VENOM – Bex Hogan

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RELEASED: 16/04/2020
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: YA Fiction, Fantasy

Marianne is now the Viper, but her hopes for peace in the Eastern Isles are being frustrated. The corrupt King remains on the throne, bandits are proving hard to stop and Marianne is not sure who among her crew she can truly trust.

For the islands to prosper, the invisible bond that once existed uniting land and sea must be reinstated. There’s only one way that can happen – the return of magic. To do that Marianne must put aside all her fears: she must return to her roots, the Western Isles, and call on the power that runs in her blood.

She must become a Mage.

Only then, can she possibly command the army needed to finally take down the King.

Bex Hogan is one of the loveliest authors I’ve ever met, spoken to online, and in general. So WHY DID SHE THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO END VENOM LIKE THIS?!

I know that I am not alone in my desperation for book three in this series, Vulture, to come out next year; the cliffhanger that Venom finishes on…oh gosh! Obviously, with this review, I do not want to spoil anything. But as you start to near the end, you just know things aren’t going to tie up nicely ready for the wait for book three. It’s inevitable that you will be left hungry for more.

The Isles of Storm and Sorrow series started off with the incredible Viper, which was one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve ever read, and it continues with Venom, one of the best YA fantasy sequels I’ve ever read. Even if it did destroy me, and a lot of other readers.

The thing I loved about Venom was how the characters and story really developed, and how you can see the excellent world building is. I really began to get a feel for the twelve isles and understand more about the story and what’s going on. Like Viper, it’s one of those books that you can read 50 pages without even realising – it’s just so addictive and brilliant!

I can’t recommend this series enough, and Venom was a fantastic sequel that’s left me hungry for even more!

Six for Sunday – 3rd May 2020

Good afternoon! I’m looking forward to this month’s theme – I do love a good series of books! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Showing some series love: favourite book one in series

  1. Midnight for Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo
  2. Viper – Bex Hogan
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling
  4. Murder Most Unladylike – Robin Stevens
  5. The Doomspell – Cliff McNish
  6. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

This was actually tricky – I LOVE so so many book ones in series! I could’ve gone on and on, so narrowing it down to six was hard!

kayleigh

 

CLEVER CAKES – Michael Rosen, Ashley King

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RELEASED: 15/03/2020
PUBLISHER: Barrington Stoke
GENRE: Young Reader, Fairy Tale, Dyslexia Friendly

It pays to be able to think on your feet, especially if you’re about to be eaten alive or cheated out of a valuable prize! And in these hilarious comical adventures by storytelling legend Michael Rosen, two clever kids are more than a match for a hungry grizzly bear and a bored and arrogant king! Read along as two super-smart kids triumph in these perfectly packaged fairy tales with a twist …

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Ashley King’s illustrations, so of course when I was offered a copy of this book I immediately said yes please! His style of illustrating goes hand in hand with fairy tales and adventures, and coupled with Michael Rosen’s storytelling it makes for a very enjoyable little book!

Clever Cakes has two stories that are engaging and full of fun whilst having that style of a fairy tale that keeps you reading. I think it’s one of the best Little Gems books that I’ve read; it’s bold and makes you want to read. I’d highly recommend it for fans of Michael and Ashley, and it’s a brilliant choice for a Barrington Stoke book to keep younger readers entertained at storytime!


Thank you to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for my copy of this book!

 

VIPER – Bex Hogan

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RELEASED: 18/04/2019
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

I am writing this review as I sit here with a massive book hangover thanks to Viper! I can’t believe that, despite owning this book for a year, I hadn’t read it up until now, but seeing as book two has recently come out and other bloggers have been raving about this series I thought I really ought to make the time to read it. And my god am I glad that I did!

I’ve discovered a new favourite YA fantasy series and I am hungry for more!

I’ll start by saying the two words that persuaded me to push this to the top of my reading list – Pirates and Assassins. The two types of characters in a good YA fantasy that tend to make for good reading. And Viper didn’t disappoint. Full of a vast array of characters from all walks of life, the good, the bad and everything in between, there’s so much to make you want to keep reading, and you want to know how the characters are going to turn out because this book is full of intrigue and twists and you just don’t know how things are going to end up!

The plot is gripping and makes you want to turn every page, right up until the end. Bex’s writing is just so easy to get lost in and the world really comes to life without it being overly descriptive. I was very impressed with how the world and story was built up despite it not being a massively long book and this is what makes it so much more engaging! I just loved everything about it!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and am so so glad that I finally picked it up! Perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and Throne of Glass, Viper is the start of a fantastic trilogy and I can’t wait to voyage on!

