Tag: book review

OtherEarth by @jasonsegel and @banksirregular

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What do you do when your first novel in the Otherworld trilogy is near perfect? Well, you up the stakes of course. And with Jason and Kirstin at the helm, boy do they amp up the pressure!
A year ago, I went on an adventure that surpassed all my expectations. This year, I feel as if my imagination has been hijacked, given an upgrade and thrown onto a high speed rollercoaster. I was a bit worried that we’d be spending too much time out of the simulated world, but it’s actually where the drama and tension can really be found.
Simon has a plan, and he can’t do alone. In what can only be described as a Bond on the run, Simon and his friends locate allies, makes deals with enemies and try to not get the rug pulled from under them too many times.
The plot is such a wonderful treat, its best kept a secret until you read it for yourself, but I will say that there is a gritty realism within the narrative that is a refreshing change from the nostalgia trips other books like this provide. Kristin and Jason are able to provide a commentary on some deep and serious topics, including addiction.
The final act brings a mental health sub plot to a head. It’s something that is so subtle and unobtrusive to the plot that don’t be hard on yourself for it blind siding you.
The only fault I can find it that there wasn’t more of the book to read. It ends in such a way that you’ll be screaming and shouting about it for weeks after. Then, just to escape the fact that there’s a year until OtherLife reaches us, you’ll head back to Otherworld for another trip with Simon.

Book Review Extinction Trials: Exile #JurassicLondon

Hello all.

I’ve been holding off reviewing this book until today because, of course, today Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is released.

I hate to say this because I feel like I’m saying there’s a fault with the first one (and there’s not), but this sequel was better. It’s not only my favourite in the series so far, but my favourite read of 2018. With both, I’ve seamlessly fallen into the world. However, with Exile, I was one of them.

Picking up once the characters are somewhat settled after the events of the previous outing, we get to have much more of a glimpse into life on Earthasia and how Storm’s actions have impacted on her and the other survivors.

Following both Storm and Lincoln’s narrative makes for an emotional ride. One that is very separate at first. Lincoln’s guilt and ethical standing is explored in much more depth and it is hard not to feel the attachment of the character grow stronger.

This book wouldn’t be the same without a mission to Piloria. I’m so happy to say that it is far different from the time spent there in the first book. It doesn’t try and recreate the sequence or give the people the same mission, but this time it’s a whole new agenda.

The action is fast paced and film worthy. Adding Storm’s biological father into the party is a perfect move that adds so much more emotional growth to Storm. It might take place in a land that doesn’t exist,  but I’m certain there are people who will relate to Storm’s confusion of how to feel about a man who she’s never known.

As always I was left wanting more. I wasn’t ready to leave the characters behind, but I’m excited to wait for the third installment that is due in 2019.

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Bonfire by @Krytenritter #bookreview #hanreview @NetGalley @Arrowpublishing @WindmillBooks

Bonfire

Release date: 9.11.17
Buy it here
Signed edition here

From Goodreads: It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’ biggest scandal from more than a decade ago involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as Abby tries to find out what really happened to Kaycee, she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game,” which will threaten the reputations, and lives, of the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote, rural town of just five claustrophobic miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of the question: can you ever outrun your past?

Bonfire-book

My first thoughts

I’ve been itching to get a hold of a copy for months. I somehow knew it was going to be something I’d love, and I wasn’t wrong. I’d already pre-ordered a signed copy, but Net Galley UK approved my request and sent me a Kindle copy at the beginning of the week. Full of cold, I set myself on the sofa with a cuppa and a blanket, and past a whole autumnal day within Ritter’s world.

The Characters

Abby is so relatable, its rather scary. She’s a little bit of a loner, fuck up and passionate about her job. However, that’s not where the comparisons end for me. It’s Abby’s relationship with father that will haunt and sooth me for many days; the difficulty, the pain and guilt are all things I understand and help me to be drawn into the plot. It wouldn’t matter what the plot was; I’d have followed her into the depths of hell because I had her back, and many other readers will feel the same.
The supporting characters are all explored through Abby’s thoughts and memories and, as a result, you trust them as much as she does. Condor is one of my favourite characters, and I wish we’d been given more time with him. However, as Abby goes, so goes my nation.
There’s enough mystery behind a lot of the characters and it’s organic; allowing you to suspect and dismiss as the novel progresses.

