Book Review · Books

Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning [BOOK REVIEW]

Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning author books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning is definitely a read that will certainly stay in your memory, for how unique and random it is. 

Synopsis

Jim is a janitor at an insane asylum and one day, he decides to commit a suicide at his workplace. But before he can do the deed, a mysterious resident at work equips him with a dog and a bag of ash, and throws him into a secret game known as Cryptofauna.

Cryptofauna is played by Operators, people with special abilities, who battle one another to influence important events around the world. To become an Operator, Jim must successfully pass a couple of exams, including surviving the Pacific Ocean, surviving some weird monks, and ultimately, passing the exam that proves his mind and soul are ready as well.

On top of this, there is his enemy as well, another Operator, who is forever his rival until the game ends.

This is how Cryptofauna works, in case you are curious. The image was sent to me by the author:

Cryptofauna by Patrick Canning author books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

My Thoughts:

From the synopsis, I expected this book to be unique. However, I never expected to enter such a creative and random world. The events are all so random, the characters too. It is all very random and chaotic in a very interesting way. I am still struggling to decide whether I love this chaos or not. 

This book is amazing in terms of creativity and world building.

The author is quite good at creating something new in a place where everything already exists. Patrick Canning managed to create a whole new reality within our real world. A place where Cryptofauna exists as a game and a way of life, and I was glad I entered that world. 

There were times I felt very confused on what is happening. I had to re-read chapters and scenes, which resulted in average reading experience. I liked Jim as a character, and I loved how he slowly develops throughout the book and finds his true purpose in his life. As a person that was about to commit suicide, I felt he learned a valuable lesson to not give up. However I felt that the other characters had more liveliness in them (no pun intended, given the fact he wanted to kill himself). I actually loved the evil guy more. He had a recklessness about him that I found intriguing. 

Overall, I did enjoy the creativity and the idea of the game itself. However, I felt very lost and confused at certain times, which made my experience less enjoyable. I still recommend it to you, if the synopsis intrigues you and you enjoy stories about good battling evil.

Thank you to the author, Patrick Canning, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

Thorn (Dauntless Path #1) by Intisar Khanani [BOOK REVIEW]

Thorn by Intisar Khanani Dauntless Path ReadersFirst HotKeyBooks books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

Thorn by Intisar Khanani is such a powerful story about finding your true self, fighting against the injustice and loving with your whole heart. 

Synopsis

Princess Alyrra grew up in a cruel family, fearing that her brother might hurt her every day. She despises the fact that she needs to behave in a certain way to appeal to the court. Her despise grows even more when she learns that she’s been betrothed to the powerful Prince Kestrin, a stranger from another kingdom.

But when a sorceress robes Alyrra of her true identity, she sees this as an opportunity to start a new life as a goose girl, where she doesn’t have to pretend in front of everyone and be her true self. 

Soon enough, she realises what is actually going on with the regular people in the kingdom. The poverty, the crimes, the fact that the royal guards don’t care at all. The fact that the street thieves have to make their own sets of rules in order to keep the peace on the streets. 

When a big tragedy hits home, Alyrra knows she needs to make a choice. Stay here and give up the identity of the princess forever, or go back to being a princess, only for the sake of saving the people.

“It is rare for someone who wants power to truly deserve it.”

My Thoughts:

Thorn is the first book of the Dauntless Path series, and I am so happy I had the chance to read it! Very powerful book, with a very strong female character, who is not afraid to say what she thinks and fight for what she believes in!

“I’ve found that acting when you are afraid is the greatest sign of courage there is.”

What I loved about Alyrra’s character is that it shows us how much of a hardship it can be to make a certain choice. It is not just black and white. At first, we all root for the – get your identity back. However, Alyrra has been abused all her life. Her brother abused her physically and her mother mentally. She then had to deal with the pressure of being a princess. Following rules. Not saying what she really thinks, but what others want to hear. She is then promised to marry someone she doesn’t know and pretend to be someone she is not, again. 

And suddenly, she can be someone else.

She has the chance to start a brand new life. A person that is not in the spotlight. She can think and speak freely. And that is why I understand her choice to want to stay as a goose girl forever.

“We all have our unspoken sorrows, hopes we cannot mention, choices we may yet regret.”

But then she sees the true picture of how people are treated in the kingdom. How people live. The injustice that happens on the streets every single day. And then she also gets the attention of the prince and being who she is, she is not afraid to say her mind. 

But to truly change things, she needs to become a princess again. And making such a choice comes not only with consequences, but with huge sacrifices too. 

The ending of Thorn was very well written and very satisfying. I am looking forward to reading more about Alyrra’s story and get more answers in the next book. I cannot recommend Thorn enough!

Thank you to ReadersFirst and Hot Key Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

His and Hers by Alice Feeney [BLOG TOUR]

His and Hers by Alice Feeney HQ Stories NetGalley blog tour books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

With His and Hers by Alice Feeney, prepare to jump on a ride where one murder will open up the gates of the past, and expose a lot of people in a very brutal way. 

I am extremely happy and proud I can be part of the blog tour for this book!

Synopsis:

When a woman is murdered in Blackdown village, Anna Andrews needs to go there to cover the story. However, her hometown brings back a lot of unwanted memories. 

Her ex-husband, DCI Jack Harper is investigating the murder and is very suspicious of Anna’s involvement. That is, until he becomes a suspect himself.

My Thoughts: 

I have to admit, at the beginning I though this will be a domestic thriller, and I am not too keen on them. I enjoy them, but I prefer psychological thrillers more. It turned out that His and Hers is not only a psychological thriller, but also a very well written one. I have only read one book from Alice Feeney before, I Know Who You Are, and I also enjoyed it, so I was expecting to enjoy this one as well. 

The chapters are split into three points of view.

The first one is Her – Anna’s point of view. The second one is Him – Jack’s story. The third one is the point of view of the killer, who has their own thoughts and explanations. And the beautiful thing about the third point of view is that we don’t know who it might be until the very end of the book. That point of view is so well written, that I kept guessing who it might be, and kept changing my mind. At the end, the answer was so surprising and satisfying in the end. And once I knew who the killer is, I went back and read those pages again, and they had a completely another meaning for me. Kudos to Alice for making this possible, as I know not everyone can manage to do this! 

“And I pay attention to the little things, because they are often the biggest clues to who a person really is. People rarely see themselves the way others do; we all carry broken mirrors.”

Dementia

The book also briefly focuses on Dementia, and we get to experience the moment Anna realises her mother is ill. For me, this had a special meaning, having experience working with people suffering from dementia, and the writing of the symptoms was very accurate. The reaction of Anna was quite accurate as well, in terms of how hard it was to notice, but also how much harder is to actually accept this fact. 

“Mum doesn’t always remember that I’m thirty-six and live in London. She frequently forgets that I have a job, and that I used to have a husband and a child of my own. She didn’t even seem to know that it was my birthday. There was no card this year, or last, but it’s not her fault. Time is something my mother has forgotten how to tell. It moves differently for her now, often backwards instead of forwards. Dementia stole time from my mother, and stole my mother from me.”

If you get to read His and Hers, prepare for many twists, many mysteries, a lot of drama and betrayals. The ending was the most satisfying part for me, but I enjoyed this book all the way through and struggled to put it down. I recommend it to everyone that is in love with mystery thrillers, especially the ones that focus on the psychological aspect. 

“Youth fools us into thinking there are infinite paths to choose from in life; maturity tricks us into thinking there is only one.”

Thank you to the HQ Team, for sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Links:
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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Music From Another World by Robin Talley [BLOG TOUR]

Music From Another World by Robin Talley HQ Stories NetGalley books book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

Music From Another World is a powerful and emotional read, about fighting for freedom and acceptance and the amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd where you can really fit in!

Synopsis:

It’s summer 1977 and closeted lesbian Tammy Larson can’t be herself anywhere. Not at her strict Christian high school. Not at her conservative Orange County church. And certainly not at home, where her ultra religious aunt relentlessly organizes anti gay political campaigns. Tammy’s only outlet is writing secret letters in her diary to gay civil rights activist Harvey Milk… until she has a real-life pen pal who changes everything.

Sharon Hawkins will bond with Tammy over punk music and carefully shared secrets, and soon their letters become the one place she can be honest. The rest of her life in San Francisco is full of lies. The kind she tells for others – like helping her gay brother hide the truth from their mom. But as anti gay fervor in America reaches a frightening new pitch, Sharon and Tammy must rely on their long-distance friendship to discover their deeply personal truths. What they’ll stand for…and who they’ll rise against.

My Thoughts: 

From the very first moment I read the synopsis, I knew I needed to read this book. It seemed filled with 1970’s spirit, the movement to be brave and honest. The discussions in this book are through the form of letters or diary entries, which I really enjoyed. This writing style helped me get through the book extremely quickly. 

We get to meet the two girls, Tammy and Sharon, both very different, but both struggling with the same issues of being contained in a world where they cannot be themselves. And even though this particular book is about the LGBTQ+ community, I believe this issue also applies to anything else in life, where people feel like they cannot be who they really are. Sometimes it is religion, other times it is political opinions, it could even be different hobbies where the person feels needs to contain in themselves because of the fear they might be frowned upon or laughed at.

It is amazing to see how the world has progressed over the years, where people start feeling like they can finally express who they really are. It is not yet ideal, but I have a good feeling we are getting there. There is also the very powerful force of the internet, the advantage people didn’t have before, to find people across the globe that share the same beliefs and interests. 

Music From Another World really moved me, and it brought up various emotions. It talks about the struggles and the reprimands, but it also talks about real happiness and laughter. The amazing feeling when you finally find a crowd that accepts you and where you truly belong. I believe this is the first book with a plot that made me feel so happy, so sad and so angry at the same time. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the HQ Team, for sending me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

A Throne of Swans (A Throne of Swans #1) by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr [BOOK REVIEW]

A Throne of Swans by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr hot key books readersfirst book review books blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

A Throne of Swans by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr is the first book in the series. An epic fantasy about courage, secrets, betrayals and love. 

Synopsis

When her father dies, Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles can transform into birds. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan, But since witnessing the death of her mother, Aderyn hasn’t been able to transform. Aderyn must venture to the Citadel to seek the truth about her mother’s death and to fight for the land she has vowed to protect!

My Thoughts:

From the first moment I read the synopsis of A Thorn of Swans, I was intrigued. I am a sucker for fantasies that involve badass princesses. The cover of this book is also incredible. 

From the very first pages we familiarise ourselves with Aderyn. She has already lost her mother, in fact, watched her die, and now she has lost her father too. She has been grieving her whole life, but she has also been wanting to find out what really happened that day. When her father dies and some clues are unveiled, she needs to travel to the Citadel to find answers.

However, this decision comes with a huge risk because of her current inability to transform into a swan. The punishment, if someone finds out the truth, is death. 

On this trip, she is accompanied by Lucien, who is there to serve as an advisor and protector for Aderyn. They have a dynamic and interesting relationship, bonding over their vows to protect their kingdom. Lucien is also one of the few people that knows Aderyn cannot transform.

Following Aderyn’s story, we witness revealing of secrets, betrayals, drama and gossip. She is determined to find answers, which sometimes includes trusting the wrong people and finding out more than she can cope with.

I was struggling with the fact that this book lacks strong side characters. People that are not main characters, but who you root for. Aderyn was an amazing character, but also the only one that had everything it takes.

The story was very unpredictable until the very end, and quite unexpected at all times.

I loved the plot twists and the cliffhanger at the end. I also shipped the romance, so I was quite perplexed with how the book ended regarding the romantic topic. Some questions remained unanswered and I am sure that the second book in the series will tackle them. 

I highly recommend A Throne of Swans if you love epic fantasies, castles, kingdoms and cool princesses! 

Thank you to ReadersFirst and Hot Key Books, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
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