Books

July TBR ‘2020

Yet again, long time no post! There has been so much going on over the last few months, and there will be two posts coming up explaining it all- yes there is really too much to do it all in one post!

But as per normal for me, with things going on, the reading completely stopped again! I am such a terrible reader now, just cant fight out of this LONG lasting slump! To be honest at this point Im starting to get concerned whether I will be able to pull myself out of it while I have so much going on!

With that in mind I have two physical books and a book on my kindle to try and focus on this month- one of which was meant to be a group read last month that I completely failed on!

So the kindle book, and the group read that I failed at, is Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. This has been on my TBR for such a long time! Somewhere I have the physical copy, but for the time being I decided to read it on my kindle as this is easier for me to transport! As a young adult fantasy I feel that this should be a great book for getting out of a slump, so hopefully I can manage this one this month. 40220795._SY475_

Second, is a book that I read as a child, and my lovely neighbour lent me a copy of to reread. Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman is, well I believe, a middle grade? But again it is a fantasy that I know really well as I used to love this series as a child! My plan for this, to try and get out of the slump is to then pick up the rest of the series, and possibly even go onto the newer books. Let me know if you have any methods for getting out of slumps as my normal methods are not working!!!312407

Then finally is a very odd book for when you are in a slump, but its something that I actually really feel like reading! And that is Alison Weir’s A Kings Obsession. I have all of this series that is out, but have only read the first one so far. I just feel really in the mood to read through all of this series ready for when the rest is released, but as I said this is a really odd thing to pick up when you are in a slump as they are big old books, and adult historical fiction. But sometimes you just have to go with what you are in the mood for!30231546._SY475_

As I said I am in a massive slump so I am not expecting to manage all of these within the month, especailly as I have a lot going on (will be explained in later posts), but we will see just how much I manage in the month, and hopefully can start just getting through a few books each month. After all it looks like the GoodReads goal will not be happening!

Any tips on getting over reading slumps- especially when they have been going on for so long- will be greatly appreciated!

What are you hoping to read this month?

Books

May TBR ‘2020

April was another good month for reading, I am so happy that I seem to be getting myself back to reading. No I may not be reading as much as I once used to of, but life is different now, and I don’t have the time to just sit and read all the time quite like I used to. But completing more than one book in a month is a success to me, as that will keep me going towards my goal of reading 20 books within this year.

So what have I read this month? Two fabulous books!

Eden by Tim Lebbon has become one of my absolute favourite books now, it was just that good! A  dystopian that really doesn’t feel all that unlikely in the grand scheme of things, it was hauntingly dark, and so full of suspense! You can find out my full thought on it here.

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The other book I read this month is one of my most anticipated, a book from one of my favourite authors, Looking Glass by Christina Henry. This is a collection of novellas which are a sequel to the Alice Series. This was fabulous! Again, I have a full review that can be found here, but this was amazing, I just wish it was a full length novel, but that’s just because of my love of the world! 45860328._SY475_

So that leaves me with what I am hoping to read in the month of May. As I will still be shielding, I am hoping to get through at least three books, but it is throwing up some challenged with my partner and the little one being home a lot more.

The first book is of course my current read, The Wise Friend by Ramsey Campbell. This is a horror that I am reviewing, and is only a short read of just over 200 pages. This follows a man and his son as they dig into the artwork of his recently passed aunt. I don’t know much more than that and I am only about 20 pages in so far, but currently I am loving the writing style. 52880788

Im then hoping to jump into A Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. This is the sequel to the Devouring Gray, a book that I read last year. Although the first one wasn’t the highest rated for me, it left me so excited for the next one because of how it built up ready for the series! I have a feeling that this series is going to be one that I love, with the first literally being just the beginning. This is a spooky paranormal, urban fantasy story, that I have a feeling is going to give me vibes from shows I used to watch as a teen!40204193._SY475_

Then finally, a book from last month that I didn’t get to, I really really want, actually need, to read The Queen of Raiders by Sarah Kozloff. I adored the first book in this series, and really want to marathon the rest of the series. Although my partner is making me wait till I have read this one to buy the last two, but I have the money put aside. This is a high fantasy series, about an orphan queen on the run! The first book was fantastic, I adored it! And I now cant wait to read the rest as I know it is going to be a favourite series in the end! 45046587

I am really looking forward to my reading this month, and I have Crescent City by Sarah J Maas, waiting to be picked up as well!44778083

So now, what are you hoping to read this month? Are you focusing on new releases, or picking up something you’ve been meaning to for a while?

