Saturday 28 April 2018

Moved to Wordpress

Hey guys! I've finally made the decision to move my blog to Wordpress. Mostly it's because Wordpress is easier to use and looks much fancier and more professional. 

Fear not, you can still follow me and you can find me at:

Thursday 26 April 2018

The Uncrossing, Melissa Eastlake

Luke always smelled like church and magic

Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. Then he encounters the first curse he can't break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn't be falling for. 
Jeremy's been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. Jeremy's family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it's tied to Jeremy.
* * * 
3 / 5

The Uncrossing was an odd little book. It’s about a curse on a young man called Jeremy Kovrov, the adopted son of a powerful family, and another boy who can unravel almost any curse. It’s about magic in New York, about power and history and the lengths we will go to to hide the past. But it was also just plain weird. 

Monday 23 April 2018

The Smoke Thieves, Sally Green

It was a little ambitious and a little insane
A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict. 

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

* * 
2 / 5 

I read and liked Green's "Half Bad", but it wasn't really my genre. The Smoke Thieves, however, seemed right up my reading alley - a fantasy novel, a princess looking to rebel, a demon hunter, some sort of intriguing political skulduggery - but unfortunately I was pretty disappointed. It felt like a was reading a novel aimed at thirteen year olds, but it had the occasional "adult" language and scenes thrown in that seemed like a cheap attempt to appeal to an older audience.

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Lucy and Linh, Alice Pung

That was when I learned a very important early lesson: here at Laurinda, mistakes meant annihilation
A literary Mean Girls meets Fresh Off the Boat that follows Lucy as she tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

* * * 
3 / 5 

I found Lucy and Linh a hard book to get into. It's written in an epistolary format; the whole book consists of letters from Lucy to her friend Linh as we follow her journey from ordinary public school to an elite Australian private all-girls school Laurinda. This was a difficult read for two reasons: first, I found the writing style a bit weird and unengaging, and second, it was quite emotional!

Saturday 14 April 2018

Final Draft, Riley Redgate

She bowed under the heaviness of the hours she hadn't lived yet
The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he's suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.
At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval.  Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

* * * * 
4 / 5

When I finished Final Draft my main emotion was sad. Redgate portrayed depression and grief so realistically, it made me feel a bit empty inside, which is how I know an author has hit the nail on the head. This isn't really a happy book, but it's definitely a great one. 

Wednesday 11 April 2018

To Kill A Kingdom, Alexandra Christo

Heirs were easy things to make, and my mother was the Sea Queen first and nothing second
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. 

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? 
* * * *
4 / 5

To Kill A Kingdom absolutely lived up to the hype - and I'm not even fond of The Little Mermaid!  Ocean inspired fantasy novels are typically not my cup of tea at all, but with all the buzz, I couldn't help but try this one up. It was absolutely a lesson in stepping (or reading) outside of my comfort zone from time to time, because this novel is a gem!

Sunday 8 April 2018

Daughter of the Burning City, Amanda Foody

We are putting on a show, but I had always believed that was because Gomorrah is a city of performers. Turns out, we are a city of liars
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

* * * 
3 / 5 

Daughter of the Burning City was a bold attempt to break out into the competitive YA circus-themed novel genre. I have read and adored The Night Circus and enjoyed last year's breakout novel Caraval, so I was looking forward to seeing what fresh ideas Foody had brought to the circus. And it was definitely novel, full of weirdness, but I think it was a bit too weird for my tastes. Definitely lots to enjoy here for the right reader though!

Thursday 5 April 2018

Sky in the Deep, Adrienne Young

"Ond Eldr." Breathe fire. 
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

* * * * * 
5 / 5

Sky in the Deep features my favourite kind of woman - the warrior woman, the woman with a sword and an axe and a glare that could shatter empires. Eelyn is tough, bitter, discerning, and sensitive upon occasion. She is raised in the pseudo-viking Aska Clan, bitter rivals to the Riki people with whom they meet in battle every five years. Five years ago, Eelyn's brother Iri died on the battlefield, leaving her and her father alone; today she stands shield to shield with her friend when she encounters a ghost on the bloody field.

Monday 2 April 2018

[article] March Round-Up

Happy Easter!

March Round Up, 2018

I ploughed through some really awesome books this month, from the highly anticipated conclusion to the Illuminae Files, Obsidio, to some banging ARCs like Sky in the Deep and To Kill a Kingdom. I didn't read a single book under three stars this month - truly an awesome March!

