Thursday, 17 September 2015

True Calling by Siobhan Davis.

True Calling Review by Siobhan Davis
Yo Guys!
Joe here with a new review for you all! :D

Sorry about being quiet, I’ve been really really busy with Uni studies and such (aiming for a first haha!)

Today I will be reviewing a book called ‘True Calling’ by Siobhan Davis.
Here’s some of the blurb to to get you intrigued:
Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17-year-old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.
I was given an e-book copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Slight Spoilers and Swearing

This was not my book. It really wasn’t.
There were quite a few things in this book that didn’t sit right with me.

When Earth started to die, a new government decided to send humans onto an artificial planet called Novo, that they created twelve hundred miles above Earth. Ariana lives with her family and many other humans who were selected and moved to Novo; humans were selected to live on Novo by their medical records, their criminal records and their work/school records. So if you were a convict or had a critical medical condition, you would’ve had to stay on Earth’s destructed remains.
Ariana lives a ‘normal’ life; she goes to school, has friends, a family that loves her; but this all changes when she starts dreaming of a strange man named Zane; her father goes missing and the hottest guy in the school starts showing an interest in Ariana.

Okay, so, I have so many little queries with this story and overall I just didn’t enjoy it.
I really wasn’t impressed by the idea of taking young people and setting them into arranged marriages when they turn 17/18. It has a good idea for a story, but the way the author wrote it made it a bit silly and not really that tense.

The fact that humanity chose to save only a small percentage of human kind based on their clean records, good grades and good health; seems very elitist.
I mainly disagree with this because what if there was someone in a prison who had great grades, amazing health and the perfect genes but was only pushed back by the reason he shoplifted when he was sixteen. There really is an great amount of elitism and backwards methods in this book and I hope that it can slowly disintegrate or manipulate it in some way.

The story wasn’t that immersive either; the build up was lacking yet there were points where it could’ve been ramped up a notch, but it just wasn’t.
The world building felt slightly messy and quickly written; it generally didn’t feel like there was much creative input invested into the planning of it other than a young girl on a new planet in love with two guys and she had to chose which one she loved.

I didn’t understand how Novo was built in secret, I understand how it can be classified documents from the public, but you’d think they’d notice the giant planet being built next door? I probably missed something in the book but I really didn’t understand it.

This book really focused on shock factor for the reader’s attention; such things as love triangles, family struggles are okay but then the author added in a part about the government outlawing homosexuals and anything to do with homosexuality or any type of sexuality apart from heterosexual relationships…
I rolled my eyes and wanted to throw my kindle down and never touch the book again.
The author literally made it so that the book could continue and the story could progress; so that Ariana and Cal could break Cal’s best friend out of jail for him to get to the rebels to get Ariana and Cal to safety.

The characters in this book are pretty wooden, generic and very ‘Perfect’.

Ariana starts off as a strong, independent woman (sorry) who literally has the perfect life and is really cool in my opinion!
She’s pretty well written… until the love triangles happen and she just becomes this whiny little girl who pines for her lover and for the man she has no memories of.
I don’t see her as this strong, powerful character that other reviews are chorusing her to be.

Cal is the popular, outspoken, beautiful boy who captures all the girls’ attention.
He’s the cocky, arrogant kid in class who always has something to say.
I really don’t like the idea of this character, especially when Arianna’s best friend stated how Cal might only be rude to Ariana because he fancied her.

Right okay topic time; I do not understand the need for difference between books written with a male or a female protagonist. The books with male protagonists normally either have literally no love interest or go into a complete fucking Harem (A story were a guy has multiple girls wanting him, but he only wants one… or two)
Then when we go into a book with a female protagonist we see endless lines of guys that SHE fancies and that SHE wants and it seems that they either always get heartbroken, the dude dies/sacrifices himself or the dude isn’t in love them; I find it to be a bit of bullshit honestly.
I mean; I’m all for freedom of choices and such, but there comes a point where it becomes a literally guideline that YA authors and sometimes in general ALL authors find and think ‘THAT WOULD BE GOOD YES’ no, not atal - They start off creating an awesome character who is really badass and then the male love interests come in and it drives the Female protagonist to look like some damsel in distress who only does these things for the attention or the acceptance of the guy she’s doing it for.
Rant over.
Fuck. (This isn’t just a straight jab at the author; I literally mean this with all YA authors)

The relationships were borderline boring and borderline-almost-kind-of-sort-of realistic; they were very fantasy like.
The action in this book was utterly overshadowed by unneeded emotion.

The book to me wasn’t great.
I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would’ve and I’m quite saddened by that.
Thank you too the author for sending me this book.

I don’t have anything else to say guys…

I’ll catch you on the flip side, guys.

See ya later.

Joe :)

Monday, 7 September 2015

What Lies Within - James Morris

Yo Guys!

Just a quick note to ya’ll!
I am so sorry I’ve been so distanced from the blog lately I’ve been in one of the most stressful predicaments of my life  - I’ve move to Uni! :D
So far in in my first few weeks and it’s going great! London has really been one of the kindest cities I’ve visited so far J
This is mostly the reason why I’ve been so preoccupied and had such little time to read/review.

But now I’m slowly getting settled and I am getting a good reading vibe back!

Thank you so much for being so considerate with us being so terrible at putting up reviews for books! We are still doing them just life becomes priority number 1 sometimes.

Anyways! Back on with the show:
Today I’m here to review What Lies Within by James Morris.

Now if you’ve heard of James Morris; then you will know that he is originally a Scriptwriter most notoriously known for his episode of Smallville ‘Static’.
So you could imagine my excitement when I opened an email from him!
I generally read and re-read the email about 5 times haha just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Here’s an excerpt from the blurb:
Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance.
***Disclaimer – Going to be a little bit of swearing in this one***

I did enjoy this book; though I enjoyed it for reasons I normally wouldn’t enjoy a book for.

The main reason I did like this book was because it felt episodic.
Every chapter felt like we were picking up a brand new episode and it was very freshly done! The story was enticing and was very well developed.

The first third of the book was kind of lacking in the writing department, which made it fly by. The writing was so simple and static that I did just fly through it, now that necessarily isn’t a bad thing – but looking at it from a readers perspective it was really struggling to push myself to continue it, wanting the writing to become a little more solid and plot focused which would make me think more.

Two thirds of the way into the book and we finally started to see the more plot-heavy, thick writing that every reader enjoys from a Crime/Thriller book!
The settings and the descriptions of people, places and scenarios were very well detailed and described even more so than characters emotions. This was something that grinded me a little; as much as I enjoyed the detail, I felt like we were missing a crucial connection with the characters and this made them more wooden and just characters instead of these people we need to care for.

After a few more chapters (still within two thirds of the book) we finally start to see some awesome character progression.
I finally started to grow slightly attached to the characters and their problems, especially Winston!

During the last third of the book is when everything became a great build up it became both super intense and super dramatic.
The writing became much more chilling and gruesome during this final third, I did like the subtle switch from a teen-y styled crime book to a full out gore-fest! :D

The ending was very obvious, I guess?
Like I generally expected and called everything that happened, which made it a little anti-climactic.

Okay so the main reason why I enjoyed the story is because even though the author is originally a Scriptwriter, he handled his first novel well and he created a nicely crafted world, which in my opinion, he moulded greatly.
The writing and descriptions were amazing and the detail put in to actually give you a nice imagery for your mind was really full and filling.

The characters, to me, were a very mixed bag.

In the beginning of the book, the characters to me were just that; Characters. There weren’t any outstanding traits or qualities that made them jump from the pages.

The first three characters we are introduced to are Winston, Shelley and Shelley’s Dad.

Winston is the lovesick, comic relief of the book; he is in deep love with Shelley but she doesn’t know it or acknowledges it. He’s a little bit of a wimp at heart though.

Shelley is a feisty and brave 16/17-year-old woman, She is also the protagonist of the story!
I liked Shelley but she was so wooden and wound so tightly that she was literally a puppet to the authors will.

Shelley’s Dad is your typical Dad, caring, comforting and always there.
I did enjoy his character as he kind of served as the buoy in Shelley’s storm.
As we progressed further into the books and as the madness within unwound upon Shelley, we start to see new characters emerge and the two older characters become slightly different.

Winston is still the comic relief just this time creating more of a ‘macho’ persona for himself; he becomes more confused about his feelings and is more drawn to work with her in fear of her getting hurt.
I do like Winston as he reminded me of me, weird, witty and just downright paranoid about everything!

Shelley on the other hand though seemed to not know how to control her emotions. Which I really liked?
The nature of the story sent her spiralling out of control, I mean if you found out you were adopted for some sort of experiment you would too be all over the place with thousands of thoughts blasting through your mind.

Shelley’s Dad pretty much stayed the same honestly.

A new character that really pissed me off was Remy.

I literally have nothing nice to say about him. How he used his own broken childhood to get to Shelley and then to just use it to have sex with her… cold man.

And in the final third we witness a few more new characters.
First off though:

I like Winston, he’s cool :) he’s your typical ‘good-guy’ character who is madly in love with the main girl, I don’t normally fall for that cliché, but with the way the author has written Winston it makes it bearable and quite enjoyable to read.

Shelley starts to hit breaking point at this moment and I really enjoyed this huge change of Shelley’s demeanour, from being this confident – cool woman to becoming this frail, paranoid lady who was always looking over her shoulder.

When Shelley and Winston talk now has become one of my favourite parts of this book, as to when they did back at the start.
The character progression for Shelley and Winston, it felt like a real teenage discussion with all the right emotions and the right speech patterns.

Remy though… Fuck Remy man; I really thought he’d be more of a careful soul, a reassuring person; not some sex-driven eighteen year old who thinks getting laid is the best excuse to cure Shelley’s problems by ‘Making her feel better’. Arsehole.

Shelley’s Dad, you arse; I really liked you!!! You were kind and sweet and funny and caring…. You changed man… you changed.
Again I understand why he thought she was crazy or deluded, but the first instinct for a parent is to help them, not have them locked up in a psych ward, which could loosen their brain more.

Overall, the characters were good – just they began very wooden like and then slowly progressed.

In the end; I did enjoy this book, though there was a few flaws, as it was a quick read and I enjoyed the detail that the author included to everything.

Thank you all for reading this review! :D

And again, sorry for lack of communication and blog posts – been super busy!

See ya on the flip side guys,

Another quick little add-on; I’m going to Gollancz fest in London in October; it’s going to be awesome!
I’ll be posting a small review of what it was like, what I got and what authors wee there!
If any of you are coming to Gollancz then I hope you enjoy it!
I went to the one last year and it was such a great day! Patrick Rothfuss certainly became one of my favourite people while reading his review of Esio Trot!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Friday, 14 August 2015

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Shard: Chronicles of Xax by Ted Cross

Yo guys!
Joe here with another review for you all! :D

Today we’re going to be reviewing ‘The Shard: Chronicles of Xax’ by Ted Cross.

Here’s the blurb to get you intrigued:
A dying king. A mysterious invader. The seer's vision was clear: find the lost shard from the Spire of Peace or the realm would drown in blood.

The problem: eight hundred years ago the elven hero Kathkalan took the shard with him into the lair of the most vicious dragon ever known to mankind...and he never returned. 

Reluctantly drafted to lead the quest is the minor noble Midas, torn between his duty to the realm and the desire to protect his sons. With an unlikely band of heroes, including two elderly rangers and a young tinker’s son, Midas must risk losing everything he loves if he is to locate the shard and save the Known Land

I received a copy of this E-Book from the author for an honest review 

This is possibly one of the best fantasy stories I’ve read to date.

The story that the author created was put together so creatively and it moved so smoothly that I don’t really have any negative judgment about it.
Normally when I read a fantasy book, I notice elements of external media influences and other types of influences, be that a video game, film, etc, that normally kicks my review or my enjoyment of the book down a notch, because I start thinking about characters or scenery and lose creative imaginational pleasure from the book.

In this story everything felt so fresh!
I mean, yes it was your High Epic Fantasy that involved wizards and dragons, Long journeys into lush forests and castles, but even then the author added extra elements, which made the journey fun and thrilling to a person who enjoys Fantasy books and stories.
I think I have stated on the blog before that I am a huge fan of Tolkien’s work, I also really enjoyed the LOTR films that Peter Jackson created; ‘The Shard’ has honestly topped The Fellowship of the Ring for me in terms of detail and the character development within the book.
The stories are on par with each other to me though haha.
Just to add in; Yes it did remind me a little of a mash between LOTR and The Hobbit, but I was able to push those pieces back and imagine this story without falter.

The story itself is full of so many different settings and feelings. Action is a huge substance within this book, of course, but it is sweetly and superbly counter-acted with doses of reality and honest love from each character.
As the book was separated into three or four of the main characters POV’s, I felt very aware of the surroundings and the actual pace of the story; so for example instead of it jumping wildly to night or day between characters, the transitions would be scripted and allowing for the time to pass if a character who hasn’t been relevant for a few chapters to still exist properly in the same time zones instead of doing silly flashback sequences and ‘2 days prior’ situations.
Which increased the realistic values of this story dramatically!

How the author wrote and chose his words really helped impact this book to a five star review.
The entire book was beautifully described and awesomely paced, it was a definite quick read, though I do have to add here that during the time I read it I was super ill so it took me stupidly long to read it! (Bright lights and headaches apparently don’t go together, who’d of thunk it!)

Another thing that helped a-lot with the story was the map that the author sent me a copy of. As many Fantasy books, ‘The Shard’ had a bunch of cities, areas, forests with (sometimes) complicated names to remember.
The map was an amazing help and such a fun add-on! More books should come with a downloadable code on the back or a fold out map that allows you to follow the journey of the companions you’re reading about; this added a ton of fun while reading, it generally made me feel more immersed and attached to these characters! Thank you to the author for sending me a file for that!

That Intro! The intro for this book was possibly the first time I’ve had to re-read an intro to fully understand what had happened because it happened so quickly that I had no time to process it.
Kudos to the author!

Now for the characters!

I won’t go into detail about all the characters, as there were quite a few.
So! Instead I’m going to write a short paragraph about three of them!

First off we have Midas the Lord of Welby; even though he may be a small-time lord, Midas has connections towards the highest nobles in the Known Lands.
Midas to me is the ultimate father figure; caring, smart, strong, emotional and understanding.
His compassion towards his sons, the people who lived on and around his lands and external people such as the elves, dwarves and other lords was unquestioned and powerful.

The next character I want to discuss is Alvanaria.
I really liked her! Alvanaria is an Elf who joins Midas’s companions on their journey to find The Shard; she slowly became one of my favourite characters in this book.
She had a awesome sense of humour, deep compassion, respect and understanding of situations that sometimes other Fantasy books fail to capture; for example there was a scene which followed the company travelling through Battle-Wood, which was a Dwarven, Elven and Orc battlefield, now a burial ground, while walking through Alvanaria and Geldrath discuss how she knows some of the deceased in this woods. I really did like this scene as it showed how someone who is a skilled warrior and has a strong willed heart can be easily hurt and holds deep pain.
I did enjoy her relationship with Midas, especially the way that they spoke to each other, making it a more intellectual friendship then just having fun.
She is also pretty damn Badass!

The last character I am going to talk about is Edo!
Edo is a ranger from the East Gate, it doesn’t really discuss how old he is, but I would guess he’s around his late 40’s or early 50’s, as he is older than other rangers but younger than Orcbait (His best friend).
Edo’s character to me was a tricky one to figure out honestly; I thought he was going to be a bit mischievous and trickster-like, but as his chapters went on he became this loyal, honest, gripping character who I was rooting for till the end!
He (And Orcbait, you can’t have one without the other) became my favourite character(s) just because on how interesting their stories were.

This story was one of the best Fantasies I’ve opened in a long long time!
The story was strong, driven and to the point!
The characters were believable, loveable, fun and gripping!
I liked this book, if you didn’t guess already.
I’m hoping there’s going to be some sort of continuation to this book, as I want more Alvanaria and Geldrath and Midas and the rest! :D

If you are into Fantasy books with Wizards, Elves, Dragons and more check this book out because you will not be disappointed!

A massive thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this E-Book!

And a huge thanks to you for reading this!
See ya on the flip side guys!


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Lament of Sky by B.B. Wynter

Yo Guys!
Joe here with another review for you all!

Today I’m going to be reviewing Bb Wynter’s dark fantasy book ‘The Lament of Sky’!
Here’s a little bit of the blurb to get you intrigued:
Lilyth, the last remnant of the Rhai-Angof, fights to survive against the ruling, tyrannical Vildarii regime. Her journey leads to encounters with William, the only remaining Duwaiu God; Sky, an ethereal being of otherworldly magic; and a philandering sky-pirate named Vergo. 

I received an E-copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

I didn’t think this story would be as good as it was honestly.

The story to me was very well created and implemented over the entire read, the way the Epic-Fantasy styled influences intertwined with highly erotic scenes (Which I generally didn’t expect to get so in-depth haha…) really made the reading more interesting and clever?

The way the story flowed along was very fluid-like and very natural; you can tell that the author spent a-lot of time delving ways to create such an intense and fun story that will capture so many emotions at once.
The world building was really well done; some of the areas the author created were unique and quite distinctly different from areas of the same style in other books.

The plot was a simple one honestly, though it worked perfectly for what it needed!
The main character suffers from memory problems and decides to go on a journey to retrieve her memory of why these people are trying to kill/save her, meeting companions along the way who would become friends until the end.

Yes, it does seem super simple and very ‘un-imaginative’; but the author worked around this and made the plot become slightly clever and unexpected. I honestly have read better story lines which contained large twists and turns (The Mistborn books for instance) but this one does work and it works well.

The characters to me were well developed.
There were only a few characters, which I liked and disliked about the book.

The reason I liked there being only a few characters is because we wouldn’t get lost in an expansive world filled with so many people we forget what happened to someone three chapters ago.

But the reason I don’t like it is because it sometimes limits the character to broaden their development? Instead of focusing on a few characters every other chapter it would focus on the feelings of one or two at a time in some chapters that threw off the engrossment of me as a reader.

Lilyth (Genuinely the nicest way of spelling that name I’ve ever come across) is a Rhai-Angof, a race of women warriors with long silver hair who are able to contact the Duwaiu Gods, until they were and the Duwaiu were all hunted and executed by the evil Vildarii.
Lilyth is a really well done character in my opinion. She’s serious, funny, at points quite ‘sexual’ and super fearless and brave!

Lilyth was my favourite character just because of how funny she was; always making jokes about people or situations; for example one of the other characters, Sky who introduced himself as a Caraid, was known to Lilyth as ‘The Cabbage Fairy’, which I found quite funny!
Her way of speaking and wording was quite peculiar as well; it was like… An intelligent but yet serious Steam-punk Pirate who was brought by constant innuendo jokes, I liked it honestly!

The other characters in this book made an impression, but none lived up to Lilyth’s wit and humour.

Overall, this book was a fun little read and one that will be remembered for a long time :)
If you enjoy Dark Fantasy with great characters and a story/plot/design worthy of great imaginative fun, you’ll really enjoy B.B. Wynter’s book ‘Lament of Sky’
And who knows, maybe we’ll see a sequel to this book! I would jump straight onto it!

Thank you again to the author for sending me an E-copy of this book!
And thank you to you for reading this review!

See ya on the flip side guys!
Joe :)