Saturday, 2 May 2015

The Duchess Inheritance by C.K. Brooke

Following on from my last review, I'm back with the second and final instalment of the Jordinia Series by the very talented author C.K. Brooke

I'm going to be completely honest here, I may have received this book before it's release and I may have got so far through and stopped reading, simply because I didn't want the series to end. No matter how annoying the characters were, I was attached and didn't want their journey to end. And while I'm being honest, I may have at one point or two, cast down a plague of  fire ants upon the head of C.K. Brooke, it was totally deserved though!  

I finally put my big girl pants on and finished reading the book for the sake of this blog and my cat, who has now become known as Post It Cat.  Don't worry I rescued him from any more notes by making room on the laptop and piled the notes on top of the other notes, also just to point out, the notes in the pictures were from the first half of the book.

So confessions finished, it's time to begin this review. Oh just need to wait for Post It Cat to stop eating my notes. Right, let's begin! 

The Duchess Inheritance picks up pretty much straight after The Duchess Quest.  The familiar characters are back and as a reader it's important to remember that Dainy and Mac are half brother and sister and Mac and Jon are also half brothers, yeah I thought my fiancĂ©'s family tree was a bit messed up but it's nothing compared to that. 

It's great to see that none of the characters have changed during books, Jon is still all Quagmire like (giggity), Bos is still like a protective big brother (I LOVE BOS!!) and Mac is still Mac who seems to have gained an older brother and a younger sister who bang each other .... Poor Mac. 

There's no love loss between Jon and Mac, which I love, by the end of the book their relationship has developed to a point where they'd seek vengeance for each other, where as from the start of this book Mac is already being protective of Dainy and trying to stop her and Jon being together until they're married. He basically becomes as protective as Bos is. 

There are new characters in the book which you will either love, hate or write post it notes that say MONTY MUST DIE and KILL MONTY ..... this is the reason I cursed C.K. Brooke, because of Monty. There was just no need at all. Bad bad bad author! Yes I'm holding a grudge over that. Anyway, new characters a plenty, from Bet who I immediately pegged as Selu's mum, to Lady Eponina who had me longing for a connection to Les MisĂ©rables (if you haven't read that book, hang your head in shame!) and eventually a longing for Mac and Eponina to be together in a happily ever after life just like I wished for Marius and Eponine in Les Mis.  There's also a gay couple who I adore, they're like the gay news reporters out of American Dad (I may watch too much Family Guy and American Dad).

The book is split into 2 stories, first is the adventure to the foreign lands and discovery of the Inheritance left to Dainy in the form of well not money or jewels but a future, prosperity and growth. 

I felt surprised when I discovered that the adventure was over within the first 35% of the book. Perhaps it was the short chapters, but I felt I had been reading for ages and I hadn't. I'm not sure of this was a good or a bad thing, It could be seen as the book being dragged out but it certainly wasn't, the story flowed well, each section well written and still as captivating as before. But it could also be seen as a missed opportunity to turn a 2 book series into 3. 

I found that the first half of this book Mac seemed to be a bit player, I found myself scribbling notes like What is Mac doing? I Miss Mac and there was a few Mac for Emperor but more on that later. 

I've mentioned how characters were still the same from the previous book however there is a point where one character was acting so out of character that I wanted to slap them. Which is when Jon dealt with the character. 

Going through my notes, I realised that a lot of them were about the immaturity of Dainy and Jon. They both act like children and I am forced to remember that Dainy is still just a kid. Which is when I began to question her ability as an Empress, even with John at her side, could they truly rule a nation? No. Which is why I found myself rooting for Mac. 

Compared to Dainy and Jon, he is one hundred times more mature, sensible and brave. Everything an Emperor should be. Don't get me wrong, Jon has grown since the first book, he was a womaniser and a scoundrel and damn it he was Glen Quagmire. But he still has his immature moments. Although, Dainy really is worse.

The second part of the book focuses more on the plan to reclaim Jordinia for Dainy and it was by this point that I couldn't put the book down. This was where it truly began, the romance, the drama, the action, all of it took off from this point. I was that engrossed that it wasn't until I'd finished the book that I realised Post It Cat had shredded most of my new notes while the Ginger Ninja Cat had helped himself to my cup of tea (I went to take a sip only to be blocked by his head in my cup.) 

The more I read the more I began to feel like Brooke had pulled parts of Les Mis and the story of Anastasia Romanova into the world of Jordinia. Think about it and you will see it to. It's noticeable from the first book however I realised I was more focused on the actual quest and romance of the first book to truly pick up on the signs. But in this book they're so very very very clear. In fact I wouldn't have been surprised to see Mac burst into song at the end. 

If you enjoyed The Duchess Quest then you really need to buy The Duchess Inheritance, get the closure you need on the characters you love, become even more attached to some. C.K. Brooke opened your imagination with the Quest, now let her finish your adventure with Inheritance. You won't regret it. 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Duchess Quest by C.K. Brooke

The Duchess Quest by C.K. Brooke

Welcome to another book review! First up I want to say a big thank you to 48fourteen for letting me review this book, I must admit I was torn between this book and Foreshadowed. But I could only choose one, so I wisely went with The Duchess Quest.

As usual I made notes while reading the book and for some rather odd reason, I completely forgot that my laptop had not only Word but also notepad, my brain was that focused on the story on that my laptop became, well, a sticky board for the post it notes I’d used to make my notes. Just take a look at the evidence.

My eagerness to read this book began when I loaded it onto my tablet and flipped to the first page of the prologue. I do this to make sure the file is working and there’s no formatting issues (if there is I switch from one reader app to another) my eyes were drawn to this:

“They were condemned to die.”

That first sentence of this book gripped me.  I didn't know who they were, but I felt sorry for what was to become of them.  The prologue pulls you in, to a night of chaos, fear, anger, change. Brooke sets the scene so vividly that I was sat wide eyed, afraid for the fate of the little girl. I challenge anyone to not be moved by this prologue.   

Chapter one begins 15 years later, Duchess Eludaine (the little girl) has been reported as being alive and her biological uncle is desperate for her return to her rightful place with him, in exile. He’s offering a large reward of 50 gold and the girl’s hand in marriage, so there is a nice big group of men desperate to get their hands on the gold and the girl.

The journey for the men on the mission seems to be pretty straightforward. That is until the majority of them are torched alive while they slept. Ah gotta love an assassin.  So it appears there are three main male characters Mac, Bos and Cosmith.

Mac seems to be a bit of a boy next door type, a great friend and confidant, he is the youngest of the group searching for the Duchess.  Bos appears to be bit of a big brother type, he’s the size of a giant, noble and genuinely cares for returning the Duchess and not for the gold or marriage. He is the oldest of the group. Then there is Cosmith. Now he’s the Glen Quagmire (from Family Guy) of the group, only joking, he’s not as bad as Quagmire, but he does like the ladies. He’s a bad boy and is very much in it for the money. His number one priority is himself. Nothing he does is without benefit to himself.

Duchess Eludaine, or Dainy as she likes to be called, lives with the two women who she was entrusted to on that awful night 15 years prior, Paxi and Priya.  Through the women we meet Pascale who Dainy calls her uncle. Pascale informs his sister Paxi and former love Priya about the mission to find the missing Duchess and they realise that the girl is their Dainy. Awww.

It’s really refreshing to see the different descriptions for the skin colours of the characters, instead of just black and dark, white and pale.  It gives your brain a better picture of how the characters appear and I like that.

It makes sense that Pascale would be the one who would meet Bos and Mac and bring them to meet Dainy, with Cosmith in tow after some amusing karma moments for him. 

Dainy’s innocence and naivety remind me slightly of an early Tess from Tess of the d’Urbervilles.  But she is very feisty as well. There is a scene on a boat between Dainy and Cosmith and all I can say is, thank god I wasn't on that boat. Ouch. 

I'm going over the notes I've made and there’s a lot of moments where I want nothing more than to bang some heads together. 

This story is one of love, adventure, danger, discovery and betrayal. At the beginning, I really didn't like Cosmith, but by the end, I was rooting for him. I really liked Mac to begin with but as the story developed, sides to him came out that concerned me, to the point where it seemed wrong for him to be pursuing Dainy for himself. The only opinion that didn't change was that of Bos.

