5 Following

Heart says

When life gives you lemons, make orange juice, and make life wonder how the FUCK you did it. Here’s what’s what: I go by many names: Becky, Beaks, Heart, Red, Squirrel, the Phantom Giggler, Teapot, Beckatron Farmfoods and (reluctantly) Pordie. I'm ginger. And proud of it! I'm from the BEST city in England, aka. NEWCASTLE! And no, I don't have a geordie accent. I have an older sister. I have two gorgeous miniature schnauzers called Fizz and Pepper. <3 I went to a private school for girls. And had a good time. And met some amazing friends. I went to Uni in York. I had an AMAZING time and loved it so much. And I met some amazing friends. I'm studying Archaeology. I love Japanese culture. I like Anime. And video games. So? I've worked in pubs since I was 16. I have a facebook addiction :/ I love dancing around to music in my room. I have a thing about punctuality. And quotes. I LOVE TAKING PHOTOS! :D Langwith till I die!

Currently reading

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)
Richelle Mead
The Rose and the Thorn (The Riyria Chronicles, #2) - Michael J. Sullivan The second book in Michael J. Sullivan's Riyria Chronicles book, but the eighth published Riyria book overall. Another amazing Riyria book. Loved it!

In The Rose and the Thorn, Hadrian and Royce return to Medford, where a year ago they were saved from the brink of death by brothel owner Gwen, whom Royce has since fallen for. On their way they meet landless and penniless viscount Albert Winslow, and the three strike up an agreement to benefit them all. Arriving in Medford though, Hadrian and Royce find that Gwen refuses to see the pair, much to their confusion, and they seek to discover the reasons why and rectify the problem. Meanwhile, at the castle, Reuben Hilfred is about to turn 16 and begin life as a castle guard. He soon makes some unlikely friends and finds himself caught up in an unusual situation, forced to re-consider everything his father told him...

I LOVED this book. I've read all the previous Riyria books (the entire Riyria Revelations series as well as The Crown Tower), and I loved this chance to revisit the world and characters I'd come to love. Again it was a good, enjoyable adventure in itself, and even if you haven't read the entire Riyria Revelations, and just read The Crown Tower (or even just this book maybe...) it's still really enjoyable. Sullivan still throws in a few little hints that veterans of the books will enjoy, hinting at things that happen later without revealing everything to readers new to the series, which I think is best and works well.

Being set in Medford and featuring more characters that I knew from Riyria Revelations made me enjoy this book more than The Crown Tower I think, just because of the familiarity. I just settled into the story a lot quicker this time around and I loved being back with Riyria.

It was nice to see Hadrian and Royce's continuing and developing relationship. They've obviously become a lot closer since the events of The Crown Tower and it's nice to see this friendship and respect developing. They still are not at the same level of easy friendship and partnership from the Riyria Revelations, but you can see it starting to develop, whilst they still admit they don't entirely know each other or fully understand each other. It's nice to see this slowly happening, but I also enjoyed seeing them a bit closer as I know them from books later chronologically. It was also nice seeing a bit more of Dark Royce. Scary!

Like The Crown Tower, The Rose and the Thorn features another important past event that is mentioned several times in Riyria Revelations but we don't see, and so it was nice to see this lived out and fleshed out in this book, as a veteran reader. It was still really good and exciting for new readers as well I'm sure, possibly more so as they would not have known the outcome of the events in the same way that I did.

I'd be interested to hear more of what new readers to the series, who haven't read Revelations, thought of it and if foresaw/foresee any future twists that might happen in the books, as obviously I was already aware of them.

I enjoyed looking for these little hints and references to future books though, it made reading these books really enjoyable and exciting for a fan of the series like me. And also, I wonder if I'm the only one who looks out for more hints akin to the whole Kine twist that occurred at the end of Heir of Novron? Haha.

Overall, an amazing read and a great adventure. It was a great read for a veteran of the series, full of hidden references, but also a enjoyable romp for those new to the series as well. A step up from The Crown Tower in my opinion. I loved it!
Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2) - Richelle Mead The second book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series.

Frostbite picks up shortly after where the first book left off. Rose continues her training to become a guardian for her Moroi vampire best friend Lissa, who is learning to cope with her new powers and their side effects. The Christmas holidays are coming up which should be a fun time of year. But a terrible Strigoi (evil vampire) attack nearby sets the entire Moroi world on edge, and they gather at a luxury ski resort for Christmas. Rose and Lissa must now mingle with the aristocrats of Moroi society, including the charismatic Adrian Ivashkov who seems drawn to the pair. But Rose must also contend with her guardian mother Janine, with whom she has a troubled relationship, as well Moroi Tasha, who is after the man Roses harbours secret feelings for, Dimitri. But things only get worse when three friends go seeking revenge and adventure... and Strigoi...

It was a good book, I liked it. Rose continues to be a feisty main character, with a lot more emphasis placed on her this book than Lissa. Lissa was a lot less emotionally bipolar in this book, presumably because of the medication she was put on at the end of the last book, but also possibly because we saw less of her. Either way it was nice, as her becoming drastically upset at the slightest thing in the previous book was quite annoying.

Like I said, this book focused largely on Rose, her romantic dramas (yes, plural... my god this girl...) and the increasing Strigoi threat, which are things touched upon and mentioned in the first book, but weren't really the focus of it. Lissa's magic and the spirit element, as well as the pairs bond and the whole shadow-kissed thing took a definate back seat in this book. They're still mentioned and the plot progressed slightly, presumably to be examined further in the next book(s) which was good, but they were the focus which was kind of nice in itself. It was nice to focus on something else actually. I was really intrigued by Adrian's spirit abilities, particularly the dream aspect and wonder if this will help towards Lissa accessing her half of the bond to Rose fully... I also was intrigued by Adrian observing that Rose is surrounded by shadows and the implication that Rose is taking Lissa's spirit side affects and negative emotions and I look forward to seeing how this is developed in future books.

Rose's flip-flopping about boys was kinda annoying, but I suppose fairly typical for a teenager and YA fiction. Dimitri was also annoying in regards to this but I suppose conflict and drama was needed...

I liked the end third-ish of the novel. It was really dramatic and it was interesting and good to see some actual Strigoi (instead of just newly turned Natalie at the end of the last book). Definately made the whole threat a lot more real. And what a sad ending! :'(

Overall, it was a pretty good book. It touched upon some themes and ideas that will slowly be advanced in future books obviously, where as Rose's drama takes the centre stage this time instead, which is okay but somewhat annoying. It was a good continuation of the series and advancing certain ideas, and I can't wait to see how this evolves in the next book.
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) - Richelle Mead Been meaning to read this for awhile, and seeing the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation made me want to read it even more.

Vampire Academy follows the story of Rose Hathaway and Lissa Dragomir, as they are forcefully brought back to the Academy after running away. They may look like your average teenagers, but they aren't. Lissa is a Moroi, a living vampire Princess, and Rose is her dhampir guardian (half human, half vampire), dedicated to protecting her from harm and more importantly, from Strigoi, evil, blood-thirsty immortal vampires. They ran away from the Academy 2 years ago, but now they're back and all the secrets from their past are rushing to catch up with them, and danger lurks around every corner.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book before I read it, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by it. Rose was a feisty main character, witty, sharp, passionate. Lissa is a quieter, more thoughtful character. I loved them both, but Rose in particular. Rose felt a lot more well rounded than Lissa but Lissa had obvious depth to her as well.

The book tackled lots of common YA themes in it, including depression and self-harm, as well as bullying and romance, and briefly touches upon ideas such as domestic abuse and abandonment. I liked that Mead addressed some of these, particularly depression and stuff as they don't get covered as much in literature, and it was nice that Mead had thought out her characters backgrounds so thoroughly as well. At the same time, I felt like it was a lot of issues to be brought up and tackled and just felt a bit cliche and OTT.

I also felt like there were aspects of the world that were referenced, like stigmas and social things, that were referenced and we were supposed to understand a bit more and get why they were so important, but I felt like we didn't necessarily have all the information to do so, like stuff related to female dhampirs and whatever.

I felt like the end of the book was a little anti-climactic personally. I thought it was enjoyable enough and whatever, but it just didnt seem to be quite as exciting as I was expecting, although maybe I'm just a bit more used to huge dramatic ending battles.

Overall though, it was an interesting and exciting book with good, strong female characters, and I'm excited to see what happens in the next book, and to see the film. :)
The Fault in Our Stars - John Green I feel I should preface this review by saying I don't typically read books that are designed to be tearjerkers. Having said that, I was desperate to read this book as I'd heard such amazing things about it and I'm so totally glad I did. I LOVED this book and is definately one of my favourites.

The Fault in Our Stars is the story of Hazel, a 16 year old girl with terminal lung cancer, which is held at bay by various drugs. She must constantly be connected to an oxygen tank to help her breathe. For her, life is just surviving each day, watching TV and going to support group. But then, at one ordinary support group meeting, she meets Augustus Waters. A 17 year old cancer survivor, and life changes. Hazel begins to see that there can be more to life than just surviving cancer, and re-examines her beliefs about sickness, it's effect on people and their loved ones, and the legacy we leave behind.

I felt in love with this book straight away. I pretty much devoured the entire first half of the book in one sitting, and the rest soon followed. Hazel was a great narrator, with her dry and witty humor and precocious attitude, and I felt drawn into her really quickly, and it made me totally re-think about my attitude and beliefs about sickness etc. as she did.

