Thursday, 28 November 2013

From the Review Pile (79)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Allegiant!
I have to admit, I'm pretty nervous about starting to read this book! After only a brief scan through other reviews, it looks as though it's left quite a big impression on readers, both positive and negative, dividing opinions. I absolutely loved Insurgent, so I'm hoping that I like this one just as much when I can get around to reading it!

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Hardback, 449 pages

Published 22nd October 2013 by Harper Collins


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

By My Side


By My Side by Alice Peterson
Paperback, 376 pages

Published 18th July 2013 by Quercus

Shelves: 
arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, chick-lit, lasting-impression, medical-conditions, mum-has, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

One step can change everything… 

Cass Brooks loves her job, her boyfriend Sean, her life. Until, leaving home one morning, distracted and hungover, she steps into the path of a truck. 


When she wakes up, she can’t walk. And suddenly all her hopes and dreams, the plans she’d made with Sean, the future she thought she’d have, seem out of her reach. 


But then fate intervenes again. Cass meets Ticket, a loyal golden Labrador who refuses to leave her side. And on a flight to Colorado, she sits next to Charlie, who believes he can show her a life full of possibilities, if only she’ll let him. 

Cass wants her life back the way it was. Charlie knows this cannot be. Yet a future beckons all the same...


When I was sent this book for review, I have to be honest and say that I wasn't sure what to expect. Though I thought the blurb was certainly intriguing, I also had my reservations. My main issue was that there's an animal involved in the story - I am an animal lover and I tend to steer away from anything that could possibly involve animals getting hurt or lost or anything like that, as I find it hard to read about. The book did, however, seem to imply that the dog was a real symbol of positivity and hope, and so I did decide to give the book a go. Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about and I soon started to enjoy the book. 

Though I've read quite a few books in the chick-lit and women's fiction categories, I am still discovering what I like and what I don't like as these genres are so huge. I like quite a bit of depth and detail in the novels I read, and I realise that some books that are marketed as chick-lit lack a certain amount of substance. This book is certainly not one of those books - this is a book that really made me sit back and think about a lot of important things. Despite its pretty cover, there's a really hard-hitting and emotional story in this book. This story is a love story, but it's certainly one hell of a journey too, introducing us to many difficult situations, (physical and emotional) and it certainly taught me something along the way.

There is an abundance of well thought-out, structured and individual people in this book and I especially loved our protagonist, Cass. Cass is a young woman, who has her life turned upside down after having an accident which confines her to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. As well as that, her boyfriend decides to leave her as she lies in hospital. I can only imagine how Cass felt, but Peterson did a fantastic job of portraying it. I am so glad that Peterson didn't sugarcoat the issue in any way. Cass realistically found adjusting to her new life difficult and I admire how she handled it. It was interesting to see everything that changed for Cass and it really did show how much people take for granted. This book really was eye opening and I would hope that it will be for many others. The way that Peterson once again very realistically helped her face and overcome hurdles was truly inspiring.

Relationships, especially friendships were vital to Cass during her recovery and I really loved reading about the people that she met and befriended after her accident. Cass made two fantastic friends at hospital and then when she became involved with an organisation who helped disabled people find canine partners who can help them with everyday living, she met a lot of new friends there. Whilst on a trip away with an organisation for those with spinal injuries, Cass met Charlie.  I didn't  actually know anything about these sort of organisations, so it was interesting and very heartwarming to hear about how they worked. I particularly loved reading about Cass and her relationship with her working dog, Ticket, as it was so fantastic to see their bond together and to see how much Ticket improved Cass's life. It was also very interesting to see how it all worked. 

As I mentioned, amongst other things and mixed up relationships, this story is a love story. I have to say that I was kept up late at night reading this book, turning page after page and quite frankly, getting so annoyed with the characters! The author did a fantastic job of creating tension between Cass and Charlie, I don't think I've ever wanted to grab two characters, put them together and shout 'kiss already!' to both of them! The couple of characters are so genuine and they just worked together so well. I actually liked that they had had issues to resolve though as once again, it gave a sense of authenticity to their story.

Another character that I feel as though I have to mention as he had a huge impact upon me was Guy. I will not reveal anything about him in this review, because his story is something that has a real impact when you read it, but once again, Peterson hit us with some harsh reality.

Overall, after the first quarter of the book, I was absolutely gripped, it was a certain page turner. By My Side really opened my eyes to the life of those who have spinal injury and definitely taught me a lot about the issues that those who are confined to a wheelchair every day. More than that though, it taught me to not take anything for advantage and it also inspired me and gave me a real sense of hope. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone and I certainly commend Peterson on her writing.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (75)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received one book for review this week and it's a book that I'm very, very excited about! As you may know, I love Christmas themed books and I enjoyed Bailey's last festive book, so I am hoping that this one, Just For Christmas, will be just as good. I can't wait to get stuck into it! 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

From The Review Pile (78)

From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase The Cuckoo's Calling!
Although this book was released quite a while ago, I still haven't picked it up, even with the huge hype around it. After being  - if I'm honest - slightly disappointed with The Casual Vacancy, I'm hoping that this is more impressive.

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Hardback, 449 pages

Published 18th April 2013 by Sphere


After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Let It Snow

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
Paperback, 368 pages


Published 5th September 2013 by Penguin UK
(First published October 1st 2008)

My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, christmas-books, read-in-2011, realistic-fiction, really-good, short-stories, young-adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train and sets off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

A trio of today's bestselling authors - John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle - bring all the magic of the holidays to life in three hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and kisses that will steal your breath away.




This was just what I wanted and just what I expected from these three talented young-adult authors. I have read a few of Green's books, one of Johnson's and not yet read anything from Myracle, but with the hype surrounding all three of them, I had high expectations and it's safe to say that they were met! This book is separated into three relatively short stories, but they all entwine. It's hard to tell that the stories are written by seperate authors as the style, quality and humour is constant from beginning to end.


The Jubilee Express is the first story in this book, written by Maureen Johnson. I've read Johnson's 13 Little Blue Envelopes and really enjoyed it, but this was something quite different. Her writing was still very fun and humourous, but it also felt like it was more mature. This was probably my favourite of the three stories in the book. Even though it wasn't exactly the most realistic story you could find, it was extremely enjoyable. Jubilee was a really individual, quirky character that I grew to really like in a short space of time and I loved what became of her and Stuart. Johnson does an incredible job of setting the scene of a very snowy Gracetown and left me wanting more.


John Green's A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle was next which introduced us to more characters as well as continuing to develop characters that were in the previous story. I thought that this was definitely the funniest of the three tales and it had the most action. The romance that was established between Tobin and the Duke was my favourite as it just felt so natural between the characters - Green really managed to connect the characters together and ensure us that they were well bonded friends. The characters aren't perfect, but this just made them even more loveable.


Lauren Myracle's The Patron Saint of Pigs was probably the least strong of these stories, but this doesn't mean that it was bad, in fact it was enjoyable, with yet more development of previously mentioned characters. I didn't manage to connect with Addie as much as I did with the protagonists of the previous stories as I didn't really like her - she didn't have the same charming quality as the others. The main issue for me was the ending of this one as it seemed as though she was trying forcibly to get all of the mentioned characters (which was quite a few!) to intermingle. However, it was nice to see everything, and everyone, come together by the end of the book.


Overall, this was a lighthearted read that really managed to put me into the festive mood. The time period of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, alongside the snow covered setting of Gracetown was perfect for this time of year. I could've easily devoured this book in one sitting. The stories were charming, the romances slightly predictable but extremely enthralling, and most of all, they were fun. This is definitely something that I'd recommend and I can't wait to read more from these authors!


Sunday, 17 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (74)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


 I received some more festive books this week which is very exciting! It seems like Sarah Morgan may be my go-to author for Christmas themed stories, the past year or so I've read books by her and enjoyed them, so I am so excited to see how Sleigh Bells in the Snow turns out! I also received a hard copy of what will actually only be available as copy, Christmas at the Crescent, and I've already started reading Make My Wish Come True!
I also received one YA book this week, though I'm trying to limit those now, I couldn't say no to a hardback of Allegiant!

I hope you've all had a lovely week!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

From The Review Pile (77)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Christmas at the Cupcake Café!
I'm featuring this festive book this week - I actually had this book last Christmas but unfortunately never got around to reading it as I hadn't read the book that goes first in this set of books. I don't think it matters, but I'm very particular about reading books in order!

Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan 
Hardback, 351 pages

Published October 2012 by Sphere


Issy Randall, proud owner of The Cupcake Cafe, is in love and couldn't be happier. Her new business is thriving and she is surrounded by close friends, even if her cupcake colleagues Pearl and Caroline don't seem quite as upbeat about the upcoming season of snow and merriment. But when her boyfriend Austin is scouted for a possible move to New York, Issy is forced to face up to the prospect of a long-distance romance. And when the Christmas rush at the cafe - with its increased demand for her delectable creations - begins to take its toll, Issy has to decide what she holds most dear.

This December, Issy will have to rely on all her reserves of courage, good nature and cinnamon, to make sure everyone has a merry Christmas, one way or another...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Heart-Shaped Bruise

Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
Paperback, 336 pages

Published 10th May 2012 by Headline

Shelves: 
books-i-own, contemporary, crime-thriller-mystery, mental-health, read, read-in-2013, realistic-fiction, young-adult
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who shake their heads on the six o’clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know. You don't know who I used to be. 

Who I could have been.

Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time. 

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge.


Although Heart-Shaped Bruise has been released for a relatively long while, it has taken quite some time to actually get around to reading it! As soon as I read the blurb of this book, it was something that I knew that I'd have to get around to as the premise sounds as though this book was written for me! I love reading anything to do with mental health and for some unknown reason, I also find prison and criminology very interesting. What could be better than reading the story  of a girl in a psychiatric ward of a prison? I couldn't wait to delve into this book!

This book is in the form of a notebook of the now infamous Emily Koll, a girl who is awaiting trial after committing a crime that some consider evil. When Emily's father was stabbed by a girl of her own age, Juliet, her life was turned upside down as she realised her father wasn't the man she thought he was. Emily decided to seek revenge for herself and her father and so, disguising herself as - or rather changing into - a girl named Rose, she infiltrates into Juliet's life, attempting to appear as her best friend whilst simultaneously destroying her. Along the way, we also meet Sid, a guy who becomes somewhat of an equal to both Juliet and Emily, someone who they both end up loving and who is a particularly important character to Emily. It's very difficult for me to try and explain what happens plot wise without giving any spoilers, so I won't say much more. When you pick the book up yourself, you'll almost immediately have questions flying around in your head and will be eager to find out all of the answers for yourself!

This book explores so much of Emily's mind and Byrne has done a stupendous job of crafting a realistic, troubled yet also somewhat relatable character in the form of Emily. Emily is in a psychiatric unit, having frequent therapy sessions with Doctor Gilyard. The idea of Emily having Borderline Personality Disorder is briefly insinuated quite early on in the novel, and this immediately caught my attention as someone who has been diagnosed with that same disorder. I don't know if I was particularly sensitive to seeing Emily's 'symptoms', but wow - the author has done an incredible job. As Emily says herself, the symptoms of BPD can been seen in almost anyone at some point, but Byrne shows us how these symptoms develop, and how the person's personality is disordered. Instead of listing things, Byrne smoothly tells us of times in Emily's life where she has displayed traits, and we see how normal her thought processes seem for her. I think that the thing about this book that impressed the most were Emily's psychiatric sessions with Doctor G - if you told me that their sessions were actually real, I would totally believe you, their chemistry together was so believable and it felt as though I was inside Emily's head at some points, at others I was willing her to open up to her doctor. The emotion that was conjured in sometimes only a few sentences between them was amazing.

Despite Emily's cruel, quite twisted crime, she helps us understand why she did what she did and honestly, I can't help but feel for her, even if what she did was very wrong. Reading through the book, Emily's acts seem very logical to her and it's easy to get caught up in her passion. I'd hope that anyone who reads this book would see why Emily did what she did and also see the real version of herself that she was trying to express. Emily's relationship with Sid is something that really interested me and I think it really made an impact on how I saw her, at least until a certain point. On the whole, I don't completely know how I feel about Emily,  but I don't think that she knows that either. However, what we both do know is that nothing is wholly good/pure or wholly bad/evil.

Heart-Shaped Bruise is a fantastically written novel, with one of the best formed characters that I've read about. Tanya Byrne is a tremendously talented author and I really hope that she has more characters like Koll to keep us on the edge of our seats. Recommended to young adults and adults alike.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday(73)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I accepted one book for review this week and that was the much talked about The Cuckoo's Calling. I have been so torn on whether or not to try out this book, but there's nothing to lose, so I will have to see what this one turns out to be like!