C.K. Brooke has done a wonderful job in creating a world where you feel as if you are walking beside the characters as you read. There were times I sat and tried to figure out how a word/name sounded (I didn't find the pronunciations list until I’d finished the book!) and times I felt like the story was becoming predictable, except for the end. I tip my hat to C.K. Brooke for the little twist with Cosmith at the end, I certainly didn't see that coming and had to re-read that page a couple of times just to be sure I’d read it right.

I feel that overall, this was a lovely little read and it’s definitely worth checking out the 48fourteen website where you can read the first 4 chapters.  

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6) by Richelle Mead

The Ruby Circle.

It's with great sadness and excitement that i picked up this book and began to read. This book wasn't just the end of one series but really, two. In concluding the Bloodlines book series Richelle Mead also put to bed The Vampire Academy series. I've been a massive fan of both series since I first read them and now I'm asking myself, what do i read next?

Perhaps me reviewing this book is a little pointless, after all I am a big fan of Richelle Mead's work, my favourite being the Succubus books. I'm going to try my very best to remain neutral during this review, but please, excuse any fan girl moments from me.

So to begin, let me just say, if you haven't already read the Vampire Academy series of books or the other Bloodlines books, just skip this review, I honestly don't have enough time to go into both series of books in one review. If you haven't read the series and like to read Y.A, Vampire Love Stories, then please read them, they're a wonderful read.

So, we start this book with Adrian and Sydney living at court (with Adrian's mum living with them, NIGHTMARE!), the danger from the Alchemists is still present and the disgust from the Moroi is still strong. Poor couple can't catch a break. Princess Jill is still missing, no-one is having luck finding her, not even Adrian with his Spirit powers. The couple are desperate to get out of court and help in the search for Jill, after all the whole reason they actually met, fell in love and broke all rules and tabooness (is that even a word?) is because of their task of protecting Jill from assassins. so they kinda owe her a bit, don't you think?

But how can our young lovers help Jill, when they can't leave Court?

Enter stage left Ms T. with a cat, Mr Bojangles (anyone else start singing or was that just me?) and a special delivery for Sydney. Turns out its a clue to where Jill might be. Naturally when Ms T says they'll be needing Mr Bojangles' help, I think she's going to turn Sydney into a cat to sneak her out of court. Ha I was right. Kitty Sydney, too funny to picture.

Escape plan under-way, Eddie has joined Ms T and Sydney on the hunt for Jill. While the trio are away from court, Adrian must (with help from his mum) keep the cover that Sydney is actually still at court. Oh complicated. To pass the time until he himself can go join Sydney and help with the search, Adrian takes on the task of helping Nina, another spirit user, who is pretty much close to the edge of her sanity and by close to the edge I mean this chick is clinging on with her little toe.

A brief conversation reveals Nina is literally doing everything in her power to find her sister Olive and bring her home. Sweetie you're searching for a Dhampir who doesn't want to be found, you've got more chance of making Dimitri leave Rose then you have of finding your sister.

Adrian strikes a deal with Nina, she'll help cover for Adrian and Sydney if he helps her get through to Olive using his Spirit powers, as well as her own.  Oh this isn't going to end well. So, Adrian sneaks out of court and Nina makes it appear that Adrian is still there.

While Adrian is travelling to Sydney, she and her merry band are camping out at some ruins, having followed their clue to finding Jill. Oh look, another clue. Yay for clues. Not.

Oh I see what is going on here, Mead is tying up all the lose ends from the previous books. Wow, quite a feat. So, the kidnapper is revealed and the location. It's a blatant trap for Sydney, and yes it is all Sydney's fault that Jill was kidnapped.

Ms T and Eddie part ways with Adrian and Sydney to search the area in Palm Springs and call in reinforcements from the other Coven members. Meanwhile, Adrian has a date with Nina to keep, which makes Sydney angry because she doesn't like him using his Spirit too much. So Adrian promises not to keep his end of the deal. Harsh dude, real harsh. Ha rock on Nina, for all his promises Adrian can't help but be pulled into a spirit dream by Nina and of course once he's in, he just has to help her. How noble, you two faced donkey bum.  Sorry but that has seriously annoyed me.

Okay so they found Olive, kind of, well Adrian has a clue. Oh clues how we love you. And Nina is most likely dead. Yes Adrian, ringing Nina is really going to help. Doh.

