The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig #BookReview

thegirlwhosavedxmasTitle: The Girl Who Saved Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 3rd 2016 by Canongate Books
Genre(s): Children’s; Christmas
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Review

This is the second Christmas Children’s book by  Matt Haig, the first being A Boy Called Christmas (which I haven’t read) so I almost didn’t request this one when I saw it on netgalley – I’m so glad I did. It’s a completely separate story.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas is a light-hearted tale set in Victorian London. Chimney-sweeper Amelia, once wrote a letter to Father Christmas which was so full of hope it boosted the magic of Christmas. But that was the year the trolls attacked, and almost ruined Christmas. Santa was a little preoccupied.

One year on and poor Amelia’s wish never came true, and her mother died, forcing Amelia to give up her beloved cat, Captain Soot, and enter Mr Creeper’s workhouse. Elsewhere in Elfhelm where Father Christmas is preparing for this years’ journey, but the spirit of Christmas is dwindling. Will the trolls attack again? Will his sleigh fly with such little hope in the air?

There is only one person who can help – the girl with the most Christmas spirit he has ever known, but little does he know that she has spent a year in a filthy workhouse, and is now in a dungeon after trying to escape. Can Amelia get her hope back and help Father Christmas save Christmas once more?

Of course she can!

This book was lots of fun and had a mixture of traditional Christmas tropes such as the sleigh needing hope/spirit to fly and also completely unique ideas which made it a lovely read. I loved the magical world that Haig has built here with the different kind of pixies and trolls in contrast to the bleakness of a Dickens-esque (the man himself even makes an appearance) Victorian London. It feels like an instant Christmas classic to me.

Amelia was a great protagonist with gusto,who never gave up. And I completely fell in love with Captain Soot, of course. The elves and pixies all had their own personalities and stories too, and they brought a lot of fun to the story. But the thing I loved most was definitely the illustrations. The simple pen drawings were amazing.

Haig’s humorous narration also shines through the pages of this story. There is a hint of sadness to his humour, but that’s what makes it so relatable.

unicorn rating 4

 

 

The Witches of New York by Ami McKay #BookReview #Magic

a7Title: The Witches of New York
Author: Ami McKay
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: October  2016 by Orion Books
Genre(s): Historical Fiction; Magic Realism; Supernatural
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom (‘Moth’ from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it’s finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and “gardien de sorts” (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan’s high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions–and in guarding the secrets of their clients.

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor’s apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind?

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches’ tug-of-war over what’s best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force.

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they’re confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?

Review

Although not a sequel, this book follows a character from McKay’s acclaimed novel The Virgin Cure, which if I had known before (lack of research on my part) would perhaps have put me off requesting it. Fortunately it didn’t seem to matter. Unfortunately, my first foray into the world of Ami McKay didn’t quite beguile me like I thought it would. 

The Witches of New York follows young Beatrice who is seeking employment. When she sees an advert in the paper from a strange-sounding tea shop where ‘those averse to magic need not apply’, she feels like this will be the start of a new life for her, and it is.

Owned by Adelaide, a seer (and Moth from The Virgin Cure) and Eleanor, a witch, the tea shop is a front to a growing magic business. Beatrice soon becomes an invaluable apprentice but her visions begin to haunt her, and she’s weakened and easily exploited.

I liked some parts of this book, but I just don’t think I was in the mood for it. I can imagine enjoying a lazy Sunday reading this, but trying to read it during a busy schedule didn’t work. The pace was painfully slow and although the descriptions were beautiful and elegant, they were subtle and drawn-out. I found myself skim reading a lot.

This novel does have a great magic-realism atmosphere, and McKay is clearly a talented writer, but this book was too light for me. She reminded me a lot of Alice Hoffman, albeit with something missing.

However, I liked the way she presents these real-life witches – as strong, independent women in an era where women had no rights, were discriminated against, and most certainly should not have worked in a shop, never mind owned one. AND I liked that the heart of this book was about women’s relationships in that hard time where it was extremely brave of them to be proud of who they are.

Basically, I enjoyed what McKay was tying to do here, but I needed more to take hold of to keep me interested in the plodding plot.

unicorn rating 2

 

 

Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone #BookReview #LGBTReads

gloveTitle: Glove of Satin, Glove of Bone
Author: Rachel White
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 205 pages
Publication Details: June 8th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
Genre(s): Fantasy; LBGT
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Enne Datchery and Muriel vas Veldina, ex-lovers and witches with a shared apprentice, are tasked by the Citadel, to repair an old grimoire together, despite the fact their relationship is tense at best.

The situation is further complicated when the book is stolen, and tracking down the thief stirs even more of Muriel’s past. It swiftly becomes clear to the two that dealing with their fractured relationship is going to be the easy part of the assignment—if they can live long enough to complete it.

Review

I had it in my mind that this would be a sort of YA Sarah Waters’ with magic, but I was wrong. It’s not even YA, although to be fair it read like YA and the only thing that made me realise it wasn’t was a sex scene which sprouted the C word. 

Muriel and Enne are ex-lovers and business partners in their thirties which is considered too old to be single so you can tell what kind of era this world evokes. Their apprentice is basically their adopted child and her upbringing is just one of many things they bicker about. Constantly. 

When the High Circle (magic HQ) ask them to repair a grimoire they fail to tell them anything about it, even what kind of magic it contains. It turns out to a book of destruction (which is bad) and Muriel’s other ex-girlfriend steals it and tries to destroy the world. 

I really thought this was a great basis for a story and don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed it the whole way through. But that’s all it was, a basis for a story. It was very short and very…basic. There were no sub-plots or twists; nothing going on outside Muriel and Enne’s bickering as they try to find the grimoire and stop the baddie. It felt like it should have been a short story to me. 

If you’re looking for a super quick read which has LGBT characters and magic, then give it go. It’s written well too, I just wanted more. Lots more. 

unicorn rating 3

DNF Review: The War Against the Assholes by Sam Munson

waragainstTitle: The War Against the Assholes
Author: Sam Munson
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: June 9th 2016 by Atom
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Mike Wood is a teenager at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan, accustomed to solving problems using brawn rather than brains.

One day, his nerdy classmate Hob Callahan persuades him to read a mysterious old book of unknown authorship, The Calendar of Slights. On the face of things, the book is a guide to performing clever card tricks; but in fact, it is a test for recruiting new members to join a secret cell of radical magicians.

Amazingly, Mike passes with flying colours unlocking not only his potential magic powers – but also the door to New York City’s vast and hidden underground network of warlocks, sorcerers and mages.

Here, with Hob as his unlikely guide, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. For there is a war being waged. A war between rivaling factions of magicians that has spanned the ages. A clandestine war against the establishment: a war against The Assholes.

Review

I completely misjudged this book. From the cover and the title I assumed it was going to be a contemporary YA high school read when in fact it’s more of a contemporary fantasy. I realised that I was wrong quite early on and I was then looking forward to it even more… but unfortunately I just couldn’t gel with it. 

Mike is the average guy at school. He’s not the most popular, he’s not the most nerdy. He’s not a bully, but he will (and does) pull punches to defend himself. 

Hob is a loner who is always lurking around reading the same little book with intensity. He never participates in anything and therefore no one really knows him. But when Mike and Hob are thrown together by a common enemy, Mike is intrigued and pleasantly surprised by him.

Hob gives Mike his little green book and urges him to read it, and from there on out things get crazy-weird. 

Even as I was typing that summary I was thinking ‘this sounds great, why couldn’t I get into it!?’ And the only answer I can think of was the writing style. 

It felt very disjointed and jumpy to me. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t paying enough attention, but it seemed like the characters jumped from one scene/location to the next without an explanation. It may well have all been explained by the end but I’m sorry, I just had to give up. 

I love the idea of a secret magic circle, and being initiated via his strange little book, but I couldn’t follow the story. The world-building didn’t seem fully developed, nor did the characters. 

I struggled through 30% of The War Against the Assholes and I had to give up. There is a huge chance that it could have gotten a lot better after that so I don’t think it’s fair to give it a rating, or put people off it. Maybe try it for yourself and let me know? 😉

This Crumbling Pageant by Patricia Burroughs

thiscrumbling
Title: This Crumbling Pageant
Author: Patricia Burroughs
Series: The Fury Triad #1)
Edition: Digital Review Copy, 606 pages
Publication Details: May 6th 2014 by Story Spring Publishing
Genre(s): Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Get ready to be swept away into a dark fantasy series that combines swashbuckling adventure, heart-pounding romance and plot-twisting suspense in equal measures.

Expect to hear more about Persephone Fury. A lot more.

England, 1809. As fashionable Society streams toward London for the start of a new social season, they are unaware of a hidden magical England existing alongside. The Magi cathedrals are temples to the old gods. Reigning on their throne is not poor mad George, but the ailing King Pellinore of the House of Pendragon. But their wars are no less deadly.

