Saturday, 31 December 2016

I SEE YOU by Clare Mackintosh


When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .


I love reading a good psychological thriller, and last year I read an awesome book that blew me away. That book was called I Let You Go, which was Clare Mackintosh's debut novel. So when I heard she had another stand-alone coming out, of course I had to read it too. Though I have to admit that I was a little nervous, because how could anything top the amazing twists and turns of I Let You Go?

Well, as it turned out, I worried for nothing because this story is completely different, but just as awesome.

Zoe Walker catches the London Tube to get to and from work on weekdays. She has a specific place she stands on the platform, a chosen carriage she always steps into, and exits the same way every time. She's never thought twice about her commuter habits. Not until she finds a grainy picture of herself in the classifieds with a phone number and website listed below it.

Kelly is a police officer who was once heading places, but when a case reminded her of something that happened to someone she loves, she made a mistake that set her back. Now she's gotten herself involved with several incidents involving women that at first appear random but might actually add up to one very serious case.

There's someone sharing personal details that shouldn't be shared. Zoe and Kelly might be the only two able to connect enough dots to crack the case. Or die trying...

Wow. This book was seriously awesome!

Told in several POVs, each one helps the story move along, the situations worsen, and keeps the danger building from the very beginning. The everyday premise is frightening. Who doesn't have a routine or habits they adhere to? Whether it's how we travel to work, or when and where we jog or go for walks, people are habitual and tend to take the same paths daily. But we never expect someone to be watching. Someone who lurks in the shadows and learns our routines so they can use them against us. Yep. The very thought of that creeps me out.

And that's what makes this book so terrifying. The fact that it deals with a very real and familiar situation. Not to mention that this author's writing style is totally grab-you-by-the-throat and doesn't let you go until you're feeling just as jumpy as the characters. And speaking of characters, she sure can write some very interesting and flawed people with such complicated lives.

I See You is a chilling thriller that instantly hooked me in. I didn't want to put it down, because the more that was revealed, the stronger the paranoia got. Until I couldn't wait to reach the end to find out who was responsible because I started suspecting everyone. And that ending! Yikes.

This is a brilliant book. I can't wait to read more books written by Clare Mackintosh.


I See You, August 2016, ISBN 9780751554120, Sphere

Books Read in 2016...


:: THE OUTSIDERS: S.E. Hinton

SOCS & GREASERS: Rob Lowe

HOUSE: Neil Gaiman

A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS: Paul Tremblay

*GLASS SWORD (Red Queen #2): Victoria Aveyard

DEAR ROCKSTAR (Dear Rockstar #1): Emme Rollins

LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY: Victoria Van Tiem

TRICKY TWENTY-TWO (Stephanie Plum #22): Janet Evanovich

101 PIECES OF ME: Veronica Bennett

CLANCY OF THE UNDERTOW: Christopher Currie

EVERYTHING BUT THE TRUTH: Mandy Hubbard

BOY 23: Jim Carrington

TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY: Hannah Jayne

ONLY EVER YOURS: Louise O'Neill

CATCHING JORDAN (Hundred Oaks #1): Miranda Kenneally

GUYS DO NOT DO SECRET SANTA (Hundred Oaks #0.5): Miranda Kenneally

SAY WHAT YOU WILL: Cammie McGovern

THE ART OF STAR WARS (THE FORCE AWAKENS): Phil Szostak, Lucasfilm, Ltd.

BOOK OF LIES: Teri Terry

JESSE'S GIRL: (Hundred Oaks #6): Miranda Kenneally

WHEN WE COLLIDE: Emery Lord

DANGEROUS GAMES (Mind Games #1.5): Teri Terry

BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE: (Hundred Oaks #5): Miranda Kenneally

THE ACCIDENT SEASON: Moïra Fowley-Doyle

SHADOW AND BONE (Grisha #1): Leigh Bardugo

STEALING PARKER: (Hundred Oaks #2): Miranda Kenneally

THINGS I CAN'T FORGET: (Hundred Oaks #3): Miranda Kenneally

TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1): Jenny Han

THE PROMISE OF AMAZING: Robin Constantine

THE TAILOR (Grisha #1.5): Leigh Bardugo 

THE GUTSY GIRL: Caroline Paul & Wendy MacNaughton

SIEGE AND STORM (Grisha #2): Leigh Bardugo

THE WALKING DEAD #142: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #143: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #144: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #145: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #146: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #147: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #148: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #149: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #150: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #151: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #152: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

