Tuesday 24 November 2015

Fright Before Christmas Blog Tour

It's the most wonderful time of the year... or is it?

Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they're not the least bit jolly or merry. Let's just say some presents are better left unopened.

 'Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts, Monsters, Demons and more!

This Christmas be careful what you wish for.

When I saw an email for this book tour in my inbox I just knew I had to be part of it! I love both Christmassy reads and horror, so what could be better than putting these two together into an anthology of short stories. Each story is by a different author, and each one is extremely talented in their work. The book was quite short and each story took around ten minutes to read which makes it perfect for anyone with a busy schedule who finds it difficult to find time to read a novel.

Each story is interesting and comes with it’s own twists and turns. I loved the variety of writing styles, with some of the stories being in third person and others being in first. I love a good plot twist, and many of them ended in really unexpected ways which I loved. A few of them seemed to mimic my favourite horror writers, Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe, with one story even giving a nudge towards Poe’s A Tell Tale heart.

One of the stories that really stood out for me was North Poal Coal by Patrick Hueller. I found the idea of Santa putting coal in the stockings of naughty children being taken literally to be a really clever idea, and I loved both the child's and the parents concern. It was also interesting that it also applied to adults, and the parents were worried about saying anything bad about Santa in case they were put on the naughty list. I also loved that what happened to children who were really naughty was never fully explained, which let the readers imagination go to dark places.

I loved all of these stories and although it’s possible to read them in ten minute intervals, I found myself going from story to story and reading the majority of the book in one sitting. I wish I could share my thoughts on each story, but unfortunately that would mean a pretty lengthy review! As someone who has wrote both novel length stories and short stories, I have found that short story writing can actually be more difficult, as a lot of information has to be packed into a small amount of words. These authors all have the technique of writing a short story down perfectly. There is little build up to what is about to happen apart from a little foreshadowing which only adds to the stories, and they immediately get down to the action and horror.

I do however feel as if some of them could have been a little more creepy, as not many managed to put me into a too scared to sleep state. I always find that reading horror stories tend to scare me a lot more than watching a horror movie, but unfortunately this anthology failed to terrify me.

Although these stories may not be as unnerving as a Poe story, they are still a great read for anyone who finds reading novels too tedious, or if you simply enjoy reading short stories now and again. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a christmassy read with a bit of a twist. 

Fright Before Christmas is now available for pre order! Get it for just $1.99 through November 29th

Be sure to check out the book trailer below!

Feel free to enter the giveaway to win a $10 Amazon gift card

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fright Before Christmas by Shannon Delany

Fright Before Christmas

by Shannon Delany

Giveaway ends December 05, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Wednesday 18 November 2015

Review on The Quantum Door

After discovering that someone has moved into the abandoned house close to their own, brothers Brady and Felix decide to investigate their new neighbours. After their drone unexpectedly crashes, strange things start to happen. The power keeps going out unexpectedly, and there seems to be strange mechanical animals living in the forest. When they meet Nova, their lives are turned upside down. There is a door that lets them travel between parallel worlds, but Brady and Felix soon find out that some worlds are better off left unexplored.

I adore YA Sci-Fi so this book immediately caught my attention. Brady and his younger brother Felix follow their new friend Nova through the quantum door, where they enter a parallel world in which humans have become extinct and artificial intelligence has taken over. I loved the idea of sentient robots, and especially loved that some of the robots seemed to have maternal feelings, leading them to create child robots.

I loved the relationship between the two brothers and how they constantly risked their lives for each other. I especially loved Felix, who saw that even artificial life was precious and risked his life on multiple occasions for Nova’s robotic friends. Nova was an interesting character and I loved that we learnt more about her and her world as the book progressed. I loved the relationship between Nova and Achilles, her robotic dog, and loved that Achilles seemed to genuinely care about her and want to protect her. I particularly enjoyed seeing Achilles’ memories and the reason why he had been created.

I was slightly confused about when the novel was set, as the technology in Brady and Felix’s world seemed to be quite advanced with self driving cars and virtual reality glasses, yet they were surprised when they discovered the mechanical animals. I found this slightly strange as it would seem likely that with their advanced technology robots would be a normal occurrence for them.

The different types of robots were interesting, with some of them being aggressive and others being a little more welcoming, which showed that they were not too dissimilar to humans. I liked that the different types of robots had different names as if each different type was it’s own race.