The Furys are known for their extraordinary music, their powerful magic, and their historic role as kingmakers. But the Furys have their secrets as well, none so dangerous as the daughter whose Shadow magic spills from her, unchecked. Unless her powers are concealed, she’s not only ruined in Society, but marked as a target for those who would use and abuse her magic.

Persephone Fury is the Dark daughter, the one they hide.

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and a good marriage for this frightening daughter is desperately needed. On the night of her debut, her world comes crumbling down around her when she is abducted from the man she loves by the man she most loathes.

Evil powers circle, calling her to the destiny foretold at the moment of her birth, drawing her to the source of her power, to the one place she can finally be free.

By embracing the Shadows.

Persephone is ruthless, devious, and clever, but when confronted with the truth, she must make horrifying choices.

Can she defy destiny and seize her own fate?

Review

This Crumbling Pageant is as epic as the lengthy synopsis suggests! It’s a high fantasy romp through recency England and beyond.

There are two Englands in Burroughs’ world. An Original, regular, England, and also Magi England where our protagonist Persephone lives, and is part of the powerful Fury family.

When Persephone is abducted by her brother’s tutor, she discovers that she possesses an almighty shadow magic, something which her family have kept hidden from her. Unfortunately for her, her kidnapper Vespasian holds the same power, and he takes her through the fog to the other England and threatens to use his powers against the Magi throne, and Persephone’s family.

I don’t think I could explain any more than that if I wanted to. This Crumbling Pageant has a complex, intricate and elaborate plot in which I was often confused about where it was going only to be completely taken in another direction. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

As with a lot of high-concept fantasy, I found it really hard to get into this book, but I’m so glad I kept with it, the beautiful writing is definitely what carried me through.

I loved Persephone’s character and the point at which I did get hooked was her romance with the guy who helps her back to Magi England. It was a heart-pounding, intense romance and I loved it.

I also really enjoyed the setting, regency London -both Ordinary and Magi -was described perfectly and I loved the social commentary on what being in that time meant for Persephone.

Overall, I was really impressed with This Crumbling Pageant, but I can’t say I loved it. I spent way too much time confused and being frustrated about being confused but I don’t want that to be a bad reflection on the book – if you love epic, complex and surprising fantasy you should definitely give it a go.

unicorn rating 3

Wonder Light by R.R Russell

wonderlight
Title: Wonder Light
Author: R.R Russell
Series: Unicorns of the Mist
Edition: e-Book 248 pages
Publication Details: May 7th 2013 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre(s): Fantasy; Children’s
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads // Amazon

Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for “troubled” girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.

Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables. There in the straw is a bleating little scrap of moonbeam. A silver-white filly with cloven hooves and a tiny, spiraling horn.

A baby unicorn.

Now Twig knows what secret is hiding in the island’s mist: the last free unicorn herd. And a mysterious boy named Ben who insists that this impossible creature is now Twig’s to care for. That she needs Twig’s love and protection. Because there’s something out there in the deep, dense shadows that’s hunting for them…

Review


I read the second book in this series last year (over-zealous Netgalley request fail) and really wanted to love it but I didn’t know what the hell was going on. After seeing my review, the author got in touch and asked if I wanted the first book to see how the story began – and it might have taken me a lonnnnnnng time to get round to it, but I’m so glad I did.

Wonder Light is the story of Twig who is on her way to a secluded, potentially haunted island to live on a pony ranch for troubled children following an unknown incident.

Twig doesn’t expect to have a good time, fall in love with the ponies, or even make friends, but she does, and slowly she not only comes out of her shell, but also realises that she’s not a terrible person, in fact, she’s pretty cool.

A lot of this is down to Ben, a boy who seems to appear and disappear into the mist. And that’s not the only strange thing going on; there’s a herd of wild, vicious horses out there…but are they just horses?

I did have some issues with this book in the beginning, and I was worried that I would never get into it, but thankfully I did. Initially I found the world-building lacking and felt like some things should have been explained and described in more depth, especially considering the target audience, but this got much better as the book went on.

I wish that we got to understand Twig a lot sooner – I felt like I didn’t really know her or her story until mid-way which was frustrating. I really loved her by the end though!

From the cover, I was expecting this book to be kind of cutesy, but it’s really not. Wonder Light has moments of intensity, and even some scary ones. It’s full of action and felt like a real adventure. Sometimes however, it did feel like there was a lot going on. Good unicorns, bad unicorns, portals to another mysterious island, unicorn hunters, herders… I could go on!

I loved that it had a bit of everything and I was really surprised by how dark it was in places. I actually think boisterous boys would love this, and would look up to Ben and Merrill, and girls will want Twig as a BFF and be entranced by the ponies, unicorns and magic. Something for everyone!

unicorn rating 3

Lazy Saturday Review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

fair
Title: Fairest
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Edition: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Details: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre(s): YA; Fairy-tale Retellings
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Review

I was reeeeeeeeeeeeally excited about this book just because I always NEED MORE LUNAR CHRONICLES, but I also wasn’t sure if I wanted Levana’s back story. She’s such a great villian, I was worried this spin-off book would endear me to her or at least feel sorry for her.

But, I glad that I didn’t. Yes, in Fairest we see Levana as a teen and the events that helped spark the madness in her, but Levana was well and truly messed up before her story starts in this book.

Fairest is a fast-paced, often uncomfortable read about a haunted, complex character who chooses to use her gifts for her own gain, to the detriment of those around her… and that’s an understatement. Levana is one batshit-crazy, evil madam, even at the age of fifteen. I loved it!

If you’ve enjoyed the series so far, I’m sure you’d love this one too. It also gives us more information on Winter, the eponymous character of book four, so I’d definitely recommend giving Fairest a go before the release of that one. Let’s face it, we have time. TOO MUCH TIME! 😦

unicorn rating 4

Fairest is available in paperback from Waterstones now.

Paladins & Politeness: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

rebelbelle
Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Edition: Paperback, 368 pages
Publication Details: March 3rd 2015 by Speak
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it

Goodreads // Purchase

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Review

If you’re looking for a fun, quirky, fast-paced read then Rebel Belle should be right up your alley. It does exactly what it says on the cover – ‘high spirits and high-jinks’ it certainly was. I came away feeling elated.

Harper Price is a bit of a goody-goody. She’s that girl in school who’s involved in all the extra curricular events and a bit of a teacher’s pet, but she’s also extremely popular – and I liked that. I’m bored of the popular girls being the mean girls!

She can also be seen as your typical southern belle. She’s polite to the point of annoying, and holds old-school values like always respecting your elders (even when they’re trying to kill you) and not cursing (even in the face of death).

It all begins when Harper is attacked in the school toilets and ends up killing a homicidal teacher with her stiletto, discovering that she appears to have super-strength, ninja-like abilities. FUN!

I pretty much liked everything about this book. The action was good, I was invested in the characters, and it made me laugh. There were a few moments when I snorted at the ridiculousness of it, but that shouldn’t come as surprise with a book that was pitched as Legally Blonde meets The Terminator – seriously!

I can’t help likening this to Buffy as well, and not just because there are references to Harper trying to find ‘her Giles’; it has that perfect balance of wit, high-school drama, and mythology, not to mention an awesome, reluctant heroine.

Can’t wait for the next book!

unicorn rating 4

Cherry-loving Wolves, Bloody Knives, and People Made of Magic…

Of Scars and Stardust by Andrea Hannah

arc1
Title: Of Scars and Stardust
Author: Andrea Hannah
Series: N/A
Edition: ARC, 366 pages
Publication Details: October 8th 2014 by Flux
Genre(s): Mystery; Thriller; YA
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Woah. This book.

I have a total book hangover from this so please excuse my babbling review.

First of all, I didn’t even read the synopsis of this book before I picked it up. I requested it on the basis of the title and the cover alone, and went into it pretty blind and I’m so glad I did.

Not that I think it would have been any less amazing if I’d heard more about it, but I wasn’t expecting that.

Claire is living an average teenage existence in Ohio, going to bonfire parties where they drink cherry vodka and tell stories about the wolves that stalk the cornfields. Claire’s little sister, Ella is full of creativity and imagination and sees the world through magical eyes like only an eight year old can.

When Ella is asked to leave a party that she followed Claire to, she’s attacked on her way back. Her face will never be the same again, and Claire, now obsessed with the wolves that she believes attacked her is shipped off to New York. The only thing that brings her back to Ohio is when Ella disappears.

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.

I loved how Claire saw her sister, and tried to make sense of the world as she saw it. She was terrified, damaged, and often alone, but she never felt like a victim. As the book went on it became clear that not only did Claire not know who to trust, but we as readers are not sure if we can trust her either.

