Tag: Book Review

Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 

My Thoughts…

Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.

The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.

Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.

I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!

Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!

Okay, rant over.

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.

As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.

 

Attachment.pngAttachment_1.png

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Today’s book review for The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson is one I am excited to share! You may already be aware that I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I have read and started a number of different series written by him and honestly, I’ve loved them all. They are all completely different, with a vague commonality in that they have their own really unique magic systems. The Mistborn series is the one I have read the most of and these books were my introduction to the author. To date, the series consists of an initial trilogy and there are a further three books published in a later timeline. I am excited as there is an expected fourth book to this later series… but I’m also sad as I’ve caught up and I now have to wait for it to be published!

In the grand scheme of things it’s a small problem – and I’m willing to wait for the next instalment as it’s a fantastic series. Before jumping into today’s review of The Bands of Mourning, please go and check out my reviews for The Alloy of Law and Shadows of Self. These two books precede this third book of the later series.

 

The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – The Bands of Mourning

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, the Mistborn series is a heist story of political intrigue and magical, martial-arts action.

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

 

My Thoughts…

The second Mistborn series continues with The Bands of Mourning and we are treated once again to an interesting and action-packed plotline, hilarious characters with a great dynamic and even a flashback to the original Mistborn series. As in the previous books, I am really enjoying the mash-up of an industrial revolution int the middle of a Western civilisation setting. That’s one combo I don’t think I have ever read to date and honestly, it really works! Don’t ask me how… I’m not sure that it should and yet it really does and I’m in love with it!

As always, the dynamic between Waxililam and Wayne makes the book. They are absolutely brilliant together despite being like chalk and cheese in personalities. So now, they work really well together and I just love them. There’s nothing more I can say other than they are probably one of my favourite character duos ever! Wax is a brilliant character for his upstanding moral nature. As characters go, he’s pretty altruistic. Not perfect, to say the least, but not for a lack of trying.

Wayne on the other hand is far more of a loose cannon. His ‘trading’ habit (stealing but leaving something in return – often dross) and ability to blend into a crowd come in very useful to the team… but he’s less than honest. He has good intentions for the most part and he is fiercely loyal to Wax, which makes him quite a loveable rogue.

It’s a good job our characters thrive on chaos, because there is plenty of it in their world! Where Wax and Wayne go with the flow, Steris thrives off trying to bring order to the chaos. I must admit I didn’t think too much of her when she was first introduced in The Alloy of Law.  But, I have warmed to her a lot. She’s a great compliment to Wax as well. I’m not big on couples and relationships in books, but they work well together!

I was excited by this second Mistborn series as it expanded on the magic system from the first; instead of being able to use magical power relating to one metal, the book introduced individuals who have the power to use two. What really sold me on this instalment of the series is that a third element was introduced. Whereas previously an individual has to consume metal in order to wield their specific powers, this book introduces the concept of powers being held externally via relics and able to be used by anyone!

I love that Brandon Sanderson isn’t afraid to explore new options in his worlds. Whilst he is very good at creating a consistent setting and building a detailed plot and magic system, I love that he is able to branch out and make a success of re-writing the rulebook, so to speak. So far in this series it has worked very well and makes the novels very interesting to read and invest into. But, it also reassures us as readers that there is a lot more that we can expect!

I really enjoyed how events of this book concluded. Without giving any spoilers, a certain character from the first series that has a presence in this book. It’s been that long since I read the first series that I had completely forgotten about this character! It made for an interesting twist to the plotline and I’m glad they were included. Suffice to say, I’m excited to see where the next book of the series takes us. Sadly, I have to wait for it to be published as I’m now caught up with the series… but at least it’s not over yet!

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Before I even took the plunge with listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, I had looked at the book previously and decided against reading it; it’s more of an urban fantasy as opposed to my preference of an epic fantasy. When it comes to audiobooks I am definitely more flexible on genre then I am regarding physical books. Don’t ask me why – maybe it is the different medium that makes it easier for me to listen to? I don’t know, but anyway I’m glad to say how wrong I was about passing up reading this book at first!

The fact that I went on to ‘read’ the next four books of the series in a three month period should tell you a lot! I’ve only really given it a rest so that I could enjoy listening to some different books for a change and so I haven’t caught up with the series. Then I’d be left waiting too long for the next instalment… and that just won’t do!

Would you like to find out more details about the book?

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Rivers of London

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

 

My Thoughts…

Not reading or listening to Rivers of London would have been a huge mistake. To try to encapsulate the book in one sentence, I would summarise it like this – the plot is interesting and easy to invest into, the characters are frankly hilarious and the narrative style of the book makes sure you never want to put it down! That’s a big sentence and full of praise but I can assure you that it is justified.

My favourite aspect of the novel has to be Peter Grant’s character. As I have said he is absolutely hilarious; I get on with his sarcastic wit – typical British humour – and his eye for detail. Through his perspective we get a lot of information and description of the city of London as Ben Aaronovitch has sculpted it. From the foundations of London as we know he has built a whole new city within London. Magic and history of the magical and mysterious who dwell the municipality are chronicled and shared in captivating detail. Those who know me know that this is a big plus for me – the more detail the better in my eyes! What’s also relevant is that the information is relevant to the story. It doesn’t feel like it’s been added as filler and given that there is a mystery element to the book you never know which parts actually becomes relevant until later so you pay attention to it all. For that reason I’m always looking at those details to try and fit them into the wider picture.

One of the other things I love about Peter Grant’s character, and the wider book in general, is that his character ticks box for multicultural inclusion… without actually making a point of being a multicultural inclusive book. Now hear me out, I know that might sound a little bit contradictory. I love that this book isn’t a typical British magical realism with white race characters dominating the scene laced throughout. I think sometimes being ‘British’ can be inadvertently stereotyped as that. However, more so than ever Britain is far more multicultural and Peter’s family history being diverse, but not heavily made a point of makes our character feel far more relevant in the modern world. I love that it doesn’t scream its inclusion of multiple ethnic groups from the rooftops as if it’s a huge thing – because while to an extent it is, the fact is it shouldn’t be! It’s perfectly commonplace. I personally think Ben Aaronovitch got the tone just right with this one. Are some of the characters stereotypical in their writing? Undoubtedly. Other people may disagree with me, but I enjoyed how they are written into the book.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to also comment on the narration. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates rivers of London (and the rest of the series I have listened to to date – again a big plus in my opinion) and I think he does an excellent job of bringing the character of Peter Grant to life and telling the story through his eyes. As a character I think Peter is quite expressive and Kobna does a very good job of portraying this. I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say that he doesn’t just read what’s in front of him. In my days of studying performing arts we would call it ‘getting into the character’… and Kobna has definitely done this!

Last, but certainly not least, it is clear from the narrative and events from the book that the author has a detailed knowledge of London and a vivid imagination in building the events of the book into the city. It isn’t so much that the setting of the events is a coincidence; London is built into the heart and soul of the story – it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else! That definitely shows. No landmark is too big and no sidestreet too small to have escaped the notice of Ben Aaronovitch; each winding alley has its history carved into the book. I am not going to pretend that I know London well – truth is I’ve only visited briefly twice. That being said, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. I don’t think it matters if you know the geography of the city because ultimately that’s not the point. It’s how this comes together with the story of Rivers of London to create a fun, quirky urban fantasy novel that paves the way for a fantastic series! Does it help? Quite possibly, but equally it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

So perhaps now you see why I binged the next four books of the series within three months after listening to Rivers of London. If you haven’t read it yet, or question whether it might be your cup of tea I ask you to throw your misconceptions out the window. I am certainly glad I did!

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Head On – John Scalzi

Today’s audiobook review of Head On by John Scalzi has been on the list for review for some time. I listened to the audiobook just less than a year ago as of writing this review. I listened to this second instalment of the Lock In series having loved the first book.

 

Head On – John Scalzi

Head On (Lock In, #2) by John Scalzi | Goodreads

John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi’s trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

 

My Thoughts…

I was taken with the idea of Hilketa immediately. In what other world could a sport be made out of attacking robots, or threeps controlled by humans? To recap from the first book, the people controlling the threeps are those with Haden’s Syndrome, a severe medical condition where people are ‘locked in’ to their bodies. They are fully aware but have no control of their bodies at all. It only affected a small number of those who contracted the contagious virus (1%), but for them, it had devastating consequences. The development of the technology to allow them a semblance of a real-life via threeps was a long time coming afterwards.

Agent Shane also has Haden’s and growing up he was a poster child for the technology. Now he is a detective investigating any crimes with a Haden link. He and Leslie Vann have their work cut out for them in this latest case.

I went into Head On with high expectations. Lock In was the first book I had read/listened to by John Scalzi and honestly, I wasn’t disappointed! The book followed on nicely from Lock In and the narrative was easy to follow. I daresay that you could even listen to Head On independently; reminders as to certain aspects of Haden’s and events in the first book of the series are re-capped. Obviously, reading Lock In first is an advantage as the events of the first book are alluded to, but equally, I wouldn’t say it was essential either.

The dynamic between Agent’s Shane and Vann is just as good as in the previous book. Chris Shane is a witty character and I enjoyed his perspective on events in the book. Despite his privileged background, his understanding of society, human nature and how the world works makes him a great detective. Agent Vann is her usual blunt, abrasive self. If there was a character I had to name who hates people the most, she would be top of the list! She’s so to-the-point with her bluntness that it’s hilarious!

The depth and detail that has gone into the planning of each book is both brilliant and unnerving all at once. When I reviewed Lock In back in 2019 I said that the virus was so well-developed in its history and the impact it had on the world as a whole and that it could easily be real. In 2021, that’s not a thought any of us will want to particularly entertain, but I stand by what I said!

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: Auxiliary: London 2039

In today’s review, I feature a cyberpunk thriller novel that I really enjoyed reading towards the end of last year. I was kindly provided with a copy of the book in exchange for a review; I’m glad I agreed. It is the last book I agreed to take on before I stopped accepting any review requests. It was a really fun and intriguing read and I hope you like the sound of it too: –

 

Auxiliary: London 2039 – Jon Richter

Auxiliary: London 2039 by Jon Richter | Goodreads

The silicon revolution left Dremmler behind, but a good detective is never obsolete.

London is quiet in 2039—thanks to the machines. People stay indoors, communicating through high-tech glasses and gorging on simulated reality while 3D printers and scuttling robots cater to their every whim. Mammoth corporations wage war for dominance in a world where human augmentation blurs the line between flesh and steel.

And at the center of it all lurks The Imagination Machine: the hyper-advanced, omnipresent AI that drives our cars, flies our planes, cooks our food, and plans our lives. Servile, patient, tireless … TIM has everything humanity requires. Everything except a soul.

Through this silicon jungle prowls Carl Dremmler, police detective—one of the few professions better suited to meat than machine. His latest case: a grisly murder seemingly perpetrated by the victim’s boyfriend. Dremmler’s boss wants a quick end to the case, but the tech-wary detective can’t help but believe the accused’s bizarre story: that his robotic arm committed the heinous crime, not him. An advanced prosthetic, controlled by a chip in his skull.

A chip controlled by TIM.

Dremmler smells blood: the seeds of a conspiracy that could burn London to ash unless he exposes the truth. His investigation pits him against desperate criminals, scheming businesswomen, deadly automatons—and the nightmares of his own past. And when Dremmler finds himself questioning even TIM’s inscrutable motives, he’s forced to stare into the blank soul of the machine.

Auxiliary is gripping, unpredictable, and bleakly atmospheric—ideal for fans of cyberpunk classics like the Blade Runner movies, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, and the Netflix original series Black Mirror.

 

My Thoughts…

There is a vast array of characters within the novel to complement the narrative and bring it to life. The main character who mistrusts technology is only fitting in an investigation in which technology appears to have gone awry. Carl Dremmler is a bit of a gruff old-schooler in this brave new world. He lives his life reminiscing of how things used to be… the good old days. When it comes to technology he is very old-fashioned. However, his distrust allows him a different perspective from those who have embraced it readily. Whilst he is not the most affable of people, he is very easy to read and get on with as a reader.

The universe in which Auxiliary: London 2039 is set is completely unique; the world-building aspect of this advanced civilization appealed to me greatly. The urban setting has it’s commonalities with modern-day London, but technologies like self-driving airborne vehicles place the setting distinctly apart from what we recognise London to be.

The pace of the book is great – there is plenty of action to keep the pages turning and new clues/revelations to keep you guessing. At just over 200 pages it’s a very approachable read. I read the book over a couple of days. I read a lot, so that’s not unexpected, but I honestly believe that anyone could pick this up with ease.

The plot concept of technology turning against humans isn’t a new one, but it appeals to a wide audience for a number of reasons. Technology is a huge part of our daily lives. We depend on it, and its presence is a familiar one. Technology is also evolving rapidly and with more wearable tech becoming more commonplace, the technology in Auxiliary: London 2039 doesn’t feel like a far stretch into the future. How easily we as readers can relate to futuristic technology is the reason the book is entertaining for many. If you have read even the synopsis, never mind the book, you’ll probably agree that it is an equally exciting and frightening realisation!

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

In today’s review, I will be sharing my thoughts on the final book of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and honestly, I just hope I can do the book justice! I fell in love with this series the moment I started it… as you could probably have guessed based on the speed I binge-read it! If you haven’t read my reviews of the first two books, you can find my reviews of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight using these links.

Now that you’re all caught up, shall we get into today’s review?

 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor | Goodreads

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

 

My Thoughts…

Dreams of Gods and Monsters is an epic conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. I had such high expectations from the previous books; a lot was at stake. Disappointment in the conclusion would have been a bitter end…. but, of course, Laini Taylor pulled all her tricks out of the bag. The synopsis isn’t wrong in calling this last instalment stunning. It has made the series one of my favourites of all-time, and one I will read again and again!

YA, or young adult isn’t a genre I read a lot of. I’ve read a few in my time but compared to a lot of other bloggers my age it isn’t a go-to genre for me. I would say the vast majority of YA books I have read are Laini Taylor’s. I find that typically the stories have a ‘coming of age’ element to them, which is a trope I have read a lot from the fantasy books I read. Honestly, I think it’s a tad over-used, but Laini manages to incorporate it quite discreetly so that it feel s more like character development rather than the whole event the book/series is based around. It’s natural and effortless to read. Arguably, I would say that Dreams of Gods and Monsters has almost a collective coming-of-age element to the book as each character has their existence threatened, allegiances tested and a new reality.

The history between the angels and the monsters is conflicted. They have fought each other for their own survival for so long, and neither side is innocent. The gritty reality of their world and the shades of grey in the morality of their behaviour make the novel (and series) far more interesting than a black and white good vs. evil conflict. It’s something I have praised the series about in my earlier reviews and I will do so again. It is one of my favourite things about it, especially how this mindset and reality is tested to the limit in Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

Another aspect of the book that I love and want to champion (again) is the relationship between Karou and Akiva. I am not one for romance in books at all, but their relationship isn’t like most portrayed in YA novels. Yes, it’s a forbidden love and they are kept apart by the divides in their people (I think this is a common enough trope of romance from what I gather). What I like about it is that it isn’t sexualised. Karou and Akiva see the world differently from others; they don’t see the need for the divide and the conflict between their people. They dreamed long ago of a world in which they could live and be together – of companionship, free from the prejudice and discrimination that keeps them apart.

I could keep going on forever about this book, I really could! But, I have to stop rambling at some point. Honestly, if you didn’t get the vibe from the review, then all I can say is this. Read it! Read them all. I binged the whole series I loved it that much! Normally I like to take my time and savour a series, but I couldn’t with Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I couldn’t wait to read the next instalment. I was gutted it ended, but I’m equally satisfied and I know I’ll be picking it up again one day.

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Hi guys and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom is the second book of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology. If you haven’t read my review of Six of Crows yet, you can find a link to that here. Please note that inevitably this review may well contain spoilers for the first book. So, if you haven’t read it yet or don’t want anything to be spoiled for you, I suggest you don’t read this review until you’ve caught up with the series.

 

Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo | Goodreads

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

 

My Thoughts…

The Grishaverse is a well-established setting from Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy. I, however, haven’t read any other books by Leigh Bardugo to date, so I went into this completely brand-new. That didn’t matter one bit however as I have really gotten into the universe the novels are set in without having any difficulty understanding what was going on and the political/societal backdrop. Everything is nicely explained and recapped without delving into too much detail. It was the perfect balance between providing the backdrop and reminding me of previous events whilst not compromising the action. 

Events in Crooked Kingdom take place immediately after Six of Crows. The gang have just completed the most epic heist ever, miraculously unscathed, but now manage to find themselves in even greater danger. Kaz’s past really comes to light in this book and shapes the current events that risk everything the group has obtained so far. Kaz so far had been a bit of a mystery, and so I enjoyed seeing how his past has shaped the man he has become. Plenty of hints were given in Six of Crows, so I enjoyed the development of his backstory. 

There are plenty of plot twists in Crooked Kingdom to keep readers on their toes. When I first picked the book up I had no idea how events would pan out. The plans of the gang oft go awry – in fact, as far away as planned, but that’s exciting. Seeing how the events play out and how the characters react in stressful situations is the bread and butter of the series. It’s also what Leigh Bardugo is good at writing. It’s chaotic, high-risk, thrilling and still cohesively written and easy for the reader to follow. 

