Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Evacuee Christmas by Katie King

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: HQ
Released: 19th of October 2017 

Autumn 1939 and London prepares to evacuate its young. In No 5 Jubilee Street, Bermondsey, ten-year-old Connie is determined to show her parents that she’s a brave girl and can look after her twin brother, Jessie. She won’t cry, not while anyone’s watching.

In the crisp Yorkshire Dales, Connie and Jessie are billeted to a rambling vicarage. Kindly but chaotic, Reverend Braithwaite is determined to keep his London charges on the straight and narrow, but the twins soon find adventures of their own. As autumn turns to winter, Connie’s dearest wish is that war will end and they will be home for Christmas. But this Christmas Eve there will be an unexpected arrival…

What I Have to Say 

I must say I expected more Christmas from a book with Christmas in the title. I expected a lot of war time spirit, scraping together a fun and joyous celebration with whatever they can because they don't have much. There was a bit of war time spirit, but there wasn't really that much Christmas. There were preparations for Christmas but Christmas day was a paragraph on the last page and the preparations only started in the last fifteen percent of the book. It left me a bit disappointed, because I was hoping for a cosy holiday read. 

I also didn't get on much with the writing style. The author explained a lot of the character's thoughts in very great detail, often stopping in the middle of a conversation to think things through and work out the best way to respond for paragraph after paragraph. It gave the feeling that the characters were just standing awkwardly staring at each other until they were ready to continue. There was just too much exposition and the characters always seemed to be doing what was best for the situation, when real people aren't like that, because in real life, people don't think things through like that, they just act. 

I liked the characters well enough, but that's really all I can say for this book. I wanted to like it more, but I just didn't get along with it. 

My thanks go to HQ and Netgalley for providing me this copy for review. 

Monday, 25 December 2017

Where the Stars Rise edited by Lucas K. Law and Derwin Mak

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Laksa Media Groups
Released: 8th of October 2017 



Follow twenty-three science fiction and fantasy authors on their journeys through Asia and beyond. Stories that explore magic and science. Stories about love, revenge, and choices. Stories that challenge ideas about race, belonging, and politics. Stories about where we come from and where we are going.

Each wrestling between ghostly pasts and uncertain future. Each trying to find a voice in history.

Orphans and drug-smuggling in deep space. Mechanical arms in steampunk Vancouver. Djinns and espionage in futuristic Istanbul. Humanoid robot in steamy Kerala. Monsters in the jungles of Cebu. Historic time travel in Gyeongbok Palace. A rocket launch in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. A drunken ghost in Song Dynasty China. A displaced refugee skating on an ice planet. And much more.

Embrace them as you take on their journeys. And don’t look back . . .

What I Have to Say 

Diversity is really the best word for this book. There was a huge range of characters with backgrounds from all across Asia, showing the wide rage of different cultures that Asia has to offer. There were characters with all kinds of background, from rich to poor and so, so many characters with various scars or disabilities. Though there was a very sad lack of sexual and gender diversity, in all other respects, it showed so many different kinds of people. 

It also showed a huge range of sci-fi, from very hard sci-fi to the softer stuff. I'm not a massive fan of the really hard sci-fi. I love a soft urban story, so there were a few stories that were a bit too much for me, but I have to say most of them I really enjoyed and there wasn't a single story I absolutely hated. 

There is so much I can say about the stories, but I'm choosing one to highlight and that's Back to Myan by Regina Kanyu Wang. This beautiful story of a girl returning to her native planet. A planet that she has no memories of and that has been completely changed. It shows the brutalism of  humanity and I think would resonate with anyone who has had their homeland taken over or destroyed by Western society. 

Anyone who has even the slightest interest in Sci-fi or Asian culture should read this book. I guarantee you will find something to love. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Laksa Media Groups for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

It Started With A Tweet by Anna Bell

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 419
Publisher: Zaffre
Released: 7th of December 2017 

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall . . . 

Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy's problems - a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone? 

What I Have to Say 

I thought this book would be a funny, intelligently written look into digital addiction and a nice romp in the countryside. I knew it would go into the way that people spend all their time on their phones, but considering this is written by an author with a twitter account, being given out on a digital review website and basically being sold to members of the digital age, I didn't expect it to be quite so anti-phones and social media. 

That's not to say that I didn't like the book, but that was the feeling that I took away from it, which isn't what you really want when you're a blogger who uses twitter and social media a lot to do that. I think I would have preferred it ending on a softer note, with a reminder to leave your phone behind every so often and enjoy life, but focusing more on a balance between the two. 

There were lots of things I liked though. I liked Daisy and Jack. I liked the dog and his habit of chasing pigeons into barns when he shouldn't a lot. It made me laugh a lot and I had a lot of sympathy for most of the characters. 

It just felt a bit preachy at the end and I don't think that it was the authors intention to give across that feeling. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre for providing me with this copy for review

Monday, 18 December 2017

Nevermore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384 
Publisher: Orion Children's Books 
Released: 12th of October 2017 

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

What I Have to Say 

Oh my gosh this book. I thought I knew what to expect. I have read so many books about young girls being transported to magical worlds and having adventures, but nothing prepared me for Nevermore. From the very start with the cursed children and the energy spikes, I knew that I was reading something truly special. And it only got better as the book went on. 

Morrigan is a character with a lot of feelings and it's very easy to get inside her head and find yourself truly caught up in her narrative. It is impossible not to feel sympathy for her, the treatment of her by those around her. Many magical child narratives draw abuse or neglect into the origins of the character, but this setting with the cursed children and the way that society treated them brought new life into the idea of a poorly treated child discovering that she can be more than she thought possible. 

The descriptions were amazing. Every image invoked emotions and imagination, drawing life into the words on the page. That and Morrigan's perspective made it so, so easy to just fall into the book and keep turning the page long after the time to go to bed. 

I cannot wait to hear more from this character and Nevermore and the Wundrous Society. I hope this book takes off and gets the attention it deserves. 

My thanks go to Orion and Netgally for providing me with this copy for review. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Apologies for the impromptu Hiatus

Hey guys,

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while, things rather got on top of me and my TBR suffered greatly.

I'm going to start trying to catch up on reviews as soon as I can and hopefully I'll be able to be back to the normal schedule as soon as possible.

This does mean that some of the books will be reviewed a little while after publication, but I promise all the reviews I have agreed to do will be done.

Lily xx