Blog Tour · Books · Review

Bookstagram Tour + Mini Review: The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe*

I just wanted to highlight my review over on Instagram for a Bookstagram Book Tour!
Would really appreciate it if you’d give it a like/comment 🙂

Review is from the caption of the photo, so it’s more of a mini review:

I’m not much of a thriller reader, but I’ve wanted to read it for some time. I thought a YA thriller would be a good place to start. It really was!

This book jumps right into the action, throws you right into the story and doesn’t slow down from there. I love the fastness of the plot, the short chapters intensified this further. It was a breeze to get through and I was thoroughly invested from the start.

This deals with some heavier topics, like trauma etc. The main character, Nora, has been through a lot of trauma, she’s a bit morally grey and broken but one hell of a fighter. Her character felt realistic and her growth was great to see.

Despite being a thriller, there is a romance. Which I really enjoyed, it lightened the tone of the novel, but didn’t slow the plot. Nora is bisexual, and the romance is f/f ❤️
Rating: 4 Stars

*This book was gifted to me in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to PrideBookTours and TeamBKMRK for the ARC!

Blog Tour · Books · Review

Review: The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Blog Tour

Hey guys!
I took a little bit of a break from blogging but now I am back!
What better way to get back into it than with a blog tour!
I am so excited to be apart of The Girl King blog tour! I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC of The Girl King in exchange for a review.

The Girl King by Mimi Yu | Book Review and Blog Tour

The Girl King

Synopsis:
Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead – a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally – and an army – if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved . . .

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens – a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.


Plot:
The plot is definitely a slow one, especially at the beginning. At the start, I was intrigued and hopeful but the middle chunk of the book was just too slow. There’s a lot of build-up and background information going on. (I read the ARC – which is an uncorrected proof. How much of this ended up in the final copy, I don’t know) It did feel unnecessarily long in places, with editing down it could’ve been great. The last 150-200 pages were the best, they were gripping and interesting – I was really engrossed at this point. At almost 500 pages, it really needed to pick up before then. It was pretty long winded, I feel it would’ve been better condensed down.

The world-building; simplistic and minimal. There are hints and glimpses of the world but not enough, in my opinion. The parts of the world and magic we did see, were so interesting and cool – I just wish there was more to it! Hopefully, the sequel will enlighten us.

As with a lot of YA, it has its tropes. A lot of the plot twists and turns were pretty predictable. Nothing was particularly surprising, there was no ‘shock factor’ because you could see what was going to happen.
Nothing was overly original, it wasn’t bad at all. Just nothing new, really. It’s the same fantasy story of the royal claiming back their throne – just with a slightly different setting.

The Magic system(s) were fascinating and probably my favourite part of the novel. I really liked the different kinds of magic featured. I really want to learn more!
The writing style is also really nice, in places it was so well-written. It definitely has potential.

I don’t know if this is a duology, trilogy or series but it has the potential to be great if developed further. I look forward to the sequel and will definitely be continuing the series!

Characters:
Lu:
The older of the two sisters. Dubbed the ‘Girl King’, her father’s favourite, and thought to become his heir. She’s cocky, believes she’s going to rule, and ‘badass’ – Aka Princess who can fight.

Min: The younger sister who feels inferior to her sister – living in her shadow kinda vibes. There’s nothing wrong with Min’s POV but it wasn’t the most interesting perspective to read from, it takes a while for her chapters to get interesting.

Nok: I liked Nok’s POV the best. I thought his character was interesting and there was mystery surrounding who he is and where he comes from etc. Probably one of the only things keeping me gripped. I did like the friendship that develops, that was pretty nice to read.

Rating: 3 Stars

*Thank you to Alex @ Orion Books for sending me an early copy for review!


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Have you read The Girl King yet? If not, will you be picking it up?


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Blog Tour · Books · Review

Review: Strange Ink by Gary Kemble (+ An Exclusive Extract!) | Blog Tour

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Synopsis:
When washed-up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes one morning with a hangover and a strange symbol tattooed on his neck, he shrugs it off as a bad night out. But soon more tattoos appear: grisly, violent images which come accompanied by horrific nightmares – so he begins to dig deeper. Harry’s search leads him to a sinister disappearance, torment from beyond the grave, and a web of corruption and violence tangled with his own past. One way or another, he has to right the wrongs.


Plot:
This is said to be horror, in my opinion, it isn’t really horror. I’d call it more of a mystery/thriller with a hint of magic realism.
The plot was interesting and intriguing – it did hold my interest but it wasn’t super gripping. However, I did really want to see how the story played out, there were a few parts where I did find it a bit slow.
Being a mystery kind of story and watching the plot slowly unfold, I think it’s enjoyable at the time of reading but will end up being unmemorable. I think this is the first book in a series? It works well enough as a standalone that I don’t know if I’d read a sequel, I guess it depends if the premise interested me.

Characters:
Harry: Although I wasn’t super attached to Harry, he was a decent main character. I didn’t love him but he wasn’t boring and I did want to know what was going on with him. He, himself wasn’t overly interesting or a complex character but he wasn’t a bad protagonist.

There was a whole cast of side characters, which I did enjoy their parts and friendships with Harry but again, it was nothing overly great but it was enjoyable at the time.

It’s definitely worth picking up, I overall think it was a good read.

Rating: 3.25 Stars

**Keep reading for an extract!**


Extract:
The interview turned out to be as superficial as Harry feared. No big surprises. No big scoops. Andrew Cardinal was renowned for his control of information. His background was in army intelligence, after all. All the real stories would be dealt out to the national journalists on the

campaign trail. Vessel talked about his own family but made no attempt to probe Harry about his personal life. There was no doubt that this was all about showing Harry what a great guy he was, how ready he was to help lead the country. But at least Harry had got an interview. It would make a nice page three lead. Front page, if they were desperate.

Harry closed his notebook and smiled.

‘Thanks again for seeing me,’ he said. ‘That just about covers everything for me. Is there anything else you’d like to add?’

He always asked the same closing question. It was one of the few techniques he’d been taught at uni that actually worked in the real world. Harry expected Ron to shake his head, get up, and show Harry out of the office. Instead he paused, shook his head, then took a deep breath.

‘No. But there’s something I’d like to ask you.’

Harry paused, waiting for the punchline. When it didn’t arrive, he shrugged and dropped back into the chair.

‘Oh yeah? What’s that?’

‘Why are you still at the Chronicle?’

Harry opened his mouth. Closed it again.

‘I mean, shit mate. When we first met I was busting my gut on George Street. And now, let’s face it – off the record – I’m about to become Treasurer. And you. You’re still there. You’re polite. You seem bright. Far brighter than some of those dickheads over at the Brisbane Mail. That Terry Redwood wanker, for example. What’s he got that you haven’t got?’

Harry laughed. His face was burning. He remembered being drawn into the story-by-story dogfight with Redwood at uni. He hated himself for it, but Terry really pushed his buttons. At extremely low moments, Harry wondered whether he would have gone ahead with the Cherry Grove story if not for the desperate urge to land a knockout blow on Redwood.

‘I don’t know. You know what happened, right?’ Harry said. When Ron didn’t say anything, he continued. ‘The uni almost got sued. I almost got sued. I had to put my name to an extremely embarrassing apology. And pretty much every door, except this one,’ he threw a hand in the vague direction of his office, ‘closed in my face. Before I even graduated.’

Vessel wiped his mouth. ‘But the story. The story was good. And God knows how an undergrad journalism student got it.’

‘Well, I wish you were there back then to tell the Vice Chancellor that.’

Harry rubbed the back of his neck.

Ron shrugged. ‘Shit happens, Harry. You’ve stewed in purgatory long enough.’

Harry stared down at his closed notebook. This certainly wasn’t what he expected.

‘Harry, why don’t you come on the campaign trail with us?’

‘What?’

‘Why not?’

‘Because the Chronicle is a local paper. We can’t justify devoting basically half our staff to a federal election.’

‘This isn’t coming from me, Harry. This was Andrew’s idea. He wants you on the bus. Local angle, and all that.’

‘Thanks for the offer, Ron. But I can’t.’

Ron shrugged. He finished the sentence he was typing, then stood up and shook Harry’s hand, over the desk.

‘All the best for the campaign, Ron,’ Harry said.

‘Likewise.’

Harry tried to pull away, but Ron held his hand a moment longer. ‘I mean it, Harry. This shit is beneath you.’


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*Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of Strange Ink for review


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Blog Tour · Books · Review

Arc Review: Vox By Christina Dalcher

 

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VOX new 14

Synopsis:
Silence can be deafening.

Jean McClellan spends her time in almost complete silence, limited to just one hundred words a day. Any more and a thousand volts of electricity will course through her veins.

Now the new government is in power, everything has changed. But only if you’re a woman.

Almost overnight, bank accounts are frozen, passports are taken away and seventy million women lose their jobs. Even more terrifyingly, young girls are no longer taught to read or write.

For herself, her daughter, and for every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice. This is only the beginning…



Plot:
The plot of this is definitely heavily influenced by The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, it has a very similar world, women have been stripped of their freedom and their rights.
The first half of the book is pretty slow, not much happening but there is world-building, helping set the scene of Jean’s current situation. It is an interesting concept, it really makes you think about what it’d be like to have your voice stripped from you.
I feel as though the story could’ve benefitted from being cut down a bit, though it is just  320ish pages, it felt longer and dragged in places. There was a lot of medical detail, which doesn’t add in anything unless you understand it, which I’m assuming a lot of people won’t.
There were a few plot twists, which I didn’t predict – which was really great and surprising and definitely added more enjoyment, as well as picking up the plot.

