Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Bite Size Books (14)

The Bane Chronicles 9: The Last Stand of the New York Institute, Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Pages: 47
Publisher: Walker
Release Date: 17th December 2013
Series: The Bane Chronicles #9

In the time of the Uprising, Valentine’s Circle goes after Downworlders in New York...and the Shadowhunters of the Institute must decide whether to join him, or fight with Magnus and his kind. This is the first time Magnus sees Jocelyn, Luke, and Stephen – but not the last. It is not long before Jocelyn seeks him out...

I’ve been stretching these out for a while, but it’s time to finish of The Bane Chronicles. Through the Mortal Instruments, we often hear about the Circle, young Valentine and the Uprising, but seeing it is very strange. Seeing Luke as Lucian Graymark, unfailingly and blindingly loyal to Valentine until the point of Valentine torturing a child was so wrong. Seeing descendents and predecessors of much-loved characters fighting for something so evil *shudder*

But there’s also a healthy dose of Tessa in The Last Stand of the New York Institute. Her friendship with Magnus seems a lot more real here and I loved that they were watching the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice as it aired and waiting on Chinese. So normal. And then Jocelyn arrives with a two year old Clary. It was amazing how clearly her personality was coming through already: stubbornness, trust in good and a dangerous curiosity. It made me heart go all gooey.

Okay, and now I only have one left. Think I’m going to save it for a while, actually...

Calm as a Stupid Feather, Keris Stainton

Pages: 59
Publisher: Amazon Media
Release Date: 18th August 2014

More of Harry and Joe’s weird* and hilarious comments and quotes.

*Joe’s are particularly weird and sometimes a bit scary. Don’t worry – he’s just eccentric. And five.

Of the half an hour that it took me to read Calm as a Stupid Feather I spent at least 29.5 minutes of it crying with laughter. I sounded demented. And possibly like I was choking. I kept having to stop and read quotes to aloud to my sister but I couldn’t physically say them as I was laughing too much.

You should all have this on permanent standby for whenever you feel miserable - it'll sort you right out.

Baby, One More Time, Esme Taylor

Pages: 66
Publisher: HotKey Unlocked
Release Date: 27th January 2014

Cass has spent a long time trying to get over her first love Nick. But when they run into each other in the airport and end up on the same flight to New York, the chemistry between them is off the chart. But there is something Cass is holding back. Will Cass finally get revenge on the boy who broke her heart?

Esme Taylor’s love for New York is obvious and infectious. The way even the most banal of New York sights are a marvel and, God, I want to go. Baby, One More Time is sexy, fun and touching and I loved it. Also, did I mention how much it made me want to go to New York? Oh, I did? Well, I’ll tell you again: NEW YORK.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Half-Blood, Jennifer L Armentrout

Pages: 307
Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: 14th August 2014
Edition: UK paperback, review copy via BookBridgr

Other Titles in this Series: Pure, Deity, Apollyon, Sentinel

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi, pure-bloods, have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals – well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem – staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. Is she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

Earlier in the year I became entranced by Jennifer L Armentrout’s Lux series so I was eager to pick this up. I think that series may have been a fluke...

Half-Blood sounds startlingly original at first glance: Hematoi, Sentinels, half-bloods – all sounds very exciting. It turns out that it’s basically demi-gods and the children they produce when they mate with mortals and an exclusive, strict boarding school that teaches them how to protect their world. Now I love Greek mythology and when authors make it their own, but I just didn’t feel like Armentrout did that. I also felt that the basic plot lines surrounding the mythology and Alex’s antics were pretty much identical to that of Vampire Academy. I was disappointed to say the least.

The only element that I enjoyed in the novel was the relationship between Alex and Aiden, and even that felt a whole lot like a re-run of Rose and Dimitri... Aiden is the character that I found the most interesting, and the only one I genuinely liked in Half-Blood. Their relationship built steadily and shakily, neither sure what the other felt and so many obstacles between them. I mean, Alex could lose everything if she was caught even kissing Aiden – their relationship is properly forbidden by Covenant law. I do love me a good forbidden love. And theirs was good. I bought into the attraction, the trust, the understanding, and the beginnings of love. I’d read on purely to find out how they turn out.

Half-Blood got me through a sad plane ride home from Greece when I really didn’t want to go home and it passed the time quickly. I haven’t decided if I’ll continue on with the series, however.

Thanks to Hodder and BookBridgr for the review copy.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

Letterbox Love #57

Letterbox Love all of the lovely, lovely books I’ve gotten in the post, bought and everything else. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. Hosted by Narratively Speaking.

For review:

I haven’t had any book post for two weeks! :(


A Little Something Different, Sandy Hall (e-book)

Lea and Gabe are a romance waiting to happen. They’re meant for each other, so how come everyone can see it but them?

Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop-culture references, order the same Chinese food and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush it looks like they are never going to work out.

But somehow, even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Now they just need to realize that they’re meant for each other, and start falling in love...

This irresistible romance is told by all the people who are willing love to blossom in a unique multi-voice narrative structure. It is perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green.

This sounds completely adorable and I love the idea of it being told by the people around the couple rather than the couple themselves.


Friday, 29 August 2014

Heir of Fire, Sarah J Maas

Pages: 576
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 11th September 2014
Edition: NetGalley proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for he did. And hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in the same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena leanrs of her true identity, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

This third novel in the Throne of Glass sequence, from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J Maas, is packed with more heart-stopping action, devastating drama and swoonsome romance, and introduces some fierce new heroines to love and hate.

I feel like this review is a rambly mess, but...onwards...

Heir of Fire I had a lot to live up to with the pure awesome of Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight and the huge cliffhanger we left Celaena on.

This was easily the most emotional book in the series so far. Celaena’s departure from Adarlan happened in grief and turmoil and that was a state of mind that she continued with for a long time. She was a walking disaster. The emotional arc of Celaena over the course of the novel was astounding and underpinned the entire novel. She had to reconcile herself to Nehemia’s death, the end of her life in the Rifthold palace, come to terms with her secret and mourn the end of her relationship with Chaol – the girl had a lot going on.

The growth in her power and the development of her magic was astounding. I loved seeing how she learned to wield her power and use it, as well as how it changed Celaena and helped to heal her. She is an exceptional heroine and I love her. She sank to the bottom of despair and clawed her way back up to strength and surety, but it took time and effort and a new friend.

Rowan was a great addition to the cast of characters. I could tell he would be good for Celaena from the get-go – he didn’t take any of her crap and pushed her on and up. I was refreshing to have a hot, interesting and mysterious male character in the hot seat that wasn’t there to provide a romantic entanglement. The development of their friendship felt genuine and reliable and I hope we see more of it as the series continues. Their connection didn’t lessen what Chaol and Celaena had in any way and it was so clear that they still loved each other, even thousands of miles apart and knowing that they weren’t quite in the right emotional place to be together at that moment. Another refreshing element from Sarah J Maas!

One of the most unexpected elements of the novel were the chapters focusing on Manon Blackbeak. I usually want to skim the chapters that take me away from the central action but I loved the change of scene, pace and the general distance from what was happening in Wendlyn and Rifthold. The dirty tactics the witches employed to one up each other in the contests to rule the covens, the surprising attachments that they formed and the stirrings in Manon’s twisted, blackened and shrivelled heart. I think those witches are going to be very important very soon.

In Heir of Fire, Celaena went from an assassin to a queen, Dorian evolved from a prince into a king and Chaol went from a warrior to a man. An amazing third instalment of an incredible series – Sarah J Maas is a genius with characters and emotions.

Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the review copy.