Friday, 31 July 2015

Charmed


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

Indie has spent the last few weeks frantically searching for Paige. She's tried every spell imaginable, but witchcraft has gotten her nowhere, and she's going crazy with guilt. Despite what her warlock boyfriend, Bishop, tells her, Indie knows it's her fault her best friend was kidnapped by the Priory. And with the Priory destroyed, finding Paige feels more hopeless than ever-especially when Indie discovers that Paige isn't even on Earth. She's trapped in Los Demonios, an alternate dimension of Los Angeles filled with evil paranormals. No one who has gone there has ever come out.

Fueled by terror and loyalty, Indie is desperate to find a way into the underworld prison. She'll worry about getting out later. But facing the dark world's most dangerous witches and warlocks on her own means keeping her plan hush-hush-and forging alliances with some sketchy people, including a seriously sexy sorcerer.


So, like the synopsis says it's been a few weeks, specifically 16 days, since the end of the last book. For those of you who didn't re-read Hexed before you read this, there's a little concise recap so you're straight back in the story. There's still things from the end of the last book to be resolved and you know...obviously Paige is missing. I'd also like to point out that there's NO love triangle. Or I didn't really see it as a love triangle, one of the two! 

Once you're caught up with the characters and what's been going on since the last book, it's not long before the action starts and Indie is on her way to finding Paige and her tangled web of deceit begins! 

I have to say, straight up, I was a tad disappointed with how things went down with Jezebel. I mean we didn't really see much of her and in a chapter near the beginning it seemed like she was going to have a bigger part to play, and she's kind of an awesome badass, so I was hoping for more from her in this book than we got! I also want to point out that I got confused at one point because in Hexed it's mentioned that sorcerers can't fly. Now Indie thought some Warlocks/Witches where sorcerers at one point and I put it down to her being a bit of a silly sausage, but then near the end she states sorcerers flying, so I got confused! I probably only picked up on this because I'd read the first book straight before for the second time, and I'm genuinely the type of annoying person who notices stuff like that. Did it take away from my enjoyment of the book? Nah. I'm just stating it before someone jumps on any of it. 

I actually really enjoyed this book in fact, as much as I enjoyed the first one. I loved the first book, the cheerleading witch and so on, but I loved this book because it had a more mature vibe to it which was largely down to Indie and her character development, but more on that later. This is one of those books that's just enjoyable, no matter your mood. You can get lost in the world and the characters and get caught up in the plot trying to work out what's going to happen next. 

The book isn't entirely unpredictable to me, but it's just one of those times that you enjoy the book so much that it doesn't matter if you can guess at something that's going to happen. Besides, there where plenty of twists and turns that I didn't guess at, particularly in the final few chapters. I mean....woah. Really did not see a certain scene coming. All the sads! To give an example, Bianca and Devon, I so knew what was coming because you got a real feel for Bianca and it's standard psychology of a mean girl. I wasn't expecting Devon to be such a douche however. To  be honest with you, some of the bits that you can guess at or predict more accurately...actually give you more enjoyment because they give you a nice sense of anticipation. 

We all love drama, not in our own lives, but in TV and books and so on, you're lying if you say you don't. Everyone loves to sit there going "ooooohhhhh" at a really juicy scene. Back to my example of Bianca and Devon, in the first book as well as this one. I so knew what was coming. I could see it coming a mile off. Did it ruin my enjoyment? No. Why? Because I knew some intensely dramatic and juicy scenes where coming up and I couldn't freaking wait to get to it. I was excited to watch it play out. There was a scene with Bishop I suspected coming and was pretty obvious because he HAD to find out, and I was excited to see how it would play out. I had my suspicions about the Chief and his identity, it's one of the bigger reveals and I was right, but I kind of was thinking I was half wrong so I was kind of surprised, but also frothing at the mouth to get to the reveal scene. Not to mention the how the hell it happened scene. I do love knowing a juicy scene has got to be coming up and getting so excited for it I'll keep reading until way past my bedtime. Yes I'm 22 and I have a bedtime. Shhh. 

The writing and the characters draw you in so it doesn't matter if some parts are slightly predictable, and to be honest, sometimes we don't all want some giant Game of Thrones unpredictability that just hurts your feels too much. You're so drawn in that you don't care and it doesn't affect your enjoyment. I have explained this really terribly but I wanted to get across that it's not always a bad thing and in this book it's not even a bad element, it's a good one because it added more anticipation for me and then the unpredictable turns really blew me away.

But it's not just the anticipation for certain scenes that kept me reading way too late at night. It's incredibly hard to put the book down and if I could I would have read it in one go. There's always something going on, some new tidbit, some new drama, some new clue to keep your intrigue going and keep you riveted to the book and completely lost in the world. A lot of the chapters end leaving you on a mini cliffhanger and you're like "I should really be asleep, but if I put the book down now it'll take me ages to get to sleep because I'll be thinking about what just happened and it can't just end there" so you carry on reading. I seriously lost track of time at one point, finally reached a point where I tore myself away, and realised it was like 2am and was like......oh. 

We see more magic in this book, more awesome spells and we see more of the Sorcerers. We also learn a lot about this new area of the world of the book and it was interesting to see how the events of the last book and consequences that made themselves apparent in this book. The world building was fantastic, I want to go to LA even more now. I mean, hello, actor, how can I not want to go there!? Anyway, you really get a feel for LA and you can picture the areas of it described. Then there's the world of Los Demonios which is incredibly vivid as well and unlike the laid-back LA vibe, has an incredibly post apocalyptic vibe, and an intense atmosphere. 

I continue to completely love the relationship between Indie and Bishop, it's way too cute and gives you some intense warm and fuzzies. He's kind of the perfect boyfriend when compared with Douchey Devon. He reacted the exact opposite of how most YA boyfriends act as well it has to be said. Which was very refreshing. He's so supportive as well. I will not gush! I just really enjoy their relationship. 

I loved the characters in the first book and we see even more of them in this book. Duh. Although I actually really dislike Bianca and keep hoping she'll get what's coming to her. I'd just really love to smack her one to be honest. 

Indie is by far my favourite character, and she has developed so much over the course of the two books and you can really see how far she's come in this book. She's so determined to save Paige, her best friend, and learn as much magic as she can and take whatever risks she has to, to do so. Considering she was Paige's reluctant friend in the first book, you can see how she's shed her shallow cheerleader self and finally accepted Paige's friendship in the first book, and then in this one is going to do whatever it takes to save her to kind of pay her back for being an awesome friend and because she's her friend. I just think she's awesome, and her witty comebacks make me chuckle! I was sad we didn't actually see much Paige though! 

We did get to know Jessie more, which was intriguing and I want to know more about her! I love how she fit in the story and how she handled everything! Cruz was an interesting addition to this book and I wanted to know more about him and his life and I felt like we didn't see nearly enough of him! Which is why I'm saying there's no love triangle. The synopsis kind of makes you think there is but she meets him like twice I think, and she has some attraction to him and everything but it's not a proper love triangle and it's all handled in a great way. So don't worry...no angsty love triangle of pain!

I also really love Aunt Penny and we didn't really see much of her in the first book, but she's come so far as well from who she was in the first book, she's really coming in to being responsible and being a parent. But she's also still get quite fun and entertaining like in the first book. Penny has a reaaaaallllyyyyyy interesting backstory/history as well and I can't help but want to know way more about it! It added a nice element. While we learn about Penny's past we also learn a bit about her mother's as well and Indie's by default, so there's so many revelations going on it's jaw dropping! 

The book isn't just a rescue Paige book, there's more going on. There's another thread complicating things and adding intrigue as you try to work out what the Sorcerers are up to. Not to mention the high school drama going on and Indie trying to find out what her Aunt's deal is. We're not in Los Demonios for the entire book, we flick back between there and LA and it was interestingly done, and the whole secret keeping, there's seriously so much more going on than just rescuing Paige, even if that is the main backbone of the plot! 

I still love the idea of Witches and Warlocks being different to Sorcerers and this war between them. I really want to know more about the war between the two and how it started and so on even though no-one can remember. Usually in books they all get lumped together as the same thing, like different titles for the same thing. I find it an original take, and love reading about the two and all the different spells and potions and so on. Is it eye roll worthy of me to say it's.....magical *winkwink*

Now, I'm not sure if this was just a two book series or if it's actually a trilogy, some people seem to think this was the last book in the series but I'm conflicted. I would really like another book and here's why. The book ends with things fairly neatly wrapped up, you get the feeling that it's the end of the story and everythings resolved and that's it. Which is great, because the books been wrapped up perfectly. However. Through a scene with Devon and the end of the book (which was perfect by the way) I kind of got a hint/strong feeling of what might happen in a third book. Not like the magical element, but a relationship element. I feel like there's more to be told for their relationship especially if Bishop goes for what he wants at the end. 

There's a few other things as well, I'd like to know why Bianca turned on her, we nearly get it answered and while Indie was okay with not knowing I'm like "WHY ARE YOU SUCH A COW?!", there was a bit of....weirdness with Devon I thought that could contribute to some drama in a third book. I really badly want to know more about Jessie now that we got to know her in this book! Not to mention Paige and how she's left at the end of the book and the surprising admirer she has! So I'm kind of torn! 

In some ways it felt like the end of a series but in others I kind of felt like there was room for more. Either way it was an incredibly good sequel, perhaps even better than the first book, and whether or not it's the end it was very well done either way because people are probably a lot more better at me than being like "oh okay....I think this is what happened to so and so" and letting their imaginations fill in the blanks! 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award

Well, this is the first time I've actually been tagged in something like this and I'm excited to be involved! It's all thanks to the lovely Beth over at The Readers Corner, here's her Twitter and Blog.




Now let's talk rules: 

-Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site. 
-Put the award logo on your blog
-Answer the ten questions sent to you 
-Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
-Nominate ten blogs (I only did five because I'm running out of people who haven't been tagged!)

Questions to me: 

1. Favourite book ever? 
Okay so we all know I really suck at picking just ONE book, so this one's taken me ages to answer! It sounds pretty generic but Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone because i'm fairly certain it's the first one I actually read myself? I could be wrong, either way, completely obsessed with Harry Potter. 

2. Some of your favourite authors? 
Sarah J Maas, Jennifer L Armentrout, Alyxandra Harvey, Leigh Bardugo, Richelle Mead, C. J. Daugherty, Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, V E Schwab, C C Hunter, Rachel Vincent, Julie Kagawa, Chloe Neill, and Josephine Angelini. This is literally just a few, like my top authors haha. 

3. What do you love about blogging? 
Actually being able to talk about books with people who love books too, but also love the same books I do. I can read a book, do a review, and generally fangirl about it and then have people commenting or tweeting me about reading it too and we can fangirl together. I feel less like that weirdo who prefers to sit and read books to going out on the lash, now that I'm in the blogging community because loving reading isn't so unusual here. Not to mention all the people you meet and get talking to about other things like TV shows and stuff.

4. When did you start blogging?
Uuuhhh 2013 I think? Summer of 2013? I never do blogging birthdays because I always forget. I started back when I was working at Waterstones. 

