Friday, 9 February 2018

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert


Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My review:

This book is a perfect mix of modern world and dark fairy tales that have somehow gone missing form our busy lives. If you look at the history of fairy tales most of them started out full of death and darkness and shadows and over time became the nice, good-wins-against-evil type that we know and love today.

The Hazel Wood goes back to those shadowy roots. Alice thinks she’s just a normal girl, growing up with bad luck following her and her mum Ella around. But when her mum gets kidnapped and a page from her estranged grandmother’s book of fairy tales is left behind as a message to Alice; things go from bad to worse pretty quickly.

Armed with the only nearly-friend she has, they set out on a dangerous road to find the Hazel Wood as Alice believes that’s where her mother was taken. But on this journey her whole world is turned up-side-down and Alice finds herself right in the middle of one those tales that her mother has tried so hard to keep from her.

It’s a fabulous, exciting book, with hints of magic and good old-fashioned Grimm-like tales.

Thank you very much to the author and NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 2 February 2018

Thirteen (Psychic Surveys Companion Novel #2) by Shani Struthers


Don’t leave me alone in the dark…

In 1977, Minch Point Lighthouse on Skye’s most westerly tip was suddenly abandoned by the keeper and his family – no reason ever found. In the decade that followed, it became a haunt for teenagers on the hunt for thrills. Playing Thirteen Ghost Stories, they’d light thirteen candles, blowing one out after every story told until only the darkness remained.

In 1987, following her success working on a case with Sussex Police, twenty-five-year-old psychic, Ness Patterson, is asked to investigate recent happenings at the lighthouse. Local teen, Ally Dunn, has suffered a breakdown following time spent there and is refusing to speak to anyone. Arriving at her destination on a stormy night, Ness gets a terrifying insight into what the girl experienced.

The case growing ever more sinister, Ness realises: some games should never be played.

My review:

Another brilliant book from Shani Struthers and how wonderful to find out more about Ness and her past. Thirteen is a brilliant book of fear, hope and light and once again had me on the edge of my seat willing the book to just go on and not finish. Also just to add that although this book is a second part in the Psychic Surveys series, it can be read as a standalone novel.

The book is based around an old lighthouse on Skye, that has been left by its last occupants to rot away in the harsh weather and darkness that surrounds it. It certainly has its own strange past, but that doesn’t stop teenagers taking refuge there and play a decades old game of thirteen ghost stories.

But it goes wrong and the last lot to play the game are affected by some sort of dark energy, that is slowly overtaking their lives. So here comes Ness, psychic girl, who on occasion helps Police find bodies of victims of violent crimes and someone with her own past still haunting her.

I can’t say anymore other than the fact that Ness soon learns that she must trust in herself and the people around her, as together they can create the light needed to banish even the darkest spirits hiding in the corners of the abandoned lighthouse. But it can come at a cost.

I am always excited to read one of Shani’s books and even more excited to write about it so thank you very much to TBConFB and Shani for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Available to purchase from:

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Third Rule (Eddie Collins #1) by Andrew Barrett


When you're accused of murder, you'd better hide, run, or fight.

The Third Rule is England's new infallible capital punishment. But absolute proof of guilt is no longer required, so there’s a queue at the Slaughter House doors.
CSI Eddie Collins hasn't killed anyone, but he knows who has. That’s why he’s on the Slaughter House list, and when a government hunter tracks him down, Eddie has to fight or die.

“If you want to kill serious crime, you have to kill serious criminals.”
Sir George Deacon, Minster of Justice.

My review:

This is the first in Eddie Collins series and what a start. I have actually already had the pleasure to meet Eddie in Ledston Luck and actually liked his unlikable character. But The Third Rule has given me a fab insight into why Eddie can be such an ungentlemanly character.

At first I was confused and slightly afraid of the amount of characters that were being thrown at me for the first quarter of the book, but Andy has a great way of marrying up the story of each and every person and it all just slots together beautifully.

The overarching theme of this novel is the idea of ultimate punishment. The Rules should provide the country with a legal way of cleansing society of dark characters that are not allowing the ‘normal’ law-abiding members of public to live their lives to the full as they hide behind closed doors afraid of being burgled, attacked, killed etc. On the surface, the idea is excellent. You commit a crime; you get rule one. You recommit, you get rule three. And well, if that doesn’t stop you then the bullet of rule three will.

However, what happens when the rules are used for someone’s own gain of power. Let’s say a police officer just wants that promotion and will convict the easy target for a quick conviction, even though the evidence points the other way. Or if a high-power politician uses the rules to cover up tracks from his own crimes.

It’s a superb question of morals and it’s so well written, it keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time you read it. Eddie is a very unlikely hero and that’s what’s most attractive about him, because underneath all the darkness, he is a good, fair character that will do anything to stop injustice.

My rating: 5/5

Available to purchase from: