Book Review: Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer

Book Review: Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer

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Release Date:
October 1st 2019
Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing
Pages: 224
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: I was sent an E-ARC of this via Netgalley
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Bestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present.By the end of this book, Aphrodite make you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

Review

Copy of book cover (30)Poetry isn’t something that I read an awful lot of, so I’ve been trying to correct that a bit this year. I stumbled across this on Netgalley, and the title and cover really drew me in. This is also my first time reading any of Trista Mateer’s work, but I instantly fell in love with her beautiful prose and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up more of her work.

I absolutely loved the blend of Greek mythology and modern life. The poems about Medusa and Aphrodite were really fascinating and were my favourites in the collection. I found the poems in this collection very powerful and inspiring, I highlighted quite a few favourite parts on the Kindle. There’s also a wonderful selection of art within the book and I adored the mixture of prose and imagery. It was really striking and definitely left me itching for more.

If like me, you don’t read an awful lot of poetry this might be just the thing to get you hooked. I really like Amanda Lovelace’s work and had a similar feel and will completely capture your attention. It does deal with a lot of difficult topics like sexual assault, eating disorders and abuse so please bear that in mind if you decide to pick this one up. For me I really enjoyed this collection and am looking forward to trying more from Trista Mateer!
4 stars

Book Review: The Furies – Katie Lowe

Book Review: The Furies – Katie Lowe

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Release Date:
May 2nd 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In 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.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250The Furies is without a doubt, one of my favourite books of 2019. This story is dark, full of rage and absolutely engrossing. I completely fell under the spell of this book, and I never wanted it to end. The story follows Violet, a young girl sent to private school after the death of her father and sister in a car accident. Desperate to find any form of friendship she falls in with a group of girls named Robin, Alex and Grace. Violet joins their secret study group with a member of the faculty, learning all about ancient rites and the school’s history as site of witch burnings. The girls believe they can harness the magic, take revenge on those who have wronged them, but with so many secrets who do you believe, and more importantly who can you trust?

This books has echoes of The Craft and I loved the blending of mystery/thriller with just a hint of the supernatural. I adored Katie’s writing style, it kept sucking me in deeper and deeper until I was racing through the last few chapters of the book, desperate to know how it was going to end. I often find with mysteries that I guess the ending quick early on, but every twist in this book completely surprised me. I also really liked the setting too, a remote coastal town in England. It felt like the perfect dark and grey setting for this eerie and haunting tale.

I also adored the explorations of female friendships in this story, particularly highlighting toxic friendships. It was fascinating to see the relationships develop between the group, and particularly how they evolved as tensions ran higher. The Furies is an insightful and entertaining story, and one I definitely still think about even though I finished it a while ago.

The Furies is an engrossing tale of witchcraft, murder and friendship. If you’re looking for a fast paced tale that will keep you reading well past midnight, you absolutely have to pick this one up. I loved every second of this book and I’m dying to read more from Katie Lowe.
5 stars

Book Review: An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth

Book Review: An Act of Silence – Colette McBeth

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Release Date:
June 29th 2017
Publisher: Wildfire Books
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

MOTHER. WIFE. POLITICIAN. LIAR.

THEN: How far did she go to conceal the truth?

Politician Linda Moscow sacrificed everything to protect her son: her beliefs, her career, her marriage. All she wanted was to keep him safe.

NOW: What will she risk to expose the lies?

When the voices she silenced come back to haunt her, Linda is faced with another impossible choice. Only this time, it’s her life on the line . . .

An Act of Silence is about the abuse of power, the devastating effects of keeping the truth buried, and the lengths a mother will go to save her child.

Review

Copy of book cover (29)This book literally had me on the edge of my seat. This is a fantastically written psychological thriller that kept me hooked from the opening chapter to the very last page. The premise is a really fascinating one: If your child is accused of committing a crime, and you’re not sure whether or not he’s innocent how do you stand by them? The book very much focuses on the parent child relationship, and the effects such a situation has on it.

I thought that the plot and pacing of this book was really excellent. The deeper you delve into the story, the more enveloped you are until you just can’t tear yourself away from the book. With psychological thrillers it’s often easy to guess where the story is heading, but that definitely wasn’t the case for An Act of Silence. This story is full of twists and turns – some of which you’ll never see coming.

