WWW Wednesday: 19th July 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)

I started reading This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab yesterday and while I’m only around 15% in I am absolutely loving it. This is one of those books I’ve had lurking on my Kindle forever (ok probably around a year) so it’s good to be finally starting it, although I had reached the stage where I was a little bit scared to read it in case it didn’t live up to expectations. It’s Schwab though so I’m sure I’ll be fine (and pretty much all I’ve heard has been good).


Recently Finished

Daughter of the Burning City

Three books finished this week, the first of which was Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. This was one of my most anticipated reads of the Summer so I was very lucky to receive an ARC from NetGalley. It’s a murder mystery set in a magical carnival. It’s quite dark which I loved and the author has truly created a wonderful world with some very diverse characters. There are however some pacing issues and I did feel like maybe there was too much crammed in but I did enjoy it. You can read my full review here.

Big Sexy LoveI wandered off my reading plan with my second book this week. I’ve been a big fan of Kirsty Greenwood for a while so when I saw she had a new book out, Big Sexy Love I couldn’t resist. I was also in the mood for a rom com as I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy, horror and thrillers recently and this was perfect. It was just so funny, sweet and heartbreaking. I laughed a lot, I ugly cried and it just made me feel so good. Greenwood is a seriously under-rated author and I’d definitely recommend all rom com fans read this (and all of her other books). Reminded me a bit of Sophie Kinsella’s best works (Shopaholic, Got Your Number).

The Marriage Pact

The third and final book finished was The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond. I started it on Sunday morning and found it very difficult to put down. It’s about a newly married couple who are offered the chance to join an exclusive and mysterious group known as the pact. The goal of the pact is to keep marriages happy and intact and all members are required to follow a set of rules. A lot of the rules seem sensible but the penalties for even relatively minor infringements are fairly severe.

I found this a totally addictive read. It’s all told from the point of view of the husband and his voice is instantly likable which definitely helps. The tension really builds throughout and I did find myself reading it at 3am one morning. Hopefully my review will be up later this week.


Reading Next

Next up I think I’ll continue with Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology with Our Dark Duet. If I manage to read it before coming across any spoilers it will be a miracle. Honestly I wandered onto a GoodReads thread “Chat to Victoria Schwab” and it was littered with spoilers (why do people do this???). Anyway I also got my hands on There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins and Artemis by Andy Weir last week so despite having a whole reading plan I may pick one of them up.

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)There's Someone Inside Your HouseArtemis

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

Teaser Tuesday: 18th July 2017

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from the absolutely brilliant Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood. I love Kirsty Greenwood and despite a title you probably don’t want to type into Google, this is an incredibly sweet and funny rom com about a scaredy cat who travels to New York on her own at the request of a dying friend. Honestly I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much at a book and there were more than a few tears too. I can’t recommend this book enough.


My Teaser

I did used to be a lot braver when I was younger. I was the girl who, at the park, ran up the slide rather than slide down it. Badass.

~ Pg 8 Big Sexy Love by Kirsty Greenwood


BlurbBig Sexy Love

Olive Brewster is a scaredy cat. She doesn’t do new or risky. She’s happy enough with her job at the local market, it’s cool that she has no boyfriend to fret over, she even likes that she still lives in her childhood home. No drama, no fuss, no problems. Everything is fine. Super duper fine.

Except … Olive’s best friend in the world​, Birdie, is dying.

Birdie has one final wish. She wants to track down her first love, Chuck, and because she’s stuck in the hospital she needs Olive’s help to do it. But there’s a teeny problem: Chuck is somewhere in New York and Olive has never even left her home town, let alone roamed the crazy streets of Manhattan.

As if the big city isn’t scary enough, Olive has to contend with Seth, a cocky comedy TV writer who thinks she’s a joke; Anders, a bored socialite who’s taken a shine to her; and the fact that no matter how hard she tries to track down Chuck, he doesn’t seem to want to be found.

Can Olive learn to overcome her fears, abandon her old safe routine and fulfil her best friend’s last wish? It’s going to take extra bravery, one badass attitude and a whole lot of big sexy love to make this happen …

ARC Review: Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody


Daughter of the Burning CityDaughter of the Burning City
by Amanda Foody

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A dark and twisty story with a wonderfully diverse cast of characters. The world the author has created is incredibly detailed and I loved the combination of fantasy and murder mystery. There are a few pacing issues and I thought there was a little too much crammed in but it’s definitely an enjoyable read.


