This Week in Books 28.09.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.¬†

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means…time to share how our reading week is shaping up! Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments for everyone to see ūüôā¬†

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Now:  Self-Made Man ~ Poppy Z. Brite // The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfeld

Self-Made Man¬†is a book of short stories that I picked up for Horror October. I love Brite’s novels but her story collections haven’t always won me over. I’ve been wanting to read this for ages though. Good so far! And I’m still working on¬†The Enchanted up in my breaks at work. Suffice to say that I haven’t gotten very far. Really liking it though.¬†

Then:  Cut to the Bone ~ Alex Caan // Haunt Me ~ Liz Kessler

I enjoyed both of these. My review for Cut to the Bone went up on Monday, and Haunt Me will be my first review for Horror October!

Next: ??? 

Definitely Reckless by Cornelia Funke

New on the Shelves

From Netgalley:

shockawe.pngThe first complete epic history of Glam Rock from ’68-’76 by the finest music writer of his generation, Simon Reynolds.

As the sixties dream faded, a new flamboyant movement electrified the world: GLAM! In Shock and Awe, Simon Reynolds explores this most decadent of genres on both sides of the Atlantic. Bolan, Bowie, Suzi Quatro, Alice Cooper, New York Dolls, Slade, Roxy Music, Iggy, Lou Reed, Be Bop Deluxe, David Essex — all are represented here. Reynolds charts the retro future sounds, outrageous styles and gender-fluid sexual politics that came to define the first half of the seventies and brings it right up to date with a final chapter on glam in hip hop, Lady Gaga, and the aftershocks of David Bowie’s death.

Shock and Awe is a defining work and another classic in the Faber Social rock n roll canon to stand alongside Rip it Up, Electric Eden and Yeah Yeah Yeah.

Expected Publication: Oct 6th by Faber & Faber

 

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine

 The Christmas Town~ Donna VanLiere

 

IT’S NOT TOO SOON OKAYYYY!
 thechristmastown
Lauren Gabriel spent many years of her childhood in foster homes, wishing her mother would come back for her and be the family she needs. Now twenty-years-old, she still longs for a place that she can truly call home. Her work as a cashier is unfulfilling, and at Christmas it’s unbearable with the songs and carols and chatter of Christmas that she hears throughout the day.

When Lauren ends her shift one night, she finds herself driving aimlessly in order to avoid returning to her lonely apartment. And when she witnesses a car accident she is suddenly pulled into the small town of Grandon, first as a witness but then as a volunteer for the annual fundraiser for Glory’s Place, a center for single mothers and families who need assistance. Could this town and its people be the home she has always longed for?

Expected Publication:¬† October 18th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press
¬†So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?
 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look ūüôā

P.S Horror October is coming….

horroroctofficial2016

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Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn TBR #TTT

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books on your Fall/Autumn TBR List.

Oh here we go, another TBR list that will never actually be completed…probably. I read five books from my Summer TBR list so that’s not entirely terrible…right?

Anyway, here are the top ten books I aim to read this Autmn. Most of them are for Horror October.

Saint Death ~ Marcus Sedgwick

“A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.”

The Travelling Bag and other Ghostly Stories ~ Susan Hill

“From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.”

Reckless 1: The Petrified Flesh ~ Cornelia Funke

“Enter the magical world behind the Mirrors…”¬†Revised and updated by Cornelia Funke, The Petrified Flesh is the first book in the thrilling Reckless series.

The Daemoniac ~ Kat Ross

“It’s August of 1888, just three weeks before Jack the Ripper will begin his grisly spree in the London slum of Whitechapel, and another serial murderer is stalking the gas-lit streets of New York.”

Hunter of the Dead ~ Stephen Kozeniewski

“Someone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.”

The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sophia Flores ~ Danielle Vega

“Danielle Vega‚ÄĒYA‚Äôs answer to Stephen King‚ÄĒonce again brings major scares in the spine-tingling sequel to horror hit¬†The Merciless, which MTV calls ‚ÄúMean Girls meets The Exorcist.‚ÄĚ

The Witches of New York ~ Ami McKay

“The beloved, bestselling author of The Birth House and The Virgin Cure is back with her most beguiling novel yet, luring us deep inside the lives of a trio of remarkable young women navigating the glitz and grotesqueries of Gilded-Age New York by any means possible, including witchcraft…”

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ~ Ransom Riggs

“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.”

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky ~ Holly Martin

“This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts‚Ķ¬†“

City of Dark Magic ~ Magnus Flyte

“Cosmically fast-paced and wildly imaginative, this debut novel is a perfect potion of magic and suspense”

 

Are you looking forward to any of these?

Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan #BookReview #Thriller

cuttotheboneTitle: Cut to the Bone
Author: Alex Caan
Series: N/a
Format: Digital ARC, 320 pages
Publication Details: November 3rd 2016 by Bonnier Publishing
Genre(s): Thriller; Crime Fiction
Disclosure? Yep, I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

One Missing Girl. Two Million Suspects.

Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls.

And she’s missing . . .

But she’s an adult – nothing to worry about, surely?

Until the video’s uploaded . . .

Ruby, in the dirt, pleading for her life.

Enter Detective Inspector Kate Riley; the Met’s rising star and the head of a new team of investigators with the best resources money can buy. Among them, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris, the poster boy for multiracial policing. But can Kate wholly trust him – and more importantly, can she trust herself around him?

As hysteria builds amongst the press and Ruby’s millions of fans, Kate and her team are under pressure to get results, and fast, but as they soon discover, the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much darker than anyone could have imagined.

And the videos keep coming…

Review

I was in the mood for a dark, crime thriller so I picked this book up slightly ahead of schedule and I enjoyed it a lot.

Cut to the Bone opens with a girl being kidnapped. I instantly found the writing-style exciting and intriguing. It’s sharp and very matter-of-fact which I’m sure some people with have an issue with but I lapped it up.¬†

We soon discover that the girl being kidnapped was Ruby, a YouTube star. Ruby does beauty tutorials and talks about her life, depression and other things on her Vlog, to a huge teen audience. She’s a good role model, she tries to use her experiences to help others. So when she goes missing there’s instant interest in it. But it doesn’t explain why commissioner Justin Hope seems to know about it before she’s even classified as a missing person- only hours after her disappearance.¬†

Like all good crime thrillers, Cut to the Bone is complex, with many strands weaving through it at once. There’s the unreliable cops, the exploitative media agents, ex-boyfriends, stalker-fans and a strange family, (amongst others) all thrown into the mix. Any one of them could be the culprit.¬†

Caan does a good job of throwing in some red herrings and keeping you guessing, and I couldn’t stop digitally turning those pages, although to be fair, I was never that invested it finding out who the killer is, because we don’t actually know if she’s dead.

I feel like I can’t really give Cut to the Bone more than 3/5, mainly because it wasn’t anything special. I enjoyed it and all, but it didn’t blow me away. It hasn’t stayed with me, you know!? Maybe I’m just in a harsh mood…

I also got pretty bored with all the drawn-out explanations about what Vloggers do and how they make money. I’m sure it’s just a case of timing, and that probably when the story was actually written Vloggers weren’t very well known, but it felt quite dated and well, out of touch. Like it was written by someone who has only just discovered the internet or something.

Anyhoo, for a debut novel, Cut to the Bone is a winner. The writing is quite different than your run-of-the-mill thrillers and that’s what really impressed me.¬†

Definitely worth a read – and I’ll be looking out for more from Caan in the future.¬†

unicorn rating 3

Cut to the Bone is out now on Kindle, but not due in paperback until November 2016

New Picture Book Releases: Mini Reviews

I’ve recently started paying attention to picture book releases, and existing picture books because I’m trying my hand at writing a couple. If anyone would like to be my beta readers -email me!

I requested the following books on Netgalley so I thought I had better write reviews for them, albeit very teeny ones ūüôā

Dreaming of Mocha ~ An Swerts

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Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: November 15th 2016 by Clavis
Florence wants a dog. It doesn’t matter what kind of dog. Just any dog. To take care of, and to pet. To run with, and to play with. If she gets a dog, she will NEVER whine again and she’ll always be good. That’s what she promised Mom.
One day there’s a little dog in Florence’s garden. He came out of nowhere.
‚ÄúMocha‚ÄĚ it says on his collar. Mocha and Florence become the best of friends.
But then Mocha’s owner is suddenly at the door. And he is a very nice man.
What will Florence do now?An endearing picture book about loving animals and loving people.
For pet lovers ages 4 and up.
I can’t really review this book properly because the epub I downloaded only had the illustrations! Only after reading some reviews on Goodreads I realised that it is supposed to have text. However, the illustrations went a long way in telling the story, which is a great thing! The illustrations were simple but very cute, and I’m sure young children will love them and fall in love with Mocha as much as Florence did.
unicorn rating 3

