Friday, 28 November 2014

The Chase

The Chase
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

There's an artifact the Chinese would like returned to them in the Smithsonian. Except the US can't give it back because it happens to be a reaaaally good fake, due to the fact the original was stolen. Fox and O'Hare are teaming up once again, once they obtain the identity of the thief of the Rooster, things become....slightly more difficult. It turns out that he's the former White House chief of Staff, Carter Grove, who's the leader of BlackRhino security, a private security firm made up of ruthless killers. Getting the Rooster back is going to require a mid-air heist, but that's not the hard part. When Grove discovers he's been robbed, he wants his Rooster back. And revenge. Then there's the fact Fox can't let it go that Grove just so happens to have a large collection of stolen goods from some of the biggest thefts in history. You know what that means? Fox and O'Hare are going to take him down....

I appear to be in a small minority of people who did actually rather enjoy this book, I thought it was quite good fun, and an easy read! Unfortunately I haven't read the first book, but I found it easy enough to understand what was going on, what had gone and so on, you could quite probably read this as a stand alone, because previous events are mentioned.

The Chase is action packed from beginning through to end, there's never a dull moment. The plot keeps steaming on, they pull of the heist and their mission, but then something else happens, and it's a big, rolling adventure. Fast paced, we go on an adventure along with Nick and Kate, and you're never quite sure what's going to happen next.

I'm fully shipping Nick and Kate and waiting for them to get together. I mean....they have to, right?! They go so well together, and the banter had me chuckling, and it really reminded me of Castle and Beckett, not to mention the show White Collar in general. Not to mention the Oceans Eleven of it all with the team! Admittedly it's a team of oldies, an actor and a tech genius, but still! I loved Boyd, as an actor, I really enjoyed him and found myself chuckling along and agreeing with him!

The setting is vivid, the characters have depth and the narrative is entertaining and engaging. Not to mention the work gone in to how to pull off the heists! The book takes you all over the world, with our rag tag group, there's bad guys, dodgy assassins, and sinister threats over frozen yogurt. There's danger and suspense everywhere, and this book won't fail to make you laugh.

Roll on the third book in the series! Excited to see what's going to happen to my ship! ;)

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

Adam and Alice where conceived using a fertility treatment, a treatment that turned their parents into cannibals. Now Alice and Adam are reaching the age where other children conceived by the same means, have started to turn feral. The twins are taking steps to stop puberty hitting so they won't go the same way as their parents, but will they be able to stave it off forever? Their Aunt Cynthia has taken them and has refurbished the home their parents turned in to a dungeon of sorts, she's determined to help them get over the psychological trauma she feels they have endured due to their parents actions, and all she wants to do is show them love. As symptoms start to present themselves on the twins, the twins frequently disappear from home, leaving their aunt worrying. They're involved with a group, a group of kids just like them, but kids from this group are going missing, being kidnapped. Cynthia is doing everything in her power to get the kids to behave, but she just can't control them. What's she going to do when the twins make that final leap over the edge.

I haven't read the first book unfortunately, but I found that this could probably stand alone, I got a grasp on what had previously happened quite early on, and understood the background and such. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the book. It was suitably dark and creepy, I mean the atmosphere and the vibes spilled off the page. I think the part I enjoyed most was the atmosphere and the world being created by the author. It was the right kind of dark and creepy, not too dark and creepy, but enough to give you that little feeling when you're reading a....welll....dark and creepy book ya know.

For me, I felt like the different POV's made the story very jerky and fragmented. I felt like it didn't really work, and there where a whole load of loose ends that where annoyingly left flapping there in the breeze. Dennis and Bree for instance. Like....what happened to the poor girl? I'm gathering he killed her but why? There was no need for him to. It was all ominous like "she won't leave the apartment" but I'm kinda curious as to why. She did what he wanted, sort of. Not to mention her friends who came to rescue her, what the hell happened to them!? Rodolfo and his gang scattered off in to the world with no more word or follow up to what happened to them. I'm not entirely opposed to being left in the dark if there's enough info that you can draw your own conclusions as to what's happened, but that's not the case with this. I know, I know, there's probably going to be a third book, which is why we leave the twins as we do, but still. It felt like things where being forgotten or just left in the dust of the story.

While I did enjoy the darkness and the creepiness and the horror of it all, I did find it hard to get in to the book, if I left it for example, I found it hard to get back in stride, and I did find myself a smidge bored once or twice, but I can't deny the premise is fairly unique, and certainly intriguing, I am curious about what happens to the twins next! I've had a look at the reviews for the first book, and it would appear that while the first book was very strong, the sequel hasn't quite lived up to what it should have been or was expected to be. None the less, curiosity will abound as to the fate of the twins.

I had this the other day with another book I was reading, Timebomb, I think it was, and it's present again here, the coincidences....there's just so many and it's all so unlikely I can't get behind or believe it at all. It kind of annoyed me because it felt quite a weak attempt to wrap everything up and get the story moving on to set up the third book.

I had problems with the characters. Maybe it's because I didn't read the first book I don't know, but I found Alice to be incredibly annoying, rude, disrespectful and incredibly ungrateful to her aunt. Yeah she saved her aunt but she was a right little bitch to her the majority of the time, running off and so on.  I didn't particularly like her. I didn't really have much of an opinion on Adam, I thought he was okay seeing as he called Cynthia mum and everything, but just feeling bad wasn't enough really. Clearly he can't stand up to his sister, and went along with whatever she said or did. He felt bad but he didn't do anything about it which was quite infuriating. Then there was Cynthia. I actually felt really sorry for her the majority of the time because she was trying so hard and the kids didn't want to know, well Alice didn't, and they where constantly worrying her. But at the same time, she was almost annoyingly whiny at some points.

Cynthia was also quite boring a lot of the time, we frequently returned to her sitting there doing nothing waiting for the kids to come back, or writing in her diary or whatever. The author did do very well at showing the contrast between human behaviour and the more animal behaviour of the kids going feral.

For me Brood wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be, it was dark and creepy as promised, but I couldn't gel with the characters and the narrative, with the switching and everything was very jerky. Having said that I am curious about what's going to happen to the twins next! I'm hoping there's a third book anyways.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #16

So like I said, I have next to no November books for this month's WFW, SO, there's been less than usual, and this week sees the tail end of November, so this week I have a couple of early December books, nice and in time for their upcoming release! And I mean......GEORGE R.R MARTIN NEW BOOK EEEEEEEE!
You can see I'm excited, huge Game Of Thrones fan, well excited for this new book!
As for my other pick this week....well I can never resist a Steampunky type read! I'm always on the lookout for new books as you all well know! ;)

The Ice Dragon

The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child--and the ice dragon who loved her--could save her world from utter destruction. 
The Ice Dragon marks the highly anticipated children's book debut of George R.R. Martin, the award-winning author of the New York Timesbest-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire and is set in the same world. Illustrated with lush, exquisitely detailed pencil drawings by acclaimed artist Yvonne Gilbert, The Ice Dragon is an unforgettable tale of courage, love, and sacrifice by one of the most honored fantasists of all time.

The Ice Dragon is out December 4th, pre-order your copy here.


