Friday, 17 November 2017

Blog Blitz Review - The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins




Hi everyone and thanks for popping in to check out my stop on the blog blitz for The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins. I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this from the publisher to review for this blitz so, lets jump straight in. 


 The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins
Published by Bookouture on 15th November 2017
Goodreads Challenge - 74/50
Star Rating - ****

I received an eARC from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis

Four friends. A house full of secrets. And a killer picking them off one by one...

'She tried to break her fall, twisting desperately, but there was nothing to catch hold of, nothing with which she could stop herself. Her single scream cut through the night air.'

One hot summer night, a young woman falls from a rooftop to her death. Detective Alex King is called to the quiet terraced street.

The victim, Keira North, was twenty, happy and carefree. It seems like an accident, but there’s broken glass on the carpet, and witnesses overheard an argument. Could someone have wanted her dead? 

Keira’s friends don’t seem as helpful as Alex would expect and the post-mortem reveals that Keira was hiding a secret: she was five months pregnant. Alex’s team soon finds that all of Keira's closest friends have secrets that someone might kill to keep.

As Alex realises Keira might be just the first victim on a list, her leads take her a bit too close to home. With her own demons to fight, can Alex catch the killer, before someone else dies?

The First One to Die is a heart-stopping and shocking detective thriller that will have you gripped until the very last page. Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons, and Val McDermid.

My Thoughts

This was a really enjoyable detective thriller that did indeed keep me gripped until the end. We follow Detective Alex Lane and her partner Chloe as they investigate the death of Keria North. At first this seems like an accident but Alex isn't convinced and as they look closer it seems there's more too it then everyone first thought. Keria's friends seem to be hiding secrets of their own and as links begin to form between them and another victim it seems that not everyone is safe.  This was a great story and I really enjoyed reading it. It was a little slow to begin with and lots of characters were introduced all at once, some with little back story, as this is the second in a series. I managed to pick up who was who and where they came from after a couple of chapters and I was very intrigued with where the story was going to go. 

I thought the writing was really good. There was a great flow to the writing, it wasn't extremely fast paced but it wasn't too slow either. Lots of different story threads were weaved together and the pace of the story meant you were able to follow everything easily. The stories became intertwined with one another as we went along and this definitely kept you on your toes. We were given lots of questions and very few answers which kept me wanting to read. I eagerly anticipated these answers and I had to know what happened next. As one question was answered another one appeared. 

There was a very interesting cast of characters in this story. Lots of them were quite unreliable and this meant you never knew what was true and what wasn't. I love unreliable narrators in thrillers it really adds an extra unknown element to the story and these characters really kept me guessing. I had to continue reading. I also really like Alex and Chloe as characters. I particularly liked how they are both female and the lead officers on the case. It's not often you get lead female detectives without any sexist aspects in a detective novel so this was really great to read. 

Overall I really enjoyed this story and as a second in a series I will say it can be quite easily read as a standalone. It has it's own story arc which is easy to follow however, interspersed through out are mentions of some overarching plot points that I think was introduced in the first book. This overarching plot focused more on our main characters, Chloe and Alex, and, although it didn't detract from the main story line I may have enjoyed the subplots more having read the first book. That being said it was a great detective thriller that kept my guessing all the way to the end and it is one I would recommend. 

Overall Rating 

This book is available from the following links.

Amazon UK          Amazon US

Author Bio


Victoria Jenkins lives with her husband in South Wales, where she writes crime fiction and teaches English. The Girls in the Water is her debut novel, the first featuring Detective Inspector Alex King and Detective Constable Chloe Lane. The second book in the series will be published in late 2017.

Facebook: VictoriaJenkinsWriter        Twitter: Vicwritescrime

Thank you for stopping by to check out my review of The First One to Die. The blog blitz has been running since the 15th November so if your interested you can check out the other stops below. 






Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Review - Gabriel's Clock and Sammael's Wings by Hilton Pashley

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Gabriel's Clock and Sammael's Wings by Hilton Pashley
Published 4th September 2014 and 1st May 2016 retrospectively by Andersen Press
Goodreads Challenge 77/50 and 78/50
Star Rating - **.5 and *** retrospectively 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Gabriel's Clock
Jonathan is half-angel, half-demon, and the only one of his kind. But he has no idea of his true identity, and now a rogue archdemon wants him for his own sinister purpose . . .

