Thursday, 24 December 2015

Walk On Earth A Stranger

Walk On Earth A Stranger


By: Rae Carson
Published: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5/5 Stars!


Synopsis

Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey. (x)

My Thoughts


I really loved this book, I am a huge fan of The Girl of Fire and Thorns series so I knew that I would have to give this book a try. And I am so happy that I did- Carson definitely did not disappoint! If you would like a quick view of the reasons why I loved this book check out my list found at the bottom of this post. Otherwise I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts about it and that they encourage you to check this book out!

Characterization | For me one of the best things about Carson’s writing is how well written her characters are. I mean, the plotline could consist of them making potato soup and it would still be interesting because the characters are so compelling! Lee, the main character, was particularly amazing. She was strong physically; heaving around trunks, hunting, doing hard work and she was strong emotionally (at times). The best thing though was that she was allowed to grieve, to be unsure and scared and timid and worried. She was so well-developed and real, and with that she really drove the story.
But even the side characters where like this, they were all unique and diverse and multi-faceted, some of there were static characters, set in there ways. Some of them changed and grew as the story continued. With Lee as head of the cast and a multitude of well written side characters, this story really took off and grabbed a hold of me!

Setting | To date I have only read a handful of western YA’s , so I found that the setting was very unique. I really enjoyed it though, and I might be a bit biased (since I live in what was the Canadian equivalent of the frontier!) but I thought it was very well done. The pioneers and wagon trains offer such a unique and different flavour that Rae really managed to capture. The setting gave me a hint of nostalgia because as a kid we learned about the pioneers/wagon trains A LOT, and so it made my heart happy to read about it again.

Other | Probably my favourite thing about this story is that there was no focus/no real romantic love interest for Lee. I love romance and enjoy reading about it, but it was really nice to get a story where the focus was on the mc, and on her growth and development. That’s not to say that there are no relationships, they just aren’t focused on romantic love! There were two main ideas that came up several times throughout the book that stuck with me, the first was the discussion about how men want to control/own women (isn’t it sad that this STILL happens?) and the second was all about family. I loved that there were so many different family dynamics that were explored. I loved that there was the idea that not all families are the same, that blood doesn’t make a person good, and that a family doesn’t have to be related by blood. That was just something that I really enjoyed and appreciated out of this story!

Ten Reasons Why You Should Read This Book!
1.       Lee is such an amazing and compelling main character
2.       There is no love triangle/romantic love interest
3.       “confirmed bachelors” aka gay pioneers
4.       Richness of the side characters
5.       The growth of both the main characters and side characters
6.       Serious discussion on how men want to own/control women
7.       The idea that family can be more than blood relatives
8.       Blood relatives aren’t always good people/family
9.       I’m a sucker for pioneers and westerns! 
10. It does THE THING where you get to see the title (I LOVE this)

So in conclusion I think that everyone will love this books but especially if you like westerns, ya, no love interest, and strong well-rounded female characters!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Heart's Journey

Heart's Journey


By:  Kristen McKendry
Published: October 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Adventure is in her blood, so when wealthy eighteen-year-old Rachel Hamilton’s treasure hunting father disappears in the wilderness of British Columbia, she considers only one course of action: she will embark on a quest to find him. But for a well bred woman with little understanding of the world beyond her upper class existence, the harsh realities of the trail quickly become apparent. Woefully unprepared for the hardships of crossing a wild and unsettled continent, Rachel is hungry, lost, and distraught when handsome frontiersman Peter finds her in the middle of nowhere. (x)


My Thoughts

The description of this book drew me in right away, it pretty much had everything that I love in a story. It was historical fiction, set in Canada- in Western Canada even! Plus it followed a spunky young woman on her travels across the country and a very handsome, kind man she meets along the way! There was also something about the cover that just really connected with me- maybe its because I'm a mountain girl at heart or maybe its because of my fascination with Canadian history. The cover has a very beautiful simplicity to it. 

I loved that whenever the setting was described I found myself nodding along because that is definitely Saskatchewan/Alberta/BC! I get how people might not understand just how tall the grass grows in the prairies, they assume its an exaggeration but my brother and I used to play hide and seek in the grass fields when we were kids! As well I've learned a lot about the history of this part of the country and I really liked to see how there were historically accurate elements with the various methods of travel and the harshness of the living off the land. 

 I loved how spunky Rachel is and how determined she is to keep going on her journey, even though things are super tough. The story line was kind of predictable, I did pretty much guess what was going to happen but I didn't mind that. The characters were very compelling and even if I could guess what was going to happen to them, I still definitely wanted to find out for sure what happened. I probably looked silly whenever I read this book in public because the relationship between Rachel and Peter had me grinning. They had such a kind, wholesome relationship and yet they fought and argued and glared at each other and that made their relationship seem so real. I think its safe to say that Peter is my newest book crush!

I would definitely recommend this book to all my friends looking for a 'university read'- an engaging, entertaining story with characters you can't help but love and a story that draws you in, without being a difficult read. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

The Adventures of Miss Petitfour

By: Anne Michaels
Published: November 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Random House of Canada Limited
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Miss Petitfour is an expert at baking and eating little cakes. She also has the most marvelous, everyday adventures. Her favorite mode of travel is by tablecloth, and on windy days she always takes her sixteen cats out for an airing.

Join Miss Petitfour and her feline companions as they embark on five magical outings, including a quest for “birthday cheddar” and a visit to the village’s annual Festooning Festival.

And if you prefer books in which nothing ever happens, books in which people (and cats) sit by the fire with buttery shortbread biscuits and steaming mugs of cocoa, books full of interesting facts that will never come in useful, and books with digressions and meanwhiles and long words and lists, then you will find plenty of that here too. (x)

My Thoughts 


This book makes the teacher in me so happy! Whenever I read a book, I read it for enjoyment but in the back of my mind I'm always thinking about how it could be incorporated into lesson plans or which lists I should put it on. My goal is to always have an answer when a child or parent asks me for a book recommendation and I can honestly say that this book has made my lesson plan list and my book recs list- its that good! 

There are 5 little adventures in this book- which make it a perfect book to serve as an introduction to chapter books, without being too intimidation. As a teacher, I love how certain words are bolded and highlighted in orange and I can already see all the vocab lessons I could use this book for! As well this book does have very beautiful illustrations that are great for kids who need a little extra visual stimulation. 

The writing in this book is absolutely phenomenal. I actually read several of the stories out loud because the words were just so beautifully combined they had to be spoken out loud. The cadence of this story was just mind boggling. As someone who reads books out loud a lot I wish every author had mastered their tone and style as successfully as Michaels has. While being extremely fun to read out loud it also still has the style that kids love to hear and read themselves. This book definitely was written for both adults and children a like- which is something I love. I've already added Anne Michaels as an author to look out for in the future, because I NEED more children's books like this one!

This is the kind of book that I would recommend for parents to read to their children, for teachers to read to their students and for young readers everywhere (or for people who enjoy stories with eccentric ladies living with a lot of cats, and readers who fondly remember reading stories like this in their childhood)


(Also can we talk about how this is pretty much my future?!?)

Friday, 20 November 2015

Save the Date! The Girls from See Saw Lane

The Girls from See Saw Lane



By:  Sandy Taylor
Published: December 4th, 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…(x)

My Thoughts 

My friend and I were talking the other day about our favourite kind of books to read while we were in university and one of the things we love is contemporary stories set in historical fiction- which this book reminds me of a bit. And while it wasn't necessarily that out there historically, it definitely had that tone (for me at least) because of its setting. I don't know much about the 60's and I definitely don't know much about Britain at that time. 

Dottie and Mary were super cute characters and I really enjoyed getting to see their friendship as it started out and then as they grew up together. They actually reminded me a lot of my relationship with one of my friends (to a point!) and I thought it was nice to see this particular kind of relationship in literature. There are so many times when two girls are pitted against each other and for once it was nice to see two girls who loved and supported each other throughout their lives.  That being said this book drove me crazy at times! I got frustrated with the characters and their reactions to things- I guess I just really wanted them to be mad, to get angry! Especially Dottie- that girl went through a lot and she always just seemed to be okay? She must be a lot stronger than me then because I would not have been so calm! 

I did really enjoy this story, it was a perfect 'university read', light and entertaining but with enough character depth to keep me interested and engaged as I read it. Sometimes the British-isms were a bit confusing, especially for words that mean one thing in Canada and a completely different thing in England. Overall this story was very enjoyable and at times I guessed the plot line but then a twist would come up that just blew me away. The emotions were so intense in this book and it made me think of all my best friends who are scattered around and I missed them, which I think lead to even more emotions for me. The girls were so young! I am older than them but they went through so much together, it was just incredible to read

Save the date for this book- it comes out in Decemeber 4th! I would recommend it to anyone who loves stories about female friendships, books set in the past or in Britian and for anyone who wants a emotionally stirring read! 



