and boy was this multiple. Two different narrative voices I can deal with. Maybe even three. But six, really!? Ugh!

The main protagonist is Avery, and hers is the first voice we hear. I was hooked on Avery’s story which was both a blessing and a curse because when her chapter ended I had to go through three or four other character’s stories and they just didn’t grab me as much. That was successful in that it kept me reading but, unsuccessful because it dampened my enjoyment of reading it and I found myself skimming through most of the book. 

It’s not a bad novel, don’t get me wrong. The world McGee has built here is very impressive, and I loved the idea of this thousand floor tower being their whole world. There are some flashes of really great Sci-Fi ideologies here too, and similar to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, it was a worrying vision of the future. 

unicorn rating 3

The Hummingbird’s Cage by Tamara Dietrich #BookReview

hummingbirdTitle: The Hummingbird’s Cage
Author: Tamara Dietrich
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 342 pages
Publication Details: August 25th 2016 by Orion Publishing Group
Genre(s): General Fiction; Thriller/Mystery; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep, I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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A dazzling debut novel about taking chances, finding hope, and learning to stand up for your dreams…

Everyone in Wheeler, New Mexico, thinks Joanna leads the perfect life: the quiet, contented housewife of a dashing deputy sheriff, raising a beautiful young daughter, Laurel. But Joanna’s reality is nothing like her facade. Behind closed doors, she lives in constant fear of her husband. She’s been trapped for so long, escape seems impossible—until a stranger offers her the help she needs to flee….

On the run, Joanna and Laurel stumble upon the small town of Morro, a charming and magical village that seems to exist out of time and place. There a farmer and his wife offer her sanctuary, and soon, between the comfort of her new home and blossoming friendships, Joanna’s soul begins to heal, easing the wounds of a decade of abuse.

But her past—and her husband—aren’t so easy to escape. Unwilling to live in fear any longer, Joanna must summon a strength she never knew she had to fight back and forge a new life for her daughter and herself….

Review

I wasn’t sure how to categorise this novel as it was a little bit of everything. Part thriller, part mystery with a little bit of the fantastical mixed in. This doesn’t always work for me, but I think it worked perfectly in The Hummingbird’s Cage.

It is the troubled story of Joanna and her daughter Laurel who live in constant fear of Police Officer husband and dad, Jim. Jim is your classic abusive husband, and in a very short amount of page-time the reader is emerged in the hell he has  created for Jo; breaking her down until she is a shell of a woman and too terrified to try and get free of him. It’s a story that has been told in many a psychological thriller, but that’s where The Hummingbird’s Cage steers itself in another direction.

Jo does manage to break free of Jim with a little help from one of his ex-girlfriends who knows all too well what Jim is capable of but survived to tell the tale, and Jo finds herself in an unknown town, in an unknown bed with a caring elderly couple looking after her.

However, it’s not long before Jo realises that Morro isn’t your average town. Things just don’t seem to add up. It’s too perfect, too accommodating. But for the first time in as long as she can remember, Jo feels safe and her daughter is happy. Is it too good to be true?

I was hooked into this story straight away. I was expecting the psychological thriller part of the story to continue for a lot longer than it did, but when Jo wakes up in Morro, it was so intriguing I still couldn’t put it down. It was all a bit Twin Peaks, albeit not quite as insane. 

I really enjoyed the themes of this novel, some of which would be spoilers so I’ll refrain from listing all of them, but I’ll just say that it’s a book that throws up many questions. Jo was happy there, but didn’t belong…I was as torn as she was as to what to do! Would you go back  and face your demons if you were happy with your new start? Would you need closure?

A fantastic debut!

unicorn rating 4

Lazy Saturday Review: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller #MiniBookReview #GreekMyths

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

songofTitle: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publication Details:  April 12th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Genre(s): Historical Fiction/Mythology
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from the library.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny.

Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Review

I have to cover this book in a ‘Lazy Saturday Review‘ because I loved it so much I don’t think I could produce an actual, balanced review. I just want to gush about it. 

After only a few chapters in I was annoyed with myself for not reading this when it first came out! I’ve always loved mythological stories but despite owning a copy of The Iliad for about 10 years I’ve never read it. Like most people though, I thought I knew the story of Achilles, the kind but brutal warrior, but Miller’s version was both familiar yet surprising, and I loved every second of it.

The Song of Achilles is a beautifully written story of war, love, betrayal, and tragedy, written from the perspective of Patroclus best friend and lover of Achilles, making this version of the legend more human than it is God-like. I loved seeing Achilles through Patroclus’ eyes. With all of his faults, Patroclus’ love for the half-God warrior never wavered and he was the true hero of the story. 

