Blog Tour: GENES by Mary Ting -a Review + Giveaway

Genes (International Sensory Assassin Network #3) by Mary Ting
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication date: June 30th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Allegiances will be tested.
Identities will be revealed.
No one is safe.

While searching for the HelixB88 anti-serum on the black market, Ava uncovers valuable intel that may help the rebels in their fight to bring down ISAN—the location of a hidden facility. But first, the insurgents must find the female citizens unexpectedly displaying powers without use of the Helix serum before ISAN captures them.

As the rebels join forces with other sectors, ISAN plans their destruction by using someone they don’t suspect at the rebel home base. A traitor within.

Now, Ava must make a dangerous decision, one that could risk their capture—or worse.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

This review is in relation to book 3 in the series so while I will steer away from spoilers for this book, there may be spoilers of books 1 & 2

GENES picked up right from the end of Helix and if you’re a follower of the series, you’d know that Ava had been impatiently waiting for a certain test result and we find out right at the beginning of this book with an immediate twist to the story. And this sets the tone of the book, many more twists, some kick-ass action, and lots of lovey doveys.

Ava & the rebels continued to find ways to thwart ISAN & Mr Novak but first they needed Brooke to wake up and Gene to cooperate. Gene has completely thrown them off by his very different attitude & personality. Even as he’s kept tightly in isolation and continuous watch, he does not appear to be worried and continue to threaten the safety of the rebels. Ava was a little worried but she’s also got other things to do. The mystery remains, however, just what can Gene do?

A fast paced read with loads of actions and plenty more romance. I love to see Rhett and Ava together though sometimes, I get frustrated because… hello, you’re in the middle of a situation here?! But, as their friends said it, it’s just how they are. The group of friends are just fabulous as ever and growing!! That last sentence-twist at the end of the book was mind boggling BUT *gosh* I’m getting frustrated with Ava too. I do want to find out what’s really going on though so… onto book 4 (hopefully)!

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $25 Amazon gift card (ends Jul-09)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

International Bestselling, Award-Winning Author Mary Ting writes soulful, spellbinding stories that excite the imagination and captivate readers all over the world. Her books run a wide range of genres: science fiction, fantasy, and swoon worthy stories. Her storytelling talents have won her a devoted legion of fans and garnered critical praise.

Mary was born in Seoul Korea and resides in Southern California with her husband, two children, and two dogs—Mochi and Mocha. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Becoming an author was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother. After realizing she wanted to become a full-time author, she retired from teaching after twenty years.

Find Mary on:  Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / News update

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Blog Tour: Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey + Giveaway (INT)

Deadly Curious
Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 23rd 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried…

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks—and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case—with the help of a charming young policeman—she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

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My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Cindy Anstey is one of my favourite authors so, of course, I just have to read whatever she writes! Her books are usually young adult mystery set in regency period and this is a winner! I love Jane Austen and throw in a mix of YA mystery, it’s like candy to my brain.

Sophia Thompson is an easily likeable heroine. As her family’s social situation has altered, she does not think that she’s eligible for the marriage market anymore. Therefore, she must look to her own future welfare by finding a suitable job/career and she’s settled on becoming a Bow Street Runner because she loves solving puzzles. There isn’t a female Bow Street Runner but she’s sure she can be the first.

Her chance to prove herself comes when her cousin begs her to solve her brother’s murder. When Sophia arrives, she finds that there are sinister workings to hurt her cousin and family. She also finds that Bow Street has sent a young Runner of their own to look into this case. As she and Jeremy, the young detective, put their heads together, they find that they work very well as a team and maybe, also as partners in life.

I was hoping for a romp through the regency period and that’s exactly what I got. The mystery was okay and the romance was sort of cute but I really did enjoy the setting a lot. I just sat back and be entertained for a few hours; Deadly Curious was a candy-floss-fun read.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Book Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of Deadly Curious

(ends Jul-02)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

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Review: Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

Sticks and Stones by Katherine Firkin

A terrifying, twisting debut from TV news journalist Katherine Firkin. It’s time for a killer to leave his mark . . .

