Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

THE WRONG TRAIN BLOG TOUR - Extract and Review



Today it gives me the greatest pleasure to play host to a stop on The Wrong Train blog tour. This book is truly an amazing find and one perfect for this time of year. It's a fanstastic little read that won't take you long as it's so gripping you'll be tearing through page after page.

Set out as a collection of short stories with an interlocking narrative in the form of scenes surrounding a boy who has, you guessed it, gotten the wrong train and has been abandoned at a stop where there are no trains coming and just an elderly man to keep him company and some spooky tales that only seem to breed the young boys fear further still.

I really enjoyed the sections between the stories featuring our main character and the old man who tells him these dark and twisted tales. My only gripe was that these were too short and too few. I really really loved these sections.

From creepy old ladies called forth by black candles burning in the night to rid parents of their "mistakes", to Dead Molly, the book gets darker and darker as it goes on. I would certainly recommend it, especially if you're looking for something creepy and spine-tingling to read over Halloween. However, I would recommend that if you do read it, you make sure you have plenty of lights on and make sure you aren't home a lone either as any little sound will make you jump out of your skin! If you're looking for happy endings, let me tell you, you're looking in completely the wrong place! The book itself builds and builds to a crescendo that will live you positively chilled to the bone.

If you don't believe me, take a read of this extract below, the first chapter, courtesy of David Fickling Books for your pleasure!



My thanks to Carolyn at David Fickling Books for asking me to be a part of this tour and for my review copy!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake [Review]

Written by: Kendare Blake.
Published by: Pan Macmillan.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 22nd September 2016.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest."

-

Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen.

I mean if that doesn't get your heart racing and make you want to read this book, I don't know what the hell will! That was the first thing I heard about this book and it had me yearning to read it, so when Pan Macmillan reached out to me asking if I'd like to see an early copy, the answer was a resounding HECK YEAH I WOULD, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! And I have to say it didn't disappoint. If anything, Three Dark Crowns exceeded what I thought it would be. I knew it would be dark and it would feature a fight of some sort for a crown, but what we actually get is so, so much more. It's way darker than I imagined. The scenes where Katharine, the poisoners queen, is forced to eat a lot of food that has been laced with various poisons seemed so barbaric and medieval and so out of place with the way we are used to seeing royalty be treated. 

The book itself follows three sisters, triplets who are all queens and heir to a throne that only one may possess. Each of the sisters has their own gift with varying strengths and weaknesses - from ingesting poison, to controlling the weather, to befriending creatures great and small - and are preparing to battle it out to the death for their right to sit on the coveted throne. 

The world building is immense as we get to explore a world that feels medieval and fantastical.  The writing is beautiful and once you get used to the fact that the POV changes near enough every chapter you stop noticing the change and just go with the flow of the book itself. I personally really enjoyed it and loved every single page. It completely drew me in from the get go and had me racing to see what the sisters and their entourages were going to do next. Twists and turns a plenty and a touch of romance that doesn't feel like too much, which is sometimes a danger I think. Sometimes romance is kind of shoehorned in but with this book it works and it isn't too much! So kudos to Kendare for that! With the promise of a second book, One Dark Throne, due next year I cannot wait to see how this is all going to play out after that ending! Argh! I for one cannot wait and highly recommend that you all go out and get a copy right NOW!

Stunning. Dark and incredibly creepy. The perfect read for a dark, winters night with a cup of something warm!

In the UK we are super lucky and have three stunning covers to chose from, each based around one of the three queens!


Which one is your favourite? Mine is the poisoner cover, obviously featuring the snake! Pick your favourite and be sure to share your choice!

My thanks to Catherine at Macmillan for thinking of me and emailing me about this book and for my copy!


Friday, 7 October 2016

Thin Air by Michelle Paver [Review]

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 6th October 2016.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far - and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free."

-

Imagine it. It's a warm day in the middle of May. The sun is shining, the air is alive with the sounds of birds and insects alike. But you're huddled on the sofa, a verified block of ice. Shivering, jumping at the slightest of movements or sounds you aren't expecting, and have been transported to the snowy landscapes of the Himalayas. That, my friends, is what my experience of reading Thin Air was like. 

I've been a long term fan of Michelle's, for over twelve years since Wolf Brother came out and started an obsession with worlds and words that just won't ever leave me (and I hope it doesn't!). I've always been more of a YA reader. Adult fiction doesn't normally do it for me, but I have authors that are auto-buys, or auto-reads, meaning I will get whatever they choose to publish, be it their masterpiece or a shopping list. And Michelle is right at the top of my auto-read list, so I read her first ghost story, Dark Matter, when it came out a few years ago. I had always hoped Michelle would do another ghost story because I think her writing lends to them so well. She just builds suspense so masterfully and has you absolutely rapt. So when I knew Thin Air was on the way I could not of been more excited. On a personal note the book came on a day when I was feeling particularly down, given the horrendous year I've had, and the proof came with a little note from Michelle herself who is a lovely lady and I hope to meet again some day as I have fond memories of meeting her when I was a teenager!

Anyway, back to the book. It's a chilling tale which will take you right to the deadly peaks of Kangchenjunga. Yes I had to google how to pronounce it. And no, I'm not ashamed! Ha!

It's chilling. Thrilling. And downright scary. From the get go I had chills running up and down my body. I had the shakes at one particular point and had to keep looking up to make sure that I was actually on my own. Such is the power of Michelle's story telling that I felt like there was an unwanted entity with me, watching me, plotting to take me down the way the ghost in the story does. When reading it you really feel the sense of isolation the characters are feeling. You can feel it build, and it almost feels like a physical reaction for you as the reader. You start to second guess things, start to try to think of a logical explanation, even when there isn't place for one. By the end of the book I really felt the paranoia set in and it made me wonder what I would be like in that sort of situation. I could hardly read it without losing my cool, I dread to think what I would be like.

It completely transported me away from the darkness of my own life and if even for a brief moment made me forget and drew me in so wholly that I was lost in this wonderful book, and that is something that seems to be very rare these days. 

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoyed Michelle's previous ghost story, Dark Matter, you'll love this one. If you love anything supernatural, a bit scary, ghostly, then you'll enjoy it too. It's a fantastic read thats absorbing and totally paralysing. Beautifully, lyrically written. A five star read if ever there was one!

My thanks to Orion and Michelle for my early copy and postcard! It really meant a lot and came at a time I really needed a bit of cheering up, so thank you!