Posted in Book Reviews

The Truth About Lies by Tracy Darnton

truth about liesThe Truth About Lies is not your run of the mill psychological thriller.  It is an intriguing read about Jess, who has hyperthymesia – “a condition where people are able to remember an abnormally large number of their life experiences in vivid detail”.

Hanna, Jess’s roommate dies in an apparent suicide after falling from their window.  Shortly afterwards, Jess starts to receive strange notes and believes that someone is following her around.  She begins to question this and also her past.  Can she trust her memories?

This is an enthralling and suspenseful story filled with all sorts of secrets and lies.  Jess is an interesting and singularly unique character, who is tormented by her past.  We only glimpse a little of the trauma she suffered when she was part of the research programme but the effects are clearly visible in her voice and actions.  Jess’s identity is hidden in the beginning so we don’t really know who she is.  Later when Jess meets Dan, a new student, she tries to keep her distance but they become friends and she opens up about her past.

Without giving too much away, this is an enjoyable read filled with mystery and just when you think you know what’s going to happen, there is a twist that keeps you guessing right up to the end.

 

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Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

I enjoyed Beneath a Burning Sky.  This intriguing historical novel takes place in two locations, one being England and the other being Egypt.

burning skyThe main character, Olivia, 22 years old, is coerced into marriage by her grandmother to a cruel and abusive man known as Alistair Sheldon.  She relocates to Egypt with him and is happily reunited with her sister, Clara.  She is treated atrociously by Alistair and inadvertently develops feelings for her husband’s boarder, Captain Edward Bertram, when he befriends her.

Amidst all the tension, Clara is kidnapped when they visit the city.  The reason behind this abduction is unclear and Olivia does her utmost to find her, despite all the obstructions put in her path.

Without spoiling it for you, I can say that this is a thrilling and deeply intriguing story with plenty of action, romance and suspense, predominantly set in Egypt during the 19th century.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this genre.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Demon Leap (The Specials #1) by Tricia Owens

I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller!  Demon Leap is a uniquely interesting and imaginative story that will have you mesmerized from page 1 right up until the end.  The characters are well written and interesting.

demon leapThe main character is Arrow and she’s driven to expose the government conspiracy of how her parents and thousands of others died in the War.  To do so, Arrow has to align herself with dangerous criminals known as the Specials.  “They are magic misfits and criminals, recruited and blackmailed to fill ordinary positions within the Sinistera Hotel.”

Arrow is a magically highly skilled person with some very important secrets. Her grandmother, one of the warriors that fought against the demons in the War, is now hidden away in a nursing home.  Her mind was broken by government methods to strengthen her magical abilities and Arrow pays for her care and medication, which isn’t cheap.

Arrow is framed for a couple of murders and finds herself in a situation where she has to take a job at ‘The Sinistera Hotel’.  This is a scary place where the majority of the inhabitants are menacing and dangerous criminals. She is given the position of head of security, a job she is not quite sure that she is capable of.  However, The hotel is the only place where she might just have the chance to survive if the residents or the other Specials (people like her) don’t take her out first.

This is an exciting and fast paced story.  Arrow is an engaging and interesting character and I enjoyed her interaction with the other characters in this book.

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I am looking forward to exploring the rest of this series as it has intrigued me. I love the author’s style of writing and I really enjoyed the excitement and intrigue of this story.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.

This book deserves

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Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Thank you to Linsey Miller, Sourcebooks, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

mask of shadowsThis is an original and intriguing story about Sal, a street fighter and highway thief, who auditions for a place on the Queen’s Left Hand, her trusted band of assassins.

She/He is given a mask with the number Twenty-three as identification for the audition.  Sal has to learn to become a killer/assassin, but unexpectedly also falls in love. It’s a battle to the death as there are very few rules.  Unless stated otherwise, you may attempt to kill your rivals outside of the challenges.

The androgynous concept in this book is interesting and will appeal to YA readers.  Although the plot was violent, it was full of clever intrigue. I really enjoyed reading this gripping story line.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!

