Wednesday 15 February 2017

Waiting On Wednesday #178 - Dream Magic

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine and currently doesn't seem to have a home...

This week's choice is -

Dream Magic (Shadow Magic #2) - Joshua Khan
ISBN - 9781484737620
Publisher - Disney-Hyperion
Release date - April 11th, 2017
Find - Goodreads 

Things are dire for the inhabitants of Castle Gloom and the surrounding villages. The undead are leaving their graves in droves, a troll army is on the march from the north, and people are mysteriously disappearing from their homes. The people of Gehenna are blaming their misfortunes on Lilith Shadow, their young queen. They believe she has cursed them by using magic, a practice forbidden to women. With her trusty executioner among the missing and her blackguard soldiers busy battling trolls, it is up to Lily and her friend Thorn to root out the real cause of all the trouble. Their search will uncover ugly truths and eventually lead to a nightmarish confrontation with nothing less than the rulership of the realm at stake. Zombies, ghosts, trolls, dream weavers, a black-hearted villain, and a giant hero bat are only some of the imaginative delights that await readers who relish a soaring adventure combined with a hair-raising mystery.

I absolutely adored Shadow Magic last year so can't wait to get my hands on this. Giant bats, feisty princesses and magic in one great adventure!

Monday 13 February 2017

The Everything Machine - Ally Kennen

Three kids let loose with a top-secret magical machine with a mind of its own... What could possibly go wrong?

Olly, Stevie, and Bird have just had a very special delivery. It's a machine that has a name, can speak and is able to print ANYTHING they want it to. How about a never-ending supply of sweets and a cool swimming pool in the shed, for starters?

But is getting everything you've ever wished for all it's cracked up to be?

If a government funded and built magical machine with the ability to make just about anything you desired landed in your lap, what would you as it to make? This is the dilemma the Fugue children face when, instead of a rabbit hutch for the yet-to-be-bought rabbits that Olly ordered from that auction site, an extremely expensive and top secret machine named Russell is delivered to the house.  

Bird, Olly, and Stevie are soon up to their necks in trouble fending off things like robots and rogue drones, all while looking after their baby sister and making sure their mum isn't too sad after their dad suddenly left them.

The Everything Machine is a rip-roaring, hilarious ride from start to finish, side-splittingly funny on one page and sad on the next, with all the siblings desperately missing their father while still trying to cope with school, homework, football practice and Mum's big pant business. The relationship between them is so wonderfully written, a pesky big sister trying to boss them around but still looking out for them and Stevie & Olly's rough-housing is fun, sometimes a bit vicious but never mean.

With common themes such as Stevie's addiction to an online game that everybody in the world seems to play through to children coping with their parent's separation The Everything Machine is a great read with some of the best characters I've read this year. This is the first time I've read anything by Ally Kennen but it certainly won't be the last.

The Everything Machine - Ally Kennen
Publisher - Scholastic
Release date -
Find - Goodreads | Amazon UK | Book Depository

About The Author

Ally Kennen has been an archaeologist, museum guard, and singer-songwriter. Her dark and thrilling teen novels have been nominated for over eleven literary awards. She lives in Somerset with her husband and four children.

Website | Twitter


Monday 13th February

Tuesday 14th February

Wednesday 15th February

Thursday 16th February

Friday 17th February

Saturday 18th February

Sunday 19th February

Bookmarked... #29

The return of the (mostly) weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading who very kindly gave her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons... IMWAYR is now hosted by the lovely Kathryn at Book Date.

It's been a traumatic week, one that I shan't go into detail about but suffice to say if I hated hospitals, needles, and IV infusions before I really hate them now. I am so sure I read more than the books I've listed but my brain is on holiday thanks to all the stress and my reading journal is completely messed up!


Connie Carew & The House Of Eyes
Into The Trees
The White Tower
The Witches Of Cambridge

Currently Reading

The Dragon's Path
Hekla's Children
The Spirit Rebellion

Up Next

Sunday 12 February 2017

February New Release Giveaway

Welcome to the February 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on February 28th, 2017. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here

All you have to do is choose any new release published in February and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Friday 10 February 2017

Five Favourite Authors - Chris Lloyd

Welcome to my stop on the tour for the third book in Chris Lloyd's fantastic Elisenda Domenech series, set in Girona, Spain. Here's Chris talking about his 5 favorite writers, most of whom would be on my list too!

Five Favourite Authors

Right, I’m really going to cheat here, but you can trust me, I’m a crime writer. It’s incredibly difficult to reduce my favourite writers to just five, so I’m going to list just my favourite crime writers… which is still nearly impossible. That means I won’t be mentioning non-crime writers that I love, such as Jonathan Coe and his beautifully crafted and structured stories of modern life, or even Hunter S Thompson and that incredible flow-of-conscious gonzo writing he pioneered. Neither will I be mentioning the imaginative brilliance of Douglas Adams or the charming grace of Nina George. Not even Ben Elton’s hauntingly powerful recent books or the extraordinarily atmospheric writing of Jessie Burton. And I certainly won’t say a thing about my love for the delightful silliness of PG Wodehouse.

