!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Project Tomorrow: The Ellie Chronicles #3 - Circle of Flight
Circle of Flight - John Marsden

Ellie arrives home to find Gavin gone, and spends over half the book getting him back from the terrorists who kidnapped him looking for Ellie and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Then Ellie loses him again as Child Services takes him away.


I’ve loved this series, really loved the spin-off of life after the war as well. I’m still trying to understand why Ellie never wanted to join Liberation if she’s freely admitting loving breaking the law and being in dangerous situations. I think it’s the rebel in her – she doesn’t particularly want to follow orders.


I think it was convenient but understanding how the terrorist threat that opened the spin-off series was neatly wrapped up by basically murdering everyone who was involved, and I also think it was pretty realistic to finally have someone try to interfere with Ellie’s relationship with Gavin. Although I don’t see the bureaucrat as a bad guy, I do think that Ellie was doing a good job of keeping Gavin alive even though she was still a minor herself. Anyway, she’s got to be turning eighteen sometimes soon, wasn’t she sixteen when the war began eighteen months ago?


I’m also still trying to wrap my head around her sudden assertion that she loves Lee, not Jeremy, not Homer, but Lee. Lee, who in the last book was little more than an annoyance – and suddenly she and Gavin are going to move in with him and his young siblings? They’re all going to play Happy Families while Lee continues with Liberation and Ellie, what, babysits until it gets too dangerous and someone needs rescuing?

I just don’t like this ending. Ellie was over Lee and I would have been happy to see her with Jeremy, who changed suddenly with little to no foreshadowing, because it would have been nice to see her being in more than one serious relationship in the series. Too often teen books are relegated to the couple being stuck as first and only love (although Ellie did have Steve before Lee, but that was before the war). And Jeremy was a nice guy until he suddenly went out of character. However I did find it amusing that everyone thought Ellie was in love with Homer. And also, apparently Homer is in love with Ellie? Can’t quite wrap my head around that either.


Although I liked the plot of having to continually rescue Gavin, I found the smaller ends tied up in a way I didn’t find entirely satisfactory. It’s definitely worth reading for Ellie’s adventures solo against the terrorists and how she uses her smarts, and even the legal stuff is quite interesting to read (especially the QC’s takedown of the bureaucrat). Endings are hard, especially series endings, and especially one where the reading is so invested in the characters. Although I didn’t find this perfect, I guess it was OK for the series on a whole.

Lucy's Wish Free
Lucy's Wish - Mona Hanna

My book Lucy's Wish is free 23rd to 25th November at Amazon sites.




Thanks, Mona

Reblogged from Mona Hanna
0 Stars
Not Doing It For Me
White Space - Ilsa J. Bick

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I quit this book at 14%.


I’ll be honest: there’s nothing particularly wrong with this book. So it’s getting a DNF rather than the 1 star I usually leave for books I don’t finish.


I just don’t think I have the patience to sit through 560 pages of POV jumping when nothing has made me particularly interested or invested in any character up to the 14% where I’m quitting.


Although I do appreciate the fact that the worldbuilding has given me no infodumping. I suppose it could be somewhat confusing for other readers, and maybe it’s my fantasy background, but I found everything mildly easy to follow. Nothing s really explained so you just kind of have to go with the flow.


I put off reading this book for a long time. One was all the negative feedback: you will either love or hate this novel. There is no in-between. The other was because it was so freaking huge. 560 pages.


I have other books I want to read. Sorry, White Space, part one of a trilogy. When I’d rather clean my house than pick you back up, you know there’s an issue.

Book Tag: How I Read

Thanks to Bookloving Writer.


How do you find out about new books to read?

I followed Cuddlebuggery’s Hot New Releases when they were updated consistently, and also through Goodreads, Booklikes, and through browsing at bookshops. Publishers send me ARCs and review copies, and sometimes I'll look at the new publishing deals some bloggers post.

How did you get into reading?

I’ve always been into reading. My dad used to read me Brer Rabbit stories when I was too young to read, and when I got older I would memorise picture books and ‘read’ them to my dad. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up so I would cherish my precious few books and re-read them constantly. Old favourites include The Animals of Farthing Wood, Black Beauty, and The Silver Brumby.

