Book Haul 2019

I bought a few books and received a few from publishers this year so I made a small book haul on my YouTube channel.

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The Spider Dance Book Review + Blog Tour

The War in the Dark and The Spider Dance by Nick Setchfield were sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

SPOILER FREE

 

The War in the Dark Book Review

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This genre bending series starts with The War in the Dark. In this series you follow Christopher Winter in 1960’s Europe. Where Russian spies are real and there’s something lurking in the shadows that is just a bit more sinister. When I read the synopsis of this book, I was instantly intrigued. It had a Da Vinci Code feeling to it with a dash of magic.

 

When you start reading you are instantly thrown into the action. It opens with Christopher Winter– or Winter as he is known throughout the book— confronted with a traitor who was handing over state secrets to the enemy. This is where the action kicks off.

 

I enjoyed this book, but I found that for a book that held so much potential with how the plot is described it fell a little flat for me. My main issue was with the characters. Even though every single one is supposed to have these different attributes and big personalities they all just felt like bland cardboard cut outs reading lines from a cue card. I did not really care what happened to Winter and he’s the main character.

 

In the last maybe 20% of the book it gets interesting and pushed me to want to read the next book because the plot twist is pretty intriguing. I do believe the author had this HUGE idea in his head for this book and didn’t spend enough time figuring out where to take it and how to bring it to life.

 

I gave this one 3 out 5 metal horns.

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The Spider Dance Book Review

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I don’t exactly know where to begin with this review because anything that goes too much into detail will be a hardcore spoiler for the first book, and I definitely don’t want to do that to anyone because I hate when it is done to me.

 

What I can say is that The Spider Dance was a lot more enjoyable than The War in the Dark. I feel like the characters were all a little more fleshed out. We start to learn a lot more about Christopher Winter’s past and how he got to where he is at the moment in the story.

 

We also get to witness a lot more of the supernatural/fantasy aspects of this story in The Spider Dance which explains why I found it a lot more enjoyable. While we spent a lot of time in the first book wondering about Winter’s past, in this one we start to see a bit more of who he was, and that in itself is a magical element in the book.

 

I think the thing that was missing in these books was maybe it needed a slight touch of humor somewhere, but you won’t really find that.

 

As a whole I would rate this series 4 out of 5 Metal Horns, I do believe it’s not a series for everyone though.

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YOU CAN WIN A COPY OF THE SPIDER DANCE! OPEN TO UK/IRELAND RESIDENTS ONLY! FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER TO FIND OUT THE DETAILS!! 

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The Girl in Red – Book Review

This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warning for this novel: Violence. Mentions of Rape & Assault.

The Girl in Red by Christina Henry is a Post-Apocalyptic Little Red Riding Hood retelling that may not have wolves but has a lot of men who act worse than wild animals.

A disease has taken out a large part of the population and the main character who goes by the name Red is trying to get all the way to her grandma’s house which is hundreds of miles away. She has to travel a brand new world where humanity’s ugliness has taken center stage. While a lot of people have gathered at quarantine centers, Red wants to hit the road.

This isn’t anything like the Young Adult fairy tale retellings that I have read in the past year, this book is dark, violent, and hits you right in the part of your brain that will strike fear into your whole body.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. I didn’t know what to expect going in because I was feeling just a little burnt out on the fairy tale retellings, but this is a complete reimagining. The main character Red has a prosthetic leg from an accident she had at a young age. She is tough, smart, and most of all tries to be as logical as possible in this strange new world.

All she wants is to get to grandma’s house. All she wants is to survive and she will do absolutely anything to make it happen.

The book goes back and forth between her present situation and the past when the outbreak of the disease occurred. I think at first there was something about the writing that was throwing me off a bit but towards the middle and the end I had a hard time putting this book down.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fresh take on the retelling.

The Girl in Red gets four out of five Metal horns from me!

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Magic for Liars – Book Review

Any time there’s some element of magic involved in a story, it typically catches my attention.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey popped up on my radar while watching a book tube video. I had not heard a single murmur about it before this, and I instantly wanted to read it. So I did!

Magic for Liars Summary

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

Magic for Liars Review

I loved this book!

It had a murder mystery, it had magic, and it had the right amount of humor sprinkled in. I really loved the main character of Ivy. She’s pretty flawed, and the way Sarah Gailey wrote her, she felt so real to me. I wanted to be her friend, and her assistant in this case.

Don’t go into this thinking you’re getting some adult Harry Potter with murder. While the magic is there, the murder mystery and the characters are at the forefront of this novel. We don’t get great explanations as to how the magic system works in this world, and we don’t get to know much about the magical events until the end.

While I enjoyed the story, I called the ending right from when Ivy reaches the school.

