armstrong_sea of shadowsTwin sisters Ashyn and Moria are the last hope for the survivors of the enraged souls of the damned. One a Seeker, one a Keeper, they must race across a monster-infested wasteland to alert the Empire that evil is on the loose.

Sounds enthralling doesn’t it? As with every Kelley Armstrong book I’ve read, it certainly delivers.

Her world-building and monsters are detailed and vivid. Her dialogue is snappy and witty. Her characters are able to be pictured in your mind like a film.

Think Indiana Jones crossed with The Mummy as well as however many other adventure films you may have seen. But, instead of the simpering women screaming to be saved and the sweaty masculine hero, picture these girls front and centre in all the fun stuff. They stand shoulder to shoulder with the shady, mysterious men they’re travelling with; just the way I like it.

The character arc progresses quickly, and it will be exciting to see what Kelley intends to throw at them all into next.

Empire of Night, book two of the Age of Legends, isn’t due out until April next year, so I will be waiting a little longer to see if and how the twins manage to outsmart the political manoeuvrings going on around them.

If you liked Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, this will be right up your alley.

 

http://www.kelleyarmstrong.com/

Paperback, 406 pages

Published April 8th 2014 by Atom

ISBN 0751547816 (ISBN13: 9780751547818)

 



Belinda_kisses_tnBelinda reviews Into the Woods.

Disney finally pokes fun at itself.

Jack and the bean stalk, Cinderella, and Rapunzel get a surprising makeover when intertwined with a fresh story of a couple who want a baby badly enough to work with the witch next door.

There is more corn in this film than the entire state of Iowa. So many great moments that made me face plant, or gape open-mouthed at the screen. There was an mix of young and not-so-young in the cinema with us. The adults snickered and groaned in all the right places and, though the film was rather long (2 hours and 5 minutes), I’m sure we all walked away smiling.

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The cast is star-studded to say the least: Johnny Depp, Christine Baranski, and Meryl Streep are just some of the more well known actors. The entire cast blends beautifully, and each actor brings their own oomph to the plot.

My favourite scene has to be the duet between Chris Pine (Cinderella’s Prince)- and Billy Magnussen (Rapunzel’s Prince). The song, called Agony, tells how both of them have it so tough when it comes to their respective love lives. I’d love to know how many takes it took them to complete the scene, but I imagine that the cutting room floor was littered with golden bloopers.

I don’t know what other reviewers have said about this musical film, and to be honest I would love it if people made up their own minds. I still haven’t decided if I want to own it on DVD, but as a one-off in the cinema, it was definitely worth the entry fee.

I thought this was a wonderful outing for the last few days of the school holidays!

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smith_geographyThe thought of being stuck in a lift in the middle of a black out in New York City is enough to get me sweaty and fidgety. It hardly sounds like the beginning of a romance novel. In true Jennifer E Smith style, this is exactly how Owen and Lucy kick off their relationship.

I adore Jennifer’s books. They’re sweet, and a gentle reminder that you don’t always have to be reading about zombies and post-apocalyptic stuff to be on the edge of your seat. Sure, if romance isn’t your thing then skip this one, because it’s mush central. I adore the stuff. It makes my heart light. Sometimes we just need that.

Owen, as a character, is a little like a woollen blanket; a little scratchy, and not as soft as others, but he’d keep you warm if you were to embrace him. He works hard to keep his family on top of things and is flawed, but in a way you can forgive.

If you don’t well up with tears at least once, you’re a much stronger person than I.

Geography and the other books in this…what would you call it…sequence(?) have never failed to pick me up, break a funk, and make me smile with their humour and innocence.

The next book, Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between, isn’t due until September 2015. My gosh, that’s an eternity away. I know it’ll be worth the wait.

http://www.jenniferesmith.com/

Paperback, 337 pages

Published April 10th 2014 by Headline (first published January 1st 2014)

ISBN 1472206290 (ISBN13: 9781472206299)



taylor_god and monstersThe series has, to this point, been fast-paced and filled with questions about what constitutes good and evil, as well as heart-stopping moments that made me cry. Dreams of Gods and Monsters concludes this trilogy and, whoa baby, does it play with your emotions and leave you wanting to give Laini a standing ovation for a job well done.

If you’re reading this series wrap up review and haven’t started this trilogy, you probably want to know if it’s worth your time—the answer is yes. You will not be left wanting to throw the book at the wall. You will be sated and happy. I promise!

Laini’s portrayal of Prague throughout the series is stunning and dramatic. It was so good, in fact, that I have a good friend jetting off to Prague to experience Karou’s environment for herself.

I cannot imagine having the power to end a series. To write the words that finalise the material element of characters and allow the audience’s imagination to take its place. Authors talk about how having a book published is akin to sending your child off into the world to experience what they will. I would imagine finishing a series would be similar. What now? They will live on in our imaginations, effectively playing out in fan fiction.

Suffering from withdrawal symptoms? Laini has a short story in a Christmas anthology as of October 14, 2014. It’s called My True Love Gave To Me, and she writes alongside David Levithan, Holly Black, and nine other bestselling authors.

 

http://www.lainitaylor.com/

Paperback, UK, 613 pages

Published April 17th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published April 8th 2014)

ISBN 1444722735 (ISBN13: 9781444722734)



george_nowhereBel:

Cover

The book I borrowed from the Library is split into three horizontal strips. The middle strip has a partial profile of a girl we imagine would be Becca and the bottom strip is the silhouette of forestry. The title and author’s name are in hues of purple and before you read the book, it really doesn’t seem to refer too much to the story within.

Characters

Elizabeth George is quite skilled at creating characters you can relate to. You can even feel some sympathy for the queen of nastiness.

Favourite

Hayley. Yes I know this one is from left field. She’s dealing with stuff in the best way she knows how, and I love a girls who isn’t all ‘poor me’.

Least Favourite

Jeff Corrie. Scum of the earth is above him.

Beginning

Jeff Corrie is using Hannah for his own devices and his greed comes to a head, which would be fine except Hannah can hear whispers (read minds), and what she reads from Jeff’s mind is enough to have her mother and her on the run lickety-split.

Storyline

Hannah, now known as Becca, is sent to Whidbey Island to wait out her mother finding a safe place to hide. She finds the most popular kid in school close to death at the bottom of an incline in the forest and staying off the radar becomes her number one priority.

Ending

This series continues on, so I guess there technically isn’t one here.

Thoughts

I munched through this book in about 24 hours. Talk about hooked. I felt off kilter almost the whole way through, and it didn’t matter how many guesses I made throughout the book, I didn’t guess the outcome. The characters evolve and their relationships are cemented, which is excellent, because I will certainly be searching for the rest of this series.

Quote

“People usually hate because of a despair they can’t let themselves feel.” ~Dianna, giving words of wisdom to Becca.

 George_nowhere 2Krista:

Cover

My cover was the same as Bel’s The island the book takes place on does have a lot of forest landscape, but the main character Becca is explained to have heavy makeup on. I would have liked to see that on the cover.

Characters

The story takes place on a somewhat small island, a place where everyone knows each other. So there are a lot of characters that are coming in and out of the story. We get different point of views throughout the story, which I always enjoy. Becca is the main character and she is abandoned, scared, and lonely but seems to make friends easily.

Favourite

Diana: it seemed that everything this woman said was insightful, and she always has this caring air about her that was comforting.

Least Favourite

Jenn. It seemed like she always had to say something negative. She obviously didn’t believe in the saying “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Beginning

Running for their lives, Becca’s mother drops her off at Whidbey Island to be taken care of by a friend (to hide her from her step father). But when Becca gets to the friend’s house, circumstances have changed. Now she is stranded not knowing anybody who can help her and out of contact with her mother.

Storyline

Hiding from her step-father in fear for her life, Hannah is left in the care of her mother’s friend on Whidbey Island. As soon as she arrives everything falls apart, and now she has nowhere to go and doesn’t know anybody to help. After meeting a few people, she finds a place to live and she starts school. When a boy is hurt in the forest, things take a turn for the worse.

Ending

This is another first book in a series, so the ending leaves some unanswered questions and intrigue for the next book.

Thoughts

Even with a mixture of characters, I felt that the author did a great job in having each one rounded and their emotions jumped off the page. Their reactions were very real and raw. This made me really hate and really love different characters as the story progressed. I also loved the scenic mountainous setting of Whidbey Island; very much a place I would love to live in.

Quote

“Sometimes, we can’t see a reason for what happens, so we try to find one because it’s easier to do that than to go through the pain of recovering.” -Diana



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