A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

On the last day of Warwick’s trial, the Farthings’ factory is bombed, Penny’s parents disappear, and Penny and her brother, Nic, receive a ransom note demanding all of their Augmentation research if they want to see their parents again. Is someone is trying to destroy the Farthings…or is the motive more sinister?

Desperate to reunite their family and rescue their research, Penny and her brother recruit fiery baker Violet Nesselrode, gentleman-about-town Sebastian Stirling, and Marcus Kingsley, a young army general who has his own reasons for wanting to lift the veil between this world and the next. Wagers are placed, friends are lost, romance stages an ambush, and time is running out for the girl with the clockwork heart.

Ticker is out December 1st, pre-order your copy here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


Nunslinger: The Complete Series
Rating: 4/5
Buy Or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

The year is 1864. Sister Thomas Josephine, an innocent Visitantine nun from St Louis, Missouri, is making her way west to the promise of a new life in Sacramento, California. When an attack on her wagon train leaves her stranded in Wyoming, Thomas Josephine finds her faith tested and her heart torn between Lt. Theodore F. Carthy, a man too beautiful to be true, and the mysterious grifter Abraham C. Muir. Falsely accused of murder she goes on the run, all the while being hunted by a man who has become dangerously obsessed with her. 

Using GoodReads synopsis because I couldn't have said it better myself without giving everything away in my excitement! Well, this was an engaging, funny and unique read! I mean....a nun who turns in to an outlaw of sorts, being reported in the papers for her daring deeds, with a liiiitttle bit of romance. I mean, I loved it! I wasn't sure what to expect and I ended up being totally surprised, the book is quite hefty at like 600 pages, but the chapters are short and it's easy to read and you end up speeding through it, because you just have to know what happens next. 

I'm really glad I got  to read this all in one, reading the little books separately and then waiting for the next one? Hell no! Each of the "books" ends leaving you wanting more, so when you have the complete series, it's pretty much guaranteed you won't be putting the book down until you've finished it! I loved the little bits at the beginning of each book saying what was going to happen, it intrigued you and added some excitement of the "oh my God I can't wait" variety! 

The setting was vivid, and very well described. It's very gritty, there's no making the setting and the time all pretty and romantic, it's portrayed as it would have been, violent and dark and slightly grim, with an atmosphere to match, although the atmosphere does change, it still consumes you. The world created is a world you can get lost in and it doesn't half make you want to watch one of the old Western films!

Now I know I said the setting is quite dark, meaning the whole hanging and dodgy goings on, but that's okay because while something really shitty or violent or both might happen, our two main characters, Sister and Abe, will make you chuckle, I even found myself starting to quite like Colm. This book is incredibly funny when it wants to be, as well as serious, with action and fighting and daring escapes. It's like a Western movie in book format and it plays like a movie in your head. 

The characters are all written incredibly well, you get a real feel for them and their personalities, they have plenty of depth and they're....colourful, shall we say? None of them are arty farty, totally useless and floating around being all dashing and so on, well, except for Templeton, he's a bit useless, but even he managed to redeem himself! Abe, Colm and Sister are all very gung-ho, they're all capable of taking care of themselves and they're all intelligent and quite cunning. Except for that one time they did need rescuing, but it was suitably daring and dangerous! I loved how all of the characters could stand on their own, how they where all strong and brave and full of courage, although it could probably said at times it was stupidity, at least from the blokes! I'd even say Colm and Abe where oddly charming! 

The characters where easy to love and connect to and empathize with.

The plot was a rollercoaster, going from danger, to daring escape, to rescue mission and so on, there was always something going on, there was never a dull moment and the plot flowed easily from point to point, organically growing and changing and throwing situations at the characters. Nothing felt like it was out of place or just there for the sake of some drama, everything with the plot made sense and fit. It twisted and turned and was full of surprises and shocks, nothing was predictable, there so many times when I was like "shit...they're done for" then the narrative was like "Oh no, have no fear, they're more intelligent than you are and unlike you if you where in this situation, they're gonna kick ass and escape in a totally ingenious way". I could not tell what was going to happen next and I LOVED it. It was complex, there where lots of threads that came together perfectly to make up the plot, including the over arching plot that I reaaaalllly did not see coming!

Not only is Nunslinger a very pretty book, but it's a book that is totally unique. When was the last time YOU read a Western about a nun and her growing reputation as a badass? Never, I hear you say? Correct. Unique. Through and through.

Nunslinger is fast paced, full of thrills, danger, daring escapes, bad guys, and plenty of action. Never a dull moment, the book takes you on a vast journey across the US and even in to Mexico. Nunslinger has pretty much everything you could want in a book, it's humour balances the violence and occasional darkness of events, not to mention the betrayal and the sense of "man I've never wanted to punch a fictional character more" feelings that where abundant. I honestly, never wanted the book to end, and then it did, but it leaves you with a little teaser where you realize maybe it's not entirely over, maybe what you thought happened didn't happen.

To be blunt, this book is a must read and I'm going to be keeping an eye on the author to see what he/she comes up with next! Oh and don't be alarmed about the "romance" I told you about. It's subtle, very subtle, it's there but it's not the main thing and the book isn't all about it. The authors awesome like that.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Prisoner Of Night And Fog

Prisoner Of Night And Fog
Rating: 5/5
Buy Or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

Munich, 1930's, Gretchen Muller has grown up in the midst of the National Socialist party, under the wing of her Uncle Dolf, after her father was killed protecting him. Gretchen is his favourite pet, but there are secrets buried deep, secrets that are going to change the way Gretchen see's her "Uncle Dolf". Not to mention her brother's obvious diagnosis as a Psychopath. Gretchen does everything Hitler and her brother tell her to do, but when she meets a reporter, Daniel, who happens to be a Jew, her eyes are opened. According to her Uncle and brother she should despise him, but despite this she listens to what he has to say, and starts to work with him to uncover the truth of her fathers murder. You see, he was clearly shot in the back as well as the front, which means he must have been shot by one of his fellow comrades. There's also a liiitttllee bit of attraction to him that she finds herself unable to fight!

Gretchen has to investigate her friends, and when she's most in need, it would appear none of them are willing to help her. Particularly best friend Eva, who has been telling Hitler, her beau, things about Gretchen. When another friend is killed in suspicious circumstances and Gretchen see's the truth of Hitlers words....Gretchen is going to have to decide where her loyalties lie. And she's determined to dig up the truth.

I was curious about this book because a while ago I grabbed Code Name Verity from the library and absolutely devoured it, and I loved it, so obviously I wanted to read more by the author!

This book is truly beautiful. The prose, the taking of a villainous character, who no-one really knows what he was like and giving you a glimpse at him. A hint of a softer side, masking something sinister. It made him more human, I guess, more personal and infinitely more creepy. Not to mention the horror when you realize, that yes, a lot of them didn't realize what was really going on, what the real plan was, and how easy it was for characters to believe him, to see his viewpoint.

The authors research is astounding, and if you want to know more, her authors note provides plenty of additional information, as the book isn't saturated with too much information that you're ploughing through it. You concisely are given a lot of historical information, a lot of the time very subtly, and it's all expertly incorporated in to the narrative, not only to give you an understanding of the time, the mood on the streets and the thinking of a lot of German citizens, but to create a setting and world, so authentic that you really feel like you've time traveled back to the time of the book and are lurking on street corners spying on the characters. The story, much like the setting is very authentic and organic, with truth rooted everywhere.

