Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Crafting Corner: Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you're all having a fun filled day with lots of treats and fun costumes. One of my favourite things about Halloween (apart from dressing up which I've not had an excuse to do for years LOL) is carving pumpkins. We missed doing them last year due to various family holidays and illnesses but I got to doubly make up for that this year by doing it twice, once with my Mum and again with my brother and his family. Mum and I even went to a local farm a couple of weeks ago and picked our own pumpkins which is something we'd never done before!

Pumpkin picking!

The pumpkins Mum and I carved

My pumpkins: Oogie Boogie from A Nightmare Before Christmas, 
a cannibal pumpkin and Grumpy Cat!

Family fun

My little helper
(not allowed anywhere near knives but pretty good with a spoon LOL)

Of course I had to buy my nephew a Halloween book!

Me, Aidan, Swopan, Subasana & James

Even more pumpkins LOL

Did you spot my minion in the crowd? 
My Dad always ends up being the one taking all the pics so he's not in any of the group shots

So that was our Halloween fun for the year, Aidan isn't quite old enough for Trick or Treating yet but hopefully next year will involve dressing up for all of us LOL.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Review: Saga Volume 6 - Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.

Collecting: Saga 31-36

Saga Series:
Saga Volume 1
Saga Volume 2
Saga Volume 3
Saga Volume 4
Saga Volume 5
Saga Volume 6
Saga Volume 7
Saga Volume 8
Saga Volume 9

Visit Brian K Vaughan's website or Fiona Staples' website for more information

Review:
While Klara is trying to keep Hazel's mixed heritage a secret and keep them both safe while they're stuck in a prison / refugee camp Alana and Marco are determined to do whatever it takes to track down their missing daughter and get their family back together. At the same time The Will is searching for answers and a certain reporting duo are back on the hunt for the potential scoop of a lifetime.

This series just continues to get better and better, I loved seeing that Alana and Marco have worked through their differences and are back on the same page while they search for Hazel and Klara. Alana has always been willing to fight for her family and while Marco is still trying to avoid violence he's still pretty badass himself when he needs to be. Hazel is just getting cuter and cuter as she grows up and I loved the scenes with her and her teacher Noreen.

Things have really gone downhill for The Will, he's in a bad place mentally and physically and that really shows in the way he reacts to things going on around him. I have to say I was surprised that we didn't see anything of Lying Cat, Sophie and Gwendolyn in this volume and I found myself missing all three of them. I really want to The Will turn things around as the series continues and hopefully that will include seeing him reunite with his allies. There was a pretty huge revelation at the end that has me really relieved I already own the next 3 volumes, I have no idea how I let myself get so behind with this series but the bonus of being able to binge read the rest makes me happy!

Don't mess with Alana when she's on a mission!

Marco may be trying to avoid violence but nothing will stop him defending his family

Hazel's teacher Noreen talks a lot of sense

Poor The Will

I really love that the Saga series is full of little nuggets of wisdom like this one about diversity

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Review: Saga Volume 5 - Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies.

Collects SAGA #25-30

Saga Series:
Saga Volume 1
Saga Volume 2
Saga Volume 3
Saga Volume 4
Saga Volume 5
Saga Volume 6
Saga Volume 7
Saga Volume 8
Saga Volume 9

Visit Brian K Vaughan's website or Fiona Staples' website for more information

Review:
While Alana, Hazel and Klara are still being held hostage by Dengo and busy trying to escape before he can sell them to the resistance Marco has come to an uneasy truce with Prince Robot IV so that they can search together for their missing family members. At the same time Gwendolyn, Sophie and Lying Cat are working with The Will's sister The Brand hoping to find a cure to save him.

Of course nothing in this series ever goes quite to plan so there is plenty of action, some surprise twists and not everyone makes it out alive. I have to say I liked this more than Volume 4 and was really pleased that the relationship drama between Alana and Marco has come to an end, of course they're completely separated at the beginning of the story but both are determined to find each other and reunite their family once and for all so everything else has been forgotten. I have to point out how badass Klara is and how adorable Hazel is here too!

I always really like the scenes with Lying Cat and I loved the addition of The Brand but their task with the dragons was more than a little disgusting! I think Ghus may just have stolen the show as my favourite new introduction though because he was adorable. The way things ended left me desperate to dive into the next volume so for once it's worked in my favour being so behind on a series and already having multiple new books to devour.

As always I'll leave this review with a few of my favourite scenes from Volume 5:

Things are always interesting with this group

Nobody should be messing with Klara if they know what's good for them

Isn't Ghus adorable?

Reunited at last - well at least some of the family is

I can't believe how big Hazel is getting by the end of this!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Monday, 29 October 2018

Review: Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire

Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she's back. The things she's experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy's arrival marks a change at the Home. There's a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it's up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of things.

No matter the cost.

The Wayward Children Series:
Every Heart a Doorway
Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Beneath the Sugar Sky
In an Absent Dream (February 2019)
Come Tumbling Down (2020)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
Imagine being a teenager who never quite fit in, who never really felt at home in this world and who was always looking for a place they belonged. Now imagine one day opening a doorway into another world, a world that fitted you perfectly, where you found your people and finally felt happy. The children in this story all found one of those worlds and spent months or years happily living there only to, one terrible day, end up somehow back in our world, lost and desperately missing the place they had come to think of as home.

Families might be thrilled to have their missing loved one home but those children are less than happy with the latest change in their circumstance and are desperately looking for a way back to the place they really belong. But children who start talking about magical worlds and who are struggling to adjust don't exactly come across as sane to the adults around them. The unlucky ones might end up in an asylum, the lucky ones get sent to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children. At least there they'll find people who will believe their tales of strange new worlds, others who have had similar experiences and who understand the desperate need to find those doorways once more. Eleanor herself travelled to another world as a child so she is best placed to help these teenagers adjust to their new circumstances.

Every Heart a Doorway is another fantastic story from Seanan McGuire, I was already a huge fan of her October Daye and Incryptid series but the Wayward Children world is something completely new and I loved every minute of it. I love the idea of all these different worlds out there and finding that place that just fits you in every possible way but the idea of then being forced to leave and return to somewhere that isn't home is pretty horrifying. There are so many worlds out there that nobody ever seems to end up in the same one but no matter how different their experiences were while they were away the experience of coming back to our world is just as awful so they all understand each other and what they are going through.

This book has such a wonderful cast of diverse characters and they're all unique and quirky in their own ways. You can really see how their personalities fit the places they visited and how it affects the way they interact with each other in the present too. The story is creepy and dark, there are several murders after all, but it also has enough humour to stop it being too heavy going. I'm absolutely in awe of Seanan McGuire's imagination, all of her series are so different but she manages to make them all feel like real places that you could actually visit. Every Heart a Doorway has less than 200 pages but she packs in so much story that you're not left feeling like you missed out. I don't think there are many authors out there that could achieve what she has here with such a low word count! I absolutely can't wait to continue this series & I'm looking forward to spending more time with the Wayward Children.

Source: Received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Hardback / Kindle:

Review: The Ambitious Ocean - Seanan McGuire

October 2018 Patreon story "The Ambitious Ocean," in which our dear Patrick Twycross makes some questionable choices, an oft-mentioned but never seen figure is finally revealed, and Countess Evening Winterrose makes her grand debut in this timeline.

This story is set after "Write in Water" and "Live in Brass," moving us forward in the Patrick, Dianda, and Simon-era timeline. Things are getting messy.

October Daye Series:
In Little Stars (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Rosemary and Rue
A Local Habitation
An Artificial Night
Late Eclipses
Through This House (Short story in the Home Improvement: Undead Edition anthology)
One Salt Sea
In Sea-Salt Tears (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Ashes of Honor
Rat-Catcher (Free short story available on the Lightspeed Magazine website)
No Sooner Met (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Chimes at Midnight
Never Shines the Sun (Short story included in the print version of Chimes at Midnight)
Forbid the Sea (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Stage of Fools (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Voice of Lions (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Act of Hares (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Instruments of Darkness (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
With Honest Trifles (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
In Deepest Consequence (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Jealous in Honor (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Quick in Quarrel (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Winter Long
Heaps of Pearl (Free short story available on Seanan's website)
Shore to Shore (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Write in Water (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Live in Brass (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Ambitious Ocean (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
The Fixed Stars (Free short story available on the Baen website)
A Red-Rose Chain
Full of Briars (Short story)
Once Broken Faith
Dreams and Slumbers (Short story included in Once Broken Faith)
The Brightest Fell
These Antique Fables (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Of Things Unknown (Short story included in The Brightest Fell)
These Antique Fables (Short story available to purchase through Patreon)
Night and Silence
Suffer a Sea-Change (Short story included in Night and Silence)
When Sorrows Come (2019)

Visit Seanan McGuire's website for more information

Review:
The Ambitious Ocean is a short story from Patrick's point of view that can be purchased from Seanan McGuire's Patreon Page. She posts a short story there every month, some standalone but a lot linked to her October Daye series, and you can receive them for as little as $1 each (there are other perks available for higher amounts but $1 is the minimum). We've had quite a few October Daye world stories now from Patrick, Dianda and Tybalt's points of view, these stories aren't essential reading but they all give us background information into some of our favourite characters and I'd highly recommend them to fans of the series.

This story follows on from events in Write in Water and Live in Brass and continues to fill in our knowledge of the early days of Patrick and Dianda's relationship. Patrick feels he has a score to settle with Evening after her actions in the previous story but when he goes to talk to her about it things don't go quite to plan. Dianda and Patrick are so cute together, it was really interesting to see more of Evening in action and I always love these early glimpses of Simon before life goes so terribly wrong for him but what I'm most curious about was the introduction of Dawn. Have we met her in the series already? I honestly can't remember her so I'm definitely left wondering why!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Book Tag: Seven Deadly Sins

I don't often do book tags but I spotted Andy from The Pewter Wolf post this one a couple of weeks ago and it looked like fun so I thought I'd join in. I'm not going to tag anyone else but if you do decide to post (of if you already have posted!) leave me a link in the comments so I can check out your answers :o)

GREED:
What is The Most Expensive Book You Own?

I'm not sure if this really counts since it's technically more of a box set but without a doubt it's the most expensive set of books I own so I'm going to include it anyway - Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey Collectors Edition.

I just realised I've not got around to reviewing this set yet but it really is gorgeous set & I love everything about it, especially the replica of the Monster book of Monsters!


GLUTTONY:
What Book(s) Have You Shamelessly Devoured Many Times?

I could easily count the Harry Potter series for this sin too but I think the series I've actually read the most in the last few years would have to be Ilona Andrew's Hidden Legacy series. To be honest I reread all of Ilona and Gordon's books on a regular basis but when it comes to the Hidden Legacy books  I have literally been known to read the entire trilogy through twice in the space of a week!

If you haven't read these books yet you are seriously missing out, you can read my reviews for the series here.


SLOTH:
What Book/Series Have You Neglected Over Sheer Laziness?

To be honest I'm pretty terrible at starting series and never getting around to finishing them so it's hard to pick just one LOL. It's not that I deliberately stop reading halfway through a series, I just get distracted by all the shiny new books that come along while I'm waiting for the next instalment and don't always remember to go back to them.

For this post I'll just talk about a few of the series that I really want to try and catch up with some time soon.
  1. First we have Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters I love these books so I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to read them but I still have quite a few books to read before I catch up. 
  2. Next is J.D. Robb's In Death series, this is a HUGE series topping over 40 books already with at least 2 new books published every year so I worked out recently that reading one book a month it'll take me about four years to catch up. Quite intimidating for sure but I'm going to give it a good try LOL.
  3. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series is a bit different to the others because I have already read most of these books over the years but I want to reread them to review them on my blog. I'm also kind of putting off the last few books that I haven't read yet because there will never be any new books written in this world and I kind of like the comfort of knowing that I have a couple saved up ready for when I really need them.
  4. Last on the list is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, these books are so much fun to read so although I read the first 16 or so books before I started blogging I'm trying to slowly reread them to review on my blog.


PRIDE:
What Books(s) Do You Bring Up When You Want To Sound Like An Intelligent Reader?

To be honest I really don't care what anyone else thinks about my reading choices, perhaps I did when I was younger but these days I read completely for pleasure and don't care what judgements others might choose to make.

I sometimes think I should tackle on of those "100 classics everyone should read before they die" lists but then I look at the lists and decide I'm not really that interested after all LOL. If something appeals to me then I'll pick it up, no matter what the genre but I think as long as people are reading then it's all good, whether they choose classics, graphic novels or anything in between.

LUST:
What Attributes Do You Find Most Attractive In Characters?

