Here are another couple of short reviews that I hope you will enjoy. I’m trying to interspace these shorter reviews between longer ones, so I hope the balance is working at the moment.
Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
After finishing the first book in the Wolves of the World series, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I really like the fact that the story focuses on two characters we’ve already kind of met in Omega Required. I really enjoyed this, though I do think that there is a lot going on and I’m not totally sure how I feel about how everything was (and wasn’t) resolved. This book explored more of the world of the Wolves of the World which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see more and different packs, and how they worked. I really liked Casey and Adam as characters, and I enjoyed following their journeys through the book. If you enjoyed Omega Required then I think you will like this book too.
Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Long-time readers of this blog will know that I read and loved Chichester Clark’s Plumdog, so how could I resist getting hold of another year in Plum’s life?! It is everything I expected and loved from Plumdog. There are new adventures Plum and Emma embark on, some of them are obviously fun others are not. I like the fact that Chichester Clark includes the good and the bad. I also like the fact that there isn’t something for all 365 days, but rather a series of highlights. The story is narrated by Plum, Emma just provides the illustrations. It’s a great book to either read in one go, like I did, or dive into and out of as each story is self-contained. If you like dogs, then this is definitely a one for you. The illustrations are beautiful, colourful, and convey a lot of feelings.
In this new installment in the No. 1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves . . .
My Name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.
And a coyote shapeshifter . . . And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.
Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.
The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.
But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.
Series: Mercy Thompson, 11
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (9 May 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
This is one of the books that I have been really looking forward to getting my hands on, even though I didn’t rush to get my hands on a copy when it was first released. In her Mercy Thompson series Patricia Briggs has created a world and characters I really enjoy. So I had high expectations going into Storm Called, and honestly it totally lived up to them. From the first page I was able to dive straight back into Mercy’s world and become completely absorbed in the story, to the point that I was a little disappointed when I had to stop. This was not a book I savoured, though I probably should have: I just devoured it.
Plot-wise this book was not what I was expecting at all, though it did follow a similar formula to previous books in the series. Briggs kept me guessing from start to end about what was going to happen, and I really enjoyed that. I thought the set-up was going to go one way, but Briggs outmanoeuvred me on that front. The storyline was everything I wanted from a book in the Mercy Thompson series and more. My only slight gripe was that one of the events I thought was going to happen, happens off the page but with that there is definitely plenty of scope for future books in the series. It has definitely left me excited to see more of this world in future books, as there is a lot of potential for the future in this book. Fans of this series will, I think, definitely be pleased. Storm Called is definitely a contender for my favourite book in this series.
Not only was the plot interesting, but there is the return of a few familiar faces. I just want to say that Mercy has some awesome friends, and I love the way Briggs writes Mercy’s relationship with Adam and her relationship with his pack. It feels very real. The baddies are intriguing characters, though at times they do feel a little flat and two-dimensional. I don’t really feel that that reflects negatively on the story, to me it just reflects the fact that the story follows Mercy’s point of view and she’s not an omniscient narrator. There is definitely the feel that there is a lot going on behind the scenes, but considering the events of previous books it is somewhat to be expected – after all Mercy and her pack are at the centre of a period of great change within the world.
If you are new to this series and have just stumbled across this review and thought it sounded interesting, then I highly recommend that you give the series a try with the first book in the series Moon Called. If you are a long-time fan of the series, and you haven’t got this book yet then go out and get it. If you’ve loved the previous ten books, or at least liked them, then you will enjoy this one too.
After the success of my first reviewlets post, I thought I’d continue it with two more short book reviews for you to enjoy. Sometimes I read a book and I don’t have a lot to say about it, so I find sharing my thoughts in these mini reviews quite helpful – I hope they help you too.
Red Hood and the Outlaws Vol. 1 Dark Trinity written by Scott Lobdell, artist Dexter Soy, colourist Veronica Gandini ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
This is the first time I’ve ever delved into the DC universe in comic form. TV shows and films are where I know most of my DC lore from, but I was curious to learn more about Jason Todd and this seemed like a good place to start. Even with my very spotty canon background I found it easy to dive into the world in this bind-up. Lobdell includes a lot of backstory, so I did not feel lost at all. In fact, I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to getting my hands on the second bind-up and uncovering more about this world. Dexter Soy and Veronica Gandini do a brilliant job with the artwork. Soy’s illustrations are incredibly detailed, and yet so clear. Jason was a really great main character, and he really pulled everything together. I loved the way his relationships with Artemis and Bizarro were written, and also his relationship with Bruce (though this is admittedly not something that is really focused on within the comic).
Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
This book is an interesting mash-up: part autobiography, part cook book, and hostess guide and yet somehow it just works. There is some really beautiful photography as well that compliments the narrative. Not just great food photos, but there are some beautiful scenery photos as well that give a glimpse into live in the US South. There has been a lot of thought put into this book and it shows. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, though there are a few I’m tempted to try, I just glanced at them as they’re interspersed within the main narrative of Witherspoon discussing her life growing up in the American south – it is an interesting glimpse into a world I know very little about, apart from what is shown in books, tv and film.
With a flick of her paintbrush, Isobel creates stunning portraits for a dangerous set of clients: the fair folk. These immortal creatures cannot bake bread or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and they trade valuable enchantments for Isobel’s paintings. But when she recieves her first royal patron – Rook, the autumn prince – Isobel makes a deadly mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his throne, and even his life.
Furious, Rook spirits Isobel away to his kingdom to stand trial for her crime. But something is seriously amiss in his world, and they are attacked from every side. With Isobel and Rook depending upon each other for survival, their alliance blossoms into trust, perhaps even love . . . a forbidden emotion that would violate the fair folk’s ruthless laws, rendering both their lives forfeit. What force could Isobel’s paintings conjure that is powerful enough to defy the ancient malice of the fairy courts?
Isoble and Rook journey along a knife-edge in a lush world where beauty masks corruption and the cost of survival might be more frightening that death itself.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (3 May 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Funny story, but I only picked up a copy of An Enchantment of Ravens because I saw it on a lot of Instagram posts, back in 2018 when it was published, and thought it looked really pretty. Going into the book I actually didn’t know a lot about it, which I quite enjoyed. First person narration isn’t something I’m particularly keen on. For it to work, I’ve found I have to like the tone and the narrator. So I’m always pretty cautious about trying new books and authors who use this technique, and this book fills both of those criteria. I actually really enjoyed Isobel’s voice, and therefore I found Rogerson’s use of first person narration worked really well and I really enjoyed Isobel’s voice and perspective.
I will be honest, the book is slow to start which is normally something that I’m not particularly keen on. Especially, as with this book, when the plot slowly gains speed to that all the action is contained within the latter half of the story. It can feel a bit cramped together, and whilst it did feel a bit like that in this book I thought the pacing really worked for the story. It worked for me in this case because it allows the reader to get to know Isobel. Whilst Rook is a bit bland and a fairly typical fey prince, but Isobel shines for all that she is mortal, human.
When we first meet her Isobel is painting; providing portraiture for the fair folk. Her work is so skilled that the fey pay, in favours, for a portrait by her. And this is the bit that fascinates me most about her, she never forgets what they are and how dangerous they are to mortals. It also makes this story different from a lot of the books within this genre, and I actually really enjoyed the fact that Isobel is so aware. It is through Isobel’s work that she and Rook cross paths. I know I said that Rook was bland, but he stands out from the other fey in this book because he captures Isobel’s attention.
If you are looking for a story about the fey, then I highly recommend giving An Enchantment of Ravens a try. The story is fairly short, less than three hundred pages in my copy, so if the blurb intrigues you it’s well worth a try. Isobel’s tale is compelling, and Rogerson’s writing sucks you in and before you know it you’ll find yourself at the end. Telling the story through Isobel’s eyes allows Rogerson to remind us the dangers of the fey, but also to show us their beauty and cunning. Judging a book by its cover really worked out well this time, and I’m really pleased to have discovered this story.
As it’s almost February, I thought I’d let you know about this year’s London Book Crawl event – it’s its fifth anniverary. This year the London Bookshop Crawl runs from Friday 21st February to Sunday 23rd February. So if you want to take part there’s still time to get yourself organised!
There’s also a Twitter Chat that has been organised for Sunday 16th February at 8pmGMT so that everyone who’s taking part can chat, ask any questions they’ve got, and also give any tips if they’ve got any. I think my biggest tip is to plan which bookshops you want to visit and how you’re going to get there before you get to London. Also be realistic about how many bookshops you can visit each day – it’s surprisingly tiring, but that might be because I just do the crawl over a single day!
If you decide to take part, then I hope you have a great time. You can find more information about the bookshop crawl by either clicking the poster above or by visiting www.bookshopcrawl.co.uk.
AN ALPHA WEREWOLF CHASING HIS DREAMS MEETS AN OMEGA FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE IN A STRICTLY TEMPORARY MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE . . .
Alpha werewolf Beau Jefferies has been going it alone ever since he was cast out of his pack as a teenager for trying to help a human and endangering the pack’s secvrets during the tumultuous years when the wider world was learning the truth about werewolves. He hasn’t lost his drive to help others, and he’s about to begin a prestigious medical residency – only to learn that, as the first werewolf the program has knowingly accepted, he’ll have to follow special rules, including the one that requires him to be married when he begins his residency.
Omega werewolf Roland Lea is just trying to survive. After escaping the last and worst in a string of abusive relationships that left him scarred and unable to conceive, he’s found safety in a refuge for homeless omegas. But despite the help he’s getting at the refuge, he just keeps getting sicker instead of better, further and further from being able to make it on his own. When he’s offered the opportunity to sign up with a mate-matching agency, he figures he has nothing to lose. No alpha is ever going to want an omega like him.
When Beau sees Roland’s profile, he knews at once what’s making the omega sick, and he’s determined to help. If he can persuade Roland to marry him, he can save Roland’s life while Roland helps him get through the residency. But will their hasty partnership be enough to bring them both through what’s ahead – and can temporary necessity lead to a forever love?
Series: Wolves of the World, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (7 April 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Going into Omega Required, the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series, I had high expectations. I first came across the book in a discussion about “typical” werewolf books, this was one of the suggestions for people who were looking for less of the stereotypical alpha males. I thought the blurb sounded interesting, so I thought I would give at least this book a try. Honestly I was not disappointed. Omega Required plays with a lot of the tropes within the werewolf genre, but I thought Lux’s take on them was interesting and it was a really enjoyable read.
This is an adult book, as there are a few graphic sex scenes. However, Lux was very careful and didn’t fall into the trap that a lot of romance writers do – sex is not a “fix it” solution. I also like the fact the way Lux handled Beau and Roland’s different issues within the text, and that something as simple as birth control is actually dealt with on the page. I really liked the fact that Beau and Roland go into things on a pretty even basis – they both want/need something from the other, and the whole marriage issue is handled pretty well in my opinion.
One of my favourite things about Omega Required is how werewolves themselves are presented within the story. It’s pretty clear from the get-go that werewolves are a known entity within the world, but also that their coming out (so to speak) is a relatively new thing. Lux uses this within the plot well, and in a really thoughtful manner. The werewolves within this world are interesting. The terms alpha and omega are used almost like a secondary gender, rather than as an indicator of status within the packs. Good packs seem to act almost like large family units that cover several generations, and they also seem very friendly even to other werewolves outside the pack who are in their territory. The pack structure seems a lot closer to a real wolf pack structure than a lot of other pack ideas within this genre.
Omega Required is very much a paranormal romance story, so there isn’t really much of a plot besides what is going on between Beau and Roland. Lux throws in a few curve balls, and that definitely keeps things interesting at least for me. I also really liked the fact that Beau and Roland alternating narrating chapters, it was interesting to see events from their perspectives. I also thought Beau wanting to be a doctor, and practise on humans, was a really interesting and unique idea. My only slight complaint is that there is a lot of scope within the story that I don’t think was explored, but maybe that will be expanded more in future books. I would have loved to see more of what life was like within a pack, and it would have been interesting to learn more about Beau and Roland’s families. Overall though I think that this was a great start to the Wolves of the World series. I’m looking forward to reading more.
So you may have noticed from the title, but this is something a little different to normal. I try to write reasonable length reviews about the books I read, but sometimes I have something I want to say but it’s a struggle to get something that I consider a review length piece. I’ve noticed that this means that I don’t really want to read after this, so I decided to do something a little different. Instead of struggling to find something to say to fill a whole review, I thought instead I’d offer a short (between 100 and 200 words) review – a reviewlet if you will. I hope this works well for you as well. I’ve got several of these scheduled, so I’d love to know your thoughts on the format.
