Tag: Book Review

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.

 

 

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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! 

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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!

 

 

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Audiobook Review: Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

Hi guys and welcome to today’s review of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom is the second book of the Six of Crows duology. If you haven’t yet read my thoughts on the first book, Six of Crows, you can find a link to that here!

And now without further adieu, here are my thoughts on the second instalment of 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…

Crooked Kingdom is one of the best audiobooks I have listened to, to date. A charismatic cast accentuates brilliantly-written characters, who together attempted one of the most daring and epic heists of all time in Six of Crows and won. Life should be cosy in this sequel, with all their newfound riches, and yet they find themselves back in the deep end almost immediately. The result? Another exciting, action-packed fantasy novel full of betrayal, backstabbing, and the usual shenanigans we can expect from Kaz and his crew.

I listened to Six of Crows back in 2019, finishing the audiobook in September. I then moved on to Crooked Kingdom reasonably quickly. I’m not a big listener of audiobooks, however, completing crooked kingdom within six months of listening to the first audiobook is quite speedy for me. It’s not my main way of reading! I enjoyed the first book so much that I wanted to jump into this sequel and experience the action and adventure I knew I could expect, and I wasn’t disappointed!

As in the first book, I enjoyed the narrative being broken down into chapters narrated by different characters. This gives variety to the story and provides different perspectives at different times to add depth to the narrative. Each character has their own distinctive personality, quirks and traits. Some are definitely better (as individuals) than others but this is also something else I enjoyed. More often than not, fantasy novels are littered with altruistic characters. So, to come across some more devious, nefarious or just downright out for themselves is a refreshing change. Many of the characters have developed since the first instalment of this series. Some who have grown on me most include Kaz, Mattias and Nina. Each character has their flaws, but this makes them all the more relatable to us as listeners.

The dynamic between sets of characters adds intrigue to an already tense situation. They have already pulled off the impossible and yet further trouble looms; rising tensions and conflict between them threaten to jeopardise their lives.

You know me, I am a huge fan of magic systems within fantasy novels, and Crooked Kingdom did not disappoint in this respect either. Crooked Kingdom is my second read by Leigh Bardugo, and I sense that there is a whole range of novels also set in the same universe as this book. Despite not having read these, I didn’t find it made any difference to my understanding of the universe and the magic systems involved in this series. If anything, it has made me want to pick these up all the more!

I really enjoyed listening to this duology, and I have high expectations about reading other books by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes that can be a risk if the books don’t live up to expectation, however, from my experience of the six of crows trilogy I don’t think I have any reason to doubt her writing style and the stories not working for me. This is why it is good to listen to recommendations and try new authors. These are the first two books I have read/listened to by this author and I am very grateful to have had the chance to read other reviews before taking the plunge. I hope others can find my review useful and please, if you have not read these books already, you won’t regret it!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: The Dark Chorus – Ashley Meggitt

Hello guys and welcome to yet another blog tour post… the second in as many days! Today’s post is all about The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt. As a huge psychological thriller fan, I was really looking forward to reading this last month. The book didn’t disappoint either –in fact, it’s pretty high up there on my best reads of the year!

As always, I take the opportunity here to say a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and the author for organising the tour. It’s a pleasure to be concluding the tour on my blog today.

Would you like to find out more about The Dark Chorus? The details are below: –

 

The Dark Chorus – Ashley Meggitt

The Dark Chorus by Ashley Meggitt | Goodreads

Oblivio salvationem Angelis opperitur

Oblivion awaits the Angel’s salvation

The Boy can see lost souls.

He has never questioned the fact that he can see them. He thinks of them as the Dark Chorus. When he sets out to restore the soul of his dead mother it becomes clear that his ability comes from within him. It is a force that he cannot ignore – the last shard of the shattered soul of an angel.

To be restored to the kingdom of light, the shard must be cleansed of the evil that infects it – but this requires the corrupt souls of the living!

With the help from Makka, a psychotically violent young man full of hate, and Vee, an abused young woman full of pain, the Boy begins to kill.

Psychiatrist Dr Eve Rhodes is seconded to assist the police investigation into the Boy’s apparently random ritualistic killings. As the investigation gathers pace, a pattern emerges. When Eve pulls at the thread from an article in an old psychology journal, what might otherwise have seemed to her a terrible psychotic delusion now feels all too real…

Will the Boy succeed in restoring the angel’s soul to the light? Can Eve stop him, or will she be lost to realm of the Dark Chorus?

 

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/thedarkchorus

 

My Thoughts…

Firstly, I can’t believe that The Dark Chorus is a debut novel. The story, narrative style and character development in The Dark Chorus are absolutely fantastic. I was under the impression from the book that the author was an experienced writer – the book is that well written!

I enjoyed the story being told from the perspective of a teenage boy. That might sound strange, but it was a refreshing change to have a main character with a bit of youth and naivety. The vast majority of books I read are written about and told from the perspective of adults. That’s perfectly okay, but I enjoyed seeing the Boy’s world from a younger perspective. There are only a couple of books now that I have read from juvenile main characters, and I have loved those too.

The Boy’s background is unique, and as a result of that and his abilities, he is perceived as being mentally ill. He can see and interact with The Dark Chorus, the souls of those that have been unable to pass on into the afterlife. After rescuing his mother’s soul from the cacophony of the asylum, he discovers his calling and sets out to fulfil his duty – to cleanse the soul of the angel inside of him.

The Dark Chorus lives up to its name. As the synopsis indicates, death and violence are significant in the narrative. There is also a particular scene that’s a near miss on sexual abuse, so that’s a word of warning to anyone in case you’re not comfortable with reading it. The main characters of the book, the Boy, Makka and Vee are all troubled individuals. They have each gone through their own trials before meeting, and together, the three of them are formidable. As a former psychology student, I enjoyed the back story of each character and how it shaped the characters we see in the narrative today.

Regardless of the dark subject matter and theme, The Dark Chorus was really easy to pick up and enjoy. If like me, you are a huge fan of psychological fiction then I strongly recommend you give this book a try. You won’t regret it!

 

 Author Bio

Ashley Meggitt lives near Cambridge, UK, with his wife Jane. He left school to join a psychedelic rock band when he realised that sex, drugs, and rock and roll was a thing. Subsequently he went back to education and became head of IT for a Cambridge University College. In recent years Ashley has retrained in psychology and is now an associate lecturer in sports psychology. He is studying for his PhD. He also holds an MA in Creative Writing. The Dark Chorus is his debut novel.

Social Media Links –

www.ashleymeggitt.com

www.facebook.com/ashleymeggittbooks

twitter.com/CallMeReg

www.instagram.com/ashleymeggitt39/

Blog Tour Review: Glimmer of Hope – J. A. Andrews

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review of Glimmer of Hope by J. A. Andrews. I am really glad to have been offered to take part in this particular blog tour. As always, I’d like to say a huge thank you to both the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to be sharing my review of Glimmer of Hope with you today.

Glimmer of Hope turned out to be a book that pushed my boundaries – but in a good way. More on that below; now, here are the details of the book: –

 

Glimmer of Hope – J. A. Andrews

Glimmer of Hope by J.A. Andrews | Goodreads

Sometimes chasing a dream can become a nightmare…

Alecia Preen is living in poverty and desperate to make a better life for herself. Having moved to a new area for new beginnings after being disowned by her family, money was fast running out. She is struggling to make ends meet.

With the intention of charging lonely men online for her services, Alecia realises she can supplement her income by being unscrupulous. In meeting Jake Parker he requests that she role-plays as a psychiatrist, but he makes her aware of an underground millionaires playground called Sordida. He warns her to stay away.

As Alecia’s curiosity gets the better of her, she is amazed by the wealth and decadence on offer. Sordida is not the club she had anticipated because behind the legendary name lurks a very dark secret. A secret that could cost her everything.

He pays by the hour and Alecia pays in ways she had never imagined.

 

Purchase Links –   Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Glimmer of Hope wasn’t the book I was expecting it to be. In reality, it was so much better! With a fast-paced, intriguing narrative and an unexpected plot twist at the end, it’s definitely a novella for fans of thrillers. This book is the first I have read by J. A. Andrews, but I would definitely read his other two based on Glimmer of Hope.

One word of warning is that the book is NSFW. I had anticipated from the synopsis that there may be some parts of the book that had mature content. If I’m perfectly honest, had I known the prevalence of it in the book, it would have made me think twice before picking it up. It’s not really my cup of tea, but in moderation, I can handle it. Despite that, I still really enjoyed the novella. I only mention this to make potential readers aware of it so they can choose whether it’s their cup of tea or not. As I said, it isn’t mine, but it still worked for me so it might for you too. Either way, you can make an informed decision.

The main character Alecia is a young woman, down on her luck with life after starting again away from her family. Money is tight and stacking shelves at the local supermarket hardly provides a cushy lifestyle. Those personal circumstances are very easy to relate to, and the poverty cycle is something we are all familiar with. When Alecia is presented with an opportunity to earn more money and sustain a better quality of life, of course, she takes it. The events that follow and the consequences are far from expected and spiral out of her control.

Alecia is a likeable character and I loved her determination and spirit to better her life. Whilst they are not choices I would ever make, I can appreciate that she is being opportunistic where she can to try to get herself out of a grotty bedsit and into a place of her own. It shouldn’t be too much to ask… and it’s no more ambitious, greedy or selfish than the rest of us.

Glimmer of Hope was a reasonably quick read for me. The narrative and pace of the novella had a good flow, so it was easy to get engrossed and read chapter after chapter and lose awareness of time. At 205 pages, it’s approachable for all readers to pick up.

 

Author Bio

J.A. Andrews is the author of gripping twisty psychological thrillers. Mummy’s Boy, and You Let Him In, are his full-length novellas, while Glimmer of Hope is a shorter story as a Kindle exclusive.  As well as writing fiction, JA Andrews enjoys reading a mix of genres, watching various reality TV and spending time with family and friends.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JasonA1980

Book Review: City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

I read City of Stairs at the beginning of the year and I am only just getting around to my review now in November. That’s pretty bad, isn’t it? I think it is because I have taken part in a lot of blog tours and such this year, as these books get priority reviews. Oh well! It is what it is! I haven’t done myself any favours and made notes, so today’s review is completely from memory.