Baba Yaga ~ An Leysen

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Hardcover, 56 pages
Published September 13th 2016 by Clavis
Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, lived a girl named Olga. Olga lived with her father in a beautiful house, and they were very happy together. Until Olga’s father one day fell in love again … His new wife was cruel and mean. And her sister Baba Yaga, who lived in a dark forest, was even meaner. Baba Yaga was a real witch! There was a rumor she was fond of children … on her plate! One day Olga’s stepmother sent her to Baba Yaga. What was she supposed to do now?
Baba Yaga, the witch from Slavonic mythology is coming alive in this fairy tale. An Leysen takes you on a journey in an imaginative story about a wicked witch and a sweet and brave little girl.
 
I absolutely loved this book. It’s exactly the kind of picture book I’d love to write. It had just the right balance of adventure, magic, and creepy/scary that children will love. Baba Yaga is terrifying but I don’t think it will worry young children too much – plus, the happy ending will be sure to put them at ease.
I’d not heard of this fairy-tale before, and I’m desperate to read the original now. But what I loved most of about this book is the stunning illustrations. They took my breath away, really! Perfect!¬†
unicorn rating

Gracie Meets a Ghost ~ Keiko Sena

gracie

Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2016 by Museyon
Gracie hasn‚Äôt been able to see very well recently, so she decides to get some glasses. But, after playing on the mountain one day, she realizes that night that her glasses are missing. She heads straight out to look for them on the mountain‚Äďwhere a bored ghost is hiding in the darkness, waiting for someone to scare. Although Ghost tries to scare her, Gracie doesn’t react by being frightened, not even little‚Äďbecause she can’t see Ghost well enough to be scared without her glasses! Ghost really wants to see Gracie scared, so he helps in her search all night long and finally finds her glasses. But what happens when Gracie puts them on...
This is an adorable story that kids will love in the run-up to Halloween. It’s cute and silly, and just ghoulish enough without being scary. I liked that Gracie wasn’t at all scared of the ghost because she couldn’t see him without her glasses. I’m sure this book will make having to wear glasses seem a lot less terrible to young children. The illustrations are lovely and quirky too.

unicorn rating 4

This Week in Books 21.09.16 #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week.¬†

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means…time to share how our reading week is shaping up! Don’t forget to leave your link in the comments for everyone to see ūüôā¬†

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Now:  Cut to the Bone ~ Alex Caan // The Enchanted ~ Rene Denfeld

Cut to the Bone is a fast-paced police procedural thriller that I’m enjoying a lot. The e-book is out now but the paperback is due in November. I picked The Enchanted up at work and didn’t want to put it down so I’m reading that in my breaks too.¬†

Then:  Stealing Snow ~ Danielle Paige

This started off well but went downhill ūüė¶ My review went up on Monday. You can read it here.¬†

Next: ??? 

Probably Reckless by Cornelia Funke, or Haunt Me by Liz Kessler. Both are ¬†ARCs that I’ll be reading for Horror October. They’re both YA.¬†

New on the Shelves

For review:

hunterofthedead.jpgSomeone has begun targeting vampires.

Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters. Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.

Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too ‚Äď and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals. Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.

The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background. But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster…

Waiting on Wednesday

(Linking up with Breaking the Spine

 The Travelling Bag and other stories ~ Susan Hill

 

¬†I love Susan Hill’s atmospheric ghost stories and these editions are really pretty. I’m looking forward to this arriving in time¬†for Horror October!
 
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 From the foggy streets of Victorian London to the eerie perfection of 1950s suburbia, the everyday is invaded by the evil otherworldly in this unforgettable collection of new ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black.

In the title story, on a murky evening in a warmly lit club off St James, a bishop listens closely as a paranormal detective recounts his most memorable case, one whose horrifying denouement took place in that very building.

In ‘The Front Room’, a devoutly Christian mother tries to protect her children from the evil influence of their grandmother, both when she is alive and when she is dead.

A lonely boy finds a friend in ‘Boy Number 21’, but years later he is forced to question the nature of that friendship, and to ask whether ghosts can perish in fires.

This is Susan Hill at her best, telling characteristically flesh-creeping and startling tales of thwarted ambition, terrifying revenge and supernatural stirrings that will leave readers wide-awake long into the night.

