Frostbite by Richelle Mead

I’ll be honest: in writing this post I can’t really remember what I thought of this book so I’ve had to look up other reviews to remind myself as I didn’t even take any notes.

So after what happened in the previous books all the Moroi are on edge as the Strigoi seem to ramping up their efforts to kill them. What else should they do but send all their heirs to a ski trip together, because that makes sense?

Rose and Dmitri’s tension only furthers in this novel as Rose tries to put her attention into another boy and Dmitri, of course, is conflicted about the whole situation. What I have to say is I’m just glad Dmitri was still trying to keep his distance, it shows that he’s aware that he has power over her due to their age gap. Rose generally annoyed me in this context as she really couldn’t wrap her head around Dmitri telling her he’s not comfortable with the age gap.

The ending was super rushed, there was so much waffle of them in the ski resort and then the ending was so sudden and it very much felt like “wait, what? Is that it?”

Lissa was also just super annoying in this book, but when is she not? She seems to only ever have eyes for her boyfriend and fails to notice that some really bad things are happening to Rose. And all the rest of the characters were quite irritating, but not inhuman. They definitely read like the teenagers they were.

All in all I’d say the character development was pretty good in this, and it felt nice to read something from this series that was new to me as the film whilst bad followed the plot pretty well of the first book so it did feel like I’d already read it. I’m actually quite intrigued to see what happens now as I feel like things are going to actually get interesting.

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The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck Blog Tour | Author Spotlight and Review

Summary

Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad’s massive intellect.
He got his massive feet instead.

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit – a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess – before his so-called accident.

If starting yet another new school wasn’t bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest.

Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he’s soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.

Author Spotlight

Well, they say that everyone needs a hobby, but whilst sat in a tent listening to fighter jets scream overhead in a foreign land, I realised that I needed something else: a distraction.  Writing was the perfect solution; even if writing about military life wasn’t.  I was much more interested in writing about action-packed adventures that was bristling with the likes of bullying, crunching tackles and great goals on the football pitch, the afterlife, mythical creatures, fate, destiny and the obligatory arch-villain hellbent on world domination.  Hence my foray into the world of young adult writing began. You could say that I was always going to be less Andy McNab and more J.K. Rowling.

They also say that you should write about the things you know, and even if I was writing about twelve-year-old boy Charlie Watkins, who suddenly found that he had more enemies than hot dinners, or super-powerful and deadly adversaries, or hobgoblins, I wanted people to believe it.  Therefore, I needed a real place to set my semi-fantasy world. The town of North Shields, in the northern corner of England with a view of the River Tyne, the place where I grew up, provided the perfect backdrop for my first novel The Cubit Quest.  After all, the place really does have it all – great buildings, great parks, great coastline, and even greater people.  I hoped to do the place justice – I didn’t.

The reason for this was relatively simple: I wasn’t very good at it.  Four years down the line and The Cubit Quest was still more a figment of my imagination than a reality.  The ‘Ian Rankin style’ of writing, namely you have a rough idea of where you’re going and let’s see how it pans out, was hugely successful – for Ian Rankin that is!  For me, the process was an unmitigated disaster – four years and no end product proving testament to that fact.  But that didn’t matter.  Other than my lovely wife, nobody knew I was writing and nobody was going to read it anyway – right?

The process also highlighted something that I, and anyone who meets me will figure out soon enough: I have the world’s worst memory.  The places in The Cubit Quest were all real, Ralph Gardner High, Charlie’s house, Elvis’s house, Sonia’s house, all of it – ‘were’ being the operative word.  The story is therefore a mismatch of eras, some present day, some straight from my very poor memory.  The result is less Dan Brown, whereby every detail is correct at the time of writing and more John Grisham – never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Having a second crack at it – it was my secret hobby after all – I knuckled down to some serious planning and eleven months later I had a first draft, a completed novel at last!  Of course, perhaps I should have mentioned that it wasn’t The Cubit Quest, it was the follow up, which takes up immediately where The Cubit Quest leaves off.  It was an odd situation, even I’ll admit that, to have the second part of what I envisaged to be a four-part series and no first part in existence.

All that remained, was to complete that first novel – and complete it I did!  It was a behemoth by the time I’d finished, large enough to give a sci-fi epic a run for its money.  Having visited the fabulous Warner Bros Studios to spend a very enjoyable day living and breathing the equally fabulous world of Harry Potter there is an opening address by J.K. Rowling in which she says that the Philosopher’s Stone was a product of good editing.  I didn’t appreciate this fully – but I did by the time I’d whittled the book down to a more palatable word length – eight edits, ouch!

I was recently asked what short response I’d say to someone who had a passing interest in The Cubit Quest. My response: buy a ticket, strap in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of an adventure!

Review

This book was a weird read, but something a bit different. It was advertised to me as YA but I’d say it’s that middle ground between Middle Grade and YA.

There was a lot of little references in this book, which I absolutely adored, like Charlie went to the Library to pick up a copy of a Garth Nix book, there was characters with names that were references to things. It made my read more fun when I picked up on them.

At times it did border on a bit silly, but I think that’s mainly because Leck seemed to want to keep the reader in the dark about what was going on in the same way that Charlie was. It was generally a bit awkward at times because it would go from the fantastical elements to kids playing football in the space of a few sentences.

The formatting wasn’t really great either, there wasn’t enough line breaks to tell you when you’d moved into a different POV or a different time. Like it felt like it needed more paragraphs or general transitions.

This was set in South Shields (I think) which was quite nice to read for me as my Gran lives in the Tyneside area and the place she lives was actually mentioned at one point.

I occasionally found some of the fantastical elements of the plot a bit confusing, I eventually got my head around it but I felt there maybe could have been a bit more of an explanation to what was going on.

I liked that this was still set in a school. What I mean by that is that too often in books of this nature kids find out that they have powers and have to go on an adventure leaving their school and family life behind. Whereas this book was still set at home and the MC still had all his childhood problems.

Living in Telford, Shropshire, Trevor Leck has been dabbling in writing for over fifteen years. Always a fan of gripping adventure stories he has taken inspiration from his favourite authors, including John Grisham and J K Rowling, and the towns and cities he grew up, especially North Shields, to create his Young Adult series.

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Thank you to Rachel Gilbey for arranging this tour!

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I still love to read vampire fiction, if I see a fic rec that has a vampire in it then I’m down. I don’t know why I love vampires so much but I do. So I thought it was about time I read this especially now all the vampire YA hype has died down.

Vampire Academy is about exactly what you think it’s about: a school for vampires. Rose and Lissa are living on the run from the Academy as Lissa believes them remaining at the Academy is keeping Rose in grave danger, but they get dragged back

Yes there is a bit of dodgy romance like you’d expect in a vampire book, but for the most part this book is about the friendship between two girls. I liked the romances in the book, Rose falls for the school’s “bad boy” and we discover he isn’t actually bad and there’s more than meets the eye. Whereas Lissa begins to be attracted to her tutor who is like 10 years older than her but he refuses to let anything happen because of that age gap which makes a nice change. Though I am expecting something to happen between them in further books but hopefully it’ll be when Lissa is older though I won’t hold my breath.

I loved Lissa as a character she was really loyal and wasn’t interested in the politics of her world, she just wants to protect Rose, even though Rose is a bit of a nightmare at times. I’ve seen the film before reading it and I really do not understand how they cast Dimitri because the way he’s described in the book is definitely not how the actor looks.

I found the political world building in this book really interesting, having “good” vampires and bad vampires and people to protect the good vampires because they’re not indestructible, like you find in most vampire novels.

Obviously having watched the film I knew what was going to happen in this book so once I’m finished my library books I’m interested to see what happens with the rest of this series now.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

Thank you to netgalley and Harlequin UK for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To put it simply this is a lesbian, YA MacBeth retelling. It’s set in a private school in the States and there’s ghosts and deaths and a lot of other weird, creepy shit.

I thought this would be a really good read for me as I am a huge fan of MacBeth and Shakespeare and studied it in school, but I think that actually made me less open to this book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I don’t think that’s because the book is not god or the writing is bad or anything it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

I think part of my issue with this novel was that it is a YA novel so the characters are all kids, they don’t feel nearly as evil, horrible and driven as their counterparts in the original. I didn’t find Maria as convincing as MacBeth and I didn’t feel like her “reign” was much of a reign at all.

It was interesting to see how certain events of the play were interpreted for the new setting and environment, and certain things I had forgotten about had me quite shocked when they turned up in the novel. And God, I absolutely adored that Talley decided to make the MacBeth couple lesbians, however I didn’t find them a great couple and I was often left feeling like they weren’t an actual couple. There was a lot of diversity in the book, which is great, but I just wish I had enjoyed the book more.

The book is supposed to be spooky but I didn’t find it so, but I just don’t find many things spooky to be honest. I get more freaked out over strange coincidences than “ghosts” unless its real people with really weird ghost stories.

This is my first time reading Robin Talley, though I do have her debut novel on my ipad to read eventually. I found her writing style interesting enough to still want to read more of her novels despite this one not being a bit of a let down for me.

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Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

This isn’t going to be a long review because I don’t feel like there’s much to say about this without sounding the exact same as my reviews for previous books because this is onestly getting a little stale for me. I’m going to finish the series because I feel connected to the characters but things are stagnating.

I didn’t have as much fun with this one, everything felt like lather, rinse, repeat. Katy would get mad because Daemon was trying to protect her, they fight, Katy does it anyway, something goes wrong, they make up, repeat. It just got really tiring honestly.

I liked that Dee was truly grieving after her loss in the previous book and things just didn’t instantly go back to normal. And Katy was understanding of the situation instead of trying to push Dee.

Things with the government group are getting even more sketchy in this book and I’m honestly really interested to see what happens in the next book after how this one ended.

I don’t know, this was my least favourite book of the series so far and I hope things pick up in Origin but I’m not holding my breath to be honest.

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Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I managed to get this from my library pretty quickly after finishing the first book so I was pretty pleased because I was eager to see what happened next.

Armentrout does a really good job in this novel of taking the ideas from the first book and expanding on them without blowing your mind and making it way too complicated. She develops the world from things that had been touched on in the first book, and left it knowing that things are about to get even more dangerous.

Katy and Daemon have even more sexual tension in this instalment. So much tension that you can cut it with a knife. After everything that happened in Obsidian things are tense between the two of them and then some new guy comes into town who can tell Katy more about herself than Daemon can so obviously Daemon is jealous. This was the book that finally had me shipping Katy and Daemon because of this tension. I felt like it was ramped up really well in comparison with Obsidian as it felt kind of just awkward and forced hate/sexual tension.

I loved the balance that was struck between romance and action. It fitted my tastes just right when it comes to fantasy. The romance didn’t feel forced and neither did the action and they bounced off each other in a perfect way. Action led to romance which led to action and it played into the whole story really well. Thus the pacing was really good for me, I read this really quickly like Obsidian and it kept my interest for the whole book and I didn’t want to put it down.

I still feel like it’s not the most original concept ever but it’s still fun to read and I’m probably going to read the whole series now because I’ attached to the characters, especially after the events of this book.

 

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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

I’d heard from a lot of people that this was the book that made them finally fall for the characters in The Raven Cycle, and I can safely say this happened to me too.

I found myself really falling for the characters in this book, more so than in The Raven Boys. Gansey is so wonderfully odd, and I can completely empathise with Blue when she begins to crush on him because he is just so loveable.The book is so focussed on Ronan that you can’t help but like him. He’s had such a complicated life and this are just getting more and more confusing for him.

The one thing that I really found interesting in this book was the introduction of the Grey Man, who is a hit man after “Greywaren”. The way he is described is that everything about him is grey. He’s the perfect metaphor for depression, he clearly has depression as he says he finds it hard to get out of bed for days on end, but the fact that everything about his is grey is also just the best way of putting the feelings of depression into writing.

I’m still finding it a little hard to fully connect to the story, I think just because every thing is so weird. Don’t get me wrong, I like it and I plan on reading the whole series but I just can’t seem to really adore it. It’s so different, the writing is so wonderful but there’s not that certain something that I find with a lot of my favourite books and I’m quite sad about that because so many people I love have this in their favourites.

 

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