Thursday, 20 October 2016


The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Title: The Hangover
Series: The Fireside Guide To ..... (Ladybird Books For Adults)
Authors: Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris
Genre: Hunour
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: 11th October 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand.

A good hangover is a complete mystery. How did this happen? Why do I feed so horrible? In this 
Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Hangover, we’ll investigate exactly how much debauchery you caused last night and what you can do for that pounding headache today. Filled with practical advice and fun facts—like how your consumption of bacon is totally justified for this morning—this guide might
 even persuade you to drink less next time, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

As I have already read a few of these, I know now, what to expect.I think this one has the potential to be highly amusing. A great chance to make me laugh!

I received an e-arc, e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The cover on this book shows a man looking rather ill, almost desperate standing on the ledge of a high rise building (perhaps his office building?) Another male seems to be attempting to talk to the man and calm him. It is quite an amusing cover when coupled with the title of the book!
So would the cover make me pick this one up in a bookstore? I can think of that many recipients that I could purchase this book for as a gift that I don't have enough fingers and toes put together to count the amount lol!
So how does the book explain a hang-over? . . .. 
"Sometimes when we drink too much, we get a hangover.
There is no cure for the hangover, but it can be treated with a cup of strong coffee and a couple of fried breakfasts" 
This description did make me really smile/grin. One of the Quotes I thought was really good from this book that I'd like to share with you (I won't share too many, you need to go buy these books for yourselves!). . . . .
"A good hangover should be a total mystery to you. How did this happen? Why do you feel so ill?"
I loved the instructions for the preparation of a hangover first aid kit. . . .and then being too drunk to find it early enough to prevent the hangover.
This anecdote actually made me tear up a little as one of my Uncles (my youngest Uncle) always spoke to his nieces/nephews when they became of drinking age and told us before going out on "a bender" (translation - drinking a lot) always have a drink of milk before going out. Then upon returning home (or where ever you are sleeping) you must drink a pint of water and take another pint of water to drink either during the night or first thing in the morning. Then you do not have a hangover . . . .and I have to say it has always worked for me. (Though admittedly I am not nor ever was a heavy drinker)
The other quote from the book I'd like to share is . . . .
"The morning after consuming alcohol you may find you are more sensitive to noise. Some people can actually "see" sounds. It is almost as if drinking gives you superpowers!"
So once again I found myself having a chuckle or two at this book. A great gift for that person or those people in the family that love to drink and hate the hangover.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was witty, and amusing read.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, it’s a fun read and I’d also recommend it as a gift book, for your friends/family who suffer hangovers or maybe a fun quirky 18th (coming to legal drinking age) birthday gift. Would I read another book in this specific series/type? Yes, please I’m going to be writing a list of the ones I’d like to read. Would I want to read other titles by Jason Hazeley and/or Joel Morris? I have been taking a look at some of their other books, and I do intend to purchase a few for my own book shelves, though I’ll have to narrow down my list as there are so many great sounding ones. I do love this type of witty book to read.

Witty, sarcastic, amusing read!

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


In 2015, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut, SIGNAL TO NOISE, jump started her writing career as one of the best of the year on seven lists including RT, BookRiot, Buzzfeed, io9, Vice, and The debut was also was finalist for the 2016
Aurora Awards, Sunburst Award, and the 2016 Locus Awards. Already highly anticipated, her sophomore book, CERTAIN DARK THINGS (Thomas Dunne Books; October 25, 2016), adds to this emerging talent’s buzz. Set in the dark underworld of Mexico City, Moreno-Garcia spins a fast paced story based on Latin American myth about a dark vampire drug war.

Title: Certain Dark Things
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Vampires
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, St Martin's Press
Release Date: 25th October 2016

BLURB supplied by St Martin's Press
Welcome to Mexico City… An Oasis In A Sea Of Vampires…

Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is busy eking out a living when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life.

Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, must feast on the young to survive and Domingo looks especially tasty. Smart, beautiful, and dangerous, Atl needs to escape to South America, far from the rival narco-vampire clan pursuing her. Domingo is smitten.

Her plan doesn’t include developing any real attachment to Domingo. Hell, the only living creature she loves is her trusty Doberman. Little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his effervescent charm.

And then there’s Ana, a cop who suddenly finds herself following a trail of corpses and winds up smack in the middle of vampire gang rivalries.

Vampires, humans, cops, and gangsters collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive?

SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel Signal to Noise and the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying, which was a finalist for the Sunburst Award in Canada. She was a finalist for the Manchester Fiction Prize, and a recipient of the Gloria Vanderbilt/Exile Award for Best Emerging Writer.


