Tag: fantasy

Ten Series I Haven’t Read Yet (But Everyone Else Has!)

Posted June 20, 2017 by Hannah in Features, Top Ten Tuesdays / 5 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by Broke & Bookish

FACT: I am a terrible reader of series. I’ll start series, and not finish them. Even worse? I’m so far behind on catching up on series I haven’t even started yet, that I want to read. I know, I know. What sad excuse for a book dragon am I? But life, people. Life. Why can’t I get paid to just lounge around in my pjs all day and read books?!

 

 

The Dark Artifaces by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight | Lord of Shadows | The Queen of Air & Darkness

I haven’t even finished The Mortal Instruments yet, so this is one series that has been sitting on my to be read list and probably will for a while! I just can’t justify starting it without knowing how TMI ends…which means an entire re-read of the books I have read is in order. Hello, binge reading session! Maybe once the last book is out – because I’m terrible at waiting!

 

The Disruption Duology by Jessica Shirvingon

Disruption | Corruption

This duology by #LoveOzYA author Jessica Shirvington has been sitting on my shelves for ages (well, okay, since last year). It’s a blend of sci-fi and dystopia, and I’ve heard very good things, so why haven’t I read it yet???? #tbrtoolong

 

  

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Choshski

The Star Touched Queen | A Crown of Wishes

Yet another duology I’ve heard really great things about and I’ve not started yet. A Crown of Wishes only came out this year, and these two books just sound so appealing!

 

The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae | Gemina | Obsidio

I think I’m the only person in the book community to have not read these books? Okay, so Obsidio doesn’t come out until next year, so I’ve either got a lot of catching up to do or I can get away with not reading them until it is out…

 

 

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Court of Fives | Poisoned Blade | Buried Hearts

This series sounds so good. A fantasy world with a competition of epic proportions, friends and family loyalty? I think I need a four week holiday for all this series binge reading I need to be doing!

 

The Imposter Queen by Sarah Fine

The Imposter Queen | The Cursed Queen | The True Queen 

Some of my favourite people rave about these books, but again, it’s another series where the final book hasn’t been released yet. I feel like now that I’m older, I’m less “I want it now/can’t wait for the next book” and more “I’ll wait until the series has finished” for books I’ve not read? Ha, who am I kidding – give it to me now!

 The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & The Dawn | The Rose & The Dagger

There’s a reason this TTT is so aptly named. I PROMISE I WILL READ THIS DUOLOGY BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR, OKAY????

  

Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic | A Gathering of Shadows | A Conjuring of Light

See above. Although I’m going to have to take a week’s holiday to binge read these books because boy oh boy, they are maaaaassive.

 

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina | Shadow Scale

A series about dragons and I haven’t read it yet? I feel like Derek from Zoolander. “Who am I?”

 

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes | A Torch Against The Night | Untitled Books 3 & 4

In my defence, I’m going to go down the “but there’s more books in the series and I don’t know if I can deal with the pain of a cliffhanger” route on this series too.

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Magical, Mysterious & Mesmerizing: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted February 5, 2017 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 3 Comments

Magical, Mysterious & Mesmerizing: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval Series: Caraval #1
by Stephanie Garber
Published by Hodder & Staughton, Hachette Australia on 31st January 2017
Pages: 416
Format: E-Book, E-ARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley
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Goodreads

Two sisters bound by love and a father they fear escape their tiny, secluded island for the wondrous performance of Caraval, where the audience plays along in a mysterious and magical game of determining what's real and what's fantasy. And where only one sister might be brave enough to win the ultimate prize of 'an impossible wish'...

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for lonely Scarlett, it represents freedom, an escape from her abusive father and from her own dark past.

Still, Scarlett is too scared of her father to leave Trisda. Until she is kidnapped by her wild younger sister Donatella and a dangerous yet oh-so-seductive sailor named Julian and taken to the mystical Isla de los Suenos, the site of this year's Caraval. When they arrive, her sister immediately disappears. Since protecting Tella is all she knows, Scarlett is forced to join forces with Julian and find her before the evil Master of Caraval does...

You’ll hear a lot of pretty words used to describe Caraval – spellbounding, mystical, magical, breathtaking, atmospheric – pretty much all are accurate and true. Caraval is one of those stories that is so visually stunning, that for a debut author, Garber has cemented herself as an author whose words truly leap off the page.

