Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Alexandra Adornetto : HALO

Warning! After reading this book you might need to go to the dentist to check out your cavities.

HALO is a first book (and for a while the only book) I have ever read by Alexandra Adornetto. There are 3 books in this series: HALO, HADES & HEAVEN. I have purchased this book quite some time ago. It was recommended to me by my lovely sister so I thought why not? She has usually quite a similar taste in books as I.

Usually is the right word... This was a horrible, HORRIBLE exception.

Halo is a story (well more like a diary since it does describe every single detail....grhhh) of Bethany, the angel sent to Earth to right the wrongs of Evil. Bethany and her brother Gabriel and sister Ivy are on a mission to make people hope in Good again. She is only seventeen years old and quickly falls for Earth's charm. Especially, when she meets a lovely classmate - Xavier Woods. Will their love survive the difference between her being Angel and him being a human? How will the Heavens look at the relationship? And will the siblings restore the faith of human kind in Good?

Let's start with the edition of the book first. A Paperback. 484 pages long. Beautifully illustrated cover with gorgeous writing. The Introduction of the book includes two extractions from two very different artist of different decades - William Shakespeare and Beyonce. (Maybe I should have taken this as a first warning sign, but I still gave it a go...)

The story itself..well.. It started brilliantly with Bethany describing their journey and arrival on Earth. But then it went down the spiral. I feel like I need to explain firstly why I prefer the YA genre to adult fiction. I hate too much of description!! If the author persists on describing every single detail, I just lose interest in the book as my imagination cannot go free. And YA novels usually concentrate more on action and story-telling than describing the way wind moves and how many raindrops  appear on the window.. But this book was just unbearable.. Oh my world.. I am sorry Ms Adornetto, but you don't have to describe every single minute of Bethany's life on Earth. It's boring and it makes me want to stop reading it. The story is slow, doesn't progress very far and the exciting parts only happened after 400 pages. I am forcing myself to continue. But it's a painful journey. I am falling asleep.

Bethany as a character is bland. There is no exciting development to her. Xavier is just too goody goody and perfect. I am sorry - that kind of a guy doesn't exist in real life. The only two character I can stand are Gabriel and Ivy and they don't get any exciting headlines.

Even the bad boy in this book, who supposed to be a Satan's worshipper is a mild, nearly non-existing excitement. What the actual freak? Seriously, do something!! Make them do something different apart from being all good and lovely. It's boring!!! And cheesy. Seriously, this book is more cheesier than baked camembert. It makes me sick with sweetness. NO NO NO NO.. Just no. There is nothing thrilling about it... There is no adventure... No development...  It's just a painful journey through Bethany's love affair with the mortal boy. As much as the author tries to describe it as one of the most powerful love stories which can rock Heaven and Hell, instead I just want to take the book, dig a hole and bury it.

And the worst part? There is two more sequels!!! I won't be purchasing them for quite some time! But how did this story got  two more sequels?? Trust me, my sister heard a mouthful after I read first 100 pages. It was a major disappointment and I must say the worst book I have read this year.

I am sorry Ms Adornetto. But your Halo series failed to impress me big time!!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Holly Black & Cassandra Clare: THE IRON TRIAL (Magisterium Series)

Warning!! This book is nothing what you have ever imagined. You think, you know magic from Harry Potter books? You don't know anything yet!

What do you get when two well known authors join forces and decide to collaborate on a book series? What do you get when two wonderfully skilled story tellers decide to put their own projects to the side, they put heads together and write down on a paper a brand new magical story? The answer is MAGISTERIUM series. And the two authors are Holly Black ( The Spiderwick Chronicles & The Coldest Girl in Town) and Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments & The Infernal Devices).

MAGISTERIUM book series is a collection of 5 books which tells a story of Callum Hunt, his friends and their adventure in the mystical Magisterium - a school where young magic apprentices learn to become great mages.

THE IRON TRIAL is the first book in the series and it's a wonderful introduction to the story.

Meet Callum Hunt who has been brought up by his father in the belief that Magisterium and magic is something wrong and he shouldn't be part of it. He actually does everything he can, to not enter the world of magic. But faith has other plans and he ends up being an apprentice of Master Rufus. Here he starts to discover that Magic might not be as bad as he thought, but also that there is a lot of things he didn't know. Secrets are revealed, destiny is finding its course. And Callum and his friends, Aaron and Tamara, are in for an eventful ride. 

Firstly let's talk about the edition. A wonderful hardback. 295 pages. Great illustrations on the front. Beautifully crafted and there are some wonderful bonuses. Every chapter begins with gorgeous drawing which gives you a glimpse into the story. There is also the interview with the authors and a bonus of the exam every potential apprentice needs to pass.

