Monday 26 September 2016

Today! Blog-Tour: The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

Today it is my pleasure to be part of the blog-tour for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse. It is a story which will make you root for the merry band of misfits, and I think it will change the way you perceive the word deviant. As per usual Skuse doesn't disappoint.
About the author
C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Westonsuper-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children’s fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. loves Masterchef,
Gummy Bears and murder sites. Before she dies, she would like to go to Japan, try clay-pigeon shooting and have Ryan Gosling present her with the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

Connect with @CeeJaytheAuthor or @HQYoungAdult and look out for #TheDeviants on Twitter
Follow CJ on Facebook

About the book
Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.

When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?
This book wasn't at all what I expected. It was a whole lot more. The topics are hard-hitting tough ones and Skuse doesn't take any prisoners or make it into a candy floss YA event. I have to admit that the story seemed to be steering towards a predictable ending, but the author pulled a rabbit out of a hat and delivered a spectacular twist. The kind of twist you just don't see coming.

Ella appears to have it all. She is a successful athlete with ambitious goals, and has a happy home and love life. It's only when you look a little closer and scratch a little off the top of the golden girl's shiny surface that the slow decay becomes apparent.

She has a growing inner anger, which has started to slip through her usual pleasant facade. She is finding it increasingly difficult to keep the hounds of rage at bay. Her odd behaviour seems to lead all the way back to the accidental death of her boyfriend's sister.

There is a particular emphasis on the small group of close friends Ella has. The dynamics, loyalties and often dysfunctional relationships between the five of them, and the now missing sixth member of their odd group, are pivotal to the plot. Frenemies, freaks and friendships bind them together.

It's quite common for certain behaviour patterns to be perceived as nothing more than troublesome teenage years, black sheep emerging in the family or simply a rebellious nature. How many of us would turn around and consider a more nefarious reason for behaviour, which is at first out of character and then suddenly the norm?

It is a good read, albeit a dark and quite serious one. It isn't filled with sugar canes and puppy dogs tails. Instead it is a tale of insidious betrayal and the fatal repercussions resulting from this perfidy. For me the word deviant will never conjure up the same images again.

Buy The Deviants at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Monster by C.J. Skuse or Sweetpea.

Sunday 25 September 2016

The Orphan Mother by Robert Hicks

Hicks portrays the contentious political atmosphere in 1867 quite well. Despite the Civil Rights Bill and the Freeman's Bureau, there was still great opposition to the rights and freedom of ex-slaves.

Many of the white people find it difficult to accept the fact the former slaves now have a voice and aren't afraid to use it. Those that weren't born into a life of slavery view the ex-slaves as different to themselves, there is even a hierarchy amongst the slaves. However they do agree on their common enemy. Those that hate all of them, because of the colour of their skin.

There are also the beginnings of the structure of organised disruption and attacks on blacks and white sympathizers. White men banding together to commit murder, arson and torture.

The story wanders from the future into the past and the atmosphere above. Mariah's tale is slowly woven one, but certainly one worth staying with until the end. The loss of her son determines the rest of her life. His death is the catalyst to the entire events that unfold.

Hicks hits upon so many important issues during that era, but they never overshadow the actual main plot. From Mariah's strange bond between herself and her former owner, and her quest for answers, which isn't about vengeance, although Tole mistakenly thinks it is.

I could go on for quite a while about this book, it is a good read, and I just have to add that the author's note was an interesting conclusion to the read. I really enjoyed the way the author kept a comfortable pace and took his time to let the characters grow, feel and explore within the narrative.

Buy The Orphan Mother at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

P.S: I adore the cover!

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Get Ready for Blog-Tour for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

It's time for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse to go on tour. You don't want to miss this story of secrets and revenge. Feel free to follow the links below to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about The Deviants.
Follow @CeejaytheAuthor and @HQYoungAdult and look out for #TheDeviants on Twitter.

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Hope to see you here on the 26th of September for my review of The Deviants by C.J.Skuse!

