Book Review

Destroyed – Madeline Dyer

I am feeling a little bit sad today because I am here to tell you about Madeline Dyer’s latest book, Destroyed. “Why does that make you sad?” I hear you ask. Well, Destroyed is the fourth and final book in the amazing Untamed series, and now I have finished it, and have to leave the much loved characters behind, I am feeling just a little lost.

For those of you who are not familiar with the series, let me tell you a bit about it before we jump into all the juicy bits about Destroyed. The Untamed series consists of four books (Untamed, Fragemented, Divided, Destroyed) and it follows Seven Sarr and her friends and loved ones as she battles to remain Untamed, while the Enhanced, or Chosen Ones, do everything they can to hunt them down and convert them.  I will pop a separate post up shortly with all the blurbs for all the books, so that I don’t blind you with all the info here.

Alongside the series, there is also a standalone novel, set ever so slightly before the start of the series, called A Dangerous Game. I reviewed this book earlier in the year, and you can read my review here.

Right, so now you know a bit more about the series, let’s get back to why we are really here – Destroyed!

BLURB:

Seven Sarr, the most powerful human in the world, is alive–and she’s on the run from her enemy. With the Dream Land gone, the Gods and Goddesses dead, and the Untamed’s number of Seers at a record low, Seven knows she must attempt to control the Lost Souls–including the most volatile and dangerous spirits–if her people are to have a chance at beating the Enhanced Ones once and for all.

But when the Enhanced impose a new threat and Corin’s life is at stake, Seven must make her hardest choice: save the man she loves and let her people perish, or allow Corin’s death so the Untamed can survive.

Locked into a tight countdown to her own demise and solitary entrapment within a torturous realm, Seven must make her decision quickly. Her Seer powers are the strongest, and her death will end the War of Humanity once and for all. When the new morning dawns, the world as she knew it will be gone. What–and who–will be left behind is up to Seven.

Will her love shape the future of the world?

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REVIEW:

Destroyed is a fitting finale to an amazing series. The Untamed series has been a rollercoaster ride from start to finish, and there is no let up through the adrenalin filled events of Destroyed. Where sometimes the final book in a series is just used to tie up the loose ends, this is in no way the case with Destroyed. The twists and turns just keep coming, and every time you think that the battle must surely be over, you find yourself thrown in a completely different direction.

It is hard to say too much with giving away spoilers, but suffice to say in this book, we really see Seven grow into the powerful woman that the Untamed need, as she unlocks her abilities and comes to terms with what she needs to do. We also see the lengths that Raleigh is prepared to go to in order to claim total control over Seven and swing the war in favour of the Enhanced.

The vivid imagery that has been present throughout Madeline’s writing continues here, as we are taken on an exploration of new lands and cultures. The worldbuilding involved in creating something so fantastical, but at the same time deeply believable is a real skill, and one that Madeline has in spades.

As sad as I am to be saying a final farewell to Seven, Corin and their friends, and even to Raleigh, I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which the series came to a head, and I loved seeing some familiar faces from the past, which really added to the sense of closure given by this book.

PURCHASE LINKS:

iTunes

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

30591626_2044993659121645_3880142398021435392_n (1)Madeline Dyer lives on a farm in the southwest of England, where she hangs out with her Shetland ponies and writes young adult books—sometimes, at the same time. She holds a BA Honors degree in English from the University of Exeter, and several presses have published her fiction. Madeline has a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal, and she can frequently be found exploring wild places. At least one notebook is known to follow her wherever she goes.

GIVEAWAY:

Madeline is running a giveaway to win a complete set of the Untamed books, which you can enter here.

Keep your eyes peeled for my interview with Madeline which will be coming to a blog near you (i.e. this one) very soon – in just five days time to be precise. In the meantime, please check out all the amazing stuff on the other blogs that are joining me on this tour.

Copy of Copy of July 11, 2017 (1)

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Book Review

Just – Jenny Morton Potts

I have been waiting (im)patiently, but it is finally my stop on the blog tour for Just by Jenny Morton Potts. If everyone has their beverage of choice, let’s get started. Make sure you read it all because there is a lovely little giveaway tucked at the bottom of the page.

BLURB:

How far would you go to save a life?

