Murder Most Festive

Books, Pink in Ink

Ada Moncrieff

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Situated in Christmas of 1938, we join a group of high-class characters in the luxurious Westbury Manor with Lord and Lady Westbury hosting this extravagant celebration. But, on Christmas morning, Lord Westbury’s oldest friend, David Campbell-Scott is discovered with crimson tarnishing the fresh-winter snow. They all know that something is amiss with the circumstances surrounding his demise, but can they discover the truth before all depart from their hosts home?

This had me sold just from the time-setting. I just love reading of this era in our history and imagining the absolute luxe that came with high-status.

The writing style was excellent, using the language that was very reminiscent of the time and the social interactions between each of the characters. Ada Moncrieff didn’t shy away from the obvious divide between men and women and the sexism that very much happened throughout our history and the changes that began to occur after the first world-war.

The plot had a air of similarity to Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan-Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and can’t deny that throughout reading it I pictured the estate and characters of Downton Abbey… Need I say, I wasn’t mad about it! It added more adoration of this tale for me.

Throughout the book, we are from a third-person perspective, giving insight into all the key-players thoughts and characteristics. It lent itself to a real feel of detective work where you are, just as much as the characters, trying to unravel the mystery. At the books climax, I was also in disbelief at the reveal and found myself eagerly reading on to find out why and how!

For Ada Moncrieff’s debut novel, she really did an amazing job. Having a setting during Christmas, as we know, leads to countless cheesy movies being played on Channel 4 from the end of October (until we all go mad!), and some very typical ‘Christmas Miracle’ tales… But this had none of that. It had enough festivity for it to feel like it was the big day but it didn’t take away anything of the drama and intrigue.

Needless to say, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more publications by this author.

A huge thank-you to NetGalley and the publisher, Vintage, for the advanced copy to sink my teeth into!

Murder Most Festive is available now available as a physical book and e-Book.


Paperback

336 pages

Published – 05/11/2020

Publishing Company – Vintage


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A Court of Thorns and Roses

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Court of Thorns and Roses #1


Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …          Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

This fictional fantasy screams Beauty and the Beast for me. Just by the plot alone, it doesn’t seem like a retelling, on first glance. Being that my favourite Disney movie when I was growing up, there was big shoes to fill!

I’ve read Maas’ most recent release (Crescent City-House of Earth and Blood) and was just blown away by the saturation of it. I had a book-hangover for a few days after and was desperate to read more of this series… but, alas, I have to wait. So what’s as good as the next book in a series? Another series from the same author!

I would say that this is on the very border of YA and closer to the New Adult category. There were a few erotic scenes that really push that boundary. But maybe this is what our young adults are reading these days!

Is it just me that is rather confused by the definition of Young Adult and New Adult?

Anyway, our protagonist, Feyre is of poor origins with the continual burden of getting food on her families table. She is a very stubborn woman with the raw determination to protect anyone she cares about and to not be confined by her human form.

Our antagonist, Tamlin, is a dashing High Lord in the Spring Court of Prythian. Unable to tell Feyre of his curse and is falling in love with her, he finds determination to protect her from the malevolent forces that have plagued him for years.

The plot was rather predictable, given that it’s very reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but was no less enjoyable! In fact, I just became more invested as it went on. With curses, faerie lands, the divide between human and faerie, the mysterious confines of Tamlin’s curse and the gut-twisting fetes that Feyre will go to prove her love.

I spent a while really deciding where I would put this in my ratings but settled on a four-star because it was a well-written novel and I really did enjoy every second but it wasn’t a solid favourite for me. There were a few moments where I rolled my eyes, those being the riddle that Feyre is given to save the fate of Prythian and, of course, the erotic scenes. I’m never one to find these scenes exciting, more cringey and uncomfortable. Especially when this is marketed for young adults and pushed that bar a bit too far across the border.

I mostly listened to the audiobook for this, narrated by Jennifer Ikeda, who did a fantastic job at portraying the characters and their emotions throughout the book.