Thursday 29 March 2018

The Queen's Rising, Rebecca Ross

"Come on, fight me as a queen would"
Born out of wedlock, Brienna is cast off by her noble family and sent to Magnolia House - a boarding house for those looking to study the passions: art, music, dramatics, wit and knowledge. As Brienna gets closer to the eve of her graduation, she also grows closer to her smart (and handsome) tutor, Cartier.  
A daring plot is brewing - to overthrow the usurper king and restore the rightful monarchy - and Brienna's memories hold the key to its success. Cartier desperately wants to help Brienna, but she must chose her friends wisely, keep her enemies close and trust no one if she is to save herself and her people. 
* * * 
3 / 5

I mostly bought The Queen's Rising because of the absolutely gorgeous cover, but I stayed because I was intrigued by the premise: Brienna is a student of knowledge, about to graduate, and she's inherited the magical memories of her ancestor which will prove vital in the winning of a war. I really loved the first half of the book, but thought that as the revolution/war plot progressed, it became a bit farfetched.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Thief (The Queen's Thief #1), Megan Whalen Turner

"A thief never makes a noise by accident"
The king's scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king's prison. The magus is interested only in the thief's abilities. 

What Gen is interested in is anyone's guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.
* * * 
3 / 5

This book has a lot of rave reviews, but to be honest it's not that great. I gave it three stars because I enjoyed how it reminded me of reading slightly bad fantasy novels in the 2000s - character who is weirdly good at something with little explanation, a band of sidekicks, bizarre worldbuilding, full of myths and legends, and totally odd/implausible plot twists. The Thief was an odd little book, definitely fun but no shining example of great fantasy literature. 

Saturday 10 March 2018

The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1), Melissa Caruso

"Figure out what you are good at and make that the game"
In the Raverran Empire, magic is scarce and those born with power are strictly controlled -- taken as children and conscripted into the Falcon Army. 
Zaira has lived her life on the streets to avoid this fate, hiding her mage-mark and thieving to survive. But hers is a rare and dangerous magic, one that threatens the entire empire. Lady Amalia Cornaro was never meant to be a Falconer. Heiress and scholar, she was born into a treacherous world of political machinations. But fate has bound the heir and the mage. 

* * * * 
4 / 5 

The Tethered Mage is a Venetian inspired fantasy novel featuring hefty amounts of political skulduggery - one of my favourite things. It might be a little low on the action despite featuring a heavy-hitting Fire Warlock, but when the fights are there, they're good. Featuring two great female leads, The Tethered Mage is a solid start to a new fantasy series.

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension #1), Andrew Rowe

"It was the day of my Judgement and I was prepared in a thousand ways that didn't matter"
Five years ago, Corin Cadence’s brother entered the Serpent Spire — a colossal tower with ever-shifting rooms, traps, and monsters. Those who survive the spire’s trials return home with an attunement: a mark granting the bearer magical powers. According to legend, those few who reach the top of the tower will be granted a boon by the spire’s goddess. 
He never returned. Now, it’s Corin’s turn. He’s headed to the top floor, on a mission to meet the goddess.

* * * * 
4 / 5

When I was a great deal younger I spent a reasonable amount of time devouring books and manga of the LitRPG genre - the most famous of which might be Sword Art Online, The Tower of God, and 1/2 Prince. Essentially, these are books based either literally around people in a game or a world that functions like an RPG; typically these feature dungeons, levelling up, magic, trading, forging weapons, and parties (the dangerous, monster fighting kind).

Saturday 3 March 2018

No Time To Spare, Ursula K. Le Guin

"If I'm ninety and believe I'm forty-five, I'm headed for a very bad time trying to get out of the bathtub"
Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s blog, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her wonder at it.    

* * * * 
4 / 5

I started reading No Time to Spare on the 28th of December, intending to consume it's collection of short essays leisurely. Unfortunately, partway through the title became somewhat prophetic as the author sadly passed away. As a child I loved and devoured Le Guin's Earthsea Quartet and as an adult I have read some of her more adult works such as The Word for World is Forest; she was a writer who was very dear to my heart and the thought of reading (what I believe to be) her last published book was rather upsetting, so I put it down for a while.

Thursday 1 March 2018

[article] February Round-Up

My book-plant is the most awesome thing

February Round Up, 2018

Well, it truly has been a record-low on the review writing front for me this month! I've been a disaster this month between getting on top of my university month, prepping for summer internship interviews, competing at a national level in my sport, and training for another. I've done a fair amount of actual reading, mostly in the car or on the train or the bus, but very little writing. But March might be my month of getting back on track :)

Thursday 8 February 2018

All Rights Reserved (Word$ #1), Gregory Scott Katsoulis

My silence meant something. It was a protest. I owned it.
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks, for every nod, for every scream and even every gesture of affection. 