Instead, I’ll just be talking in no particular order about the following crime writers who I admire and who have inspired me. (I also think I might just have got away with my little cheat.)

1. I love intelligent novels that look at World War Two from another angle. And when you can weave a strong and addictive crime story into that with a remarkable attention to detail, and then round it off with one of the most charismatic protagonists in crime literature, then you’ve got me hooked. I’m a huge fan of Philip Kerr’s stories set in Berlin (and often further afield) in the years before, during and after WWII. His hero, Bernie Gunther, a German police detective forced into service in the SD, is a snappy, wisecracking detective who has to take on dirty jobs for even dirtier employers but still manages to hold onto some semblance of honour. Each book masterfully brings in true events and real characters into the story, often relatively little known moments from history, and places Bernie at the centre of the moral dilemmas they create.

2. With still only three novels under her belt, Attica Locke is my favourite American crime writer. Like all good crime writing, her books have so much to say on the human condition and on issues that need to be said – another case of fiction being the best way to comment on reality. Her first and third books are related and are set in the same African-American community. Both have a wonderful blend of gripping political/legal thriller with tremendously insightful social observations. Her second book, The Cutting Season, is set on an old southern states plantation that has been turned into a living museum. Against a highly menacing and atmospheric backdrop, the modern-day protagonist has to solve a riddle that is an echo of the era of slavery that the museum commemorates. The author’s comment at the end of the book on her inspiration for the story is an extraordinarily powerful piece of writing.

3. If we’re talking about crime writing that has something to say about the human condition, Val McDermid is supreme. If you only ever read one crime book, make sure it’s The Wire in the Blood. The only problem is that that becomes a self-unfulfilling prophecy as it would be impossible not to want to devour every single book she writes once you’ve read it and got the taste. Her intelligent and lyrical writing really lull you into a false sense of security before the brutality of the stories – they’re not for the squeamish, but they tell such a powerful tale, with such a strong message, that you learn to ride with it. And as a central character, profiler Tony Hill is fascinating, often as obsessed and disturbing as the criminals he’s seeking.

4. Like so many people, I’ve been completely bowled over by Nordic noir. The problem is there are so many superb writers, I’m struggling to bring it down to just one of my five. Also, as a translator, I feel I ought to include at least one author that I read in translation. So in the end, I’ve chosen Arnaldur Indridason, in the excellent translations from Icelandic by Bernard Scudder. There are many other great writer/translator teams I could have mentioned, but I think Indridason just about pips it. Again, it’s a powerful central character that does it for me – the lonely and rather gloomy Detective Erlendur is a thoroughly engaging protagonist – but in many ways, it’s the setting that I find even more of a draw. An island like Iceland, remote from my experience, distant, isolated, makes for the perfect locked-room mystery, and Indridason really conveys the bitter cold and beautiful desolation, always with a compelling story. One of the joys of reading books set in other cultures is learning about an unfamiliar world, and I always feel I finish an Erlendur book having had a door on another way of life opened for me.

5. One of the hardest things is to infuse a crime book with humour but still make sure that the story is strong and compelling and the characters realistic and engaging. One writer who I think really pulls this off to perfection is Stuart MacBride with his Logan McRae series set in Aberdeen. The stories are hard-hitting and sometimes grisly, but there’s exactly the right amount of humour in them – usually gallows humour – to act as a breather when you need it most. McRae’s boss, the sarky and intimidating DI Steel with her gloriously unapologetic comments, is one of the great comic creations. It’s quite some gift to be able to combine a genuinely puzzling and intriguing plot with a cast of characters who are in turn both funny and real.

Lastly, thank you Fi for hosting me on Bookish Outsider today.

About the book

When a child disappears, the clock starts ticking.

Detective Elisenda Domènech has had a tough few years. The loss of her daughter and a team member; the constant battles against colleagues and judges; the harrowing murder investigations… But it’s about to get much worse.

When the son of a controversial local politician goes missing at election time, Elisenda is put on the case. They simply must solve it. Only the team also have to deal with a spate of horrifically violent break-ins. People are being brutalised in their own homes and the public demands answers.

Could there be a connection? Why is nobody giving a straight answer? And where is Elisenda’s key informant, apparently vanished off the face of the earth? With the body count threatening to increase and her place in the force on the line, the waters are rising…

Be careful not to drown.