Saturday, 14 November 2015

Heir of Fire

Heir of Fire


By:  Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis 

*spoilers for book one and two!*

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth...a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. (x)


My Thoughts


Wow, just wow. I wasn't sure if Maas could beat Crown of Midnight because I LOVED that book but oh boy does Heir of Fire represent! Its the first book to really have multiple perspectives in the series and at first I found that was a bit jarring and some of the characters I didn't care for as much but by the end oh boy- I pretty much love everyone! I guess that is one of the perks of being a BIG book (its 565 pages!!!), there was definitely lots of character development!

The main perspectives of the story are Chaol, Dorian, Celaena, and Manon (a Blackbeak witch). One of my biggest pet peeves in stories with multiple perspectives is when something really intense happens with one character and then you jump to another character doing something boring. Maas however has perfected her chapters and, especially as the book went on, the next chapter was always who I wanted to hear from! Yeah!

After Crown of Midnight I wasn't sure if my emotions could handle another book but it was actually super fantastic because I felt that my emotions were very much mirrored in the characters and we both grew from the trauma of book 2 (I know I get oddly attached to fictional characters!) While I have 100% never been in any of the situations of the characters I empathized with them and I really felt that I shared their hopes and fears and joys. I wanted to them to be happy and to triumph and to heal. I got so caught up in the characters and their stories that I oftentimes would make myself NOT read it because I knew if I started I wouldn't want to stop and then I would find the next morning had arrived without me sleeping! Even with that though it only took me a month to read- which given its size and the busyness of school is pretty impressive!

I did worry that this book would be too big and intimidating for me. When I'm at school I find that big books tend to put me off (probably because all my textbooks are 2000+ pages). At first I found Heir of Fire has really different pacing from the other books, it was definitely a lot slower and not as tense. However as the book went on it definitely moved to a faster pace, and I think that part of that had to do with how my attachment to the characters grew as I read. I actually found myself LOVING how big this book is. How many times have you read a book and just wanted more time with your favourite characters? I know I've felt that way a lot but with Heir of Fire it was perfect! I mean I will always want more if I love the characters (and I do!) but it didn't leave me wishing for more time with them.

This book made me laugh and cry and grimace and I even found myself stroking it as I read which is not a usual habit for me! The other thing I noticed is that there were several passages I read more than once. I would read it for the first time and then go back and read it again and maybe again. It wasn't because I didn't understand it or it didn't make sense or anything- it was just SO GOOD that I needed to experience it again, have it permanently etched into my brain.

So in case you couldn't tell from my review- I would 400% recommend this book/series! Especially if you love high fantasy, YA, warrior ladies, and big books!

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Bookish Halloween



I was always that child who was so excited about Halloween because I could finally get to be my very favourite characters from the books I loved so much. I'm pretty sure half the time the other kids had no idea who I was, but I didn't care. So I thought I would take a look back this Halloween and talk about some of my very favourite bookish Halloween costumes from when I was a kid!

Sadly I don't have any pictures because all they were pretty much all physical photos and I don't have any of those with me! So here it goes!

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

I was absolutely obsessed with Harry Potter when I was little and Hermione was my favourite! (this sentence is still true now). When I was in grade 2 (8 years old) I finally got to dress up as my favourite little witch! The night before I braided my hair while it was still wet, and when I took the braids out I had quite a nice bushy hair do! My mom had sewn a robe for me and I borrowed a tie from my brother and was all set! (I know I have a pic of this- when I go home next I'll find it so I can add it!) Until then her is little Hermione-

2. Trixie Belden (from the Trixie Belden mystery series)

A friend of mine actually dressed up as Honey Wheeler at the same time as me which was a blast! We had both read the books and loved the girls! We bought red sweaters from the thrift store and pinned the club logo on the back. We both wore wigs (I had a short blonde one and she had a long blonde one) which were so itchy! But it was a super fun and super simple costume




3. Anne Shirley (from the Anne of Green Gables series)

Anne was my FAVOURITE person when I was little, I read all the books multiple times so naturally I dressed up as Anne more than once! My mom sewed a cute little dress (she made most of our Halloween costumes - thanks Mom!), I wore my white socks and black shoes. My hair was in the classic two braids and we used a coloured hairspray to colour it a bright red colour. (It was not realistic at all- it was like a fire engine red!). I was the happiest little girl when I got to dress as Anne!



What about you? Did you ever dress up as a bookish Halloween character? Tell me in the comments!




Thursday, 29 October 2015

Torn Away

Torn Away



By:  Jennifer Brown
Published: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley |Thank you!|
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this. (more on Goodreads)


My Thoughts

This book was a super interesting read to me. I live in a place that doesn't have tornadoes and usually the only sort of crazy weather we have to deal with is snow storms and flooding once every ten years. So reading about a life where the weather is such a worry opened my eyes a lot! I don't exactly know a lot about tornadoes but it seemed like the size and destruction was a little far fetched- again that could just be because I have NO idea what tornadoes are like!

This book was such an emotional book! It had me in tears and just aching for Jersey, I can't even imagine the pain of what she went through. I definitely connected with her right away and went through so many emotions- just like she did! I was sad and devastated and angry and worried and it was just so much at times! One time I was reading while I waited for class to start and I had to stop because if I started crying in the middle of ochem that would have been bad! 

At the same time I definitely could have used MORE! This book felt super short to me and 
it ended way to use. I really liked Jersey and I wanted to see more of her, especially in her life towards the end of the book. I loved those characters so much and I wanted to see more of them growing together and healing along with each other! But man that last scene made me bawl- it was just so emotional (in an amazing, lovely way!)

So I would definitely recommend this book to people who like contemporary reads, shorter books or books that pull at your heart strings!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Carnelian

By:  B. Kristin McMichael 
Published: January 9th, 2014
Publisher: Lexia Press
Source: Netgalley |Thank you Lexia Press!|
My Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis

Everyone has a past, but for most it isn’t as long ago as Seth Sangre. His past is literally thousands of years ago. Seth’s life led him to the present seeking something that might help him save his country from destruction. He has been in the present for over three years now and just found exactly what he has been looking for.

Mari had dreams that college will be a fresh start, one where she would start over and not fall for the good looking player like high school. Unfortunately for her, that’s exactly what ends up falling into her lap on the first day she moves into the dorms. Now she has to hold to her promise to herself and not fall for the handsome Seth. (more from Goodreads)




My Thoughts

First off- the cover on this book is so pretty! Those colours work so well together and it definitely draws your eyes to the cover. 

I found that the writing was a bit slow and stilted feeling at first. As I read more the flow definitely picked up but it still was just a little but odd. The biggest thing I noticed was that a lot of the time the same information was repeated several times. That's not necessarily a problem but it happened over and over again, which got old very fast. There were definitely  moments when the writing could have been simplified to get the message across better, instead of the same thing being said five sentences in a row. 

That being said there were things that I enjoyed about this book. The premise really intrigued me but at the same time I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. One of the things that I really liked about it was that it was set in a university setting, which is something you don't always see. I thought that Mari was a fairly realistic character and was pretty happy with how her and the college students where portrayed. As someone who is in her third year of university I can definitely say that Mari and Sim and the others are realistic college students. A lot of the time my biggest pet peeve is how easy they make university seem, but with Mari's homework and Sim's tiredness/hatred of mornings, this was definitely not the case! 

At times I felt that there could have been more details, or more development of the characters and stories. There were definitely things that I wanted to know more about but never really got the answers to. It was a fairly short novel and so maybe there just wasn't time in the number of pages to add more depth. However, the characters and plot that there was made me want to keep reading. I genuinely wanted to know what happened to the characters and to figure out what just what was going to happen! I think that the uniqueness of the story-line and all the aspects of the book were what drew me in- I just wish that there had been more! 

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quicker read, who like time-travel stories or stories set in a realistic university setting!


Friday, 16 October 2015

12 of My Favourite Covers

Pretty covers



Since there have been a whole bunch of new cover reveals in the last few weeks I thought I would share some of my all time favourite covers! Some of these have been published for a few years, some are cover redesigns, some are just published and some are yet to come! 

(Looking at all these covers has made me realize that I definitely have a type! Can you say blue?!)





Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
A Madness so Discreet- by Mindy McGinnis



The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Walk on Earth A Stranger- by Rae Carson
Vango by Timothée de Fombelle






A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Magonia- by  Maria Dahvana Headley
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein





Throne of Glass- Sarah J. Maas
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Crown of Embers by Rae Carson





Saturday, 10 October 2015

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight


By: Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 27th, 2013
Source: Bought
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil. (more on Goodreads)

My Thoughts

I originally was planning on waiting until all the books in this series were out before I started reading them all. I knew right away after reading Throne of Glass (review here) that I would LOVE this series and would want to be able to read them all in a row, right away. However I lost patience and decided to just go for it! And boy was I glad that I did! 

Throne of Glass was a fabulous book and Crown of Midnight was even better! All the characters were introduced to us already and the world was set up so in Crown of Midnight we really got to see more of the characters and their lives (compared to Throne of Glass). One of my favourite things about this series is the characters; sweet, strong Nehemia, willful, girly Celaena, handsome and kind Chaol and intelligent, conflicted Dorian. All of them bring so much to the story and I just absolutely loved getting to know them more, and see more of their personalities. 

The best thing for me was seeing Celaena get to live a more normal life, running for fun with Chaol, eating breakfast in bed with Nehemia- I LOVED it all. I could read a whole series on these characters just living their everyday lives without drama. This book was in two parts and Part One was a favourite of mine because of all the character development and storylines with them. I definitely love Celaena and Chaol and was so happy that they got to spend time together and getting to see them living more normally was amazing. 

However, this book really brought the drama! Oh man. That's all I can say without spoiling things but it was crazy good. Part Two really was the start of the crazy, crazy drama.  Sarah J. Maas has an amazing ability to spin together characters and intricate story lines, full of details and little connections. There were so many twist and turns in this book, that I definitely did not see coming which I enjoyed. Predictable books can be a bit boring. Crown of Midnight was anything but boring. I had to force myself to put down the book at night because I knew I had class early the next morning. After Throne of Glass I wasn't sure if things could get any better, but I was definitely wrong, Sarah J. Maas has definitely elevated the world of high fantasy to new levels!

I would DEFINITELY recommend this series to everyone! Especially is you love high fantasy, princesses and royal kingdom stories, realistic warrior women and amazing characters and plots!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October TBR

October TBR


It's a few days into October and I thought I'd share the books that I plan on reading this month! October is the start of midterms and essay craziness so I tried to be realistic with my goals this month. So first off are the three books that I am planning on ready for sure:



1. Crown of Midnight- by Sarah J. Mass

Book Two of the Throne of Glass series, I'm actually about half way through this book at the moment and I've been enjoying it a lot!

2. Heir of Fire- by Sarah J. Mass

Book Three of The Throne of Glass series, its pretty big so hopefully I'll be able to read it all (but still concentrate on schoolwork!)

3. The Heir- by Kiera Cass

I actually started reading this during the summer but I put it aside because I just felt like it was the perfect book to read during the school year. 

Bonus: The Silkworm- by Robert Galbraith

This one is just a little bonus, that I'll read if I somehow manage to finish the others before October is finished. If that doesn't happen then it'll just be the first book on my November TBR!

School Reading: 

As an added bonus, the following are the books  that I will be reading for class this month:


Innovation Generation- by Roberta Ness (for my Creativity class)
The Origin of Species- By Charles Darwin (for my class on Charles Darwin)
I live in the future and here's how it works- by Nick Bilton (for my Creativity class)

Friday, 18 September 2015

Cat Sense

By: John  Bradshaw
Published: September 9th, 2014
Source: Christmas present!
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis


In Cat Sense, renowned anthrozoologist John Bradshaw takes us further into the mind of the domestic cat than ever before, using cutting-edge scientific research to dispel the myths and explain the true nature of our feline friends. (more from Goodreads)

My Thoughts


First things first I should say that I am an avid cat lover, growing up in the country we had many, many mousers but I loved each and every one of them!

So I got this book for my birthday and started reading it right away. I thought that certain portions were a bit too long or in depth especially during the historical/genealogy chapters. There was so much information in there that I actually am not 100% sure which type of wildcat the domestic cat is actually descended from. But I really enjoyed the chapters on cat behavior because I could think back to my kitties and remember them doing that same thing! Or it made me understand the reason behind the things that they do! Hopefully now when we have kittens in the spring we can help them to be the greatest cats ever! (although our past kittens were pretty great anyway)

One of the stats I thought was interesting was the less than 1/10 cats likes having its belly rubbed- at our house 2/3 LOVE having their belly rubbed! So maybe my cats are just crazy. 

