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

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

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

Synopsis

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

Book Review: The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One – Amanda Lovelace

Book Review: The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One – Amanda Lovelace

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Series:
Women are Some Kind of Magic #3
Release Date: March 5th 2019
Publisher: Andrews McNeel Publishing
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was approved for an E-ARC via Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet and USA TODAY bestselling author Amanda Lovelace presents the mermaid’s voice returns in this one — the third and final installment in her “women are some kind of magic” series, featuring a foreword from Lang Leav and 13 guest poems from leading voices in poetry such as Nikita Gill, KY Robinson, and Orion Carloto.

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

Review

book sdsPoetry isn’t something that I read an awful lot of and it’s definitely something I want to get into more. I’ve read the first two instalments in Amanda Lovelace’s Women Are Some Kind of Magic series and was incredibly excited about reading this powerful and inspiring third book.

Much like the previous books, the poems Lovelace creates are so emotional and raw. The poems are written in a very minimal way, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t pack a punch. So many of her poems have given me food for thought and I definitely felt the same with The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One.

While I did really enjoy this book, it did feel a little bit disconnected from the two I read previously. I didn’t connect with this one as much as I did The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One and for me it didn’t feel as powerful. Though still a thought provoking and timely read, I definitely preferred the first two books in this trilogy.

It’s been fascinating to read Lovelace’s work as she has grown and honed her craft with each book, It was also interesting to read the guest poems from a variety of guest poets. Some of these I liked more than others and I think this might be part of the reason I didn’t love this book as much.

Overall the Women Are Some Kind of Magic series is a hauntingly beautiful and thought provoking series and The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One is an excellent addition. If you’re a fan of poetry or interesting in feminist writing, this is a must read. I for one am excited to see what Amanda Lovelace does next.
4 stars

Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

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Release Date:
1st March 2019
Publisher: Uclan Publishing
Pages: 424
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors into different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world . . . and only he can save it.

The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out . . .

Review

hjMonsters in the Mirror is a fun and fast paced adventure full of charming characters and exciting action. The story follows Darwen Arkwright, a young boy forced to move from England to Atlanta. As he struggles to find his place and understand his new life he discovers he has the ability to step through mirrors into completely different worlds. As he makes friends in this new world, he learns that a dark power is threatening to destroy it. Monsters in the Mirror is the first in an all new series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next instalment!

I really enjoyed my time reading Monsters in the Mirror. Darwen is the perfect protagonist – he’s dealing with his world being turned upside down as well as attempting to balance his normal life with his new found abilities. I liked seeing things from his perspective, particularly as he dealt with missing things from his life in England and made new friends and experiences in Atlanta. Darwen is surrounded by a whole host of interesting secondary characters that felt well fleshed out. There are some really interesting baddies in the story too which I adored.

I loved A. J. Hartley’s writing style and it was really easy to fall into this magical world that was full to the brim with excitement and adventure. The story is well plotted and touches on a variety of themes like friendship, finding your place and good overcoming evil.

Monsters in the Mirror is an exciting, well told story with memorable characters and a gorgeous cover. This is the perfect middle grade read and if you’re a fan of books like Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, this should definitely be your next read!
4 stars
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Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

Blog Tour: The Last – Hanna Jameson

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Release Date: 31/01/19
Publisher: Viking
Pages: 392
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Breaking: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington

Breaking: London hit, thousands feared dead

Breaking: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilization, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

Review

book cover (38)This story follows the events of in which a series of nuclear bombings occur which triggers the end of the world as we know it. Jon Keller is attending a conference at a hotel in the middle of nowhere in Switzerland and so survives the attack along with 19 other people. Jon decides to document his time at the hotel in an attempt to process what has happened to the world. Whilst checking the water tanks the boy of a young girl is found and Jon begins to investigate her murder – but how will he get justice for her murder when the world as they know it no longer exists?

I loved this quiet and fascinating story because it was so unlike the typical end of the world books I’ve read. It really gripped me from the outset and it has immediately become one of my favourites of the genre. The story felt so realistic and I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. The world ends because of politicians that make the wrong decision – something that could easily happen given the current political climate. We never find out much about why the bombings occur and the story very much focuses on the creepy setting of this old hotel and the twenty strangers that are surviving there.

The story was well paced and I really liked the characters. It’s really interesting to see them change as the story develops, as panic and paranoia sets in about which one of them could have murdered the young girl. While it’s a really gripping story it is very much character focused and the action mostly happens elsewhere. There’s plenty of really interesting interactions between the characters and I loved the realistic way everyone was portrayed.

If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic stories this is a must read. The Last is a dark, tense and originally told story that feels incredibly real, so if you’re looking for something on the scarier side, this will certainly do the trick.
4 stars
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Book Review: Fear – Dirk Kurbjuweit

Book Review: Fear – Dirk Kurbjuweit

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Release Date: January 25th 2018
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 303
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

YOU’D DIE FOR YOUR FAMILY.

