Saturday, 28 November 2015

Book Review: Gone Girl

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn 
5 Stars 
Verdict: Kinda messed up, aren't they?


When Nick finds his wife missing in suspicious circumstances, he doesn’t react the way a loving husband should. That’s all I’m going to say (fearful of spoilers). The film is also very close to the book, so don't watch if you plan to read it!

At first I enjoyed the two narrators, Nick's present day musings which are obliviously insensitive towards his wife, juxtaposed against Amy’s quirky diary entries of a girl falling in love. I'd say I had medium interest. The treasure hunt kept me semi-interested, and the mystery of the ‘gone girl’ seemed a little underwhelming considering how long this book was in the charts for. I think it’s fair to say this book starts off with an average plot written with flare, but no less average.

When the twists began, the story began. It might have taken a while, but it was worth it.

I could say ‘I saw it coming’ but that wouldn’t be the whole truth, because I didn’t expect the extent and I certainly didn’t think things would turn out the way they did.

I have a love-hate relationship with both Nick and Amy, thanks to Flynn. Both likable and hateable, it’s hard to pick a side.

I love a crazy narrator probably more than the next person, so this is my type of novel. Parts were twisted, others painful, but the ending is messed up in a way that’s fits the story.

Source: Bought it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Self-Pub Fest Postponed

Unfortunately stacking a self-pub fest onto my plate right now is going to put cracks in the china.

What I mean is, I don’t have enough time to coordinate the blog event I was hoping for. Organising good quality content from a bunch of authors takes time, and I want to be able to put that time in.

My boyfriend of five years has a job in the same county as me – a commutable distant if we pick the right location! We’re looking to rent in one of the most expensive places to live, so there’s that. I’ve taken on new responsibilities at work too, which is taking up more of my energy although not so much my time.

This isn’t the end. I’m hoping to get it up and running when everyone is thinking about those summer reads!

So if you’re interesting in taking part, please get in contact. As soon as I get enough content polished up, I’ll announce the new schedule.


Here's what I'm looking for:

~*~ 1000 word extract of your most enticing scene
~*~ Author Interviews
~*~ Paperback give-away
~*~ Articles on your self-publishing journey

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Book Review: Find Me If You Dare

FIND ME IF YOU DARE by Vicki Leigh  (Dreamwalker #2) 
3 Stars 
Verdict: An action romance. Not bad. 

As Kayla’s father plots to bring on the apocalypse, the Protectors join forces with a coven in order to take down her father before it’s too late.

This book has a lot of things I love – protective characters, thrilling action, magical powers – yet I don’t think it was quite as good as the first book in the series.

As before, Daniel leads the narration. Usually I love a protective character, but in this book I found Daniel overbearing. Poor Kayla proved her strength over and over, but Daniel still saw her as weak.

On the other hand, I liked how much Kayla developed in this book, both in her powers and her ability to take on anything that came her way whilst remaining sweet at heart.

The story seemed to lunge over a few weeks, tumbling head first into action – but with context and characters I couldn’t place. Too many names were listed for me to check off my memory, and because of that, I struggled to understand the implications of those lost and those surviving, even towards the end of the book.

Daniel leads his team on several... missions in order to stop Kayla’s father. Sometimes I wondered what their actual plan was. They seem to head to locations only to be slaughtered, but I couldn’t work out what they were trying to achieve.

Towards the end, the close-knit team of friends managed to plan intelligent operations which made the action a lot more engaging. On that note, there was a little bit too much action in this book for me. I’d have preferred a little more plot and a few more striking moments, rather than fight scenes and deaths. I also wish it relied a little more on the unique concepts which made me love book one, rather than turning to bible verses and long fight scenes.

A few sections felt inappropriate considering the context. For example, the party. So after a mission flooded with peril to gather food - and, erm, DVDs – I assumed they were low on supplies and unable to leave their safe haven. Perfect time for a ball! Well, probably not. I did wonder where Kayla managed to find a beautiful dress. Or why this was a thing. Is it a good time for a ball when you’re under attack? It’s not an utter impossibility, but I’d have liked a better reason.

Vampires were introduced at once point. They were never mentioned again.

Another strange and rather short-lived section was the tournament. This was explained in detail but, as far as I can tell, never actually happened. Much of the training was also describe in detail which can be skimmed over.