Synopsis

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

Review

I’m a little bit torn on this one. There were parts that I absolutely loved and it’s wonderfully original and dark but there was something about it that didn’t quite work.

I loved the idea of this traveling carnival that’s as big as a city. I loved the diversity of those that live and work there, the different types of magic, the performers, vendors, guards and the thieves and assassins who all consider themselves equal. Most of all I loved the mystery and just how dark and twisted it was.

It’s called Gomorrah for a reason. There are prettymen and prettywomen (prostitutes), con artists, thieves and assassins. All visitors to the carnival do so at their own risk and literally within the first few pages one person is robbed and a seemingly central character murdered.

Sorina made for an interesting main character. The only illusion worker in Gomorrah she’s considered a bit of a freak and outsider in a city of freaks and outsiders. She has no eyes but can see via her illusions (something I still don’t quite understand). She has however used her illusion work to create a family of “freaks” and together they have quite a happy life until one of them is suddenly murdered. So begins the mystery of who is behind the murder but also how do you kill an illusion.

In many ways I did like Sorina. She’s quite a lonely character and just wants to be accepted. She wants the fairytale romance but doesn’t believe anyone will be interested in her. She does get a little annoying with the woe is me all of the time and being so easily influenced by others but she is only 16 so it’s largely forgivable.

I have to confess I found her family/illusions confusing in the beginning. I have a goldfish like memory and was extremely tired at the time so I suspect it may just have been me who couldn’t remember who was who and what they did (I think the physical book has drawings so that will make it easier). I also didn’t feel the connection between them. One is the baby of the family, the other like a grandpa, one the best friend/sister but while I knew this it didn’t feel real to me. Maybe because they are illusions but I suspect it was because there was more telling than showing, something I think the book was guilty of in quite a few places.

The author has created this big and complicated world with a whole city/carnival that moves from place to place across the continent. I think it was perhaps overly complicated particularly for one book. We have the city of Gomorrah to try and understand with its very distinct areas and layout and all of its people/magics. There are the different places they visit, the world as a whole, politics and religion. It’s a lot to cram into around 380 pages and led to a bit of info dumping, something I struggle with.

There are some wonderful descriptions of the carnival and times when you are in the moment but these were a little too fleeting. I wish it had been kept simpler allowing more time for character development and relationships to develop. I didn’t feel any of the connection between the characters and consequently a lot of the events had less of an impact (the murders for example).

The storyline is good and I loved the idea of a YA fantasy with a murder mystery. There were however some issues on timing and it felt a little disjointed at times. There were certain events that felt unnecessary and others that were rushed over and didn’t make sense.

There are plenty of twists and turns as you try to work out who is behind the murders and I did for the most part enjoy it. I just wish it had been a little simpler with a little less tell and a little more show.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

Summer TBR Wipeout – Update 1

For the first time ever I’ve decided to make an attempt at planning my reading so I’m participating in the second annual Summer TBR Wipeout hosted by Candid Cover. The challenge started on the 1st July and runs until the 13th August and I’m hoping will motivate me to finally make a dent in my ever increasing TBR.

I posted an introductory post at the start of the month and today it’s time for my first progress update. So how have I done…..Read More »

Review: The Rome Affair by Karen Swan

The Rome AffairThe Rome Affair by Karen Swan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Rome Affair is an absolutely perfect Summer read. Set in two different time periods, it’s addictive and engaging with a lot of mystery and just the right amount of romance to make it impossible to put down.

Swan’s descriptions will transport you to the Eternal City and some of the most glamorous locations around the world. Definitely one I’d recommend.


Synopsis

The glamorous capital city of Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling summer novel by Karen Swan.

1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can’t change it.

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life.


Review

I was a little bit worried when I started reading the Rome Affair that it was simply going to be a rehash of the authors previous book The Paris Secret. From the synopsis it sounds very similar, young woman running away from trouble in her own life goes to stay in a European city and ends up investigating a mystery from the past, and I suppose it kind of is. Despite some similarities however, this is a very different book and for me it was even better.

It has Swan’s usual wonderful writing but there is something compelling and addictive about the story. I picked the book up late one Saturday night and found it impossible to put down, finishing it on Sunday afternoon. The descriptions and feel of the book drew me in so completely that it was actually a bit of a shock to the system to be back in the real world.

The narrative flips back and forth in time and is told from Cesca’s point of view in the present and Elena’s in the past and while I found both fascinating I have to confess it was Elena’s story that captivated me. Her life as a rich heiress, socializing with the rich and famous while struggling to fit in and ultimately being abandoned time after time is compelling reading. The contrast between experiencing it through her eyes and hearing her tell Cesca the story works incredibly well. She edits and spins her experiences to paint the picture she wants to show the world and it definitely makes you question whether her final perfect romance was all it seemed.

Cesca’s story in the present is slightly less intriguing, she’s hiding from something that happened in London and trying to enjoy the simple things in life in Rome, with mixed success. There’s a little bit of romance in the air and she has to admit to and face up to her past but her role seemed to be primarily to dig into Elena’s past. I didn’t think she was necessarily the most likeable of characters but she was perfect for the role of interrogator/investigator and her love of her new home really flows through the pages.

The setting of Rome was definitely one of the highlights for me as, while I’ve only visited once, I absolutely love it. The author’s descriptions are so wonderful they give a real sense of the city as well as the other settings in the novel (Greece, Florida, New York). It’s very easy to imagine yourself getting a pizza and eating outside on the piazza, visiting the tunnels running under the city, visiting a nightclub in New York or sunbathing on a yacht off a Greek Island.

The pacing of the story is spot on and there are plenty of twists and turns to grab your attention. I spent a lot of the book guessing what had happened and while you can see most of it coming there were still a few surprises that I doubt many will guess.

Overall, I would definitely rate this as one of my favorite reads of the Summer. With an addictive story, a wonderful setting and brilliant writing I would recommend this to anyone who likes a novel with a lot of secrets and a bit of romance.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

WWW Wednesday: 12th July 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently ReadingDaughter of the Burning City

I started reading Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody late on Monday night but I’ve been trying to catch up on a lot of other stuff so only really made it to chapter 3 despite loving what I’ve read so far. It’s a YA fantasy about a girl who works in a travelling circus/city as an illusion worker. She can create illusions that others can see, feel and touch and uses this ability to create something of a family for herself, and then one of her family is murdered.

It is early days but the writing so far has been brilliant and it’s a lot darker than I was expecting.  


Recently Finished

Close Enough to Touch

I’ve had another really great reading week with three books finished, the first of which was Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. I really enjoyed this story about a woman who is allergic to other people and a man who’s struggling to connect with his children. As you can probably tell it’s quite a quirky story but it’s very sweet, funny and occasionally heartbreaking. Jubilee was a wonderful character and, with her love of books and knowledge of random facts, was a joy to read. My only slight niggle was that the ending felt a little bit rushed. Other than that would definitely recommend.

Roar (Stormheart, #1)The second book finished was Roar by Cora Carmack, a YA fantasy about a world where storms are the enemy and only the Stormlings can control them. With her lineage main character Princess Aurora is supposed to be one of the most powerful Stormlings but in reality has absolutely no abilities. To avoid an arranged marriage she fakes her own kidnapping and runs off with a group of stormhunters to try and find some powers of her own.

This was an easy and quick read and I loved the idea of the storm magic and even the world the author created but unfortunately there wasn’t enough to make it stand out from all of the other YA fantasies. Not helped by the fact it has all the usual tropes, journey/training, love triangle, insta love etc.

The Rome AffairThe final book read this week was The Rome Affair by Karen Swan which I received from NetGalley. I like Karen Swan’s books but have to admit was a little worried initially that it was going to be a rehash of her previous book The Paris Secret. However while there are some similarities, European city setting, secrets from the past being revealed while there’s a romance brewing in the present, I found it a very compelling read. I think I sat for about 6 hours straight unable to put it down. I loved the Rome setting but it also has flashbacks to the life of an American socialite in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s which made for some truly addictive reading. I should have a proper review up this week but would definitely recommend.


Reading Next

By some miracle I’m still sticking to the list I posted for Candid Cover’s Summer TBR Wipeout challenge (here) so based on release dates, author events etc I think my next reads will be one or more of the following:

The Marriage PactNow I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)

My list is feeling a little YA fantasy heavy though so I may sneak a wee horror in there somewhere.

As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

Review: The Devil’s Colony by Bill Schweigart

The Devil's ColonyThe Devil’s Colony by Bill Schweigart

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Bigger, better (maybe?) and even more gruesome (definitely), the third and final book in Bill Schweigart’s Fatal Folklore Trilogy is a brilliant conclusion to what has become one of my favorite horror series. I’m really going to miss Ben and Lindsay but I honestly don’t know how Schweigart could possibly top that.

Note: as this is the third book in the series this review contains spoilers for the previous stories. If you haven’t read them go get them now (honestly they are a bargain) or go read my review of the first book The Beast of Barcroft here.


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