The last 100 or so pages was definitely the best part, the pace picked up and it got a lot faster to read. I did worry since it’s quite similar to The Handmaid’s Tale that it would end similarly but I’m glad it didn’t. Although the ending was quick, everything was resolved fairly quickly, maybe a bit rushed.

Characters:

Jean: She’s an okay protagonist, I did feel for her and her struggles. I did sympathise with her, I can’t imagine living in a place like that and watching your children being brainwashed into believing the ludicrous views of this society.
I definitely do not agree with the adultery – her husband was awful and there was no way of her splitting up with him, given the current situation but I still can’t get behind it, it was happening before the counters were forced upon women.

Side characters: Patrick, Jean’s husband – so boring, so annoying, hated him!
Steven, Jean’s eldest son – Such a little shit.

Jackie, Jean’s old college friend – She was a crazy feminist, loved her!

Rating: 3.5 Stars!
*Thank you so much to HQ for sending me an ARC of Vox and to be apart of Vox Blogger Day!*

Vox is available in the UK on August 23rd
Preorder your copy now! Amazon UK | Book Depository


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Blog Tour · Books

Blog Tour: No Turning Back by Sam Blake Extract

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The lovely people at Bonnier Zaffre invited me to be part of the blog tour for The Cathy Connolly trilogy by Sam Blake to celebrate the release of the third book!
Due to the books not arriving in time for this post, this will just feature an extract from the third book No Turning Back! I will have reviews up for each book when I read them, so keep an eye out for those!


Extract:
‘Sit down will you, you’re making me nervous standing up.’
Arching her eyebrows, she pulled the guest chair out from in front of his desk like a belligerent teenager. And like a belligerent teenager, she sat and immediately leaned back until it tipped precariously on its back legs. O’Rourke looked at her witheringly.
‘If that chair falls over, Cat Connolly, and you injure your wrist trying to break your fall, you’re going to have a lot of explaining to do to McIntyre. When’s that fight?’
‘Middle of April.’ Cathy abruptly set the chair straight.
He was right. The Boss, Niall McIntyre, her friend and coach, would kill her if she injured herself. As a result of the explosion she’d been off the kick-boxing competition circuit for a year. Now she was fit again and they were putting everything they had into getting her ready for the next National Championships. She was going to win back her title and she was going to wipe the floor with her rival, Jordan Paige.
‘That’s better. Now let’s look at the promotion list properly, shall we?’
O’Rourke flipped open his laptop and pulled up the members’ portal on the Garda website, running his eye down the list to ‘Forensic Profiler’. It was a new position, listed last after other roles and ranks: Sergeant Sub-Aqua, Warrant Officer, Dog Handler, Community Liaison. It was the first time An Garda Síochána had created the position, mainly through lobbying from Cathy and her report on their last case. Uncovering a trans-European criminal empire had been an added bonus to finding her best friend alive, despite getting shot at twice during the process.

And everyone reckoned that the job was made for Cat Connolly. Very few applicants had her specific training in forensic psychology, her experience. She’d got a first in every single assessment she’d handed in for her Masters. The final piece, due in May, would give her the formal certificate in Forensic Psychology, but her tutors were confident it was a foregone conclusion, had written her a glowing recommendation. She’d ploughed through ahead of most of her classmates, knowing her time wouldn’t be her own when she was back in the unit and fully operational.
‘So who got it? Who’s the wonder boy?’ Cathy didn’t even try to keep the sarcasm out of her voice, pulled her necklace from the neck of her black sweater, running the Tiffany dog tag along its silver bead chain as she waited for him to answer. She couldn’t look at him.
O’Rourke stared at the name on the list for a long moment. Running his hand over his chin, smoothly shaven today, he took his time replying.
‘Well?’ Cathy stared at him suspiciously. At times like this his broken nose and military buzz cut made him look seriously shifty, but he couldn’t hide anything from her; after all these years she could read him too well. ‘What are you not telling me? One of the lads said he was from Donegal. Why have I never heard of him if he’s gone and got my fecking job? Has he trained with the Met or something?’
‘You’ve done that.’
‘I know, but … What?’ She could tell from O’Rourke’s face that something was wrong.
‘He’s a sergeant. He was stationed on the border.’
‘So he’s got a rank on me.’ She looked at him; she could almost feel her mouth turning down at the corners. Glum, that was the word.
O’Rourke glanced at her. ‘He’s in his thirties.’
‘So he’s got a Master’s or a PhD, has he?’
O’Rourke shrugged. ‘Maybe.’ He hesitated, ‘He’s the Taoiseach’s nephew.’


Make sure you check out the posts from the others involved in this blog tour!

THE CATHY CONNOLLY TRILOGY


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