Weekly Update

While everyone else is doing Stacking The Shelves I've decided that NOT buying physical books would be a great idea, so here's everything else I'm doing!

Books Read This Week

I was so pleased to have started and finished the Chemical Garden series, only to be then told by a major publisher on NetGalley that they were declining my request simply because I'd read dystopia recently and the book I requested was Contemporary. I'm not going to lie, I'm annoyed. I feel like bloggers shouldn't be influenced certain ways. If I read exclusively adult fantasy and requested YA, fine. However all my recent reviews have been YA books.

Overall it's been an okay week for reading but I'm still waiting on a book that will blow my mind. The Chemical Garden series is incredibly disappointing, I've already forgotten about The Truth About Alice and The 5th Wave is so........... slow..........

Happy Anniversary!

I've been with this fellow idiot for 9 years now and at some point we should really get married and get a lot of cats. Mainly the cats part.

Quick Book Plug!

A girlfriend of Bear's (the hairy one above) friend wrote a whole book but it doesn't have many views or reviews, care to check it out?

Review of Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Genres: Dystopia, Romance 
Pages: 371
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: 21/02/2012
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With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

Will contain spoilers for the previous books in the series, Fever and Wither.

When we last left Rhine, she had just been rescued from Housemaster Vaughn by his son, who takes her to his Uncle's home in this book. She recovers there while making plans to (finally) go and find her brother, not knowing that in her absence her brother has started a rebellion against the very labs their parents worked for.

Reading Fever and Sever was both a bit like trying to ride an old rusted bicycle up a very long hill. I was desperate for Rhine to just go and find her brother already, especially as we'd waited THREE BOOKS for this moment. I don't believe she did head off to find him until about 40% into the story, which was pretty frustrating.

Wither, as I will always say, is one of my favourite books but it was like it was written by a different author. The rest of the series is bogged down by cliches, characters killed off for shock value and the inevitable pretty ending where every loose end is tied up in a neat bow. Well, apart from not learning the fate of one character which really annoyed me.

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to YA heroines is the ones that do nothing, waiting for the next part of the plot to roll round as if they're at a sushi buffet. Rhine is the archetype of this, I don't think there was a single piece of major plot that wasn't handed to her and she seemed to need help from literally everyone, including bloody Vaughn.

I did really start to get frustrated with Rhine during this book. She'd learn something new, something really vital to the whole plot and then just keep it to herself. At no point during the story did she think that telling people what was actually going on would be a good idea, she just... sat there. It must have happened several times and by the end of the book I wanted to chuck her in the sea.

A major death in the book is never really explained. Like I watch 24 Hours In A&E and I know for a bloody fact that that's not science, where on earth did you pull that one from? Then I was like, okay, they're gonna live and we'll all laugh in the morning about how ridiculous it was to nearly die that way but NOPE.

Honestly I couldn't be less impressed. Adding to my frustrations was the literal throw in of Gabriel at some point during the book who continues to lack any semblance of personality and you just get a big giant pile of disappointment. I do think Lauren is an incredibly talented writer but has a lot of growth to do.

Review of Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Genres: Dystopia, Romance 
Pages: 341
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: 21/02/2012
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Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ring mistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness.

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the mansion...by any means necessary.

Warning: there will be spoilers for Wither, the previous book in this series.

Over-hype is a truly terrible thing, we see it all the time, there's always the most popular book out and everyone is raving and you pick it up expecting Great Things, only to be bitterly disappointed. I think I had an idea in my head when I started reading Fever, of where I wanted it to go and I was definitely disappointed when I didn't get the story that I was hoping for.

We left Wither on a true high note, Rhine and Gabriel had escaped the shackles of her husband's mansion and she planned to find her brother. What I was expecting was for the story to turn post-apocalyptic, with the whole walking from destroyed town to destroyed town thing. What we got was... I'm not really sure. Compared the gorgeous writing and pacing of the first book this was undeniably a mess.

We start of where Rhine and Gabriel are captured by a Carnival which is actually a brothel featuring some sort of French woman who's batsh-... completely batty and Rhine keeps her virginity very much in tact due to a combination of voodoo magic and sheer bloody determination from the author I guess. The rest of the story is trippy mess as Rhine slowly descends into a Fever that doesn't break.

Speaking of the carnival scenes, I really felt that this was added at different point than the rest of the book, possibly later. The whole thing is written quite rushed and choppy, completely different to writing style in the rest of the book which made the whole thing more confusing.

Old characters are reintroduced but don't have quite the same impact as Wither. Gabriel becomes somewhat cardboard unfortunately, as I loved him in the first book. Rhine can't seem to make up her mind what she wants and the discovery of what happened to one of Rhine's friends was a bit too much even for me.

Weekly Update

While everyone else is doing Stacking The Shelves I've decided that NOT buying books would be a great idea, so here's everything else I'm doing!

Books Read This Week

Not one but two five star reads this week and both reviews are on my blog. I've read Wither three times now and it's an old favourite, while The Cruel Prince was so good that when I saw a copy in WHSmiths that I went to look for, I had to buy it.

Cross Stitch

I'm currently cross stitching Frederick The Literate from Dimensions and it's going well, I've been distracted the last couple of days stitching a mother's day card so I'm going to try and get more progress in soon.


I'm currently level 38 with my character Valdus Mistfist (a truly classy name) and he's just unlocked the third world, Mooshu. I'm currently working on a side world, Wysteria, first. It's free fishing all weekend though so I'm traipsing around looking for chests that might have pets or mounts in them!

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to leave a comment with a link to your blog!

Review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Genres: Dystopia, Romance
Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: 22/03/2011
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By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Clearly, I must love this book because I keep going back to it. I first read it just after it was released back in 2011, then again a couple of years later before going back to it in 2018. It's pretty incredible to think that I first read this book 7 years ago, it feels like yesterday. It's a bleak and depressing dystopian story, and just my cup of tea.

The world of Wither is very simple, some readers might argue, too simple. In a bid to cure cancer the world discovered that they can no longer conceive children than live longer than 20 years, 25 for males. America descended into a culture of glittering, lavish parties for the rich, with child brides on the arm of every young bachelor, the country desperately trying to keep it's population stable.

Rhine answers an ad asking for lab rats and unwittingly finds herself thrown into a van with multiple other girls, before being chosen as one of Linden Ashby's new brides. The whole book from start to finish is just raw, undiluted emotion as Rhine comes to terms with entrapment, death and the hope of finally escaping to find her twin brother.

The world building isn't perfect but I never care for that. What is much, much more important is how well written every character is and DeStefano really excels at this. Every character had their own nuances, their own backstory and their own struggles, it was hard to pick a favourite. Linden was a wonderful addition, his naivety of the situation made him impossible not to care for and it made perfect sense when Rhine was conflicted about running away.

I love that the ending gave me hope for what will happen in the next book (which I don't remember as well as this book), while not resorting to a frustrating cliff-hanger. I can't wait to go back to old characters as well as meet some new ones, too.

Review of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Faeries
Pages: 384
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: 01/02/2018
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Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The last book I read reminded me of why I stopped reading and reviewing Young Adult books. This book reminded me of why I came back. It's everything I could want from a YA book and more, while being tied to a book that started off my love of YA. The story also reminded me of another early favourite, Poison Study (which I must dig out and re-read this year).

Jude is wild, unpredictable and everything I could want from a YA heroine. I tire of simpering heriones that require everyone else to do the work for them. Or the ones that won't do The Hard Thing because they have all these morals and can never, ever, break them. No worries with Jude, while she's not completely lawless, she does whatever is necessary for things to do the way she wants them to, without coming across as arrogant.

The boys. Can we have a shoutout for the boys? And another for Vivi and her girlfriend? Honestly while this book is crammed to the brim with beautiful boys I did really want to spend a day with Vivi and her girlfriend, as Vivi quickly became my favourite character. After finding out her father is fae and she too, she never disconnects from the human world but stays, I presume, for her sisters. Despite her anger and her disappointment with Jude and Taryn for embracing the faerie world, she never cuts them off.

Of the boys, Prince Carden is easily my favourite. It's hard to work out which one of the boys is The Cruel Prince, as quite frankly, they all are. I really had a soft spot for Carden though and heavily shipped him and Jude, even if all logic says that this is impossible due to their hatred of each other.

While this is a world of faerie, it's a harsh and cruel world of bloodshed, politics and partying - so basically it's like Charles the First's reign combined with Charles the Second's. I guess that makes Madoc Oliver Cromwell to be honest. I was stuck between whether to like or hate Madoc, a problem Jude also shared.  I liked his wife though, as much as she nit-picked I think she did care about the girls.

It's worth noting if you haven't read any of Holly's books before that this book is definitely set in the same world as her previous book, Tithe and may also be connected to The Darkest Part Of The Forest, however I haven't read the latter. In fact readers of Tithe may well get a welcome surprise later in this book! The story stands by itself though, so if you don't wish to read the previous books you won't miss out on anything.

Review of The Truth Beneath The Lies by Amanda Searcy

Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: 12/12/2017
Find The Author: Website / Twitter
Find The Book: Book Depository / Amazon UK/US
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Fight or Flight. 

All Kayla Asher wants to do is run. Run from the government housing complex she calls home. Run from her unstable mother. Run from a desperate job at No Limit Foods. Run to a better, cleaner, safer life. Every day is one day closer to leaving. 

All Betsy Hopewell wants to do is survive. Survive the burner phone hidden under her bed. Survive her new rules. Survive a new school with new classmates. Survive being watched. Every minute grants her another moment of life. 

But when fate brings Kayla and Betsy together, only one girl will live.

This is the first Young Adult book I've read and reviewed in four years and it really did feel like a welcome home story, with many familiar themes - coming of age, difficult relationships... and a good old fashioned plot twist that I'd already guessed by the end of the first chapter. Either I'm a magician when it comes to plot twists or the authors need to try harder.

I liked the switch between Kayla and Betsy each chapter, as they were very different people. Kayla seemed youthful and hopeful for the future, while Betsy had pretty much given up on her life and seemed to be waiting for it to end. Kayla's stuck in a dead end job, while still in high school and struggling with the way she's treated by her friends when she meets Jordan, who seems to offer a better life. Betsy is living in a new town, with new friends but is too scared to let anyone in, in case they get hurt or worse.

It was interesting to watch the character development of these two girls, as Kayla starts to question Jordan's friend and the bodies of young girls her age start piling up her world gets darker, while Betsy's world starts looking more promising after she meets a pregnant girl called Happy and practically becomes part of her family. It was really cleverly done contrast  and perfectly timed too.

With it being a fairly big plot twist I was expecting a bit more of a TAADAAH, pull the satin sheet off moment but it was written as if this was knowledge that was known throughout the whole story. This is true in my case but many Goodreads reviewers were surprised (I'm not jealous honest). This section of the book was were it really started to go downhill.

While the majority of the book reads like a contemporary novel, three quarters of the way in the plot is explained better but unfortunately it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Parts of it felt thrown in for shock value and others could have done with more thinking about because there were events that would never have happened in this world.

Still, I did get that moment where I close the final page and want to sob a little to myself, so it wasn't all bad. The majority of it was very, very good and Amanda really knows how to write about well rounded characters instead of cardboard cut outs, which is a difficult thing to do.

Snow Blind Comic Book Review

What happens when you discover your parents aren’t the people you thought they were?

For high school student Teddy, life in a sleepy suburb in Alaska turns upside down when he innocently posts a photo of his dad online, only to learn he and his family are in the Witness Protection Program. A man seeking revenge invades their town, followed soon after by pursuing FBI agents . . . but what if his dad's reasons for going into the program aren't as innocent as he says?

Snow Blind is very similar to Dept. H, the last graphic novel that I read, in the sense that the story is told as an internal monologue and the art style is rough sketches combined with watercolour. While the story is much stronger (and the art a lot better), I still didn't think that this would be a particularly memorable read.

The story is simple enough, and is told in 4 issues: Teddy post a photo online of his dad and discovers that his family is in Witness protection for something that happened years ago. Naturally he does the most sensible thing and asks his dad about it goes private detective, putting someone in hospital in the process.

The story wrapped up well but it was predictable and unoriginal, unfortunately. Thankfully it's a very quick read with a couple of action scenes to help it along. I'd be interested to see what the author/illustrator does next.


House Of Penance Comic Book Review

A horrific take on the true story of the Winchester haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of the Winchester rifle from claiming her own life and soul. This is a tale of guilt, ghosts, and guns . . . of how fortune brings misfortune as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty-four hours a day for twenty years, with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying.

I know of the Winchester Mystery House and love anything creepy, so I picked up this volume as soon as I could. At first I wasn't sure about the art style but I grew to understand and love it by the second issue. This is a wonderfully simple, wonderfully creepy tale of loss and grief that warmed even my chilly little heart (Thank you BianaDR).

The artwork itself isn't realistic and yet that's what makes it so damn creepy. Imagine that instead of rivers of blood you have snakes of red, twisting and turning, reaching for the characters. There is so much blood and ghosts haunting the pages of this and it's all masterfully created by Ian Bertram, whose work I will be looking for in the future! It's a very unique art style and may not be for everyone, but I loved it.

After reading House Of Penance you'd be forgiven for believing that this is a truly fantastical take on the Winchester Mystery House, however this book is actually pretty historically accurate. At least according to various sources, Sarah Winchester really did visit a medium who told her to build a home for the victims of the Winchester rifles and she really did sleep in various different rooms. The building itself looks fairly ridiculous and yet again, accurate - there are roughly 161 rooms, including 40 bedrooms, 2 ballrooms (one completed and one unfinished) as well as 47 fireplaces, over 10,000 panes of glass, 17 chimneys (with evidence of two others), two basements and three elevators. (Thank you Wikipedia).

This could easily be one of my picks of the year as it has everything I could want - lovely artwork, a simple but effective story, plenty of mystery and it's all wrapped up in one volume. Great work guys!

Have a few minutes? Check out this equally creepy song about Mrs Winchester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yHDS0nRblc


Curse of the Granville Fortune by Kelly Hashway - Tour Stop/Giveaway

Find the fortune, break the curse!

The hunt is on for an ancient treasure tied to nine-year-old J.B.'s family history. He's been having visions that make him sweaty, lightheaded, and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak—or worse, going insane. But things are worse than he imagined. The visions stem from a family curse. An ancient ancestor was accused of stealing the massive Granville fortune, and now J.B.’s entirely family will suffer.

To break the curse, J.B. must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But he's not the only one searching for the treasure. As he sets out on his journey through a dark and foreboding forest, he'll battle his worst fears and fight terrifying creatures along the way. And when he meets two others who share the missing pieces of his visions and suffer from the same curse, the three soon realize they need to work together to break the curse before it's too late.


Check out a character profile about Jack! 

Name: Jack Beaumont but he is best known as J.B. because he grew up watching old James Bond movies with this dad, who actually gave him the nickname.
Age: 9
Hair color: brown
Eye color: brown
Ancestry: French descent; his ancestor Jean Beaumont was cursed for stealing the Granville fortune, and now J.B. and his family are suffering from that curse
Major conflict: his family’s curse brings on mind-numbing visions that make J.B. certain he’s going insane
Siblings: J.B. has one sister, Holly, who was born on J.B.’s first birthday. He plays protector to Holly once they embark on a journey inside Braeden Forest.
Favorite pastime: riding his bike
Biggest fear: that he’s losing his mind
Biggest strength: He’s good at figuring out puzzles


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