How have your tastes in books changed as you got older?

Oh god yes. Young Adult wasn’t really a marketing term when I was of the target age (I was just a splash too old, for example, when Twilight exploded). I kind of see Young Adult as pre-Twilight (2005 – my first year of a literature degree and therefore no time to read for enjoyment) and Post-Twilight.

Pre-Twilight, from about 2000-2005, I used to read a lot of adult fantasy and sci-fi. Before that it was middle grade like Animorphs, Sweet Valley Twins, and Enid Blyton, and anything with a horse or cat on the cover (this is how I discovered my favourite YA fantasy series).

Post Twilight, even though by now I was an adult, I absolutely devoured Young Adult books no matter what the genre. Young Adult really exploded after 2005 but I missed the first few years because of my degree. I feel like I’ve been playing catch up ever since.

How often do you buy books?

I used to buy books every week or so but this year my disposable income has dropped to basically nothing, so now I download free ones and scrounge for extra cash for cheap books.

How did you get into reviewing books?

I saw a blogger called Carmel from Rabid Reads doing well reading and reviewing only werewolf fiction, and through her I found Goodreads. From there I built my own blog. I use reviewing books as a creative and social outlet since most of my real-life friends don’t read, not to the extent I do, and although my husband does, he doesn’t read the same genres.

How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

Mostly with anger or annoyance. If it’s a deliberate cliffhanger, I get mad, because I believe stories should be contained, and completely told within the one book, and books shouldn’t be used as cash cows with the first one written just to sell the second one – which is why I like stand-alone books! If it’s just poorly written and not everything is wrapped up by the end I get annoyed that the author isn’t a better writer.

How often do you take a sneak peek at the ending to see if there is a happy ending?

I can’t help it, maybe twenty per cent of the time? Especially if I’m in a really tense part and I need to know that the author is skilled enough to get us all out of there. I don’t really mind spoilers sometimes. As a child I used to start the book by reading the very last page first, but then as I matured I realise that was a silly way to read a book because often it referenced characters I hadn’t even heard of yet.

Do you use bookmarks in your books?

Yes! I can’t stand the idea of damaging my pages by dog-earing them. I’ll use anything as a bookmark – a receipt, a napkin, a scrap of paper, a ribbon. I do have a small collection of bookmarks, but they’re not always within reach.

Finally, I am tagging everyone who wants do this too!

4 Stars
Diverse Chinese-inspired fantasy from the queen of forbidden romance
Soundless - Richelle Mead

I received this book for free from Penguin Random House Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



Trapped atop a mountain, Fei finds when her hearing returns that she is the only person who can help her deaf community who are slowly being worked to death in dangerous mines in exchange for barely enough food to survive.



I loved the worldbuilding in Soundless. I loved how bleak Fei’s initial mountain home landscape was, with barely any colour. I love how she responded to colour. I loved how Fei struggled with finding words to describe her newfound hearing. I loved the descriptions of the other locations and was nicely surprised to find that to Fei, the city seemed rather grand in comparison to her village, but in comparison to other cities, it was not as grand. I loved how the dialect changed between villagers who had been cut off, as a dialect would do under normal circumstances. The whole thing seemed really well thought out and the details added to the realism.



What I didn’t like as much was that Fei and Li Wei already had an established, forbidden romance before this book even started. I felt that it was cheating a little. The sexual tension between the two was already at a ten and only ramped up higher during the adventure.

I really loved Fei’s unfaltering devotion to her sister. It reminded me of Katniss and Primrose Everdeen from The Hunger Games, even though Fei was the younger of the two. Everything Fei did, every danger she waded into, her sister was the first thought in her mind. I would even argue that I liked their relationship more than the heterosexual romance developed.

Because the book was so short and Fei’s parents were both dead before the opening pages, there’s not much more to say about developed characters or relationships. Most of the other characters seemed a bit two dimensional, but I was refreshed to see the end result of Fei’s rival, even if she wasn’t in the bulk of the book.

