Saturday, 23 September 2017

Blog Tour - Guest Post: FIRE LINES - by Cara Thurlbourn


I am so excited to be sharing this post with you today! Fire Lines sounds amazing, unique, and beautiful, and what Cara has to share is awesome. It makes me want to read the book more than ever.  

Over to you, Cara :) 

Five favourite things about Émi’s world – The Four Cities

 It’s so hard to choose only five things! If I really have to, though, my top five would be: 


1. The elephants. They’re absolutely incredible creatures, particularly when you start looking at the emotional bonds they form and the dynamics of their family groups. I was lucky enough to visit a sanctuary in India where we helped to bathe elephants who had been rescued from the tourism trade and it was an absolutely incredible experience – they are so powerful and yet gentle at the same time, and their eyes are truly soulful. They’re going to feature lots more later in the series, in book three particularly, so I can’t wait to get writing those bits! 

2. Magick. I’m a sucker for magic – I always have been. I feel like Fire Lines only just begins to hint at the extent of Émi’s powers, and also at the magical creatures that inhabit the rest of The Four Cities. So, I’m going to have lots of fun developing those. 

3. The landscapes. Whenever I watch films or TV shows, I just love the big cinematic landscape shots that give you a real feel for a place, and I tried to create that feeling when describing the world Émi is thrown into. My favourites are probably the view from the clifftops in Abilene, looking down at the lake with the silver bamboo towering up behind, and the view from Kole’s veranda in Tarynne with the watering hole and the plains stretching out towards the horizon. 

4. The good guys aren’t always good. There are blurred lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ throughout The Four Cities. Mahg is most definitely on the ‘bad’ side but many of the other characters do bad things for good reasons, or vice versa. This does make life a bit tricky for Émi though – it would be much simpler if she knew 100% who to trust. But then, what fun would that be?! 

5. The Island of Bones. Mahg’s Islands have only had brief mentions in Fire Lines but I’m really excited to delve into them properly later on in the series. Particularly the main island, The Island of Bones. It’s going to be gritty and gnarly, and quite scary. Much worse than Nhatu.




When your blood line awakens, how do you choose between family and freedom? Émi’s father used to weave beautiful tales of life beyond the wall, but she never knew if they were true. Now, her father is gone and Émi has been banished to the Red Quarter, where she toils to support herself and her mother – obeying the rules, hiding secrets and suffering the cruelties of the council’s ruthless Cadets. But when Émi turns seventeen, sparks fly – literally. Her blood line surges into life and she realises she has a talent for magick… a talent that could get her killed. Émi makes her escape, beyond the wall and away from everything she’s ever known. In a world of watchers, elephant riders and sorcery, she must discover the truth about who she really is. But can the new Émi live up to her destiny?

Title: Fire Lines
Author: Cara Thurlbourn
Release Date: 26th September 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Bewick Press

Goodreads    /     Amazon


Cara Thurlbourn writes children’s and young adult fiction. 'Fire Lines' is her first novel and it’s a story she’s been planning since she was fifteen years old. Cara has a degree in English from the University of Nottingham and an MA in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University. She lives in a tiny village in Suffolk and has worked in academic and educational publishing for nearly ten years. Cara blogs about her author journey and in November 2016 she crowdfunded her first children’s book. 10% of its profits are donated to animal rehoming charities. Cara plans to write at least two more books in the Fire Lines series, as well as a young adult mystery series, and has lots more children’s stories waiting in the wings. You can sign up for Cara’s newsletter, for giveaways, updates and latest releases, here: www.firelines.co.uk


 Website     /     Twitter


Hope you liked this post! Doesn't Fire Lines sound amazing? 

The Blog Squad: Part 25


We are a group of three book bloggers situated on different continents but brought together by our love for books and a penchant for talking about them. We’ve joined our forces to create a collaborative series of posts about book blogging and we hope you’ll enjoy the discussions. 

 A MAGICAL WORLD OF WORDS - AmyNikita 
 BOOKS.BAGS.BURGERS - Uma K 
 BOOK REVIEWS BY DI - Di Hewlett


What's the strangest thing you've done in the name of blogging? 



