ARC – The Players, Darren O’Sullivan – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of The Players by Darren O’Sullivan. A huge thanks to NetGalley and HQ publishers for the advanced copy of this book. The Players by Darren O’Sullivan is due to be published on 13th May 2021.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

The chapter formatting of this book really annoyed me, which is I’ve only given it 4 stars. For me chapter formatting and the overall format of the book are super important and I feel this was overlooked with The Players. There were points where the dialogue was oddly presented on the page and where words were misspelt or the incorrect word was used. It really bugged me šŸ˜¦

I also felt that the first chapter was incredibly similar to a book I read last year, like practically down to the letter, so I felt like I was off to a bad start.

The Players is a multiple POV book, with one POV in first person (DI Karen Holt) and the remainder in third person. I enjoyed this way of writing because we got that personal feel from reading the first person chapters but there was no confusion then within the other chapters over who’s POV we were reading from.

The characters were a major high point of this book for me. Karen and her wife and their unwavering support of each other, even when things were difficult. Karen and her policing partner, Howard, how beautiful their relationship was. The Host themself and how we didn’t know anything about them until the author was absolutely ready for us to. The characters made the book for me.

Once we got deeper into the book it started to really make me think, and it had a very moral/ethical aspect to it, which I personally loved. And the way the author integrated the idea of technology and how that tech was used in the story really brought the plot to life.

I do wish the author had gone into more details of the crimes and killings, it felt quite tame, which was disappointing.

There were points where I was laughing with the characters, points where I was in shock and even points where I cried. I had no shortage of emotions reading The Players…

And the ending definitely added to that feeling of shock. I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I’m going to say!

On the whole, The Players was something new and exciting that I hadn’t read before and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only hope is that the author/editor can correct the formatting and wording issues and that the author writes another book to continue the story.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Bad Karma, Debi Chestnut – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut. A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial publishers for the advanced copy of this book. Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut was published on the 15th Decemeber 2020.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

Bad Karma was such a good read, I absolutely loved every single second of this book.

It was so fast paced which I really enjoyed and from the very first page it felt like we hit the ground running and this pace continued the entire way through the book. The book never dipped or became boring, it just kept us on this crazy ride.

The book itself focuses on Zoey, who I loved as a character, and follows her through her need to find out who killed her Uncle and she eventually gets mixed up in a number of crimes that are rocking this small town…

Zoey herself was a really interesting character, everything from her job to how she handled herself to how she clearly had an emotional interest in the criminal cases, despite not knowing the victims or their families. She was everything I would want from a strong female lead.

There were several different layers to this story, but they were woven together really cleverly and nothing was revealed until the author wanted it to be. Because of this I felt Bad Karma was a really addictive read, I needed to know what was going on and I just couldn’t put it down.

The plot itself was fairly simple but was brought to life by the authors writing and how she described the surroundings and the spaces we were in. For me, this enhanced the book and even enhanced the plot and made it feel more real to me. There were points that I had goosebumps reading this book because of the way the author wrote about or described a situation – so I was really impressed.

Right up until the ending of this book I absolutely loved it! But sadly, the ending did a feel like a bit of a let down after such a brilliant book, it disappointed me.

That being said, I can’t criticise the other 200 odd pages of this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely read any further books in the Zoey Callaway series!

Until next time, Em xxx

The Turn of the Screw, Henry James – A Review.

Hello friends! I’m back again with another review for you, this time it is The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and you can view the synopsis on Goodreads here.

I want to start off by saying how disappointed I am with this book, I expected it to be much better than it was and I feel really let down by it.

Overall rating – 1 star.

From the beginning I found it quite difficult to get into, it seemed like there were a lot of words (I know it’s a book but hear me out!) but it was exactly like when you’re writing an essay and trying get the word count up, you start adding in random phrases to bulk out your sentences, that’s what The Turn of the Screw was like.

The whole story was an effort to read, there were too many words trying to confuse us and scare us but in fact it was just boring. There was no indication of how much time had passed and coupled with a lack of clear structure it was really hard to visualise the story.

There was a complete lack of fear factor throughout this book, which I think is what disappointed me the most. I was expecting to feel frightened or unnerved and I just didn’t get that vibe. There was a lack of sense of foreboding that comes with a good scary story, in my opinion.

