Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

Book Review: The Last Wish – Andzej Sapkowski

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Series:
The Witcher 0.5
Release Date: January 31st 1993
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 360
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was gifted a copy of this for my birthday a few years ago
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Geralt of Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin. And a cold-blooded killer. His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world. But not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good… and in every fairy tale there is a grain of truth.

A collection of short stories introducing Geralt of Rivia, to be followed by the first novel in the actual series, The Blood of Elves. Note that, while The Last Wish was published after The Sword of Destiny, the stories contained in The Last Wish take place first chronologically, and many of the individual stories were published before The Sword of Destiny.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-20T172205.612I must admit I was really intrigued about reading The Witcher series, I had played a little bit of the game and the books sounded like something I would totally love so when I got a copy of The Last Wish for my birthday I was super excited to read it. And then of course it lay on my bookshelf for ages, I got distracted and never picked it up. Fast forward to now with all the buzz around the television show and I figured before I dive into the Netflix adaptation, I might just give the first book a go. I’m so completely annoyed at myself for having waited so long to pick these books up, I absolutely loved The Last Wish and I’ve already ordered a copy of Blood of Elves, this is everything you could want from an epic fantasy series.

The Last Wish is actually book 0.5 in The Witcher series and is a collection of short stories introducing the infamous Geralt of Rivia. Each story heralds one of Geralt’s adventures, and gives you a glimpse at his powers and skill as a witcher. He’s a fascinating character and I loved getting to know him and the world that Sapkowski has built. Full to the brim with evil monsters and fascinating creatures, I got completely swept up in these stories. If I can find myself completely hooked after reading a few short chapters of a short story, I can’t wait to read the full length novels.

Geralt is supported by a whole host of brilliant secondary characters – my favourites were Dandelion and Yennifer. Yennifer is definitely someone I want to learn more about and I’m hoping to see more from her in future books. All of the characters felt well fleshed out and the world building was executed incredibly well. I loved the unique and exciting world that Sapkowski and the stories are definitely fast paced and full of action. I’m so pleased I finally decided to pick this one up, because I’m desperate to read the next one. If you’ve played the game or watched the Neflix adaptation I’d definitely recommend picking up the source material – you absolutely won’t regret it. These short stories will leave you hungry for more but at least there’s plenty of books in the series to keep you going.
5 stars

Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

Blog Tour: All the Rage – Cara Hunter

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Series:
DI Adam Fawley #4
Release Date: January 23rd 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A teenage girl is found wandering the outskirts of Oxford, dazed and distressed. The story she tells is terrifying. Grabbed off the street, a plastic bag pulled over her face, then driven to an isolated location where she was subjected to what sounds like an assault. Yet she refuses to press charges.

DI Fawley investigates, but there’s little he can do without the girl’s co-operation. Is she hiding something, and if so, what? And why does Fawley keep getting the feeling he’s seen a case like this before?

And then another girl disappears, and Adam no longer has a choice: he has to face up to his past. Because unless he does, this victim may not be coming back . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203203.131When a young girl is abducted off the street, DI Adam Fawley and his team jump to investigate this horrific incident. The young girl refuses to press charges and doesn’t want to talk to the police. The team get the feeling she’s hiding something – but what could it be? Another girl goes missing and suddenly a case from Fawley’s past is back to haunt him – but could the two be linked and will they find the missing girl before it’s too late?

This is the fourth book in Cara Hunter’s hugely popular DI Fawley series. I’m actually completely new to this series, I haven’t read the other instalments. I was completely hooked on this story and am definitely going back to read books 1-3 but All the Rage can easily be read as a stand alone, and you can easily dive into the books now and go back and read the others without getting lost in the story.

Cara Hunter’s writing style is so addictive and easy to fall into, I got absorbed in this tale so quickly. I loved the mix of formats in the story, there’s tweets, court reports, maps and interview transcripts that are all added in to bring the story to life. It really added another layer to the plot and make me want to turn the pages faster and faster. I also really grew to love the characters in this story – the team are a really interesting mix and I loved that the story gave you the opportunity to see not only their police work and how they cope on the job but also peaks into their home lives.

All the Rage isn’t a small book but I ended up reading it nearly over the course of a single day because I honestly just couldn’t put the book down. The story is a fast paced one and there’s plenty going on in this cleverly executed plot. Hunter has weaved a complex tale with quite a few things going on under the surface. The book also touches on a whole range of subjects from hate crime, revenge, grief, relationships and a whole lot of things in between. All the topics are handled well in Hunter’s writing and the story has so many clever twists and turns that you absolutely will not see coming.

If you’re a fan of fast paced police procedurals with brilliant characters, an unforgettable story and plenty of shock twists, All the Rage should definitely be the next book you pick up.
5 stars
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Waiting on Wednesday: The Deep – Alma Katsu

Waiting on Wednesday: The Deep – Alma Katsu

Synopsis

Someone, or something, is haunting the Titanic.

This is the only way to explain the series of misfortunes that have plagued the passengers of the ship from the moment they set sail: mysterious disappearances, sudden deaths. Now suspended in an eerie, unsettling twilight zone during the four days of the liner’s illustrious maiden voyage, a number of the passengers – including millionaires Madeleine Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, the maid Annie Hebbley and Mark Fletcher – are convinced that something sinister is going on . . . And then, as the world knows, disaster strikes.

Years later and the world is at war. And a survivor of that fateful night, Annie, is working as a nurse on the sixth voyage of the Titanic’s sister ship, the Britannic, now refitted as a hospital ship. Plagued by the demons of her doomed first and near fatal journey across the Atlantic, Annie comes across an unconscious soldier she recognises while doing her rounds. It is the young man Mark. And she is convinced that he did not – could not – have survived the sinking of the Titanic . . .

Brilliantly combining fact and fiction, the historical and the horrific, The Deep reveals a chilling truth in an unputdownable narrative full of unnerving moments and with a growing, inexorable sense of foreboding.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-15T230757.374I am so excited for this book. Growing up I was obsessed with the movie Titanic and I find the history absolutely fascinating so when I heard Alma Katsu was bringing out a book based on the infamous voyage I was so intrigued. On finding out it was a mixture of historical fiction and horror it pretty much jumped to the top of my want to read list. It sounds like such a fascinating twist on the well known story and I’m already completely in love with the cover. I haven’t read anything by Alma Katsu before but I’ve heard amazing things about her previous novels and I have no doubts this is going to be an addictive read. I’m hoping it has a really strong sense of atmosphere and I’m definitely predicting a five star read. The Deep is publishing March 10th 2020 from Transworld Books.

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

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Release Date:
November 1st 2019
Publisher: Write Plan
Pages: 314
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.  Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-14T223454.977As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was dying to know more. The concept really intrigued me – a world where the majority of the population have altered their DNA? It was such a fascinating idea. When I picked up the book I completely fell in love with this world and these characters, a unique and engaging tale, one that is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.

The story follows Silver Melody, a young girl living in a dystopian future where the majority of people have taken nanite pills to alter their DNA. Silver’s parents are the inventors of these pills and after some people die from taking them Silver’s mother refuses to make them and is taken as a political prisoner. When President Bear announces that all unadjusteds are now required to take nanite pills, Silver knows she has to flee, but with a price on her head and hellhounds closing in on her – will she survive?

The Unadjusteds throws you in right in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop till the very end of the book. It’s a fast paced read and as the tension mounted I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next. The ending was a bit of a surprise but the cliffhanger has definitely made me hopeful that their might be a sequel in the works.

The world is really fascinating in The Unadjusteds and I loved seeing all the genetic modifications. Fairy wings, impenetrable skin, invisibility and everything in between. I also really liked the mix of politics and action, it added another layer to this cleverly executed story. It also really delves into the themes of technology and greed – with nanite pills curing so many known diseases, humanity takes it one step further by beginning to alter their DNA – but at what cost?

Silver is a really interesting main character, she’s strong willed, determined to succeed and sticks by her beliefs to remain unadjusted. I really liked her as a protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her character develop as she tries to survive. There is also quite an interesting love triangle in the story, it’s a nice addition to the story without taking away from the main plot. It was fascinating to watch Silver attempt to understand her feelings on top of everything else that’s going on. She’s certainly a powerful main character, and one I was rooting for the whole way.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fresh take on the dystopian novel, The Unadjusteds should definitely be your next read. A compulsively readable book that will definitely leave you wanting more from this world.
4 stars

Backlist Bookathon TBR!

Backlist Bookathon TBR!

