Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Book Of Pearl by Timothée de Fombelle :: a beautifully strange fairy-tale

Publisher: Walker Books AU
Release Date: June 2nd 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 4 hours
Word Rating: STRANGE

A compelling story of a first love that defines a lifetime; perfect for fans of David Levithan, told with the intricate and beautiful writing style of bestselling author Timothee de Fombelle. 

Joshua Pearl is from a world that our own no longer believes in. He knows that his great love is waiting for him in that distant place, but he is trapped in our time. 

As his memories begin to fade, he discovers strange objects, tiny fragments of a story from a long time ago. Can Joshua remember the past and believe in his own story before his love is lost for ever?


The interesting thing about THE BOOK OF PEARL is that it doesn't fit into any genre or age group that I can think of! It's part fairy-tale, part historical fiction, part magical realism, part mystery, part fantasy. It doesn't fit into one genre at all! And there's no specific age group for it either; THE BOOK OF PEARL is ageless and be it a young child or an adult, or something in between.

I did find THE BOOK OF PEARL hard to get into at first. It was a good 100 pages before I was sucked into the story. I think the writing takes a little getting used too as once I was comfortable with it I found reading it much easier.

I loved all the characters in here except the narrator (which was awkward because he's the...narrator). The narrator got on my nerves but apart from him, all the other characters were wonderful and tugged on my heartstrings.

Timothee de Fombelle has such a gift for fairy-tale like storytelling! The writing is stunning and mystique and for most of the novel feels like you're on the edge of a dream not reading a book!

The narration in here was really odd. At times I liked it, but it was quite jarring and for the most part I was either confused over who was narrating the damn book again or annoyed because it was throwing me off my reading pace. I think the whole book would've run smoother if it it had been in third person POV.

THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE MARSHMALLOWS AND THE MARSHMALLOW SHOP WAS THE BEST PART OF THE BOOK! My mouth watered every time they were mentioned and I don't even like marshmallows!

THE BOOK OF PEARL unfortunately fell a bit flat at the end. It was quite an open ending and I hate open endings. I want closure! Be it good or bad, I want the author to tie up the novel and not leave it to the reader to decide. People that enjoy open endings might like the way THE BOOK OF PEARL ended but it was

::Thank you to Walker Books AU for the review copy!::


Sunday, 17 July 2016

Ruined by Amy Tintera :: riveting and addictive and where is the second book?!

Publisher: Allen & Uniwn
Release Date: May 1st 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 5 hours
Word Rating: RIVETING

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war; her parents were killed and her sister was kidnapped. Even though Em is only a useless Ruined - completely lacking any magic - she is determined to get revenge.

Her plan is simple: She will infiltrate the enemy's kingdom, posing as the crown prince's betrothed. She will lead an ambush. She will kill the king and everyone he holds dear, including his son.

The closer Em gets to the prince, though, the more she questions her mission. Her rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life - and her family - on the line, love could be Em's deadliest mistake.

What a frabjous surprise! I did not in a million years expect RUINED to be this good! I was looking forward to reading RUINED, but in the vague, "I don't really know anything about it so I'm not expecting much," way. I'd also seen heaps of negative reviews of it like everywhere, so I went into RUINED not expecting to be blown away but guess what?? This book = ABSOLUTE BRILLIANCE.

IT WAS SO ADDICTIVE!!! My eyes were glued to the page and I could NOT pull myself away!! I could've gone to see fireworks but I turned it down so I could read RUINED instead. I haven't read anything by Amy Tintera before but her writing style is flawless.

The humour was GOLD. Like seriously, I haven't laughed OUT LOUD over a fantasy read in so long! Fantasy is my favourite genre but it isn't often funny. RUINED however is absolutely bursting with sarcasm, dry wit and snark and it just makes the book even better.

I loved all the characters far to much! Em the main character was awesome! Cas the love interest and adorable prince was awesome! They both worked together so well and EEEEP. I'm so excited to see how their romance works out in the next book!

OH MY GOD THAT ENDING!!! *cries and weeps forever* I NEED THE SECOND BOOK NOWWW! I hate cliffhangers in books as in my experience they can cheapen the story, but RUINED nails it PERFECTLY. I was on the last page going "NO, NO, NO, NOOOOO," so many times as I wanted to know what happened desperately but also wanted to stop reading because the book was almost over! And then when I did finish it...I WANTED TO CRY. *sniffles*

The only things I had problem with is that there wasn't really any world building. I however didn't realize that fact until after I'd finished RUINED but when I was sitting down and thinking about it after I'd finished it I realized that there was actually none.

Oh, and I am unfortunately NOT a fan of the AU cover of RUINED. The US one is pretty but the AU one...not so much. The model on it scares me as she seems to be giving me a death stare from all angles of the book no matter where I put it AND IT CREEPS ME OUT. THE FONT IS NICE THOUGH.


