This book gave me a hard time when I was trying to figure out how I felt about it; there were parts I loved and it was unpredictable for the most part, but in other places it was very predictable and felt a bit stale. 

VCU agent Caitlin Parish finds herself having to turn to Kane Malloy, a master vampire who she has been hunting for years, for help when she realises that her life is under threat and that he is the only person who has and can give her the answers she needs.

Kane on the other hand has his own agenda and needs her for something just as much as she needs him.

For about 50% of Blood Shadows we are alone with Kane and Caitlin as they go around in circles trying to get what they need from each other and that’s where the book gets predictable and slow at times. On a couple of occasions it begins to feel like the sex scenes are in there to keep your interest.

Which leads me to my next point: this book is absolutely adult and there are fairly graphic, steamy, sex scenes in it. Pryor doesn’t entirely fall into the trap of ramming the book (no pun intended) with sex scenes, though there are a couple of instances where it got a bit old. Perhaps that’s just me though because I tend to mostly read YA where a sex scene lasts two sentences at most and it’s entirely wonderful and there are unicorns.

Our two main characters are equally interesting and have detailed and complex back stories, which kept my interest. I couldn’t decide who I was rooting for most because I loved both characters and wanted the best for both of them.

When other characters re-appear around 60% through the book that’s when things begin to get really interesting and very unpredictable and I absolutely loved that and couldn’t put it down.

Blood Shadows is told from the perspective of both Kane and Caitlin and the switches in point of view are marked clearly so it doesn’t get confusing.

The last couple of chapters were brilliant and I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next because I’m hooked.

From what I understand though the next book in the series, Blood Roses, follows new characters, so I hope the characters from this book make a cameo.

 

Blood Shadows Book Cover Blood Shadows
Blackthorn
Lindsay J. Pryor
Paranormal, vampires, urban fantasy, adult,
Bookouture
November 27th 2012
ebook
380

For vengeance - would you trust a vampire?

For justice - could you betray your family?

For love - are you ready to question everything you believe in?

Gifted with the ability to read the shadows of ‘third species’ beings, Caitlin Parish is the Vampire Control Unit’s most powerful agent. Despite that, her mission to hunt down Kane Malloy – a master vampire – comes with a death wish. Many have tried, but few have survived.

For Caitlin, tracking Kane is about more than just professional reputation. With her parents both mysteriously killed 7 years apart to the day, Caitlin knows that without Kane’s help she is next.

She has four days to make a deal with the wicked, the irresistible, the treacherous Kane Malloy. The vampire who despises everything she stands for.

Or die.

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How to fix 'missed schedule' on WordPress

When I first switched to WordPress all of my scheduled posts missed their schedule and I know this isn’t an uncommon problem but thankfully there is a simple and free solution. 

The first thing to do is go to ‘settings’ and make sure your blog is set to the right timezone. You might be scheduling posts for 8AM UK time but if your timezone is 5 hours behind UK time, then it will be posting 5 hours later than you’re expecting.

If that doesn’t work, you will need a plugin to do the job. There are a few available but the one I use is ‘WP Missed Schedule‘.

It’s simple to install and it didn’t ask me for any extra information; all I had to do was press a couple of buttons to install it.

WP Missed Schedule works by checking your site every few minutes and if it finds a post that has missed it’s schedule, it will post it. This means that your posts should never miss their schedule by more than a few minutes, rather than hours.

I’ve been using this plugin for the past couple of weeks and I’ve not had a single post miss schedule since installing it, so this plugin does the job.

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Instax Mini 90

Instant photos

I take so many photos on my phone but rarely do I get round to actually printing them so I was really excited when I received an Instax Mini 90 for Christmas.

My sister and I had a mini Polaroid camera for Christmas one year when we were kids and I loved it. I drove my Mum crazy though because I’d get through a pack of film instantly and I’d start nagging her for some more, and it was not cheap.

At some point I lost it and forgot about it.

Since joining a photography club about a year and a half ago we’ve been going out on photography adventures and I found myself wishing I had my instant camera again so I could capture that moment and hold the photo in my hands straight away.

There’s something about instant photos that I love. They kind of look like memories; they aren’t entirely perfect but they seem to have this nice glow to them.

With a digital camera you don’t get that eager anticipation as you wait to see how your photo turned out, you don’t have to stare at it as you wait for it to develop and you certainly don’t get to hold it in your hands straight away.

The Instax Mini 90 is fairly easy to use but trying to get the exposure just right without relying on an LCD screen is a bit of a challenge, a fun one mind you.

I took it to Edinburgh with me and after a lot of trial and error, I ended up with a handful of not quite perfect, but pretty good, photos. I don’t care about perfection truthfully because my SLR can take care of that, I just want to try and capture that moment.

Have you got an instant camera?

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I know I don’t usually blog on a Sunday but I’ve got a lot of book reviews sitting in my drafts folder at the moment, so I will be posting on Sunday’s until I’ve got through at least all of the ones left over from last year.

After two strong books The Titan’s Curse floundered about like a half-dead fish and completely failed to live up to my expectations set by the first two books. 

The third book in the Percy Jackson series takes place in the run up to the winter solstice and the gang find themselves on a quest to save Artemis and Annabeth.

Unlike the first two books I struggled to get through this quickly. It was an easy read but it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first two books and I certainly wasn’t hooked, which really disappointed me.

There wasn’t much action, and the little there was ended quickly, and I think the biggest thing was that Percy seemed to lose his voice. He’s a cocky kid with a sense of humour, which comes across in the writing style, but it didn’t seem to be there in this book.

Everything that made the first two books so enjoyable seemed to either be lacking or severely muted in this book. The bad guys weren’t bad enough, the action was lacking and the banter was missing.

I will pick up the next book, The Battle of the Labryinth, because I loved the first two books and I need to know what happens next.

Have you read the Percy Jackson series? 

Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse Book Cover Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Rick Riordan
Children's, adventure,
ebook

IT'S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you're the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive...

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After catching a few episodes of The Mindy Project and hearing great things about this book, I promptly put it on my list to Santa. 

I didn’t know a whole lot about Mindy going into this book but I came out of it a fan.

This book was exactly what I was expecting it to be; it was conversational, funny and a bit random. It was like sitting down and having a one-sided conversation with a friend.

I enjoyed learning about her love for comedy, her early days and how she ended up on The Office, which I haven’t watch either the UK or US version.

Something I found really interesting was that in her early career she wasn’t deemed good enough to play herself in a show that she and her friend had written. Yet in 2012 The Mindy Project aired and of course, she plays herself, so I’d like to read another memoir from her where she talks about The Mindy Project and perhaps rambles about playing herself.

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the cover? I want the wallpaper and Mindy looks stunning.

This is a really nice, easy, quick read that I think would be perfect for a holiday read.

I’m totally feeling comedienne books right now, so if you have any recommendations let me know.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) Book Cover Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)
Mindy Kaling
Humour, non-fiction, memoir,
Ebury Press
Paperback
222

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: comedienne, actress, obedient child of immigrant professionals and, now, writer. With a blend of witty confessions and unscientific observations, Mindy writes about everything from being a timid young chubster afraid of her own bike to living the Hollywood life, dating, friendships and planning her own funeral - all executed with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls.

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I’m slightly hooked on Scotland at the moment and when I saw that this book was set in Scotland I had to read it. 

Seeker is told from multiple POV’s but for the most part we follow our three main characters; Quin, John and Shinobu. The trio have spent the past few years of their lives training hard to take an oath but it turns out that all is not as it seems.

While we have three main characters, the books description led me to believe that Quin is the main focal point but I had big problems connecting to her and caring about her. She goes through some awful things during the book but I didn’t feel any of that and ultimately, I didn’t care what happened to her.

John and Shinobu also go through some terrible things but I found them much easier to connect to and I could feel their frustration, loss and want, which meant I cared for them and I was worried about what would happen to them.

Due to my lack of a connection with Quin, Seeker felt a bit disjointed. I thoroughly enjoyed the parts where we followed other characters but the majority of the scenes with Quin fell flat for me.

To be honest, I found myself thinking that Quin might have worked better as a secondary character, with John and Shinobu as main characters.

There is a bit of a love triangle in Seeker but I wouldn’t say it’s a focal point of the book and it wasn’t overwhelming or annoying.

