18 October 2013

Review: The Bone Season


The Bone Season
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



The last 20% of this was actually OK, but there were so many things about this book that I couldn't stand it was too little too late. It was a pity, I'#d heard such great things and thought I was going to love this.

Take an alternate universe and barely describe it. Then add about a gazillion different types of clairvoyant (voyant) and don't actually explain what the majority of them actually do. Then, jumble up time so that the reader realises that what she's actually read as about two weeks has in fact been several months... And yeah... I wasn't a fan.

Not a lot of things in this book make sense and I think the biggest thing was the hundreds of different types of unnaturals. They were never properly explained. You were just thrust into the world with the barest of descriptions and made-up-words. No thank you. I like to read descriptions, to know what places and people look like.

Then there's the whole Reph thing. These creatures NEED the voyants to survive. They need them to feed off and to kill the Buzzers. So every "bone season", which is every ten years, they take delivery of some voyants who have been kidnapped and tortured for sometimes almost 10 years. Then, they beat them and starve them. Seriously, they NEED these voyants to survive so they torture them almost to death and then they starve them to death. Despite the fact that they don't even get 50 every ten years. Makes no sense at all and it seriously bugged me for the majority of the book. NO SENSE HURTS MY HEAD.

There's a relationship in this book that from the word "go" reminded me far far too much of Sonea and Akkarin in [a:Trudi Canavan|15890|Trudi Canavan|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1194378660p2/15890.jpg]'s Black Magician's Trilogy. It was predictable to the point of being roll-your-eyes-boring.

But the non-stop action in the last 20% of this book redeemed it a little. I kept turning the pages to read more. The ending was pretty abrupt though, but a nice way to leave it. It ends in such a way that you won't need to read the next one. Which is good, as I hate not continuing in a series even if it sucks, as the reader's usually left with enough bait to grab the next one.



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04 October 2013

Review: The Screaming Staircase


The Screaming Staircase
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



I mostly requested this because I'd heard good things about it, and boy am I glad I did. This book is awesome!

I think that this is a children's book (middle grade maybe?) but don't let that put you off. This book is ridiculously well written, reading with the flair and complexity of only the best books (ever) and I freaking loved it.

This book is creepy and a little bit scary, set in a terrifying alternate world where ghosts have taken over the night and have the power to kill. When only the young can help to fight this threat, you can kiss goodbye to being a child. Children grow up too fast, too young, and risk their lives to protect everyone else.

The characters are marvellous. Each of them is individually strong, but as a team they are totally kick-ass.

Lucy is a refreshingly strong female lead who can stand on her own two feet. Despite her flaws she's no damsel in distress. And she's not a Mary Sue. She even saves the boys!

Both of the boys are complex too, with flaws of their own. Lockwood is infuriatingly mysterious and secretive - no one knows his background. But saying that, we don't know much about George either.

There is so much to learn, so much that I want to know, that I can't wait to read the next one.

This book is wonderfully written, set in a spine-tinglingly chilling world with a cast of crazy-marvellous, strong characters. It made me want to curl up in a nest of pillows and cushions and blankets and drink hot tea and eat jam sandwiches.

Simply? This book is marvellous.



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Review: A Study in Darkness


A Study in Darkness
A Study in Darkness by Emma Jane Holloway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I freaking love this series. I only wish there was longer between the books to give a sense of... I dunno, tension, suspense, anticipation? It doesn't seem right publishing them one after another over just a few months.

But on to the book itself.

The start of this book is so incredibly different from the start of the first one. And the ending? GIVE ME THE NEXT ONE NOW! You're dragged in by Steampunk pirates and a story that flows different from the first in the series - the writer has matured. The pace is different too. Where A Study In Silks was a little slow to start, this one is all action.

This series is really into the whole building of the world thing that can make or break a book. And it does it extraordinarily well. You learn more and more with each page but there are never any info-dumps or boring bits. This Steampunk world is so complex and so real.

The ending was just... Wow. It was so shocking and totally unexpected. I actually gasped out loud.



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30 September 2013

Review: Never Coming Back


Never Coming Back
Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Wow.

Even the cover of this book is moody and atmospheric. In fact, it really sets the tone for this dark thriller.

This is a series that I'd say you kind of have to read in order. I've read the first David Raker and then jumped to the fourth and I've definitely missed out on a killer story in between. And since the bookshop just doesn't seem to stock the second and third books I've gone and ordered them.

That being said, you can read these books out of order - the important details of previous events are recounted so that you understand what's happened and how the various characters are affected and how it changes them.

This book is vicious and dark and pretty scary, but also pretty heart warming. When the main character is trying to find all of these missing people, it's difficult for a book not to pull on your heart strings. But this one? Oooh my. I actually almost cried at the end. It was such a shock, almost overwhelming.

I love love LOVE this series. It's so dark and gritty and violent and shocking and even though that's usually not my cup of tea I just have to read on. Time Weaver's writing is addictive.



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29 September 2013

Review: Faeries, Elves and Goblins: The Old Stories


Faeries, Elves and Goblins: The Old Stories
Faeries, Elves and Goblins: The Old Stories by Rosalind Kerven

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



A fantastic collection of fairy stories and the second of Rosalind Kerven's books I've read this year - and I'm definitely going to read any further publications.

Fairy tales aren't just for kids - as an adult I thoroughly enjoyed this read. It took me right back to my childhood. These old stories are timeless, and wonderfully told in Faeries, Elves and Goblins. As an adult, the background to some of the stories was extremely interesting. I love reading anything that increases my general knowledge.

But Faeries are not only for children's eyes: they are more often spied by sensible matrons and reputable middle aged men.

This book has gorgeous illustrations throughout, I always paused to look them over. Even the chapter pages had me staring for a while!

The tales are from everywhere. I loved that there was something to make me stop and think "I know this one!"

Go out and buy this book. I had an e-copy via Net Galley for review, but I picked up a copy during a visit to a National Trust property and the quality is great. Definitely get the hard-copy, a screen doesn't do this beautiful book justice.



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23 September 2013

Review: Popping the Cherry


Popping the Cherry
Popping the Cherry by Aurelia B. Rowl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This was a great read.

It's one of those books I'll turn to when I need cheering up but want something with a little substance - a happily-ever-after that isn't plain sailing.

Popping the Cherry is fun and flirty but also has serious moments. And it has a message which I wholeheartedly agree with - it doesn't matter what everyone around you is doing, be yourself or you'll get hurt.

The characters are pretty much your typical young adults - in college, wanting to grow up so fast but still not quite ready to be an adult yet. I love that awkward stage. I liked Lena, but her best friend Gemma turned into a bit of a bitch.

The plot wasn't unexpected, in fact I pretty much knew what was going to happen. But when I pick up a book like this that's what I want.

I have to admit, the "I'm not strong enough to control myself around you" bit angered the feminist part of me, it's a pretty bullshit excuse from any guy.

