Reviews

Book Review: The Princess Mutiny by L. J. Surrage (Spoiler-Free!)

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 13.58.18

Synopsis:

Anastasia Windell is not your average princess. Even as an heir to the Eagen Empire, she craves adventure, fun, and excitement that her life as a royal simply can’t give her.

An arranged marriage to an unhinged Duke and a stubborn father is enough to send Anya over the edge, as she is forced to take her life into her own hands. By staging her escape in disguise, Anastasia makes a bid for freedom and sails to the West Indies, and unintentionally falls under the tutelage of notorious pirate lord Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. She doesn’t know what the Caribbean will hold for her, but she’s willing to bet that even piracy is better than life at the mercy of an abusive and powerful husband.

Review:

This is actually the first pirate book that I’ve ever read, and it was an enjoyable read. There were a few things that I didn’t like about it, but then there were things I loved. The characters, for example, they really intrigued me.

The main character, Anya, is a princess. Not your typical princess, however. I loved her! She was strong, ambitious, independent and didn’t take crap from anyone. When she realised she was in a potentially dangerous situation, she went through a lot to get herself out of it and to ensure that she stayed safe. There’s so much I admire about her. She went through so much awful things, some at the hands of those who are meant to love and protect her, and in my opinion, she came out pretty well from it.

George was the absolute worst. I could not stand him. But that was the authors intention, so I just want to mention how well written he is. His actions were despicable. One of the worst villains!

The plot was really interesting. I read most of it over one day when I had nothing to do. However, I felt that some parts were a bit slow-paced, and without spoiling anything, there were certain things that just seemed just a bit too easy for Anya. There are also quite a lot of time jumps in this book. It didn’t bother me, but there were quite a few.

Overall, The Princess Mutiny was a nice read for a day when I had nothing to do, and I liked it. I give it 3.5 stars.

3-stars

.5

 

 

I’d like to thank L. J. Surrage for sending me a copy of The Princess Mutiny in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx

Advertisements
Me

MCM LONDON COMIC CON 2017

IMG_7085

On October 28th, I attended Comic Con with my friend for the second year in a row! It was just as much fun as it was the first time around, and I’m honestly so excited for next year. I’m already jotting down ideas for my costume.

Last year, I went as Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter, because there was no way that I was going to pass up the chance to dress up in Hogwarts robes, use a wand, and pretend to be a witch for the day. It was AMAZING. Even though I felt like I was slightly betraying my house (Slytherin) by wearing Gryffindor robes. My friend went as Marty McFly from Back To The Future, and was super annoyed when after we left, she went online and found out that the was a DeLorean there. She did manage to get a picture this year, though, which she was happy about.

IMG_6522

This year, I went as Feyre Archeron from the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas. I got to wear a pretty dress and act like a High Lady who had Rhysand, so it was pretty good. Someone even recognised who I was, which happened so much last year, but I wasn’t really expecting this year. You can probably tell from the picture that my friend went as Tinkerbelle, which I thought was great as she is most definitely the right size for her!

The whole day was amazing. I didn’t buy as much stuff this year as I did last year (I had more restraint!) but I did buy a book, ‘Because You Love To Hate Me’ and a few other little bits. I also got some SJM goodies! A poster and a pencil case, which I was very pleased with.

I also got to briefly see Ana whilst we were there, she saw us walking past and quickly ran after me, so it was lovely to see her!

IMG_6756

Overall, I had a really good day. I did consider going to the one in May, but I’ve decided against it as it’s exam seasons and I need to be a good student and focus on getting good grades and passing my A Levels so I can go to university next year. But, I’ll definitely be going to the October one.

IMG_5953

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review and Author Interview – Lord of The Dead by Richard Rippon

IMG_7068

Synopsis:

A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as ‘Son of Geb.’

‘Lord Of The Dead’ is a gripping, startling piece of modern noir fiction.

Review:

As regular readers of my reviews will know, I love a good Thriller. Lord of The Dead had most of the things that I like about them, and I finished it within a few days. There was something about this Thriller that stood out from the others I’ve read, and made it a very enjoyable read.

The protagonist, Atherton, is ever so flawed. I’m a sucker for a flawed character. There were certain things that he did that I despised, and he definitely didn’t do himself any favours sometimes. But I did love his determination to discover what was happening, and overall, I liked him. He also had cerebral palsy, which I wanted to mention as it’s a disorder that two people I know have, and therefore hits close to home. Atherton is the first main character in a book I’ve read that is affected by cerebral palsy, and I thought he was represented well.

