DISCLAIMER : Thank you, TCK publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I remember seeing this title on TCK publisher's website and thought to myself that this would be a great book to add to my TBR, as I am a voracious reader and would love to increase my reading speed without losing my comprehension. I have tried a few techniques in speed reading to see if it works for me, and some that worked better than the others. While the methods discussed are quite similar from program to program, it's always important to keep in mind that not every solution might work for us, and trying out different things to get the ultimate technique that works for us is the key.
Read Better Faster by Debbie Drum is a fairly short book that talks about becoming a faster reader by following the BuzzRead method. The ultimate goal that the reader hopes to achieve after reading the book is to increase/improve the reading speed, eliminate the sub-vocalization, strengthen your eye muscles, retain the information you read thereby increasing your comprehension and also increase your knowledge. The goals set out before the introduction of the BuzzRead method give the readers an understanding of what to expect from the book from the get-go.
Overall, I personally think this is a good method to try out if you can handle the robotic voice narrating to you. I have done this before reading the book. It works in keeping my focus on the book rather than let it wander. I also think if you are someone who uses audiobooks quite frequently, combining it with the physical book always works better in improving your reading. I have found this to be quite beneficial and this is something I can attest to from my personal experience. I believe the technique is worth a try. If you are interested in knowing more definitely check this book out. It is a small book that covers the basics and gets to the point relatively quickly when compared to other non-fiction/self-help books. I am giving the book 4 stars. Make sure to check out the book and see if it's something that will be advantageous to you....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, James B. Hendricks for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
A disastrous drought has befallen an oasis town on the Old Silk Roads. The townsfolks are living in fear and worry for their lives. The townspeople notice an old trader being immensely distressed as each day goes on. They keep asking him and finally, he confides his secret. He fears he is responsible for the evil things happening to their town and wants to fix it. He then goes on to tell his story to the young men of the town. It talks of times back in the day, during the civil war, trading missions through the desert, a treasure of mystic powers, the plan to acquire it, and the pitfalls they face at the destination. This is a story of a man who makes a Faustian deal with the demon and lives to regret it. Will the trader be able to reverse the deal? Can he save their town from the dreadful future that awaits them?
The Demon Of The Well is the shortest fantasy that I have ever read. It also has another specialty. The book is written in verse form and gives us the story of the tradesman who bartered his soul for the powers he sought. The story is an interesting one with the powerful message of greed and the price one has to pay for it. It is told in two parts, one taking us through the tradesman’s story in the past and the second part taking place during the drought. While intentions might have been somewhat pure, the impact of the action still was to cause a negative effect. This shows us the bigger picture of how people who chase after dreams, goals, power can start with pure intentions, but along the way lose themselves. The question is are they willing to rectify the mistakes they made and own up to them?
Overall, if you are looking for a quick read that will pull you into the story from the get-go, then pick this book up. It’s an immersive read with a unique style of storytelling for a fantasy story. It’s a story that is classic in style and feels very similar to a lore and has a Faustian deal with the devil. It is easy to read, simple yet beautiful in the way the words flow, compact storytelling, and an immersive read. I really enjoyed this one and gave the book 4 stars. If you enjoy a classic story with a lore-like feel to it, then definitely pick this one up. I highly recommend checking it out....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and New Harbinger Publications for providing me with an ARC of this book.
Super-Women by Janina Scarlet is a self-help book for women who are trying to overcome their anxiety, trauma, and depression. The struggle is real for most women and the constant battle to overcome these emotions is not an easy job. Janina Scarlet has crafted a Superhero therapy that is focused on providing women with the necessary tools to combat the resurfacing issues. Using the different tools, you will learn to explore the different emotions and experiences. You are taught to process them and accept them by using self-compassion and mindfulness. The technique involves as the name suggests building your own Superhero story. You re-write your own origin story and find your purpose and make it into your superpower through the different strategies and exercises provided in the book.
This was group therapy in a nutshell and you will be transported into a room of 7 women from different walks of life coming together to deal with their mental health battles. The book dives into the different women’s lives as they contribute their stories. The author gives responses to each of their experiences and talks through things that make them handle it better. With each truth that comes out, we get to see and learn about strategies and exercises to solve the underlying issues. The solutions are again simple and straightforward.
Overall, I believe this is a great resource for people who are looking for help or are interested in learning necessary tools to get better and combat issues that are holding you back from letting you live your life fully and freely. I gave the book 4.5 stars and highly recommend checking this one out. If you love self-help book, add this to your collection as there are valuable gems in it that will make your life easier and simpler.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Avon Books UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Wartime With The Cornish Girls by Betty Walker is a heartwarming and uplifting historical fiction that centers around three women who come together through certain events in their lives. Germany is bombing London and during the 1940s a war is being fought even in the rural areas. Violet has lost her sister to one of the bombings and her brother-in-law is MIA. She does not want her nieces to be in danger and so she takes them to Cornwall to Violet’s aunt’s farm. Hazel is working at a secret military base in Porthcurno trying to keep her home together while her son is acting out because of the absence of his father. Eva a young girl, the daughter of the Captain flees her uncle’s home to become a dancer and then is forced to return to Porthcurno after a lucky escape from death. The three women meet and their lives get tangled together in ways they do not expect.
This is a sweet story that is women-centric with wonderfully written characters leading the story forward. We get to see the progression of the plot through all the three women and get to know them very closely. All three of them offer their contributions to the army in their way supporting the military effort. They work very hard and tries their hardest to hold onto any positivity they could find. It tells the story of a family, a second-chance love, slow-developing friendships, and a wonderful and supportive group of women who had each other’s backs all through the story.
Each woman had their own storyline and they were wrapped pretty satisfactorily for two of them and the open ending for one of the characters was not my favorite. I like having a happy ending for the characters and so when I didn’t get it for the part, it was a bit disappointing. This is just a personal opinion. I would have also loved to see an epilogue with all of them together sometime in the future. I am sure there is a possibility of that as this is the first book in the series.
Overall, this is a story for people who enjoy light-hearted heartwarming historical fiction with themes of friendship, love, and a small mystery added into the mix. I enjoyed the book and am giving it 3.75 stars. I think everyone should check it out.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Wild Women And The Blues is a fantastic portrayal of African Americans during 1920s Chicago, at the height of the Jazz age in all of its vibrancy and splendor. The story is told in dual timelines spanning almost a hundred years. Denny S. Bryce has done a fantastic job of bringing both the contemporary and the historical setting together in the novel with brilliance. The book is a mix of historical fiction and contemporary fiction with the dual timelines splitting the two with alternating chapters taking us through the lives of Honoree and Sawyer. Bryce has captured the atmosphere of the 1920’s time and paints vivid imagery of glamor, splendor, and extravaganza. The language and the voice of the two characters are very much unique to the time period and the author takes us back and forth seamlessly. I loved the history and the richness of the era and the flair and flamboyance it offered.
We follow Sawyer Hayes, a film student who is struggling to find his place in the world after the death of his close family member affects him deeply. Dealing with guilt and depression, every day is a fight for survival. The events of Sawyer Hayes’s storyline take place in the year 2015. He is looking to complete his research and seeks out answers from 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour. He believes Honoree will be the only one alive who can answer his questions regarding legendary filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. However, on meeting Honoree he realizes that the woman before him is not only formidable but a vault of information that he has to fight fervently to reveal.
Honoree Dalcour’s storyline takes place during the peak of the Jazz age where black Chicagoans go out to dance and socialize, but also rife with the threat of gangsters ruling the streets. Honoree has lived a hard life and doesn’t want to live life barely skating by. She works for a club as a dancer and dreams of being a dancer in the ritziest club on The Stroll. She not only gets the job but also gets embroiled in dangerous business forcing her to make decisions that alter her life in ways she never imagined.
Overall, this story is a fantastic portrayal of glitzy and glamorous Chicago and the search for a long-lost history. The story not only spans different time periods but also features the authentic representation of the era with all of the nuances. I loved the story and would highly recommend checking it out. I gave the 4 book stars and I am excitedly looking forward to more stories from Denny S. Bryce. If you love a mix of historical and contemporary that is character-driven taking us through the lives of the characters, then pick this book up....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, TCK publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Michael Mackintosh has consolidated some of the key concepts of productivity into a working template that can be tailored to facilitate the new routines that will help us get things done in 21 days. The book is divided into 3 parts with the first part taking us through 11 mind hacks to help us realign our perspectives and get a clearer picture of what we want. The strategies that are given to us in part 2 is the 21-day challenge with techniques and steps to help us get closer to our goals. Part 3 sums up everything by bringing together the components that are part of the recipe for ultimate success. Mackintosh has obviously taken the time to deconstruct the key ideas and develop a winning formula that is not only easy to understand and follow, it also is very practical. Each step is painstakingly detailed and the devil is in the details. I would recommend taking 21 days to get the prep work for the goal-setting using the templates in the book. The attention to detail and reiterating of certain concepts helps us with holding on to the important aspects of the process.
If you are someone who is looking to create habits and routines that will help us get on track to creating a better life, this book should be on top of your list. I loved this book. It's filled with so much information, strategies, and working templates that I enjoyed every second of it. I took so many notes and if you guys want a breakdown of the chapters or a chapter summary, please let me know. I am thrilled to take this make and use it for helping me achieve my goals. It was a beneficial book and inspired me to take charge and not give up. I gave the book 5 stars and I highly recommend checking it out. Want to change your life and make long-lasting positive impressions, get this book now and start working on your 21-day challenge to transform your life drastically....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Harper Collins UK and Harper Voyager for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Shadow In The Glass is a dark, gothic retelling of Cinderella by J.J.A.Harwood. The story is set in Victorian England and takes us through the truly terrible times women had to face on a daily basis. The story takes place in Grandborough House where Mrs. Pembroke took in the recently orphaned Eleanor known as Ella. She is treated like a daughter and grew up with all the privileges that a child would get. Mrs. Pembroke passes away and Ella is forced to earn her keep by the housekeeper. Mr. Pembroke is an alcoholic and is drinking away the wealth and the riches that Mrs. Pembroke had managed wisely. As Ella grows up in the household doing household work she starts to see the difficult lives the household staff has to endure. Her only escape from her daily chores is when she gets to escape into the library at night and lose herself in the books. When one of the girls who worked at Grandborough house is turned out for getting pregnant by Mr. Pembroke Ella gets angry at the injustice. She ends up in the library and accidentally cuts herself on a book about Faustus and a deal he made with the devil, thereby summoning a woman who gives Ella 7 wishes to transform her life. Things take a turn for the worse when each wish used comes with a heavy price. Can Ella stop the Faustian deal? Will she be able to stop herself from making wishes despite the horrors it could bring about?
This story truly is a Faustian deal with Cinderella and the dark turn it took really surprised me as I wasn’t expecting it. The character of Ella and her story connects with the audience because of the injustices she had to endure in the house that used to be her home. However, the means and ways she goes about transforming her life truly shows us her need to control her destiny and take charge. She relishes the power as she moves forward in the story. She craves success and is not afraid to take the step that could destroy her humanity once and for all. One could also argue that this was not a fantasy story but the imagination of a woman who is unwilling to admit, she did commit horrendous crimes against people who wronged her. She does create an alternate reality that helps her to keep her sanity while at the same time take the law into her own hands. The lines between reality and fantasy is very small and is often blurred in my opinion and this creates an atmosphere of dread and eeriness to the story.
Overall, if you love fantasy historical fiction and fairytale retellings that have a dark theme and gothic vibe, I would recommend checking this one out. This is a quick read and quite an engaging read too. I gave the book 4 stars. I highly recommend checking this out.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an ARC of this book.
The Conductors by Nicole Glover is the first book in the series Murder And Magic. The story is about a couple who works as conductors on the Underground Railroad helping slaves escape to the North. After the Civil War Hetty and Benjy settle in Philadelphia solving murders and mysteries the white authorities refuse to look into. During one of the cases, they discover the body of one of their friends. The brutal nature of the murder and the violated body raises questions that make them doubt their friends in the elite circles of Black Philadelphia. Secrets and lies start to surface during the course of their investigation making them question everything they knew about their friends.
