First Lines Friday – 29/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to my First Lines Friday post! I love writing these and either sampling the beginnings of books still to be read or re-reading old ones! Today’s featured book is one that is currently on my TBR, or to be read list. Given the science-fiction theme I have been sticking to lately, I figured to share the opening lines of another book from the same genre!

Can you guess what it is?

 

I love Thursday nights. They have a feel to them that’s outside of time.

It’s our tradition, just the three of us – family night.

My son, Charlie, is sitting at the table, drawing on a sketch pad. He’s almost fifteen. The kid grew two inches over summer, and he’s as tall as I am now.

I turn away from the onion I’m julienning, ask, “Can I see?”

He holds up the pad, shows me a mountain range that looks like something on another planet.

I say, “Love that. Just for fun?”

“Class project. Due tomorrow.”

“Then get back to it, Mr Last Minute.”

Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Goodreads – Dark Matter

Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

 

Purchase links:     Amazon UK     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s extract of Dark Matter? Is it on your list to read? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Promo: Fighting Back (Battle Ground #4) – Rachel Churcher

Hi guys! Welcome back to my blog and today’s promo post for Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher! What makes this post all the more exciting is that today is publication day for the book! I am so glad to be featuring it on this first day of the tour.

I shared a promotional post for Darkest Hour, the third book of the Battle Ground series last month as well. If you are interested in the series you might want to check that post out as well!

Living where I do the series is particularly topical. I have a number of other blogging commitments meaning I was unable to read the series for the tour. However, it’s on my TBR to catch up with at a later date!

I hope that today’s post piques your interest in the series. There are a number of fabulous blogs also taking part in the tour so please check out their posts in the coming days for reviews and other feature posts!

 

Fighting Back (Battle Ground #4)

Goodreads – Fighting Back

Bex Ellman and her friends are in hiding, sheltered by the resistance. With her family threatened and her friendships challenged, she’s looking for a way to fight back. Ketty Smith is in London, supporting a government she no longer trusts. With her support network crumbling, Ketty must decide who she is fighting for – and what she is willing risk to uncover the truth.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Purchase Link – http://tallerbooks.com/battleground/

 

Author Bio

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rachel_Churcher

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelchurcherwriting/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/RachelChurcherWriting

Blog: https://blog.tallerbooks.com

Book Review: Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Good morning everyone and welcome to my stop for the blog tour of Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs! Before I get into the details, I would like to thank Alex Layt at Orion Publishing for organising the tour and sending me a review copy of the book! As always with these posts, the views expressed are my honest opinion.

I am really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on Ctrl+S – particularly to fans of near-future science-fiction novels. If you enjoy this particular genre then you are going to love this book! Equally, I only occasionally venture into the genre and I loved it as well. Ctrl+S is due to be published in a matter of days so if you do enjoy this review, please do consider getting yourself a copy!

Before I begin with my review, please also take a moment to take a look at some of the other reviews shared as part of the tour.

Now, would you like to find out more about it?

 

Ctrl+S – Andy Briggs

Goodreads – CTRL+S

Life in the near future’s NOT ALL BAD. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire.

But ALMOST ANYTHING isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested – and lives traded – to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted.

NOW THEO’S MOTHER HAS DISAPPEARED. And as he follows her breadcrumb trail of clues, he’ll come up against the most dangerous SPACE has to offer: vPolice, AI Bots and anarchists – as well as a criminal empire that will KILL TO STOP HIM finding her . .

 

My Thoughts…

The beauty of this near-future novel is that the premise of the book centres on an improved variety of technology that already exists – SPACE. Imagine augmented reality at your fingertips whenever you want it. Or, you can “ascend” for a limited time and experience virtual reality with your friends. There’s all of the fun and none of the pain if you get hurt or die in a game. That is, until someone finds a loophole.

Those rich enough to pay for the thrill can experience the pain and terror of death without the final blow. Maybe someone wants to feel the thrill of jumping off a building without the splat at the end. Real people are kidnapped and exploited to harvest whichever raw emotion is desired. It puts a sinister twist on the technology’s motto, More real than real. Theo’s mum Ella inadvertently gets dragged into the criminal underbelly after becoming indebted to the wrong people. When she doesn’t come home one day, the dangerous truth hits home.

Theo, Clemmie, Baxter and Milton take centre stage and are supported by a wide cast of varying characters. Their similarity in age to myself (and I imagine a lot of prospective readers) makes them really relatable and easy to invest into as the story progresses. You’ll laugh because I particularly relate to Theo. I didn’t go to University, unlike a lot of my friends, and I worked in a fast food place as my first job too! It’s the little things, right?

The “technology” aspect of the novel is really easy to follow. I can confidently say I think anyone can pick it up and understand the basics. Even from there, I feel that the descriptions of the advancement to today’s version of the technology is explained really well where relevant. Breaking up the information to impart what is necessary at any given time prevents dumping a lot of information on the reader. Some might find that overwhelming but I didn’t find this at all in Ctrl+S. Overall, I found there was a great balance between the action of the novel and clarifying how everything unfamiliar worked. The chapters are nice and concise as well which helps keep the momentum.

As the group of friends find themselves in increasingly hot water having been thrown into a criminal world where anything goes, you really find yourself rooting for them as the underdogs to save Ella and countless others from their emotional exploitation. As the plot unravels our protagonists fight desperately to pick up the clues left by Ella in order to find the mastermind behind the abuse of SPACE. The genre combination of science-fiction and thriller worked really well and is a highly recommended read by me!

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 24th November 2019

It’s Sunday evening again friends, so it can only mean it’s time for this week’s Sunday Summary post! Have you had a good week? Mine has been pretty good. I took a slightly more chilled stance on the blog posting this week in an effort to catch up with some reading. Turns out, I needed that time!

My first blog post of the week was published on Tuesday. For a bit of fun, I decided to take part in the Autumn Book Tag! It’s been a little while since I have written one of these posts and I really enjoyed doing so!

Then, on Friday I published my next Shelf Control post – this week I featured Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. If you want to check out why Age of Myth is on my TBR then you can check out that post to find out more!

 

Books Read

Through no fault of my own, I have had a shift in priorities this week. I began where I left off in last week’s Sunday Summary post with reading Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio. This is no small book, so I was hoping to make good progress this week. As it is, I feel I am already behind on my reading.

I then received an email about a blog tour that I signed up for, giving me a week’s notice for my tour date. It was a genuine mistake that I hadn’t had it confirmed earlier. Truthfully, I had forgotten about it too. I received my copy of the book to review a couple of weeks ago. So, I have been reading Ctrl+S by Andy Briggs most of the week! As things stand, I only have 40 or so pages left to read so that is tonight’s job after I publish this post.

As always I have been enjoying listening to my audiobooks and Thunderhead is getting really good right now! I have just less than four hours to go to the end and I cannot wait to see how things unravel. As it happens, I have some time off work imminently so I have more time to listen to this. I basically have my headphones glued in when I am home nowadays, so it gives me an excuse to listen to something!

 

Books Discovered

I signed up to a website called BookSirens about a month ago. As is well-documented on my blog, my thoughts on Netgalley aren’t all that positive. I have no objection to using the site for tours and books from specific publishers, but I don’t really rate it otherwise. In terms of looking for other ARCS, I don’t actively use it.

I signed up to BookSirens as it seemed a lot more user-friendly, looked more appealing and I liked the look of a number of books on there. At the time I signed up I couldn’t commit to reading any books due to blog tour commitments. After a couple of weeks of registering and not signing up to any reviews, they kindly sent me an email to get some feedback from me on whether I had any problems. I explained that I had some other review obligations elsewhere, which was totally fine with them. I actually really like this personal touch – there is no way you would get the same from Netgalley!

Well, this week I signed up to my first review after an email notified me that some books now had a longer window to review them in! I started small with a novella called Fires of the Dead by Jed Herne. I have until February to read and review it, but I would like to get it done sooner if I can!