I found a striking similarity to Mead’s Vampire Academy world. Fei’s people can’t produce their own food, so they are dependent on the nearby village to support them in exchange for mined goods. The dhampis in VA can’t reproduce, so they are dependent on the Moroi to support them in exchange for guardians.



I really liked the limited communication used in the book. Fei can’t use words like creak because she’s never heard that sound before, but the description is enough for the audience to gather what she means. I liked how the deaf people communicated in sign language and I loved how even when Fei’s hearing returned she couldn’t understand speech.

I think all of the elements worked quite well and there isn’t anything in particular I found that didn’t work so well, except for maybe the romance. I felt like Fei was purely attracted to Li Wei on a primal level because if the many references to his physical appearance, and I’m not convinced their relationship goes deeper than that. That being said, they’re both teenagers, so I don’t really expect them to reflect on the deeper aspects of a relationship. That also being said, I am not the prime target audience of this book, and perhaps a teenage girl will only care about the glittering hottie taking his shirt off and not his personality. After all, a lot of people think Christian Grey is hot, right? *shudder*



Mead’s writing is clear and concise and she knows how to write an adventure with a sexually tense romance. She gets bonus point for diversity – both using non-white characters and disabled characters, even if apparently some people don’t think it was ‘researched’ because it wasn’t ‘Chinese’ enough, or Mead got some things wrong like language and stuff, never mind that this is a fantasy story and so obviously NOT set in the real world, only inspired by folktales. It’s never said that the story is set in China so just take a chill pill, dude. I enjoyed the book, it was just missing a certain star factor.


Thought it was time to share this picture again.

4 Stars
Enjoyable Romp in Virtual Reality
The Leveller - Julia Durango

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



The world is obsessed with a virtual simulation called MeaParadisus, or MEEP. It’s strictly a solo game where people can live out their fantasies. Nixy can (illegally) enter other people’s games courtesy of her beta code (courtesy of her parents, who both work with the MEEP) and extract them if they’re illegally staying too long. When the creator of the MEEP’s son goes missing and is presumed suicidal, Nixy is pulled in to level him. But she’s not the only person in Wyn’s MEEP, and the bad guys don’t want either of them to escape.



I loved the worldbuilding in The Leveller. I could clearly imagine the virtual worlds and it felt like a kind of paradise. My only issue is the word ‘leveller’: instead of using a word like ‘extractor’, Durango chose to use a word with strictly different connotations in the gaming world. Levelling is where you game to specifically increase your character’s level. If you paid someone to be a leveller, you’d be paying them to raise the level of your gaming character. In this world, it means someone who illegally enters someone’s private game world to confront them and shame them into leaving the MEEP if they’ve (illegally) spent longer then 4 hours there (as you can’t force someone to leave if they don’t want to). Nixy calling herself an extractor or something similar would be a better word, especially considering this whole book revolves around gaming.



Nixy was a really interesting character. She was totally confident of everything she did, a total badass babe. I think most of that confidence came from the fact that the MEEP can’t actually hurt you, and because of her parents’ privileged positions as a game developer and script writer she had access to betas before anyone else, which is what allowed her to become a leveller in the first place. On the flip side, her utter confidence and capability as a badass babe made me feel like she was never really put in much danger and I never really feared for her.

She had a completely platonic relationship with her two male best friends but instantly felt a pull of attraction for Wyn, her new target. Honestly their romance felt a little lacklustre to me. I liked that Nixy was attracted to Wyn, but I didn’t feel the same from him, and I didn’t totally buy the romance aspect – especially the contrived memory lapse that caused Nixy to forget their first kiss, and Wyn’s reluctance to remind her.

Nixy’s parents were another matter. She didn’t have much respect for her mother (being the ‘boring writer’ rather than the ‘artistic developer’ her dad was), and she would switch between calling them by their first name or ‘Mom and Dad’. She was much closer to her dad, who spoiled her by giving her all sorts of early access, while the poor hard-done-by mother coddled both of them and didn’t really have as much respect.



The biggest issue I have with The Leveller is a worldbuilding rule Durango made and then consistently broke. There’s no multi-player in the MEEP, not remote or even LAN. Yet because Nixy has a beta code, she’s able to complete her illegal levelling. Her friends Moose and Chang are both hackers who can also enter other peoples’ games, yet when the three of them decide to have a competition, they can’t all enter one game and have to basically do solo missions and compare stats and data. What’s the point of making this ‘no multiplayer’ if the whole plot revolves around the fact that hackers have tampered with someone’s world and enter it as easily yet illegally as Nixy enters?

Also, I was beginning to think that maybe the whole ‘entering someone else’s MEEP’ was because Nixy was in close proximity, like a LAN rather than remote, but the bad guys don’t need to be near their clients like Nixy seems to have to be.

I feel like the book left some elements open, perhaps in the hope that it would develop into a series. I certainly feel that it needs a sequel – not only to wrap up what happens to some characters whose fates were left unknown, but also to know what happened next with the MEEP – is it really a force for good or evil?

I often have something here to say about the relevance of the title of the book, but I’ve already talked about the use of the word ‘leveller’ in a book about a video game/simulation, but I want to address the tag used on the cover: “There is no reset button.” Obviously it was tagged by someone who’s not read the book because the whole point of Nixy going in to rescue Wyn is that there IS a reset button… SIGH.



I really enjoyed reading The Leveller despite the issues I had with it. I loved being in the MEEP with Nixy and experiencing all those exotic locations and fantasies, and the plot moved along quickly enough that I never grew bored. I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel

Oh, and for those who care, Nixy is a white girl and her love interest is a Hispanic boy, so bonus points for diversity?

3 Stars
'Anything To Have You' But Not Really
Anything to Have You - Paige Harbison
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



Natalie and Brooke’s friendship is put to the test when they and those they love keep secrets from each other.



For the most part I bought the contemporary setting of Anything to Have You. The dialogue was almost hyperreal and the depiction of the landscape changing throughout the seasons made me yearn for snow. The depiction of teen behaviour seemed over the top to me, but I know that the legal drinking age in the US is 21 and I always have such a hard time believing that American teens get such easy access to alcohol and don’t really suffer many consequences. That being said, I don’t believe this story was a ‘typical teen’ story that it meant to represent every teen in America – I believe the teens represented here are of privilege and wealth and this is their own special story and should not be taken to represent all American teens.



Natalie and Brooke were horrible to each other, but not in an obvious way and not in a way that made me dislike the book. Similar to Wuthering Heights, where the two main characters treat each other and the other characters horribly but I still enjoy reading the book, I found myself invested in this story despite not really liking either character.

Natalie was bland. She was a typical glasses-wearing brunette good girl who didn’t socialise yet somehow got nominated for Prom Queen. Her relationship with Aiden was sweet and I liked seeing her tear herself apart over crushing on her best friend’s boyfriend. I found their connection to be very realistic.

Brooke was a typical bad girl, flirting with everyone despite having a boyfriend she thought she didn’t want to lose, cheating and then getting angry when she was cheated on. But somehow I found myself sympathetic with both Natalie and Brooke, even though Brooke treated Aiden like rubbish and I really disliked her far more than Natalie. She actually reminded me of my high school best friend, a girl desperate to be lusted after by all the boys and admired by all the girls – unfortunately, my high school bestie sucked at both of those things because she had an awful personality.

As for Aiden, well, it’s hard to hate someone written to be so obviously well liked, but he is an asshole of all kinds and really I should hate him far more than I do. He did the most horrible ,despicable thing to both Natalie and Brooke, and yet all I’m thinking is how nice his final situation is.



I just don’t buy that a girl who makes a point of never going out and socialising could be nominated Prom Queen. I’m not American, so I can’t be sure, but isn’t it a popularity contest? How can you be popular when no one knows your name?

I also don’t buy that Natalie and Aiden’s end of year project was ‘omg so totally cool like the most awesomest thing ever.’ I don’t understand how they could get other students to donate their sentimental keepsakes so some giant wall, let alone pay to put their shitty crap on it and then think it’s so awesome they want to take photos of it. It just seems like a really lame, stupid idea and I was totally surprised when both Aiden and the teacher fully supported it as original and awesome.

On the other hand, I do totally buy that Natalie would fall pregnant, especially as her own mother was a pregnant teen. I’ve read that it seems to be a cycle that teen mothers and daughters find themselves in and I totally think it’s acceptable to write that.

I also buy that the teens are absolutely terrible at communicating with each other, and that’s really what drives the plot. People keeping secrets or not confessing true feelings, which is exactly what immature, undeveloped teens do.

I’m still trying to work out the relevance of the title. While at first I thought it implied that Natalie would do anything to have Aiden, that wasn’t the case, because she didn’t plan or scheme to ‘steal’ him away from Brooke, she was just herself. Possibly it could mean that Brooke would do anything to have Aiden, but by the way she treated him and other boys, it is no longer relevant. I thought maybe it could refer to Natalie’s relationship with Brooke, considering all they go through they still remain friends, but then again they are pretty horrible to each other, whether they mean to be or not. I mean, in high school, my best friend went after the guy I’d been crushing on for ages and it ended our friendship. I’m still surprised Natalie and Brooke could work through everything in the end.

(It doesn’t help that when I tried to make up with my high school bestie years later, and ask her why she hurt me so much, and she confessed that she’d been ‘a selfish bitch’, I saw that she’s written in her online diary after meeting me for coffee that it was ‘so nice to see losers from high school all fat and lonely.’)



I don’t think it is necessary to like a (or any) character to enjoy the story. I think if a reader is looking for a slightly heavier contemporary novel that explores infidelity, alcohol and drug abuse, while still being a story about the drama and angst teens go through, then this will be the novel for you.

Not a scam after all

The post I published yesterday (which I have now deleted) turned out NOT to be a failed scam after all.


The customer service guy from the bookshop did some more investigating and turns out a third party was indeed contracted to contact Australian bloggers to offer books for review - but he hadn't used the correct email address, which is why mine bounced when I tried to reply.


So now I have vouchers from the bookshop, and apparently I'm getting a book for review as well.


Due to a glitch, my Feedback to Approval Ratio is 102%. 

4 Stars
Project Tomorrow: The Ellie Chronicles – Incurable
Incurable  - John Marsden

Incurable is Ellie’s second adventure post-war, and in it she again tangles with the rebel group Liberation, realises she has feeling for Jeremy, and helps Gavin find his lost sister.


Incurable is much more post-war than While I Live. In fact, the only scene showing the war happened was when Ellie once again rode to the rescue of her Liberation friends. The rest of the novel was about cementing her relationship with Gavin: doing farm work together, looking for him when he went missing – again – and rescuing him when his life was in danger. It’s clear by now that Ellie loves the little rascal with all her heart, and it’s heartwarming to see this war-hardened tween boy return her affection.


I confess I haven’t thought much of Gavin in previous novels. I kind of thought of him as a pain in the butt. But even though he has more issues than a shell-shocked veteran, I kind of grew to like him in this novel. Ellie clearly loves him and risks her life multiple times to ensure his safety, including riding into enemy territory, rock-climbing without safety equipment, and launching herself at a man with a butcher’s knife. It goes to show how brave and resourceful Ellie is, and it’s nice to see some of the other characters recognising this and actually admiring her, rather than being all boy-like about it and not talking about it at all, wishing they’d been as brave as her.


I love the title of this novel: Incurable. The war has affected the kids in ways that make them incurable, unable to face modern-day life without the risk and thrill they experienced during war time. It’s sad that this affects little Gavin as well as Homer and Ellie, but it’s to be expected.


I’m looking forward to the final novel in this series, and one of the reasons why is because I want to know which boy she’s going to pick out of the three potential love interests. While she’s not interested in one and another doesn’t seem interested in her in that way, I have my sights set firmly on the third. I also want to know if she finishes school, what will happen to the farm and Gavin, and how the peacekeeping on the border is going to work. I hope all of that can be wrapped up in one last novel. We’ll have to see.


Project Tomorrow banner


Ten Books To Read Inspired By Nightwish’s Imaginaerum

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
It's all about bookish lists!
Share your lists and remember to stop by The Broke and the Bookish to see where it all began.

