Rereading books and the joy it brings

I just reread The Wrath and the Dawn by RenΓ©e Ahdieh and I loved it! I forgot so much of what happened besides really significant moments or a few scenes I remember here and there, however I totally didn’t remember the writing being this amazing and the story-telling so beautiful! I looked back on my Goodreads and read through my review (the first one I did on Goodreads) and I raved about it! I read the book in just two days when I first read it and it’s taken only a few days to read it a second time.

I love rereading books because it transports you back to that world you fell in love with and the writing you enjoyed so much. You get to meet some of your favourite characters again as well just take some time to read something familiar and comforting, knowing you’ll love it just as much as you did the first time.

Also, you don’t realise just how much you forget when you haven’t read that book in a while! I did a reread of the Throne of Glass series before I read Empire of Storms last August and I had totally forgotten so much; I even forgot some of the characters that popped up later on in the series. Rereading means you can fall into that land of magic and experience it all over again. It will never be the same as when you read something for the first time, but rereading brings its own unique kind of joy that’s an echo of an embrace as the story wraps itself around you and brings you back, ready for you to lose yourself in its words and magic.

I don’t reread enough, I tend to only do it when I am about to read a sequel and I want the story to be fresh in my mind so I’m not left wondering how the last book ended or who the characters are. I definitely need to set aside time every few months to do a reread because it’s amazing to revisit the worlds and characters I love so much.

Are there any books you want to reread?

Jo x

The Chemist book review

by Stephenie Meyer (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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Alex is on the run from people who want to kill her, like badly want her dead because she’s already evaded them three times now and she knows things – things that can’t get out to the public. Having trained for years to become a medic and worked as a torturer for the last section of her life, Alex is known as the Chemist to those around her – Β a name that brings fear to people.

But her previous employment have got back into contact with her again because they need her help. An intricate trap is set in place for Alex to investigate this new information on her own terms but as she discovers something even more horrifying, she is dragged into even deeper distress and Alex finds that making friends is never safe and it’s a liability when there are people out to kill you.

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β€œYou’ll make mistakes because it’s impossible to know what is or isn’t a mistake until it’s made.” – Stephenie Meyer, The Chemist

Alex is a fearless character who is no stranger to doing what needs to be done in order to survive. She’ll kill anyone who tries to kill her first but has that something special inside her which hasn’t turned her into something sadistic because she only hurts and kills if peoples’ lives are on the line. I loved her as a character and how independent she was but I hated how isolated and lonely she had become all because of her situation. Alex lives in another world where you can’t trust anyone or get close to anyone for fear they could be used against you. All she knows is chemistry and she sticks to what she can do well.

I loved the fact that she was the best at her job because she is just so intelligent and plays her weaknesses to her strengths – no one suspects a little woman to be the source of unimaginable pain and that’s how she gets results and is why she is the best in the business. All the while having the utmost for saving people and the repulsion to hurting innocents.

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The Chemist was just dripping in research because the DETAIL was astounding. You could tell the author had done their research to get the correct details and add just that bit more realism to the story. The science, the fighting and all the disguises were fantastic as well as the extra additions of adding things like the fact that the characters needed to eat and had to go undercover in order to get supplies – things that some people might just miss out rather than include but characters need to be fed! It really added to making it feel realistic and like this could really happen.

There was so much action in this book and intelligence but it was punctuated throughout enough to give the reader a break. And I really liked all the characters involved and Einstein the dog was brilliant! Seriously give this book a go if you like thrills and action – I don’t even pick up thrillers often but I thoroughly enjoyed this book so much. It kept me on the edge of my seat and nerves wired, especially at adrenaline-induced action parts.

Its ending was just perfectly done and somewhat unexpected. Now I must mention some things that happened that shocked me so look away now to avoid spoilers!

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So I need to begin with Daniel because I kept having such mixed feelings about him. I honestly thought he was the bad guy and did not see the whole ‘his twin is still alive’ thing until right before she showed him the photograph and his reaction was disbelief but sadness. PLOT TWIST – his brother didn’t die and Alex just tortured an innocent.

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I couldn’t believe she actually tortured a man who was completely innocent and didn’t really feel bad about it after – she just kind of accepted what she had done and got on with her job. I suppose there’s nothing she could have done though, you can’t turn back time but still… I guess she’s just hardened given her job.

