Friday, 29 August 2014

REVIEW: The Witch of Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper

21422053I received this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any form.

Author: Kendall Kulper
Published by: Orchard Books on 4th September 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Witches, Magic
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Waterstones

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the sea witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keeps the island's whalers safe and prosperous at sea. But before she could learn how to control her power, her mother - the first Roe woman in centuries to turn her back on magic - steals Avery away from her grandmother. Avery must escape before her grandmother dies, taking with her the secrets of the Roe's power. 

The one magical remnant left to Avery is the ability to read dreams, and one night she foresees her own murder. Time is running short, both for her and for the people of her island who need the witches' help to thrive. 




It's common to judge a book by it's cover. But there are those special novels where the story is so much more than the colourful jacket it is given. The Witch of Salt & Storm is one of these special novels.


You are briefly given the fact that this book is about Magic and Witches and most would expect a lot of fast-paced action, thrilling plot twists and such but you wouldn't find that here. This is a story about what it means to have your dreams shattered, how it feels to be trapped with no freedom, it is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story about a girl who wishes to fight the inevitable and still hope that one day, she could become the person she had always wanted to be.

Avery Roe is a witch living on Prince Island where whaling is a huge industry. Avery's grandmother is the island's infamous witch known to create spells and charms to help the people of their island to prosper and avoid losses and bad luck. Being brought up by her grandmother, Avery has the gift of dream-telling - the ability to decode the message behind people's dreams that foretell their future. After her Mother denied magic and continuing the Roe family line, Avery is to become the island's next Roe witch after her grandmother, but before any of that could happen, Avery is taken away by her Mother, away from her grandmother and bound by charms and spells to keep her trapped. To make matters worse, she dreams of her own murder and it is said that a Roe witch cannot be killed.

The synopsis sounded very promising but I was very surprised with the end result. Kendall Kulper's writing is both expressive and lyrical. Very beautifully written indeed. The Witch of Salt & Storm is emotionally gripping especially as you follow Avery on her journey to return to her grandmother.

Avery is one of those protagonist's where the reader is left stupefied. She is an independent girl with a strong spirit and she develops to become even greater as the story goes on. I sympathized with Avery a lot after the sorrows and challenges she faces and admired her courage. There are factors that she and I both share. I loved reading about her relationship with Tane whom she helps after he promises to aid her in return. (And yes, there is romance and that too was written to perfection. It is both surprising and unexpected.)

The world building is magical with some historical elements. There is mythology and superstition and many surprising aspects in the story. I didn't wish for the story to end. Powerfully addictive, you will be forced to keep on reading and find out what will happen to Avery. There are up moments and down moments which will either fill your heart with joy or break you until there is nothing left.

This is one mind-blowing story with a beautiful setting, unique story and appealing characters. It is a story filled with drama, sorrow and happiness all at the same time. It is difficult for me to put into words how incredible this book was but I can say with confidence that this was a great pleasure to read and I highly recommend everyone reads this. I feel this is something every reader would love no matter what genre they favor.

Rating:
Gold Wreath
 Simply magical.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why Fantasy?

Fantasy.

What do you think of when you see or hear that word?

I used to think of superheroes and unicorns. Or the occasional Power Rangers. Of course that changed to Harry Potter once the movies came out, but either way, I've loved Fantasy since a very young age - in books and in movies. I think it's just wonderful because through Fantasy, writers can really use their imagination to a great extent. With Fantasy, there are no limits to what you can do, there are no rules to follow, no need to worry about a story being too weird because Fantasy can be anything.

The fact you can create an entire universe (or a few universes) with a thought is incredible. It allows you to make some of those dreams you have - whether it is about flying or super strength - become reality within a book. That dream about you having the power to crush concrete with your bare fists? Yeah, you can. As a reader, I live off of fantasies, who doesn't? You don't even have to be a reader or writer to fantasize.


I also love to read other peoples fantasies and this is widely shared via books. Movies are great too, if produced well give or take. But somehow I don't enjoy them as much as Fantasy books. I think it's because with books, I'm able to imagine the world myself from my own perception whilst reading which makes it all the more exciting.

One of my latest reads, The Oathbreakers Shadow by Amy McCulloch, has a mind blowing setting and prose. I met Amy at the Young Adult Literature Convention and was able to talk to her about how she had come up with the idea of the story and setting because really, I was taken by how she managed to create such a magical universe. The names, the rules, the characters, everything was just so different in a good way. I absolutely loved it. It was so new to me and that's what I love about Fantasy, because I get to imagine new worlds and live in them at least for a while before reality kicks back. (Boo.)

Urban Fantasy counts too. Banished by Liz de Jager, an electrifying story led by a strong-willed female protagonist, is one of 2014's sensational debuts, widely popular among YA readers. I've read and loved it. It's action-packed and insanely dramatic. (Seriously. Go read it.) 

Who doesn't love to read about Dragons, Wizards, 100 ft. long Pythons and all that crazy stuff? 

Those small moments of happiness are enough for me to love Fantasy. Not to say that I don't love other genres, because I do, but Fantasy just holds that special place in my heart.

What about you? Which genre do you prefer more? Do you love Fantasy and if yes, then why?

Feel free to let me know in the comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

REVIEW: The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

8987161Author: Kody Keplinger
Published by: Hodder Children's Books on 5th April 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Chick-Lit
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Links:  GoodReads | Amazon | Waterstones

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper knows she's not the hottest girl at school, but when school jock and resident moron Wesley casually refers to her as a Duff - Designated Ugly Fat Friend - the gloves are off!

If there's a thin line between love and hate then Bianca has crossed it. She just never thought she was capable of breaking anyone's heart.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

REVIEW: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

18461109Author: Carla Spradbery
Published by: Hodder Children's Books on 4th September 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Pages: 317
Format: ARC
Source: Books With Bite
Links: GoodReads | Waterstones | Amazon

Summary:

For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become.

But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory with his ominous tag.

As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know to to trust.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

REVIEW: The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

18196516Author: Natasha Ngan
Published by: Hot Key Books on 4th September 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 410
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Links: GoodReads | Waterstones | Amazon

Summary:

In a future London, where the divide between the rich and poor is wide, teenager Seven makes a living by stealing the hottest commodity around - valuable human memories - from banks, vaults and rich people's houses in the city. When he is caught in the act by Alba, the daughter of London's most infamous criminal prosecutor, he never expected her to keep his secret, let alone touch his heart.

But Alba and Seven are bonded by their sense of isolation, and though their lives are starkly different, their sense of justice and survival strengthen their powerful connection.

Then Seven stumbles across a secret about his own memories, and a horrifying government experiment, and his relationship with Alba is put to the ultimate test...

Saturday, 16 August 2014

REVIEW: The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen

Author: Erika Johansen
Published by: Bantam Press on 17th July 2014
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Dystopia
Pages: 448
Format: Hardback
Series: The Queen Of The Tearling #1
Source: Bought
Links: GoodReads | Waterstones | Amazon

Summary:

Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother - Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid - was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea's uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighboring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea's 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother's guard - each pledged to defend the queen to death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding.

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom's heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother's legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly ad fairly while simply trying to stay alive...

Monday, 11 August 2014

REVIEW: Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Author: C.J. Daugherty
Published by: Atom on 1st January 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Contemporary
Pages: 454
Format: Paperback
Series: Night School #1
Source: Bought
Links: Amazon, GoodReads

Summary:

Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. Her brother's run away from home. Her parents ignore her. And she's just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to boarding school, far from her London friends.

But at Cimmeria Academy, Allie is soon caught up in the strange activities of a secret elite group of students.

When she's attacked late one night the incident sets off a chain of increasingly violent events. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, she finds out nothing in Cimmeria is what it seems to be.

And that she is not who she thought she was.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

July Book Haul!

It's Book Haul Time! 
Quite frankly, I'm quite pleased with my book buying during July, and this doesn't count for any books I obtained during YALC, book buying bans did not exist that weekend! Most were my own anyway.
I have 11 books to haul which is a record for me considering my book buying levels these past few months and most of these I had gotten with vouchers I had received so that cut down my spending! I also won a book from a giveaway which was great.
I know what you're thinking...


I ACTUALLY HAVE SELF RESTRAINT.

Moving on...

These are the books I acquired during July.


#1. The Queen Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen 
 (You can't imagine how ecstatic I was to finally get a hold of this book after months of waiting!)

#2 & 3. Night School: Fracture & Night School: Resistance by C.J. Daugherty
 (Freaking amazing books that everyone must read.)

#4 Fragments by Dan Wells (Partials #2)

#5. Tempest by Julie Cross (Tempest #1)

#6. Outlaw by Angus Donald (The Outlaw Chronicles #1)

#7. Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)

#8. Heaven by Christoph Marzi
#9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe #1)

#10. Fateful by Claudia Gray
#11. The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery (From Books With Bite)

 I've already read 2 and a half of those books. (Still reading Tearling... slowly.) I'm aiming to read A LOT this August and catch up on books I have been pushing back on that dreadful TBR pile. I'll be posting a August TBR of the books I hope to read this month.

Feel free to let me know what you got during July in the comments below! :-)

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Days #6 and #7 - Night School Marathon Wrap Up!

 

 IT'S OVER.

Night School Marathon is over, though technically, there is still about an hour to go (as I type this anyway) until it is officially over but I'M DONE.

That's right. I read all these deceiving books this week and what a journey it was!
I'm a little distraught.
Having only finished Resistance just now, what I write now may contain high levels of excitement, emotional turmoil and fangirling.
You have been warned.

So let us begin with how Day #6 went for me. I pretty much had 2 days to read Resistance but seeing as it was the last book I have in this series, I was reluctant to finish it. I simply wasn't ready to let go of this world yet! It is far too addicting. But I do commend you read it anyway.
So, I took my time reading Resistance and GOD BLESS I FINALLY FOUND OUT WHO THE TRAITOR WAS. I had a hunch on who it might be but I think deep down I was hoping it would be someone else. But that didn't change anything, I still was amazed.
Day #7, or today I finished Resistance. 
That. Ending.
I don't understand how The Fault in Our Stars novel failed to do something that Resistance did. Let's be real, the events in TFIOS are far more heart-wrenching than Resistance yet it was Resistance that made me cry in the end.
Why?
Read it and find out.
CARTER. SYLVAIN.
I love both Carter and Sylvain to pieces right now and that also means I will never pick a team. How have other people managed to pick a side?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND. 
I NEED A CARTER AND SYLVAIN IN MY LIFE.
 The final book isn't out until next year. I think I might just die.

So let's move on.
In a week, the Night School series has barged it's way into my favourite series EVER.
This series is a serious contender against my current all-time favourite trilogy - The ANGEL trilogy by L.A. Weatherly and that is saying something. I've loved that trilogy for years now and so far, nothing I've read has managed to replace it. 
But after finishing with Resistance, I think the Night School series has pushed itself into 1st place. For now, I'll just say Night School and ANGEL are neck and neck and will have to share 1st place until I read the final Night School book.
This series is incredible and I never expected to love it as much as I do now. Each book just got better and better and despite the disheartening scenes and events, I loved it. Allie is just incredible. She is now one of my favourite female protagonists, among the other female characters.