It’s winter in Melbourne and Detective Emmett Corban is starting to regret his promotion to head of the Missing Persons Unit, as the routine reports pile up on his desk.

So when Natale Gibson goes missing, he’s convinced this is the big case he’s been waiting for – the woman’s husband and parents insist the devoted mother would never abandon her children, and her personal accounts remain untouched.

But things aren’t all they seem. The close-knit Italian family is keeping secrets – none bigger than the one Natale has been hiding.

Just as the net seems to be tightening, the investigation is turned on its head. The body of a woman is found . . . then another.

What had seemed like a standard missing person’s case has turned into a frightening hunt for a serial killer, and time is running out.

But to really understand these shocking crimes, Emmett and his team will need to delve back through decades of neglect – back to a squalid inner-city flat, where a young boy is left huddling over his mother’s body . . .

Published 2 June 2020 |  Publisher: Penguin Random House Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Firstly, I am hoping that this is going to turn out to be a first in a series because it’s got some good premises and am keen to follow Detective Emmett Corban’s career and a more developed characters of his colleagues.

I am one of those who does not look / read the book description just before I read the book. The fact that I’ve, earlier, chosen to read it should suffice, so I sort of dived in without knowing / remembering much. The first chapter sort of confused me a little as there are so many characters introduced already and I didn’t know if I could keep track of who’s who. A couple of chapters on, I got used to the structure of chapters and just flew through the book. Retrospectively, I read the book description and behold, I could have saved my earlier confusion if I read it first lol

As we jump quite quickly from one scene to another with different characters, I thought the author has done quite well in keeping my attention and not getting me confused at all. It was quite good being able to get near 360-degree view of the ‘case’ and it got me to wonder how each character was going to be implicated in the case, the next victim or the murderer or just a red herring. I kept changing my opinion from one chapter to another on who the murderer was! The only think I’m missing is backgrounds on the detectives as we don’t seem to hear very much of them & their past.

Sticks and Stones is a fast-paced thrilling crime novel that will get you to flick pages without noticing the time. A great riveting read to cuddle with this winter!

Thanks to Penguin Random House Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Katherine Firkin is a Melbourne journalist, currently with CBS New York.

She has over a decade of experience and has worked across every medium – print, online, television and radio.

Katherine began her career at the Herald Sun newspaper (News Corp), where she specialised in sports reporting (winning an AFL Media award in 2008), before moving to breaking news, including crime and court reporting. During this time, she covered some of Victoria’s most notorious criminal affairs, including the death and funeral of underworld figure Carl Williams.

She has also worked for Seven West Media (7 News, 7 Sport), 3AW Radio, the Nine Network’s Today show, and Network Ten, and has been a regular international correspondent for multiple global outlets.

Katherine has been writing fiction from a young age, and she studied literature and journalism at university. Her debut novel is inspired by the many criminal trials she has covered.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

Review: Find Them Dead by Peter James

Find Them Dead (Roy Grace #16) by Peter James

Roy Grace, creation of the award-winning author Peter James, unearths a powerful criminal network in Find Them Dead.

A Brighton gangster is on trial for conspiracy to murder, following the death of a rival crime family boss. As the jury file into Lewes Crown Court, twelve anonymous people selected randomly from fifty, there is one person sitting in the public gallery observing them with keen interest, and secretly filming them. Later, a group of the accused’s henchmen sit around a table with the full personal details of each of the twelve jurors in front of them. They need to influence two of them – a jury can convict if directed on a 10-2 majority verdict but no less. But which two?

When Roy Grace is called in to investigate a murder that has links to the accused and the trial, and the suspicion that an attempt has been made to intimidate jurors, he finds the reach and power of the accused’s tentacles go higher than he had ever imagined.

