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Gizzimomo Wilson (UK)

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Wars of the Roses: Stormbird
Wars of the Roses: Stormbird
Price: 2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, just wonderful!, 4 July 2014
I have been excited to read this book for some time and yes, it may have taken me a while to get it and read it but it was oh so worth the wait!

Conn Iggulden's version of The War Of The Roses, beginning with Stormbird, is my first foray into reading Iggulden's work despite hearing some great things about his previous books. Stormbird is a bit unusual to the other books about the battle for the throne between the York's and the Lancaster's, unusual in that the book starts off much earlier than other books on the subject I've read (like Phillipa Gregory's Cousin's War books for example that start just before Edward of York meets Elizabeth Woodville) and things start off before Margaret of Anjou marries Henry VI which mean a lot of the players I usually associate with this time period and very young indeed and many that have already died by the time Edward meets Elizabeth and still alive and kicking including Edward's father Richard of York ,who is not the man I was expecting to find incidentally and it's all very interesting to me!

Followers of the blog already know I have a huge passion for this kind of historical fiction and as a English girl I am always hugely interested in our royal history but in particular in the Tudor time period. I have to thank Phillipa Gregory for introducing me to another branch of the Tudor family tree with the Cousin's War books as the York and Lancaster families are responsible for the Tudor family gaining the throne in the end (both directly and indirectly) and of course Edward Of York and Elizabeth Woodville are grandparents to our most infamous king Henry VIII and great-grandparents to our own Elizabeth I. I have found learning about this slightly earlier time period immensely fascinating and find it interesting as it has such close ties to my favourite time period in English history.

With such a huge range of characters to draw from Iggulden has wisely chosen to focus on just a few of them in this book, some major and some not so much. Here's a glimpse into some of them and how they link together:

Derry (Derihew) Brewer - Spymaster to Henry VI

Brewer has the enviable job of being Spymaster to the king. As spymaster usually are Brewer is not hugely popular among his peers and the nobility despite the fact that he has a difficult job that he happens to excel at. Brewer has to make decisions every day for the good of his king and country and they are decisions that other people do and don't always agree with. He is a very complex character, his real view are hidden and his moves often seem a bit nefarious, it all makes for a deep and hugely fascinating man.

Margaret of Anjou - Future Queen of England

I haven't yet had the pleasure of reading any books that focus so heavily on Margaret of Anjou (and I would appreciate some recommendations to fix this situation if anyone has any to give!) yet she is woman I've always wished to know more about as I must say my knowledge of her is pretty sketchy. Margaret was, in some ways, forced into a marriage with a strange man while basically still a child for the good of her own country of France. Her marriage allowed France to regain some of the English territory in France. Her marriage means leaving her home and her family to live in a strange and among strangers. Margaret does seem to have things much easier than others in a similar position in that both her and her new husband shared a genuine and sweet affection for each other from the get-go. It is soon made clear that Henry was frail and somewhat unstable but despite her tender years Margaret took it on herself to care for Henry a becomes a valuable crutch for him. She is a strong girl, if a little naive in the beginning but that's down her age more than anything else. Her family background revolves around her, her siblings and her mother more than anything. Her father is present but doesn't seem to care much for his children and uses his daughters as bargaining chips, as father of the time so often did. It is clear that Margaret has no respect or any emotional attachment to fer father, she goes as far as referring to him as 'The White Slug' rather than as father, it's very telling of their relationship, or lack thereof.

Jade Cade and the Kentish Rebels

The inclusion of Jack Cade and his Kentish rebels is an interesting feature of the book and their fights ans struggles against the crown and authority in general brings a feeling a balance to the book. Jack is pretty much a drunk but he is a man who is fighting for the rights of the common man, fighting against taxation. He is also a man with nothing left to lose and that can make for the most dangerous kind of man.

Thomas (& Rowan) Woodchurch - Settler in English France

This father and son pairing also adds to the balance as Jack Cade does. Thomas is a former English soldier who has settled in France in one of the English Territories. He has a farm of his own and has worked hard to provide for himself and his family but has it all stolen away from him with the marriage of Margaret of Anjou and Henry, and the subsequent handing back of the territory where Woodchurch has settled and is now forced to leave through no choice of his own. The Woodchurches and all the other English folk living in the area are just expected to up sticks and leave their homes, to either go north up into territory still held by England or to go home to England. The Woodchurches and many other families decide to stay and fight. Thomas send his wife and children home to England for safety, keeping just his eldest boy Rowan with him and sets to defending his home from the French and becoming rebels in their own right. Thomas also feel the harsh sting of betrayal when he discovers that the whole marriage, that has destroyed his home, was arrangement by his old army friend and former ally...... Derry Brewer!

William de la Pole - Duke Of Suffolk

I dare anyone to not become a bit attached to William de la Pole. The Duke of Suffolk loves his country and his king and goes so far as to marrying Margaret in France in his kings stead, Henry does marry her himself when she get to England. He is the man who took the young new queens under his wing and protects her, becoming more of a father figure to her in a short space of time than her real father has been to her during her entire life. After Margaret is safely in England, Suffolk finds himself put in charge of protecting what remains of the English territory in France. He puts up a brave front in the face of the dire circumstances facing him but it's a fight he could never be expected to win with a distinct lack of soldiers. He is forced to return to England in disgrace, those who had manoeuvred him into such a position have won. Suffolk is such a good man but he is badly taken advantage of and the sly moves made against him put him in such a desperate and impossible position that it's going to take a master spymaster to get him out of the awful mess he finds himself in. Suffolk is a tragic figure and his final fate makes your heart lurch.

