Novel-Artwork-Michelle Kenney

Review: City of Dust by Michelle Kenney

I receieved a copy of City of Dust from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Novel-Artwork-Michelle Kenney

The fight is never over.

Life in Arafel is no longer safe. Not since August’s disappearance, and whispers of a ghost controlling Pantheon.

Meanwhile, Talia stands torn between secretive twin, Eli, and best friend, Max.

Betrayal forces Talia to leave the sanctuary of her forest home as she pursues the stolen Book of Arafel. A book which could destroy the freedom of all those she loves if it falls into the wrong hands. And when she enters the ancient ruined city of Isca, she fights to protect the vulnerable from the iron grip of the Pantheon, while learning to fight for the man she loves.

But with the shadow of the Black Aquila looming ever closer, will she put the freedom of others above her own, or will she follow her heart?

This is Michelle Kenney’s thrilling second instalment in the Book of Fire Trilogy.

background-books-business-flowers-review

I award this novel 3.5 stars

Author Michelle Kenney is a fantastic writer who writes beautiful prose and compelling characters. The world building is rich and luscious. Mixing the natural world of Arafel with a post-apocalyptic Exeter where its scientists tinkers with genetic moulding. Here we encounter a tapestry of Roman mythology and a diverse selection of mythical beings.

What I loved.

Talia is a feisty, feral girl struggling with the after-effects from book 1, Book of Fire, when she and her companions are thrust back into the clutches of Pantheon. I loved her brother Eli and their close bond. Eli’s disadvantages made him more endearing. I particularly adored the love triangle, between Talia, her best friend Max and Pantheon’s smouldering General August. Where does Talia’s heart lie and is August the traitor he’s portrayed to be? The inner turmoil and tension was a great hook. It’s a fantastic concept: Genetically modifying Roman DNA to create a new breed of humans and a complex rich selection of mythical creatures.

What I didn’t like.

The science technology during the dialogue was occasionally jarring, pulling me out the story. During the middle scenes the pace dropped, there was a lot of tunnel traversing and not a lot of character reflection or growth. I lost connection with the story and my desire to care for the quest. However, this picked back up with the reintroduction of the love triangles tension.  The final chapters reached pivotal action that had me on the edge of my seat, only to disappoint with the cliffhanger ending. (I’m not a fan of those, but you can’t please everyone.)

If you’re a fan of YA dystopian fantasy then this novel is for you, It’s a well-written read that is similar to The Hunger Games and The Mazerunner.


About the author.

Michelle is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they’re unlikely to find a cure any time soon.

You can follow Michelle over at her pages…

Michelle’s Facebook page

Michelle’s Instagram

Thanks for stopping by. Do you love reading dystopian novels? If so, what is your favourite story / series? Mine is The Hunger Games, I freeking love Katniss.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

Until next time, Much Love.

Pinterest    Instagram    Twitter    Facebook

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J.Maas

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight

Blurb

A COURT OF FROST AND STARLIGHT BY FANTASY AUTHOR SARAH J.MAASA companion tale to Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series that takes place several months after the explosive events of A Court of Wings and Ruin

Told from the perspectives of Feyre, Rhys and other key characters, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.
Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated – scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.


I award this novel 4/5 stars

Review

This is a beautiful rendition of the winter solstice and makes a stunning, festive story. The world-building and characters have already been developed in the previous stories, A Court of Thorns and Roses, then my all-time favourite novel A Court of Mist and Fury and lastly, A Court of Wings and Ruin. If you haven’t read any of the series yet, and you’re wondering if you might like them, then take a look at my previous reviews.

What I loved about this short story.

Feyre and Rhysand are a gorgeous couple, they make my heart melt with their affection for each other. They are content; it’s refreshing to read a story where couples are happy together, without relying on chaos between them to drive the stories tension. Because there’s plenty of that building between other characters.

Sarah J.Maas takes us through the Night Court, showing us the carnage and grief left by the war, but also the spirit of the people and the determination they have to rebuild and enjoy the festivities.

In this story we delve into Mor and Cassian’s POV, Its a pure teaser. We get a glimpse at their demons, hopes and desires. It quite simply left me wanting more.

Soo frustrating! I can almost taste the looming tension.

And that is what I hated about the story…. It’s meant as a bridging tale, ready to delve into the journey of Mor and Cassian. And how long do I have to wait for that??? It was a warm tale of family and friendship, whilst revealing the hidden scars which have yet to heal. It didn’t go far enough for me, which is why I didn’t give it the full five stars. I want to read those stories, the heart wrenching, angst of ACOMAF. I have a feeling that will be the next instalment. I can’t bloody wait!

Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think of it?

