Monday, 21 July 2014

Review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs


Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (Miss Peregrine's, book 2)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Source: From publisher

Synopsis from Amazon:Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011--an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it "an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters." 
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine's island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises. 
Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Reading this book is like falling down the rabbit hole- that sort of feeling that while you're lost in the world of this book ANYTHING can happen. And with talking dogs, time loops, peculiar children with special powers, and bedtime stories that come true, anything really can happen.

I love these books. Hollow Children is exciting, sweet, thrilling and mystical, and great fun as well.

It's so different from other books because you know that the strange and intriguing photographs scattered throughout the pages not only illustrate a concept in the story, but are also real genuine interesting looking old photographs that the author has collected and is generating a story around. It is a very unique and interesting way to read a book.

In Hollow Children we are off of the island of Cairnholm, and see a wider picture of the different loops and different groups. I love that there is travel involved in this book, making it different from the closed setting of the first book, and it feels like a real old-fashioned adventure. The children are on a quest, but also on the run, and could be found or captured at any time- so there is also a real feeling of menace at times running through the book.

With Miss Peregrine stuck in bird form, Wights and Hollows chasing them at every turn and the children following sparse clues and gut feeling, their adventure really is moment to moment, and feels like a dramatic race against the clock. Whether stranded at sea, captured by gypsies, losing their money, or escaping the bombs falling in wartime London, each new experience is a trial to be got through, while figuring out what to do next.

Because Jacob has gone back into the past to the setting of 1940s England, you get a real feeling of nostalgia, and it helps that Riggs writing is very atmospheric. He really brings the book to life, and at times you can almost imagine it as a screenplay. It feels very vivid and easy to picture (even without the addition of the photographs!).

The group of characters really complement each other nicely. Their personalities and unique powers all come in useful at different points in the story, so that everyone in the whole collective is as important as the other. Different skills are needed in different situations. And their banter and quirkiness makes for a very fun read as well. They really are their own little family and are both very supportive and protective of each other, but also very quick to criticise and tease in the way that all brothers and sisters do. But I really enjoyed the conversation between them.

It's a sweet book and clever and thrilling at the same time. Hollow Children is of course an absolute must-read for fans of Miss Peregrine's, and as a sequel it doesn't disappoint, but is as fun and engaging as the first book.

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You can read my 2012 Q and A with author Ransom Riggs here

Monday, 7 July 2014

Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor


Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, book 3)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Source: Borrowed from library

Synopsis from Goodreads:
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I love, love LOVE these books and I feel bereft and a little devastated that the series has ended! I so badly want Eretz to be real! I absolutely love this world and these characters- they have captured my heart and finishing this book is like saying goodbye to old friends. 
The whole series has been phenomenal- the writing is consistently so beautiful and lyrical, and the worlds described are so vivid. I adore the characters, especially Zuzana and Mik who add a quirky sense of fun to a situation, even in the midst of a devastating war. And Karou and Akiva are a modern day Romeo and Juliet (but better!). Plus, it's just a great story, brilliantly told. 
I would thrust these books into the hands of anyone who loves fantasy or fairytales, anyone who loves a good tale of good versus evil, wonderful characters and vivid characters. As I was reading I knew that this book had the potential to break my heart- I was fervently hoping for a nice ending, and that after all they have fought for and gone through, that Karou and Akiva would get their moment. It is a tense, thrilling, desperate read the whole way through!
I don't want to post any spoilers so I will just say that I loved this book! It's a beautiful book and one that I will re-read again. A war between Angels and Chimaera, unlikely alliances, unexpected betrayals, romance, despair, and all the emotions and drama in between- if that can't get you to read this series I don't know what will! If you've read it already you'll know why I'm fangirling so much, if you haven't read it yet- what are you waiting for?!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Discussion: How a fantasy lover fell in love with contemporary- A response

I was looking at some blog posts today and came across this post from Asma at Icey Books, where she talks about a turn in her feelings about contemporary. I couldn't help thinking "me too"!

I always describe myself as a reader of fantasy novels. I love dystopian stories, other worlds and situations where anything is possible. Whenever anyone asks me what I like to read, I usually reply with "Teen fantasy types with werewolves, vampires, dragons etc". I love these books and probably 90% of my bookshelves are filled with these types of stories.

So how come whenever I do occasionally pick up a contemporary novel it gets a 5 star rating? 

Asma says in her post "I never liked contemporary. For starters, the genre was boring — there was no magic, castles, dragons, fairies, princes, or epic sword fights.

I have a similar issue with this genre...  in theory. I mean I always think that real life can be depressing enough. For me, I work a full time job, so I get home at around 6pm, knackered after being on my feet all day, tired and fed up, make some dinner, and sit and watch TV. I talk to my family, I see my friends. I have money worries, health worries- life is humdrum enough. I have enough problems of my own without reading about someone elses. 

I already live in this world with all it's problems, so when I get some free time I love to escape into books with magical new worlds, where anything could happen, books with dragons, princesses, knights, people with powers, people living in outer space, steampunk worlds with fairies or wizards. Give me some excitement and some magic! I love the feeling that absolutely anything is possible in stories. I like the epic good versus evil- trying to stop a sorcerer who is trying to take over the world types of stories.




But some of the contemporary books I have read have had the power to really move me, and make me cry and it is a different kind of good versus evil. It is people overcoming tragedy or changing their life for the better, and as sad as they can make me, it can warm my heart as well. 

Some of my absolute all-time favourite contemporary books that I LOVE and would recommend to anyone are-




*Books that REALLY made me cry-

  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson  5 of 5 stars. Loved this! Read my review here
  • If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman. These books are just perfection and I cried my eyes out.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I cried, I laughed, I loved these characters. 



*Books of first love and the changes that come with the end of High School-
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. This won my pick for Best of the Bunch January
  • The whole of the Pushing The Limits series by Katie McGarry- I adore these books, I fall in love every time!
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.


*Books following hardship or tragedy
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.  5 of 5 stars- This made my top 3 books of 2013
  • Stolen by Lucy Christopher. 5 of 5 stars. This has been re-read many times.
  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A Tucker. 5 of 5 stars


*Books with a forbidden romance
  • Drowning Instinct by Ilsa Bick- 5 of 5 stars- read my gushing review here
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma- 5 of 5 stars review here



*Funny books
  • Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan review here
  • The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Miller
  • Au Revoir Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber
  • Geek Girl by Holly Smale


Contemporary books have the power to power to move us and make us think. They can be profound and gripping with characters that you can really relate to. Sometimes just getting into the head of a wonderfully written character and living life through their eyes is like escaping into a whole other world. I love fantasy books for the characters as much as for the escapism, and with a good contemporary book, you can feel the emotions, the dramas, the friendships and the journey- just like fantasy. When I started writing this post I didn't intend on creating such a huge list, but as I went on I didn't want to leave anything out! I guess I can admit that I am a lover of contemporary books after all. 

I think I will probably always be more of a reader of fantasy, but I have recently been buying more contemporary books to read. I look forward to seeing if they can move me as much as these ones listed have done. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Exciting New July Releases

These are some of the books releasing this July that I am most looking forward to reading...

Most hotly anticipated





Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines, book 5) Goodreads
Forget being the most hotly anticipated book of the month- this is the most hotly anticipated book of the year! After the cliffhanger ending of book 4, I am dying to see what happens next. I love these characters, and these books are sweet, thrilling, romantic, dramatic, heart-wrenching and funny. I can't wait to finally read this one.

Also released this month
UK publication dates



  • Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott (The Name of the Blade, book 2)
  • Ruins by Dan Wells (Partials, book 3)
  • Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. This is a new standalone companion book to the Shiver series. 

  • Eternal Dawn by Rebecca Maizel (Vampire Queen, book 3)
  • Idols by Margaret Stohl (Icons, book 2)
  • On the Fence by Kasie West


  •  Unravel by Imogen Howson (Linked, book 2)
  • Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta. Ok this is not a new book, but it is the first time this book is being published in the UK. (I have the gorgeous Australian editions anyway, but it's nice that this book is finally going to be available here and more people will know about it!)




I'm also looking forward to the UK release of the TV show The 100 (I loved the book by Kass Morgan), and the UK release of the movie Vampire Academy this month. 



There's not a lot of new releases that I'm excited about this month- but I guess it's quality over quantity! Are there any new releases that you are looking forward to this July? 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Best of the Bunch June 2014

Best of the Bunch is a book blog hop hosted here on the last day of each month, where we can look back over the books we have read over this past month and give a Best of the Bunch award to our favourite book of that month.

I always put up my post on the last day of the month, but remember, you can add your link in anytime in the following month.


June 2014

This month I set myself a challenge to read at least 9 books, publish at least two book reviews, and write at least one "fun" post. I did manage some of these things...


This month I have read-


  • Blood Prophecy by Alyxandra Harvey (Drake Chronicles, book 6)- 4 of 5 stars
  • A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey- 3 of 5 stars
  • Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff- 2.5 of 5 stars
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, book 3)- 5 of 5 stars
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill- 5 of 5 stars
  • Take Me On by Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits, book 4)- 5 of 5 stars
I also published two book reviews-

I want to say that I almost read 9 books this month because I am currently reading 3 books at once as usual, and am nearly at the end of all of them but... excuses, excuses!! I will set myself the exact same challenge again for July- and hopefully I will surpass all my goals this time round! 

But anyway, the winner of Best of the Bunch June 2014 is...



...drumroll...



...Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor!






Dreams of Gods and Monsters  by Laini Taylor
Goodreads


By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?
Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


I have never been disappointed by a single one of Laini Taylor's books. Magical, powerful, beautiful, emotional and jaw-droppingly good- I feel devastated that the series has ended and there won't be any more from this incredible world, and these characters that have stolen my heart and mind. I want Eretz to be real! If you haven't read it yet I hightly recommend this series. I will probably re-read it again soon, because the writing is just so beautiful. 

I was so excited to read this one and it in no way let me down. 

Well that was my pick of the bunch for this month, but who gets your bananas? Let me know in the linky below and I will come and check it out. 

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