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Where Is Wallis?

My name is Iona English. I am currently a 20 year old Media Production student doing a degree at Brooksby Melton College, which doesn't exactly lean towards the idea of me being a massive and proud book worm, but I am. I love to read. My favourite genre's are YA Contemporary, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, with some Classics thrown in. 


Where to find me:




Currently reading

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling
The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse
Robert Rankin
Tender Morsels
Margo Lanagan
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Catherynne M. Valente
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone
Kat Rosenfield
Robison Wells
Burial Rites

A review of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

Unspoken and Untold (The Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

Book Review of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 

Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare Much better than the first book in the series

The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys - Blue, our protagonist, is the only non-psychic in a house full of women blessed with the gift of foresight and even though she can't see the future herself she knows well enough to heed a psychics warning. So after years of being told if she ever kisses her true love he will die she pretty much swears off boys all together, and especially Raven Boys. However, on the one night a year where the spirits of those who'll die in the next 12 months show up at an abandoned church, Blue see's her first spirit. Every year she has been with her family finding out the spirits names she's never actually been the one to see or interact with the spirits until now, when the featureless spirit of a boy in a Raven Boy's uniform shows up and tells her his name "Gainsey". Blue knows there is some significance to this and find out that the only reason she is able to see his spirit is because he is either her true love, or she's going to be the one to kill him, and Blue knows in her case it's likely to be both. Blue and Gainsey's lives inevitably cross paths and although they get off to a rocky start Blue realises she might have been wrong about some of the Raven Boys, named that because of the expensive private school they attend. Because of the unusual knowledge Blue has as a result of her families occupation she starts to help Gainsey and his friends on their quest to find the resting place of a supposedly dead Welsh King. When I first heard of this book I heard it was about true love (which is usually a big eye roll subject for me) and how this girl sees the spirit of her true love, who if she kisses will result in his death. That did not sound interesting at all, but after checking out Maggie's tumblr I found out it was about awesome psychic women, magic and dead Welsh kings. Then there was a chapter sampler which was just awesome and made the book seem well written and magical, so I was then immediately on Amazon buying it. The story is written in 3rd person, with switching points of view to show how different characters are feeling and how their complicated relationships work. This style was utilized incredibly well. I feel like in YA first person is used far too often so audiences can pretend to be the female narrator however this to me often leaves supporting characters (other than the main love interest who is always descried in incredible detail) feeling a little flat and lacking personality. With the way Maggie told the story you really do understand the characters and their actions a lot better than you ever would if it was Blue narrating the story as (initially) an outsider. The book definitely didn't go in any way I might have expected, although with a story this unique and fresh I didn't really expect anything at all. There's far too many Young Adult novels that now fit into a predictable story arch but this book was so different that even if it could have fit into a story arch it probably would have rebelled against what ever one it was meant to fit into. Nothing in the book felt predictable and no characters felt like stereotypes that could have been plucked from anywhere and just sort of fit in. They all felt unique and different and so at times you felt like they were all completely in synch and other times they were completely at odds with each other and themselves due to the spanners that kept being thrown into the works. I loved this book and I can't wait for the sequel in this series. I thoroughly recommend this to people who are looking for a good paranormal filled with a magical air to it and want a storyline unlike one they've read before.
Strands of Bronze and Gold - Jane Nickerson This was well written and descriptive but it was as dull as a brick. Even without knowing the Bluebeard story I could predict the ending and because of Sophia's lack of things to do the book itself was just very boring in the middle. I was very disappointed
My Soul to Keep  - Rachel Vincent Nash is such a dick and from the sounds of it even though Kaylee was strong enough to tell him where to shove it in this book she'll be pining for him in the next book while he starts falling for his ex again. I wish Kaylee and Tod would just get together
Faefever  - Karen Marie Moning I need the next book now!!!
Graceling - Kristin Cashore LOVED IT!
Burn Bright  - Marianne de Pierres This book is like when you see one of your gorgeous friends after a drunken night out. Yes she no longer looks perfect; she's a gross and sweaty, her make-up's smudged and you're not sure how she'll ever get her hair looking luscious again, but you still know she's beautiful. That's this book. The editing is not great and it has some other problems but the flaws don't take enough away from it to make it a bad book. As a Seal Retra lives in a world of rules in a place where women are second class citizens, but she has one solace; her brother. Or she had one solace. Abandoning Retra her brother Joel ran away to Ixion to live a life free of restraints, making life for Retra unbearable. After two years she manages to build up the courage and stomach to follow him to Ixion but she quickly learns that in Ixion she can no longer be the quiet, obedient loner. She has to burn bright or the Ripers will ensure she burns out. This book does not ease you in. From the first second you are thrown into the deep-end. You'll either sink or swim with this book. It took me a few pages but I learnt how to doggy paddle and after that the world and writing style came to me easily. The world is revealed in pieces, first you learn a little of Retra and her sealed community. You find out why it is so hard for her to make friends and why it's such a big deal for her to be running away. Then Ixion is revealed a little as Retra arrives there. She learns that in most ways Ixion is a complete opposite from her own world, but the rules must be strictly adhered to unless you want to risk the consequences. Listen well, baby bats. Burn bright, but do not stray from the paths. Remember, when you live in a place of darkness you also live with creatures of the dark. Retra's character development is an interesting one. She develops from being quietly strong for her own sake into a leader who openly stands up for those that need her help. Aided by her two friends the search for her bother slowly takes a back seat to the cataclysmic events that arise from Retra's presence disturbing the apparent equilibrium of Ixion. This book is definitely not one to read if you're not a fan of fast paced YA that is not perfectly edited. The writing is not always going to make you stop and gasp at it's beauty; but the plot, the concept and the characters were definitely enough to make me enjoy the books and want to keep reading. My only gripe with this book is that Amazon fucked us Brits over when they decided to start publishing Burn Bright in the UK. I'd heard amazing things about the cover, how it was textured and velvety and the title literally looked as if it was glowing. Did I experience any of that? No because Amazon had some shitty almost laminated cover and terrible print quality overall for the whole book. I was so disappointed! Get your shit together Amazon! Either publish the book properly or drop the fucking ebook price!
The Iron Knight  - Julie Kagawa Not bad but not amazing. I'm glad that I saw Ash and Meghan's story through but Ash is not the most interesting p.o.v. Bit too brooding.
Seraphina - Rachel Hartman Best book I have read so far this year! I actually teared up at multiple points throughout. So many feels. I'll do a proper review later. **EDIT** Warning, a very gushy positive reviewSeraphina is high fantasy Younng Adult novel, but not in the watered down way some young adult novels like to pretend they are high fantasy. This novel truly is. It has it's own religion, cultures, languages, races, places and more. The effort that Rachel Hartman put into crafting her world perfectly leaves you to realise your breathless. The novel is set in the land of Goredd where the crown Prince has been murdered by what appears to be a Dragon. Tensions are high because the anniversary of the treaty where humans and Dragons declared peace is drawing near, but if Dragons really did kill the prince it could mark and end to the peace that already seems to be balancing on the edge of a knife. Seraphina, our heroine and willful musician, is drawn into the investigation due to her deep knowledge of Dragons, but the deeper she goes the more danger she gets into as things about her and her family are slowly revealed. Many people have said this book starts of slow, which it might do, but from the start I was so fascinated by the world and the characters that the pace of the book felt necessary to me and by the end I wished it would drag on more. Not a moment of the relationships or discoveries in this novel felt rushed. Everything had a very natural pace at which things were revealed so that you never saw them coming but they made sense all the same. I loved how Hartman developed her characters. None of them felt like stock YA characters that just filled the gap. Seraphina was strong willed and intelligent, always searching for answers. Her passion for her music was endearing and beautiful but at the same time she was a very flawed character. Her self-loathing was not something I often come across in YA or fantasy novels. Teenage girls are stereotypically a bit insecure in YA but Seraphina had a level of loathing I connected to because I had also been like that at her age due to the opinions of others (but for different reasons obviously) and for that it made me feel incredibly protective of her as a character.Another thing I didn't find with this book that I find with other YA is that she didn't lose her voice in my head. Sometimes YA authors make their first person characters so nondescript and lacking in personality that I feel like it's my own voice narrating, but then that makes the entire story arch of the character and their struggles pointless because they aren't my struggles and so I don't feel any sympathy or empathy for the character like I did with Seraphina. The characters around her were also more than just people for her to interact with. The love interest was kind, caring and bound to his honor in a way that sometimes made his interactions with Seraphina infuriating but understandable. He had issues in his past but not ones that turned him into a moper every chance he got to talk about them (this is what I call Edward Cullen syndrome). He also had his fun moments and even though I didn't fall for him as a character I could see the slow, bittersweetness of him and Seraphina falling in love and it broke my heart constantly. Orma was strong even though he constantly questioned his own sanity due to his actions going against his nature. Glisselda could have easily been bratty or mean but she was lovely, if a bit naive from time to time, as well as beautiful and had some real character development through out. I'm really interested in seeing the woman she will become over the next books. The writing was beautifully descriptive without ever sounding to wordy or ridiculous. It sounded wonderful in my head while still sounding like Seraphina's voice which was also perfect for her character because the words almost had a lyrical quality that fit so well with her musical gift. The best thing in this book for me was that I never guessed the outcome of anything. Unlike books like Cinder, where there's something that's a little info-dumpy so it sticks out and becomes an obvious plot point, things in Seraphina relieved themselves when they were ready to because Hartman didn't decide you needed to know some stuff and then tell you too much, she just decided to reveal things when the characters found them out or when they naturally would be talked about. This meant the whole book had a very mysterious feel to it and kept me enthralled through out. So if you can't tell already I pretty much think this is the best book I'll read in 2013 which almost makes me want to read no more books, but I won't. I constantly teared up in this book due to the deep connection I felt with the characters and not many books actually make me cry. I don't think any have made me cry more than once until Seraphina came along. I truly loved it and recommend everyone go out and read it ASAP!

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1)

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series #1) - Really good. I think the series will just keep getting better and better because there's so much to build on now. Such a good first book!
The Eternity Cure - Julie Kagawa This book did not suffer from 'Second Book Syndrome' where the story falls flat, the love interests are kept apart and everything is just boring. Oh No. This book was perfect. Perhaps even better than the first. Allison kicks even more butt and the storyline develops flawlessly. I loved every chapter, every page, every word of this wonderful and heart breaking view of an apocalyptic vampire filled future.
Valentina - Kevin McDermott I really wanted to like this book. I really, really did. The concept was interesting and the cover is pretty cool but it is just… How do I explain this book? Poorly written would be one way except I’m pretty sure the author, who is well educated in the English language and art of writing, is a good writer. Maybe then it is the age range the book is targeted for. It feels like it was definitely aiming for the younger end of young adult. The end of young adult that’s not really adult at all. See the reason I say this is because the characters are so flat. It’s the typical problem of writing down to your audience and instead of believing your audience is smart enough to understand what the characters are like by having them act that way, the main character tells us how the other characters are and the audience is just supposed to take that as the way it is. Months are rushed by so quickly in this book as well, with the only notion of time passing being when Valentina tells us time has passed. This also counts towards the flawed character building. Are we supposed to gather that in this passing time there has been many interactions between the characters and Valentina which is why she knows them so well while the audience barely knows them at all? Valentina herself was not particularly well thought out as a character. One minute, without rhyme or reason, the most well off girl in the city is acting like she hates everything about her spoilt life, even though she has never known anything else and therefor that lifestyle should be nothing but normal to her. And then the next minute she’s acting like a spoilt little “bitch” who’s too good for everyone and blah blah blah. It didn’t make any sense. Basically this isn’t much of a review, I couldn’t get far enough into this book to enjoy it (if it gets better later on, it might not). Maybe if I was 12 and dipping my toes into the dystopian genre this would be a good book to read; but I’m not and I cannot review it as such. I expected more character development and better pacing from an author with an MA, MLitt and PhD. He should have either fleshed his characters out more, not dumbed down his work for his audience, or wrote the book in 3rd person. One of those would have made this book better, all of them may have made it pretty brilliant. This just feels like a first draft, not a finessed novel which is what I expected from Kevin McDermott.
The Nightmare Affair - Mindee Arnett Fun, nostalgic kind of read with some interesting lore but not much more. This book felt like a throw back from the Harry Potter Fanfic days. You know, those times when everyone was reading or writing fanfic between the books and movies being released when we all just wanted a little more Hogwarts and a little more Golden Trio. That's not to say it's bad, there's some terrifically written fanfiction out there, but no matter how much you change, it's not going to be an original piece of work. The Nightmare Affair did exactly what I feel like it was supposed to do, it was a quick read that filled me with a warm 'coming home' feeling as I have missed Hogwarts greatly these passed few years. But it wasn't original enough to knock my socks off. The Lore was interesting. The governing body of magical beings in this world have somehow managed to control magic so that it cannot be used for harm. More of this is revealed in the book, but I don't want to give too much away. This and the way the book started off made me have high hopes for a new magical boarding school with a twist, but it faltered and died towards the end.I feel like maybe this book was ruined a little for me as well. I read a review for it before I actually started reading it where someone didn't make their spoilers about who the bad guy was vague enough so I figured it out long before the end. I'll fully admit that I didn't get the proper reading experience in that aspect and that wasn't the authors fault so I can't tell you if the twists are hard to pick out or so obvious it's like being hit with a brick repeatedly. Maybe I should give the author a little more props for her work. It definitely was a fun, quick read with interesting characters and it wasn't badly written. Dusty and the type of magical being she is was a bit different to other stories I've read, and maybe my problem is I've just read too much in this genre, but again it wasn't anything that didn't reek of fanfic. The other characters were a bit generic; the pretty girl who doesn't want to be 'just' pretty, the pretty girl who is insecure but knows she can wrap boys around her fingers, the kid who knows he's better than everyone if he just had the chance to prove it, the bully who spars with our main female protagonist... Dusty's other love interest and dream partner was the only one who felt like he didn't quite go along with the normal generic characters but a week has gone by and I've already forgotten his name.Whether this started out as a fanfic I have no idea, I actually doubt it, but it's just not different enough to be a novel I'd actually say you should go out and buy. It's not special. It didn't fill me with the sense of reading something new. I hope the sequel is better but I don't know if I'll bother with it.