Lord of Shadows

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance
Publisher : Walker Books

Summary

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By Cassandra Clare

 

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.
When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises.As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

 

Review

This is a sequel I’ve been eagerly anticipating after reading the first of this series Lady Midnight. I have read a few of her books and although I wouldn’t call it my favourite series this was definitely a far more up to date take on the familiar story.

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This book started off and flowed through very well but I didn’t expect it to get so dark. The ending was such a shock that I felt like I needed a light-hearted book asap to get my mind off the story and that doesn’t happen all that often with me. There was some humor of the modern times and modern world but not as much as the first book did.

As before here are plenty of love triangles and complicated feelings to keep you eager for your favourites to just end up together already. However as it went on the eagerness soon was replaced by feeling annoyed. There is only so much you can stretch an angle and I think that she stretched it quite enough at this stage. I really felt that for the size of the book and the potential the love triangles took over completely, I mean what even happened in the story?

Conclusion

Although this review may be short but I guess this is fitting to the book in question. The first book was exciting, the second although had adventure was much darker and not a lot of humor, although the story unfolded it happened at a snails pace. In the end after reading the full book I was left feeling almost “is this it” in regards to the story itself. I’m not as excited to get my hands on the next installment but perhaps it will be different to this one. In the meantime I give this a 2 out of 3, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you read the first book and wanted to finish the series.

2stars

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Big Little Lies

Genre: Mystery / Womans Fiction / Contemporary
Publisher : Corgi

Summary

Liane Moriarty
By Liane Moriarty

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one.
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare.
New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

 

Review

I decided to give this book a read after the success of the show, and since the book is always better than the movie (or T.V. show in this case) I decided to go straight to the source. I enjoyed reading this book and was interested in the story as it was unfolding from the different angles and perspectives however I wouldn’t go as far as saying that this was a book I couldn’t put down.

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Reading from the perspective of different characters is definitely a way to keep things fresh and moving along. The characters themselves were each different and unique, interesting to read about and easy to relate to or compare to someone you know.

The story had everything to keep you entertained, it was funny and light-hearted, it was also serious and scary at times too. The story unfolded at a good pace which kept you guessing but not giving it away entirely. I saw part of the ending before reaching the end of the book but there were definitely more shockers thrown in there too which I didn’t expect both humorous and serious.

As a stand alone book it seemed like a very good story but I don’t know if it captured me enough to go buy the second one.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the book and the storyline. I wouldn’t put it up with my top favourites but definitely recommend to friends. This book is definitely a 4 out of 5 even if my review was played down a bit.

4stars

The Couple Next Door

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Fiction
Publisher : Corgi

Summary

Image result for shari lapena
By Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

 

Review

I bought this book from Book depository, one of my new favorite sites for books. Aside from the free delivery and awesome free bookmarks they also give you book suggestions. This book happened to be one of the suggested books and the plot seemed appealing so I went ahead with the order.

 

Its a pretty good who done it story. The beginning is very quick to capture your attention where it only takes a few pages to get into the main part of the story rather than giving you a whole load of unnecessary background. The story is narrated through the different characters which gives you a better idea of what everyone is thinking but also makes it harder to figure out the twists coming. The story unfolds at a good pace, it doesn’t sway off track and doesn’t bore you either. Little by little more is revealed through the whole book.

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The characters are well developed, each with their own style and personality. Just like before there is nothing unnecessary to the story discussed about the characters. You get to know what you need to know and that can either be a good thing or a bad thing, personally its something I like.

You wont have to wait till the end of the book to find out the big reveal however the story doesn’t just end there as more details emerge as how its all led to this. The reveal I wasn’t expecting just as some of the more minor plot twists throughout the book. The ending on the other hand I seen coming a mile away, this made the last few pages a bit dull to read. This however has an ending within an ending, just as you think its all over the last short bit of shock is served up to you. Although this was an interesting way to finish a book I didn’t find it as shocking as I probably should have had but it also seemed that not much effort was put into writing that last bit to be honest more like it was thrown in for the fun of it.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the read and did go through it within a couple of hours, however I think that was more so from lack of something to do rather than the book was a page turner. Its a decent thriller with plenty of good twists and an interesting storyline, however the ending was a little bit of a let down as a result Ill only give this 3 stars. I would tell friends and family about it but i doubt it would be with much enthusiasm.

