February & March Reads

FebMarchReads

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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  • I’m so excited by the shades of magic! I still have the first one on my shelf and it makes me want to dig in!

    • You should! I’d like to hear your thoughts!

  • A Conjuring of Light! I am dying to read this but I am in a place right now where I can’t bear more than 200 page books! So it will have to wait. Although it’s the series end, nooooo!

    • I have times like that, at the moment, I’m in the mood for long books or finishing series, so that’s what I’m doing at the moment.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I own Jackaby; hopefully I can read it soon. I’m currently in the middle of A Darker Shade of Magic – I love it! I’m glad the series ender was a good one for you.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

    • I’d love to hear you thought on the rest of the series!

  • This doesn’t look like a reading slump to me. They can’t all be 5 star books, right? I thought Jackaby was cute but not cute enough to keep me wanting to read more books. I hope you enjoy them!

    • It wasn’t so much the lack of good ratings, it was just finding the motivation to pick up any book… that’s what happens when I get slumpy. If anything, bad ratings just make me excited to pick up the next book just to see if it’s better.

      I can see that. I was unsure if I wanted to continue with the series, but I thought they were light and fun and sometimes I just want those kinds of book. I’ll save it for a time when I fancy it, it’s not something I’m in a rush to get to.

  • Several other bloggers really liked Jackaby (if I’m remembering correctly). I may have to give that one a go.

    • I thought it was a fun twist on the Sherlock adventure 🙂

      I’m down for anything Sherlock tbh. Or Beauty and the Beast haha! Those two things are my reading jam.

  • Will put a conjuring of light on my Goodreads 🙂 How is Chops by the way??

    • Oh Chops is amazing 🙂

      I put a little update about him in my Wonderful Wednesday post from this week!

  • My daughter is reading The Lightning Thief right now and she really likes it.

    Kill Someone sounds like my kind of book.

    • It’s definitely good for younger people, it’s just a tad too young for me. I am interested in trying out some of Riodan’s other series though

  • i quite liked jackaby when i read it a year or so ago but i never finished the series. you’ll have to share if it’s worth continuing 🙂 bummer about the butterfly garden, i really liked it. i don’t read a lot of books like that though, so i guess it’s not hard to entertain me in that area haha. heir of fire was my least favourite of that series i think. adding the waywayrd children book to my list. i read percy jackson several years ago and meant to continue but haven’t yet. YAY A CONJURING OF LIGHT <3 Loved it. definitely bittersweet ending. many emotions.

  • I’ve been wanting to read Jackaby forever and keep forgetting about it! Every Heart a Doorway sounds really good too!

    • I did enjoy it, but I keep forgetting to pick up the next book in the series.

      But i’m on a mission to finish some series before I start some new ones, otherwise I end up starting lots and never getting anywhere. I think I need to finish one before starting another, that seems like a nice rule to put in place.

  • Wow, several other bloggers have raved about A Conjuring of Light this month! I’m not ready to start another series though since I never end up finishing any of them! The Butterfly Garden is on my to read list. I love a good suspense and I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one.

    • Haha, I know that feeling. The beginning of this month I was trying to decide what to read and realised that I have too many series on the go – so now I’m making an effort to finish them. I don’t like to start new series if I am not up to date on others.

      Hopefully I can finish some soon, since there are many that I want to get to!

      I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on The Butterfly Garden!

  • Definitely picking up the Throne of Glass series soon. Jackaby sounds pretty good, too. I’d also like to read a few Neil Gaiman books soon!

    • I’d be interested to see what you think of it. I feel like we have similar taste, or at least, we are similarly critical of books.

  • Every Heart A Doorway sounds really good, so I’m adding it to my list! I’ve heard so many great things about the Shades of Magic series, and I hope to pick it up soon! I absolutely loved Throne of Glass, but I haven’t had the chance to pick up the second book in the series yet. I hope that I get to soon!

    • It’s a really nice short read, lots of fun.

      If you liked Throne of Glass, I think you’ll really love the second book, that was definitely the best in the series so far. I’d still like to get to the fifth book and the novellas, maybe when the next book comes out.

  • I just finished book one in V.E. Schwab’s series – glad to hear that the ending was satisfying because I really loved the first book. Jackaby is on my list too!!

    • Awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the rest of the series.