I would recommend this, more to new adults who want to transition reading more adult fiction.


Hardcover

419 pages

Published – 5th May 2015

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury USA Childrens


Audiobook

16h 8m

Published – 1st February 2018

Publishing Company – Audible

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House of Earth and Blood

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Crescent City #1


Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.          Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.          As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.          With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

This book was one Hel of a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve never read such a full, saturated story in many years. I laughed, I cried, my heart broke, my soul sang. I can’t explain it any better than that.

Bryce is, as you’d expect after her best friend is murdered, wears both physical and emotional scars. Determined to solve her murder, she falls into all the worst possible scenarios but our antagonist, Hunt; a slave to the Archangels, begins as stand-off-ish character with a lot of his own opinions, right or wrong… but who wouldn’t be if you were enslaved!


I was unsure of the world and the characters at the beginning and in the middle of the book but the final half of this book was what really sold me. Every little detail in this book was part of the story and it all came together so brilliantly. Also, I wish Hunt really existed because I was swooning! The love story in this was amazing and the ups were so sweet and heart-warming and the downs really felt like a break-up.

I did a combination of listening to the audiobook and physically reading this purely because I wanted to keep reading it when I was doing chores. The voice actor, Elizabeth Evans, was amazing at really bringing the characters alive more than they were already. After I started listening, I kept hearing Evans voice for Bryce because it fit so well to the character I pictured.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so invested in characters before.

This is the first book from Sarah J. Maas I’ve read and already have another popular series of hers waiting to be read.

Amazing, shocking and enchanting. I can’t recommend this enough! For her first novel in the adult-fantasy world, it was incredible. I can’t wait to see where this series goes.


Hardcover

803 pages

Published – 3rd March 2020

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury Publishing

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Burn Our Bodies Down

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Rory Power

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.          Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.          But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.          Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?          The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

This is the first YA horror I’ve read. With more experience with horrors from Susan Hill and Laura Purcell, I kept my mind open to any and every possibility this would bring.

I’ve not read Rory Powers other popular title, Wilder Girls but is on that I hope to pick up soon.

A paranormal thriller with elements of crime-mystery, we find ourselves in the small town of Phalene after Margot finds her mother has been keeping secrets; of her extended family, how Margot came to be, her father and her mothers own past.

Margot, a seventeen-year-old desperate for her mum, Jo, to notice her, care for her… love her. And after a particularly difficult argument, she went to a pawn shop to buy Jo a gift in apology. When she finds a small bible with a white cover and beautiful gold page-edges, she peers behind the cover to find it was her mothers, gifted by Margot’s grandmother that she never knew existed. A small inscription and an old picture that confirms that it’s definitely her mothers. She decides she has to run away from home to try and find this long-lost grandmother and unearth the truths of why her mother was hiding her from their past. But all is not as it seems. When she finds where her grandmother, Vera, lives she sees her farm is on fire and a girl is trapped in the path of the blaze. She goes to save her, moving this girl from the fires path and, once they’re safe, she sees that they look exactly the same. Every detail of this mysterious girl is a mirror of her own. But she’s never heard of her before.

The underlying theme seems to be of mistakes, forgiveness and understanding. Does it mean forgiveness when you understand or can you still not forgive.

Powers writing style flows well through the novel really using the written-word to create a lyrical piece. But I found that some of the narration needed more use of punctuation to help convey the inner-turmoil and emotion Margot was feeling.

That said, I was left asking myself what I’d do in the same situations and how I would feel if I found my lineage hiding history from me.

I do think that, for a YA paranormal thriller that it gave enough suspense and shock without overselling the plot.

I had fun reading this. Though it wasn’t great, or a favourite, it is a sold three-star read. I flew through it with ease and am quite excited to pick up Wilder Girls. If you want a soft-horror that will leave you able to sleep at night and look at the cover without recoiling in terror (…*cough* Stew! *cough*) then this might be worth your time to take a look at.


Hardcover

352 pages

Published – 7th July 2020

Publishing Company – Delacorte Press

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October Book Prescriptions

Book Chats, Pink in Ink

As the first month of this new section, the name Books Prescription is not only the best way to explain a book-lovers need for literature, but is also a little nod to something very important to me, advocating for chronic illness.

Anyway!

There’s been so, so many new titles released this month that sound amazing! Some from well-established and beloved authors as well as some jaw-dropping debuts. It’s always so difficult to decide what to buy. It also reminds me that I will never be able to read all the books… But we can still try! This month I managed to get a few audiobooks with Audible credits I’ve been saving up, a few pre-orders come in the post and (because I have no self-control) a few older releases.

So without further delay, here are all the titles;

Physical Books


A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.          France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.          Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

This is a wildly anticipated release from one of the the most beloved authors in YA fiction. Shwab was a new discovery for me this year and, after reading The Dark Vault series and A Darker Shade of Magic series, she’s solidified herself as one of my absolute favourite writers. If you’ve seen, I have already read this and a full review is up now and you can see it by clicking below. All I will say here is I was blind-sided!


Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.          A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.         There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.          El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

Another firm-favourite author for many but not having read any of Naomi Novik’s previous works, Uprooted and Spinning Silver, I’m excited to see what worlds this author builds. I am planning on reading the previous two releases at some stage but I’m far too excited to read this one, they’ll have to stay on the TBR pile!


A murder on the high seas. A detective duo. A demon who may or may not exist.          It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported to Amsterdam to be executed for a crime he may, or may not, have committed. Travelling with him is his loyal bodyguard, Aren’t Hayes, who is determined to prove his friend innocent.          But no sooner are they out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. A twice-dead leper stalks the decks. Strange symbols appear on the sails. Livestock is slaughtered.           And then three passengers are marked for death, including Samuel.          Could a demon be responsible for their misfortunes?          With Pipps imprisoned, only Aren’t can solve a mystery that connects every passenger on board. A mystery that stretches back into their past and now threatens to sink the ship, killing everybody on board.

I shamefully pre-ordered this with no idea that Stuart Turton also wrote The Seven (and 1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle! Just from the synopsis, I was drawn in and now I know that he also wrote The Seven Deaths, I’m really excited to see what twists and turns this one has in store! If the last release is anything to go by, it’s going to be a suspenseful rollercoaster with some mind-blowing revelations.


“He’s gone…”          When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.          Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.          He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever.  But is he going as a father or a detective?          As he leaves at dawn to drive to the windswept coast – and a small town with big secrets – he wonders whether this might be the first time in his life where the truth is the one thing he doesn’t want to find…

I haven’t read any previous works by Ian Rankin. This title is a part of a character series ‘Inspector Rebus’ so I’m hoping that this will be understood without reading the previous titles. I’m a huge fan of crime-thrillers and this one seemed to tick all the boxes for me. All will be revealed when I get to reading this one.


It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.         It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.          But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

I recently read the latest release by Rory Power (Burn Our Bodies Down) and it was enjoyable so I’m anticipating this to also be quite the story! I’ve heard that it is rather weird and the general consensus is either you love it or hate it. I like the weird and wonderful in my books and it shows an authors amazing creativity.


The Wayward Children Series

After reading Every Heart a Doorway and fallin in love with the world and the authors writing I decided to purchase the rest of the series that’s released. I’m expecting to enjoy these as much as the first novella and I’m excited to read of the other characters we met in the first instalment. I’m hoping I haven’t set the bar too high for these but we’ll just have to wait and see… or read.


Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.          There are some differences. This America’s been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.          Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.

I’ve heard a little about this and the idea behind this story is something that could be amazing. I love learning about indigenous culture and its history and the addition of ghosts and magic seems so fun with a twist of murder-mystery. It’s right up my alley and I can’t wait to read this one.

Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone. As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

The classic fairy tale trope returns! Though this is something that’s been done over and over again, I am interested in what twists this has to offer and the writing style this author has. Also, can we just appreciate the beauty of the cover?!

Audiobooks


I’ve shamefully had the physical books for these on my TBR pile for almost a year! So to get round to actually reading them I downloaded the audiobooks. S. J. Maas is a phenomenal writer and her latest adult-fantasy fiction, Crescent City- House of Earth and Blood, blew me away and, from what I’ve seen thus far in the first two – these are no exception! The full reviews for these will be going up over the course of November so keep an eye out for those.

Can you fall in love for the first time twice? A recently widowed woman is about to find out when she wakes up and finds herself eighteen again in this “compelling” story of second chances (Mail On Sunday).          Kate’s husband Luke – the man she loved from the moment she met him twenty-eight years ago – died suddenly. Since then she has pushed away her friends, lost her job and everything is starting to fall apart.          One day, she wakes up in the wrong room and in the wrong body. She is eighteen again but remembers everything. This is her college room in 1992. This is the first day of Freshers’ Week. And this was the day she first met Luke.          But he is not the man that she lost: he’s still a boy – the annoying nineteen-year-old English student she first met. Kate knows how he died and that he’s already ill. If they can fall in love again she might just be able to save him. She’s going to try to do everything exactly the same…

This british comedian/actor was one I never expected to see on the shelves, and I’m really excited for this one! The premise of this sounds so bitter-sweet with, what I’m oddly hoping for are some tear-jerking moments. I wanted to get the physical book but, because of budget, I picked it up on Audible with my saved-up credits. Watch this space!

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.          She is a miracle of science.          But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives–and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?          Beware the man who calls you . . .

This reminds me of the movie ‘Before I Go To Sleep’ and that was a pretty good movie so I’m intrigued to see if this is similar beyond the synopsis or if this turns out to be an entirely different twist. I’m going into this with an open mind.


A grand total of 15 items on this months prescription! I won’t be able to get around to reading all of these over the month of November (obviously! I definitely can’t read that quickly!) and, like it is for everyone, may not love it! Have you read any of these yet? Leave a comment if you have down below, or if you would like to have your review for any books you’ve read as our VIP Guest, don’t forget to fill out our submission form!

Sick Kids in Love

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Hannah Moskowitz

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Isabel has one rule: no dating.          It’s easier–          It’s safer–          It’s better–          –for the other person.          She’s got issues. She’s got secrets. She’s got rheumatoid arthritis.          But then she meets another sick kid.          He’s got a chronic illness Isabel’s never heard of, something she can’t even pronounce. He understands what it means to be sick. He understands her more than her healthy friends. He understands her more than her own father who’s a doctor.          He’s gorgeous, fun, and foul-mouthed. And totally into her.          Isabel has one rule: no dating.          It’s complicated–          It’s dangerous–          It’s never felt better–          –to consider breaking that rule for him.

October is a particularly important month for me because it’s Dysautonomia Awareness month. As I’ve said in my bio, I’m chronically ill with a list of sydromes, many of them under the umbrella diagnosis of Dysautonomia. To find out more about Dysautonomia and other chronic illness myths and thoughts, click the link below to my Advocacy page.

Now, lets get to the book-

Usually, for me, a life-changing book is a five-star read.

However, this is the first time I have read a book where main characters have chronic illness but DO NOT DIE!
Suffering from chronic illnesses is so lonely and isolating because if you don’t look sick, not many people care or care to understand. But this book is literally what my mind says every day! The representation of life with long-term chronic illness is spot-on for me and after some digging, found Hannah’s Instagram page and sees she also suffers with chronic illness.

Isabel was a character that I could understand fully with her life and struggles and the messages that this book gives the reader. It’s important to see that, for most of those suffering with chronic illnesses, suffer in silence because of fear that they will be ignored or told that their illness isn’t real (yes, that does actually happen). So creating an outlet for these discussions to be had is a great way to educate people that people can still suffer without a terminal diagnosis.