The plot has more going on than first appears. While the main point of the story is Gretchen trying to solve the mystery of her father's murder and falling in love with Daniel, subtly, in the background almost, you watch Hitler's rise to power, how things started off and then eventually started to escalate. I'm actually ashamed of myself that I didn't quite twig who Eva was, I mean her name and her surname where mentioned, and I was totally engrossed in the story, but it wasn't until a certain part of the story, when a truth came out that I was like OOOOHHH! I must confess that I had no idea who Geli was, or her relation, and now I'm incredibly curious! Did Hitler kill her and then give an Oscar worthy performance? Or something else?

This book was so, incredibly atmospheric, and I must say the premise was unique. Hitler and the inner circle of the Nazi party from the view point of a girl who has grown up in the center of it, and has no idea what he's really like, fast becoming disillusioned. I know a fair bit about WW2, like most of the British public, we covered it in History at school and I'm a bit of a History nerd so I've read many a book, and been on a school trip to Berlin to see the historical sights, some more heartbreaking than others, but everything has stayed with me and I will admit, while knowing, very vaguely, that Hitler was in WW1 and injured, I didn't know much about his life before WW2, now, obviously I do, and I have a more complete picture.

Like I said, the book is atmospheric, the atmosphere oozes off the page and infects you. You can feel the adoration towards Hitler, but also the huge dose of fear at the same time, the tension on the streets, the barely leashed violence of Gretchen's brother, you feel all of that and more. While, obviously, he was a terrible, terrible man, and that's being polite. I will admit that he was quite fascinating in this book, or at least his psychology was, the way he thinks. He was so very patriotic, but it was so very warped and incredibly unsettling. He pretty much is a master of manipulation, manipulating everyone around him, as Gretchen realized, he was to her what she needed him to be. It was a true insight in to him, but still leaves you wondering, like I said about Geli, if he had any involvement or in fact did kill her himself, then I'm not sure there are words to express just how incredibly mentally effed up he was, you know? More than we already know I mean.

The characters, fictional to start with, where all very real, I'd imagine for people with or without knowledge of his inner circle it would be difficult to ascertain who was real and who was not. Each of these fictional characters organically fit in to the story, they're all full of depth, in some cases their psychology is morbidly fascinating, but there is so much depth to the thoughts of the characters and they all come alive off the page. Gretchen, I mean, wow, what a heroine, if I was her, I'd have been terrified and done nothing, or legged at the first opportunity. She's so incredibly brave. I mean the courage shown was incredible, she's an incredible character!

As for the real characters, I know even less about the others mentioned than I did about Hitler, and I feel like I got a real feel for them, and what they may have been like, as well as getting a feel for the fictional characters. You get such an insight in to other real life characters, not just Hitler, but Geli, Eva, Hess and many others. Not all of them where as you'd think they where, I don't think. Eva seemed incredibly naive or desperate to be loved, one of the two, and that's not at all like I thought she was. There's a line in the book, from I doctor, I believe it was, who said something along the lines of the National Socialist party being full of the most mentally ill individuals  in one group, narcissists and psychopaths and so on. I honestly think that's so incredibly true, and is a suspicion I would imagine, I'm not sure if it's ever been said before!

Like I said, all of this, the historical detail and such, is woven in to an intriguing and engaging narrative, that will have you on the edge of your seats at parts, and will really make you feel some strong emotion. I felt so angry on Gretchen's behalf more than once, and pure hatred for her brother, I didn't have a very high opinion of her mother either, then you feel heartbreak and profound sadness as well as horror. This book doesn't read like a history textbook, don't worry, what I'm trying to say is that it's all woven together to create a fast paced, mysterious plot that will keep  you turning the pages and the book glued to your hand.

Prisoner Of Night And Fog features characters that will fascinate you as well as repel you, and others that you can't help but love, a plot that has many facets and will keep you engaged the entire way through, and plenty of history woven in to it so you come away with such a great understanding of the time period and the events that happened. This book will also make you feel all the feels, for lack of a better description! The book has it's light moments, and then it has it's moments where the menace pretty much oozes off the page and you feel it all around you. Truly incredible, and I'm intrigued to see what's going to happen in the next book!

Friday, 21 November 2014

COVER REVEAL: Walking Shadow

Okay guys, today is a cover reveal day and I've got a loooaadd of information coming your way! I love Emma so I'm excited she's letting me be a cover revealer. Yes it's a word. Shh.

First, let me fresh your memory...cast your minds back to last year.....when I did a little review for a unique book that I couldn't stop raving about.....
It looked something like this....(well not really because Darkness Watching has a cool new cover!)

And it would have sounded something like this.....

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back. Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone - little
knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world. All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...

If you have read it...move on, if you haven't...check it out, Emma's hooked you up with the first chaaapter riiighhtt here!
Add it to your GoodReads.
Buy it on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes&Noble, and Waterstones!
And if you're still  not swayed....check out my review! everyone's memory refreshed? If you haven't read the book, are you intrigued? Is everybody ready? Are you all prepared? Then behold the beauty of Walking Shadow!

So pretty. So, SO pretty. I also have a cheeky synopsis for you guys! Feast your eyes:

When you have a connection to the Darkworld, nowhere is truly safe.
Ashlyn has found a new home in Blackstone, but when a spate of grave robberies across the country spark fears that someone is practicing illegal sorcery, she comes under the radar of the Venantium, the protectors of the Barrier between her world and the Darkworld, who are suspicious of any sorcerer unaware of their origins. The trouble is, what Ash does know might just get her killed. Sufferers of the dangerous condition known as the vampire’s curse are being brutally killed, and the latest victim is Leo’s guardian, the ex-head of the Venantium. Ash determines to help Leo find out what’s really going on, but it isn’t long before events are spiralling out of control. The dead are rising from their graves, and the barriers around Blackstone are threatened by a demon which looks exactly like Ash herself…

Add it to your GoodReads shelf! 

Too excited for Walking Shadow? Can't wait for it's release? Need something to tide you over? I have just the thing!

This is a standalone novella, intended as a prequel to the Darkworld series. As it takes place one year before the events of Darkness Watching, it doesn’t contain any spoilers (although it does hint at things which will come into play later in the series).

Freakish powers and staring demon eyes aren’t part of Claudia’s plans for the future – and neither is ending up stuck at the gloomy, isolated University of Blackstone. But bad life decisions are the least of her problems, when a split-second decision to help out another magic-user puts her in the crossfire of both the shadow-beasts and the creepy organisation which hunt them down.

Claudia’s never had to worry about making the right choice before, but every decision matters when you have a Darkworld connection. Soon, she’s going to have to make a choice: turn her back on the crazy and try to live a normal life, or take the monsters down.

But in a world where everyone seems to have secrets, can she really trust her fellow magic-users – or even herself?

You can grab Fears Touch on Amazon and add it to your GoodReads

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing bizarre, fantastical stories. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).
Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an insane number of books. At the age of 21, she signed a publishing contract with Curiosity Quills Press for the first book in her creepy urban fantasy Darkworld series. DARKNESS WATCHING was published in October 2013, the first in a five-book series. Emma’s books tend to contain monsters, magic, and wildly inappropriate humour.