Richard of York, Duke of York & father to Edward of York, future king of England

This is someone I was very eager to get to know as I knew very little about the man in question as in other books about The Wars Of The Roses Richard of York is already deceased. The book gave me an interesting insight into a man I knew practically nothing about, and along with Richard we get to know more about his wife Cecily Neville too (who I do know a bit more about). York seems to be a very canny man, unafraid to manipulate other people and situations to suit his own advantage. He is very sly and sneaky, devoted to his wife a children but he's definitely a man more interesting in gaining power rather than making friends and allies. Very interesting stuff indeed!

What is there to love about this book?
I'm not joking when I say there is everything to love about this book. The whole book is just amazing and I loved every single page of it. It's the kind of story that is all the more gripping for a reader and it's all a very true story. It's emotional and heart wrenching and has completely captured my imagination.

Was there anything not so good?
I'm sure there probably was but I can't remember so I'm going with no. It's a real glimpse into real historical events and all good with me.

Was it an interesting read?
As you can probably tell by all the information above that I found it totally interesting. The story is currently firmly in a time period I'm less than familiar with so it's all immensely fascinating for me.

Was it enjoyable to read?
Again, yes it was, very much so in fact. I to just devour the book, unfortunately it took me a while to read but not because it was slow or anything but because it was a huge book and I found myself quite tired every night which is my prime reading time..... lack of sleep and reading does not a good mix make! Not the fault of the book but just me recovering from being on holiday and flying etc. The book itself was easy to get into and held you tight, it was non-stop action throughout so pretty hard to put down.

Was it a well written book?
I believe so, it's staggeringly good and has a real emotional impact. It's time period that is full of intrigue and courage, as well as horrifically brutal at times and it's all covered in Stormbird. Iggulden use of violence is in context but at time it even made me grimace a little, in particular there is a pretty graphic torture scene featuring the use of a contraption akin to thumbscrews and it gave a all too real and vivid image of what was happening. All of the scene of fighting are beautifully written
and give a clear insight into the ways men fought in those times but in particular the feared English bowman (something I'd read about before in Bernard Cornwell's Azincourt)/ I find reading about the ways various countries and factions fought incredibly interesting, the English bowmen were so feared abroad by foreign armies but there is something raised in this book that I do need to research a little to see if it's true and that is the killing of English bowmen when captured by the opposition as foreign soldiers were apparently told to look for signs that would indicate a man was an archer, for example the callouses on hands, the build and stature of a man, all indications that he could be an archer and fascinating if true.
The writing in this book is exceptional, it's simple to follow yet gives you a thrilling chase throughout and truly captures the imagination of someone like me. It's a sharp book yet consistently paced, it's touching in places and yet graphic in others. All in all it's a staggeringly good glimpse into the time leading to one of the bloodiest times in English history and it's sparked a renewed interest into the time through it's masterly weaving of an impressive story

Would you recommend it to others?
I think all of the above writing should give you the impression that I would most definitely recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and anyone with an interest in the time period.


Mary Hades: 1
Mary Hades: 1
by Sarah Dalton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.42

4.0 out of 5 stars Really interesting concept and a fab read!, 29 Jun 2014
This review is from: Mary Hades: 1 (Paperback)
In my opinion I definitely made a bit of a boo-boo when reading this before reading My Daylight Monsters, the novella prequel to Mary Hades, as had I read that novella first I would have had a far better understanding of Mary and the circumstances leading to where she is in this books. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that you shouldn't read this book without the other but for me it gave me a better view of things but it's perfectly fine as a standalone without the novella.

Again, as with My Daylight Monsters it's a difficult book to review without giving away core ingredients to the mix. Mary Hades seems to be normal teenage girl but she is as she can see ghost and ghouls. Her parent already think she's unstable and not right as she has to fight hard to make them think she's normal but how is a girl supposed to act normal with dead people appearing to her at the most inopportune moments. In this book Mary's parent decide that a break away from home and the norm is in order, unfortunately they have picked the seemingly deadest part of the UK to visit completely oblivious to the fact that for Mary this places seem to be dead person central. The small village of Nettleby has an unfortunate history of people dying in unusual circumstances and Mary must find out what's going on and stop it from happening again..... and again!

What is there to love about this book?
It's a lovely quirky little book with an interesting subject matter, people seeing dead people is always interesting to read about. We have the good old heart-throb with a hidden secret who's surrounded by mystery plucking at Mary's heart-strings but for a change I found him to be the most interesting person in the book and when a secondary character peaks your interest more that the titular heroine then it may be time to worry about the book. Something else positive about the book is scene stealer Lacey is back and totally on form (again), as in the novella she has a habit of stealing the show away from Mary which again doesn't bode well for Mary as a character.

Was there anything not so good?
I found the prequel to be a quite chilling thing to read but this one doesn't have that same feel to it which is a shame, it is still creepy but that chill that runs down the spine that I found more than a few times in My Daylight Monsters wasn't really present but I think that was down more to the setting of the novella when compared to the setting in this one. Comparing fish-in-a-barrel in-patients in psychiatric ward with no escape from the psycho trying to kill them to the small rural village with a high death rate that's inexplicable is a very hard thing to do as you can't compare them, the have different feels. Again I have to mention that while Mary herself is quite an interesting character I found she was often upstaged by more secondary characters..... not good! I'm not saying that Mary is a weak character but maybe she's not a strong a character as she probably should be. Thinking back on the book now I do find my mind is still drawn to other characters in the book rather that Mary who should be the focus considering that the book is name after her!

