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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Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books (2nd January 2018)
Blurb:

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The fearsome assassin abducts all three girls and brings them to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed into the royal court. Mocked and tormented for being merely mortal, Jude soon realises that to survive in this treacherous, dangerous, new world, she needs to be as smart, cunning and deceitful as the Fey themselves.

But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan. Jude must take the utmost care . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

Holly Black returns to the world of fairy with a new book and series. THE CRUEL PRINCE follows the story of a human girl who grows up in fairyland. Jude and her sisters grow up in the fairy courts, where being mortal comes at a terrible cost – it is easy to fall under its spells. Even with the everyday cruelties and despite knowing she doesn’t belong, it is the only home Jude has known. She no longer fits into the mortal realm; to her it is as foreign and strange as fairyland is to mortals. It is a fight for survival.

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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: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt (UK edition; front cover)

Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Non Pratt
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love?

Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

TRUTH OR DARE by Non Pratt is a contemporary young adult book set in the UK. It tells the stories of Claire and Sef, who get together and create a YouTube channel designed to raise money for their friend who was very badly injured. They do this by creating alter egos who play a version of truth or dare. The story follows them as they become friends and try to help. The book itself is split into three sections. The first tells the story from Claire’s point of view; the second from Sef’s; and the third section is split between them.

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Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names The Gave Us by Emery Lord (UK edition)

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

Lucy has her perfect summer planned out: perfect boyfriend, perfect job and quality time with her perfect parents.

Then her mom’s cancer comes back, and suddenly life makes no sense.

Before she knows it, Lucy finds herself agreeing to volunteer as a counselor at a camp for troubled kids, where lives are more different from her own than she could have imagined possible. Here Lucy meets the dashing but mysterious fellow counselor Jones, who will change the way she sees the world forever.

With tragedy hovering at the edges of Lucy’s life, this summer she must find out who she really is and what it means to love.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

THE NAMES THEY GAVE US is the fourth book from Emery Lord. It’s a standalone young adult novel that tells the story of Lucy Hansson. The story takes place over several months – it starts in April and ends in August. When the book starts Lucy already has her summer planned out, but after she returns from prom she learns her mother’s cancer has come back and that changes everything. Her mom talks her into volunteering as a counsellor at a camp for troubled kids, that’s close enough for a weekly visits; hopefully allowing Lucy space to come to terms with everything. There, despite the tragedy hovering on the edges of her life, Lucy meets some great people and makes some wonderful friends.

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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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Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz adapted by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Marvel’s Oz Comics, 1)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Author: Eric Shanower
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Genre: Classic, Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: MARVEL WORLDWIDE, INC (15th April 2014)
Blurb:

OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD!

With Marvel’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, an American fantasy comes to life in a classic comcis retelling! Shortly after its initial publication in 1900, author L. Frank Baum put his children’s literature in context: It was written “solely to please children of today. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and the heartaches and the nightmares are left out.” Baum died 19 years later, but only after leaving behind a legacy of Oz-inspired fantasy 13 sequels long – a legacy that was augmented by the 1939 MGM picture starring Judy Garland that took an already beloved story and turned it into a cultural institution.

Writer Eric Shanower (Age of Bronze) and artist Skottie Young’s (New X-Men) adaptation is the kind of artistic achievement that proves – if any proof was further needed – that the story of Dorothy and her journey down the mythical yellow brick road is just as magical, entertaining and relevant to the children of today as when it first entranced a generation 110 years ago.

Delving into some of the less familiar elements of Baum’s story, Shanower and Young reveal new and exciting layers – while still translating its most timeless elements.

The Scarecrow’s still looking for a brain, but did you know how it was he got stood up in the cornfield to begin with? The Tin Woodman is still searching for a heart – but for many, his tragically humorous tale of cursed romance has remained untold. Readers whose only exposure to Baum’s mythos is the film will be pleased to discover that Shanower’s script honors the original text. And Young makes his move into the upper echelon of comic artists – a moment his loyal core of fans have been waiting for – with his revelatory work on Shanower’s script. His fearless portrayals of Dorothy, her travling companions, and the alternately dark and charming world of Oz – in particular the Wizard himself – in sum amount to a modern masterpiece.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ by L. Fank Baum in this edition has been adapted by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young. It tells a recognisable story to those familiar with the film The Wizard of Oz (1939) but remains true to Baum’s original work, with Shanower and Young still managing to add their own touch to the story. The story follows the story of a girl called Dorothy who lives in the middle of the great Kansas prairies with her aunt and uncle, and her dog Toto. A tornado hits her uncle’s farm and Dorothy gets caught in the house with Toto, which gets blown away and ends up in a fantastical place called Oz.

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Review: One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (UK edition)

Title: One Of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

FIVE STUDENTS WALK INTO DETENTION.
ONLY FOUR LEAVE ALIVE.

Yale hopeful BRONWYN has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star COOPER only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad boy NATE is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen ADDY is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider SIMON, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it was no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus is a cross between the film The Breakfast Club (1985) and a who-done-it. It tells the stories of five high school students who end up in detention together and one of them ends up dead. There’s Bronwyn who wants to go to Yale, Cooper who has a promising career in baseball ahead of him, Nate who the gossip mill claims is on probation, Addy the prom queen, and Simon the creator of the notorious Bayview High gossip app. He dies twenty-four hours before he could lift the lid on the other four’s darkest secrets, and the police say it’s no accident.

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