Thursday, 26 January 2017

REVIEW: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo



Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published by: Henry Holt & Company on 29th September 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Pages: 465
Format: Hardback
Series: The Dregs #1
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | Kindle

Summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich 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

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.





It's a heist novel, they said. You'll love it, they said.

And they were correct in every sense.

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Also, why it took me over a year to finally get around to reading it, is beyond me. But in a sense, I'm glad because it meant no agonising waiting for the sequel and I could marathon through the duology with no regrets. Needless to say, I was fired up. Like seriously, buzzing in my seat like a rocket ready to take off, kinda fired up. I raced through Bardugo's Grisha trilogy the previous year - again, I marathoned the lot. It was also my second attempt having failed to have been hooked by Shadow & Bone first time around - and Sankta Alina, I enjoyed it a whole lot that second time around. The immense world building and magical words Bardugo stringed together was everything I yearn for and desire in a YA Fantasy. I adored the Grisha series, I really did. The Darkling and Nikolai shall forever be emblazoned on my heart forevermore.

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So when I discovered that Leigh would be writing a duology set in the same universe, I could barely contain my excitement. I was ready for more Grishaverse. Ready to be destroyed in every way possible. Six of Crows did not disappoint. It was the perfect build up, dramatic, clever and incredibly engrossing. The cast of characters, the diversity, it was the most exquisite piece I had read in such a while and the most appeasing. I lapped up every single word. And that was it. It was just the beginning and I knew the sequel would have a lot to live up to. I had been in a lazy mood for weeks, especially when it comes to reading. I felt like I lost that special spark whilst reading that got me so sucked into the book that I completely lost track of time. That feeling disappeared for a while despite the numerous exciting new releases I had at my feet. Truthfully, I was terrified that I may slowly be growing out of YA or reading in general. But no.

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It was just a matter of waiting for the right book. And that book was Six of Crows. It made me fall in love with reading and Fantasy all over again. I felt like a kid that just discovered that their favourite sweet has been made into an ice cream. It's a weird image but seriously, I was that kinda kid. I fell in love with the expanded Grisha world, the carefully flawed yet flawless characters, damaged and complex, fleshed out and realistic. I loved them to pieces. My beloved Kaz Brekker. He deserves all the happiness in the world.

The heist part - can I just ask, is Leigh some sort of immortal Queen of writing the most incredible and clever storylines?! The twists, the ploys, the deviousness!!! Saints, I was mind blown by how deftly the story was crafted, the Dregs crew working together and hatching brilliant plans. It was truly wonderful. A delight. Let me be a Dreg. Where do I sign?

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Again, it was just the beginning. The best beginning I've read in a long while but undoubtedly a long term favourite. For that roller coaster experience and heartstopping feels that will drive you insane, this is perfect for you. For any reader.

No mourners. No funerals.

Rating:
Silver Wreath

Sunday, 22 January 2017

REVIEW: Mafiosa by Catherine Doyle


I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Mafiosa (Blood for Blood)

Published by: Chicken House Books on 5th January 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Series: Blood for Blood #3
Source: Publisher

Summary:

Protected by an infamous mafia family, Sophie is living a dangerous lie, pretending to lead a normal life. But the deceit can’t last for ever. Her heart belongs to a killer and Sophie’s the prime target of a rival clan. She’s determined to seek revenge on her mother’s murderers, but can she pay the price – can she be a mafiosa?


(Sorry not sorry, for the J-Hope GIFs. They're the most accurate reaction GIFs I found.)

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OK. This is, perhaps, the fifth time I'm attempting to write this review. Up until now, it's mostly been me fangirling, sobbing, raging and throwing out paragraphs of words that make absolutely no sense at all because they're just a mix of capitalised letters. Not even in English. 

It's just... taking me longer to write this review than the former two books in this series because this is it. The end. Finale. Fin. Done and dusted. What am I supposed to do now? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! How could my favourite series of all time... be over now? I cannot bear to let go of these characters that I have grown to love and cherish so much. It's been one heck of a roller-coaster and thrill of a journey. One I shall not forget, for many lifetimes.

It's been emotional. The tears were real. The feels were real. I wasn't ready.

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Mafiosa is the cherry on top of a delicious cream cake that you have been greatly anticipating since you set your eyes on it. Not only do you expect for it to be great, but you'll want to savour it, and you know you'll love it. Mafiosa is the most satisfying, electrifying conclusion to a fantastical and thrilling journey that will set hearts on fire, and quite literally, break it at the same time. I was not prepared for the endless waves of carefully thought-out plot twists, the sizzling slow-burn romance and the downpour of tears that would follow.

It's hard. It's hard to talk about this book without giving too much away. It's truly best to go into this series a little blind, without knowing what to expect other than the fact that it's going to be purely awesome. Catherine Doyle's flawless and engaging writing meshes well with her dynamic cast of characters that are set to capture your little hearts. Her master creativity skills doesn't even stop there - it only gets better, more engrossing and intense. I've never felt more alive than when I do when reading her books. Catherine Doyle is a majestic storyteller.

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This series will take you places you never thought existed. It's an adventure worth exploring and worth remembering. Each book raised the bar that much more, the stakes becoming higher, the need for more becoming almost feral. I devoured this series and it'll always remain as one of the greatest trilogies to have ever been written. It's made me fall in love with YA, and more importantly, reading, all over again and that feeling is the best in the world.

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I will never not recommend this series and book push it onto fellow readers - it's one of those special unicorns and I'm eternally grateful to Cat for giving the world such a precious gift. (Although, I will NEVER forgive you for crushing my heart. You know why...)

If you wish to be graced by one of the greatest protagonist's ever written, Sophie Gracewell, then you will need to read this series. Read it. FOR LUCA FALCONE WHO FOREVER HAS MY HEART AND BLACK SOUL. For the adrenaline, the chaos and for the great storytelling. For one of the most beautiful YA friendships ever written, one of the best romances with burning chemistry that will send you reeling, and the way it explores family relationships. Everything was beautiful. I'll never get over it.

Well played, Catherine Doyle.

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Rating:
Gold Wreath

Friday, 13 January 2017

BLOG TOUR: The White Tower Guest Post


Hello! Welcome to my stop in #TheWhiteTower blog tour! I have the lovely Cathryn on the blog today with a guest post for you guys about her Top 5 Books that fire up her imagination!

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I love a realist novel as much as the next person, especially when it’s written by Tolstoy (or Vasily Grossman). But there are times when you want a bit of literary diversison and a book that skews your assumptions about the world. Children can find plenty of alternative versions of the world they live in: for adults it is a little harder to find books which present the world in a different way and yet don’t topple into magical realism. I’m not going to mention Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita as I presume everyone will know it (although I love it not for the talking cat or the cream that can make you fly, but for the portrait of Pontius Pilate and the notion that two millennia of Christianity was brought about by a migraine) but instead here are some of the books I’ve read that have made me think about the world a little differently.

1. The City and the City, China Mieville

The City & the City

I’ve only just started reading Mieville and, I can’t put The City and the City down. I’m not sure if it will add up to anything by the end, but the concept – two cities which don’t acknowledge the other in any way – and the nod to Bruno Schulz in its Eastern European flavour is giddy-making.

2. Metropole, Ferenc Karinthy

Metropole

Written in 1970, this Hungarian novel wasn’t translated into English until 2008. I’m a sucker for translated fiction and this one is deliciously unnerving and thought-provoking. A linguist travelling to a conference in Helsinki falls asleep on a plane and wakes up in the wrong city. Despite speaking several languages, he cannot communicate with anyone but the beautiful lift attendant of his hotel; nor can he fathom the customs of the country.

3. The Rabbit Back Literature Society, Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

The Rabbit Back Literature Society

Ella, the heroine of this Finnish novel, is chosen to become the tenth member of a prestigious writers’ group in the small town of Rabbit Back. Presided over by the enigmatic Laura White, membership involves playing ‘The Game’. This is an entirely surprising, anarchic, and touching novel.

4. The Adjacent, Christopher Priest

The Adjacent

I’ve picked this novel almost at random because every novel I have read by Christopher Priest has been wonderful. I find myself almost reading off the page, I’m so delighted at what he both explains and withholds. This one is about alternative realities. Yes please.

5. Journey by Moonlight, Antal Szerb

Journey by Moonlight

I love Antal Szerb, it really is that simple. Every word he’s ever written (and sadly there aren’t enough as he was a casualty of the Holocaust). A man takes a walk at night through the backstreets of Venice and Szerb insists that we accompany this accidental hero on his surprising and sometimes dangerous journey. One of those perfect novels.

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Thanks for a wonderful post, Cathryn! I cannot wait to dive into The White Tower!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


After reading Theology at Cambridge University, Cathryn Constable went on to
work in magazine journalism, writing for Vogue, W, Elle, The Independent, Tatler
and The Sunday Times, before realising her dream of writing stories for children.
Cathryn is married with three children and lives in London.

ABOUT THE BOOK



Alchemy meets dreamy reality in this new atmospheric adventure from the
author of the bestselling debut, The Wolf Princess.

The White Tower is the uplifting and magical story of Livy, a young girl lost in
throws of grief and forced to move schools. Struggling to cope with life, Livy
finds solace high up on the rooftop amongst the domes and spires of her new
home. With the perfect blend of science and dreamy reality, Constable paints a
rich and atmospheric story of a lonely girl coming to terms with the death of her
best friend and finding a way to let go of her pain.

Cathryn Constable’s debut novel, The Wolf Princess, was one of the bestselling
debuts of 2012. It swept the board with gorgeous reviews and was shortlisted for
the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the Specsavers National Book Awards.

LINKS:

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Wing Jones Photo Tour


Welcome to my stop in the exciting WING JONES PHOTO TOUR! I jumped at the chance to become a part of such a big project to promote one of my favourite books and Katherine Webber is just one of the loveliest people I've met. Her debut will touch many hearts, as it had with mine. It's a debut you don't want to miss you guys!

Wing Jones

Wing Jones is the much anticipated debut novel from Katherine Webber, publishing 5th January 2017 in the UK. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing's speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

Katherine Webber was born in Southern California but has lived in Atlanta, Hawaii, Hong Kong and now in London. For several years she worked at the reading charity BookTrust, where she worked on projects such as The Letterbox Club which delivers parcels of books to children in care, and YALC, the Young Adult Literature Convention. You can find her on Twitter @kwebberwrites.

Throughout January, over 40 bloggers will be participating in the #WJphototour – a photo blog tour documenting Katherine’s path to publishing her debut novel. From childhood memories that inspired her writing to her time living in Atlanta and Asia that influenced the book to authors she’s met over the years right up to receiving her first finished copy of the book, follow along to see Katherine’s author life unfold! Keep an eye on the hashtag #WJPhotoTour to see the latest photos!

Here is my instalment to the tour!


My third year of university, I had the opportunity to study abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where I studied Chinese Literature and Language. I also met a boy named Kevin who was from Atlanta. I had no idea how much meeting Kevin would change my life—or how much it would influence my writing. I thought I’d never see him again after we finished studying in Hong Kong.

LINKS:

Hope you enjoyed that little snippet from Katie's journey! Keep your eyes peeled for the next photo stops and keep up with the tour using the #WJPhotoTour hashtag!