::Thank you Allen & Unwin for the review copy!::
Actual rating 4.5!


Monday, 11 July 2016

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough & The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilberg :: beautiful covers, but...

Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: February 18th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 5 1/2 hours
Word Rating: FLAT

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it?


Even though this book was a web of murder and mayhem and a plot line so tangled and intricate, a spider would be envious of it, I don't really have much to say about 13 MINUTES. I admired it, but I didn't really like it and that is basically all my thoughts on it. It has a gorgeous cover that I liked more then what lay between the covers and um, that is it?
All the relationships in here are as complex as a spider web/spider doing origami. NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS. Seeing how the group of girls in here acted and behaved; old friends, new friends, enemies and non-enemies etc, made me think about my own relationships with friends and people around me. How well do I know the people around me??? How well do they know me??? How would I act if I was in some of the situations that the characters were in?? *brain implodes* IT WAS VERY STRESSFUL BUT MADE ME THINK. Thinking is good! And this book made me think really hard after I'd finished it.

Even though a lot of things happened in 13 MINUTES it felt like nothing was really happening at the same time. Until the end and then WOWWWWW. I gasped. I gaped. I shouted, "NO!!!" and clutched the book tight like that could maybe change what I'd just read. It was also really needed because up until that point, it was very boring and and quite malicious in places.

If you want a psychological thriller, READ THIS BOOK! If you don't like psychological thrillers or you want to have a good night's sleep and not spend it thinking about humanity, maybe skip 13 MINUTES this time round.

::Thank you Hachette for the review copy!::

25950053 Publisher: Allen & Uniwn
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 4 hours

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.


I have been meaning to read THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE since January this year, and every month it's been on my TBR and every month I kept forgetting to just. get. round. to it. BUT! It was June 30th and I said to myself, "Ella, this book has been out for FOREVER now, AND IT NEEDS TO BE VANQUISHED PROPERLY OFF THAT TBR PILE ONCE AND FOR ALL." So I pulled out my magic reading cape, sat down and managed to gobble it up in spurts over two days.

In frank: THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE is half glorious and half...not so glorious. (Oh, look how intelligent that sentence looks. aHHAHAHAHAh.) It holds so many new and interesting elements that I've never come across before in YA and I LOVED that! But the love triangle really dragged down what was amazing about the book and I didn't like it as much because of it.

The writing was to info-dumpy for me at times. At times, this made the book really interesting but others it was so frikken boring, I wanted to throw my copy out the window and do a dance of
hallelujah on my desk. The interesting descriptions mostly outweighed the bad, though, which was good! Just at times, I struggled.

The love triangle...I DID NOT LIKE. AT ALL. It was so criiiiiiiiiiiingy. The fact that it was such a wishy-washy love triangle too, with both love interests acting like limp seaweed at times, AND the fact that it was obvious throughout the novel who Nix really liked.

ALSO WHOOP FOR THIS BEING A DUOLOGY! NOT! A! TRILOGY! (I am sick of trilogies, sick of them.) ALSO THE COVER HAS RECENTLY BEEN REVEALED (I think, because I seem to miss EVERYWHERE cover reveal OF EVER on the internet and it is something that pains and aggravates me greatly.) AND IS IT NOT BEAUTIFUL?? (Although I am biased and am looking forward to the Hot Key version a bit more, I confess. Ahem. #biased.)

 (I think I prefer the 1st book's cover more...BUT TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK AND WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE!


::Thank you Allen & Unwin for the review copy!::


Friday, 8 July 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White :: MY NEW FAVOURITE BOOK OF 2016!!!

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: June 28th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 5 1/2 hours
Word Rating: GLORIOUS
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she'll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

“Souls and thrones are irreconcilable.”

 Sometimes I read a book and I love it. The end. But sometimes, I read a book, love it and wish with all my heart that I had written the novel myself. AND I DARKEN evicted a, "WHY COULDN'T III HAVE WRITTEN THIS BRUTAL DARLING OF A BOOK??!!" tantrum out of me the moment I I finished the last page of AND I DARKEN.

The great thing about AND I DARKEN is that it delivers. OH HOW IT DELIVERS! The blurb proclaims that this is a "feminist Game of Thrones for YA readers" and to me that is an incredibly hard claim to deliver and make true. AND I DARKEN though, not only meets the claim/boast head on but smashes it to pieces in the best way possible.

Kiersten White has an amazing talent for weaving beautiful writing around stunning storytelling and she does it beautifully and with ease in here! The writing sucks you in so much and I felt like I could taste everything in the novel the writing was so lush.