Becoming The Supervet: Listening to the Animals by Noel Fitzpatrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
If you are a fan of the tv show The Supervet, and of Noel Fitzpatrick then you will enjoy this book. I thought it was a very interesting read, though a lot of the time his ideas went completely over my head because the science/maths was just a bit too much for me. It was interesting to learn about his past, and to see how he got to where he is now.This is definitely a must read for anyone interested in getting into veterinary medicine, or with some link to it. My only slight complaint is that the narrative isn’t necessarily linear, which I found confusing at times. It’s not a book I’ll go back to, but I definitely enjoyed reading it and seeing how far veterinary medicine has come – and how far, in a lot of ways, it still has to go. Noel’s idea of “One Medicine” is a really interesting one, and one I hope is explored in the future as it seems to have a lot of potential.
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exputéry, translated by Michael Morpurgo ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)
I don’t know if it was Antoine de Saint-Exputéry’s story or Michael Morpurgo’s translation of it, but this book really did not resonate well with me. I can kind of see why so many people love it, but it honestly just leaves me cold. Maybe I’m not in touch enough with my younger self to enjoy it. Certainly a lot of people seem to enjoy this story, whether in its original french or in a translation. The story itself has a certain whimsey to it, as do the illustrations. This is not a book for anyone who prefers linear narratives. It reminds me a bit of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, which I absolutely hated but which I suspect people who enjoyed that will enjoy this.
In a great English house, a young woman offers herself to one of the most powerful and influential figures in the land – but this is no ordinary seduction. She plans to ensure his death . . .
On holiday in France, Professir Tom Wilde discovers his brilliant student Marcus Marfield, who disappeared two years earlier to fight in Spain, imprisoned in a camp near the Pyrenees. Wilde secures his release just as German tanks roll into Poland.
Meanwhile, a U-boat sinks the liner Athenia in the Atlantic. Many – including Americans – are drowned. The Nazis claim Churchill blew up the ship to blame Germany and lure America into the war.
As the various strands of an international conspiracy begin to unwind, Tom Wilde will find himself in great personal danger. For just who is Marcus Marfield? And where does his loyalty lie?
Series: Tom Wilde, 3
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Zaffre (24th January 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Nemesis is the third book in Rory Clements fantastic Tom Wilde series. I hadn’t realised this book was out until I stumbled across it during the London Bookshop Crawl back in January. The story begins with Tom Wilde on holiday in France, where he discovers an old student of his imprisoned in a camp near the Pyrenees. Of course Wilde cannot leave him there, so he cuts his holiday short to return with his ex-student back to England just as things start to gear up for war. With the war looming ever closer on the horizon, Wilde starts to ask some very important questions.
I have been looking forward to devouring this book since I saw it on the shelf, and Mr Clements did not disappoint me. This book was everything I have come to expect from one of his novels in the Tom Wilde series. The tenseness of the read is definitely helped by the dates, as you know as the reader that World War II is looming ever closer despite the characters hopes that it will not come to pass. Nemesis is a quick read, and easy to devour even without having re-read the previous two books in a while.
I really enjoyed the way Clements built the tension of the
coming war, the way we as a reader could see it start to creep into life at
Cambridge. I also appreciated the way Clements uses Wilde’s dual nationality to
highlight the different thoughts and attitudes between the UK and US at the
time. It was really interesting. Although it wasn’t a main feature of this
book, I really like how the relationship between Tom and Lydia is written. And of course I enjoyed the return of a few
familiar faces; it was nice to find out what had happened to them since the
events of Nucleus.
There are three main threads to this story, all of which are
closely interwoven: Tom and Lydia’s relationship, the mysterious Mr Marfield,
and the looming war. As always in this series, Clements is a fantastic
storyteller. He does a great job of entwining the narratives, and at the same
time bringing alive the tension of the approaching war and all the questions
that brings. As with previous books in this series, I enjoy the way Clements intermingles
fact and fiction. The story’s conclusion is well done and very realistic. I’m
curious to see where Mr Clements goes with future books in this series.
