20 August 2015

Huge News! I wrote a book!

So I have been really quiet on here recently, and mainly it's because life has inevitably gotten in the way.

I am mid-way through getting my first home, and my job is going really well, but the biggest news is something that happened yesterday.

I self published my first book on Kindle!!

This book has been in the works for years and is a collaborative effort between myself and my sister, Stacey (who can also be seen on the contributors section of this blog). All of my friends and family know about it and always ask how it's coming along, and I decided it was finally time to publish it. Note: This is exactly what happens when I get bored of waiting for a mortgage to come through on my house. I need to control something, so that is precisely what I decided to control.

Anyway. The book can be found at this Amazon.uk address right here. It can also be found on any other Amazon site... just search 'Switch' and 'Kyra' and it will come up straight away.

The synopsis?

Two girls, worlds apart, connected by fate. When Evie tries to find a better life for herself, it has disastrous consequences for Eryn, who wakes up to find herself in a dangerous alternate reality. She finds herself caught up in a conspiracy and running for her life. Can she survive long enough to find her way home?

The book is a YA dystopian/sci-fi hybrid with a dash of psychology thrown in for good measure.

At the moment, the cover looks like this:

Please feel free to share it!

If you decide that you think this sounds as awesome as I think it does, please do read it and let me know what you think, or even better, leave a review on Amazon to let everyone know what you think!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


24 July 2015

Book Review:The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. 

The Good
  • Delves into that intriguing idea of being able to hear other people's thoughts and turns it on it's head in its entirety. The great thing is that the author has really thought about how that would affect your daily life and how it would affect others, the world, even. I find it fascinating how this has turned out for the characters.
  • Focuses well and draws on some huge themes, making you question what you would do and say. It deals with issues of truth, trust, humanity, love and all their opposites.
  • From about a quarter way in, it turns more and more fast-paced until the end, which is tense and unexpected and brutal. I read this book in three days it was that gripping. I had such a huge book hangover. You have no idea.
  • Some great characters that were well-rounded. No-one was truly perfect; even though there were a couple that were wonderful people, they still had flaws. This was extremely purposeful, and I loved that. I loved the complete difference in all of the characters, from good to bad. We had creepy, lovely, crazy, dopey, loving, scared and angry. And a sociopath, by the sound of it. However, my favourite was Manchee the dog. I loved his simplicity and his loyalty, the way he didn't always say the right thing, the sheer fact that he could speak, his bravery and his love. Although the main characters, Todd and Viola were great, it was Manchee that stole the show for me.
  • No love story, Yes! Some books are just too soppy, and I think a love story may have been a bit too out of place here. Shame there are a few more books to go for it to take place...

The Bad
  • Slow to start, but not terribly so. Some people with less persistent reading habits may struggle.
  • The style of the writing, although lovely in that you get to see how the character thinks and feels, as if he is really telling you the story, is difficult to read at first thanks to the phonetic spelling of his words. You get used to it after a while though.
  • Part of a series! And guess what? You have some pretty major plot points left unanswered thanks to the huge rush of stuff happening in the last third of the book.
  • Warning: This book is brutal and kinda of graphic. I rate it a YA, but I wouldn't let a 14 year old read it.. maybe 15 or 16.

A good book that I would recommend to all my friends. Not a summer read perhaps. Maybe something you can read curled up in bed with a nice mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Star Rating: This is well deserved of a 9/10 rating. Just a couple of points that let it down, but not much.

The Knife of Never Letting Go on Goodreads


22 July 2015

Review: Arsenic for Tea - Robin Stevens

Schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are at Daisy's home, Fallingford, for the holidays. Daisy's glamorous mother is throwing a tea party for Daisy's birthday, and the whole family is invited, from eccentric Aunt Saskia to dashing Uncle Felix. But it soon becomes clear that this party isn't really about Daisy at all. Naturally, Daisy is furious.

Then one of their party falls seriously, mysteriously ill—and everything points to poison.

With wild storms preventing anyone from leaving, or the police from arriving, Fallingford suddenly feels like a very dangerous place to be. Not a single person present is what they seem—and everyone has a secret or two. And when someone very close to Daisy looks suspicious, the Detective Society must do everything they can to reveal the truth... no matter the consequences.

This is the second book, so there are a lot of references to the first one that were entirely lost on me, having not read the first one. However, I feel that you don't really need to read that one. These are really stand-alone books, and I like that fact as you don't need to keep remembering things that happened previously.

Just could not get into it for the first half! I found the girls a bit annoying, and didn't like the fact that they were posh and rich at all, as it made it impossible for me to connect with them on a personal level.

As it is for people at quite a young reading level, I can understand why the characters act as they do, especially the girls, who are a little bit ridiculous at times. Thankfully, the actual plot of the story was really good. The mystery and the clues were interesting, though I did find some of the reasoning for absolving a few characters from the crime quite flimsy at times.

I really commend the writer for using words that younger readers would definitely not know, and including a glossary at the back so that they learn a few things.

It was quite impossible to know exactly who the culprit was, since we never had the full reasoning behind the murder until the very end, but I did have a feeling, perhaps because the book appeared to lead you away from certain characters and absolve them of guilt a little bit too quickly and flimsily. I had pretty much figured it out a few chapters before the girls did, but had entirely no idea how they did it. That part was actually very clever, and I again commend them for that.

I also like the way that these girls are really smart. There was no glaringly obvious point that they were missing, and there wasn't anything that they just didn't take into account. That was great, but I did wish that the reasoning and the ideas were a bit more complex. Of course, that would have made for a longer book, and possibly one that wouldn't fit for the age range the book has been written for, so it is really a personal preference on my part.

Historically, I liked some of the detail that went into this, such as the bun breaks and the servants, but there wasn't too much of that.

