Outrun the Wind. ARC Book Review.

Title: Outrun the Wind

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Published: Northern Star Editions – Flux

Year: 2018

Outrun the Wind 2.jpg

ARC provided by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued by the Goddess Artemis, Kahina becomes part of the hunt, and now lives amongst the female warriors. On a routine mission things don’t quite go right and Kahina finds herself breaking the first rule to save Atalanta. In order to earn back Artemis’s favour, Kahina is sent to complete a task in the kingdom of Arkadia, which turns out to be where Atalanta came from and where she discovers her father who is in fact, their King. Atalanta’s father is insisting on marrying off his daughter to the highest bidder, Kahina helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage and when word spreads throughout Greece, fate is tempted as suitors from all over arrive to race Atalanta for her hand in marriage. The game turns deadly when two men from both of their pasts arrive to compete and Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule. 

Right from the start you’re introduced to a very large array of characters, it was hard to keep up with at first so I ended up taking notes just to keep track. We have two main characters in this story and the view points change each chapter to show us the story from both their points of view, which I really enjoyed. Atalanta and Kahina, two strong, brave young ladies who have both had tough lives. Atalanta never knew her parents, has spent her life trying to be accepted and finally found her place when she met her best friend Meleager, Prince Meleager that is. Atalanta is handpicked by him with a group of others to hunt down the Goddess Artemis’s Calydonian boar. It’s on this hunt that Atalanta and Kahina come across each other for the first time. Kahina is a huntress of the Goddess Artemis, she and the other huntresses have been tailing Atalanta and their group for some time, they’re to protect the Goddess’s boar at all costs. But something stirs within Kahina and she can’t bare to see Atalanta hurt, she takes a huge risk and thus starts a chain of events she could never have imagined in her wildest dreams. There wasn’t a huge amount of character depth which I feel the story could really use. This was actually my first f/f love story, their relationship had a really slow build and started off similarly to most, with them hating each other for no real reason and getting on each other’s nerves until the things they did to annoy each other became endearing to them.

I love the way this story is told, based on actual mythology and set in Ancient Greece, Elizabeth made this story her own in the most perfect way. I actually thought it was going to be a series, being introduced to so many characters at the start but not having them all properly explained made me feel like this was just the first book, a set up novel to the next two, alas unfortunately I was wrong! A lot happens to Atalanta and Kahina, both of their pasts are quite horrible and had you feeling for them both, these pasts however are what bring the two together. You can tell Elizabeth has done her research but also put quite a bit of herself into the story. It only took me two days to read because the story simply grasped me straight away and I didn’t want to put it down until I knew what happened next. I love all the strong female characters and loathe pretty much most of the men, not sure if that was the intention but all the men, with the exception of two, came off as savage beasts. I would have loved a bit more back story on the magic side of things that happened to Kahina, while reading it felt like there was a lot more that could be told. I would really love to have some prequel stories about the other amazing characters we met, especially on the huntresses. All in all I very much enjoyed reading this book and have no issue recommending it to others, I have no doubt at all that this book will do really well when released later this year.

Rating out of 10: 8.5

You can pre-order this novel here: Outrun the Wind

 

FAIRYLOOT UNBOXING. July box: The Power Within. Spoiler’s within!

HI guys!

So today i received and un-boxed my very first Fairyloot subscription and boy oh boy did it not disappoint! It contained the most stunning book i have ever had the pleasure of owning which is also a book that’s been in my ‘To-be-read’ list for quite awhile. If you’ve been thinking of ordering a box but aren’t sure, i highly recommend you do, i waited until there was a box i really loved the sound of and i’m so glad i did. I’m in Australia so it did cost quite a bit more once converted from pounds. So it’s 26 pounds for one box, mine came to $82 AUD including postage. They deliver so quick though, i got my confirmation that it was being shipped on a Friday and had it by Monday morning, even Australia Post doesn’t deliver that quick! If you have received a Fairyloot box before, which one was it? What goodies did you get inside? Let me know in the comments!

I’m currently waiting to find out if i’ll get to be a rep for them for the next few months, fingers are triple crossed i get it and get to share this magical experience with everyone a few more times.