Books

Looking Glass by Christina Henry

Back with another review today, and this time it is a book from one of my favourite authors, Christina Henry. I have loved her books since I first read Alice what feels like ages ago now, but the Alice world has stuck with me, ad I was so excited to jump into her new book set in this world!

Looking Glass is a collection of four short stories all set following on from the events in Red Queen.

In four new novellas, Christina Henry returns to the universe she created for Alice and Red Queen, where magic runs more freely than anyone suspects, but so do secrets and blood.  (from GoodReads)45860328._SY475_

Well what can I say? I loved it! But were we really expecting anything different?

I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars for one simple reason, it wasn’t a full novel! Now I may be being petty and, probably end up revising my rating, but I guess part of me just really wanted a full length novel in this world again! I miss it okay…..

IT surprised me as to which of the four was my favourite. I was always a huge fan of Alice so would of just thought I would soak up the stories with her as the lead, but in actual fact. ‘When I First Came to Town’ the story of how Hatcher started out was by far my favourite – dont get me wrong I loved all four! I had never seen the full depth that there was to his character, and just how he came to be with Hattie. From this alone I feel like I want more of their story, more of what happened after he rescued her. Probably going to have to go back and read Alice and Red Queen enough to satisfy my longing for this world!

There was a quote within ‘Girl in Amber’ that struck me, ‘ Life is never what you want it to be… only what it is’. Now I know that I am taking it out of context a touch, but that has stuck with me because of the relevence at this current time. I read this book while not being allowed out of the house, and at a time when everything in life is really up in the air. And I couldnt help but feel hit by that line, as it is so true. Life is what it is and you have to find your way in it.

But anyway that wasnt so much about the book, but just an example of how compelling I find Christina’s writing. I’ll read the words, and not only be drawn into the stories she weaves but also find truth in her writing generally! You can call me weird if you like, I probably am, but I have an obsession with Christina Henry’s writing and books!

Now have I gushed enough to convince her that you really have to go and read Alice, Red Queen and then Looking Glass? I hope so! I can promise you that it will not disappoint, you can go and read my review for Alice here.

This is already out so you really have no excuse. I would love to know if there are any other Christina Henry fans here? Which of her books has been your favourite?

Books

GIVEAWAY- The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

I come to you today with a super exciting opportunity for you. You have the chance to win your own copy of The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman.

This is the sequel to the Devouring Gray, a book that I adored last year.40204193._SY475_

On the edge of town a beast haunts the woods, trapped in the Gray, its bonds loosening…

Uprooted from the city, Violet Saunders doesn’t have much hope of fitting in at her new school in Four Paths, a town almost buried in the woodlands of rural New York. The fact that she’s descended from one of the town’s founders doesn’t help much, either—her new neighbours treat her with distant respect, and something very like fear. When she meets Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, all children of founder families, and sees the otherworldly destruction they can wreak, she starts to wonder if the townsfolk are right to be afraid.

When bodies start to appear in the woods, the locals become downright hostile. Can the teenagers solve the mystery of Four Paths, and their own part in it, before another calamity strikes?

If this interests you then you definitely want to get your hands on the sequel, and you can read my full thoughts here, and even then I said about how excited I was for the Deck of Omens. My review of Deck of Omens will be up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that!

Now how can you win? Its easy, go over to my twitter @Alexxmarie74 , make sure you are following me, @TitanBooks and @Sarah_Mather_15 and retweet the tweet! It is really that easy!

This will run for 1 week, so entries will need to be in by midnight of Saturday 2nd of May, and I will draw the winner shortly after.

You do need to be within the UK, and there can only be one winner!

Good luck!

Books

April TBR ‘2020

Although I am now not posting this until mid way through the month, I thought I would still go ahead and let you see it.

This is going to be the first TBR in a little while where I don’t start off by saying I haven’t read anything! I actually had quite a successful month of reading, finishing off three books.

Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff, Wonderland and Cursed both edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane, are all really great reads. Between these three I like to think I am now out of my slump.

I have reviews for all these fabulous books that you can go read if you want to know my full thoughts, but I can briefly say that they were amazing!

Now onto my April Reads.

MY first book for the month was Eden by Tim Lebbon. I have already finished this one and wow was it brilliant. Again I already have a review up for this that you can go read, but this is certainly a book I recommend! Its now one of my favourites. 48639012

Next I am determined to pick up The Queen of Raiders and get back into this world! I loved the first book that I read last month, and I need to continue before I forget what happened. This fantasy series reminds me of all the reasons I love fantasy books as a genre, and was so close to perfection in the first book. I truly wish I had picked it up sooner, but still dont regret picking up Eden. 45046587

Then if I have the time, which I really hope I do as then I will be caught up with my reading goal, I want to pick Looking Glass by Christina Henry back up. I picked it up briefly last month, but for some reason decided to switch to reading Eden. Christina is one of my all time favourite authors, so I know that this book is going to be amazing! I loved Alice and Red Queen, so can not wait to get back into this world. The first couple of chapters I loved- I really don’t know why I put it down! 45860328._SY475_

I really am completely excited to read again for the first time in a very long time, and now other than spending time with my partner and step daughter, I truly do not have anything else to dedicate my time to.

I would love to know of any books that you recommend I pick up during this lockdown, I am lucky enough to have some vouchers so would love to get some of your recommendations to give a try. Please please please leave your suggestions below?

What are you reading this month?

 

 

 

Books

Eden by Tim Lebbon

I am back after a little bit of a break- there will be a post in the coming weeks explaining this little mini break, as I have been busy! But welcome to a review of what has possibly become one of my favourite books of all time.

A great big thank you to Titan for sending me this copy, this has been really not disappointed, and as Ive said, it is definitely up there with my all time favourites.

Now, I am going to be completely honest, I have a bit of a odd history with Tim Lebbon. I attempted to read his book Relics several times, and just couldn’t get into it, so I wasn’t having the biggest expectations going into Eden. Though the concept sounded so good that I felt I just had to give it an attempt, but now after how much I have loved Eden I am going to give Relics another try.48639012

In a time when Earth’s rising oceans contain enormous islands of refuse, the Amazon rainforest is all-but destroyed, and countless species edge towards extinction, the Virgin Zones were established in an attempt to combat the change. Off-limits to humanity and given back to nature, these thirteen vast areas of land were intended to become the lungs of the world.

Dylan leads a clandestine team of adventurers into Eden, the oldest of the Zones. Attracted by the challenges and dangers posed by the primal lands, extreme competitors seek to cross them with a minimum of equipment, depending only on their raw skills and courage. Not all survive.

Also in Dylan’s team is his daughter Jenn, and she carries a secret–Kat, his wife who abandoned them both years ago, has entered Eden ahead of them. Jenn is determined to find her mother, but neither she nor the rest of their tight-knit team are prepared for what confronts them. Nature has returned to Eden in an elemental, primeval way. And here, nature is no longer humanity’s friend.

Has that tempted you?

There are two things that I feel carry this book, the character and the descriptive setting.

Eden is described as such a beautiful but mysterious place, and the description is just that- beautiful. Its rare that I find a book where I can just sink in and be completely submerged in the setting. That being said at times this was a bit scary through the book, but thats the joy of great descriptive writing within a horror novel.

‘ final look at the body, the wild rose bush, its stem thick and green, its blooms lush and healthy. It was well fed.’

Now you may not understand the quote until you read the novel, but its just a great example of how the beauty of the writing is also so dark and twisted!

The relationships witihn this is are just so fascinating to see adapt to the situation and see progress through out the story. With a variety of different relationships, with parental, romantic, as well as distant past relationships and blooming new romantic. Looking at how a group of people with various relationships having to work together as one unit, would never be an easy situation, and this book perfectly sums up the tensions that can form.

Now although this is a horror, I didn’t feel like it was one of those that you have to make sure you keep the light on for. But rather it gave me more of a fear of being alone, and possibly a little of being out in the open.

Overall this book is just perfect! I don’t have a single bad thing to say about this one, as it is definitely now up there with some of my all time favourite books. Any horror, thriller or sci-fi fans really should give this a try, I think you will not be disappointed, it truly is a fantastic novel.  Easy FIVE STAR read!

My understanding is that the Kindle version is already available, however the physical will not be on sale until June now, but that gives you plenty of time to get your pre-order in.

 

Books

Cursed edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

Different from normal, I want to start this by just saying that I hope that you are all staying safe and well, and that you are all healthy in the current situation.

Now, I know this is the second short story collection for me to read this month, but they have been a real help to get me over my nearly year long reading slump! Having short little stories for me to dip in or out off, is perfect for getting back into reading. Although I think I am finally getting to the point where I want to pick up a novel.

But back to this book; I want to say a huge thank you to the lovely people at Titan for sending me a copy for review, I really do appreciate each and every book you send me. 48693975._SY475_

This whole book of short stories, are all around a theme of the dark side of fairy tales, and being a lover of fairy tales this just sounded perfect. There was definitely some in this one that I had not heard of before, so it was really refreshing for them to be predictable- to be fair even those I had heard of I didn’t even find to be predictable. I have added the Goodreads blurb for Cursed below for you to get an idea of what I mean by the premise.

Here in this book you’ll find unique twists on the fairy tale conceit of the curse, from the more traditional to the modern – giving us brand new mythologies as well as new approaches to well-loved fables. Some might shock you, some might make you laugh, but they will all impress you with their originality.

As with all short story books, there was some that I loved, and some that I could of left unread (one I actually moved on from after only a page or two). But I still stand by this doesnt mean those stories are not good, but rather that I do not get along with that authors writing style, or even just the way they wrote the story. To be fair I didn’t walk away from any of the stories thinking it was boring or uncomplete, but rather just overwhelmed through confusing writing style more than anything.

But thats enough negativity, as I really want to make the point that this is a fantastic collection of stories that I have really enjoyed. Even more so than previous short story collections that I have read.

By far my favourite of the stories was As Red as Blood, as White as Snow, but I am biased as it is written by one of my altime favourite authors, Christina Henry (to be fair I read the book because of knowing this story was in it!).

As with all Christina Henry stories, it was dark, and took a surprising twisted turn! It left me wanting more, but not in a bad way. In a way that I felt there was enough concept to make so much more out of this. Now this is no criticism for Christina, but rather a huge praise! Even when writing a short story, her writing just makes any story feel like it could go on for pages and pages and I’d happily sit and soak it all in!

The final story that stands out to me is Wendy, Darling by Christopher Golden. Having been a Peter Pan fan since a child, I was really hoping that there would be a take on this story within the collection, and it certainly did not disappoint. Although a lot of more deep and twisted than the story that is commonly known, this left me with a lump in my throat and a whole lot of thoughts and feelings. The thought of your actions haunting you like that, till they ultimately come back to bite you is definitely one to get anyone thinking. This has left me wanting to go and find other versions of Peter Pan, especially as they are going to be as dark as this, it was creepy, beautiful and oh so harrowing, and yet it was perfect!

All in all, this whole collection (bar a couple) is my favourite collection I think I have ever read, I do love short stories! For anyone who loves childhood fairy tales, or even horror stories, this is definitely one to give a try. I would say it is a good collection to read if you are new to short stories, as they dont all feel like a short story as they are all well rounded stories. I gave this a four star rating, as it was so close to perfect, but then I think it would be hard for a group of short stories written by various authors to be wholely perfect. There would always be an authors story that you don’t get along with. Hence why I think this is about as close as you could get to perfect for such a book!

I believe this is already out, so while we are all hunkered down in our homes, I definitely think you should give this one a try!!

Books

Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

As with all of my reviews, I would like to start by sending out a huge thank you to Titan books for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Join Alice as she is thrown into the whirlwind of Wonderland

Within these pages you’ll find myriad approaches to Alice, from horror to historical, taking us from the nightmarish reaches of the imagination to tales that will shock, surprise and tug on the heart-strings. So, it’s time now to go down the rabbit hole, or through the looking-glass or… But no, wait. By picking up this book and starting to read it you’re already there, can’t you see?51490745._SX318_SY475_

Being a short story book it is always hard to say what I thought about it as a whole, there was some that I loved- and  read several times over- and some that I really could of done with having not read.  That being said -and Im not going to go into detail about those which I wasnt a fan of- I think that on the most part, I didn’t get on with them because I couldnt find a comfort with the writing style. You know how some writing styles can just feel like hard work to read? Yes well some of the stories from authors I had not previously read felt like this. I am sure that if you like those authors then those stories would be just as enjoyable as the rest were for me.

One particular story stood out as being a bit odd- not bad!- I actually loved the story and found it so thought provoking, but I just felt that it was a bit random in this particular anthology. The story was The White Queen’s Dictum by James Lovegrove, now I did see the Alice in Wonderland link, I just felt that it was a bit vague and a bit stretched. IF it was in any other anthology, I’m not sure I would of seen the link, and I feel that in many ways the link was not an essentail part to the story. But otherwise I did love it, very emotional and definitely left me thinking.

Overall I loved many of the stories within this anthology, but two stood out a lot more than others. There Were No Birds to Fly by M. R. Carey and Six Impossible Things by Mark Chadbourn. Could I say why these stood out, no Im not so sure I could. I am writing this review a good four days after finishing this book, and these are the two that I am finding Im still thinking back on. There Were No Birds to Fly was so dark and twisted and yet oddly metaphoical that you just got dragged into it all the way along, I would quite happily read a full length novel around this short story, and its left me eager to hunt out some more of there work. Six Impossible Things just touched me. It was really such a deep tale, and one that I did not see where it was going until the final few pages. I cant help but just think back over it and all the power it held. Again I will be looking to get hold of more from this author as this short story has stuck with me!

If you love Alice in Wonderland, or just short stories then you should definitely look at getting your hands on a copy! They are short quick, easy stories to read, and they are fabulous in the most part!

This has been out for some time now so you shouldn’t have any issues getting a copy, so what are you waiting for….

Books

March TBR ‘2020

So February followed on from previous months, and I didn’t manage to finish a single book!! However, I did really get into A Queen in Hiding, and think I have finally started to get back into reading! I actually want to be reading more now, and am managing a good few hours of reading each day.

That being said, I have a bit of catching up to do now in order to get back on track for my GoodReads goal. My aim is to try and read about four books in March, as that will nearly catch me up!

The First book has got to be A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff. I am incredibly thankful to Tor for sending me a copy of this, and so far I have really loved it. I have less than 100 pages left, so I am hoping to have this finished before this had even come out. This fantasy is the first in a four book series, and wow is it epic! I love it so far, though I do have my critics on it..

Following on from this, I should be getting my hands on the sequel, The Queen of Raiders, for my birthday in the first weekend of the month. I can not wait to jump straight into this one, and then probably going to want to marathon the entire series. I’m hoping that the sequel picks up where the first ended and keeps going at full speed! I just need to stay in this world!45046587

Following on again from last months TBR, I am going to stick to two of the other books on there.

The first is the Wonderland Anthology. I am still only about 150 pages into this, but I am absolutely loving the dark and twisted stories in this! I have just been picking it up every now and again for the odd story, rather than sitting and reading it all straight. That is probably why its been taking me a while to get through, but as I have a lot of appointments this month, I feel like I will get through more of it!

Then finally, I really really want to get round to The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne. This came out last month, and I had intended to read it then, but as I haven’t I just have to get to it this month. This is another that the lovely Titan have sent to me, and I really do need to get my butt in gear and catch up with some of my reviews. So my TBR is written with that in mind. Stars We Steal_final[8603]

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself falling for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

So that is everything I hope to read this month, if I am right in thinking that I am getting out of my reading slump! Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I can get through all of this, and hopeful start to catch up with my reviews!

What are you hoping to read this month?

Books

A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

The long and short of this review is that this book was a real treat! I want to thank Tor for sending this to me, I really do appreciate it and am thankful for every book I am sent.

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.45046606

My first point is actually my only negative, and to be fair it isn’t so much of a negative for the book but more for the blurbing of it. Through the first quarter of the book the storyline is long away from the description on the back, and takes a long while to even appear to be working in the direction of the blurb. It is not until around page thirty that Cerulia is orphaned. Now this takes away from the story a bit for me, as although I was engrossed, I knew what was coming, and that stops me from getting drawn in to the point that I cant put it down. But as Ive said this is less to do with the story or the writing but just the choice of what is on the back- going into book two I am not going to read the back.

Cerulia or Wren as she is referred to, is by far one of my favourite characters. Seeing her grow is really rather fascinaing through the story. IT does not always feel like she a ‘main’ protagonist as such, but that doesn’t bother me. Overall its definitely a story of many sides, and each of the ‘main’ characters all carry their own weight rather than one taking precident. However, personal preference is that Cerulia is the most engrossing to read from her point of view. Her character has such depth and you can see how her personality has evolved as she has grown.

The writing style through the whole book is just so beautiful. I found it to be very easy to read, and the description gave a great visual image of the world. As someone who can get very confused within epic fantasy novels, I found this one to be rather easy to follow along with. I think I only ever had one section where I had to refer back to appendix to work out who it was referring to- for me that is not at all bad within a fantasy novel.

I think the biggest thing to say is that this book has left me wanting to dive straight into the sequel, and isnt that the best thing to say about a book in a series? I actually have recieved a copy for my birthday so will be diving straight back into the world.

Now as this review is a tad late, the book is already out, and so is the sequel. I highly recommend grabbing your copy and enjoying both of the first two in preparation of the third coming out at the start of April. I have that and the fourth on order already!

So what are you waiting for?