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Pinterest    Instagram    Twitter    Facebook

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Blurb

The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackOf course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

One terrible morning, Jude and her sisters see their parents murdered in front of them. The terrifying assassin abducts all three girls to the world of Faerie, where Jude is installed in the royal court but mocked and tormented by the Faerie royalty for being mortal.

As Jude grows older, she realises that she will need to take part in the dangerous deceptions of the fey to ever truly belong.

But the stairway to power is fraught with shadows and betrayal. And looming over all is the infuriating, arrogant and charismatic Prince Cardan . . .


I award this Novel 5/5 Stars.

Oh my, where to start. This novel has appeared everywhere. Scattered across the blogging community and plastered over Instagram. Mine included, so I delved in. In part because of the hype, but also because The Cruel Prince is my favourite genre YA fantasy/romance.

Prince Cardan and his fae friends are spiteful and vindictive at the best of times, but to the mortals residing in their realms they are merciless. Twin Jude has played the long subservient game. Until she realises they will never stop. Refusing to bow to them any longer, she promises to humiliate Cardan by never backing down.

From the first page, I was gripped. Each chapter engaged my attention and enticed me further into the well developed world of the fae. Elfhame is rich, full of depth and beautiful. A contradiction to the fae themselves.

I loved the dynamics of Jude’s fae family. All of whom, had their own secrets and agendas. . I loved Jude’s defiant attitude, her burning anger that pushes her to become great in a ruthless world.

Locke and Jude’s romance seemed too good to be true, and even though Cardan was the villain I loved to hate, I longed for the romance to be between him and Jude. Their developing relationship was pure dynamite. Perilous, dark and twisted. And not what I anticipated, the whole novel was a glorious surprise. And the story turned out all the more delicious for it.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

As always, thanks for reading. Have you finished The Cruel Prince? If so, what did you think? Or do you have any sugesstions of similar novels? Share them with me!!!

Pinterest    Instagram    Twitter    Facebook

LinkedIn   Tumblr

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Blurb

Review The Magician King NA Fantasy NovelMeet Quentin Coldwater, king of the bizarre and wonderful land of Fillory. But he is getting restless, even in heaven a man needs a little adventure. So when a steward is murdered on a morning’s hunt Quentin gets exactly that. But this quest is like no other. What starts as a glorified cruise to faraway lands soon becomes the stuff of nightmares…

I award this novel four out of five stars

Today I’m reviewing the second novel of the Magician series. A fantastic series that has been made into a TV show for the SyFy channel. It’s one of my much-loved shows, if you haven’t seen it yet, and you’re a fan of fantasy, I highly recommend it.

Feel free to check out my review of first novel The Magicians. Lev Grossman’s writing is awe inspiring. He’s easily one of my top ten favourite authors. His descriptive way of defining the ordain and extraordinary is effortless and imaginative.

I loved the journey into Julia’s life, and her harrowing route to becoming a Magician. I was fully engrossed in every chapter from her point of view. Her crippling depression was well written and I felt accurate. I could fully identify with her darkness.

I missed the terrific characters from the first novel; Alice, Janice and Eliot were hardly mentioned. This was a shame. They were well developed, complex characters, bringing a lighter touch of comedy and love for Quinten.  I didn’t fully connect with some of the others. We experienced Poppy, Josh and Penny through the Quinten’s lens. They weren’t always favourites of his, it made for comical encounters or lacklustre ones.

 

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy Author

I adore Quinten’s mind, his restlessness. I loved how the seemingly inconsequential threads lined up to complete Quinten’s quest. And although I routed for a happy conclusion, Que’s acceptance of his journey and the consequences made for a surprising and satisfactory ending. Leaving a beautiful hook for the next novel, whilst tying off all the loose threads.

There were parts of the novel which dragged, hence four stars instead of five. In places, Grossman’s elaborate writing slowed the plot and pace. I struggled to maintain reading, it took weeks to finish. But once the momentum of the Magician King’s quest finally took off, I was once more engrossed until the bittersweet end.


Thank you for reading. Have you read The Magician series? If so, what did you think? Or drop me a message about what you’re currently reading. Until next time, take care my friends. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

Pinterest    Instagram    Twitter    Facebook

LinkedIn   Tumblr

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Novel. YA. fantasy. Romance.

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Blurb

Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Novel. YA. fantasy. Romance.

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.


 I rate this novel 4.5/5 stars

My review

I connected with Scarlett in most ways; her similar traits were created by a complex and all too familiar family history. She’s taken responsibility of her younger sister Tella, since the disappearance of their mother, desperate to keep them safe from their father wrath. While being bound by crippling fear that he wields over them, yet she longs for a romantic solution to her situation. Meanwhile Tella, is wild and lives life to the full, regardless of the consequences. The two sisters make great polar-opposites.

The author Stephanie uses all five senses to pull the reader into the story. I particularly loved the use of colour to reveal Scarlett’s emotions. My imagination danced with delight while reading Caraval.

It reminded me of, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – A truly magical novel. You can check my review. Full of magic, mystery and carnival delights.

Scarlett and Julien’s story was utterly enthralling. They swept me up in their tale of anguish, hope, passion and desperation. An enchanting combination of evocative emotions.

My favourite character was Julian, the mysterious, head strong boy that oozes charm, but has the steel-edge of danger surrounding him. Swoon. Although the noel was an easy read, the imaginings behind the costumes, settings and puzzles were elaborate and fantastical. I know this book will sit as an all-time favourite on my bookshelf.

It was Tella that let the story down. Perhaps, because her recklessness reminds me of my own sister. A trait I’ve admired, but been perplexed by all my life. Saying that, I’ve already pre-booked Ledgendary, the second book in the Caraval series. I’m guessing the next book will be from Tella’s point of view. To understand her actions and choices will be enlightening.

I recommend this novel to YA fantasy romance readers. If you love carnivals, magic, mystery and love stories that make your blood sing and heart flutter – then this book is for you.

Thanks for stopping by. Have you read Caraval? If so, what did you think?

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

a-court-of-wings-ruin-fantasy-romance-novel.jpg

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

I love this author!!! My dream is to one day be as successful as her, to sign books at the same function. Ahh, did I mention daydreaming is a big deal for me. If you’re a fan of Fantasy Romance, then I strongly recommended you read this series. Check out my reviews A Court of Thorns & Roses and my personal favourite A Court of Mist & Fury. So without further delay, here is my review of the third installment of this series #ACOTAR


Blurb.

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN FANTASY ROMANCE NOVELFeyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


I Award this Novel 5/5 Starsmy Heart and Soul with it.

My favourite quote from the novel is one that rings true in my own life.

‘If I had not met a shadowslinger, I would not have known that it is the family you make, not the one you are born into, that matters. I would not have known what it is to truly hope, even when the world tells you to despair.’

Feyre is lethal and daring, a female that holds her own. Rhysand is still charming, cunning and a force to be recommend with. He makes my heart melt. He’s ruined me for real life, nothing can compare to the emotions their love invoked in me. Truth be told, I found a lot of similarities between Rhys and my hubby. Particularly the way he treats her, lets her hold her own, but is always there to turn to.

What most inspired me, was the friendships that formed into family. The dynamics of the complex characters and how they all work, sometimes don’t work, together… because that’s what a family is. This novel delves into the other characters more, we start to unravel their pasts. To see what makes them all tick.

The war fair, is gritty, catastrophic and brutal. My heart was in my throat for most of the novel. I couldn’t predict the ending and when it arrived it was spectacular, heart-breaking and beautiful.

Sarah J Maas knows how to put her readers through the wringer. The whole series is complex, rich in belief systems, diversity, races and social status. Her world building is breath-taking; she weaves a rich, lush tapestry of realms and characters.

Spoiler: I only have one Qualm with this story and its Mor’s revelation. I have no issue with her choices; it makes a lot of sense. I’m just disappointed for Azriel. Unrequited love is a hard pill to swallow. Something I’ve had to deal with. I hope brighter things are aligned for his future.

Have you read this series? What did you think? If you’re a fan of fantasy Romance, what other series did you enjoy reading?

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Blurb

The Night Circus by Erin MorgensternThe circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads:

Opens at Nightfall, Closes at Dawn

As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.

Le Cirque des Rêves – The Circus of Dreams.

Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.


I award this novel 5 stars.

My Review of Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel – The Night Circus.

The Night Circus is imaginative, dark and magical. A mix of fantasy and realism that portrays a tale of coming-of-age. The novel is thrillingly wonderfull, a delicate blend of romance and friendship. It fired up evocative images, played to my senses and delivered me into the marvellous world of The Night Circus.

I read this book when I was in Disney World. The magic and tantalising playfulness of the creation blended seamlessly with my holiday. In fact, it heightened my experience. Each caramel popcorn stall I passed reminded me of the vibrant story. The acrobats performing at the Cirque du Soleil blurred with vivid tale of The Night Circus. In the day I was transported into childlike wonder and at night Erin’s debut novel whisked me away, with the rich tapestry of her character’s lives.

I adore the book cover, with its timeless beauty, simplicity and cleverly designed intricate details. Simply stunning!

Throughout my holiday I carried the book in my heart and soul. Like the Reveres in the story, I too fell in love with the fantastical circus.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Have you read The Night Circus? What did you think and do you have any similar favourites? Let me know I love hearing from you.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

Review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This fantastic book was lent to me by a wonderful bookshop owner in my home town. He has a particular fondness of fantasy novels and has dedicated a large bookshelf to that genre. I was surprised to find I’d already read a considerable amount off of that shelf. I found in his collection The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien and snapped up the copy.

The bookshop guy didn’t have any Neil Gaiman’s books in store to sell. But he happily lent me his copy of The Ocean at the end of the lane. So, thank you kind bookshop owner. He made my day with his generosity, for lending me a novel that I’m sure will stay with me until the end of time.

Blurb.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman

It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond this world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed – within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it.

His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang.

My review.

This novel is awarded 5 stars

The ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman is a flashback to a childhood of forgotten memories. It’s beautiful, gritty and evocative. Highly imaginative, with gripping tension that captured my attention from start to finish. I devoured this book within a day.

A friend of mine said, ‘I love Neil Gaiman, the only problem with his books is that they’re too short. I wish he’d write bigger books.’

I’d have to agree. The story was creative beyond my wildest imaginings but grounded with its possibilities. From myth to fable, Gaimen tips his hat to great literature and all done through the eyes of a seven-year-old.

Even though the novel is portrayed through a young character, I felt honored to recollect the vivid imaginings and scary possibilities of being vulnerable and at the mercy of adults. I think that’s what resonated most with me.

I’m set on having all of Gaiman’s novels for my collection. My local bookshop is set to become one of my favorite places. The only trouble is, where am I going to keep all my books. I’ll add a library/office to my wish list.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What author have you discovered that surprised and delighted you? Do you have a story of random kindness? Share them with me – I’d love to hear about it.

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer. 🙂

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2017.
A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Review – A court of Mist and Fury.

A court of Mist and Fury Fantasy Romance Author

Feyre struggles with what she endured under the mountain. Worse is Tamlin’s controlling behavior in a bid to ensure her safety and his lack of empathy for all she’s been through.

Feyre is mollycoddled, paraded like a trophy in front of the Courts but ignored. She’s suffocating in this new world. Until Rhysand arrives, calling in his end of the bargain.

Prythian is revealed in a rainbow of colors, vibrancy and life. All is not as it seemed in the spring court. With her new fae body, Rhysand helps Feyre discover her hidden powers enabling her to become whole once more.

In this novel Feyre grows from a young girl with only romantic ideas of love and begins to bloom into the woman she is truly meant to become. I love how Feyre and Rhysand’s relationship is harsh, gritty and full of teasing.

The introduction of new characters deepens the world. Enriching the story, filling it with a complex structure. The plot expands, growing seamlessly from book one without leaving unfinished business.

(Manipulating me into the next story is my pet peeve. Sure leave a subtle twist or a few teasers but for the love of god, complete the story that was set out in book one.) Thankfully Sarah J. Maas does not do that. She’s a goddess in my opinion. I’m a huge fan girl of hers.

Sarah J. Mass tore my heart out and left me grieving for her world. I was desperate for the next installment but couldn’t risk my obsessive nature. I have a tendency to live in the fantasy realm. I have a family. I’ve promised myself that once my second novel is complete, I’ll delve back into her world. I can’t wait to meet Rhysand again. He’s my all time favorite book boyfriend.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy Author

Review – The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blurb.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman Review Fantasy AuthorIn a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price …

Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead – but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined.

The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last – and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected …

Author Lorraine Ambers Banner

I award this novel 5 stars.

Review

Quinten is a mathematical genius. Though he’s the top of his class, Quinten feels as if he doesn’t quite belong, that perhaps he was meant for something else. (A feeling I’m familiar with.) Brakebells reveals a life that he was born to be part of. Inserting him in with other students of equal or better talents.

Not only is the story set in an urban fantasy setting but the novel also makes way for the introduction to Fillory. A world thought to be only an author’s creation, that later turns out to actually exist.

The magicians have a magic system with clear consequences for misuse and a unique way of performing the spells by using finger signals. I loved the distinctive performance of casting magic.

The plot drives a suspenseful and engaging momentum. Lev Grossman writes a dark and addictive fantasy, with entertaining and inspirational descriptions. A smart and gripping view of complex relationships. Whilst delving into the experiences of new adulthood. With amusing pop culture references, that bring well-developed characters to life.

The young adults experiment with the excitements of magic and life, giving into impulses and crashing into the fallout of their consequences.

The Magicians is the first in a trilogy and has been made into a successful TV series. I highly recommend bingeing on both.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016