Blogging has seen me doing all sorts of things I didn’t think that I would need to do when I was a newbie blogger! For example:

  • Learning strange new languages (HTML, CSS, JAVA)
  • Opening social media accounts all over the Internet (Twitter, Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest!) Who even has time to maintain all these things!?
  • Buying and binge reading 5 previous books in a series
  • Spending HOURS actually blogging and then minimal hours actually READING
  • In order to GET more reading hours I stay up WAAAAY past my bedtime (who needs sleep)


None of these are really strange - it’s just what book bloggers do… We are pretty legendary when you come to think of it!

Like the other chicas, the strangest thing I’ve done is learn technology *gasp* If you know me, you probably know that me and technology don’t get along all that well. I break my phones a lot, I am very hesitant about online payments and I just don’t trust technology (hence technology doesn’t trust me either). So having to learn all HTML and CSS stuff for my blog was pretty weird. Like I never thought I’d be learning about this stuff?


What do you do about blogging slumps? 


I think the question to ask yourself here is - why are you in a slump in the first place?
  • Is the way that you are blogging sustainable?
  • Are you tired of your posts/meme participation/ schedule?
  • Are you in a reading slump that is carrying over to your blogging world?
  • Is something else happening in your life that is forcing a blogging slump?

Once you know the reason behind the slump, you’re well on your way to being able to get yourself out of it - if you can!

Right now I’m in a serious slump - it’s been brought on by LIFE in general, particularly work. Everything else is just taking up so much time in my life that I haven’t had time for myself, let alone time to invest in a hobby like blogging! I’ve just stepped back, reiterated to myself that it is my HOBBY and a source of enjoyment and the blogosphere will be there when I return. I’m spending what time I can on blogging and catching up because, despite this all being a digital experience, I love reading everyone’s updates and reviews and my blogging friends are a wonderful part of my life. I just have to readjust my expectations and schedule to fit into my life right now, and you can do it to!

If changing up the routine or spending less time posting and blogging doesn’t work for you, it may be time to take a break - rest, recharge and come back better than ever!

Like Amy, I think I’m in a slump currently! Though it’s not for the lack of inspiration or interest but rather due to the fact that college = working in hell. I literally have no time to post these days, let alone reply to comments and blog hop. Even my holidays are spent doing study work!

But if you feel you’re in a slump due to the fact you’re not much interested in writing your posts, maybe it’s time to analyse why and think about taking a break. If you can’t think of much to say, then it’s probably time to take a little break until you feel inspired again! Also have fun blogging! If we get all formal about it, I think the pressure might tire us out.


Have you ever struggled to write a review? 


Only ALL OF THE TIME!!! What’s funny is that I always find it so easy to write reviews about books that I didn’t like or had huge issues with - there’s plenty of rant material available there! With books that I liked/enjoyed/loved I have less to work with so I rely a lot on the notes that I take while I was reading to direct me in what I’m going to specifically address in my review.

I always try to remember the basics when I review (I also quite handily have put these into an infographic #ShamelessSelfPromo) - the genre, the writing style, the characters and their development, the plot themes. How did the book make you feel?

If all else fails you, don’t be afraid to try a different sort of post - not only reviews sell books! You could try a 5 Things About list, a Pinterest Mood board, Author Interview post, Makeup or Nail Art inspired by post - there’s so many opportunites!


OMG yes I have! MANY A TIMES! Sometimes it’s because I’m writing a negative review, sometimes because I’m not not in a writing mood, sometimes because I’m busy and sometimes because I’m forcing myself to write a review due to time constraint. If I ever struggle to write a book review, I don’t. Not right away anyway. I just start doing other works and try to forget about the review for a while. Later when I’m in a better mood or have the time to work through the review slowly, I get back to it. This mostly works for me!


Come check out my answers over at their collab posts!: 



 We hope you’ve enjoyed Part 25 in our series of discussion posts! Please talk to us and let us know YOUR answers below. What do you think of our responses? If you have any specific questions you’d like us to address in the future, please let us know in the comments section below. Stay tuned for next week’s questions!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #51: KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (film)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Breaking the Spine and now taken over by Wishful Endings that highlights upcoming book releases we're excited to read. On my blog, I include movies as well.


Release Date: 22 September 2017. 

When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.




I didn't love the first movie and Eggsy is a FREAKIN' annoying hero, but the action was cool. And when I heard Channing Tatum would be starring in the sequel as a cowboy, what better incentive was there to anticipate it?  





Anyone else excited to see Channing Tatum in a cowboy hat Kingsman: The Golden Circle


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Weekly Round-Up: Busy, busy, busy


It's been such a busy and exciting week. My cousins are visiting Cape Town on holiday, so I've been spending every spare minute with them and we've been binge watching Hawaii Five-O together - for me, it's re-watching, and although I don't think it's a well written series at all, it's such a fun guilty pleasure ;)

Otherwise, I'm seriously behind on replying to blog comments, going blog-hopping, and writing my WIP. I had hoped to get the first draft of my book finished by this time, but I haven't had the time. And since I've been sleeping over and spending most mornings with my cousins, I've had to use the afternoons to catch up on school.
Sigh.

OH AND I HAVE EXCITING NEWS. I finally got a cellphone!! My amazing cousin is an absolute darling, and surprised me with it when she visited on Wednesday. I literally cried.

I've also started bookstagraming again. YAY.


Posts of the week:  
Book Review: Blog Tour: Review - COLD MALICE
Waiting on Wednesday #50
Book Review: Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway - THE EMPTY GRAVE
Book Review: EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING
Blog Tour: Guest Post - DEADLY BURIAL
Book Review: CRAZY HOUSE




I am loving Wayfarer, which makes me so happy because I didn't enjoy Passenger that much. Canary Club is giving me mixed vibes, and I'm not far enough into A Stranger in the House to have an opinion of it yet. 




Yeah.......I kinda love thrillers a lot. And I am SO EXCITED about these darlings which arrived late this week.  



Greg reviews One Dark Throne

Brooklyn reviews Cress


Amber Elise reviews Hunting Prince Dracula

Breana reviews Defy the Stars

 



This horror film based off of Stephen King's novel is smashing box office records internationally and has been incredibly well received so far. Personally, I'd rather shoot myself in the foot than go watch it (clowns are seriously the creepiest things in the universe) but it does seem like a very well made film. It's also the highest grossing King book-to-movie adaption so far. 

After the incredible success of Wonder Woman, it's fantastic that Jenkins will be returning to direct the sequel and continue Diana's story.  

Jennifer Lawrence's performance in the horror/thriller film Mother! has been highly acclaimed and looks set to open new doors for Lawrence in terms of future roles. 


What's your week been like? What are you reading at moment? Watched anything awesome recently? 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

CRAZY HOUSE - by James Patterson

CRAZY HOUSE - James Patterson
Published: 2017 - Hachette Book Group.
Genres: YA / dystopia / thriller
Pages: 368.
Format: Paperback.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Graphic violence, sexual innuendo, mentions of rape and suicide.
Source: Thank you to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for a honest review.
Seventeen-year-old Becca Greenfield was snatched from her small hometown. She was thrown into a maximum-security prison and put on Death Row with other kids her age. Until her execution, Becca's told to fit in and shut her mouth... but Becca's never been very good at either. Her sister Cassie was always the perfect twin. Becca's only hope is that her twin sister will find her. That perfect little priss Cassie will stop following the rules and start breaking them, before it's too late. Because her jailers made a mistake that could get them both killed: They took the wrong twin.


I had never read a James Patterson book until this one. I knew about him, obviously, and knew that he was a huge name in the thriller genre, but I'd never read his books.
Until this one. And believe me, I was ecstatic to dive into it and love it; I was really, really excited.
But it fell flat for me in every single way.


The writing is clumsy, melodramatic, and juvenile. The sentences are stilted, the dialogue unrealistic and frequently out of character, and there is absolutely no set-up of anything. The world building is extremely limited, and for the entirety of the first quarter of the story I was completely confused. In fact, I didn't even realise it was dystopia until the story got to a certain point. Everything's vague and weak and incredibly, incredibly unrealistic. Not for one second could I suspend disbelief.
But there are some nice twists towards the end and the pacing is always fast. Yet the story ends unrealistically. The twists are good twists, but they're pathetically executed. The story feels even more unrealistic and superficial at the end and I didn't buy it.