THE WALKING DEAD #153: Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard

ASKING FOR IT: Louise O'Neill

JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS #1: Kelly Thompson & Sophie Campbell

ALEX + ADA #1: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS #1: Kate Leth & Drew Rausch

The X-Files Season 10 #1: Joe Harris, Chris Carter & Michael Walsh

LAZARUS #1: Greg Rucka, Michael Lark & Santiago Arcas

THEY'RE NOT LIKE US #1: Eric Stephenson, Simon Gane & Jordie Bellaire

SHUTTER #1: Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/GHOSTBUSTERS #1: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz & Dan Schoening

A BEAUTIFUL DARE (Prequel to A Kiss From Mr. Fitzgerald): Natasha Lester

**NIGHTFELL: M.R. Carey

LONG DARK DUSK (The Australia Trilogy #2): J.P. Smythe

POE DAMERON #1: Charles Soule & Phil Noto

ALEX + ADA, Volume 1: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

ALEX + ADA, Volume 2: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

ALEX + ADA, Volume 3: Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn

C-3PO: The Phantom Limb: James Robinson & Tony Harris

A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD: Natasha Lester

STAR STRUCK (The Ladybirds #4): Jenny McLachlan

RACING SAVANNAH (Hundred Oaks #4): Miranda Kenneally

THE INQUISITION (Summoner #2): Taran Matharu

HEX: Thomas Olde Heuvelt

BLOOD AND SALT (Blood and Salt #1): Kim Liggett

RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE (Dark House #2): Laurie Faria Stolarz

WHISPER TO ME: Nick Lake

THE LEAVING: Tara Altebrando

IN THE DARK, IN THE WOODS: Eliza Wass

RUIN AND RISING (Grisha #3): Leigh Bardugo

GIRLS ON FIRE: Robin Wasserman

*P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #2): Jenny Han

THE LONELINESS OF DISTANT BEINGS: Kate Ling

THE BOMBS THAT BROUGHT US TOGETHER: Brian Conaghan

THE GIRL FROM THE WELL (The Girl from the Well #1): Rin Chupeco

BREATHING UNDER WATER: Sophie Hardcastle

SOMEBODY STOP IVY POCKET (Ivy Pocket #2): Caleb Krisp

THE SUFFERING (The Girl from the Well #2): Rin Chupeco

END OF WATCH (Bill Hodges #3): Stephen King

GIRL vs. BOY BAND: The Right Track: Harmony Jones

SIX OF CROWS (Six of Crows #1): Leigh Bardugo

MOTH GIRLS: Anne Cassidy

THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR: Jessica Warman

*/**HOOKER: JL Perry

*/**BASTARD: JL Perry

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD (Harry Potter #8): JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack  Thorne

BLACK: Fleur Ferris

NIGHT SHIFT (Texas, Midnight #3): Charlaine Harris

*/**PRINCE: Purple Rain: Mick Wall

THE MEMORY BOOK: Lara Avery

MY FAVOURITE MANSON GIRL: Alison Umminger

*/**STEALING SNOW: Danielle Paige

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT: April Genevieve Tucholke

**THE HATCHING: Ezekiel Boone

MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM: Grady Hendrix

BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA (Between #1): April Genevieve Tucholke

THE LAST DAYS OF JACK SPARKS: Jason Arnopp

SUPERNATURAL: The Official Coloring Book: Insight Editions 

 THE THRONE OF GLASS Coloring Book: Sarah J. Maas, Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe & Craig Phillips 

VIGIL (Verity Fassbinder #1): Angela Slatter

13 MINUTES: Sarah Pinborough

EVERY EXQUISITE THING: Matthew Quick

UNDER THE HARROW: Flynn Berry

RUN: Kody Keplinger

*/**LIE WITH ME: Sabine Durrant

BOY21: Matthew Quick

LITTLE WIDOW: Maria Dahvana Headley 

THE CREEPER MAN: Dawn Kurtagich

BURNING: Danielle Rollins

THE LOTTERY: Shirley Jackson

GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (Anna #2): Kendare Blake

UNFED (Undead #2): Kirsty McKay

THE DEAD HOUSE (The Naida Tapes): Dawn Kurtagich

THE REPLACEMENT: Brenna Yovanoff

ZOMBIE BLONDES: Brian James

THE CURE FOR DREAMING: Cat Winters

APOCALYPTIC MONTESSA AND NUCLEAR LULU: Mercedes M Yardley

**HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH: Tiffany Schmidt

THE HIDDEN: Fiona Dodwell

**SILVER IN THE BLOOD: Jessica Day George

DIARY OF A HAUNTING: M. Verano

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL: Meredith Russo

THE GATHERING (Shadow House #1): Dan Poblocki

**CONSPIRACY OF RAVENS (The Shadow #2): Lila Bowen

HAMILTON (The Revolution): Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter 