Keep up to date with Emma!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Charles_HRH's Guide To Great Britishness

Charles_HRH's Guide To Great Britishness
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

There are plenty of guidebooks on Great Britain, but none have been given the all-important Royal Seal of Approval. Who better to teach the world than the heir to the throne?

His Royal Highness will cover everything from History ('Might have to sell France to pay for Richard III's car park fine') to British cities ('If you're wondering why the British are so good at cycling and rowing, take a look at the cost of public transport') and The Arts ('The Madness of King George III - fantastic film. Americans didn't go to the cinema because they hadn't seen the first two. Awkward)'.

Tackling the all-important issues such as why we Brits can form a perfectly ordinary queue with just two people, or why we love a Full English Breakfast despite the fact it contains 465,873 calories, Prince @Charles_HRH's Guide to Great Britishness is a hilarious romp around our Sceptered Isle.

I haven't done my own synopsis this time, I've used the one from GoodReads because I couldn't come up with a better description! 

Okay so this book is perfection, I was laughing the entire way through, the book was informative and totally hilarious, and to be honest, it's a good book for us Brits, but also for any friends you may have coming to visit from another country! It'd be a fun gift to give! Stocking filler perhaps? I can see families sitting around reading out loud bits and pieces from this book and doing the quiz at the back! I mean tourists are gonna love it as well. 

It's one of those times when a fake account doing a book REALLY works. Everything is written as factual, even when the book is clearly pulling your leg and it is sometimes necessary to have a Google, just to check, I mean OF COURSE, you know the truth of it...but just in case....

The jokes are mostly easy to understand/get, but there's a few when you need a bit of knowledge on the subject or the person, but mostly it's smooth sailing and the jokes are rolling. I don't think the French will find the book as...amusing as the rest of us...there's a lot of fun poked at them and the entire "this is why we hate the French" thing going on. 

The book covers a lot, the history of Britain, The Royal Family, The Government, which ya know....was suitably hilarious, and fun was poked at certain individuals. There's also film and tv and books and food and alcohol, and pretty much everything you can think of. The observations on certain people and events are incredibly witty and cutting. 

There was rather a nice section on the Underground which was oh so true, let's be honest, not to mention the section on Haggis and the X-Factor. I was going to put a couple of quotes in this review, but honestly, I really couldn't decide so I left them out to save myself from an incredibly hard few hours trying to decide! 

It's kind of hard to review this book, but it can be read in one sitting, all the sections are the right length, the book is concise, witty and cutting, and obviously hilarious, and it's a lot of fun, you can quote it all day long! 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #15

This weeeekkk I have for youuuuuu (I don't know why I'm singing), two little reads that are promising to be fantastic!
One is another one of those ones I stumbled across when browsing, the other is the second in a series that I reviewed the first of and absolutely loved! I do have an ARC of this second installment to read, I am not entirely sure when I'll get round to it, the NetGalley ARCs are under the ones I've been sent from publishers but it should be soon!


Amid the sumptuous backdrop of the London season in 1905, headstrong Katherine Sinclair must join the ranks of debutantes vying for suitors. Unfortunately for Katherine, she cannot imagine anything more loathsome—or dangerous. To help ease her entrance into society, Katherine’s family has elicited the assistance of the Earl of Thornewood, a friend and London’s most eligible bachelor, to be her constant companion at the endless fetes and balls. But upon her arrival in London, Katherine realizes there will be more to this season than just white gowns and husband hunting.

Through her late mother’s enchanted diary, Katherine receives warning to keep hidden her otherworldly ability to perform arcana, a magic fueled by the power of the sun. Any misstep could mean ruin—and not just for her family name. The Order of the Eternal Sun is everywhere—hunting for those like her, able to feed on arcana with only a touch of the hand.

But society intrigue can be just as perilous as the Order. The machinations of the fashionable elite are a constant threat, and those who covet Katherine’s arcana, seeking the power of her birthright, could be hiding behind the façade of every suitor—even the darkly handsome Earl of Thornewood.

With so much danger and suspicion, can she give her heart to the one who captivates her, or is he just another after her power?

Arcana is out November 20th, pre-order your copy here.


For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever. 

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape. 

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

Captive is out November 25th, pre-order your copy here

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

New York, 2141, Jana is on top of a skyscraper surrounded by dodgy blokes after her head, she does the only thing she can think off.....she jumps. But she never hits the ground.

Cornwall, 1640, young Dora is working at Sweetclover Hall, she's new to the Hall, but she knows enough to know what goes on there. However, when she hears a strange noise, she follows it to find a badly burned woman at the bottom of the stairs. A woman who knows who she is. Wanting to help her, Dora reaches out to touch her, she's knocked out and blasted through space. When she wakes? She's in a laboratory in the future, with Lord Sweetclover.

Present day, Kaz is wandering the Cornwall lanes after fleeing from his last workplace when he stumbles upon the long abandoned Sweetclover Hall. He's only after a dry place to sleep, but he gets so much more. When he enters the building, he finds Dora and Jana, both with no idea what the hell is going on.

The three are thrust in to an adventure that spans millennia, when they flee the laboratory they end up back in Dora's time...sort of. See they end up about 5 years out from the year Dora mysteriously vanished, and they couldn't have come back at a worse time really, you see the English Civil War is in full bloom and they're just in time to be harassed by Parliament soldiers....soldiers who are then facing....Celts? There's something strange going on, and it's not long before they face a mysterious woman named Quil, and her army of men pulled from different eras, or Sweetclover, the villainous douche. It would appear, however, that while they don't know Quil....she knows them.

Timebomb is certainly unique, I've not encountered anything like it before, you're caught up with the characters, blasting through time and in the same boat as them information wise. Timebomb doesn't mess about, it's all action straight from the start, and the pace doesn't slow down at all, despite the hasty pace, you can still get a strong feel for the characters.

Each was very different, and each had a strong personality in their own way. Dora, at first seemed a bit timid but rather sweet, then you get to know her a bit more and you realize she's incredibly stubborn, and i'm intrigued about the elder her you got a glimpse of. I did chuckle a bit at her questioning of modern things, but she was very witty and intelligent. Jana is probably my favourite because her snark is on point. She's blunt, she doesn't sugar coat and she's very confident and not afraid of anything really. Kaz was quite a lovely person, I wasn't sure on him at first, but he was so lovely and patient with Dora, you really watch his confidence grow throughout the book, and he's kind of a hero!

It was a fairly fun read, at the points when I did get quite in to it, but I did have parts of the book where I was a bit meh. At points I felt like it was bit too rushed. There was a lot crammed in to the book, and genre wise with all the different genres thrown it, it was fun and it worked, but with other things it was a bit like "really...AND that?". While I did like seeing the future selves, it was also a bit confusing at times with all the people running about.

I felt like some of the explanations where really lazy. You don't find out why they can time travel until the end, and I kind of felt like it was a bit half assed, there was a vague explanation and then nothing really added up and I wasn't convinced by it. The world didn't feel as extensive as it could have been, it was quite condensed, and I didn't really get much of a mental image or feel for the time, there was a lack of explanations, and I don't know why exactly, I can't put my finger on it, but I felt like the travel was overused I suppose? There was almost too much going on at points, like they went back to Dora's time and they just so happened to land smack in the middle of the civil war and Jana just so happened to know aaaallll about it thanks to her chip. Really didn't buy it.