That didn’t ruin my enjoyment of this novel AT ALL. I have been struggling for weeks to find a book that would really capture my attention and this did the trick.

I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, quick, and slightly magical read.

It did lose a star for the predictability of it, I still loved it very much!

This gets four out of five metal horns from me!

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Daisy Jones and the Six – Book Review

**This book was sent to me by Penguin Random House in Exchange for an honest review** 

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This was one of my most anticipated reads for 2019. I was nervous going in and came out loving this author more than ever.

I will start this off by saying if you’re expecting another Evelyn Hugo, this isn’t for you. Also, in my opinion, that would be boring. We already have an Evelyn Hugo, we needed a Daisy Jones this time around. This book is gritty, it is unapologetic in the story it is telling, and it deals with some hard-hitting topics.

In Daisy Jones and the Six, you are following a bunch of musicians from a popular 70’s band, but the book is written in interviews. The format may throw some people off, but I loved it. As a teenager, I had this crazy obsession with Jim Morrison and The Doors, and this book just heavily reminded me of that time in my life. I love music, especially rock music, and this whirlwind look into the story of this fictional band was exactly my cup of tea. In fact, it’s my cup of coffee, cuz I prefer that to tea.

Daisy Jones is this overly priveliged rich girl whose parents don’t really care about her comings and goings. This pushes her into the crazy world of the LA rock scene at a very young age. When Daisy Jones finally comes together with The Six everyone is dealing with some serious issues mostly with drug and alcohol addiction (HUGE TRIGGER WARNING FOR THAT)

I loved this story. The dynamic between Billy and Daisy is great. It’s just something you’re expecting to get from two attractive popular musicians at that time. While this is done in interviews some of the secondary characters felt a little one dimensional to me, but Billy, Daisy, Karen, and Camila are THE BEST. I mean they have questionable morals I guess, and do some crazy shit, but I love how they pop off the page. At some points, I completely forgot this was a fictional story.

One of my favorite quotes from Daisy was this:

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. 
I am not a muse. 
I am the somebody. 
End of fucking story.” 

And that’s Daisy in a nutshell.

Daisy Jones and the Six is out now!!

I Loved this book and it gets 5 out of 5 metalhorns from me.

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Top Ten Books of 2018!

It’s difficult to narrow down 122 books into a top ten list, but I have managed it. It took me a couple of days to figure it out, but what you see here are the ten books that captured my heart and soul. There’s a little something of everything in this list, and I hope some of these books land on your 2019 TBR piles!

Starting from number 10…

10. Nevermoor 

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This is a middle grade novel, but one that seems to grab the imagination and make you want to jump into as much middle grade fantasy as possible. Sure it’s aimed for children, but who says adults can’t enjoy them as well?

You follow a young girl named Morrigan Crow. This little girl is cursed, and this curse means she will die at midnight of her 11th birthday. Then she gets rescued by Jupiter North who takes her to a magical place called Nevermoor. There she must compete in 4 trials to join the Wundrous Society.

This book gave me Harry Potter feels, and not because of any blatant copying like many other middle grade novels have tried in the past but because the author has created a magical world where kids (of all ages) can escape to.

9. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

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This was soul crushing on so many levels but I wish more people knew of Henrietta’s story. This is a true story about a black woman who died in 1951 of Cancer and how doctors and researchers have used her cells in Cancer research. You also get a glimpse into the poor family’s life situation, and how it profoundly impacted their misunderstandings of what was happening with Henrietta’s cells. The doctors were extremely irresponsible and while the HeLa cells have become important in the science community, the way they came to be is extremely hard to learn about, but also very important.

8. The Extinction Trials

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The reason this book caught my attention was the little sticker that said “The Hunger Games meets Jurassic Park” I was instantly sold. I can’t sit here and say the book has the best writing, but you have to suspend your belief of the world for a bit and just dive into the story. Both this one and the second one in the series are extremely fun to read. It is exactly what they say in the sticker. You are thrown into a world where dinosaurs exist and teenagers are questioning the reasoning behind adults’ decisions. I enjoy this series and I am looking forward to reading the third book.

7. Only Human

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Only Human is the third and final book (I believe) in the Themis Files series. The series starts with Sleeping Giants. In Sleeping Giants you follow Rose. When she was a little girl riding her bike around her house she falls into a hole, when emergency personnel show up, they realize she’s laying on a giant metal hand. In the story you follow her into adulthood as she becomes one of the main researchers trying to figure out where the hand came from, and what more is there to this mysterious item. This series made me fall in love with science fiction, and I just can’t get enough of it. If you love sci-fi then please check it out.

6. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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This was a crazy and wonderful ride of a book. I don’t want to give too much detail because I went into it completely blind and I think it helped make this book one of the best I’ve read all year. Basically you follow the character of Evelyn Hugo who was a well known and loved Hollywood actress as she tells her life story to a journalist that SHE chose. She would ONLY tell her life story to this girl, and what a story it is.

5. Notes on a Nervous Planet

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This is another non-fiction book that I really loved. It delves into how we can stay sane in a world that’s always online and screaming into the void. There are some really beautiful things that Matt Haig says, many of which were eye opening for me. Although I do think he should reflect a bit more because I actually had to stop following him on social media. He spends a lot of time on twitter just yelling about things and at people, and that is counter productive to what he talks about in his very own book.

4. The Last Magician

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The Last Magician was a book I finished recently. I really enjoyed the magic in it, and the elements of time travel. It’s like someone mashed together bits of Harry Potter and Doctor Who and this book came out. The characters were amazing, the plot was fun, and the ending completely took me by surprise. If you are looking for a fun magical YA, then this book should be on your list.

3. The Collapsing Empire

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I was never big on Science Fiction books, but the Themis files changed that, and so I started to pick up more and more Sci-fi. The Collapsing Empire tells a story about a new world called The interdependency. People use what is called the flow to move from place to place and travel faster than the speed of light, but it seems like the flow might be changing, and with it the entire way humans have built their lives. I loved the way John Scalzi didn’t try to make this an overly complicated story, and somehow it still gripped me from start to finish.

2. The Cruel Prince

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This was a surprising read for me. The only book I ever read from Holly Black was the one she wrote with Cassandra Clare (my absolute least favorite writer of all time) and that book was such a blatant rip off of Harry Potter, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from The Cruel Prince. But I ended up really enjoying the book. You follow Jude who’s parents were murdered right before her eyes when she was 7, and the killer took her and her sisters to his fairy world. Maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking, “Please no, not another fairy book” but this book was just fun to read. Some characters are complete dicks, others are complete morons, but I enjoyed following their mistakes and adventures.

1. Traitor’s Blade 

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The Traitor’s Blade is the first book in the Greatcoats series and while I typically take FOREVER to finish a series, I actually read every book in this one. One after the other! This is a fantasy novel just feels like a warm hug on a cold night. Which is strange to say because there is quite a lot of violence. The thing is, the main characters Falcio, Kest, and Brasti might be some of the best fantasy characters ever written. Their humor is amazing, and their friendship makes this series what it is. I kind of want to reread all four books again in 2019, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that one day we will get more books written in this world. If you’re tired of waiting for George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss to release their books then give the Greatcoats series a try!

 

So those are my top ten books of 2018 and I can’t wait to read more in 2019!! What are some of your favorite books of this year?

 

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo – Book Review

 

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

ISBN: 0525511946

Published in Paperback on: July 2, 2018

Length: 288 Pages


Thank you to Penguin Random House International for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacts my opinion. 

In this spellbinding novel, a young man journeys from California to Cairo to unravel centuries-old family secrets.

Joseph, a literature student at Berkeley, is the son of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father. One day, a mysterious package arrives on his doorstep, pulling him into a mesmerizing adventure to uncover the tangled history that binds the two sides of his family. For generations, the men of the al-Raqb family have served as watchmen of the storied Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo, built at the site where the infant Moses was taken from the Nile. Joseph learns of his ancestor Ali, a Muslim orphan who nearly a thousand years earlier was entrusted as the first watchman of the synagogue and became enchanted by its legendary–perhaps magical–Ezra Scroll. The story of Joseph’s family is entwined with that of the British twin sisters Agnes and Margaret, who in 1897 depart their hallowed Cambridge halls on a mission to rescue sacred texts that have begun to disappear from the synagogue.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo is a moving page-turner of a novel from acclaimed storyteller Michael David Lukas. This tightly woven multigenerational tale illuminates the tensions that have torn communities apart and the unlikely forces–potent magic, forbidden love–that boldly attempt to bridge that divide.


My Thoughts: This book was beyond beautiful. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but at the end I came out feeling like something was added within my heart. The story is told from three different points of view, and they’re somewhat loosely related to one another, you discover in the end how it all ties together nicely.

Out of the three points of view my least favourite was actually Joseph. It felt like he was holding everything and everyone an arms length away, and because this is how he comes across, it was hard to connect to him. I really loved Ali’s point of view. It was engaging and beautiful. His was the story that really grabbed me and made me fall in love with the story and setting.

This book is beautiful but it also feels a bit rushed. An idea of this nature feels like it should be really fleshed out, and it really could have been. Maybe then I would have liked Joseph and the sisters points of view a little more. The writing was lovely, but again missing just a little spark to really hook the reader.

I would still recommend this book to any historical fiction lovers. It’s now available in paperback internationally.

I gave this four out of five metal horns!

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