Monday, 3 October 2016

Closer to the Chest

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for giving me this book to review.

Closer to the Chest is a very enjoyable book which goes at a variable pace which starts off slow and builds to a crescendo by the end. The story can be a bit predictable as it follows the outline of many other Mercedes Lackey books, it does not mean it is any less enjoyable for that.

My favourite character is Nicholas, because whilst most Heralds are meant to be practically perfect, Nicholas shows that they still have some human foibles. The villains are a new one, and it can be predictable because you know that they're going to be beaten however it is always interesting to find out how they lose, and why they're doing this.

I enjoyed Closer to the Chest and would recommend it to readers of the earlier Magsseries and readers of other Mercedes Lackey books.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Fall of Thrones and Thorns

3 Stars/5

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for giving me this book to review.

War hurtles in, a typhoon over the sea.
After Bree’s life was torn apart, Nereidium had represented a haven to her. A place that – if she could save it – was beyond the King’s reach.
And, at last, she’s arrived upon its shores. But things in Nereidium are not what they should be.
The land is plagued by a rash of mysterious earthquakes, the likes of whichj it’s never known. The governors are distracted by old traditions, while Bree and her friends grapple with changing identities and the sense that the longer they wait to take action… the greater the danger from Egria grows.
Bree is tired of living under the shadow of King Langdon’s power. And she’s tired of waiting for him to be the first to act.
In this final chapter of the Threats of Sky and Sea series, it all comes down to Nereidium or Egria. To Bree or the King. It’s kill… or be killed.
And not everyone will escape the battle unscathed.

Fall of Thrones and Thorns is the enjoyable conclusion of this trilogy, which has action, world building and a bit of romance. However, this book didn’t capture me as much as the previous two books as the first half of the book was slow and didn’t grip me and the second half was too fast paced and confusing. I liked that we got the POV from Bree, Aleta and Caden but I felt lots of the storylines seemed to appear in this book without any mention of them in the previous two books, for example the shaker plot.

Bree is struggling in this novel with her new responsibilities and people’s expectations of her, but I felt that she didn’t really care about her people or her new home and all she ever thought of was about her friends, what is going on in Egria, and how things are done differently in Nereidium.  Caden is still protective and intelligent, but I didn’t feel there was any growth to his character in this book. I found Aleta to be my favourite in this book as she wants to discover who she is now that her life has been turned upside-down, where she belongs and what to do with her future. 

The ending was rushed and I was not a big fan of how all of the side characters had coupled up as it seemed really unrealistic but I did enjoy this book. I would recommend Fall of Thrones and Thorns to fans of the first two books Threats of Sky and Sea and Riot of Storm and Smoke.

The other tour posts are at Xpresso Book Tours
You can purchase Fall of Thrones and Thorns at Amazon UK  and Amazon USA

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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Followed by Frost

3 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgally and 47North for giving me this book to review.

Followed by Frost is an enjoyable fantasy romance book. It is fast paced and well written but it is forgettable.

I really did not like Smitha at the start of the book as she is self-centred and looks down on everyone, but I get the feeling we are not meant to like her. However, as the story continues you discover how lonely, brave and mature she has become but I also wished she had kept some of her backbone. I felt Death/Sadriel was a wasted character as I wish we got to know him better as he is more complex. I guessed who the love interest was as soon as we met him, but it was a slow building romance and thankfully no insta-love or love triangles.

I enjoyed this book and I hope to read Holmberg’s other series The Paper Magician. I would recommend Followed by Frost to fans of fantasy romance.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Forever Mars

3 Stars/5

Thanks to T A Uner for giving me this book to review.

Forever Mars is an enjoyable sci-fi story which is faced paced. It is predictable but also action packed. There is more world building in this novel compared to the previous ones but I would like it if there was more.

Liberty has good instincts and will do anything to fight for justice. Lok is a new character and he is likeable as he is trying to understand humanity and friendship. However, I am bored with Slow Fly as the baddie now, as I know that Liberty and MCPF will beat him, and I hope in the next book there will be a new villain.

I liked this book and am looking forward to reading the next book. I would recommend Forever Mars to fans of the first two Mindcop Dossiers books.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Fairy Queens: Books 5-7

5 Stars/5

Of Sand and Storm is the very good 3rd novella in the Fairy Queens series and like the others it is fast paced, well written and has good world building. However this is the darkest of the books as it deals with difficult issues such as slavery and sex trafficking. I would suggest you don’t read this story until you have read the previous books otherwise it could be confusing. One thing which lets this story down is that it had insta-love which I am not a fan of, and I got the impression from Winter’s Heir that Cinder would not have a love interest.

Cinder is determined, protective and like all of Amber’s protagonists she has strong inner strength. However, she is the most damaged of the heroines with a coping mechanism in numbers, and not surprisingly Cinder is not very trusting. The love interest, Darsam, pretends to be flippant and cocky but is actually selfless, kind and gentle. Ash and Storm would do anything to protect Cinder and want her to have a better life than they did.

I love this series and I am looking forward to reading what Amber writes next. I would highly recommend the Fairy Queens series to fans of YA fantasy novels, especially to those who like Maria V Snyder and Trudi Canavan’s books.

All Elice has ever known is the never-ending isolation of the Winter Queendom. She has no company apart from her immediate family, including her mother, the Winter Queen, and the animals that she heals, but all that changes when a ship crashes and she rescues the lone survivor, Adar. Elice wants the freedom to see the rest of the world but when she discovers that the world is in more turmoil than she ever knew, will she be able to escape her mother?

Daughter of Winter is the brilliant and magnificent third book of the Fairy Queens series. It is very addictive and it pulled me into the story. Also, it has some action and a hinted at romance. Unlike the other books in this series the POV is from both Elice and Adar rather than just the heroine. One tiny problem with this book is that I was confused about the timeline and how people are the ages they were.

Elice is resilient, creative and innocent because she has been sheltered all of her life. She also reminded me a bit of Senna from Amber’s Witch Song series. Adar is cocky, talkative and easy-going but also protective and a bit mysterious. I was sad to see how different Ilyenna is and how cold and distant she has become.

I love this series and I am really looking forward to reading the fourth and final book in the series Winter’s Heir. I would recommend Daughter of Winter to fans those who have read the Fairy Queens series and to those who are fans of YA fantasy books.

Winter’s Heir is a fantastic end to one of my favourite series and it ties up all of the loose ends and unanswered questions nicely.  Like with all of Amber’s books it has very good world building and is a fast paced page turner. This book had more romance than Daughter of Winter, and it had a kind of Romeo and Juliet vibe to it.  One thing I love about this series is that the characters are relatable and never give up.

At the first half of the book Elice is less sure of herself and is still very na├»ve but this lessens as the story continues. She is sweet natured,  gentle, empathetic and has an inner strength, like all of Amber’s Heroines, and is determined to gain her independence and freedom. Adar is more serious in this book as he faces very difficult choices and is conflicted about what he should do. However, there is still some of the charming tease there and I felt we got to understand more about him and his life than in the last book. There are lots of returning characters from the previous books, which was interesting to see how they have changed, but also there were some new characters, my favourite being Cinder, and I am looking forward to learning more about her in the last novella.

This book is a brilliant conclusion to the main story of the Fairy Queens series and I am really looking forward to reading the last novella Of Sand and Storm when it comes out. This book hints at future books set in the distant future in this universe which I cannot wait to read. I would recommend Winter’s Heir to fans of the Fairy Queens series, and this series I cannot recommend highly enough to fans of YA fantasy books. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Fairy Queens: Books 1-4

5 Stars/5


Otec has always been the overlooked son of an overflowing house. When a young woman, Matka, one of the highmen staying in his village, wants to look for a plant, he is happy to help. When he is away, his home is attacked he must find a way to save his family but can he trust Matka as he is not sure if she is friend or foe. Is Otec willing to become the leader he never thought he would be.

I really enjoyed Of Ice and Snow, the prequel novella to Winter Queen as it tells us of how Ilyenna’s parents met. It is fast paced and full of action and Amber wrote from a male POV well.

I really liked Otec as he feels like he is the useless son who is not good enough, but he is brave, kind and very protective of his family. I liked Matka as she is willing to help people she doesn’t really know but I would have liked some chapters from her POV as it would have helped getting to know her better.

I really liked this prequel novella and I hope to read the rest of Daring Hearts soon. I would recommend Of Ice and Snow to fans of Winter Queen or any of Amber Argyle’s other books.

After the Shyle and there ally clan Argon are attacked by another clan the Tyron, 17 year old Ilyenna is mortally wounded by the Tyron’s Clan Chief’s son Darrien, but she is healed by the winter fairies and is offered the ability to become the Winter Queen. Unwilling to leave her family she declines this offer only to sacrifice herself as an Tiam, practically a slave, to Darrien to save her clan, along with other women of her and Argon clan and the some of the Argon men, including her brother’s best friend Rone.  While in captivity Darrien tries everything to break her mind, body and soul, however she discovers that the attack was part of a bigger plan to overthrow all the clans. Now Ilyenna has to decide if she is willing to sacrifice her humanity and warmth to become Winter Queen to save her people and those she loves.

Winter Queen is an incredible and magical YA fantasy book which I love by Amber Argyle. Even though this is darker and more grown up than the Witch Song series, it still has all the elements I love in a fantasy book, romance, adventure, magic and a strong heroine.

I really like Ilyenna as she is loyal to her people and no matter what happens to her, she is strong, kind and selfless. All the other characters are well written, even the bad guys, and there are so many characters that I have enjoyed getting to know.  I really like the romance in this book as it is mature but at the same time sweet and tender.

Even through the story did not go the way I thought it would when I read the blurb, it is more unique than I could have imagined especially the fairies as they play a very important part in this book but it is in a subtle way. I like the depth of this book and how the magic worked as the idea of the Balance is such a simple idea but is also very clever and complex.

I am not sure if the next book Summer Queen is a continuation of Ilyenna story or someone else’s from this world, but either way, I cannot wait to see what Argyle will do next and I hope it is released as soon as possible. I would recommend Winter Queen to everyone, but especially to people who like YA fantasy novels such as books by Maria V Snyder or Trudi Canavan.

For all of Nelay life she has seen fairies but her mother has told her that she must not let the fairies know she can see them or Nelay will pay a high price. However, when her father is bitten by a snake, Nelay’s only choice to save him is to turn to the fairies, but they require in that one day she must repay the favour. As all deals with the fairies come with a price, will this change Nelay’s life forever?

Of Fire and Ash is a very good YA fantasy novella, with an interesting look at the back story for Summer Queen. Although it is not a long book, it is enjoyable and a well-rounded story.

I liked Nelay as she was a nice and resistant little girl who was really caring. I did not like her brother, Panar as he was horrible and really jealous, and I think he is going to play a key role in Summer Queen. While I liked Nelay’s parents as they really cared about their children, I don’t believe that they didn’t see how Panar treated Nelay.

I am really looking forward to reading Summer Queen after this, and I would recommend Of Fire and Ash to fans of Amber Argyle, especially those who enjoyed the Fairy Queens series.

Nelay never wanted to be queen, she wanted to become the most powerful priestess in Idara, but with an army sweeping towards her family she is willing to risk everything and to manipulate the king to get aid. She sets off on a journey across Idara with a band of tribesmen smugglers, led by the charming Rycus, in the hopes of getting to her parents on time. However, there are bigger powers at play and a deal made years ago will change Nelay’s fate forever. With a war waged between mortals, fairies and goddesses, will Nelay be able to stop Idara being turn to ash.

Summer Queen is the brilliant sequel to Winter Queen as there was action, adventure, romance and magic. There was never a dull moment in the book and I did not want to put it down, but I also never got overwhelmed with too much info either. While you don’t need to read Winter Queen to enjoy this book, I would recommend it as it is adds to the story, I would also recommend reading the prequel short story to this Of Fire and Ash as it gives a good insight into Nelay and her past.

I really loved Nelay’s character as she was brave, determined and willing do anything for those she cares about, even if they don’t deserve it. I also liked that she was intelligent and was never timid, while her character grew in this book she always knew she was capable. I also really liked Rycus as he was protective and balanced Nelay really well, plus I do have a soft spot for storytellers. Another character I liked was Nelay’s best friend Jezzel but I did wish she was in this book more than she was.

This is an amazing book and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in the Fairy Queens series, Daughter of Winter. I would recommend Summer Queen to fans of the First Book Winter Queen and the Fairy Queens series, plus Ambers other books, to all fans of YA fantasy novels.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Withering Rose

4 Stars/5

Thanks to Netgalley and Xpresso Book Tours for giving me this book to review.

Withering Rose is the very enjoyable sequel to Gathering Frost, which is a unique twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast story. This story is fast paced, has good world building and an easy read. Also there is romance and a nice fairy-tale story.

Omorose is quiet and timid which makes her an unusual YA heroine, but she is also caring and kind. To begin with Cole is secretive and has a temper, but he is also sweet and very lonely.

The ending of this book gives clues to what is going to happen in the next book Chasing Midnight and I am looking forward to reading it. I would recommend Withering Rose to those who enjoyed the first book in the Once Upon A Curse series Gathering Frost.