Book Review: Oblivion by Jennifer L Armentrout!

While pondering my shelves, I realised that despite buying the whole five-book Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, I had never got past the first book. And I liked the first book! But over a year has passed and heck if I can remember the plot details. Luckily for me, Oblivion* exists which is the first book from the male protagonist’s point of view!

I liked it a little less than Oblivion, probably because Daemon as a character is a lot less likeable than Katy and hearing him justify being a jerk to her gets tired after a while. But there’s kind of a terrible but understandable-for-a-teenage-boy-right-now explanation for it all: “I was surrounded by people who looked to me to have all the answers, to protect them, to never show fear. And so I put on a big front and swaggered around like nothing frightened me.” Toxic masculinity ahoy!

There was some weird body shaming as well which was disappointing because one of the things I loved about Obsidian is that Katy managed to be realistically happy with how she looked, for a teenage girl. But here’s Daemon, glad that Katy isn’t “one of those skinny girls [he] hated” and making transphobic comments wishing she looked like “a girl who looked like a dude” to lessen his attraction to her. And I understand that teenage boy-aliens can be garbage but: “all this thinking about my feelings and hers was probably going to give me a period”. Yikes!

The story was basically the same, and it is a good story that’s fun to read. Armentrout is a writer that knows what her story is, who her audience is, and writes it well. But I think that the brooding YA hero is a lot less heroic when you’re reading about why he’s so broody, because rationally it’s just putting on a tough-guy face and being mean, and while I understand that within todays society, it’s not a good look. Give me a nice guy any day.

Overall, I don’t think Oblivian is a must read but I’m glad I got to refresh my mind on the first book without having to re-read. I’d definitely be interested if more authors wrote these types of books, like the gender-swapped Twilight book. I’d love the Aurora Teagarden series from the point-of-view of the police she is constantly solving cases for.

Every time she picked up a book, her entire face transformed into a wide, brilliant smile-

Have you read Oblivion? Or anything by Jennifer L Armentrout?
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Book Review: Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir!

When I finished Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen I was convinced. Yes, she was the true Queen. And Anne Boleyn? Nope, I did not like her and never would, she was the villain of the story. Well- obviously Henry VIII is the villain but Anne Boleyn was a minor villain and while not deserving of being beheaded, wasn’t going to get my sympathy. Well, enter Alison Weir and A King’s Obsession! By the end of this, I ended up crying for a Queen long since dead. Again.




It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection, he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage.

Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart.

But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…


Oh, Anne Boleyn. Did you know that decapitation isn’t an immediate death? I went on a Google deep-dive after this and science has some buck wild thoughts on the matter. I totally cannot un-read some of the details of experiments. But, even before this terrible end, I was feeling sorry for Anne Boleyn. She wants to marry for love, against her father’s wishes, and ends up with just the worst man so that the family can gain points. Reading her whole story from childhood, you connect with her as a character and it feels all the more brutal when she’s treated so badly.

There’s also the blending of contemporary ideas with the thoughts of the time. Anne was surrounded by women leaders and was a strong independent woman who thought that women could rule. She was taught- at least in this fictionalised world- that she had the feminine power to flirt and lead men that way. This endeared me to her and I just wanted her to get a happy ending, goshdarnit. The author’s note goes into feminism in 16th Century Europe and the women leaders Anne served, and it’s so so interesting.

And that Author’s Note. Obviously, any historical fiction is going to be that, fiction. But Weir’s Author’s Note at the end of these books show the detail of research and are often the most interesting part of the read for me- these books are fantastic so this isn’t a slight. I just love reading about how she went about writing. There is much less source material to use when it comes to Anne, in comparison to Katherine, and a lot of the material comes from a hostile source. This just makes the depth of the story all the more impressive.

Alison Weir continues to amaze me. She completely turned my opinion on Anne around, my emotions were all over the place and even with 500+ pages, I always want more when it comes to this series.

she added her name, so that anyone finding the inscription in years to come would know who had written it. By then she would either be famous or forgotten.


Have you read any good books about Anne Boleyn?
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Books I Read in February!

February was a weird reading month for me, in that I read a lot but I stopped getting a lot of feelings from reading about half-way through the month. As you can imagine, that kind of pumps the brakes. But this had me testing out a lot of different genres and continuing series, starting new series and jumping around which can be fun.

The Fear Within by J. S. Law*

I really liked the first book in this series; Tenacity. I felt that the female main character was written wonderfully, the plot worked for me and there was LGBT+ representation in a military setting which- yay! The Fear Within was good but didn’t hit all the high spots of Tenacity.
The plot was great and while the links to the first book were a little heavy-handed, I can see where the narrative is going with that overarching plotline while the book deals with a new case. And Dani was as wonderful as she was in book one.
However, I felt like this slipped into gratuitous violence, specifically towards women. The characters talk openly about Feminism and even reference the misogyny rife on Twitter so I don’t think this is the issue. I think it’s just a norm in this genre that women are often victims of physical and sexual assault. But I’m not really sensitive to these kinds of things, so for me to feel uncomfortable- that’s quite a level to reach.
I’ll read the next book, but I’ll definitely be going with my guard up.
“If I want to hear childish, misogynist crap like this I’ll go and speak my mind on Twitter.”
I have to say, I didn’t find the cast of characters that breifly inhabit Blandings Castle as charming as the ones from Something Fresh, which I read in January. But the wit and charm of Wodehouse stay constant and is super refreshing. I can’t think of any modern books that quite manage the same vibe and it’s genuinely calming. When I want a book that isn’t life-and-death, with low stakes but great plot, Wodehouse is my new go-to.
Situated in the middle of one of those districts where London breaks out into a sort of eczema of red brick-
Recently I’ve been un-hauling a lot of the series I read as a teen because I tended towards not-great YA. It turns out that teen-Imogen had some taste after all though because, while I’m pretty sure I only read one of these books, I bought eight of them. And they’re not half bad!
The whole thing is very mid-2000s. You get words like ‘skank‘ and the idea of ‘girl games‘. But even though she sees it as ‘abnormal’, I like having a narrator that loves school and learning. She’s smart and her intelligence is useful in a way that makes her a strong female character without having her take on male sterotypes of strength.
For the second time since starting my Twitter thread of 2017 reads, this was a book I originally gave four-stars and marked down to three while writing my wrap-up and thinking it over. I’ll still read the next one but whether I buy into the whole 15-book series is hanging on that. I don’t want anymore women called skanks, but I do want to dive into more of Rachel Caine.
She resented being scared in a library! Books weren’t supposed to be scary. They were supposed to… help.

Full review coming soon!


I’ve really liked Katherine Clements historical fiction books in the past! The Crimson Ribbon and The Silvered Heart were my first foray into the genre and convinced me to keep giving it a chance. But The Coffin Path is a historical ghost story and maybe historical ghost stories aren’t for me… For example, I didn’t like The Woman in Black by Susan Hill at all. And while I liked this better, it wasn’t something I was reaching for whenever I had a free minute. The setting and vibe were great, super creepy, but I didn’t click with the characters or plot that much.
Although this is set in Yorkshire, my Greater Manchester town got a mention for being rebels against the King. That was pretty neat.

The truth weighs heavy on my. If only my purse did the same.



Oh boy, I cried. I don’t think I’ve read this one since the original release day so it was kind of wild to listen to the audiobook for the first time. Stephen Fry could read the phone book and make it wonderful.
As for the story, I’d say everything was resolved okay but, much like the ending of Lost, I’m not sure I completely get it? But the whole book felt much more densely plotted, full of action and emotion, it didn’t drag like some of the other books in the series. I feel like JKR knew exactly what needed to happen to get from A to B and that was a lot. So it was all packed in.
Overall, I’m glad that I’ve gone from start to finish with this series as an adult. But I have a lot of complicated feelings about the diversity, or lack of, and seperation of author and story can be hard.
There was a brief silence in which the distant sound of Hagrid smashing down a wooden door seemed to reverbarate through the intervening years.