And considering our book focuses a lot on our Governess there is limited back story to her, she (quite literally) appears out of no where and into our story…

I found her to be incredibly odd, she had an unhealthy obsession with the children in her care, considering she hadn’t known them long. Unless she had… It was hard to tell without knowing how much time had passed.

As the story progressed I just found myself getting more and more confused as to how the Governess pieced everything together with limited evidence and a clear lack of rational thought. I thought she just seemed obsessive and very strange in the way she behaved throughout the story.

The Turn of the Screw was not a pleasant read for me and this was only made worse when I reached the end and felt like I’d just wasted a few hours of my life reading it.

Let me know if you’ve read The Turn of the Screw and what you thought of it!

Until next time, Em xxx

PJO review and discussion post.

Hello friends! I am here with my review/discussion post/word vomit all about my Percy Jackson and the Olympians series reread.

Let me start off by saying I am SO GLAD I decided to do a reread of the PJO series, it has brought so much joy into my life, right at a time when I needed it.

These will not be proper reviews of each book, there will be a star rating but it will mostly just be me banging out about how much I loved the books, maybe with a few quotes thrown in and definitely a few memes!

One of my favourite things about this series as a whole is how much I learnt after reading the 5 books, I answer quiz questions and people are like “how do you know that?!” thanks PJOšŸ‘€ but at the same time it doesn’t feel like learning because the books are so much fun.

BOOK 1 – THE LIGHTNING THIEF.

Overall rating – 4 stars.

The way this book starts immediately draws you in and entertains you from the very first page and compels you to keep reading. This is made even better by Percy’s narration and the chapter headings, my personal favourite of which is “I become supreme lord of the bathroom”.

Straight away I warmed to Percy and his Mom, the love she has for him clearly oozes through the pages, especially in the way she tries to allow Percy to be as normal of a child as possible, given that he’s actually half God and is at risk of dying every time he goes somewhere.

And the characters only got better from this point onwards, Annabeth and Grover stand out (obviously) due to them being a focal point through the book.

Riordan has this wonderful talent when he writes, you truly believe you are at Camp Half Blood or on Mount Olympus with Percy and co, you could practically taste the fresh air of camp or the electricity from Zeus’s lightning strikes. I was made to feel like a part of the camp and quest too.

This book still makes me feel the same as I did when I was younger, I loved it!

This is LITERALLY how Zeus felt when Percy started riding the elevator to the 600th floor…

BOOK 2 – THE SEA OF MONSTERS.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

This one definitely has a dramatic opening, which I personally loved! I know they all open quite dramatically but for me, this one is the best opening chapters.

We also get introduced to Tyson, who I adore. A particular favourite part of mine about this book is how Percy feels embarrassed when Tyson is claimed and is his half brother, before he goes on a journey to realise that in actual fact he could do a lot worse – it shows us that Percy is still just a teenager and that he has the normal thoughts and feelings of a teenage boy. It felt real.

The chariot racing though has to be my favourite part! I feel like we’re riding in the chariot with them, you can feel the wind on your face and hear the shouts from the other cabins, it is described perfectly.

Sea of Monsters is also when Percy starts to open his eyes and realise how much he likes Annabeth and we really start to see them grow (which is a huge plus for a Percabeth fan like me!)

Oh and my favourite chapter heading from this one is “I have the worst family reunion ever”.

BOOK 3 – THE TITAN’S CURSE.

Overall rating – 4 stars.

This one is my least favourite of the series, nothing against it I just don’t enjoy reading it as much as the others, I think it’s the lack of Annabeth and the way her and Percy bounce off each other…

That being said, I love how we finally get to meet some other Gods, Artemis and Apollo for a start, and of course Artemis’s hunters are introduced.

I start this book with a very strong dislike of Thalia, I don’t like the way she treats Percy when they play capture the flag. I also dislike Bianca’s decision to join the hunters and leave Nico behind to deal with this overwhelming new life on his own. However, once we get to the end of the book (and this is testament to Riordan’s character development) I loved the two of them, they really grew on me.

This one was a little slow for me though, which is why it’s my least favourite.

My favourite chapter heading from this one has to be “I have a Dam problem”.

BOOK 4 – THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

I actually have two favourite chapter headings from this book, I couldn’t decide between them both and they are… “Nico buys Happy Meals for the dead” and “I open a coffin”.

EEEEEK, this one is my FAVOURITE of the series, I would rate it higher than 5 stars if I could. I feel like this is the one where things take a much darker turn and we start to realise how much danger Percy and the camp are actually in.

Throughout this entire book I felt as though we were in the labyrinth with our heroes, I could feel the same fear that they felt and as someone who is claustrophobic and scared of the dark it really got under my skin.

I love this book so much that I cannot think of what to write about it, except that I LOVE IT. Tyson going with Grover, even though they both dislike each other, Annabeth getting annoyed with the Sphinx because it isn’t a riddle she’s been given, Rachel hitting Kronos in the eye with a plastic hairbrush. It’s just a masterpiece.

There are so many layers within this story but everything weaves together to create an incredible story for us to enjoy.

BOOK 5 – THE LAST OLYMPIAN.

Overall rating – 5 stars.

I have lots of feelings towards this book and I admit, I cried when I finished reading it because it really is the best end to the series.

I get goosebumps when I read this book, from start to finish the whole thing is excellent. There are so many different aspects that all work together to create this book that will make you feel every emotion under the sun.

The description that went into this book were second to none, I felt like we were in Poseidon’s realm fighting alongside him, or in the Underworld with Hades and Percy and Nico, or in May Castellan’s kitchen when we learn why Luke is the way he is. I cannot fault the description and writing from Riordan.

Throughout the various battles there were heartfelt moments too, that helped us to tie up any lose ends and brought the perfect ending to the books.

You could feel the emotion through the page with the scenes with Hermes and the scenes with Percy and Annabeth when they finally got together (Percabeth for life) and when the Gods were discussing how to honour the heroes and Nico finally got the recognition he deserved. I cried a lot during this book lmao.

And my favourite chapter heading has to go to… “My parents go commando”.

This 5 book series is just a true masterpiece and an absolute joy to read and I’m so glad I reread them, they were absolutely worth it!

This is my personal favourite meme, I can see Percy doing water aerobics…

ARC – The Pastel Effect, Arly Carmack – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack. A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial publishers for the advanced copy of this book. The Pastel Effect by Arly Carmack was published on the 25th November 2020.

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

I honestly think The Pastel Effect is my favourite read of the year so far, I adored this book from start to finish and I genuinely do not have a criticism for it…

From the start I was drawn into this story and I loved the way it was presented to us a couple of teenagers trying to navigate the incredibly stressful experience that is high school. In fact, a lot of what was written resonated with me and reminded me of my own experiences in school and I think that’s part of the reason why I loved it so much, it felt very real.

The book itself was beautiful. Every word written and spoken was carefully crafted to bring us happiness, or sadness, or excitement. There we no shortage of emotions that I felt during my read of The Pastel Effect.

I loved the characters that we were on this journey with, every single one of them felt relatable.

The relationships that the author built up with Caroline and her Dad (Teddy) was stunning, I was moved so many times throughout this book. We were shown a strong relationship between Dad and daughter and we were shown Teddy as a single Dad and how he raised Caroline into this strong young woman. The whole backstory they had was amazing.

I loved how Tressa (Caroline’s Mom) had this influence throughout the book, without her actually being there as well. The author featured her beautifully and brought her to life through the pages of her diary.

Cody, I changed my opinion on at various points throughout the book, but when the latter section was from his POV my feelings towards him completely changed, I was in awe of him. His character was written so true to teenage boys!

The journey that we saw our characters go on, a journey of love and self discovery and joy and sadness and everything inbetween was truly beautiful.

One of my favourite things about this book was how it introduced topics that should be discussed and included in conversation. Namely, the topic of casual sex, the topic of consensual sex and the topic of therapy. The author wove these into the book perfectly.

The ending of this book made me SOB, it was the most fitting ending to the most wonderful book.

I have nothing but praise for The Pastel Effect and Arly Carmack and her writing. This was amazing and I honestly would put this as my favourite read of the year so far.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Chopping Spree, Angela Sylvaine – A Review.

Hello, fellow bookworms! I am here today (on publish day no less!) to bring you a review of Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine. A huge thank you to NetGalley and Unnerving for an ARC of this book.

Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine is published today – 1st of April 2021.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

I can’t lie I am a little bit disappointed in this book… That it wasn’t longer because I would have loved to keep reading!

In all seriousness though I feel the length of this book did let it down a bit, don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved it, but I was left wanting more after I’d finished it, like a hunger that wasn’t quite satisfied.

That being said, the fast pace of this story lent itself well to the plot, it felt like a rush of adrenaline rushing through our veins while we read. It felt like we were rushing from pillar to shop to the security room in the mall with our characters and I felt the same fear and fright that they did.

The story itself was really clever, and not something that I saw coming. I was completely wrong with my theory for this story and instead was pleasantly surprised by the turn that the book took, especially the ending!

And because it was set in a mall (or shopping centre as we call them here) it felt very realistic, we’ve all been inside a mall/shopping centre so from the second the author started laying out the opening scene it was easy to envision ourselves in the characters shoes.

The whole vibe of Chopping Spree was spot on, it felt like Goosebumps but a little bit older and more teenage/young adult, and with it being such a short read it’s definitely going to keep the interest of readers who are looking for a scare.

And special mention to the 80s music that was dropped and referenced throughout this story, it brought me joy and left me singing to myself while I was reading!

Be sure to check this one out if you want a quick horror read, it’s definitely worthwhile.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – A Conventicle of Magpies, LMR Clarke – A Review.

Hello friends I am very excited to bring you a review of A Conventicle of Magpies by LMR Clarke A huge thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial publishers for the advanced copy of this book. A Conventincle of Magpies by LMR Clarke was published on 6th Jan 2021.

Overall rating – 4 out of 5 stars.

Let me start by saying the cover of this book is absolutely gorgeous, it was one of the main reasons why I decided to request this book as it caught my eye straight away!

On the whole, A Conventicle of Magpies was an excellent read and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that we were taken on throughout this book.

From the start I loved the vibe of this book, there is a very Victorian/Jack the Ripper kind of feel throughout the first chapters which grabbed my attention. And all credit to the author as they kept this theme going throughout the whole book, which definitely kept me hooked onto this one.

I found A Conventicle of Magpies to be really easy to read, and that is in no way a criticism! It just flowed so well through the plot and before I knew it I was halfway through the book, I was so desperate to find out what would happen next that I just kept on turning the pages.

Whilst the idea of two sides being opposed to each other and one trying to remove the other from society isn’t the most original plot, the way the author wrote made us feel like it was a brand new trope. The introduction of the authors own groups (the SaosuĆ­asei and Avanish) only helped that feel.

And with the introduction of Rook’s sister being missing, Billy Drainer our Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer and the bloodskill aspect (discussed further below) this book was not short of other interesting layers to elevate the story to a higher level.

I would like to praise LMR Clarke for the bloodskill aspect within this book. I’ve seen a lot of magic/fantasy ideas as to how people gain their skills but never through bloodwork, so that was a nice new introduction.

I have to say though my favourite part of this book was the Magpies, the way this book was very female led, and how strong and supportive they were of each other and the SaosuĆ­asei people around them. It’s nice to see some female representation!

This isn’t to say that the Jaguar and every other character in this book wasn’t excellently written, it’s just that, for me, Rook stole the show.

The ending of this book was absolutely excellent too, it rounded the story off perfectly but also left it open for later books to be written. And I, for one, will be picking up the next book in the series when it’s written.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Ghost Town Girl, Debra Cunningham – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of Ghost Town Girl by Debra Cunningham, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and BooksGoSocial – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 1 out of 5 stars.

I came so exceptionally close to DNFR this book even just after a couple of chapters… The chapter formatting and layout of this book was absolutely horrendous, and there were several (read hundreds) of sentences where the space bar seems to have been broken and two or three words were jammed together.

Because of this lack of proper distinguishable chapters it was really hard to keep track of who was narrating the story and the location they were in, or the story itself. It just didn’t flow.

I also felt that the book lacked a clear direction, there were large sections that just felt like space fillers and didn’t contribute to the story. There was too much of our characters stuck in the forest or the desert (it wasn’t clear whether it was forest or desert, the author seemed to describe both) and not enough plot.

There were far too many strands towards the end of the story too, which really started to confuse things for me.

Because of this I felt it really hard to connect with the characters, I feel like we didn’t get to know them enough and they weren’t as developed as they could have been. I do think if we had a better connection with them the book would have been better, I personally would have had more emotion towards their situation.

And the ending was really disappointing, it felt very meh. It was as if the author wanted to tie everything up quickly and threw together what she could.

Ghost Town Girl was just nothing like the blurb and a really disappointing read.

Let me know if you’ve read this book as I’d love to know what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – 337, M Jonathan Lee – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of 337 by M Jonathan Lee, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and BooksGoSocial – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 5 out of 5 stars.

This is my second book by this author, and let me say I was really pleasantly surprised by this book, it was so good.

I found 337 very easy to read and get caught up in the storyline, I was completely sucked in by this book and the need to know what was going on. The author does a really good job of slowly building the suspense and creating this sense of foreboding that just grabs you and compels you to continue reading.

I think in one of my notes for this book I described it as a slow burn that keeps dropping these little breadcrumbs, like Hansel and Gretel, to keep you interested in the story. And this approach definitely worked.

The way 337 is written is what I got the most enjoyment from in this book. It was as if Sam was word vomiting onto the page, we see everything through Sam’s eyes and it kind of flits between different events and times, filling in those gaps and adding tonnes of value to the story.

The attention to detail within this book was absolutely INSANE.

The characters weren’t really expanded upon, but I feel this actually was a positive of the book, because it really felt like we were Sam, and seeing the world through his eyes only.

Despite the story only really centring on Sam and his Grandma it was packed full of plot and had plenty enough to keep us on the edge of our seat and interested.

I had goosebumps when I finished this book, it felt so poignant and I loved how everything fell into place in the end, it felt very much like fate. I don’t want to give too much away but I just closed this book and felt very fulfilled.

On the whole, I really enjoyed 337 by M Jonathan Lee.

Until next time, Em xxx

ARC – Face of Evil, George Morris De’Ath – A Review.

Hello friends, I’m here with a review of Face of Evil by George Morris De’Ath, this was an ARC that I very kindly received from NetGalley and Aria & Aries – so thank you to them!

Overall rating – 2 out of 5 stars.

From the start I thought Lydia was rude, insensitive and an awful character… I didn’t warm to her at all, she was very up herself and I found her really hard to like. I really struggled with how she constantly thought she was better than everyone else, it made her very irritating as a character.

I’m not sure if the author has tried to deliberately make Lydia as unlikeable as possible, if that’s the case then they’ve certainly achieved their aim!

Because the book focused on Lydia I found it very hard to enjoy. I also feel like we didn’t get a fair share of the other characters, they were very 2D and flat and as such were hard to form an opinion on.

I felt very indifferent to the book on the whole, it didn’t exactly fill me with enjoyment to read it but I didn’t hate it.

It wasn’t the most original plot, it felt like a cheaper version of Silence of the Lambs and didn’t really offer anything new that I hadn’t already read. There were no real shock factors.

I also felt the book alluded to a lot of backstory that was never fully expanded upon and I feel would have made Lydia more likeable and generally added more the story.

There were sections of this book that I enjoyed, namely the interactions between Lydia and the killer she was interviewing, they were written really well and were a breath of fresh air through this book.

However, the remainder of the book just didn’t hit the spot for me.

I will admit I was shocked by the turn of events within this book, but, once it started to unfold I very quickly guessed where it was headed and what was going on. I don’t want to give too much away but I pretty much guessed what was happening/had happened previously…

The final ending of the book just was not it. It added absolutely nothing to the story, and actually went against the image of Lydia that had been portrayed to us throughout the book.

Sadly, this book just was not good, in my opinion. As we focused a lot on Lydia it was hard to enjoy due to the nature of her character, and with the boring and predictable story I just didn’t enjoy it.

Please let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought!

Until next time, Em xxx