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Becki Weston (Leicester, UK)

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A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry)
A Shiver of Light (Merry Gentry)
by Laurell K Hamilton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.14

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: A Shiver of Light, 5 Jun. 2014
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A SHIVER OF LIGHT is the latest installment of Laurell K. Hamilton’s MERRY GENTRY series. A SHIVER OF LIGHT takes place several months after the end of the previous book in the series, DIVINE MISDEMEANORS, with Merry due to give birth only days away. Life is, of course, never easy or quiet for America’s only faerie princess.

I cannot belive that it has been five years since DIVINE MISDEMEANORS was released. It seems like the eighth MERRY GENTRY book was released a long time ago, and yet at the same time it feels like no time has passed at all. I am a fan of Hamilton’s take on The Fair Folk, so I have been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this book for a while. Hamilton’s alluring monsters and their politics are fascinating to watch on the page.

A SHIVER OF LIGHT wasn’t quite what I was expecting from Hamilton, which isn’t to say the book didn’t blow me away – it did – but for me personally it didn’t quite have the magic of the previous books in the series. I think a lot of that was down to the fact that A SHIVER OF LIGHT focuses much more on the interpersonal relationships of the characters, rather than court politics or a murder mystery as the previous books do. As such, sometimes I felt that the transition between chapters felt a little choppy and oddly balanced.

As always Hamilton did a brilliant job conjuring the world and characters. I actually quite enjoyed how Hamilton handled the introduction of children to her narrative. It felt very believable, and it was interesting to see how the characters adjusted to the change in their lives. There isn’t actually a lot of sex in this book because of this – Hamilton keeps a healthy dose of realism in this, I think.

There isn’t much of a plot arc to A SHIVER OF LIGHT, it’s much more of a character arc which considering it has been five years since we’ve had a new adventure in this world was a little disappointing – hey, I’m always up for more pages ;) – but still compelling to watch unfold. The ending of the book blew me away – honestly, I’m still reeling a little! But there was almost a note of finality to it, like this might be our last adventure with Merry and her men.

If you have enjoyed Merry’s adventures so far, then I don’t think you will be disappointed with A SHIVER OF LIGHT. It is a brilliant addition to the series.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy Book 1)
Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy Book 1)
Price: £3.79

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: Stolen Songbird, 3 April 2014
STOLEN SONGBIRD is the first book in Danielle L. Jensen’s MALEDICTION TRILOGY. It tells the story of Cécile, the daughter of a farmer, who dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps and being an opera singer. On the eve of her achieving her dream she is kidnapped and brought to Trollus, where her whole world changes.

As soon as I read the blurb of this book, I knew I had to read it. There were a lot of possibilities on the table, and I was curious to see where Jensen was going to take the story. I was also a little wary, as I wasn’t a big fan of the last troll book I read. STOLEN SONGBIRD surprised me, in a good way. It was a un-put-down-able-read however, every time I picked the story up I fell straight back into the world and it was like I had never left. It was just really enjoyable.

The plot of the book was pretty much what I expected from a book in the sword and sorcery/high fantasy genre. Cécile is looking forward to moving to a bigger town – where her mother lives – and starting her life as an opera singer, but she ends up kidnapped and in the city of Trollus where she is forced to bond with the Prince. I liked the fact that Jensen chose to tell the story mainly from Cécile’s point of view, but had occasional chapters from Tristan’s – the troll Prince. The occasional chapter from Tristan’s point of view did a good job at both moving the plot of the book forward and of giving the reader an insight into his character which isn’t available from Cécile’s point of view. The overall plot of the book – and series, I think – is interesting and there are lots of twists – I think there is a lot more to be revealed. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and whilst they aren’t my favourite form of ending the first book in a series or trilogy I think Jensen manages to hit the right note.

Cécile was a compelling main character and I really enjoyed following her journey through the book. She is a very strong character who never gives up, and I admired that quality in her. Tristan is a far more enigmatic character, and is often hard to read and understand. I really enjoyed reading the interactions between the two characters. Jensen also created some really interesting secondary characters, and I am hoping that we will see more of them in the upcoming books in the trilogy.

If you are a fan of the sword and sorcery genre then you should pick this book up and give this series a try. The STOLEN SONGBIRD sets up the world of the MALEDICTION TRILOGY brilliant and I look forward to exploring this world more in future books.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com My copy of the book was an e-Galley from NetGalley courtesy of Angry Robot Books in exchange for an honest review.


Gretel and the Dark
Gretel and the Dark
by Eliza Granville
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review: Gretel and the Dark, 14 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Gretel and the Dark (Hardcover)
GRETEL AND THE DARK is a stand-alone novel by Eliza Granville. It tells the stories of two different girls, in two different counties, in two different times. Their stories unfold in interchanging chapters.

I’m in the odd position of not knowing quite how to start this review. Usually, when I start writing I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say, and I certainly know what rating I want to give the book. GRETEL AND THE DARK is, without doubt, an intriguing book. In the press release from Penguin Ireland I received the book is described as “dark, distinctive and addictively compelling” and whilst I think this sums the novel up, there’s more to it than that.

Reading GRETEL AND THE DARK was, for me, an interesting experience. The plot of the novel quite frankly left me cold, but the English Literature student in me adored the way that Granville constructed the narrative. Unless I am studying a book to write a paper on it I consciously choose to ignore its structure, but Granville’s clever use of the narrative voice and the structure of the plot itself really spoke to me.

GRETEL AND THE DARK opens with an almost fairy tale feel to it. The setting and characters feel almost unreal, and you are left wondering about its significance. The rest of the novel is split into two narratives. The first, as the blurb tells you, is set in Vienna in 1899. The second is set in Germany, and it takes a while to work out when it takes place – I was quite a way into the novel before I figured it out. Each narrative has its own alternating chapter, though as the novel progresses the barrier between the two narratives becomes increasingly unclear. I was quite frustrated by this at times, though I do think it is quite a clever narrative device employed by Granville looking back on the novel.

The novel has two main female characters around which the plots of the two narratives revolve. In Vienna we find Lilie, a young lady with apparently no past. In Germany we have Krysta, the only child of a Doctor whose life has recently changed dramatically. In their own ways Lilie and Krysta are enigmatic, and I found them quite hard to relate to – to feel anything for, actually. Granville also scatters sentences in German, which are not always translated, through the text, which I found pretty trying, as I don’t speak German.

GRETEL AND THE DARK is a horror story, although it is perhaps not a typical one. As I mentioned earlier, there is almost a fairy tale feel to it – though more towards the Grimm’s end of fairy tales than Disney’s. It is one of the most adult Young Adult books I have read. At its heart I think GRETEL AND THE DARK is really a story about stories and their power. If you are a fan of horror stories and like yours a little more psychological and a bit different from the norm then you should certainly consider giving GRETEL AND THE DARK a try. Although the novel is really not my cup of tea, I did enjoy the chance to read it.

Originally published on TheFlutterbyRoom.com My copy was courtesy of Penguin Ireland.


Mutton
Mutton
by India Knight
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Review: Mutton, 5 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Mutton (Paperback)
Clara Hutt is a forty-six year old mother of three who on the whole likes her life until her best friend from childhood Gaby comes to live with her. Gaby has lived in LA being a yoga mogul, and all that entails. The last time Clara saw Gaby she was the thin pretty one, but the tables have turned with Gaby returning looking closer to thirty-six than her actual age of almost fifty.

So regular readers of the blog will know that MUTTON isn't the typical style of book to be reviewed on here. However, I chose to give this book a try to write a review about it for a number of reasons. First though it's fair to say that I am not the intended reader of this book, I'm around two decades younger than the main character, but I'm also (shocking and disturbing as it is) not the intended audience for the young adult books reviewed here, but that doesn't stop me enjoying them. I ended up chosing to read MUTTON based on a single, very important, fact: it sounded interesting.

In a lot of ways Clara reminded me of a slightly older Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw. MUTTON certainly has a similar tone and feel to the books, although the focus of the book is more on growing older than on friendship or love - however both do feature prominently in the book. One of the things I found really interesting about the book was the discussion about appearance and our own attitudes towards it and how they change over time. I emphathised with the discussion about being age appropriate in terms of clothes - and does it really matter? Sex was also discussed frankly in the book, and I think Knight handled the topic brilliantly.

The thing that drives MUTTON, and that I most love, are its characters. There isn't really a plot per se to the novel, it's more of a character study and I actually enjoyed this. Normally I'm quite plot driven, but for me the characters driving the story really worked in this book. The secondary characters seem real on the page - I especially loved Clara's sisters and mother. Jack and Sky seemed like believable teenagers, and I thought Knight created an interesting dynamic between son and mother. Perhaps the most interesting secondary character in the book is Gaby. In a lot of ways it is through her that the events in the novel fall out.

I really enjoyed reading MUTTON, even if I am a bit young for it. If you're looking for a book for your mother, or aunt, or an older friend then you should seriously consider this book. It's light and fun, but at the same time a little bit thought-provoking. If you're my age or younger and think it sounds interesting then give it a go - it may surprise you.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com I got my copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Heist Society: Perfect Scoundrels
Heist Society: Perfect Scoundrels
by Ally Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Scoundrels: Review, 24 Mar. 2013
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Having loved the first two books in Ally Carter’s Heist Society series, I have been looking forward to getting my hands on Perfect Scoundrels for a while. I really enjoyed reading Kat’s adventures, but the blurb for this book really got me interested. It seemed like there was the potential that Kat could have a lot to lose in this book.

Having had high expectations, after giving both Heist Society and Uncommon Criminals 5 stars, going into this book I was prepared to be disappointed. Instead, I ended up devouring Perfect Scoundrels in a matter of hours and loving every moment of it. I had to know what was going to happen next, how things were going to turn out.

I really enjoyed being reunited with Kat and her gang. I also really enjoyed the fact that Carter finally showed the first meeting between Hale and Kat – it has been hinted at in the previous books, but I was glad to see it fleshed out on the page. It was everything I was expecting, and more.

The plot of the book was as convoluted as the previous two books, and having the story told through the third person narrator really worked in this regard. Using the third person narrator allowed Carter to keep some secrets, which when revealed showed how awesome the characters are. I also thought that the conflict at the centre of the book was a really interesting one, as Kat and Hale’s worlds collided. I really felt for Kat, she was faced with an impossible choice and then had to deal with the repercussions of it. For all the complexity of the plot, it was still a fast-paced rambunctious read.

If you are a fan of criminal capers then you should definitely check out the Heist Society series. Perfect Scoundrels is a brilliant addition to the series, and I hope there are more to come.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful 1)
Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful 1)
by Jamie McGuire
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Disaster: Review, 18 Mar. 2013
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I have to admit that it was the cover which first drew me to this book, then I read the blurb and I was intrigued. It sounded like it had a lot of potential, and then there were the reader quotes on the back of the book compairing it to Twilight and Shades of Grey. . . If that is the kind of book you’re looking for, then I suggest that you look elsewhere. There are no sparkly vampires, no Native American werewoves, and no BDSM. Beautiful Disaster is a dark, complex, messy story.

Beautiful Disaster is a New Adult book, with Abby starting the book at eighteen and turning nineteen during the storyline. As such Beautiful Disaster is, without a doubt, darker and more complex than a Young Adult novel but the setting and the age range of the characters means it doesn’t quite fit comfortably within the Adult genre – hence, New Adult.

I really enjoyed the darkness, the messiness, and the complexity of Beautiful Disaster. Abby and Travis were two really strong characters, and they carried the story brilliantly – I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. I really enjoyed the twist that McGuire put on the usual good girl/bad boy dynamic in the story and how that made the whole book feel more real. For all their strength, Abby and Travis also have their flaws and McGuire did a really good job of toe-ing the line between writing a good narrative and making them believeable and real characters.

McGuire also did a really good job with the secondary characters. Mare and Shep were brilliantly written, and served as brilliantly written best friends to Abby and Travis – and all that, that entailed. They were the main group of characters within the novel, and they worked really well particularly Mare and Shep’s relationship in contrast with Abby and Travis’s. McGuire did a good job of catching the feeling of university life.

The plot is pretty much what you would expect from a contemporary romance, but McGuire places some interesting twists and turns in the plot along the way. I never for a moment doubted the outcome of the story, but I really enjoyed the journey. The story in Beautiful Disaster isn’t always an easy one, but I loved reading it and watching it develop through the pages.

If you are a fan of contemporary romance and are looking for something a bit older than a Young Adult book, then you should consider reading Beautiful Disaster. It is a really enjoyable and engrossing read. A sequel, Walking Disaster telling the story from Travis’s point of view is coming out in April 2013.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


A Perfect Blood (Rachel Morgan 10)
A Perfect Blood (Rachel Morgan 10)
by Kim Harrison
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Blood: Review, 18 Mar. 2013
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A Perfect Blood is the tenth book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, and it continues the story of Rachel Morgan, a witch who recently discovered that she’s actually a demon. The Hollows is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and I have been waiting a while to get my hands on a copy of this book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It has been a while since I have read any of the books in The Hollows series, but I just picked up A Perfect Blood and fell straight into the world and the story. With The Hollows series Harrison has created a really vibrant world. I really enjoy Rachel Morgan as both the narrator of the story and as the main character. Sure she makes really stupid choices at times, but she tries her best. And boy does she try in A Perfect Blood.

The plot of A Perfect Blood is pretty much what you would expect from any of the books in The Hollows series. Rachel, Ivy, and Jenks team together to solve a rather tricky case. The case in A Perfect Blood is the most tricky case the team have tackled yet, and I have to say the fallout from the case will be interesting to watch in future books. I get the feeling that in A Perfect Blood Harrison has started the “endgame” of the series. There are certainly a few threads left dangling tantalizingly by Harrison at the end of the book, though there isn’t the feeling of a cliffhanger.

The Rachel in A Perfect Blood is a really interesting character. She has grown a lot as a person since the first book in the series, and that is really obvious is the book; she is a lot more self-aware, and aware of those around her who she cares about. This Rachel is at times the most vulnerable and the strongest that I have read in the series so far. I really enjoyed watching her progression in this book. It was nice to see her relationship with Ivy and Jenks in full force in this book. I also loved her interactions with Trent. They were so…them.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy and you have not read this series yet, then you should! A Perfect Blood is a great addition to The Hollows series. I cannot wait to get my hands on book eleven – Ever After!!

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


Falling to Ash (Moth Novel)
Falling to Ash (Moth Novel)
by Karen Mahoney
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Falling to Ash: Review, 18 Mar. 2013
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I first came across the character of Moth in a short story titled ‘Falling to Ash’ in a short story collection/anthology called The Eternal Kiss and I absolutely fell in love with the world and character Karen Mahoney created. So, of course, when I heard that Mahoney was going to write a novel based on that short story I had to get my hands on a copy.

The novel Falling to Ash is narrated by Moth – Marie O’Neal – a recently turned vampire. In the story Moth is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is a vampire. I really liked this aspect of Mahoney’s main character. That she is not all “isn’t being a vampire soooooo cool”, but at the same time despite how uncomfortable she finds it she can still acknowledge the good parts about being a vampire. I really liked Moth’s narrative voice, seeing the events of Falling to Ash through her eyes really worked for me. It made me really empathise with her as a character, and I enjoyed hanging out in her head.

Mahoney splits the plot of Falling to Ash into two distinct parts that overlap throughout the narrative. I really enjoyed reading about Moth learning to fit into her new world in one main plot, and I also liked the mystery and suspense of the second main plot. Mahoney does a brilliant job with the conclusion of the book. She ties up enough loose ends so that the book feels complete, but she also leaves enough threads that I am looking forward to getting my hands on the second book in the series – which according to Goodreads isn’t out until 2014 unfortunately.

The secondary characters in the book were really interesting, most of them will be familiar to those who have read the short story and I really liked that. I liked getting to see Theo and Jace again, and watching Moth interact with both of them. I think her relationships with these two characters are really interesting. I also enjoyed getting to see Moth’s human family – I’m hoping that there will be more of them in later books.

If you are a fan of vampires and urban fantasy novels then you should definitely check out Falling to Ash. Mahoney creates an interesting world with a brilliant protagonist who seems very real.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


The Winter Trilogy: A Witch in Love
The Winter Trilogy: A Witch in Love
by Ruth Warburton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Witch in Love: Review, 3 Feb. 2013
I bought this book on a whim. I've read A Witch in Winter (The Winter Trilogy) and whilst I wasn't blown away, I really enjoyed reading it. So when I saw this book in a bookstore I had to pick it up. The cover looks gorgeous, and I was curious about what would happen to Anna next

A Witch in Love was a really enjoyable read; I fell straight back into the world. It takes place six months after the events in A Witch in Winter, six months in which Anna hasn't used magic. A Witch in Love is a great middle book, it continues the story and whilst it give some answers, it only creates more questions.

At times in A Witch in Love I became really frustrated with Anna and the choices she made. Not enough to stop reading, but I did roll my eyes several times as Anna seemed to delight in making her life difficult. On the whole she was a sympathetic character though, and I found myself rooting for her.

Like A Witch in Winter, A Witch in Love is narrated by Anna so we get to see things from her point of view. I liked the fact that although this book was mostly set in Winter, we do get to see a bit of London from Anna's point of view. I liked that Anna always tries to do her best in any given situation, and I thought it was ironic that as a witch she isn't very comfortable with magic - but then, she does have her reasons.

In a lot of ways the events of A Witch in Love show how our choices don't just affect ourselves, but those we are close to as well. I enjoyed the tantalizing information we got about Anna's mother and her past in this book - it left me with more questions, which will hopefully will be resolved in A Witch Alone.

If you've read A Witch in Winter and enjoyed it but haven't read this book yet, then I recommend you do. A Witch in Love is a great addition to The Winter Trilogy, and a brilliant second book.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


Something Like Normal
Something Like Normal
by Trish Doller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Something Like Normal: A Review, 30 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Something Like Normal (Hardcover)
I've wanted to read this book for a while, ever since I saw the blurb in a Waiting on Wednesday post. There were a couple of reasons I wanted to get my hands on Something Like Normal. The first was that I thought that the blurb sounded interesting, and the second one was because of the topic. War isn't an easy or a nice subject, but it's something I wish was covered more in literature - both Adult and Young Adult.

This book broke my heart a little bit.

Something Like Normal isn't a "usual" war book. To start with, all the action of the book takes place in the US - in Detroit and Florida, to be exact. Something Like Normal isn't so much to do with war, but of the consequences of war on a nineteen year-old soldier whose best friend died.

In many ways Something Like Normal is a very hard read. At times I wanted to cry, because my heart went out to Travis as he struggled to fit back in to "normal" life. Other times I found myself shaking my head in disappointment at a choice he'd made. And yet, I felt compelled to keep reading because there is a lot of hope to be found within Something Like Normal. Doller does a really good job at showing how hard it must be for soldiers who have come back from war to try to fit into a life that doesn't quite fit them any more - not just because of them, but because everyone else has moved forward too. Travis was a really interesting character. I obviously couldn't relate to him, but I did find myself drawn into his world.

The plot of the book was both what I expected and not. Doller wrote a really beautiful story around a simple and compelling plot. She also did a good job at making the story seem realistic. The struggles Travis faced seemed very real, as did his actions and the actions of his fellow soldiers, and the friends and family he left at home. I thought Doller did a great job at writing Travis with Harper, and the struggle he faces with her and with himself.

If you are looking for a contemporary novel with a different twist, then you should consider picking up Something Like Normal. If you've read Code Name Verity, or Between Shades Of Gray and enjoyed them and want to read more books like them then you should also consider Something Like Normal. In fact honestly, I would recommend this book to almost everyone because it is a very beautifully told story.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com


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