Banished by Liz De Jager

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Original Title: Banished

Year Published: 2014

Published by:  Tor UK

Number of Pages: 400

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Sworn to protect, honour and slay. Because chaos won’t banish itself…

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s encountered her unorthodox cousins and their strange lives. And her home-schooling now includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons. But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies. As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

My thoughts:

This book started off slow for me. It took me a chapter or two before I really got into it. It did also have some bits that weren’t keeping the same quality as the rest of the book which lowered the overall reading experience a bit. It is still a great book to read and I definitely enjoyed it.

Kit is a pretty cool character. She has some typical whiny teenage moments but overall she is an interesting and fun character to read about.

I would have loved to learn more about the Blackhart family and their history. It felt like there was so much left hanging, things that could have easily been fixed or addressed within the book.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

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Fantastic Beasts and where to find them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

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Original Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Arthur A. Levine Books

Number of Pages: 293

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

My thoughts:

I cannot believe that I haven’t gotten round to review this book yet. I read it over a year ago and of course, also watched the actual film. And the next one is soon to be released (the movie that is).

It is safe to say that I absolutely loved it! The book itself is gorgeous and a beautiful addition to my shelves. The story is fun and exciting. I was a bit worried that a story not centered around Harry, Hermione and Ron would not be able to catch the magic of the world. I was wrong. It was a magical adventure and I loved every single page of it.

Newt is quirky and fun, and just such an adorable character. How can you not love him? Tina is fantastic and I love that we have a strong witch doing what she believes in and being good at it. Jacob was another adorable character and he is definitely my favourite!

Do I recommend it? 

Of course I do!

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

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Original Title: The Queen of the Tearling

Year Published: 2014

Published by:  Harper

Number of Pages: 448

First Sentence: Kelsey Glynn sat very still, watching the troop approach her homestead. 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.

On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.

My thoughts:

This was a  good book and enjoyed it very much. It felt pretty original and it was easy to read. It had plotlines that were absolutely unexpected and that had you on the edge of your seat. It was gritty at times though and went pretty dark in places. However, it was never too much and nothing too worrying.

I loved how Kelsey wasn’t immediately put on a pedestal by the people around her. Instead, the opposite happened and she had to fight tooth and nail to get people to listen to her. I did want to hit some of the people she was surrounded by though because they had just decided that she was worthless and didn’t even want to give her a chance to prove them wrong.

I did ruin the trilogy for myself though as I scrolled through the reviews of the other two books. I did not like what I read (especially about the ending of the third and final book) and will therefore not bother reading the rest of the books.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (Ember Quartet #2)

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Original Title: A Torch Against the Night

Year Published: 2016

Published by:  Razorbill

Number of Pages: 452

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot: 

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

My thoughts:

This was a fantastic sequel to An Ember in the Ashes. I absolutely adored the first book and this was just as good, if not better. Sequels can be pretty bad but this definitely lived up to the hype.

Laia is amazing and I love the fact that she doesn´t magically become a superhero like some other heroines have a tendency to do. Instead, she tries her best and she is scared at times but the wish to help the people around her and her family give her the motivation to keep on fighting when the going gets though.

I never thought that I would care for Helene, but I was totally wrong. She is much more complex than you might think and she absolutely won me over in this book. I can´t wait to read more about her in the third book (which arrived just yesterday!).

Elias is one of my favourite male characters of all time and he did not disappoint in this one. Just like both Laia and Helene, he is a complex character with both good and bad sides. Seeing him interact with both these ladies was fun and it was nice to get to know him better as well.

The plot you might ask? Well, it was pretty awesome. Road trip medieval style, Prison Break, magic, a tournament, side-characters that will break your heart and a cliffhanger that has you tearing your hair out in desperation. Yeah, it´s pretty awesome.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I really do.

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #10)

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Original Title: Moving Pictures

Year Published: 1991

Published by:  Corgi

Number of Pages: 332

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

‘Holy wood is a different sort of place. People act differently here. Everywhere else the most important things are gods or money or cattle. Here, the most important thing is to be important.’

People might say that reality is a quality that things possess in the same way that they possess weight. Sadly alchemists never really held with such a quaint notion. They think that they can change reality, shape it to their own purpose. Imagine then the damage that could be wrought if they get their hands on the ultimate alchemy: the invention of motion pictures, the greatest making of illusions. It may be a triumph of universe-shaking proportions. It’s either that or they’re about to unlock the dark terrible secret of the Holy Wood hills – by mistake…

My thoughts:

If you have followed my blog for awhile then you will be aware of the fact that Terry Pratchett is my favourite author. I absolutely love his books and I doubt I will dislike any of the books in the Discworld universe. This was such a fun read and enjoyed every single page of it!

As per usual, Pratchett’s books have a multitude of characters with different storylines that are cleverly brought together throughout the book. Despite the multitude of characters and plots, they are easy to separate and keep track of. It is fun to read and the variety keeps it fresh and interesting throughout.

I absolutely love how Pratchett can use such a modern concept, the cinema, and turn it into something that feels natural for a fantasy book. It’s amazing to see how he can mix the modern with the old (and the magical) and create a picture that feels natural and almost real. Apart from making the book fun to read it also provides a realistic commentary on the world of Hollywood, the birth of the cinema and all it brought with it.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do!

Arc Review: Highlander Redeemed by Laurin Wittig (Guardians of the Targe #3)

24202300.jpgOriginal Title: Highlander Redeemed

Year Published: 2015

Published by: Montlake Romance (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 272

First Sentence: Scotia MacAlpin pushed her dark hair out of her face with the back of her water-wrinkled hand, then looked up from the huge pot she was scouring as she had every morning and every evening for what seemed her entire lifetime, though it had only been a fortnight or a little more. 

Goodreads Rating: 4/5

Plot:

Scotia MacAlpin may be only eighteen years old, but she’s no stranger to trouble. Her latest incident—which resulted in a death and forced her clan into battle—has made her an outcast among her exiled people. Scotia is tired of being ignored and overshadowed by her sister, a gifted Guardian of the Targe, and she’s become hell-bent on destroying the army out to capture the ancient Highland relic for their English king.

Duncan of Dunlairig has looked out for Scotia since she started to walk. She was as restless and reckless then as she is now—only the stakes have become higher and more perilous. While the rest of Clan MacAlpin ostracizes her, Duncan secretly helps Scotia become the warrior she yearns to be. But the real test of her skills may come when he needs her help—and her long-forgotten heart—in this thrilling and romantic Guardians of the Targe tale.

My thoughts:

I had no idea that this book was the third in a series so I was really worried that this book would be unreadable without having read the first two books. However, I had no problem grasping the story or enjoying this as a sort of stand-alone. There are some things that you miss out on of course, but it was still quite enjoyable.

At first, I found Scotia to be a little spoilt brat, but the more I read I realized that she was honestly being blamed for things she wasn’t even guilty of. It wasn’t just because of her being the main p.o.v, it became obvious even from Duncan’s p.o.v. The other people had decided that she was useless and only brought trouble and couldn’t see that she was a different person from what they thought.

Duncan was an absolute sweetheart but sadly enough he also thought that Scotia deliberately tried to cause trouble for the clan. However, he did listen to her and did try to help her when he realised that she was just misunderstood.

The plot was fairly interesting. Since I had not read the first two books some things did go over my head. But overall it was interesting and quite fun to read. The girl was actually the one to save the day, the boy did not need to come in and save her. This was quite lovely.

Do I recommend it?

Yes, I do, but I would suggest that you read the first two books first.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)

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Original Title: A Conjuring of Light

Year Published: 2017

Published by:  Titan Books Ltd

Number of Pages: 666

First Sentence: Delilah Bard – always a thief, recently a magician, and one day, hopefully, a pirate – was running as fast as she could.

Goodreads Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

My thoughts:

I could hardly wait for this book to come out! (Yeah, this review is mega late, I did read the book as soon as it was released). It was absolutely worth the wait though! It was so absolutely good and this trilogy is my favorite trilogy ever. Schwab is an amazing writer and I absolutely adore this world and these characters. It was bittersweet to finish this trilogy but it was so amazing at the same time.

To be fair, it is kind of difficult to review it. Not because it was bad, but because I don’t know what to say without completely spoiling it for you. There are so many amazing moments for many of the characters and all the ones I loved before I now love even more. The character developments are awesome and feel really natural. I loved what Schwab did with the characters and how she had their stories unfolding and then finally ending.

The plot was just absolutely fantastic. This time we get to travel away from Red London, not just to different Londons, but out to sea. It is an almighty adventure and I loved every single moment of it. Sometimes when so many plots are taking place and so many characters are involved there is usually one or more that I can’t be arsed with. With this book that didn’t happen. All characters that had their own plotlines were fascinating and I found the whole book utterly entertaining and captivating.

Oh and Holland… Sigh. I just… He is my favourite is all I will say.

Do I recommend it? 

Yes, I do!!!!!

 

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