Published 12 May 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I received this book as an unsolicited review copy. While I’m familiar with the author’s name, I’ve not read any of his books. I was sort of excited to try as I do love my crime novels until… I found out that this book is 16th(!!) in a series. I’m not keen to read a book in the middle of a series but thought I’m going to break out of my mould and read out of sequence!! To be fair, I did listen to books 2 & 3 (all I could managed) before reading this 16th book.

Soooo, could you read this without having read previous books? I’m leaning towards yes because even as you miss a lot (and I do mean Heaps!) of backstories, serial crime novels would usually stand alone. I wouldn’t really recommend reading it out of sequence though as I do wonder at certain things Roy Grace is facing and how that came about. However, this isn’t actually a huge part of the book. And that’s another thing, this book is nearly double the size of the first few in the series…??!!

I found the book to be slightly off from my expectation of a serial police procedural crime novels. The first being that about 80% of the book reads like a legal thriller and in addition to that, Roy Grace and his team barely featured in that part of the book. It nearly felt like reading 2 separate books?! The second thing I thought a bit weird was that I didn’t feel like there was much investigating happening; barely any action from the policing team. And this linked back to my first issue about the book being a legal thriller than a police procedural I expected it to be.

From the legal thriller part of the book, the story is told from the perspective of a juror being nobbled. As legal thrillers go (I went through a John Grisham phase years ago), I thought the suspense was excellent. Hence, my more positive rating of the book even as I wondered whether the series fan will love it or not. For now, I’m happy to leave off the series but who knows, maybe I’ll pick one up one day just because…

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Peter James is a UK number one bestselling author, best known for writing crime and thriller novels, and the creator of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace. Globally, his books have been translated into thirty-seven languages.

Synonymous with plot-twisting page-turners, Peter has garnered an army of loyal fans throughout his storytelling career – which also included stints writing for TV and producing films. He has won over forty awards for his work, including the WHSmith Best Crime Author of All Time Award, Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger and a BAFTA nomination for The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons for which he was an Executive Producer. Many of Peter’s novels have been adapted for film, TV and stage.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook  |  twitter  |  instagram  |  youtube

Review: Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope

Mum & Dad by Joanna Trollope

‘What a mess, she thought now . . . what a bloody, unholy mess the whole family has got itself into.’

It’s been twenty-five years since Gus and Monica left England to start a new life in Spain, building a vineyard and wine business from the ground up. However, when Gus suffers a stroke and their idyllic Mediterranean life is thrown into upheaval, it’s left to their three grown-up children in London to step in . . .

Sebastien is busy running his company with his wife, Anna, who’s never quite seen eye-to-eye with her mother-in-law.

Katie, a successful solicitor in the City, is distracted by the problems with her long-term partner, Nic, and the secretive lives of their three daughters.

And Jake, ever the easy-going optimist, is determined to convince his new wife, Bella, that moving to Spain with their eighteen-month-old would be a good idea.

As the children descend on the vineyard, it becomes clear that each has their own idea of how best to handle their mum and dad, as well as the family business. But as long-simmering resentments rise to the surface and tensions reach breaking point, can the family ties prove strong enough to keep them together?

Published 31 March 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

So despite the fact that I know you think I’m wet and useless and defeatist, I’m actually just trying to elude being stamped on by everyone else, flattened, obliterated. It may sound pathetic to you, but I just want people to be kind. Kind to me, and to each other. That’s all.

Monica and Gus chose to live in Spain; away from their children who live in England. Or rather, Monica followed Gus in realising his dreams of a vineyard. As a family, they are rather more estranged than familiar with huge big gaps between each member. When Gus suffered a stroke, however, things began to boil over until one and then two and then the rest begins to open up and one talks to the other.

This isn’t a book that I’d pick up on my own; not by its description anyway. I’m too wary of family stories as I’ve had enough of mine own. However, I kind of liked the cover so thought I’d give it a go. It was a matter of discipline of reading 2 chapters per day. That made it sound rather terrible, isn’t it? But, it was a pretty sad & heartbreaking story. At least, to begin with, it was, but thankfully the ending wasn’t too bad. Although, I did wonder how realistic it was… Probably only a small percentage of family will survive for the better or am I being a cynic?