There's no background or strong backstory for anything. Nothing is set-up! Incidents and information are thrown in randomly like the author's just thought of them in the moment. For example, when Cassie tells the reader that a certain teacher raped her sister, the information comes in the form of an outburst to said teacher and has no realism at all. There's been no set-up to that, and there's no proper consequences in that scene. The information is shocking - horrifying - but it's handled terribly. And the worst thing is, Cassie doesn't even act realistically; she shouts out the accusation like she's having a spat with a friend.
Here's the scene:
I actually felt the blood draining from my face. "Don't you talk about my ma," I said in a low, shaking voice. Something inside me came undone and I went on, not sounding like myself at all. "You're not the only one who can make threats. Remember when you pushed me into the supply closest? Remember shoving your tongue down my throat?" Mr. Harrison got red, his eyes narrowing. "I'm sure you do, because I bit the hell out of it," I went on. "But Becca wasn't so lucky, was she? No, you actually got her alone that time. And you forced yourself on her! You're just a rapist! Not any kind of teacher."  "You listen here," Mr. Harrison began, striding towards me angrily, "The girl had it coming to her! Just like you!"   

It goes without saying that Mr. Harrison is a despicable character, but isn't that scene so poorly written? Not to mention it's extremely insensitive and offensive - the language is anything but serious, despite the gravity of the information. The subject of rape seems to be there simply for shock value, especially since Mr. Harrison is never mentioned again. 

Which brings me to:The author's handling of certain dark topics.
Rape and a pregnancy that ends in a miscarriage are mentioned, but they aren't written sensitively or intelligently. They're skimped over, with the characters barely acknowledging them, and it all comes across childish, immature, and "oh well, it happened. Let's move on." Personally, I think that if you're going to mention topics like that it's your responsibility to handle them well and make sure they get the closure, attention, and sensitivity they deserve. As it is, I'm shocked, furious, heartbroken, at the way Patterson addresses the incident of rape and the miscarriage of a girl's child. Even if the story world or characters don't give the topics proper handling, that in itself needs to be addressed in the story. But in this book it never is.

"There were no charges. There was no trial. There will be no escape." 

The characters are stereotypical. Becca and Cassie do have a compelling relationship and they do change throughout the story, but they aren't great characters. I like how active they are and that they actually do move the story forward, but they're still annoying, boring characters. And I struggled to get into their heads and sympathise with them.

Everyone else is bland and underdeveloped. People pop up without introduction or impression and suddenly we're supposed to feel for them. And I tell you truthfully, I did not feel for a single character in the book. I just couldn't. Nathaniel and Tim are boring love interests with little purpose in the story aside from being love interests, and Miss. Strepp - the woman who had potential for an interesting character - is inconsistent, and gradually falls into a stereotypical, predictable role.



Crazy House is poorly written, unrealistic, insensitive to the tough subjects it brings up, and packed with bland, stereotypical characters. It has no set-up, and nothing, nothing is properly developed - if developed at all.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Blog Tour: Guest Post - DEADLY BURIAL by Jon Richter


Today I'm so excited to be participating in the blog tour for Deadly Burial, a crime thriller from author Jon Richter.  
Hope you enjoy what he has to say! 

Why is no-one writing about professional wrestling?? 

 The best soap on TV. Fascinating, larger-than-life characters. Shocking plot-lines packed with unexpected twists. Constant hilarity interspersed with some genuinely poignant moments. And the behind the scenes antics, particularly back in the 80s, were often even more insane than what was being presented to us in the ring itself: hostile takeover bids, backstabbing scriptwriters lying to combatants about who was going to win the match, drink, drugs, violence… and real-life tragedy.