MOUNT BUGGERY TO NOWHERE ELSE: Eamon Evans


BLACK DOG (American Gods #2.5): Neil Gaiman & Daniel Egnéus 

THE MONARCH OF THE GLEN (American Gods #1.5): Neil Gaiman &Daniel Egnéus

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: The Original Screenplay: JK Rowling

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM: Newt Scamander (JK Rowling)

iZombie, Volume 1 (Dead to the World): Chris Roberson & Mike Allred

iZombie, Volume 2 (uVampire): Chris Roberson & Mike Allred 

iZombie, Volume 3 (Six Feet Under and Rising): Chris Roberson & Mike Allred

iZombie, Volume 4 (Repossession): Chris Roberson & Mike Allred 

TURBO TWENTY-THREE (Stephanie Plum #23): Janet Evanovich

THE GRACES (The Graces #1): Laure Eve

**THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR: Nicola Yoon

AERIE (Magonia #2): Maria Dahvana Headley

GEORGE LUCAS: Brian Jay Jones

DARK MADE DAWN (The Australia Trilogy #3): J.P. Smythe

FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK: Matthew Quick

**THE TOURIST: Robert Dickinson

POISON CITY: Paul Crilley

HOLDING: Graham Norton

LABYRINTH LOST (Brooklyn Brujas #1): Zoraida Córdova

REPLICA--Lyra/Gemma (Replica #1): Lauren Oliver

**A COURT OF MIST AND FURY: Sarah J Maas

**THE SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF HOPE: Claire North

**MAGPIE MURDERS: Anthony Horowitz

BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN (Between #2): April Genevieve Tucholke

I SEE YOU: Clare Mackintosh



Books Read in 2016: 151/100


--------------------

Novel
Short Story
Novella
Comic Book/Graphic Novel
Picture Book
Non-fiction
Colouring Book
Poem


 
:: Re-read
*Some skimming involved
**DNF

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

BETWEEN THE SPARK AND THE BURN by April Genevieve Tucholke


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few months ago I read Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and loved it so much I couldn't wait to see how the duology ended.

Plus, I'd been having a bit of bad luck with books last week. I ended up DNFing so many that starting this book was like taking a breath of fresh air. :)

Last summer, the Redding Brothers swept into Violet White's life and changed it forever. One captivated her, another tried to kill her, and the other saved her. When Neely returns during Christmas, he still hasn't found his dangerous brothers, but he's heard rumours about missing people and the type of mischief River and Brodie usually leave in their wake.

So when he heads out to look for them, Vi decides to tag along. She even drags her twin brother and best friend on a road trip that will take them to a creepy small town, an eerie island, and a spooky hotel in the mountains. Along the way they pick up more kind strays and find what they least expected...

Yikes, this was so good!

April Genevieve Tucholke sure has an uncanny way of weaving a story so intriguing that I didn't want to put the book down. Her writing is beautiful and atmospheric. Her characters charming and complex. And the locations are so vivid they spring off the page. It was so cool to see Vi leave the comforts of Citizen Kane to experience other places away from her coastal town of Echo.

I loved Vi's voice and how she struggles with the inner turmoil of falling in love with someone, but having to focus her attention on another. I especially loved how it ended in such a bittersweet way, because there was no other way this could possibly end. This is one of those odd and wondrous tales that gets under your skin and will surely never leave.

To say I loved this duology would be an understatement.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Holidays!



MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope you all have an awesome, fun and safe festive season.

Plus...

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

REPLICA by Lauren Oliver

Turn REPLICA one way and read Lyra's story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma's story!

Lyra's story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects - Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 - manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family's past and discovers her father's mysterious connection to the secretive Haven Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. REPLICA is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.


