Friday 25 November 2016

Review: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever

You Are Destined To Be Together Forever [an Odd Thomas short story] You Are Destined To Be Together Forever [an Odd Thomas short story] by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Odd Thomas series is one of my favourite series. Honestly, I cannot begin to explain how much love I have for the series. I fangirl like mad, telling everyone to read it. I could rant and rave for hours about how much I love the books. I won’t, though. At least not right now.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise to hear that You Are Destined To Be Together Forever has been on my to-read list for quite some time. Despite knowing the story was a mere handful of pages, despite knowing it added very little by way of knowledge of the series, despite having read some negative reviews, I needed this like I need oxygen. It was a must read. I wanted – no, I needed – the story of Odd and Stormy, the story of the Gypsy Mummy and her fortune.

I’ll admit the story did leave me wanting more. I went in knowing the story did not offer as much to the series as it wants you to believe… and still I wanted more. The first five chapters tell the story of Odd and Stormy as they deal with a recent arrival in the spirit world. It was an okay story, but there wasn’t really much by way of substance. It kept me interested, I cannot deny that, but it didn’t have the thrill factor of the full-length Odd Thomas novels. It was enjoyable, but rather weak compared to the main series. The final chapter is where the title comes into play. We get to read the story of the fortune Odd holds so close to his heart throughout the series. Whilst I did enjoy watching this scene play out, it didn’t add any information we hadn’t read before. These things had been alluded to throughout the main books, and if you were to take out the bits and pieces you would be given an almost word-for-word rendering of the final chapter of this story.

Nevertheless, it was Odd Thomas. I’m biased and love all Odd Thomas stories, and whilst this wasn’t my favourite it still just about managed to pull a four star rating out of me. An enjoyable enough read for the diehard fans of the series.

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Tuesday 22 November 2016

Review: Shifter Date: Must Love Lions

Shifter Date: Must Love Lions Shifter Date: Must Love Lions by Alma Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last month I was added to the Book Blogger List, and since then I’ve had so many amazing books sent my way. Some would say too many books. Honestly, my list is so long. It’s rather silly, actually. Not that such a thing is deterring me. The opposite in fact, as it’s allowing me to find many new authors I’m really enjoying.

Shifter Date: Must Love Lions by Alma Black is one such read. I’d planned to read it next week, yet my Kindle had a bit of a mental breakdown last night. All of my advance reads disappeared, nothing was syncing. Finally, when things started to appear again, nothing was in order. With an exceptionally long list of books trying to reappear on my Kindle, I decided to leave the process alone instead of interfering with it. Things would come back as they would. Whilst this was happening, though, I wanted something to read. Thus, I found one of the books that had reappeared. Despite being a few books down my to-read list, Alma Black’s book was one of the lucky ones to have re-downloaded with ease. Thus, I decided to give it a go. Whilst waiting for everything to reappear I could read one of my other advance reads.

I’d been excited about this one since Alma Black (link is to her website) contacted me. I was growing impatient with myself, as it was taking me longer to reach the book than I had hoped. The wait was worth it, though, as I had so much fun with this one. It’s short and sweet, allowing you to complete it in no time at all, and it leaves you wanting more from the series.

This book has the general feel of other paranormal romance reads, whilst having enough to make it unique. A shifter romance involving the use of a dating app was something new to me, and I enjoyed it so much. From the first page we’re pulled into the shifter world, giving us a glimpse into the lion pack. There are so many different kinds of shifter to choose from, and I really hope the series gives us more and more. Honestly, this one was so fun that I’ll gladly read any kind of shifter romance set around this premise. There’s such promise of where future books can go, so much opened up, and I cannot wait to see where things head.

In terms of the actual story, I felt as though things were a bit too fast for my liking. I enjoyed when books have a lot of action, and this book certainly had that. However, I feel as though the romance didn’t have much by way of build-up. I’m a big lover of build-up, and it felt as though the characters simply went through a checklist of emotions they were supposed to feel. It was fun to watch the way in which things developed – I adored the storyline and the way things played out – but I was left wanting a little bit more in terms of watching the emotional scenes between the characters. It wasn’t lacking, per se, but it could have had a bit more.

As I’ve previously stated, though, the book does leave promise for the series. Whilst we’re given an insight into the shifter world, we actually know very little. We know enough to understand the story, we know enough to understand the characters, and yet we don’t completely understand the world. We’re introduced to the bad guys – those who do not want shifters and humans together – but we don’t know as much about them as we could. Not that this is a bad thing, far from it. Such a thing has left me interested in seeing how they develop in the future books, curious as to what will happen next.

