The Unknown Sun by Cheryl Mackey

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Good Morning readers and happy Thursday; I’ve been getting into the habit of reviewing Monday, Thursday and Saturday if I can. I am reading like an absolute demon at the moment and I’m not going to slow down the pace anytime soon since the dreaded book slump. Let me know if this is something you like or if it’s too many I’m never quite sure what is best? Today’s review is from an author who contacted me a week or so ago but I’ve fallen back in love with my kindle and so I’m reading allllllllllllllll the time. If you’re waiting for a review it’s on the way because I’m going to run with this reading spree. For now though onto a rather fantastical review.

Seventeen-year-old Moira is haunted by the accidents that claimed her parents and sisters. When a strange boy who seems to know too much about her past attacks her, Moira fears death will come for her a third time. She is rescued by twins Airi and Belamar, the winged heirs to the throne in Skyfall, and taken to safety in their world. But Skyfall is dying, and the Immortals who had protected Airi and Belamar’s world have been missing since the Great War. Moira, Airi, and Belamar must find a journal left by the twins’ deceased mother, Tanari, that tells of a prophecy that must be fulfilled to free the Immortals known as The Unknown Sun so that Skyfall can be saved.

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Deeper, darker, secrets unravel around the three friends as a revolution threatens their quest and the boy who tried to destroy Moira on Earth hunts them. Tanari knew more than she had let on, and within her journal a story is more than it seems, the past foretells the future, and a far-reaching plan is unveiled. Why did Tanari reach across time and space to entrust a simple human girl with saving Skyfall? Who are the mysterious “Four” mentioned in the journal? And why does another Immortal want her, and The Unknown Sun, dead?

So, quite a long blurb again which gives you a little overview of what’s in store so I’m not going to tire you by going through it for the second time. The first thing to mention is the cover; it definitely caught my eye when I did my research into the book and thought it looked really intriguing which was a little exciting. In terms of the characterisation I thought that Moira was really pleasingly written. So often in fantasy books the main characters take the changes to their life in one foul swoop but here Moira was clearly stressed and constantly re-evaluating what was going on. Questioning everything around her it felt like a genuine reaction to the sudden change in direction of her life as a whole. I enjoyed seeing Moira grow throughout and really develop as a character. In terms of the fantasy feel I found the world that Mackey created utterly picturesque and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the winged people. The unfamiliar language used throughout and the use of hyphenated names was a clever addition and helped to make it all feel the more real.

The writing style is overall strong and well put together. The descriptions throughout are really evocative of the fantasy genre as a whole and it helps to transport you to this new world.

“The gritty sandstone dirt shifted and sank beneath the weapon, leaving a carpet of green in the exact same shape as its shadow. Tiny vines coiled and waited for their orders. Emaranthe inhaled deeply. Ghostly flames licked and curled from her staff up her arm to her shoulders and over her body. The fire writhed and twisted, nearly invisible, until her entire body was sheathed in a layer of living flame.”

The plot moves with pace and agility despite the descriptions used and the quest-like feel is all very fantasy like so readers of this genre will feel right at home I am sure.

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The only real complain other than a couple of editing wobbles was the overly frequent describing of, as another reviewer puts it, ‘physical responses.’ There are a lot of breathless moments where our main character is struggling for breath and having trouble with her legs caving beneath her. I understand that it’s a traumatic experience for such a young girl but I think it could have been reigned in a little because it jars slightly with the strength that we can see is building in Moira. Less is sometimes more, and when it really needs to be that intense it will make those moments all the more powerful.

Overall I would definitely recommend this to fantasy readers and readers who are new or exploring the fantasy genre as a whole. Having a general dislike of the fantasy genre as a whole (sorry) for me to suggest reading one means a great deal. I think the age group for this book is perfect for me, late teens early twenties but I think it could be enjoyed by all because it does have the formula for a fantasy read. A lovely little book and one I am happy to have read.

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Goodreads

Amazon

Top Ten Tuesday: Shy or Quiet Characters in Books

Happy Tuesday readers, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday list. This week’s topic is a free list and my list today is  characters who are a little quiet and shy. I find that sometimes main characters in books can be gutsy, spunky and full of life but sometimes that’s not what you want in a character and that sometimes it is the quieter supporting characters that you really warm to. Either way here is my list and if you would like to see the original here is the link.

1)      The Great Gatsby: May seem like a strange choice this one, but, despite the glittering parties and splurging of wealth both Jay and Nick are a little subdued or restrained lost in the loud world they are plunged into. Nick is particularly mild and observant and the beauty of that is stitched into the very lining of the novel.

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 2)      The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes: I promise I didn’t pick these because they are my favourite authors and books but despite Sherlock’s outlandish methods I have always thought of Holmes as being intensely thoughtful also shown in his hours spent perfecting the violin. Although a little outrageous he has a softer, quieter side.

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 3)      Cath from Fangirl: I adored Cath in Fangirl despite struggling with social anxiety and being very quiet she is witty, sharp, intelligent and wonderful to read about.

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4)      Miss Honey from Matilda: ‘Miss Jennifer Honey was a mild and quiet person who never raised her voice and was seldom seen to smile but there is no doubt she possessed that gift for being adored by every child under her care.’ Miss Honey is a sweet-natured character who has always been a favourite of mine. Her charm and quirkiness despite her mild nature rings throughout the book making her a firm favourite.

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 5)      Neville Longbottom: I don’t think I could write this list without including Neville. A little clumsy, teased and a little overlooked we see Neville grow and grow into the brave and loyal character we all knew he had in him. I adored him throughout the books.

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 6)      Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Charlie openly identifies as being a little bit of a recluse. Writing letters to the unknown recipient this quiet but darling character captured by heart.

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 7)      Little Miss Shy: A little bit of an obvious choice but growing up I read a lot of Little Miss Sunshine, Mr Happy and Mr Tickle. It’s nice to have a contrasting character and it really is a sweet tale.

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8)      Michael from Unravelling Oliver: This is a recent book I’ve read and the review will be up soon. Michael spoke to me in his difficulty owning up to his coming out and I found his story and his struggle to keep it hidden at times difficult to read. His quiet but darling nature was lovely to read

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 9)      Amber from The Chocolate Run: Harking back to my favourites as always for this book challenge Amber is a character who shines from the pages. Her love of snuggling up on the sofa, eating chocolate and binge watching films means we would be firm friends. I really enjoyed seeing her grow and become stronger in herself as a character.

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10)   Finally, Joe from Ian McEwan’s Enduring Love: This may seem like a slightly different choice but Joe’s shy and formulaic nature is pushed out by the obsessive manipulation of Jed Parry. It’s at times difficult to read but we see Joe really plunder through and take control of the situation.

A rather long Top Ten Tuesday’s book posts but one I really wanted to put down on paper. As always comments, queries, additions, even criticisms, pop them in the box at the bottom and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

A thank you from mylittlebookblog

So, it’s Sunday and the end of this celebration of mylittlebookbookblog. I’m going to keep it short because I’ve waffled enough this week.

I’ve learnt a lot blogging and I’ve learn a lot about myself in doing so and to be honest with you, I think that this blog has ultimately saved me from a number of cripplingly scary moments. My life right now is a little in limbo and it’s terrifying. I’m not sure what I want to do let alone where I want to be and in the last ten months I’ve seen the worst of myself and the panic that comes from graduating and feeling a little lost. But this blog has brought out the best of me. 

I have felt so wonderfully supported and this blog has been a life saver and I just wanted to really say thank you. From my mushy emotional and slightly whimsical heart. Because you are the best people that I could have ever wished for. All the authors, the bloggers, the tweeters, the likers the commenters and the emailers (these are not words) but all of you. Thank you. Thank you so much and here’s to another year of this pretty goddamn wonderful tiny space of the internet that I have found I’m able to call home.

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A – Z of book blogging from mylittlebookblog!

Happy Sunday readers, I’ve had a wonderfully busy weekend and I’m snuggled up on the sofa watching The Big Painting Challenge and I thought I’d bring you something a little different. It’s an A-Z of all things book blogging.

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A is for assortment: I am a true believer in variety in blogging, especially book blogging. Different genres, publishers and authors amongst others help to bring mylittlebookblog to as many readers as possible.  This also includes different posts including quotes, images, guest posts, Q+A’s etc.

B is for bed: My favourite place to read is snuggled up in bed, with a hot chocolate, lots of blankets and pyjamas. I also favour the bath but the number of times my books get destroyed through my clumsy nature it’s better to stick to the latter

C is for classics: Recently I have got over my irrational dislike of classic literature and thrown myself straight in at the deep end reading as much as a I can get my hands on. So far it’s been rather eye opening

D is for Doyle: As a young reader, Arthur Conan Doyle was pivotal to the increase of my interest and love of reading. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes mean a lot to me sentimentally as a reader

E is for Email: My most useful tool in contact and communicating with authors, readers, bloggers and publishers. Setting up a separate email was a big step for me in my journey as a blogger and set this apart as being more than a hobby for the weekends

F is for Folded over Corners: I have a terrible habit of folding over the corners of pages when reading. I’m constantly losing bookmarks so often train or bus tickets are my go to. I try not too but it’s a habit I seem to have got into!

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G is for Guest Posts: Some people are terribly against guest posts, I’m all for it if done well and if it helps both blogs/authors/publishers reader base. Don’t just do for the sake of it I guess

H is for Hard Work: I know I’ve mentioned this before a couple of times but blogging is sometimes hard work. It doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it, not at all, but there is so much more that goes into blogging than just reading and reviewing.  

I is for Ink: When writing reviews I tend to tap them out on my old and tired red Dell ‘brick’ laptop. If I have time I like to plot out the review on paper and then type it up from there. It’s sometimes lovely to pen the words out first, to see how the review fits together

J is for Jigsaw: Book blogging is on the whole a little like a jigsaw. I am continually playing with the pieces finding different ways to put the different types of post together. Does this guest post work well next to this review, does this quote fit with the blog as a whole, will this review create some controversy? It’s a constant challenge!

L is for Lengthy journeys: The perfect time to get a chunk of reading completed. I love reading on the train down to Milton Keynes; it’s my time to de-stress from a busy week and get myself completely immersed in another world

M is for Messy: When I’m blogging I like to be fully submersed in what I’m doing. Books will be strewn around me, the notes on the book sitting in little piles, post-it notes stuck in the books, different pens in different colours pooling round me; for me it just helps the creative process.

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N is for New Authors: There is nothing better than discovering a new exciting author with bags of potential and then going out and purchasing everything they’ve written and devouring it.

O is for Organisation: Despite saying I like to be messy, I am going to be a little bit of a hypocrite. Book blogging in terms of planning needs to be organised; emails need to be answers, posts written to fit with deadlines of releases, or cover reveals.

P is for Proof reading: I am terrible for this, because I’m often half asleep or in a rush when I post my reviews so there are sometimes grammatical errors (my spelling is normally pretty good.) It’s so important to proof read posts to get the message across coherently

Q is for Quality: Consistent quality across the board in terms of posts is really important. Each review is unique and to let the ball drop is a constant fear for me as a blogger.

R is for Review Requests: One of the best things about blogging is receiving requests for book reviews. It’s a tiresome task sometimes going through them all and picking which to read first but the elation of coming home and seeing the books sat by the front door is such a pleasure

S is for Spreading the word: Whether it’s for readers or writers, book blogging is ultimately about recounting what you’ve read good or bad. It’s one to always remember when blogging because once you’ve said it, it’s very difficult to take it back

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T is for Tired Eyes: Even now at twenty one, and knowing my tiredness limit I still cannot resist the temptation of staying up all night to finish a good book

U is for Unbiased: This goes without saying; honesty must be followed to the T.

V is for vocabulary: Wonderful, vivid, chilling, distressing, worrying, content, ardent, notable, dire, splendid, unquestionable, thrilling, astounding, wretched, poignant, clement, blissful, sulky, gritty. Make sure you colour your book blogging with adjectives of every sound.

 W is for Well-wishers: I kept running out of letters and quite quickly had to start using the thesaurus. Blogging is all about community feel and although some claim that blogging can be lonely I am yet to feel that way. Since I started the support has been wonderful and the people I come into contact with have been lovely lovely people.

