Spoiler-Free Review: Evading The Dark by E.M. Rinaldi
Evading The Dark (The Cross Chronicles #1) by E.M. Rinaldi
Genre(s) - YA Paranormal, Fantasy
Synopsis: High school sucks. It doesn’t matter who you ask; jock, cheerleader, computer nerd, or band geek, they will all say the same thing: It’s a nightmare. But Casey is still wondering how she got the short end of the stick. Just a Sophomore at the prestigious Luthos Academy for Magical Beings, Casey already knows more about heartache and fear than any almost-sixteen-year-old should. Orphaned and left to be raised by the Academy, she spends her days training to become a Guardian, but that dream is looking dimmer with every day that passes. Unlike the wand-waving heroines in all her favorite books, Witches in her world don’t cast spells, they are born wielding the power of nature: water, fire, earth, or air; powers Casey never developed. She’ll be lucky if they even allow her to take her final exams.
She is top of her training class, but that doesn’t keep her from being looked down upon by every other being at her school. All Casey wants is to be given a chance, instead she finds the only life she’s ever known targeted by an unfathomable evil. Thrust into the center of an age-old prophecy, a war is coming with Casey at the reins.
Will relying on her hard earned training be enough for her to make it out alive?
*I was sent a copy of this book in trade of an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own* Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy!
I was hesitant about reviewing this book. I've always leaned more towards Contemporaries as I have a kind of hit or miss relationship with paranormal and fantasy books/series. I decided to bite the bullet and agree to reading and reviewing this one though and I'm so glad I did.
Straight away you're thrown into the story, following Casey, who has ended up at the Luthos Academy, despite her lack of powers. You see a key moment of her childhood, before the academy, and then it switches to her as a teenager. I was surprised about how quickly you begin to pick up information and learn about Casey in the story, but it was a good thing as it makes the story so much easier to get into.
I knew from the start I was going to like Casey. She's kind of a misfit at the academy. Due to her not yet discovering her powers or talent, her fellow students exclude her and she goes through some terrible bullying from one student in particular. Despite all this, she has her best friend Cedric beside her and her teacher and I guess carer, Eli to look over her. She's getting through the best she can but nothing ever seems to go that great for her.
Across the country, other academies are faced with an emergency when students begin to disappear, creating fear in the Luthos academy. This is where Casey's story starts, I guess.
I said above, but with Evading The Dark, you're pretty much thrown straight into the story and I loved this. Within those first couple of pages you get a glimpse of who Casey is and get a real grasp for the story. From that point I couldn't stop reading.
With previous fantasy/paranormal books that I've read, I normally struggle to get into the story. mainly due to the writing style. It was the exact opposite for me with Evading the Dark. Rinaldi's writing reads so easily and you get swept along and only realise how much time has passed when you manage to break yourself away from Casey and the Academy, which I'm warning you now is quite difficult to do once you really get into the story.
Just like with some other popular fantasy series, it does feature a magic school/academy and I was expecting it to stick to some of the tropes and ideas that go along with this, but the Academy is pretty different. It's so much easier to understand and relate to I guess. It's like a normal high school with the way the students communicate with each other and the relationships etc. I'm glad Rinaldi included Casey and her being bullied into the story because not only does it show a vulnerable side to Casey, but it's also relatable for so many young teens.
Evading The Dark is also completely full of twists and turns. When I started the story, I could never predict the way it would end. Once I was into the story, it was so easy to be swept along and I loved being so wrapped up in what was happening that I kind of forgot about the real world around me. I haven't had that from a book in quite a while and loved getting the escapism that I needed.
I did find one or two scenes a bit cringy, surrounding a relationship that develops in the story, but other than that I can't really fault it. I loved the characters (especially Falon and Casey), the pacing, the story, the writing, so basically everything about the book.
Overall, I loved Evading The Dark and definitely need to get my hands on the sequel to satisfy my need for more of this world, especially after that cliffhanger. It's definitely opened my eyes to maybe trying more paranormal and fantasy in the future (leave recommendations below). I'd definitely recommend giving this series a go. It'd especially be good if you're reading paranormal or fantasy for the first time as it is really easy to get into.
Rate - 4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26781995-evading-the-dark?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/Evading-Dark-E-M-Rinaldi/9781987699999?ref=grid-view&qid=1533760877099&sr=1-1
Spoiler-Free Review: How I Magically Messed Up My Life In 4 Freakin' Days by Megan O'Russell
How I Magically Messed Up My Life In 4 Freakin' Days(The Tale of Byrant Adams #1) by Megan O'Russell
Date Started - 13/10/2017
Date Finished - 1/1/2018
Genre(s) - YA Fantasy, Magic
Synopsis: Ever wanted to grow a five-story tall flower in central park? How about fight a deadly battle under the subway tunnels of Manhattan?
Don't worry. I never wanted to either. But if you're ever being chased by ladies made of mist and you have to save the girl with the sparkly eyes you've never had the guts to say actual words to, there's an app for that.
I found a magic cell phone, opened an app I shouldn't have, burned down the set shop for my high school's theatre, and it was all downhill from there. A drag queen seer who lives under a bridge is my only hope for keeping my mom alive, and I think the cops might be after me for destroying my dad's penthouse.
But it gets better! Now I'm stuck being the sidekick to the guy who got me into this mess in the first place. It'll be a miracle if I survive until Monday.
*Requested for review. All opinions are my own and honest*
I was meant to have reviewed this for November, but things sort of piled up and I just didn't really get to properly read it until December. I just didn't have much time to read it, so that's why it took me nearly 4 months to read it. Sorry!
I did read the synopsis before I requested the book, but by the time I started it I'd sort of forgotten what it was about. I knew it was a fantasy and something to do with magic, but that was about it.
Starting it, I did struggle to get in to the story at first, so I did put it down for a couple of days because I was already starting to get into a reading slump and I didn't want to make it worse. I came back to after a week or so and tried it again and read further. The second time round, it pulled me in and I really got a feel for the voice of Bryant, the main character.
It took me a while to understand the characters and the setting, but once I did I was able to really get into he storyline. it took a couple of chapters before the action started and the story began to start. Once Eric was introduced and this mad chase began to take place, I was hooked. From here we got to learn the magic world that is featured in this story and the rivalries. I was completely invested into this new world and I loved getting to learn new things.
As the story developed, the pacing was brilliant. It matched the events perfectly and there seemed to never be a dull moment and when the action really started, I found myself on the edge of my seat.
I liked most of the characters, especially Elizabeth. She wasn't just the pretty girl, she was smart and brave too. She took charge of some of the situations well and overall she seemed like a good example of a strong female character. Bryant had a bit of a crush on her to begin with and I enjoyed seeing him turn into this nervous awkward character around her. You got to see a lot of character development between the pair as they went on this adventure together.
I also really loved Devon, Bryant's best mate, and his humour. I did find it a bit tedious and annoying when Devon and Bryant had some arguments over Elizabeth and her relationship status. Not going to say too much more as I don't want to spoil it, but it just annoyed me as it was like what Elizabeth thought or wanted didn't matter. This did change later and I was glad to see her making her own decisions.
Eric also played a huge part in the story, especially from the middle on to the end. I loved his snarky comments towards Devon and vice versa. Their relationship or lack of was brilliant to read and I found myself laughing out loud at certain comments between the two. Eric was just quite a humorous character and I really enjoyed his part in the development of the story.
Towards the end there are some action scenes that I thought were just brilliantly done by Megan. They were fast and action-packed and they broke up the bits in between well. I was sat on the edge of my seat through some of the tenser ones and I found myself rushing through the pages, desperate to know what was going to happen.
The ending closed up the story well, but left it open to continue easily with the rest of the series to come in the future. I really enjoyed this first instalment and getting to know this new world and set of characters.
Overall, it took me a bit to get into, but from the middle onwards I was completely hooked and sped through the story through December. I'm looking forward to seeing what Megan will bring to this series in the future and I can't wait to see what will happen to Bryant, Devon, Elizabeth and Eric next.
Rate - 3.75/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32231955-how-i-magically-messed-up-my-life-in-four-freakin-days?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/How-I-Magically-Messed-Up-My-Life-in-Four-Freakin-Days-Megan-ORussell/9781976416293
AMAZON - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magically-Messed-Life-Four-Freakin/dp/1976416299/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517682144&sr=8-1&keywords=how+i+magically+messed+up+my+life+in+4+freakin%27+days+by+megan+O%27russell
Spoiler-Free Review: Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin by C.G.Hickling
I've had so many reviews to do in the past weeks and I'm finally catching up now, so this one is a bit late. I received a copy of Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin by C.G.Hickling from Burst Publishing for review. A big thank you to Burst Publishing!
*I received a free copy of the book in trade for an honest review.*
I'm really excited to get into this review and tell you all about Toby Gentle because as you can probably guess, I really enjoyed it.
Carry on reading!
Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin by C.G. Hickling
Genre(s) - Middle Grade, Fantasy
Date Started - 28/1/2018
Date Finished - 30/1/2018
Synopsis: Toby Gentle is about to discover when the North Wind blows, it will change his life forever. An unexpected visitor arriving on Christmas Eve, a shocking revelation, and a summons to Silverbells – a mysterious military academy – is just the start. With a new danger threatening the world, Toby must uncover a dark plot, stop an assassin, and find out who he really is - all while trying to make the Mushing team!
Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin is the first book in a new children's fantasy series by debut author C.G. Hickling. Young and older readers will enjoy discovering his new world of magical snow globes, talking reindeer, blue Ye’ti, psychotic warrior penguins and Figgypud’s chocolates - all set in the wintery backdrop of the North.
"When you hold a book, you hold a universe in your fingertips." - Toby Gentle and the Winter Assassin
This is the first book of a new series, featuring our main character, Toby. Toby hasn't had the best start in life and is living on Bluebell farm with the Gentles. They're not kind people at all, but luckily for him, he's not alone and has his siblings to keep him company. The Gentles don't allow the kids to celebrate Christmas, yet Toby can't help but get excited at the time of year as he hopes maybe that year will be different. There's a surprise one night and Toby is introduced to a whole new world, better than anything he could've imagined. However, it still does have it's problems.
From the start I felt a connection to Toby. I couldn't help but love and care for him, maybe that's partly because of how little love and care he gets. I felt like I was following him on his journey, cheering him on.
The idea of the story was another thing that I loved. I know not everyone celebrates it, but I do love that time of year with all the festive feelings. A book all about Christmas, what else was there for me to want?! I do wish I'd read it in the run up to Christmas, like I'd originally planned because it definitely would've put me in the most festive mood.
When Toby gets introduced to this magical world, the writing was so detailed that I felt all the feelings he felt. The excitement, the hope, but also the sadness he felt at leaving his siblings and the whole situation being just a bit too overwhelming.
With the introduction of the new world, Toby is also introduced to a new family. This is where Donny, Dash and Declan were introduced. I loved these three brothers, especially Dash who I had a soft spot for. They welcomed Toby in and the bond between them continued to grow throughout the story, especially between Toby and Dash. The character development between these two was done amazingly well and by the end, I'd almost forgotten they hadn't known each other forever.
When Silverbells Academy is introduced, the magical level doubles. It's like Hogwarts but all Christmassy! What's more to love?! I loved reading about the lessons and the new things Toby discovered as well as the new friendships he developed. The characters we met along the way were brilliantly done and they all had something different to them. I enjoyed getting to know them all.