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Susi, the granddaughter from house nr.4 by Birgitta Behr (English review)

I think this book is remarkable, it would be perfect for educational purposes. It is the type of book that should be available in primary and high schools. It is a great way of teaching children and teens about one of the darkest eras of 20th century history.
I really liked the way Behr combined the artistic element of the book with the narrative and prose. She delivers the changes in the law, the atmosphere and behaviour towards Jews during the Nazi era, in a way that is concise and brutally honest. At the same time she manages to deliver history through the eyes of a child and with a lot of compassion.
The illustrations are simplistic and yet at the same time they are crude and to the point. They are enhanced by the written slogans, graffiti and the story itself.
Susi experiences how her life is taken apart and destroyed bit by bit by the changes in her country. Suddenly Jews are persona non grata. Her family has to rely on both friends and strangers to help them to survive the atrocities of the war. There are plenty of unsung brave people, who helped instead of looking away during that difficult time. They tend to be forgotten when history is recalled.
Behr brings you up close and personal to the events of that time period without having to use any graphic images or violence. The new laws and 'rules' are shown in form of crude slogans, which makes it all the more realistic. The words show the injustice and inhumanity without having to show the true measure of the violent situation.
The focus of the book is on this one family, as opposed to everyone who suffered and the entirety of the situation. In a way it makes the book even more poignant and it gives the reader the feeling of empathy and of being involved. The reader relates to the little girl, because it is easier to connect to her fate and story.
It is a book of important historical relevance and one I will gladly recommend.
Buy Susi, die Enkelin von Haus Nr.4 bei Amazon deAmazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Susi, die Enkelin von Haus Nr. 4 (German review)

Susi, die Enkelin von Haus Nummer 4 von Birgitta Behr

Es ist ein bemerkenswertes Buch. Es sollte zum Lehrmaterial in Grundschulen und weiterbildenden Schulen dazugehören. Mit diesem Buch kann man den geschichtlichen Ereignissen in diesem bestimmten Zeitraum gerecht werden, und dabei hoffentlich den neuen Generationen aus den Fehlern der Vergangenheit lehren lassen.

Die Geschichte handelt von einem jungen jüdischen Mädchen dessen Familie und Leben auseinander gerissen wird, wahrend des Zeitalters der National-Sozialisten und des Zweiten Weltkrieges.

Susi muss mit ansehen wie ihr Leben und alles was ihre lieb ist langsam zerstört wird. Juden sind plötzlich persona non grata. Ihre Familie muss sich auf Freunde und Fremde verlassen, die sich selbst in Lebensgefahr begeben um die kleine Familie zu schützen.

Mir gefällt die Kombination von Illustrationen, historische Fakten und Behr bringt einem nahe an das Geschehen ohne nackte Gewalt oder Schreckensbilder. Die Worte sind effektiv in dem Sinne, das Sie die starken Kontraste, die Ungerechtigkeiten und die Wahrheit darstellt ohne auf Spezialeffekte zurückgreifen zu müssen.

Behr macht den Leser auch darauf aufmerksam, das es auch Lichtblicke gab in diesem schrecklichen Zeitalter. Es gab auch viele mutige Menschen, dessen Namen und Geschichten unter dem großen Gewicht der Schuld verschwanden.

Der Schwerpunkt dieser Geschichte liegt auf die Ereignisse von dem diese Familie persönlich betroffen sind. Dadurch werden die restlichen historischen Ereignisse nicht vermindert, sondern eher in den Hintergrund verschoben, um mehr Aufmerksamkeit auf die einzelnen Schicksale zu lenken.

Eine Bilderbuchgeschichte mit historisch wichtigen Inhalt.

Kaufe Susi, die Enkelin von Haus Nummer 4 bei Amazon de, Amazon UK oder schau mal bei Goodreads vorbei für andere Anbieter.

Read Susi, die Enkelin von Haus Nr. 4 (English review)

Monday 19 September 2016

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Mischling is a fictional story based on, or rather Konar took inspiration from, the true experiences of Holocaust survivors.

In particular on those of Eva Mozes Kor and Miriam Mozes, who were two of the 3000 children unfortunate enough to end up in the hands of the sadistic Dr. Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death.

He was known to pick twins, triplets and any other people with specific abnormalities, because of his interest in genetics. He shared his findings with his mentor and the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the predecessor of the Max Planck Institute.

Only a small number of those children survived the experiments and the concentration camp. Many of those have suffered from numerous medical problems, were mutilated and have subsequently succumbed to the repercussions of the experiments inflicted upon them, including Miriam Mozes.

Tragically the medical manipulations have possibly also been passed down to future generations. A few of the very small number of these particular survivors, who are still alive, and their offspring have willingly participated in research to try and understand the future consequences of those experiments and the possible genetic changes caused by the them and the trauma (epigenetics).