I’m quite surprised by some of the character’s lack of common knowledge, too. A witch who hasn’t heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Okay, maybe. But a few other ‘twists’ were thrust upon the characters which were very predictable and made the characters look quite slow.

It’s still exciting to read and dull moments are rare (you can always speed up your reading pace until the good bits come back around). I’d like to read the next in the series as it ended in an intriguing place. I recommend reading it directly after book one as it races off the start line with or without you!

Source: Thanks to Curiosity Quills for providing a free kindle version via Netgalley.com.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Curse

THE WINNER'S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski
3 Stars 
Verdict: Slow and flowery. 


Kestrel is clever and tough, with a strategic mind and a sharp affinity for reading others. Arin is a defiant yet skilled slave, and clearly just as intelligent. After paying too much for him in an auction, Kestrel’s name becomes tarnished in society...

The first half of the book is sssssslllllooooowwww. While I’m not denying the author is good at the flowery prose (a bit of an oxymoron), a lot of words were wasted telling me something which could have been shown in a much more interesting and succinct way.

But what really puts cement in its shoes is that nothing much happens. Oh, there’s gossip. And romance. Silly romance. Time spent with horses. Tea parties. Other parties...

Where’s the, erm, well...story?

Kestrel can be an idiot too. She’s a little hypocritical when it comes to gossipers, and spends a lot of the book sorting out her own shortfalls – actually, that made her a well rounded character who I grew to like.

On the other hand, Arin confused me. The Arin at the start of the book barely resembles the one towards the end, although there was no real catalyst for his change. I’m not sure I can believe his character arc.

I found the dialogue heavily stunted in this. The flowery prose often interfered with the flow, the moment. Nearly every line of dialogue is analysed afterwards, mostly to point out the obvious or to jar the pace. Jarring is better than constant summaries though. What could have been heated dialogue, tense debate, or witty banter, was taken out of the moment, out of direct dialogue or lifelike detail. This spilled over to the action, too. I get the sense that the author wanted to move the pace along, when really they were grinding it to a halt.

So with the pace sluggish, the dialogue distant, and the details left to the imagination, I found this book fuzzy to picture.

The last half is where it really kicks off. The war heats up, the character dilemma tangles, and Kestrel shows her aptitude for strategy.
I’m a little annoyed and how much I liked it towards the end, because it shows it could have been a fantastic book. Kestrel has a manipulative mind which twists the story in intriguing ways. The story ends with a substantial round off, yet enough to leave me curious for where it might go.

I’ll take a chance on book two, just to see where the kestrel flies.

Source: Bought it as an ebook.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Book Review: Demon Road

DEMON ROAD by Derek Landy
5 Stars
Verdict:
Easily the best book I have read this year.


Amber’s parents want to eat her. Amber doesn’t want to be eaten. This calls for a deal with a demon, a hunt for a murderer, and an action packed road trip!

Fantastic premise. Loved the characters too. Amber is relatable - the right amount of awkward, self-conscious, and generally a good sport. Milo is her hired protector, although something felt very off about him... He’s serious, strict, and secretive. Blunt too. Gotta love a blunt character. Then there’s the loveable idiot, Glen, who they accidentally acquire on their way. He grinds Milo’s nerves, which makes a great banter.

I’m so glad this book isn’t about romance. It wouldn’t have worked.

Instead it’s witty and entertaining, and an adventure that will make an amazing film, or even a series...

Ever watched Supernatural? It’s hard not to see the similarities: old car, deals with demons, turning up in small towns and fighting supernatural beings in mini ‘episodes’ until the ‘season finale’ puts the characters’ lives back in centre stage... That’s alright though, because Supernatural was awesome. And Demon Road is different enough to still feel fresh.

A lot of the cameo roles tended to have the same personality... hell, at least it was an interesting personality!

Most of all, it brought out my inquisitive side. It’s a book that doesn’t lay all its cards on the table but has you asking questions. You can tell it’s book one of a fantastic series – it has that depth to it.

There are some things I’m still umm-ing over. I’m very eager to get my hands on the sequel to make sure one event will un-happen or not quite be what it looks like. I have faith that the author knows what they’re doing.

Source: Netgalley.com