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MY (Nottingham, UK)

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The Demon King (The Seven Realms Series, Book 1): 1/3
The Demon King (The Seven Realms Series, Book 1): 1/3
by Cinda Williams Chima
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

4.0 out of 5 stars Great YA fantasy, 8 Jan 2014
Firstly, I have read a number of other reviews that complain (and complain and complain!) about how this book is 'too young adult'. Well, guys. That is because this is a YOUNG ADULT FANTASY novel.

Now that that little mystery is solved, here's what I thought about 'The Demon King'. I really liked it. This is very good fantasy, set in a well-developed world with three-dimensional characters. Yes, the protagonists are a little young - fifteen-seventeen. Admittedly they were a little young for me too, but I imagine that they will grow - physically and metaphorically! - as the trilogy goes on. I would recommend it to both male and female readers - Raisa and Han cater to both. There is magic, intrigue, politics, fighting, gentle romance, secrets and history. In my opinion, all things fantasy books should have.

Considering the length - 500 pages, I did feel that the novel could have achieved more than it did. Don't get me wrong, there is a clear narrative arc and the characters do meet their resolution at the end - the thing the novel has been working up to for 450 pages. That is probably the only thing keeping me from giving a full five stars. Another reviewer commented that the world could be more in depth... Yeah, I guess so. But I didn't feel that there were any holes or great gaps in the narrative. In fact, often in fantasy I've read, I've found myself overwhelmed by pages and pages of backstory - things that happened in the land thousands of years ago that have barely passing relevance to the novel. Not so in 'The Demon King'. I thought everything was relevant and that is a mark of good storytelling - everything should be on a need-to-know basis. In all fairness, this is also a feature of young adult writing - slightly more simplified language, etc.

I recommend this novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to read the following books.

Hardcore fantasy readers, who can't handle anything aimed at younger audiences, will probably disagree with me. And that's fine. But if, like me, you are a YA reader who wants to bridge that intimidating gap into the Fantasy genre, then this is a good book to start with. I hope I've persuaded any readers who were in two minds about reading this book. Do it, you just might like it.


Personalised Trinket Box- Glass Butterfly
Personalised Trinket Box- Glass Butterfly
Offered by Findmeagift
Price: £19.11

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, 5 Dec 2013
I received this pretty little box as a birthday present. It's absolutely gorgeous, much better looking in reality, with lots of lovely little details. The engraved plaque makes the gift a lovely keepsake for my 21st birthday. It would make a lovely present for any girl, for any occasion.


The Moon and More
The Moon and More
by Dessen Sarah
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, summery, loved it., 27 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Moon and More (Paperback)
I was so, so happy when 'The Moon and More' was first released. I've read and loved Dessen's other novels, ever since I just happened to pick up 'Lock and Key' one day. However, some of the less than enthusiastic reviews here on Amazon did discourage me from reading this book for quite a while. Eventually, I did.

I loved it.

So I'm here to try to provide some balance.

What I find really great about Dessen's books is that they are all fantastic summer reads. They are light and easy while still managing to touch on deeper issues. Dessen is a great storyteller, and she does not disappoint here. The beginning of the novel is great, instantly drawing the reader in. The entirety is well-written, gripping, with a very strong narrative voice.

I really like Emaline. I like her back-story, I like her personality, I like that she is eighteen and not in high-school. The other characters are also - for the most part - fantastic. I did not, so much, like Theo. I thought Dessen could have done more with his character, he is just a bit too... convenient. Same was the case with Ivy. But hey, no book is perfect.

I really like that Dessen's books are, in some way or another, interwoven. 'The Moon and More' features Auden and Heidi from my personal favourite, 'Along for the Ride' (which I am recommending you read right now!).

There were bits that I did find quite moving. Benji, for one. Emaline's father for another. Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle thing going on but it isn't in your face and awkward like - oh! - every other triangle. It's alright.

I think this is definitely worth a read. I also recommend some of Dessen's other books including 'Along for the Ride', 'What Happened to Goodbye', 'Lock and Key' and 'Last Chance'.

