Sunday, 15 January 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | Review!

This post has been a long time coming, and, due to a massively busy schedule, I had to take a little break from reviewing for the last two months or so, so huge apologies for that. I'm hoping to be able to post a little more regularly now!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Published: July 2016, by Little, Brown
Genre: Fantasy, Play
Length: 343 pages

My Rating: 5 Stars!!


Unless you've been living under a sizable rock for the last year or so, you'll be aware of the brand new addition to the Potterverse that has had ever kind of Harry Potter fan impatiently awaiting its release. In July this year, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was finally released as a play, both in the theatres and in bookshops. However, since I had booked tickets for the play in October (you can read about that hellish experience by clicking here) I had vowed to leave the book firmly closed until after I had been to see the play - and yes, I really did have to padlock the book shut in order to do this!

Just under 4 months of waiting did pay off in the end, though, and I am so glad I managed to last without reading the script beforehand as I can honestly say it maximised the experience of the play to an even more incredible level!

*****

"It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places."

*****

Words cannot explain how amazing watching The Cursed Child was. If I could watch it again every single remaining day of my life, I would do so without hesitation.
In fact, the whole experience of going to London to see the play was a magical one, and one that I will never forget.
I had decided to properly get into the spirit of the event (because why not?!) and donned my full set of robes, complete with Gryffindor tie, wand, and time-turner! Accompanying me was a fully-costumed Bellatrix Lestrange, and the pair of us definitely turned a few heads when we travelled on the extremely-busy Underground and walked through the streets of London on the way to the theatre! And even more people gave us some rather strange looks when we sat ordering pizza in a restaurant between the two parts of the play!

I know that many people actually felt quite let down with The Cursed Child, and I have a few friends who have completely disregarded the story as an addition to the series, which I why I believe I made the right choice in waiting until I had seen the play on stage.
There are parts of the criticism that, I must say, I do agree with, despite the unmeasurable amount of love I have for everything Harry Potter. However, I will stand by what I said before the play was released as a script - The Cursed Child was always intended to be a play. It was intended to be seen on the stage, performed by actors, with special effects, music, and going alongside the full theatre experience. It was not intended to be read as a book, as a simple collection of dialogue and stage directions.
Therefore, I cannot understand how people are criticising this as a book when they have not experienced the play as it was intended. It very much frustrates me.

Practically the minute I left The Palace Theatre following the end of Part Two (after I'd composed myself from being an emotional wreck) I unlocked my copy of The Cursed Child script and began to read it for myself, and, as much as I loved being able to relive it, it did not nearly live up to what I had just witnessed.

I couldn't help but feel a little bit disappointed that what was written on the page wasn't even able to nearly describe what I had seen on the stage, so I can understand how people had felt let down by what they had read.
In this respect, I feel so privileged that I was able to get tickets as early as I did and that I was able to attend the play fairly early on in its life.

Absolutely nothing will ever me able to capture the absolute magic that The Cursed Child was. It was beautiful to watch and I really felt honoured to be there. I had expected magic, obviously, with it being Harry Potter, but I never expected it in the full extent that it was - I was just blown away. Wands seemed completely magic, producing sparks, fire and smoke at command, fingers grew to the length of broomsticks (yes, really!), and I honestly can't comprehend how they managed to use Polyjuice Potion onstage and transform into other actors. It was incredible!

*****

The actors who managed to pull off this spectacular performance were completely stunning. They obviously had to have a few different characteristics in comparison to the character we have loved for so long in the Harry Potter films, but this is understandable since they were necessary for the performance. I thought Harry and Ron, in particular, were very realistic and were fairly close to how I imagined them to be in the future.
Hermione, on the other hand, wasn't quite as how imagined her in terms of characteristics. This was quite disappointing for me since Hermione is a character I have aspired to be like since the age of six, and I just didn't feel like I connected with her as much. This could be just due to the larger age gap between us now, but I just didn't feel as if she was likable, and she definitely seemed out of character in my opinion.
This brings me to the issue of the story itself. I'm not going to pretend that I loved every aspect of it, even though I really, really loved the play itself. I thought that the story itself gave off the feeling of fanfiction. And don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with fanfiction; I am a proud reader and writer of fanfiction, so I don't have issues with it. I could tell that this story didn't completely come straight from the mind of J.K. Rowling. It just didn't feel like her story, and there were aspects of the play that I didn't think were all that believable.
Like I've said before, I feel very close to Hermione as a character, and I really can't see that she would've become the Minister of Magic. It doesn't feel like a Hermione-ish job and I can't see that she would've enjoyed it. Obviously people change from when they're a teenager, but it just didn't seem right to me.

That being said, I loved the new characters. Scorpius Malfoy is my new literary love. He was an amazing character and I loved every single part of him. Like I've said before, though, he was captured in the script in an entirely different way to how the amazingly talented Anthony Boyle portrayed him on the stage (which was as an awkwardly hilarious, jittery, caring and loyal wizard, as opposed to the shy and nervous way I had interpreted him from the script).
I also really loved Albus and Rose (of course!) but it was Scorpius who stole the show for me, I think. He was just amazing.
I was a little disappointed at the lack of other characters, like Hugo, Lily Jr. and James Jr., as I would've liked to see a lot more of them, but I suppose this would've been difficult given it being a stage show with limited time to tell the story it wanted to tell.
I really, really, don't want to spoil anything in this post, but I also feel the need to mention the absence of a certain Professor of Herbology, who I was desperate to see grown up!
And also, I would've absolutely loved to see Mr and Mrs Weasley in this addition to the story; it just didn't feel like Harry Potter without them!
But, I suppose, this is something that made The Cursed Child unique, in that it wasn't a continuation of Potter, simply there to tell new stories about all of the old characters; it was definitely its own story, about new characters, or old characters with new personalities. Whether this is a good thing or not, I can't quite tell, but it certainly made the play unique.

Back to my point about the slightly 'unbelievable' storyline, I can't quite describe my feelings towards the basis for the storyline. Without trying to spoil the play too much for anyone who has not yet read or seen The Cursed Child (seriously, guys! Get yourselves to London ASAP!), the play itself was a little confusing, as is anything that messes with time travel and changes history! This is why I thought the storyline was a little far-fetched, since it didn't seem all that original or realistic. I was in a rather torn situation as to whether or not I liked the addition of the character Delphine, either. I mean, she definitely added a lot to the story, but whether I liked what she added or not is another question.
It was just a little bit odd, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I did absolutely love it, it was just a little odd.

*****

I was massively impressed by the length of the play as a whole! I was so surprised to find that the entirety of the show would last over five hours! Every single part was as magical and spellbinding as the last and I got goose-bumps just watching!
The ending of the play was honestly one of the most emotional things I have ever witnessed, and even though I managed to control the sobbing so that the never-ending flow of tears was as silent as possible (unlike in many other situations!) the emotions that overcame me were like no other. A lot of it was probably from the build-up and knowledge that this really was the end of Harry's journey, then the rest was made-up of the sadness of the story that I was witnessing, because that last part, where they had to go back to Godric's Hollow and relive a particular event, was sad. Really sad. Heart-breakingly sad.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your opinion of my sobbing!), I didn't get the same level emotion from reading the play again after watching it, but it was still rather devastating.

*****

I really don't think there's a lot else I can say about The Cursed Child. It marked the end of an era for me, as it really gave me the impression that our journey with Harry was over, and over for good this time.
I am in love with the play, both for what it represented for me, and for the experience it gave me.
I cannot fault the way in which it was pulled off; it was absolutely spectacular, and like I said, I feel honoured to have been able to see it. The script and storyline itself I was less of a fan of. That doesn't mean at all that I didn't like it, it just felt to me like it wasn't completely genuine and I don't believe it's the way in which J.K. Rowling intended the story to go. I personally feel that my own made-up continuation for the Potter books could be better for the story as a whole than this was (although I'm probably quite biased)  so in this respect, I wasn't overly ecstatic. I prefer to think of The Cursed Child as amazing fan-fiction that just so happened to be turned into a stage-show, as opposed to it being canon, since it's easier for me to accept that way.


*****

Harry Potter is the series of books that is the closest to my heart. In fact, it's probably one of the closest things to my heart in general. For that reason, I'm fairly protective over it and was worried when I'd heard the massively critical response to The Cursed Child. However, I can assure you that seeing this play was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. It was magical and I think that's the best word I can use to describe it. I will continue to judge The Cursed Child as a play, not as a script, because, like I've said, that's how I believe it was intended to be judged. So, if you read the script and were not impressed, I urge that you don't take it to heart, and instead, just go and see the play! You will not regret it, I promise!

I am desperate to go back to London and watch it numerous times again, and I'm sure that I will end up going again in the relatively near future! It was far too good to only see once!

*****

If you've read or seen The Cursed Child, I'd love to know what you thought so please let me know!

I hope to be back with another post very soon, but until then, au revoir!


Charlotte xxx



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Monday, 10 October 2016

Midnight Angel | Book Review

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Midnight Angel, by Tracey A. Wood
Published: June 2016, by Soul Mate Publishing
Length: 292 pages
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance

My Rating: 3 Stars!

Synopsis:

After almost losing her life in a vicious, bloody attack, Kat Shaw, a thirty-something divorcee, discovers that there are such things as monsters. And the predator who attacked her is not human. 
She starts to develop unusual skills that have murderous consequences. And she becomes an unwilling witness to multiple, brutal murders, seen through the eyes of a killer.
Thrown into a battle of Good Vs. Evil, she falls in love with two men who are not what they seem.
While her attacker stalks her and continues to murder the innocent, she has to find the inner strength to take on and fight the demons from hell - to protect her family and friends while also trying to save her own life.

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I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Xpresso Tours in exchange for an honest review.
This in no way influences my opinions. 

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My Review

I must admit, Midnight Angel is probably not the sort of book I'm used to reading. I'm a massive fan of paranormal romance books, however, I do believe this is the first I've read in the 'Adult' genre since I generally prefer to stick to 'Young Adult' when it comes to romance and all things paranormal. However, the synopsis of Midnight Angel really appealed to me, so I thought it was definitely worth a go!

The first thing I noticed when reading Midnight Angel, and apologies for starting with a slight negative, was that it was a little difficult to follow. There wasn't really much of an 'introduction' of sorts to the story, which I did enjoy since it just jumped straight into the action without having to set out who the characters were and how everybody felt about each other. So, I thought that the fast-paced action and quickly-developing plot really worked in the favour of the story to begin with. 
However, I soon began to notice that the rest of the book was just as equally fast-paced, which I didn't appreciate quite as much. It just made it a little hard to grasp at times, since it felt like it was jumping straight from one action sequence to the next. 

I actually thought the characters in the book were great. They had definite dimensions to them and were not just 'empty' characters, with no back-stories or past-experiences. Kat was certainly quite a strong main character, even if there were times where I questioned her motives and choices, which didn't always seem too genuine or smart. I liked the fact that, deep down, she was pretty much a normal person who was simply attempting to deal with the changes that went on around her. 

The other characters within the story were also fairly strong and relatable, and select few were fairly cute, too, which is always wins them points in my books! I'm not sure I liked the idea of the love triangle in the book - if I'm honest, I'm getting a little fed up of love triangles in general as I'm not entirely sure what they add to a story, but this one was certainly interesting. 

Tracey A. Wood's writing in Midnight Angel was another positive within the book. I haven't read anything else by this author before, but I enjoyed how relatable the writing and story-telling was. It was fairly easy to read, and was almost like just reading thoughts in your head, the way it was pulled off. I wouldn't say that it had anything completely special or unique about it, but it did suit the story and gave the book a completely different feel to other paranormal fantasy books, due to this.

Overall, I did enjoy the plot of the novel, even if it did seem slightly confusing and overly fast-paced at times. I really liked the 'mystery' aspect of the story, what with the murders and attacks; I definitely thought this improved the story and for this reason, I gave Midnight Angel 3 stars out of a possible 5.

I would recommend Midnight Angel to fans of a paranormal romance or anyone partial to a modern 'murder mystery' type of novel. The book did contain a great deal of mature content including quite a lot of bad language and sex, therefore, I would only suggest this book to a mature audience (roughly 16-18 plus, depending on maturity) and I would also suggest that the book probably shouldn't be read in public places!

So, despite its faults, I did enjoy the story and hope other people do too!


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You can buy your own copy of Midnight Angel on Amazon through this link!


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I hope you have enjoyed this review and I hope to be back for more soon! 

If you have read Midnight Angel, I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Charlotte xxx



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Friday, 30 September 2016

Sun and Moon | Book Review

Sun and Moon, by Desiree Williams
Published: April 2016, by Createspace
Length: 255 pages
Genres: Fantasy, YA

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Synopsis:

There is nothing in life that eighteen year old Zara craves more than her freedom. Stolen from her home in Cadrebia at the age of eight, Zara has spent more years than she cared to admit as a slave to the Tankadesh courts. Her days are filled with protecting the princess, while she spends nights entertaining the king and his officials with her mastery of weapons. Any spare moment in between, she plots escape.

Yet her hopes for freedom come to a crashing halt when a stranger arrives bearing the mark of her assigned lifemate, and he threatens war if she isn’t turned over into his care. But a lifemate is not part of the plan. Her dreams, of choosing her own path and being the master of her own will, weaken as her Moon seeks to claim his Sun.

Is it possible that this stranger, with gentle blue eyes and a ready smile, didn’t come to be her new master? That there could be more to his tale?

Zara soon finds that neither her captivity nor her parents’ deaths were mere random attacks. And by returning to Cadrebia, she may have put the future of the royal line—and her Moon—in jeopardy. While Zara breathes in her first taste of freedom, her enemies move in, seeking to rob Cadrebia of its blessed prophecy.

To keep what she holds dear, Zara must rise above the pain and uncertainty to claim the lifemate assigned to her, or more than her freedom will be stolen this time.


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I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Xpresso Tours in exchange for an honest review.
This in no way influences my opinions.
 
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My Review
 
I honestly wasn't really sure what to expect when I began to read Sun and Moon. I was a little confused by the synopsis of the book and wasn't too sure that I'd enjoy reading the story...
Oh, but I was wrong!
 
I loved the ideas and plot of this story. It was a fantastic idea and it lead to me being really captivated in the story. I really loved the idea of two people being completely destined to be together, no matter what their age or personality. I also loved the way that this idea was pulled off within the story; it's not a completely original idea for a story, but the way it was written made it feel completely new, which I completely loved! I really liked the idea of each person getting a 'mark' when they and their destined partner came of age, and the idea that they're just drawn towards each other in an incontrollable way.
Needless to say, I loved the way Zara was matched up within the story!
 
Actually, I thought Zara herself was a great character. I appreciated how strong she seemed, particularly considering her past as a prisoner to the royal family with a deceased family. She was a really good and solid main character, and I also really enjoyed how much she developed over the course of the story, it was great to see!
In fact, I liked most of the characters in the story. From what I can recollect, there were no particular characters that irritated me throughout the book. I loved Jaedon as a love-interest and character of his own - he really was just perfect! There was no fault to him whatsoever!
 
The romance in Sun and Moon was swoon-worthy to say the least! It was the kind of romance that just leaves you feeling mushy inside; the kind that really just makes you feel happy with your life. So this book definitely delivered on the romance side of things! I guess you could say it had some issues, but the only issue I found with it was that it seemed too perfect to be real - but in a fiction book, does this really matter? I love a good romance one in a while!!
 
I really enjoyed Desiree Williams' writing over the course of this novel. It made the book really easy to read, and also meant for quite a quick read; great for getting out of a reading slump! If I'm completely honest, I didn't think the writing was particularly anything too special, but it certainly wasn't bad! I quite enjoyed it!
 
I guess the only issue I really had with Sun and Moon was that it just seemed too perfect. There was a perfect, strong, female lead, a perfectly gorgeous love interest who just did everything right, and a perfectly happy ending. Every now and then, I do quite enjoy a book with a 'perfect' romance, like I've already said, but when absolutely everything ends this way, it can just seem a little sickly and false.
I do believe Sun and Moon would have benefited from a little more 'grit' and struggle. I mean, there were definitely aspects of this in the story, but I don't think it was quite prominent enough to balance out the happiness.
It was refreshing to read a happier book in the fantasy genre for a chance, but I just think this story verged on being just too happy. This, however, could just be a fault in my taste of stories rather than within the book itself.
 
I would recommend Sun and Moon to fans of YA Fantasy. The content in this book was probably a little too 'happy' for fans of really raw and gritty fantasy novels, however, if you're in the mood for a lighter read, this is definitely the book for you! Despite it being classed as a book for Young Adults, I do also think that people older than the recommended age could enjoy this story too.
I ended up giving Sun and Moon 4 stars in total, since I really, really enjoyed the idea of the book and the characters, but I do think it could have benefitted from being just a little more gritty with maybe a little more action. Except for that, I did really enjoy the book and would definitely be interested in reading more from this author!
 