For me, this book sits between YA and NA. I was reminded of Sarra Manning who is pretty much my go-to for writing like this.


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21 September 2013

Review: A Study in Silks


A Study in Silks
A Study in Silks by Emma Jane Holloway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



From the very start I was hooked. This is steampunk world building at it's best. The writing is great, the characters are great and the sense of mystery is entrancing.

A superb, complex and believable Steampunk world comes to life on these pages. The technologies are inspiring, the world a dark, dark place, especially if you fall foul of the steam barons. The author has taken inspiration from Sherlock Holmes and really made it work, weaving it wonderfully into this story - the result is quite splendid.

The characters have depth, with flaws all round, and they grow and change so much throughout this book. It was slightly infuriating knowing more than each of the characters at times but the narrative really works for this story.

The ending was not what I expected, which is actually excellent. It kept me thinking, wondering... And what a twist! It left me quite sad and surprisingly bereft. Is it any wonder I picked up the second book straight away?

A splendid steampunk tale infused with magic and darkness.



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09 September 2013

Review: The Emerald Atlas


The Emerald Atlas
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



WOW.

This was as magical as Harry Potter and as epic as Narnia. The Emerald Atlas was simply a delight to read.

This is a fantastic children's fantasy. The characters are engaging and each has their own personality, making it easy to relate to at least one. And they have flaws. They have real believable flaws.

The world is simply enchanting. It is built so well that I could imagine it all so well - at points I wondered to myself if there had been a dramatisation of this made because it really came to life. There are your common fantasy races like dwarves and witches, but then there are some brand new - and quite terrifying! - additions.

The plot is fantastic - there are aspects of mystery that don't end as you think they will. It twists and turns and helps to weave this marvellous story. And that ending. Just when you think everything has calmed down, that everything is going to be OK now... Well, I don't want to spoil it for you.

When I finished this I was left with that slightly empty yet expectant feeling that I have very rarely felt. This is a really powerful start to the series.

I can't wait to read on.



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06 September 2013

Review: Blackmoore: A Proper Romance


Blackmoore: A Proper Romance
Blackmoore: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I'm not sure I really felt anything for this book...

I didn't connect with the main character and quite disliked her for the majority of the book; Kate is quite a silly, selfish little girl. She annoyed me the most in that she was both selfless and selfish all at once. But perhaps it's no wonder she's a brat, having a slaggy and conspiring mother and a slaggy and disgraced sister.

Although that is one of the strengths of this book - it is slowly revealed why Kate is as she is, and she does grow as a character.

The setting made me feel even colder than this awful weather should have, so I supposed the descriptions must have been immersing enough. Only I can't remember any of them.

The end was a little too happily-ever-after for me. I much prefer more uncertain futures for the lives of characters.

Overall this was a moderately pleasant read, fun and romantic.



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04 September 2013

Review: The Operator


The Operator
The Operator by Valerie Laws

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



More of Valerie Laws' poetic, lyrical, witty writing. This woman is the queen of beautiful writing.

The late autumn sun cut through the atmosphere almost horizontally, rather than down onto the trees, picking out the rose hips in the hedges so they gleamed like beads of blood, and making the leaves glow like stained glass.

I really love Erica, I have a mega girl-crush on her. She is a captivating character. She's intelligent and strong and passionate and more than a little messed up. She makes me want to run as fast and as far as I can for as long as I can.

I imagine Stacey looking pretty much like Denise from Hebburn. She's blowsy and brave and knows what (and who) she wants. She's surprisingly strong, and once you understand her she is far far deeper than you'd ever realise. She's hilarious in her mannerisms and beliefs, and up-front about everything.

Sally is a bit of a bitch, aloof and always looking down her nose. But she just wants to get ahead in a world dominated by men. Of course she'd be bitter.

What I love the most is that these three unlikely allies all have one thing in common: they are feminists. I freaking love that feminism is not shied away from in this. Feminism is not a dirty word and it's so natural they way it's presented that you don't even notice it unless it's something already on your mind.

Maybe they were afraid she'd menstruate on their furniture.

The story twists and turns, slowly building up to a pretty epic, thrilling finale. I couldn't stop reading, couldn't stop thinking about it when I couldn't pick it up and read more. It's shocking and disturbing and haunting. This story is crazy good.

The Operator makes me long for Autumn and Winter, for long nights and short days, clouds and rain and frost.

Christmas was thundering closer like a herd of rabid reindeer.

And oh yes, I'l longing for Christmas too!



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03 September 2013

Review: Icons


Icons
Icons by Margaret Stohl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I wasn't completely sold on the style with this one, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Aliens usually aren't my thing, but the alien presence in this book didn't put me off. This wasn't all in your face about the visitors from outer space. Yeah, they were there, they were mentioned a lot, but it was done really well in this book so it's NOT just a book about aliens invading earth. Which is good, because it kept me reading.

I think this is part of a series (the first) but I don't think I'll read on. For me the book ended pretty well, I was satisfied with the story as a whole. But then again, perhaps it's the thought of aliens that's putting me off, as it seems there might be more in the next book.

The relationships between the characters were good. They seemed pretty natural apart from the Ambassador; I didn't understand her motives at all.

I didn't like how some things were left unexplained, but it was only little things. Pretty much everything that mattered was set out for the reader.

I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.



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31 August 2013

Review: Faking It


Faking It
Faking It by Cora Carmack

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I'm being generous giving this 3 stars I think. But I enjoyed it enough for 2 stars to be too low.

It's fun, flirty fiction that you don't really have to think about.

The characters are as likeable as they can be, but are pretty interchangeable - the nice guy and the Rebel Sue. Insert conflict and "unlikely" attraction and BAM, you're done.

There was a definite aversion to the word "nipple" in this book. Think of any other way to describe nipples and you'll find it, you just won't find the word nipple. It kind of made this seem pretty immature. Readers of this series are big girls and can take care of themselves and comfortably read the word NIPPLE.

I don't love this series, but I'm addicted to it. I know I'll read on, almost like the sort of morbid fascination as you pass a car crash that has you gaping out of the window.




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27 August 2013

Review: Viral Nation


Viral Nation
Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



This wasn't really my cup of tea.

I didn't click with the writing style, it didn't engage me. So from the start I didn't enjoy it. That said, when the end came I tried again and again to turn the page. It felt like it finished too soon and I wanted to read on as I'd started to like it and even enjoy it. The ending was SO abrupt.

I don't like complex time-travel in books, and this has it in spades. I just get super confused and start over thinking EVERYTHING. Add to that that there wasn't much explanation of the complexities of this brand of time-travel and I was sitting scratching my head like a confused monkey.

But I did like the characters. I liked Clover and how she struggled so much and grew throughout the book. She was a really strong character. I liked her voice.The conflicts the characters faced were pretty good too. The situations were pretty scary in some places. And terrifying in others.

The best part of this book, for me, was the final 15%. Out of all of the book it's the bit that gripped me and made me turn the pages faster.

The worst bit of this book was the killing of all would-be criminals except for child abusers. Just thinking of it makes me sick.

Thanks to Net Galley for a copy of this. I think I would read the next book because the ending of this one picked up so much.



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20 August 2013

Review: In Defense of the Queen


In Defense of the Queen
In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



A fast paced historical mystery with a nice dollop of international espionage and intrigue. A strange mix but it worked quite well.

This book works on its own as a standalone well enough, despite actually being part of a series. There was little to no explanation of what happened in previous books, with a presumption that any readers of this one were already invested in the series, but that didn't matter to me (and I didn't even notice) until a little over half way where motives became difficult to understand and too much was unknown. But by that time I myself was a little too invested in the story for it to overly bother me. That said, it did lessen my enjoyment.

I thought at first that the action-packed plot had peaked too soon, but the author managed to keep the action coming at the same intensely fast pace. Which is good because when the true action hit and I saw how much there was still to go I was a little apprehensive that the story would fall flat at the end. Good job it didn't!

If you look for accuracy in your historical reads then this is probably not for you. But if you're a fan of The Tudors or action or drama or spies of any sort, then pick this up and give it a go.

I received a copy via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.



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16 August 2013

Review: A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar


A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar
A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a fantastic and complex read.

The prose is beautifully written and this was a delight to read. The description were sumptuous, beautiful, lavish and luxurious and I found myself instantly transported to Kashgar.

This book switched between two time periods and various characters, but for once I actually enjoyed the changes of perspective. It really really worked and despite it usually being something that puts me off reading a book instead it drew me in further.

The pace is subtle and I didn't realise how very much the whole book had changed between the first page and the last. Suzanne Joinson's writing is simply AMAZING. You journey with the characters, feel as they feel.

I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach as I finished this book, as I am sure Evangeline did at the end of her journey. What happens between the pages is haunting and shocking, yet somehow delicate and quite lovely.

This is definitely one of those books which leaves you with a "what next" feeling.
What happens now? Where do the characters go from here? Where to I go from here?

I won a copy via Goodreads First Reads.



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13 August 2013

Review: Watershed


Watershed
Watershed by Cd Brennan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was such a sweet story.

At first I though "Woah! This is moving FAST!" and was a little worried by how fast they fell for each other. But a few pages later I totally understood why it happened on both parts. It was right for it to happen like that.

I loved the turmoil of both characters caused by their own assumptions of each other. It was a real strength that in this story it felt so REAL. Fergus was a right dick and I was so glad when Maggie stood up to him - she developed so well as a character and her hesitation made her actions and growth believable.

This is a passionate, well-paced New Adult romance and I want to read more of Maggie and Gray! It feels as though there's so much more of their story to tell.

Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy for review - I only wish I'd read it sooner!



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12 August 2013

Review: Saxon's Bane


Saxon's Bane
Saxon's Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This is a deliciously subtle horror - and because of that even if horror is not your cup of tea I'd suggest you give it a go.

It is safe to say that I am fascinated by the history of Britain. I know all sorts of obscure trivia. And this book has added to it! Hooray! I absolutely LOVED the historical and archaeological aspects of this story.

The pacing is excellent. The story undulates naturally as the plot unravels. Folklore and tradition play a huge part in this fantastic tale, and this draws you in deeper. You feel a slowly building sense of dread as the story progresses.

But it's not all doom and gloom. In fact, it's far from it. This story is exciting and funny and thought provoking.

The characters are complex. You like some, dislike others, and that's just you getting started. You really get involved. There is passion and anger and religious zeal, but not one bit of it is overbearing. It's all how it's supposed to be.

Thanks to Rebellion via NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.



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08 August 2013

Review: Witchfall


Witchfall
Witchfall by Victoria Lamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I'm kinda reading these in the wrong order... Random House approved this one before Witchstruck. And it doesn't even matter. In fact, it probably made me rate this better, because my god, is it well written.

Witchfall is very well written and if I hadn't already known it was the second in a series then I probably wouldn't have guessed, this book is SO well written. There are always hints to the past (the previous book) but it never overshadows the present, what's happening in this book.

There was plenty of mystery and a cast of mainly great characters - I guess I only wasn't sure about Meg's brother as he seemed a bit here-and-there with his loyalties.

The baddie is bad and the good characters aren't all that good. This leant a real sense of realism to this historical fantasy, even with the twists fantastical involving historical personalities.

Well worth a read. Now I'm off to read the first one!

Thanks to Random House via Net Galley for a copy of this in exchange for review.



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07 August 2013

Review: Dark Lover


Dark Lover
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



WARNING: This book will enthral you. You won't be able to do anything until you finish it. Not eat, sleep or work.

This book is amazing. Believe the hype, read it, and love it.

I liked the characters and the way they changed throughout the book. They're not simple. They're astonishingly complex. The vampires are different from what's floating around in the fantasy genre at the moment and it's it's refreshing. The world that is built is so believable that I was expecting to bump into a six-foot-something-built-like-a-brick-shit-house vampire last night after dark.

And my god. This book was HOT. Wow.

I always find it hard to review really good books that send me all fan-girly, so maybe I'll up-date this in a day or two once the silly grin is off my face.



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05 August 2013

Review: Bitter Chocolate


Bitter Chocolate
Bitter Chocolate by Lesley Lokko

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another perfectly indulgent offering from Lesley Lokko. This would suit perfectly well as a New Adult and when I classify books as New Adult it's Lesley Lokko's work I generally use as a guide.

If you need something to get invested in, something to make you think, something to make you feel every emotion under the sun and something to stay in your head, then look no further.

Bitter Chocolate reminded me a little of [b:Sundowners|906497|Sundowners|Lesley Lokko|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348987258s/906497.jpg|891642]. They have some similar elements such as the different lives and people converging and a very artistic/designer character. There is a mix of poverty and wealth and the struggles of going between them - and best of all it feels so REAL. There is romance and hardship and love and hate. And there are three very confused young ladies, unsure of how their life is going to pan out and whether they're making the right (or more often wrong) decision.

It's best to set aside some time for Lesley Lokko because once you start you'll be hooked and won't be able to read anything else until you finish the book. Then you'll want to pick up another.

This book is a book for all seasons. It's great for summer when you want to chill, winter for when you need something comforting, autumn for those lengthening nights and spring for the freshness of the world. AWESOME.



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02 August 2013

Review: Carnival


Carnival
Carnival by Rawi Hage

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Vague, rambling, beautiful, shocking, disturbing, intelligent, fantastical...

Pick a word, any word. It will probably go towards describing this book in some way.

This is a very grown-up book. It's one of those books that you have no chance of understanding while still growing-up and probably won't understand even when you're grown. I'm still not sure what I read. This book is confusing and disturbing, but I finished it pretty quickly. I carried on reading. Even when I felt like I was going to be sick I still turned the page. And I don't know why. Something about Fly hooked me.