This is a historical fiction fantasy that has a bigger focus on the history, characters, the plot than the magical elements themselves. While the magic is heavily used and quite prevalent throughout the story, this is more about Hetty’s journey from being a slave to being a conductor who is renowned for her work. It takes us through her life back into the past letting us see her days with her sister. The hardships they faced, the plans they make to escape, the horrors the slaves had to endure from their owners are all shown in the flashbacks. Hetty’s search for her sister is fruitless and along with her need to connect with her sister is her need to help others like her escape the oppression to freedom.
Overall, The Conductors is a Historical Fiction Mystery Fantasy and I believe would be a great read for fans of The Once And Future Witches by Alex E. Harrow. It had a similar vibe to it and as both are more historical than straight-up fantasy I believe people who loved it would enjoy this one as well. I gave the book 3.5 – 4 stars. I am excited to see how the author is going to continue the series. Make sure to check out the book and support the debut author Nicole Glover. I highly recommend checking it out....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Rebecca Crunden for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
A Dance Of Lies is the 4th book in The Outlands Pentalogy. This series gets better with each book and I am all here for it. Each book focuses on a main character’s POV taking us through their tumultuous lives as they fight against the oppression and tyranny of the heavily authoritarian Kingdom. A year of living in the Outlands hasn’t resolved the issues building between Nate, Thom, Kitty, and the rest of the group. Their found family of people of the Kingdom and Radiants have found a routine to their lives, living day to day the best way possible. Not everyone is happy to flee from the Kingdom and wants to fight back against the government. But Nate and Kitty do not wish to return to horrors waiting for them. The internal dissent and tensions rise ever frequently and finally comes to a head; splitting the group into two sides. We see the group splintering and weakening and also see the underlying terror and love that comes off in ways that are not only unhealthy but toxic and controlling for others. Can they live peacefully in the Outlands or will they surrender to the pressure to rescue others oppressed by the Kingdom? Is there such a thing as peace, that can be found for the foreseeable future in the Outlands where the threat of Outcasts is at an all-time high?
This series is definitely my kind of series and it makes me mad that not many people have read it or are not talking about it enough. We need to hype this series up and I want to see this on many book lists. It’s not going to surprise any of you when I say I have given the series 5 stars. It was so good and I love how seamlessly the story progresses and I didn’t feel disconnected from any of the characters or the story despite the different POVs. I believe Rebecca has done a fantastic job of bringing together flawed, realistic people to show us the world is not in fact black and white. The world is filled with grey and I am a sucker for grey. The layers and nuances are what make a person whole. If it wasn’t for the internal conflicts, doubts, insecurities, mistakes, and fears it wouldn’t be the story it is.
Overall, this is a brilliant adult series that handles a diverse group of characters with different races, cultures, religious beliefs, sexual identities in a well-rounded manner. This book encompasses people from around the world and brings all of them together in a great way. I loved it so much and am equally thrilled and sad to get to the final story. If you haven’t read this fantastic series, go pick it up. It’s a wonderful series that going to take you through an emotional roller coaster, make you fall in love with the perfectly imperfect band of characters and a world that’s realistic in its design. I highly recommend this series for those of you who love reading adult dystopian fantasy/sci-fi stories that are heavily character-driven. It’s fast, thrilling, and a rich world-building that will blow your mind. Pick this book now and read it!!...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Soho Press for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Bones Of A Saint by Grant Farley is a young adult historical fiction. The book tells us the is a coming-of-age story of the 15-year-old RJ Armante set against the backdrop of late 70’s Northern California. RJ has lived his whole life in the hometown of Arcangel. The Blackjacks have ruled the town for years and force younger kids to do petty offenses for the gang. RJ lives with his mother, many siblings, and his differently-abled brother in a trailer park. The young boy has always been in troubling situations and finds himself at the center of a dangerous situation that forces him to work for the Blackjacks. He is tasked with the job of preying on an old new resident of the abandoned house that used to be the Blackjack’s activities. RJ is hesitant to follow the orders from the gang and the story unfolds as RJ finds himself trying to squirrel his way out of the impossible.
The story is atmospheric and has the ominous feel of something dreadful going to happen. The cover perfectly captures the vibe of the book. The story is at times bumpy in the beginning and the writing also feels a little stiff. RJ’s voice comes through very clearly and takes us through his journey as he deals with his grief, pain, and loss of his father. He is trying to come to terms with his life and as he is navigating the teen years into adulthood, we see him trying to understand life and wanting to live a life that will help his family. He is selfless in his actions and we see the dedication, love, and care he has for his family. He is your typical teenager and also not one at the same time. He is an enigma in the way he thinks and approaches different scenarios. The narrative is strong and unique and RJ’s voice comes through with perfect clarity.
Overall, the story is individual and has a distinctive tone and feel to it. It takes its time to unravel and rewards the readers with a story that is special in its own regard. This coming-of-age tale comes with mysteries and suspense that will hook us to the story and surprises the readers at every turn. Paving the way for the progression of the story is a young boy on the verge of adulthood trying his best to keep the peace during challenging times. If you love young adult historical fiction, then definitely pick this one up. It’s realistic, gritty, and unique. I gave the book 4 stars and highly recommend checking this one out if you enjoy historical fiction books that are mix of plot and character driven stories. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Pan Macmillan for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a historical, women's fiction that tells the story of a family's fight for survival during the Great Depression era and the Dust Bowl era. This story is set in Texas and we get to see how the drought and lack of rain damages and destroys the crops. On top of that dust storms ravaged the lands leaving more destruction behind. People in these states had to fight for their day-to-day survival against the war mother nature has waged. It's a family story, a woman's story that's going to burrow into your hearts and make you feel their fear, powerlessness, determination, and tenacity as if it was our own. The book is an unforgettable reading experience and made me emotional at times.
While I loved the premise and the way the story was told, there were moments I found Hannah was telling us rather than showing us the circumstances. Sometimes she would give us a situation and all of a sudden the characters were skilled to deal with it within a few days. I would have appreciated them struggling and seeing it on the page rather than seeing them do it perfectly. Oftentimes, food was told to be scarce, and then we see them eating much more elaborate meals than you would expect considering the circumstances. Now, these are not, make it or break it moments, but they did take me out of the story and make me ask questions like where did that come from? How do they have money for that? Or how did she learn this so quickly, when most of the time she was running off in a huff? It felt unrealistic to me to see these moments and stood out because of the contrarieties.