  • I need to re-checkout Slade House. I had it on my Kindle but forgot about it and the library yanked it back. Boo! 😀 I like a good horror story, although I didn’t realize it was short stories. I really wanted to love the Throne of Glass books but the first one bored me so I didn’t continue. I’ve had Jackaby on my TBR for some time and need to read it. I love Sherlock Holmes too. Now with the final book in the Shades of Magic trilogy out, I’m ready to dig in. I suspect that I will love it and want to binge it. I’m not very patient. 😀

    • You should, it was actually pretty good, and I’m not usually a fan of those kinds of books so it makes a change for me to like it.

      I’m not 100% sure if you’d call it short stories or long chapters. Each section is set (I think) ten years apart and it all revolves around Slade House and they are all connected to each other, they just read more like a short story than a chapter. That doesn’t really make sense… I think you could like it.

      I wouldn’t continue with Throne of Glass if the first one bored you. I would maybe try the second if you felt like it, I thought that was the best of the four I’ve read… but if you don’t like that, meh, just give up. There’s too many other books to enjoy!

      Haha, I’m starting to get impatient with books, I’ve got a really hankering for finishing off some series that I have started lately, so that’s what I’m doing at the moment. I don’t like having too many series on the go.

  • Slade House sounds totally fascinating. I think I felt the same way about the Throne of Glass series, like I wanted to love the characters more. I liked it, but it wasn’t my favorite series. You saw I enjoyed The Butterfly Garden, but I liked the setup of how it was told. I was intrigued by whether she was going to turn out to be a good guy or not. I also looove Neil Gaiman short stories, so we probably like different stuff and that’s alright!

    • Agreed, it was just not great. It was fun, I liked it, but each book feels like there is something missing. I liked her other series A Court of… more.

      I’m pretty rubbish with thrillers and such. I just never get into the mystery. It takes a lot for me to really enjoy them. If it gets a “not bad” from me, that’s a good thing. I still keep holding out hope though for a really good one.

      Haha, I love hearing from people who like things I don’t, I think it makes a more interesting discussion.

  • If you liked Slade House then you’ll definitely like Bone Clocks. It’s a beast of a book, but very enjoyable.

    • Awesome 🙂 I hope to get to it this year… sometime.

  • I’m intrigued by the Kill one. I love weird books. I am going to check that out. Maybe Every Heart a Doorway too.

    • I really enjoyed Every Heart… I’d say give that a go if you want something short and fun. It definitely should have been longer though.

  • Seeing everyone finish A Conjuring of Light makes me really excited to start the series 🙂

    • I was totally recommend it, just because I liked it so much. Maybe give the first 100 pages or less a go of the first one and see what you think. You could pick up the sample on a kindle or grab it from the library.

  • That’s a ton of books! 🙂 I read Court of Thorns and Roses first, and I LOVED it. I was a decent bit less excited about Throne of Glass. I have the next two on my ipad and I hear that it gets better as you go. 🙂 We’ll see! I just picked up Jackaby and am excited to read The Butterfly Garden – though I’ve heard mixed reviews. I finished The Final Empire in February…? and it took me a while to get through. I think it was tough because the world building was really good, and the relationships were interesting, and the magic system was pretty awesome… but I really books that I’m super gripped by. I also could have done with a bit more romance… but I know that’s not everyone’s jam. ha I think I’ll continue the series… but I’m not in a rush. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Thank you!

      Me too, I really enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury, they almost made Throne of Glass feel a little repetitive. They are still fun though.

      I think we feel a bit the same with The Final Empire, I liked all the aspects of it, but I just wasn’t gripped by the book. And it’s a long old book not to be gripped by. The only consolation with it being so long is that it reads quite fast.

  • Welcome back to blog land! haha I can’t believe you have still read so much even with miss Mox climbing over you and squeeking her doughnut haha 😉
    I’m sure I’ve seen those Throne of Glass books on the Google Play Books Store thingy but I am a book cow and proper judge a book by it’s cover…ha.
    I beat you with Sherlock though! lol

    xo

    • Most of the reading was done pre-puppy, but I am glad to have gotten some more read.

      I quite like the Throne of Glass book covers haha. You have to narrow down what to read somehow, and by the cover is a good place to start.

      You definitely did! I think I will be reading that for the rest of the year.

  • I have not read any of these.
    Would you recommend The Lightning Thief for a 10-year-old boy?

    I hope your next post involves puppy photos!

    • I’d say so. It was definitely a bit too young for me and I don’t mind Middle Grade books, so I think a little boy would really like it.

      It’s quite boyish actually.

      • Cool, thanks. I might get it for my brother’s next birthday then.