Fly is the main character, the narrator. And he's pretty crazy and messed up. A taxi-driving circus orphan raised by and living-with a series of misfits and freaks for the majority of his life, I was never sure if Fly honestly saw the world as described or if he was just as high as a kite. His high-or-bat-shit narrative was quite difficult to follow and I found myself reading most pages more than once.

I'd say read this book once so you know just how sane you are. And be wary of taxi drivers. And circus-folk.

I won a copy of this from Goodreads First Reads and also had access to a digital copy via NetGalley. Thank, Penguin, but this wasn't quite my cup of tea.



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31 July 2013

Review: Out-Of-Style: A Modern Perspective of How, Why and When Vintage Fashions Evolved


Out-Of-Style: A Modern Perspective of How, Why and When Vintage Fashions Evolved
Out-Of-Style: A Modern Perspective of How, Why and When Vintage Fashions Evolved by Betty Kreisel Shubert

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This book is WONDERFUL.

Whether you're a fasionista, studying history or fashion, looking in to your own family history or love reading novels set in Victorian England to the present day this book is for you.

The amount of research and work that has gone in to this is astonishing.

But it's very accessible and easy to use, with super helpful illustrations to back up the text. And I learnt so much! Bra's have been around since WHEN??

I love how much easier it is to visualise when I'm reading and I loved discovering how and why fashions changed during the time periods.



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28 July 2013

Review: Unmasking the Spy


Unmasking the Spy
Unmasking the Spy by Janet Kent

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



What to say about this? I'm not altogether sure how I feel if I'm honest. An easy 3-3.5 stars.

This was a good enough read, which did entertain me. A few years ago it's exactly what I would have loved to read, in fact I went through a whole Regency romance period where that's all I would read.

There were some things that bugged me, like "honey" and too-tight pantaloons, but the capers of Alicia and Ian kind of made up for that. I loved reading about Alicia's balls and soirées and the passion between "Elizabeth" and "Rouge" was excellent, if a little steamy. I did feel like screaming at Alicia and Ian to just be bloody honest with each other though. I mean, seriously? HOW could they not know who was who, regardless of how dark it was?

But boy does Unmasking the Spy have some thrills. Although I'd pretty much guessed the who-dunnit, the twist at the end was marvellous any brought the rating up a little. But the ending itself was a bit of a let down. SHE HAD A CONCUSSION!

The worst part of this book is that Ian even said himself that he couldn't control himself. Things like that make me feel sick and bring out the angry feminist inside of me.

I'd probably call this a Young-New-Adult Regency Romance if I had to categorise it.



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26 July 2013

Review: Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral?


Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral?
Fancy a Cuppa by the Cathedral? by Simon Duffin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This is a GREAT guide to Cathedrals and tea and coffee shops around the UK.

It is very informative and interesting - I thought I knew about my "local" cathedrals, but this guide taught even me a thing or two.

And it's not just the cathedral's you learn about. You also learn about the cafés and the people behind them. The real people. These coffee houses and tea rooms are all about the localities, with home-made goodies and really cool quirks. This book is a bit of a champion for small businesses.

I have visited some of the cathedrals and business in this and I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendations with which I'm familiar - they are spot on!

If you're going to ANY cathedral town, then get this. You'll have a great day out and a fab afternoon treat too.



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24 July 2013

Review: The New Girl


The New Girl
The New Girl by Tracie Puckett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



The cover is deceiving - this is not a light fluffy lemon soufflé of a romance with lots of sex. It is a fantastic little YA read which will cheer you right up if you're feeling down. And best of all it's free. So go read it!

I'll admit, I did frown when I read Abcdef Ghijk as a name... And I'm still not sold on the bat-shit mother. But Steph ('cdef, how clever) is a pretty awesome character in this surprisingly excellent little read.

Although this is a pretty tame YA, it's filled with tension and conflict and friendships and the THAT'S NOT FAIR feeling you should experience at least once from this kind of YA. Fan of school drama? You'll be a fan of this.

The only bad thing is that now I think I'm hooked, and I'm going to have to buy the rest to see where this goes!



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Review: In The Summer Time


In The Summer Time
In The Summer Time by Judy Astley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is the PERFECT summer read.

In The Summer Time isn't too heavy, but it's not light and fluffy. It's got a serious side to it, as well as the traditional capers you'd expect.

This book had me laughing out loud while trying not to cry. I was reminded of teenage summers and boy-troubles and Cold Feet.

But it's also a very grown-up book, even if Miranda makes some quite juvenile decisions and jumps to childish conclusions - but that's what this book is about, to me, it's about remembering being young and free and how different it was. Miranda regresses a bit while watching her own teenage children try to grow up. It's about remembering that the simple things in life are sometimes the best, whether it's a fried egg sandwich or cup of tea or simply being together as a family.

Miranda's comments about her children are hilarious, witty and sometimes quite dry. And the humour is definitely the best bit of this book. It really is laugh-out-loud funny and I must have looked like a loon when I was reading this on the bus.

The romance is great too - it's the slow rekindling of an old flame, with all of the confusion that twenty years, two children, and a divorce can bring.

I will definitely be reading more of Judy Astley's books.

Thanks to Random House via NetGalley for a copy of this for review.



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23 July 2013

Review: Witch Hunt


Witch Hunt
Witch Hunt by Tabitha Morrow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This book is pretty amazing. It starts out as one genre and ends as another, almost the complete opposite, with a strand of fantasy woven all the way through.

This isn't the best written book out there, but I was hooked.

Better to be afraid of witches and murderers than to be one.

Witch Hunt is creepy and mysterious and thrilling, with twists and turns and little surprises. There are scenes to gush at, scenes to have you frozen in horror, scenes to make your blood boil, and scenes to make you cry. This is a full emotional roller-coaster, so get ready.

The characters develop really well and are well written; their understanding of various scenarios is very natural given the circumstances. You start to feel for the characters. Ruth probably grows and changes the most, but boy is she a little blind at times. Again, this is understandable, it's how it should be.

The ending was great too. Most of the loose ends were tied up, everything came together, but it's not happily ever after. The ending is left open so that there could be a follow on, but I like it as it is, all on its own.

Thanks to Diversion Books via NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.



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16 July 2013

Review: The Worst Witch and The Wishing Star


The Worst Witch and The Wishing Star
The Worst Witch and The Wishing Star by Jill Murphy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



As I was growing up, the Worst Witch books were a firm favourite with me, my sisters and my friends. And I'm sure that they too will want to read this. I really REALLY enjoyed this. It's in the same style and just as easily accessible as the earlier books, but you know reading it, right from the start, that Mildred and friends have grown up a little.

The gorgeous illustrations perfectly compliment the story - even the layouts are quite humourous for some!

The story is wonderful - it's got the good, the bad, and the happy ending. And Mildred makes a new friend and gains some responsibilities. This helps her grow up a little. And you see a different side of HB, she's not all lofty, evil potions teacher.