Overall, it was a roaring read. I’m more than a little bit excited about what comes next. If you’re a fan of paranormal romance, I certainly recommend picking this one up – it’s a great addition to the genre.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for contacting me for a review. I had so much fun with this one!

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Review: The Jakkattu Vector

The Jakkattu Vector The Jakkattu Vector by P.K. Tyler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Avendui 5ive and Twin Helix worked to get me super excited about the Jakkattu series. I had my fingers crossed for a great read, I was hopeful that there would be a lot of fun, and I was not disappointed. Having now finished The Jakkattu Vector, I can safely say I’m more than a little bit eager to see where this series goes.

It took me a while to work my way through this one, however it was my own fault rather than the fault of the book. From the very start the book is full of action, the action existing from start to end. As you would expect some points were higher than others, but every moment kept you engaged and on the edge of your seat regarding where things would go next. Each time I put the book down I was impatient to pick it up again, curious as to what would happen next.

Told mainly from two viewpoints, we follow our main characters as the world is slowly shown to us and the mysteries unveiled. Having read Avendui 5ive and Twin Helix, I had an idea of what to expect from the world. However, the glimpse given in the short stories failed to show me just how much of the world there really is. Following a human and a non-human, we see so much more of the world than I’d expected. The lies and deceit, the untruths and subterfuge – it’s such a complex world, and even when you work something out there is always more meaning to be found waiting within the next few pages. Honestly, the way things come together is wonderful. Even when finished, we have so many questions waiting to be answered. We know certain facts, and yet we don’t know it all.

Honestly, I could write endlessly about the world building but that would bore you. Just know it’s such a wonderfully complex world, with so many aspects to it. I’d go so far as to say it was my favourite aspect of the book – but I really did love so much of it.

A close second in regards to my favourite aspect, is the main characters. Both females were wonderful, and I have difficulty deciding whom I enjoyed more. Flickering between them was both wonderful and disheartening – I would get really into one and I wouldn’t want to change, and yet I was always excited as to what would come next for the other character. I really enjoyed it when they can together, as well. It was obvious they would at some point, and yet it didn’t happen in the way I had expected. It really was great to see the two of them come together. I really wish there had been more, though. I wanted more interaction between the two of them – they were both such strong women and I can only imagine the kind of havoc that would ensue if they spent a prolonged period of time together.

I have no idea where the series is heading – I can guess as to where the next book will take us, but long run specifics remain elusive – yet my fingers are crossed that we will get to see the two women together again at some point in the future. Whatever happens, I know both main characters have a great storyline ahead of them. With the way events ended in this book, it’s basically a promise of great things to come.

Honestly, it was such a great read. I’m now going to be an impatient individual as I await the next book, counting down until I can get some kind of answer to any of the many questions I have.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this one.

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Monday 21 November 2016

Who's Your Perfect Shifter?

Since being added to the Book Blogger List, I’ve had many amazing books sent my way. So many, in fact, that I have weeks’ worth of advance reading ready and waiting on my Kindle. As you can imagine, the occasional break is necessary. Whether you find yourself in a similar situation or whether you simply want some fun and games, I have something for you.

Shifter Date: Must Loves Lions is on my list of things to read next week. It’s a paranormal romance that I’m super excited about reading. Shifters and a dating app – what’s not to love? 

So, to get in the mood, I have some fun and games. Find Your Purr-fect Shifter Date! If you’re curious about who your perfect shifter mate would be, click that link and head over to a fun little quiz. It takes mere minutes, and it’s rather amusing. I got wolf shifter – let me know what you get!

Plus, as an added bonus, everyone who takes part will receive a free copy of this book I’m so excited about. What’s not to love? It’s a double win!

Head over now, and have some fun!

Review: The White Robe

The White Robe The White Robe by Mitch Rowland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m somewhat particular when it comes to my science fiction reads. I love a good science fiction book, and yet I pick up so few. I want to pick up more, and yet the books need to scream out to me before I will take the dive.

The White Robe is a great little read, pulling you in from start to end, whilst getting you to think about deeper aspects of life than you expect to. It’s a short read, one that can be completed in no time at all, and yet there is so much to the story. We have great world building. We have well rounded characters. We have action. We have a storyline that moves at a great pace. We have mystery and deception. All in all, there is a lot to be found in these pages and I certainly recommend science fiction fans pick up the book.

