Review: Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Scorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan (8th October 2015)
Blurb:

SIMON SNOW ID THE WORST CHOSEN ONE WHO’S EVER BEEN CHOSEN.

That’s what his roomate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here – it’s their last year at Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow is a ghost story, a love story, and a mystery. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story – but far, far more monsters.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

CARRY ON: THE RISE AND FALL OF SIMON SNOW by Rainbow Rowell is a standalone novel, which is linked to her young adult novel FANGIRL (review). CARRY ON tells the final part of the Simon Snow series which readers of FANGIRL will be familiar with, as the Simon Snow series is the fandom that Cath, the main character of the novel, is immersed in. Rowell gives readers a glimpse into the world they’ve only heard about through Cath, and her love of it.

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Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Title: How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon, 1)
Author: Cressida Cowell
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books (4th February 2010)
Blurb:

HICCUP HORRENDOUS HADDOCK THE THIRD was an awesome swordfighter, a dragon-whisper and the greatest Viking Hero that ever lived.

Can Hiccup pass the Dragon Initiation Programme with a toothless dragon and fight the Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus before it gobbles up every Viking on Berk? It’s time for Hiccup to learn how to be a Hero.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON by Cressida Cowell is the first book in the series of the same name. The book follows Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he attempts to pass the Dragon Initiation Programme.

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Review: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Genre: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan (21st May 2015)
Blurb:

Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what the stories tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travellers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true; he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our father’s would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard known only as the Dragon, to keep the Wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

UPROOTED by Naomi Novik is a standalone young adult fantasy novel. The novel is heavily influenced by fairy tales and tells the story of Agnieszka who lives in a small village that is protected by the Dragon. Next to this village is the Wood, which casts a dark shadow. The book begins just before Dragon picks the next young woman to serve him.

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Review: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Title: The Iron Trial (Magisterium, 1)
Authors: Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Swords and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Books (2nd July 2015)
Blurb:

Call has no idea what he’ll come up against in THE IRON TRIAL but he knows that if he passes the test, he’ll become a student of magic at the Magisterium.

Only, all his life, Call’s been warned to stay away from magic, so he tries his best to do his worst – but he fails at failing.

Now he must enter the Magisterium, and it’s even more sensational and sinister than he could ever have imagined . . .

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

THE IRON TRIAL is the first book in a new series – Magisterium – by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Callum Hunt has been warned, by his dad, about the dangers of magic his whole life. So when he’s forced to take part in a series of tests that could mean he becomes a student of magic at the Magisterium, Call is determined to fail. Only, Call ends up passing the tests somehow.

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Review: Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Deceptions (A Cainsville Novel, 3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sphere (20th August 2015)
Blurb:

TRUST NO ONE

Olivia Jones is desperate for the truth. The daughter of convicted serial killers, she has begun to suspect that her parents are innocent of their crimes. But who can she trust, in a world where betrayal and deception hide in every shadow?

RISK EVERYTHING

Liv does have one secret weapon: a mysterious sixth sense that helps her to anticipate danger. The trouble is, this rare power comes with its own risks. There are dark forces that want to exploit Liv’s talents – and will stop at nothing to win her to their side.

FACE THE TRUTH

Now Live must decide, before it’s too late. Who does she love? Who is really on her side? And can she save herself without burning down everything that matters most?

A twisting and atmospheric thriller, Deceptions is a fast-paced, gothic tale laced with passion, mystery and murder.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

DECEPTIONS is the third title in Kelley Armstrong’s gothic thriller series Cainsville. This novel continues the story of Olivia Jones, as she unravels more about her past and the secrets of Cainsville. Armstrong reveals more of the secrets of Cainsville and of Olivia’s past in this book.

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Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Title: Career of Evil (A Cormoran Strike Novel, 3)
Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Crime, Detective Story, Mystery
Publisher: Sphere (20th October 2015)
Blurb:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people in his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them . . .

A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, Career of Evil is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at crossroads in their personal and professional lives. You will not be able to put this book down.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

CAREER OF EVIL in the third book in the Cormoran Strike series written by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. Strike investigates when a package delivered to Robin Ellacott, his secretary-cum-partner, contains a severed leg. He is certain that the crime is somehow linked to his past, and there are four people he thinks could be responsible.

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Bout of Books 15 – My Stats

With Bout of Books 15 in full swing, I thought it was probably past time to write down my goals for this read-a-thon. The whole point of Bout of Books is to have fun, and with that in mind I’ve set myself some relatively easy goals. I am also going to use this page to keep track of my progress during the read-a-thon so if you want to see how I’m doing be sure to check back!

My Goals:

  • Read 700 pages
  • Take part in 1 chat
  • Complete 2 challenges

I don’t think the goals I set myself are unrealistic – I don’t want to make reading a chore, after all – and I’m hoping that they’ll allow me to have some fun.

My Progress:

Day 1

Monday 4th January

  • Completed the #insixwords challenge: enthusiastic reader, dreamer, sleeper and nerd.
  • Read 73 pages
  • Missed the chat today as it was at 02:00 GMT and I wanted to sleep – hope everyone who managed to attend had fun.
  • Although I didn’t reach my goal of 100 pages, I still had fun :)

Day 2

Tuesday 5th January

  • Completed the ‘Would You Rather’ challenge
  • Read 188 pages
  • Total pages read = 261
  • It was a good day to read, and I just flew through CARRY ON.
  • The ‘Would You Rather’ challenge was fun, and some of the questions were quite hard and had me umm-ing and err-ing trying to pick which was the better outcome.