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The Star of Kazan

Genre: Fiction / Adventure / Fantasy
Publisher : MacMillian

Summary

324_img1Eva Ibbotson

Annika has never had a birthday. Instead she celebrates her Found Day, the day a housemaid and a cook to three eccentric Viennese professors found her and took her home. There, Annika has made a happy life in the servants’ quarters, surrounded with friends, including the elderly woman next door who regales Annika with stories of her performing days and her countless admirers – especially the Russian count who gave her the legendary emerald, the Star of Kazan. And yet, Annika still dreams of finding her true mother. But when a glamorous stranger arrives claiming to be Annika’s mother, and whisks her away to a crumbling, spooky castle, Annika discovers that all is not as it seems in her newfound home…

Review

I was handed this book by one of my primary school teachers when I was just 10 years old. Why am I writing about this book 15 years later? Well because it made such an impact on me I had re-read it since and to this day would say what a great book it is.

Screenshot_20171022-173620.jpgThe book is full of exciting adventure but at the same hardships and happy moments. Eva’s ability to transport you into the scene she is describing is amazing, she paints the picture so vibrantly you feel like you’re there along with the characters. This is one of the reasons why I will always have a huge respect for the author and her work and why I continue to talk about her books 15 years down the line. For me books are an escape and she makes it so easy to escape.

Although the main character is not the most exciting she is strong and funny which is a common trait with most of Eva’s main characters. You feel for the characters and learnt to care for them so much so that during the twisted plot you worry for them.

Perhaps at my age now the plot twists wouldn’t seem as exciting but they definitely were exciting to the 10 year old me. Exciting enough for me to re-read the book and buy it to keep just like I did with Journey to the River Sea another of my favourites by Eva.

Conclusion

Its a fun adventure and great escape into a different world. I would recommend this to everyone, from a 10 year old right up to 30. I believe you cant be too old to enjoy a light hearted adventure story that can transport you to a different place. Eva’s books are truly magical and unique. 5 out of 5 for this one.

5stars

City of Snakes

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
Publisher : Harper Voyager

Summary

darren-shan-large-354397D.B. Shan

For ten years Capac Raimi has ruled the City. Created by the first Cardinal to continue his legacy, Capac cannot be killed.
Then Capac disappears. His trusted lieutenant, Ford Tasso, suspects the mysterious villacs, ancient and powerful Incan priests. To Ford, only one man has the cunning to outwit such adversaries-Al Jeery, who has taken the guise of his father, the terrifying assassin Paucar Wami.
Al has no love for Capac and no wish to tangle with the villacs. Until Ford promises him the one thing he truly craves-retribution against the man who killed those he loved most and destroyed his life. Lured into the twisted, nightmarish world of the Incan priests, Al will learn more about the City than he ever imagined, and be offered more power than he ever desired.
But in the City, everything comes at a cost…

Review

This is the last instalment to The City Trilogy, following on from the first book “Procession of the Dead” and the second “Hell’s Horizon “. Although I wasn’t as keen on the second book as I was on the first I was looking forward to see how the two came together and everything was tied up. I wont lie, I was fairly disappointed and perhaps if you preferred the first book to the second you would agree with me on this.

Screenshot_20171022-173542.jpgThe third book follows once again Al Jeery as the main character and despite Capac Rami being the main character of the first book he barely graces the pages in this instalment. I had hoped that the two would be in the last book together but it seems more of the same as the second book. This book is by far the heaviest with the supernatural side of things focusing a lot more background explanations and almost felt like you weren’t part of the story anymore but being lectured on all things Inca priests.

The plot twists seem a little too forced, there isn’t as many shocks as you would get with his other books. Its like when you start wrapping Christmas gifts nice and neat and towards the end you really don’t care anymore and just want it to be over, this is the feeling I got from this book which is rather disappointed.

Conclusion

Disappointed with the direction of the book but then again that could be all just a personal preference. Didn’t find this book as engaging and exciting as the others. Perhaps it would have been better to leave Processions of the dead as a stand alone book is my final conclusion on this trilogy. I would give this a 3 out of 5, despite the negative comments it was a way to tie it all together and a decent read however not as good as the previous two.

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Hell’s Horizon

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
Publisher : Harper Voyager

Summary

darren-shan-large-354397D.B. Shan

In the City, The Cardinal rules, and Al Jeery is a loyal member of his personal guard. But when Al is pulled from his duties at Party Central to investigate a murder, an unexpected crime scene discovery leads him to question all his loyalties and beliefs. Al is drawn into a terrifying mystery that features a series of corpses, the City’s Incan forefathers, the imposing figure of The Cardinal, and the near-mythical assassin Paucar Wami.

Wami is a law unto himself. A shadowy, enigmatic figure of astoundingly graceful skill, he kills anyone he chooses without fear of punishment or retribution. And Al is about to find out that he has a lot more in common with Wami than he could ever have imagined…

Review

Following on from the first book in The City Trilogy “Procession of the Dead” I just had to pick up this book. The first book still stands as my all time favourite so it was a tough act to follow.

