Y’all . . . I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and a very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia. First of all? There’s checking. And then, there’s Jack. . . . You see the problem.
Series: Check, Please! 1
Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: First Second (1st September 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
I was really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu since I discovered that the webcomic I’d browsed briefly on Tumblr was getting published. Hockey really isn’t a sport I know a lot about, or have even watched, but Ukazu’s story of hockey and baking really drew me in. The story follows Bitty a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team who is a former junior figure skating champion, an amateur baker and a vlogger. This book follows his first two years at Samwell University, and focuses on his life with the hockey team.
This book is basically a compilation of the first two years
of Bitty’s life at Samwell University, including some of the extra comments and
some of Bitty’s tweets. So if you’ve
read the webcomic and are looking for new stories in this universe, then I
think you’ll be disappointed. If like me, you’ve read some (or maybe all) of
the webcomics but wanted something physical to hold then you will really enjoy
this book. New readers are in for a treat! The book feels really good quality,
and the paper feels quite thick and I think the colours have translated well
from screen to page.
If you’re looking for a plot driven story then Check, Please! is probably not going to be something you will enjoy, as apart from it being Bitty’s first two years at Samwell University there is no real over-arching plot to tie everything together. Rather, each chapter serves as its own self-contained story, which I guess shows the books roots as a webcomic. Personally I really enjoyed this, as it enabled me to dip in and out of the book without having to worry if I’d forgotten an important plot point twenty pages back.
I also really enjoyed the fact that each chapter feels like a vlog; generally with Bitty addressing the camera, and updating us on what’s going on. Although Bitty is very definitely the main character, I thought Ukazu does a good job with making the rest of the team that appears in the comic seem real. Ukazu does a really fab job at showing the friendships within the team. I particularly love Ransom and Holster’s friendship, and Shitty seems like a really awesome person and just super chill. Check, Please! is perfect for anyone looking for a fun, light read. I also think fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda will love this too. I’m really looking forward to the second book in this series, which looks like it will be published at some point in 2020.
The April box is my penultimate box from Illumicrate, and I’m curious to see what is inside it. If you’ve not been keeping up with my Illumicrate posts and want to know why my subscription is coming to end check out the end of my post on the February box here. If you’re thinking of subscribing to Illumicrate you can find more details here.
But enough of that, let’s dive straight into the unboxing.
This month’s box features five main items. First up there’s the Moth & Mirth Mug which is designed by @rosiethorns88. It’s an officially licensed Holly Black mug, and I’m assuming that it’s links to Black’s The Folk of the Air series. I think it looks really pretty, it’s not too heavy, and it looks like it will hold a lot. All pluses for me. Next up there’s the Once Upon A Time Tin designed by @moledrocraftco which features quotes and imagery from Throne of Glass. I think this looks cool, but I’m not sure about its practicality – it’ll be a good prop for photos, but other than that I’m not sure. The third item is the Crown of Power Candle created by @flickerinkuk which is raspberry scented, and it definitely smells strongly of that. The next item is the Iron Throne Phone Ring designed by @fableandblack which is Game of Thrones inspired. It’s an interesting idea. The final items are the Three Dark Crowns Travel Posters designed by @pinapali, which are inspired by Kendare Blake’s series. They look pretty. This month’s featured book is Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, which is a Chinese-inspired epic fantasy. It has an exclusive cover and sprayed edges to this box, it also comes with a letter from the author, a signed bookplate and the preorder incentive character cards. This month’s Illumicrate also comes with a Magnetic Coin which this month is designed by @monolimeart. It is the first in their new collectable series, and this month comes with the necklace and pendant back.This month’s box also includes two samplers. The first is for We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo which came out April 4th. The second is for A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson which came out May 2nd.
Overall this is another good box. There is a broad variety of items and fandoms, and there was only one item that I’m a bit unsure about. That being said, I didn’t love this box. For me it’s missing a certain spark. I think a lot of people will love this box, and be really pleased with the contents of it. My favourite item of this box is definitely the Moth & Mirth Mug. It is just beautiful, and very practical.
Thanks for reading this to the end. If you’ve made it this far I’d love to know what your thoughts are on this box. Until next time.
Today’s post is about the March 2019 Illumicrate. Yes, you read that right: March. I’m late to the party, but I’m trying to catch up – hence this post. So, the Adventure Awaits box is the first monthly box Illumicrate has curated. So let’s dive right in shall we?
From the outside this box looks pretty much the same: a lovely warm yellow, with Illumicrate logos and books drawn in white. The most notable change of this box is when you open it up and see the note card. Gone is the familiar yellow card, and in its place is a booklet (in this case various shades of blue) that lets you know what this box’s theme is.
Excluding the book, there are five main items in this months box. First there is The Raven Cycle Notebook Set designed by @bookmarkd.tattoos. I like the different sizings and colourings, whilst keeping the same design. Next there’s the Excalibur Water Bottle featuring artwork by @sarahandsweet. I’m not really a fan of it as it’s not something I’d use, but I think the artwork is beautifully done. Then there are the Mistborn Socks designed by @Illumicrate which look lovely, and will be great for adding a subtle bit of bookishness to an outfit. Next up is The Grand Tour Mug Rug featuring artwork by @temporaryplacesshop. A mug rug isn’t something I’ve come across before, but I like the fact that it’s so big – some mugs/cups are bigger than others after all. And the final main item is the Beginning & End Enamel Pin Set designed by @fableandblack. They look absolutely gorgeous, and I enjoy the LotR merch. There are a couple more items that have been included in the box. The first is Muse of Nightmares by Lani Taylor postcard. The second is a bookmark promoting Proud compiled by Juno Dawson, a collection of LGBTQ+ anthology of stories and poetry for a YA audience. The final item is a sampler of Temi Oh’s debut novel Do You Dream of Terra-Two? which came out on March 7th.
The book that is featured in this March Illumicrate isn’t one I had heard of before. It’s a space fantasy with a King Arthur twist, that I think sounds intriguing. Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy looks absolutely stunning. It’s has an exclusive Illumicrate edition cover and sprayed edges, it’s also signed and comes with a letter from the authors. It’s a US hardback with no dust jacket, which is good news to those of us who hate damaging it.
Overall I think this is a good box. I don’t think it’s anything particularly special. There are things in it people will love, but for me it’s missing a certain spark. I don’t think it’s a bad box, but I wouldn’t pick it as a favourite. The item I like most in this box is probably the pin set because it’s pretty and of all the items in the box I’m probably closest to being a member of this fandom. The notebooks and the mug rug are cool, and I do like the socks even if I had to google to find out the book that inspired them.
Thank you for making it this far down the post. I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time.
Long time readers of this blog will know that I have been a subscriber of Illumicrate since the first box. I have always love the fact that it’s a relatively inexpensive book box you get four times a year, that has had some really awesome books and some great book related merchandise. This box is the final Illumicrate that follows that formula. From this box onwards, Illumicrate has moved to a monthly subscription. I’ll talk more about this and my feelings about the change after I’ve unboxed this Illumicrate for you guys.
I was really excited to get my hands on this box. So excited that I went ahead and opened it before showing you guys, so there’s no video to go along with this post. I was contemplating doing on anyway, but as my procrastination has already got us to May I thought it would be better to just get on with things.
This box contains ten items, including the book. I think they all look really great. I hadn’t heard of the book or the author before seeing it in this box, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try. I also really enjoyed the variety of the items – there are quite a few that, as far as I’m aware, haven’t featured in a book box before.
The Orphanage of the Gods by Helena Coggan is this quarter’s book. The cover is gorgeous, very atmospheric. The book is a special edition for Illumicrate with an exclusive cover, and comes with lovely blue sprayed edges. The book itself is signed and there is a letter from the author, as well as a metallic notebook. The story is about war between gods and humans, and a girl trapped by it. The next item in the box is a set of six character bookmarks by @lesyablackbird, based on characters from Lani Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. The artwork is on both sides of the bookmark, and looks cool. Then there is the Strange and Dream Umbrella from @hodderscape. Up it looks brilliant, and it’s perfect to slip into a bag to help keep dry in any showers. The next item is the Keep Me Case with artwork by @moledrocraftco, perfect for keeping pens in or maybe just keeping bookmarks safe and easy to find. Girls of Paper & Fire Chopsticks by @heyatlascreative, I definitely have not seen this item in any book box before. Then there’s the Beautiful Thing Pouch with artwork by @stellabookishart, perfect to store make-up in so you don’t loose it in your bag. The next item is the Nectar of the Gods Lip Scrub by @hellolovelyskincare which will be great for getting rid of any dead skin. The final two items are two samplers. The first is for The Binding by Bridget Collins, which was published on Jan 10th by Borough Press. The second sampler is for The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu, the first book in The Eldest Curses series which was published on April 9th by Simon & Schuster. I believe all, or at least most, of the items are exclusive to this box.