Day 3

Wednesday 6th January

  • Completed the Rainbow Book Covers challenge. I actually found it quite hard. The indigo and violet choices were especially small – just the two I picked – and I’m not 100% sure they’re right. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, surely?
  • Today I read 82 pages.
  • This brings my total for the read-a-thon so far to – 343.

Day 4

Thursday 7th January

  • I decided not to participate in today’s challenge because whilst it sounded fun, I’m not totally sure which villains I’d like to see faceoff. Lord Voldemort comes to mind as one of the participants, but I’m not totally convinced he’s be a good choice – well, unless the person he was facing was a Muggle and then I’m convinced he’d send someone else to do the job instead.
  • Reading wise I seem to be back in the swing of things again. Not that 81 pages yesterday was bad, it just wasn’t my goal of 100.
  • I’ve finished my first book of the read-a-thon, CARRY ON, and it was a very enjoyable read.
  • Today I read 172 pages.
  • This brings my total for the read-a-thon to: 515

Day 5

Friday 9th January

  • I started MORTAL GODS, but didn’t actually have a lot of time to read.
  • I decided to do the scavenger hunt challenge, and had lots of fun doing it.
  • Instead of reading, I used a couple of hours to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I know I’m late to the party, but I really enjoyed watching the film. It was very similar in feel to the ‘original’ trilogy, and I look forward to seeing where this new trilogy goes.
  • Today I read 140 pages.
  • This brings my total to 655 pages.

Day 6

Saturday 10th January

  • I took part in today’s chat, which is another of my goals for this read-a-thon done. I was a little late to the party, but I had fun. The Twitter chat itself was brilliantly chaotic, and there were some interesting questions and answers.
  • I finished my second book of the read-a-thon today too. I really enjoyed MORTAL GODS. It was what I expected from the previous book, though one of the characters did kind of scare me.
  • I decided not to take part in today’s challenge because when I read I just tend to curl up wherever. I don’t have a particular spot where I sit and read – no comfy chair, no warm bed, no small space. I just tend to plonk myself down somewhere quiet and immerse myself in the book.
  • Having finished my second book, I decided to start my third. This one’s a little different to the previous ones, and I’ve been looking forward to reading it. THE SANDMAN OVERTURE by Neil Gaiman will be a good third book I think.
  • And to my great surprise I managed to finish my third book of the read-a-thon!
  • Today I read 450 pages.
  • This brings my total pages to 1, 105.

Day 7

Sunday 11th January

  • As there is no challenge today, and I have more than made my goal for this read-a-thon I have been in two minds about whether I should read today.
  • Having said that, reading x pages a day is a good habit to have. Especially if I want to avoid any reading slumps this year, I think.
  • Hope everyone is having a great final day.
  • In the end I decided to do a little bit of reading. It seemed silly not to.
  • Today I read 107 pages.
  • This brings my total for Bout of Books 15 to 1, 212 pages.

The 3 books I read during Bout of Books 15, and the one 1 started.

This brings to an end Bout of Books 2015. I had a really fun time taking part, and I’m looking forward to Bout of Books 16 which is taking place from May 9th to May 16th (you can check the Bout of Books blog for more details). Hopefully I’ll be able to take part in that one too.

Bout of Books 15

Okay, so I know I said there won’t be any more posts until 2016 but I had to post this. Bout of Books 15 is right around the corner, and as I seem to have slipped the reading slump for the moment I thought I’d take the opportunity and sign-up to participate.

For those who don’t know about Bout of Books, here’s some info:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

If you’ve never taken part before, don’t worry! The whole point of Bout of Books is  not the challenges – and there are daily ones – but the fact that you sit down and you read. You can read as much, or as little, as you want – you get to set your own goal. There’s also a couple of Twitter chats where you can talk to new people. If you do want to take part in any of the challenges or join the chats you can find the schedule here.

I’d love to know if you’re taking part, so please leave a comment below. Good luck to everyone taking part!

Merry Christmas!

Seeing as it’s Christmas Day, I thought I would take this opportunity to wish those of you celebrating a Merry Christmas. To everyone else, whatever you are or are not celebrating I wish you a happy winter break.

This will be my last post on this blog for 2015, but I will resume posting again in the new year. As such I’d just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

See you in 2016.

 

Review: Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

Title: Talking to Dragons (The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book Four)
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Magic Carpet Books (March 2003)
Blurb:

Always be polite to dragon!

That’s what Daystar’s mother taught him . . . and it’s a very wise lesson – one that might just help him after his mom hands him a magic sword and kicks him out of the house. Especially because his house sits on the edge of the Enchanted Forest and his mother is Queen Cimorene.

But the tricky part is figuring out what he’s supposed to do with the magic sword. Where is he supposed to go? And why does everyone he meets seem to know who he is?

It’s going to take a particularly hotheaded fire-witch, a very verbose lizard, and a badly beahving dragon to help him figure it all out.

And those good manners certainly won’t help!

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

TALKING WITH DRAGONS by Patricia C. Wrede is the fourth book in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. This book follows the story of Daystar who at sixteen gets handed a magic sword by his mother and sent into the Enchanted Forest, and has to work out for himself what he has to do.

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