A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

“It’s easy to poke fun at the world and think yourself clever but it’s much harder to stand silent and endure…”

This story is about Henrietta Howel… The first female sorcerer… The prophesied one… Or is she?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her and as Henrietta “Nettie” discovers the secrets hiding behind the sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s truly the prophesied one.

A magical story of identity and wielding some awesome magic through the elements.

I Loved this read and I recommend this to fans of Harry Potter, magic and fantasy fiction.

Told in first person by the protagonist, “Nettie”, what I liked most about this book was the use of magic to control the elements in a world where magical talent wasn’t just with the wave of a wand (or stave)characters could wield power of the elements through your palms. What I also liked was the journey Nettie has had to take to discover herself and her talent, meanwhile learning of her true heritage and a prophecy that can set her on the trajectory to save the world – or destroy her. I really cannot wait for the sequel now as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the character development, world building, style of writing and the storyline with twists and turns!!

-Annie

Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evanovich

This book is perfect for those who love crime/action books.

In the heart of Trenton, N.J., a killer is out to make sure someone gets his just desserts. Larry Virgil skipped out on his latest court date after he was arrested for hijacking an eighteen-wheeler full of premium bourbon. Fortunately for bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, Larry is just stupid enough to attempt almost the exact same crime again. Only this time he flees the scene, leaving behind a freezer truck loaded with Bogart ice cream and a dead body—frozen solid and covered in chocolate and chopped pecans. –Goodreads Synopsis.

It’s a good teen book if you’re not someone who finds the love triangles uncomfortable. I was one such person and didn’t like the main character purely because she kept kissing this other guy while she still had a boyfriend! Shocking! but, in her defence, the guy she kept getting tempted by was pretty drool worthy.

Despite my dislike of the main characters’ love triangle behaviour, this book was a funny – action packed read and went in so many different directions that I was left clueless about who the murderer was!!! I absolutely loved the best-friend, she’s described as a retired “ho” turned bonds enforcement officer who loves to bedazzle things and shoot movie auditions with a midget she hates while naked!!

Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Crystal

Kingmaker Chronicles by Amanda Bouchet

These are 2 books I read one after another – a new personal favourite, I am looking forward to book 3!!!

A Promise of Fire: Book 1
Catalia “Cat” Fisa is a powerful clairvoyant known as the Kingmaker. A smart-mouthed soothsayer, she has no interest in her powers and would much rather fly under the radar but when an ambitious warlord captures her, she may not have a choice but to tap in to her power. Griffin, another character you meet, is intent on bringing peace to his newly conquered realm and when he discovers Cat’s identity, he abducts her…
An addictive read, one that I couldn’t put down!!! A Promise of Fire is a beautiful way to start a series.
The characters know how to handle themselves and I wanted to know what happens to them next. The characters had the feelings that I’ve known them for a few years and that they were friends.

Breath of Fire: Book 2
Catalia “Cat” Fisa’s story continues as she’s been on the run from her destiny ever since she could crawl but now she’s caught between the shadow of her tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future..

As soon as I started to read Breath of Fire, I was immersed. The only put this book down once and that was to get a couple hours of sleep before I went to work. As soon as I was walking to the train station my nose was straight back into this world. I was ecstatic to be with Cat and Griffin and the other members of the Beta team, again. The relationships between all the characters have been growing. Their pasts are also coming out slowly coming to light. Magic, adventure, action, and the Greek Gods are all part of the fun.

Many thanks to Hachette Publishers for sending me a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Meredith

Geek Girl: Head Over Heels by Holly Smale

Book No. 5 in the Geek Girl Series

The Geek Girl Series instantly transports me back to high school and all the awkwardness around social situations and life in general.

Head Over Heals is one of my favourite books in the Geek Girl series. Harriet is still as awkward as ever but it was nice to see her mature and learn to think of others (not an easy feat for 16 year olds).

Harriet is awkwardly stumbling her way through life which is very relatable. She is trying to balance family life, school friends and work drama, drama which is often a result of her social awkwardness.

Although I feel like the character Rin was a stereotype, overall I enjoyed this book and watching Harriet grow. Also, Jasper is a sweet cinnamon roll, but I feel like I might be in the minority as other fans eagerly await news of N-never mind!

Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending me a Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Amanda

Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson

Dragonkeeper is the first book of a series that is set to be released as a big budget feature film animation!!!!

Dragonkeeper: The Book
Set in Ancient China (Han Dynasty), this story is about a slave girl who saves the life of an ageing dragon and escapes her brutal master. An adventurous read that can be enjoyed by children as young as 8 years old and even among adults such as myself, I find this to be a great family friendly read. The adventure continues as the slave girl and the dragon are pursued by a ruthless dragon hunter and they begin an epic journey across China full of magical and wondrous adventure, meanwhile carrying a mysterious stone that must be protected.

What I loved most about this book is the references to Chinese Mythology and a girl who defies her brutal master and does not accept life the way it is – she breaks down the barriers and finds strength within herself to make this perilous journey which I believe is sending a positive message to girls. Not to mention the adventure is a lot of fun!!

Dragonkeeper: The Movie
The movie is being produced by Dragoia Media, Movistar+, Atresmedia Cine and China Film Animation – a member of China Film Group which is the largest and most influential state owned film company in China.

The script has been written by Ignacio Ferreras, Rosanna Checchini, Pablo Castrillo, Carole Wilkinson (author of Dragonkeeper) and Xiamping Wang.

The film will be directed by Ignacio Ferraras and co-ordinated by Zhang Bo.

Scheduled for release: late 2019/early 2020.

Many thanks to Walker Books for providing me with an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.
-Annie

Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 

“You think good people can’t hate?” she asked. “You think good people don’t kill?”…”Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.” – Quote from Strange the Dreamer.

 

Strange The Dreamer has to be one of my favourite reads this year. As I’m writing this, I don’t even know where to begin worshipping this original, wondrous fantasy/sci-fi novel. My review will not do it justice. To start off, I loved our protagonist Lazlo – he is definitely more relatable than Karou, the main character from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. To top it off, Lazlo is a bookworm librarian! What is there not to love about that right? The world building is impeccable and has the same gothic fairytale quality that Laini Taylor does so well, be prepared to hang on her every word about the city of Weep and detailed accounts of its past. The world building is descriptive without being gratuitous, it’s imaginative and transports you to this mythical land and dreamscape! Another element that I loved about the book is the grayness and the blurring of the lines between good and evil characters – their misgivings, their heartbreaks and redeeming moments as the story unfolds. There are so many layers to the characters, it’s just sublime. There are moments when you feel so damn sorry for the characters because of all the pain, suffering and guilt experienced by them, and at other times infuriated by how ungrateful they are or surprised by the choices they’ve made. The themes of diversity, acceptance, forgiveness, power, morality, courage,  hope and love are what you can expect from this novel. The themes also go so much deeper. When you read this book, you will marvel at Laini Taylor’s ability to weave a great story, after all, great novels are all about exceptional storytelling. The mysteries of Weep also unfolds organically so you’re somewhat prepared for the twist but it somehow still surprises and leaves you bewildered after reading it. I highly recommend this imaginative, electrifying and delightful read. The story is mysterious, original and dynamic. There is, of course, a love story in the novel but it does not overwhelm or overshadow the actual story. I am now waiting eagerly for the highly anticipated book two! If there’s a book you must read this year, make it Strange The Dreamer.

 

– NJ

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

“Some seek justice even in the absence of proof…”

An epic heroic fantasy fiction that meets the wild, wild west!!!

Kellen’s dreams of becoming a powerful mage like his father are shattered after he failed a magical duel which confirmed the complete loss of his abilities. When other young mages begin to suffer the same fate, Kellen is accused of unleashing a magical curse on his own clan and is forced to flee.

On the run and unsure of who to trust, Kellen struggles to learn how to survive in a dangerous world without his magical ability and even tries to find the source of the curse but as Kellen uncovers a conspiracy involving members of his own clan who are planning to take power, he tries to go back to his city in a desperate bid to get them before they get him or destroy his family.

I found this to be an adventurous, magical read with captivating world building that doesn’t bore you. I also enjoyed the unique spin on the wielding of magic/non magic.. I loved the deck of cards concept however I wont go into it to avoid spoilers. There was always something happening with the storyline and the characters and I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next with the main character Kellen.. (I hate his sister btw and felt that very early on lol) you will understand why when you read this. I highly recommend this to fans of fantasy fiction with a hint of the wild, west!!

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me an Advanced Review Copy in exchange for my honest review.

-Annie