Book Review: The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals #1) by Michelle Madow

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Read between: 1st-4th August
Format: ebook
Published: 26th January 2016
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing
Synopsis: Witches are real. They’re descendants of the Greek gods.

Nicole Cassidy is a witch descended from the Greek gods… but she doesn’t know it until she moves to a new town and discovers a dangerous world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole and four others — including mysterious bad-boy Blake — are gifted with elemental powers. But the comet has another effect — it opens the portal to another dimension that has imprisoned the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes, it’s up to Nicole and the others to follow a cryptic prophecy in time to save the town… and possibly the world.

Rating: 5521e-4stars

Review: Starting a new school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone…but when you’re in a homeroom full of witched- things seem to be going wrong for Nicole. Or are they?

The school hottie is definitely interested in her, shame he has a girlfriend.

As it turns out- she’s there for a reason. She, along with her classmates, are gifted with powers due to being descended from Greek Gods! Nicole, and four others, are those who control the elements- Earth, Wind, Air, Fire and Aether.

They must group together to discover the prophecy left by their ancestors. A prophecy that involves them all…

It’s definitely not what I was expecting, I was thinking much more magic than god-like supernatural powers, however, all the characters had likeable traits before their powers were enhanced.

Except Danielle….the amount of times she flicked her hair over her shoulder was really annoying because it just made her seem like she was completely full of herself and I didn’t like that about her.

Overall, I did like the idea of them being gods- although it is very Percy Jackson! It was quite repetitive in places, but the writing wasn’t too bad.

I did enjoy this book, it’s a very different type of contemporary (I’m saying that because I’m not actually sure what genre this novel fits into).

4/5 stars.
A good read with an interesting take on Greek mythology.
Thanks for reading!

~Katie

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Trials of a Trainee Teacher #7

Book Haul!

So I didn’t originally plan on getting any books for my PGCE but after receiving emails about Core Texts I thought it would important to get those.

You can never know how many copies the university library has.

The books I’ve purchased for my course are:

  • Teaching English, Language and Literacy by Wyse et al.
  • Essential Primary Grammar by Myhill et al.
  • Teaching English Creatively by Teresa Cremin
  • Learning to Teach in the Primary School by Cremin et al.
  • Science 5-11 by Howe et al.
  • Mathematics Explained for Primary School Teachers by Derek Haylock.
  • Thanks to essay lists and pre course tasks I knew I’d need these books throughout my course.
  • Thanks for reading!
  • ~Katie
  • Book Review: Once Upon a Dream (Twisted Tales #2) by Liz Braswell

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    Read between: 27th-31st July
    Format: Paperback
    Published: 26th August 2016
    Publisher: Paragon Book Service Ltd
    Synopsis: What if the sleeping beauty never woke up? Once Upon a Dream marks the second book in a new YA line that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways.

    It should be simple–a dragon defeated, a slumbering maiden, a prince poised to wake her. But when said prince falls asleep as soon as his lips meet the princess’s, it is clear that this fairy tale is far from over.

    With a desperate fairy’s last curse infiltrating her mind, Princess Aurora will have to navigate a dangerous and magical landscape deep in the depths of her dreams. Soon she stumbles upon Phillip, a charming prince eager to join her quest. But with Maleficent’s agents following her every move, Aurora struggles to discover who her true allies are, and moreover, who she truly is. Time is running out. Will the sleeping beauty be able to wake herself up?

    Rating: Image result for 3.5 stars

    Review: Everyone knows the story of Sleeping Beauty, or so we think…

    Once Upon A Dream looks at what would happen if Aurora was never woken up by True Love’s Kiss. It takes place in another realm- Aurora’s dream realm, which is under the control of Maleficent.

    Maleficent rules as queen, Aurora is her ward. In fact, she manipulates Aurora’s dream world for her own benefit. Will Aurora discover the truth and wake from the curse? Will Phillip save her?

    It wasn’t quite what I expected!

    The main element of the book that didn’t sit well with me was that Aurora’s character felt as though she was written deliberately bratty- even though she’s supposed to be 16, the writing made her seem much younger.