I don’t think I even took a breath during the second half of this book, I was literally on the edge of my seat – which is pretty hard to do when you read in bed. If someone could come and pick my jaw up off the carpet, that would be great.

I loved setting, I loved the characters and I loved the uniqueness of this book, but I don’t want to say much more about it in case I ruin it for others.

What I will say, is that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to start over. Therefore, I give it all of the unicorns. Keep them all. And let them breed.

unicorn rating

Pre-order Of Scars and Stardust now, you won’t regret it!

Blog Tour: Eden Forest by Aoife Marie Sheridan (Review & Giveaway)

eden

Today, Aoife Marie Sheridan stops by on her blog tour for the first book in her Saskia Trilogy, Eden Forest, a fast-paced YA Fantasy.

Eden Forest (Saskia Trilogy #1)

EDEN Sarajane Anderson is your regular twenty one year old. With family, friends and a normal job. She also happens to be the only person who can save Saskia, a world parallel to earth.

When Sarajane is taken to Saskia, she could never have imagined the reality of the world she steps into, a world where magical abilities are in everyone’s possession.

She must face a father she never knew, a world that is beyond her belief. A guardian who captures her heart, and a darkness that wants to take it.

On this journey Sarajane discovers her magical abilities and realizes they come with a price. Sarajane is truly tested, as her loved ones are put at risk. The question she must ask herself is, how do you choose who lives and who dies?

Add Eden Forest on Goodreads

Purchase:
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My Review

Eden Forest is told through the perspectives of protagonist Sarajane, her mother who had disappeared without a trace, and Bellona, the evil queen of Saskia.

Saskia is a world parallel to earth in which magic exists and people are categorised into whichever type of magic they show an affinity for, earth, air, fire or water. It is here that Sarajane is reunited with her mother, but at the same time she’s thrust into a world in turmoil. It’s up to Sarajane to save Saskia from Queen Bellona and the angel Lucian who are hell-bent on destroying everything.

After what I found to be a slow start, Eden Forest really picked up the pace and I didn’t want to stop reading. The characters are all well rounded enough to either love or hate them (I can’t stand wishy-washy characters). Queen Bellona was a great villian; both evil and intelligent, and Sarajane was the perfect ratio of innocence and sass.

Sheridan did a good job at world-building here too. Saskia is a complex place with its own history, morals and values, and I was pleased that we learnt about the creation of the world, even if I felt we were told too much too quickly sometimes.

The main thing that fascinated me about this story, was the way it looked at relationships and family. Sarajane was judged harshly for her mother’s relationship with the King, even though it was pretty clear that he loved her, not to mention that Queen is totally evil. I also really liked the whole ‘matching’ thing.

I also loved the friendship that developed between Sarajane and Alana – who she appoints as her personal guardian – despite women not usually being permitted to fight, and I thought the love story between Sarajane and Tristan was exciting and realistic. He definitely did it for me…Tristan’s are always hot!

Eden Forest is an ambitious, entertaining story. Once I was sucked in, I couldn’t put it down. At times, I felt like I was being told too much at once, and there was quite a lot of telling not showing, but considering the scope of the story it’s not surprising…there was a lot to explain!

I have the feeling that this series will get better and better.

unicorn rating 3
(3.5/5 – but I can’t chop a unicorn in half!)

Meet the Author

aoifeAoife Marie Sheridan has loved reading from a very young age, starting off with mills and boon’s books, given to by her grandmother her love for romances grew, by the age of 14 she had read hundreds of them.

Aoife had a passion for writing poetry or in her eyes her journal entries. It was something she did throughout her teens and into her twenties. Aoife won first place for two of her poems and had them published at a young age of just nineteen. Realising she needed to get a real job (What writing isn’t) she studied accountancy and qualified working in that field for many years, until her passion for reading returned and she found Maria V Snyder. Poison study one of her favourite books has been read and re-read countless times.

Aoife’s first book Eden Forest (Part one of the Saskia Trilogy) came to be after a dream of a man and woman on a black horse jumping through a wall of fire and the idea of Saskia was born. Now with her first novel published and taking first place for Eden Forest with Writers Got Talent 2013, Aoife continues to write tales of fantasy and is currently working on her third book for the Saskia Trilogy amongst other new works.

LINKS:
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*Giveaway*

Aoife is giving away 2 e-copies of Eden Forest, and 2 e-copies of book 2, City of Secrets. Open Internationally.

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.