book review

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Mortal SongTitle: A Mortal Song

Author: Megan Crewe

Published: 13. September 2016.

Edition: Another World Press

                Kindle Edition, 382 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Mythology

Summary:

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.

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◄ 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

THE SETTING:

This story takes place in modern day Japan, but with magical and mythological elements woven into the story. I love reading stories that are set in Japan! I’m very interested in the culture and mythology of that place. So seeing both portrayed within this book was amazing! I loved seeing kami and their interactions with humans and humanity in general. I definitely need to puck up more books that are set in Japan!

THE CHARACTERS:

The characters within this story were very fascinating. I loved that we got to see the difference between the human characters and the kami characters, as the story progressed. It was very interesting seeing how similar they are to each other and yet how different.

The main character of this story and the character whose perspective we follow is Sora. She was such an amazing character and definitely my favourite within this story. She was so strong and brave – I simply loved her for it. She was also very flawed and I enjoyed that about her a lot as well – it made her feel a lot more real. She grew throughout the story and learned from her mistakes. She was simply a delight to read about.

The other characters were interesting as well, but none stood out to me as much as Sora. Though I do have to say that I liked all the characters, each one felt unique in their own way and they grew on me as the story progressed.

THE STORY:

The story and pacing were very well done, in my opinion. There were many twists and turns, some of which I expected (I actually guessed one of the main ones) and some which I didn’t. I very much enjoyed reading the adventure of Sora and seeing her, and her friends, struggles throughout the book.

My biggest problem with this story was the romance. I just felt that it was unnecessary and the story would have been absolutely fine without it. I don’t feel that the romance brought anything to the story, rather it distanced me from the book from time to time. This would have been a lot better were it simply a story about an adventure. The friendships in this story were amazing! I loved seeing how much each character cared about the others, it was simply amazing to read about.

OVERALL:

This book was really fun to read! The characters were amazing, Sora’s development throughout the story impressed me a lot. The romance within this book was simply unnecessary and it was the biggest problem that I had with it. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone!


Have you read A Mortal Song? What did you think of this book?

Thank you very much for reading my review and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

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book review

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman || Book Review

Neil GaimanTitle: Norse Mythology

Author: Neil Gaiman

Published: 7. February 2017

Edition: Bloomsbury

                Paperback, 281 pages

Genre: Mythology | Short Stories | Fiction

Summary:

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

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◄ 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

Another book by Neil Gaiman that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s not my favourite of his books that I have read so far, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Before reading this book I had no knowledge of the Norse mythology, so I found it very interesting to read Gaiman’s version of the myths.

Neil Gaiman has a way of writing stories that simply sucks me in immediately and I can’t put his books down. And this book was no exception to that. I was a bit worried going into this book, as I had never previously read any of his short stories (and in general I don’t tend to read that many short stories). My worries turned out to be unnecessary, as I ended up enjoying all of his stories – obviously some more than the others.

In his short stories Gaiman gives us an overview of Norse mythology and some of it’s stories/legends. First he gives us an introduction to the three main gods (or the ones that are present the most), Odin, Thor and Loki. Then he proceeds to tell us how everything was created and about Yggdrasil and the nine worlds. That is followed by some stories about the gods and their adventures. There were 16 stories in total.

I enjoyed most of the stories. Some aspects were really gross and weird, but I find that to be the usual when it comes to mythology. I simply loved learning more about Norse mythology, as I had previously know nothing about it. And yes, I would recommend this book to everyone! (Especially if you are interested in mythologies.)


Have you read Norse Mythology? What did you think of this book?

Thank you very much for reading my review and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

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book review

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Quinsey Wolfe's Glass VaultTitle: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

           ( Glass Vault #1 )

Author: Candace Robinson

Published: 16. May 2017

Edition: Kindle, 168 pages

Genre: Young Adult | Horror

Summary:

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror with retellings

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◄ 2 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

This story was rather addicting, I just needed to know what was going to happen next. I even managed to read it in one sitting and that doesn’t happen often to me. The beginning of the book was boring and slow. It basically introduced the characters and their situations, I didn’t care much about that if I’m being honest. Once the retellings start it gets much more interesting and it becomes impossible to put this book down. The retellings were amazingly creepy and I greatly enjoyed them! I wish there were even more of them, as they were definitely my favourite part of the book.

The characters were bland, I don’t feel like any of them developed in any way and they weren’t really memorable either. There wasn’t a single character that I particularly cared about. I just cared about the story as I wanted to know what was actually going on in that museum. There was also kind of a love triangle thing happening (somewhat?) and as you may know I tend to very much dislike those as well.

Now onto the two of the biggest problems that I had with this book.

First there was an instance of ACEPHOBIA at the beginning of this book. (I believe in the first 5 to 7 %) Our main character, Perrie thinks this while describing her best friend:

“Maisie gets plenty of offers from both guys and girls, but as I have come to realize, there’s no one like her. Sometimes, I think she’s asexual like certain plants.”

Everything is fine, aside from the last part. “Certain plants” was seriously unnecessary and could have easily not been mentioned. As this is an ARC that I read I hope that the finished edition doesn’t have this. It put a bad taste in my mouth immediately and honestly I’m happy that it was the only instance of it.

The second problem was the TOKENISM. Maisie, the best friend of Perrie, is biracial. Her father is from somewhere in the Middle East. And I’m wording it like that because we have no idea where he is actually from, as it’s only referenced in passing. Nothing else indicated that Maisie was biracial, I honestly forgot that she was while I was reading the book.

Overall this book didn’t impress me. I expected a lot more from it and was left rather disappointed. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this book.


Have you read Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault? What did you think of this book? Did you have the same problems as me?

Thank you very much for reading my review and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

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book review

The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Carmer and Grit

Title: The Wingsnatchers

           ( Carmer and Grit #1 )

Author: Sarah Jean Horwitz

Published: 25. April 2017.

Edition: Algonquin Young Readers

                Kindle, 368 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Middle Grade | Steampunk

Summary:

Aspiring inventor and magician’s apprentice Felix Carmer III would rather be tinkering with his latest experiments than sawing girls in half on stage, but with Antoine the Amazifier’s show a tomato’s throw away from going under, Carmer is determined to win the cash prize in the biggest magic competition in Skemantis. When fate throws Carmer across the path of fiery, flightless faerie princess Grit (do not call her Grettifrida), they strike a deal. If Carmer will help Grit investigate a string of faerie disappearances, she’ll use her very real magic to give his mechanical illusions a much-needed boost against the competition. But Carmer and Grit soon discover they’re not the only duo trying to pair magic with machine – and the combination can be deadly.


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◄ 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

This was such a fun and exiting story. It sucked me in from the beginning and I was very interested in both the characters and the world. It was also an easy read, as is the case with most middle grade books.

The world in The Wingsnatchers was very fascinating and one of my favourite aspects of the story. There is a vast difference between the faerie world, which is surrounded and made of nature, and the human world, which is a steampunk society with many machines and a lot of metal devices. It was interesting seeing how these two worlds coexist with each other and I loved finding out about both of them.

Carmer, one of the main characters, is an inventor and assistant of the magician Antoine. Through him we get a look at the human world and how far it’s advanced, with all the automatons and other machines – that Carmer finds fascinating and thinkers with them. I really loved him as a character. He is very smart and inventive, he always manages to get out of tough situations. (Even with some mishaps.) He was probably my favourite character. It was also wonderful discovering the world of the fae with him, as he is for the first time confronted with it.

Grit, another main character whose perspective we get to read from, is a faerie. She is not only a fairy, she is the princess of the faeries. Not only that, she is a faerie that was born with only one wing and can’t fly, which makes her different from any faerie that she has ever met. She is very fiery, temperamental and strong. Grit knows what she wants and how to achieve what she wants as well. The only problem I had with her was her short fused temperament – I tend to get annoyed easily with such characters. (In one instance she really angered me.)

The mystery of the disappearances of the faery very interesting. I really wanted to know what was going on and how it was going to be solved. But I found the pacing to be off and some of the story points didn’t sit right with me. Nothing too major, but some slight things bothered me. (And I can’t go into detail because of spoilers.)

Also the cover is beautiful. But if you have read the book you will know how fitting it is for it and see even more details than you already did! I was really mind blown when I looked at it after I was done reading the book! (Can’t go much into that, because that would spoil things.)

Overall this was a very fun book and I would highly recommend it to everyone!


Have you read The Wingsnatchers? What did you think of this book? Do let me know!

Thank you very much for reading my review and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

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book review

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury || Book Review

The Forbidden WishTitle: The Forbidden Wish

Author: Jessica Khoury

Published: 24. January 2017

Edition: Razorbill

                 Paperback, 352 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Retelling

Summary:

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world. . . .

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years–a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity–only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

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◄ 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I never knew that I needed an Aladdin retelling until I read this book. This book was everything that I hoped it would be! It’s one of the most imaginative retellings that I have ever read and I simply couldn’t get enough of it.

The writing in this book was simply beautiful and very poetic. It fit the story perfectly and brought the magic and the world to life. The world created within this book was mesmerising and I loved finding out more and more about it, as the story continued. The world in itself was very well developed and I could easily imagine myself being part of it, as I was reading the story. I loved the magic and myths that were woven into this story as well, it made all of it feel even more real.

I loved the characters in this book. My favourite was definitely Zahra, whose perspective we read from throughout the book as well. She is a powerful and old jinni and you definitely feel that throughout the story. But she isn’t without flaws. While she is powerful, she is also insecure about things. While she is wise, she also makes mistakes. Zahra’s perspective was amazing to read from, as she is familiar with both the human world and the jinni one – so we are able to get a lot more information about both through her. I also loved finding out about her past with Roshana. (Not going into that, because of spoilers.) Zahra was such a fascinating character and I couldn’t get enough of her. I loved everything that she stood for!

Aladdin is another character that I loved. As you may know I’m a big fan of thief (assassin’s and other morally grey) characters in books, so my love for him was quiet obvious from the beginning. But the more I read about him the more I liked him. I loved how flirty he was, he just had a fun personality – although he had problems that were bothering him as well. He was such a well developed character and he kept surprising me throughout the whole book. It was also amazing finding out more about his origins and the things he has been through.

The romance in this book is one of the best that I have ever read! It was very sweet and simply heartwarming to read about. And it was very slow burning, which made it even more amazing. (I’m beyond sick of the insta-love stories!) The interactions between Zahra and Aladdin were so cute and fun to read about. I just adore the both of them, together and on their own.

The plot of the story was also very intriguing and a lot more complex than I thought it would be. I had some problems with the pacing at a some points, but beyond that I have nothing to complain about when it comes to this story. This book was simply wonderful and I would highly recommend it to everyone!


Have you read The Forbidden Wish? What did you think of it? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?

Thank you very much for reading and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

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book review

Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars by Miranda Emmerson || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Miss TreadwayTitle: Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars

Author: Miranda Emmerson

Published: 12. January 2017.

Edition: Fourth Estate

                Kindle Edition, 297 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction | Mystery

Summary:

Soho, 1965.

In a tiny two-bed flat above a Turkish café on Neal Street lives Anna Treadway, a young dresser at the Galaxy Theatre.

When the American actress Iolanthe Green disappears after an evening’s performance at the Galaxy, the newspapers are wild with speculation about her fate. But as the news grows old and the case grows colder, it seems Anna is the only person left determined to find out the truth.

Her search for the missing actress will take her into an England she did not know existed: an England of jazz clubs and prison cells, backstreet doctors and seaside ghost towns, where her carefully calibrated existence will be upended by violence but also, perhaps, by love. For in order to uncover Iolanthe’s secrets, Anna is going to have to face up to a few of her own.

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◄ 2.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I really don’t know where to start with this review. I have very conflicted feelings about this book, I enjoyed some aspects of it but I also had problems with it (as it’s obvious by my rating of it).

When I first started reading this book I was very much enjoying it. The writing style flowed very nicely, it was very easy to read. Miss Treadway seemed like an interesting character and I wanted to know more about her. I liked the writing style and I felt that the introduction to everything (characters, setting, plot) was very well executed.

But as the story progressed I found myself more and more bored. By the end of the book I just didn’t care what was happening anymore, I just wanted to be done with it. I also didn’t particularly care about any of the characters, while they seemed interesting in the beginning they just didn’t capture my attention throughout the story. The mystery didn’t live up to what I thought it would be, I expected it to be a lot more exiting and gripping than it was. The mystery wasn’t actually the main aspect of the story, as I expected it to be, rather it served as a tool to showcase the society and the relationships of that time period.

The story follows a diverse cast of characters with their own problems and stories woven  into the main story. This book also deals with important topics like: racism, xenophobia and misogyny.

OVERALL:

This was an alright book, but nothing too special. It wasn’t the exiting mystery that I expected it to be, which was rather disappointing. I’m unsure if I would recommend this book. Definitely not if you’re looking for a mystery novel. But if you enjoy historical fiction that explores society and it’s issues then this book might be for you.


Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Thank you for reading my review and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥

book review

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson || ARC Review

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher (through NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Shirley Jackson

Title: Dark Tales

Author: Shirley Jackson

Published: 6. October 2016

Edition: Penguin Classics

                 Kindle Edition, 208 pages

Genre: Short Stories | Gothic | Horror

Summary:

There’s something nasty in suburbia. In these deliciously dark tales, the daily commute turns into a nightmarish game of hide and seek, the loving wife hides homicidal thoughts and the concerned citizen might just be an infamous serial killer. In the haunting world of Shirley Jackson, nothing is as it seems and nowhere is safe, from the city streets to the country manor, and from the small-town apartment to the dark, dark woods…

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◄ 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

I’m really conflicted on how to rate this book. It is a collection of short stories and I did enjoy many of them. However, there were also quiet a few confusing ones and ones I didn’t care about at all. I’m not that well versed when it comes to reviewing short story collections, or reading them for that matter, so we shall see how this review will go.

This collection consists of 17 short stories. And each of them is beautifully written. I haven’t read anything by Shirley Jackson before now, but after reading these stories I definitely plan on reading more of her works. Her writing style is simply beautiful and captivating, like nothing I have encountered before. It reminds me of Gothic novels and if you know me you know I love that way of writing.

The horror in these stories is very subtile. It isn’t always apparent, but rather as you continue reading a story you notice how unnatural it is. How some things the characters say don’t make any sense, how the thoughts of the character whose perspective we read from start getting more and more unrecognisable. Sometimes you notice the weird, creepy, dark things only at the end of the story. But all of them have definitely managed to spook me and unnerve me in some way. I wouldn’t call them horror stories, but instead I would refer to the title and call them dark stories. The title Dark Tales perfectly explains the atmosphere and tone in all the stories within this collection.


My favourite stories, from the first half of the collection:

The Honeymoon of Mrs Smith:

She just got married to Mr Smith a week or so ago and currently they are living in an apartment, where they are having their honeymoon. She comes from a rather rich family and she didn’t know Mr Smith much before their marriage. A neighbour comes to talk to her while Mr Smith is at work and confesses to her the fear that Mr Smith might be a killer, that was recently mentioned in the paper, and that he is going to kill Mrs Smith.

Jack the Ripper:

One day, while going home, a man comes across a girl that is asleep in an alley. She appears to have passed out due to the alcohol she consumed. Worried about her, but not knowing who she is he walks into the nearby bar to see if someone there knows who she is and what he should do. He manages to find out some information about her, but all in all the people in the bar weren’t helpful. He decides to take her home himself.

What a Thought:

A woman is sitting in her living room with her husband. Each of them is reading a book and relaxing after diner. The woman has had an uneasy feeling all day and she didn’t know what was making her restless. Suddenly it occurs to her that she could take the ashtray and hit her husband over the head with it and kill him. She proceeds to think of many different ways she could kill her husband, while thinking that she would never actually do it.


OVERALL:

I rather enjoyed the stories in this collection. Most of the stories were very interesting, but quiet a few disappointed me as well. I think that’s the way collections are, you just can’t love every single story. It was a very fascinating collection and one I would definitely recommend to everyone who enjoys creepy and unnerving stories. It’s also not very scary, so it might be a good starting point for people who want to get into horror but aren’t sure if they will enjoy it, or rather don’t know if they can handle the scary things in horror books.


Have you read this short story collection? Or anything else by Shirley Jackson? What did you think of her works?

Thank you for reading my review. I hope you have a wonderful day!

-Anna♥