Friday 26 July 2019

Audiobook Review - City of Ghosts

  • Title And Author: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Borrowed from Essex Libraries via BorrowBox
  • Length: 272 Pages or 5 Hours 2 Minutes

Curveball alert!!! A middle grade! And via audiobook even though I have a physical copy on my TBR shelves! Plus, at a time when I’m not sure what kind of book blogger I am, this comes as a real sidestep. 

So, I bought this book MONTHS ago after hearing everyone RAVE about Victoria Schwab (or V.E. Schwab for her adult novels) other novels. You guys seem to really love her Darker Shades of Magic and Vicious series. I think I got Vicious on my kindle during a Kindle Sale so might read that in the future (not sure when), but when I first heard of this, this caught my attention. A middle grade ghost story set in Scotland - sign me up. 

But then, I never read it. I never felt in the mood or the right frame of mind, and it was only when I saw the audiobook on the BorrowBow app (via Essex Libraries as am trying to save money and I cancelled my Audible. I know, what was I thinking?!) did I go “Ok, am in the mood for something fun”.

Cassidy Blake can see ghosts. She can step through the Veil between the living and the dead. And no one knows this about Cassidy expect her best friend Jacob. Who’s a ghost himself and can read her thoughts. 

When Cassidy’s parents - two famous authors who investigate the paranormal - are offered a chance to host a TV show, showcasing the world’s most haunted cities, the family (two adults, one child, one ghost and one ticked-off cat) head off to Edinburgh, a city of ghosts. Including one with black hair, a red cloak and the ability to steal children away…

The Raven in Red is watching, and she watching Cassidy with great interest…

Tuesday 23 July 2019

#re3 - Sweep: Volume One

  • Title And Author: Sweep: Volume One (Book of Shadows, The Coven and Blood Witch) by Cate Tiernan
  • Publisher: SPEAK 
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 592 Pages

My second #re3 (or is my second, third and fourth? You see why in a second) of 2019 and it’s a bind-up of the first three novels (and I use that word loosely) within the Sweep series. Now, this is a bind-up on the first few books in the series, hence me wondering if this is my second reread or my second, third and fourth rereads (I’m going with the latter) and if you guys in the UK aren’t sure if you heard this series, don’t worry. This series was first published in the UK back in 2001 under the series name Wicca (though most people I know call this series Sweep).

Am trying to figure out how to talk about this as to me, these are three short novels/novellas (the longest instalment - Blood Witch - is 202 pages and the previous two are around 170 pages). Ok, let’s do the basics. Morgan Rowlands is an ordinary girl in the small New York state town of Widow’s Vale. She has a loving family, great friends - till Cal and his mother moves to town. Cal becomes the centre of attention and invites several students to a house warming party - including Morgan and best friend, Bree. Expect this house warming party ends with Cal revealing he and his family study Wiccan and he invites his peer to do a circle to celebrate Mabon. Morgan and Bree start and Morgan slowly begins to realise that she has a connection to Wicca, and the more her connection to Wicca grows, the closer she grows to Cal even though Bree has fallen for him… 

But where will Morgan’s newfound connection to Witchcraft take her?

So… thoughts!

Friday 19 July 2019

#re3 - A Discovery of Witches

My first #re3 of 2019! I know, it’s six months and I only start to reread and relisten some titles (and I have a rough number of books I wish to reread or relisten to this year. I need to get my rear in gear over the next few months). So, let’s get the book info out of the way!

  • Title And Author: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • Publisher: Headline
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Bought
  • Length: 704 Pages or 23 Hours 59 Minutes 

This is my third listen to this audiobook (I only listen to the second and third instalment of this series for the first time at the start of last year and read the companion novel at the end of last year - plus, I met Deborah at a book signing last year and watched the Sky One TV adaption so, of course, I like this series!). But I had an itch to relisten to this and maybe try and do the whole trilogy again… maybe… 

Now, with my #re3 posts, I don’t do reviews. Why would be the point of doing a review of me rereading or relistening to a story I enjoy? 

I’m not sure if I should explain what this book is about or not? Normally, I don’t think I do, it’s so long since I’ve done a #re3 or a reread post, I’m not trusting myself. So, let’s pretend that I do know what I am doing and we’ll carry on from there. 

In Oxford, Diana Bishop discovers an myserteous alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library. It has magic on it and, as Diana is a witch who refuses her magical heritage, returns the book back to the library. But the book has been missing for centuries and now, every witch, vampire and daemon is watching Diana, waiting for her to call it back. But Diana’s careful world, the world she’s built for herself since her parents deaths, is beginning to crumble and come apart. Enter vampire Matthew Clairmont, who has been searching for the manuscript for over a century or more. As the two begin to figure out why this manuscript is so important, the two begin to grow closer… there are rules saying vampires, witches and daemons shouldn’t be friends. But Diana and Matthew are going to cross that line…

Tuesday 16 July 2019

Audiobook Review - The Guilty Dead

  • Title And Author: The Guilty Dead by P. J. Tracy 
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook & Audiobook
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: eBook gifted by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review/reaction & audiobooked borrowed by BorrowBox and Essex Libraries
  • Length: 384 Pages and 9 Hours 2 Minutes

Before I go any further, I want to say that I was going to pop this into a themed-month I am thinking of doing this coming September. I was thinking of doing a crime/thriller month - basically, reading books where people die in them. But, as I was writing this, I changed my mind and decided to pop it up now, but am going to read/review another book by this author for that month if I decide to go ahead with it. 

Ok, backstory time. I have read P.J. Tracy once before, MANY MANY years ago when Want to Play? (the author’s debut) first came out. This was around the time I was beginning to get into the crime genre and didn’t know anything I can’t remember if I liked it or not (I think I did), but I do remember that I wanted to check out the other books in the series. Expect I didn’t. And now, years later, I requested this and a few other titles by the author via NetGalley (eProofs) and am now, FINALLY, making some headway with them. 

And the reason I went for this one is because I started getting audiobooks from my library (via BorrowBox app) and this title was available first (am on hold for Nothing Stays Buried, as well as other titles from other authors, all within the genre of crime or true crime…) 

In this, the ninth instalment of the Twin Cities or Monkeewrench series, Gregory Norwood is a wealthy businessman and close friend of the lead candidate for Minnesota’s Governor, is found dead on the first anniversary of his son’s drug overdose. It seems obvious that grief drove him to commit suicide. 

Expect why would a left-handed man use his right hand to pull the trigger? And why is there blood and hair of a photo-journalist at the house - when his body is discovered in park mere hours later? 

What should be an open and shut case turns into a murder enquiry and with this, it raises the question: is there something dark hiding in city’s most powerful family’s closet? And with Monkeewrench’s beta-test of a computer programme discover a possible terror attack might be happening soon, everyone has to work fast… 

So, what did I think of this?

Thursday 11 July 2019

Another DNF Blogpost

I feel like, at leats once a year, I write a blog post about DNF-ing a book. In the past, I have been open about struggling to quit a book/audiobook/eBook since I have become a book blogger (if you want to call me that). 

I feel that, in recent years, I have got a hell of a lot better quitting stories that don’t grip/excite or bring joy to my reading pleasure. Whether that would be within this first 10-15% of the story or, in one case, a good 75ish% in. If there is a gif to describe my attitude, it would a “thank u, next” kinda situation. 

As many of us book bloggers have said in one form or another, life’s too short! 

Sometimes, I would chat about why I DNF’ed a story. Sometimes, it would spark a conversation I want to discuss or rant over. Otherwise, I just want to explain myself as the story I am DNF-ing is such a big book in blogsphere. 

But this time… things are a little different.

