Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Changed My Mind About #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…Ten Five Books I Feel Differently About After Time Has Passed

What an interesting topic this week! I don’t know how easy it’s going to be though. I guess as bloggers, it’s quite easy to rate a book ‘wrongly’ because we don’t often have time to let our feelings about them sit and fester.

Sometimes when I read old reviews I wonder why I gave such generous or harsh ratings. I think it also takes time to realise which books will have a lasting impression or impact on you. Some of the books I’ve wanted to throw out the window have become my favourites simply because I can’t stop thinking about them!

So with that in mind, I’ve gone over some reviews and re-rated those in the most need. 

1. Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

netg2 With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

Original Rating: 3/5

New Rating: 4/5

Wakening the Crow was a strange, disturbing read and at the time I wasn’t sure how much I enjoyed it. But two years on and I still think about this book and I still want to own a bookshop in a creepy church despite all that happened in Oliver Gooch’s. I’d love to reread it so I think it definitely deserves another unicorn.

Read my original review here

2. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

sept1She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.

Celaena Sardothien has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever.

Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. To defeat them, Celaena must find the strength to not only fight her inner demons but to battle the evil that is about to be unleashed.

The king’s assassin takes on an even greater destiny and burns brighter than ever before in this follow-up to the New York Timesbestselling Crown of Midnight.

Original Rating: 4/5

New Rating: 3/5

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with this series. I finished this book on a high which is perhaps what possessed me to give it 4/5, but in hindsight I don’t think I really enjoyed it that much. I remember skipping whole passages because I was bored and it took me ages to read. I’ve also had no motivation to pick up Queen of Shadows and haven’t even bought a copy, which speaks volumes to me. 

It would be nice to complete the series, but right now I’m not sure if I will. Consider yourself demoted, Celaena. 

Review

3. Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

imm

 Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.

Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.

Original Rating: 3/5

New Rating: 4/5

At the time I described the beginning of this book as dire but by the end I really liked it, and now all I can remember is how hot Reyn was. I was taking a load of books to the charity shop last month and put this one in the pile, but then I felt compelled to take it out again. I just couldn’t part with it! Probably because I still wanted Reyn in my life and decided there and then that I need to read the next book.

So that’s why I think it deserves another unicorn, bad beginning or not!

Review

4. The Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy

This time, the bad guys take the stage.

Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke.

When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she’s got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself…

Original Rating: 4/5

New Rating: 2/5

Even in my original review I wasn’t sure why I rated this companion to the Skulduggery Pleasant series so high. I remember nothing about the book, only the feeling that I didn’t enjoy it. I’ve had book #10 of the original series sitting on my shelf for over two years and I haven’t wanted to pick it up. I’m pretty sure that’s because this book has subconsciously put me off which is a huge shame because I was loving the series before this. Sure, they were getting a little samey but I definitely wanted to finish the series. 

I’m really going to make the effort to forget about this little blip and finish the proper books in the series. 

Review

5. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

interview

In a darkened room a young man sits telling the macabre and eerie story of his life – the story of a vampire, gifted with eternal life, cursed with an exquisite craving for human blood.

Original Rating: 3/5

New Rating: 4.5

I’ve read this book at least 3 times so I have no idea why I’ve only given it 3/5 on Goodreads. I haven’t read it since having my blog so I don’t have a review to check. I guess I’ll just have to reread it to be sure… 😉

 

That’s all I’ve got this week. Do you have any books you’d like to re-rate?

 

Horror October: Revisiting Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory #HorrorOctober

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I can’t quite believe how, but yes, Horror October is here already! Last year, I started a tradition of reblogging my favourite Horror October read from the previous year as a way of officially kicking off the proceedings.

Last year I reblogged the wonderful Coldest Girl in Cold Town and this year, I’ve chosen Wakening the Crow.

Wakening the Crow was certainly not my highest-rated read of last year’s Horror October, (and in fact it was the last book I reviewed and didn’t actually post it until November BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT), however it’s the only one that has really stayed with me.