I've read several Lauren Oliver books and really enjoy how she weaves intriguing stories. So I was very interested in checking out this unique book.

I started by reading, LYRA:

Lyra--also known as 24--has lived all her life inside the walls of Haven. She's a replica: one of many who are constantly experimented on and aren't even considered/treated like humans. The doctors and nurses refer to them as it and if they show any signs of being individuals, the replicas get in trouble.

The problem is most replicas reach a certain age and get sick, though some don't even get that far. But the doctors are always taking samples and checking on them in order to find a cure. At least, that's what Lyra believes. When she starts feeling sick, she tries to keep it a secret. She doesn't want the nurses and doctors to know, doesn't want to be under their scrutiny.

Still, that's not the biggest threat she faces. There are people outside the island who want to destroy the place, and before Lyra realises what's happening, she's on the run with a male replica...

This book was amazingly sad. But it was also incredibly interesting and kept me turning the pages through Lyra and 72's ordeal. Their adventure was tiring, exciting, and I couldn't stop cheering for these two kids. I kept hoping they would find safety and get the answers they deserved. And that they got the chance to experience real lives, and even get a shot at living outside of the prison they were kept in. But when you don't understand the vastness of the world or how it works, and people won't stop searching for you to keep their secrets hidden, the odds are not stacked in your favour. :(

I really liked Lyra's narrative. She starts out shy, hesitant and very naive. Yet as things start to happen and move around her, Lyra's personality really shines through. I felt so bad for her, being forced to live as if she was a lab rat rather than a person.

Such a sad, yet wonderful story.

I took a few days away from the book before getting stuck into GEMMA:

Gemma lives in a big, expensive house with her loyal dog, pill-popping mother and angry businessman father. Her life is lonely because she's had health problems since she was little. She only has one friend. April and her always joke about being aliens because they don't fit in with the perfect, mean girls at school.

The day a strange man tries to grab her, two things happen: she starts to look into her family's connection to a place called the Haven Institute, and she befriends a guy from school the mean girls call Perv.

When the secrets get too much to deal with and her parents cancel her plans to spend spring break in Florida with April, she decides to go anyway. By the time she gets to Florida, the institute has been attacked, and she stumbles on a guy who's as eager as she is to find out more about Haven. But while sneaking up on the island, they find a female and male replica. As well as a whole lot of trouble...

This book was just as awesome as Lyra. I loved how Gemma went from a self-conscious, sick girl to an adventurous girl desperate to find out the truth about a place she has a deeper connection with than she ever imagined. Her sheltered life is shattered by her need for answers, but opens her up for real life experiences. She also gets involved with two very different kinds of boys: a guy trying to continue his conspiracy-theory-obsessed father's work, and a guy from school victimised in much the same way she was.

I loved Gemma's narrative because she really grows as a person. She starts out uncertain and feels like a useless, sheltered victim, but slowly transforms into an inquisitive investigator determined to get to the bottom of things. As well as being determined to protect the replicas and get to know the real Pete.

Such an emotional, wonderful story.

I really (really) enjoyed both sides of this book. Lyra and Gemma's stories are very different, and their personalities and experiences are different too. Yet, their lives and experiences are like opposing mirrors. To truly understand one girl, you have to read about the other. Which I thought was a very clever way of revealing a deep and very emotional story.

Replica is an amazing, fast-paced, page-turner told in two parts by two very different girls who are connected by the greed and crimes of the adults in their lives. The pages are filled with sad, yet hopeful situations that question what it is to be human and leads each character to their own self-discovery. As the truths start to reveal themselves, the biggest twist about Lyra and Gemma both shocked and intrigued me.

I seriously LOVED this book!

Now that I know there's going to be a sequel... I can't wait to read more.


Replica, October 2016, ISBN 9781473614963, Hodder & Stoughton

Monday, 19 December 2016

LABYRINTH LOST by Zoraida Córdova


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My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've heard great things about this book, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into it.

Alex is a bruja. But unlike her two sisters, who embrace what they are, she's not interested in magic. Actually, as her Deathday approaches and she can feel the stain of her magic growing inside her, she decides to reject the power. And in the process sends her entire family to Los Lagos. A dark and mystical place where danger lurks and nothing is as it seems...

I was very excited about reading this book because I love stories about witches. And because of my background, I'm even more interested in stories that feature brujas.