Was it an interesting read?
It was, maybe not the most interesting ever but the formula was all good. There was so much potential for the storyline but I can't help thinking that there was more that could've been done with it, like it was an opportunity that wasn't quite grabbed properly. I can't put my finger on what was missing but there was definitely something not quite right.

Was it enjoyable to read?
It was but it was a tad predictable in places, it didn't detract from the book too much but it left that feeling of lacking something like it needed further emphasis on certain aspects of the story. The characters were interesting and well formed, complex enough to give them depth and they were very easy to empathise with and to root for.

Was it a well written book?
It was a well put together effort and executed competently, using easy to read language. It is very entertaining to read if slightly underwhelming which I found slightly frustrating. The pacing was consistent throughout and the idea behind the books was a great one. As I said it's a promising series and I hope whole-heartedly that it will grow as it progresses but I think it was missing that chilling edge that the previous novella had and it could benefit from getting that keen edge back in the future. With regards to the lead character Mary, I feel she really needs to step a firm step forward so she doesn't get overshadowed in the future. She is supposed to be the star of the show, she's the girl with the gifts and those gifts need to shine through.

Would you recommend it to others?
I would, it really is a pleasure to read and my little niggles with it are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. I did really enjoy the book and will be getting and reading the sequels as and when they get released as I think the idea behind the series is fantastic and has great potential for future growth. Definitely worth a punt in my opinion!


My Daylight Monsters (Kindle Single) (Mary Hades)
My Daylight Monsters (Kindle Single) (Mary Hades)
Price: 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Novella and a MUST read for Mary Hades!, 25 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This little novella is a must read if you plan on reading Mary Hades as I found out when I went straight into Mary Hades without any knowledge of this novella. In Mary Hades there are frequent mentions of events that happened to Mary and Lacey in the psychiatric hospital where the two girls first met. I bought this novella AFTER reading Mary Hades and this little gem did make Mary Hades an awful lot easier to understand so I highly recommend reading My Daylight Monsters first.

It's a hard novella to review as I don't want to spoil Mary Hades for anyone who plans to read it and not read My Daylight Monsters but I'll give it a go.

Mary Hades is a teenager who can see dead people, she can also see beings a bit like shades who prewarn her of imminent bad events, usually involving a death. The big question surrounding Mary is whether what she see is real or not, she made the mistake of sharing her first experience with the dead with her family and now she's being admitted to a psychiatric institute by her parents who hope the in-patient stay will help Mary. Little do they know that what their daughter sees is very real and Mary knows it, but she plays along with her parents and telling them what she sees is real will only cause more problems for her and an in-patient stay is bad enough. Not expecting the stay to help in any way she finds herself making friends in the hospital, in particular with her room-mate Lacey but little do Mary and her new friend know but there is something terrible happening in the hospital and someone has set their sights on the patients!

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It explains a lot of the background to Mary Hades and while it is only a little novella it is essential reading if you want to read the Mary Hades series. It won't blow your socks off unfortunately but it does go a long way in understanding the main characters in Mary Hades, who they are, why they are the way they are and why they do what they do.

Is it interesting?
It is especially when in context with the next book. They are many things mentioned in Mary Hades in passing but that aren't explained in detail and Mary's stay in the psychiatric hospital is one of the situations mentioned that leaves you wondering what happened there, the other being the incident at the school but maybe that will be explained at a later date too. This novella fills in that gap and answers the question you may have about it if you read Mary Hades first like I did. Obviously if you read My Daylight Monsters first you won't have the same questions I did as it will already have been explained by the time you read Mary Hades. It is also fascinating to see mental health dealt with in a way that shows that it doesn't make someone 'a loony' but just an ordinary individual with their own personal issues. I have my own issues with depression and know how real mental health issues are and how stereotypes given to those with such issues cause issues in themselves and I commend the author for sensitive use of the topic.

Is it enjoyable to read?
It was for me as I've said above as it answered questions for me. Readers reading this as the first book in the Mary Hades may not find it as interesting as I did but who's to say that they might not find it just as fascinating as you may find yourself wondering what will happen next for Mary, and what the next step for Lacey is going to be too as the events in My Daylight Monsters has a huge impact on her as well as for Mary.

Is is well written?
I found the book to be a pleasure to read, it is thoroughly creepy as the patients are like fish in a bowl with no-where to go when the cat sticks it paw in the water to catch them, if you know what I men. Someone is targeting the patients in the hospital and as in-patients the kids in the psychiatric ward have no escape from events and that is scary and makes for a book with a great atmosphere. It's genuinely spooky but I like that in a book. There is a great camaraderie between the patients which grows during the course of the novella, especially when they realise how much trouble they are in and it all adds to the wonderful atmosphere the author has created. The descriptions lead to a rich image in the minds eye of the world Mary lives in and it makes for an interesting word to read about.

Would you recommend it?
If you plan on reading Mary Hades that I would most definitely recommend that My Daylight Monsters be read first as it makes Mary Hades make a lot more sense and will give you a insight into Mary's world and explain her in more detail as well as telling you what happened in the psychiatric incident mentioned in Mary Hades. Even if you're not sure about Mary Hades then read this anyway as it's an interesting little novella in it's own right and there is no reason why if you read this as a stand-alone short story you wouldn't enjoy it anyway so why not give it a go?


Deception's Princess (Princesses of Myth)
Deception's Princess (Princesses of Myth)
by Esther M. Friesner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.59

4.0 out of 5 stars The Legend of Maeve of Connacht Retold, 14 Jun 2014
This is one of the books this year that I have been most excited to read so it was always going to be a must buy-must read book for me. I went into it knowing that the book was based on the same legend that Disney based Brave on and I adored Brave so the book was something I was desperate read. I hadn't heard of Esther Friesner before finding the book so I've never read any of the other Princesses Of Myth and had nothing to compare this book to, this meant that I went into Deception's Princess with fresh eyes and I can say that the book did not disappoint me in any way whatsoever!

The legend the book is based on is of Maeve of Connacht, an Irish warrior queen. As most legends are her story is open to wide interpretation and makes her story something an author can really go to town with, which is what Esther Friesner has done.

The tale starts with Maeve as a child and follows her through into her teenage years. We see her grow and change and watch as she battles for the life that she wants rather than the life that is expected of her. She's headstrong and will-full but is the apple of her father's eye and is a little spoiled by him. As she watches each of her sisters go off into fosterage and then into marriage she worries for her future as she doesn't want to leave her home and doesn't want a husband but she is the daughter of the High King and there are things that are expected of her, she really does struggle with who she is supposed to be and it's interesting to read about. Her fight is a fight for her own personal freedom regardless of her status in society.

As you know I am a huge fan of historical novels and this was no exception to the rule. Granted Maeve is more of a legend than the historical heroines I usually read about but that doesn't mean the her story is any less real and have any less impact.

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It was a little slow at times but it was still quite hard to put down and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every page. It didn't blow my socks off but it is still an extremely lovely book to read.

Is it interesting?
Very, the subject matter is fascinating as I was only familiar of the legend of Maeve through Disney's Brave and obviously Merida is a bit different than Irish princess Maeve so I found reading her story as told by Esther Friesner very interesting, so much in fact that I have been reading up on Maeve and her legend as well as Irish mythology in general. It's rare that a book will peak my interest in this kind of way but I was simply fascinated and while I have read plenty about Greek and Norse mythology I wasn't so informed on Irish mythology and have found it to be very intriguing indeed.

Is it enjoyable to read?
It was a very enjoyable read and I found myself always ready and eager to pick it up again even when the story slowed. Maeve was an interesting character for me and I was so keen to read more about her and her circumstances. In fact most of the characters in Deception's Princess were interesting for one reason or another and that did make to book all the more enjoyable. In my book great characterisation makes for a great book and this book does have great character work in it. Everyone has their place within the story be that for the good or for the bad and every character is needed with no 'filler' characters.

Is is well written?
I think so, as I said at times the story slowed but the balance between the exciting elements of the story and the more sedate ones was good. The writing was pretty but with no flounce and everything was explained expertly. The language used meant the the book was effortless to read even though some of the names of the people and places were difficult which was something that the author took into account when she wrote to appendix to the book explaining the names and telling you how to pronounce them, something she didn't have to do but thought she should and good for her for doing so too. Friesner has a lovely touch to her writing and she is an author I intend to read more of in the future as her writing sits very well with me.

Would you recommend it?
I would and not just to fans of historical novels as it is a lovely book that should be enjoyable for anyone who finds the blurb interesting. Yes it is an historical novel but it is also a tale of courage and a fight for personal freedom which should attract other readers too. There is also the mythological aspect of the book which should appeal to fans of stories based on mythology. I believe it is a book that should have a wide appeal to all sort of readers for all kinds of readers.


Bang Bang
Bang Bang
Price: 2.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual POV and oh, so funny!, 12 Jun 2014
This review is from: Bang Bang (Kindle Edition)
Bang Bang in an unusual book about serial killers, unusual in the fact that it's entirely told from the perspective on the killers themselves rather than from the law enforcement and investigations point of view as you more often find it told. I found just this point to be a refreshing change and the book is a lot of fun to read because of it.

Set in future at some point there has been a huge leap forward in the fight against disease and death with the creation of Youthimax, a cure all drug, that cures disease, illness, injury and finally death itself. Death has been virtually eliminated and everyone remains a younger version of themselves while using Youthimax. While it may be great to live forever having no one die has raised issues in itself (such as over-population) but it is felt greatly by those in the death business. Max and Bligh work in a funeral parlour and with no one dying the business has ironically died a death itself. With no work and therefore no money Max and Bligh make the momentous decision to get themselves some business by killing someone.... from that point on nothing remains the same for Max and Bligh.

The idea behind this book is fantastic and the follow though makes for a very interesting and exciting read. I had a feeling when I read about this book that it was going to be a good but I couldn't have imagined how much I actually enjoyed this book. It's so fast-paced and exciting and never really give up it's grip on you but the most surprising thing for me was the amount of humour in it, and successful humour at that!

As the book was published by Necro/Bedlam I was expecting Bang Bang to be more graphic with the violence but this book just didn't need it. Yes, the murder scenes were described in detail but it wasn't overly gross and disgusting and the balance between the humour and the violence were just perfect foils for each other.

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
I was actually blown away by how much I enjoyed this book, it was surprising how much of a mix the book was, in parts hilariously funny, in part quite violent, sometimes ironic and sometimes so deadpan you can't help but smirk about it. It may not work for everyone but for me this book was just fantastic!

Is it interesting?
Very much so, as I said being told form the point of view of the killers is an unusual move but it works so well in this book. With the majority of crime books they are told by the investigators and not from the killers so I found the idea of reading how the killers make the decision to kill and everything after that decision is just so interesting to me..... dealing with the fall out, avoiding detection, how to dispose of the body, finding the best ways to lie to people .... all of it was just fascinating to me. It was a bold and brave move but it so works.

Is it enjoyable to read?
Indeed, It really gripped me from the beginning and it never let me go. I found myself thinking about the book when I wasn't reading it but I was able to read it pretty much straight through as while reading it I was travelling from the UK to Lanzarote to go on holiday so I was able to read it almost straight through while on the train, in the airport on the plane etc. I was held by the book and putting it down was just too hard..... so I didn't!

