An amazing bookhaul in time for a special birthday! 😍
Some of you may know that it’s my birthday tomorrow. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing for my birthday on this blog yet, I’m not sure if I’ll do much at all to be honest as I really haven’t planned anything but I’m sure I’ll come up with something if it’s even just a poem. In the meantime, what a wonderful present I got in the post yesterday from Walker Books. It’s more books! There’s two books that I’ve been sent and as usual I’m going to review them here as soon as I can. But in the meantime feast your eyes on these lovely books and tell me if you’re thinking of reading them (or have already!)…
The first is this beautiful book:
The Mortal Instruments (Book 1): City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – The tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s phenomenal City of Bones demands a luxe new edition. The pride of any fan’s collection, City of Bones now has new cover art, over thirty interior illustrations, and six new full-page colour portraits of everyone’s favourite characters! This beautifully crafted collector’s item also includes a new piece written by Cassandra Clare. A perfect gift for the Shadowhunter fan in your life. This is the book where Clary Fray first discovered the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. The book where she first met Jace Wayland, the best Shadowhunter of his generation. The book that started it all.
That book sounds amazing but there’s another special book I got, at least it’s like a birthday gift for me!…
Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield – So you think you know ZEBRAS, do you? They’re handsome, eat lots of grass, and um…are always getting eaten by lions. Let’s face it, they’re a little bit boring and stupid, too. But a tussle with a grumpy gladiator can soon change a zebra…So cheer on our stripy hero, Julius, as he scraps for survival in history’s deadliest theatre: THE COLOSSEUM! Just don’t call him a horse! (or Debra…)
Having come to the Julius Zebra series from the second book and read both ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entagled with the Egyptians’ I’m so excited to be able to read the first book that started my love of this funny series! I also hear there’s going to be a fourth book in the series too, set in Ancient Greece! 😮 I’m making a prediction of that cover being green (seeing as we’ve got a yellow, red, and blue cover already :P)
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books before or plan to, or even look forward to my reviews 😍
Talk to me in the comments box below, I love hearing from you 🙂 You can also follow me in these places:
A beautiful and magical fantasy tale for all ages!
Title: The Wonderling
Author: Mira Bartók
Illustrator: Mira Bartók
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Middle grade/ older children’s fiction, fantasy
Description: Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, run by the evil Miss carbuncle, a cunning villainess, who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer.
For the Wonderling, an innocent one-eared “groundling” – a mix of fox and boy – the Home is all he has ever known. But when unexpected courage leads him to protect a young bird groundling, Trinket, from being bullied, she in return gives him two incredible gifts: a real name – Arthur, like the good king in the old stories – and a best friend.
With the help of an ingenious invention by Trinket, the two friends escape from the Home and embark on an extraordinary quest into the wider world and down the path of Arthur’s true destiny.
With its shimmering language and richly imagined plot, The Wonderling is a spellbinding adventure that will leave readers with a head full of wonder and a heart full of song.
My Review: This is such a beautiful and magical tale, it’s the perfect story to read no matter how old you are. ‘The Wonderling’ follows the story of Number thirteen, a very shy one eared half-fox half-human boy who lives at Miss Carbunkle’s Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures. The orphanage is an unpleasant place, there is no space for the young groundlings (the half-animal half-humans) to have fun, and poor Number Thirteen is so shy and alone that he doesn’t have any friends or even a proper name. But one day he’s forced to do something brave, an act that begins his journey to his destiny.
The book is quite large for a children’s book, at around 460 pages for the hardback, and contains some beautiful old-fashioned looking illustrations throughout. The hardback I have has an outer sleeve covering an old fashioned style dark green book (beautifully bound), and the sleeve has some beautiful images (like the ones found inside) along with some lovely shiny copper embellishments which can’t be seen easily from the above picture. The book is separated into three parts with each part being given a brief description along with some illustrations. There is also a lovely map at the start of the book which all together gives this book such an old-fashioned and beautiful feel.
The story is so easy to get into and I was enjoying it from the very first page. There is a real adventure feel to this as well as a magical Dickensian vibe. The story is set in the Victorian age, given the way the characters look and the technology they have, but it is firmly a fantasy world where groundlings exist. Number Thirteen, or Arthur as he is later known is such a sweet character, very timid but also with a heart of gold. It was so easy to like him straight away and like many magical children’s stories I think kids will warm to his character straight away. As the story progresses chapters occasionally switch to different characters. The whole story is written in the third person but you sometimes find out what is happening elsewhere in the story. This switch is never confusing and is often very interesting as sometimes characters are not just described by their names but in a more outward way, such as one scene talking about what two birds are doing in a house, mentioning them as birds rather than using character names. It gives the book a very magical feel and an almost movie quality to each scene.
A lot happens in the story and I really don’t want to spoil it by explaining as it’s really a magical adventure that Arthur and his friend go on. But I will say that this book really kept me reading on and on and it sucked me into this magical world that is so beautifully imagined. The Victorian style world where groundlings exist as well as some magical and powerful creatures is just amazing. The pictures really add to this magic too. All of the pages have some beautiful embellishment, even text only pages have some decoration around the page numbers, and when there is an illustration it wraps beautifully around the text. The pictures have a slight brown/sepia tint to them, with a hint of orange being used in pictures of Number Thirteen. The illustrations are really beautiful, you have to see them to see the beauty. They really enhance some of the images you create in your mind when reading the book and I can’t help but feeling a twinge in my heart when I see a picture of the little fox groundling or of his friend who I can’t help think looks like a very cute Kiwi bird.
The ending of the story is satisfying and it feels like the perfect tale to read at Christmas, as the date is significant in the story. I feel like I’ve been on a magical journey after reading this book and I wouldn’t be surprised if this book was one day turned into a magical movie as it’s just so wonderful a read. I would recommend this to anyone of any age. Of course it is aimed at older children but I doubt anyone older, who enjoys magical fantasy stories (especially ones featuring animals) would be able to resist enjoying this book!
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think of this magical story? do you enjoy reading magical/fantasy stories? What about tales with animals in them? Please let me know your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
An excellent adventure thriller for kids with real and very unpredictable twists!
Title: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief
Author: Bobbie Peers
Translator: Tara Chace
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s
Description: William is in hiding with his family after the mysterious disappearance of his grandfather. But when his extraordinary talent for cracking codes is discovered, William is kidnapped and taken to the secretive Institute for Post-Human Research.
Because someone is after him. Someone who needs William’s special skills to find the last remaining traces of a strange and powerful substance called Luridium.
William will have to use all of his ingenuity and code-cracking skills to find out the secrets the Institute is hiding. Impossible puzzles, cybernetic creatures and bloodthirsty robots stand in his way.
My Review: Wow! This is a surprisingly fun read despite the initial hesitation I had when I began to read this book. William is a boy who loves to crack codes and is very smart but his parents are worried about him. When an exhibition at a local museum shows off The Impossible Puzzle, a puzzle that no-one in the world has yet solved, William is desperate to get a peek at it. But things soon go wrong and William find himself running for his life.
The book begins with a scene at Victoria Station in London. The scene is brief but sets up the mystery of this story right away. I initially had doubts on whether I would get into this book. Although I was curious to find out what was happening, the writing in the book didn’t really feel all that great and it didn’t feel as urgent as the story probably should have been. I’m used to a slightly different style of writing in kids books these days and this felt a little less punchy and the first few scenes which were supposed to be exciting just felt oddly predictable. However I kept on reading and found myself progressively sucked more and more into the tale.
It wasn’t until the pages about the Institute that I really got hooked. The story is described as a fantasy but given the fact that it focuses a lot on technology I’d say it could be classed as children’s science fiction too. Although the book is listed as a thriller there is some humour thrown in as well. There are robots, a lot of robots, at the institute and it’s here that I really started to enjoy the story. It becomes an exciting adventure and a really unpredictable one. I’m surprised at just how imaginative some of the story is and something that happens in the Archives really surprised me.
The whole story has a really good conclusion and I enjoyed the fact I still didn’t know what was going to happen even right to the end. The book is definitely a fun filled adventure thriller with fantasy/science fiction throughout. While the writing could have been a bit better and faster, perhaps a problem of the translation rather than the original story, it was still a good read and I think the target audience of kids won’t be bothered at all by this. Some adults might enjoy reading this too, it really picks up the pace after the first few chapters and is really surprising with lots of twists. This book has a great ending as a stand alone but is apparently only the first of a series and it’ll be interesting to see how popular this series will be in the UK, the original story was written in Norwegian.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.
What do you think? Is this a book you’d be interested in? Please do comment 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
Review of the magical and mysterious Caraval, a book everyone wants to read this year!
Author: Stephanie Garber
UK Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Description: WELCOME TO CARAVAL, WHERE NOTHING IS QUITE WHAT IT SEEMS
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
My Review: I’m not sure how to start this review. I absolutely loved this book, once I got into it, but wow the ending was quite a shock and left me a little speechless and just a little bit annoyed.
Caraval has really been a hyped up novel this year and I couldn’t help but want to read it after hearing so much about it. The story follow Scarlett and her sister Tella who live on the small isle of Trisda but their life is marred by their abusive father who enjoys punishing the girls for any wrong-doing. For years Scarlett has been writing to the mysterious Master of Caraval to ask for tickets to the magical show but never hears back until days before her arranged wedding to a man she has never met. When tickets arrive though there is an opportunity to finally escape their abusive father so the girls go to the island where Caraval is taking place. However as soon as they arrive Tella goes missing and Scarlett must take part in the game in order to find her sister.
At the start of the book I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it. We’re quickly introduced to Scarlett and Tella along with a scene showing how brutal and twisted their father is, but despite the fast pacing of this novel and the simple descriptions I just didn’t get into this book from the very beginning. The scene didn’t feel as threatening as I thought it should and the general story up until Scarlett reaches Caraval felt almost too fast paced and I didn’t get a feel for the characters until later. However despite my initial thoughts, this story soon drew me into the magic and from then on I was hooked.
The story is told in the third person but follows Scarlett as she searches for her sister with the help, or not, of the man who brought her to the island. The world of Caraval is an interesting and really mesmerising one. It’s like a magical and dark circus show that happens at night and Scarlett quickly becomes involved in the game/performance. The magic in the story and the overall Caraval is like the old fashioned circuses that existed in Victorian times. Just like a magical act, this book is filled with surprises and twists and I’m so happy that I didn’t see any of them coming. I’m very good at spotting twists in stories and often don’t find myself surprised but this book had me hooked as I really didn’t know what was going to happen next and the story kept up this pace of twists and turns right until the end.
The ending of this book is really good. It finishes really well with surprises revealed right until the last pages and it was really satisfying to read, however the epilogue is where I felt annoyed. Something simple happens but it sets up the story for a book two, leaving certain questions in your head and though I’m eager to read book two, when it is released, and there’s nothing wrong with the ending, I’d rather have had a book two without the mini cliff-hanger ending that this epilogue created.
The book has nothing offensive in it though given the dark and twisted nature of some characters I would recommend it for teens and older. Despite the many, many reviews calling this a YA novel it is not. Teens will enjoy this book and some characters are younger but this book is a general fantasy story and not specifically a YA book which usually has more specific appeal.
Caraval is everything it’s hyped up to be and I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a story with lots of twists and magic and for those who enjoy stories with a historic setting. Although the book takes place in a fictional world the timeframe is the past and it just added to the magical feel of this tale.
What do you think? Do you want to read this book or have you already? Please do comment 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
An amazing, beautiful and stunning fantasy book that’s earned Phoenix the Peacock’s favourite stamp!
Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Description: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around –and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?
My Review: This is such an amazing book with such a wonderful and detailed story and although I’ve finished reading it I’m already eager to get part two of this duology! I was desperate to read a good fantasy book after having no fantasy to read for quite a few weeks so I checked this out of the library and it’s been such an amazing read I am now going to buy the book to keep (and possibly hug – I’m weird, I do that with books I love!)
The front cover and title alone were intriguing when I first saw this book as well as the amazing blue sprayed edges which all make sense as you read through the story, the blue becoming a big feature in the story. The book begins with a beautiful if cryptic prologue and then moves on to tell the tale of Lazlo Strange. Although most of the story focusses on the adult Lazlo, the beginning of the book reveals how Lazlo grew up, an orphan raised by monks who was destined to follow that path but instead became a librarian. Lazlo’s character is one that’s easily likable, a typical librarian with a deep passion for stories that no others in his line of work seem to have.
As the story progresses we’re introduced to more characters and the curiosity over the mysterious place called Weep. I was hooked on this book from the very start, something about Laini Taylor’s writing is just so vivid, she really brings to life an amazing world that is so well imagined and so real you feel so engrossed in the story. I’ve never read any books by Taylor before this one but she’s made me a fan with this one and I’ll be on the look out to read more from her.
The story shifts away from just following Lazlo and begins to switch back and forth among different characters from part two onwards. The setting also changes. There’s never confusion over which characters we’re following and the tale just gets more and more interesting. Even though the book is pure fantasy, the world of Weep and its secrets aren’t the typical ones I’d expect from a regular fantasy novel, instead it’s an amazing and unique imagined world.
It’s hard for me to talk about the story without revealing spoilers so I won’t but it’s so long and detailed and yet it’s just written in such a way that I struggle to find the words to describe how engrossed and emotionally attached I became to the characters and their tale. Even when you learn of some dark things that happen there’s more detail to it, to certain characters actions than just mere good and bad. Every bit of the story has additional layers, which may not be apparent at first, that really lead to just more curiosity and questions. Taylor’s writing style is a little more descriptive than some books, something which can sometimes bother me, but in this book it really didn’t. Everything was just written so well that it just added to the story, sucking me more into the tale.
The ending of the book is satisfying and although I began to suspect something about one of the main characters I was still amazed. The revelation was greater than I expected it to be and it wasn’t at all the ending of the story which was such a shock and completely unpredictable that I got very emotional over it. I was so involved in this story emotionally that I was pleased, stunned, upset and almost cried at the ending ( I say almost as I don’t usually cry when reading). It was so good and although I feel satisfied with the end I’m also left wanting to read the next book as the story is far from over and just got darker with that ending.
What I loved more than anything when reading this was the way the story sucked me into it’s world and how some insignificant details told early on really came back in the ending. I was so drawn into this book that it made me want to be there, be a part of that world and it’s not often a book has such an appeal to me like that so this is going on my favourites shelf! The story also hasn’t got anything offensive at all in it which was a bonus for me.
I’d really recommend this book to any fantasy fans out there, although some of the characters are young this isn’t a YA novel but one that could be enjoyed by adults and teens alike. It’s not the darkest of tales but it’s so layered with intrigue and has such wonderful world building that I’m not sure how anyone could dislike the book. This is definitely one of my favourites and I plan to buy it now as well as book two as soon as it’s available. If you’re looking for a long and satisfying fantasy story then pick up this book, you won’t be disappointed!
Do you like the look of this book? Is it something you’d enjoy or are you thinking of buying? Please do comment 🙂 You can also find me in these places:
Hello everyone! How has your week been? Mine’s been pretty uneventful. I’m not sure if anyone noticed my complete absence this last week, maybe nobody has as this blog’s still pretty new, but if you guys have well I’ve been a little under the weather…Well a LOT under the weather. I’m not sure what happened but I was so ill I was stuck in bed and couldn’t even stare at a computer screen as it just hurt my eyes from the intense and horrible headaches and the ‘highlight’ of my week was almost vomiting into my dinner…Ok sorry for the gross image but that did happen…almost. Anyway I’m better now (…I hope) and thank goodness, and I’m ready to start blogging again.
I thought I’d do a little celebration round up seeing as it’s the last day of the month 🙂 April’s been a great month for me and this blog, despite the week off ill. On 8th My Peacock Books was officially launched and since then I’ve read a handful of great books and had some amazing people like, comment and follow this blog. I’ve also attempted to write more poetry given the fact it was National Poetry Month and of course it was Easter too which is just fun all by itself 🙂
So what’s in store for next month? More of the same of course, although I hope to not be sick during any of it. I still have a bit of a mammoth book pile to get through, with a lot of books from Walker Books thanks to the super book haul I got a few weeks ago: check it out! I’ve also got a few NetGalley books to review which aren’t quite out yet, but I’ll let you know about them when I’m closer to reviewing them 😀
Of course my blog’s not all kids and YA though, and although I love them, I was pining to read some fantasy books and I went to my local library and checked these out:
I’m so excited I’ve started reading Strange the Dreamer already and I’m just loving it! It’s got blue sprayed pages and it’s just soo engrossing, I’ll probably spend the next day or two just reading it and doing nothing else 🙂 I’m easing my self into next week, so I’m not 100% sure if I’ll have a post up for Monday Motivation this week but I hope to visit some blogs and I hope you’ll want to stick around and read anything I do post up ❤
So how has your week been? What are you going to be reading? Have you read Strange the Dreamer or Caraval yet? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to have a conversation with you 🙂
Any thoughts? Want to follow me elsewhere? Please do! 🙂