Thank you to everyone who made it this far in the post. I mentioned at the start that I was going to talk to you more about what is going on with Illumicrate, and what this means for me. To start with, Illumicrate is now a monthly subscription book box. If you buy the box monthly that means you will pay £26 a month (now, this does not include VAT or P&P which only get added on at the end), but they also offer 3 and 6 month prepaid subscriptions. This honestly made me pause. As much as I have loved getting Illumicrate, these changes with no possibility of keeping the quarterly subscription made me seriously consider what my future with this book box was going to be – this was before I knew the “true” cost for a 3 month prepaid subscription.
When it was a quarterly box the final Illumicrate cost me £29.99 plus £3.70 shipping, so a grand total of £33.69. So based on that 1 year (4 boxes) would cost me £134.76, which I could both afford to do as I only paid every four months. I also liked the fact that it only meant I was getting 4 books a year, as most of the books I got through Illumicrate I hadn’t heard of before so there was no guarantee I would like them. Under the new system, I decided to try the 3 month prepaid subscription which cost me a grand total of £94.05 (including VAT and P&P). Now my first issue here is that the website says this 3 month prepaid subscription costs £75 excluding VAT – it doesn’t mention that it doesn’t include shipping. But forgetting that, a whole year (i.e. 4 subscriptions to this package) will now cost me £376.20. Now that is a lot of money. I don’t even want to think what it would cost paying monthly. Sure it works out as £31.35 per box, but frankly I cannot justify paying £376.20 a year on a subscription box. It’s just too expensive for me. I know going to the 6 month prepaid plan would be cheaper, but it’s still (in my opinion) a HUGE initial amount to pay every six months.
So what does that mean for the future of Illumicrate on this blog? Well. I have paid for the 3 month prepaid subscription, which does mean that the final unboxing will be for the May box (as my subscription started in March). After that, well things are up in the air. I don’t really want to say goodbye to Illumicrate. Daphne has created some awesome boxes, and I think that it’s brilliant that her company has grown this big. The price is a tad prohibitive, and frankly makes me rather uncomfortable. When the three months are up I don’t think I will be re-subscribing. However, I will be using the next 3 boxes to decide if the price increase is worth it. Sorry it has taken me so long to write this. It’s made me super uncomfortable, but I really did feel like I had to say something. I don’t think I’m going to be the only one who has mixed feelings about this. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments – am I overreacting? Do you agree that this is a huge hike in price? Thank you for reading so far, and I’ll see you on my next post.
[I’ve just noticed that I haven’t posted an Illumicrate unboxing since box #11, which I apologise for. I honestly thought I’d posted about them. I will endeavour to get them up ASAP. Thanks for sticking with me.]
‘I seen a kid killed . . . He strangled it, up by the horse.’
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember concrete detrails, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike cam question further, Billy bolts in panic.
Trying to get tot the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliment, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investrigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it has ever been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that . . .
The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next installment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
Lethal White is the fourth book in Robert Galbraith’s brilliant Cormoran Strike Novel series. It continues on from the ending of Career of Evil, as if no time has passed between books, before there is a time jump. Business is going well for Cormoran and Robin, and their agency has a lot of work. A troubled young man called Billy turns up at their office wanting to talk to Strike, he wants them to investigate a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child. The encounter unsettled Strike, and then Billy goes missing leaving them with a lot of unanswered questions. Trying to unravel the mystery, Strike and Robin end up taking a job that brings them to Parliament.