I loved Augustus as well, for many of the same reasons as I loved Hazel. I was a little worried that their relationship would be too much like the insta-love type of romance that I HATE in books, but while they were immediately drawn together it still felt quite natural (at least for your average teenagers) and Hazel did resist it awhile as well.

There were some great secondary characters as well that I fell in love with and had a good storyline, particularly Isaac who was great and had a really sad but interesting storyline too: spoiler he has a terrible eye cancer and have surgery that makes him blind in order to get rid of it, and to top it off his long-term girlfriend at the time breaks up with him around the same time because she cannot handle the situation. His story was really sad but also felt quite realistic and added another shade to the story and another reality of cancer that differs to what Hazel experiences and what Augustus experiences.

The characters were compelling enough, but the thoughts and ideas that Green's novel provokes were good as well which I briefly mentioned before. Through Hazel, Green makes us re-assess what sickness is and how it affects not only us but also the people around us who love us. He makes us wonder about the legacy we want to leave behind, as well as the legacy we actually leave behind.

And it was sad. I knew it would be, but still I was almost surprised by how invested I became and how heartbreaking it was. About a third of the way through the book I was in tears, and for the entire last section of the book I was in hysterical tears. I loved this book so much and that made it hurt so much more.

Overall, this is a fantastic and compelling book, with great characters. It's heartbreaking, but I loved it none-the-less.
The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1) - Michael J. Sullivan I've read Michael Sullivan's Riyria Revelations series, so as soon as I heard about this I wanted to read it, and I read it as soon as I could! And I'm so happy I did! Again, this is an instance where I wish that GoodReads did half star ratings so I could give it 4.5 stars, but I rounded up cos I love Riyria :)

The Crown Tower is the first book in the Riyria Chronicles, a prequel series to the Riyria Revelations that does not require you to have read the original series to enjoy it (although I personally think it would be better as you'll gain more from it). It tells the story of how the infamous Riyria duo, Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, first met and their first job together. At first, the pair cannot stand to be together let alone work together, but if they're going to survive the job they'll have to learn to work together. We also learn the origin story of Gwen DeLancy, a whore in Medford who refuses to let herself and other girls be used and abused by the tavern owner or the customers, but she also will have an important part to play in Hadrian and Royce's future.

I really enjoyed this book. Like I said before, you don't need to have read the Riyria Revelations books to read this one, as it was carefully written to ensure that no hints of information or secrets revealed in those books are revealed in this one, which makes it good for newcomers to the series, but also makes it a bit more realistic I think? There are hints aplenty to certain things though which veterans of Riyria will see and enjoy, and this is why I personally think reading Revelations first is better as you'll gain more from this book, but it still isn't necessary.

It's been a couple of months since I read the Riyria Revelations, but reading this book felt like slipping on an old shoe - it fit perfectly and I immediately fell in love with Hadrian and Royce all over again (particularly Hadrian, I love Hadrian). I immediately fell into the world once again and it all felt comfortable and natural, there was no re-adjustment needed which was nice.

Hadrian and Royce were once again superb lead characters, and it was nice to see them both before they had a positive and more maturing effect on each other. It was nice to see them hating each other as well. :)

The overall story was good and enjoyable, typical Sullivan fare which is great :D I liked reading about a story that Hadrian and Royce mention several times in Revelations. I also loved reading Gwen's origins, as it's something that we didn't really see before so it was nice to this time.

I did feel that the story ended rather suddenly though, and it would've been nice to have a more final scene for Hadrian, Royce and Gwen, as I do feel that for newcomers to the series Gwen's importance to the story isn't necessarily obvious this way, but that is a minor niggle.

Overall, a great book and Riyria story, whether you're a newcomer to the series or a Riyria veteran, although I do feel veterans will get more from the story than newcomers.
The Daylight War (Demon Cycle, #3) - Peter V. Brett Another great book from Peter V. Brett, who is clearly a very skilled and talented writer and world builder/developer.

The Daylight War picks up where The Desert Spear left off. Both Jardir and Arlen have faced and killed a coreling prince, a mind demon, and learned that come the next Waning of the moon, the nighttime war is about to change, and get a whole lot worse. And so they have a month to prepare their respective sides and prepare to face a now more organised and cohesive coreling army. If the different factions and sides of humans can stop fighting amongst themselves to do so...

Once again, Brett begins the book by taking us back to the past of a character we had already met but come to hate, this time Jardir's first wife and high priestess, Inevera. But unlike the previous book, Inevera's tale is spread out a little more throughout the book which I liked more than it being in one big dump at the beginning. I liked Inevera's tale. It wasn't as long as Jardir's origin story or quite as complicated or involved, as it didn't need to do as much setting for Krasia, but it did make me understand and come to respect Inevera, and even like her more than I did previously. It humanised her a lot more.

