Interview with Holly Ducarte!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m wishing Holly Ducarte a happy book birthday as her debut novel The Light Over Broken Tide releases today! I had the privilege of reading an ARC of Holly’s debut and today I’m treating you to an interview with the lady herself!



Hi Holly, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I loved The Light Over Broken Tide and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog today.

Thank you so much for inviting me! I feel truly honoured you loved my book.


First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’ve lived in a small town most of my life in Alberta, Canada. I’ve got two sisters, one of which is my identical twin. I grew up around creative people and so it isn’t surprising that I am pursuing something within the creative arts. I enjoy travelling and being outside. I find my peace in nature. I’m a big family person. They’ve supported me in this endeavour to write and I really want to make them proud. I’ve been married for ten years to my best friend. I’m a mother of an amazing little girl, who is turning three soon. I collect books, antiques, and funko pops. Music and movies inspire me all the time. Coffee and tea are my writing fuel. I have a thing for birds. And last but not least, my Hogwarts House is Gryffindor.


Gryffindors unite! Great to find out more about you 🙂 When did you decide to start writing The Light Over Broken Tide? Was it a natural progression from your poetry?

I began writing it five and a half years ago. But writing, in general, has been a part of my life since I knew how to do it. Poetry seems to come to me immediately when inspiration hits. It’s concise, and yet one can say a lot with so few words. Novel writing is more complex in that it isn’t concise, and an idea doesn’t just fully form. You’ve got to plot-plan, do character sketches, research etc. I’m not sure it was a natural progression so much as poetry fused with my novel-writing style. It’s just a part of me. I hope that answers your question.


That fusion was something about your novel that I loved. How would you describe your writing process?

In a word: sporadic. I’m not one to hunker down and write every day. It’s not feasible. Besides, I have to feel the muse in the room. When it comes, though, I’m all in. I can stay at the computer for hours and write scene after scene. I’m quite the night owl, working best late. The house is quiet then and I can think and plan better. Sometimes I have music playing, depending on where I’m at with the novel. Lately, I’ve been at my kitchen table typing away on my laptop.


The setting in The Light Over Broken Tide was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Was it inspired by a real place?

Yes. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia exists, and a lot of the names of the stores and shops within the book aren’t fictional. It’s truly a gorgeous town with that quintessential sea-side appeal. I recommend looking it up online and viewing the pictures. It’ll be like stepping into my novel, I’m sure of it.

(I took the liberty of doing a Google search and Holly is not wrong. Look at the pretty!)


The Peter Pan connections in the novel were also lovely. Did you always intend to include these or did they sneak in as you were writing?

As Shawn developed as a character, they kind of snuck in. Peter Pan is one of my favourite classics, and while writing, I just felt the two shared similarities. Both had big dreams and weren’t in a hurry to grow up. When you consider “doesn’t want to grow up”, Peter Pan automatically springs to mind.


That’s true. So, who are some authors that inspire you?

I always find this a tough one to answer, because I’m an eclectic reader and there are so many great authors that I love for different reasons. The ones that I thought of first, and in no particular order, are JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JM Barrie, William Shakespeare, Gaston Leroux, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mitch Albom, Harper Lee, Kim Edwards, Erin Morgenstern, Jeannette Walls, Emma Donoghue, and recently Leigh Bardugo, Lang Leav, and John Green. Honestly…I could go on and on.


That’s a fantastic list! We share a lot of favourites. Do you have any hobbies (besides writing) that help you to unwind?

Probably too many to be honest. Is reading books considered a hobby? I do lots of that. I also like to write music, sing, and strum a guitar. It’s very meditative. I paint or draw from time to time. I do crafts here and there, like rustic, wooden sign boards or sewing. I recently purchased a paddle-board and am looking forward to using it a lot this later Spring and in Summer. I’m not one to sit idle for too long.


Do you have any current projects in the works? Can you give us any teasers?!

I do. It’s quite the jump from contemporary fiction, which is The LOBT. I am working on a historical suspense. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can say it takes place during the Victorian Era. The main character is a precocious young woman of eighteen named Deidre Pryor who becomes a woman scorned by her fiancé. She seeks out the spirits in the woods the children around town are calling Di Inferi, and she means to request their counsel on the perfect revenge.

It’s riddled with drama, suspicion, and thrill. Its theme is: “Vengeance is like a rose. Appealing until we are pricked by its thorn.” It also has another theme underlying about “the masks we wear”.

I will share the excerpt I’ve put on Instagram, but of course in the process of editing, it is subject to change: “Miss Pryor, we cannot simply allow you to leave and take your word alone that you will not tell a soul about us. As I said, assurance must be made. Now, do not become too alarmed at this…but I am going to cut you. Nothing big, mind, about Twopence in size. It is a sharp knife and I am very skilled.”


Well, that sounds amazing! I’m looking forward to it already. How can readers find out more about you and your work?

All of my social media links can be found on my website under the Contact section, and they can read further info on me, my work, author visits, and press.


Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!

It’s me who is thankful for your support.




Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! It was a pleasure to interview Holly; I find her so inspiring. If you’re interested in reading my review of The Light Over Broken Tide, you can find it here. And the book is available now! 


The ‘Listicle’ Tag! Five female authors I can’t wait to try

Hey guys! It’s shocking how long ago I was tagged for this but better late than never, right?! I was tagged by Callum who wanted to know 5 authors I haven’t read yet but think I’m going to love. The tag was originally created by Not So Modern Girl.

Since I’m still doing #readforwomen (reading only female authors for the months of February and March), I thought I’d pick five female authors this time round. Then I can do a male version at a later date!

Read on to find out five female authors I haven’t read yet but think I’m going to love…


Margaret Atwood

I’m hoping to knock Atwood off this list reasonably soon as I’m planning to read The Handmaid’s Tale this month! I’ve had Atwood recommended to me by so many people and her most famous work seems like the perfect place to start. I’ve been meaning to read it for years and I’m going to finally make a point of getting round to it!


Daphne du Maurier

I’m also hoping this will be the year I read my first du Maurier. I own a couple of her books but will probably save them for nearer the end of the year when the weather gets a bit gloomier again – they seem like the perfect reads for dark, rainy nights!


Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen has been on my radar for a few years now but her books always seem to be really expensive?! I do own one though and I’m thinking of reading it in the summer. Allen’s books all sound completely magical and I can’t wait to try one of them!


Catherynne M. Valente

From what I can tell, Catherynne M. Valente writes slightly twisted fairytale stories. I really like the sound of Deathless, which is about a mythological Russian character similar to the devil.


Karen Maitland

Karen Maitland writes historical fantasy and her books sound awesome! I own The Raven’s Head and The Plague Charmer, and I really must make a point of reading them soon. Hopefully, tackling my TBR this year will mean I get to at least one of these!


(All book covers taken from Goodreads)


Have you read any of these authors? Am I right to think I will love them? Which of their books do you recommend I start with?

‘Hold My Hand’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today I’m taking part in the Instagram tour for Hold My Hand by M. J. Ford. The book was released a couple of days ago and I managed to read it in time to post a review today! Thank you to Avon Books for sending me a copy.


What the book is about…

When a young Josie Masters sees a boy wearing a red football shirt, Dylan Jones, being taken by a clown at a carnival, she tries to alert the crowds. But it’s too late. Dylan has disappeared…

Thirty years later, Josie is working as a police officer in Bath. The remains of the body of a child have been found – complete with tatters of a torn red football shirt. Is it the boy she saw vanish in the clutches of the clown? Or is it someone else altogether?

And then another child disappears…


What I thought of it…

Ok, I’ll get my complaint out of the way first so I can move on to the positives! This book was not what I was expecting. I don’t know if I’ve maybe read too many thrillers lately but this one just didn’t seem to stand up to other books in the genre that I’ve read in recent weeks. It wasn’t really as creepy as I expected it to be and I was able to guess one of the twists very early on.

HOWEVER! For a debut thriller, this is still very good! Although I guessed one twist, the main one still came as a shock for me. The ending actually turned the whole book around and improved my rating of the book as a whole.

While at first, I didn’t feel much of a connection with the main character, she did grow on me; I began to understand her motivations and I liked that she was a product of everything she’d experienced, flaws and all. I was a little confused that she would have been allowed to work on a case in which she had such a personal interest – but then I’m not familiar with how things like that work. Maybe I’m just nit-picking!

I really liked the circus connections (surprise surprise), though I would have liked it if more had been made of this. The setting seemed to be one of convenience and wasn’t utilised to its full extent, in my opinion. However, the unadorned writing style worked really well for the story and, towards the end, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!

So, a mixed bag of a book but one that, thanks to its strong ending, I enjoyed overall!


Has anyone else read this one? What are some books you’ve read where the ending has made the whole book for you?


‘The City of Brass’ spoiler-free review!

“Often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings…”

– S.A. Chakraborty, The City of Brass


Hey guys! Today is release day for S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel The City of Brass! My lovely bestie sent me an ARC of this book for my birthday recently and I absolutely loved it.


What the book is about…

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…


What I thought of it…

I don’t even know where to start with this review. This is one of the most fantastic debuts of recent years! I adored the Egyptian-inspired fantasy setting; Chakraborty’s attention to detail was superb, resulting in a stunningly realised world with complex religious and political history. The whole thing felt so cinematic and I’d be amazed if the movie rights weren’t snapped up before too long. I mean, it was full of djinn and ghouls and all sorts of funky creatures and magic. Ugh. Amazing.

There were moments when this book felt reminiscent of Laini Taylor’s writing, in that the author completely sweeps you off your feet and captivates you; even though the chapters were fairly long, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely raced through it. The pacing was perfect, with a super fast start and crazy action-packed ending (which omg I cannot deal with and I need the next book immediately).

Other things about this book that I loved:-

  • Slow-burning romance – no insta-love here sir, not today
  • Some amazingly delicious foody descriptions
  • Morally grey characters! Nahri is great but fully admits that she is not perfect. Quite frankly, I’ve been getting so tired of all these badass females in YA books that have no personality but can kill anything that moves and ride horses/dragons and cook delicious meals. That’s just not realistic. Nahri is a breath of fresh air.
  • The dialogue! The conversations are all so easy to read and part of the reason I flew through the book so quickly.

To sum up, I am completely in awe of this own voices Muslim fantasy! It’s so brilliantly written and absolutely blew me away. Definitely recommend!


Is anyone else planning on picking this one up? Or was anyone else lucky enough to get an ARC? I’d love to discuss it with you! 


‘The Light Over Broken Tide’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I recently had the privilege of receiving an ARC of Holly Ducarte’s debut novel The Light Over Broken Tide! I already knew of Holly through the bookstagram community, where she often posts beautiful snippets of her writing, so I was thrilled when she reached out and asked me to be a member of her ARC tribe! Before I start reviewing, here’s the blurb from Goodreads…


What the book is about…

Out of the blue, Rebecca Stafford’s Father arrives to parent her after years of absence. He then extracts her last bit of normalcy by moving them to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. The shocking news plunges Rebecca into a despair that brings about an otherworldly encounter; she begins to have visions of her deceased Mom.

Uncertain whether what she sees is reality or the product of a troubled mind, Rebecca searches for an anchor to keep her from drifting in the new coastal town. She clings to Shawn, the eccentric, spritely boy-next-door promising adventures…with surprises of his own, involving an Irish legend and a hidden lighthouse. This brings on a whole new dimension to Rebecca’s visions, and sparks feverish romance between her and Shawn. A bond eventually threatened by forces beyond her control, sending her spiralling into dark, stormy places, leaving her to wonder how broken a mind can get…


What I thought of it…

I was immediately intrigued by this blurb and, let me tell you: this books reads SO well for a debut novel. Obviously, I already knew that Holly Ducarte could write; her Instagram poetry is stunning and I fangirl over it often. I was delighted to find that Holly’s first novel embodies the same raw beauty as her poetry and I was captivated for the duration. The opening imagery of paper dolls hooked me straight in and I felt gripped until the very end of the book.

I loved the small-town Canadian setting of the book and thought that Ducarte used pathetic fallacy perfectly to enhance her story. Small-town settings are often some of my very favourites and this book was no exception to the rule. I could picture the island so vividly and thought it was almost like a character in itself. The Peter Pan connections were abundant and were another element of the book that I really liked.

The protagonist, Rebecca, is a bit of a difficult character to rate. I found her quite tempestuous and not necessarily very likeable, a little like Cathy from the classic Wuthering Heights, but then that’s what made her so interesting! I also think it’s a realistic portrayal of a teenager dealing with the loss of her mother and all the grief that goes along with that (and I have firsthand experience so I can definitely relate).

The book is quite heavy on the insta-love but, again, it does make a degree of sense given what the protagonist is dealing with. Rebecca’s life has been turned upside down so she clings on to the only anchor she can find – and who wouldn’t want to cling to the dreamy Shawn?!

I genuinely didn’t expect the plot to go in the direction it did; Ducarte kept me guessing right to the end! I was completely shocked. I love that this book defies categorisation; it is so much more than a standard contemporary, with great supernatural elements and a thriller-y tone at times. I also really love the final message that Ducarte leaves the reader with – but you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what that is!



