WWW Wednesday: 30th October 2019

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingThe Wych Elm

At long last I finally made a start on The Wych Elm by Tana French on Monday but unfortunately it seems like French’s writing may be a little too vivid as it somehow managed to trigger a panic attack. This is genuinely the first time that has ever happened to me and there’s a strong possibility that it was a number of different factors that contributed but it has made me a little wary of reading on. I’m already finding old anxieties resurfacing so I think I’m going to put it on hold till I feel less wobbly.

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson, #11)I’ve therefore decided on a slightly safer choice of reading with Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones. The Charley Davidson books always make me laugh and I’m determined I’m going to finish all thirteen books in this series before the end of the year. I only started it yesterday morning but have been making great progress (they’re pretty quick reads) and am around a third of the way through.

On audio I’m still listening to Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray. I think I’m maybe 5 hours in so still not even half way through. It is making me laugh a lot though and I’m really enjoying it. Someone really should give the narrator a prize for how unique she makes each character’s voice, she brings the story to life.

Recently Finished

Elevator PitchThe Shape of Night

Two books finished again this week, the first of which was Elevator Pitch by Linwood Barclay. I tend to be a bit hit or miss with Barclay but was drawn in by the premise of a serial killer using elevators to bump people off. Unfortunately while not a bad read, it never really gripped me. I think I was expecting something with a little more pace and action but with multiple pov’s (something I’m not a fan of generally) it all seemed slow and I didn’t really connect to any of the characters. It does pick up towards the end and I loved the way the author showed the impact on New York but not for me I’m afraid.

Next up I decided to read Tess Gerritsen’s The Shape of Night. I’m a long time fan of Gerritsen so had been looking forward to this new standalone for a while and I actually ended up reading the whole thing in a day, I found it very addictive. I do however have some rather mixed thoughts on it and I was kind of surprised how much this felt like one of Gerritsen’s old romantic suspense reads. It’s definitely heavier on the romance than the mystery and the romance is a bit Fifty Shades. This wouldn’t be a bad thing, I kind of liked Fifty Shades, but the relationship feels abusive making it somewhat problematic. Hopefully once I get my thoughts straight I’ll get a review up.

Reading Next

I’m thinking I maybe need to stick to avoid creepy and violent reads for a bit and maybe go for something a little fluffier. I have a couple of Christmas books on my NetGalley shelf so I may dip into them or I may try to press on with Charley Davidson.

Christmas PartyA Wedding in DecemberThe Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson, #12)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Reading ❤

WWW Wednesday: 31st July 2019

The WWW Wednesday meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Ummm….

Well I said I’d have a lot going on this week so I’d either be reading tons or nothing and it seems I’ve ended up on the nothing side. I’m getting a lot of building work done in the house so have been staying at my parents off and on since Sunday (for some reason they expect me to speak to them and not spend all my time reading). Have also been having both horse and cat issues so yeah… been struggling to find the time or focus to read anything.

Recently Finished

I had a few days off work at the end of last week and the weather was a little too hot for me so did manage to get a couple of books finished before the house/animal chaos started.The Girl in Red 

First up was The Girl in Red by Christina Henry, a book I’d been looking forward to for ages and it totally lived up to all expectations. Inspired by red riding hood it’s a post apocalyptic story about a girl called Red who’s making her way across the country to get to her Grandma’s cabin in the woods. From the very first page I was hooked and I can’t remember the last time I flew through a book like this so quickly. It reminded me a little of The Walking Dead (albeit without the zombies) and Red is such a brilliant character.

I also took Deanna’s at A Novel Glimpse’s advice and picked up Max Munroe’s Banking the Billionaire, the second book in their Billionaire Bad Boys series. I really enjoyed this but I have to admit I still liked the first one better.

Reading Next

Building work looks like it’s going to continue until the middle of next week so not sure if or what I’ll be reading next but I did manage to get a couple of books from NetGalley (I know, so much for the ban) that I’m really excited about. Both Adam Silvera and Tess Gerritsen are favourite authors.

Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle, #1)The Shape of Night

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

I will apologise in advance if I’m slow in coming back. I don’t really have access to my laptop and don’t have wi-fi at my parents so am dependent on my phone’s data which isn’t always that great.

Happy Reading ❤

Review: A Summer Scandal by Kat French

A Summer Scandal
A Summer Scandal
by Kat French

Another wonderful story from Kat French. With a little bit of mystery, a lot of romance and French’s usual fabulous characters this is perfect for the summer.


