Review: Sea by Sarah Driver.

Title – Sea
Series – The Huntress trilogy #1
Author – Sarah Driver
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 336 pages
Publication Date – April 6th 2017 by Egmont Books Ltd
ISBN – 9781405284677
My Rating – ★★★/5

Ever since Mouse’s mother died, she’s looked out for her little brother, Sparrow. She’s also been dreaming of when she’ll be captain of The Huntress.

But now her father is missing, Sparrow’s in danger and a deadly cold is creeping across the world…

I received a copy of Sea from Hardie Grant Egmont Australia to review. This is the first book in The Huntress trilogy. DEpiDAsV0AI_pxh

It took me a while to get used to the way Mouse and the other characters talked in this book. Some of the things they said were a little weird at first but once I got used to it I didn’t really notice it.

I think this book may have been a little bit too young for me. I mean, I’ve read middle grade books before but I just didn’t click with this the way I have other middle grade books. I mean, I liked the book but I did have some issues with Mouse and Sparrow. Mouse was very stubborn and seemed to think a lot of herself while Sparrow was too whiney for me. Especially because Mouse and their grandmother treated him like a baby a lot and I just can’t stand whining children.

I did find the story interesting though, with this cold or ice or whatever it was that was taking over the world. I think if I hadn’t found Mouse and Sparrow so annoying I would have liked this book more. I did like the magic in the story and it kind of reminded me a little of Northern Lights so I think fans of Philip Pullman may enjoy this.

I am interested in finding out what will happen to Mouse and the rest in the next book. I think it’s called Sky.

*Thank you Hardie Grant Egmont for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

 

Review: Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology by Danielle Binks.

Title – Begin, End, Begin: A LoveOzYA Anthology
Authors – Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson & Danielle Binks
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 336 pages
Publication Date – April 24th 2017 by HarperCollins Australia
ISBN – 9781460752319
My Rating – ★★★/5

“The YA event of the year. Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all.

With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world exactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.”

I received a copy of Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. 3

There are a lot of authors who have written stories for this book that I’ve never read before I picked up this book. So I was excited to get a copy of this so that I could read more Australian authors. I had read books by Amie Kaufman, Lili Wilkinson and Melissa Keil.

I don’t review or read a lot of books with short stories because I don’t find them the easiest books to review. Especially when they have more than one author. There’s a reason I only gave this book three stars and I’ll get to that later in my review. I’m not going to talk about every short story but I will talk about the ones that stood out for me.

I loved Amie Kaufman’s One Small Step, which is the first shot story in the book. This is the first story I’ve read where Kaufman wasn’t co-authored by Meagan Spooner or Jay Kristoff. And I am so happy that I loved her writing when it’s just her. This was sci-fi story with some romance as well. I don’t want to say too much about the story but it had an interracial (I hope that’s the right word?) love interest and a lesbian main character. And it was my favourite story out of all of them. I wish it was longer actually.

I also liked First Casualty by Michael Pryor. This was another sci-fi story and it had aliens too who were rescued by the two characters in the story and then really mistreated because they were different and other. If I remember correctly. I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I read this.

I did like one or two more stories but those are the only two that still stand out and I can remember most of the storyline. Looking back at the table of contents now there are two more that I remember clearly and the rest have completely slipped my mid. But that always happens to me with short stories. I find I don’t have enough time to connect to the story or characters before it’s all over. Which is why I can’t give this more than three stars – I only liked two or three stories out of how many? Ten. Wow that’s bad.

I have seen a few reviews on Goodreads mentioning that they were excited to read some of the stories in this book because they knew the characters. That may be another reason I didn’t connect with those stories – they’d mostly been told in other books that I’ve never heard of. But there’s only one way to find out and that by looking up the books.

But I did like reading more Australian authors and I think this is a great way to sample their work without having to read a whole book. I do wish there was something like this for New Zealand YA authors too because I can only think of one off the top of my head.

*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.

Title – When Dimple Met Rishi
Author – Sandhya Menon
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 384 pages
Publication Date – July 13th 2017 by Hodder
ISBN – 9781473667402
My Rating – ★★★/5

“Meet Dimple – Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi – He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.”

I received a copy of When Dimple Met Rishi from Hachette New Zealand to review. DEaJwTYUQAATn49

I was really excited to read this because so many people had said good things about this book. But I just found it too predictable, a little annoying in places and way too cheesy for me.

I mean, they synopsis on the back of the book clearly spells out what’s going to happen between Dimple and Rishi. I thought I’d like Dimple, she seemed to smart and determined to put her career first. But the way she judged people who had money, or their parents did, was really annoying to me. I’m not rich but I don’t think all the people who have money are awful people. The way Dimple talked it seemed like she did. Okay, so these “Aberzombies” (such a ridiculous name!!) were asshats, well the guys were, but why make such a big deal out of them, why not just ignore them and do your own thing instead of just bitching about them so often. I did like that Dimple didn’t care what others thought of her and didn’t like to put on make-up all the time but saying that once would have been enough.

Dimple was also really focused on this app she wanted to build or whatever you do with apps. But after she met Rishi it just seemed to be mostly about them and their dates and whatever. This app apparently meant a lot to her but it wasn’t really mentioned much.

Then there was Rishi. His optimism just really got to me. I don’t know how he could be so optimistic all the time. I’ve a very pessimistic person so I just couldn’t handle it. And the fact that he was still so young but so ready for marriage… What? I don’t know if it’s a cultural difference but I’m still not ready or interested in marriage and I’m not eighteen. I mean, he was so young. Go, live! Got to college, travel! But then, that’s just me I guess.

I loved that this had representation and I learned things about another culture but aside from that When Dimple Met Rishi was really not for me. Like I said, I found it way too predictable and cheesy.

*Thank you Hachette New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead.

Title – The Glittering Court
Series – The Glittering Court #1
Author – Richelle Mead
How I Got It – Won it in a giveaway
Pages – 400 pages
Publication Date – April 5th 2016 by Razorbill
ISBN – 9781595148414
My Rating – ★★★/5

“Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.”

I won a copy of The Glittering Court last year in a giveaway and because the sequel is out DDmhc1_VwAACh3pI thought it was about time I picked it up. I’ve read most of Richelle Mead’s books and I think my favourites are still the Bloodlines series. I was really excited to read this though.

I liked Adelaide. I can’t remember her what her name was before she ran away so I’m just going to stick with it because that’s what she was called for most of the book. Anyway, her grandmother had put her in a horrible position with an arranged marriage and if she’d gone through with it I’m pretty sure her life would have been miserable. So she did the only thing she could think of, run away.

I wasn’t really sure what to think of this Glittering Court thing. The whole thing felt a little weird to me. Like, selling these women reminded me of people selling horses or cattle at auction. I mean, okay the women joined willingly and knew what they were getting into but still… It just left me with a bad feeling.

So Goodreads says this is a fantasy and it’s really not. It’s like something set in the 1800’s or something. High society and people sailing off to the new world. There is nothing fantasy about it – no faeries, dragons or magic. That’s what I think of when I think fantasy. Magic! This has none. But I still liked the story. I just wish it didn’t say fantasy and got my hopes up and ugh. But whatever.

I’m really bad with names but Adelaide had two friends at this Court thing. I think one was called Mira and the other one completely slips my mind. The one I can’t remember was a little too obsessed with being the top “jewel” and I think she had her reasons but if it was mentioned I can’t remember. I would like to know what was with the obsession though. And the other one, Mira, also has a secret that she sneaks out late at night to do. I am really interested in her story because I have my suspicions about what she was doing but it wasn’t revealed in this book. I’m hoping it comes out in Midnight Jewel because I think that book focuses more on her. Fingers crossed anyway.

I enjoyed The Glittering Court. It had its moments where I was bored with all the talk of dresses which is why I only gave it three stars. I’m hoping to enjoy Midnight Jewel more than I did this one.

– Aimee.

Review: Beyond the Wall by Tanya Landman.

Title – Beyond the Wall
Author – Tanya Landman
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 384 pages
Publication Date – April 6th 2017 by Walker Books
ISBN – 9781406366273
My Rating – ★★★★/5

“After maiming her master, Cassia has no choice but to run. Beyond the river, fair to the north, stands Hadrian’s Wall – the furthest limit of the mighty Roman Empire. And beyond the wall? Freedom. With dogs on her trail and a bounty on her head, the journey seems impossible. But then Cassia meets Marcus – slick, slippery, sliver-tongued – a true and perfect son of Rome. And her only hope.”

I received a copy of Beyond the Wall from Walker Books Australia to review. DDXD-kIV0AEQWZ0

I’ve never read a historical fiction book set in the Roman Empire. I don’t think I’ve read any books set in the Roman Empire actually… But when I heard about this on Booktube I thought it sounded really interesting and like a good way to see what this time in history was like.

I really liked Cassia. I thought she was really brave for standing up for herself. I’m not sure how often something like that would have happened back then, if ever, but I could not stand her master and what he expected her to do. All the entitlement from him and all the other Romans and how they felt like they were somehow better than others drove me crazy. Like I said, I don’t know anything about this time in history. I probably should have looked it up before I wrote this review but it’s too late now.

I wasn’t sure what to think of Marcus. He seemed way too nice and kept going out of his way to help Cassia for no reason that I could tell. Which made me instantly suspicious of him and figured that there must be more going on than what Marcus was telling Cassia. But I never came close to figuring it out.

I actually enjoyed Beyond the Wall. I think because I’ve never really read a book set during this time in history and it was all new to me. Obviously I can’t say how accurate this story is. But I thought this was a good first book for me to get into this time.

This was also the first book I’ve read by Tanya Landman. At the end of this there were a few of her other books being advertised (is that the right word?) and I thought some of them sounded pretty good. So I might try to find some of them one day.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read anything set in the Roman Empire, like me, but also to anyone who likes strong female characters. Cassia was the best part of the book for me.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.

Title – Flame in the Mist
Series – Flame in the Mist #1
Author – Renee Ahdieh
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 402 pages
Publication Date – May 18th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN – 9781473657977
My Rating – ★★★★/5

As the only daughter of a prominent Samurai, Mariko has always known that she’s not in control of her fate. It doesn’t matter how smart she is or her skills as an alchemist, Mariko was raised for one thing – marriage.

Mariko is seventeen years old when she’s sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she didn’t choose. But her convoy is ambushed by the Black Clan – a group of bandits who were hired to kill Mariko before she reached the palace.

As the only survivor, Mariko swears revenge on the people who wanted her dead. Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan disguised as a boy and befriends their leader. The Clan warms to Mariko, impressed by her intelligence and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to them, she uncovers secrets that will force her to question everything she thought she knew.

I received a copy of Flame in the Mist from Hachette New Zealand to review. I’ve read16 Renee’s The Wrath and the Dawn duology and I loved it so I was really excited to read her new book.

I’m just going to get this out of the way now… I’d heard this was a Mulan retelling even before the book was released. I haven’t seen Mulan but I do know what the movie is about (it’s my brother’s favourite Disney movie) and the only thing they have in common as far as I could tell was Mulan and Mariko disguising themselves as boys. From what my brother told me, Mulan dressed as a boy to join the army and stop her father from having to go to war and probably being killed. Mariko was trying to find out who tried to kill her. I’m not sure I’d say Flame in the Mist is a Mulan retelling from that. But moving on now.

I really liked Mariko. I thought she was either really brave or really stupid for going into the Black Clan and trying to find out of it was actually them who tried to kill her. I mean, she thought these guys were hired killers. I understand why she didn’t just go home. She would have just been sent back to the palace and probably killed. But Mariko was also really smart and didn’t want to accept that women were just meant to marriage and having kids. She wanted more from her life.

I also liked the guys in the Black Clan. I figured there was more going on with them than what they appeared to be but I didn’t know what. I did click to something just before it came out at the end of the book though.

I didn’t like Mariko’s brother. I can’t even remember his name. I don’t know what it was about him but I just could not stand him.

There was a twist at the end, the last chapter, that I did not see coming. But I cannot wait for the next book to see what happens to Mariko and the guys in the Black Clan.

I really enjoyed Flame in the Mist and can’t wait for the sequel to come out. I think I might have to add Renee to my favourite author list.

*Thank you Hachette New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray.

Title – Defy the Stars
Series – Constellation #1
Author – Claudia Gray
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 480 pages
Publication Date – April 6th 2017 by Hot Key Books
ISBN – 9781471406362
RRP – $22.99 NZD
My Rating – ★★★/5

“Noemi is a seventeen year old soldier from the planet Genesis. She can fire weapons and fly a single-pilot fighter. 

Abel is a young mech from Genesis’s enemy planet Earth, and the most sophisticated robot warrior ever made.”

Stranded together on a ship, Noemi and Abel should be enemies. But Noemi’s home is in danger and only Abel can help her save it. Together, they begin a trip through the galaxy. A journey that will have both Noemi and Abel questioning everything they thought they knew about each other and what it means to be human.

I received a copy of Defy the Stars from Allen and Unwin New Zealand to review. This isDCuH_t1U0AArazQ the first book in the Constellation trilogy/series. I’m not really sure which.

I loved Claudia’s Firebird trilogy so I had high expectations for this and I was so sure I’d love it too. But it was okay. I did like it but I think because I’d got my expectations so high it was never going to live up to it and it didn’t hold my attention.

I also didn’t really understand the connection between Noemi and Abel, which is the main focus of the book – what it takes to be human/have a soul. I just couldn’t get passed the fact that Abel is a machine, even though I did like him. I just didn’t see anything happening between him and Noemi, at least for me. I don’t know… It was just weird to me.

But like I said, I did like Abel and I felt really bad for him too. I figured out there was more going on with his creator and what he had planned for Abel before it came out. Abel was built to do everything his creator wanted but something in him grew or changed, I’m not sure which, and he somehow broke free. I don’t want to say more because of spoilers, I think that was a bit too much though. But I’m not saying anymore about it.

I liked Noemi too. I thought she was really brave to leave her home, even though she’s dreamed of travelling all her life, to go into the unknown and try to save Genesis. I didn’t like the sound of what Earth was trying to do to them.

The journey Noemi and Abel went of was full of adventure and really interesting characters. There are a few that I hope are in the next book. I really liked reading about all the different planets and the people on them. I think that was one of my favourite parts of the book.

Speaking of the next book… Defy the Stars didn’t have a huge cliffhanger. There are some things up in the are, or left open for the next book, but I’m not really in a huge rush to read it. I mean, II probably will read it eventually because I want to know what’s next for Noemi, Abel and Genesis but at the same time I don’t feel a need to rush out and get it as soon as it’s released. Which is a shame because I normally enjoy sci-fi books.

*Thank you Allen and Unwin New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.