I said it before in my review of Six of Crows, but I love how unperfect the characters are. They have all done bad things, awful things; they steal, fight and will even kill, and yet still you can’t help but find yourself rooting for them. In Crooked Kingdom especially, the odds are stacked against them. For those of you that like that sort of thing, there are also a number of budding romances between various characters of the book. I read that other people quite enjoyed this aspect, and I certainly didn’t object to it. I’m just not a very romantic person… it has to be said! Still, based on my experience of this duology, I will definitely go on to read more books by Leigh Bardugo. I have fallen in love with the Grishaverse and the characters she brings to life in her novels!

Have you read or listened to either Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom? Let me know in the comments! 

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Review and GIVEAWAY: A Remedy in Time – Jennifer Macaire

I am very excited to be taking part in today’s blog tour for A Remedy in Time by Jennifer Macaire! The reason I wanted to take part today is that I have read a number of Jennifer Macaire’s books to date. These books include four books from The Road to Alexander series and A Crown in Time as well as this latest book. I have loved every single one to date, so when I got the email about this blog tour I had to say yes! As always, thank you to Jennifer Macaire and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour.

The timing of this tour might seem funny given the premise of the book. You’ll see what I mean. And yet, despite the casual link to certain current events going on right now, this is a very different story and was an excellent read for some escapism from everything going on. If you’re intrigued and want to find out more, here are the details of the book, my full review and a chance to enter a giveaway to win a $25 Amazon gift certificate: –

 

A Remedy in Time – Jennifer Macaire

A Remedy In Time: Your favourite new timeslip story, from the author of the cult classic TIME FOR ALEXANDER series by Jennifer Macaire | Goodreads

To save the future, she must turn to the past . . .

San Francisco, Year 3377. A deadly virus has taken the world by storm. Scientists are desperately working to develop a vaccine. And Robin Johnson – genius, high-functioning, and perhaps a little bit single-minded – is delighted. Because, to cure the disease, she’s given the chance to travel back in time.

But when Robin arrives at the last Ice Age hoping to stop the virus at its source, she finds more there than she bargained for. And just as her own chilly exterior is beginning to thaw, she realises it’s not only sabre-toothed tigers that are in danger of extinction . . .

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK      Amazon US      Headline

 

My Thoughts…

A common theme throughout Jennifer Macaire’s books, and one of my favourite things about them, is the combination of science-fiction and historical-fiction genres. To an extent that’s to be expected in a novel encompassing time-travel. However, the time travel element of the book isn’t just a means of starting the story. From the act of time travelling itself, to advanced technology and having biodegradable equipment to avoid leaving any traces, the science-fiction aspect of the novel is present throughout the narrative. I love how well the two genres are blended together seamlessly!

Robin is a really interesting main character and I enjoyed her complexity. She is far from the prime candidate to be sent off on a mission for the Tempus University, but her expertise in variants of the virus ravaging the modern-day world gives her the opportunity to prove herself. However, she finds herself in deeper waters than she imagined, and the plot that unfolds had me questioning everything I knew so far. What was really going on, and who could Robin trust? In between all the action and mystery, as if this wasn’t enough, there is plenty of humour in the book too. I was laughing out loud on several occasions whilst reading A Remedy in Time.

12,000 years into the past, danger lurks around every corner. Wild beasts and the forces of Mother Nature are new territories for Robin, and for us readers. The descriptions of the landscapes and animals Robin discovers are absolutely beautiful and vivid. It was very easy to imagine myself as the reader in Robin’s shoes and discovering this entirely different world.

The novel is well-paced and full of action to keep us readers hooked. I found it very easy to sit and read A Remedy in Time for longer stints. There is so much going on and the underlying mystery is exciting and lures you into reading the next chapter, and the next, to see what happens next! I seriously didn’t want to put it down! In between all the action and mystery, as if this wasn’t enough, there is plenty of humour in the book too. I was laughing out loud on several occasions whilst reading A Remedy in Time.

I really enjoyed reading this book, as I am sure you have gathered from this review. It is the perfect mix of genres and tone to keep you reading for hours. I cannot recommend this book enough and I hope anyone who goes on to read it as well enjoys it as much as I did!

 

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives in France with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves chocolate, biking, & reading. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/jennifermacaire

https://www.facebook.com/TempusU

 

Giveaway to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494405/

 

Book Review: Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Rags of Time by Michael Ward. I very kindly received a copy of the book in exchange for review last year and I’m looking forward to finally sharing my thoughts with you here. Before that though – here are the details of the book: –

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Rags of Time by Michael Ward | Goodreads

London.

1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

My Thoughts…

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and Rags of Time gave me the opportunity to try something completely new. Set in 1639, it’s a new time period of British history for me. Whilst the events of the book are fiction, the political and religious tumult within the book reflects the difficulties King Charles I experienced in his reign. This particular historical period isn’t one I’d had much exposure to before reading Rags of Time, and so I enjoyed reading something new!

I also enjoyed the more immediate action taking place in the book. Merchants are dropping like flies and Thomas Tallant finds himself prime suspect of the murders. Desperate to prove his innocence, he takes in interest in the murders in the hopes of discovering the truth to clear his name. But the Magistrates are after him, and with men of such power on his tail, he feels the walls closing in around him.

The wide array of characters within the book adds a lot of colour and intrigue to the narrative. From those trying to help Thomas clear his name to the men who set out to prove him guilty, an array of relationships build a dense web within Thomas must navigate. I think this aspect of the book is very well-written. There are a lot of moving parts in the book and so the character relationships are consistently shifting in line with the action.

There is plenty of action in the book to keep all readers entertained. In his efforts to maintain his innocence, Thomas finds himself in wild chases through the city and undertaking covert operations to uncover information. With the help of the incredibly intelligent Jane Seymour, can Thomas prove his innocence? Well, you’ll have to read Rags of Time yourself to find out because I won’t be spoiling it for you!

Thanks to the author Michael Ward for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. It was a pleasure to read!

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Book Review: Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s review of Chimeborn by Daniel Curry. You may recall that I read another book by Daniel Curry not long after my blogging adventure began. His first book, The Kitsune in the Lantern, was a really fun novella aimed at children to read. I really enjoyed this, even though I’m not the target audience, and so when Daniel approached me again to ask for a review of Chimeborn, the obvious answer was a resounding yes! If you haven’t read my previous review, I’ve set up a link above so you can check that out of you wish!

Chimeborn is also aimed at a younger audience, however, it is very reminiscent of another certain story about a wizard attending a magic school. You know the one. I’ve actually just read this more famous story only a few weeks ago, and it was reading that book which reminded me that I also wanted to feature this particular review on my blog soon.

So, without further ado, here are the details of Chimeborn by Daniel Curry: –

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Chimeborn by Daniel Curry | Goodreads

Welcome to Whitby, the quaint, magical town on the sea. Its ruined Abbey watches over from the East Cliff, broken and long since abandoned. However a magic within watches over Darcy Colben and his friends – the Chimeborn.

Born in the witching hour of midnight and gifted with magical sight, Chimeborn can see the Abbey for what it really is. A centuries old academy for their kind, and home to the Council of Chime. The power of Saint Hilda still resides in Whitby and this power has been shattered among the modern Chimeborn. A battle brews for control of the ancient magic, and sides will need to be chosen by all.

Ideal for strong young readers, and an enjoyable story up to young adult, this tale of power and growing up will leave you desperate to explore the shores of the north-east of England and find the magic for yourself.

 

My Thoughts

The story of Chimeborn is set in a charming English town. Those blessed with the powers of the Chimeborn see quite a different side of Whitby, with the glorious Abbey seemingly transformed from ruins into their home and place of academic study. The descriptions in the book are very vivid – it is easy to imagine you are there and part of the story.

I really enjoyed the magic system introduced, explained and put it to full action in this novel. You know me, I love magic in stories. However, with a young audience in mind, I think it is perfect to spark their imagination. Each of the main characters has their own power, allowing us to experience the magic at their disposal first hand. They also work really well together, especially in the circumstances of being sent away from their families to study. Instead, they form their own family between them and they bond well.

Chimeborn is a fun, fantasy novel for children. The characters are engaging and relatable, and the action within will definitely hold a child’s interest. What I like about this particular book is that it would be a great way to introduce a book series, rather than a one-off story to a child developing their reading skills. I think there is plenty to offer in the Chimeborn universe and that it could be made into a very approachable series.

Chimeborn is a fun, coming-of-age tale perfect for young readers. I’m a twenty-something-year-old fantasy fan even I enjoyed it as a light-hearted read. I hope to see more adventures with Darcy and his friends follow on from this book!

 

 

signature

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads