My Rating: 5 Stars
Another page-turner! This collection keeps getting better and better, exciting and a bit sad.
After being separated and living in two different worlds, Connor and Alex try to adapt and learn as best as they can without each other. Connor, living in the real world, dedicates himself in writing fairytales and wins the chance to see the Brothers Grimm graves in Berlin. He ends discovering a mysterious clue left behind in one of their unpublished works: a warning about an enemy trapped in time and worlds. Together with his classmate Bree and Mother Goose, Connor will travel far to return to the Land of Stories and stop this new threat. Meanwhile, Alex is a fairy-in-training with few magical attempts turning out right. Can she deal with the pressure of being the next Fairy Godmother and lead the Fairy Council?
The setting is perfect as always and I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of Berlin, a city I had the pleasure of visiting before. What is really great is that there is always a new part of the Land of Stories that the reader will get acquainted with and secondary characters that we’ve read about in the first novel make a reappearance.
The plot was amazing, very imaginative. The idea of setting the French army from the Napoleon times as a villain and how exactly they end up in the Land of Stories is very well thought and very well executed. An outside enemy from the Otherworld is also a great way to unite the habitants of the magical world and to start a new path, a new era.
The characters continue to grow and it’s very enjoyable to see their transformation throughout the books. Red is still one of my favourite characters, she makes me laugh so much with her comments but I also felt for her when things took an unexpected turn. She is truly a queen at heart and by the end of the book, she grew a bit more. The additions to the story just added more spark and thrill. Bree is very much like Connor: the love for adventure, they both share the ability to see through the lies. Emmerich is sweet and innocent but has the heart of a warrior. He trusts Connor and Bree right from the beginning and jumped into an adventure that he didn’t fully understand. They make a grand team! Alex will always be a heroine for me; the way she takes on her defeats and how she takes control of things when everything gets out of hand is inspiring especially considering her young age.
A very good book just like all the others before it!
My Rating: 4 Stars
What a read! Unique, imaginative and very dark: what is there not to like?
The story takes place in 1910 where occultist and adventurer Ingrid Redstone travels to the City of Angels in search of the Aztec portal to the afterlife. She didn’t count on meeting Death on the side and get on a ride through the history of the city. As their relationship develops and grows deeper, Ingrid realizes that their worlds' weren’t meant to cross and in the end, she will have to choose between a life with the living or amongst the dead.
I admire the author for the work on the organization of the storyline; in the beginning, it was a bit tricky and complex to understand and follow but then it really drew me into the story. I think it’s the first time I read a novel that manages to mix dark fantasy with historical fiction, vintage times, mystery, supernatural and romance. It is a dangerous attempt but the author managed to successfully create a unique, refreshing and new style entirely. There is an exceptional view of the underworld, how it works, how time passes differently; details that built this dark world. The way the characters explore past times and meet several notables of the old days is a great idea. I wish I had the chance to sit with Alfred Hitchcock! The historical settings of the novel are also very well described and I really do enjoy a good story that takes place in the jazz days.
The characters are solid and their interactions are very human. It’s a love story but it’s not a fairytale either; they have communication problems, misunderstandings. It’s easy to see that Death isn’t used to interact with anyone, especially not with a human woman. I see Ingrid has a more quiet type and more hesitant when it comes to Death. She jumps into the unknown without thinking very much about it and how it actually might end for her but at the same time she lets him take all the initiative, which was a bit frustrating at times.
Overall, a great, unique, thrilling adventure that I recommend to all the fans of a more complex romantic fantasy.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Rocket Surgery Books. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 5 Stars
This collection is definitely one of my favourites so I finally decided to sit down and write the reviews for the books I’ve so far. The sequel to The Wishing Spell is just as good as the first.
A year after their first adventure in the Land of Stories, the life of Alex and Connor Bailey is as normal as it can possibly get. But peace or boredom isn’t meant to last forever and their world takes a turn for the worse when their mother is kidnapped. Knowing the twins well enough, their grandmother sets a tight security around them to protect them and to avoid their interference. Of course, that doesn’t stop Alex and Connor from finding a way into the Land of Stories and from starting a journey to put an end to the reign of terror of the evil Enchantress.
The style of writing is amazing and very engaging. I could read a certain maturity, it’s like the author grows with the twins. I appreciate the evolution and how the conversations between characters are more mature but at the same time, there is no loss of humour and wittiness.
The setting of the novel is just as colourful and captivating as before and I was glad to explore it in more detail together with the heroes and villains. I took my time to appreciate the villains, their personalities and background stories since they are an essential part of this world and how the plot develops. I’m not sure I should call them villains though because one of the lesson’s Colfer teaches the reader in this sequel is that everyone is both good and evil and no one is evil without a reason. Like in our world, good and evil are part of life and one can’t be without the other much like without fear there would be no courage. Furthermore, I admire the way the author mixes all the fairytales and ends up with the perfect cocktail of magic and storyline.
The storyline follows the same line as the first novel but, for me, it wasn’t predictable what would happen next. I think that in this instalment, the journey is more about relationships and growth than the collection of magical artefacts. Don’t get me wrong, they are important, but I think Colfer wanted to show that in the end, just magic doesn’t cut it, it’s about friendship and trust.
There is a greater character development in this novel. Colfer reimagines the characters that all fairytale lovers know and gave them a unique voice and personality. I particularly like Goldilocks, a complete badass and Red, for her hilarious personality and responses to Goldilocks. Who knew that Little Red Ride Hood could hold such a grudge? Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to like all the characters and really feel for the Enchantress.
A great sequel to a great collection that I can’t recommend highly enough for children and adults alike!
My Rating: 5 Stars
I’ve read this book a while back and finally got around to write its review. Chris Colfer, also known for his character Kurt Hummel in the TV series Glee, revealed himself to be a great writer, not only in his style of writing but also with his imagination.
Alex and Connor Bailey have a very ordinary life: they live with their mother, they go to school and have their own friends. As their birthday approaches, the twins receive a collection of fairy tales stories called “The Land of Stories” given by their grandmother. But not everything is what it seems: when Alex and Connor accidentally fall inside the book, they will come face to face with all the magical characters and kingdoms they grow up to know and love. Stuck in the Land of Stories, the twins have to gather the ingredients for the “The Wishing Spell” to be able to return home, but they aren’t the only ones looking. A famous villain escaped prison and she’s ready to take her revenge. Alex and Connor start a journey through the fairy-tale land, racing against time to return home, making new friends, enemies and discovering secrets that will change their lives forever.
Being a fan of fairy tales as I think many readers are as well, I completely fell in love with this world. This universe of the Land of Stories is full of colour and it’s exactly like I imagined it when I was younger. But like the original stories, it’s not all good. I really enjoyed the structure and the construction of this world, and the detail of the map in the beginning of the book is just perfect to help create a mental image of this magical place. The novel takes place after the “happily ever after” and it’s incredible how Colfer managed to introduce the “after”. What happened to the princes and princesses? What were the consequences of the sleeping curse from the tale of Sleeping Beauty? Absolutely brilliant! It made me wish that I was right there with Alex and Connor; I never wanted the book to end.
The style of writing is engaging, witty and sometimes comical, which works perfectly for me. The storyline is solid and very entertaining; not a single boring moment! The reader is introduced to characters that we all know very well, and they are all very well developed; they have their own personality and their own voice and together they create this amazing and unique world where magic rules. A detail that I particularly enjoyed is that the princesses aren’t at all damsels in distress: they are feminine, compassionate, but they also have a unique strength of character that makes them not just symbols of beauty but also of leadership.
The unique style of Chris Colfer also showed in the way he presented valuable lessons in the story. The messages are presented in crucial moments of the story; they are simple to understand and essential for children to learn and for adults to remember. For example: always be yourself, don’t let anyone change you into something you are not; no one is born evil, circumstances of life changed them and their vision of the world; never judge someone based on their appearance, you don’t know the trials they went through. These are just a few, there are plenty more.
A magical experience and a novel that brings back memories and emotions from childhood! I can’t recommend this book enough!
My Rating: 5 Stars
An epic fantasy worth all the five stars!
Two young men from different circles have a greater destiny beyond their wildest dreams and hopes. Quint is the son of a powerful religious family and leads a sheltered life, but everything changes with the introduction of the tribes of Dragonborn. When his life is turned upside down, Quint has to lead and advise his people. Will he be able to since he knows very little of his responsibilities? On the opposite side, Whym’s life has always been haunted by poverty, being born in one of the poorest parts of town; he has little hopes for the future. His life changes when he is given the opportunity to become the apprentice of a mysterious figure. Both men will have to face the journey of their lives, forced to go through dangerous geographical and political paths and war, filled with hidden enemies, dangerous lies and glimpses of truth.
I have a lot to write about on this novel. I loved every moment, every page of this story: I was taken into a different world, immersing myself in its history, its complexity, its characters and social life. But allow me to start from the top.
The style of writing is mesmerizing and I truly admire how the author managed to described and give depth to the world of the Lost Lands and its characters without leaving the reader bored or tired of the descriptions. Furthermore, the organized and methodical structure of the novel leaves no space for loose ends, which is the best satisfaction a reader like me could have. It starts with the lightness in the first chapters, thoroughly building up, providing background stories, introducing characters that sooner or later will have an impact in the story. I have this image that the words are like puzzle pieces that come together to create something bigger and beautiful. I got completely absorbed by the words; it was difficult to put the book down.
The characters are just as complex as the reality they live in. I have to be honest and confess that I did have to make a list with the names of the characters and who they were since I did end up forgetting who they were at some point, but that didn’t influence my view of the novel at all. It is an extensive list of characters however and all of them have a distinctive way personality, and they are all very aware of the issues of their society. They have depth and are well-developed; it was easy to connect with them. The way the novel is written gives the reader the opportunity to get to know the characters as individuals and then as a group. I really felt their connection with each other, not only based on their conversations but also their actions.
Overall: beautiful scenarios, unique characters and a thrilling story-line make this a very promising fantasy series! I vividly recommend this novel to all the fans of fantasy that want to live a unique adventure in this wonderful world!
Thank you, J. Kyle McNeal for reaching out and giving me access to the novel through NetGalley.
My Rating: 5 Stars
A great, gripping novel that takes place in the near future where technology is key to immortality.
In a world where human conscience can be uploaded into a computer and loaded into a new body, the Metaform Corporation’s goal is to put an end to death. Gabriel, son of the leader of a cult, confronts his father and as a result, becomes the leader himself with a single objective in mind: to bring down Metaform Corp. Will his plan work or will he get more than he bargained for? It seems that some secrets aren’t meant to go public and some will do everything to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The novel is very addictive and gripping; the storyline is brilliant, refreshing and there is enough action to captivate the readers' attention. I never considered this approach for the future, but it’s true that it actually fits with the quick evolution of technology that we are witnesses of nowadays. It’s a bit concerning to think that only the sick and the old get buried or cremated while the bodies of the young and the healthy get turned into vessels for other consciousness to live on.
The writing style is intelligent, captivating and witty; by the descriptions, it actually seems like that world is very real. I think the author really made emotions transpire through her writing and her characters. Certain moments made me laugh; others hold my breath and in others even tear up a bit. I really enjoyed how Harding gives hope in a world ruled by technology where immortality is a reality, how people deal with the choice of dying or living another lifetime in someone else’s body. It’s a haunting question, which one would you choose?
The characters are very likable and they fit perfectly with the story and this reality. They are complex and deep, which made me love the novel even more. The author did a great job managing the changing between the first and the third person in the novel; it was easy for me to follow the story.
I’m not a fan of the sci-fi genre but Manumission became one my favourites. I will definitely buy it on paperback. I highly recommend this novel to all the fans of dystopias and sci-fi!
Thank you, E.R. Harding, for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of your in exchange for an honest interview!
My Rating: 4 Stars
I learned to not have high expectation over a book, and the reason is simply because I can be surprised by what I read.
Once upon a time, there was a fierce young noblewoman that had her life turned upside-down when she challenges the cruel crowned prince for a sword duel. Banished from her home, forced to leave friends and family behind, Darelynn Valeri finds herself in the slums. Homeless and friendless in a place without laws and where thievery is a form of life, Dare’s fate doesn’t improve. She comes face-to-face with Blaze, a famous and dangerous outlaw that proposes a bargain: if she can protect his sister from a group of assassins, she is free to stay in his territory. Will Dare be able to complete her task without revealing that the Prince is after her?
This novel is very addictive. The story-line develops at a steady pace and it’s told in the first person. I admire the author for the way she described this world. I would almost say that it felt real to me and by the time I finished, I actually got sad for it. I felt like I wasn’t just in the story but that I was part of it. The style of writing is both amazing and admirable.
The characters are likeable and it’s easy to love and hate them. Prince Jasper is naturally cruel and vicious, easy to hate. With no one to stand up to him, Jasper grows worse with each chapter. Darelynn, the female protagonist, is fierce, brave and an intelligent woman. Being responsible for the life of another, Dare keeps her word and sees to the end of the bargain not only for what she gains from it but for her own honour. Also, even though she ends up in a tight corner, Dare is still very much an independent woman, one of the qualities that I really appreciate in a female character.
Overall, a great read that I recommend!
Thank you Devyn Jayse for reaching out and sending me a digital copy of this brilliant novel in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 4 Stars
This is the first time I read a novel by D.L. Coln and I’m glad I did!
After finishing his tasks to become a Master, Glaycol Masters returns home to his family to celebrate. But the celebration doesn’t last very long: the village is attacked by a dragon, killing his family and leaving him without one eye and with severe scars. Living only for revenge, Glaycol vows to kill the responsible for his loss and will stop at nothing to achieve it. As he faces a dangerous journey where trials test his will and both his physical and mental strength, will he be able to average his family or will he die trying?
A great read. The story is fast-paced and the descriptions of the fighting scenes are very straight to the point. The story is written in the third person which gives a broader view of events.
I enjoyed reading the adventures and misadventures of Glaycol Masters. He's complex, full of grieve but also unwavering when it comes to getting what he wants. He’s not hot-headed though; he actually uses his knowledge to pass each obstacle, not just brute strength. The story centres around him and it doesn’t leave much room to get to know the secondary characters better. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between them and Glaycol evolving and how they protect each other no matter what comes their way. I would have enjoyed reading more descriptions of this fantasy world, I think I would have connected more with the novel. Even so, in my opinion, the author did this deliberately in order for the reader to connect completely with this character.
The detail of the mystical creatures and how diverse they are is a plus for me. There are actually creatures I hadn’t heard of before, which is both refreshing and entertaining. The way the author imagined the dragons is brutal: they want to control everything and have no limits to what they will do to achieve what they want. For those who challenge them, the villages are burned to the ground; and as they gain control over others, tyranny takes over.
An enjoyable read that I recommend to the fans of dragon fantasy books!
Thank you D.L Colon for reaching out and sending me a free digital copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: 5 Stars
T. Rae Mitchell did it again! After the first novel ended in such a shocking way, I was glad to see the continuation of a great debut!
After barely escaping the book of fables, Fate is back in her world. Desperately wanting to return and help Finn, who is still trapped within the book, Fate will do anything to find her way back. When she is offered the position of guardian of the Keep, Fate takes on the responsibility of protecting the space station, located across the universe, that contains very powerful and dangerous mythical creatures and magical artefacts. Travelling to a new world, Fate must face her destiny, her new unbreakable oath with the Keep and discover the strength to save the people she loves. A new enemy awakens nothing will ever be the same.
The plot is nicely developed and it grabs the reader right from the beginning. There is a lot of action, mystery and drama going on, enough to keep me glued to the pages and to make my breathing stop at times. I was surprised with the sci-fi approach in this instalment, it took the adventure a bit further than I was expecting. Between the space station, spaceships, aliens, advanced-technology and guns I felt like I lost a bit of the connection with the story. I had this cosy feeling with the book of fables and with outer space I didn’t feel it at all. Still, it was an enjoyable twist to the first novel.
Mitchell did a great job creating this new magical world. The setting is amazing and definitely brings things to another level, I felt the thrill while reading. It’s easy to see her deep knowledge and passion of myths and legends and the style of writing is still as beautiful and captivating as in the first novel. The dialogues are brilliant, witty and funny, a joy to read.
The introduction of new characters was exciting and it's nice to see how they all have their roles in the story, there are no loose ends, everyone fits into the plot perfectly. I really enjoyed how the real and the fantastic both come together when the characters from both realities meet. I did miss Finn though and his interactions with Fate, I really enjoy them as a couple.
Another ending that left me hungry for more! Can’t wait to read the sequel Fate’s War and see what other adventures await Fate and her friends.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Original Mix Media Inc, and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
My Rating: 2 Stars
Select isn’t the type of novel that I usually go for, and as a result, I got mix feelings about it.
The novel tells the story of Julia Jaynes, a teenage girl that is banished by her family to a public high school for putting her family reputation on the line. Gifted with unusual abilities, Julia struggles to adapt in a world where she needs to find herself, what she truly wants and what she’s willing to do to get it. When she meets John Ford, once a tennis prodigy, she starts seeing the world outside the boundaries set by her social status and her over-protected life.
For me, this was an easy read: easy to follow, no need to think, just go with the flow. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with the story. The story-line is reasonably developed and the setting is a bit too cliche for my taste. I felt like it’s a bit too much teenage and family drama at some point and even though I understand that Julia had a sheltered life, some of her actions and reactions were a bit too much for me. Her wish for a strong male figure just made me feel like she is unable to deal with things herself and that didn’t set very well with me.
I would have liked to see a deeper description of emotions and connection between characters. I didn’t feel excitement or the need to keep reading the story even though I finished it. I like to feel like the story is unpredictable, and with this novel it was easy to see where it would end up.
The novel centres around the situations most teenagers go through: learning that life isn’t easy, that things change quickly and sometimes the people we get close to aren’t meant to stay in our lives forever.
I think the author still needs to polish her writing style a bit but the talent is there. I’m curious to read the next novel and see if there is an evolution.
Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Charlesbridge Teen. and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.