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.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Book Review - The Crown

Title: The Crown
Author: Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection (Book 5)
  • Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
  • Release Date: 19 May 2016

Synopsis
Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you… and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult – and more important – than she ever expected.






My Review
This has always been a series that I love and I couldn't wait to find out what happens to Eadlyn and her Selection. I finally had a break from coursework for a few weeks and so was able to get stuck in. 
There were 3 contestants that I quite liked but throughout I could tell which one Eadlyn was leaning towards. I think it is supposed to be obvious but is still written as though it is supposed to surprise you. Whether you are supposed to figure it out or not I loved to see the relationship grow and the dynamic both within the group as a whole and with the individuals. 
Even more I love to see how Eadlyn grows as a character and steps up to her responsibilities and starts to admit to her feelings. She is a very strong character and you just know she would make a fantastic queen. I enjoyed seeing some of the older characters return and still featuring America and Maxon.
I read this in one sitting as I just couldn't put it down and I really enjoyed it. This is a world of books that I will always enjoy visiting and characters that I will always enjoy hearing from. Cass is an extraordinary writer and I look forward to her future works

My Rating


Friday, 30 December 2016

Book Review - Library of Souls

Title: Library of Souls
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 3)
  • Publisher: Quirk Books
  • Release Date: 22 Sept. 2015
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594747588

Synopsis
Time is running out for the Peculiar Children. With a dangerous madman on the loose and their beloved Miss Peregrine still in danger, Jacob Portman and Emma Bloom are forced to stage the most daring of rescue missions. They ll travel through a war-torn landscape, meet new allies, and face greater dangers than ever. . . . Will Jacob come into his own as the hero his fellow Peculiars know him to be?

My Review
This book takes off exactly where book 2 finished, *Spoiler Alert for previous book*, Emma and Jacob are in the underground with Addison, his friends all kidnapped by wights and a Hollow on their trail. I was immediately back into the story. However I then had to have a break for a couple of weeks to catch up with coursework so when i did sit down to read it again I had to try and remember what was happening. Thankfully it was an easy step back in and once again i was running alongside our peculiars.
I liked that this book focused more on just Jacob and Emma, whilst i liked all the other Peculiars, there were sometimes too many voices so it was nice to get to know these two better. 
I had struggled a bit with book 2 finding it a bit slow in places but this one picked up the action again and I found myself tearing through the story. in fact i read it in two sittings. I loved the descriptiveness of Devil's Acre and could fully visualize it in my head making for an exciting read. I found Bentham talked a little bit too much which slowed the pace but overall it was a great action packed read.
In the first book the pictures were a focal point to the story but in this third book i found them more as extras that were nice to look at but not overly important to the story and in a way i missed it a bit. But the ones that were there were still creepy enough. 
I liked the idea behind the Library of Souls but must admit i was a little confused with how it worked and how the souls were drained or added, but it wasn't enough to ruin the story.
Overall i though it was a great end to the trilogy and i am sad to say goodbye to the characters. I would recommend the series as a whole and will look for more works by Riggs in the future

My Rating

Friday, 2 December 2016

Book Review - Hollow City

Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Book 2)
Publisher: Quirk Books
ISBN: 978-1594747359

Synopsis
This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.


My Review
After finishing book 1 I had to move onto this one as soon as I could. The cliffhanger ending of the first made me desperate to know what happened to Jacob, Emma and the rest of the Peculiars. The front of the book is creepy in itself and I knew I was in for a real delight with just the same excitement and imagination of the first. 
I actually found this book a bit slower in places and the photos didn't seem to fit in with the plot as well as in the first book but saying that I still found it very enjoyable and I read it quite quickly. 
I loved the introduction of the new characters and the fact that it was in the wider world, seeing how the Peculiars fit in with the world outside of the home. There are tensions in the group and you really see their relationships grow and change especially without their leader to guide them. The dynamics in the group are tested but I love to see how they all interact with each other and find their places working together. 
Although the book is slower throughout, it is definitely worth continuing with because the ending is EPIC, it ends on such an exciting action filled event that it makes you desperate to get the next book. 
Overall not as good as the first but still highly enjoyable.

My Rating

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Book Review - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books
ISBN: 978-1594746031

Synopsis
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


My Review
I heard a lot about this book when it first came out but never picked it up, then I saw trailers for the film and thought it looked really good. I never see a film before I've read the book so I decided to give it a go.
As a young child Jacob loved listening to his grandfathers stories of monsters and strange children with mysterious gifts but now he's sixteen he feels he's too old for such nonsense. However when his granddad is attacked by a strange being, Jacob finds himself emerged in a world he didn't think could actually exist. He must journey back to his Granddad's children's home but what Jacob finds there truly changes the way he sees everyday life.
I loved the pure imagination within this story and all the strange places and 'talents' of the Peculiars. I found it very hard to put it down and had to know more, the book is a bit dark in places and some of the photos included are purely creepy but they really add a layer of atmosphere to the book. 
This is a book that really grabs you in and makes you want to know more so you can guarantee i will be diving into the second book as soon as possible.