The first half of the book was a little slow, as it mostly consisted of Brady and Felix trying to find out why their new neighbour was so private and trying to spy on them. However things started to pick up once they had entered the parallell world and had to go on rescue missions to save each other from the various types of robots. The story about how Nova came to be living in a world where all other forms of human life had been wiped out was interesting. I also loved how the Artifex were trying to mimic human life through reading books and watching movies, yet had got everything about the human world slightly wrong. I’ve always thought the idea of parallel worlds interesting and that there could be another you living a similar life but with certain things changed. I loved that this book explored that, and I empathised with Felix’s reaction to having to leave a world that had something in it that he wanted so badly.

I always love when a plot seems to be resolved but you realise you still have a few pages to go and that something is about to go down. This is exactly what happened in this novel, and I loved how for a split second Brady and Felix thought everything was back to normal until they were thrown into another problem which only escalated. I thought the ending wrapped up most things nicely, while still living a few things open for the reader to think about, such as what happened to Nova and if the boys ever saw her again.

If you love YA Sci-Fi and futuristic novels that you should read this book!

The Quantum Door is now available to purchase!


Tuesday 10 November 2015

Review on Carry On

Simon Snow is heading back to school for his final year at Watford School of Magicks, but nothing is as it should be. His room mate and arch enemy Baz hasn’t even bothered to show up, and there’s rumours that the insidious humdrum is still on the rampage. Simon is the only one who can stop him, but he can barely perform basic spells at the best of times, and Baz could appear at any moment and ruin his plans like he usually does. Will Simon be able to rid the world of the Humdrum once and for all, or will the Humdrum succeed in ridding the world of magic forever?


My best friend insisted that I read this book and i’m so glad that I listened to her! As a huge fan of Harry Potter I was so glad to find a book that seemed similar to my favourite fictional universe. I loved reading Fangirl, and after reading the synopsis for Carry On, I was interested to find out if Rowell would be able to change her writing style from contemporary to fantasy, and oh did she manage it!

Carry On is set in a magical boarding school in the UK, and follows protagonist Simon Snow, the most powerful mage in the world, who according to his room mate Baz, is the worst chosen one to ever be chosen. I found the layout of the book to be interesting, as instead of being from Simon’s point of view throughout the novel, it changes between different characters so that we can see their perspective of things too, which I loved. Telling a story from first person is always a problem as we only ever know what the protagonist is thinking, but Rowell expertly got around this problem by giving different characters their own chapters which worked out perfectly.

The first 150 pages of the book were torture! There is a huge build up to Baz’s first appearance, and Simon doesn’t let us forget about him for one minute. He is constantly on the edge about where Baz is, worrying that he’s plotting his downfall and that he could appear at any moment. Simon and Baz have been enemies ever since their first year at Watford, and Simon is convinced that Baz is going to attempt to kill him. However when he was able to stop worrying about Baz, the narrative of what had happened in previous years at school was explained perfectly. As the book starts with Simon going into his last year of school, there is a lot of back story that needs to be covered to explain what has happened during Simon’s seven years at Watford.  I was worried this would get a little dull and use the method of telling rather than showing, but I was completely hooked and wanted to know everything about what had happened to him and his friends. By the time Baz finally appeared, I felt that I had been reading about Simon Snow for years and that I had been with him every step of the way through Watford.

I adored the characters in this book! Simon himself was extremely witty and funny, and I loved how he was so unsure of himself despite being the chosen one. I loved how he didn’t think of himself as being better than others, yet he didn’t back down from his destiny and bravely fought on for what he thought was right. Penny, Simon’s best friend was an amazing character! I always love when a strong character looks a little different and wears glasses, and Penny was all that and more. I loved reading the chapters from her point of view and seeing Simon and Baz from a different perspective. However I was not overly keen on Agatha, and although I could see where she was coming from in her decisions and couldn’t really blame her for them, I just didn’t have any sort of emotional connection to her.
I think it’s time that I talk about my favourite character, Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch. Even his name make him seems like a posh asshole, and for some part’s thats exactly what he is. But Baz is also one of the most complex characters i’ve ever seen in a YA fantasy novel. From the moment he stepped into Watford I was in love with him. His mixture of arrogance and vulnerability made me want to wrap him in a blanket and hold him. There was a specific part where Baz started getting his own chapters and talking about Watford from his point of view where we see his thoughts and feelings and see his vulnerability, and I just knew from that moment he was going to be my favourite character. It was so unexpected and emotional I was literally almost brought to tears.

