The Jewel

By Amy Ewing.

Genre – Teen Fiction.

Synopsis.

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

 

Review.

I very much enjoyed this novel and currently on the second book, this series is more aimed at teenagers but is still a light, easy and enjoyable read for an older audience. This is my first time reading any of Ewings work, I found her writing style is aimed more at teenagers than adults so it was something different for me to read but I did enjoy the story.Although I’m used to certain characteristics in a main female character that Violet our protagonist doesn’t posses she is still a likable character. The Lone city which is where our story is set is a really interesting story that captivated me in the first few chapters, although this is not the best novel I have ever read I very much enjoyed Ewings work. This is a nice easy and casual read that you didn’t really have to concentrate on this novel yet it still contained a well-written plot and it only took me a day to read. Ewing left the novel on a cliffhanger I didn’t really see coming and I’m very much enjoying the start of book 2. In saying that her characters are not the most developed, so if you’re someone who can’t stand those type of characters and can’t stand a rather rushed and sad romance (male interest doesn’t enter till over halfway through the book and the romance is forbidden and very rushed) this book might not be for you. But if you aren’t that fussy and want a pleasant fantasy novel that will only take a day or two to read; The Jewel should be on your list

The characters in Ewings novel were very enjoyable to read about and their growth in such a short period of time was really interesting, many reviews state her as being whiney or naive but I think Ewing portrayed her perfectly, she has Violet reacting to situations realistically which Ewing is not given enough credit for. She is able to get the reader to see that most people wouldn’t react in a ‘heroic’ way if they were put in this type of situation. That’s what really pulled me into the novel as you start to realize how spot on Ewing has been with character reaction. Her one downfall is the rushed romance between Violet and Ash, the romance came in and was pretty messy and rushed but it is starting to develop more in book two, so we shall see how this develops!

Order of Books.

  • The Jewel
  • The White Rose
  • The Black Key.
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Reign

Created by – Laurie McCarthy & Stephanie Sengupta.

Produced by – The CW.

Genre –  Historical fantasy, Romance, Drama.

Synopsis.

Mary Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane) has returned to the French court to marry the future king Francis (Toby Regbo) but what she faces is far more complicated than a marriage to protect her crown. After Nostradamus (Rossif Sutherland) has a vision of Francis’ death because of this union, his mother Queen Catherine de’ Medici (Megan Follows) will do anything to protect her son from an untimely death. Mary must not only face French politics but also a court full of treachery, plotting, and backstabbing. As Mary try’s to save her people she becomes a pawn in the complicated game of royals.

Review.

While Reign follows the story of a real historical figure, it blurs the lines of accurate. While the rough outline of the plot is true the details of the story have been dramatized, the story of Mary Queen of Scots going to French court are true and a handful of the characters were real life people, the majority have been created to add drama and sex appeal to the show. Being a lover of history I researched the real story of Mary while watching the show, and although the show has many inaccurate aspects I really enjoyed it. The characteristics of all the characters are what really pulls you in, the creators have made all three main characters Mary, Francis, and Bash (Torrance Coombs) Francis’ bastard half-brother, strong, independent characters that of course fall into a complicated love triangle.

Every character in the series has a unique personality and are all characters that can easily be adored, the plot mainly focusses on Mary but the show goes into the details of other characters lives and French court as a whole which becomes an interesting added story to that of Mary and Francis.

The music and costumes are also a huge puller as well, although the costumes and music are more modern than historical, they are beautiful and mesmerizing. Although the costumes are slightly historically correct they are a gorgeous element to the show. The music sets the mood for each scene with modern songs or remakes of popular pop songs, there is also a playlist on Spotify for anyone wanting the name of songs in the series.

The series is in the fourth and finally season, the show is roughly following the timeline of the real Queen Mary and as this is the last season it might be cutting her story short. If you’re a fan of historical period drama with a modern twist this is a must, I recommend not getting to hung up on the historical accuracy and just enjoy the drama filled romance.

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices)

By Cassandra Clare

Genre- Fantasy YA.

Synopsis.

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them…

Review.

We are thrown back into the shadow world in Cassandra’s second series. While this series introduce us to new characters but in the same world, we get to see a new side to it. In this series, the audience is able to discover the meaning behind many of the modern day aspects of the shadow world we read about in ‘The Mortal Instruments’.

