The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid 

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About the book:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. 
Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.
When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia – a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.
As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity inside her that is true and pure – more so than that of most humans she encounters. Amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life – and the empire.

Get your copy here!

My thoughts:

The Diabolic has been on my TBR for months as I got it in an Illumicrate subscription box in 2016. I managed to slot it onto the June TBR because I’ve been dying to read it, and life is too short to not read the books you want to read!

The Diabolic is a Young Adult sci-fi novel that focuses on Nemesis (a Diabolic) and her master, Sidonia Von Impyrean. A diabolic is a creature made to guard an important person. They are made to look human, but they have super-human strength and abilities that enable them to function as a diabolic.

Sidonia’s father has been shamed by the Emperor for denouncing their opposition to advantages in technologies that would help them to keep their world longer. Due to this, Sidonia has been summoned to The Chrysanthemum as a hostage. Sidonia’s family decide to send Nemesis in her place, masquerading as Sidonia, to ensure that no harm befalls their daughter.

What follows is an engaging story of rebellion, war and the lengths to which one will go to protect those they love and serve. The Diabolic was a thoroughly enjoyable read, the first in a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read the next one.

Full of twists and turns, and packing a huge amount of secrets, it definitely kept me guessing until the very end!

Highly recommended!

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

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*Many thanks to Hideaway Fall for my review copy!*

About the book:

Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Pre-order your copy from Hideaway Fall by clicking HERE.

My thoughts:

I had eagerly awaited the arrival of Broken Branches from new publishers, Hideaway Fall, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

Centered around a family curse, Broken Branches is told in alternating past and present chapters. The reader meets Ian and his young family but we also meet Ian when he was a boy living with his parents and brother in the house that he now lives in years later with his family.

The family have always seemed to be unlucky, with accidents and death befalling them down through the generations. Ian sets out to prove that this curse really does exist, but at what cost?

Broken Branches has a menacing feel to it, with elements of the supernatural that lend itself well to the overall story. I found the past and present chapters to be a little confusing at times, but it made sense to the way that book was written as a whole.

I managed to read Broken Branches pretty much in one day. It is a relatively short book, at less than 300 pages, so it was easy enough to plough through it. Ultimately, although it was a page-turner, I found it to be a little flat at times. Still though, it was the kind of book that kept the intrigue up enough to keep me interested in the outcome.

Recommended!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

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About the book:

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life–orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought…

On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth. If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

My Thoughts:

Knights of the Borrowed Dark was a new addition to my personal TBR recently. I had the pleasure of meeting the author in Galway recently and had a chat about his books. I have a 7 year old boy (his reading age is that of a 9/10 year old) who is an avid reader, and he asked me to read this for him to see if it is suitable for him to read himself. Personally, I think he’s still a bit young for it, but I LOVED IT!!!!

Knights of the Borrowed Dark follows Denizen Hardwick, a orphan living in Crosscaper Orhanage on the west coast of Ireland. One night, the gates to the orphanage open and Denizen is collected on the promise of being introduced to his long lost aunt. On the way to meet her, the car in which he is travelling is attacked, by something. Denizen then learns that this something lives in the shadows, and sometimes can get through the breach.

What follows is a super fun read full of action and monsters and knights. These knights don’t deign to tell poor Denizen very much, and he end up having to learn their methods in his own ways. Give the option to join this order of knights, Denizen then has to make a life-changing decision.

Knights of the Borrowed Dark is a thrilling, compulsive and completely magical story. Packed full of enthralling characters, with more action and mystery than I was expecting, this book exceeded my hopes entirely. I cant wait to read the next book, and I also can’t wait to re-read this along with my son when he gets to it!

Highly recommended!

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough~ Mini Review


About the book:

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

My thoughts:

13 Minutes had been on my kindle for way too long so I figured it was high time I read it, especially considering I had read Behind Her Eyes by the same author.

While reading the book, I think definitely as a YA psych thriller, with elements of crime and mystery interspersed throughout the narrative. 13 Minutes is the story of Natasha and how she came to be dead for that length of time. There is also a heavy weight placed on secrets and lies between the characters and how they can slowly chip away at solid foundations.

13 Minutes is a compulsive read. I found myself flying through it trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together along with Natasha. The minds of teenage girls are scary places to be, and the author has done a good job of capturing the devious and underhanded behaviour that some kids partake in.

13 Minutes is a fast paced book, with plenty of different threads that are all woven together towards the end relatively well. I enjoyed it even though it wouldn’t be my usual kind of read.

Recommended.

