Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Review: The Fourth Sacrifice

The Fourth Sacrifice The Fourth Sacrifice by Peter May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fourth Sacrifice is the second of Peter May’s China Thrillers. Upon finishing The Firemaker, the first, I concluded it was another series I would need to follow. After finishing this one, I’m more than a little bit excited to get my hands on the rest of the series. I’m well and truly addicted, pulled into the series and desperate to see where things will go.

You see, Peter May has been a favourite author since I picked up his Lewis trilogy. The Lewis trilogy will always be my favourite of his books, I have yet to find another that reaches the high of The Blackhouse, but they have all been consistently great reads. He is one of those authors I will always pick up, as I know I’m going to get something good. The same is true of this one: The Fourth Sacrifice is a great read.

As with the first book, we’re offered up a great mystery set in China. It is your classic detective story, only difference being the setting. Rather than dealing with the west, we are based in the east. Anyone who has picked up a Peter May book will know that he is more than capable of bring any place alive. He is great when it comes to the description of a location, even if you have never been there you can easily imagine it through his words. In this one, the end of the century China is easily brought to life, allowing us to imagine what it was like.

Truthfully, I think I enjoyed this one a little bit more than the first.

As with the first book, certain things were predictable. I feel as though this is merely an aspect of Peter May’s early work, before he reached the high he gave us with the Lewis trilogy. This isn’t a bad thing; it simply means there isn’t a massive shock when the bad guy is revealed. You still have the twists and turns, the subterfuge and red herrings, but if you read a lot of crime thrillers you’re going to work things out. There are some specifics that guess work will fail to give, but certain aspects will be clear. Nevertheless, the story is still a great one. There are plenty of connections that you are trying to make, your mind constantly working to unravel every aspect of the story.

Moreover, I came to enjoy the characters more in this one. I enjoyed them in the first, but I couldn’t help but feel as though certain aspects seemed a little bit on the forced side. With this one, we delve even deeper in the personal lives of the two main characters, watching the events unfold, seeing how their interaction differs to the first book. For me, I found it to be a lot more fun that the first one. There was more of the battling of views that I enjoyed so much in the first one, along with a fun mix of emotions brought on from the events of the first book. All in all, it worked to ensure I enjoyed the characters even more – and whilst I have an idea of where things will go, I cannot wait to watch the specifics play out in future books.

As I’ve already mentioned, I’m so ready to carry on with this series. It’s proving to be a lot of fun, and I cannot wait to see where everything goes. I doubt it will knock the Lewis trilogy off the spot of my favourite Peter May work, but the series is certainly crawling slowly up my list of favourite Peter May books.

As a final note, I would like to say the biggest thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to enjoy this one.

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Review: Avendui 5ive

Avendui 5ive Avendui 5ive by P.K. Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Avendui 5ive is a short story giving us an insight into the Jakkattu series that is to come soon.

I’m so glad I was able to advance read this. Excuse me whilst I brag, but I managed to get my hands on this and the first Jakkattu book well in advance of release, and I can assure you I’m more than excited for both of them. There is such promise, so much on offer. If you’re a science fiction fan, then you need to keep your eyes on this series – it looks to be going places.

As a teaser, Avendui 5ive is wonderful. It gives you some information about the world without giving away too much. You get a general grasp of what to expect from the world, and yet so much is left unknown. Specifically, the details in this book offer up information pertaining to biomechanically enhanced humans. We get a general idea of how their world works, and what happens to them when things do not play out as they are ordained.

Honestly, I could say so much, but I fear I will give spoilers. It’s such a short story and yet it manages to give so much. Whilst it wasn’t quite a full four stars – I wanted a bit more about the world outside of biomechanically enhanced humans, if I’m honest, but that’s just me wanting it all and I’m sure that will change once I start the first Jakkattu book – it was so close that to give it a three stars would have been an injustice. It really is a brilliant snippet into the world, something you can complete in no time at all, and it is more than capable of leaving you excited of what the series has to offer.

I cannot wait to see where the Jakkattu series takes us.

As a final note, I would like to thank P.K. Tyler for guaranteeing further excitement about the upcoming series through allowing me to advance read this short story.

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Review: The Legend of the Blue Eyes

The Legend of the Blue Eyes The Legend of the Blue Eyes by B. Kristin McMichael
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Amazon freebies are so often a case of hit or miss. I have found quite a few that have really shocked me, often for different reasons. Some shock me because I cannot contemplate why the book is free, as it deserves to be something everyone is reading; some shock me because I cannot contemplate why they have such high ratings and followings.

The Legend of Blue Eyes was supposed to be the first. It had such promise. I’d read a number of decent reviews. Unfortunately, it turned out the book was not to be one of those surprising gems.

Personally, I had expected so much more. The concept is wonderful, and had it been done correctly it would have been a wonderful book. There was such promise, I had such high hopes, only to be let down exceptionally quickly.

From the start, I found it difficult to get into this book. I kept telling myself it would get better, but by the time I’d reached the halfway point I found myself unable to carry on. I hate it when I’m unable to finish books, I try so hard to finish them, but every so often it happens. Such is what happened here: I kept pushing myself, but in the end my interest had dissipated completely and my ability to force myself to continue caved in.

Part of it was the writing. Things seemed far too chunky. Things were repetitive. This repetitiveness is in terms of both interactions and information. Every other chapter things seemed to be highlighted again, pointlessly. I found myself sighing when things were repeated, and yet I wasn’t finding out what I wanted to know. In fact, part of the reason why I carried on for so long was because I was hoping to receive the information I was waiting for, but even that didn’t hold out for long – I was no longer interested because I’d given up with the characters.

That’s the second part of the issue: the characters. I just couldn’t bring myself to like anyone. Everyone seemed overly flat. The main character annoyed me. All the males seemed far too happy to do everything and anything for her, bending over backwards for the littlest of things. She was a special snowflake and everyone wanted to do something for her, meaning she did nothing of interest at all.

I just couldn’t deal with it and because of this I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I kept telling myself I'd read more in the hope it would get better, but it didn't...

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Review: Paranormal Public

Paranormal Public Paranormal Public by Maddy Edwards
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whilst this is far from being the best read I have ever picked up, it was certainly addictive. In fact, it was way more addictive than I had anticipated it to be.

It reads a lot like every other young-adult urban fantasy book out there. We have the academy for the paranormal teenagers. We have a main character with a sob story of a backstory. We have the special snowflake aspect. It is something that has been done before, and yet I found myself unable to put it down. In many ways, if this kind of story is done right, it will always be interesting – and whilst this wasn’t done perfectly, it was done a lot better than many others have done it.

I’ll start with the good.

The story has more than just the standard options when it comes to the supernatural. Quite often these supernatural school settings are limited to the high school life of vampires or the children of gods. This one differs as it’s a higher education setting with all kinds of creatures in one place. Through this, we get to see some fun interaction between different creatures. Rather than simply having vampires and werewolves, which has been a favourite since Twilight, we’re also given some other creatures such as fallen angels and fairies.

