Monday, 13 May 2013


So, I have been MIA for a long time, which is a true shame as I was really keeping up with the blog and the reviews. By abscence though was due to many reasons, such as work and my health. However, having been laid of from work, it seems that I will now have more time back on my hands, so I might just have to use that as an excuse to get back into writing the reviews, as it was something that I pretty much enjoyed doing.

During my abscence though I have read a lot of books. Below is a list of what I have read (Or what I remember reading anyway)

All of the books in the Drake chronicles by Alyxandra Harvey
All off the books in the soul screamers series by Rachel Vincent
Gone girl by Gillian Flynn
The Iron King series including the side story, the lost prince, By Julie kagawa

I have just started on the first game of thrones book. I have a feeling that this is going to take me a little longer to read due to the thickness of the novel but also the complexity. I know to others it may not seem complex at all, but to me, who is use to reading very much the young adult genre, it is a little more complex. I find myself struggling over some of the phrasing in there, or not understanding words. Also keeping up with the constant change of character is a challenge in its own. But, none the less, I am determined to finish it and so far (200 pages in) I am enjoying the story and am Looking forward to seeing what will happen next.

So hopefully you will see this review blog thriving with character and reviews for all to read once again, and who knows, maybe I will get my viewings up as well. wish me luck guys.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Body Blow , by Peter Cocks

Body Blow (Eddie Savage #2)
Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 5th 2012 by Walker Books (first published March 1st 2012)
140632728X (ISBN13: 9781406327281)
edition language
"Well, Eddie, I'm glad to see you looking so well," Napier said. "For a dead man."

Eddie Savage is back.

While his physical scars are fading, the emotional scars are taking longer to heal. But one thing's certain: his old life is no longer for him.

Eddie heads for Spain on the promise of sun, sea and beautiful women - but is drawn, irrevocably, back into the criminal underworld. It appears that greater forces are at work.

Tommy Kelly may be safely locked up back home, but on the Costa del Sol the drug wars are raging.

The Kelly family is still very much alive ... and kicking.

A gripping, fast-paced thriller that pulls no punches
My Review
I admit, that I have not read the first novel in the series, but I also do not feel like I really needed to, as I found myself attracted to the novel and understand it fully, so I didn't really feel like I was missing too much here. Usually I stick to the fantasy type novels, so the crime ones never really attracted me enough to pick them up. But when I won this one in a good reads giveaway, I thought that perhaps it was about time I started opening the doors to other genres and letting myself really get the full reading experience. And I am glad that I did. The chracters within this novel were well defined and the more I think about it, the more they remind me of the teen series, gallagher girls. 
What I loved about this novel was the fact that it had this sense of power within it to draw the reader in and allowed them to really gain a full experience of the novel. you felt like you were becoming one with the characters. You found yourself feeling the fear that Eddie was feeling, as well as the love, the passion and the excitement. there was so much going on here within the novel, but it wasn't so much that you felt lost, or like you were just being rushed through it. It was almost like you were visualizing the novel whilst you were reading it.
It has made me more interested in getting hold of the first novel and reading it so that I can see how the whole story started, but it has also left me wanting more, to see what actually happened with the whole kelly situation. Does eddie go and see him and if so what does tommy want? How does he get over the fact that he has lost not just one girl but two, how is he going to allow his heart to mend and him to move on. I feel that the book is certainly fast moving and therefore very impacting in many ways.
I would certainly advise anyone to read this book, because the author clearly has talent and knows what he is doing when he writes. I wouldnt claim this to be a thriller though because it didnt leave me hiding under my duvet like a stephen king novel. I would certainly class this as crime rather than thriller. 
rating 5 of 5 stars false  