I was really enjoying this book and moving along quickly with it- until I got to the end. There was such a focus on how cat’s hunting is bad and that we need to stop them from doing that and that in the future we need to suppress their hunting instinct. And it just bothered me, our cats are pets but they are also mousers. And that is important they keep the mice and other rodents from ruining our hay and from wrecking the house. So that would be my only complaint- it was sooo good up until then and then it seemed quite biased and I didn’t enjoy that aspect of it.

But if you like cats or are interested in animal behavior then I would recommend that you try this book out!

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Orphan Queen

The Orphan Queen



By: Jodi Meadows
Published: March 10th, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Source: Pre-Ordered!
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others

My Thoughts

So I read Jodi's other series (my reviews for Asunder and Infinite ) and really enjoyed them but when I found out that Jodi was writing a high fantasy book I just knew I would have to read it! At the time I wasn't sure where I would be when it was published so I was hesitant to pre-order it, but then once I figured out where I would be and I pre-ordered it. I very patiently waited for it to arrive and at last it did! Sadly I was smack dab in the middle of exams and essays and such when it arrived so I had to put it on hold for a bit.

First off, this book has an absolutely beautiful dedication, seriously though isn't it amazing!


The books starts off fairly fast paced, with a robbery already in progress and never really slows down from there. Sometimes in fantasy books things can get slow and seem to stagnate but I never found that with this book. Sometimes I would have to force myself to put the book down at night so that I could actually get some sleep before school!

I absolutely loved the characterization in The Orphan Queen, the main character Wilhelmina (or Wil) is a fantastically well rounded character who also has a lot of depth. I love how she isn't perfect, she makes mistakes but she handles those mistakes in a super interesting way. And Black Knife man, oh man, oh man (that's all I'll say about him! Don't want to spoil anything). Plus James (the prince's guard) and Prince Tobiah are also very interesting. I thought that the relationship between James and Wil was very interesting, and I actually loved how it was a platonic relationship between a man and a woman. I think we definitely need more opposite-gender friendships in books! (At least that's the way I saw it, others might have different thoughts)

Overall I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me so much of the books that I read as a kid that made me really fall in love with reading. Fantasy was my first love but recently I haven't found as many fantasy that have that it factor in them. But this book definitely has it!

I will warn you though, this is the kind of book that you will want to read without setting down (you'll just want to keep going) and the ENDING IS CRAZY!


But I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, ya and/or wonderfully developed strong female characters    

Monday, 16 March 2015

Visions

Visions



By: Kelley Armstrong
Published: August 19th, 2014
Publisher: Random House Canada
Source: Bought
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Synopsis

In the second book in bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's exciting new Cainsville series, Olivia's newly discovered power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her hometown.

"Omens," the first installment in Kelley Armstrong's Cainsville series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel's past mistakes come to light, creating a rift between them just when she needs his help the most. (read more on Goodreads)


My Thoughts

I was introduced to the Cainsville series by my very best bookish friends (yeah for Jess and Tay!) and upon learning that Kelley Armstrong is also a Canadian author, I couldn't get enough of her books! Since then I have read: Sea of Shadows, Visions, the Summoning and the Awakening. 

The Cainsville series is a pretty serious departure from the kind of books I normally read. The supernatural elements were typical of what I might read but the horror elements where definitely different from my norm. There were times when I would skip through some of the more descriptive passages (mostly because that's not my thing and if I read it late at night it kind of freaks me out!).
            
But after reading Omens I fell in love with Olivia and Gabriel and the cute but quirky elders of Cainsville and so I knew that I had to keep reading the series. The mystery element was also very intriguing to me, so despite the fact that horror isn't my go to genre I really enjoyed these books!
          
  Probably my favourite thing about this series is the character development of both Olivia and Gabriel (but especially Gabriel). They are both such complex, deep characters and in this book Kelley really was able to explore their characters at a deeper level. And while I read Visions hoping to get answers to all  my questions from Omens I feel like I just ended up with new questions!

So I would recommend this book (series) to people who enjoy horror (or even just a good book with supernatural elements), well-developed characters, murder mysteries and intriguing, complex mysteries in general.