I'm undecided as to whether I'll pick up the second book or not, because while I am intrigued, I just had a bit of a love hate thing with this book, parts where too rushed, I couldn't get in to it at the beginning or at other points, I got frustrated with all the coincidences and strokes of luck, and the explanation was so blah.

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Forbidden Tomb

The Forbidden Tomb
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr

It's one of the worlds biggest mysteries, where is Alexander the Great's tomb located? For two thousand years his tomb's location has remained unknown, many have looked, but none have found it, there's many a theory but none have been proven right. Now, there's new information, information that has given a huge lead on the location of the tomb. There's only one team that can follow the clues and find the location of the tomb, solving the mystery that has plagued Historians and History buffs for centuries.

The Hunters, our favourite elite group of many talents, assembled by an enigmatic billionaire to locate the worlds  greatest treasures, are tasked with finding the tomb. They follow the clues to Egypt, and from then's not exactly smooth sailing. There's a hostile group's, determined to stop them, and they're not above destroying all the evidence linked to the tomb....or kidnapping a team member. Not to mention Sarah's contact in Egypt has an enemy who has decided that Sarah is the perfect way to get to him.

It all started as a treasure hunt, but it quickly becomes a rescue mission when hundreds are killed, a city is left in ruins and in all the chaos a team member is kidnapped, it's a race against time to save said member, before tragic consequences ensue.

*squeeeee* I LOVE THIS  BOOK! Okay, when I was younger, I loved Alpha Force, and I know they where totally different to the Hunters, but this series really reminds me of an adult Alpha Force, but with treasure instead of random missions, you know? I seriously can't get enough of this series. It's everything I love, there's humour, action, adventure, quests, clues, history, ancient treasures, banter and everything that makes a book so fantastic. This is really a series that can be read again and again.

Although, I'm kind of pissed at the author for a certain event. And I know he knows what event I'm talking about! HOW COULD YOU!? *ugly sobbing* damn I didn't see it coming. Because you know, I was all "it'll be fine, it'll be aaaalll fine" and I really wasn't expecting it to be honest. That's the beauty of this book, the plot is nice and complex, there's lots of different threads, there's the whole thing with Simon, then the expedition in April, then our team following the clues and the rescue mission and so on, all woven in to one story so expertly that there's plenty of intrigue and you can't put the book down! There's loads of plot twists that I, for one, couldn't work out, so I found myself being pleasantly surprised, or totally shocked, or kicking myself for not realizing something.

I was trying to follow the clues, but I was in the same boat as the team, whatever they knew or thought, so did I, I had theories, but all where proven wrong. Which I actually enjoyed, because I hate being right when it comes to books and what's going to happen next! I myself don't know much about Alexander the Great and his tomb, and the book has clearly been well researched, I learned all about Alexander and his achievements and what happened when he died, and how the tomb became lost and the author presents a believable theory for the location of the tomb. Yes I did google after I finished reading, and I did learn it's thought the tomb is in a couple of locations, one of the front runners being the one the author mentions.

All this information is relayed to you in the right places in the story, at the right time, concisely, there's such a lot of information but it's included in the narrative so well, that it doesn't drag the fast pace down and while all of the information is relevant, it's actually interesting as well and not just there for the sake of it.

The setting was very vivid, I've never been to Egypt, it's on my to do list, but after reading this, I really got a feel for the place, and it's almost like I've been there, I could picture everything so clearly, and it was like I was there with the team, tagging along behind them! Everything is described so concisely, yet with enough detail to give you a mental snapshot, not to mention the atmosphere generated by the prose. It's a world you can really sink in to, and get wrapped up in the tension and the action and you don't want to leave the team at the end of it.

I love all the characters equally. Really. Seriously....I do....okay. So, MAYBE I might love Sarah a SMIDGE more than the others. Maybe. All of the characters are so colourful and full of depth, and each brings something different to the team, but they all work so well together despite the banter, which had me chuckling like a mad woman!

So basically, I really love this series, this book is perfection, history geeks are gonna love it, as are people who love a good clue trail, I mean Indiana Jones fans.....Alpha Force fans who are now older and historically inclined are gonna love this, I'd be here all day essaying why I love this book to be honest! It's action packed from start to end! I really can't wait for the next book, well I'm hoping there's a next book! I NEED MOOORRREE! ;)

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Royalist

The Royalist
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr!

William Falkland is a dead man. Due to be hanged for fighting against Parliament in a Royalist Dragoon, which means he's been getting well acquainted with Newgate Prison. One day, a day he's assuming is his execution date, he's led out with a sack over his head, but instead of taking a short walk to the hangman's noose, he finds himself face to face with Oliver Cromwell.

Cromwell has heard of Falkland's investigative skills, but more importantly, that he stood up to the King and hung a guilty man in the name of justice when ordered to let it go, in short, he knows that he's a man of conscience, which is exactly what he needs. You see, his New Model army has a problem, it's a nest of vipers, full of untrustworthy people, and there just so happens to have been a slew of deaths sweeping the camp in Devon. All Falkland has to do is discover the truth, and he's a free man.

Falkland soon discovers that there's more to these deaths than meets the eye. There's a grander scheme at work and it goes high up the totem of power. Will he be able to stop what's happening? Will he be able to save himself?

The Royalist sucks you straight in to the world, the time and the setting. It's very vivid and atmospheric and you can easily get a feel for England at the time. The politics of the time and the circumstances are very well explained without giving you too much information so you're bogged down, you're concisely told everything you need to know, to have a picture of the current war, the politics, the religion and so on. I actually have a better understanding of that period of time than I did before, I knew the basic details and have read a couple of books set around the time, but none with this level of detail that gave me this much understanding. It's clearly very well researched and all this research is relayed perfectly, giving you only the bits and pieces you need.

I found the setting to be, like I said, vivid, and very colourful. I thought the setting was quite unique, I mean the books I've read around this time period where either from the Royalist side of things, or where focused in London, I've not read a book that is set in the camp of the New Model army, nor read one that reveals just how flawed the army was with the press ganging Royalists, and the clashing religions and so on. You got a strong sense of the uncertainty of the time, and the fear and superstition.

I know I keep going on about the politics and how well explained it is, but seriously, usually when I read books like this, I get so confused and have no idea what they're talking about. It's so well explained, the politics and religion etc, that when the big reveal was made or the plan or whatever you want to call it, I immediately understood the implications without having to wait for the proper explanation and that is a really rare occurrence for me!

The characters where well written and had plenty of depth, it'll be interesting to see more of Falkland. I was very suspicious of Warbeck in the beginning, and he turned out to be way different than I thought he was and had way more going on than first appeared! Miss Cain was very brave and strong, and Falkland was well....he was a deserving hero, he earned the title. I was impressed with how he wasn't swayed by people and his intelligence, usually I'm shouting at the book because it's SO OBVIOUS AND YOU'RE NOT GETTING IT, but with this I was like "oh thank God he has a brain!", I was following his same thought process, so I didn't have an advantage on him or anything like that. The plot twists and turns where shocking to me, I couldn't predict them, I had theories sure, but all where wrong.

The plot was complex, there where layers as all was not as it seemed and there was a lot going on. The Royalist was a very enjoyable and refreshing read that gave you a new understanding of the time and the New Model army and how it was anything but united, there was one niggling little thing though. I felt like the ending was a smidge rushed, it wasn't as strong as it could have been, it just fell a bit flat.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Imaginary

The Imaginary
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

One day when Amanda opens her wardrobe, there's somebody in it. Somebody only she can see his. Name is Rudger and he's her imaginary friend and her best friend. But when the sinister Mr. Bunting arrives at her door, it turns out he can see Rudger as well. Mr. Bunting hunts Imaginaries and....well....eats them. He's quite attached to his own imaginary friend you see, and in order to keep seeing her he has to eat Imaginaries. Mr. Bunting sniffs out Rudger, and after an accident, Rudger is left all by himself and running for his life. Rudger needs a friend to believe in him and see him otherwise he'll fade, but can he get back to Amanda before he fades away?

It has to be said, this book is so incredibly beautiful, the end papers, the illustrations, all are so incredibly gorgeous it took me ages to read this because I kept stopping to stare at them! I mean, I don't usually read books like this, for this age range, but I couldn't resist the pretty! Beneath the dust jacket is even gorgeous!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was so unique to me, I've never read a children's book before that covers imaginary friends, and it was so unique with the whole Library thing and them choosing their friends and everything, and it was so CUTE! It's a book about friendship and imagination, and it's so beautifully written. There's the lightheartedness of friendship and trust and hope and imagination, then there's the sinister baddie and his really creepy sidekick, and the shadowy parts, I think the pink dinosaur called Snowflake also helps to alleviate the creepiness.

The book is funny in parts, but also has plenty of tension and is a liiiiittle bit ominous in parts! The story is kind of like Pringles, once you start you can't stop and you eat up the illustrations and the words. I seriously couldn't stop reading, and it resulted in a later night than usual. I determined to only read a couple of chapters, but the next thing I know it's 1am and I've finished it! I'll be lending it to my mother as well to take to work and read to the kids there I think!

For younger kids, this might be a good idea to read in the sunlight, swiftly followed by an episode of a TV show, I'm not really down with the kids so I have no idea what's occurring in the world of kids TV, all I know is Pokemon! Elder kids should have no problem reading this after nightfall! I'm so astounded by the detail and the quality of this book still to be honest! It's the best I've seen and it's the first from this age range that I've felt a compelling need to read!

FYI the hardback edition will make a really lovely gift! Just saying!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wishing For Wednesday #14

This week I am super excited for three little gems!
One of these is one that I stumbled across when browsing GoodReads, something I usually do when I'm watching TV and I need something to do, I can never just sit and watch TV, I have to be doing something or eating something, and to be honest, I always end up with like a weeks worth of Hollyoaks to catch up on so yeah....browsing happens a lot! Which doesn't really help my TBR list!
Now, I'm sure Bane Chronicles needs no explanation, you all know by now I'm a  huge Mortal Instruments fan.....right? ;)

The Name Of The Blade

Ancient Japanese gods and monsters are unleashed on modern-day London in this first book of an epic trilogy from acclaimed fantasy writer Zoë Marriott.

When Mio sneaks the family's katana -- a priceless ancestral sword -- from her parents' attic, she just wants to spice up a costume. But the katana is much more than a dusty antique. Awakening the power within the sword unleashes a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets of unsuspecting London. But it also releases Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, from the depths of time. He helps to protect Mio -- and steals her heart. With creatures straight out of Japanese myths stalking her and her friends, Mio realizes that if she cannot keep the sword safe and learn to control its legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life . . . but the love of a lifetime.

The Name Of The Blade is out now! Buy your copy here.

The Bane Chronicles

A Collection of Ten Short Stories centred around Magnus Bane. Each short story is going to be published as an ebook followed by a Full Single Print Coming 2014

Ever wondered about the enigmatic, mysterious warlock Magnus Bane? The only character to appear in every Shadowhunter book, Magnus has a past even more shrouded in mystery than his present. I’ve teamed up with acclaimed YA writers Maureen Johnson and Sarah Rees Brennan to create the Bane Chronicles, the back (and front) story of Magnus told in ten linked tales.

Look for short stories like Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale; The Rise and Fall of the Hotel Dumort; Saving Raphael Santiago and What To Buy The Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (And Who You’re Not Officially Dating Anyway). Each story will be available as an ebook on a monthly basis starting April 16 with the tale of What Happened In Peru. 

Each story will be released monthly online for the next ten months — and then for those who don’t read e-books, the full print collection will be available in bookstores and wherever else books are sold after the Chronicles have been finished.

The Bane Chronicles is out now! Buy your copy here.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr and the publisher!

Three people where wandering the beach when something crashes in to the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria. Adaora, a marine biologist, Anthony, a rapper, and Agu, a soldier. All are different, all have a unique gift, and all have been chosen. They have to save their country and the world itself from...itself, when an alien race makes itself known, and all the creatures in the sea start to...change, and decide they've had enough with humans destroying their habitat. When the aliens arrive on shore, Lagos starts to tear itself apart, everyone suspects everyone else of being one of....them. Will humanity be able to accept them? Will Lagos survive?

Holy wooooww! I wasn't too sure what to expect from Lagoon, I was intrigued by the synopsis, but I really didn't know what to expect and as soon as I started reading I was fully sucked in to the story and engrossed the entire way through. Lagoon is fast paced, engaging, and really makes you think, what would you do or feel in the same situation? Lagoon expertly switches from different points of view, our three main special characters, other characters a couple of times, a creature here and there, which was brilliant as you then saw how we, humanity, just casually swats them like flies with our technology and inventions, not even on purpose but without realizing. Aaaannd a couple of points of view from people saying their experience of what happened when the aliens came. Which was fantastically done and showed how it affected so many different people and just gave the story some added intrigue and an interesting break from the narrative.

The prose was truly beautiful, and poetic and propelled the story forward with the appropriate amount of action, intrigue and a fantastically smooth flow! There where so many elements combined, I got a strong sense of Nigerian mythology, which I'd really like to know more about now! Agu's powers reminiscent of a superhero, the aliens where an obvious element! But they where really cool aliens! Lagoon was so unique, combining the mythology with superhero powers and aliens and human nature and behaviour. The aliens where very unique, with how they can change, and the sea creatures and everything.

Lagoon is a true science-fiction novel, it's political and philosophical with plenty of action and I want to say there was a tiny smidge of a quest with getting to the President! The characters where all colourful and full of life! I enjoyed all of them, they where such a diverse group, each with different personalities and walks of life, and I really enjoyed reading about them, each made you feel a range of emotions, particularly a certain Oke who I really, REALLY wanted to smack in the face! They where all so engaging and just eeeeee well written characters!

I thought the plot was unique, well written and well thought out, it was intricate, with lots of different elements as mentioned, and I enjoyed trying to work out what was going to happen next, I mean I could never tell where the story was going or what was going to happen, when everyone else had doubts about what the aliens wanted, and if they actually did come in peace, I had doubts too and started to think "oh crap....they're evil!" but then they weren't and it was a real rollercoaster ride. To me, the story seemed to just flow naturally, and it seemed quite organic!

The setting should also be mentioned because it was so vividly written that I actually felt like I was there with the characters, I feel like I've been to Lagos now and it was such an atmospheric setting!

Lagoon is a truly fantastic read, for me it was thought provoking and a rollercoaster, it was so unique and a real look at humanity, I mean the reaction to the alien invasion? I'd love to see people wouldn't totally destroy themselves and get all paranoid, but let's be honest, that's exactly how we'd react! I'm going to be keeping an eye on Okorafor's future books  because I really loved this and I can't wait to see what she does next!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Gutenberg's Apprentice

Gutenberg's Apprentice
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of Bookbridgr/the publisher

Gutenberg's Apprentice is the tale of a young German scribe, called home to be apprenticed to Johann Gutenberg, who just happens to be the guy who printed the first Bibles. Peter has to come to terms with the fact that the trade he loves is a dying breed, and soon will be obsolete in the face of printing presses. But will he be able to finally find the beauty/genius in these new printed books? Change is everywhere and we get a front row seat to it!

Okay...I gave it three....hear me out. I know everyone loves this book, and I was very excited to grab it from Bookbridgr to review, and while I did find it fascinating, I had to be honest in my review. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the bits to do with the first press and everything they faced was fascinating/interesting/mind boggling/stupendous, and so on, but for the most part I did find it hard to get in to and to actually concentrate on and come back to it if I left it, I also couldn't get a connection to the characters, the characters lacked depth in themselves and their relationships, I'm not too sure if this was on purpose or not.

The writing was beautiful, the descriptions intricate, but that also came with the downside that there was so much description it slowed things down for me. I mean, the writing was incredibly formal sometimes, very technical and history bookish, and it kind of kept me, as a reader, at a distance, I felt very disconnected from the characters, I could see some of them had very interesting personalities, and they all seemed quite promising, but there wasn't the right depth to them, they could have been explored so much more. There's a lot of bickering between the characters, particularly those working with the press, I mean....maybe it was a little bit bantery at points, but there wasn't much in the way of positive bonding between the characters.

I was quite disappointed we didn't get more of a glimpse in to characters lives, I mean we got loads of Peter's and it was his story, but there could have been more of the others! I didn't really feel much for Peter, I thought he was a bit ridiculous a couple of times, and he annoyed more than once, I mean it's hard to explain without giving much of the story away! I didn't like him nor did I really dislike him.

We're reading at the time of the press, but we also jump ahead in time, 35 years if I remember correctly, to Peter telling the story to an abbot who's writing it down, for me, these little jumps just seemed a bit like they where there purely for intrigue or a break from the narrative. Which isn't bad, but I didn't feel they had much point, but maybe I was missing something because it did reach a point when I wasn't paying too much attention!

The author gives us a wealth of information, all of which is historically accurate and clearly well researched if not necessarily relayed in the best manner. However, there where a lot of historical events that where going on around the time of the first press, all of which where crammed in to the book, a couple where delved in to with lots of detail and focus and so on, while the majority weren't delved in to deeply enough, which was a shame seeing as they where all crammed in there, there could have been appropriate detail on all! While I did find it fascinating, at least the ones explained in depth, if a little bit of a slog to get through, I felt that the majority weren't given the right amount of attention, and not all of them where really necessary seeing as none of them had much bearing on making the characters more pleasing to me to be honest! They contributed to the world building, but the ones that weren't given much detail where just like "why are you here?!".

This is just my opinion and me being honest, and I really wanted to love this book, the writing was beautiful, it was clearly well researched and historically accurate, and the world was fairly vivid and intricately detailed, I just found myself losing interest a couple of times and being kind of bored when I wasn't fascinated, but then maybe I just read this when I wasn't in the right mood!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Familiar Things

Familiar Things
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: ARC courtesy of the author!
For Fans Of: Dearly, Departed.....DUH.

Sixteen year old Everrose Morgantwill is a witch, albeit a not very good one, all of her spells never work properly unless it's in aid of someone else, and everyone has trouble remembering her and her name, including her own parents! Everrose lives in the idyllic All Hollows County, a world secret from our world, protected and hidden by strong wards created by powerful witches and warlocks to protect those with magic from the persecution magic users received in our know....Salem witch trials and everything. Everyone uses magic freely in All Hallows, and the ward, known as the Nestle Ward has a really, really cool side our world it's 2015...but in All Hollows? It's 1958. Yep, they're behind us by quite a few years!

Everrose's life is about to take a turn for the complicated and ever so slightly weird, her steady boyfriend, Vincent has just returned from Currens, a trip from our world over the summer, basically, and he's not his usual self you could say. Instead of being his  lovely, affectionate and kind self, he's sullen and withdrawn and has some ideas that could get him in a lot of trouble! Troubled by his behaviour, Everrose distracts herself by searching for her familiar before school starts, in between sewing new outfits, experimenting with red lipstick and daydreaming about prom, something all sixteen year olds in All Hollows do. But when she makes the Connexion....another problem surfaces.

You see she makes her connection with a huge, terrifying Wildeor called a Trothenbeast. Only very powerful witches and warlocks attract wildeors as familiars, so some are suspicious as to how she has one as a familiar, not to mention the so called best friend who's so jealous she turns her back on her. As if that wasn't weird enough, Typhon fails to alert her to the presence of magic like a familiar should do, and fails to shadow her, so he pretty much acts nothing like a familiar is supposed to. THEN she finds out Typhon...can talk. Turns out he's been cursed by a witch called Ebonella Rosu, and she wants him back.

Everrose has to face a witch who wants her dead, a familiar who needs her protection, and a boyfriend who's changing before her eyes, not to mention pushing everyone away and teaming up with the wrong person. Everrose needs help, and she's surprised to get it from a very unlikely source, her boyfriends moody and mysterious adoptive father, the Mayor, who happens to be the only person in town who ever remembers her once she's left his presence. What secrets does Roderick Olwen harbour? And what do they have to do with Everrose herself? Will she be able to keep her familiar?

"If they where any greener with envy, we could zap them through the Ward and make the Laysiders think they where being invaded by Martians"

Duuuddeee I love Lia Habel! Like seriously, I stumbled across Dearly, Departed at the library, read it, absolutely loved it and then went to buy my own copy so I could read it again and again, and don't even get me started on the second book! Still holding out/hoping for a third book! So when Lia tweeted she was working on something excitement and curiosity slowly started to build, and when she finally told us what it was? And offered ARCs to bloggers? I pretty much happy danced and metaphorically shoved people out the way to email her, then when it arrived in my inbox? Total freak out, it was a while before I calmed down!

I read Familiar Things in a couple of hours, I finished at about 1am and immediately felt bereft, I didn't want to leave the world and the characters of the book behind, I wanted to carry on reading, and kept wishing new pages would appear, I totally loved it and I'm so excited there's going to be a sequel I can't even cope with my excitement for it to be released! I'm sure you've guessed that this is going to be one of those rambling with excitement, reviews that I do.

Familiar Things is the one thing I value in books above all else. It's unique. Totally and completely unique from page one, from its premise and concept to it's characters and its world. Everything is completely and totally unique and I loved every minute of it. This book is unlike anything I've read before, familiars that pick you? Wildeors? Wards protecting All Hollows that means they're behind the modern world? The different types of magic? Literally EVERYTHING!

