28 Apr 2017

Review – Among the Flames by Shelby K. Morrison

Title: Among the Flames (Legend of the Liberator #2)

Author: Shelby K. Morrison

Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis:  

After fleeing her home in Tharien with the Emperor's forces hot on her heels, Aia Wynnald has only one goal: To end the two-thousand-year-old discrimination against Benders—a race of beings like her, with a misunderstood gift. But when the Emperor’s Church of Mighty retaliates with a new threat, her noble plans are put on hold.

With her companion Cole Balain, a former enemy, by her side, Aia must halt the devastation triggered by her well-meaning actions. The only way she can fight the Church is with the help of a disenchanted group of rebel Benders who'd sooner submit to their fate than follow Aia's lead.

Can she inspire them to fight and work together to resolve this new crisis, or will her ingrained submissive nature bring her, and the Benders of Dyel, to their knees?

My Thoughts:

After reading the first book in the Legend of the Liberator trilogy I couldn’t wait to continue reading the story, but unfortunately a couple of years passed until the second instalment debuted. It has arrived at last and it was very exciting to re-join Aia and Cole, to follow a newfound band of rebels that was determined to gain freedom.

I really like Shelby K. Morrison’s writing, it flows so nicely, it’s very dynamic and makes you want to keep reading. Even though I didn’t have much time for reading recently it was no problem for me to read bigger chunks of this novel at once.

I’m still in love with this fantasy world, the benders, how the legend from the name of the series is being created on the pages. In Among the Flames I appreciated that the other kingdoms in the empire were shown to us. There were a lot more travelling than in the first book, that made me happy, since in From the Ashes the characters didn’t move around much.

A lot of new characters were introduced, I enjoyed the variety and my favourite new face was Fynris. I found his double agent status intriguing and hoped he would make the right decision all along.

The thing is, I gave Among the Flames three stars, but the reason why I didn’t give it a higher rating is due to personal taste. First of all, for a long while the rebels hid in an underground tomb and the pacing in the story was a bit off for me.

Whenever I read books about rebellions at some point it turns out that the rebels have a secret hideout underground and the characters’ activities stop, they become a bit idle usually; sure, they plan things, but don’t act for a while and I very often get bored when that happens.

The other thing that I find a bit slow in the trilogy is the romance. Aia and Cole are running circles around each other and I expected something to happen between them in the second book, but they were still too shy about their feelings.

Despite these two things that bothered me a bit, I enjoyed the second book very much and I would recommend the series to everyone who likes fantasy. I can’t wait to know what Aia will be up in the next book.

Read my review of From the Ashes here.

13 Apr 2017

Review – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Title: To Kill a Mockingbird
      
Author: Harper Lee

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' 

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.

My Thoughts:

After a re-read I’m finally ready to put my admiration into words. Revisiting this novel is like going home, because if you read To Kill a Mockingbird once, the characters and Maycomb County will stay with you and they welcome you home should you decide to look for them again.

To Kill a Mockingbird is everything; a book of important life lessons, a book about equality, friendship, hot nostalgic summer evenings and fascinating neighbours. It is also a story about fear and understanding.

Harper Lee manages to show us the cruelty of the world through children’s eyes and with their reaction to injustice she reminds us that innocence is never truly lost.

When Atticus, father of two, must defend an innocent black man at court, who was accused of raping a white woman, his children are not cushioned against the cataclysm their father’s – otherwise very noble – actions start.

Scout, the child narrator, is close to my heart not only because she’s a tomboy, like I once was, but because she’s an observer like I am. She pays attention and even though there are many things she doesn’t understand at first, she puts the puzzle together eventually. Of course, Atticus’ wise words and examples help her little mind to process what’s happening around them, but to truly understand everything, she has to ask questions and she never stops doing that. I love her for her inquisitiveness, for her thirst for knowledge.

Jem, her brother, is few years older, therefore he can grasp the gravity of the happenings in connection with Tom Robinson’s trial. Reality hits him hard and he tries to make sense of people’s behaviour, without much luck. His helplessness angers him and his disappointment in humanity motivates him to become a better adult one day. One of my favourite things about this novel really, is that the children represent hope for a better future.

And then there’s Atticus… Don’t even start me on Atticus. He’ll always be my favourite father figure ever. Many people in the book don’t like how he raises his children, they think he gives them too much freedom, but that’s just the point; he lets them experience things on their own, lets them learn about their surroundings, about people on their own account. He doesn’t abandon Scout and Jem, though: he guides them, sits down and talks to them after a long day, helps them understand what they saw, what they heard. I’d like to be as good a parent as he is when the time comes.

As for the trial and Tom Robinson’s case, it is a very sad business. You’ll see humanity at its worst in this novel and it will start you thinking how many times all this actually happened back then. But the book leaves us with confidence; confidence in the next generation, confidence in us and in our children. If we teach them right, the world will become a better place.

I will always consider To Kill a Mockingbird as one of the best pieces in literature, I’ll give it to my children and my children’s children so they can be richer with the thoughts the book will generate in them.

12 Apr 2017

WWW Wednesday #4

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words

WWW stands for three questions: 

1. What are you currently reading?
by Jude Morgan


Synopsis:

From an obscure country parsonage came the most extraordinary family of the nineteenth century. The Brontë sisters created a world in which we still live - the intense, passionate world of JANE EYRE and WUTHERING HEIGHTS; and the phenomenon of this strange explosion of genius remains as baffling now as it was to their Victorian contemporaries. In this panoramic novel we see with new insight the members of a uniquely close-knit family whose tight bonds are the instruments of both triumph and tragedy. Emily, the solitary who turns from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination: Anne, gentle and loyal, under whose quietude lies the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her: Branwell, the mercurial and self-destructive brother, meant to be king, unable to be a prince: and the brilliant, uncompromising, tormented Charlotte, longing for both love and independence, who establishes the family's name and learns its price.

I've always wanted to read a book about the Brontë sisters, this is it.

2. What did you recently finish reading? 

I've finished To Kill a Mockingbird, the review is coming tomorrow!

3. What do you think you'll read next?
by Shelby K. Morrison


 Synopsis:

 After fleeing her home in Tharien with the Emperor's forces hot on her heels, Aia Wynnald has only one goal: To end the two-thousand-year-old discrimination against Benders—a race of beings like her, with a misunderstood gift. But when the Emperor’s Church of Mighty retaliates with a new threat, her noble plans are put on hold.

With her companion Cole Balain, a former enemy, by her side, Aia must halt the devastation triggered by her well-meaning actions. The only way she can fight the Church is with the help of a disenchanted group of rebel Benders who'd sooner submit to their fate than follow Aia's lead.

Can she inspire them to fight and work together to resolve this new crisis, or will her ingrained submissive nature bring her, and the Benders of Dyel, to their knees?
  
I read the first book in the series and loved it very much. Can't wait to dive into the second instalment.

You know comments are very welcome and don't forget to leave a link to your WWW post either! :)

Happy reading!

8 Apr 2017

Stacking the Shelves #6


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that makes it possible to share with other bookworms what books you added to your shelves physical or virtual during the week.

I purchased a graphic novel and a novel this week (well, exactly a week ago) in London. I didn't buy more books, because I couldn't have crammed them in my luggage... unfortunately. But I'm really happy for these!

Title: Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybremen
      
Author: George Mann, Cavan Scott

Illustrations: Alessandro Vitti

Synopsis: Exiled from Gallifrey at the very end of Time, Rassilon, fallen leader of the Time Lords, has been captured by the last of the Cybermen. Now the Cybermen have access to time travel. With it, every defeat is now a victory. Every foe is now dead -- or Cyberised.

The Legions march across time and space, leaving devastation and converted civilisations in their wake, their numbers growing with every world that falls. Evolving. Upgrading. Reconfiguring. All seems lost. Forever.
 
Can the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors - each battling the Cybermen alone, on a different temporal front - undo the damage that has been wrought on the universe, before they are converted themselves? Or is this how the universe dies? Not in fire, but in cold, unfeeling metal...

A multi-Doctor treat that I really need right now. And I LOVE the cover!!


Title: The Savage Garden
      
Author: Mark Mills

Synopsis:

Tuscany, 1958

Behind a villa in the heart of Tuscany lies a Renaissance garden of enchanting beauty. Its grottoes, pagan statues and classical inscriptions seem to have a secret life of their own - and a secret message, too, for those with eyes to read it.

Young scholar Adam Strickland is just such a person. Arriving in 1958, he finds the Docci family, their house and the unique garden as seductive as each other. But post-War Italy is still a strange, even dangerous, place and the Doccis have some dark skeletons hidden away in their past.

Before this mysterious and beautiful summer ends, Adam will uncover two stories of love, revenge and murder, separated by 400 years... but is another tragedy about to be added to the villa's cursed history?

I borrowed this one from the library last year in London but didn't get around to reading it, so it landed back in the library eventually, unread. Now that I own it I don't have to worry about having to part with it. It has a haunting cover, hasn't it?

What books did you add to your collection this week?

Happy reading!

4 Apr 2017

(Short) Review – Bohermore by Jennifer Rose McMahon

Title: Bohermore
      
Author: Jennifer Rose McMahon

Rating: 1/5 stars

Synopsis: Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O'Malley's visions knock her off her path. The pirate queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago and now, the villain is coming for her. Maeve's decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams – and end them.

Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor – a man she shouldn’t be falling for – is the only person who understands the origins of her torment.

Maeve's journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland’s castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful pirate queen who has her marked for vengeance.

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:


DNF at 30%

I gave up on this one. It’s very slow-burning and the plot is being neglected. So far the focus was mostly on the love interests – 3!! of them appeared up until this point – and it would be possible to drown in the clouds of butterflies the main character’s stomach produces on every fourth page.

Most of the characters come across as immature and Maeve, the protagonist, has the unfortunate symptoms of a Mary Sue. Michelle, her friend, can only think about boys and so they hang around a boy band all the time. They are so deep into social affairs that Maeve doesn’t do the research about her family and her past; the very thing she went to Ireland for in the first place. Hence, there is no plot, only lots of handsome guys and clichéd conversations and I ran out of patience.

I don’t feel there’s anything special about the writing either, it’s okay, but not too captivating. I’m afraid Bohermore didn’t give me a reason to hold onto it and so I let go…

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