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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January Wrap Up!

January Wrap Up!

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January felt like the longest month ever but I only ended up reading ten books. I felt like I kicked 2019 off quite well as a few of these were really fantastic reads, so let’s dive into my January wrap up!

gfsrThe Awakening – Kate Chopin
This little book has been on my TBR forever so I thought I would kick 2019 off by getting it off my to read list. The story is a feminist classic about a women who has an affair and becomes increasingly unhappy with the role thrust on her by society. It was a really interesting read and I found it pretty fascinating to learn how much this shocked readers when it was first published in 1899. (3/5 stars)

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The Fork the Witch & the Worm – Christopher Paolini
I really adored The Inheritance Cycle growing up so when I was given the opportunity to return to this world and all the characters I loved I was so excited. This book offers three short stories from the world of Eragon and provides an insight into what happens after the original series ends. I participated in the blog tour for this one so if you fancy reading my full review, you can check that out here. (4/5 stars)

book cover (13)The Wicked King – Holly Black
This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 and I was so excited to see if it would live up to my expectations. I’m happy to say that I thought The Wicked King was brilliant, the plot was so addictive with even more twists and turns that I just didn’t see coming. I’ve really grown attached to the characters in this series and I honestly can’t wait to find out what’s in store in The Queen of Nothing. (5/5 stars) 

book cover (75)Stain – A. G. Howard
This was my first time reading a book by A. G. Howard and I loved it so much. This beautiful gothic fairy tale follows two kingdoms, one that only contains day and one that only contains night. The heir to the kingdom of day cannot speak and sunlight burns her skin. The story follows her as she is cast out of the kingdom by her aunt and attempts to regain her kingdom. It’s gorgeously written with excellent world building and you can read my full review here. (4.5/5 stars)  

book cover (40)The Wolves of Winter – Tyrell Johnson
This was another one that I’ve had on my TBR for quite a while. The Wolves of Winter is dystopian in which disease has destroyed much of the planet. Lynn and her family survive in the harsh landscape of the Yukon but when a strange visitor appears in their community he brings with him a whole host of secrets and shadows. I loved the setting and the atmosphere in this story and it was a really enjoyable standalone story. (3.5/5 stars)

cacsArtificial Condition – Martha Wells
I read the first book in The Murderbot Diaries at the end of 2018 so I decided to continue on the series with Artificial Condition. These short novellas follow a security bot gone rogue – “Murderbot” – and his adventures. In this instalment he teams up with a research vessel named ART to explore his past and the place where he went rogue. It’s a fun quick read and while I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed All Systems Red I’m still looking forward to continuing the series. (2.5/5 stars)

ssdThe Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One – Amanda Lovelace
I read The Princess Saves Herself In This One quite a while ago so when I spotted the second book in this series in my local bookshop I quickly snapped it up. I really enjoyed the first book but this one is definitely my favourite. Powerful and inspiring, I read the poetry in one sitting because I was completely absorbed in this collection of poems about the resilience and power of women. (5/5 stars)

book cover (98)The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
The first in an all new crime thriller series, The Puppet Show opens with a series of murders in the Lake District. A serial killer is burning people alive at stone circles throughout the area and the police don’t have much to go on. When a clear message is sent to disgraced detective Washington Poe, he’s brought back onto the force but as he investigates these dark murders he uncovers a whole lot more than he bargained for. This book is so dark, twisty and unforgettable. It’s definitely one of my favourite crime thrillers of all time and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the series – full review here! (4/5 stars)

book sdsThe Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One – Amanda Lovelace
After I read The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This one I requested the next instalment from Netgalley and was so excited when I got approved. This is the final collection in the Women are Some King of Magic series and whilst I still really enjoyed this, it was my least favourite of the three collections. The poems were beautiful, but they didn’t speak to me in the same way the others did. (3.5/5 stars)

book cover (100)Slay On Tour – Kim Curran
Slay are back! I read and loved the first book in this series last year and was super excited to be back with the boy band that are world famous by day and demon hunters by night. This instalment sees the gang go to Japan to investigate a series of demons that have been causing havok. They go on tour with a band of holographic girls but when things start to go wrong during the tour they soon learn they might have even bigger problems. The book is fun, fast paced and has a really great storyline. It’s a brilliant addition to the series and I’m hoping the series will continue with the band travelling to more places around the world. If you want to read my full review you can check out my blog tour stop here! (4/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in January! If you’ve read any of them definitely let me know what you thought and tell me some of the books you read and loved in January!

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

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

Book Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

Book Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

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Release Date:
January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 358
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

Review

Where do I start with this strange, beautiful book? I have yet to read Nijkamp’s This is Where It Ends (I have now ordered it and that will soon change), but this book had a really interesting premise and sounded like a good read. After reading just a few pages I was completely sucked in, and I can safely say Before I Let Go is already a contender for my top reads of the year. (I know it’s only January, but it was so so good).

book cover (97)The book is set in this eerie, dark little town called Lost Creek in Alaska. Our main protagonist Corey grew up there but has since moved away, returned after the death of her best friend Kyra. But Lost has change in the months she’s been away, and Corey is no longer part of the community, she’s an outsider which the townspeople don’t take too kindly too. I loved this setting, it was so vividly described and such a claustrophobic and unsettling place. There were more than a few times when I felt a shiver from this cold dark landscape.

I don’t want to say too much about what happens in the story because I would hate to spoil it for anyone, but it touches on so many fascinating subjects – friendship, loyalty, belonging and mental health. It’s a fascinating book, with so many twists and turns that I absolutely didn’t see coming.

I loved Before I Let Go from start to finish – I loved the short chapters that kept my mind racing (and itching to know what was going to happen next). Nijkamp did a fantastic job building up the tension and the suspense, and some of those climax scenes I couldn’t have put the book down if the world around me was ending. The story is set over six days, but so much happens in that time. Corey was such an interesting protagonist, dealing with the grief of losing her friend, of being shunned from the community. I loved her determination, to stand up for what she thought her friend would have wanted, and to find out what really happened.

This spooky eerie thriller will have you on the edge of your seat, The beautiful vivid writing will linger in your mind longer after you’ve finished reading, and if you love a book that will keep you guessing Before I Let Go is just what you need.
5 stars

Book Review: Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart

Book Review: Genuine Fraud – E. Lockhart

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Release Date:
September 5th 2017
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 267
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was sent a copy of this book of this book through ReadersFirst
Rating: 2.75 stars

Synopsis

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

Review

Genuine Fraud is the newest title from E. Lockhart, who is well known for the YA thriller We Were Liars. At one point I was seeing We Were Liars everywhere, I think around the time it was featured in the Zoella Book Club. I bought a copy for my kindle and read the book in a single sitting but I wasn’t entirely sure it was my cup of tea. After hearing about Genuine Fraud I thought the premise sounded really interesting and decided to give it a shot.

book cover (80)The one thing I found about both We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud is that they were pretty quick reads. Genuine Fraud is just over 250 pages and tells the story of two young women, Imogen and Jule and their lives over the course of their friendship.The story is told in a series of different chapters which jump in time. I found this really grating, especially when I put the book down for a while and went back to it. I imagine some people will love this non-traditional way of telling a story but it wasn’t really for me.

The story is an intense one and there are plenty of twists and turns. Like We Were Liars there were some shock reveals that I just didn’t see coming and would never have guessed in a million years. In that respect I enjoyed this book because quite frequently I find myself guessing the twists before they happen.

I won’t say too much about the plot because I don’t really want to give the story away – this is one of those books that is best to go into without knowing much about. The characters are interesting and well portrayed but I found it difficult to find any sort of likeable quality in any of them. Each was working to their own desires and motivations and while it made for some interesting perspectives, I didn’t really feel attached to any of them.

While I didn’t love this book Genuine Fraud is an interesting read and one I think loads of people will enjoy, especially if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers with a twist.
3 stars

Book Review: The Island – M.A. Bennett

Book Review: The Island – M.A. Bennett

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Release Date: 25th July 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was sent a copy of this book through ReadersFirst

Synopsis

Link is a fish out of water. Newly arrived from America, he is finding it hard to settle into the venerable and prestigious Osney School. Who knew there could be so many strange traditions to understand? And what kind of school ranks its students by how fast they can run round the school quad – however ancient that quad may be? When Link runs the slowest time in years, he immediately becomes the butt of every school joke. And some students are determined to make his life more miserable than others . . .

When a school summer trip is offered, Link can think of nothing worse than spending voluntary time with his worst tormentors. But when his parents say he can only leave Osney School – forever – if he goes on the trip, Link decides to endure it for the ultimate prize. But this particular trip will require a very special sort of endurance. The saying goes ‘No man is an island’ – but what if on that island is a group of teenagers, none of whom particularly like each other? When oppressive heat, hunger and thirst start to bite, everyone’s true colours will be revealed. Let the battle commence . . .

Review

I really enjoyed M.A. Bennett’s S.T.A.G.S, a story about an elite boarding school and a group with a penchant for blood sports. After reading the synopsis for The Island I was really looking forward to diving in but it turned out to be a completely different story to what I thought it was going to be.

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The story follows Link, a young school boy who is treated horribly by everyone at his school. He is bullied, victimised and made to feel inferior because he prefers books to sports. When he is forced to attend a ‘Preparation for Life’ summer camp, his plane crash lands, leaving Link and all his classmates stranded on a desert island. This time the roles are reversed as Link has the knowledge to survive on this small strip of land.

The story felt very Lord of the Flies and there were parts of it that I really enjoyed. It was paced well and I found the story really interesting. The main thing for me was that the characters were so unlikeable. Link was a horrible protagonist, the other kids on the island were typical stereotypes of people – the athlete bully who isn’t very smart, the side kick best friend who is hiding a secret and turns it on everyone else because he is scared he will also be bullied, the emo girl who doesn’t care and the beautiful girl who is only concerned with herself. I hoped that on the island they would become more than their stereotypes but that didn’t really feel like the case.

The story is well written and it was easy to dive in and out of. There are some plot twists along the way, though I guessed quite early on what was going to happen. There is also a last chapter which occurs many years after the events on the island. This chapter felt so unrealistic and so unlike the rest of the book in tone. It definitely felt like a departure from the power struggle and story of revenge. While this book wasn’t my favourite I did enjoy the parts on the island and the way they related music to how you view a person. If you’re a fan of adventure stories or light thrillers, this might be just the book you’re looking for.