Friday 31 July 2015

Book Review The Sin Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury


I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...

My Musings

Kept seeing this gorgeous cover on Instagram and was immediately drawn to it so was glad the book lived up to expectation! Twylla has been chosen by the Gods to marry the prince but before they come of age she is the Queen's executioner carrying poison in her skin and with one touch can kill. 

Twylla is complex, she is proud to be chosen but is isolated and when the Queen orders her to kill her only friend for being a traitor she becomes more withdrawn and begins to doubt her role and life. 

Her new guard Lief is suddenly the only one guarding her as no one else dare take the job. He also happens to be both hansome and charming. They form a close friendship as the Queens rule becomes more and more cruel so when her betrothed, Prince Merek starts to reacquaint himself with her it forms the obligatory love triangle, or does it? 

This book has a way of keeping you off balance all the way through. The plots, the characters, the very essence of the book keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat. The plot is fascinating and complex twisting and turning up until the very end. 

This is also a much darker book than I expected. Melinda's interesting use of the old fairy tale the Pied Piper and the smattering of historical reference nodding to certain Royal family's incestuous marriages to keep the blood line pure certainly added an extra edge to the story.  It has real depth of character and I was totally taken aback by the ending. No Spoilers but I didn't see it coming at all! Was actually quite shocked by the turn of events and yes, a little upset. However even though you are left on a major cliffhanger there is hope for Twylla and I can't wait to see what happens next. 

Official website for Melinda Salisbury
Her Twitter Account

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Book Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik


Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood's powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows - everyone knows - that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia - all the things Agnieszka isn't - and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

My Musings

A fantasy novel drawing deeply from the fairy tales of old and ancient magic seeded in nature itself. I loved the feisty heroine Agnieszka who is certainly not a damsel in distress.A plain girl always in a delightful mess, running in the wild and best friends with the beautiful and capable Kasia I was immediately involved in her character and wanted to know where her journey led. Their local wizard, known as Dragon keeps the  evil and magical wood at bay from the villages and in return he picks a girl every ten years for, we don't know what. This time surprising everyone,  he picks Agnieszka and whisks her off to his castle

I loved the beginning of their relationship where they are both polar opposites, she is messy and unpractical while he is unsociable, clinical and clever. His calm ordered life is totally upset by her chaotic natural and wild spirit.They are totally perplexed and irritated by each other.  It is only when he finds that it is that very spirit that is able to tap into a form of natural magic that he cannot they begin to work together. I would personally have loved to see their blossoming romance given more depth and more importance in the story but for some readers they will find it a relief. I never really engaged with the Dragon as I felt he never truly left his guard down which was  a shame. Kasia however really grew in character as, being the only one without magic had to be extraordinarily brave and was therefore the true heroine of the story.

When Agnieszka saves Kasia from the evil wood it starts a chain of events neither girl could have foretold. Hearing of their rescue Prince Marek, demand they go back to the wood and rescue his mother who has been kept prisoner there for years and years. This doomed rescue sees them fight for their lives and stir up a hornets nest of trouble back in court. Machiavellian plots and untamed magic set the scene for an epic adventure of two girls plucked from obscurity to play a major part in the country's future.

 I felt the first half of the book really takes you on a roller coaster ride but as the plot and descriptions get more complex it really slows the reading down and at times I felt it muddied the novel. I just wanted to see what happens next. However, saying that I really feel Novik is a true storyteller that sweeps you along to a faraway place full of strong and colorful characters. My small niggles are really down to reader preference and I know that a lot of lovers of fantasy fiction will truly love this book from a very talented writer.

If you like this you might like
The Hobbit by Tolkein

Sunday 12 July 2015

Book Review The Queen of Tearling by Erica Johansen

Her throne awaits . . . if she can live long enough to take it.
It was on her nineteenth birthday that the soldiers came for Kelsea Glynn. They’d come to escort her back to the place of her birth – and to ensure she survives long enough to be able to take possession of what is rightfully hers.
But like many nineteen-year-olds, Kelsea is unruly, has high principles and believes she knows better than her elders. Unlike many nineteen-year-olds, she is about to inherit a kingdom that is on its knees – corrupt, debauched and dangerous.
Kelsea will either become the most fearsome ruler the kingdom has ever known . . . or be dead within the week.
Combining thrilling adventure and action, dark magic, mystery and romance, The Queen of the Tearling is the debut of a born storyteller blessed with a startling imagination.

