Monday, 26 June 2017

The Devil's Poetry

The Devil's Poetry by Louise Cole
Published by Kindle Press
June 2017




Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends are being drafted and many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace just by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution – too easy. But how do you make the right decision when no one will tell you the truth? Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. There are only two people Callie can trust – her best friend and her ex-Marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. Callie alone must decide: dare she read this book? What’s the price – and who will pay?

The Devil's Poetry is a YA dystopian novel set on the brink of World War III.  Our central character is Callie, a teenage girl who has a fairly ordinary life with her father in Yorkshire.  However as the reader quickly learns, whilst some things remain the same in the future, there are many things that are now very different.  One evening in a nightclub with her friends Gavin and Amber, trouble breaks out and Callie meets a handsome man who gives her a book with the message "do not read this" as he squirrels her away to safety.  Of course, Callie, who adores books, reads the book that has been given to her!

The mysterious stranger (Jace) returns again at school, as a new TA and Callie can't help but think there is something suspicious about this.  On her way home with Amber they are confronted by some creatures (who we find out are the Cadaveri) and Amber fights to save Callie's life as they are attacked.  Callie finds herself saying some mysterious words out loud in order to fight off the Cadaveri, and it turns out she is actually recalling the text of the book that Jace had given to her.  It turns out that Jace is in fact her bodyguard and is meant to be protecting her from these demon-like creatures.  Callie, unbeknown to her, is actually the next Reader, and only she can save the future of the world.

As the book progresses, we learn more of Callie's family background, such as what happened to her mother, who died when Callie was much younger, of her distant relationship with her father, and of the growing bond between her and Jace as they spend more and more time together.  The tension builds throughout the book, and you wonder if Callie will make it to read from the book by the end of the novel and if she does, will the result be what is expected or will it just add more confusion to a world already broken with fighting.

I did enjoy this book, which is the first in a series.  It has a fast-moving plot and the tension does build throughout and actually it isn't hard to imagine the world like this in a not-so-distant future..  The only negative I have is that the book contains a synopsis of the second title in the series and within that there is a huge spoiler for what is coming up next.  So if you do go and read this, and you want to read book two, don't be tempted to read this bit please.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Thursday, 22 June 2017

This Much is True

This Much is True by Jane Sanderson
Published by Orion Books
June 2017





After decades in a deeply unhappy marriage, Annie Doyle can barely bring herself to care that her husband Vince is finally about to die.

But as the family gathers to see out his final days, Vince utters a single word that will change everyone's lives completely:
'Martha.'

Who is Martha? And why is Annie so quick to dismiss the mention of her name? As Annie's long-held secrets start to emerge, the lives of everyone she holds dear will be changed forever...

This is the latest novel written by Jane Sanderson and takes on a different slant from her earlier, historical novels.  This is part memoir, part mystery and features Annie a 73 year old woman, living with her eldest son Michael and dog Finn in Coventry.  Her husband Vince is in a nursing home having been there for decades following his diagnosis with dementia.  We soon learn that her marriage has not been a happy one and that Vince only married Annie because he thought he would get a substantial allowance from her husband, his then boss. When this fails to materialise, Vince decides to work away from home, only returning to his wife and child when absolutely necessary.  It is on one of these visits that Vince arrives home with a gift for Annie that will ultimately change all of their lives forever, and it is because of this, that Annie has a secret she has been forced to hide for most of her adult life.

On a routine walk with her friends Josie and Sandra, Finn attacks a local farmer's sheep and Annie is forced to make some difficult decisions surrounding his well-being.  She meets Mr Dinmore ("call me Alf"), a friend of Josie's and he introduces her to his sister who rescues dogs.  As she learns more about Alf she discovers that he is a former policeman and this brings to the forefront of her mind the secret that she has been hiding for so long.

With Vince on his deathbed at last, younger son Andrew returns home from Australia and it is the mention of the name "Martha" by Vince that starts everything unravelling.  A box discovered in the attic by Andrew only proceeds to make everything worse.  What should Annie do?

