Moira Ashe: Enemy Within – Brendon Bertram

39738891Werewolves have been sighted in Abalon. With a full moon approaching, the king is worried, and sends Lincoln Clarke to find help. In the corner of a dark tavern, he finds Moira Ashe, an experienced werewolf-hunter. Reluctantly, she agrees to let him join her on a hunt to learn how to deal with these beasts. But Moira has her own secrets to protect, and letting Lincoln tag along might not be the best of ideas.

This is a very short book and therefore very quick to read. The story gets straight to the point and is action-packed. It is unusually short for a fantasy adventure story. Although in many ways this was a nice change, there were some points where the story felt too vague and underdeveloped. It could certainly have benefited from more character development.

Despite this, the scene and the story were set up very well and, as the first part of a series, it didn’t matter that the full adventure was not covered in this one book. I was certainly left wanting more.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Girl With Dove – Sally Bayley

39304050The main thing I have to say about Girl With Dove is that I enjoyed reading it but I have absolutely no idea what it was really about. Thanks to this, I can’t even attempt to explain the plot, so here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Growing up in a dilapidated house by the sea where men were forbidden, Sally’s childhood world was filled with mystery and intrigue. Hippies trailed through the kitchen looking for God – their leader was Aunt Di, who ruled the house with charismatic force. When Sally’s baby brother vanishes from his pram, she becomes suspicious of the activities going on around her. What happened to Baby David and the woman called Poor Sue? And where did all the people singing and wailing prayers in the front room suddenly go?

Disappearing into a world of books and reading, Sally adopts the tried and tested methods of Miss Marple. Taking books for hints and clues, she turns herself into a reading detective. Her discovery of Jane Eyre marks the beginning of a vivid journey through Victorian literature where she also finds the kind, eccentric figure of Charles Dickens’ Betsey Trotwood. These characters soon become her heroines, acting as a part of an alternative family, offering humour and guidance during many difficult moments in Sally’s life.

The literary references in this book are fully integrated into the story and, although this was an interesting style which I liked, it made reading quite confusing. There were many times where it was too difficult to tell which characters were actually part of the story and which were just references.

It was interesting, unusual and very enjoyable, but too confusing and difficult to follow for me. I highly recommend giving Girl With Dove a try; hopefully you might be able to make more sense of it than I did.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Elefant – Martin Suter

38232605When homeless alcoholic Schoch sees a glowing pink elephant in his cave, he decides it’s time to stop drinking. When he wakes up, the elephant is still there. Seeking help from a local vet, Valerie, Schoch becomes the little elephant’s carer and protector, hiding her from genetic engineering scientists who are only interested in profit and don’t give a damn about her welfare.

This book was totally not what I was expecting. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. There were some elements of this story that I really enjoyed: the relationship between Schoch and Valerie was very organic and lovely, and I also really liked following the story from the perspective of a homeless man. It was very interesting.

However, chunks of the book were made up of lengthy descriptions of elephant care and genetic modification, and were quite boring. I found myself skim-reading a lot.

Overall, there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the story or the writing, but if you chose to pass on this book, you wouldn’t be missing much.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Blog Tour: Grist Mill Road – Christopher J. Yates

Another day, another blog tour! Today, I’m taking part in the tour for Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates. Below, you can find my review and an extract from the book. Enjoy!


39506861Patrick watched as Matthew tied Hannah to a tree and shot out her eye with a BB gun. He watched, and did nothing. Years later, Patrick and Hannah are married, each keeping big secrets from the other about what really happened all those years ago, until Matthew reenters their lives with devastating consequences.

Like many crime thrillers, this story is told from two timelines: one in 1982 describing past events from Patrick’s perspective, and one in 2008 following Patrick and Hannah’s life together. The real problem with this book was the 2008 thread. The majority of it was filled with long and boring descriptions of food blogging and the history of a cement company. Yes, it is as boring as it sounds.

However, the 1982 thread was much more interesting, and things did eventually come together and picked up a lot. There isn’t very much that can be said about Grist Mill Road without taking away from the reading experience, so I will stop there.

In short, I did enjoy reading this book, but with more action and more emotion behind the story-telling, it could have been better.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon


Extract:

PATCH

I remember the gunshots made a wet sort of sound, phssh phssh phssh, and each time he hit her she screamed. Do the math and the whole thing probably went on for as long as ten minutes. I just stood there and watched.

I don’t know when I realized I was counting. Eight, nine, ten. For a long time it seemed as if all sensation, everything but my eyesight, had been switched off. But once I realized I was keeping track of the shots—eighteen, nineteen, twenty— it felt like something I could cling to because my sense of balance had been switched off along with everything else.

I was standing on the nauseating brink of something I didn’t want to fall into, a world beyond comprehension. Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight. This wasn’t real life, this was a show. And this show wasn’t for me, I wasn’t even allowed to stay up late enough to watch this sort of show. No, none of it made any sense, a silent movie with Russian subtitles.

And yet I watched.

What does it mean to watch? When a crime takes place in front you, what is watching? Is it a failure to act or is it simply keeping your eyes open?


Please do check out the rest of the tour!

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Blog Tour: The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

Today is my stop on the tour for a book that I’m really excited about: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas. I hope you enjoy my review, and do check out the other stops on the tour.

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40803091In 1967, four female scientists build the world’s first time travel machine. But, just when they’re presenting their invention on live TV, one of them has a mental breakdown. In order to prevent negative attention being drawn to the project, she is exiled from the team. Fifty years later, the exiled pioneer and her granddaughter receive a newspaper clipping from the future, reporting the murder of an unidentified woman. Is Granny bee the victim? Who would want to kill her? And can the murder be prevented?

The Psychology of Time Travel covers a lot of very real issues in  time travel that other books ignore. The psychological effects of time travel (through not being able to change events, seeing family and friends die, etc) were really interesting and it was great to see a book based around this.

Besides the interesting topic, the story is really good. Told from multiple perspectives in different time periods, there are a lot of different story threads that all connect to the main event. This was a little confusing and difficult to follow, but it was also very effective in reflecting the general difficulty of keeping track of events when you can travel through time. Because every thread linked together, the actual order of events didn’t really matter, which made the jumping from one person and time to another much easier to cope with.

This is a fantastic science-fiction novel, combining time travel with mystery, mental illness and characters filled with personality. I loved it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Malinovsky Papers – H. Jones

38315822Over nineteen days in June 1978, Professor Nicholas Malinovsky interviewed a dying Russian emigre, Dimitri Kurshunov. The stories he told were unbelievable, about the Russian revolution, the House of Special Purpose in Ekaterinburg, and what really happened to the two youngest members of the Romanov family. Going through his interviews and research many years later, Hannah Jones is left with one question: Can any of this be true?

I really liked the interview style of storytelling in this book. With the addition of Malinovsky’s notes at the end of each chapter, the story felt truly authentic. The most engaging aspect of this book was definitely Kurshunov’s story about living in Ekaterinburg and knowing the Romanovs. However, I didn’t care much for the parts about Malinovsky and his own life. The deterioration of his relationship with his own family was not particularly enjoyable to read about. Without those parts, the book could have been a lot shorter and told much quicker.

On that note, this book was seriously long, man. The pacing was incredibly slow and, although the detail of the time was truly fascinating, I could have done with things being more to-the-point.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Blog Tour: Star-Touched Stories – Roshani Chokshi

36396341.jpgStar-Touched Stories is three magical stories set in the world of The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes. You don’t need to have read either book to enjoy this one, but it would help in order to understand some of the characters. Roshani Chokshi’s writing is pure magic. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books quite as magical as hers (and I read a lot of fantasy).

All three stories are special in their own way, but my favourite was the first one: Death and Night. The Lord of Death and the Goddess of Night meet by chance and, contrary to their natures, fall in love. As their romance blossoms, both begin to question if they could be made for more than they’ve believed. Death and Night are both completely brilliant characters, and the setting of this story is just the best (especially the Night Bazaar). I loved the romance between these two, and all of the supporting characters were great as well.

Poison and Gold was my least favourite of the three (although, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it). In this one, Aasha is sent to train to become the kingdom’s new Spy Mistress. However, she has lost control over her power to kill and can’t understand why. That particular aspect of the story really got on my nerves, because it was SO OBVIOUS why she’d lost her control. She’s not a stupid character, so why dumb her down so much in this story? I also didn’t really like the romance between Aasha and the Spy Mistress (whose name I can’t even remember). It just came across as too forced and unnecessary.

Rose and Sword was a nice addition to the book. Vikram falls ill and is on the brink of death, so Guari travels to the land of the dead to retrieve his last breath and save his life. I was so happy to read more about Guari and Vikram (mainly Guari) that almost anything could have happened in this story and I would have enjoyed it. Just to make things even better, Kamala – the lovable demon horse – is back and as brilliant as ever. It was a lovely ending to Guari and Vikram’s story.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon