Hi there! I’m Kay: an opinionated book blogger enamoured with the world of novels. Reader of Speculative Fiction (the posh word for Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and Young Adult (don’t judge, it’s brilliant). Believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes.

 

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Recent Reviews

Magic Burns by Ilona AndrewsAurelia by Anne OsterlundUprooted by Naomi NovikShadow Study by Maria V. SnyderThis Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerUnited We Spy by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally CarterEve and Adam by Katherine Applegate, Michael GrantHex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

(Yet Another) Better World Books Haul

Who doesn’t love a Better World Books sale? Here’s what I nabbed during the recent one – all lovely US hardcovers!

Better World Book Haul 2014

Aren’t they lovely? All of them have been on my wishlist for ages and at last they are mine! Which do you think I should start first?

Review: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Review: All Fall Down by Ally CarterAll Fall Down by Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row #1
Published by Orchard Books, Scholastic on 2015-01-20
Pages: 320
Genres: Contemporary YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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Rating:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts.

But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt.

Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Thoughts: Remember that Pringles ad back in the 90s? “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop!” Well – that’s how I feel about Ally Carter’s books. They are all such entertaining, clever novels – once I open one, I want to devour it all in a single go!

All Fall Down is the first completely new book Ally Carter has released in a few years. With no Kat or Cammie, there was a bit of nervousness  from fans about the book. They needn’t have worried. While very different, the Embassy Row series will feel at home on the shelf next to the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society novels. All the books have the same teenage Ocean’s Eleven meets James Bond feel to them (aka my perfect mix).

But while similar in feel, All Fall Down is a darker book. For starters, our main character – Grace – is extremely screwed up. She’s living on the edge of sanity, and you can never be certain if you can trust her or her judgement. Hell, she doesn’t trust her own judgement half of the time. I was reminded of the fifth book in the Gallagher Girls series (Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter), where the main mystery is the one going on inside our heroine’s head. Great stuff.

I also adored the political atmosphere on Embassy Row. It was like adding Homeland to the Ocean’s Eleven/James Bond mix. What happens when a half-Israeli kid wanders over onto the Iranian embassy during a party? What if the boy you like is being told to sever “diplomatic relations” with your country? How can you go about having a mental breakdown when you are stuck at a party with royalty? In short: all the regular teenage drama, but with added political goodness.

But one frustrating little thing… the ending. There is one hell of a reveal which left me going “WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?” and then…. nothing!! I mean, of course I want to read the next book to find out what happens next but… WHAT?

Bottom line? This is a 4/4.5 star book with an enormously frustrating ending. That being said, it is an absolute must for YA fans… though I recommend buying it now, but reading it once you have the second book in your hands… Just a thought!

Monday Reading (Feb. 2nd, 2015)

monday reading 11

In this weekly event hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books where we discuss what we’ve been reading this week (and, occasionally, what we haven’t).

Shadow Study by Maria V Snyder The Devil's Heart by Carmen Carter

Currently Reading:

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder – Yup, I’m still reading this. It is good, but not the most engaging of books. I love the chapters featuring Valek, but the book is a lot of effort for me to pick up.

Recent Listens:

The Devil’s Heart by Carmen Carter – Really not a favourite, despite a narration by a great Star Trek actor. Not terrible but rather… boring!

Deal Me In! update

I’m taking part in the Deal Me In challenge this year, reading a story a week during 2015 as chosen by a deck of cards. See my full list of stories to be read here.

Last week, I dealt 2 of clubs for Automatic by Rachel Caine – I was surprised by my enjoyment of this tale, given my current not-so-great feelings about the Morganville books. This morning I dealt a 4 of diamonds for Prisons by Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason. Considering I didn’t enjoy the last Federations story that much, I am a bit nervous about this one…

11 February releases to add to your basket

Some fantastic books are coming out this month, and I felt the overwhelming need to share. Enjoy the gorgeous cover art and let me know which you’ll be getting!

The Novels

 My pick: All Fall Down by Ally Carter

 

Graphic Novels

My pick: The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

Comic Book Post! (2) Bodies, Hawkguy and (more) Ms. Marvel

I’m back with another Comic Book Post! As I said in my last edition, I’ve been reading a LOT of comic books and I’ve absolutely adored most of them. Here are a few that I have particularly enjoyed lately – all of them great for new readers.

Bodies

Bodies

Collected edition (out in June 2015 – goodreads) or subscribe on the Vertigo website

Even comic book fanatics may not have heard of this title – which is a real shame. It is a murder mystery set in London… in 4 different centuries. Same body, same city, but spread across time. To make things even better, 4 different artists pen the different time periods. Each gives their era a different feel and style, while writer Si Spencer ties it all together.

Bodies also is a great book if you are looking for POC characters or LGBT characters. My two favourite detectives are DS Shahara Hasan – a English-Muslim Police officer who won’t let slurs stand in her way – and Edmond Hillinghead – a closeted Victorian gentleman inspector doing his best not to be sent off to prison with Oscar Wilde.

Bodies just released issue 7 of 8 – so it should soon be out as a collected edition. Of course, I’d recommend picking up all the back issues on the Vertigo app or from your local comic book store – but I am rather biased. 🙂

Hawkeye

Hawkeye Hawkguy

Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon (goodreads) – Vol. 2: Little Hits (goodreads) – Vol. 3: L.A. Woman (goodreads) – Vol. 4: Rio Bravo (out in March 2015 – goodreads)

You know how Hawkeye just seems like a regular guy who somehow ended up with superspies as buddies? Well, that’s what this book is all about. Matt Fraction explores the secret life of Hawkguy, his bad-ass protegé and his dog (who, fantastically, gets his own issue from his POV).

Just like Bodies, this series is wrapping up. The final issue will be out in March and comic book fans everywhere will be left bereft – wondering what the hell they did with their lives before this book of pizza, coffee and shoot-em-ups came along.

Ms Marvel

Ms. Marvel (again)

Vol. 1: No Normal (goodreads) – Vol. 2: Generation Why (out in March 2015 – goodreads)

I recommended Ms. Marvel in my last Comic Book Post! and just… OMG it is getting even BETTER. While the first 6 issues focussed on her learning her powers, the later issues have started tying in her character with the larger Marvel universe. That can be a bit dangerous – especially as Ms. Marvel is read by a lot of new-to-comics readers – but it has been SO well handled. SO friggin adorable I want to thrust it into hands of passing strangers. Highly recommended.

 

Hope these recommendations helped. They are all great starting places for new readers, so go out and read some comic books!

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