Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: One Word Kill – Mark Lawrence

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-21T213135.133.pngSeries: Impossible Times #1
Release Date: May 1st 2019
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 260
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC of this via Netgalley
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-01T143051.847Mark Lawrence has once again made me completely fall in love with a wonderful cast of characters and an intensely gripping story. One Word Kill follows Nick – a mathematical genius who learns he’s dying of cancer. Nick and his friends play Dungeons and Dragons to escape this harsh reality but when a strange man begins following Nick and brings him some dire warnings, the gang’s real life becomes crazier than they ever thought possible.

This book is a wild ride. From the very first chapter I could feel myself getting absorbed in this story and I really grew attached to Nick, Mia and the gang. The characters are so well described and I loved watching the different dynamics as they interacted with each other and I really liked seeing how things changed with the introduction of Mia to the group. Lawrence seamlessly weaves science fiction elements with worries about being able to dance at parties and it made for a really fascinating story.

The story is full of plot twists and I definitely didn’t see some of them coming. One Word Kill is multi-layered, dealing not only with Nick’s cancer treatment and the mysterious stranger, but also a dash of romance and the secrets of Mia’s past. I felt like each part of the story blended incredibly well making for a fast paced and incredibly gripping plot.

Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors and One Word Kill definitely wasn’t a disappointment. The story flows so well that I found myself sitting down to read a few pages and still sitting a long time later because I just had to find out what was going to happen next. Compared with some of Lawrence’s other books this one is on the shorter side and it has definitely left me itching for more in this series. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things, time travel and a rag tag bunch of kids trying to save the world, One Word Kill should definitely be next on your purchase list.
5 stars

Adventure-A-Thon TBR!

Adventure-A-Thon TBR!

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March has been a bit of a rubbish reading month for me and I’ve read hardly anything these past few weeks. To try and kick myself back into gear I’m going to participate in the Adventure-A-Thon. This is a fab readathon run by My Novel Thoughts and you can find out more about it here!

The readthon is running from the 25th to the 31st of March and features a choose your own adventure map. Whichever team you choose is the one you earn points for by completing the reading challenges.

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I have gone for Team Dragon and I’ve chosen a bunch of books I’m really excited to read for this readathon that will hopefully help me out of this slumpishness. I usually find readathons help me to push myself and read quite a few things!

book cover - 2019-03-21T124821.7941. Fellowship: Read the group book.
The group book was chosen via Twitter and it’s A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. I’m so excited about this because it’s long been on my TBR so now I’ve got no excuses and can get reading!
book cover - 2019-03-21T124644.6982. Cliff: Read a book with a nature word in the title
The creators said you could use pretty much anything for the nature word so I’ve gone for Other Words for Smoke, smoke being my nature word because this gorgeous book arrived yesterday and I am dying to read it.

book cover - 2019-03-21T124740.3463. Toad: Read a book with green on the cover.
Now this isn’t a fantasy book but I’ve really been enjoying dark mystery/thriller type books recently and I didn’t have that many books on my TBR with green on the cover so I’m going for All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehforth. The cover shown here isn’t very green but the ARC is!
grhwoigw4. Fate: Read a book set in the past.
For this I’m going for Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. I’ve heard some really terrific things about this book and I’m really excited to dive in.

book cover - 2019-03-01T142202.5255. Bewilder: Read a book with a plot twist
For this I’m going for The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman because even from the synopsis I’m getting witchy, twisty vibes. It’s one of my most anticipated releases so I hope it lives up to the hype!
book cover (85)Journey: Read a book over 500 pages.
This also isn’t a fantasy book but I don’t know if I’d make it through a really hefty fantasy book over 500 pages in time for the readathon. I’ve seen some rave reviews for Night Film by Marisha Peshl so I think it’ll be the perfect gripping read to keep me going.
book cover - 2019-03-11T210836.240Powder: Read a book by the fireside.
I don’t have a fire but the creators said you can use candles or a fire on Youtube or something to create the same effect. I’m at a bit of a loss for which book to go for for this one – I have two I’m really excited to read – The Graces by Laure Eve or Step Sister by Jennifer Donnelly. They sound brilliant so if anyone has any thoughts definitely let me know which one to read!

So that’s my TBR for Adventure-A-Thon. If you’re participating definitely let me know what’s on your TBR and if you’ve read any of these which ones I should start with!

Do Your Bookshelves Spark Joy?

Do Your Bookshelves Spark Joy?

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So I know I’m a little late to the party but I finally watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I saw a lot of discussion about this show on Twitter, particularly people not agreeing with the idea of getting rid of books that don’t ‘spark joy’.

I am a complete and utter book hoarder. I love wandering through bookshops and I adore second hand book shops and charity shops. I currently have six full length book shelves that are bursting at the seams with easily 1300/1400 books. (There’s also quite a few stacks in the spare bedroom). I am also known to buy special editions of books I already own and if a publisher kindly sent me an ARC I often go out and purchase a finished copy too.

So sitting down to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo I was very much in the ‘you should keep your books forever’ category. I watched a few episodes and it really did get me thinking.  My house has kind of been taken over by books and I don’t often see my favourites sitting on the shelf because they are jammed in by so many others, I started to wonder if I’d be able to part with some of them and if I could rid myself of a bit of clutter.

Completely shocking to my boyfriend and all my friends, taking them all off the shelf and looking through them actually worked. I found books I read for University that I know I won’t read again, books I didn’t even like and books that I did enjoy but I know I’m going to pick up again – so why am I holding onto them?

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Now I’m not saying I got rid of all of my books. I still am very much in the hoarder section but I did manage to take 348 books off my shelves! It meant all the stacks on the floor are now actually on shelves and I can see my favourites as well as all the books I’ve still got to read – some that I was really excited for that then got lost in the abyss.

After decluttering my shelves I also made a catalogue of all my books (which currently sits at 960 books), meaning I could much better keep track of how many I had and how many I have to read.

My shelves definitely look so much better and it’s so much easier to find things, so if you’re skeptical about the Marie Kondo method I absolutely recommend giving it a go. I never thought in a million years I would be the person passing 300+ books to my local charity shop! I’m probably still going to buy tons of books but hopefully now I can periodically remove the ones I’ll never read again or have lost interest in and someone else can love them instead.

If you do regular book unhauls or you’ve tried the Marie Kondo Method definitely let me know how you got on or what your secrets are for keeping your shelves in order!

Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-17T225425.252.png
Release Date:
March 9th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2..5/5

Synopsis

A beautifully written coming-of-age novel from an acclaimed literary voice.

A lost boy. A dead girl, and one who is left behind.

Robbie doesn’t want anything more to do with death, but life in a village full of whispers and secrets can’t make things the way they were.

When the white hare appears, magical and fleet in the silvery moonlight, she leads them all into a legend, a chase, a hunt. But who is the hunter and who the hunted?

In The White Hare, Michael Fishwick deftly mingles a coming-of-age story with mystery, myth and summer hauntings.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-17T225218.697This book is a quick and interesting read that touches on that difficult topic of grief. The book follows Robbie, a young boy who’s dealing with the death of his mother and the remarriage of his father. The book is a short one – under two hundred pages and most likely you’ll get caught in this fascinating story and read it in one sitting.

The White Hare is a bit of a strange book, it is at times eerie, and I wasn’t always 100% sure what was going on, or where the plot was heading. I enjoyed the mixture of folklore, magic and realism, but I did feel like the ending left me with quite a few questions. That being said, it is a lovely read, watching the characters grow as they deal with the grief of losing their loved ones – Robbie’s friend Mags is dealing with a death also.

I really liked the characters in The White Hare – Robbie who acts out because he misses his mum, best friend Mags who knows more than anyone else about the white hare myth, and Robbie’s dad who’s just trying to do his best. They are very realistic characters, each trying to deal with their grief in the best way they know how.

I loved the idea of the white hare legend – which I won’t say too much about so as not to spoil the story – but I would have loved to know more about this myth and where it all started. I thought The White Hare had a really nice satisfactory ending, and overall the book is a good read. If you’re stuck in doors on a wintery Sunday this month, The White Hare is that perfect magical and heartwarming read to get caught up in.
3 stars

February Wrap Up!

February Wrap Up!

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February was a great month and I managed to read fifteen books despite it being the shortest month of the year. It was a pretty mixed lot with some books I really loved and a few I was more than a little disappointed by. I’m not going to go too much into them because there’s quite a few books to get through!

book cover - 2019-03-17T114531.3091. The Calling – Cate Tiernan
This is the seventh book in the Sweep/Wicca series and I’ve been having such a good time revisiting this series. I’m so pleased that I still love them as much as I did when I read them the first time. It’s such a fun and addictive series and I really enjoyed this instalment as Morgan and the gang travel to New York and unravel secrets from her past. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T114313.4972. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a series I haven’t revisited since I first read it as a teenager so I thought it might be fun to listen to the audiobook version. After struggling with the narrator in the edition I was listening to I found another on Scribd and I really enjoyed it. It was great to revisit a book I really loved and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. (4/5 stars)

vassa3. Vassa In the Night – Sarah Porter
This was a fairyloot book quite a long time ago and I recently heard someone talk about it because it’s a reimagining of the story of Baba Yaga. I love the cover design and thought it would be a great atmospheric read but it really wasn’t for me. I struggled with the writing style, I didn’t like the characters and I found the plot a bit chaotic. (2/5 stars)

4. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestonebook cover (39)
Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom is the first in an all new fantasy series in which the magic system is made up through scent. It was a brilliant read and one of my favourites of the month. It ended on such a cliff hanger and I’m dying to read book two. You can check out my review here, and my guest post from P. M. Freestone here! (5/5 stars)

book cover25. The Familiars – Stacy Halls
I love historical fiction that focuses on witches and I ended up completely devouring this book in one day. It was a dark and beautiful told story based on real events in history. It’s a book I still think about even though I finished it a while ago. I ranted a bit about how much I enjoyed this book here, so you can check that out if you want to know more. (4.5/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113810.1376. Queenie – Alice Munro
This was a short piece of fiction about a young girl who goes to stay with her sister that ran away with their neighbour. It really delves into the relationship between Queenie and her husband and was quite an emotional and powerful read. It’s a really quick read and it’s definitely one that makes you think about the nature of relationships.(3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113823.2377. And Of Clay We Created – Isabelle Allende
This was another piece of short fiction based on the real events of a volcanic eruption that happened in Columbia in 1985. 23,000 people died and the story follows the media outpouring about a little girl trapped in a mudslide caused by the eruption. It’s a very heart wrenching piece and it really made me think. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sand8. Blood and Sand – C. V. Wyk
This was another book that I got in a subscription box and was really intrigued about this gender bent re-imagining of Spartacus.  I found this book quite difficult to rate because I wanted to love it, I loved the idea and I enjoyed the plot but it was much more romance focused than I had hoped it would be. I wanted Attia to spend more time reclaiming her home than developing her romance with Xanthus. I still want to continue the series but I was a little disappointed overall. (3.5/5 stars)

9. The Last – Hanna Jamesonbook cover (38)
This was a fascinating look at a world in which nuclear bombs have caused the end of the world, but what happens when a group of people staying in a hotel survive? It was quite slow paced and definitely more of a character driven book but it was a really fresh perspective on this type of tale. (4/5 stars)

bosdfsr10. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
This YA debut is a beautiful story about grief, loss and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. It was set in a remote boarding school in the snowy Swiss alps and I fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. If you’re looking for a gripping and moving tale this is definitely one to try. You check out my full review here! (4.5/5 stars)

12. Master of Sorrows – Justin Callmos
This is the first in an all new fantasy series that I completely fell in love with. It has so many things that I love, the magical academy trope plenty of action and adventure and it was just such an exciting read. This is a series I will definitely be continuing. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here! (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (40)13. The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano
Quite a long time ago I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano and I loved it. The Glass Spare has been on my TBR for quite a long time so I finally decided to pick it up and I did have quite high expectations because I loved her previous series. I struggled a little with this one because I found the pacing a bit off and it felt a little repetitive. I did still enjoy it and will look to read the next book in the series, but it won’t be a priority. (3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.47714. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
Thrillers are something that I don’t read an awful lot of but have found myself rather enjoying them recently. I read One Of Us Is Lying last year and did quite enjoy it so I decided to pick Two Can Keep A Secret up. While I did really enjoy this it didn’t really feel like anything new (in fact it reminded me quite a lot of the TV series Riverdale), but if you like twisty and fun thrillers this is definitely one to pick up. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113618.75215. Rogue Protocol – Martha Wells
This is the third instalment in The Murderbot Diaries series. These novellas are fun and fast reads, following the adventures of Murderbot as he tries to uncover mysteries and not get caught in the process. I’ve had mixed feelings about this series because some of the books have been a little slow but overall I really enjoyed this third instalment. (3/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in February! Let me know some of the books you read in February below!

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

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Release Date:
19th October 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-14T052617.195I was so excited to read this little beauty because I loved The Gospel of Loki and have always wanted to read more of Joanne Harris’s books. The story follows a young woman who lives in the woods, She has magical powers which she loses when she falls in love with a local lord’s son. Based on The Child Ballads, this book is beautifully written in a lyrical and poetic style.

The book is a short one and can probably be read in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down, The story is fairy tale like in nature, but in many ways more dark and twisted. The story is full to the brim with magic and folklore, and makes for a breath taking read. The story is told in the space of a year, encompassing birth and death, love and revenge. It might only be a couple of hundred pages long but it contains a lot within those beautiful pages. I’d love to see Joanne Harris write more of these beautiful stories.

If you’ve read any of her other books, you are bound to love A Pocketful of Crows. The book is also beautifully designed, which made me fall in love with it even more. If you’re looking for a book that will capture your imagination and leave you wanting more, A Pocketful of Crows is definitely the book you need.
4 stars

What’s On My Netgalley Shelf?

What’s On My Netgalley Shelf?

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Welcome to a new feature on The Bibliophile Chronicles! One of my reading goals for 2018 was to try and get my Netgalley ratio in a better state as currently I’m not anywhere near the recommended 80%. I struggle with ebooks as I sometimes get migraines when reading from screens but that doesn’t stop me from seeing books I’m dying to review and requesting them.

I thought I could do a feature every few months about what’s on my Netgalley shelf and hopefully hold myself accountable a bit more. My current feedback ratio is 48% so the next instalment of this feature should be an improvement on that. I’m just going to mention some of the books on my shelf and if anyone has read any of them definitely let me know what you thought so I can get reading them!

Current Stats:
Feedback Ratio – 48% 
Approved – 90
Feedback Sent – 41
To Read – 43

1. Ash Princess & Lady Smoke – Laura Sebastian
Yes I have requested both Ash Princess and Lady Smoke and I haven’t gotten around to either of them yet. I even now have a physical copy of Ash Princess and still haven’t read it yet so please if you’ve read it let me know if I should make this a priority!

book cover - 2019-03-11T210645.722Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

2. Last Bus To Everland – Sophie Cameron
I read Sophie Cameron’s Out of the Blue and gave it five stars so when this popped up I immediately requested a copy. If it’s anything like her first book I know I’m going to love it.

book cover - 2019-03-11T210746.085Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia” that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.

Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again. 

3. Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly
I absolutely love retellings so this really drew my attention. It also has such a stunning cover!

book cover - 2019-03-11T210836.240Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Evoking the darker, older versions of the Cinderella story, bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly shows us that ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and uses her trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption, and a new definition of beauty.

4. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This was getting lots of attention on Twitter and I love books with culty/witchy vibes so I was really excited to read this but I just haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

5. Dracul – Darce Stoker and J. D. Barker
Dracula is one of my all time favourite books so anything relating to Bram Stoker’s classic is pretty much a must read for me. I was really fascinated with the idea of this book but haven’t really heard much about it so far.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211247.937Dracul reveals not only the true origins of Dracula himself, but also of his creator, Bram Stoker . . . and of the elusive, enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey’s tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. He is armed with mirrors and crucifixes and holy water and a gun – and is kept company by a bottle of plum brandy. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night – a night that will prove to be the longest of his life.

Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point – and tells an extraordinary tale of childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.

So those are some of the books currently on my Netgalley shelf. Let me know which ones I should be getting to and what your Netgalley feedback ratio is like!