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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-02-19 08:01
Alchemy: Turning Silver to Gold
Alchemy: turning Silver to Gold - an historical psychological mystery thriller - Chris James

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Mr James has done it again!  Another fantastic historical crime novel following the story of Jacob Silver.  Spanning the 20 odd years since Jacob Silver was hanged for the murders of his beloved models and his love's Sister, Rebecca. This story begins with Lizzie Weston convinced that Jacob was innocent of all the murders and may well be alive and well after she discovered his grave empty.


Within 3 years of setting out to clear his name, Miss Weston has convinced the police and convinced them to have him posthumously pardoned by Queen Victoria.  Unbeknownst to Lizzie and almost every other person on the planet, the Queen and Lizzie's father had their own plan to save Jacob from the hangman's noose. One that remains undiscovered for many years after both had passed away...


Crime is what Chris James knows, and his knowledge certainly shows with both this and the first novel in the series, Alchemy: A Perfect Murder.  I'm definitely eager to learn when the 3rd book in the series will be published.


This the second book in the Alchemy series gets 5/5 stars.

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text 2016-01-12 11:50
My now annual post holiday reading slump and this years challenge(s)

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but this is the second year running (that I've actually acknowledged) where I hit a reading slump as soon as it ticks over to January 1...

I don't know whether it's the heat frying my brain, or the kids being home from school, a post holiday slump or just the migraine I had on and off since Christmas eve that's thrown me off, but I'm sure I'll get back on track again soon, no doubt I'll get my reading bug back right when I start uni for the year and wont have the time.


On the cards for this year are the challenges I did last year (Goodreads, PopSugar & BookRiot), and a PopSugar spin-off challenge Around the Year in 52 books, but this year I will be overlapping categories within challenges instead of reading a separate book for each.  I just don't have it in me to read another 90+ books on top of Uni and my parenting duties, but I will try and at least read 52 books for the year, I figure one a week is doable, without overtaxing myself. 


I did pretty well on the challenges from last year, finished the PopSugar reading challenge new years eve, and had one book left (which I'm plodding through now) on the BookRiot read harder challenge, I also surpassed my Goodreads challenge of 60 by reading a total of 92 books for the year... I don't think I've read that many in a year since I was in high school, many moons ago. 


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review 2015-12-21 04:48
The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Parts of this book hit a little too close to home, which made it difficult to get through without panic attacks of my own, but I'm very glad I did.  


Sometimes I didn't know whether to feel sorry for Rachel, unable to conceive the child she so desired, she became depressed, losing her home, her husband, and eventually her job in the process.  But she was also a pathological liar, lying to herself, to her landlord and friend, her mother, the police, and to entwine herself with the man whose wife disappeared.


There's not too much more I can write about this book without giving away the plot twists... I did thoroughly enjoy the story.


4.5 stars

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review 2015-12-06 04:13
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Dan Howell & Phil Lester
The Amazing Book is Not on Fire - Phil Lester,Dan Howell

This book is definitely one for Dan and Phil fans or Phans if you prefer.  This is the textual embodiment of their YouTube existence.  I really feel that you have to at least be familiar with their YouTube channels (danisnotonfire, amazingphil & danandphilgames) to really appreciate this book.  


This book definitely has the Dan and Phil feel about it, it's very them.  Their personalities are clear and strong throughout.  For me there's a certain level of kinship I feel with these two, rather tall, self proclaimed nerds. Clumsy, socially awkward and game loving are all traits I can personally identify with, though they're all a good foot taller than I am, and maybe a few years younger.  

I believe that it is their honesty and their relatability that make them the YouTube power house that they are.  


I give Dan and Phil's book 4.5/ 5 stars.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-09-30 07:12
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

I have tried to write this review multiple times now, yet the words just wont come... so let me start by saying I just loved Cinder, even with its downsides.  


Injured in, what she is told was, an accident which killed her parents, Cinder was adopted by a scientist, Garan, who soon after contracts the fatal plague, Letumosis. Cinder grows up in a world fraught with the plague and a prejudice towards cyborgs, humans with cybernetic implants.  Raised by a woman who despises, and even blames her, Cinder is sent to work as a mechanic to fund her Step-Mother's lifestyle.  


Cinder is a natural mechanic, with the added bonus of her implants which allow her to search and bring up the plans and schematics of everything she repairs.  Her skills are so good that her reputation precedes her and the young imperial prince, Kai, seeks her services to repair his robot. Thus beginning a series of events that turn Cinder's world upside down. 


I've seen other reviewers complain about Cinder's actions in regards to visiting her ill sister, or injecting the young boy with the cure... We need to remember that Cinder is a teen, rational thought doesn't always come so easily, especially when emotions are involved.  


Peony was the only person in the world to treat Cinder like a person, even an equal. This loss would have been incredibly hard for Cinder, the urge to visit her would have been far greater than any concern over how the disease can be spread.  Similarly when Cinder went gave the cure to the young boy, she was distraught, too late to save the person who mattered the most to her.  Seeing someone she knew, if only in passing when his mother wasn't looking, Cinder reacted to her emotions and gave a second chance at life to someone who otherwise would soon die.


I'm not sure if any of this was intentional, but I particularly liked the setting of New Beijing, given that the story of Cinderella originated in China around the 9th century.  Cinder's too small foot tying in with the Chinese tradition of foot binding, particularly within wealthy households, and the perceived beauty of small feet.  


I love that Cinder was an outcast, a misfit, who was often mistreated just for having implants she didn't ask to have. She worked in a male dominated occupation, Kai's reaction to her being the mechanic seems to suggest he expected someone older and male. 


My biggest issue is that it was just too predictable... part of which can be attributed to the fact that the story of Cinderella is so well known.  The rest, as someone who isn't an author, I can only imagine how hard it is to hide the significant plot points without leaving them out completely.  Adding it on at the end can seem like an after thought, yet adding it into the story, can lead to predictability, as happened here.  


Aside from that, I think Meyer did an exceptional job of re-imagining an old fairy tale. 


4.5 stars

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