Favorite , by Karen McQuestion

Paperback, 172 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Amazon Childrens Publishing (first published November 1st 2009)
1935597256 (ISBN13: 9781935597254)
edition language
Five years have passed since Angie Favorite's mother, Laura, disappeared without a trace, and Angie still hasn't recovered. Sure, things look normal on the surface ? she goes to school, works her summer job, and argues with her older brother Jason ? but she can't shake the feeling her mother didn't leave by choice. Angie's dad does the best he can, but his work as a musician keeps him on the road and away from home, where it's up to Angie's grandmother to keep an eye on the kids. She can't be with them all the time, though, and so Angie is alone when she's snatched from a strip mall parking lot by Scott Bittner. Angie narrowly escapes, and Bittner is arrested, but he takes his life in jail before he can offer an explanation for his crime. When his mother makes contact, begging forgiveness on her son's behalf, Angie agrees to meet with her in hopes of finding answers to the seemingly random attack. But when she arrives at the massive Bittner estate, she is overcome by an unshakeable sense of foreboding? Part thriller, part coming-of-age tale, Favorite is an engrossing young adult novel in which nothing ? and no one ? is as it seems
My Review
I was really surprised to read a second book from Karen Mcquestion, when I received her package, but I was also really excited to be given the opportunity to read a second novel of hers. Its therefore no surprise that just from her two books I have grown to love her writing style and the way that she proposes the characters and the plot. This was only a short book, but it was very well written and you could see the depth of the plot that had been laid out to attract you within its page.
Although you would consider favorite to be a strange name, I feel that actually it was very captivating because it meant that you were not soon to forget the character, or who she was. she was one of those characters that were going to stick within your mind even when your finished reading. The plot is all a big mystery, where your not really sure what is happening. There is a mother that went missing for what appears to be no reason what so ever, for she was happy and content in her life. A father who is constantly away trying to make the big bucks by becoming famous and claiming hes psychic he always knew that something was going to happen, after it happened of course. Then you have the two kids, normal brother and sister sort of relationship, but have had to grow up fast in order to grow customized to the life style that they have been forced to live within. 
For angie, life is just a matter of working through the days, but when someone suddenly wants to show her something, but goes about it in the wrong way, suddenly it seems like life is about to end. I think in some ways the book shows that we are quick to judge a persons actions without considering the person themselves. The character clearly has some sort of mental health problems which means his mind does not work as others, and as a result it looks like, to everyone else, as if he is out to kill the girl. But all he wanted to do was to show her the end ropes of the problems that never made any real sense.
The story is mysterious, cliche, but well written. I think that you can clearly figure out what has happened before you have even reached the ending, but I still feel that it is well written because you find yourself on edge with the characters. it was one of those books that could not be put down because they seemed to have this great sense of adventure within them. I do feel that perhaps the book could have been extended more, giving it that little bit of room for more expression and depth, but at the same time, perhaps too much more would have made it dull.
This author has won herself on my shelf and I will certainly be looking out for more of her books to review because I feel that she has a lot of talent to offer to the readers and that in time, many will begin to see the work that she puts into her novels.
rating 4 of 5 stars false  

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Long Way Home , by Karen McQuestion

The Long Way Home
Paperback, 321 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Amazon Publishing
1612183565 (ISBN13: 9781612183565)
edition language
Four women bound by chance take the trip of a lifetime in Karen McQuestion's fifth novel The Long Way Home. For Wisconsinites Marnie, Laverne and Rita, life isn't working out so well. Each is biding time, waiting for something better, something to transport them out of what their lives have recently become. And then there's Jazzy: bubbly, positive, and happy even though she hears voices of the departed. Brought together by a chance meeting, the women decide to join Marnie on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas where she intends to reunite with Troy, the boy she raised as her own ? and who she's been separated from since her boyfriend's death. Little do they know that as the road trip unfolds, so will their lives ? in directions they never anticipated. Humorous, heartwarming, and bittersweet, the journey has something special in store for each woman
My Review
Now this is the sort of chick flick novel that I am more than happy to read, as it really allows the ready to dive into a journey that they had not planned on taking. I think that the book is aimed at a wide variety of audiences and I love the fact that the author has taken on the challenge of matching the different diversities. Perhaps this is what engaged me the most, the sort of almost fantasy style that it had in regards to the psychic, the crime side, and the love side. There just seemed to be a little of something for everyone. I think amny authors find this a hard challenge, and whilst I would say that it has not been perfected I think and feel that the author was pretty close to getting it there.

In this novel we meet four women who have never met before, but somehow they all seem to need each other in there life. In some formation or another they are going to help one another overcome some sort of challenge or obstacle that is holding them back from reaching there dreams and aspirations. Perhaps the most interesting character of the four is jazzy, the girl with the pyschic powers of some formation. I think she is probably the character that I connected most with, not because of her special skill or talent, but because of the age in which she is. I love her boldness and ambitious personality that shines through the words of the author, that gave me this sense of feeling myself young, wild and free. I really felt that she needed the three older women to help her realize that she could be more than just the helping hand at the other end, that actually she could be anything that she wanted to be.

I loved the comedy side that seemed to be there within the pages and a few times I couldn't help but chuckle at what had been written. Yes of course, there are many unrealistic features to the novel, but isnt the sole purpose these days of reading a book, to get away from the concept of reality? or is that just for me? I think that the book represented for me that its ok to get up and take a chance in life, that sometimes its alright to not stick to the chart that we have set out and to go off path. It showed me that life is about making of it what we can and that this can mean facing the deepest of fears even when we don't feel we can.

