Book Review: Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

0

Publisher: Orion
Pages: 352
Release Date: 4.4.2019
About: FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THIRTEEN

‘This guy is the real deal. Trust me.’ Lee Child


BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

  1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
  2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
  3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

Twisted is such an apt title. This well-written roller coaster of a thriller has so many shocks, reveals and corkscrew twists that its the Nemesis of books.
It took me longer than I thought it would to read this, and that’s a testament to the plot and writing; I didn’t want to rush. It enabled me to pin point clues that i’ll happily admit perplexed me right up until the penny was dropped.


The movement between the perspectives of a number of characters was interesting to me. Especially considering I trusted very few of them and it added to the mystery, rather than detract.
As the body count racked up, my nail length was almost down to the quick; through a cleverly written, almost-meta, narrative a tense atmosphere is created that will mean so many readers will find this an addictive read.

Read it now so you can say you read it before it became the best seller of 2019.

Love Han x

Book Review: The Secret Runners of New York by Matthew Reilly

0

https://amzn.to/2UXKXbg

Wow! I was hooked in the first page and it took me on a heart-in-mouth adventure with an amazing ‘Stranger Things’ quality. Which is exactly what I need to keep me going while I inch towards 4th July’s 3rd series.


I missed my lunch because I couldn’t stop reading; I was as obsessed as the well developed and mysterious characters I met and this is the first book of 2019 that I read in one sitting. I zoned out the tv completely and fell into this world completely.


Red and Blue are the perfect twin characters to take us along on the journey. Blue’s narrative is epic; she’s speaking from a point of hindsight and that makes for an interesting read and adds a chilling tension. From the very start we know something is going to go wrong, but we’re never sure what it is. Until it’s too late of course.


I can imagine this becoming a film and being well received by anyone who is missing Pretty Little Liars being on their screens. This book screams beautiful, unhinged people. Some of whom you will love to hate.
The descriptions are detailed and perfect for anyone who hasn’t visited New York before, but for those that have, there’s a hidden layer to keep you engaged too.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Love Han x

Book Review: Enchantee by Gita Trelease

0

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 480
About: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

My heart is aching, this was such a perfect book for me. It is charming, hopeful and gracefully historic. I’ve had an inexplicable and emotional draw to the French Revolution for as long as I can remember. The ancien regime and the civil unrest that led to the end of the French monarchy has always held my attention. I have a theory as to what was the root cause of the breakdown within French society, but I’ve needed to find someone more read in the history than me.
I knew I would enjoy this book going in, perhaps be a little critical if history was not played out quite right but I k. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think I would have my heart stolen and my senses transported to such an authentic (yet utterly magical) world. Move over The Night Circus and make space for your literary equal.
Normally, it is the characters that pull me in first; there’s something about them that makes me root for them. While it’s fair to say this is true of the gorgeous and loyal Camile, it is the author’s use of language that charmed me so utterly that I was torn from the moment the first chapter ended; on one hand, I wanted to devour this story in one sitting but, on the other I wanted to savour it and make the book last forever. The use of French is the key. In other books, it wouldn’t have sat so organically beside the English. There’s a glossary, but the phrases and words are so well integrated into the dialogue that I certainly didn’t feel the need to search their meaning.
There are so many characters that bring life to this entwining plot of magicians, class system and the romance. As a reader, you will be as confused and lost as Camille when it comes to your appraisal of some characters, whereas others will win you over instantly.
I must say, I didn’t see the ending coming; literally and figuratively. I was so enchanted by the storytelling that I am still processing that I’ve read the final page let alone the fact that I missed something that with a lesser writer I would have called much earlier.
I cannot wait to reread this novel once I have the physical book in my hands and I am already looking forward to what Gita Trelease will publish next as I will forever be a devoted fan.

Love Han x

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

0

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Children’s
Pages: 416
Release date: 21st February 2019
About: Into every generation a Slayer is born…
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

What a wonderful addition to the Buffy franchise.