The Golden Tower is the final book in Holly Black and Cassandra Clare’s Magisterium series. This book concludes the story that started in The Iron Trial, when Callum Hunt was first introduced to magic. It’s Callum’s final year at the Magisterium, and a lot has happened to him and his friends since he started at the school. In this book Callum discovers that an old enemy has returned transformed into a terrible evil, one who is determined to make Call pay. Call is determined to prove that he is a force for good, so when the Magisterium asks him for help he says yes.
It was interesting to return to the world of the Magisterium, to Call and his friends. The Golden Tower is a good read, and I think fans of the series will enjoy its conclusion, but it just wasn’t a book that really called to me. Don’t get me wrong, the story is appealing and I was curious about how Black and Clare were going to end things. I just wasn’t wowed. There was no real magic, or surprises and it just kind of felt too neat. It’s a good solid read, and it ties-up all the loose ends in the series.
I don’t want to damn The Golden Tower with faint praise. I honestly do think that readers who have followed this series to its conclusion will enjoy this book. They’ll enjoy following Call to the conclusion of his journey, and seeing how far he’s come from the boy first introduced in The Iron Trial: at heart he’s still that same boy, but he’s matured. The plot of the book is very well thought out, and the book is very readable. Once you’ve found your rhythm reading, it’s a very easy story to fall into and enjoy.
I have enjoyed this series, and if you aren’t looking for anything particularly complicated then I think you will too. The Golden Tower is a good solid end to the Magisterium – it dots the i’s and crosses the t’s. And there is nothing wrong with the uncomplicated nature of this book. There are also definitely parallels with the Harry Potter series, and readers of one series will enjoy the other – though I don’t think the Magisterium matures the way the Harry Potter series does in later books. It’s a little sad to say goodbye to everyone, but The Golden Tower brings things to a good conclusion.
* It was only as I collected all the details for this post
that I realised I hadn’t read the fourth book in the series, but honestly I did
not notice a gap between the end of book three and the start of this one. I won’t
be going back and reading the fourth book, but I just wanted to put this here
in case anyone was looking for my thoughts on the fourth book.
This Illumicrate marks the final box of my three month subscription. I mentioned in the February unboxing that Illumicrate had changed how they worked, as well as how much they cost and that I would use the March, April and May boxes to decide if I was going to continue with my subscription. I will be talk about what I am going to do going forward at the end of this post, so let’s dive straight into the unboxing.
Unlike the April box, this month’s arrived on time. That’s why there’s not much of a gap between the two unboxings. I will say I do miss the yellow shredded paper that used to appear in the white box, it was a nice pop of colour. This brown screwed up paper, whilst great at making sure items survive in the post, is not the prettiest thing I have seen.
This month’s box contained five specially curated items, the featured book, a collectable magnetic coin, and two samplers. First up this month is the LUNAR CHRONICLES COOLER BAG designed by @po_jainter which would be great for keeping snacks cool for a mini picnic when you read outside. Next up is the ILLUMINAE PILLOWCASE the illustration was designed by @alice_duke and the quote was designed by @chattynora. Both designs look super cute and fun (I’ve only included the illustration in the photo) but I don’t think the pillowcase itself is cotton, which is a little disappointing. Then there is the HOWLER LUGGAGE TAG designed by @fableandblack which would stand out on bags if you do a lot of travelling, though I’m not sure how practical it would be. Next there’s the SQUAD 312 POUCH designed by @iparwing which I think looks super fun. The final specially curated item is the SPACE STICKY NOTES designed by @fableandblack which are super cute. The book of the month is AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It has an exclusive cover, pink sprayed edges, and it’s signed by both the authors. It also comes with a letter from them. This month’s magnetic coin is designed by @monolimeartand is of Kady Grant from The Illuminae Files. The final two items, the samplers, are for Emily Eternal by M. G. Wheaton (which was published on April 23rd) and The Furies by Katie Lowe (which was published on May 2nd).
In all honesty I think this is the end of the road for me with Illumicrate. This box, and the March and April ones, haven’t convinced me that the change in price and the increased amount of boxes are worth it. There have been some items in the previous three boxes that I have really liked, but most of them have just been ok and I can’t justify paying £31.35 a month for a box where I’m not excited by at least most of the items. I’m really sad to bring my subscription to an end, but that’s how it’s going to be. I hope you’ve enjoyed the unboxings and if you have any recommendation for book subscription boxes that could replace my Illumicrate subscription then please leave them below. They would be much appreciated.