For anyone looking for inspiration, the world of professional wrestling is an absolute goldmine. When I penned my debut thriller Deadly Burial (available for download now from Amazon for your eBook reader), I genuinely felt like I had stumbled upon something that would virtually write itself: just place a dozen pro wrestlers on tour on a remote island, add a dash of murder, and simmer…

Of course, it wasn’t until the 2008 blockbuster smash The Wrestler that the pro wrestling industry was really brought to mainstream attention in any form other than as a children’s pantomime, ripe for derision. As a lifelong fan, it was fantastic to see the wrestling business finally treated sensitively – yes, the matches are scripted, but that doesn’t mean the moves don’t hurt. When you watch a wrestling match, you’re watching something halfway between a stunt show and a theatre production featuring intense method acting; the risks are very real and the performers often sustain serious injuries.

But that’s somewhat missing my point. Yes, I do enjoy the spectacle of a well-crafted bout, in the same way as you might enjoy a great dance performance, or a boxing match; but the real skill is in the story telling. The most memorable wrestlers aren’t those with the best mat skills, or even the most distinctive look (and there have been plenty of those: The Rock, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker… all are instantly recognisable household names); they’re the ones that were involved in the most compelling battles. Brother versus brother. Corporate sleazeball versus working class American hero. A sumo wrestler fighting a zombie (okay, so that last one might not necessarily be called ‘compelling’… but where else would you see that on telly?!)

Meanwhile, professional wrestling in the UK is currently in the midst of a full-blown renaissance. World of Sport will soon be back on our screens every week, with the likes of Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Kendo Nagasaki passing the torch to a new generation of warriors. The WWE itself has crowned its first ever UK Champion, and an unprecedented number of British and Irish fighters are being showcased on their regular programming – remember when it was only The British Bulldog flying the flag? (I remember fondly the times when, to ensure the American public weren’t baffled, he would come out and announce in a broad Wigan accent that London was his ‘hometown’…)


I hope this post has inspired you to dust off your old wrestling figures, or at least to watch an episode of WWE Raw with your son or daughter if they are still a big fan… not just because I genuinely think you will find it enthralling viewing, but also because it just might give you some story ideas…







When DI Chris Sigurdsson is assigned a grisly murder case on remote Salvation Island, he knows that it might be his strangest yet. A forgotten wrestling star of the 1980s has been poisoned whilst in the ring, and amidst the slippery lies of his dangerous opponents, unravelling the victim’s murky past is almost impossible. And as a storm threatens to cut Salvation Island off from the mainland, the race is on for Sigurdsson to find the ruthless killer before he strikes again…

Amazon    /   Goodreads



Jon Richter lives in London and spends most of his time hiding in the guise of his sinister alter ego, an accountant called Dave. When he isn’t counting beans, he is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a good story. Jon writes whenever he can and hopes to bring you more disturbing stories in the very near future. If you want to chat to him about this, or about anything at all, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites, or at his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/richterwrites2.




Hope you enjoyed this post! Is Deadly Burial a book you'd like to read? Is wrestling something you're interested in? 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING - by Nicola Yoon

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING - Nicola Yoon
Published: 2015 - Delacorte Books.
Genre: Young adult / romance / contemporary fiction
Pages: 307.
Format: Paperback.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Non-explicit sex scene.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. 
Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddie, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. But does Maddie dare to step outside her comfort zone?


Since I really want to see the movie, I thought it'd be a good idea to read the book first. Too often I've done that the opposite way round, but here I had the chance to do it 'right' ;)
So I did. I read it.
And I really enjoyed this beautiful story.


The writing is pure art. It's simplistic, gentle, poetic, and full of so much heart it's impossible not to be invested in the story. Every word comes straight from Yoon's soul, and you can feel that. It's magnificent. The story, too, is deeply moving and heartbreaking, and although I didn't cry there're some twists near the end that literally made me gasp out loud.
The one tiny thing I don't like about the writing is that it's frequently melodramatic. It's not terrible, but it can just be draining to read in places.  

The story's entertaining. Humour juxtaposes the heartache, and love lightens the darkness. The story flies past (I read it in under two days) but at the same time it's not a light read - there are some profound ideas and morals coming through, and some serious thought-provoking subjects are addressed. Similar to Me Before You - only more hopefulthis book examines the facets of life and living, and suggests that perhaps they're not the same thing. It's brilliant.
The ending is also spectacular. There are some awesome, gut-wrenching dark twists, and I loved every minute of them. It's the perfect ending.

