Category Archives: ARC or early review

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)The Assassain's Blade by Sarah J, Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's, Bloomsbury Children's on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I want to congratulate the person who designed these covers, they are freaking amazing!

Okay so this review is months overdue and all I can do is apologise and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finally Summer. After requesting a copy of Throne of Glass last year on a whim, it has fast become one of my favourite YA series. That’s a tough feat. I adore reading about Celaena’s antics and these short stories were fast-paced, intriguing and had my constant attention. Maas is able to bring out every emotion possible from me including laughter, fear for the characters and sadness. I am not afraid to say I cried a little at the end, that was emotional shiz.

Celaena is the kind of protagonist I love reading about because of her awesome fighting skills and attitude (heellooo, Hardcore Heroines); whilst at the same time I openly wish I was as badass as her. Maas craftily weaves the romance, tension and intrigue together, leaving plenty of room for the interesting sub-plots and back-story. What with that and consistent character development, you’ve got yourself a winner.

I don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t read this series, apart from that it continually amazes and rarely (if ever) disappoints. I’ve read three of this series now and not once have I been let down, which I don’t think has happened to me before with such an intense, Fantasy world. I urge everyone to read this, even if you’re not a major fan of Fantasy because it’s really a fantastic series that offers a lot. It’s the kind of series that will be right at the top of my recommends pile yet I will hand out with caution to my friends in case they spill something on it. (I’m looking at you, Lois).

I want to be Celaena’s best friend, talk books with Dorian and learn to fight with Chaol. I cannot wait for what’s in store for Heir of Fire. I have no reservations on whether it will disappoint as Maas has proved her reliability and each book gets better and better.

Rating: no less than 5 Stars!

Tell me what you think of the series in the comments!

**This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury, however this didn’t affect my review or thoughts on the book one iota’s worth**

 

five-stars

After-Eden-Helen-Douglas

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)Aften Eden by Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on November 7th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 228
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
three-stars
Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

*A review copy was very kindly provided by Bloomsbury Children’s , but this in no way affected the review*

After Eden is written in the perspective of a 16-year-old girl called Eden who starts becoming friends with the new guy in school–deliciously attractive Ryan. Sometimes I found Eden to be a tad one-dimentional. Sure, I related to her in quite a few ways, but she wasn’t the kind of character I admire for her complexity. However, I did like her and thought she was really funny at times.

I don’t want to give out to many spoilers, but Eden starts discovering things about Ryan that don’t add up–he’s never had pizza, and he doesn’t know who Hitler or Ghandi are. Soon she discovers Ryan’s from 100 years into the future and traveled back in time on a mission to save the world.

After Eden was a really intriguing read because I adored the time-travelling aspect of the story. I found it so interesting and I hope Douglas explores this area more in the next installment.  I wasn’t sure I bought that Ryan didn’t know what pizza was or who Hitler or Ghandi were. I understood there was likely to be a colossal culture shock, but they are key people in History and world renown. Surely, there must be some kind of education that informs us who Hitler was 100 years into the future? Of course, we can’t know what happens 100 years from now and I liked the way Douglas kept a mystery about the future and what it held. Eden couldn’t be told about anything because it could change the future and it went against certain laws. This just made me desperate to know more, and I really hope that at some point in this series we will see what becomes of Earth in the future, or be given more information.

I really liked that the romance was not massively insta-love, I had a feeling it was going to be, but thankfully I was proved wrong. I thought Ryan and Eden together were so funny together, but I didn’t feel like their romance had a spark. It was all very cute at times, and Ryan was romantic, but it wasn’t a love I was desperate to see survive. However, I love the trope of forbidden love, and I was interested to see how Eden and Ryan were going to overcome the 100 years that force them apart.

Some things were admittedly quite cliché and predictable. There was a girl antagonist that went to Eden’s school trying to steal the guy. This cheesy plot line usually annoys me a lot, but she played a small role and it didn’t bother me. In fact, it made for entertainment.

It pleased me that the setting was Cornwall! It’s such a lovely place, and it was awesome to read about a UK setting, and people in the same school year as me! There were really nice scenes at the beach and gazing at the stars, and I found the scenes about astronomy especially interesting.

I did really enjoy After Eden, I liked the occasional humour, the setting and the entire idea of  time travelling. However, at times I felt the characters were not complex enough and the romance was lacking in a bit of spark.

Rating: 3 Stars

three-stars

Stir-Me-Up-by-Sabrina-Elkins

ARC Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins

ARC Review: Stir Me Up by Sabrina ElkinsStir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins
Published by Harlequin Teen on December 1st 2013
Genres: Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 268
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She'll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father's French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami's family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.

Julian's all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami's starting to feel. And Cami can't stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He's got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….

This was such a *sigh* worthy romance. I read it in two sittings and I loved it. Julian, has been given an honourable discharge from the Marines when he was wounded in an IED explosion. He was trying to pull three other people to safety when there was a second explosion, and he was the only one who survived. One of his legs has to amputated, and he sustained many other injuries and obvious emotional scarring. He’s not in a good place and when our main heroine Cami meets him for the first time in his hospital bed, he angrily shouts at her to leave the room. Except, Julian is Cami’s stepmother’s nephew and soon Julian moves out of hospital and into Cami’s room, and consequently, they are forced to see each other every day.

Poor Cami was put out by not having her own private space, but Julian desperately needs the care Cami’s stepmother, Estella, is willing to give. Cami is attending her last year of school and works at her French father’s restaurant–Etoile. She loves cooking mostly French food, and bakes some muffins for Julian in goodwill–he throws it at her head. Commence the angry insults that are thrown at each other. I enjoyed Cami’s love for cooking food, it added to the storyline, and gave her more depth. She was an enjoyable character to read about, because she was so relatable. She goes to school, she has a best friend, she studies, she flirts with a hot Marine…wait, what? Where’s my hot Marine? *Ahem*, anyway, she had a feistiness and friendliness that made me want to be there baking muffins and laughing with her.

Stir Me Up explores the after-math of war in individuals, and the effects of loss. Julian and Cami warm to each other in a slow-burning way, that is believable and sweet. This book is wholly satisfying for Romance-lovers, and prefect for those cold days to snuggle under the covers and get caught up in a highly amusing and adorable romance.

Julian is one sexy marine *swoon*, and Elkins made the connection between him and Cami feel tangible. Cami has no idea what she wants to do other than that she wants to be a chef, and Julian and her share that uncertainty towards their future. I had such a good time reading this, I urge you to read it.

Rating: 5 Stars

five-stars

Friday-Brown-e1372542335882-1024x450

ARC Review: Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
Published by Text on 4th July 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
four-stars

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon.com 

Friday Brown was saved by Silence. Brought up travelling the endless roads of the Australian wilds, Friday’s past was shaped by stories, told dreamily by her mother around glowing campfires and on the edge of endless plains. But her mother’s death left Friday lost, and running from a family curse that may or may not be real. Desperate and alone in the middle of a strange city, a voiceless boy with white-blond hair and silver eyes appeared from nowhere, stole her heart and took her home. Friday is welcomed by a strange gang of lost kids and runaways. Led by the beautiful but fearsome Arden, the group live an underground life in the city, begging, stealing and performing to keep themselves alive. But when Silence returns to the house covered in someone else’s blood and terrified, the gang escape to an outback ghost town, leaving everything behind. Murungal Creek is abandoned, desolate and full of empty promises. Life in Arden’s gang starts to unravel, and the anger, lies and deceit that have been hidden for so long start to float to the surface. Having been swept along by the currents of life for as long as she can remember, Friday suddenly finds herself struggling to stay afloat, and alive. As devastation threatens, Friday must face up to her past, and fight, for the first time in her life. From the winner of the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, 2012, Friday Brown is a remarkable story, described by the Weekend Australian as a story with ‘characters so palpable you can imagine passing them in the street.’

I’ve heard so many amazing reviews about Friday Brown from Jack at The Book Stop and Ruby at Feed Me Books Now, but I started reading it tentatively, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. That wasn’t a problem because I really enjoyed it. A big thanks to Stephanie Speight at Text Publishing for sending a copy from…Australia!! That’s crazy, thanks again. This in no way affected my honest review.

I am a stickler for interesting characters, and there were plenty in Friday Brown. Friday was vulnerable and compassionate, but a little lost after her mother died. She was used to being on the move, never staying in one place and having the luxury of many fresh starts. After her mother died though, she had to stay with her Granddad, something that felt isolating, so she leaves and joins a group of runaway teenagers.

Friday’s relationship with Armen was ever-changing and reflected on both characters personalities and pasts. Armen was so captivating, she had an energy that made people want to be her, and Friday instantly feels drawn to her.

Everyone in this book had a story and an intriguing past, which made the characters deeper. Not all past’s were revealed, some left mysterious and that left things for the readers imagination. I liked the subtlety, it wasn’t shoved in my face, and sometimes that’s better than being told everything, because it keeps the reader guessing. I finished it on Wednesday, and I’m still thinking about the events and the characters.

Silence was a heartbreaking and amazing character, he feared being forgotten if he died, of never leaving an imprint on the world. He felt so inconsequential, especially when no one in his life has ever given him the right attention. He was just a runaway kid.

I enjoyed this book for the writing style and the characters, not so much the storyline. It’s very slow going until the climax—which is shocking and upsetting. It was like freezing water slapping me around the face. It really hit me. In addition, the prose was beautiful, sometimes I just got lost in the words. A lot of writing was on grief and death, which I could very much identify with.

Friday Brown took me out of my comfort zone and gave me deep, meaningful characters, with beautiful writing.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Other reviews:

Ruby at Feed Me Books Now Rating: 5 stars

Jack at The Book Stop Rating: 5 stars

Georgia at Books and Writers JNR Rating: 4.5 stars

Maya at What Should I Read Next Rating: 5 stars (She’s also holding an ARC giveaway of Friday Brown, click on the link!)

four-stars