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Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Blog Tour | Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory


From award-winning author Daryl Gregory comes a thrilling and colorful Lovecraftian adventure of a teenage boy searching for his mother, and the macabre creatures he encounters.

Harrison Harrison—H2 to his mom—is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school. 

On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife­wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish­-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources—and an unusual host of allies—to defeat the danger and find his mother.

Find the book: AmazonBarnes & NobleGoodreads

My Review

Harrison Squared impressed me more than I thought it would. The synopsis sounded interesting, but nothing special so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really enjoyed this book. From the outset, a creepy atmosphere was carefully weaved throughout and I felt a growing unease with each chapter I read, and I loved it. I can't say I've read much Urban Fiction or Science Fiction but they are genres I want to get more into and this book was a nice little introduction to both.

Harrison as a character was like a lovable little brother, I wanted him to uncover the truth but at the same time I wanted to protect him. It may have been nice to see a little bit more depth to his character - we see his main struggle, we see him making a few friendships and his evolving relationship with his aunt, but there wasn't much more. If I had been in Harrison's situation, particularly all of the school scenes, I'd have reacted much differently and his suspicions and questions were slightly more played-down which didn't feel entirely realistic. I suppose this could be attributed to personality traits rather than a flaw in the character, but it was just a slight aspect I noticed about the book. Lubb was perhaps my favourite character in the book, with a cheekiness about him that I just loved reading about. There were a ton of other characters that added more to the story and each one felt valuable (even the creepy talking doll) in making the book what it was. 

In general, I really enjoyed this story. The events that unfolded surprised me and the secrets and lies were interesting to read about and kept me turning page after page. I'd love to read more from this world, particularly the school as the cult-ish vibe was a big part of why I liked this creepy book. I'd definitely recommend picking up this book if you want something a little bit different or if you want an entry point to Fantasy and Science Fiction novels. 

About the Author

Daryl Gregory is an award-winning writer of genre-mixing novels, stories, and comics. His most recent work is the novel is Afterparty (Tor, April 2014) and the novella We Are All Completely Fine (Tachyon, August 2014). His first novel, Pandemonium, won the Crawford Award and was nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His other novels include the Philip K. Dick award finalist The Devil’s Alphabet and Raising Stony Mayhall, which was named one of the best books of the year by Library Journal.
Many of his short stories are collected in Unpossible and Other Stories, which was named one of the best books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. His comics work includes the Planet of the Apes series, and Dracula: The Company of Monsters series (co-written with Kurt Busiek). He lives in State College, PA, where he writes programming code in the morning, prose in the afternoons, and comics at night.

Find Daryl: Website | Blog |Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Books | Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky

Please note: This book is for an older audience as it has quite graphic content (excuse the pun!)

Sex Criminals is a graphic novel about a girl who meets a boy and they discover they can both stop time when they orgasm. In an effort to save a library, the two start to rob banks whilst time is frozen in order to gain enough money to stop it closing down. 

I had heard so much buzz about this graphic novel but ended up feeling kind of let down upon finishing it. The humour in the book was great, and aside from the artwork was my favourite aspect. However, the story was just kind of lacking for me. It sort of jumped around from past to present and I just didn't feel like I could keep up - I just didn't get it. Overall, this graphic novel wasn't very enjoyable for me and I wouldn't read the rest of the series.

My rating: 3 out of 5

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Style Inspiration | Lauren Conrad

Ever since Lauren graced our screens in Laguna Beach almost ten years ago, I developed a girl crush. That girl crush has only grown stronger as Lauren grew, moved through different TV series and became the amazing successful woman that she is today. One thing that Lauren has maintained throughout the years is her sense of style, one that has me living in ballet flats and dreaming of Chanel. 

Lauren is a big fan of flats - whether they're Jimmy Choo pumps or sandals. I love this style as flats go with everything and make any outfit look more casual. Pastel and neutral colours are another staple in Lauren's casual closet and she looks absolutely gorgeous in each of the four looks above. 

The only thing that Lauren is better at than dressing down is dressing up. Whether it's pretty doll skirts and a blouse, blazers and leggings or structured dresses - Lauren knows how to pull an outfit together and some of the above are my favourite looks of hers. Whenever I'm in need of some style inspiration, Lauren Conrad is one of the first people I turn to - each Google search brings up new looks I love and I will never tire of learning fashion tips from her outfits. 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

TV | 6 Netflix Shows You Should Be Watching

There's nothing better than curling up with a big soft blanket, a cup of chai tea and having a Netflix marathon. I've always been a big fan of TV shows and marathoning them has always been something that makes me happy. There are so many shows that I've loved over the years, but these are the top ones I've been watching lately on Netflix - and you should be too! 

When a lawyer gets his degree revoked, he has to go back to school and along the way, creates a fake study group in a misguided attempt to impress a girl. Full of meta humour and pop-culture references, this comedy is one of my new favourite ways to spend my lazy days. The show has been around for a while, but it's still amazing and if you haven't checked it out yet, you should. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
After being released from an underground bunker where she was held captive as part of a cult, Kimmy moves to New York and must learn to live life as a 21st Century Woman. Created by Tina Fey, this newly-released show is a new favourite and I finished it in a day-long marathon.

Orange is the New Black
If you haven't seen it yet, what are you doing with your life? Orange is the New Black is about Piper, an uptown woman who finds herself very far out of her comfort zone when she is thrown into a women's prison in Connecticut. The show is based on a true story and is hilariously raunchy in all the right ways. 

The Good Wife
A new favourite of mine, The Good Wife follows Alicia, a mother and wife who left her legal career 13 years ago to be the perfect family woman. When her husband is jailed for a sex scandal, she re-enters the workplace and shows the world she is more than just a "good wife." Alicia is a kick-arse, independent, intelligent woman and I can't help but stare in awe as I watch each episode. 

Another kick-arse amazing woman, Olivia Pope is an entrepreneur of a crisis-management company. When she joins a team of unlikely people, the result is an extremely watchable drama with great, lovable characters. 

A gripping law-drama with lovable (gorgeous) characters, Suits follows college drop-out Mike Ross with an eidetic memory as he joins a prestigious law company despite the fact he has no law credentials. When top-lawyer Harvey Spector takes Mike on as his protégé, the result is a highly dramatic, smart and intriguing drama. 

Books | Card School by Andrew Milner

Card School is about Michael Dawson, a young man who has been sent off to a boarding school in the North Yorkshire moors with no idea where he is going or what the future will hold for him. Michael must learn the rules of the strict boarding school, try to fit in and overcome his grief over his home life, all at the age of ten. When Michael is starting to believe he has things sussed, strange things start happening at the school and he is left wondering what secrets the school holds.

I really enjoyed reading this book and as it is less than two-hundred pages, I sped through it and was left reeling from the events that unfolded before me. My first impression of this book was that it read more like non-fiction at first, mainly due to the descriptions. The descriptions were in an explanatory way rather than a story-telling way and whilst they created great imagery, this felt a little jarring at first. As the book progressed, either this writing style changed or I became used to it as I was so gripped by the book that I just didn’t notice it after the first few chapters. The imagery created by the writing in this book was excellent and I could really imagine myself walking the school grounds alongside Michael – an element of this book that was maintained from start to finish.

Personally, I find myself connected to characters when the story is written from first-person, but even though this book wasn’t; I felt a deep connection with Michael and felt a great sense of empathy as we learned about his life and his emotions. Michael as a character was particularly loveable and although a little naive – as to be expected from a ten-year-old - he showed a certain amount of character growth throughout the book as he became aware of the ways of the boarding school. Michael’s friend Rose-Green was equally as lovable and I admired the way their friendship shone clearly through the writing.
Coming from a private boarding school in the West Yorkshire moors myself, I feel as though Milner had done his research and described boarding school life perfectly. Although I was a day student, I had plenty of friends around me who were boarders and witnessed the routines for myself on several occasions, and I feel that Milner did an excellent job at portraying this aspect of school life in a realistic way. Whilst this book was set long before I was at school, there were still similarities that I noticed, as well as obvious differences such as the value of money and the language the characters used to speak to one another.
This book had me gripped from the start and I experienced a range of emotions whilst reading. At times, I felt incredibly sad for what the main character had to deal with and at other times, I felt terrified for what was happening and simultaneously creeped out and confused by other parts. I do feel as though the ending was a little bit rushed but it tidied some loose ends up and I was fairly content upon finishing this book. I would definitely recommend reading this book, whatever your tastes are, this one is a gripping story that will have you turning page after page.

My rating: 4 out of 5

*I was compensated for writing this review but this in no way affects my opinions on the book.