Children of Blood and Bone

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blood and boneChildren of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 

‘You crushed us to build your monarchy on the backs of our blood and bone. Your mistake wasn’t keeping us alive. It was thinking we’d never fight back!’

Wow. This book has certainly taken the bookish world by storm, and for good reason. I can state confidently that the hype surrounding this is fully deserved, and that this is going to go down as one of the best books of the year by far. 

The book follows Zélie, a courageous young diviner suffering the loss of a parent and a culture. We follow her on a mission, to bring magic back to her world after the oppression of her people by the current ruler, and together with her brother, and some unexpected travelling companions Zélie sets out to return her world to its former glory, to the world she knew and loved. 

Needless to say, I reallllly enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and well developed (which is a godsend) especially Amari, who I actually thought went through one of the biggest character arcs throughout the book. Honestly, I could have done without the romances that develop, but they weren’t shoved in my face either so it wasn’t TOO bad. The girls were strong and independent, which made this book a kick-ass story and just really got the imagination hooked.
The concept of the diviners and maji was fresh and amazing, one of my favourite fictional cultures actually (I’d be a Burner I think) and gave off a sort of Avatar vibe I felt (and in ‘The Last Air-bender’, not the tall blue people).
The magic was also exceptionally well written. You can tell if a person hasn’t really thought much about the way their fictional magic is going to work, and in reading this book you get the sense that the author thought hard about the characteristics of this form of magic, I really liked it.
The standout part of this however, is by far the world building, a thought that has been commented on by almost every review I’ve read, and if you read it, you’ll see why. The world building in this book is just awesome, it’s mind-blowing. So detailed, so intricate, and so well thought out, it really brings the book to life, and was one of the best books I’ve read in terms of generating imagery whilst you read.

You may have noticed that I knocked half a star off this rating, and that’s down to a few very MINOR and very PERSONAL opinions. Firstly I spotted a few tiny little plot holes which just kind of stopped the flow for me, but one of the main things I had wrong with this book is that the characters say ‘Ugh’ A LOT. I know it seems picky but it did really begin to annoy me the further through the book I got, and I feel like there must be some other ways to convey pain than just ‘ugh’ every time some discomfort is felt. No disrespect to the author of course, she’s written an incredible book and I certainly couldn’t have done it.
Like I said these are INCREDIBLY MINOR DETAILS and just personal opinions, which if I’m honest are far eclipsed by the rest of the book. 

So how do I sum this up? It’s an amazing read, and I would make a plea here to anyone reading this, PLEASE do not miss out on this book, I promise you’ll regret it. There’s a reason there is so much hype around it, and it’s thoroughly deserved hype. In my opinion it’s easily one of the best books of the year, and is going to be a favourite of the book community’s for a very VERY long time. 

Feel free to let me know what you thought, I always like to say hi to people so don’t be afraid. All opinions welcome xx

Until Next Time x

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A Monstrous Regiment of Women

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22393445A Monstrous Regiment of Women (Mary Russell #2) 
by Laurie R. King 

My Rating: ★★★★

‘Interpreting the Bible without training is a bit like finding a specific address in a foreign city with neither map nor knowledge of the language. You might stumble upon the right answer, but in the meantime you’ve put yourself at the mercy of every ignoramus in town, with no way of telling the savant from the fool.’

Joining Mary on another adventure was much like meeting up with a friend for me. And considering that this is only the second of her numerous memoirs that I have read, I consider this to be a huge achievement. In truth I was pretty surprised at how familiarity with these people came so easily. It was great! 

Already I consider Mary’s world as one that I intend to visit often, and armed with the foundations laid in The Beekeeper’s ApprenticeI fell back into Mary’s life eagerly and with such ease it was as if I had been reading these books for most of my adult life. In reality, it’s been two months. 

This second book was no disappointment either; with the same intrigue and style that I loved in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, A Monstrous Regiment of Women is an excellent addition to the series. It was also a pleasant surprise to fine that Mary is very much the central character in this book, with a little more independence and maturity guiding her through the plot. That is not to say that I don’t like Sherlock, quite the contrary in fact, but it is nice to see Mary out from under his wing and operating under her own steam. 

I did enjoy Mary’s interactions with Sherlock, and though their growing relationship took me by surprise at first, it was not an unwelcome development, so much so that upon finishing this book, I went and ordered the short book about her wedding, which I recommend doing before reading further in the series, and I enjoyed that immensely too! 

The plot itself made for a great read, just as relevant in today’s society as in Mary’s, and Margery was by far the standout feature for me, alongside her brusque maid. I think perhaps that the conclusion pales a little in comparison with that of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice but this doesn’t hamper the enjoyment of the book. 

All in all, Mary’s second memoir was just as good as the first, and as I sit here writing this review I am eagerly awaiting delivery of the third installment. A must read for any Sherlock Holmes or Mary Russell fan (or both indeed) and once again a refreshing take on the sleuthing genre. I highly recommend that you give this ago. I loved it. 

Until Next Time x

 

Love, Hate & Other Filters

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lhaofLove, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

My Rating: ★★★★

‘These terrorists are the antithesis of Islam. They’re not Muslim. Violence has no place in religion, and the terrorists are responsible for their own crimes, not the religion and not us.’

I’m not going to lie, I feel that it’s incredibly important to read diversely, but as a white-British reviewer I really don’t feel that I have any right to comment on things like how accurate the book is in terms of Indian culture or any right to make assumptions about Maya, so I’m not going to do that.

But I did really enjoy this book. By far the quickest read of 2018 so far, i finished it in just under 18 hours and that includes 10 hours of sleeping. Not only does it deal with incredibly important issues, such as white supremacy, hate-crime, and interracial relationships, its also a great read. Maya is immediately likable as a feisty Indian girl with a love for being behind the camera, and the way she captures her life is inspired. The writing in this book, though uncomplicated, felt exactly right and really helped set the tone for the whole novel. 

Maya is a teenager who is excited about going to college, looking forward to the end of the school year, and admiring Phil, the high-school football star, from afar. She loves her parents, though finds them incredibly annoying and overbearing, much like many of us, and their expectations for her to live out the dutiful Indian life weighs heavily on her as she fights to make her own way in the world. 

The events of the book, however, change Maya’s relationships in ways that will last a lifetime, and she must overcome a number of obstacles in her way, namely her parents. 

Although I feel that the book had a bit of a predictable story line, the circumstances surrounding the plot-line and the setting of the book helped to offset that a little and make it a bit different, an honestly it helped to open my mind a little to the situation that many people are in, having to be labelled as something they’re not, not only in America (though I feel it can be particularly bad there) but also in every other country in the world. 

We can all learn from reading books like this, but I hope you enjoy the book as well, as that is another important purpose. 

I would recommend this for people who enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi, The Hate U Give, I Am Thunder, and The Sun Is Also a Star, so definitely give this book a go!!! 

So let me know what you though of Love, Hate & Other Filters in the comment section! 

Until Next Time x

 

 

Sleeping Giants

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29932639Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

My Rating: ★★

17 years ago, a young girl named Rose fell through the ground in the Black Hills and found herself in an underground chamber filled with gleaming symbols, lying in the palm of a giant metal hand. Now a physicist, Rose leads a research team struggling to determine the hand’s origins. When another giant limb is discovered, she quickly devises a method for unearthing the hidden pieces, convinced there is an entire body out there waiting to be found.

I’m going to be frank. I didn’t enjoy reading this book. It started out with a premise that got me intrigued, and honestly from the prologue I thought this was going to be great! However, there were a few things that totally spoiled it for me. 

Firstly, the story is told in a series of interviews, case files, and journal entries, which I have no problem with as long as its the best way the get the story across. Which, in this case, it wasn’t. I understand that it was done this way in order to appear more ‘scientific’ but it made reading the book an incredibly stilted experience, and made it very difficult to connect with the story or the characters. If you want to set a book out like this then you have the have a strong story in order the convey the messages properly…but this book just doesn’t have that, and it’s basically just a massive dump of information rather than a story. 

Another thing I found weird, and frankly confusing at times, was the pacing. It jumps ALL OVER THE PLACE! Very uneven, difficult to follow, and not altogether clear at times. It jumps from 50 pages of rambling to loads of action crammed into 2 pages. Also, the time indicators! Some suggest that interviews take place on the same day, others over a few months, but there are no date or anything written down so it’s impossible to work out where on the timeline of the story you are! It’s infuriating.

The story never really gets resolved in anyway, there’s just a lot of roundabout answers to some half formed questions from earlier in the book. There’s a romance in the book specifically designed so that one member can be physically altered in some way. There’s a lot of jargon that is really unnecessary, and the interviewer is just annoying. Not only that but I went into this story expecting SOME form of sci-fi action, they spend a whole book building up am image of a Giant Robot which I think takes about a maximum of 50 steps throughout the whole story and barely anything else. 

Infuriating is the one word summing up of how I feel about this book, and it’s part of a series, which doesn’t surprise me at all. It dragged on and on with no specific conclusion, and for this reason I doubt that I’ll be hurrying to buy the next ones.

That being said, you should really make your own mind up about this book as there are a lot of people who really enjoyed it, so either read it or if you have read it, let me know what you thought! 

Until Next Time x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

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The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King 

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My Rating: ★★★★

“Tell me about yourself, Miss Russell.”
I started to give him the obligatory response, first the demurral and then the reluctant flat autobiography, but some slight air of polite inattention in his manner stopped me. Instead, I found myself grinning at him.
“Why don’t you tell me about myself, Mr. Holmes?”

I am a massive fan of Sherlock Holmes, and have waded my way through most of Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. I’m also a sucker for spin-offs and re-tellings, so when this book was gifted to me, I was mildly surprised that I hadn’t come across the book before now. Even more so when I discovered that the book is 24 years old. HOW had I missed this??! And so I dove into the book with relative excitement and the prospect of a new, large series (14 so far to be precise) and was once again drawn back into Sherlock’s world. 

