Sunday, 31 May 2015

5 Reasons Why All The Bright Places is So Painfully Amazing

This post contains graphic images of destroyed books.
Contains slight spoilers, but they won't inhibit the enjoyability pain of reading this book.

This book will rip your heart out and shred it into dust, and may (will) cause ugly crying - the really ugly kind.

Just a quickie before we begin... I took this book way too personally and, from what I've seen, seemed to read it in a completely different way to most people. The romance wasn't really the focus in my mind as I read it. To be honest, the focus was more on how much I could relate to Finch. Then Miss Niven killed him off. So, you can see why I was probably a little more wrecked after reading this than some. This is also the reason I'm not writing a proper review as I don't think it'll be of much use due to the fact that I personally connected with the story in an unusual way.

And, onto the 5 Reasons Why All The Bright Places is so painfully amazing...
1. You know you'll never be as great at pick up lines as Finch

I hear that Pluto and Jupiter and the earth are about to align. I wonder if you want to join me in a floating experiment

1.5 You'll cry just skimming a section to find a quote.

2. "Oh hey look! Let's make the character one that everyone can relate to and love, and kill him!" Why Jennifer! Why couldn't he have been a little more hateable!

3. You'll read it late into the night and destroy the book in your babbling, teary, snot-faced stupor. Then seriously regret it the next day.
I will be picking up a hardback copy to replace this. It pains me to look at it Dx

4. The book will always torment you. No matter how hard you try to block it out. No matter how many TV programs you watch. It will take over your life, taking any chance to remind you what happened. The words will bounce around your head, bringing tears to your eyes at the most inconvenient of moments.

5. There's a movie coming out in 2017 and you know you're going to have to put yourself through the pain of going to see it. That's two years to try and prepare yourself for it. Two years of collecting tissues. Two years of tears.

All in all though, no matter how much pain it causes and ignoring the fact that your heart's in a million pieces by the end of it, it's an amazing book and a must read, if you haven't read it already. I'm probably the last person to read this; I've been putting it off for months, purely because I anticipated the above. In fact, no I didn't. I anticipated being babbling, teary and snot-faced but I seriously did not even imagine the rest of the pain!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Review: A Lonely Magic by Sarah Wynde

I received this book for free via Netgalley however this in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review

A Lonely Magic

by Sarah Wynde

Release: 10th July 2014
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Romance
Other books by Sarah Wynde:
Tassamara (Series)
Goodreads Description:
Fen’s life is on track—she works, she studies, she pays her rent—until a gorgeous guy points a gun at her and demands that she choose how she wants to die. What the hell? When a teenage boy, Luke, comes to her rescue, she survives, but escape won’t be so easy.

Luke’s sexy older brother, Kaio, offers to help her, but his protection simmers with unnerving undercurrents. The brothers have secrets and Fen has questions. Who are they? How did they find her? And why was she targeted for murder in the first place?

When Fen and Luke are forced to run for their lives, Luke spirits Fen down into an enchanting underwater city. But every enchantment has its dark edges. Caught in tides of romance, fear, and a plot to destroy humanity, Fen must look deep within herself to find the strength and courage she’ll need to stay afloat in an amazing new world.

My Review

First of all, I'd like to mention that I did love this book. I wasn't expecting much from the lack of hype however this is one of those situations where you have to just ignore the presumption that it'll be crap and enjoy the book for what it is: absolutely brilliant!

Fen spends her days working in a bookstore, living on her own after her mum died and contemplating the benefits and banes of going to college. Until one day she's attacked by a man who offers her a choice between him killing her and her killing herself with pills. Lucky for her, there's a (rather good-looking) mysterious boy named Luken who intercepts her death in return for a bullet wound. The next thing Fen knows, she's on a journey through a fantastical land of magic, running from a group called the Val Kyr.

The characters in this novel were great. Fen was likeable and entertaining and the Del Mars (family) were suitably charming. I wouldn't say there was a great deal of emotional connection to the characters however this is a very light-hearted book and I think maybe too much emotional attachment could have destroyed that essence of humour that runs throughout the novel. So, that being the case, the characters were exactly how they should be. They weren't anything special but they worked brilliantly. Elfie even became my favourite character and she wasn't even a person: she was the magical equivalent of AI!

On the world-building front Wynde really impresses. Everything was sparkling and magical, as it should be in a joyous fantasy story like this one. The world was very reminiscent of an elf's dwelling, as Fen graciously pointed out, and I found myself desperate to explore every nook and cranny of this new world.

Most of all:
I should have seen that coming. But I didn't. And I legit had to put down the book for a few minutes whilst I got my bearings back again after.

