Monday, 30 July 2018

Wilt by Nikki Rae

Hello Readers,
Thank you Nikki Rae!
This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is a little different to the usual books I read and review on my blog but after reading reviews of this, the first book being compared to The Handmaid’s Tale meets Fifty Shades of Grey my curiosity got the better of me and I joined the book tour for Wilt. Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault and Abuse. Spoiler warning guys sorry. 

When she was sold to Master Elliot Lyon of House Chimera, Fawn could have never imagined he was the same person as Elliot, the man beneath a well-placed mask.  A victim. Just like her. She would have never thought he was grooming her for the Wolf she’d already escaped once. That he planned to deliver her to the beast’s jaws in exchange for his wife. Master Jager will stop at nothing to have her—even if that means using others as collateral. With more than just their lives on the line, Fawn must become someone else, and Master Lyon distances himself further from Elliot as her transfer looms.
 The roots of the Order run deep within them, but Fawn is beginning to realize another bond has formed between her and her Owner, a man she vowed to destroy along with the rest of their tangled branches.
 In a world where trust is just a tool and love isn’t meant for people like them, Fawn is determined to beat the powerful at their own elaborate games of make-believe. Even the man who Owns her. 

This is the second Book in the  A Dark Romance series and picks up straight after the first book Bloom, so make sure you have read this one first.. Fawn has discovered that she is being used as a bargaining chip so Master Lyon’s  can get his wife. Master Lyon has been preparing Fawn to become perfect for Master J├Ąger and Fawn doesn’t really know how to feel about it.

Wilt was the perfect sequel to Bloom. It was so interesting and fast paced. I was so happy with the direction the Nikki took in this novel.  Granted, there was a lot of emotional turmoil between Fawn and Elliot in the first half of the novel but, the second half speed up this read for me. 

The characters themselves are so well done it's like they are real and are more developed than the first novel and I ended up hating Elliot a little less. Fawn is still a strong woman even though she may think she is not. I could never be as strong as her and that’s why I really like her as a character. She’s been through so much and she’s still trying to please Master Lyon. Elliot/Master Lyon is still intriguing, I still don’t know his true feelings because his mood flips daily It’s really intriguing, and I want to know more about how he’s really feeling.

The characters have taken me on an emotional journey though both books. I felt their hope, pain and passion and couldn't stop thinking about them. There's a lot going on in this book we find out more about Elliott the man rather than the Master and his childhood, we find out about his wife and the Resistance, we learn more about Marius and his childhood with Elliott. We find out that both Fawn and Elliot are emotionally drained from being manipulated by the Order for as long as they could remember with barely any contact with humans.

Author Bio: 
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely. 

Social Media Links for Nikki Rae:

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Bloom by Nikki Rae

Hello Readers,

Thank you Nikki Rae!
This book was provided by the author for free in exchange for an honest review. 

This book is a little different to the usual books I read and review on my blog but after reading reviews of this, the first book being compared to The Handmaid’s Tale meets Fifty Shades of Grey my curiosity got the better of me and I joined the book tour for Wilt. Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault and Abuse. Spoiler warning guys sorry. 

This is also my first bit of the book tour  (I look like I know what I am doing). I know I don’t usually post on a Sunday, but my blog tour post will be going live tomorrow morning and I can’t review the second book without reviewing the first.

Given to The Grimm Order as an infant, Fawn was raised in a world shaped by the rich and powerful. When she was sold at the age of nine to a Suitor, Fawn believed he would protect her from the “Mainworld”, where those who know nothing about the Order live. Living with the cruel man who bought her freedom, she finds just what the Order is about: money, control, and status for the Owner and humiliation and abuse for those they own.
Unwilling to accept the expectations of being Owned, Fawn goes from golden girl to maid, content to live in the shadows of the Order as long as she isn’t Owned again.
It’s been ten years since she disgraced her former Owner’s name, and now the brooding Frenchman Elliot Lyon wants her. Master Lyon is kind, smart, and unlike any man she’s met. She doesn’t want to admit it to herself, but Fawn is drawn to him despite constantly planning her next escape.
Even the prettiest flowers have thorns, and Master Lyon is hiding secrets that will uproot everything she thinks she knows about him. 

Bloom is dark, disturbing, and compelling and possibly one of the darkest book I’ve read in a while, and I had different and conflicting emotions while reading. Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault and Abuse. I will admit I was wary when I first began reading. It’s different, it’s certainly uncomfortable and dark at times, but nevertheless, it is everything that makes Rae’s books wonderful. From the very first sentence, Nikki Rae pulled me into this book. This book is written from Fawn’s point of view and you really feel like you’re in her head. You become a part of her world.

