Review: Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice, #2) – Christina Henry

2016-09-09_14-42-51*** (3.5 stars)

Red Queen is the second book and the continuation in the Chronicles of Alice series, that follows off from where the first book, Alice, left off. I read the first book not so long ago in another Book-A-Thon I had done, and I loved it!! So much so, that I had order the next book in the series, this book, the moment I had finished reading the book, so glad that it was already published and I only had to wait for delivery. I have posted a review for the first book, Alice, if you would like to check it out, just click here. Now, as I said before, this is the second book, so please be warned that there may be spoilers to the first book.

As I said, this book picked up from where the last book left off. Alice and Hatcher had headed down the hole, the same hole that the rabbit and the girls had gone down in search of a better life. Now Alice and Hatcher were off on their new quest, happier than before. But this doesn’t last for long! Their quest is soon interrupted as they have to try and fight to save their lives from unknown creatures and magicians, that could be even more powerful and stronger than Hatcher and even Alice herself.

First thing first, to get a better understanding of this book and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book in this duology first, which is Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1). I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed after reading this book, as it didn’t live up to everything that just made the first book so great. The first book was so dark and it wasn’t afraid to be so disturbing and to include all of the imagery that just made me see and understand everything. Their feelings, what was going on, how grotesque the characters were, what they were doing and so on, including the tone of the book, were just so vivid and vile, but with this book, it was just gone. It was as though the author was trying to tame it down a little bit, but in doing so, it lost that bit of magic or spark, that made that first book so spectacular. There were events where the author could have included so much more, but the characters, Alice and Hatcher, always arrived afterwards, meaning that we just saw the after effects. So no action, at least at the beginning. I understand that they were not supposed to know what was happening at that point, but it felt like it was just a load of walking and talking, which made the beginning of the book drag a little. Plus, when they did discover certain things, they weren’t as expressive and vivid as Book 1, Alice.

What I found weird about this book was that this book had no chapters! I have never read a book which doesn’t contain chapters and this really shocked me and actually freaked me out a lot at first when I realised, which was until I was about 40 pages in. It was however separated into two parts. The fact that there was no chapters, was another reason why I think that this book dragged a little bit more for me. I hate leaving a book on an unfinished page, or what not, which is why chapters are extremely important to me, that way not only do I know exactly what page I’m on, but I can have a break exactly where the author had intended a break to take place. They create breaks in the story for readers, as I said where the author has intended, so you don’t feel bad stopping, and they act as a way to create tension and suspense for readers, building you up for the following chapter. With this book, and having no chapters, there was none of this. I felt guilty every time I stopped to have a reading break, there wasn’t that tension and suspense built up and there seemed to be a one level, until any action happened.

This story starts off with Alice and Hatcher setting off on another quest, the quest that they were about to start at the end of the previous book. As they set off, they soon discover that everything is not as it seems and how is should be and as more time moves on, they begin to realise that maybe somebody or something is behind this strangeness and that there’s the possibility that they may be being followed. They soon walk their way into another quest and their original one, seemed to have taken a back seat, and to be honest, I kind of forgot about it as the book progressed. I did enjoy this new quest as it did add to the book and to the story in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and also made the ending completely different to how I was expecting also.

There were parts in this book that I loved and there were parts that I just didn’t enjoy as much. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book, but maybe that’s because of how much I enjoyed the first book and then built up this book beforehand. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t that much Hatcher in this book, so considering these books are mainly Alice and Hatcher, by removing Hatcher, we were left with one mainly one main character for a chunk of the book, even though we did get some extra characters. Maybe this was one of the other reasons why this book felt like it dragged. But there were parts that just had me gripped to the book! I say that this book dragged, but I managed to read this book in a day, once I was committed on Day 1 of my Book-A-Thon, so it did have me gripped enough to be able to do this.

I would say be warned that there are no chapters, and it doesn’t have the same tone and overall feel of the first book, Alice. I would definitely recommend reading Alice (The Chronicles of Alice, #1) first, as this is a Duology. This book could be read by itself, as there are recap where it sums up certain events from the first book, but to get a fuller idea of this world, the story and the characters, I would definitely recommend reading the first book. I do sadly have to give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Review: Alice (Chronicles of Alice #1) – Christina Henry

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*****

This book really caught my eye when I saw a review of it thanks to the wonderful world of Book Blogging! Ever since then I knew I had to have it, and read it, IMMEDIATELY!! So that is what I did. I knew I was having a free week coming up, so during my week Book-A-Thon, I ordered Alice, which thankfully it arrived the next day, (got to love Amazon Prime), and then waited for the day to read this amazing book. That was my big struggle. So I already had high expectations of this book before going into reading this book, so I was also a bit dubious before reading this, as I didn’t want to be disappointed by my own high build up.

Alice, is the first book in the Chronicle of Alice series, which is an Alice in Wonderland retelling  of sorts, but a much darker and disturbing version. Let me give you the books actual description before I give you my review of this thrilling read;

“In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with  the screams of the poor souls inside.

