Bookish Ramblings: July Wrap Up

Wow July felt like a really long month! I read 6 physical books, 2 ebooks and listened to 1 audiobook, this is the most reading I have done in a month for a long time and was mainly down to my yalc reading. It was a good month with 5 books reaching a 5 star rating!

My 5 Star Reads

My 4 Star Reads

My 3 Star Reads

When I wasn’t reading

So July was YALC month, and whilst it was a book event, technically I didn’t read, so it counts for this! You can catch up with all my YALC happenings by visiting my post from yesterday. We also pottered down to LFCC whilst we were there and got plenty of Ghibli inspred goodies, I particularly love the Cat Bus pin that me and Biba each got one of!  Geeky Clean released there “Let the Sun Shine” collection which is amazing and probably my favourite since their Ghibli collection at the beginning of the year. There is not one thing in the collection that I don’t love and the Happy Cloud bath bombs are looking like they will make permanent stock. You can catch the end of the collection by following this link and using my code Paperbacksandpinot10 at checkout.

Looking ahead

I’m currently putting together my TBR for August, I have a fair few review books on the list already – I think I may close for reviews in September Just to I can get some reading for me done, but we’ll see. It’s the start of the summer holidays here in the UK so I’m hoping to get in plenty of days out and lots of fun in the sunshine with the family. We’ve got a Zoo visit planned, trips to the beach, Mr Paperbacks will be taking Biba to the London Science Museum, I’m hoping to get to Cambridge for Movies on the Meadow and finally a trip to the Sea Life Centre in London if we can. We also have a little celebration coming up for mine and Mr Paperbacks 10 year wedding anniversary ❤  It’s looking like there may actually only be time for a few books on my Tbr for August!

Join in and tell me what were your favourite reads this month?

Bookish Ramblings: August TBR

If you saw my July wrap up yesterday, you’ll know that we’ve got quite a busy August planned as it’s the UK school summer holidays. I’m committed to reviews this month and I’ll definitely have to reach those but I’m not sure how much else I’ll get done, so this is just a rough guide to what I’ll be reading this month!

Warcross by Marie Lu

Probably the only non review book on this list. I’m part of the Booket List group on facebook and this is one of their book club read this month. This has given me the perfect opportunity to read Warcross and join in with some chat about it as we go along. I’ve not had a reading buddy for a couple of months and I miss it, so looking forward to this!

The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Not my usual genre as it’s in a contemporary setting but I’m pretty drawn to it. It’s a last man (or woman in this case) standing scenario which reminds me of the “cabin in the woods” style movies that were high up on my viewing list about 10 years ago, I’m hoping it’s more suspense than any horror element though, but the blurb sounds amazing and I’m grateful to Titan Books for sending me a finished review copy.

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever…if they survive.
Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.
Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiance invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends–one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship–Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.
Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

The Withered King (Tempest Blades) by Ricardo Victoria

Full disclosure, I have already started reading this and I’m enjoying it so far, it’s quite sciency and I need to have a quiet area to really take it in, but it’s great so far, a bit more urban fantasy than I was expecting and the cover doesn’t really do it any favours but I’m hoping that this will be quite the gem!

Fionn is the wielder of a legendary Tempest Blade, and he is blessed – or cursed – by the Gift. Though his days as a warrior are long over, his past leaves him full of guilt and regret. Life, however, has other plans for him, when he agrees to help a friend locate a missing person.
Gaby and Alex never expected to become heroes… until they met Fionn. As an ancient evil arises and consumes the land, Fionn must help them to master their own Gifts and Tempest Blades.
Together the three of them, and their friends, will chart a course aboard the flying ship Figaro to save the planet. Will Fionn’s past be an anchor, or will he overcome the one failure from his former life before time runs out?
In a world where magic and science intermingle, anything is possible.
Including second chances

By the Feet of Men by Grant Price

Going back to my post apocalyptic roots for this one, I think I’ve had a big enough break from the genre now to accept them for reviews again, I know very little about it and sometimes that’s for the best – fingers crossed!

The world’s population has been decimated by the Change, a chain reaction of events triggered by global warming. In Europe, governments have fallen, cities have crumbled and the wheels of production have ground to a halt. The Alps region, containing most of the continent’s remaining fresh water, has become a closed state with heavily fortified borders. Survivors cling on by trading through the Runners, truck drivers who deliver cargo and take a percentage. Amid the ruins of central Germany, two Runners, Cassady and Ghazi, are called on to deliver medical supplies to a research base deep in the Italian desert, where scientists claim to be building a machine that could reverse the effects of the Change. Joining the pair are a ragtag collection of drivers, all of whom have something to prove. Standing in their way are starving nomads, crumbling cities, hostile weather and a rogue state hell-bent on the convoy’s destruction. And there’s another problem: Cassady is close to losing his nerve.

Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton

It’s always lovely when an author contacts you to review because they’ve enjoyed reading past reviews on the blog. With a dose of high fantasy combined with magical realism, this one sounds fantastic and I desperately want to read it first, but I can’t as other books are due for release earlier!

Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind.
Her brother disappeared two years ago, leaving her with no family or species to speak of. She hides among humans, spending her days working at a bar and her nights searching for him. The bleak pattern goes on and on… until she catches the eye of a powerful faerie.
He makes no attempt to hide that he desires Fortuna. And in exchange for her, he offers something irresistible. So Fortuna reluctantly leaves her safe existence behind to step back into a world of creatures and power.
It soon becomes clear that she may not have bargained with her heart, but her very life.

Turning Darkness into Light by Marie Brennan

You had me at Dragons! Another finished review copy courtesy of Titan Books, it came with a lovely little next of chocolate “dragon eggs” – I do love dragons 🙂

As the renowned granddaughter of Isabella Camherst (Lady Trent, of the riveting and daring Draconic adventure memoirs) Audrey Camherst has always known she, too, would want to make her scholarly mark upon a chosen field of study.
When Lord Gleinheigh recruits Audrey to decipher a series of ancient tablets holding the secrets of the ancient Draconean civilization, she has no idea that her research will plunge her into an intricate conspiracy, one meant to incite rebellion and invoke war. Alongside dearest childhood friend and fellow archeologist Kudshayn, must find proof of the conspiracy before it’s too late.

As always, please let me know if you want to read along with any of these as I do love a buddy read!

Bookish Ramblings: Tales from YALC 2019

Another year and another YALC has come to an end. It was only peripherally on my radar last year, Biba and I had tickets to LFCC downstairs and we came up to YALC for a look around but didn’t really understand enough, however this year we were well prepared! We could only make it up for the Sunday this year but I think that was good when you have a child with you as it wasn’t as busy as it could have been and also we got to get some of the best book bargains!

In the foyer we bumped into the lovely Kasia (Kashpoint) and also Kirsty from We Read Box, this was especially lovely as Biba got to meet the people she will be repping for in September and November. We then made our way up with Jemma from @fantasticbooks_awtft to head straight to the Rock the Boat News stand to find out which Aurora Legion we would be in, both Biba and Jemma got Alpha, I got Face! We got to spin the Sythe wheel of fate, whilst I will die by falling hardback, Biba managed to get immunity and won a shiny sweetie ring too! I have to say that I found it a little overwhelming as it was still our first proper visit and I wasn’t really sure how it all worked. But we made our way round picking up some wonderful bits and pieces, sadly we didn’t win any arc raffles, but we got lots of other lovely things!

The “New voices of YA fantasy” panel was a must for me and it was a great one to sit in on. I was there primarily for Bex Hogan and Adrienne Young, both of whom were lovely and I think I was the only person to put my hand up when Bex Hogan asked about people who played Hero Quest when they were younger (I’m now gutted that my mum sold mine on ebay years ago) so now we’ve like totally bonded lol.  I had both Viper and Sky in the Deep signed by the authors too and it was lovely to get to meet them both, it was even lovelier to spend my time in the signing queues catching up with Emily from @emilysbookcorner who got me up to speed with all the gossip 🙂  Sadly Lauren James had to cancel her appearance as her dog needed emergency treatment, I hope they had a speedy recovery.

The highlight of YALC was finally getting to meet Rebecca Gibson, lost twenty something blogger and author. We have been friends online for around 3 years, never quite making it to meeting in person, but we were determined that YALC would be the place. It was so wonderful to meet her, sitting chatting like it was the most natural thing in the world even though we were doing it in person rather than over a screen. We managed to snag some bargain books, The Binding hardback for £5!!! buy some Cake in a Jar, fill out a strangely harder than it looked book quiz from Hodderscape, and just generally enjoy hanging out with one another ❤

The real stars of Sunday though were Geeky Clean, because I’m part of their rep team we were able to base ourselves with them for the day. Steph and James are truly wonderful, kind and lovely people, they helped to look after Biba when she was to tired to stand in the signing queues with me. I came back to find that Steph had helped her find lots of goodies around the room, James chatted to her about Japan and her fandoms and she loved keeping the candles and soaps restocked! In fact more often than not Biba wanted to stay with them and Emily, who was showing her the ropes on the till, than come out around the floor with me! I can’t thank them enough for all they did on Sunday, we also made sure we bought as many candles, scrubs and bathbombs as we could fit in our bags!

I think the only thing that I have to gripe about what the fact that I had to buy a full price ticket for Biba, who is 8. Children under 4 are free and I get that it’s a convention for young adult readers, but she is a middle grade reader and other than one lovely author there wasn’t really much there for her at all, I loved having her with me but it would be nice if in future years they could consider a child ticket, given that LFCC offer these and last year we came up to YALC on that ticket mid morning. It was a wonderful day though, I’m definitely going to try for 2 days next year if we can afford it, I think Biba is already more than willing to help run the Geeky Clean stand again!

Review of The Beholder by Anna Bright

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.
But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.
From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

I’m going to preamble this review with an admission that I very nearly didn’t start it. That day I had seen a few reviews that weren’t favourable and it gave me a wobble. But as I always say, not all books are for everyone and I’m glad I ignored the reviews and went ahead! Firstly I am very lucky to have the gorgeous fairyloot edition of this book. The dusky pink sprayed edges are beautiful and the deep red of the hardcover is so lovely. It truly is a wonderful book to behold (said with a winky face) and what’s inside is actually pretty good too.

Whilst this is marketed as YA I would say it’s actually a very teen book, the romance is sweet and a little fluttery and the situations are very much for that age group. Myths and fairytales play a large part in the story, little nods here and there to different stories and each part of the book is prefaced with quotes from from fairytales from the obscure to the well known. This makes it unique in the sea of retellings because it’s not just drawing from a single source and it gave me a much needed boost back into the genre that I felt at saturation point with.

It’s entirely Selah’s show and  because of how the story moves and is set up we don’t have the chance to get too invested in the side characters, which is a shame. But with both Bear and Torden the author does an amazing job at making you want to fall in love with them, poor Selah! Selah comes across as flighty and naive, but she’s lived in a small rural area her whole life, she is sheltered and a daddy’s girl who has been through immeasurable loss. A child losing their mother is profound and is going to shape them and keep them childlike for longer – I make this point as there is a lot of hate for Selah but I think it’s pretty unfounded and I found her to be a likeable character, she has a presence of mind I wouldn’t have tagged her with and I felt she dealt with some difficult political situations well. For the most part I quite liked the flow of the story, she was quickly away from Potomac and on her journey far from home, this again I think gives her a pass for petulance!

The only time that I felt the story dragged was when Selah first arrived in Norge, I think I was still reeling from her exit from England and I struggled to get into the mindset for Norge. The thing about this book as there are 3 main settings and there are a whole slew of characters that appear in each. Honesty, I couldn’t remember who half of the people were most of the time which was a shame as it’s that kind of thing that really pulls me out of a story – and it frequently did. Selah is on a journey though and although I thought this was a standalone (it’s a duology) I liked how each place was given its due time and I appreciated the effort that went into the world building of each location, if not the characterisation. If there is one thing that this story has though, it’s plots within plots, it will keep you on your toes, never knowing who to trust whether it’s those closest or those on the edge of the story. There is some great political wranglings and a chance for Selah to understand what her future holds, if only she gives herself the chance!

Ultimately, I found this to be a hugely enjoyable read that was easy to take in with a story that flowed well pretty much throughout, it’s not overly caught up in its own lore which brings a lighter touch to what could otherwise be a too serious read.



Bookish Ramblings: What’s the cost of book blogging?

Earlier in the week a post was going around twitter which I don’t necessarily feel the need to weigh in on but it did get me to thinking proportionally about my time spent blogging and the money invested in it. I will refer back to the twitter post for context but it’s clear that those over at The Quiet Pond spent a lot of time researching this and it’s interesting to see what people some people see as a cost of blogging and what others see as just life. So if you’re interested, here is a little snapshot of my blogging life which I’ve split into three parts, Time, Money, and Mental Health.


Now for me, the biggest cost of blogging is time. Everyone is different and this is done in no way to say I do more or less than anyone else. My week outside of blogging involves work 4 days a week in a stressful court room environment, I have a freelance evening job which is intermittent, I have 2 children (8 and 4), my husband and keeping on top of our home.  This is enough to fill my day, but I have managed to find away to do this and blog. I’m not ashamed to say that out of my list, housework is the first to fall away if I have things I would rather be doing! In a typical day, after breakfast I’ll go through Instagram with a cup of tea and reply to comments, follows and likes. After doing the school run, I’ll put an audio book in the car on my way to work. At lunch I’ll read a kindle book on my phone app. Home time is family time until the children are in bed by 8. At some point during the day I’ll get my bookstagram pic up for the day if I have one. I usually spend about 2 hours an evening reading, sometimes more depending on whether there is anything good to watch on TV, but honestly we’re not big watchers. I’ll then spend about an hour online, typing up reviews, blog posts, updating my blogs facebook and twitter accounts. At weekends I try and take enough bookstagram pics to last me the week. The most important thing I have learnt is that I don’t have to feel guilty about not having a pic for every day of the week or have daily content on my blog – this took me a long time!!!


Now onto money. It’s a thorny issue at the best of times but honestly, trite as it sounds, you can spend as much or as little as you want. The big twitter debate stemmed from this and the fact that nearly every blogger The Quiet Pond spoke to included the cost of buying books in their blogging costs. I only buy physical books that I want to read anyway, these are purchases I would have made had I been blogging or not and I would never include them as a blogging cost. I am able to request ebooks for free from Negalley, I get ebooks from direct approaches from authors to the blog email or contacts on instagram. I am also incredibly lucky to receive finished review copies from a publishing house that I’m on the blogging team for. All this didn’t happen overnight and I had to work hard over several years to get to this point. What do I pay for then? I pay for my website hosting and domain and I probably pay £20-30 per year on updating my props and backdrops for instagram, usually via ebay as they’re cheapest. Things like a light box are a one time purchase and an investment if you regularly use  it, as I do. I’m a rep for Geeky Clean and again I am blessed to get candles and other goodies from them to add to my pics and demonstrate on my stories. One of the bloggers questioned by the quiet pond said they included travel costs to locations to take pics in their costs, I don’t make special trips out for pics but if we’re going to the woods or the beach, I’ll take stuff with me! I get Fairyloot every month which helps with books and props, but again I get this for me and not for the blog.

Mental Health

Pressure was one thing that many (but not all) mentioned. I find it really sad that there are people out there buying books out of pressure to post the most prominent new releases on their feed. I’m not going to pretend that I’m some chilled out air of calm but I have come to a point where I just try to not sweat the small stuff. If I’m not feeling creative then I just won’t post a pic for a couple of days, If I’m feeling down that’s likely to translate in my posts and make me sound whiny and if I’ve had a bad day at work I step away from writing reviews because I feel I nitpick more – this all means that I can go for days without an online presence. If I allow pressure to dictate that I must do something every day then my content will suffer because of it. Yes it’s nice to have the latest release on a single post, but do you know what, my biggest IG post this year featured the book Six of Crows – people love their favourites and you can blog and IG about old books forever more because people love them.

Deep down for me, mental health is an huge issue. I see so many people (myself included) wanting to be relevant in a sea of blogs. Wanting to find that magic niche that makes them stand out. Never ever underestimate the lasting effects of bullying on a person, I think that even now, 25 years later I still have a deep seated need to be liked in a way I never was in my teenage years and whilst I channel this through blogging, it’s perhaps sometimes one of the more toxic environments to feel validated by. I rarely post conversationally now outside of reviews and tags (because i’ve been burned before), but occasionally I’ll open up like today to test the waters. It still a battle to separate keeping blogging to something that is fun, from my own inbuilt fears of being unpopular but I’m getting better at it and I’m hoping that by meeting and talking with other bloggers this weekend at YALC that will be a big help too!

So there you have it, every blogger will be different but this is me 🙂

Review of The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner

“Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.”
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.

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book for review. The cover is beautifully creepy and eye catching, if I saw it in the bookshop it would probably be a cover buy! I’m not going to lie though, this was one hard book to get into, I just don’t think that the writing style was for me or it could be that it’s just different than what I’m used to reading, I’ll admit I had really got into the flow by about halfway through and was glad I stuck with it.

The idea is wonderful and Irreelle is a character full of empathy. When we first meet her gathering bone dust, her care for the dead is respectful and touching and I liked how she found comfort and a whole new world of imagination underneath the graveyard. I think we can all identify with being so caught up in something that brings us joy that we forget our purpose. But for Irreelle that keeps on happening. There are a number of traditional middle grade themes running through the story with just the right amount of spooky dread, a healthy dose of friendship, learning to trust, and an intriguing mystery to solve. Sadly, there is a bittersweet feel throughout as Irreelle can’t be happy in the body she is in and she strives to be made real.

Miss Vesper was a bit of an enigma, I actually kind of liked her as she didn’t really come across to me as truly evil. Portrayed very much the villain of the piece, she wasn’t as terrifying as I would expect given the nod to Grimm’s tales in the dedication, but then this is MG level so I think she’s on a par with what I would be ok with my daughter reading. She had a quiet desperation to her though and an infinite sadness coming through whilst she tries to create what she has lost through bone dust and imagination. Whilst I found “The Hand” nicely comic, it felt too much like Thing from the Addams Family for me which kind of detracted from the rest of the story, but for most MG readers it will feel like a new concept which works really well in the setting.

Entirely character driven, there isn’t much scope for world building and what is there feels very muted, almost like watching a black and white movie, but that does open up for imagination which is such a pivotal focus of this book. The grey backdrop makes every sound seem like an echo, every creaking step or squeaking doorknob feel about to snap with tension. The small bursts of colour, like the flowers in Miss Vesper’s vase, are like paint drops on paper. The author does a great job of making every sense feel heightened through the bleakness.

The Bone garden is an interesting read full of memorable characters. I found it enjoyable for the most part with a slow build up to an exciting finale.



Six for Sunday: Books and the Seaside

These #sixforsunday posts are tough this month! I had to abandon books with sunshine on the cover a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit that today’s prompt – Books and the Seaside, is made up with books with tenuous links to a beach somewhere in it’s pages. That still counts right?

Viper by Bex Hogan

Viper is one of my favourite reads this year, travelling from island to island, discovering not all is as it appears from the outside looking in. Beaches feature regularly as you can imagine and set the scene for many of the pivotal moments. I’ll hopefully get to meet the author at YALC next week!

A Bad Beginning (A series of unfortunate events) by Lemony Snicket

If there is one scene that an adaptation really brought to life for me, it’s the sad moment when the Baudilaire children were playing at Briny beach and Mr Poe arrives to inform them they are now in fact the Baudilaire orphans. Oceans and beaches play a large part in this series but this is the scene that started them all.

Circe by Madeline Miller

The beach at Circe’s island is either a haven or a hell to arrive on, depending on intentions of course. From her home on the hill Circe can survey all those who land on her shores and make use of her coves. A life in exile, it’s her only chance for connection although some of those are not as well meaning as others.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I was honestly only reminded of this as we watched the film adaptation last night! It’s perhaps the most tenuous of all the connections but the area for the quarter quell is surrounded by beach as the simulated ocean laps between them and the Cornucopia. The best laid plans though…..

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

So there are a couple of beach scenes in this book, but it’s not the Aelin and Rowan scene (because honestly they are far from a OTP in my view) but it’s the heartbreaking closing pages that are the reason for featuring this. What Aelin goes through on that beach is some of the most emotionally draining reading I have ever done.

Truth by Christina Benjamin

Shamefully despite having the whole series, I still have only read Truth, the first in the Geneva Project series. Geneva is orphaned on Hullabee island, living with other orpahans who lost their families in the great flood. Living in the shadow of the bountiful Island of Lux. Her days are spent scouring the beaches for remnants of life before the great flood and rediscovering that which was long thought lost…..

So those are my six, seaside only in that most involve sand in some way. Thankfully it’s YALC next Sunday so I won’t be posting – I would have no idea where to start with books and ice cream!

Review of Renegades (Invasion Day #5) by LC Morgans

In the year 3030 an alien species known as the Thrakorian’s attacked Earth, and won. They came on a research mission and in search of one thing, and one thing only—answers. The humans held the key to finding those resolutions and after searching relentlessly for over two decades, the Thrakorian’s finally found their cure. 
Those afflicted were healed and they had the humans to thank for it. 
And all was going so well, until Kronus’s sister, Vasa, decided to declare war on their father and kidnap not only his namesake and heir, but also Kronus too. 
But his betrothed, Gretchen, wasn’t going to lose him. 
Wasn’t going to sit back and wait while the Thrak she loved was being held prisoner. 
They had a life they were planning to make together, and she wasn’t going to let anyone take it from her. 
Not even his family… 

This review is really tough to write for several reasons. Firstly it’s the ending of a series that I have loved pretty much throughout, I have to balance out my expectations with giving a review of the story as it is, and as it’s been 2 years since the closing pages of Hereafter, I was worried that I wouldn’t recall the finer points of what came before. Thankfully the author helps with that last point, as there is a brief recap which was enough to point me in the right direction!

Renegades is a short but powerful book. I read it in a few hours  (which isn’t unusual for me and this series) and honestly It didn’t need to be any longer.  It’s length helped with the urgency of the mission and wow was I turning those pages. Where Hereafter felt like a romantic interlude, Renegades goes back to packing the same punch as earlier books in the series. Kyra is given the opportunity to really shine again as she and the others dive headfirst into a risky rescue mission. The mission is daring and had me figuratively nail biting at times as dangerous new characters are introduced. There was real apprehension woven into the pages and I felt shocked when a shadow of the past returned but this time to haunt Gretchen. The twists are huge and I loved the direction the story took, when the true depth of Vassa’s declaration is revealed. The masquerade was a triumph when it came to conveying dread for one of our characters and honestly the story won’t help any readers with a fear of spiders!

Kyra returns stronger than ever, she is the tactical genius and I really felt like this story was the culmination of all she had learnt before, she truly remains one of my favourite all time heroines, her ability to keep calm, kick ass, and always be one step ahead is fantastic and this story offers her great closure in so many ways. She and Gretchen are so different, but both bring their own varying skills to the table and I liked how it was ultimately a combination of their characters that helped put the mission together. Because the story is shorter, it has a very character driven feel to it and I’m wary of delving more deeply in this review as I don’t want to give anything away, because honestly it’s been worth the wait.

Speaking from my love of the series though, the Invasion Day series for me have always been Kyra’s story. From frightened child, to new recruit, to Gentry, to hunter, to captive, to consummate badass, she is the character that I love to read about. I have been through so much with her and I wanted her story to end on a high. Which in many ways it did, however, when I reviewed Hereafter I said that I was struggling to warm to Gretchen and honestly this book hasn’t changed my mind about her.  I feel like Gretchen stole Kyra’s thunder to a degree in this book and I have to admit my heart sank a little when I started reading and it started as Gretchencentric again. But in fairness that did pull back for the most part and when Kyra got her chapters in it felt like old times again, I loved her and Thrayke on Razr, the hunting team back together and when she got to use her tactical mind again, working with Blue, it was a joy. I would have loved for her to have been the main focus, but then I have to accept that the series isn’t written for me alone and the author needs to go where the characters take them, I just could have done with some rearranging of the last few chapters to allow a full circle of sorts.

Putting personal feelings aside though, this is a really strong end to the series which went in a directions I didn’t see coming at all! Thank you LC Morgans for creating such an amazing character in Kyra with a great supporting cast and fantastic world building, I shall miss them!


Six for Sunday – Books on my Summer TBR

Ahh summer is officially here in the UK now, I think I can safely say it? That means garden reading time with a nice cold drink with the children playing in the background! Chances are they’ll start fighting after 10 minutes but that’s enough for a few pages at least! I’m not one for seasonal reading, I don’t read beach based fiction in the summer or Christmas based fiction in the winter, I think it’s because I don’t read contemporary very often at all, but still there are books to be read and here are six that I definitely want to have read by the time the summer is out!

Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury was a top read for me last year and Queen of Ruin has been high on my most anticipated reads list for 2019! I was so lucky to snag one of the Fairyloot exclusive editions which matches in with the hardcover edition of Grace and Fury I got last year. Grace and Fury left me with probably the biggest cliffhanger since Empire of Storms and whilst my book hasn’t yet been dispatched it’s heading straight to the top of the tbr pile when it arrives!

Warcross by Marie Lu

I picked up Warcross a couple of months ago, but I didn’t get very far at all because reviewing commitments at the time led to me not being able to read for the sake of it. I have heard so many great things about this (and Wildcard which I thankfully also have) and it looks to tick plenty of boxes for things I love. I’m desperate to make time for it!

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This is a weird one as I’m already halfway through but honestly I haven’t touched this books for 2 months now. It’s not a bad story but I just can’t put my finger on what it is about it which I find so difficult to come back to. When I’m reading, I do enjoy the world and the characters, maybe it’s just the weight of it? Every month I tell myself that this is the month that I will finally finish Priory, perhaps I will make summer the season that a finally finish Priory!

Nocturna by Maya Motayne

I’m so behind on my Fairyloot books, who knows one day I might catch up enough to actually take part in one of their readalongs! I have The Beholder to read this month, but with June’s book and also July’s to come I need to make sure at least one Fairyloot book is on my monthly TBR, as the oldest of those waiting, Nocturna will have to take priority this summer.