Finally, I hope to God this is the first in a series. The way it was left indicates that there's more to come but I can't find any sign of a sequel so my only option is to wait (im)patiently.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Review (MUST READ): Half Wild by Sally Green

So, another must read: I'm having a great booklife at the moment ;D

Half Wild

by Sally Green

Release: 24th March 2015
Publisher: Puffin
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Action, Romance, Awesome, Bloody amazing
Other books by Sally Green:
Half Bad
Goodreads Description:
"You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad."

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he's on the run--but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.

My Review

Being a huge fan of Half Bad, I was expecting to love this book. I was expecting to finish reading it and write a lovely positive review about how good it was. Turns out I more than loved this book. I've loved books before but never as much as this one. And this ain't going to be a lovely positive review about how good it is. I'm pretty certain this is just going to be me babbling on about how god damn amazing and awesome and ridiculously super it was!

Everything just got turned up a notch when I opened the first page of this book. The setting was vivid and exciting, the characters were awesome and way too lifelike, and the emotions, well, I don't think any word in the English dictionary could describe accurately what this book did to me. I'm pretty sure my heart aged 20 years in the process of reading this book. I kind of feel sorry for it in some respect: it spent a good portion of this novel stopping, clenching and palpitating. My tear ducts have also been worn down significantly, and most of it was crying when Annalise kept refusing to disappear. Come on, I'm pretty sure everyone just wanted her out so Nathan and Gabriel could actually get together!

In a normal review, I'd be critically analysing the novel, picking out the good bits, the bad bits, commenting on the characterisation and the writing of the novel. However, I hardly think that's necessary here. I failed to pick out much that could have been better. Okay, there could have been a few more tears throughout the novel, but the ending seriously makes up for that.

Finally, I'd love to conclude with who I recommend this to but really:
-If you loved Half Bad you'll love Half Wild even more.
-If you hated Half Bad you'll love Half Wild.
-If you haven't read Half Bad you really need to go do that right now.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Review: Dragonfriend (Dragonfriend #1) by Marc Secchia

I received this book as an ARC from the author however this in no way affects the opinions expressed in this review

Dragonfriend (Dragonfriend #1)

by Marc Secchia

Release: 11th April 2015
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dragons
Other books by Marc Secchia:
Shapeshifter Dragons (Series)
Shioni of Sheba (Series)
IsleSong (Series)

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 Review

I was flickering (I'm already on the puns ;D) between 4 stars and 5 stars for this book but I finally settled on the latter since it was my fault I found it confusing at times for picking completely the wrong period of time to read it! It took way longer than I expected to read this book but it was definitely worthwhile. It's not actually that long, however due to the nature of the writing it takes a lot of focus and can't just be lightly read like most YA novels.

The book begins with an adopted princess named Hualiama being thrown off a dragonship by Ra'aba, an evil power-seeker who's trying to steal the throne from the rightful king. As you can tell, she didn't die; that wouldn't have been much of a story! She's saved by a feisty dragonet called Flicker. As the story progressed Hualiama and Flicker search to save the Onyx Throne and in the process attempt to figure out Hualiama's past and why she remembers being raised by dragons.

First off, I'd like to mention the impressive character and relationship development at the beginning, when Flicker is looking after Hualiama. It was weeks ago when I read the first couple of chapters and I still remember how in awe I was of how they bonded and got to know each other. Honestly, I think that was my favourite section. Flicker is like no other character I've ever seen before and he quickly became my favourite dragon character - and I've read a lot of dragon books! His attitude towards humans, including Hualiama, had me laughing throughout the novel and was the main factor in keeping me interested before the dragon Grandion was introduced. The development of Grandion's character wasn't as great as Flicker's but it was still impressive. In fact, all the character relationships in this book were pretty amazing.

One thing I have to say about this book though, is it can be confusing as heck. With all the old English language and new made-up words it was a challenging read. Although I did enjoy the language used, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who'll be preoccupied whilst reading it. It needs a heck of a lot of concentration. So basically, don't read it whilst you're doing exams. Tried and tested. Doesn't work. I had to break off every few chapters to think about what was happening so I'll definitely be setting aside some devoted reading time for the next in the series.

Back onto a bright note, this book is one on its own. Normally I'd be saying who I recommend it to here but I honestly have no idea. I've never read anything like it. As I tweeted last week, Dragonfriend is more of an experience than a story. The lyrical writing takes you on an extremely strange journey of thoughts and emotions and you come out from reading this as if you're waking up from a pretty amazing dream. I'm not entirely sure how to explain the feeling of reading Dragonfriend but it's different. I recommend you give it a go because, whether you come out loving or hating it, you won't ever forget reading it.

This book is the first in a series.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Review (MUST READ): Nowhere But Here by Katie Mcgarry

Nowhere But Here

by Katie Mcgarry

Release: 26th May 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Other books by Katie Mcgarry:
Pushing the Limits (Series)
Red at Night

Goodreads Description:
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My Review

This book didn't even make it onto my "currently reading" shelf I was that taken by it. It made me cry, laugh and boy did it make me smile!

Emily lives a fairly standard life with her mum and adoptive dad; her biological father visits her once a year and life's pretty swell - for use of a better word. Then one day there's an email from her biological father. Her grandma's dead and he wants her to go to her wake. Next thing she knows there's an illegal motorcycle club after her and she's forced to stay with her biological father and his motorcycle club with a personal bodyguard - who happens to be pretty damn good-looking.

Alright, the beginning didn't really grab me and I spent the first 30% of the book unsure whether it was going to go above average. But it did. It went way above average. It actually surprised me it became that good! I was expecting a fairly average and uninteresting book but Mcgarry managed to bring a lot more to the table than that. ;)

The characters were amazing. I usually hate characters in contemporary romance but that definitely wasn't the case here. Emily was believable and had me rooting for her from the beginning. Her hopes and fears were cleverly entwined into the story in a way that gave it a whole lot of substance. Oz (her bodyguard) was a great character who I'm pretty sure has yet to fail to steal any reader's heart. He was loveable with just the right amount of annoying quirks to keep him from becoming too perfect and unrealistic.

The romance in this book's extremely well presented. There's none of those cliche knew-that-was-going-to-happen moments and a lot of those exciting holy-shit-that's-unexpected-and-freaking-adorable moments. It most definitely was not annoying and I was in full support of this relationship, which is definitely unusual; I spend half my life sighing at the annoying and unrealistic relationships that seem to dominate contemporary romance!

There were also a hell of a lot of surprises throughout this novel which kept me on my toes. From finding out what the stars on her biological father's arms meant to discovering her parents' past. It keeps you guessing from point go and you'll be wanting to read the book every second of every day just to find out more of the story. All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone who's anyone as it's an almost perfect example of what a good contemporary romance novel should be like.

Aaaaaaand... Before I make this review unbearably long I'd like to say once last thing: Thank God this is a series because you'll want way more of this when you're finished. I'm so excited for Razor's story!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Abi Ainley

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Book Tag: Help Me

This book tag was created by Aria (bookgeekmoviefreak) You can view her Youtube channel here . Enjoy!

The Questions:

1. You have a test tomorrow, but instead of studying you’ve been reading. Which fictional character do you call to help you cram for this test?
Elfie from A Lonely Magic. Just have her tattooed onto me and I'll be good to go ;)

2. Payday is still 2 weeks away, but you are broke. Which rich character do you ask for money to help you out?
I don't think I've ever actually read a book about a rich character... crap.

3. There is a burglar in your house, which character do you call to help you beat up the burglar?
Riley/Cobalt from the Talon series. Not much a burglar can do against a dragon ;).

4. There is a spider/snake/something else that really scares you in your house. Which character do you call to get rid of it for you?
Hagrid. He does all that malarkey.

5. You’ve had a really bad week, which character do you call to cheer you up?
Flicker from Dragonfriend. He's absolutely hilarious and I could really have a good laugh with him!

6. There is a zombie apocalypse going on, which character can totally handle him/herself in this apocalypse? Pick the character that would give you the highest survival chances.
Wes from the Talon series. He could hack into everything and could track the zombies and stuff to keep us away from them.

7. Your house caught on fire, you need a place to stay. Which character’s house do you want to stay in?
Lazarus' house from The Watcher in the Shadows. It's HUUUUUUGE and full of awesome mechanical toys. Even if they do get possessed by shadows <.< >.>

8. Because your house caught on fire, you obviously don’t have any clothes. Which character do you want to borrow clothes from?
Just Irene from The Watcher in the Shadows :p. It's in the 30s so she'll have loads of cool clothes!

9. You’ve been wrongly accused of something, which character can weasel him/herself out of any bad situation and can certainly help you get out of this pickle.
If I'm literally stuck in a pickle I'm sure Hermione Granger could get me out with a bit of magic. However, if this is not a literal pickle, I'll go Cassel from the Curse Workers trilogy. He's sly and seriously good at getting out of bad situations ;)

10. You just broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, which character do you call to be your rebound.
Riley from the Talon series. He's not with Ember yet; it's fine xD

Thanks for reading this! Unfortunately, due to it being exam season, I won't be able to do as many blog posts as preferred over the next month and a half, but I'll still post up maybe one a week. I'll be doing a giveaway when I get back so keep an eye out for about 6 weeks time!

Abi Ainley