Blog Tour, Review

Blog Tour: Flames of Florence by Donna Russo Morin

Historical Thriller
Date Published: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Diversion
Books
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In her final standalone novel featuring Da Vinci’s Disciples,
Donna Russo Morin delivers a thrilling story of the secret female artists of Florence, under the tutelage of Leonardo Da Vinci, and their heroic, potentially deadly efforts to save great works of art from the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities.
Lorenzo de Medici is dead, and his son Piero has brought war
and famine upon the city of Florence. Yet, the glory that is Renaissance artistry grows more magnificent, as does the work of the women known as Da
Vinci’s Disciples. Now they face their most dangerous challenge, one shrouded in the cloak of a monk.
From the ashes of war, Friar Girolamo Savonarola rises. Some call him a savior and a prophet, a man willing to overthrow tyrannical rulers and corrupt clergy, the Borgia Pope among them. Fra Girolamo is determined to remold Florence from an avaricious, secular culture to a paragon of Christian
virtues.
Many call Savonarola a delusional heretic, incapable of anything but self-serving fanaticism. When he sets out to destroy all secular art forms, Da Vinci’s Disciples call him an enemy … but not all of them.
My Review
This is another book that, to begin with, I didn’t realise was part of a series but again, needn’t have worried as you can certainly read this book as a standalone. I feel like there is not a huge amount that I can say on this one without giving away too much and it’s certainly a book that you don’t want to ruin with spoilers! I have to admit that I did work out roughly what would happen but it doesn’t ruin the book AT ALL as Donna’s writing keeps you turning the pages regardless.
The characters are loveable and rateable in the right measures and places; I would call myself a quiet feminist and have to admit that I was really proud of the women in this story.  I have realised that I love these kinds of books more than I thought and whilst I am most definitely going to read the other books in the ‘standalone series’, I will also seek out others set in the same time period / places to learn even more. I don’t know much of the true history but it feels real (if that makes sense) and I feel like I am learning a lot.
I would definitely recommend this book – I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series but that’s only because of my OCD when it comes to reading series’ and nothing to do with anything else!
About the Author
Donna Russo Morin’s passion for the written word began when
she was a child, took on a feminist edge as she grew through the sixties, and
blossomed into a distinctive style of action-filled historical fiction at a
defining moment in her life. As a second-generation American of full Italian
descent, Donna combined her historical research with her genealogical studies,
finding that her birth name (Russo) and her family roots are traceable to ninth
century Florence…the very city in which the Da Vinci’s Disciples trilogy is
set.
A 25-year professional editor/story consultant, her work spans more than 40 manuscripts.  She holds a BA in Communications and an A.A. in English Literature.  Donna teaches writing courses at her state’s
most prestigious adult learning center, online for Writer’s Digest University, and has presented at national and academic conferences for over ten years.  In addition to her writing, Donna has worked as a model and an actor with appearances in Showtime’s Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Currently under contract to a consortium of international producers, Donna has added screenwriting to her professional acumen.
Contact Links
Twitter: @DonnaRussoMorin
Instagram @donnarm.telleroftales
Buy Links

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: We Other by Sue Bentley

Here is the Second of my Blog Tours for today – We Other by Sue Bentley being run by Rachel’s Random Resources. I am honoured to be taking part on DAY ONE of the tour which goes until the 6th June which is publication day too!

Blurb:

Family secrets, changelings, and fairies you never want to meet on a dark night.

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic.

When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods’ – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of Jess’s worries.

Amazon UK – Amazon.com

Author Bio:

Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. We Other is her first book for Young Adults.

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Giveaway (International):

  • Win a signed copy of ‘We Other’ and a personal letter.
  • Worldwide entries welcome.
  • Please enter using Rafflecopter. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner.
  • Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

My Review:

OK so I umm-ed and errr-ed about signing up for this as fantasy is not usually something I go for but I decided that I needed to stretch my reading brain and I am REALLY glad I did! From the moment we meet jess, I was on her side – her sassiness in the face of what she is dealing with is admirable and her sense of humour is amazing too. But Jess is not the only character that Bentley has written perfectly!  Her new friend Lisa sounds like me when I was younger so I of course loved her immediately and then meeting Caleb and willing him with every bone in my body to ‘GET OUT’ made me realise that I was truly ensconced in the story!

I have to admit that the first couple of chapters jump a little between the real world and the other, and with the names and types of beings we are meeting, I did find myself slowing down for those chapters, certainly at the beginning. I suspect that is more due to my lack of fantasy experience than it being the books fault!

I love that she gets you trying to guess things right from the start – sometimes she does what you think she will do, but not always which is great and definitely keeps you reading!

One bit I loved was the scene with Crowle in Chapter 5;

“He Grimaced. ‘In the old days, we used to be partial to the odd slice of roasted mortal. My father kept a stable of them for the kitchens. I had the care of the newborns.'”

and then later .. “Infants don’t do a lot, besides supping, sleeping and shitting.’

Overall I think this is a great book and one you should definitely read, whether you think you like fantasy or not …!

4 Stars

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Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks

I am delighted to bring you my stop on this blog tour today (the first of two today – never say I’m not good to you)!  This blog tour is organised by Lola’s Blog Tours and runs until the 28th May. I received a free copy of the book in return for my honest review.

The Author:

Born in Boston, MA and raised in Miami, FL, Sara Marks has two masters degrees and plans to never stop getting over educated.  She likes the idea of having all the academic regalia she can ever possess and winning with the most degrees in her family. By day she’s an academic librarian.  In what little free time she has, she also knits and plays with her dog Cedric Doggory.

You can find and contact Sara Marks here: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads, Amazon, Her Mailing List.

Blurb:

Phi Alpha Pi is the oldest and largest sorority on campus and new president Lizbeth has a busy senior year ahead of her. She’s determined to keep her sorority in good standing on campus after a year on academic probation. She’s trying to manage the new sorority house manager, Mrs. C, who has her own ideas about how to support the sorority sisters. All while trying to find balance with her own academic goals to complete an honors thesis, graduate, and decide her future plans.

The last thing Lizbeth expects is her anger when Wil, a new member of the Alpha Pi fraternity, pushes every one of her buttons. Lizbeth finds Wil, a new transfer to the university with his best friend, to be rude, snobby, and judgmental. Even though she tries to avoid him, he seems to be everywhere, scowling with displeasure when he sees her.  That is, until his Thanksgiving proclamation of love. That causes Lizbeth to reconsider how she sees the world.

GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Excerpt:

The more they walked around the museum, the more Lizbeth realized they liked a lot of the same pieces and artists for very similar reasons. They didn’t draw while in the Matisse exhibit, but Lizbeth would periodically sit and doodle while listening to tour guides who led groups through the space. Her paper was quickly filled with little triangle butterflies and poorly drawn horses.

‘Suddenly I expect you to love unicorns and rainbows,’ Wil said, sitting next to her on a bench and looking over her shoulder.
‘I do!’
‘I was joking’
‘I’m not. I also love mermaids. Ask Becca. For years I was going to turn into one when I grew up. It was my career goal for quite a while.’
‘Are you a good swimmer?’
‘Fantastic! I’m a much better swimmer than I am an artist.’
Wil laughed at her. ‘You are great at riding horses and swimming? Did you want to become a unicorn
later?’
‘No, I was going to be a mermaid princess who came on land to ride her unicorns. That’s why my grandparents bought me Windfola.’
Wil blushed, probably remembering his plan to buy her horse.
‘Then your income would be princess-based.’
‘Obviously, a great plan.’
This time they both laughed. Wil wouldn’t let her see what was on his paper. They left the exhibit and headed for a cafe in the museum to grab lunch. As they left the exhibits, Lizbeth saw him fold his paper and slip it into his back pocket.

As they made their way to the cafe, they got distracted by a collection about roosters across cultures. They stood before a painting of a rooster called “The Cock” Neither recognized the artist, but Lizbeth felt inspired.
‘The thing that catches my eye about this cock is the color and shape. Notice the left curvature of the cock. The shape is of an average cock. What are your thoughts about the cock, Wil?’ Lizbeth said.
She turned to face Wil and found him trying to stifle a laugh.
‘Do you find cocks funny, Wil? A cock is nothing to laugh at. If you had a cock as grand as this would you want people laughing at it?’ Lizbeth said.
She would have continued, but she started laughing herself. She let Wil take her hand and pull her out of the room.
‘You’ve seen my terrible drawings. Let me see what you did’ Lizbeth said once they were seated with lunch from the cafe.
‘No, it’s nothing.’
‘Wil, don’t worry. I won’t tell your aunt how you aren’t a well-rounded young lady.’
Wil laughed at the joke, but refused to let her see what he had drawn.
‘This isn’t over. The more you refuse, the more I want to see what you drew,”
Lizbeth said as she got up to throw away their trash.

Author Interview:

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Sara some questions about Phi Alpha Pi and her reading life, and here is what she said!

Phi Alpha Pi is the second book in your ‘21st Century Austen’ series and is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice with your first being a Persuasion re-telling. What made you pick those particular books / that particular author?

I started with these two books because they’re my favorites and my go-to plots (second chances and personal growth).  I’m taking a break from the modernizations for book three, but am already working on my update of Emma and Northanger Abbey.

Do you have to have read ‘Modern Persuasion’ to read this book or is a ‘standalone’ series?

I call this an anthology series because they exist in the same universe, but only the thinnest tendrils connect them.  You can read them in any order and the connections are show in the short stories that exist.

Do you have to have read the original ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to understand Phi Alpha Pi?

I don’t think you need to have read the original and readers have told me the same thing.  The nice thing about modernizing a book is that it’s contemporary, but nothing has to connect to the original. I find that books that are variations of Austen are more often sequels, prequels, and alternative versions of the story.  They require knowledges of the original. My story is about people like us who have no connection to their Regency era counterparts.

What made you set this story in an educational setting?

I love academia.  I love getting degrees and learning new things.  I’ve been at a college or university (for school and work) since I was eighteen.  This is a world I know better than I probably should. College specifically is a time when a lot of  people start making friends, meeting partners, and deciding how they might spend the rest of their lives.

Who was your favourite character to write about and why?

I love writing Jorge more than I thought I would.  I’m one of those people who find villains compelling characters.  I had to get into his head more than the other characters and try to figure out what motivated him to be so manipulative.

And who was the most difficult and why?

Also Jorge!  In the original he seduces and dumps young women, ruining their reputations.  That simply wasn’t going to work, as much as I tried to find the nuances of such situations. I had to think about what modern con artists do and it all centers around money.  It took a while and push back from beta readers to get him to the right place.

Do you know what book comes next and is it another Austen retelling?

The next book is a romance/mystery about a women whose husband doesn’t come home after a guys weekend.  The blurb will be at the end of Phi Alpha Pi. It’s my own idea and I’m surprisingly anxious about it being good.  Book four, which I’m already working on, is a modernization of Emma.

Were you ever in a sorority yourself? If yes, which one and tell us about your experience, if not, do you wish you had been and which would you have liked to join?

The first time I went to college it was at Florida State University. I was in a co-ed fraternity: Alpha Phi Omega and they focused on community service over everything else.  I joined because a close friend had also done it and my other friends were joining too. I had other friends that joined sororities and fraternities. I considered joining a sorority, but it can be expensive and I had other interests.

Your ‘day job’ is a Librarian; what is the best part about the job?

The best part of being in a library, for me, is that I get to keep learning new things and collaborating with interesting people in the faculty and students.  We are getting ready to take on making a series of instructional videos and improving those we have on YouTube. I’ve been learning more about putting videos on YouTube and it’s something I know I can use to promote books too.

You have professed a love for Wil Wheaton (I mean, who doesn’t love him?!), hence the name of one of the MC’s in this book – what, in your opinion, is his best performance to date?

I fell in love with him when he did Star Trek the Next Generation, but his best role was definitely Stand By Me (ed: AGREED!).  My secret favorite is a 1991 he did with Sean Astin (who I also loved), Toy Soldiers.  I only read Ready Player One because he was the narrator (it was worth the read!).

I see that you have been a NaNoWriMo participant for the past 14 years or so – how many times have you ‘won’ and do you have any suggestions or words of wisdom for anyone planning on taking part?

I’ve won it every year but one.  My advice is to not worry about the quality of the words. A lot of people get stuck in crafting the perfect opening or making sure every work is perfect.  Just keep writing and don’t delete because it’s about quantity. It’s really tough for people to remember. If you think 50,000 words is too much to manage, in April and July you can set your own word count for Camp NaNoWriMo.  I wrote Phi Alpha Pi in the April 2014 event and Modern Persuasion in July 2014!

I love reading challenges and am doing quite a few this year – are you challenging yourself to read a certain number of books or perhaps certain books this year?

I’ve done the GoodReads annual challenge, but I’ve cut down my goal to like 50 books because I get obsessed with reach the goal instead of enjoying the books.  I usually get in like 100+ books and it helps that I love audiobooks. Right now I’m at 21 books, about 3 books ahead of the goal. I suspect it will pick up in the summer and then slow down again when things get crazy in the fall.

Giveaways:

There are two tour wide giveaways during the blog tour of Phi Alpha Pi! There is a US Only Giveaway for a prize pack and an international giveaway for 14 e-copies and a print copy of Phi Alpha Pi!

US Only Giveaway

One winner will win a Prize Pack containing:

  • Mrs. C’s homemade officers shirt in Comic Sans (you pick XL or XXL)
  • A Phi Alpha Pi sorority sticker, candle, and bracelet (some of the items mentioned in the story).
  • An illustration by cover designer Risa Rodil
  • A rooster dishtowel (so you can make cock jokes with Lizbeth and Wil)
  • Autographed printed copies of Modern Persuasion, A Little More Modern Persuasion, and Phi Alpha Pi.

For a chance to win enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Open for all Giveaway

These are the prizes you can win:

  • 14 winners will each win an e-copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks
  • 1 winner will win a print copy of Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks

For a chance to win enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Good Luck!

My Review:

Being British, Greek life is not something I know much about apart from what is show us on TV and in films, which I am sure is not truly representative of real life; I still have a real fascination with it though and that’s why I decided to take part on this tour. I also need to confess that although I have watched the TV series and film a few times, I never actually read Pride & Prejudice but that really didn’t matter.

I did struggle to get into the book to begin with – put I cannot put a finger on why. I think it must have ben just the mood I was in at the time as one I hit 26% on the Kindle, I looked up a moment later to realise I had made it to 53% without realising how long I had been reading! I soon then devoured the last half of the book and come the end, had really enjoyed it!

Sara tends to write words out in full (e.g. do not instead of don’t etc) and it takes just a little to get used to it (which is ridiculous really!) but it also brings it back into mind that you are reading a retelling of a Regency era book.

The characters are well written – I was invested in Lizbeth but also did feel occasionally that she was a little cols but this is something she acknowledges throughout the book.  Of course you can’t help but fall for Wil and Collins makes your skin crawl.  One thing that was interesting was the situation surrounding the Bennett sisters and parents now being Sorority sisters and other characters. I did feel it was a shame that Dr Bennett wasn’t mentioned a little more but felt that the Mrs C character was BRILLIANT!

I would definitely recommend this book if you want an ‘easy to read’ happy ending that you know is coming – if you know the story it’s interesting to see how Marks deals with things and definitely keeps you reading!

My rating is 4 Stars.

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Review

Review: The Cult on Fog Island by Mariette Lindstein

Rating: 4

Date Started: 9th May 2018

Date Finished: 13th May 2018

Where I got it from: NetGalley (via Publishers HQ)

Cost: £0.00 in return for an honest review

Published: NG lists as 17 May 2018 but Amazon lists as 24 Jan 2019.

Blurb: The most deadly trap is the one you don’t see…

Sofia has just finished university and ended a troubled relationship when she attends a lecture about a New Age movement, Via Terra. Its leader is Franz Oswald, young, good-looking, urbane and mesmerizing.

When Franz invites Sofia to visit Fog Island, the organization’s headquarters, Sofia is dazzled by the beautiful mansion overlooking the sea, the well-tended gardens, the peaceful atmosphere and the purposefulness of the people who live there. And she can’t ignore the attraction she feels for Oswald, and clearly he is fascinated by her also. So she decides to stay.

But when summer gives way to winter, and the dense fog from which the island derives its name sets in for months, it becomes clear that Franz rules the island with an iron fist. No phones or computers are allowed. All contact with the mainland is severed. Sofia begins to realize how very alone she is. And it becomes clear that no one leaves Fog Island…

About the Author: Mariette Lindstein was born and raised in Halmstad on the west coast of Sweden. At the age of 20, she joined the Church of Scientology and worked for the next 25 years at all levels of the organisation, including at its International HQ outside Los Angeles.

Mariette left the church in 2004 and is now married to Dan Soon, an author and artist. They live in the forest outside Halmstad with their three dogs. The Cult on Fog Island is her debut novel and was first published in Sweden where it won the Best Crime Debut at the Specsavers CrimeTime Awards.

Mariette now dedicates her life to writing and lecturing to warn others about the dangers of cults and cult mentality.

My Review: I want to point out here that this is the first book in a trilogy and is also translated from the original Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles.  I am not sure when the 2nd and 3rd books are going to be translated and published in English.

The book started a little slow – there were times when I felt that the translation faltered and slightly bought me out of the zone but not to the point that it made me think of putting it down .. because I was gripped from the start. Put the word ‘cult’ int he title of a book, film or TV Show and I’m in!  Not sure why it fascinated me so much but it does and this didn’t disappoint me!

I think one of the things I liked about it so much is that you can see it happening – looking at it from the outside it’s easy to see where things are going wrong and where Oswald is exerting his influence over Sofia and you almost want to shout at the pages “Can’t you see what’s happening here?!” or “Have a mind of your own for goodness sakes” but then that is the whole issue with cults and cult mentality.

There were a couple of occasions where information seemed ‘tagged’ on as if the writer realised, in editing, that she hadn’t introduced a theme, idea or person but again it didn’t really detract from the story or feeling and the final one (that I noticed) I even found myself thinking “we must need to know he was here for a future plot line” .. and we did!

I toyed with my star rating and I erred on the side of lower only because there were some things that poked at me … but in total honesty, I am not sure if it was plot holes / inaccuracies or very clever writing making me totally ensconced in the story.

Either way, I really enjoyed it and I will absolutely most definitely pick up the next in the series – having read the synopsis for it I am very much hoping that it is on it’s way soon!

Book 2: The Cult that Resurrected (Swedish Title)

Book 3: Children of the Cult (Swedish Title)

**I was sent this book by the publisher in return for an honest review and some of the links are affiliate**

2017, Book, Hardback, Review

Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

 

Rating: 4

Date Started: 15th November 2017

Date Finished: 16th November 2017

Amazon Link (I am NOT an affilliate)

Where I got it from: Library

Cost: £0.00

Blurb: When Mae is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users’ personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can’t believe her great fortune to work for them – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public.

My Review: WOW. I’m not totally sure where to start with this one which I guess is why it has taken me a while to write this review!  I read the book for my Book Club.- it was our first book and recommended by one of our members who warned us it would make us think.  She wasn’t wrong!

It scared me, made me cringe and outraged me .. but all in a ‘good’ way, as in not because the book itself was badly written, quite the opposite in fact. Dave has a way of making you feel like you are sitting on Mae’s shoulder and going through everything with her.  She is a mostly likeable character, until things get really hairy towards the end maybe, but in all honestly, I think it affected me so much as I know that I would have been like her and done what she did throughout most of the book.

I spent a lot of time reading with my jaw on the floor, saying “bloody hell” in my head and reading excerpts out to my family, but the reality is that we are not all that far from what goes on in this book at all.  There are times when this level of scrutiny might be useful but in general it fills me with dread.  I have a horrid general FOMO anyway so I hope I am gone before this level of interactivity comes along!

I decided to watch the Netflix Film adaptation afterwards and was quite shocked at the changes they made – I totally understand that you can’t ever get everything in and that some artistic license has to be taken, but there were a couple of key story points that were reversed, specifically the ending,  It will be interesting to see if the roamed sequel comes along as I am not sure how they would make a film of it work!

Overall I did like the book and as I read it really quickly (it’s that kind of ‘can’t stop reading’ book) I would quite like to go back and re-read it (or perhaps listen to the audiobook) again and see if my opinions change or I notice new things, especially after the discussions at book club.

Monthly Roundup

October Wrap Up

I started this post a million and one times… OK maybe not *quite* that many but I feel like it was!  I had so many questions going round in my head ..

Do my readers REALLY want to know about ALL the free books I got a hold of regardless of whether I actually read them this month?

Do I really want to show that I spent over £100 on books bearing in mind my blog is meant to be about reading on a budget? (in my defence I got a PPI repayment so I figure that spending a mere 5% of it on books is fair enough?)

Can I really be bothered to write out ALL of the books I got and link them to Goodreads?

And so on .. you get the picture!

I thought I would just give you the crib notes ..

Total Spent: £116.30

Number of Incoming Books: 128

Average cost per book: 90p

Number of Books I Read: 

  • 5* – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – My Review
  • 5* – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J K Rowling
  • 4.5% – Conclave by Roger Harris
  • 4* – Murder Games by James Patterson
  • 4* – Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • 3.5* – Tripwire by Lee Child
  • 3.5% – Strange Magic by Sid Moore
  • 3.5% – Warcross by Marie Lu – My Review
  • 2* – Saltwater Witch by Chris Howard (Graphic Novel)
  • DNF – Killer Game by Kirsty McKay – My Review

As you will know, this is my first month of ‘getting back to reading’ and tracking what I am doing and it has made me thug really hard about my habits…

  1. I need to STOP grabbing books just because they’re free!  I need to actually read the blurb (!!) but another step would be to check it out on GR too; I should say that I don’t discount books just because they have a slating from other people but reading other people’s reviews often cements my decisions!
  2. I need to start reading the books I get!  This is a no-brainer really and has had me thinking about how to do this; one Idea I have is to do the ‘Try a Chapter’ thing – I can say to myself that I will do that with 2 books a day (or possibly more) to try and weed out the books I know I don’t want to continue with and those that are OK can remain on my TBR. I may make this into a monthly post or may just include it in my monthly stats post – watch this space.
  3. I need to start making sure that I am not buying the ‘nth‘ book in a series if I have not read, or at least got, the previous books. This is especially true of books I am buying physically as the space I have to keep these ‘coming up soon’ books is extremely limited!
  4. (This is immaterial really as now that the chunk of money I had is gone, I will not really have any more money for books until Christmas Day, but ..) I NEED TO STOP BUYING BOOKS AND READ THE ONES I HAVE.

So there we have it My first monthly roundup – there will be more to come and Aim sure that the format will change!

How did you do this month?

Audiobook, Book, Review

Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Rating: 3.5

Date Started: 19 Oct 2017

Date Finished: 28 Oct 2017

Amazon Link (I am NOT an affilliate)

Where I got it from: Audiobooks.com

Cost: FREE (30 Day Free Trial)

Blurb: For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Review: I wanted to read this as I had heard so many good things about it and it was likened to “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline which is a favourite of mine. It was like it, but it wasn’t as good in my opinion, albeit it is aimed at a slightly younger reader I think.

The storyline was good – I like that we spent a good amount of time with the MC before the action started (not normally something I like but this time it felt right). The twist was unexpected and not something that I had guessed and then the minor twist at the end when the ‘baddie’ was unmasked was also good, although I had guessed it once the twist was revealed.

The characters were likeable, but not loveable. We really only got to know the 2 MC’s in any depth and it would have been nice to know the others a little more, especially the MC’s team mates in the Warcross Games.

I listened to the Audiobook so wanted to mention that the narrator, Nancy Wu, is good. She reads with a decent pace (although there were a few parts when she could have sped up a bit) and her voice fits the characters well.

(Also posted on GoodReads)