Expected Publication: September 29th 2016 by Profile Books

¬†So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?
 

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look ūüôā

And while I have you here I’m looking for guest posts/features/reviews/spotlights for Horror October. Get in touch if you’ d like to get involved.¬†

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige #YA #Bookreview

stealingsnowTitle: Stealing Snow
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Stealing Snow #1
Format: Digital ARC, 384 pages
Publication Details:  October 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; Retellings
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door ‚Äď and Snow knows that she has to leave ‚Ķ


She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate ‚Ķ

Review

I read the original Snow Queen at the beginning of the year after getting it as a Christmas present. I enjoyed it a lot. It’s an odd little fairy-tale but totally compelling. I am also a huge fan of Frozen (which is very, very loosely based on Andersen’s tale) so I was really excited when I saw the premise of this book.¬†

Snow resides in a psychiatric hospital in New York. We’re not sure why she’s there but she seems to have accepted it. It’s all a bit of a mystery; she doesn’t seem ill enough to be in a secure hospital, although she does have one hell of a temper. Her best friend and part-time boyfriend Bale is also a permanent resident there. But he’s been kept away from Snow ever since he fractured her wrist the first time they kissed.¬†

But Snow knows he didn’t mean it, he’s just unwell. And she becomes convinced that he’s been kidnapped and taken into another world via a magic mirror.

OK, I know this all sounds a bit hokey but this was actually the most believable and exciting part of the story.

I loved the hospital setting. It was written well and full of intrigue. The characters Рboth the staff and the patients- were interesting and fleshed out, and the bond between Snow and Bale felt real. Paige seems to have taken a lot of care in building this world for it to be used in such a small part of the story. 

Snow manages to pass through the mirror to the other side – Algid. And this is where it all goes a bit wrong. I felt like Snow was just dumped there with no thought as to where the story should go. The world-building from here on out was almost non-existent, the characters she met were bland and one-dimensional, and quite frankly I had no idea what was going on.

All of a sudden, Snow is a princess who can summon ice and snow, and conjure these elements whenever she feels like it. There was no transition period at all. No fleshing out, no descriptions, it was all just a bit too fast and brief. WhamBamNoThankYouMam.

I felt really disappointed and let down by everyone involved in this book to be honest. Mainly because it had such great potential. It could have been this amazing Snow White / Snow Queen mash-up, but instead it was just painstakingly flat and messy.

I did like that Paige preserved some of the original story, and the idea that Snow’s icy kiss was slowly killing Bale but I couldn’t see past the rest I’m afraid.¬†

If it wasn’t for the great first couple of chapters and the idea in itself, I’m not sure I would have been able to finish the book, never mind give it two unicorns, but I think it’s a fair rating for the potential alone.¬†

P.S Three love interests, really!? Sigh. 

unicorn rating 2

 

 

Lazy Saturday Review: Siege & Storm #MiniBookReview #YA

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I started doing ‚Äėlazy Saturday reviews‚Äô as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

siegeTitle: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Format: Paperback, 435 pages
Publication Details: June 5th 2014 by Indigo
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope. I borrowed it from the library. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

 

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling‚Äôs game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Review

I was looking forward to this book after loving Shadow and Bone, and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed, but I definitely didn’t love it as much as the first book.

I quite liked the plot of this one; with Alina and Mal on the run, the Darkling’s extra-dark return, and a whole lot of trust issues surrounding everyone involved. That was all good. It was the characters that bugged me…

Alina went all whiny on us, and then power mad and abrasive, and she could probably win some sort of Martyrdom award. Mal wasn’t any less annoying either. He became petty, and jealous and didn’t even try to understand what Alina was thinking, or why she was doing what she was, but I liked that he still stood by her, as much as he was able.

However, pretty much all of that is insignificant because ENTER: Sturmhond. My favourite character by far. Bardugo really knows how to write them doesn’t she!? Sturmhond was cheeky and witty. One of those all-round-good-guys-hidden-behind-an-armour-of-sarcasm-and-razor-edged-tongue kind of deals.

I never really saw him as a love interest because I kinda pictured him as this larger-than-life scruffy pirate but I’m so rooting for him now. Not that Alina will ever choose him over Mal but one can dream. Sigh.

There were other great new characters too which I hope will return in the third book to sort his whole shadowy mess out.

Next! Thankyouplease.

unicorn rating 3