The Change: London/New York/Paris – Reviews

Title: The Change: London – Orbital, New York – The Queen of Coney Island, Paris – A City of Fools 

Author: Guy Adams

Genre: Horror, Teens & YA

Publisher: Solaris Books

Publication Date: July 13th 2017

Where were you when the world changed? 

One minute everything was fine and the next…they arrived. Those that saw them died instantly. The unlucky ones survived. Now unimaginable things straight out of nightmares roam the streets of our towns and cities. Nothing is impossible. Nowhere is safe. And no one can escape The Change…

Howard doesn’t know where he is or how he got there. He’s not even sure his name is Howard. But he knows his in trouble. 

Alone on a stretch of motorway jammed with broken down cars full of corpses and strange creatures, Howard falls in with a motorbike gang living in a nearby service station. 

But even The Kingdom of the Welcome Break can’t keep him safe. Something is moving between the rows of cars, something that used to be human but now clanks with metal, hisses with hydraulics, and is always on the lookout for new parts…

The first book in a 6 book novella series, aimed at the Young Adult market, and featuring protagonists trapped in a world irrevocably changed.

As these books are quite short and make up a series I thought I’d review them together. The first book, London – Orbital, is very post-apocalyptic. I suppose you could say that of them all, but this one I felt was very dreary and oppressive. I liked the overall story, but I felt this one was quite horrific in places and I don’t think I would have enjoyed it if I were a teen. It reminded me a little of The Thing, and if I were a teen reading this it would give me nightmares. Maybe teenagers have stronger stomachs these days. Overall I enjoyed it but I’d definitely say it’s for older rather than younger teens.

Grace just wants to find her brother, but she can’t go anywhere without the Queen of Coney Island’s permission to travel. 

Now the Queen demands payment and Grace and her new friend, a man in a false beard who believes he is God, must journey into the nightmare world of Dreamland, a tourist park whose attractions are as lethal as they are bizarre.

The second book in a 6 book novella series, aimed at the Young Adult market, and featuring protagonists trapped in a world irrevocably changed.

I enjoyed the second book in the series far more than the first, probably because of the humour that was interspersed in the story. It is set in the same world as the first book, but in a different location and with different characters. My favourite character being God. He added so much humour to the story and stopped it from being as bleak as the first book. There were still some gruesome scenes, but I felt it wasn’t quite as scary as the first book and I enjoyed the story more because of this.

Loïc’s friend Adrien is gone, kidnapped by the Impressionists, bizarre men made of paint who roam the Parisian catacombs. Now, if Loïc wants to see Adrien again, he must travel to the Louvre and bring him back from the lair of the strange – and deadly – Impressionists. 

But the paint-men are not the only threat lurking in Paris, and Loïc must face down the needle-fingered Tricoteuse, the blade-mouthed Madame Loisette, and the dark secrets that haunt the footlights of the Grand Guignol…

The third title in a 6 book novella series, aimed at the Young Adult market, and featuring protagonists trapped in a world irrevocably changed.

The third book in the series was a bit of a mixture. Not as gruesome as the first and not as funny as the second, but I did enjoy the story and loved the Paris location. The Grand Guignol location reminded me a bit of Interview with a Vampire, and I could picture the scenes playing out in my mind. Overall, I think I would recommend this series, but only to older teens, as I feel some of the imagery is a bit too graphic for younger readers.

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I’m back again.

So, I’m back again after quite a long break. I honestly don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve popped back a few times to catch up on everyone’s blogs, but couldn’t seem to find the time to concentrate on my own. I won’t make any promises this time, as it clearly didn’t stop me disappearing last time. lol. I have a few reviews to post, so I’m going to try and get them up tonight. Some of them are a bit short, as I read the books over the last few months and some of them aren’t as clear in my head anymore, but you’ll still get the basic idea of whether or not I liked them.

In the mean time, here is a photo I took on my recent holiday to Menorca. You can’t beat a bit of sun to pick you up.

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THE HOT GUY – REVIEW

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Title: The Hot Guy

Author: Mel Campbell & Anthony Morris

Genre: General Fiction/Humour

Publisher: Bonnier Publishing

Publication Date: May 1st 2017

Adam, a serious cinema nerd, has no idea that he is the Hot Guy – a man so ridiculously attractive there’s a Facebook group dedicated to seducing him. Cate, a sports publicist who loves to crack a joke, is feeling down about her newly single status when her friends suggest the perfect pick-me-up: a night with the Hot Guy. But that one night leaves both Cate and Adam wanting… Is a genuine connection possible with a guy this phenomenally smokin’? Written by film critic duo Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris, and packed with movie-related humour, The Hot Guy is a funny, warm, savvy, and genuine rom-com, with characters you won’t want to kick out of bed.

I read this book on a recent holiday and really enjoyed it. It was such a light and funny read and the perfect thing for relaxing by the pool or on the beach. There were a lot of pop culture references, which I was unsure that I would get with this being from an Australian publisher and sometimes humour can be regional, but if I missed any then it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the book. I think having seen every episode of Kath & Kim helped. Otherwise, I never would have known what a doona was. (It’s a duvet).

If you’re looking for a good beach read and like your rom-coms light and funny then I’d definitely say give this one a go.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

 

THE FIFTH LETTER – REVIEW

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Title: The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: February 23rd 2017

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

I actually only read this as I was on holiday, and it was one of the few books in English that someone had left on the reading table that the hotel had for guests to swap books once they’d read them. I thought I recognised the authors name, but then realised I was thinking of Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies), but I have found out since then that Nicola is Liane’s younger sister.

It was a very easy read and perfect for on holiday. All of the characters were very likeable and the story unfolds very well. I read it in a day, as I found I was desperate to know who wrote the fifth letter and what would happen to all of the women. It’s not a very complex story, so some may not like it, but I found it was just the thing for lazing by the pool. When I’m on holiday relaxing I don’t want anything too heavy going and this was just the ticket.

The Ice Twins – Review

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Title: The Ice Twins

Author: S. K. Tremayne

Genre: Thriller/Mystery

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication Date: January 29th 2015

A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.

But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.

As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?

I’m sorry to say I really didn’t like this one. It sounded so promising and I’d heard good things about it from other reviews, but it just wasn’t for me. I found the characters to be dull and extremely unlikable. I really had to force myself to finish this one, and the only reason I did was because I was on holiday and only had a limited number of books with me. I found both Sarah and Angus to be extremely depressing characters. I know they suffered a great loss, but it is clear when you read the book that they weren’t likeable people before they lost one of their twin daughters. As negative as this review is, I have another of this authors books and will be reading it at some point, as it wasn’t the writing that I disliked, it was just the characters. I’d love to know if any of you have read this one and your thoughts on it. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it.

THE UPSIDE OF UNREQUITED – REVIEW

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Title: The Upside of Unrequited

Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: YA/LGBT

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: April 11th 2017

What does a sixteen-year-old girl have to do to kiss a boy? Molly Peskin-Suso wishes she knew. She’s crushed on twenty-six guys…but has kissed exactly none. Her twin sister Cassie’s advice to “just go for it” and “take a risk” isn’t that helpful. It’s easy for her to say: she’s had flings with lots of girls. She’s fearless and effortlessly svelte, while Molly is introverted and what their grandma calls zaftig.

Then Cassie meets Mina, and for the first time ever, Cassie is falling in love. While Molly is happy for her twin, she can’t help but feel lonelier than ever. But Cassie and Mina are determined to end Molly’s string of unrequited crushes once and for all. They decide to set her up with Mina’s friend Will, who is ridiculously good-looking, flirty, and seems to be into Molly. Perfect, right? But as Molly spends more time with Reid, her cute, nerdy co-worker, her feelings get all kinds of complicated. Now she has to decide whether to follow everyone’s advice…or follow her own heart.

I really, really loved this one. I’d read Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda last year, and included this book in one of my Waiting on Wednesday posts, so had to get it as soon as it was released. Molly and Cassie are great characters, along with all of the others. I love Becky’s writing style, as it flows so well and the characters are so relatable. This was the perfect read to get me out of my reading slump and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something light and breezy, with just enough drama and humour. I can’t wait for more from Becky and I’m so excited to see that she’s writing a spin-off of Simon called Leah on the Offbeat. I’m just gutted we have to wait until next year for its release.

I’m Back

So, I’m finally back again after a long hiatus. I thought I’d sorted myself out after the last break, but life does seem to take over and I hit a huge slump and just lost all motivation. I tried picking up different books, but my mind was on other things and I just couldn’t seem to concentrate. I could see the words on the page, but they just weren’t sticking.

I feel awful about abandoning my blog for so long, but I’ve been back reading everyones posts over the last few weeks and feel I’m ready to get back into it. I recently went on a two week holiday to Gran Canaria and managed to get through 8 books while I was there, so I think we can say my slump is finally over.

I’m going to try and get reviews up for the books I read on holiday and get myself back into a routine of weekly posts. I’m currently reading Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, and enjoying it so far, so there will be a review of that going up as soon as I finish it. I hope everyone in the community is doing well and hopefully you’ll be hearing from me soon.

 

Do-Gooder – Review

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Title: Do-Gooder

Author: J. Leigh Bailey

Genre: YA/LGBT

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Publication Date: 15th September 2016

No good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.

However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

I enjoyed this book up to a point. The writing is good and the setting is certainly not one found in your typical YA novel. I liked the way that you learnt more and more about Isaiah’s background and the actions that got him into the situation he was in. It’s quite a shocking situation for a YA novel and I think it managed to convey the horror without being too shocking for a YA audience. It kept me gripped and I couldn’t put it down, as I needed to know what happened to Isaiah and Henry. But, I felt the ending let it down. Much of the book is very adult in tone, but when it came to the ending I felt it was rather rushed and implausible. I felt that if the author thought a YA audience could handle such a shocking story, then why tag on such a weak ending. I won’t spoil it for anyone wanting to read this book, but I just felt it didn’t fit in with the rest of the story

I’d still recommend this book, as it is well written and the characters are well fleshed out. If you’re looking for something a little different, in a setting far removed from the norm, then give it a go. I’ll still be checking out what this author comes out with next.

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

 

Finally another book haul

I was going to post this over the weekend, but have decided to do it now, as I’ve been away for a while and have other posts I want to get done too. I’ve bought quite a few books since my last haul post, so without further ado here we go…

The John Green Paperback Collection

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The hardback collection was in my wanted list, but was quite expensive here in the UK, so when I saw that Amazon had the paperback collection for £8 I snapped it up. The price went up after I ordered it, so I think I got a bargain.

Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

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This is the second book in the Great Library series. I picked up the first one for £1 in an earlier haul, so when I saw this in a 3 for £5 deal I thought I’d add it to my collection. I haven’t read the first one yet, but have heard good things, so am looking forward to the series.

The Sky Is Everywhere & I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

These two were also in the 3 for £5 deal and I’d read some good reviews so thought they were worth adding to my shelf.

Irene, Alex & Camille by Pierre Lemaitre

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I’d seen a lot of good reviews for Alex, but hadn’t heard about the other books, so when I saw the three in the 3 for £5 deal I decided to give them a go. I like a good crime novel, so I’m looking forward to these.

You by Caroline Kepnes

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I bought Hidden Bodies on an earlier haul, not realising that it followed on from this, so when I saw a hardback copy of You for only a couple of pounds on Amazon Marketplace I snapped it up. This has had very good reviews and sounds like just my cup of tea.

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

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This was another one in the 3 for £5 deal and Sophie Hannah likes her, so it must be good. lol.

The Poison Artist by Jonathan Moore

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This one sounds quite horrific, but in a good way. I seem to be on a bit of a crime book buying spree at the moment. Once more it was in the 3 for £5 deal.

Beneath the Lake by Christopher Ransom

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Yet another thriller in the now well known 3 for £5 deal. lol. I have a few of this authors books, so know I should be in for a good read with this one.

The Rig and Crystal Force by Joe Ducie

I haven’t heard of this author before, but these sounded interesting and I’m always up for trying new YA authors. Once again in the 3 for £5 deal.

Girl, Missing by Sophie Mckenzie

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This is my last one and nicely makes up the numbers for my 3 for £5 deals. It looks like a fairly quick read and is the 10th Anniversary Edition, so I’m sure some of you will have heard of it or read it.

That’s it for now. I didn’t post all of the synopsis’ as I prefer to do that on my reviews and I don’t like to double post. Let me know if any of you have read any of these and if you enjoyed them. I’ll try and get a review up over the weekend, then hopefully I’ll be back into the swing of things and out of my slump. Hope you all have a great weekend.

 

I’m back from a little break.

I haven’t posted anything in a while, as life seemed to take over. I didn’t seem to have any time to myself, and when I tried to sit down with a book something else always seemed to come up and take up all my time. I decided to put the brakes on everything, book myself a weeks holiday to chill out, and now hopefully I can get back to normal.

I forced myself to relax, went on some long walks, read a book, and got out of my slump. I wanted to get something posted to let you all know what was going on and that I hadn’t disappeared for good, and hopefully in the coming days I will get a review up of the book I read last week, post a book haul of my latest purchases, and get one of the tags done that I’m behind on.

I’ll try not to disappear again without any notice. We all need a little break sometimes to recharge and when you hit a slump I think the best thing you can do, if possible, is to drop everything, get away from it all, and just chill. I’ve missed being here, but hopefully now I’m back for good.