The whole world, the plot, the romance, the characters, everything. Everything was pretty much perfection, I can't even fault these books. They took my breath away. I can't wait to write my reviews on them so I can go into it further but for now, I'm just going to say that I'm so happy I got to read this series and discover the amazing Night School world. It was a great pleasure to read them and I can't praise CJ highly enough on her writing because she has written these books beautifully.
The books were worth every tear and the time I gave to read them.
That was one hell of a roller coaster!
Sigh.
Now all there is left to do is wait for that last book. Time to bring out the fish fingers and custard methinks.
http://31.media.tumblr.com/4810f6080886a64ea31f37b98c1f5197/tumblr_mr555mGkuU1sezr9po3_400.gif 
Well, I really enjoyed this week. If you joined in then I hope you did too!
The winner of my giveaway will be picked tomorrow.
Right now, everyone needs to go and read this series. THIS INSTANT.
Severe consequences if you don't.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Day #5 - Night School Marathon

End of Day 5! This week is flying by and worse, I now have only Night School: Resistance left to read! Which means when I'm done reading it, there will be an agonizing wait until the final book.

FINAL. BOOK.

The pain of knowing it's all coming to an end...
Sigh.

So I completed Night School: Fracture and thankfully, there was more suspense than heartbreak. For once. Though that's not to say I didn't feel heavyhearted in some parts, because CJ still managed to achieve that as she has with all the previous Night School books...
But I was more focused on who this 'spy' was. I was tearing my brain to pieces, trying to figure out who is the bloody Judas! It was driving me mad and still is right now. I think I'm going to explode.

These books just keep getting better and better and I can't believe I wasted this much time waiting to read them. I'm going to be honest here and say I went in reading them without knowing exactly what it was about. At one point I thought it was a series about vampires. Heh.
(Come on, who wouldn't think of vampires when you see the title Night School for the first time?)

With one book to go, I started Resistance at 5AM in the morning just after finishing Fracture. Yes, I have that much commitment and because these books are so hard to put down! Trust me, the best way to read these books is to marathon them because during the time you wait to read the next one is excruciating. I'm so glad I chose to marathon these books because I'll have some patience at least for the last book. (Due to publish next year!)
 I must prepare myself for the waiting.
 
 In the mean time, I can look forward to reading Book 4. 
One more thing, the whole Team Carter and Team Sylvain thing? Yeah.
Still undecided. As of now, I do hold more admiration for Sylvain but I cannot shake my love for Carter. I'm surprised I'm still sane. (To an extent.)

Great news, I will have achieved reading all 4 books this week, maybe even finishing early! I feel so happy and sad right now. These books have made me feel this way and I love it. Yes, I even love the pain I underwent. I've even been listening to certain tracks as I read. For Legacy it was 21 Guns by Green Day which I felt worked well with the book.
For Fracture I made the worst choice possible and went with All Of The Stars by  Ed Sheeran, and if you don't already, that's a The Fault in Our Stars track. Fab right? More grief! 

 NO. NOT OKAY.



Giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight. Have you entered?

Friday, 1 August 2014

Day #4 - Night School Marathon

So Day Number Four...

I finished reading Night School: Legacy. 
Thoughts and Feelings?
Well...
 
 Coming from someone who rarely (and I mean RARELY) cries at books, these books are freaking heart-breakers, I was tormented. Did I expect any of it? NO. AND NO ONE TOLD ME BEFOREHAND.
I was not emotionally prepared. Now I'm not going to go and give away anything, but seriously... WHY ALL THESE SAD BITS.
AND WHY CARTER. WHY. I'm just... I can't.
 
So you know what I went ahead and did?
Yeah.
I picked up Book 3 because I want to torture myself some more and because I'm a glutton for punishment.
I read a little from Night School: Fracture and then I realised...
I have only 1 more book left... Resistance remains...
There is only 1 more book left in this series and it publishes next year and then... NO MORE NIGHT SCHOOL.
I can't. This series cannot end! No more Carter. No more Sylvain. No more Allie. No more Cimmeria Academy. 
I can't.
I just can't.

Okay I'm done.
 
Enter my giveaway. There's only 3 days left. (UK and Europe)