Monday, 2 October 2017

September Wrap-Up: #BookReviews of September #BookHaul

Oh, I read some great books in September! So, I'm just going to get to reviewing them for you now.

I really enjoyed Lauren's Oliver's Delirium earlier this year, and was happy to see the sequel, Pandemonium in my local library.

This is a YA dystopian trilogy, and I was really excited to see what happened in Pandemonium, especially after the heart-stopping ending to Book 1.

So, a little about Book 1 (because I can't tell you anything about Book 2 without spoiling you): 

Love is seen as a disease in this dystopian world, but there is a surgical procedure which is thought to cure you. Well, prevent you from contracting this deadly illness, prevent you from falling in love.

But what if you're already in love before your procedure takes place?

What would you do?

Read this trilogy and find out! Book 1 was really good, the writing was clever and so beautiful ~ I highly recommend it for YA dystopia fans, as well as anyone who reads teen/YA fiction. My review of Delirium is in my May Wrap-Up post.

My Rating for Pandemonium: 4-stars

I enjoyed this sequel as much as the first book. It's structured differently to Book 1, and I liked this format as much as the structure of the first book. This book is definitely more fast-paced, as you'd expect in a sequel, because you've already gotten to know the characters' back-story and personality pretty well in the series starter. The writing is just as good, there's character development and change, twists and turns... I kept reaching for the book whenever I had to put it down and do something else.

Highly, highly recommend this series if you read YA/teen fiction or dystopia.

The other book I'd been dying to read is Home by Harlan Coben.

Home is the 11th book in the Myron Bolitar series, my favourite crime series of all time. So, of course I'd been itching to get my hands on it, especially since I read a little preview of it in Fool Me Once, by the same author (though not from the Myron Bolitar series), earlier this year.

If you're interested in my review of Fool Me Once, you can find it in my March Wrap-Up post.

A little background on this bestselling series:

Myron Bolitar is a sports agent that also ends up investigating and solving crimes, from murders and missing persons to entrapment of dangerous gangsters. He has a great sidekick/best friend that helps him out, who is one of my favourite thriller characters ever. His name is Win Lockwood, short for Windsor Horne Lockwood III, but don't be fooled by the title ~ Win is a serious badass.

But things have changed quite a bit now, 11 books into the series, so I was eager to see how everything turned out.

My Rating: 5-stars

This is only my second 5-star rating this year. It. Was. That. Good. And I've read some pretty good books this year. The mystery that had to be solved in this book was so cleverly crafted, so well executed, and of course, pulled at the heartstrings, too. That's one of the things that sets apart Harlan Coben's crime thrillers from the rest ~ the emotion, the heart.

And not to mention the wit and comedy, the amazing chemistry between Myron and his friends, particularly Win.

Ah, Win.

Love this character. I don't think I'd find it easy to love Win as a person in real life ~ on paper, he has a lot of issues and faults and makes some decisions that most people would disapprove of and frown upon, including me. But as fictional characters go, he is one of my favourites and one of the best I've ever read. I don't think every lead character or sidekick has to be likeable and be a good role model, as long as they're well developed and make for an entertaining read. Win is definitely that.

I so loved the ending scene in this book, and I wish I could discuss it with you, but I can't. All I will say is that if you haven't started this series yet, do it. What are you waiting for?

I also spotted the third book in the Mickey Bolitar series in the library, Found, also by Harlan Coben ~ I read book 2, Seconds Away, last month (review here).

Mickey is Myron's 16-year-old nephew, and like his uncle, he has a thing for investigating the mysterious, helping the needy.

Playing the hero.

In Seconds Away, I found him to be just as likeable as Myron, and I was interested to see what kinds of trouble he got into in the third book in this spin-off series.

It is a YA series, but Harlan Coben's fans will enjoy it too. Well, I certainly enjoyed Seconds Away.

I really enjoyed Found, too.

My Rating: 4-stars

I found myself flying through this book. Harlan Coben's books are hard to put down, and this was no different. As this is the third in the series, again, I can't really say much about the plot, only that I found it riveting. There were lots of little things going on, but they were woven together perfectly, and the ending... Wow. I do hope we will see more of Mickey in the future.

So, as I was in bit of a crime/thriller mood in September, thanks to Harlan Coben, I thought I'd catch up on one of the paperbacks on my personal bookshelf, and finally get around to reading...

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

I purchased this book a while back from WHSmiths (I had some book tokens leftover from years ago; I'd won them at a poetry competition in my teens) and had planned to read it earlier in the year (perhaps in my first Book Haul post), but I didn't get around to it. Lately, I've found myself procrastinating when it comes to books and e-books that I own, favouring the books I borrow from the library because of the limited amount of time I have to read them.

I Am Pilgrim was a huge success when it came out and I believe it's a complex thriller? I do like starting books with little knowledge of the plot and so on, preferring to discover everything as the characters do. With thrillers, I think it's better to go into them blind. So that's what I planned to do.

However, if you'd like to learn more about this book, and the others in this post, just click on the book name above the cover image and it'll take you to the corresponding Goodreads page.

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to reading this book, so no review, I'm afraid. Like I mentioned above, I've been really bad about reading books that I own. Hopefully, I'll get around to picking it up soon. Or eventually.

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare

I downloaded this highly anticipated sequel to Lady Midnight on my iPhone (on iBooks) and was really looking forward to getting stuck in. Cassandra Clare fans are loving this series, and I'd heard great things about this book, so I didn't want to wait any longer to read it.

From the cover, I got the feeling that it was going to get a lot darker in this book. I really enjoyed the first book in the Dark Artifices series, which of course is a part of the Shadowhunter Chronicles, so I was keen to see how things pan out in this book. The ending to Lady Midnight hinted at so much....

I would normally tell you a little about Lady Midnight, but it's not that simple: The Dark Artifices series is a follow-on series to the Mortal Instruments series, taking place after the events of the 6th and final book in that series. Plus, there was another series, the Infernal Devices series ~ almost like a prequel series, but not quite, to the Mortal Instruments series ~ that also has to be read before starting this series. So it's hard to set the scene for Lord of Shadows.

All I can say about Lady Midnight is that, writing-wise, it felt like the most accomplished of Clare's work. Read my review of Lady Midnight in my April Wrap-Up post.

My Rating for Lord of Shadows: 5-stars

So, this is now only the third time so far this year that I've rated something 5-stars, and boy does this book deserve it. If I could give it 6 out of 5, I would. Or 7, or 8. It had everything, and I loved it.

Lady Midnight was great, but Lord of Shadows is better. I don't know how the length of this book compares to its predecessor ~ I read Lady Midnight in hardback form, and Lord of Shadows in e-book format, but whereas Lady Midnight was a big long book and felt that way, and I found that it started off slowly, Lord of Shadows felt too short, like I should have dragged it out longer, not because it was rushed or anything, and the pacing was perfect.

I got more invested with the characters in this book and I liked how they developed and matured. And the added focus on the secondary characters, especially Ty and Kit, I really liked.

I should have guessed I'd like this book more than Book 1, as I've noticed a pattern with me and Cassandra Clare books: I always seem to like the second book in her series more than the rest. City of Ashes was my favourite from the Mortal Instruments series, Clockwork Prince was the one I enjoyed most of the Infernal Devices series, and now Lord of Shadows.

I just hope that the other pattern isn't repeated with the Dark Artifices series ~ the final books in Cassie Clare's series are the ones I always seem to enjoy least and struggle with; it happened with City of Heavenly Fire (TMI) and Clockwork Princess (TID) ~ because I am really looking forward to the third book in the Dark Artifices series and I don't want to be left underwhelmed. I believe Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) isn't going to release for a couple more years, though...

Stone of Fire (ARKANE #1) by J.F. Penn

I downloaded this free series starter from Amazon on my Kindle App. This series is billed as 'Dan Brown meets Tomb Raider', or something like that, which, in my opinion, can't be a bad thing. I like Dan Brown. I liked the Tomb Raider films, and if it's as good as everyone's saying, then I thought that should really like this one, because I do like my Dan Brown-style thrillers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish this book because every time I tried to read it, my Kindle App froze, so I couldn't flip to the next page, or the screen went black. That's never happened before, and I don't know what caused this strange malfunctioning because my iPhone was working fine as usual. I tried on a few different days to launch this e-book on my Kindle App but the same issues occurred. Then, I because I'm a wuss, I decided not to try an read any more books on my Kindle App for a while, so not to end up breaking my phone.

Now, I have a quick announcement to make. I don't expect to do a book haul in October, because I don't know if I'll be able to read enough books to justify such a post. Those of you that read my Q&A post on If I Say Yes (Love & Alternatives #1) a few weeks back will remember me telling you that I'm expecting my first baby in November. I know, congratulations to me ;) The official due date is November 20, and so I'll be quite busy preparing for the baby in October and November.

And then busy with the baby thereafter.

However, I will be posting new content on my blog every Monday in the next couple of months (I've written a few articles in preparation for my 'maternity leave from blogging'), and I'll review any books I end up reading as and when I can.

As for 2018... It's going to be a hectic year. I'm both nervous and excited about it, but one thing I know for sure is that writing and blogging will have to take a backseat for a while. Babies take over your life, everyone keeps telling me, so I'm expecting just that :)

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:

Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.

And the first two books in my teen urban fantasy/YA paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon US|  Amazon UK|   iBooks US UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

PB1 Book Details
Length: 29,000 words
GenreYA Paranormal Romance / Teen Vampire Romance / Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy / Teen & YA Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy / Supernatural Romance / Fantasy Romance
Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things related to the Chosen One, vampires, slayers and witches!

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