Truthfully, I could say so much about this one. I’m not, though. It’s one of those books you need to read to truly appreciate. Things are brought together so well that I fear the structure will collapse should I say the wrong thing. It is so easy to let something slip with this one, so easy for me to accidently say too much. Thus, I’m merely going to address my favourite aspect.

My biggest love was the new world, the setting. Honestly, it was so much fun. A planet that is mostly water – I’m game. But there is so much more than that. We have storms. We have alien creatures. We have the way in which human society works on this planet – big props for how the story didn’t get caught up in the how and why of the humans being on another planet, rather we’re told enough to give us knowledge but we’re not pulled down by particulars. Then there is the aspects involved in the mystery. There is more than we’re made to believe, an even larger aspect to be found. Again, though – spoilers.

I know this is a rather short review, I know I say very little, but there is just too much to say and I’d rather fangirl with someone than simply throw information at you. Know this is a gem of a read, and I’m so grateful the author contact me for a review. I really appreciate it.

Now, science fiction fans, get to work on reading this!

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Sunday 20 November 2016

Review: Finding Kyler

Finding Kyler Finding Kyler by Siobhan Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I positively adore the Saven series. I really need to get to work on reading the True Calling books. I’m now finding myself in love with The Kennedy Boys, after just one book.

Upon finding out the final Saven book was delayed due to a contemporary read, my inner fangirl started to die a slow death. Could I wait so long to find out how the amazing series was to end? I didn’t know, but my heart was beating out the tune of how I’m rather impatient when it comes to awaiting promise filled books. Despite this, I was more than a little bit intrigued to see what Siobhan Davis had to offer in her new series. It was something different, something away from her norm, and I wanted to see how it played out.

It’s a sad fact that when authors try a genre outside of their norm, things can go one of two ways. They can create something wonderful, thus leaving us all hooked. They can create something below par, something that leaves the fandom pointing them back towards what they know best. Fortunately, for Siobhan Davis and her fans, this is a case of falling into the former category. Whilst Siobhan Davis can write a wonderful young adult science fiction novel, she can also write a great young adult contemporary read.

Finding Kyler is the first in what is to be The Kennedy Boys trilogy, and from the very start you are pulled into the story. It begins on somewhat of a cliché note, but such a thing is necessary. It is one of those big events that turn the life of our main character upside down to set everything into motion. If you’re a fan of young adult contemporary reads, then you know to accept such things. These things are unavoidable, they’re necessary to get the ball rolling. Which is exactly what happens: the ball starts rolling instantly with our character being dragged across the ocean to start her new life.

Thrown from the everyday life and into the life of the reach, it is another aspect that has been done before – but as with her other work, Siobhan Davis works it in such a way that it instantly becomes her own. Our main character deals with this change in life in a way that very few characters do. After all, how many times can you say you’ve seen someone thrown into the life of the reach and famous get a waitressing job? It’s the seemingly little things that all come together to make this book unique, the apparently small aspects that make this book well and truly its own. I really could say so much about the tiny aspects that make the book unique, but I have no wish to spoil the fun. Thus, I’ll move on to the bigger things.

This book is filled with so many aspects. We have our main character finding herself. We have romance. We have revenge. We have lies and deceit. Nothing is limited to just one person – everyone seems to be involved in something. Siobhan Davis knows how to make an onion of a story, adding multiple layers, and this book is no different. Throughout we have questions, and whilst some things are made clear, by the end of the story we have very little by way of knowledge. We have no idea what is going on with certain characters, we have no idea what the truth is, and we’re left wanting to know more. All of these things come together so well, and it’s so much fun watching the way things develop throughout.

In terms of the romance, I’ll say this book will not be for everyone. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole cousin aspect of the story. I come from a rather large family, and whilst I’m not in contact with all of my cousins I don’t think I would ever be able to think about them in the way the main character thought of hers. Even those I know of only by name, those who live in another country, I wouldn’t be able to. It’s the mere knowledge of them being cousins. This, however, does play in with the whole prejudice aspect of the story. The way people think and react is important to the way in which the story plays out, adding more to the story. Whilst I wasn’t crazy about this aspect, I also didn’t hate it. Basically, just know this story will not be for everyone.

