Reviewlets: Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick & The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exputéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo

So you may have noticed from the title, but this is something a little different to normal. I try to write reasonable length reviews about the books I read, but sometimes I have something I want to say but it’s a struggle to get something that I consider a review length piece. I’ve noticed that this means that I don’t really want to read after this, so I decided to do something a little different. Instead of struggling to find something to say to fill a whole review, I thought instead I’d offer a short (between 100 and 200 words) review – a reviewlet if you will. I hope this works well for you as well. I’ve got several of these scheduled, so I’d love to know your thoughts on the format.

Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick

If you are a fan of the tv show The Supervet, and of Noel Fitzpatrick then you will enjoy this book. I thought it was a very interesting read, though a lot of the time his ideas went completely over my head because the science/maths was just a bit too much for me. It was interesting to learn about his past, and to see how he got to where he is now.This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in getting into veterinary medicine, or with some link to it. My only slight complaint is that the narrative isn’t necessarily linear, which I found confusing at times. It’s not a book I’ll go back to, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and seeing how far veterinary medicine has come – and how far, in a lot of ways, it still has to go. Noel’s idea of “One Medicine” is a really interesting one, and one I hope is explored in the future as it seems to have a lot of potential.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exputéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo

I don’t know if it was Antoine de Saint-Exputéry’s story or Michael Morpurgo’s translation of it, but this book really did not resonate well with me. I can kind of see why so many people love it, but it honestly just leaves me cold. Maybe I’m not in touch enough with my younger self to enjoy it. Certainly a lot of people seem to enjoy this story, whether in its original french or in a translation. The story itself has a certain whimsey to it, as do the illustrations. This is not a book for anyone who prefers linear narratives. It reminds me a bit of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, which I absolutely hated but which I suspect people who enjoyed that will enjoy this.

Thanks for reading, until next time.

Review: The Golden Tower by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

The Golden Tower by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

ALL GOOD MAGICIANS COME TO AN END.

Callum Hunt has been both a hero and an outcast.

Now starting his final year at the Magisterium, Call is desperate to find his place at the school, win his friends back, and prove he is a force for good.

But he soon comes face to face with an old enemy, transformed into a being of terrible evil. It must be stopped, and the Magisterium needs Callum’s help.

It is a mission that could save him, or destroy him . . .

Series: Magisterium 5
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Corgi Books (13th September 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

The Golden Tower is the final book in Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series. This book concludes the story that started in The Iron Trial, when Callum Hunt was first introduced to magic. It’s Callum’s final year at the Magisterium, and a lot has happened to him and his friends since he started at the school. In this book Callum discovers that an old enemy has returned transformed into a terrible evil, one who is determined to make Call pay. Call is determined to prove that he is a force for good, so when the Magisterium asks him for help he says yes.

It was interesting to return to the world of the Magisterium, to Call and his friends.  The Golden Tower is a good read, and I think fans of the series will enjoy its conclusion, but it just wasn’t a book that really called to me. Don’t get me wrong, the story is appealing and I was curious about how Black and Clare were going to end things. I just wasn’t wowed. There was no real magic, or surprises and it just kind of felt too neat. It’s a good solid read, and it ties-up all the loose ends in the series.

I don’t want to damn The Golden Tower with faint praise. I honestly do think that readers who have followed this series to its conclusion will enjoy this book. They’ll enjoy following Call to the conclusion of his journey, and seeing how far he’s come from the boy first introduced in The Iron Trial: at heart he’s still that same boy, but he’s matured. The plot of the book is very well thought out, and the book is very readable. Once you’ve found your rhythm reading, it’s a very easy story to fall into and enjoy.

I have enjoyed this series, and if you aren’t looking for anything particularly complicated then I think you will too. The Golden Tower is a good solid end to the Magisterium – it dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. And there is nothing wrong with the uncomplicated nature of this book. There are also definitely parallels with the Harry Potter series, and readers of one series will enjoy the other – though I don’t think the Magisterium matures the way the Harry Potter series does in later books. It’s a little sad to say goodbye to everyone, but The Golden Tower brings things to a good conclusion.

* It was only as I collected all the details for this post that I realised I hadn’t read the fourth book in the series, but honestly I did not notice a gap between the end of book three and the start of this one. I won’t be going back and reading the fourth book, but I just wanted to put this here in case anyone was looking for my thoughts on the fourth book.

Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

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.

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition), with bookcover from Illumicrate.

ON THE DARKEST NIGHT, THE STARS STILL SHINE.

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.

Review: Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Title: Hero at the Fall (Rebel of the Sands, 2)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Faber and Faber (1st February 2018)
Blurb:

Once, there was a desert under siege, and no one to defend it . . .

The rebels are crushed: most are captured, burned out or dead. Except Amani, and it’s up to her to protect the survivors.

But how can one girl save a whole rebellion?

Then foreign armies begin advancing across the desert plains and the Sultan stars hunting the rebels through the streets of Izman.

Now Amani must prove that she’s not  just a  desert girl any more, that she’s learned a few tricks since then. . .

Here begins the final battle for the throne. Who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

All heroes are mortal in the end . . .

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

HERO AT THE FALL brings Alwyn Hamilton’s fantastic Rebel of the Sands trilogy to a spectacular close. It continues the story of Amani and the Rebellion after what looks like the end of their uprising: their story is not over yet. Amani must work out how to save the rebellion, and in doing so prove that she is more than just a desert girl as the final battle for the throne begins. There is more than just the Sultan to be wary of, as foreign armies have begun advancing across the desert as the realm appears up for the picking.

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Review: The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Title: The Waking Land (The Waking Land, 1)
Author: Callie Bates
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (29th June 2017)
Blurb:

It’s been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father’s rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she’s come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again… but this time by her father’s mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna’s veins. Now she must decide which side she’s on, and whether she’ll use her powers for mercy… or revenge.

– blurb from Amazon.co.uk

Rating:⭐️ ⭐️ (2 stars)
Review:

THE WAKING LAND is Callie Bates’s debut novel. It tells the story of Lady Elanna Valtai who has lived in the court of King Antoine for fourteen years; a hostage in a foreign court because of her father’s failed rebellion. Elanna knows she does not belong in King Antoine’s Court, but at the same time it is the world she has known for most of her life and she wants nothing to do with her father. Still, rebellion is in the air and when events come to a head Elanna finds herself in the middle of them. Torn between two worlds Elanna must choose which path to follow forward.

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Illumicrate – The Starfall Edition | Unboxing

As those of you who follow my blog will know I’m an Illumicrate subscriber, but I have never purchased one of their special edition boxes until now. The Starfall Edition celebrates the release of the latest book in Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series – A Court of Frost and Starlight. It was originally available in two editions hardback and paperback (and priced accordingly). I chose to go with the paperback edition so it matched the rest of my series.

I was also lucky enough to acquire one of the boxes in the first batch (there was such a high demand for this box that after they sold out Illumicrate created a second batch that did not contain all the items from the original, but I believe had some new ones too). At the time of posting all editions of this box have sold out. It should be obvious but, from this point there will be spoilers.  So stop scrolling now if you don’t want to find out what’s inside, otherwise continue scrolling to see the brilliant content of this box.

Seriously, stop if you don’t want to see what’s inside.

At first glance inside this box I am pleased with the contents. Although the box is by no means bursting, there looks like there are a reasonable amount of items and from what you can see in this picture they look, at least in my opinion, promising.

By the way, items are posted in the order I removed them from the box.

So the first item I pulled out from the box is this lovely Prythian inspired constellation book sleeve by Sparrow + Wolf.

I think both the front and the back look amazing – the colours are absolutely gorgeous! It feels incredibly soft and squishy, so it will be great for protecting my books when I carry them in my bag. It’s a reasonable size and is holding the book well, as well as several more items.

This stunning illustration is by Kat Adara (you can find her stop here) and it is of Rhys and Feyre during Starfall. I think it looks absolutely lovely. Really magical.

So this is the edition of A Court of Frost and Starlight I chose – the UK paperback edition – it comes hand-stamped with an exclusive ink stamp (which I totally forgot to take a picture of – sorry). There is also this cute note from Sarah J. Maas.

And because it didn’t really pick up in the first image, I wanted to show you some of the gorgeous filigree on the cover.

The final item hidden in the book sleeve was this shiny exclusive bookmark from Bloomsbury.

Both front and back look lovely, and it was interesting trying to take a photo of it without accidentally appearing in the bookmark. I don’t think I quite managed it in the above photo, but oh well.

So, the first item that caught my attention was this Stars Eternal and Night Triumphant enamel pin set by  Fable & Black. I like the fact that it offers you the option of wearing it as one badge, or two.

This box intrigued me, so of course I had to pick it up and have a closer look at it.

According to the card these cards were designed by Keeper of the Suns’ and feature favourite characters and items from the series. This item really surprised me. I don’t think a deck of cards has been included in a box before. I actually think it’s really neat.

This is perhaps one of the smallest items in the box, and I really like it.

It’s called Truth-teller and it’s by Lovely Lip Balm. It’s inspired by Morrigan’s red lips and Azriel’s magic knife. It smells absolutely gorgeous – the scent of roses just wafts from it.

This is a Illyrian wingspan inspired necklace made of mirrored enamel by Mirror Image Accessories.

This is a lovely, almost delicate looking necklace. I like the fact that it’s quite subtle about what it’s referencing.