Is is well written?
While it may not be the most beautifully written story in the world I found it to be so good and it's proof that you don't need the flouncy beautifully written prose to have a fabulous book. This book is gritty and to the point while remaining entertaining and funny. The characters are majorly flawed but it's the flaws that make them interesting and it's these flaws that lead them down the path they take. Max and Bligh take the centre stage but there are a number of secondary characters that threaten to steal the show..... step forward O'Rourke, owner of the funeral parlour and a little gem of a character who almost upstaged the main characters every time he appeared! The characters are written in such a way that it's simple to understand them and the moves they make, they are all interesting for many ways.... Max lost his wife on their wedding day and virtually lost himself in the grief, Bligh is a roaring drunk , something he never apologises for. The are flawed but it make them the character they are, flaws are human qualities and are used to full effect in this case.

Would you recommend it?
I would, maybe it's not a book for everyone but if you read the blurb and think to yourself that is sounds like fun then you definitely should hunt the book down and read it was it really is as good as the blurb makes it sound. I was not disappointed by it in the slightest and will be looking out for more book by the author in the future. It's so worth the punt!


The Three
The Three
Price: 9.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book written in an interesting format!, 6 Jun 2014
This review is from: The Three (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book I have ever read that is made up entirely of a series of articles and interviews by eyewitnesses to the event after the plane crashes that are the centre of this story and the three children that somehow have survived them. The questions following the crashes are many.... why did just a single child survive each crash when everyone else perished, is there a fourth survivor that no-one can find, are these kids just kids or something more? and that's just a few of them. Do they get answered..... well yes and no, no spoilers from me! You just have read it for yourself and experience it, it's dramatic to say the very least.

It's a very hard book to describe as I have never read anything like it and when it was finished I tried to explain it to me husband but really struggled to. It's a fascinating book to read and I found it very intriguing, it was a book I was keen to get back to every night and was a little gutted to have finished it as it was that interesting.

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
As I said it's a fascinating read and it grabs you from the very beginning, it's so full of intrigue and mystery that you cannot help yourself but get pulled into all the drama..... and there is a huge amount of drama. It calls itself horror but I didn't find anything in it that was overly horrific, I'm sure entirely sure what genre I would put it in at all as it has touches of so many but isn't entirely any of them.

Is it interesting?
Very much so, every inch of it is totally fascinating. The kids are the crux of the tale and they do verge a bit on the creepy side at times as do the religious nuts who take hold of the story of The Three and take off running with it as you would expect, but in the worst way imaginable.

Is it enjoyable to read?
Indeed, I was worried about it when I started and realised that it would be wholly in article form (a series of letter, email, interviews etc) as it was something I've not come across in a book before. I wasn't at all sure that I was going to be able to get my head around it and enjoy it but the book took me completely by surprise as I loved reading in this format, very different and very refreshing.

Is is well written?
Yes, despite the format the book has taken it is still very well written as despite that lack of the more descriptive work that you usually get to help you envision characters and their surroundings you still came away with the same sense of who each character is and I wasn't expecting it to be that way. I was expecting the characterisation to be much thinner than it actually was so the writing has got to be good for me to still get each character (and there are a lot of characters to get to know too but they are still easy to envisage).

Would you recommend it?
If you think you'll be okay reading a book that is made of articles like this then definitely but I know there are a lot of people that don't like this format. I think it's definitely worth a read as I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was sad when it was over despite the fact that there were still a few unanswered questions speeding around in my head.


The Remaining
The Remaining
Price: 4.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Nice zombie romp!, 27 May 2014
This review is from: The Remaining (Kindle Edition)
Finding a place to start with this review is tough as while it's pretty decent book with a mythos that I hope will grow in course of the next few books it's by no means the perfect book as it does have some flaws. Flaws of the type that if you don't think too much about them don't affect the story but still bug you. In minor stuff and the book is a really good read with a very interesting idea indeed........ zombies!

Now who doesn't love a good zombie romp? If you're a fan of The Walking Dead then I think you'll probably love this book about a virus that affects the brain and renders you incapable of anything kind of rational thought apart from the basic instincts for survival, mainly hunger. They feel no pain so cannot be stopped (the good old head shot will do the trick though!)

The story is based around Army Captain Lee Harden who is part of a government initiative to prevent complete disaster after an apocalyptic event, such as a zombie takeover. He is highly trained and sequestered away in an top secret and expensive bunker below his home waiting for activation and with no-one for company apart from his dog Tango. After the virus hots it's Lee's job to gather the survivors together and survive..... easy? Not really and this is where the flaws start to appear.....

Lee is down in this bunker, he has plenty of food and water, he has electricity thanks to solar panels on his house, in fact he even has an internet connection! The bunker only has one way in or out through the house above (a bunker will just one way in or out (Seriously? When is a solitary escape route ever a good idea?). When down in the bunker Lee has no way of knowing what is happening above ground, yes he has internet that has only just gone down but he had an idea of the mess above ground BUT when it comes to ground above his head literally the government never through to install any kind of security system, no alarms and more importantly no security cameras so Lee can literally check the house before leaving the bunker (Seriously? He could be walking into a house full of the undead..... literally! You build a state of the art bunker but have no cameras outside? Mental!)

