Dangerous To Know by K.T. Davies

Dangerous To Know (The Chronicles of Breed #1)Dangerous To Know by K.T. Davies

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“That humans lavished such wealth on the dead while beggars huddled in doorways said more about their contrary nature than anything. No poem, song, or tale could better sum them up than follies such as this.”

Breed is a sucker for trouble. After narrowly avoiding death by dragon, he stumbles upon a cave where he is tricked by a demon into making a deal; finding The Hammer of the North’s hammer, in one year and a day, or else. Along his travels, he finds himself bound to servitude by a priest/sorcerer, being followed around by a beggar named ‘Tosspot’, and making friends with an eleven year old girl who looks like a rat. As they accompany him to help the priest, Breed has to come up with a plan to outwit everyone and get the hammer before the demon comes to collect his debt. Or, y’know, improvise everything and hope for the best.

Dangerous To Know was described to me as a cross between Deadpool and Game of Thrones. That promise was delivered. Written with a consistent sarcastic wit, amidst multitudes of cursing, and the turf wars, the first instalment of The Chronicles of Breed series definitely had aspects of each franchises.

However, I can’t say I enjoyed it, I think that that’s because of my particular taste, rather than it being a bad book. But personally, I couldn’t warm to any of the characters in the book, this includes Breed; the protagonist. I felt like the characters lacked depth, and were there merely for the convenience, rather than bringing anything new to the story.

The book seemed to rely more on its sardonic narration, rather than elaborating on any details in-depth that might have helped to imagine the scene a little better. For some reason, it seemed to take me an age to get through it, and I thought that the ending to such a long-winded fantasy book was a little anti-climactic. In all; a promising beginning, a length middle, and a disappointing ending.

View all my reviews

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins | A Review

Into the WaterInto the Water by Paula Hawkins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“Yes, it is. It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”

Jules and Nel are sisters, and after years of not speaking to each other, Jules gets a call that Nel is dead. Jules has to go back to Beckford, the place she escaped, to look after Lena, Nel’s troubled and difficult fifteen year old daughter. Everyone is saying that Nel committed suicide, but when things don’t add up, and lies that have been told for many, many years start to fracture and disintegrate; the truth about Nel, and other women that have committed suicide at the local ‘Drowning Pool’ starts to come out.

I found this book hard to read. It was extremely slow, and I didn’t warm to any of the characters within the story; and my gosh, there are plenty. The story is told from no less than ten perspectives – all extremely unreliable – this is just the ‘current time’ perspective, not taking into account the chapters scattered throughout the stories dedicated to the past dead women who also had drowned. And Nel’s manuscript told from her own point of view. Personally, I felt that it made the pace of the story too prolonged to be fully appreciated for its plot. I think that it would have been better read without the added narrations of side characters like Mark, Nickie, Josh, Helen and Patrick.

The story also changes from third person to first with every correlating character. To be honest, I didn’t really mind that because I guess it helped to differentiate between who was meant to be the main focus; I truly think that in this case, it kind of worked, whereas normally I would hate it because it would be too chaotic for me to immerse myself in.

Into the Water is described as Paula Hawkins second stand alone thriller. I think they need to revise this as I was less full of suspense and more hankering to get to the bottom of the actual plot. It rings true as a pure mystery novel to me, full of fickle characters, and plenty of twists in the story to keep the reader mildly entertained.

View all my reviews

Enchantress by James Maxwell | A Review

Enchantress (Evermen Saga, #1)Enchantress by James Maxwell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I honestly found this so difficult to rate. I think overall it’s 2.5, although some parts of the book are a 3/3.5.

In this first instalment of the Evermen Saga, we follow two orphans, Ella and Miro. Ella is following her dream of becoming an Enchantress, by attending the Academy of Enchanters where she will learn the ‘lore’ that is native to her ‘house’, Altura. Miro, on the other hand, dreams of becoming one of the best swordsman; a bladesinger. But with the threat of war hanging over their heads, they each determine actions that will not only save their homeland, but the world.

Less epic; more extremely frustrating.

Firstly, there seems to be a lot of plot fodder, Saryah, the wolf woman, for example, sincerely unnecessary, raises more questions than it answers, and I’m sure a few templar guards would have sufficed in doing the same thing without introducing more complex characters into the story.

I disappointedly found that although the world that James Maxwell was building seemed of good substance, there wasn’t much explanation behind any of it for the readers, this left me a bit at odds when I would return to the book after a break and be confused about what I was reading about because I had lost the focus and my train of thoughts. I think a complex world needs simple explanations so the reader is more easily able to store all the information provided to us by the novel without getting a concentration headache.

Another gripe I had was the main character, Ella. She is described as someone who is incredibly smart and resourceful. And then her actions would be so contradictory and stupid it was sometimes a little beyond comprehension, or reasonable thought. (view spoiler) It was frustrating because if it wasn’t for instances like that, she would have been the one that I would be most emotionally invested in.

I generally found Miro bland and uninteresting. It was the same thing with him over and over again. The only time I found him remotely interesting was when he was having sex with someone. Other than that, he was devoid of any emotion, and did not engage me in the slightest.

Overall though, the storyline and premise is intriguing, the imagination that is put into it is something to be massively appreciated. I did find myself at some points enjoying the magical world, system and beings that Maxwell had created. It’s such a shame that it wasn’t my cup of tea and I could not connect.

View all my reviews

The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar | A Review

The Mermaid and Mrs. HancockThe Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“’A fool to seek beyond your place,’ she says. ‘Ambition is a dangerous thing.’
‘We all must die one day. I ought not to leave the world just as I found it.’”

Set in the 1780s in Georgian London, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, is the tale of two unlikely souls that find themselves unexpectedly interwebbing with one another. Jonah Hancock, a lonely merchant widow, is surprised by Tysoe Jones, the Captain of his trade ship, Calliope. When Jones comes back to London with a mermaid – albeit not the beautiful version we all have painted in our heads – but an infant mermaid; who is grotesque, and dead, Hancock finds himself as the new owner of the creature and sets about trying to recoup his lost fortunes with displaying it for the public. Thus finding himself catching the eye of Mrs Chappell, a procuress with a certain dealing of fine girls, who makes it her business to be a step above the competition.

During Hancock’s story unravelling, we are also introduces to Angelica Neal, a courtesan who was once under Mrs Chappell’s wing, but now finds herself wanting a free, independent life. (Or as independent as a courtesan can be in the 18th century). Although, Angelica is obliged to Mrs Chappell to appear at her establishment whenever it pleases the procuress. Angelica is tasked with looking after Hancock during a party, and from there we see their individual stories entwine.

Wow, what can I say. Even though the title of this book alludes to some fantastical writings, I was surprised at how grounded and realistic this debut was. Everything was told in such exquisite detail it was hard not to get wrapped up in this atmospheric book and come out speaking in Old(er) English, to which my partner so eloquently replied, “why are you speaking so weird for?”

The characters in this novel are told in such a way that it is quite difficult to believe they are only fiction; even the peripheral characters were given well thought out personalities and descriptions so each character I came across set a series of emotions running throughout me and I found myself becoming emotionally invested in not just the protagonists of the novel, but pretty much everyone.

The prose is written so elegantly that it is no wonder this debut was on the longlist for The Women’s Prize award. The magical realism within this novel is a level above any I have ever read before and the conversations that take place in the book are witty, clever and immersive to such an extent that for me personally, it brings Historical Fiction into a whole new focus.

View all my reviews

Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding by Robert Bryndza | A review

Coco Pinchard's Big Fat Tipsy Wedding (Coco Pinchard, #2)Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding by Robert Bryndza

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I was married to Daniel for twenty years and, at the end, we were just flatulent and irritable with one another.”

We find ourselves back with Coco Pinchard, who is now officially over her ex-husband, and is moving forward with her boyfriend Adam who is moving in. The day before Adam moves in, Coco spends it at his flat, and her heart is broken when she comes downstairs and finds a note off Adam telling her that he wants to end the relationship. No further explanation. We follow Coco as she once again goes through a relationship breakdown, and discovers some shocking truths in the meantime.

I usually find myself disappointed by sequels but I honestly think Big Fat Tipsy Wedding is on par with the first book of the series. It’s incredibly witty, with almost the same charming characters that appear in the first one. Such an easy read, full of humour and real feel-sorry-for-fictional-character moments. The storyline manages to be fun, fresh and tense at the same time which unfortunately for me is the perfect cocktail for a reading all nighter (and being late for work the next morning).

Coco Pinchard is very Bridget Jones-esque, I thought that whilst reading the first book, but it starts to really show in this book of the series. Although I think Coco is more witty than full of romanticism like Bridget Jones.

View all my reviews

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling | A Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original ScreenplayFantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did the backwards-reader-thing where I actually saw the film before reading the book (or original screenplay as it were).

Set 70 years pre-Potter, Newt Scamander is a magizoologist travelling the world learning and helping fantastic beasts. His journey takes him to America where he meets Jacob Kowalski and leads to Newt’s suitcase – which contains all of his magical beasts – being opened and let loose in New York.

Newt Scamander is such a likeable character and in each the film and book I was lost in his passion for magical beasts. Low key need a niffler in my life.

And as always, J.K. Rowling’s imagination seems to have no limits, the expansion of her Wizarding World is a great welcome to me as the Harry Potter series is literally my favourite ever.

There is a bit more detail in the screenplay that you wouldn’t necessarily notice when watching the movie, I won’t get into specifics but on that basis I do recommend reading this.

View all my reviews

Secrets For The Mad by Dodie | A Review

Secrets for the MadSecrets for the Mad by Dodie Clark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would normally never consider buying a Youtuber memoir style book but the cover and the synopsis drew me in to give it a chance.

I’ll be honest, I had absolutely no idea who Dodie was when I first started reading her book, but after literally one youtube search containing thousands upon thousands of hits, I learnt that she is an acoustic singer, with a genuinely beautiful voice and many original songs. I listened to a few of her songs, and read her book, and listened some more, and read some more; and I thought that I understood the raw emotion behind her songs and her lyric choices.

I feel sincerely awkward rating this book, I feel like it’s not on the shelves for the purpose of entertainment; it’s more for awareness, and understanding, and the trials and tribulations that Dodie brings to life in her memoir are personal ones that shouldn’t really be subjected to others personal opinions.

Dodie’s writing style is lyrical, the layout of the book is beautiful, with gorgeous illustrations scattered throughout the pages, I didn’t enjoy reading this memoir, but I began to feel better about myself which I imagine is the true aim of this book. For that reason I have given it a 4/5.

View all my reviews