The book starts like most dystopian novels; doom and gloom. Bloom shines with its complex characters. They and the dark story took my breath away. There were some scenes that made my stomach turn. It wasn’t the concept though, just a few scenes that made me feel a little uneasy as I read. It made my stomach turn but I couldn’t stop reading.  The world that Nikki Rae created is as fascinating as it is infuriating. The characters are amazing, well rounded, and legit feel like real people. My own heart was pounding alongside Fawns. My own heart was thudding in my chest because I wanted to know what was going to happen because clearly anything could. I was engrossed. I loved Fawn. With all that she went through, she is seriously the most badass character I have ever read. Even though she is literally made to feel like she’s nothing, she still has the spark of a fight in her.

Let’s be honest most romance stories when stripped bare retell the Greek myth of Persephone, in which an innocent young woman is captured and dragged down into Hell to be the consort of a dangerous man and lays it bare.

 Fawn has spent the past 10 years keeping her head down and staying hidden. She knows what it’s like to be owned and she never wants to go through that again. In comes Elliot Lyon and he buys Fawn. I thought I had Master Lyons pegged, but I had it wrong. He is unlike any other master Fawn has seen or heard of before as he is kind and understanding. But he is still an owner. He still can make Fawn do anything he wants, and she has no choice.  Fawn, on the other hand, she was strong.

Fawn knew how to play the game, but she hated it. Her situation sucked, but she never stopped trying to change it. Even when she learned what was really happening. Fawn has escaped from a cruel Owner to end up with a slightly kinder one and must negotiate both the threats to her physical safety and freedom. Bloom also makes clear the problems for the "master" in such a relationship and emphasizes that both parties are trapped, through necessity and social convention, in a relationship they might rather not be in and might not know how to escape.

 If you like your stories dark and challenging, your heroes dark and brooding, and your heroines desperate and wily, you may very well find that Bloom is just what you’ve been looking for.

Author Bio: 
Nikki Rae is an independent author who lives in New Jersey. She explores human nature through fiction, concentrating on making the imaginary as real as possible. Her genres of choice are mainly dark, scary, romantic tales, but she’ll try anything once. When she is not writing, reading, or thinking, you can find her spending time with animals, drawing in a quiet corner, or studying people. Closely. 

Social Media Links for Nikki Rae:

L x

Friday, 27 July 2018

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for bestselling author Chris Brookmyre and his wife Dr Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. It was Marisa's research for her Master's degree in the History of Medicine which uncovered the material upon which this novel is based.

 This is a remarkable story mixes medical drama with romance and murder mystery. I’ve not read many crime books recently (I think the last was Betty Church), but I found this storyline tense, surprising and made me want to find a similar book.  Chris and Marisa tell the incredible story of the discovery of chloroform and the research done by medical practitioners of the time, with some gruesome procedures tossed in, not unnecessarily mind but to emphasise the reality of healthcare at the time (shudder). Around these wonderful and educational facts hidden in the tale, the authors have woven a chilling and intriguing tale. The book is written in an old-fashioned style with some wonderful words that immerse you more deeply into the era of the story and it wasn’t more difficult to read for it.

The novel is set in Edinburgh in 1847, a dual city, with both the Old Town and the New Town, once the home to brilliant advances in medical science, but a city of great poverty with a truly unpleasant, violent side. In New Town the book focuses on the Home of Dr Simpson, His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. Dr Simpson is a well-known gynaecologist and surgeon, who was instrumental in discovering the anaesthetic properties of a substance chloroform. chloroform was used to ease the discomforts of childbirth and to assist with difficult births, which in were frequently fatal. Also living in his house were his assistants, Drs Mathew Duncan and George Keith, all real people.

While the principal characters are all imaginary. Will Raven is given the post of apprentice to Dr Simpson, Raven is also given a room in the Simpson home and there he encounters Sarah, a maidservant who has a fascination for medical matters and secretly reads books on the subject, borrowed from Dr Simpson's library and assists in a basic capacity with clinics. As Sarah is of lowly birth and more importantly, female, is destined to never rise above this station in life.  However, she is a strong-willed young woman, Sarah has hopes of one day working in the medical profession an outrageous idea for a woman at that time in history.  One especially good theme throughout the book is that of misogyny and class in the 19th century which helps you really grasp what little opportunity there was for those born of the ‘inferior sex’ or on the wrong side of town.

On the other side in the city’s Old Town several young women have been found dead, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends.  Just before Raven joins the Simpson household, Evie - a prostitute who's become a friend of Raven - is found dead, her face and body hideously contorted and similar deaths in the poorest parts of Edinburgh have him believing these women may have been murdered. Raven begins to pick his way through the dark motives and powerful alliances that are concealing the truth.

As Dr Simpson treats patients from the richest to the poorest in Scotland's capital city, he and his colleagues carry out daring experiments. Meanwhile, Raven and Sarah have their own motive to look deeper into the city’s spate of suspicious deaths and find themselves forced into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive. The couple, initially disliking each other, gradually share a mutual respect.

L x

Thursday, 26 July 2018

I am running away to my book places

Hello Readers,

I am away at YALC feel free to follow my adventures on my social media, I have posts scheduled and they should go live on Friday, Sunday and Monday.

I will be honest due the heat I am debating my cosplays. I had already given up on Louise Belcher due to the heat but even Wednesday is in doubt at the minute I will see how the Friday feels before I finally make up my mind.

Twitter: Laurenread1
Instagram: laurenreads1

L x

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Smile of the Wolf by Tim Leach

Hello readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

This is not a soft and fluffy book, but it is still deeply moving. This book has all the ingredients of an epic saga: betrayal, exile, feuds, fights, honour-killings and love. The book is set in Iceland during the 11th century. Tim dramatically creates the diverse landscapes of this island and its reliant and proud people.  Eleventh-century Iceland is a harsh, unforgiving place and the Viking age has come to an end.

This book pays homage to the Historical Fiction genre with excellent results. It shows the beauty of Iceland, the culture and convictions of a bygone era that still continues to fascinate us, providing an endless source of inspiration for stories like the one Tim Leach created.

Gunnar, a warrior and a family man, has had to adjust to the conditions of an uninviting but magnificent land. Kjaran, a poet, a bard that lives on the hospitality of others, is his loyal friend Kjaran is the narrator, using his story-telling skills to bring people to life and describe events and surroundings. When the two men find themselves in a web of treachery that has nothing to do with them. Tim tells the tale of his two heroes placing their profound friendship at the novel’s emotional core.

One night, in the gloom of Iceland’s winter two men: Kjaran a poet, singer (or skald), who sings in exchange for food and shelter, and Gunnar, an ex-warrior, now a father and farmer. One night the pair set out to hunt a ghost as they believe that ghosts are not shadow and air but walking flesh. Instead, they kill a farmer. Kjaran and Gunnar were outlawed by the people after choosing between hiding their deeds or confessing their crimes to the family and paying for them. Under Icelandic law, they should pay the man’s family a blood-price, but instead, they try to hide the murder, but their decision leads to a brutal feud. One of the men is outlawed, the other can be legally hunted down by the victim’s family to avenge the man’s death.

This is a novel where the atmosphere of the book is significant, it’s part of appreciating the difficulty of surviving in a hostile environment. Who will survive, and at what cost? I loved every minute of this book and it honestly made me want to jump on a plane and visit Iceland and jump into the books world.

L x

Monday, 23 July 2018

Reaper Man by Sir Terry Pratchett

Hello Readers, 

This review may turn into a giant love letter sorry, not sorry.  Reaper Man is one of my favourite Discworld books and I have just listened to it again on audiobook. Slightly obsessed with this one as I have this book on audiobook, ebook and I’m sure I have two physical copies. Anyone who reads Terry Pratchett will have a favourite character mine is Death and in reaper man, he is at his very best. Feel free to comment your favourite I would love to know. This book came out in 1991 but just in case here’s a spoiler warning. Reaper Man is the eleventh novel in the Discworld series.

“Death has to happen. Tha’ts what bein’ alive is all about. You’re alive, and then you’re dead. It can’t just stop happening.’
But it can. And it has. So what happens after death is now less of a philosophical question than a question of actual reality. On the disc, as here, they need Death. If Death doesn’t come for you, then what are you supposed to do in the meantime? You can’t have the undead wandering about like lost souls. There’s no telling what might happen, particularly when they discover that life really is only for the living…”

Death starts developing a personality the Auditors of Reality feel that he does not perform his Duty in the right way. the Auditors of Reality force Death into retirement so death take on the name "Bill Door" and decides to find meaningful employment in a small rural community and gets a job working as a farm hand for the elderly Miss Flitworth.

Death retires, the living ceases to die – at least for a time. As a result, Discworld fills with excess life force; this results in inanimate objects become "ALIVE" suits of clothing run around on their own, poltergeist activity, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena. While every other species creates a new Death for themselves, humans need more time for their Death. The point is, no Death = no moving on. When humankind eventually thinks of a New Death, one with a crown and without any humanity or human face, it goes to take Bill Door.

One of the main characters alongside Death is Windle Poons, The Wizard Windle Poons awakes in his coffin as an undead and for the first time in fifty years, he feels as if he is alive it’s a little sad as he was really looking forward to reincarnation. This extra time proves to be everything to him – at first, he is perfectly happy to go along with his friends’ plans to rebury him (alive) because he understands his being HERE is peculiar. After several misadventures, including being accosted by his oldest friends, he finds himself attending the Fresh Start club, an undead-rights group led by Reg Shoe.

When the New Death comes for Death/Door, having planned for this moment for some time, outwits and destroys it. Having defeated the New Death, Death absorbs the other Deaths back into him, with the exception of the Death of Rats. It’s funny because Death becomes more humanised which is exactly what caused the problem in the first place but I think he’s now probably a better Death than ever before.

Quotes that have stuck with me
― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man
“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away...”
― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

L x

Friday, 20 July 2018

Munmun by Jesse Andrews

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

In an alternate reality in a world a lot like our own, each person's physical size is directly proportional to their wealth (the so-called munmun). The poorest of the poor (littlepoor) are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers and shows the implications of how easy or difficult an individual’s life will be. By equating wealth with body size, Jesse recreates the feeling of being subjected to the cruelty of poverty by making a world where wealth is shown in size is easy to picture and a frightening alternate reality. The way Jesse plays around with word and blunt dialogue is refreshing and I think it will keep a readers’ interest and attention.

I really enjoyed this book after watching Downsizing I have been a little fascinated by being that tiny then I remember at my current size I can’t reach the top shelf and it annoys me. I will mention that there are sexual situations and adult content in this book but with that being said it’s also a pretty wacky fantasy world that includes a lot of made-up words.

The story is told by Warner, a littlepoor which means worrying about things that no one else even thinks about being stepped on or a cat attack. Warner is a fourteen-year-old who is trying to help his family and will do anything for them.  The world is built for the average (middle income) population, not the super poor. This means that there is no easy access to hospitals or schools as the littlepoor are too small and food and transportation is difficult to find. There aren’t many well-paying jobs for these littlepoor’s, making it near impossible to scale up in the world. Bankers Scale Up those who’ve acquired wealth and Scale Down those who’ve lost or relinquished it.

Jesse takes a variety of hard-hitting topics and writes them so wonderfully that he remains sensitive but doesn’t pull any punches. The running themes throughout this book focus on people’s fixation on wealth, family and trying to rise above in a world that’s against you. It is a story that allows us to look through the looking glass in the safety of our imagination and it's easy to picture our reality being similar.  Munmmun also looks into poverty and the book delves into how the legal system treats minorities. For example, when a group of middle-rich teens go on a rampage and destroy property, they are "just kids" letting off steam and are given a slap on the wrist in spite of devastating the lives of the littlepoor.

L x

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

The ocean is not our territory - it's theirs.

Hello readers,

So today is one of the first non-book related posts I hope you enjoy

If you have come over from my twitter or Instagram you know that I am a little bit excited for Shark Week, this year I have the added bonus of NatGeoWild having SharkFest the week before. You can think I’m crazy but I love sharks and would love the opportunity to go in a cage dive (I’m saving). Shout out to my wonderfully wild friend Amy for the photos. 

I love great whites I may even go as far to say they are beautiful and majestic, I could honestly watch them swim for ages.  Given the Great Whites reputation as the “killer” and most “violent” shark, I am more concerned about the Bull shark or Cookie Cutter shark. The bull shark is commonly found worldwide in coastal areas of warm oceans and can be found in freshwater rivers and lakes.

I get that Sharks can be seen as kind of scary because in the water they're faster than us, can appear from nowhere in an instant. If you find yourself swimming in the ocean or even some rivers you’re probably nearer to sharks than you realize don’t forget it’s their home. With millions upon millions of beach-goers and surfers taking to the water every day, only a small handful are ever bitten or killed by sharks.

It honestly breaks my heart a little that such a beautiful and misunderstood creature is stigmatised I think the shark overall imaged needs a little positive PR. Even Peter Benchley the writer of Jaws in the last decade of his career wrote non-fiction works about the sea and about sharks advocating their conservation to help a post-Jaws public to more fully understand the sea in all its beauty, mystery and power. Benchley’s book Shark Trouble demonstrates how hype and news scandals can help destabilise the public's need to understand marine ecosystems and the potential negative consequences as humans interact with it. In his later books, humans seem to have become the aggressor in our relationship with sharks, acting out of ignorance and greed as several of the species become increasingly threatened by overfishing. In light of Peter Benchley's lifelong record of shark conservation and educating the public about sharks, the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards have been established as his legacy.

Sharks may look scary and occasionally an encounter with them can be fatal but on average, only five out of 70 to 100 attacks result in death while coconuts kill 150 people each year worldwide ad hippos kill 2,900.

Why are sharks becoming endangered?

Demand for Shark fin
The growing demand and trade in shark fins which are often used to make an expensive Asian soup has become a serious threat to many shark species. This practice is non-discriminatory again sharks and affects many different shark species, including whale sharks.

The overfishing of sharks happens because of the huge demand mainly for shark fins and a lack of management to ensure shark fisheries are sustainable. Some species, such as the spiny dogfish is targeted primarily for its meat.

Sharks are often caught incidentally by fishing gear set for other types of fish such as tuna longlines, trawls and seine nets and many will simply be discarded.

Critically Endangered: 11 species (includes Ganges shark, angel shark)
Endangered: 15 species (includes great hammerhead, broadfin shark)
Vulnerable: 48 species (includes whale shark, great white, basking shark)
Near Threatened: 67 species (includes bull shark, tiger shark)
Least Concern: 115 species (includes megamouth shark, tasselled wobbegong)

 L x

World Wildlife Fund. (2018). Shark | Species | WWF. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].
Shark Conservation | Sharkopedia Sharkopedia. (2018). Shark Conservation: How You Can Help. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jul. 2018].

Monday, 16 July 2018

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Hello Readers,

There are spoilers in this post sorry 

I have to say that I loved this book and spoiler alert this is the first zombie book that has actually made me gag a little. I think this might be down to a weak constitution, I was the same with The Girl with all the Gifts saying fungal infection it just makes me cringe a little. This is a back-date review as I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book last year at YALC. I am using my photos from when I first read the book as I have lent my finished copy to a friend. This book is also the first in a trilogy. I decided to reread This Mortal Coil as the second book This Cruel Design has been announced to be released in November.

 I loved the post-apocalyptic dystopian world that Emily created, it's a brilliant new take on a well-done genre that has gained popularity thanks to shows like Izombie and the Santa Clarita Diet (I love both).   This is a gripping story that is hard to put down until you reach the climactic end. This book is written beautifully even though I’m not going to pretend to understand the wonderfully complex cyber genetics or the science side of things, I completely enjoyed the premise of this book. The book asks the question In a world where humans have been so enhanced by technology, it is hard to see what is left of the human soul and morality. I have to say the blend of science and fiction was executed so well, it was informative without being overwhelming and wasn't so complex as to distract from the story. 

In a world where everyone is embedded with technology at birth that allows them to manipulate their DNA. A life-threatening virus (The Hydra virus) is spreading through the United States, an already broken country with a Government that many do not trust. The virus that causes its victims to combust in a cloud of infectious vapour and infects anyone within a mile radius. The uninfected can cannibalize the infected not long after they have been killed to gain immunity to the infection the only catch is the immunity wears off after a few weeks so you have the keep eating the infected to stay immune. This bring in a moral dilemma and I honestly was asking myself could I step into Cat's shoes and gain a little immunity by eating a little of the infected. When the virus first broke out the top scientists frantically tried to produce a vaccine to save humanity, but it seems a hopeless race against time as the virus mutates into new and stronger strains as people start exploding more quickly and powerfully than ever increasing the infection area and chance of getting infected through trying to gain immunity (Clever virus).

Catarina (Cat) Agatta has spent the last two years fending for herself since her father (Lachlan Agatta) was rounded up by the Cartaxus corporation and taken by force to work in the national laboratories. Lachlan tells Catarina to hide above ground and never let Cartaxus take her. But Catarina's a brilliant geneticist too although she is restricted by her body's inability to run the tech most other people can. Then a super soldier named Cole arrives at Cat’s house with the news that her father has died and that Cole needs Cat’s help to finish creating the vaccine Lachlan started while keeping it a secret from Cartaxus. Cole and Catarina must work together to find, decrypt, and release the vaccine to the masses. On their dangerous adventure to save the world, Cat is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her father, Cartaxus, the virus, and even herself.

Cat is a strong, tech-savvy protagonist, who cares about others and helps the reader hang on to the belief in the goodness of mankind. I really felt she was well explored as a character. She was complex as she understands that scientific and technological advancements are dangerous without proper ethical management, but even her belief system is challenged in a world threatened by such a deadly virus. Perspective plays a huge role in the story's unravelling and Emily's manipulation of the world through Cat's eyes was spectacularly played off. She was able to reflect on herself too, at one point, in an unbiased way and looking back at it, it's wonderfully done.
If you have a geeky side and like an impulsive and conflicted female protagonist you should definitely add it to your reading pile. 

Check out my review of book two This Cruel Design here 
Bath bomb shout out to Hexbomb Hellfury for the love red background 

L x

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Life and Death Parade by Eliza Wass

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.

The book takes places in the countryside not far from London, but it oddly vague in its descriptions. Ever since her mother died, Kitty has felt like a guest with her foster family, the wealthy Bramleys that live in the castle on the hill. Kitty’s boyfriend, Nikki, died under mysterious circumstance with the Bramley’s grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade–a group of supposed charlatans that explore the thin veil between this world and the next. Through this, Kitty gets familiarised with the Life and Death Parade, a group of individuals who perform dark magic tricks for tourists. I found that this book makes you believe in the magic and blurs the lines beautifully between fantasy and reality.

The characters in this book are delightfully complex, have plausible chemistry and made for an odd but harmonious cast. Kitty at first is a bit mopey and unlikable, but I enjoyed seeing her character growth. Nikki, who is almost Kitty’s exact opposite. The other members of the family are eccentric and strange yet believable. The most mysterious character is Roan, he is deep and creepy and a real joy to read. The characters from the Parade are unique, with just the right amount of creepiness to feel the unsettled atmosphere.

The Life and Death Parade is a fast-paced and fun read. It has some dark elements to it, so I don't recommend it to those who are looking something more romantic although it does have some sweet moments. This book was not about young love, it was about how people react to death, which made for a fascinating read. I was amazed by Eliza's skill using word choice and sentence structure to create a wonderful creepy atmosphere, while pulling ideas back and forth through the novel, creating a beautiful work of art.  Although this is a short book it’s incredible how Eliza was able to pack so much emotion in, I admire Eliza's ability to beautifully tell such a full and satisfying story.

This book would be great for those who enjoy thrillers with some supernatural elements. 

L x

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

NPC CRATE by Geeky Clean

Hello Readers,

Back in May, Geeky Clean announced that they were starting up a sister business making candle boxes, Nerd Poured Candles which has been abbreviated to NPC Crate. Geeky Clean is not a exclusively bookish themed company and while this month’s theme was book related, I can imagine that future box will have themes that venture across tv, film and video or board games (I’m waiting till YALC to pick up the D20 bath bomb). I also love the lip balms that they make after getting one last year at YALC in a bookish competition.

Each NPCCrate Contains
N  3x 100ml Vegan soy candles inspired by a monthly nerdy theme
N  Exclusive enamel pin
N  Bookmark

Final Warning

The bookmark is beautifully designed with a Tolkien quote “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there no dragons” which ties in the with the NPC Crate logo of a dragon. I love that the back of the bookmark served as a spoiler card for the candles a clever and environmentally good idea with the double usage. 

The enamel pin, is a book design with the phrase “ask me what I’m reading.”

Plot Twist Rum, Spice and Coconut
Book Dragon – Cassis, Patchouli and Musk and wonderful gold sparkles
Currently Reading - Floral, Delicate and Sweet

L x

Monday, 9 July 2018

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

This review contains Spoilers sorry 

Release date: 31st July 2018

When I learned that Sea Witch was a retelling of the little mermaid I needed to sneak a peek but then finding out the story was told from “Ursula’s” point of view I knew I had to read this book.

Sarah Henning transforms Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” into a richly layered exploration of culture and relationships to create the origin story of the Sea Witch.

This book's world is an alternate 19th-century Denmark, in a tiny kingdom composed of a single fishing village. The book is extremely detailed about the Danish seaside traditions that lend seriousness to a novel engrained in the sea and its unpredictable nature. Throughout the book, there is a foreshadowing of the dangers of crossing class boundaries and the burning of witches that suggest dark and unexpected twists. The book cleverly explores magic and its uses with richly woven threads of fairy tale allusions and a surprising ending.

The character and world building were good but if I’m honest all the backstabbing made me read faster and made the story that more real so to speak (I’m sorry I love a bit of fiction drama) and I would have liked a little more conflict to progress the story. The story focus is a Sixteen-year-old girl called Evie a fisherman’s daughter and a secret witch.  Evie is a black-haired, half-Italian girl among the mostly blond Danes, a poor girl with two best friends above her class.  Anna and Nik.  Nik is a prince and really shouldn’t be playing with Evie, but his father made an exception. After the death of their mutual best friend, Anna, Evie and the crown prince, Nik, forge a friendship, which is tested daily by the public judgment as well as their private pain from the loss of their friend.

While out on a boat celebrating Nik’s birthday, there is a storm and Nik goes overboard.  Evie finds him washed up on the shore with a girl singing to him.  She sees Evie and leaves, but not before Evie sees her tail.  Mermaids were supposed to be myths. The girl appears later but with two legs.  This girl looks exactly like Anna but says her name is Annemette.

Annemette has powerful magic and admits to Evie that she’s a mermaid, but not her lost friend, Anna.   Throughout the story, we get chapters from the past.  They start with the accident and then the story continues to now.   These are the parts that we learn more about what happened to Anna and also how Annemette came to land.

This story did have the mermaid and magic, but it really focused on friendship, love, and revenge.  Throughout the entire book, I knew things wouldn’t have a happy ending, but it didn’t stop me from hoping while the story unfolded. I did find I couldn’t help myself from second guessing what was going to happen. With origin stories, my heart always sticks with the villain throughout. We see the beauty of their heart and what tears it into a million pieces. I just didn’t want to believe that sweet, little innocent Evie turned into something so dark.

Check out my review of book two Sea Witch Rising here 
L x

(picture credit goes to HarperCollins website the ebook cover was a little mashed up)

Friday, 6 July 2018

Genesis (Project Nemesis #2) by Brendan Reichs

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

There might be some Spoilers if you haven't read book one Nemesis 

Genesis picks up not long after the dramatic final of the first book Nemesis with a bang and the pace never lets up during this book. I was thinking 'what the hell!' through most of the book because there was so many twists and turns as the story developed. I will admit that I regret not rereading Nemesis as I was a little confused in the beginning but it didn’t take long for me to get back up to speed. The story continues from where Nemesis ended: Min, Noah, Tack, and the other 61 members of the sophomore class have made it to phase 2. To pass phase 2, the students have to (spoilers… this book is a tale of survival) I just love the theme of this series. The incredibly imagined world that Brendan Reichs has come up with for the series is still as amazing and exciting as in the first book.

There are more than a few twists and turns in this book and I loved how the dynamics of the various groups of characters has changed and developed from the first book with each new reveal. For a book that’s over 500 pages, it never once felt long (that in itself is a feat). The story flowed really well, with  great character growth and development. I should warn there is a lot violence and death in this book but it is done in such a brilliant way and it isn’t being done just for the sake of it so to speak.

The plot does however raise a lot of important issues and makes you questions yourself over how far you would go to survive or gain power, but also what you’d be willing to sacrifice for your beliefs and those you care about. The characters make such big and difficult decisions about who to trust and what to believe. It was both interesting and thought provoking to see how different people handle difficult, sometimes life-threatening situations. I thought the way the author used a diverse mix of characters to demonstrate this was very well done.

Like Nemesis, this book is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Min and Noah and they really are intriguing characters. Both have had similar experiences but react in their own unique way.

Sometimes I find when reading a sequel, it can be difficult to get back into the world and story this isn’t an issue with this book. I think the only really issues were from me not remembering details but that’s reader error not author.  Brendan Reichs did a phenomenal job giving little hints to what happened in the last book, without it feeling at all like an information dump.

Genesis in my opinion was the perfect sequel to Nemesis.  This is a seriously action packed and fast paced story that I couldn’t put it down. It might not be perfect but regardless if you are a huge fan of science fiction and thrillers, I think this is one that could change your mind as it’s a series I’d recommend. The writing is great, the story is amazing and detailed and so much fun, and the characters are well written and fleshed out in such a great way. I’m hoping that there’s a book 3 as I want to know what happens next.

L x

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Hello Readers,
Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review

This is the first book I've read by Amanda Foody and I look forward to discovering more of her work. I think Amanda has a talent for edge-of-your-seat writing and when the story gets going it’s wonderfully spectacular.  This is a fast-paced book, brimming with excitement and thrills, romance and violence, and sees the transformation of the female protagonist (Enne) grow from a naive young girl, into a brave, and potentially dangerous, young woman. Despite the fast pacing there was a good amount of plot twists along the way, a few I didn’t see coming. Then we have the world building which was very detailed, complex, and interesting which made the world easy to picture.

Amanda has created a rich world, teeming with life that reaches out from its pages, you almost feel like you’re one of the characters witnessing the events that unfold.  The story takes place in New Reynes that is deliciously sinful and seductive world, similar to the gritty extravagance of a Las Vegas-style capital. New Reynes is split in two,, almost all the events take place on the North side which is basically a crime den with different gangs and crime/mafia-like families

The characters take a while to get to know, but it meant I appreciated it all the more when a detail was revealed. The character’s development was a big part of what kept me reading and also part of why I’m really curious to see where the story will go in the sequel. The characters all beautiful and flawed and fantastically unique in their own way. The book is told through two different alternating points of views (Enne and Levi).

Enne Abacus Salta
Enne is a great heroine. She comes to New Reynes scared, naive and a little snobbish and is thrown into the City of Sin where everything goes. By the end of the book, her development is believable and it flowed smoothly, there wasn’t a moment where she was her old self and then suddenly the next moment she was someone else entirely.

Levi Glaisyer
Levi is the second main character and he might be one of my favourite male protagonists in YA that I’ve read this year. He takes great pride in being the Iron Lord and he genuinely cares for the kids in his gang. He dreams of being “king” but he’s broken and trapped and but keeps his poker face in front of the world. He’s also bisexual (there aren’t labels for sexuality in this world but it’s pretty clear) and let me tell you how happy it made me to see male love interest and shows attraction to both boys and girls in a book.

The story revolves around the search for Enne’s mother, Lourdes. Enne and Levi meet early on and they both realize they need to stick together for different reasons. Their search leads them to dangerous places where nothing is as it seems. Enne is being introduced into the world of dark secrets, shadowy casinos and risky jobs. Levi helps Enne get a job but he unknowingly puts her in even more danger. Enne has to adapt quickly, she needs to be tough and resilient to stay alive and she has to find allies among strangers. The story is split into ten sections a countdown of the ten days until Levi has to pay back a sum of money or give his life is forfeit this helps the passing of time in the book. I enjoyed the countdown aspect in this book as I find in some book it can seem like a couple of days has passed next thing you know it’s months if not a year later. From the moment Enne sets foot in the city her life becomes a gripping whirlwind that kept me on the edge of my seat. Maybe a few things were a little bit too convenient , but I personally I found it didn’t really affect the story enough to destroy the suspension of disbelief and didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the book.

The story is enchanting and unusual and I would highly recommend Ace of Shades, it's a marvellous dynamic and unpredictable adventure.
L x

Monday, 2 July 2018

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Hello Readers,

I will just say this review might be slightly biased because I love Baba Yaga and her stories, I know this isn’t her story but it’s one of the reasons I grabbed this book. The House with Chicken Legs touches on important themes including grief and peer pressure.

There are spoilers in this review I’m afraid

This book is an innovative retelling of the Baba Yaga tradition from Slavic folklore. The Baba Yaga tales are one of my favourite sets of myths and she is part of the world-wide myth cycles of the wise, old woman.  Baba Yaga is the Guardian of the Gate, the keeper of the doorway between this world and the next by allowing safe passage for the dead to the stars. We learn that without the Baba Yaga to guide them, the dead will fade away forever.

The book is told from Marinka perspective, Marinka is Baba Yaga’s granddaughter. Marinka has all the passion and flaws of 12-year-old. Her emotions are raw, erratic almost and full of angst, but with a soft underbelly and a desire to be listened to. Marinka is set to follow Baba Yagas footsteps and become a guide for the dead. Marinka adores her grandmother and admires her gift in helping the dead on their journey. The problem is that Marinka just wants a normal life. She wants friends and to escape her inevitable destiny. 

Marinka and Baba live in a special house, that has chicken legs!! The house takes them around the world on their unlikely mission. Every few days, the house will rise on its chicken legs and move to another location so that the living don’t find Baba Yaga. This house doesn’t only have chicken legs its magical and cares for Baba and Marinka, shielding and nurturing them. 

This is such an unusual and delightfully macabre tale. I love the folklore roots and that all the best fairy tales there was a dark undertone to the story. Marinka is a wonderful and relatable heroine, who is at times unforgiving and at other times kind, compassionate and brave. Baba is a fearsome but loving character and true to form.

The characters that we meet along this journey are brilliant and compliment the magical elements throughout the story while managing to stay in familiar experiences of friendship, sadness, elation, frustration and the exhilaration of new experiences. The whole array of supporting characters each bring their own wonderful flourishes to the story.

The main characters
N  Marinka has all the passion and flaws of 12-year-old. Her emotions are raw, erratic almost and full of angst, but with a soft underbelly and a desire to be listened to.
N  Baba Yaga herself stays true to her traditional character.
N  The house with the chicken legs? Well, the house is a character of its own

I’m a big fan of folklore (if you hadn’t guessed). I will be honest I was a little apprehensive when I heard about a new version coming out but stupidly excited at the same time.  This isn't really a complete retelling of the classic Slavic folktales it's more of a beautiful and well thought out reimagining. Sophie Anderson has infused every page of this book with a wonderfully imaginative world that makes me want to exist in it and get my self a house with chicken legs. I think that the story not only speaks to young reader's but older readers too as it will take them on a magical journey full of wonder. 

 Don’t let the fact the book is marketed as a 9 years+ book put you off reading as I think you’ll miss out on wonderful story.

L x