It remained true to canon and everything a reader would know of Slayers, Watchers and everything that goes bump in the night. The plot is delightfully unique while adding in familiar names without making it feel forced. There’s nods to so many family’s within the show and we get an insight to where some fan favourites are. While I haven’t caught up with Whedon’s comic continuation, I’m well read enough to sense that this story is faithful to the Dark Horse comic seasons 8 onwards.
As a reader I was hooked from the first chapter and really warmed to all the characters from the outset. The mystery element was what made me frantic to get to the end; my heart in my mouth and constantly trying to predict the outcome.
I could see this as a TV series and Kiersten White made that very easy; the action was well written and incorporated into an expertly-told story. It’s a well rounded stand alone, with enough intrigue, mystery and plot left unexplored to want more.
I felt like I was living the best parts of my teen years while reading this book; it gave me a sense nostalgia that has me regretting gifting my Buffy book collection to family members. I just can’t wait for what happens next and rereading those who have softened the wait.

Love Han x

Book Review The Extinction Trials: Rebel by S. M Wilson

2

Publisher: Usborne
Pages: 368
Release Date: 7.2.2019
About: Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials.
Storm and Lincoln’s city is burning. The people are starving. The only place left to run is Piloria, the continent of monsters. It’s up to Storm and Lincoln to keep their people alive as they colonize this lethal paradise. But will the biggest threat to their survival be the monsters in the jungle…or the ones inside the encampment with them?
The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park in this wildly popular series filled with action, survival and betrayal.

Okay… So I finished this book over a week ago and I’ve not been able to sit down and write this review. Mainly because to write it, is to admit that this amazing ride that has taken my blog through its book review infancy is over. It was the first book in which a publisher reached out and asked that I take part in a blog tour and I got to host a wonderful Q&A with S. M. Wilson. I don’t want this book series to be over, I am currently cursing past me from willing the books out faster. Damn, not only would I have waited the Harry Potter standard of 2 years between books for S. M. Wilson’s talented writing, I’d have RR Martin waited for them.

Enough of my end-of-series grief. Lets get down to what you are all here for: does it live up to the others and how quickly should you be adding it to your TBR?

The simple answer is that not only does it live up to the 2018 outing and its sequel, it surpasses it. Not only is the reader given an excellent, movie worthy, sequel its a well crafted ending to a series. There’s scares, screams and tears a plenty as time is given to all the characters we’ve met so far. As with Exile, Rebel gives us what we expect without playing the game by numbers and retreading the same plot.

My heart was in my mouth from the opening chapter and the pace never let up for a single second, which is how I found myself hitting the last page at 3am Sunday night/ Monday morning; the same day I’d bought it. There’s payoffs, there’s shocks and there’s even creatures I’m too afraid of to mention their names.

I don’t want to mention too many details about the plot, as I’d hate to ruin anything I enjoyed reading but what I will say is that those fans from the start will be left satisfied with how the series ends. I’d also like to point out that, intentional or not, there are still questions and scope for further adventures within this crafted world. I’m not saying Wilson has to start writing another. No, she’s done something so much more for us. She’s provided an imagination playground for plot bunnies to run wild. Certainly for me, if I wasn’t strictly on a ‘no fan fiction’ writing diet while I get my own fictions off the ground; I’d so be penning something set in this world. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me a truly good writer not only gives you a world to escape to, but they create a spark within the imagination.

One final thing I will say, is that I cannot wait for Wilson has in store for us. This has been an amazing trilogy that should be picked up by a film company post haste. S. M. Wilson has a fan for life, and I only hope I can write half as well as her; chapter fourteen of Rebel is hands down the best chapter I’ve ever read and I’ve kept coming back and rereading it all week.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve read the others, buy this book. If you’ve read none of them; buy them all and clear your diary and TBR. It’s a book series that will take pride of place on your bookshelf and, for me, will be a yearly re-read for decades to come.

