December Readathon Update.

I’m currently working my way through this list of prompts. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t planned out exact reads yet BUT I am confident I’ll complete it.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am reading Looking for Alaska by John Green for my ‘Dasher’ prompt. I’ve just finished listening to the audiobook of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. This will be filed away under the ‘Vixen’ prompt!

Shadow and bone audiobook

I am a bit stumped on ‘Dancer’ as I read A House of storm and sorrows and Daisy Jones and the Six in November, both of those would have been fantastic contenders for a dance or music theme. Looking for recommendations if anyone has any please?!

Hoping to update again before the weekend is over!

Make your own fictional Christmas squad Tag

I had seen this tag created by Booksnest and Fictiontea pop up on my Twitter feed and decided as ‘billy no- mates’ / independent woman I’d have a go myself! I noticed www.jenniely.com had left an open invitation for anyone to get involved, bless her! 😂 I’ve gone with a Potter theme!

The Rules:

Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
Link to both creators’ blogs (booksnest.co.uk &.fictiontea.co.uk) in your post
Tag 5 others to take part.

Prompts.

The Gift Giver
The Scrooge
The Tree Decorator
The Excitable Christmas Enthusiast
The Games Master
The One Who’s Been in their Pyjamas All Day
The One Who Dressed up as Santa

The Gift Giver;

Hmmm someone who is generous…. I’d have to pick Luna Lovegood. Admittedly the gift may be a Christmas decoration made of dirigible plums but it means your Mistletoe would be nargle free!

The Scrooge;

I’m going to award this one to Griphook. I feel that any goblin made item in particular is going to be hidden from sight. You might get a lump of coal, then again you might not!

The Tree decorator;

I think Dobby would do an awesome job decorating the tree. Lots of odd socks and one of Hermione’s knitted hats on the top in pride of place!

The excitable Christmas enthusiast;

Definitely Ron as he grew up in a large family. I feel that there would have been a great atmosphere in the Weasley house in the run up to Christmas.

The Games Master;

I’d have 2! Fred and George Weasley would be awesome and they could test their new inventions out on Christmas Day!

The one who has been in their pajamas all day.

I could picture Neville quite happily spending the day in his onesie just pottering around with Trevor.

The one who is dressed up as Santa.

Ah this has to be Dumbledore! No fake beard required! Plus I have a feeling he would know exactly what you want for Christmas!

If anyone wants to play along, feel free!

December Readathon

I’m participating in the festively named Reindeer Readathon facilitated by Breakeven books and I’m in team stocking!

Prompts for the readathon.

I need to make an official list of my intended reading choices (and take a festive pic or 10 for my Instagram!)

My first task is to read a book that is less than 250 pages in length. Seems easy! I’ve chosen Looking for Alaska by John Green. This has been sitting in my tbr pile since the summer. It’s 262 pages in length so it’s almost perfect for my Dasher award.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

My aim is to read this quickly and move on to Dancer before next weekend! The pressure is on! Stay tuned!

The Devil’s Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen.

I am participating in TheWriteReads Ultimate blog tour for this book. I was given a free e-copy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Dave for facilitating this amazing blog tour! I’ve met quite a few awesome book bloggers through this tour!

About the book:

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

This is volume 1 in The Great Devil War series.

My thoughts:

The main character Philip Engel is, as the blurb states, a good boy! He has a solid moral compass and is the type of boy that you’d want to call your son, mannerly, we’ll-behaved, keen to help others etc. Unfortunately one day the biggest, meanest bully in the school, Sam pushes Philip into the path of an oncoming car and Philip dies from his injuries and he heads to the afterworld. Bizarrely though, Philip winds up in Hell. The last place an angel boy like him should end up!

Not only has Philip found himself in the fires of hell with all sorts of criminals and people who did bad deeds on Earth but the devil is on his last legs and needs someone to succeed him, Enter, Philip stage left. How does someone so intrinsically good as Philip end up as the devils apprentice I hear you ask….? Well there was a slight boo boo on the day Philip died, he wasn’t supposed to be hit by a car that day. Someone else evil to the core was supposed to have been and that person was in line to take over from Lucifer.

“Engel,” the Devil echoed, rubbing his forehead. “I wanted a Samuel and I get an angel? This isn’t promising.”

However it’s too late for changes to be made so Philip has to undergo training in order to become more suited for the role of evil overlord.

I laughed out loud quite a bit when I was reading this book. I definitely have a darker sense of humour and enjoyed the parts where Lucifer was putting Philip through his paces in order to become evil. I would definitely recommend this book to others as it was something different, highly entertaining and belly laughing great in certain places! 5 stars all the way from me! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Devil’s Deal (Infernal Contracts #1) by Tessa Hastjarjanto.

I’d like to thank Dave with The WriteReads for providing me with a free copy of this one.

The blurb is the first thing that got me interested in Devil’s Deal. While a young girl with two hot boys vying for her attention may seem a bit run of the mill, I loved the idea of the devil getting involved! I think there are some great aspects to Hastjarjanto’s writing particularly her imagination. There is definitely a top-notch author brain emerging here. The writing, I think, was pretty good. Certainly better than you will find in many indie books. I think at times it lacked the sheer quality and punch of the very best and most experienced writers, but that is to be expected in a first-time author and something I am sure the author will continue to improve going forward. If I had to put a number on the writing I would say 7 out of 10. A good solid performance 🙂

But … I must talk about the main character! I loved Nora. I could relate to her so much. I always think a great judge of an author and whether they have potential is the characters they create. And Hastjarjanto did some fabulous work here. Nora I suppose is pretty normal in most ways she is living a fairly normal life and has fairly normal friends. I just found her relatable and well done. Her friends, could use some additional fleshing out and a bit more uniqueness, they were perhaps a bit to ‘standard friends fulfilling roles’ if that makes any sense, and I was not keen on one of them for most of the book though I began to like her as it went along. But yes I feel that right now the author’s biggest strength is characterization. If she could bring some of the other characters up to Nora’s level then she’d really be on to something.

 I felt the dialogue was a little stilted at times. I felt at times that I should be feeling a bit more than I am here, ‘the story is very strong, but I’m just not quite feeling it how I should be.’ I’m not saying the dialogue was bad, it was good. I just think that it is an aspect the author can look to improve on in future books. I was also really strongly engaged initially. I found the start quite intriguing, but due to perhaps a little too much mundane tell and not enough really engaging showing, my attention wavered a little towards the middle. However, the book came roaring back again with a very strong ending. Enough for me to say I would be interested in sequels.

So yes overall a very good first book. Great potential, a few small issues, but overall an enjoyable read.  3.75 stars would be an easy 4 stars with just a few tweaks and improvements. 

Sapphire Smyth & the shadow five. (Part one)

I got a free copy of this as part of a great blog tour run by The WriteReads. 

Sapphire Smyth is part one of what I believe is a 6 part serial. This is actually my first time reading a serial so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It also means this is going to be a super short review, because the book is super short. I think about 100 pages. There are definite pros and cons the format and I’m still not sure if I am in favor of serials or not having read it. What I got was an interesting, original fast-paced read, lots of questions and a cliffhanger. 

I LOVED the idea of this book. Sapphire can see shadows move and come to life! 

I suppose you would call this a young Adult Urban fantasy, even though the main character (sapphire is a bit older than you would expect for a YA – she is 18). How to describe the story? Hmm well let me just say FASt. Things happen fast. In the space of pretty much one day Sapphire celebrates her birth, gets a mysterious family heirloom, gets kicked out of home, discovers secret powers, makes a bunch of ill-advised decisions and leaves us with even more questions than we started with. 

That might sound like a a lot and it is but you know what I liked it. It is super-fast pace, perhaps a bit too fast, which leads to some pretty thin world-building. But really I felt through it. The author’s biggest success here I think is just building up my curiosity. I kinda want to find out more. Want to see what happens next.  Looking forward to reading ‘Mermaids’ and would recommend this book to any YA Fantasy lovers looking for a nice quick read.  as part of a great blog tour run by The WriteReads. 

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey.

I read this book as part of theWriteReads blog tour and received a free e-book in exchange for an honest review.

About the book.

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

My thoughts.

I read this book quite quickly over the course of two days. I was gripped from the start and loved the idea of the Blue and the Red. As mentioned above the Blue is where the uncontaminated live and never leave for fear of becoming contaminated in the Red. There are two story lines throughout the book, Julia’s and Cameron’s. Julia is an uncontaminated human who feels trapped in the Blue and Lucas is a nobel (vampire) who feeds off uncontaminated human blood. They are a perfect match 😉

The second story line involved Cameron who is desperately trying to find his friend, Emmy. I enjoyed Cameron’s chapters but to be honest I didn’t really care too much if he found Emmy or not. There wasn’t a lot of information on what happened to her so I didn’t have a connection with her at all.

I haven’t read many books which feature vampires but I did enjoy them in The Gilded King. I did have to do a bit of page flicking to fully understand what was going on as I hadn’t read the prequel (I would recommend this as it would definitely set the scene and there would be less head scratching). This didn’t put me off though! I’ve read a few reviews and most of them mention certain tropes that appear in YA fantasy novels, again this didn’t put me off. This novel also featured Weepers, humans who have died from contamination and are undead (like zombies).

I liked that you never knew for certain who to trust or not to trust as the story unraveled. I would recommend this book but definitely read the prequel first!

Rapid Fire book Tag

I saw this cool book tag over on thebibliophilegirluk.com and decided to give it a go as I’ve never done one before!

E-Book Or Physical Book?

Physical book is what i’d pick first as nothing beats an actual book in your hand but if its something I REALLY want to read then I will happily pick up my kindle.

Paperback Or Hardback?

I’d have to pick paperback here as I find them much more convenient and easier to read. Although I do have some gorgeous folio books that I covet massively….. this is getting harder.

Online Or In-Store Book Shopping?

Hmmm i’d have to say my last few purchases have all been online. I do love bricks and mortar book shops though, they smell amazing!

Trilogies Or Series?

I’ve never really thought about this before so I’ll pick trilogies because three books are better than two? right?….*cough

Heroes Or Villains?

I love the heroes but I do sometimes feel for the villains and what caused them to be the way they are. I’m picking heroes though!

A Book You Want Everyone To Read?

I’ve always loved the Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I could read it again and again and again…. you get the idea!

Recommend An Underrated Author?

I’ve just reviewed a debut novel from an amazing author, A Different Time by Michael k. Hill. I would definitely recommend that people check him out.

The Last Book You Finished?

I read 13 minutes by Sarah Pinborough and I LOVED it!!!

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used As A Bookmark?

hmmm I’ve used my proof of ownership of my car…..not a great idea to lose that!

Used Books: Yes Or No?

yes, 13 minutes was a second hand book in good nick. In this throw away world we live in, I would always check out thrift stores for books.

Top Three Favourite Genres?

YA, Thriller, Mystery, in no order!

Borrow Or Buy?

I do both but mainly buy. I do lend them out though to close family. People that I know will mind them!

Character Or Plot?

Characters will normally keep me engaged no matter how strange the plot might be. if the characters aren’t great, I tend to DNF.

Long Or Short Books?

I’m kinda in this middle for this one. Not too long and not too short! 400 pages or so.

Name The First Three Books You Think Of

  • The handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood.
  • They both die at the end by Adam Silvera
  • Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Books That Make You Laugh Or Cry?

Gosh, I’d have to go with laugh but it might be more of a grin than a belly laugh. I do love sarcasm alright….

Our World Or Fictional?

Fictional, I should be in Hogwarts right now!!

Audiobooks: Yes Or No?

YES! love them. so handy on trains, buses etc. So handy for long commutes to work in the car. So many with headphones when no one else is in the office!

Do You Ever Judge A Book By Its Cover?

I guess I do because realistically it is the first thing that you tend to notice. However it wouldn’t put me off buying a book nor would it convince me to purchase one. Blurb is king, as is the opening line.

Book To Movie Or Book To TV?

Book to TV tends to be more detailed as they have more time.

A Movie Or TV Show That You Preferred To The Book?

I guess the Shawshank redemption was fantastic as a movie, I’m not knocking the novella though Mr King. Next question please!

Series Or Standalones?

My addictive personality says series. I do love collecting things especially books in a series with all the associated merch!

A Different Time by Michael K Hill.

I am so excited to be taking part in this Ultimate Blog Tour organised by TheWriteReads! This is day 3 of the tour and I am loving reading reviews and author interviews from many different bloggers. Ultimate Tours are such fun events to be part of and I’d like to thank Dave for letting me join in the fun. Many thanks to Michael, the author as I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Michael K. Hill is an internationally published write of fiction and non-fiction. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, kids and rescued animals. This is his debut novel.

About the book.

In 1989 she spoke to the love of her life. In 2019 he answered.

Lindsey Hale is a 19 year old aspiring artist in 1989 who isn’t particularly happy with the way her life is going. Her parent’s divorce when she was 16 and resultant move from Hawaii to Visalia, California with her mom meant she didn’t really have close friends. To get away from her overbearing mother and condescending step-father she often sketches in the park to get away with the never ending questions of what she was going to do with her life.“It will be okay,’ she whispered to herself. “Even if i’m alone, I can still be happy. I only wish I had someone to talk to.” Enter Keith Nolan. Keith is 22 in 2019 and he is a man on a mission. For 10 years his routine hadn’t changed. Every weekend he would trawl through flea markets and comic book stores in the hope of completing his deceased father’s superhero comic book collection. Like Lindsey, he is also unsure of his future and what it holds. He too is lonely and lacks motivation beyond comic book collecting. One Saturday morning in his quest to find a comic book he heads to a local flea market where he is well known. He leaves without a comic but he was gifted a VHS-C tape from one of the stall holders. He forgets about the tape until he eventually feels it in his pocket. He inserts it into the player and presses play. Static fills the screen and when it eventually clears, he sees a radiant, young woman perched on the end of the bed candidly recording a video diary in her bedroom. She asks a rhetorical question to the camera and nearly falls off the bed when she hears Keith’s reply! Keith and Lindsey’s relationship develops over the course of the book but even though I was rooting for them, I couldn’t shake the notion that they existed in different times so would never actually be together….. or would they?! This is the start of their magical relationship and I’m not going to say much more other than have the tissues ready!

I read this novel in one sitting. It has many components of things that I find immersive; likeable, relatable characters, nostalgic 90’s vibes, comic books,true love and that ‘will they? won’t they?’ butterfly feeling in my tummy. I was hooked from the start and went through a range of emotions and thoughts that epitomise a great novel. I think this book needs to be read by so many as it’s a fantastic read. Well done Michael K. Hill for writing this gem! I can’t wait for the movie!!!!!

TBR part 1 (of MANY!)

Book Blurb;

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little LiarsOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. 
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. 
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? 
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

**********************************************************************************

I adore a good mystery and Pretty Little Liars is one of my not-so-secret guilty pleasures. It was therefore inevitable that this book would find its way onto my TBR list. In fact it is currently waiting for me in my local library while I sit here (still in my pyjamas at 12.55pm) at the kitchen table. There are 5 others that I am waiting on from my library but I was so trigger happy pressing ‘reserve item’ that I genuinely can’t remember what they are. It will be a happy surprise!

Update; I finished this book quite quickly as it is gripping and you just have to know how it ended. I’ll be honest, I was a smidge disappointed in the ending. However it certainly wouldn’t put me off reading others books from this author and I would recommend it to others. It was just my own opinion on how the ending played out.