I really enjoyed the first three books in this series. They
always keep me guessing, and I love the way that ‘real life’ is mixed in with
the mystery of whatever case Strike and Robin are on. I have to confess I
didn’t know that there was going to be a fourth book in this series until I saw
it on the shelves in my local bookstore. I might be a few months late, in terms
of the publication date at least, but I didn’t know a lot going into this book
other than the blurb which, I think, worked in my favour.
Lethal White was everything I was expecting from a novel in the Cormoran Strike Novel series. The balance between the main case of the novel and Strike’s and Robin’s private lives was brilliantly maintained; neither section took away from the other. It is a huge tome and there is a lot going on and a lot of momentum to the story, which is great in my opinion. Billy’s story is compelling, and it kept me guessing – long time readers of the blog will know that I’m not great at guessing who did it, and this book is not an exception to that.
I did find Lethal White a little slow going, especially at the beginning. I don’t think that was the novels fault per se, I just ended up mega frustrated with one of the characters and the (unfortunately believable) choice they made. This unfortunately impacted on my reading, and this book was a case of a little at time for me until about the middle of the book I think. That being said, I did enjoy the book and how tangled the plot is. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this addition to the series.
Bright and early on Saturday February we caught the train
and headed to London for the #LondonBookshopCrawl. Long-time readers of this
blog will know that this is something I have been participating in for a number
of years (you can find my 2018 experience here). It’s always such fun, that I
enjoy sharing it with you guys. So I
hope you enjoy my thoughts on this year’s crawl.
This year we changed things up a bit, and decided to visit
some of the bookshops in the Piccadilly area of London first. Mainly because
they were open the earliest of the bookshops we wanted to visit, but we also
thought it would make a nice change to see the area in full daylight as in the
past this is one of the areas we’ve visited last.
Our first stop was Waterstones Piccadilly. I can honestly
say that it was the quietest I have ever seen the store. When we arrived there
was hardly anyone in there and it almost felt like a library with how quiet it
was. Still, it did make browsing the shelves a bit easier. They have a great
Young Adult section, and a not bad Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy selection.
After Waterstones we popped into Costa to grab some
breakfast. We had intended to eat in one of the Waterstones cafes, but nowhere
appeared to be open. I really enjoyed breakfast, and the wait wasn’t too long.
We then popped further along Piccadilly to Hatchards. Now this is a gorgeous looking bookstore, that I’m sure all book lovers would enjoy exploring. It’s full of surprises.
Although not a bookstore, Fortnum & Mason is just next door to Hatchards so how could we not pop in for a quick exploration of the ground floor? There are definitely a lot of interesting things to be found.
After this we popped on the underground and headed to
Notting Hill Gate. Getting there was not as easy as first appeared, as we
thought we’d be able to get the Circle Line there but they were working on the
line so we had to do a few line jumps but eventually we arrived.
Notting Hill was just awash with people. It was how I’d expected the start of the crawl to be. There were just a lot of people. That being said, I can see why the area is so popular with fashion bloggers – there are some really pretty streets just off the main roads that would be perfect backgrounds for photo shoots.
I wanted to visit Comic Exchange. It’s a small shop packed
with mainly comics. It has, I think, a reasonable selection – though nothing I
was looking for.
After we stopped for a drink at one of the pubs in the area, we headed back to the tube and on to Tottenham Court Road. From there we headed straight to Foyles. Foyles’s Young Adult and Children sections are huge, and well worth checking out as are the Fantasy and Comic sections. We tried to stop for lunch here, but alas the café was packed.
We popped down Charring Cross Road to Orbital Comics, a
great place for comic lovers and just graphic novels in general. It’s much
bigger on the inside than the outside.
We then headed back up Charring Cross Road to Shaftsbury
Avenue and then the Forbidden Planet megastore. If you love a particular fandom
– whether that be gaming, DC, Marvel, Harry Potter and lots more – then if you
get the chance you should definitely check this place out. Downstairs its book
and graphic novel/comic sections are brilliant. In the book section you can
find not only signed copies but occasionally US editions that haven’t made it
to the UK yet. I also really enjoy browsing through the manga selection.
After this we headed along Neal Street towards Covent
Garden. Along the way we stopped at ARTBOX. Now this isn’t a bookstore, but it
sells a lot of cute Japanese kawaii items and I was curious about it. When we
got there I was a little disappointed as nothing really caught my attention.