Everyone knows that if an apocalypse happened things will eventually stop working.... you know the electricity will eventually fail without someone running it, communications fail, satellite's will stop working etc....... hang on a minute, satellites? Lee has a satellite phone in his bunker and while packing a bag he looks at it and then doesn't take it because he thinks satellite's won't be functioning anymore which is probably true and then the most annoying flaw in the books happens........ he has a GPS device, yes a GPS device, that holds vital information for survival (bunkers of supplies and the like) that he plans to use as leverage to protect himself in the future............. hang on a minute! Doesn't a GPS device work using satellite's, or am I being mental? Hmmmmmmmm, like I said annoying flaws, read them and pass them over while forgetting them they don't affect the story but dwell on them like I did then they have a habit of bugging you later on..... like every time Lee mentions the GPS device!

Apart from that you have a very good book, it's exciting and Lee's character is an interesting one. I do wish more had been written about how he was chosen for the initiative and his training and I really hope this part of his life will be revisited in the sequels and is makes the character more interesting indeed. He is supposed to be the best of the best, a tough guy who knows what he has to do but you get a sightly more human man than that with Lee. Yes, he has the training he need to survive but that doesn't stop him from being completely thrown by the situation outside when he gets out there, when he find people he knows are all gone or infected by the virus. I think this is much more realistic view of an apocalyptic world, you'd have to be a robot to NOT be thrown b your situation and it's no surprise that Lee does struggle to begin with before he his training starts to kick and he gets a feel for the devastation.

You can see why Orbit have taken The Remaining (and it's multiple sequels) and are professionally publishing them. When they were first self-published they took the world by storm so it wasn't a hard decision for them and I do think, despite the annoying bit it's well deserved as D. J. Molles has a good idea here, it may not be a totally new idea but he has a good take on the zombie virus thing (and has a back story mythos that has backbone if treated correctly as every good tale needs a good mythos behind it to work properly) and I firmly believe that it is a story with the potential to grow with the sequels. I will be buying and reading them as they get re-released as I have the need to know what's going to happen next to Lee and the survivors and will the GPS device come back to bite him in the proverbial?


Reckoning (The Silver Blackthorn Trilogy Book 1) (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy 1)
Reckoning (The Silver Blackthorn Trilogy Book 1) (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy 1)
Price: 3.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing new series begins!, 25 May 2014
I was drawn to the cover of the first book in the new Silver Blackthorn series from the moment I spied it on Netgalley but I didn't know anything about it or the author so I resisted requesting it as I had so much to get through already and it took about a month of me constantly clicking on it on Netgalley and reading the write up before I bit the bullet and finally requested it, the wait was finally over when I was approved and I felt incredibly excited to have it to read. Now I just had to hope that the anticipation was greater than the book itself.

It is set and the UK but not a UK as we know it as it has been split into four realms (North, South, East and West). There has been a war and technology no longer functions (there are ares of the countryside full of defunct technology) and we have a king again, King Victor. Details on the war are purposely kept sketchy throughout this book but I have a suspicion we'll find out more as the series progresses. Every sixteen year old now has to take a test that decides which of the four levels of current society you will join.... Elite, Member, Intermediate or the lowly Trog. After the test a select number of kids from each realms and from each of the levels are chosen as Offerings and sent to the King at Windsor Castle, they are never to be seen again...... but why?

Out heroine is Silver Blackthorn, she's just turned sixteen and is due to take the test after which she is selected as an Offering and must leave her friends and families and travel to Windsor Castle and into the unknown. What she finds at Windsor Castle is something she would never have believed if she wasn't forced to live it. It's truly frightening and if Silver is to survive it she must fight, and fight hard!

I have read people comparing this to The Hunger Games, Divergent and the like but then again any book that comes along under the guise of a dystopian society seems to get that label these days. I can't comment on any similarities as I haven't read The Hunger Games or Divergent (yet!) and the more I see this label attached to other titles the less I seem to even want to read them as I just know that the way both series been hyped will make it a disappointment. Is Reckoning like The Hunger Games, I really don't know.... al I DO know is that I really enjoyed reading this book a whole lot and it didn't disappoint me.

Kerry Wilkinson is new author to me despite the fact that he's been around for quite some time writing adult crime novels (Yes, Kerry is actually a he not a she as you would presume!). Reckoning is his first young adult book and to me it's a very, very good start indeed and I for one will be looking eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series, Renegade.

I do have one minor complaint about the book though but it's nothing to do with the contents but to do with the cover..... yes, it's a striking cover and I do love it but the girl on the cover does not look like any 16 year old I've ever seen, more like a twenty-something woman! See, told you it was minor, just a personal niggle......

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It's actually very good, the idea is a sound one and an intriguing one. An alternate UK that is fundamentally similar to my UK but not, it feels very authentic and real which makes it an interesting concept for a start and I really enjoy reading books set in an alternate version of my homeland. It's good, not totally mind-blowing for me but still extremely good and is the type of story that keeps you wanting to read more. I found myself thinking about bedtime and getting back to the book throughout the daytime, a good sign for me that a books is great and it really is a fantastic book.

Is it interesting?
Very, as I said the idea is very sound and it's followed through in a competent manner. The idea of a society run by a strict set of rules is always a good one and I did find myself wondering what level I woud be set as if I took the Reckoning test..... would a be an Elite member if society, a Member, an Intermediate (the most common and probably would be me) or would I be one of the lowest members of society, a Trog. With society divided in such a way as the book progresses you get a good sense of the hatred between the different levels, how Elites look down on Trogs and treat them like the dregs of society and so forth. No-one wants to be a Trog as they a society's dogsbodys and this fear does lead to people trying to check the Reckoning to get a better placement. This also works the other way around as well as the Trog's hate the Elites for lording their placements over them and so on. It's a real truth as it is exactly how it really would be and how it is for people in our own world affected by racism and sexism, awful but true!