In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn’t remember why she’s in such a terrible place – just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood. . .

Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.

Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.

And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.”

Sound awesome? Because OMG this book was soooo amazing!!! The book begin after Alice has met the Rabbit, and nobody believed her. She was discovered covered in blood and mumbling about rabbits and eyes and her friend Dor has not returned with her, so she is still missing. Her parents, not getting answers and with Alice still going on about the Rabbit, they put her into a hospital, I believe a mental hospital, deep in the Old City. Over time she forgets what happened to her, except the tea party, long ears, the colour of the eye and the blood. There she meets someone in the room next to hers and they start talking. And that is really where the story really starts and Alice’s new adventure to rediscover her lost memories begins. But is it an adventure she wants to undertake, and memories she want to have back.

I can’t remember the last time I got completely engorged in a book like I did with this one. I became so antisocial while reading this book, because I just didn’t want to stop reading this book for any reason whatsoever! The storyline was so gripping and I just wanted to keep going and to go on the same adventure as Alice and Hatcher as they go along. It was so good and so captivating, and everything that was written was just so perfectly expressed that I could imagine it all so vividly, that it was like it was all being played out in my head. I don’t  even think I took the time to actually eat properly. I definitely didn’t take the time to set the book down and cook a proper home cooked meal that would’ve taking the time to do so, so luckily I was very quick reading this book.

The characters in this book were gripping and so easy to understand. Of course we are going to have to discuss Alice. When reading this book and you are told that it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling, so you instantly get and bring the Alice from the Lewis Carroll classic to mind, before you even open and read this book. But once you start reading, you get a character all of her own. You see her grow and develop throughout this entire book, which is so seamlessly done, that seemless is the best word to use because of how outstanding it is. You don’t see this sudden jump in character, you see a growth and you see why there is a growth, which is something you sometimes don’t get to see and is sometimes missed out. One of these changes, is thanks to another character, Hatcher. This is the character that Alice mets, or hears, in the room next to her in the hospital at the begin of the book. I don’t want to give too much away, as I want to keep my reviews spoiler free.

What was amazing, for me anyways, was when I would hear words that would connect me to the original Lewis Carroll version of Alice in Wonderland, this would make me smile. When I would here simple things such as, the tea party, the cakes and drinks that affected your size, the Jabberwock, the rabbit, the Cheshire and his grin, and so on. It all just made this book that extra bit perfect for me. I love it all. Then how they ended this book!! I want to quote the last part of this book so badly, but omg would that be a spoiler, or a teaser or would that just be mean? I always said that I never wanted to give away spoilers in my reviews, but this last part of this book, OMG!! I have fallen in love. It was a cute little throwback. Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry has already been bought with speedy eagerness. P.s. If you order this book from amazon, don’t look at the amount of pages it says the book has. Before I ordered my copy I was told it was going to have 198 pages, however when my book arrived it had 325 pages, which was better for me. The same for Red Queen, saying 198 but actually having 313 pages.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough. READ IT!! But beware of its dark, violent and possibly disturbing images. Now that you’ve been warned, GO AND READ IT!!! Definitely my biggest recommendation so far this year. Massive 5 out of 5 stars. I loved it!! I can’t wait to read Red Queen 😀

Have you read this book? What did you think of this book? Yay or Nay? Comment below 😀

Review: The Loney – Andrew Michael Hurley

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I received this eARC thanks to Netgalley and the publisher and author, providing an honest and unbiased review of this book.

Where do I start with this book… There is this place, a truly strange, somewhat near deserted place, between Wyre and the Lune, that is known only by what the few locals who remain there call it. That place is called The Loney. Every Easter, Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest, would take a pilgrimage here for its mystical Shrine, along with the unnamed boy narrator and his suggested mentally ill and mute brother Andrew, known better as Hanny, in order to help heal Andrew thanks to God. This year is different however. Father Wilfred is dead, declared accidental, but is there more to the story? So now there is a new priest to take his place, Father Bernard, who has his own ways, but are people willing and ready to accept him and his new ways or do they prefer things how they were?

In all honesty, I am really in two minds when it comes to this book about whether or not I enjoyed it or not. It took me a while to get into the story and when I say a while, I mean at least a third of the way through. If I hadnt been reading this book for Netgalley then I don’t think I would have finished reading this book, that’s how long it took me to get into this book. It started off slow and for me, it wasnt until they actually got to the coast or The Lonely, where it started to actually pick up. But then when I got into the book, it did hook me. I wanted to find out more and therefore needed to keep reading! I had questions I wanted answered, or I just simply wanted to read another chapter and another chapter because I didn’t want to stop.

I will admit that I didn’t realise how much this book was going to be centred and based on religion and maybe that’s why it took me so long to get into the storyline, as it was a bit off putting. It was interesting to read a book that did focus so fully on religion is this way, but it did come a bit unexpected. This cover grabbed my attention instantly and has to be one of my favourite covers I’ve seen in a while, I love it, and I knew it was meant to be a horror book, so I barely read the description before requesting to read this book on Netgalley. Maybe that’s my mistake, but descriptions can sometimes give away too much information and then spoil the book. Like trailers with movies.