What is a book subscription box without a candle?

This gorgeous smelling candle is a layered glass candle from Two Candle Thieves inspired by Feyre and Rhys, and by how stars look against the night sky.

It’s a bit warm now for this (at the time of writing), but I still think it’s a great addition to the box.  It’s a lightweight double-sided summer scarf by Evannave that proudly depicts the symbols of the seven courts.

This gorgeous set of six cards is by Monolime and depicts the Inner Court in tarot style cards.

These bright socks were designed by Illumicrate and show Feyre’s tattoos. I think they will look wonderful on.

This is an absolutely gorgeous tote bag. The artwork is by Ink & Wonder, and the colours are amazing. I like the fact that they tied it together with one of the favourite quotes from this series.

And last but not least we have this enamel mug.

As Illumicrate say in the card, “No Starfall Edition would be complete without featuring something from Charlie Bowater!” For me (and a lot of others) Charlie Bowater’s artwork is really tied to this series, and is actually one of the reasons I decided to pick up the first book.

And the card which lists all the items contained in this book was designed by Hey Atlas Creative.

So that’s it. We’ve reached the end of this unboxing.

I am really pleased with this box. It might have cost more than Illumicrate’s quarterly boxes, but I think it was well worth it. I’m really pleased I decided to give it a try. If you liked this box then be sure to follow Illumicrate on Instagram and Twitter to keep track of their new boxes – and to keep an eye out for special edition ones.

Review: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda

Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, Illustrated by Yu

Title: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki
Author: Mamoru Hosoda
Illustrator: Yu
Character Design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Magical Realism, Manga, Young Adult
Publisher: Yen Press (7th April 2014)
Blurb:

When Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, the last thing she expects to learn is that he is part wolf. Instead of rejecting her lover upon learning his secret, she accepts him with open arms. Soon, the couple is expecting their first child, and a cozy picture of family life unfolds. But after what feels like a mere moment of bliss to Hana,  the father of her children is tragically taken from her. Life as a single mother is hard in any situation, but when your children walk a fine line between man and beast, the rules of parenting all but go out the window. With no one to turn to how will Hana survive?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI by Mamoru Hosoda, with art by Yu, is a magical story about love and choices. It is a beautifully illustrated story that follows Hana from college, where she meets a mysterious young man in one of her classes. She is immediately taken with him, and after offering to share her textbook with him the pair grow closer. When he reveals his secret, that he is part wolf, to her Hana is quick to accept him. They soon start a family together and are very happy, until tragedy strikes and Hana is forced to face the future with two small children alone.

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Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Picture of the cover of the UK hardback edition of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (UK edition)

Title: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles, 2)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (7th September 2017)
Blurb:

From the bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes the second book in the Nevernight Chronicle.

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced the Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

GODSGRAVE is the second book in Jay Kristoff’s wonderful Nevernight Chronicles. It continues Mia Corvere’s story as she seeks revenge on those who slaughtered her family, when she was a child. After the events of the first book, NEVERNIGHT, Mia’s place within the Red Church is precarious; accepted not because of her skill, but because after the slaughter of their members they have need of her. After a confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to fear that there is more going on than she is aware of. After discovering an opportunity to gain her revenge on the men who killed her family, she decides to defy the Red Church.

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Review: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce

Tortall: A Spy’s Guide by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger. Illusrtared by Eva Widermann

Title: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide
Author: Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger
Illustrator: Eva Widermann
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books (31st October 2017)
Blurb:

The secrets of Tortall are revealed. . . .

As Tortall’s spymaster, George Cooper has sensitive documents from all corners of the realm. When Alanna sends him a surprising letter, he cleans out his office and discovers letters from when King Jonathan and Queen Thayet first ascended the throne, notes on creating the Shadow Service of spies, threat-level profiles on favorite characters, Daine’s notes on immortals, as well as family papers, such as Aly’s first report as a young spy and Neal’s lessons with the Lioness. This rich guide also includes the first official timeline of Tortallan events from when it became a sovereign nation to the year Aly gives birth to triplets. Part history, part spy training manual, and entirely fascinating, this beautiful guide makes a perfect gift and is ideal for anyone who loves Alanna, King Jonathan, Queen Thayet, Kel, Neal, Aly, Thom, Daine, Numair, and the unforgettable world of Tortall! (Blurb from Amazon.co.uk)

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

TORTALL: A SPY’S GUIDE by Tamora Pierce with Julie Holderman, Timothy Liebe, and Megan Messinger is a compilation of information about the Tortall universe, illustrated by Eva Widermann. The guide is split into around ten sections and it contains a variety of information about the Tortall universe, covering events from around the beginning of the reign of Jonathan IV – in effect information covering all the books published (to date) set in the Tortall universe.

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