5. Who are some of your favourite bloggers? 
Rikke @Paperback Castles, Michelle @Fluttering Butterflies, Vicky @Books, Biscuits and Tea, Beth (yes, Beth who tagged me) @Reader's Corner, Kelly @Effortlessly Reading there's more but I'd be here all week listing them all! 

6. What do you love about reading? 
I'm not sure I can exactly put my finger on it. Like when you're having a bad day, a book can pick up your mood and turn it around is one reason. I started reading when I was that bullied kid in school because it was better to read about other peoples lives and adventures than dwell on my own life, and from there I just constantly read all the time, loving going on all these adventures and visiting all these different places and feeling like I was somewhere else for a while. It's all very generic sounding I guess but there ya go.

7. Have you read a book this year that has WOW'd you? 
I've read a couple actually! A Darker Shade of Magic, An Ember in the Ashes, The Girl at Midnight, Red Queen, and The Hunter's Kind to name a few. Each had an original element to it that really blew me away, or I could read in one go because I couldn't put it down. That's what it takes to wow me along with rich world building and so on. 

8. Favourite genres? 
YA, I read a lot of that and I'm well aware I'm 22 and most likely too old but whatever. I can be tempted by Historical but it depends on what it's about. I'm hugely in to Fantasy these days as well! 

9. If you could only take one book on a holiday with you, what would it be and why? 
Oh my Goooddd you've picked questions that are super hard! Do you know how fast I read books? Are we talking a 2 week holiday lazing on a beach or? I'm joking! Uhhh, I think that I would pick one that I've been itching to re-read recently, Throne of Glass. That one reaaaally transports me and I loved every single page, and like I said, I've been meaning to re-read but I don't have the time! 

10. Do you prefer E-Copies or physical copies? 
Physical copies. I don't have anything against ebooks, I just like holding an actual book and having shelves overflowing with books and I can look and see what I have, or browse for what I feel like reading. Books don't break either and as someone who's got a recently fixed one yeah haha. Not to mention the book smell. 

My Ten Questions (This will have taken me ages)
1. Favourite book of 2015 so far? 
2. Hardback or paperback? 
3. Fancy (e.g. leatherbound) editions....for reading or for looking? 
4. Classics....love? Hate? Any favourites? Any you've meant to get round to reading? 
5. Favourite childhood book?
6. Which author are you desperate to meet? 
7. Are you pro or anti library? Why? 
8. What's your biggest #booknerd problem?
9. Which book's world would you like to live in? 
10. Is there a book that you own multiple editions of and if so, why? 
(My questions are random and kind of suck, sorry guys) 

I nominate: 
Michelle- @cloverness

If any of you have already been nominated then my bad, and feel free to nominate someone else! Also if anyone reading this fancies having a go, go for it and link me in the comments! 


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #50

So I'm not sure this weeks even actually needs any explanation. I mean......it's got an Egyptian prince...who was a mummy...hello!? You should all know by now that the one part of history I am most obsessed with is Ancient Egypt, and seeing as the dude was mummified I'm all excited at the prospect of large amounts of Egyptian history. I really can't get enough. Seriously so excited, with this book it feels like all my Christmases have come at once!


Reawakened


When seventeen-year-old Lilliana Young enters the Metropolitan Museum of Art one morning during spring break, the last thing she expects to find is a live Egyptian prince with godlike powers, who has been reawakened after a thousand years of mummification.

And she really can't imagine being chosen to aid him in an epic quest that will lead them across the globe to find his brothers and complete a grand ceremony that will save mankind.

But fate has taken hold of Lily, and she, along with her sun prince, Amon, must travel to the Valley of the Kings, raise his brothers, and stop an evil, shape-shifting god named Seth from taking over the world.


Reawakened is out August 11th, pre-order your copy...here!
Add it to your TBR....here

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Mutant Files

Today I'm going to be reviewing the first two Mutant Files books courtesy of the publisher. I was actually sent the second book to review and the first book I assume because I haven't read the first one. Now, these books aren't what I usually go for and they're not my usual cup of tea, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway! 

Deadeye
Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow

Detective Cassandra Lee of Los Angeles’s Special Investigative Section has built a fierce reputation taking down some of the city’s most notorious criminals. But the serial cop killer known as Bonebreaker—who murdered Lee’s father—is still at large. Officially, she’s too personally involved to work on the Bonebreaker case. Unofficially, she’s going to hunt him to the ends of the earth.
 
In the meantime, duty calls when the daughter of Bishop Screed, head of the Church of Human Purity, is kidnapped by mutants and taken into the red zone to be used for breeding. Assigned to rescue her, Lee must trust her new partner—mutant lawman Deputy Ras Omo—to guide her not only through the unfamiliar territory but through the prejudicial divisions between mutants and norms…


Right, so, as you can tell from my rating, clearly I didn't like the book, but I'm doing the review because I feel like I should seeing as I got sent both from the publisher. This review should probably be taken with a large pinch of salt because as I have already stated, I don't usually read this type of book and it's not my usual cup of tea, I wanted to give it a go anyway because the publisher have always been good to me! 

I did finish the book, but I found my attention wandering and found myself quite bored for the majority of the book. I'm more of a fantasy reader, I do read historical and YA, but because I read a lot of fantasy I'm used to lots of detail. Which means that when I read a book like this, all the inconsistencies stick out like a sore thumb. And there where many inconsistencies. The majority of them centre around the disease and the practices that made little sense to me but I'm not going to get in to it. There where so many that I found myself getting annoyed, I mean it's probably one of the more niggling ones, but I did find it amazing how Lee could drink through a straw with a mask on. Not much of the procedures or anything to do with the disease and it's spreading made sense so I swiftly found myself losing interest.

I didn't enjoy the dialogue I found that it didn't flow very well, I felt incredibly distanced from the characters due to the authors writing. Due to this I found I could not connect with any of the characters as I got no feel for them. I always find it hard to read books that do not have a character I connect with in any capacity. While the author did not feel the need to explain enough with the disease to at least put to rest some of the inconsistencies, the author did decide that we needed to have side notes and what terms meant in parenthesis which was incredibly distracting and made me feel like I was too stupid to work it out myself. The action was good and there was a lot of it but I really did not care about the characters or what was going on with them at all. I couldn't wait to finish it to be honest. 

Rating: 2/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow

The year is 2065, almost thirty years since a bioterrorist attack decimated the population. The world has been divided, and new nations have formed. Those mutated from exposure inhabit the red zones, while “norms” live in the green zones.

In the nation of Pacifica, Los Angeles detective Cassandra Lee is in charge of investigating a disturbing case, tracking a cop killer dubbed the Bonebreaker. But strange new murders have occurred, falling outside the normal pattern and leaving Lee and her team wondering if the serial killer has become unpredictable—or if he’s no longer acting alone…

To make matters worse, Lee’s attention is diverted after she receives a letter from her long-lost mother. Now she must venture into the red zone, a lawless land where might makes right—and where the biggest danger may be her own family.

I can hear you all wondering why I would review this one when I clearly didn't like the first one. So I'll explain that, like I said, the publisher has been good to me and I feel bad not reviewing when they sent me both. The other reason is that while I didn't like the first and these books aren't my usual cup of tea, I was hoping that being the second book it might be better than the first. More detailed, more explained....that it would make more sense. 

Unfortunately no. I didn't even finish this one I gave up after going from reading it properly to speed reading it, and finally gave up around about half way through. These books really aren't my thing, I might have at least enjoyed them however, if I could connect to the characters or if there weren't so many inconsistencies. Sadly the inconsistencies continued in this book, as did the distancing from the characters. Not to mention the jarring jumping about from genre to genre. The settings did not mesh, which could be down to all the inconsistencies or just poor world building. Another jarring thing was the multi POV's. They changed far too often. Paragraph to paragraph. At first it was merely jarring, then it  was annoying to be shifted about so much. 

Sorry Titan. I tried to like them, really I did! 

Monday, 27 July 2015

You Can Never Have Too Many Books

Hey guys! Doing something a bit different today in a bid to make my blog more interesting and less all about the reviews! 
So here we have a book haul! Perhaps I should have done this as a youtube video, I have been debating doing some vlogs, but being an actor is weird. You see, when I'm actually acting, I'm all about the camera and I don't really care because I'm someone else entirely. But when I'm not acting and I have a camera shoved in my face you wouldn't believe how socially awkward I am and babbly and strange, so perhaps not. Perhaps I should stick to typing! I fear I might be not what everyone is expecting if they where to see me in a video compared to myself on here! We shall see! 



Anyways, as some of my Twitter followers may know, myself and my dad complete an ambitious project a few weeks ago. My excitement for the project was dimmed as we had my Grandfathers funeral smack in the middle and family brings a lot of issues for me. But nevertheless we finished said project. 

I have many books. Many, many books. I had one bookshelf from Ikea that I had to share with DVDs and so my books where stacked on the floor, everywhere. I moved them all so that they where stacked up agains the wall, but the slightest movement and they'd tumble to the floor. The my dad had an idea. An entire wall full of bookshelves. So one day in June, we went to buy the wood, and the very next day we started to create them. Now I have, literally, an entire wall of handmade bookshelves with some littler shelves on my other wall that I reserve for classics and my history books. 

I thought I was pretty genius in my arranging of my shelves, I have two that are TBR you see, and the rest in this particular half are all fancy books. The other half is all the books I have read and they're all arranged in their little groups. Once I had gone through and decided which books I needed to get rid of because I wouldn't read them again.....I noticed gaps. Some gaps can be filled when next books in series are released or more books from the author are finally released. Other gaps need to be filled. 



And thus we come to my book haul because what better excuse to buy more books than gappy shelves. Me being me, I opted to buy pretty books this time round, seeing as you know....giantly huge TBR that keeps getting forgotten about as I keep getting review books to read instead! 



Penguin Drop Caps Classics are completely gorgeous and I've been eyeing them up for a while. Despite the fact that I have 3 editions of Pride and Prejudice already....how could I not get the A in the Drop Caps series!? As for Five Children and It, shockingly I have seen the film but I haven't actually read the book so I will rectify that! 



Penguin English Library are my favourite classics to buy. The spines aren't the prettiest but the covers certainly are. You can have a pretty classic book, that you're not afraid to read. They're also quite a bit cheaper than the fancy yet very pretty editions. I opted for two that I'm missing from my collection. I don't actually have many of these, it's a collection in progress, I haven't actually read The Monk either, and let's pretend I don't already have two editions of Sense and Sensibility shall we? 



The pretending needs to continue for the next book in my haul. This time we're pretending that I don't already have 4 editions of this particular book. Now 5 I suppose. Two of which are just different paperbacks. I may or may not be after a sixth but shhhhhh. The Hobbit is one of my favourite books to be fair and how could I not get the anniversary edition!? 



Last but not least we have a book that I read when I was decidedly younger and enjoyed a ridiculous amount. I seriously was so obsessed with Eragon and dragons at one point. I'm just sad they haven't done the other books in the series like this....all leather-bound and gold and pretty. Seriously, I have such a thing for pretty  books, if it's pretty, I will buy it. I just couldn't not get this version of the book. Which is my excuse for everything. "I couldn't just not get it" which is a pretty flimsy excuse and gets me a lot of eye rolls and everything but everyone should know by now that I have SUCH A WEAKNESS FOR PRETTY BOOKS. 

So yeah. No excuse. I had gappy shelves and I wanted pretty books. Hello pretty books! I've linked to the buy pages via the titles so you can grab them if you fancy them. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Colour Me Mindful


Rating: 5/5
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher


Ah stress, how I loathe you. Unfortunately we all feel the stress from time to time, I myself, have been feeling it a lot more lately. Despite appearances, being a struggling actor is not fun. Yes, I have lots of time to read, I workout a lot as well to keep in shape for certain roles that may came up. But in general, peoples attitudes towards struggling actors, and I'm talking family as well as randoms, aren't all that great. I've done my time doing a course, and I get whatever extras jobs I can, but I'm still in search of an agent to get properly decent auditions for actual proper roles. As such, I feel like a layabout and like people view me as one, despite the fact that I actually do get a lot of things done, so I'm currently debating whether or not to get myself in a load of debt and do a distance learning Ancient History and Archaeology course as a backup plan to acting. If I do it distance then I can still be available for acting jobs. I mean I got a text the day before a shoot about being a body double in Matt Smith's new TV show, it's usually very last minute. 


Now why do you care about my personal life and my personal stresses? What has it got to do with this review? Well, as a highly stressed person myself lately, I'm in serious need of some stress relief. Back when I smoked, I'd slope outside with my headphones in and listen to a song, stare up at the sky and have a puff whenever I needed to relax or clear my head. I no longer smoke, so what do I do instead? 

Well, normally I would read. Now, some of you who follow me on Twitter may or may not know about the saga of my neighbours. The ones who didn't like where the plugs where and moved them to the inner walls, thus messing with the soundproofing, so now it's like we all live in one giant house. Except they can't hear us, but we can hear them. All the time. They're like the housemates we never wanted. We can hear them talking, laughing, shouting, screaming, singing, slamming doors, turning on lights, flushing toilets, watching TV, they can't seem to listen to music without it being on full volume. Weekdays they usually keep one of us awake until gone 1am. Weekends you can be awake until 4am. The holidays are the worse and just the other day I was kept awake until 5am, and I can no longer deal with my sleeping being messed up because of early call times. So even more stress. 

All of this noise however, is not conducive to reading. Well, I can read with it, or with the TV on to drown them out, but it's not really, truly relaxing to me, reading with noise to drown out other noise. In summer it's a bit better because my fan usually drowns them out. But still. 

So here we come to the review, after I have gotten way too personal and given you way more information than you ever needed about me. I needed a way to relax. I volunteered to review three Colour Me Mindful colouring books. Promising to be a perfect way to relax and clear your mind. And they where. 

No matter what was going on around me, I was fully focused on trying not to colour outside the lines. Yes, I am 22, and I did struggle to stay in the lines, in my defence I was using felt pens and didn't think to use fine liners until late in the game. Either way, I found colouring the pages in to be extremely relaxing. 

The thing that makes these particular books so awesome, is that the pages are thick enough that you don't have to use pencils. You can use felt pens and it won't go through to the other side. There's a wide variety of designs in the book, patterns, big pictures, smaller pictures, all that have little intricacies to them, patterns on them or around them, that make them more interesting. 

These pictures are so stunning, even not being coloured in, that I have been forbidden from colouring in the elephant and the frog until it can be photocopied by my mother for whatever purpose she has in mind. Colouring them herself perhaps, or perhaps wanting to frame it, I don't know, but the designs are stunning and give you lots to focus on as you colour. 

There's been a lot of hype surrounding these adult colouring books recently, it's certainly become a trend, but I was always unsure. I don't particularly like using colouring pencils. Well I don't mind it, but it depends on what I'm doing. Usually I don't get the vibrant colour I want or the coverage, but then if I want to go for something lighter they're fine. Anyway, I look at these adult colouring books and I'm thinking "well....thats my pens out...the paper is surely too thin". Well I don't know about other books on the market, but like I said, the pages are thick enough I'm certain you can use any medium. Perhaps even paint? I was going to use my chalk pastels, but I didn't have any setting spray left and neither did I have any hairspray. Hairspray is a GREAT substitute for setting spray, in case anyone was wondering, it's way cheaper too! 


Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Affinity Bridge


The Affinity Bridge
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

Welcome to the bizarre and dangerous world of Victorian London. Airships soar in the skies, whilst ground trains rumble through the streets. But beneath this shiny veneer of progress lurks a sinister side. Queen Victoria is kept alive by a primitive life-support system while her agents Sir Maurice Newbury and his assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, do battle with enemies of the crown, both physical and supernatural...

Newbury is currently investigating a series of murders, strangulations of the poor, in Whitechapel, assisting his old friend Charles Bainbridge. But it's not long before he's called away by the Queen herself, an airship has crashed in Finsbury Park in suspicious circumstances and the pilot is missing. A pilot that isn't exactly what it appears to be. 

On top of all that another helper of Newbury's, Miss Coulthard, has a missing brother, and there's revenants roaming in the fog, eager to pass on the zombie like plague to others. Not to mention the malfunctioning automatons, and automaton assassins in general. The question is, could any of these cases be intertwined? 

Halloo new favourite series. Seriously. I can't wait for the next book, and this book is seriously awesome, like read for hours and forget what the time is and forget that food is a thing you need, kind of awesome. I devoured this in a couple of sittings and I would have finished it a lot faster if I hadn't had other work to do! It's definitely a series I'll be re-reading, because it's so much more than the mystery, the writing is fantastic, the characters come alive and I enjoy the relationships between all of the characters and the world itself. 