 

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

*Many thanks to Chris at Fahrenheit Press for my review copy!*

About the book:

Deputy Sheriff Early Simms of the Blackwater County Sheriff’s Department knows about the violence that incubates within the souls of men – and that sometimes it needs a release. As a high school football player he relished inflicting pain, until he made a tackle that left a promising young athlete dead from a broken neck. Early did not play another game and his dreams of leaving the small town that he grew up in never materialised. Instead, he followed his father into the town’s police force.

Now older, Early is outwardly content with the life he has made for himself in Blackwater. But that life is about to be turned upside down. Kate Foley, his high school girlfriend, arrives in town on the run from an abusive husband and it stirs feelings that Early thought he had forgotten.

Jimmy and Marshall Cain are brothers – men with the capacity for the kind of violence that Early Simms knows all too well. A botched home invasion by the brothers goes horribly wrong, leaving a man and woman dead and their teenage daughter kidnapped.

Events spiral further out of control, with the brothers embarking on a killing spree that leads them to a confrontation with Early Simms and an FBI task force. At the same time, Kate Foley’s husband is armed and on the hunt for his wife.

Early is about to find himself in a fight not just for the life he has known, but for the future he has glimpsed in stolen moments with Kate. And to defeat the maelstrom hurtling towards him, he must once again confront the violence in his own soul.

Blackwater by GJ Moffatt

My thoughts:

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of American crime fiction. Most especially when it takes place in small towns. Something about a tight-knit community and the sense that everyone knows everybody’s business really appeals to me. Needless to say, I was eager to read Blackwater as it sounded exactly like the kind of book I would love.

I was not disappointed!

Early Simms is the Deputy Sherriff of Blackwater, a relatively quiet little town on the east coast of America. Chaos descends onto his doorstep initially with the arrival of Kate, his old high school girlfriend, who happens to be on the run from an abusive husband. Naturally, this stirs feelings in Early both as a professional and in a rather more protective capacity too.

Alongside this arrival, there is a much more dangerous duo who have appeared, the Cain brothers, fresh from a home invasion that went dramatically wrong. Violence seems to be their method of communication, and they are intent on wreaking havoc in Blackwater. This causes a host of problems to Early and the residents of the town.

What follows is a riot of action, violence and mayhem. These bursts of drama are interspersed beautifully with rare moments of calm through vignettes into Early’s life both now, and in the past. I genuinely loved Early as a character as he is so well-drawn that its nigh on impossible not to become invested in his fate and that of those he cares about. The reader is rooting for him from the beginning, willing him on and hoping that he can prevail over the evil that the Cain brothers are intent on bringing to Blackwater.

American crime fiction at its best and most gripping, Blackwater will grab you by the throat from the first chapter and won’t let go. Addictive as f***!

Highly, HIGHLY recommended!

 

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

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About the book:

NOT EVERY GIFT IS A BLESSING

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.

When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.

Melanie is a very special girl.

The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey

My thoughts:

Obviously I had seen the hype surrounding The Girl With All The Gifts at some point, as I had a copy of the book on my TBR shelves so I must have been intrigued to read it. As I said, I had see the hype, but I hadn’t read anything about it so I essentially went in blind when I started it.

Focusing on Melanie, The Girl With All The Gifts is a dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel but it has a real sense of heart and humanity at its core. Melanie gets transported to class daily under armed guard but initially the reader is kept in the dark as to the reasons for this treatment.

It is really difficult to review a book with such a short blurb. I mean, clearly they want the reader to have no preconceptions going in, so I am very mindful of that and therefore not going to go into any details with this review.

I enjoyed The Girl With All The Gifts as it was something different to what I would normally choose to read. Excellent characterisation, a very intricate plot and plenty of action made it very easy to keep turning the pages. I reveled in the escape to a different world, and it definitely had me gripped.

Recommended.

 

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

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*Many thanks to the publisher for my Netgalley review copy*

About the book:

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.
And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.
Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age.
And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?
Who still has secrets to hide?

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

My thoughts:

Laurel’s daughter Ellie goes missing at fifteen, but Laurel has never given up hoping that she will find her. Laurel meets Floyd in a cafe, who ends up asking her out. Floyd has a 9 year old daughter called Poppy. Upon meeting Poppy, Laurel is surprised to see she is very similar to Ellie when she was young. This becomes a constant reminder to Laurel that her daughter is gone.

Then She Was Gone is told mainly from Laurel’s point of view, but we also get glimpses into Ellie’s life before she disappeared. We also see the impact her disappearance has on the rest of the family and how they dealt with the aftermath.

Then She Was Gone is quite a fast-paced and gripping read It hooks the reader early on and steadily builds a level of tension and discomfort throughout. In the interest of honesty, I have to say I figured out some stuff early on, which meant I wasn’t shocked or surprised with the way the book went.

It is definitely a good story and there is real emotion in the characters. If you like psychological thrillers with hints of domestic noir, then this is definitely a book to add to your list.

Recommended.