The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young – Book Review

Here is my no-spoiler review of The Girl The Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young (4 / 5 stars)

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I’d like to start this post by saying a massive thank you to Titan Books for gifting me this copy in exchange an honest review. I instantly fell in love with the cover and the title of this novel, I was blown away by the mesmerising cover by Larry Rostant. I think this is definitely my favourite cover art that I’ve seen this year. I also loved the beautiful bag and runestone I received with my book. (pictured above)

“Augua Γ³r tivar. LjΓ‘ mir sΓ½n.”
“Eye of the gods. Give me sight.”

Tova is a Truthtongue, meaning she has the ability to cast the rune stones and read them. Ever since she was a child she has lived among the Svell, where she never felt at home. She’d always believed that her people had sacrificed her to the Gods and that the sea had carried her to the Svell. The Svell use Tova’s gift of reading the stones to tell them the fate of their clan as they bring themselves into a war that could change life as they know it. The leaders within the Svell are divided, some wish to maintain the peace whilst others are ready to go to war with allied clans.

Tova encounters Halvard who is the new chieftain of Nadhir, and they both seem familiar with each other but can’t quite recall why. Tova spares his life and starts to question her place among the Svell and whether she wants to execute their demands. Can Tova change the fate of the clans, and finally find herself a home?

‘War is easy. His words echoed in my mind,’

The Girl The Sea Gave Back is the new standalone novel in ‘The Sky in the Deep’ series and it is written from the first-person perspectives of both Halvard and Tova. It also has flashback chapters written in 3rd person.

Tova is an engrossing character and not just because of her ability to read runes. She comes across as quite emotionally cut off until much later in the novel. She’s been through a lot with her upbringing and living among the Svell who all don’t try to hide the fact she is unwanted and hated by them all. Tova is quite skilled with a bow and arrow and really reveals her true self after meeting Halvard.

Halvard is a character from Sky In The Deep who is part of Clan Nadhir, I didn’t fully understand his character or his backstory and I think this falls down to me not having read Sky In The Deep. I prefered reading from Tova’s P.O.V but I don’t think the story would have worked without his perspective. I just feel like I didn’t have much of an emotional attachment of any sort to his character and I’d expect one from one of the main characters. The flashback chapters helped reveal the history of both Tova and Halvard before the events of this novel, which is really helpful as not much is revealed otherwise.

‘I was flesh and blood. I had a face. And most importantly, I could die.’

The Girl The Sea Gave Back starts off very slow-paced and it did almost lose my attention a few times, about halfway through the novel the pace did speed up and it became a breeze to read. I did much prefer the second half of the novel, I just wish the entire novel had been like this. There just wasn’t as much action as I expected from this novel, I read a lot of reviews on Sky in The Deep in an attempt to get a feel of Adrienne’s writing in preparation for reading this book. The action that was included was thrilling and very descriptive which reminded me somewhat of Tolkien’s style of writing.

The Girl The Sea Gave Back was intriguing and I loved the rune stone aspect of the novel as I myself, love runes so it was nice to read a book that included them. I was hanging on the edge of my seat during one of the late battle scenes and I was blown away by the quality of the writing.

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I’ve added Sky In The Deep to my ‘to be read’ pile and I will hopefully have a review for that soon! I would recommend this book to anyone who is into YA Fantasy and people who are into the Viking Era. I look forward to reading more of Young’s writing and I think she is a promising addition to the YA genre.

‘Nothing was sure until death came.’

You can buy a copy of ‘The Girl The Sea Gave Back’ on Amazon here. (Affiliate Link)

If you are an author wanting me to review your book or wanting to participate in an Author Interview, don’t hesitate to contact me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com

Grey by E.L James – Book Review (Audiobook)

I have been wanting to re-read the Fifty Shades of Grey series for the longest time now even more so after reading The Mister so I could add it to my reviews but I’ve barely found the time due to reading new books I haven’t read and trying to run a blog which openly accepts books for review. I feel as though I have cheated by listening to this as an audiobook on Audible as I would defiantly not have been able to read this if I hadn’t of listened to it as an audiobook because I quite frankly don’t have the time at the moment.

