Monday, January 26, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest #bookishWISHES and Giveaway

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I have been awaiting this book for a long time since the time it’s publication was announced and it’s cover was revealed. Holly Black’s latest present to the YA genre is the brilliant, unique and gritty which turns fairy tales on its head.


THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black



FAERIES. KNIGHTS. PRINCES. THINK YOU KNOW HOW THE STORY GOES? THINK AGAIN...


Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?


Excited? Let me tell you, the book is as great as it's blurb and in this case this book can be judged by it's beautiful cover.



To celebrate the release of The Darkest Part of the Forest on 5th of Febuary, 2015, I am able to play Fairy Godmother and giveaway a copy of The Darkest Part of The Forest to one lucky person. But as this giveaway is dark fairy tale themed it won’t be as simple as that. The story has a running theme of ‘Be careful what you wish for’, what you have to do is comment below and tell me what you bookish wish is. It could be anything, it could be about the kind of book you want to read, the book you wish an author would write, the fairy tale you wish would be updated/ rewritten, the book you wish you’d written. It’s completely up to you! To give you some idea my wish is that:

My Bookish wish is that I am able to own a library. It may sound lame at first but I literary don’t have   I’ve stored them in boxes and now the situation is so bad that they are piled in corners in and around my room. Having a Library in my home or having a home as a library as my home (I’m not bothered by either way) not only will I be able to stored my books as they should be bur having easy access to them will also enable me to loan out my books to others. As I want to share my love for books and stories with everyone. I think people who don’t read don’t know what they are missing out on.
space in my house for any more books.

Well, that’s two wishes but they both are fulfilled by just one wish. So comment away for a chance to win a copy. For extra points you can also tweet the following: 

@escapismfanatic My #bookWISHES is 

followed by tour book wish. I’ll pick the winner who has the most creative or interesting book wish.
So Comment away. The Last day for entries is 7th February, 2015.

The Darkest Part of The Forest releases on the 5th of February 2015 in the UK by Indigo Book. 




Holly Black is the bestselling author of YA and children's books including being co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles, a NEW YORK TIMES No.1 bestselling phenomenon and hugely successful film. She has been a finalist for the MYTHOPOEIC AWARD, the EISNER AWARD and a recipient of the ANDRE NORTON AWARD and a NEWBERY HONOR. She currently lives in New England in a house with a secret door.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

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Dark, sexy and utterly unputdownable. I want MORE
Title: The Young Elites
Author:Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites
Publisher:Listening Library
My ratings: 5 out of 5 stars
Released: 7th October, 2014
Once in a while you stumble across a book which hits all the right spots for you? You think, 'How did this book manage to slip under my radar?' The Young Elites was one such book for me. It slipped right under my radar until I stumbled on it, read the reviews and started it. Adelina is a malfetto, meaning she has scars left behind on her body when she contracted the blood fever which swept the country. The malfettos are blamed for all the ill that befalls the country of Kenetra and a are discriminated and badly treated. even being the daughter of a wealthy merchant does not spare Adelina of that fate. Mistreated and forced to live under the shadow her beautiful younger sister Adelina grows resentful with each passing day until she decided to run away. However she manages to kill her cruel father in the process. Turns out that Adelina is no ordinary malfetto, but an Young Elites. Malfettos who emerged from the fever with supernatural powers had banded together and had been speaking of rebellion and Adelina finds herself among them.

There are a host of other characters notably, Enzo who is the leader of the Young Elites and an exiled prince. Terren who is the leader of the Inquisitors who are working to eliminate all mafetto from the country and Rafaelle, best friend of Enzo and also a male consort. There is a hint of romance with Enzo but that is soon smothered by the dark and gritty story line.

Adelina is somewhat evil. I think, that was my favourite bit of her personality. When she taps into the darkness simmering in her, then only can she manifest her powers. The ill feelings that were born in the mind of a child has been twisted into an bad and dark side of Adelina, the extent of which even Adelina is unaware of. I really enjoyed how Marie Lu portrayed and described this in the story as this was a pivotal point of the story. It is difficult to find a heroine in YA who had shades of evil in her and not the usual immaturity due to being young. Adelina has the potential to be exponentially powerful but only Marie Lu will be able to tell us how she manages to harness the power and the evil smoldering inside her.

What I also loved about this book that it just the right amount to everything, action, friendship, politics, and even romance. The romance was really light but when set against so much that is going on, it packs a punch.

The narrator Carla Corvo did a good job at Adelina's voice but when it came to the male characters voices they were indiscernible from each other. Moreover as the foreign names seemed Latin, they were pronounced in the right way ( I mean in a Latin accent) but at times it felt jarring and interrupted the flow of words.

After my little nit picking, The Young Elites was a high fantasy, adventure novel, with fantastic characters, excellent story line, beautiful setting, exquisite writing and it is a fine example of what YA for older audience should be like. Not more sex but more gory action. I was dark, sexy and deliciously mouth watering. There should more books like this in the market. If you enjoyed Leigh Bardugo's Grisha series or The Winner's Crime, you will most definitely enjoy this.

Now I'm off to find more tittles by Marie Lu while I kick myself for not picking them up earlier.




Monday, January 19, 2015

Cover Reveal: Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

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neO of the best Fantasy YA books that came out last year was Danielle L. Jenson's Stolen Songbird which was everything you could wish for in a YA fantasy. It had romance, excellent world building and nail biting excitement and the way it ended had me screaming for the next book. (Read my review here.) It was the only eventual survivor after it's original publisher Strange Chemistry closed down. Now it has been taken over by Angry Robot Books and turns out that the publication of the second book is not too far off. I'm pleased to reveal the cover of Hidden Huntress, which follows the next chapter after the events in Stolen Songbird. So without much ado, feast you eyes on this beauty and squeal for the Hidden Huntress. I absolutely love it!





HIDDEN HUNTRESS (The Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen


Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.

Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.

Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.

To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ARC Review: The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon

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Dark, grimy and shady
Title: The Mime Order
Author: Samantha Shannon
Series: The Bone Season
Publisher:Bloomsbury, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 27th January, 2015
T he Mime Order is the highly anticipated sequel to the heavy promoted and widely well received The Bone Season. compared to J.K Rowling Samantha Shannon was set up from the start but against all odd, the Bone Season managed to me entertaining and interesting enough for me to give the sequel a try. In fact with the hype building around it I was carried away with it and was eagerly awaiting for it's arrival.

The book itself is beautiful with it's eccentric design and bright colour, it screams 'Read Me.' Unfortunately The Mime Order didn't quite catch my fancy as much as The Bone Season did. The premise is that Paige is still running away from the Rephaites. After getting off the train at the end of The Bone Season, she goes back to her Mime Lord, Jaxon. She is still on the run and things in the London Underworld are not the same. Strange events have unsettles the order and Paige struggles to put her past behind, come to terms with her feelings for Warden, uncovers the culprit behind the murder and of course raise an army against the Rephaite, all while being the most wanted person in London.

It may seem straight forward when I explain it but reading it was a different experience. The first chapter starts without any recap and throws the reader right in the middle of the action. I was left scrambling to find my copy of The Bone Season as to refresh my memory about the events and the scene. There were too many characters to keep track of and it really took me a while to get into the narrative.

The Story itself was good but I felt it was a tad too long , nearly 550 pages. The world building was exquisitely done and the author successfully painted a dark and grimy London and it's residents. Even if there was a handy list of the various gang members, I found it a little too late. While The Bone Season had me hooked with Warden and Paige's will they won't they , their chemistry seemed lacking and even Warden out of this realm seemed muted.

I desperately wish I could have enjoyed this book as it was intelligent, well written and imaginative. I think it is just me annoying habit that every time a really clever author writes a book, I get sidetracked with the details which make the reading experience richer and somehow loose my grasp at the story. It happened with Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and it has happened with The Mime Order. It was not until the last 100 pages that I could really enjoy this book to it's fullest and let me warn you that it ends in a cliff hanger.

It would recommend this book to all reader of fantasy and epic book series and this is an breath taking series which will entertain and hook many readers.

Advanced review copy from Bloomsbury, UK



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

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Witty and clever attempt
Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Releases: 6th November, 2014
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks was a title I have been waiting for a while. After E. Lockhart wrote the beautiful We Were Lairs, I snagged this book as soon as I could. Unfortunately it was a disappointment for me.

Let me start from the beginning. This book is about Frankie, a fifteen year old private school student who finds herself in a unique situation where she is dating the hottest guy in school, after having a 'growth spurt'. Soon she finds that her boyfriend is hiding things and before she knows it she is deep into an uncontrollable, downward spiral.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau – Banks addresses a variety of topics which I think gives a social message. It touches upon how even in this day an age there exists an elitist group of people responsible for the world as we see today. It also talks about how women still have to cross the glass ceiling which unfortunately still exists. Lockhart manages to beautifully incorporate a high school environment and use it as a stand in for the real world. We have the fresh faced Frankie who was always on the side-lines, suddenly becoming the centre of it. Dating the most popular guy at school but still not being able to become a part of his life. She wants equality, popularity, acceptance and fair treatment. I think this book accentuates these accurately and with a finesse which I belie only a talented author can succeed at.

The writing is clever and intelligent. Saying that the round about ways the point was made was a little frustrating. I found the writing somewhat funny but some reader may not and younger readers may very well get bored by it.

The message this book was trying to give while being important felt boring to me. The real plot didn’t start until the half-way point of the book and by then I had almost lost interest. It started with a great note but started dragging in the middle. While I understood what the story was trying to tell, I simply got bored of it. I was skimming pages in the hopes that something will happen that would excite me.

Overall, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a clever attempt at raising concerns and pointing out the faults which still exists in our society. While the writing was appreciated by me, I don’t know if reader of the age group it is aimed at, will be able to grasp the deeper meaning and commentaries being made and the parallels being drawn. This book is for eclectic readers and while some may love it, some may simply lose interest.

Review copy provided by Hot Key Books, UK
 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ostentatious Tête–à–Têtes #2 (New Adult-The New Fad)

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Disillusioned by New Adult


New Adult is the new genre which has taken the book world by storm. I say 'new' but it is a relatively loose terminology to use it has been around for the last 5 years already. The reason I am writing this post is that I AM SICK of it.

Let me explain what New Adult is. It is a genre aimed at readers who are no longer young adults or older readers who like young adult but want something more mature to sink their teeth into. Sounds like an excellent idea. And it is. But now it has become as stagnant as the pool in my back yard. When this genre burst into the reading scene, it took the world by storm. Me along with many readers were blown away by the winds which were kicked up my the likes of Jamie McGuire and Abbi Glines. These are seriously talented authors who write great stories which are addictive and unputdownable. When I first came across the legendary Beautiful Disaster, I was mesmerised and hypnotised by its pages. I could not look away to the extent that I locked my self in my room until I finished that bad boy. This book still holds a piece of me and will do for a long time.

After watching the success of these authors reaching sky high many more authors took it upon themselves to bring us stories for readers who are sick of reading YA. So now it has become a genre full of clichés which keep getting used again and again and the donkey has been beaten to a pulp.

Cliché No.1- The girl is an innocent/virgin

Cliché No.2 - The girl is struggling with her past for hidden history

Cliché No.3 - The guy is a man whore

Cliché No.4 - Cannot get enough of the girl and after having sex with her just once declares it the best he has ever had in his life

Cliché No 5 - The guy is almost always left behind by the girl or vice versa

Argh. The same regurgitation over and over again. Why? If this is YA for older reader then why not write something at par with the outstanding authors in YA? Why does New Adult always have to be contemporary and set in college? I simply cannot relate to it. I went to college to and believe me my life was no where near like theirs. Why are there so few offerings in New Adult in the fantasy genre? Learn from S. J Mass's Throne of Glass which should technically be a New Adult title but is being sold as YA.

There are a few New Adult titles which have caught my eye eg: Rival by Penelope Douglas but they are few and far in between.

New Adult is such a great idea. I loved the concept of it and I still believe it has oodles of potential in it but only few authors are making any effort to keep this refreshing and interesting. The above clichés keep recurring and I simply cannot take it any more. I have already DNF'd a few New Adult as this is not offering me anything new. What it has become in reality is a book for young people or for YA fans who want sex in their book to spice it up.




Saturday, January 3, 2015

ARC Review: Falling Away (Fall Away #2) by Penelope Douglas

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Bitter disappointment
Title: Falling Away
Author: Penelope Douglas
Series: Fall Away
Publisher: Piatkus Entice, UK
My ratings: 3 out of 5 stars
Released: 6th January, 2015
Rival was an absolute pleasure to read and when I heard that Falling Away will be another offering by Penelope Douglas I was all over it. In fact I started it as soon as I opened the package with a look of absolute delight. Unfortunately, Falling Away did not quite live up to my expectation. The story is about Tate's best friend and Jared's younger brother Jax who is all grown up. There has always been a spark between them and when KC is transferred to her home town to complete her community service, the spark turns into a blazing fire and KC and Jax start living next door.

Falling Away has everything NA books have to offer. It has a delicious guy and and a girl, while both of them have issues, from emotional scars they had from their childhood and falling in love with each other heals them. Na books are such a hit and miss, sometimes they tick all the boxes but somehow they fail to invoke the same enjoyment that some NA books manage to do.

I simply failed to connect with either KC and Jax and the the whole horrible childhood felt manufactured and forced to me. I didn't feel any real connection or chemistry between them and the angst seemed unnecessary. while I loved the premise and the story line for Rival, Falling Away failed to entice anything out of me.

Honestly speaking, there was nothing wrong with the book, story or plot but it simply failed to impress me or even leave an impression on me. The disappointment was more crushing as the previous book by the same author rocked my world.

Falling Away has everything going for it and firmly believe that it was be enjoyed by many NA fans and unfortunately for me, it felt unremarkable and plain. I will definitely pick up the book by Penelope Douglas as I do enjoy her writing and style, which is fresh, funky and an affinity to the readers that keeps them on tenterhooks.

Review copy received from the publisher, Piatkus Books, UK 

  Falling Away releases on the 6th of January, 2015



 

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