But when Speth’s friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family’s crippling debt, she can’t express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Rather than read her speech—rather than say anything at all—she closes her mouth and vows never to speak again, sparking a movement that threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them

* * * * 
4 / 5

It's been several years since dystopia was the go to genre for the upcoming YA author and, upon seeing All Rights Reserved, I thought that enough time had passed for me to brave this book. And damn, it was good! I've read a lot of dystopias in my time but never anything quite like this. Yeah, maybe it had a few kinks in the plot that could have been smoothed out, a few hallmarks of a new author, but these are easily forgiven.

Saturday 3 February 2018

[article] January Round-Up

Are your reading resolutions still in full swing?

January Round Up, 2018

A new year and with it, new books! The majority of January was unfortunately taken up with studying for and sitting my third year university exams, but after celebrating the end I dug into my massive stack of books. Mostly, these were Christmas presents and so a massive thank you to all my family and friends for their generous gifts :)

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Blood and Sand, C. V. Wyk

She wanted to run and run until her breath was spent, until the ashes of her bones mingled with those of her people

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

* * 
2 / 5 

In answer to the age-old gladiatorial question: "are you not entertained?", the answer is "only a little bit". I have a fondness for books set in Ancient Rome - The Eagle of the Ninth, for example, or virtually anything by Simon Scarrow - and Blood and Sand promised not only the tale of a gladiator who strives for freedom, Xanthus, but also that of a warrior princess of Thrace, Attia! It sounded awesome and I eagerly began reading this book, only to discover that it is dominated by a poorly plotted romance and a lack of exciting action. 

Saturday 27 January 2018

Valley Girls, Sarah Nicole Lemon

They looked like they had always been and would always be in Yosemite
Determined to make up for her screw-up and create a stable new home for herself, Rilla charms her way into a tight-knit group of climbers. She sets her sights on climbing El Capitan, one of the most challenging routes in Yosemite, and her summer becomes one harrowing and ecstatic experience after another.
But becoming the person Rilla feels she was meant to be jeopardizes the reasons why she came to Yosemite—a bright new future and a second chance at sisterhood. When her family and her future are at odds, what will Rilla choose?

* * 
2 / 5 

I really, really wanted to love Valley Girls - it promised rock climbing adventures featuring a stubborn, ill-advised teen set against the stunning background of Yosemite. Valley Girls delivered in the sense that the rock climbing aspects were detailed and immersive and the scenery sounded breathtaking and filled me with wanderlust. It failed in that the main character, Rilla Skidmore, is exceedingly annoying with barely any redeeming and endearing qualities. 

Thursday 25 January 2018

[article] AtlasRisingBooks Turns One!

A Year in the Life of a Book Blogger

AtlasRisingBooks Turns One!

Or, I successfully manage to run this circus for a year

When I take up a new hobby I do try very hard to stick to it. But I don't always manage it; previous failed hobbies include crocheting, digital artwork, kung fu, yoga, and learning to code. These lasted a couple of months at best, taken up at a moment of passion and then soon given up, but writing book reviews has, somehow, managed to last an entire year! I'm super proud of myself and I'm going to reflect a little bit on my year of book blogging, including some blogging tips!

Saturday 6 January 2018

[article] Another Year Bites The Dust, 2017

First read of the year! But let us look to the past

Another Year Bites The Dust, 2017

Or, I survive a busy year of reading and blogging & the rest of my life

Another year come and gone and it's time for the first yearly summary of my blog! Hurrah! I can't believe how many reviews I've written (almost a hundred) or how many books I've read (more than ever before), or how I've actually managed to post on this blog pretty much every three days! Well done me. What have I achieved?? Presenting a short bullet point list:

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Rosemarked (Rosemarked #1), Livia Blackburne

It's just the two of us this time; the rosemarked healer and the soldier with no fear of her disease. Together, somehow, we are to steal Ampara's secrets
When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

* * * *
4 / 5

Soft and almost melodic, Rosemarked is a lengthy, slow-burn YA fantasy novel. We follow two lovely characters: Zivah, a gentle healer who loves her people but must be quarantined due to a plague, and Dineas, a young warrior who serves his people, the Shidadi, in resisting the onslaught of the Empire. Rosemarked wasn't the most fast-paced, exciting, or even believable book I've read recently, but it was fun and enjoyable and eloquently written and made me feel things, which was all just what I needed.

Monday 1 January 2018

[article] December Round-Up

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holidays!

December Round Up

I'll keep this one short and sweet because, as we all know, we are at the end of the year! And that means a yearly round up, featuring some questions asked and answered. I'm going to take a look at what I've done this year book-wise and hopefully feel quite good about myself, so keep your eyes out for a post like that in early January!