Collecting garbage sharpens the senses. It allows us to notice what others do not see. Where most people would spy a pile of junk, the rag- and- bone man sees treasure: empty bottles that might be dragged to the recycling center, computer innards that can be reused, furniture in decent shape. The garbage collector is alert. After all, this is a profession. Domingo was always looking for garbage and he was always looking at people. It was his hobby. The people were, not the garbage. He would walk around Mexico City in his long, yellow plastic jacket with its dozen pockets, head bobbed down, peeking up to stare at a random passerby. Domingo tossed a bottle into a plastic bag, then paused to observe the patrons eating at a restaurant. He gazed at the maids as they rose with the dawn and purchased bread at the bakery. He saw the people with shiny cars zoom by and the people without any cash jump onto the back of the bus, hanging with their nails and their grit to the metallic shell of the moving vehicle. That day, Domingo spent hours outside, pushing a shopping cart with his findings, listening to his portable music player. It got dark and he bought himself dinner at a taco stand. Then it started to rain, so he headed into the subway station. He was a big fan of the subway system. He used to sleep in the subway cars when he first left home. Those days were behind. He had a proper place to sleep now, and lately he collected junk for an important rag- and- bone man, focusing on gathering used thermoplastic clothing. It was a bit harder to work the streets than it was to work a big landfill or ride the rumbling garbage trucks, sorting garbage as people stepped outside their houses and handed the collectors their plastic bags. A bit harder but not impossible, because there were small public trash bins downtown, because the restaurants left their garbage in the alleys behind them, and because people also littered the streets, not caring to chase the garbage trucks that made the rounds every other morning. A person with enough brains could make a living downtown, scavenging. Domingo didn’t think himself very smart, but he got by. He was well fed and he had enough money to buy tokens for the public baths once a week. He felt like he was really going places, but entertainment was still out of his reach. He had his comic books and graphic novels to keep him company, but most of the time, when he was bored, he would watch people as they walked around the subway lines. It was easy because few of them paid attention to the teenager leaning against the wall, backpack dangling from his left shoulder. Domingo, on the other hand, paid attention to everything. He constructed lives for the passengers who shuffled in front of him as he listened to his music. This one looked like a man who worked selling life insurance, the kind of man who opened and closed his briefcase dozens of times during the day, handing out pamphlets and explanations. That one was a secretary, but she was not with a good firm because her shoes were worn and cheap. Here came a con artist and there went a lovelorn house wife. Sometimes Domingo saw people and things that were a bit scarier. There were gangs roaming the subway lines, gangs of kids about his age, with their tight jeans and baseball caps, rowdy and loud and for the most part dedicated to petty crimes. He looked down when those boys went by, his hair falling over his face, and they didn’t see him, because nobody saw him. It was just like with the regular passengers; Domingo melted into the tiles, the grime, the shadows. After an hour of people watching, Domingo went to look at the large TV screens in the concourse. There were six of them, displaying different shows. He spent fifteen minutes staring at Japanese music videos before it switched to the news. Six dismembered bodies found in Ciudad Ju├írez. Vampire drug wars rage on. Domingo read the headline slowly. Images flashed on the video screen of the subway station. Cops.  Long shots of the bodies. The images dissolved, then showed a beautiful woman holding a can of soda in her hands. She winked at him. Domingo leaned against his cart and waited to see if the news show would expand on the drug war story. He was fond of yellow journalism. He also liked stories and comic books about vampires; they seemed exotic. There were no vampires in Mexico City: their kind had been a no-no for the past thirty years, ever since the old Federal District became a city- state, walling itself from the rest of the country. He still didn’t understand what a city- state was exactly, but it sounded important and the vampires stayed out. The next story was of a pop star, the singing sensation of the month, and then there was another ad, this one for a shoulder- bag computer. Domingo sulked and changed the tune on his music player. He looked at another screen with pictures of blue butterflies fl uttering around. Domingo took a chocolate from his pocket and tore the wrapper. He wondered if he shouldn’t head to Quinto’s party. Quinto lived nearby, and though his home was a small apartment, they were throwing an all- night party on the roof, where there was plenty of space. But Quinto was friends with the Jackal, and Domingo didn’t want to see that guy. Besides, he’d probably have to contribute to the beer bud get. It was the end of the month. Domingo was short on cash. A young woman wearing a black vinyl jacket walked by him. She was holding a leash with a genetically modified Doberman. It had to be genetically modified because it was too damn large to be a regular dog. The animal looked mean and had a green bioluminescent tattoo running down the left side of its head, the kind of decoration that was all the rage among the hip and young urbanites. Or so the screens in the subway concourse had informed Domingo, fashion shows and news reels always eager to reveal what was hot and what was not. That she’d tattooed her dog struck him as cute, although perhaps it was expected: if you had a genetically modified dog you wanted people to notice it. Domingo recognized her. He’d seen her twice before, walking around the concourse late at night, both times with her dog. The way she moved, heavy boots upon the white tiles, bob- cut black hair, with a regal stance, it made him think of water. Like she was gliding on water. She turned her head a small fraction, glancing at him. It was only a glance, but the way she did it made Domingo feel like he’d been doused with a bucket of ice. Domingo stuffed the remaining chocolate back in his pocket, took off his headphones, and pushed his cart, boarding her subway car. He sat across from the girl and was able to get a better look at her. She was about his age, with dark eyes and a full, stern mouth. She possessed high cheekbones and sharp features. Overall, her face was imposing and aquiline. There was a striking quality about her, but her beauty was rather cutting compared to the faces of the models he’d viewed in the ads. And she was a beauty, with that black hair and the dark eyes and the way she stood, so damn graceful. He noticed her gloves. Black vinyl that matched the jacket.

Friday, 14 October 2016


P.C. CAST is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the blockbuster House of Night series, co-written with her daughter Kristin Cast. With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, Cast’s novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath.  Furthermore, The House of Night series reached number one on the U.S., German, and UK bestseller lists, and remained a fixture on The New York Times Children’s Series bestseller list for over 160 weeks.

This Fall, or autumn for those in the UK, P.C. CAST brings us her much-anticipated new epic fantasy set in a world where humans, their animal allies, and the earth itself has been drastically changed.

Title: Moon Chosen
Series: Tales Of A New World
Author: P.C. Cast
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Shifter
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Release Date: 18th October 2016

BLURB supplied by St Martins Griffin
Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan; but she has cast her duties aside, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating clan strays across her path, that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now, darkness is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By forming a tumultuous alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and obliterate the forces that threaten to destroy them all.


P.C. CAST is the #1 New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author of the House of Night Series and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.  With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, her novels have been awarded the prestigious: Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath. 

Ms. Cast was born in the Midwest, and grew up being shuttled back-and-forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology.  After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time.  Ms. Cast lives in Oregon surrounded by beloved cats, dogs, horses, and family.


Mari braced herself, and as she had so many times before, felt her mother stiffen while energy surged through Leda and into Mari, sizzling through her palm, down her arm to swirl around and around inside her, growing in power with each second that passed.  Mari’s heartbeat began to hammer and her breathing suddenly increased until she was panting as hard as was the pup.  In her arms, Rigel whined uncertainly.
“Focus.”  Her mother’s voice was only a whisper, but Mari could feel it through her whole body.  “You can do this.  The power is not yours to keep – your body is merely its channel.  Borrow serenity from the image of the Earth Mother.  Though you may be surrounded by chaos or sickness or injuries, find the true you within. Release that which belongs to the world –fears, worry, sadness, so that the silver stream may wash unimpeded through you. It is a waterfall at night. Rigel is the basin that must hold it.”
Mari stared at the beautiful image of the Earth Mother that Leda pruned and cared for so lovingly.  But, as always, the figure was only foliage and art to Mari.  She couldn’t feel the divine presence her mother revered.  She could not find her true self – her center.  “Mama, I c-can’t.  It’s s-so c-cold.  It- it hurts.” Mari stuttered through chattering teeth.
“Only because the healing power is not meant for you.  Release the fears of your body, Mari.  Focus!  Find your grounding and become a channel for the moon’s energy.  Tonight you must succeed.  If you do not, your Rigel will surely die.”
Her mother’s words exploded through Mari’s body.  “No!  He can’t die.  I won’t let him.”  She gritted her teeth against the cold and tried to focus past the pain – to release the cacophony of emotions that swirled through her body unimpeded – and to be the channel for the moonfall of water.  Yet, still the power was a whirlpool within her.  It terrified Mari and threatened to suck her down to drown in its freezing depths. 
This was when she usually failed.  This was when she dropped her mother’s hand and allowed sickness to claim her so that she vomited, dry heaving misery and moonlight while Leda stroked her back, consoling her with calm, loving words that reminded Mari there would be a next time – she would do better the next time.
But there was no next time for Rigel, and Mari refused to lose him.  Think!  Focus!
“Mari, slow your breathing.  Calm your heart.  This is no longer practice.  You either heal Rigel, or fail and he dies from shock and blood loss.  This is your reality.”
“That’s it, Mama!  I need to make this my reality!”  Mari squeezed her eyes closed.  Could that be the answer?  Could it really be that simple?  Mari imagined that she was in their burrow, alone, sitting at her desk preparing to create a sketch.  Her gulping breath slowed.  Her hammering heart quieted.  Mari found her grounding as she envisioned a blank sheet of paper.  On that paper her imagination began to quickly, easily, sketch an image of herself, sitting crossed-legged with Rigel spread across her lap.  From above her silver light cascaded into her lifted palm, washing through her body in a glistening wave to spout from her other palm, which was pressed against the pup’s bloody chest.  Eyes still tightly shut Mari worked on the scene, creating a picture of Rigel’s body that was washed clean of blood by the liquid light, leaving behind wounds that were neatly closed and already healing.
Suddenly the cold tide within Mari was controllable.  Instead of drowning her, it used her as a conduit, passing through her harmlessly as she let go of the energy.  I’m doing it!  I’m doing it!  And just that quickly her concentration shattered.  The picture she’d been creating disappeared along with the tide of power within her.
“No!  No!  Get it back!  I was doing it – it was working,” Mari gasped, gripping her mother’s hand like a lifeline.
“It’s too late.  The sun is fully risen.  Even with your help I cannot call the moon back to me,” Leda knelt beside Mari, gently disentangling her daughter’s hand from hers.  “But it was enough.  You did it, sweet girl.  I knew you could.  Praise the Earth Mother and the blessed Moon!  You have saved him.”
Feeling dizzy and disconnected, Mari looked down at Rigel.  The pup wagged his tail animatedly and sat up, licking her face.  Even though she felt light-headed, she laughed weakly and put her arms around him.  He nested there, curled against her body and, sending her waves of contentment, Rigel fell sound to sleep in her arms. With a trembling hand, Mari brushed aside the blood-matted fur on his chest.  What had only moments before been deep, seeping, whip-like lacerations were now pink lines of newly joined flesh that had ceased bleeding.
“I knew it was true.  You do have my powers and more.” 

