February & March Reads

Right now, with this bundle of fur (and teeth) taking over my life, I have been struggling to find the motivation/time/energy/desire (to be deleted depending on the time of the day) to sit down and write. But, it has now been seven weeks since our little lady arrived and I think I might be getting my life back on track.

Or, I bought a puppy pen so I could unglue my eyes from a puppy and read a book. I am pretty sure that is how you get your life together.

But, this is most definitely not about puppies. It’s about books. Let’s talk books.

I apologise in advance that my oh-so-elegant book thoughts go a little down hill towards the end, I gave up jotting down any book thoughts as the months went on and decided to just embrace my reading slump instead.

Only The Innocent (DCI Tom Douglas #1) by Rachel Abbott

Click here to see book synopsis

When philanthropist Hugo Fletcher’s dead body is discovered tied to a bed in his London home, Chief Inspector Tom Douglas determines right away that he’s hunting a female killer. Though Fletcher made countless enemies through his work with Eastern European prostitutes, the crime scene reeks of sex and revenge. This murder was personal.

Douglas knows Fletcher’s unhappy wife, Laura, should be his prime suspect. She’s definitely hiding something. Something big. But he isn’t convinced it’s murder. Besides, she’s not the only woman with a motive to kill the manipulative billionaire. So he digs deeper, into a tangled web of secrets and lies, unraveling the sordid life Fletcher lived outside of the media spotlight.

What he uncovers is shocking, forcing the veteran cop to ask himself: With a man like Fletcher, should the guilty be punished? Or should the innocent be protected?

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This is not my usual kind of book, but I decided to pick it up in the Audible sale on the recommendation of the Mum-In-Law. Truthfully, it is still not my kind of book. I never really got invested in the characters or the mystery, I was not so keen on the way everything was told to the reader and in the end, there was nothing that made me want to pick up the next book in the series.

You win some, you lose some and all that. Detective series are just a little boring to me. Unless it is Sherlock Holmes or Sherlock Holmes-esque then I am always down for some of that.

This is a series for the lost interest in continuing pile.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 

Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

Click here to see book synopsis

“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

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Following on from one detective novel to another. This one comes with a Sherlock Holmes-esque twist though! A Sherlock Holmes with supernatural beings twist, which I really enjoyed.

I chuckled, I smiled and I even rooted for a little romance. I had a lot of fun and I am absolutely invested in finishing this series in the next few months.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

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This series is still going strong and I am still having a good time. I do wish the characters were just something more though, I cannot seem to really get into any of them. Sure, I like them, but I want to be more invested in them (it is a long old series after all) and I like to pick out favourites but I have not been able to do that yet.

I do not know, I feel like they are just lacking, they need a little bit more depth to them. The plot and the action however, that is a lot of fun and on that alone I am having a good reading time.

Let’s see what book four brings!

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kill Someone by Luke Smitherd

Click here to see book synopsis

Here are the rules.
Method: you can’t use a gun. You can’t use explosives. You can’t use poison. It has to be up close and personal. You don’t have to worry about leaving evidence; that will be taken care of.
Victim: no one suicidal. No one over the age of 65. No one with a terminal illness.
Choose your method. Choose your victim.

Chris Summer was a 21 year old call centre worker and a drop out. A nobody, still living at home with his parents. Then one day the Man in White came to his family’s house, offering a seemingly impossible choice: kill a random stranger – one of Chris’ choosing – within twelve days in order to save the lives of five kidnapped siblings. Refuse, and they die slowly and painfully. The clock is ticking, the Man in White is watching, and Chris has some very important choices to make.

This is a tale of fear, indecision, confused masculinity and brutal violence; a story of a coddled young man thrust into a world of sharp metal and bone.
Ask yourself if you could do it. Then ask yourself who you would choose.

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This dude writes some weird books. Good weird, but weird nonetheless.

I really enjoyed my last Luke Smitherd book and was looking forward to enjoying this one as well. Enjoy it, I did. Not as much as the previous book but, it is another case of win some, lose some. Not that this was a loss at all.