If you do read this one, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


All Our Yesterdays
All Our Yesterdays
by Cristin Terrill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection., 11 Sep 2013
This review is from: All Our Yesterdays (Paperback)
'All Our Yesterdays' by Cristin Terrill - quite possibly the best book I have read in a long time. I started to type out a long title, over-brimming with adjectives - brilliant, clever, complex, intense, funny, moving... - but I settled on perfect. It was either that or wow.

I admit, what really grabbed me about this book was the quote from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'. One of my favourite quotes, it sums up this novel perfectly. I bought my copy elsewhere, and find myself now wishing I had ordered it from Amazon! Under £4 is an incredible price for an incredible book. I was hooked by the first sentence... ("I stare at the drain in the centre of the concrete floor. It was the first thing I saw when they locked me in this cell, and I've barely looked away since.") ...and I could barely put this book down since.

The writing is outstanding. I cannot fault it. There are so many books out there that may have a gripping story, or compelling characters, yet are let down by shoddy writing. Not this. The brilliant, intricately complicated plot is held together by faultless writing. (Shoot, there I go with the adjectives again!) At times, I felt chilled at what I was reading. Seconds later, grinning like a fool.

The characters are incredible too. Massive kudos to Cristin Terrill for creating such a fantastic character in Finn, who can make the reader smile in the grimmest of situations. I loved Finn. I loved all the characters, each so refreshingly 3 dimensional, even the truly evil ones. My only slight issue might be the lack of ugly characters... everyone seemed to be attractive, or charming in some way. But this hardly matters compared to the rest of the book.

This is a very easy-to-read story perfect for young adults and adults alike, but I wouldn't call it a light-hearted read. It is moving, compelling, and after following Marina and Em's stories, I found myself reflecting on me as a person, and how the past has shaped who I am... how this might have been different. Bizarre! (Bear in mind that I do try to avoid thinking too much, if I can help it!)

I highly recommend this book. Whether you buy, borrow or steal a copy this is a must-read book that will leave you reeling!

...only please don't steal. That would be very, very bad. :)


Only Please One Person Per Day Metal Wall Sign
Only Please One Person Per Day Metal Wall Sign
Offered by Dotcomgiftshop
Price: £4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Really nice gift, 31 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this as a gift for a friend, and I am really glad I did! It's excellent value for money, and it looks great. Just like the picture shown, actually. It was delivered promptly and very securely packaged. The only thing stopping me from awarding it a full five stars is the fact that it isn't the sturdiest product. The sheet of the actual sign is a little thinner than I expected and I did feel that I had to be careful not to dent it in any way. But this could have just been my paranoia. My friend absolutely loves it.

Highly recommended!


Emerald
Emerald
by Karen Wallace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.83

4.0 out of 5 stars A good summer read, 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Emerald (Paperback)
I read this book very quickly and really enjoyed it! It's quite a light read, so is great for a couple of lazy summer afternoons. Karen Wallace has created a pleasant historical world with decent characters and an intricate plot. I'm no historian, but I think a lot of the historical aspects are fairly accurate. I enjoyed Wallace's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I, it fit nicely with other books I have read in a similar genre.

The novel is written well, I like the use of dialect, etc. And some of the character names amused me; Lord Suckley for example... If you read this, and I hope you do, then you'll see what I mean! Although, I was baffled by how much shouting and slamming doors the characters do! From a fifteen-year-old girl, okay. But from a middle-aged lord? So weird...

I did think that, considering the protagonist, Emerald, is fifteen, that some of the novel's themes were a bit vulgar. There is nothing really explicit but I would suggest that readers younger than fourteen should be cautious.

Overall, I liked this book, but I don't think its anything to rave about.

People who liked this might enjoy books by Eve Edwards, Marie-Louise Jensen, and Eva Ibbotson.


Witchstruck (Tudor Witch 1)
Witchstruck (Tudor Witch 1)
by Victoria Lamb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could not get into it., 3 July 2013
I had such high hopes for this book, despite the creepy cover, but it just didn't grab my attention. I tried a couple of times, but just ended up putting it back on the shelf and picking up something else. I don't know why, because from what I have managed to read, it's written quite well, the concept is interesting. I even flicked to the end to see if it got any more exciting, and the ending is alright.

I don't know why I didn't like this, but I would like to give it another attempt in the future.


Adara Silver Teardrop Earrings
Adara Silver Teardrop Earrings

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality, excellent price!, 28 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I am very pleased with these earrings. The design is quite unusual and they look great when wearing. They are solid, which makes them feel like a real quality product, yet as another reviewer pointed out, this does mean that they are quite heavy. I am also very happy with the price! Excellent value for money. (I paid about £7, but bear in mind prices could change since writing this review!)

Yes, they are quite thick. They fit comfortably in one of my piercings and I don't notice the weight at all; I could sleep wearing it. The opposite piercing, however, protests. But that's fine. i have been wearing very thin wire earrings, or no earrings, lately so will take a couple of days to coax the piercing with earrings of increasing thickness.

Just a warning that they are surprisingly big. Bigger than I thought, anyway. They drop to just about an inch, or 2.7cm. Still, I have no complaints. Very pleased!


Smuggler's Kiss
Smuggler's Kiss
by Marie-Louise Jensen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, funny and sweet, 22 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Smuggler's Kiss (Paperback)
I am a big fan of Marie-Louise Jensen's books. I read 'The Lady in the Tower' first and it is still one of my all time fave books! I have also read and recommend 'Between Two Seas' and 'The Girl in the Mask'. I plan on reading her other books too. Love them!

As for 'Smuggler's Kiss', I didn't really know what to expect. Jensen's books are so wonderfully diverse, although this one did kind of remind me of 'The Girl in the Mask' at times... Anyway. It is a really well written and plotted novel and I can't really fault it. Brilliant. It took me about a day to read.

The characters... I absolutely love that I disliked Isabelle at the start. She is a fantastic and refreshingly different protagonist. I adore Gentle Jacob, and Will and even the lesser characters are very vivid. I had a real sense of the characters growing and changing throughout the course of the story, which is really satisfying as a reader. There are some really sweet and tender moments, and some amusing moments that had me grinning. And, of course, there is plenty of adventure!

Some of the other reviewers call this a great summer read and, while I don't disagree, I think this would be a great winter read too! Reading about ships and smuggling on frosty seas while there is snow and ice outside your snug home? Perfect.

My only slight - very slight! - criticism might be Isabelle's secret. Credit to Jensen for building suspense, but when Isabelle did reveal her secret I just found it... Blah. I just thought, with all the smuggling and murder and excitement, this great secret that has Isabelle waking up screaming was just a little bit bland. Didn't quite fit. But that was the only thing that slightly bugged me. Apart from Isabelle's crying. She cries... a lot. No kidding. It's quite funny actually. Don't get me wrong, it suits her character. Just... brace yourself.

This is definitely a book worth a read. I am also urging you to read some of Jensen's other books! I really hope you won't be disappointed!


Siege and Storm (Grisha 2)
Siege and Storm (Grisha 2)
by Leigh Bardugo
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing!, 19 Jun 2013
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I strongly recommend this novel. I really do. Ever since I first read 'The Gathering Dark' (as I know it, and 'Shadow and Bone' as it is also called), I have been eagerly awaiting Bardugo's second novel in the series. I was not at all disappointed. It was devoured in two days. Unputdownable.

Everything wonderful about the first novel - the excitement, the twists, the emotion - is magnified in 'Siege and Storm'. I love how the characters develop and change, especially Alina as she struggles with all her new power. I love the new characters too - Nikolai, Tumar, Tolya and more. I love the play of power between Alina and the Darkling (who is, by the way, one of the best antagonists I have read in a long time). I might have felt a bit bad for Mal at times too, but mostly I thought he deserved to feel a little insecure after all those years Alina was invisibly in love with him.

There was not a single dull moment. Every little plot point has been well thought out and woven together. Bardugo is a wonderful writer. I will even say a faultless writer. This book is, in my mind, perfect and I cannot wait to read the next one! Especially considering the very teasing ending.

So I hope you will read this book and enjoy it.


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