THE BLURB

Summer has never been so scandalous…

When Violet moves to Swallow Beach, she inherits a small Victorian pier with an empty arcade perched on the end of it, and falls in love immediately. She wants nothing more than to rejuvenate it and make it grand again – but how?

When she meets hunky Calvin, inspiration strikes. What if she turned the arcade into an adult-themed arcade full of artisan shops?

Not everyone in the town is happy with the idea, but Violet loves her arcade and business begins to boom. But as tensions worsen and the heat between her and Calvin begins to grow, life at Swallow Beach becomes tricky. Is it worth staying to ride out the storm? And can Violet find her own happy ending before the swallows fly south for the winter?

Sexy, sassy and full of heart, Kat French is back in a new summer sizzler.


MY REVIEW

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For a book with a sex pier (their description not mine) this is a surprisingly sweet and quirky romance that is absolutely perfect for reading by the side of the pool, which is exactly where I read it. It is a little bit predictable in terms of story (sex pier notwithstanding) and you can pretty much tell from the beginning, if not the blurb, how it’s going to end but as I’ve come to expect from French it’s an enjoyable journey.

Main character Violet is an incredibly likeable and relateable character, despite me not having a creative bone in my body, and I found myself really getting behind her as she uncovers secrets from her families past and finds who she is. As always French creates a real sense of community in this story and the characters Violet meets are also intriguing, fun and in some cases one of a kind.

I will admit I wasn’t wholly convinced by male lead and love interest Calvin but I did still like the relationship between him and Violet. The author has an incredible knack of creating chemistry between the most unlikely pairings and even though I had a few niggles about them together there was most definitely a spark.

This book isn’t only about the romance however as Violet has inherited a link to her grandmother who died a number of years ago in tragic and mysterious circumstances. Feeling a connection to the one member of her family she has most in common with she begins digging into the past, something a few of the locals would rather was left alone. I have to admit I would have liked to have seen this side of the story developed a little more. We get glimpses through a diary Violet finds but it seemed to keep being pushed to the side to make way for the present making the reveals inconsistent and in my opinion incomplete. Having finished now read the whole thing I’m still not sure I understand everything and I find that frustrating.

Similarly the ending of the book felt a little incomplete to me. Things are resolved too suddenly and I wasn’t entirely convinced by how it all played out.

It is however still an entertaining and pretty addictive read and I do still love French’s writing and the characters she creates. It’s probably not my favorite book of hers but I would still recommend if you’re looking for a light and fun holiday read (featuring a sex pier).

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with and ARC. As always all views are my own.

Review: My Side of the Diamond by Sally Gardner

My Side of the Diamond
My Side of the Diamond
by Sally Gardner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One of the most unusual stories I’ve ever read.


THE BLURB

An extraordinary tale about the search for love from the acclaimed Costa and Carnegie winning novelist Sally Gardner.

Jazmin has been shunned ever since her best friend Becky disappeared. But Becky didn’t just disappear – she jumped off a tall building and seemingly never reached the ground. It was as if she simply vanished into thin air. Did Jazmin have something to do with her disappearance? Or was it more to do with Icarus, so beguiling and strangely ever youthful, with whom Becky became suddenly besotted . . .

With detailed and intriguing black and white illustrations throughout.


MY REVIEW

This is possibly one of the most bizarre and down right weird books I think I’ve ever come across and while that might put a lot of people off it’s actually the thing I loved the most about it. It took me a little while to figure out what the heck was going on but once I did I found it fascinating.

Where it went wrong for me was the form the story took. Rather than being in the moment it’s told through a series of interviews with the various characters involved in the events. This might have been okay except for the fact you never hear the questions asked, there are a lot of different narrators telling their stories and it jumps around in time. It is very cleverly done but this reflection on events which in some cases happened many years previously left me feeling distanced from them and from the characters. For me to love a book I need the closeness and the connection and that never happened.

I was curious about what had happened and very intrigued as to who the interviewer was and why he was looking into the story but I wasn’t emotionally invested. I didn’t particularly like or relate to any of the characters and I didn’t fully buy into the relationships between them. The romances are very sudden and I didn’t feel any connection or chemistry to make them seem believable.

There were elements that fascinated me, there were parts that confused the heck out of me and there was even the odd creepy moment but unfortunately as a whole I have to say it didn’t do it for me.

It hasn’t put me off Gardner’s writing, I love how unique her stories are, but this was a little disappointing.

I won a copy of this book from ReadersFirst. This has not influenced my review.

Review: The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

The Empress (The Diabolic #2)The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I may not have been sure I wanted a sequel to The Diabolic but I’m so glad we got one. It’s completely unpredictable, full of action and a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Nemesis is an absolutely brilliant character and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

*Spoiler Alert* This is second book in a series so while my review has no spoilers for the book both it and the blurb contain major spoilers for The Diabolic.