Lada. OH LADA, HOW I LOVE THEE. AND I DARKEN's blurb claims that Lada is the very epitome of the anti-hero protagonist and I was skeptical o see if this was the case because how many times do you read books describing their characters like that only to be disappointed that they're not?

 “On our wedding night," she said, "I will cut out your tongue and swallow it. Then both tongues that spoke our marriage vows will belong to me, and I will be wed only to myself. You will most likely choke to death on your own blood, which will be unfortunate, but I will be both husband and wife and therefore not a widow to be pitied.”

Lada is cold, angry, vengeful, cruel, hateful...the list goes on and on, but she's also human, which makes the bad parts about herself more believable and her good bits shine even brighter. She also loves her brother - Radu - so much and reading about their flawed but believable relationship was one of the things I loved best about the novel. Lada has a heart that loves so fiercely and which turns her vicious character from a cliché villain to a human.

OH AND THE HUMOUR. (!!!) I laughed SO MUCH while reading this book! It really lightened the otherwise rather heavy pace that AND I DARKEN ran at and those moments in it that made me giggle and laugh out loud were wonderful!

“I am no slave. This is my city! "
Lada snorted. "And I am the queen of Byzantium." She turned on her heel, pulling Radu along.
"I will see you again!" the boy called. It was not a question, but a command.
"I will burn your city to the ground." Lada called back over her shoulder.”

This book is brutal and bloody as it is breathtaking and beautiful. I loved it and hope you will too!

::Thank you Random House NZ for the review copy!::


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Moonlight Dreamers by Siobhan Curham :: hello book that i liked and disliked at exactly the same time

26198206Publisher: Walker Books AU
Release Date: July 7th 2016
Source: From the Publisher!
Purchase: Mighty Ape / Book Depository / Amazon
Read it in: 3 1/2 hours
Word Rating: WHIMSICAL
A inspirational, heart-warming book about four girls trying to find their place in the world. Siobhan Curham celebrates very different but like-minded friends in this captivating novel.

Amber craves excitement and adventure. Instead, she’s being bullied at school for having two dads, and life at home isn’t much better. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, Amber realizes that among the millions of people in London, there must be others who feel the same as she does; other dreamers – moonlight dreamers. After chance encounters with Maali, Sky and Rose, Amber soon recruits the three girls to the Moonlight Dreamers. It’s high time they started pursuing their dreams, and how better than with the support of friends?


Often when I read books I think I've liked, the more I go over them, the more problems and holes I find in it and my love for it sometimes dissipates. THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS however was a book that when I finished it, thought it was alright, if rather cringy in parts, but the more I sat down and thought about it, the more I realized I liked it.

THE MOONLIGHT DREMERS holds a lot of important themes that some books go over and a lot of books don't, but instead of going quickly through the situations and finding easy and tidy solutions, THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS explores them in context and in a much more real life way.

It was really nice to read a book full of FRIENDSHIP. Where a group of girls were there there for each other and didn't bitch or pick on each other behind each others backs. Watching it develop and blossom through the ups and downs that the book took the characters on, was lovely.

It also made me realize and think again, that every teenager is a different person and will not live their teenage years exactly like someone else. It reminded me that even though I, would definitely not do some of the things that the characters did and I definitely would never respond like they did if I was ever in those situations, it reminded me again that everyone is different and everyone (of course) acts and responds differently in different situations. Reality check, Ella!


The whole novel has a very Middle Grade feel about it. There is nothing wring in a book feeling very Middle Grade when it IS Middle Grade but THE MOONLIGHT DREAMERS has characters that are fifteen and sixteen and are doing things that eleven and twelve year olds should not even be THINKING OF, let alone doing and it just didn't click with the story very well.

I sadly was not impressed about how bullying was handled in here. One of the characters, Amber, is badly bullied and it goes on throughout the whole book and even though she tells the other Moonlight Dreamers about it, a solution isn't found or made and the book finished with Amber still being bullied and nothing being done about it.

Yes at times, the book is full of cringe moments where I was literally yelling out loud, "WHY!! WHY WOULD YOU DOOOOO THAT?!?!" "URGH THIS BOOK IS SO ANNOYING."I WOULD NEVER DO THAT, WHY IS THIS PERSON SO STUPID??!" but at the end of the book I was pleased that the book had taken a brave step and tried to showcase different situations and even though it was a shaky step at times, at least it was still a step.

There is a lot wrong with this book, but there is also a lot of good too! I suspect that because I am secretly a shriveled grumpy old woman in the inside and also find fantasy much more my cup of tea, I didn't quite fit or sit the requirements that other people would meet for reading this novel. However, I'm happy I read it and I would definitely recommend it to the Contemporary lovers out there. Because if a grumpy old prune like me (no offense to other grumpy prunes out there) can enjoy it, who knows if you can't too?

::Thank you Walker Books AU for the review copy!::

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