This was a great return of one of the best children's characters out there, and the fabulous illustrations just made me feel more nostalgic for my childhood, a time when we'd committed the Cackle's Academy song to memory and would sing it when we were acting out the books - I was always Mildred with my long hair.

Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for a copy of this.



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15 July 2013

Review: Mates, Dates And Sleepover Secrets


Mates, Dates And Sleepover Secrets
Mates, Dates And Sleepover Secrets by Cathy Hopkins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Another fun one from Cathy Hopkins and the Mates, Dates gang!

This time we meet TJ, the newcomer to the gang. Her best friend is gone, hundreds of miles away in South Africa, and the bitch at school is trying to make her life hell.

But Lucy, Izzie and Nesta come to the rescue and welcome her to the gang - cue sleepovers, makeovers and boy talk.



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Review: Summer Lovin'


Summer Lovin'
Summer Lovin' by Donna Cummings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a great little novella. 3.5/5

Summer Lovin' is what it says on the tin. A passionate quickie (haha) all fun and flirty. And, of course, with a happy ending. The cover promises a summer romance and that's what you get. I only wish it wasn't so brief!

This isn't all sex. And thank goodness. It's refreshing.

The thing I perhaps loved the most was that it was a bit like the beginning and end of a story so you could imagine the middle on your own. It also means there's scope for the author to turn this into a full-length novel.



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10 July 2013

Review: Mates, Dates & Cosmic Kisses


Mates, Dates & Cosmic Kisses
Mates, Dates & Cosmic Kisses by Cathy Hopkins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



It was OK...

It's weird. When I read these as a teen, Izzie was my favourite character. But I don't really like her now I'm older. She's too whiny. So I didn't enjoy this book as much as this one was focused mainly on her.

The best part of this series is the subtle lessons - namely don't be a slag and don't give in to pushy boys who want you to go further than you're comfortable with.

Another tween book for girls, carrying on the teenage drama of the Mates, Dates series with a feel-good ending that has you smiling despite yourself.



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07 July 2013

Review: Parasite


Parasite
Parasite by Mira Grant

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Wow.

Mira Grant is a fantastic writer, and why I hadn't read her before I do not know. Parasite reminded me of [b:Sara's Face|2297300|Sara's Face|Melvin Burgess|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348516218s/2297300.jpg|2303617] by [a:Melvin Burgess|56977|Melvin Burgess|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1206545905p2/56977.jpg] with the video transcripts and the excerpts from literary sources.

This book freaked me out, it made me squirm, it made me think. It made me stop and think. I didn't need convincing about the overuse of anti-biotics and biocides and how the sterilisation of our environment is bad. I already knew that. But now I'm just going to go ahead and chuck out every nasty cleaning product in the cupboard. Boiling water, lemon juice, vinegar and sodium bicarbonate will do for me.

And then I'm going to go out and get some anti-parasitic shit for me and my family and my dogs and my neighbours cat. And I'll probably hand them out to everyone I meet.

The story builds slowly. You really get to know the characters. Sal isn't my favourite character in the whole wide world, but there is a reason she is how she is. I love the different paces - it's not all super fast, there are more mellow spots too.

There is a thread of mystery all through the story but it's been pushed aside often by Sal in favour of something more important (to her) and the fact that she doesn't want to deal with it. I love when characters direct the plot.

That ending was something else. This book kept me hooked right until the end. And I thought I had everything worked out and I knew what was going to happen, but it was still shocking, so shocking. I just sat at the end, gazing down at my kindle, wanting to read more yet knowing I wouldn't be able to handle it, not right away.

Sometimes humanity is the reason we can't have nice things.



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01 July 2013

Review: Maelyn


Maelyn
Maelyn by Anita Valle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This was definitely amazing for a novella.

Go and download it now. Go on. It's free on kindle.

As an adult, I thought it was great. I would have enjoyed this as a teen too and as a child would have loved it. It has all of the right ingredients for a fairytale.

And that's what I think this is - a fairytale. It has a soft, lyrical narrative, an evil uncle, conflict between the characters and a moral to the story. Perfect for escaping for anyone of any age.

Maelyn is a great character.

Ten minutes of careful searching later, Maelyn faced the dismal truth - she was bookless.

I felt that I could relate to her. She is the eldest sister and has a love of reading. She's trying so hard to keep everything together, to be the strong one.

Maelyn smiled. If books could have litters she'd be just as happy.

And she escapes in to books. She shares her love of reading and stories with her eight sisters during reading hour, but she also escapes on her own.

Maelyn sank into the world the words wrapped around her, hushing everything that hurt, and seeping tranquility right down to her toes. She was home.



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30 June 2013

Review: Stalking Sapphire


Stalking Sapphire
Stalking Sapphire by Mia Thompson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was fantastic.

Stalking Sapphire is full of mystery and suspense and WOW at those twists. I thought I had everything thought out and then my mind was blown by the whodunnit twist.

The writing is strong, the plot unravels at a delicious pace, gripping yet slow and subtle.

Sapphire is a great character - you know and understand her motives right from the start. She's confused and tense. Aston grew on me, I wasn't sure about him at first. I think he perhaps grew the most as a character.

This is New Adult as it should be written - yeah, there's a little teensy tiny bit of sex, but it's not overkill. It's not even graphically described (THANK YOU!). This story is Sapphire and her transition from young adult to adult. She has to sort out her own life, get her priorities right, and catch that killer!

I cannot wait for the next one. Especially with that extra twist at the end. Can I have it now, Diversion Books?

Copy from Diversion via Net Galley in exchange for an hones review.



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28 June 2013

Review: Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend


Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend
Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is a fantastic second book in a series. It is totally accessible for readers who are new to the series and yet the summaries of the previous book is so subtle that I don't think it will be intrusive to readers invested in the series already. I definitely will be reading the first book. Just my cup of tea.

It is well written in general. The narrative style is like a comfortable pair of pyjamas, something you know you can rely on for comfort after a hard day. It's easily accessible and easy to read.

The characters are also refreshingly REAL. Rose is a particular favourite - she knows when she's being a bitch and she goes back and makes things better. She lets her emotions simmer and build. She's a normal teenager, confused about life.

When I was thirteen, I was collecting horse stickers.

This whole book could have easily been a depressing pity party. But it's not. It's upbeat and makes you think pleasant thoughts.

I didn't like the nickname "Sweater". In the UK, it means something completely different. I found myself wondering whether Rose showered or used antiperspirant.

Thank you to Mira Ink via NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.



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25 June 2013

Review: White Trash Beautiful


White Trash Beautiful
White Trash Beautiful by Teresa Mummert

My rating: 2 of 5 stars



This was very almost a one star.

This book annoyed me so much. It infuriated me. It made me sigh and roll my eyes. I had to push myself to finish it. I hoped that it would get better at the end, but it didn't. Not for me anyway.

But I can see the draw of this book. The title is pretty excellent. And I think that a lot of people will like it. It's the kind of story that most Young Adult readers will probably lap up.