BUT WOULD YOU KILL FOR THEM?

***

Family is everything.

So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.

You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.

Is there?

Review

deaeThis was such a gripping thriller and a really unique read. The book made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable – partly because the story is somewhat based on the authors own experiences, and also because it was so believable, it could so easily happen to you or someone you know.

The book is a really interesting look at the family dynamic and the effect that a difficult situation can have on that. Randolph starts to wonder whether his wife could possibly commit the acts that their neighbour accuses them off, and she thinks the same of him. Fear really hits the nail on the head with the psychology behind such an event.

One of the things I found really interesting was the ambiguous nature of the murder. Normally with crime thrillers you feel sorry for the victim and condemn the murderer for their horrific act, but it was much more ambiguous. Was the murder justified? Was the victim at fault? These were questions I kept thinking about long after I’d finished reading.

The book was well written in a tense, exciting style. The short chapters kept the reader hanging on and itching to know more. The book is tense and enthralling, all the more so because this is every new homeowner’s worst nightmare. I really enjoyed the way that the Fear was written in quite a personal style, making the story seem much more like a realistic account.

Fear is divided up into chapters which explores the nightmare the family experience at the hands of the downstairs neighbour, as well as a look at Randolph’s childhood, growing up around his father – a devout gun enthusiast. The book puts forth some really interesting ideas about the effects such things can have on a child.

Fear is almost certainly set to be one of the hottest thrillers, so what are you waiting for?
4 stars

Book Review: The Fandom – Anna Day

Book Review: The Fandom – Anna Day

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Series:
The Fandom #1
Release Date: January 4th 2018
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 403
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book at YALC 2017.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis

Violet’s in her element. Cosplay at the ready, she can’t wait to feel part of her favorite fandom: The Gallows Dance, a mega book and movie franchise that she and her friends know EVERY WORD of (canon and fanfic included).

But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the story for real. And in just the first five minutes, they cause the death of the heroine, and get taken prisoner by the rebel group she was supposed to lead to victory.

It’s up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own, and when you change the script in one place, the rest gets revised too…

Review

the fandomHow many times have you read a book and wished you could go and visit the world in which it’s set? We’d all love to go and visit Narnia or Hogwarts or Middle Earth, but what would you actually do when you got there, and more importantly how would you get home?

I absolutely loved the concept of this book. Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con, they’re having a great time and meeting the star of their favourite book turned film, The Gallows Dance. Somehow they end up travelling to the universe the book is set and have to find a way to keep the story moving, and keep themselves alive.

The story is action packed, and well paced. The story is multi-layered, Violet is attempting to keep on the track of the original story, Alice is forging a new story and Katie is being help prisoner. Meanwhile everyone is trying to figure out how to get back home. The group soon find that just because you know everything about a story, doesn’t mean you actually want to visit.

The one thing that surprised me about this book is how funny it was. The colourful swear words that Katie uses, how clumsy and awkward Violet is, adds another layer to these fascinating characters, and really made me fall in love with them. You really root for Violet and her little brother Nate. I also loved the references to well known YA books – “Just like Tris and Katniss.” This book really appeals to my inner fan girl, and I loved that.

The book is divided up into pretty short chapters, and that also helps to make the book feel even more fast paced and action packed. I definitely thought this was a unique read and something I’ve never come across before. I did feel there was a bit of repetition which jarred a little – Katie’s soft scouse accent must have been mentioned seven or eight times, but overall I really enjoyed this fun and excited story.
4 stars

Blog Tour: The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven

Blog Tour: The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven

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Series:
Washington Poe #1
Release Date: 24th January 2019
Publisher: Constable
Pages: 352
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive…

Review

M. W. Craven’s The Puppet Show is the definition of gripping.

book cover (98)This dark and twisted thriller follows disgraced officer Washington Poe who is brought back into the force after a serial killer begins burning people alive in the Lake District. After discovering his name carved into one of the victims, Poe is forced to team up with analyst Tilly Bradshaw in an effort to uncover who is behind these murders and what that has to do with Poe.

This first in a new crime series is everything you could possibly want in a thriller novel. I read it so quickly because it was so fast paced and intense. When I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about what could possibly happen next. The Puppet Show features quite a few twists that I never saw coming and the finale was brilliantly executed.

I won’t say too much about the plot because I this is definitely the type of book to go in knowing as little as possible. One of the things that really caught my attention about this (other than the terrifying plot), was the immense amount of character development in The Puppet Show. Washington and Tilly are a really fascinating duo and I loved watching them work together to uncover the truth behind these murders. Washington is your tough rogue cop kind of character but pairing him with intelligent and super awkward Tilly makes for a really interesting dynamic.

In all honesty The Puppet Show is one of my favourite crime thrillers in a very long time. It will have you on the edge of your seat and you’ll be desperate for more of Washington Poe. Luckily the next instalment is due in June – so you don’t have too long to wait!
4 stars