Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Book Review - Angel's Game

Title: The Angel's Game
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Series: Cemetery of Forgotten Books (2)
  • Publisher: Orion; Unabridged edition 
  • Release Date: 1 June 2009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409105282

Synopsis
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man - David Martin - makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books, and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love.
Then David receives the offer of a lifetime: he is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home...

My Review
After reading Shadow of the Wind I was desperate for more, i love Zafon's writing style and I was hungry to get back into the world he had created. I found the Spoken word edition in the library and popped it in my car to listen to as I go about my daily drives.
This book is set a few years before Shadow but you still get a few characters you will recognize, Sempere snr and his son Daniel. This book mainly follows David Martin, a young man, a novelist and a bit of a loner. He finds comfort in his creepy old house, but even the house holds secrets that may come back to haunt him. David receives an offer to write a book for a mysterious older man, but once he has agreed strange events start to happen and David wonders what exactly he has got himself into.
The book is full of mystery and intrigue and exciting action. I found I didn't enjoy it as much as the first, it was harder to get into and I wasn't sure where it was going but the more I listened to it the more involved I became. It seems a lot darker than the first one but held me captivated and wanting to know more. 
If you have read and enjoyed the first one I would definitely recommend reading this one, it takes you back into the world you know and I have to say that Zafon is a true master at creating worlds, the visualisation is incredible, I could picture every setting, every character, every event in my head as I listened to it. He really is a master storyteller, and I've just found the third book in the series, so as soon as I can I will be diving into that one. I just can't get enough!

My Rating

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Book Promo - Day of Ice

DAY OF ICE the second installment from a new series by author Andrew Lane. These books are an exciting YA re-imagining of the characters from the original Robinson Crusoe.

Andrew Lane has written some thirty-odd books, ranging from fiction to non-fiction and from science fiction novels based on popular TV series to adult crime novels. He has also written nearly 30  short stories which have been published in various magazines and anthologies. His best known work to date is the highly successful Young Sherlock Holmes series of YA novels, of which eight have currently been published.

TITLE: Day of Ice: A Crusoe Adventure

AUTHOR: Andrew Lane

US RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2017 (Hardcover at Barnes & Noble)

AGE RANGE: 12 - 17 Years

SYNOPSIS: Months after their rescue by the government agency Segment W, Robinson Crusoe and his friend Friday have proven their skills as secret agents. They’re now climbing the ranks of this exclusive group of spies who reports directly to the Crown. Suddenly, in the dead of winter, Friday is shocked to see her father, who once tried to kill her, walking the streets of London. She tries to elicit the help of Segment W, but they are preoccupied with the continued investigation into an organization that staged a kidnapping of the king’s daughter. What will she do? As Friday’s past comes back to haunt her, she, Crusoe, and Daniel Defoe must uncover the mystical Circle of XIII’s sinister plans to recruit new members into the society using dangerous and magical means. How does her father fit into all of this? Will they be able to escape unscathed?

Day of Ice is the second installment of a series that thrusts a young Robinson Crusoe into a new world of espionage, intrigue, and peril.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Book Promo - If I Fix You

Title: If I Fix You
Author: Abigail Johnson
 
Blurb:  
Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . . 

 
Praise:
“IF I FIX YOU is a heart-rending story about life not being what you hoped for ... and being okay anyway...This is the perfect book to hand to anyone who feels alone or broken. Or, more likely, both.” - Aprilynne Pike, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

"A whole-hearted page turner." - Huntley Fitzpatrick (Author of The Boy Most Likely To)

"I know readers are going to LOVE this book as much as I did.  A feisty and strong heroine to root for, and a love interest who is dreamy and complicated in all the right ways.  What a fabulous debut by a great new writer to watch!" - Cammie McGovern (Author of Say What You Will)

"Broken boys and broken cars and broken hearts. I loved this combination of things that need fixing. Heartfelt and romantic! Read it!" -Kasie West (Author of The Fill-In Boyfriend)
 

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Book Review - Shadow of the Wind

Title: Shadow of the Wind
Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Series: Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book 1)
Publisher: Phoenix Press
Release Date: 5th October 2005
ISBN13: 9780753820254

Synopsis
Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'cemetery of lost books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'La Sombra del Viento' by Julian Carax.
But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from La Sombra del Viento, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind. A page-turning exploration of obsession in literature and love, and the places that obsession can lead.

