September Bookoplathon – Update

We are nearly at the end of the month and despite my confidence at the beginning of the month, I don’t think I will complete all the books on there which means a punishment book next month. There were a total of 9 books and I have read 4 and I will hopefully finish another one or two before the end of the month.

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Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas

Book Review

Title: Catherine House

Author: Elisabeth Thomas

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Rating: DNF

Review: Catherine House was the September pick for the Literally Dead Book Club, so I had to read it this month, but I didn’t know anything going into it except it had a school setting. We are introduced to our protagonist, Ines, by the time she arrives at Catherine, but we don’t know what. Ines doesn’t talk much about her life before, all we know is she used to be good student, fell in with the wrong crowd and things started to go horribly wrong. The only reason she even applied to Catherine was because her teacher, who she was in love with at the time, suggested she do it. The school has rules though, the students can’t have any contact without the outside world for three years in return for a free ride through Catherine and a promise of a better life on the other side and all have agreed to it. However, Thomas manages to paint a dark and eery atmosphere around the school, making you feel watched almost like it is haunted. Ines gets along fine with her roommate, Baby, who is odd herself but there’s nothing malicious about her especially after we learn she brought a snail from home, which is prohibited as it is both a pet and from outside Catherine and when she thought he was going to be discovered she killed it rather than letting it go which strikes me as very odd. So far, the setting is great, but we haven’t had much in the way of plot, but we are only at the beginning.

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Dispel Illusion (Impossible Times #3) by Mark Lawrence

Book Review

Title: Dispel Illusion (Impossible Times #3)

Author: Mark Lawrence

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi

Rating: *****

Review: I read both One Word Kill and Limited Wish in less than a day, so I had to jump into the conclusion straight away. I had some theories coming into Dispel Illusion and I wanted to see if I was right about them. I was right about Nick being older in this book just not as old as I thought he was going to be, when we re-join the group Nick is 22 and still working on the same project from Limited Wish only there has been a time explosion and Guilder is currently running a cover up on it so the information doesn’t get out. I was surprised that the group still meet for D&D despite having gone to university and starting their own careers now but guess it shows how strong these friendships are. While we are being reintroduced to the group, Nick gets a phone call from Dr. Creed letting him know they have made a breakthrough, obviously he rushes down to see what it is with Mia and John in tow. It turns out that Creed has managed to send Dr. Halligan into the future, only to the following morning but they have done it. However, Nick knows with their current power output it shouldn’t even be possible and it turns out Guilder insisted on it since he is dying now but all Nick can do is run the number and hope Dr. Halligan returns safety and in one piece.

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Limited Wish (Impossible Times #2) by Mark Lawrence

Book Review

Title: Limited Wish (Impossible Times #2)

Author: Mark Lawrence

Genre: YA/Sci-Fi

Rating: *****

Review: After reading and loving One Word Kill, I could wait to jump into Limited Wish and see whether Demus’ plan actually works. Limited Wish starts with some jumping timelines, we open in June where Nick is working with a Professor at Cambridge University despite only being just 16, but we also know that between February and now, he has lost his friendship with Elton and broken up with Mia who he worked so hard to save in the first book. We then jump back to February where we learn Nick wanted to get into university early so, he could start working on inventing the headbands Demus gave him and prove time travel was real and possible. He manages to do this by crashing one of Professor Halligan’s lectures in order to talk to him, but he soon realises that his new research is incorrect and corrects it for him. At that point the Professor demanded that Nick be allowed to work with him or he would resign so Cambridge allowed it but being on the youngest people there Nick is having a hard time fitting in as we see in the opening chapter where he is rescued by 17 year old Helen for some third year students. Nick gets the same déjà vu feeling with Helen as he did with Demus when they first meet so I have a feeling she is going to be important to this book. So far, the opening of Limited Wish was great, and I can’t wait to see where Nick goes in this instalment.

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One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1) by Mark Lawrence

Book Review

Title: One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1)

Author: Mark Lawrence

Genre: Sci-Fi

Rating: *****

Review: I haven’t really read much by Mark Lawrence but after getting into some high fantasy and some morally grey fantasy, his work has been recommended to me a lot but I wanted to start off with some smaller and a little “lighter” – if I can use that term – of his works before jumping into his other series. We are introduced to our protagonist, Nick who has just been diagnosed with cancer and from the very beginning we can sense something is off as Nick talks about being dead less than a month after the diagnosis. When he goes for his first chemotherapy treatment, he begins hallucinating as he “awakes” in his friend’s house at their Dungeons & Dragons came from the week before. These things continue to happen with Nick either losing time or seeing things that really shouldn’t be there and these events are surrounded by a single person, an eery bald man who is following Nick everywhere. This man has also had interactions with Nick’s mother although she tries to make it seem like these didn’t happen. One night, Nick’s friend John gets him to sneak out in the middle of the night with a girl called Mia where they go for a drink and to smoke a joint. All three see the mysterious man but they get spooked and flee from him at Mia’s insistence but it is Nick who surprises them despite throwing up from the chemo which they don’t know about and being in pain, he beats them both out of the park. The opening couple of chapters to One Word Kill were extremely interesting and I eager to see where the story goes.

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Locke & Key Volume 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill

Book Review

Title: Locke & Key Volume 3: Crown of Shadows (Locke & Key #3)

Author: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez (Artist)

Genre: Graphic Novel/Horror/Fantasy

Rating: ***

Review: So far, this series is showing the Netflix adaptation was faithful apart from minor elements, despite that I did enjoy Volume 1 more than Volume 2 because of the info-dumping in the second volume that sets up the major mystery of this series.  I noticed quite early in this volume that it started to deviate from the show quite a bit, not in terms of the story that relatively remains the same but it terms of pacing. This volume opens with the Locke matriarch getting drunk after learning that Duncan is in the hospital and the entity using one of its newly acquired keys; the shadow key to haunt the family with shadow demons that reflect their fears, so the fears of each child are different based on their age, worries and life experiences which was an awesome nuance that the show actually maintained just in a slightly different way.

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Locke & Key Volume 2: Head Games by Joe Hill

Book Review

Title: Locke & Key Volume 2: Head Games (Locke & Key #2)

Author: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez (Artist)

Genre: Graphic Novel/Horror/Fantasy

Rating: ****

Review: So volume 1 of Locke & Key showed me how close to the source material the show stayed with a few minor changes and I was eager to see if that continued throughout the series especially after the Locke children begin using the key Bode found at the end of the first volume. We get our first intermission of the series which focuses on characters outside of the central Locke family. We meet Mr. Ridgeway, a teacher who taught Tyler, Kinsey and Bode’s father when he was at school. We learn of his past and how he directly influences the entity known as Echo/Dodge/Luke/Zack as it has taken a form that very few people know and it decides to do away with Mr. Ridgeway because he knows who the entity is trying to impersonate. In order to remain anonymous, the entity is using Luke’s ex-girlfriend as a pawn because it has assumed his form and after his death, it made his girlfriend pliable to whatever the entity wanted.

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Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

Book Review

Title: Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1)

Author: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez (Artist)

Genre: Graphic Novel/Horror/Fantasy

Rating: *****

Review: I watched the Netflix adaptation of this graphic novel series when it first started airing and I have to say I really enjoyed it which made me keen to read the source material but back then I couldn’t get the digital copies of the books but now I can. From the beginning of Volume 1 I was able to see the differences between the source material and its adaptation, but they are slight. We are introduced to the Locke family before and after their father, Rendell is murdered by a young man who knew him, and they have to move to their father’s childhood home: Keyhouse. One of the first differences here is in Tyler’s origin story as in the show he witnesses the murder but doesn’t do anything about it as he has to protect his younger siblings; Kinsey and Bode, however in the comic the killers know the kids are around and as Tyler has stepped in paint, the trio split up and he actually ends up several injuring one of the men which weights heavy on his conscience. After moving to Keyhouse, Bode begins exploring as he is the youngest and ends up finding a key. This key opens a door, but the second Bode steps through it his spirit is torn from his body, so he technically dies. As time passes, he uses this to keep an eye on everyone and even attempts to share it with Kinsey and Tyler, but they are still too caught up in their emotions after their dad’s death.

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The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery

Book Review

Title: The Last Paper Crane

Author: Kerry Drewery

Genre: Family/Historical

Rating: *****

Review: What drew my attention initially to The Last Paper Crane was that it was a fictional story about the bombing of Hiroshima, but the author had done some major research into the bombing and the survivor’s stories before even starting to put this book together. We are introduced to Mizuki and her grandfather Ichiro, who is suffering after the death of his wife and Mizuki doesn’t understand why his grief is so deep. Although we quickly learn that Ichiro hasn’t told Mizuki about his past, but the death of his wife and his own advanced age is forcing him to pass the story onto the next generation, so it isn’t forgotten. While the present is set in Japan 2018, we jump back to Japan 1945, where we meet Ichiro as a young man and his best friend, Hiro and his younger sister, Keiko. This novel is also told in a mixture of straight narrative, free verse, and haiku poems, along with some stunning illustrations from Natsko Seki.

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The Legend of Akikumo by Dani Hoots

Book Review

Title: The Legend of Akikumo

Author: Dani Hoots

Genre: YA/Fantasy/Folklore

Rating: ***

Review: I didn’t know much about The Legend of Akikumo when I signed up to the blog tour, but it is set in Japan which I am almost guaranteed to love. We are following a kitsune (Fox spirit) named Ketsueki, which reminded me of Wicked Fox by Kat Cho but I have read a few other novels set in Japan, the most recent being More Than Alive: Death of an Idol by Fernando A. Torres which I’d highly recommend for VR/AR and fantasy fans. The opening chapter was interesting as we are introduced to Ketsueki, who was left at an Inari Shrine a century before by her mentor, Akikumo who disappeared after that. However, one thing I noted that the author got wrong straight away is the yokai who live in the shrine complain about Ketsueki not behaving when kitsunes by their very nature are mischievous and cause trouble for their own entertainment. In terms of the actual mythology, this is wrong but maybe for the character this behaviours is correct as the other yokai are shown as being quite peaceful. We then jump back to July 1336, which is in the Muromachi Period, where Ketsueki is recused by Akikumo, who is an okami or wolf yokai after her parents are killed in the battle. As she is only a small child, Ketsueki formerly called Aiko by her mother, breaks the magic hiding her kitsune form and is brutally attacked and hunted by the humans before being rescued which explains her current resentment towards humans. This flashback was actually a really great scene as it perfectly blends Japan’s quite bloody history with its fantastical folklore seamlessly.

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