Overall, <i>Mum & Dad</i> is a wonderful book in showing just how gaps and misunderstandings can be bridged by being open, talking honestly and willingness to forgive. I enjoyed Trollope’s prose and her descriptions of Spain had me enthralled to the end.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Joanna Trollope is the author of many highly acclaimed and bestselling novels, including The Rector’s Wife, Marrying the Mistress and Daughters in Law. She was appointed OBE in 1996, a trustee of the National Literacy Trust in 2012, and a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund in 2016. She has chaired the Whitbread and Orange Awards, as well as being a judge of many other literature prizes including chairing the BBC National Short Story Awards for 2017. Mum and Dad is her twenty-second novel.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook

Blog Tour: The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib + Giveaway (INT)

The Dark In-Between
Elizabeth Hrib
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 5th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Action-packed and emotionally powerful like big- and small-screen hits such as The Sixth Sense and Supernatural, The Dark In-Between by Elizabeth Hrib is sure to stay with you long after the lights go out.

Something lurks in the shadows between life and death.

A terrible accident brings sixteen-year-old Casey Everett’s life to a halt—literally. Pulled from the water, Casey is rushed to the hospital and miraculously revived. But her sudden return to the living is shadowed by the drowning of her best friend, Liddy.

Overcome with grief, Casey returns home for the summer only to find the memories of the accident won’t let her go. Shadow-drenched nightmares. Whispers in the back of her mind. Her friend’s screams. Casey thinks she’s losing it… until she watches a boy fall from the sky.

Red—an angel fallen to earth to regain his wings—takes her to Limbo, a place that exists somewhere between the living and the dead. Now, in order to save her best friend, Casey must learn to walk these mysterious and dangerous paths or else risk losing Liddy’s trapped soul to something worse than death.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The Dark In-Between is a fast & easy read. It was easy to get into and time really did fly when I was reading this; did not realise it was past midnight by the time I was finished!

The opening scene is a beautiful summer’s day and 2 best friends were having the best of time on water until tragedy struck. Unfortunately, one of them dies and the other had to face life without her. Casey Everett lost her parents some time ago and now, she lost her BFF, Liddy; it feels like no one is safe around her. She also could not stop dreaming of Liddy but unbeknown to her, it is actually Liddy’s soul calling out to her for help. Then comes Red, the fallen angel, her guardian to point the way to the in-between.

Fallen angels. I’m not a fan of this trope but I didn’t particularly mind it too much here. Red provides much wisdom and the dynamics between him and Evan, Casey’s other best friend, is all hilarity. I loved the interaction between Evan an Casey too as they explore the possibility of going from best friend to maybe something more; it was very sweet.

Overall, I enjoyed The Dark In-Between more as a fluffy comfort read. It was just really easy to read and follow and that action at the end was just fantastic. I do have one question which makes me question that even as the book feels like it’s supposed to be a stand alone but that little ‘question’ was left in case of the possibility of a sequel. I’d like to see what that’d be.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Book Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of The Dark In-Between

(ends May-14)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Elizabeth Hrib was born and raised in London, Ontario where she studied nursing at Western University. She now calls the East Coast home, where she works as a nurse in Halifax. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found at the piano, planning her next Netflix binge, or attempting to keep her small, windowsill garden alive.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter

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Blog Tour: The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

 

The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks

Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 28 April 2019
Australian RRP: $17.99

I was eleven when everything started and twelve by the end. But that’s another way maps lie, because it felt like the distance travelled was a whole lot further than that. 

 Sorrento, Victoria – 1999 

Fred’s family is a mess. Fred’s mother died when she was six and she’s been raised by her Pop and adoptive father, Luca, ever since. But now Pop is at the Rye Rehabilitation Centre recovering from a fall; Luca’s girlfriend, Anika, has moved in; and Fred’s just found out that Anika and Luca are having a baby of their own. More and more it feels like a land-grab for family and Fred is the one being left off the map.