X is for Xanthippe: Now stick with me, this is a word. It actually means ill-tempered woman. Now obviously this isn’t pivotal but I think what is, is that you want to make everything as real and as brilliant as possible. If I can’t get the right feel to a review, or the post doesn’t sit well with the blog it only goes to show (male or female) that it really means something to you

Y is for Yearning: The constant and unending search for new incredibly books written by even more incredibly authors

Z is for Zero: The amount of time I wish that I wasn’t, reading, writing, blogging or making notes about books. Books just are everything to me

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So there you go, a little book-ish post about book blogging. If you have any comments, questions or queries as always pop them in the comments box!

Piano from a 4th storey window: Jenny Morton Potts

Good evening readers, hope you’re all well unlike me, a little sick bunny. It seems I have caught a tummy bug which left me rendered completely useless yesterday. After being rudely awakened by my housemate, I heaved myself out of bed to go and purchase whatever it was she was complaining about. Hauling a sick ridden body out of bed dressing it in patterned black, red and white leggings, an orange t-shirt and a pair of blue fabric pumps and a massive coat with a fur hood I must have looked comical. I cannot wait to move away from the drama of where I live. Before I get too off topic there are a number of reviews that were supposed to be posted days ago but I’ve been so sick I haven’t had any time to sort them and amongst packing for the move last week. I’m hoping to get them written up ASAP so if you’re waiting for a review it’s on its way I promise. So, without further delay onto today’s review.

Lawrence Fyre and Marin Strang aren’t like other people. He is the eccentric owner of failing Sargasso Books in the Brighton Lanes. She is an ex-Jehovah’s Witness and isolated Spanish teacher. If they live together in his illegal, beautiful, rope laddered lock-up; can their love overcome their losses?  Original, sexy, very funny and deeply moving. An author in complete control of a number of unforgettable characters and emotional highs and lows, Jenny Morton Potts leaves the reader breathless, and wanting more.

So as the blurb suggests Marin Strang is a Spanish teacher whose life hasn’t quite gone the way she wanted it to; having to live on a wage from numerous temporary teaching contracts and coming out of a rather painful breakup she’s in a bit of a sticking point; in limbo as to what she should do next. An ex-Jehovah’s witness but with ties to her father who remains a loyal member, Marin finds her days wandering The Lanes in Brighton a shopping spot and ends up in the a café named Number 8. Here she meets Lawrence Fyre, the owner of the (failing) store Sargasso Books. The two, after a number of chance meetings enter into an intense relationship but a number of hiccups including his sister and the intriguing Nina could force their relationship to fail. Will their relationship rise or flounder? You’ll have to get hold of a copy to find out!

So, there’s the book in a nutshell; now you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a rather stereotypical boy meets girl style plot-line but it’s more than that. Firstly I have to commend the author for getting the feel of Brighton down so very well. I could feel the blustery wind and see the cobbled lanes full of brightly painted houses, it’s incredibly evocative of the little seaside town. The writing style is wonderful although a little difficult to get into to start with. It reads almost like a stream of consciousness, which we don’t experience all too often as a reader and when mixed with dialogue and narrative it was a little different at the start. However as you get more stuck in the words rise and fall in a very smooth almost lyrical prose which I thoroughly enjoyed.

In terms of plot line it is the perfect mix of both tragedy and love story and the whirlwind mix throughout is both tender and comedic. The two main characters are wonderfully written both quirky in their own rights but written with a real feel of human warmth and understanding. They come alive with each other and the conviction of their relationship is maddeningly exciting and euphoric. The pace is fast and forward thinking, it ricochets off with such breath taking speed that I found myself reading chapter after chapter without noticing.

I think what makes this book is the style; it is a unique and unforgettable writing quality that is both quirky and gripping. It also allows for the highs and the lows of the novel to really come alive and punch the reader in the jaw which is exactly what I wanted from this novel. It is a love story but it also intertwines personal growth, the pressure to conform to society or religion and trust in the relationships we have. It really made me sit up and listen and made me think about my own place in the world that I find myself in.  Overall a stylish and quirky read that was a wonderful mix; thoroughly enjoyable.

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A lovely little book market in London

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“If you take a book with you on a journey,” Mo had said when he put the first one in her box, “an odd thing happens: The book begins collecting your memories. And forever after you have only to open that book to be back where you first read it. It will all come into your mind with the very first words: the sights you saw in that place, what it smelled like, the ice cream you ate while you were reading it… yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”
Cornelia Funke, Inkheart