Review: Spencer & Locke

Spencer & LockeSpencer & Locke by David Pepose

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Combining four individual issues into one book, this is the story of a detective called Locke and his imaginary partner, Spencer, a talking blue panther.

The illustrations start off really well with a palette of blues and blacks mostly. Presumably to fit with one of the main characters being blue. Then in the third issue, we have this amazing splash of neon and bright colours, it really makes the pictures pop. Very cleverly done and placed within the story. Well done.
I would say, that apart from a few flashback scenes, we don’t get much background on the character in this particular book so I would love to see Locke fleshed out a little more.

Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reading copy

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Review: Sinful Cinderella

Sinful Cinderella (Dark Fairy Tale Queen Series - Book 1)Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m not who they think I am. A docile girl who meekly obeys her stepmother and stepsisters. Some kind of sick angel who cheerfully bears their mistreatment. That’s what I WANT them to think. Because then they won’t suspect what I’m really up to.
The ball, the prince – it’s all part of my plan to come out on top. Stepmother and her demented daughters will pay for every floor I have scoured, every sneer I have borne. They don’t know about the white magic, how I use it to enhance myself. They can’t see that my heart is black as midnight, rotten as a poisoned apple.
They’re about to find out.

A twist on the timeless tale of Cinderella, Sinful Cinders brings us a darker side to the beautiful princess we all grew up reading (and sympathising with) about.

(Highlight next paragraph to view spoilers)
Cinders uses “white magic” which she gains when she is nice to people (namely her terrible step sisters and step mother) to make wishes. Only small wishes, like changing the size of her feet or the colour of her eyes, but wishes all the same. But at the root of it all, Sinful Cinderella is not that much better than her horrible family members.
A prince who isn’t very princely soon shows her that not everything is as black & white and a revelation from her step mother tells us that maybe Cinders really is bad. What I felt about this was that it was plugged with so little importance that although it was supposed to be the main reason Cinders was dark, nothing more was really built upon it. And it occurs near the end of the story so it seemed to have been thrown in for effect.

This is a short but fairly decent retelling of the traditional story but I wish it was longer, maybe a bit more substance to some of the characters would have pushed this into a higher rating for me. That being said, I have added the second in this series to my TBR pile.
And although I mentioned that it brings a darker side, I would like to have seen this go a bit further, made her truly darker instead of just a little bit mean. I can almost sympathise with her being mean after the situation she has ended up in.

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Review: The Adrian Mole Collection: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole/True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole/Adrian Mole: The Wilderness

The Adrian Mole Collection: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole/True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole/Adrian Mole: The WildernessThe Adrian Mole Collection: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole/True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole/Adrian Mole: The Wilderness by Sue Townsend

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a collection of the second, third and fourth books in the Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend. The first book: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 and 3/4 gained a cult following which I believe also extended across the series.
I first read Adrian Mole books probably somewhere around the 1990’s when I was a teenager. At one point I actually owned the first book and borrowed the others from the library (my childhood library is no longer in service **sad face**). When I noticed my library had this available via their reading app and I was stuck in the middle of a pile of half read books I immediately thought back to how much I loved those books as a younger person so decided to borrow it and started it straight away.
Although I read through it fairly quickly, I just didn’t get the same experience from it as I remembered. In fact, this would be one of those books I would be tempted to say did not hold up to the passing of time. Or at least to me, it didn’t. Reading it during the 1990’s the years that are covered in the book are not all that different, children still hung around on the streets and although almost everyone had a TV, we were still only working with minimal terrestrial channels (I know we only had 5 during the 90’s, we didn’t have cable), divorce or separation of parents wasn’t really a common thing then or at least it wasn’t discussed as freely or looked upon very favourably. Reading this book in 2017 made me think that it sounded really old fashioned and I couldn’t imagine any teenagers (or at least none of the ones I know) from actually being interested in this book.
As the book obviously contained books 2, 3 and 4 from the AM series, I expected it to read that way, however, due to some unknown reason the collection starts with number four and then works backwards. Had I had realised this before starting I would have probably skipped to the back to read the second back and worked my way back through it.
As for Adrian, as an adult reading through his dilemma’s all I can think is how much of a whiny teenager he was. And how he thought himself to be of a much higher standing than he actually was.
I really wish I had Goodreads when I had first read this books as I probably would have been able to write a glowing review for it but now I feel cynical and mean (and quite old actually). I also wish, from another point of view, it could be used as a learning aid somewhere to teach people about life during that era but I really do just think that it is a whiny kid moaning with nothing of any worthy substance.
I do, however, highly commend the author as she managed to encompass a moany teenage boy and make the character believable. I feel like I could easily bump into a character such as Adrian (and probably his mother/father/Bert etc) any time I leave my house.
I am giving this 4/5 stars purely because it once held something amazing and I don’t feel like I am being fair to give it a lower score just because I have outgrown the topics discussed within.

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Review: Clockwise

Clockwise (Clockwise, #1)Clockwise by Elle Strauss

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this –she’s accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time.
Protocol pressures her to tell their 1860 hosts that he is her brother, and when Casey finds she has a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just “brotherly” protectiveness?
When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom of the rung of the social ladder and Nate perched high on the very top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police. The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.
Which of course, she does

To be honest, the blurb for this book that is on GoodReads and other platforms practically gives the whole story away. There isn’t much left to be discovered when reading it. For this reason, I felt a bit let down by the story in general. There are a few bits that you wouldn’t expect but the majority is already listed.
I like the idea of a time travelling character, that was what drew me to the story in the first place. I also liked the fact that the character could take other people back with her, either on purpose or by accident.
I appreciate that the author would have had to have done some research in order to write the story due to having to cover different time periods. That was obvious in the story, everything seemed to be well planned and thought out.
I felt that the main character was very cliched amongst these type of YA stories. A not-very-popular girl, with lots of quirkiness (and I love quirkiness), has a crush on the most popular boy in school. So many other stories have this similar theme or start to them I am beginning to get a bit tired of it.
A solid 3/5 for me, but I’m not sure whether I will bother reading the other books in the series.

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Why Amazon’s Free Books are Dangerous

As I have said in many other posts I have always read books. When the eBook phenomenon hit the world I was originally dead set against it, would rather have a physical book. I couldn’t ever see me actually reading an eBook.

Then one day, something happened and I bit the bullet. I bought myself a Kindle. At the time (somewhere around circa 2012) there wasn’t much choice available, in fact, if my memory serves me right, there was only the Kindle Keyboard 3G. So that was what I bought. Within the first few days, I went on a mission downloading FREE books. I was in heaven. Books for FREE. Who doesn’t want FREE books? That you get to keep. Not rentals like the library, but completely and utterly FREE to own. This was how my life went for months on end. Actually, make that years.

I reached a point where I had over ONE THOUSAND eBooks waiting to be read on my Kindle, I would go through the FREE bestseller lists and download everything with an interesting cover. I also signed up to two websites – Kind of Book and Daily Free Books. Both websites send daily emails with FREE and Bargain books. Well, that just added to my total soaring to somewhere near the TWO THOUSAND mark. (See the bottom of page for links to both sites).

Also, as I dislike using the cloud, I prefer to have all UnRead books already downloaded and only the ones I have read (or attempted to read) in the cloud. This, on more than occasion, has broken my Kindle, resulting in Amazon sending me a new one as it stopped downloading books. Read about my ordeal here.

I used to read, on average, 2-3 full length (300+ pages) novels in a month but was downloading easily over 50 each month. That’s when I realised I had a problem. I was downloading books that I would probably never get around to reading and as the majority of the FREE books were only downloaded based on the cover. I didn’t read the blurb or reviews so am going in completely blind. I have also noticed that some of them have had the cover changed by the author, and after looking at the revised cover I wouldn’t have downloaded it in the first place.

A few months ago, I made the decision that enough was enough. I vowed to only download FREE books if they were something that was on my wishlist. So now, when I come across a book I really want, rather than buying it I add it to my wishlist and wait until it has dropped in price or until I get to a point where I am running out of books. At the moment, my Amazon cloud stands at 1899 books and around 1600 of those are WAITING TO BE READ. I also made the decision that I will not worry if I don’t like a book or don’t want to finish one, purely because I have too much to read. I wrote about abandoning books here and am logging books I didn’t finish, here.

If you want to receive emails for FREE and Bargain books, check out both of these sites. The links are for the UK site but they can be changed to various different countries.

KIND OF BOOK

DAILY FREE BOOKS