Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Little Heaven by Nick Cutter

Publish Date: January 10th, 2017
Publisher: Gallery
ISBN: 9781501168406
Pages: 496
Series: None
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

An all-new epic tale of terror and redemption set in the hinterlands of midcentury New Mexico from the acclaimed author of The Troop—which Stephen King raved “scared the hell out of me and I couldn’t put it down...old-school horror at its best.”

From electrifying horror author Nick Cutter comes a haunting new novel, reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian and Stephen King’s It, in which a trio of mismatched mercenaries is hired by a young woman for a deceptively simple task: check in on her nephew, who may have been taken against his will to a remote New Mexico backwoods settlement called Little Heaven. Shortly after they arrive, things begin to turn ominous. Stirrings in the woods and over the treetops—the brooding shape of a monolith known as the Black Rock casts its terrible pall. Paranoia and distrust grips the settlement. The escape routes are gradually cut off as events spiral towards madness. Hell—or the closest thing to it—invades Little Heaven. The remaining occupants are forced to take a stand and fight back, but whatever has cast its dark eye on Little Heaven is now marshaling its powers...and it wants them all.

My Review:

I don't even know where to start on this one! All I can say is don't read this at night, alone and in the dark. Holy hell, this is a book that I will add to my list of scary books I've read. And to be honest, that list isn't very long (The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper is on the list too).

Little Heaven is gruesome, vivid, and just plain eerie and creepy. I've never read any other book by Nick Cutter and I can't say that I will if they are all like this one. Not that I didn't like the book, I just don't like to be scared! The writing is great in Little Heaven, the attention to detail is there for sure, along with the creep factor. Cutter definitely left a lot open for the readers imagination in terms of what the characters saw or felt and it was a different experience reading a book like that.

Micah, Eb and Minerva are all very different characters but are all bounty hunters who meet up to check on a young womans nephew. A very interesting plot where you'll go back to when they met for the very first time, or "Beginnings" as a part of the book is called. The way the novel is separated into parts with a few illustrations throughout added to the overall appeal of the book I think.

Overall, Little Heaven, while I was strongly intrigued by the synopsis was a little too much on the horrifying and gruesome end of things for me to thoroughly enjoy the whole thing. I tried, but I think I'll stick to my usual next time!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Review: The Lost Property Office by James R Hannibal

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: Nov 8th, 2016
ISBN: 9781481467094
Pages: 400
Series: Section 13, Book #1
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

James R. Hannibal presents a thrilling adventure through history, complete with mysteries, secret items, codes, and a touch of magic in this stunning middle grade debut.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.
But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.
Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short? 

My Review:

Jack is unique, and always has been. He can hear and feel things that most people can't. He's written it off for the first 13 years of his life as just an odd quirk that he has to live with. It isn't until his sister Sadie thinks she sees their missing dad that it all starts to come together and make sense a little to Jack Buckles. 
The book starts off a little slow to be honest, it took a little persuasion to sit down and read at first. Not that it wasn't good or anything, I just wanted something to hook me in! Once past the first few chapters, things start to look up. We meet a strange young girl named Gwen who can help Jack and together they set off on an adventure to find what the Clockmaster is after. Written with such vividness, the reader can easily see what James R Hannibal had in mind, but also so much creativity that the reader could just as easily envision their own world.
It's a history lesson, a mystery, and a magical ride all rolled into one. I can definitely see fans of Harry Potter taking a liking to The Lost Property Office (I mean, it made me start rereading Harry Potter..again!). Fans of Sherlock will also enjoy this. And even if you don't like/know either of those, that's ok! There's something in this book that you'll enjoy!
Also, the cover art is pretty cool! The pretty little bug on the right hand corner of the book is fantastic! And I was happy to see a ton of The Lost Property Office copies out in plain sight on display at my local Chapters. The cover will most likely draw a lot of readers to it!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review: The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner

Publish Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Aladdin
ISBN: 9781481470742
Pages: 304
Series: Book #1
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling of Hungry Heart Jennifer Weiner comes a laugh-out-loud funny and painstakingly real tale of friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong.

Alice Mayfair, twelve years old, slips through the world unseen and unnoticed. Ignored by her family and shipped off to her eighth boarding school, Alice would like a friend. And when she rescues Millie Maximus from drowning in a lake one day, she finds one.

But Millie is a Bigfoot, part of a clan who dwells deep in the woods. Most Bigfoots believe that people—NoFurs, as they call them—are dangerous, yet Millie is fascinated with the No-Fur world. She is convinced that humans will appreciate all the things about her that her Bigfoot tribe does not: her fearless nature, her lovely singing voice, and her desire to be a star.

Alice swears to protect Millie’s secret. But a league of Bigfoot hunters is on their trail, led by a lonely kid named Jeremy. And in order to survive, Alice and Millie have to put their trust in each other—and have faith in themselves—above all else.

My Review:

What a refreshing read this was! In many ways, it reminded me of how I felt reading Jason Segels Nightmares. It truly made me happy to read such a wonderful book. 

Alice is a young girl just trying to get by in life. But she's different. She's clumsy, has big messy hair, doesn't look at all like the other girls and is just plain awkward. She's been to many many schools and can't find one that suits her eccentric learning style. And honestly, reading the beginning and her troubles and turmoils at the different schools made me laugh out loud!

I love that The Littlest Bigfoot touches on the serious subjects that need to be talked about nowadays. Bullying and acceptance are huge in this novel along with friendship and how it's ok to be friends with someone who isn't exactly like you. Take Millie for example. She's curious, adventurous and not even human and the friendship that Alice and Millie create will be that of a lifetime. These are the books I wish I read in middle school. Books to teach me how to find the place where I belong, and how it's ok to be different.

I liked how the book was separated into the chapters each focusing on either Millie, Alice and Jeremy (who just really wants to catch a Bigfoot!) I enjoyed that we got to dig a little deeper into each character and see their personalities shine through a little more. This is the kind of book that all kids should read and appreciate and I myself am looking forward to sinking into the sequel that's promised at the end of Jennifer Weiners debut middle-grade fiction, The Littlest Bigfoot.

Book Review: Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Publish Date: September 13th, 2016
Publisher: Atria / 37 INK
ISBN: 9781501133862
Pages: 384
Series: None
Source: ARC from publisher for honest review

Goodreads Synopsis:

The award-winning author of The Last Town on Earth delivers a riveting and elegant police procedural set in 1948 Atlanta, exploring a murder, corrupt police, and strained race relations that feels ripped from today's headlines.

Responding to orders from on high, the Atlanta Police Department is forced to hire its first black officers, including war veterans Lucius Boggs and Tommy Smith. The newly minted policemen are met with deep hostility by their white peers; they aren’t allowed to arrest white suspects, drive squad cars, or set foot in the police headquarters.

When a black woman who was last seen in a car driven by a white man turns up dead, Boggs and Smith suspect white cops are behind it. Their investigation sets them up against a brutal cop, Dunlow, who has long run the neighborhood as his own, and his partner, Rakestraw, a young progressive who may or may not be willing to make allies across color lines. Among shady moonshiners, duplicitous madams, crooked lawmen, and the constant restrictions of Jim Crow, Boggs and Smith will risk their new jobs, and their lives, while navigating a dangerous world—a world on the cusp of great change.
Set in the postwar, pre-civil rights South, and evoking the socially resonant and morally complex crime novels of Dennis Lehane and Walter Mosley, Darktown is a vivid, smart, intricately plotted crime saga that explores the timely issues of race, law enforcement, and the uneven scales of justice.  

My Review:

It's taken me some time to actually sit down and get this review written, just like it took me some time to sit down and finish the book. It was such a slow starter for me, that I continuously stopped and started this book over and over. I'm not too sure what the problem was exactly, but I think it was a mixture of knowing how true this book is to the actual hardships and difficulties that blacks in Atlanta had faced and the fact that the "n" word was used quite frequently (and I have a very hard time hearing / reading it). Once I got passed this, the writing was quite phenomenal and the story had great purpose. Bu it wasn't totally what I was expecting. With the little letter from the publisher at Atria / 37 INK at the beginning, I was so very eager to dive right into this book that promised to be a huge hit ( I mean, come on, they're making a film or TV show with Jamie Foxx co producing! )but it just didn't hit that high note with me.

Don't get me wrong, this novel is an exemplary work of art, and history and the whodunnit aspect will have the reader up guessing all night. And while most readers will not be able to relate the the characters personally, we can somewhat understand the hardships and perseverance that we all have to go through at some point or another.

Maybe one of these days this will be one of those books I pick up and try again, and maybe I'll appreciate it more than I did the first time around. But don't let my review stop you from enjoying Darktown, just look at the 4.26 star rating on Goodreads, and let that help you sway your decision.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Blog Tour: Burn by Paula Weston

 Would you believe it if I said that this was the final book in Paula Weston's The Rephaim Series? Well, unfortunately this is the end; the end of a 4 book series that kept readers on the edges of their seats wanting more! But good news for you, if you've stayed with me for the past 3 years and 4 blog tours or are just joining now, stay until the end of this post to see that not all endings are sad news!

Publish Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN: 9781770498518
Pages: 448
Series: The Rephaim, #4
Source: From publisher for honest review and to participate in blog tour

Goodreads Synopsis:

Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything.
For a year she believed she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.
Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass—and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.
Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell. 
More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously hurt Rafa.

My Review:

"Suddenly, Gaby remembers everything." That's the first line on the back cover of Burn, and it is a precursor to the intensity of book #4 in Paula Weston's series, The Rephaim. 

Paul Weston did such a good job with the cliffhanger at the end of Shimmer that she needed to come in with a bang to get the reader hooked at the get go and let me tell you...she did and she did it with perfection! The prologue in Burn is powerful and I feel like it really set the pace for the rest of the book. It was captivating and Paula Weston was daring you to stop reading. And when you just couldn't stop, you find yourself immersed in the sexiest, hottest, steamiest sex scene that the whole Rephaim series has seen. (It's hot!)