There were a lot of great things about this story: the myths, the legends, the imagery, the friendship, the strong family ties, the fact that love is love and the strength of girls. But ultimately, I wasn't totally invested in Alex and her quest. The more I read, the less I liked her. The adventure in Los Lagos didn't captivate me as much as I thought it would. In fact, I felt it went for too long and I started losing interest. And Nova? Yeah. He annoyed the hell out of me all the way through. I did like Rishi, though. She was interesting, funny and cute. I liked her strong connection with Alex and loved what happened between them.

So, while I did enjoy this book, I just didn't love it. Which is a bit of a shame, because I was sure I would.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

HOLDING by Graham Norton


A small Irish town is the setting for a dark discovery that threatens to bring to light the long held secrets of its inhabitants.

Duneen is a quiet place, far enough from the big towns to have kept its own rhythms. Its residents include castdown policeman PJ who lives a lonely, uneventful life punctuated only by the next meal - until now; the beautiful and mysterious family of three spinster sisters each with their own secrets and sorrows; and of course, the town's gossip who think she knows the answers. When a grim discovery is made on a building site up by the old school, it becomes the catalyst for long buried secrets and rivalries to come to light and this silent, once innocent and repressed-seeming town is revealed to have a much darker, hungrier undertow.


When I heard that Graham Norton had written a mystery book set in a village in Ireland, I was really curious. And thanks to Hachette Australia, I got the chance to read this intriguing book.

Nothing big happens in Duneen. It's a small and quiet place. So there's only one policeman stationed in the village. One store that has a bit of everything and is mostly only used in case of an emergency. One chapel to serve the community. And several families with strange and tragic pasts.

The day bones are found at the building site of what's become an abandoned farm, it stirs a lot more than just the dirt. The authorities believe this might be Tommy Burke. The guy who disappeared decades ago and most believe had one day jumped on a bus and simply left.

What finding these remains does to the village is unexpected. It uncovers an old love triangle, a deep secret one resident has been holding onto for too long, and causes ripples in many lives, with long-lasting effects...

Graham Norton's writing style is so lovely, and descriptive. The multiple POVs slip seamlessly from character to character in a unique way that would normally annoy me. But in this book, it actually enhances the story.

Another thing that I loved were the characters. PJ Collins is an average, very lonely man who's let his weight control most of his life. But he's got a big heart and is in desperate need of adventure. Evelyn Ross lives with her two older sisters in their family farm. She's also a very lonely woman still holding on to the possibility of love from decades ago. Brid Riordan is a bored married mother of two who self-medicates with wine to get through the day. She feels like no one has ever really wanted her. Mrs. Meany is an efficient worker, but her past hides a terrible darkness she spent her whole life hiding.

The bones found buried in the ground affect every single one of these broken people in personal and tragic ways. 

I loved this book! It was intriguing and I didn't want to put it down. I couldn't wait to put all the pieces together, and although I did work some of it out (because I just love trying to figure out mysteries), I wasn't expecting where the story ended up. Yikes!

Holding turned out to be a delightful mystery about secrets being unearthed. It's sometimes charming, sometimes sad, and sometimes downright disturbing. It's also about how the past never really goes away, and how easily the bonds of family can come undone. The past always has a way of coming back.

If you like mysteries, stories about the human condition, flawed characters, buried secrets, small town tales, or just an awesome story--then you should definitely read this!


Holding, October 2016, ISBN 9781444792034, Hodder & Stoughton

Monday, 12 December 2016

POISON CITY by Paul Crilley

Rivers of London meets Zoo City in this breathtaking crime thriller, perfect for grown-up fans of Harry Potter.

The name's Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things - finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I'm going to do to the bastard when I catch him. 

 I have two friends. The first is my boss, Armitage, a fifty-something DCI from Yorkshire who looks more like someone's mother than a cop. Don't let that fool you. The second is the dog, my magical spirit guide. He talks, he watches TV all day, and he's a mean drunk. 

 Life is pretty routine - I solve crimes, I search for my daughter's killer. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the day I'm called out to the murder of a ramanga - a low-key vampire - basically, the tabloid journalist of the vampire world. It looks like an open and shut case. There's even CCTV footage of the killer. 

Except... the face on the CCTV footage? It's the face of the man who killed my daughter. I'm about to face a tough choice. Catch her killer or save the world? 

I can't do both. It's not looking good for the world.


As soon as I read the blurb for this book and saw the very cool cover, I was very interested in checking it out. It sounded just like my kind of urban fantasy book: a broken protagonist, a loudmouthed animal and total hijinks.

So I picked it up the other day and was instantly hooked.

Gideon Tau, though everyone calls him London, works for the Delphic Division. He investigates occult crime for the South African Police Service. He has a demonic animal guide who loves to drink almost as much as he does. He's also haunted by the kidnapping and death of his daughter several years ago.

When he gets stuck with the case of a murdered ramanga, a routine investigation turns into a nightmare of conspiracy cover-ups, violent vampires, vengeful angels and a lot of bad news. But all of this insanity might somehow be linked to what happened to his daughter, so he's determined to follow it through.

The further London investigates, the worse things get, the more the body count rises, the violence surges, and the number of enemies increases. If he holds on and follows the clues and trail of corruption, he and his boss might crack the case of a lifetime. If he survives that long...

Yikes! I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy books because they encompass all the darkest and best features of the horror, thriller, police procedural and occult genres. Then twists them into a messy bundle that never fails to capture my imagination. And when the world building is this good and well-thought out and presented, I was bound to love my stay. The location of South Africa is unique and totally becomes a character in itself.

The characterisation is also brilliant. A haunted cop who's damaged enough not to care about who he pisses off to get answers, is guaranteed to keep me glued to the page. Add a very cool demonic dog and a bunch of kick-ass women, and I'm totally there! Armitage is tough as nails and so interesting. Parker is clever and somewhat mysterious. Jaeger and Maddoc are both frightening and fresh.

Not to mention that because of all of my personal research and writing, the supernatural beings featured in this story are both very familiar and different. I really liked the author's own clever twists.

Poison City is a fast-paced, action-packed exciting, gritty supernatural ride through the full extent of human immorality. It introduces the reader to a very dark occult world. One where the creatures aren't necessarily the monsters, the depravity knows no bounds, and the surprises don't stop coming.

I enjoyed this SO MUCH, I can't wait to catch up with London and the dog again!


Poison City, August 2016, ISBN 9781473631595, Hodder & Stoughton

Thursday, 8 December 2016

FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick


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How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?

Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he'll do. He'll say goodbye.
Not to his mum - who he calls Linda because it annoys her - who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor's daughter and a teacher.

Most of the time, Leonard believes he's weird and sad, but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye...


After reading and absolutely loving Every Exquisite Thing and Boy 21, I was looking forward to reading this book.

Leonard Peacock's eighteenth birthday pretty much sucks. His deadbeat mother has forgotten it's his birthday, and because he doesn't share much about himself with others, no one else knows. So he's decided to be the gift-giver, and gives presents to the only four people he remotely cares about: his elderly chain-smoking, Bogart-loving neighbour, the Iranian violin genius he communicates with only by listening to his music, the only teacher who really gets him, and the Jesus-obsessed homeschooled daughter of a preacher.

While doing this, he doesn't tell any of them it's actually his birthday. Because at the end of the day, he plans to give himself the only gift he'll be getting this year...

OMG. This book is. Wow!

I started reading Leonard's story and at first found myself wondering why I should care about this very disturbed individual. I mean, his head is in a very dark place, he continually talks about Nazi Germany, and he's planning a crime on his birthday. But then he interacts with Walt, an old man he considers his friend and is there for him more than his actual mother. It also becomes obvious that not only is he studying the Holocaust at school, but the class happens to be taught by his favourite teacher. And that the person he wants to kill did something truly awful to him.

So I kept reading because his voice was compelling, plus I had to know how this was going to turn out. The more I read, the more I realised that poor Leonard had a lot of problems, but I also felt that he got himself into some weird situations because of his awkwardness and deep abandonment issues. Then the incident that completely gutted him comes out and struck me hard. Seriously, when I reached that part of the story, everything came together and made so much sense.

*cries*

I also liked the future letters, which were a cool idea and made it easier to get into Leonard's headspace.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is another amazing, sad, troubled and hopeful story by Matthew Quick. He really knows how to weave a tale that gets under your skin and before you realise it, you're feeling so much! This book might at first confuse the reader and make them feel strange about following this weird guy around, and THEN it throws you a curveball and totally shatters you. You hurt so much for Leonard. :(

One of my favourite things about Matthew Quick's characters is that they're all lonely, misunderstood, different people with their own ideas about life and the world. People who see things differently and don't fit the preset mold society likes to design. I can relate to that so much.

Loved it!


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, August 2013, ISBN 9781472208187, Headline

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

DARK MADE DAWN by JP Smythe

THE EPIC SERIES BEGAN WITH WAY DOWN DARK, SHORTLISTED FOR THE ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD.

IT CONTINUED WITH LONG DARK DUSK.

IT CONCLUDES... NOW.

There was one truth on Australia, the prison ship on which Chan was born and raised: you fight or you die. Usually both.

But everything on Australia was a lie. Abandoned and alone, Chan was forced to live a terrible existence on the fringes of society, Australia's only survivor after a terrible crash-landing on Earth.

But Chan discovered she was not alone. Together with the unlikeliest of allies, Chan carved out a place for herself on Earth. And now the time has come: she's finally found a reason to keep going. But friends have become enemies, and enemies have become friends. It's time for Chan to create her own truths, and discover a life beyond fighting and death.

A life beyond Australia.


I absolutely LOVED Way Down Dark and Long Dark Dusk, so I was very excited about reading the last book in The Australia trilogy.

Chan lives just outside the walls of Washington with Rex and a group of nomads. She also has access in and out of the city--along with Rex--because they work for Hoyle. They help the police by taking care of the matters that require a bit more force. Something that Rex is almost exploited for.

No matter how much time passes, Chan is still determined to locate and reunite with the little girl she lost. But Mae is hard to find, and even though Hoyle's supposed to be helping, he seems to be withholding information.

Taking matters into her own hands is something Chan is used to doing, but when she does, it leads to some uncomfortable revelations, and sets her on a one-track route to disaster...

Okay. This book just didn't work for me the same way as the previous two. I mean, it once again felt different--which is cool--but my mind kept wandering. Chan's voice usually consumed my brain when reading her narration, but this time it sadly didn't. I found myself losing interest. And for once, started to find Chan's pursuit frustrating.

I liked the unexpected friendship between her and Rex. I liked her friendship with Fiona. I liked that she got herself an actual job. I didn't like her 'relationship' with Hoyle. I'm sorry, I just didn't buy it. At all. I didn't like her flimsy connection to Ziegler. And I especially didn't like where the Mae story ultimately leads. Not after her all-consuming obsession with finding the kid.

Overall, I was disappointed. I honestly wanted to love this book as much as the previous two, but it's nowhere near as strong.

Oh well. It happens.

Dark Made Dawn is the final action-packed installment to a trilogy, that until this book, I was totally invested in. Unfortunately, for me, the conclusion just didn't deliver.

I still enjoyed getting here, though.


Dark Made Dawn, October 2016, ISBN 9781444796391, Hodder & Stoughton

Sunday, 4 December 2016

GEORGE LUCAS: A Life by Brian Jay Jones



His life, his art, and the making of his cinematic empire.

GEORGE LUCAS by Brian Jay Jones is the first comprehensive telling of the story of the iconic filmmaker and the building of his film empire, as well as of his enormous impact on cinema. At once a biography, a business manual, and a film history, GEORGE LUCAS explores for the first time the life and work of a fiercely independent writer/director/producer who became one of the most influential filmmakers and cultural icons - a true game changer.

On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining, independent science fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theatres. Its distributor - 20th Century Fox - were baffled by the film. The film's production had been a disaster from nearly day one, hampered by bad weather, malfunctioning props and ill-fitting costumes. But its release on a quiet Wednesday in May of 1977, changed cinema forever. The film was Star Wars.

The fiercely independent thirty-three year-old George Lucas was just getting going. Determined to control every element of the film-making process he had founded Lucasfilm ltd., in 1971. Among his hits, Lucas gave us six Star Wars films and four featuring the globetrotting archaeologist Indiana Jones. Together these ten films have earned more than $6 billion worldwide and won some of the largest and most devoted fan bases ever seen. In 2013 he sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion. Along the way the man who invented the Blockbuster also gave us computer generated imagery (CGI), created a small animation company called Pixar and reinvented the way movies were made, marketed and merchandised.


It's no secret that I'm a Star Wars fan and have been since the first moment I watched A New Hope on the big screen. Even as a very young girl, I fell in love with the characters and the story and followed all the other movies eagerly.

So checking out this book was a must!

Even with his faults and stubborn need to create his vision as he saw it no matter what, there's no denying that George Lucas is the genius who changed the path of SciFi movies and had millions of people--both young and old--fall in love with everything Star Wars. If it wasn't for him, we never would've met the wealth of ideas and images that shaped many of our childhoods. And without George Lucas wanting to take control of his own creation, the special effects industry wouldn't be what it is today.

But, in spite of all this, there's much more to this geeky and skinny kid with big ideas and a need to express them. And that's where this book comes in. We get to learn more about his childhood and teenage years, and well into his adulthood. Not just about his movies, but also his life.

George Lucas is a well-written and interesting biography that delves into his extraordinary life and really captures the essence of the man we all think we know, but really don't. Sure, he's the creator of one of the biggest cinematic franchises ever, but even more than that, he's a man with a vision that captivated millions and will go down in history that way.

This is a great addition for any Star Wars fan's collection, or if you're just curious about this iconic man.


George Lucas, December 2016, ISBN 9781472224330, Headline

Saturday, 3 December 2016

AERIE by Maria Dahvana Headley


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Last year I read and absolutely adored an amazing book called Magonia. So of course I was interested in checking out the sequel!

It's been a year since Aza 'died' and returned to her human life with the borrowed skin of someone else. She might not look like herself on the outside, but she's still the same. And she's madly in love with her best friend, Jason, and getting on with her life. But she can't forget about the sky and longs to go back. She even knows that her evil mother will one day return and try to end what she started... but she's content.

Jason loves Aza so much he's happy for every moment they have together. Yet, he's afraid of losing her, and because of that paranoia has made a deal with the devil and lied so much he sets the wheels in motion for some very awful things.

Everything is bleak and falling apart but for once, Aza is free to find her own way and hopefully stop her mother's devastating plans...

Wow. Yeah. This sequel soars as high as the first book. Not only did I find myself returning to the wonder introduced in Magonia, but the world spreads its wings wider. Introducing an array of colourful, weird and wonderful creatures from earth, sky and sea. The imagery in this world is truly fantastic, and the way it's described made everything bloom so vividly in my mind.

Aza is still full of strength she sometimes doubts. Jason is still determined to protect so tightly that he makes everything worse. And Eli's fun and strong. There were a few surprises thrown in and plenty of catastrophe and sadness. But what stands out the most for me is the wonder.

Both of these stories are beautiful companions. So unique and magical that I'll never forget them. This book is SO good.

Loved it!


Thursday, 1 December 2016

THE GRACES by Laure Eve


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My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had my eye on this book for a while now, and because I just can't buy ALL THE BOOKS, I put it on hold at the library. I got stuck into it yesterday and finished it today. Yep. I was hooked from the beginning.

Summer, Fenrin and Thalia Grace are the kind of kids that everyone in school copies, adores or wants to be. They have a big house, money, style and power. River is new in town and she's determined to catch their attention. She pretty much wants to be liked and accepted by them, but there's also a deeper, darker reason why she's so obsessed with the Graces.

The Grace family is rumoured to be witches--although they constantly deny it--so River wants to learn from them, and ultimately, to become them. Of course, there's also the fact that she's in love with Fenrin. The boy everyone loves and goes through girls like they don't matter.

Then there's the Grace curse, something River decides is her job to fix...

But there's so much more. It's hard to sum up the twisty depth of this story, because this book is awesome!

I loved every minute of it and didn't want to put it down. River's voice was compelling and interesting and full of personal secrets she mostly didn't want to share but become obvious along the way. She's sneaky, totally self-involved, obsessed with projecting herself in a certain way, and even somewhat delusional. This girl's all about showing just what's on the surface, and hiding the many things she really feels and the past that continues to haunt her.

She's unreliable and selfish, totally judgemental. And I loved her. Her story was intriguing and combined with the very mysterious and charming Graces, I lost myself in this story. It's SO darn GOOD.

There are several creepy moments, exciting moments and deep moments that lead to a very wicked situation. And a really cool twist. I really enjoyed the pacing of the story too. Plus, I'm hanging to see where the story goes in the second book.

I loved this witchy story so much I'm definitely going to buy myself a copy.


PS. Am I the only one who totally thought Summer was in lurve with River?! ;)

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