Early Praise for MOON CHOSEN

"While many fantasy series style themselves as epic, this one may actually be worthy of the description. Fantasy lovers who are fans of Cinda Williams Chima's "Seven Realms" novels will fall in love with Mari and Nik." – School Library Journal

“Cast’s spectacular new series kicks off with a unique tale suitable for fans of fantasy both young and old. Earth has completely changed, and the author grants readers a chance to use their imagination as the engaging storyline rapidly unfolds.” – Romantic Times, 4 stars!

Cast's fans should find much to be pleased with in this new venture” – Kirkus

engaging characters and a fast-paced narrative” – Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Title: The Husband
Series: The Fireside Guide To ..... (Ladybird Books For Adults)
Authors: Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris
Genre: Hunour
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: 11th October 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand.

The husband knows many things. For example, he knows how many stairs there are in his house—in case he arrives home too drunk to see them properly. In this Fireside Grown-Up Guide to the Husband, you can learn about what husbands like (making simple repairs and then droning on about what a struggle they were), what he hates (being wrong), how often he is really listening (only thirty percent of the time), and many other enlightening facts.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

So after reading "The Mom" I know what to expect from this series of books. I am anticipating a good laugh about what "The Husband" is expected to do, as well as his likes and dislikes lol.
Again I received an e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
There's a "Husband" featured on this cover, he is doing what looks like a possibly dangerous little bit of welding, perhaps a little plumbing job. Perhaps he is thinking it's a "small DIY job". Would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? Yes, I think I'd notice it. Being divorced I probably wouldn't purchase it though!
So one of the descriptions of a husband is. . . . "The husband knows a lot of things, for example, he knows how many stairs there are in his house - in case he arrives home too drunk to see them properly".  Yep this one made me laugh though I was thinking back to being a young child hearing my dad counting off the stairs as he drunkenly made his way down them to our downstairs bathroom. I also remember hearing bumps and counting out myself the amount of stairs he had fallen down. (Don't worry he never seemed to hurt himself in this process at all!).
Apparently a husband likes,....making simple repairs and then droning on about what a struggle they were And a husband hates . . .being wrong, (Yeah I remember both of these from my marriage).
Once again this book has great wit, fantastic sarcasm, all accompanied by the cookie cutter photographs of a bygone era. I loved the photographs, the same type that were in my reading books as a very young child. That blissful, perfect image of what a family should look like.
I once again flew through reading this book, so it is a quick read. More to the point I would call this book a "gift book". In this case perhaps a future mother-in-law would jokingly present this to her daughters husband either just prior to the wedding or maybe during the speeches at the wedding. Or maybe this could be a gift to a female you know that is getting married. I think there's lots of scenarios when this could be an amusing gift. Once again the illustrations/photographs are great.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, it was an entertaining read. I guess I didn't feel the camaraderie as much as I did with The Mom book, but still a good read.
Would I recommend the book? As a gift book, for your friends who are husbands or are about to become husbands.
Would I read another book in this specific series/type? This is the second one of four that I have been given to review and though I found it entertaining, I think maybe the “Dad” one would have been funnier for me to read.

Would I want to read other titles by Jason Hazeley and/or Joel Morris? I have been taking a look at some of their other books, and do intend to purchase a few for my own book shelves.

An amusing read!

Monday, 10 October 2016


Title: Freed
Series: Phoebe Meadows Series
Author: Amanda Carlson
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 20th September 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
Phoebe Meadows has one thing on her mind: Free her mother.

For the last month, Phoebe has been training in the Valkyrie stronghold readying for battle. But when she stumbles into a secluded valley after a day of grueling practice, she’s given a dire prediction. Phoebe must leave the stronghold immediately with the aid of the giant, Junnal, to rescue her mother from the dark elves. If Phoebe fails, Leela will be transported to a place that can no longer be reached.