Arsenic For Tea on Goodreads


4 July 2015

Guest Post - Andrew Joyce on Finding Molly Lee a Voice

My name is Andrew Joyce, and I write books for a living. Kyra has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, MOLLY LEE. Because you folks tend to like female-driven fiction, Kyra thought Molly might be of interest to you.

Now you may possibly be asking yourself, What is a guy doing writing in a woman’s voice? And that’s a good question. I can only say that I did not start out to write about Molly; she just came to me one day and asked that I tell her story.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning.

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months. Then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status on Amazon twice, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,326 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 125,000. However, he was insistent, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way that I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.

This is the description from MOLLY LEE:

Molly is about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.

It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.

Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.

We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.

As I had wondered whatever became of Huck and Tom, I also wondered what Molly did when she found Huck gone.

I know this has been a long-winded set up, but I felt I had to tell the backstory. Now I can move on and tell you how it was to write Molly from a guy’s perspective. But first a little about Molly.

Molly starts out as a naive young girl. Over time she develops into a strong, independent woman. The change is gradual. Her strengths come from the adversities she encounters along the road that is her life.

With each setback, Molly follows that first rule she set against self-pity and simply moves on to make the best of whatever life throws her way. From working as a whore to owning a saloon, from going to prison to running a ranch, Molly plays to win with the cards she’s dealt. But she always keeps her humanity. She will kill to defend herself and she has no problem killing to protect the weak and preyed upon. However, when a band of Indians (for instance) have been run off their land and have nowhere else to go, Molly allows them to live on her ranch, and in time they become extended family.

This is from a review on Amazon:

A young female in nineteenth-century rural America would have needed courage, fortitude, and firm resolve to thrive in the best of circumstances. Molly Lee possesses all of these, along with an iron will and an inherent ability to read people accurately and respond accordingly.

I reckon that about sums up Molly.

I would like to say that I wrote MOLLY LEE in one sitting and everything in it is my pure genius. But that would be a lie. I have three editors (two women and one guy). They kept me honest with regard to Molly. When I made her a little too hard, they would point out that she had to be softer or show more emotion in a particular scene.

I set out to write a book where every chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I wanted the reader to be forced to turn to the next chapter. And I pretty much accomplished that, but I also wrote a few chapters where Molly and the readers could catch their collective breath.

One last thing: Everything in MOLLY LEE is historically correct from the languages of the Indians to the descriptions of the way people dressed, spoke, and lived. I spend as much time on research as I do in writing my stories. Sometimes more.

It looks as though I’ve used up my allotted word count (self-imposed), so I reckon I’ll ride off into the sunset and rustle up a little vodka and cranberry juice (with extra lime).

It’s been a pleasure,

Andrew Joyce

Want to find out more?

Molly Lee on Amazon - Molly Lee on Goodreads - Molly Lee on Kobo

Molly Lee on B&N - Molly Lee on iTunes - Molly Lee on Smashwords

Redemption Web Page - Molly Lee Web Page

About Andrew:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written three books, and a collection of almost one hundred forty short stories that is comprised of his hitching adventures, written as veiled non-fiction called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS, and his latest novel, MOLLY LEE. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog, Danny.​

30 June 2015

Planet Urth - Jennifer and Christopher Martucci

Typical YA fare with a teenage girl and her young sister are trying to survive in a pitiless post-apocalyptic world where everyone is out to get them.

The Good:
  • Some awesomely creepy creatures involved
  • Excellent imagining of how life might actually be when you're scared out of your whits and trying to live in the wild
  • Great characterisation with Avery and her sister, June, and their relationship is wonderful
  • Interesting ideas where the families are involved, makes you think about how you and your family would react to this kind of thing
  • Nice beginning to a romance. Shame it completely clouds the Avery's judgement, as she's such a strong character

The Bad:
  • Obvious storyline that goes exactly how you thought it would
  • Slow to start
  • No complexity of plot
  • No character arc or facets in the characters
  • Avery, the protagonist, is a little bit too perfect for me. Pretty, good survival skills, excellent fighter, caring... the list goes on. She only doubts herself a little bit when it comes to her sister
  • No promise of something bigger in the next book
It's a middle of the pack story, part of a series that I may or may not pick up again, depending on if I see the second one about for a good price. While it was enjoyable, there was nothing in the book that excited me enough to pick up the next one. I could already imagine what was going to happen, or what was likely to. While there was a promise of some sort of rebellion for the MC, there was no solid evidence that it was likely to happen on a larger scale.

3/5 for fun factor and readability, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Planet Urth on Goodreads


19 June 2015

Book review: Angelfall - Susan Ee

It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain. 

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...

This is a different kind of story than what I am used to. This time the angels are the bad guys, tearing up our world and wreaking havoc on all humans. Thing is, they are even worse than I thought, and we get some pretty nasty surprises nearing the end of the book.

A great apocalypse story, told with a perfect atmosphere where you are never quite safe. There is cynicism leaping off of Penryn in waves, an awful brutality to all of the humans, and a huge amount of fear and distrust. The backdrop of a completely broken world makes it bleak and almost hopeless.

The love story is cute, and completely, inevitably obvious. Nevertheless, I liked that it happened. I liked Penryn and Raffe's relationship; the initial distrust, the constant sniping, the grudging appreciation, the slow acceptance and the underlying attraction. It was all great, and totally by the book. Sometimes I wished it wasn't quite so obvious, but most of the time I didn't care.

This book deals with some big issues too; its not just a love story set in the apocalypse, you know. It makes you think about mental illness, disabilities, religion, humanity and family. It makes you think about how you would respond to all of this. Would you toughen up like Penryn? Would you risk it all to save your family? Would you still essentially be you after a huge otherworldy attack? I certainly thought about these things, and I am still not sure I would have had the guts and courage that Penryn had throughout this book.

Penryn as a character is truly great. She's believeable, still a girl who values her family, but she's had some tough choices to make, and those include leaving her mother to fend for herself. I loved seeing her point of view throughout, and loved how seeing everything through her eyes made it horribly real for me, particularly her thoughts on her mother. I found those thoughts really interesting, and scary if my predictions are correct.

Speaking of scary, there are some pretty nasty things happening in this world, as well as a lot of mysterious involving angel politics. All of that was really intriguing, so I can't wait to read the next book and find out more. The book left me with a lot of questions, but the ones that bug me are these: Why was Raffe attacked in the first place, really? What they heck did they do with those things that are eating people? What do the Nephilim look like? What happened to the angel's wives? Are those demon wings, or something worse?

Oh, so many questions.

Overall, this was a great book that I found extremely difficult to put down. The story was told in perfect detail and was ideal for a YA audience. I can definitely see this one being optioned for a film, and being made into a great one.


Angelfall on Goodreads

15 June 2015

Review: The Miniaturist - Jessie Burton

"There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed . . ."

On a brisk autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt. But her new home, while splendorous, is not welcoming. Johannes is kind yet distant, always locked in his study or at his warehouse office—leaving Nella alone with his sister, the sharp-tongued and forbidding Marin.

But Nella’s world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. To furnish her gift, Nella engages the services of a miniaturist—an elusive and enigmatic artist whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in eerie and unexpected ways . . .

Johannes’ gift helps Nella to pierce the closed world of the Brandt household. But as she uncovers its unusual secrets, she begins to understand—and fear—the escalating dangers that await them all. In this repressively pious society where gold is worshipped second only to God, to be different is a threat to the moral fabric of society, and not even a man as rich as Johannes is safe. Only one person seems to see the fate that awaits them. Is the miniaturist the key to their salvation . . . or the architect of their destruction?

Honestly. I couldn't have put it better myself, hence why you have pretty much the entire blurb in front of you now.

I picked up this book because A. the cover is gorgeous and B. miniatures that seem to magically mirror their counterparts are awesome in every way. I was not disappointed, in fact, I was far from it. What I never took away from the blurb is that the miniaturist only has a small, but significant, part to play. They are on the sidelines, looking in and commenting in the same way we would, but knowing far more.

No, this book is about far more than a little but of magic. This book is about the harsh reality of living in this era, in this city. There was so much more to this book than I originally thought. It talks about real issues that are still lingering in our world today: arranged marriage, racism, sexism and being gay. It talks about a world where we must keep secrets from others to have a better social standing, and to become rich; a completely ridiculous and unfair world, and yet there are still people today who are sexist or homophobic.

Although I thought the book was very slow to start, where it was trying to give plenty of background and atmosphere, the rest of it passed by in a blur as more and more interesting things happened. There is some absolutely brilliant storytelling, and not one of the characters felt unrealistic to me. I loves each character and their quirks that made them unique. They are real people to me, and that made it very special.

I did have a couple of issues though. I would have loved to have the miniaturist playing a much larger role, being more like a puppet master. We never really see what's going on with this character, and it would have been great to get a bit more out of them, because they are extremely intriguing. Maybe they really can tell the future and could have helped but decided not to. We never knew the real purpose of them being there, and in some ways their existence failed to move the plot along at all - life did that by its-self.

And another; Nella is very quick to change her ideas. She doesn't seem to really care about certain things that happen to her where others would have given a punch to the face. She needed more balls, in my opinion. I know that's not particularly realistic, but I need my characters to have a bit of fire!

It was a very abrupt kind of ending, and one that really left me wanting more, like the book never truly closed on that last page. I am somewhat of a fantasist so was very disappointed that the other-worldliness and magic of the miniaturist was never actually addressed, and even more so seeming as they are the title of the book.

Nonetheless, it was a great read and very engrossing. I simply had to know what happened.

3.5 / 5

Phew! That was a long one!

The Miniaturist on Goodreads.

11 June 2015

Press Release! Alice Takes Back Wonderland - David D. Hammons

Inline image 2
You guys.... just look at this gorgeousness! I am in love with this cover and in love with the idea of this story. I hope you need to read it as much as I do!

On the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Lewis Carroll’s beloved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Curiosity Quills Press announces the publication of David D. Hammons’ debut novel, a retelling of the classic story with many more beloved fairy tale characters joining Alice in Wonderland. The book will be released September 28, 2015 in the US.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. After the White Rabbit brings her back to the world she thought was just a childhood delusion, teenage Alice refuses to allow Ace to ruin this magical place. But she is just Alice, and can't stop Ace alone. Alice travels across the stars to unite a fairy tale army. She must help Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White, Robin Hood, Cinderella and more complete their own stories. Through adventure, romance, danger, and deception, Alice may find the strength she needs to defeat Ace and take back Wonderland.

David D. Hammons has recently married a woman who calls him her “Prince Charming” and started working as a full-time author and editor after traveling the world selling black walnuts. He is an adjunct professor of Logistics at Missouri State University and lives in his hometown of Springfield, Missouri. 

I sincerely want to request this book, but I have soo many to read! My TBR pile is pretty extensive, and recently I've been pretty rubbish at reading things quickly.

31 May 2015

The Brotherhood Of Piaxia - Michael Drakich

Years have passed since the overthrow of the monarchy by the Brotherhood of Warlocks and they rule Piaxia in peaceful accord. But now forces are at work to disrupt this rule from outside the Brotherhood as well as within! Follow Tarlok, Savan and Tessia as their paths intertwine, with the Brotherhood in pursuit and the powerful merchant’s guild manipulating the populace for their own end.

This is a fantasy epic on a large scale, comparable to the likes of Trudi Canavan and David Gemmell, where war and magic blends perfectly together. Sometimes it is even remniscent of Game of Thrones, in that there are so many characters and threads on the plot. Sometimes this can be confusing, but this book does not let that happen for long.

The story starts fairly slowly, building up each character and their backstory whilst also getting important aspects of the plot in place. Soon, though, the story gains momentum, with the magic really starting to come into play.

There is some really great storytelling here, with large battles and politics that interest you instead of bore you. I especially liked the complex allegiance of all of the characters and cities in Piaxia, as there is so much more to it than I originally thought. I loved the subterfuge and the amount of confusion, making it seems all the more real to me. There were some really clever parts that delighted me when I thought all was lost.  One particular plot point was a little bit obvious to me, but nevertheless I was very pleased to finally find out that my hunch was correct.

The characters were really where the book came a little bit unstuck. Although I liked and understood all of the protagonists, and thought their growth was excellent, I didn't truly feel much of a connection to them. If some had died, I wonder if I would have cared. I certainly didn't when other characters died who seemed quite important. Developing this would have definitely given more impact to certain plot elements. However, it wasn't horrendously important to me, as I enjoyed the book all the same.

I am pleased to say that there is a book after this one, named Demon Stones (which I have already reviewed), which is based in this same world, some years into the future. While that book was very good and rather riveting, I honestly feel that this one was better.


The Brotherhood of Piaxia on Goodreads

27 May 2015

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

1145519Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

I like to read books which I know will be/ have been made into films, so when I found this book on a boot sale, I snapped it up. Film books are always good for a read, especially when I haven’t seen the film yet, as it was with this one.

I honestly am not sure what to make of this book though, and so really don’t know why it was made into a film. If I am being truthful (which I am, because this is a review and there would be no point to me not being truthful), I thought it was a little bit boring. I had heard that the book was about a futuristic UK trapped in a war, and yet this book was full of teenagers doing not much. Yes, there was a war on, but it didn’t touch the characters in the way that perhaps it should have. They were far too sheltered, far too free from the fighting, like they were living in a dreamland and the war was too far away, when in reality, it was on their doorstep. Now, I have to say that I am too young to have lived in the middle of a war zone, so I have no idea how it would feel, but I think even then I would feel more scared and alone than the main character, Daisy, did.

Another boring aspect was that I don’t think that characters were really used to their full potential. Daisy was a bit of nothing character, and sometimes her thoughts are just plain tedious to read through. I don’t think I cared about her at all. The two boys who had interesting psychic abilities were left in the middle of the book, not to appear again until the end. Those abilities could have been utilised amazingly, but instead they were not used at all.

There was so much potential in this book, with the war, the psychic boys, the forbidden romance (which I couldn’t really get a handle on, it was just... wrong, to me). All of it went completely unaddressed, with no complications coming from any of it apart from being split from each-other, not having much to eat and witnessing a couple of horrible wartime things.

OK, it wasn’t all bad. You were completely and utterly in Daisy’s shoes, which meant that the imagery was perfect. You could literally see and feel as she did. It showed the relationships of the characters really well, so we understood how Daisy felt about Piper and the boys. It was subtle, not over the top at all.

This book was not as good as the hype led me to believe. It is definitely for New Adult readers who like relationship-driven plots and family saga. I, however, found it lacking in plot as not much action took place, and I really didn’t bond with the protagonist. The first half really didn’t capture my attention and the ending was slow, with the only real interest happening about two thirds through the book. Saying all of this, it won’t put me off watching the film at some point. I can imagine that things might have been done to keep up the pace.


25 May 2015

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green

11870085Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Having first seen the film of this book, I have to say that I am very impressed with the way that there theme and the characters were dealt with. The filming was gorgeous, the casting was very good, and all in all it was an enjoyable film. Therefore, my feelings about this book may be slightly marred by the film, which honestly had me doing an Alice and creating a pool of tears in my room.

This is a great book. It is wonderfully realistic, idealistic and yet completely brutal, because it does that one thing that many people are afraid to do; it tells the absolute truth. Well, in fact, it is the character, Hazel, that tells us the truth, in a very honest, open way that probably scares people.

So this is a story about cancer. A funny, sad, romantic, odd and stunning story of life, death, love and what might happen after. You can learn so much from this book, and take away so many sentiments you never knew you wanted to think about. This books surprises you, horrifies you and beguiles you in equal measure, from the lyrical, poignant wording to the inevitable ending.

Amazingly, the film has reflected all these things and more. While some things have been changed, the identity of the story stays the same. The only difference, I feel, is that Hazel is actually a lot funnier in the book, perhaps because we know precisely what she is thinking and feeling.

This is a short book, an easy read, but not actually a young adult, as perhaps some might suggest. Instead, it should be described as a New Adult book, for ages above 16, I would say. It deals with some really heavy content that younger children may find difficult to deal with.

Great read, but actually I think I prefer the film simply based on the fact I had more feels, and in the book I knew what was going to happen!

4.5 / 5

The Fault In Our Stars on Goodreads

23 May 2015

Film Mini Review: The Fault In Our Stars

Two teens fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.

The Good:

The actors were amazing. Truly. Shailene Woodley makes a wonderful, cynical Hazel. She was very tactfully played and we felt we truly understood her feelings and why she acts the way she does.

Augustus Waters. Is there any person more wonderful? The casting here is spot on as Ansel Englert plays the role beautifully. He puts so much joy and vivacity into the. Every teen should find themselves falling for him.

Poignant, with very beautiful words that make you strongly feel the characters. Enough to make you cry certainly.

Unashamedly realistic in terms of the conversation that people of this age actually have, and every day life.

I've never had cancer, but now I think I know how these two feel. Even the trailer (below) has severe feels.

