The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott

The Short Knife by Elen Caldecott is an adventure/ historical fiction novel that is set in 454AD, as the Roman Empire has withdrawn from Britain.

This historic novel follows the main female protagonist names Mai and we follow her journey through the dark ages and facing Saxon Warriors. It is full of the mysticism of early Britain and we get to delve into the world of Mai.

We start the book with Mai, Haf (sister) and her Tad at their farm when Saxon warrors arrive and the family must flee. we follow their journey to the british camp on the hills and are given an insight into how Mai is feeluing and how she copes with the change. We see her struggle wwith her new situation and wants to leave. She continues in the British camp until she finds herself in trouble and ends up in a dangerous Saxon Camp. in a world where speaking your mother tongue is deadly she must learn Saxon words in porder to survive. but will this be enough?

I also liked the character of Mai in this book. As the protagonist we follow her journey through her experience with the dark ages and Saxon warriors as she become a strong independent woman. We also get to see her relationships with others including her sister Haf and how this effects her and the outcome of her life which I felt added another dimension to the character. She is only young yet we see her go through so much which adds strength to her character. We see her become strong and resilient in a world that doesn’t appreciate who she is.

This book was also a lot about Identify and language and we see how Mai’s is affected as she is forced to speak a language that isn’t her own. She loses part of herself when she can no longer speak her mother tongue and throughout the book we see how this effects her. How much she misses to be able to speak her own language. At one point she tears up after having heard her mother tongue spoken freely which shows the importance of her language is to her.

Generally, I don’t enjoy books that are set far in the past and I can’t say I would have picked this up if I hadn’t received this in July’s Book Box Club subscription box. Saying that, I enjoyed this book and was fully engaged from the beginning. Throughout the book I noticed saying to my self ‘just one more page’ a lot, which to me is a good sign!

Overall, I would recommend this book (even if you are not usually a fan of historic fiction like myslef). It is full of adventure and with a strong female lead you constantly want to read on. even though it features a complex character it is easy to read and enjoy and is almost poetic in its writing.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to like and comment 🙂 )

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

‘Imaginary Friend’ is a book written by Stephen Chbosky which is due to be released in October. This is a release I am scored about as Chbosky first novel ‘Perks of being a Wallflower’ was a great read that I loved.

‘Perks of being a wallflower’ was then made into a film which Chbosky wrote and directed himself. Since then he has written screenplays such as The live action Beauty and the Beast.

‘Imaginary Friends’ is his second novel and follows Kate Reese. Kate is a single mother who flees an abusive relationship by moving to a new town and starting over with her son. But Mill Grove, Pennsylvania is not the place they thought it would be… after her son disappears into the woods their life begins to unravel. This disappearance is strangely familiar with a similar occurrence happening 50 years prior. When he returns 6 days later it is a relief to find him unharmed but he isn’t the same as he was before. He doesn’t come back alone and is accompanied with a voice only he can hear.

This book is thrilling and eery with a masterpiece of imagination and emotion.

I was lucky enough to be sent a link to where I could read the first couple of chapters and so far I am liking it and can’t wait till October. As with every post I will say that reading is entirely a personal choice and which books you like could be completely different to other so although I am recommending it if you don’t like it that’s fine too,

If you would like to get an extract from this book follow this link!

http://netgal.ly/CIsH6X

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you read the extract and your opinion so far!)

This Splintered Silence – Mini Review

This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson is a YA Science Fiction novel set on the Lusca Space Station. Ever since every first generation crew member was killed by a deadly virus Lindley Hamilton has had to step up and become commander like her mother. Lindley and her 5 fellow friends step up to become the people in charge and we follow Lindley’s journey as she faces challenge after challenge. After members of the surviving population start to die she must figure out why and how to stop more deaths.

I really enjoyed this book and I was quite surprised that I did. I am not usually a fan of science fiction books or books set in the future however this book had mystery and suspense throughout. As we read we find out what exactly is happening on the space station alongside Lindley and are given no extra information which allows the reader to find out what has actually happened right at the end of the book at the same time as the characters. The story line is engaging and well thought out with challenges such as lack of water that is generally only something that relates to being in space.

Lindley Hamilton is a strong female lead in this novel and we see how she changes after every new challenge appears. She is vulnerable like everyone else and we do get to see that side of her as she copes with becoming commander so young and with little inexperience. Her mother greatly influences her time as commander and we can see how she puts this into practice. Although all the first gen crew members and the survivors parents are no longer there we can see how they are helping the characters every day. She has been thrown into a very intense role and we get the chance to see inside her head and understand exactly what she is feeling and thinking.

