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Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Book Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

“A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot–and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim! ”

Book Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

What I thought:

Well, this smashed my expectations! For reasons I can’t explain now or then I was reluctant to start this. It was so. good. friends.

If this is our future, friends, it’s bleak. I think I’d be with the Medievalists on this one and shout ‘Back to the soil!’ (quietly, in my room where no one can hear me because I’m too socially awkward to do it in public) but then again maybe that’s just because I don’t know anything else. It’s hard to imagine a future where people don’t remember what windows were used for.

In The Caves of Steel, every aspect of life is planned for you. Depending on your social status defined by your job level, you might eat in a soup kitchen every night and shower in a communal bathroom. Resources are too tight to use all the water you want, or buy as much fresh produce as you want. Not that there is much fresh produce; even meat is mass-produced using chemistry. Barely anyone can afford the real thing, but once they do it’s a privilege they’d rather not lose.

Baley wouldn’t commit himself, but now he wondered sickly if ever a man fought harder for that buck, whatever it was, or felt its loss more deeply, than a City dweller fought to keep from losing his Sunday night option on a chicken drumstick – a real-flesh drumstick from a once-living bird.

Cities aren’t like we know them now but gigantic steel caves, shielding the people inside from fresh air, actual sunshine, and the night sky. In fact, people have become so used to living inside their domes, that the idea of walking outside for any length of time seems impossible.

Elija Baley lives inside such a City, and like most Earthmen he is deeply suspicious of robots. So he’s not impressed when his boss asks him to solve a murder with a robot as his partner – but not just any robot. Daneel is a Spacer robot, and if there’s one thing Earthmen despise more than robots its Spacers.  Earthmen see Spacers as terrible snobs, while Spacers see Earthmen as filthy residue. So, when I say he’s not impressed…

Daneel looks more real than any robot Baley has ever seen. It’s not long before Baley suspects Daneel of being the murderer. And he really wants to crack this case, too, because if he does he’s promised a higher social rank and therefore more privileges (like actual, fresh meat every now and again)

City culture meant optimum distribution of food, increasing utilization of yeasts and hydroponics. New York City spread over two thousand square miles and at last census its population was well over twenty million. There were some eight hundred Cities on Earth, average population, ten million.

Each City became a semiautonomous unit, economically all but self-sufficient. It could root itself in, gird itself about, burrow itself under. It became a steel cave, a tremendous, self-contained cave of steel and concrete.

I love how this book looks back on our time now in such a nostalgic way. I’m truly amazed with what Asimov did here. His vision for the future was so vivid reading this, and I think that was one of my worries; that this would just be another scifi book talking about flying cars and robots who are superior in every way, but it’s not like that at all. Baley even points out once or twice why robots aren’t that superior. It all feels so believable, so well thought through. And it becomes even more incredible when I remember that this book was written in 1954, when all this must have been even more astounding.

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Review: Reflections by Briana Morgan

Book Review: Reflections by Briana Morgan

“‘Rama would trade almost anything for the chance to become someone else, even for a little while.’

In the small, rural town of Aldale, West Virginia, Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan wants nothing more than to avoid dressing rooms for the rest of her life. After a brutal assault destroys her confidence and self-esteem, she yearns to be someone else . . . someone pretty, popular, and loved—until multiple girls in town are found murdered.

After stumbling across her beautiful classmate’s body and a terrifyingly familiar face in the murderer, Rama encounters a group of shapeshifters who know more of the killings than they let on.

Only by earning the shapeshifters’ trust and becoming one of them will Rama be able to help serve justice.

But first, she must learn to love herself and confront her painful past—and find the courage to investigate the violence.”

Book Review: Reflections by Briana Morgan

What I thought:

I read Touch by Morgan earlier this year and was really excited to read more by her. Reflections  was so good, friends <3 This is how you self-publish, my fellow writers! Reflections has easily earned Morgan her place on my insta-buy list.

I instantly fell in love with Rama. She’s vulnerable and she’s been hurt badly, and I wanted to hold her and make her tea so. badly. It was hard to put down from the moment I started, and I really enjoyed the writing.

Vishnu, Brahma, Kali, Ganesha – whoever’s listening, I need help. I’ve never been so terrified of anything before. I know what needs to happen, but I’m not sure I can do it. Every time I try, my body freaks out. I have a meltdown. Help me, help me, help me.

The best part for me was Rama’s character development. Morgan writes insanely realistic characters, and the way Rama went from a shy girl who can’t stand to look at herself in the mirror to this beautiful unstoppable force of justice was wonderful <3

Like many young women, Rama has confidence issues. She hates to look at her reflection, she hates clothes shopping with her beautiful friend who looks stunning in everything, and she’s hurting so deeply she doesn’t know if she’ll ever have the strength to tell her parents what was done to her, because she’s scared they’ll blame her instead. I felt for her so hard, friends. I can’t remember the last time I felt this connected to a character <3 This book got to me.

He didn’t know how Javesh had hurt her.

If it were up to her, he’d never know. She couldn’t imagine what that would do to him, and she loved him far too much to put him through that kind of pain.

It made much more sense for her to struggle through it on her own, to keep her pain locked up and shut out the rest of the world. Maybe one day she’d get past it, but she’d never forget it. Never.

Reflections deals with the sensitive issue of rape, and how Rama, the victim, deals with it and with the impact on her life. She feels lost, and above all else she’s scared that no one will believe her or even blame her, so she doesn’t tell anyone. It’s a poignant read, and Rama’s transformation was inspiring to watch. If you’re struggling with this very issue yourself, read this book. It just might help. If you’re not struggling with this very issue yourself, read it anyway. Awareness and support are everything, friends.

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Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

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Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

Book Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

“A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?”

Book Review: The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

What I thought:

The Dragon Sleeps was my first murder mystery in a long time! I used to read them all the time when I was younger, and then my paranoia won over and I had to stop because apparently everything scares me? In murder mysteries, anyway.

This book reminded me why I love this genre so much! It was the first of my four holiday reads, and it was so easy to get lost in it; perfect for my holiday!

Alexandra is the daughter of a rather wealthy antiques dealer. She’s an incredibly good person, but not to the extend that she can’t see any bad in people. She wants to see the good in everything, but she’s not naive. She’s also not content to stick to her current lifestyle of being waited on and doing nothing but attending social events: she wants to be an antiques dealer like her father and grandfather (and so on – you get the idea), and has been studying behind his back.

When the first body is found, she doesn’t cower in a corner and prays for everything to blow over. She takes an active part in helping the murders get solved, and knowingly puts herself in danger when she’s sure it’ll help solve the mystery.

If you don’t love her already, let me summarise: Alexandra isn’t some spoilt brat, but a brave, intelligent young woman who doesn’t care for social norms and would much rather work than sit around looking pretty all day. She has wealth (you should see that manor, friends!), but she doesn’t wish to hide behind it.

One of my favourite aspects was Alexandra’s relationship with Edith. It added some adorable banter and was used well to lighten up the mood when the murders upset the peace.

The plot developed well, and gave just enough new information when the last plot twist had sunk in. The more I read, the harder it was to put down and while I had my suspicions regarding the murderer’s identity, there was so much more going on. While I was mostly right, there were other motives and developments in the background, too, and it kept me turning the pages.

Thornton Park is on my list of fictional places to visit when I die and go to author/bookworm heaven (because it’s definitely the same place, or maybe I can hop from cloud to cloud?) (nobody burst my bubble, please). The gardens, the park, the animals cuddling to you… <3 Need. To. Go!

This has definitely made me want to read more mystery novels again. I’m looking forward to the sequel and can’t wait to see how the story develops next. If you don’t usually read much mystery, this could be a good starting novel for you because it’s not too heavy. If mystery is your thing and you fancy something more light-hearted, I recommend this, too! (And just so we understand each other – I’m only calling it light-hearted because it didn’t scare me witless! I appreciate that in my books!)