Here are some pics and a rundown of all the goodies inside:

  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton. This is an exclusive copy with sprayed red pages, signed by the author and hardcover! Also included was a note from Bree herself!
  • Magical Mug that reveals a quote when hot.
  • Room Spray by Geeky Clean which is VEGAN AND CRUELTY FREE (LOVE THIS) and smells like Lavender and Books! It’s inspired by the book ‘Snow like Ashes’ by Sara Raasch.
  • Sticker that says ‘Ond Eldr’ which means ‘Breathe Fire’ from ‘Sky in the Deep’ by Adrienne Young.
  • Tea Towel with quote from ‘And i Darken’ by Kiersten White. Unfortunately this item was misprinted but this just shows how amazing the people at Fairyloot are as they are sending out a rectified new one for free!
  • Quidditch Pen from Harry Potter (of course), definitely my favourite item in the box!
  • Zelie Art Print by Diana Worak. Zelie is a character from ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi.
  • Exclusive artwork from this month’s book of Mia and Quin drawn by Noverantale.

 

Fairyloot box
Imagine this showing up at your door!

Fairyloot box2

 

contents 2
Just look at all these gorgeous goodies! Totally putting the sticker on my laptop. I just love that each item is usable and has a purpose. You can tell so much thought is put into creating these masterpieces. 
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The book is stunning and i love Bree’s handwriting and what she wrote, so thoughtful and empowering!
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Post hot water! What a gorgeous quote! Video of it changing is up on my Instagram Story @bitsandbooks92

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy book two)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Published: Headline Publishing Group

Year: 2012

“It began with a discovery of witches…”

Shadow of Night

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven…

OK so it took me a little over a year to read the whole book. It’s a big book. It’s a slow book. It has a lot of content and characters and if you’ve read the first one and thought there was a lot of tedious conversations and a lot of history you’ll find it hard to believe there is even more in this one. Now you probably think i hated the book, but i didn’t! I just really struggled to stay focused on it. It isn’t a book you can just pick up one afternoon and read the whole thing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to process so i found myself getting overwhelmed quite regularly and had to put it down and pick it up either a couple of days or even a couple of months later, hence it taking me so long to complete it.

Matthew and Diana travel back in time to Elizabethan London and Diana learns a lot more about Matthew straight off the bat. ‘”Just who are you, Matthew?” I hadn’t thought to ask him before we departed.’ This sentence really sums up A LOT about their relationship. Diana realising she has been a bit reckless and learnt virtually nothing about the man she is now magically tied to, not that it changes the way she feels about him.  We are introduced to new characters, members of the School of Night which include Christopher Marlowe (who is a Daemon who goes by the name Kit), Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriet, George Chapman and more. The historian that Diana is can barely contain her excitement and disbelief that Matthew not only know these people but is friend to them as well! I enjoyed the name dropping in the beginning but they didn’t end up adding much to the story/plot which was disappointing. I’m really glad Deborah didn’t write everything in Elizabethan English, it would have grown tedious quickly. I found it very clever of her to explain how much Diana was struggling with it, that was enough reference for me. Gallowglass, Matthews brother, became my favourite character virtually as soon as he was introduced mostly because of his relationship with Diana that blossoms so naturally.

The reason they traveled back in time finally comes back into the picture, they need to find a witch professor to teach Diana her magic. They find one and it goes about as well as you’d expect (not well at all) and now Diana may be in even more danger. So now they have to leave and go somewhere safer and find someone else to teach her, they end up travelling to Sept Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien and we’re introduced to Matthew’s vampire father, Phillippe, who i adore instantly. Not all of Matthew’s family that we meet are as likable, some i downright hated.

Diana learning her magic, how to weave the strands of time and discovering she has a fire-drake were all interesting points in the story. There were a few twists and unexpected turns, more travelling to different places like Prague and discovering all the different things Matthew was involved in. I’ve read a lot of other reviews for this book and most disliked the ending, i myself found it was well suited and made me curious to what would come in the final book. Part of the ending also made me quite emotional, Diana went through so much in this book which you don’t really full take in at the time, so when she is finally reunited with loved ones you can’t help but feel for her. Speaking of the end of the book, there is a list of all the characters (because there are so, so many) and descriptions of them so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed like i was, flip to the back of the book and you’ll find your way back on track. I wish i had known about the list when i first read it!