For me, finding out all about the different kinds of creatures was a lot of fun. Watching how they interacted was one of my favourite aspects of the book. The hierarchy between the creatures, the way in which there were unspoken rules, was really enjoyable. It was somewhat childish at times, yet it allowed us to watch the characters grow throughout the book. Admittedly the development was somewhat limited on that front, but it does set up promise for the future books.

Plus, as I’ve already said, it was super addictive. Despite the bad points, which I will get to shortly, I was curious to see what happened next. I found myself saying ‘just one more chapter’ every time I finished a chapter, as I needed to see how things played out.

Now for the bad.

Things were so predictable. This links in with how it is like so many other books out there. There really were no surprises. Everything was obvious. The bad guy. The powers. The way in which things would play out between characters. There wasn’t really much by way of surprise. You knew what you were getting way before it was revealed to characters, even before suggestions were made. It wasn’t enough to ruin the story, but it did lessen the enjoyment at times.

There was also the fact that certain scenes seemed to be thrown in pointlessly. It was as though the author really wanted a certain thing to play out, despite how it didn’t really seem important to the story. Almost as though the author was working through a check list in regards to what this kind of story must include.

Overall, however, it was super addictive and I had a lot of fun with it.

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Review: Second Life

Second Life Second Life by S.J. Watson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For such a long time I have been contemplating ‘Before I Go To Sleep’, unsure as to whether or not I wish to read the book. Everyone seems to love it, yet such a thing always leaves me unsure as to whether or not I should jump on a hype. Thus, when I saw a Goodreads giveaway for ‘Second Life’, I decided I would give something else by the author a try before I read the book that left everyone talking.

To be honest, if Second Life is an indication of what I can expect from S.J. Watson… well, I’m not sure if I wish to read more of his work.

Based upon the other reviews I have read, this book is not the thriller offered in ‘Before I Go To Sleep’. Having not read his other book, I cannot make the comparison. What I can say, however, is that it is not the thriller I was made to believe from the synopsis and the quotes plastered across the book. I was promised a fast-paced thriller. I was promised edge of the seat moments. I was promised it all, only to be given less than everything. It was an interesting read, yes, but it far from being the best thriller I have ever picked up.

The large majority of the book was slow. In fact, all of the action seemed to unfold in the last couple of chapters. Now I love build-up. In fact, I always want a decent amount of build-up. Yet there is a line, a line that should not be crossed. When this line is crossed, the story goes from having build-up and slips into a drama. Such is what happened with this story. There was promise at the start – a mysterious death, question marks over the past, possible dark deeds through the internet – yet things quickly slipped from interesting to the mundane. We watched someone’s life unfold without any real drama. Events were supposed to be interesting, but it seemed more like watching someone’s midlife crisis. Rather than acting out as some lone investigator, our character seemed to slip into a role that was not their norm. This, of course, explains the title. They created another life. This life, however, was not interesting. It was just a way to live out a fantasy – a fantasy that didn’t quite live up to what she had wanted.

Had I not been waiting for all the action of a thriller, I probably would have enjoyed the book more than I did. Sadly, the book seemed to drag. I was constantly waiting for that something more. Then, by the time the more came about, I was no longer interested. I’d grown bored of waiting for answers. I’d worked things out. I admit that motives were unclear, but I had the who aspect worked out. Truthfully, I could have read the first and last part of the story and filled in the middle bit myself, coming up with something much more interesting.

Overall, it wasn’t what I had expected. I really had hoped for more. Nevertheless, I’m glad I won this. Maybe one day I will decide to give Before I Go To Sleep a go, I’m just not pushing it up my list after reading this one.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Review: After You

After You After You by Jojo Moyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Me Before You hit me much harder than I had anticipated.

The book fell completely outside of my norm. I prefer stories about the darker side of life rather than tales of love, even when there is no happily ever after to be found at the end of the tale. I gave in, mostly, because of peer pressure. I wasn’t expecting much as there was so much hype, and nine times out of ten books fail to live up to the hype, yet in the end I enjoyed it much more than I had anticipated. There was such raw emotion in the book. There was a real representation of British life. There was a much deeper meaning to the book than most people seem to realise. Thus, having enjoyed it more than I’d expected I decided I was willing to give the sequel a try.

I didn’t go out of my way to read After You. I didn’t go on a crazy hunt to purchase it – in fact, only doing so because it was in an offer. Nevertheless, once I had it I was glad to read it. If the truth is to be known, I was more curious than I expected to be. The reviews for After You seemed to be much harsher, people seemed to believe it did not live up to the first book. This is often the case when people are crazy about a book, making it difficult for the sequels to please people.

I, however, adored After You.

It was a completely different kind of read to Me Before You, yet it had enough similarities to let you know it was an actual sequel. Whilst Me Before You was a heart wrenching read, After You had more hope. There were moments of melancholy, as you would expect, but as a whole it was a lot lighter than the first book.

Continuing the story almost two years down the line, we see what life had in store for the characters following the event in Me Before You. At first, I expected it to be a simple tale of our main character finally finding love. I was prepared for such a thing, ready to roll my eyes at the possibilities. However, as with Me Before You, there was more to this book than the mere romantic aspects. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the direction the story took. I wasn’t sure what I had hoped for in addition to the romance, but it wasn’t what I was given. It was unexpected and interesting. I admit it is something that has been overdone, but it was still fun to work with.

Don’t worry, though, I’m not going to give spoilers. I knew exactly what to expect of Me Before You due to people sharing information with me, down to the very fine details, and I promise not to do this to you. Just know this story is unlikely to be what you expected. Whilst it is not a standalone, it almost works as a single tale. Of course, you need to read Me Before You to understand it, but the way in which the story unfolds is a tale that would have worked as a standalone book in and of itself. It’s a story of finding yourself, connecting to others, and finding a place in the world.

Plus, if I’m being truthful, I did rather enjoy the romance in this one. I’m not the biggest romance lover, but every so often I find myself watching relationships unfold that I actually enjoy. Such was the case with this one. Even though quite a few things were expected in regards to the male love interest, I couldn’t help but enjoy him as a character. It is always great when such a thing happens, ensuring I enjoy the romance side rather than simply shaking my head at the desperation on the pages.

Honestly, I enjoyed it so much more than I expected, and I’m surprised to find myself in the minority.

I can understand what people mean when they say After You failed to enhance Me Before You, and yet I still enjoyed finding out more about the characters. I liked seeing where things went. I enjoyed this additional aspect to the story. I liked that it went somewhere different, went to some unexpected places, and I will not complain about such a thing. For me, I think it was a nice little read.

I guess the best I can advise is that you enter this one with an open mind. It is no Me Before You, but it is beautiful in its own way.

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Review: Missing

Missing Missing by Tim Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve been meaning to listen to the Missing podcasts for quite some time. However, despite my interest, I’m not really one for listening to such things. Even when they’re on topics I find interesting, my attention wavers. Thus, you can imagine how happy I was when I found the transcripts for free on Amazon. My interest was well and truly piqued: I needed to read it, and I need to do so instantly.

As soon as I started reading, I was a goner.

From the very start, I was interested in the topic. Often true crime focuses upon the criminal statistics that are a lot rarer, allowing us to know all we need to know about serial killers. Missing, however, deals with something that is a lot more common: mispers.

It gives us details into the statistics of missing people: how many go missing in the UK a year, how quickly people are found, how many are never found. It gives us information on why people go missing. Information regarding the lives of people once they are missing: how they avoid detection, how people go about searching for them.

For such a short read, it gives a lot of information.

Honestly, my mind was filled with so much information. Useful information, not just in terms of the missing but also in relation to everyday life. It gives information into surveillance, technology, data, and many other aspects of life. In getting you to stop and think about what it would be like to disappear, of the difficulties of being part of the one percent that are not tracked down, the information also gets you to stop and think about everyday life.

Honestly, it was brilliant read – it really got me thinking.

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Review: Lightning

Lightning Lightning by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lightning has been on my to-read list for far too long.

Dean Koontz is one of my favourite authors, has been for quite some time. Despite enjoying all of his work, I’m of the firm belief that his older work is his better work. Lightning falls into this category, having been published in the eighties – a time I have dubbed ‘the period in which Koontz wrote his best work’. Over the last twelve or so months I have noticed his older work being released in paperback with new covers, and through this I’ve found myself able to grab them in book deals. It goes without saying that such a thing has made me much happier than it should have, but any book lover understands the mating call of their favourite author’s books when they’re sitting in the bargain bin.

Whilst I wouldn’t label Lightning as my favourite Koontz read, it certainly hit the spot. It has everything you would expect of Koontz, giving us his usual concoction at a time where his stories were at a high.

With Lightning, we’re giving his usual thrilling read, mixed with science fiction to give it that something more. Always Koontz gives us something more, yet you never know what the particular something will be. With this one, you sit with ideas for quite some time, but it isn’t until quite late in that the specifics are given. Whilst other reviews had spoiled the surprise for me (I knew what to expect in terms of the explanation for things, and I promise not to ruin it for you), I still found the revealing of information to be wonderful. I knew the general aspects, but reading the specifics allowed me to see that even the spoiler-ridden reviews hadn’t managed to ruin the entire book for me.

I will say, however, that I did find this story to be a bit slow to begin with. I know it was to build up a series of events, showcasing moments of the main character’s life, but I felt as though it dragged at times. I admit that this is partly due to how I’ve been looking for a high octave read for quite some time. As much as I love Koontz’s work, I know at time it can take him a while before the action reaches the high velocity I was looking for. Due to this, I felt somewhat put off at first. Not that it’s an issue, merely something I didn’t take into consideration before starting the book. In any other situation, I would have loved all the build-up. In fact, I did enjoy the build-up – it simply wasn’t what I was looking for at the moment.

Overall, though, it was a great read. It has everything you expect from such a book – the action, the suspense, the countless emotional moments that leave you making involuntary noises – with it all being delivered in Koontz’s wonderful prose.

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Review: Killing by Captivation

Killing by Captivation Killing by Captivation by Heather C. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yet again, Heather C. Myers has given us a fun read.

I’ll start with a slight disclaimer: as with a few of her books, this isn’t quite a full four stars. It was a fun read, but it didn’t quite make it into the four star category as some of her reads have. However, it was close enough for me to round it up.

Okay, so I did enjoy this one, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped to. I think part of my reasoning for this is that I went from reading the author’s Devil book into this. At the start, I felt as though things were a bit too similar. It wasn’t a complete repetition of the other book, but I noticed enough similarities to feel a bit uncomfortable at first and fearful of reading the same story once again.

Fortunately, this changed as the story progressed. This story is nothing like the other book, excluding the way in which the romance develops (initially the female is unsure of things but it won over by the male). This story focuses upon the developing Armageddon, creating an interesting angel and demon scenario. As with all her stories, Heather C. Myers has put her own personal spin on a topic that has been done before. It clearly her own spin on mythology and that is so often my favourite part of her story.

In terms of the romance, I feel as though I need to take a break from her work. Or, at least, continue on with the other series that I was really enjoying. For me, in her standalone novels, the romance aspects are starting to all read the same. I’m just hoping for something different in romantic terms when it comes to future Heather C. Myers reads.

As always, though, it was a fun read. Far from my favourite, but worth a read if you’re a fan of her work.

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Review: The Heir and the Human

The Heir and the Human The Heir and the Human by Siobhan Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Heir and the Human is an optional Saven short story, but if you enjoy Axton then I certainly recommend giving it a read. This story was so enlightening, giving much more than I had anticipated.

As we’ve worked through the books, I’ve come to enjoy the Saven series more and more. When Axton was introduced, I feared the worst – my mind screamed ‘love triangle’ and I hate those things. Fortunately, the story revolving around Axton and Sadie was a lot more grown up than I had expected it to be. There were a few moments where I wanted to shake some sense into Axton, moments where I wanted his character to slip out of the story, but over time he played a vital part and I came to enjoy his character. I knew quite quickly that he would never be a favourite character, but by the end of Defiance I did want to know more about him. I was willing to accept the role he has to play, and I’m more than interested to see what that role is and where it leads the story.

With this short story, I came to appreciate Axton a lot more. I came to understand his actions, why he did the things he did. If I’m being brutally honest, a part of me feared this short story. I feared it would be a lot of excuses. I feared it would try to make a love triangle something I should want. I feared it would try to leave me shipping Sadie with Axton instead of Logan. I mean, it took me long enough to start shipping Sadie and Logan, to have a short story try to change my mind so soon was not okay with me.

However, this short story was great.

Rather than giving the entirety of the history between Axton and Sadie, it merely gives the most relevant information. The short story tells us about the events leading up to Griselda sending Sadie back, tearing apart the love between the two. Of course, Axton is going to do something drastic. Of course, it does not work. We knew both of these things before going into the story – it’s all told in Defiance, hence why this should be read after book three – but it was great to have details.

Honestly, I could say so much, but I won’t. It’s short and sweet, giving you an insight into Axton as a character. If you like his character then I’m sure you will love this story. If, like me, you’re unsure of him then it is worth a read anyway. If nothing else, you see more of him and it may work to change your view. If nothing else, you will understand him better.

I would also like to add a small side note. Whilst reading Defiance I came to the conclusion that the Saven series would make a great television show. I’m not one to endorse such a thing – nine times out of ten the show or movie never does it justice – but occasionally there are times when I would like to see how the big screen would do something. Such is the case with the Saven series, and this short story merely works to highlight how much there is to work with. I can just imagine parts of this story working as flashback scenes, or as episodes into the past. Seriously, how cool do you think a Saven television series would be? I know I’d watch it.