So what’s all the fuss about? What we have is our heroine, Scarlett, who haslonged to participate in Caraval, the legendary magical circus-come-scavenger hunt. When she is gifted three tickets – one for her, one for her sister Tella, and one for the fiancee she’s never met. But when Tella goes missing on their arrival and Scarlett is left with Julian, the enigmatic sailor who whisked them to the island, Scarlett must play the game – and win – in order to get her sister back, and alive.

Caraval is full of plot twists, which is part of what makes the book so delectable. If you think you’re getting the stock standard YA fantasy, then you’re wrong. I was so caught up in ‘playing the game’ with Scarlett and trying to second guess every next step and play that I was completely swept up in the book, and couldn’t put it down. Was it real or not real? Only a game or not? I’ll leave you in suspense and make you go read the book.

The relationship between Tella and Scarlett was amazing, and sadly, I just wanted more and more. As you can tell, Tella isn’t present for a lot of the book, popping every now and again but there was a such a strong sense of love and devotion between the two. They were two incredibly different characters, and at times I felt that there could have been more depth to both. At times I felt Scarlett to be quite a judgemental character, but I was impressed at her determination in never giving up in finding Tella. And a character with synesthesia? I’d never heard of that before now, and at first it was a little confusing, but once I begun to understand Scarlett, it made a great aspect of the novel. Speaking of relationships – I can’t not mention Julian, who was probably my favourite character. I loved the banter between him and Scarlett, and the way he pushed her to be a better person.

There were a few minor niggles that made Caraval a four star instead of five star read, and I hope that they’ll be explored more in coming books (oh please tell me there’s more books!). Firstly is the world building – you get a brief sense of the world that Scarlett lives in, a conglomerate of islands ruled by governors, but you don’t get much beyond that. And I always find fantasy worlds so fascinating, so this left me a little disappointed. I wanted to know more about the culture, the history – from my sense, I got a very Italian vibe, especially with the names and costumes. Look at me, always wanting more!

So if you are wanting a book that is visually rich as it is enchanting, then look no further than Caraval. And if you don’t do it for the story, those covers, am I right?!

A huge big thanks to Hachette Australia who provided me a copy in exchange for review. Caraval is out now in all major bookstores and retailers.

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Fire & Ice Rarely Play Nice: Frostblood by Elly Blake

Posted January 2, 2017 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Fire & Ice Rarely Play Nice: Frostblood by Elly BlakeFrostblood Series: Frostblood Saga #1
by Elly Blake
Published by Hodder & Staughton, Hachette Australia on 10th January 2017
Pages: 304
Format: E-Book, E-ARC
Source: Publisher, Netgalley, Won
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Goodreads

The first in a page-turning young adult fantasy series perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass series.

In a land governed by the cruel Frostblood ruling class, seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has spent most of her life hiding her ability to manipulate heat and light - until the day the soldiers come to raid her village and kill her mother. Ruby vows revenge on the tyrannous Frost King responsible for the massacre of her people.

But Ruby's powers are unpredictable...and so are the feelings she has for Arcus, the scarred, mysterious Frostblood warrior who shares her goal to kill the Frost King, albeit for his own reasons. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King's men, she's taken right into the heart of the enemy. Now she only has one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who took everything from her - and in doing so, she must unleash the powers she's spent her whole life withholding.

Frostblood is set in world where flame and ice are mortal enemies - but together create a power that could change everything.

Frostblood is the first fantasy release of 2017 that I’ve read, and boy oh boy, does it set the bar high for the rest of 2017’s fantasy releases. If this is the calibre of books coming out, then please, by all means, hit me with them.

Ruby is our heroine, a girl with fire running through her veins who watches her mother die at the hands of the ruling Frostbloods and imprisoned. Years later, she is rescued by an order of monks, who wish for her to help them depose of the Frost Throne and in turn, the ruthless King. When Ruby is captured by the Frost King’s men and forced to fight for her life, what she must overcome in order to survive will be her greatest test.

There is so much to love about this book. The two opposing sides, Frostbloods and Firebloods, have a tumultuous history that Blake is able to weave into the story without info dumping like a boring world history lesson. Instead, what we do learn about Sudesia and Tempesia and the world Ruby lives in is given to us in little pockets, making you wish for more. In fact, if it’s the only thing I didn’t like so much was that I wanted to know more about the history of the world and the Gods and how the Frost & Fire Bloods became to be, but that’s probably just me being greedy.