Is it enjoyable to read?
Indeed, Wilkinson has an effortless style, the story flows easily and does keep you interested and engaged in what's happening on the page. There are a few occasions when it seems to stall a little but then something will happens that perks the whole book up again.

Is is well written?
I think so, as I said he has a effortless style of writing and it makes for an easy to read book as it's simplistic but gives you imagery that is so good and the characterisation is wonderful. Silver is a very believable character, she loves her friends and family and is very protective over them. She's more than a bit of a tomboy with a talent for electronics and technology, something that will help her after becoming an Offering. She's got a strong character but has her flaws too, she's quite impulsive and doesn't always think before acting but ultimately she is a selfless girl who would help another with no regard for her own safety. You get a real sense of who she is throughout the book and learn a lot about her through a series of flashback scenes set before the Reckoning. Ultimately she is a survivor and wants to live the life she wants despite the rules forced upon her and that makes her interesting to read about, watching her being forced into a hole she doesn't really fit into and her ensuing struggle to fight back and survive. The other wonderful character in the book is the mad king himself and I mean it when I say there is something fundamentally wrong with that man, he's seriously cuckoo but not in the funny way, he's a thoroughly scary man for no other reason than that he is totally unpredictable (the shocking and surprising murder of an Offering at the feast table over a dropped cup is proof of how unstable Victor truly is). What is also worrying about him is that his staff have obviously been obscuring the real truth about the king from the public as outside of Windsor Castle the king is loved and adored by his people but his people have a very false image of the real monster inside. King Victor is a truly frightening creation and is masterly addition to the book.

Would you recommend it?
Definitely, if you read one YA book this year then I would most definitely recommend this one as it draws you right in and doesn't let go until the moment you sadly realise that the book is finished and your hope for some of the answers is dashed, until the next book is released. It's exciting to read and artfully written..... the wait for Renegade will now begin!


Thief's Magic: Book 1 of Millennium's Rule
Thief's Magic: Book 1 of Millennium's Rule
Price: 6.49

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Start To A New Series!, 21 May 2014
As soon as I heard Trudi Canavan was writing a brand new series I knew I would read it as she has never disappointed me as an author before so this book was a must read for me. I made the concious decision NOT to read anything about the book at all, no reviews, no blurbs, nothing, nada! Why? I just wanted the book to be a complete surprise, I didn't want to know anything about it at all. This is not something I would usually do but I had that much faith in Trudi Canavan that I just knew it wouldn't matter as it would be a wonderful book regardless. Was I right to do this? Yes, I think I was......

This is a book of two distinct and very separate halves, the book isn't literally split in half which would have been rubbish but you get several chapters on the one thread in a row before it swaps over to the next and goes back and forth like that throughout the book. Each story thread is very different from the other, they are set in different worlds with completely different people populating them and where one thread is more of an adventure romp, the other is is more of a standard love story, well to start with anyway. Don't get me wrong this is a fantasy book not a romance book but when you read it you'll understand what I mean.

The first thread is about a young man called Tyen Ironsmelter. He is a student to The Academy, is studying archaeology and has magical abilities. He lives in world were magic is slowly failing and is limited. It is believed that his world's steampunk-like technology is using up all of the world's magic faster that ever realised. While on a trip for The Academy he finds an ancient book within an undisturbed tomb. An examination he realises that the book is actually sentient and in time discovers that she used to be a living woman named Vella who was a maker of magical books until she was changed by one of the most famous and greatest sorcerer's in history. Determined to discover more before he hands her over to The Academy he delves into her story and soon discovers the horror behind Vella's tale. She is a store of information that she has gleaned from every person that has ever touched the book and has the potential to be a powerful aide to the world, or even a weapon. What ensues for Tyen is life-changing when The Academy learns of Vella and when Tyen is cruelly labelled a thief he is forced to flee from The Academy and his whole life with Vella clutched in hand.

The second thread is about a girl called Rielle, the daughter of a prominent dyer of cloth. She lives in a totally different world to Tyen, it has magic but only the priests are allowed to use it as it is believed that magic corrupts, magic leaves a stain behind when used, a stain that lingers and resembles and inky black smoke. Most people can't see these stains but the priests can, meaning they know when someone has used magic. Priests aren't alone in their ability to see the stains, Rielle can see them too, something she is forced to keep secret for fear of what the priests would do to her if they knew. Rielle's tale has much more of a romantic theme than Tyen's as she meets local artist Izare and they embark on a sweet but secret romance. Rielle's parent would never except a lowly artist as a potential husband for their daughter, they have their eyes set on a man from one of the leading families but Rielle know that she would never be accepted by them, she is too far beneath them despite her parents aspirations for her. This is a tale of forbidden love with a more sinister backdrop of a 'corrupter' within the city who is tricking people into using magic who becomes a part of Rielle's world when they meet and the corrupter realises that Rielle can see the stains just like they can but can Rielle resist the urge to use magic for herself...... even if it means losing Izare forever?

Separately the two stories are beautiful things to read. Tyen's story is fast paced and action packed where Rielle's is more slow-burning and sedate but the burning question is how these two stories connect together as eventually they will have to meet together but it is quite hard to see how and why they would, meaning there are some quite big questions left at the end of the book when they haven't. For some people I guess this might be off-putting but for nosey little me it just makes me more curious for the next book as I have a burning desire to find out how they fit together as I know they are destined to do so. Problem is that I want to know NOW and just know I'll have absolutely no patience in waiting for the next book and the possible answer. Oh, Trudi what are you doing to me?????

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It's very good indeed, both side of the story are well written, but you would expect this from Trudi Canavan as her fans will quickly tell you.Her language is easy to read but still quite descriptive so you are never lacking for imagery. Her characters are well thought out and draw you right in, I dare anyone not to fall for Izare yourself as you experience Rielle doing just that herself or to not want to join Tyen on his journey and help him if you can.

Is it interesting?
Yes, the two story thread compliment each other perfectly. Where Tyen's story is fast paced and exciting you could easily get burnt out on too much action so the interludes into Rielle's slower story are perfect for slowing the book back down again before shooting back off when you rejoin Tyen again. The mix between the two has been artfully put together and makes for a book that is just simply gripping from start to finish.

Is it enjoyable to read?
Completely, the two stories are both the perfect foil for the other and they seem to fit together within the pages in just the right way, it takes skill to be able to put such different tales together in such a way that doesn't detract from either story thread. There are times when you get so into one thread that when it switches over to the other thread making you wait for the answers you're craving it drives you to distraction waiting for the other thread to resume but then you end up getting into the thread you're on that it happens all over again when it switched over again but I like that about the book.

Was it well written?
Totally, I love the way Trudi writes her book, they are always a pleasure to read and ever so easy to get into. She is easily one of my favourite authors for just this reason. She's effortless to read, always exciting and has never ever disappointed me in any way with any of her work. Her characterisation is always strong and they are always well-rounded and full leaving you with a great sense of who each character is no matter how minor they may be. Each character has their place and purpose and none ever seem to be 'filler' characters. The worlds she writes are well imagined and are easy to understand, her work is descriptive enough to give you an image of the world without being overly-verbose with too much description.

Would you recommend it?
Yes, every day of the week! If you like fantasy novels and have never read any of Trudi's other works then I'd like to know why the hell not? Are you mental? Trudi Canavan is a wonderful author and I've never heard a bad word about her brilliant Black Magician Trilogy, if you haven't read it then you really have to but make sure you read this one too as it is a genuinely wonderful start to what I'm sure is going to be a fantastic new series, personally I cannot wait for the next book as this one had grabbed hold of me and is still lingering days after I finished reading it, a good sign of a good book in my opinion!
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Snow, White
Snow, White
Price: 5.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read!, 18 May 2014
This review is from: Snow, White (Kindle Edition)
This book was a lovely surprise to me as it was one of those books that you go into thinking it will about one things and it turns out that that really isn't what it's about at all, sometimes this can be a bad thing but in this case it was a really good thing and it's a really intriguing book.

The book is set in the good old UK and is about a boy called John Creed, an orphan looked after by his very eccentric grandfather. John lost his parents in a car accident that left him with three horrific scars running down one side of his face. These scars have unfortunately left him wide open to bullies at school and makes John a very tortured character but he is not alone. He befriends a strange girl called Fyre (yes, you read right her name is Fyre, Fyre King.... don't laugh, well go on then as it is a VERY peculiar name), Fyre is an outcast herself as she is an albino. Together they form an unlikely friendship, a friendship that will be tested to the limits as John has been having nightmares about a huge white wolf that is hunting him. Unfortunately for the pair it turns out that this dream is actually a reality and they are about to face a danger that they could never have expected.

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It's not the most mind blowing thing I've ever read but that does not mean that it isn't a good book. It's a very hard book to categorise as while it is most definitely a young adult book, it's not quite horror (although there are some very graphic scenes), not quite paranormal (although again it does have elements), not quite a fairy tale re-telling (despite a strong fairy tale theme running through it, it isn't quite that either). It's a mix of several genres which makes it quite a mishmash.

Is it interesting?
Yes, I found it to be very intriguing to read. Not what I was expected but then again I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting but what I got was wonderful. The subject matter was interesting and grabbed from me from the first couple of chapters through to the bitter end and the progression of the story threads throughout the book was enough to keep me wanting to read more, and more, and more.

Is it enjoyable to read?
Completely, there were the odd flaws but you can expect that in any book. Overall though the book was very entertaining throughout with the odd graphic horror scene and enough twists and turns to keep everyone happy.

Is is well written?
I think it was written with a very competent hand. The language was perfect for the YA and teen audience and it was thoughtfully constructed. Reading it as an adult I could easily see that it was probably better suited to a much younger audience than myself but as an adult reader there was nothing to make it any less than a wonderful read for someone of my age. The main characters were likeable and easy to root for with the characters, they had flaws but the flaws made them more human and ultimately even more likeable. John's journey was heartbreaking to read in places, especially during the moment of bullying but as someone who was terribly bullied at school I could feel every inch of his pain as I did my own at the time and I have to say it was pretty spot on, sad to read but an integral part of John's story. Fyre was an odd character and I did find myself doubting her motives towards John at times but during the course of the tale you learn a great deal about Fyre and her background. Both of the revelations about her mother were surprises and very unexpected. The characters we aren't supposed to like were written in such a way that they were easy to dislike, hate even and they deserved every inch of the hatred they managed to garner in the pages. Casper, the bully who ultimately is a bully for a reason, as most bullies are, grows dramatically through the story, especially at the end of the book but I did find his turn quite predictable whereas his father is a different story entirely. 'Tapper' starts off as a normal father, he's a policeman and a single father but during the course of the books he gets more and more disturbing, scarily disturbing by the end of the book and very easy to hate. A very interesting character indeed and the character you leave the book remembering the most because of his actions.

Would you recommend it?
Yes, I would. It's a fabulous little read, it may not blow your world apart but it doesn't prevent the book from being a more than enjoyable way to wile away a few hours!


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