Love Han x

Book Review: Song for a Whale by @LynneKelly @PiccadillyPress

1

Publisher: Piccadilly Press
Pages: 322
Release date: 5th February 2019
About: A stirring and heart-warming tale of a young deaf girl who is determined to make a difference, the perfect read for fans of Wonder.
Iris was born deaf, but she’s never let that define her; after all, it’s the only life she’s ever known. And until recently she wasn’t even very lonely, because her grandparents are both deaf, too. But Grandpa has just died and Grandma’s not the same without him. The only place Iris really feels at home anymore is in her electronics workshop where she loves taking apart antique radios.
Then, during a science lesson about sound waves, Iris finds out about a whale who is unable to communicate with other whales. The lonely whale awakens something in Iris. She’s determined to show him that someone in the world knows he’s there.
Iris works on a foolproof plan to help the whale but she soon realises that that is not enough: Iris wants to find the whale herself.
One stolen credit card, two cruise ship tickets, and the adventure of a lifetime later, Iris and the whale each break through isolation to help one another be truly heard in ways that neither had ever expected.

I don’t think i have ever related to a character so much in all my life. I felt every emotion Iris had along her journey. My heart ached at the beauty of the storytelling and the gratitude that this book exists for those who identify with Iris’ hearing issues. Not only is this book about to go out into the world and allow some people, like myself, to feel represented but it’s a book that will enlighten others on some of the physical and emotional problems faced by those with hearing difficulties.

The theme of isolation resonates with me quite strongly; I was diagnosed with serve hearing loss at the age of 15. However, I was showing signs of hearing loss as young as 6 or 7. My inability to answer people was put down to my dreamer nature with a bit of laziness thrown in.
School was a different matter. I suspect that in an environment where blanking someone was the highest crime. I was considered rude and stuck up. I felt like I spent much of high school in my own little prison cell of silence.
In short, I totally relate to Iris’ frustration and I would have been exactly like her and feeling the kinship with Blue-55. I might not have gone on the adventure she did, but curling up and reading this book I feel like I actually did.

The writing is breath-taking and compliments the heartfelt plot entirely. How ASL is relayed in the book is nothing short of perfection. There’s a distinction made between speech and ASL, and that in itself is wonderful. However, Lynne Kelly goes beyond that and gives some stunning descriptions of the hand movements to some words and phrases.

The plot moves at an engaging pace, intermingling what appear on the outset to be completely unrelated and independent plot threads. It means that you get to know all the characters that surround Iris in all parts of her life. I’d have personally loved to have seen more interaction between Iris and her brother, but it reminded me so much of the relationship I had with my brother and I just wanted to dive right in and stay a little longer.

This book will forever have a place in my heart, it has soothed my soul and I already predict a mid-year reread. Thank you, Lynne Kelly, from the bottom of my heart for allowing people like myself to be seen, heard and most importantly, understood.

Song for a Whale is out on 5th February 2019.

Love Han x

Han’s January Wrap Up

1

Now I’m no longer teaching and am on the road to officially being my father’s carer, I am hoping to up my game with my blog. There’s no goal in terms of followers or awards, I just want to be more organised and help more books to succeed.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do is show my gratitude for the books I receive and reflect on what I’ve achieved over the previous month. Hopefully, this will be the first of many Wrap Up posts in which I share with you my purchases, book post and Net Galley gains before implementing a TBR I hope to stick to.
As always, comment and follow.
Love Han x

The Books I Got

  • Slay on Tour by Kim Curran (Usborne book post)
  • Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway (Piccadilly Press book post)
  • Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge (Hot Key book post)
  • The Anomaly by Michael Rutger (Zaffre book post)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J. K. Rowling (Sphere/ Little Brown. Bought)
  • Evermore by Sara Holland (Harper Teen. Bought)
  • DC Icons Batman: Night Walker by Marie Lu (Random House YA. Replacement purchase)
  • Doctor Who: The Good Doctor by Juno Dawson (BBC books. Bought)
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly (Piccadilly Press book post)
  • Monsters in the Mirror by A J Hartly (UCLAN publishing book post)
  • Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (Hodder Children’s Press. From Wildest Dreams Book Box subscription)
  • Dark Blade by Steve Feasey (Bloomsbury YA book post)
  • Slayer by Keirsten White (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK. Net Galley)
  • Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (Orion Press. Net Galley)
  • The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson (Macmillan Children’s Books. Net Galley)
  • Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay (Red Rogue Press. Net Galley)
  • Aries 181 by Tiana Warner (Rogue Cannon Publishing E-Copy)