 

Coming Up…

I have a couple of blog tours to take part in next week, which is really exciting!

I mentioned Ctrl+S earlier in the post, as I have had to hastily read the book in advance of the tour. My tour slot is on Tuesday next week (26th November) and I am really looking forward to sharing my review. If you like the sound of a near-future science-fiction novel about the use (and abuse) of virtual reality, then stay tuned!

A little later in the week, I am taking part in another blog tour post! On Thursday I am promoting the latest book in the Battleground series, Fighting Back by Rachel Churcher.

A First Lines Friday post will be taking its place on the blog on… well, that’s obvious. Friday. I really enjoy writing these posts and I hope you enjoy reading them too!

 

Top Blog Posts Read This Week

Jack’s Bedtime Reading – Book Review: The True-Bastards

That Book Gal Blogs – Book Review: The Girl and the Stars

Emma’s Chapter – Six for Sunday – Books You’d Throw in the Fire

The Orangutan Librarian – How to Deal with Doubt

 

That’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary! Im off to finish CTRL+S before bed!

What are you reading?

 

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Shelf Control #10 – 22/11/2019

Hi guys and welcome to today’s Shelf control post! Once again I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and telling you why I am excited to read it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves! Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

 

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

 

Age of Myth – Michael J. Sullivan

Goodreads – Age of Myth

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

 

My Thoughts…

What interests me about this book is the breaking of a convention that Gods are immortal; untouchable. How the inevitable conflict that will ensue will pan out interests me. This synopsis is pretty short, leaving a lot to the imagination. There’s just enough there to draw a reader in whilst leaving a lot about the plot unsaid. It makes you want to read it and find out!

Age of Myth is an epic fantasy novel. I would consider myself well-read in the genre at this point; anything that even hints at any combination of overused tropes in the genre is a put-off for me – it isn’t new. What I like about synopsis of Age of Myth is that beyond the whole destiny concept, there is nothing else that would allude to other overused tropes. I’ll have to read it to see if there are others hidden in there.

Age of Myth also has some really good reviews, so I am optimistic that taking the plunge and reading a novel by a new author will have a good payoff!

 

Have you read Age of Myth, or is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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The Autumn Book Tag

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post – the Autumn Book Tag. I saw this over on Sara the Bibliophagist’s blog and knew I wanted to take part as a bit of fun! I absolutely love Sara’s blog and quite regularly link to some of her posts in my Sunday Summary posts. So, if you haven’t checked out her blog already, please do! You won’t regret it!

I wanted to take a step back from book reviews for the next couple of days, having published two last week. It has been a little while since taking part in a bookish tag, so I’ll take any excuse to take part in one! They’re a great way to get to know the person behind the screen, so I hope you enjoy this post as much as I will!

 

Rules

  • Answer the questions
  • link back to the creator (Jenniely)
  • tag other people!

 

 

  1. Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?

It’s going to make absolutely no sense, but I would have to choose a series for this question. Which series? A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. What’s comforting about a series full of death, debauchery and deceit, I hear you ask? Well, I know that I can always pick up any one of these books and instantly forget about whatever else is going on. The writing is fantastic and the world-building and characters so intricately interwoven that I am absorbed immediately.

 

  1. Pumpkin Carving – what is your favourite creative outlet?

I have had a good go at quite a few creative hobbies; years ago I used to make my own Christmas / birthday / occasional cards. I still have all the stuff, but I haven’t done it for years now. Maybe I ought to dig it all back out again. I briefly took up cross-stitch but that didn’t catch on very long.

Shortly after I moved into my flat I bought a DIY painting that now has pride of place in my living room. It took me HOURS. I listened to most of the audiobook of The Stand whilst doing it. That means I spent somewhere around 75 hours completing it! I have another one part finished for the spare room, but I haven’t really touched that one for a while. I think I stopped in between paints so fingers crossed what is left hasn’t gone dry…

My latest creative hobby is crocheting. I started small with crochet animals and have gone on to crochet a jumper as well! It’s a good pastime if you want to keep your hands busy.