My Review
I had seen this book a lot coming in and out of the library, it seemed very popular and many people told me how enjoyable it was. Even my supervisor at work had read it and told me I would like it. As I usually read YA this was a bit different from my normal pick but I decided to give it a go. However I don't have as much time to read at the moment whilst doing my University course so I requested the Spoken Word edition of the book and listened to the CD's in my car. The narrator had a wonderful voice and I found him very easy to listen to. I got straight into the story and found myself finding reasons to go out in my car just so I could listen to a little bit more. 
Daniel is taken to the cemetary of lost books by his father when he turns ten and is told he can choose a book. He selects a book by Julian Carax and takes it home, but as the years pass he hears that someone is looking for the book, someone wants it and will do anything to get it. Drawn into the mystery of the past behind the book and Carax himself, Daniel finds himself in a strange situation and followed by strange shadows and forgotten rumours. Can he figure it out before it is too late?
I found the book truly fascinating and absolutely magical, it's the sort of story that sweeps you up and takes you on a journey before bringing you back to reality. But even then it stays with you, the characters become like friends and I just wanted to know as much as I could. The storytelling is just incredible and I could not get enough. The world is woven around you and the mystery takes over. It is one of the best books I have ever read and I would definitely visit it again. I will also be looking out for other books by Ruiz Zafon, he is an amazing storyteller.

My Rating
   
 

Friday, 20 January 2017

Book Review - Carry On

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 25 Feb. 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1447266945

Synopsis
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything.
Based on the characters Simon and Baz who featured in Rainbow Rowell's bestselling Fangirl, Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters.

My Review
I am a fan of Rainbow Rowell so when I saw another release from her I knew I had to read it. However I heard mixed reviews from people and my friend at work told me I might not like it as in a way it is taking the mick out of Harry Potter. Being a massive Potterhead I was apprehensive but I decided to give it a go anyway.
Simon Snow is our 'hero', he is the chosen one, the most powerful wizard of the time but he's not sure who the real enemy is or what he is meant to do. His best friend is a genius but is also rather annoying and his roommate is definitely an evil vampire, who happens to have gone missing over the summer. Simon isn't sure why but Baz's disappearance causes him real concern, little does he know that bigger events will be unfolding. 
I did find it hard to get into and i really had to make myself persevere, there are a lot of parallels with Harry Potter and I found it quite sarcastic and hard to believe. I found Simon himself to be very whiny and rather irritating. The further I got into the book the more i began to enjoy it and I will admit I wanted to know what would happen in the end. It took me quite a while to read though and I was satisfied to finish it but not sure I would want to read it again. I'm glad I read it but it's not my favourite novel by her. Overall just left me feeling a bit deflated. 

My Rating
   
 
 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Book Review - One

Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Release Date: 2 Jun. 2016
ISBN-13: 978-1408827215

Synopsis
Grace and Tippi don't like being stared and sneered at, but they're used to it. They're conjoined twins - united in blood and bone.
What they want is to be looked at in turn, like they truly are two people. They want real friends. And what about love?
But a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead for Tippi and Grace. One that could change their lives more than they ever asked for...
This moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?

My Review
I saw this on the shelf at work and was immediately intrigued, i liked the cover design and I have read Sarah Crossan's Breathe series so knew I loved her style. Reading the back of the book I was drawn in, I don't know much about conjoined twins but this sounded interesting. 
I got stuck in quite quickly and found myself unable to put the book down. The book is written in broken sentences and odd snippets but it adds a charm and dramatic feel to the book and within a couple of pages I was reading it as normally as ever, you get into the rhythm. Straight away I wanted to know more about Grace and Tippi and what their lives involved, I laughed with them, cried with them and saw them grow and change as individuals as well as a pair. 
Sarah Crossan has a real gift of writing emotion and making you fall in love with her characters. I felt like I really got to know the girls and I was rooting for their success and happiness. I read the book in one sitting in just a few hours, it sucks you in and won't let you go. 
I  really enjoyed it and wanted so much more, then we hit the ending. I hate to admit it but i was so disappointed with the ending. It's not that it didn't turn out the way I hoped, not every story works out the way you want, that's life, but it just came across as really rushed and I wanted more. I wanted to see the consequences, read the aftermath, know more about what came next. It just seemed rather cut off. Left me feeling really disappointed.

My Rating
     

Book Review - Miss Mabel's School for Girls

Title: Miss Mabel's School for Girls
Author: Katie Cross
Series: The Network Series (Book 1)
Publisher: Antebellum Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0991531905

Synopsis
Never underestimate the power of a determined witch.
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?  


My Review
I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, first I am sorry for how long it has taken me to get round to this. I first received it about 2 and a half years ago but just never got round to starting it. But I am determined to get back into running this blog regularly and catching up with my old review books. 
I wish I had started it earlier because I really enjoyed the book and am already trying to get hold of the next book!
Bianca wishes to study at Miss Mabel's School, it's where all the best witches go to train, but she has another motive too, Bianca has a secret hanging over her and only Miss Mabel can help. 
I loved the setting in the Letnum wood and the school itself. The writing is very descriptive, I could picture the classrooms, hallways and dormitories. The characters too have great personalities and really come to life on the page. But the description isn't overdone and it isn't boring at all, it's woven within the story and creates the places and people in your mind. 
I read the first half quite quickly and then was desperate to find time to finish. I was hooked, I had to know what would happen to Bianca and just how far Miss Mabel would push her power. I enjoyed seeing the events unfold and I loved Bianca's quirky and weird friends. 
The ending is quite a bit of a cliffhanger and will leave you desperate for more. 
Thoroughly enjoyable and well worth a read. 

My Rating
    

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Book Review - The Montgomery Murder

Title: The Montgomery Murder
Author: Cora Harrison
Series: The London Murder Mysteries
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Release Date: 1 Mar. 2010
ISBN-13: 978-1848120648

Synopsis
In the mean streets of Victorian London lies the body of wealthy Mr Montgomery. The police must move fast to catch his killer. They need an insider, someone streetwise, cunning, bold ...someone like Alfie. When Inspector Denham makes him an offer he can't refuse, it's up to Alfie and his gang to sift clues, shadow suspects and negotiate a sinister world of double-dealing and danger - until the shocking truth is revealed.  


My Review
I saw this on the sale trolley at work in the library and i thought it looked good, i like things like Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars and this seemed to be of a similar ilk. However I didn't have time to read it right then and its sat on a pile for months. I just finished a coursework assignment and before diving into my next one i wanted to read something for pleasure, at only 240ish pages this was quite short and more or less guaranteed to be a quick read. And it was, I read it in one evening in about 2 and a half hours in fact!
Alfie looks after his brother Sammy who is blind, his dog Mutsy and his 2 cousins Tom and Jack, they rent a small cellar and earn money performing tricks on the street and doing odd jobs. Alfie is the brains of the group and the leader, but when a scheme to steal some bread goes wrong he finds himself in front of the inspector. With the prospect of jail or labour he worries who will be there to look after his family and so is pleasantly surprised when the inspector makes him a deal. A wealthy man, Mr Montgomery has been murdered and the police are scratching their heads, maybe Alfie could do a bit of detective work and solve the case. with access to back streets and maids working in the Montgomery house, Alife may just have what it takes to uncover the truth, but he has to move quick, the murderer is still out there and is desperate not to be found. As the risks mount up and danger lurks on Alfie's door he's running out of time to solve the case before someone else gets hurt and this time it might be someone he cares about.
I enjoyed the mystery and had a few guesses as to who the murderer was. Harrison has captured the feel of the time period and i felt myself walking round those old dreary streets in the fog. The characters aren't too detailed but enough to make you like them and know what they are about. It's a fairly simple read and very fast paced but perfect as a quick easy read. Great for budding young readers who want some adventure and good plot without too much detail. 
I really enjoyed it and I may have to look up some of the other books in the series.

