Posted in book review, fiction

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

I found this post in my drafts and it seems a shame not to post it now considering it’s a book I really didn’t like! (I think I was quite generous!)

I was really looking forward to this book, it sounded amazing – nine strangers go on a health retreat but all is not what it seems – my perfect read!

However that is not what this book is. All the way through I kept thinking ‘maybe something will happen now and everything will kick start’, this didn’t happen, I was so disappointed! I finished the book wishing I hadn’t wasted my time.

Characters – the chapters are centred around the different people individually for the most part so you have the chance to get a feel for each character however I personally didn’t think I connected with any of them very deeply – I just wasn’t given enough from each one. I wanted to get inside their heads and really get to grips with their hidden pasts (promised from the blurb) but each character was just touched upon and then left abandoned. Perhaps there were just too many of them to delve into – each one was flawed and vulnerable (reflecting very human neuroses – very refreshing and relatable), it’s just a shame we aren’t given the chance to pay them the attention they deserve and get ourselves some mental healing too.

Narrative – The book is written well but simply; this is not a wordy text you need to take your time over however it feels like the narrative never really gets going in a sense and because of this the conclusion felt rushed to me. The majority of the book is taken up by how these strangers distrust each other and how their experience in the retreat will make them ‘new people’ but it is written too lightly for such heavy subject matters (mental health & wellbeing) which I believe has led to my disengagement with the text. I found myself confused as to if I was reading a happy book of self-discovery or a mystery thriller.

I have given the book two stars, it did keep me reading to the end after all but I’m glad I borrowed this from the library and didn’t actually pay for it. I’ve only read one other Liane Moriarty novel – Big Little Lies and I loved it, it whet my appetite with its intrigue and by the end of the novel I was stuffed. I’ve also heard great things about her other novels so I think I will read her back catalogue before I read any more of her new stuff, hopefully this one was just a blip!

Goodreads Rating – 2 / 5

Posted in book review, fiction

I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes

I found this review in my draft folder and since it is already all written out it seems a shame not to post it!

This was a beast of a novel not only physically but also mentally. I am completely drained after reading this one! Don’t get me wrong, it was good, almost amazing; the amount of detail gives it a ‘wow’ factor but there is so much to take in. It’s a good job Terry Hayes is a good storyteller – he made sure even when he was jumping around the timeline that you had all the information you needed – you never felt completely adrift in a sea of nonsensical words which to be honest is impressive given how much detail the narrative needs.

The paperback copy of the book I read weighed in at 888 pages and I felt every.single.one. This is not a book to skim or speed-read, this book deserves your attention and if that wavers, trust me you will miss something. If I break it down I know those first 200 pages are the hardest, you just want to get into a story but I Am Pilgrim keeps you waiting, it needs you to know the story right from the very beginning. The next 200 pages are building, you’re intrigued. You now have a solid background for the two main characters and you’re wondering how it is they come together. You’re now halfway through and you just need to know everything, the last 400 pages fly by in a blur, you’ve read them before you know it and then it’s over, you are left feeling complete, satiated.

If I had to compare this book to any other I would struggle, to me it is in its own category however I definitely got a Dan Brown feel while I devoured it (old Dan Brown, Digital Fortress style) only more grown up I would say. Dan Brown’s older brother! The characters are real and gritty, their actions have awful consequences and you get to picture their indecisions and apprehensions before they make those actions. This really makes the novel, it leaves a lasting impression – you’ve spent a lot of time with these characters and by the time the novel closes, you’re ready to say goodbye, because you know the story is complete and you haven’t been fobbed off with a quick exit.

Seriously, I cannot stress enough how immersive this text is. The first 200 pages were overwhelming they were so detailed in telling this backstory which you weren’t sure you really needed to know – but you do. Every miniscule detail gives you an insight into the mind of an operative and into the actions of a terrorist, I often stopped to try and imagine where Hayes gets his inspiration from, it is like he has lived it. Like I said, impressive. However, it is easy for me to say to you to persevere through those first 200 pages, I have the hindsight and know that it is worth it and this is the reason I can’t give this book 5 stars. For me, it was a slow starter and I know others would give up but I was recommended this book so I pushed through and found it was worth it!

I will definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Goodreads Rating – 4 / 5 stars

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction, young adult

Daughter of Darkness by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Publishing Due 4th August 2022 by Hot Key Books (UK)

Synopsis

Enter the Underworld in an epic new fantasy, where the Gods of ancient Greece rule everything but fate.

Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world – unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out.

Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Deina jumps at the chance. But to win, she must enter an uneasy alliance with a group of fellow Severers she neither likes nor trusts.

So begins their perilous journey into the realm of Hades. . . The prize of freedom is before her – but what will it take to reach it?

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Self Published US Edition
Illumicrate Edition

Synopsis

The Alexandrian Society is a secret society of magical academicians, the best in the world. Their members are caretakers of lost knowledge from the greatest civilizations of antiquity. And those who earn a place among their number will secure a life of wealth, power, and prestige beyond their wildest dreams. Each decade, the world’s six most uniquely talented magicians are selected for initiation – and here are the chosen few…

  • Libby Rhodes and Nicolás Ferrer de Varona: inseparable enemies, cosmologists who can control matter with their minds.
  • Reina Mori: a naturalist who can speak the language of life itself.
  • Parisa Kamali: a mind reader whose powers of seduction are unmatched.
  • Tristan Caine: the son of a crime kingpin who can see the secrets of the universe.
  • Callum Nova: an insanely rich pretty boy who could bring about the end of the world. He need only ask.

When the candidates are recruited by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they are told they must spend one year together to qualify for initiation. During this time, they will be permitted access to the Society’s archives and judged on their contributions to arcane areas of knowledge. Five, they are told, will be initiated. One will be eliminated. If they can prove themselves to be the best, they will survive. Most of them.

Posted in book review, book tour, fiction

Book Tour – The Book of Sand by Theo Clare

Published by Century Books (UK)

Synopsis

SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction, gifted

Jade Fire Gold by C.L Tan

Published by Hodderscape – 4th November 2021 (UK)

Synopsis

In an empire on the brink of war…

Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.

Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.

When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.

But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy, fiction, gifted, retelling

Midnight in Everwood by M.A Kuzniar

Published by HQ – 28th October 2021 (UK)

Synopsis

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms. 

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary. 

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

Posted in book review, book tour, fantasy, fiction, gifted

Book Tour – Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Published 28th October by PanMacmillan (UK)

Thank you to PanMacmillan and Black Crow PR for letting me post as part of the book tour and for the advanced copy to read and review.


Synopsis

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Posted in book review, fantasy, fiction

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Due to be released on 30th September by Hodderscape

Synopsis

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in happily ever after. Until she learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, and her dreams are shattered.

Desperate to stop the wedding, and heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic, but wicked, Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game – and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy . . .

Posted in book review, fiction, science fiction

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Published May 2021 by TOR

Synopsis

The war is over. Its heroes forgotten. Until one chance discovery . . .

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade him in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.

After earth was destroyed, mankind created a fighting elite to save their species, enhanced humans such as Idris. In the silence of space they could communicate, mind-to-mind, with the enemy. Then their alien aggressors, the Architects, simply disappeared—and Idris and his kind became obsolete.

Now, fifty years later, Idris and his crew have discovered something strange abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects—but are they returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy hunting for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, that many would kill to obtain.