This is a book about families and the secrets that some of them hide because they ultimately believe this to be for the best.  There are also some interesting characters in the book.  Michael is not a pleasant person, towards the end of the book it is explained why this might be, but that is not why this made me dislike him so much, though by the end he does seem to redeem himself somewhat.  He is the polar-opposite of his brother Andrew, who I must admit comes across as quite smug at times with his magnificent life in Byron Bay.  Vince is a not a nice man throughout and I felt no sympathy for him during the course of the book.  I did like Josie though her friendship with Annie seems somewhat unexpected but she was a nice addition to the story and it was interesting to have an older central character who as the book progresses, begins to live more in her later years than she has done during the preceding decades.

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x



Monday, 12 June 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens Books
May 2105




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.

Now if I'm being honest here, and it's my book blog so wouldn't I be, I missed all of the hype surrounding this book when it came out 2 years ago, though if I'm totally honest, I'm not sure how I did... Anyway, that aside, there are many people whom I follow over on Instagram who still rave about this book today (especially as the third book in the series has just appeared) so I felt tempted to order it and see just what all the fuss was about.  OMG, it's fab!!!  I haven't felt like this since Twilight was published so I know I'm about to get the next two books and devour them, even though my tbr pile is huge!

This book is set between the real world and the world of the faeries, there is no secret in that.  We know that they exist and that their lands are over the border, but we also know not to trust them and not to stray into their lands.  Our central character Feyre is out hunting one day when she spots a wolf.  It is pursuing a deer she intends to kill so that her family can eat, so faced with a choice of hunt or be hunted, she kills the wolf.  Only when she returns home does she learn of her fatal mistake - the wolf was infact faerie and for killing him Feyre must go to the kingdom from whence he came to reside forever more.  Saying goodbye to her father and sisters, Feyre embarks on the journey to her new life where she is housed in the Spring Court presided over by Tamlin, and his friend Rhysand. Both are masked and mysterious as a curse has been placed on them that makes removing their masks impossible. 

As predicted you might say, the bond between captor and captive grows deeply and both of our main characters find themselves falling in love.  Little did Feyre imagine that at the beginning of her journey into the Spring Court that she might be forced to risk her life to save the man she now wants to be with forever. 

This book is full of twists and turns and it encourages you to use your imagination.  Yes this is a YA novel but I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it and will be purchasing the rest of the series immediately.  If you love a good fantasy novel, and faeries and magic are your thing, then this is highly recommended.


Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lost for Words

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Published by Bonnier Zaffre
April 2017



THIS BOOKSHOP KEEPS MANY SECRETS . . .Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.

Into her refuge - the York book emporium where she works - come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can't hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?
It's time to turn the pages of her past . . .

For a lover of books this was an ideal read to while away the hours, by reading about someone who works in a bookshop!  Our central character is Loveday Cardew, a not conventional girl whose body is covered in tattoos with the first lines of some of her favourite books.  She keeps herself to herself, and very few people know very much about her past, including her only friend, bookshop owner Archie; who himself is larger than life for the both of them.  Stalked by the very weird Rob, Loveday is not looking for romance, until the studious Nathan enters the shop with a book request.  He invites her to the local poetry reading night and Loveday sees a side of him revealed that makes her want to spend more time with this man.  Can she actually learn to open her heart in return through the genre of poetry?  Throughout the book we travel back to Whitby, to Loveday's childhood and learn why she no longer sees her parents despite what appears to be an idyllic childhood.  Things are about to change for her though when a delivery of books to the store starkly remind her of her childhood, in fact they appear to be the exact copies of books that were owned by her mother, but that couldn't possibly be the case could it?  Could there be someone in York who actually knows of Loveday's hidden past, and if so, who are they, and what do they want?

This book had the perfect combination of happy and sad and bitter-sweet moments within it that made it a pleasure to sit and immerse myself into.  I'll be looking out for more books by this author.


Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x

Friday, 2 June 2017

An Act of Silence

An Act of Silence by Colette McBeth
Published by Wildfire
June 2017


These are the facts I collect.

My son Gabriel met a woman called Mariela in a bar. She went home with him. They next morning she was found in an allotment.

Mariela is dead.

Gabriel has been asked to report to Camden Police station in six hours for questioning.

Linda Moscow loves her son; it's her biological instinct to keep him safe. But if she's not sure of his innocence, how can she stand by him? Should she go against everything she believes in to protect him?

She's done it before, and the guilt nearly killed her.

This is Colette McBeth's third book, out at the end of June, and it's a crime novel with some hidden undercurrents.  Linda Moscow is a fomer MP.  Her son Gabriel is a famous comic and he is under suspicion by the police for the death of a woman whose body has been found at an allotment that backs onto his London home.  He comes to his mother for understanding, and for reassurance from her that he had nothing to do with this incident.  Unfortunately this doesn't happen and Gabriel is forced to leave with the suspicions of his mother weighing heavily on his mind.

Linda doesn't know how to react.  Gabriel's news has stirred up a whole host of memories that she thought she had buried in the past.  However she has no time to concentrate on Gabriel, she is on a trip to Scotland to interview an important witness who might just bring down some people with very powerful connections.  However when she crosses the border she is soon to learn that not everything is as it seems and the people you thought you could trust might not be the people you first thought them to be.

I enjoyed this book but I did get a little muddled with so many characters, especially as some have different names throughout the book (but there is good reason for this).  Is Gabriel guilty or has he been set up, and if so, by whom?  Can Linda save her son, and herself before the powers that be close in around her?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Return of the Witch

The Return of the Witch by Paula Brackston
Published by Corsair
Paperback Edition
1st December 2016


After five years in the Summerlands, Gideon has gained his freedom. Elizabeth knows he will go straight for Tegan, and that she must protect the girl she had come to regard as her own daughter. In the time since she the dramatic night in Batchcombe woods, Tegan has traveled the world learning from all manner of witches, and she is no longer the awkward teenager and novice spellcaster she once was. However, her skills are no match for Gideon's dark, vengeful power, and he succeeds in capturing her. Will Elizabeth be able to find her? Will they be able to defeat their nemesis once and for all?

In a breathless journey that takes them through history, witch pursues warlock. Three people steeped in magic weave a new story, but not all will survive until the end.

This is the sequel to The Witch's Daughter and is not a disappointment.  At the end of the first book, Gideon managed to escape from the clutches of the witches' spell and now Elizabeth knows that he will one day return to take Tegan for his own.  Since that day five years earlier, Tegan has journeyed around the globe seeking out the best mystics, shaman and witches she can find in order to become that best in her craft, but will that actually be enough to protect her from Gideon when the time comes?

Elizabeth travels back in time to the days of the Civil War and Paula Brackston's ability to conjure up the past has lost none of its charm in this her most recent book.  Her characters, as always, are so full of life and her settings ring true.  The suspense and tension of Gideon's plans for both Tegan and Elizabeth hold firm throughout the book and of course, there has to be a dramatic climax at the end of the book, but I can't possibly reveal whether Gideon gets him comeuppance or whether it is the end of the road for Tegan and Elizabeth.  If you are a fan of magic and witchcraft then I do urge you to read the Shadow Chronicles novels.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Published by Fourth Estate
23rd April 2015
Paperback Edition


A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

‘Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.’

For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.

In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.


Set in both France and Germany during the Second World War, it tells the tale of Marie-Laure who is blind and initially a recluse in her own home.  Her father builds her a model of their neighbourhood in Paris which she has to learn to follow by heart before she can be allowed outside on her own.  For me this was the best part of the story - following her journey and progress and of how frightening it must be to become blind and of how to live your life once more.  The story also takes us to the other side of the war into Germany and of brother and sister Werner and Jutta.  Werner can make radios come to life and his talent does not go unnoticed by the Nazi party.  Soon he is drafted into a war as part of the Hitler Youth and his path will eventually cross with that of Marie-Laure's.  The main part of the story is set in Saint-Malo as the invasion by the Germans enters into France and Marie-Laure is forced into hiding.  Her father has vanished, and with him, the possible diamond that is housed in the Museum of Natural History.  There are some who would kill for that stone, and this endangers Marie-Laure further.  Who to trust and who not to trust in a war of two sides?  For Werner and Marie-Laure this becomes a matter of life and death.

