How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

img_0186 Original Title: How to train your dragon

Year Published: 2004

Published by:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 214

First Sentence: There were dragons when I was a boy

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as “the Dragon Whisperer”…but it wasn’t always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and become a hero!

My thoughts:

Ok, so I know this is a children’s book. But I’ve wanted to read it since I first saw the animated film (which I know was also intended for children, but just bite me). However, I didn’t actually want to buy it in case it was too childish. Luckily for me, my local library had a copy and I was able to lend it from there. Trust me, it is not too childish. Pretty short and not too complex? Yes, but the overall story was still a fun read and I enjoyed it.

If you have seen the film and loved that, then be advised that the book is actually quite different. Sure, Hiccup and Toothless are there, but they are different from the film. Yes, Hiccup is still sarcastic and a fun narrator, but Toothless is whiny and well… childish. Our beloved dragon is also quite tiny in the book version. Think … cat and you have his approximate size. So, he definitely wasn’t what I expected. But it was quite fitting for the book which made it OK. You should also know that the supportive cast of characters aren’t the same as the film, but these have their own charm.

Plot-wise, the book was fun and entertaining. I did snort with laughter several times which is something I rarely do. Yes, it is a little bit silly at times (children’s book!) but it’s fine and it doesn’t really matter. This is a book that you as an adult could enjoy and if you have kids then it would make an excellent book to read together with them. It is probably also a great book series for your kids to start and then grow older with.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

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ARC Review: Nocturna by Ashley Elliot

31551085Original Title: Nocturna

Year Published: Today, 1/12-2016. If you are interested it is available on Amazon.

Published by: Self-published (an arc was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 394

First Sentence: “Terror spiked in my veins as arms wrapped around me, caging me, stopping me from escaping.”

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

A kingdom inhabited by creatures of myth, Nocturna has existed since before the dawn of history.

Valon Wess is unaware of this world like the rest of the humans on Earth. At least, he was until he’s kidnapped, joining Di and other humans on their unwilling way to Nocturna.

Valon becomes the Dragon King Alexei’s first male concubine in a nation where humans are slaves. With his arrival bringing many changes to this monstrous society, Valon must learn to accept his position in this strange, ancient country as well as deal with his blossoming love for a man of a different species.

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable read. It does give you the feeling of being a little too much like a fanfic at the start but that quickly changes and becomes an overall great read. It has several twists and turns, some obvious and some that you absolutely do not see coming.

Valon was a great main character. I absolutely adored him and his wit. He was a nice and easily likable character, and I enjoyed reading the book from his point of view. He has plenty of attitude and sass without being too much, which was perfect. Sure, he does go from being badass to a whimpering little boy at times, but he is a teenage boys so that might no be that unrealistic.

Alexei was amazing and I loved seeing his character change and evolve. Starting off as a cold ruler and turning into a man you might actually like. I won’t say anything more, because spoilers. Just know that you will want to slap him at the start and then do anything to protect him at the end. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Valon and Alexei as well, it felt really realistic (within the world) and progressed at a pretty natural pace.

There is a whole ensemble of minor characters, ranging from people you will adore to people you want to strangle with your own two hands. With these characters, you will get several intriguing and interesting relationships, several which will tug at your heartstrings.

The plot was fun and entertaining. There were some parts that could have been better developed, some world building could have been better laid out, but overall the book is grand with a good tempo and pretty good writing. A little bit of warning should be added here. We are talking about a character that is kidnapped and the forced to become a concubine to the king of the world to which he is brought. However, there is no non-consensual sex in this, just one kiss that is taken without consent. But still, if this is a sticking point with you, then take this into consideration.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon by Rena Rocford

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Original Title: Acne, Asthma, And Other Signs You Might Be Half Dragon

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Curiousity Quills Press

Number of Pages: 213

First Sentence: Before I was close enough to be slathered in anti-acne cream, the kiosk lady had her bottle at the ready.

Goodreads Rating: 3/5

Plot:

Allyson fights acne, not trolls.

As an inhaler-carrying member of the asthma society, she just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid, move-across-the-nation freak. Now she’s trying to fit in at yet another school, but for the first time in her life, she has a best friend, Beth.

When Allyson accidentally spits fire at kidnappers in the mall, she realizes why her father isn’t in the picture: she’s half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her asthma? The side effects of her dragon’s fire breath.

Instead of freaking out, unflappable Beth reveals her own troll heritage and explains how things work with the supernatural creatures hiding within the modern world of smartphones and skyscrapers.

