1 star

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillanSword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan
Series: Sword and Verse #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 19th January 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Raisa was just a child when she was sold to work as a slave in the kingdom of Qilara. Despite her young age, her father was teaching her to read and write, grooming her to take his place as a Learned One. In Qilara, the Arnathim, like Raisa, are the lowest class, and literacy is a capital offense. What’s more, only the king, prince, tutor, and tutor-in-training are allowed to learn the very highest order language, the language of the gods. So when the tutor-in-training is executed for teaching slaves this sacred language, and Raisa is selected to replace her, Raisa knows any slipup on her part could mean death.

Keeping her secret is hard enough, but the romance that’s been growing between her and Prince Mati isn’t helping matters. Then Raisa is approached by the Resistance—an underground army of slave rebels—to help liberate Arnath slaves. She wants to free her people, but that would mean aiding a war against Mati. As Raisa struggles with what to do, she discovers a secret that the Qilarites have been hiding for centuries—one that, if uncovered, could bring the kingdom to its knees.

I’m not entirely sure what the plot of Sword and Verse was meant to be. It had such promise. Promise of a revolution, of a slave fighting back for her people. Typically those are the stories that pull me in and make me fall head over heels, but in this case it fell flat. It just wasn’t executed in a way that was enjoyable for me.

The biggest problem with this book is that the main focus is the instalove and romance between Raisa and Prince Mati. Obviously, this is forbidden, since Raisa is a slave, but there was no tension and no chemistry between them at all. They fall in love right away, and I was expecting Mati to be an “innocent first love” type thing, but that didn’t turn out to be the case at all.

I also had issues with the timeline of the story and the pace at which it progressed. The book skips forward a year after the first chapter, which would normally be okay, but we missed a lot of build up between Raisa and Mati, which would have been essential for a book with this amount of romance. Then we continue to skip forward months into the future, and again, I feel like we missed a lot of character growth because of this.

I started skimming after a while because the entire first quarter – or first half, really – was just about Mati and Raisa’s “love” and also about Raisa learning to read and write. There were too many descriptions of these writing lessons. I don’t care if a letter has a curve that goes left or right, I just want something to happen!

I’m incredibly disappointed by this book, and I’m hesitant to call it a fantasy novel. It’s definitely more of a romance.

Mini Review: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Mini Review: Adorkable by Sarra ManningAdorkable by Sarra Manning
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: May 24, 2012
Publisher: Atom
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Jeane Smith's a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee's a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?

This book is bloody terrible. My experience was completely ruined by the awful main character, who is so far up her own arse that she thinks the world revolves around her. She’s arrogant and spoilt, and she thinks she’s queen of the universe. I can sometimes deal with that, but it was the whole “I’m better than other girls” attitude that really got to me. I was not a fan.

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor HermanLegacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Genre: Historical
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

If you have known me for a while then you’ll have no trouble recalling that I am a total nerd when it comes to Ancient History. It started when I was five years old with Xena, which I used to watch with my grandparents at all hours of the night, and then the fascination progressed when we studied Egypt, Rome, and Greece in school. And then it became a full blown obsession when I watched Spartacus back in 2011, which then eventually led me to study Classical Civilisations as a hobby in my free time and gain a qualification in it. The point of this story? Well, Alexander the Great was one of my modules, and ever since I started reading more about him I decided that he’s one of the most interesting people of Ancient Greece and I needed to know everything. So when Legacy of Kings popped up on my radar, I had to get it. Continue reading

Mini Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Mini Review: The Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Road by Cormac McCarthy
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: May 4, 2007
Publisher: Picador
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

A father and his son walk alone through burned America, heading through the ravaged landscape to the coast. This is the profoundly moving story of their journey. The Road boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which two people, 'each the other's world entire', are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Since this is a mini review, you might be able to guess how I felt about The Road. I tend to have no problem reviewing books that I loved, and also books that I was enraged by, but books that were so boring that I wanted to tear my eyes out are so difficult to review.

The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel, and it’s really highly rated. Really, really highly. Whenever there’s a list of post-apocalyptic books you HAVE to read, The Road is pretty much always in the top three. It’s about a father and his son who cross the United States (I can’t remember where they were going, but whatever. USA) that has been torn apart by the apocalypse. While they’re travelling down this Road (capital R for emphasis), they get into a lot of trouble and it’s all pretty dark and bleak. Continue reading

Mini Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

Mini Review: Beastly by Alex FlinnBeastly by Alex Flinn
Series: Beastly #1
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Simply put, Beastly is dull. Worse than the movie, if you can believe that (and the movie is pretty freakin’ bad). I didn’t like the arrogant main character who was so far up his own arse that it hurt. I wasn’t interested in his redemption story, and I am pretty sure I started skim-reading two thirds of the way through. I just couldn’t do it.