Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets – Diana Urban

Book Review: All Your Twisted Secrets – Diana Urban

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Release Date:
March 17th 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill … or else everyone dies.

Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

Review

Copy of book cover (20)Debut YA thriller All Your Twisted Secrets is a story that follows five teenagers who have been awarded scholarships for college. Invited to a celebratory dinner, the group find themselves locked in the restaurant where they discover a bomb and a syringe full of poison. The only note tells them they must pick someone to poison, or they will all die when the bomb goes off. The question is who do the choose, and who put locked them in in the first place?

I really wanted to love this book. I thought it would be another One Of Us Is Lying, it sounded exactly like the kind of thing I would enjoy. However this one just fell a bit flat for me. For me it was just a bit too unrealistic, and the reveal at the end just didn’t work for me at all. The plot jumps around a lot between the current situation and the past and while I enjoyed seeing the secrets unravel and the characters trying to figure out which person to kill, it wound up feeling a bit on the repetitive side. I had expected a bit more tension, to be on the edge of my seat but the story just didn’t click for me in that way.

I liked the characters well enough, our main protagonist Amber is interesting but aside from them fulfilling their roles of ‘queen bee’ ‘athlete’ ‘band geek’ ‘stoner’ and ‘valedictorian’ there wasn’t all that much too them. I would have loved the chance to get to know the characters a bit better and then perhaps that would have made me more invested in the overall story.

That being said, Urban does have a really nice writing style and it was easy to keep turning the pages. I thought this book had a really fascinating premise and if you’re a fan of YA thrillers this could be one you’ll really love – it’s a fast paced read and has an ending you probably won’t see coming.
2 Stars

Blog Tour: The Girl From Widow Hills – Megan Miranda

Blog Tour: The Girl From Widow Hills – Megan Miranda

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Release Date:
July 2nd 2020
Publisher: Corvus
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: I kindly received a copy of this book from the publisher via Random Things Tours
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows the story of “the girl from Widow Hills.”

Arden Maynor was just a child when she was swept away while sleepwalking during a terrifying rainstorm and went missing for days. Strangers and friends, neighbors and rescue workers, set up search parties and held vigils, praying for her safe return. Against all odds, she was found, alive, clinging to a storm drain. The girl from Widow Hills was a living miracle. Arden’s mother wrote a book. Fame followed. Fans and fan letters, creeps, and stalkers. And every year, the anniversary. It all became too much. As soon as she was old enough, Arden changed her name and disappeared from the public eye.

Now a young woman living hundreds of miles away, Arden goes by Olivia. She’s managed to stay off the radar for the last few years. But with the twentieth anniversary of her rescue approaching, the media will inevitably renew its interest in Arden. Where is she now? Soon Olivia feels like she’s being watched and begins sleepwalking again, like she did long ago, even waking outside her home. Until late one night she jolts awake in her yard. At her feet is the corpse of a man she knows—from her previous life, as Arden Maynor.

And now, the girl from Widow Hills is about to become the center of the story, once again, in this propulsive page-turner from suspense master Megan Miranda.

Review

Copy of book cover (38)The Girl From Widow Hills is the latest dark and enticing thriller from Megan Miranda, author of All the Missing Girls. The story follows Olivia Meyer, a young woman who has ran way from her past as Arden Maynor –  the girl who was swept away during a storm and survived three days in a storm drain. Haunted by her past Olivia does everything she can to forget about it. But when the body of a man from her past winds up in her yard, she knows things will not stay secret for long.

The Girl From Widow Hills is a fast paced and gripping psychological thriller, and one that grips you right from the outset. Miranda weaves a clever tale, getting the reader to root for Olivia whilst simultaneous also question if she killed the man in her yard. The story is peppered with transcripts from news reports at the time of her disappearance as a child, something that I found really interesting that also lent an air of authenticity to the story.

The story in this book unravels slowly, and has plenty of twists and turns. The ending was absolutely not what I saw coming and I ended up reading the last chunk of the book in one sitting. There are a number of really fascinating characters, and I really liked our main protagonist Olivia. She’s determined to escape her past, but her sleep walking and lack of memories surrounding the events in her childhood also give her an unreliable narrator feel.

The Girl From Widow Hills is a suspenseful mystery with a tense atmosphere that builds and builds towards the final reveal. If you’re a fan of gripping psychological thrillers this is definitely one to get reading.
4 Stars

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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

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It’s time for the Mid Year Book Freak Out tag! This is one of my favourite tags to do every year and I got all the prompts from Cait at Paper Fury. You can check out her post here!
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1. How much have you read?