"I couldn’t put the bloody thing down. It would be fair to say I became obsessed with the role and the book" (EMMA WATSON)

My Musings

The story starts by setting the scene as if from an old classic fairy story. Kelsea has been looked after by an old couple isolated in a wood with only her books as company. On her nineteenth birthday a group of soldiers come to take her to her kingdom and her birthright. Kelsea has been told nothing of her parents or her heritage only that she is the rightful Queen. Totally unprepared with only the strength of her convictions to guide her they travel to the city and on this journey we get to know more about the harsh world she is born to rule , her enemy the Red Queen and the men sworn to protect her. On the way she has to prove to them she is worthy of their loyalty and visa  versa.

This book is like an onion peeling off the layers to reveal more trouble, more about her past and about her magical gifts that are a surprise to her and to everyone else.

By the time she arrives in the capitol to depose her vain and selfish uncle she realizes the terrible legacy she has inherited and vows to stop the cruel price their enemy, The Red Queen demands from them.

One of my favorite characters is Mal, her formidable knight who becomes her loyal servant and a linchpin for the book. I loved the relationship, camaraderie and loyalty between the knights and how each carry their own scars making them even more endearing and attractive to the reader. There is also added spice and mystery of Fetch the King of thieves on which Kelsea definitely has a crush. This, you feel , is a relationship that will hopefully develop in the next books as it is only touched on here. Is her admiration returned? What is his real identity?

 There are so many twists and turns in this book it positively leaves you breathless. The end also leaves us on massive cliffhanger with Kelsea's country on the brink of invasion. Can she fend of The Red Queen? Who is her father and why is it such a big secret? Why does she have magical powers?

So many frustrating questions, it really keeps you hooked. Both plot and characters are very strong as is the world building. Although you could say this was dystopian I would personally put it into the fantasy realm. Its nods to the legends of King Arthur with his round table and Robin Hood and his Merry Men and the plot certainly keeps you guessing  and on the edge of your seat. There are strong themes of loyalty, friendship and the pitfalls of power laced with adventure, magic and a touch of romance to wet the appetite.

This is the impressive debut novel by Erica Johansen and I can't wait for book two out now in Hardback

If you like this you might like

The Magicialns Guild by Trudi Canavan
The Graceling by Kristin Cashore
The Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Sunday 5 July 2015

Book Review: My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood


An irresistible romance is perfect for anyone who has ever had a celebrity crush (everyone).
Geeky girl meets famous boy . . . what could go wrong?
Tuesday Cooper is happy being normal -doing her a-levels and indulging in her twin obsessions: buying weird vintage clothes in charity shops and writing her beloved music blog (which nobody ever reads). Her love for music started when she was thirteen and had a massive crush on Jackson Griffith, teen rock god and SUPER HOT LOVE OF HER LIFE. Now Tuesday's eighteen and has moved on to fancying boys in real life and Jackson went off the celebrity radar years ago.
So it can't be him that's messaging her on her blog, can it?
From one girl's computer to the pyramid stage at Glastonbury Festival, this is a love story for anyone who has ever wished that someone would sing a love song just for them.
Dreams can come true . . .

My Musings

This coming of age book is written in a witty conversational manner that is part diary, part blog and is very hard to put down!!.

Tuesday is a bright,  geeky self depreciating eighteen year old in the middle of her A levels. She has a lesbian best friend, a wannabe rock star boyfriend and a lovely but slightly flaky mum. She also loves vintage clothes and retro pop.

The book starts as if we have been dropped into the middle of her life while she continues to write her musings on her blog which is only read by her mum and friends. Or so she thinks.

Out of nowhere a guy calling himself Jackson Griffith, (former wild child, now reclusive, pop star) starts chatting to her as she is a fan. This throws up no end of problems. Tuesday is unsurprisingly dazzled by the attention of this gorgeous twenty something pop star and throws caution to the wind. (Wouldn't we all?) and sets out to meet him in secret. They get on so well he invites her to Glastonbury.
Should she go just before her last A level?

The reader is taken along for the ride and it is easy to see why she goes against all her good girl principles. I think we all want to be a little wild at some point in our lives!! We travel with her to Glastonbury the weekend before her last A level and meet  a colorful array of characters and discover why not everything that glitters is not necessarily gold. Having a Rock Star Boyfriend may not be all that's it cracked up to be and reality hits when after an amazing time  Tuesday needs to get back for her exam.

I won't spoil the end but Tuesday comes back from her adventure a little less naive, a little more tougher and also more sure than ever about what she want's to do with her life.

A great holiday read that will take you on a rock and roll adventure and leave you with a smile on your face.

Ps, Don't forget to read the authors note at the end for her inspiration for this story which really made me laugh. Fact is stranger than fiction it seems!!
Publisher Pan Macmillan

PB ISBN 978144727787

#EleanorWood #BookReview #TeenRead #SummerRead #YAFiction #Contemporary #Glastonbury #Vintage

If you like this you might like
FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell,
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot