Review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.

Title – Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Series – DC Icons #1
Author – Leigh Bardugo
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 384 pages
Publication Date –  August 31st 2017 by Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN – 9780141387376
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

“She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning.”

Diana desperately wants to prove herself to her Amazon sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she chooses to save the life of a mortal instead. By saving Alia, Diana may have doomed the world. Because Alia is not a normal human – she’s a warbringer. Alia is descended from Helen of Troy and fated to start an age of bloodshed.

Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies – both mortal and godly – determined to get their hands on Alia.Β DI_ycZCVoAAeWf9

I received a copy of Wonder Woman: Warbringer from Penguin Random House New Zealand to review. This is the first book in the DC Icons series.

I love the DC TV shows that are on tv now (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl) and I used to watch Smallville. I loved the Wonder Woman movie so I was really excited when I heard about the DC Icons series.

It did surprise me that Warbringer was set in out time but then this is a different story from the recent Wonder Woman movie. When I got used to a young Diana in our time I found myself enjoying the book.

And I loved Diana. How could I not though? And I loved that she didn’t want to just let Alia die to save the world but wanted to actually save Alia and end the line of warbringers. Yes, Diana wanted to prove herself to her mother and sisters but I don’t think that really mattered to her in the end. She’d proved to herself what she was capable of.

I also really liked Alia and her best friend, Nim. I thought they had an amazing friendship and Nim was so funny and unique. They were my favourite characters after Diana. And I also loved how accepting they were of each other. But then that’s what friends are supposed to be.

There was a twist to this story that I didn’t see coming at all. It was so well done that I was completely taken by surprise.

Overall I really enjoyed Warbringer and I think fans of Diana/Wonder Woman may enjoy it too. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series, Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. I loved her Legend trilogy so I cannot wait to see what she has in store for Bruce.

*Thank you Penguin Random House New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

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Review: I Am Traitor by Sif Sigmarsdottir.

Title – I Am Traitor
Author – Sif Sigmarsdottir
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 292 pages
Publication Date –  September 7th 2017 by Hodder Children’s Books
ISBN – 9781444934472
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

“London, present day. Extra-terrestrial visitors have landed.”

Amy Sullivan felt safe at home in the middle of London. Now it’s one ofthe worst places to be because of the metallic arms coming down from the sky to transport victims up to the waiting spaceships.

Amy is now on one of these spaceships. The visitors are prepared to do whatever they need to do to destroy everything Amy, and Earth, knows.

To save Earth, Amy will have to trust those she’s scared of. But what if it makes her a traitor to everyone she loves?Β DIbjfWkUMAAxTEN

I received a copy of I Am Traitor from Hachette New Zealand to review.

I was so excited to pick this up because I love stories with alien invasions. I don’t know why. But there was just something about this story that I just didn’t click with. I don’t know if it was because I found some (or most) of the characters annoying or if the reason these aliens were abducting teens was just so disgusting and wrong or just all of it. I don’t know. I just know that it was just okay.

So I think the biggest shock for me was the reasons these twisted aliens were taking teenagers and then just expecting them to be grateful. Like “we’re giving you food, water and allowing you to live” but you just have to do this one thing for us. Which by the way was just too gross to even think about. But I guess that shouldn’t be so shocking considering these freaks have no empathy or even any emotions. I didn’t like them at all and just didn’t care that their species were facing extinction. What a shame.

And then there were the human characters and they annoyed me during most of the book. But I did finish I Am Traitor because I wanted to know what happened to them all. Maybe with the exception of one. I would have left him with those aliens.

I think the ending was kind of left open for a sequel but I haven’t looked into it to see if there will be one. Because to be honest I’m just not interested in reading it if there is another book. I guess this book just wasn’t for me. I think the story was okay up until the motivations of the aliens was revealed and then I was just like no. But, like I said, I still finished the book because I wanted to know how it ended.

*Thank you Hachette New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic.

Title – And Fire Came Down
Series – Caleb Zelic #2
Author – Emma Viskic
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 336 pages
Publication Date – August 1st 2017 by Bonnier Publishing Australia
ISBN – 9781760402945
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

Caleb is struggling to get through each day. His best friend is dead, his ex-wife is avoiding him and nightmares are haunting him while he’s awake.

Then a woman is killed in front of him and Caleb’s determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to Resurrection Bay. The town is on high alert for bush fires and simmering with racial tension. As Caleb keeps investigation, he uncovers secrets that could stop his and Kat reuniting and threaten his life. But Caleb keeps digging anyway. What is he willing to sacrifice to find the answer he’s looking for?

I received a copy of And Fire Came Down from Bonnier Publishing Australia to review.DH8o8PzV0AANaMY This is the sequel to Resurrection Bay. You can click the link to see my review of the first book.

The first book had me hooked pretty much right from the start as far as I can remember and because I already knew some of the characters from that book and was invested in their story I was already looking forward to reading this.