I hope you've had a lovely week!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

From The Review Pile (76)


From the Review Pile is a meme hosted by Stepping Out of the Page every Thursday.
The aim of this meme is to showcase books that you've received for review (or if you don't receive review books, any book that you own and really want to read/review) but haven't yet got around to reading, in order to give the book some extra publicity.

I know that a lot of you have a huge pile of books that you want to read/review, but it understandably takes a while to get around to reading them all - here you can give a book (or two!) some of the publicity that it deserves, even if you haven't read it yet!

-----------------------------------

This week, I'm going to showcase Meet me Under the Mistletoe!
Now it's November, I'm allowed to say the 'C' word aren't I? I hope so, because I am really looking forward to reading a good Christmas book! Despite this book being released last year, it went under my radar! I bought a copy not so long ago and I'm so looking forward to getting into the seasonal spirit with this one!

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Abby Clements
Paperback, 357 pages

Published 2012 by Quercus


Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel's lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook. Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire - except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel's mother in law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place. Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas? 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron


Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron by Jonathan Strahan (Editor)

Hardback, 432 pages

Published 4th October 2013 by Hot Key Books

Shelves: arc-or-review, books-i-own, death, fairy-tales, fantasy, ghosts, let-down, magic, magical-realism, not-for-me, read, read-in-2013, shapeshifters, short-stories, supernatural
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:

A stellar cast of acclaimed fantasy writers weave spellbinding tales that bring the world of witches to life. Boasting over 70 awards between them, including a Newbery Medal, five Hugo Awards and a Carnegie Medal, authors including Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix and Holly Black delve into the realms of magic to explore all things witchy... From familiars that talk, to covens that offer dark secrets to explore, these are tales to tickle the hair on the back of your neck and send shivers down your spine.


I love a good seasonal read and Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron was my choice of read for Halloween this year. The book is a collection of short stories by several well known and talented authors, with all of the stories relating in some way, to the iconic witch hat, witchery or in general, magic. 

I don't often read short stories, but with a choice of eighteen tales, I thought this would be a fun choice and I was guaranteed to enjoy at least a few of the stories! I haven't reviewed many short stories, but I thought it'd be easier to give you an idea of each of the tales, and what I thought of them. After an introduction by the editor, I started to take some short notes.

The first tale was 'Stray Magic' by Diana Peterfreund. Our protagonist, Malou, is working in a dog shelter when a magical dog called arrives. The dog has lost its owner/master. Malou is only one who can see the magic behind the dog and can  communicate with it. Malou and the dog attempt to find the owner as the dog becomes ill without him. Though the short story is resolved, this could have definitely lead to longer story. I thought that it was a well written piece, but personally I didn't find it interesting enough to hold my attention well.

The second tale was 'Payment Due' by Frances Hardinge. Immediately, this story felt modern, the contemporary writing style was very enjoyable.The story starts with our main character's gran having some of her goods reposessed by bailiffs. Our main character then seeks revenge as she trades her body with a cat, invades the bailiffs home and tricking him. The story did leave me a little confused by the end, but it was a fun read.

'A Handful of Ashes' by Garth Nix gave us a new  firm setting and a more complex story with a lot of structure. It's clear that we're only getting a sneak peek of a much bigger surrounding and story. The story consists of old magic bylaws, magic class systems and laws. It was quite dense in information and detail for a short story and I think that this will really appeal to people who like having a firmly established setting and history in their stories.

I really enjoyed the next story, 'Little Gods' by Holly Black. It had a contemporary and almost coming of age style to it. We follow a girl, Ellery, who is going on a trip to participate in a ritual with her coven. The ritual is one of passion and is actually very similar to many high school parties! The story appears to be about ghosts, witchery and magic, but really it focuses on friends, lessons and life. It focuses on the little things, and that's what I loved about this one. 

'Barrio Girls' by Charles de Lint turns the book in a little more creepy directions as we are introduced to two teenage girls who are on a walk, followed by their friend, Pepé, who usually watches over them. The friends find a Witch as they're walking in the wash and she kills Pepé. The girls look for revenge, finding out how to kill the Witch, and find out that the way is to kill her with kindness. There is a message about being yourself weaved within this story, which I appreciate, but once again, I wasn't all that interested in this story - there was no real excitement for me.

In 'Felidis' by Tanith Lee, there was a romance with a which who is a cross between a human woman and a feline. At first, I found it slightly confusing and the story was certainly peculiar. I can see the intrigue of the feline character, but this one was just too 'out there' for me.

'Witch Work' by Neil Gaiman is the shortest contribution to this book, in the form of a poem. The work was short but effective, with the very vivid scenes that you'd hope for from Gaiman. This piece may have had a small word count, but it still had one of the biggest impacts. 

'The Education of a Witch' by Ellen Klages came next, and this was one of my favourite stories in the book. It follows Lizzy, a young child who goes to see Sleeping Beauty but rather than love the 'good' princess as expected, she loves the 'evil' witch character and as her baby sister is is born, Lizzy begins to become even closer to her favourite character. This was a really fantastic story which felt quite like a psychological thriller. I loved the writing style, the slight tension and the good pace. I would have loved to have read more.

'The Threefold World' by Ellen Kushner is next and it is a story of knowledge, faith, legend and magic. It has a lot of substance and it works well. I imagine that it will appeal to many people who enjoy fantasy, journeys and folklore. I am not quite sure why, but I personally couldn't get into this story, it bored me.

Next was another slightly stranger tale, 'The Witch in the Wood' by Delia Sherman. This tale tells of a witch who finds true love -- in the shape of a stag that she shoots! The deer is a shapeshifter, and though I've never particularly enjoyed reading about shapeshifters, I thought that this was a really captivating story. I quite enjoyed the twist of the ending and I would like to know what happened in the end.

My favourite story in this book had to be 'The Carved Forest' by Tim Pratt. This is another story that read like a psychological thriller. The story told is of a witch who has a forest of trees carved into the shape of everyone in her town, and two special carvings of her late husband and daughter. When the main character, Carlos, starts worrying about his sister forming a friendship with the witch, he intervenes. This is a haunting and very intriguing read which really stood out and I loved it.

'Burning Castles' by M. Rickert had a sense of ambiguity about it - we don't know exactly what is going on between the witch and who appears to be her child. The realism with hints of a haunted spirit world was effective. The story was drark and powerful despite being so short and it was good in the way that you could use your own imagination to fill ing the blanks.

Isobelle Carmody's 'The Stone Witch' was next, following a woman on an airplane flight, disappointed to be sat next to a child. The plane starts to crash and the woman starts to dream. The child and a witch both appear in her dream, the witch threatening their lives. The woman and child both go on a quest in hope of saving their lives. Both characters have flashbacks which were effective and which added another good, strong dimension to this story. I did enjoy this story though to be honest, I think I would have preferred it without the magical/fantasy aspect!

The next tale, 'Andersen's Witch' by Jane Yolen was a very brave move by the author! This is a tale of both Hans Christian Andersen and an ice witch. I think and hope that fans of Andersen will enjoy the fairytale like quality of this story.

'B is for Bigfoot' by Jim Butcher was next. This story starts with a professional wizard being called upon by a bigfoot who needs help as his scion (half human, half supernatural) son, Irwin, is getting bullied at school. The wizard gets into the school and attempts to help the problem but ends up getting caught up in it whilst Irwin and the other kids manage to sort the problem out themselves. 

The penultimate tale in the book was 'Great Grandmother in the Cellar' by Peter Beagle. It is a story of family, present and past, and focuses on relationships, with a very spooky skeletal great grandmother at the centre of it all! Unfortunately this was another story that just didn't do anything for me, and I had to stop myself skimming through the pages.

The last tale, 'Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow' by Margo Lanagan was about a character meeting her magical grandchild. The story was a nice ending to the book as this story had very high quality writing and I wanted to read more of this tale.

Overall, this book had both high and lows, and I can't deny that at points, I really struggled keeping with it as I did feel bored or I just wanted to get onto something more exciting. However, there were also some stories that really stood out in a positive way, namely The Education of a Witch and The Carved Forest, and I appreciate the book for allowing me to sample some fantastic authors. Though this wasn't one of my favourite books, it is something that I would recommend to anybody who likes young adult fiction, especially of the fantasy genre, as there should be something for everyone in this book.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday (72)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's ReviewsShowcase Sunday is hosted by Books, Biscuits and Tea.
These memes are a replacement of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox.

Stacking the Shelves and Showcase Sunday make a place to showcase your new books,
whether you obtained them through the post or otherwise.


I received one book for review this week and it's a chick-lit book with a very pretty cover - let's hope that  the content is just as good as the aesthetics! The book is called Don't Tell the Groom and is by Anna Bell.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...