Tag: ya

Shelf Control #29 – 16/04/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! As you may recall, this is a regular feature series I started last year and I am looking to get back into sharing these posts regularly again. That said, I was meant to post this last Friday but due to finishing up work late for a week off, I decided to postpone.  My emphasis with this post is to clear some of the old books on my TBR pile; by doing so I am making sure the books on my list are still ones I am interested in and  I can get excited about reading them soon!

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read and 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.

This week‘s featured book is a science-fiction themed young adult novel. On the whole, I don’t read much in the YA genre, however, I like the sound of this one. It also has a bit of a dystopian type theme which I am a huge fan of. That might sound odd given that the premise of the novel is about habitation on Mars – typically viewed as a futuristic theme. I’m interested to see how it works out anyway!

Read on to find out about the book!

 

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Goodreads – Red Rising

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

 

My Thoughts….

I don’t always take note of a book’s rating on Goodreads, but with this one I certainly did and it makes me excited! This book has over 268,000 ratings on Goodreads and an overall average of 4.24 stars out of 5. That’s amazing!

Pierce Brown is a new author for me. This will be my first book of his; given my interest in the synopsis and the high rating it has from other readers I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll regret picking this up!

Aside from the sci-fi futuristic vibe, I’m also really interested to see how the class system is employed and what impact it has on the novel. It’s blatantly the driving force behind the events of the book but I’d like to see how it is portrayed and how it compares to the kind of society we know. I just hope it doesn’t try to hammering too hard the different roles in society – I have actually stopped reading books in the past that focussed on this so much that it was impossible to invest into the characters! I doubt it though!

That’s all in today’s Shelf Control post. Have you read Red Rising? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

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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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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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Promo Post: When The Children Come – Barry Kirwan

Hi guys and welcome to today’s promo post for When The Children Come by Barry Kirwan. You may recall I read another book from this author, The Dead Tell Lies, (under the alternative pen name of J F Kirwan), last year and I loved it! It’s for that reason that I knew I wanted to feature him back on the blog again and share the details of his new book in the hopes that you are interested in picking this book up. At around 300 pages, this is a pretty approachable length for anyone no matter how often you pick up a book normally.

As always, thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour! Be sure to check out the posts also being shared by my fellow bloggers in the days to come. Details of those participating in the tour can be found at the end of the post.

And now, here are the details for When the Children Come!

 

When the Children Come – Barry Kirwan

When the children come by Barry Kirwan | Goodreads

Nathan, emotionally scarred after three tours in Afghanistan, lives alone in Manhattan until New Year’s Eve, when he meets Lara. The next morning, he notices something strange is going on – a terrified kid is being pursued by his father, and a girl, Sally, pleads with Nathan to hide her from her parents. There is no internet, no television, no phone coverage.

Nathan, Lara and Sally flee along the East Coast, encountering madmen, terrorists, the armed forces, and other children frightened for their lives. The only thing Nathan knows for sure is that he must not fall asleep…

A fantastic and original premise…flashes of Stephen King and MR Carey.” Tom Witcomb

A nicely taut thriller, with a Lee Child feel to its staccato writing and strong action sequences, and a high concept stretching the novel into true science fiction territory.” Amanda Rutter

Not just a page-turner – all in all a fabulous novel, which I was sad to finish.” Loulou Brown

 

Purchase Links – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio

I was born in Farnborough and grew up watching the Red Arrow jet fighters paint the sky at airshows. I didn’t get into writing until years later when I arrived in Paris, where I penned The Eden Paradox series (four books) over a period of ten years. My SF influences were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Frank Herbert, and Orson Scott Card, but also David Brin who writes about smart aliens. Iain Banks and Alistair Reynolds remain major influences, as well as Neal Asher, Peter F Hamilton and Jack McDevitt.

My main SF premise is that if we do ever meet aliens, they’ll probably be far more intelligent than we are, and with very different values and ideas of how the galaxy works. As a psychologist by training, that interests me in terms of how to think outside our own (human) frame of reference.

When I’m not writing, I’m either working (my day job), which is preventing mid-air collisions, reading, or doing yoga or tai chi. When I’m on holiday I’m usually diving, looking for sharks. Most times I find them, or rather, they find me.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EdenParadox 

Website:  www.barrykirwan.com

Twitter: @Eden_paradox

 

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: Extract of Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post! Today I have the privilege of sharing an exclusive extract of Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde with you. I really liked the sound of the book but unfortunately didn’t have the time to read and review the book myself. Instead, I am sharing a small snippet of the book with you, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

If you want to read more after the extract, I’ll provide the details of the book for you.

Happy reading!

 

Extract

The following extract is from Chapter One of Chroma. Before the chapter, the book starts with three opening monologues on the Roberts family, Jean, Paul and Riley. Chapter One is the first time you get to meet Riley’s best friend Eli, and he tells you just as much about Riley as he does himself. These moments were heavily influenced by my childhood shenanigans, especially the description of the school and the low hung back packs!

Riley stands in the entrance of Lydean Junior School with his best friend Eli. They are both wearing the cutest rocket designed backpacks, with the shoulder straps lowered all the way down so that the bag hangs at the back of their knees. They still think this is how the cool kids do it, but if you take a good look around the playground, this phase seems to have worn off. Maybe their parents finally told them off for bad posture. Sadly, Riley and Eli didn’t get the memo and continue to rock the look like it’s two thousand and fifteen.

Riley’s mother Jean has just dropped him off and due to the rural nature of Lydean, it is not unusual to drop off an eight-year-old before the bell rings. In this town, everyone knows each other and looks out for one another.

The school itself has been built inside an old chapel, originally by the name of Christ Church in the eighteen hundreds. It has brick walls, moss growing around the edges, and a large dungeon looking wooden door which the children enter through. There are several teachers and playground assistants patrolling the playground, as dozens of kids already start to use their energy on football, tag, and for the girls, a gossip, they’re never too young! But Riley and Eli are different from the other children, they stand alone, just the two of them, whilst the other children all mingle with much larger friendship groups.

These two are clearly the outcasts and prefer to stand by the entrance of the school. They aren’t eager to go in, but they know that if anyone tries to pick on them or make fun of Eli’s weight, like they so often do, then most likely, a teacher will see it and give that so-called child a detention.

A detention in junior school doesn’t necessarily mean anything, because all they miss is five minutes of lunch time, but for a child that’s an eternity, because the other children have already adapted the hierarchy and decided who will be tag first. If a child misses even five minutes, then how do they know who to run from? They don’t. They’d be walking onto the playground, tiptoeing out onto the gravel as if they were coming out onto the German frontline, which is an even scarier thought for year fours who have just started learning about world war two.

For some children, this instils a sense of bravery, the ones that thrive in this situation are the ones most likely to go into a life of fighting, whether that be the military, pro-wrestling or just a back-alley brawl, after they’ve got hammered down the pub.

Eli and Riley want none of it, they just want to be left alone and live freely without the aspect of war and junior school politics, they don’t even want girlfriends, girls are gross! The two of them just want to nerd out on movies, tell each other stories, and eventually, without even meaning to, grow up without any damage. A difficult path to go down with the brutality of school.

Eli is a very unique person, and even though he acts like a movie buff try hard in front of Riley, he hasn’t seen half the movies Riley has because his mother isn’t as willing to bend the rules of cinema certificates, and we can’t blame her, a movie is an eighteen for a reason and Eli is only seven. However, that doesn’t stop him from further fuelling Riley. The thought of someone that knows much more than him is exhilarating, because every day is a surprise, and without even watching a zombie film, he already knows all the ways to kill one. The easy option is to stab it straight in the head, or if you want a bit of fun, you chop off all its limbs and then do it, but that would take skill and bravery, a job more suited to Riley.

However, much like Riley, none of these images or thoughts change Eli, he knows it’s all just part of his best friends’ imagination. Plus, if the apocalypse that Riley always goes on about does happen, Eli is sure he’ll be safe because he’ll have the most experienced and knowledgeable best friend in Lydean to look after him.

Eli’s mother Cecilia isn’t as keen on the Roberts family, but there’s not much she can do about it. Similar to Riley, Eli has no other friends. He is constantly being bullied for his weight, that his mother seemingly keeps encouraging with fish finger or turkey dinosaur dinners, with cheesy chips and beans. In her eyes, that is the perfect meal for a child, and Eli agrees, you can’t get much better than turkey dinosaurs!

But the real reason is that she just can’t cook, she’s tried again and again but always ends up coming back to the effort lacking, frozen food option, and anyway, if it makes Eli happy and fuels his appetite then it can’t be that bad.

One of the reasons why his mother Cecilia lets him continue to hang out with Riley, and let him be influenced by his madness, is because she knows how alone Eli has been since his father left their house a couple of years ago. She knows she can’t get him through it alone, and she believes that it is important for Eli to have a strong male figure in his life, even if that is an eight-year-old boy. Also, with the current circumstances of Riley’s family, she knows that Riley needs Eli just as much. Two boys with big imaginations need a big level of distraction from all the sadness they feel inside, and luckily for them, two brains are better than one.

 

 

Chroma – Oscar Wenman-Hyde

Chroma by Oscar Wenman-Hyde | Goodreads

When Riley watched Chroma, the latest movie by Armani Manora, he had no idea how much his life was about to change. Riley’s parents, Jean and Paul, are currently getting divorced, and they have managed to keep the situation hidden from Riley, until now.

They were unaware of the effects this was having on Riley’s emotional and mental well-being, and as tensions rose at school and at home, he was visited by a voice in his bedroom. Before too long, he began a journey that was not only dangerous, but eye opening.

Chroma explores the rapidly changing family dynamic throughout divorce, and how a child’s imagination can take them to unknown places. It is emotional, insightful and a moving story which not only teaches us how to be an adult, but how to be a child.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Chroma-Oscar-Wenman-Hyde-ebook/dp/B08H5S1JTZ

 

Author Bio

Oscar Wenman-Hyde is a writer living in Gloucester, UK. Born and raised in the quiet towns of North Devon, Oscar would spend the majority of his time as a child writing and directing short films with his brother and neighbours. From here, Oscar’s passion led him to explore all aspects of his creativity, by graduating with a BA Hons in Songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. He now finds joy in all mediums of writing and although he has worked and trained in many areas, he is always inspired by film and remains grounded in storytelling.

Social Media Links –

 

 

Book Review: Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor! After reading and enjoying her Strange the Dreamer duology, I decided I wanted to try her Daughter of Smoke & Bone series. I read the first book on holiday last October (isn’t that a far and distant memory now…) and binge-read the rest of the series shortly after!

I wouldn’t describe myself as a YA reader or fan particularly, but I will make all the exceptions for Laini Taylor. Her writing is brilliant, the stories easy to read and the characters have, in my opinion, a lot more depth than most. I find some YA to be a little trope-y and a bit shallow at times, but not with this series (or Strange) at all.

If you haven’t read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone yet, you can find that post here.

 

Days of Blood & Starlight – Laini Taylor

Goodreads – Days of Blood & Starlight

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

 

My Thoughts…

I wasn’t sure how Laini Taylor was going to follow up such an epic start to the series, but I should never have doubted her! In fact, Days of Blood and Starlight has one of my favourite introductions. I featured it in a First Lines Friday post back in February this year; if you haven’t read it yet and want a chuckle I think you’ll like it.

The idea of my championing a book/series with such a prevalent plotline around a character relationship may seem strange to you. It’s not the sort of thing I normally go for at all. I talked about this in my review of the first book of the series as well, and everything I said there still applies. The relationship isn’t awkward or uncomfortable to read. It has a maturity to it and consequently, there isn’t any of the sappy stuff that I can’t read without wanting to gag. The dynamic between Karou and Akiva is a longing for companionship. In a world where they are on different sides of a bitter war, they struggle against their respective people for acceptance.

Events in Days of Blood and Starlight draw the reader into a completely new plotline. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, whilst brilliant, is really only the introduction to this explosive series. Karou has only just discovered her place in her world of monsters and in one fell swoop, her life is changed forever. And it’s Akiva’s fault. Shunned and friendless, she has plenty to grieve but steps up to do her part in the war between hers and Akiva’s kind.

The truth about Karou and the world she was being protected from is a harsh reality compared to her relatively normal human life back in Prague. Luckily for us readers (and especially me as a huge fan of world-building), Days of Blood and Starlight explores a whole new alternate world and the history of Chimaera and the Angels. The narrative becomes grittier, takes sinister turns and deadly secrets must be kept in order to fight to survive. Karou herself, whilst trying to earn the trust of her peers, must do her part in a dangerous deception. What has she got to lose?

Hope, love, and her dream for a better life. Everything.

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 03/07/2020

In my recent Sunday Summary post, I set myself a theme for today’s First Lines Friday post. I didn’t really know what book or genre I wanted to share, but I wanted to set some criteria so my selection of book was less random than usual. In the end, I settled on choosing a book that I have read and rated five stars.

I spent a long time last night flicking through a number of highly-rated reads and finally settled on today’s selection. It’s a historical fiction novel I read in 2018 and if I remember correctly, I read this in two sittings over two days. It is really easy to read and I was surprised to learn it was written for a younger audience than I expected considering the subject matter. Have you any idea what it might be from the hints? If not, perhaps the opening lines might give it away…

 

One afternoon, when Bruno came home from school, he was surprised to find Maria, the family’s maid – who always kept her head bowed and never looked up from the carpet – standing in his bedroom, pulling all his belongings out of the wardrobe and packing them in four large wooden crates, even the things he’d hidden at the back that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business.

‘What are you doing?’ he asked in as polite a tone as he could muster, for although he wasn’t happy to come home to find someone going through his possessions, his mother had always told him that he was to treat Maria respectfully and not just imitate the way Father spoke to her. ‘You take your hands off my things.’

Maria shook her head and pointed towards the staircase behind him, where Bruno’s mother had just appeared.

 

Intrigued to find out what the book I am featuring this week is?

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne

Goodreads – The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

The story of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is very difficult to describe. Usually we give some clues about the book on the back cover, but in this case we think that would spoil the reading of the book. We think it is important that you start to read without knowing what it is about.

If you do start to read this book, you will go on a journey with a nine-year-old boy called Bruno. (Though this isn’t a book for nine-year-olds.)  And sooner or later you will arrive with Bruno at a fence.

Fences like this exist all over the world. We hope you never have to encounter such a fence.

 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is such an iconic story that I think everyone has an idea of what it’s about, even if you haven’t read the book or watched a film based on it. I went into this book with a vague idea of the story, but reading it for myself was a completely different experience. It’s one of the few books that have made me really cry at the end. Despite the emotional aspect of the story, I absolutely recommend it to anyone and everyone. It offers a child’s innocent and completely different perspective to an awful event.

Have you read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas? Let me know what you think of the story in the comments!

 

 

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Reading List – July 2020

I can’t believe I am writing yet another reading list post. Where is the year going? Don’t get me wrong, with this year’s track record it’s not a bad thing, but still! We’re now over halfway through the year, and I’m definitely not half-way through my reading challenges. Oh well, maybe that’s a discussion for another post, but I’m not beating myself up over it.

For now though, shall we jump into the next few books I am planning to read over the next month?

 

Chimeborn – Daniel Curry

Goodreads – Chimeborn

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.

 

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to carry this book forward to this month, but here we are. I had to cut back a lot of my jobs around the house, as well as hobbies in order to study for an exam. As it happens, I actually sat that exam this morning and the hard work paid off, so it was worth it! I still have around two-thirds of the book to finish, but that equates to a couple of hours reading time, so not a huge thing.

 

The Burning Land – Bernard Cornwell

Goodreads – The Burning Land

The enemy is massing on the borders, a united force for once.

The king, a man of many victories, is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth.

Uthred, the king’s champion, leads his country’s forces to war, but his victory is soured by personal tragedy and by the envy of the king’s court. So he breaks with the king and takes off for the land of his birth, determined to resist all calls for his return. That is, until one unexpected request…

This is the making of England brought magnificently to life by the master of historical fiction.

 

Despite not finishing Chimeborn, I did actually start The Burning Land – the last book on last month’s TBR. I was confident this was going to be a carryover when I wrote last month’s TBR, so its reappearance isn’t a surprise.

A few nights ago I did allow myself a break from studying to have a ‘fun’ read before bed, but I was in the mood to start this book. I’ve read the first few chapters, so I’m 7% of the way through at the moment. I’m optimistic I will get to finish it this month!

 

Grace & Serenity – Annalisa Crawford

Goodreads – Grace & Serenity

Living on the streets is terrifying and exhausting. Grace’s only comforts are a steady stream of vodka, and a strange little boy who’s following her around.

At nineteen, Grace has already had a child and endured an abusive marriage. But she’s also had her baby abducted by her vengeful husband and been framed as a neglectful mother. Even her own parents doubted her version of the story. So she did the only thing that made sense to her—run away.

The streets are unforgiving. Winter is drawing in. And Grace isn’t prepared for the harsh realities of survival. At her very bleakest, a Good Samaritan swoops into her life and rescues her. With a roof over her head and food in her stomach, she longs to see her baby again.

But nothing ever comes for free.

 

I was really glad to be invited onto the blog tour for this book because doesn’t it sound so sinister?! I’m intrigued to read more and find out what it’s all about! I recently read another novel with a strong theme of abuse and it was written really well. I hope this is just as good, because if so, I am bound to enjoy it!

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J  R Kirwan

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

​But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

It has been a little while since I’ve read a crime thriller, so I’m looking forward to taking part in this publication blog tour. I’m a sucker for a psychology element to a novel! More details about the book are being published closer to the publication date, including the cover. So, I can’t share that with you right now, hence the placeholder image. Sorry guys!

 

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Goodreads – Sleeping Giants

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

 

I’m going to try my best to get to this last book on the TBR, but as with The Burning Land in last month’s reading list – if I manage to start it I’ll be happy. In theory, I do have a bit more free time coming up so there isn’t any reason why I wouldn’t get round to this. I picked Sleeping Giants as the genre varies from the books already on the TBR, but also as it will count towards the Beat the Backlist challenge I am taking part in this year. I’ll admit, I’ve written off completing it, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on it entirely!

Have you read any of the books on this month’s reading list? What are you reading?

 

 

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