THE BLURB

It’s a new day in the Empire. Tyrus has ascended to the throne with Nemesis by his side and now they can find a new way forward—one where they don’t have to hide or scheme or kill. One where creatures like Nemesis will be given worth and recognition, where science and information can be shared with everyone and not just the elite.

But having power isn’t the same thing as keeping it, and change isn’t always welcome. The ruling class, the Grandiloquy, has held control over planets and systems for centuries—and they are plotting to stop this teenage Emperor and Nemesis, who is considered nothing more than a creature and certainly not worthy of being Empress.

Nemesis will protect Tyrus at any cost. He is the love of her life, and they are partners in this new beginning. But she cannot protect him by being the killing machine she once was. She will have to prove the humanity that she’s found inside herself to the whole Empire—or she and Tyrus may lose more than just the throne. But if proving her humanity means that she and Tyrus must do inhuman things, is the fight worth the cost of winning it?


MY REVIEW

I was a huge big fan of The Diabolic (it was one of my favourite reads of 2016) but have to admit I thought it was a standalone. I wasn’t too sure what to think when I heard we were getting a sequel. I liked the ending to The Diabolic but I was quite excited at the prospect of finding out what’s next for one of my favorite characters.

The story picks up almost immediately after book one with Tyrus on the throne and Nemesis by his side but while it seems they’ve gotten everything they want they’re in a very precarious position. The other senators are not happy with Tyrus’s radical ideas and aren’t overly keen on the idea of Nemesis becoming Empress. Add to that there’s something uneasy about the relationship between Tyrus and Nemesis. Neither fully trusts the other and they are so very different it’s difficult to see how their relationship can survive.

I kind of wish I’d re read The Diabolic before I picked this up as it took me a little while to get back up to speed on the world, it’s characters, the governance system and just who killed who. This is definitely not a book you can just pick up without reading the previous book and even then there’s a lot to remember. The author does a pretty good job of bringing you up to speed without info dumping though so it wasn’t long before I was fully immersed in this world of political maneuvering, deceit and violence.

Rather than going over old ground however the focus of this story is in moving things forward and questioning all that we seemingly know. She builds on the structure already in place adding so much more depth and detail but also bringing in so much new information on their religion and history. There are a few surprises in store for both the readers and the characters.

With this increasing focus on the religion the author asks some very powerful questions such as what does it actually mean to be human. Can someone who was created in a lab from various bits of DNA really be considered human and do they have a soul? It also raises issues around if and where a line should be drawn on genetic engineering and technological advances and is controlling technology and knowledge a way to control the masses. All things which I find fascinating.

Based on what I’ve said so far you’re probably thinking oh god this sounds so boring but it’s anything but. From almost the very first page you’re straight into action and it never lets up. It’s violent, horrifying and often heartbreaking and it’s completely unpredictable. Every time you think you know where it’s going some huge great spanner gets tossed in.

It’s safe to say there’s a lot of death and destruction, the scale of it is immense and it’s often sudden and shocking. What can you expect I suppose when your main character was grown in a lab with one purpose, protect a certain person at any cost.

I really, really love Nemesis. She’s such a wonderfully unique character. Due to her upbringing she has absolutely no empathy and no conscience. She’s very stab first, ask questions later when it comes to protecting those she loves. There’s no questioning her actions or indecisiveness which is incredibly refreshing.

What I love though is how she’s developing over the course of the series and in this book in particular. She’s becoming more human and learning what that really means. The contrast between her and Tyrus is fascinating to watch. He’s much more of a thinker than a doer so they balance each other out in a lot of ways but also often end up at odds when she wants to act and he doesn’t. I do love them together though. They get a really rough ride in this but the moments when it’s just the two of them are some of my favorites.

The differences between her and some of the other characters are also interesting. She’s considered a monster but she’s actually very naive in a lot of ways and sees the world in very simple terms. Those around her plotting and scheming and committing terrible acts could be considered far more monstrous than she ever is.

The pacing of the story is pretty much spot on and it’s definitely a very readable book. I more or less read the whole thing in a few hours. It’s so unpredictable and so packed full of twists it’s difficult to put down and the conclusion when it came was truly epic. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. As always all views are my own.

Review: Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

Spandex and the City

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars for being so hilariously funny, brilliant and a little bit mad.


THE BLURB

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET

Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She’s embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’ – a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.

But when Holly’s fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn – and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?


MY REVIEW

This book is out of this world…

Or should that be “involved in some kind of industrial accident that gave it super powers”??

I really, really loved this book. I am a big fan of Jenny Colgan but I’m an even bigger fan of Jenny T Colgan. This book has the usual mix of fun, humour and romance but with the added bonus of Ultimate Man. Yep we’re in super hero territory.

Have you ever wished you could be involved with a super hero or have you, like main character Holly, realized that actually being romantically linked to a man who wears a purple costume and is on a mission to use his superpowers to save the world is a little bit rubbish. Saving the world is admittedly more important than going on a date but being ditched is no fun, the costume is kinda naff (does everything really need to be purple) and let’s face it you’re going to end up as the damsel in distress. On the other hand though, if you’re single in the city with not many options you could probably do worse.

I absolutely loved how Colgan poked fun at the whole superhero world (in the most affectionate of ways) and how completely unimpressed Holly was by Ultimate Man. It had me giggling away on more than one occasion but is oh so true. Holly was a brilliant character and very relatable. She’s a little bit ditzy and seems to spend an awful lot of time embarrassing herself but she knows what she wants and despite having no powers she’s willing to get stuck in.

The romance is pretty sweet and funny as you would expect but there are also a few unexpected complications and bit of a love triangle which makes it a little bit unpredictable. It’s by no means certain how it’s all going to end. The whole superhero vs his nemesis storyline is fun and I loved how Colgan managed to sneak in a little dig at our current obsession with technology. If I had one minor niggle (and it is very minor) it’s that I thought some of the action scenes could use some work. It may just be me but I found it a little confusing trying to figure out what was going on.

Overall though I absolutely loved it. It may not be for you if you’re looking for Colgan’s usual cosy food related romances but if you don’t mind something a little bit different and a lot funny I’d definitely recommend.

I received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review and if it helps I also bought a physical copy.

WWW Wednesday: 30th August 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

The BorderI started The Border by Steve Schafer on Monday so I’m around a third of the way through and really enjoying it. This was one of those books where the publisher asked me via NetGalley whether I’d be interested in reading it and I thought why not. It’s about 4 teens in northern Mexico who after their whole families are killed have to go on the run to stay alive. With Mexico not being safe they decide their only option is to try and make the crossing into the states.

As far as my other reads go I’ve made absolutely zero progress with The Fireman by Joe Hill over the last week. It’s a big heavy book and I’ve been travelling a lot so I couldn’t really face carrying it around with me. I’m also still working my way through the audio book of Mockingjay, the final book of the Hunger Games.

 


Recently Finished

Charlotte Says (Red Eye)

Despite having a few more bookish events over the last week I still managed to squeeze in plenty of reading (I think I’ve avoided the slump I was heading for) and finished off three books. The first of these was YA horror Charlotte Says by Alex Bell which I’d received from NetGalley. I really loved this prequel to Frozen Charlotte and I think it may actually be the better book. I don’t know if I’d just gotten used to the author’s style but the writing seemed a lot better and while there were less scares (I knew what to expect from those creepy little dolls) I found it a lot more gripping and completely impossible to put down.

LightningAfter last weeks Top Ten Tuesday post on my favorite reads during the 80’s and 90’s I started feeling very nostalgic and couldn’t resist a re read of Lightning by Dean Koontz. I was huge fan of Koontz when I was a teenager and Lightning was far and away my favorite. It’s one of those books I read over and over again but haven’t touched in over a decade so was a little worried it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered.

It was definitely a blast from the past and all of those emotions came flooding back as I was reading. It is a little bit dated now but I think it’s one of those books I will always go back to.

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst NightmaresIn need of something completely different, the third and final book finished this week was A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland. I received this from Readers First and despite some initial reservations I absolutely loved it. It’s about a girl Esther who suffers from anxiety and comes from family who all have phobias. Esther believes the family are cursed and that their phobias will kill them so with the help of sort of friend (sort of mugger) Jonah she decides to face her fears one at a time to try and break the curse.

I was initially worried this was taking mental illness too lightly or that it was going to be one of those love cures all type reads but thankfully it’s not. It is dealt with in a way that’s a little bit funny and ridiculous at times but also very real. As someone who has suffered from anxiety since my teens I could really relate to Esther and a lot of her feelings and reactions mirrored my own. The key message was definitely ask for help and don’t try to cope on your own. I’m hoping to have a review up later this week.


Reading Next

I seem to have a load of ARCs which are being published at the start of September that I haven’t as yet read so I really should prioritize them. I think I’ll therefore be reading one or two of the following:

The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2)The BreakAlex and Eliza

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!