Category Archives: Book Reviews

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – Book Review 

Isn’t it great to have lots of booky friends who know what type of books you’ll love? Thanks to Stacey for spotting this and to Ailsa from Allison and Busby for the copy. All opinions are as ever mine. 

Ink and Bone is Book one in The Great Library trilogy followed by Paper and Fire and Ash and Quill (I’ll definitely be checking the others out). 
First up I have to fawn over the stunning cover. Butterfly, Books and Quills…Oh My!! Check out my Instagram picture below. 

Synopsis 

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. POWER CORRUPTS. 

In a world where the ancient Great Library of Alexandria was never destroyed, knowledge now rules the world: freely available, but strictly controlled. Owning private books is a crime. 

Jess Brightwell is the son of a black market book smuggler, sent to the Library to compete for a position as a scholar… but even as he forms friendships and finds his true gifts, he begins to unearth the dark secrets of the greatest, most revered institution in the world. 

Those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life – and soon both heretics and books will burn…

What I thought

I’ve not read any books by Rachel Caine before, even though I own a number of her Morganville Vampire series. Yup, I own lots of private books – I would be in serious trouble in this universe! I was very impressed with her writing and worldbuilding. 

Jess Brightwell’s father tells him “You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business for you.” And so begins his journey away from the family book smuggling to the Library and curating knowledge. Training to be a Librarian is not as safe as it sounds and Jess has a gift that may make it even more dangerous for him. He makes for a very likeable character and joins a fun group during his training. 

Every now and then the chapters from Jess’ point of view are broken up by what are called Ephemera. Mainly letters by Scholars from the Great Library. These hint that not everything at the Library is what it seems. That Jess needs to be careful about where he places his allegiance. 

This book reminded me a little of Nevernight (with slightly less murder) by Jay Kristoff – that I also loved – and there’s definitely the unusual boarding school vibe about it. 

I too was freaked out about the Ink Lickers!!! People in this universe who eat books so that the knowledge they contain can never be shared 😱. Considered worse than Book Burners who are more like revolutionaries wanting to bring about change. 

This is a dystopian fantasy sci-fi with steampunk automata, super speed travel, magic and lots of corruption. I highly recommend if you like any of those things. 

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival – Blog Tour 


Synopsis 

Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings! 

Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly – and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat.

But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself?

A poignant yet uplifting story about individuality, with stunning artwork in a striking minimal palette from the author/illustrator of Herman’s Letter. Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Benj Davies will love it.

Add it to your Library on Goodreads 

Book Trailer

Author & Illustrator Information
 

Tom Percival writes and illustrates picture books and has also produced covers and internal illustrations for the Skulduggery Pleasant series. Tom has written and illustrated three books for Bloomsbury: HERMAN’S LETTER, BUBBLE TROUBLE and the forthcoming HERMAN’S HOLIDAY. He grew up in a remote and beautiful part of South Shropshire. He now lives in a far more conventional building (a house), with his girlfriend and their young sons. 

 Website        Twitter

 What I Thought

Ok. So as a nearly 40 yr old (1 week and 3 days to go!) I guess Picture Books aren’t directed at me. But, whatever your age you can appreciate a good story and good art and Perectly Norman has both. 

The art style is adorable and I love that the focus is on Norman throughout by having him in colour and the rest in monochrome. 

The theme of the story is so important and the fact that Norman’s ‘difference’ is that he has wings could be used as a metaphor for so many things. His fear of being seen as abnormal leads him to wear a big coat. Another metaphor for hiding. Norman finds he struggles to engage in everyday life, he gets bullied and he gets depressed. But when he is encouraged to be himself his heart and body soar and life is colourful again. He also finds out that he wasn’t quite so alone in being different after all. 

What a brilliant message told in a beautiful way. 

What it’s like to have wings 

When I was asked to take part in the blog tour it seemed like fate was playing a part. This weekend has been the New Forest Fairy Festival and I have sprouted my own wings. 

On Saturday I went as a Book Fairy with my homemade Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows wings. I also gave out free books and loved to see the joy of reading in the recipients’ eyes. 



Today I’m wearing wings made by Mabin Rhys Wings (headpiece by me). 



It’s so important to have safe spaces for people to let their personality, loves and passions shine. You aren’t alone, there are others who have wings too. 

 Please read this book with your children, and let them know it’s ok to be Perfectly Them. 

Today is the last stop on the blog tour but do go check out the previous blogs. 

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Maloy – Blog Tour 

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy is a tightly paced thriller from Penguin Viking which is out now

Set on a Christmas cruise in Central America it follows three families and their search for their missing children after a day trip goes very awry. 

At the start, the book reads as a domestic drama, with two of the families being long term friends that clearly have more than their holiday packaging as baggage. 

Clearly some inspiration has been taken from real cases, and where to place the blame when something like this happens, is explored. 

We are not limited to the points of view of a few characters but instead hear from most of them over the course of the story, including the children and a few added extra characters who I thought perhaps muddied the waters slightly and complicated an already intricate plot. I think my usual Young Adult reading material means I get much more involved in a first person or limited third person narrative and is purely a personal preference. I enjoyed hearing from the children the most and have to admit that my lack of empathy with the parents did perhaps distance me from them. 

This isn’t a classic light summer read and I can’t promise that you won’t become alarmed. I know there were a few incidences where I was more panicked than the characters. 

Definitely worth your time and I can see this being filmed or made into a tense radio play. 

Thanks to Josie at Penguin for the review copy. Opinions as ever are all mine. 

Do check out what other bloggers thought at the other stops on the tour. 

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