I guess I should have known that I wouldn't fall in love with this book.  It's not necessarily the fault of the book but I don't think I've ever enjoyed a prize-winning novel; I sometimes find them a bit too 'above' me if that makes sense.  However, that is not to say that All the Light we Cannot See is not a good book; I just didn't think it was a great book but there are many more who would disagree with me as in some parts it is both incredibly beautiful and gripping.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x



The Slaughter Man

The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons
Published by Arrow
21st April 2016
Paperback Edition


On New Year’s Day, a wealthy family is found slaughtered inside their exclusive gated community in north London, their youngest child stolen away.

The murder weapon – a gun for stunning cattle before they are butchered – leads Detective Max Wolfe to a dusty corner of Scotland Yard’s Black Museum devoted to a killer who thirty years ago was known as the Slaughter Man.

But the Slaughter Man has done his time, and is now old and dying. Can he really be back in the game?

And was the murder of a happy family a mindless killing spree, a grotesque homage by a copycat killer – or a contract hit designed to frame a dying man?

All Max knows is that he needs to find the missing child and stop the killer before he destroys another innocent family – or finds his way to his own front door …

This is the second outing for DC Max Wolfe following his introduction in The Murder Bag back in 2015.  I think that if you enjoyed the first novel then you are bound to feel the same way about the second as it's much of the same thing.  A wealthy family are found murdered in their home on New Year's Day and it is up to Wolfe to find out who did it.  The only curious thing is that the family's youngest son appears to be missing from the crime scene.  As you can probably guess, this killing is only the first in the book and soon Max Wolfe is on the hunt for a serial killer. 

Coupled with too many acronyms for my liking again, the book weaves its way through the underbelly of the crime gangs of London as well as with Wolfe's relationship with his ex-wife and daughter Scout.  I think it is this side of the story that actually endears me to the books and stops them being solely focussed on gang-crime.  It's a crime thriller that will take up a few hours of your time and what's the harm in that?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x

The Roanoke Girls

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Published by Hodder & Stoughton 
March 2017



Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.


The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there's a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.
Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents' estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing - and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.
Is she strong enough to escape a second time?

This book is a combination of The Virgin Suicides and Flowers in the Attic and I loved it.  I couldn't put it down and devoured it over a weekend.  Don't be fooled though, this is no comfy feel-good read, this is a book about a twisted family with a dark secret and it doesn't always make for pleasant reading.

Lane is a loner.  No family and not many friends, and there is good reason for this.  Lane prefers not to discuss her relatives, the Roanokes who live in a huge crumbling house in Kansas.  She left once, when she was in her teens, swearing to herself that she would never return there.  What she didn't expect was a phone call from her grandfather asking her to return because her cousin Allegra has vanished.  Would Lane return home to try to find her?

The story swings from past to present-day, with Lane's arrival at the house when she was a teenager and of her first meeting with her beautiful self-obsessed cousin Allegra.  The two girls could practically be twins, they both have the familial good looks that their mothers both possessed.  Unfortunately this beautiful group of girls have all met with tragic consequences over the years, and Lane and Allegra are the last two Roanoke girls.  Their grandmother Lillian is distant, but their grandfather, Yates is caring and attentive.  Both girls are allowed to do as they please, within reason, and life at the house seems idyllic.  Then Allegra disappears, and Lane is forced to return home, to the life she once tried to escape.

Nothing has changed, the same friends still hang out in the town and Lane reignites her friendship with mechanic Tommy, the local bad boy who she ran out on eleven years earlier.  With his help, can they find out what happened to Allegra, but can Lane keep the secrets she has buried so deep hidden, before Tommy once again gets too close?

Happy Reading


Miss Chapters x


Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Baltimore Boys

The Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker
Published by MacLehose Press
May 2017




NOVEMBER 24, 2004

The day of the tragedy. The end of a brotherhood.

The Baltimore Boys. The Goldman Gang. That was what they called Marcus Goldman and his cousins Woody and Hillel. Three brilliant young men with dazzling futures ahead of them, before their kingdom crumbled beneath the weight of lies, jealousy and betrayal. For years, Marcus has struggled with the burdens of his past, but now he must attempt to banish his demons and tell the true and astonishing story of the Baltimore Boys.

This is the follow-up to the fantastic debut The Truth about the Harry Qubert Affair which I absolutely loved.  I guess that it is sometimes true that an amazing debut is usually followed up by a not-so-great second novel and whilst I wish it wasn't, I do feel that this is the case with The Baltimore Boys.

Marcus Goldman features in here as the main character but there are no links to the first novel so if you haven't already read it, don't feel that you need to in order to enjoy this book.  Marcus and his two cousins Woody and Hillel are inseparable whilst growing up, but a tragedy tears them apart.  We are left wondering if it has anything to do with singer Alexandra, a former love of Marcus' and friend to the three boys whilst growing up, who makes an unexpected reappearance in Marcus' life when her dog is found wandering on his property. 

The story weaves back and forth between the boys' youth and the present day as Marcus tries to come to find sense in his childhood, of his relationship with Alexandra and why his family, the poor relations, were treated so badly by the richer side of his father's family.  As you may expect, there are twists and turns as the story unfolds and it's certainly a worth-while read.  I'll certainly look out for the next book by Joel Dicker, of which I am sure there will be many more.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters x



Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Shadow Year

The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell
Published by Orion
June 2013


1980. On a hot summer's day five friends stumble upon an abandoned cottage hidden deep in the English countryside. Isolated and run-down, it offers a retreat, somewhere they can escape from the world. But as the seasons change, tensions begin to rise...

Three decades later, Lila arrives at the remote cottage. Bruised from a tragic accident and with her marriage in crisis, she finds renovating the tumbledown house gives her a renewed sense of purpose. But why did the cottage's previous inhabitants leave their belongings behind? And why can't she shake the feeling that someone is watching her?

Okay I admit it, this book has sat on my bookshelf for nearly four years without being read and I cannot think of a single reason why that is.  Hannah Richell's second novel tells of five uni friends who are so despondent at being separated after living together that when they discover what appears to be an unowned run-down house hidden in the middle of a wood, they decide to stay there and become self-sufficient for at least a year.  Simon, who makes himself the unelected leader of the group, think this will be a utopian moment, a step into Henry Thoreau's Walden.  Couple Ben and Carla throw themselves into the mix as best as they can, and Kat, well she will do anything that Simon suggests.  Mac is the outsider of the group, the hanger-on that gets invited along for the ride.

The year passes and it's not without it's ups and downs. The winter is harsh and soon the group discover that this journey isn't going to be as easy as they first imagined.  Simon is reluctant for them to tell anyone where they are and they are totally reliant on the land for survival.  After writing a letter to her younger sister, Kat soon finds Freya on their doorstep begging to be allowed to stay with them.  Her arrival will throw the group into a turmoil that they cannot escape from.

Present day sees couple Tom and Lila struggling to reconnect after the loss of their baby daughter as a result of Lila falling down the stairs at their London house.  She cannot remember the accident and she remains depressed.  A letter from an unknown source arrives out of the blue, informing her that she is now the owner of a cottage (the cottage above) and in order to find herself again, Lila journeys north to see what she has been bequeathed. It is love at fist sight for her and she throws herself in to renovating the cottage, but this too comes at a price, as Tom feels more and more alienated by her behaviour.

Clearly our two stories are entwined within each other but the reader has to go a long way into the book to find out how and why these stories overlap.  Hannah Richell keeps the suspense going until the very last page.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapters