Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

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Release Date:
January 21st 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

Review

Copy of book cover (95)When I read the synopsis for Spellhacker I thought it sounded like a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy and I’d been keen to read M. K. England’s other novel The Disasters so I was excited to give this a whirl. I ended up being completely obsessed with this crazy adventure of a heist gone wrong and a group of friends trying to save the day.

The story follows Diz, a teenager orphaned as a result of the infamous spellplague that killed thousands of people. Years later Diz lives in an apartment with best friends Jaesin and Remi and along with techwitch Ania they run a business siphoning maz from the corporation that controls all magic in the city. When their last job ever goes wrong they find themselves on the run for their lives, but is there something more going on than they know?

Spellhacker is a fast paced tale that hooks you in from the very first page and does not let you go till the very end. There’s constant action and adventure as the friends battle to uncover the truth and save their lives. The world building is fantastic and I loved the fresh concept of magic being controlled by a corporation, and citizens have to buy maz in order to make magic. The story is a really fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy, and honestly I loved every second of it.

One of the things I loved most about this story are the characters. Diz is a wonderful protagonist. She’s brave and stubborn, but she’s also deeply flawed and struggling to cope with the horrors of her past. Mixing her in with Remi, the crazy talented spellcaster who has also contracted the spell plague, and ‘parents’ of the group Jaesin and Ania. They make for a really interesting group and I found it really interesting seeing the group dynamics change as they travel to Jattapore and Diz begins to feel like the outsider. It really added another layer to the story and made the characters feel more realistic.

If you’re looking for a wild ride of a story, with plenty of adventure as well as wonderful characters and diverse representation, this is absolutely a must read. I can’t recommend this highly enough and I’m definitely going to be picking up The Disasters in the near future! 
5 stars

Blog Tour: The God Game – Danny Tobey

Blog Tour: The God Game – Danny Tobey

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Release Date:
January 9th 2020
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-05T203428.948The God Game is the story of Charlie Lake and his friends who enter into a mysterious online game known only as the G.O.D Game. The rules are simple – if you win you win big but if you lose? You die. As the group of friends find themselves getting wrapped up in the dark mysteries of the game, they begin to wonder if they’ll ever be able to escape.

This book had me HOOKED. I picked it up expecting to read the first couple of chapters and before I knew it I was 120 pages in and I was running late. This is a fast paced wild ride and I definitely didn’t want the story to end. It’s a clever tale that blends virtual reality and real life. It’s Black Mirror meets Stranger Things and honestly I couldn’t get enough.

I loved everything about this book, the way the atmosphere starts off quite light hearted and becomes much more sinister, the misfit video game nerds that have to use everything they’ve got to survive. It’s a compelling tale which really kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters are particularly well executed and I loved the explorations of friendship, love and grief that were displayed in the story. I loved watching the characters growing and it was so interesting watching the group dynamics change as they delve deeper into the game. The science and technology is also really fascinating, and I loved the use of augmented reality.

If you’re looking for a dark and mesmerising tale that will suck you in deeper and deeper, The God Game is the perfect binge read, be warned though – you definitely won’t be able to put this one down.
5 starsGOD GAME BLOG TOUR.png

Waiting on Wednesday: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

Waiting on Wednesday: Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence

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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.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover (86)Today’s waiting on Wednesday is for Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence. This is the third and final instalment in the Impossible Times trilogy, and I am honestly dying to read this so I can know how it all ends. This action packed series has had me on the edge of my seat quite a few times and I honestly have no idea what direction the final book is going to take. Lawrence has delivered some shock twists in this tale and I’m sure the final instalment will be just as brilliant. The story features a group of Dungeon’s and Dragons playing teenagers (think Stranger Things) as they end up on a crazy time travelling mission to save the world. It’s brilliant fun and the first two books have been quite short fast paced reads. If you haven’t had a chance to pick this series up yet, I’d highly recommend them, they’re definitely the kind of books you could curl up and binge read on a snowy weekend. Dispel Illusion is publishing in ebook on November 14th, and then later on in December in hardback. I was planning to wait on the hardback release to match my copies of One Word Kill and Limited Wish, but I’m not sure I can hold off that long!

Book Review: Suicide Club – Rachel Heng

Book Review: Suicide Club – Rachel Heng

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Release Date:
March 21st 2019
Publisher: Sceptre
Pages: 372
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.

Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.

But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-28T204859.244Suicide Club is a really fascinating concept – with a world that has gone health mad, the ultimate goal is to live forever. With falling birth rates and the desire to live as long as possible, the city and its inhabitants are closely monitored for any signs of rebellion. When Lea’s father walks back into her perfect world her life begins to crumble around her. She soon becomes involved with the Suicide Club – a group of people who go against everything this new immortal world stands for.

I really loved the idea of this book. It was so unique and really made some fascinating comments on the way we live as a society, constantly obsessed with having the image of this perfect life. I enjoyed the sinister Big Brother-esque feel of the story, as Lea tries to prove that she isn’t trying to kill herself.

It was quite a slow burn book and it took a while for me to get into the story. There was quite a lot of technical information explaining the developments that allowed people to live longer and the ways that society had evolved. I struggled a little getting my head around all of this but once the story picked up the pace a little more I really enjoyed it.

Lea is an interesting protagonist but I found myself more interested in some of the secondary characters. I would really have loved the opportunity to get to know some of them a bit more. I found Lea to be a bit bland, and that was my main reason for not rating the book higher.

Overall for me Suicide Club is a fantastic concept that falls down a little in execution. I would definitely be interested to read more of Heng’s work, and if you’re a fan of speculative fiction this will definitely appeal to you.
3 stars

Waiting on Wednesday: Dev1at3 – Jay Kristoff

Waiting on Wednesday: Dev1at3 – Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover (61)This week for Waiting on Wednesday I thought I would talk about a release I’m really looking forward to, which is Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff. This is the second instalment in the Lifelik3 series, and I really enjoyed the first book. It’s a fun and action packed science fiction tale, and I really loved the mix of action and sassy characters. I’m super excited to read Dev1at3 as this time around we follow a different character – Lemon Fresh, who was my absolute favourite in book one. The book has been released pretty much everywhere except the UK, so I’ve seen plenty of positive reviews (and I’m also super jealous that everyone else has got to read it already). They’ve also changed the cover art which I’m a little annoyed about, I definitely preferred the original covers. Despite that I’m excited to see what this next instalment will bring and I’m sure it will be full of Jay Kristoff’s trademark wit and style. Dev1at3 is publishing October 3rd 2019 from HarperVoyager.

June Wrap Up!

June Wrap Up!

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My super late wrap ups continue with all the lovely books I read in June!

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1. What Lies Around Us – Andrew Crofts
This is a little book that packs a punch, following a ghostwriter who delves into the secrets behind Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It was twisty, exciting and I really enjoyed this one. Full review for my stop on the blog tour can be found here! (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (26)2. The Boy With the Porcelain Blade – Den Patrick
I thought it might be time for a reread of one of my favourite series. I raced through this dark and addictive fantasy story. It was so fun to return to a world that I love so much. Lucien is probably one of my favourite characters of all time, and I definitely think this is an underrated series. Looking forward to continuing my reread with books two and three. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (31)3. The Colarado Kid – Stephen King
This was a fascinating little novella, the first in Titan’s Hard Case Crime series. It was the perfect read for a Sunday afternoon and I ended up reading it in one sitting with the story winding you in deeper and deeper. It’s written very much like an old detective tale and was a really fun read. I really liked that there’s no clear resolution at the end, and it’s left quite ambiguous. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (32)4. Beautiful Disaster – Jamie McGuire
This was absolutely not for me. I was in the mood for a light and fluffy read and thought I might give it a go but I really struggled to finish it. Both the main characters were horrible and when they weren’t making each other miserable they were screaming at each other or treating the other like a possession. I also felt the whole plot was so dramatic and over the top, definitely won’t be continuing this series. (1.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (2)5. Maresi – Maria Turtschaninoff
This is a series that I’ve wanted to read for a while and I’m so glad I finally picked up the first book in the series – I completely fell in love! This is such a beautifully written tale and I adored the cast of characters and the stunning island they called home. I cannot wait to continue into book two, and if you want to read my full thoughts my review can be found here! (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (34)6. The Wolf – Leo Carew
The Wolf is pretty much my idea of a perfect book. The story of two warring kingdoms and their leaders who will stop at nothing to win. It was a thrilling read and I loved the high stakes, the political intrigue and the devious tactics the characters use to try and gain the upper hand. The Spider is definitely high on my TBR list for next month because I need to know what’s going to happen next. (5/5 stars)

book cover17. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
I’ve been reading more and more thrillers recently and so I’ve been guessing plot twists more frequently. However the twist in this one completely blew my mind. Every time I made up my mind how it was going to end it went in a completely different direction. This is one of those super fast paced, dark thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (33)8. The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor LaValle
I saw this book mentioned on BookTube and thought it sounded like a quick, engrossing read. For some reason I struggled to connect with the story. It was well written and interesting but it ended up taking me ages to finish it and I found myself kind of slogging through it. I think because the book is so short you only really get a snapshot of the world and the magic, and I struggled to get to grips with it. (2.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (35)9. The Tall Man – Phoebe Locke
This was kind of giving me Slender Man vibes and I thought it sounded like just thing I was in the mood for. I love those mysteries where you never quite know if it’s supernatural or not. It follows several different timelines and perspectives, which can at times be a little confusing. It is a quick and dark read though, one that I think thriller fans will really enjoy. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (36)10. The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg
This is a bit of a difficult one for me. I really really enjoyed this book. It’s a brilliant science fiction tale about an AI who works in a fantasy theme park. She’s there to help guests in any way, but when she starts to develop emotions things quickly spiral out of control. It was a terrific read but I think I had built it up in my head a bit too much, so even though it was really good I still felt a little disappointed. That’s probably just me though! (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover (27)11. An Illusion of Thieves – Cate Glass
This was definitely the surprise read of the month. I picked this up on a whim and ended up completely adoring this epic fantasy with a fantastic mix of characters. The plot was exciting and I raced through this and I’m already desperate for more. This will easily end up on my favourite books of 2019 list. (5/5 stars)

So those are all the books I read in June! If you’ve read any of them I’d love to know what you thought and also what your favourite June reads were!

Book Review: Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence

Book Review: Limited Wish – Mark Lawrence

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Series:
Impossible Times #2
Release Date: May 28th 2019
Publisher: 47 North
Pages: 222
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

One choice. Two possible timelines. And a world hanging in the balance.

It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge University, working with world-renowned mathematician Professor Halligan. He just wants to be a regular student, but regular isn’t really an option for a boy-genius cancer survivor who’s already dabbled in time travel.

When he crosses paths with a mysterious yet curiously familiar girl, Nick discovers that creases have appeared in the fabric of time, and that he is at the centre of the disruption. Only Nick can resolve this time paradox before the damage becomes catastrophic for both him and the future of the world. Time is running out—literally.

Wrapped up with him in this potentially apocalyptic scenario are his ex-girlfriend, Mia, and fellow student Helen. Facing the world-ending chaos of a split in time, Nick must act fast and make the choice of a lifetime—or lifetimes.

Game on.

Review

41771517Limited Wish is the second instalment in the Impossible Times series. The first – One Word Kill was a completely addictive story and I couldn’t put it down. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy of Limited Wish and I picked it up straight away. After just a few pages I was completely sucked in again and this time the stakes are even higher.

Limited Wish picks up not long after the events of One Word Kill and drops us right into the action of Nick at Cambridge University. The story follows Nick as he attempts to figure out what’s causing the time echoes that are happening around him, and solve the problem of a paradox. The story is full to the brim with action, adventure and excitement.

Mark Lawrence has yet to write a book I haven’t completely loved and Limited Wish is definitely one of my favourites. I loved returning to the characters we met in the first book – Nick and his gang as they attempt to stop the bad guys, both in real life and in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s all brilliant characters but I particularly love Simon and Mia. It’s fascinating to see the characters grow, particularly after the events of the first book in the series.

The story is full of science, time travel and mathematics. It’s incredibly well plotted and feels realistic whilst also featuring future selves, time travel and a whizz kid mathematician. I loved the mix of science fiction with teenagers just trying to make it through a party and talk to girls. It was such an enjoyable read and I definitely didn’t want it to end.

Limited Wish is full of heart and you’ll definitely grow attached to the wonderful characters. The fast paced plot also kept me guessing and there were quite a few twists that I definitely wasn’t expecting. This is absolutely a new favourite and if you haven’t had the chance to pick the series up yet, now is the perfect time. Book three in the series Dispel Illusion is coming in November so you’ll definitely want to be all caught up by then – this series is one you don’t want to miss.
5 stars