Leaving Fen behind threatens to undo her, but Phoebe stays true to the mission. Along the way, she allies with the god Baldur and an old white elf mage. Together, they storm the realm, and with the help of an angry wolf and her Valkyrie sisters, they just might stand a chance to free the valiant shieldmaiden.

But Phoebe soon learns that in order to save her mother, she might lose something too precious to sacrifice…


As I thoroughly enjoyed Struck which is book one in the Phoebe Meadow's series, I freely admit that I do have rather high expectations from Freed. I have read and loved other books by Amanda Carlson. I'm looking forward to catching up with Phoebe and learning how her Valkyrie training is going, as well as catching up with the romantic vibes going on between her and Fen, and her brother Tyr and best friend Sam of course!". Then there is sure to be some more mythology to read and learn about too. Will Phoebe meet either one or both of her birth parents in Freed?

24%   "Oh wow can Phoebe really get her mother back with only Junnal to help her?"
55%     "Can Phoebe break out of her cell using Gram then carry out the mission to rescue Leela successfully? Can she also free Junnal, Callan & Baldur too? Will Phoebe be able to change the course of fate the Skuld had foreseen?"
56%     "Can Phoebe trust Willa? Can she escape and manage to rescue her mother Leela as she set out to do?"

The main colour of this cover is a dark green which I'd say fits well when you read the book and know Phoebe encounters another realm full of dark magic. This cover features Phoebe Meadows who initially seems to be being struck by lightning, though having read book one, I think the lightning is a representation of the pure power she has within her and she does appear to be controlling it too. The large bird is on this cover who we now know is an important character from within the book, called Hugin. 
I still love the font and format of the book title, series title and the Authors name appears in a contrasting colour boldly on the cover but once again as on book one's cover, at the same time compliments the cover rather than dominating it. In the background we can see what looks like a doorway, upon reading the book I'd say it is a cillar . .a portal/doorway to another realm. The byline is changed slightly on this cover saying "Lightening always strikes twice". 
Would the cover make me pick this one up from a bookstore shelf? As I find the cover both eye-catching and colourful I would certainly pick this one up to learn more.

Freed picks Phoebe's story back up as she is still training at the Valkyrie stronghold. Fen and Tyr are being tolerated by those in the stronghold but are not allowed in certain areas, as they are female/Valkyrie only areas. Leela (shieldmaiden and once leader of the Valkyrie), Phoebe's mother is still being held captive by Invaldi and the dark elves. The situation has suddenly become more desperate as there is gossip that Leela is soon going to be moved to another place, somewhere that she cannot be tracked to and will be totally unreachable for those who wish to rescue her. 
As everyone knows there are bullies in every society, and a Valkyrie called Anya seems to be making it her mission to make things as difficult for Phoebe as possible. Rae the leader of the Valkyries continues to push Phoebe to her physical and mental limits as Phoebe must be prepared for anything and everything when she enters Savartalheim, home to Invaldi and the dark elve's.
Phoebe's training is still very much a work in progress and she still has to have a weapon "choose" her. When her weapon finally does choose her it is of no surprise to those around her that her birth father Odin has made sure it found her. The weapon that has chosen Phoebe is a very powerful, dangerous to use and to be the receiving end of. Once she has her weapon Phoebe must learn how to control both the weapons power and her own inner power too.
Extensive plans are made on how to enter Savartalfheim quickly and quietly. They will be entering the realm without the permission of Invaldi and the dark elve's to rescue Leela, but as we all know the best laid plans . . . well Phoebe is visited once again by the large black bird Hugin and is given an impossible choice. Phoebe's difficult choice is, go now with just the mixed blessing of Junnal as a companion in arms, or risk her mother Leela being moved and becoming totally untraceable. Sure Junnal is a large, strong and loyal combatant to have on side in a fight, but that also makes him difficult to hide when you are wanting to slip inplaces unseen!  She is literally given a few seconds to decide, of course Phoebe doesn't want to go into an unknown dangerous realm without the rest of the rescue party but she is left with no other choice really. It is either go now and try to find and rescue your mother or you may never have another chance of rescuing Leela. So now Phoebe is in a strange realm without Fen, Tyr or the Valkyries, she worries if she will be powerful enough to rescue her mother as well as knowing that the rest of the initial rescue party are going to be so annoyed with her going off without them too. Phoebe does manage to pick up  few allies during her search for her mother in Savartalheim. There's a white elf mage, called Callan, whom undergoes an extensive change in appearance and health after drawing energy from Phoebe, though his total transformation occurs a little later in the book, and even Phoebe is stunned by it. Callan proves to be a powerful ally to Phoebe as the dark elves are all afraid of white magic. Phoebe also meets a young mixed elf called Willa that Odin sent to keep an eye on Leela, who is in a cell, and tries to help Phoebe with her mission asking for nothing in return. I admire the way Phoebe stands her ground and doesn't forget this elf as others around her wish to abandon her as not being important enough to fight to rescue.
Another great character we meet in Savartalheim, who is imprisoned there at his mother Frigg's orders for his own protection against his fate, turns out to be the son of Odin. So Phoebe meets more of her family, and this son of Odin, Baldur is so charming too. It seems even those that hold him imprisoned have a respect and awe of him. Phoebe innocently sets Baldur free only for him to fall foul of his prophecy as fate plays out. The Norns take great delight in making sure that Phoebe has now fallen foul of the Gods, especially Frigg. I thought the verbal and physical interaction between Phoebe and the Norn's is so well written, you feel like you are standing there within the scene watching it all unfold. The way the three Norns are verbally arguing with Phoebe yet at the same time have their own little doubts between themselves and disagree with each other too. The fact that fate is always changing, one small action can change everything is a fantastic twist and allows Amanda Carlson to keep us the reader on the edge of our reading seats! I adored the prophecies and the little intricate loopholes there are, to allow things to change course and go off in a different direction than initially suggested.
I really enjoyed reading Freed, even more than Struck. It was great to be going along with Phoebe's journey of learning to fight properly with both Gram and her "special weapon" and the way she accidentally realises that she really does have her very own inner power that she needs to learn how to harness and control. The way Phoebe tries so hard to think like, and do things the Valkyrie way, but no matter how she tries she still has human emotions. Some, like the Valkyrie Anya would call Phoebe's "humanness" a weakness, but during the book you see that that same "humanness" can also be a strength. Phoebe has strong morals and her own thoughts on what is right and wrong as you see when she is trying to free her mother, she does not forget those who have helped her.
I love how the ending of this book has set everything up for what will need to be done in book three yet, the very fact Phoebe, and Fen have only just been called to court in front of the Gods and Goddesses means that fate may yet have other chances to intervene. I enjoyed all the mythology and the whole which Gods and Goddesses are allies and which ones could be counted on as allies depending upon which God or Goddess is going against them.
Although we are yet to meet Odin I feel I have learnt so much about him already and I seriously can't wait to read and visualise what happens within the courtroom setting. Which Gods and Goddesses will side with Odin? and which will be on the side of Frigg? Will the voting Gods and Goddesses be impartial and judge Phoebe on her own actions alone, or will petty arguments between the Odin and the other Gods play a part in the vote.
Another great thing Amanda does is include the remaining human part of Phoebe's life. The way Phoebe checks in with her human parents Frank and Janette Meadows and has to come up with increasingly difficult reasons that she is not going home soon, as well as reasons Frank & Janette cannot visit her! 
So did I enjoy the book? I loved it from beginning to end! Would I recommend the book? Certainly, I should also add you don't need to know everything about mythology as it is all explained as you read the book. Would I want to read another book in this series? Yes! I am already eagerly awaiting book three! Would I want to read other titles by this author? Yeees! I am waiting for the next brilliant installment of the Jessica McClain Series from Amanda!

Brilliant! Looking forward to reading more! Bring on Exiled!!
I want to be totally honest and say I haven't read and loved many books with the Gods and Goddesses in them. I have previously found the mythology parts difficult to remember and even harder to enjoy and understand but the way Amanda Carlson approaches the mythology and explains it as the plot unravels has me thoroughly adoring it and perching right on the edge of my seat as the story unfolds. Amanda has introduced me to a genre I perhaps would have overlooked. I have found myself fascinated with all the mythology.

Thursday, 6 October 2016


The international publishing phenomenon and ridiculously funny new parody series that helps grown-ups learn about the world around them using large clear type, simple and easy-to-grasp words, frequent repetition, and thoughtful matching of text with pictures.

Title: Mindfulness
Series: The Fireside Guide To ..... (Ladybird Books For Adults)
Authors: Jason Hazeley & Joel Morris
Genre: Hunour
Publisher: Touchstone
Release Date: 11th October 2016

BLURB from Netgalley
Have you been having trouble with the How, Why, and Wheres? Well fear no more. The Fireside Grown-Up Guide series understands that the world is just as confusing to a forty-year-old as it is to a four-year-old. We’re here to help and break down the most pressing and complex issues of our day into easy-to-digest pieces of information paired with vivid illustrations even a child could understand.

