A Series of Unfortunate Events (Review)

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Netflix Original Series
Premiere Date Jan 13, 2017 

I will begin by saying that when I first heard that Netflix was doing an adaptation of this book series I was, for lack of a better word, overjoyed. When A Series of Unfortunate Events, the books, first came out they were something I had never been exposed to before. There were truly, dark, witty and utterly entertaining. Disaster after disaster the Baudelaire children had you rooting for them again and again. You were desperate for someone, anyone to finally be able to help them and no matter how often things went wrong, they never lost their fight. They were truly heroes, an example of perseverance and strength. 

While the 2004 film was certainly entertaining, I remember leaving with a sense of disappointment (as one often does when your favourite books are adapted to film). For this it had been the speed in which they had torn through the dark story. They had squished the first three books into one film and cut out so much of the story that I was left wondering what had happened. That and Jim Carrey's portrayal of the frightening Count Olaf was more on the absurd side than the truly terrifying.

So a series provided the outlet much needed for this story to be told. Several episodes over which their journey could begin to be spread out. Time to grow and really get to know the characters. I had extremely high hopes. 

I was not disappointed. Tackling this story as a series was exceptional. The proper time and care given to introductions to each character. As I began to watch this series I was thrown directly back into the books. Things I hadn't thought about in fifteen years suddenly came flying back into my memory. 

It is truly the vision. Every set piece, every character and minor detail were given exactly the amount of attention it needed to bring the story to life exactly as my mind had imagined. There were certain additions that were not mentioned in the books that added additional intrigue to the story! The show is dark, but not darker than the themes of the books. 

Overall, this show met, and exceeded my expectations. Netflix has done a fantastic job at bringing this vision to life. I have not yet finished the series but what I have seen so far has me wanting to binge the remainder! 

If you were a fan of this book series I urge you to check the show out! 

Though fair warning as they tell you at the very beginning

"What you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe." - Lemony Snicket

Rise of The Reaper (Review)

Rise Of The Reaper
By Lorna Reid
396 pages | November 20th 2015 | Ravensforge Books

Can you change fate? What would you risk in order to save the ones you love? Lovers of dark adventure, magic, and following your heart should not let this book slip away.

Can prophecy be overcome, or does striving to avoid fate merely drive you into its arms? Since the day Danny Stone's mother vanished, dreams of dark and strange places have plagued him nightly. Though years have passed, the burning pain of her disappearance still consumes him - as does his need for answers. Then one lazy summer day, Danny and his friends Katrina, Poppy, and Russell discover their parents' long-hidden secret - and their lives change forever.

They enter a fragmented, broken world of magic, blades, and blood in a quest for answers, but the mystery of what happened to Danny's mother only becomes more terrifying - and yet there is hope. But there are other, bigger threats at hand, too, as evil begins to stir and the Oracle's prophesies herald a coming darkness.

It seems that Danny's dreams were only the beginning...

Rise of the Reaper is the first book in an exciting new YA fantasy series by British author Lorna Reid. A perilous quest, filled with magic, blades, and blood. This adventure will make your pulse quicken, even as the shadows begin to stir

This book is truly a thing of magic. The imagery is stunning. The words leap off the page to truly bring the world to life. While the description plays a very firm role is this world building it is not by any means a quick read, though when you get through it, it is an enjoyable story. 

I think the main mistake the author made was a slow informative beginning. It comes across as, what I like to call, the information dump. This is where an author spends the first part of the book introducing you to the world and trying to give you all the information at one time instead of gradually spreading it throughout the book. It can be hard to get through if you're not one with a patient attention span. There wasn't really that 'hook' at the beginning that has you intrigued. 

Once you get through the info-dump,  you have a really interesting fantasy story that does eventually pull you in. Patience is a virtue readers. Once the story kicks off there is no longer any dull boring moments. Suddenly the story is fast paced and you no longer want to put it down. 

This series has good potential for patient readers. I recommend this for fantasy lovers more in the middle grade age range, though it seems like a story you could grow with. 

*Received a free copy from author in exchange for review

Lorna Reid is an ex-daydreamer, geek, and writer, who currently lives in the sunny climes of Scotland, having escaped from Kent many years ago. She is editor and writer for UK videogame site GamingLives, where she talks about and reviews games.

Videogames and an incurable Columbo habit tend to dominate much of her free time, but she manages to maintain a blog in a dark corner of the internet, where she talks about writing, publishing, games, and TV. Although her love for the Xbox 360 has waned, she has and always will be a PC gamer.

She has written several books, the most recent one being Rise of the Reaper - the first in an exciting new YA fantasy series.

Find her online at on Twitter @SketchStone or Just One More Writer – LornaReid.net where you can sign up for her exclusive reader club and get updates on her projects, special offers, bonus content for The Septic Circle, Rise of the Reaper, and more.

Morning Star (Red Rising #3) (Review)

Morning Star (Red Rising #3)
By Pierce Brown
524 pages | February 9th 2016 | Del Rey


Darrow is a Helldiver, one of a thousand men and women who live in the vast caves beneath the surface of Mars, generations of people who spend their lives toiling to mine the precious elements that will allow the planet to be terraformed. Just knowing that, one day, people will be able to walk the surface of the planet is enough to justify their sacrifice. The Earth is dying, and Darrow and his people are the only hope humanity has left. Until the day Darrow learns that it is all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down at Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought. Until the day Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their society.

You know you're reading a brilliant novel when one moment you're laughing out loud and the next you're sobbing in the corner. Only a truly brilliant story can have you simultaneously praising and cursing the author who wrote it. One moment I was throwing the book across the room,  only to run and grab it so I could continue reading. This is a book you will not be able to put down, no matter how much of a rollercoaster it is. 

This book is a verity of emotions and the perfect conclusion to this epic trilogy. The problem with many series is that even though the individual books are good, they don't always support each other to create a cohesive story. Morning Star did this, it picked up right where it needed to and tied everything together. There is not one book or another in this series that is better than the next, nor do you find yourself disappointed with the sequels. 

This series is well written, complex, unpredictable and entertaining. It is a star in its genre and well worth the praise and hype it gets. An absolute must read for sci-fi fans. 

Pierce Brown spent his childhood building forts and setting traps for his cousins in the woods of six states and the deserts of two. Graduating college in 2010, he fancied the idea of continuing his studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a magical bone in his body. So while trying to make it as a writer, he worked as a manager of social media at a startup tech company, toiled as a peon on the Disney lot at ABC Studios, did his time as an NBC page, and gave sleep deprivation a new meaning during his stint as an aide on a U.S. Senate Campaign.

Now he lives in Los Angeles, where he scribbles tales of spaceships, wizards, ghouls, and most things old or bizarre.

Note to the reader: Always feel free to contact him via his website, twitter, or facebook. He likes people. Except if you're a trollish person. Then he merely puts up with you for the sake of manners and propriety.


2017 New Year, New Releases!

Hey guys,

So it's officially 2017 now and let's hope the negative attitudes and events of 2016 can be left in the past! Let's move forward with a strong force and make this year ours! 

With a new year comes new book releases!  

Here are a few ARCs that are on my reading rotation now so reviews to come but if it already seems like your kind of read go ahead and pre-order the titles!

Traveling with Ghosts: A Memoir by Shannon Leone Fowler

Release Date: February 21, 2017

From grief to reckoning to reflection to solace, a marine biologist shares the solo journey she took—through war-ravaged Eastern Europe, Israel, and beyond—to find peace after her fiancé suffered a fatal attack by a box jellyfish in Thailand.

In the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler, a twenty-eight-year-old marine biologist, was backpacking with her fiancé and love of her life, Sean. Sean was a tall, blue-eyed, warmhearted Australian, and he and Shannon planned to return to Australia after their excursion to Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. Their plans, however, were devastatingly derailed when a box jellyfish—the most venomous animal in the world—wrapped around Sean’s leg, stinging and killing him in a matter of minutes as Shannon helplessly watched. Rejecting the Thai authorities attempt to label Sean’s death a “drunk drowning,” Shannon ferried his body home to his stunned family—a family to which she suddenly no longer belonged.

Shattered and untethered, Shannon’s life paused indefinitely so that she could travel around the world to find healing. Travel had forged her relationship with Sean, and she hoped it could also aid in processing his death. Though Sean wasn’t with Shannon, he was everywhere she went—among the places she visited were Oświęcim, Poland (the site of Auschwitz); war-torn Israel; shelled-out Bosnia; poverty-stricken Romania; and finally to Barcelona, where she first met Sean years before. Ultimately, Shannon had to confront the ocean after her life’s first great love took her second great love away.

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk in this beautiful, profoundly moving memorial to those we have lost on our journeys and the unexpected ways their presence echoes in all places—and voyages—big and small.

The Beast Is An Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

Release Date: February 28, 2017

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and 

Confessions of a High School Disaster (Chloe Snow's Diary) by Emma Chastain

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

On the plus side, I got the lead in the musical!

On the down side…

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, the most popular senior guy, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom tells me everything is copy. So I’m writing down all the horrible things that happen to me in this diary.

This is the worst year of my life so far, unless maybe it’s the best.

The Cutaway: A Novel by Christina Kovac

Release Date: March 21st, 2017

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters 3) by Lucinda Riley

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Travel through the lush English countryside and explore the magnificent estates of the British aristocracy in this next spellbinding love story in The Seven Sisters series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.

Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

The Shadow Sister is the third in the sweeping Seven Sisters series, “soaked in glamour and romance” (Daily Mail) and perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and the novels of Kate Morton.

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer 

Release Date: May 16, 2017

Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy—think The Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Outlander—debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.