Allow me to explain. The title I am talking about is Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. And I have read this once before, back in 2011 when, for some unknown reason, the UK publisher decided to call it The Gathering Dark

I read it back then as I was still young and new to book blogger and I wanted to read everything publishers gifted me as I wanted them to like me (I had a big fear back then that if I wrote a bad or negative review, they would remove me from their blogger list and blacklist me. I wish I can go back to younger blog me and tell him that this would never happen). And I read it. I did struggle, but I did read it. And it was ok. Not awful, but not wonderful - it was just ok to me. Making me an odd creature as nearly everyone else who read it loved it. 

Fast forward to now and, with Leigh’s upcoming adult novel, Ninth House, coming out at the end of the year, I kinda wanted to reread this. Just in case my opinions of it have changed. So, when I did a Goodreads poll to decide what I should read next, Shadow and Bone won (I honestly thought Poison Study by Maria V Synder was going to win). So I started to read… and I fell into The Trap

I thought it was ok, but soon realised that my opinions on the story hadn’t changed. And I kept going “Maybe if I read one more chapter, maybe my opinion will changed”. So I kept pushing myself a little further, just in case…

Till, at 37% of the book, I just went “I’m done.” and popped it on my DNF shelf on Goodreads. And I feel better over doing this. Basically, I didn’t trust my gut when it first went “You’re not enjoying this, you should stop”. 

You see, opinions and tastes change. That’s fine. And sometimes, rereading a book is a good thing because, if your opinions change or not, at least you know and you can move forward knowing yourself a little better. But you know yourself. If your gut is saying “Nope” to whatever you are reading, it is ok to hold fire on reading. 

So yes, this is another DNF post. And yes, I DNFed something else. And you know what… I’m not going to feel guilty about doing this now. I want to read things that make me happy and if I have to DNF some stories along the way, so be it! 

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Jacob's Ladder Extract

I have an extract for you guys! It's not much of a curveball like the last few extracts I have, but I still think you guys are going to devour it, nevertheless. An environmental dystopian, Jacob's Ladder by Charlie Pike.

Earth is dying. The year is 2202 and the sun has scorched the planet. Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and is preparing for his Rising. But when he takes his test - to kill in cold blood - Leon freezes. Now, to redeem himself, he and his resourceful servant, Mathra, must travel to find the fifth and final message from the Saviours...

Before I hand you guys over to the extract, I just want to thank Francesca from Francesca Eden PR for asking if I wanted to share an extract and getting me intrigued to say "Hell yeah". Now, if you want to know more information about Jacob's Ladder, you can check out O'Brien Press.

Now, onto the extract!

Monday 8 July 2019

Book Review - Red Sister

  • Title And Author: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
  • Publisher: HarperVoyager
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review
  • Length: 516 Pages

I seem to have come late to the party with this series, but have only been made aware of this series a few months back via several book bloggers and vloggers raving about this series, excited that the third and final book in the trilogy, Holy Sister, was about to come out. 

After chatting to a few people on Twitter about this and becoming super intrigued, the lovely people at HarperVoyager sent me a physical copy of Red Sister and, after chatting to my lovely book blogger partner in crime, Luna from Luna’s Little Library, we decided to buddy read together. While she read this within a week and eagerly bought the rest of the series while still reading Red Sister (we’ve all done this, don’t you lie now), I read a little slower due to lack of time to read. Actually, this took me about a month to read - and I took a small break around three quarters of the way through (but more on that later). 

In this high fantasy, the Convent of Sweet Mercy isn’t a normal convent. It trains young girls and women to become assassins. To become a Red Sister, it will take ten years to learn the ways of the blade, the fist and the poison. So where does eight year old Nona Grey fit in? She was an unwanted child from her small village, sold to a child catcher and then taken to a fight ring and the abbess of Sweet Mercy takes a great interest in her… 

I feel that if I go any further into this, I might spoil one or two elements. 

So, where the heck do I start?