I liked the development of most of the characters, particularly Rojer, Amanvah and Sikvah, but also smaller characters like Wonda and Gared. I still dislike Renna, but that might just be me. Leesha is becoming more annoying and idiotic I feel as the book progressed, and Arlen has become a bit more annoying as well with his huge personality change in this book but it is a nice development for his character.

This book is a lot more focused on political intrigue and struggles between different people and factions, rather than against the corelings, which makes sense considering the title of the book and what it means/represents. There was not as much of an actual war between the Thesans and Krasians but you could feel the tension throughout. This book was much more about the people in charge and their attempts to organise their people and one-up each other to gain the upper hand. I enjoyed it, but I do know some people may not like all the political intrigue as opposed to the more coreling-based drama.

Don't get me wrong though, the Corelings still play their part and have become a more menacing threat as they start to become more organised under the mind demons, and become a very serious opponent when Waning comes... and it can surely only get even worse in the next book.

And what an ending! AHHH!

Peter V. Brett, please release the next book now!

Overall, a great book and continuation of the series.
The Desert Spear (Demon Cycle, #2) - Peter V. Brett Just a short review, as I finished this on my holidays last week and have already started book 3!

I did really enjoy this book. The first third of it followed the story of Ahmann Jardir as he grew up in Krasia and trained to become a powerful warrior and eventually head of Krasia, as we knew him to be in the previous book. It was interesting to see this side of Jardir and learn more about him, as he became a really well rounded character in this book, compared to the fleeting glimpse of a character we saw in the previous book.

Having said that, I did miss reading about the continuation of Arlen, Leesha and Rojer's stories for the entire first third of the book. So on the one hand I wish this backstory was a bit more spaced out, but at the same time I realise that we wouldn't appreciate Jardir as much without this backstory fully explained beforehand.

Brett continued to show how skilled a worldbuilder he is in this book too, as the world is so fully expanded and explored and I found myself totally drawn into it.

The characters continue to grow and develop which is nice to see. There are new additions to the main cast in Inevera, Jardir's first wife and a powerful holy woman with the ability to tell the future using demon bones, and Renna Tanner, met briefly in the first book. Renna grew up in Tibbet's Brook and was supposed to marry Arlen before he ran off, and now is condemned to live in misery on her fathers farm.

I didn't particularly like Renna to be honest. She was okay at the beginning and did slowly grow on me and I felt sorry for her, but by the end I found her particularly annoying. And the ending! WHAAAATTTTTTTTTTT!!!!??

Overall, a good book and a good continuation of the story and continuing to build the world.
The Painted Man (Demon Cycle, #1) - Peter V. Brett First of all, I feel I should clarify. I live in the UK, and here the book is published as The Painted Man, but I know in the US at least (and probably elsewhere) it's published as The Warded Man. I will refer to it as the Painted Man (TPM) but just for clarification purposes I explained why :)

TPM was a gripping and exciting read. I've heard loads of good things about this book and the series so it's been on my to-read list for ages, and I'm glad I've finally gotten around to reading it!

TPM is set in a world where demons and monsters, known as Corelings, rise from the ground as the sun sets, killing anyone is not within the safety of their homes. Their homes are protected by magical wards that repel the corelings. Bigger towns have huge warded walls that protect them at night, but smaller rural communities have to make do with warded houses and are totally cut off from the outside world, save for Messengers who travel across the world delivering messages and conducting trade, taking portable warded circles to protect them from the Corelings. In this world, we follow 3 protagonists across the space of about 15 years of their lives as they struggle in this world and have to face such hardships, and change.

First there's Arlen, who was born in the small rural community of Tibbet's Brook, hiding behind wards. Until one day tragedy strikes and Corelings ravage the community and kill his mother, and Arlen refuses to give in to fear and leaves to become a Messenger, and hopes to find a way to stop the Corelings for good. Then there's Leesha, a young woman born in the rural village of Cutter's Hollow. A somewhat quiet girl whose life is controlled by her vindictive and cruel mother, and is promised to marry the town bully. Until one day, in the wake of a Coreling attack, she helps the elderly town Herb Gatherer (healer) Bruna and discovers that there may be another fate in store for her, and grows in to a brave and determined young woman. Finally there's Rojer, who starts off as any other 3 year old child until a Coreling attack takes his family away and he is raised by an alcoholic Jongleur (Entertainer/clown) and trained to become one himself. He might not be the bravest, but he soon discovers another way to stop the Corelings...

I loved this book. Brett is a great storyteller and world builder. He's obviously thought out the world thoroughly and it shows in his storytelling. He also lets the world grow naturally and feeds up information naturally, he doesn't do any info dumps which is good. It took a couple chapters to get into the world and the story but this wasn't too bad.

The characters were all really good and interesting and developed, and I liked how we followed them over several years of their lives and saw them grow up and change, which you don't usually do with many fantasy heroes. While obviously some characters are less likeable as well, there were no characters I truly hated. Every character was well developed and well rounded and realistic.

The story was good and interesting and I was gripped throughout. Arlen's story in particular was interesting throughout and he always changes a lot. I did find it hard to believe though that the revelations the characters discover, that no one has thought of them or discovered them before... Like, Arlen painting himself with wards to turn himself into a proper brawler with the Corelings. Has no one really thought of this before? Obviously some wards were unknown and discovered and I dunno if these would have helped and stuff, but still... and has no one really tried playing music before? I can't imagine that a Jongleur or something hasn't tried playing music to take their mind of Corelings and discovered the effect. And has no one, not even the courageous Krasians, tried dissecting them either? But at the same time, it was a minor niggle and I could let it go for the sake of the story.

Overall, it was a really exciting and gripping story, and this was only the first book! I can't wait to see where the series goes from here.

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2) - Mark  Lawrence I read this as part of a group read for Fantasy Fanatics. If you've read Prince of Thorns and like me weren't overly wowed, this book is better than the first and worth a look.

King of Thorns (KoT) continues the story of Jorg, who has successfully captured the Haunt after a bloody battle and become the King of Renar. But across the land more battles take place for the Emperor's Throne, and Jorg has his sights set on it too. But he won't be anyone's puppet and will carve his own way to the Throne, even if he has to go through the beloved hero of the people to do it. But Jorg will get the Throne, because he isn't like other people... he doesn't play fair.

I wasn't a huge fan of Prince of Thorns (PoT) when I read it. I hated Jorg for his unexplained sadistic personality and how a 14 year old runs a group of thugs. I also thought the world was jarring and the story was a bit too winding. These problems are still present in KoT but I did find that overall the book was better than its predecessor.

The 'present day' thread of Jorg's story (the Wedding Day) relates Jorg's struggle to defend his kingdom of Renar from the overwhelming forces of Arrow which besiege it. This tale is spread throughout the book and is hugely intersparsed by the '4 years earlier' thread, which picks up very shortly after the events of PoT, and details Jorg's adventures to help Gog gain control of his powers and to find a way to defend Renar before Arrow comes to claim it and to find his way to the Throne. Jorg's two stories are also interspersed with occasional diary entries from Katherine, relating some small but important pieces of information that Jorg can't know about but the reader needs to learn.

The threads were all woven quite well together, and are joined by another thread partway through: which is Jorg recovering his memories at key moments in the book. While all these different threads were well woven together and made the story flow better (it would not have worked written out chronologically), but at the same time it was very confusing at times to keep track of all the different parts of the story and what happened when and stuff.

Jorg was a bit more likeable in this book too. In PoT he was 14 and a sadistic kid, and he was just unrealistic. But in this book he already seems to start off slightly more mature and I think he does become even more mature as the book progresses, and he isn't cruel for the sake of it either (as much anyway). Overall he was more likeable. Although he is now a 14 year old King (in the past storyline anyway) which is believable, but he still runs this group of savage thugs and is able to just skip out on the kingdom for weeks at a time without any obvious repurcussions which doesn't seem believable to me at all.

The overall storyline was grander than in PoT and made sense for the most part, although it was winding, and at times again I wasn't really sure why Jorg was doing what he was doing in the past storyline and didn't see the point. Also, about halfway through the book, there's this whole necromancer sequence similar to the one in the first book which, whilst kinda creepy, doesn't really seem to relate to the rest of the story? Apart from hints that he will have to face this random Dead King in the next book... whatever. I don't think I care... I liked Jorg's revelation towards the end of the book that he had killed his half-brother Degran, and how devastated he was by it, because he didn't really mean to at all. It was just so real - it was a nice touch and it reflected how Jorg has changed.

I've also gotten used to this world as a post-apocalyptic world, and it was more interesting. Although I still can't get used to the idea that after some huge nuclear war or whatever we've reverted to this perfect version of a medieval world that suddenly has magic in it for some reason. Lawrence does attempt to give a reason for it later in the book through Fexlar Brews, the echo but it just doesn't really make sense and it isn't really fully explained.

Overall, I thought KoT was a better book than the first and it does make me intrigued to read the final book in the trilogy, but at the same time I still wasn't wow-ed by or completely sucked in. If you were unsure after reading PoT like I was, I would say it's definately worth a look.
Prince of Thorns  - Mark  Lawrence I read this as part of a group read for Fantasy Fanatics. I have to say I'm a bit on the fence about this. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a while, so maybe I'd built up my expectations too much...

Prince of Thorns follows the story of Jorg, the runaway Prince of Ancrath. When he was 9 he watched as his mother and younger brother were murdered, and watched as the man responsible got away with it. At 10 he ranaway from the Castle, and fell in with a band of savage thugs. By 15, he plans to be King...
As you may have guessed, Jorg is not your average teenager. He's smart, calculating and brutal. He hates doing what others expect of him and he's determined to get his revenge against anyone who has wronged him. But treachery awaits him in his future as he tries to get his revenge and reclaim his place, but will he let that stop him?