Nevertheless, I have finished and I am pleased to give you all my review of Grey by E.L James.

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Christian Grey, CEO of Grey Enterprise thinks he has it all, until Anastasia Steele, stumbles into his office and into his life. Christian’s past stops him from having a normal romance like the one’s Ana would read in her classic novels. His need for control and discipline are challenged by Ana, will she be his undoing or will his dark sexual desires make her run for the hills?

This re-telling of Fifty Shades helps answer a lot of questions about Christian that were not answered in the Fifty shades series. When reading Grey, you get a better insight on the extent of Christian’s problems, and they are easier to understand when told from his P.O.V. Within the first few chapters we find out about Grey’s history which isn’t revealed until much later in the FSOG.

I honestly love the concept of re-reading the fifty shades from the other perspective and after reading I find it hard to decide who’s perspective I prefer. Christian or Ana? How could I ever choose? I honestly feel like Grey and Darker are easier to read but I feel like it’s easier to relate to a woman’s perspective of things. I also really admire women who write from a male perspective, so well done to E.L James for nailing it.

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Although the plot and characters stay the same, I feel like this re-telling really adds to the blanks and also helps make Christian’s character seem less overbearing and controlling than he does in the original writing. I feel like Fifty Shades wouldn’t have got such a bad reputation if the Grey and Darker has been released first instead of the original Fifty Shades. Grey is beautifully written, fast-paced and an easy read, I look forward to re-reading Darker and then moving back onto the original trilogy.

Purchase your copy of Grey here. (Affiliate Link)

If you are an author wanting a review for your book or to take part in an author interview email me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com and we can work something out.Β 

Dark Rising Sun by K.M Martinez – Book Review

Here is my no-spoiler review of Dark Rising Sun by K.M Martinez (4/5 stars)

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Dark Rising Sun is the debut novel of K.M Martinez, it is the first installment of The Continuos War series.

Melanie Mendez of Clan Kale doesn’t wish to compete in the Annual Agora which is a tradition for all the causing tension between the seven clans. An unprovoked and unexpected attack on Mel leaves her wondering whether the Clans have branded her as a traitor. Her Grandmother, the Elder of Clan Kale, thinks that Mel bears the Kale Beast in her but Mel thinks it’s a myth along with the stories of The Eighth Clan. After a threat to her life, Mel must find out the truth.

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I really liked Mel’s Character, she was feisty from the start and I liked that she was portrayed as a strong female lead from the beginning, damsel in distress? What is one of those? Mel is highly slandered by the other clans as they believe she is a traitor for not competing in the games, but this doesn’t phase her nearly as much as it does her brothers and I really liked that her family were very close, supporting and protective over each other but also know how to have a joke.

One of the things that let this story down was the late plot, I feel like I had no idea what the actual plot of the story was up until apart halfway into the book, and the second half of the book was much more interesting to read than the first half, if the whole book could have maintained the level that the second half had I would have rated it much higher. I just felt like it was too slow-paced in the beginning but when the story line hit, I found reading it so much easier.

I feel like this series has the potential for a great sequel as the story ended on a high and the plot is in mid-swing at this point.Β  Despite the problems I had with the plot, the story is well written, and I have high expectations for the sequel if it remains at the same level of action and excitement as the second half of this novel.

“Gabe wanted to tell her she was crazy, but he knew never to tell a woman she was crazy, no matter how crazy she acted.” – Dark Rising Sun by K.M Martinez

Purchase your copy of Dark Rising Sun here. (Affiliate Link)

If you are an author wanting a review for your book or to take part in an author interview email me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com and we can work something out.Β 

Blood Awakens by Jessaca Willis – Book Review

I have taken part in the Blog Tour for Jessaca Willis’ debut novel ‘Blood Awakens’ and I have been gifted a copy of Blood Awakens in exchange for an honest review.