 

City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett

Goodreads – City of Stairs

The city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions — until its divine protectors were killed. Now, Bulikov’s history has been censored and erased, its citizens subjugated. But the surreal landscape of the city itself, forever altered by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it, stands as a haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched — along with her terrifying “secretary”, Sigrud — to solve a murder.

But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem, and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

A tale of vast conspiracies, dead gods, and buried histories, City of Stairs is at once a gripping spy novel and a stunningly original work of fantasy.

 

My Thoughts…

I hadn’t picked up any books by Robert Bennett Jackson before reading City of Stairs, so he was a completely new author to me. Whilst I enjoy re-visiting favourite authors, I enjoy the variety of new ones too. My read of City of Stairs at the beginning of the year was long overdue. I added the book to my TBR way back in 2015… it was about time I got to it really!

Fantasy is my all-time favourite genre. I read a lot of it, and so I’ve got pretty firm ideas about what themes within fantasy novels I really enjoy. The first thing I always look to is the world-building and development of the setting of the story. City of Stairs certainly didn’t disappoint in this sense. Before the story even really begins, the author sets up the political divides and complex relations that are pivotal to the narrative. I personally love this sort of thing in fantasy books, but even if you don’t, it isn’t so overwhelming as to be difficult to read.

I’m also a huge fan of magical elements in fantasy novels, and there is plenty of it in City of Stairs. I think it is really cleverly woven into what is a spy thriller/mystery novel. They aren’t genres I would have thought to put together, but I really think the risk of doing it paid off because, in my opinion, it worked really well.

The main characters in this book have been written very well. I got on very well with Shara and felt for her being in the awful position of navigating treacherous ground in search of the truth. She’s complemented by a host of minor characters that come together to create a world fizzing with tension and intrigue.

At 450 pages, City of Stairs is a solid fantasy novel, although not an epic compared to plenty of other fantasy novels I know and have read. There is plenty of content and the story unfolds at a good pace. It keeps you interested in finding out what happens next but doesn’t drag on either. It suited me well at least. If you like fantasy but the idea of committing to 700-800 page novels, this book gives you all the great elements of those books… but with fewer pages.

 

 

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Book Review: Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite all-time authors, and today’s post is all about the 5th book in his Mistborn series, Shadows of Self. The Mistborn series is enough of a reason to fall in love with his writing, but I have also dabbled in a few other books of his now and they have all lived up to the excellent standard! I’ve read a total of nine of his books now (granted, six are Mistborn) and he hasn’t put a foot wrong with me yet. I also have a few more books on the TBR to try in the near future.

 

Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self shows Mistborn’s society evolving as technology and magic mix, the economy grows, democracy contends with corruption, and religion becomes a growing cultural force, with four faiths competing for converts.

This bustling, optimistic, but still shaky society now faces its first instance of terrorism, crimes intended to stir up labor strife and religious conflict. Wax and Wayne, assisted by the lovely, brilliant Marasi, must unravel the conspiracy before civil strife stops Scadrial’s progress in its tracks.

Shadows of Self will give fans of The Alloy of Law everything they’ve been hoping for and, this being a Brandon Sanderson book, more, much more.

 

My Thoughts…

Where The Alloy of Law is reasonably separate from the previous Mistborn books (events in those books are now history/legend), in Shadows of Self we see little elements tie back into the original series. I really loved this! Whilst I would have been happy for each book mini-series to go their own way, I like that the narrative is going back to its roots. It has been a long time since I read the first three books, but even so, I could keep track of what was going on and recognise some friendly old faces.

I really enjoy how Brandon Sanderson has modernised the series from the original books. The concept was a stroke of literary genius anyway, but being willing to adapt the intricately built world to allow for technological advancements and such to up the ante on the magic is just something else. Most authors would be frightened to mess with such a core element to the novel, but not Sanderson. And boy, am I glad he did! It makes an already intricately detailed world all the more plausible – and you know how much I love my world-building!

I wasn’t sure where the Steris/Wax engagement was going to go, or what I thought of it, but the pair has really grown on me in this book. The pair couldn’t be more opposite in their ways, yet strangely they complement each other in ways I didn’t expect them to. I do feel a bit sorry for Marasi though – I feel she has been cast aside a little in this book. It’s a shame because she’s brilliant, but she still manages to shine where she can regardless.

Wayne is, at this point, my favourite character in the series. He is very funny, has a skewed view of what is acceptable behaviour and what is not all and gets away with it too! He doesn’t have the best moral compass in the world (completely opposite to Wax) but regardless of what he does, his heart is in the right place. As a character, he is very easy to warm to.

If you love Brandon Sanderson’s other books or have read and enjoyed earlier books in the Mistborn series then I highly recommend reading Shadows of Self (and any other book in the series really)! I have also read and loved The Bands of Mourning, the sixth book in the series. Sharing my thoughts on that instalment is being saved for another day though.

 

 

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