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Thursday, 18 January 2018

ENDLESSLY by Kiersten White

Endlessly (Paranormalcy, #3)Endlessly by Kiersten White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This year, I've decided to finish off a bunch of trilogies, duologies and series I've somehow managed to fall behind on. Some for years. :/

And I started with this one.

All Evie wants is to live a normal life and spend Christmas with her shapeshifter boyfriend, Lend. But trouble always manages to find her. Especially now that someone new is in charge of the IPCA, and they want her back. Her annoying faery ex wants her help, though she might need his too. Her enemy is back and seems to be helpful, and even useful. Plus all the paranormals need her help for something that might end up destroying her...

It was nice to be back in Evie's world because I always liked her lighthearted voice. In spite of living in a dark world surrounded by weird and wonderful creatures, she always manages to come across as fun and is very witty. And in this book, she needs all her wits about her if she's going to overcome the complications laid out in front of her.

While I enjoyed this instalment and the story captured my imagination as much as the other books, I thought the last half dragged a bit. The events of the last 100 pages just seemed to stretch out for too long, and my mind started wandering a bit.

In the end, while it was a cool book, I didn't love it to bits like I did the first two.

Either way, I'm glad that I (finally) finished the trilogy.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

More Reading Thoughts

The other day I posted about my Reading 2018 plans. Today I want to chat a bit more about those plans/goals and something that happened on Friday.

I love libraries. I think they're an amazing place that offer a bunch of wonderful services for the community. When I was a kid I borrowed from our local library all the time. I also borrowed a lot of books from my school library (both primary & secondary) and was even a library monitor.

Yes, my love for books started early. I was that kid who borrowed books we weren't studying from my English teachers because I've always read like a maniac.

Anyway, my reason for mentioning libraries is because I've decided to stop borrowing books from our local library. It's a decision that sucks, but also feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

Although our library has given me the chance to read a lot of wonderful books--because I just can't buy ALL THE BOOKS--the service is appalling. We've returned books that don't get marked off, the clerks are rude and act like we're putting them out when asking them to do their job in the nicest way possible. They're always unapproachable, grouchy and I have to double check the books I've returned have been removed every single time.

Bottom line: the people working at our local library are awful and don't know how to do their jobs. I'm pretty sure none of them are even librarians!

We've put up with their BS for too long, and the other day two different people were as rude as hell for no reason. So, we returned the excellent book (that was my last) and as soon as I got home, I removed all of my holds.

I'm done with their incompetence.

It's a shame we've been pushed to this, but it's for the best. I'd been thinking about this all week and after chatting to hubby, realised my mind had already been made up.

This brings me back to my 2018 Reading. TBH, their rudeness and pathetic incompetence might actually be a great thing.

Why? Because I've got my own libraries:
  • a wall of bookshelves FULL of books. Books I've been neglecting so much I've fallen behind in most of my fave series. 
  • a digital library chock-full of new books I can't wait to get stuck into. 
  • a teetering pile of review books.

Yep. Why am I even borrowing books when I have SO MANY of my own? Seriously. There are stacked layers on my shelves, I keep buying Kindle books, buy from bookstores, and receive review books all the time. So I won't be missing out on anything. :)

I've also decided the best way to deal with my TBR piles is by choosing 4 or 5 from each SHELF and reading whichever strikes my fancy at the time.

Here's the first lot:


Yesterday I finished EVERLESS, and have already started ENDLESSLY. So, there you go. It's totally working out. 😉

Sometimes a negative can really be turned into a positive.

Happy reading!

Monday, 15 January 2018

EVERLESS by Sara Holland

Time is a prison. She is the key. 

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

 Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself.



This is one of the books that were mentioned when hubby and I went to the 2017 Date a Book YA Blogger Night at Hachette HQ last year. 

So I couldn't wait to start reading. Not to mention that the cover is as beautiful in its simplicity as the inside.

In Sempera, the currency of time is blood. And the rich control it by bleeding days, weeks, months and even years from the poor to turn it into iron coins. As a result, the wealthy can live for centuries, while the poor end up bleeding most of their days away.

That's exactly what Jules finds out her father is doing. And if he doesn't stop, he's going to run out of time sooner than later. 

When she hears Everless needs extra servants for the upcoming royal wedding, and that they'll get paid very well, Jules decides to join. Even if she has a complicated history with the Gerling brothers. 

A history that will only put her and her father in danger...

As soon as I started this book, I was hooked. 

Jules Ember's voice pretty much swept me away instantly. I loved the way her narrative flowed so easily from action to thought to the world around her. Everything that came before and was happening in the moment just fit together effortlessly.

The world building for this intriguing world, where the cruelty of the rich is literally paid (and taken) in blood, unfolds perfectly. In a very organic way, complementing the narrator's voice so well it becomes impossible to separate one from the other. And that, in hindsight, is such a clever way of telling this fantastic tale.

I loved the parasitic way the wealthy hoarded blood from the poor. I hated how the poor were forced to give their blood in order to pay the rich. Everything about this system of existence was cruel and unfair, but the only way for everyone to survive in this harsh world of so many contrasts.

The way life itself was seen as time running out, rather than the constant reminder of looming death was such a unique way to quantify life.

As I mentioned above, Jules was a terrific character. Even though the cast of characters is vast and wonderful, she shines brighter than anyone else. The more I read, the more I liked her. The further I got in the story, the grander and darker the world became. The deeper I fell into the truth of what was really happening, the more I fell in love with everything about this book.

Everless is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read. Not YA fantasy, I'm talking about ALL fantasy. It's a breath of fresh air in such a crowded genre, and offers something new. It's an amazing story with so many intricately woven threads that the characters, world building and plot all connect to create a deep emotional experience. Not to mention that the tension kept me turning pages. Or that the secret at the very heart of everything blew me away once all the pieces fell into place.

If you're looking for a story featuring a strong heroine, a dazzling new world, danger so deep it'll leave you breathless, and even a hint of romance... You have to read this.

You won't regret it.

I don't know if this is a duology or a trilogy or even a series, but I can't wait for the next book.


Everless, January 2018, ISBN 9781408353622 Orchard Books

Friday, 12 January 2018

THE COMPLETE SOOKIE STACKHOUSE STORIES by Charlaine Harris


For the first time together in one volume, the complete short story collection starring Sookie Stackhouse - with new introductions from the #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the series, Charlaine Harris. 

New fans can fill in the gaps in their Sookie lore, while old friends can revisit some of their favourite moments and characters. From investigating the murder of a local fairy to learning that her cousin was a vampire, from remodelling Tara's house to attending a wedding with her shapeshifting boss Sam, Sookie navigates the perils and pitfalls of the paranormal world. 

Gather round the bar at Bon Temps' favourite watering hole and hear stories that will make you wish that Sookie never left.


The Sookie Stackhouse series might have ended in a satisfying way, but there are still stories set in her world that I hadn't read before.

And that's why this collection, including all of them in one volume, was something I definitely wanted to read!


FAIRY DUST
A fairy walks into a bar...

No, seriously, she does. Claudine walks into Merlotte's looking for Sookie because her and her brother Claude need Sookie's help to figure out who killed their triplet, Claudette. They've got three human suspects: a stripper, a bouncer and the owner of the club.

But who did it, and why?

This is such a fun story! Sookie uses her telepathic ability to figure out who killed the fairy. I enjoyed it heaps, and liked finding out a little more about Claudine, Claude and fairies in general.


ONE WORD ANSWER
While Sookie is doing some late-night gardening with Bubba, a limo arrives at her house. A man who claims to be a lawyer by the name of Mr. Cataliades gets out and tells her that her cousin Hadley is dead, but that's not all he's there to tell her.

His visit entails more revelations then she expected...

I really liked the simplicity of this story. It's straightforward and gives Sookie some answers about her estranged cousin, but also has a few very cool twists at the end. Well-worth reading. 


DRACULA NIGHT
When Eric invites Sookie to Fangtasia for an annual vampire event to celebrate Dracula's birthday, she agrees to go, and finds out Eric is quite the Dracula fan. He's such a fanboy he secretly hopes Dracula will make an appearance at his party.

But when the person who claims to be the Lord of Darkness himself shows up, the unexpected happens...

I enjoyed this one too. It was a lot of fun to see the cool, calm, and collected Eric acting a little neurotic. Pam was great in this little story, her side comments made me LOL a lot.


LUCKY
When Greg Aubert pays Sookie a visit, hoping she'll help him figure out who's been sneaking past his spell to get into his insurance office at night, Amelia and Sookie investigate.

What that entails is a telepath and a witch following one clue after another, until Sookie can find whoever's responsible...

This was another great story that captured not only Sookie's world, but what makes a well-written short story really work. Loved it!


GIFT WRAP
Sookie's all alone on Christmas Eve, but when she goes for a walk in the woods and finds an injured Were, she insists on taking him home to make sure whoever attacked doesn't return to finish him off.

But the mysterious stranger brings a little festive magic to her lonely night...

Oooooh. This was a nice story that proves good things come to those who wait. I wasn't expecting the sneaky twist at the end. Very cool.


TWO BLONDES
Sookie and Pam head out on a roadtrip to Mississippi so they can do a mysterious task for Eric. Sookie doesn't mind going along for the ride, even though Pam scares her a bit.

Visiting the casinos and overindulging on buffets goes well, but when the meeting takes place, of course things don't go according to plan...

In typical Sookie fashion, her voice and methodical way of doing things sucked me right into the story. 

This was a lot of fun because Pam & Sookie get caught up in some hilarious stripper business. Not to mention how well their quick thinking syncs, and the little twist at the end was also very cool.


IF I HAD A HAMMER
When Sam and Sookie go to help Tara and JB with a home-improvement project, they didn't expect to find a bloodied hammer within the walls. Or the angry presence they unleash, and the nanny who might end up being the only one who can help them solve this old murder mystery...

This was an interesting take on hauntings, and also a great way to learn some darker and less known historical facts about Bon Temps. It's also always very cool to read any story that enhances just how much Sookie means to Sam. :)


SMALL-TOWN WEDDING
Sookie and Sam leave Bon Temps to go to Wright, a small town in Texas. They're going to attend Sam's brother's wedding, which should be a joyful event, but turns out to be another nightmarish incident in Sookie's life.

After the werewolves and shifters came out to the public, a lot of people developed a new prejudice against them. And this town seems to be filled with those awful people...

I really enjoyed this tale, and read it in one sitting. I particularly enjoyed spending time with Sam and Sookie, just being friends. 

Also, the closure she finally finds with Quinn was a great touch to the story. 


PLAYING POSSUM
All Sookie was supposed to do was deliver a bunch of cupcakes to her nephew's kindergarten class. Instead, as usual, Sookie ends up getting caught between a hostile gunman and a powerful witch...

This is another great story. I enjoyed how well the suspense and danger was captured in a school surroundings. 

The focus was on Sookie and Hunter's talent going up against the very real terror that grips American classrooms too often in real life. But the supernatural flair was also present.


IN THE BLUE HEREAFTER
When Manfred Bernardo heads to Bon Temps after his dead grandmother tells him to go in a dream, he ends up at a softball tournament sitting beside a pretty blonde woman who can totally read his mind.

He enjoys her company but takes a while to figure out why his grandma sent him there in the first place...

The interesting thing about this story is that it's in the POV of Manfred Bernardo from the Harper Connelly series and the Midnight, Texas trilogy. So it was very cool to read a story featuring Sookie, but seen through the eyes of a different character.

Not to mention the tease of Manfred's future.


The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories is an awesome collection. Not just because all of Sookie's short stories are in one place, but also because the UK hardback volume is so nice.

I also enjoyed the story introductions by the author, because I love the behind-the-scenes stuff.

Sookie Stackhouse is one of my favourite characters, and one of the series that introduced me to urban fantasy and captivated my imagination so much. Dragging me deeply into this dangerous world of vampires, werewolves, shifters, witches, fairies, and SO much more.

Great book.


The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories, January 2018, ISBN 9781473222311,Gollancz

Thursday, 11 January 2018

BONFIRE by Krysten Ritter

BonfireBonfire by Krysten Ritter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I borrowed this from the library last Friday and couldn't wait to read it. As soon as I started, I was hooked. Abby's voice drew me in as much as the story.

Abby Williams left Barrens ten years ago and never looked back, but she never forgot the nightmarish things that happened while growing up in this shitty town. Never forgot the pain of losing her mother, how much she hated her father, or that her childhood best friend was a sociopath.

Now she lives in Chicago, has her own life and is an environmental lawyer. She left all the baggage behind, in the past, so she can concentrate on the future.

When a case takes her back to Barrens, a small town in Indiana, to investigate the town's lifeline, Optimal Plastics, everything she's done to distance herself from this place starts to fall apart. She doesn't just stumble on an environmental water issue, but into a disturbing cover-up that can be traced all the way back to the old friend who disappeared...

Wow. Krysten Ritter is a woman of many talents. Not only do I love her portrayal of Jessica Jones, but she's a hell of a writer!

This book turned out to be an amazing, and totally addictive experience. It had all the things that are guaranteed to grab my interest: a damaged lost woman with a whole lot of unrealised strength, a small town with seriously dark secrets, paranoia, not being able to trust anyone, a romantic entanglement with its own risks, and a web of mystery I couldn't wait to untangle.

The writing is solid. The voice so raw it sometimes edges on surreal. The town feels so dirty that the filth practically jumps off the page. And the mystery at the heart of everything didn't disappoint.

Excellent book! This is a slow-burn thriller with page-turning suspense. I couldn't put it down.

I LOVED this book. I really hope this author writes many more.

 
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