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Wintersong | S. Jae-Jones

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, February 2017, Titan Books, RRP$16.98 AUD

Synopsis

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Review

Setting.

Vivid and enticing. Although, like Liesl, I feel smothered by her little village, the Goblin Grove and the Underground—plus the descriptions of vast European cities—provided the perfect escape for this.

Characters.

Frustrating and static. I felt that there could have been so much more to the story and the characters if this was an adult book, but here they were just a bit too flat—particularly Liesl and especially the Goblin King. I also thought that there wasn’t much development of the characters and at the end of the book they finished back where they started. However, I did enjoy the exploration of family and familial bonds, as well as the uncanny nature of many characters.

Plot.

I’ve never seen, or even heard of the movie Labyrinth, so I had very few expectations going into the book (besides the Goblin King’s hair of which I had seen numerous photos). Still, the book wasn’t what I was expecting. The first half had a great pace and action, but the second half felt disjointed and fell flat for me. I really would have liked more of the first half, while still developing the characters—which seemed to happen more in the second half. There just seemed too big of a divide between in the structure of the narrative.

Writing.

This book’s pace confused me, as did its narrative structure. I felt that the book could have easily finished at the half way point and that the main plot points needed shifting a little. The language and descriptive passages were beautiful, though.

4/5

A good debut and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from S. Jae-Jones.

Please Note: all opinions are mine and are not endorsed with any company or organization. 

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March TBR

This year I have been feeling super guilty about all of the (hundreds, literally) unread books sitting on my shelves. This led me to my book buying limit and a desperate desire to read those poor neglected books that have been sitting on the shelves, gathering dust, for months. This month, I plan to read four of my own books—two duologies—one book is a reread plus three others. Also, I’m noticing a pattern with the titles of these…

The Wrath and the Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

I read The Wrath and the Dawn back in July 2015 so I feel like I need a refresher of it before finishing the series with The Rose and the Dagger. Besides, I just really love this book. Unfortunately, I’ve heard some not-so-great reviews of the second book (mostly that it had a very different feel to the first book) but I am still really excited to read them and see for myself.

Prisoner of Night and Fog & Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

These books have been on my shelf since their release dates—I actually pre ordered both—but I still haven’t got around to them. I think I’ve been putting them off because I love WWII YA books and I didn’t want to read them and then have nothing similar on my shelf to read. But I have a couple of new WWII books (plus The Pearl Thief coming out later this year!) so I feel that now is the right time for this duology.

New Releases

There are so many great books coming out in the next few months! The March releases I’m most excited for are:

 

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February Wrap Up

This month has been hectic! I moved house and adopted the most adorable kitten, both of which have been very time consuming. I’m also starting back at University this week after having an amazing break over the summer. Everything is happening at once! Except reading. Reading isn’t happening right now. But it will… next month. Even though I didn’t read many books, I loved every one of them and I’m so excited for all the books I’ll read in 2017.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber

5/5

I had been hearing absolutely amazing things about this books for MONTHS and I literally squealed when it arrived in my mail box! The book wasn’t quite what I expected and there were some unexpected surprise. Overall I thought it was an outstanding debut from Stephanie Garber and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.

Read my full review HERE.

wayfarerWayfarer by Alexandra Bracken

4/5

This was an incredible, action-packed conclusion to the duology and I left the series feeling very satisfied with the ending. There were some great additions to the cast of characters and the plot really developed in this sequel. This is one of the few sci-fi series I’ve loved, so take my word for it: these are great books.

Read my full review HERE.

wintersongWintersong by S. Jae-Jones

4/5

Not what I was expecting and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I thought it would be more unique, but I felt like I’d already read it before. Still, it was quite enjoyable and super easy to read. It definitely helped me out of the slight slump I was in.

Review to come.

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Wayfarer (Passenger #2) | Alexandra Bracken

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Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken, February 2017, Harper Collins Australia, RRP$22.99 AUD

Synopsis

All Etta Spencer wanted was to make her violin debut when she was thrust into a treacherous world where the struggle for power could alter history. After losing the one thing that would have allowed her to protect the Timeline, and the one person worth fighting for, Etta wakes up alone in an unknown place and time, exposed to the threat of the two groups who would rather see her dead than succeed. When help arrives, it comes from the last person Etta ever expected – Julian Ironwood, the Grand Master’s heir who has long been presumed dead, and whose dangerous alliance with a man from Etta’s past could put them both at risk.

Meanwhile, Nicholas and Sophia are racing through time in order to locate Etta and the missing astrolabe with Ironwood travellers hot on their trail. They cross paths with a mercenary-for-hire, a cheeky girl named Li Min, who quickly develops a flirtation with Sophia. But as the three of them attempt to evade their pursuers, Nicholas soon realizes that one of his companions may have ulterior motives.

As Etta and Nicholas fight to make their way back to one another, from Imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, time is rapidly shifting and changing into something unrecognizable … and might just run out on both of them.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Harper Collins Australia, in exchange for an honest review.

Please Note: all opinions are mine and are not endorsed with any company or organization. 

Review

Setting.

So many wonderful new places explored! I still would have loved to spend more time looking at the historical aspects of each place the travellers went to—although I thought Russia was done very well—and some of the timeline changes explained more clearly rather than taking the easy way out of ‘it’s not the timeline you know’.

Characters.

Some amazing new characters and building on some returning ones. I still had so much trouble understanding Nicholas’s motives and looking past all his clichés. I get that he is a product of his time, but I feel that being a traveller should have expanded his world view more. My new favourite characters were Li Ming and Belladonna. Unfortunately, there came to be so many characters that some were lacking some vital development and there was a lot of info dumping about them and also the history of travellers.

Plot.

I found the first half of the book very confusing and hard to get into, which is surprising considering the epic cliff-hanger of Passenger. But IT FINALLY MADE SENSE IN THE END. I feel a little as if the first book lacked direction and didn’t know where the story was going so there is a bit of a divide between the two books in the duology. On the other hand, the second half of the book was rather predictable and I pretty much guessed everything before it happened. That being said, I still found it a satisfying ending.

Writing.

Sometimes the language and description took away from the plot and I felt there could have been a better balance between the two, especially considering it’s a sci-fi novel.

4/5

Overall, a great conclusion to this epic duology!

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February Book Haul

Birthday month + Valentine’s Day + Giveaway Prize= 4 free books! No review books this month, but I’m only requesting books I am VERY interested in reading because I’m kind of busy right now and I haven’t got a whole lot of time to be reading. And, I managed to keep to my buying limit of 4 books a month! I am so proud of myself. What books did you get this month?

Prizes

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sarah Barnard

I won a Twitter giveaway hosted by Michelle from The Unfinished Bookshelf.

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Gifts

Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Gifted by the BF for Valentine’s, which also happens to be International Book Giving Day!

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

JUST LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURES. Dymocks bookstores gave me rewards on my loyalty card.

Bought

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

I was strolling through the bookstore and I saw that they had finally stocked the paperback edition that matches my copy of Cruel Beauty and I COULD NOT RESIST.

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

I wasn’t going to get this book a) too many books to read right now so no requesting it for review and b) because book buying restrictions, but dat cover…

Wintersong by S. J. Jones

IT’S FINALLY HERE! …and it’s damaged. Thanks, Postman.

Wait for Me by Caroline Leech

I was SO anticipating this book and HAD to pre-order the hardcover online. Unfortunately, even though it was released in January, shipping to Australia takes FOREVER and so I didn’t get it until this month.

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Narnia Book Tag

This tag was created by Clemi’s Bookish World and you can find the original blog post HERE.

NARNIA: A magical world you would like to visit

The fantastical Imperialist Russia of Evelyn Skye’s The Crowns Game with the wondrous magical feats of the tournament and the beautiful ball in the royal palace it sounds like the perfect place to be!

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THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW: A book you find underrated

Ink and Bone is my favourite dystopian and tackles some serious issues (ABOUT BOOKS) and has an outstanding host of diverse characters.

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THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE: A classic that you love

There are so many, but I can’t go past Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (which many see as a more ‘serious’ version of Pride and Prejudice).

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THE HORSE AND HIS BOY: A book you picked up without knowing what it was about

I was travelling in Vietnam when I finished my book. I went to the first bookstore I found, looking for something resembling YA and stumbled across this beloved classic. The Morning Gift made me fall in love with Eva Ibbotson and kick-started my collection of her books.