So far I’ve read eighty books in 2020. I normally set my Goodreads challenge at 100 books, but I’ve actually upped it to 150 and I’m currently six books ahead of schedule. I think this is in part due to lockdown happening and everywhere being closed – I’m finally making my way though that TBR!

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2. What have you been reading?
It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the majority of the books I’ve read so far in 2020 have been fantasy. I’ve added in a pie chart from my blogger spreadsheet which shows the genres I’ve been reading!

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3. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

I hate this question every year because it’s so hard to pick just one. I’ve narrowed it down to two: Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury and The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood.

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4. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

This is an even harder question for me because I’ve read some really incredible sequels. My favourites have been Bloodchild by Anna Stephens, Aurora Burning by Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff and King of Fools by Amanda Foody.

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5. New release you’ve haven’t read yet but want to?

There are so many! I’ve bought copies of The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence and Ruthless Gods by Emily A Duncan and I haven’t gotten to them yet so I think they’ll be a priority for the rest of the year.

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6. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

I recently did a post about my most anticipated releases, you can take a peek here! My most anticipated has got to be V E Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

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7. Biggest disappointment?

For me it was definitely The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. I dropped everything to read this as soon as it was released but it just wasn’t for me. I really disliked Snow and just didn’t click with the story at all.

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8. Biggest surprise?

I think the biggest surprise for me was Viper by Bex Hogan. I was expecting to really enjoy it but I wasn’t expecting to absolutely love it. I’ve ordered a copy of Venom and it’s definitely one of the first books I’m reading in July!

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9. New favourite author (debut or new to you)?

I think this would probably be Seanan McGuire. I had never read any of her books before this year but I’ve devoured all the books in the Wayward Children series and pretty much all of them have been four or five stars.

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10. Underrated gem you’ve discovered recently?
I recently plucked The Falconer by Elizabeth May off my TBR at random and I absolutely loved it. It’s steampunk, with a badass main character who fights vicious fae in Victorian Edinburgh. It was a brilliant read and I definitely think it’s underrated.

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11. Rereads this year?

So far I’ve reread Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Shade’s Children by Garth Nix and the first two books in Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

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12. Book that made you cry?

So far I don’t think any book has made me cry. I haven’t read many contemporaries this year so maybe that’s why I haven’t read any tearjerkers. I did feel quite emotional about the ending to Hold Back the Tide though.

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13. Book that made you happy?

This has got to be Bookish and the Beast. It’s just so geeky and so cute and the entire series makes me incredibly happy.

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14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received this year?

I am obsessed with the cover for The Mercies by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. It’s just so beautiful!

15. Goals for the rest of the year?
I would love to read 150 (or more books), I’m going to try and read more sequels as well as the books I listed in my ’20 books to read in 2020′ post. I’d also love to read all the books I’ve bought this year and stop my TBR growing too much, but that’s probably never going to happen.

 

Book Review: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

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Series:
Impossible Times (See reviews for One Word Kill & Limited Wish)
Release Date: November 14th 2019
Publisher: 47 North
Pages: 234
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from Book Depository
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Sometimes being wrong is the right answer.

Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.

Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.

Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-16T162339.436Dispel Illusion is the third and final book in Mark Lawrence’s Impossible Times trilogy. In this stunning conclusion Lawrence drops us straight back into the action – and this time the stakes are even higher. As each year passes, Nick knows how things are going to end for him. If Mia’s accident occurs in 2011 he will have to return to the past – but that might not be his biggest problem.

I honestly loved this book. It’s a clever tale that’s incredibly well executed. The story comes full circle as Nick discovers time travel and does everything he can to save Mia. For such a small book there is a lot going on in this action packed tale and I ended up staying up way past my bedtime because I just had to keep reading. I won’t say too much more about the plot because it’s the third in a series but Dispel Illusion is intense, gripping and difficult to put down.

In Dispel Illusion we continue to follow the same characters as One Word Kill and Dispel Illusion. The reader grows quite attached to Nick and the gang over the course of the three books and it’s fascinating seeing how their lives turn out after school and University. They are a fun cast of characters and I loved seeing them still playing Dungeons and Dragons all those years later. The story contains quite a few time jumps allowing us the chance to see how things have changed for the gang throughout their lives.

The Impossible Times trilogy is a brilliant read, full of mind boggling time travel and action packed drama. It’s also a story about friendship and I’m sad to be saying goodbye to such a wonderful cast of characters. Lawrence brings the story to a perfect conclusion and solidifies this series as one of my favourites. I adored every book in this series, and can’t recommend it highly enough.
5 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday: The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker – Lauren James

Waiting on Wednesday: The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker – Lauren James

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Synopsis

“Congratulations, new kid. Welcome to the afterlife.”

What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.

Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover (56)Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday! This week I thought I would mention The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, a book that I’m really excited about. If that brilliant title and gorgeous cover aren’t enough to draw you in, the story is a paranormal tale about ghosts and the afterlife. Lauren James is an author I really like, with The Loneliest Girl of the Universe being an all time favourite. I enjoyed The Quiet at the End of the World a bit less, so I’m really intrigued by how this one will go. I do have a Netgalley ARC of this and I’m hoping to get to it really soon. It sounds like it’s going to be a really eerie and griping read and the synopsis for me is a bit reminiscent of V E Schwab’s City of Ghosts series, which I just love. I can’t wait to dive into this one and pick up a physical copy. The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker is publishing September 3rd from Walker Books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For the Second Half of 2020!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books For the Second Half of 2020!

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Today on Top Ten Tuesday we’re talking about anticipated releases for the rest of 2020! There are so many books coming out that I’m excited about and it was so difficult to whittle this down to just ten.

Copy of book cover (3)1. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V E Schwab
A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Copy of book cover (50)2. Nightfall – Den Patrick
The sky is filled with dragons: the people are ready to burn the regime to the ground.
The seas churn with monsters and the tide is changing: revolution is coming.
Steiner has at last realised the part he will play in this fight.
Kimi knows now what it is to lead, but must learn to overcome differences if she is to unite and defeat the dragon factions.
Silverdust inches towards a final revenge.
Across the ocean, Kjellrun feels the call of war. But she must reconcile her new responsibilities to the people of the temple with the urge to find her family.
Leaders, all – and all are desperate. For the Emperor will not give up easily. He will rule – and he cares not if his subjects are alive… or if they are dead.

Copy of book cover (55)3. Truel1f3 – Jay Kristoff
Best friends have become enemies. Lovers have become strangers. And deciding whose side you’re on could be the difference between life and death. For Eve and Lemon, discovering the truth about themselves–and each other–was too much for their friendship to take. But with the country on the brink of a new world war–this time between the BioMaas swarm at CityHive and Daedalus’s army at Megopolis, loyalties will be pushed to the brink, unlikely alliances will form and with them, betrayals. But the threat doesn’t stop there, because the lifelikes are determined to access the program that will set every robot free, a task requiring both Eve and Ana, the girl she was created to replace. In the end, violent clashes and heartbreaking choices reveal the true heroes . . . and they may not be who you think they are.

Copy of book cover (30)4. The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

Copy of book cover (54)5. The Notorious Virtues – Alwyn Hamilton
A glamorous media darling, a surprise heiress, and the magical competition of a lifetime.

At sixteen, Honora “Nora” Holtzfall is the daughter of the most powerful heiress in all of Walstad. Her family controls all the money–and all the magic–in the entire country. But despite being the center of attention, Nora has always felt like an outsider. When her mother is found dead in an alley, the family throne and fortune are suddenly up for grabs, and Nora will be pitted against her cousins in the Veritaz, the ultimate magical competition for power that determines the one family heir.

But there’s a surprise contestant this time: Lotte, the illegitimate daughter of Nora’s aunt. When Lotte’s absent mother retrieves her from the rural convent she’d abandoned her to, Lotte goes from being an orphan to surrounded by family. Unfortunately, most of them want her dead.

And soon, Nora discovers that her mother’s death wasn’t random–it was murder. And the only person she can trust to uncover the truth of what happened is a rakish young reporter who despises everything Nora and her family stand for.

With everyone against her, Lotte’s last hope is hunting for the identity of her father. But the dangerous competition–and her feelings for Theo, one of the Holtzfalls’ sworn protectors–turns her world upside down.

Incredible tests, impossible choices and deadly odds await both girls. But there can only be one winner.

Copy of book cover (12)6. Even If We Break – Marieke Nijkamp
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp comes a shocking new thriller about a group of friends tied together by a game and the deadly weekend that tears them apart.

FIVE friends go to a cabin.
FOUR of them are hiding secrets.
THREE years of history bind them.
TWO are doomed from the start.
ONE person wants to end this.
NO ONE IS SAFE.

Are you ready to play?

Copy of book cover (21)7. Harrow Lake – Kate Ellis
Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her. But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking Lola’s every move.

The more she discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her…

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-27T210138.9258. The Left Handed Booksellers of London – Garth Nix
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones). With the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), he belongs to an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelled surnames, a reading-room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own: to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, a right-handed bookseller named Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find their quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

Copy of book cover (53)9. To Sleep In A Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini
A brand new space opera on an epic scale from the New York Times bestselling author of a beloved YA fantasy series.

It was supposed to be a routine research mission on an uncolonized planet. But when xenobiologist Kira Navárez finds an alien relic beneath the surface of the world, the outcome transforms her forever and will alter the course of human history.

Her journey to discover the truth about the alien civilization will thrust her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact, epic space battles for the fate of humankind, and the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

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10. A Deadly Education – Naomi Novik

Learning has never been this deadly

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

So those are my top ten most anticipated releases for the rest of 2020! What books are you anticipating for the rest of the year?

Book Review: The Elite – Kiera Cass

Book Review: The Elite – Kiera Cass

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Series:
The Selection #2
Release Date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.Waterstones.
Source: I was gifted a box set of these books for Christmas
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

The Selection began with thirty-five girls. Now with the group narrowed down to the six Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart is fiercer than ever—and America is still struggling to decide where her heart truly lies. Is it with Maxon, who could make her life a fairy tale? Or with her first love, Aspen?

America is desperate for more time. But the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want—and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Review

Copy of book cover (52)The Elite is the second book in The Selection series, and picks up straight after the events of book one. We continue to follow America Singer as she participates in the competition to be the wife of Prince Maxon. As the number of girls competing whittles down the stakes become higher, but so do the secrets.

I must admit that I picked up the first book in the series because I’ve had it on my TBR forever and I heard that a Netflix adaptation is coming. I had a fun time reading The Selection and I felt very much the same about The Elite. It was light, fluffy and fun and it has really made me want to keep reading.

The story is quite dramatic and contains quite a number of cheesy tropes and cliches – the love triangle especially is kind of irritating, but the story is certainly entertaining and will keep you turning pages. If ever there was a series that was perfect for binge reading it would be this one. I won’t say too much about the plot because this is the second book in the series but there are plenty of ups and downs as well as some fighting with the rebels and some diplomacy with foreign nations.

We are still following the same characters as the previous book and it’s enjoyable getting to see them develop. I did sometimes struggle a little with main character America as I found her a bit on the annoying side, but otherwise the characters felt well developed.

The Selection series is a fun and fast paced read, perfect for reading at the beach. The writing is so easy to get absorbed in and if you loved book one, The Elite is definitely worth checking out.
3 Stars (1)

Blog Tour: Call Me Joe – Martin Van Es & Andrew Crofts

Blog Tour: Call Me Joe – Martin Van Es & Andrew Crofts

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Release Date:
June 4th 2020
Publisher: Red Door Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The world is on the brink of disaster.
The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide…

One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man – call him Joe – claiming to be the son of God.

Can Joe bring the world’s most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?

Can he convince us all to follow him before it’s too late?

In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

Review

Copy of book cover (5)Call Me Joe is the moving tale of a world that suddenly goes dark. With no light people begin to panic and question what is happening to the world. When the light returns so does a man who claims to be the son of god. Working with some of the best minds in the world can he tackle the greed and corruption that is destroying the world before it’s too late?

Call Me Joe is a powerful story with a well executed plot and brilliant writing. It was an easy story to sink into, and be gripped by the action. It’s a well paced story, and I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. I thought the premise was such a fascinating idea – what if Jesus returned today? How would people react? I’m not a religious person but I found this a really interesting subject. The story also tackles a number of prevalent issues in society from climate change to corrupt leadership.

One of the things I liked most about this book are the characters. We are treated to multiple points of view, which gives the reader an opportunity to see things from different perspectives. I really liked Sophie, she’s a school teacher and every day person and it was fascinating seeing her reactions to Joe, questioning his identity and watching as that relationship develops and changes. It’s a compelling read and one I did not want to put down.