As for the ending… well. I knew something was going to come about at the end, but I’d been hoping it wouldn’t be that. I was crossing my fingers that things would go in the opposite direction. Of course, I cannot complain because it means there’s to be a lot of drama in the next book. Honestly, it has me so curious to see where things go from here. The number of lies and the deceit – wow. It’s one hell of a mess, and I really want some answers to everything that is going on.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. Siobhan Davis has proven she is more than capable of writing outside of her science fiction norm, and I’m super excited to read the rest of the series.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me to advance read this story.

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Thursday 17 November 2016

Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was under strict instructions to enjoy this one, and enjoy it I did.

For an exceptionally long time – too long – The Night Circus sat on my to-read list. It’s one of those books that everyone speaks about, one of those books you just have to read. It wasn’t simply a case of jumping in on the hype – I was genuinely interested in the story. It screamed out to me, begging me to read it. It sounded like something I would love, especially with the promise of real magic in a circus. Despite this desire to read the story, despite being very aware of the book, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to receive.

What I received wasn’t exactly what I had been expecting.

Part of me had expected endless magic, but such is not what we receive. Part of me expected a lot of romance, yet such is not what we received. Part of me expected a lot of action, and yet we did not receive as much as I had expected. As a whole, all my prior conceptions of the book were turned around once I started reading. The book wasn’t what I had expected and I loved it for that.

We start off with our main characters being children, allowing us to move through time as things slowly come together. When young, we watch as the two main characters are thrown into some kind of challenge. Things are unclear at the start, the specifics unknown, and things remain this way for a very long time. Slowly information is revealed, regularly we are given glimpses of suggestions, and yet for the most part everything is shrouded in mystery. We know the challenge is of the magical variety, we know the circus is involved as a venue, and yet most beyond that remains in the unknown. To add even more to the mystique, we travel back and forth in time. We flicker between scenes of the two players in the game growing, to scenes of another individual in the future. It is clear that something big is coming, that something is going to happen in the circus, and yet our lack of knowledge makes it impossible to know what exactly.

Honestly, it’s hard to explain this one. There are so many aspects brought together, so many different themes and stories, and yet they come together so well that it flows perfectly. It’s a beautiful tale, a truly wonderful story.

I’ll admit, however, that very little actually happened. We’re given so much description, the travelling through time allows us to see so much, and yet the real action is never really there. We’re following a challenge that doesn’t really have the feel to it that I had anticipated. I’d expected the challenge to be a lot more heart stopping than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the way things built up – I’d simply expected a more adrenaline-inducing read. It was a slow mover, a lot of build-up, and I feel as though people need to be forewarned of this.

Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun with this one. I’m not as crazy in love with the story as many people are, I can see why it is an acquired taste, but I certainly enjoyed it.

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Monday 14 November 2016

Review: Bluff

Bluff Bluff by Julie Dill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was immediately pulled in by the synopsis of this book, although I wasn’t really sure what I expected. It sounded interesting but I was unsure as to whether or not it would deliver an interesting read. Fortunately, I had a lot of fun with this one.

Whilst this book is somewhat slow at times, from quite early on the story grips you. You’re pulled into the life of the main character, wanting to know what comes next and where her choices will lead. There are many books out there on teenage addiction – you really don’t need me to name them, and if you’re unsure a simple Google search will easily help you – but off the top of my head I cannot think of any that deal with gambling, even rarer is for it to be a female with a gambling addiction. There were instant points in favour of the book right there – add in the fact that it was a lot of fun, and I didn’t care that the book was somewhat slow at times.

Our story follows Chelsea, somewhat of a cliché in the young adult world. She comes from a broken family. Her home is rather decrepit. Her father isn’t the man he should be. She keeps her living conditions away from her friends. Due to all of this, there was a bit of a groan from me at first. However, I plead you to ignore such a reaction if you feel it coming on. These things are actually important. They’re not around for the usual excuses of ‘it adds more depth’ (because we all know that excuse is very rarely the case), but rather these are important for the overall story. Remember how I said the story is of gambling – well, yeah, these things come into the story and play a part.

Whilst it does take a bit of time for the story to really get moving, once it does get moving you’re pulled right in. Lie after lie builds up, and we watch as Chelsea tries to keep her life moving in the right direction. In fact, what even is the right direction? This is something our character tries to deal with, a rather simple look at moral dilemmas. Honestly, it may seem like very little is happening but all these little things come together to create a wonderful depiction of gambling addiction. Wonderful in the sense of it being an eye opener, not in the sense of it suggesting you go out and take up poker to pay the bills and buy a few nice things.

Another cliché point that I should point out is the romance. It’s predictable from the start, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. Although it does add something to the story, I’m not quite sure just how much it truly adds. It is necessary for some events – but as a whole, I felt rather indifferent to the romance element. This, however, is due to the fact that I’m rather picky with my romances. I don’t ship half the things other people do. I accept that some will enjoy the romance element of this one, but I wasn’t overly bothered by it.

I’m unsure about the ending, too. Not in the sense of I don’t know how I feel about it. I know exactly how I feel. I liked it. You’re made to believe one thing and then things are turned around. It’s great. I simply don’t know if it’s the case of a possible sequel or if it’s just a way to make people stop and think. A part of me hopes it’s the latter. I’m not entirely sure how a sequel would work. I feel as though it would work better as a standalone, with one of those endings that has a bit of a shock factor. If there is a sequel, though, I will be interested in reading it.

Overall, this was a great little read.

As a final note, I’d like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to advance read this.

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Sunday 13 November 2016

Review: Archie's Mirror

Archie's Mirror Archie's Mirror by Geoff Turner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ll start by saying I’m far from an expert in children’s books. Despite the fact that it hasn’t been that long since I was reading them, I do feel somewhat disconnected from them. Due to that, I had a bit of trouble working out what age range this story was aimed at. To me, it felt as though it flickered somewhat: sometimes it would become darker or the language would be aimed at older children, and yet for the most part I felt as though it was fine for somewhat younger (note that I am not implying toddlers) children.

Despite my inability to work out the exact age range the story is aimed at, it was an enjoyable enough read. In fact, it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It’s a fun little fantasy read, one that quickly pulls you in.

Almost instantly the action starts, pulling us into the fantasy world, and it doesn’t let up all that much throughout. As the story progresses we’re slowly introduced to more and more aspects of the fantasy world, with there being many nods to popular fiction throughout. A lot of the creatures we’re introduced to are the typical, but there are also some new unique creatures for us to enjoy. I’ll admit at times, I felt as though there were too many creatures being introduced – I felt as though it would have been better to spread them out across the books – and yet the overall effect worked.

I’ll admit that a few things seemed a bit too predictable, things that happen in a lot of children’s stories, but such a thing isn’t a problem for the child reader. The way in which the story develops is sure to keep children interested, leaving them wanting more. In all honesty, I’m rather curious myself as to where things will go from here.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for contacting me regarding a review: I enjoyed this one, and I’m positive the next one will be just as enjoyable – if not more so.

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Friday 11 November 2016

Review: The Departed

The Departed: Book 1 of The Departed Series The Departed: Book 1 of The Departed Series by Kristy Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Departed is such a great little read. You can complete it in no time at all and it’s super addictive.

The Departed takes a unique concept and builds up something much more than I’d anticipated it would. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it would be interesting; and yet, it turned out that the book offers more than I’d initially predicted.

People are disappearing. It’s a premise that many books have started with. Of course, the conspiracy theories will fly everywhere. Aliens. A virus. Magic. You know, it can go so many ways. With this one, we have the rapture. Or, at least, it appears as though we do. Very quickly, you find out such is not the case. Rather, people have created a fake rapture for a much larger reason. Of course, not all of the ins and outs are explained in this book – and I cannot wait to see where everything goes – but in this one we get to see a lot more about the reasoning than I’d initially anticipated.

We get to see quite a lot in this book, even though it’s such a short read. We get to see how people react to the news of the rapture – because, as you would expect, it’s merely the characters we are following who know the truth of the situation. We get to watch as people’s views are turned upside down, as people slowly question what it is they believe. Truthfully, I would have liked a little bit more from this aspect, yet I feel as though the second book promises such a thing. With this one, we get to see the initial big changes that happen with a bit of a glimpse into the smaller changes. We get to see some of the details of how the rapture was faked. What I mean by ‘some’ is that we get to understand the bigger picture, with the smaller aspects still being a mystery. I’m hoping the smaller questions I have will be answered in future books. Mostly importantly, we get to see what has happened to the missing people. I feel as though this aspect was over too quickly, and I’m super hopeful when it comes to receiving more details in the future books. I really enjoyed the small snippet I got to see, and I have high hopes that an extended amount of time viewing that aspect of the story will leave me super engaged.

Honestly, I could say so much, but I fear doing such a thing. The details of the story are so intricately woven, and I fear spoiling anything through saying too much. Just know it is a great little story, offering up a lot for such a simple premise.

The only real downside I had was with certain aspects of the writing. First up is the exclamation marks! Oh wow! There’s so many of them! Like, seriously! Lots and lots! Everyone is so excited! All of the time! I wish I was that excited! Okay, I’ll stop with the sarcasm now. Such is just how it felt to me. I’m someone who believes exclamation marks should be used rather sporadically. If they’re to be used, it’s because they’re truly necessary. With this one, it felt as though they were handed out too often. The other aspect is that the characters felt a little bit flat when there was action. As a whole, I had a lot of fun with the characters. However, whenever some action came about they all seemed to read the same. It simply saddened me – I had wanted a little bit more.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. I’m super excited to see where the story goes from here.

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Tuesday 8 November 2016

Review: Pretty Witches All In A Row

Pretty witches all in a row Pretty Witches All In A Row by Lisa Olsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had conflicted notions about what Pretty Witches All in a Row would give me. One part of me expected a crime thriller. One part of me expected a pure fantasy read. One part of me expected a romance. One part of me expected some kind of hybrid. The final is the closest to what I was given, although the type of hybrid it turned out to be wasn’t really what I had expected. Overall, it was an okay read: it kept me entertained but it failed to give me exactly what I wanted.

As I had expected multiple things from this book, and wasn’t really given any of them in full, I will address each of them in turn. I feel as though it will make my review easier to work with, and then at the end I can deal with the general points.

First off, we have the crime aspect. In a way, this is a cosy mystery: we’re curious about the whodunit aspect and yet we’re not dealing with the gore of the harder hitting crime novels. As a big lover of crime novels, I find I have to be in the mood for cosy mysteries. I do not dislike them; I simply prefer the darker stuff (think Karin Slaughter, Mo Hayder, and Sharon Bolton). As a cosy mystery, this one is decent enough. Things are pretty obvious from early on, but the author does throw in a few red herrings to leave you second-guessing whether or not you’re correct. What I felt was lacking, however, was the actual police procedure. Having read countless crime thrillers, this one felt rather lacking. We follow the detective in charge of the case, and yet the police side of the storyline didn’t feel very real to me. I’m sure such a thing will not bother most people, but it prevented me from getting into the story as much as I had hoped for.

Secondly, we have the fantasy aspect. We have the word ‘witches’ in the title of the book, thus my mind expected a lot of magic. In reality, such is not the case. We have a few simple spells, some prophetic dreams, but as a whole the witch aspect wasn’t played up as much as I had hoped it would be. I’d expected something more, rather than just an acceptance of the occult world. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with low-key witch business – I rather enjoy such stories when they’re done well, and I don’t always ask for fireballs and curses – but this one felt as though it existed simply to make our character open his eyes to a side of the world he knew nothing about. There wasn’t as much depth to it as I had hoped: it was simply there.

Third and finally, we have the romance aspect. I never used to be a fan of romance reads, but I’m slowly growing to enjoy them. In fact, having read so many this year, I think I can safely say I’m now a romance fan. Despite this, I’m still picky about my romance. I like to watch things develop. I dislike instalove. I enjoy it when there is chemistry between the characters. I dislike it when characters are thrown together simply to add a romantic element to the storyline. In this one, I felt as though the romance was more in line with what I disliked. There were a couple of moments where I smiled at the interaction of the characters, but for the most part it felt forced. I didn’t really buy into the whole romance element of the story. Not only did it feel highly unprofessional of the cop, it also felt as though it existed simply to allow certain events to unfold.

It wasn’t all bad, though. I was entertained throughout. I did want to see how things would end, turning page after page to see what happened next. The mystery aspect was decent enough, even if it was obvious. The fantasy aspect did have a high point towards the end (I won’t say what, as I have no wish to spoil it), even if it was a little bit clichés. As a whole, I was pulled into the story; it simply wasn’t all I had hoped it would be, and I believe a part of this is because I never came to enjoy the main characters as much as I had wanted to.

Whilst I won’t be reading more of this particular series, I will be taking a look at some of the author’s other work – hopefully, I will enjoy her other work more, as this one did have promise.

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Monday 7 November 2016

Review: Love in Neverland

Love in Neverland Love in Neverland by Heather C. Myers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read quite a few of Heather C. Myers books (I believe this is number fifteen, if I’m not mistaken), and as a whole she writes great stories. She mixes concepts together that shouldn’t really work, somehow giving us a really unique read that pulls you in. Whilst I am enjoying her Neverland series, it is safe to say it is my least favourite of her books. The first one just about managed to pull a four star rating from me, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to do so with this book. It was a decent enough read, yet it was lacking that something extra.

I was pulled into this series by the promise of Peter Pan and Greek mythology being spliced together. Whilst it wasn’t quite what I had wanted, I came to accept that it worked even though if it wasn’t quite what it said on the tin. With this second book, I feel as though we deviate even more from those two original points. Peter Pan plays a larger role in this one – as do some of the other characters we know and love – but it doesn’t really resemble the classic story at all. The Greek mythology aspect also seems to have faded somewhat: it still works as the setting for the story, yet I feel as though the mystique surrounding that aspect of the story faded somewhat in this book.

Truthfully, this one felt a bit like a filler book. It works to shift things towards a particular goal, yet there wasn’t really much by way of action. In a way, I feel as though it existed to throw a wrench into all we’d come to believe in the first book. Relationships and feelings change, good guys and bad guys are viewed in different ways: it’s a great book for shifting views, and yet I felt like very little actually happened. When something did happen, at the end, it seemed to be over and done with far too quickly for my liking. The action came and went in a blink of the eye, really.

Overall, though, it was interesting enough. If nothing else, it left me super excited to see how the series will end. Based upon this one, I cannot say I know for sure what the ending will be – there are multiple possibilities and nothing is leaning me towards any particular one.

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Saturday 5 November 2016

Review: Blind Eye

Blind Eye Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Blind Eye, the fifth Logan McRae novel, simply highlights why Stuart MacBride is one of my favourite authors.

Whilst Blind Eye is not my favourite of the Logan McRae novels – that title is currently held by Broken Skin – it is certainly a great read. Having recently read MacBride’s Ash Henderson novels and finding them less enjoyable than his McRae novels (they’re still fun, but they’re not the same), it was great to go back to what I know and truly love.

After many novels depicting the terrible Aberdonian winters, we’re finally being given one set in summer. I argued in the prior books that Aberdeen winters are not as dreary as MacBride makes them seem… Well, having now read his summer book whilst dealing with winter, I realised he captured Aberdeen perfectly. It is cold as hell. It is wet and windy all the time. However, it really isn’t the terrible place MacBride would have you believing. If nothing else, it’s a much better city than where I grew up. The whole crime aspect – he could have shoved it into any city, he simply picked the windy one he knew so well. That’s a tangent, though – just know we finally have that summer book he kept promising!

Straight away we’re thrown into this wonderful story, with the first chapter throwing us straight into the action. Despite how we’re thrown in within a couple of pages, I felt as though it did take a while for things to really start coming together. As always, MacBride has multiple storylines existing at the same time. We never deal with just one crime. There are always many things occurring, usually with these things being connected in some way or the other.

For me, though, what I really loved about this one was the way in which the characters developed. They’re just as amusing as always – even more so in certain cases (hell, this one has left me wishing for a Steel spinoff series; the woman is wonderful, and I could write for hours about how great she is) – but there is more than just the usual. In particular, we get to see Logan as more human. We get to see how everything has been building up for him; we get to see the way things impact upon his life.

Basically, we get to see the breakdown.

It was so different to the prior books, allowing us to see Logan in a new light. Oddly enough, I loved this Logan even more. Perhaps that just me, though, being weird and loving it when characters are forced into the darkest corners of their mind. The way in which he changes throughout the book, the way in which things playout – whilst not my favourite in the series, I loved the way this one had a somewhat different feel to it.

Overall, it was another brilliant read. I really need to get my hands on book six. I have the rest of the series sitting on my bookshelf, but because I’m a rather silly human being I’m missing number six. As soon as I get my hands on it, though, I’ll be sure to see what else is in store for one of my favourite police officers.

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Review: She: Ekla Cholo Re

She: Ekla Cholo Re She: Ekla Cholo Re by Santosh Avvannavar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘She: Ekla Cholo Re’ is the story of Kusum, a transgender.

I’ll start by saying I cannot claim to be an expert in these sorts of books, and I never really know how to rate them. True stories are one thing, but fictional stories are something else entirely. As I’m not transgender, I never know whether or not the author has done a good job or not. It feels wrong to say one way or the other when I do not have any personal experience.

Despite this, I did enjoy the book.