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You can purchase Sun and Moon through this link!
 
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I hope you've enjoyed this review! If you've read or want to read Sun and Moon, I'd love to know your thoughts!
 
Until my next review,
 
 
Charlotte xxx



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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Somniare | Book Review

Somniare, by D.T. Dyllin
Published: July 2016, by Tik Tok Press
Length: 270 Pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

My Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Remy Novem was murdered…

But she didn’t die.


Forced to escape to Somniare, a dream landscape, Remy must somehow survive living nightmares, and endless torment without using her magic. Her only hope for freedom is to hitch a ride with a human back into reality, tricking the poor creature into believing no harm will befall them.

Remy isn’t troubled by the fact that she must kill to live…

Until love changes everything.


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I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Xpresso Tours in exchange for an honest review.
This in no way influences my opinions.
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My Review
First of all, I would like to begin by saying how amazing I thought the synopsis of Somniare was!
I was immediately entranced by the idea of this book. I can't really think of many books that start out with the main character being murdered and then proceeding to tell the rest of the story, so to me, this aspect was really interesting and appealing!
When I actually began to read Somniare, I must say, the whole plot did suddenly seem a little confusing. I loved the whole idea of Remy, our main character, going to a type of dream-world. It was really interesting and strange as it was almost unpredictable!
I also really liked the murder-mystery feel to the story, as Remy had to work out who had murdered her and why. I'm a massive fan of a good murder-mystery and have been unsuccessful in finding many good ones within the YA genre, so it was nice for this one to come along!
If I'm being honest, I didn't completely bond with Remy as a main character in the same way I usually like to. I mean, she was interesting enough and really fun to read about, but I can't say I really got chance to relate to her which was quite disappointing.
I liked all of the other characters within the novel, but I must say, I was really confused by the gender-changing love interest guardian character, Makoto. S/he really confused me and it just found it to be a little over-the-top strange! I just never really understood the necessity.
I thought the writing in the book was of a fairly good quality. I can't really say that D.T. Dyllin's writing was any more special than that in other books of a similar genre, but it was still good and told the story in a way that did it justice, which is great to find!
In a nutshell, I would describe Somniare as being quite relatable to a Tim Burton film, in the way that it was a little strange and confusing with odd twists and turns that mess with you mind and leave you feeling slightly lost. However, it did have an overall strange sense of intrigue throughout the whole novel that really left me wondering what would happen next, and I really felt for the characters, however strange they were!
I liked the aspect that you really couldn't predict what was going to happen next throughout the book. It's quite refreshing to read a book in which you really have no idea what's going to happen, and with Somniare, this was definitely the case! Pretty much anything could happen within this world and in this book, so it made for a strange but quirky plot!
My main issue with the book was that it was maybe just a little too confusing and strange for me to be able to keep up with. There were many, many twists and turns in the plot of Somniare, which I usually love, however it just seemed too much in this book. For this reason, I found it a little too hard to follow and it just confused me at times!
But other than that I thought it was a good, solid book and I did enjoy it, which is why I gave it 3 stars overall.
I would recommend Somniare  to fans of fantasy and possibly paranormal books. there aren't really an specific age groups for this book in terms of suitability; it's a YA book so it's not for younger readers, but I do feel that older readers could still enjoy it. I would say that Somniare requires a keen mind and ability to keep up with a very fast-paced plot (which apparently I do not have!) but other than that I think it would be suitable for most people!
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You can purchase Somniare on Amazon through this link.
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I hope you have enjoyed this review! Have you read Somniare? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!
That's all for now but I'll be back with another review soon!
Charlotte xxx




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Thursday, 15 September 2016

A Mortal Song | Blog Tour & Giveaway!



Hello!!
Welcome to my stage of the Blog Tour for Megan Crewe's new book, A Mortal Song! I received an advanced review copy of A Mortal Song though Xpresso Book Tours, who are running this tour. You can click on the link here to see the whole tour and follow it day by day!