Screenshot_20171022-173454.jpgBefore I started reading this book I expected it to follow on from the story in the first, as a book series typically goes however Darren Shan is far from typical. This book takes on a whole different storyline and different characters. Although its still set in the same city as the first book it takes on a whole different angle almost like “Meanwhile on the other side of the city”. This book tilts far more towards the crime and gangster side than the last book, there is still supernatural sci fi details in the background but they are not as obvious as they were in the first book. I can see how this book would appeal to a far bigger audience than the first.

The storyline is full of twists and cliff hangers, you’d expect nothing less from Darren Shan. The story is exciting  and easy to follow, has a who done it sort of feel to it. You get more Inca background story and the plot seems to lead in the direction that the last book will pull the first two together for a grand ending (review to follow). I didn’t feel for the main Character as much as I did for Capac Rami in the first book, he didn’t seem to me as developed and almost a little robotic.

Conclusion

The second book of the series is far more a dark crime investigation novel than the first book which is more of an eerie horror violent book. For this reason alone it just wasn’t as much my cup of tea to call it as good as the first book. I think this book would work even if you didn’t read the first and I would still recommend this book and Id say far more people would be interested. Although this was for a wider audience, im part of the smaller creepier audience hence why a 4 out of 5. Perhaps this book would have gotten the 5 out of 5 if I didn’t have the first book to compare it to.

4stars

 

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
Publisher :

Summary

darren-shan-large-354397D.B. Shan

Quick-witted and cocksure, young upstart Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark. As he learns the tricks of his new trade from his Uncle Theo he’s soon on his way to becoming a promising new gangster. Then he crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.

Review

As a fan of Darren Shan books both the Demonata and the Saga of Darren Shan from the age of 14 there was no way I was going to pass on the chance to read one of his first Adult novels. Ive heard about the book coming out way before it did so as soon as it hit the shelves I was there to get it. Although I liked his books and writing style in the past, this book blew my mind. It still stands firmly as my all time favourite book by a mile.

The level of twists and excitement is immense. There is more cliff hangers than you can imagine which makes it so much hander to put the book down. The story is interesting with a bit of a gangster edge, along with some science fiction future-esqe feel to it too. The city in the story reminds me of the likes of Gotham or Sin City. Let me just say that this book would make a great and exciting movie.

The characters are well written and not all is revealed about their personalities from the beginning which allows you to learn more as the story unfolds so do the characters at an equal pace which makes for a easy read. There is also an Inca angle in this book which I havnt come across before but found very interesting, its definitely a refreshing angle to take in this day and age.

The book is fast paced but clear to follow with a good flow. There is no slow parts to the book that would want you to skip ahead, but then again I always thought this about his works and main reason I became such a fan. The ending was different to what you might expect and to be honest could be left as the stand alone book for me, not that I didn’t enjoy the other 2 books of the trilogy (review to follow).

 

Conclusion

Im pretty sure I already made it quite clear just how much I loved this book. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone though, as I think only sci fi enthusiasts would truly enjoy this book. That said I think if this book did ever see the silver screen it would definitely gather a wider fan base if directed properly. A solid 5 out of 5.

5stars

Processions of the Dead

Genre: Fiction / Fantasy / Horror
Publisher : Harper Voyager

Summary

darren-shan-large-354397D.B. Shan

Quick-witted and cocksure, young upstart Capac Raimi arrives in the City determined to make his mark. As he learns the tricks of his new trade from his Uncle Theo he’s soon on his way to becoming a promising new gangster. Then he crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever.

Review

As a fan of Darren Shan books both the Demonata and the Saga of Darren Shan from the age of 14 there was no way I was going to pass on the chance to read one of his first Adult novels. Ive heard about the book coming out way before it did so as soon as it hit the shelves I was there to get it. Although I liked his books and writing style in the past, this book blew my mind. It still stands firmly as my all time favourite book by a mile.

Screenshot_20171022-173416.jpgThe level of twists and excitement is immense. There is more cliff hangers than you can imagine which makes it so much hander to put the book down. The story is interesting with a bit of a gangster edge, along with some science fiction future-esqe feel to it too. The city in the story reminds me of the likes of Gotham or Sin City. Let me just say that this book would make a great and exciting movie.

The characters are well written and not all is revealed about their personalities from the beginning which allows you to learn more as the story unfolds so do the characters at an equal pace which makes for a easy read. There is also an Inca angle in this book which I havnt come across before but found very interesting, its definitely a refreshing angle to take in this day and age.

