Thursday, 30 April 2015

New Releases: May 2015 (plus a sneaky one ;))

Quick Notes:
  1. Under normal circumstances there'd be more books in a wider variety of genres but I've been stuck for time so unfortunately it's majority fantasy for May. Hope you still enjoy and can find a book you want to read :)
  2. If there's a book you see on this list that you want me to review, comment and I'll make sure I add it to my list!

Click on the picture of any book to visit its Goodreads!

Goodreads Goodreads Goodreads
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In order of appearance left to right, top to bottom.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas Release: May 5th 2015
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge Release: May 5th 2015
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon Release: May 19th 2015 (I am way too excited to read this book!)
Compendium by Alia Luria Release: May 5th 2015
Nil Unlocked (Nil #2) by Lynne Matson Release: May 12th 2015
The Guardian, A Sword & Stilettos by Kristin D. Van Risseghem Release: May 20th 2015 (This one looks like a bit of fun lol)
The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass Release: May 5th 2015
The Reaper's Daughter by K.M. Randall Release: May 9th 2015 (View the review HERE)
Dragonfriend by Marc Secchia Release: tbc (The kindle version is already out HERE. From what I've gathered it will be coming out in paperback, however I'm not certain when. I'm putting it in the May releases under the assumption that it won't be too far off. And because I'm reading it at the moment and am more than slightly obsessed with it.)

Abi Ainley

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


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Review: Rogue (Talon #2) by Julie Kagawa


by Julie Kagawa

Release: 28th April 2015
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Dragons
Other books by Julie Kagawa:
The Iron Fey (Series)
Blood of Eden (Series)
Talon (Series)

Goodreads Description

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

My Review

In this upstanding sequel to Talon, Ember, Riley and Garret continue to run from Talon and St. George, whilst Ember continues to battle between her feelings for the bad boy dragon, Cobalt (Riley), and the enemy-turned-ally human, Garret.

Contrary to Talon, Rogue is definitely a lot less teeny-I’m-kinda-a-dragon-romance and more YA- I’m-a-badass-dragon-fantasy. I loved this even more than I loved Talon, and probably for this reason. Not that I don’t like the romance aspect, I just like it quite a bit more when there’s dragons and fire and bloodshed involved! It adds a bit of an edge to the cliché girl meets two boys and can’t choose between them part. So, first off, Rogue is a hell of a lot more badass than Talon.

The increased badass-ness (I’m sorry, but it’s the best term to describe this book ;D) definitely made me root for the characters a lot more. On top of this, the characters seemed a lot more 3D in this novel, whether that’s because I was more interested in it due to all the action, or because the characterisation was actually better. Riley stole me this time. Originally, in Talon, I’d been a little dubious when it came to him, not quite sure what to make of the whole “look how amazing I am: come join me and be awesome too” thing. However, in Rogue, we find a lot more out about Cobalt (Riley) and he quickly loses that act, as I now know it was, becoming a pretty amazing and exciting character. I noticed that the characters’ faces all seemed to be a little more characterful in my mind’s eye. Again, probably because of how much Rogue sucks you in compared to Talon.

I found myself reacting to almost every situation: laughing, gasping, “f**k you”-ing. The one thing I’m waiting for is a bit of a sob. Yes, something a little sad happened at the end, but it wasn’t to the extent of tears. I’m strongly hoping that the next book in the series can reduce me to tears, because, well, no book series should go without at least one breakdown.

Julie Kagawa, if you can hear me, I’m ready to get out the buckets!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Dragon's Hoard: This Week's Book I'm Grasping After for my Collection

This Week's Book I'm Grasping After for my Collection

Dragonfriend by Marc  Secchia

Released: 11th April 2015
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dragons (yes, I have given dragons their own genre)
Other Books by Marc Secchia:
Shapeshifter Dragons (series)
Shioni of Sheba (series)
Islesong (series)
Feynard (standalone)
The Legend of El Shashi
(They all look pretty damn amazing)

Goodreads Description

Stabbed. Burned by a dragon. Abandoned for the windrocs to pick over. The traitor Ra’aba tried to silence Hualiama forever. But he reckoned without the strength of a dragonet’s paw, and the courage of a girl who refused to die. Only an extraordinary friendship will save Hualiama’s beloved kingdom of Fra’anior and restore the King to the Onyx Throne. Flicker, the valiant dragonet. Hualiama, a foundling, adopted into the royal family. The power of a friendship which paid the ultimate price. This is the tale of Hualiama Dragonfriend, and a love which became legend.

My Idea

DRAGONS! In case you haven't been able to tell I love dragons! Other than the cover looking darn amazing, this book seems like a brilliant epic dragon story to follow up the amazing The Dragon Children: The Prophecy by Hannah Byrnes. Unfortunately, this is only available in ebook format - and as you may know, I have an issue with ebooks - however I won't let this put me off, as I can definitely see this being enjoyable even amidst the imminent headaches that appear when I read ebooks!

Abi Ainley

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review: The Reaper's Daughter by KM Randall

The Reaper's Daughter

by KM Randall

Release: 5th May 2015
Other books by KM Randall: Fractured Dream

Goodreads Description

I’ve always felt like an average girl ... except for my strange relationship with death. You could say I like to court it. Whether I’m soaring through the air as a flyer for Specter University’s cheer squad, or speeding down the steepest mountain with only grace and balance keeping me from an icy end, I’ve always needed to feel a rush. But now Death is courting me―in more ways than one. First, there’s Rishi, a rogue death deity who has a penchant for annoying me nearly to my grave and whose intense gaze has the power to see right through me. Then there’s Hades, who I’d rather had stayed just a myth. Now that he knows I exist, he’s not going to leave me alone until I meet the same end as my mother.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention her? I spent my whole life thinking she had died when I was a baby, but now I’ve found out she’s much more than dead. Fifty years ago, Hades banished my mother from the underworld and took away her ability to cross over souls―souls that have wandered lost through the world ever since. Now she wants me to clean up the mess. You may have​ heard of her before ...

They call her the Grim Reaper.

My Review

        This was very much a "meh" book for me. It wasn't absolutely mind-blowingly brilliant and neither was it excruciatingly tedious and boring. It was enjoyable though and I'd recommend you give it a go if you're into YA Paranormal!

        Blake is your standard American teenager. I don't claim to know much about American teenagers being British, but from what I've observed of Youtubers and the like, she's fairly standard. She's a cheerleader with a quite dominant thirst for thrill. All her life Blake's lived a normal life as a normal teenager. That's until a strange boy appears in her life. This boy, Rishi, has been living with Blake's dead mum since he was a child. Turns out she's not dead. In fact, she is death: she's the Grim Reaper. Unfortunately, she's death with a bit of a chunk of her missing. The Reaper's Daughter follows Blake, Rishi, and Blake's best friend Shelby, on their journey to retrieve the stolen scythe that will give Grim back her humanity.

        As with a lot of books from newer authors, this got progressively better as it went on, the quality of the tone and the quality of the characters increasing dramatically. Unfortunately though, for most of the book the tone was rather lacking. It seemed very cheery "I'm a teenager living a teenager life" contemporary. Sure, it's YA and it's about teenagers, but it's also about death. I feel like this book was lacking the more morbid imagery that would have made the book so much better. I don't mean turning it into a gothic novel, but the tone just didn't fit the theme of the book and it did seem to disrupt my enjoyment.

        The character's in this book are more likeable as you get to know them. (I'm speaking for Blake and Shelby here; I'll talk about Rishi later in this section) At first Blake was as annoying as they come. I really considered stopping reading it near the beginning because I just couldn't stand her characterisation. However, I did begin to see the more likeable side to her as the story progressed. Shelby, though...well...I guess there's always going to be that one character you just can't get along with! Rishi, on the other hand, was an amazing character. I loved him since the beginning. He's fantastic and just knows what he's doing. He's not annoying once in this book, which is great! I'd say the only really 3D characters in The Reaper's Daughter are Rishi and Seba, however Blake does become a bit more of an expanded character as the novel progresses. Shelby though...we've already been through this. ;)

        One thing I loved in this book, just to lighten up the mood a bit here, was the scenery. Everything had it's image in my head and the world wasn't left grey and misty like a lot of books that I've read. Not the best imagery, but still relatively strong and very clear. Maybe that was the main thing that kept me going and enjoying it? 

        In the next novel I'm hoping we'll get to know some lost souls and maybe even get to know Grim! It would be great to meet all the people who've died and learn about how they all feel about everything. I'd also love an eccentric character, but I always love an eccentric character!

Will I be buying this book for my collection?: Probably not. 
Will I be reading the next book in this series?: Definitely!

Abi Ainley

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Dragon's Hoard: New Books I'm Grasping After for my Collection


I love writing book reviews and all, but I can't possibly make a blog all reviews so I thought it might be fun to give you a book recommendation each week for what I'm desperately after for my collection! As with many bookworms, I can't get enough of owning physical books and am always on the lookout for more - most of the time I'm needing more than I could ever afford! Hey ho, it's fun to imagine owning them all ;)

Here's one that's coming out in May. I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't a new one to you!:

A Court of Thorns and Roses
by Sarah J. Maas

Release: 7th May 2015

Goodreads Description:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

My Idea:
With names like Feyre and Tamlin, what could go wrong? With faeries and magic, really guys, what could go wrong? Now I'm not going to lie and pretend I've read Sarah J. Maas' other books. I'd like to but there's just so many other books! However, I'm excited to have this be my first and it looks pretty badass if we're being honest...

Now for one that's been recently released but I haven't got my hands on it yet:

Paper or Plastic
by Vivi Barnes

Released: 1st March 2015

Goodreads Description:
Busted. Alexis Dubois just got caught shoplifting a cheap tube of lipstick at the local SmartMart. She doesn’t know what’s worse—disappointing her overbearing beauty-pageant-obsessed mother for the zillionth time…or her punishment. Because Lex is forced to spend her summer working at the store, where the only things stranger than the staff are the customers. Now Lex is stuck in the bizarro world of big-box retail. Coupon cutters, jerk customers, and learning exactly what a really is (ew). And for added awkwardness, her new supervisor is the totally cute—and adorably geeky—Noah Grayson. Trying to balance her out-of-control mother, her pitching position on the softball team, and her secret crush on the school geek makes for one crazy summer. But ultimately, could the worst job in the world be the best thing that ever happened to her?

My Idea:
This is a book I've picked up from seeing it on booktube. I haven't read one of these cheesy (allegedly it's pretty anti-cliche but the description doesn't sway me!) girl-meets-boy romances since I was newly in high school. There's always the time to have another go at some old genres long forgotten!
All you grammar nazis out there may be thinking: "Hey! There's two. You said 'a book' singular" but hey guys, I want a lot of books and can't possibly choose only one: sue me ;)

See you later!


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review (MUST READ): The Dragon Children - The Prophecy by Hannah Byrnes

The Dragon Children - The Prophecy

by Hannah Byrnes

You know those books? The ones where you’re like:
“Why did you end? I did not permit this! Continue! Now!”
So, yeah… excuse me; I’m suffering from book buzz syndrome.

Bridget and Kai are about as opposite as you could imagine. Bridget is a feisty young girl with ambitions to become a knight. She was brought up in a family of travellers, is home-schooled, and her best friend seems to be a white pony named Robber. On the other hand, Kai is a shy and forcefully studious young boy, who lives under pressure from his eccentric father to get a “successful” job, when in reality he aspires to become a healer like his mother. The characters get brought to a seemingly impossible land called Dragonreach where the last two remaining dragons, Seralak and Mirsoth, reside. Bridget and Kai must learn the ancient secrets of runes and legends in order to defeat the evil that threatens to wipe out all belief in magic.

There is so much I would like to say about this book, I don’t know where to start! One thing that amazed me about this book and the main reason, I think, why it left so much longing for more, is the enchanting and enticing imagery used consistently throughout the story. Every landscape, every dragon and every mechanical animal: my imagination went wild in a way it hasn’t done in a long time. Even as I'm writing this, I’m still imagining the soaring dragons; the swish of Calidori’s hair; the shattered lake; and the whirring mechanical crows. I really haven’t read anything this beautiful in a long, long time.

The characters… don’t even get me started on the characters. One thing I noted down in my notebook, was: “Where did the personalities come from?”. Where did the personalities come from? In most books there’s always a bit of obvious “Jim held a constant uneasy smile” or “Jane was a bouncy young character” but no. Not here. Here, the characters just happen to have the most 3D and unique personalities and could easily be real people. Where did they come from? We may never know. By far my favourite character is Calidori. I actually wrote in my notebook at chapter two: “More Dr Calidori please! Such swagger much wow.” When he brought Bridget and Kai to Dragonreach in the beginning, I prayed that he would come back later on in the book. And oh boy did he come back. Alongside the biggest plot twist ever that made me feel like a simpleton because, seriously, there were clues. There were clues and I didn't even bother to notice them!

I have to add a bit of constructive criticism as I do in all of my reviews, so what I have to say is solely to do with the first chapter/prologue. I'm halfway to blaming this on the fact that I was adjusting to the writing style after just having finished a tedious adult novel, but I did note down some specific things that didn’t sit with me so well. There was a serious lack of fluidity. The writing seemed a little sporadic, as if the author wasn't quite settled into the writing at this point. If this book is rewritten/re-edited in any way, I hope the first chapter is rewritten. Although, to be honest, I’m kind of just writing this to warn you not to put the book down at the first chapter. It’s not all like that and oh boy does it get better. It really does get better!

Will I buy this book?: YES! Not only do the proceeds go to the magnificent charity, Make A Wish, who organise great experiences for children with life-threatening illnesses, but it’s a blooming great book and you’d be barmy not to buy and read this book!

Abi Ainley

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

The Versions of Us

by Laura Barnett

Now, I must confess, I have a salad bowl of opinions when it comes to this novel novel (see what I did there ;)).
        The purpose of this book is to explore the different roads that people's lives can lead depending on the tiniest decision or the most microscopic-seeming object being in a different place. Eva's story starts when she's riding her bike down the streets of Cambridge.

        Three things could happen:
  1. A dog and a nail cause Eva to collapse on her bike, causing her to meet Jim. She leaves her former lover, David, and marries Jim.
  2. Eva has a safe ride home, marries David, and doesn't meet Jim until years later.
  3. A dog and a nail cause Eva to collapse on her bike, causing her to meet Jim. She courts Jim for a while but then finds out she's pregnant with David's baby and leaves to marry him.

        I have to compliment Barnett on the novelty of this plot. It's something I have seen before, but never to this quality. Combining three plots, with the same characters and very closely related relationships, is hard to do without completely losing the reader, and I think Barnett did an astounding job. The fact that I didn't put this book down half way through is a sure indicator of that!

        On the other hand, the characters I had mixed feelings about. I feel as if they didn't have as much substance as I would have liked and, although I did enjoy reading their stories, I couldn't relate to them emotionally at all. I would have liked to, but I just couldn't. On a brighter note though, the characters were not in the slightest dislikeable and I would more than happily read about them again, however, preferably with a little more "oomph" as I shall call it. Let's make a call to 3D-ify characters in books a little further!

        One thing that I found hard in this book was getting sucked in. The ever-switching story versions really messed with my head and I found myself having to spend a few minutes trying to remember what happened in that version - sometimes to no avail - before I could read the chapter. I'm a very confused person in general though, so I'm not sure to what extent I can attribute this to the author's writing! Many other people seemed to have coped alright though, so I would just say to beware if you're like me and have a very disorganised mind because this is a Rubik's cube of a book for us mess-heads!

        To end this review on a positive note, I would like to compliment Barnett on her absolutely amazing ability to conduct the tone of the different periods (1958-2014) written into the pages of this book. That was probably my favourite part of this book, as everything just felt so as it should be!

Abi Ainley

Monday, 13 April 2015

Short Review (rant): Travelling To Infinity by Jane Hawking

Travelling to Infinity

by Jane Hawking

I blatantly refuse to do a full-scale review of this book. As many people have already pointed out across the many social media sites that I inhabit, this is almost nothing but a book of complaints and whining. I hate to be this hostile, but I'm not the only one, and in the knowledge of that I feel I am completely fine to release my anger towards this work in whatever way I please.

        NO, this is not a romance.

        NO, this will not teach you anything interesting about Stephen Hawking.

        YES, you will find out what she had for breakfast.

        YES, you will be annoyed beyond comprehension from her bothersome grasping for sympathy.

        Need I say any more? If you wish to experience this book for yourself, go ahead - a good few people have enjoyed this book - but, take it from me, the majority of us were ready to pack up and migrate to the wilderness by the end.

Abi Ainley

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Review: The Watcher in The Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Watcher in the Shadows

By Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Watcher in the Shadows is definitely one of the best novels I have ever read. Set in 1930's Normandy, France, it follows the story of the Sauvelle family, Simone, Irene, and Dorian, who are struggling for money after the death of the father. Then one day, they are introduced to the kind, yet reclusive, toymaker, Lazarus Jann, who welcomes them with open arms. Lazarus lives in a grand building, set in the midst of a dark, mysterious forest. The story seemed to focus on the daughter, Irene, who meets a seclusive boy named Ismael. A good portion of the story focuses on their meagre adventures around the island and the forest, which I personally loved reading about.

        Ismael was probably the most characterised in this novel and his character development was brilliant. It wasn't hard to imagine that he could have been a real person, preferring seclusion but still strong-willed and brave. Dorian, Irene's younger brother, was also an interesting character, with a purposeful resemblance to the reclusive and eccentric toymaker. I noticed quite a bit of foreshadowing and hidden links in this story, which were very exciting to find. Now, I'm not entirely certain if this was intended or not because it seemed to work with the story, but Irene's character definitely seemed only half-there. It was almost as if she were a ghost in the story, the most of her personality veiled beneath a translucent cloak. The reader really didn't get to know this protagonist, but, as I said, it somewhat worked, enhancing the mystery, magic and intrigue that made this story so interesting.

        I must confess, the intrigue in this story beats a lot of what I've seen before. I have seen few people who claim to have experienced this also though, so I'll presume that this is just how my mind works, but the amount of mystery and guessing in this story really made it a whole. Every page, I was making links and guessing what was going to happen next. Every time I put the book down, every way in which the story could pan out appeared in my head. Congratulations to Zafon on this as it was truly outstanding.

        The thing that Zafon succeeded in the most though, was not the mystery, but the way the story grabbed you with sharp claws and drew you into the detailed gothic scenery. Everything was described in a way that painted a tantalising image in the reader's head, full of excitement and wonder. The Cravenmoore house, home of Lazarus Jann, was beautiful. The wonderful and exciting, yet creepy and disturbing, toys and artwork described around the house made it almost impossible to look away, drawing the reader into a swirling abyss.

        The tone of this book was very gothic and somewhat drab, but it worked wonderfully. I cried at one point and even laughed at one point, but the ominous nature of this book is really what made it such a thrilling read.

        The only thing I could really complain about with this book is the fact that it's a children's book. Maybe the childishness was what made the atmosphere so intriguing, but really I think this story is...
Oh nevermind, I'm trying to argue a point I don't really agree with and it's not working! This book was perfect. The only thing it really lacked was a bit of viscosity but I feel like I can hardly complain about that when the rest of it completely outweighed that fact.

        I would recommend this book to anyone, young or old, but I have to say, after lending this to my mum, I want to snatch it back very selfishly. I can tell you now, this is a book you will be very selfish about; this will be your story that will be shared with no one!

Abi Ainley

April To Be Read (And somewhat introduction to this blog)

This being my first bookish blog post, I'd better quickly introduce myself. My name's Abi, I love horses, as do a good lot of people, and, most importantly, I love to read. I told you it would be quick!
-It might also interest you for me to add that I'm not actually new to this; I did have a Youtube account for a long period of time, however I've decided I definitely don't suit a gritty, square webcam.

So, as it's already April (currently 56 minutes into the 8th and counting) I'll start with the (now it's 57 minutes into the 8th) books that I've already read, however I won't review them just yet as that would defeat the point of the "wrap-up":

A highly acclaimed book that is on most people's reading list or read list.

You just wait until I review this one!

Onwards to my currently reading:

Currently I'm experiencing a slow but enjoyable read. I'm having to read this one chapter a night though as it's a little tedious.

I'm reading this as part of a Goodreads reading challenge called "Away With The Fairies". Not the greatest read as it's just a compilation of fairy tales but it's a light read, which is nice.

Now onto the ones that I'll be reading soon!:

Yes, I have still to read this! Unless you've been hiding under a rock you'll have noticed everyone's read this series. Apart from me. I've always presumed that I won't enjoy this because it's a dystopian novel, but then again, I said that about The Hunger Games and read the lot in half a day.

I won this one in a Goodreads giveaway. It's set in the 50s, which is always exciting, and it's got awards and stuff so I don't see much that could go wrong. ;)

Other than that I'm leaving my doors open for the month. My birthday's on the 15th of next month. This also happens to be the same month that two books I'm anticipating are coming out and the month I can finally read Half Wild as I'm getting it for my birthday! I've been waiting for Half Wild for so long: not sure why I agreed to wait until my birthday!

Thank you for sacrificing your precious time to read this malarkey. :p


(It is currently 1 hour and 17 minutes into the 8th of April)