Here is my no-spoiler review of Blood Awakens by Jessaca Willis. (5/5)

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BloodΒ  Awakens is the first installment in ‘The Awakened Quartet’ by Jessaca Willis. Blood Awakens is set two years after ‘The Awakening’ which triggered unusual powers in humans all over. The awakening left both people who had been awakened and the unawakened fighting for their own survival each afraid of the other.

Sean is a blood guide who has the ability to control peoples blood, his power can be used to heal but it can also be used to kill. Affected by the loss of his brother and being outcasted for his awakened power, Sean sets up a sanctuary for all to seek shelter, and help build a community. Attacks on other local sanctuaries leave Sean and the community he’s built on edge.

Graciela and her brother Santiago, are both on the move struggling to get by strapping for food. Whilst Graciela is un-awakened she refuses to leave her brother behind, even though his awakened abilities are beginning to cause problems on his health. Santiago is an empath who has the ability to sense others emotions,Β  which helped lead him to Mara who is at the Hope Sanctuary built by Sean. He manages to convince Graciela to find the sanctuary but they are unaware of the attacks on the sanctuary and the dangers which lie ahead.

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I was excited to read this novel based on the synopsis I was given from the cover reveal for Blood Awakens which you can check out here. I thought the cover was very eye-catching and thought-provoking and the synopsis left me wanting to find out more about this new series.

Blood Awakens is written in 3rd person but from multi- perspectives from each of the main characters at first I was a bit sceptical about reading from each character’s perspective because I think sometimes it can become confusing and overbearing. But I do feel like it defiantly suited this story as I was drawn more into each character and how their ability affects them.

Graciela is defiantly my favourite character closely followed by Sean because they both share one trait that I love, they both care deeply for their family and are driven to protect the ones they love by any means necessary. I feel like these are great character traits and it really helped me relate to their characters.Β  Graciela is not only family orientated but she is headstrong when the journey looks challenging she doesn’t back down, she proceeds and tackles whatever issue may arise. She may not be physically strong but she is emotional.

“It had been her choice to die – for them. But here they were, ready to storm the castle and rescue the helpless damsel.” – Blood Awakens by Jessaca Willis.

I really love the relationships these characters are building which each other and I hope they can continue to grow and help each other deal with their pasts so they can work together to possibly find a cure for the awakening. Although it’s been two years since the Awakening epidemic I still feel as though each character is carrying a burden from the events which is holding them back in some way.

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As much as I love Santiago and Graciela, I hope that the sequel ‘Puppet’s Dream’ brings us more Mara and Sean as they both seem like interesting characters and we definitely didn’t get enough of them in book one. Especially Mara, I still have so many questions about her backstory and I’m hoping she has a bigger part in the sequel. I’d like to find out more about each of the awakening powers there are and hopefully find out the cause of this worldwide epidemic.

If you are looking for a new fantasy series that’s not cliche, this is the series for you. Once again I’ve been able to read and review a brilliant debut novel from a promising new author. Jessaca has managed to create an intriguing concept with very relating and likeable characters and a storyline which has left me reeling for me.

“There were things worth fearing, true, but there were also things worth living for.” – Blood Awkens by Jessaca Willis.

If you want to find out more about Jessaca you can do here in my Author Interview, and you can also read my review of The Awakening prequel which is a short story set before Blood Awakens.

Purchase your copy of Blood Awakens here. ( Affiliate Link)

Thank you to Fraser’s Fun House for running another amazing blog tour, check out her review of Blood Awakens here.

If you are an author wanting a book review or interview don’t hesitate to email me over at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com to discuss it.

Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollack – Book Review

Here is my no-spoiler review of Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock (4/5 stars).

“Set in Victorian London, Cherry Nova follows the story of a young Woman, who awakens in a grim hotel room with no recollection of who she is and how she got there. With her life seemingly erased, she sets out on a journey of self discovery, fuelled by an overbearing blood lust that leads her down an unknown path. She soon realises though, that not all lovers love you, not all enemies are evil and that you can’t always trust the person staring back at you in the mirror. Magic, Mythology, Secrets and Lies all intertwine themselves around her newly carved out existence, but you can’t run from the past no matter how hard you try. Your sin will always boomerang back to you. Monsters are real, afterall, she should know – She’s one of them.”

