Review: The Shadow Hour (By Kate Riordan)

Review: The Shadow Hour (By Kate Riordan)

The Shadow Hour is a historical fiction novel that skips between two separate years (1922 and 1878) and follows the story of Grace, a woman who has been sent to a stately home called Fenix House to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother as a governess, but the reason as to why her grandmother has sent her there is clouded in mystery.

At 528 pages in Paperback, is this book worth your time? Find out below!

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Plot

As mentioned, this plot skips between two periods. The first period tells us about the present (which is the 1920’s in this story) whereby we meet Grace. A character who has grown up with her grandmother’s stories about Fenix House and the people who resided there so she’s quite scared yet excited to travel there as a governess. Reading her journey to this place had me riddled with curiosity, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about these stories her grandmother had lived through and the people that resided at the house now. Additionally, everything was described in rich detail, so much so that the environment felt alive and as much a part of the story as the characters. The detailing of the overgrown gardens and vines on the Fenix stately home in 1922 hinted as to what kind of characters lived in the house, and I found that it also have the house a sense of character. A building that had endured and seen so much as well as growing old with time.

As for the other period, which is set in 1878, we meet the other main character. She is the grandmother of Grace, and here we get to read about her experience working at Fenix House and what kind of life she lived while there. If I’m honest, I knew that some things were going to happen, such as romance, but some of the plot twists that appear and the behaviour of other characters really threw me off and had me scoffing, gasping and really feeling something for some of the characters. The story was something I could half guess and half couldn’t, leaving me shocked at some of the scenes that played out and utterly speechless at others.

Plot Rating: 3½ out of 4 Stars

Characters

Each character played a significant role within this story, with Grace being the one to uncover which person plays which role. I found that this element allowed me, as the reader, to bond better with Grace as we are learning alongside her and uncovering these secrets with her. Granted, I didn’t have an initial opinion about Grace when I started the book, but as I progressed I found her to be a simple character who just wants to get to the bottom of her grandma’s stories. She’s nothing exceptionally special, but how she came to be was a real shock (which I’ll leave for you to discover).

As for Grace’s grandma, I actually felt quite neutral towards her and then began to slowly develop a liking for her because of how complicated her life became during her time employed at the house. She was a character that related to most young women (at least in my opinion) whereby she just wanted to get on with work but also faced challenges she wish she didn’t have to endure and became a part of situations she didn’t ask to be involved in. Love, sadness and mystery a part of her story and I thought this matched quite well with a simple woman because it allowed to character development and potential change which would offer shock to the reader as well as excitement.

There are numerous characters within this historical fictional novel, therefore I’d like to sum them all up in one word rather than describe them in paragraphs: riveting.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

As per usual when starting off a book, the beginning didn’t have me hooked instantly so it took a while for me to get into it, however it does get interesting rather quickly (around 20 pages in) because it gets straight into it. Grace is setting off towards Fenix House and talks about what her grandmother told her, and from here we are learning alongside Grace when it comes to the truth about the house and family, therefore gripping you as you read. So in all, is it gripping? Yes.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

Altogether, I’d say that I found The Shadow Hour to be a very interesting book that had me more curious after each chapter and tempting me to re-read Jane Eyre due to the reminiscent themes. I wouldn’t re-read this particular book again, but I’m glad I read it at least once.

Overall Rating: 3½ + 4 + 2 = 9½ out of 10 Stars

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For more information regarding The Shadow Hour and any other reviews, please visit www.goodreads.com

 

Have you read this book? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

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Monthly Book Buys – SEPTEMBER

Monthly Book Buys – SEPTEMBER

Hi everyone! Gosh does time fly, and here we are again with another Monthly Book Buys. This month I decided to buy two books:

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Welcome to Lagos by Chihundu Onuzu

 

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 i am missing by Tim Weaver

 

I bet you’re wondering why I only bought two books. Well, the truth is that at the moment it is taking me some time to read through the books I currently possess, therefore I want to limit the amount I buy every month so I’m not speed reading through books.

Until next time, keep reading and enjoy!

 

Have you already read these books? If so, what are your thoughts? And if you haven’t, would you be interested in giving these books a read? Leave your comments below!

Review: After the Fire (By Will Hill)

Review: After the Fire (By Will Hill)

After the Fire is a fictional novel written by Will Hill, and is centred on a young girl called Moonbeam who happened to be a part of a cult called ‘The Lords Legion’, but that’s not all. As the title says, Moonbeam has been witness to a huge fire at the cult’s base which has killed most of the people she called Brothers and Sisters. Now she is in the care of a Government section called the ATF, whereby we learn about her life in The Lords Legion and what really happened as she is interviewed by a Doctor and a FBI agent.

Here is where Moonbeam will begin her trip back to before the fire…

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Plot

This story starts off pretty sharply, with the fire currently blazing away and our main character in panic and pain. At first I was confused as to what was going on, and I liked that I felt this way because it meant that I was in store for some pretty riveting and potentially shocking information. Little did I know how long the story would take until we actually reach the explanation as to what led to the events that start off the story. Despite its length though, I enjoyed every page and even gasped at a few parts because of the disgust or sadness that I was experiencing. Every chapter had me feeling an emotion, but the last 200 pages had me at my most shocked because of the amount of twists that appeared. Disbelief ran through me and anger was something I felt too, so I must say that this story was an emotional journey that I wasn’t expecting.

Additionally, I found the non-chronological sequence of the story a better fit for it as it allowed for me to connect better with the main character as she told the story in parts whereby she felt strong enough to let the Doctor and FBI agent know, but it also allowed for an easier emotional response to events because of how intense they got as you progressed through the book. Essentially, I thought it was a good way to get through to the reader and allow a better build up of emotions because of how worse and unbelievable events became as Moonbeam spilled all.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Moonbeam is the central character within this story as it is her side of events and her experiences that tell us everything about The Lords Legion and where she fitted into everything. She’s a character that is clearly in shock after the fire (I mean who wouldn’t be?) and we are led to belief that she is to blame for the fire due to what she says inside her head. I liked this element of voices in her head because it added an extra something to her character that made her feel a bit more real to me, and gave me a bit of a better understanding towards Moonbeam as she’s a character who’s still in the middle of forgetting The Lords Legion and its’ beliefs or thinking it could be all true.

Even though she was a bit of a muddled character at first, I grew to like her and feel empathy towards her as the story progressed. The life she lived and things she experienced were terrifying, and I really wanted her to have a happy ending, but as to whether or not she did is for you to find out.

The Doctor and FBI agent that interviewed Moonbeam were likeable characters, and I found them to be really nice and understanding. They weren’t emotionless, but I did find the Doctor’s use of jargon to be a bit too professional as I thought Moonbeam wouldn’t be able to understand half of what he was talking about. Even so, Moonbeam came out of her shell as the story went on, and I found her ease with both men welcoming as it meant she was being brave for the sake of getting everything off her chest and telling them everything, even if she didn’t fully trust them yet.

Lastly, the one character that stood out and was to blame for everyone’s misery…Father John. The leader of The Lords Legion and alleged messenger of the Lord Himself. I can’t express my hatred for this man in words, but I will say this. He was an evil and power-hungry man who was the only one who benefitted from the cult (as per usual in cults).

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

In all honesty, the first few pages had me fuelled with curiosity, but after that it was a little slow. I stopped reading this book for about a week or two before I got back to reading it, and by then I became a bit more hooked as I progressed with the story and learned more and became intrigued again. Basically, it doesn’t become truly gripping until the last 200 pages when everything is just causing emotions to run through the reader like crazy.

Grip Rating: 1½ out of 2 Stars

In all, I really enjoyed this novel and would highly recommend it to anyone who finds cult based stories interesting. I am definitely a person who is intrigued by the power cults can hold over people, and I truly sympathise with those who have been through traumatic events caused by involvement in cults or anything else similar. This novel is an eye opener as it shows what kind of damage is inflicted on those who survive events like this, and I thank Will Hill for providing a novel that really gets the reader thinking and feeling.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 1½ = 9½ out of 10 Stars

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For more information about After the Fire and more reviews, please visit www.goodreads.com

Have you read this book? If so, leave a comment!

 

Review: The Witchfinder’s Sister (By Beth Underdown)

Review: The Witchfinder’s Sister (By Beth Underdown)

The Witchfinder’s Sister is a book that has a story set in the past (17th Century to be exact) and focuses on a woman who has returned to her place of birth after a tragedy kills her husband. Here she is reunited with her brother, but he’s changed. How and why exactly is a mystery until you delve into this 400 page book.

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Plot

Based around witch hunts and 1600’s superstition, The Witchfinder’s Sister allows for smooth immersion into the story and really makes the reader feel as though they’re watching through the main character’s eyes. The woman who we travel with on this journey of exploration and understanding is called Alice Hopkins, and it is her brother who we come to learn has a terrible role in the witch hunts. Upon reading further on, I found that the story was incredibly saddening and bizarre because of how they misunderstood simple little things like having moles and all of that. The thought processes of people back then really scared me, therefore reading how Alice manages to cope under her brother’s role and his superstition of her was mind-blowing. It made me thankful that I live in an age where they don’t think owning a black cat means you’re a witch.

Additionally, the whole pacing suited the story as it was never rushed. It took its time telling Alice’s experiences with her brother and his work and I found this good for building up suspense.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

As mentioned before, we follow Alice Hopkins within this novel and find out what she thinks and does about her brother’s involvement in witch hunting and witch trials. To be honest, I had no immediate opinions about Alice at the start because she hadn’t done anything that immediately stuck out for me, but as I read on I began to really like her because she wasn’t as mad as the people in her brother’s village. She had common sense and a tough personality which I found great for a lady of the 17th Century. She wanted to show that superstition about witches was nonsense and stop the invasion of privacy on innocent women, and by then I felt really emotional. The last few hundred pages of the book had Alice Hopkins make a real difference in regards to the trials, and I was tempted to shed a tear.

As for her brother, I hated his guts. Even after Alice was reunited with him, he was just cold and distant. I felt sorry for him a little bit because of an event in his past that left him physically scarred, but that still didn’t stop me from hating him. He lacked compassion, and it came across to me that he really didn’t like women (apart from his equally cold maid). He made a perfect villain (and he’s based off a real life man named Matthew Hopkins) and for that, I applaud Beth Underdown’s writing.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I wasn’t instantly gripped on this book until I was a few pages into it (like 30 pages), but I did finish this book within 5 days so…you could say it had me hooked once the story really started to get going. Upon reading Alice’s travels with her brother and what she witnessed, I wanted to know more, therefore I read every night and every few hours a day until I finished.

So is it really gripping? …Yes. Yes it is.

Grip Rating: 1½ out of 2 Stars

Altogether, I found this novel to be very emotional and interesting with a story that makes you want to jump in and knock out every superstitious man and woman in the village. I also found the fact that Beth Underdown incorporated fact into this novel awesome, so props to her! As for the story, I thought that it was quite something and in the end…I just sighed. Not because of something bad, but because of sympathy. I felt so sad and sympathetic for Alice. Poor, poor Alice…

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 1½ = 9½ out of 10 Stars

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For more The Witchfinder’s Sister reviews and any information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31378911-the-witchfinder-s-sister

 

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below! 

 

Review: Long Time Lost (By Chris Ewan)

Review: Long Time Lost (By Chris Ewan)

Long Time Lost is a thriller novel written by Chris Ewan, packed full of action and suspense…well that’s what it hints at on the blurb. Is it really full of enjoyable and thrilling scenes? Or is just wasted pages full of boring and mediocre action? Well, lets find out!

LLT

Plot

Long Time Lost had me in-and-out of boredom, providing twists here and there that didn’t have me gasping at all. Everything could be predicted, and I was really disappointed by that. It may have been jammed packed full of action and European trips, but sadly it was a little over packed. There was so much going on that sometimes I lost track, and when I initially started this book I had to look back at pages to remember who was who and what was going on. For this book, it was more quantity than quality.

As for the pace, I found that it was quite fast even though this book is over 400 pages, and I felt I couldn’t quite keep up, so it was a relief when I was on the last pages as they were paced better.

The amount of enjoyment and thrill that is to be expected from a book of the action and thriller genre is sadly absent, therefore reading this novel’s plot was more of a task than something I really wanted to do.

Plot Rating: 1 out of 4 Stars

Characters

These characters…were just so unsurprising. The main character is called Nick Miller, and he’s just what you’d find in an action movie. Big guy with a sad story that has led him to become what he is. Unfortunately, there isn’t any real character development with Nick Miller, and he stays the same for the whole story.

As for another character called Kate…I hated her. She was like a demanding toddler who couldn’t hold back her feelings and was just a liability. I wish she wasn’t a part of the story, but sadly she was. Each page that had dialogue from Kate made me hate her more because she didn’t change either! She is a strong female who wants to take charge now and again which is great, but she isn’t one to consider the interests and safety of others first which annoyed me.

And as for other characters, I believe each added a special something to the story due to how different they were. DS Lloyd was a side character who took centre stage a few times, and I found her side of the story to be quite interesting as Nick Miller was something DS Lloyd wasn’t. He was illegal, and she was a part of the police force. She offered an insight into the legal side of Witness Protection and tracking people down, and I found each chapter that involved her to be a fresh breath of air. She was a character I didn’t like at first because she acted and behaved like she knew everything before anyone else, but slowly she began to see that she had things wrong and that’s where I started liking her. She changed! The only character to do so and I was so happy!

Character Rating: 2 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I’ll be completely honest here. I battled with myself when it came to finishing the book or leaving it incomplete. The story was lacking something, and it left me wondering whether it was worth my time finishing the book to find out the outcome. Due to this feeling alone, I must say that this book didn’t grip me at all.

Grip Rating: 0 out of 2 Stars

Overall it was a quite mediocre novel and I think it would be better to see this on the big screen with some major edits to the story to actually make it enjoyable and thrilling. It’s not worth the read unless you’re a major fan of the action/thriller genre, therefore I have to say that this book was a big disappointment.

Overall Rating: 1 + 2 + 0 = 3 out of 10 Stars

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For more reviews on Long Time Lost or any other information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32490823-long-time-lost

Monthly Book Buys – AUGUST

Monthly Book Buys – AUGUST

Summer is coming to an end, bringing around Autumn once more! Now it’s time for August to shine! So what exactly caught my eye at the bookstore for this month? Find out below!

For this month (August ’17), I purchased the following books:

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If you’re interested in learning about these books, then click the relevant links below:

Misery (By Stephen King) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10614.Misery?ac=1&from_search=true

Nod (By Adrian Barnes) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16044493-nod?ac=1&from_search=true

Behind Closed Doors (By B.A. Paris) – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29437949-behind-closed-doors?ac=1&from_search=true

 

Reviews will be up by the end of 2017/beginning of 2018! 

Have any thoughts on these books? Leave a comment below!

 

Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

More Than This is a teen novel written by Patrick Ness and follows a boy who is washed up on a beach, naked and confused. As weird as it sounds, More Than This is a world of mystery and this only touches the tip of the iceberg.

A boy drowns. He dies. Then he wakes up. 

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Plot

This story is set in a dystopian future, but it’s not apocalyptic. It’s something else, something different, and this is what makes the story so intriguing. We’re sent on a hunt for answers, and it starts with to a boy we find lying on a beach alone and as naked as a baby. This instantly sparked my curiosity and was actually successful in making me read page after page because of how Patrick Ness writes out the way this lost boy tries to discover more about where he is, who he is and why he’s here.

Now I won’t spoil, but something that has made itself comfortable in our world is the core to this story, and it is shown to have killed our real world while we live in another. It touches a scenario that I could see become real, and installed fear in me. Because of this I wanted to read on and on, never stopping unless I absolutely had to. It was all so scary yet compelling, and I loved it.

The journey that the boy takes is paced lovely, with characters making this plot even more adventurous, with the additional touch of humour that made me burst out laughing yet gripped to know what happens next.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

So, what’s the name of this naked boy on the beach? Well, it’s Seth. Seth Wearing. And I must say, he is an absolute warrior. His determination surprised me because even though he was confused, I was expecting him to be more…desperate. There was something about him that made him different from main characters I’ve encountered in other teen novels. He wasn’t scared but rather utterly confused and wondered why he was alone and empty of memories. His strong and fierce personality made me really like him (he does have one memory/vulnerability, but I’ll let you find that out) and I felt like I was on this journey with him, trying to learn more about the situation. He made the most of what he had around him, and made the brave choice of deciding to venture out to truly understand what had happened.

Once he ventures out into the unknown, he bumps into two other characters who join Seth on his journey and enlighten him on the way with their theories. A teen girl and a young boy, they bring humour, knowledge and tears to the story, and I loved both of them. They added something extra to the story, and I couldn’t help but read more to understand them and their story as well as Seth’s. All of the characters were portrayed as strong youngsters, and their secrets/stories made them so real that I really felt for them and was tempted to shed a tear or two.

Now, there is another character within this book who acts as the villain, trying to get these youngsters for a reason unknown (later it’s revealed) and its name is The Driver. This character is absolutely terrifying (seriously though, I had hairs standing up on my arms!) and although I wouldn’t consider it a main character, it definitely plays an important role in the story. You may also be wondering why I’m referring to The Driver as ‘it’…well that’s for you to find out!

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip 

The mystery of what Seth was doing alone on a beach was just one thing that peaked my interest, and as the story went on, I found myself reading for hours. You can really immerse yourself in the story and imagine yourself walking alongside Seth, wondering about the world you’re in and what’s going on. I think it’s safe to say that the first page was instantly hooking, and I wasn’t satisfied with a few pages a night. I read this book under 2 weeks, so I was reading a few chapters a night!

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, More Than This is an amazing story with unique characters and a gripping plot that sucks you in from the first page. Intense, adventurous and compelling, I highly recommended anyone and everyone read this book and experience the dystopian future that is More Than This. 

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more More Than This reviews and any information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21969786-more-than-this

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below!