There were some huge moments in this book and I found myself on the edge of my seat, urging Toby and Dash on. The pair teamed up and the partnership was brilliant.
There was so much excitement and if it wasn't for my need of sleep, I would've easily stayed up all night to finish this.
One thing that I would've loved to see more of was world building. I felt that we knew all about the characters and the lessons, but we didn't get as clear details about the school and the world. You get little snippets of information here and there, but I wanted to hear more about the history, world and the school. I'm hoping more of this might be in the rest of the series.
Overall, I absolutely adored this book. It took me on a magical Christmas adventure and gave me the escapism I desired. I can't wait for the rest of the series to be released, especially after the cliffhanger this book ended on. I can't wait to see what other adventures Toby and his friends will go on next.
I'd definitely recommend this book to young children, but I feel it's one that a person of any age will get at least a bit of enjoyment out of.
Rate - 4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28117725-toby-gentle-and-the-winter-assassin?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/Toby-Gentle-and-the-Winter-Assassin-C-G-Hickling/9780993511813
Spoiler-Free Review: The Girl In The Glass Box by Andi Adams
I'm finally back with another review! This time it's for a review book that I requested, The Girl In The Glass Box by Andi Adams. I read this back in November and have been meaning to write my review for it ever since. It's a YA Snow White fairy retelling with some twists.
Carry on reading!
The Girl In The Glass Box by Andi Adams
Synopsis: A witch. An apple. A mirror. That’s all most people think of when they recall the story of Snow White. But the truth is rarely so simple. What if the Queen wasn’t born evil and the princess wasn’t always so pure of heart? Is it possible that these two women could have ended up in one another’s place?
The Girl in the Glass Box tells the story of Agrippine and Genevieve, two women who are not all that different, but who quickly learn through a series of choices, encounters, and devastating losses that the course of their fates can change in an instant. Through the influences of the people they love and lose, both are redefined as their stories head for a different sort of happily-ever-after.
*I requested to review this book through XpressoTours. My review is honest and my own opinion.*
When I requested this, I was really in the mood for it, but I thought I'd leave starting it till it was a bit closer to the review deadline. I do this often and I should know by now that this is a pretty bad thing to do. I ended up losing interest as I normally do and ended up sort of forcing myself to pick it up to just try and start it.
I'm so happy that this book captured me from the start and it was easy to get into as I ended up really wanting to read it. It was easy to settle into and I found the story so interesting, I struggled to put it down at times. I know the story of Snow White well as I used to love it as a child and I was slightly worried on how Andi would interpret/use the fairy tale. I was apprehensive starting it, but I really wish I had done sooner.
In The Girl In The Glass Box, Agrippine is the evil Stepmother and Genevieve is the character Snow White. I thought Agrippine was brilliantly written as she definitely lived up to her evil self and I liked how we got to see some of her childhood to begin with and the reasons behind why she grew up to be who she is. I couldn't help but feel sympathy towards her even though she was quite evil. Genevieve was another great character and I loved how she tried to be a strong female character.
I was hooked to the storyline and there was never a dull moment. I enjoyed how we got to see from Agrippine and Genevieve's POVs and it was cool to see how the two characters differ from each other.
There were some emotional bits and I felt as if a bond had grown between me and these characters and I really didn't want it to end.
The ending was good, but I feel it was rushed a bit. I also feel as if I didn't get to see as big of a reaction from certain characters as I hoped. I thought it was going to be quite emotional and dramatic, but I was left slightly disappointed.
Overall, I enjoyed this book for the most part and I'm glad I read it. I'd definitely recommend if you're looking for a new fairy tale retelling.
Rate - 4.5/5
GR - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30368932-the-girl-in-the-glass-box?ac=1&from_search=true
BD - https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Girl-in-the-Glass-Box-Andi-Adams/9781945495014?ref=grid-view&qid=1513538094400&sr=1-1
If you guys know of any good fairy tale retellings, leave them in the comments below and I'll add them to my list to give a go.
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