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Cherry Nova is the debut novel by Kelly-Marie Pollack, it’s the first installment of ‘The Chronicles of Nova Morgan’ series.Β  Kelly-Marie lives in Dorset with her Husband Mitchell, 4 young children, and a menagerie of pets. She’d dreamt of being an Author from a very young age and her late Auntie Julie pushed her to follow her dreams. Kelly-Marie isΒ  a stay at home Mother, full-time carer and active Parenting and Mental Health Blogger, you can find her blog over at www.amixedupmummy.blogspot.co.uk

Chery Nova follows the story of a young woman who wakes without any recollection of her memories and an uncontrollable hunger that she doesn’t understand. Living in Victorian London, Nova sets on a path to search for answers about who she is, what she is and how she ended up where she is. It isn’t long before Nova’s memory is triggered and she realizes she is part of something that is bigger than her. She now finds herself on the run and trusting people who she barely knows to get her by. She realized there is a real danger and she must find a way to control her own impulses so she can defeat those who stand in front of her.

This was another one of those books that turned out to be better than I anticipated it to be. I’m unsure whether I’m fed up of vampire fiction or not, I feel like they have been overdone now and barely any of them distract from the cliche. I was in my early teens when the Vampire buzz started and I was obsessed. Pollack has managed to stray away from the cliche and create a vampire fiction novel that I not only enjoyed but craved more of. Nova is a very interesting character and from the beginning, I could tell I definitely liked her. She’s a strong-willed character and a definitely a leader, after her memory returns, so does her determination. I actually began to love Ruth towards the end, I loved her relationship with Nova and I can’t wait to see how it develops in the next novel. Although they are different, I feel like there is a mutual understanding between the two of them and they both want the same outcome regardless of what’s happened previously between them.

Without spoiling, I’d love to for there to be prequel to Cherry Nova as well as a sequel, as the story of what happens before Nova loses her memory, although it is revealed; I’d love to have read it myself as it intrigued me and seems like the type of book I’d love to read. I hope that Kelly considers this when working on this series. I would recommend Cherry Nova to a fantasy lover looking for a new author and a new story. You won’t be disappointed with this vampire fiction novel. I just hope Kelly doesn’t leave us waiting for too long.

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You can purchase your copy of Cherry Nova by Kelly Marie Pollack here. (Affiliate Link)

If you are an author wanting me to review your book or wanting an author interview, email me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com or use the contact page of my blog and we can work something out.

 

 

Nicotine and Napalm by Emily Priest – Book Review

Nicotine and Napalm by Emily Priest (5/5 stars)

I’ve always loved poetry and I’ve dabbled in writing my own since around the age of 11, but I find it incredibly different to relate to other peoples poetry. That was until I came across a particular poetry book, one that has inspired me and stole a forever space on my bookshelf.

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Nicotine and Napalm was published in 2019, it is the first, hopefully of many, of poetry books by Emily Preist. Emily is a freelance writer and performance poet, she performed her first poetry reading in 2016 in Portsmouth since then she has recited poetry in countless venues. I was instantly drawn to this poetry book by the captivating front cover and the intriguing name. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and read it!

“From my bruises I bled my hopes and dreams, and with my broken heart I called your name.” – Emily Priest.

I also did an Interview with Emily which you can read here to find out more about Emily.

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I was captivated by the poems in this series, they gripped me emotionally and physically as I didn’t want to turn the last page. They tell you a true account of what a woman journey in self-discovery and finding love in the modern-day. Emily’s work was inspired by the ‘Me Too’ project and she has shared her accounts in her raw, uncensored but beautiful poetry. I hope this book gets the praise it deserves and finds itself in the hands of many young women who also need this book in their lives.

My favourite poem from this collection is ‘I, The Shipwreck’, I feel like for the first time I have found a piece of writing that I can relate to and it resonates with my own self-image and how I perceive myself. I’ve been left feeling inspired and spellbound by the works of Emily Priest. There were many other poems in this collection I loved such as ‘The House Left Lit’ and ‘Embers’, I feel like although they are personal works of Emily, we can all adapt the feeling she provokes in her writing to our own life and experiences.