Onto more positive things; the action. There is quite a lot of action and fighting in Seeker and those scenes were gripping and exciting to read. Unlike many fight scenes, it wasn’t confusing or over too soon.

The last third of the book was action-packed, really enjoyable and I didn’t really have an issue with Quin because there were so many things going on with the other characters that I was more interested in.

Seeker had me blind-sighted a couple of times. To start with, I thought that it would be set in Scotland hundreds of years ago, I’m not really sure why I thought that but it was a bit of a surprise to discover it was set in modern day. There are a handful of twists throughout the book which catch you off guard, which made for an enjoyable read.

Conclusion: As you might have gathered, the biggest problem I had with Seeker was a lack of a connection to Quin. I loved the scenes with John and Shinobu so if I’d cared for Quin I think this could have been a five star book all day long.

* I received a free copy of this via NetGalley and Random House Children’s Publishers UK (thanks!), but you guys know I would never let that sway my opinion.

Seeker review score

What do you do when you struggle to connect to a main character?

Seeker Book Cover Seeker
Seeker #1
Arwen Elys Dayton
Young adult, fantasy,
Random House Children’s Publishers UK
February 12th 2015

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin's new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her.

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Your Bright Place & All The Bright Places book review

Today is supposed to be the saddest day of the year; Christmas has been and gone, it’s cold, it’s a Monday and perhaps Christmas has left you with less cash than you’d like.

I’m going to be upfront and tell you that this post is part of a contribution towards Penguin’s #AllTheBrightPlaces campaign about the book of the same name by Jennifer Niven, which has just come up in the UK. Michelle from Tales of Yesterday told me about it and asked me to get involved and it sounded like a great idea and I couldn’t say no.

The idea is that we talk about our ‘bright places’, the places that make us happy. Michelle has a long post on her page with contributions from several bloggers, so I urge you to check that out.

I made a video talking about my bright place with a short spoiler-free review of All The Bright Places. As always though, if you don’t want to watch you can read on for a quick summary and my review.

My bright place is my bed. It’s not exciting or exotic but it’s my bright place.

It’s where I get to read, tickle the cat, write, watch TV, play games and all of this is often done alongside my best friend. It’s where we spend lazy Sunday afternoons watching rubbish on TV, where I listen to him learning to play guitar, where I get sucked into a book and forget that I’m even in my bed and so much more. It’s a place where I feel happy and it’s so darn comfortable.

 

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – review

Genres: contemporary, romance, young adult, mental health

Release date: January 8th 2015 (UK)

Publisher: Penguin

Description from GoodReadsTheodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

 ****

I breezed through this book in the space of a day. As soon as I picked it up, I was drawn into the world of Violet and Finch and I couldn’t get out.

The book is told from the perspectives of both Violet and Finch and they’re both well-developed and intelligent characters who I fell in love with. Neither of them are perfect and they’re reacting to the situations they find themselves in, in what I feel are realistic ways.

The second half of All The Bright Places deals with mental illness quite a lot and it’s handled well and in a very realistic way. It deals with the stigma people still feel about having a mental illness, how people don’t understand it as much as a physical illness and how family members might not understand and might pretend it’s not happening.

Realistic is a word I’ve used a few times in this review and at the end there’s a note from the author which explains why it is that way and was handled the way it was.

The book has been compared to The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and I’d like to talk about that. I don’t really like comparing books to each other, I get why it’s done because it’s a good marketing tactic but I don’t really like it.

I will admit that there are some similarities between Niven and Green’s writing style. There were a few parts which reminded me of John Green’s Looking For Alaska. I didn’t understand the comparison to Eleanor & Park really, the only similarity I saw was that like E&P, the ending to All The Bright Places will leave you aching.

This is well worth a read; it’s funny, charming, heart-warming and heart-breaking.

I hear there will be a film adaptation and while the book didn’t make me cry, I’m sure the film will.

* I received a free copy of All The Bright Places from Michelle at Tales of Yesterday as part of Penguin’s #AllTheBrightPlaces campaign. You folks know that I don’t let free stuff sway my opinion of things.

Have you read All The Bright Places? And don’t forget to tell me where you bright place is?

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