Book Review: Caught Inside (2016)

Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon

❧ audiobook review

Another Joe Jameson narration and an absolute find. [Other great Jameson narrations I’ve reviewed are: An Honest ManThe Prince of ThornsThe Last Romeo and The Magnificent Sons.]

THIS BOOK IS SUCH CUTE ROMANCE, UGH. ❤❤❤ Luke and Theo are fantastic together and so adorable. They have such good chemistry, it’s insane.

This is a perfect summer romance read! Beaches and new love. And the constant surfing descriptions just made me think of Shelter.

Totally a compliment, FYI. I adored this book so much. Jamie Deacon’s writing is so evocative and lush and lovely.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

This book totally stole my heart. That said, despite how shippable Luke and Theo are, I do feel bad for Zara. She really deserved much better than everyone keeping secrets from her. Giles was such a prick at pretty much every point, although he was a good friend to Theo.

Really hard not to picture Rupert Giles:

But this Giles was decidedly less Watcherly. I got so annoyed at him throughout the book. He’s a good character, though, so there’s that.

One of the things I loved, but found myself shaking my head and laughing at, was how Luke is so DRAMATIC. He ought to get an award for epic overreactions, yet he’s written so well and so sympathetic, that even when he is a DISASTER, you end up rooting for him. I really adored Theo, too, although a lot of his decisions left me so frustrated.

Meredith is definitely a queen ❤

Book Review: The Deep Blue (2021)

The Deep Blue by Charlotte Guillain

Covering a broad expanse of topics like the Great Barrier Reef, underwater trenches and volcanos, deep sea creatures, fishes, mango trees and their filtration systems, and more, this is a highly informative book with wonderful drawings that’s great for any young reader!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: Of Blood and Deceit (2019)

Of Blood and Deceit (Blood Descent, #1) by Rachel A. Collett

“Ilianna, in my kingdom, if you plan on seeing the person again, if you want to see them again, you do not say goodbye. It’s bad luck.”

Oh my gosh, this book was such a gem to stumble across!

I was initially drawn in by the gorgeous (GORGEOUS) cover and the fact that there’s a main character called Prince Castiel.

This Castiel is much different, however. He’s a magician with an immense amount of power who instantly becomes protective of Ilianna.

Castiel and Ilianna start making heart eyes at each other from minute one and I freaking adored their interactions. Ilianna is such an easy character to root for and I liked her instantly. Riaan (the king) and Castiel have great bro banter as well.

The whole plot with the Wraith Queen was awesome and I can’t wait to see what book two brings!

Book Review: Usha and the Big Digger (2021)

Usha and the Big Digger by Amitha Jagannath Knight

Around the world, different cultures see different pictures in the same stars.

OH. MY. GOSH. SO. FREAKING. CUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE. Every single page of this book was just so filled with joy and dance and cartwheels and stars. The artwork in this kind of reminded me of She’s Charmed and Dangerous, a card game I played when I was really little. Which is to say that I *adored* the artwork in this.

A great book about stars and perspectives for young kids!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: Paper Castles (2021)

Paper Castles by B. Fox

Maybe the most beautiful things in the world are not meant to be owned or conquered or even touched. Like a rainbow or a starry sky, watching them is all you can do. And sometimes that’s enough.

\o/

Every time I find a new awesome author, I am basically Cookie in Atlantis.

There are so many wonderful lines in this book that need highlighting, but amongst my favourites are:

I always seem to be daydreaming, one foot in the ordinary and the other in an imaginary world. I’ve sat in this park countless afternoons, imagining things that I’d like to see and things that I’d like to build someday.[hard same]

&

I’ve gone from being excited about life to being afraid of it. [I know the feeling ;_;]

&

I have a weakness for monuments from old times. [ugh, yes, 100%]

&

A little fantasy never killed anyone, did it? ♡♡♡

The real world problems James faces are immensely, and painfully, relatable i.e. debt, your place in the world, love, family and loss. There were lots of really hard hitting moments that were almost too real. ;_;

This is a great first novel from Fox and I can’t wait to see what he writes next!

Book Review: Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps (2021)

Dancing in Thatha’s Footsteps by Srividhya Venkat

Tapping quick adavus with his feet, shaping delicate mudras with his hands, and showing expressive bhavas with his eyes—everything about bharatanatyam filed his heart with joy.

This is a lovely story of young Varun, who is desperate to learn to dance and finds everything inspiring, but is made fun of by the girls at the dance school. His grandfather inspires him to dance and follow his dream. It’s super sweet and wholesome!

I really loved that Tamil dance terms are used throughout! It’s great learning new words. And there’s a helpful guide at the back for those looking.

I thoroughly adored this little book about acceptance and dance. Let all those who love to dance, do so!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: An Honest Man (2019)

An Honest Man by Ben Fergusson

❧ audiobook review

THAT ENDING THO

IT’S PERFECTION.

I didn’t think I was going to be okay with the ending. I was really, really worried about the ending for a second there.

This book is set at the end of the Cold War, in the heart of Berlin, as Ralf and Oz fall in love.

But of course, in the end, 1989 meant neither of those things. It just meant Oz and espionage – how grand that word sounds now. And, I suppose my family, and the terrible things we did.

Angst and espionage, you say?

(I’m not sure I ever recovered from the gut-punching angst that was London Spy, but sure, I figured let’s give 1989 yearning and secrecy a try.) This is another Joe Jameson narration, and it is a truth universally acknowledged that if Joe Jameson narrates a book, I will listen to it. (If you’ve been following my reviews, he’s one of my favourite audiobook narrators so far. He voiced The Prince of ThornsThe Last Romeo and The Magnificent Sons. Three amazing books, by the way. Deffo check them out!)

This book was a wonderful historical fiction about young love and family obligations. Fergusson’s writing is lovely and I’m so glad I gave this book a chance! Oz and Ralf are wonderful characters!

Also, his description of his mum at the start straight up gives me Sex Education vibes.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m definitely going to look out for more books by Ben Fergusson in future.

Book Review: 7 Days in Hell (2020)

7 Days in Hell by Iseult Murphy

“Run,” screamed the primal, fight or flight part of her. “Run before they eat you.”

I don’t read a whole lot of horror. (I still need to finish The Exorcist, which I’m like 1/3 of the way through.) But pitch me a horror novel (really, a novel, poem, song, etc) set in Ireland and I’m so there.

This book follows Vicky and Irene, twin sisters, and their dog Ronnie, as they take a sojourn to a small Irish town and quickly find far more than they bargained for.

DUN DUN DUN.

THINGS GET SCARY QUICK, M’KAY???

I loved how immersive Murphy’s writing is. There’s such great detail and atmosphere in the scene setting. She really paints a vivid, terrifying tale. Poor Irene, Vicky and Ronnie 😦

This is a book horror fans should definitely check out – and it appears there’s a sequel, too!

Book Review: Jinnik (2020)

Jinnik: The Asset: A Cold War Memory by Gideon Asche

a soldier’s code to live by; a soldier’s code to die by

This story is set at the height of the Cold War, where tensions are running high between the US and the USSR. It reads like a memoir, although the epilogue notes that it’s historical fiction inspired by real events. There are also really interesting photographs included.

The atmosphere Asche sets draws you right in, especially with the added footnotes that give additional information, making this a good blend of fiction/non-fiction, both in the tale itself and in the presentation. There’s also impressive technical details, like car types and numbers, which went right over my head, but show the depth of Asche’s research and memory. There are also a lot of rough and brutal scenes that broke my heart, made me wince and were hard to read, and a few passages definitely made me cry, which says a lot about Asche’s storytelling abilities.

Definitely worth checking out!

Thank you to the author for the ARC.

Book Review: The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon (2019)

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon by Benedict Patrick

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon is my first read by Benedict Patrick and was picked for the new indie/self-publishing book club formed on Twitter at The Book Trove. We’re hoping to shine some attention on independent books and authors. These books are picked totally at random and selected by vote amongst the group.

“Welcome to the Darkstar Dimension.”

Mention a book with dragons and I will most definitely sign up to read it. BRING ON ALL THE DRAGON TALES. (Heh, punz.) Add in a fabulous purple cover and I am SOLD. Seriously, this cover art is frakking amazing, I’m so impressed. In fact, all of Benedict Patrick’s books have gorgeous covers.

“The stars,” she said, lowering her voice so only the nearby officers could hear. “Does anyone recognise the stars?”

The Flight of the Darkstar Dragon follows Min, a young ship officer from New Windward recently put in charge of a crew that has somehow ended up in the wrong dimension. The crew are desperate to get home and tensions rise quickly.

The concept of this book was so intriguing to me and I dove headfirst into this story with wide eyes. It gave me similar to vibes to novels like A Wrinkle in Time or The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I love seeing different authors’ concepts of worlds, rifts and portals.

“Travellers to the Darkstar Dimension are not uncommon; the rifts continue to pull in people from other worlds.”

In this new dimension there’s a darkstar and a dragon that likes to encircle it. (So like, A REALLY BIG DRAGON, OKAY?) Min instantly realises she’s in over her head and has to deal with questions and confrontations from the rest of the ship’s crew. She also encounters a stranger with knowledge of the dimension and more than a few tricks up his sleeve.

“I’ve heard others say it’s like a world turned inside out, and we’re left floating on the inside, stuck in here, while everything else around us is mad.”

For those who love plot driven adventure fantasy stories without romance, this is definitely up your alley! And if you like books about dragons and rift worlds and strange planets with pink bubbles and fantastical creatures, definitely give this a try!