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read The Dragon Sleeps? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 5th July 2017

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

Friends, I read so many books on holiday <3 Prepare yourselves!

I’m trying to catch up with all my reviews 😛 I’m not usually this far behind but then I don’t usually go on holiday. All being well everything will be reviewed on Goodreads by the beginning of next week.

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

***

What I’m currently reading

The Caves of Steel

I bought this book over a year ago and it’s a classic, so I figured it was about time I got to it! This is my second read by Asimov and I think I enjoy this one even more… It’s really hard to put this down. I wasn’t sure whether I’d like the writing style because of how old it is, but it’s very easy to read and if anything its age makes it more incredible. The things Asimov envisioned! I’m really glad I picked this up now. It’s so good, friends <3 Even if I have no idea how to prounce Lije.

Blurb:

A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Life and his Spacer superiors, who distrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot–and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

***

What I recently finished reading

Norma Jean’s School of Witchery: Book 1: Jewel

Unfortunately this didn’t work for me. Jewel’s life was a little too perfect to be believable (perfect mum, perfect adoptive parents, perfect group of friends, perfect first day at a new school, all of the talent) and as a result I found it hard to connect with her. I hate reviewing books I didn’t enjoy but I hope I was helpful rather than discouraging. My review is up on Goodreads now if you’re interested.

Blurb:

Jewel has a problem. She’s in a witch school and can’t get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.

 

The Dragon Sleeps

This was the first of my five holiday reads (I told you we’d be here a while! 😛 ) and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t read mystery in a long time but I’m glad I picked this up.

My review is on my blog tomorrow and later today on Goodreads so I won’t say too much now, but if you’re a fan of light-hearted murder mysteries (I say light-hearted because it didn’t scare the wits out of me) then this is for you!

Blurb:

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword.

What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A hedonistic time after the Great War
when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. A time when women have more options opened to them.

There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo,
the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.

Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has
been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.

When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it.
In all the time they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said
a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently.
Can it be true?

Then a body found in the orchard and, before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought
with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden atThornton Park for the last eight years?

Reflections

I was really excited for my second holiday read, and I wasn’t disappointed. This was my second read by Morgan and again I’m amazed that she’s self-published. Take notes, writers! This is how you do it!

I loved Rama, and loved seeing her grow in every respect. This was character development done extremely well, friends <3 It was so easy to root for her, and I’m thrilled with how the book ended.

Blurb:

“Rama would trade almost anything for the chance to become someone else, even for a little while.”

In the small, rural town of Aldale, West Virginia, Ramachandra “Rama” Ganeshan wants nothing more than to avoid dressing rooms for the rest of her life. After a brutal assault destroys her confidence and self-esteem, she yearns to be someone else . . . someone pretty, popular, and loved—until multiple girls in town are found murdered.

After stumbling across her beautiful classmate’s body and a terrifyingly familiar face in the murderer, Rama encounters a group of shapeshifters who know more of the killings than they let on.

Only by earning the shapeshifters’ trust and becoming one of them will Rama be able to help serve justice.

But first, she must learn to love herself and confront her painful past—and find the courage to investigate the violence.

Victor

I really enjoyed Awakening so I had high hoped for Victor. It’s a spin-off series to the main series, and while I liked the book it didn’t work quite as well for me. Entirely my fault – I thought it was an erotic novella, when it was actually a novel and didn’t get steamy until the second half.

I’ll finish the Promiscus Guardians series first before I come back to the spin-off, partly because I don’t want to risk spoilers.

Blurb:

**A companion series to Promiscus Guardians series and standalone paranormal romance** 

Lilly Hughes, pureblood witch and Guardian-in-training, has worked arduously the last three years to become the best Guardian in her class in hopes of securing a position on Lucas Easton’s team, the highest coveted position in the Guardians and the team her late mother was a member of. However, she suffers from a dangerously clumsy nature that threatens to make that dream just that, a dream. 