Mindfulness: the skill of thinking you are doing something, when in fact you are doing nothing. In this 
Fireside Grown-Up Guide to Mindfulness
, we’ll meet a blissful cast of characters who’ve learned to free themselves from unnecessary worries like work, friends, and family. When they are fired from their jobs and abandoned by their friends and family, they learn to combat their stress by practicing mindfulness, and teach us a few lessons along the way.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

I truthfully wasn't totally sure this would be as funny a read as the other titles of the series. Will it be an amusing look at mindfulness or could it go too far and just come across as a book poking fun at something still considered by some as "new age" thinking.
I received a free e-arc of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion/review.
Hmm I suppose a lot of people (me included to be totally honest) will be asking the question of what is mindfulness? Is it meditation? (my first thought at "Mindfulness") Is it just taking some "quiet time" or "me time" for yourself to be alone and relaxing?
The book itself asks this question and the answers . . . . 
"Mindfulness is the skill of thinking you are doing something when you are doing nothing!" 
"One of the best things about mindfulness is that you get to do a lot of sitting down" (If thats the case I need a whole lot of Mindfulness in my life!)
And finally "Sitting down is good for the mind because so much positive energy is stored in the lap" (huh?)
Now that could be taken two ways, either an extremely simplified explanation, or what a "non believer" of Mindfulness would say. It's certainly a thought provoking portrayal of mindfulness.
The main quote that made me smirk and giggle the most in this book was....
'"There is more wisdom in a waterfall than there is in a hundred men",say's Jake. Jake is always saying things like this. His ex-wife's sister call's him Jerk."
These books do make you laugh out loud at times so be ready for some odd looks if you are reading them in a public place. Though I suppose you could say reading them in public and laughing could make these books fantastic conversation starters.
So did I enjoy the book? Yes I enjoyed reading the book.
Would I recommend the book? As a gift book, or even a treat/pick-me-up for yourself when you're feeling a little down in the mouth, the answer is yes!
Would I read another book in this specific series/type? I have already, and I'd love to read more of them.
Would I want to read other titles by Jason Hazeley and/or Joel Morris? I will most definitely taking a look at some of their other books. I have my eye on a few as possible stocking filler presents for Christmas.

Fun read! Would make an equally fun gift too.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


Title: The Twelve Days Of Dash & Lily
Series: Dash & Lily
Authors: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Christmas, Romance
Publisher: Egmont Publishing
Release Date: 6th October 2016

BLURB from Goodreads
New York Times bestselling authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan are back with a life-affirming Christmas romance starring Dash and Lily.

Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers first watched the couple fall in love. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.

With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday magic of New York City in December.

Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily reunites two beloved characters and is bound to be a Christmas favorite, season after season.


I totally adored Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares.......I fell in love with book plot, the characters and the book even had me eagerly looking forward to Christmas! Will I love this one as much? I hadn't heard about this one coming out and had presumed the first book to be a standalone, but when I saw this one I knew I just had to read it. Then I became a bit worried as the "Book of Dares" played a really important and large part of Bk#1 and I wondered if this book could be as good without that element as the main focus.

To be totally honest I just kind of picked this one up and read and read but on reflection I did have a few moments when I was shouting at the book "Oh No!" There was also the odd occasion I wanted to shake both Dash and Lily and tell them to talk to each other more!

                                              A                                                                B

So as you can see from the images above there are two cover versions for this book!

Cover A - has a light coloured background, with a snowy effect and twinkling festive lights. The main and most prominent feature on this cover are two Christmas trees. Could these tree's represent Dash and Lily. The book title is in what I would call a handwritten style, looking like it has been done with the sort of posh marker you may use to write your Christmas cards and present tags with. Both author names are printed at the top edge of the book cover and there is a reference underneath to the first book of the series and the fact the authors are New York bestsellers.
Would this cover make me pick the book up from a bookstore shelf? If I was in the mood for a totally festive type of read, which is what this cover says to me. . yes! I would certainly be curious enough to pick the book up to learn more about it by reading the blurb.

Cover B - has what I would describe as a dusty "mushy peas" green colour as it's background and has writing that forms the shape of ribbon wrapped around the book, rather like you would wrap ribbon round a gift for that special someone at Christmas time. The title is in a stark white which is in contrast to the rest of the cover, again the font is of what I'd call a simplistic handwriting style. the authors names are at the bottom of this cover and in a blue colour.
Would this cover make me pick the book up from a bookstore shelf? Yes, it's a simplistic cover and I'd want to know more about the book, so I would want to read the blurb.

Cover Sum Up - I do like both covers, my favourite parts of Cover A are the "posh marker style writing" and I love the two Christmas trees that perhaps represent Dash and Lily. The part of Cover B I love is the effect of the book cover being presented as a gift with a bow on it.
Would I combine the covers if I could? Maybe add the trees from Cover A to the gift wrap/gift with bow of Cover B.
If I had to choose just one of the covers which would I choose and why? It would have to be Cover B. It just feels more like Dash and Lily, more simplistic and practical. I think what I am trying to put into words is that Cover B suits the characters of Dash & Lily more. It could be a gift from one to the other and of course the present theme fits well with the whole holiday season setting of the book.

I downloaded an ecopy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
So as I have done a feature above on the two different covers I will go straight onto what is happening. At the beginning of this book we are catching up with the sweet couple that began their relationship almost a year ago. It had all begun with a book, and ended with the couple meeting each other but a year can change a lot of things. Dash and Lily are still "together" but are they merely slipping into being just friends that are going to see less and less of each other. 
A lot has been happening in Lily's life, her beloved Grandpa is taken ill, and when she phones Dash for his support he doesn't answer his phone. Luckily Grandpa survives and is sent home, where Lily becomes his caregiver. Lily even volunteers for a summer job at her Grandpa's rehabilitation centre so she can take him to all his appointments and be close by him when he is there for treatment. Though Lily and Langston's parents return from their work abroad, the majority of the caregiving is still left for Lily to do. So it's no wonder she isn't her usual, happy optimistic self. In book one we learnt that Lily was the one who loved all the holiday traditions so as Christmas is approaching surely she is happily planning and organising her families Christmas and everything that comes along with it? Last year Lily had even managed to teach the pessimistic Dash that Christmas was an enchanting holiday. This year it seems like the once optimistic Lily has become somewhat of a pessimist. . .and is completely ignoring all the little traditions on the lead up to the big event of Christmas. Langston can see the toll all the rushing around and caring for Grandpa is affecting Lily and he offers to take time off from college to help but Lily believes it is her responsibility to look after their Grandpa. As Grandpa's health improves and he regains a little of his mobility, he tries to shoo Lily away, to take some time for herself or for her and Dash to spend time together but as Christmas beckons nearer Dash and Lily's relationship seems to have more and more cracks appearing within it.
You know that things are in a desperate state when Langston (Lily's brother) call's Dash to arrange to meet and discuss Lily's lack of Christmas spirit! Whilst two of the important men in Lily's are quietly meeting up, they are much more used to verbally sparring with each other than getting together to actually talk "normally" to each other, but their mutual caring feelings for Lily means they overcome their initial awkwardness to discuss what they can do to coax the deeply hidden Christmas spirit out that they know Lily has.  Normally by this time Lily has bought a tree, decorated it and sent out handwritten invites to people to come round for the big switch on of the lights, but this year all Lily says is she just isn't feeling it. 
Langston & Dash come up with the idea of  giving Lily "The Twelve Days Of Christmas"so Langston immediately offers Dash money for him to go purchase a tree but Dash declines saying he knows a guy who he can get a tree from. That "guy" is non other than Boomer! In the end Boomer has to help Dash carry Oscar home as "he"  is too big for one person to lift! Oscar is what Boomer has named the tree. .'ll understand when you read the book lol! Boomer  also has a "significant other" in this book . . .it's Sophie! Yes, the same Sophie who is Dashiell's ex-girlfriend!! 
Lily is out with Grandpa when the tree arrives so Dash and Langston move it into place and Dash adds some rather quirky decorations to the tree in an effort to make Lily smile as he knows she will understand the meaning behind the decorations. Lily is surprised by the tree and yet a little disappointed by the actions of Dash. . .The tree is just Day One of the Twelve Days and eventually they do get more into the Christmas Spirit. Lily still feels like she has somehow lost who she wants to be and a visit to Staten Island gives her a chance to be whoever she can think up to be.
To say things don't go to plan for either Dash or Lily in this book is an understatement. If there is a chance, even the slightest chance of something going wrong it does go wrong.
Again this book is done from the point of view of Dash for one chapter, then Lily the next chapter etc.
I loved the new character of Missoula, the freelance baker and her interactions with Lily. In a way Missoula plays an important part in helping Lily find her Christmas "mo-jo". I also enjoyed the parts where we met Edgar and Benny both fairly important characters in one of the "last gifts." Some of the parts of the books I truly loved were when Lily was with her dog Boris, he is almost human like to her. I love his reaction to Lily swearing too. I had tears for more than one reason in this book, for the way Lily makes it her responsibility alone to care for Grandpa even when she is struggling, and for laughter at some of the funny way things don't go as planned.                                                                                                                                    
Did I enjoy the book? I thought it would be impossible for the second book to be as good as the first. . .but it really is as good, even better as you learn more about Dash and Lily's families in this book.
Would I recommend the book? Oh yes, if you read Bk1 you must read book two. . and if you haven't read book one yet? what are you waiting for! Read it now or a little nearer to Christmas to get yourself into the holiday mood/spirit.
Would I want to read another Dash & Lily book? Yes! as I have loved Bk1 & 2 so much. Or maybe we could have some spin off novella's where we learn more about Langston & Benny, Boomer & Sophie or even finding a girlfriend for Edgar?
Would I want to read another book be either or both authors of this one? I would always checkout any book by both or either of these authors. I loved their writing styles. They make you so eager to read more and find out more and more and before you know it the book is finished.     
I honestly thought there was no way this book could be as good or even anywhere near as good as bk1 but I truly enjoyed this book just as much as the first one. When I wrote my review for book one, I said it had me getting out the Christmas tree etc. Well it's October at the moment so I haven't brought my Christmas tree out yet. . . .but I have started the Christmas shopping lol. Why not purchase a copy for the pessimist in your family? know the one who is all "Bah humbug".