My Favourite Books of 2018…

Hi everyone,

I’m sure you’ve all seen plenty of these posts in recent weeks, but I figure I may as well add my own favourites post to the list!

2018 has been a funny old year for me in terms of reading. In June I started experiencing anxiety and panic (more on that here), which meant I had to drastically change my reading and blogging habits in order to find something that worked for me. This involved changing up my genres, so while most of my previous Top Reads posts are predominantly crime/thriller books, this one has some non-crime 🙂

I found it hard to try to pick my favourite reads of the year this year if I’m honest. Not because I didn’t have a year of great books, moreso because I had a year of dodgy headspace and it changed my perspective a little. In saying that, I am pretty happy with my choices. The books on this list are books that I still think about and recommend on a regular basis, or books I get all shouty about on Twitter 🙂

As always, these are books that were my favourites, but reading is so subjective, so I wouldn’t expect anyone to agree with all of my picks. I’m also popping in a couple of books that are not out yet as 2019 recommendations, and an eBook that will be released in paperback in 2019 too. Hopefully you’ll discover a book here that you may not have heard about and decide to read!

So, without further ado, here are the books that I loved in 2018….

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

Don't Make A Sound

You guys! YOU GUYS!!! THIS BOOK!!!! It definitely nearly broke me. I have such a grá (love in Irish in case you want to know!) for Nathan Cody. I never want to stop reading when I pick up any of David’s Cody series, and Don’t Make A Sound was no exception.

But I had to put it down… to catch my breath, because THINGS HAPPEN! And I wasn’t prepared for how it made me feel!!! I picked the book up again after a few deep breaths, but I was super tense until I turned those last pages.

What a bloody thrill ride!!!

There is no doubt that David Jackson is an awesome writer, but he is also a master manipulator after this one (Love you really, Dave!) because it really messed with my head, heart and emotions. I am NOT complaining though, because this knack that Dave has means that his books will keep me gripped from start to finish.

EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

Don’t Make A Sound, for me, is the best book in the series so far.  Without a shadow of a doubt. The plot is pitch perfect. The atmosphere is dark and nervy. The characters are so well-drawn (goodies and baddies) that the reader becomes immersed almost immediately and that denouement, perfection.

I can’t praise Dave or his books highly enough. Firmly on my favourites list for life, this series just keeps getting better and better.

Raw, dark and with an emotional gut-punch, Don’t Make A Sound is one thriller you DO NOT want to miss.

Highly recommended.

Always.

Don’t Make A Sound by David Jackson

Previous reviews for the series:

A Tapping at my Door by David Jackson

Hope To Die by David Jackson

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

The Darkness

Regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of Ragnar Jónasson’s writing, so when I heard we were finally going to meet Hulda Hermansdottir in The Darkness, I jumped at the chance to read it, and I was definitely not disappointed.

Hulda is a Detective in the Reykjavik Police, and at sixty-four, is almost ready to retire. When she takes on the last case of her career, Hulda finds out that all is not what it seems. The case, a cold case, involved a young woman seeking asylum from Russia, who was found murdered on an isolated beach in Vatnsleysuströnd. Hulda thinks that if she can solve this one last case, she’ll go out on a high as she finishes her career, but life is never really that easy.

The Darkness is another fine example of Ragnar Jónasson’s ability to transfer the chilling Icelandic landscape into a character in the book. Unforgiving, dark and more than a little unsettling, I found myself thinking it sounds like a very harsh place to live. But I could easily conjure up the images he created.

Speaking of character, I really enjoyed reading about Hulda. It seems she is a little misunderstood by her colleagues, but when you get a glimpse into her thought processes you see she is lovely, just a bit standoffish. Her gruff demeanour does little to endear her to many of the people around her, but I warmed to her immediately.

By the end of the book, I genuinely didn’t want to have to turn that last page, so I’m really glad this is only the beginning. Or the end, because the books are going in reverse order.

To sum up, for me, The Darkness was a haunting portrait of the Icelandic landscape, with brilliantly drawn characters and a thoroughly chilling plot. It takes the reader on an unexpected journey, and I loved every minute of it.