I found this series more beautiful than Clare’s first series because of its setting. The descriptions of beautiful dresses and victorian London is something that really pulled me in; the characteristics of Tessa Gray are more calming than the TMI characters, her character is more gentle and cool headed but still has a fierceness about her. As well as softer characters Clare has kept some of the ‘traditional’ characteristics of family characters; Herondale’s from both series possess sarcastic but over the top loving traits that are common for that family. Although these characters have family traits they are also more classical and mesmerizing giving a realistic feel of that time period.

The series is a trilogy, there is also the graphic novel version of each novel which is a really lovely way to read the story after you have finished the books.

Although you don’t have to read the books in the order given it is recommended. If like me you can’t read two series at the same time I suggest reading TID before TMI, but if you do enjoy mixing series the order below is Clare’s recommended order.

After the events of the City of Heavenly Fire, the Bane Chronicles and Tales from Shadowhunter Academy follow, which are a number of short stories involving the characters from TMI. Clare’s third Shadowhunter series The Dark Artifices (TDA) was released in early 2016 called Lady Midnight, with book 2 to follow March 2017- Lord of Shadows.

Order of books to read.

City of Bone (Book 1- TMI)
City of Ashes (Book 2- TMI)
City of Glass (Book 3- TMI)
Clockwork Angel (Book 1- TID)
City of Fallen Angels (Book 4- TMI)
Clockwork Prince (Book 2- TID)
City of Lost Souls (Book 5- TMI)
Clockwork Princess (Book 3- TID)
City of Heavenly Fire (Book 6- TMI)
The Bane Chronicles.
Tales from Shadowhunter Academy.
Lady Midnight (Book 1- TDA)
Lord of Shadows (Book 2- TDA) Yet to be released.

A Court Of Thorns And Roses

By Sarah J. Maas.

Genre- Fantasy YA.

Synopsis.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Review.

A court of thorns and roses (ACOTAR) was a fantastic read. I really enjoyed the plot of the story which is very similar to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ with Feyre being the beauty ‘guest’ in Tamlin’s court who behaves and shifts into a beast. But this beauty and beast have a twist, Maas has been able to create another fantastic Fae world that is different to the Throne of Glass world, but does not lack any of the details. As well as being able to do that she has added a twist to the classic fairytale; half way through the story the fairytale ends not with a happy ending but a challenge. A challenge of mental and physical tortures our heroic main character and makes her and the audience question every character we have met earlier in the story. Maas has a fantastic way of making her readers love a character then change our minds and she slowly reveals a different side of each character.

Another reason I love this book is because of the changes that are made half way through the book, we see Feyre go from a starving, angry girl into a girl that is healthy, funny; someone who is falling in love. And then we realize we are only half way through the book! Maas suddenly does a 180 on this romantic story and makes us question this romance in the second half of the book. Feyre character changes again later in the book making her even more admirable to the audience, she becomes tougher and wiser through her struggles; she is having to trust characters she previously didn’t as well as realizing she’s not going to be saved by the ones she previously thought would.

If you enjoy the Throne of Glass series by Maas you will thoroughly enjoy her Court series, they are more adult themed than her other series, aimed more for older teens than younger; but if you enjoy the classical fairytales you will enjoy this version which has an epic twist!

I am a die hard Maas fan so I will always recommend her books to any fantasy lover!

Order of Books.

  • A court of thorns and roses.
  • A court of mist and fury.
  • A court of wings and ruin. (Coming May 2 2017)

Bloodlines

By Richelle Mead.

Genre- Fantasy, YA, Vampires.

Synopsis –

Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabbles in magic and serves to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiances in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believes Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions and forbidden romance lurk both outsides – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

Review –

Bloodlines follow’s from Richelle Meads first series ‘Vampire Academy’, this series follows characters that are introduced in VA but are not the main characters till Bloodlines. If you enjoyed Vampire academy you will love Mead’s new series, it takes a different approach to the Moroi world. The series is fantastic with Mead adding a new element of the supernatural for readers, I really enjoyed this series as the books answered some questions from the previous series. My only disappointment with it is that it is the last Moroi based series Mead will write. Readers have been taken on a journey lasting 12 books but it still isn’t enough and we still want more!

The last book was slightly disappointing and seemed more like fan fiction than Reads work as it was very rushed. But apart from that the books were fantastic and involved huge changes for the Moroi world which will have readers on the edge of their seats. I would highly recommend this series along with the Vampire Academy series, all 12 books flow from each other wonderfully, although you can tell Read seemed rushed to finish the last of the Bloodline books. Read is a fantastic talented author and since her leave from the Moroi world she has written several other books and started several new series.