On golden Mediterranean sands, maverick doctor Scott Langbrook falls recklessly in love with his team leader, Fiyori Maziq. If only that was the extent of his falling, but Scott descends into the hellish clutches of someone much more sinister.

‘Just’ is a story of love and loss, of terror and triumph. Set in idyllic Cambridge and on the shores of the Med and Cornwall, our characters fight for their very lives on land and at sea.

An unforgettable novel which goes to the heart of our catastrophic times, and seeks salvation.

Jenny Morton Potts on Amazonhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Jenny-Morton-Potts/e/B00OIYYVPY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1527096532&sr=1-1

REVIEW:

I’m not going to lie, this isn’t the easiest review that I have ever written, simply because it is difficult to say too much without giving anything away, and I do always try to keep my reviews spoiler free. There is nothing worse, in my opinion, than reading a review that gives away the twist at the end of the book. What I can say is that this book was a real eye-opener for me regarding the situation in Libya, the corruption within so-called aid agencies, and the brutality doled out by people smugglers. These are all such important issues in today’s world, and Jenny Morton Potts brings them to the reader’s attention in a way that will ensure a heightened interest moving forward.

The book is written in a very disjointed style, jumping around through a variety of locations and skipping through time periods. At times it felt like there was information that was missing and I found I was skipping back in case I had missed something. However, as I continued to read, I started to feel that this style of writing and exclusion of some details was a deliberate act on the part of the author, as it kept you as much in the dark as the characters were themselves. Really, it was quite genius as it prevented me from spending the whole book second-guessing how it was going to end, which I frequently do in thrillers, and instead left me experiencing the same whirlwind of emotion as the characters did.

In terms of the characters themselves, there were one or two that I struggled with a little, but I will leave you to work out who, rather than skew your judgement or give anything away. One thing I will say though is that I loved loyal, devoted Fin and his tree-house in the woods.

I wish there was more I could tell you, but really, you just have to read it for yourself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Just - jennyJenny is a novelist, screenplay writer, and playwright. After a series of ‘proper jobs’, she realized she was living someone else’s life and escaped to Gascony to make gîtes. Knee deep in cement and pregnant, Jenny was happy. Then autism and a distracted spine surgeon wiped out the order. Returned to wonderful England, to write her socks off.

Jenny would like to see the Northern Lights but worries that’s the best bit and should be saved till last. Very happily, and gratefully, settled with the family. She tries not to take herself too seriously.

Social Media Links – http://www.jennymortonpotts.com/

https://twitter.com/jmortonpotts?lang=en

https://facebook.com/jennymortonpotts

https://www.goodreads.com/jennymortonpotts

GIVEAWAY:

Win  5 x e-copies of Just by Jenny Morton Potts (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949489/?

Many thanks to Jenny Morton Potts, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book. If you would like to read more about this book, why not head over to some of the other blogs on the tour.

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Blog

A Journey Back In Time

Reading the lovely Viola Blue’s blog post earlier today, “Reading Between the Lines” set me to reminiscing about my own grandparents, or more specifically, my maternal grandparents. Like Viola’s own grandfather, they came from a time where affection was not handed out with ease, and they had their indoor clothes, and their outdoor clothes – my grandfather never once left the house without a tie, even if he was just popping to the shop at the end of the road for his newspaper.

Growing up, I never felt that I really knew my grandmother. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before I was born, and for as far back as I remember, this had affected both her speech and her mobility, meaning that when we visited, she was stuck in an armchair, and I can honestly say that I don’t remember us ever having a proper conversation. She died when I was 17 and I barely knew her at all.

My grandfather was a stern-looking Welshman – a think accent and ill-fitting false teeth meant that as a child, I had almost as much trouble understanding him as I would have if he had been speaking an alien language. He had been my grandmother’s carer for so long that he was completely lost after she died, not that he would have ever admitted this to anyone. He had his routine, which he stuck to rigidly, and God help anyone who got in the way of it. He was a dear sweet man under the surface though, and often saved special treats for visitors, although on occasion this, and his failing eyesight, did mean that we were forced to eat out of date Quality Streets (other chocolates are available) or gone off beer to avoid upsetting him. In one memorable occasion, in his efforts to help me ease the travel sickness I always suffered on the way to visit, he fetched me a glass of water in what turned out to be a cut glass vase, and which didn’t appear to have been washed after it’s last occupants had been thrown out. Once again, eager not to offend, I felt I had to drink the water. Still, here I am, alive and kicking, so no harm done.

It was only after my grandfather died, and we were clearing his house, that I really felt that I got to know both my grandparents. It turns out that my grandfather was something of a hoarder – among other things we discovered were £80 of coppers and his spare glass eye (remind me to tell you that story one day!). As well as these unusual finds, we also discovered that he had an impressive collection of photographs, although some of these he appeared to have been using as coasters! It was a labour of love scanning and restoring these to make up albums for my mum and her brother and sisters. As I studied each photograph, it really felt that I was discovering what their true personalities were before age and ill health got in the way.

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Among the family photographs, there was a stash of letters and photos that a variety of servicemen had sent to my grandmother during the Second World War. It turns out that, at 17 years old, my grandmother had lied about her age to join the Navy, and had thoroughly enjoyed herself. From all accounts, she was one of those people that thrived during the war. Looking through the photographs of her with her friends, she is so full of vitality and fun that it is hard to marry this to the version of her that I knew. That said, the letters that I now treasure gave me such a strong sense of who she was, that wartime Doris is how I now choose to remember her. I think, had I known her back then, we would have been great friends.

The letters and their accompanying photographs now reside safely in a folder to be passed down through the generations. I may not have known the men who wrote them, but they meant something to someone (not least my grandmother), and as such are to be treasured. One day I hope to be able to at least reunite the correct letter with the correct photograph. I would love to be able to find out if they made it back to their loved ones, but I wouldn’t know where to start. If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Thank you Viola Blue for inspiring this trip down memory lane. Maybe next time I will introduce everyone to my paternal grandparents who were a very different kettle of fish indeed!

Blog

Comfort Reading

from-above-2859257_1920 I’m not going to lie, January is not my favourite month. I know it is supposed to be the time for new starts, resolutions, diets, spending the month alcohol free, or, as I discovered this year, trying a vegan diet for the month, but for me January is a month for hibernating. Whether it is the energy slump after Christmas, the dark evenings and even darker mornings, or the gloomy weather, I find that when January comes around, all I want to do is curl up under a blanket with a mug of tea, a tin of biscuits and a good book. With the help of Goodreads, I have also realised that January is a month for binge reading as many books in a series as I possibly can. This time last year, I was captivated by the adventures of Percy Jackson and friends, having devoured both the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus series within a month. January 2016 saw me buried deep in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices. This year, it is the turn of Patricia Cornwell, as I revisit her Kay Scarpetta series, which I first read as a teenager.

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love a good series. Nothing makes me happier than picking up a book and discovering that it is part of a series, and nothing frustrates me more than having to wait for the next instalment to be published. I remember sitting on the front door step waiting for the postman whenever the new Harry Potter book was released, and the devastation I felt at the end of the last book when I knew there were no more to come. Personally, I blame my mother for this addiction as she was the one who first introduced me to the wonder of the book series when she sat me down with The Famous Five and the Chronicles of Narnia as a child.

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What is it though about a series that draws me to them time and time again, and particularly at this time of year? Aside from those annoying cliffhangers which mean you just have to read the next book as soon as it is available, I believe it is the comfort factor. Even with a series that you wouldn’t necessarily consider a comfort read (I’m looking at you, George R.R. Martin), I find a sense of calm in settling down to read a sequel. The characters greet you like an old friend and welcome you back into their lives. You know their histories and understand the ways of the world that they live in. It feels like coming home – even if that home is sometimes dark and mysterious. I love becoming fully invested in the characters, watching them grow and develop throughout each book, feeling their joy and their pain. Even the throw the book across the room heartbreak at the unexpected death of a favourite character is something that is met with a sense of doom-laden anticipation. No matter what devastation the next book may bring, I just can’t resist.

In an ever-changing world of uncertainty, I think I will be sticking to the familiarity that a good book series offers. I am on the constant look out for new ones if you have any suggestions. Now, if you’ll excuse me, a certain Chief Medical Examiner requires my assistance with an investigation – I’m on my way Dr. Scarpetta!

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