Highly recommended, as always!

The Darkness by Ragnar Jónasson

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn

I’m months out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Aftershock by Adam Hamdy

Aftershock

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I’ve read and loved the previous books in the trilogy (review links are left below) so I had been eagerly awaiting Aftershock since I finished Freefall last summer. Which feels like a lifetime ago! So you can imagine my delight to find a copy waiting for me after I got home from Harrogate. I literally turned the last page of Aftershock a half hour ago, and I am shook, in the best possible way of course.

I’m mindful of the fact that I don’t want to go into too much detail in this review, so I will try to keep it relatively short because if I start rambling about the book, I probably won’t stop too easily!

Aftershock starts with a bang, and I swear the pace doesn’t let up for the entirety of the 500+ pages. If you’ve read the first two books, you’ll recognise Adam Hamdy’s innate talent for writing extremely cinematic thrillers, and this one is no exception!

We are back with the usual suspects, Wallace, Ash, Bailey as they try to deal with the fallout from the events that took place in Freefall. Each is trying to battle their own demons, and the internal guilt/struggles they are experiencing make for tough and emotive reading at times. The journeys that each one goes on, and the arc of their respective characters is so well plotted, and I found myself really rooting for them at various points in the book.

The Foundation has claimed so much of these people’s lives, and in Aftershock they try to claw back something for themselves. Destruction and force are The Foundation’s weapons of choice, but murder seems to be the order of the day and its up to Wallace, Ash and the rest to try to finally put a stop to this wide-reaching organisation.

I swear the tension and pacing in these books is designed to get your adrenaline pumping, but not in a bad way. I kept my reading of this one to daylight hours, but even then I was on tenterhooks while the action was unfolding. Lets not even mention the bits that made me tearful!!!

Aftershock is a pitch perfect ending to what has been one of the best action series I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Cleverly plotted, excellent characters and a truly terrifying reality made Aftershock a truly gripping read. 

If you like your thrillers with real heart, then I highly recommend you pick up Aftershock, and its equally impressive predecessors.

You will not be disappointed.

All the stars for this one!

Previous reviews:

Pendulum by Adam Hamdy

Run by Adam Hamdy

Freefall (Pendulum Trilogy #2) by Adam Hamdy

 

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Skin Deep

I love a bookish baddie. You know the kind. Self-centered, narcissistic, just hateful in general. Well, yet again, Liz Nugent has created a truly terrible fictional human being in Cordelia Russell. Right from the beginning of Skin Deep I found myself disliking her as a character.

But. And there is definitely a but. When we are taken through Cordelia’s early life, the reader learns why she is the way she is. No excuse, I know, but it is a very insightful and eye-opening character development that left me wondering how many more layers Liz Nugent could possibly add to her character.

Skin Deep is a masterful exploration of character and circumstance. It is graphic, raw and unashamedly honest in its portrayal of the lengths to which someone will go to get what they need from others. Selfishness and greed are front and centre in this book, and as we learn more about Cordelia, it is difficult to not have some very real and often angry feelings towards her.

I had been eagerly awaiting this book, and it was most definitely worth the wait. A savage look at the depravity of the human condition, the lengths to which people will go for their own gain, it is a triumph.

Highly recommended!

Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Caged Queen

The Caged Queen is one of the books I read during my hiatus from reviewing, so I don’t have an actual review to share for this one. What I will say is that I LOVED it. It’s the second book in the Iskari series, book one being The Last Namsara, and even though I hadn’t read the first book  I became completely immersed in it. So much so that I immediately went and bought The Last Namsara so I could read it.

Superb characters, a great plot and excellent world-building made this one a firm favourite. If you like fantasy, dragons and Young Adult fiction then I would highly recommend adding The Caged Queen to your TBR.

The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

 

Next up, a book that is already available on Kindle, it will be released in paperback in January 2019. To be fair, Matt has featured on all of my Top Reads posts since he released Six Stories, so a list isn’t a list without my fave goth 🙂

And I’m going to get real here, nestled in the list, this book is the one.

My favorite.

It was one of my most anticipated books, and it didn’t disappoint, so it’s only right that it’s my top read…

 

Changeling by Matt Wesolowski

Changeling

We’re beneath different trees this series, but our feet are sounding against the same darkness and once again we’re facing our fears head-on.

If ever a quote summed up the experience of reading Matt Wesolowski’s books, this chiller from Changeling is perfect.

I had been dying to read Changeling ever since I saw the beautiful cover on Twitter a few months back, and let’s face it, being a superfan means I have literally NO PATIENCE when it comes to waiting for these things. So huge thanks to both Karen and Matt for letting me read an early copy.

Reader, it does not disappoint.

In Changeling, Scott King is back investigating again. This time it is the disappearance of Alfie Marsden from his father’s car in the Wentshire Forest Pass on Christmas Eve 1988. Alfie disappeared without a trace and was officially declared dead seven years and three months after he disappeared. Scott sets out with his usual investigative zeal in search of answers.

I read Changeling over the course of today, making notes as I went, which I never do. And even with these notes, I still feel like I can’t do this book the justice it deserves.

Changeling is by far, my most favourite of the Six Stories books, and I love them all, I mean I REALLY love them. So just know I am not saying that lightly. Changeling got under my skin in a way the others didn’t.

The tension and sense of menace is there from the outset. It builds steadily, rolling like waves in a storm, until it crashes around your consciousness and leaves you almost breathless. Hidden and implied horror help to make Changeling a thoroughly bracing read, leaving the reader more than a little unsettled in its wake.

Much like the Changeling in old folklore, this book itself goes through a metamorphosis. But the author does this slowly, almost imperceptibly, and it creeps up on you gradually that what you are reading is a little different to what you started reading.

I PROMISE I will do a more in-depth review, but for now, know this;

Changeling is an intense, dark and utterly absorbing book. The pages crackle with tension, the characters have real depth and the writing is truly stunning.

Matt Wesolowski has to be one of the most imaginiative and talented young writers out there at the moment. His ability to make his writing current in terms of style, while still managing to write the perfect kind of crime/horror/psychological thriller mash-up, astounds me more with every book of his I read.

Highly, highly recommended.

Always.

Previous Matt-related posts:

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

*Blog Tour* Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski

~COVER REVEAL~ Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

Hydra by Matt Wesolowski

 

Another 2019 release coming up next, I managed to read this one way back in February:

 

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

The Nowhere Child is simply unputdownable. I absolutely devoured this exquisitely written thriller in a couple of sittings. This is the kind of book that makes me want to shout about it from the rooftops.

It all started with the disappearance of 2-year-old Sammy Went in the 90’s. Gone without a trace, Sammy has never been found. Fast forward twenty eight years to where we meet Kim Leamy, who is approached by a man investigating little Sammy’s disappearance all those years ago. This meeting leaves Kim with enough questions to make her travel to Sammy’s hometown of Manson, Kentucky in the United States.

What follows is by far one of the best stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. Packed with tension that winds its way towards an unexpected conclusion, The Nowhere Child is a triumph. A riveting tale of secrets and lies, and the lengths to which people will go to keep them hidden. Thoroughly engaging, you won’t be able to put it down until the bitter end.

The Nowhere Child by Christian White

 

And last, but by no meas least, a 2019 YA release that I may have been shouting about a little on Twitter…

 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

This book had been languishing on my kindle for a while so I picked it up a month or two ago to read and I ended up absolutely loving it. It is billed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I AM HERE FOR THAT! It was such a great read. I loved the characters, the whole idea, the premise, everything! I love anything to do with BATB so this book was everything for me. I can’t wait to get myself a hardcover for my shelves because I plan on reading it again in 2019. Can’t recommend it highly enough!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

 

And that’s it. Just like that,  I’m done.

 

Have you read any of my 2018 faves? Would you? Do let me know in the comments!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and my blog over the past year!

Until 2019, happy reading!

Kate x

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

Image result for mark bowsher author bio

Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their ’10 to try’ out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013. He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It… ) for Lionsgate’s Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times. Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It’s All Lies. He isn’t married and doesn’t live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.

About the book:

MB BC.jpg

When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the Myrthali – the essence of time itself.
Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali. He joins forces with the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.