The survivors have had to live with the nightmares of being part of Mengele's sadistic human zoo. They have beaten the odds to survive and tell their tales only to be struck down by the same man at a later date, and the fact his actions may also be making their offspring ill, is truly diabolical. Luckily he isn't here to pat himself on the back.

Mengele managed to evade any form of punishment for his actions. He lived in comfort with his family for many years in Argentina, as did many war criminals from the Nazi regime.
Mengele used the platform of the concentration camp to live out his cruel, sadistic tendencies all in the hypothetical name of science and research. Fact of the matter is he enjoyed and took pride in the pain he inflicted on others. His victims were nothing more than subjects in his mind. Aside from the horrific and inhumane experimentation, he also often abused, tortured and killed for pleasure, during his reign in Auschwitz.

Pearl and Stasha are the main characters in Mischling. They are Jews with fair hair, hence why Mengele thinks they are Mischlinge (of mixed race). Each twin tells their own story, switching from chapter to chapter. Stasha believes that Mengele views her as special, which is why he makes her immune from death. This belief and her retreat into a world of imagination and denial, is how she deals with the trauma. Whereas Pearl is a realist and remains resourceful throughout her time with Mengele. Stasha seems oblivious to the abuse and experimentation both she, but especially her sister has to endure. The disappearance of Pearl is pivotal in the change in her behaviour. The fact she doesn't want to accept the death of her twin is ultimately what saves Stasha from giving up. Denial is her coping mechanism.

Stasha connects with a young boy, who has lost his own twin. The loss of the twin was very important to the survival of any the remaining twin in Auschwitz. When one died the other would soon be killed, so Mengele could compare and autopsy the corpses.
Eva and Miriam Mozes at Auschwitz
Pearl finds herself drawn to the Jewish doctor who assists Mengele, albeit unwillingly, and the Czech soldier in charge of the admin. Both of them struggle with the guilt of their actions. One of elements of the Holocaust that Konar alludes to in Mischling is the culpability of those people forced to become part of the systematic extermination. In a life or death situation you make a choice, and in this instance those choices weren't always about self-preservation. There were family members and fellow victims to consider and the majority wanted to make sure the world knew what the Nazi regime had done.

So, imagine you are faced with death or collaboration. The type of collaboration that kills you inside bit by bit, forced to commit abominations under duress. How guilty does that make you? There is a huge difference between those that collaborated with the regime and helped willingly, and those that had no other choice but death. They tried in their own way to help fellow prisoners. Many children, often not even related, were passed off as twins, in an attempt to give them a greater chance of survival.

To be completely frank it isn't an easy read, if you look at it on a purely emotional level. Even after all these years, having read, watched and listened to many survivor's relate their stories, I can still can't fathom the depth and range of the inhumanity of the Holocaust.

Although I loved the read, despite the horrific nature of the topic and the fact it is based on true events, I did feel as if the last few chapters didn't do the rest justice. I can imagine that even as an author both the writing and the research of not only the Holocaust, but specifically the atrocities committed by Mengele, would take a toll on anyone. Suck the heart and soul right out of you. It felt as if Konar had been weighted down and burdened by all of it towards the end. As a reader and as a Mensch I can completely understand that. Kudos to the author for this powerful, insightful and extremely poignant read.

It is not only a read I highly recommend, it is also one I will be gifting to others.

Buy Mischling at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Remembering the Mengele Twins at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Saturday 17 September 2016

Today! Blog-Tour: The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche

It's my turn to introduce you to the The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche by Kate Forster. A glamorous company, a secret recipe and plenty of family secrets will keep you on your toes in this beauty extravaganza of a read.
About the author
Kate lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and two dogs, and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and watching trash TV or French films.

Connect with Kate Forster at Follow @Kateforster and @HQStories and look out for #DaphneLeMarche on Twitter.

Buy The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche

About the book
Paris, 1956. Eighteen year old Daphné may be from a tiny French village, but she knows she’s destined for more. Stepping off a bus into bustling Paris with a suitcase full of her home-made beauty products, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to claim her stake in the world.

London, 2016. Scandalous love affairs and an iconic cosmetics brand have kept Daphné Le Marche in spotlight – but her darkest secrets have never come to light. Now, in her London penthouse, enveloped in her rich signature scent, the Grande Dame of glamour has died.

But not even those closest to her could have been prepared for what came next.
The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche is a sweeping story of heartbreak, scandal and the importance of keeping it in all the family…
This is the equivalent of Dynasty in a modern story of family dynamics, secrets and power struggles. The matriarch of a beauty company is contemplating her entire life as she gets closer to death's door.

Inspired by the thought she might be able to rectify some of the wrongs of the past with one simple gesture, she decides to make some last minute changes to her will. Forcing her family to work together to resolve their differences.

Everything leads back to the choices Daphné made many years ago. A simple country girl looking for an opportunity to make her way in the world. She finds love, disappointment and heartbreak during her rise to fame.

The Le Marche family isn't really so different from any other family. Everyone has secrets that should stay buried. Some of them more serious than others. Perhaps even the kind that may make someone believe they have no other way out than to die or disappear completely. There is a reason they are buried in the first place.

The story wanders from present to past, so the reader can follow Daphné as a young woman and then again just before her death. The repercussions of her actions ripple through the years and time, like a bomb blast. Perhaps being honest would have been the better policy.

Forster likes to let the reader believe in an achievable happy ending. That despite all of the twisted lies and negative feelings there may just be a way back to normality and happiness.

Buy The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Picture Perfect by Kate Forster.

Friday 16 September 2016

Today! Blog-Tour: Love Is.. by Haley Hill

Hey, it's my turn on the Blog-Tour for Love Is by Haley Hill. It is a delightfully scornful and ironic look at divorce and relationships combined with the messy and eventful life of Ellie Rigby!
About the author
Haley Hill is a fresh new voice in romantic fiction who has previously found success in the self-publishing world. Prior to launching her fiction career, Haley launched and ran the Elect Club dating agency – and is an expert in all things dating! Haley lives in South London with her husband and twin daughters.
Connect with Haley at  or follow @HaleyHillNow and @HQStories and look out for #LoveIs on Twitter.
Buy Love Is

About the book
Dating Agency doyenne Ellie Rigby always thought that helping people find love with the hard part. But now she’s all loved up with husband Nick and has hundreds of matchmaking successes under her belt, Ellie ought to know all there is to know about love.

As her struggles to get pregnant put strain on her marriage, and her matchmaking service starts losing clients, Ellie realises she has so much more to learn. So setting off on a global research trip, Ellie makes it her mission to find out what makes love last forever, and whether it’s enough to save her own romance.
This is the continuation of Ellie Rigby's story, which began in It's got to be Perfect. In Love Is she is still pursuing the perfect life and trying to recreate the vision of her perfect dream. The house, husband, kids, career and the white picket fence. Unfortunately life is full of imperfections and unexpected twists.

Ellie and her husband Nick have been trying to get pregnant for quite a while and after another unsuccessful IVF trial they discover that the path to becoming parents has driven them apart. Suddenly Ellie is confronted with the hurtful reality that Nick doesn't really want what she wants or at least not at the expense of their relationship. This sets her on the path for answers about marriage and divorce.

She wants to know why the statistical chances of couples divorcing are so high, and why are so many of her perfect matches heading down the same path. Ellie literally travels the world to meet alleged experts. A combination of wise gurus and pseudo scientists, to discover the truth or perhaps just her truth.

In the first book Hill gives the reader fun. laughter and rose-tinted glasses of love and new relationships. In this story we find an Ellie, who has gotten over the first butterflies, blushes and sweet moments of togetherness. The reality of marriage has crept up on both her and Nick.

This book is harsher, a little bit like shining a microscopic light on couples, relationships and divorce in general.The language is more graphic and the atmosphere is a wee bit more brassy. Hill has included some interesting parallels, statistics and facts on divorce.

Hill has an interesting writing voice. You can almost hear the smirks and the subtle sarcasm between the lines. Not a dreamer, but a realist with both feet firmly on the ground and she certainly isn't afraid to write what she really thinks.

Hopefully we will see Ellie again in the middle of the next chapter of her life. I already know, but you will have to read Love Is to find out what comes next for her.

Buy Love Is at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read It's Got To Be Perfect by Haley Hill (The beginning of Ellie Rigby's story)

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Don't Miss the Blog-Tour: The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche

You don't want to miss out on this book of delights with a story as wildly extravagant as the title. Click the links below to follow the tour and read what my fellow bloggers have to say about The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche.
Follow @KateForster and @HQStories and look out for #DaphneLeMarche on Twitter.

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I hope you will join me here on the 17th for my review of The Last Will and Testament of Daphné Le Marche!