Okay, so I'm going to start with the things that bothered me most and end with the positives:

So like I said, I was quite on the fence for the majority of this book. One of my main problems was Jorg. In the book he is 14 (apart from a few flashbacks explaining some of his backstory). He's also so brutal and savage that he puts Joffrey to shame. I can forgive that in a 14 year old though given the context. It's not unbelievable. But the fact that he controls this group of like 30 thugs who are all massively older than him is. I just don't get it. I just can't picture them following this little boy around and doing exactly as he says and accepting him as their leader, even if he is intelligent and brutal.

I also had some issues with the world. At first it just seemed like your average medieval fantasy world. But as the book progressed it became increasingly obvious that it was some kind of post-apocalyptic earth, thanks to references to Plato and Plutarch etc. I don't mind the post-apocalyptic part, I like post-apocalyptic literature etc., but it was just the idea that earth suffered this huge event (suggested to be a nuclear war or holocaust due to the references to weapons of mass destruction and the "Day of a Thousand Suns") and has now reverted back to this perfect imitation of a medieval society complete with the mannerisms, heirarchical structure, language etc. It was just a bit unbelievable. And on top of that, magic gets added in. To me, it just seems as if Lawrence was trying to put in too many different things and to me it was just a bit jarring and didn't quite work. If it was just medieval fantasy that would've be fine. Maybe I just wasn't expecting it... I also felt the world wasn't explained or described fully, that there was something lacking.

I also felt that at times the story was a bit too winding. I never felt myself really getting invested in Jorg or his desires, although this could be for other reasons, and sometimes I lost track of what Jorg was doing or why. The story just didn't seem to have clear momentum or path to me.

Having said all that, I did actually kinda enjoy the story, and it does have potential. I can kinda forgive the whole 14-year-old-in-charge-of-escaped-convicts thing and when I do move past it the story is enjoyable. I like revenge stories. And I think the rest of the series has potential. It's also quite dark and gritty which I enjoy and having said that I didn't like the mix of our technology and the medieval society I am interested to see how Lawrence continues to mix the two from here on.

Overall, it was a decent enough book and I will read the next one in the series to see where it goes next and see what happens to Jorg next. But I did have a lot of issues with Jorg and his narration, and the world building but hopefully the series will grow stronger and these issues will fade away. Hopefully.
Heir of Novron (The Riyria Revelations, #5-6) - Michael J. Sullivan Wow. What an outstanding book. I've loved this entire series but this final book was just even more amazing than all the others.

Heir of Novron is split into two books like the previous volumes and picks up right where the previous book left off: Hadrian and Royce have returned from their adventures in Tur Del Fur and now need to find the Heir. Arista, having tried to rescue Degan Gaunt from the Aquesta dungeons, is now imprisoned herself. Modina is still used as a puppet empress by Regents Saldur and Ethelred, aided by loyal friend Amilia, but is slowly growing out of her shell. All the events are accelerating and colliding, and as Esrahaddon warned in Emerald Storm in Rise of Empire, they need the Heir to find the Horn of Gylindora... because the Uli Vermeer is ending, and then no one will be safe...

Oh my god! This was just such a rollercoaster ride. The first book in this volume (Wintertide) as by far the shorter of the two but was by no means poorer in quality or less exciting. So much happened in this book and so many of sub-plots and stuff were brought to a conclusion, and some of the antagonists met their fate. Having said that though, it did kind of just feel like we were going through the motions and taking up time before we went into the final book. But the end of this book was just outstanding. It was literally one of the tensest endings to a book I think I've ever read! And I was so glad that I could dip straight into the next book after that. It was just exhilarating! And dark Royce was just scary... It was nice to see this side of him that had been hinted at for so long, but yeah... I never want to piss him off!

Percepliquis was a longer and even more exciting rollercoaster. I didn't even think it was possible for this series to become even more exciting but it did! It was a rollercoaster of emotion as well. Pretty much all of the minor characters from the previous books are revisited at some point which was nice to see, and it was nice that some had some nice character development even though it was the end of this series. It was nice to see more of characters like Mauvin and Alric too, and even Magnus. It was nice to see all these characters one last time, although unfortunately not all of these characters survive to the final page...

There were so many twists and turns as well in this book which sees the characters locate and explore the lost capital of Percepliquis, which I have been waiting for them to see since it was mentioned way back in book 1! But there were so many twists along the way. Some of them I'd guessed or suspected for a while and it was nice to see my theories slowly revealed, but there were some twists which I didn't see coming until they were happening which is good as well. It was just so exciting, particularly the revelation that Mercy was Mercedes and Royce's daughter I didn't see coming, and also that the Patriarch was an elf... just wow!