But as Krish battles these impossible tasks he may be about to learn that there is more than his mother’s life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

Ellen’s Review:

The Boy Who Stole Time may be aimed at younger readers but I really enjoyed it. Fantastic characters, world building and depth of story were spot on also the cover is so beautiful! It’s definitely an eye catcher which I find an important aspect when my daughters are choosing their next read in the book shop.

The main character in the book is Krish, a 12 year old boy who is confronted with every child’s worst nightmare of their parent being ill and the fear that they may not recover. Krish has always been told how precious time is and becomes more aware with his mum’s sickness; what if he could buy (or steal) her a little more? His desires to have more time appear to summon a devil type creature who tells Krish an ancient tale of a magic powder called Myrthali which is the essence of time itself. The devil persuades Krish to enter into a deal – he will travel to another realm, Ilir, and retrieve the powder from the clutches of the brutal King Obsendei. Of course this was never going to be an easy task and Krish is sent on a magical, terrifying adventure from then on and must complete three seemingly impossible tasks before the King will hand over his treasured Myrthali.

The Black Palace of King Obsendei really grabbed my imagination; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King. These poor people are forced to clamber and stand on each other to construct the walls and floors of this awful “building”.

Along the way Krish teams up with the awesome Balthrir – a young girl-wizard with a cutting sense of humour and heart of gold. I think that Balthrir was one of my favourite characters. She is seemingly pretty hardcore but carries secrets and heartache of her own. Krish and Balthrir’s worlds collide and they must learn to work together to complete the tasks and survive the cut throat, power-hungry island of Ilir.

This story reminded me of the stories of Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights that I loved to read as a child. There are elements of The Boy Who Stole Time that will appeal to everyone. This book is the first in the series and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next!!

Check out the tour:

MB BT

 

Blog Tour: Anarchy by Megan DeVos

Hi guys,

I’m back with another blog tour review today, YAY! I’m taking part in the blog tour for Anarchy by Megan DeVos and I also have a guest post for you all too!

About the author:

Megan DeVos grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she currently resides. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and have been working as a surgical nurse for the last two and a half years. She has always loved writing, and finally dedicated herself to it during university, where she wrote her first published novel, Anarchy.Connecting with readers worldwide has been the greatest outcome of writing, and is something she will continue to pursue during the rest of her career as a writer.

Side-note: Megan shot to fame on Wattpad, where she wrote Harry Styles fan fiction, and I AM HERE FOR THAT as I’m a huge fan of HS. Needless to say I was sold on Anarchy from the PR sheet 🙂

giphy1

About the book:

Anarchy 1

The world is different now.

There are no rules, no governments, and no guarantees that you’ll be saved.

Rival factions have taken over, fighting each other for survival with no loyalty to anyone but their own. At 21, Hayden has taken over Blackwing and is one of the youngest leaders in the area. In protecting his camp from starvation, raids from other factions and the threat of being kidnapped, he has enough to worry about before he finds Grace.

The daughter of the head of the rival camp Greystone, she is slow to trust anyone, much less the leader of those she has been trained to kill.

This is danger. This is chaos. This is anarchy.

Available NOW, click HERE to order your copy!

My thoughts:

Anarchy is the first book in the series featuring Hayden and Grace, rivals from Blackwing and Greystone respectively. Hayden is the well-respected leader of his camp, and when he meets Grace everything he has known is thrown into chaos.

Taking place in the aftermath of an event, Anarchy details the survival of those left alive and the lengths to which they will go to survive. It has a really interesting story, and it is written in such a way that it is actually impossible to put down. I read Anarchy in just a handful of sittings recently, I genuinely couldn’t stop reading.

The comparisons to The Hunger Games series are well-warranted as it has very similar ideas, but for me, Anarchy is better. There is something at its core that made me invested in the fates of the characters, a humanity and a vulnerability that the reader can empathise with.

Hayden and Grace are great characters too, and well supported with other characters along the way. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the story told through their own chapters. The author gives a good glimpse into their emotions and it was interesting to see their growth as they met with obstacles and challenges throughout the book.