I really liked the characterisation in this book. They are realistic and genuine. They are not all portrayed as completly capable and knowledgable and we can see the strain the deaths have put on them. As new deaths appear and challenges including low food and water supplies we see how the relationships between the characters change. This novel is strongly character based which I enjoyed as you got to see them grow. The novel often focuses more on the characters reactions (mainly Lindley as it is written from her POV) that the actual events themselves which is an intriguing read.

The structure of this novel is something I really enjoyed as well. It is written in short chapters which often makes me read more in a sitting. If I am reading and decide to stop I often say to myself ‘the next chapters only a couple pages long, I will read that and then stop’. I rarely say that once as well. It think this obviously says something about the story as I don’t want to put the book down however shows how the writer can use the structure to this advantage.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to readers of YA, Science Fiction or Mystery novels as it contains elements of all. I would also recommend this book to readers who like a strong character based book like myself. I really enjoyed this book and the style of writing and I would love to read more from this novel in the future!

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have every read this book or have any Science Fiction recommendations)

Only the Ocean – Natasha Carthew

Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew is a young adult book that focuses on a young girl who is trying to survive in a dark and scary world. You follow Kel who plans to kidnap a girl in order to fund her trip to America to receive help for her heart. Whilst doing this not everything goes to plan and they both end up stranded in the middle of the ocean with only the hope of surviving. Due to this time spent together they grow close and become friends which is unusual for someone from the ‘swamps’ and the other from the ‘towers’.

There are two main characters in this book, both young girls named Kel and Rose. They are from completely different world and you can see that throughout the book. The way that Kel talks in comparison to Rose show the difference in class and education alone. They are an unlikely friendship however as the book goes on and they learn more about one another you can see they begin to bond. I did like these characters and did feel as though they fit the story well even if it want my favourite book.

I did find it took a little while to get into the book as the dialogue takes some getting used to. The writer used a lot of slang and phonetic words. This can become confusing at times however the narration in between the dialogue cleared things up and you could follow the story.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, this is just a personal opinion however as many others do love it. I feel it lacked action for me and didn’t necessarily keep me engaged. It also seems unrealistic in a way. I know it is a fictional book however I find it hard that they did survive on the sea for so long when it was described as being so wild. I also felt that the baby being in the book was pointless. I didn’t feel it added to anything and that at times I felt the writer had forgotten about it. I know the premise was that Kel didn’t like the bay however I feel as though the baby wouldn’t have survived these events. At one point when they come across a ship that they went aboard to look for food the baby seemed to just disappear for a while.

 The characters went through a lot however everything went back to normal very quickly. For example, Rose suffered a bad injury on her leg after their raft capsized yet despite spending days with an open wound on an island then on the sea it seemed to just be fine.

Overall, I would say that this book wasn’t for me. I liked the characters and felt the fit the story however I personally didn’t enjoy it. I felt that it was long and drawn out with a few events along the way with a disappointing ending.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion of this book if you have ever read it or if there are any other comments you want to make)

‘No Safe House’ by Linwood Barclay

No Safe House by Linwood Barclay is a thriller and crime novel that is the sequel to No Time for Goodbye. This picks up 7 years after the previous book and follows the same characters, Terry, Cynthia,Grace and Vince who are dealing with the trauma of what happened all those years ago.

It follows Terry as he tries to keep his family together after that night 7 years ago. Cynthia is dealing with her personal demons and Grace is becoming a rebellious teen, both of which are driving the family apart. Whilst trying to keep the family together they stumble back into the world of Vince, the infamous gangster. When grace foolishly follows her boyfriend into a stranger’s house, Terry’s mission changes from keeping the family together to keeping the family alive.

I really enjoyed this book and felt as though I was kept on the edge of my seat. I think it is a realistic character development from book 1 and that it all related to the previous book. The beginning of the story was more focused on how the family are doing since the events of that nights but we soon are brought into the mysteries and events of current day. I liked how in this book we were given a chance to learn more about the who the characters are now and how that effects the events in the rest of the book and gave us something tangible to link to them.

The story has lots of twists and turns which keep you wondering what is going to happen next. The book is fast paced and exciting which I enjoyed as it made me read quicker as I kept to the pace of the book. More times than not I didn’t want to put the book down and just wanted to know how it all ended. It shows both the psychological and physical effects of the characters and how they are dealing with such a huge amount of emotions. We are also given an insight into how Vince and Jane are doing since the previous book and how they have changed since that night.