Book two didn’t grab me like the first did, i’m glad i persisted and finished it though because book three is just stunning so i’ll be posting a review for that very soon.

Rating out of 10: 6

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night

 

 

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One). Book Review.

Title: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy Book One)

Author: Deborah Harkness

Year: 2011

Published: Viking Penguin

‘Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries and she is the only creature who can break its spell.’

Discovery of Witches

This book, this series, has everything you could possibly want in a story. Love, history, libraries, witchcraft, adventure, time travel and more. If you love tales the likes of Harry Potter or Twilight you will enjoy this read, especially as it’s a more adult version of those stories. I absolutely adore book one, I’ve read it three times now and it just gets better and better each time. Deborah writes so well, she makes you feel and she makes you connect to the characters on a level no other author has done to me before. Okay now in saying that i did also have some issues, mostly with one vampire in particular, our male lead, Matthew Clairmont who is an attractive professor of biochemistry and neuroscience. He spends far too much time bossing Diana around, growling at her and everyone else (he is a generally mopey character as he’s been alive a long time and has had quite a depressing past). He controls her, essentially, and she just lets him so that’s a bit of a problem for me because come on, she is a scholar, she’s a freaking witch! And she’s letting a vampire tell her what to do? It’s just a bit unrealistic to me.

The other issue i had was the book is a little bit too long and too much time is spent on arbitrary things like what Diana is eating for instance. I feel a good 200 pages could have probably been cut, especially since this is the first book in a series. Too many adjectives used, i mean do we really need 5 different ways to describe the taste of a cup of tea or wine? Not really. I understand it’s a way to help you be in the moment but you can do that with a sentence.

Diana is such a powerful character in the beginning and i love her family, her Aunt and Aunt’s partner are so eccentric, so loving and funny. They all care so much for each other and are fiercely protective, especially when meeting Matthew. Witches and Vampires aren’t supposed to fall in love and be together, the congregation won’t allow it so when Diana brings one “home” to her Aunt you can bet she wasn’t too impressed. What i wish hadn’t changed was Diana’s independence, falling in love doesn’t have to mean giving up yourself which is exactly what she does. This is a journey of self-discovery for her and yet she is more enamoured with discovering the dark secrets Matthew has than being in awe of the magic she possesses.

There is a scene in the story that really got under my skin and i think you’ll know exactly which when you read it, it was heart stopping and had me wondering if there would even be a happy ending. One thing Deborah writes really well is the romance and “sex scenes”, she gives you a sense of true desire while keeping it relatively PG (these scenes reminded me a bit of Twilight actually).

This book got so many mixed reviews, a lot of negative ones too, which i think is because this is not an easy read, and the people who gave it negative reviews probably thought it was. There is so much depth, both in characters and in the rich history. Deborah has clearly done her research and managed to seamlessly incorporate true history into fiction, a feat few authors accomplish. All i can say to those who start this book and struggle, don’t give up too soon, it is so worth getting through it, especially to get to the third and final book which is an absolute masterpiece.

Rating out of 10: 8.5

You can find book one here: A Discovery of Witches

You can find book two here: Shadow of Night (book two) 

I’ll be putting up a review for Book Two shortly.

 

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper. Book Review.

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Published: James Patterson Books

Year: 2016

“He murdered women in cold blood. He terrorised an entire city. He taunted those of us who hunted him down. But despite all these horrors, in the end, i could not deny it…I was the girl who loved The Ripper.”

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I am the girl who loves Jack the Ripper. I studied him in school when we were given the option in English to choose any topic to write about, i chose him. I got an A plus for the assignment in which i included the postmortems of the victims and pictures of the murders, but i also received a concerned comment from the teacher who thought my interest went a little bit too far. I didn’t care. I’ve loved all things horror since i was 8 years old and watched my first horror movie with my best friend, Benjamin. Since then i have always had a deep interest in serial killers, especially real ones.

