Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King by Holly Black.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

My brain is on fire… It’s whirling backwards and forwards, trying to decide and imagine what could possibly happen in the third book, or rather, what I would like to happen! I cannot believe I have to wait another year for The Queen of Nothing to be published. Sometimes life is incredibly unfair.

Holly Black is my go-to fairy queen. I love the way she peppers her worlds with just enough details to make you gasp and squirm. Rotting dresses and bloody, undercooked meats… She can sure plan a fairy celebration! Her books are certainly not for the faint of heart. Jude has more guts in her pinky, than most teenagers, which is I guess, why I like her so much.

I seriously thought that Jude and Carden had played with my poor, foolish romantic heart enough, but I was proved wrong… Holly Black, you are a cold, cold, woman! How could you toy with me this way, again? Erg, these two are perfect for one another. I just need them to realise that! Pronto! Okay… enough whining.

My advice? If you haven’t already started this series (by reading The Cruel Prince) steer well clear until ALL of the books have been published! It’s just that good… Then binge read them all in the space of a week. Deal? Also, remember to buy them in hardback – they will get some serious wear, when you lend them to all of your friends!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Warrior of the Wild


Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. 

What am I waiting on this week?

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

What do you need to know about its author?

This is Tricia’s third novel and it will be published by Feiwel and Friends on the 26th February. It’s a standalone novel. She describes her books as, “young adult alternate–world historical fantasies with heavy romantic subplots.” That sounds pretty good to me!

Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.





Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, until a girl falls in love with him. But at the end of each autumn, he turns into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. And now, powerful forces are now amassing against Prince Rhen and Emberfall.

Born with cerebral palsy, nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. Her father’s gone, her mother’s dying, and her brother constantly underestimates her. When she tries to save someone on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead sucked into Rhen’s cursed world…

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know what to think, but she certainly doesn’t believe in fairytale endings…

This book was a mash up of ‘mediaeval’ fantasy and fairytale, a combination that I found hard to resist. This book had everything: suspense, warring countries, fight scenes, political intrigue, myths, humour and a sprinkling of romance.

The romance aspect was light, but compelling and a love triangle, was hinted at. (I’m a romance fan, so now I’m definitely planning to read the sequel – A Heart So Fierce and Broken – which due out in January 2020.)

I was afraid that this story would be a tragic one, because of Harper’s cerebral palsy – The Fault in Our Stars set in a fantasy world. I could not have been more wrong. Harper is an independent, stubborn, capable heroine, who always tries to do the best she can for others – even placing their safety above her own. She’s never whines and I admired her feisty, can-do attitude. Rhen’s character freely admits to having been selfish and arrogant in the past, but proves himself to be a somewhat-reformed prince!

On the strength of the writing in this book, I have gone ahead and ordered Brigid Kemmerer’s earlier novel, Letters to the Lost, which also sounds compelling!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Only A Breath Apart

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss books you’re excited about that you have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released.
 
What am I waiting on this week?
 
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Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry.

Why am I waiting?
 
Firstly, Tor Teen isn’t publishing this book until the 22nd January! Secondly, I love the sound of the tragic ‘curse’ – this book has Maggie Steifvater vibes written all over it… (Another favourite author of mine.)
 
What do you need to know about its author?
 
Ever since I read Katie McGarry’s debut novel ‘Pushing the Limits‘ this author has been blowing me away with her YA romances. Sadly, for family reasons, she won’t be able to do much promotion for this book on her own in the coming months…
 
Okay, so what does the publisher’s synopsis say?
 

Jesse Lachlin is cursed… 

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic…

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Wondrous Word Wednesdays

Wondrous Word Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by BermudaOnion, where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

Which word am I spotlighting?

My word this week is coddiwomple.

Where does it come from?

This is a lovely piece of English slang, which reminds me greatly of the time I’ve spent walking the fells!

Why should we use it?

Would you rather go out for a slow, aimless ramble or a coddiwomple?

My Favourite TV Show of 2018: A Discovery of Witches

While I don’t have a Sky box, I did invest in a monthly NowTV subscription in order to watch the debut of this show in September.

I’d started listening to the first book (thank you Audible!) in August and had then binge read the rest of the books in the All Souls trilogy in quick succession.

So I had high expectations for the Sky-commissioned television show. The television series was very faithful to the books, although it made some effort to expand on the storylines of the secondary characters – often introducing them earlier than in the books. I felt this was a positive change.

The casting was perfect – Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer have terrific chemistry and were inspired choices for the main leads.

I also love the rich settings – from the Bodleian Library to the opinionated, witchy cottage in Madison. The combination of convincing acting and atmospheric settings make watching this series a lush, evocative experience.

I am already looking forward to watching seasons 2 and 3. I’m even hopeful that they might be able to commission a fourth season, based on Time’s Convert (Marcus’s story).

Will I like it?

It’s Twilight reimagined for adults, with Outlander‘s time travel thrown in (for Season 2). So, probably, yes!

My Rating:

Full cupcake marks with fairy dust sprinkled on top. A yummy, yummy treat!

🧚‍♂️🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰🧚‍♀️

A Fresh Start – Hello 2019!

I’ve spent three years away from this blog, working my socks off and only occasionally reading – as evidenced by my sparse Goodreads updates. But now I’m back!

What did I achieve?

Well, I change my job. I’m now an experienced Primary Teacher, yey!

What did I lose?

My relationship with the book blogging community. My healthy lifestyle.

What’s next?

I’ll be working part time (supply teaching) in the beautiful north of England and I’m trying to buy a house. I’m also planning to shed some pounds in 2019. If you want to join me, I’ll be plugging away on Myfitnesspal, under the username CumbrianLady.

Waiting on Wednesday: Gilt Hollow

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases… This week I’m waiting on Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdon (author of Doon), a YA Romantic Suspense novel, being published by Blink on the 27th September.

Synopsis:

Willow Lamott’s best friend is a convicted killer, and no one in the small town of Gilt Hollow will let her forget it. 

Over four long years, she’s tried to fade into the background—but none of that matters when Ashton Keller comes striding into school, fresh out of juvie and fueled by revenge. The moment their eyes meet, Willow no longer feels invisible. Drawn to the vulnerability behind Ashton’s mask of rage, she sinks deeper into his sinister world and begins to question whether he’s a villain, a savior, or both.

Ashton thought he wanted vengeance, until Willow Lamott stepped back into his life. Now he longs to clear his name and become the person she sees in him. But the closer they get to uncovering the truth, the darker the secrets become, and Ashton wonders if his return to Gilt Hollow will destroy everyone he loves.

Early Review:

“A romantic page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end! – Melissa Landers, author of the Alienated and Starflight series

 

David Arnold is a Super-Racehorse! #Vic #KidsOfAppetite

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When I first picked up ‘Kids of Appetite‘ I was reminded quite strongly of another YA, ‘Alex Woods Versus the Universe‘ (an awesome read). Perhaps because it begins with the main character being interviewed at a police station, or maybe because Vic is smart and has an unusual way of looking at the world – a bit like Alex. And this was a sign of things to come. A sign that I was really, really going to like this particular coming-of-age story, with its ‘Pay It Forward‘ ethos and page-turner quality writing.

Okay, so here’s the premise: Vic decides his mum’s new boring-lawyer-boyfriend is completely unbearable, so he steals his dead father’s ashes and hightails it out of their house. He then discovers, inside the urn, a letter from his father, outlining a list of  obscure places he’d like his ashes to be scattered. When Vic meets Madeline Falco, who lives in a greenhouse with a ragtag group – mostly teens – who have their own troubled pasts, Mad offers to help him fullfill his dad’s wishes… And Vic accepts, becoming the group’s latest ‘Chapter’. This leads them on a journey which will ultimately end with both Mad and Vic in a police station, being questioned about a murder. Because, why not?

And the rare seeds which led David Arnold to write such a quirky mashup of a story? Moebius Syndrome; the Second Republic of the Congo Civil War (1997-1999); child abuse; SE Hinton; Matisse; side-ways hugs at funerals; fear of ‘natural’ food additives; and a love of ice cream, or salad wraps…

The Characters – 5/5 (eccentric and original, heart-warming and kind, awesome and funny)

The Dialogue – 5/5 (something special)

The Writing – 5/5 (beautiful, lyrical, honest, poetic, approachable, smart, vivid…)

The Level of Crazy – 4.5/5 (madcap adventure)

The YA Romance Angle – 4/5 (low-key, sweet, realistic, creative)

 

You know the places on this list. Take me there, won’t you?

Till we’re old-new,

– B

1. Hang me from the Parlour.     2. Toss me off the Palisades.

3. Bury me in the smoking bricks of our first kiss.     4. Drown me in our wishing well.

5. Drop me from the top of our Rock.

Spotted: Mexican Brujas in Brooklyn

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On the Back Cover:

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives…

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin. The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Inside the Book:

Characters and relationships: Alex suffers from crippling self-doubt at the start of the novel and at times, comes across as a little self-centred. But when faced with the realities of Los Lagos, she turns into a smart, practical, loyal and courageous main character. In fact, she’s kind of kick-ass! Alex’s family seemed interesting (lots of mystery there!) and I think getting to know them better, is one reason why I’d read a sequel. I also really liked Alex’s punchy best friend – which is good, because she becomes a love interest (*necessary spoiler*).

Action: Fun, inventive villains, cool twists and magical high jinx – but nothing too gory or anxiety inducing. The author did a great job at building suspense and creating tension; I never quite knew what was coming next for Alex!

Romance: I felt like the chemistry could have been ramped up a little more, but then again, I love a steamy romance…

Settings: I loved the way each scene began with a quote from a different magical ‘canto’ (song). I liked the gothic, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feel of Los Lagos. And Alex’s home… with the chicken feet and vials of earth, stored next to the flour and the sugar, was great fun.

Keywords: 

Family, culturally diverse, LGBT relationship, high school, Brooklyn, magic and fantasy.

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire Books.