The Books I Read

  • Slay on Tour by Kim Curran
  • Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway
  • Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
  • Slayer by Kiersten White
  • The Anomaly by Michael Rutger
  • Dr Ninth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Tenth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Eleventh by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Twelfth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Enchantee by Gita Trelease
  • Twisted by Steve Cavanagh
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
  • The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson
  • Ever Alice by H.J Ramsay

So as it stands, I’m 14 books (18%) into my Goodread’s 80 book 2019 reading challenge. It also puts me a staggering 8 books ahead of schedule. I would love to keep this up, but I am also aware that 5 of my books are 5 minute reads.

The Books to Read in February

  • Monsters in the Mirror by A J Hartly
  • Dark Blade by Steve Feasey
  • Aries 181 by Tiana Warner
  • Time Traveller’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds
  • Hunting Evil by Chris Carter
  • Extinction Trials: Rebel by S M Wilson
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  • The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
  • Doctor Who: The Good Doctor by Juno Dawson

Happy February geeks x

photo out-take

Book Tour: Slay on Tour by Kim Curran

0

As a reader it feels as if Curran’s opening story was the album and this, second offering that is so aptly named, is the amazing and anticipated arena tour.

You’ll gratefully applaud the hits the familiar characters roll out smoothly and with wonderful transitions. You will get that comfortable, almost homely, sensation even though it also feels different and new. Just like with all good bands on tour, Curran offers the fans something new that also teases what will come next.

I devoured this book, much in the same way I did the first. The key with the enjoyability of this book is having characters, relationships and situations I feel invested in. Slay on Tour has all, in buckets.

What I loved was the sub plot of Tom coming to terms with losing his hand. I had the pleasure of seeing Def Leapord last year and their drummer had his whole arm amputated in a car accident. The band stuck by is side while he recovered and learned to embrace his ‘disability’. I say it in that way because the man was one incredible drummer, regardless. Having that experience allowed me to experience Tom’s predicament on another level and that is all down to Curran’s writing.

The story in itself is fast paced, action packed and contains all the feels. It’s well wrapped up, but we get a juicy sting to tell us that London’s Calling. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Slay.

Love Han x

Anomaly by Michael Rutger

0

I don’t think i’ve ever felt as tense as I did reading this chilling adventure. I knew if like it; I was told the moment I was told It was for fans of Dan Brown. That is very true indeed; only I would be so bold as to say it’s a perfect blend of the aforementioned Brown and the late, great, Michael Chrichton. 

Becoming an adult means certain things have to take priority, which means I thought my days of staying up through the night reading were left behind with my tolerance for shots. Yet, with The Anomaly, I found myself turning those final pages at 3am. I couldn’t put it down, I couldn’t let it go; I needed to know the answer and know how everything played out.

Part of what makes this book a gripping read is its main character and voice. Comparing him to Indiana Jones doesn’t quite do the character justice. There’s a closer resemblance to Greg House from the namesake show. That, certainly, for me made him a much more engaging read. His interaction with all the other characters brings not only a full development of him, but to a number of others too.

The plot and writing are beautifully filmic in quality, bringing a sense of Crichton nostalgia. There’s also that deep rooted almost mythological puzzle that begs to be solved.

The imagery is haunting and garners a real threat towards the characters that will leave any reader’s heart racing.

Love Han x

Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway

0

This is a delightful, fanciful tale that would make for a cute bedtime read for younger children and a perfect independent book for older littles.

I devoured it in a little over an hour, falling in love with the characters, their relationships and the overall tone of the book.

It’s the message that is central to this charming book’s success. The main character, Anna, is good at problem solving and that will be inspiring to any young reader. However, the most heartwarming message I took from this story was that its as much a strength to recognise when you need help and seek it out. Some of the story’s best situations are solved when Anna seeks out the expertise of other people at the hotel.

Overall, the story is perfectly pitched for this to be a book that grows as a child does. It contains stunning artwork to compliment what undoubtedly will be just the start of a wonderful series of books and a grand adventure.

This beautiful book is available from 7th Feb 2019 and is available to pre-order now.

Love Han