With the aid of a group of unlikely new friends, Jonathan races to find the mysterious Gabriel's Clock, which has the power to start a war between Heaven and Hell that could engulf them all.

Gabriel’s clock is ticking . . . and time is running out.

Sammael's Wings
Jonathan is the only half angel and half demon in the world. Having discovered his heritage, he must now continue the battle against the demonic forces that are hellbent on ruling creation. The Archdemon Baal is one such monster, and he holds Jonathan's parents captive. But to succeed, Baal needs the wings of an Archangel. Jonathan and his great-aunt Sammael are the only two such angels left, but they aren't going to give up their wings without a fight. Jonathan will not rest until his family is safe once again, even if he must go through heaven and hell to save them.

My Thoughts

These are the first two books in the Hobbes End trilogy with the third book being released this month. This series follows Jonathan who is the only half angel half demon in existence. In the first book Jonathan is left in Hobbes End under the care of his Archangel Grandfather after being on the run from an Archdemon. He begins to learn that not all is as it seems and discovers who he really is just in time to find out he is being sought out by this Archdemon. Jonathan and his friends from Hobbes End work together to fight the forces of evil and try and stop an all out war between the angels of heaven and the demons of hell. We continue this adventure in book two with Jonathan becoming more atune to his powers which brings all sorts of trouble as the Archdemon in book one is not the only one after Jonathan. 

I've decided to review both of these books together as I have fairly similar feelings on both of the books. I also read them one after the other so I feel a joint review is the best thing to do. This is a really fun middle grade series that I did enjoy reading. Being middle grade the writing is quite simple and the story moves very quickly but this didn't detract from my enjoyment. That being said the simplistic nature of the story meant that I felt the writing was lacking depth. Action scenes were skimmed over quite quickly and a lot was packed into a page meaning things weren't developed as much as I would of liked. The characters also lacked depth for me and I would of liked a little bit more exploration of their personalities and their emotions. Especially Jonathan who goes through a lot in these two books. The first book suffers more from these flaws then the second. I think the authors writing developed in between book one and book two and we got a bit more description of the world in book two, especially of places we didn't visit in book one. Book two also got a bit darker in places which I liked. This seemed very fitting to the story. 

The characters are very likeable. I liked the supportive nature and the close feelings of friendship between our main characters. It's nice to have both strong male and female characters who have a role in the story. It was especially nice to see Cay come into her own in book two. My favorite character by far was Elgar. I love his sense of humor and wit and he appeals to older readers. I definitely found myself chuckling out loud several times throughout both books. 

Overall I thought this was a fun and enjoyable middle grade story that children of this age would definitely enjoy. I would of liked a bit more depth though and I think this would of helped it appeal to older readers like myself. That being said I found it to be an enjoyable reading experience and I'm looking forward to diving into book three. I'm part of the blog tour for book three so I will be posting a full review of that one, I'll link it here when it goes live. 

Overall Ratings (2.5* and 3*)


 
 

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Reiew - Blackbird by N.D. Gomes

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Blackbird by N.D. Gomes
Published 16th November 2017 by HQ Young Adult
Goodreads Challenge - 75/50
Star Rating - ****

I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don't know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year's Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?
 

My Thoughts

This was another really enjoyable YA thriller that read super quickly and kept me hooked until the very end. There's not much I can say about the synopsis that isn't detailed above without spoiling the book but we follow Alex as she strives to find out what happened to her sister on the night she disappeared. With the help of an unlikely friend, the lead detective on the case, she begins to discover more than she bargains for. 

First of all I want to say I really enjoyed how this story was written. I loved the first person narrative and the way the dialogue was structured. There wasn't any unnecessary commentary and I liked this, it really made the story flow. The whole book felt very stream of consciousness and it was quite metaphorical in places and this really immersed me in the emotions of the story. I loved the way this book depicted grief and the feelings of loss and I really felt Alex's desire to know what happened to her sister. Alex really sought attention and comfort from an outside figure to help her make sense of what was happening and this felt really real. She needed someone to talk to that meant something to her, not meaningless conversation, and this made her detachment from her friends much more understandable. She worked through her feelings in a way that made sense. It was nice to see this rather then see her go off the rails like so many young people do in novels like this.

The story kept me hooked throughout. I was intrigued and I needed to see where we were going to end up. I was completely in the dark with where the story was going until about 80% of the way through. At this point we were given a clue in one of Olivia's chapters and I was able to figure out the reveal. This didn't necessarily ruin the reveal for me but I think we could of done without the hint. The ending would of been more shocking had we not got this as I had absolutely no idea until this point. I was also a little bit iffy about the last 20% of the book. I didn't feel what happened to Alex necessarily needed to happen and I would of just liked the investigation to continue with Inspector Birkins and Alex. I feel it would of been nice to bring Alex's want to discover the truth to a head. That being said, this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story and I still had to keep reading to know what happened. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was a great suspenseful read and one of the more enjoyable YA thrillers that I have read in a while. I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genres. 

Overall Rating 
 


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Review - Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Cress by Marissa Meyer 
Published 6th February 2014 by Puffin Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 73/50

Because this is the third book in the series I cannot guarantee that it doesn't contain spoilers.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

In this third book in Marissa Meyer's bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she's just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she'd ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Thoughts

I'm so glad I continued with this series! A few months ago I read and really enjoyed Cinder so I purchased Scarlet thinking this might be one my new favorite series however, after reading Scarlet I was a little bit disappointed. I decided to persevere with The Lunar Chronicles as I have seen so many people rave about it and I'm very pleased I did. I loved Cress! It completely turned the series around for me and I'm super excited to get stuck into Fairest and Winter. As with Scarlet, I'm not going to go too much into the plot as this is the third in a series, but we continue to follow Cinder and Scarlet on their journey with the introduction of the character of Cress. Each of the books in the Lunar Chronicles is a retelling of a popular fairytale and this is no different, taking some of its inspiration from the story of Rapunzel. Now I felt this one had less of a focus on the fairytale as some of the others but that maybe because I'm not overly familiar with Rapunzel other then Disney's Tangled. You got the girl with very long hair trapped somewhere high she cannot escape from and that's about it. This isn't a criticism however, as to me it didn't affect the story at all. 

One of my main criticisms of Scarlet was that I didn't really feel like anything happened apart from lot's of travelling. There was also a massive focus on Scarlet and we didn't really see much of Cinder however, that was definitely rectified in this book. I loved the structure of this book, we got a good amount from each characters perspective and this along with a good slice of action kept the story moving for me. The pacing was great, switching between perspectives meant the travelling aspects of the story didn't get too boring, and there was a good amount of action scenes that kept me wanting more. I had to know what was going to happen next. 

I really enjoyed Cress as a character. I loved her naivety, I found it really endearing and she has quickly become my new favorite character. I loved her development as a character and she really grew in confidence as we neared the end of the book. Scarlet and Wolf also kind of redeemed themselves as characters in this book. It was nice to see Scarlet have to think for herself and she seemed less reliant on other people, she also worked well as part of the team which was nice. Again it was nice to see Wolf working with the others as well. I also really did feel for Wolf as the story progressed (you'll know what I mean if you've read it). If there's one thing I think Marissa Meyer writes well it's emotions and you could really feel Wolf's desperation. Queen Levana was just as evil as ever and I'm really excited learn more about her now that I'm at the point in the series where I can read Fairest. 

Overall this book definitely redeemed the series for me. I loved Cress and I can't wait to see more of her in the future books. I can't wait to dive into Fairest and I'm excited to learn more about Princess Winter. 


Overall Rating


Saturday, 4 November 2017

October Book Haul

It's that time of the month where I share with you all the books I bought in October. It's a fairly reasonable haul this month but I do have a few more eBooks then last time, NetGalley is to blame for that. So here are all the books I received in October. 



Physical Books

Warcross by Marie Lu
Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Flawed by Cecelia Ahern 
Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven 
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Ebooks

The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore - I received this from the publisher for the Oftomes Publishing read-a-long. 
The Wicked Cometh by Laura Carlin - eARC from NetGalley
Everless by Sara Holland - eARC from NetGalley
The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins - eARC from NetGalley
Wunderkinds Part 1: Wildwood Academy by Jacqueline Silvester - e-copy received from the publisher 
Renegades by Marissa Meyer - eARC from NetGalley
Coral and Bone by Tiffany Daune
Aaru by David Meredith - e-copy received from the author

So these are all the books I acquired in October. The physical book stack is fairly small which is great as I am quickly running out of room. You don't run out of room on a kindle though and this may be my downfall!

Are there any books here you've read and would recommend? I'm really excited for Warcross and Renegades. What did you acquire in October I'd love to know. 





Friday, 3 November 2017

November TBR

I managed to complete my TBR again in October which I feel great about. So what better thing to do in November then to be super ambitious! The books in the picture are my top priority but there's a couple more I'd like to get in if I can. So here they are. 



Review Books

The First One to Die by Victoria Jenkins I received this from the publisher as I'm taking part in the blog blitz on the 17th November so my review will be up then. It's published on 15th November. 

Blackbird by N D Gomes I received this from NetGalley. It's published on 16th November. 

Blackheath by Gabriella Lepore This is the Oftomes Publishing readathon pick for November so I received this one from the publisher to read and review. I read and enjoyed another by this author last month so I'm excited for this one. 

Micheal's Spear by Hilton Pashley I'm reading this one for the blog tour. My stop is on 19th November and this is published on 16th November. This is where my TBR becomes ambitious. This is actually the third book in a series and, although the publisher had told me it can be read as a standalone, I like to start at the beginning. So I'm also hoping to read books one and two in this series which are...

Gabriel's Clock and Sammael's Wings by Hilton Pashley

TBR Books

Fairest and Winter by Marissa Meyer I'm so excited to finish this series after having read and loved Cress last month. 

The Last Animal by Abby Geni I'm still reading this short story collection and I will continue to do so when I'm in the mood for a shorter read. 

So here is my most ambitious TBR to date. I've been doing well so far with these so lets see how this goes. Are there any here that you've read or are planning to read? Let me know. 



Wednesday, 1 November 2017

October Wrap Up


It's that time of the month again where I tell you all about the books that I read. I had a pretty good month again in terms of reading. All together I read 8 books, although I did finish one of these on the last day of September. I also enjoyed everything I read this month which is great. So here are all of the books I read in October, in order from highest rated to lowest as usual. 








The Ultimate Sacrifice by S. E. Green
Published 3rd October 2017 by Oftomes Publishing
Star Rating - ****.5
Goodreads Challenge - 67/50
Review - Blog Review  





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Cress by Marissa Meyer 
Published 6th February 2014 by Puffin Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 73/50
Review - to come

  




The Hanging Girl


The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook
Published 19th October 2017 by Hot Key Books
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 72/50
Review - Blog Review


 

  
The Treatment


The Treatment by C L Taylor
Published 19th October 2017 by HQ
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 70/50
Review - Blog Review






  

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Published 17th October 2017 by Swoon Reads
Star Rating - ***.5 
Goodreads Challenge - 68/50
Review - Blog Review 

 




Rocco and the Nightingale by Adrian Magson
Published 19th October 2017 by Dome Press
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 69/50
Review - Blog Review 

 
  



The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabrielle Lepore
Published 8th March 2017 by Oftomes Publishing
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 71/50
Review - Blog Review 



  


Heartshire High by Charlotte Leonetti
Published 11th August 2017 by Createspace Independent Publishing
Star Rating - **
Goodreads Challenge - 66/50
Review - Blog Review






Currently Reading 

The Last Animal by Abby Geni (I haven't made much progress with this) 
The First one to Die by Victoria Jenkins

So that's all of the books I read in October. As you can see I enjoyed most of them and I'm pleased to say I managed to complete my TBR once again which is great. 

How many books did you read in October? What was your favorite read of the month? Let me know.