It was nice as well that Hadrian, Royce and Arista still grew and developed so much in this last book as well, even though this series is nearly at an end. Royce particularly had a lot more character development which is good, particularly since he arguably hadn't had as much character development up to this point.

I was also amazed at the world building, still. Partially in reflection over the whole series but also in this book alone. I was amazed to think back and reflect on how detailed a world Sullivan has built, and how intricate a story he has written as well. With some of the revelations in this book I thought back and could see the brickwork laid in earlier books but hadn't realised it. Sullivan has just thought out the whole history of everything and everyone so thoroughly, it was great to read.

Overall, an amazing end to an amazing series. It's just so exciting and well thought out and just... yeah. I've LOVED this series, one of my new favourite series!
Rise of Empire (The Riyria Revelations, #3-4) - Michael J. Sullivan Okay, so I did write a full, detailed review for this book, but then Goodreads had a little issue and didn't save it so... I shall just write a short version of what I wrote before because I can't be bothered to re-write the whole thing! Also, I read this as part of a group read for Fantasy Fanatics.

Rise of Empire continues where Theft of Swords left off. Thrace has been claimed by the Church and as the heir of Novron and the new Empress and re-named Modina, whilst the real heir remains hidden and only the wizard Esrahaddon knows where he is. Melengar is threatened by this new Empire, and so Arista enlists the help of Royce and Hadrian to help save it before it's too late.

The main characters continue to develop and grow in this book. Arista possibly develops the most throughout the course of the book, and I really started to like her more in this book. Royce and Hadrian are their usual awesome selves, but even they continue to grow.

Each book in this volume is a self-contained story, but as the overall story of the series is obviously progressing now there are more distinct storylines that run through both books. I really loved the first book in this volume and thought it was really interesting but I was less interested in the second book which just seemed a little overly drawn out and just... kinda pointless to be honest!

Overall though, it was a really good and interesting book and I'm looking forward to reading the next volume and finishing this series off!
Cheryl: My Story - Cheryl Cole I've always quite liked Cheryl, even though some people hate her. I'm not entirely sure why I've always liked her, maybe it's because she was in one of my favourite girl bands when I was a bit younger, or she was just always so bubbly on X Factor or has had a hard life, or more possibly because she also comes from Newcastle upon Tyne and is a Geordie, like me. Either way, I've liked her, and so as soon as I heard she was releasing an autobiography, I knew I was going to have to read it at some point.

In this book, Cheryl tells her story. And as one review on the back cover says, it's "startlingly honest" throughout. Beginning with her childhood on an estate in Newcastle, Cheryl details the dramas of her youth and constant love of music and dancing, and how she finally found fame in Girls Aloud... but at a price.

I loved the book. I read it over the course of a few months on my breaks at work but I loved it all. It was easy to get quite caught up in it and I got sucked into it. It was nice to see her side of the story and the truth behind some of the stories printed about her in the press, and to see how much the press can twist the truth sometimes. It was also nice to just see the side of her that the public don't usually get to see. And you can just feel her personality oozing throughout.

Overall, a great read if you like Cheryl at all. Made me like her even more and also learned a lot more about her as well.
Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations, #1-2) - Michael J. Sullivan I read this (belatedly) for a group read for Fantasy Fanatics.

Theft of Swords contains the first two books in the Riyria Revelations series which primarly follows the story of Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborn, better known as Riyria. Hadrian and Royce are skilled thieves and mercenaries, and already have a fearsome reputation. Then one night they take a job... and wind up being framed for the murder of the King of Melengar. What follows is big adventure to find out who is framing them and why.

I did really enjoy the book. I thought it was pretty exciting and interesting and did keep me guessing a bit (although certain things were fairly predictable and followed some common fantasy tropes and cliches), although I did also think that each book was quite short.

I did wonder if the books would blend seamlessly together since they're in one volume but they were clearly separated and had quite different storylines so felt very different, which is good in that they are clearly different books, but at the same time meant that as one big book it didn't quite flow as well.

As mentioned briefly earlier, the book follows many common fantasy tropes, particularly in relation to dwarves and elves which did put me off slightly as I am quite sick of dwarves and the like. But for the most part I was able to forgive these little tropes.

I fell in love with Hadrian and Royce straight away. I love these sort of partnerships and I just loved these two. Hadrian is a master of combat but with a big heart and Royce is the more masterful thief with a skill for seeing in the dark and the more stoic of the pair. They were perfect main characters, although some parts of their pasts were easy to predict. In book 1 Alric was interesting I guess, although his personality changed very quickly and drastically throughout the course of the book although I guess that's sorta to be expected given how short the book was. Arista is okay although slightly annoying. Myron was kinda loveable as was Thrace in book 2 and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of her in future books.

Overall, an enjoyable book.
Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) - Dan Brown I've read all of Dan Brown's books, so I knew roughly what to expect from this latest installment in the Robert Langdon series. I was a little anxious as I loved Angels & Demons (A&D) and The Da Vinci Code (DVC) but was massively disappointed by The Lost Symbol (as stated in my review).

In Inferno, Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital in Florence, Italy, with absolutely no memory of the last two days and knowing only that someone is out to kill him. He must trust young doctor Sienna Brooks as he follows his eerie visions of a silver-haired woman standing over a river of writing bodies who tells him to 'seek and find'. He doesn't know what he must find, but it seems to be closely linked to the work of Dante, and his Inferno...

I actually really enjoyed this book. It starts of en media res with Langdon waking up in hospital and he is soon thrown into a race across Florence trying to solve various riddles while evading the people trying to capture/kill him. Because it starts in the middle of the action and you don't know what is going on due to Langdon's amnesia, I became gripped really quickly and wanted to carry on reading to find out what happens next. I'll admit my attention waned a bit in the middle but it picked up again in the last quarter of the book, and the ending really saved this book for me. It was really dramatic and exciting, although I'm not entirely sure about certain aspects of the ending: I wasn't sure about the idea that all of humanity has had their DNA changed so that 1/3 of us is now sterile. While it would resolve the issues and stuff and provides an ending that keeps everyone happy I guess, I dislike the idea that Dan Brown has 'changed' us all. I dunno, I just didn't like it. It was just too weird and dramatic I guess. Also: I hated the little kiss Sienna and Langdon had. I'm glad they didn't have a huge romance throughout the novel but the fact they had the kiss for a touch of romance was just... ugh.

If you've read any other Dan Brown books though you'll know exactly what to expect from this one. Langdon is the same as he usually is, knowing everything he possible could need to to solve the mystery - what a lovely coincidence. And again this book involves a race across a city (European again this time) trying to solve riddles and mysteries. It's very similar to his other books so if you're looking for something original, then this is not it. Having said that, I didn't mind particularly and I liked the slight change up with the en media res beginning and I felt it shook things up a little. It got me hooked early.

But I am a bit sick of Langdon. Dan Brown continues to use him because of the popularity of DVC and A&D, but it's just a bit silly really that Langdon just happens to know pretty much every possible bit of information he could need to solve these mysteries. It just seems a bit lazy to me, and I wish Brown could write a mystery like this but with a radically different main character who isn't similar to Langdon. Brown does have a formula for writing his books (despite how much he says he doesn't) but having hated The Lost Symbol I think because of it's American setting, I kinda don't want him to deviate it from it too much. I would like to see a totally different narrative, but I still think European based mysteries appeal more to me, maybe just because Europe has a lot more history than America. I dunno.

It seemed well researched and was saturated with information and history (perhaps too much though, I did get bored with constant descriptions of things and their history). Although I have heard that Dan Brown doesn't actually do as much research and isn't as accurate as you might think, which I can see how that could be true. But as I don't know a lot about Dante or Florence or anything else really covered in the novel I can't really comment on that myself.

Overall, it's a good enough book if you like Dan Brown and aren't hoping for anything especially original. I enjoyed it enough.
The Iron Queen (Iron Fey, #3) - Julie Kagawa The third book of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. I enjoyed this book, although not as much as I enjoyed the first book. My actual rating would be 3.5 stars.

Meghan Chase is the half-human daughter of the King of the Summer Court of Faeries, Oberon. She is friends with Puck and in love with the Prince of the Winter Court, Ash. In fact, Ash and Meghan's love is forbidden and for that they have been banished from the Nevernever. But the false Iron King is still gathering power and the Iron Realm is slowly destroying the Nevernever, and Meghan is their only hope to stop its spread.

The story is very similar to the previous books. Meghan, Ash and Puck embark on a quest that takes them into the Iron Realm, where Grimalkin appears every time they need help or some witty remarks. It's very similar to the previous stories, only this time Meghan does a little more fighting and stuff although she is still quite damsel-in-distress-y, although she has grown out of her more serious teenage mopey-ness from the previous book.

There were some nice new additions to the cast as well, like Razor (who was just so cute!) and Glitch I quite liked by the end as well. I wish we could have seen more of some characters from previous books as well, particularly Tiaothin who has completely disappeared from the narrative and I thought it would have been nice to see her again.

I have to say as well that I quite liked the ending. It wasn't a stereotypical cliche everyone ends up happy ending and I liked that it wasn't. But it also sets up nicely for book 4 (which is apparently from Ash's perspective and I'm not sure how I feel about that) and another trilogy.

Yeah, I don't really have much else to say about this!

Overall, I liked the book and thought it was quite a nice ending to this first trilogy in the Iron Fey series, although it was a little bit of a repeat of previous books.