I always love when characters who have been enemies are forced to work together, and Simon and Baz were no exception. I loved watching their relationship change and progress until it was completely different to what it was at the start. Although this is a fantasy novel, Rowell’s expertise at writing contemporary novels definitely helped her in writing the relationship between Simon and Baz.
There was never a dull moment in this book and although this is a pretty lengthy book I ended up reading it in just three days. I am generally a slow reader so this was pretty quick for me! I didn’t want to put this book down, and just when I thought things were slowing down enough for me to put it down for the night something huge would happen and force me to continue reading until it was resolved, only to be faced by an even bigger problem. I can’t recommend this book enough and I urge everyone to read it!!


Monday 2 November 2015

Review on Fangirl

When Cather Avery starts University, it is the first time she has ever been away from her twin sister, Wren. They did everything together, including writing fan fiction on their favourite book series, Simon Snow, but with a new room mate who seems to be out with a different guy every night of the week and a range of classes she isn’t even sure she’ll be able to keep up with, Cath is pushed way out of her comfort zone. She must learn to adapt to her new life without Wren being by her side every step of the way, along with deciding if writing original stories really is for her and of course, working on her Simon Snow fan fiction.

If I had to pick a book to describe my life it would be this one. I related to Cath so much that it felt almost like Rainbow was writing about my own experiences of University. In my first year, I was exactly like Cath. I was reluctant to leave my dorm room and never left the door open, I never made an effort to socialise and I would eat in my room instead of having to go to the kitchen or cafeteria. Like Cath, I suffer with social anxiety, and I felt that Rainbow showed her anxiety perfectly. Most authors tend to romanticise anxiety and show it as a cute, quirky trait, when it is anything but that. It stops you doing things you really want to do, which was shown by Cath in a variety of ways such as not going to the cafeteria for months as she didn’t know where it was or how it worked. This is something that would be resolved easily by most people by asking where it is, but for someone with anxiety, it can be the most difficult thing in the world.

Along with relating to the anxiety, I’m also a giant nerd like Cath. The Simon Snow series seems extremely similar to Harry Potter, and although i’ve never wrote Harry Potter fan fiction, I have read quite a number of Drarry fics, so I was able to relate to her obsession of shipping Simon and Baz. I loved the snippets from Cath’s fics that came before each chapter, as it made them seem more real and like she was actually uploading them to a website for fan fiction. Seeing Cath so excited about this series made me think back to when I would queue up at the book store at midnight for the new Harry Potter book and try to finish them as quickly as possible to avoid spoilers. Rainbow did a brilliant job of making the Simon Snow series seem real, and Cath’s enthusiasm made me want to join this fandom of this made up franchise.

I loved that Cath didn’t go through a big transformation and stayed true to herself. Instead of abandoning the fandom, she let new people and experiences into her life without letting go of Simon Snow. I thought this gave a good message that you don’t have to completely reinvent yourself when you take a big step in your life such as going to University, you just need to adapt slightly. Although her new friends didn’t fully understand her obsession with Simon Snow, they accepted it and didn’t talk about it negatively. There is a shockingly small amount of fictional characters who wear glasses, and I was expecting Cath to go through a physical transformation where she ditched her glasses in favour of contact lenses. I was so happy when that didn’t happen! The majority of coming of age novels and movies give a bad message that if you want boys to like you then you have to change how you look. I was so glad that Cath stayed true to herself and didn’t change how she looked for the sake of Levi. The scene where Cath tells Reagan that she wasn’t changing how she looked for the sake of Levi was brilliant, and gave a positive message that if a boy doesn’t like the way you look then he isn’t worth bothering with in the first place.

I’ve never been a huge fan of love triangles, and I was expecting one to form between Cath, Nick and Levi. I wasn’t too keen on Nick from the start, as he would let Cath walk back to her dorm on her own when it was past midnight and tried to take the notebook away from her before she had finished writing. I was rooting for her to get with Levi from the start and I was so glad when it happened! Levi is a really sweet character and although he annoyed me slightly in certain parts of the book such as not letting Cath carry her own laundry and bordering on the point of being misogynistic I did like him a lot more than I liked Nick. I did however find myself getting slightly bored of the scenes that went on for multiple pages where Cath was kissing Levi. I prefer kissing scenes to be short and sweet rather than hearing multiple times about how she was kissing his chin.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and found myself reading it for hours and way into the early hours of the morning. I’m glad I finally decided to pick up this book from my bookshelf that had been sitting there for a couple of years gathering dust before I finally decided to read it. If you enjoy contemporary YA novels and for some reason haven’t read this book yet then I definitely recommend it!