Join us on the Blog-Tour: Love Is by Haley Hill

Come along and have a gander at the tour, and see what I and my fellow bloggers have to say about the life and times of Eleanor Rigby in Love Is by Haley Hill. Follow the links below to read all about it.
Follow @HaleyHillNow and @HQStories on Twitter and look out for #LoveIs

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Hope to see you here on the 16th for my review of Love Is...!

Monday 12 September 2016

Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley P. Beaulieu

This is a prequel novella to the novel Twelve Kings in Sharakhai the first book of The Song of Shattered Sands by Beaulieu.

Although it seems as if there are three tales, they are just three parts of the same tale spaced slightly apart.

Çeda is known for her talents and ferocity, which attracts the wrong type of person. Her strength and tenacity come to the attention of the wrong person. When I say person I am taking artistic licence, let's say spirit or being.

Everything leads back to an evil deity, who has set their sights on Çeda. Essentially the story is the ensuing battle to free herself and her friends from the tentacles of this ancient being. Sounds straightforward right, but hey you don't live for thousands of years without becoming wily and more or less indestructible.

It is a tale of mythology, folklore, magic and fantasy. It fulfils it's purpose, which is to introduce readers to the world Beaulieu has created.

Interestingly enough it works both as a standalone novella, and yet at the same time it kind of hooks you into the world of the next book. I liked the combination of fantasy and the sense of mysticism that flows subtly throughout the tale.

Buy Of Sand and Malice Made at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

If you have watched the TV show Scott and Bailey then you will get the gist of what this book is like. Strong on the Brit police procedure and detectives with a whole load of personal baggage.

The emphasis is more on the characters and less on the alleged crime. Cue lots of drama, complicated relationships and red herrings.

Edith has disappeared without a trace. It is freezing outside, the front door is wide open and she has nothing with her. Has she been kidnapped, murdered or has she just up and left.

All leads seem to point towards something nefarious. Her love life is dysfunctional at best and she has been cavorting with known criminals. Behind the facade of the rich educated girl from an influential family seems to be an entirely different personality.

I have to say I was a little confused because the story was a bit off-balance and some of the threads seemed to go nowhere. I was pretty certain Manon's personal path would lead to some big revelation further on down the line.

What Steiner did do quite well was keep her intentions hidden from the reader. There was literally such a plethora of avenues to explore, which led to a build-up of tension and the subconscious hope that they would finally find her dead body. I wasn't interested in whether she was alive any more, perhaps because there was just too much distracting the reader away from victim and her fate.

Then again that's the whole point in a shell game. You think she is under cup A but in actual fact she isn't under any of the cups at all.

Buy Missing, Presumed at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Today! Blog-Tour: As I Descended by Robin Talley

My turn on the Blog-Tour for As I Descended by Robin Talley. Her previous novel Lies We Tell Ourselves was a phenomenal success, and it was one of my favourite reads of 2014. I was intrigued to hear the premise, especially because I am a wee bit of a Shakespeare fan.
About the author:
Robin Talley grew up in Roanoke, Virginia, writing terrible teen poetry and riding a desegregation bus to the school across town. Robin lives in Washington, D.C., with her fiancée, plus an antisocial cat and a goofy hound dog. When Robin’s not writing, she’s often planning communication strategies at organizations fighting for equal rights and social justice.

You can connect with robin at, on Facebook or follow @robin_talley and @HQYoungAdult and watch out for #AsIDescended on Twitter.
To be perfectly frank you will have to freshen up on your Shakespeare's Macbeth to fully get the gist of this story. Without that reference and prior knowledge, this is just another YA urban fantasy, but with it you see the story in an entirely different light.

Obviously you can't make a literal direct comparison of the bard's work and As I Descended, as Talley has taken a fair bit of artistic license. Saying that, there are quite a few interesting adaptations, starting with the gender and sexuality of the characters.

The author has infused the story with the complexities of sexuality, with a particular focus on same gender relationships. Insecurity is one of the pivotal motivators for Lily. I think her control and influence over Maria is probably underestimated throughout the entire book. Whereas Maria is motivated and controlled by the nefarious ouija summoned presence.

The two girls are driven by different reasons, but both are willing to cross boundaries to get what they want. Manipulation, betrayal and even death. Nothing is off-limits even if it is unintentional.

The common thread between Macbeth and this story is the power of suggestion and whether or not Maria would have made the same choices without it. Lily is perhaps a less assertive choice for the figure of Lady Macbeth. and her character goes from controlling and manipulative to strangely docile.