Inevitably, this story was going to be vastly different from the Sherlock Holmes books that many of us know and love, but by no means was it bad! In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice follows Mary Russell, a less honed version of Sherlock himself, with a similar skill set and a need to learn. Under Sherlock’s tutelage, and eventually working together with him, Mary begins to learn that life is not all fun and games, and that sometimes, your life really does depend on the slightest word. With the help of Sherlock and a cast of all our favourite Conan Doyle characters, Mary becomes a formidable woman, an excellent addition to the Holmes universe. 

Though not exactly like Conan Doyle, though his influence is undoubtedly present, Laurie King writes intelligently and handles the famous characters with no fear at all, seamlessly introducing Mary into the cast and produces a brilliant new premise for the books.

I adored Mary, unapologetic, sharp witted, and strong, she is the perfect match for Holmes and I can’t wait to read more about her. She. Was. Awesome.

All together then, if you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes then you absolutely need to read these books. They will fill the void left by Conan Doyle in the best way, and the books are SO worth the time invested in them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have! 

 

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

iPiccy-DesignThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James 

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My Rating: ★★★★★

‘Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?’

When Lauren James announced the release date of The Loneliest Girl  I cried a little on the inside. The date was right in the middle of some pretty serious university stuff and there was no way I was going to be able to give this book the attention it deserved whilst I was still working on my MA. And I was certain that this book would need my undivided attention, having read The Next Together and The Last Beginning I knew that this book was going to be awesome. 

Fast forward to January 2018 and it’s finally time to read it. I can’t wait. 

Now don’t be deceived by the quote I’ve chosen to head this review, this book is certainly not a love story. Nevertheless it absolutely and FULLY deserves the five-star rating.

The story follows commander Romy Silvers, the lone survivor on The Infinity, headed in search of Earth II, the prospective name of what is thought to be another planet capable of sustaining human life. Romy is alone. She spends her days watching her favourite TV shows, writing fanfiction, and maintaining her ship. She also gets the occasional communication from Earth, with a delay of about 2 years. Then the book gets real serious, really fast. Romy hears that Earth has been rocked by war and all communications are stopped. For Romy, her anxieties are only helped by communicating with ‘J’, the commander of The Eternity , a ship sent after Romy’s to help with the mission, and from there, Romy’s life becomes a roller-coaster ride of fear, excitement, and abject horror. 

I loved Romy. She’s clever, likeable, and incredibly strong, not to mention the fact that she’s managed to keep herself alive in space for over 6 years. Totally bad-ass. The world building was also sensational, I was drawn into Romy’s world immediately, definitely the mark of a great book. ‘J’ was a character I both loved and hated, which I think is as intended by Lauren James, and Lauren has managed to address problematic subjects with such ease and grace that I ended up completely empathizing with Romy and desperate for more. 

This is absolutely NOT the love story that I thought it was going to be and instead I found myself drawn into a thriller of sorts where I had my heart in my mouth every time I turned a page! Everything about this book was on point and has once again put Lauren James up there with my favourite authors.

If you love books that you can’t put down, and you enjoy sci-fi and thriller-esque stories then I suggest you mark this book as ‘to-read’ immediately! Trust me, you won’t regret it, and don’t forget to let me know what you think! 

The Girl with the Red Balloon

iPiccy-DesignThe Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

My Rating: ★★★ 1/234448522

‘I was the girl with the red balloon who shouldn’t be in the black-and-white world of Walls and fear and lies. He was a kaleidoscope boy born at the wrong time in the wrong place, too bright for here, too much for everywhere else.’

My second venture into historical fiction so far this year, but this time a different setting to the usual backdrop of WW2; Berlin in 1988. And I have to say the new setting is refreshingly different! 

Having never read a book by Katherine Locke before, I went into this with literally no expectations, however, as you can see from the rating, although I did ultimately enjoy TGWTRB, it was lacking in a few areas for me personally. 

The story follows Ellie, Kai, and Benno, and whilst Ellie and Kai are in the same time (Ellie rather unwillingly so), Benno’s narrative is set in a time well before Ellie and Kai’s. Benno was the character who I felt most able to connect to and unfortunately I found Ellie and Kai less likable, and less easy to connect with. I just felt like their characters lacked a certain amount of development throughout the book. I’m not saying there wasn’t ANY, but there wasn’t much. And in fact I found this to be true with almost all of the characters from their time period. 

The world building also left something to be desired, although again I felt that this was actually done well in Benno’s chapters. I just never really got the sense of what Ellie and Kai’s world was like, and the concept of the Balloon Runners was explained in fragments which really made it harder to understand and put together the pieces of their world. However, I am aware that this book is part of a series so there is yet room for further development of the Balloon Runners’ world. 

The romance element, though a little too much like insta-love for me, was actually done very tastefully, and wasn’t shoved in the readers’ faces like is often the case in these books, and this is something that I greatly appreciated. 

All in all, I feel that 3.5 stars is a fair assessment of this book from my view, as I found it to be enjoyable but I am unlikely to want to read again. So if you’re a fan of Historical Fiction with a little bit of Romance then definitely give this a go! 

Let me know what you think! I know a lot of people really loved this book so I would love to discuss your views 😀 x