My Rating

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Book Review - Mind Games

Title: Mind Games
Author: Teri Terry
  • Publisher: Orchard Books 
  • Release Date: 5 Mar. 2015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408334256

  • Synopsis
  • In a future world, life is tightly controlled by the all-powerful PareCo. Standing out from the crowd is dangerous so misfit Luna hides her secrets carefully, not realising her own power. Unlike her friends and family, Luna has never been able to plug into Realtime, PareCo's virtual world, where almost everyone now lives their lives. So how do PareCo know about Luna, and why do they want her for their elite think tank?
    The truth is hidden in a web of shining silver secrets, and the corrupt authorities would do anything to keep it that way. Can Luna find a way to use her own hidden powers and bring the truth to light before it's too late?

My Review
I have always been a fan of Teri Terry and have met her on a couple of occasions and discovered she is also very nice to talk to. I heard she was coming to my local book store to do a talk and signing and as it was my Saturday off work I went. Sadly it wasn't very well attended but she still did her talk which was very interesting and discussed some of her books. I've only read the Slated series so far so was eager to know more. 
I had this book on loan from the library (actually had been there for quite a while) and I hadn't got round to reading it but feeling inspired I picked it up and got stuck in. 
Luna knows she is different, everyone else spends most of their lives plugged into the virtual world, things are easier there. But Luna feels nauseous and can't settle to the technology. She then finds out a bigger secret behind the company and their technology but can she do anything before it's too late. 
I loved Luna, she was feisty and full of attitude but also inquisitive and caring. She seemed to trust a little too easily for my liking but then she had been quite sheltered growing up. I liked the development of the world and it was so well constructed that scarily enough you could actually see it happening with the advances in todays technology.
I really liked Gecko and thought he was a great character and the mystery behinds Luna's mother was great.
There is quite a lot of terminology and world building involved so you have to concentrate a bit but i just found it added to the world and it's experience.
Really enjoyed it and definitely still a fan! Looking for the next book to read by Teri Terry now.

My Rating


 

Monday, 2 January 2017

Book Promo - Dawn of Spies

DAWN OF SPIES is the first  installments from a new series by author Andrew Lane. These books are an exciting YA re-imagining of the characters from the original Robinson Crusoe.

Andrew Lane has written some thirty-odd books, ranging from fiction to non-fiction and from science fiction novels based on popular TV series to adult crime novels. He has also written nearly 30  short stories which have been published in various magazines and anthologies. His best known work to date is the highly successful Young Sherlock Holmes series of YA novels, of which eight have currently been published.

TITLE: Dawn of Spies: A Crusoe Adventure

AUTHOR: Andrew Lane

US RELEASE DATE: January 24, 2017 (Paperback at Barnes & Noble)

AGE RANGE: 12 - 17 Years

SYNOPSIS: An exciting YA re-imagining of the characters from the original Robinson Crusoe.

Rescued from a deserted Caribbean island, 17-year-old Robinson Crusoe and his female friend, Friday, find themselves in late 1600s London, a bustling city that proves as treacherous for them to navigate as the remote island they just left behind.

Thanks to their honed survival skills, Crusoe and Friday are recruited by a young writer named Daniel Defoe to work as agents for Segment W, a covert spy group that reports directly to the Crown.

Crusoe, Friday, and Defoe must rescue the Countess of Lichfield from a kidnapping plot. They discover that a mystical and mysterious organization known as the Circle of Thirteen is plotting to destroy Segment W and change the course of history through a royal kidnapping.

With an illustrious cast of historical characters including King Charles II and Sir Isaac Newton, Dawn of Spies is the first installment of a series that thrusts a young Robinson Crusoe into a new world of espionage, intrigue, and peril.