I liked Kate. Despite her history with Atherton, she was professional and didn’t disregard his advice, which I found admirable, as I’ll sometimes find female characters that are written by male authors can be represented in a way that I find unrealistic, in my opinion. So I applaud Rippon for writing a strong, mature and likeable female character.

I thought the pace of the plot was just right, too, and it kept me wanting more each chapter. The plot, and search for the serial killer, were very interesting to follow, and no matter how hard I tried, or how many theories I came up with, I just could not figure out who the killer was! That made it even better for me.

The killer (who I am going to refer to using ‘They’ as I don’t want to give anything away), who calls them self ‘Son of Geb’ interested me so much! They wasn’t your typical serial killer, and there were definitely a few twists to them that I did not see coming. There was something that happened at the end that was a little cliche, but other than that, the ending was exciting and dramatic!

Overall, I really enjoyed Lord Of The Dead, and I hope to see some more of Atherton and Kate in the future. The only thing that I will mention is there is a bit of infidelity, so if that’s something you don’t want to read about, I’d give this one a miss. However, it really is only sub-plot, and whilst I don’t condone it, it didn’t bother me as I was too focused on who the hell the Son of Geb was!

I give this book 4.5 stars.

untitled.5

 

Author Interview:

I am lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to interview the author, Richard Rippons, which I was very glad about as there were a few questions I had that I really wanted answers to! I’m also very excited to share this, as it is my first author interview!

1.  Where did the inspiration for Lord of The Dead come from?

I’d become obsessed with the Michael Mann film, Manhunter and the Thomas Harris novel, Red Dragon on which it’s based. It’s the first Hannibal Lecter novel, but as brilliant and fascinating this character is, I was always more interested in Will Graham, the FBI profiler with an affinity to the killers he’s hunting. I was also listening to a lot of Nick Cave, and those dark, brooding songs were also an influence. I wanted to write something that had a noirish feel. Something set in the North East, but not parochial or cosy. Something with a big-world, cinematic feel to it.
2.  If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
“Start now!” Although I enjoyed writing at school, I never felt there was a chance of me making a living as a writer. Instead, I did a science degree and worked in that field. It took a long time for me to realise I’d be happier doing more creative things. I think I should have studied English or maybe Film Studies. However, perhaps when I was younger, I might not have had the patience to write at length, and this is the way it was meant to be.
3. Why do you write about crime?
Good question. Although I like the aforementioned Harris and Val McDermid, I don’t read many crime novels. I do have an interest in real-life serial killers. There’s something fascinating about what drives them to do what they do.
4. What made you want to use social media as a form of communication for the Son of Geb?
I work in social media and spend a lot of time on Twitter. It’s interesting that social media, particularly YouTube and Instagram, is where so many people are finding fame and fortune these days. I though it would be interesting to see how a serial killer might goad the police on Twitter, where the public can also see what he’s writing and develop a following of his own.
5. What was your writing process whilst writing Lord of The Dead?
I wrote mainly on the bus, to and from work. There’s a lot to be said for writers using public transport. It gave me about and hour and a half every day of uninterrupted time to work on it. I’d scribble in notebooks and eventually type it up. It was good, because I’d usually improve on it at that step. Sometimes I’d do longer stints in the shed at the top of the garden. I used Twitter to find experts (a forensics scientist, a historian and someone with cerebral palsy) to help me with various aspects of the book.

(Bit of a spoiler here, but I’m super curious! LOOK AWAY IF YOU’VE NOT READ LORD OF THE DEAD!!!)

6. Why did you have Jon Atherton have an affair with Kate Prejean?
The ‘will they, won’t they?’ aspect always raises tension in a story. At the start of Lord of the Dead, Atherton is enrolled on a police team with Prejean, with whom he’s previously had an adulterous relationship. As the pressure of the case builds, it’s whether or not they’ll give in to that mutual attraction again. 
7. What scene did you find the most difficult to write in Lord of The Dead? Why?
The final couple of chapters were probably the most difficult. I wanted to keep the denouement nice and pacy, and for it to have a nice dramatic payoff, but for it not to feel forced. Solving these problems is part of the fun, but it can feel frustrating at times.
8. If you’re able to talk about it, are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m working on ideas for a sequel to Lord of the Dead. The working title is The Life of the Flesh. I’m also collaborating on a really interesting horror screenplay idea with a couple of friends.
So, there we have it! My first author interview, and a review of Lord of The Dead. You can follow Richard Rippon on:
-Books&Belle xx
Reviews

Blog Tour: A Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding (Spoiler-Free!)

