Wednesday, 30 May 2018

May Wrap-Up!

So, I've been super busy this month starting a new job, but I get loads of travel reading time, so I guess my wrap-ups are becoming a regular thing now!

As before, these aren't all the books I've read this month, some get a full review but will be posted whenever I get around to it.

Mini review time!

The Beasts Heart by Leife Shallcross

35667081I got this book as an ARC from Netgalley, but finished it so close to the release date that I thought I'd just do a mini review in my wrap up instead. As you should know, I adore re-tellings - of any form usually, all the writers differences in plot always fascinate me, and this was definitely an interesting take on Beauty and the Beast!

I loved seeing a book telling us of the Beasts POV. I've only seen one other take on it, and both are so different that it was great. I loved the history of the Beast - the backstory was filled out nicely and it was one of my favourite bits. I also liked the way the mirror was used in this book - to only see Isabeau's family, and only when the magic allowed it. In fact - the magic of this story was what drew me in the most - it was so intriguing!

4.5 Cats to this book (only because it took me so long to get into it)

The Extinction Trials by S. M. Wilson

34865995I got this in a bookbox a while ago, and only just got round to reading it. There's been a big hype about this book, and it left me wondering if it could live up to it - it could and it did. This was my first dinosaur based book, as I've never really been a big fan of dinosaur based things, but this changed my way of thinking and I'll definitely be reading more in the future.

I admit, I always take a long look at maps before, so I saw Blaine's shack on the map and wondered about him - and where he might come in, so I wasn't as shocked as I probably should have been when he was introduced, but it did have me trying to guess about his origins which was fun.

Overall, I give this 5 cats, and I can't wait to see where it goes in the next book after everything that happened.

Carnivore by Jonathan Lyon

35132980I got this book from the publisher, because I saw the cover and thought it was beautiful, and then the description had me intrigued. It's not often that I go out of my zone and read adult fiction, but sometimes I do and so far it's all been good.

This book was quite hard to read - not in a bad way, but because it was so intense and you had no idea where it would go. I've never read something as intense as this - and I warn you this is definitely not a book for those faint of heart and it has quite a lot of trigger warnings. But it was beautifully written - the descriptions in this were amazing, even if it was hard to keep up with the main character at times.

I give this book 3.5/4 cats. It was enthralling but totally not what I expected, and maybe a bit more intense than I thought. If I knew what I was going in to, I probably would have rated it much higher.

An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

35445074I picked this book up for it's beautiful cover, and was slightly intrigued by the thought of a biography-like historical fiction so I bought it. I wasn't sure how much I would like it, but as soon as I started reading I got sucked right in to Tully's story - I especially liked how it went from her time in prison to her recollection - or 'memoir' of her time before she was imprisoned. In fact, I got so sucked in I almost missed my train stop because I couldn't tear myself away one morning!

There is one thing I will admit though, I wasn't expecting it to go into as much detail on her sex life as it did, and I definitely had a laugh at the terms Tully used during the more intimate scenes (I don't know if that's what they were called back then but wow they were weird) but other than that I had no complaints.

I give this book 4 cats. It is an adult historical fiction though, so maybe not for everyone!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Review: Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell

I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review, which will follow.

This book is definitely not normal, as you might think from the title 'Nothing is Strange'. EVERYTHING is strange in this book, and that's what I loved about it.

Here it is:


20 mind-expanding short stories.
Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique... all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: Nothing Is Strange

There are so many weird and wonderful stories in this book, and I loved so many of them. There were actually some that when I read them I really wished they were longer, and made into their own books because they fascinated me so much.

A couple of my favourites were: Escape from the Bustcher's Shop, The Living Crown, and my favourite (one I wish was made into a full story) is The Diaries of Sun City.

Also, I'll just say these were definitely short stories, perfect for short travels. I loved that I could read one or two on a short train journey and then not have to wonder about what would happen because I managed to finish them before I had to get off at my stop.

I'm actually really starting to love short story compilations, and this one was definitely a great one because I thought they were weird and strange, just like me!

I give this book 4 cats!

Do you like short stories? Have you read these? Comment below!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Blog Tour: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

I was asked to be a part of the blog tour for Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody, which comes out today! I'm so excited to share my review with you all!


Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn't have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne's offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems. 

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi's enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

This book really sucks you straight into the action. You get thrown right into the deep-end with this, as you follow Enne, the main character, into the City of Sin for the first time, so I felt like I was learning everything with her. I do admit though, it did feel like there was a lot of information thrown at me and I took a while to catch up at the beginning - but as soon as I started to understand everything I absolutely fell in love with this world.

I think if I had to sum up this book in a sentence it would be: a fantasy, dark and twisted version of Vegas all wrapped up in glitz and glamour. Bit of a mouthful I know, but that is essentially what I thought whenever I jumped back into this book - well that and it was fascinating. I think that if you are a fan of Caraval you'll definitely like this book, it has the same kind of vibes!

The thing I adored most was the relationship between Levi and Enne - it didn't jump right in (and I usually like that kind of thing) but instead it took time to build and I felt like it was more real than most relationships I read about, and I will forever be routing for them in any future books - they're just so cute together. And some of the scenes between them were absolutely beautiful and had me so wishful for something like their relationship. I think the one line that made me feel like that was when Levi said to Enne: "You impress me every time I'm with you". Such a simple line, but it stuck with me for some reason.

But, I can't keep talking about the ship, even if I wanted to! I also have to talk about Enne. Her character development was so complex and you could really see her developing throughout the whole book from one thing to another, from her old self to her new self - and I really can't wait to see where Amanda Foody takes her in the next book, especially because by the end of the book she really comes into herself and sees herself as new - the description of this is fascinating, as I'm sure you'll see when you read this book yourself.

I could talk about this book so much - I've even got little post-its in my book for bits I loved too much to forget, but I'll just say this: it's an intriguing book, full of mystery and little dark pleasures, and you should definitely read it if you get the chance. I give this book: 5 cats!

Thankyou to the HQ team for letting me be a part of this blog tour! Comment below if you liked the book or are planning to read it!

Monday, 14 May 2018

ARC Review: The Plastic Magician by C. N. Holmberg

I got an advanced e-copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review that will follow.

I absolutely adored the Paper Magician series by this author, and as soon as I saw this available on Netgalley I just knew I had to have it - and luckily I was accepted!

Here it is:

Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking—the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.

Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries—in as short a time frame—as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.

Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking—and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.

To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

I absolutely loved jumping back into the world that Charlie Holmberg created, as I adored the Paper Magician trilogy when I first read it, in fact after this I'll probably go back and re-read them. However, it was definitely nice to get a spin off with a whole lot of new main characters and to learn about the totally different field of Polymaking - atleast compared to the Folding magic we learnt about in the original trilogy. I did like the little cameo Ceony made though, only small but it was great to see a little glimpse of her in this book!

While starting this I did worry about meeting a new MC after I loved Ceony so much, but I ended up loving Alvie just as much - she was such an interesting character. She constantly gets lost in her thoughts and gets random big theories pop into her head at some inopportune moments, but she was definitely her own character and built some amazing relationships.

I admit, I guessed quite early on who the antagonist would be in this book - but quite a lot of the time I do have a sixth sense for that kind of thing in both books and TV shows. This character though gave me the heebie-jeebies right away so I was always going to be wary of him. It was also quite obvious who the love interest would be to me, but I was happy about that! Everyone deserves a romantic interest, and this pairing was so cute that it had me routing for them from their first meeting. I also liked that the romance fit in nicely with everything and didn't overshine the main plot of the book.

Overall, definitely a great foray back into the world of magicians, and I was so glad to have got an advanced copy. I give this book 5 cats!

Have you read any of the books in this series? Comment below!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

So, I won this book in a competition after wanting to read it for ages! (although I did also have a kindle version that I never got round to reading). And so, when I saw it waiting in my TBR pile I thought I should finally get round to reading it!

Here it is:


Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

When I started this book I was in a slump (don't you hate them?!) and I just wanted something that would hopefully pull me out of it. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked up this book, I'd heard so many great things but I was never sure what would happen in it. But, I was hooked after the first few pages, and it definitely got me out of my slump - which means I doubly love this book!

The world in this book is beautiful, or should I say the world/concept of Caraval? It was so beautiful that I sped through this book in one day, and even put off other things I should have been doing to finish it. (Don't you love a book where you lose sense of time until you finish it?) It was such a magical book, filled with so many twists and turns that I couldn't keep up - which made it all the more amazing.

I had a ship that I was routing for the whole way through - Scarlett and Julian, and I was lead on a merry chase to see what would actually happen between them, and if anything would come of my ship - my favourite kind of relationship in a book is when it doesn't just jump right in and tell you if it will happen or not which is what I got here.

Overall, I am so intrigued where Caraval will go in future books and plots as this was so beautifully written it blew me away - I really do wonder if it can be topped. (I really am so excited for Legendary - the next book in the series!)

I give this book: 5 cats!

Have you read this book? What did you think? Comment below!