Books 21-25 in 2015 are:

21.
Erica James – The Dandelion Years
Rating: 3 out of 5

This is one of my favourite types of books, by one of my favourite authors. I really enjoy Erica James novels, and this one was set in both the present day and during WW2. I love books with a dual timeline! This story was interesting, gripping and touching – plus it was set in Bletchley Park, which I found really exciting. My review is HERE.

 

22.
Amanda Hocking – Wake
Rating: 3 out of 5

This is the first book in the Watersong series by Amanda Hocking. I really enjoyed her Trylle series, so had high hopes for this new book. This is young adult, fantasy literature, which I almost always enjoy. This book is darker than Hocking’s Trylle series, and I didn’t enjoy it as much. That said, it wasn’t a boring or bad read – I read this book in two sittings! My review is HERE.

 

23.
Marina Fiorato – The Glassblower of Murano
Rating: 3 out of 5

The Glassblower of Murano is one of those books which has been sitting on my bookcase for a few years, so I added it to my Goodreads Mount TBR Challenge, so I am pleased to report that I have now read it! This is another book which has a dual timeline; present day and the 1600s. I didn’t enjoy this novel as much as I thought I might. I didn’t find the storyline terribly exciting and I wasn’t overly keen on any of the characters. My review is HERE.

24.
Amanda Hocking – Lullaby
Rating – 3 out of 5

This is the second novel in the Watering series by Amanda Hocking. It continues the story of Gemma, and her entanglement with the sirens. Again, this instalment is darker than the first, but as this is a young adult book it doesn’t get too bad! I am enjoying this series. The storyline is gripping, I like the characters and the books are exciting. I have the last two novels to read, and I am looking forward to them.

 

25.
Beth Redman – God Knows My Name
Rating: 5 out of 5

This is the second time I have read this book, and I have loved it each time. Beth Redman looks at our identity in God. She talks about how God knows us, made us, and how we don’t have to feel shame or regret in His presence. This is a great read, full of truth and encouragement about who we are in God, and who God is to us. This is a must-read in my opinion.

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Addition: Paperback
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They’re the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone’s attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

This is the first book in the Watersong series by Amanda Hocking. A few years ago I read Hocking’s Trylle series and really enjoyed it, so I had quite high expectations for this book. I was also nervous, I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book, which would have been sad as I liked the Trylle series so much.

This book follows Gemma, a sixteen year old girl who loves swimming. Her beauty and natural ability in the water attract the attention of three girls – Penn, Thea and Lexi. These girls are newcomers to the town, and their stunning beauty is making the town nervous. Gemma is cautious of them, but during a late night swim she is convinced to join them in the cove. She wakes the next morning having no memory of the night before, but knows something has changed – she has changed. What does this mean for her and her future?

I am pleased to write that I enjoyed this book. Maybe not as much as the Trylle series, but enough to read it in two sittings! This book is gripping, and pulled me in straight away. It is an easy read, but enjoyable. I liked the characters and I liked the story. This is a young adult novel, but as an adult I enjoyed it.

I liked Gemma and her sister Harper. I felt for Harper, she just wanted to protect Gemma. I found the storyline with their Mother a bit odd, and I’m not sure it added much to the book. Their Father seemed to be a sweetheart. Hard-working and trying hard to look after his girls. I think I forgot that Gemma is on sixteen, she seemed more mature than that. I liked the boys written into the story as well. Daniel made me chuckle as he humoured Harper, and Alex just seemed very sweet.

The storyline was good. This is the first in a four book series, so it took a little longer to get going than usual but I didn’t mind the scene-setting. I quickly worked out what fantasy characters the three girls are, but I enjoyed watching the story unfold. There were bits that were a little bit more gory than I expected, but that didn’t bother me much. The story is gripping, there are a couple of mysteries throughout the story, and of course there are a couple of romances too.

I don’t have anything bad to say about this book, except that it isn’t the best book I have ever read. I may have rated this book higher if this was the first Hocking book I had read, however this was a good read. Like I have said, I read it very quickly and I did enjoy it.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the Trylle series, however I liked it enough to buy the second book in the series. I am rating this book 3 out of 5.

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THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Addition: Paperback, library book
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Wendy Everly can barely remember what it was like to feel like a normal girl. She’d wished for her life to be different but everything is so much more complicated than she’d expected. And she certainly hadn’t dreamt she’d be getting married at eighteen to a man she didn’t love – all for the sake of duty.

As the big day approaches, Wendy can’t stop thinking about two different men – and neither of them are her husband-to-be. Finn – quiet, strong and determined to do what’s right, and Loki – dark and seductive, a sworn enemy who once saved her life. With all-out war just days away, Wendy needs to act quickly if she is to save her friends and family. But while her loyalties and duties are to her people, deeper passions are leading her elsewhere.

And as her worlds collide, Wendy must sacrifice everything she loves to save them. But will it be enough?

This is the third and final book in the Trylle series by Amanda Hocking. I have really enjoyed this series; they are well worth reading! In fact, I have lent my copy of Switched to a lady in my book club – I hope she likes it!

This story follows WendyEverly, a young adult who a few months ago was a normal girl; but now she is a troll princess and has to face huge dangers to protect her people. She must make sacrifices, such as marrying her friend Tove whom she doesn’t love, to make sure if she dies the kingdom has a strong, wise king to protect them. The danger comes from her father, the King of the Vittra tribe. Her mother, the Queen is slowly dying and the King wants to take over her tribe and be super powerful. Wendy must do all she can to save her kingdom but the king is ruthless and not afraid to slaughter people. But admist all this, Wendy is also struggling with her emotions – there are 2 guys fighting for her heart and neither are Tove, her future husband. What will she do?

I have loved this series so far, but this book let me down a little bit. The focus seemed to shift from saving her people to her boy troubles. That said, there were some great action scenes and I enjoyed reading about how Wendy felt the need to protect her people and go and help others who were in trouble. I guess what I disliked the most was there were not any consequences to her actions. The night before her wedding she makes out with Finn, then she marries Tove, but doesn’t consummate the marriage, then two weeks later sleeps with Loki. Yet when this comes out no one seems to have a problem with her and it isn’t addressed as a problem. In fact, once Wendy has defeated the Vittra she gets the marriage annulled but I felt that somewhere along the line she should have faced the consequences of having an affair.

There were scenes in this book I enjoyed. I liked how the Queen softened before her death and showed Wendy that she did love her. I loved that Matt – Wendy’s human brother – was with her the whole time. I liked the plotting, the need to help others and I enjoyed the climax when Wendy met the Vittra king. This is a good fantasy novel, with action and adventure – just too much of a love story too.

I didn’t have a favourite character to be honest. I really disliked the king, but apart from him no one stood out as sparking much emotion in me. I guess I didn’t like Wendy much due to her actions with Finn, Tove and Loki, but I did enjoy reading about her stepping into the role of Queen.

I read this book in a day – like the other ones, however I didn’t enjoy this one as much and actually felt a little let down by it. That said, this is a good young adult fantasy series. There are trolls, both beautiful and stubby; there are magical powers; there is love and romance; plus action and fighting.

 

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THIS REVIEW CONTAINTS SPOILERS!
Addition: Review paperback

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn’t until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might’ve been telling the truth.

With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed – and it’s one she’s not sure if she wants to be a part of.

This is the first book in The Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking and the series has a been a great hit in America. I received this as a review book from Think Jam. The novel was released on 5th January 2012 in the UK and is available on Amazon as a paperback and in a Kindle version.

The story follows Wendy; a girl with a very traumatic past. At the age of 6 her mother tries to kill her, claiming that she is not her daughter and that she is evil and a monster. Her mother is taken away to a psychiatric hospital and Wendy is raised by her brother Matt and her aunt Maggie. Wendy has never really fitted in, has always caused trouble and never settled at school. She has recently changed schools and her world is turned upside down when the weird boy who keeps staring at her – Finn Holmes – appears outside her bedroom window at 3am. What is particularly strange about this is that her bedroom is not on the ground floor. Earlier that evening they had been at the school dance and whilst dancing together Finn had said some horrid things. Upset by him, she uses the mind control powers that she has to persuade another classmate to drive her home. Finn realises what Wendy has done so turns up in the night to confront her and take her home – to the land of Trylle. It seems her mother had been right, Wendy is not of this world. It turns out she is a troll – not the kind you imagine hiding under bridges, but a beautiful, powerful woman, who is remarkably like a human. She does not want to leave Matt and Maggie and does not believe Finn until a few nights later she is attacked by trolls from a different tribe, who want to kidnap her. Rescued by Finn, she agrees to leave and to set up life as a troll. What she finds when she gets there completely surprises her – life is not what she imagined. She is the Princess, switched at birth to a wealthy family so that she will get a good education and a trust fund. All seems to be going well, until at her debutant ball her home is attacked, and they are after her…

I really enjoyed this book, in fact I read all of it this morning, in one sitting! It is not a long book – only 280ish pages long. The story is easy to follow, and very enjoyable. My favourite character was probably Matt. I loved how much he loved Wendy. He named her when she was born as their parents didn’t want her, and he has spent his life protecting her. I found Wendy an interesting character – and depending with who she was with, depended on what I thought about her! I found myself feeling sorry for her when she was with the Queen – her real mother – but when she was with Finn or Rhys – the human she was swapped with, I wasn’t so keen on her as she seemed to lead them both on. Finn had to grow on me too, as he was so hot and cold. I found that very frustrating!

Switched reminds me of both The Iron Fey Series and the Twilight Series. It reminded me of Twilight because of the house Wendy was taken too. Although the house in Switched is a lot bigger it was very modern – not what you would expect in this sort of novel – like in Twilight. I was reminded of the Iron Fey series for a number of reasons: – the lead character growing up in the human world; – the tracker being at school, like Puck; – and the lead character falling for the wrong guy, like Meghan falling for Puck.

This book is full of adventure, tense moments – the sort of “what is going to happen next” moments, a romance and a great plot. This is a young adult book, but such an enjoyable read anyway. I wasn’t keen on the swearing, especially as this is a young adult novel, but fortunately there wasn’t too much of that. This is a great book – it kept me gripped, and I’m still reflecting on it later on in the day. I will definiately be looking out for the next book in the series! This is well worth reading – especially if you like series like The Iron Fey Series.

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