Hello everyone! I feel like I have been away for so long, when it’s actually only been around two weeks. I had my mocks, so I thought it best to take a break from blogging to focus on that. But they’re over, and I’m back. Yay!

Screen Shot 2017-11-29 at 22.41.58

Synopsis:

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

Review:

I am lucky enough to be a participant in the blog tour for A Pearl For My Mistress, and I’m going to start off by saying that I haven’t read a historical romance in absolutely ages. I really can’t even remember what the last one was, and A Pearl For My Mistress was the perfect book to get me back into them. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot, the characters, the writing, and the relationships were all amazing!

The main character, Hester, was brilliant. She was loyal, and kind, which are both lovely qualities to have. There were definitely a few flaws to her, but if you’ve read my reviews in the past, you’ll know that I enjoy a flawed character. It makes them much more interesting and realistic. I felt that she was a little unambitious. However, I understand that this wouldn’t have been uncommon of a woman in her position at the time period in which this book is set in.

With Lucy, there were things I loved, and things that really bugged me. She’s a grey area for me. She’s Hester’s mistress, but there were clear instances where I felt that she was manipulative toward Hester. This definitely showed the class differences between them, despite the close relationship that had developed between them. What I loved, though, was how ahead of her time she seemed, in my opinion. She was ambitious, power-hungry, and very interesting.

Now, the relationship between Hester and Lucy. I loved that a romantic relationship formed between them, and whilst I did like it, I didn’t like that there was one of them who was clearly ‘superior’ to the other, as I don’t believe that that is healthy in a relationship.

I won’t go into the plot, but I’ll just say that I did enjoy it. It is obvious that a lot of research went into it due to the history included, and I did expect a little more romance, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got! Fielding’s writing is enjoyable to read, and has a unique style to it that I liked.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I did judge it by it’s cover a bit before reading it, and it wasn’t what I expected at all, but instead it was even better! I give it four out of five stars.

untitled

I’d like to thank Annabel Fielding for providing me with a copy ofA Pearl For My Mistress in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan (Spoiler-Free!)

IMG_6736

Synopsis

Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct to disappear is harder than it looks when there’s prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom.

But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice – keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?

A stunning new YA voice which questions how far you’ll go to protect what you believe in.

Review

Okay, the first thing that I want to say is that I absolutely loved this book. Everything from the characters to the plot was brilliant, and I read it in a matter of days. I think that this books covers some issues that are very relevant in todays society, such as terrorism and Islamophobia, which I think is very important.

The main character, Muzna Saleem, is a Muslim. This is actually the first book that has featured a Muslim main character I’ve read, and I’m so eager to read more now. Representation in books is something that is desperately, so that is part of the reason that I love this book so much. I really liked Muzna, she was courageous, brave and stood up for what she thought was right, despite certain things trying to influence her to do the opposites.

As I said before, Islamophobia is an issue that is tackled in this book. Whilst I know that this is important to cover as it is something that Muslim’s face in their everyday lives, it just made me so angry to read! There was a particular character that was very open about her racism towards Muslims, and I honestly despised her. It was very relevant though, as people that share her views do exist, unfortunately.

The plot was also very interesting, which lead me to reading the whole book over 2 or 3 days. It was fast-paced, and there were a few time jumps which I liked. Especially the one between 13 year old Muzna and 16 year old Muzna as it showed the differences between how she was then, and how she is now.

The only thing that I wasn’t too keen on is how some of the teenagers speak. I understand that it is set in a certain place, but I just don’t think that teenagers use some of the slang that the author used. I do understand that writing from the perspective from a teenage girl might be difficult when you’re not one, but I just wanted to mention that.