I found the writing terribly immature. It was like a thirteen-year-old's over excited fan-fiction about whichever boyband crush she has at that moment. But it was trying to be older than that. It was written in such a young way that I was confused when Cass and Tucker went to a bar - wasn't she too young to drink? But no. She's supposed to be college leaving age, not the fifteen year old girl the writing seemed to portray her as.

Cass? She annoyed me from the very very start. This whole book was one great big woe-is-me pity party for her. She was so plain, with her blonde hair, blue eyes, and freckles on her heart shaped face. Yeah right. Oh, and she was super skinny too, skinnier even than her junkie mother who didn't eat a scrap in this entire novel.

Tucker was alright. He's probably the reason this got two stars. He saw through Cassie's crap and told her to get real. Then he went and ruined it all towards the end.

The end. You've got to be bloody joking. The character's hit their all-time most juvenile at the end.

I don't think I could put myself through the next book, sorry Teresa Mummert. Your writing is just not my cup of tea. In fact, it's like Dandelion and Burdock to me. Eeww.



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23 June 2013

Review: The Herbalist


The Herbalist
The Herbalist by Niamh Boyce

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



A very easy four stars. Almost five.

This story starts slow and builds and builds and builds. It is fantastically written and the prose is so lyrical that it felt at times as though I were reading a poem. The writing itself grows and by the end you feel as though you're reading a different book entirely.

It is mysterious and shocking, with threads of romance woven through. The little town has just as much of a little mind, is judgemental and closed and old-fashioned even for the times. It's a poisonous little place.

At first I found it a little difficult to differentiate between the different narratives, but it soon became easy, the voices became so much more distinct once I better knew the characters.

Emily was the character that got to me the most. It's like she aged all of a sudden, yet at the same time it was so slow and subtle. She was infuriating and more than a little silly, but she grew up and did the right thing.

I felt so sorry for Sarah and only wish I hadn't been drip-fed the information so slowly. But at the same time it was right for the pacing of the story.

This is a book that would quite easily help me pass a long, slow summer's day.



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22 June 2013

Review: This Northern Sky


This Northern Sky
This Northern Sky by Julia Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Read this book. Read it now and then tell everyone.

Look at the pretty cover. It's striking and elegant all at once. But it doesn't suit the story for me. In fact, it put me off reading this for a while. The cover could be so so much more, could be so beautiful just like the island. I understand that it's meant to "go" with the covers of other books, but it's a little disappointing once you've read the AMAZING story.

This story is haunting and beautiful and I loved it. I will definitely re-read this book. I was reminded of [b:Lucas|294817|Lucas|Kevin Brooks|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328867454s/294817.jpg|2395659] by Kevin Brooks, Kate's narrative voice reminded me of Cait, and the island setting, although VERY different, seemed to reinforce this. That's not a bad thing, Lucas is one of my favourite books. But This Northern Sky is NOTHING like Lucas, aside from being haunting, a book that will stay with you.

I love the beginning. I love how it holds back, but is still chock-full of description. I love the feeling of isolation and loneliness which is compounded by the vivid, dark descriptions. I've highlighted so many passages.

The characters are fluid and natural and develop wonderfully. I love them all, with their flaws and imperfections.

Kate is a great character. Julia Green has done a fantastic job with her - she's so believable, so real. She grows and changes, and it's all completely right. It's exactly how it should be. She matures. She grows up. She lets go. Even her appearance changes, but of course it would.

And the island... Oh my gosh, the island. Please can I go to this beautiful place? It's my idea of paradise, and was from the beginning, although Kate feels differently. A fifteen year old dragged away from suburbia to a remote island with nothing to do? Heaven for me, but it's what made Kate real from the very start. I love how the island isn't simple. It's hard. Life depends on the weather and so far out to sea you can't predict it.

My favourite part of the book was definitely that special moment in the middle of the night on the beach. I don't want to spoil that magical moment, so you'll have to read and experience it for yourself. The scene is all the more powerful because of what's already happened.

I love the ending. I love how everything comes so beautifully together, but isn't rushed. My heart felt like it was going to burst with all of the emotion this book filled me with. So much hope and love and a crushing hint of sorrow. It brings you back, subtly, to the start and you want to read it and experience everything all over again.

Read this book. Read it now and then tell everyone.

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and Net Galley for a copy of this.



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21 June 2013

Review: A Taste for Blood


A Taste for Blood
A Taste for Blood by David Stuart Davies

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



I didn't really want this story to end. I didn't know how it was going to end, and I just loved that feeling. Too often can you predict what's going to happen in a book, but A Taste For Blood? Nope. You can't.

First take a look at the cover. It's dark and twisted and broody and makes me think of Jack the Ripper.

I love crime books, I probably read one each week, but I didn't think this would be my cup of tea. How wrong I was.

The narrative switches between a few different characters in this book, but that didn't bother me at all. All of the characters had their own strong voice, their own mannerisms with language which made them stand apart from each other.

I grinned. "I'm anybody's for a cuppa and a biscuit."

I could relate to the characters. Well, most of them. Not really Sexton or Northcote. Eew. Although I did understand Northcote's motives towards the end.

This book twists and turns so unexpectedly that I re-read more than a few sections, just to make sure I'd taken it all in properly. It's gruesome and violent and more than once my toes curled. It's horrific in the way that all good crime should be, with blood and gore everywhere and enough mystery to keep you, as a reader, on your toes.

Some things didn't really work for me though. Mostly the setting. World War Two London, and the characters are popping into pubs for a sandwich and cafés for meals, and drinking lots of overly sweet tea and alcohol. It doesn't make sense to me that these resources would be so readily available in wartime London with rationing in full swing. I'm a tea addict (and tea-geek) so I know how little tea was available, not to even mention the more scarce products like sugar, and it just doesn't add up to me.

Copy provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.



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18 June 2013

Review: The Truth About Letting Go


The Truth About Letting Go
The Truth About Letting Go by Leigh Talbert Moore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Maybe more of a 3.25 than a 3, but not a 4 in my books - it just wasn't quite my cup of tea.

First of all, take a look at that cover. All sunshine and love and summer and happiness? No. It's not. The cover is a lie and it meant that what I read was completely different from what I expected. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

It wasn't a bad story, it was a good story, and the characters all seemed to grow (apart from Colt, but more on that later) and there were some sweet moment and poignant messages.

"It's over," I whisper. "I don't believe in you anymore."

Ashley is one frustrating ho-bag of a character. And she's super immature to boot. I found that I disliked her intensely after about 25% of this book which is a shame as I was really quite enjoying the story. And when you can't connect with a spoilt brat of a character, how can you connect with the story? She gets drunk quicker than anyone I've ever read before. One shot of vodka? Smashed. Four sips of wine? Smashed. And she has her own credit card which she doesn't need to worry about, because she's so privileged and has faced no read hardship until recently. She treats her best friend like crap, even though Mandy is just trying to make things OK like they were before, to cheer her up.

"Are you mad at me?"
I watch her collect her things. Her lips tighten, and I know she is. But she shrugs. "Your life's been screwed up enough this year. Being mad at you's like kicking a puppy."


Then there's Jordan, who Ashley is absolutely awful to. Her behaviour is disgusting - she even tries to force him into having sex with her despite his wish to stay a virgin until marriage. Uhm, if that was the other way round I bet it would NOT be brushed off so easily (see the Colt scene a little later on). Jordan is so sweet and I only wish that he'd ended up with Charlotte. But Charlotte's the fatty and so gets no attention. None. Even Ashley (until her "I'm a bitch, better change that" moment) doesn't pay her any attention, just laps up the attention Charlotte lavished on her. And poor Charlotte, she was the character I felt the most for throughout this story.

And then there's the dick. Colt. A bigger scum-bag you're unlikely to meet. I felt sick reading about him. He annoyed me and angered me so so much. He's aggressive and just plain vile, and I don't give a toss about the twist at the end which is supposed to make you understand him. Just, no.

But all of the characters grow, and they grow slowly. It's a real strength in this book. Some things may read like an over-excited teen, but the writing is mostly strong and the plot moves smoothly. It's slow building, with a great pace that makes for a pretty good - if slightly depressing - summer read. I think I'll give Leigh Talbert Moore one more go after this, hopefully she drops the Mary-Sue main character.

Thank you Net Galley for this.



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16 June 2013

Review: Every Breath You Take


Every Breath You Take
Every Breath You Take by Sheila Quigley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This is probably the best in the Lorraine Hunt series. Full of twists and turns and turmoil and mystery.

My favourite part of this book is how real everything is. From everyone in a household crowding round the window to watch a police raid across the road (don't turn the light on or they'll see us watching!) to a daughter pushing the boundaries with a father she never knew she had.

The romance in this book builds slowly with the adult characters, but the teenage characters have exactly the right amount of young-impulsiveness that lets them love so freely and eagerly.

The crimes are gruesome and horrific, with a twisted killer and some unexpected deaths. Sheila Quigley is not afraid to kill some pretty awesome characters, who you think will hang around for at least a whole book. These deaths are shocking but just add to this already pretty amazing book.

One more to go, and I'll be quite sad when I get to the end of this series. I started reading it in high-school and it's stayed with me easily these past six or seven years.



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13 June 2013

Review: The Elite


The Elite
The Elite by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



I haven't read the first in this series, so this is a proper test for The Elite. Can it stand out as a good book in its own right?

The answer? No. This is a 2.75 rounded up to 3.

Warning: this review is a little angry, I didn't enjoy this book as much as that overly-fussy yet still pretty cover made me think I would. Boo for pretty covers and my judging a book by its cover. But it's still got (almost) 3 stars, so it's not all that bad.

It's a decent enough story, if not terribly confusing, as it apparently picks up exactly where the last one ended. I often pick up a book and read it without checking to see if it's part of a series - and usually that's perfectly fine, it's great, it makes me want to read all of the other books. In a series there is usually a run-down of what happened in the previous book(s) if not only to remind you of what happened. Even House of Night managed that (but, you know, nowadays that'll be a book in itself. FINISH IT ALREADY!). It's the mark of a strong series, that it's easily accessible. The Elite just isn't unless you're already invested in the series.

And then on to the characters. Dear god, America, what kind of girl are you? Do you want him or don't you? She's all "oh I don't want to be with him!" and then he shows the slightest interest in someone else and she's all "back off bitch!" and angry. Not everyone loves you, you spoilt Mary-Sue, who's only redeeming quality seems to be that she was once poor and is a bit of a slag. Maxon is a spoiled brat pretty much until the very end, and Aspen just needs to go away and stop screwing with Mer's head. I liked the queen though, and Marlee.

The world seems very flat too. For a dystopian novel this isn't good at all, oh no. This story seemed to focus on the mansion and all the pretty things and the lavish lifestyle. There wasn't much of the hardship displayed, only a few raids during which all the characters are tucked away safely. Except for America of course, she's a Mary-Sue so can run faster than anyone, ever.

Good points? Yes, there are some. The story was sweet in places and I really felt for Marlee. And for Kriss, as it feels like she's being led along. And America's maids, she was quite nasty to them, even when they devoted themselves to her. And by the end I was beginning to piece the obscure world together a little and better understand the motives driving some of the characters. Maxon's not all bad, but he's not all good either, I'm definitely team Maxon. There was tension and conflict between the characters, they weren't all 2D, they had emotions.

The ending was a bit of a relief for me. It was predictable, yes, but a good predictable. It wrapped up well but kept enough back to set the scene for another book, you know to resolve the whole Selection process. And there was even more tension added, you know, because it's the end.

If I had read the first I'd probably like this story more, as I'd know what was going on.

Thanks, NetGalley for a copy of this.



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Review: Love is a Thief


Love is a Thief
Love is a Thief by Claire Garber

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a very heart warming and hilarious chick-lit.

I like the cover, but feel it could have been more enticing. It seems a little plain for the ride that the story really is.

For the most part, this book had a good pace and plenty of hilarious points. But at times it seemed to drag on a little and I'd look at how much further I had to go and sigh. But those dragging points were few and far between and I really enjoyed this book, the rest of the story more than made up for those moments.

It's full of fantastic philosophical advice on life and love. It made me laugh out loud a lot, and I don't think I've ever read more profanities in a whole book than I've read in a single page of Love Is A Thief.

The characters are a wide mix of personalities, with a few stereotypes thrown in. What would a chick-lit be without a gay best friend or the office bitch who everyone else loves? And of course there has to be a love lost somewhere, or several in this case.

There were a few "OH MY GOD" moments in this book, when I sat gobsmacked and unable to think properly, which was great. There is passion and life in this book.

This book really made me stop and think about my life. What has love stolen from me? How different would my life be without love? What have I given up for love? It's not often a book has me questioning most aspect of my life.

I will not be surprised to see this book popping up on best-seller lists when it's released, even if it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Thanks to Mira and Net Galley for a copy of this. I'll definitely be getting the print version.



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09 June 2013

Review: In Too Deep


In Too Deep
In Too Deep by Bea Davenport

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



What's that? First review for this book? How lucky I am!

This was a great read.

When I think crime, I don't think summer read. But I've read this whole book in the sun in my garden. It works. The setting is great and I could picture Dowerby perfectly. Although I knew it was set somewhere inspired by Alnwick and other Northern market towns, I was picturing Dowery just like that anyway, and would have regardless.

Maura was a rather frustrating character. She was in a poisonous relationship with her husband, and my, what a dick he was! Men like Nick deserve to die a very slow and painful death and I'm very glad of how the end turned out. Kim was great - glamorous and sassy she was just what Dowerby needed. And she wasn't afraid, not until the very end - and anyone would have been terrified then.

I feel sorry for Rosie in all of this and don't understand why she didn't say anything at nursery - isn't that the kind of thing a child would mention?

I loved the conflict between the characters and I loved the setting. I liked a lot of what the book had to say but resented some things.

Having attended an event with the author and hearing her talk of the book, I really want to know what the strand of romance was that she had had to edit out! I look forward to reading more of her adult offerings - and perhaps her young adult if they are published?



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07 June 2013

Review: The Medium


The Medium
The Medium by C.J. Archer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a fantastic freebie from Amazon - if you haven't downloaded it yet, go get it now. I think it's a love-it or hate-it book and I know I definitely love it and will certainly re-read it in the future.

I knew I'd enjoy this book simply from the cover and blurb - historical fantasy set in London with ghosts? I'm sold. There's something about ghosts in London that seems to have me hooked at the moment, regardless of any other genres, and this book does it SO SO WELL.

I never thought when I started this book that I'd get so caught up in the plot. From the impossible romance (which I'm still rooting for!) to the twisting mystery of whodunnit, I couldn't get enough. There are characters to love, like, dislike and hate, and plenty of quirks had me smiling. But my goodness, did it have me craving a nice cup (pot?) of tea!

“Tell me you won't go, tell me you'll stay forever, tell me you love me.”

This book wraps up well and can be read on its own and you'll be satisfied enough, but I know I'm itching to get the second one already.

I read this after reading [b:The Wrong Girl|17836528|The Wrong Girl (The 1st Freak House Series, #1)|C.J. Archer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1366588110s/17836528.jpg|24957489] and kind of wish I'd read this one first. C.J. Archer's writing is good in this book but in The Wrong Girl is simply amazing, you can really track her development as a writer.



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04 June 2013

Review: English Fairy Tales & Legends


English Fairy Tales & Legends
English Fairy Tales & Legends by Rosalind Kerven

My rating: 0 of 5 stars



The illustrations in this are gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

I'd read or heard of most of the stories in this charming book, and I particularly liked the re-tellings of the ones more local to me.

I wouldn't say this is for really young children, perhaps 6+. It feels a bit grown up in places and younger children would probably struggle to understand some of the terms. It'd be perfect for reading aloud, perhaps a bedtime story to inspire dreams of dragons and giants?



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Review: Promise You won't Tell?


Promise You won't Tell?
Promise You won't Tell? by John Locke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This book was nothing like a thought it would be. But it was pretty great despite that.

And I loved that twist at the end, I didn't quite see that coming.

I like Dani and I'll probably read more of this series. She's smart and sexy and savvy, and so strong. I loved how she was so passionate about catching the bad guys, the predators. I wasn't sure about Riley at first, but by the end she was every bit as amazing as Dani.

Ethan was vile, absolutely vile. And he was meant to be. I'm just a little disappointed that he didn't get properly punished. What's a few million dollars to someone that rich?

Overall a great read, which I'd recommend to pretty much anyone. I'd say this is a New Adult Crime Thriller Mystery, what a mix.



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03 June 2013

Review: Losing It


Losing It
Losing It by Cora Carmack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This is a very almost 4 stars.

I definitely enjoyed this book. For a lot of the beginning I was grinning like a fool, which was quite embarrassing as I was on a bus at the time. But then the grinning stopped and I found myself huffing and rolling my eyes.

There are lots of hilarious quotes from Losing It that I could pick out and share, but then you wouldn't get the pleasure that I got from them while reading.

I suppose what stopped me loving this book were the main characters, Bliss and Garrick.

I'll not lie, Bliss is a slightly vapid Mary-Sue. You name it, she hits every cliché. She's gorgeous and doesn't know it, gets the leading part, gets the man, and is only slightly clumsy to stop herself from being too perfect. And boy does she over think and over react about everything. You should read what she does when she lies about having a cat... I'll admit I was giggling manically but it should never have gone that far.

And Garrick, love. What can I say about Garrick, love? He has this way of talking, love, which drives me mad, love. The only Englishmen I've ever heard say "love" after every sentence are creepy leery guys with a slimy look about them. It wasn't at all what I wanted to have in my mind when the supposedly gorgeous Garrick is talking, love.

Overall it's a pretty good read, and it was only just short of 4 stars. Like a 3.9 or something. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but it was good nonetheless.

Thanks to Net Galley for providing a copy of this for review.



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01 June 2013

Review: The Wrong Girl


The Wrong Girl
The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars



This was one fantastic read! A really fascinating story which I couldn't put down, so this is easily a 5 stars.

The characters really came to life for me, and there was plenty of mystery and drama, and even a spark of romance.

Hannah was loyal and strong, Jack was headstrong and Sylvia? Well, I still think she's hiding something. Bollard was creepy and more than a little scary.

The twists in this book are excellent and I wasn't even expecting most of them. It's great to be surprised by a book, by the way the plot is woven, especially when there are so few original ideas out there. I don't know if this book will be to everyone's tastes, but I freaking love it, it's an excellent start to the series which I know I will continue reading.

I am now more eager than ever to read C.J. Archer's Emily Chambers series, that little reference has got me intrigued. Thank goodness I already have the first book!

I don't understand the cover though, isn't Hannah a fiery red-head?



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30 May 2013

Review: Scrap


Scrap
Scrap by Emory Sharplin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



This was a pretty original idea and I was pleasantly surprised throughout the whole book. Ok, so a few of the concepts have been done before more than a few times, but this story was a recipe for success.

This is not your usual rags-to-riches.

This story got off to an excellent start, although I was often confused as to what type of world this was - a lot of the time it felt like a medieval-type fantasy world, but then there'd be the mention of an elevator and I'd stare dumbly at the page trying to re-imagine the world. But this is a pretty fantastic world filled with magic and multi-coloured gypsies, an evil king and a poverty-ridden kingdom.

The characters are strong, and if they're a little predictable, then they're meant to be. Colt and Napier are boys after all, and Kally's a whore. Really, she's a whore. Tucker is a strong and feisty young woman, even if her name seems very out of place in this world where all of the other names are so elegant sounding. I liked how her past isn't ignored and instead is being brought into every part of the book.

This would have got a full five-stars from me if it wasn't for the talking. Oh god, the talking. Back-and-forth and round-and-round with all this banter and it's so irrelevant at times and distracting from the story. SO MUCH TALKING. I just wanted them to shut up and get on with it.

I have to say I was a little disappointed with the ending - yet at the same time I'm quite happy with it. I thought this was a standalone book, but with an ending like that with so much more still to happen, this is surely part of a series. About 30 pages before the ending excitement was building in me - all I could think was how AWESOME AND ACTION PACKED this ending would have to be. There is action and it is awesome (and scary!) but it's not the holiday I thought I'd packed for. Oh well, this just means I have to keep an eye on Emory Sharplin and see if there is a follow-up (or two?) to Scrap.

A copy of this was provided by Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.



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