When trolls kidnap a unicorn, Beth gets blamed. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her friend off the unicorn chopping block. When they start looking for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expect: Allyson’s father. He tries to warn them off, but he’s been put under a spell by the kidnappers to keep the victims from escaping. Nothing short of death can stop him.

Now Allyson must choose between killing the father she’s always dreamed of, or letting her best friend die for a crime she didn’t commit.

My thoughts:

I decided to read this mainly because of the gorgeous cover (LOOK AT IT!!!). It drew me to it like a moth to a flame. The blurb did sound kind of awesome as well so it was a done deal. The inside is not as great as that stunning cover though. In fact, I’d almost say that you should settle for gawking at the cover and then move on.

The characters are super flat. Which was so disappointing. They had so much potential at the start of the book and just fell super flat. It was like they were stuck on the starting block, waiting for the whistle that would signal the start of the race. And that whistle never comes.

Okay, I am well aware that any fantasy or sci-fi book plot is technically unrealistic but some still feel very realistic. This too often treads in the territory of the unrealistic. Two teenage girls driving cross country? I doubt they’d make it very far. A lot of other things are also super realistic, like if you know your daughter is half-dragon don’t you tell her? Especially when she starts showing signs that the dragon side is really strong (like growing scales)? Bad parenting.

The plot like the characters just fell flat. It just felt like the author tried to pack in as much plot lines and action as possible and it didn’t really work. A lot of the plot was easy to figure out and some of the twists and turns just felt awkward instead of a natural development of the plot.

Do I recommend it? 

Not really. There are better ya-novels out there.

Talon by Julie Kagawa

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Original Title: Talon

Year Published: 2015

Published by: MIRA Ink

Number of Pages: 445

First Sentence: Ember, when did your parents die, and what was the cause of death?

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

‘There are a dozen soldiers hiding in that maze. All hunting you. All looking to kill you.’

To the outside world Ember Hill is an ordinary girl, but Ember has a deadly secret. A dragon hiding in human form, she is destined to fight the shadowy Order of St. George, a powerful society of dragonslayers.

St. George soldier Garret is determined to kill Ember and her kind. Until her bravery makes him question all he’s been taught about dragons.

Now a war is coming and Garret and Ember must choose their sides – fight to save their bond or fulfil their fate and destroy one another.

My thoughts:

Talon is a good and entertaining story. However, there are too many parts where you (at least I) want to fast forward and get to the point. Sure, those parts do contain a lot of good information and carefully builds up the world and story for the following books. It does feel repetitive at times, and that is what makes it so frustrating. It feels like it takes forever to reach lift off but when it finally does, it is well worth it.

Ember is a good main character and you do like her. She does however act like a spoilt brat from time to time and I just want to give here a little shake. Not a big one, just a little one. I loved the fact that she is a dragon, something that we rarely see. Mostly girls are mythical creatures like mermaids, witches or fairies. Why not be a fire-breathing hardcore monster for once?

It was a good thing that we got to read this book from several people’s point of view. It was so much easier to fall in love with Garret when reading about events through his eyes. I also loved the fact that we got to see that boys are just as insecure as girls when it comes to matters of love because they are. We aren’t the only ones fretting over our feelings.

I won’t say which characters give us the other p.o.v’s because that’s a spoiler.

Overall though, this book was entertaining and a great read which is why it still deserves 4 stars, despite the repetitive parts of the plot.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, because I do believe that this series will be a really good one. Plus dragons are awesome.

Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

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Original Title: Seriously Wicked

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Tor Teen (received an arc through NetGalley).

Number of Pages: 208

First Sentence: I was mucking out the dragon’s garage when the witch’s text popped up on my phone.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose—and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombified. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch…will that mean she’s wicked too?

My thoughts:

I really liked this book. It provides a really interesting and fun take on witches, that felt really new and fresh to me. I loved the description of witches in the book, that they are paranoid and, therefore, make their spells overly complicated. The idea of a witch “encoding” her spell was just hilarious to me. Also, that the witches had a better grasp of the internet before mortals and made their own version was a great detail. Pet dragons and werewolves? Yes, I would like one of each, please.

The plot itself was fast paced and easy to follow. Cam, the main character, was fun and easy to like. All she want is to be a normal girl, but she is constantly thwarted by the witch, also known as her aunt, in this endeavour. She now has to try and save the town from her aunts latest scheme and at the same time try and get rid of the demon inhabiting the new boy’s body. It actually sounds easier than it turns out to be, especially since Cam is determined not to have to resort to using magic, as she does not want to turn out like her aunt.

One negative thing about this book was that the plot sometimes felt rushed. This made it feel like some of the relationships suffered, i.e. the author could have had a more in-depth exploration of a few of the relationships in the book. Also, the love story could have easily been turned into just a friendship or simply a pre-relationship. The plot would not have suffered. In fact, it might even have been slightly better had the romantic element been removed.  Apart from this the book is a great read.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do. It was a fun and easy read, that was really entertaining from start to finish.

Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki by Katrina Sisowath (Dragon Court #1)

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Original Title: Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki

Year Published: 2014

Published by: 5 Prince Publishing

Number of Pages: 394

First Sentence: 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

The Annunaki on Nibiru lack precious metals, stones and minerals, which they desire, food on Nibiru is also running low. Their solution: establish a colony on a distant planet teeming with wildlife and vegetation. When the Annunaki discover they are ill equipped to labor under the harsh conditions found on Earth, they create a workforce called humans, a hybrid manufactured from their DNA and a species known as hominid.

The Serpent Priestess Ninkha and her husband Lord Enki are charged with this task, battling not only the challenges faced adjusting to life on Earth, but Enki’s brother, Enlil, as well. Will the humans live as Enki and Ninkha envisioned–able to learn, create and above all, reason? Or will they subjugate themselves to Enlil and his rule willingly?

At stake is the future of the Priestesses of Damuth, who, along with their serpents, service the Annunaki with their own blood, providing those who partake of the cocktail of blood and venom the ultimate in achieving a higher state of consciousness, along with youth, vigour and longevity. If Enlil, whose disdain of them is well-known, wins, what will happen to them?

To protect themselves and their descendants, they form the ‘Dragon Court’, but is it enough?

Serpent Priestesses or Witches, Gods or Demons,

Aliens or Ancestors, Oppressors or Creators?

Perhaps all of the above…………..

My thoughts:

I bought this book after receiving the arc for the sequel over at NetGalley (I didn’t realise it was a sequel when I requested it), and figured that I would need to read this one before reading the arc I got. So I bought this and got reading. It was a little hard to get into but after just one chapter I found myself completely hooked.

The world described in this book is quite fantastic and it is obvious that the author has given it a lot of thought. It is very detailed (which is awesome but has its negative sides, I’ll get to that). The Annunaki’s, the inhabitants of Nibiru, are a very intelligent people with several supernatural abilities. They are all matched with a dragon at birth (DRAGONS!!) and create and unbreakable bond with their dragon. They are governed by their priests and priestesses that help guiding the people through their lives.

There are many characters that the plot revolves around, all who are very interesting. I won’t go into detail about the characters as that actually would spoil the plot. The plot is a very interesting take on the creation myth (yeah, you read that right) and gives a very interesting account where the Annunaki’s are the creators of humans.

Usually, I don’t like books with religious themes or allusions to religion but this book is just too good to be true. You will definitely recognise some of the stories from the Bible, along with some names, but you don’t need to know the Bible to enjoy this book (I really don’t. Know the Bible that is).

So, is there anything negative? Yes. The book is like only 4 percent dialogue, and since the author obviously has given the world in the book a lot of thought, it can get a little bit overwhelming. In fact, although I loved it, my brain felt kind of mushy at the end. It was just so much information to take in. Detail is awesome, but you need something to make it easier to take in. A little bit more dialogue had been great.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes! It is amazing, and I can’t wait to get started on book numero 2.

In Search of Lost Dragons by Elian Black’Mor and Carine M

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Original Title: In Search of Lost Dragons

Year Published: 2014

Published by: Dynamite Entertainment

Number of Pages: 224

First Sentence: I’ve just arrived at a small Inn in the heart of Armorica.

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Gorgeous full-color paintings, accompanied by a unique story of world-wide exploration and dragon encounters! On the trail of dragons forgotten, an intrepid illustrator and reporter journeys from Europe through the Middle East and finally to Saigon in search of the dark caverns and mountaintop perches where the elusive winged serpents dwell. With the gift of seeing the invisible, our explorer friend records each encounter in a journal of gorgeous, fully painted artwork, capturing every majestic and fearsome visual detail of the scaly behemoths, and accompanies his findings with snippets of local lore as evidence that these hidden beasts continue to shape the world in ways we may never expect!

My thoughts:

Oh my god, I loved this! It is just so gorgeous! I’ve always loved dragons and after reading this nobody can convince me that dragons aren’t real. Just amazing. The book is laid out as a travel journal, and we get to follow an explorer as they travel to several countries through Europe and Asia in search of dragons and eventually a lost party of explorers. Sometimes the plot get’s a little lost, but it doesn’t really matter since the images are so incredibly beautiful.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, if you like dragons or pretty images. It’s gorgeous and I kind of want all of the images posted on my flats walls.