City Of Drowned Souls - Chris Lloyd
Publisher - Canelo
Release date - February 6th, 2017
Find - Goodreads | Amazon UK  

About the author

Chris was born in an ambulance racing through a town he’s only returned to once and that’s probably what did it. Soon after that, when he was about two months old, he moved with his family to West Africa, which pretty much sealed his expectation that life was one big exotic setting. He later studied Spanish and French at university, and straight after graduating, he hopped on a bus from Cardiff to Catalonia where he stayed for the next twenty-four years, falling in love with the people, the country, the language and Barcelona Football Club, probably in that order. Besides Catalonia, he’s also lived in Grenoble, the Basque Country and Madrid, teaching English, travel writing for Rough Guides and translating. He now lives in South Wales, where he works as a writer and a Catalan and Spanish translator, returning to Catalonia as often as he can.

He writes the Elisenda Domènech series, featuring a police officer with the newly-devolved Catalan police force in the beautiful city of Girona. The third book in the series, City of Drowned Souls, is published on 6 February 2017.

Website | Twitter 

Monday 6th February

Tuesday 7th February

Wednesday 8th February

Thursday 9th February

Friday 10th February

Saturday 11th February

Sunday 12th February

Monday 13th February

Tuesday 14th February

Wednesday 15th February

Thursday 16th February

Friday 17th February

Saturday 18th February

Sunday 19th February

Monday 6 February 2017

Bookmarked... #28

The return of the (mostly) weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading (now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date) and I have her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons...

I'm slowly getting out of the habit of picking up all the shiny new pretties as soon as I get them and instead, I'm reaching to the back of my bookshelves and starting to read more of my poor books that have been languishing for years! #ShelfLove is going quite well so far but it does mean there will probably be quite an eclectic mix of books over the coming weeks and months. Here's what I've been reading over the last couple of weeks.


The Breakdown - B A Paris
Breaker - Kat Ellis
Hacked - Tracy Alexander
Killing Me Softly - Nicci French
The Spirit Thief - Rachel Aaron
When Rose Wakes - Christopher Golden


The Dragon's Path - Daniel Abraham
The Spirit Rebellion - Rachel Aaron

Up Next

The White Tower - Cathryn Constable
Wintersong - S Jae-Jones

Saturday 4 February 2017

Book Haul #132 - Library Edition

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

Welcome to the monthly library edition of Stacking The Shelves! Here's what I grabbed from the shelves this month, two of which have been on my wishlist for a while...

A Summer Of Drowning - John Burnside
Broken Heart - Tim Weaver
Death In Profile - Guy Fraser-Sampson
Embassytown - China Mieville
The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry
Running Girl - Simon Mason (on my wishlist since November 2013)
Scrappy Little Nobody - Anna Kendrick
To The Bright Edge Of The World - Eowyn Ivey (on my wishlist since January 2015)
Wednesdays In The Tower - Jessica Day-George
The White Tower - Cathryn Constable
The Witches Of Cambridge - Menna van Praag

Thursday 2 February 2017

#ShelfLove 2017 - February Check-In

Well, a whole month of 2017 has gone already and I'm really not quite sure where! Now I've had time to think about my goals for ShelfLove things should be fairly easygoing around here.


  • Read at least 15 of my own books a month - they have to have been on my shelves up to and including December 2016

  • For every 15 books read I'm allowed to buy 3 brand new books

  • For every 20 books donated to either charity or the library, I can buy 2 new books

This means I can buy up to 5 new books a month which is an extremely sensible number! I still get to buy books, I discover books I bought years ago that I really wanted to read, and I get to clear a little bit of shelf space.

Progress In January

Read - 22

Own - 11
Kindle - 2
Review - 3
Library - 7

#ShelfLove Target - 11/180

Wishlist - 2604
TBR (Still not accurate) - 1531  

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Waiting On Wednesday #177 - Lost Boy

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, was created by Jill at Breaking The Spine and currently doesn't seem to have a home...

This week's choice is -

Lost Boy - Christina Henry
ISBN - 9780399584022
Publisher - Berkley Books
Release date - July 4th, 2017

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a familiar story with a dark hook - a tale about Peter Pan and the friend who became his nemesis, a nemesis who may not be the blackhearted villain Peter says he is…

There is one version of my story that everyone knows. And then there is the truth. This is how it happened. How I went from being Peter Pan’s first - and favorite - lost boy to his greatest enemy.

Peter brought me to his island because there were no rules and no grownups to make us mind. He brought boys from the Other Place to join in the fun, but Peter's idea of fun is sharper than a pirate’s sword. Because it’s never been all fun and games on the island. Our neighbors are pirates and monsters. Our toys are knife and stick and rock - the kinds of playthings that bite.

Peter promised we would all be young and happy forever.

Both Alice and Red Queen were surprise favorites for me last year. They were dark and quite brutal in places but Christina Henry's writing brought to life a new Alice that I adored and a fantastic twist on the Mad Hatter. Given how much I loved them I cannot wait to see what she does with everybody's favorite villain with a hook, Hook...

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