I was hooked from page one, and it was impossible to put the book I didn't. I really loved the vibe of the book, 50's with the music and the clothes and the makeup and the gadgets and everything, it was a very well created vibe that oozed off the page and was infectious, along with the atmosphere! To be honest, it kind of reminded me of Halloweentown, particularly when I realized Everrose legit has a dress with pumpkins all over it that she doesn't just wear for Halloween, so it reminded me of that, but so much better and cooler really.

The world building was so incredibly vivid, I felt like I'd been sucked in to the world, which is quite probably why I didn't want to leave ya know, I mean why would I?! There's magic everywhere. I love magic! Every single one of the characters had plenty of depth and where so very well written, there's hidden sides to everyone, and the secondary characters can very well stand on their own, even if they weren't in it much, and some of which had a bigger role than initially thought, like the Mayor for example. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of some of these secondary characters in the next book, particularly as she'll have to tell Merle and her family about her powers!

I loved Everrose, I mean she turns out to be a fairy godmother, and I didn't see that coming at all, but the explanation for her powers and what she is and the mythology behind it was so awesome and I don't really need to mention the U word again do I? You guys got the picture right? She was such a colourful character, she was strong, willing to stand up for herself when it comes down to it, and she was so loyal to Typhon and willing to do anything for anyone, she's very selfless and sympathetic to everyone, and I just totally loved her and connected with her from the go. I really, really freaking love her character more than I have words for! The same can be said for Typhon! Who was totally more than he seemed, and he was just kind of awesome really wasn't he? I mean....he talks, and he's all RAAAARRR and so loyal to Everrose and willing to do what he did to help her.

I also really liked he mayor, despite the fact I thought he was a bit of a douche in the beginning and at a few other times, like seriously, HE COULD HAVE TOLD HER I MEAN REALLY MAYOR?! But yeah. I really liked him too, the fact he was so willing to help Everrose with feeding Typhon "for the Hollow", yeah whatever Mayor, and was driving her round everywhere and just so willing to let her hang out with him and talk to her like an actual person and not a child, and the fact he actually ya know...remembers her! Everrose has no-one to really talk to and help her, and the Mayor is all "you can talk to me if you ever need someone to talk to" and I was like it wrong that they're fast becoming my BROTP!? I mean he's kind of too old to be her legit BFF, but I seriously am beginning to ship them as my new BROTP, they're hilarious together, their banter had me cracking up so much, thank God I wasn't reading this in a public place! I don't even like insects and bugs, I really really hate them,  won't let them near me, I literally run away screaming, but to be honest, I'll make an exception for Clackwell, he seems quite cool for an insect, I might even use the word....cute. Operating the pedals? SO CUTE.

Like I said, Familiar Things is atmospheric and the atmosphere and vibe of the book ooze off the page and pretty much engulf you and totally pass it on to you. The book really got me in the 50's mood, I'm not gonna lie, I usually do the eyeliner and red lipstick with the quiffed front hair and the ponytail, that's about as 50's as I go, and I'm fairly certain it doesn't really count, but this book has really made me be in the mood to do my makeup all 50's, I'm at acting class on Wednesday and Thursday, so I could totally get away with it! I haven't cracked out the red lipstick in agggesss mostly because I'm lazy but yeah. It's also swayed me in a clothing choice. I've found this really cool website ages ago with loads of 50's dresses and swimwear etc, and I think thanks to this book, I'm gonna take the plunge and buy some of the dresses and just do my own thing. Or ya know.....just move to All Hollows, I mean....Lia can totally make that happen...right?!

I should probably mention the lingo at this point. A lot of the time with books set in a different time, phrases native to the time are shoved everywhere and totally cliche and kind of annoys the hell out of you and sticks out like a sore thumb. The language was perfectly pitched and toned. It was subtle, it was there, but it was subtle, and very natural, so you knew it was the 50's by the language and the things mentioned, but it wasn't overdone so it seemed weird, you know what I mean? It didn't seem odd that certain phrases where used, and it didn't seem out of place, I'm really not explaining this very well, but any British person who's read a book by a US author that's set in England will know what I'm talking about, not every book, but a fair few, it's the same kind of thing and I'm going to shut up now, just know the language and the phrases etc? FANTASTIC.

The next book has subtly been set up without giving too much away, we know Vincent needs a smack upside the head, and there's going to be something going on with him in the next book, and his ideas, and see what he's doing with the dodgy guy, so we have some inclination of what's going to happen but really, that will only be a small part of the book....or it could be the main part...who knows? I don't, but I'm excited! I'm excited to see what happens, will they embrace the tech of 2015 (I hope not, I don't want to lose the 50's vibes), will Everrose end up with Vincent if he stops being a douche or will he continue to be a douche and there'll be a new romance? What will my BROTP do next?

I mentioned already that everyone has different magic abilities, so far we know that the Mayor is a necromancer, but not the usual kind, so you know, creepy and hangs with zombies, for a change he can't bring people back for more than a few hours, which was a refreshing change to the normal. And then we know Everrose is a fairy godmother, which I have never come across in a book before, and is going to present some interesting problems and dynamics in the next book I'm sure.

Now, don't lynch me for what I say next BUT, I quite enjoyed the fact that the book was focused on Everrose and her abilities and her relationship/friendship with Typhon and the bond they where forming, rather than on her romance with Vincent and how much of a douche he is, I mean their relationship was in there but it wasn't the main focus, which is rare! It was a secondary thing. The bond of friendship between Everrose and her familiar was complex and interesting to watch develop, particularly when YA is usually aaaaallll about the romance, and it's going to be interesting to see what's going to happen between her and Vincent in the next book, and their relationship and where it's going to go!

The plot, I thought, was intricate and had a lot of different threads to it, Vincent and what his problem was, the familiar issue, what Everrose is, Ebonella and so on, and it was all woven together to create a plot that totally drew you in and kept your attention the entire way through, it was engaging and entertaining and full of things going on. I was constantly surprised at all of the plot twists and turns, which isn't something I get to say often no matter how much I love a book or series, but this genuinely surprised me, I couldn't figure out what was going to happen next, and I was seriously on a rollercoaster. I wasn't expecting Vincent to go the way he did, I didn't work out what his problem was, I kind of thought he'd been hexed or something, I also wasn't expecting Everrose to be a fairy godmother, and the explanation for everyone forgetting her, I had so many crazy theories that where way crapper than the actual reason! And like I said, I was totally surprised by the Mayor as a character and him being such a nice bloke in the end!

Honestly, I don't know what Lia is worrying about! I love Dearly, Departed and I LOVED this book, I'm sure other fans of Dearly, Departed will love this book and new series too! Familiar Things is a different vibe, and a different subject matter, obviously, but it's still unique, still has Lia's unique twist and mesmerizing storytelling abilities, and whatever magic Lia works to make the atmosphere and vibe ooze off the page, totally infect you and get you in the vibe of the book, and whatever vortex/portal Lia uses to pull you in to the world! I honestly didn't want this to end and I was so sad when it did, but then Lia told me there's going to be a sequel so I'm sure I can handle the wait!

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