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Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Book Review: The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery

Pages: 506 pages (US Kindle edition)

Translated Edition Published: 2004 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & 2004 by Penguin Books (US)


An astonishingly engaging story within a story type of novel; the passion for books and reading introduced in the first chapter was just an appetizer before all the interconnecting twists and turns.

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Book Review: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)

Book Review: The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next, #1)


The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This entire series has my name written all over it. A plucky, intelligent heroine. Literary references galore. Dry, sharp British humor. An alternate history where every single British citizen is obsessed with the written word to the point of religious zeal. Tongue-in-cheek character names that fit their eponymous charges perfectly. The essential involvement of one of my very favorite classics, Jane Eyre. And yet, for some reason, The Eyre Affair fell a bit flat for me. I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it as much as I had hoped. However, my hope is that my reading mood will have shifted by the time I continue with the series, and that Thursday’s series will become one of my favorites. It deserves to be.

“Take no heed of her…. She reads a lot of books.”

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Book Review: The Fold (Threshold, #2) by Peter Clines

Book Review: The Fold (Threshold, #2) by Peter Clines

The Fold by Peter Clines (Narrated by Ray Porter)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Threshold (Book 2)

Genre:  Science fiction, mystery, Lovecraftian horror

Published: 2nd June 2015 by Crown (US)


The Fold is yet another utterly absorbing and entertaining genre-bending novel by Peter Clines, which was impeccably narrated by Ray Porter.

I didn’t even realise that I’ve read the first book in the Threshold series, 14, almost exactly a year ago. It must be something related to this bizarre universe that Clines have created in his series of connected stand-alone novels which triggered such a coincidence. The Fold is the second book in the series, with a completely different story and new cast of characters in the same universe.

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Book Review: The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #1) by Nick Martell

Book Review: The Kingdom of Liars (The Legacy of the Mercenary King, #1) by Nick Martell

ARC provided by the publisher—Saga Press—in exchange for an honest review.

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary King (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery

Pages: 608 pages (US hardcover edition)

Published: 7th May 2020 by Gollancz (UK) & 5th May 2020 by Saga Press (US)


The Kingdom of Liars is a solid debut that’s quite challenging to get through at first, but the second half offers rewarding experience to those who read the novel to its completion.

Similar to many cases with debuts by an unknown author in the past, my interest to read The Kingdom of Liars, the first book in The Legacy of The Mercenary Kings series by Nick Martell, was sparked due to the gorgeous cover art by Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme (US edition) and Richard Anderson (UK edition). Additionally, both Brandon Sanderson and James Islington—two authors whose works I immensely loved—gave high praise to this debut. How could I even resist reading this book!?

“It’s the long con that wins in the end, Michael. The people who do things worth remembering are the ones willing to wait decades to achieve it.”

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Book review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives, #1) by Luke Arnold

Book review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives, #1) by Luke Arnold

Last Smile in Sunder City

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Fetch Phillips Archives

Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Published: 6th February 2020 by Orbit (UK) & 2nd February 2020 by Orbit (US)

 

ARC provided by the publisher, Orbit in exchange for an honest opinion. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and the quotes included may have changed in the released copy.

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a UF mystery, imbued with a unique personality, a moody atmosphere and a deep wistfulness.

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Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Book Review: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware


The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Ruth Ware novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Turn of the Key is a fascinating combination of a gothic ghost story and a chilling portrayal of how intrusive technology can be. All the way through the narrative, I was never sure on which side of that dichotomy the climax would fall. While I did figure out a couple of the twists before they reached their apexes, there was plenty to keep me guessing.

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Book Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Book Review: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood


Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alias Grace isn’t what I expected. I suppose I thought this would be similar to Atwood’s most famous novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. And it was in some ways, especially in the tone of the main character. Though I can’t quite call Grace a protagonist, as Offred is in the aforementioned classic of dystopian literature. What I wasn’t expecting was very well researched historical fiction.

“Murderess is a strong word to have attached to you. It has a smell to it, that word – musky and oppressive, like dead flowers in a vase. Sometimes at night I whisper it over to myself: Murderess, Murderess. It rustles, like a taffeta skirt across the floor.”

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Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives,#1)

Book Review: The Last Smile in Sunder City (The Fetch Phillips Archives,#1)

ARC received from the publisher, Orbit, in exchange for an honest review. 

 

The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Fetch Phillips Archives (Book 1)

Genre:  Urban fantasy, mystery, noir

Published:  6th February 2020 (Orbit UK) & 25th February 2020 (Orbit US)


The Last Smile in Sunder City was an impressive debut by Luke Arnold; a dark urban fantasy that enraptured me with its stellar worldbuilding and writing style.

Firstly, I’ve never been exposed to much noir elements in my reading so far, so I won’t be able to make any comparisons. However, I can still safely say that this book accurately captured that feel in its worldbuilding and the characterisation of its main character, Fetch Phillips. In a world where magic was destroyed, creatures or beings dependent on magic for their existence suffered delibitating effects. The setting has a truly bleak, post-apocalyptic feel.  Sunder City couldn’t be more appropriate a name for a progressive city where all hopes and dreams have been torn asunder when magic was lost.

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Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

Book Review: The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

A review copy received from the publisher, Orbit UK, in exchange for an honest review.

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Stand-alone

Genre: Fantasy, mystery

First published: 23rd July 2019 by Redhook (US) and Orbit (UK)


How many of us readers have experienced the kind of immersion and connection to a story, its setting or its characters, which made us wish that it could be real? I’d gander a guess that it covers pretty much all of us. H.G. Parry’s marvellous debut novel, The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, perfectly illustrates the magic of stories and words on a page.

“That’s how the story works, the way the sentence and metaphor and reference feeds into the other to illuminate something important. That explosion of discovery, of understanding, is the most intoxicating moment there is. Emotional, intellectual, aesthetic. Just for a moment, a perfect moment, a small piece of the world makes perfect sense. And it’s beautiful. It’s a moment of pure joy, the kind that brings pleasure like pain.”

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Literary fiction, Historical fiction, Mystery

Pages: 384 pages

Published: 17th January 2019 by Corsair (UK) & 14th August 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (US)


Where the Crawdads Sing is a book that’s massively praised worldwide, and it lives up to all the hype.

It doesn’t matter whether you read literary fiction or not, if you’ve visited Amazon or a bookstore in 2019, it’s quite likely that you’ve heard about Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens’s FIRST novel that’s praised and hit bestseller everywhere. Honestly, I didn’t expect to read this one; my girlfriend and my co-blogger—Celeste—highly recommended it to me even though they know that it’s well outside my usual genre—SFF—of novels to read. However, the immensely high average ratings made the book a must-try for me. At the time of writing this review, it has an average of 4.5 stars out of 463k ratings on Goodreads, and on Amazon US it has an average rating of 4.8 out of 27.3k ratings/reviews! To make things even crazier, this is the author’s FIRST novel, and everything about it lives up to the hype.

“I wasn’t aware that words could hold so much. I didn’t know a sentence could be so full.”

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