Spoiler Free Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

5/5*

Children of Blood and BoneZélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

 

Guys, this is so good! If you haven’t read this already I highly suggest you do. Go and buy this now, if not for the amazing story then for that gorgeous cover 😉

Where to start? This story felt like 4 mini stories in one (amazing ones I add), moving from one fast paced scenario to another, covering fight scenes, festivals and pirates to name a few. The story follows Zelie as she journeys to undo the work of the repressive King and bring back magic, accompanied by her brother Tzain and Princess Amari. This story felt like an accessible epic, both easy to read but not simplistic, unique but not unusual.. if this makes sense? No? Ok…

I went into this book thinking that with over 500 pages, some of this is bound to drag and become unnecessary, but honestly I couldn’t pinpoint any moments that I could have edited out. It had good pacing and a good mixture of action and plot building. The writing is great and all the characters are fleshed out with their own personalities (more on the characters later!). I love that this high fantasy was set in West Africa, and more specifically focused on Yoruba culture (my husband is Yoruba so it was great to see that representation and discuss it with him throughout!). It had everything you’d want in a YA fantasy and more.

The world building was great, it reminisced the modern world and combined African history with Yoruba mythology. The magic system was also amazing, BTW did anyone else get halfway through and desperately want to take a quiz to see which Maji you would be? I’m still looking for that quiz BTW.

Readers be warned that this book is pretty violent in places and has torture scenes, attempted rape, derogatory terms etc. However you know the author is using the violence as a discussion on race in the modern world, including black lives matter. The social commentary is done is such a subtle but powerful way and I applaud Adeyemi on how she managed to do this.

 

WARNING: Spoilers ahead- if you have not read this yet, come back when you have! Then we can discuss 😀

OK the characters. Honestly I went from meh, to yay with some characters and yay to meh with others. At first I wasn’t sure about Zelie, she seemed a bit abrupt and inconsiderate, however by the end of the book my mind changed completely and I totally rooted for her. Sometimes showing that softer side is an advantage to the character, and I think seeing Zelie’s softer side in the latter half definitely built on her character arc.

Tzain, on the other hand, had the opposite effect. As soon as we met Zelie’s brother, I felt like this is the kind of character I love and I liked his strength and kindness. However later on in the book I found him to be quite irritating and a little hypocritical. Sure he can have feelings for the princess but if Zelie has feelings for the prince? NO WAY GIRLFRIEND.

Ok, Ok…I know I’m being a little unfair and I know Tzain has his reasons; he just seemed a little hypocritical to me and a little moany. Please turn back to being lovely, I loved you so much in the first half!

Amari was another one I didn’t like so much to begin with but grew on me throughout the book. Honestly the only way I can describe Amari in the beginning is ‘whelp’. Her intentions were good and I’m glad she wasn’t prone to violence, she just seemed a little weak and everything evolved around Binta, and to be fair, seeing your best friend murdered would have a huge impact, but sometimes there’s a bigger picture going on… ok I’m being harsh.

Inan.. sweet cinnamon roll Inan. Honestly Inan had massive Zuko vibes from Avatar: the last air bender. I know I shouldn’t have liked him and I should have been angry, but I couldn’t help but want the best for this guy! I’ll admit his feelings towards Zelie moved a little fast and little too strong for my tastes, but I’m 90% sure Inan is my favourite character. TEMI WHY YOU DO THIS ENDING TO ME?!

Although I have made some comments about what I liked and didn’t like about the characters, it all added up to them being amazing. Sure I didn’t love them all at the same time and there were some bits I didn’t like, but that’s what made them realistic and gave them variety. I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us… and please say Inan is ok?!

What did you guys think? Let me know!

Until next time books friends,
Star x

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Spoiler Free Review: The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser

The Forgotten Book by Mechthild Glaser
Isn’t it beautiful?!

 

4/5 Stars

Emma is used to things going her way. Her father is headmaster of her prestigious boarding school, her friends take her advice as gospel, and she’s convinced that a relationship with her long-time crush is on the horizon. As it turns out, Emma hasn’t seen anything yet. When she finds an old book in an abandoned library, things really start going Emma’s way: anything she writes in the book comes true. But the power of the book is not without consequences, and Emma soon realizes that she isn’t the only one who knows about it. Someone is determined to take it from her―and they’ll stop at nothing to succeed. A new boy in school―the arrogant, aloof, and irritatingly handsome Darcy de Winter―becomes Emma’s unlikely ally as secrets are revealed and danger creeps ever closer.

This book is a boarding school mystery, set in a castle next to the woods in Germany which has magic and fairy tales, oh and has a Pride and Prejudice plot… sounds good right? What I personally liked about this book is how it makes you feel with those bookish vibes, much like Glaser’s previous book, The Book Jumper. Library’s and books play a prominent role in this story, and I don’t know about you but I always enjoy a book about books, and it probably helped that I read this in a cosy bed with hot chocolate while there was a snow storm raging outside… perfection.

I’ll say here that this is a fun, quick and simple read, nothing ground breaking and nothing complex, just a good fantasy story to curl up in a blanket to and read on a Sunday afternoon. As mentioned this book is partly based on Pride and Prejudice, so if you don’t know the plot line of P&P you may enjoy this a little more as it will be less predictable. The book pulls off the P&P aspect in a none- cringey way and the characters are all pretty likeable, although I didn’t love Emma as much as I hoped as the main protagonist, but hey it didn’t make me dislike the book.

It did take a little while to get into the full swing of the plot, and the second half is definitely stronger than the first, but that’s when the fairy-tale aspect comes into play and you know we love a good fairy-tale! I won’t say anything more about that though, as I don’t want to get into spoiler territory and its probably best going into this book blind. Just know that this is a cosy read which incorporates fairy-tales, magic and pride and prejudice, and if that sounds good to you then what are you waiting for?

Until next time book friends,

Star x

Spoiler Free Review: Timeless Fairy Tales by K.M. Shea

Here at WEBOOKINGLOVEIT we love a good fairy-tale whether it’s an adaptation, retelling or a complete original. And so when I discovered the Timeless Fairy Tale series by K.M Shea I was intrigued and fell immediately in love with the Universe. Here is a quick broad summery of what you can expect:

“The continent is under attack. A prince is cursed to take on the body of a beast, a selkie’s pelt is stolen from her, an ogre rules in Carabas, a princess is cursed to sleep, and the elves have shut themselves off. Catastrophe and chaos rule as myths become reality and dark magic threatens to choke all that is good. Can the world be saved?

Timeless Fairy Tales are a series of fairy tale adaptations. They can be read in the series order, as they are listed below, or out of order. Each book focuses on a different main character, but there is some overlap as the events in each story impact the world they take place in.”

“Beauty and the Beast, book 1; Wild Swans, book 2; Cinderella and the Colonel, book 3; Rumpelstiltskin, book 4, The Little Selkie, book 5; Puss in Boots, book 6; Swan Lake, book 7, Sleeping Beauty, book 8; The Frog Prince, book 9, 12 Dancing Princesses, book 10.”

When I first read ‘Beauty and the Beast’ I was captivated by the world building, character development and the adorable romance. It had the perfect blend of originality and the classical fairytale we all know and love, something I struggle with when it comes to retellings, but this series gets the balance just right! However, the more I read of the series the more I loved the growing diversity of the characters; from Prince Severin’s grumpy strategist personality, to Prince Toril’s daft persona. Even though they are all different all the characters are attractive in their own way, which I find highly unusual in YA, so thumbs up to K.M. Shea!

Another bonus I found to this series was the way each story contributes to a larger picture, and interlinks so you can always check in on your favourite character (Personally my favourite character is Colonel Friedrich from ‘Cinderella and the Colonel’) and your favourite Country (Verglas is definitely my fave country so far). Let me know who your favourite is in the comments below! That’s the beauty of this series, you can always guarantee there will be a story/character that you will love.

So if you’re looking for an easy, quick read with a perfect blend of action and romance – this is the series for you! Feisty females and Charming Princes are all I need to enjoy a good fairy tale and this series delivers in abundance. I will confidently give this series a 4/5 stars, as I loved seven of the ten books, the other three (Wild Swans, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty) didn’t appeal to me, but that is my personal preference. I highly recommend this series guys so take a look and let me know what you think!