I connected to Audrey Rose instantly, if any character were written specifically for me, it’s this one. I absolutely adore Kerri’s writing and as a long time fan of James Patterson, buying this book was a no-brainer. It took me so long to find, all my local bookshops were sold out of their stock, i ended up having to order it online, i mean yes i could have bought the Kindle version but HAVE YOU SEEN HOW GORGEOUS THE COVER ART IS? Sorry for the caps but seriously, IT’S BEAUTIFUL. So i had to have the proper copy. One of my favourite things about this gorgeous novel is how accurate it was and how she included sketches throughout the book on how the postmortems were conducted. She also created sketches of what the notebooks the students used would have looked like and images of the actual letters left by Jack the Ripper in 1888. Incredible.

sketch from JTR

I imagine sketches like these could make some queasy, i myself found them an excellent addition to the story and really helped put me into the mind of Audrey and Thomas. 

So a little about the story…

Audrey Rose is a student of forensic medicine, taught by her Uncle, she is also a lady, a lord’s daughter in the year 1888 in London. Her life as a student has been forbidden and as such is kept secret from the strict father. Another student by the name of Thomas, is her counterpart and also her love interest. The moment she lay eyes on him the attraction was there and vice versa, though she will let nothing get in the way of her studies. Her Uncle allows her to attend school under him however she must dress as a boy and behave as such so no one knows otherwise, only Thomas knows who she really is. A string of savage corpses keep showing up and the students are to examine them which drags Audrey and Thomas into an investigation of a serial killer. They must be careful, smart and cunning, just like the killer. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story, i love how Kerri keeps a sense of humour throughout even though some events are so gruesome that you can’t help but get goosebumps! I truly did not expect the way the story ended. The connection between Audrey and Thomas and also Audrey’s connection to her brother really had me intrigued. I also want to thank Kerri for keeping true to the events of the past. I’ve read many books and seen all the movies regarding Jack the Ripper, I’ve also downloaded the postmortems which are available to all online nowadays, and the accuracy of all the tiny details is immaculate and the way she was able to manipulate those details to suit the fictional aspects of the story is truly what makes this book shine. It took me all of 5 hours to finish this book, i spent my day off reading it and only put it down to make a cup of tea! I can absolutely see why it is a New York Times Bestseller. I urge you to grab a copy as soon as you finish reading this, you will not regret it!

Rating out of 10: 11

You can find copies here: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Face the Fire (Book Three in the Three Sisters Island Trilogy). Book Review.

Title: Face the Fire

Author: Nora Roberts

Published: Piatkus

Year: 2001

“The Truth is finally revealed…”

Nora Roberts Face the Fire

Mia Devlin, sister, witch, savvy businesswoman and all around amazing being is our centre for book three. Years ago she loved with her whole heart, Sam Logan and Mia shared an incredible bond built on passion, legend and fate. Until one day he fled Three Sisters Island and left Mia alone, mending her heart and promising to never love another again. Mia is facing her toughest challenge yet as Sam returns to Three Sisters, determined to win back Mia’s heart. But Mia is determined too, or just stubborn, but she will not admit her feelings for him, she will not risk letting him back in and having her heart torn out all over again. And yet she must, if she is to fulfil her fate and save Three Sisters Island, she needs to join her magic with his and break the centuries-old curse or doom them all.

My second favourite book of the series. Mia is amazing. I need Mia’s house on the cliff and fairy garden, i picture it so clearly each time i read about it. Mia and Sam’s love story is so passionate and so heartbreaking, it had me in tears several times. Mia is the kind of person and witch i would want to be. I was so content with the way Nora brought this series to a close but i was so sad it was the end! I’ve read this series multiple times now and it just gets better each and every time. I fall in love with the characters and the stories over and over again. Even the people of Three Sisters, you don’t know much about them but you still care deeply for them. There are very few books I’ve read where characters insignificant to the major story have had an effect on my heart. I feel full of magic when i read these books and i hope you do too.

You can find the closure to the Three Sisters Island Trilogy here: Face the Fire

You can read my review to Book One here: Dance Upon the Air. Book Review.

You can read my review to Book Two here: Heaven and Earth (Three Sisters Island Trilogy Book Two). Book Review.

Rating out of 10: 10