Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen

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4-star

Title: The Star-Touched Queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi

Series? Yes. Companion Novel out next year.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads

Book Depository 


Confession Time: I’ve been obsessed with this book ever since I heard of its premise – it promised to weave Persephone/Hades with the Indian epic Mahabharat. I did all the illogical fangirling thing: stalking the author’s twitter, making an excess amount of graphics, pouring over the internet for reviews and quotes, anxiously waiting by my mailbox for my preorder.

When I learned that Roshani Chokshi considers Catherynne Valente (my favourite author, ever, as you might have heard me mentioned repeatedly) my expectations only skyrocketed. For someone who’s left largely skeptical by hype, I was uncharacteristically 100% committed this particular bandwagon.

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible.”

TSTQ

In short, I cannot be trusted to be completely fair in this review. The book largely met my absurdly high expectations, which is a marvel in itself. The world is richly imagined, each description absolutely arresting and evocative. Continue reading “Book Review: The Star-Touched Queen”

Book Review: Radiance

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4-star

Title: Radiance

Author: Catherynne M. Valente

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Series? No.

Goodreads

Book Depository / Booktopia / Dymocks


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

I know you’ve heard it before, but I love Catherynne Valente and would gladly devour anything she writes, be it short stories, full-length novels, or daily tweets. I love the way she blends existing myth and folklore to construct sublime new worlds. With Radiance, she brings old Hollywood glamour and the age of silent film into celestial space. The result is an enchanting and dream-like mystery spanning across multiple genres.

“She is dead. Almost certainly dead. Nearly conclusively dead.
She is, at the very least, not answering her telephone.”

Radiance

Continue reading “Book Review: Radiance”

Meet The Newbie: Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor

meet-the-newbies

Thanks to Rachel of A Perfection Called Books for inviting me to join this blog tour. Meet The Newbies is focused on spotlighting 2016 debut authors. For my part of the tour, I get to host the lovely Jessica Taylor! She wrote Wandering Wild, a story filled with travel and magical realism.

First we have a quick bio, Jessica likens herself to a character from Friends.

WanderingWildMostLikelyNickname: JT
First Day of School: May 3, 2016
Homeroom: Sky Pony Press
Grade: Magical Realism
Extracurricular Activities: Traveling, reading in sunny spots, playing Blackjack, and organizing my bookshelves
Favorite Class: Recess
Favorite Quote/Motto: “Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have tolive forever, you just have to live.” ­ Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

WanderingWildJessMonica


Continue reading “Meet The Newbie: Wandering Wild by Jessica Taylor”

Blog Graphics Tutorial For The Thrifty: Canva & Freepik

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I’ve previously done a post recommending the apps I recommend to create blog graphics, but as I still get questions about how to make graphics – I thought I’ll make a more detailed post. I hope you’ll find this useful and go off to create your own work. I would also love for you to show me when you’re done :D!

Warning: Very Image Heavy!
Sorry mobile phone browsers! Continue reading “Blog Graphics Tutorial For The Thrifty: Canva & Freepik”

Unpopular Opinion Book Tag

Unpopular-Opinion

I’m just in a mood for venting, so I thought it was a great time to do the Unpopular Opinions Tag. Everyone loves a bit of controversy now and again. Apologies in advance if I have insulted any of your favourites, but that’s just the nature of unpopular opinions.

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1. A Popular Book You Didn’t Like

The first one that comes to mind is Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – which I feel a bit bad about since they’re fellow Aussies. A huge disappointment, because I was really looking forward to reading it. Behind the superficial trappings of the epistolary format and wicked-cool designs, the book hides a relatively run-of-the-mill sci-fi fare. It skimmed much too close to the plot and details in Battlestar Galactica for my liking, particularly because BSG did everything so much better. I also found the characters shallow and underdeveloped. Everyone else on the blogosphere seem to include this book in their Top 2015 list, so I’m definitely in the minority here. Continue reading “Unpopular Opinion Book Tag”

Book Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

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3star

Title: Wink, Poppy, Midnight

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Series? No

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Goodreads

Book Depository


Firstly, let me just get it out of my system and gush about that cover! Now, I don’t consider myself superficial – but I 100% purchased this book based on the merits of its stunning cover alone. The typography, colouring and embellishments on it are all A+++ *satisfied sigh*

“Revenge. Justice. Love. They are the three stories that all other stories are made up of. It’s the trifecta.”

WinkPoppyMidnight

Ahem. What about the content, did you say? I know this book has been met with extremely mixed reception – with people either dismissing it as pretentious nonsense or revering it as a masterpiece. I am firmly on the fence regarding this (I know, neutrality is a bit boring – boo!). On the one hand, I found the vivid writing and fairy tale imageries enchanting. On the other, the plot is overly convoluted – with its ultimate execution falling short of the author’s ambitious plans. Continue reading “Book Review: Wink, Poppy, Midnight”

Book Review: Fellside

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4-star

Title: Fellside

Author: M. R. Carey

Rating: 4/5 stars

Series? No

Goodreads

Book Depository


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

I was positively gleeful when I received my copy of Fellside in the mail, being a huge fan of M. R. Carey’s first book: The Girl With All The Gifts. Comparing the two work is a pointless task, as they’re completely separate entities. Yet, Fellside retains the element I loved most from Girl: an unsettling glimpse into humanity’s psyche – especially at our lowest point.

Fellside Continue reading “Book Review: Fellside”

Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts

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Vector of knight in shining armour by freevectors.com. Graphics by yours truly.

I love doing Top Ten Tuesdays, I just wish I could be more consistent about it. This week’s theme is a semi-freebie, you’re meant to give your recommendation to a particular subset of people. I decided to target those who, like myself, adore fairy tales. I won’t be covering fairy tale retellings, because I’ve done that before. Instead, I want to recommend stories which follows fairy-tale narratives and possess the same timeless quality.

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1. In The Night Garden by Catherynne Valente: Regulars of this blog will know that I mention this book in basically 80% of my recommendation posts. It’s my favourite of all time – and I plan to reread and review it on the blog this year to hassle you all into reading it (again). This is very loosely based on 1001 nights. Valente accomplishes the extraordinary feat of writing an expansive and immersive tale – spanning several lives and a multitude of stories. It’s multifaceted, subversive, and powerful. Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts”

Book Review: The Lyre Thief

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4-star

Title: The Lyre Thief

Author: Jennifer Fallon

Rating: 4/5 stars

Series? Yes.

Goodreads

Book Depository


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Looking for an immersive fantasy with female centric stories, filled with court intrigues and a smattering of romance? Look no more because The Lyre Thief has got you covered. Jennifer Fallon elaborates on her existing series and adds a multitude of dimensional, relatable characters in the process with this new series.

TheLyreThief

Admittedly, The Lyre Thief is my entry into Jennifer Fallon’s expansive world. She has previously laid down a lot of worldbuilding and history with previous series like The Demon Child trilogy and The Hythrun Chronicles. If you’ve read these series in the past, there’s undoubtedly a layer of the book only long time fans can appreciate. Fortunately, I was not confused at all during the read – as Fallon did a great job of easing her reader into this vast universe. The concepts of gods and various court politics at play and introduced slowly – in fact, I did not realise I was reading a new addition to a pre-existing series until I read the blurb. Most of this is because the events in The Lyre Thief follows a fresh cast of characters and different setting to previous entries in the series. Continue reading “Book Review: The Lyre Thief”

Book Review: A Gathering Of Shadows

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5star

Title: A Gathering Of Shadows

Author: V. E. Schwab

Series? Yes, 1 of 3.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

Book Depository


This review contains spoilers for the first book of the series: A Darker Shade of Magic.

A Gathering of Shadows was one of my most anticipated release of 2016. Its predecessor, A Darker Shade of Magic, was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog and a top ten read from last year. Victoria Schwab is back in fine form in this sequel – once again giving us banter, heartstopping action, and Lila Bard – with more swagger than ever. Although I wish our main characters developed more depth, I can’t argue too much as the book was thoroughly entertaining.

AGOS-Review
Vector of the warriors by freevector.com used under CC License, graphics by me :D!

“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”

It’s no secret that my favourite character in this series is Lila Bard. She’s quite the polarising figure, with reviewers either loving or hating her – and to be fair, I would find her incredibly obnoxious if we met in real life. However, as a fictional character, I love her bull-headed selfishness and penchant for showmanship. Lila Bard fights with all her extensive might to be different, to buck against everyone’s expectations, to be more. With her mix of grand ambitions, coupled with the inability to keep a low profile – Lila is quite unique amongst fantasy’s offering of noble-hearted protagonist. She speaks in one liner, she weaves songs and superstition about herself, she seems to think she’s invincible, she keeps insisting she’s ‘not like most girls’ – in other words, she’s one flawed heroine. However, Lila does it all in such style, I can’t help but be smitten. Continue reading “Book Review: A Gathering Of Shadows”