Once back on the underground we headed towards St
Pancras/King’s Cross where we finally managed to grab some lunch in the Prêt.
By this point we were really tired and honestly debating whether we wanted to
head home or not. The late lunch gave us the energy we needed to visit the
final two bookstores of this crawl.
We headed out of St Pancras towards Granary Square. Walking
that way was an interesting experience. There has been a lot of building work
going on, and there are a lot of shops that people can visit – everything from
sportsware, to shoes, to clothes, to Google, and I believe there’s a YouTube
place somewhere in there as well. But we passed all this and kept going until
we reached Granary Square where, although it was drizzling by this point, there
was a gorgeous water and light display.
Then our penultimate stop on this book crawl was Word on the
Water, which is a bookshop in a barge on the Regent’s Canal. There are a lot of
books crammed into it from a lot of different genres. Before we left on of the
sellers recited a poem from Edward Lear’s Nonsense collection.
Finally we visited the House of Illustration. We had a quick
poke around their shop, deciding not to explore their galleries. It’s not really a bookstore, but there are a
few picture books and lots of illustrated cards to browse through. Once we left
there we had a quick look at the market behind the gallery before heading back
to the train station, and then heading home.
By the end of it, although it wasn’t particularly late, we
were very tired and looking forward to sitting down and having something to
eat. Although most of the bookshops we visited were ones we’d visited before, I
did really enjoy the fact that the three new ones allowed us to explore areas
of London we’d never really been in before. We might have only picked up six
books (including a freebie) but we still had a really great time.
Thank you to Bex at Ninja Book Box for organising the crawl again this year. It’s amazing how it’s grown from just Saturday to Friday to Sunday. I can’t wait to take part in it again next year. For those of you who can’t wait that long, I believe Bex is organising one for the summer. I’m not sure where it will be, so keep an eye out on @LdnBkshopCrawl for more information.
If you’ve managed to reach this far down the post, I thought I’d share the books that we collected during the crawl. There aren’t too many, which is a good thing as I’m trying to keep control of my to be read pile. We didn’t manage to find something at every stop, but we had fun exploring the bookstores.
Congrats on making it to the end of this post, thank you for reading. I’d love to know if you’ve read any of the books, and if so what you thought of them. I hope to see you time.
Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust centre stage into an eons-old prophecy . . .
Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.
Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world.
In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava scallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind there’s a haunting voice that isn’t her own.
This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.
Series: Guild Hunter 11 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy Publisher: Gollancz (1st November 2018) Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Eleven books in, and Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series is really raising the stakes. The Cascade has caused problems before but in Archangel’s Prophecy Elena, the first mortal to be turned into angel in angelic memory, seems to be regressing – making her easier to hurt, and easier to kill. With so little known about once mortal angels, it is extremely difficult for anyone to unearth information that may help her. Whilst Elena and Raphael fight to find out what is going on, the rest of the world stands on the brink of chaos: New York has a lava filled sinkhole, the deserts of Africa have monsoon floods, and the Archangel Favashi shows the first signs of madness. Survival is not looking good for anyone, mortal or immortal.
First of all I just want to mention how pretty the cover of my edition of the book is – I really love the grayscale image with the vibrant colours on the wings just pops. I have really enjoyed the Guild Hunter series so far, so of course I was excited to get my hands on Archangel’s Prophecy. Singh always manage to surprise me, and this book was no different.
I did really enjoy it, but in a lot of ways it does read like the first part of a series – there is some serious setting up going on. Archangel’s Prophecy really sets the scene and let’s us know what exactly is at stake. I don’t know how many books there will be in the series, but to me it almost feels like Singh is gearing up for the endgame of the series. I’m probably reaching, but I definitely think there is that quality to the setup in the book. I don’t think that the next book will be the last one, but I do think Singh may be drawing things to a close.
As always, there is a lot going on – I found it easy to keep track of everything, though I did think that one of the resolutions in this book came a bit out of left field. I really admired Elena’s determination in this book, how she never stopped fighting. Although the story primarily focuses on Elena and Raphael, I did enjoy the return of some familiar faces – and I would have loved if there had been more of them, but that’s just a minor gripe. I also thought the way that the voice in Elena’s mind was handled was really well done, and interesting. Archangel’s Prophecy has definitely left me excited for book twelve.