The Plot

It’s a perfect slow burn plot that is set in motion way before the book begins. Being a book within the crime thriller genre, it would be easy to fall into the stereotypical pit falls or become so convoluted that it loses its readers. Bonfire escapes both of these, by giving a clever plot that will keep you guessing right up until the final reveal.

Underlying the law suit that the environmental lawyers are trying to uncover, Abby is returning home and opening up old wounds she never expected to face. It brings about a heart to the book that some crime novels of this ilk often lack.

The Writing

There’s a wonderful voice presented in this first-person narrative, one that I trust; Abby fast becomes a person I would love to get to know. The development of the plot and the sleep deprivation is well presented in the narration; without losing clarity of written structure.

This is a solid debut novel by Ritter, and I for one will be looking forward to any and all future offerings.

Editing Emma by Chloe Seager #bookreview

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From Amazon: When Emma Nash is ghosted by love of her life Leon Naylor, she does what any girl would do – spends the summer avoiding all human contact, surrounded by the Chewit wrappers he left behind.
Seeing Leon suddenly ‘in a relationship’ on Facebook, however, spurs Emma into action. She vows to use the internet for good (instead of stalking Leon’s social media),chronicling her adventures on her new Editing Emma blog.
But life online doesn’t always run smoothly.
From finding her mum’s Tinder profile, to getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why Leon Naylor is worth no girl’s virginity… Surely nothing else could go wrong?!

Commentary
Gah! Just, Gah! As someone who has been using a mental health app called Lyf to anonymously vent about my own break-up sudo-ghosting situation, I loved every character of this book. I finally felt like I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. Not telling my friends about the relationship, or the subsequent break up meant I didn’t have an outlet; I totally understand Emma’s approach and not since Gabrielle Zevlin’s Elsewhere have I had a book arrive in my life with such perfect timing to help sooth my broken heart and soul. I felt this book. From cover to cover; I laughed, I empathised and I cried.

Characters
Emma
She’s a likable character. It was like looking at a mirror. Yes, there was an element of self-centredness, but it’s Emma’s blog; that’s allowed. She is also quite insightful about her own behaviour and rather candid about her ‘selfishness’ which makes the flaws rather humbling.
If you want a strong female role model for teens; I present to you Emma Nash. Yes, she has questionable taste in men, but she is a good friend (when not boy-focused) and so very open about her sexual needs; even if at times it’s simply that she’s not sure what she wants. Her exploration of masturbation is refreshing and liberating. While, I won’t lie, I was squirming when it was first approached, however that’s because it’s not considered the ‘norm’ to discuss such things. I have my hang-ups about sex, masturbation and the discussion of such topic. Perhaps had such a book been around, I might not have the same mindset.

Others
There isn’t a stand out character for me. That’s not to say they lack individuality or they haven’t been developed. It’s simply that they are all so crucial to the flow of the book; not as devices, but as realistic pieces on a chess board.
Leon, Greg and Steph are up close and personal within the blog posts. Their personalities don’t pop and shine as they would had the novel been written in another way, but that is the point; we’re seeing them how Emma sees them. Instead, we get Emma’s feelings towards them. I love that. It feels much more intimate.

Plot
The plot is a catalogue of raw thoughts, feeling and actions from the protagonist. There is very little in the way of looking back on the relationship with Leon that Emma was craving to get back. It is always looking forward, through Emma’s attempts to date to her trying to gain some form of closer with Leon.
The plot makes clear use of time; from weekend parties to midweek lessons with friends and stalker victims nicknamed Apple.
It’s Emma’s commentary upon her mother’s dating life that I love the most. While there is more of a story there; obviously she is not going to divulge all the details to her daughter, I really like only having the pieces. The mother narrative draws on parallels in my own life and makes it feel very real.

Writing
I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried I wasn’t going to like the style of Editing Emma. I have never been fond of books imitating letters, emails and texts that sometimes break up the narrative.
I’m so glad I put that aside to allow myself to fall in love with Editing Emma. Yes, it’s a blog, but Chloe Seager has done an incredible job at balancing the structure and style to provided what comes across as a realistic blog without compromising the narrative flow.

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I have already purchased an additional copy and it’s currently finding its way to a dear friend of mine and I intend to have many copies ready for my students when September comes around.

Thank you Chloe for pushing boundaries to bring women closer together.