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: 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: 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: 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!

Book Review: Each Little Universe (2020)

Each Little Universe by Chris Durston

How do you cheer up a star?

I hear girl from the stars and I immediately think Stardust.

Each Little Universe is my first book by Chris Durston, who puts an original spin on the girl from the stars angle in this lovely debut. This book is filled with great quotes, but I’ll just post a few favourites:

So many people were part of his little universe – some still in his orbit, some sailed off elsewhere, and some gone entirely, but all still carried on in some way by the sheer fact that he was still there.

The dialogue and discourse reminded me of novels like Franny and Zooey (or like the movie Before Sunrise), with characters contemplating life with each other, asking big questions.

Fear of the unknown might be the most human of feelings. ♡

Book Review: Prince of Thorns (2011)

Prince of Thornes by Mark Lawrence, narrated by Joe Jameson

❧ audiobook review
I swallowed the night, and the night swallowed me.

This sentence is so good for one-lining the theme of the book. Darkness, and what happens when you allow it to devour you.

This is my first of the classic grimdarks, really. I’ve heard so much about the genre and have so many of the books on my list, but other than GRRM’s books (which I think are considered grimdark?), I haven’t delved much into the genre. And now I’m sure I’m going to fall face first. Can’t wait. 😉

This is a book of brittle and bleeding characters. Especially young, furious Jorg, our MC. After the horrific deaths of his family, he’s grown into a boy with no forgiveness and no desire for anything but vengeance and bloodshed.

‘I don’t require your forgiveness.’

My heart absolutely breaks for bitter, brutal, broken Jorg. What a life he’s endured already in so short a time. No wonder he’s as unforgiving and terrifying as he is. That’s all he’s ever known. Mark Lawrence really knows how to make a character study, goodness.

I cut from myself all the weakness of care. The love for my dead, I put aside, secure in a casket, an object of study, a dry exhibit, no longer bleeding, cut loose, set free. The capacity for new love, I burned out. I watered it with acid until the ground lay barren and nothing there would sprout, no flower take root.

Everything about this book left me stunned. It’s dark. Way dark. So very, highly, muchly dark.

But it’s done so, so well.

They say fear lends a man wings.

Mark Lawrence has such a way with characters and words despite this darkness that draws you in and makes you want to keep reading even when you don’t love what the characters are doing. You feel for the same characters you don’t agree with, and that’s a really special talent for a writer to achieve.

It’s the silence that scares me. It’s the blank page on which I can write my own fears. The spirits of the dead have nothing on it. The dead one tried to show me hell, but it was a pale imitation of the horror I can paint on the darkness in a quiet moment.

It must be noted that the narration for this is sublime. Joe Jameson is officially one of my favourite narrators. He narrated The Magnificent Sons, one of my favourite books from last year, as well.

Book Review: The Colour of Magic (1983)

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett, Narrated by Tony Robinson

❧ audiobook
‘I’ve been thinking about dragons all my life, but this is the first time one’s turned up!’

My introduction to Terry Pratchett came with book version of Good Omens many years ago. Watching Neil Gaiman’s incredible, lovely determination to ensure that his friend’s vision was actualised and honoured with the adaptation earlier this year made me really want to go back and read the rest of Pratchett’s works. I recently watched an interview where Gaiman talks about how every single step of the adaptation was taken with Terry’s vision in mind, and if that’s not the most wonderful, beautiful tribute from one author to another, I don’t know what is.

I remember reading about Pratchett’s passing and to this day it saddens me deeply. I’ve always wanted to read his books, and I’m glad I started with The Colour of Magic. It’s a series that SO MANY PEOPLE have encouraged me to read, and they’re absolutely right! This is a tale that brims with imagination, humour, fantasy, eccentricity and, of course, colour and magic!

If you’re waiting to get started on this author, wait no longer! Pratchett has certainly earned his place as a modern classic author and an essential, foundational contributor to the genre. I can’t wait to read more of his works!

I, for one, would love to see the turtle carrying the Discworld through outer space.