Movie - I have since seen the film and thought it was very good but was disappointed by how much they changed, given the Peculiars different skills seemed silly and changing the date was pointless but other than that was most enjoyable. Book is definitely better though - as usual!

My Rating


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

I am back!!!

To all my old followers if you are still out there, then thank you for being patient and holding on. I know I haven't really published much in the last year or more, but I am going to kick start this blog back into business.

I didn't disappear for no reason though, firstly I started an English Literature degree course with the Open University 2 years ago. For anyone that doesn't know what that means, basically I still work full time but in my spare time I study from home using materials provided by the University and submit assignments that get marked by a tutor. All the study is independent and takes up a lot more time than I expected. This wasn't helped by the fact that 'part time study' was supposed to take 6 years, but I decided this was far too long so I combined years 1 and 2, then years 3 and 4, so I was doing the equivalent of full time study i.e 30+ hours a week on top of full time work as well as keeping up with all the sports clubs I do. I know I'm crazy right!!! I'm now onto year 5 (3rd year of actual studying though) and have decided to do years 5 and 6 as separate modules so it will be another 2 years of study but far less intense!
My current module is 'Children's Literature' which is what I've been waiting to do and it's really good so far and will give me lots of books to read that i can then review on here too!

On top of all that I have some very exciting news. On the 25th July 2014 I met the most incredible man and started dating him. A year later on my birthday in August he proposed to me!!!! Then exactly 2 years after we met, we got married. The 25th July 2016 was the most magical day of my life and I felt like a real fairy-tale princess. But of course organizing the wedding, particularly on a budget was hard work and took up a lot of my time so my books had to go to one side for a bit.
But it was totally worth it in the end!!


So i hope you will all forgive my absence!!

I read a few books over the summer before this years module started so have some reviews that I will be posting over the next few weeks. And then hopefully I will fully re-submerge myself in this wonderful community of bloggers.

Let the barmyness begin!!!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Cover Reveal - Elementals 5

ELEMENTALS 5: THE HANDS OF TIME COVER REVEAL

Book Description:

Time is running out. War will be waged. Sacrifices will be made.

Months ago, Nicole Cassidy’s life was turned upside-down when she discovered that she was a witch descended from the Greek gods. She and the four other witches gifted with elemental powers fought all over the world—and in another dimension—to battle the supporters of the Titans and fight for the people they love.

Now the Elementals must stop Typhon—the most dangerous monster in the world—from rising, and seal the portal to the dangerous prison world of Kerberos. But they won’t be able to do that without facing their hardest decision yet… a sacrifice so great that it may be one they’re not willing to make.

Get ready for the stunning, action-packed conclusion to the bestselling Elementals series, with twists and turns that you’ll never see coming!


Release Date: November 25, 2016

Amazon Link: mybook.to/Elementals5 (This is a global link that leads to the Amazon page of the person’s country who clicks it, so please keep the link the same!)


Free Book Offer: I offer Elementals 1 for free to new readers! Please use the embed code below to put the offer at the bottom of your blog post. If you have trouble with the code, then let people know that they can grab Elementals 1 on www.michellemadow.com. (But the embed code is preferred, so please try that first!) I’ve provided both the Javascript and HTML codes for the embed form. Use whichever works best with your site <3 async="" id="_ck_78548" javascript:="" script="" src="https://forms.convertkit.com/78548?v=6">

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Get Elementals 1 for FREE


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Nicole Cassidy is a witch descended from the Greek gods… but she doesn’t know it until she moves to a new town and discovers a dangerous world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed.

Fill out the form to the right and then click the blue button to get your free book!














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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Book Promo - School of Deaths


The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a thrilling young adult fantasy/adventure series by Christopher Mannino. The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released next year.

The Scythe Wielder’s Secret series has received rave reviews and been compared to bestsellers like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson. It is recommended for readers who enjoy magical realism, fantasy, paranormal, middle grade, young adult, and/or books with a strong female protagonist.

School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 1):

Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death? 

Suzie Sarnio is a thirteen-year-old whose world is turned upside down when she discovers that she is destined to be a Death. She always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe, but now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. As her year progresses, Suzie uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must learn and embrace the reason she was chosen to be the first female Death in a million years.

Praise for School of Deaths:

"If you like Harry Potter, you'll love this!" - Sasha Alsberg, A Book Utopia

“Wonderful! Addictive! Two thumbs up! The plot itself was beyond intriguing. It definitely took me for a spin. I wasn’t expecting the story to take me where it did, and it definitely kept me guessing all the way toward the end. The author did a wonderful job at keeping me both entertained and fascinated by the world he created. Would recommend School of Deaths to YA lovers everywhere.” - Kristy Centeno, author of The Keeper Witches series and the Secrets of the Moon series.

"The characters are well developed, the story is complex and non-stop. Lots of surprises along the way. A dash of romance, lots of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy. This was a book I didn't want to end.” – Montzalee Wittman

"Loved this book! Suzie is a wonderfully well written and in depth main character. I understood her struggle and appreciated her growth throughout the book.” – Ann Andrews

"Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!" - Reader's Favorite

About the Author:

Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance and production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life.

Christopher’s debut novel School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 1) was published in May 2014 by MuseItUp Publishing. The second book in the trilogy, Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 2), was published in August 2015. The third book Daughter of Deaths is expected to be released in 2016. His series has received rave reviews and been compared to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Christopher’s wife Rachel Mannino is also an author. She writes romance books. To learn more, go to http://www.rachelmannino.com/  

Readers can connect with Christopher on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.


Extract

“You okay, squirt?” Joe bounded through her bedroom door. He smelled of sweat and dirt.
“I’m okay,” said Suzie. She sat up in her bed, putting her book aside. “They teased me a lot today.”
“You? My sister? I’ll beat ’em up.” He slapped her on the back playfully, making Suzie slump forward. He leaned closer to her and peered in her eyes. His cinnamon gum stank.
“Tell me honestly.” He lowered his voice to whisper. “What’s going on? You’ve been losing weight since Bumper died. Mom and Dad are freaking out.”
“I’m not trying to scare them, Joe. I’m sure I look anorexic or something, but I keep eating and eating and nothing changes. It must be some disease the doctors haven’t heard about, they’re bringing in a specialist and everything.”
“Suzie?” Joe sat next to her and wrapped his big, muscular arms around her wiry frame. “You’ll be okay?”
“I will be, yeah.”
“Susan,” called Mom from downstairs. A moment later, her head appeared in the doorway. Joe released Suzie and stood.
“How are you feeling honey?” asked Mom.

“I’m fine.”

“Why don’t you both come down for dinner?”

“Okay, Mom,” they said in unison. Joe turned to Suzie and smiled. They headed downstairs and sat down.

“Your father had an urgent call, and won’t be home until late,” said Mom, carrying a steaming dish of delicious-smelling rosemary chicken and potatoes to the table. The doorbell rang.
“I hope it’s not the Mormons again,” muttered Mom, rising.
“I’ll get it,” said Joe. Whenever Dad wasn’t home, Joe tended to act like the man of the house. Suzie wasn’t sure if he was annoying or endearing, or perhaps a little of both. Mom sat down, and Joe opened the door.
“Can I help you?”
A hunchbacked man in a black robe, carrying an immense scythe, stood in the doorway. Something shiny hung around his neck.
“Er, um. H-h-hello. I-i-i-s Su-su-su-Susan here?”
Joe laughed. “Halloween’s not for over a month, man. Why don’t you come back then?” He started to close the door, but the strange man lowered his scythe, propping it open.
“What are you doing?” yelled Joe.
“P-p-please. I n-n-need to ta-talk to Susan,” he stammered.

Suzie gasped, remembering where she had seen the strange man. He was the one who opened the door looking out in the strange dream she kept having. Mom touched the blade of the scythe and drew her hand back in surprise.
“That thing’s real,” she said. “Get out. Get out of my house!”
 “P-p-p-please,” he started again.
“Wait, Mom,” Suzie said, rising. Joe, Mom, and the strange man turned to her. “I want to talk to him.” Was it the man from her dream?
“Susan, sit down,” said Mom, her voice trembling.
“No, it’s okay,” said Suzie. She walked to the door. The man seemed scared, even a little confused. He was probably her father’s age, but was nothing like Dad. His face was chubby, unshaven, and pockmarked, and his blond hair was uncombed. A golden chain with a charm hung from his neck. He raised his scythe and nodded. Joe held the door, ready to slam it, but Suzie stood in the entrance.
“Who are you?” she asked.

“My n-n-n-name is K-k-k-Cronk. C-Cronk Averill.”

“C-Cronk Averill?” laughed Joe. “Is this guy for real?”

“I’ve c-c-c-come to t-t-t-take you b-b-b-back.”

“Take me back where?” asked Suzie.

“You are a D-d-d-d...”

“What?”

“A Death,” said Cronk. Joe reached for Suzie, but before he touched her, Cronk grabbed Suzie’s arm. His speed surprised her. She yelled, but he raised his scythe and lowered it, cutting the air. Suddenly, the house, Joe, Mom, and the entire world vanished. Colors and smells, noises and strange sensations, flowed past Suzie in a blur.
She opened her eyes. She was standing in a field. Cronk stood in front of her, frowning.
“What did you do?” she demanded. “Where are we?” She looked up. It was sunny. But there were two suns.