The Spider Dance Book Review + Blog Tour

The War in the Dark and The Spider Dance by Nick Setchfield were sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

SPOILER FREE

 

The War in the Dark Book Review

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This genre bending series starts with The War in the Dark. In this series you follow Christopher Winter in 1960’s Europe. Where Russian spies are real and there’s something lurking in the shadows that is just a bit more sinister. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was instantly intrigued. It had a Da Vinci Code feeling to it with a dash of magic.

 

When you start reading you are instantly thrown into the action. It opens with Christopher Winter– or Winter as he is known throughout the book— confronted with a traitor who was handing over state secrets to the enemy. This is where the action kicks off.

 

I enjoyed this book, but I found that for a book that held so much potential with how the plot is described it fell a little flat for me. My main issue was with the characters. Even though every single one is supposed to have these different attributes and big personalities they all just felt like bland cardboard cut outs reading lines from a cue card. I did not really care what happened to Winter and he’s the main character.

 

In the last maybe 20% of the book it gets interesting and pushed me to want to read the next book because the plot twist is pretty intriguing. I do believe the author had this HUGE idea in his head for this book and didn’t spend enough time figuring out where to take it and how to bring it to life.

 

I gave this one 3 out 5 metal horns.

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The Spider Dance Book Review

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I don’t exactly know where to begin with this review because anything that goes too much into detail will be a hardcore spoiler for the first book, and I definitely don’t want to do that to anyone because I hate when it is done to me.

 

What I can say is that The Spider Dance was a lot more enjoyable than The War in the Dark. I feel like the characters were all a little more fleshed out. We start to learn a lot more about Christopher Winter’s past and how he got to where he is at the moment in the story.

 

We also get to witness a lot more of the supernatural/fantasy aspects of this story in The Spider Dance which explains why I found it a lot more enjoyable. While we spent a lot of time in the first book wondering about Winter’s past, in this one we start to see a bit more of who he was, and that in itself is a magical element in the book.

 

I think the thing that was missing in these books was maybe it needed a slight touch of humor somewhere, but you won’t really find that.

 

As a whole I would rate this series 4 out of 5 Metal Horns, I do believe it’s not a series for everyone though.

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YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF THE SPIDER DANCE! OPEN TO UK/IRELAND RESIDENTS ONLY! FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER TO FIND OUT THE DETAILS!! 

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Top Ten Books of 2018!

It’s difficult to narrow down 122 books into a top ten list, but I have managed it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but what you see here are the ten books that captured my heart and soul. There’s a little something of everything in this list, and I hope some of these books land on your 2019 TBR piles!

Starting from number 10…

10. Nevermoor 

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This is a middle grade novel, but one that seems to grab the imagination and make you want to jump into as much middle grade fantasy as possible. Sure it’s aimed for children, but who says adults can’t enjoy them as well?

You follow a young girl named Morrigan Crow. This little girl is cursed, and this curse means she will die at midnight of her 11th birthday. Then she gets rescued by Jupiter North who takes her to a magical place called Nevermoor. There she must compete in 4 trials to join the Wundrous Society.

This book gave me Harry Potter feels, and not because of any blatant copying like many other middle grade novels have tried in the past but because the author has created a magical world where kids (of all ages) can escape to.

9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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This was soul crushing on so many levels but I wish more people knew of Henrietta’s story. This is a true story about a black woman who died in 1951 of Cancer and how doctors and researchers have used her cells in Cancer research. You also get a glimpse into the poor family’s life situation, and how it profoundly impacted their misunderstandings of what was happening with Henrietta’s cells. The doctors were extremely irresponsible and while the HeLa cells have become important in the science community, the way they came to be is extremely hard to learn about, but also very important.

8. The Extinction Trials

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The reason this book caught my attention was the little sticker that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park” I was instantly sold. I can’t sit here and say the book has the best writing, but you have to suspend your belief of the world for a bit and just dive into the story. Both this one and the second one in the series are extremely fun to read. It is exactly what they say in the sticker. You are thrown into a world where dinosaurs exist and teenagers are questioning the reasoning behind adults’ decisions. I enjoy this series and I am looking forward to reading the third book.

7. Only Human

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Only Human is the third and final book (I believe) in the Themis Files series. The series starts with Sleeping Giants. In Sleeping Giants you follow Rose. When she was a little girl riding her bike around her house she falls into a hole, when emergency personnel show up, they realize she’s laying on a giant metal hand. In the story you follow her into adulthood as she becomes one of the main researchers trying to figure out where the hand came from, and what more is there to this mysterious item. This series made me fall in love with science fiction, and I just can’t get enough of it. If you love sci-fi then please check it out.

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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This was a crazy and wonderful ride of a book. I don’t want to give too much detail because I went into it completely blind and I think it helped make this book one of the best I’ve read all year. Basically you follow the character of Evelyn Hugo who was a well known and loved Hollywood actress as she tells her life story to a journalist that SHE chose. She would ONLY tell her life story to this girl, and what a story it is.

5. Notes on a Nervous Planet

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This is another non-fiction book that I really loved. It delves into how we can stay sane in a world that’s always online and screaming into the void. There are some really beautiful things that Matt Haig says, many of which were eye opening for me. Although I do think he should reflect a bit more because I actually had to stop following him on social media. He spends a lot of time on twitter just yelling about things and at people, and that is counter productive to what he talks about in his very own book.

4. The Last Magician

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The Last Magician was a book I finished recently. I really enjoyed the magic in it, and the elements of time travel. It’s like someone mashed together bits of Harry Potter and Doctor Who and this book came out. The characters were amazing, the plot was fun, and the ending completely took me by surprise. If you are looking for a fun magical YA, then this book should be on your list.

3. The Collapsing Empire

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I was never big on Science Fiction books, but the Themis files changed that, and so I started to pick up more and more Sci-fi. The Collapsing Empire tells a story about a new world called The interdependency. People use what is called the flow to move from place to place and travel faster than the speed of light, but it seems like the flow might be changing, and with it the entire way humans have built their lives. I loved the way John Scalzi didn’t try to make this an overly complicated story, and somehow it still gripped me from start to finish.

2. The Cruel Prince

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This was a surprising read for me. The only book I ever read from Holly Black was the one she wrote with Cassandra Clare (my absolute least favorite writer of all time) and that book was such a blatant rip off of Harry Potter, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from The Cruel Prince. But I ended up really enjoying the book. You follow Jude who’s parents were murdered right before her eyes when she was 7, and the killer took her and her sisters to his fairy world. Maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking, “Please no, not another fairy book” but this book was just fun to read. Some characters are complete dicks, others are complete morons, but I enjoyed following their mistakes and adventures.

1. Traitor’s Blade 

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The Traitor’s Blade is the first book in the Greatcoats series and while I typically take FOREVER to finish a series, I actually read every book in this one. One after the other! This is a fantasy novel just feels like a warm hug on a cold night. Which is strange to say because there is quite a lot of violence. The thing is, the main characters Falcio, Kest, and Brasti might be some of the best fantasy characters ever written. Their humor is amazing, and their friendship makes this series what it is. I kind of want to reread all four books again in 2019, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day we will get more books written in this world. If you’re tired of waiting for George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss to release their books then give the Greatcoats series a try!

 

So those are my top ten books of 2018 and I can’t wait to read more in 2019!! What are some of your favorite books of this year?

 

A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review

Normally I start my Reviews by giving you a summary of what this book is about, but because this is a sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, I don’t want to do that, just in case you have not read it yet. If you have not read it yet, then I must ask, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! SO what I will do is give a summary for ADSOM.

A Darker Shade of Magic – Summary:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review

A Gathering of Shadows begins, four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. It is wonderful. I will get into my review next, and will write SPOILERS in big letters before entering into spoiler territory, but that is IF I enter spoiler territory, because I enjoy keeping my reviews spoiler free. I want you to read this and have you say “YES! I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE!”

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I received this book about a week early from Amazon here in Germany, and after what felt like a really long week and a bad one with my anxiety, seeing this book show up early made my heart sing. I was nervous jumping in because I wanted it to be as good as the first book, and let me just begin this review by saying it exceeded my expectations. I finished it this morning while having breakfast, and I was left yelling “WHAT?!!! OH MY GOD!!” The world  building in this sequel is still just as excellent as the previous one, and I am still so in love with the characters of Kell, Rhy, and Lila. I love them so much, and I want to stick them into a bubble so no one and nothing can hurt them.

You see where Lila ends up, and what Kell and Rhy are up to 4 months after what happened in the previous book. There’s also an amazing and epic Magical tournament that I really loved. I will say that this one had a slower build up than the previous one, but the characters are still interesting enough to keep me at the edge of my seat. This was a wonderful second book in the series, and I cannot wait to see where this story ends. V.E. Schwab has created her own brand of magic and I love it so much. The thing about this one compared to ADSOM, is that the first book while leaving room for a follow up, it still tied everything up nice and neat. You could think it’s a stand alone and live on with your life. The thing about A Gathering of Shadows, is that there’s no way in hell I can wait for the next book. That ending had me really shocked. How can I go on?

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Miss Schwab…you have left me hanging here. What will I do? How can I cope with this matter? Help me!! Ha ha.

All joking aside, I think if you’re in the market for a new wonderful fantasy series to sink your teeth into then THIS is it! You will not regret it at all. I gave this 5 out of 5 metal horns, such well deserved metal horns they are.

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Book Review

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Uprooted, A Summary:

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.
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Uprooted, The Book Review: (minor spoilers, read at your own risk)

Uprooted is marketed as Young Adult fiction, though this is absolutely false once you get into the story. The only ingredient that really would make it Young Adult, is the fact that the main character Agnieszka is 17, because this is actually a more mature story, and definitely should be aimed at Adults. Putting that aside, I really enjoyed the beginning of the story. If you read the summary of Uprooted then you know that it is not her best friend Kasia that gets chosen, but Agnieszka is the one chosen by the Dragon. The dragon, is not an actual dragon, it is his wizard name.

The beginning of the story I loved, and it definitely has a few touches that reminded me of Beauty and the Beast. The reluctant “beast” and the young “beauty”, but that’s sort of where it ends. I will say that Naomi Novik is a wonderful writer, and I intend to check out her other stories when I get a chance, but there was something that lost me midway through Uprooted.

First, I found the growing relationship between Agnieszka a girl of 17 and the Dragon not only completely inappropriate but also extremely creepy. It just reminds me of when I was a teen and being stared at like a piece of meat by much older men. It threw me off, because I was hoping that maybe this would be the story that wouldn’t have any kind of romance in it. I loved the magic, and how they worked together with the magic but in my opinion the romance factor was completely unnecessary.

Second, I found that as I reached the middle and the end, so many different characters were introduced, and the story became a little convoluted. I understood everything that was happening, but there were a lot of different things happening, and it could have been explained a bit better. I understood everything about the village and why the people stay, and the whole Wood-Queen thing, but it just seemed like too much saved for the end.

Finally, while the ending sort of came and I felt nothing for most of the characters, I did enjoy the realistic friendship of Kasia and Agnieszka. You can tell they would jump through flaming hoops, maybe even quite literally to help one another, but there’s a bit of jealousy there, both showing some of their flaws. It was refreshing to see that.

Final Thoughts on Uprooted:

This wasn’t a favorite read of mine. It took me a long time (for me anyway) to get through it because I just preferred to read my Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire book when I had the time, and I lost interest in the characters half way through. I still say that Naomi Novik writes this story beautifully, it is just a story that’s “okay” for me. It just might not be my cup of tea. If you love magic and weird romances that are borderline creepy this might be for you. Also dear publisher, this book is NOT Young Adult! Stop selling it as such.

This gets 3 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!

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