Book Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AuthorLeigh Bardugo
Release Date: 12th July 2016
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic & Elementals
Series: Six Of Crows (Book #1) & Grishaverse
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 495
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Blurb:
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Review

★★★★★

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, the first book in the Six Of Crows Duology (also a part of the Grishaverse), is DEVILISHLY GOOD!!

When I was starting with this book, I did not even have the slightest of ideas that it would turn out to be one of my all-time favourite fantasy books! I loved, LOVED, the world-building and felt like Ketterdam was indeed a real world of which I desperately wanted to be a part of! This book is like a dream come true for a fantasy reader because this book has so much to offer to its readers that you simply can’t fault it! The conflicts were ridiculously good and lent an air of authenticity to the characters, something that lacks in most of the fantasy books these days. It was pure bliss to have read this book as I was so fed up of reading books that were only hyped up and had literally next to nothing to offer Caraval.

description

This book is a mind-blowing and earth-shattering dark fantasy novel. The story is deliciously complex and suitably grounded and the characterisation very mature, gritty and intricate. The story and the concept are simply out of the world and the author’s meticulous detailing is spot-on. This is a book you’d want to get lost in forever.

It is like a beautiful piece of art that you want to collect and then visit and revisit it again and again and again… This book is so ridiculously good that I can re-read it right now (only after 10 days.) It is one of those books that you wish would never get over… like The Hobbit and the ASOIF series but in a totally different way.

description

THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL!!
✦ A badass anti-hero with gut-wrenching inner-conflicts and an extremely difficult background and who is dubbed by people as the demon or the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A deadly and dangerous heroine who uses her Wraith-like persona to find out everyone’s dark secrets in order to serve the devil himself – check ✔︎
✦ A super-funny, charming and dangerous sharp-shooter side-kick who also happens to have a crush on the devil – check ✔︎
✦ A super-sassy, bold and gifted enchantress with unmatched super-powers who can kill you with a snap of her finger – check ✔︎
✦ A badass warrior-hunter-soldier who cannot be matched for strength – check ✔︎
✦ A naive rich brat who has left all the comforts and riches behind in order to find himself – check ✔︎

And there’s even more…
☛ An impossible heist
☛ Harsh weather conditions
☛ Bitterness amongst some people in the crew
☛ Possibility of backstabbing
☛ The odds are completely against and the stakes are so high that the readers can’t help but get swept away by how things happen the twisty turns that greet them at each and every page turn!

This book is a legitimate un-put-down-able read and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy and/or books with a solid plot as well as characterization. I mean, What The Hell Are You Still Waiting For?! Go and get this book today and do yourselves a huge favour!!

this review is also posted on Goodreads
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AudioBook Review: A Witch’s Concern by N.E.Conneely

Author: N.E. Conneely
Narrators: Jeff Hays and Laurie
Release Date: 
16th January 2018
Genre: Paranormal, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Magic Realism
Series: 
A Witch’s Path, Book 4
Length: 7 hours 25 minutes
Publisher: N.E. Conneely
Blurb:
Michelle has been figuring out what her life is like now that the demon has been killed and Sylvia and Varro are dead. Even the clans of witches trying to attract her to their way of life have backed off and given her a chance to grieve. Her relationship with Elron is stronger than ever, but there are things left unsaid.On the way to her parent’s wedding, the delicate calm she’d been living in is broken. Witches are out for her blood, her family is caught in the crossfire, and friendships are threatened. Work doesn’t let up either, and she partners up with Elron to deal with magic gone wild. Michelle finds that her problems are larger than one clan of witches, and is forced to choose between the people she holds dear and the way of life she loves.

Review

★★★★

A Witch’s Concern by N.E. Conneely is a refreshing and highly entertaining read, revolving around a young witch and her adventures.

I loved this book; the plot was unique, the characters and their conflicts felt real and the sub-plots were very interesting. I enjoyed listening to the story from start till the end, and even though this is the 4th book in A With’s Path series, I didn’t have any trouble getting into it. So this book can safely be read as a stand alone as well, but I am considering reading all the previous parts before going for the next ones.

The characterization was good, if not brilliant, and even though I wasn’t able to connect to the main lead, Michelle, in a very strong way, I liked her quite a lot and that was enough for me to read about her and her adventures (or misadventures.) Elron’s character felt a bit shaky initially but by the end of the book, he proved to be a strong male lead.