The story itself.. Well, if you are expecting Harry Potter continuum, you are in for a surprise. The Iron Trial is similar in some ways, but completely different in others. There was a lot imagination going into this book. It always takes my breathe away, when authors go the extra mile and imagine world of wonders and manage to put it on the paper with words allowing you to enter the world too. It's a wonderful skill and the BIG BIG reason why I love reading so much. You will fall in love with the story and the world of magic all over again.

The writing is entertaining. Easy to follow. Easy to read. Thrilling. Exciting. And packed with major twists and turns you just don't expect. You kind of develop a theory, only to read and be completely taken aback with the fact that your theory was completely wrong.

The characters in the book are very truthful to the teenagers as we know it. There is a lot of modern references. The main trio in the book - Callum, Aaron & Tamara reminds me a lot of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Master Rufus is Dumbledore and Jasper is Draco Malfoy. But at the same time they are different. At first, you don't know what to think of Callum, you are suspicious about Aaron and his lack of history and Tamara seems a little bit unapproachable. But as you read on, you are warming up to the characters and you are getting to know them a lot better. I have truly enjoy the character development in this book.

Now, let's talk about the major twist. I am not going to spoil it for you. But wow, I was not expecting it. It literally blew my mind away and I was left with my mouth wide opened. Absolutely brilliant and  very very clever. Well Done Holly and Cassie. You have silence with your surprise.

I have really really enjoyed reading this book. It was a joyful, exciting ride packed with beautiful story which kept you on your toes. I am looking forward to the story to develop further and cannot wait for the rest of the books to come out. Browsing online, I discovered that there are four more books to come: THE COPPER GAUNTLET, THE COSMOS BLADE, THE GOLDEN BOY & THE ENEMY OF DEATH. My only hopes are that Holly and Cassie will continue to write in the excellent manner as they did so far. Also I hope that the future editions of the books will match the first one and the publisher doesn't decide to go with a different cover as this one is pretty good.

THANK YOU Holly and Cassie, you wrote a beautiful introduction to the MAGISTERIUM series and I am now hooked. Hurry up with the rest of the books!! ;-)


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Carpe Librum Christmas Book Swap & A Secret Reading Garden's Christmas GIVEAWAY!!

Guess what?!? I have done it again! I have decided to take a part in another CHRISTMAS SWAP. You know how it goes... In the words of George RR Martin: "Winter is coming .." The Spirit of Christmas is around the corner.. And I am getting excited!! 

Not to mention, that I love meeting new friends and make people happy and smiley, so I am taking part in #CPXMASBOOKSWAP created by wonderful SARA from !! 

Me taking part in this Christmas Book Swap was a great coincidence! I have reposted a picture announcing the swap on my Instagram account and was instantly subscribed to it. I didn't regret it one bit!! I couldn't be happier with my chosen partner! It's actually Sara herself and you wouldn't believe but we have a lot of things in common! As we live in different parts of the world, me in UK and her in USA, we have decided to arrange WishLists on to find what we like and save some pennies on delivery. 

I am excited. Literally bursting with excitement about this project and picking up presents for a wonderful person like Sara. 

I will make sure to keep you updated and I will write a post once the Christmas Book Swap has been completed. 

But in the meantime, I would love to hear what books would find a place on your Wish List for this Christmas.  In the spirit of Christmas I have decided to organise a little GIVEAWAY so 3 LUCKY READERS will get a personal present from myself. Please leave your chosen books in the comment box on this post. I will announce the lucky 3 in first December post!! 

The closing deadline is November 30th 2014!! 

Happy wishing!! 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cosy Box Swap 2014

So Christmas is coming soon.. Only 7 weeks till the man in red coat with white beard drops down your chimney, eats your cookies and drinks your milk. And then he leaves presents behind. Win-win on both sides. 

So in the spirit of this well beloved holiday, I have decided to take part in a wonderful COSY BOX SWAP. I have seen it advertise on Instagram and it immediately caught my attention and I wanted to be part of it. 

It's hosting by lovely blogger LIPSTICK & TRACTORS. I have found it on the Instagram page of CARPE LIBRUM GIRL. And this girl was lovely enough to give me more info about the swap, so I have decided to sign up for it fully :-) 

And here is more info about the the swap itself and how it works. If you are interesting, I am sure you can sign up for it too. 


Winter themed swap to keep you cosy throughout the winter. Get to know your partner and send items that they would like. This book should give off the cosy feel. Send favourite items, Christmas stuff, hot drinks, inspirational items, ornaments, fall/harvest themed, etc. Etsy or other handmade would be perfect for this. 


Open to US residents, although I am from UK, so I am sure you can do it too, 18 years and older.
$20 dollars minimum before the shipping.
Tracking number are strongly recommended (If you buy online from UPS, the tracking numbers are free of charge).
You must post a blog post prior to sign ups closing with swap button letting others know about the swap.
Please use the #cosyboxswap2014 on all postings. 
If you don't send the package, you will be blacklisted for all future swaps. 


Sign-ups Close: Friday, November 7th
Partners Sent Out: Sunday, November 9th
Packages Must Be Shipped by : Monday, November 17th
Reveal Link-Up Opens: Friday, November 21st

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Michael Grant: GONE (Gone Series)

Warning! This book isn't what you expect. Prepare to be blown away with terrifying picture of possible catastrophe.

GONE is a first instalment of book series written by popular American author Michael Grant.

When in was published in 2008, it blew away the Young Adult audience and became an instant best-seller. Even to this day I can hear praise for Michael Grant's dystopian novel. Myself, I have had this book for quite some time. And for some reason, I have never found the time or cravings to read it. So when I was deciding what books I should chose for Autumn Reading Challenge, GONE found its place on the list. After publishing a pic of the book with current update on Instagram, I have been flooded with recommendations and praises for this read. And other book reviews seem to agree:

"Exciting, high-tension story told in a driving, torrential narrative, that never lets up. This is a great fiction. I love these books!" STEPHEN KING

"GONE covers all the bases... horror, suspense, superheroes and super villains. " WATERSTONES 

"Levels of nastiness almost worthy of Dante. " GUARDIAN

Even Stephen King himself loves these books, so of course I had to find out for myself, what is the fuss about.

299 hours 54 minutes. Every one aged 15 and over disappears from the small southern town in California. All it's left are teenagers and kids who do not have a glue what is happening. Instead they are trapped in FAYZ and some of the kids start to develop superpowers. Animals mutate. And in the centre of it all is Sam, his friends... and his twin brother,  Sam didn't know about, Caine who is just a pure evil. What caused the FAYZ? Where are all the adults? And what happens when you reach your 15th birthday? These are questions on everyone's mind. Good against evil. Right against wrong. Brother against brother. Everyone fights to survive. Who will be winner at the end? 

Let me start with the edition first. It's beautiful and dark. You know that there is a very interesting story inside straight from the start. Black with neon yellow dyed pages and writing. Bold. Thick. It catches your attention. This is the reason why I bought the paperback in the first place. I just could not not buy it!

Let's talk about the story inside. Wow, this book gets straight into action. No messing around. No silly introduction and boring descriptions. You find yourself straight in the middle of what is happening. And it excites you to the point when you just cannot wait to find out more. You continue on reading. You are in for a thrilling ride. And the best thing about it, it never stops. The story continues to surprise you with its unexpected twists and turns. Not to mention,  how vivid and brutal it can be at some parts. Mr Grant manages to capture everything you want in YA novel.

Suspense. Thriller. Unexpected powers. Thirst for power. Anger. Friendship. Love. And in the middle of all family drama. BRILLIANT. It keeps you on your toes from the start to finish without losing its initial excitement.

Let's meet the heroes and the villains in the story:

Sam. 14-year old boy who has a kind heart and a potential for greatness. But he is shy and has a secret which makes him want to stay out of spotlight.

Caine. Sam's long lost twin-brother. A Bully with the heart of stone. He is pure evil with superpowers which he using to his advantage to become the lead bully.

Astrid. Astrid the Genius. The smartest girl in the school who is not only kind, but she keeps you grounded and always offers a good advice.

Edilio. One of the few characters without superpowers. But that doesn't stop him in shining in his own way. He is a hero. He cares for others. He is smart and always fights for the right and good. He isn't scared easily and isn't intimidated by not having powers of his own.

Quinn. Sam's best friend. He is a little bit dis-hearten that he isn't special in any way. He gets jealous of Sam and has tendencies to save his own skin before putting ahead the needs of others.

Lana. A healer. She went through a lot and managed to survive. She is strong and smart.

Diana. The bad girl with badass attitude. She is Caine's sidekick and powers of her own. She has her own agenda.

I really admire the writing and how Mr Grant managed to capture the good but also the bad qualities of human personalities. The whole composition of story is mind-blowing. It's very dark but thrilling. And it just keeps on giving. You don't have time to catch your breath, you keep on reading to find out more. And then in the middle of it, you are surprised by unexpected discovery.

It's easy to read and follow. The writing is modern packed with pop culture references you can relate to. And the best thing? It's written from various points of views which keeps it interesting. There aren't any boring unnecessary descriptions of people and situations or pasts which would bore you to death. It's just straight to the point.

I have truly enjoyed this book. It was an unexpected surprise. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series: HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE, FEAR & LIGHT are already on my book shelf. Mr Grant you have got yourself a fan.