The story feels very realistic and believable and I think that’s a really important aspect of a psychological thriller. It’s a hard hitting story, but it’s also beautifully written too. There are aspects of the story that are currently in the media frequently, and the story hits home all the more for that reason. The book is very much character driven, and that makes the story come alive all the more. I also really liked the way that it alternated between both Linda’s perspective and Gabriel, giving two sides to every situation. Linda is probably the character I was interested in most, she’s determined to find out the truth, no matter how horrifying that might turn out to be.

This really is an unputdownable book, and it’s also the first book I’ve read by Colette McBeth. I’m definitely now itching to pick up some of her other titles, because I really enjoyed this one. If you’re looking for a really twisty unique thriller, An Act of Silence is definitely a book for you. I can’t recommend it highly enough!
4 stars

Book Review: The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

Book Review: The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

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Series:
Middle Earth Universe
Release Date: 21st September 1937
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I have a battered old copy from my childhood
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.

Review

Copy of book cover (28)No matter how many times I read this book I always completely fall in love with it.

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a reluctant hobbit forced to go on a nasty adventure and help a band of dwarves retake their homeland that was invaded by a dragon. The Hobbit is quite a short book that captured my imagination at a young age, and it continues to do the same as an adult. Whenever I get the urge to reread it I always get that feeling of nostalgia and fall straight back in love with it. The story is told in a beautiful whimsical manner and it’s easy to fall into the story and Tolkien’s writing.

If you’ve never read any of Tolkien’s work The Hobbit is definitely the perfect place to start. It’s fun and exciting and is full to the brim with adventure and monsters. It’s a great introduction to Middle Earth and those characters that so many people know and love.

This time around I listened to the audiobook, something I had never done before. The audiobook was such a great way to read the story and the narrator did a brilliant job bringing to life the wide cast of characters.

The Hobbit is obviously a classic of the genre and its fascinating reading it knowing it had such a big influence on many of the most popular fantasy works today. It’s a beautifully told story, and I love how full of mischief and wonder this tale is. If you haven’t had the chance to read The Hobbit yet, it’s definitely worth reading – the film adaptation has decidedly mixed reviews but it’s also worth a watch once you’re finished!

5 stars

Book Review: Joker – Brian Azzarello

Book Review: Joker – Brian Azzarello

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Release Date:
14th November 2008
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 128
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at Comiccon
Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Synopsis

An original hardcover graphic novel that tells the story of one very dark night in Gotham City–from the creative team behind the graphic novel LEX LUTHOR: MAN OF STEEL.

The Joker has been mysteriously released from Arkham Asylum, and he’s none to happy about what’s happened to his Gotham City rackets while he’s been “away.” What follows is a harrowing night of revenge, murder and manic crime as only The Joker can deliver it, as he brutally takes back his stolen assets from The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face, Killer Croc and others.

Brian Azzarello brings to THE JOKER all the visceral intensity and criminal insight that has made his Vertigo graphic novel series 100 BULLETS one of the most critically-acclaimed and award-winning series in all of comics.

Review

Copy of book cover (5)Joker is a dark and gritty graphic novel that follows Gotham’s favourite villain after he’s released from Arkham Asylum. The story is told from the perspective of Johnny Frost – a member of the Joker’s gang who helps the Joker in his attempt to retake the city.

I thought this was quite an interesting read, it follows Joker as he murders and fights his way back to the top. The art style is stunning and really brings to life the dark and seedy Gotham underworld. I really liked the art style and it definitely gave it that dark and gritty crime feel.

While I did enjoy this – it was a fast and quick read and I enjoyed being back in the Batman Universe – I did feel it was a little repetitive, and it didn’t really do anything we haven’t seen before in a Batman story. Batman appeared in the story very little, so it felt a lot more like a crime story than a superhero one. Joker is one of my favourite characters so it was fascinating watching him live life on the edge, toeing the line between madness and reality. I also liked Johnny Frost, he was an interesting addition to the tale and it was fun to see Killer Croc and the Riddler make an appearance too.

The story is well executed and I think the plot and the art style combine together really well, but it just didn’t pack the same punch as some of my favourite Batman stories. I enjoyed seeing Joker as the central focus of the story, but it left me wanting a bit more overall. If you’re a fan of darker, more realistic graphic novels I’d highly recommend checking this one out and if you love Joker this should definitely be an addition to your collection.

3 stars

Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

Favourite Books of 2019 (so far!)

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Now that we’re over the half way point for 2019 (how is that even possible?!) I thought it would be fun to make a post about my favourite books of the year so far. I’ve seen quite a few people doing this and have loved reading about the books everyone has loved! So far in 2019 I’ve read 67 books, and quite a few of them have been five star reads. So in no particular order here are my favourites!

Copy of book cover (27)1. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass

This is one of my most recent reads and I completely fell in love with this world and the brilliant characters. I read the book in a single day, stealing every possible second to read this book. I  also nearly missed my bus stop because I was so engrossed in the story, but it was totally worth it. I’m so desperate to read the next book in the series.

Copy of book cover (12)2. Impossible Times – Mark Lawrence
This is cheating because it’s technically two books in one. I read both One Word Kill and Limited Wish this year and I adored them both. The characters leap off the page in this action packed, time bending story. It’s fun and you’ll become so attached to the characters, can’t wait to see how it all ends in Dispel Illusion.

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3. Aurora Rising – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it definitely delivered. A bunch of misfits attempting to save the world? What could possibly go wrong. It was full to the brim of action, adventure and witty banter and I honestly couldn’t get enough.

book cover (13)4. The Wicked King – Holly Black
I imagine The Wicked King has made quite a few peoples lists. The ended of this book was just so shocking that I’m still reeling six months later. I love the beautiful writing style and vivid descriptions of the fae world, and not to mention the best enemies to lovers but still enemies depiction I’ve ever seen. Pretty much counting down the days to Queen of Nothing.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.2505. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This fierce, dark tale of murder and witchcraft gripped me from the very first page and absolutely did not let go. I got completely swept up in the tale of four young girls and their tale of friendship, sisterhood, lies and vengeance. I don’t think I’ve stopped talking about it since I finished and it’s definitely an all time favourite.

book cover (39)6. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestone
I thought Shadowscent was one of the most unique YA fantasy books I’ve ever read. I loved the idea of a magic system built on scent and I loved the relationship between the two main characters. I flew through the book and I can’t wait to read more from P. M. Freestone.

Copy of book cover (26)7. The Boy With the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick
This is technically a reread but it has been such a long time since I read it last that it almost felt like a new book. I got completely caught up in this dark fantasy story full of monsters and political intrigue. It’s a quick paced story full of complex characters and I’m so excited to continue my reread because this is definitely one my favourite series.

wicked saints8. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncan
I know this book received quite a lot of mixed reviews but I really enjoyed it. I loved the magic system and the opposing religions fighting for power. I really liked Emily A. Duncan’s writing style and I found it a really quite and enticing read. It was a fascinating tale and I’m hoping that the few kinks will be worked out in the next instalment.

So those are my eight favourite books of 2019 so far! What are your favourite 2019 reads?

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

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Release Date: May 4th 2016
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of the book when I was an Intern
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Mara’s senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she’d hoped, until the day – KABAM! – Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren’t to blame, what is?

With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It’s going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . .

Review

This was such a fun and quirky YA read and I raced right through it. The story follows Mara as she’s finishing her last year at high school in a quiet American town. Things go from bad to worse when her classmates start exploding, and no one can figure out why – or who’s going to be next. When I read the premise I wasn’t sure this was going to be for me, but the spontaneous combustion plot works really well and I found myself really enjoying this unique little book.

The book is divided into really short chapters (which is great for “oh I’ll just read one more…”). The book is full of bleak, dark humour and I really enjoyed that about Spontaneous. The characters are dealing with such a horrific event, but they power through to try and save the rest of their class. I also loved that weaved in the story was the usual YA tropes like new relationships, friendship and finding yourself. Spontaneous is a clever little book and one I think YA readers will really enjoy.

The book is told from the point of view of main protagonist Mara, who is rude, says exactly what she thinks and ultimately hilarious. I loved seeing the story unfold from her perspective – how her friendship with Tess and relationship with Dylan in particular are fascinating to watch and excellently plotted. If you’re looking for a fun and quick YA read – and one on a topic you’ve probably never read anything about (I mean how many YA books are there about spontaneous combustion really?) then Spontaneous should definitely be your next read.4 stars