Order of Books –

  • Bloodlines
  • The Golden Lily
  • The Indigo Spell
  • The Firey Heart
  • Silver Shadows
  • The Ruby Circle.

Fallen

By – Lauren Kate

Genre – Fantasy, YA, Angels.

Synopsis –

After the summer from hell, Luce Price went from being a scholarship student at a preppy high school to ending up in a reformed school. Luce doesn’t think life could get any worse; a new school, the shadows that continue to follow her and keep her in constant fear; that is until she meets Daniel. Luce feel’s an instant pull towards this random reformed school boy, a pull she cannot explain or understand especially since Daniel seems to hate her. With the help of a new friend Luce digs around into Daniel’s past wanting to know more about him and why she might feel a connection to him. Even though being around Daniel is causing more bad things to happen to Luce and those around her, the pull to him is too strong. It isn’t until she discovers one of Daniel’s ancestor’s books that Luce discovers there is maybe more to her and Daniel than she originally thought… maybe a thousand years more to them?

Review –

If you’re into epic romances you will love Fallen. The story is filled with ups, downs and over a millennium’s worth of love and emotion. I found Fallen the perfect series to read when all you want to do is curl up with a good book, blankets and a steaming cup of tea. The characters, as well as the plot, is what makes this series one to remember; the love engrossed couples, the hot badass bad gone good guy and lots of sarcastic and quirky characters, with a few random ones chucked in. The knowledge of history Kate has is awesome, the description and emphasis on the past are the keys to the plot line. Kate has clearly done lot’s of research into worldly history, not just one specific era, any reader can truly appreciate not only her talent in writing but also in history. Kate’s imagination for a unique plot line is fantastic, the books are able to flow without the reader getting bored, the series is an awesome binge read.

Kate has made a playlist to go with her novels on her website which adds more depth and emotion to this epic romance. There is also a 3.5 book which goes into more description on other characters experience throughout the series which is not a necessary read but an enjoyable one. Book one of a new series was released end of 2015, some readers see it as book five to the original Fallen series although the book follows a secondary character from the first four books. A movie was set to be released late 2016 and seems to have been released in most Malaysian countries but nothing has been released into any english speaking countries.

Order of Books –

  • Fallen (Book 1)
  • Torment (Book 2)
  • Passion (Book 3)
  • Fallen in Love (Book 3.5)
  • Rapture (Book 4)
  • Unforgiven (Book 1 to the second series)

 

Vampire Academy

By – Richelle Mead

Genre – Fantasy YA, Vampires.

Synopsis.

 

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires—the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.
After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger…and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…

Review –

Vampire academy has been one of my main book loves for almost ten years. Rose Hathaway is a total badass that many young female audience members can love and look up too, having this book series set in high school is also a real puller for young teens. Not only is it an awesome vampire novel but it also addresses common issues from high school, gossiping, bitching, falling in love. All of these themes are actually able to help young girls know what to do if they are presented with similar issues, this is why I love this series for young girls. Mead description of friendship and love between Rose and Lisa is defiantly friendship goals! The girls would literally do anything for each other, they are sisters by blood and heart, the fantastic mirroring of real friendship, school, and love with a twist of fantasy is what makes this book series a 10 out of 10.

Not only has Mead been able to create a fantastic series but she has also been able to create a fantastic world behind the novels. Mead did a lot of research into myths on vampires before writing her novels, she has based the vampires off Russian myths of vampires and created her world from there. You can really tell from the details that Mead has based her world off Eastern European style and names, with the names of buildings and family names of characters having popular Russian names.

This series has six books with a second series called ‘Bloodlines’ still involving characters from the vampire academy series but focussing on secondary characters from VA. Vampire academy was made into a film in 2014 but no sequel will follow, the soundtrack from the film has some good hits in it if you enjoy listening to music while reading. Since the end of the ‘Bloodlines’ series, Mead has not written anymore Damphir based novels.

Order of books-

  • Vampire Academy (Book 1)
  • Frostbite (Book 2)
  • Shadow Kissed (Book 3)
  • Blood Promise (Book 4)
  • Spirit Bound (Book 5)
  • Last Sacrifice (Book 6)