The Bad:

The ending! No spoilers though. My heart was broken into three billion pieces.


I don't have a bad word to say about this film. Great. Something that everyone should watch, apart from people who don't like experiencing emotion.

The Fault In Our Stars on IMDB

21 May 2015

Maniai: The Girl and the Blood Slide - George Saoulidis

What If There’s a Pattern to the Madness?

More and more people are reported being obsessed with unusual tasks and tested positive for rabies. But when an investigator finds a pattern to the madness and tries to tell people, will anyone listen?

Do you want to know what’s next for the inexperienced investigator? Do you wanna meet the crazies? Then read this thrilling patchwork of the weirdest bio-scare ever encountered.

To start, I need to tell you that I do not usually pick up novellas unless I have already read part of the series. I also don't pick up mystery titles, and yet this one intrigued me. Under the genres of the book were Greek mythology and sci-fi, and I thought 'wow, I wonder what those two look like when they're all mixed up'. To be frank. I was disappointed.

I'll start with the good. The two main characters were likeable and believable, even if I can't actually remember their names. They didn't get built up on yet, but I noticed a small amount of chemistry that no doubt will end up being used to its full potential later in the series. The others? Well, you don't really get much more than snippets of the other characters.

It is a good, intriguing story, and by the end i would say most people would be completely hooked. The story builds for a long time, and nearing the end some rather exciting things happen, so it was such as shame for the very end to be a let down.

This novella is clearly the first in a series, and therefore there is a fair bit of build up, but being completely honest here, the things that grabbed my attention in the blurb didn't make an appearance at all in my opinion. No mythology, no sci-fi, just a mystery that actually doesn't get solved at all.

This book ends with the story in mid-swing, leaving questions I would rather have been answered. Perhaps if this novella was wrapped up a bit more neatly I'd have read the next case file, but as it is, I don't think I will be taking this nay further. Great for adults who like a good mystery, but at the moment, there's not much more to it.


The Girl and the Blood Slide on Goodreads

Thanks to Mythography Studios and George Saoulidis for the e-book - this has not affected my judgement.

19 May 2015

Film Mini Review: We're the Millers

A drug dealer creates a fake family from a group of people he kind-of knows in order to smuggle a truck-load (literally) of cannabis into America.

The Good:
  • Laugh out loud funny. I am not over-dramatising this, unlike most other reviews of kind of funny films.
  • No awkwardness or extremeness. I'm looking at you, Bridesmaids. Awkward seems to have gotten really popular these days in comedies and now it's all anyone is doing. I don't find that funny, I find it unbearable.
  • Great charcterisation of each one of the main four. I honestly loved how each one had a few facets.
  • Good cast, but we all love Kenny. Is there anything Will Poulter can't do?
  • Some very amusing situations. Very.
  • Kind of heartfelt in an odd way, and also appears to have a moral compass. it doesn't point completely north, but it's nearly there.
The Bad:
  • Some may not like the swearing. There's a ton of it.
  • There are a lot of unsavoury subjects here: drugs, smuggling, nudity (well, ish), stripping, violence.

To be honest. I loved this film. It's a great one for a night in with friends and is definitely only suitable for adults. I wouldn't want to watch it with my parents in the room, either. Very funny and great for some lighthearted fun that you take with a pinch of salt.

We're the Millers on IMDB

By the look of IMDB, there's going to be a second one. I am a little bit excited!


18 May 2015

Film Mini Review: Insurgent

The second film in the Divergent trilogy (or is that quadrilogy? I can't keep up now) is pretty cool, I have to say, and the effects are stunning.

So Tris and Four (and the rest) have safely gotten out of the city and away from those awful factions that basically let you die if you don't fit in. And now they're wandering around aimlessly looking for a place to be safe. Luckily, there's a faction for that. Oh, my mistake, there are two.

The Good:

  • Shailene Woodley shines here as she gets to flex those acting muscles, also, we get to check out Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney and Theo James again... yummy.
  • Loads of action to keep you on your toes and it all looked amazing
  • Well thought out concepts (some of which weren't in the book, apparently)
  • They actually got me! For a moment I was shocked and confused! Unexpected events, yay!
  • Loved the way you were kept guessing about the allegiance of a few of the characters and their motives
  • Great visuals, especially when Tris is inside her own little world again.

The Bad:

  • I think Tris was lost here as a character. It was like she just wasn't her any more. Ok, so some pretty major things happened to her and no doubt that changes a person, but it was like watching Mockingjay Part 1 Katniss all over again!
  • I also couldn't help but compare Ansel to The Fault in our Stars. Caleb is just such a boring ass in this film; a completely different person. However, as a result I completely rate him as an actor.
  • According to other sources (since I actually haven't read this one), the film leaves a fair bit out that the book has in it, and the concepts are different, slightly. However, as films go, it was good!


A good little film which packs plenty of punch. Perfect for teens and fans of action movies where the girls wear practically nothing. A great sequel in my opinion. It'll be interesting to see if that opinion changes once I've read the book.

I have a feeling that the next film will be great. Now off I go to read the books. I need to know what really happens and I MUST know how it ends this instant. I have heard disturbing things, but I WILL reserve judgement. No spoilers please!

Insurgent on IMDB.


16 May 2015

Review: Marina - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

"We all have a secret buried under lock and key in the attic of our soul. This is mine."

In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in Barcelona. For seven days and seven nights no one knows his whereabouts...

His story begins in an old quarter of the city, where he meets the strange Marina and her father, Germán Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the last Sunday of each month. At exactly ten o'clock in the morning, a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman, her face shrouded be a black velvet cloak. Holding a single rose, she walks to a gravestone that bears no name, only a mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her, they begin a journey that transports them to a forgotten, postwar Barcelona--a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons--and reveals a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

I bought this book because ever since I first heard about its release in this version, I wanted it. Zafon's storytelling is never more eerie or more stunning than when he is telling his young adult stories. The great thing about it is that it never feels like he has written them for children. It's like he has written them just for you, regardless of your age, gender, race. It wouldn't matter if you were a starfish, seriously.

This novel really hits the mark for me. It is a true young adult book in that it truly shows the progressiong of the main character from a boy into a young man. At first he is timid, unsure of what to do, but by the end of the book he has never been more sure of himself. Yes, he still is capable of making mistakes, but now he is past the point of childishness. 

The storytelling is superb, and as always, the mystery is hugely compelling and not one that you can easily discover just by thinking about it for a little while. Zafon leads you on a rich chase through some of the most disturbing imagery I have ever read about. Acid is thrown in faces, black butterflies swarming in the depths of a rotting house, dark, dilapidated houses, horrible things living in the sewers and grotesquely human-like mannequins. This all still makes me shudder.

As for Marina, she is an intriguing character, and one that perhaps you never truly understand, however much Oscar tries to. She and her father are deeply enigmatic characters, and I loved reading about them, their house, their lifestyle, their hopes. I think I liked the fact that every single character was in a way imperfect, broken in some way that was never really meant to be mended. It lent a bleak feel to the book as a whole, but one that I could understand from where I am standing now, looking back on my own past and realising that everything was not as rose-tinted as I was led to believe.

I loved that this story sets off being very much a ghost story and entirely fooled you into thinking that way. Instead the answer to the riddle is grounded very nicely somewhere between reality and science, with a small piece of creative license, of course.

A creepy, twisted read, but not so terrifying that it might keep you awake at night ( I don't think). That being said, I think this is more suited to a higher YA age range, say 16, 17, 18, in order to truly understand the deeper meaning of the book.


Marina on Goodreads


13 May 2015

ARC Review: Forget Me Knot - Ruth Silver (Royal Reaper 2)

"Don’t mess with death. 

When Wynter explores his newly developed dark angel powers, regret soon fills his heart and mind. Saving a soul isn’t what he imagined it to be, and it puts the grim reaper he loves in grave danger.

Obligated to take the throne as Queen, Mara must face the truth and unravel secrets she may not be ready to accept.

The second book in the Royal Reaper saga takes you on a paranormal fantasy adventure into a world of grim reapers, dark angels, and undead trucidators.

After reading the first book, I was really interested in reading the second. I'm really glad to say that I wasn't disappointed. The ideas of life, death and the inbetween - the undead - really have started to make me think about what really does happen after we die. Yes, it's a macabre thought that perhaps the usual teenage readers may not want to think about, but they will. At least this book gives them quite a nice answer, if a little disturbing to know there is definitely a hell, but nobody is saying anything about a heaven!

Anyway, although the blurb above doesn't tell you this as such, the book is still all about Leila/Ophelia and her struggles with being a grim reaper. As usual, she's getting herself into trouble, but this time the action has stepped up a notch and things escalate pretty quickly. This is definitely going to get interesting in the third installment.

This time around, the world and the character inside of it are getting more complex. Suddenly Mara is getting a whole lot cooler as she becomes queen, we discover that the life of a Dark Angel isn't quite as simple as we were led to believe, and there's something else. Something about Leila that we didn't know before, and that we're going to find out about in the next book, no doubt. This book was very tantalising for me.. I can see it all coming but I just can't figure out how it'll be pieced together!

There were a couple of flaws in the book, in that character development of the main character was put aside in order for her sister to be developed more. As a result, the relationships with her friends and even with Wynter suffered. Suddenly she and Wynter live in this idyllic coupley life, which is definitely not what would really happen. Although the way this was discarded didn't actually hurt the plot or the pacing in the slightest, I feel that a little bit more filler would have been nice to separate the action.

The pace was perfect, and it was an easy read that honestly captures the imagination and attention. The Saga is definitely worth getting for a teen reader (or even one a bit older). 

The next book is looking promising, and there were a lot of cool things that happened at the end of this book. It will be really great to see how all that pans out.


Forget Me Knot on Goodreads

Thanks to Ruth Silver for the ARC copy. This has not affected my review.

29 April 2015

Release Day Blitz: Stolen Art - Ruth Silver


Title: Stolen Art - Ruth Silver
Publisher: Lazy Day Publishing
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

  Stolen Art 
Sixteen-year-old Madeline has been living on the streets, biding her time until she's eighteen. With little to no money, she takes on a heist in hopes of making ends meet. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. Getting caught is just the beginning of Madeline's adventure as she meets Weston and discovers the secret of where she came from.   Fans of Orphan Black, The X-Files, and Fringe will fall head over heels for Stolen Art. Recommended: 15+.


I rush back up the dark stairwell, shoving the key into the doorknob. It takes a minute for the lock to click and I push myself inside the apartment, securing every lock and deadbolt. I can’t stay here in Hutchinson, Kansas any longer. Pulling my phone from my purse, I text Weston. Tatiana is here. It’s not safe for me. I grab the few belongings that have any value to me, sentimental or otherwise, and shove it into my shoulder bag, including the stolen silver necklace. It has value and if I’m forced on the run, I’ll need money to survive. I know. What did Weston mean he knew Tatiana is at the bar? Had he seen her? Is he there? What do you mean, you know? I type into the phone. If he saw her, why didn’t he warn me? I can’t go down out the front door and it’s only a matter of time until she finds me just a few feet away. I grow restless waiting for an answer. The phone buzzes and displays an incoming call from Weston. "Wes, tell me you’re here." The only thing to do is hop in his car and drive into the night, far from Kansas. A female’s voice bubbles with laughter. "Oh he’s coming darling, but you should know he won’t get here in time. Amazing how easy it is to clone a phone number and steal his service. The advancements Stem Tech has made is encouraging."

  teaser stolen art2    

About the Author

Ruth Silver 
 Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of the Aberrant trilogy. With a passion for writing and a love of story-telling, Ruth is actively writing multiple series under her name as well as the pen name Ravyn Rayne. Her interests include traveling, reading, and photography. Her favorite vacation destination is Australia. Ruth currently resides in Plainfield, Illinois. 
  Looking for a steamier read? Check her out here: Blog- http://ravynrayne.com Facebook- http://facebook.com/ravynraynereads Twitter- http://twitter.com/blushingravyn 
  book series  

18 April 2015

Uglies - Scott Westerfield

In a world where everyone gets turned Pretty when they are 16, one Ugly runs away from that chance. Her best friend stays, but before she can turn pretty herself, she is sent to recover the Ugly and to out the secret Ugly society living away from the city. There is no problem, until she finally arrives and sees for herself what an Ugly life can be like.

The Good:
  • Our main character is really believable and relatable. When I was her age, everything was about being pretty and popular. She is basically me at that age to begin with, as I also would be wishing my own face away for a chance to become beautiful, especially if that was the normal thing to do. She has a excellent character arc too, something that would connect with a lot of teenage girls at the point. Also, kudos to the author for being able to write a teenage girl so well.
  • This book deals with some amazingly tough issues, starting first with the issue of human ideals of beauty and the concern that these ideals really shape a persons self-image until they do not feel remotely pretty. It also touches on cosmetic surgery and how that would impact someone's life. That makes this story truly thought-provoking as you self-evaluate, and you also realise how close we are to becoming this type of society. That's the scary thing. This dystopia is not so far from the truth and is quite believable.
  • The dystopia its-self is well thought-though, complete with slang terms, procedures, living quarters, lifestyle choice and inventions. This creates a very well put together world where there were no gaps in knowledge, meaning that the narrative had no holes and the image was a complete one.
The Bad:
  • Some of the slang is banal: bubbly, for example, is a term that could get on my nerves.
  • The relationships between the main character and others can seem a bit forced, possibly from where the book is quite short, so gives little time for her to get to know people.
  • One character is introduced right at the beginning, then disappears only to reappear for a moment at the end. I can only assume he has a much larger part to play in future books.
  • There's a major cliffhanger! Not fair!


A good read and something that I want to read more of, definitely. There are three more to go, so look out for them some time in the future!


11 April 2015

Film Review: Hercules (2014)

The story of Hercules has been done and redone til it hurts, and yet I still bought this new film and had a watch of it. I think no matter what, the Disney version will always win hands down in my book. This movie made a brave attempt though.

The Good:

  • A realistic take on a classic story.
  • Some good names: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan.
  • One absolutely inspired character; Tydeus, a savage killer who never speaks a word, but is reptty brutal and actually quite funny at times. He is also extremely brave, and I could not get over some of his actions.
  • Interesting greek mythology origin story which stays true to the original story of how he killed his wife and children after going mad.
  • Loads of action.
  • A nice twist in the plot that you don't completely expect.
  • Includes Atalanta, who is easily the best human female character in greek mythology. Two thumbs way,way up.

The Bad:

  • Fair CGI, but didn't really make too much use of the 12 labours to help the story along.
  • Some of the casting, specifically that of Dwayne Johnson is a bit dubious. He carries off the look and strength of the character, and does show some levels of character, but for me he was a bit flat. He is almost convincing.
  • On the character point, I can't say that I cared at all for the characters. None of them was very relatable, and many were one-dimensional. I didn't even care about the kid, seriously.
  • The plot is fairly boring and not terribly memorable. In fact, you really remember the fighting rather than anything else.

A good ending which satisfies, but probably not something I am likely to watch again. It is really best for men who like action films and realism.


10 April 2015

Cover Reveal: Stolen Art - Ruth Silver

Stolen Art - Ruth Silver
Genre - YA Sci Fi Adventure
Expected Publication Date - May 4th, 2015
Publisher - Lazy Day Publishing

Sixteen-year-old Madeline has been living on the streets, biding her time until she's eighteen. With little to no money, she takes on a heist in hopes of making ends meet. What could possibly go wrong?


Getting caught is just the beginning of Madeline's adventure as she meets Weston and discovers the secret of where she came from.

4 April 2015

Review: Spirits Manifest - Sophie Weeks


Two ordinary young women, new to adulthood, seeking to define their futures against a world that has already defined them. Two uncanny encounters with a world of spirits hostile and benign. This intriguing collection contains two novels that deftly blend poignant human drama with unleashed supernatural bonds. Two stories of hope, and finding the courage to break from traditions that haunt us.

Faced with an impossible decision, 20-something Margaret Campbell must choose between returning home to her father’s farm in Alberta to help raise her two orphaned cousins, or fulfilling her fashion designer, city-life dream. What would you do? In the second of the two novels, against the backdrop of old and dusty Cambridge, recent Ivy League graduate Sarah is an engaging voice for new adult women who strive to break from tradition and find a place in the world.

The Soured Earth Review

So, to start I should probably tell you that I do not usually read New Adult books. I am not hugely into love affairs or talking about sex in books. I prefer action and really big events. I like the supernatural. I like sweet love that grows slowly but doesn't embroil its-self within the plot too much. So anyway. I liked the sound of these two books because they had a supernatural label to them, but I was pessimistic about the rest.

So this book took me forever, even though it's rather short. I think the fact that this story is set in a ranch in America really doesn't help me, As I live in the UK and am more used to the Great British countryside, meaning I couldn't connect to the place.

As I was reading, I found that the story was very much about Margaret and her relationships, rather than the ghost story I was expecting. Although there was a slight bit of otherworldliness in the story, I found it was very much based in reality, even down to the final explanation as to why the crops were not growing.

