Tag Archives: Read Multiple Times

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1)

Finished on 10th April, 2017 (Re-Read)

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

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5 Stars

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Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Anyone who knows me well will likely be aware that Fairyland is my favourite series of all time; period. Which is saying something because I’ve read and loved a heck of a lot of books. Those who know me well will also likely have had me shove this book in their face – multiple times.

Fairyland is the childhood series I wish I had. I pitch it as Fairy Realm (by Emily Rodda) cross Narnia – the issue is, not many people have read the Fairy Realm series.

The story is universal; it is something that most people can enjoy, even if they don’t usually read middle grade.

Fairyland features fantastic friendships, complex characters, a morally ambiguous villain (who owns a very fine hat), adventure, adroableness, a Wyverary – that is, a wyvern (essentially a dragon) cross Library – and many other whimsical, magical, amazing things and people. (Look out for the key and the green smoking jacket; though inanimate, they are characters in their own right).

The story is so imaginative and vibrant, the writing is beautiful (not at all juvenile) and the characters are well-developed and loveable. The author takes a lot of stereotypes and spins them on their head. There is also a lot of book lover appreciation.

Even though it’s the first of a five book series, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making has a complete arc in itself and could be read as a standalone (but please don’t as the rest of the series is just as wonderful, if not more).

If you like audio books or are thinking of getting into audio books, I 100% recommend Fairyland as I actually prefer the audio format. Not only are the audios themselves amazing but the style of the books are such that there is a narrator telling you the story, which makes for a perfect audiobook. Additionally, the author narrates 3/5 of the series, which is amazing.

Overall, Fairyland is a fun read, though it does get slightly dark. For me, it was even more fantastic the second time round.

If you need further persuasion, it is blurbed by both Neil Gaiman and Holly Black.

 

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read any of the Fairyland series?

Are you planning to? Have I convinced you?

If so, please let me know! Thoughts, feelings, rants, raves…

I would love to discuss with you 😉

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The Evil We Love (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #5)

Read on 16th June, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Robin Wasserman

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4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

All evil starts somewhere, and Simon Lewis learns how the Circle—led by Valentine Morgenstern—began.

The Shadowhunter Academy has only just reopened following the disastrous rise of the Circle. Now the faculty can finally admit to what happened when Valentine was a student.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wouldn’t say that The Evil We Love is my favourite installment of the series, but I did still really enjoy it.

Up until now, we have never really meet Michael Wayland, and I absolutely love him!

We also got to understand more about Robert Lightwood, and I now despise him with all my being as opposed to merely hating his guts.
It was interesting to learn some of the dynamics of the Circle and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Valentine and Jocelyn. Side Note: I really hope that the graphic novels are still coming but I haven’t heard anything so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

Once again, I found myself highlighting and bookmarking multiple passages in this book. While there were some frustrating elements and scenes, they were deliberate and I commend Cassie for doing such a good job of it. The Evil We Love is another great read for fans of the Shadowhunter chronicles.

P. S: I really like Julie.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)

Read from 9-10th June, 2015

Author: Sabaa Tahir

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5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier. 

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A debut novel realeased just over a month ago, An Ember in the Ashes has already got its own book trailer, been optioned for a film and is surrounded by a whole lot of hype in both the
blogosphere and on BookTube – deservingly so. However, with such hype I feel that everything’s already been said about this novel, but I’ll give it my best shot anyway.

An epic high fantasy with brilliant world building (but no information dumping!), characters you either love dearly or despise, beautiful writing, a romantic sub-plot (it is not at all the main focus), friendships, a resistance movement that will surprise you, and gruesome yet realistic tasks and punishments (Sabaa spares no expense on our characters), An Ember in the Ashes is a truly brilliant story with a fantastic plot and just a great, solid read.

I’m honestly no sure what else to say – you know those books that are so good but you can’t really put it into words? That’s where I’m coming from. However, I will say this: if you think you’re going to like this – maybe even love it – you probably will. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book, because it reads really fast. I highly, highly recommend picking up An Ember in the Ashes and giving it a read.