This book deserves

 

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Being a Witch, and Other Things I Didn’t Ask for by Sara Pascoe

Thank you to Netgalley, Sara Pascoe and the Independent Book Publishers Association for allowing me to read and review this book about a teen witch.  I enjoyed following Raya’s journey of self-discovery.

being a witchThis is a wonderful story about a young girl, who has had a difficult life and is struggling to come to terms with her past.  Raya finds it difficult to let anyone get close to her and vice-versa.  She is in foster care but wants to run away and be free to make her own choices.  In her quest to find herself and establish her independence, Raya quickly discovers that she is an integrator (witch).  This turns out to be a huge relief to her as it explains some of the weird things happening to her.

She is quickly immersed in a new world of adventures, which relies on her mastering her new skills to save herself and her companions.

Characters

Oscar, her talking cat companion, is a fun yet wise character.  Who wouldn’t want a talking cat?

Raya is a troubled teen, who is initially irresponsible and selfish, but later realises the value of her friends and lets them into her life.

Bryony is her tutor and attempts to help Raya practise her new time travel skills.  She even tries to save her when things go awry.

I liked most of the secondary characters as well.

Conclusion

I enjoyed the contemporary setting of the story as well as the historical period featured during the time travel.

I thought that the time travel, which wholly depended on Raya’s wishing to be elsewhere, was believable and added significantly to the storyline.

Raya’s past and her perceptions of her life were explained in an authentic and easy to understand way.  I think that it helps the reader understand her character better and allows them to relate more easily to her.

There was a well thought out moral underpinning the story.

I think that teens aged 13–15 would especially enjoy this story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read giving a troubled teen a voice and letting her find and embrace acceptance and love.

This book deserves

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Agent of Enchantment (Dark Fae FBI #1) by C. N. Crawford and Alex Rivers

Thank you to NetGalley, Weapenry Co-Op and the authors for allowing me to read and review this book.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

agent of enchantmentI really enjoyed this story as it combines two of my favourite genres – fantasy and thriller.

If you like the popular FBI profiling TV shows, you will enjoy reading Agent of Enchantment.

FBI agent and profiler, Cassandra Liddell is sent on assignment to London to help with an investigation into a series of Jack the Ripper copycat killings.

Things, however, aren’t as they seem.  Cassandra starts seeing things that she can’t explain and she becomes aware that something supernatural is involved in these killings but how can she explain this to the local police without coming off as being crazy?

On her first night in London, Cassandra is attacked by two men, who definitely don’t appear to be human and is rescued by a lethally alluring fae.  She cannot decide if he is a main suspect in the murders or if he is trying to help her.  Does he have his own agenda?  What does he want from her?  Cassandra doesn’t know who to trust when the tables are turned and the police start to suspect her of being involved.

In her attempts to clear her name and find the real killer, Cassandra finds out that she isn’t all human.  Her world is turned upside down and she has to fight for her life.

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This is an exciting roller-coaster read that will hook you from the beginning and keep you enthralled until the end.

This fab writing duo of Crawford and Rivers works seamlessly to provide an entertaining and thrilling story. Agent of Enchantment is a great start to the Dark Fae FBI series and I can’t wait to read the next book. I found the characters riveting; the plot was very intriguing and left me wanting to read more. This is definitely a series I will be following as it is full of fresh ideas and interesting characters.

Agent of Enchantment deserves an entertaining

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The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

Firstly, thank you so much to James for sending me a copy of your amazing debut novel,The Apprentice Witch, which I absolutely loved reading! This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

This is an enapprentice witchchanting read and I couldn’t put it down.  It’s one of those books that I wish didn’t come to an end as I wanted to read more about Arianwyn’s witchy adventures.  I can’t wait for the next book!

Arianwyn Gribble is poised to undertake her evaluation to become a fully-fledged witch but something goes horribly wrong and she fails her assessment.  With intervention by her grandmother, who serves on the Witches Council of Elders, Arianwyn is granted the status of Apprentice Witch and is sent off to serve the community of a sleepy town called Lull, in disgrace.

On her bus journey to her new home, she meets Salle Bowen and they become fast friends, which Arianwyn needs as she doesn’t know anyone in Lull.  Before leaving, she chooses a book from her grandmother’s bookshop titled “The Apprentice Witch’s Handbook”, which offers Arianwyn some comfort.  She is uncertain of her future but determined to prove that she is worthy of being a witch.

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Arianwyn soon discovers that there are lots of strange and magical things lurking in the shadows of the Great Wood forest near the town.  Things aren’t going smoothly for Arianwyn.  The more she tries to help families rid themselves of magical pests like snotlings, the more trouble she seems to get into when things go horribly wrong.

Nightmares of dark and evil magic and the arrival of her old school bully and rival, Gimma, throws Arianwyn’s world into turmoil as they are assigned to work together.  Unbeknownst to everyone around her, Arianwyn is struggling to contain a mysterious magic inside her.  Will she manage to contain it or will it wreak havoc on this small town?

The Apprentice Witch is a real coming of age story, with strong themes of friendship and courage, and characters you can’t help but love!  Arianwyn will weave her magical powers over you and capture your heart.  Even the premise that there are four cardinal glyphs used by witches when they create spells is totally believable.  It is as if James is allowing us a glimpse into a world we haven’t yet discovered as all the details seem so authentic.

I love the fact that the heroine in this story, Arianwyn, is filled with human flaws but is incredibly brave and overcomes her lack of confidence in herself to save the town.

James has assembled a great cast of characters from the bumbling mayor Josiah Belcher, to the mean and spiteful Gimma and the strong matriarchal figure of her grandmother. It is a tale of friendship, bravery and the power of self-belief.  This is a delightful and entertaining story, which I’m sure that you will enjoy as much as I have.

This captivating book is worthy of 

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The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House Hydra for allowing me to read and review this ARC.  This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

Let me somnabulist psychic thiefstart by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It’s definitely reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes mystery and it delivers the atmosphere of Victorian England set in London in 1893.

The tale concerns a duo of investigative detectives, Jasper Jesperson and Aphrodite ‘Di’ Lane.

Miss Lane works with her companion of four years, Gabrielle Fox, for the SPR (Society for Psychical Research).  She discovers that they are engaging in fraud.  Shocked by this, Miss Lane abruptly departs for London, to look for work and lodgings as she is without funds to support herself.  She unexpectedly comes across an advertisement for an assistant detective in a shop window and applies.  Miss Lane meets Jasper and is hired on the spot.

Jasper (very much like Sherlock Holmes) is an highly intelligent lateral thinker with a wide array of interesting skills at his disposal.  As a contrast, Miss Lane is a more logical, rational person with a strong fascination for anything psychic related.

 

Since they need to obtain some well-funded cases, Miss Lane reluctantly writes to all her previous contacts telling them of her change in career and recommending Jasper and herself for any investigations they may require.

They soon find themselves with a number of separate cases, which strangely turn out to be linked.

One of the cases is to determine why Mr Creevy, a happily married man, has suddenly resumed sleepwalking.

Lord Bennington, a previous acquaintance of Miss Lane, invites them to a private seance by a Mr Chase, a reportedly powerful psychic from America.  The duo discover that a number of mediums have recently vanished, including Hilda Jessop.

The pair investigates only to find that this is related to Mr Creevy’s sleepwalking in a very interesting and mysterious way.  Miss Lane herself becomes the target of a ruthless, dangerous and powerful force and is kidnapped.  What is their fate?  Will Jesperson get to the bottom of the mystery?

The language of the story is directly in keeping with the Victorian era and lends itself well to the mystery woven in this tale.  The atmosphere and characters are interesting and well written.  The story caught and held my interest from beginning to end.  I particularly enjoyed the psychic twist to the tale.  Even the fog played its role in lending itself to creating the mysterious and slightly frightening atmosphere experienced by some of the characters.

I hope that this is the first book of a series as I would definitely like to read more about these detectives and their interesting cases.

This book deserves a fascinating

 

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