It was such a unique, haunting and uncomfortable read, I definitely feel like it was the most ‘Horror’ or all the books I read. I loved how classically gothic it was, amongst other things.

So without further ado, here is my original review….

A Vestry, Edgar Allan Poe, and a Mischievous Crow…

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Title: Wakening the Crow
Author: Stephen Gregory
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: November 11th 2014 by Solaris
Genre(s): Horror; Gothic
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

 Review

Everything about this synopsis intrigued me; the bizarreness of basing a story – and indeed a horror bookshop – on the discovery of Poe’s tooth, the idea that a manky crow can have an impact on the characters’ relationships, and the gothic setting. Sounds good right?

Well, I’m pleased to say that it was…for the most part.

Oliver Gooch is a very strange protagonist and narrator. From the start it’s evident that he’s not altogether what you would call a loving father and husband, or even a good, decent person. Honest maybe, but loving, no.

He frequently refers to his daughter as fat, disgusting and petulant, and his wife as not much better, but all of this adds to a growing unease.

Previously a mobile library driver, Oliver is now about to open his own horror bookshop in the church they have recently bought to also live in. The money came out of a tragic accident when Chloe got stung by a wasp in the mobile library, ran out into the road and suffered a head injury which changed her completely.

Now mute and compliant, with a constant sweet smile upon her face, Chloe is a different daughter entirely, and Oliver is relieved. So much so that he fears the day that she might actually recover.

Stephen Gregory does a great job of creating suspense here. The more we are led through this story by Oliver, the more disturbing it gets. He sees himself as becoming the Poe-like character he dreams of; he stops washing;  he drinks constantly, and tries to ‘write’. He seems to think that the more dishevelled he becomes, and the more grim the bookshop appears, the better. But all of this is at the expense of his family.

The only problem I had with this book was that I couldn’t understand Oliver as a character. I almost felt sorry for him at times, but it’s hard to empathise with someone who laughed at their daughter when she got stung by a wasp, resulting in her being brain damaged. I always felt like there was a good person trying to get out of him, but it never came.

I also expected more of a climax to the story, but overall this was a great read for a dark and stormy night, filled with gothic imagery and a overriding sense of unease.

unicorn rating 3

Wakening the Crow is available from November 11th, or to pre-order now at Waterstones

UP NEXT ON #HORROROCTOBER: Arrows of Darkness Promo

Top Ten Tuesday: I don’t think we should be friends…

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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: Ten Characters You Just Didn’t Click With

Oh OK, that’s how it is, is it?

Hmm this topic is so hard because it’s hard to remember those characters you didn’t really get on with as compared to those that you love and want to be your BFF! But I’m going to give this a go…

Celeste (The Selection series by Kiera Cass): Yeah OK, so she turned good in the end but even then I just couldn’t!

Rosalie (The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer): Again, she got better as the series went on but it was too little too late for my liking. Plus, she’s way too beautiful to stand next to me. Go away!

Edmund & Lucy (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis): Ugh these two. Edmund was an idiot and made me furious a lot, and Lucy was sweet but a bit too whiny. I much preferred Susan and Peter from the early books.

Natalie (Sixteen Sixty-One by Natalie Lucas): I just couldn’t get on with how stupid Natalie was to allow herself to get into the horrible situations she did – her age was not a good enough excuse!

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Oliver Gooch (Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory): Oliver was such a strange, troubled character…I’m not sure I could handle being his friend, but I would like to visit his gothic bookshop!

Jorg (Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence): We’re really not supposed to like Jorg, but even as a anti-hero he didn’t do it for me. I never want to meet him!

Tally (The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld): Man, she was irritating. I really enjoyed this early dystopian series but for most of it I didn’t get on with Tally at all. We made friends by the end though.

Violet Lee (The Dark Heroine series by Abigail Gibbs): Violet was fearless bordering on stupidity and a bit self-involved so I’m not sure we’d get on.

Peter Pan (by J.M Barrie): Oh Peter. He’s the ultimate bad boy isn’t he? He promises the world with his magic and adventure but HE WILL NEVER LOVE YOU! SOB! Poor Wendy.

A Vestry, Edgar Allan Poe, and a Mischievous Crow…

Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory

netg2
Title: Wakening the Crow
Author: Stephen Gregory
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: November 11th 2014 by Solaris
Genre(s): Horror; Gothic
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads
Purchase

With the looming shadow of Edgar Allan Poe falling over one family, Gregory takes the reader into a world of uncertainty and fear.

Oliver Gooch comes across a tooth, in a velvet box, with a handwritten note from 1888 to say it’s a tooth from the boy Edgar Allan Poe. He displays it in his new bookshop, and names the store Poe’s Tooth Books.

Oliver took the money from his small daughter Chloe’s accident insurance and bought a converted church to live in with his altered child and wife. Rosie hopes Chloe will came back to herself but Oliver is secretly relieved to have this new easy-to-manage child, and holds at bay the guilt that the accident was a result of his negligence. On a freezing night he and Chloe come across the crow, a raggedy skeletal wretch of a bird, and it refuses to leave. It infiltrates their lives, it alters Oliver’s relationship with Rosie, it changes Chloe. It’s a dangerous presence in the firelit, shadowy old vestry, in Poe’s Tooth Books.

Inexorably the family, the tooth, the crow, the church and their story will draw to a terrifying climax.

 Review

Everything about this synopsis intrigued me; the bizarreness of basing a story – and indeed a horror bookshop – on the discovery of Poe’s tooth, the idea that a manky crow can have an impact on the character’s relationships, and the gothic setting. Sounds good right?

Well, I’m pleased to say that it was…for the most part.

Oliver Gooch is a very strange protagonist and narrator. From the start it’s evident that he’s not altogether what you would call a loving father and husband, or even a good, decent person. Honest maybe, but loving, no.

He frequently refers to his daughter as fat, disgusting and petulant, and his wife as not much better, but all of this adds to a growing unease.

Previously a mobile library driver, Oliver is now about to open his own horror bookshop in the church they have recently bought to also live in. The money came out of a tragic accident when Chloe got stung by a wasp in the mobile library, ran out into the road and suffered a head injury which changed her completely.

Now mute and compliant, with a constant sweet smile upon her face, Chloe is a different daughter entirely, and Oliver is relieved. So much so that he fears the day that she might actually recover.

Stephen Gregory does a great job of creating suspense here. The more we are led through this story by Oliver, the more disturbing it gets. He sees himself as becoming the Poe-like character he dreams of; he stops washing;  he drinks constantly, and tries to ‘write’. He seems to think that the more dishevelled he becomes, and the more grim the bookshop appears, the better. But all of this is at the expense of his family.

The only problem I had with this book was that I couldn’t understand Oliver as a character. I almost felt sorry for him at times, but it’s hard to empathise with someone who laughed at their daughter when she got stung by a wasp, resulting in her being brain damaged. I always felt like there was a good person trying to get out of him, but it never came.

I also expected more of a climax to the story, but overall this was a great read for a dark and stormy night, filled with gothic imagery and a overriding sense of unease.

unicorn rating 3

Wakening the Crow is available from November 11th, or to pre-order now at Waterstones

WWW Wednesday 05.11.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday!

I hope you are all having a good week. I’m still trying to catch up after my Horror October frenzy, but I’ll get there. Here are my answers this week:

wwwcoll

Currently Reading:
I’m reading Back to Blackbrick by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald. I’m liking it so far, it’s a little strange, much like her other book The Apple Tart of Hope which I really liked.

Recently Finished:
My last read was Wakening the Crow by Stephen Gregory which I had mixed feeling about. My review will be up tomorrow. I also finished and reviewed Killer Spiders, here.

Up Next:
So many to choose from as always. I have loads of ARCs and review request books to get through before the end of the year! Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen is one I’m particularly looking forward to!