Everything was just so weird and unrealistic, yet somehow a little realistic too and still weirder on top of that.

I guess we can conclude that this book was weird and leave it at that.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Slade House by David Mitchell

Click here to see book synopsis

Keep your eyes peeled for a small black iron door.

Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t. Every nine years, the house’s residents—an odd brother and sister—extend a unique invitation to someone who’s different or lonely: a precocious teenager, a recently divorced policeman, a shy college student. But what really goes on inside Slade House? For those who find out, it’s already too late. . . .

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Oh this was weird and creepy. I cannot remember the last time I read a book that had a bit of horror in it, but this definitely has me considering reading a few of the other horror books that I have on my Kindle.

I really enjoyed the short story format of the book, even if I did not enjoy each story equally (I think the third chapter/story was my least favourite and the rest were about equal) but as a whole, it was a really good read.

I did read somewhere that this is set in The Bone Clocks universe, so maybe I should have read that first, but I do not think it took anything away from this story having not read it. But since I enjoyed this so much, I will have to read The Bone Clocks some time.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 
 

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandson Sanderson

Click here to see book synopsis

In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more?

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I know that I gave this book four little golden stars, but is it? Really? Is it not more of a three-star deal? I don’t know.

Maybe three and a half. Maybe a was I reading the same book as everyone else star?

It was good. It was different. But did I have as much fun as I thought I would? Not really.

Do I want to read on with the series? I don’t know that either. Do I care? Who knows.

To summarise: I don’t know.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

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I may or may not have forgotten what happened in this book.

Better than Throne of Glass, not as good as Crown of Midnight.

My Goodreads tells me that I’d like to continue the series though, so it can’t have been that bad.

I have a vague recollection of being a lot more invested in the side characters adventures rather than our assassin heroine.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

Click here to see book synopsis

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…

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As far as thrillers go, it was alright. Nothing special, I enjoyed the story as a whole, but I wasn’t so keen on how it was presented. I’m not really into reading about things after they happen, seems to take away from the mystery of everything.

Meh. Just meh.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

Click here to see book synopsis

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

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This was my attempt at getting myself out of my reading slump. Something short and (according to the rest of the internet) pretty darn good.

I agree with the internet.

Shame it wasn’t that much longer though, I could have happily read a couple hundred more pages of this story. There wasn’t enough pages to read through my slump-y feelings.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Click here to see book synopsis

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

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Another “can this get me out of my reading slump?” book. Could it? Not really.

It was just the audiobook I needed, not too long and an easy story since my audiobook time has been sporadic at best lately. I wanted something that was minimal effort to pick up and put down every few days or so.

It just wasn’t interesting enough for me to consider reading the rest of the series.

I might consider some of Rik Riordan’s other series though.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V. E. Schwab

Click here to see book synopsis

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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Now this was the book to kill the reading slump.

Something I had been looking forward to: check.

Part of a series that I love: check.

A book I knew I would enjoy: check.

600 pages that flew by in no time: check.

Damn good. I will have to read the series again sometime. Nothing like 600 pages of enjoyment to get you back on the reading train.

The perfect bittersweet end to a series I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 
 
 
 
 
 

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

Click here to see book synopsis

Miraculous inventions and unforgettable characters inhabit these pages: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail in a second-hand store…a frightened little boy who bargains for his life with a troll living under a bridge by the railroad tracks…a stray cat who battles nightly against a recurring evil that threatens his unsuspecting adoptive family.

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I am starting to think Neil Gaiman’s short stories are just not for me.

This book was a big fat “uh, no”. 

The only thing this book achieved was the creation of my new reading dilemma of: how do you know when to DNF a short story collection, when the next story might be great?

Rating :: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Currently Reading

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Yep. Still reading this one. I made little to no progress through it in February and March, here’s hoping I can get through a few more stories in April. It’s perfect for in between books, whilst I’m still trying to decide what to read next.

The Physics of the Dead by Luke Smithered

I keep reading (or rather listening to) this dude’s strange books. I don’t know why, but they have such a strange feel-good factor to them.

And that’s it for February and March. Talk book-y to me! 

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

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