Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Gift of Charms by Julia Suzuki

"This epic novel, first in this fantasy series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where seven dragon clans live hidden from man having beaten off the evil dragsaur beasts. 

Their great wars with the humans are over and the dragons live peacefully among the smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. But the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans have left a lasting scar, and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world. 

There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest. The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?"

When Julia Suzuki asked me if I wanted to receive a review copy of her book I couldn’t possibly say no. I mean a book about Dragons? Count me in! And the best of all is that I was not disappointed with it.

First of all, this is a middle-grade fantasy book so obviously it is a quick and easy read but that does not mean an adult couldn’t love it because, and being honest, this book is a complete GEM. Julia makes you fall in love with the story as a whole. I particularly love her writing style, how she builds up the dragon world and explains how the different types of dragons live together as any society would do and also, I really enjoyed the dragons’ background history. The reader will find new things while reading the book which is always a plus since if the writer throws all the information at once the reader could get confused, even more if it is a kid. So to have that information rationed is much appreciated. What has really fascinated me though is Julia’s ability to transmit the story: while you are reading is impossible not to picture everything about this world perfectly in your head.  It’s really MESMERIZING!

The Gift of Charms follows Yoshiko, a dragon who has been born from a multi-coloured egg, a curse sign according to all dragons of Dragor, even though he grows without knowing any of this. When finally the time comes for him to start Fire School he does not put his best foot forward and consequently other dragons pick on him. In addition he discovers his scales can change colour, something that makes him even more insecure. However, Yoshiko does not break down and decides to do his best to be an extraordinary dragon and simultaneously he ignores when the others laugh at him and doesn’t respond back to the bullies at school. This is one of the most beautiful things about the book: that if we work hard enough and we don’t let our fears take over control we could achieve our goals. Yoshiko is a charming character with a magnificent strength and a lovely family and very good friends who defend him not matter what. The reader cannot help but fall at Yoshiko’s feet and fall completely in love with him.

In general, this is a fascinating and beautifully crafted start for a series; readers will devour and love this novel from the very beginning to the very last page. A gripping novel about love, friendship, courage and accepting oneself that will put a huge smile on your face and will make you eager to read more about this new world and its protagonists.

My rating:

If you would love to read The Gift of Charms it will come out September 4th and you can pre-order it now from Amazon (

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Monday, 28 April 2014


This tag was created by bookloverwriter13 ( and jeremy chenevert ( from Youtube and when I saw Regan's video ( I thought it was a fun tag to do so I'm doing it. And since I don't have a Youtube channel I decided to use my blog instead =)

Basically there are 10 questions and you have to pick characters from books (duh!) to answer them. I know that we are not supposed to repeat characters from the same book to answer different questions but I cheated a bit with the last questions. Anyway, here goes the answers to the questions:

1. Who is the best kick-ass character? For this one I have to say Rose from The Vampire Academy. She is one of the strongest female characters I’ve ever read about and she kicks ass, literally. Killing Moroi is her specialty and she is freaking good at it. In addition, she is one of the sassiest and wittiest characters in the YA universe which makes the whole kick-ass thing even better.

2. Which character do you most dislike? I had a few in mind but I finally picked up Umbrigde from Harry Potter. Every time I read about her in the books I wanted to strangle and beat the crap out of her. I couldn’t help myself. She is just there for the reader to hate her.

3. If you could date any fictional character who would it be and why? Only one? seriously? Answering this question is kind of impossible to be honest LOL. But if I have to choose one I would say Will Herondale from the Infernal Devices. He is some serious swoon material, let me tell you. Everything about him is just perfect and he LOVES to read, which is a huge bonus =)

4. If you could change a character in any way what would it be? I would change Sansa from Game of Thrones, especially during the first two books. She just wants to live in a fairytale and doesn’t learn much about life even though she has a pretty tough time throughout the novel. Is really annoying because you want her to stand up and do something but she is just like a wallflower (thankfully, her character evolves in a good direction, at least for me).

5. What character to you made all the wrong choices that didn’t add anything to the book? I wouldn’t say that my pick for this one didn’t add anything to the book because it did but her choices were the wrong ones in every sense. And I’m talking about Katniss in Mockingjay. If you have read the book you know what I mean. It’s self-explanatory really.

6. Out of the five books you have chosen which character was the best villain whom you love to hate? TYWIN LANNISTER. He is bad to the bone but he is extremely intelligent and that’s why I love to hate him because he stands in everyone’s path and plots in a Machiavellian way to get what he wants and that is also fun to read about (and a bit frustrating sometimes, to be honest).

7. Favourite side-kick character with the most heart? For this one I have to pick Tyson from the Percy Jackson series. He is lovely and so nice and good is impossible not to like him. But also, he will do whatever necessary to help the people he loves.

8. What is your favourite fictional romantic relationship? (IF YOU HAVEN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS DO NOT CONTINUE READING) For me they have to be Simon and Isabelle. They are super awkward together and feel weird about their feelings from each other (Isabelle doesn’t admit her feelings for him until the 5th book) but at the same time they care so much about each other and you can see they are a perfect match (and I cannot wait until City of Heavenly Fire comes out to see how all ends).

9. What character did you think was the strongest? Easy: Aliena from the Pillars of the Earth. She has to endure so much pain and injustice throughout the entire book but she always finds a way to overcome everything.

10. Best protagonist? This one was the hardest to answer by far, so I decided to pick one involving the books mentioned in the previous nine questions to narrow my options. So, the best protagonist from these books would be Tyrion Lannister (ironically son of Tywin Lannister). Basically, he is the only character from Game of Thrones that has stuck as my favourite (with others my opinion have swung) and that’s because he is AWESOME! Intelligent, sassy, playful, moral but at the same time with darkness in him; a great protagonist that will adapt to any situation and somebody any reader will love to read about. 

So there we go! and feel free to do this tag =)

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Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier

"Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!
Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust".

Even though I am going to do a review of the trilogy I will talk about each book separately.

First, we have Ruby Red. It is the 1st book of this trilogy and for me the best of the three. Is all about the world setting, the explanation of how time-traveling works (in general) and the introduction of the characters, of which Gwyneth (the female protagonist) and Lesley (her best friend) are hilarious. Although it is true that this book does not have a lot of action the reader will not get bored a bit. This book is highly addictive and there are some parts that prevent you from putting it down. Also, there is a huge plot twist, one that the reader will not see coming so as a result you feel the urgency of picking up the 2nd book immediately. I gave Ruby Red 4 stars.

So, the second book is Sapphire Blue. I enjoyed this one a lot but I did have a few problems with it (and therefore with the third book). It was confusing sometimes when it came to the time traveling situations and the explanation of bizarre events. Is like you feel they are living in a big loop and it feels weird. In addition, we don’t get a lot of action in this book as well and what I mean by that is that things actually happen but they don’t resolve anything from the big mystery and is frustrating. However, the little adventures Gwyneth goes through are most of the time so comical and sidesplitting (believe me; the soirée party was too much for me. I was crying of laughter). Also, a gargoyle ghost is added to the list of characters: Xemerius happens to be one of the funniest characters I have ever read about. However there are a few things that I didn’t like but I would get to them at the end of this review because there were problems that I found in both the second and the third book. I gave Sapphire Blue 4 stars.

Finally, we have Emerald Green the 3rd and final book of this trilogy. And unlike the first two books, which I devoured, this one took me a little more time to read. Why? You must be wondering… well, because of the same flaw I found in the second book: there is little action related to the main plot and the ending and how all the mess is resolved is done in a rush way. And we have the explanation of the time traveling sometimes as well, which feels a bit lacking and confusing towards the end. I gave it 3 stars.

As for the characters I have already said that I love Lesley and Xemerius because they are the funny part of this story, they relieve the tension with their sassy lines and sarcastic comments. Then we have Gwen (Gwyneth). I like her but there are some parts where I want to slap her though for being a little drama queen. As a male protagonist we have Gideon and I have the same feelings about him that I have about Gwen. Also there is Count Saint Germain, a misogynistic character that thinks women are just plain simple and stupid (yes, is true that he is from the 18th century and the general image of women was not very positive but still, what a pig!). Finally there is Charlotte (Gwen’s cousin) and Aunt Glenda (Charlotte’s mother) and for the love of mine I really hate them. God! They are so posh, annoying and they believe themselves more superior than everybody else. I don’t know if you have seen the video where Tyrion slaps Joffrey (from Game of Thrones) non-stop (link to the video: but that kind of sums up my feelings for them. There are a few more characters but overall I like them all.

Now with the problems I had:

  • There is instalove in this book and I hate that. But funnily, in this book doesn’t feel like it mainly because the reader will feel like a lot of time has happened when really the time passed throughout the trilogy was more or less a week. So, it feels weird, that’s all.
  • The use of exclamation marks almost all the time which is really annoying. I didn’t notice it so much in the first book but it get worse and worse. I don’t know if it is a consequence of the translation into English (the books are originally German) or what but I thought it gave the characters a childish look.

Anyway, taking this trilogy as a whole it is a fun and quick read. I like it and I would recommend it without hesitation but I felt the necessity of telling the problems I had with it as to get it out of my chest (seriously, you had no idea how much I hated the exclamation marks). Also, sorry for this long review but there are three books so… yeah! Sorry. 

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