Miller effortlessly incorporates the Greek Gods into this very human story making the likes of The Iliad seem much less of a challenge. I really will pick it up now! I also can’t believe this is her debut novel – it reads as if she’s been honing her skills for years – that being said, I did read somewhere that it took her ten years (or so) to write. I for one, am eternally grateful that she persevered.

The Song of Achilles excited me, made me swoon, made me angry, and made me cry. It’s a book I now need to buy so I can read it again. ALL THE UNICORNS. 

unicorn rating 

 

Book Blitz: The Violet Hour

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Welcome to another great promo post at Lipsyy Lost & Found. I’m thrilled to host a stop on the book blitz tour for Andrea L. Wells’ debut release, The Violet Hour.

How stunning is that cover!?

(I have one copy of the ebook to give away and you can also enter the blitz-wide draw to win a Kindle Fire HD so keep reading…)

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About the Book

The Violet Hour by Andrea L Wells
Series: The Violet series #1
Publication date: May 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Goodreads // Amazon // B & N

Synopsis
Still shocked over her mother’s mysterious death, California socialite Logan Keller is handed a one-way ticket to her long lost roots in Wyoming where love, deceit and danger await. Though she could forget everything staring into Luke Callahan’s eyes, Logan is quickly thrust into a fight for survival. Taking fate into her own hands, she begins unraveling the dangerous deceptions that abound at every turn. Her father is keeping secrets and Luke is keeping more. But Logan is keeping the biggest secret of them all.

The Violet Hour is a page-turning captivating twist of young romance and the supernatural.

Meet the Author

violet2The Violet Hour Series has been begging to escape Andrea’s subconscious for more than five years. Focusing on a wonderful career, handsome husband and two beautiful children by day, she began feverishly penning the series by night. Now a full-time writer, Andrea debuts The Violet Hour.

Facebook
Website
Instagram:@andrea.l.wells

Giveaways!

One Lipsyy Lost & Found reader can win a copy of the ebook here, via Rafflecopter

Blitz-wide Giveaway:

Enter to win an Amazon Fire HD via Rafflecopter

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Many thanks to Andrea for the giveaways, and to Xpresso book tours for all their great work. You can sign up for tours, book blasts, and more by heading to their website. The image below will take you there.

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Book Promo ~ Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl

Welcome to another great book promo post here at Lipsyy Lost & Found! I’m excited about this one, because y’know…ZOMBIES! 🙂

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is the first book in a four-part series published by Permuted Press. Book 1 was released at the beginning of the year, and book 2 just last week!

First-time author A. Giacomi has kindly told me everything you need to know about your new favourite Zombie Girl!

About The Series

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Title: Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl
Series: The Zombie Girl Saga #1
Editions: Kindle, e-book, 277 pages
Publication Details: January 25th 2015 by Permuted Press
Goodreads

Eve used to be an ordinary girl, from an ordinary town, with ordinary dreams, but her dreams rapidly turn into nightmares when one grave mistake leaves her a little less than human and a lot less average.

Eve’s not quite the same girl she used to be. She desperately clings to her humanity as new desires, new abilities, and new urges take over with each passing day.

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is a tale that takes you on an emotional and terrifying journey as Eve struggles to cope with her new life and find a cure for her strange illness before time runs out. She desperately clings to her humanity as she tries to control the monster she knows is lurking inside her.

Turns out living was the easy part.

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Title: Eve Brenner: Zombie Agent
Series: The Zombie Girl Saga #2
Editions: Kindle, e-book, 224 pages
Publication Details: February 17th 2015 by Permuted Press
Goodreads

In the second installment of The Zombie Girl Saga, Eve teams up with CSIS to find out more about the Azrael Virus coursing through her veins. As she learns about the dangers of the virus, she also learns that there are some advantages to being less than human. Eve is quickly thrown into fieldwork to stop the spread of a virus that is spreading silently on a global level.

She might be the only hope the world has, but she’s running out of time.

Six Things You Need to Know About Eve

Written by A.Giacomi

Where is Eve from?

Eve is a twenty year old Canadian girl from the small town of Little Lake, Ontario. She dreams of breaking free from her small town after University. She attends Guelph University where she majors in archaeology and secretly hopes to be the next Lara Croft.

Eve’s interests?

When she’s not drooling over her favourite Professor’s new findings, she loves hanging out with her two best friends Alexandra and Cameron. Eve is very athletic and enjoys the outdoors; she’s the former swim team captain, a title she regrettably had to give up given her current illness. She loves superheroes, especially Spiderman, her all-time favourite. She’s not a girly girl but she does enjoy the occasional shopping expedition…she also really loves a good steak, and make it rare.

Relationship Status?

It’s complicated. As I’m sure you can imagine real life doesn’t stray far from fiction, but when you’re a zombie girl looking for love, it couldn’t be more complicated! Eve’s always had a thing for her good friend Cam, but for the sake of the friendship she’s never pursued it. Now that she’s a little less than human Cam seems to be more intrigued than ever, he couldn’t have worse timing!

What’s her secret?

No, this has nothing to do with make-up tips. Eve has a BIG secret that she’s very reluctant to share with anyone. She’s been bitten, by what, she’s not exactly sure…but what she’s certain of is her ever changing appetite.

Does she have an Arch Nemesis or Frenemy?

Perhaps a few, but in Book 1 be prepared to meet Claire Bear, the Regina George of your nightmares. If you thought Eve was dangerous, this girl is really going to make your skin crawl! They have a common interest…Cam…something about him is so…delicious.

New Virus, New Zombie…

Eve is not your typical zombie. The Azrael Virus manifests differently in each host and Eve is quite the specimen. In addition to her hunger for flesh, she’s picked up a few interesting powers. She might be dead, but she’s not someone you want to mess with.

Ready to bite into the book? Get your copy here: http://permutedpress.com/books/eve-brenner-zombie-girl-the-zombie-girl-saga-book-1

About the Author

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A. Giacomi is a wife, and mother to one small human child. She is a Canadian born writer, educator, and artist. She proudly waves her York University Alumni flag and continues to thirst for knowledge and devour books. She is a zombie enthusiast, lover of all things Tim Burton, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Marvel, Star Wars and just generally just loves film, essentially she’s a fangirl.

Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl is A. Giacomi’s debut novel. You can catch the latest updates about her writing on her blog: http://www.poeticzombie.com and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/agiacomi/info?tab=page_info

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014.

I was introduced to so many new authors this year so I really enjoyed making this list. Some were completely new with debut releases and some were authors I’d read so much about but only got round to this year.
All quotes are from my own reviews. Click on the links to read the full review if you so wish 🙂

10. B. I Woolet

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I’m so glad I requested The Hunter, The Bear and The Seventh Sister from Netgalley back in January as I absolutely loved it. I described it as ‘an amalgamation of all my favourite childhood reads’, and it really was. The second book in the series was released recently and I can’t wait to read it.

The authors, Benji & Ila Woolet also did a great guest post for me in February. Go check them out.

9. Laura McHugh

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The Weight of Blood is Laura McHugh’s debut novel and I was very impressed with this intricate small-town crime story.

‘Reading The Weight of Blood felt like sitting on a swing-chair on a porch in the sticky night-time heat with Dragonflies bashing against your lantern; kind of peaceful and beautiful but there’s this uncomfortable feeling rising to the surface, and you know where it’s coming from but if you just ignore it, it might go away. Obviously, it never goes away…’

She’s definitely one to watch.

8. Alan Bradley

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I don’t know how I hadn’t discovered Alan Bradley before 2014. I’d never heard of the Flavia de Luce series and I somehow requested The Dead in their Vaulted Arches without realising is was book 6. But it didn’t matter. I loved it! I really need to read the whole lot now! ‘Think Young Sherlock Holmes meets Veronica Mars and you’re there. I’m off to find the first 5 books now. Tally ho, jolly good show!’

7. Chris Beckett

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Dark Eden. Woah. What a book. I still think about it. A lot.

Dark Eden is a book full of questions and very little answers. It is set on what we assume is an alien planet (although it’s pretty similar to earth) where almost two hundred years ago, humans crash landed. Some attempted to get back to earth, while one man and one woman thought it was too dangerous and stayed behind, deciding to make a go of living in the blackness of Eden until they were rescued.”

6. Veronica Roth

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I LOVED Divergent so much, and thought this was going to be my new favourite series by my new favourite author, but then I kind of got over it. (Also Marissa Meyer happened but more on that later). Insurgent was good too, but then I’d heard so many bad things about the third book I never got round to it. I still plan on finishing it some day.

5. Chris Wooding

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So Chris Wooding completely passed me by until my friend gave me Poison to read recently. It was amazing. I still haven’t written a review but it was basically all of my favourite fairy tales, plus Alice in Wonderland and countless others, swirled together in a dark and sinister cauldron of awesomeness. I need to check out his other books!

4. Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

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I read two of her books this year and loved them both. Sarah has a sort of whimsical ‘twee’ story-telling style and I found them both unique, cute and exciting all at the same time.

‘Oh man, this was a rollarcoaster. Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know how things had spiraled so out of control for Oscar and Meg. It really captured something special about being young, especially the perils of school days and friendship.’

3. Richelle Mead

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Yes I know. Completely behind the times, but I only started the Vampire Academy series this year. I was really pleasantly surprised by them and I hope to continue the series with book 4 soon!

2. Andrea Hannah

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I find it hard to express how much I loved Andrea Hannah’s debut Of Scars and Stardust.

It was such a surprise as I only requested it on the basis of liking the cover and the title. I want to read it again. And again!

Of Scars and Stardust completely blew me away if you can’t tell already. It was a mystery, a psychological thriller, a romance, and it was written so beautifully it made me want to cry.”

1. Marissa Meyer

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What can I say about Marissa Meyer…she blew everything else out of the park for me this year. At first I thought Cinder looked a little silly – Cinderella as a cyborg and set in a dystopian Beijing – What!? But I was so wrong. The Lunar Chronicles is definitely the best series I started this year, and possibly EVER. EVER I SAY.

I’m excited to see who you guys picked, feel free to leave a link!

(Out Today!) Skyships, Pickpockets, and a Whole Lot of Lies…

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Title: Take Back the Skies
Series: Take Back the Skies #1
Author: Lucy Saxon
Edition: e-book, 496 pages
Published: June 5th 2014 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Steampunk
Disclosure? Yep, I received a copy via the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.

So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Take Back the Skies. I’d read a few unfavourable reviews, and found out that the author is only 19, 16 when she started writing the novel, which I realise I shouldn’t let sway me before even opening the book, but of course it does!

Then I started reading, and it was good. Really good! I was hoping to skim-read it because I’ve fallen behind on ARCS/reviews lately, but I found that I didn’t want to skim it at all, I wanted to savour it.

Take Back the Skies is a fast-paced, well written, fantasy-adventure. Protagonist Cat, is a loveable, head-strong character who I instantly felt invested in.

We follow her as she runs away from her snobbish, government father who wants to marry her off for status, to the skyship Stormdancer where she meets a colourful array of characters who soon become Cat’s family. Once in the skies, it quickly becomes apparent that things in Anglya and the surrounding islands are not as they seem. The war seems to have ended, so why are all the teenagers being ‘collected’ to go to war? Where are they?

Seriously guys, I really loved this. There was a lot of action and intrigue, and I think the world Saxon built is great. There was a lot of characterisation too, so even though Cat hadn’t known the crew of the Stormdancer very long, it felt OK how close they became. There is a cute romance between Cat and Fox, a hot orphan who likes to get his guns out – in both senses of the word – but it did start to feel a bit Twilight-y on some occasions where Fox was telling Cat that he’s no good for her and she should choose another. And also Cat thinking that he couldn’t possibly like her. Yawn.

Once they’d gotten over that though, and decided to be together, I liked that it wasn’t all Cat thought about. There was no ‘omg he kissed me and it felt amazing and I want to touch him all the time’, it was pretty much wham, bam, thank you maam (they’re wasn’t actually any ‘bamming’, don’t get your hopes up).

Cat, Fox and the rest of the Stormdancer crew were intent on outing the government and finding out what was happening to all the kids, and once they do, there’s definitely a sense of look what you’ve got yourselves into. I really enjoyed the conflict between high-society and the commoners, and the sinister operations of the government – I wasn’t expecting that plot at all.

However, I can’t wrap this up without talking about the ending. No spoilers I promise, but it was just bad. End of. There was no need for the Epilogue at all, nothing was resolved, and I only hope that the outcome makes more sense in the second book.

I’m tempted to give it 3 Unicorns just because of the ending, but the rest of it was so good, so I won’t. Any book that makes me GASP deserves 4 Unicorns.

unicorn rating 4

Take Back the Skies is available from Waterstones in Limited 1st Edition Hardback, and Paperback from today.

Currently Reading:

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxton

takeCatherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever. So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all …

I started this last week but I’ve had next to no reading time of late 😦 However, my first impressions are good ones! I know it’s all most people are talking about, but I can’t believe Saxon is only 18 and started writing this book when she was 16. It certainly doesn’t read like it’s written by a sixteen year old so far!

I have high hopes for this steampunk, fantasy adventure.

Goodreads
Purchase (limited Hardback 1st Edition & Paperback available)
Available to pre-order now, or buy from the 6th June.