Music Monday: No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young)

Happy Monday lovely people! I’m delighted to say that Music Monday is back now that my course deadlines have been and gone 😀 I hope you’ll forgive me for being a little rusty!

As yesterday was the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death, there could be only one choice for today’s video – this tribute written by Brian May. I definitely have to be in a strong place whenever I listen to this one!

I hope you’ll all enjoy this – and please do let me know if you have any requests! ❤




‘Through The Wall’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! Today I’m reviewing Through The Wall by Caroline Corcoran – thank you to Avon Books for sending me an ARC!

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Lexie loves her home. She feels safe and secure in it – and loved, thanks to her boyfriend Tom.

But recently, something’s not been quite right. A book out of place. A wardrobe door left open. A set of keys going missing…

Tom thinks Lexie’s going mad – but then, he’s away more often than he’s at home nowadays, so he wouldn’t understand.

Because Lexie isn’t losing it. She knows there’s someone out there watching her. And, deep down, she knows there’s nothing she can do to make them stop…

my thoughts

This book takes a great look at the old familiar concept – “the grass is always greener on the other side”. Told from dual perspectives, Through The Wall takes an intimate look at the lives of two women living in adjacent flats. I found the dynamics between these two women to be very interesting to read about and I really liked seeing how things developed.

There were aspects of the book which were surprisingly moving. Lexie and Tom have fertility issues and the book explores a lot of the emotional consequences of this. I really appreciated this as it’s not a subject I’ve read about often. The author handled the issue of societal expectations of women very sensitively.

Unfortunately, the book didn’t really have a lasting impact on me. I found it quite slow and meandering – it was much more of a domestic story than a thriller – and I did kind of wonder where it was going and when it would get to the point. I feel like it could have been much harder hitting and instead it missed its opportunity at the end. Nothing ever really shocked me; I found it all very tame.

Overall, this was a decent read with some surprising emotional themes but one that didn’t quite hit its mark as a thriller.

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Does anyone else struggle to review books that were ok but didn’t blow you away? I always find it so much easier to write a review if I have strong feelings on the book!

Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful month and reading some great books 🙂 xsignature (2)


Down The TBR Hole [#2]

Hello lovelies! Thank you for giving me such a positive response when I decided to join in with the ‘Down the TBR Hole’ meme 😀 Let’s dive straight into round two, shall we?

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‘Down The TBR Hole’ is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story, though she now blogs @ Sunflowers and Wonder!

Here are the rules:-

  1. Go to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.
  2. Order on ascending date added.
  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. 
  4. Read the synopses of the books
  5. Decide: keep it or should it go?
  6. Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

Rasputin: The Untold Story by Joseph T. Fuhrmann


A century after his death, Grigory Rasputin remains fascinating: the Russian peasant with hypnotic eyes who befriended Tsar Nicholas II and helped destroy the Russian Empire, but the truth about his strange life has never fully been told. Written by the world’s leading authority on Rasputin, this new biography draws on previously closed Soviet archives to offer new information on Rasputin’s relationship with Empress Alexandra, sensational revelations about his sexual conquests, a re-examination of his murder, and more.

– Based on long-closed Soviet archives and the author’s decades of research, encompassing sources ranging from baptismal records and forgotten police reports to notes written by Rasputin and personal letters
– Reveals new information on Rasputin’s family history and strange early life, religious beliefs, and multitudinous sexual adventures as well as his relationship with Empress Alexandra, ability to heal the haemophiliac tsarevich, and more
– Includes many previously unpublished photos, including contemporary studio photographs of Rasputin and samples of his handwriting
– Written by historian Joesph T. Fuhrmann, a Rasputin expert whose 1990 biography Rasputin: A Life was widely praised as the best on the subject
– Synthesizing archival sources with published documents, memoirs, and other studies of Rasputin into a single, comprehensive work, Rasputin: The Untold Story will correct a century’s worth of misconception and error about the life and death of the famous Siberian mystic and healer and the decline and fall of Imperial Russia.

I think I added this one due to my love of all things Russian and particularly, my childhood love of Anastasia. However, I tend to struggle with non-fiction. Unless someone was to buy this for me, I’m unlikely to ever get to it.

Verdict: Remove

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready player one

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

I’ve owned this book for FAR too long. I’m determined to read it. I think I’ll make it one of my must-reads for 2020.

Verdict: Keep

[Related post: 12 Books I MUST Read in 2019!]

Matched by Ally Condie


In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Matched is a story for right now and storytelling with the resonance of a classic.

I’m hoping this is a judgement-free zone! I added this one in my very early Goodreads days, back when I was behind on years’ worth of books. Books like this were all the rage back then and I wanted to see what I was missing. I think the time has definitely passed.

Verdict: Remove

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting – he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.

From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd – whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself – Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

Patrick Ness is one of my auto-buy authors so of course, I already own a copy of this. But to this day, I have not had the courage to pick it up. Having lost my own mum to cancer when I was young, I know that this one is going to be very close to the bone for me. I’d like to read it one day but I need to make sure I’m in a mentally strong place.

Verdict: Keep

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

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Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America – the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.

I think I found this on a Pinterest list waaay back in the day. I’ve never really heard much about it since. But it sounds like it could be interesting.

Verdict: Keep

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

water knife

In the American Southwest, Nevada, Arizona, and California skirmish for dwindling shares of the Colorado River. Into the fray steps Angel Velasquez, leg-breaker, assassin, and spy. A Las Vegas water knife, Angel “cuts” water for his boss, Catherine Case, ensuring that her luxurious developments can bloom in the desert, so the rich can stay wet while the poor get dust. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in drought-ravaged Phoenix, it seems California is making a play to monopolize the life-giving flow of the river, and Angel is sent to investigate. There, he encounters Lucy Monroe, a drought-hardened journalist, and Maria Villarosa, a young refugee who survives by her wits in a city that despises everything she represents. For Angel, Lucy, and Maria, time is running out and their only hope for survival rests in each other’s hands. But when water is more valuable than gold, alliances shift like sand, and the only thing for certain is that someone will have to bleed if anyone hopes to drink.

I think this came from the same Pinterest list as the previous book. This cli-fi sounds to me a lot like Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry. So I feel like I’ve kind of been there, done that? And I don’t know if I’d like the gangster slant in this one.

Verdict: Remove

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

buried giant

The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day. The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards – some strange and other-worldly – but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.

I’ve never read anything by Ishiguro but I like the sound of this one. Plus I already own it so I have no excuse not to read it.

Verdict: Keep

Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel

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Lilia has been leaving people behind her entire life. Haunted by her inability to remember her early childhood, and by a mysterious shadow that seems to dog her wherever she goes, Lilia moves restlessly from city to city, abandoning lovers and friends along the way. But then she meets Eli, and he’s not ready to let her go, not without a fight.

Gorgeously written, charged with tension and foreboding, Emily St. John Mandel’s Last Night in Montreal is the story of a life spent at the centre of a criminal investigation. It is a novel about identity, love and amnesia, the depths and limits of family bonds and – ultimately – about the nature of obsession.

Station Eleven is one of my all-time favourites so I definitely want to read more from this author.

Verdict: Keep

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel

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The Lola Quartet: Jack, Daniel, Sasha and Gavin, four talented musicians at the end of their high school careers. On the dream-like night of their last concert, Gavin’s girlfriend Anna disappears. Ten years later Gavin sees a photograph of a little girl who looks uncannily like him and who shares Anna’s surname, and suddenly he finds himself catapulted back to a secretive past he didn’t realise he’d left behind.

But that photo has set off a cascade of dangerous consequences and, as one by one the members of the Lola Quartet are reunited, a terrifying story emerges: of innocent mistakes, of secrecy and of a life lived on the run.

Filled with love, music and thwarted dreams, Emily St. John Mandel’s The Lola Quartet is a thrilling novel about how the errors of the past can threaten the future.

As above. Plus I find these book covers really striking, so I want to see them all lined up on my shelves!

Verdict: Keep

The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

singer's gun

After shaking off an increasingly dangerous venture with his cousin, Anton Waker has spent years constructing an honest life for himself. But then a routine security check brings his past crashing back towards him. His marriage and career in ruins, Anton finds himself in Italy with one last job from his cousin. But there is someone on his tail and they are getting closer . . .

The Singer’s Gun follows Anton, Alex Broden – a detective on the trail of a people trafficker, and Elena, caught up in the investigation against her will. Taut and thrilling, it is a novel about identity and loyalty, and the things we are willing to sacrifice for love.

Yeah, I feel like a broken record now. They’re all staying.

Verdict: Keep

Landline by Rainbow Rowell



Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Wow, that’s a long synopsis. This is another one that I own and want to read at some point. I didn’t actually realise that it was set near Christmas so maybe I’ll read it before the year is over.

Verdict: Keep

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


It’s 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it’s too late to introduce himself.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart… and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

Yeah, so you’ll notice that I had a habit back in the day of adding every book an author had written. I don’t own this one and it sounds like a straight-up romance which is not really a genre I read. Maybe if I like Landline, I’ll add it back but for now…

Verdict: Remove

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

carry on

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a love letter to love stories and the power of words – to every ‘chosen one’ who ever had more on their mind than saving the world.

*waits for the gasps of horror*

No, I’ve never read Carry On. Honestly? I’m apprehensive; I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about this Harry Potter spoof. But I’d like to read it just to see what the hype is all about. And I do like the nod to Supernatural in the book titles (whether it was intended or not).

Verdict: Keep

The House on Carnaval Street by Deborah Rodriguez

carnaval street

When her family faces kidnap threats after the publication of her first book, Deborah Rodriguez is forced to flee Kabul, leaving behind her friends, her possessions, the beauty school she helped found and her two beloved businesses: a beauty salon and a coffee shop.

But life proves no easier ‘back home’. After a year living on top of a mountain in the Napa Valley and teetering on the edge of sanity, Deborah makes a decision. One way or another she’s going to get the old Deb back.

So, at the age of forty-nine, she packs her life and her cat Polly into her Mini Cooper and heads south to a pretty seaside town in Mexico. Home is now an unassuming little house on Carnaval Street.

There she struggles to learn Spanish, works out with strippers and spends her Sunday nights watching clowns. And maybe – just maybe – the magic of Mexico will finally give her what she’s always dreamed of: a life on her own terms . . .

I added this one after enjoying The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul but I managed to miss the fact that it was a memoir (I thought maybe it was fiction but based on truth? I don’t know.) Anyway, I don’t tend to read memoirs unless they’re by someone I’m super interested in.

Verdict: Remove

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars.

Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back?

She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find.

Who did massacre the Day family?

I recently unhauled the physical copy of this from my shelves so it can definitely come off my digital shelf too! I just feel like this author is really over-hyped and I’m no longer interested in reading her books. (Sorry if that offends anyone!)

Verdict: Remove

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

the rest of us just live here

Not everyone has to be the chosen one

What if you’re not an indie kid, fighting zombies, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Sometimes you just have to discover how even an ordinary life can be extraordinary.

From the bestselling and award-winning author of A Monster Calls and More Than This comes a bold, funny and insightful about many different types of remarkable.

Ah, another Patrick Ness. I must read this one of these days.

Verdict: Keep

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

crane wife

One night, George Duncan – decent man, a good man – is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed.

The next day, a kind but enigmatic woman walks into George’s shop. Suddenly a new world opens up for George, and one night she starts to tell him the most extraordinary story.

Wise, romantic, magical and funny, The Crane Wife is a hymn to the creative imagination and a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love.

This is probably the Patrick Ness book that I’ve heard the least about but oh my word, it sounds wonderful.

Verdict: Keep

The New World, The Wide Wide Sea, and Snowscape by Patrick Ness

The New World: In this dramatic prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy, author Patrick Ness gives us a short story of Viola’s journey to the New World.

The Wide, Wide Sea: The Wide, Wide Sea is set in the past, at a time before the Spackle War, and we get a first look at the fishing village on the sea where some very important things happen at the end of Monsters of Men.

Snowscape: Snowscape is set after the end of Monsters of Men, so that’s when you should read it. That’s all I’ll say, I don’t want to give anything away. 😉 – Patrick Ness

I’m taking these three short stories together because I can’t be bothered to repeat myself 3 times lol. These stories all relate to the Chaos Walking trilogy which I loved but they’re only available as e-books and that’s not a format I enjoy reading. Plus it’s been years since I actually read the trilogy so these wouldn’t resonate as much with me nowadays.

Verdict: Remove

Magic For Beginners by Kelly Link

magic for beginners

The nine stories in Link’s second collection are the spitting image of those in her acclaimed debut, Stranger Things Happen: effervescent blends of quirky humor and pathos that transform stock themes of genre fiction into the stuff of delicate lyrical fantasy. In “Stone Animals,” a house’s haunting takes the unusual form of hordes of rabbits that camp out nightly on the front lawn. This proves just one of several benign but inexplicable phenomena that begin to pull apart the family newly moved into the house as surely as a more sinister supernatural influence might. The title story beautifully captures the unpredictable potential of teenage lives through its account of a group of adolescent schoolfriends whose experiences subtly parallel events in a surreal TV fantasy series. Zombies serve as the focus for a young man’s anxieties about his future in “Some Zombie Contingency Plans” and offer suggestive counterpoint to the lives of two convenience store clerks who serve them in “The Hortlak.” Not only does Link find fresh perspectives from which to explore familiar premises, she also forges ingenious connections between disparate images and narrative approaches to suggest a convincing alternate logic that shapes the worlds of her highly original fantasies.

I feel like this synopsis is trying very hard? But I still quite like sound of this book and I’ve been enjoying short story collections more and more recently.

Verdict: Keep

Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales edited by Kelly Link

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Fifteen top voices in speculative fiction explore the intersection of fear and love in a haunting, at times hilarious, darkly imaginative volume.

Predatory kraken that sing with – and for – their kin; band members and betrayed friends who happen to be demonic; harpies as likely to attract as to repel. Welcome to a world where humans live side-by-side with monsters, from vampires both nostalgic and bumbling, to an eight-legged alien who makes tea. Here you’ll find mercurial forms that burrow into warm fat, spectral boy toys, a Maori force of nature, a landform that claims lives, and an architect of hell on earth. Through these, and a few monsters that defy categorization, some of today’s top young-adult authors explore ambition and sacrifice, loneliness and rage, love requited and avenged, and the boundless potential for connection, even across extreme borders.

With Monstrous Stories by M. T. Anderson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Nathan Ballingrud, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, Nalo Hopkinson, Dylan Horrocks
Nik Houser, Alice Sola Kim, Kathleen Jennings, Joshua Lewis, Kelly Link, Patrick Ness and G. Carl Purcell.

I obviously added this based on the Kelly Link connection but it sounds pretty awesome and there are some authors whose contributions I’d like to read.

Verdict: Keep

Books removed in this post: 9

Books removed in total: 17

Total books analysed: 42

Do you participate in ‘Down The TBR Hole’? What do you think of my decisions? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! xsignature (2)

Autumn Mini Reviews: Pumpkinheads & The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Hello my lovelies! Some more mini reviews for you today – let’s get straight to it, shall we? 😀



Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years…

my thoughts

This was a super cute seasonal read! If you’re a fan of Autumn/Halloween, you need this book in your life. It is a pumpkin-lover’s dream! I don’t know if American pumpkin patches are actually like this, but if they are then I need to visit one!

I’ve said in the past that food in books ticks a big box for me, so all the amazing snacks mentioned in Pumpkinheads were definitely a highlight. If nothing else, this book will make you crave smores and pumpkin pie.

I loved the art style and the colour scheme was gorgeous. The characters were exactly what we’ve all come to expect from a Rainbow Rowell book; Deja was a particular favourite of mine. She came out with the best puns. And yay for curvy girls!

Overall, this was a very fast read that I enjoyed a lot. It was subtle as a brick but cute and fluffy, and sometimes that’s just what you need. I adored the setting and would happily read more stories in this world – or I’d totally be up for a Christmas themed sequel 😉

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Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets… until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost… as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

my thoughts

It’s a special retelling that doesn’t just borrow from its source material but adds to it. It is clear that Kiersten White is a Frankenstein fangirl; she treats her source material with such respect. I really enjoyed her portrayal of Elizabeth’s side of the story and thought it was wonderful to get a feminist slant on this classic Gothic novel.

The tone was perfect. You know how sometimes a retelling will make the mistake of using modern language and completely losing the feel of the original? Well, that didn’t happen here. White’s writing harked back to Mary Shelley’s and felt so appropriate for the story, which was something I really appreciated.

If you’re a fan of Frankenstein, do yourself a favour and read this book! I think you could probably enjoy it even if you haven’t read the original (I mean, everyone knows the concept, right? But you’ll definitely get a lot out of it if you’re familiar with the classic.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)


‘Violet’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Some of you may remember me reviewing The Lingering last year. So when I was offered a copy of the author’s newest book to read, I jumped at the chance!



Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

my thoughts

This book is a great look at obsession and toxic friendships! Dare I say it, I may have actually enjoyed this book more than The Lingering! I’d say this one is more slow burning, with a tension that simmers from the very beginning. I couldn’t put it down.

I was immediately captured by the opening of this story and I never felt bored for a second. I always enjoy reading about faraway places so I felt completely captivated by all the travel aspects of this book. I couldn’t help feeling swept away on this adventure with Carrie and Violet!

As with The Lingering, the short chapters make this a very fast and readable book; it was genuinely so easy to just keep turning the pages, in that desire to know what would happen next. While none of the characters were at all likeable, their choices and behaviours made for an extremely compelling read.

And speaking of The Lingering, I really appreciated the little Easter Egg that Holliday included for her readers. I always enjoy when authors make connections between their books so this definitely made me smile.

If you like you unique thrillers and don’t mind reading about awful characters, then definitely check out Violet!


Have you read any unique thrillers recently? Or just unique books in general? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)


Autumn Mini Reviews: Tunnel of Bones & The Bone Garden

Hello my lovelies! The end is in sight – I’ve got just over a week until this year of my course is finished! So I shall definitely be catching up with you all then 🙂 Thank you for sticking around while my posting is so sporadic and while I’m seemingly ignoring your comments – I promise I’m not and it means the world that you are continuing to engage with me! ❤

Anyway. Today, I’ve got a couple of mini reviews for you! Both suitable for the time of year if you’re clinging on to Autumn and not acknowledging the C word 😉

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Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake… even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghost-hunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever…

my thoughts

I’m delighted to say that, although I did like City of Ghosts, this sequel was much more enjoyable! Having recently reread the first book, I was reminded of everything that irritated me the first time round. Thankfully, there was much less of the spoon-feeding in book two and it felt much more natural.

I really love how each of the books in this series is set in a different spooky location and could honestly read so many of them. Schwab captured Paris perfectly in this book and I was totally feeling the Catacomb vibes. Also, YES to all the French pastries.

I enjoyed how the story progressed in this instalment and I am appreciating both Cass and Jacob’s character development (no mean feat considering one of those characters is a ghost!)

I also have to give a shoutout to Cassidy’s parents who are AWESOME. It’s so rare that we get to see great supportive parents in literature so I love the direction Schwab is taking with them.

Overall, I enjoyed this second book (even more than the first) and I look forward to the next instalment!

bone garden


Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irréelle fears she’s not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life—and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread is unraveling. Irréelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.

When Irréelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irréelle flees to the underside of the graveyard and embarks on an adventure to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.

With echoes of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, debut author Heather Kassner crafts a gorgeously written story humming with magic, mystery, and dark imaginings.

my thoughts

First of all, a big thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a free copy of The Bone Garden! 

This was a delightful read perfect for the run-up to Halloween and I definitely agree with the comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book! There was a wonderful sense of atmosphere from the very beginning.

Some of this atmosphere did fade out a little as the book progressed; I found that the action began to take more of a focus. Something about the story made it feel more middle-grade in tone than the young adult it was billed as. Not that this was an issue, it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But the writing had a lovely flow to it and it was extremely easy to fly through. I loved following Irreelle’s sweet journey.

I wasn’t really struck with a lot of thoughts while reading this one as I was too busy being swept along by the plot. Therefore, I will just reiterate that this was a great book to read in the run-up to Halloween but I’m sure it would be delightful at any time of year. And I definitely recommend it to fans of The Graveyard Book!

Have you read either of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)


October 2019 Wrap-Up!

Hey everyone! I’m slightly late with this wrap-up but I want to share with you what I’ve been reading recently!

october 2019 wrapup

Review Books

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I was delighted to be sent a copy of the final book in the Winternight trilogy for a blog tour. This series conclusion was everything I could have wanted and more. Utterly stunning!