Similar to Isabel, she struggles every day to try and be like her friends and not let her diagnosis affect her life and keeps how she’s feeling from her father out of fear of being ignored.

Then she meets Sasha, a boy who also suffers from a rare disease who is trying to show her that her illness does not define her and that making adjustments so she doesn’t suffer more than necessary is OK too. And mobility aids!

I found that so much of the dialog between the main characters and their friends and family talk about topics and phrases that are harmful to those suffering with an illness and why it’s so hurtful to hear them. If there were more titles that spoke of chronic, invisible illness like this, we would live in a much more, respectful, unprejudiced world.

My only issue, I couldn’t get invested in the love story. I just couldn’t FEEL it, but it, to me, wasn’t the primary focus, more an added bonus.

If you or someone you know has long-term chronic illness, PLEASE READ THIS! It says what I wish I could say to people around me without coming across like a bitch…


Hardcover

300 pages

Published – 5th November 2019

Publishing Company – Entangled Teen

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eBooks vs. Physical Books

Book Chats, Pink in Ink

We all know that since the dawn of Kindle there’s been heated discussions between readers if eBooks or physical books are ‘better’. But both have their own merit.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had nothing but paper and ink for my reading and some of my favourite memories were of going to my local library, browsing the rows of books in all shapes and sizes with the promise of new worlds. Anyone who is of the physical-book divide will agree when I say that there is a very distinct, comforting smell and feel of holding a book, of turning the pages as you get pulled further and further in to the authors vast imagination. The comfort of holding a book, allowing you to be weighed down while your mind is flying far above our reality. A physical book feels like a little bit of ever-lasting history that is your charge to protect, hoping to share your favourite tales with future generations.

But the downside to a physical book is the amount of paper is used and the printing ink, especially when we are so determined to slow deforestation and global warming. Especially when our global population is so high, thus having a need for mass-publishing in all the different languages, all needing to be shipped in cardboard boxes to bookstores and then distributed to our front doors.

But then the first Kindle was created. With all classic and modern books of all the languages made available at a fraction of the price, thus beginning the debate. Though I am and always will be a lover of a physical book, since the beginning of 2020 (and the reminder of humans mortality,) I have been using my Kindle for reading whenever I am not home, so I can disinfect it without worrying of ruining my precious literature that I’m yet to finish and so, whenever I have a spare moment, I can still indulge in my imagination and forget the environment I’m in, since my only outings are to hospital appointments. Another plus for eBooks is that there’s no paper and no ink, which means a more eco-friendly indulgence. And it saves the problem of weight-allowance when we travel!

But, much like the physical books, an eBook has a negative. That negative being the need to charge your device which requires electricity. Since we are still not using entirely renewable energy sources, it would be naïve to assume that eBooks are ‘better’ for the world. We also have to remember the amount of chemicals that are released into our atmosphere by simply constructing a Kindle, tablet or smartphone and what happens when they break or have the latest model. There’s also the reminder of precious metals that are mined to simply make the small parts of these devices which requires more industrialisation and more pollutants.

So, in conclusion, there really is no ‘better source’ for reading. Both eBooks and physical books have their own pro’s and con’s, so this discussion will continue until the end of time because, there will always be those who want to spend the money to hold a book with pages and ink and to display it, pride of place, on their bookshelves.

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Wanderers

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Chuck Wendig

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.          Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.          For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them–and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them–the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart–or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.

This certainly doesn’t disappoint!

This wonderful mix of science fiction, contemporary, mystery and thriller is something that I’ve rarely come across.

I’ve never read anything by Chuck Wendig before this but I feel like I should definitely check out some more of his standalone novels. The cover of the book fits with the mystique that the book runs with.

Set in a small town in Pennsylvania we meet our first protagonist, Shana, when her younger sister Nessie suddenly begins to sleepwalk, but she can’t be awoken. Shana is the typical teen, desperate to spread her wings and do what she loves, but her father is absent, her mother is missing and her younger sister Nessi is constantly overshadowing her. Though her sister is a big part of Shana’s motivations, we begin to see cracks in the family.

We also meet Benjie, our second antagonist who is an ex-CDC doctor working on understanding and treating “new” pathogens, bacteria and fungal diseases. But we find that his past is not all that clean, when he was fired from the CDC.

With a page count of almost 800 pages, I didn’t find myself bored or feeling like it was uninteresting. With the ever-present mystery of what is infecting the sleepwalkers and its where’s and why’s, and the individual character development. We meet a vast array of side characters and protagonists which, at times, got a little confusing but you aren’t left confused for long.

As we progress through the book we learn that everything is not as it seems and the plot twist leaves you feeling quite stunned but it’s not an entirely unbelievable twist. The descriptive writing is, though quite sparse, more than enough to really picture the surroundings.

The book opens discussions about many very important topics; climate change, racism, religious belief, and so many more. I feel like the author was using the real-world issues of our own mortality and the constant threat of an extinction-level-event. It gives the reader a place to reflect on global issues that we all face that can be changed.

This novel fit well in many different genres that I feel like it would be an interesting read for so many. The descriptions and the explanations into the science behind this enigmatic infection makes me feel that Chuck Wendig really took the time to research his plot.

I wasn’t entirely amazed by this novel and part of me wonders if its purely the size of the book. But in reflection, I don’t see how this could be shortened, which is a good argument for its cohesion and clarity. If you’re a fan of long, science fiction with a contemporary setting, you’ll devour this!


Hardcover

782 pages

Published – 2nd July 2019

Publishing Company – Del Rey Books

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Audiobooks, Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Stuart Turton

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Seven 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle


At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.          Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

Set in an illusive mansion in the deep countryside, we follow a man who has no memory of how or why he is there.

I don’t know how to explain the mastery of crossing fantasy, science fiction, crime and mystery. It is a marriage like no other I’ve read before. It’s set, in a way, following different characters of entirely different backgrounds that reveal ghastly secrets and the many twists and turns to finally reveal who killed Evelyn Hardcastle.

Despite it being written from different perspectives, each character has intentionally been written to seem like the same point of view. However, each character has their own ways of speaking and thinking so is easy to follow along. To add to the suspense, it is written from different points of time. It’s impossible to make a clear review without spoilers! All I can say is, it is a plot that is unmatched in it’s execution and each twist leaves you with more questions. Stuart Turton is an author to watch. I can’t wait to see what worlds he creates next.


Hardcover

505 pages

Published – 8th February 2018

Publishing Company – Raven Books

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The Corset

Books, Pink in Ink

Laura Purcell

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Is prisoner Ruth Butterham mad or a murderer? Victim or villain?          Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.          When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted with the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches.          The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality and the power of redemption.          Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?

I struggled a little with this.

I loved the writing style, of how it used the written language of the early 1900’s. We follow two main characters, Ruth, a young seamstress incarcerated for murder, and Dorothea, a woman fascinated with the idea that our brain determines our level of misdemeanour and potential for committing serious crimes. This solidified the era of which it is set by using what is (now) unusual and barbaric methods of research.

The Corset is written as multiple perspectives and timelines but in Ruth’s perspective, she is recollecting memory. During her recollections, we learn of how her past led her to her ultimate fate.

I was entirely captured by Ruth and her unravelling of the truth and how science and the paranormal are mixed together, leading to so many questions, even after the final page.

However, I found Dorothea to be quite unlikeable. I couldn’t get past her naivety and blindness to the horrors humankind can inflict. As the book progressed, she starts to see the world in a much more realistic state but still has a mind for the trivial. Eventually, I began to skip over her chapters which made it a far more enjoyable read.

The plot twist during the novel were well crafted and left me wanting to keep reading, to find out the truth… but the book ended on another plot twist and more questions! It is a sign of a good book if there are still questions to be answered, making you think about those questions long after the last page.


Hardcover

392 pages

Published – 20th September 2018

Publishing Company – Raven Books

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