Sunday, 28 April 2019

REVIEW - AS SILVER IS TO THE MOON BY R.A. WATT

Title: As Silver Is To The Moon
Author: R.A. Watt
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: IBPA
Release Date: 28th April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
New school. First love. A psychotic werewolf that wanted me dead. And it was only week one in Santa Isadora.

For fifteen-year-old Teavan Laurent and his older sister Suzanne, Santa Isadora seemed like a sleepy and idyllic California town to finish high school after their unexpected move west from New York City.

As he struggles to make friends in a town shrouded in secrets, Teavan soon finds himself the target of an irrational tormentor and rumored-to-be werewolf. The revenge-obsessed psycho vows to wipe out Teavan and his small family due to past wrongs beyond Teavan’s control or knowledge. The twisted legacy left to him by his late grandfather brings Teavan at odds with everything he knows to be true—or at least everything he thought to be true.

The impossible truth of the tale begins to gain traction at his first wolf sighting, and Teavan and Suzanne soon find themselves in the crosshairs of the dark and secretive lycan world of Santa Isadora.

REVIEW 
I was originally I was going to read a different book but there was something wrong with the mobi file. So I was scrolling through the kindle app on my tablet and chose this one to read. The cover is really quite different when compared to the usual shifter books have. I love the central part of the cover where you can see a wolf, a man, and then baby, or that’s kind of what I see. The byline reads “There are no alphas, no soul mates, only vengeance”. The byline suggests a very “eye for an eye” theme and it does fit part of the book well.

At the very beginning of the book there is a small section set in Calais, France in 1773 where two lycan’s are on a mission. It turns out someone has told Thibault that there is a traitor in their midst, so he and Sabine are hidden and waiting to pounce on the traitor. Thankfully Thibault has not been given the traitors name. Then this section ends and we are plunged straight into the present-day plot which is about Teavan, his father Mike, and his older sister Suzanne having moved out of the city and into the country. The reason for the move to Saint Isadora, California is because Teavan’s grandfather Hubert Laurent has recently died and left his son Mike his property. Mike’s initial reaction had been to sell the property, but, Hubert’s will specifies that the land cannot be sold yet etc etc. Obviously Teavan and Suzanne are not impressed with having to move to the “middle of nowhere” after living in a fast moving city.
The book also has a bullying theme within it. Bruno from the school Suzanne attends is used to getting his own way as he is big, tough and knows how to fight. He easily, beats everyone, and that’s if they even put up any type of fight against him. Soon Teavan, is the guy that Bruno wants to fight, not just because he is the new boy but because it turns out that the Laurent’s and Vincent’s have history that goes back a long time. Their history is revealed within the book, but, all I will say is it involves lycan history and it’s a fight to see which bloodline will survive.

I became really fond of Teavan fairly quickly, I wasn’t keen on the reason he was called Teavan, as I personally thought his sister being unable to say Steven would have worked better if his sister had been younger than him. I did adore the relationship Teavan and his older sister Suzanne had, they tended to not bother each much especially as they both go to different schools, which yes, I thought was a bit odd for such a small place to have two high schools. If perhaps it was in the next community/village along it may have made more sense to me. I totally get the Suzanne wants to do design and textiles and this certain school does that best etc. IT was just a little nitty pick thing.

The pace at the beginning of the book was too slow for my usual preference. My usual shifter reads seem to move more quickly than this one did, so yes, I was beginning to feel a little put off until around 47% when the pace picked up speed and I then felt more pulled into the book and desperate to know what would happen. I really liked the explanation of the use of silver bullets, “Gold is to the sun what Silver is to the moon”


This book would work as a standalone, or beginning to a series. If it is the start of the series, I hope we get more lycan’s, perhaps families coming to settle in the area? The series need more lycan characters. Also, the people that are in charge of keeping the supernatural lycan’s in line too. However, with only two known lycans left in Saint Isadora how will that work? The feel of the book and the high school being within some of the action reminded me a little of teenwolf.

Hmmm, So, it was sooo slooow for the first third of the book. Then you become more interested as you learn a little about the history of the different Lycan bloodlines. I would have liked a little more about Hub’s family and his lycan history. Then as you read on everything is building up to a climax where help in the lycan bloodline fight arrives from a previously unknown lycan, which I thought was really good. On the whole I did really enjoy the book.



Tuesday, 23 April 2019

REVIEW - BRICK - COOPER CONSTRUCTION BY JEN DAVIS

Title: Brick
Series: Cooper Construction
Author: Jen Davis
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: 5th February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
I’m used to getting my hands dirty. During the day it’s mud and grime on the construction site. At night…it’s the blood I spill. A drug lord’s enforcer does what needs to be done. It’s my obedience, my loyalty to the boss that keeps my family alive.

I know I’m teetering on the edge. I’m losing my humanity, I can feel it. It’s changing me, and it’s only a matter of time before the darkness takes over.

Then I meet her. Liv. The only person who sees past my busted knuckles and brutal exterior. She sees…me. But being with me will get her killed. The only way I can keep her safe is by staying away. Until her own actions catapult her into the center of my world—a world which will swallow her whole.

Now I’m forced to be the ruthless bastard I’ve been for so long. Only this time it’s not to destroy…but to defend.
 


Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW

I thought it was time for something different than my usual go to genres. I am reading more contemporary these days so decided to give this book a go. I hadn’t heard of this Author Jen Davis either before reading this book, so it was a new book & author to me.

The cover features the heavily tattooed visual of the main character in the book, Brick. As I said above the genres listed for this book are contemporary, romance and suspense, which after reading the book I totally agree with.

The main character in this book is Brick, begins the book has a really tough, dark, bad boy, reputation. Seeing as he works as an enforcer or the top drug dealer in the area called Sucre De La Cruz, Sucre for short. Brick also takes part in bare knuckle fighting rings too. He “wins” when Sucre tells him when to “finish” the fight. Of course, Sucre runs the betting at these fights so he makes a lot of money out of them. Having said all this Brick is not as dark as he seems as he is only acting as Sucre’s enforcer and doing the bare knuckle fighting to raise enough money to disappear with the one living person he cares about, his grandmother. Brick’s grandmother is in a nursing home, but Sucre knows where it is and somehow has access to the home and Brick’s grandmother, which means he can take locks of hair, photos of bruises, or of her sleeping in bed. These photographs etc are used to blackmail Brick and keep him exactly where Sucre wants him, at his beck and call.

During the day Brick works on a building site for Cooper Construction building houses. The guys on site know Brick has a reputation but so long as he turns up for work on time, they are okay with him. Brick keeps himself to himself as anyone that knows him or becomes his friend would be at risk of being used for leverage by Sucre. Being on Sucre’s radar is not good for anyone. The last thing Brick is looking for is a relationship. However, when the whole of the building guys, are invited for drinks to celebrate Will’s birthday by his younger sister Liv he goes along, just to maybe do a little flirting. Olivia is determined to make a fuss of her brother now she can as he has recently finished a ten, year prison sentence. Without revealing much more Brick & Liv end up in a kind of relationship, there’s a lot of minor things that Brick thinks he has money etc hidden away from Sucre but it turns out he hasn’t.

The characters I really adored in the book were probably quite obviously Liv, Brick and Devon. Though I have to admit to enjoying loathing Sucre and Tre. I thought the relationship between Brick and his grandmother was so realistic and loved the way Brick really respected his grandmother and took his duty to mean he should look after her as best he can even if it means doing or taking part in situations he finds undesirable.

The book is written from the points of view of Brick, Liv and Tre. Tre is the trainee enforcer that Sucre has tasked Brick with training. Some of the descriptions that Jen Davis uses as the character of Brick says reveal a softer side to him such as, “His eyes drank her in when he walked in the door like she was water in the desert”.

To sum up I really did enjoy this book and I think I would like to read more in the Cooper Construction Series. This book had a great ending to an action-packed story that had plenty of twists, turns, suspense and thrills within it.


Thursday, 18 April 2019

REVIEW - SILENT SISTERS BY JOANNE LEE

The eyes of the child on this book cover had my attention and made sure I had to know more, then reading the blurb I wanted to listen/read to this woman's side of the story of what had happened "behind closed doors" to her and her family.

Title: Silent Sisters
Author: Joanne Lee with Ann & Joe Cusack
Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, True Crime
Publisher: Mirror Books
Release Date: 18th April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
A deadly secret.

A horrifying discovery.

For over 20 years, Joanne Lee's mother kept the remains of not one, but three newborn babies hidden in a bin in her wardrobe.

She had buried a fourth baby in newspaper and rags in St Helens Cemetery.

For the first time since exposing her mother's crimes, Joanne breaks her silence over her family's horrific ordeal and her fight for justice for the siblings she never knew.

Growing up in chaotic circumstances on Merseyside, Joanne suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend and controlling relatives, as her mother lapsed into a downward spiral of drinking and casual sex following the break-up of her marriage. But the consequences of her mother's messy lifestyle turned out to be far worse than Joanne could ever have imagined.

She already knew about the baby buried in a shallow makeshift grave next to the family plot. But when Joanne came across a red plastic bin in her mother's wardrobe in 2009, she realised that the family home held an even more sinister secret.

In Silent Sisters, the daughter who was falsely accused of murdering her own baby sister will tell her full story for the first time, detailing her struggle to understand her mother, to piece together the truth and to give the four babies the proper burial they deserve.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US (not available at time of doing post)
Amazon UK

REVIEW

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I felt drawn to it. The tattered, battered looking door that the child is cautiously looking outwards. It is very striking the small blonde haired, blue eyed image of innocence. Seriously the eyes of the child on the front cover seemed to grab my attention and I just couldn’t flick by it. I then read the byline of “A Daughters Horrifying Discovery. . . . A Mothers Secret Shame” and was curious as to what a mother could feel shame about when her daughter found out. What on earth horrified the daughter.

Then reading the blurb I felt I had to, wanted to listen/read this woman's side of the story of what had happened "behind closed doors" to her and her family. The genre’s listed for this book are Biographies, Memoir and True Crime which I do agree with. Yet after finishing reading the book and finding out what happens to the “mother” in the book can it really be categorised as crime?

This book is an account of Joanne Lee’s life with her mother Bernadette.
Bernadette definitely doesn’t come across as mother of the year in the book, in fact far from it. It makes you wonder why this woman kept continually allowing herself to get pregnant over and over again. There would have been plenty of contraceptive options around for her. Or was it purely a case of what seems to be her favourite saying within the book, “Can’t be arsed”.

Everything seems okay at the beginning of this book, Joanne lives in a house with her mother Bernadette and her father Michael. Things weren’t great between her parents but the first time Joanne seems to really notice is when aged six, she receives separate presents from her parents and ends up receiving exactly the same gift from them both.
The first big change is when her mum announces they are going to visit Nanny Pat. Nanny Pat is a very stern, strict woman, who has everything in its place and a lace for everything. Everything also had to appear prim and proper. It’s at the visit that Joanne senses something “big” is about to happen or be revealed as she is actually allowed to go sit on the couch in Nanny Pat’s pristine front room, normally reserved for the Priest when he comes calling. It’s while she is sat literally on the edge of her seat that her mother Bernadette, states that she and her dad, Michael are getting divorced. Sadly, the most dreaded difference Joanne anticipates is living with Nanny Pat. Whilst living at Nanny Pat’s Joanne is ironically the best cared for throughout the whole of her childhood. Poor Joanne is bitten by Nanny Pat’s beloved dog and really needs hospital care, which as Nanny Pat and Bernadette work there you would think they would just dash there with her, but no. Going to the hospital would mean explaining what had happened people would be wanting to know How? Why? Where? Everything had happened. Nanny Pat wanted to retain her pristine image and the neighbours finding out Joanne had been bitten by the family dog would wreck that. So, Bernadette holds Joanne down whilst Nanny Pat stitches the wound!

Bernadette soon has a new house and bloke, Karl, to go with it. Things are quite good for Joanne as Karl buys groceries once a week and helps keep things tidy. But the small glimpses of a better family life never ever last and Joanne knows this in her heart. Joanne is left to fend for herself from a very young age, her mum has multiple boyfriends. She had to learn how to cook herself a meal, wash and iron her clothes as well as care for her younger siblings, Cath & Chris. Bernadette would rather drink, in fact when she wasn’t at work, she was sat at home drinking.
Joanne meets her own boyfriend Mark and becomes pregnant at a young age just like her mother did. Sadly, a happy little family is not to be for Joanne when her son dies. It soon becomes apparent that whilst leaving her mother behind and getting a home of her own, she has also saddled herself with a male version of her mother in Mark.

I could go on and on and into much more detail about this book, but I feel I would “spoil” the reading experience so will not say much more about the plot. The book goes on to tell about how a baby is found in Bernadette’s wardrobe, contained in a red bin.
After losing a child of her own, and holding that baby in her arms, Joanne takes it upon herself to bury this baby from the red bin at the family grave at the local cemetery. Which she calmly does in broad daylight and then Bernadette just never ever mentions it again. Only Joanne thinks of when/what the babies, milestones would be. Joanne can never forget what she has done and lives in fear of being found out, put in prison and having to leave her own children motherless. Despite being let down time and time again Joanne gives both her mother and her own partner Mark chance after chance It is Joanne’s younger sister whom Joanne has been like a mother to that tells Joanne of the appearance of the “red bucket” again. This time Joanne has had enough and she cannot stay quiet or risk attempting to bury the contents of the red bin. Joanne confides in childhood friend Julie and then Julie’s mum. It was Julie’s mum that would make sure Joanne had something to eat for breakfast and clothes to wear for school, so she trusts them both.

There were many times in the book when I was thinking “oh, no Joanne” “not again Joanne” “how can you still help her”. You feel a whole range of emotions, anger at how Joanne is, treat by her mother Bernadette, her Nanny Pat, Mark and then finally Tom. The only light this child had in her life was her father’s parents, Nanny Edith & Grandad John, who were both deaf and communicated with Joanne via sign language. It is later in life when Joanne has a child who is deaf, some would say “something else for Joanne to cope with”. Joanne doesn’t see it that way, she sees her son as a special gift from her Nanny Edith.
Some readers may remember the newspaper coverage and the TV coverage of this case. I sort of vaguely remembered some of the stories I had read as I worked my way through this book. The book is thought provoking and pulls you through a huge range of emotions. The book is thought provoking and pulls you through a huge range of emotions. The book is well written, very matter of fact about what happened and why. Joanne does not feel sorry for herself nor does she rely on others to help her in life, she quite literally rolls up her sleeves and gets on with it. She hasn't written this book for sympathy, or fame, she has wrote it to tell her story, the story of her siblings. 

My final thoughts and words about the book and Joanne are they are both amazing, and yes as the byline says the story Joanne tells is horrifying and yet equally heart-breaking & heart-warming too.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

PROMOTIONAL POST - COMING SOON - THE FARM BY JOANNE RAMOS

This was another occasion that the book cover was the first thing that caught my attention, then I noticed that it was dystopian which is my favourite genre. Once I read the blurb I knew this book had to go on my "Must-Read-Wishlist".

Title: The Farm
Author: Joanne Ramos
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 9th May 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Nestled in the Hudson Valley is a sumptuous retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, private fitness trainers, daily massages--and all of it for free. In fact, you get paid big money--more than you've ever dreamed of--to spend a few seasons in this luxurious locale. The catch? For nine months, you belong to the Farm. You cannot leave the grounds; your every move is monitored. Your former life will seem a world away as you dedicate yourself to the all-consuming task of producing the perfect baby for your ├╝berwealthy clients.

Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter's well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she'll receive on delivery--or worse.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK

What do you think to this book? Will it be going on your wish lists? Do you have a favourite genre you find yourself drawn too.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

REVIEW - NINA X BY EWAN MORRISON

Title: Nina X 
Author: Ewan Morrison
Genre: General Ficton
Publisher: Fleet, Little Brown Book Group UK
Release Date: 4th April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Nina X is loosely inspired by the real case of a tiny Maoist cult in London whose leader kept five women trapped for more than twenty years.

Nina X has no books, no toys and no privacy. She has nothing that might be described as love. Her closest emotional connection is with the birds she sees outside her bedroom window, when she is daring enough to remove the plasterboard that covers it. She has never been outside her small south London house. She has never met another child. She has no mother and no father; she has a Leader (a man), and she has three female comrades. The all-powerful Leader has named her The Project; she is being raised in total ideological purity, entirely separated from the false gods of capitalism and the cult of the self. He has her record everything in her journal, to track her thoughts; he makes her revise the entries obsessively, until they fit with his narrative. Her words are erased, over and over again.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US
Amazon UK

REVIEW
Wasn’t sure about this title….I mean had Katy given permission for this book and spoken to the author? or is this book just a fictional story based on an element or two that this author has chosen to concentrate on based on what this author has read about Katy’s time within the cult and the possibilities of what problems she would have integrating back into society
I had extreme mixed feelings about reading this book which I think I can honestly say I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t already read CB. I would have taken Nina X and simply read it on the strength of its own blurb.

The cover is a bright eye-catching red with Nina X “painted” on it, which is a reference to the fact that every where in the cult home was white-washed. I think the little lonely figure half hiding, half sheltering under the X is a great visual for a scene within the book and the image also manages to put across how Nina X is feeling alone, scared and hiding. The genre I have seen listed for this book is general fiction, and I would say based on reading the “real Nina X” biography that this is book is a fictionalisation of part of her life, so it is fiction created around a real life person

The book concentrates on the period of time in Nina X’s life when she has gained her freedom and is the beginning of a lot of changes for her. This book covers how Nina meets her social worker Sonia and how Nina is sent to various professionals. The book illustrates how someone with complex needs like Nina X could so easily slip through the cracks between different government agencies.

I enjoyed reading the parts in the book around the character called Cas. Cas works for social care and drops in and helps or should I say attempts to help Nina learn how to be “free”. The things Cas needs to help teach Nina X are things we all do every day and probably take for granted or never give a second thought to, like walking to the local store to buy something for tea, making a snack, catching a bus. Nina struggles with the most simplistic tasks and the time Cas has with her is limited as of course she has other people to see/care for too. One of the larger problems Nina X has is attempting to learn how to interact with people as Nina has no idea of personal body space and boundaries. Nina X is still very child-like and had been deprived of physical contact. Meaning when she is feeling happy and wants to convey her gratitude, she may fling her arms around someone and kiss them. Nina X also reads lots of magazines with articles such as "how to make yourself more desirable for men" which she becomes engrossed in and tries to remember the whole article and what it said she needs to do. 

Nina X struggles with not writing everything down a daily detailed diary like she had to do when living with her comrades in the cult. Nina X also finds it difficult to refer to herself as I, rather than “Nina X” or “the project”. Being in “Freedom” as Nina X calls it is a big scary place for her. I thought that “Charity Sonia” was depicted in a poor light in comparison to how the real Nina X refers to her in her own biography.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were that it was an interesting, eye opening book. It certainly makes you think of the saying "You never know what is going on behind closed doors". This one specifically says it is fiction based on true events, and having read the biography Nina X/Katy wrote I will say some names and circumstance have been adjusted. 


My final thoughts were that I enjoyed reading it, but it had a lot of sections either the same as or similar to Caged Bird which I understand that it would have as its based on Katy's story but I also noticed that some of the names of key people were different and some of the things that happened in Katy's book have been tweaked which made it feel quite different. This book covers the period of life when Nina X/Katy first left/escaped the house and the comrades. It concentrates on Nina X/Katy's experiences with social services and the mental health interaction. This one does flash back to different episodes that occurred whilst Nina X/Katy were still in "captivity" and under the influence of the cult leader Comrade Chen.


BOOK COMPARISON

If I had to choose between Nina X and Caged Bird which book would I choose to read solely on blurb? Caged Bird would be my choice

Now having read both book which would I recommend? 
I enjoyed reading both of the books but if I had to just choose one it would be Caged Bird. And why?
My reasons for why would be that Caged Bird is written by the real Nina .. .Katy Morgan-Davies. It is Katy Morgan-Davies own biography.

Having asked and anwered the above questions it made me ask the following questions too.
Nina X seems to be based on Caged Bird so is Nina X a fictional idea of events that may have occurred by an author who has heard/read? Katy’s story? and Did Ewan Morrison meet Katy? Did Katy give any info for EM to base his “fictional” pieces on around Sonia & Cas the parts of the book not gone into detail about in Caged Bird.


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

PROMOTIONAL POST - COMING SOON - BEAUTY SLEEP BY KATHRYN EVANS

I was lurking about on social media when I saw this book cover and it caught my eye instantly!
Then when I read the blurb I knew it had to go on 
my "Must-Read-Wishlist"! 
I think it would make a great TV Series or Movie!

Title: Beauty Sleep
Author: Kathryn Evans
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Release Date: 4th April 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope - Laura was frozen until she could be cured.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life - while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past…


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK


Now you have taken a look at the cover and read the blurb What do you think?
Will this title be going on your reading lists?