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PRINCE CASPIAN: A sequel you loved

My all-time favourite sequel (so far) is Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder. This book is ah-mazing and definitely does NOT suffer from second book syndrome!

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THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER: A quest you’d like to be a part of

I loved Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere  and I after reading the synopsis for the sequel, I can’t wait to continue the adventure with a new quest.

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THE SILVER CHAIR: A book you didn’t expect to love

I was, like many, sceptical about picking up The Selection by Kiera Cass, but I’m so glad I did! This series got me out of a slump and is one of my ultimate guilty pleasure reads.

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THE LAST BATTLE: The perfect ending to a series you loved

Maria V. Snyder really is the Queen of Fantasy! Her series always have the best pacing and leave me feeling satisfied at the end (although not part way through the series because she loves those cliff-hangers) and Taste of Darkness is one of my favourites.

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THE PEVENSIES: A siblinghood of friendship you would like to be a part of

I would love to join Henrietta and her boys in training to be magicians from A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess. They’re so much fun and always there for each other.

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EUSTACE SCRUBB: A character who grew on you

Lord Carlston was not my ship, but I am slowly warming up the deeply mysterious gentleman and member of the Dark Days Club from Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen series.

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MR TUMNUS: Your favourite mythical creature

Besides Mr Tumnus himself, I find Jinni, particularly those in The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury, are so unique and fascinating.

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CASPIAN: A character with regal qualities

There are no ‘royal’ characters in the world of Marie Rutkoski’s The Winners series, but many feature regal qualities, who try to do what is right rather than what they want.

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REEPICHEEP: a loyal character

I am a serious sucker for animals as main characters in stories and I loved Rigel and the concept of Companions in P. C. Cast’s Moon Chosen. Who could be more loyal that a dog?

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THE WARDROBE: your favourite hideout/place to read

My bean bag! Its super comfy and I can take it to any room in the house, depending on the noise level and mood I’m in.

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OTP | Monthly Recommendations February 2017

This group was created by Kayla from Kayla Rayne and Trina from Between Chapters. You can join the Goodreads group and find other participants HERE.

Being February (i.e. Valentine’s), this month’s topic is OTPs so I’ve come up with my top literary couples to share with you. Some are canon and some are not, and spoilers ahead so be warned. Also, they aren’t all romantic OTPs because there are so many definitions of ‘soulmate’, not just the ‘one true love’.

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  1. Will and Jem – The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

I think these two will be featured on many Monthly Recommendations this month, and how could they not be? Although there are often rather heated discussions about the love triangle featured in this trilogy (btw, I’m totally Team Jem), there is no denying that the true OPT is between these Parabatai.

 

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  1. Manon and Elide – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I NEED THIS TO BE CANON. I would die to see these two together in a romantic relationship. During the end of Queen of Shadows and the start of Empire of Storms, I thought that I shipped them with their respective partners, Dorian and Lorcan, but when them and their partners ‘hooked up’, I found myself strangely disappointed. That’s when I realised I needed Manon and Elide to be a thing. It just makes so much sense!

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  1. Grace and Dr Thornfellow – A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnus

I love the working partnership between these two and their minds are the perfect OTP. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant going into this book knowing there wouldn’t be any romance. Although I don’t read books just for the romance, it is still an aspect I enjoy in the background to the main plot. But this book changed my mind. The way they interact is fascinating and I’d love to read more books featuring them and their antics.

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  1. Shazi and Khalid – The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

It seems these two are hit and miss for many readers, but I liked them and I liked them together. It’s been almost two years since I read the first book—and shamefully, I still have yet to read the second—but their relationship is one my mind keeps returning to and one I remember most.

 

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  1. Kestral and Arin – The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

I shipped these two so hard while reading the books. Their personalities just seem to complement each other so well and they learn so much from each other—which I think should be a huge aspect in relationships. The beginning of The Winner’s Kiss broke my heart a little and I’ve never recovered, but I still love these two and what they achieved together.

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  1. Jane Bennett and Mr Bingley – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Finishing off with a classic couple and probably my first OTP. I was never a Mr Darcy kind of girl, it was always Mr Bingley for me. He was always sweet, caring, and considerate, if rather naïve, and always put others before himself. And, FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS.

 

Who are your bookish OTPs? Share in the comments!