(to see the video clips in this post, please visit the original blog)



is both a film and a studio album by Finnish metal band Nightwish, who are my favourite band in the world and the inspiration for my non de plume Nemo Evermore.

In 2011 Nightwish released their seventh studio album Imaginaerum alongside a film of the same name (2012) featuring the music from the album.

It’s a spooky album: the cover is an abandoned theme park.


It’s a spooky, creepy, scary film: an elderly musician falls into a coma and, reverting to a child,  fights his dementia represented by a creepy talking snowman, and other scenes involve a man committing suicide and a gothic Snow White singing while the musician’s daughter saws open his head and removes his memories…


So, creepy.

But ever since I first listened to the album, I’m always led to think about particular books during particular songs.

So here we go. My Halloween themed Top Ten Tuesday post is:

Ten Books To Read Inspired By Nightwish’s Imaginaerum

  1. Taikatalvi – Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Link to a lyrics version of the song on Youtube

This song is in Finnish but the title means ‘Winter Magic’.


  1. Storytime - Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Peter Pan

I am the voice of Never, Never Land

The innocence, the dreams of every man

I am the empty crib of Peter Pan.


  1. Ghost River – Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Hereafter (Hereafter, #1)

Link to a lyrics version of the song on Youtube

He will go down he will drown drown, deeper down

The river wild will take your only child


  1. Slow Love Slow – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

This deep sigh coiled around my chest

Intoxicated by a major chord

I wonder

Do I love you or the thought of you?


  1. I want my tears back – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Link to a lyrics version of the song on Youtube

Where is the wonder where’s the awe

Where’s dear Alice knocking on the door

Where’s the trapdoor that takes me there

Where the real is shattered by a Mad March Hare


  1. Scaretale – Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)

"Ladies and gentlemen

Be heartlessly welcome!

To Cirque De Morgue

And what a show we have for you tonight!"


  1. Arabesque – Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things, #1)

Link to a version of the song on Youtube

This is an instrumental song and has no lyrics.


  1. Turn Loose the Mermaids – Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Waterfell (The Aquarathi, #1)

Link to a lyrics version of the song on Youtube

The mermaid grace, the forever call

Beauty in spyglass on an old man’s porch

The mermaids you turned loose brought back your tears


  1. Rest Calm – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

Link to a lyrics version of the song on Youtube

Every little memory resting calm in me

Resting in a dream

Smiling back at me

The faces of the past keep calling me to come back home

To caress the river with awe


  1. The Crow, The Owl and the Dove – Strange Sweet Song by Adi Rule

Strange Sweet Song

Anything to Have You - Paige Harbison

This seems to be quite a quick read so far, but it's a bit strange in presentation. The first chapter was almost entirely dialogue, which didn't extend to the next.

2 Stars
Don't Let It Fool You
A Thousand Nights - E.K. Johnston

I received this book for free from Pan MacMillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



A nameless heroine sacrifices herself to save her sister and become the bride of a demonic king whose brides never live for long. She can randomly perform random magic and becomes all-powerful, but can she save the man the demon possesses?



For the most part, I loved the worldbuilding. This story was set in a desert and I swear sometimes I could feel the sand on my feet and getting all into my clothes as sand is wont to do. The descriptions of day to day life in the desert and qasr were lovely. The language used was quite a formal style, and combine that with the fact that no character apart from Lo-Melkhiin was named, it lent a bit of a dreamy atmosphere to the storytelling.



The blurb on my ARC said, “The most dangerous love story ever told.” Don’t be fooled – this isn’t a romantic story. The love story is one of between sisters, like Frozen. Our nameless main character is utterly devoted to her sister, and vice versa, and their love for each other is what drives what little plot there is.

The nameless main character also develops a strong relationship with Lo-Melkhiin’s mother, the henna artist, and or course her existing relationship with her mother and sister’s mother are also remarkable.

There is no relationship with Lo-Melkhiin. They just sort of co-exist and he lives to mock her. She’s not particularly afraid of him, and she never plots against him.



The biggest thing that annoyed me about this basically plotless book was the magic system. Out of nowhere, this girl, our nameless heroine, can suddenly conjure beings and astral project and even use x-ray vision (though none of it is referred to as such, it’s deliberately kept a little vague and dream-like). She has premonitions and suddenly, without even trying or learning to control whatever magic she’s got, she can easily defeat her enemies. She’s all-powerful and nothing can stop her, and she can save the day without much of a challenge at all.

The other thing that rankled me was the plot. The plot was rather boring. Our nameless girl is taken to the qasr, spends some time philosophising with a wise old man, unconsciously performs magic and is suddenly this uber-powerful magical girl, gets taken back to her father’s camp and defeats her enemy. Sure, she survives every night with Lo-Melkhiin, but I never actually felt like she was in danger. He treated her like an amusing plaything. And she didn’t really do anything to survive the night, either, nor did she plot an escape. She just kind of existed, passively, as the world worked around her. She didn’t even have to work hard, or even understand, her magic use. It just happened.

I thought A Thousand Nights (personally I think One Thousand Nights is a classier title) was supposed to refer to the number of nights the bride survived, but instead it refers to the number of nights Lo-Melkhiin has been possessed by a demon and gone on his bride-killing rampage. That being said, one thousand nights is just over three years, and I thought I read somewhere that he had been bride-hunting for ten (I could be wrong about this, and I didn’t double-check it, unlike the time where I DID double check to see if the MC had actually had a wedding ceremony, which she did not, even though it is referred to at least twice). So I really don’t know what the significance of the title is, other than to help people realise it’s a retelling of a famous story.



I wouldn’t bother with this book. Sure, it gets bonus points for diversity but lush language and exotic worldbuilding can’t hide the fact that this book makes no sense and is boring as hell. And the blurb on the back, “The most dangerous love story ever told” is really misleading.

3 Stars
A Worthy Sequel
Ice Like Fire - Sara Raasch

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.



While Winter has been freed from Angra’s slavery, Meira must find the balance between queen and soldier, fight to keep her kingdom from the hands of Cordell, and in the mean time find the keys hidden in other kingdoms that will open the door to the magical chasm and hopefully make an alliance or two with rivals.



I loved Raasch’s worldbuilding in Snow Like Ashes, and I’m pleased to say that it was topped even in Ice Like Fire. Meira takes a tour of the kingdoms under the guise of making alliances but she’s secretly looking for magical keys, and in visiting these other kingdoms we get a first hand account of the culture, traditions, values and lifestyles of the other kingdoms. Not only are each culture interesting and well developed but they’re all diverse as well, with no two being the same, although there are certain similarities that lend the kingdoms into natural alliances with each other. I was totally impressed at this way of worldbuilding because never once did I feel like there was any kind of info-dumping. I know the ‘point’ of the story was to deliver on the hurdles Meira had to overcome, but the tour just made the most fantastic vehicle for further world development.



Meira had strained relationships with everyone in this novel and I was saddened to see that she couldn’t trust anyone, not even shoes she and I had grown to love in the previous novel. Meira basically relied on herself, and even her new alliances were tender and uncertain. I really didn’t feel much romance between her and Theron or her and Mather, but I did delight in seeing the new tumultuous friendship with the Summer princess, Ceridwen.



Because of the lack of trusted relationships, I never really grew to trust anyone in this novel, even those whom it turned out could have been trusted. I found that Meira was to standoffish, even with a certain character whose inevitable betrayal I saw coming (but not with the right motivation), to really be shocked when everything turned to shit. I found the idea of the Decay being responsible for much of the motivation early in the books hard to accept as there was no foreshadowing or warning that this was the motivation used by certain characters.



A very worthy sequel, Ice Like Fire doesn’t suffer from any kind of second novel syndrome and it was a delight to follow the continued issues of rebuilding Winter and seeing Meira find her place in the world.





My name is Nemo.

By day I work in IT, by night I turn into a vigilante kitten snuggler.

Is there anything better than a lap filled with kittens and shelves filled with books? I think not.


"A good book resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper."

- David Quammen