The Retreat by Sherri Smith

The Retreat isn’t my usual type of read but I’m all about broadening my literary horizons since I rebranded in March. I was very kindly gifted a copy of this book by Titan Books as it really stood out to me. Touted as a psychological crime thriller, a group of troubled women are attending a wellness retreat, however, by the end of the weekend only one is left standing! Sounds very reminiscent of the late 2000’s where there was a spate of films, like cabin in the woods, where characters were picked off one by one – I loved those movies, so I have high hopes for The Retreat!

The Stones of Resurrection by Tameri Etherton

With The Prince of Dragons dragging me out of my slump this month, I’m itching to start book 2 in the series, thing is though is that it’s about 3 times the size of book 1! That’s not a bad thing at all but it does mean I’m going to have to set aside a good chunk of time to read it. The ending of book 1 and the epilogue totally whetted my appetite for what comes next as it looks to jump forward in time, which means new characters!!!


Cover Reveal for Emergence: Hypostasis #1 – by McCallum J Morgan

I had the absolute joy of meeting author McCallum J Morgan at Chapter.con last month and I’m so happy to have been invited to be part of the cover reveal launch for his new book Emergence! I was honoured to receive a copy myself which I’m hoping to start later this month so I can get a review up for its release in August.  In the meantime check out firstly the amazing cover by Black Fox Design, the blurb, then think about a pre-order, find out more about the author and enter a great giveaway to be in with the chance of winning a paperback ARC!

Emergence, Book One of Hypostasis

I await thee, Iara–the Book of Elem

A planet said to be heaven itself is about to appear in the firmament. The armies of the Empire and rebel factions prepare to stake their claims, but an ancient evil has emerged and its eyes have been fixed upon Iara for millennia.

A runaway farm boy and a cult apprentice will both find themselves drawn into the core of this conflict. Their destinies are tangled with those of the Empire, the rebellion, the Church of Elem, a menagerie of monsters, and the universe itself.

Heresy, fellowship, valor, and darkness will all emerge–and be tested to the breaking point.

Preorder now: Emergence:

If the blurb has piqued your interest then read on to find out more about the fantastic characters you’ll meet on the journey!

Tesek Nyme

Tesek Nyme flees his abusive father and leaves his home world to join the Imperial Navy. Struggling with anxiety and alienation, he’s just trying to fit in and survive. War is coming and he will have to rise above it all to save the first friends he’s ever really had and meet his destiny. 

Zymar Thrassus

Zymar Thrassus is a beast trainer for the nihilistic cult of the Thrik. Enraptured by the Nihil Operas, he dreams of Geszmitt–the last day–but he will come to question all of his beliefs as events unfold and the Thrik aoign themselves with a forgotten evil and an exotic alien culture fighting for freedom from the Empire’s state religion.

Osrua Va’akoth

Osrua Va’akoth, the Imperial Astrologer, seeks to guide the Regent Princess in preserving the universe from ancient evil, but he must hide his own past and the true heresy of his quest.

About the Author:

McCallum J. Morgan writes steampunk fantasy, alternate history, and science fiction, mixing in the mythical and the macabre. He also dabbles in the dark arts of painting and costuming.

Inspired at a young age by the fantasy novels he read voraciously, he set out to become an author. After many failed attempts to write various books, he became superstitious and at last approached what he termed ‘AAAB’ or Attempt-at-a-book, so as not to jinx the thing. It worked.

His first novel was published when he was nineteen and now, at 23, he has a full trilogy of steampunk fantasy, called the Weather Casters Saga, along with the standalone horror-comedy, Ambulatory Cadavers. His writing is inspired by the fiction he loves: old myth, classic horror, and the kinds of books where the characters leap off the page. A bit eccentric, he prefers to appear at signing events and comicons in book-related costumes which he sews himself. He is also a self proclaimed amateur artist, with a predilection for watercolors and coffee…occasionally intermixed by accident.

You can find out more about McCallum J Morgan by following the links below

Also remember that giveaway I mentioned? You can enter the rafflecopter here – good luck to all that enter!