A Mortal Song, by Megan Crewe
Published: September 2016, by Another World Press
Length: 382 pages
Genres: YA, Fantasy

My Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis:

Sora’s life was full of magic—until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

“Megan Crewe’s A Mortal Song is engrossing from the first chapter. The world of the kami is beautifully fantastic and delicately drawn, and the switched-at-birth scenario made me instantly feel for both of these resilient, brave girls. A Mortal Song has lots of magic, lots of heart, and lots to love.” -Kendare Blake, author of Three Dark Crowns

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First of all, I absolutely loved the whole idea of A Mortal Song. The synopsis really set the story out well and it sounded like the type of book that would be perfect for me! Needless to say, I was really excited when I began this story.
I loved the idea that the hero in this story wasn't actually the hero she thought she was, and every power she thought she'd had wasn't her own. I thought this was quite a refreshing plot line for the story to follow, since you really don't get to see many of this type of book within the YA or Fantasy genre.

So, leading on from that, I loved Sora as a character and narrator of the novel. It was an interesting point of view to read from, to say the least! Moreover, not only did we have to deal with ghosts, battles and saving her kingdom, we had to undergo the turmoil that went along with realising that your whole life had been a lie. It was this element of the book that I absolutely loved and found really interesting.

I really loved the setting of the book. This was possibly the first book I've ever read that has been set in Japan, so it was really interesting to read about this different location. It has made me want to read more novels set in this area as the back-drops are gorgeous places to hold stories. The fact that A Mortal Song was set in Japan also set it out from the ever-expanding crowd of Young Adult fantasy novels, which I really appreciated.

If I'm honest, I didn't actually think the overall execution of this book lived up to my expectations. I ended up finding myself fairly detached from the majority of the characters and didn't feel much of a connection with them, including Sora, the main character.
To me, this is probably the most disappointing thing in a novel. Don't get me wrong, I did like most of the characters; it wasn't that they weren't pleasant or well-developed characters to read about, however I didn't feel like they were genuine enough for me to be able to connect with in a way that would allow me to really get to know them.
For this reason, I felt slightly disengaged with the story as a whole. As much as I wanted to really enjoy the story and feel completely hooked to each page, this never actually happened.

Also, I wasn't actually a massive fan of the romance in this book for the most part, either. I'm not completely sure of what put me off of it, but it never really approached a stage where I felt that it was genuine. Even though I thought both of the characters were compatible with each other and I was a fan of them being together, I just didn't think they were presented in a well enough light to make their romance seem genuine.

I was in two minds about the writing in A Mortal Song. On one had, I really enjoyed it because it was simple and so easy to read and understand (which is great when you just want to relax with a book and not have to look into it too deeply) so in that respect it was great and really appropriate to the nature and main audience of the book. However, on the other hand, I thought it was a little too straight to the point. Fantasy books like A Mortal Song can often really benefit from overly descriptive writing that meanders onto tangents from time to time. As odd as it sounds, they can be quite beneficial to the overall story-telling. So even though it was nice that the writing was fairly straight to the point as it made the book easier to read, this may not have been the best style of writing for the story being told.

I actually thought there was a lot more potential story to be told and elaborated on than was written throughout the course of the book. For example, there were many places and sites visited where something else could have happened - the more of the story could have been discovered or there could have been an additional problem to solve - but generally, it suck to the same plot the whole way through and was slightly predictable.

Nevertheless, I did really enjoy A Mortal Song for the most part! Yes, there were a few faults in the book, but every story has its flaws. I really enjoyed the idea and main story of the book and even though I wasn't a massive fan of the style of writing, it still delivered the story well, which was its main purpose anyway.
For these reasons, I gave A Mortal Song 3 out of a possible 5 stars. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but in no way was it bad either.

I would definitely recommend this book to people who are interested in fantasy, but who possibly haven't read many of them before. A Mortal Song would be a great 'Fantasy for Beginners' book, and I would say it was probably most appropriate for readers within the ages of 12 to 16, although I definitely think older readers would enjoy it too!
 
 
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You can purchase A Mortal Song from the following links:

Amazon
B&N
IndieBound
Indigo


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About the Author
Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say “eh”), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can’t look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there.

Join her newsletter for book news, recommended reads, and exclusive giveaways: http://eepurl.com/btE8mH 

 
 
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I have also been given the pleasure of hosting a fantastic giveaway, thanks to Megan Crewe, the author. Enter this giveaway to be in with a chance of winning the Japan Media and Treats Prize Pack!
It is open internationally and will close on 12th October. Good luck!

A MORTAL SONG Japan Extravaganza Giveaway!

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I hope you have enjoyed this blog tour and book review!
I will be back with more soon!


Charlotte xxx



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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Rhodi Saga | Blog Tour & Giveaway!

Welcome to my part of the Blog Tour for Megan Linski's new dystopian YA series, The Rhodi Saga!


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I was given the pleasure of joining this blog tour through Xpresso Book Tours, and received a copy of the book from Gryfyn Publishing for reviewing purposes. You can follow the whole tour by clicking this link!


Displaying R1.jpg Rhodi's Light (The Rhodi Saga, #1), by Megan Linski
Published: September 2016 by Gryfyn Publishing
Length: 204 pages 
Genres: YA, Dystopian

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Synopsis:

Flight. Hyperspeed. Clairvoyance.
 
These are some of the powers gifted to the Rhodi, an ancient sect of assassins who defend Crescentia, a dystopian world with a dying hope.

Dyliana Fairsson is one of them. After losing her parents to a suspicious accident, she and her twin brother, Devin, join the Rhodi to avoid starvation. Under the direction of her master, Dylan struggles to learn the strength of her magic …as well as hide the growing scars on her wrists. Can Dylan become the warrior, the hero, she’s destined to be? Or is she fated to fall from the light into the darkness?

The first instalment in the epic fantasy series by bestselling author Megan Linski, Rhodi’s Light is an action-packed thrill ride that will leave readers begging for more.


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On reading the synopsis of Rhodi's Light, I had high expectations of this book. It sounded like the sort of book that I would love to read and, luckily, it did not disappoint me.

From the first few pages of the novel, I had latched myself onto this story and could not wait to devour the whole of the book.
I loved the whole idea of Rhodi's Light. While parts of it were fairly similar to other books within this genre, I thought the story took a fresh perspective on the average literary hero. This book combined the action and adventure of a fantasy book with a sensitive nature usually only found in contemporary fiction and I think this was my favourite aspect of the story as a whole.

I also found myself connect a fair amount with the characters, Dylan in particular. I found it easy to read from her perception of this and understand what she was feeling at particular times, which I did enjoy. I also loved reading about the other characters such as Tavana and Talidin. I thought all their back-stories were really interesting and they gave the story a good level of tension and danger through their exposition.
I really appreciated the wide range of characters within the novel and how different they all were due to what each of them had been through. But I also appreciated how this drew many of them together.

As a novel, I enjoyed Rhodi's Light more than I expected to, and was easily captivated by the characters and their stories. The storyline was a little predictable from time to time, but overall I really enjoyed reading it and uncovering the mysteries held within the plot.


Being completely honest, I don't actually think the execution of this story was the best it could have been. The writing was good and made the book quick and easy to read, but there were times that I thought the dialogue seemed slightly too forced between the characters. There were some parts that felt a little too formal to be appropriate for the situation.

If there was any other slight complaint I would have about the book, it would be that it all progressed a little too quickly for my liking. The first book took place over the course of just under a year, yet it was squeezed into around 200 pages, which is fairly short for a book of this genre. I would have actually appreciated it to have been slightly longer with maybe a little more 'padding' and perhaps a slower progression of the story. I did feel that the story jumped mostly straight from one action sequence to another, and even though these were really enjoyable action scenes, I would have preferred a few other things to occur alongside them.

There were loads of aspects of the story that I really loved, however I felt that they weren't built up to enough, so when they were revealed it all just seemed slightly confusing and made me question the necessity of them. However, this scenario didn't really occur many times so it wasn't that big of a deal and overall, I really enjoyed the book.

Rhodi's Light was not only a great fantasy novel, it also dealt with really delicate topics, and dealt with them well. The book deals with things like depression and self-harm, which I think is one of its best qualities. I think it's really important for books these days to be addressing these situations as there are so many people suffering from mental health issues. I thought that Rhodi's Light dealt with these situations in a sensitive yet constructive way, showing positive help for the victims. So I thought this aspect of the book was important and was dealt with well.