As always, a great read. It is certainly worth reading if you’re a fan of the Saven series; whilst optional it does add a lot more than you would think for so few pages.

Finally, once again, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this. It’s much appreciated and I’m excited for the last book and the remaining short stories that are to come!

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Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: Flirting with the Devil

Flirting with the Devil Flirting with the Devil by Heather C. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll admit to there being a bit of confusion regarding this book. The author names ‘Falling for the Devil’ as the first book in the series and that is what I downloaded. However, the cover says it is part three and Goodreads informs me that ‘Flirting with the Devil’ is book one. Whatever the case, I know I read book one. The way the story was told, the way everything was introduced, I know for a fact it was book one. The titles may differ between websites, the covers may say different things, but I’m going with my gut feelings. What I read was certainly book one. In fact, part of me questions whether all three parts were together in this one download. Honestly, I’m not sure; all I know is what I read.

With that rant aside, let me move on to what you actually care about: the review.

I’ve read a number of the author’s books, and whilst this was an enjoyable one, it was not my favourite. It was a fun read, but it was missing that something extra that some of her other books seem to have. Due to this, the rating was a round up to four stars rather than a full four stars. It was good, but it wasn’t quite enough for me to call it four stars without telling you that it mentally missed out by a small degree.

As I have said in other reviews of the author’s work, Heather C. Myers has a way of taking topics that have been done before and putting her own spin on it. The devil being a person and taking someone’s soul appears in many stories, both within and outside of the romance genre. Within the romance genre, the same things always appear. He is always beautiful and charming. The female is always against being with him due to who he is. In the end, he changes her mind.

Whilst these tropes can be seen within this story, there is also the author’s usual individual aspects to the story. Mainly, Heather C. Myer’s puts her own spin on hell. Without a doubt, I can safely say it is one of my favourite versions of hell. It brings about a question I have always asked: if God sent the devil there against his will, why would the devil punish those sent to him? Thus, in this story, hell is very much like earth. The fire and brimstone is lacking, although there is still evil to be seen in one form or another. In fact, the building of hell and the aspects pertaining the supernatural side of the story were my favourite parts. They were so well done, and I could easily see more stories being set in this version of hell.

In terms of the romance in the story, it followed the pattern of the romance in some of her other stories. Despite this, it was still fun to watch. Rather than having an instant relationship, there is some burning. I would have liked more, but what we were given was a lot more than most stories give.

Overall, it was a fun read. It wasn’t my favourite Heather C. Myers read, but it was at her usual level of fun.

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Review: I Am Death

I Am Death I Am Death by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chris Carter guaranteed himself a fan as soon as I finished reading the first Robert Hunter book. I knew without a doubt that the five star introduction to the series was a great promise of what was to come. I can safely say that I have not been disappointed by any of the Robert Hunter books. I have enjoyed some more than others, but they have all been great reads.

I Am Death is the seventh Robert Hunter book, and it is as great as the rest of them. Whilst it is not my favourite (that award goes to One By One, followed closely by the wonderful introduction to the series), I will happily place it in the middle of my list. Sitting in the middle of my favourite Chris Carter books, however, is still much higher than a lot of other crime thrillers on the market. No matter what Chris Carter gives, you know you’re getting a great story.

Book seven starts up not long after where book six left off. Book six was a great read, offering us a story outside of the norm. By that, I mean we moved location and things were a lot more personal for Hunter. With I Am Death, we’re back to what we have come to know and love in the earlier books. Don’t get me wrong, I adored book six, but I missed the interaction between Hunter and Garcia. Having the two men back together, watching their interactions as they worked to solve the crime, was a lot of fun. As much as I adore Hunter – he is a wonderful main character, and he is one of my favourite detectives to follow – I do have a soft spot for his partner. The start of the story alone worked to highlight why I love him so much, showcasing why we should have even more Garcia in the books.

I’m merely rambling about my mental petition for more Garcia scenes now, though. I apologise. Back to the good stuff: the actual story.

As always, Chris Carter has created a wonderfully connected story. The way he weaves the story together is brilliant. I want to say so much about the way certain things played out, but to do so would be to give a massive spoiler. Just know there is a bombshell to come near the end, and it is perfect in every way possible. You spend some much of the book thinking one thing, only for things to be turned around. In fact, Chris Carter turns many things around throughout the book. He has a great way of withholding information, or only showing it in a certain light, to ensure you believe one thing when in fact the story needs you to see things another way if you want to see the truth. It is a great talent, a wonderful way to keep the reader guessing until the end.

Overall, as always, this was a great addition to the series. It’s perfectly fine to read it as a standalone novel, but I do suggest reading all of the books. It’s much better to follow the story in order, allowing you to truly appreciate the way things come together.

I cannot wait for the next one – bring it on!

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Review: Flesh House

Flesh House Flesh House by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth Logan McRae novel, and Stuart MacBride is slowly working himself higher up my list of favourite authors.

Since picking up the first Logan McRae novel, Cold Granite, I knew I was onto something good with Stuart MacBride. I love crime thrillers, adore police procedurals, and he was offering me all that I wanted and then some. He offers great mystery. He keeps you guessing throughout. There are plot twists. There are great characters. The humour is dark. The story is grizzly. He has it all, and to make it all better I actually know the locations in the stories. The final point, knowing the locations, doesn’t really influence my love of the stories (I would love them even if I was oblivious to Aberdeen) but it does make it that little bit easier to enjoy.

With Flesh House, Stuart MacBride gave us another great story. Book three, Broken Skin, was my favourite of the first three books. It had every single tiny thing that I could ask for. It really did, in my opinion, have it all. I fangirled so hard, to the point where it was no longer funny. Coming after such a thing, I was worried Flesh House would not be as good. At the same time, however, the synopsis had me believing it would be even better. It was a tough place to be, but I was excited any way.

Compared to many crime books I have read, this one sits quite high up there. Compared to the first three Logan McRae books, it is not the best. It is at Stuart MacBride’s usual high standard, but it sits in the four star category rather than the five star category. A wonderful read, but not my favourite in the series. Wonderful, as I had hoped, but it was coming after a stronger read.

With Flesh House, I feel as though the story was a bit slower. This isn’t to say the story was slow throughout, but it seemed to take longer before the action really started. A lot more time was spent focusing upon the past aspects of the case, of what happened twenty years ago, and rehashing details pertaining to that aspect of the story rather than moving things forwards.

Of course, they did move forward in the end. When things started moving it was great – there were so many aspects to the story, and it was all a lot of fun – but I felt as though I waited longer than usual for the action to truly start. As so much happened, towards the end, I felt as though the story had made up for the slow start, but it still wasn’t quite there. I would have liked all the wonderful aspects of the story, and a little more speed at the start.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a brilliant story. I did have a lot of fun with it, as I do with all of the Logan McRae novels. I’ve already listed all of the things Stuart MacBride has to offer, and all is apparent in this novel. Hell, the humour continues to increase with every novel and I was once gain getting into trouble for laughing at the most inopportune of times. I simply had my hopes set a little bit higher after reading Broken Skin.

Overall, a wonderful read. It is a brilliant addition to the series. Unfortunately, despite hoping otherwise, it wasn’t a new favourite.

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Review: Dirt on the Diamond: A Baseball Duology

Dirt on the Diamond: A Baseball Duology Dirt on the Diamond: A Baseball Duology by A.J. Matthews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ll like to start by saying thank you to the authors for allowing me to advance read this wonderful duology. I’m unsure when it happened, but I found myself subscribed to the mailing list of one of the authors (Heather Young-Nichols) and through this I found that the authors were looking for people to advance read the duology. I’ll be the first to admit I know nothing about baseball (it isn’t really a thing on my side of the ocean), but I was intrigued as to what the stories would give.

I can safely say I was pleasantly surprised. It was a wonderful little duology – something you can read in no time at all, whilst being more than worth the read. I’d expected an enjoyable read, but what I was given went beyond what I had originally anticipated.

The first of the two stories is Stealing Home by Amelia Matthews. This one tells the story of Jack Behr and Kitty Fitzgerald. Back from war and facing troubles in society, Jack is finding life less than pleasant. Enter Kitty, the girl to turn things upside down. I was instantly surprised to find Kitty was the bigger baseball player in the story. I know it’s not unusual for females to play the sport, but in the time the story was set it would have been a little unusual. Of course, this all adds to the story. After all, the story does a lot more than bring two people together through a sport.

It shows how love can help a person through a difficult time. It shows how people can stand up for what they believe in. In fact, I’m not going to continue the list of messages sent. The story has so much depth to it, so much more than you would expect from a story so short.

It really does bring to life America post World War Two, whilst managing to be a super sweet tale.

The second of the two stories is Head in the Game by Heather Young-Nichols. This one tells the story of Zev Cohen and Wrigley Behr. Yes, you read correctly, it’s another Behr story. This one, however, is set in the modern day. We’ve moved forward through the generations, reading about the grandchild of the two characters from the first book. This might be a bit of a spoiler as to what to expect from the first story, but we all knew that a happily ever after was to be expected.

As with the first story, this was a sweet little tale. It’s a lot more what I’m accustomed to reading when it comes to romance stories, but there are some similarities to the first. Not enough for it to be a repeat of the same story – it is far from that, in fact – but enough for the two to tie together beautifully beyond the lineage between the stories.

Again, as you would expect, it is a beautiful tale of how the sport brings two people together when they both have their own difficulties to face.

Overall, I loved them both. I refuse to pick a favourite, as they were both wonderful in their own way. The only thing that disappointed me, if I’m honest, was the insta-love. It’s to be expected in stories of this length, but such a thing will always bugs me. Whilst there was a little bit of burning in both of the stories, I had wanted more. Nevertheless, I was content enough with what I was given.

As a whole, a beautiful duology. I really am grateful to have been given the chance to advance read this duology.

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Review: Sharp Ends

Sharp Ends Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is such a fun collection: I enjoyed it so much more than I had expected.

I’ll start by saying I’m not the biggest of fans of short story collections. I find short stories are often a case of hit or miss. Due to this, I very rarely go out and buy short story collections. However, I saw a Goodreads giveaway for Sharp Objects and decided to enter. I had wanted to read some Joe Abercrombie but I had no idea where to start. I wasn’t expecting to win, but I did. Thus, the decision was made that I would start with his First Law world. Prior to reading Sharp Ends, I read the First Law trilogy. I have yet to read the additional books set in the world, yet such a thing did not harm my reading of these stories.

For the most part, the stories were four star reads. There were a couple that were only three stars, that I felt were missing something, but mostly they were still great reads. Of course, I have my favourites, but I’ll gladly read all of them again.

The first story in the collection tells the tale of Glokta. I was really interested to read this one… but I was somewhat disappointed. It was fun, but I had expected something more. As he was one of my favourite characters in the main trilogy, I expected this short story to give us a lot more than it did. It was fun, but I really had wanted more from it. Due to this, it was one I considered to be a mere three star rating. It was fun, but it wasn’t that great. It left me unsure of where the collection would go: the story I had the biggest hopes for had disappointed me.

The second story picked up. This was a four star read. It was characters I did not know, and I questioned whether they were from the additional books set in the First Law world. Such a thing failed to worry me, though, as I enjoyed it. It was a typical Abercrombie read: grim and wonderful.

The third story was another that I wasn’t overly excited by. It had a couple of amusing moments, but it wasn’t overly wonderful. A three star read for me.

The fourth story picked back up. At this point I questioned whether there was going to be a pattern: an okay read and then a good one. I didn’t mind this, but I hoped for more of the good reads. This one follows on from the second story in the book, and I realised that we were following the same characters at a later point in their story. As I was enjoying them, I hoped for more from them – I was not disappointed. As I continued to read the collection, I realised there was a story being told within the stories. Back to story number four, though: it was another four star read.

The fifth story was another four star read. It wasn’t quite a full four stars, but it was close enough for me to mentally round up the rating. It was an interesting read, telling a tale from the main trilogy from the perspective of a new character. It was a lot of fun to see how things played out outside of the main characters.

The sixth story brought us back to those characters we are following throughout the book. It was a rather entertaining one, carrying on their main story and giving us more. I think it goes without saying that this was another four star read: following the couple throughout the book, in the form of short stories, is so much fun.

The seventh story was another okay read. It was back to being a three star read as it did not stand out much. Nothing amazing, but fun nonetheless.

The eighth story was back to being four stars. Again, it wasn’t a high four star rating, but it was more of a four star read than a three star read.

The ninth story was an okay read. This was one that I couldn’t quite round up to four stars, but I did enjoy revisiting some characters from the main trilogy.

The tenth story was another decent read. It wasn’t one of my favourites, but I did enjoy it.

The eleventh story was my favourite. I always enjoyed the character of Cosca and this story left me giggling throughout. I could say so much about this one, but if I did I’d end up with a review longer than the short story. I got in so much trouble whilst reading it: every other sentence someone was telling me to shut up with my giggling. I just couldn’t help it. I was so amusing. Without a doubt my favourite of the stories.

The twelfth story brought an end to the duo we have been following throughout the book. It was another interesting one: showing us more than just the duo. It was a lot of fun, a great end to the mini story within the book.

The final story followed another familiar character: the Bloody-Nine. It was another story I expected a lot from, and was unsure as to whether I was given all I had hoped for. It was better than the Glokta story, but I was still left wanting a little bit more. It was a great insight into the character, but not quite enough to appease me.

Overall, it was a great read. I’m so glad I won this one, and I’m sure I’ll go out and find the other books set in the First Law world in the hope of finding familiar faces from these tales.

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Review: Consequences

Consequences Consequences by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Honestly, I was truly let down by this one. I’d wanted so much more than I was given, thus leaving me disappointed.

Consequences is a book that sat on my to-read list for a very long time. Noticing that my to-read list had grown ridiculously long, I did a cleaning. Consequences was taken off the list, as I wasn’t overly mad about starting the series when I compared it to other series that interested me, but I always had it in the back of my mind should I ever see it going cheap. Thus, when BookBub informed me the book was free for a while on Amazon, I jumped at the chance. Of course, I was going to read it.

My disappointment started rather early. I just couldn’t get into the writing. I’m not sure why this is. It wasn’t badly written, yet at the same time it didn’t really stand out. I love authors whose writing stands out. Such a thing guarantees I will come back for more. In my opinion, there was nothing that really stood out with this author’s way of telling the story. Things simply were; there were no lyrical prose to leave me oozing at the words nor were there any deep insights into the emotions of the characters that left me feeling something profound. It just was. This, however, did not stop me from reading. It made it harder to continue, yes, but if a story is interesting, I can deal with merely okay writing.

The thing is, though, the story was nowhere near as interesting as it could have been. There were many points in the story where I considered giving up, finding I wasn’t really interested, but there was promise of something more appearing. However, to reach this we had to deal with a lot of repetition. Honestly, it was hundreds of pages of repetition. It was a case of our female did something wrong, so the male punished her. It was the same scenario over and over again, but with slightly different events. When I say slightly different, I merely mean it was a small alteration in the scenario. Then when things did start to change, it was another repetition of patterns. As a whole, it was a case of constant repetition. Over and over and over again, I felt as though I was reading the same thing. You knew exactly how each scene was going to play out.

Then, when things got interesting at the end, everything seemed rushed. I wanted so much more from the ending. It seemed to be stuck on the end, as though the author realised they needed something more than what they had given. Throughout we were given glimpses of how something more was to come, but when it came about it was disappointing. It was done with after a couple of chapters. I know it is set up for the future books, but it was a massive let down. I wanted more from this book. I wanted to actually feel something. It really wasn’t enough to leave me willing to carry on with the series. In all honesty, I’m surprised I managed to finish this book.

I know a lot of people enjoy this. They see it as a great sociological read, a dark tale. However, for me, it was not what I had hoped for. I was expecting something more: a better example of Stockholm Syndrome, a deeper look into the abuse, and many other things. What I was given felt more like a bad romance. It read more as ‘he is hot, therefore I will let him get away with what he is doing to me’. In fact, the whole Stockholm Syndrome aspect seemed to be mentioned later on as an afterthought, as though the author realised they had done such a thing. Suddenly the main character realised they had Stockholm Syndrome, despite how their actions conformed to what the guy wanted almost instantly, before there was any real interaction or chance for a psychological change.

I really could rant and rave about this one, but I won’t. It wouldn’t be fair to rant on endlessly when I’m criticising the story. Some will enjoy it, I’m sure, but it wasn’t for me.

Truthfully, I’m glad I grabbed it whilst it was free rather than paying for this book as I had once planned.

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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Review: Windswept

Windswept Windswept by Adam Rakunas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If I’m being completely honest, this one really surprised me.

I love science fiction books, yet I find myself thinking they’re often a case of hit or miss. Either every mark is hit or I’m left wanting something more. Of course there are varying degrees of the latter, but I often find myself reading books that fall into that category. More often than I’d like, science fiction books leave me wanting something more. This doesn’t stop me from reading more books in the genre, but it does mean I don’t go out of my way to read as many as I would like. I prefer to know I’m getting something good before picking up a science fiction book that could leave me disappointed.

When I saw a Goodreads giveaway for Windswept, I decided to enter. If anything, it sounded like one of those humorous science fiction books that are out on the market. Not one of those ‘oh my gosh I cannot breathe’ funny ones, but one to bring a smile to your face. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have been heartbroken if I hadn’t won the book. I wasn’t crazy obsessed with winning as I am with some other books (you know what I mean, those times where a book by your favourite author is named in a giveaway). Thus, when I woke up to find two emails from Goodreads informing me of winnings, I found my joy being transferred between the two books. I had won Windswept by Adam Rakunas (earning an ‘I can find out if this is worth it’ yay) and Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie (earning a ‘hooray for the short story collection that I am interested in’ yay), with the two combining to make an ‘oh my, I won two books and want to read them both now’ yay.

I debated reading Sharp Ends first, but in the end I went for Windswept. I’d just come out of reading the First Law trilogy, and whilst jumping straight into the short stories would have been fine, I felt like a break. I went into Windswept hoping for something much lighter, something other than the kind of high fantasy that leaves you reading at a slower pace than usual, and was not disappointed.

It was an easy read, but this is not at all a bad thing. Sometimes science fiction books can really weigh you down as information is thrown at you. My science knowledge is pretty decent (if you’ll accept a moment where I sound big-headed) yet this does not make me an astrophysicist, and it’s always nice when science fiction books are at a level where everyone can understand them. This one reads as though it’s set in the not too distant future: far enough away for the planet we’re on to be unique but similar enough to the modern world to prevent a headache from forming as you try to work your way around it. Whilst this world does have a decent amount for us to learn, it’s done in such a way that you feel as though it’s telling the story in the modern world. It is always great when science fiction books read in such a way. Honestly, there were so many points in favour of the story for that alone.

The story itself was great. The synopsis reads as though you’re in for a humorous story, but such isn’t what you’re given. There are a handful of moments to bring a smile to your face, but it’s not the kind to leave you chuckling at every other sentence. It’s a serious read with the occasional smidgen of humour thrown in, despite how the notion of the story could have you believing otherwise.

Honestly, I was truly blown away by how good it was.

Things were a little slow at first, but once the story got going it was a lot of fun. The characters were brilliant, there was plenty of action, there were many twists, and it makes you think. It truly was a surprising read. I can certainly see myself going on to read the next book.

Overall, a great surprise. I’m so glad I won this one.

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Review: Last Argument of Kings

Last Argument of Kings Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t quite as pleased with the first book in this trilogy as I had hoped to be. It was an okay read, but I was left wanting more. Despite this, I had high hopes for the second book. There was so much promise. Fortunately, Joe Abercrombie delivered. Thus, I was hopeful with the third book. Whilst it wasn’t my favourite book in the First Law trilogy, it was a great read. Not quite as good as the second book, but it was almost there.

You see, Joe Abercrombie sat on my to-read list for a rather long time. I had many internal debates in bookstores as to whether or not I was to pick up his books. Whenever there is a Goodreads giveaway for one of his books, I enter. It is through one such giveaway that I came to be reading this series – well, at least partly.