The books begin in a suitably creepy yet intriguing setting, letting you know straight away that this book is original and has quirks to make it stand out from the crowd. It draws you in and sets up one plot thread straight away, as well as immediately starting up an intrigue. That's seriously just the prologue. The actual first chapter is even better, and gives you a feel for Newbury straight away, entertaining and amusing you before the real action kicks off. 

What I found really interesting, is that as we start the book Newbury and Hobbes have already met and been working together for some weeks. But you don't feel as if you've missed out, you can immediately see their connection and get a feel for their partnership, as well as a feel for them individually. You miss the awkward jut met stage and of straight to the "I kind of know you but I've still got a way to go" stage which is always interesting and over the course of the book they get to know each other better. 

Likewise we join the book as Newbury is helping helping his friend, Chief Inspector Bainbridge, investigate a series of murders and we're up to body number seven as we join. Again, you don't feel like you're missing something as some genius dialogue fills you in on what's going on, and it's not the only instance. You get a concise overview of what's been going on. 

While there's the whole strangling case going on, another one comes to light almost immediately and is of an entirely different nature. So one investigation ends up taking a backseat to the other as well as a third mystery of an associates missing brother. While one or other may take a backseat, it's not for long, and it's not a plot point that's forgotten about until later. It's still mentioned in dialogue of passing characters, and you're still kept up to date, so the intrigue is kept alive. 

There's a lot going on in the book plot wise and action wise, but each plot thread is woven together and there's no confusion. They are threaded together that seamlessly, and with the fast pace, that's literally the perfect kind of fast pace, the plotting and the story are just fantastically on point. 

Veronica is an interesting character, and one of my favourites! I feel she's quite forward thinking for a woman of her time, she's running about trying to help chase down criminals and not overly concerned with what's proper for a woman. She's not insipid, she's a bit of a fighter. There's also plenty more to her but....spoiler alert. 

Newbury is also an interesting character, I actually really liked both of our main characters because they where so well written and had so much depth to them and there's still so much to learn about them. I'm so intrigued by Newbury and his backstory, he dabbles in the occult and is an agent for the Queen, how could I not be?! I loved the fact that while Newbury was a hero/did heroic things, he was not your average type of hero. He's kind of the geeky type being an anthropologist who practically lives at the museum. He's also delightfully flawed, which frankly, made him all the more realistic and believable, especially as his flaw was a very appropriate one of the time. His laudanum addiction is a very well written element to the book, and it's a very interesting struggle to watch and I have a feeling it's going to develop more and be more of a problem in the future. Newbury is such a likeable character that you don't end up disliking him or being pitying of him or anything. 

It's not just the main characters that are well written, there's an entire cast of colourful and lively characters to enjoy. Bainbridge is also incredibly well written, and I'm so intrigued by him and his past, I also really want his lightening cane. Not to mention the Fixer, Miss Coulthard, the Queen herself, Amelia and various other characters that are well written, but you don't see that much of, but you know there's depth to them that you're just waiting to find out about. Amelia is a particular character that I'm desperate to see more of and find out more about, she has visions and due to that and the nature of her visions she's locked up in an asylum, which also offers an interesting insight in to the time, now that you mention it! 

Like I said the book is full of action and there's so many original little quirks. There's zombie like creatures shuffling about in the fog, spreading a plague about. Automatons and airships and steam carriages and ground trains and I could go on and on. I loved the steampunk elements it was very well done. I've just given you an example of a few things, but there where other things as well and it made the book so magical to read. I looked forward to seeing what other things there where in it. The thing I loved most about the steampunk elements was how it wasn't overdone. 

Each steampunk device/invention and so on, was explained in enough detail that you can imagine it and understand how it works but without long, over complicated and stuffy explanations that leave you confused, which I've experienced in a few other books. Seriously fantastically done keeping up the pace of the book and the enjoyment.

You really get an authentic feel for the time despite the fact that it's an alternate London. The way of thinking and so on was so realistic and authentic that it really helped to suck you in to the world of the book so you completely lose track of reality. I also liked Veronica's stance on progress, she doesn't seem to like it much. She dislikes the steam carriages, and with the automatons I found her thoughts so fascinating. She was worried about people's jobs being taken over by the automatons and I found it a concern that echos in the modern day with all this AI stuff that people are getting involved in, despite every bad thing that has ever happened because of AI in films, but there you go. Anyway, she considers the consequences of progress, whereas Newbury is all for it and it was an interesting difference between the two. 

Like I said, it's a very immersive world with incredibly vivid and engaging settings, each different to the last, and each will stick in your mind. Each setting was also incredibly atmospheric, particularly the creepy scene in the fog. The atmosphere in that particular chapter could be cut with a knife the way it was coming off the page and enveloping  you. You felt like you where in the fog with them. Likewise the suspense was another palpable atmosphere/element whenever it made itself known. Towards the end, you could feel the urgency as the pace pounded towards the end of the book. (That was a rubbish sentence but I couldn't think of the word I was looking for!)

I enjoyed the writing a lot, it's slick to go with the fast pace, and each chapter leaves you wanting more. The author has an interesting way of keeping the book streamlined and keeping it pacey and on track. Like I said earlier about the opening, where you're caught up to what's been going by the dialogue. There'a a few other instances of this, like for example, one chapter ends with them discussing finding a person at a party. Then in the next chapter it's an entirely different setting, but a conversation with another character yielded results and answers. I loved whenever the book did this as it kept things fresh and interesting as well. 

The Affinity Bridge is a delightful and enchanting read. The plotting is fantastically done, there's lots of threads that twine together and flow towards a satisfying conclusion, while keeping you intrigued and the book has many unpredictable twists and turns. You end up frantically reading to see what happens next and struggling for a place to put it down. It's fast paced, action packed, and there's lots going on to keep you hooked. There's a nice little twist at the end that made me smile, everything was wrapped up nicely and then right there at the end....another little intrigue. I'm incredibly intrigued for the next book and what adventure our characters will be going on next. 

The Affinity Bridge is entertaining, dramatic, richly created with a fantastic plot and pace. There's never a dull moment and you'll find yourself desperately wishing to go back to the world of the book and the characters. This is a must read book to be honest, and like I said, I'm desperate to get my hands on the next one! 





Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Wishing For Wednesday #49

Hey guys!
This WFW is full of awesome. Like seriously. I mean, how am I supposed to wait until August?! These are literally pre-order so you can get your hands on them as soon as possible.
First up is one I came to hear about when everyone in the US was at the event that shall not be named because it causes me pain that I can never go. You all know what I mean. But yeah. I heard about it via that and when I heard it was to do with Alexander the Great? Sign me uuuuuppp!
Second is a sequel that I have eagerly been awaiting, and by eagerly I mean impatiently because the first book was totally awesome and I've been to excited for this book because I need questions answered and I need to know what happens next! Enjoy and swell your TBRs!

Legacy of Kings


Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancĂ©e, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.



Legacy of Kings is out August 18th, pre-order your copy...here!
Add it to your TBR....here!


The Paradox

Those who belong to the secret society called the Oversight know many things. They know cold iron will hold back the beasts in the darkness. They know it is dangerous to stand between two mirrors. And they know that, despite their dwindling numbers, it remains their duty to protect humanity from the supernatural. And vice versa.

But two of the society’s strongest members, Mr. Sharp and Sara Falk, are trapped in the world between the mirrors, looking for each other, searching for a way back home. What they discover there will have ominous consequences both for the Oversight and the world it protects, effects that will make them question everything they thought they knew.

The Paradox is out August 20th, pre-order your copy...here!
Add it to your TBR.....here!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Artifact Hunters

Hey guys! 
So I'm going a bit unusual today with my review! So, as you all know my Kindle has been broken and recently I finally got it sorted so I'm currently dealing with a backlog of NetGalley books in between the ones I'm sent by publishers! 
I got asked to a review a book that was the fourth in a series and have been sent the others to read and review, SO, instead of doing individual posts for each book I thought I'd do one big post about the series! No matter what I tried, however, my Kindle refused to add the fourth and final book, but I thought I'd post the reviews of the first three anyway! So here we go! 



Nefertiti's Heart
Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 

Cara Devon has always suffered curiosity and impetuousness, but tangling with a serial killer might cure that. Permanently.

London, 1861. Impoverished noble Cara has a simple mission after the strange death of her father - sell off his damned collection of priceless artifacts. Her plan goes awry when aristocratic beauties start dying of broken hearts, an eight inch long brass key hammered through their chests. A killer hunts amongst the nobility, searching for a regal beauty and an ancient Egyptian relic rumored to hold the key to immortality.

Her Majesty's Enforcers are in pursuit of the murderer and they see a connection between the gruesome deaths and Cara. So does she, somewhere in London her father hid Nefertiti's Heart, a fist sized diamond with strange mechanical workings. Adding further complication to her life, notorious crime lord, Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is relentless in his desire to lay his hands on Cara and the priceless artifact. If only she could figure out his motive.

Self-preservation fuels Cara's search for the gem. In a society where everyone wears a mask to hide their true intent, she needs to figure out who to trust, before she makes a fatal mistake.
 

Okay, so knowing me and my love for all things Ancient Egypt did you really think I would pass up reviewing a book that has an Egyptian artefact in it? Let alone one that's full of steampunk and murder and said artefact making people immortal supposedly? I couldn't have been more excited to start reading this series and I freaking loved it. The first book has been everything I have ever wanted in a book and I'm sure the others are going to follow suit. Steampunk, artefacts, history, romance. EVERYTHING I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. 

This book gave me some serious warm and fuzzies in regard to the romance between Nate and Cara, like seriously, so cute and so fuzzy. He's the right amount of protective as well, not like psycho protective but the level that is socially acceptable. Mostly. Sort of. Also they clearly have a connection and they work very well together as a couple. Anyway, Cara is an incredibly strong character and I connected with her straight away, she's kind of a great role model, at least I thought so. I mean she came back from what happened to her and takes no crap from anyone. She's my favourite kind of lead female. Just saying. She's completely badass and awesome because of her lack of effs about what the Ton think of her. 

You get introduced to the world and the world building is such that you disappear entirely in to the world, and the steampunk elements where perfect, pitched just right and really gave your imagination something to work with. They weren't so overcomplicated that you got confused or couldn't picture them, they where simple enough to picture and understand how they'd work but not to simple, and the steampunk elements weren't overdone or shoved in your face every five seconds.

I loved both Cara and Nate, both are interesting in their own ways, and I definitely want to know more about both of them and their backstories although we get a dose of Cara's in this first book and it's pretty brutal and I was impressed that it wasn't glossed over or romanticised and was laid bare. I was also impressed with how it was handled, Cara is talking to Fraser about it and she makes a comment about the victim and it gives you a pretty good, hard, true look at that particular time era no matter that this one is an alternate, it was very like that. It was also quite shocking when you think about the fact that the victim statement Cara makes could be true of today as well. 

I loved all of the history and myth surrounding the artifact, seriously, it's very rare that I come across a book that covers all my interests or things that I love in a book, I mean, this one has history, artifacts with a twist doing dodgy things, romance that gives you the fuzzies and on top of this, this one has some perfectly done steampunk elements and mystery and murder. As if there wasn't enough intrigue to start with, there's more and more as more threads are added to come together to make an intricate plot with lots going on to keep you occupied and for you to try and fail at working out so you end up being surprised at all the different plot twists. I feel like I've been waiting for this book and this series and it's really too awesome! 


Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy

Cara and Nate's fledgling relationship is threatened when Nate reveals that Cara's father sold her to him 3 years ago and they're actually married....he just needs her certificate on the papers to make it official. Cara is enraged, but before she can do anything soldiers come to the house and arrest Nate on charges of Treason and imprison him in the Tower of London. Nate has many secrets, and while being accused of passing intelligence to the Russians, it would appear he has something the Queen wants. Something he lied about and said he didn't have. A dragon egg. Except he also has 3 instead of the one he told the Queen he didn't have. Nate has days to deliver it to the Queen. However, the Queen isn't quite herself, she's wearing an Egyptian artifact called Hatshepsut's Collar, a necklace that is driving her mad. Mad with power and mad enough to amass an army and try to take over China. 

Tempted as Cara is to let Nate die on Tower Green after a shot drop and a sudden stop, she can't, because their connection would mean she would die as well. So enlisting the help of Loki the pirate and an underwater vessel designed by Da Vinci, they bust him out of the Tower. In order to figure out how to get the necklace from the Queen's neck before she plunges England in to a world war they may not win, Cara finds herself at the winter palace in St. Petersburg meeting the Tsar and participating in a hunt with nobles from all over. Cara also finds herself hatching Dragons on a pirate air ship, and in Siberia, constantly shadowed by the enemy who has far darker plans than anyone had guessed. 

Oh my God, I could re-read these books again and again. They're just so good, and this one is no exception, it's on a much larger scope than the previous, and it's so cinematic, you can picture everything clearly, and picture it on a big screen. 

The prose and world building are both atmospheric, and as I said, cinematic. The entire story is fast paced and flows smoothly from plot point to plot point and location to location, it's a whirlwind adventure. 

The characters are well written, and full of depth. Nate has a crazy amount of layers to him that slowly get revealed, and his protectiveness is just too cute and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. In fact the entire romance and relationship between Cara and Nate makes you get an attack of the warm and fuzzies! Cara is forever one of my favourite protagonists, she's strong and shes independent as well as being totally badass. 

The plot had lots of twists and turns, and it was a nice little rich web of a plot, with different threads weaved in to it, romance, action, mystery, intrigue and some history too! I love books set in this kind of universe, with the romance and artificats and history, so this series has fast become one of my favourites! 

Hatshepsut's Collar is a fast paced tale, filled with pirates, Egyptian artifacts, Queen Victoria and her Prince, mystery, history and romance! Full of twists and turns, and packed with cinematic world building, it's a read that will draw you in and refuse to let go!



Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 

One... death by spontaneous human combustion is a rare act of God

Two... is surely a freakish coincidence

Three... well, that’s starting to look deliberate.

Cara's life has taken a change, she's settling in to married life in a house that makes Mausoleums look downright cheery and she's Queen Victoria's brand new artifact hunter. Meanwhile in London Inspector Fraser is investigating a series of strange deaths, ya know....death by Divine fire, strange, and it's certainly not a coincidence when it hits more than two. He finds himself having to enlist Cara's help to identify and locate the artifact that could be causing such horrifying deaths, but he hasn't quenched his desire to bring her husband to justice....awkward. 

Someone is determined to make sure decades old secrets stay buried and Cara has to figure out who's responsible before the case consumes her family (literally) and rocks the entire realm to its foundations. 


I LOVE THIS SERIES! Have a mentioned that lately!? It gets better and better and ugh. So much awesome. 
I love how we have two storylines, (Cara and Nate tracking down her father's artifact collection, and Fraser and said dodgy deaths) that perfectly converge in to one big, huge mystery that is pretty much impossible to work out for those of us who aren't Sherlock Holmes. The previous book was heavy on the adventure and the thrills, and light on the mystery, in contrast this installment is heavy on the mystery and I love a good mystery! 

This installment is also heavy on the character development! Like serious in depth look at certain characters! I've personally been waiting for this, we get more on Cara's family's past, which had me sitting there like "yaaaaaaaaassss", aaaand there's some insight in to Fraser and a load more of Nan and Nessy's history/friendship which is another "yaaaaaaaas", they even get their own chapters! And if that wasn't enough for you, there's even some back-story for the Queen!  

I still love Cara, she is still one of my favourite heroines, and I just really, really love her. She's so well written and I found myself having a strong connection to her again in this installment. 

I have failed to read the novella The Unicorns Tail so I was a tad bit confused with the whole Loki/Jackson/Amy thingy. But then I would imagine everyone's more on top of things than me and you all would have read it! Shame on me, I know! BUT I really love Loki, so I need to read the novella ASAP, I mean HELLO! Air pirate! What's not to love, more of him pleeaassee! 

It also has to be noted that the villain in this installment? Creepiest villain EVER. Truly shudder inducing and probably the best villain yet for that reason! As well as this incredibly creepy villain, we get new characters! Brick was my favourite, like seriously, best bodyguard ever! 

I love this series, it's unique, it has steampunk, romance and the supernatural, and characters so well written with plenty of depth, they're characters that will stay with you after you've left the vivid and atmospheric world, and trust me, you never want to leave! 

Nero's Fiddle is another fantastic installment in a series I stumbled upon quite by accident via a publishers newsletter, the series gets better and better as more little nuggets of information are leaked out each book and you get a better picture of the characters you love. Intricate with lots of historic detail, Nero's Fiddle is dark, cold and has disturbing depths, as well as lighter moments, it twists and turns and is everything we've come to love and expect from this series! I really can't wait for Moseh's Staff and I wish the series never had to end!





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