Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 368
Genres: Women's Fiction

Landline

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3)

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 613
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal

 Dreams of Gods & Monsters

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2)

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 513
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. And its snap split the world in two.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)

Title: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder
Pages: 448
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came.

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: Monsters of Elsewhere by Matthew Waldram

Title: Monsters of Elsewhere
Author: Matthew Waldram
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 598
Genre: High/Epic Fantasy
Source: Free ARC

The Husband's Secret
There is a land – let's call it Elsewhere – that is in no small amount of trouble. Giant wolves are tearing villages apart, a monster king is bringing his army across the sea to capture the legendary Hall of Glass, and the High Lord has completely disappeared.

Henry Whistler was eight when he got lost at a bus station in Hounslow. There his adventure began. For that was when he met the exiled invisible man, the monster swordsman, and the girl with the bright red hair.

Now a grown-up, Henry's childhood adventure is a faded memory... until his fiancĂ©e vanishes. Until he is drawn into another world. Until he is pursued by a blind assassin – with only a monster and a dead man for company - across a land that is in no small amount of trouble.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Review: Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Title: Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 480
Genre: General Mystery

The Husband's Secret
She could hear men and women shouting. Angry hollers crashed through the soft humid salty summer night. It was somehow hurtful for Mrs Ponder to hear, as if all that rage was directed at her . . . then she heard the wail of a siren in the distance, at the same time as a woman still inside the building began to scream and scream . . .

When a harmless quiz night ends with an act of shocking violence, the parents of Pirriwee Public School can't seem to stop their secrets from finally spilling out. Rumours ripple through the small town, as truth and lies blur to muddy the story of what really happened on that fateful night . . .

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 320
Genre: Psychological Thriller

The Girl on the Train
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Review: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Title: The Husband's Secret
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 432
Genre: General Mystery

The Husband's Secret
Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret - something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . . .

Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all - she's an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia - or each other - but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband's devastating secret.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Review: The Venus Trap by Louise Voss

Title: The Venus Trap
Author: Louise Voss
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages: 305
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Source: ARC from Netgalley

The Venus Trap
Jo Atkins’ sixteenth year was disastrous: she lost her dad, was assaulted by a stranger, and then had her heart broken. For the last twenty-five years, she’s believed that nothing could ever be as bad again.

But Claudio has no intention of letting her go. Instead of never seeing him again, Jo wakes up sick and terrified, handcuffed to her own bed. She is given a week to prove her love for Claudio—or he will kill her. Claudio, it turns out, is a man with nothing left to lose.

She was wrong. Now, still smarting from her recent divorce, pretty, self-effacing Jo finally gathers the courage to enter the dating scene. She meets Claudio, whom she vaguely remembers from her youth, but after a few dates decides he’s creepy and politely tells him ‘thanks but no thanks’.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Review: After You by Jojo Moyes (Me Before You #2)

Title: After You
Series: Me Before You #2
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 407
Genres: Women's Fiction

After You

Lou Clark has lots of questions. Like how it is she's ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places. Or why the flat she's owned for a year still doesn't feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago. And will she ever get over the love of her life. What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change. Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for - or just more questions? Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe. Open it and she risks everything. But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she's going to keep it, she has to invite them in . . .

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Review: The Valley by John Renehan

Title: The Valley
Author: John Renehan
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 448
Genre: Thriller, Military Thriller
Source: ARC from the publisher

The Valley
There were many valleys in the mountains of Afghanistan, and most were hard places where people died hard deaths. But there was only one Valley. Black didn't even know its proper name. But he knew about the Valley. It was the farthest, and the hardest, and the worst. It lay deeper and higher in the mountains than any other place Americans had ventured. You had to travel through a network of interlinked valleys, past all the other remote American outposts, just to get to its mouth. Stories circulated periodically, tales of land claimed and fought for, or lost and overrun, new attempts made or turned back, outposts abandoned and reclaimed. They were impossible to verify. Everything about the Valley was myth and rumour.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Review: A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Title: A Man called Ove
Author: Fredrik Backman
Publisher: Sceptre
Pages: 295
Genre: Comedic Fiction

The Casual Vacancy
At first sight, he is almost certainly the grumpiest man you will ever meet. He thinks himself surrounded by idiots - neighbours who can't reverse a trailer properly, joggers, shop assistants who talk in code, and the perpetrators of the vicious coup d'etat that ousted him as Chairman of the Residents' Association. He will persist in making his daily inspection rounds of the local streets.

But isn't it rare, these days, to find such old-fashioned clarity of belief and deed? Such unswerving conviction about what the world should be, and a lifelong dedication to making it just so?

In the end, you will see, there is something about Ove that is quite irresistible...