No One Home – Tim Weaver

42960047On Halloween night, the nine residents of Black Gale get together for a dinner party. The next morning, the whole village has vanished. There are no bodies, no clues and no evidence, so the families of the disappeared residents hire an investigator, David Raker, to find out what happened. But is Raker looking for nine missing people, or nine dead bodies?

No One Home is the tenth David Raker book, but it works perfectly well as a standalone novel.

The premise of this book was so intriguing, I was really excited to start reading it, but I lost interest very quickly. I actually almost DNF’d this book a couple of times, but I don’t like not finishing books so I stuck with it in the hopes that it would grow on me. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons why I didn’t enjoy this story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing, and the plot was sound and should have been exciting. But I just wasn’t drawn in. I didn’t feel any kind of connection at all with Raker or any of the other characters. After a certain point, I even stopped being interested in finding out what happened to the residents of Black Gale.

It’s probably worth a shot – it has very high ratings from other readers. This one just wasn’t for me.

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

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Reign of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

39216289.jpgIn book #2 of The Oremere Chronicles, it is all kicking off. As more people learn the truth behind the deadly mist and King Arden’s treachery, war is brewing. Scattered across continents, Bleak and her friends are forced to choose sides, forge their own alliances and prepare themselves for the battles ahead.

I adored book #1 in this series, Heart of Mist, so I was really excited to get straight on with reading book #2. It didn’t disappoint.

At the start of the book, all our main players are separated and spread out across the continents. This meant there were a few different threads to follow simultaneously. Initially, I was concerned that this would make the story too complicated (and one of my favourite things about this series has been the relationships between characters, so splitting them up was not so good), but fortunately the whole gang was reunited fairly quickly and all my concerns were dispelled.

The plot progresses much quicker in this book. There are a lot of characters to follow and a lot of politics to cover, but none of it felt rushed or lacking in detail. The pacing was pretty much spot on to keep the story moving and maintain excitement. The story really comes to life through Scheuerer’s brilliant writing, fantastic characters and strong world-building.

I haven’t enjoyed a YA fantasy series this much in so long.

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

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Naturally Tan – Tan France

41223314Naturally Tan is a funny, sassy and touching memoir from Tan France, star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, in which he tells his origin story alongside fashion guidance and general life advice.

As a gay, South Asian Brit – one of the few people of colour growing up South Yorkshire at the time – Tan has a perspective on life which isn’t often shared in the media or in popular culture. Although there is, as you’d expect, some unpleasant (to put it mildly) racial abuse, Tan’s natural charm and humour shines through the writing, which keeps some serious topics light without trivialising them at all.

I really loved the way this book is written. The style is super conversational, and it genuinely feels like Tan is speaking directly to the reader. His stories about growing up, trying out every job under the sun, and meeting the love of his life are interesting and well told, and I absolutely loved the inclusion of Public Service Announcements and ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ about style and dating. Naturally Tan also has some really cute chapter illustrations which add a little touch of detail to really help make it a special book.

I knew next-to-nothing about Tan before picking up this book. I found him funny on Queer Eye, but I never would have said I was a fan. I am now.

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

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A Symphony of Echoes – Jodi Taylor

43450940.jpgIn Book #2 of The Chronicles of St Mary’s, things are as crazy as ever. The St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research are an organisation of historians who travel back in time in order to carry out research and make sure that History stays on track. In the second instalment of the series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, observe the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett, undertake the recovery of some dodos with no survival instincts, and make a risky visit to Mary Queen of Scots in an attempt to prevent an old enemy from changing the course of History.

A Symphony of Echoes is fast-paced and action-packed. Multiple adventures are stuffed into one book, so it’s a bit full-on but very well done and so much fun. I really love the quirky humour and adventures of these books; there really isn’t a dull moment. The characters are incredibly likeable and reasonably well developed, and I enjoy the time jumps. The historical elements seems to be reasonably well researched and accurate, up to the point where accuracy becomes irrelevant due to the actions of the characters.

My only criticism would be that there’s too much going on. The plot is a bit hard to follow because it really doesn’t stop, and story-development takes a clear back-seat behind the humour and wackiness. That being said, it’s such a fun read that none of that really matters.

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