Review: Cruel Crown – Victoria Aveyard

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**** (3.5 out of 5)
I would like to thank NetGalley, the author and publisher for my free copy of this book/two short novellas, in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Let me begin by saying that this book contains two novella prequels to the Red Queen; ‘Queen Song’ and ‘Steel Scars’. I am going to give a little review on each of these novellas individually and then give an overall review. Sorry if there’s any spoilers, but there may be some things mentioned that are in Red Queen, so you are warned.

‘Queen Song’ is the shortest of the two novellas and tells the story of Cals mother, Coriane, and how her life lead up to becoming the queen and how she eventually took her own life, has we discovered in Red Queen. Out of the two novellas, this was my favourite and I was gutted that it was the shortest of the two, only being around 50 odd pages, as it could’ve done with being longer, especially when the next story was three times as long as was not as good. It was also really nice seeing the brother and sister relationship between Coriane and Julian, but then with everything that happens in this novella, it really did need to be longer. It needed some more time to develop how everything was happening with and to Coriane more deeply, which would have been more emotional to the readers, especially as it was meant to be happening over some time, but yet again, was only 50 odd pages. It left me a little unsatisfied and wanting more.

‘Steel Scars’, the second novella on the other hand, could defiantly have done with being shorter and written differently. This novella tells the story of Captain Farley and her adventures leading the Scarlet Guard, the attack on the capital, including how she meets Shade Barrow and how she therefore gets involved with his sister, Mare Barrow. This novella could’ve been alot better but I really didn’t seem to enjoy it. It took me a while to get into the story and it wasn’t until Shade was introduced that I really started paying much attention. I really would’ve preferred this if it was told from Shades point of view, rather than Farleys. It was just too long and could’ve been reduced easily, which is saying something when I’m reading a short story/novella.

I liked how the first story was told from the perspective of a Silver Bloods, who eventually becomes the queen of all the silvers, high up in power. While the second is told from the point of view of a Red Blood, who again is also high up in power but in the rebellion, in the Scarlet Guard.

So for this I have no choice but to give this book an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, which is disappointing to me because I was really looking forward to this one, being a really big fan. If you are a fan of the Red Queen series then you will enjoy as it is nice to know some backround information on the characters you love, or hate, or just have meh feelings about, as it is some extra character development. I really did enjoy Queen Song and I loved learning more about shade and for those reason I feel bad about giving this book a 3.5, but it’s for those reasons that I’ve rated this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Review: The Art of Going Home (The Art of Living Book 1) – Nicole Sorrell

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***
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review of the book and as part of Goodreads Bookclub.

When Maddie Chandler was ten years old, her twin sister, Angeline, was murdered. Her mother then goes insane, being placed in an institution and with her father being who he is, Maddie is placed into the care of Aunt Ceci, who raises and treats Maddie as though she is her own daughter. Maddie goes through high school being blamed for her sisters death, also for being the wrong sister to have died, leaving town as soon as she leaves for college. It takes her ten years before she comes back to her home town, but sadly, she only come back to attend the funeral of the beloved Aunt Ceci. But as soon as she is back, she is forced to face her troubled past that she has hidden even from herself. There is some happiness, in the form of her old high school crush Zac, her friends and her home made family. Will she find the truth behind the murder of her sister? Is she going insane or is she really seeing her sisters ghost?

I was genuinely shocked that I enjoyed this book as much as i did and it was because I thought that I wasn’t going to enjoy this book, I have been putting it off until the last minute until it had to be read for the bookclub on Goodreads. There are so many topics in this book, which is surprising as it isn’t that big of a book, such as; Mystery, Erotica, Romance, Crime, Death, Paranormal, that I wasn’t sure which was the main theme of the book. There is another topic/theme, but I didn’t want to include it abovw, as it will give away one of the main surprises to the plot of this book.

The characters did have some strong developments, and I did like the relationship between Maddie and Zac. I even liked the relationship, or lack there of, between Maddie and her father. Even the writing was good and easy to follow and once I started reading it, it took me less than 2 days to finish it.

I did want to give this book 4 stars out of 5 because I did enjoy this book and it was good, but there were so many questions left unanswered and even though I know that there is going to be another book, I wouldn’t rush out to buy it. So for that reason, I had to give it 3 stars out of 5.

Now if you like mysteries you may like this one. It keeps you guessing right up until the last page, with constant twists and turns. If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of this book. Do you agree or disagree with my rating?

Review: The Cage – Ethan Cross

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*****

This is the novella prequel to the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross and it was amazing!. It was completely different to what I was expecting it to be and from what I was hoping it to be considering it was a prequel, but as it is a novella, I’m glad that it’s not as there would need a lot more explanation and a bigger book.

This book is about a well known and feared psychopathic serial killer named Francis Ackerman Jr, who ironically, has no fear himself. He was the subject of his fathers cruel experiments, in order to prove and publish his theories amongst other psychologists, putting him through physical and psychological torture, including killing his own mother in front of him. But, he does give you a chance, he plays a game with you, if you win you live, but if you lose and he wins, then your his and believe me, he knows alot about torture. In this novella we see how a group of doctors want to use Ackerman, once again has an experiment, to prove that they have discovered the treatment for psychopaths, transferring him from the security and safety of prison, to the security of the hospital. Ackerman sees this has his opportunity to escape, as all that now stands in his way is the security of the hospital and a young woman who has “personal vendetta against the killer”.

I personally loved this novella and thought that it was a great addition to the Shepherd series, even if it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought, that being a prequel, that this book was going to be about Ackerman and his father and focus more of him and his childhood and how it all began, but I’m also glad that it wasn’t. For this to have been about that, this couldn’t have been a novella and would have had to have been a much bigger book, because otherwise fans of this series would have been left disappointed.

I am so glad that I read the other books first, before reading this novella, because even though this is a prequel, I really don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly have as much and would have given it fewer stars. With it being shorter, there wasn’t a chance to develop the character of the amazing Francis Ackerman Jr, and between him and Marcus (sorry, you don’t get to meet him in this novella, read the series to discover :D) the character isn’t has strong as in the other books, if this is your first read. The information I gave at the top of this review about what his father did to him as a child, most of that information isn’t included in this novella, but I think you need to know this to understand the character, especially if you choose to start the series with this book.

Luckily, I came into reading this with the three books from the Shepherd series in my mind and was able to take everything in with amazingness. The thing I loved about this book, which may be a spoiler or a tease, if you are planning on reading this series, which I HUGHES,  HIGHLY recommend, is how Ackerman wrote to Jennifer about his crimes. Reminding me of the phone calls he made in The Shepherd,  which then turned to Marcus in The Prophet, always needing to confess his sins or always needing someone.

The great thing about this series is how Ethan Cross is able to create an amazing villain. I see myself routing for Francis Ackerman Jr throughout all of the books, wanting him to escape. Hopefully that’s so there’ll be more books and not because there’s something weird about me, but he’s so intriguing and he is by far my favourite character throughout this whole series.

Again, I give one of my highest recommendations to this series, that’s if you like a good thriller book, but maybe do what I did and read the other books first and then come back to this one to read so there’s a much better understanding. A massive 5 out of 5!!

The Shepherd series:
●The Cage – Ethan Cross (Novella)
●The Shepherd – Ethan Cross
●The Prophet – Ethan Cross
●Darkest Fear – Ethan Cross (also called ‘Father of Fear’)

Have you read any or all these books, if so, do you agree or disagree with my opinion/review? What’s your favourite book series? Comment below.

March Book Haul 2016

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Even though March isn’t technically over yet, this is going to be my first book haul on my site and I’ve got to admit that I was really excited for this haul, for one book in particular. I bought/won seven books this month, five of which arrived this morning, one of these books complete one of my top favourite series, owning every book he has written. So in no particular order, lets dive in….

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1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky.
“Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.”
Just from flicking through this book this morning, I can already see that this book written in a diary formatting from Charlies point of view, which is something different to what I’ve read recently and that really excites me to read this book. It’s not a big book to read either as it’s only 231 pages.

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2. Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon.
“Maddie is allergic to the world. She hasn’t left her house in seventeen years.
Olly is the boy next door. He’s determined to find a way to reach her.
Everything, Everything is about the crazy risks we take for love.”
I was looking forward to reading this book before it arrived today, but then it arrived and my boyfriend came to visit me for a couple of hours and picked up the book. He got so engrossed in the book that he finished the entire book within less than two hours, laughing for what seemed like most of it and gasps and noises here and there, finally closing it and saying how much he enjoyed it. I wasn’t happy that he read it before me and how fast, but now I so can’t wait to read this book!!! This book contains 306 pages.

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3. Faceless – Alyssa Sheinmel.
“When Maisie is burnt in a terrible accident, her face is partially destroyed. She’s lucky enough to get a face transplant, but how do you live your life when you can’t even recognise yourself any more? As Maisie discovers how much her looks shaped her relationship to the world, she has to redefine her own identity, and to figure out what ‘lucky’ really means.”
What really intrigued me about this book is the who identity issue behind it. Imagine looking into the mirror, but instead of seeing yourself, you see somebody else’s face. Not recognising yourself anymore, because you have somebody else’s face. How would that make you feel? I honestly don’t know how I would cope, which is why I bought this book and what makes me want to read it, to see how Maisie copes. This book contains 343 pages.

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4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews.
“It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out: the answer to the basic existential question, how is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insane low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mother forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.”
This is going to sound really bad, coming from proud book reader, but I watched this film without knowing that it was a book first. I didn’t find out until looking on amazon for books to buy and I came across this book. I really enjoyed the film, so even though I knew what the ending was going to be, I had to buy this book, especially when I read the reviews on amazon. I’ve also read disappointing reviews, but I’ll have to decide for myself. This book contains 295 pages, plus extra from the author.

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5. Still Alice – Lisa Genova.
“Alice is just fifty when she finds herself in a downward spiral,  increasingly disoriented and forgetful. A university Professor,  wife and mother of three, she has books to write, places to see, grandchildren to meet. But now a tragic diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s disease is set to change her life – and her relationship with her family and the world – forever.
Losing her yesterdays, living for each day, her short term memory is hanging by a frayed thread. But she is still Alice.”
This was a spur of the moment buy while walking through a market and coming across a charity book stall. I had seen this book all over amazon and Goodreads and being completely honestly, I picked this book up and bought it without reading the desciption and knowing anything about it. I thought that if it’s all over amazon and Goodreads and if it’s now a movie, then it must be good and for 50p I was not saying no to that. After reading the description, it does sound good and I’m glad I picked it up. This book contains 329 pages.

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6. The Cage – Ethan Cross.
“Francis Ackerman Jr. is one of the most prolific serial killers in US history. But he’s not only a serial killer, he’s also a serial escapist. When a doctor who has discovered a groundbreaking treatment for psychopaths wants to test his theories upon Ackerman, the madman sees his chance at freedom. The only people that stand in his way are the hospital’s head of security and a you g woman with a personal vendetta against the killer.”
I have been looking forward to this prequel novella for months, but as I live in the UK and this is an international edition, when looking for it on places like Amazon for a new copy, it was £40 odd plus £10 delivery for a NOVELLA. I was also finding it on eBay and other places for around £10 odd used and for me that sounded expensive for a novella that’s not even a 100 pages (starts on page 13). But luckily. Amazon UK had 2 In stock New at £5.99, which is individually more expensive than every book on this list, but I just had to have it. I love Ethan Cross’ books, especially the Shepherd series. I have two favourite series and the Shepherd series is one of them. The thing that I love with this series is the villain. I love the villain!! He is my favourite character and I route for him to escape and get away, which shows that there is kind of something wrong with me right? I need to put reviews up about the other books, plus this one when I read it. This one contains 103 pages.

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7. Missing, Presumed – Susie Steiner.
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, an uncorrected proof copy. I am so excited about this book for so many reasons. This is the first book that I have ever won, from a good read giveaway, or from anywhere else, it’s a free book 😀 who doesn’t like free books, it’s an uncorrected proof copy which are so rare. But above all, I am so excited to read this book. I have wrote about winning this book, including the desciption of this book. Please click here for more information on this book. This book contains 404 pages.

I have so many books on my TBR list that I don’t buy too many books at the moment, I am currently on a book ban, so I shouldn’t be doing a lot of Book Hauls.

What books have you bought or read this month? Or what books are you most excited about reading? Comment below.

Review: The Missing Hours – Emma Kavanagh

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****
I would first like to thank NetGalley, the Author and the Publisher for the free copy of this book. I would also like to say that even though I did receive a free copy of this book, my review is 100% honest, like always.

This is a book that was filled with mystery right from the very beginning and has you guessing and changing your mind throughout the entire book. Without giving away too many spoilers, Dr Selena Cole goes missing, leaving her two girls alone in the park and then within less than 24 hours, she is found but has no memory of those missing hours. What happened during those hours? Is she lying? At the same time the dead body of Dominic Newell shows up. Are the two cases related?

The first chapter of this book got me hooked straight away and it was my favourite because I loved the fact that it was told from the point of view of the young daughter of the missing Selena Cole and I was excited to see more chapters from such a young character, but sadly this was the only one. The rest of the chapters are told from many different character perspectives, which is something I really like in a book.

The story is told mainly through the two main detectives working on the two cases, who just happen to be brother and sister, which is great and I loved their interaction with each other and how they were able to understand each other with just a glance or a look. The storys also told from the point of view of the other characters, including, the missing Dr Selena Cole. There was also lots and lots of case files, news articles, journals, papers and other things written and included that made up at least a minimum of a third of this book.

There was a strong development for each of the characters individually and for the relationships between the characters. Like I said previously, my favourite aspect was the relationship between the brother and sister cop duo, which was brilliant. They didn’t even have to speak to know what each other were thinking. Even with the strong storyline that it had, the ending needed to be longer, as I felt disappointed and felt that it kind of ended abruptly, leaving me needing a couple more chapters just to end it properly.

When it came to the finale, I expected the reason that she went missing (I honestly did), but I didn’t have any idea who the murderer was, but when it was discovered and the reason why, it was a bit of a let down to be honest.

Overall, it did keep me guessing throughout, which I loved, with a great storyline and my favourite character relationship duo I’ve read in a while. If you love a great mystery and crime book that keeps you guessing then this is your type of book and I highly recommend it, so I’m going to rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

My Goodreads Giveaway Win!

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Whoop whoop! My Goodreads Giveaway book that I’ve wan has finally arrived in the mail today and I am so excited to read it. I have received an uncorrected proof copy of Missing, Presumed written by Susie Steiner and I would like to thank both Goodreads and the author for this giveaway. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this book and it has been added to my TBR list.

Check out the decription of this book, that I’ve taken directly from Goodreads:

“Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.

As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.

A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her.”