Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 11, 2014

I actually found this review of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass quite difficult to write.  It tells the story of assassin turned prisoner Celaena and her participation in the competition to become the King’s Champion.  I LOVED the book and got caught up in the story and characters.  However this made it rather tricky to analyse why I liked it so much and what made it work.  Nevertheless I’ll give it a go. What I liked The characters.  I found our protagonist Celaena Sardothien very engaging and fun to follow.  She is strong-willed, smart, resourceful – and very funny.  It’s clear her experiences in the prison of Endovier have left their mark on her, both physically and emotionally.  Maas did however add in a few quirks to keep her real.  I liked that she wasn’t immediately up to full physical strength after her imprisonment and had to balance physical weakness with smarts.  The fact that she was terrified to stand on the glass in the glass castle was interesting. The setting.  Now, I am a person who has a stronger affinity with words than with pictures, but I loved the mental picture that Maas conjured of the glass castle…

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 9, 2014

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks is a YA fantasy novel which tells the story of Emma McIntosh who after a tragic incident at a beach meets Galan Forza, one of the Syrena, or merfolk, who believes Emma may be a Syrena of the line of Poseidon, putting her in a position to end wars between the merfolk.   Emma, on the other hand, knows nothing of her heritage.  I did enjoy Of Poseidon, and will very likely read the sequels at some point.  However, I wouldn’t say the book was fantastic or a must-read.   What I liked Fun protagonist.  I really liked the way Emma was written.  She is fun, sparky and realistic.  I enjoyed her interactions with Galen and the rest of his entourage.  I was disappointed we didn’t get to see more of her friendship with Chloe – that would have been fun to read about.  I felt the tragedy gave Emma more depth than she might have otherwise had. Interesting subplots.  There are several subplots woven throughout the story and they were well done – it was also great the way they were woven into the main plot in the end reveal.  The worldbuilding.  I enjoyed…

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare – review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / June 2, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire is the sixth and final book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series. It is the final chapter in the fight between Sebastian and Team Good for control of the world itself.  There has been major hype and excitement about this book, closing off as it does, the adventures of much loved characters. For me personally, I found the book somewhat of a disappointment.  This is the final book in the series and far too often Clare took the easy road. What I liked Setup for the next trilogy.  It is perhaps a measure of my disappointment that the aspect of this book I found most intriguing was the setup for the next series, The Dark Artifices.  TDA is set in LA and is centred around Emma Carstairs and her friend Julian Blackthorn, whom we meet in this book.  At first I’d been unconvinced about the LA setting – for me vampires/werewolves/demons etc have an old world feel, and seemed better suited to the older cities of New York and London.  However Clare completely convinced me LA was a valid setting and I really loved the character of Emma.  She is still little more than a…

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 21, 2014

Ironskin by Tina Connelly is a retelling of Jane Eyre with a fantasy twist.  Unlike similar classic/fantasy blends such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Jane Slayre, Ironskin avoids the humorous side of such a juxtaposition and plays it relatively straight.  It tells the story of Jane Eliot, a young woman who must wear an iron mask to contain the effects of a injury sustained in the war against the fae.  Although the war is long over, she is still very much an outcast and takes employment with one Mr. Rochart looking after his young daughter, Dorie.  Dorie, it seems, has also been affected by the fae. What I liked The adaptation.  This version, while not following the exact plotline of Jane Eyre, does an excellent job of maintaining the characterisations and emotional beats of the original story.  Like Jane Eyre, our Jane Eliot lives at the fringes of her society, and this has a large influence on her character.  Edward too, is very similar to the Edward Rochester of the book – his guilt for his past is a block in his admitting his feelings for Jane.  Ironskin focusses mainly on the Jane/Edward relationship and hits most of…

Ironskin by Tina Connolly – review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 21, 2014

Ironskin by Tina Connelly is a retelling of Jane Eyre with a fantasy twist.  Unlike similar classic/fantasy blends such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Jane Slayre, Ironskin avoids the humorous side of such a juxtaposition and plays it relatively straight.  It tells the story of Jane Eliot, a young woman who must wear an iron mask to contain the effects of a injury sustained in the war against the fae.  Although the war is long over, she is still very much an outcast and takes employment with one Mr. Rochart looking after his young daughter, Dorie.  Dorie, it seems, has also been affected by the fae. What I liked The adaptation.  This version, while not following the exact plotline of Jane Eyre, does an excellent job of maintaining the characterisations and emotional beats of the original story.  Like Jane Eyre, our Jane Eliot lives at the fringes of her society, and this has a large influence on her character.  Edward too, is very similar to the Edward Rochester of the book – his guilt for his past is a block in his admitting his feelings for Jane.  Ironskin focusses mainly on the Jane/Edward relationship and hits most of…

The One by Kiera Cass – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 12, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass is the final book in the Selection trilogy which tells the story of America Singer and her participation in the Bachelor type contest to win the heart and hand of Prince Maxon.  I absolutely ADORED this book and would have happily read it had it been three times as long.  Cass continued to develop the things I loved about the earlier books and my minor gripes about the series were all resolved. Before I start I would like to reecho the comment I made in an earlier post about the Selection Collection – the ebook compendium that includes all three novels plus the two novellas, The Guard and The Prince.  I honestly don’t know what the editor who put it together was thinking: they have the two novellas following on after The One which makes zero sense.  The Prince is set before The Selection and The Guard is set between The Elite and The One.  If you read them in the order presented in the compendium you’re going to end up frustrated because all of the great character development of the later books is reset.   What I liked The blend.  In The One, Cass…

The One by Kiera Cass – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / May 12, 2014

The One by Kiera Cass is the final book in the Selection trilogy which tells the story of America Singer and her participation in the Bachelor type contest to win the heart and hand of Prince Maxon.  I absolutely ADORED this book and would have happily read it had it been three times as long.  Cass continued to develop the things I loved about the earlier books and my minor gripes about the series were all resolved. Before I start I would like to reecho the comment I made in an earlier post about the Selection Collection – the ebook compendium that includes all three novels plus the two novellas, The Guard and The Prince.  I honestly don’t know what the editor who put it together was thinking: they have the two novellas following on after The One which makes zero sense.  The Prince is set before The Selection and The Guard is set between The Elite and The One.  If you read them in the order presented in the compendium you’re going to end up frustrated because all of the great character development of the later books is reset.   What I liked The blend.  In The One, Cass…

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins – Review

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins is a young adult supernatural novel which tells the story of Southern belle teen Harper Price who, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, finds herself with supernatural abilities and the awesome responsibility that comes along with them.  While there was a lot I liked about the book, there was still a great deal I felt could have been handled better.   What I liked The writing style.  This is the first book by Hawkins that I have read and I did really enjoy her fresh, witty writing style.  There was a lot of humour to be mined from the juxtaposition of Harper’s Southern belle character and her new kickass ninja powers and I enjoyed that very much.   I also felt the pacing was kept brisk and the storyline moved along nicely.   The narration.  I listened to Rebel Belle in audiobook format, which is narrated by Amy Rubinate.  Now, I’d not been too fond of Rubinate’s narration of Kiera Cass’s The Selection series, but I did enjoy listening to her read Rebel Belle.  Perhaps the smart, sassy heroine of this book is better suited to Rubinate’s narrative style.  Here’s a sample…

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins – Review

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins is a young adult supernatural novel which tells the story of Southern belle teen Harper Price who, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, finds herself with supernatural abilities and the awesome responsibility that comes along with them.  While there was a lot I liked about the book, there was still a great deal I felt could have been handled better.   What I liked The writing style.  This is the first book by Hawkins that I have read and I did really enjoy her fresh, witty writing style.  There was a lot of humour to be mined from the juxtaposition of Harper’s Southern belle character and her new kickass ninja powers and I enjoyed that very much.   I also felt the pacing was kept brisk and the storyline moved along nicely.   The narration.  I listened to Rebel Belle in audiobook format, which is narrated by Amy Rubinate.  Now, I’d not been too fond of Rubinate’s narration of Kiera Cass’s The Selection series, but I did enjoy listening to her read Rebel Belle.  Perhaps the smart, sassy heroine of this book is better suited to Rubinate’s narrative style.  Here’s a sample…

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / April 7, 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige was one of my most anticipated reads of the season.  I read and loved the prequel – No Place Like Oz –  and indeed my desire to read Dorothy Must Die sent me into a reading slump for a while as nothing else hit the spot.  Having read it, I can say that, while there was a lot to enjoy about Dorothy Must Die it didn’t quite live up to my anticipation. What I liked The protagonist.  I really liked our protagonist, Amy Gumm, and enjoyed following her journey. She is a strong, kick-ass heroine, yet is dealing with her own internal demons and has her own buttons that can be pressed.  Coming from Kansas as she does, she is the reader’s inroad to Dorothy’s Oz.  Many parallels are drawn between Amy and Dorothy; both are originally from Kansas, both were feeling trapped in their mundane lives with little escape from their farm/small town before their arrival in Oz.  Both are sensitive to the magic that is all around in Oz. The worldbuilding.  While it’s fair to say that L. Frank Baum did a lot of the heavy lifting in his creation of the…