Paula Weston set Burn as a "then" and "now" story and it definitely worked in her favour. It really played to the overall story telling and it's another way to keep you hooked because you need to know what's happening next, all the time! Since Burn is the finale of 4 books with still so many unanswered questions, there was a lot of information handed to us. Paula Weston did a great job of spreading it out and not dumping all of this on the reader at once. We finally get all the who's, why's, when and how's all sorted out and while it may not have been what we thought or foresaw, its a conclusion nonetheless.

The huge monumental secret, the reason Gaby and Jude went their separate ways was a little anticlimactic! It just wasn't that 'huge monumental' secret I was hoping for. I didn't feel moved by their betrayal of each other at all and I wanted to feel moved. I wanted a jaw-dropping reveal, but I didn't get it. But that aside, the second half (and more so the ending) of the book was fast-paced, the writing was what we come to expect from Paula Weston. (I still love the Aussie feel of her writing). I love that we were kept on our toes from beginning to end. Paula Weston was able to wrap up the series very clearly in a writing perspective, but I feel like she ended it with the possibility of the reader continuing their story after everything has been revealed. I think it's been made easy for the reader to resume the lives of Gaby, Rafa, and the others!

Though I'm sad that the series has been wrapped up in the 4th and final book, I'm happy that I got to read, enjoy and participate in such a great blog tour. I hope that everyone had fun following along on this blog tour! It's been a fantastic journey and I've had a lot of fun. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour. Follow us all on Twitter too!

Now, while I know you've all enjoyed reading reviews and author interviews and other fun stuff blog tour participants have posted, I know you've also been dying for your own copies of The Rephaim series to read and to cherish right? So here's the best way to end the end of a great series . . .

A Giveaway!

The lovely, LOVELY team at Tundra Books would like you to have your own set of books. That's right, the whole set!

Giveaway open to Canada and US residents only. Books will be shipped by Tundra Books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Need a refresher? Click on the covers to see my blog tour posts:

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN: 9780385744256
Pages: 355
Series: Nightmares! #1
Source: Gift

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sleeping has never been so scary. And now waking up is even worse!
 Charlie Laird has several problems.  1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch.2. He had to move into her purple mansion, which is NOT a place you want to find yourself after dark.3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap.  What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world—that’s a line that should never be crossed. And when your worst nightmares start to come true . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.

My Review:

What a fun book! This was a gift from my daughter seeing as she knows how much I love to read and how much I love Jason Segel (mostly from How I Met Your Mother). I don't know how much of this was written by him and not Kirsten Miller but it was a fun read no matter what.
Charlie is going through a rough patch in his life right now, and on top of dealing with all of that, he cannot sleep without falling into a terrifying nightmare that eventually becomes a living nightmare. What I really liked about this book is that as a 29 year old reading this, I was taken back to my best childhood memories. I felt like a kid again! I read this book with a smile on my face, and I seriously wanted to make a fort and read it late at night with a flashlight! I think this book would appeal to so many others. Young and old alike. And maybe even for younger kids, it may be a little frightening! It had great friendships and it overcame obstacles. I can't wait to read The Sleepwalk Tonic, Nightmares #2, and I just found out in late 2016, The Lost Lullaby, Nightmares #3 is due to be published! Get ready to be spooked!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

Publish Date: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
ISBN: 9781451621389
Pages: 266
Series: None
Source: Bought

Goodreads Synopsis:

An award-winning memoir and instant New York Timesbestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery,Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman's struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she'd gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family's inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn't happen. "A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life."(People),Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

My Review:

From the first time I saw this book and read a quick exerpt, I knew it was something I needed to read. I don't read a lot of memoirs or biographies and because of this, I didn't want to spend the $20+ for the book. I kept waiting and looking for it at garage sales or thrift stores and one lucky day I found it! It was time for me to finally sink into Brain on Fire - My Month of Madness.
To be honest, I was a little disappointed after I read it. It's a memoir as I mentioned, so it's hard to say it was a bad book, because it wasn't but it just wasn't as exciting as I had expected it to be. Let's clear this up a little. When I read the little chapter, I was intrigued because Susannah had no idea who she was or where she was. But there's a lot more behind this than I had thought. Without giving away too much of the book, she had her family and her boyfriend there with her at all times helping her along the way. In my mind, I pictured this poor woman waking up alone, all by herself with no one. I think that's what I wanted. More mystery with who she was overall and I wanted to come along on a journey with her as she finds herself. We do get the mystery while figuring out what caused Susannah to have a "month of madness" and it's an interesting read, and we definitely follow along as she finds herself and rediscovers her life before this all happens.
Brain on Fire was an okay book to read, it's hard to believe that our bodies and minds are so fragile and anything can happen to anyone at any given time. I'd recommend this read to anyone who enjoys memoirs and/or medical suspense reads.

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