 

  1. Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad but you secretly love?

My family think I am a little odd for it, but I love when the nights start drawing in as winter approaches. It makes coming home after a day at work nice and cozy. That’s not to say I enjoy the dead of winter and going to work/coming home in the dark. I’m not that miserable…

 

  1. Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge

I agree with Sara on this one – I love to stay in. There is nowhere I want to be after a long day at work than at home. Door locked. Peace at last. Sure, going out and catching up with friends and family is fun, but I enjoy coming home to my own space and being unable to unwind in my own way. I have come to need my own space to do my own thing – read a book or listen to music usually. What’s important is that Rebecca is IN and the rest of the world is distinctly OUT.

 

  1. Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?

Finishing a really good book! In that moment before the book hangover begins, concluding a really good book or series reminds me just why I read so much!

 

  1. Fright Night – favourite scary book or film

This is definitely going to be a scary book choice because I don’t really get on with scary films… and not for the reason you would expect. They don’t scare me. I learned the techniques film-makers use in my Performing Arts and Psychology lessons to hype up an audience, so I can see it a mile away and expect it. Element of surprise ruined.

I’m much more of a fan of psychological thrillers. With that in mind, I would have to say my scary book choice is Pet Sematary by Stephen King.

 

  1. Halloween candy – favourite thing to eat

Oh goodness we could be here all day! It’s generally known and accepted that I will eat pretty much anything and everything! If I have to pick something seasonal as my favourite though, the first thing that comes to mind is the tin of Quality Street you buy “in preparation for Christmas” – knowing full well it won’t even see December.

 

  1. Scarves – your autumn ‘must have’ accessory

My must-have autumn accessory is just that – scarves! More specifically, Kipling scarves. I’m not just a maniac for their handbags and purses, but their viscose scarves as well. I love them because they are so lightweight but do a fantastic job of keeping you warm without the bulk of a thick scarf. They’re also really pretty and smell like your perfume too, so win-win.

I have… one or two of these beauties…

 

  1. Fire – a book or film that burns your soul

This is actually a really tough question – I have read so many great books that it is hard to choose! I suppose the books I feel most passionately about – and love to talk about – are the likes of The Green Mile and To Kill a Mockingbird. Knowing the injustice served to so many based on the colour of their skin makes me really angry. I like to talk about them as a means of education and to be part of a society that wouldn’t let anything as ludicrous as race be a reason to treat someone differently again.

 

  1. Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside

When I read War and Peace I didn’t expect the ending to be a philosophical discussion about how things could have gone differently for Napoleon. It’s about the only example I could think of – I am pretty open-minded when it comes to my books. This is the only curve ball I’ve encountered to date!

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed this tag and reading a little about me! I’m not going to tag anyone specific to also take part, but if you do, please link me in so I can read your answers.

 

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th November 2019

Hi guys and welcome to a very busy Sunday Summary post here at the home of Reviewsfeed. I had a busy day yesterday with housework and then going out for the evening! In a shake-up of usual Saturday evening activities, (aka reading) I attended The House of Hell event hosted by Nightmare Nights. I went with my mum and dad and we all enjoyed going, despite being underwhelmed by the ‘scariness’. Today, I have spent the day with them again and now come home for a not-very-relaxing evening. Around drafting tonight’s Sunday Summary post, I am baking for a charity cake sale at work tomorrow! Everything is cooling at the moment, so I get some brief respite before I have to decorate.

Aside from the above shenanigans, what have I spent my week doing? Quite simply, work, blogging and reading. The usual! The only thing out of the ordinary has been investing time into restoring the older posts I lost in the recent migration… accident.

The first post of the week was an overdue review of The Chalk Man by C J Tudor. I read this book back in July, so it was definitely time to commit my thoughts to a review. I had to pull the book out and refresh my memory on a couple of things. This is why making notes after I read something would come in handy, but can I do it? No.

I published a second review of Wednesday; Making Magic is a short story written by Allan Walsh. At 32 pages it was a really quick but enjoyable read about the magic of writing and storytelling.

Friday saw the return of my First Lines Friday regular feature and this week I featured Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. Let’s just say the book choice was inspired by a current read at the time…

 

Books Read

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I mentioned that I was indecisively flitting between a couple of books as my next read – Howling Dark and Days of Blood and Starlight. In the end, Days of Blood and Starlight did win and it didn’t take me all that long to read. I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and I got back into it very quickly!

Conscious that it was the middle of the month and I had only read two books on the TBR, I picked up the shortest book on my list, Awa and the Dreamrealm by Isa Pearl Ritchie. At around 200 pages, my aim was to blitz this within a couple of days and I did! It makes me feel better going into the second half of the month knowing I am on track. I have read this book as I am reviewing it for the upcoming blog tour starting at the end of the month. It’s a children’s book so I am not its target audience, but I really enjoyed it and I’m not ashamed either! I love the main theme and the topics that this book addresses.

It might sound daft, but in addition to my newfound love of the series, the reason I picked DOB&S over Howling Dark is that the proof copy I have is really heavy! It’s quite a bit larger and getting started has been a little cumbersome. I have started this book in earnest in the last day or two and this will be my current read for the next few days!

I have also been listening to Thunderhead again. There is still six hours to go to reach the conclusion, so I’m going to be listening for a little while yet. The storyline of this one is interesting though and it has really picked up the pace in the last couple of hours!

 

Books Discovered

I have added one book to the list this week after stumbling across a book set where I live… entirely by chance! I was just browsing a few blog posts the other day and read an unsuspecting First Lines Friday post. When I realised that the featured book is set on the Isle of Man I added it to the list! I’ve linked the post below if you want to have a read.

 

Coming Up…

I want to make sure that I keep up with my reading next week. I may be on track but I still have three books to finish; all are over 400 pages long. Combine that with my ongoing project to restore my blog to its former glory, I have decided that this week I am keeping it to three posts.

On Tuesday I am going to take part in the Autumn Book Tag. I saw this over on one of my favourite blogs (again, this is linked below) and I want to take part. It’s a little bit different from the usual material I post here!

On Friday I’ll be tackling the TBR again (one book at a time) by sharing the next Shelf Control post. I’ll be taking a look at the next book on the list and telling you all why I want to read it. These posts have actually given me a kick to start reading some of these golden oldies. I enjoy writing them too. Do you like reading them?

 

Top Blog Posts Read This Week

The Tattooed Book Geek – A Little Hatred book review

Booksnest – How to Increase Productivity by Waking Up Earlier

Eclectic Review – First Lines Friday

Bibliophagist Reviews – Autumn Book Tag

That’s all from me for now guys! I have to get on with my cake decorating so I can get to bed at a decent hour! I might not get much in the way of reading done tonight, but it’s all for a good cause!

What are you reading?

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 15/11/2019

Happy Friday everyone and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! If you want to try the opening lines of a book without the bias of a front cover, then this post is for you! Which book am I featuring today?

 

Once upon a time, an angel and a demon fell in love.

It did not end well.

 

Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight – but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

On the riverfront thoroughfare, trams and buses roared past, grounding the day in the twenty-first century, but on the quieter lanes, the wintry peace might have hailed from another time. Snow and stone and ghostlight, Karou’s own footsteps and the feather of steam from her coffee mug, and she was alone and adrift in mundane thoughts: school, errands. The occasional cheek-chew of bitterness when a pang of heartache intruded, as pangs of heartache will, but she pushed them aside, resolute, ready to be done with all that.

 

 

I have just finished reading the sequel to this yesterday and I have loved it just as much as this first book! They are so easy to pick up and get absorbed into. I have read other books by this author as well, and all of them have been brilliant! They are all touching, the characters beautifully human and hilariously funny at times.

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

 

Did you enjoy reading the first page of Daughter of Smoke and Bone? Have you read any or all of the series? I’d love to know!

 

 

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Book Review: Making Magic – Allan Walsh

Hi guys and welcome back to my blog! Today’s review is for a short story written by Allan Walsh. At 32 pages, this is a really quick read. If you are looking for something to while away a commute to work or entertain you during a coffee break – this could just be for you!

 

Making Magic – Allan Walsh

Goodreads – Making Magic

Alcus wants to be a writer. When he joins a group to have his work critiqued, things are not what he expected. Alcus soon finds himself drawn into a world of wonder. Can his writing compete against real magic?

 

My Thoughts…

Short stories are a great way to sample an author’s writing style without the commitment of several hundred-page long novels to wade through. My biggest make-or-break factor when deciding if I am going to like a book is the narrative style. The style of Making Magic is very easy to read and get into. It flows so easily that I read this story in no more than fifteen minutes in one sitting, attention unbroken. From beginning to end the story is consistently easy to follow.

The dabbling in and conjuring of magic allows for a lot of detailed description; at times beautiful, others sinister, as fits the story. The detail in which Allan Walsh describes the spells and conjurations makes it very easy to imagine yourself in the same room. Through Alcus’ eyes, we experience the wonder at the magic and the self-doubt he experiences in being able to match such powerful magic through the power of the written word.

Being able to communicate an idea, an image or story through words in such a way that the reader can visualise the same thing is a form of magic. Immersing yourself so deeply into a story that you don’t notice time passing by is a temporary illusion. Words can also make more permanent changes to a person’s perception.

Who knew the power of vividly hallucinating over dead trees?

 

 

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Book Review: The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Hi guys and welcome back to another book review post! Today I am sharing my thoughts with you about The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor. I actually read this at the end of July this year, so I had to pull my copy out to refresh myself on some of the details.

I have plenty to say though about this read, so shall we jump into my review?

 

The Chalk Man – C. J. Tudor

Goodreads – The Chalk Man

 

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.

That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

 

My Thoughts…

First and foremost, how does this book only have 3.7 stars on Goodreads?! I demand to know because EVERY SINGLE blogger review I have read has raved about this book. And I get that too, I loved it! I think it’s a fantastic read! That I read this from cover to cover in three days is a testament to that fact. I’m pretty sure I had a good go at enthusiastically ranting about it to my parents too.

C . J. Tudor does a brilliant job of drawing you into the book from the very beginning. The dramatic events in the prologue and an accident at the fair in 1986 occur within the first 20 pages. From there, the story unravels in two timelines; continuing on from the fair in 1986 and the second thirty years on in 2016.

I really enjoy dual-timeline structured narratives. When written well, as The Chalk Man is, they interweave and spur you on to read the next chapter, and the next to see what more you can uncover. It also serves well to keep the narrative fresh. It works as a second perspective, even when you are using the same pool of characters to tell the story. I did not want to put this book down. I was captivated by the story and the unnerving events that haunt Eddie, Fat Gav, Mickey, Hoppo and Nicky from their childhood.

The re-emergence of the chalk men after thirty years is a mystery begging to be solved, especially when the murders begin. It’s a race against time to find the killer. The conclusion of the novel is brilliant and was totally unexpected! I have a bit of a gripe with thriller novels that claim I won’t see the epic plot twist. If you tell me that, I’m going to expect one! Half the fun is trying to follow the clues and make your own mind up without knowing ANYTHING about the ending. If I try to deduce the killer and I‘m wrong, or come up short, then even better! You know you succeeded in your plot twist. The Chalk Man makes no such claim so I had no idea what to expect!

The Chalk Man is definitely up there in my top reads of the year. I’ll be recommending it to anyone in the market for horror/thriller/mystery book recommendations!

 

If you haven’t read it already, seriously, please do! If you have, tell me what you thought of the book! I would love to hear from you!!

 

 

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