Overall, I really did love this book. It was engaging, tackled important issues and was representative of a group of people who don’t get as much representation as they need. I give it 4.5 stars.

untitled

.5

 

 

 

I’d like to thank Macmillan’s Children for sending me a copy of I Am Thunder in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx

Me

What I Read In October 2017

So, it’s the first day of the month. I feel like October flew by! I’m going to miss my Halloween name on Twitter, ‘Hocus Locus Paige’, but it also means Christmas is next month! October was a very productive reading month for me, and I’m really happy with the amount of books I got through! Now I’ve just got to review them…

1. Doubt The Stars

IMG_5838

2. Murder At First Sight

DLPI6YpWkAADWyj.jpg-large

3. Sleeping Beauties

IMG_6123

4. Dead Girls Don’t Lie

IMG_6734

5. Dead Woman Walking

IMG_6735

6. Search For Maylee

Cover Image

7. I Am Thunder

IMG_6736

8. Heart Of Mist

IMG_6309

9. Heartless

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 16.27.21

10. Now You See

IMG_6717

So, that’s the wrap up for October 2017! Have you read any of these?

-Books&Belle xx

Me

Lush Book Club

So, on the 26th, I went to a book club hosted by Lush in London. It was amazing. Not only did it smell great, but there were cupcakes, drinks, lovely people, a hilarious author, lush goodies and a copy of The Summer Of Impossible Things.

IMG_6448

I met Nicola from Fantastic Book Dragon and Ana from Fangirl Since 88 when I got there, and Nicola very luckily managed to get right to the front and save Ana and I both a seat, which we were pretty happy about! Soon after, Anna James and Rowan Coleman were sat down and ready to start. Anna started by introducing both herself and the author of the book, Rowan, and then Rowan read an extract from her book that had me very eager to begin reading.

IMG_6451

Rowan was then asked a series of questions that Anna had prepared, and her answers were brilliant. She either had everyone hanging on her every word or laughing. There was something about practising kissing on a poster at the age of 11, if I recall correctly!

The audience were then able to ask some questions, which was great. I unfortunately didn’t have any as I haven’t yet read the book, but I can guarantee I’ll have tons once I’ve finished the book. After the questions had all been answered, Rowan signed some books and we got some lush goodies!

Overall, it was a really great night and I can’t wait to read The Summer Of Impossible Things! I definitely plan on going again in the next few months.

-Books&Belle xx

Collabs · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Heart Of Mist by Helen Scheuerer (Spoiler-Free!)

Heart of Mist - blog tour header large.png

IMG_6309.JPG

Synopsis

In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.

Review

I’m very lucky to be one of the stops of the Heart of Mist blog tour! The first thing that I want to point out about this book is how beautiful the cover is. I know we’re not meant to judge books by their covers, but it was one of the first things that attracted me to it. That, coupled with how good the synopsis sounded, made me want to dive right in.

When I did begin to read, I was not disappointed. The opening is exciting and left me wanting more, and making me have to read on, which is always a good sign when you’re only a couple of pages into a book. The plot is fast-paced, which I liked. I always try and finish a book, but when it takes absolutely ages to get into I do struggle. I felt on edge a lot of the time I was reading this, just because I didn’t know what to expect next!

I do want to mention that there is alcoholism in this book. Bleak, the main character, drinks a lot to cope with her troubles, so if that’s a trigger for you, I would keep it in mind before picking up this book. Personally, I thought that it was an interesting topic to include, and one that is not often seen in YA, so to have an issue like this be a part of the story intrigued me.

Now, onto characters! I liked the main character, Bleak, but she did annoy me at times. She seemed a little whiny to me, and I just didn’t connect with her very much. Like I said, though, I did like her and I respect that she was able to take responsibility for her mistakes when she made them. Fiore, however, I loved! He was brilliant, and the only character that I connected with. There were others that I liked, but Fi was my favourite.

I loved the world that Scheuerer created, and I think that the way she writes is great. The plot kept me interested throughout the whole book and I’m looking forward to the next one. Overall, I give this book 4 stars.

untitled

Make sure you join in for the Twitter chat using the hashtag #MistPH for the change to win a Heart of Mist Prize pack.

MistPH Twitter chat.PNG

Check out That Bookshelf Bitch for more information on Heart of Mist.

There is a giveaway, so check that out!

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Check it out on Goodreads.

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Book Review – Sleeping Beauties by Jo Spain (Spoiler-Free!)

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 00.06.11

Synopsis

The inspector frowned and examined the earth under the trees. As he scanned the glade, his stomach lurched. One, two, three, four. Five, counting the mound of earth disturbed under the tent. Somebody had cleared the earth of its natural layer and sown their own flowers.

