Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review: The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis





The Whitby Witches by Robin Jarvis

My Rating:

I would like to thank Egmont Publishing for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

I somehow managed to miss this author's books as they were originally released many years before my own children were of age to read them. Last year I happened across his newer series, The Witching Legacy and have since read both books one and two and loved them. So when I saw this one I was eager to delve into it, especially as it's set in Whitby like the newer books.

The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun. It was full of adventure, imagination, and danger. I was completely swept along with the characters and their story. The writing was easy to read and the world was vividly described. It was wonderfully dark and atmospheric and a lot of fun all round. Everything was so easily pictured in my mind as I read. It was like being a child all over again, reliving that wonderful sense of adventure, danger and anticipation.

The only negative aspect, and it's not something that's particular to this story alone but something that seems to be a trend across many children's stories and books and something I'm more aware of now as a mother, is the fact that the majority of villains or bad guys in children's stories always seem to have some kind of disfigurement or disability. They are always "ugly" scarred or disfigured in some way. Why are we portraying this kind of message to our children? How a person looks doesn't portray whether they are good or bad. Beauty is only skin deep, the outside does not reflect who a person is on the inside. "Monsters" can look just like everyone else and just because someone isn't what most would class as "normal" it doesn't make them the bad guy to be feared. Perhaps that is too scary of a concept in truth for children but it's reality. Anyway, I realise this is a more general comment and not something particular to this book alone but it's something that I found myself contemplating after finishing this one so I wanted to comment on it.

All in all, The Whitby Witches was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm going to have to get my hands on the rest of the series now.


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Thursday, 11 May 2017

Review: Dark Asylum by E. S. Thomson





Dark Asylum by E. S. Thomson

My Rating:


I would like to thank Little Brown Books and Constable for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

For a good few years I have avoided historical fiction, it's a genre that I used to read a lot of but found myself losing interest in. There was plenty of it out there but I just wasn't feeling it - they were all starting to run into each other, none stood out and I felt that they all read much the same. That is, until I came across E.S. Thomson's debut novel Beloved Poison and was blown away by how fantastic the book was. So fantastic, in fact, that it was my top read of 2016 and I have been recommending it to everyone ever since.

I was like a child on Christmas morning when Dark Asylum landed on my doorstep, but I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at first because I was scared it wouldn't live up to the first book. I needn't have worried, I loved it every bit as much as Beloved Poison.

It was such a joy to be with Jem and Will again and to be back on the streets of Victorian London. The sights, the sounds, the streets, the smells, the mood, the atmosphere, all so vivid that I was transported easily to another time and place. Like with Beloved Poison, the world around me ceased to exist while this book was in my hands.

The author's knowledge of medicine and of the time period is clear to see in the historical detail within the story. It's also clear that she enjoys what she does and has put a lot of love and dedication into the book.

And can I just point out that cover! This is one of the rare occasions where you can safely judge a book by its gorgeous cover and know that the story inside is every bit as amazing.

E.S. Thomson has made me fall in love with historical fiction all over again.

Highly recommended. One of my favourite reads of 2017 so far!




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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Review: Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley






Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley

My Rating:


I received a copy of Beautiful Sorrow through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

I don't often read short story collections and when I do I tend to read them one story at a time in-between reading other books, but in this case, I was so captivated by the individual stories that I read them one after the other. They were all enjoyable but my favourite has to be The Boy Who Hung the Stars.

Beautiful Sorrows is the first of Mercedes M. Yardley that I have read and I have to say her writing is truly beautiful. It has a wonderful peculiar and ethereal quality to it. In fact, many words came to mind while reading: poetic, haunting, mystical, melancholy, surreal, to name a few. Her style truly is unique. I've never read anything quite like it before. Not only were her stories beautiful but they were also heartbreaking, chilling, and dark, all at the same time.

Reading Beautiful Sorrows was like experiencing the wonder and beauty of fairytales for the first time as a child, but in grown up form.



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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Review: Skitter (The Hatching #2) by Ezekiel Boone





Skitter (The Hatching #2) by Ezekiel Boone

My Rating:


I would like to thank Atria Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy of this book.

Skitter is book two in The Hatching trilogy. Having read and loved book one I was keen to make a start on book two. I enjoyed the first book but hated that it finished on a huge cliffhanger so you can imagine how disappointing it was to discover that the author leaves the reader hanging on the edge of yet another cliff at the end of the second book. I hate cliffhangers, they are annoying and frustrating and put me off reading more of the series because I feel like the author is trying to manipulate me into buying their next book- want to know what happens next? Yes? Great! Come back in a year and give me X amount of pounds and maybe I'll tell you more, and if you're lucky I might throw in yet another cliffhanger just for shits and giggles so you'll buy the next one after that. If your book is good, that alone is enough to make readers want to pick up the next one.

Skitter suffers from middle book syndrome. It wasn't as engaging or as fast paced and it also lacked the action and danger that was prevalent in the first book. It didn't have the same effect as the first book, I wasn't anywhere near as creeped out by it. It only progresses the storyline a few steps forward and you learn a little more about the spiders, but a little, and a few steps are not enough. It hardly progresses at all and nothing is resolved. It felt like a placeholder, something to keep the wolves from the door until the final book is released. There was nothing to get my teeth into, nothing to make it stand out on its own. It read more like an extension of The Hatching rather than an individual book. It picks up from where The Hatching left off and slowly ambles along for most of the book, the pace does pick up very near the end but very quickly leaves the reader hanging onto yet another stinking cliffhanger.

I have to say, I feel rather disappointed and let down by Skitter. It was OK but I expected more. I will still read the next one, it's the last in the trilogy so surely there won't be a cliffhanger, right? I hope so!



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