Until she meets Victor, supervising angel to Lucas Easton’s team and active member on the Promiscus Guardian council. He’s an angel with a gentlemanly demeanor and incredible looks that immediately turns her bad luck for good. Or does he? His gentle nature is hiding a dark secret, a past that Lilly has been desperate to know since she was told of how her mother perished in a mission. 

What is Victor’s connection to it? How can she control these subsurface desires for the one man who might hold the key to her future and the secret behind her mother’s death? Will it ultimately lead to tragedy?

The Gateway

I’m afraid this is the second book in a short time that didn’t work for me :/ Reviewing books I didn’t like is so hard, because I don’t want to be discouraging. There was a lot of potential, but I think what it needed more than anything was an editor. The dialogue was unnatural and didn’t flow well, there was a lot of unnecessary information thrown in, and the scenes that should have packed a punch and/or were huge plot developments were summarised in short paragraphs, and therefore didn’t convey the excitement they should have done. It felt more like a first draft to me, and I don’t think it was ready to be published. A huge shame, too, because the idea was great!

Blurb:

On the morning of Monday March 3, 2059 in a laboratory located on the University of Chicago campus in Chicago, Illinois, world renowned physicist, 38-year-old Dr. Richard Caulman and his colleagues Dr. Lawrence Jones and Dr. Jonathan Reynolds are about to initiate the inaugural test of Dr. Caulman’s revolutionary dimensional gateway. Dr. Caulman believes that if his gateway works properly it will revolutionize the way people travel and eliminating the need for any kind of transportation..

Upon initiating the gateway, Dr. Reynolds realizes that they didn’t instruct the gateway to open in California, which was their intention. Unfortunately for Dr. Caulman, the gateway has opened on another planet located in another dimension.

Before Dr. Caulman is able to close the gateway, six humanoids accompanied by six creatures emerge from the other side. What do these humanoids and creatures have in store for the inhabitants of the Earth? Can Dr. Caulman stop whatever it is that they have planned? And will he also be able to protect his wife, Jennifer, and children, Richie and Beth, from the alien threat?

After the humanoids return and reveal their plans for the inhabitants of the Earth, will Dr. Caulman and the other government officials that become involved in defending the planet be able to kill the humanoids and save the planet? …

The Invisible Library

Phew, I made it to my final holiday read! 😀 I work in a library myself and love books (… duh.), so reading about librarians who have their own type of magic and travel to parallel worlds to collect rare books and kick butt was bliss. Also, there are dragons.

I won’t rush to read the sequel because it sounds like it features different characters altogether, and I’ve fallen in love with this now. I will get to it eventually, just not right now.

Blurb:

Irene must be at the top of her game or she’ll be off the case – permanently…

Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.

Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested – the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene’s new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.

Soon, she’s up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option – the nature of reality itself is at stake.

***

What I think I’ll read next

Never Let Me Go

This isn’t one of my more recent purchases, but I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I kept reading the first paragraph in my library to see if I’d like it, and it just flows so well and drew me in immediately even though it’s not my usual genre. I’m getting through The Caves of Steel pretty quickly, so I’m hoping to start this early next week.

Blurb:

As children, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy were students at Hailsham, an exclusive boarding school secluded in the English countryside. It was a place of mercurial cliques and mysterious rules where teachers were constantly reminding their charges of how special they were. Now, years later, Kathy is a young woman. Ruth and Tommy have reentered her life, and for the first time she is beginning to look back at their shared past and understand just what it is that makes them special—and how that gift will shape the rest of their time together.

I think there may be an ARC coming my way, though, so plans might change!

***

Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

“Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.”

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)

What I thought:

Guys. I’m so ridiculously in love with Nevernight. I thought if I’d leave the review for a few weeks it’d be easier to write, with more useful info and less incoherent gushing, but just be warned that there will be gushing. And lots of it.

For the briefest moment, she swore she could see lights at her feet, glittering like diamonds in an ocean of nothing. She felt an emptiness so vast she thought she was falling – down, down into some hungry dark. And then her fingers closed on the dagger’s hilt and she clutched it tight, so cold it almost burned.

She felt the something in the dark around her.

The copper tang of blood.

The pulsing rush of rage.

One of my favourite parts were the footnotes. I know a lot of people don’t enjoy them – if you don’t you can skip them and you won’t miss any necessary details – but I loved them. They added a bit of extra humour (something the book has plenty of), and as someone who likes a world with lots of lore and history I loved the insights, too. Many of them sounded like Kristoff took a brief break in his storytelling to let us in on a secret, or to say something the characters couldn’t, and I adored loved the hell out of that.

My other favourite thing was Mister Kindly, the glorious ghostly not-cat which feeds on Mia’s fear:

The thing called Mister Kindly waited. A patience learned over eons. A silence like the grave. Soon now. Any moment she’d begin to whimper. Whisper for him. What would she dream of tonight? The ones who came to drown her? Her father’s legs kicking, face purpling, guh guh guh? The Philosopher’s Stone and the horrors she’d found within, fourteen years old and lost in the dark?

No matter.

They all tasted the same.

One of my other many favourites (there are just so. many. of them!) was the main character, Mia Covere. She trains at this school for assassins (how cool is that?), learns how to poison people, how to steal their belongings and secrets, but she can’t get herself to stop caring. She’s my ideal heroine – lethal when she needs to be, loyal best friend at all other times – unless, of course, her best friends betray her. But who wouldn’t draw the line at that?

“This place gives much. But it takes much more. They may make her beautiful on the outside, but inside, they aim to shape a horror. So if there is some part of herself that truly matters, hold it close, Mia Corvere. Hold it tight. She should ask herself what she will give to get the things she wants. And what she will keep. For when we feed another to the Maw, we feed it a part of ourselves, also. And soon enough, there is nothing left.”

I also had a soft spot for Chronicler Aelius. He didn’t feature much but you get the feeling that there’s a depth to him the book only hints at. *sigh* Gotta love sublety! And librarians! And the wonderful smell of ancient tomes!

But I’m getting carried away.

Honestly, I can’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book. It has everything I want in a book and far more than I expected when I started. I had a much shorter blurb than the one above and didn’t really know what I was in for, but I love the mature take and strong language throughout. I’m beyond excited for the sequel, and will pre-order it once it’s available – something I don’t do often.

Buy it on Amazon | Add it on Goodreads


Have you read Nevernight? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

Please note: All reviews contain affiliate links. I do not review books on this blog that I didn’t enjoy or believe in–all reviews are recommendations.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Want to know what else you can find on this blog? Take a look here.

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Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #2)

siege-and-storm-leigh-bardugo

“Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.”

nano-reward-4What I thought:

I’m not sure what happened but I’ve got no notes for this one…

Not because I didn’t enjoy it, I did, but because nothing stood out enough to me to want to note it down, I guess? I’d heard from several people that Siege and Storm is the weakest book of the trilogy, and I would agree, but it was still an enjoyable read and there were loads of things I liked about it.

This was his soul made flesh, the truth of him laid bare in the blazing sun, shorn of mystery and shadow. This was the truth behind the handsome face and the miraculous powers, the truth that was the dead and empty space between the stars, a wasteland peopled by frightened monsters.

There were a few new character additions in Siege and Storm, but my favourite is Sturmhond. The story took a dark turn very quickly, and he added some much needed comic relief! He also opposed the Darkling himself. In person. Openly! That alone has earned him some brownie points. I also adored Nikolai – cocky, self-assured Nikolaj who can talk his way out of any situation.

And while we’re on topic… Yes, I know Genya has made some bad decisions. I don’t care. I still love her. Although I did miss her and look forward to seeing more of her again in Ruin and Rising.

“Watch yourself, Nikolai,” Mal said softly. “Princes bleed just like other men.”

Nikolai plucked an invisible piece of dust from his sleeve. “Yes,” he said. “They just do it in better clothes.”