I loved Ruby as a character too, which is interesting because at first, she bothered me a lot in that at time, she was quite whiny and petulant. But all characters must grow, and so does Ruby, and I loved that she wasn’t a stereotypical “Chosen One” character and in fact at times pushed against the notion of her abilities and strengths. Watching her come to terms with who she was and what she could do was great, and I loved that her vulnerability shone through at times as well. She wasn’t perfect, and we need more YA heroines like her because let’s face it, none of us are.

And I’d be remiss to leave out the romance too, because of course who doesn’t love a mysterious brooding interest? Arcus was great, albeit a little predictable in his character arc, and the banter between him and Ruby as their relationship grew is the sort of romance that fuels me, and once again I’ve lost myself to a fictional character. Arcus made me want to weep in parts with what he’s been through, and to see him grow and learn through Ruby (and vice versa) was just great. They may say that “affairs between fire and frost rarely end well”, but they’ve clearly never met Arcus and Ruby, have they?

For fans of Red Queen and Throne of GlassFrostblood will dazzle you with fiery passion and fast paced adventure that will leave you burning for more at every page (see what I did there?!). It’s safe to say that its sequel will be just as explosive, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

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All The Books I Need in 2017: The Fantasy Edition

Posted December 13, 2016 by Hannah in uncategorized / 4 Comments

This was originally going to be a Top Ten Tuesday post (as some of you may have noticed, I also kinda forgot about it & it posted…), but then I realised that there were WAY too many books I want need in 2017, so I thought over the next coming weeks I would showcase the books I’m looking forward to next year by “genre”: Fantasy, SciFi, Contemporary, Historical, Diversity and Adult. I say genre loosely, because Adult fiction of course is more like a category, and Diversity shouldn’t be a genre because it should just be a goddamn normal thing, but let’s not get too carried away.

Let’s talk about Fantasy. FANTASY. Thank you, Throne of Glass, for making this my most favourite thing ever. The last couple of years have seen me dive headfirst into YA fantasy, and I love discovering new and old reads, so if you have any recommendations, please send them ALL my way. And 2017 is shaping up to be an amazing year of YA Fantasy. Let’s just not talk about the fact that I cannot deal with the ToG series finishing in 2017, my heart is too broken still. So without further ado, here are the fantasy books in that I need like, right now.

I’m pretty sure 2017 is going to be an epic year, because look at all these beauties! What I love about fantasy so much is that there’s such variety – from retellings to pirates to carnivals to mythical lands, my heart is going to explode all over the place.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber // Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas  

Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean

Daughter of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller // Poison’s Kiss by Breanna Shields 

Hunted by Meagan Spooner 

 

 

The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale //Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

 Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B Larson

Let’s not forget about the books we don’t have covers for yet! I’m so excited for some of these books! I’m sure the covers for them will be just as gorgeous as the books sound as well! There’s going to be royals and dragons and (more!) pirates and dastardly families! And let’s not forget Rhysand, my body is ready.

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen //  // The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King // The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano // Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows //  Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts // Untitled (Stream Riders #1) by Sara Raasch // A Court of War & Ruin by Sarah J Maas

2017 also means catching up on great books that were released this year that I never got round to! I’m so lucky to have all put one of these on my Edelweiss list, so there’s definitely going to be a lot of binging coming up over the next couple of months while on uni break.

 

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye// The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

 Burning Glass by Kathyrn Purdie

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers // Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan // 

 A Shadow Bright & Burning by Jessica Cluess

Are any of these books on your TBRs for 2017? What fantasy books are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions, and look out next Saturday for my Contemporary Edition of All The Books I Need in 2017!

 

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Hungry for Wonderland: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Posted December 1, 2016 by Hannah in Blog Tours, Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

Hungry for Wonderland: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on 8th November 2016
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback, ARC
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, the infamous Queen of Hearts, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favourite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries.
At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King's marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness and monsters, fate has other plans.

I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Marissa Meyer and her books. I love her as a person – her writing advice is solid, she’s a beautiful person, and she has a great knack for creating really interesting worlds. However…I just don’t ever seem to enjoy the plots of her books. In saying that, I’ve only read Cinder, and haven’t as yet continued with the series. So I was looking forward to reading Heartless, a fantasy standalone back story to the famous Queen of Hearts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Like many, many people, I’ve been a huge Lewis Carroll fan since I was a young girl (thanks Mum!). I can remember pouring through this really old copy of Through The Looking Glass we had and absolutely being besotted with the rhymes, idiocies and illustrations. So whenever a unique retelling or reimagining crops up, I am there faster than the White Rabbit.

The best thing for me about Heartless was the world. Meyer has created a fantastic backdrop to the story, and it’s probably the reason I kept on reading. Heartless has the whole host of Alice characters we know and love coupled with unique twists that will make any Alice fan smile. I also loved how there were sly little references to other nursery rhymes. For example, one of the characters is Sir Peter, a reference to the nursery rhyme Peter, Peter.  The way it was all put together was simply amazing, and I had so much fun reading all the little details, from the flamingos (‘Ah like shrimp’) to the jumble group of Hatta’s tea parties.

Sadly, that’s where things tend to go a bit south for me. Everything else I found…rather boring. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to love this novel. Cath seemed like a character that I could understand solely for her love of food. But even all the references to sweets and pies and chocolate seemed too much. There isn’t a lot of plot going on in Heartless until the last quarter of the book, as this is, essentially, an origin story for the villainous Queen of Hearts we all know from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The plot is simple: Cath wants to open a bakery, but her parents want her to marry the King of Hearts. Then Cath meets Jest, the new court joker, and everything evolves from there. I can see where Meyer was wanting to go with this – the whole idea of living your own destiny, following your own heart and not the wishes of others – but it just didn’t resonate with us. I felt as if Meyer had spent so much time creating such a wonderfully vivid world that the characters and the plot were swept aside. Even the romance seemed forced, and for a book that’s over 400 pages long, way too instalove for my liking. I would have preferred to get to see Jest and Cath’s feelings develop slowly, rather than all at once. In saying that, my favourite character was probably Hatta, aka the Mad Hatter, and I think Heartless is well worth the read for his story alone.

It’s sad when something doesn’t quite live up to its full potential, but if you don’t mind a (very) slow plot and can look past instalove for the great world building, Heartless definitely belongs on your TBR.

Check out the other blogs on the Australian Heartless blog tour below!

 

 

 

 

 

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An Ending So Perfect in The Winner’s Kiss

Posted May 24, 2016 by Hannah in Reviews, Young Adult / 1 Comment

An Ending So Perfect in The Winner’s KissThe Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
Published by Bloomsbury ANZ on 24th March 2016
Pages: 496
Format: E-Book
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War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

It’s always hard to review the last book in a series, but just as hard to review one which is literally perfection personified. If you haven’t started The Winner’s Trilogy yet, I advise you to drop what you are doing and start – right now!

The Winner’s Trilogy is one of the most vividly lush fantasies I’ve read in a long time, and takes a special spot in my reader’s heart. The Winner’s Kiss is just as thrilling as the other two books in the series, and picks right up from the devastating ending that was The Winner’s Crime.

Marie Rutkoski (@marierutkoski) | Twitter:

For someone who has always struggled with fantasy – and third person point of views – this series has just blown me away from Book One. Rutkoski has such a talent with weaving beautiful prose into an action packed storyline that leaves you breathless with every moment. For most of The Winner’s Kiss I was on the edge of my seat, breath held, wondering what could possibly happen next – and how it could all be wrapped up, leaving no stone unturned. Everything about The Winner’s Kiss was fast paced and filled with action.

As usual, the characters – every single one of them, from Arin and Kestrel to the Emperor and Kestrel’s father – were amazing. The comic relief that Roshar provided wasn’t over the top, and like I said in my review of The Winner’s Crime, the bromance between Roshar and Arin was probably one of the highlights. Arin and Kestrel – oh man, I can’t help but gush over them. Fictional Couple Award of 2016 right there. All their trials weren’t for naught, and I loved how even in the last book – right up to the last page – they were still growing, their strengths and weaknesses working around each other. What a perfect romance.

The Winner's Kiss:

So basically, if you want to be emotionally wrecked from start to finish, then read this series. Because I can guarantee you (no money back!) you’ll fall in love just as much as I – and so many others – have done.

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