Well that didn't last long, their cover is blown, Nina is in a coma of sorts, Lyssa is pissed big style and oh Dimitri to the rescue, he knows someone who might know something about this clue for finding Olive.

Some more running around, figuring clues out and we find ourselves en route to Olive's location with Rose and Dimitri meeting our newly-weds there. Olive is staying at a Dhampir commune. Pregnant. And the father is .... another Dhampir? Wait, what? OMG, fan girl moment, sorry in advance. Eeeekkkkk Rose and Dimitri can have babies together! Omg Omg Omg, how cuuuttteeeeee.

Sorry, let me jut collect my wits, right let us continue. So its basically lore that two Dhampirs can't have a baby together, so this little guy is super special, and at risk of becoming a lab rat for the Moroi and Alchemist. Oh now it all makes sense as to why Olive went into hiding. Awww poor Olive.

And back on the hunt for Jill, with a newborn baby in tow. Wow Adrian and Sydney just can't catch a break. I have to admit I'm starting to feel like a headless chicken with all the coming and goings of these guys.

Haha I love the banter between Rose and Dimitri over the baby, but why oh why hasn't Adrian told them? Surely they need to start being, erm, careful together.

Okay here it is, the big fight, Good witch vs Evil Witch, who will win? Let the fight begin...... Oh, that was erm, quick and totally anti climatic.

Hmm okay let me just brush over all this that happens, naturally Sydney is the only person who can do what needs done, oh look they got their answers, now to rescue Jill.

More travelling, Sydney strikes a deal with the Alchemists, time for Sydney to fight a demon thing, Rose in to the rescue of Jill, and all is well, wait there are other Moroi held prisoner, erm, okay but who are they? Anyone we know? No answer.


Oh come on, I want to know how Rose and Dimitri handle the bombshell! I feel robbed.

Well, I'm finished. The book was ... underwhelming, rushed and not what I was expecting.

This book felt rushed trying to solve the mystery of the missing Olive and finding Jill. I get why they needed to solve the mystery of Olive but to be honest I think that part of the story was for the benefit of the Rose and Dmitri fans (yes okay I had a fan girl moment when I realised what had happened to Olive would affect them in a big way.) and the battle between Sydney and Alicia was a total let down, it should have been bigger and better, more epic, instead it was just, meh.

I've been generous in giving this book 4 stars, there was so much hope and longing pinned on this book for me that I personally feel robbed. Whilst it felt rushed and underwhelming in places it was still a good read, just not what I was expecting.

And the ending .... yeah the ending sucked big time.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series) by James Dashner

Welcome to my review of The Maze Runner by  James Dashner.

I want to begin by saying that I knew there was a film of this book made and made sure I finished reading the book before watching the film (hey I had to, Styles from Teen Wolf is playing the lead!)

 So lets begin.

The beginning of the book introduces Thomas, who has no memories other than his name and is currently inside a lift  ascending to the glade. We learn quickly that this is how all the other boys arrived in the glade.

The glade is basically that, a glade, inside a Maze. Boys aged between 12 and 18 appear to be sent there by "the creators", their goal it seems, is to discover a way out of the maze and back to civilisation.

Surprisingly the boys have managed to establish a routine within the glade, they have jobs, from cleaning to cooking, farming to running. Yes I said running, there is a select bunch of boys who run and map the maze on a daily basis, trying to find an escape. Hence the title, The Maze Runner.

I found the book to be quite slow to get into and if I'm honest if it wasn't for my dedication to this blog I'd have admitted defeat and stopped reading. I'm glad that i continued because as the book developed, I found myself actually caring for these boys as if they were my family. I began to get annoyed on their behalf, then angry, how could someone do something like this to children?

The more I read, the more I wanted to know who the creators were, why these kids, what on earth had happened to the world that would make putting these young boys through hell, worth it.

The courage of these kids is what made reading the book worthwhile. Although it did leave me with more questions then answers, which I guess is a good thing since there is 2 more books in the series. Which I will read, eventually.

The fact of the matter is, this book could have been so much better but there is no character development, Dashner tells you how characters are feeling instead of letting you feel it for them, the characters are pretty one sided, there is no depth to them and this book is simply plot driven, which is great if you like that kind of thing. 

Reading this book left me thinking of  The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis, simply because to read the book as a child is a whole different experience as reading the book as an adult.

As a child I read The Chronicles of Narnia with awe and excitement, I did not notice or understand the religious side to the series. Reading The Maze Runner made me think, would a child reading this book have the same opinion as me? Would they be scared for the children?  There was only one way to find out. I enlisted the help of my goddaughter Nikki, who is 11 and reads at a 14 year old level.  She has never read Dystopias novels, so she was pretty much perfect for reading this. 

Once Nikki had finished reading the book i asked her what she thought about it, her exact words were  "it's just, awesomeness."

To elaborate, my little minion found the book to be exciting, in her eyes it was an adventure for kids her age and a bit older to be living a life with no parents. So what if the kids were stuck in the maze, at least they were safe, had supplies and showed they could survive on their own. It would be like camping without any boring adults around.  There was still some danger but the thrill of escaping, proving everyone wrong about the maze, was more than a match for the risk.

Nikki's feelings on the book shocked me. For me, reading this series had me questioning, why the children were placed in the maze, why those children in particular, where were their parents, adults and the rest of humanity? Was it a game? At the end of it all, I just wanted to hug each and every child who had been in the maze. But most importantly, I wanted to cry for my favourite character, for Chuck.

Nikki thought Chuck was a cry baby, annoying and like her baby brother Karl, Chuck's only redeemable quality was what he did in the end of the book (I'm trying very hard not to spoil this!) but for me, I thought Chuck was brave, loving and kind.  I loved Chuck in the same way that I love nieces, nephews and godchildren, I'd sacrifice myself for them. How could someone put such a gentle boy like Chuck, into the Maze? It was disgusting.

Of course I understand now why Chuck was chosen, it was those qualities that made him a perfect candidate for the Maze, no matter what was thrown at him, he pushed on, he had an inner strength that others didn't, what should have broken him, didn't.

I wanted to test a theory a friend of mine had on this book, she had read the book when it was first released in 2009, she loved it, then she went on to read books like The Hunger Games and Divergent and then re-read The Maze Runner, her opinion had changed, she couldn't even bring herself to finish the book. Her theory is that The Maze Runner is a great first book introduction to Dystopias type books, but once you've read other books like it, you realise that the book could have been better.

So to test her theory, I gave Nikki a copy of The Hunger Games. It took her about 5 weeks to finish reading The Maze Runner, but she finished reading The Hunger Games in 6 days. It would have been sooner if her mum hadn't discovered her still reading at 12am on a school night, I'm afraid for Nikki the punishment was losing the book for 24 hours and then she was only allowed it for 30 minutes at bed time before her mum confiscated it again. Her mum did allow her to read the book after school (after her homework was done of course) in place of TV Time. Nikki gladly skipped the TV for reading the book.

Once she had finished I asked her a simple question. How do you feel about The Maze Runner now? Her reply was "It's still good but no way is it as awesome as The Hunger Games, I want to grow up and be like Katniss!" 

So my friend's theory may be right. The Maze Runner is a great introduction to the whole Dystopias genre but ain't a patch on The Hunger Games or any other book.

Out of 5 stars I have to give this book 2 and a half, there is room for plenty of improvement, I just hope I find it in the following 2 books.

Right my next Review will be ........ The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. It is the final book in the Bloodlines series and I'm both excited and sad to be reading it now. See you soon Book Worms!

Don't forget, if you have any recommendations, requests or comments then please feel free to email me at or tweet me via twitter @BookReviewGirl

Update and Giveaways :)

It feels like forever since I last posted a review.

To begin with, Happy 2015! I've started this new year by recovering from my second bout of Pneumonia, breaking my tablet, having my laptop die on me and going through a box of books that I received as a Christmas present only to really discover, I'd already read them.

So, I got to thinking,  what on earth am I to do with this big box of unread books?

Give them away!

I mean, why not? I'm not going to read them and the box is too heavy for me to carry to the nearest charity shop. And to be honest, a book blog is the perfect place to give them away.

So keep your eyes peeled, I'll be posting my first giveaway in the coming weeks :)

Before I forget, I'm now on Twitter! Give me a follow to be kept up to date! @BookReviewGirl

Stay tuned for my next review, The Maze Runner, it should be up within the next hour!