Sleeping Kings was a pleasant surprise for me. When I received the email pitch from the author, I wasn't sure if it would be for me, but I decided toSleeping Kings was a pleasant surprise for me. When I received the email pitch from the author, I wasn't sure if it would be for me, but I decided to give it a go and I'm glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a fantasy, adventure thriller aimed at a YA audience but I believe it can be enjoyed by anyone. It follows Nik, a teenage tomboy who ends up moving to the French Pyranees with her father when her mother decides to emigrate to America with her new boyfriend, whom Nik cannot stand. Whilst out on a mountain with school one day, she ends up meeting an ancient king who tells her that he needs her help to protect a secret that dates back 700 years from a group that are conspiring to uncover the secret and destroy the world. Pretty tough to take when you woke up in the morning thinking you'd just have a normal day at school, right? Nik enlists the help of her schoolmate and new friend, Daan, who knows the mountains and the countryside around them like the back of his hand and together they take on some pretty nasty people...
I liked this book because it combines fast paced adventure with historical information about the Cathar movement. I enjoy learning whilst I'm reading but some authors are unable to pull this off, making it boring to read despite their best efforts. This is certainly not the case with this book and I think that it will appeal to children, teens and adults alike. The characters of Nik and Daan are easy to relate to - Nik is an online-gaming addict who has a difficult relationship with her father and Daan is a friendly, caring boy who really cares about the environment around him (another great message delivered through this book without it feeling forced) and who loves an adventure.
My one issue with the book was the short chapters that were interspersed with the main chapters, telling a kind of side story about a place called 'Somewhere Else'. For me, they added nothing to the book and became more of an annoyance than anything else.
This is book one of a series and I think I will probably read the next book at some point. I would definitely recommend this to people looking for a fun read that is a little different to the books that seem to be dominating the market at the moment....more
When I read the email from Cyndi asking me whether I would review this book, I was pretty certain it would be something I'd enjoy. I love YA and I lovWhen I read the email from Cyndi asking me whether I would review this book, I was pretty certain it would be something I'd enjoy. I love YA and I love paranormal, and the plot sounded interesting, so I accepted without hesitation. I'm really glad I did!
To start with, I loved the character of Aiden. I'm not surprised that Lindsey fell in love with him, because I'm sure if I was in her place I would too! What's not to love? He's gentle, caring, gorgeous and Scottish (I adore the Scottish accent!). He was the perfect 'hero' figure and I really enjoyed reading his interactions with Lindsey.
The plot was interesting and original and I was propelled through the book as I really wanted to know what happened next. I have to be honest and say that at the beginning, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as it felt a little... erm... cheesy I suppose. Like a YA version of a Mills and Boon novel - love at first sight and everything. But I persevered with it and found that feeling disappeared very quickly and the real story emerged. I was rooting for Aiden and Lindsey throughout the book and, whilst I won't say too much for fear of giving spoilers, I found myself getting annoyed when things weren't working out for them! It really played with my emotions and Lindsey's grief was very real and relatable. The story was engrossing and there was a 'twist' which I didn't see coming. I didn't find it to be predictable at all and I wasn't sure how it would end.
The writing flows well and I actually came to like the fact that the book moved so quickly at the beginning. This is one reason I like YA novels - they don't take forever to build up the story at the beginning, they send you straight into the action! The characterisation of both Aiden and Lindsey was good and watching their love develop was enthralling. Although there are references to God and religion within the book, it's not preachy at all.
So I think it's fair to say that I loved this book and would definitely recommend it. At the back of the book there is a teaser for the next book in the series. I'll definitely be picking it up!...more
It's very difficult to post a review for a book that comprises of 9 pages and comprises of flash fiction - very short, short stories - however I'm goiIt's very difficult to post a review for a book that comprises of 9 pages and comprises of flash fiction - very short, short stories - however I'm going to do my best! I was intrigued by the concept of flash fiction when the author contacted me. I'd never heard of it but, as a lover of short stories, it sounded both interesting and fun and so I agreed to read and review it.
If I'm honest, I had to read all of the stories through twice before I understood them, which wasn't a problem as they were obviously very short! Maybe this is because I'm not used to such short stories and trying to find the meaning behind them. I don't consider myself particularly analytical but I knew that I would have to be if I wanted to get the most out of the stories. Initially after reading the stories once, I found that they were fun, quirky and creative. In particular, I loved the creativity of The Revolt of the Coconut Trees. Once I'd read the stories again I saw that they were insightful and, in many cases, there was much more to them than I'd originally thought. Many of them left me wanting to know more. I'm undecided whether this is a good thing or not, as I tend to think that short stories should be complete in themselve. I suppose it depends on what the author is trying to acheive. If the author decides to expand on the stories in the future then I would definitely be interested in reading them.
Overall, this was a fun, quick read and it made a welcome change in between heavier reading. I would recommend it to people who want to try something different or are just looking for a fun read....more
Birdie didn't really have the best start in life - dragged around from town to town by her mother, she doesn't really have anywhere to call home. It iBirdie didn't really have the best start in life - dragged around from town to town by her mother, she doesn't really have anywhere to call home. It isn't really surprising that she has followed in her mother's footsteps and lives life on the road, getting by by stealing whatever she can. When she finds out that there is a family heirloom supposedly hidden in Liberty, Ohio, she sees her way out of the life she's fallen into. She heads to Liberty to search for the heirloom, along the way meeting Hugh, a reporter, with whom she ends up sharing a flat. The story follows her search and her relationship with Hugh, who ends up sticking around for much longer than he anticipated...
The main thing I loved about this book was its pacing. It's not a short book, at 415 pages, but it didn't feel long at all. There weren't any slow parts and I wanted to read the book at any chance I got. The plot is well written, with interesting twists and a nice balance between description and dialogue. The characters were believeable, although at times I did find Hugh to be a little one-dimensional. Nolfi more than made up for that with her characterisation of Birdie, though. Despite the fact that she's a criminal, she's actually pretty loveable. Her 'heart is in the right place' as they say. She does actually want to make a go of her life and live 'normally', but things just never seem to work out that way.
I enjoyed watching Birdie and Hugh's relationship develop, even though it was frustrating at times. I guess the tension makes it more believeable - no relationship is smooth sailing. Her interactions with others in the town were interesting and amusing at times too. Despite only being in town to find the heirloom, and despite trying to convince herself that she hates the locals, Birdie actually begins to care about people more than she'll admit. It's nice to see her begin to build the life she wanted but wasn't sure how to achieve.
So if you're looking for a mystery novel with a little added romance, fun characters and an engaging plot, then I'd recommend this! I read the e-book, but the paperback is out on Amazon today - go grab yourself a copy!...more
This book had me hooked from the first page. The action starts in the first chapter and I loved that about it. There was none of the slow build-up thaThis book had me hooked from the first page. The action starts in the first chapter and I loved that about it. There was none of the slow build-up that so many novels seem to have, although there is a LOT of detail. This may put some readers off but it really is essential to the story and the character building of the protagonist, Martin. There was a need to suspend disbelief to some degree, but that's part of the fun of the story! The story moved along at a good pace and there were parts where I held my breath wondering what would happen next and there were parts where I laughed out loud - cue the funny looks from people around me!
I took an instant liking to the protagonist, Martin, although I'm not really sure why. I guess it was because, despite his profession, he's actually a pretty nice guy and it's hard to dislike him. I also think that his methodical, organised approach to life resonated with me because, although I am nowhere near as meticulously organised as he is, I do have a pre-disposition to list making and attention to detail so this appealed to that side of me! The fact that he calls the homeowners 'Clients' rather than victims really endeared him to me - it shows that he cares about them and really does think that he's providing them with a service. I guess he's also using the term to make it sound more acceptable, but he does know that what he's doing is wrong. I don't really want to say anymore about the story as that would give away spoilers, but I will say that the situations he ends up in and the steps he takes to resolve those situations show how caring he is and made me like him even more.
As much as I did like Martin, it did really creep me out to think about how easy it is for someone to get into your house. I was lucky enough to be part of a chat with the author recently and he mentioned that he'd done a lot of research on lock-picking whilst writing the book and that it's surprising how many forums and sites there are on the internet that are dedicated to this. It definitely made me want to up the security on our house. It also made me think about things that I've misplaced in the past. Obviously the reality is that most burglars will go for the big cash items, but still...
A great read and one that I will probably read again. I can't wait to pick up the author's second book, Unexpectedly Milo....more
I will start by saying that I hate the stigma that is attached to the term ‘chick-lit’. I do use the phrase myself, because I think it’s cuter than ‘wI will start by saying that I hate the stigma that is attached to the term ‘chick-lit’. I do use the phrase myself, because I think it’s cuter than ‘women’s fiction’ or something of a similar ilk, but I hate that many people regard books in this category as being of little substance and therefore to be avoided. I’ve read a fair few books that would class as chick-lit and yes, there are some that were pretty cliché and not at all worth reading, but there are many that I’ve really enjoyed. Beatrice Munson is one of them.
As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew that this would be something I’d enjoy and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved the character of Beatrice… I really connected with her free-spiritedness and her affinity with all things spiritual. I did find myself wanting to know more aboutI her and her past though – I guess this may have been difficult to do given that she wasn’t the protagonist, but I found that I actually cared more about her than I did about Marissa. I wanted to know how she became the worldly-wise woman that she seems to be. I also wanted to know more about Jeffrey, the boy Marissa really liked at school (but couldn’t have as he was with Beatrice), who she re-connects with through Beatrice.
I really liked the dynamics between the group of friends in the book. I found the relationships between the various women to be easy to relate to and it was quite entertaining when I realised that I could see these characteristics in my own friends. Some parts were like good observational comedy and there were a few points that had me giggling to myself.
Marissa’s journey was similar to that of many other chick-lit books, but what made this deeper for me was the influence of Beatrice and how it wasn’t only Marissa that went on a journey, but all of the characters in some way or another. Ok so maybe it doesn’t all happen so neatly in real life, but it was nice to see good things happen for a change when all we seem to hear about in the news at the moment is how bad things are.
The plot was well constructed, the narrative flowed and the pages turned themselves. I would say that there was a little too much description in places, but overall I think it was a well-written book. I guess the overall message is that life is too short to dwell on the past and that we really need to make the most of life whilst we’re here. We shouldn’t settle for something just because it’s easy and if we’re not happy the only one that can ultimately change it is ourselves. This was a fun read and I would love to read more work from Lorena Bathey....more
I have to say that stories about zombies have never been high on my list of things to read. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that I’ve neverI have to say that stories about zombies have never been high on my list of things to read. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that I’ve never been interested enough to pick up anything that contains Zombies. I am aware, however, that this sub-genre has a HUGE fanbase, so when A.M. Harte contacted me to ask me whether I’d like to review the book, I figured it was time I finally made my first foray into their world.
As it’s a collection of short stories, I guess it served as a great introduction to the world of zombies. As I said above, I don’t have anything to compare this too, but looking at other reviews, it would seem that Harte plays around with the genre and injects new life into zombies (no pun intended!). Whilst I can’t corroborate that, what I can say is that whatever she does, she’s damn good at it. I loved all of the stories in this collection and I could easily have read more. Hell, some of the stories left me dying to know more and many of them could serve as great bases for novels. I guess this isn’t a great thing in a short story collection, but it didn’t bother me too much.
The writing is creative, the plots imaginative and the twists generally unexpected. I liked that some of the twists also made me think about the preceding story in a new light. The feeling throughout this book is pretty much always creepy and it definitely had me feeling uneasy. But it kept me hooked. It had me freaked out in a good way.
I would say my favourite story is the story that gives the collection it’s title, Hungry For You, but as I said, for me there weren’t any duds in this collection.
I look forward to reading more from A.M. Harte...more
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the way that the author combined a history of books and printing, alchemy and suspense into a very entertaining noI really enjoyed this book. I loved the way that the author combined a history of books and printing, alchemy and suspense into a very entertaining novel. I found the historical information fascinating and I really felt like I learned something from the book. The author has clearly done his research and I think that’s so important when you’re writing about a specific subject. It’s blatantly obvious when an author hasn’t researched thoroughly enough the subject they’re writing about but this wasn’t the case with Everett. On top of this, there is nothing I love more than a book about books and this one didn’t disappoint.
I really liked the main characters, Keith and Maddie, and enjoyed the chemistry between them. There was something about them that made them instantly likeable and it was interesting to watch their relationship develop throughout the book. The plot was well paced and I liked the way that the chapters were alternated between their story and the story of the people that were plotting against them. I also liked the twists in the story and wasn’t expecting them. This was a fun read that flowed well and kept me interested throughout. I’m looking forward to reading his other books, which I haven’t yet managed to get around to reading, but will be trying to do so soon!...more
This has to be one of the most bizarre collections of stories I have ever read. When the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review the bookThis has to be one of the most bizarre collections of stories I have ever read. When the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review the book, it sounded like it would be a fun, maybe crazy, read. Crazy is an understatement. This book takes crazy to a whole new level. Each story is only a few pages long, and at the end of each page is a moral that, somehow, links to the story. Sounds pretty straightforward right? A kind of Aesop’s Fables for adults, if you will. But then consider that the morals are only very loosely linked to the actual stories. That the morals are, regularly, even more strange than the stories themselves. Oh, and sometimes we have no idea how the moral connects to the story whatsoever. Confused? Yes, I was too.
Confusion, though, gives way to humour in this collection of stories. ‘Serious’ readers need not apply. There has to be a huge level of suspended belief when reading this collection. If you are the kind of reader that can just open a book and go along for the ride, you will love it. After the initial shock at just how strange some of these stories are, the humour starts to shine through and I found myself smiling a lot whilst reading. The author clearly has a vivid imagination and this collection is the perfect showcase of that. The writing was pretty good but I sometims found the plots difficult to follow.
All things considered, it did make me smile, but it wasn’t for me. That said, I think that it would be a good read for those who like light, humourous reads and for fans of speculative short fiction....more