Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

Blog Tour: Strange Ink – Gary Kemble

BOOK REVIEW (5)
Release Date: 9th October 2018
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 391
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

After moving into a new house, journalist Harry Hendrick wakes up with tattoos that aren’t his…

When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.

Review

Untitled design (12)This is a hard hitting thriller that is completely unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The story follows a journalist struggling with his career who one day wakes up with a tattoo he has no memory of getting. He believes it to be a drunken mistake but as more tattoos begin to appear he learns that something much darker is going on. The idea of tattoos appearing that weren’t yours really intrigued me and I’m so glad I picked this up. It’s a dark mysterious story that hooks you from the very first chapter.

The plot is intricately weaved and incredibly clever. It’s a mystery/thriller with a pinch of horror and a dash of romance. It mixes together to create a really memorable and enjoyable read.

Harry is a really fascinating protagonist. His job at the Chronicle leaves much to be desired and things aren’t really going his way. I really enjoyed watching him progressed as the story went on, and there’s an impressive amount of character growth in this story. He’s a complex character and one that readers are really going to grow attached to.

The story is pretty quick paced with short chapters that make you keep saying “one more chapter.” Strange Ink’s original concept, gripping writing and beautiful cover should certainly make it top of your wish list this autumn.
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Strange Ink Banner

Book Review: What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria

Book Review: What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria

BOOK REVIEW (40)
Release Date:
18th October 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Pages: 433
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Review

Arthur and Ben are officially my new favourite couple. This is my first time reading a book by either of these YA superstars but honestly I was so engrossed in this adorable story. I’m now dying to pick up more from these authors because I honestly can’t get enough.

book cover (15)The story is told in alternating POVs by Arthur, who is interning at a New York law firm over the summer and Ben a New York native. The boys have an adorable meet cute in a post office but don’t exchange numbers. After getting reunited they go on a few dates but things don’t really go to plan and they begin to wonder “what if it’s us” that’s causing the problem.

This story is such a fun and enjoyable read. I raced through it because I found these characters so sweet and complex. Both authors have done a terrific job bringing the characters to life, I imagine if you know both authors well you can tell who has written which POV but for me the transition between the two felt pretty seamless.

What If It’s Us is set in the heart of New York City and I think this book does a really terrific job of bringing the city to life. Chalk full of pop culture references and all those key New York landmarks. This book definitely had me laughing and grinning and there were plenty of heart warming and emotional moments too.

The story focuses not only on the relationship between Ben and Arthur but also their relationships between the characters and their families and friends. Ben is dealing with losing part of his friendship group after a bad breakup and Arthur finds his friends being distant with him. I really liked seeing how the friendships changed and grew as the story went on.

I also thought the ending for this book was pretty perfect. It totally wasn’t what I expected and I appreciated it all the more for that. It felt realistic and really added another layer to this well crafted story. What If It’s Us is the perfect contemporary romance and if you’re a fan of Adam and Becky you will not be disappointed.
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Book Review: The Testament of Loki – Joanne M. Harris

Book Review: The Testament of Loki – Joanne M. Harris

BOOK REVIEW (49)
Series:
Loki #2
Release Date: 17th May 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy to review.

Synopsis

Ragnarok was the End of Worlds.

Asgard fell, centuries ago, and the old gods have been defeated. Some are dead, while others have been consigned to eternal torment in the netherworld – among them, the legendary trickster, Loki. A god who betrayed every side and still lost everything, who has lain forgotten as time passed and the world of humans moved on to new beliefs, new idol and new deities . . .

But now mankind dreams of the Norse Gods once again, the river Dream is but a stone’s throw from their dark prison, and Loki is the first to escape into a new reality.

The first, but not the only one to. Other, darker, things have escaped with him, who seek to destroy everything that he covets. If he is to reclaim what has been lost, Loki will need allies, a plan, and plenty of tricks . . .

Review

This is the second of Joanne Harris’s books featuring the trickster God Loki. I absolutely loved The Gospel of Loki so I was really excited to return to this series. In this instalment Ragnarok has occurred, Asgard has fallen and Loki has very few options. By chance he escapes eternal torment only to end up sharing the body of a young teenage girl.

book cover (24)One of the things I really adored about this book is the way that Joanne Harris writes this series. Loki is of course a trickster, he’s mischievous and scheming and that really comes across in the narrative. It’s very much like you’re sitting down with Loki and he’s regaling you with his greatest feats. I loved seeing things from his perspective and watching as he managed to worm his way out of every situation.

The Testament of Loki really was an emotional read. There were bits I was laughing (Loki attempting to understand the modern world of mobile phones and pizza) to the sadder moments as Loki grows as a person and learns to care about people other than himself. I really liked Jumps, (Loki’s host) she was a fascinating character and she had a terrific amount of character development as she dealt with her problems and became who she wanted to be.

The story is fun and fast paced, with plenty of Loki’s schemes leaving you wondering what on Earth he’s going to do next. These books are such a fun and accessible way to learn about Norse mythology and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
4 stars

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han

BOOK REVIEW (51)
Series:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1
Release Date: 15th April 2014
Pages: 355
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from my local Waterstones.

Synopsis

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Review

So I’m going to be honest and say that I picked this up after all the buzz around the Netflix movie. I hadn’t seen the film and this book sounded as far out of my comfort zone as it was possible to get, so it was a pleasant surprise when I loved the book and the movie as well.

book cover (26)To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has really touched my heart – it’s such a sweet and cute story and I think it’s wonderful that it’s getting so much recognition at the moment – recognition it really deserves. Lara Jean is a really fantastic character, she’s so adorable, she lives in her head spending more time imagining things than living them. She’s relatable and shows an immense amount of character depth in this book.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the family dynamic. Lara Jean and her sisters have lost their mother at young age, and so are incredibly close. It was really fascinating to watch their relationship change and grow, especially as Lara Jean has to deal with her sister moving to the other side of the world. Kitty is my far my favourite character, she’s hilarious, wild and the best kind of character.

The book is obviously cheesy and a little over the top but it will honestly give you all kinds of warm feelings. Whilst I normally prefer much darker and more action packed books, it was really nice to read something fluffy and light. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the perfect summer read, and I’m so looking forward to reading the rest of the series to see what happens next to Lara Jean and Peter.
4 stars

Book Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert

Book Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert


BOOK REVIEW (39)Series:
The Hazel Wood #1
Release Date: 30th January 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 359
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Hazel Wood I was dying to read it. Dark fairy tale stories? a mystery surrounding a reclusive grandmother and her creepy estate? Count me in! I really enjoyed reading The Hazel Wood but it didn’t turn out quite how I expected it would. It was dark and unsettling and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up the next instalment in the series.

book cover (14)The first half of the book I absolutely fell in love with. I loved the mystery surrounding the Hazel Wood. Where was it located? What was really behind the gates? There were so many questions and these creepy fairy tale characters kept appearing which made me desperate for me. At this point I felt the book could easily have been a five star all time favourite read, but for some reason as soon as Alice reached the Hinterland I felt the book fell a little flat. I felt like the story was racing towards the end and Id didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy it.

The story is a slow burner, but I enjoyed the little hints and clues that led up to Alice finding her way into the Hazel Wood. Alice was an interesting main protagonist, although she was pretty unlikeable and I felt some of her actions were a bit questionable. What I did really love was Melissa Albert’s writing style, I thought her writing was really beautiful and I loved completely absorbing myself in world of this book.

Despite being a little disappointed with the second half of the book I still think this is a really great read. It’s dark and enjoyable definitely gave me some serious Alice in Wonderland vibes. If you love your fairy tales with a bit of a twist, this is bound to be right up your street.
4 stars

Blog Tour: Puzzle Girl – Rachael Featherstone

Blog Tour: Puzzle Girl – Rachael Featherstone

BOOK REVIEW (54)
Release Date: 2nd August 2018
Publisher: The Dome Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Souce: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything.

When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious ‘puzzle-man’ behind it.

Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin.

Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

Review

This is a fun and enjoyable read and one that I absolutely raced through. I enjoyed it because it was a fresh take on the finding Mr right story.

book cover (29)The story centres on a surprise conversation through a puzzle book, and the protagonists subsequent attempts to find out who the person writing back is. I don’t read an awful lot of chick-lit but I this struck me as a really interesting and unique take, so I was really excited to pick it up. It was definitely worth it, I really enjoyed Cassy’s antics as she attempts to juggle her work life and find out who this mystery man is.

As for Cassy herself she’s the perfect protagonist. Fond of making lists (much like myself) and prepared for almost every occasion, it’s really fascinating to watch as her obsession with solving the puzzle begins to take over her life. She spends less time with her friends and family, and begins to lose sight of what is really important, in order to solve the puzzle. She’s also far from perfect, she makes mistakes does things wrong and definitely lands herself in a few tricky situations.

I really enjoyed the work place rivalry within the story too. Cassy is up for a big promotion, but she’s not the only one. Her and Martin don’t really get along and it’s fascinating watching the plot develop as they attempt to undermine each other and get ahead.

Puzzle Girl is also set in London, and the mentions of the DLR and other little London landmarks make for a really nice touch, and add to the overall feel of the book.

The story develops at a good pace, and gives the reader time to come up with different theories, without being too obvious at who the mystery man is. For me that is often the down-fall of chick-lit reads, I can guess the ending before the first few chapters are over and that somewhat spoils my enjoyment. That didn’t happen with Puzzle Girl, you pick up little pieces of information along the way, and that makes for a really fantastic story.

If you’re looking for a fun and clever book to read – especially now the that the sun is shining a bit more – this is definitely one to pick up!
4 stars
*This post originally appeared as part of the Puzzle Girl blog tour in August. I recently lost a lot of my content when I migrated sites and so am reposting as many of them as possible!
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