So Daniel’s brother, Kevin, is alive and comes back to rescue Daniel which is kinda cute that he still loves his brother loads even though he had to pretend to die to protect him. But what confused me about Daniel is how he didn’t seem traumatically scarred by being tortured by Alex – he just gets over it pretty quickly and ends up becoming more than friends with her. Sorry but if someone tortured me, I would NOT want to be anywhere near them let alone get into a relationship with them!

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Saying that, I found myself really hoping they ended up together because I liked them as a couple – Daniel is kind and funny and brings out the best in Alex who needs to be reminded that she can be happy and live without fear with the right people around her. What is a thriller was also a bit of a romance but more so about not forgetting who you are and to stay human, not allowing yourself to become a monster that someone has tried to turn you into.

This book was so full of action but one last thing I want to mention is the bit where Daniel gets shot because OH MY WORD I was so sure he was going to die and I seriously did not see that coming about him being a mirror twin which is what saved his life from the kill shot. I had completely forgotten that being mentioned earlier on in the book and when I read it I was like

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Such a good idea and one I haven’t encountered before – so much better than just surgery being done quick enough or their will brought them back. I loved it!

The book ended on such a good note with the reader being satisfied with the knowledge that Alex, Daniel and Kevin are safe running a little restaurant. It was a sweet way to finish by focusing on someone completely different when the man phones up Daniel and Alex’s restaurant to announce they’ve won a prize because we just get a small glimpse into their new life which is enough and exactly what the reader needed.

An absolutely brilliant book I couldn’t put down and became invested in the characters, I really loved reading The Chemist!

Six of Crows book review

by Leigh Bardugo (2015)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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β€œNo mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Six of Crows is a Grisha novel set in the world created in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but focusing on a different part of this world – Ketterdam where anything is traded for a price and bustling with criminals. One such criminal who knows Ketterdam better than anyone, is Kaz Brekker. So when he is sought after to pull off the most dangerous and impossible heist by breaking into the Ice Court (for a rather hefty sum) he gathers together a crew. Will this bunch of six wild and dangerous criminals manage to do the impossible?

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I read the Shadow and Bone trilogy last year and really enjoyed the first book, but I found the other two a bit disappointing so I really hoped this book was going to be better and it definitely was! Set in a different part of the same world with the odd reference to happenings in the Shadow and Bone trilogy, you don’t need to have read the previous trilogy to understand Six of Crows.

All of the characters in this book were absolutely brilliant. Each chapter focused on a different character’s perspective (but written in the third person) so the writing was similar throughout but only slightly attuned to how each character noticed and reacted to things. And all six of them had a unique and creatively constructed personality – I love their interactions with each other!

β€œKaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

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Of course Kaz was my favourite. He’s such a dark and mysterious character and what I really liked about him was that he had flaws and wasn’t perfect inside or out – he has a limp but wears it as armour and uses it to his advantage. Kaz also can’t remove his gloves – a weakness but he turns it around into building the image and legend of Dirtyhands, a criminal of Ketterdam that leads him into a deal with the wealthy Jan Van Eck.

So Kaz recruits five people to help him pull of this heist:
– Inej, his spider of Ketterdam,
– Jesper, a wild and hungry-for-action sharpshooter,
– Nina, the bold and unafraid Grisha,
– the Fjerdan and Grisha-hunter, Matthias, and
– Wylan who there is more to than first seems.

Like I said, every one of them is fantasically thought-up and the best thing about this book is the huge amount of awesome character development there is! I love how much we learn and discover about all of them, and grow to understand how and why they got into their position.

β€œI’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

I actually didn’t really warm to any of the characters at first except Jhoost at the start. I loved how it started with a completely random character who wasn’t even essential to the story, but it just showed that there are people who are affected by the doings of others even just because of situational accident. But as I read on I grew to love all of the characters and their hilarious quips and jibes.

Just give this book a go, whether you read the Shadow and Bone trilogy or not, it is such a unique and intriguing read! So I’ll mention a few spoilers now because there were a couple of little twists and turns I was not expecting!

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The Grisha taking the jurda parem was a great idea to continue with the story of the whole Grisha world whilst focusing on another part with completely different characters. I did like the fact that Nina was a main character in Six of Crows when she was just slightly involved in the previous trilogy.

So Jan Van Eck sends Kaz to retrieve the scientist responsible for the creation of jurda parem because he’s a crazy power-hungry man who only wants it so he can gain further control of Ketterdam and further. Breaking into the Ice Court took a little longer than I thought; I just felt like I was reading a lot of explanation without there being actually much explanation with regards to what was going on? I don’t know I just didn’t feel the planning to break in and breaking in part of the story, but things really got going when they actually locate Kuwei.

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I honestly loved Nina and Matthias’s relationship and history in this book – it was just so cute but also frustrating to see Matthias admit his true feelings towards Nina, given how much he hates her ‘unnatural’ kind. So when he betrays her and gets her locked up in the Ice Court, I wasn’t that surprised because I thought I knew his hatred would win out over love. But THEN it turns out that was a rouse and heΒ does love her and it was all an act! Talk about plot twists.

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Learning why Kaz always wears gloves was quite sad with the history of his brother dying I mean, no wonder he is the way he is! And Pekka Rollins is just vile so I’m glad Kaz is trying to slowly destroy that monster. I thought it was really sad when he’s trying to battle his past demons and his feelings for Inej and it made him such a more believable character – him falling in love doesn’t solve everything, he has to figure out himself and accept what’s happened before anything else.

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Each character had their own secrets – Jesper with his gambling, Inej and her time in a ‘pleasure house’ and Wylan with the small detail of being Jan Van Eck’s son who can’t read. It all just adds to the story in making it more relatable and realistic and I love it when authors do this. The bit at the end when Nina took jurda parem and tailored Wylan to look like Kuwei though-

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I thought Kaz was always going to best Jan Van Eck and be five steps ahead of everyone when it came to scheming so I was disappointed when they got bested by Jan Van Eck at the end. How could it finish on Inej being taken by Van Eck?!

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Nothing was expected or could be predicted in this book! It definitely picked up near the end once they got Kuwei but I justΒ loved the amount of character development involved in this book! It will be so interesting to see where their relationships between each other go in the next book, particularly between Nina and Matthias, Inej and Kaz and Wylan and Jesper.

β€œThe heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Vicious book review

by V E Schwab (2013)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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β€œPlenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” – V E Schwab, Vicious

Victor and Eli were college roommates in the beginning before everything changed, before they started hunting the other one down. They were brilliant and clever with a particular interest in EOs – the ExtraOrdinary people that live amongst them that have extraordinary abilities. But an experiment in college changes things forever and ten years later, Victor is out for revenge and Eli has been busy killing off any EOs he can find. With near-death experiences, unlikely friendships and revenge paving the way, will everyone be alive at the end of this truly vicious story?

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Vicious starts off ‘last night’ and flips between the present and ten years ago when Victor and Eli were friends. Each chapter fast forwards or reverses back in time so we see just how things got to be how they are between the two of them. Victor is now seeking out Eli with the help from a couple of friends and Eli is killing with the help from the unique Selena.

This story is brilliantly written and it’s a book jam-packed with action that I simply just didn’t want to put it down. I found myself smirking at the interactions between characters and desperate to read just one more chapter so I could find outΒ why and how. Victor was definitely my favourite character because he doesn’t see himself as a hero, far from it but he felt like the hero of the story for me. Eli is absolutely insane and the way he is written is just superb.

I didn’t find the flipping between times confusing and loved the pace of the book – as the present continued on slowly, the past was revealed quickly and we learn so much about the characters and how they got to be where they are now. Eli is definitely creepy and it was so interesting to see how he thinks he is doing the world a service by ridding it of EOs – he genuinely thought he was doing the right thing. Victor is the best and IΒ loved reading their interactions with each other, given the fact that they used to be friends.

As always, Schwab’s writing is stupendous and the characters she created in this book were so damn intriguing to read about. She always has a perfectly thought-up reason as to why they behave the way they do which makes it all the more believable and contributes to a thrilling reading experience.

β€œThe absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.” – V E Schwab, Vicious

A lot happened in this book and I need to mention a few spoilery things so look away now if you don’t want to see!

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So I had no idea just how evil Eli would be in this book – he basically just goes round killing anyone and everyone because they’re ‘not natural’ (I mean who is he to decide what is or isn’t natural? Is it natural for humans to wear clothes? Exactly, so pipe down Eli) in the name of God.

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Bitch, you make your own choices don’t use religion as a reason.

Okay so Eli is happily going around killing all the EOs he can find but oh did I mention, HE’S A BLOODY EO HIMSELF! Talk about being a hypocrite. That’s like me hating gingers and going around killing all the gingers EVEN THOUGH I AM GINGER MYSELF. It doesn’t make sense.

