Review: “A Great & Terrible Beauty,” Libba Bray

Review: “A Great & Terrible Beauty,” Libba BrayA Great & Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #1)
Written by Libba Bray
Published December, 2003 by Simon & Schuster
403 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Witches
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It's 1895 and, after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped from the she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true. Gemma finds he reception a chilly one.

She's not completely alone, though... she's being followed by a mysterious young man, sent to warn her to close her mind against the visions.

It's at Spence that Gemma's power to attract the supernatural unfolds as she becomes entangled with the school's most powerful girls and discovers her mother's connection to a shadowy, timeless group called The Order. Her destiny awaits... if only Gemma can believe in it.

It’s been six years since my last venture into the ‘Gemma Doyle Trilogy’ and I couldn’t wait to re-read the series from a reviewers point of view. Years on, the first installment still holds an exceptional amount of magic. With it’s complex characters and relationships, poignant writing and mixed sense of wonder and danger, A Great & Terrible Beauty survives the test of time and firmly holds on to it’s position as a personal favourite.

Buddy re-reading with Hanna @ Luminous Words

Review: “Secret,” by Brigid Kemmerer

Review: “Secret,” by Brigid KemmererSecret (Elementals #4)
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Published January, 2014 by Allen & Unwin
375 pages
Genres: Elemental, Fantasy, Romance
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Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He's trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won't get in to college. He's trying to keep his brother's business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He's trying to keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel - or he fears he'll lose his family. And he's trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his 'girlfriend's' partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

This was the Elementals book I had been waiting for. From the very beginning, Secret had me hooked. Nick Merrick has always been my favourite brother and his story didn’t disappoint. With shocking twists, alliances and plenty of pulling on the emotional heartstrings, fans of the series will not want to miss the latest installment.


Review: “Shadow & Bone,” Leigh Bardugo

I received this book for free from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Shadow & Bone,” Leigh BardugoShadow & Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1)
Written by Leigh Bardugo
Published June, 2012 by Indigo
442 pages
Provided by Hachette Australia
Genres: Fantasy
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The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

It’s hard to put into words just how enthralled by The Gathering Dark I was. Let’s just say that I haven’t been able to read a book of this size in one sitting for over six months, and that was when I was floored by Veronica Rossi’s debut in January. Leigh Bardugo astounds me with her craft for storytelling! I am so very glad I stumbled into the world of the Grisha!

This book was part of my 2012 Debut Author Challenge


Review: “Born Wicked,” Jessica Spotswood

I received this book for free from Penguin Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “Born Wicked,” Jessica SpotswoodBorn Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
Written by Jessica Spotswood
Published January, 2012 by Razorbill
330 pages
Provided by Penguin Australia
Genres: Historical, Witches
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Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they’re witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship–or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word… especially after she finds her mother’s diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family’s destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren’t safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood — not even from each other.

A stunning read! Born Wicked hits all the right notes with its romance, magic and historical New England setting. Readers of Michelle Zink and Libba bray will delight in this 2012 debut by Jessica Spotswood.

This book was part of my 2012 Debut Author Challenge


Review: “Under the Never Sky,” Veronica Rossi

Review: “Under the Never Sky,” Veronica RossiUnder the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1)
Written by Veronica Rossi
Published January, 2012 by HarperCollins
374 pages
Genres: Dystopian
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Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

I can safely say that I was blown away by Veronica Rossi’s debut, Under the Never Sky. Unable to put it down, I read the book in one night without pause. Perfect pacing, characters and a fantastic dystopian setting! This is definitely a YA release that lives up to the hype.

This book was part of my 2012 Debut Author Challenge