The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

I received a copy of this one from Titan Books and it was perfectly spooky for October! It was billed as YA but felt more middle-grade to me. However, I still enjoyed the story and would agree with the comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.


Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women by Sharon Blackie

This was a stunning collection of short stories inspired by European mythology and folktales. The artwork was stunning and there wasn’t a single story I didn’t like. It was fantastic.


Angel Mage by Garth Nix

I received an ARC of this highly anticipated new release from Gollancz but unfortunately, I struggled a little with it. I found it to be overly complex and there were lots of unnecessary characters to contend with. I did appreciate the feminist elements though.


The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo

I really enjoyed this story of girls lifting each other up and being strong together. The book was very readable and I loved the setting.

Books from my TBR

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I read this in preparation for the final book in the trilogy. It was an excellent middle book which genuinely developed the story and continued the character arcs, rather than feeling like simply filler.


Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

This adorable graphic novel was a perfect seasonal read. I loved the artwork and the abundance of autumnal snacks featured. I’m hoping we’ll be treated to a sequel at some point.


Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab

This is one of those rare cases where I enjoyed the second book more than the first! I preferred the setting in this one and felt less like I was being spoon-fed. The plot is developing nicely.


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

I was nervous about this one as I’m such a big fan of Frankenstein. But it’s clear that Kiersten White is a fan too. This reimagining felt respectful of the original while also adding its unique spin. Very enjoyable.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

I did it! I read Dracula! It wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I’m so glad to have finally read this Gothic classic. I will be sharing more thoughts soon!


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Since I already had books two and three on my tbr, I decided to just reread book one and binge my way through the whole trilogy. It really made me appreciate the development of Vasya’s character and I loved immersing myself in Arden’s gorgeous writing.


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I wanted to reread this one before diving into Tunnel of Bones. I had been looking back on it fondly but when rereading, I was reminded of everything that had irritated me. Oops.


hypnosis for change

Hypnosis for Change by Josie Hadley & Carol Staudacher

I read this one for my diploma course. It is a resource that I found very helpful and I will probably refer to it in future practice.


Total pages: 4247

Average pages per day: 137

Longest book: Angel Mage (560 pages)

Shortest book: Pumpkinheads (209 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Foxfire, Wolfskin & Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women

Biggest disappointment of the month: Angel Mage

Male authors: 2

Female authors: 10

october 2019 wrapup

What was your favourite read of October? Or your biggest disappointment? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘The Deepest Roots’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I’m still in the middle of a super busy time but my backlog of books to review is beginning to pile up and I don’t want it to become too overwhelming, so I’m trying to keep on top of them! Today, I’m reviewing The Deepest Roots which was sent to me by Harper 360!

the deepest roots


Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

my thoughts

I genuinely enjoyed this one so much! The Deepest Roots has one of the most intriguing openings I’ve ever read and I found myself drawn in very quickly. The author’s writing style has a lovely flow to it, making this an extremely easy book to read. Before I knew it, I was 100 pages in. And this readability continued for the duration of the book.

One of my favourite aspects of The Deepest Roots was its setting. I could picture Cottonwood Hollow so vividly, with its tree-lined streets and wide open fields. It felt very unique and brimming with atmosphere.

The character descriptions were somewhat less vivid. There were times when I had trouble picturing Rome, Lux and Mercy because their appearance was rarely stated outright. And when it was, it didn’t match what I had been visualising! In a way, they almost seemed to merge together a little in my head in terms of what they looked like. However, given the themes of friendship and sisterhood that were so prominent throughout the book, it kind of worked that I couldn’t separate the three girls in my mind?

I also enjoyed the romance in this book. I’ve said before that I sometimes find the incessant need for romantic pairings in YA books a little tedious, but this is one ship that I am firmly behind. Jett was definite book boyfriend material and I really liked the development of the relationship between him and Rome. Their banter was superbly written and felt natural, and I appreciated that it took them a while to become a couple rather than the typical insta-love!

Finally, I thought the magical aspects of the book were really well done. It was a subtle magic, so I think this book would be a good starting point for anyone wary of magical realism. I loved that the Cottonwood Hollow girls all had different Talents and I thought the author explored these really well, making me feel invested in each individual storyline as well as the overarching plot.

Overall, this was a fantastic debut that I would definitely recommend! I look forward to seeing what this author does next.

deepest roots.jpg

What is everyone reading these days? I hope you’re all finding wonderful stories! xsignature (2)


November 2019 Anticipated Releases!

It’s finally November! Not that I’ve been wishing the year away but this is the month that some of my most anticipated books of the year are finally being released!! I am very excited 😀

For some reason, a lot of the books I was planning to feature this month have been pushed back and now won’t release until December, so this is going to be a shorter post than usual. But some of the entries more than make up for it, in my opinion.

Let’s dive in and see what delights November has in store for us, shall we?

[As always, all covers and synopses are taken from Goodreads, and I have used UK release dates.]


By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery

Release date: November 1st

by any means necessary.jpg

On the day Torrey officially becomes a college freshman, he gets a call that might force him to drop out before he’s even made it through orientation: the bee farm his beloved uncle Miles left him after his tragic death is being foreclosed on.

Torrey would love nothing more than to leave behind the family and neighbourhood that’s bleeding him dry. But he still feels compelled to care for the project of his uncle’s heart. As the farm heads for auction, Torrey precariously balances choosing a major and texting Gabriel—the first boy he ever kissed—with the fight to stop his uncle’s legacy from being demolished. But as notice letters pile up and lawyers appear at his dorm, dividing himself between family and future becomes impossible unless he sacrifices a part of himself.

Why I’m interested: The early reviews I’ve seen for this one have been incredibly positive. I’ve developed a real love of contemporaries in recent months and this one just sounds wonderful. LGBT and bees? Sign me up.

Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland

Release date: November 1st

beyond the black door.jpg

Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.

But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.

When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.

A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom…

Why I’m interested: The premise of this one sounds so cool! Journeying into people’s souls? Whoa. Sounds great.

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Robertson

Release date: November 1st

lifestyles of gods and monsters

Sixteen-year-old Ariadne’s whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family’s entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won.

When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn’t just endanger her family’s empire―the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving.

Ariadne’s every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?

Why I’m interested: This sounds like it will be the most hilarious combination of Greek mythology and trash tv. I’m here for it.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Release date: November 5th

starless sea

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Why I’m interested: This is it people! My most anticipated release of the year, possibly ever! I cannot wait to immerse myself in more of Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeous writing and I have no doubt that I will adore this.

Winterwood by Shea Earnshaw

Release date: November 5th


Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

Why I’m interested: This is another one I’m very excited about! I loved this author’s debut, The Wicked Deep, so I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Release date: November 5th

guinevere deception

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Why I’m interested: Having recently enjoyed The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, I’m interested to read another feminist retelling from this author. Hopefully she’ll do just as good a job with this one.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Release date: November 7th

the toll

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Why I’m interested: Why is the blurb so short?! I have the fear. But I’m beyond excited to see how this trilogy ends after that cliff-hanger at the end of book two. And I’m thrilled to already have a copy of this one thanks to Walker Books! I should be reading it as this post publishes!

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim

Release date: November 14th

surprising power of a good dumpling.jpg

Anna Chiu has her hands pretty full looking after her brother and sister and helping out at her dad’s restaurant, all while her mum stays in bed. Dad’s new delivery boy, Rory, is a welcome distraction and even though she knows that things aren’t right at home, she’s starting to feel like she could just be a normal teen.

But when Mum finally gets out of bed, things go from bad to worse. And as Mum’s condition worsens, Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.

A nourishing tale about the crevices of culture, mental wellness and family, and the surprising power of a good dumpling.

Why I’m interested: This one flew under my radar initially but I’ve since seen a couple of fantastic reviews for it. I love that mental health seems to be a big theme and I’d really like to see how it’s handled. Plus foodie fiction!

Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

Release date: November 14th

now entering addamsville

Zora Novak has been framed.

When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught.

Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself.

Why I’m interested: Eliza and Her Monsters is still on my wishlist but I can’t help adding this one right alongside it. It gives me great spooky mystery vibes. And I’m a little bit in love with the cover.

Are you excited about any of these books? Is there anything I haven’t featured that you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)