I really, really enjoyed reading Rhodi's Light and ended up giving it 4 out of a possible 5 stars, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequels, Rhodi Rising and Rhodi's Lullaby. I would recommend the saga to anyone over the age of 13 (depending on maturity) who likes fantasy and dystopian books. I thought it was a great read for many ages to enjoy. There was a small warning at the start of the book regarding the aspect of mental illnesses and self-harm, so if you really feel uncomfortable reading about this, The Rhodi Saga probably won't be for you. However, even if you're unsure about how you'll deal with this in a story, I would recommend just giving it a go as I think it's a really important thing to be aware of.


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You can purchase Rhodi's Light through:

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About the Author
Displaying Megan-Linski.jpg
Megan Linski is the owner of Gryfyn Publishing and has had a passion for writing ever since she completed her first (short) novel at the age of 6. Her specialisations are romance, fantasy, and contemporary fiction for people aged 14-24. When not writing she enjoys ice skating, horse riding, theatre, archery, fishing, and being outdoors. She is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, and is an active fighter against common variable immune deficiency disorder. She lives in Michigan.

Megan Linski also writes under the pen name of Natalie Erin for the Creatures of the Lands Series, co-authored with Krisen Lison.


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I've also been given the opportunity to host the international giveaway for The Rhodi Saga Blog Tour, which includes the following amazing prizes from Gryfyn Publishing:

  • $100 Amazon Gift Card (Grand Prize)
  • Rhodi’s Light by Megan Linski PAPERBACK
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas PAPERBACK
  • A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest PAPERBACK NEW AND LENGTHENED EDITION
  • The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson PAPERBACK
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas PAPERBACK

You can enter the giveaway, which will close on 10th September, using the link below! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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I hope you have enjoyed this post! I hope to be back with more soon!

Charlotte xxx



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Monday, 15 August 2016

Under A Million Stars | Book Blitz - Giveaway, Excerpt and Playlist!


Under A Million Stars, by Rita Branches
Publication date: August 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
Displaying EBOOKLOW.jpgHer heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realises that their relationship is more important than the truth he’s hiding.
Now it’s up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie’s broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?


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You can buy Under A Million Stars on:


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An Excerpt from Under A Million Stars...


Jacob

These two weeks had been hell for me.

I didn’t know how I was going to pull this off for the eight months I still had left in this hell of a town. My parents didn’t get me, and she was around all the time, suffocating me. My heart skipped a beat every time I heard her voice, and it doubled in speed when she was near me. I wouldn’t be able to stay away, I knew it. She was breaking my heart all over again.

I heard her at night, when she thought everyone was sleeping. I just sat on the floor, resting my head against the wall, and listen to her cry and throw up every other night. 

I stayed there like a jerk, as if I didn’t give a crap about her or her feelings, but I cried. I missed her. I wanted to hold her at night and tell her that everything would be alright, but I couldn’t. I promised I would stay away—I couldn’t hurt her, anymore. I pushed my knees to my chest to hold myself together and to keep me from crumbling. Sometimes, I had to place my closed fist against my mouth, so she wouldn’t hear me sob. I wished she would have, though. I wished she would have opened the door and saw me sitting there, caring about her, suffering like she did. 

My mom was getting suspicious about me. She knew about her, or at least that something wasn’t right. My face, the permanent dark circles under my eyes, and my lack of appetite wasn’t normal, though. I was okay, before her parents’ accident—I had started to pull myself together. 

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This night was especially bad. She stayed in the bathroom for hours. I had been on the other side, hearing her cry and wishing I could take it all away. 

I was starting to get really scared for her. I left before my parents woke up, unable to face them and those disapproving looks, anymore, like I wasn’t doing anything right with my life. They wanted a perfect son and they didn’t have one. 

I was in no condition to go to college—I couldn’t even imagine myself being closed behind four walls for another four or five years. I needed something to take my thoughts away—something that would fuel me with adrenaline. They wouldn’t approve of the plans I’d been making. They’d hate them, in fact, but I didn’t care, anymore, I just needed to get away.


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A Playlist for Under A Million Stars...

I was so excited to receive this playlist that goes along with Under A Million Stars as I love reading to music; it's the best way to read!!



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I'm also really excited to share this $15 Amazon gift card Giveaway with you!! 
It will end on 18th August, and you can enter it below!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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I hope you've enjoyed this post and be sure to check out Under A Million Stars!

I'll be back with another post soon!!

Charlotte xxx



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