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I saw this readathon pop up on Twitter and thought it sounded like a really fun way to really kick off my reading for 2020. The readathon is lasting a month, starting on the 15th of January. I’m trying to do this as well as read all the books on my January TBR, so I’m not sure I’ll hit all the prompts, but I’m going to try my best. If you want to find out more about the readathon, you can check out the Twitter here!

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Read a title published before January 2020

I got The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware for Christmas and I’m dying to read it so figure this would be the perfect opportunity.

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Read an older anticipated release 

Bloodchild by Anna Stephens was pretty much my most anticipated sequel of 2019 and I have no idea why I haven’t picked it up yet. Definitely a high priority.

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Read a book that’s been on your TBR at least six months
Finale by Stephanie Garber has been on my TBR for ages and I still haven’t gotten around to it yet so I would definitely love to get to this one.

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Read a book you have been avoiding because it’s an older backlist title
I’m not avoiding it but I couldn’t think of a book I was avoiding. Stormtide is a book I really want to get to so thought I would pop it in here.

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Read, reread or completely unhaul a book you’re still not sure you want on your shelf

For this I’m going for Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh – I’ve heard kind of mixed things and I’m not sure if I’ll like this one so I’d love to get to it and know for sure.

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Read a book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t gotten around to for some reason – no excuses this time!

Crowfall by Ed McDonald was one of my high priority reads for 2019 that I didn’t get to – definitely looking to remedy that as soon as possible.

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Read the book that’s been on your TBR the longest

Truthwitch probably hasn’t been on my TBR the longest but it has been on there quite a while and I would love to get started on this series because it sounds amazing.

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Read a book you’ve been avoiding that intimidates you

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I loved The Handmaid’s Tale so so much and I’ve sort of been putting this off in case I don’t like it, because honestly I think it will break my heart if I don’t.

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Re
ad a book you’ve been avoiding because of mixed/bad reviews

These Rebel Waves by Sarah Raasch. I’ve heard mixed things, some saying it’s not quite what it makes itself out to be. I’ve never read anything by this author so I’d be interested to finally get around to this one.

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Read a book that was a gift or recommendation you’re not sure you’ll like

I was gifted a copy of The Family Upstairs and I’m not massively into crime fiction so I’m not sure if this will be for me but I’m excited to give it a go!

So those are the books I would love to get to for Backlist Bookathon. If you’re participating I’d love to see your TBR, and if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought. 

2019 Reading Survey!

2019 Reading Survey!

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This was a really fun survey I did in 2018 so I thought I would bring it back again for 2019. I originally got this from the lovely TV Addicted Bookworm!

Number of books read: 108
Number of rereads: 7
Pages Read: 33, 990
Genre you read most: Fantasy


Copy of book cover (40)1. Best book you read in 2019?

This is definitely the worst question, there are so many books that I really truly adored so I find it difficult to pick just one, but one of the read stand outs for me was Sanctuary by V. V. James. It was a brilliant story and I can’t wait to reread it.

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-12T155755.8442. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
I must admit to being a little disappointed in From the Earth to the Shadows by Amanda Hocking. I totally loved the first book in the duology and gave it five stars, but this ended up only being a 3 star read.

Copy of book cover (59)3. Most surprising book you read (in a good or bad way)?
This has to be Daisy Jones and the Six. It’s definitely not the kind of book I would normally pick up it was an amazing read and I’m so keen to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo now.

Copy of book cover (56)4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?
It would probably have to be Night Film by Marisha Pessl. That book completely blew me away and I’ve recommended it to so many people. It has something for everyone and it was just such a clever story.

Copy of book cover (27)5. Best series you started in 2019?
An Illusion of Thieves is probably one of my favourites. I got completely swept up in the world and I’m dying to read more of the series. Book two comes out in a few weeks and it’s number one on my priority list.

Copy of book cover (12)6. Best Sequel?
For me the best sequel has to be Limited Wish by Mark Lawrence. I totally adored book one and didn’t see how he could possibly top it, but Limited Wish was a terrific read from start to end. I just have to get cracking on Dispel Illusion now!

Copy of book cover (90)7. Best Series Ender?
I once again didn’t manage to finish that many series in 2019 (one of my goals for 2020 is to get reading those final books), but I really loved The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. I thought it was great end to the series and definitely lived up to the hype.

book cover (98)8. Favourite new author you discovered in 2019?
I think it would have to be M.W. Craven. I read both The Puppet Show and Black Summer last year and I’m definitely going to be picking up more of his books in the future because they are definitely some of my new favourite crime reads.

wicked saints9. Favourite cover of 2019?
I am completely obsessed with the cover for Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I adored the story within too but I really thought the cover was stunning.

book cover (41)10. A book you can’t believe it took you so long to pick up?
This has to be The Poppy War. It’s been sitting on my shelf since it was first released and I never bothered picking it up. I decided on a whim to give it a go and devoured it in a few days and it was an instant five star read, only wish I’d picked it up sooner.

Copy of book cover (6)11. Which book made you cry in 2019?
As Far as the Stars by Virginia Macgregor. It was such a heartbreaking and beautifully told story.

book cover (45)12. Most action packed/unputdownable book you read in 2019?
I found Aurora Rising really action packed and difficult to put down. It was such a great adventure story and I’m dying to know what happens next.

Copy of book cover (80)13. Book you read in 2019 you’re likely to re-read in 2020?
I read Ninth House and loved it but it was quite a complex tale so I think I might have to reread it before the next instalment comes out so I can remember everything.

Copy of book cover (30)14. Best book from outside your comfort zone?
I really enjoyed Aphrodite Made Me Do It. It’s a poetry collection and not something I would typically pick up but I found it a really beautiful and inspiring read.

Copy of book cover (56)15. Shortest and longest book you read in 2018?
Shortest book was Quick by Mark Lawrence (a short story at 12 pages) and longest was Night Film by Marisha Pessl at 624 pages.

book cover116. Book that shocked you most?
The Silent Treatment by Alex Michaelides, it has a shock twist you will never in a million years see coming.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.25017. Best debut you read?
Without a doubt The Furies by Katie Lowe. This has become one of my favourite books of all time and it was such a compelling story.

book cover (39)18. Most vivid world building/setting?
I loved the world in Shadowscent: Darkest Bloom, it had such a unique and interesting magic system.

Copy of book cover (58)19. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
The Princess and the Fangirl. It was so nice to see the characters from Geekarella again, the romance was SO CUTE and I loved all the geeky/fandom references.

book cover (49)20. One book you didn’t get to in 2019 that is first priority in 2020?
I really need to get to Finale by Stephanie Garber, honestly can’t believe I haven’t read it yet.

21. One thing you hope to accomplish in 2020?
I want to work on using Instagram more, I would love to read more books and also get better at scheduling posts in advance.

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22. A 2020 release you’ve read already and recommend?
The God Game by Danny Tobey. A dark and sinister mystery about a group of kids who start playing a game that can kill you. It’s like an episode of Black Mirror and complete unputdownable.

 

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Release Date:
September 19th 2019
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this book in Waterstones
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Review

book cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932When I first heard that Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s YA debut would be based on the Brides of Dracula I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Dracula and all things related, and his brides are characters are definitely characters I would love to see more of. The story follows twin sisters Lil and Kizzy as their lives are ripped away from them and they become slaves of the vicious Boyar Valcar. As the harsh reality of their new life sets in they hear about the infamous Dragon, a bloodthirsty ruler who takes girls as gifts. When Kizzy is taken to the Dragon, Lil along with the help of her new friend Mira, must fight to save her sister.

The Deathless Girls is a really beautiful and engaging take on the Brides of Dracula. It’s a compelling tale and I found it so easy to fall into this story of evil rulers and bloodthirsty monsters. I had sort of expected this story to be about the lives of the vampires, but instead it is focused on the story that leads to them becoming the deathless girls. It wasn’t quite what I had thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hargrave’s writing is incredibly beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read previously – The Deathless Girls is no exception. It’s a cleverly plotted tale and I really liked going on this adventure with the characters. I similarly thought the characters were really interesting and complex – Kizzy is the beautiful one is often in the limelight, with Lil being in her shadow. I liked seeing the dynamics between the two sisters and watching them grow as characters as they race to the Dragon’s castle.

I’m not particularly a big romance person but I really enjoyed the romance in this story. I thought it was really well executed – the tentative, nervous beginning of the relationship to something much stronger. The Deathless Girls has some dark themes and also explores quite a wide range of topics. It’s a clever and intense story, one I think a lot of readers will really fall in love with. If you’ve read Hargrave’s other works too I think you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.
4 stars