My posts may contain affiliate links, if you buy something through these links it doesn't cost you anything, but I may make a small commission which helps to keep this site up and running. Your virtual dog could be the next champion!

30 June 2017

Book Beginnings #45

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett.
I think I might be a murderer.
I am just starting this as my weekend read and all I know is that it is a Boarding School Book. And that is my second favourite YA trope. So I have high expectations (because BOARDING SCHOOL BOOK) but at the same time there isn't much to go on review-wise as this is an ARC.

Based on the first line, I'm hoping for a thrilling Boarding School Book. And I'm excited to get properly started.
"He's not going to die," said Henry. "It's a flesh wound."

I don't know. I don't even know who Henry is. But I think that by 56% I'm going to get the thriller I'm hoping for!

What are you reading this weekend?

27 June 2017

Blog Tour: A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

Beowulf meets The Lord of the Rings in an epic novel of vengeance, faith and the power of myth.

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind—the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning—the Old Ways versus the New—and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Religion, monster, power, revenge, mythology.

I don't read a lot of them, but I do love historical fantasy. And this one was pretty much perfect.

It did take a little while to get going, but once Aidan was revealed I was hooked. And once we got to all of the added politics later in the second half I couldn't put it down.

I loved the setting, how vast and realistic everything felt. I loved the mix of history and mythology, and I loved how the different religions explored strengthened the plot and the world. I'm not a fan of gore, but I did find that although this book had its fair share (it wouldn't have worked otherwise) that it wasn't too much and I could carry on reading without too much personal discomfort.

It's a pity that this is a standalone, as I would love to read more.

Top Ten Tuesday #94

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far.

This year has been SO GOOD for me when it comes to books that this was actually quite a difficult list. How do you decide between the awesome? So I just went through Goodreads and the books I've read this year and plucked out my ten favourites. It was brutal. And as usual it's 90% UKYA ❤.

26 June 2017

Blog Tour: The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross

Does the Soterion hold the key to saving civilization?

In a post-apocalyptic world where no-one lives beyond their teenage years, the mysterious Roxanne arrives in Cyrus’s village, fleeing the barbaric Zeds.

She claims to be on a mission that can save them all, but can she be trusted?

Cyrus joins her in her quest for the legendary Soterion, but the Zeds are determined to get there first.

Source: Review Considerations | Blog Tour

5 Words: Hope, life, death, knowledge, power.

I think this is one of those books you'll either love or you'll hate, and I think it will all boil down to how much you like actions scenes. Because this book is non-stop action.

I would say that this book is a little more gory than I'd usually go for, but the easy-going style kept me reading. This is a quick book to read with its short length and fast-paced action, so I was able to kind of gloss over the gore in my head. And there are some very humorous parts to break up all of the tension.

There was one stand out character for me: Taja. I honestly didn't think she'd be my cup of tea when first introduced, but I quickly fell in love with her toughness in the face of impending death.

I like that we saw two parts of a crumbling society as the narrative shifted between the Constants and the Zeds, it gave me more food for thought.

The rest of the series is out now, and I will definitely be reading on.

The Soterion Mission

While the Contstants struggle with the challenges brought by knowledge, the Zeds are massing against them, desperate for revenge. 

Will the Soterion be able to withstand the forces ranged against it... From without and within?

Humanity’s hope of salvation lies within a single laptop…

A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse this pandemic died before their Salvation Project was complete, leaving behind the results of their research in a sealed vault – the Soterion.

122 years have passed. The civilisation of the ‘Long Dead’ is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by brutal tribes of Zeds. Cyrus, Miouda and Sammy flee their burning city with a laptop rescued from the inferno. They believe it contains the key to the Salvation Project. But its batteries are dead, there is no electricity to power it, and murderous Zeds will stop at nothing to get it back…

24 June 2017

Blog Tour: Guest Post: The Devil's Poetry by Louise Cole

Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution - too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadaveri.

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price - and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.

So, let's welcome author Louise Cole with a little bit about where she'd like to write.

Top Places I Write or Would to Write

OK, so this is where you really find out what a complete nerd I am.
  1. Jervaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire. Jervaulx was once one of the richest communities in the country until Henry VIII’s 1536 dissolution of the monasteries. Jervaulx hung on for a while but its defeat was inevitable. It was so well built Henry’s soldiers struggled to pull it down, so first minister Thomas Cromwell ordered it blown up with gunpowder.

    I haven’t yet sat down to write at Jervaulx but much of my writing takes place in my head before I ever start to scribble. I live scenes and spend time with characters while I’m washing up or walking dogs. Or just wandering. And Jervaulx is a place to wander. Set in the middle of sheep fields, its tumbled down walls are covered with wild flowers. It’s usually empty and haunting and very beautiful. A natural spring still bubbles up and pours down through the abbey grounds, clear sweet water. You can’t help but go back in time at a place like this, imagine the monks and the cheese and honey making, the fishing, the sheer peace and quiet of this life. And then the great tragedy that befell them when the king decided on a massive land grab. One day I’ll write their story. In the meantime it has a rocking café with great cake and it’s rumoured that Daniel Craig lives next door. I’ve never seen him but, you know, I live in hope. I’m sure he’d find an unkempt writer with ink on her face and a mouthful of cake very attractive.

  2. My next place is London. If Jervaulx is silent and empty, London is clearly the polar opposite, but what they have in common is centuries of history. And I’m a sucker for it. I’ve been spending a lot of time in London recently, specifically in the historic royal places, researching my next series (you heard it here first J). I was given a private tour recently of the triforium above St John’s Chapel – a wide yellow stone gallery with huge open arches that look down on the chapel below. It’s where Lady Jane Grey spent her last night praying – they say her ghost haunts it still. I would love to curl up and write at the Tower of London but only if I could find a quiet spot. Maybe they’d give me a dungeon. I can always ask.

  3. New cities are good for writing. I’ve found myself scribbling in both New York and in Barcelona. Usually free form writing. I think new cities with their different energy, their scents, the way they make you feel stirs up all kinds of thoughts and observations which you need to capture or they’ll disappear like Scotch mist. I swear I’ve conjured at least five novels’ worth of phrases and ideas which I’ve forgotten before I set them down. New York was particularly interesting because of the feel of the streets. You are an ant in a canyon, looking up at these sheers walls of buildings and offices, the wind hurtling at you like an express train. Yes, OK, next time I’ll know not to go in March.

  4. Venice. I don’t really have to explain why, do I? Venice is magical. A hidden city, an ancient city, a drowning city. It has gorgeous palazzi and galleries and courtyards. It’s full of hidden spaces and there’s something wonderfully symbolic about its network of canals. If you’ve never read a magical book set in Venice, try The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, with its web footed gondolier. (Although apparently she’d never been there when she wrote it.)

  5. A tree-house. A proper one with little windows and a ladder and a peaked roof. My sisters and I spotted a gorgeous treehouse at Chelsea Flower Show two years ago and, although it cost a gazillion pounds and I couldn’t possibly afford it, it’s become known at home as ‘Lou’s treehouse’. One day. J My fascination with tree houses goes back to childhood. I love the thought of somewhere private, up high but safe, wild but cosy.
So that’s my list. There is, I should point out, one place that I cannot write and that’s bed. I have lots of writer friends who type away quite happily from under their duvets. I’d asleep in minutes. I need to be upright and I need my boots on. I can’t think without my boots on.

23 June 2017

Book Beginnings #44

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Day 7 by Kerry Drewery.
I should be dead.
I feel cold air in my lungs.
I feel somebody's hand holding mine. I hear shouting.
I read Cell 7 last week and it was incredible. One single sitting and it was gone, because I could not put it down. So I've waited a few days before picking this one up. And now I'm starting it in my tea break at work and know I'll be reading it all through lunch. And I can't wait.

I loved the writing style and chilling believability of the world within the pages, even if it scared me a little. With how Cell 7 ended I can't wait to see what happens now, what way the story is going to go.
In the struggling light from buildings above us, Eve's secret in handwritten guilt.
A secret that killed her husband, his dad, changed lives.
OOOH. Well. I remember Eve from Cell 7, I remember her secret, and this could blow part of the world apart.

I am so excited to get to this part!

20 June 2017

Top Ten Tuesday #93

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't.

So it turns out this list was hard because I'm really good at starting a series. The problem I have is when it comes to finishing it. I tend to stick with a series for three or four books and then move on to something else becau- Oh, look. Something shiny. Let's look at the shiny.

These are listed by series name, with a link to the series page on Goodreads. Have you read any of them? Would you recommend them?

13 June 2017

Blog Tour: Review: Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh
Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home.

But when Rachel reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, she finds so much has changed. Her beloved father has moved his new partner and her son into the family home. She hears menacing rumours of Mau Mau violence, and witnesses cruel reprisals by British soldiers. Even Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently.

Isolated and conflicted, Rachel fears for her future. But when home is no longer a place of safety and belonging, where do you go, and who do you turn to?

Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Family, home, prejudice, change, cruelty.

It took me a while to get into the story with this book. I found myself distracted by the descriptions, daydreaming instead of reading. And how wonderful is that?

This is my second book by this author, and like the first book there are conservation messages subtly strewn throughout the text. It really makes you think.

This book was a lot more violent than I was expecting, and I did have to put it down a few times as there are some graphic descriptions which made me feel a little ill - but that is personal preference and if anything speaks to the strength of the writing. I didn't want to put this book down because I absolutely love the writing itself, but the story made me FEEL so much that I had to.

I found that I never quite clicked with Rachel, but she was far better than Sara. I find that this is something I really like about this author - her characters are not inherently likeable but the glorious descriptions mean that it doesn't matter.

Leopard at the Door is perfect for those times when you want to escape. Jennifer McVeigh's writing is harrowing and evocative and her descriptions are simply breathtaking.

10 June 2017

Blog Tour: Review: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship's comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship's safety.

One minute the children are there, and the next they're gone.

What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents - now turning on one another and blaming themselves - try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Family, sunshine, blame, kidnap, hope.

It took me about two chapters to get in to the flow of the writing, but after that I was hooked. I could not put it down.

I love how the narrative switched between the parents and the children - you could see these two stories, how they started together then came apart and took different turns before the end.

There are a lot of different situations explored in this book, and the different perspectives means that it really hits home. Be prepared for shock and anger and a glimmer of hope. The realism hits even harder, because this could happen to anyone.

This is perfect for summer reading. But maybe don't take it with you on on a cruise.

09 June 2017

Book Beginnings #43

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh.
1952. Mombasa, Kenya.
The steward has said we will dock at 9am, but I am too excited to sleep, and I walk on to deck in the dark, long before the sun comes up, watching for the first sight of land.
I'm so excited to be starting this! I loved the author's debut, despite not liking the main character. I can't wait to meet Rachel and I'm hoping that I'm not so keen on her too, because I actually like it when I don't like a character and like a story. I can remember vivid descriptions and a gripping story-line so I have high hopes.
I think I might be sick - when a gunshot shatters the air. I freeze in terror, this world of horror suddenly become real.
OH BUT WHAT'S HAPPENING? I am really only just starting this book.

07 June 2017

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the matter where it leads.

Source: Review Consideration 

5 Words: War, family, secrets, lies, spies.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up but I do know that I absolutely loved it.

I loved how adventurous the whole story felt. It is split between two times and two characters, and even at the start I pretty much knew how it would ultimately pan out - but this didn't affect my enjoyment and I kept reading on hoping that I'd get the ending I hoped for.

My favourite character was probably Eve, just because of the journey she went on. The Eve you meet in the earlier timeline is so different from the later one, and seeing how she got there was fantastic, especially as the introduction to her character is as an embittered hermit.

I loved the descriptions in the writing, how vivid they were, and I loved the narrative style and how the stories came together, with the mysteries of the past - and what happened to Rose - slowly revealed.

I would absolutely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.

06 June 2017

Blog Tour: Review: Come Sundown by Nora Roberts

The Bodine ranch and resort in western Montana is a family business, an idyllic spot for vacationers. A little over thirty thousand acres and home to four generations, it’s kept running by Bodine Longbow with the help of a large staff, including new hire Callen Skinner. There was another member of the family once: Bodine’s aunt, Alice, who ran off before Bodine was born. She never returned, and the Longbows don’t talk about her much. The younger ones, who never met her, quietly presume she’s dead. But she isn’t. She is not far away, part of a new family, one she never chose—and her mind has been shattered…

When a bartender leaves the resort late one night, and Bo and Cal discover her battered body in the snow, it’s the first sign that danger lurks in the mountains that surround them. The police suspect Cal, but Bo finds herself trusting him—and turning to him as another woman is murdered and the Longbows are stunned by Alice’s sudden reappearance. The twisted story she has to tell about the past—and the threat that follows in her wake—will test the bonds of this strong family, and thrust Bodine into a darkness she could never have imagined.

Source: Review Consideration | Blog Tour

5 Words: Family, love, mystery, dark, survival.

This was my first Nora Roberts, and I'm so glad I picked it up.

I did find Come Sundown a bit hard going at first, but that was because of the style - it's not what I'd usually go for. But I so quickly fell in love with the characters that they redeemed it. When first meeting the character of Bodine I was a little slack jawed in awe at her, with her routines and how early she got up (how?) and despite not understanding her (how can anyone wake up so early?).

The story itself spans a huge amount of time, set up across generations, but I never found myself confused when it changed character/time.

There are some parts of the story that are incredibly hard to read, and they were almost enough for me to put the book down, but I found myself wanting to go back to this part of the story to find out what happened next.

I don't know if this was the best Nora Roberts book to start out with, but I'll certainly give the author another go.

Top Ten Tuesday #92

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

This week is Top Ten YA Books I've Recently Added to My TBR.

Here we go, the easiest Top Ten Tuesday I've ever done, with the ten most recent YA additions to my TBR that I am yet to buy!
Are any of these on your TBR?

02 June 2017

Book Beginnings #42

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence. This is my first time

I am currently reading Come Sundown by Nora Roberts.
Alice Bodine relieved herself behind a thin screen of lodgepole pines. She'd had to trudge through knee-high snow for the screen, and her bare ass (with the dragonfly tattoo she'd had inked in Portland) shivered in the wind that soughed like the surf.
She may have written over 200 books, but this is my first Nora Roberts. I'm not sure what to think - it's a name I know from the bestseller charts in the shops and that I've seen people around me reading. Have you read anything by this author?

As usual, I have not read the blurb - I'm going in blind and already I'm surprised.
The man could sit a horse, she mused. Just as easy as another might sit a Barcalounger.
I was not expecting the prologue. If I'm honest, this sentence is probably most like what I was expecting when I first started the book. I like the style and the pace and Bodine is a little weird.

I'm enjoying it.