Thank you again to Holly for sending me an ARC! The Light Over Broken Tide releases on March 20th and I’ll be treating you to an interview with the lovely lady herself very soon!

February Wrap-Up! (In which Girl Power rules)

February was a slightly slower reading month for me. I started the month with an incredible read but I then had such a hangover from it that I struggled to keep up the pace for the rest of the month. I also worked more shifts in recent weeks which took away from my reading time. However, I’m still thrilled with what I managed to read! (I don’t know why I’m trying to justify ‘only’ reading 10 books – I guess I’m feeling insecure today haha).

This month, I took part in the #readforwomen initiative which is run by Sara’s Reading Diary over on Instagram. The idea is to read only female authors in February and March to celebrate 100 years of some women getting the vote in the UK and International Women’s Day! I don’t know if I’ll participate again in March but I enjoyed getting involved this month and reading some amazing books by female authors.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s incredible. Mary Shelley created a masterpiece of a story that is just as powerful 200 years on. If you haven’t read it yet, please do so.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The fourth Austen book I’ve read, I was actually a little disappointed by this one. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good but I found it lacked the humour I’ve come to expect from Austen’s writing. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace for this one? Or maybe I should have read her works in chronological order so that I could see the progression towards the superb quality I’ve come to expect from her.


Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson

I’m glad to have finally read some Emily Dickinson, though I won’t deny that there were some of her poems that went over my head. I wish I had got the opportunity to study her in school because I feel like I would love her work if I only understood it more. I’m pleased to say I tried and will definitely return for another attempt in the future, as I found some real gems in this collection.


Review Books

Perfect Remains by Helen Fields

The first in the D.I. Callanach series, I really enjoyed this gritty thriller set in Scotland. The book’s chapters alternate between the viewpoints of the detective and the killer, which I found morbidly fascinating. I’d like to continue the series and see where the author takes the characters. Check out my spoiler-free review here!

The Light Over Broken Tide by Holly Ducarte

I’m proud to say I was a member of Holly’s ARC tribe so I got to read an early copy of her debut novel, publishing soon! I loved the raw beauty of her writing and the small-town Canadian setting. I’ll be reviewing this one soon (I’m so behind, oops). Holly has also been kind enough to agree to an interview so look out for that in the near future too!



Books from my TBR

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

This was my first read of the month and it SLAYED me. I spent 6 days completely immersed in the world of this novel and really struggled to let it go after it ended. I can’t wait to read the second book. My full spoiler-free review of The Seven Sisters is here.

A Shining in the Shadows by Beverly Lee

After reading and loving The Making of Gabriel Davenport, I took far too long to get round to this sequel! However, I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it and loved the direction Lee took the story in. You can check out my review here.


Lost Boy by Christina Henry

This reimagining of Peter Pan is the darkest fairytale retelling I’ve ever read and I loved it. Gritty and fast-paced, I definitely recommend this one for fans of the tv show Once Upon a Time and those who like their fairytales a little darker.

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

I picked this up on a whim one night and ended up reading 100 pages in a single sitting! (This rarely happens.) The world building was absolutely incredible, with witches, shamans and a whole mythology inspired by Tibetan culture. While the story itself was slightly predictable, it didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it and I will definitely be picking up the sequel when it comes out!

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

My final read of the month was my book club’s pick, this Gothic novel set in the Victorian times which was voted Waterstone’s Book of the Year in 2016. I loved the writing style and, while some readers have complained that it is too slow in pace, I found it enjoyable and immersive with some very interesting points for discussion raised.



Monthly Stats

Books read: 10

Total pages: 3836

Average pages per day: 137

Longest book: The Seven Sisters (626 pages)

Shortest book: The Light Over Broken Tide (250 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Seven Sisters

Biggest disappointment of the month: Tie between Sense and Sensibility and Dickinson poems (though they were by no means bad!)

Male authors: 0

Female authors: 10 – all of them!

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 6


I need to read more review books next month as I focused a bit too heavily on mood reading this month! But I’m pleased with the books I read and already have some great picks lined up for March!



How many books did you read in February? What was your favourite read of the month? And did anyone else take part in #readforwomen? 

‘Perfect Remains’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m reviewing Perfect Remains by Helen Fields which was sent me by the lovely people at Avon Books. This is the first book in the D.I. Callanach series and after enjoying this one, I’m definitely interested in continuing the series! Before I jump into my review, here’s the Goodreads blurb…


What the book is about…

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.


What I thought of it…

This was an enjoyable, gritty thriller that was a great start to the series. Fields created a really creepy villain and I actually couldn’t read this book before bed because it was freaking me out!

The book had a strong, multi-layered plot that is perfectly placed in its Scottish setting. I’ve noticed that Scotland is becoming a more popular setting for recent thrillers and I’m absolutely loving it; reading about places you recognise always adds an extra level of enjoyment to the process, I find.

There are some great characters in this first book and I’m looking forward to reading more about Callanach and Turner. Callanach was an enjoyable main character and I liked that he was flawed. He has a past and it definitely haunts him. Perhaps morbidly, I did find myself slightly more gripped by the chapters that focused on the killer; getting a glimpse into his mind was fascinating and genuinely scary. I really enjoyed alternating between the two perspectives.

This is a clever story that definitely caught my interest. I look forward to seeing where the author takes these characters in the next books.



Has anyone else read this one? Or the sequels? What are some of your favourite thrillers set in Scotland?

‘My Birthday’ tag!

Hi everyone! It’s a rather special day today… it’s my birthday! I’m turning 25 (a quarter of a century, oh my word). I’ve had this tag saved for months since I saw it on Zuky’s blog and I knew I would want to do my own version when the time came. So without further ado, here are some fun bits of trivia about my birthday!


*My kind of birthday cake*


Can you name celebrities who celebrate their birthday on the same day?

Dakota Fanning, Emily Blunt and Josh Gad (yaasss Olaf) were all born on the same day as me. A popular day for actors, it seems.


Is your birthday a (national) holiday?

Not a national holiday but still a pretty cool day. It’s the start of the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Girl Scout Cookie Weekend and – wait for it – International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. Ahahaha.


Somewhat less fun, who died on your birthday?

John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States of America, died of a stroke.

John Keats, poet, died of tuberculosis.

Stan Laurel, British comedian, died of a heart attack.


What’s your star sign?

My birthday falls at the beginning of the Pisces sign (February 20th-March 20th).

According to Google, a Pisces will go out of their way to help a friend. They are extremely sensitive and loyal. They will take a friend’s problem and make it their own and suffer with them. That all sounds accurate for me. However, apparently, Pisces also like adventure, new situations and social events, which could not be further from the truth for me!

The internet also says that Pisces have an intuitive and psychic ability more than any other zodiac signs. They trust their gut feelings and their hunches are usually correct. Again, I would say this is true about me. I’m always joking about my ‘sixth sense’.

Pisces do not like rejection and they try to treat others the way they want to be treated so they will rarely say no to a person for fear of hurting their feelings. Again, yes. I hate rejection! However, Pisces are not the pushovers that they may seem, in fact they have strength of character and will stand up for what they believe in. I pride myself on my strong morals and opinions (though I don’t push them on people because of aforementioned fear of rejection!)

Pisces strengths: Compassionate, adaptable, accepting, devoted, imaginative

Pisces weaknesses: Oversensitive, indecisive, self-pitying, lazy

Pisces likes: creativity and artistry, daydreaming, variety, helping others, being spontaneous (erm no? I’m a planner all the way!)

Pisces dislikes: rules and restrictions, being under pressure, hard work, criticism, being forced to face reality



What’s your Chinese sign?

I’m a rooster! Also, there are apparently different versions of each Chinese sign based on the natural elements and I am a water rooster. This means I am smart, sensitive and keen on art. My lucky numbers are 5 and 7 (though I can’t say they’ve ever brought me much luck? I’m more keen on even numbers!) My lucky colours are gold, brown and yellow (my bedroom is yellow so I guess that’s a bit more accurate).

People born in the Year of Rooster according to Chinese zodiac have many excellent characteristics, such as being honest, bright, communicative and ambitious. Most of them are born pretty or handsome (why thank you) and prefer to dress up. In daily life, they seldom rely on others. I’d say this is all quite accurate (apart from the pretty bit, I’m not that vain!), as I am very self-reliant and I do love dressing up.



Rooster strengths: Independent, capable, warm-hearted

Rooster weaknesses: Impatient, critical, eccentric, selfish


On which weekday were you born?

I was born on a Tuesday. And ‘Tuesday’s child is full of grace’.


Which song was at number 1 in the charts when you were born?

‘I will always love you’ by Whitney Houston, which was at number one for nine weeks.



Also on this day in 2003, Norah Jones won five Grammies including song of the year for ‘Don’t Know Why’ and Simon and Garfunkel won a lifetime achievement Grammy, singing together for the first time in ten years.


How was the weather when you were born?

According to the weather forecast archives, it was quite grey and cloudy but temperatures were actually decent. Not freezing like it is today then. Brrrr.


Anything important ever happen on your birthday?

1836 – the battle of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas

1896 – the Tootsie Roll was invented

1940 – Disney’s Pinocchio released

1997 – scientists in Scotland announce that they have successfully cloned an adult sheep named Dolly




Well, that was actually really fun! I always find it interesting looking back through history to see what happened on certain days and the fact that it’s my birthday just makes it even more fascinating. I hope you all enjoyed this post and feel free to save the tag for when your own birthdays come round!

(All pictures in this post are my own, except those of celebrities which came from a standard Internet search.)  Thanks for reading!

‘A Shining in the Shadows’ review!

“The things to fear don’t always scream the loudest…”

Beverly Lee, A Shining in the Shadows


A Shining in the Shadows is the second book in Beverly Lee’s Gabriel Davenport series. I will try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible for both books but please be aware that minor details about book one may crop up so proceed with caution if you haven’t read that one yet!

‘Shadows’ picks up a year after the final events of The Making of Gabriel Davenport, with Gabriel trying to adjust to his new life. Something new and dark is brewing though, that has master vampire Clove worried for the safety of his fledglings. Will he be able to keep Gabriel, Moth and Teal safe? And what of those left behind at the manor?

This second book once again showcases Beverly Lee’s fantastic talent for writing – she truly has a way with words. I loved the combination of old-world mythology with fun pop culture references; other writers wouldn’t be able to make this work but it was excellent in this case.

The story is perfectly paced. Even though the book opens a year after the events of its predecessor, the reader is thrown straight back into the action and not made to wait for a single second. It was so much fun to see Gabriel adjusting to his new life and how everyone is coping in the aftermath of the events that took place at the manor. The dark new twists were all very exciting and I found myself racing through the pages towards the end!

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the character development. We see the return of old favourites but not necessarily as we knew them before. Certain new relationships form in this book that I have to say, I was very happy to see 😉 There are also some fantastic new characters introduced and I sincerely hope we will be seeing more of Emron D’Grey (isn’t that the most amazing name ever?!) and the White Witch in book three, The Purity of Crimson!

Another great read from a very talented lady!


Has anyone else read these books? Who is excited for the final book in the trilogy?!


‘The Seven Sisters’ spoiler-free review!

Guys, I have a new favourite series. This book completely captivated me and I absolutely adored living in Lucinda Riley’s world for the last few days. Before I start raving about it, here’s the blurb from Goodreads…


Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.


I have to admit, even after that blurb, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this one. I didn’t really know what genre the book was and went in pretty blind. And I LOVED it. It was glamorous and romantic but also fascinating, and I can tell that the overarching story is going to be extremely clever.

As the blurb states, this is the first in a series of seven books and, as you may have deduced, each book focuses on a different sister. This one followed Maia, the oldest sister, who has been living a rather isolated life and decides to investigate her past after her adoptive father dies.  I really loved following Maia’s story for the duration of this book; her character development was superb. The story is split between Maia in the present day and her ancestor in the past, and each character, no matter which time period, has a distinct personality. Nobody felt superfluous; even minor characters made valuable contributions to the story. It was great to see the connections between past and present forming and I’m now really excited to learn more about the other sisters in the later books.

Now I have to talk about the world building. This is one of the most important aspects of a book for me, given that I read to escape the ‘real world’ (if you missed my recent post about this, you can find it here). Obviously, we’re not talking about fantasy novels here, which have to create whole worlds from scratch, but a more real world. Even so, Riley’s world building was INCREDIBLE. Both Brazil and Paris were richly evoked and I wanted to jump on a plane and travel halfway around the world! The sights and smells were absolutely leaping off the page and the whole thing was just divinely sumptuous. I thought the parallel story of the ‘Christ the Redeemer’ statue was a really fascinating addition, and Brazil is now much higher on my travel wishlist! I can’t wait to see where the next books in the series will take me (apparently book two is set in Norway!)

This book has given me a serious hangover. Every time I had to put it down, I couldn’t get it out of my head and even now that I’ve finished, I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s such an intricate and clever plot; I cannot WAIT to delve into it further!



Has anyone read this series? Or are you interested in doing so after my review?! I’ve got the next two books on my shelf and the fourth one comes out in paperback in April!