 

THE VANISHING TRICK – Jenni Spangler

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RELEASED: 30/04/2020
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
GENRE: Middle Grade, Magical Realism, Mystery

Step into a world of secrets, folklore and illusions, where nothing is as it seems and magic is at play…

Madame Augustina Pinchbeck, travels the country conjuring the spirits of dearly departed loved ones… for a price. Whilst her ability to contact ghosts is a game of smoke and mirrors, there is real magic behind her tricks too – if you know where to look.

Through a magical trade, she persuades children to part with precious objects, promising to use her powers to help them. But Pinchbeck is a deceiver, instead turning their items into enchanted Cabinets that bind the children to her and into which she can vanish and summon them at will.

When Pinchbeck captures orphan Leander, events are set into motion that see him and his new friends Charlotte and Felix, in a race against time to break Pinchbeck’s spell, before one of them vanishes forever…

Without a doubt, this is one of the most spine-tingling, gripping middle-grade books that I have ever read, and it’s one that I’d urge all fans of a good mysterious and eerie tale to read!

I knew that I’d enjoy The Vanishing Trick; it sounded right up my street. However, what I didn’t expect was for it to be a no-hesitation 5* read that would stay with me for weeks afterwards. I really struggled to want to read anything else straight after reading this because it was THAT GOOD. It very much reminded me of the books I’d read when I was younger, set in Victorian-esque eras, full of magic and intrigue, and for this it really felt like home to be reading it!

The writing is exquisite; it’s atmospheric and realistic. The characters jump off the page and were really fun to get to know. A special mention has to be made to Madame Pinchbeck, who is such a dark character and wonderfully crafted. As a fellow book blogger suggested on Twitter, she’s very much like Tangled’s Mother Gothel and I couldn’t agree more!

I can’t wait to get a finished copy so I can see the illustrations too; from what I’m seeing being released in the run up to publication, Chris Mould has done a stellar job bringing this cast of characters to life!


Thank you to Simon & Schuster via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

Sundays In Bed With…Viper

I’ve had a very productive Sunday morning reading and finishing an AMAZING book that I started yesterday, so I couldn’t resist doing this tag today! Sundays In Bed With… is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This week, I attended the Twitter launch party for Venom by Bex Hogan. Her first book, Viper, came out last year and received a lot of very good reviews, I bought a copy when it first came out, went to an event where I got it signed and got to meet Bex…then I just never got round to actually reading it. However, I wanted to join in with the Twitter launch for book two and see whether I really ought to read it soon, and it was without hesitation that many book bloggers persuaded me to give it a go!

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

So yeah, this sounds like my kinda book. As Steph said, Pirates and Assassins.

WHY HAVEN’T I PICKED THIS UP SOONER?!

I flew through Viper, and this morning I devoured the second half. The only downside is that I now have to find a way to get a copy of Venom and it’s not in my possession right now D:

Marianne is an incredible main character; at first I wasn’t too sure of her but as the story progressed I grew to really like her! There’s such a variety of characters, the story moves at the perfect pace and it’s just AHHHH!

If you loved To Kill a Kingdom, Throne of Glass…anything like that, you will ADORE this book!

Have you read Viper yet? If not, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO!

kayleigh

Six for Sunday: 19th April 2020

Hey! Welcome back to Six for Sunday! I’ve had a very bookish week; THREE book chats on Twitter has really made it! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Taking on the TBR pile: 5* predictions

  1. Dangerous Remedy – Kat Dunn
  2. The Court of Miracles – Kester Grant
  3. Venom – Bex Hogan
  4. Heartstopper: Volume 4 – Alice Oseman
  5. The Places I’ve Cried in Public – Holly Bourne
  6. Read With Pride – Lucy Powrie

Well, that wasn’t too tricky because I’m SO EXCITED to read all of these! I’ve either heard great things about them or am anticipating great things based on previous books so I think this is a very nice little TBR to get around to soon or as soon as they’re published!

kayleigh

 

GARGANTIS – Thomas Taylor

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RELEASED: 07/05/2020
PUBLISHER: Walker
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Magical Realism, Middle Grade

There’s a storm raging in Eerie-on-Sea. Has the mighty Gargantis come back from the deep…?

When an ancient bottle is found washed up on the beach after a ferocious electrical storm, all the residents of Eerie-on-Sea seem to want it … but should they in fact fear it? Legend has it that the bottle contains an extraordinary secret that spells doom for the whole of Eerie-on-Sea. Could it be true that the vast sea creature Gargantis has awoken from her slumbers, and is causing the large cracks that are appearing all across the town? Finding themselves entrusted with the bottle, Herbie and Violet discover they will need to ride the terrible storm and pacify the creature if they want to save Eerie-on-Sea from sliding into the ocean and being lost for ever.

Malamander was one of my favourite books of last year, and arguably one of my favourite middle grade books of all time! So, Walker announcing that they’ve joined NetGalley and seeing this was one of their first titles on there had me pressing that request button so very quickly!

Gargantis sees us return to Eerie-on-Sea with Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma and you’d think that there are only so many mysteries and adventures to be had in such a small seaside town, but nope! There is another legendary monster to be discovered and with a whole host of characters and twists and turns, Gargantis will have you on the edge of your seat!

Thomas Taylor’s writing is just wonderful and it really draws you in; Herbie as a narrator is loveable and there’s so much character to him. I love how it just flows along and you get totally swept up in the story, just like with Malamander! I am so excited to hear that there is a book three coming…the only downside is having to wait!

I’d highly recommend Gargantis (if you haven’t read Malamander yet, go and read that too!). It’s just one of those books that’s guaranteed to make you want to read; it’s a definite page-turner! Last of all, I apologise for this review being short and sweet; no words can do justice to this series! It’s just one of those that I implore you to read if you love a good children’s adventure/mystery, and I have no doubt that you’ll love it too!


Thank you to Walker via NetGalley for the proof of this title!

LOVE FRANKIE – Jacqueline Wilson

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RELEASED: 30/04/2020
PUBLISHER: Penguin
GENRE: Teen Fiction, Contemporary

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school.

When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together.

But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?

Frankie doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?

A few days ago I received a very exciting email saying that Penguin had approved my request to read Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson! I’ve been a massive fan for YEARS since I first read Glubbslyme and I’ve always been keen to read every one of her books. Admittedly, I’m a bit more old school and haven’t read some of her newer books, but Love Frankie immediately stood out as a fine return to her more teen content (my faves!). So, it didn’t take me long to pick this one up from the time that I received it.

I immediately was hooked; Frankie is such a likeable character and I found that I couldn’t wait to keep reading. I found that the story was a fantastic way to explore all the complex emotions that come with being a teenager, and even as an adult I could really relate to the different characters in the book. There were so many different themes that were touched upon sensitively, there were bright moments and there were tough moments. The main theme of sexuality was handled very well and I particularly liked how the characters were so different in their approach to it – it made it feel very real and showed how people’s reactions can be so different, whether they are the person with those feelings or whether they’re on the outside.

I think it’s so important that books like Love Frankie exist, especially from authors such as Jacqueline Wilson. It’s such an approachable look at growing up, discovering new feelings and diversity. I felt that it really normalised feelings towards the same sex in a way that was approachable and I could imagine quite realistic. I felt that I could relate to the feelings Frankie was facing; first love is first love regardless of gender, and that Jacqueline, as usual, really captured what it’s like to be a teenager and have all these different feelings and emotions and challenges.

I’d highly, highly recommend Love Frankie, particularly to fans of Jacqueline’s teen books such as Kiss and Love Lessons. It made me feel very nostalgic to my early teen years reading those books and I think it’ll introduce a new generation of youngsters to her wonderful books!


Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for the e-book of this title.

 

Sundays In Bed With…Love Frankie

Good morning! I woke up nice and early…oh the joys…but it does mean that I get to keep myself entertained for a few hours with a good book! Over the past few days I’ve been reading an amazing book and I had about 20% left to read so I couldn’t wait to finish it this morning! Sundays In Bed With… is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

A few days ago I received a very exciting email saying that Penguin had approved my request to read Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson! I’ve been a massive fan for YEARS since I first read Glubbslyme and I’ve always been keen to read every one of her books. Admittedly, I’m a bit more old school and haven’t read some of her newer books, but Love Frankie immediately stood out as a fine return to her more teen content (my faves!). So, it didn’t take me long to pick this one up from the time that I received it.

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school.

When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together.

But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?

Frankie doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?

I just flew through this book and this morning was the perfect opportunity to finish it! Right up until the end I wasn’t sure how things would work out which kept me hooked as I turned every page!

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Have you read Love Frankie yet or are you looking forward to it coming out?

kayleigh