It’s a mere handful of pages, short and sweet, allowing you to finish it in no time at all. It doesn’t take much by way of effort, allowing you to read it in those periods where you just need something to fill the time. The story is straight to the point, pulling you in and giving you all you would expect.

I will say, however, that the story telling wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. This is one of the stories where the story is told through someone telling the story to another. I know that’s a complicated way of explaining it, but such is how my brain labels it. Rather than reading the events, we list to the character tell another how things happened. Personally, I’m not a big lover of this way of storytelling. It means the story is mostly dialogue – and whilst I love good dialogue, I also love watching events unfold. I like the little details, I like the way everything comes together, and with this one we simply listen to a character telling us how something played out.

It was fun, but I had wanted a bit more in terms of the way the story unfolded.

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Friday 4 November 2016

Review: Boy Meets Witch

Boy Meets Witch Boy Meets Witch by G.A. Rael
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m rather annoyed with myself. I kept meaning to pick this one up, only for life to constantly get in the way. It was one I was super interested in, and holding out for so long was enough to drive me near to insanity. Fortunately, in the end, I managed to put aside some time to read it. Such was my enjoyment that I finished it in one sitting.

I’ll start by saying Boy Meets Witch isn’t as witchy as you would believe. With the world ‘witch’ in the title, you’re probably expecting endless spells and the controlling of elements; you know, the generic witch stuff that we see everywhere. Whilst our main female is a witch, it’s not in the typical supernatural way that most urban fantasy novels portray witches to be. What we have is something somewhat different to the norm, something that (for a while) feels very much as though it could be part of the real world. Herbs and natural remedies, the kind of stuff that would be labelled magic in the pre-science world. There’s a lot of hearsay, a lot of references to the past, but it’s some time before we see true evidence of our main character’s powers. Some people might be put off by this, some people might be looking for fireballs and poisons, but I loved it. It was a really refreshing way of looking at the witching world.

At first, the story felt rather generic. We see a lot of women moving to small town stories, and they all seem to follow the same routine. The female butts head with a male. The female is not very popular in the town. The female suddenly develops feelings for the male. Whilst the clichés are present in this story, there is enough added in to make it unique. There are many aspects to the story that we initially know very little about, as the story develops more and more aspects that are questionable develop, and these things allow you to overlook the clichés and leave you wanting more.

As the story unfolds more and more comes to light, with multiple aspects being added. The details of the witch world slowly develops, along with the supernatural world in general. Demons and the afterlife are made clearer, whilst other aspects such as angels still have an air of mystery around them. By the end of the book many of the aspects are brought to light, yet very little has been given by way of answers. Not that I mind such a thing – in fact, it only adds to my desire to read the second book. There is so much that could happen in the next one, so many things that need explaining and so many potential events, that I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Honestly, I had such fun with this one. It really was a great little read.

As a final note, I would like to thank the author for allowing me the chance to advance read this one.

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Review: Service Goat

Service Goat Service Goat by Piers Anthony
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Service Goat is one of those reads where I wasn’t quite one hundred percent sure what I was getting into.

It seemed like such a basic concept, and yet there was more to it than I’d expected. There was a much deeper story than a mere investigation into the possible alien goat. It was one of those stories where you can see so much more, if you’re willing to stop and think for a few moments. It’s so simple, so straightforward, and yet there is much more than you’d imagine.

I fear saying too much, however. It’s such a short read that any information I give will offer up some kind of spoiler. Just know there is more to the story than the synopsis will have you believing.

Despite the hidden depth of the story, I found I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it as much as I had wanted to. Whilst the story offered up much more than I’d initially imagined, the characters left a lot to be desired. Most of the characters felt flat, so much so that they were interchangeable. They were supposed to come from different walks of life, and yet they all read the same. Moreover, even without this factor, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy any of them. I wanted to enjoy them, and yet they didn’t have the depth I’d been hoping they would.

Moreover, I felt somewhat… well, confused is the best word I can think to use. The story felt as though it would be perfectly suitable for children, and yet there was a lot of sex. It wasn’t graphic or anything, it simply didn’t fit with the feel of the overall story. It felt as though it was thrown in pointlessly. Furthermore, one of the characters felt as though she was thrown in simply for this purpose. It simply didn’t feel right with the overall experience of the story. It just felt off to me.

Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable enough read. It was something different, something I could quickly complete.

As a final note, I would like to thank Dreaming Big Publications for contacting me for a review.

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