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Please let me know if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were in the comments below. I love hearing your opinions 😉

The Whitechapel Fiend (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #3)

Read on 22nd April, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Maureen Johnson

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5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Simon learns the truth behind the Jack the Ripper murders—“Jack” was stopped by Will Herondale, his former parabatai, and his institute of Victorian Shadowhunters.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Simon. Jace. Tessa. Will. Jessamine. Need I say more?

The Whitechapel Fiend is Cassie’s best installment yet in this series so far – though I may be slightly biased as I’m absolutely adore TID. Though I am curious as to where Charlotte and Henry were…

On that note, I LOVED seeing Tessa and ** as parents! (Trying to keep this spoiler free guys) It was SO. ADORABLE! I am simply overwhelmed. I simply cannot get enough of Jem, Tessa and Will.

Regardless of the reappearance of my favorites from TID, there was honestly no part whatsoever in this story that I did not like. All the characters were great, the plot was really good, and the ending gave me hope.

I tried to pick out some favourite quotes, but if included they would probably be longer than this entire review, so let’s just go with everything William Herondale ever said (though there were more than that).

I wholeheartedly recommend Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy to all fans of Cassandra Clare. Just- so many feels.

Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Finished 29th March, 2015

Author: Veronica Roth

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4 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

One choice can transform you – or it can destroy you. Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by victorious celebrations with her chosen faction; instead it ended with unspeakable horrors. Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows.

In times of war sides must be chosen and secrets will emerge. Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting grief and guilt. But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she stands to lose everything…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Insurgent… Noun. A person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessarily regarded as belligerent.”

Insurgent is a very well put together, easy, intriguing read. I found the world really easy to slip back into and, as this is my second time reading it, I picked up on several things that have only now come to light as I have read Allegiant. On that note, the foreshadowing just about killed me. And I am not just talking about the end of Insurgent – no, it is clear as day that Veronica Roth had the ending of the trilogy planned out long before she actually started writing it. Throughout the whole book there is definitive clues to that end, which seriously messed with my emotions.

“‘My dear girl,'” she says. ‘I am his family. I am permanent. You are only temporary.'”

Do you see? Do you? Do you? Seriously, it was quite destressing…

Veronica’s characters are complicated, layered and realistic. There is always more to someone than meets the eye – you can never know all that there is to know about them. This is a really important message to broadcast and Veronica does this beautifully.
Uriah is amusing, sassy, sarcastic, fun and a brilliant character to read about. He is a great friend – especially to Tris – and has brought her out of a slump several times.

“‘A representative?’ Zeke says. ‘She’s not going herself?’
‘Yeah, and stand out in the open where a bunch of angry people with guns can take aim?’ Uriah smirks a little. ‘I’d like to see her try. No, really, I would.'”

Marline is sweet and slightly naive. She didn’t really leave much of am impression on me aside from the vague imprint of her bubbly personality. However, I have not read Divergent in over a year, so that may factor into my opinion.

Lynn, Shauna and Zeke were all brilliant characters as well. They, Marlene and Zeke express what it’s like to be truly Dauntless – they are fun, loud, hilarious and free.

“By the time the fight dies down, my clothes are more paint-coloured than black. I decide to keep the shirt to remind me why I chose Dauntless in the first place: not because they are perfect, but because they are alive. Because they are free.”

Both Tris and Tobias simultaneously made me love them and grow extremely frustrated. However, the main thing to take away about their characters is that they fought for what they believed in and remained strong despite the odds. They are by no means perfect, but neither are we. I loved them as a couple and feel that they compliment each other so well – especially after seeing from Tobias’ point of view in Four.

“‘Sleep,’ he says. ‘I’ll fight the bad dreams off if they come get you.’
‘With what?’
‘My bare hands, obviously.'”

Upon first reading the trilogy, I remember really disliking Christina. Now, I actually really like her character. She’s sassy, reliable and loyal. Christina was Tris’ first real friend, and their relationship really expresses that.

“‘Fine.’ [Christina] sighs. ‘I would take out the blush, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the right colour for you.”
‘Shocking, considering we’re so similar in skin tone.'”

The Erudite were just as brilliant, hilarious and awesome as I remembered. By this, I am referring to Cara, Fernando and the rest of the crew – the non-brainwashed members who display the true values of the faction. As an Erudite myself, I couldn’t be more proud to have these amazing people representing my faction and showing that not all members are corrupt.

“My father taught me to see the Erudite a particular way. He never taught me that they made no judgments about what people believed, but designed things for them within the confines of their beliefs. He never told me that they could be funny, or that they could critique their own faction from the inside… He never told me that an Erudite could offer to help me even after I killed her brother.”

For whatever reason, I kept picturing Fernando as a twelve year old… I have no idea why, because he’s actually sixteen (he was in Caleb’s initiate class).

“‘Nando?’ I say to him. ‘I thought the Erudite didn’t like nicknames?’
‘When a pretty girl calls you by a nickname,’ he says, ‘it is only logical to respond to it.'”

Yep, still twelve. (Sorry Nando!)

Johanna was another amazing characters who supported the true values of her faction – for Amity was not always about avoiding existing conflict to preserve peace. Below is a quote from the original Amity Faction Manifesto, which was later removed (as seen in World of Divergent).

Involvement
One Friend says to Another: ‘Friend, today I fought with my enemy.’
The Other Friend says: ‘Why did you fight with your enemy?’
‘Because they were about to hurt you.’
‘Friend, why did you defend me?’
‘Because I love you.’
‘Then I am grateful.'”

Veronica has subtly woven  some serious themes into her writing, making it all the more believable. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), homosexuality, abuse, prejudice, forgiveness and beauty that runs deeper than surface appearances are all examples of this.

“Colour fills her cheeks, and I think it again: that Johanna Reyes might still be beautiful. Except now I think that she isn’t just beautiful in spite of the scar, she’s somehow beautiful with it, like Lynn with buzzed hair, like Tobias with the memories of his father’s cruelty that he wears like armor, like my mother in her plain grey clothing.”

Insurgent was a fun read and while the trilogy is a YA series, it great for all ages, whether you don’t read much or read way too much (though, arguably, that is impossible). I am really looking forward to watching the movie and seeing how well it has been adapted.

Other Notable Quotes:

“‘Thank God,’ he  says, pressing his forehead to the door. ‘I was beginning to think it would never wear off and I would have to leave you here to…smell flowers, or whatever you wanted to do while you were on that stuff.'”

“There is a part of me that wants to be lost, that struggles to join my parents and Will so that I don’t have to ache for them anymore. A part of me that wants to see whatever comes next.”

“Sometimes I feel like I am collecting the lessons each faction has to teach me, and storing them in my mind like a guidebook for moving through the world. There is always something to learn, and that is important to understand.”

“I laugh, mirthless, a mad laugh. I savor the scowl on her face, the hate in her eyes. She was like a machine; she was cold and emotionless, bound by logic alone. And I broke her.
I broke her.” (In reference to Jeannine.)

“Telling me the time is a small act of betrayal – and therefore an ordinary act of bravery. It is maybe the first time I’ve seen Peter be truly Dauntless.”

“Every part of my body chants it in unison. Live, live, live. I thought that in order to give my life in exchange for Will’s, in exchange for my parents’, that I needed to die, but I was wrong; I need to live my life in the light of their deaths. I need to live.”

“Every part of his posture suggests ease… I have never seen him look so comfortable without a gun. I didn’t think it was possible.”

“‘Woah there, Tobias,’ says the man to my left. ‘Weren’t you raised a Stiff? I thought the most you people did was…graze hands or something.’
‘Then how do you explain all the Abnegation children?’ Tobias raises his eyebrows.
‘They’re brought into being by the sheer force of will,’ the woman on the arm of the chair interjects. ‘Didn’t you know that, Tobias?'” (This is by far my favourite)

The Lost Herondale (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #2) + An Excerpt from Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)

Read on 18th March, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Robin Wasserman

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4 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Simon learns the worst crime a Shadowhunter can commit: desertion of their comrades.