I think that considering that there are more than one main character Linwood Barclay balances the amount on information of each character well. I feel as though I know loads about each character and why they are the way they are which I was impressed with considering, in my opinion, there are 5.

Overall, I would recommend this book but I would definitely read the first book, No Time for goodbye, first. I would say that I preferred the story of this book more however it often links to the previous book which without reading could cause confusion.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion of these books or any other recommendations by Linwood Barclay)

‘No Time For Goodbye’ Linwood Barclay

‘No Time For Goodbye’ is a crime thriller novel by author Linwood Barclay that was published in 2007. The book centers around a woman named Cynthia and the disappearance of her family. She wakes up one day and her family is gone, no bodies, no crime scene, no evidence. What really happened to her family? It follows her journey trying to find out what happened to her family 25 years ago and the new clues that are appearing.

I really enjoyed this book as it wasn’t entirely based from a police procedural view and looked more and the view of Cynthia and her husbands. How they are coping with the new information and trying to figure out what happened to Cynthia’s family.

I found both Cynthia and her husband likable characters which made me more invested in finding out how it all ended. We see a flashback to the night Cynthia family went missing at the beginning of the novel which helped to show who she is today and how she has been shaped by these traumatic events. The guilt and sadness that came alongside the experience becomes apparent in her life with her husband and daughter now and how she has become more paranoid than ever. Her husband is also likable as we see how the events effect him and their daughter. We see him becoming more annoyed and suspicious which I think adds realism because if he was always positive and supportive would that be truthful to what would actually happen in that scenario.

I found that the book started off at an average pace but soon speeds up as more pieces of the jigsaw fits together and her husband becomes more and more involved in finding out the truth.

I think the ending of the book matches to the build up and is an exciting ending. There are more twists and turns up until the last page so it keeps you on the edge of your seat. You want to know what happened all those years ago and you want it to be a happy ending (as much as possible) for Cynthia and her family.

Overall, I would highly recommend this thriller as it keeps ypou on the edge of your seat throughout with a realistic story. I am excited to read the sequel ! ‘No Safe House’

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on this book or any others by Linwood Barclay)

The Other Side of Lost

The Other Side of Lost’  is my new favourite book.

The other side of lost
Source: http://www.goodreads.com

There are no crimes, mysteries or gruesome murders but it’s still my new favourite book. It is awe inspiring and beautifully written. I was engaged from the get go and loved every moment. I just finished reading it two days ago and I already want to read it again!

I think that Jessi Kirby has written an amazing book. It features a realistic character who faces the big question, who am I? It features an online influencer in the beginning who finds herself after experiencing a devastating loss. She is a lovely character who has put on a mask for the world to see in order to hide her true self. I am glad to have discovered Mari and see her journey of personal development. It may be fictitious but after every sentence I read I became more invested in her journey. She is likable and relatable. Bri is an inspiring character also. She is the center of the story and I think that is an important factor. She lived her life doing exactly what she loved and wanted to do. I want to be like Bri.

I think that ‘the other side of lost’ is a great metaphor for life right now. Everyone is becoming more obsessed with social media and how they are portrayed on it. Take the time to look at who you really are and what you really want. Follow your dreams, not your followers !

The book deals with the sensitive subject of loss and although it is a major part of the book it is not what the book is about. It shows how loss can effect someones life. If we loose a person close to us it makes us think, like it did for Mari. In her case, it made her look to her childhood and all the dreams she has with her cousin which she didn’t fulfill. She decides to go on the John Muir Trail, a hiking trail that they had both dreamed of completing together in honour of Bri. It began with wanting to complete Bri’s hike but ended with Mari finishing her own.

The book also deals with friendship and how you can find the best relationships when you least expect it, Mari stumbles upon a group of hikers and we get to see how their relationships develop. This adds extra depth to the story and makes a more relevant story about how to deal with new friendships and meeting new people.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone and I mean anyone. It is a beautiful novel which I think would suit the majority of readers. I would like to thank Jessi Kirby for writing this book and I would also like to thank Kate and Libby from Book Box Club for including it in their ‘into the woods box’. If they hadn’t included it in doubt I would have ever read it.
I love this book, please take the time to read it !

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if you have read this book or if you are going to!)

Talking with Female Serial Killers – Mini Review

talking with female serial killers

Talking with Female Serial Killers’ is a book written by Christopher Berry-Dee, released in May 2018, which looks at the most chilling female serial killers in the world. Christopher Berry-Dee is a criminologist and author who has previously released books on true crime including ‘Talking with Female Serial Killers’ and ‘Monster’. The book looks at those women who not only kill but kill again and again.

In this book, Berry-Dee looks at the female killers who are the masterminds behind the murders as well those who kill under the influence of a partner such as Myra Hindley and Rosemary West. He looks at the motives behind their crimes as well as looking at those killers who were influences by being victims themselves or a witness to crime.

I enjoyed reading this book as I find learning why people kill fascinating however I felt that the book was confusing at times skipping between stories and events. The information given was necessary in explaining the crimes but I think it could have been written in a smoother structure as at times I felt lost and was insure what part I was reading.  I also think this book’s title was misleading as there were no real interviews with any serial killers. There were quotes from previous interviews conducted by Berry-Dee and others however which helped to understand where the convicted females stand.

I have read a lot of reviews on this book and feel that a lot of them were unfair. The book is an interesting read and I did enjoy reading it even after what I said above. A lot of reviews stated that it was badly written and full of too many adjectives and metaphors however I do feel that this was the case due to the writer trying to get people more engaged as well as adding a little bit of humour to a dark book.

Overall, I would say that if you are interested in reading about female serial killers then it is a good book however do not expect for there to be lengthy interviews with them. I personally quite liked this book but do be aware than many people didn’t enjoy this book.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment your opinion on this book or if you have read another book about female serial killers)

Book Box Club Unboxing

Month: September

Theme: Into the Wild

This month saw another release of the subscription box ‘ Book Box Club’ but this wasn’t any old box as it was the 2 year anniversary of the company. This meant that there was an extra goodie within for those who bought the box.

Upon opening the box you are presented with the leaflet stating the theme and what’s included alongside the envelope with the date of the exclusive book club meeting.

These leaflets are always beautifully illustrated and this months was no exception. It was fitting with the themes as it features simplistic trees along side a bear and a fox.

Within the box there is an abundance of bookish goodies including a campers picnic bag by http://www.sassandbelle.co.uk so you can take your snacks on your adventures with you. There is also an into the woods scarf by Book Box Club which features quotes from the featured book. There is also a massage bar by Naked Sister to relax yourself after your exciting adventures alongside a Caveswater Candle. On top of all those goodies there is also a little pad to keep your plans together.

A lost boys notebook designed by Georgine Makes is also included in the box so you can journal and plan all your exciting adventures alongside sample chapters from Neal and Jarrod Shustermans book ‘Dry’.

As this was the two year anniversary of the company we were treated to a bonus book. The bonus book is ‘Damsel’ by Elana K. Arnold which isn’t due to be released until November. This book features a handsome prince, a distressed damsel and a fierce dragon with excitement throughout.

The featured book this month is ‘The Other Side of Lost’ by Jessi Kirby which is a story about when you take the time to remove yourself from technology and take an adventure. It follows a social media star who swaps her technology dependant life for a solo hike into the woods.

Yet again I highly recommend this subscription box and hope that you would enjoy Kate and Libby work as much as I do.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please comment if your are subscribed to book box club or have ever read the featured book)

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch (Mini Review)

 

jinxed

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch is a YA science-fiction book that centres around a world of engineering and coding. In this world there is a young girl named Lacey Chu whose dream is to become a companioneer for the tech company Moncha. This company created the BAKU, your very own robotic companion who replaces the role of your smart phone.

I found this book was really entertaining and exciting as you got the chance to learn about this world and about what happens with the BAKU. It is also exciting to see a book based upon engineering and coding with a female lead character. The character of Lacey is very likeable and realistic and I think would resonate with young female readers as she shows that you can achieve your dreams. Lacey is a talented engineer whose best friend is a talented coder who are exciting as it allows the book to promote strong female leads in a world once thought of as a male world.

This book mixes the world of new technology and inventions with teenage drama and friendships. I think this is also a reason as to why I liked this book as it blends the excitement of the BAKU battles and new school drama effortlessly. You see Lacey deal with making new and maintaining friendship whilst exploring this exciting and eventful new world.

The ending leaves questions as well as answers as it ends leaving us wonder what happens to Lacey and her BAKU. It ends on a cliffhanger which leads you to think there is potential for a blossoming series within this technology focused world. Overall I really enjoyed this book as it was entertaining and realistic with strong leads. It didn’t really feature any of the hard-hitting topics that I would usually read about which added some light relief to my reading experience.

I would highly recommend this book and feel that it was well-written, structures with good characters.

Many thanks, Caitlin x

(PS please feel free to comment your opinion on this book or whether you intend on reading it)