Reading Round-up: March/April 2018, Part 1 #MiniBookReviews

icon-rru

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been pretty rubbish at posting reviews lately. I unfortunately don’t have the time (or the motivation) at the moment. I would, however, like to share a few thoughts on some of my recent reads…

 

Emily Windsnap and the Falls of Forgotten Island  ~ Liz Kessler

This book was so cute. I’d never read any Liz Kessler books before and I didn’t realise this was like book 7 in the series, but it didn’t matter at all. It’s a story about friendship, family, romance and a mysterious adventure involving an ancient prophecy, (I bloody love an ancient prophecy btw) and of course, Mermaids!

I thought it was paced well, and had some struggles and dilemmas in it that were perfect for the target age group, such as letting down your best friend, and being the third, all nicely topped off with some mermaid magic.

unicorn rating 4

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ~ Mackenzi Lee

I’m so glad that this book was as good as I anticipated. It’s not a quick read, but totally worth the investment. There’s not that much historical YA out there, particularly LGBT historical YA, and this tale of travelling and debauchery is in a league of its own. It’s a great story, with truly diverse characters and not just for the sake of it like I see happening in YA a lot these days.

unicorn rating 4

 

Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda ~ Becky Albertalli

I knew I would love this book from the moment it came out, but I’m afraid all the hype did ruin it a little bit for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved it, and I loved the main characters, and the fact that books like this exist, but people were talking about it like it’s something new, and I didn’t think it was really.

unicorn rating 4

 

Member of the Family ~ Dianne Lake

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve had this weird fascination with Charles Manson, but I never really read that much about him in the time before the murders took place. This book, written by the youngest recruited member of ‘the family’, provides a lot of insight on that time when the group transitioned from a hippie commune, to a sadistic cult capable of the harshest of crimes. 

I found a lot of this book interesting but it dragged, especially in the beginning. I get that Dianne’s dysfunctional childhood is what paved the way for her joining Manson, but it could have been summarised a bit. I’m glad I read it though!

unicorn rating 3

More mini reviews will be posted tomorrow 🙂

This Week in Books 07.03.18 #TWIB

icon2

Welcome to This Week in Books, where we share what we’ve been up to in bookland this week and look ahead to next!

Happy Wednesday blog friends. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week…

Now:

 

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue ~ Mackenzi Lee

I’m still going on this, but only because I put it down for a while. It’s got nothing to do with the story, the book is just too damn big to carry around with me!

gentlemansguideHenry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed.

The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

 

Then:

 

Inspector Chopra and the Million-Dollar Motor Car ~ Vaseem Khan

This was a fun little mystery. It’s definitely made me want to read the series.

inspectorchopraQR

The Premier No.1 Garage is the place to go in Mumbai if you want a luxury car. Even Mumbai’s biggest gangster shops there – he’s just ordered a classic race car worth millions.

But now the car is gone. Stolen from a locked room, in the middle of the night.

Who stole it? The mechanic who is addicted to gambling? The angry ex-worker? The car thief pulling off one last job?

And how on earth did they make it vanish from the locked garage?

Inspector Chopra has just days to find the culprit – and the missing car – before its gangster owner finds out … and takes violent reveng.

Scarecrow ~ Danny Weston

This was a fun, quick read but I think the great cover is misleading – I was expecting a scary one!

scarecrowJack and his dad are runaways. Jack’s father recently turned whistleblower, revealing the truth about the illicit dealings of some powerful people. Realising that he and Jack might be in danger, Dad drives them to a remote shooting lodge in the Scottish Highlands, where they intend to lay low.

In the cornfield beside the lodge stands a scarecrow. When Jack witnesses something incredible, he begins to realise that it is no ordinary scarecrow – it is alive, hungry and fuelled by rage. And when Dad’s enemies begin to converge on the lodge, the scarecrow might just turn out to be Jack’s best hope of survival

 

Almost Midnight ~ Rainbow Rowell

I couldn’t resist picking this one up from work when it was snowing. It got me in the mood! It was my first go of Rainbow Rowell and everything I expected it to be – very cute!

almostmidnightMidnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time . . .

Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.

Midnights was previously published as part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology, edited by Stephanie Perkins and Kindred Spirits was previously published as a World Book Day title.

Next:

 

Once again I have no idea! I’m very indecisive at the moment.

 

What have you been reading this week? Leave a comment/link and I’ll do my best to take a look 🙂

The Hematophages by Stephen Kozeniewski #BookReview #Horror #SciFi

 

icon-bookreview

hematTitle: The Hematophages
Author: Stephen Kozeniewski
Series: N/A
Format: Digital, 326 pages
Publication Details:  April 1st 2017 by Sinister Grin Press
Genre(s): Horror; Science Fiction
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads

Doctoral student Paige Ambroziak is a “station bunny” – she’s never set foot off the deep space outpost where she grew up. But when she’s offered a small fortune to join a clandestine salvage mission, she jumps at the chance to leave the cutthroat world of academia behind.

Paige is convinced she’s been enlisted to find the legendary Manifest Destiny, a long-lost colonization vessel from an era before the corporations ruled Earth and its colonies. Whatever she’s looking for, though, rests in the blood-like seas of a planet-sized organism called a fleshworld.

Dangers abound for Paige and her shipmates. Flying outside charted space means competing corporations can shoot them on sight rather than respect their salvage rights. The area is also crawling with pirates like the ghoulish skin-wrappers, known for murdering anyone they can’t extort.

But the greatest threat to Paige’s mission is the nauseating alien parasites which infest the fleshworld. These lamprey-like monstrosities are used to swimming freely in an ocean of blood, and will happily spill a new one from the veins of the outsiders who have tainted their home. In just a few short, bone-chilling hours Paige learns that there are no limits to the depravity and violence of the grotesque nightmares known as…THE HEMATOPHAGES

Review

I was in two minds going into this book. On one hand, I expected to like it because I’ve enjoyed many of Stephen Kozeniewski’s previous books (Braineater Jones, Hunter of the Dead and The Ghoul Archipelago) , but on the other hand, I don’t have a huge capacity for deep-space colony settings/ hardcore sci-fi novels.

Luckily for me, 1. I’m a bit of a gore-fiend, and that came in spades, and 2. It appears that everything Kozeniewski writes is so damn readable! It’s annoying, really. 

The Hematophages centres around Paige, a seemingly accomplished and confident Doctoral Student. But deep down she’s inexperienced and naïve, having never left her space station. Paige bags herself a ‘need to know’ mysterious new job which will send her on a mission into the fleshworld (yes, it’s as gross as it sounds) with its oceans of blood and blood-drinking alien-fish monstrosities. 

The mission is fraught with danger from the start, attacked by pirates with no skin before they even arrive, and then the realisation that they are actually salvaging the world-famous ship The Manifest Destiny which holds some truly grim surprises of its own, Paige and her new BFF/the object of her affection, Zanib will be extremely lucky to get out alive (and with all their parts), never mind complete the mission.

I wasn’t sure about protagonist Paige at first. She seemed to have two entirely different personalities, which meant it took me a little while to get into the swing of things, but I warmed to her eventually and ended up really enjoying this fast-paced story.

The thorough world-building made it easy to understand Kozeniewski’s epic vision. And it was epic! As I said earlier, I’m not a huge SF reader, so maybe this was nothing new, but it was definitely new to me, and felt unique.

I liked that in this version of the far-future the human race are all one colour due to years of inter-racial sex, that the gross Skin-Wrappers evolved from ostracised people with some kind of cancer, and that men have completely died out. Hurrah! (I joke…but, imagine).

Written well, full of stomach-churning wrongness and women kicking some blood-sucking, alien-fish-with-teeth-for-tongues ass, Kozeniewski has done it again. He’s like the indie master of horror. Or something. Give him a try if you can stomach it!

unicorn rating 4

 

 

 

30 Days of Horror #5: A Head Full of Ghosts #HO17 #30daysofhorror

30daysofhorror

Join me for 30 Days of Horror in which we spotlight one horror book for each day until we reach Halloween!

I’ve chosen this book because it’s one of the poor books I have sitting in my bulging TBR pile whispering reeeeeeeead meeeeeee. It’s also a book that I’ve heard really good things about, yet I still haven’t got round to it. But I will, promise!

aheadfull

Available in all formats, 286 pages

Published  2nd 2015 by William Morrow

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface–and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

 

Goodreads // Not My Review

bookdepo

Have you read it? What did you think?

Up Next on Horror October:

Mother! (film review)

Also don’t forget to vote for your favourite horror story prompt HERE. Voting ends tomorrow!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most recent top rated reads #TTT

icon4-ttt

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 recent 5 * reads

I very rarely rate books with the full 5 stars (or unicorns in my case), because 5/5 equals perfection right?! Therefore I’m going to do my ten most recent top rated reads, which are mainly 4*s with a few of those magical 5*s in there too.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Links go to my reviews

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reads

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

For obvious reasons, this week the topic is: Top Ten Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit OR Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

I decided to go for Top Ten Halloween Reads, and I’ve split it between books I want to read, and books I have read and want to read again or recommend.