That Russian mythology I loved so much played a strong part again here, too. I mentioned in my review of Shadow and Bone that I did some digging, but it was actually Siege and Storm that made me want to know more! Russian folklore is fascinating, and the way Bardugo includes it in this trilogy is a thing of beauty.

No matter what I said, we both knew the hard truth. We do our best. We try. And usually, it makes no difference at all.

While it wasn’t as good as the first book in the trilogy, I’d be lying if I said that I struggled through it. It was a smooth read and I’m excited to start the concluding title in this wonderful series!

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Have you read Siege and Storm, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #1)

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“Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.”

nano-reward-3What I thought:

After I devoured Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom last year I just had to read this trilogy, too <3 So I treated myself and made Shadow and Bone my first read of the year ^-^

I knew that the more powerful Grisha were said to live long lives, and Darklings were the most powerful of them all. But I felt the wrongness of it and I remembered Eva’s words: He’s not natural. None of them are.

I instantly loved Alina. She’s a young woman who gets thrown into a destiny she couldn’t want less, with a power she can’t control and doesn’t want to possess, against odds she can’t hope to survive. I can’t tell if I loved her for her, or because she reminded me of my girl Rachael.

Because I read the duology first I came to Shadow and Bone with a different view point – the places, the people, the events that play such a big, vital part in Shadow and Bone I’d already heard of. Because of this I felt like I was coming back to a world I already loved, despite not having seen these places in the duology. The familiarity was there, and it was wonderful.

“You’re shaking,” he said.

“I’m not used to people trying to kill me.”

“Really? I hardly notice any more.”

Two things stood out above all others for me. One is the Russian mythology that plays a big part in this trilogy. I’ve actually done a bit of digging and love how Bardugo has adepted Russian folklore to fit her world! The world building is excellent, but then I already knew that 😉 The second highlight is Alina, and how she copes with her situation. She’s far away from familiarity when she arrives at the Little Palace, and doesn’t know who she can trust. Her own power is a mystery to her, and I loved seeing how she coped as the story went on.

I also love Genya. End of story <3

If you’re looking for a fantastic fantasy trilogy, or if you loved Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, then I urge you to read Shadow and Bone!

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Have you read Shadow and Bone, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Touch by Briana Morgan

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“The Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?”

www-11012017-2What I thought:

I’ve never been hugged before. I don’t know anyone who has.

And so begins this wonderful play about the basic human need to be touched.

The Seeker lives in a future where all touch is outlawed. Hugs are sold illegally on the street like a modern day drug, and past users, like the Seekers mother, are watched closely by probation officers. The Seeker is a young woman who wonders what it would be like to have her hand held, to be embraced by her mother, or to be kissed, and writes down her thoughts in her diary, but when her mother finds out she’s furious.

The Seeker’s desire to know tops her fear of being imprisoned, and she decides to brave the unthinkable and pay a dealer for a hug.

What follows is the moving story set in a world where a basic human right and need has been taken away, and one girl’s refusal to accept it. It’s a short story (I read the whole thing in thirty minutes) but its message is strong and the story and characters develop beautifully.

If you’re looking for a quick, poignant read then I can’t recommend Touch enough! I really enjoyed my first dive into plays and would love to see it on stage if given the chance.

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Have you read Touch, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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WWW Wednesday 8th February 2017

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This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

This meme will be categorised together with my book reviews. All links will get you to the book’s Goodreads listing, as always 🙂

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What I’m currently reading

08022017-2Ashael Rising

I’m very nearly done with this now and should finish it on Thursday. It’s the only ARC I’ve got at the moment so I’ll be able to return to my tbr pile after this!

I’ve really enjoyed it, and should get my review written early next week. Since I only post one review a week here it’ll be a while before it’ll go live but it’ll be on Goodreads right away 🙂

Blurb:

Ashael is a hunter-gatherer woman, apprenticed to Bhearra, the healer and spiritual leader of their tribe.

The Zanthar are invaders from another world who extend their own lives by stealing the life-force of everything around them. They were last seen on KalaDene 200 years ago. They have returned, looking for The Vessel, a being prophesied to hold the life-force of the land.

Iwan is a slave to the Zanthar, descendant of the folk that were taken as slaves the last time the Zanthar visited this world. He is sent out as a spy, while his mother is held hostage to ensure his compliance.

When Iwan and Ashael meet and she invites him to stay in Oak Cam, neither of them realise that she is the one the Zanthar seek. The fate of KalaDene and all of its people rests on Ashael’s shoulders.

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What I recently finished reading

nano-reward-4Siege and Storm

I really liked Siege and Storm. I’d agree that it wasn’t as good as the first book, but I still flew through it and I love the Russian mythology weaving into it. I’m excited to read the final title in the series now and see how everything’s going to play out.

Blurb:

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

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What I think I’ll read next

nano-reward-5Ruin and Rising

This is still my next read… It’s taken me a while to get through my ARC since I read two books parallel to each other for a while, but it won’t be long now! I’m hoping to start it on Friday, maybe even Thursday. I’m really looking forward to it now!

Blurb:

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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Have you read any of these and would like to chat about it? I look forward to hearing from you if you do – just leave a comment below and we can get this book club started!

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Review: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)

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“Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. Particularly as it’s carried though space on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown). It plays by different rules.

But then, some things are the same everywhere. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard…”

www-23112016-2What I thought:

I have no idea what I’m doing! 😀 Honestly, I don’t how to review this. You’ve either read this already, or, if you haven’t, you still won’t need me to tell you that Terry Pratchett is kinda a big deal in the magical word of fantasy stories. This isn’t the debut novel by someone nobody knows yet, it’s Terry fudging Pratchett!

So I’ll try to keep this short and save us all some time 🙂

I’m pretty sure that I’ve read The Light Fantastic some time last year year, or maybe it was the year before that… But I thought I’d start at Book 1. When I read the second one we didn’t have The Colour of Magic in my library, but we’ve recently ordered the shiny new copies which create a lovely rainbow on the shelf, and I really needed something mad and magical! And that’s precisely what I got – a bit of magic sprinkled with rather a lot of madness. It’s not often that Death is your favourite character, but the chap is a cat person, so there.

Picturesque meant – he decided after careful observation of the scenery that inspired Twoflower to use the word – that the landscape was horribly precipitous. Quaint, when used to describe the ocassional village through which they passed, meant fever-ridden and tumbledown.

The Colour of Magic follows Rincewind, a failed wizard who knows but one spell (when I say he “knows” a spell… It’s there, somewhere, at the very back of his mind but it’s shy, I guess?) and Twoflower, a tourist with the incredible ability to not recognise danger when it punches him in the face. He also has this awesome little luggage which runs after him and eats people who threaten him. Rincewind shows Twoflower around, who has a long list of dangerous things he wants to see and do – the kind of situations no sane person would want to place himself in on purpose. Twoflower is oblivious to any form of mortal danger and confuses it with adventure on a regular basis, while Rincewind is a massive coward, so there’s a lot of natural conflict between them.

“But you’re a demon. Demons can’t call things weird. I mean, what’s weird to a demon?”

“Oh, you know,” said the demon cautiously, glancing around nervously and shifting from claw to claw. “Things. Stuff.”

Also there’s dragons. Not real ones, as such, but imagined ones, who can get a little see-through when the imaginator’s focus wavers. It’s fine, though, they’re perfectly save to fly. Unless you’re terrified of hights, like Rincewind, and remember an event from the future where you fall from a great height, like Rincewind.

If you haven’t read this already by some miracle, please do. Even if fantasy isn’t your usual genre, even though this book was like nothing I’ve read before in a good and very mad way, I think it should be on everyone’s tbr list. Terry Pratchett isn’t the Father of Fantasy for no reason. This is a must read for everyone!

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Have you read The Colour of Magic, or would you like to? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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