One thing I loved about this book is how it was told. The beginning of the book starts off with the unnamed protagonist narrator beginning his story to us, the readers, at his current age, trying to get his point of view of past events across, before it is too late. The book then goes back to when he was younger and he then begins that part of his story to us. We get to see everything from his eyes and how he saw and remembers it, which shamefully took me a while to realise what was happening. Throughout the whole book, we never get to know his name! This does annoy me, but yet I also think that its fitting for his character, as he never really gets any of the attention in this book. The character who shows him the most attention is Father Bernard, who subsequently gives him his own little nickname, which is the only name we hear him called throughout the entire book, and that’s Tonto.

I personally believe that there are some very strong characters, with great development behind them, illustrated in this book. Even though I couldn’t connect to several of the characters because of their strong religious beliefs and how much it defined them, how they were presented in the book was strong. There were others I loved. I loved the relationship between the brothers ‘Hanny’ and the main protagonist ‘Tonto’ and how only siblings are and how they have their own special relationship. They are able to communicate in way that no one is able to in the whole entire book. In fact, ‘Tonto’ is maybe to only person who is able to properly communicate with Hanny. Their relationship kind of reminds me of George and Lennie’s relationship in “Of Mice and Men”.

I don’t think that I would class this book as a horror book, as it didn’t frighten or scare me, especially compared to more thrilling and terrifying books. It just wasnt creepy enough. But maybe that aspect was lost on me as I wasn’t fully engaged enough to be afraid of what I was reading. There are elements of supernatural, I think, mixed in with religion, but its hard to identify which is meant to be which.

When it came to the ending, it definietly left me wanting more. In my eyes, it had been building up to this big ending, or big reveal, and it just left me completely unsatisfied, with questions left unanswered. I’d even been expecting some plot twist at the end for some reason, which didn’t occur. For a book that was 367 pages and wasted pages on unnecessary parts, it could have used that time to spend it answering those questions and building towards a better ending.

So when it comes to my recommendation of this book, I will say that it all depends on what your personal preferences are. This book does have some high reviews, so I may be in the minority that didnt appreciate it to its fullest. I did enjoy it, but was left dissatisfied and it did take me a while to get into it. If you don’t like overly religious books, then maybe pick a different book.

I’m only giving this book 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my favourite either, just maybe the wrong book for me. Have you read this book? Let me know what you thought? Comment below 😀

Review: Lethal Lore – Monica Shaughnessy

 

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This isn’t your normal horror novel, but it is in fact a book containing four short horror stories that are each meant to tell and portray their own different story, based on different myths.

I selected and downloaded this book free from Story Cartel in exchange for a honest and unbiased review, after receiving an email from their site. I chose this book as my first book to download and review, as it was recommended to fans of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe, so I was really looking forward to reading these stories.

I feel like I should review each individual story that’s in this book, but as they are short stories, in order for me to do that there may be spoilers.

Simple Math: “A mathematician on the brink of suicide meets his doppelgänger, doubling his troubles.” – This story in its simplest for, is about doppelgangers. Out of the four stories in Lethal Lore, this story, Simple Math, would have to be my favourite story. It’s the story that stays with the most and was the one whose meaning I was able to take away from the tale. I already guessed the twist ending before both men left the ValuMart, so when it happened and was revealed at the end, I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised.

Killer Jack: “A naïve Cajun bags more than he bargained for during a jackalope hunt.” This story comes across as being about jackalopes, but that is just the underline story with this one. Out of the four, this would have to be my second favourite. Again, the second that one of the characters said to the other “We’re hunting Jack”, I knew the ending to this tale, especially after the beginning of the story.

Hell Cent: “Bad luck for one person is good luck for another, as The Professor soon learns.” This story is about the luck, or bad luck a person can have with the flip of a coin. I couldn’t really get into this story until the ending, which is where all the action was. It did get interesting towards the end because there was some action and I did want to find out what was going to happen, but has for the rest of the story, I unfortunately didn’t understand it.

The Bells Of Bury St. Edmunds: “A servant girl exacts justice, unleashing terror on her medieval town.” I know that this story contains murder, love for a man who just doesn’t love her back, heart break and revenge, but I honestly can’t remember what happened in this story. Nothing in it appealed to me and it just confused me. I don’t to spoil it because it did start off strong but somehow just went downhill for me and just going over my head and not understanding. This had to be my least favourite out of them all.

What I liked about this book was that after each story there was a little myth fact tale that tells you where the myth for each story originates from. If you don’t want to read it then you don’t have to, but it is there for those who do and its nice to know the stories behind the stories. I have to admit that I was disappointed by these stories and was really looking forward to reading some really good horror tales with the recommendations that they came with. I am a massive horror junkie so I was let down. I’d still give it a 3 out of 5 stars for the first 2 stories and the ending of the third one and would give the last a read at another time.

They are all short stories so give them a read and see what you all think. Which one is your favourite? Let me know.