Fleur

Spoiler Free Review: Ruined by Amy Tintera

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4/5*

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

I’ve been meaning to pick this book up for so long, and thanks to Harper Collins who kindly sent us a copy, I have been able to do so! And yes I am very late to the party on this one but so, so happy I finally picked this up!

As the synopsis above states, this story follows Em who has taken the place of Prince Casimir’s betrothed, tricking the family and marrying the heir to the Lera throne so that she can take them down and avenge her parents. As this storyline alone will suggest, stakes are pretty high and the story has you on the edge of your seat wondering if Em will be discovered, and if so, what will happen to her. I’ll be honest here and say that if you have read a lot of YA set in warring, magical kingdoms then this plot will not be the most unique and refreshing, however it is very entertaining and if you are a fan of feuds, magic, tragedy and romance you will really enjoy this.

One of the main things I liked about this book is the world building. The kingdoms all have their own personality and relationships to each other and to magic and I found this really intriguing. It was done in a really clear and concise way so that you knew the traits and beliefs of each kingdom but weren’t left confused and overwhelmed by the details. Also I love the Ruined and can’t wait to read the sequel to get more information on their magic and (hopefully) meet more characters from there- more Ruined please!

I was pleasantly surprised by the characters in this book and so happy to report that none of them got on my nerves! A very rare occurrence indeed! Em did have the potential to annoy as she does fit into the typical YA ‘tough girl’ trope, but she didn’t! I liked her loyalty and her baddassery (that’s a word right?), but also liked to see her human side, yes people, sometimes badass female characters are human and can’t help be attracted to nice, good-looking men! And let’s face it Cas was a nice guy, and I like nice guys- so yay for Cas. My favourite character, though, had to be Aren. Just read it if you haven’t guys, so we can talk about Aren, he’s a cool guy.

The one part I did not like was around the 300 page mark which was pretty much a chapter devoted to the romance. I did not like that chapter. If you love romance though, you will probably like this and it does give you a little respite from the politics and violence, but honestly I just didn’t like how the romance was executed here, it felt rushed and a little unrealistic, but maybe that’s just my sceptical self. Also the below quote:

And he’d taken his shirt off and slung it over his shoulder. Em found herself staring at one particular drop of water making a journey from the base of his throat down the center of his chest. She watched as it rolled down, sliding across his skin and disappearing into the ridges of his abdominals. She had never wanted to be a drop of water so badly.

Yeah, no. This is not for me.

All in all I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to pick up the next one. If you guys haven’t read this yet but have thought about it, I recommend you do! It’s a quick, entertaining read and I’m pretty sure the third book comes out this year, so good timing!

A minor caution to younger readers that this book does include a fair amount of graphic violence.

Until next time book friends,

Star x

Spoiler Free Review: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood
Ahh Fairy Tale Goodness!!

 

4/5 Stars

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

A book based around dark fairytales? Sign me up!!

Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect from The Hazel Wood, but we received this gorgeous copy in our February Fairyloot box themed ‘Twisted Fairytales’ and lets just say this book fits that theme perfectly!

As the above synopsis says, the book follows Alice as she tries to find her mother who unexpectedly goes missing after her grandmothers death. Its probably best going into this book blind, as there is a lot of mystery and intrigue which will have you itching to pick the book back up when you have to go and do life things.. yeah annoying adulting.

I have heard a few reviews saying that this book is slow, and looking back I do admit that the first 50-70% is pretty none productive, but it didn’t seem to bother me while reading it. Maybe this is because I read it cosied up inside with treats while it snowed outside, and lets face it those are the perfect vibes for a magical read! But a word of caution- if you like none stop action then perhaps this book isn’t the one for you.

The characters are all pretty well fleshed out and I have to admit Ellery Finch was fast becoming my favourite character of the book, as Alice is frustratingly bitchy/ short-fused with her temper… you”ll find out why when you read it! The book dips into the fairytales of The Hinterland every now and then throughout the book and I must say those parts were my absolute favourite! (needless to say I am SO HAPPY that Melissa Albert is releasing a separate book full of the fairytales- its going to be epic!)

This book has been compared to Alice in Wonderland and if you enjoy Wonderland retellings I think you will enjoy this. Oh and another thing- there are a lot of F-bombs used in this story, so if your a younger reader, just be wary of that.

All in all I enjoyed this read and it will always reminds me of that super snowy week in February where I read about the Hinterland fairy tales. If you’ve read it too, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time book friends,

Star x

Spoiler Free Review: Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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3/5 Stars

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. 

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

This is my first YA mystery/ thriller so I’m not sure how good my review will be to those of you who are seasoned in all things YA thriller, but I’m going to give it a shot! I went into this book with no expectations and realised mid-way through I was actually enjoying it much more than I originally thought. As I got closer and closer to the end I was struggling to work out how everything would become clear in such a small number of pages… and then I realised this wasn’t a standalone… and wanted to cry… but I suppose now a couple of days have passed since finishing it I can get over that now and review it without that bitterness in my soul (who am I kidding I’m still salty about it lol).

As mentioned in the synopsis above, the story follows Stevie Bell who is intent on solving the murder mystery at Ellingham and honestly I feel like one of the reasons I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. This book is character driven yet I have no feelings towards them.  Stevie is a meh character to me and I couldn’t get behind her and really delve into the story with the students. As for the other characters I didn’t fall in love with any of them, in fact most them just annoyed me. The characters I did enjoy were those from the past who were involved in the original murder mystery case at Ellingham, unfortunately those scenes were far and few between, but when they did pop up I loved it! I also wish we got more of ‘truly devious’ – STOP TEASING US AND GIVE US SOME JUICY INFO PLEASE… ahem.

Now, the setting. If you like unique and fantastical boarding school settings then I’m sure you’ll love this setting. The book takes place at Ellingham Academy, a boarding school on a mountain in Vermont for gifted students built by a gajillionaire… ok probably a more of a millionaire. Honestly I really liked the setting and Maureen Johnson did a really great job at describing the academy and its surroundings, I dare you to read this and NOT want to visit Ellingham!

All in all I enjoyed this book and was just sad that it ended just as things were getting going. There was a little too much ‘high school’ drama in it for me, though I suppose those parts were plot drivers and realistic as it was set at a school. I hope the sequel has much more of the 1936 scenes and more Truly Devious.

Big thanks to Harper teen for sending this our way!!

Until next time book friends,

Star x

Spoiler Free Review: Wires and Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer

Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth. And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages. Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin all feature in this epic new battle. But it is Iko who must face her deepest fears when she uncovers the truth about her own unusual programming.’

If you follow our feed on Instagram you will know about our obsession with ‘The Lunar Chronicles’ – a fun, diverse, futuristic spin on the much beloved fairy tales we all know. When that series ended it felt like our favourite characters stories were not finished yet – it felt too open, too loose. We needed closure on the lives of the Rampion crew. And so, when Marissa Meyer announced a graphic novel spin off we couldn’t be happier! Wires and Nerve Volume 1 gave us all the things we were missing in life – more adorable moments with Cress and Thorne! (Swoon). However, it didn’t cover all of the Lunar couples and didn’t clarify the increasingly frustrating relationship between Iko and Kinney. Now with the release of Volume 2: Gone Rogue we felt like all bases were covered and we can finally (sob!) lay this series to rest.

This book meets all our Cinder and Kai needs and gives us the feels with Wolf and Scarlet. We also enjoyed the comical moments with Winter and her ever serious partner Jacin – it just gave us all the things we felt lacking in the previous books – especially the ending, it was worth the wait to read those words! If you’re a fan of the series as much as we are then we can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed so pick it up ASAP!!

We give this book 4/5 stars, it lost one star due to drawings in the graphic novel, we weren’t impressed with the way some of the characters were drawn (e.g. Thorne has a defined jaw line right? What’s up with his weak, round chin? – is this just me? Please let me know if I am being irrational lol – sorry rant over!).Yet, we were able to look past this as the plot was so good! Also, the characters were true to their natures from the original series, something we most definitely appreciate and love – well done Marissa Meyer! So all in all we have to say that we love this mini spinoff, even though we are slightly heartbroken the series is officially over. So if you’re interested in a quick and easy read and you enjoyed the other books in the series we insist you read this graphic novel duology.

Fleur