Friday, 26 May 2017

Of the Red, the Light, and the Ayakashi - HaccaWorks & Nanao (Illustrator)

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A confusing first volume to say the least! Lots of characters and settings were introduced in relatively few pages but the story still holds a lot of appeal for me. I'm interested in the different perceptions of humans. Some of the Ayakashi refer to humans as "meals" and I'm worried about hopelessly naïve Yue who seems only genuinely concerned with befriending them! I've read some very good reviews on the series as a whole so am looking forward to seeing some of these plot points develop. The art style is gorgeous and consistent while still allowing the characters their own unique visual! I like it already but want to know if in later volumes whether or not I can come to love it.

Spellslinger - Sebastien De Castell

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Spellslinger was Sebastien De Castell's riveting toe-dip into the world of YA writing. I love the way that De Castell slowly has Kellen rediscover something he really already knew. Kellen knows that his people aren't kind, when they beat down those with little magic and make them into slaves, but he sees it only as something he needs to avoid at all costs. HE knows his people aren't architects, but he never questioned the sprawling city they live in or the magical oasis they use to practise their magic. This is all he knows until a traveller Ferius Parfax, forces him to really observe his surrounding and figure out what it all means. She teaches him that there are often more than two choices and that he doesn't need to be powerful to fight the good fight. Full of unexpected twists and turns and more than a few questionable battle tactics, this book pits the strongest of mages against one kind apprentice who treats magic as a con game. I really loved the characters best, I thought they were really strong and consistent and the plot rose and fell with them. I loved Kellen's quick lies and how often they turned out not to be far off at all! Soon to be released in paperback, I definitely recommend picking it up!

Wonder - R. J. Palacio

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I'd seen Wonder as a popular book that I often sold at my shop. I hadn't the faintest idea what it was about or whether it was the kind of thing I would like, until I read a blog post here on books you should read before they become films 2017. I read it in under three hours. It's that good. R. J. Palacio writes about a young boy named August starting school for the first time and about the genetic condition that impacts the perceptions of the people around him. There is a strong theme of kindness not always being easy but worth it in the end. It tells a story of finding true friends that see you for who you are, rather than what's on the surface. The picture R. J. Palacio paints is empathic and told from multiple perspectives. It is beautifully done, tearful in some places, fun in others. A wondrous book.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Romana's Freedom - M.P.A. Hanson

Romana's freedom is THE perfect fantasy novel.

Romana starts off life in a desert slave shop, and as the only elf there, catches the eye of love-interest Prince Martin. Romana and Kate, the little sister she never had, set off for the palace where they are to work as servants to the royal family.

Prince Martin, has his sights set on her seemingly from the first conversation and the romance factor in this book is brilliant. I enjoyed watching the two fall in love!

The settings and descriptions are beautiful! They spring from the page and immerse you in all the vibrancy and colour of the world that M. P. A. Hanson has created. I loved the medieval/magic set up and the thrills I got with the magical fighting and sword fighting.

Romana is brilliant and Silver is awesome. There is no other word to describe them and I'm so glad they were a part of this book. The mystery surrounding both of their pasts is really addictive and I can't wait to read more!

I recommend to anyone, no matter who you are or what tropes you usually read. This book is in a league of its own!

Monday, 1 May 2017

My First Booktube! Favourite Books

My first booktubing video! I can say I've tried it now :)

I covered the most important topic, my favourite books, in a round about, rambly way. It's a bit cringy but I hope you enjoy it. Let me know :)

Friday, 21 April 2017

Interview with MPA Hanson - Author of the Soul Merge Saga

When I met MPA Hanson, author of the Soul Merge Saga, I was impressed by her dry wit and top notch sarcasm. A really lovely lady and great to have a laugh with! Here she talks about the finished saga as a whole and shares a few intimate scenes with us.

My speech is in bold.
MPA Hanson's is plain text.

Describe the Soul Merge Saga in three words or less:
Graphic torture scenes
Okay there's a bit where she slices off a few eyelids but apart from that…
Okay any other thoughts?
You don't need eyelids - she sticks them back on in the end.
No not that!
I think it has good characters and it's funny in places and sad in others.
That's not three worlds but… What is the best part of finishing your first series?
Well the worst part is constantly wanting to go back and relive them and write more in that world. I can understand why people do 15 book series now!
What about the best part?
The best part of writing the book is losing yourself in the world and the characters and not having to think. There's this head space where it just flows.
What's your personal favourite part of the series?
When Asha is a child and just her growing up and the way Silver changes.
What is it about Silver and Asha's evolution that interests you?
It's a classic case of somebody having to step up and change because of a responsibility they didn’t necessarily ask for.
My grammar-Nazi is killing you in my head.
(I'm speed typing to keep up so spelling has been compromised)
Please continue J
You've run out of questions.
Ah yes - Favourite book in the series?
Third one - Silver's Redemption - even though it doesn’t have my favourite part in it.
In the first two Silver is almost an afterthought and Romana was quite goody-two-shoes. I liked the sharp contrast Silver provided. It's refreshing to write the antihero.
In a disturbing way writing from her point of view is addictive.
Why should I read these books?
Because they are my heart babies and the realisation of a dream.
Anything else to add?
I haven't even gotten to the bit where she inserts a thin blade into the arm pit to dislocate the shoulder and skinned the little bits between the fingers and toes and pinned them to give webbed feet.
Don't put that in there! And stop spelling badly!
How old were you when you started writing?
There was a project in year two when I rewrote my own version of five on a treasure island… But with torture and eyelids.
That is the most twisted version of my words ever
How old were you when you started writing these novels?
First draft was when I was 12.
I thought this was supposed to help me with my image!
I am - you come across as humorous and bloodthirsty - Perfect.
A QUOTE - "Screams rent the night asunder as blood flowed freely from his eyes. His uncontrollable urge to blink forced the wound to mix with his tears. […] She deftly pinched the second eyelid and replaced the knife by his face, running the sharp edge along the skin she touched, gently, mockingly.In another second the skin was gone, and in each hand she pinched a piece of skin with thin little eyelashes still attached."
MPA 's boyfriend: There's a torture scene? I thought this wasn’t a sex book?
It's not a sexy torture it’s a rip off your eyelids torture!
Thank you MPA Hanson for this enlightening interview about the Soul Merge Saga books.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff

A many facetted novel, Nevernight flits between protagonist Mia's past and present with interspersed notes and tales from a darkly humorous narrator. Mia is a murderer, and though bloodthirsty and fearless, she is also an empathic person that I found it very easy to connect with. She and the other acolytes at the Red Church are competing for the chance to be a Blade of the Lady of Blessed Murder (a weird name choice for a deity but it fits!). The story follows Mia's initiation into the Red Church in the present and the story behind her need for revenge in the past.

The relationship between acolytes and teachers are cleverly done. Each is believable and intricate. Between each acolyte there is the pressure of the competition, as well as the realisation that any of them could die, but there is also the slow blossoming and much denied love Mia ignores for fellow acolyte Tric. Their histories are fully fleshed out and each of their personalities matches what they've been through. All of the acolytes are killers, but many are so much more than that.
A winding and enchanting story that kept me guessing till the very end. I look forward to the next in the series 'Godsgrave'.