    Maleficent was her usual evil self though- so there was an interest there. What was she going to do next?

    The writing was quite simple, but I really liked the names of the chapters- it read much like a play (or even a traditional fairytale)- for example, when we get to meet Prince Phillip properly, the chapter is titled ‘Enter the Prince’. I liked this touch, it was entertaining.

    I was definitely expecting more from the story- but there was definitely moments that made me gasp because of how dark they were. However, it’s quite obvious it’s all a dream once it’s revealed so everything that happened then didn’t seem surprising.

    Overall, it’s clever, and a way to flip the Disney tale on it’s head. I like Disney, so that definitely made an impact on the rating. I liked it- it’s not amazingly written but it’s an okay story.

    3.5/5 stars.

    I like the Disney film better…

    Thanks for reading!
    ~Katie

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    July Wrap-Up/August TBR

    July was a busy month- leaving my school placement, going on holiday, and also working- so it’s really surprising that I managed to finish 10 books. 10!

    I had no idea I’d read that many until I’d checked my Goodreads, so this will be quite a brief wrap up!

    The books I read in July are as follows (and I’ll leave a link to the review if I wrote one):

    The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore. Technically, I finished the book rather than read it in July, but I gave this book 3/5 stars.  My review is here Book Review: The Beekeeper’s Daughter by Santa Montefiore.
    The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr. This was one of the backlog of my Netgalley arcs and I gave it 4/5 stars. My review is here: Book Review: The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr
    Skellig by David Arnold. I had to read this book for one of my pre-course tasks for my university course and I enjoyed it! I gave it 3/5 stars.
    Silent Queen by Carrie Summers. This was a novella, and I liked reading something short to break up the novels. I gave it 3/5 stars and my review is here: Book Review: The Silent Queen by Carrie Summers
    True Calling by Siobhan Davis. I gave this book 4/5 stars. It was a nice surprise.
    Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I loved this re-telling of the classic story, and I gave it 4/5 stars as well.
    Lovestruck by Siobhan Davis. This is a novella that goes alongside True Calling and I have it 3/5 stars. All the reviews for theses three books can be found in my Holiday Wrap Up.
    Her Dangerous Visions by Brandon Barr. A good fantasy novel, I gave it 3/5 stars and the review is here: Book Review: Her Dangerous Visions by Brandon Barr.
    I Brushed My Teeth with Hair Gel by Alasdair Hoswell. Part of my pre-course tasks is to read children’s books and this one started it off. The author is a friend of mine and the book is great- it emphasises the importance of getting enough sleep. I gave it 4/5 stars.
    – And finally, I managed to read Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell, which is part of the Twisted Tales collection. I gave this 3.5/5 stars.

    I’ve really surprised myself this month!

    Next month, I plan on reading the following:

    • The BFG by Roald Dahl
    • Matilda by Roald Dahl
    • The Cat in The Hat by Dr Suess
    • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Suess
    • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    • The Silver Chair by C.S Lewis
    • The Last Battle by C.S Lewis

    I plan on reading solely children’s fiction after I finish my current TBR pick so that I have complied a list for when I start my PGCE in September.

    Thanks for reading!
    ~Katie

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    Book Review: Her Dangerous Visions by Brandon Barr

    Read between: 19th-26th July

    Format: ebook

    Published: December 2016

    Publisher: Enchanted Starship

    Synopsis:

    Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Review: This book is set in two different lands- in Loam, Winter and her brother Aven are trying to stop the farmers rebellion- before anyone else dies.

    In Hearth, Meluscia is trying her very best to prove she is the rightful heir to her father’s throne.

    The title of the novel refers to Winter, who has the gift of sight. When her visions start taking a dark turn, her behaviour changes because she wants to stop what she is seeing from happening. Her twin, Aven, doesn’t have the abilities but he’s the only one who knows of hers and aims to protect her.

    I actually preferred the characters and the sections of the book in Loam to the ones in Hearth, mainly because the characters seemed more rounded.

    They’re also stronger.

    Meluscia has to invent a ghost lover to satisfy her because if she becomes Luminess she’s not allowed to marry.

    There are both dark as well as some rather…odd scenes that could be considered too adult for a YA novel. I enjoyed the book for the most part but there were bits that were awkward to read.

    However, I did like the writing style. The viewpoints were both different even though they were written by the same author.

    Overall, it was a good fantasy novel- but there were similar themes to other fantasy novels. I’d be interested to see where the story goes but I’m not in a rush to get the rest of the series.

    There’s an interesting mix of characters and themes which makes for a quick read.

    3/5 star.

    Thanks for reading!

    ~Katie

    Holiday Wrap Up!

    So I went on holiday on the 15th of July, for a week, and during that week I read three books. I was going to post all of them individually, but I thought rather than spam everyone’s feed with numerous reviews, I would post them in here.

    So- apologies for the long post, but here are the books I read whilst on holiday.

    True Calling by Siobhan Davis
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    Previously read by the same author: Saven Deception
    Read between: 14th-17th July
    Published: October 2014
    Synopsis: For Ariana Skyee, Planet Novo was everything it promised to be until the authorities introduced “The Calling” as their response to repopulation. Now, all seventeen-year-olds are to participate in this Bachelor-style pageant to find their perfect match, marry, and have children.

    But that’s not Ariana’s only concern. Thanks to the government-sanctioned memory erase, she has no recollection of Zane, the mystery boy who haunts her dreams. Things are further complicated when the pageant commences and her feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify. Together, they start to realize not everything about their new home is as it seems.

    Entangled in a dangerous web of deceit, Ariana sets out to identify the truth. Conflicted over warnings that Cal isn’t trustworthy and alarmed at the government’s increasing interest in her, she doesn’t know where to turn. But her search for the truth comes at a high personal price. When her world implodes, discovering the past shapes her future with devastating consequences.

    TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS. ONE SHARED DREAM.

    Rating: 5521e-4stars

    Review: This book was just what I expected of a sci-fi dystopian. I really liked it!
    There are two viewpoints in the novel, Ariana- or Ari, who lives on the planet Novo, and Zane, who still resides on Earth. He is one of the few who did not get health clearance to go to Novo….and maybe he’s part of a rebellion..

    Ariana, it seems, doesn’t get much better treatment on Novo when her freedom as a teenager is taken from her when she has to take part in ‘The Calling’, a process where every 17 year old is matched to another (of the opposite sex, homosexuality is illegal on Novo!) and proceed to get married and re-populate Novo. At first, she is against the whole idea but that changes when she gets a make-over, a new wardrobe, and a chance to showcase her artistic talent- as well as spending time with Cal, of course.

    However, Zane interrupts her life when she starts to hear his voice in her head. Strangely, Zane can hear her too. Why are they psychically linked? What’s their relationship?  Ariana doesn’t remember Zane. It’s not her fault, everyone on Novo had a memory cleanse when they moved there.

    Thankfully, none of the characters were annoying. Ariana had her moments, which were understandable and Zane is really understanding. He accepts that Ari is with someone else, unlike her fiance Cal, who is EXTREMELY jealous.

    Overall, it was a good story with a very interesting concept. I really liked the writing style and I really felt like I knew the characters. There was some drama but it’s there for a reason, and is a reflection of the character’s behaviour.

    4/5 stars!:
    I’d recommend it.

    Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (DC Icons #1)
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    Read between: 17th-18th July
    Published: 31st August 2017
    Publisher: Penguin
    Synopsis:
    She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning…

    Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world.

    Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer.

    To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war
    Rating:5521e-4stars

    Review: This re-telling of the Wonder Woman story is similar to the movie- but with some differences, for example, there’s no Steve Trevor and it’s set during modern times rather than during the war.

    Leigh Bardugo has also made the story very inclusive. Alia and Nima, two of the main characters aside from Diana, are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Nima is also LGBTQ+ but that wasn’t really made into an important character trait, it was more brushed upon when she fawned over Diana.

    Diana is written really well, the author has obviously put in a lot of research about the character. I really love the Princess of Themiscyra. She’s such a bad ass!

    It was great to see the inclusion of gods and creatures from myth- even if it was a little far fetched in places, but it did add to the story. The only downside is that some of the creatures were from the author’s imagination rather than actual greek mythology.

    There were lots of plot twists, some that were pretty obvious but others I definitely didn’t see coming! There was also a point where I think there was a continuity error, unless I wasn’t paying attention- Diana’s shield was destroyed then a couple of chapters on she has a shield…..when did she get a new one?

    I did feel that the unnecessary romance between Diana and Jacob was just used to show her vulnerability and solely as a plot point. However, although it wasn’t needed, the author did have a knack for description- and their kiss was very fiery!

    I also liked how she described Themiscyra as well as Diana’s view of New York!

    I did hope that there would be a moment when they used ‘Wonder Woman’ or referred to the comics in some way, but then it is an origin story. However, the ending the quite open so there is a suggestion we could get a sequel at some point where Diana has embraced her heroism.

    4/5 stars!
    A great story. There were some elements that could have been left out but overall I liked it.

    Lovestruck by Siobhan Davis
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    Read between: 18th-19th July
    Published: 20th March 2015
    Synopsis: Everything changed the moment he found her…

    Cal Remus is in love.

    But the object of his affection barely acknowledges his existence. Worse: She acts like he’s the dirt sticking to the bottom of her shoe. Weaker men might give up. But not Cal. Hell no, he loves a good challenge and Ariana Skyee has made this the most intriguing challenge of all.

    Having read his father’s confidential military files, Cal should be concerned about the seemingly fragile new world order on Planet Novo and the events back on Earth. But he’s distracted.

    Securing Ariana’s love is his number one priority.

    He’s going to win her heart, or die trying.

    Rating: 003d1-threestar

    Review: This is a True Calling short story set before the first book and written from Cal’s perspective. It’s a little creepy in places, because he watches Ariana by standing outside her house. Thankfully, he realises this and stops acting that way!

    As it’s set before True Calling, we can get an idea of how Cal felt before ‘The Calling’.

    As a character though, he is a little obssessive…

    It’s a good novella and helped me to understand him and his family life better, although it’s a shock to discover his father’s true nature.

    3/5 stars!

    A quick read, but useful to understand more about the character of Cal Remus.


    And that’s all the books I read on holiday!

    Thanks for reading
    ~Katie
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    Book Review: The Silent Queen by Carrie Summers

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    Read between: 12th-14th July
    Format: ebook
    Published: 16th December 2016
    Publisher: Lonely Crag Press
    Synopsis: Words have power, everyone knows that. What few realize is the power that lies in silence.

    Unable to speak, Leesa lived in isolated silence for sixteen years. And then she met Eron. Through a unique talent, her beloved can hear her thoughts. A member of a clandestine group, Eron hopes to overthrow the city’s tyrants. But when he asks for Leesa’s help, she makes a mistake that leads to the renegades’ discovery. Eron is thrown in prison for life.

    Leesa will do anything to right her mistake. But the deeper she delves into the situation, the more treacherous the footing. And soon she may face a fate much worse than Eron’s.

    (This prequel is set 300 years before the main Shattering of the Nocturnai series.)

    Rating: 003d1-threestar

    Review:
    This short novella is the beginning of a series- and a prequel- giving us a backstory (although I have yet to read the series) set 300 years before the main series begins. I found it to be a good read, despite it being short.

    It’s split into three parts and it didn’t feel like it was rushed. Each part was written in a way that helped time move on quickly.

    The main character, Leesa, definitely grows as time moves on. Even though she did make some surprising choices! It was a shame that her love interest, Eron, didn’t get much further than the first chapter. Once he gets arrested he pretty much gets forgotten about until Part 3.

    There’s a really small amount of characters, but they are all written really well so none of them got on my nerves- which is always good!

    The writing flowed nicely and I enjoyed reading the book. I’m definitely interested in reading the series. I want more!

    3/5 stars.

    Short but full of surprises and a good introduction.

    Thanks for reading!
    ~Katie

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