“I decide then that love is a terrible, terrible thing. Loving someone as fiercely as my mom loves me must be like wearing your heart outside of your body with no skin, no bones, no nothing to protect it.”

One thing that annoyed me about the story was when Maddy leaves with Olly and doesn't talk to her mother about it. She does leave her a note, but is it just me or is the whole 'I'm leaving home because I need freedom and you can stress about where I am till I'm ready to come home' thing getting old?  I get Maddy's reasons, but in my mind it's still incredibly selfish and frankly inexcusable to just take off and cause your parent/parents that amount of worry and pain. It's cruel and over-used.

And here's another thing I slightly disliked about the story. A large section of the book follows Olly and Madeline's 'adventures', but I did have some issues with that. Without giving spoilers, it's the kind of story you read while thinking 'but if that's true, then why does this happen, and why could they do that if that was the problem?' You want to start raising objections to things because they don't make sense, but then at the end of the book you realise that in retrospect - and knowing what you know now - those things do make sense.
So yeah. It's a bit frustrating to suspend disbelief in certain cases, but I promise you, everything (haha see what I did there?) will make sense in the end. So stick with it and just lose yourself in the story.

“In my head I know I've been in love before, but it doesn't feel like it. Being in love with you is better than the first time. It feels like the first time and the last time and the only time all at once.”

The characters are off-beat, quirky, and refreshing compared to the typical YA contemporary romance leads you usually get in this kind of book. Personalities spring off the pages, everyone is three-dimensional and vivid, and there are a number of interesting, dynamic relationships. I particularly love Maddy's friendship with Carla. Carla's also my favourite character.

Maddy and Olly's romance is, unfortunately, insta-love. I'm not a fan of insta-love, but as the story progressed, I found it impossible not to love together. The insta aspect is disappointing, but they're still so sweet together and their chemistry is gorgeous. 



Fans of Me Before You and The One Memory of Flora Banks will fall in love with Everything, Everything.  It has its small issues, but it's still a tenderly written story bursting with heart and dancing with vivid, unique characters. 
If you love adorable, consuming romance sprinkled with tragedy, you'll love this book. 


Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Blog Tour - Giveaway & Review: THE EMPTY GRAVE - by Jonathan Stroud


Welcome to my blog today, y'all! I'm so excited and honoured to be sharing my review for this fantastic new book, and I hope you enjoy all there is to read - and possibly win! - in this post :)



THE EMPTY GRAVE - Jonathan Stroud
Published: September 2017 - Disney-Hyperion
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / paranormal
Pages: 448.
Format: eBook.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Fantasy thrills and action/violence.
Source: Thank you to the publisher for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour.
After the dramatic events of The Creeping Shadow, the Lockwood team (plus Quill Kipps) deserve some well-earned rest. So naturally they break into the Fittes Mausoleum, on a perilous mission to discover the truth about London's top ghost-hunting agency, and its sinister leader. What they discover will change everything. But there's little time to ponder. A near-miss at a haunted fairground is only the start - as the Fittes agency closes in on the team, an epic struggle commences. With the help of some unexpected, and rather ghostly, allies, Lockwood & Co must battle their greatest enemy yet, as they move ever closer to the moment when the earth-shattering secret of 'the problem' will finally be revealed.


I've only read two Lockwood and Co. books prior to this one and that was a long, long time ago. But when I got the chance to read this installment I simply couldn't resit. I love a good story and a good thrill, and Stroud is guaranteed to deliver that...


This story is wonderful. It's fast-paced, thrilling, unashamedly and fantastically British, with a terrifically spooky atmosphere that always keeps the setting alive and the tone vivid. It's a detective tale, and it glints with ghosts and seethes with specters - giving the reader an escape into an Otherworldly realm of magical illusions and dark secrets.
The writing's elegant and skillful. The descriptions are extremely specific and imaginative, but while I do love this, it's also hard to see place sometimes; simply because there're so many details. It isn't boring, but you do have to concentrate to get the full effect.

The humour is excellent. The dialogue is rich with wit and subtext, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

“This is what the Problem means,” he went on. “This is the effect it has. Lives lost, loved ones taken before their time. And then we hide our dead behind iron walls and leave them to the thorns and ivy. We lose them twice over, Lucy. Death’s not the worst of it. We turn our faces away.”