I can’t remember if it said how long it had been since the events in the first book but I don’t think it had been more than a couple of months. Caleb is still trying to deal with what happened and the guilt he feels about Kat. I’m not going to say what happened because that would ruin the first book but a lot went down. So if you haven’t read Resurrection Bay then you totally should!

I don’t know if Caleb is just crazy stubborn or he just can’t leave things unsolved but even when it was pretty obvious that he might want to back off because of things happening to people around him, he just couldn’t stop until he got to the bottom of things. Or wouldn’t stop… And then when it all came out I’m not sure Caleb wanted the answers he got. I guess that’s the risk you take when you go looking for them.

There was a twist to And Fire Came Down that I didn’t see coming. I’m pretty sure the same thing happened when I read Resurrection Bay too. Which is one of the reasons I enjoyed both books so much. I love when stories take me by surprise because it doesn’t happen often.

I don’t know if there will be a third book but there were some things that were left open and I’d definitely pick up a third book if it meant getting answers. Plus, I do like Caleb and have enjoyed both Resurrection Bay and And Fire Came Down.

If you haven’t picked up these books then I recommend finding copies.

*Thank you Bonnier Publishing Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye.

Title – The Crown’s Game
Series – The Crown’s Game #1
Author – Evelyn Skye
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 416 pages
Publication Date – May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
ISBN – 9780062560605
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

Vika and Nikolai are enchanters – the only enchanters in Russia. The tsar needs a powerful enchanter to help him with his enemies. So the Crown’s Game is initiated.

The winner will become the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most trusted advisor. The loser will be sentenced to death.

I received a copy of The Crown’s Game from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. This is the first book in a duology.Β DGB1t_4UwAMwaVm

I haven’t read a lot of books set in Russia so I wasn’t really sure what to expect politics wise or how close this was to true events – aside from the obvious (magic). I don’t know if characters in the royal family actually existed. I don’t know anything about Russian history.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said this but I am so sick of love triangles. I’m pretty sure if I’d known there was one in this book before I started reading then it probably would have put me off. So I’m glad I didn’t know but I still wish it wasn’t a thing anymore. I also thought it was really obvious who Vika would choose and I’m just assuming they’ll get together in the next book.

I thought the magic in The Crown’s Game was really interesting. I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before. Which made me want to read about the history or magic in Russia, or this version of Russia, and the history of the Imperial Enchanter.

I found Skye’s writing beautiful. The way she bought Vika and Nikolai’s magic alive on the pages kept me coming back to this book even though the love triangle drove me crazy.

I figured that the love triangle and all the secrets would eventually come between these friends. Because the love triangle (how many times have I said that?) had Vika and two friends. Not messy at all. I can’t remember if the truth behind Nikolai’s father was revealed to everyone or just him but I’m expecting it to come out in the next book. You can’t drop a bomb like that and not have any fallout.

I don’t know when I’ll get to the sequel, The Crown’s Fate, because my latest reading slump has been horrible and I have so many books to catch up on. But I am hoping to get to it soon.

*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

 

Review: The Student by Iain Ryan.

Title – The Student
Author – Iain Ryan
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 240 pages
Publication Date – June 16th 2017 by Bonnier Publishing Australia
ISBN – 9781760406370
My Rating – β˜…β˜…/5

“Do bad people look like good people, like friends and brothers and boyfriends and students, until they have their hands around your throat?”

It’s 1994 in Gatton, Queensland. Nate is a student and sells drugs on the side. A local girl, Maya, is dead and no one knows who killed her. Nate’s supply has run out and his friend and dealer is missing. Nate is high and alone. Bikies are threatening to kill him and he’s being haunted by some tapes he found.

Then, things turn from bad to worse when Nate uncovers more than he bargained for…

I received a copy of The Student from Bonnier Publishing Australia to review.Β DGWQ9JZUQAA9v89

I don’t normally read books about drug dealers. I can think of only one other book off the top of my head where the main character was dealing drugs. I don’t have any personal experience with drugs and addiction to drugs but I have seen what it does to the people who take them and their families. But I thought because this was a crime/mystery and there were other things going on that it might not be that bad. But there was just too much focus on doing drugs, getting high and partying for me.

I didn’t like any of the characters in this book. Like I said, I don’t like drugs and the main character not only sells them but also takes them. Yes, he was trying to help his parents but I’m pretty sure there are better ways to do that. School didn’t seem important to him at all so I don’t even know why he was still going. Then there was his childhood friend (I can’t remember her name and really just don’t care) who felt a little off to me from the start. I don’t know why but she wasn’t a very nice person at all.

The story in The Student was so crazy though. I don’t even know where to start. Nate finds himself in the middle of a bad situation because his drug dealer is missing and some bike gang wants something from him (probably money but I can’t remember) so they’re coming after Nate to settle the debt or whatever it is. And to solve this huge mess Nate decided to get high and drunk. What? I just can’t with him. Okay, so he wasn’t drunk and high all the time but it was more than I wanted to read.

The Student wasn’t a very long book but because I didn’t like any of the characters or what they were doing I just couldn’t really get into it. If I didn’t want to know what had happened to Maya I don’t think I would have finished it. I know I’ve said this a lot in my reviews lately but if I can’t connect with the characters then I find it very hard to like a book. I mean, I did like that Nate was trying to help his parents financially but it just wasn’t enough for me to like him.

*Thank you Bonnier Publishing Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena.

Title – A Stranger in the House
Author – Shari Lapena
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 304 pages
Publication Date – July 27th 2017 by Bantam Press (imprint of Penguin Random House)
ISBN – 9780593077412
RRP – $37.00 NZD
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

“You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making his dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day. That’s the last thing you remember.

You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car while driving in a dangerous part of town.Β 

The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend is not so sure. And even you don’t know what yo believe.”

I received a copy of A Stranger in the House from Penguin Random House New ZealandDHEFO2EUAAE0b88 to review. I wasn’t expecting this but I’m so glad I was able to review a copy. I love psychological thrillers.

I’m going to say this now, I was 95% sure that I knew what Karen had done but I couldn’t figure out why. I did think the story Karen told the police was too convenient and there was more going on. But I was not expecting what actually happened at all. The twist to Karen’s story at the end of the book was so good! I did figure out how Brigid’s story was going to end – unless that was all in her head too… I felt like the ending was left open but not enough for a sequel.

I found myself not liking any of the main characters. I think the exception was the detective but he didn’t really count as a main character for me. The ones I’m talking about are Karen, her husband Tom and their neighbour Brigid. They all had their flaws, some more than others, but I just didn’t find any of them likable at all. That normally puts me off a book but for some reason it didn’t with A Stranger in the House. I really wanted to know what was going to happen to Karen and what really happened in that restaurant. But I think it was the twist at the end of the book that really made me not like Karen.

I found some of the writing in this book kind of annoying. I lost count of how many times Tom said ‘the woman I love’ or something similar. And I think he said it more than once on the same page. There was also something Karen kept repeating, to Tom and the police, but it’s kind ofΒ a spoiler so I’m not going to put it here. I did read an ARC of A Stranger in the House so that may have changed in the finished copy. It’s not the worst thing to have to read but I did notice every time the characters repeated themselves.

I would definitely recommend this book though. Especially to people who love books that have you guessing the whole way through. I think this is a mystery/thriller so if you enjoy those genres then I’d recommend finding a copy if you haven’t already. I also think fans of Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will like this.

*Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

Review: The Cause of Death by Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp.

Title – The Cause of Death
Author – Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 320 pages
Publication Date – 1st August 2017 by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN – 9781775541097
My Rating – β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…/5

“Spontaneous combustion and exhumation, drug mules and devil worshippers, a gruesome killing beneath the Palmerston North Airport control tower, a mysterious death in a historic homestead, a first-hand dissection of the infamous Mark Lundy case.Β 

In The Cause of Death, provincial pathologist Dr. Cynric Temple-Camp lifts the lid on the most unusual stories of death and murder he’s encountered during his thirty year career.”

I received a copy of The Cause of Death from HarperCollins New Zealand to review. It’s been so long since I read a true crime book. But when I heard this was set in the area DG0rnS5UwAApEUHwhere I live I was excited to read it (can I say that with a book about death?).

There’s one case in this book that I’d heard of before I picked up the book. I think most people in New Zealand have already heard of the Mark Lundy case. I was too young when Christine and Amber were killed to see it on the news but I do remember watching a TV show that examined the evidence a few years ago. But reading the case from a pathologists perspective and someone who examined some of the evidence was interesting. I still don’t understand how people think he’s innocent.

It was really weird reading about places I’ve actually been to instead of just seeing on the TV or in movies. Some places, like the Junction Motel in Sanson, I won’t be able to look at the same again.

A lot of the cases in this book were really sad, especially the one with the baby on the plane and the old man in Foxton – I felt really bad for him. But thenΒ guess most of the stories in The Cause of Death were sad because they dealt with death. Some were even kind of shocking, like the case with the babysitter and the spontaneous combustion. I was a bit skeptical when I read that there was a case of spontaneous combustion in this book. I’m not sure that case can be called spontaneous combustion because there was something there that started the fire but the fact that only the body burned was really crazy. I’d always assumed that spontaneous combustion was something that happened out of nowhere and that there was nothing in the area that could start a fire… But there was with this person so I was left a little confused.

I liked that the science and medical stuff was explained so someone like me who hated science could understand. The only medical terms I knew were picked up from TV shows and movies but I was glad that there was also explanations for things that I didn’t know. Like how the guy was found with burns but nothing else around him was burned.

I also liked Dr. Temple-Camp’s sense of humor. There were parts of the book where he’s questioning someones logic (or lack of) and when someone said that a piece of brain was uncooked lamb or something like that and he made me laugh. There were other things he wrote that I found funny but that might be because I have dark humor… I don’t know.

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Cause of Death (can I say that about this kind of book?) and I’d definitely recommend it to fans of true crime books. And another great reason to pick up a copy is all royalties from the book go to the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter.

*Thank you HarperCollins New Zealand for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.