Overall, I really liked the story and what it set out to do. It would have been a 4.5 - 5 star read for me if it wasn't for the things I mentioned earlier. As these are things related and important to the plot and character development of the story, I had to give the book a rating of 3.5 - 4 stars. Don't let my rating keep you away from this book, and I still believe this is a fantastic read and if you love slow-paced, character journeys through momentous times in history, definitely pick this one up. Or if you are a fan of Kristin Hannah, you might want to check this one out. Kristin Hannah has been an author on my list for some time now. I really need to get to her other books....more
Trigger Warnings : Mention of Depression & Suicide.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Fiza Meeraj for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Beautifully Imperfect, Flawlessly Incomplete is a lovely collection of poems from the debut poet/author Fiza Meeraj. This was a beautiful book and I am happy to have read it. I am not much of a poetry person, but when I saw the chance to review it, I took the plunge. The book is divided into different sections by theme and there are sets of poems assigned to each section. The three sections are Societal, which is based on societal issues of our world, Personal which as its name suggests deals with personal conflicts, mental health issues, faith, ups and downs of life and lastly General Poems which are about general topics and drops commentary on them.
As a whole, the poems were really good and I enjoyed them a lot. It was a raw and captivating read. The humanity, honesty, and passion that shines through Fiza's words were mesmerizing. I loved how the topics and themes surrounding her poems were equally thought-provoking and heart-breaking. The up-close and personal nature of the poems helps us see the author's perspective. The poems show her passion for societal issues and I could easily connect with her on those issues and feel her emotions while reading them. For me, this shows her talent and her drive when it comes to poetry. We also get to see her perspective and understand where she is coming from, her pain, her anger, and her frustrations with all of the matters discussed. The poems are evidence of her strength and bravery and highlight them very well.
Overall, it's a beautiful collection of poems and I am looking forward to reading more works from her. If you enjoy spoken word, or poetry you should try this book out. I gave the book 4 - 4.5 stars. It is a wonderful and impactful book with lots of important messages and themes that opens the table for a wider discussion. I believe words have the power to change minds and Fiza Meeraj is definitely on that path. I hope her words will continue to do that moving forward. I urge you to go buy this book and support the debut poet Fiza Meeraj....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Little Brown Book Group UK, for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Hyde by Craig Russel is a police procedural style story that follows Captain Hyde who is investigating an unusual murder that resembles the three-fold death from the Celtic tales. The story is an intriguing take on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and talks about the duality of the nature of man, the good and the evil, and with RL Stevenson appearing in both the prologue and epilogue was quite interesting to read. Hyde is a gothic horror story that is steeped in Celtic folklore and tales that creates a haunting atmospheric setting and is quite fascinating.
Hyde is the Captain of Edinburgh's Police force and is deeply troubled by his past and his time as a soldier in India. He is also suffering from a rare form of epilepsy that causes hallucinations and episodes which take him out of the real world and puts him in the Celtic otherworld. These episodes followed by the loss of time and memory of the events that preceded them make him worry about his state of mind and the things that he is capable of. While he is struggling with strange visions, he finds himself at the place of a gruesome murder followed by the haunting banshee cry. As he investigates the murder, more and more shocking things come to the surface, and secrets are revealed that should have stayed hidden. Secret societies, Celtic rituals, the resurrection of the Deacon, hellhounds all ramp up the intensity and grips us till the end. Can Hyde stop the murderer before he strikes again or will he come face to face with the monster who hides within himself?
Overall, this was a really good horror story that will fascinate you and pull you in with the interesting world, paranormal elements, and enchanting folklore. The atmospheric setting and the ominous dark cloud that hovers around the main character provide the perfect backdrop for the gothic style of the story. I gave the book 4 stars and highly recommend checking it out. I have seen amazing reviews for the author's other works. This makes me excited to add Craig Russell to my approved list of Authors. If you love folklore, gothic horror, and police procedural-style stories, then definitely check this one out....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Simon & Schuster UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Rachel Hore's A Beautiful Spy tells us the story of an ordinary young woman from Edgbaston, who changes her destiny by working as a spy for the British Government. Young Minnie is expected to get married, start a family, and live happily in the role of a house-wife. But she has other plans. She doesn't want to live an ordinary life, with no excitement. So when a friend offers the chance to be something more and work for a cause, she jumps at the opportunity. Minnie is recruited by MI5 as a spy to monitor the activities of the communists in London. She works with all of her heart and puts all of her efforts into being the best agent possible. Slowly the stress of leading her double life takes a toll on her and makes it impossible to work. With the dangers of her being exposed, she needs to manage her career and keep the mask in place. Will she succeed? Is she going to be in danger from the communists?
The story is based on the true story of Olga Gray, a spy who worked for Maxwell Knight in the 1930s. Her work is the reason justice was done was meted out in the case of the traitorous Percy Glading. I was very much thrilled to learn about the story as it was an intriguing tale of a strong and brave woman who worked in extremely dangerous situations. While A Beautiful Spy is a fictional account of the real-life story, it didn't fall through in bringing out the character's reality or her personality effectively, in my opinion. I liked the premise of the book. There were some really interesting plot points and events that I found to be extremely intriguing. I liked the exploration of the different aspects like stress, relationships, dangers.
Overall, I wasn't happy with the book. I wanted to like the character and connect with her. It didn't happen. So, this is more of a personal preference. I have seen a lot of people say good things about this book. My issue was mainly the execution of the story and I didn't connect with the character much. I gave the book 2.5 stars and I am really disappointed I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. Having said that, don't let my rating be the reason you don't pick it up. If you like historical fiction and character-driven stories, make sure to check this one out. The story is inspired by a real-life spy and her involvement in the takedown of Percy Glading in the 1930s....more
Why Couples Fight? by Mira Kirshenbaum is a fantastic book for anyone who is looking for a relationship or someone already in a relationship. The author is a relationship expert and she gives us the reasons why couples fight and how to resolve conflicts among couples. If you are looking to add tools to your life kit toolbox, this book will help you do that efficiently. It is accessible and easy to read with practical examples to help us understand the underlying issues that most couples face.
The book talks about the common issues couples faces in day-to-day life. She gives us glimpses into some common arguments and how things that are so simple can escalate in a matter of seconds. Looking at things from the outside makes it easier to see where things go wrong and what exactly couples shouldn't do in conflicts. 40% of the book focuses on the issues that will come up in the course of a relationship. She dissects each of them and shows us how these can affect the couples adversely. The solutions and methodology by which one can resolve the conflicts and find peace in the relationship are introduced around the halfway mark down the book. Mira goes through each conflict and how the steps can be used by showing us practical & realistic scenarios. I have come out of this book feeling more confident in seeing things differently and wanting to be better on my end.
I believe the book has accomplished what it had set out to do. Overall, this is a book everyone should read and apply to their lives. We might think our lives are perfect the way they are, but having the necessary tools will not only help us to improve on relationships it will also help strengthen our bonds. This is in my opinion a great book for anyone who is seeking solutions to end the toxic family environment to which both partners contribute. I gave the book 4.5 stars and highly recommend checking it out....more
Kololo Hill by Neema Shah is the debut Asian Ugandan literature set in 1970's Uganda that will captivate you with its human story of love, loss, and desperation of families who were thrown out of their homes and country. This was such a familiar story, yet so different and important to be read in these times of division, hatred, and otherisms. It is very relevant to the times we live as conversations of race, inequality, oppression, power, and devastation are at the forefront of our lives.
Neema Shah does a fantastic job of bringing us realistic life-like characters whose journeys we follow through the good, the hard, and the ugly to finally get to a place where you can stand proud and tall and not take the abuse anymore. The story is focused on Jaya and her family. Idi Amin and his decree of expulsion of the Asian Ugandan minorities to leave the country within the 90-day mark. They were ordered to flee the country leaving all of their hard work, money, life, and legacy behind. With only Britain to move to and neither of the countries willing to welcome them several families were separated and stranded in different countries. The dictatorship rocked the country and brought shock waves into the lives of ordinary Ugandan and Asian people alike. I read last month, We Are All Birds Of Uganda which tells us a similar story of people having to flee their homes and being stuck in countries where they didn't belong and having to start their life from scratch all the while going through the trauma they had to endure during the oppressive regime of Idi Amin.
Overall, this is a story that sheds light on the expulsion of Asian Ugandans during Idi Amin's oppressive regime. This is a lesser-known history and I am glad I came to know about this in Hafsa Zayyan's equally moving story before reading this. If you love cultural fiction and historical fiction, that tells us family stories of struggle, resilience, and survival, definitely pick this one up. I really enjoyed this story and I gave it 4 stars. It was an emotional and impactful read. I have to say this was a strong debut and I am looking forward to reading more of Neema Shah's works in the future. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Simon & Schuster UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Space Hopper by Helen Fisher is her debut book and let me just say, she knocked it out of the park with this one. I love when books can make us think, feel, and at the same get invested in the character's life, so much so that we are cheering them on from the sidelines. This book is no different in that regard. A wonderful and emotional read that will grip you from the very first line and will not leave you adrift. If you love stories of time travel and magical realism, this one is for you.
The story is about Faye a 36-year-old woman who has been living her life happily with her wonderful husband and her two daughters. Despite leading a happy life, she feels dissatisfaction and a hollowness in her life from the loss of her mother at a very young age. As an orphan at a young age, Faye was taken in by her sweet old neighbors. She was taken good care of by the couple and later on they adopt her and raise her as their own. Faye was happy and did lead a good life, but the loss of her mother threatens her security. Accidently she finds herself traveling back in time and meeting her mom. This is equally unbelievable and yet with her yearning to learn more and spend more time with her she decides to continue her travel back in time losing her foothold in the present. Will she be able to make up for the lost time? Is she going to get closure from her mother?
Overall, I loved this book. It's definitely made into my favorites. This was a much-needed bundle of goodness to lift my spirits up. It is a feel-good story that is heart-warming and poignant. I know that magical realism is not for everyone, but I think this one makes it so easy and the simplicity of the storytelling draws you in. By now, I am sure you guys might have already guessed my rating of the book, with all the incessant raving about the book. Yep. I gave it 5 stars. I highly recommend checking it out and my advice is don't miss out on this bundle of joy. It was a lovely experience and I loved every second of it. If you love time traveling and magical realism, do pick this book up. It is amazing!! ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Random House UK, Cornerstone and Merky Books for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
We Are All Birds Of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan is an emotionally resonant story of two different men and how their lives intersect in unexpected ways, changing lives forever. We follow Hasan during 1960's Uganda through his love letters that are to his wife. Hasan talks about his experiences living in Uganda as a successful businessman in Kampala. As a son of Indian immigrants, he talks about the Asian community, their lives, the new anti-immigrant sentiment on the rise, and the growing racial division that endangers their livelihood. In the present day, we follow Sameer, a highly successful lawyer in London. Despite his success, he feels burned out and not having any direction in life. He battles with family expectations and his choices for life. This creates issues in his family and makes him do something unexpected that changes his life forever, changing his reality.
Overall, We Are All Birds Of Uganda is a beautiful story of identity, love, and family that brings both the past and the present to weave a spell-binding experience. It is a poignant and honest story that will touch your heart. If you love historical fiction and literary fiction style stories from a cultural standpoint, I would highly recommend checking this one out. It was a great book and I rated it 4 - 4.5 stars....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Penguin General UK - Fig Tree, Hamish Hamilton, Viking, Penguin Life, and Penguin Business for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Fragile Monsters from Catherine Menon is a family saga spanning from the 1920s to the present, with rural Malaysia serving as a backdrop to the mysteries and secrets that are unraveled. We get the story from two perspectives, one from Durga, a maths Professor at Kuala Lumpur University, and one from Mary, Durga's fierce and sharp-tongued grandmother. Durga is visiting her grandmother and wants nothing more than to spend the days peacefully and leave the house that's filled with painful memories. Her plans go awry when during Diwali celebrations, Mary is met with a firecracker burn incident. This leads to Durga spending more time with her grandmother and the two trying to unlock secrets from the past that haunts them to this day.
The story is a mix of mystery and suspense surrounding the two women who are equally headstrong and fierce. The two have gone through lots of terrible losses that affect their lives moving forward. The trauma is still fresh, making appearances in their present lives and creating waves. The more Durga searches for the truth of the incidents and the history of her family, the more she gets sucked into stories and myths that make no sense. There is no clarity and closure for any of them. We make the journeys through the past with our characters, feeling like we are drowning in all the questions. The story keeps us on our toes and takes us on a wild ride through Kerala to Malaysia. Can Durga separate the fictions of her childhood from the truth?? Is there any truth to be found in her grandmother's grand tales?
Overall, the complexities of relationships, betrayal, and love play a huge role in the narrative. The need for secrets to be buried is at the forefront of both perspectives. The ghosts of the past that haunt the characters pave the path for the progression of the story. It was interesting to see how their mental health was affected by the secrets they held dear. Guilt and love in equal measure pour from them and makes the readers intrigued to peel back the layers of these complex relationships and cultural constraints. The story talks about leaving the past behind where it belongs and moving forward to pull oneself out of festering secrets. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction or literary fiction that focuses on familial relationships and it's complexities. I gave the book 3 stars and I believe it's a wonderful story from a debut writer. I will be interested in reading anything this author will be writing. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Random House UK, Vintage Publishing and Chatto & Windus for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Charlotte McConaghy brings us a beautifully poignant and heart-wrenching story that will grip you and move you beyond your imagination through The Last Migration. I didn't know what to expect when I picked it up. So, imagine my surprise when it managed to exceed my expectations and broke my heart in the process. I am an emotional mess after reading this and still feel the sadness carving deeper into my heart. You need to keep a box of tissues at hand if you are planning to read this one.
The story is set in the distant future, where our planet has undergone drastic transformations due to climate change with disappearing wildlife and other life forms. Franny, our protagonist is determined to track the progress of the Arctic Terns when they make their migrations to Antarctica. This rigorous journey is believed to be their last migrations and Franny wants to follow them to their final destination. With the fishes also disappearing at a rapid rate, the birds and their species are also slowly dying out from lack of food. To watch over the Arctic Tern's progress, she seeks the help of a fishing crew, who later on becomes her family of sorts. The story takes us through her journey on the ship in the present. It also slowly unveils the trauma and secrets Franny has experienced in her life. Her past is the reason she is on this path, and we follow her as she decides to make the last migration with the birds. Can Franny succeed in making the trip?? Will she be able to protect the birds??
Overall, this was a splendid reading experience. I loved reading every second of it. If you like traveling and love stories about the environment and nature, this is the one I would highly recommend picking up. I heard that it is going to be adapted and it makes me equal parts nervous and excited. A hearty congratulations and a huge thank you to the author for the success of the book and for giving us readers a story that will stay in our hearts forever. I gave the book 5 stars and go pick it up!! I mean, now !!! Please!! This is my first 5 stars reads for 2021 and it's a strong contender. Also The Last Migration has me into my all time favorites, just wanted you to know....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Picador and Pan Macmillan for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Blind Light by Stuart Evers is a historical/literary fiction that tells us the story of Drum, Gwen, and their family. We go from 50s to the present following our characters through life-changing events that shape their lives. The story revolves mainly around Drum and Gwen and their kids Nathan and Anneka. Their story is intertwined with Carter, Drum's friend from the service. The book is about their lives, how global events, atomic attacks, family, and relationships bring people together and how they break them apart. Carter and Drum meet during his time at the National Service as they prepare for the aftermath of the Atomic Strike. The two become fast friends and decide to protect their families from the atomic strike by staying in the underground bunker with all the facilities to sustain them. The time in the military leaves Drummond with damages that are far deeper, and traumatic than anything he expected. Fear of death and the impact of the global events that deeply affect personal lives certainly takes center stage in driving the narrative of Drum's life forward. Gwen on the other hand a from being a barmaid to the wife of a deeply traumatized Drum takes us through a rather tremulous marriage and motherhood. The heavy-handed parenting, lack of trust, and deep-seated emotional baggage all lead up to promises made and promises broken in this slow-paced literary style story.
Overall, my experience with this book is it was a depressing read and left me sad and gloomy. For me to enjoy a book thoroughly I need to feel connected to the characters and be invested in their journey when it comes to historical/literary style fiction. If not this then I want to be able to understand them and neither of these happened to me with The Blind Light. So I am saying this with a heavy heart that this book wasn't a hit for me. I wish I had a great time reading it and connecting with it, but unfortunately, that's not the case. I gave the book 2 stars. Just because the story didn't work for me doesn't mean it won't work for you. I still think you should check it out for yourselves and see what you think. I would recommend this book if you are into long, slow-paced stories that take on a tumultuous journey through the ups and downs of life, friendships, marriage, and parenting.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Pan Macmillan and Picador books for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
DISCLAIMER : Substance addiction, alcoholism, substance abuse, physical abuse, Child abuse, child sexual abuse, rape, molestation, and explicit language
Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart is the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize. To know that this book was rejected 32 times before it got published is baffling to me. Reading that was such a shock and the irony of it is just great. The book is a winner for the Booker Prize, and it's almost like the universe telling the publishers where to take their rejections. I haven't read the other books on the list, and I do have to say after reading this book, I am not surprised that this book got the recognition it did. Every time I see a book that is a popular book, on Netgalley, especially one that is already published, I know that there is no chance I could get to review it. But despite my doubts, I still requested it, and I am happy to say I was excited when I saw this on my shelf.
The story is of Shuggie Bain, a young boy who becomes the sole caretaker of his alcoholic mother after his dad and siblings leave him. Agnes Bain is all about appearance. After leaving her Catholic husband for an exciting adventure with a philandering taxi driver, and she is faced with the realization that the life she dreamed of will never come to fruition. She is depressed and takes to drinking to drown her sorrows. Agnes and her three kids move to a public housing unit, feeling hopeful for a better future. Life had other plans for Agnes, who will be abandoned, again by her husband. He punishes her for not giving up on her drinking and only visits her to give her more abuse. In all of this, Shuggie is the only one who unconditionally loves his mom and his belief that he will be enough for her to stop the drinking is heartbreaking to see. All along Shuggie is trying hard to be like other boys and struggling with fitting in. He is bullied and abused by his school mates, and the need to be normal holds him back from being free. The novel is an intimate and raw portrayal of the ugliness that resides in the hearts of humanity. The strengths, the weaknesses of the individual characters, and the love that encapsulates all of them bring forward an unforgettable story of a young boy with a heart of gold and naivety that will ultimately threaten to destroy him.
Overall, the imagery, the language, the desperation, and the desolation that is at the center of this novel leaves me speechless. The vivid descriptions of Glasgow in the 80s will be staying in my memory forever bringing to life the glamorous and the ever self-destructive Agnes Taylor and her meticulously dressed, posh-speaking Shuggie Bain, who was a breath of fresh air with his innocence. I gave this book 4.5 stars, and highly recommend reading this extremely devastating and raw portrayal of life at its lowest and the hope rising from the ashes....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, and Avon Books UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Open House is my first book by the author Sam Carrington. As this was my introduction to her, I had expectations for this novel. When I saw this book on Netgalley, I was intrigued by the synopsis. It sounded like an interesting premise that could be great for a thriller. So the story is told to us in different POVs. We get Amber's, the protagonists, and her mother-in-law's perspectives. Amber is going through a divorce from Nick, her husband. She is trying to have a fresh start in life, but her mother-in-law is creating problems for her to move on smoothly. Some strange and mysterious events start to happen, causing alarm for Amber. It makes her doubt her sanity and wonder who the culprit is and what her intentions are.
Overall, I believe the thrilling part was there until it fell flat in the end. The ending didn't feel justified. Some of the actions were not believable at all. The pacing and the shorter chapters made it easy to go through the story pretty fast. I wished the ending was different, and it would have been a truly suspenseful read for me. If you like family drama focused stories and a quick read, this could be the book for you. I gave the book 2.5 stars, and recommend checking it out if you love the author's works or are in the mood for a quick change....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Simon and Schuster UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Married At First Swipe by Claire Frost is contemporary fiction. I saw the title and thought to myself, hmm.., that sounds very similar to the show Married At First Sight. While the concept is the same, and the plot is designed around the idea, I would recommend not going into the book expecting a romance or a love story between two people. This is more of a women's fiction kind of a story than a straight-up romance.
The Story follows Jess and Hannah through their tumultuous lives. Jess is the owner of the dating app Save The Date, which focuses on people wanting to settle down quickly. When the app and the business takes a hit, Hannah Jess's best friend and employee at Save The Date decides to offer herself as an experiment to bring the company back to success. Hannah's idea is for Jess to find a guy for her to marry. The only problem is, Hannah will get to see her groom only on the day of the wedding. As Jess continues to work hard, trying to bring her business around - her relationship starts to crack. Can the two women find their happily ever after? Can the free-spirited settle down with a man she has never met??
Overall, I would say the story was good. I did like it, but sadly, I didn't love it as much as I thought I would. If you are looking for a story that focuses on women's journey through life, then this book will work for you. But if you are looking for an epic romance, this is not the one for you. I gave the book 3 stars, and I recommend checking it out to see if it fits your reading tastes....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley, Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, and Bantam Press for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton is one of the sweetest romance novels I have read in a while. I have been reading so many Historical Fiction lately that it has been tearing my heart out and leaving me melancholic afterward. Not that I am complaining.. But this one was a welcome change.. It tells us the story of two people who fall in love as they are recuperating in the hospital from life-threatening accidents. Life brings them joy and love in unsuspecting and unexpected places. Who would imagine love is possible while in recovery at the hospital, without even seeing each other?? Not me!! But that is exactly what happens to Alfie Mack and Alice Gunnersley.
Everything about this story was just so good. I loved all the characters and their relationships. Most of them had great dynamics, and the interactions were fun, entertaining, and full of joy. The camaraderie in the ward is something to be around. The overall atmosphere in the hospital is not something you would see normally. It was a highlight for me in this story. Charming, is the word that comes to mind when I think of the story.
The book is slower-paced, taking time to establish the setting, characters, and also relationships. The author does take her time in developing the perfect setting for a love story to flourish. I loved that about this book. I didn't mind the pacing or the slow growth of the relationship. The story is focused on building an emotional connection rather than on a physical bond.
I have given the book 4 stars, and I wish the ending was written differently. I would have loved seeing the two in the future to see how their relationship progressed. Maybe, that's just me. But if you love slow-paced and slow-burn books with excellent focus on characters, you will love this book. I recommend checking it out and decide for yourself if it's the right book for you. I really enjoyed this charming story about Alfie and Alice. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Blackthorn Book tours for providing me with a review copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I have loved reading anthologies in the past, and so when I saw this title on the Blackthorn Book Tours website, I knew I needed to sign up for this one. This is an anthology of 13 thriller/mystery/suspense short stories compiled together to give us a wonderful collection of quick page-turners. All the stories were engaging, and I found them to be very much enjoyable. I loved how this anthology helped me get out of my funky mood with entertaining stories that made me hooked to the book from page one. I have a few stories that I thoroughly enjoyed and a few that I found to be unique. Overall I loved the anthology, and the stories fit the theme perfectly. The theme was Nothing Good Happens After Midnight and every single one of them had elements of sinister, evil, and dangers lurking at every corner after dark. I gave the book 4.5 stars. If you love anthologies and are looking for a quick and entertaining read, pick this one up. It's a great choice and I highly recommend checking it out.
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Blackthorn Book tours for providing me with a review copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Trigger warnings: Graphic violence; distressing historical scenes including torture.
Return To Hiroshima is a dark crime thriller by Bob Van Laerhoven. I am not one to normally read dark fiction, but the synopsis sounded interesting and I wanted to try out a genre that's outside of my comfort zone. Boy oh boy !! This was one of the darkest books I have read and made me want to puke my guts out a lot of the time. That's a compliment, by the way, for the darkness factor.
The synopsis sounded like a story with multiple storylines happening parallel to one another, with all of them woven together to form a complex story. The setting of the story is Hiroshima post the second world war and the atom bomb blast. Japan is in a financial crisis, corruption has eaten away at the country, with nationalists taking the helm of the nation to purify the country. Inspector Takeda is investigating the death of the strange, deformed baby with a symbol painted at the bottom of his foot. He finds some strange happenings in another event and gets embroiled in politics that endangers his life. Japan is under the influence of an underground recluse criminal lord who is, rumored to be the incarnation of a Japanese demon, Rokurobei. He is trying to defend his empire from crumbling because of his allegedly insane daughter Mitsuko. A series of classified documents and information regarding secret experiments that were conducted on the war prisoners by the special, military unit comes to the surface, threatening to unravel the sordid past Japan's Imperial family tries to hide. And many more characters that are equally compelling and brutally raw in their stories. The sordid secrets, the fine line between fiction and truths from different versions of the same event, distinction of truths, and deception all come together in this story brilliantly to portray human nature at it's worst.
The characters were morally gray, and their pasts, motivations, and mental illness all contribute to providing the groundwork in this exploration of what human greed and personal demons can do to people who are impacted by the mutations caused by the bombings during WW2. The writing is easy to follow through with alternating small chapters of POVS from the different characters. The pacing is fast and the book is what I would call a page-turner.
Overall, I liked the idea and its execution. The author tries to bring forward a story that reminds us of Japan's history, and the sordid past Japan has when it comes to war crimes. Unmasking the horrors Japan committed during WW2 will shock and horrify the readers, and so I would say, read with caution. The darker themes explored are not light by any means, and again, I say to proceed with caution. Make sure to check out the trigger warnings before getting to this book. Having said that if you love history and historically based literary style, dark noir fiction, I highly recommend checking this one out. I gave the book 4 stars, and it was an unforgettable read. Hopefully, I won't get any nightmares. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Little, Brown Book Group UK for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Awakening is an urban, portal fantasy set in Ireland and the fantastical world of Talamh. The story is mainly told from the perspective of Breen, a young woman in America. Breen is an insecure and introverted woman who has lived her whole life being in the shadow of an overbearing mother. With her mother constantly working to put her down, she has a low opinion of herself and is very much vulnerable. Breen finds out some uncomfortable truths about her life and her mother that compels her to make the necessary changes in her life to get herself away from her controlling mother. With the help of her friends, she decides to start discovering herself. It also gives us the perspective of Keegan, a young man who takes up the sword to protect his realm from dark forces. The two meet together, and interesting things start to happen and change the route they had planned for themselves.
The story is superbly written, with the backdrop of Ireland setting an atmospheric quality to it. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, giving the readers the feeling of being part of the story. It will make you want to visit Ireland, that's for sure. The pacing is much slower and you don't get to see much action in this book as it is laying the groundwork for the upcoming books. But, trust me, you will never be bored. It is a book that you will want to read slowly and savor. The magic system is soft, and we are introduced to a lot of magical and fantastical creatures in the story. This book does a lot of world-building and character development and is a great set-up and foundation to build the rest of the series. The character introduction is more detailed, making me feel connected to the characters. I loved the introduction to the folklore, mythology, the different realms, and portal magic we get to experience through the story.
Overall, the story was a strong start to a fantastical series. I have no doubt it will take us through an unforgettable and picturesque journey. The charm of the place and characters stand out in this book. If you loved the Cursebreaker series, you need to check this one out. There are some prominent similarities, and yet at the same time, this is unique on its own. If you didn't know already, I loved the book, and I gave it a 4.5 stars rating. The ending has left me wanting more, and I can't wait to see what Breen will get up to in the upcoming books. I highly recommend checking this out if you love portal, urban fantasy with beautiful descriptive writing that you need to savor slowly....more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Egmont Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Beast And The Bethany is a children's fantasy story by Jack Meggitt-Phillips. I have always enjoyed children's books, especially middle-grade books. They have the power to transport you into a world of fun, adventure, and magic. Simply said, they are your best friend if you are looking for escapism. I loved that this was just the book to take me out of a funk if I was ever in one. A deal with a beast to stay young (sound familiar??), snarky protagonist, and singing parrots. What more do you want?? I don't know how I have managed to find books with similar themes both in YA and adult fantasy books, where the characters deal with devils, dark powers, and beasts to live forever.
This was a fun and entertaining story to read. The story might be a bit dark and grim for younger readers, but I think it will appeal to an older range of middle-grade students. The pacing was good, and I loved how the story flowed effortlessly, making us want to know what will happen to Bethany and Ebenezer. The plot was also intriguing, and I can't wait to see what's in store for the two of them. This was such an engaging read with beautiful illustrations that complemented the story very well. I am sure this is going to be a series with the way the story ended, leaving us to wonder what surprises the author has in store for us.
The characters were entertaining, each of them bringing something unique to the story. I rarely see a protagonist who is this naughty and rude. I also loved how the characters Ebenezer and Bethany were morally grey. As the story progresses, we see them change and how they decide to help each other to better their character. It shows us character growth, and that is a wonderful thing to see.
Overall, I loved this story and if you are looking for a quick, fun, and entertaining read, make sure to check this story out. Middle-grade students will love this one for sure. Also, the beautiful illustrations and some humor all add up to deliver an engaging story. I gave the book 4 stars and highly recommend checking it out. ...more
DISCLAIMER : Thank you, Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for providing me with a review copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
The Apparition Phase by Will Maclean is gothic horror fiction. I am not a big fan of horror in general because I am a wimp when it comes to the genre. But for some reason, I wanted to read this one when I saw it on NetGalley. It had similar themes to Girls Of Brackenhill and Home Before Dark. The secluded gothic-looking mansion in the countryside, surrounded by forest, ghosts, and supernatural events...Ring any bells?? So it is safe to say I was intrigued. It was spooky and dark!!
The story setting and the writing was very atmospheric and eerie. The gothic vibe was ever-present throughout the book. The dark and creepy, hair-rising moments felt very real to me, and I loved the pacing, as well. It wasn't too slow or too fast. I found that it was the right speed for a book like this. The attic, the mansion all added to the story very well. The prophecies, background ghost stories were all amazing to read about. I also loved how seances, ghost hunting exercises, spooky, and strange noises made it very real. The real-life stories included in the book were a marvelous addition to the story making it even more fascinating. The supernatural occurrences or what seemed to be part of it did keep me on the edge of my seat, and I was intrigued by the whole story. The epilogue was alone enough to unsettle me.
Overall I had a great time reading this. It was engaging, entertaining, creepy, and unsettling all in one go. The disturbing sequences of events will make you question what's real and what's a product of imagination. If you love horror stories, with creepy houses, atmospheric writing, and unnerving instances that cannot be explained by science you might want to give this a try. I gave the book 4 stars. I highly recommend checking it out. It's not a scary book, but a macabre and engrossing one. ...more