Overall this story was enjoyable, but not really for me, and could benefit from not being in this collection as it doesn't quite work with the description.

Unsettled Spirits Review

This story was much more like it. There is most definitely a ghost here. The beginning of the story is great and I really got into it as the characters are all very engaging. Although I may not agree with some of the things that Sarah does, I can relate to her and her situation well.

Unfortunately the story then starts to lose its way as it goes very much into Sarah's personal relationships with her employer and her boyfriend. While I do care, I actually care more about the ghost, who seems to fall entirely by the wayside.

Luckily, that is all rectified in the end, and I was content with how the story turned out.


While is did enjoy these books, they took me some timeto get to grips with them and didn't capture me the way others do, perhaps simply because I didn't think they were otherworldy enough, or caught my attention enough with mysteries. Anyone who liked some drama with a little bit of otherworldy thrown in will definitely love these. Maybe NA just isn't for me.

23 February 2015

Film Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service

A gentleman spy organisation offers an unlikely young man the chance to be in the secret service, but first he has to go through a series of tests with other, much more posh, competitors. At the same time, an American technology genius is becoming a major world threat.

The Good: 

  • Great selection of established actors: Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Hamil and Jack Davenport.
  • Taron Egerton, who plays Eggsy, delivers a very believable character who is quite endearing.
  • There is a Pug involved.
  • Great to see such Britishness involved, including some of the humour.
  • Nice rags to riches story, with a great commentary on snobbery, self-image and climate change.
  • The mix of action and comedy will appeal to a wide range of people.
  • Great nods to Arthurian legend and some Bond satire involved.
  • Awesome female villain. I loved the fact that she was a double amputee and was also really kick-ass. It could have bad connotations though if other films run with the same concept after the Oscar Pistorius trial.
  • Follows that great trend of comics into films.
  • Great clothing selection. Honestly, the suits, the umbrellas, the shoes, even the glasses were like an extra character.

The Bad:

  • Slightly contemporary with mentions of Iggy Azelea so may not age well.
  • Can verge on ridiculous comedy in places.
  • Chavviness at the beginning may grate on some people.
  • Quite gory!
  • I am not sure about our villain. He only makes sense to a point with his motives and doesn't strike you as really being all in with his plan.

A great film. Fun to watch, very accessible for many age groups and I would definitely buy it. Very entertaining and quite thoughtful too.

20 February 2015

Spotlight: Spirits Manifest -Sophie Weeks

Spirits Manifest: A Collection - Sophie Weeks.

eBook available at Amazon, iTunes and Barnes and Noble. 

Two ordinary young women, new to adulthood, seeking to define their futures against a world that has already defined them. Two uncanny encounters with a world of spirits hostile and benign. This intriguing collection contains two novels that deftly blend poignant human drama with unleashed supernatural bonds. Two stories of hope, and finding the courage to break from traditions that haunt us.  
Margaret Campbell of The Soured Earth said goodbye to broad prairie skies a long time ago in favor of college, the East coast, and a budding career in fashion design. But when faced with an impossible decision, the 20-something Margaret must choose between returning home to her father’s farm in Alberta to help raise her two orphaned cousins, or fulfilling her fashion designer, city-life dream. What would you do? Margaret goes home, and once there, finds a local Native American ritual gone awry, and the larger community plunged into chaos as a devastating blight settles over the land. She finds comfort in the arms of Gene, a thoughtful ranch hand with a heart full of wanderlust, but will the pull of family ties and new desire be enough to quiet her own ambitious yearnings? 

Sarah Markham of Unsettled Spirits thought she had everything figured out. Leave home, go to college, build a new life. It's the last part that proves tricky when Sarah, unable to find a job that matches her lofty ambitions, takes on a job and a room in a haunted bookstore owned by an eccentric intellectual. Lucy Larch, dead for over half a century, has been waiting for someone to help her pass over—but can Sarah, herself perplexed in matters of life and love with handsome Irishman Ian, find a solution? 

Author Bio: 
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Sophie Weeks received a Masters degree in English Literature from Mills College in 2006 and completed her PhD in Victorian Literature at Rice University in 2013. Sophie resides in Payson, Arizona with three furry miscreants, who are wanted in multiple states for criminal adorableness. She is also the author of the whimsical Sherlockian pastiche, Outside the Spotlight. Learn more at http://sophieweeks.net. 

Excerpt - Unsettled Spirits

Her head rested against the dingy upholstery, and for a while she looked over her surroundings with a kind of detached interest. But then she fell quite asleep, and it was from within the confines of a dream, hours later, that she heard a voice say, “Wake up. Wake up, stupid. Don't you ever do anything but sleep?” The girl sat on the cold floor in front of Sarah, mirroring her position. Sarah's eyes opened, and she studied the girl closely. Lovely shoulder-length curls of brown hair framed laughing eyes and a strong-willed mouth. She wore a yellow dancing dress with a cardigan over it, despite the hot night. 
“Finally,” the girl said, clapping her hands as Sarah awoke. 
“Who are you?” asked Sarah, quite calm. “You're not Esther.” She felt quite sure of that now. 
“I'm Lucy Larch. Who's Esther?” 
“My sister,” Sarah replied. “She died a long time ago.” 
“I died in 1946,” Lucy said, “which is a hell of a year to die in—I never evergot to eat as much as I wanted, and then after rationing ended, the streets were flowing with bread and jam!” 
“Why did you die?” Sarah asked, soft and dreamlike. 
Lucy scrunched up her face, annoyed just thinking about it. “I was running away with Jasper Clarke, who was not as good a driver as he was a lover. Tenderhearted, and what did he end up doing? Steered us into an oak tree to avoid a deer! If I let myself think about it, I get just furious.”