Ooh that's a difficult question because there are different things that draw me to different characters and what one author can pull off another will fail completely on. I think most of all I want to read books with characters I can relate to in some way, obviously we're not all witches and wizards like Harry, Ron and Hermione but whats so great about them is that apart from their magical abilities they're really quite normal, they still have the same insecurities, fears and weaknesses that we do and still have to deal with the same day to day issues on top of trying to save the world. I enjoy stories where I can imagine myself hanging out with the characters, I want to feel like if they walked off of the pages and into my front room we could be friends.

ENVY:

What Books Would You Most Like To Receive As a Gift?


I could write a huge list of books I'm saving up for or books that I'm desperately waiting to be published  but the biggest unicorn that I would LOVE to own a copy of has to be the limited edition hardcover of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling. It's such a gorgeous set that comes with art prints and a lovely keepsake box & I think it would go perfectly with the rest of my Harry Potter collection. It's getting harder and harder to find though and the copies that I have seen are FAR outside of my price range but I live in hope so who knows, perhaps one day the book faeries will decide to leave a copy underneath my Christmas tree LOL.



WRATH:
What Author(s) Do You Have a Love/Hate Relationship With?

There are two authors who immediately spring to mind to answer this question, one is going to be a hugely unpopular choice and the other is an author who used to be one of my favourites so I still find it difficult to believe I'm including their name on this list.

So first we have Sarah J Maas (yes shocking I know!), I was actually a huge fan of Sarah's for a long time, I went to signings and met her twice and I would devour her books the minute I got my hands on them. She was an author I'd preorder immediately and get super excited about but it all started going horribly wrong when she completely rewrote Chaol's character in Queen of Shadows just because she had decided Rowan was a better fit for Aelin. I would have been bitter about that ship change no matter what but if she had written it better then I'd have gotten over my disappointment eventually.

As if that wasn't bad enough the next book she published was A Court of Mist and Fury which I HATED with the passion of a thousand suns. Now I know that is going to be a shockingly unpopular opinion because that series has so many fans but I absolutely hated everything about that book and I've not been able to pick up a book by Sarah J Maas since.  I just hate the way she is so fickle with her pairings, and how in one book certain characters are true mates but then a guy comes along that Sarah suddenly likes better so she has to rewrite history and give her characters personality transplants in order to fit square pegs into round holes. She has absolutely zero skill or subtlety about it and goes about the shift like a bull in a china shop. It's gutting because I did really love Rhys so if she'd paired him with anyone other than Feyre, or even split up Feyre and Tamlin without changing Tamlin into someone he wasn't, then I would have stayed a superfan. As it is I know I want to finish the Throne of Glass series eventually but I have very little enthusiasm left for the series or anything else Sarah J Maas may write in the future.

It actually pains me to say this but the second author on this list is Patricia Briggs. I have been a HUGE fan of the Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega books for years now, if you've been following this blog for any length of time you've probably heard me talking about them before because I've reread the books at least once a year for a long time now. I honestly thought this series would continue to be a favourite forever and I've always been so excited to get my hands on each new instalment.

But then along came Burn Bright and that book destroyed everything. Some of the things revealed in that book have totally ruined my opinion of both one of my most loved characters AND of Patricia Briggs herself. I know it's her world and they're her characters so she's entitled to do whatever she likes to them but this is some seriously messed up shit that I just can't deal with. Not after reading (and rereading again and again!) fourteen full length books (and multiple short stories!) set in this world without a single hint of what was coming. I don't think I've ever felt so betrayed, not even by Sarah J Maas which is really saying something! I hope that one day I'll recover from this enough to be able to enjoy the first fourteen books again but I don't think I'll ever be able to reread Burn Bright or any new books in this world which is utterly heartbreaking because they used to be one of the highlights of my reading year.

So what do you think of my choices? Are any the same as yours? What books and authors would make your Seven Deadly Sins list?

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Review: The Battlecruiser HMS Hood: An Illustrated Biography, 1916-1941 - Bruce Taylor

The battlecruiser HMS Hood is one of the great warships of history. Unmatched for beauty and charisma, unequalled for size, for 20 years the she was the glory ship of the Royal Navy, flying the flag across the world in the twilight years of the British Empire. Here, in words, photos and colour artwork, is the story of her life, her work and her people, from the laying of her keel on the Clyde in 1916 to her awful destruction at the hands of the Bismarck in 1941. Among the eyecatching strengths of the book is a unique gallery of photographs, including stills from a recently discovered piece of colour footage of the ship, plus a spectacular set of computer-generated images of both the exterior and interior by the worlds leading exponent of the art - a man who worked with the film director James Cameron (of Titanic fame). A wealth of new information on Hoods structure and operation make it essential reading for the enthusiast, modeller and historian alike. Hugely successful from its first publication, this is the forth printing of the ultimate book on the ultimate ship of the pre-war era, and is now presented in a new, smaller and affordable softback format.

Visit The book page on Goodreads or HMS Hood Association website for more information

Review:
I don't read a lot of non fiction but I've been doing some family history research recently and borrowed this book from my local library to help me. We know that one of my great uncles died at sea during WWII and family lore has always been that he died on board the HMS Hood so I wanted to do a bit more research about the ship and the tragedy that unfolded on the 24th of May 1941 when it sank during a battle with the German battleship Bismarck.

As it turns out we've managed to find evidence that although my great uncle served on the ship he was no longer on board when it sank, we're still trying to track down where he was transferred to and what ship he actually died on but it definitely wasn't the Hood. Apparently it's quite common for families to incorrectly believe relatives died on the Hood, probably because it was one of the most memorable ships at the time.

I'll admit that there are parts of the book that I skim read, some of it was a bit too technical for me since I have very little interest in actual ship building but this was still really interesting to flick though. It had a lot of information about the design, how the ship was built, the layout, life on board, ship pets, refits and previous accidents and how it was the pride of the British Navy. There are loads of pictures from throughout its career from when it's design began in 1916 right through to when it sank in 1941 including some large foldout illustrations.

1,415 men died when the Hood sank and there only 3 survivors rescued making it one of the worst tragedies in Naval history. Honestly I find it quite hard to wrap my head around that almost total loss of life.

If you're interested in finding out more you might want to check out the HMS Hood Association website where they have a full honour roll listing all the men who died on the ship along with lists of past crew members and loads of other information about the ship itself and the people who served on her including biographies for many crew members and details about the wreckage.

Source: Borrowed from the library

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback:

Friday, 26 October 2018

Review: Shadow and Ice - Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.

Gods of War Series:
Shadow and Ice
Future titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Gena Showalter's website for more information

Review:
I really enjoyed Gena Showalter's YA White Rabbit Chronicles series but it's been a long time since I've read any of her adult books. As a HUGE paranormal romance fan I had high expectations for Shadow and Ice though and was really looking forward to starting this new series. I hate to say it but unfortunately I ended up feeling a little disappointed, this wasn't the worst series opener I've ever read but it definitely didn't wow me and to be honest I'm not sure if I have any interest in reading the next book.

Shadow and Ice had so much potential, Gena Showalter has created a universe full of different realms all populated by different types of immortals. Each time a new realm is discovered a new All War is begun where one warrior from each realm is selected to battle to the death for the right to control the new world. The warriors are usually slaves who didn't choose to join the war but unless they win they die so they're all very serious about taking that winning spot. The latest All War is being fought over control of Earth as we know it, humanity isn't aware that this battle is going on and any humans who get caught in the crossfire are collateral damage and not to be worried about.

For Knox this is the fourth All War he has fought in, he won the previous three and has been promised freedom from his slave bonds if he wins this one too. For centuries Knox has longed for freedom so that he can take revenge on the king who imprisoned him and he's not going to let anything get in the way of achieving his goal. Imprisoned in ice for hundreds of years along with nearly all of the other All War participants Knox has been trying to break free to continue the battle for his life.

Vale is a human who is on holiday with her sister before they settle down and start their own business. When they end up separated from their guide and alone in an arctic wilderness they find shelter in a cave and are shocked to discover frozen statues of warriors trapped in the ice. They are even more shocked when those warriors suddenly come to life and start battling against each other. Vale ends up being kidnapped by Knox who wants to get information from her about how much the world has changed while he was imprisoned but all she really wants to do is find her way back to her sister and get them both to safety.

This series sounded a bit like it was going to be an adult version of the hunger games with immortal warriors battling it out for supremacy so I was really excited to see how it would go. I honestly expected to devour this book but it actually ended up being quite a slow read and a bit of a slog to get through. I think some of the problems came from poor world building, I had a lot of questions about things and there were a lot of things that never became clear even by the end of the book. We are also introduced to a ridiculously large cast of characters and I had trouble keeping track of who was who and what weapons and special abilities they all had. The battles were quite hard to follow and the fact that you know most of these characters are going to die made it hard to stay invested in the outcome of the story.

I also found it really difficult to get on board with the romance between Knox and Vale. Knox kidnaps her and even when she tells him her sister will die if Vale can't get her the medicine she needs he has no intention of helping either of them. Rather than being angry and hating him for that Vale spends all her time panting after him like a dog on heat. I mean really, someone kidnaps you and doesn't care that your sister is going to die and within five minutes all you're really thinking about is how hot your kidnapper is? Does that sound realistic? Overall I found Vale irritating and a lot of the things coming out of her mouth were so juvenile that even my 14 year old nephew wouldn't be caught dead saying them (for example: "Because foxy Knoxie deserves a party with his doxy" - seriously I couldn't make this crap up!). It was like she was trying too hard to be cool and just came across like an idiot. Knox wasn't much better but at least his character had changed and grown by the end of the book. I'm so disappointed that that GORGEOUS cover was wasted on a hero I can't drool over though!

The only reason I'm even slightly interested in reading the next book is that it's going to be about Nola and Bane who both came across as more interesting than Vale and Knox even though they had far less page time. I just don't know if that is enough to persuade me to try it though.

Source: Received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

Blog Tour: Shadow and Ice - Gena Showalter


The Queen of Paranormal Romance, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter, stuns with SHADOW AND ICE, the first title in her scorching new paranormal romance Gods of War Series. Check out the tour stop below and get your copy of SHADOW AND ICE today!


Gena Showalter, the New York Times bestselling author who brought you the Lords of the Underworld, introduces a scorching new paranormal romance series… Gods of War.

Knox of Iviland has spent his life competing in the All Wars, where vicious warriors with supernatural powers fight to the death to claim new realms. One winner takes everything—and all losers die. Enslaved as a child for his ability to control shadows, the most ruthless champion in history will stop at nothing to kill his king. But first he must win the battle for Earth. When a fearsome weapon imprisons every combatant in ice, centuries pass without progress…until she walks in.

Vale London craves a fun arctic getaway with her foster sister before settling down to open a bakery. Street-tough but vulnerable, she is unprepared to find ancient gods escaping a frozen cave—merciless beings who target her when she inadvertently enters their war.

Though Vale is now his enemy, Knox is consumed with lust and a fierce need to protect her. But only one combatant can prove victorious, and he will have to choose: live for freedom, or die for love.




“I love this world…this is Gena Showalter at her best!”—J.R. Ward, #1 New York Times bestselling author


“The Gods of War series is my new obsession.”—Christine Feehan, #1 New York Times bestselling author


EXCERPT:

Present Day
Somewhere in the Arctic Circle

“Heads are going to roll.”

Sore, tired and chilled to the bone, Vale London dropped a ten thousand pound backpack, leaned against a wall of ice and scanned her surroundings—a sea of snow broken up by mountains and seracs that made her fancy that ocean waves had flash-froze just before they’d come crashing down.

Frigid wind howled, the sound of it somehow more glacial than the below zero temp, screams of pain and helplessness seeming to echo within.

“Are we talking literally or figuratively?” Her beloved foster sister Magnolia “Nola” Lee dropped her pack as well, sat atop it and drew a thick flannel blan¬ket around her shoulders. “With you I never know.”

Vale savored the flavor of sweetened brown butter that coated her tongue. At some point in her childhood development, wires had gotten crossed in her brain, leaving her with a severe case of synesthesia. She heard sounds, just like everyone else, but she tasted them, too. Letters also registered as colors, and numbers appeared as a three-dimensional map inside her head.

The more nuanced the sound, the richer the flavor.

“Figuratively…maybe,” she replied. “The next time I see our absentee guide, he’ll be lucky to walk away. Or even crawl.” She wasn’t known as a street-tough scrapper for nothing! And the POS had ruined what was sup¬posed to be the vacation of a lifetime, so he had to pay.

Dang it, Nola hadn’t needed this kind of stress, or danger. She’d needed a break. The girl worked two full time jobs. If she wasn’t baking and selling the goods at local office buildings, she was writing How To copy for her dating column in Oklahoma Love Match magazine. And Vale… Vale had needed a break from everything. Had hoped to enjoy one last hoorah—or maybe a first hoorah—before she and Nola settled down and opened a fancy-schmancy gourmet donut shop slash catering center slash speed dating and bachelorette party hub, with Vale on paperwork duty and Nola behind the oven and the counter.

Vale’s biggest mistake? Booking each extracurric¬ular activity with the cheapest company possible, in order to do more stuff on a limited budget. Quality beat quantity; she understood that now. So how about a break, world?


Gena Showalter’s SHADOW AND ICE – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
October 22nd
All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt
Beneath The Covers – Review & Excerpt
Diane's Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt
NallaReads – Review & Excerpt
Read more sleep less – Review & Excerpt
October 23rd
Book Reader Chronicles – Review & Excerpt
Ceres Books World – Review
Declarations of a Fangirl – Review & Excerpt
Little Shop of Readers – Review & Excerpt
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review & Excerpt
October 24th
@reads_romance – Review
Bout-a-Book blog – Review
Crazii Bitches Book Blog – Review & Excerpt
Lo’s Lo-Down on Books – Review & Excerpt
Milky Way of Books – Review
Romancing the Laser Pistol – Review & Excerpt
Somewhere Lost in Books – Review & Excerpt
October 25th
Bambi Unbridled – Review
Caitlin's World – Review & Excerpt
Feel the Book – Excerpt
Kay Daniels Romance – Review & Excerpt
Reading in Pajamas – Review & Excerpt
Reese's Reviews – Excerpt
October 26th
Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt
Incidental Inspiration – Review & Excerpt
My Book Filled Life – Review & Excerpt
Sip Read Love – Review
The Ink Spell – Review
October 27th
Booknerd1107 – Review
The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt
October 28th
Jax's Book Magic – Excerpt
Ginreads – Review & Excerpt
Mother/Gamer/Writer – Review & Excerpt
NC 2 DC – Review & Excerpt
Red's Midnight Readers – Review & Excerpt
October 29th
3 degrees of fiction – Review & Excerpt
Avephoenix Naughty Readings – Review & Excerpt
Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt
Sharing Inspired Kreations – Review & Excerpt
The Book Dutchesses – Review & Excerpt
October 30th
Dirty Girl Romance – Review
Nerdy Dirty & flirty – Review & Excerpt
Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt
Sassy Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt
Total Book Geek – Excerpt
Writes Forward – Review
October 31st
Book Lovers Hangout – Review & Excerpt
KDRBCK – Review & Excerpt
Mean Girls Luv Books – Review & Excerpt
Reviews from the Heart – Review & Excerpt
Shameless Book Club – Review & Excerpt
November 1st
Book Nook Nuts – Review & Excerpt
Busy Bumble Bee Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Dreamer's Book Blog – Excerpt
Jeri's Book Attic – Review
Romance Schmomance – Review & Excerpt
Up All Night w/ Books Blog – Review & Excerpt
November 2nd
Book Addict – Excerpt
Fundinmental – Review
Ruby's Books – Excerpt
The Book Maven – Review & Excerpt

About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series--Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles--and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she's appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black--if you ask her about it, she'll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Review: Six of Crows: Collector's Edition - Leigh Bardugo

A glorious Collector's Edition of New York Times bestselling, epic fantasy novel, SIX OF CROWS. Beautifully designed, with an exclusive letter from the author and six stunning full-colour character portraits. This covetable hardback with red sprayed edges is a perfect gift for fans, and a perfect way to discover the unforgettable writing of Leigh Bardugo.

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist: break into the Ice Court - a military stronghold that has never been breached - and retrieve a hostage whose knowledge could change Grisha magic forever. To succeed would mean riches beyond his wildest dreams - but he can't pull it off alone . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Together they might just be unstoppable - if they don't kill each other first.

Six of Crows Duology:
(spin off series set in the same world but featuring different characters)
Six of Crows
Six of Crows Collector's Edition
Crooked Kingdom

The Grisha Trilogy:
The Witch of Duva (Short Story) (Can be read online on the Tor website here)
Shadow and Bone (Originally published in the UK as The Gathering Dark but now re-released as Shadow and Bone as per the US)
The Tailor (Short Story) (Can be read online on Leigh Bardugo's Facebook page here)
Siege and Storm
The Too-Clever Fox (Short Story) (Can be read online on the Tor website here)
Little Knife (Short Story) (Can be read online on the Tor website here)
Ruin and Rising
The Language of Thorns (anthology of fairytales set in the Grishaverse)

Visit Leigh Bardugo's website for more information

Review:
***** I've already posted most of this review before but I wanted to update it to include pictures of the absolutely GORGEOUS new Collector's Edition Hardback! *****

I've been a fan of Leigh Bardugo's ever since I discovered her Grisha trilogy so of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Six of Crows. I had high expectations going in but I was blown away by how amazing this book was. It's set in the same world as the previous books but if you're new to the author you can definitely start here. Fans will recognise a few nods to the other series but in general this is completely separate and it's actually a very different kind of story to anything we've had from Leigh Bardugo before.

Six of Crows is a heist story, one in which six characters have come together to attempt the impossible. Not only do they have to break into an impenetrable fortress but they also have to release a hostage and get him safely back out again. If they can pull off the challenge they'll earn more money than they could get in a lifetime of honest work but it will mean putting their lives at risk and trusting the rest of the team to each play their own vital role. Kaz may be the leader but he can't do this alone and only Inej, Nina, Jesper, Matthias and Wylan have the unique skills needed to help him pull off the heist of a lifetime.

It's been a long time since I was quite so invested in such a diverse bunch of characters. Kaz is a great anti-hero, nothing with him is quite what it seems and he is constantly at least ten steps ahead of everyone else. His planning skills are second to none and I loved the way he was constantly pulling off the unexpected even though the number of secrets he was keeping was incredibly frustrating for the rest of the team. Nina and Matthias have a very complicated history and it makes things more than a little awkward between them, they're more likely to kill each other before the mission is complete than to actually have each other's backs but I really enjoyed the way we got to learn about their pasts through various flashbacks. They have both done things they're not proud of and they have good reasons not to trust each other but they're going to have to find a way to work together, at least temporarily, if they want to achieve their goals. Jesper added a lot of humour to the group, he's probably the least conflicted character in the bunch but he's loyal and is trusted by everyone. Wylan is a bit of an unknown quantity, as the newest member of the group and someone that none of them have ever worked with before he has to prove his loyalty before he can gain their trust.

As much as I loved all of the characters it was Inej who quickly became my favourite - she's just absolutely brilliant and I couldn't get enough of her. Nicknamed The Wraith, Inej is an expert at sneaking around, her acrobatic skills mean she can get anywhere and you'll never hear her coming. If Kaz needs a silent assassin Inej is the one he sends but she's best at spying and an expert at gathering the secrets of his enemies. Inej puts all other badass women to shame and I don't think there is anything she can't achieve but she's also one of the sweetest characters who has been through some horrific things and I desperately want to see her dreams come true.

I was a little worried at first that it might be hard to keep track of who everyone is, books with this many different points of view can get incredibly complicated, but Leigh Bardugo has given them all such unique voices and made all six of them so three dimensional that I had no problems at all keeping things straight. The same definitely can't be said of Kaz's plans for the heist because that was twist, after twist, after twist and I swear I was on the edge of my seat for the entire second half of the book. You never had a clue what would be thrown at the characters next and I was genuinely concerned that not everyone was going to survive the mission. The first half was a little slower as it introduced each of the characters and laid all the groundwork for what was to follow but I was never bored and I loved every minute of it.

Speaking as a Leigh Bardugo fan girl I would definitely say that this is her best book yet, I love the Grisha trilogy but this is on a whole new level and epic doesn't even begin to describe Six of Crows. It was marketed as Oceans Eleven meets Game of Thrones and it lives up to the hype, it's fast paced, witty, clever and the characters are absolutely fantastic. The first instalment of a duology Six of Crows doesn't answer every question but it doesn't end on a cliffhanger and you will find out if they can pull of their heist or not. The sequel, Crooked Kingdom, is now at the top of my wish list for 2016 and I can't wait to spend more time with these characters!

Now let's have a look at the gorgeous new Six of Crows: Collector's Edition published in the UK by Orion Children's Books. I absolutely love this new edition with the pretty red foil on the cover, beautiful endpapers and the amazing character art at the back. Pictures say a thousand words though so don't take my word for it, have a look at these and make your own mind up!

It's hard to get a good pic of foil but hopefully this 
shows just how pretty and shiny this book is!

and look at those pretty red sprayed edges!

The front endpapers show a gorgeous world map

No Mourners, No Funerals artwork

Kaz and Inej

Nina and Matthias

Jesper and Wylan

The back end pages show a map of The Ice Court

Then even the back cover has this gorgeous red foil logo

This really is a stunning edition of one of my favourite books so I would highly recommend it to fans of the series!

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Hardback / Paperback / Kindle:

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