 

This is a brilliant debut poetry book as it shows potential for Emily as a poet and I think we should all keep our eyes peeled for the future works and collections from Emily. I am looking forward to seeing what Emily has up her sleeve and I hope she doesn’t leave us waiting too long!

“The fire that burnt us alive in the passions of midnight, amongst teeth and toungue ’til morn.” – Emily Priest

Don’t forget to check out my Author Interview with Emily!

You can also purchase your copy of Nicotine and Napalm here! (Affliate Link)

If you are an autor wanting me to review your book or to participate in an Author Interview, don’t hesitate to contact me at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com!

Love You Dead by Peter James – Book Review

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Here is my no-spoiler review of: Love You Dead by Peter James. (5/5 star rating)

I don’t know why I’ve read so many detective books lately but this one didn’t disappoint!

Click the picture to purchase your copy! (Affiliate)

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is back chasing another suspect down. Jodie Bentley, a serial black widow, who is trying to marry and murder her way up the social hierarchy. Roy Grace is struggling with his own personal life and the past that he thought he had laid to rest. Jodie is trying to make a life for herself in the only way she thinks possible, she is manipulative and smart, she uses this to her advantage.

Detective Grace’s late wife Sandy has been missing for over ten years, presumed dead when suddenly she arises from the surface in France. Grace is struggling to deal with this new information, and how to explain it to his new wife Cleo. He’s trying hard to not let his personal life take his mind off his duties to the citizens of Brighton.

The first thing I noticed about this book and loved was the fact it had a map at the beginning. I’ve never been to Brighton and I felt it helped me visualize the city better in my head.Β  I also noted that the novel is written in short chapters making the reading easier as you are flipping from character to character and each chapter is titled with a date in chronological order.

I started this book at the beginning of February and I’m slightly irritated that it took me so long to finish it considering I read half of the book in one day. I felt like I didn’t know how this novel was going to turn out because I didn’t know certain things from previous books, but James has written this novel in a way that without any back story (from previous books) you are still kept in the loop, therefore, he is attracting new readers and still giving his old readers what they want.

I really like Detective Grace, I feel like this novel really did focus on his personal emotional turmoil, whilst still having a mystery in need of solving by Grace and his team. He is a relatable character trying to deal with a lot of personal problems as well as do his job of protecting people. I loved his sense of humour and how he tries to remain positive even though his superiors are hanging on their seats waiting for him to slip up.

At times, I found myself feeling sorry for Jodie after finding out what she’s been through, that made her the way she is. Jodie’s family made her an outcast, she felt unloved and constantly compared to her sister which drove her to jealousy and wanting to prove to her family that she was worthy. With most of the character’s I felt like there was enough background to feel an emotional attachment too. I usually dislike novel’s written from character to character but this was a great exception.

When I reached the final quarter of the book, I had no idea how Peter James was going to catch Jodie out. She truly is a devilish character who is cunning and murderous! Every piece of information in this novel, worked hand in hand with creating the ending of this book. Each character had a part to play to help bring Jodie down, and put an end to her murderous streak.

I honestly was so overwhelmed in the last few chapters that I had to re-read them!

I like that despite the fact the Ray Grace books are a series, you can also read them as stand-alone novels. I am wanting to read the next novel within the series. I felt like I was left with a lot of unanswered questions after I finished reading like what happened after Jodie has been caught which I hope will be answered in the next novel.Β  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good detective novel, I am definitely going to read some more Peter James in the future and review for you all. I have Billionaire at the ready and I will probably read that around Easter.

I liked that any technical police work is explained in the back in a glossary it really helped me as someone who has no idea about detective work. I can appreciate the amount of research put into this book and I was overall blown away by this novel which is why I would rate it 5/5 stars.

I’ve been featured on Golden Bloggers talking about how to stay motivated whilst blogging. You can read my advice among other bloggers here.

I also had a guest post over at LeaBellaBlogs taking about what books I recommend to take on holiday with you. You can read that here.