Call Me Joe is an brilliantly thought-provoking read. It’s incredibly relevant to our time and a book you do not want to miss.
4 Stars
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Book Review: In Plain Sight – Marion Todd

Book Review: In Plain Sight – Marion Todd

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Series:
Detective Clare Mackay #2
Release Date: February 20th 2020
Publisher: Canelo
Pages: 311
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A child’s life is at stake. Which of the residents of St Andrews is hiding something – and why?

When a baby girl is snatched from the crowd of spectators at a fun run, the local police have a major investigation on their hands. DI Clare Mackay  and her team are in a race against the clock when they learn that the child has a potentially fatal medical condition.

As Clare investigates she realises this victim wasn’t selected at random. Someone knows who took the baby girl, and why. But will they reveal their secrets before it’s too late?

The second instalment from an exciting new Scottish detective series. Perfect for fans of Alex Gray, Rachel Amphlett and D. K. Hood. 

Review

Copy of book cover (21)In Plain Sight is the second instalment in the DI Clare Mackay series and this time around Clare and her team are called in after a child is snatched during a fun run. The child has a serious medical condition, and without her medication her life could be at stake. As the team investigates they learn it wasn’t just a random kidnapping, there is more going on beneath the surface. But will Clare and her team discover the truth before it’s too late?

Although this is the second book in the series this is my first time reading a DI Clare Mackay book. It can definitely be read as a standalone and I found this to be such a gripping read that I am definitely going to go back and pick up book one See Them Run. This police procedural is set in St Andrew’s in Scotland and having lived in Scotland all my life and visited St Andrew’s many times, it was fun seeing the city come to life within the pages.

Todd has a brilliant writing style and the book is well paced. I really liked our main protagonist Clare, who works hard to solve the crime as well as dealing with the politics and problems of life as a police officer. There are quite a few twists and turns in this story and I thought the ending was very well executed. As the deadline for finding the child gets closer and closer, I could feel the tension ramping up and I ended up reading the last half of the book in one sitting. In Plain Sight is certainly a page turner and it’s the perfect type of book to binge over a weekend. If you love enthralling police procedurals, I’d definitely recommend checking out this series.
4 Stars

Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

Book Review: Shade’s Children – Garth Nix

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Release Date:
March 2nd 1997
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 355
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I still have my childhood copy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the brutal world of Shade’s Children, your 14th birthday is your last. Malevolent Overlords rule the earth, directing hideous, humanoid creatures to harvest the brains and muscles of teens for use in engineering foul beasts to fight senseless wars. Young Gold-Eye escapes this horrific fate, fleeing the dormitories before his Sad Birthday. He is rescued from certain doom by other refugees who live in an abandoned submarine and work for Shade, a strange, computer-generated adult. Shade provides food and shelter in exchange for information that the children gather on dangerous forays into Overlord territory. But what does Shade really want? He is a sworn enemy of the Overlords, but his use of the children to gain knowledge and power seems uncaring and ruthless. Finally, Gold-Eye and his new friends set out to destroy the Overlords–with or without the enigmatic, dangerous Shade. Garth Nix, author of Sabriel, blends suspense, action, and high emotion in this excellent, fast-moving science-fiction story.

Review

Copy of book cover (22)Shade’s Children was a book I read and loved as a child and I thought it would be fun to revisit it as an adult. It was just as bleak and terrifying as it was all those years ago, and I absolutely loved rereading this childhood favourite.

Shade’s Children is set in a world in which everyone above the age of fourteen has disappeared. Now when you turn fourteen you are taken to the meat factory to be harvested. The story follows Gold Eye, a young boy who escapes the dormitories before he can be taken to the factory. While fleeing the monstrous creatures who mean to return him, he teams up with a band of Shade’s Children, and together they fight to survive against Overlords.

I honestly just adored this book. It’s dark and gritty and absolutely stands the test of time. It was just as gripping and absorbing as the many times I read it as a child. The world is completely fascinating and I loved learning about this unique dystopian world that Nix has created. While everything isn’t necessarily explained, the world building is solid and the plot exciting. Despite this book being published over twenty years ago, it definitely still stands up as a brilliant YA story.

Shade’s Children is just over the three hundred page mark, but I absolutely raced through this. You’re dropped right into the action in this one and it’s an absolute roller coaster ride. This story has such a tense, eerie atmosphere as Gold Eye and the gang fight to survive. If you’re looking for a dystopian tale that will have you reading long into the night, you definitely need to check this one out.
5 Stars