In the early nineteenth century, Tobias Herondale abandoned his fellow Shadowhunters in the heat of battle and left them to die. His life was forfeit, but Tobias never returned, and the Clave claimed his wife’s life in exchange for Tobias’s.

Simon and his fellow students are shocked to learn of this brutality, especially when it is revealed the woman was pregnant. But what if the child survived…could there be a lost Herondale line out in the world today?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Like every Cassandra Clare book, I absolutely adored The Lost Herondale. It was fun to read; we saw old friends, the story was interesting and the character development was great. Most of all, I loved hearing from Simon again – his humor and nerdiness are particularly of note.

“Fortunately, the tall, dark-haired man who strode into the classroom looked unlikely to have any interest in Simon or his bod.”

Despite this, I was slightly disappointed that we did not hear more about the lost Herondale. Admittedly, there was not much else that could have been added given the limited length of the installment but I felt rather let down, especially considering the title and synopsis are centered around this Herondale. Hopefully Four’s *cough* sorry, Tobias‘ descendants will feature in the coming installments, but somehow I don’t believe that they will be. (Sorry, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.)

My two favorite scenes of The Lost Herondale would have to be the one where Catrina details the (full) story of Tobias Herondale and the concluding scene.

Lady Midnight Excerpt

You have no idea how excited I was when I saw those three words on the contents page – I couldn’t even. (Side note: Why do fangirls always travel in odd numbers? Because they can’t even.)

Julian and Emma are so adorable together! I ship it so much… When Emma was recalling the memories of Julian and her? I may or may not have squealed and gushed and awwed. You know, maybe.

12 months. We have to wait twelve months for TDA – the thought rather depresses me… But in the meantime we get Simon, so that’s something I suppose. (Just kidding Simon, I love you!)

Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #1)

Read on 17th February, 2015

Authors: Casandra Clare & Sarah Rees Brennan

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5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After living as a mundane and a vampire, Simon never thought he would become a Shadowhunter, but today he begins his training at Shadowhunter Academy. Simon Lewis has been many things. A mundane. A vampire. A hero. But Simon can’t remember any of that. His memories of adventures with Clary, Isabelle, and the rest of the New York Shadowhunters were erased by a demon, and now Simon is eager to reclaim that part of himself. But will he ever get back the parts of himself that he lost? Does he even want to?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Despite being in the middle of two books (The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey & Death Before Daylight by Shannon A. Thompson) I could not resist the allure of Cassandra Clare’s. Filled with characters we know and love, as well as quite a number of introduced ones, laughter, wit and character development, Welcome to Shadowhunter Academy did not disappoint.

When Simon was first introduced in City of Bones, I was admittedly not impressed – I saw him more of an annoying hindrance than anything else. During the course of TMI, I was thankfully disproved of my initial judgment. Simon has evolved into a remarkable character and despite the minor fallback of the amnesia, I have no doubt that Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy is his time to shine and he will do so admirably. Personally, I have found that simply the first installment has made him so much more loveable (though that’s probably the Cassandra Clare withdrawal speaking) and brought to the table his adorable Simonness. I can’t wait to watch him flourish. (Also, did I mention that Simon is a Doctor Who fan? No? Well, he is and its absolutely fantastic!)

“Is that a weapon?” Julie asked.
“Um, no,” said Simon. “It’s a tennis racquet.”

Although I wasn’t entirely sure about George in the beginning (I must shamefully admit that it was more because of the rugby top than his phobia of rodents) I warmed up to him rather quickly. He is the best possible friend Simon could have at the Academy. Plus, he’s “an excellent horseman”.

The “bear-killing” dagger. I say no more.

Isabelle was brilliant. I won’t spoil anything, but damn girl.

Coincidentally, my favorite parts came near the beginning and at the very end of the novella – the “demonic” possum and the soup scenes. However, I loved it all and wholeheartedly recommend people to get on board the Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy bandwagon.