But even as the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, a crisis from the other side of it comes crashing in. When 400 Kosovar-Albanian refugees arrive in the middle of the night to be housed at one of Australia’s ‘safe havens’ on an isolated headland not far from Sorrento, their fate becomes intertwined with the lives of Fred and her family, as she navigates one extraordinary year that will change them all.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | QBD  | Hachette Australia

My Blurb (5/5 stars)

11 year old Winifred Owen-Ricci felt her world shifting once again. There was that big one when her mother died but this year, her 11th year, she felt her world to lose its smoothness and little bumps and lumps are emerging. Just as she has to adjust herself to her father’s new partner and her son moving in, a group of Kosovar-Albanian refugees were brought in to a ‘safe haven’ not far from her town. As her life touches those of the refugees’ so begin some little ripples of change but what can an 11 year old girl do to help?

The Year the Maps Changed was such an easy and engaging book to read. I was quickly drawn into Winnie’s (aka Fred’s or Freddo’s) world and fell in love… with her parents. It is heartwarming to see a good parental models in MG fiction though not to say that they are perfect but they try and mostly, they do good. The novel primarily is about a child’s life in a small town as she struggles to fit in into her new blended family.

The novel also dealt with a contemporary issues of refugees. And while it refers specifically to the Kosovar-Albanian ones who came to Australia in 1999, the same issue and concern still exist today in regard to refugees. Even as Winnie is confused about her spot in the family, she and her friends are also curious about the refugees and the reason for the war. Her sympathy engaged, she dared to put out a helping hand.

I got my 10 year old boy to read this too but unfortunately, it failed to engage him. He does not think himself as a reader and when he does read, he prefers books with the typical boy humour (a very narrow preference). He thinks it is boring because it’s just about everyday life where nothing really happens. He has been very fortunate in having grown up in a rather traditional family structure, I think, that he lacks the appreciation how much a struggle ‘everyday life’ could be when your family structure & dynamics change. From my perspective (I grew up with older half siblings), this novel has dealt with this issue sensitively and provided a lovely broad perspective of just how it could all work.

Life, as we all know, is never a smooth ride. Just as you think to switch the cruise control on, there’s a turn or a bump coming up and you’ll have to navigate manually. In The Year the Maps Changed, Winnie’s world (aka map) was changing and expanding with additional turns, cracks, and bumps. Changes come in all forms and many different directions; from her life’s centre (her family) to her friends to worldwide concerns. She is learning to negotiate life inside out, growing and expanding herself to adjust to her new world. Beautifully set by Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, The Year the Maps Changed is a new & gorgeous landmark in all readers’ landscapes or it should be!

Thanks to Date a Book, Hachette Australia, & Hachette New Zealand for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Danielle Binks is a Melbourne-based writer, reviewer, agent, book blogger and Youth Literature Advocate. In 2017, she edited and contributed to Begin, End, Begin, an anthology of new Australian young adult writing inspired by the #LoveOzYA movement, which won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children (Ages 13+) and was shortlisted in the 2018 Gold Inky Awards. The Year the Maps Changed is Danielle’s debut middle-grade novel coming out with Hachette Australia in 2020.

Find Danielle on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Review: Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin

Recommended by Entertainment Weekly, included in Good Morning America’s 20 Books We’re Excited for in 2020 & named as one of Vogue’s Best Books to Read This Winter, Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of February 2020, and O Magazine’s 14 of the Best Books to Read This February!

Claire is only seven years old when her college-age sister Alison vanishes from the luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Saint X on the last night of her family’s vacation. Several days later Alison’s naked body is found in a remote spot on a nearby cay, and two local men, employees at the resort, are arrested. But the evidence is slim, the timeline against it, and the men are soon released. It’s national tabloid news, a lurid mystery that will go unsolved, but for Claire’s family there is only the sad return home to broken lives.

Years later, riding in a New York City taxicab, Claire recognizes the name on the cabbie’s licence, Clive Richardson – her driver is one of the men originally suspected of murdering her sister. The fateful encounter sets her on an obsessive pursuit of the truth, not only what happened on the night of Alison’s death, but the no less elusive question of exactly who was this sister she was barely old enough to know: a beautiful, changeable, provocative girl of eighteen at a turbulent moment of identity formation. As Claire doggedly shadows Clive, hoping to gain his trust, waiting for the slip that will uncover the truth, an unlikely intimacy develops between them, two people whose lives were forever marked by a tragedy.

Alexis Schaitkin’s Saint X is a flawlessly drawn and deeply moving story that hurtles to a devastating end.

Published 25 February 2020 |  Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (2 / 5 stars)

Absolutely loved the cover which would’ve been my primary reason to pick this book up, if not that it was sent to me by the publisher. I didn’t mind the blurb either but I’m not at all keen on psychological thriller. I love mysteries, crimes, thrillers, all of them but psychological thriller is one I’d usually avoid. Then again, the reason I usually avoid them (extramarital affairs etc) is absent here so I might as well give this one a go.

It opens oh so beautifully on a fictional Caribbean island beach where a family of 4 (including a teen daughter) have arrived for a holiday. The scene described was so lush, I fell in love with this spot. Maybe I just really need a holiday. However, other than this beautiful prose, I quickly ran out of patience with the novel.

The main perspective is Claire who was just 8 years old when her sister, Alison, disappeared and later found dead. She is now a young woman and an accidental meeting pushed her into a dark place from which we could not escape for some time. There were just too many parts with bits & pieces of others’ perspectives (those who were either at the island or is connected to Alison). I didn’t think it was that hard to follow the jump in time but at the end of the novel, I really had to question myself…

Saint X is slow; it is like long lazy waves breaking at the beach at which you could practically watch hypnotised all day. I don’t have all day though so it was hard to keep my focus. And I must say that I was rather disappointed with the ending. I felt that all my hard work to read through the novel did not pay off. However, there are those who truly enjoyed this novel too so maybe psychological thriller really is not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Alexis Schaitkin’s debut novel, Saint X, is forthcoming from Celadon Books on February 18th, 2020, with seven foreign language editions to follow. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Ecotone, Southwest Review, The Southern Review, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Her fiction has been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She received her MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow. She lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with her husband and son.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website

Blog Tour: An Outcast and An Ally by Caitlin Lochner + Giveaway (INT)

An Outcast and an Ally
Caitlin Lochner
(A Soldier and a Liar #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: April 21st 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Dark secrets and conflicting loyalties abound as four superpowered teens are torn apart by war in Caitlin Lochner’s An Outcast and an Ally, the epic YA sequel to A Soldier and a Liar.

Lai, Jay, Al, and Erik are on the run after the military accuses them of being traitors. Tensions between everyone are high, but they have to stick together if they want to survive. And somehow stop the war that’s now in full swing.

But when Erik returns to the rebels to find answers about his past, Lai, Al, and Jay have no choice but to go to the Order―a peace coalition bent on stopping the rebels and dissolving the enmity between gifted and ungifted. However, the longer the war drags on, the more Lai’s long-kept secrets threaten to destroy everything she’s ever worked for. Sparks fly as the team constantly questions whether they can trust one another and everyone tries to navigate a war that will change everything.

Filled with the same high-stakes superpowered action and complex relationships as A Soldier and A Liar, Caitlin’s first book, An Outcast and an Ally brings this story to a dramatic and satisfying close.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Some time has past since the end of A Soldier and a Liar and we find the four friends still together but fraught with tension. They must decide what to do even as each struggles internally with what they should do. In this book, we are given insights into all 4 friends as chapters alternate between all 4 POVs.

As was seen in the first book, Lai is a strong independent young woman, but she’s even stronger in this one as we see her break but only to surface stronger than before. Jay’s chapters were to me the weakest in this book as he seems only to serve as a little helper (even if his actual role in the Order wasn’t that little) and some sort of romantic interest (I found this even slightly lacking; yes, I wish there was a bit more spark).

Erik’s & Al’s struggles, however, were soul searching ones. All Erik wanted was to regain his memory yet finding out about his past self made him doubt whether that should be his priority in life. While Al’s purpose in life was to avenge her parents, she was derailed by what she actually found out and after all that she and the Order has been through, she begins to question what’s truly important in life?

An Outcast and An Ally is a novel about fighting for justice; it is filled with broken pasts, betrayals, but best of all, friendships and what that means. It is YA dystopian with characters who aren’t overwhelmed with anger and who aren’t afraid to think for themselves. It is a fascinating world despite the twists of betrayals for if one or two are willing to change, there is always hope.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of An Outcast and An Ally

(ends Apr-30)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

I’m a nerd, traveler, and architecture enthusiast who worked as an assistant English teacher in Tokyo for three years before pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida. I love reading and writing anything with magic, adventure, and complex found-family relationships. I can typically be found absorbed in books, games, or manga, or else obsessing over said books, games, and manga.

Find author on: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Instagram

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Blog Tour: Defy the Sun by Jessica Fleck + Giveaway (INT)

Defy the Sun
Jessika Fleck
(The Offering Series, #2)
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: March 10th 2020
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult

In this electrifying YA dystopian sequel to Beware the Night, Veda is captured and leveraged against her best friend, who fights for the opposing force.

Civil war has come to the island of Bellona. Veda Adeline believes in the Night. She’s joined the underground revolutionaries, led by Dorian Winters, and they’re determined to overthrow the ruling Imperi and find justice for her people.

Nico Denali, Veda’s childhood friend and maybe-something-more, is one of those ruling Imperi, and he’s just been named heir to the most powerful man above ground.

As the war intensifies, Veda and Nico are leveraged against each other: Veda is above as a hostage of the Imperi and Nico is below, taken by the Night. There’s no way Dorian is letting such a valuable hostage go.

The island will burn unless Veda and Nico can come together to rip everything apart. But Nico and Dorian will never trust each other, and Veda’s heart might be the biggest casualty.

Praise for Defy the Sun

“Jessika Fleck’s duology is a lyrical adventure with a twisting vein of romance throughout. I was both enchanted and haunted till the very end!” —Erin Beaty, author of the Traitor’s Trilogy

Beware the Night

“Jessika Fleck delights with a new fantasy novel set in a world where the Sun reigns supreme and the Night is your enemy—literally. Brims with secrets, betrayal, and a genuinely believable love triangle!” —Pintip Dunn, New York Times bestselling author of the Forget Tomorrow series

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Defy the Sun picks up pretty much immediately right after Beware the Night so this is definitely one of those series you must read in order and you really do want to have to both books before you dive in because it really feels like 1 big book although one big change in this installment is that we have Nico’s POV as well as Veda’s and it’s just beautiful.

It is now all out war between the Day and Night and both sides are suffering losses they could barely afford. Nico and Veda and some others want this war to end before their whole world burns however as Nico and Veda are in position of power now, the burden mostly falls on them. But as they are separated, how are they to collaborate to end this blasted war?

To be honest, this novel is rather heavy in romance and while I expected that, I had to work hard to not hold against the love triangle issue. You’ll note I whinged about that in the last book, well… it got a bit worse in this book until it got better. Thankfully, Veda’s got a good head on her shoulders and at the end, everything worked well.

Defy the Sun was a riveting read; I was on tenterhook, not only because of the resolution of the love triangle, but also for the resolution of this world’s division. I really couldn’t guess how it could be resolved and , at 85%, had my doubts that it’d be resolved in this book! But the explosive ending totally worked and I’m left with a peaceful heart.

Thank you Swoon Reads and Xpresso Tours for including me in this blog tour & ecopy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

GIVEAWAY (International)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter to win a print copy of Defy the Sun (ends Mar-19)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

Jessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019.

Find author on:  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebookTwitter

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