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Review: Cleo

Lucy Coats - Cleo

Her precious mother is dead – and it isn’t an accident! The young Cleopatra – Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter – must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret Sisters of the Living Knot. But now Isis’s power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis’s power – on pain of death. But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the über-hot Librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo’s powerful destiny is about to unfold…

Gorgeous and evocative, this captivating new YA novel imagines the life of the teenage Cleopatra before she became the icon we think we know.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This one caught my eye because a.) I liked the cover, and b.) it’s about Egypt. However, it didn’t totally live up to my expectations. There were definitely things I liked about it, but there was one thing that annoyed me a lot. Anyway, let’s start with the good.

Firstly, it was set in Egypt. Seriously, I’ll read anything about Ancient Egypt. I really liked the detail about the world. However, I think a little more explanation of who the gods and goddesses are was needed – I’m pretty familiar with them, but sometimes there wasn’t a huge amount of explanation about them. The idea behind the story was good too – Cleo’s thought to be dead by her two evil stepsisters until she ends up becoming a secret priestess of Isis and has to return to the palace to find a hidden map. It’s a fun story, with lots of little twists. I also really liked the friendship between Cleo and her slave Charm. I loved the fact that they were always there for each other.

So what was my biggest complaint about the book? The romance. Ugh, the romance. Basically, when Cleo left the palace aged about twelve, she bumped into a cute librarian who was a similar age. Fast forward several years – Cleo is having dreams about said librarian and is totally in love with him. I mean, come on. These two had said ten words at most to each other – why would she be obsessing over him?? And of course, he’s her contact within the palace when she gets to Alexandria. It was full on instalove and it just really annoyed me.

The other thing that disappointed me a little was that this book wasn’t a standalone. I think this book could have worked a lot better if it did have a solid ending. Ah, well.

Cleo could have been awesome, but it didn’t impress me as much as I’d hoped because of the instalove. It’s a shame, because this book had so much potential.

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My TBR Jar

What did I get up to this weekend? Well, I decided to create my own TBR Jar!

tbrjar2

The finished product

Why exactly? I was bored and got inspired for about five minutes! I just grabbed an empty jar and some paper and, boom! A TBR jar was created. It was actually pretty fun, although it took me ages to write out all the book titles. Clearly, my TBR is a little too long.

book list

So many books!

I’m looking forward to using it though – hopefully it’ll mean that I actually get through some of my TBR instead of just buying new books all the time… Okay, I’m still going to buy new books all the time. Still, picking a book at random to read should be interesting so I’m looking forward to experimenting with it.

tbrjar1

Chilling on the widowsill

So how do you choose what books to read next? Do you have a TBR jar? Or are you more of a mood reader?

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Stacking the Shelves #47

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga, where book lovers get to share what their latest additions to their book shelves are. (And I also use it as an excuse to update you about my life).

I got a couple of new books this week, both of which I’m super excited about!

Diana Wynne Jones - The Tough Guide to Fantasyland

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

I’ve already flicked through this one a little, and it’s very entertaining.

Morgan Matson - Second Chance Summer

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

I can’t wait to properly start this one because I LOVED Morgan Matson’s other books, so hopefully this’ll be just as awesome!

What am I reading?

At the moment, I’m in the middle of Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker. I’m rather enjoying it so far.

And on the telly?

I’m really into Castle at the moment – I’ve just started series 2 and I love it. I also started series 3 of Arrow recently and it’s insanely good.

On the blog…

What have you been doing this week? And what’s new on your shelves?

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Dear First Year

Dear first year,

Thanks for all the amazing memories that I’ve had. Even back in freshers week, the year was already shaping up to be awesome, and that was definitely thanks to my wonderful housemates. I was terrified of meeting them before uni started, and now I’m going to miss living with them next year so much! We’ve had a ball – playing sardines back in October, our amazing Christmas meal and midnight walk across the golf course, the Harry Potter nights with eleven people squished into one student bedroom, the Scrabble tournaments… The list goes on and on. Thank you for sticking me in a house with such brilliant people.

Thanks for the course mates too. I could never have managed a year of maths without my crazy tutor group. Seriously, they’re all great and we had a laugh. And it’s awesome that I get to live with some of them next year in an actual house. With a sofa! The amount of cake and hot chocolate we’ve had has been super unhealthy but hey! It got us through algebra problem sheets.

And thank you so much for my church and Christian Union. I don’t think I could’ve coped without the friends I’ve made through CU. We’ve had some very weird midnight walks across campus, and some great nights watching The Musketeers and Poldark. I’ve grown so much in my faith too and that’s definitely thanks to encouragement from both the CU and my church. They’ve given me so many opportunities to volunteer and help other people, so I’m grateful for that. And thank you so much, God, because I know none of this would be possible without you.

Finally, thanks for the opportunity to be a part of the orchestra and choir. The concerts have been great fun, and singing in the abbey was definitely a highlight. I can’t wait to get involved again next year.

Thanks first year, for being absolutely awesome.

I’ll miss being a fresher.

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Review: The Novice (Summoner #1)

Taran Matharu - The Novice

When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine all the fantasy books you’ve read and stick it all in one book. That is pretty much what this book is. It has pretty much all the fantasy tropes imaginable in it and, while tropes aren’t a bad thing, too many of them doesn’t usually go well. And that’s exactly what happened with this book.

The Novice isn’t a bad book, it’s just not particularly new or exciting. If you haven’t read that much fantasy then I’ll happily recommend this book because I think it’s a good introduction to the genre (seeing as it has literally everything in it). However, if you’ve read a decent amount of fantasy in your life, then this book doesn’t really offer anything new. It’s your classic “Boy is an orphan, boy discovers he has magic, boy goes to magic school” with some orcs and demons thrown in. (Yes, I know that’s the summary for Harry Potter, but Harry Potter had an awesomeness that this book doesn’t have).

There were things I liked about the book. There was always plenty going on, and it definitely kept me reading. Although I felt like I’d seen it all before, I did find it quite hard to stop reading. The characters were nice as well. Yes, Fletcher was your typical hero who was pretty good at everything and everybody loved him (and he has the most cliche name for an archer), but I thought the side characters were interesting and I’d quite happily read about them. The world itself was pretty cool too. It was one of the things I liked most and I did think the politics going on were very interesting.

The thing that let this book down was the plot. Yes, it kept me reading, but it wasn’t particularly new or exciting. Now that I’m writing this review, it wasn’t a particularly memorable plot either. I also felt it was influenced a lot by other books, especially when it came to the demons, which were ridiculously similar to those from The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman.

I was really hoping for more from this book, but sadly it didn’t happen. Don’t let me put you off though – there are a lot of people who love this book (according to goodreads), so if you like a bit of fantasy it’s worth trying out.

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Top Ten Books I Want To See As Films/TV Shows

toptentuesday

This is a feature that combines books and lists!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I remember doing this topic back in 2013 (beware the bad formatting), and it was one of the first TTT posts I ever did. I can’t believe it’s been a year and a half since then! Anyway, enough with the reminiscing. These are my

Top Ten Books I’d Love To See As A Film/TV Show

The Films

 1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

V E Schwab - A Darker Shade of Magic

Because magic. And parallel worlds. What more could you want?

2. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Abigail Haas - Dangerous Girls

I just think a YA thriller would be so good! And this book has so many twists and turns, especially that ending.

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein - Code Name Verity

Despite the fact that I would cry buckets if this were a film, I think if it was done well it could be a great film! And also absolutely heartbreaking.

4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Morgan Matson - Since You've Been Gone

This would be such a cute contemporary with a focus on friendship. Yes, there’s romance, but there’s so much friendship and cuteness! Seriously, someone make me happy YA contemporary film. You know, one where nobody dies at the end.

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Erin Morgenstern - The Night Circus

So this one would be a little weird, but imagine the circus themes! They’d be so magical and enchanting and ugh. Just imagine it.

The TV Shows

6. The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson - The Final Empire

A tv show could do this world so much justice. Yes, it would be super expensive to recreate the world of the Mistborn, but it could go into so much detail! And I’d love to see Vin and Kelsier and the gang just doing their thing.

7. Heist Society by Ally Carter

Ally Carter - Heist Society

So right now I’m just imagining a show were Kat and friends just go and steal things in a really complicated manner. To be honest, I just want thieves and heists and action.

8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer - Cinder

SCI-FI! Because there aren’t many sci-fi tv shows. Apart from The 100, which is awesome, so clearly we need more. Please?

9. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson - Steelheart

Yes, it’s another Sanderson book, but so what? Superhero stuff is doing so well at the moment, so I bet people would love Steelheart. Especially seeing as the heroes are all humans and it’s the villains who have the superpowers.

10. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J Maas - Throne of Glass

Assassins! Murders! Celaena and Chaol! It would be amazing and wonderful and it would have to be a tv show to do it any justice.

On another note, wouldn’t this kid make the perfect little Celaena? (I recommend skipping to 1:22).

So, what books would you like to see be made into films or tv shows? Do you agree with any of my choices?

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Review: Savage Light

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Marsa has always struggled with the fact she goes unnoticed. Her best friend is the one chosen to rid the world of all evil; the man Marsa loves barely knows she exists; and her sole remaining family member dies at the hand of the last evil man in the world.

When all evil is finally defeated, Marsa thinks she’ll at last have the life she wants, even if her mother isn’t there to share it with. And maybe she’ll discover the love of her life loves her back. Only a new quest is set before her and her friends. By the end of their journey, Marsa will question everything she knows. She’ll have to redefine how she wants others to notice her, before their entire world is destroyed.

I want to thank the author for sending me a copy of Savage Light to review. Thank you!

When I read the blurb for this one, it sounded really interesting. A book about the best friend of the chosen one? Where all evil has been destroyed? It sounded a lot like my sort of book. And did I enjoy it? Yes, I did.

In this book, we follow the story of Marsa, who’s always been in the background compared to her mother and her best friend Kaylyn, who was chosen to defeat all evil.I thought it was really interesting seeing into the head of the best friend for once – finding out how Marsa felt about the whole thing. What I really liked was that it wasn’t about Marsa being jealous of Kaylyn, but instead she did everything she could to support her best friend in the fight against evil.

One thing I wasn’t so keen on about Marsa, and about the book in general, was how focused she was on romance. I totally understand the fact that she fancied Jorrin, but she thought about him nearly all the time and I just got a bit bored of it, especially when there were definitely other things that she needed to be prioritising. Considering that there was some pretty weird stuff going on, it just seemed like Marsa spent most of her time analysing every single move that Jorrin made.

I’m mentioning Jorrin quite a bit, but who is he? He, Marsa, Kaylyn and the rest of the main characters in this book were Zophas, a group of people who had magic and helped to fight against evil. They were a great bunch, and I really liked the relationships between Marsa, Kaylyn and Jorrin. I thought the bond between Marsa and Kaylyn was really strong and I loved the way they encouraged each other. I also thought Tove, Marsa’s other best friend, was a total sweetheart and probably my favourite character.

The thing I liked the most about this book though was the ending. Although I felt it was a little rushed, it was so unexpected and very clever. I was genuinely shocked at what happened, and it’s really made me want to read more about these characters.

One last thing. I didn’t totally understand the world and backstory in this book, but that is completely my fault – it turns out Savage Light is a companion novel to Ever Darkening, and so I think some of the questions I have would definitely be answered in that book. It’s definitely not needed to enjoy this book, but I would imagine that it would make a few things a little clearer..

If you want to know what happens after evil is defeated in the world, then it’s worth trying this one out!