I do feel that the book was well written because it draws you in and makes you feel like you are a part of it. your not just the reader holding the novel, but you are a character that has not been planned but has been invited into it anyway. Everything about it was engaging and I would love to know what happens to the characters, particularly Jazzy, in the future. Are they all going to meet up again or will they find a new path that gives them something better in life? 

My Rating- 4 of 5 stars false 

Farangi Girl: A Memoir of My Mother, Parties with Princes and Growing Up in Iran. by Ashley Dartnell by Ashley Dartnell

Farangi Girl: A Memoir of My Mother, Parties with Princes and Growing Up in Iran. by Ashley Dartnell
Published May 1st 2012 by Two Roads (first published June 1st 2011)
1444714716 (ISBN13: 9781444714715)
edition language
Ashley Dartnell's mother was a glamorous American, her father a dashing Englishman, each trying to slough off their past and upgrade to a more romantic and exotic present in Iran. As the story starts, Ashley is eight years old and living in Tehran in the Sixties: the Shah was in power, life for Westerners was rich and privileged. But somehow it didn't all add up to a fairytale. There were bankruptcies and prisons, betrayals and lovers, lies and evasions. And throughout it all, Ashley's passionate and strong-willed mother, Genie. Stories of mothers and daughters are some of the most compelling in contemporary memoir, from The Liar's Club and The Glass Castle to Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Bad Blood. Farangi Girl deserves to be in their company. It's an honest and endlessly recognisable portrait of a mother by a daughter who loved her (and was loved in return).

Against this extraordinary background, Ashley's journey into adulthood was more helter-skelter than most and this portrait of a bewitching and endlessly inventive mother is surprising and deeply moving.
My Review
I have never been the sort of person for a true life story, well other than a child called it. So when I was offered the chance to read this book I wasn't totally sure what I was going to make of it. Would I like it, would I get on with it, or would it challenge my reading limitations. Now however, I can say that I was totally glad that I picked up the book because it didn't have that whole, this is my life and this is my book about me feeling to it. It was more like a story, a film within a story if you life, because for me every page came alive with a different meaning and moral for the reader to learn from, but to also experience. The way in which this book is written certainly keeps you within the grasp of its pages, so that you are never left downplayed or bored. you always find yourself hanging on, going just one more chapter before I put this down and go do whatever it is that I need to do.
I think for me the book made me realize just how luck I was as a kid growing up. We all wish that we were princesses, being spoilt rotten with a big fancy house a four poster bed in our bedroom. But this book represented just how hard life can be, that sometimes what we consider our limitations are others treats and dreams. Ashley clearly went through a very challenging past, but through it all you can see that she is a character of great strength and power. Even when life was trying to knock them all down she never appeared to let it phase her for long and she always seemed to be aware of what was happening around her. I think the way that she displays her mother truly allows us to get a real eyesight for what it was that she had to live with. It made me laugh, cry and feel anger at the best of times. I think there may have even be times where I was screaming at the book in the hopes that her mother would listen.
In the end though, I found myself feeling a gentle hum of peace for her mum and for ashley herself. I felt a sense of great respect for them both because you could tell that though they were different in many different ways, they were also quite close and similar to one another. The connection they had was beautiful and it really made me feel warmth within my soul. I loved the way that Ashley made the pages come alive within my mind though. I felt I was in iran with her, that I could feel her frustration with the lack of education that she was getting, or the desire to be someone to someone else, or to be something. Every page just seemed to have the joy and passion within it that all books should have, and that was beautiful.
In many ways I found myself inspired, because it represented that you can come from a small place but still make something of yourself. It showed me that family dynamics are confusing and that sometimes we are going to hate those that are connected to us by blood. In the end though, through everything that they had been through, they were there for one another. I just felt that the whole novel was captivating and I truly loved the direction it flowed in. it was amazingly well written with so much depth and life to the pages that it was worth the read.
rating 5 of 5 stars false

The Whipping Club , by Deborah Henry

The Whipping Club
345 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by T.S. Poetry Press (first published February 2nd 2012)
0984553177 (ISBN13: 9780984553174)
"The Whipping Club explores the sacrificial secrets we keep to protect our loved ones and the impact that uncovered secrets have on marriage, family and society. Both a wrenching family drama and a harrowing suspense story, it chronicles an interfaith couple's attempt in 1960s Ireland to save their son from corrupt institutions. A powerful saga of love and survival."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
My Review
The book suggests that life is all about the little secrets that we are too ashamed to share with others, with how they sneak back up on us to try and take that ounce and shred of control that we have gained in our life. It is clear that the book is set back in a time that I myself am not familiar too. A time where it was not a good thing to have a baby outside of wedlock and marrying outside of your conformed religion was also a big no no in all manners. However, in this book we see two people from different backgrounds come together with a secret that ultimately is going to do its damn well best to tear them apart as well. I think that the book touches on a topic that could be catergorzied as taboo, for its the sort of, well what would you do given the circumstances, topic. It is well written though and you do begin to see the point of story from all characters perspectives, but at the same time it was lacking that little something, something which I can not put my finger on just as off yet.
I think that the story really plays out how having a secret child, and bringing them into the family is a big challenge. But for me it just represented the difference in the ways in which families conform. Now a days, although having a new child introduced at such a late stage would still be a challenge, it is much more acceptable and everyone tends to settle in easier on the topic. However in this novel, no one seems to be really up to it, and everytime the child does something that is not considered the correct standard or manner, it brings the situation even further into a black hole. To me it represented the need to work with the people that you have around you and it made me also appreciate the kind of lifestyle that I have now, where I have been granted the chance to experience what a real father should have been like to me.
The book was well written and I think that the author had some wonderful ideas when constructing the book. I don't think that it particularly flows fluidly throughout the whole novel and there are some bits that didn't quite sum up. Perhaps it was just the chaotic feeling within the pages, where there always seemed to be something going on. However one thing that the author did do, was capture my heart and tug at its strings. I found myself falling for the boy and wanting to protect him, especially towards the end. It made me realize that even when we think we have put someone within the best care that we can find, they may not be safe, and they could very well be in the worst sort of danger we could think up for them. I felt that she really displayed the character of the bastard child well, but also how the parents were being ripped apart with his attitude and behaviour. it really displayed the family diversity through different stages and that in many ways made it more belieavble and realistic.
Although this is not the sort of book I would perhaps read again, I would be interested to see some sort of sequel produced where we find out what happened to the boy as he grew up. Did he get the life that he wanted and dreamed for and were the family united as a whole at any point. I do feel that there are many open ended questions throughout it but you can also see the depth, which gave it a thought provoking elegance. if you get a chance, then give this book a chance.  
  3 of 5 stars false  

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Dark Remains by Sean McMahon

Dark Remains
Paperback, 288 pages
Published by Createspace (first published March 22nd 2011)
1456543040 (ISBN13: 9781456543044)
edition language
London, 1842. England is in turmoil and one young woman must carry the demands of both the living and the dead.

After the death of her mother and imprisonment of her revolutionary father, thirteen-year-old Maggie Power is plunged into a world of poverty and violence. Promising to protect her younger brother - come what may - she scavenges upon the mudflats of the Thames, haunted by the constant shadows of hunger and disease.

That is, until a chance encounter with a charitable countess, who rescues her from the brutal streets of 19th century London. But Maggie’s troubles are just beginning. For the rich life presented to her by the mysterious countess comes at a dreadful price. Slowly she realises she must free herself of the influence of her benefactor - whose dark motives are revealed over the course of the turbulent summer of 1842.

A suspenseful, historical mystery, Dark Remains takes the reader on a journey through the dark heart of early Victorian London.

"Fine characterization...and skilled pacing make this a real page-turner." Publishers Weekly on this 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semi Finalist.
My Review
It was a sort of fantasy novel without it being a fantasy novel. It was the kind of novel that made it different and made it more interesting in many other ways that books tend to fail in. I liked the concept of the novel and felt that it was engaging in its own sort of way because I was able to relate with the characters without getting fully engaged with them and with what they were expressing and stating. I loved the overall depth of the novel and the time it was set within. I think all to many authors forget that the time element is important to a novel, because that can sometimes help you to really put the picture together and then to become more involved. 

The storyline itself, I wouldn't say it was a brilliant one. I think there is much room for improvement but it was still a good plot. It was the factor that you never really knew what was happening, or who could and could not be trusted. It almost had that sort of oliver twist feel to it, what with the two young kids just trying to make there way to somewhere safe in life. I think that the objectives of the novel are perhaps a little unclear and unclarified because for me it almost felt like there was a big hollow gap, where there was something missing, something that should have been there but wasn't.

Could this be better produced were the plot dragged out with more depth and detail and perhaps produced into a sequel, maybe. I think this would give it so much more room to grow and to really grasp the readers with everything that it has to offer. I don't think it would be the be all and end all of it, but I do think it would give it that much bigger and more extra room for growth and development in its own sort of style and way.

My rating: didn't like it it was ok (my current rating) liked it really liked it it was amazing

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