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Now Victor, I like. He knows he’s not perfect, he’s not good and he doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what he is. He has the ability to control pain and this makes him both kind and evil because he can take pain away or inflict it. He was such an intriguing character and I quite enjoyed reading his obsession over getting revenge on Eli for locking him up in prison. So in the end he finally manages to get his hands on Eli but the problem with that is, Eli can heal. So basically he can’t die.

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Oh good.

Victor just inflicts a bit of pain on Eli but we all know he can’t win so the ending was both surprising and expected. Eli is alive but going to jail and Victor is free. It was very much an ending that was satisfying but could lead somewhere and V E Scwhab is actually doing a sequel called Vengeful which will be amazing no doubt!

β€œThere are no good men in this game.” – V E Schwab, Vicious

The Sky Is Everywhere book review

by Jandy Nelson (2010)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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β€œI’ve never once thought about the interpretative, the storytelling aspect of life, of my life. I always felt like I was in a story, yes, but not like I was the author of it, or like I had any say in its telling whatsoever. You can tell your story any way you damn well please. It’s your solo.” – Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

Lennie has always been in her sister’s shadow, but when Bailey suddenly dies, Lennie struggles to find her own place in this new world where she is now an only child. Full of grief, she doesn’t know how to cope and finds solace in Baliey’s boyfriend, Toby, whose grief matches her own. But a new guy, Joe, moves into town and Lennie finds herself overwhelmed with love and loss.

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I was not ready for the feels this book gave me.

When I started this book I didn’t really know how I’d find it as I don’t read contemporary that often and I can sometimes find them a bit unrealistic, but this one I actually really enjoyed. Scattered with poems throughout, this was a brilliant portrayal of grief at the difficult teenage stage of life where you are not only trying to discover who you are, but maybe also trying to find love.

Lennie was a great character who had a strong voice from the start. She was the kind of teenager I didn’t find annoying, but one IΒ understood how and why she was acting but I admit I did sometimes find her actions a bit irritating. I really liked the memories of her and Bailey in the poems Lennie leaves written on coffee cups and scraps of paper throughout the town – it was a glimpse into her true feelings that she manages to keep hidden from everyone else.

This book was a really brilliant book and a powerful insight into grief and relationships, especially at the young adult age.

β€œThat’s exactly itβ€”I am crazy sad, and somewhere deep inside, all I want is to fly.” – Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

So I have to mention a few spoilers because some things happened that I just need to talk about!

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This book was really good at exploring grief through relationships as Lennie falls for the new guy whilst simultaneously trying to cope with grief. The only problem is, is that Lennie doesn’t know how to cope and finds herself falling into the arms of Toby who was Bailey’s boyfriend.

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But of course, Lennie inevitably ends up kissing Toby and while yes I understand she is grieving and doesn’t understand how to cope with the loss of her sister, I found myself wanting to shout at her to STOP KISSING TOBY. He was Bailey’s boyfriend! You can’t do that Lennie.

It was just so annoying because even though she felt bad afterwards and said she wouldn’t do it again, SHE DID IT AGAIN and almost ended up having bloody sex with Toby!

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I was glad when she finally realised that what she was doing was wrong and actually managed to stop her and Toby from proceeding further. I understand it was the grief and Lennie being confused about life, but still I was really annoyed with how she wouldn’t stop kissing her dead sister’s boyfriend.

Joe was way cuter anyway I don’t know why she messed him around so much! I hated the bit when he found Lennie kissing Toby and it served her right to be hated by him for a bit. You can’t just go round cheating on people!

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Apart from that, Lennie was a good character and I loved the poems and the overall story line of finding who you are and coming to terms with grief. It was a good ending in the fact that her and Toby realised (finally) just how creepy and weird it was when they were kissing and decided to stop. Her and Joe get together and it’s just a cute ending to a nice contemporary read.

β€œ… if you’re someone who knows the worst thing can happen at any time, aren’t you also someone who knows the best thing can happen at any time too?” – Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere

The Mime Order book review

by Samantha Shannon (2015)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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β€œWriting didn’t carry the same risks as speaking. You couldn’t be shouted down or stared at. The page was both a proxy and a shield.” – Samantha Shannon, The Mime Order

Paige Mahoney has learnt there is a dark truth to the world she thought she knew, but after having managed to escape from her prison, she is now pulled back to her mime-lord, Jaxon Hall. A wanted fugitive, she has no choice but to go back to her former life as the dreamwalker belonging to the White Binder, Jaxon, who refuses to help Paige expose the secret of the Rephaim.

All of Scion is looking for the dreamwalker as a meeting is called of the Unnatural Assembly where voyants unite. Paige must balance her service as dreamwalker to her mime-lord with finding a way to reveal the truth of the Rephaim and their control, all the while as they crawl back into her life.

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The Mime Order starts with Paige and the other escapees from Sheol I trying to break out from the Tower in which Paige succeeds, only to find herself wanted by all of Scion. With no money, she must go back to Jaxon who welcomes her back with open arms (and is as creepy as ever), keen to learn of her developing gift. Her mime-lord doesn’t want to hear anything of the Rephaim, but Paige wants to continue with the revolution that Warden and his Rephaite friends started all those years ago.

Paige is just as awesome as she was in The Bone Season and I loved seeing the relationship between her and Jaxon now that she’s escaped from the Rephaim. The White Binder is leader of the Seven Seals and they must all obey him, but Paige finds a way to continue with uncovering the truth of Scion.

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The Mime Order is just all action and non-stop amazingness from the start – I was hooked from the beginning and I never wanted the journey of reading this book to stop. SO MUCH happens and at no point did I find myself bored or lost – we learn so much more about the Seven Seals and voyants in London. I found myself understanding the way the world works in this book more and more, as well as recognising more of the different voyants and their powers.

Warden comes back and is so adorable with Paige but their relationship is strained as they are no longer keeper and human, thrown into Paige’s world and seeking the approval of the Ranthen.

All the while as I was reading this book I knew there was a lot of talk of the ending, that something massive happens but I didn’t realise just how massive it was! It was literally on the last page that somethingΒ hugeΒ gets revealed and god only knows what is going to happen in the sequel!!

Prepare yourself for some pretty awesome writing in a brilliantly constructed alternate London where voyants exist.

β€œWords are everything. Words give wings even to those who have been stamped upon, broken beyond all hope of repair.” – Samantha Shannon, The Mime Order

So as I’ve said there’s a considerable revelation that happens at the end of The Mime Order so I’ll have to mention it in this spoilery section now – look away if you don’t want to be spoiled!

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THE ENDING.

THAT GODDAMN ENDING!!!

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Seriously that was just not expected I thought Jaxon was creepy and a bit weird but I HAD NO IDEA HE WAS IN LEAGUE WITH NASHIRA. How the hell does he know her?! They go way back but I need to know why he was standing there with her!!!!!

The showdown between the Black Moth (love how this is incorporated onto the cover and chapter titles) and the White Binder. IT WAS EPIC.

I knew Jaxon would get angry with Paige for challenging him but BY GOD DID HE GO CRAZY! He actually tried to physically hurt her so okay that was expected but when he started CARVING HER NAME ON HIS SKIN-

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Oh crap he’s trying to bind him to her! They’ll be no escaping him. Oh god no this can’t happen – but thank the heavens her father changed her name so he got it wrong and Paige seizes the opportunity to possess Jaxon and yield to her so Paige is crowned victor and the new Underqueen.

It was pure epicness when Jaxon was trying to fight Paige off and she won – she successfully managed to possess a person and stay standing upright. It was such a cheer-for-the-character moment and I actually thought that was the ending – the showdown between the two of them was the huge thing that everyone talks about.

BUT I WAS WRONG.

So very wrong.

Because as Paige is resting from the fight, an announcement is broadcast to all of Scion for Paige to turn herself over to Nashira with the promise that her voyant friends will be spared. Paige rushes to their aid but in the form of possessing another person (and from a distance) which she manages with success but that is not the end – oh no.

Because lurking in the background is a person Paige has known for a large portion of her life – a person who has returned to Nashira to help her against Paige and the Ranthan…

JAXON

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Literally did not see that coming. My eyes did that stupid thing where they skipped right over to the last page and I saw his catchphrase ‘O my lovely’ and I knew it was him. I couldn’t believe that Jaxon knew Nashira and has gone back to her – it’s a brilliant and huge plot twist that has got me on tenterhooks for the next book.

Of course I was glad to see Warden back in The Mime Order but his relationship with Paige is just so confusing – are they together or not? Does he love her or she him? I need to know!

So I am just in desperate need of answers and I can’t wait to read The Song Rising which is out TOMORROW! I can’t wait to find out more I am so excited!!!!