““You are the most vexing and endearing box of contradictions I have ever seen. You fascinate me, Wendy.”” // Review of “Second Star” by J. M. Sullivan

Title: Second Star (Neverland Transmissions #1)
Author: J. M. Sullivan
Genre: Sci-fi
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 10/02/19 – 15/02/19
Rating: ★★

Review:

I was totally on board with this book for probably the first half. I had a few quibbles up until then, but I was willing to overlook them. Unfortunately, the second half got confusing and frustrated me to the point where I was just waiting for the book to be over.

This is a Peter Pan re-telling set in the far future. I really enjoyed the little references to the original story. It was fun to spot them  all.

But while the characters are jumping through hyperspace and hanging out on foreign planets, the language they used and the society established felt woefully outdated. Even the main  insult several of the characters used – “codfish” – feels like something out of Dickens rather than Doctor Who. It actually felt like it could have been turned into a good steampunk quasi-historical story, but it didn’t go that way.

The characters also make Harry Potter references and one of them listens to Bob Marley… okay, maybe we will still be reading HP in 400 years  and maybe Bob gets to stick around as a master of the classical music of this period… but it didn’t immerse me in the time period.

I also assumed that  as the book went on, we would learn exactly why Hooke was the bad guy, rather than just having to take  Peter’s word for it… and we did, technically, but it never rang true to me. This might be because some of the worldbuilding about the Second Star and the ultimate Big Bad actually left me feeling a bit flummoxed, so Hooke’s place in the overall plan didn’t feel fully fleshed out.

The line I used in the title of this post is something Peter says to Wendy, and it’s lovely and romantic… but he has literally known her an afternoon when he says it. Maybe a full day. Good ol’ instalove. Wendy is nearly ready to sacrifice other members of her crew for Peter after only knowing him a couple of days.

There are more books to come in this series but I don’t feel inclined to follow the story any further. The one instalment was enough for me.


(Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

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July-August 2018 TBR

Read my June reading wrap-up here!

I can’t believe it’s already July! Half the year gone!

I’ve written myself a completely new TBR for the next couple of months. Previously, I was carrying over any unread books from the last list, but I’m just not in the mood for those at the moment so they’ve gone back into my TBR Jar for later. I’ve been a bit reading slumpy for the last few months (work and other life things have contributed to that), so I haven’t left it up to the chance of the TBR Jar this time. I’ve deliberately selected books I think I’ll enjoy.

Blackwing by Ed McDonald

The Dry by Jane Harper

The Finisher by David Baldacci

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot #17)

The Olmec Obituary by L. J. M Owen

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley

Where Shadows Rise by Amy Laurens (Sanctuary #1)

Through Roads Between by Amy Laurens (Sanctuary #2)

With the exception of I Had Such Friends, which is an ARC from NetGalley, the rest of these are books I own. I am a little behind on my Australian Women Writers Challenge and will need to also get a few books from the library to make a move on that.

What are you planning to read this month?

March-April 2018 TBR

Read my February reading wrap-up here!

I made it through six of the eight titles on my Jan-Feb TBR list, which is not too bad in my book! (Haha, book pun, geddit?) I’ve carried the remaining two over for the next two months, and have finally had an opportunity to use my TBR Jar to pick out my next few reads! Plus I have one ARC that I know of and a couple of others pending at the time of this writing. It’s really great to be putting a hole in both my physical and virtual TBRs!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Scapegallows by Carol Birch

Treason! Treason! by Josh Langston

Call Me Sasha by Genna Leigh

Daddy Darkest by Ellery Kane

Anne of Green Gables by E. M. Montgomery

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

What are you reading this month?

 

January-February 2018 TBR

With the new year, comes a new experiment in how I approach my TBRs. Last year, I found that a monthly reading list was a bit too intense, so I adjusted it to a three-monthly list with about 20 titles on it. I think that was a bit ambitious, too, given how prone I am to getting distracted by other books.

This year, I am going to aim for a TBR with 8 titles to work through over a two month period. I usually read between five and ten titles a month, so that should leave me plenty of time for both completing the TBR and other books such as ARCs or challenge titles. I’ll do a wrap-up at the end of the two months, rather than monthly.

So! Here are my 8 titles for January/February. A couple of ARCs, some books that I own, and a bunch that have been sitting on my Kindle for quite a while now.

Everless by Sara Holland

Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Dollhouse by Anya Allyn

False Awakening by Cassandra Page

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Stay tuned for weekly reading updates, reviews and monthly wrap-ups to see how I’m going with this list and how I feel about these titles, and others.

 

Book Review: “He Said/She Said” by Erin Kelly

Title: He Said/She Said
Author: Erin Kelly
Genre:
  Crime/thriller
Date Read: 26/03/2017 – 31/03/2017
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

Ah yes. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read a thriller and I had forgotten how much I enjoy them.

Kit and Laura witness a brutal attack during a solar eclipse. Fifteen years later, they are living in fear due to events in the aftermath of the case. As Kit travels away for another eclipse and Laura remains home, heavily pregnant with twins, the events of the past fifteen years start to come to a head.

One of the things about thrillers is that they do often require a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief that I’m not always able to offer. Some of the extraordinary lengths gone to by some of the characters in this book just felt unreasonable, and made me lose any connection I had with the them up until that point. Having said that, it is a staple of the genre, which I can accept.

This book was well-plotted and gripping; there were two occasions were I took way too long on my lunch break at work because I was caught up reading. The pages flew by. The scenes depicting the rape trial were infuriatingly realistic. There is a reveal on the final page that I didn’t think had quite the impact the author was hoping for; given the circumstances, it didn’t actually make a lot of sense to me, but I could see what she was going for. The characters were not hugely likeable, but they did hold my interest and I did appreciate that there was a really solid, positive friendship between two women (particularly how it was shown at the end).

Overall, this is definitely recommended for thriller fans. I know it’s been quite popular recently and I can definitely see where the fuss is coming from.


(Thank you to the publishers and Goodreads Givewaways for providing me wth a copy of this book)

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Book Review: “The Mesmerist” by Ronald J. Smith

Title: The Mesmerist
Author: Ronald J. Smith
Genre:
  Historical fantasy
Date Read: 08/02/2017 – 13/02/2017
Rating: ★★☆

Review:

This is a book that I may very well have loved as a 10 or 12-year-old, so I’m willing to accept that the low rating I ultimately gave it as a 27-year-old is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me”.  While the premise of this book sounded cute, it ended up falling flat for me.

Jessamine Grace and her mother make a living as sham spiritualists in Victorian England, until one day Jess discovers that she actually can talk to ghosts. Subsequently, she is thrust into a world of demons, ghouls, necromancers, fairies and angels, and sets out to avenge the deaths of those she loves.

My main issue was Jess herself. She was just so prissy and annoying. The book is in first person present tense, which is not easy to pull off, and I feel that the author did not manage it. There were also constant reminders to English-ness, or to being English – it seemed odd; I don’t think a regular English person would constantly be thinking “I’ll do that – after all, I am English.”

I also felt that there was a bit too much going on, so none of the world-building ever really got enough attention. As you can see from my summary, there are lots of different supernatural elements and they really all only get a bit of a turn to shine. On top of that, the book tries covering some socio-political issues of the time, as well as introducing a plague into the city.

Having said that, I did find that plot picked up in the last 25% or so. Before that, a lot of the action tended to be off-screen, whereas at this point, the main characters were really part of it and coming into their own.

As I said before, I do feel that a younger Emily would have enjoyed this more, so I recommend not writing the book off based on my review, particularly if you are interested in it for a younger reader. It just wasn’t for me.


(Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me wi  th a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

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