What did you read in February?
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Book Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller!

I’ve been wanting to read Catch-22 for years and years, long before I even started blogging, but I put it off. However, since one of my reading goals was to stop delaying, I figured Catch-22 was the place to start. It’s been a year since I read it and I’ve finally collected my thoughts up into one handy blog post.

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed out loud as I read. It so rarely happens that I found myself surprised! I listened to the audiobook read by Trevor White and he was a perfect narrator, but even after, when I wrote down all the quotes into my notebook- they all stood out without needing his fantastic narration. I ended up with five pages of quotes when the average book gets half a page!

The timeline does make it a little confusing, especially since I didn’t know going in that it wasn’t chronological. But it really is a very cleverly put together book. I always admire writers who try a non-linear timeline and it worked wonderfully with Catch-22. By the end, I just wanted to pick it right back up again and read knowing what I know now. I’ve managed to avoid this because I generally don’t like re-reading, but the urge is so strong I’ll be surprised if I don’t within the next year.

For me, Catch-22 is a book of comparable situations. I see the current world reflected in Yossarian’s’, as terrifying a thought that may be. The contradictions, the absurdity and the lies. It’s right there in our politics, on the news and on Twitter.

For example, the Illamasqua Anti-Fascism Pledge. That gives me an uncomfortable feeling, even though I’m obviously anti-fascist. And it stuck in my brain until I figured out what it reminded me of. In Catch-22, Captain Black has a Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade where he makes all his men sign loyalty oaths, many many loyalty oaths before they can get food or equipment. After all, people who are loyal “would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they have to.” And really, Illamasqua wasn’t asking you to do anything differently if you’re not a fascist. So maybe that’s the stickler, they weren’t really doing anything. They told us what they believe, that we must agree with them or to not buy them. But that feels like a slippery slope…

“And this whole program is voluntary, Milo- don’t forget that. The men don’t need to sign Pitchard and Wren’s loyalty oath if they don’t want to. But we need them to starve to death if they don’t. It’s like Catch-22. Don’t you get it? You’re not against Catch-22, are you?”

Don’t get me wrong though, this is not a perfect book. I struggle with the misogyny and recognising if the book is misogynistic or just the characters. This book hits a couple sore spots for me: female characters not given names, e.g. ‘Nately’s whore’ and ‘Nately’s whore’s sister’, every female character being sexualised, and sexual assault is common. One story of rape is met with disgust, yet even the main character sexually assaults a woman.

Of course, it was written in the 1950’s about the 1940’s and we’re not talking about hugely progressive times although there are books written at the same time that are. Plus, there were no female American pilots in WWII, although there was in other countries, so the main cast being men makes sense. Let’s not forget Colonel Cathcart asking the Chaplain; “-you wouldn’t want your sister to marry an enlisted man, would you?” And being told; “My sister is an enlisted man, sir… She’s a master sergeant in the Marines.”

And this rather interesting view, that I’ve pondered over: “It was a man’s world, and she and everyone younger had every right to blame him and everyone older for every unnatural tragedy that befell them; just as she… was to blame for every man-made misery that landed on her kid sister and all other children behind her. Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime and break the lousy chain that was imperilling them all.”

This review might’ve ended up being 99% quotes, but in the end, this book has changed the way I view the world. I finally understand Catch-22 for one thing! And any book that has a plan that looks like this and manages to stick with me for so long, is pretty dang good. I definitely need to re-read it. If you haven’t already got a dusty copy waiting to be picked up like I did, you can pick one up here or I really recommend the audiobook.

“Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed-“

Have you read Catch-22? Are you planning to?
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Books I Read in October!

October was a great reading month! I feel like in September, I really managed to get a nice balance of genres that I was reading and although I didn’t quite read as much as May or July, I’m much happier looking at this pile of books! Admittedly, writing about them was a little bit harder because while I read widely, I didn’t always enjoy what I read…

Sleep like a Baby by Charlaine Harris*
I can’t believe I have to go through the pain of saying goodbye to this series again. It was so hard last time and now I’ve had two extra books just to extend the joy and pain. I think next year I’m going to do a full read-through of all ten.
Unsurprisingly, I liked this book. I love the world and the characters and I love stories with babies so it was everything I wanted. It wasn’t quite as gripping as I’ve found past books in this series, I did put it down and pick it up quite a few times whereas I normally read them right through. But I still enjoyed it and it was a good second final to the series. As a final book, it still held its own with a good mystery and one that called back to past books without being predictable.
There was one slip-up about the colour of Aurora’s glasses, which I only noticed because she makes a big deal about matching the colour and shape to her mood. Is there a job for being particular about these things?
When a coroner says you look bad, that’s pretty dire.

Magisterium: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Full review to come! But seriously, wonderful as always.

Othello by William Shakespeare
Othello was one of the books I had to read for my new university module and I hated it. I’m not a fan of storylines that rely on people not communicating in relationships, and that is really all this is. I love some Shakespeare but this one was a real disappointment. It’s okay to study though, the storyline might not be great but I mean- it’s Shakespeare, the language is always complex.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I’m starting to feel a little downtrodden when it comes to Gothic horror type books, I didn’t much rate Frankenstein and I didn’t really like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde either. Seriously- one murder? Boring! Told from the point of view of an outsider? Not really that mysterious, just missing all the terrifying details. An analogy for this, that and the other? Too painfully obvious for words.
I wanted a good spook in October and this disappointed all around. I did like that Mr Stevenson knew when to stop though, this was short and… well, it was short.
“-if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
I was never a person who said their favourite Harry Potter book was the third one. I was strictly a number one is number one person, but this re-listen was a game-changer for me.
This is so densely plotted without the need for an extra 300+ pages… Seriously, I know the popularity of the Harry Potter books exploded and the plot was growing with the audience but I can’t help but think the next books could’ve done with a ruthless editor to get them to the tightly packed goodness of this book. Hermione taking extra subjects, the whole time-turner section, Black on the loose, Buckbeak on trial, “serious” being said 10x more than past books- so much going on and still managing the magic that is descriptions of Hogwarts and the weather.
And I’m so glad people seemed to feel me on my tweets about how Harry is the least self-aware person ever.
“I’m not going to be murdered,” Harry said out loud.
“That’s the spirit, dear,” said his mirror sleepily.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Again, I have a Twitter thread on my thoughts which I think sums up my descent into ‘oh no, this isn’t as good as I remember’. Like- seriously, 2/3rds of the tournament for the onlookers is staring at the top of a lake or the wall of a hedge for hours. Wizarding World, why would you bother?
It’s not even the length that turned me off this book, its that I could tell that so much of my enjoyment relied on the fabulous work of Stephen Fry as narrator. When I sat down to actually look at the quotes I liked, without his particular reading, it fell flat for me. The magic was dulled.
I find myself blown away by how much things have changed in YA in the past 17 years since this book has been published. The ableism in this book would’ve been called out in a second; “Loony Lovegood” and “Mad-eye Moody” being quite jarring to hear as a grown-up, Fred and George being slightly less charming when they’re accusing Harry of being “mental”, and many more…
“- If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Finally, I’ve officially read a book by all three Brontë’s this year! And I finally got around to reading the one I actually had to read for university. Now I can officially give my order of the Brontës; Anne, Emily then Charlotte.
Wuthering Heights wasn’t what I expected at all, despite all its notoriety, I didn’t know the storyline at all and spent a good portion waiting for more ghosts to show up. Despite its disappointing lack of ghostly visitors, I did enjoy it by the end. We had some ups and downs together but when all was said and done, I do like a good unlikable character. Although Heathcliff is still a hundred times better than the monstrous Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. Plus, the writing was truly beautiful.
I’m really looking forward to studying it!
“-Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same-“

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?
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Book Review: Magisterium: The Bronze Key by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare!

This review might have slight spoilers for The Iron Trial and The Copper Gauntlet!

Magic can save you.
Magic can kill you.

Students at the Magisterium are supposed to be safe. Under the watchful eyes of the mages, they are taught to use magic to bring order to a chaotic world.

But now the chaos is fighting back. Call, Tamara, and Aaron should be worrying about things like pop quizzes and magic contests. Instead, after the shocking death of one of their classmates, they must track down a sinister killer… and risk their own lives in the process.


As Call, Tamara, and Aaron discover, magic can only be as good as the person who wields it. In evil hands, it has the capacity to do immeasurable harm, unless it is stopped in time.

Oh boy. This book just tugged at my gosh darn heartstrings with its twists and turns. Just when you think everything is fine- it’s not! The plot of this series is brilliantly unfolding in each book, slowly revealing its depths while you get attached to the characters, discover the world, and find yourself attached. It takes a lot for me to tear-up as I read, I don’t really show my emotion in that way, but you can bet I was rubbing at my eyes.

Jasper and Callums relationship remains a treat. I think every protagonist should have a person who calls them on their nonsense. It would prevent so many plot lines where you just can’t believe what a character is doing. Their dialogue reads exactly like a conversation between two not-quite-friends teens should sound. Every friendship feels believable, and the first romance of the series is so teenage-awkward that I related with all of my own cringe-filled memories.

I haven’t mentioned this in my past two reviews but I do think it’s important to note that this series is not only diverse, but has a main character with a physical disability. And the magic doesn’t really help. Yeah, he can float rather than climb down steep stairs but that also requires physical strength and mental energy in a way that interacting with an able-bodied world can be like. Personally, I really appreciate that and really hope that it continues to be represented in the future books.

I am really hoping for some of the background female characters to take a main role in the coming books since adding Jasper to the circle of trust does make a big male majority. It does look like it’s going in that direction as far as I can tell from the ending though, so we’ll see.

That ending though- oh the ending. Unlike the previous books, this did end with a little bit of a cliffhanger and after putting the book down I was immediately looking into release dates. Plus pulling out books to unhaul, so I know what happens next as soon as humanly possible without breaking my 10-out-1-in book buying ban. My pre-order arrived today and you can bet I started it as soon as I pulled it out of the box.

This series is just incredible and represents what middle grade/ YA books should be like. I’m even debating buying the U.S. covers since they come in hardcover and I like to have my favourites in hardcover.

Have you read this book? If not- why not?!
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Book Review: Yesterday by Felicia Yap!

Yesterday was published in August and I’ve finally managed to collect up all my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes a review just flows as soon as you turn over that last page, sometimes books need to settle before you can figure out your feelings. This was one of those books.

How do you solve a murder when you only remember yesterday?

Imagine a world in which classes are divided not by wealth or religion but by how much each group can remember. Monos, the majority, have only one day’s worth of memory; elite Duos have two. In this stratified society, where Monos are excluded from holding high office and demanding jobs, Claire and Mark are a rare mixed marriage. Clare is a conscientious Mono housewife, Mark a novelist-turned-politician Duo on the rise. They are a shining example of a new vision of tolerance and equality—until…


…a beautiful woman is found dead, her body dumped in England’s River Cam. The woman is Mark’s mistress, and he is the prime suspect in her murder. The detective investigating the case has secrets of his own. So did the victim. And when both the investigator’s and the suspect’s memories are constantly erased—how can anyone learn the truth?

I’m always tentative when it comes to books that have multiple points of view. It can be done well but sometimes they just all blend together. It works in Yesterday though. I never forgot whose mind I was in when I was reading, they were all distinctive in their experience of the same day. And a book featuring an authors perspective is always something I’m intrigued in. I’m sure avid readers agree. It’s one of many reasons I loved If You Go Away by Adele Parks so much, because it’s a peek behind the curtain of the very book in your hands. Mark, one of the four main characters is a popular writer and with that comes some lovely bits about the reality of writing; “But it’s hell that inspires the novelist. Not heaven.” 

The memory aspect of the story is what makes this book stand out from your usual thriller. The class system in this world is based on those who can remember 24 or 48 hours, and the effort put into moving things from short-term to long-term memory is really important. I have a pretty terrible memory, so I empathised with ‘monos’ immediately. The whole idea is so original and interesting, although it took me a couple chapters to get my head around it. I would’ve loved it to be explained a bit more because the world is so similar to ours in every other way, and I imagined that such a big change would have more impact. But we’ll have to wait until Today, the prequel expected to come out next summer.

This book says a lot about our own memory, and the way we decide what to remember and what to forget too. How the characters choose to represent themselves in their diaries is very similar to how we portray ourselves on social media sometimes. All those happy tweets I see on my Timehop don’t always represent my reality of that day. As the book says; “Your diary says what you want it to say. Memory equals the facts you choose to retain. We are all victims of the pasts we prefer.” I definitely want to start writing more in my diary, and honestly, after this read though. Memory doesn’t last forever, in this fictional world, or in our own.

Lastly, mental illness features quite a bit in this book but in a pretty respectful and realistic way. One of the main characters, Claire, suffers from some form of depression and while her condition is “a considerable source of vexation” to her husband, she’s not automatically assumed to be the murderer as it tends to in a lot of thrillers. Even her psychiatrist features to talk about it in a scientific way which tells me that Yap has put a lot of research into the way she is portraying this. Although the line “Richardson must suffer from some form of OCD, judging by the immaculate arrangement of his office,” was a bit of a disappointing cliche.

Overall, Yesterday takes you through 24 hours of these characters lives, and within that you learn a lot more than even they remember. If thrillers aren’t thrilling you anymore, Yesterday might be the book for you.

“Coroners are efficient sorts.”
“That’s because their clients are dead and can’t argue with them.”

Although not completely on topic, I have to mention how unbelievably nice Felicia is. She has a PhD, she’s studied at Cambridge, she’s worked as everything from a molecular biologist to a catwalk model and is still one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. The success from this book so far couldn’t happen to a better person and you can bet I will be reading the prequel Today as soon as I can.
And if you want to buy Yesterday, you can here!

Will you be reading Yesterday? What would you do if you could only remember the past 24/48 hours?
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Book Review: The White Road by Sarah Lotz!

The publication of any new Sarah Lotz book is cause for celebration in my mind, and The White Road* is no exception. Ever since staying up way past my bedtime to read The Three, it’s been my go-to recommendation for a book that will hook new readers. And while I didn’t love Day Four as much, I recently went on a boat trip and it freaked me the heck out. So thanks for that Sarah Lotz!


Adrenaline junkie Simon Newman sneaks onto private land to explore a dangerous cave in Wales with a strange man he’s met online. But Simon gets more than he bargained for when the expedition goes horribly wrong. Simon emerges, the only survivor, after a rainstorm trap the two in the cave. Simon thinks he’s had a lucky escape.

But his video of his near-death experience has just gone viral.

Suddenly Simon finds himself more famous than he could ever have imagined. Now he’s faced with an impossible task: he’s got to defy death once again, and film the entire thing. The whole world will be watching. There’s only on place on earth for him to pit himself against the elements: Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

But Everest is also one of the deadliest spots on the planet. Two hundred and eighty people have died trying to reach its peak.

And Simon’s luck is about to run out.


I’m a fan of the ‘found footage’ genre, more the horror movie type than the sometimes more disturbing real ones.  It’s always fascinated me that your last moments could be caught on film forever. The video of the man running in a panic around the catacombs, only to drop the camera with his only light source and continue on into the dark? Terrifying. Well worth a Google deep dive if you’re in the frame of mind to be spooked. So I was interested to see how Sarah Lotz would take a very visual medium and adapt that for a novel. 

However, it’s pretty difficult to transfer an event from one media to another- comic books work well as movies because they’re very visual, book adaptations on film don’t generally work because they lack detail, and a describing a viral video in words… I’m not sure it worked seamlessly. The writing didn’t manage to put me in the shoes of Simon. It’s definitely a book based on plot and that creepy vibe that’s hard to pin down. That is definitely where Sarah Lotz excels, she is the master of the prickling at the back of your neck, from a cave in Wales to the top of Mount Everest.

Another thing that hooked me from the blurb was the fact that Simon is a blogger. He’s more of a Buzzfeed kind of clickbait content creator than anything I would follow personally (yeah, I said it) but- I’ll take it. At the beginning, when he’s struggling for page views, oh boy did I empathise. 

And lastly, the OCD representation in the book was interesting to me as it’s manifestation was similar to how my OCD is. And I appreciated that when Simon says it’s “quite sweet”, the character gives him a “‘don’t patronise me’ look”, because real mental health problems are anything but sweet. Later when Simon’s own mental health deteriorates, he takes on the same coping mechanism. The representation is accurate, but shallow, showing only the surface of the problem with no conclusion which I know some readers don’t like. But for me, I took this at face value. Sometimes mental health problems have no conclusion. I’ve read books before where OCD has been given to characters to make them more ‘interesting’ and that’s gross, but this felt to me like a well-rounded but background character who has an obsessive compulsion disorder. 

Unless you’re a climber, in which case your hobby might be ruined forever, The White Road is out now and can be bought here!

I was certain I could make out words hidden in the watery clamour; it was tantalising like listening to a conversation through a wall.

Will you be picking it up? Who’s the author who gets you really excited? 
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Books I Read in June!

Ever forget to post something and don’t remember until you look for the post to link in next months wrap-up? Yeah, less said about that, the better. My reading in June can be categorised into two; kids books and Charlaine Harris. And it was a really good reading month! Everything I read, I gave a four stars or more and I’m always excited to get some more Charlaine Harris in my life. Even if they is the last series I have to read before I’ve finished her entire works, I took them to Greece and they were exactly what I needed.

Wonderboy by Nicole Burstein
You can read my full review of this on Sabrina’s blog here!
They looked like the kind of school kids I read about in old adventure books, who drank ginger ale and solved mysteries in their half-term holidays.

Goodknyght! by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore
Hello very battered copy! I find it so funny that I’m so protective of my books now whereas young-me just did not care about anything. Ah youth. This has been so obviously dropped in the bath as well as losing the cover.
Anyway, this is a fun kids book where you can also tell that great care has been put in so that adults reading to kids can be entertained too. Humpfrey the Boggart completely went over my head as a kid, as did the reference; “I think thish ish the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” But as a grown-up? Loved it!
This also isn’t a straightforward one-adventure-and-done kind of tale. The twists and turns of this rival some plots of the fantasy books I’ve read for the YA/adult market. And it had been so long that I had forgotten how this ended, so even I was surprised by the ending. I remember the reason I liked these books so much when I was younger was that while I read a lot of fantasy and adventure as a kid, there wasn’t a lot of female characters that were physically strong and involved beyond using their wits. It’s great to use your wits- I just wanted the occasional fight too. And this gives me at least one female character, and she’s super strong and regularly gets the main male character out of all sorts of bother. So, not superb but overall, it’s a great little book from its time.
“Well, the fact is, I don’t want to be eaten. It’s bad for my health.”

Midnight Crossing by Charlaine Harris
I took the plunge. I finally started Charlaine Harris’s latest and only series I haven’t yet read, starting with Midnight Crossing. And unsurprisingly, I loved it. Since I’ve read everything else she’s put out, I know a few of the characters and a lot of the lore already. Because of that, reading this was like getting into clothes fresh out of the dryer; soft, warm and fits like a glove.
The story is a murder mystery which is, in my opinion, what Charlaine Harris revolves her best books around. However, as always, it’s much, much more. I fell in love with this little community in this tiny roadside Texan town. It’s very early Welcome to Night Vale feeling with more neighbourly caring. I loved getting to know the inhabitants and seeing how they deal with a murder in their midst. And as always, I loved the writing. It might not be to everyones taste but the cosy crime paranormal domestic drama thing Harris has going on is exactly what I need to curl up with at the end of the day.
I will say, my one issue, and this is more an editing thing, is the use of the word ‘hermaphrodite’ which is wildly outdated. That should’ve been picked up by someone because the character clearly meant intersex and it wasn’t being used as an insult, just a little note to future readers. These are decidedly anti-hateful books which is why it’s so out of place, as Bobo says; “I’m pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-whales and tuna and wolves and every damn thing you can think of.” Are book boyfriends still a thing? Can Bobo be mine?
-their lives altering as this body toppled all their pursuits in a domino effect, and she was profoundly sorry that she was the finger pushing the first tile.

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
I think it took me all of twenty seconds after finishing Midnight Crossing to pick up Day Shift. I was on a roll while I was in Corfu.
This was another murder mystery, but had a mini side-plot that doesn’t really come to a conclusion and another side-plot that put a bit of pressure on the story. And that might’ve been what made this slightly less enjoyable to me then the first book. I like the slow pace that Charlaine Harris can take with her cosy mysteries. I like the fact that this small town is generally not busy- so making it busy feels very strange. However, it’s very much more of the same. The little Texan community pulling together to support their own, domestic drama and it was good to meet an old favourite from the Sookie Stackhouse books again!
I think the side plots will end up playing out in the third book as well, and just thinking about it has me itching to pick up the last book in the trilogy. I can’t believe after Night Shift that I’ll have read every series by Charlaine Harris. I need recommendations for an author that can fill the gap ASAP.
He’s too much rose, not enough thorn-

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
What is there to say about the Harry Potter books that hasn’t already been said?
For those who don’t follow me on Twitter, I tweeted some thoughts as I re-listened to this and can basically sum up my entire experience into a complete confusion of how the wizarding world works. And also, I forgot how scary the monster was in the Stephen Fry audiobook! I’m a grown-up and was spooked, kid-me must’ve been much braver.

What did you read way back in June? Can you remember?
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Book Review: The Child by Fiona Barton!

On the 19th of February 2016, I wrote; Fiona Barton has grabbed my attention with her first novel and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future books.” So when I got an email about her new book, you can bet I jumped at a chance to read it! I’m not sure about it though…



As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby? 

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss. 
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn house by house into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women and torn between what she can and cannot tell.

I wasn’t as immediately drawn to The Child the way that I was drawn to The Widow. How a woman stays with her husband when he’s accused of being a child murderer is a question I’m much more interested in the answer, than whose bones are these. After all, I’ve watched a good eight seasons of Bones. But I also think Fiona Barton is aware of this. Her journalist character, Kate, is constantly fighting to keep working the story throughout the book and it’s an interesting writing choice to actually let the story lag at times with this one determined character trying to keep it going.

The story itself was interesting, and when I finished it I could see how intricately wound together it was. This is no A-to-B mystery. This was a tangle like headphones that are left at the bottom of your bag for a week!

My main issue when I was reading The Child was that all the characters kind of blended in with each other. There was no explicit POC or LGBT+ representation, but even beyond that I had no idea that two of the characters had about 30 years difference between them until the very end of the book. The characters read like cutout paper dolls with a few words added; anxiety, journalist, writer, wants marriage, lost baby. This is so strange to me because when I went back to my review of The Widow, I had made a point to mention how each character had a voice in that book!

I also could’ve done without the line “Kate preferred virgin territory to sloppy seconds.” Even when talking about interview subjects, that phrase is just so gross and slut-shaming. 

This one just didn’t work for me in the end. The problems I had with The Widow: the lack of ending, the switches between first and third person and jumping all over weren’t there. But neither were the parts I fell for in the first place. 

If you want to try The Child for yourself, you can get it here!

Did you read The Widow? Will you be reading The Child?
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