No Mercy eARC Review

 

 

No Mercy (Kent Fisher Mysteries, #5)

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GoodReads:
COULD YOU KILL IF JUSTICE FAILED YOU?

Highways Inspector, Derek Forster, couldn’t go on after the death of his wife. Even though he had a secret lover, he took his own life. Or did he?

Samson Capote, the restaurateur from hell, brutally attacked and left to die in a deep freezer. Did he antagonise too many people? Was he sharing Forster’s secret lover?

Millionaire entrepreneur, Clive Chesterton, falls from his yacht and drowns in Sovereign Harbour. Why did he have Forster’s missing journals in his cabin?

When Kent Fisher becomes a murder suspect, he realises he could be the next victim of a killer who shows no mercy.

Can Kent connect the deaths and solve the mystery before the killer gets to him?

My Review

Hey guys, so this is book 5 of the Kent Fisher Mysteries, but can easily be read as a standalone if you want, if not, Iw ould at least recommend reading book 4 which I’ve linked my review to for you all!

I really enjoy fun to read mystery series books, so, reading ‘No More Lies’ previously, I was really happy Robert Crouch asked me if I would like to read and review book 5!

Kent Fisher is an EHO [Environmental Health Officer] so he’s a bit of a different character for a sleuth! Writing up health and safety ratings for restaurants and catching murderers on the side, not to mention the man has an animal sanctuary as well. How cool is he?

Also, he has more personal drama than the telenovelas my Abuela would watch. Which always gives me some amusement.

Though I really had fun reading book four, I think this one did a better job with the mystery, I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who in the hell the person was that I thought had done it. Like I had a feeling I knew who did it, but the real question was, who they were in reality because it was like an expert game of cat and mouse and I won’t say more because I don’t do spoiler-y reviews.

So the mystery was better done this time for sure, and I really enjoyed Kent’s angle on solving it. There’s more conspiracy and intrigue to this round!

HOWEVER. I was still not impressed with his dealings with women. Now, granted, the drama is fun, but I think I would love to see him get knocked down a peg in the next book or so where his magnetic pull to women is concerned. Sometimes that did make me rather annoyed but not enough to want to stop reading it.  A bit like the issues I have with a certain Jim Butcher’s books. I love the mystery, just sometimes didn’t like the interactions between characters.

Overall, I am looking forward to the next one and thought this was a fun quick read. Thank you to Robert Crouch for a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

The Book Interview Tag

I was tagged by @Clo! And I’m gonna do this tag before I forget it!

Name/Blog Name

Haley and my blog name is The Caffeinated Reader….like the url says, not that I’m judging if you didn’t know.

Age

Grand old age of 19…I’ll be 20 this year which is slightly terrifying. No one said adulting would be so…not fun. Having said that I am happy my age is an odd number at the moment.

I am DYING. Clo has very kindly pointed out that I did not change my answer on this one. And, shockingly guys, I’m not 19. I am OLD, think of me as a fossil, a 31 year old fossil.

Favourite Genre

Scifi or Fantasy? Or like they’re kinda pushed in together, but I love a good space opera or medieval quest gang. I think that I tend to favor Scifi when I think of books I love but, then I realize I read probably more fantasy, bah idk.

Favourite Male Author

I think Philip Pullman. I would have said Orson Scott Card once upon a time buuuuut well, haha, nope not anymore. I absolutely love Pullman’s His Dark Materials and his newer books stemming off that.

Favourite Female Author

Ahh there are so many to choose from, but, I’ll just say Tamora Pierce for now, her fantasy books really drew me into the fantasy world, and though I love Harry Potter, I don’t love JK, so, Tamora Pierce has become my main answer on this for now. I do love some new authors now, like Natasha Ngan, all thanks to diversifying my reading!

Forever Favourite(s)

Harry Potter, Alien Chronicles, any Tamora Pierce, Inkheart trilogy, Mortal Instruments, Midnight on the Orient Express, And Then there were None, Where are the Children,  Girls of Paper and Fire, Girls of Storm and Shadow, A Spark of White Fire, and House of Rage and Sorrow, The Uglies [the trilogy], The Gemma Doyle trilogy, The Return of King Lillian, Kingdom of Souls, House of Salt and Sorrows, and Crown of Feathers, Winternight Trilogy, Alien Chronicles, Oremere Chronicles, Shadow of the Fox, Soul of the Sword, The Hunger Games, The Ice House, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, and like a billion others but I’ll stop there, wanted to mix the new and the old.

What Was Your First Book Of 2019? How Did You Like It?

It was A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, I mean I like dit alright, but it took me forever to read and I really just wanted to be done with it by the end lol, I’m still salty we have no new GoT books.

What Was Your Last Book Of 2019? How Did You Like It?

Through the Water Curtain edited by Cornelia Funke, and I really liked it, it was a collection of different fairytales, not as well known as the ones I grew up with which made it all that much better.

What Do You Look For In A Book/What Makes It Really Stand Out For You?

oh man, that’s a hard one, I would say I really need a diverse set of characters, not just in the general sense but in their personalities and their setbacks. I like them flawed and with FEELING. Also, I love a great plot!

Do You Collect Any Particular Sets/Editions Of Books?

I do, and I wish I didn’t, I am like throwing my money at all the pretty editions of books that I want/like. I think I mostly focus on Harry Potter editions for like sheer amount, my own editions when they were first published, my spawn’s UK paperback editions which are hers lol not mine, illustrated editions, and the house editions.

Favourite Place To Read

Couch or my bed, only two places to really read right now in the new place anyway!

Do You Prefer eBooks, Audiobooks Or Physical Books? Hardbacks Or Paperbacks?

I switch between eBooks and physical, for, like, the weight I do prefer holding a paperback over a hardcover, but I love the look of hardcovers more! I would say I’m pretty diverse, I just can’t focus on audiobooks though I’m wanting to try more to this year.

Do You Keep Books You Didn’t Like, Or Get Rid Of Them?

Uh, sometimes I keep them because I’m like a hoarder but I will usually, eventually, donate them. Or sometimes I sell them! But I would say 90% go to donation.

Which Literary Character Best Defines You/Do You Best Relate To?

Uh, like, I cannot think of an answer for this. I think I probably most identify with Daine from Wild Magic, there was always something not only stubborn but so reactive about her that I connected with from the start.

 

Tagging:

Isabelle

Susan

Jamsu

Wilder Girls eARC Review

 

**This is for the UK version being released on February 6**

Wilder Girls

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GoodReads:
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

My Review

Trigger/Content Warnings From Her Site:
-Graphic violence and body horror. Gore.
-On the page character death, parental death, and animal death (the animals are not pets).
-Behavior and descriptive language akin to self-harm, and references to such.
-Food scarcity and starvation. Emesis.
-A scene depicting chemical gassing.
-Suicide and suicidal ideation.
-Non-consensual medical treatment.

No one knows, and though they’d want to care they care more about surviving. Under quarantine with supplies brought it, its survival of the fittest.
The ‘Tox’ is a dangerous illness, it changes you inside and out, and the Raxter girls are all infected. It manifests in different ways, but one thing that’s noticeable is that it seems to easily kill the teachers more than the others, there are only two adults left and the Raxter girls are dropping in numbers as well. So, what is this Tox and where does it come from?

This book was chilling from start to finish, the girls are most certainly ‘wilder’ because of the tox, but it seems some already had that ‘ability’ to be wild just tucked inside themselves.

The disease is gruesome, we’re not talking about a virus that gives you different pretty features that though weird aren’t ugly, no, we have second spines jutting out, shut/sealed eyes, bloody pus, and more.

So…if you have a delicate constitution you may want to pass on this haha.

The girls are all flawed and horrible and good in their own ways and the close relationships are great to read. I really felt connected to their plight and wanted them to persevere. BUT I also saw the dangers they were to themselves and others as they continued to morph from the Tox.

The ending got me so bad, I was shrieking haha, ‘whyyyy,’ possibly falling to my knees for dramatic effect. It was more the style of the ending than the actual content, if you’re looking for some satisfying closure, *laughs* this isn’t it.

There is what you might call a lack of humanity in this story, it’s not about that, though there are glimpses of it, it’s about the wildness that is slipping through the girls and the island they’re on. And though I was really invested in this story from start to finish I think it could be hard for some to connect with the girls, they do horrible things and though you know they’re doing them without little choice/because they’re infected it can still cause a bit of a rift for the reader and characters.

Either way, I sincerely loved this novel and found it really gripping, it wasn’t fast-paced but it did keep the intensity at about 150% the whole way through.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest review. Full review to come.

The Will and the Wilds eARC Review

 

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

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GoodReads:
Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.
Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.
Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

My Review

A fairytale at heart, reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast with some delightful twists. I loved the mysting creatures and how many different ones there were. The world-building was intriguing in regards to the mystings and humans.

[The Mystics actually reminded me a lot of the creatures in Spiderwick Chronicles, I think it was the woods and the creatures combined that made me think of the similarities.]

Though I did feel I enjoyed this, quite a lot of the story was filler which was unfortunate. There wasn’t a lot of progress with the storyline and it felt stagnant because of that. The MC was likeable but there was something missing from her, she felt not quite fleshed out, as the story felt like a filler, so did a lot of her actions. I wish we would have spent more time in ‘The Deep and that we could have gotten to know our MC, Enna, more.

Enna’s in this amazingly isolated world that her father and she have built, and we get glimpses of that but not enough to really give it the attention I think it deserves. Of course, half of it is circumstance, Enna can’t be in two places at once but some of it is also the ‘not being fleshed out’ that I felt was the main core of my problem reading it.

I really wish I could have learned about her father more, or her mom even but I know this is me having a personal preference rather than it being a ‘problem’ with the story.

Maekallus is also super intriguing as far as characters go and definitely a unique interpretation of the beast. He has no soul to start with and watching him find it or ‘gain it’ makes for some of. the best parts of the story.

The interactions between Enna and Maekallus are varied and often but for some reason, I don’t always fully connect them together which is a shame, I think I would have liked watching their relationship develop more, in between the plotline.

All in all, an enjoyable story but with slow pacing and not quite fleshed out.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Pros:
-Really neat world and creatures
-I can never get enough Beauty and the Beast retellings
-Unique Beast
-Enna is not just a reader but of a scholarly/scientific mind
-the villagers are a bit more complex than in the original tales

Cons:
-A lot of filler
-It is another Beauty and the Beast retelling which may think is overdone
-There’s not a huge connection for me as a reader to Enna [or Enna and Maekallus.]
-It felt a little incomplete at the end but I also did enjoy the ending? Idk how to explain it.
-Pacing is off

Pondathon Sign-Up

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

What is the Pondathon?

The Pondathon is a co-operative and story-driven readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon is to read books and collect points to protect the friends over at The Quiet Pond from the encroaching malevolent forces that threaten our friends in the forest.

Have fun participating in the Pondathon readathon by joining one of five teams, each with a unique way to collect points and signing up! You can also follow the story of the Pondathon as it unfolds, and participants can also complete ‘side quests’ during the readathon to collect extra points. The readathon takes place from January 24th 2020 to March 7th 2020. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  1. To join the Pondathon, simply sign up anytime between January 18th 2020 to March 5th 2020.
  2. Choose a team, create your own animal character for the Pondathon and create a character card!
  3. Create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#Pondathon’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  4. Link back to this post so that others can find this readathon and join in.

Share your updates on your blog/bookstagram/booktube and social media. You are more than welcome to tag @thequietpond or @artfromafriend on Twitter or Instagram in all your updates! We’d love to see all of the beautiful and awesome characters that you create!

My Pond Character

pondathonessiey

Hey all, my Pondathon character is called Essiey, she’s the guard of lore! She devours books of all genres hoping to pick up more interesting tidbits to guard. She’s part of team Varian and will do her best to help defend the pond.


My Pondathon TBR

 


Rebel (Legend, #4)

Rebel by Marie Lu

This is the fourth book of the ‘Legend’ series and I’m so excited to get to this finally, I preordered this but had to wait for ages for it to get to me. Luckily I was able to get it at all though, I did the other three books as part of a readalong and I’m really intrigued to read this one.


The Mercies

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Norway lore! Perfect read for Essiey/myself and I absolutely loved Hargrave’s novel The Deathless Girls so I requested this on NetGalley and preordered it, I’ll get to the eARC before the physical copy lol.


Of Cats and Elfins: Short Tales and Fantasies

Of Cats and Elfins by Sylvia Townsend Warner

A book of short stories and fantasies by a female author. Handheld Press is one of my favorite publishers, they bring female authors into the spotlight, bringing them from the same time as those great male literary writers, showing we were. always there writing as well.


The Wolf of Oren-Yaro

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

I signed up for the blog tour of this, I liked the blurb and I won’t lie, the cover caught my eye! I’m intrigued by a Queen who has to bring her people together, though, the reason they’re in the mess might be her fault in the first place. I love a good redemption arc.


Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles, #2)

Off Balance by Aileen Erin

This is the second book of the Aunure Chronicles and I ADORED the first book, Latinx main character with this inner strength that just made me fangirl, and aliens, evil corporations, and more! Ahhh I cannot wait to read this!


The Island Child

The Island Child by Molly Aitken

I requested this for Canongate, I loved the blurb and I’m lucky enough to be on the tour for this as well! It’s completely immersed in Irish Folklore and I am all here for that.


Night Spinner (Night Spinner, #1)

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley

Another cover pick from NetGalley but I totally am here for the book as well, a Hunchback retelling where…our hunchback is a girl! Magic, retellings, Hugo inspired…I’m here for this!!

That’s all I’ll have up on the TBR for now but I’ll add things as I go!

Heart of Flames eARC Review

 

 

Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers, #2)

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GoodReads:
Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev must stop the advancing empire from destroying the Phoenix Riders in this fiery sequel to Crown of Feathers, which #1 New York Times bestselling author Kendare Blake calls “absolutely unforgettable!”
You are a daughter of queens.
The world is balanced on the edge of a knife, and war is almost certain between the empire and the Phoenix Riders.
Like Nefyra before you, your life will be a trial by fire.
Veronyka finally got her wish to join the Riders, but while she’s supposed to be in training, all she really wants to do is fly out to defend the villages of Pyra from the advancing empire. Tristan has been promoted to Master Rider, but he has very different ideas about the best way to protect their people than his father, the commander. Sev has been sent to spy on the empire, but maintaining his cover may force him to fight on the wrong side of the war. And Veronyka’s sister, Val, is determined to regain the empire she lost—even if it means inciting the war herself.
Such is your inheritance. A name. A legacy. An empire in ruin.
As tensions reach a boiling point, the characters all find themselves drawn together into a fight that will shape the course of the empire—and determine the future of the Phoenix Riders. Each must decide how far they’re willing to go—and what they’re willing to lose in the process.
I pray you are able to pass through the flames.

Book Details
Title: Heart of Flames (Book 2 of Crown of Feathers trilogy)
By: Nicki Pau Preto
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: February 11, 2020

My Review

Before we start, this is book TWO in the Crown of Feathers trilogy, and if you want to learn more about this trilogy, here’s my review for the first book.

Now, onto the review.

I’m not gonna lie, for about an hour I’ve sat here wondering what the hell to even write because this book was so magnificent I don’t think my review could do it justice.

This book picks up from the first, we have seen the consequences of book one, or at least had an inkling on some things and now we follow up fully on what this now means for our characters.

Veronyka, Tristan, and Sev completely capture my heart all over again, and we even have some new character chapters. [I’ll not say what though, because, spoilers, sweetheart]

Newsflash, you know how I was like ‘omg all the characters are all so fleshed-out’ in Crown of Feathers? Well guess what, they continue to be so in Heart of Flames, I am so excited by getting to know some of the side characters more and exploring the workings of our main characters as well.

I adored the interactions between Tristan and Veronyka, I feel they just have such a natural progression and their phoenixes are even more developed. Pau Preto is a gem in giving us such growth in a novel.

Of course though as far as ships go, I still have my OTP for this and again, not going to say anything because of spoilers but AHHH I was so happy on the development on that relationship!!!

I think I may have slightly enjoyed Heart of Flames more than Crown of Feathers, but like one cm more in comparison, they’re both great novels with different focuses.

There’s more Val in this one which I loved, not as much as others who will go unnamed, you know who you are, but, still love Val and I was sooooo happy that we still have Sparrow in the crew. She’s admittedly my favorite character.

I will say we do get more of Elliott as well but will refrain on adding more until you’ve had a chance to read it guys!

Nicki Pau Preto’s world-building continues to be one of my favorite things in existence in the world of books. She astounds without overwhelming the reader, we get to expand out further into her world and see new lands while getting to know previously introduced ones better.

Veronyka, Elliott, and Sev possibly undergo the most character development and it’s brilliant. Especially where Veronyka is concerned, because she’s still coming out of her shell. This makes sense considering all she’s endured as being under Val’s thumb. She’s growing as a person, she’s growing as phoenix rider, and as a friend, and it’s just beautiful to see.

With Sev we see him coming into his own as well, we know he means well, but as Trix once told him you do what you’re good at, and the reader sees Sev embracing his personality traits that some may not always approve of, while also struggling with this desire to be different/do something else.

Val is Val.

That is all I will say about her lol, but, I loved seeing her and holy cow the ending, THE ENDING  IS MAGNIFICENT.

Pros:
– Well developed characters
– Amazing and expansive world building
– A perfect person that you love to hate
– Characters that are not always what they seem
– Great character growth as well, seriously, it’s impressive
– Phoenixes
– More Worldbuilding
– Development of Pheronia
– The past really influencing the future
– Phoenix Riders
– Magic

Cons:
– It’s so hard to not want to scream ‘NO’ while reading
– This will cause you to stay up super late
– You will ship ships so hard you didn’t even know it was possible and it will change your life.
– You may not like how much worldbuilding there is, so I’ll say beware now, but, it’s glorious if you like worldbuilding, I promise.
– This is not a relaxing read, please look to points 1 & 3 again.
– WHAT WAIT IS THIS FOR BOOK 3?!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion!

To sum it up: IT WAS EGG-CELLENT. READ IT.

Content Warning: There is death and violence.< Will update this a bit more upon a skim through it!

 

 

Special Editions, Special Prices

 

**This is not an attack on Special Editions, consumers, or Publishers/Authors/Companies who make them, I freakin love them, but, I do want to talk shop for a bit!**

I

Love

Special Editions

Whether it’s a steel book BluRay, a shiny console, a pretty videogame, or worst of all for my self-control, a pretty book.

I didn’t even realize special editions of books existed really until like last year. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there were different editions, but, special? I was in the dark guys. The only thing I had preordered previously as far as books went was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I did get a ‘special edition’ of that, the one with the slipcase. But I mean…that was yonks ago lol. So now I’m happy to preorder special editions when I can. They tend to be okay on price, sometimes the shipping is heart-wrenching. I won’t name names but 20.00 for shipping a 20.00 book did hurt my soul and wallet lol. However, I was lucky enough to have. the funds to do so.

I’m not here to really talk about the preorders of them or buying them out of stores which also have some great special editions. [For instance, I preordered Chain of Gold from Waterstones rather than getting a box I wanted because I couldn’t justify that sort of spending this go around.] No, today I want to talk about reselling.

There’s no harm in it, it’s good! You don’t want a book, you need money, maybe just wanted shelf space? This is such a great option! I’m all for reselling and trading! Sometimes the books we are intending to sell even gain some value, which is great! Woo more monies!

But is there a line to draw?

I’m guilty of pushing that line, I really wanted a special edition of a certain book, someone was selling it for 54.00 and I bought it, of course, these special editions are usually at least half that sort of price. But, supply and demand my friends, it’s a bitch.

I’ve seen the Goldsboro special edition orange sprayed edges of ‘Priory’ go for 140, and I’m pretty sure that’s on the cheap side of what a special edition can go for. There’s also the chaos that is the selling of the Aurora Rising Goldsboro, the Fairyloot editions of like…any book, and they all seem to get a bit out of hand. Not because it’s wrong for people to sell their books, but because us as consumers and they as buyers have no idea what prices are okay, there’s no issue in selling what you have for the price you set, but man is it hard on people to find special editions if they didn’t have a chance to preorder/order at the time the books went on sale. Even Waterstones editions seem to go for a hefty price for a few books.

It can be unfair to those who don’t have the money, they’re stuck seeing people put books up for sale that they have been searching for, and are unable to afford the crazy inflation.

I guess what I’m asking is, is there a better way we can do things? I’m genuinely asking, by the way, not being patronizing. Do we trade more? That can be difficult when you don’t want what someone has to offer, or sometimes someone doesn’t have anything to trade Do we maybe wait a certain period of time before jacking up prices? Maybe three months after release we just go hogwild but until then we try to let people purchase it at a lower price? I’m not sure but I feel like there’s a huge imbalance here. ESPECIALLY WHEN PEOPLE BUY TO SELL. And these are the only people I take issue with. I watched those Queen of Nothin editions sell out and then I watched people IMMEDIATELY sell them, just like with some of the other special editions, this is just the more current example.

I mean some people were selling them before they were even in their hands, and others the moment they got the box. I get selling the stuff in the boxes if you only want the book, that’s fair enough, but to immediately flip the book, and sell it for a crazy amount of money? It just seems unfair and it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

Part of the reason for that is because I’ve considered selling some of my special editions, but I hesitate because I’m unsure what to price them at. I could put it up high, the editions are ‘special’ enough but it feels wrong but at the same time, well hey, I need money. So, again, I’m searching for some sort of guideline on this, and I wish we had more discussions on the cost of books. So, here we are, I’m chaotically discussing the price of special editions.

If you preordered a book for 16.00, and aren’t in dire need of money, maybe try not to sell it for 75? I don’t know, I’m not sure if I’m just whining.

What do you all think?