In five places.

Five graves.

A young woman, Fiona Holland, has gone missing from a small Irish village. A search is mounted, but there are whispers. Fiona had a wild reputation. Was she abducted, or has she run away?

A week later, a gruesome discovery is made in the woods at Ireland’s most scenic beauty spot – the valley of Glendalough. The bodies are all young women who disappeared in recent years. D.I. Tom Reynolds and his team are faced with the toughest case of their careers – a serial killer, who hunts vulnerable women, and holds his victims captive before he ends their lives.

Soon the race is on to find Fiona Holland before it’s too late.

Review

So, at the moment I’m rather annoyed as I have somehow managed to delete the review of this I had previously written, meaning I have to re-write it! I’ll start by saying that this books is one of my favourite reads of 2017. Mystery, good characters, suspense and a good plot. What more can a Thriller-lover want?

The main character, Tom, was brilliant. He’s the type of guy that I wish was real so that I could know him in real life. He’s determined, wise and just a great character. I also really liked Laura and Ray, and how there was a little something going on between them. It also didn’t take the focus away from the main plot, so I applaud Jo Spain for that.

I found the point of view changes really interesting in Sleeping Beauties. Every few chapters, it’d change from Tom’s to the perspective of one of the killers five victims before they were murdered. I thought that this definitely gave Spain an edge and it kept me reading, as I’d refuse to put the book down until I had read just one more chapter from one of the murdered women’s perspective. It was also rather chilling and somewhat heartbreaking to read their final thoughts before they died.

I played my game where I attempt to predict the ending, of course, and although I was somewhat right, there was a very big plot twist that left me gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

So, if you like Thrillers, I’d definitely recommend this one to you. Overall, I give this book 5 stars.

8d7be-5stars

I’d like to thank Quercus Books for sending me a copy of Sleeping Beauties in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx

Collabs

Top 5 Villains From Horrors/Thrillers – Haunted Halloween Hop

ubP5PUR1

So, as you’re all probably well aware, Halloween is coming up! To celebrate this, Jessica over at Reading With Jessica had the idea of the Haunted Halloween Hop. There are 10 of us participating, spreading over 10 days from my post today, the 22nd, to Halloween, the 31st, so make sure you check out the daily posts! Each post will be Halloween themed, which brings me onto my post – Top 5 Villains From Horrors/Thrillers.

1. Annie Wilkes from Misery by Stephen King

lg_1d6235-suspensebooks_misery

Annie Wilkes is… scary. She scares me. She’s the type of person that seems friendly, but is actually a complete psychopath. The things she does to Sheldon in the book, both physically and psychologically, are horrifying. She’s definitely one of the first villains that comes to mind, because there’s a chance of someone like her being real. She’s not supernatural, very sick people like her do exist, which is what scares me the most.

2. Joe from Lying About Last Summer

27860794

I wanted to include a YA villain on this list, because that is what a lot of the books that I read are, but I don’t tend to read YA Thrillers or Horrors. This is actually one of the only ones! He’s a well-written villain, thats for sure. I was suspicious of him throughout the whole book, and the things he did and who he did them to made me so angry. I despised him whilst reading, but I guess that was the authors intention!

3. Francesca from Local Girl Missing

cover.jpg

Local Girl Missing is one of my all-time favourite Thrillers, and the villain, Francesca, was brilliant. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know that you can’t help but like her at the start. But then all of the awful things she did to people she was supposed to care about came to light.

4. Adam from The Second Sister

34217615

Adam made my skin crawl. He was charming and able to gain the trust of people like Ella, which was what scared me the most about him, because again, people like him do actually exist.

Pennywise from IT

830502.jpg

I don’t even need to write anything about this villain. Clowns are so creepy. Clowns who eat children? Even creepier!

If you want to follow along with our Haunted Halloween Hop, heres the schedule:

 

22nd – My day.
23rd – Linda from Linda’s Little Library.
24th – Danielle from The Introverted Book Nerd.
25th – Jessica from Reading With Jessica.
26th – Kris from Boston Book Reader.
27th – Fernanda from The Wanderlust Reader.
28th – Diana from The Bookish Sisters.
29th – Sarah from Book Hooked Nook.
30th – Nicole from Boundless Bookaholic.
31st – Maggie from The Caramel Files.

-Books&Belle xx