I don’t want to say any more about it because I think you should just read it. It’s a fun story. Its got passion, strength and plenty of action to keep you reading. Definitely one to add to your list if you enjoy YA and dystopian fiction! I can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

Highly recommended!

5 Tips for Aspiring Writers from Megan DeVos

1. The first tip I always give to aspiring writers is to write something you’d want to read. If it’s something you’re interested in, chances are, someone else will be as well. If you feel passionate about the story you’re creating, you’ll end up writing the best version of the story that you not only want to create, but also to read. Loving the story you’re writing keeps you motivated, and in the end allows you to create something you’ll always enjoy no matter what.

2. The second tip I have is to know where you want your story to go. This can be as vague or as detailed as you like, but knowing the general direction of your plot is important. For me, the first thing I always do is write out a general outline of the plot, including major and minor points and character development. Some writers like to have their main plot thought out and develop the rest as they go. Some like to have every single detail planned out down to the tiniest one. Some are somewhere in between. How you write it is up to you, but I think knowing what you want to accomplish with your story is essential.

3. Imagine what it would be like if you were in the story. Maybe you imagine yourself as the main character, or maybe you imagine what that character would be like if they were real and standing next to you. Imaging the characters as real people helps to understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Get to know them in your head. The more you think about them as real people, the easier it is to write their specific character traits, and the easier it will be for readers to connect with them and make them feel real.

4. Read your work, then reread it, then reread again. Read it until you have it stuck in your head. Knowing your story is essential to creating continuity and keeping the story flowing in a satisfying and believable way. It helps you know when to include details that will be important to the future. It helps you recognize things you may want to emphasize more, and things you maybe can lighten up on. Rereading your story as much as you can, because every time you do, you’re making your story that much better.

5.Finally, my last tip for aspiring writers is simply to write because you love it. If it’s something you truly feel passionate about, go for it! Don’t write because you feel like you should, or because of some other reason. Write because you love it, plain and simple. True passion shows through in the work, and only makes you better with each page you write. If you love it and enjoy it, that’s the most important factor of all.

Huge thanks to Megan for these brilliant tips!

Follow the tour:

Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Hey everyone,

Since I decided to take a bit of a break from reading and reviewing back in June (read why HERE), I hadn’t really envisioned that I would read enough to post any reviews. BUT since then I have actually managed to read almost 40 books! Not many were crime/thriller as that is what I’m trying to avoid for the time being, but I’m going to be splitting the reviews into quite a few of these posts, so do keep an eye out for them over the coming weeks!

Vogue.jpg

The Vogue Factor is her candid account of life at the heart of the fashion industry, from photo shoots and celebrity interviews to the ugly truth behind the glamour – infighting, back-stabbing and the dangerous pursuit of beauty.

This is the behind-the-scenes story of an illustrious career in fashion, from receptionist to the editor’s chair. It’s a life of dazzling parties, outrageous fashion and exotic travel that most people can only dream of.
But behind the glossy photos is a hidden world of chaos and pressure, where girls as young as twelve starve themselves to fit into a sample size.

Kirstie Clements’ eye-opening account of life in fashion’s fast lane has hit headlines all over the globe. Both a celebration and a critique of this extraordinary industry, The Vogue Factor is this season’s must-have.

I have had this on my kindle since 2013. I just never got around to it and I was looking for a light read so I figured I would give it a go. I really enjoyed it. I’m not in any way fashionable, but I do love fashion documentaries and magazines. The Devil Wears Prada is a favourite film of mine too, so this book was right up my street. It is a really good glimpse into early Vogue Australia and how it all works, but it also shows the darker side of the industry as mentioned above. Far flung locations, parties, glitz and glamour made this a really fun read, and got me back into reading Vogue again!

If you want to check it out, click the link below to order your copy:

The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

PJ1.jpg

Half boy. Half God. ALL Hero.


Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.


I
 was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief is book one in the series, and it was yet another book left languishing on my kindle for far too long. I needed something light, but fun, that would keep me reading without making me think too much and keep the anxiety at bay. This book was EXACTLY what I needed. YA adventure at its finest, with a great cast of characters and lots of perilous quests along the way, I couldn’t put it down. I love the movie, but the book is definitely better. Highly recommend this one, my eldest even went and bought himself a copy after I said how good it was 🙂

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

PJ2.jpg

You can’t tell by looking at me that my dad is Poseidon, God of the Sea. It’s not easy being a half-blood these days. You mortals can’t even see the monsters we have to fight all the time. So when a game of dodgeball turned into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, I couldn’t exactly ask my gym teacher for help.

And that was just for starters. This is the one where Camp Half Blood is under attack, and unless I get my hands on the Golden Fleece, the whole camp will be invaded by monsters. Big ones.

Can Percy survive the treacherous Sea of Monsters and restore order to Half-Blood Hill?

I devoured the first book, so it goes without saying that I moved straight on to the next book in the series. Introducing some new characters with this one, I found it even more action-packed than the first one, but just as fun. Its hard not to feel sorry for Percy with all he gets dragged into, but that is the joy of being a demigod I guess. I sound like a broken record, but these books are FUN!

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

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Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen B*tch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

I downloaded this on a whim as it was (and possibly still is) free on Kindle and it sounded like the kind of easy teenage drama-y kind of read that wouldn’t require much thought. Confessions of a Queen B* reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl, and the whole idea of a blog that exposes peoples private lives for peers to see. Books like this make think high school in America would be an interesting place to see because there always seems to be a hierarchy, but then again I’m sure the same can be said of schools the world over. Confessions of a Queen B* is an easy read, a little on the predictable side, but I sTill enjoyed it, and will most probably read the next two in the series at some point when I get time.

Confessions of a Queen B* (The Queen B* Book 1) by Crista McHugh


 

Until the next one, happy reading… 🙂

 

Blog Blitz: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the book:

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‘I will never forget the night I drowned…’

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She remembers a hand on her chest, another on her head, water in her throat, those final gasps for air…

Her brother’s girlfriend was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer.

Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened that night, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something terrible links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she discover the shocking truth, before it’s too late?

A gripping and extraordinary coming of age novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 bestsellers in the UK, Canada, South Africa and Singapore, as well as top-five books in Australia. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Upcoming US releases:
Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7): Out now
Two Sisters (standalone): Out now
The Girl Who Came Back (standalone): Out now
Crossing The Line (Jessica Daniel 8): Out now
Scarred For Life (Jessica Daniel 9): Out now
One Cloudy Night (standalone): 2018
The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker (standalone): July 2018
For Richer, For Poorer (Jessica Daniel 10): Out now

Nothing But Trouble (Jessica Daniel 11): August 2018

Recent and upcoming UK releases:
Eye For An Eye (Jessica Daniel): Out now
Last Night (standalone): Out now
The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker (standalone): July 2018
To Have And To Hold (standalone): October 2018

Author Social Media Links:

http://kerrywilkinson.com

http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

Ellen’s Review:

So you’ve been strangled and left for dead in a river, wouldn’t it be great to solve who your murderer was!? This is exactly the opportunity that Eleanor (Ellie) Parker has. “Waking” up gasping for breath in a river where her brother’s girlfriend had been found drowned the previous year, Eleanor is in a unique position. She’s not quite dead or alive; walking about like a regular teenager but with no appetite, sense of smell and suffering from the eternal chills. It appears she is destined to find out what’s occurring in her quiet village. She must battle the daily ordeal of teenage life (mean girls, best friend woes, the looming separation from her boyfriend, an overbearing mother) as well as investigating her own murder, locating a missing girl and clearing her brother’s name.

I was intrigued from the beginning and had no idea who the murderer was; it seemed that everyone was a suspect at one point. I enjoyed the paranormal element to this story.

 

This book had a real American feel to it in my opinion, so much so that I had to go back and check when Tesco and Costa were mentioned. I think this would really add to the appeal to a lot of YA readers. Similar shows are popular at the moment (so my teenage daughter tells me) – Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why and The Good Place for example. I will definitely be buying a copy for every teenager I know!

 

 

 

Check out the blitz:

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Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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About the book:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

My thoughts:

I’m weeks out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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About the book:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all.

With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most – a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby – it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good.

But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

My thoughts:

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