Lockwood didn’t speak until everything was quiet again. “I know you’re worrying about me, Luce,” he said. “But you really mustn’t. These things happen when you’re an agent. You’ve been snared by ghosts in the past, haven’t you? There was the one that made the bloody footprints, and the thing in the tunnels below the Aickmere Brothers store. But it’s fine, because I helped you then, and you’ve helped me now. We’re there to help each other. If we do that, we’ll get through.” Which was a lovely thing to say, and it made me feel a little warmer. I just had to hope it was true.


The characters are awesome. I wish they'd gotten a bit more rounding-out (they aren't as vivid as they could be) but they're still fantastic, three dimensional humans with compelling personalities, back stories, and relationships. I love Lucy and how she's such a brave, flawed, unique heroine. I love Lockwood, Holly and George, all for their different traits and complications, and they actually remind me a lot of the Harry Potter characters - just because of the natural, effortless manner and style in which they're written. Even though they aren't extremely vivid, Stroud writes them as if they're real people. And I love that.
I also love the emphasis Stroud places on friendship. It makes me love the characters so much more because of the way they interact together and because they're so fiercely protective of each other. And following on from that, I also adore how everyone is equal. The girls and guys are utterly and absolutely equal and there's never any bashing when it comes to capabilities. The characters are written as equals in such a natural way that it makes you wish people could be so accepting in real life.
Oh! And there's also the skull. Gosh, I love that guy. He's so sassy, inappropriate, entertaining, and lovable. He's definitely one of my favourite characters.

The romance is simple, subtle, and gentle. I ship Lucewood so much, and I adore their slow-burn romance - their enthralling relationship. It's beautifully human and intensely vulnerable.



The Empty Grave is a skillful and satisfying conclusion to the Lockwood and Co. series. It's a beautiful, clean story, with a dash of romance, strong friendships, and lovable characters.
Overall, a solid, fun tale.



After the dramatic events of The Creeping Shadow, the Lockwood team (plus Quill Kipps) deserve some well-earned rest. So naturally they break into the Fittes Mausoleum, on a perilous mission to discover the truth about London's top ghost-hunting agency, and its sinister leader. What they discover will change everything. But there's little time to ponder. A near-miss at a haunted fairground is only the start - as the Fittes agency closes in on the team, an epic struggle commences. With the help of some unexpected, and rather ghostly, allies, Lockwood & Co must battle their greatest enemy yet, as they move ever closer to the moment when the earth-shattering secret of 'the problem' will finally be revealed. Jonathan Stroud once again delivers a rousing adventure full of danger, laughs, twists, and frights. The revelations will send readers back to Book 1 to start the series all over again.






Jonathan Anthony Stroud is an author of fantasy books, mainly for children and youths. Stroud grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. He worked with different types of books there and this soon led to the writing of his own books. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success. In May 1999, Stroud published his first children's novel, Buried Fire, which was the first of a line of fantasy/mythology children's books. Among his most prominent works are the bestselling Bartimaeus Trilogy. A special feature of these novels compared to others of their genre is that Stroud examines the stereotypes and ethics of the magician class and the enslaved demons. This is done by examining the perspective of the sarcastic and slightly egomaniacal djinni Bartimaeus. The books in this series are The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem's Eye, and Ptolemy's Gate, his first books to be published in the United States. Stroud lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children's books.

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3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE EMPTY GRAVE, US Only.










Week One: 

- 9/11/2017- Twirling Book Princess - Excerpt 
9/12/2017- Life Within The Pages - Review
9/13/2017- A Magical World Of Words - Review
9/14/2017- The Book Monsters - Review
9/15/2017- BookHounds YA - Guest Post

Week Two:

9/18/2017 - Morbid Romantic Reviews - Review
9/19/2017- YA and Wine - Interview
9/20/2017- books are love - Review 
9/21/2017- Mythical Books - Guest Post 
9/22/2017- My Nook, Books & More - Review



Are you fantastically spooked for The Empty Grave?! Is it something you'd like to read?
Hope you enjoyed this post :)