The stroke of genius was the Macduff of the story, I won't tell you who that is you can work that out for yourself. I really liked the way Talley drew the parallels between Macduff being stripped of his family and the intentional malicious outing causing the alienation of the family.

Again I have to say that this may be more of a treat for readers who like their Shakespeare, and I will spare you any further comparison of the two lest I give away too much. It is a fascinating combination of Shakespeare's darkest tragedy, an en vogue genre and important social justice issues.

I can't wait to see what Talley comes up with next. She isn't afraid of writing about controversial subjects or trying something fresh and innovative.

Buy As I Descended at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Saturday 10 September 2016

Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

I have to hand it to Andrews even when they have created the book equivalent of a huge ice cream sundae they still manage to pop a cherry on top.

Magic Binds is the 9th book in the Kate Daniels series, and far from slowing down and getting boring, it is actually picking up pace and becoming more adventurous.

In this book we see Kate struggle with her inner demons. She is faced with the realisation that she is indeed her father's daughter. She is part of the family dynamic and more importantly their powerful magical heritage.

Kate feels the power trying to consume the part of her personality that makes fair and moral decisions. It wants to rule and it wants to demand submission. Unfortunately the inner power overrules Kate at the most inopportune moments, which almost causes a war.

Aside from that minor issue Kate also has to make some important choices based on the previews of her future. The problem with that is the more you know about the future, the more you either want to change it, thereby possibly making it worse, or you inadvertently walk along the path of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is a fast paced story, well actually that might be a bit of an understatement. It is a non-stop god battling, wizard challenging, squaring up to beast kings extravaganza with a little oracle snark thrown in for free. If you've read Andrews before you know every page is an experience in itself.

Buy Magic Binds at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Blog-Tour: The Ex Factor by Eva Woods

Today is my turn on the Blog-Tour for The Ex-Factor by Eva Woods. Her modern and fresh voice knows exactly how to create the type of characters readers want to re-visit. A little bit like a guilty pleasure. When you need a fun read with attitude her books are exactly the right thing to grab!
About the author
Eva Woods/Claire McGowan is a writer and a lecturer. She writes contemporary women's fiction as Eva Woods and crime fiction as Claire McGowan. She was born in Northern Ireland and now lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing.

According to her blog she also spends a lot of time tutting at slow people on escalators and dodging urban foxes. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.

To read more about Claire visit, visit her Facebook page or follow her  @inkstainsclaire and @HQStories & look out for #TheExFactor on Twitter
Buy The Ex Factor

About the book
Is it possible to freecycle love?
Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend's ex.
Can I just start this review off by saying that for me the real star of this book was Karl. Absolutely hands down, no contest at all. Woods had his character down to a fine art. The introvert with a sideline of extroverted geekiness.

The premise or the free-cycling your ex concept is the kind of idea you tend to read in a fashion or women's magazine. Is it feasible? Realistically I don't think so, because there will always be feelings of some kind attached to an ex. Handing them over to a girlfriend will probably awaken feelings of jealousy, resentment or possibly just doubts about whether you made the right decision to let them go. However, as these women soon discover, an ex is an ex for a reason.

The story follows Marnie, Rosa, Helen and Ani, a close-knit group of friends who are willing to try the crazy re-cycle an old boyfriend idea. Their friend Marnie has returned from overseas and, as always, makes a decision for the whole group with her own personal agenda in mind.

Woods infuses her stories with her own quirky sense of humour and the complexities of women's relationships.The support network of friendship is priceless in a society and era where it is easy to be completely alone in the middle of a crowd. However, nothing can tear down a friendship quite like the common denominator of a man.

I mean what could possibly go wrong? Looking for a soulmate in the crumpled up cast-offs of someone else's black book of dating.

As if that wasn't enough emotional distress and anxiety to go around, the girls also have their own personal demons to cope with. Helen has self-esteem issues, Ani has become a one date trick pony, Rosa is in the middle of a messy break-up and Marnie spends all her time pretending to be little Miss Perfect.

Dating in your early 20's is easygoing, but after that it just gets a lot like the Hunger Games with less fatalities. Nowadays this is the reality, trying to find your jigsaw puzzle piece to complete your personal picture, but without knowing what the picture is supposed to look like.

It is a amusing read with fairly honest view of the harsh realities of friendship and love.

Buy The Ex Factor at AmazonUk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Read The Thirty List by Eva Woods

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Today it is my turn on the Blog-Tour for Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova.
About the Author:

Zoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of the Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic.

To Connect with Zoraida Córdova on social media: 
Labyrinth Lost Website:
Twitter:  @zlikeinzorro
Author Tumblr:
Labyrinth Lost Tumblr:

Excerpt from the book

The second time I saw my dead aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.
Earlier that day, my mom had warned me, pressing a long, red fingernail on the tip of my nose, “Alejandra, don’t go downstairs when the Circle arrives.”
But I was seven and asked too many questions. Every Sunday, cars piled up in our driveway, down the street, and around the corner of our old, narrow house in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Mom’s Circle usually brought cellophane--wrapped dishes and jars of dirt and tubs of brackish water that made the Hudson River look clean. This time, they carried something more.
When my sisters started snoring, I threw off my covers and crept down the stairs. The floorboards were uneven and creaky, but I was good at not being seen. Fuzzy, yellow streetlight shone through our attic window and followed me down every flight until I reached the basement.
A soft hum made its way through the thin walls. I remember thinking I should listen to my mom’s warning and go back upstairs. But our house had been restless all week, and Lula, Rose, and I were shoved into the attic, out of the way while the grown--ups prepared the funeral. I wanted out. I wanted to see.
The night was moonless and cold one week after the Witch’s New Year, when Aunt Rosaria died of a sickness that made her skin yellow like hundred--year--old paper and her nails turn black as coal. We tried to make her beautiful again. My sisters and I spent all day weaving good luck charms from peonies, corn husks, and string—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. Not even the morticians, the Magos de Muerte, could fix her once--lovely face.
Aunt Rosaria was dead. I was there when we mourned her. I was there when we buried her. Then, I watched my father and two others shoulder a dirty cloth bundle into the house, and I knew I couldn’t stay in bed, no matter what my mother said.
So I opened the basement door.
Red light bathed the steep stairs. I leaned my head toward the light, toward the beating sound of drums and sharp plucks of fat, nylon guitar strings.
A soft mew followed by whiskers against my arm made my heart jump to the back of my rib cage. I bit my tongue to stop the scream. It was just my cat, Miluna. She stared at me with her white, glowing eyes and hissed a warning, as if telling me to turn back. But Aunt Rosaria was my godmother, my family, my friend. And I wanted to see her again.
“Sh!” I brushed the cat’s head back.
Miluna nudged my leg, then ran away as the singing started.
I took my first step down, into the warm, red light. Raspy voices called out to our gods, the Deos, asking for blessings beyond the veil of our worlds. Their melody pulled me step by step until I was crouched at the bottom of the landing.
They were dancing.
Brujas and brujos were dressed in mourning white, their faces painted in the aspects of the dead, white clay and black coal to trace the bones. They danced in two circles—-the outer ring going clockwise, the inner counterclockwise—hands clasped tight, voices vibrating to the pulsing drums.
And in the middle was Aunt Rosaria.
Her body jerked upward. Her black hair pooled in the air like she was suspended in water. There was still dirt on her skin. The white skirt we buried her in billowed around her slender legs. Black smoke slithered out of her open mouth. It weaved in and out of the circle—-one loop over, under, two loops over, under. It tugged Aunt Rosaria higher and higher, matching the rhythm of the canto.
Then, the black smoke perked up and changed its target. It could smell me. I tried to backpedal, but the tiles were slick, and I slid toward the circle. My head smacked the tiles. Pain splintered my skull, and a broken scream lodged in my throat.
The music stopped. Heavy, tired breaths filled the silence of the pulsing red dark. The enchantment was broken. Aunt Rosaria’s reanimated corpse turned to me. Her body purged black smoke, lowering her back to the ground. Her ankles cracked where the bone was brittle, but still she took a step. Her dead eyes gaped at me. Her wrinkled mouth growled my name: Alejandra.
She took another step. Her ankle turned and broke at the joint, sending her flying forward. She landed on top of me. The rot of her skin filled my nose, and grave dirt fell into my eyes.
Tongues clucked against crooked teeth. The voices of the circle hissed, “What’s the girl doing out of bed?”
There was the scent of extinguished candles and melting wax. Decay and perfume oil smothered me until they pulled the body away.
My mother jerked me up by the ear, pulling me up two flights of stairs until I was back in my bed, the scream stuck in my throat like a stone.
“Never,” she said. “You hear me, Alejandra? Never break a Circle.”
I lay still. So still that after a while, she brushed my hair, thinking I had fallen asleep.
I wasn’t. How could I ever sleep again? Blood and rot and smoke and whispers filled my head.
“One day you’ll learn,” she whispered.
Then she went back down the street--lit stairs, down into the warm red light and to Aunt Rosaria’s body. My mother clapped her hands, drums beat, strings plucked, and she said, “Again.”


Córdova mixes a lot of mythology, folklore and traditions from a variety of countries. I have to say that was quite refreshing, her unusual blend of mixing the old and beaten to death genre favourites with the more unusual and exotic ones. She lets her heritage and culture flow seamlessly into the pages.

The author also lets the main character explore her emotions and sexuality without the topic overpowering the main plot of the book. Kudos to her for that, because she does it in a way that reflects the natural confusion of growing up and discovering, and more importantly understanding what drives the pull and to whom.

It all starts with a young girl called Alex, who is determined to somehow avoid the inevitable and in doing so catapults her entire circle of family and friends into a magical nightmare. I suppose it sounds a little simplistic, a young girl trying as hard as possible not to connect to or rather awaken her magical roots, but she sees it as a curse and not as a gift.

When an altercation brings out the worst in her, and when I say worst I mean the bruja magic simmering quietly under her skin, she makes a decision to counteract her natural ability. More fool her methinks, because she ends up creating the kind of chaos you only read about in fairytale disasters. So much for knowing what's best for her and everyone around her. Alex tends to act first then think.

In this YA fantasy you will find a multitude of worlds colliding to create a veritable mixture of fantastical worlds and creatures, which hopefully will lead Alex to her personal triumph and perhaps even a little bit of self-awareness.

It is a fast paced read with a lot of personal flair.The series has a lot of potential, Córdova just needs to give all that creativity and energy more direction. I look forward to seeing where she takes the Brooklyn Brujas.

Buy Labyrinth Lost at Amazon Uk at go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Watch the Book Trailer here

For a free downloadable Labyrinth Lost Coloring Page go here

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The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

It was actually quite amusing, because I had to keep reminding myself of the beginning and where the story was supposed to be heading.

It starts off with a dramatic fall, suicide, accident or death and ends the same way. There is so much drama in the middle that it just slipped my mind completely.

It's a pity the premise is more of Gossip Girl scenario, because McGee has some really interesting ideas. The towers and the caste structure are worth exploring in more depth. Then there is the Nadia the quant, both this and the futuristic communication in combination with the world-building is quite fascinating.

What it comes down to in the end is rich people vs poor people and the ex-rich who want to be rich again, because they hate being poor. Oh and girlfriend and boyfriend trouble. Nothing too complex. Again, such a contradiction in the mixture of ideas. A bit like creating a complex void structure and then filling it completely with candy floss.

Even in the future the young still seek a high and spend all their time worrying about their love lives. So much for advanced technology and spectacular development. I shouldn't be surprised by the fact humans will always be shallow entities no matter how many centuries into the future.

Buy The Thousandth Floor at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Blog-Tour for As I Descended by Robin Talley starts today!

The author of the Lies we Tell Ourselves is back with a new novel. As I Descended by Robin Talley is read you don't want to miss..
Here are the links so you can follow the tour and enjoy what my fellow bloggers have to say about As I Descended.

7th Sep at

8th Sep at

9th Sep at

10th Sep at

11th Sep at

12th Sep at

13th Sep at

Follow at @robin_talley and @HQYoungAdult & look out for #AsIDescended on Twitter.

Hope to see you here on the 11th for my review!

Happening right now! The Blog-Tour: The Ex Factor by Eva Woods

This Blog-Tour is a humdinger, it is so big it needs two parts and two banners. Welcome to The Ex Factor by Eva Woods.

I have added links to all my fellow bloggers, so you can follow the tour and find out more about this great book.
1st Sep at and

2nd Sep at and

3rd Sep at and

4th Sep at and

5th Sep at bookaholicconfessions.wordpress,com and
6th Sep at and

7th Sep at and

8th Sep at and

9th Sep at and

10th Sep at and

11th Sep at and

12th Sep at

Follow Eva Woods @InkStainsClaire and @HQStories and look out for #TheExFactor on Twitter

I look forward to seeing you here on the 10th for my review of The Ex Factor!