POWER IS A LIGHTNING ROD FOR PERIL. AND A STORM IS BREWING.
ARRAM DRAPER IS ON THE PATH TO becoming the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial Univeristy of Carthank, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness — and for attracting trouble. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “left-over prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms.
As Arram’s education continues, he discovers a disturbing dark side of the Carthaki Empire — one that not even his powerful masters at the university can protect him from. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram realises that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
Series: The Numair Chronicles 1 Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult Publisher: Random House Childrens' Books (6th February 2018) Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Tamora Pierce returns to the realm of Tortall with Tempests and Slaughter, the first book in The Numair Chronicles a prequel of sorts to her Wild Magic
series. The book follows Arram Draper during his first year at the
Imperial University of Carthak. He is one of the youngest students
attending the university, but his powerful Gift places him in some very
difficult classes. Being friends with Varice and Ozorne, a younger
prince in the Imperial Gamily, allows Arram some protection and access
to influential people within the Imperial Court, which brings its own
brand of trouble. Readers of the Wild Magic series can expect the return of more than a few familiar faces.
I went into this book with high expectations. To be honest, they were probably too high. I found Tempests and Slaughter
an uncomfortable read, not because of the storyline or the book itself
but because I recognised a LOT of the characters and knew things that
influenced my feelings. I knew going in that I would probably have this
issue, but honestly I was not expecting how much it unsettled me and
consequently it took me a long time to finish the book. Having said
that, I did actually like reading it and I found the plot of the book
interesting and I enjoyed getting to see a new side to familiar faces.
Pierce also manages to sneak in a couple of surprises.
Tempests and Slaughter
allows us our first real glimpse into Carthak from a resident’s point of
view. The story is primarily set within the Imperial University, though
we do get to explore a few other places. This is very much has a
boarding school feel to it; we see Arram and his friends attend classes,
deal with their teachers and other students. But we also get a glimpse
of some of the members of the Imperial family, which I found quite
interesting and there were definitely overtones of empire and
colonialism. Carthak is a more brutal country than Tortall and it really
shows in this book. I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the Gift
in a more structured setting.
The book focuses Arram’s first year at the Imperial University, but
Pierce weaves a few subplots throughout the story. Some of these
subplots are dealt with in more detail than others, and I think that is
because this is the first book in the series so Pierce is setting up for
events to come. I did find it a bit frustrating, but honestly it’s also
made me curious about the next book. This book also deals with the
onset of puberty, and what that means for Arram. There is a lot of
potentially good set-up for later books, but at the same time not a lot
really happens in this book. Tempests and Slaughter was both what I was expecting and something else entirely, so I’m looking forward to what the next book will reveal.
MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I’VE ALWAYS OVERCOME ANYTHING I’VE FACED. BUT THIS TIME, THERE’S A MONSTER THAT EVEN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT . . .
A remote Florida island is the perfect destination for my fellow U.S. marshal and best friend Edward’s wedding. And for me, it’s a welcome break as it’s the first trip I’ve ever taken with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel for company. But it’s not all fun, games and bachelor parties . . .
In this tropical paradise, Micah has discovered a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.
The last thing I need is more drama, but when women start disappearing from the hotel – and worse – my own friends and lovers become the prime suspects. A strange power is afoot, a force that’s rendering those around me helpless in its thrall. I can’t face this alone and am willing to accept help from even the deadliest places – help that I will most certainly regret. If I survive at all . . .
Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 26 Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (7th August 2018) Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
The twenty-sixth novel in Laurell K. Hamilton’s brilliant Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Serpentine follows Anita, Micha and Nathaniel to Florida for Edward’s wedding. Life has been busy for Anita and her beaus, so romance and even sex have been on something of a back burner. The wedding is their chance for a break in tropical paradise; only like most things in Anita’s life it’s just not that easy. Micah has discovered a horrific form of what appears to be lycanthropy. And then women start disappearing from the hotel they’re staying at.
I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the later books in the series, and whilst I can understand why I’m just really invested in the characters and actually really enjoy the reading experience. So I’ll just straight out say it – if you are looking for a more plot based story, like the early Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books, then you are going to be disappointed. Hamilton has again gone back to focusing more on Anita’s relationships than on the plot. Having said that, there is a plot that whilst small is interesting and I wish it could have been explored more.
A lot of the drama of this novel comes from interpersonal relationships. Things are not all sunshine and roses for Anita and her family, or for her friends. Getting caught up in a case when she’s supposed to be on vacation certainly doesn’t help matters, but Anita wouldn’t be Anita if she didn’t. The case is actually rather interesting. Hamilton drops little hints about what’s going on, but although I had some guesses it wasn’t until the big reveal that I actually knew what was going on. It would have been nice if the book had been a little more case focused, but I think it does work well the way it is and it does fit in with the style of Crimson Death .
Although Serpentine is not in St. Louis we do get to meet a lot of familiar faces – there’s even a namedrop of a character from near the beginning of the series – and we are introduced to some new faces. As you can tell from the blurb, the main focus of this book is Anita, Micah and Nathaniel’s relationship. I enjoyed catching up with them. I also really liked seeing Edward and his family again – and it was nice to see how different he is in this book from when we first meet him. I wasn’t that impressed with the new faces that are working for Anita and Jean Claude. Most of them felt like you’d blink and you’d miss them, and the ones that got the longer page time just seemed a little flat to me – though to be fair this might have been because Anita is the narrator and she’s dealing with the aftermath of the events in Crimson Death. Fans of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter will not be disappointed with Serpentine as long as they have enjoyed the more recent additions to the series.
Feyre’s first Winter Solstice as High Lady is drawing near. With it will come a hard-earned rest from the work she. Rhys and their friends have done to rebuild the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. Yet the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows from looming. Even as her own heart heals, she finds that those dearest to her have wounds that go deeper than she knew.
AND THE SCARS OF THE PAST WILL TOUCH HER COURT IN TIMES TO COME.
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses 3.1 Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult Publisher: BLOOMSBURY YA (1st May 2018) Source:Illumicrate - The Starfall Edition. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
A Court of Frost and Starlight is a companion tale set in Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses universe. It follows after the events of the third book A Court of Wings and Ruin and it is set around the Winter Solstice. It is the first Winter Solstice since Feyre became High Lady, and she is nervous about what to expect. The Night Court is rebuilding itself, but it has meant a lot of work for Feyre and her family. Despite then festive atmosphere shadows are hanging over Feyre and her family, as they try and cope after the war.
A Court of Frost and Starlight was one of the books I was most anticipating in 2018, curious about what story Maas wanted to tell. At over two hundred pages A Court of Frost and Starlight is considerably shorter than the three main novels in the series. It is therefore quite a quick read, and one I really enjoyed perhaps more because of the brevity of it. I went into the story without any real knowledge of what to expect apart from the blurb, which I think worked well. I fell straight back into the world of Prythian without feeling lost at any point.
There is, in my opinion, not a lot going on in A Court of Frost and Starlight in terms of the plot. If you are looking for something as filled with plot as the main novels of the series, then I think you will be disappointed. In the two hundred plus pages not a lot happens. But that is for me the cleverness of A Court of Frost and Starlight. Instead of plot Maas focuses on the characters; on Feyre and her family, and how they are coping with the fallout from the events in the previous books in the series now they have had time to take stock.
Seeing more of Feyre and her family and learning more about them was really interesting. I enjoyed how realistic the different ways everyone was coping were, and how the different narrators really helped to illustrate this. I also enjoyed getting to see how Feyre was settling into her role as High Lady without the threat of war looming over her. I would have liked to read more about how everyone was settling in, but even with that A Court of Frost and Starlight does feel like a complete story: Maas does a good job with leaving me wanting more, helped along by the sneak peek of the next novel at the end of the book.
Fans of Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses will not be disappointed by the addition of the companion tale A Court of Frost and Starlight. It may not add much to the overall story arc of the series in terms of plot, but it does add extra dimension to the characters and allow you to get to know them a little more. It has left me looking forward to getting my hands on the fourth book in the series, as if the hints in this book is anything to go by it will be a great read.