The narration was good for the most part. It took me some time to get into Elron’s (Jeff Hays) narration, though I did love the female lead’s narration a lot! Lauri’s voice and expressions were really good and made listening to this audiobook a very pleasant experience.

I’d recommend this book to all the paranormal and supernatural lovers, along with those who love reading about witches, elves and magic.

this review is also posted on audible and goodreads

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Book Review: Beneath The Skin by R.L. Martinez

Author: R.L. Martinez
Release Date: 21st July 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Elementals > Magic, Witches, Shape-shifter
Series: The Witchbreed Series – #2
Edition:
 E-book
Pages: 365
Publisher: Lakewater Press
Blurb:
Abandoned, betrayed, and wanted for murder, Lady Oriabel Dominax is a witch on the run. The deadly magic now awakened inside her is hungry, and it is all Oriabel can do to control it. With no choice but to trust strangers as her guardians, she quickly discovers not everyone is who they say they are and the very magic she fears might be her only weapon to protect those she loves.
Since rescuing her sister from certain death, Lady Ottilde Dominax’s only goal is to keep Oriabel safe and alive. Not an easy task when both the enemy and their so-called allies are hunting them. Placing all her trust in the very man who held her prisoner, Ottilde must open her heart and mind to a future she could never have predicted, a future guided only by love and survival.
Life, death, and tragedy lie ahead as the Dominax twins set out on a perilous journey to safety. But knowing they are mere pawns in someone else’s game means fighting for family is all they have left.

REVIEW

★★

Beneath The Skin by R.L. Martinez is the second instalment of The Witchbreed series and a sequel to one of my favourite fantasy books, In The Blood.

The first book in this series was so good that when I was offered to review the second one, I was beyond myself and agreed immediately, though I started to feel sceptical about the series as a whole the moment I laid eyes on the cover of this one. Still, I went ahead and read the book because I was sure the story had to be good because… you know… it was the sequel to In The Blood! However, things did not go as per my expectations and this part ended up disappointing me.

I was expecting to see a lot of action and was looking forward to learning more about the characters of whom I was already a fan, but the book proved to be a slog and I was struggling only after a couple of pages. The characters seemed to annoy me for some reason and the pace fo the story was extremely slow in the first half the story. To be honest after about 30% of the book I was literally skimming over the pages not wanting to DNF this book. The story picked up pace after 50% though by that time I was not even interested in knowing whatever was happening.

This is the first time (after DIvergent) that I did not like a particular part of a book series, so I’m not even sure if I’ll be reading the next part.

Goodreads and Amazon

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Book Review: Stories From The Witch Store by Olga Gutsol

Author: Olga Gutsol
Release Date: 20th August 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal > Magic and Witches, Humour
Edition: e-book
Pages: 114
Publisher:

Blurb:

Funny and imaginative chronicles from the life of a hereditary witch Arelia who, along with her loyal companions Cat and house-ghost Puck, moved to the small town of Burnaville to open the Magic Potions store. Here she falls into a lifetime of boredom. How have her magical powers resulted in this? What is missing from the charming life she has built?

Review

Stories From The Witch Store is a delightful young adult read sprinkled with beautiful and heart-warming illustrations that’ll win your heart!

This book is written in the form of diary entries from the perspective of the main protagonist, Arelia, the town witch. It is a beautiful, beautiful book and I’m sure that it will steal your heart with the author’s clever writing and impressive imagination. It has been so long since I’ve read such a delightful book about witches. The wittiness of Arelia and her seemingly mundane life with Puck, the house spirit, and Cat, her familiar, is outstanding and very, very funny.

Each and every diary entry is a treat to read, whether short or long. Arelia is a very strong protagonist and I was able to connect to her instantly. I liked her from the first diary entry and was in love with her adorable character by the 2nd page itself. Even all the secondary characters are well-crafted and quite relatable, especially that of Puck and Cat – they’re my absolute favourites.

I’d recommend this book to each and everyone who loves reading, especially fantasy and paranormal (magic and witches) readers.

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Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: In The Blood by R.L. Martinez

27689746Author: R.L. Martinez
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Series: The Witchbreed Series
Genre: High Fantasy, Magic Realism
(Magic Elementals > Wizards, Witches & Shapeshifters)
Edition: E-book (mobi)
Pages: 356
Publisher: Lake Water Press
Source: Publicist (via NetGalley)
Buy it here: Amazon

Rating: ★★★★★

Blurb:

The Warrior
The war between Dosalyn and Roanaan has ended, but a new battle begins for prisoner-of-war, Ottilde Dominax. Dreams of her witchbreed twin sister are visions of death and betrayal. Driven by their grim warning, she escapes her captors and races across nations to save her sister.
But she may arrive too late…
The Witch
Oriabel Dominax has kept her healing magic secret while she cares for her family’s struggling estate. But the arrival of a new lord with secrets of his own, the discovery of a dark and addictive magic, and threats from a cruel blackmailer push Oriabel closer to disaster.
Through it all, the Witch’s Tree calls…

Review

I enjoyed this book through and through. I picked up this book in hopes of reading a decent fantasy novel, but this book pleasantly surprised the hell out of me! It is an epic book with a brilliant plot, stunning characterization, and beautiful writing – all weaved together into a fantastic work that I was lucky enough to read.

This book has everything a fantasy lover craves – A new world to get completely lost into, characters whom you can love and hate forming unbreakable emotional bonds and a story that’ll make you forget everything else.
I was completely blown by the simplicity of this book and I’m eagerly waiting for the next part in this wondrous series.

In this book, the author uses realism as her weapon. Not all tales of good witches and helping shapeshifters end happily, and I’m really glad to say, that this book made me realize that the world of magic is not something to play around with.

R.L. Martinez uses her dark imagination to plow the fields of her war-wrought world with realism. It really made the entire witch breed concept interesting and mesmerizing. Now, I’m actually afraid of witches (which is something that is always  missing in most of the fantasy novels.) The author’s writing was really smooth and the pacing was exceptional.

The romance in this book literally swept me off my feet because of its simplicity and subtlety.

At first, the timelines seemed a little jumbled, but once I got in sync with the story I was able to make out the timelines pretty clearly.

In spite of all the raves, there was only one significant negative that stood out while reading this book, and it was the fact that most of the names (both of places and people) were odd and difficult to pronounce. It made it a bit difficult for me to enjoy the first few pages, but once I let go of my obsession of pronouncing the word right, I was able to get into the book easily enough. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve got more than half of the names wrong, and to be honest, this book is so great that I don’t even care about it anymore.)

As I said earlier, the characterization is brilliant! I felt a really strong  connection with the leading twin ladies of this book (I’m not gonna say the names as I’m sure I’ll pronounce them wrongly.) The other characters were so good that I felt a bond with each and every single character (secondary as well as not-so-important ones.)

This book ended on an excellent note with a smasher of a cliff hanger. After reading the last page I was literally pulling at my hair!

I loved this book and I think that everyone on this planet should read this series as I really think that everyone will love it!

Video Podcast

 

Bookstagram

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Instagram

Other Stuff

Opening Line: With cold stiff fingers, Ottilde Dominax rubbed the prisoner number tattooed on the side of her neck.

Highlights: Storyline and magic realism.

Lowlights: Names with difficult and odd pronunciations.

Memorable Quotes:

The world is only so big and you can only run so far.

Final Thoughts: A brilliant high-fantasy read that you simply can’t afford to miss!


You can also read this review at Goodreads, Netgally and Amazon.

 

Book Review: The Prophecy (The Fulfilment #1)

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Author: Erin Rhew 
Release Date: September 29, 2014
Series: The Fulfilment Series
Genre: YA | High-Fantasy | Romance
Edition: E-Book (mobi) 
Pages: 381
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Erin!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He’s grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear…not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidently meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash’s secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.

Rating

TRB 4 half star

Review

Plot/Story:

I absolutely loved the plot line of The Prophecy. It’s entertaining as well as really emotionally involving. I really enjoyed the story and  it pulled me into the world of Vanguards, Ethereal and Outlanders right from the very beginning.

The world-building is superb and the author has really done a commendable job in detailing. The book is written in multiple POVs and takes us through the lives of all the three main characters in detail. The pace of the story is great and being an absorbing read and all it proved to be quite a fast read.

I’m really excited to read the next book in the series as I honestly want to explore the amazing world of this book.

Characters:

The characterization in this book is really impressive. I loved the main characters, Layla, Will and Nash and even the supporting characters of Vespa, Grant and Volton Holt (there were more but I’m just mentioning my favorites.) I was able to connect with them all and was able to feel all the emotions the characters were experiencing. I really wanted to cry when they cried and literally grin when something good happened (especially when Nash came in the picture.)

Romance:

This book is a romantic YA Fantasy, so what else do you expect!? It has tons and tons of romance and the author managed to pull off the love-triangle thing gracefully. Though at first I thought it to be a little weird, considering Layla’s nature, but it was all explained beautifully in the second half of the book. And yes, it all did make sense (which is really rare these days!)

Writing:

The writing is really powerful which I was expecting and which doesn’t come as a shock because the author is an editor and I’ve read quite a few books edited by there and they were really awesome! T

Begining:

The Prophecy pulled me in right from the start. I loved the Day Of Dawning was intrigued about all the cryptic thoughts Layla had about the First Ones and the Ecclesiastics. I mean that really, really made me curious and that was the point where I realised that I was in for a brilliant read.

Ending:

The ending surprised me, but I must say I did expect a little more (just a teeny bit.) I mean the ending was haw-inspiring but I kind of made my peace with it thinking that at least now Layla won’t have to choose between the two princes. Maybe it’ll be different in the second part but I really needed something more that would have made it a cliff-hanger of an ending.

Blurb:

The blurb is perfect and it totally managed to get me to read this book. So yeah, it’s as good as it can be.

Cover Art:

I absolutely cover the cover art of this book and it really makes me want to pick up a hardcover copy of the book.

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Beware of gray skies; they can be an omen.

Highlights: The world-building.

Lowlights: None

Final Thoughts: An engaging fantasy read with brilliant world-building.


 

You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.

Book Review: A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story

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Author: A.J. York 
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Series: None
Genre: Children's Fantasy|Fairytales|Magic|Middlegrade|
Edition: Ebook (mobi)
Pages: 31
Publisher: Nova Sky Books
Source: Author (Thanks, Jen!)
Buy it here: Amazon

Blurb

A fully illustrated Christmas story that will make your heart sing!

Upstairs in the Anderson’s attic there is chatter coming from the Christmas, Easter and Halloween boxes. Someone new has arrived. Tallulah the Christmas Fairy wakes to find herself attached to the top of a tree. She soon makes friends and has a magical first Christmas. Once the festivities are over, Tallulah finds herself in the attic with the other decorations from Easter and Halloween. Each year they watch the seasons change as they wait excitedly for their turn to go downstairs. Until one day new boxes appear and then the unthinkable happens. A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story is a magical and uplifting tale for the whole family.

RatingTRB 5 stars

Review

A Fairy Extraordinary Christmas Story is a beautiful book that gives us a peek in the lives of the various decorations (that we assume to be non-living) such as Christmas decorations, Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving decorations, etc. and even a few toys.

It’s a heart melting story about how the decorations get all super-excited as their time of the year comes and how, when the festival ends, they get sad as they are stowed away in the attic. How they wait for the seasons to proceed and for their festival to come so that they can again be hung or placed downstairs and can finally see the family and the world outside (through the windows.)

The story is told from the POV of princess Tallulah, who is a new addition to the Anderson’s Christmas decorations. She sits at the top of the Christmas tree and makes loads of friends over time. And as the years go by all the decorations grow extremely close to each other and finally all the events lead up to the most amazing Christmas ever. (I won’t say anything further as it is a surprise after all!)

This story is so beautiful that not only children but adults will also enjoy it thoroughly. It’s a fairly quick read and will be a nice gift to give it your kids this Christmas. (I know I’m a little late, but what the heck, it’s still holiday season.)

In the Christmas spirit, here’s some magic for all the readers of TRB:

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Source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/eb323b1073d16f12cb46f41f8cc93b3f/tumblr_mftv2hFCaA1ric07zo1_400.gif

Book Trailer

Other Stuff

Opening Line: Tallulah had no idea she was alive. At least, not straight away.

Highlights: Awe-inspiring story.

Lowlights: None.

Final Thoughts: A magical read!


You can also read this review at Goodreads and Amazon.