Books I Want to Read

1. An English Ghost Story by Kim Newman

new3
A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside.

At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most—threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

ho3
Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods – until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night.

Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

3. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

ho4
A fast-moving, eerie…tale set on Halloween night.

Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween.

After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s.

4. Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories by Roald Dahl

ho2
Who better to investigate the literary spirit world than that supreme connoisseur of the unexpected, Roald Dahl?

Of the many permutations of the macabre, Dahl was always especially fascinated by the classic ghost story. For this superbly disquieting collection, he selected fourteen of his favorite tales by such authors as E.F. Benson, Rosemary Timperley, and Edith Wharton.

5. Eating Sarah by Jaret Martens

ho1
Ever since childhood, all Sarah wanted was to participate in the Hunt—a monthly ritual in which her people sneak into a nearby city to gather food. Only in Sarah’s world, that food is human.

After her first Hunt ends in catastrophe, Sarah is forced to prepare their captives for slaughter. While this once would have been an easy task, recent events have caused Sarah to question whether or not she’s still capable of murder. Worse, she finds herself caring for Troy: a captive she knows she will be forced to kill.

But she can’t leave. Doing so would mean the deaths of both Troy and her family. With cannibals turning up dead—and suspicions of mutiny rising—Sarah and her family must be more careful than ever.

Yet there’s something not quite right about her family . . . Something that might just get her killed.

Books I Want to Reread/Recommend

1. Zombies Vs Unicorns

zom
It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier, strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories.

Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies.

Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan.

2. The Crow: The Lazarus Heart by Poppy Z. Brite

ho5
At our human limits, when we’ve gone as far as flesh and imagination can take us, we meet the Eternal One. The Crow.

Immemorially old, and inconsolable, he is there only for those who seek both revenge “and” love, and are willing to go all the way–and beyond.

The Lazarus Heart.

Five, four, three, two … Jared Poe counts the days on Louisiana’s Death Row. The controversial S&M photographer has been condemned to die for killing his lover. He doesn’t know who did it. Only that he didn’t.

Can he clear his name and find the real killer in time?

3. The Gates by John Connolly

ho6
Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road.

The Abernathys don’t mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out…

Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

4. The Pool by T.S Rue

ho7
Dying for help…

A moment later Eric surfaced in the middle of the pool. “Ta da!” he said, treading water. “I touched the bottom. Have I made my point? There’s nothing to be scared of.”

The words had hardly left his lips when his eyes widened in alarm. He thrashed wildly towards the side of the pool.

Then he began to scream…

5. Trick or Treat by Richie Tankersley Cusick

ho8

From the author of The Lifeguard comes the exciting suspense novel about Martha.

Not long after Martha moved into the Bedford house, the phone calls began: Trick or treat, Martha. You’re dead. Elizabeth Bedford had been murdered one year earlier, on Halloween night, in the very same room. The murderer was never found, and now the killer is back–for Martha.

Top Ten Tuesday: Recommended books (that I still haven’t read).

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

This week the topic is: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read!

tcoll1

Harry Potter: Everyone assumes I’m a Harry Potter fan because I love YA and most things fantasy/magical. When I tell them I’ve never read them or even got into the films they don’t hesitate to tell me that I should, once they’ve picked their jaws up off the floor that is.

Rainbow Rowell: I’ve been recommended all of Rainbow Rowell’s books at one time or another. I know I really should pick them up, and I will at some point. I really hate some of the covers though.

The Fault in Our Stars: I have this book and will read it, I just haven’t got round to it yet so you can all stop nagging me! 😉

Middlesex: This was recommended to me by a friend many years ago and I still haven’t read it despite having owned it for over five years. It’s at the top of my TBR pile…well, almost at the top.

Tiger Lily: I love anything Peter Pan and have heard great things about this book. I just need to buy a copy.

tcoll2

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…: I haven’t personally been recommended this book but I’ve seen it on so many blogs which have nothing but good things to say about it. It looks right up my alley.

Magician: A good friend of mine lent me this book so long ago, and like a bad friend I still haven’t read it.

Shadow and Bone: This one has been on my radar for some time, and the lovely ChrissiReads thinks I’ll like it. It’s at the top of my wishlist!

The Rosie Project & Finnikin of the Rock: Both of these are books that have been highly recommended by blogs that I follow and trust. I’d give you a shout out, but it’s probably most of you tbh! I’ll definitely get hold of them at some point.