Allow me to tell you a short story, before I get down to writing my review of this book, just so you better understand how I feel towards it.

Earlier this year, a friend of mine offed me a collection of his fantasy books. He was cleaning out his house, making more room, and wanted to unload some of his books. Who better to hand them to than little old me? Everyone who knows me is aware of my love for books, of how I will nab any and all offered. I asked him what was included and he gave me a wonderful list (at this point I would like to point out the embarrassing fact of how he has only read a couple of them, thus leaving me to question our friendship). There were many squeals as names were read out. Patrick Rothfuss. Joe Abercrombie. Robin Hobb. Scott Lynch. The last easily brought out the biggest of squeals because the first two Gentleman Bastard books were being handed over. Still, I was pretty excited by a lot of the names.

Now, obviously, I jumped into the Scott Lynch books first. Such a thing goes without saying. Yet, I was interested in many of the other books. My problem, however, was I didn’t know where to go after finishing the two Scott Lynch books (other than ordering book three and awaiting book four, that is).

Enter another friend, this one being someone who spends all their free time reading high fantasy. Most of the names she had either read or they are on her to-read list. Thus, she was happy to make suggestions. To begin with, she told me Patrick Rothfuss. This changed when she realised I’m an impatient soul, and she had no wish to force another wait on me. Thus, she told me to read Joe Abercrombie. Before I could do such a thing, though, she wanted to borrow the last two books. Whilst she has read his other series, she had only read the first of this series. I allowed her to borrow the books, and my reading was to be put aside.

Whilst waiting for her to finish with the book, I saw a giveaway for Sharp Ends. It’s a collection of short stories set in The First Law world. Knowing I now had the trilogy waiting to be read, I entered the giveaway. I was more than a little bit surprised when I won. I informed my friend, highlighting how I needed her to speed up her reading because I needed to get on top of things before my winning arrived. It arrived quite quickly, though, and she wasn’t quite done.

Finally, however, I got the books back. Upon return, my friend informed me of how I would love the books. They’re very character driven, and right up my street, she told me. Basically, she fangirled and I took her word for it.

Having now finished the series, I can understand why my friend – and so many other people – think so highly of the series. Whilst it is not my favourite series in the genre, it is certainly a great read. If you’re a fan of fantasy then it is worth picking up, if only so you can see what Joe Abercrombie is all about.

All three of the books are very character driven. With the first book I feared this would overshadow the story, preventing progress, but as the series moved on this changed. In the first book we found out so much about the characters, they were really brought alive (whether they were a main character of a side character), and this continues throughout. It wasn’t until the second book that I really became happy with where the story was going. In the first book I felt clueless, I wasn’t sure where things were heading. The second book there was a clear goal in mind, as things were moving towards something. In the third book, the movement continues and everything is brought together.

Each character’s story continues to move forward, each taking a different direction, everything being brought together. There is so much I could say about the way everything was brought together, yet I fear I will end up giving spoilers. Just know it is wonderful. A few things were predictable, but these things were part of a much larger picture. This bigger picture really make the series worth it. Things that you read in the first two books click into place, and you realise just how massive the endgame payoff really is. Honestly, I was so happy with the way everything was brought together to show us how everything has been played throughout the trilogy.

I really cannot say enough about this one. The way things were brought together really brought the series to life for me, giving it that something more that allowed me to understand why people enjoy the First Law series so much. The story is so much fun, and in the end you’re left perfectly content.

I think it’s safe to say I will no longer be so tentative when it comes to picking up Joe Abercrombie books.

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Review: Witch's Brew

Witch's Brew Witch's Brew by Heidi R. Kling
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I really feel as though I’m part of the minority with this one. A lot of people seem to enjoy this book, yet I couldn’t really get into it. I tried – oh, I tried so hard – but in the end, I couldn’t finish it.

I admit that such a thing is rare for me, but it does occasionally happen. I’m also trying to force a new rule onto myself: to stop reading books I’m not enjoying. Since joining BookBub the number of books on my Kindle has boomed. There are now over a thousand books sitting on there, simply because I cannot ignore the word ‘free’. I’ve forced my way through a number I’ve not enjoyed, and that needs to end. If I’m not enjoying it, I need to move on to something else.

Thus, Witch’s Brew became the first book to experience the new rule.

I cannot really place my finger on the specific thing that prevented me from enjoying the story. What I read felt far too much like every other young adult book on the market – you know what I mean, the whole special snowflake and forbidden love interest shebang. I can deal with this, though. However, to want to continue the story needs something that really shines. I worked through a decent percentage of the story, but nothing overly wonderful was appearing. There wasn’t that extra ‘wow’ factor. Moreover, I never really came to enjoy the voice of the story.

Sadly, this one was not for me. I’m sure it appeals to many others, yet I couldn’t bring myself to finish this one.

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Friday, 5 August 2016

Review: Awaken

Awaken Awaken by Heather C. Myers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Recently I have been working my way through the author’s work, starting all her series and reading standalones. Whilst I have not read them all, I’ve read enough to know I enjoy what she writes. Some more than others, but all are fun. Not too long ago I finished Strangers, proclaiming it to be my favourite thus far. I wish to retract that statement and label Awaken my favourite Heather C. Myers read to date. Strangers had a little bit more than all her other books, yet Awaken has even more than Strangers. It hit so many spots, and I cannot wait to continue reading the trilogy.

Awaken is a mashup of many things, a collection that will sound quite odd but works wonderfully. We have superheroes and villains. We have Greek mythology. We have angels and demons. It sounds like a really crazy mix and match of ideas, but they work together wonderfully. Heather C. Myers has managed to bring three ideas that shouldn’t go together and create something wonderful. She always puts her own spin on things, but this is something else entirely. I could sit and explain how the three come together, but to do so would be to spoil the storyline. Just know it works – and it works well. It’s worth reading just to see how well the author has brought the different ideas together.

As with some of her other books, Heather C. Myers follows three main characters throughout the story. I admit that I did have favourites, but all aspects of the story were interesting. Each perspective we follow gives us more about the world, helping us to see the bigger picture even if the characters do not. Each chapter we shift perspective, finding out what is happening for another character; and whilst this can sometimes be a bad way to tell a story, such is not the case here. Each character has the same amount of story told, enough being given to ensure you’re completely pulled in. By the end, though, we still have plenty of questions that we will want answered in the future books. Basically, she gives us enough to pull us in but we are left wanting more when the story ends.

Despite my enjoyment, though, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the characters. Whilst they were enjoyable, and had great storylines, I feel as though they were far too similar to those in Strangers. I think reading them so close together highlighted such a thing for me, yet it still bugged me somewhat. When it comes to the group of friends, we have the same kinds of characters. It’s almost as though I’m reading the same group of friends but in a different situation. There were enough differences to ensure they were not carbon copies, but it’s only as the story progressed that this became clear.

Nevertheless, it was wonderful. As I said, it’s my favourite Heather C. Myers read to date, and I’ve read a fair few already. I’m more than intrigued about where the story is going to head next; in fact, I’m rather desperate to get my hands on the rest of the series. Whilst it is obvious how certain aspects will end (I mainly mean the romance, here), there is still a lot of unknowns.

It is certainly one of the better free books I have ever found.

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Review: Hidden Bodies

Hidden Bodies Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adored You, so it should come as no surprise to know I went out of my way to get my hands on Hidden Bodies. I’d planned to read it sooner, but things happened; nevertheless, it was worth the wait.

You was a true masterpiece. It hit almost every possible button. When such a thing happens, you’re always worried about sequels. Excited, yes, but also worried nothing will be as good as the first. When the reviews started to come in about Hidden Bodies, they were mixed. In fact, I became worried as quite a few people seemed disappointed. Still, I was desperate to see what came next for Joe. I adored his story and needed more of it.

I can safely say that I enjoyed where his story went. I admit that it wasn’t quite as good as the first, but it was still a good read. I laughed, I squealed, and I enjoyed it. All the things a book is supposed to make you feel can be found in this sequel.

It’s not as gritty as the first, so some people may be put off by that. It’s also a bit slower to start. Once you’re into the story, however, you’re trapped in Joe’s spell and it is impossible to escape. As with the first book, you want the best for Joe. He is a wonderful anti-hero. You’re never quite one hundred percent sure as to where things are going to go next. Anything could happen with Joe, things going in all sorts of directions. It’s great to read. It really wasn’t what I was expecting, but that was part of the fun. If Joe’s story had followed the first book in the exact same way, I would have been disappointed. This has all the usual Joe magic, but the story doesn’t shift in the same way as the first.

Also, the internal monologues! Joe’s internal monologues are certainly some of my favourite. They’re just as amusing in this one as they were in the first. Pretty much everything that he thinks is pure gold. There are so many brilliant lines – I could sit here reciting them for hours on end. It’s worth a read for Joe’s internal monologues alone.

I’m not quite sure what I thought of the ending, though. As with most of the book, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’m still not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I liked the way the ending played out, but the actual ending itself has left me unsure. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a solid conclusion regarding my feelings towards the ending.

Overall, it was a great second book. It wasn’t quite as magical as the first, but it was still enjoyable.

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Review: Coffin Road

Coffin Road Coffin Road by Peter May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another enjoyable read from Peter May. Whilst not my favourite of his works, it was still great.

I’ve pretty much worked through all of Peter May’s work now. I just need to finish the China thrillers and then I’m up to date. Reading his Lewis trilogy first ensured I would read more of his work, and whilst nothing has quite lived up to the first Lewis book, I’ve still had fun with everything he’s written. Some has been more enjoyable than others, yet all have ensured he remains on my list of favourite authors. I doubt he will ever be my number one author, but he’ll always be an author I’ll pick up.

Coffin Road sits around the midline in terms of where it sits on my list of favourite Peter May books. It isn’t quite the Lewis trilogy, but I liked it more than the Enzo Files. It was better than Runaway, yet it wasn’t quite Entry Island. Middle ground. Of course, middle ground for Peter May is still higher than my average middle ground. Worth a read if you’re a Peter May fan; a good starting point if you’re new to his work but not the first book I would direct you towards.

As with all of his books, Coffin Road has a good dose of mystery. You have multiple aspects to the story, which you know are interconnected, yet you’re not quite sure how they interconnect. You have your ideas but it’s only as the story progresses that you start to see where the links can be found. In this one, you have three main mysteries. First, who is the man washed up on the beach? As we follow him, more and more contradictory information comes to light. There is little by way of information, and each new thing that comes to light can be questioned. Second, who is to blame for the murder? Oddly enough, the murder is the aspect of the story with the least information. It is clearly linked in with the rest of the story, but you don’t know the why. Third, what is the truth behind the absent father? We have a question of whether he truly committed suicide or whether there was more to his disappearance than meets the eye. As more comes to light to this aspect of the story, you quickly become tangled in a web of deceit that is so much larger than one person leaving their family behind.

These three aspects come together brilliantly, working together to slowly unfold the main mystery of the book. Parts reminded me of the first China thriller, in the way there was something much larger than any of the individual characters at play, but it was far from a carbon copy of the book.

Overall, it was a great read. As I said, it’s not my favourite Peter May book, but it was more than worth reading.

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Monday, 1 August 2016

Review: The City's Son

The City's Son The City's Son by Tom Pollock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to give this one a higher rating, but in the end I couldn’t quite bring myself to round up to a four star rating. It wasn’t quite enough for such a thing to happen. It was a fun read yet my hopes had been higher.

To be honest, I think I went in expecting the wrong thing from this book. I found it in Poundland, which is often a case of hit and miss. Sometimes you find real gems hidden in Poundland – I mean, I found Laini Taylor the one time – and other times you find the kinds of books that leave you wanting to gouge your eyes out. I’d been hoping this one would fall into the first category, that it would be amazing. I wasn’t expecting the beauty of Laini Taylor (she’s one of my favourite authors, after all, so such a thing is hard to do) but I’d hoped for something great from an urban fantasy that sounded so fun.

I’ll start by saying it was a fun urban fantasy read. The world building was wonderful. We’re giving something different yet somewhat familiar. We’re given a supernatural underbelly of London that is filled with mysteries, with the fantasy aspects being brilliant. All the aspects were new. They were all interesting. We’re given railway wraiths, bodies trapped in stone, electrical creatures of light, deities of the city, and then some. Okay, so not all of the aspects were new – but most were. If nothing else, the way they were mixed together was wonderful.

Despite how great this world building was, I found myself wanting more. Not in terms of what we were given – the way in which they all added to the story was lots of fun – as we were given plenty. I wanted more by way of description. I found, as I progressed through the book, that the author was great at describing action. If anything, there was too much description at certain points of action. When it came to describing the new creations of the world… well, some felt lacking. They simply were. We’re given the most basics. Some really came alive, yet others I found difficult to really imagine in the way the author was intending as I felt as though I wasn’t quite given enough. To put it bluntly, I felt as though there was differing amounts of attention given to detailing depending upon what the author was focusing upon. I understand that some things need more attention that others, but I feel as though world building deserves equal attention to truly bring all the creatures to life.

Truthfully, I think that was part of my problem. I found it hard to really get into the book to begin with, as I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the way in which the story was being told. It took me much long to find myself fully embedded into the story than I had hoped for. Once I was into the story, and everything was moving forward, the story was great fun. However, it took much longer for me to read that point than I had hoped for.

Overall, it was a fun story. It was a nice introduction to the series, and things could go to interesting places in the future books, but I’m not sure whether I’ll continue. There is potential enough for me to consider the books, yet I won’t be going out of my way to read them soon.

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