Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Silence Book Review

Silence - I'm reading

Joss Stirling has stunned me once again with her latest thriller, The Silence.

A dark story with plenty of twists and turns - a surprising read in comparison to Stirling's lighter stories such as the YDA and the Savant series.

Definitely a powerful read considering the research and thought that she must have put in to writing this book and developing such a deep story line.

I would advise to be prepared when reading this book - it's a psychological thriller that discusses sensitive topics such as abuse, sexual abuse and mental health issues, but nevertheless, the story is gripping and hard to put down once you start reading.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

A Thrilling Book Review: Joss Stirling, Don't Trust Me

So, you no doubt have heard of Joss Stirling's new novel, Don't Trust me (2018).

Don't Trust Me is Stirling's first ever adult thriller, under her young adult's pen name, of which, she goes by three - the other two being, Julia Golding and Eve Edwards.

I first noticed that a new and unusual book may be on the scene, when Waterstones had Stirling's thrilling novel on their shelves, ready for eager fans to pre-order; it was in January that Stirling posted on social media about 20 lucky fans receiving the opportunity to read and review her novel on a first come first serve basis, me being one of the lucky 20 to ask Joss if I could review her first novel to be published as an adult thriller for the 18+ audience.

So enough with the chatter - you no doubt all want to know what this story has in store for you!

While, I have read gothic and dark novels, Don't Trust Me was in fact my first ever thriller to be read.
I've not always been one for reading scary stories (and definitely not one for watching scary movies) however, with having been a loyal Joss Stirling fan, eagerly awaiting her every book release, I new I just had to give this new and exciting story a try.
I decided to read Don't Trust Me since I have gotten used to Stirling's writing style, along with the twists and turns she takes her readers on - I thought Joss would be a fantastic author to introduce me to the dark and twisted world, that we all in fact live in, but can be blind to.

The thriller is set in busy and manic London - the type of London where neighbours don't really know one another and where a murder could most likely go unnoticed for a good few days, since people are too rushed in their day-to-day lives where they don't notice the small unusual change in behavior and habits that people may take on should they be involved in a crime.

Jess is our main character in this story and while she may be relatable in some ways - such as having a wandering mind, being clumsy and only half-completing hobby crafts, she is also a character that ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time and will have you doubting and questioning her, despite reading her side of the story.

At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to a murder that had just taken place, with the murderer sneakily and calmly leaving the scene of the crime - it is this scene that our beloved and unlucky character Jess stumbles across and where the story well and truly starts to unfold - secrets being to unravel and stories and finally released out into the open.

Meanwhile, Stirling allows the author to get a greater understanding of Jess' boyfriend Michael and his deceased wife, Emma's side of the story, by having some chapters dedicated to them, allowing us to read the story from their view point - towards the end of the novel, I feel this really helped the story build in tension, preventing the reader from wanting to put the novel down.

This story plays  game on the reader - who committed the crime? Throughout the entire story, I was guessing who must have been the killer - who had reason enough to commit such an act - and while a chapter earlier, I guessed the correct person, I did not suspect the character to begin with and I have no doubt, this plot will also take you by surprise.

While, the story is a thriller, there are also elements of romance and love, which is also part of the reason I chose to read this novel - no Joss Stirling novel can be without handsome men and a blossoming romance!

I enjoyed how the story also connected with the audience - from scatterbrain friends and that moany elderly neighbour down the road - especially how people, such as Jess in the story, suffers from ADHD. Meanwhile, it also connects to readers on a personal level, covering topics such as young people running away from home, abuse (mental abuse and sexual abuse), self-harm, drug abuse and prostitution. In this day and age, I feel these topics, especially mental health are slowly being recognised and don't have as much stigma as they used to. We are still a progressing society who clearly need to deal with the issues at hand in a better way and who need to become more accepting of these issues, but I felt it was amazing how Joss Stirling covered these issues - issues that either ourselves or our friends and family members may have been though.

Whether you are a Joss Stirling fan, a person who enjoys thrilling stories, or a first time thriller reader like myself, go and treat yourself to this novel, sit down and get lost in yet another interesting, exciting and thrilling world!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Thrilling Secrets and a Glowing Book Review of Joss Stirling's Latest Novel

Christmas is nearly upon us - literally, in 25 days we will wake up, have a cup of tea and some biscuits, and open the presents in our stockings.

But the real question is, what is the best present that you can get your fellow book nerd?
If you want to find out, then I would recommend you carry on reading this blog post, since I have the answer to the question that has no doubt been bugging your brain.

So, in October, Joss Stirling announced to her many fans - me being included - that alas, she had finished writing her novel, Glow (2017) - the second novel in her Peril (2017) trilogy, and was on the look out for 50 Super Fans to proofread the novel for her, offering advice on what they thought of the story.

Me being the mega Super Fan that I am, volunteered myself as tribute (I hope you are proud of this Hunger Games reference) and asked to proofread the novel, which I had been bursting with excitement to read.

The day came when I received Joss's email, which held a copy of Glow that I was yet to proofread, and I encountered a mixture of emotions. Excitement. Curiosity. Intrigue. And then like any good book worm does, I started proofreading the novel.

Now, for those of you who are going to read the novel - which I dearly hope is all of you - I obviously don't want to give too much away, so I'm only going to give you hints to spark the curiosity that is no doubt already growing in your mind, since you are reading this post.

What I enjoy about the Joss Stirling novels, is that they always start off with a prologue that takes us into the past of a character featured in the novel we are about to read, whether it be the main character or a close friend or family member. It gives us an insight to the past of the main character that the story is about. How they have grown to be the person they are now.

After reading an endearing prologue this time featuring Meri's childhood through Theo's eyes, during a time when he was attending her parent's evening, the story picks up where the previous story ended - on the Tean boat.

When we last finished reading Peril, we were left with Meri and Kel, on-board a boat, that was taking them to the Tean kingdom that was Meri's birthright.

Some time had passed between where Peril ended and Glow began - Meri was learning her way around how to be a leader of her Tean followers and Kel was getting used not being the most liked member on the boat.

I found it interesting, the representation of the boat being on cold and bitter waves, which helps to shape up the future prospect of the story being on unsteady waters, so to speak.

While Meri and Kel may be madly in love for each other, what us fans knew from the previous story is that many people are against the idea of a Tean and a Perilous being in a relationship together, and while Meri had managed to get Kel on the boat with her, this doesn't stop the actions and the opinions of the other Teans on board, who are still strongly against this relationship and what it is standing for - how the way Perilous and Teans are currently living should change.

Needless to say, it isn't long before Joss takes us on a roller coaster of twists, turns and loop-di-loops throughout her story - which we all know we love so much, and is one of the many reasons why we read her books. I can honestly say, there are many plot turns, pretty much all of which, I did not see coming.

What was also interesting, was how this story takes the reader through different cities and towns, allowing us to see how the future has changed in this dystopian, climate changed world.

I also imagine that the way Joss wrote of Meri's life - a young girl, soon to be the ruler of a kingdom she is continuously learning about, who has many plans for change - is no doubt close to what this situation would be like in real life. The emotions, thoughts and actions that Meri had to take were very realistic and fascinating to read.

As always, the character's in Joss's books are relatable, life-like and gripping to read. Joss is moving with the trends, bringing in her own slang that teenagers in different groups or clicks would use, in her version of the future life of this world.

We meet characters from the previous book who we possibly thought we would never see again and we also make new friends and plenty of enemies in this novel.

One this is for sure though. You will not be disappointed and in some ways, I feel this book is even better than the first one in the book series.

For those of you going Christmas shopping - or just want to simply treat yourself to a book - get your bag and purse ready, as this novel hit the stores today and is ready to be added to your bookshelf!

The third and final novel in this trilogy has already been announced that it will be called Flare and Joss is hoping for this novel to be out at some point in Spring 2018.
For further updates, be sure to follow Joss Stirling on her Facebook or Twitter account.
Meanwhile, for some awesome pictures, why not follow her on Instagram?

Finally, to conclude this exciting blog update, I also came across some very exciting evidence. It turns out, Joss Stirling will also be treating us bookish fans to her first psychological story!
Due to be out in February 2018 - according to Amazon - her first psychological thriller, called Don't Trust Me (2018) will no doubt be the cause for a bubble of bookish chatter and excitement early next year.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Joss Sitrling's Glowing Novel Peril - A Book Review

Back in June, the Joss Stirling community was bubbling with excitement from Joss's announcement that she was making a break in the dystopian genre with her novel, Peril (2017).

That enthusiasm has returned once again in the bookish world with Joss Stirling's latest social media update that she is asking her superfans to contact her if they are interested in proofreading the second novel in her dystopian series, Glow (2017) which is due out in December, ready for Christmas.

Therefore, for you book lovers who have not yet had a chance to read the fascinating Peril novel, or who may be new to Joss Stirling's novels (the most well-known of which, is the Finding Sky (2010 - 2016 series), here is a book review to introduce you to the book.

Peril was released on the 13th July 2017 and is set in the future where global warming had hit the world hard, with areas of England being flooded.

When you first start reading the book, you are introduced to the character, Meri Marlowe.
Meri isn't like any ordinary girl, she is what is known as an Atlantean (otherwise known as a Tean). People who can see a colour called peril in the UV spectrum, while also having special powers.
Meri has been on the run with her guardian, Theo for years, avoiding an unknown danger. A danger that they only knew to keep a careful eye out for, in case of suspicious activity - neither of them knew who or what the suspicious activity actually was.

Meri's 18th birthday was arriving soon and she and Theo had finally settled down in Wimbledon, feeling a sense of safety and relief. Everything seemed to be going to plan - Theo had a good job and Meri - the quiet and shy girl everyone knew of as Mouse, at school - was going to climb out of that shell and make some friends.

However, everything seemed to change when she met Kel Douglas, a Perilous.
Perilous are people who have glowing peril coloured patterns across their skin that can only be seen my Perilous and Teans, which flare up when their emotions are heightened - for instance if they were to get in a fight.

Perilous and Teans are mortal enemies, due to the history of their ancestors. However, when Meri and Theo first meet, neither of them know about each other's superpowers and things head off to a good start. Meri and Theo get along and really start to like each other and begin dating, but when they realise who each other really are, things take a vicious turn.

Meri was back on the run and Theo was stuck making a tough decision.

Theo is the bodyguard for the Prince of the Perilous, however, when he finds out the truth about his girlfriend, he must make a tough decision: does he side with his friends, for the sake of their kind's brutal history, or does he side with his girlfriend, who could simply be the innocent party?

The story not only takes us on an action packed adventure, but also on a chain of events, filled with mystery, friendship and most importantly, love.

Joss leaves the story ending open - while it ended in a happy and exciting way, the plot is also left open so that the story can continue in the following novel Glow. However, just because you have to wait for Glow to be released at Christmas to find out what happens next, don't let that put you off, as the story most certainly will not disappoint you and it has definitely proven to all of us loyal fans - or even fans of dystopian fiction - that Joss can write dystopian (although none of us really had any doubt in that)!

What I love about this book, is while it is set in the future day, Joss Stirling creates a future that is relatable and isn't too different from the world we know.
Meanwhile, Joss doesn't go overboard when she creates characters with superhuman abilities either. They are people who the readers can easily relate to and enjoy getting to know.

What I also enjoyed when reading this story, is that throughout the novel, at one point you will be reading about Meri and then in the next section you will be reading the story from Theo's point of view, meaning you can see both sides of the story.

A lovely personal touch that Joss also added to the published novel, is that at the very beginning of the book on the dedications page, she also gave thanks to her superfans team who proofread the novel for her, listing all of their names.

So whether you are looking for a book to read, a book to ask for as a birthday present, or a book to add to your Christmas list (if you're wondering, yes I have already started writing mine), then I would highly recommend this novel!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Book Review: Summer Shadows

I am very sorry to say that this is the final book review to Joss Stirling's savant series.
For any of you who have read this book series, you will understand how disappointing it is to hear that there will be no more books, but as they say all good things must come to an end.

Summer Shadows (2016) is a fantasy novel set in the savant world centred around Summer Whelan.

Summer is best friends with Misty Devon and Angel Campbell who us readers met in the previous two novels Misty Falls (2014) and Angel Dares (2015).

Summer has always been a very quiet and thoughtful character in the past couple of books, a person who doesn't say a lot, but when she says something, she means it with her heart and it holds a lot of meaning.

When you first start to read this book, you are introduced to an amazing Benedict wedding (I am not going to say whose wedding this is, I'm leaving it as a surprise) that will get you smiling. In this first chapter the plot already starts to build up creating mystery, making you want to know more.

You immediately start to feel sorry for Summer, a 17-year-old savant who has not yet found her own soulfinder unlike her two best friends. While she is deeply happy for her friends that they will both live a happily ever after with their boyfriends who they adore, that streak of jealousy is lingering with her and she can't help but to feel disappointed that she doesn't feel she can live a normal savant life even if she were to find her soulfinder.

You may be wondering, why doesn't Summer feel she can live the normal savant life, but this is because of her home life which she had been keeping a secret from all of her friends.

Summer lives a demanding home life with a mother who is a rare type of savant that the entire community is warned of. She is known as a vampire savant who feeds off of the emotions of other people.
While we haven't specifically heard of this term before, in the first savant book, Finding Sky (2010) Sky was captured by Daniel Kelly. His son Sean is one of these species of vampire savants who was feeding off Sky's emotions when they were heightened due to the fear that she was experiencing. This can have an emotionally draining effect on the person and in serious cases, it can permanently damage the person.

Due to Summer having to care for her mother and needing to take on more responsibility compared to the average teenager, her home life can be pretty stressful. With having to help run her Dad's social and business gatherings, while being bought up by a Nanny who acted like the only true parent in her life, it is clear she has had a tough upbringing.

With the constant demands building up, Summer's only escape that she has been hoping for, is to go to Oxbridge University. A place where she can study literature and no longer has to live with the home demands. However, unsurprisingly her Dad does not want her going to a university too far from their home in London.

The real reason why Summer is needed to help with her mother so much is because of her savant power. She has an extraordinarily strong gift to be able to read people's minds, however when she releases her powers to its full extent, she can take over the person and make them do what she wants. This means, when her Mum starts to cause trouble, she is the person who is able to help the most to control and stop her.

While Summer is experiencing her own problems at home, trouble is also occurring in the Benedict household with Victor, who has run-away to Afghanistan to try and rescue his soulfinder who is in prison, for a crime that she didn't commit.

Since Summer is the only person who can help find Victor through tracing him with her powers (the only savant that currently the Benedict family know of, since Victor is able to hold such Strong shields), Summer's help is very much sought after. However, the only way Summer can convince her father to let her leave for a few weeks in order to find Victor, is to agree that she would apply to a university in London rather than leaving home. So this is exactly what she does,

Summer leaves for Afghanistan with Saul and Will Benedict along with Lucas, Scott and Hal Robinson who are undercover specialists, all of whom are savants except for Hal.

The journey of searching for Victor starts off rocky, with Summer and Hal often annoying each other extremely easily, however due to the need for team work so that the mission could be a success, Summer and Hal had to learn to rely and trust each other. This turned out to be easier than expected with Summer secretly liking Hal, with his good looks and boyish charm.

Hate can easily turn into love, especially in the savant world and sparks start to fly when Summer realises that Hal is not only a savant but also her soulfinder. The question is, with Summer's home life, will she accept Hal into her world and does Hal truly love Summer?

On Summer's journey, a bigger danger occurs with her being kidnapped by a savant gone bad, while another threat to the savant community will leave you clinging to your book, not willing to put it down.

I will admit, there was a main scene in this book, towards the end when I did spill a tear. Joss Stirling managed to up the level of danger and spin plot turns in many directions in this final novel. 

I was sad at the end, having to put the book down, but the ending to this amazing story will leave you happy at the way author Joss Stirling chose to finish the series.

For any bookish lovers who enjoy a story filled with romance, adventure and fantasy, you must give these stories a try and if you have started to read the savant series then you mustn't miss out on this grand finale!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Book Review: Teasing Xav

If you are a fan of the Benedict brother Xavier from Joss Stirling's Savant books just like me, then today you are in luck.

Teasing Xav (2016) is a free eBook which is based on the novel Seeking Crystal (2012).

While Joss Stirling's novel, Seeking Crystal looked into Crystal Brook's personal view of her experiences before, during and after she met her soulfinder Xavier Benedict, Teasing Xav takes on the opposite approach and allows the reader delve into Xav's past along with his first experiences of meeting Crystal.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella for the same reasons that I enjoyed Challenging Zed (2013) and Burning Yves (2015) - because you get a closer insight to each of the Benedict boys, their personalities, their past experiences along with their relationship to their other family members.

I've always known Xavier Benedict had a soft side, ever since the moment in Stealing Phoenix (2012) when Xav walks in on Zed with his soulfinder Sky and Yves with his soulfinder Phoenix and briefly looks sad. While in this moment Xav was happy for his brothers to be paired with their soulfinders, he couldn't help but to feel sad that he had not yet found his own soulfinder.

Xav Benedict is known for being the joker of the family, always laughing and teasing his brothers in a loving way and while he likes to have a laugh in general, this is also the way that he sometimes hides his sadness.

In Teasing Xav we are first introduced to the 15-year-old version of Xav - the one who enjoyed competing in snowboarding competitions and had a real talent for it.
It was interesting because the reader gets to find out how much Xav enjoyed snowboarding and didn't care for anything else - not even researching into becoming a doctor.
Joss Stirling created a gripping couple of chapters that introduced us to the turning point of events: what happened to Xav to make him want to become a doctor and why he had to quit the snowboarding competitions.

Meanwhile, further into the novella, the story turned more humourous and romantic as we are introduced to the 18-year-old version of Xav. The one who is working hard completing his work experience at the hospital and who was hoping to meet his soulfinder during the savant conference that his brother, Trace asked him to join in with.
I was always curious why Xav acted so jokey around Crystal to begin with and it was revealed Xav actually acted this way because for him, it was quite honestly love at first sight and he didn't quite know how to act around her, therefore resorted to humour.

For anyone who has read the soulfinder series and wants to find out a bit more about these fantastic boys, or who want to read a short story that can be read within the day, then I would definitely recommend you give this book a try!

While Joss Stirling has not officially announced that she will be writing any more of these eBooks, I am remaining hopeful that we will get to read about the rest of the Benedict boys or maybe even the soulfinders to Misty, Angel and Summer? Let's keep our fingers crossed for next year!

Monday, 12 December 2016

Book Review: Angel Dares

Joss Stirling brings to us readers, the hilarious story of 17-year-old Angel Campbell in the romantic novel Angel Dares (2015).

This fifth instalment to the Finding Sky (2010) series is most definitely the funniest of them all. It is unsurprising that even Joss Stirling admitted that the book was "such good fun to write" and that she thinks she "had the most fun on this one out of all the savant books so far."

Angel, who we met in the previous novel Misty Falls (2014) who is best friends with Misty, is the definition of a bouncing bundle of joy. She is filled with happiness, excitement and a spoonful of cheekiness.

She is an incredibly fun and engaging character for all girls. She has the typical weight concerns, is 100% a fangirl of bands and I found her relatable since she is short like me!

Angel has a talent for music and is incredible on the violin, however her true savant talent is being able to control water. When Angel and her band, Seventh Edition get the opportunity to perform live at a festival where her favourite band Gifted are performing, this experience is not only a once in a life time event for her band to try and make it big in the music industry, but Angel is now on a mission to help Benedict brother Will who is trying to find his soulfinder who is linked to the Gifted band.

The only problem is that Angel is known for being impulsive and for running into situations head first without looking. While she tries her best in everything that she does, sometimes Angel tries too hard or becomes impatient in waiting.

During Angel's journey of helping Will Benedict in finding his soulfinder, problems occur. Eli Davis, journalist and savant hunter, first introduced in Misty Falls, is back on the scene and is even more determined and irrational to expose the identity of savants to the entire world. This makes Angel's mission all the more dangerous as it is highly likely that her favourite band Gifted are full of savants who need to be warned of this threat against them.

Meanwhile, to confuse matters even more, Angel meets Marcus Cohen, singer and guitarist for the up-coming band Black Belt who are touring with Gifted, who is also ultimately her soulfinder. What is confusing about this matter, you ask? He doesn't realise he is a savant.

Angel starts to fall head-over-heels for him but risks getting her heart broken through rushing Marcus into this magical world which he isn't ready for. He has already had his heart broken in the past and isn't prepared to have it occur a second time especially when he's overwhelmed by the prospect of magic and soulfinders.

Danger is quickly mounting up against the savant community. Angel's world is going to be turned upside down and Marcus will not only have to accept the world for what it truly is, but will also have to team up with the savants against the threat. The question is, will they get there in time to save the day?

During the process of reading this book, I was laughing about half the time. If fictional characters existed, Angel would definitely be on my list of best friends. For anyone who needs a good laugh, a dose of romance and enjoys living in a fantasy world, put Angel Dares on your list!

Little is said about Angels description apart from her being short, having big eyes, a bob and dimples, which is why it is handy for readers to have read the rest of the Finding Sky series first, especially since the story does rely and progress off of the previous book, with previous characters being mentioned and included in the story.

What I liked about the story is how we are meeting such different characters and since the novel is in Angels perspective we also got the chance to meet her non-savant friends along with her savant parents, which was a lovely addition to the story.

Looking forward to reading the final story in this magical series, Summer Shadows (2016), while also feeling deeply saddened by the thought that this is the last book! Keep up to date with my following book reviews!