The book is fast paced but clear to follow with a good flow. There is no slow parts to the book that would want you to skip ahead, but then again I always thought this about his works and main reason I became such a fan. The ending was different to what you might expect and to be honest could be left as the stand alone book for me, not that I didn’t enjoy the other 2 books of the trilogy (review to follow).

 

Conclusion

Im pretty sure I already made it quite clear just how much I loved this book. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone though, as I think only sci fi enthusiasts would truly enjoy this book. That said I think if this book did ever see the silver screen it would definitely gather a wider fan base if directed properly. A solid 5 out of 5.

5stars

The Girl in the Ice

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Publisher : Bookouture

Summary

Image result for robert bryndzaBy: Robert Bryndza

Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.
The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.
As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

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This book came up as suggested for me on Goodreads. Brilliant feature of the website to be honest. I was excited to get my hands on it however when I ordered the book online I didn’t notice that the authors name was different and ended up picking the other The Girl in the Ice. Once I started readying it came to a quick conclusion that this is not the book I was intending to read. After a failed attempt I got my hands on this one and glad that I didn’t give up.

The character of Erika Foster is different I found. She is not easily liked but brilliant at the same time. We get some background on her but not too much to end up bored.

The storyline itself starts off intriguing, then draws out a little but picks back up in the end. I found the last few chapters very captivating and exciting. Although you have a feel that the killer is of the characters introduced to you throughout the story it still doesn’t give it away. No that is not a spoiler as its basically spelt out in the book description.

The author tidied up well at the end, which I found some others don’t do. Still leaving you in for more but finishing up all the loose lends in this book.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this book despite the sometimes slow pace in the middle. I would definitely recommend this book to any mystery lover. I might look into reading some more of this series in the future. I give this a 4 out of 5.

4stars

The Widow

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Publisher : Transworld

Summary

Fiona BartonFiona Barton

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.
But what about the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the woman who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.
Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.
But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Review

I came across this book as one of those; if you liked The Girl on the Train then you will definitely like this one. Yes fell for that one ill admit. I feel like the book may have done better if it wasnt compared to those other books. Now its not a far fetch I guess but most similarities only lie in the layout of the book rather than the plot.

Screenshot_20170927-173630.jpgFirst of all the main thing that this book has in common with the girl on the train is that each chapter keeps jumping between characters and timelines. Felt a little jumbled up at some parts but for most of it fairly ok to follow. The desire to get on with it was huge with this one and dull at some parts too. A lot of eye rolling going on while reading this if you know what I mean.

The characters were described but not in enough detail to make you feel for them or enjoy reading about them to be honest. They were more like the second cast than the main characters.

The ending was the good thing about it, wasnt an obvious one which is always a win with mystery thrillers. The actual act of crime was the interesting part in this book and although the idea was to look at the marriage and how the wife of a suspect, I think this book could have been just as good from the police investigation angle. Hence the marriage angle wasnt that deep to capture the reader.

 

Conclusion

Didnt really impress to be honest. Some parts were interesting and some were dull. The ending was good but i would hesitate to recommend this book to anyone. Thats 2 out of 5 for me.

2stars

Die of Shame

Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Thriller
Publisher :

Summary

Mark Billigham
Mark Billingham

Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about shame. A respected doctor, a well-heeled housewife, a young male prostitute . . . they could not be more different. All they have in common is a history of addiction. But when one of the group is murdered, it quickly becomes apparent that someone else in that circle is responsible. The investigation is hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these individuals and their therapist together, which makes things difficult for Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner, a woman who can appreciate the desire to keep personal matters private. If she is to find the killer, she will need to use less obvious means. The question is: What could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when secrets, lies, and denial are second nature to all of your suspects?

Review

Screenshot_20170901-191934.jpgI picked up this book at the airport on the way to sunny Tenerife. After enjoying his book In the Dark i was keen to pick up another one of his works. This was another stand alone book and the summary did catch my interest further.

The aspect of addiction as the main background of the story was new to me and interesting. Perhaps it would be of even more interest to others who can relate or who just enjoy studying it. Learned quite a bit about addiction and therapy despite it being a fiction book.

The book changes from the then to the now however it wasn’t hard to follow at all which can happen with some books. Main thing that I enjoyed was the characters, each so extremely different and well written. The books splits the chapters to each character so you keep switching between being in all their shoes but at the same time doesn’t get confusing as some books can.

The ending was a little bit of a let down, not in the way that you saw it coming but more so that it seemed too long at this stage to find out who done it. It also didn’t feel wrapped up, this was the intent I’m guessing however not really something I like too much.

 

Conclusion

Good read. Interesting plot and interesting characters. I would definitely recommend this book be in on a sun lounger or not. 4 out of 5 stars for me.

4stars