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: Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan

Book Review: Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan

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Series:
The Trials of Apollo #1
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 376
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was sent an Ebook & audio copy from the publisher and then I purchased a paperback copy
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Review

Copy of book cover (51)The Trials of Apollo is the first in a new series from Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan. This series follows God Apollo, as he is cast from Olympus and forced to live as a mortal teenager. When he makes it to Camp Half-Blood he discovers his enemies are plotting to bring down Olympus permanently.

This is such a fun and fast paced adventure. The reader is dropped right in the middle of the action and it doesn’t let up for the whole book. If you’re looking for a story that will sweep you along, this is definitely a series to try. The plot is a little on the predictable side, but the story is enjoyable and steeped in Greek and Roman mythology.

Apollo is a great protagonist, he’s self centred and vain – believing everything should revolve around him. He has a bit of a hard time of being mortal and it’s interesting seeing him grow as a person and learn what it means to be a human. I also really liked Meg, she’s a kick-ass character and I loved her little sidekick Peaches. This is actually my first time reading a Rick Riordan book and while I really enjoyed it I think I would have been better off starting with the Percy Jackson series, as it’s referenced all the way through this story. I think I would have been able to appreciate the story more if I’d known the previous stories.

I’ve been curious about these books for a long time and after reading this one I’m definitely going to pick up more from this author. If you love action packed stories with a dash of comedy, this is going to be just the series for you.
4 Stars

Book Review: Prosper’s Demon – K J Parker

Book Review: Prosper’s Demon – K J Parker

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Release Date:
January 28th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 63
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: I bought an e-copy of this online
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the pitch dark, witty fantasy novella Prosper’s Demon, K. J. Parker deftly creates a world with vivid, unbending rules, seething with demons, broken faith, and worse men.

In a botched demonic extraction, they say the demon feels it ten times worse than the man. But they don’t die, and we do. Equilibrium.

The unnamed and morally questionable narrator is an exorcist with great follow-through and few doubts. His methods aren’t delicate but they’re undeniably effective: he’ll get the demon out—he just doesn’t particularly care what happens to the person.

Prosper of Schanz is a man of science, determined to raise the world’s first philosopher-king, reared according to the purest principles. Too bad he’s demonically possessed.

Review

Copy of book cover (6)I must admit that part of the reason I decided to pick this up is because I was sucked in by that gorgeous cover. After reading the synopsis I thought this would be a perfect quick horror read, something spooky that I could read in one sitting. What I got wasn’t really what I had expected. It’s a unique and engaging story, following our unnamed narrator as he carries out exorcisms across the country. When he comes across the Prosper of Schanz, a man revered throughout the country as a genius and man of science, he discovers the Prosper is possessed, but what will the cost be if he exorcises him?

This is a pretty short novella, it’s a little over 60 pages so Parker packs quite a lot into the small page count. It’s definitely a more character focused tale, as our unnamed narrator discusses philosophy and art. The story definitely leans more towards humour than horror, the narrator is not afraid to voice his opinions, even if that makes him less than likeable.

It’s an interesting tale, and one that I really enjoyed reading. As I pretty much always do, I wish it could have been a bit longer – I would have loved the opportunity to get to know the world a bit more and understand the history of the demons in this world and those that are tasked with exorcising them. If you’ve looking for something unique with plenty of dark humour, this could be the perfect little novella for you.
4 Stars

Book Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller

Book Review: Batman The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller

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Release Date:
May 28th 1997
Publisher: DC Comics
Pages: 224
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this for a University class
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

This masterpiece of modern comics storytelling brings to vivid life a dark world and an even darker man. Together with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley, writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight’s retirement.

Crime runs rampant in the streets, and the man who was Batman is still tortured by the memories of his parents’ murders. As civil society crumbles around him, Bruce Wayne’s long-suppressed vigilante side finally breaks free of its self-imposed shackles.

The Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by this generation’s Robin—a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.

But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have made them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout of an undeclared war between the superpowers—or a clash of what were once the world’s greatest superheroes?

Over fifteen years after its debut, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns remains an undisputed classic and one of the most influential stories ever told in the comics medium.

Review

Copy of book coverWhen I was at University I took a literature class on popular culture and this was one of the required texts. I really enjoyed reading it at the time but haven’t picked it up for a number of years. I thought it would be a fun reread and I’m so glad I decided to give it another read, this classic Batman tale is dark and gritty and a must read for superhero fans.

This story is quite a slow burn, following Bruce Wayne as he returns to his life as Batman many years later. Gotham City has become plagued with crime and the criminal underworld is bigger than ever. Donning his Batman costume one more, Batman returns to Gotham. But Bruce Wayne is older, he’s not able to move as fast things aren’t as they were ten years ago. When Superman tries to put a stop to Batman’s vigilante behaviour, their frosty relationship gets a whole lot worse.

I really liked the art style in this. It was pretty different to the other Batman graphic novels I’ve read before and it was enjoyable to read this classic of the Batman universe. Having read it before I was surprised by how little I remembered of the story, but it was dark and intrigued and easily kept me engrossed in the story.

This was a fun and quick read, and if you’re looking to read more Batman graphic novels I’d recommend giving this one a go. It’s definitely made me want to pick up a few more Batman graphic novels over the next few months!
4 Stars

Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

July 23, 2019 (2)
Series:
Havenfall #1
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC to review through the Fantastic Flying Book Club.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-27T191324.813I read and loved Sara Holland’s Everless a while back (I still need to get round to Evermore!) so I was really intrigued when I heard she was coming out with a new series set in a completely new world. Havenfall is the story of Maddie Marrow a young girl who spends her summers at the Havenfall inn – a sanctuary between worlds. She hopes one day to inherit this inn from her Uncle, but when a dead body is discovered and things start to go wrong, Maddie has to race to uncover the truth behind the goings on in Havenfall.

I always thought the concept for Everless was really unique and I felt the same way about Havenfall. The idea of a sanctuary between worlds was so fascinating and Sara Holland does an excellent job building this world for the reader to sink into. Holland has a really gorgeous writing style and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in her writing. I did feel the story was a bit slower paced, lots of the book is taken up my introducing the world and the characters so it is much more slow burn.

Maddie is a really interesting protagonist and I liked her as a character. There’s a bit of romance in the story and I enjoyed this because it didn’t take away from the main plot too much. The story touches on a variety of themes and has a diverse cast of characters. It also had a few surprising twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. Overall it was a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series. It also has a completely stunning cover and I can’t wait to pick up a physical copy.

If you’re a fan of Sara Holland’s Everless duology or you’re looking for an exciting new fantasy series to start, this is definitely one to pick up!
4 Stars

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-07-02T212915.864

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

Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

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Series:
Storyworld #2
Release Date: August 10th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

The second StoryWorld novel set in the glamorous, pressurized world of a live London TV station.

StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the cauldron of conflicts and resentments that constantly simmers off-stage.

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the heated world of live TV. Liz Lyon must balance the monster egos at work with the demands of her teenage daughter – and the man she’s just started dating – at home. It’s all in a day’s work.

Review

sdskdjThis was a fantastic, gripping read from author Jane Lythell, full of twists and turns. When a new woman joins the team at work, Liz feels the balance of power has shifted. She has to keep a lid on all her feelings as she maintains her role as a television producer. Coupling this with raising her daughter and dating, Liz’s life is full of surprises and shocks.

I really enjoyed reading this book partly because I found the main character so likeable. She’s a strong woman who looks after her team and works hard. I liked seeing her play the peacekeeper, diffuse the tensions and solve problems on her feet. She felt like a realistic and layered character, dealing with a teenage daughter and starting a new romance. She often has doubts about herself too, which felt quite refreshing for a main character.

I must admit that when I read Behind Her Back I did not know it was a sequel and I haven’t actually read the first book. I didn’t feel that that hindered my reading experience though, and you can definitely read it as a stand alone. I am however excited to go back to book one and find out what I missed. I love the tense, explosive atmosphere that Lythell has created, and am definitely eager for more.

Jane Lythell has drawn on her own experiences as a TV producer for this series and I think that’s part of the reason that it works so well and feels so real. The book is well paced and definitely makes you want to just read one more chapter. If you’re looking for a gripping and engaging read that’s different from anything you’ve read before, Behind Her Back is exactly what you’re looking for.