BLOG TOUR – REVIEW | My Mother’s Daughter by Ann O’Loughlin

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Title: MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER

Author: ANN O’LOUGHLIN

TWs: DEATH, TERMINAL ILLNESS, GRIEF

Two mothers,
Two daughters,
Two families changed forever

The characters:

The mothers: Margo and Cassie – from completely different worlds, but finding themselves in a very similar situation. The daughters: Elsa and Tilly – two girls who share a birthday and who’s lives are about to change. Ida and Jack – The neighbours in Co. Wicklow who become part of the family for several reason, not least of which is their support of Margo and Elsa after their bereavement. There are several other characters who are important, as well, and contribute heavily to the plot, such as Cassie’s husband (hated!!) and father (loved him).

The plot:

What a phenomenal story O’Loughlin has given us in this novel! I really loved this whole book. This is very much a story about how far a mother is willing to go to protect her daughter, and what sacrifices she makes along the way. Both mothers have been put into an impossible situation and are making the best of it as much as they can. The two women, Margo and Cassie, are very similar in that they are very strong, doing their best for their girls, and willing to do anything to protect that. When a detail comes to light that might change their entire lives, the both have very similar reactions. At first, I couldn’t pin how the two storylines intersected, but when they finally did it was explosive! I can’t really talk much about it without giving away spoilery details, but just believe me when I tell say you need to read this! I was shocked at how completely I was drawn in and made to feel like a bystander of their story. O’Loughlin has 100% become a favourite author!

Final thoughts:

This was a poignantly written story that explores so many themes in great detail. I loved Ann O’Loughlin’s storytelling and writing style, so will absolutely be picking up another of her books some time soon. She had me in tears several times throughout the book, but it was so worth the read. Thank you, Ann!


County Wicklow, Ireland. Margo has just lost her husband Conor and is grieving his passing, unsure how she and her daughter Elsa will survive without him. Then she receives a letter that turns everything she thought she knew on its head. Not only has she lost her husband, but now Margo fears she could lose her daughter as well.

Ohio, United States. Cassie has just split from her husband acrimoniously. Upset and alone she does not know how to move forward. Then her ex-husband demands a paternity test for their daughter Tilly and sorrow turns to anger as Cassie faces the frightening possibility of losing her daughter.

A powerful, moving stories of family, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times, My Mother’s Daughter takes the issues closest to our hearts and makes us ask ourselves the most difficult questions – what would we do in Margo and Cassie’s place?

Thank you so much to Ann O’Loughlin, Alex, and Orion’s Books for the ARC.

five stars

ARC REVIEW | Viper: Book 1 (Isles of Storm and Sorrow) by Bex Hogan

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Title: VIPER: BOOK 1 (ISLES OF STORM AND SORROW)

Author: BEX HOGAN

Released: 18TH APRIL 2019 by ORION CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Genre: YA FANTASY

Rep: LGBTQ+, DISABILITY, POC | TWs: CHILD ABDUCTION, BRUTAL MURDER, DEATH, TALK OF POTENTIAL SEXUAL ASSAULT

Respect has to be earned among Snakes, and I have done nothing to gain theirs yet

The world:

The story takes place in the Eastern Isles. There are 12 in all, but we only really get the eastern 6 in this story. Most of the tale is on The Maiden, Adler’s ship, but also on a few of the isles. My favourite was the Sixth Isle, but followed closely by the Fourth. The world was rich in detail and multi-faceted, so much so I could clearly visualize them. The isles sounded amazing – mostly – and there are a few I wouldn’t mind visiting. Everything is explained beautifully and I am hooked on Hogan’s writing!

The characters:

Marianne has lived her whole life on a ship under her father’s command. He’s the Viper, which is basically the King’s hand of justice on the sea. Marianne has been pretty oppressed her whole life because she’s not a killer like the rest of the crew. Her compassion and capacity for forgiveness is inspirational and I really loved her. She had loads of depth and was flawed, but so well-written. Definitely a favourite heroine. Her best friend (if you can call her that), Grace, is the best woman on the ship. She’s a highly skilled assassin who is usually assigned to look after Marianne. Grace is also in charge of Marianne’s training, so they are as close as can be on a ship full of secrets. Torin, the prince, is also a pretty major character, interestingly enough. I really loved his role in the whole story and look forward to getting more of him in the next installation. Bronn, Marianne’s ex-best friend, and also a Snake, was surprising! Hogan wrote him so well! I really didn’t like him in the beginning, which is exactly what she wanted, I believe, but then my opinion of him changed. The Viper, Adler, was such a phenomenal villain. I actually hated him! So well done, Hogan! Amazing writing.

The plot:

Essentially, this was a coming-of-age tale about a girl who discovers things are not all they seem on the surface. Once she begins to uncover the truth, there’s a lot more hiding than she initially expected and it turns out her entire world is upended. It’s a really good thing she has so many great friends at her back. The Viper expects her to succeed him one day, but only if she can get over her aversion to brutal murder. The real question is: will Marianne find her strength in time to save the isles and avoid getting herself killed?

Final thoughts:

This wasn’t what I expected at all. In fact, it’s absolutely 100 times better than I ever could have imagined! It has an amazing heroine, pirate life on the high seas, betrayal and deceit, and phenomenal supporting characters. The story is well-paced and such a fast read, but it was never boring and everything contributes to furthering the story. I was shocked by one of the scenes at the end and was highly upset about it, but won’t tell you why because that would be a spoiler! WAH! Anyway, I really loved this story and cannot wait to get more of Marianne and the gang.


Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

Thank you so much to Bex Hogan and Hachette Children’s Group/Orion Children’s Books via Netgalley for the ARC.

five stars

Can’t Freakin’ Wait Wednesday 01/05/19

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings and was based on Waiting on Wednesday’s, which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She created it to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released, but that’s not always the case. I happen to have pile upon piles of books I am excited to read, so thought this would be a fun meme in which to partake!

I, like most other people in the book world, am completely in love with the power duo that is Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann, so of course I’m dying for AURORA RISING. It just sounds entirely too cool, and I’m already getting rave reviews from friends who have been lucky enough to get it. Anyway, it was an easy pick this week.

Have you read this yet or is it on your TBR? What do you think of the description?

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From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of the Illuminae Files comes a new science fiction epic . . .

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

NOBODY PANIC.

T10T: Ten Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

April 30: Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes

I love quotes! I generally have loads in my screenshots from my ebooks, so here goes!

  1. Death is kind of turning out to be a mean, weird bitch. – How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow: Grief just sucks and doesn’t play by the rules.
  2. How could her brain conjure something that seemed so real, something laden with so much horrifying detail, and yet there be nothing at all? – Little Darlings by Melanie Golding: Holy jeez, this just brings to mind all the tricks our brains can play without our wanting it too. Sure, a few nights ago, I had a nightmare I was fired from a job I currently love (mostly).
  3. These books are filled with documents and accounts that expose that story for what it is: an appropriation of history by the East to hide its own sordid past. A twisted piece of propaganda to conceal its crimes. – Viper by Bex Hogan: So much of history and current events are like this. We really need to question things before we take them as truth.
  4. Are we able to separate what we were from what we are? Are are we what we are if we’re always hiding some of what we were? – All We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter: This was just a heavy novel start to finish… So much of it had me thinking and processing. I think the answer to this is yes, mostly. I guess it depends on what we’re hiding, but we should also be able to keep what we want from the world…not that we should have to do so, though..
  5. And I hate the moon. I hate the stars. I hate the darkening sky. And rain and fog. I hate hospitals. And beds with sheets. And every machine ever made. And nurses and doctors. Keep her alive, that was the one thing they had to do. That was the one thing I had to do. And I hate myself most of all. – Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds: I loved this scene for all the feeling involved.
  6. My point is we’re all monsters to someone or something by some definition. It’s the context of the situation that matters. – White Stag by Kara Barbieri: Someone will make you into a monster at least once in your life. Hopefully it’s no one important to you… But even if they make you out to be the bad guy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are indeed bad..
  7. It all suddenly, and belatedly, felt too real, the things these girls had gone through, what can happen to missing girls. – Sadie by Courtney Summers: This entire book wrecked me, but this line in particular hasn’t left my heart. To think about what the forgotten girls, the missing girls, the outsider girls have gone through because they weren’t safe just ruins me. This is so close to home for me because I had a very unsafe childhood and the men Sadie’s mother brought home could have been the very same types of men I saw with my own mother. It’s a scary world.
  8. No. It just gets different, sometimes easier, sometimes worse. Grief’s a mixed bag of different kinds of shit. – Ruin of Stars by Lindsay Miller: Grief sucks… see quote 1. Everyone handles it differently.
  9. Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are. – LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff: You are allowed to be human. We all go through changes. Just try to be better than your past self. That should be your only competition.
  10. Our heads are so fragile, but our hearts are even more delicate. – Cracked Kingdom by Erin Watt: Isn’t it just so true?? We can rationalise a hell of a lot, but sometimes our hearts just will have none of it!

 

So, let me know if you’ve read any of these and your thoughts! Do you have a favourite quote this week? Thanks for stopping in!

 

ARC REVIEW | Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

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Title: LITTLE DARLINGS

Author: MELANIE GOLDING

Released: 30TH APRIL 2019 by CROOKED LANE BOOKS

Genre: HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Rep: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION | TWs: CHILD ENDANGERMENT, CHILD ABDUCTION

I finished Little Darlings not long ago and omg…my heart…my FEELINGS. MY BRAIN!!! That was so amazing…

How could her brain conjure something that seemed so real, something laden with so much horrifying detail, and yet there be nothing at all?

What a weird, creepy, and darkly twisty little tale- kind of like that cover! It seems to half take place in a nightmarish land and also half in reality, which makes you wonder if that’s maybe also a discussion on postpartum depression and how it affects new mothers. The story was mostly between that and the twisted fairytale details. It seems to me that the idea of changelings probably stems from new mothers suffering from PPD before people actually understood what it was and why it happened, but I’ve also read that they potentially stem from children that begin to show signs of disability after the initial birth. Either way, they are very sinister in the stories, and that is no different from this tale.

Look at someone every day for long enough and you stop seeing what everyone else sees. You start to see what no one else sees, what is kept hidden from most people.

Lauren seems to have very little support from either her husband, family, or nursing staff, which is not really all that uncommon for many women. They all seem to expect her to get on with it and know how to take care of everything, as well as looking after the housework, etc. Especially her husband who MOVES OUT OF THEIR BEDROOM SO HE CAN GET SOME REST!! What an absolute bastard of a man. He complains nearly the whole time and doesn’t take any responsibility for the boys. I really didn’t like him much throughout the story. Also, those damn nurses and midwives are assholes! How dare they treat her that way… I don’t understand what that’s actually about.

Anyway, this tale about changelings and faeries is gripping and so interesting, yet still very strange. I truly could not put this down once I began reading. The writing is amazing and strikes straight to the heart of so many issues! Also, I was really shocked by the ending, which doesn’t happen to me very often.


SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

APRIL 2019 LIBRARY READS PICK!

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

Thank you so much to Melanie Golding and Crooked Lane Books via Netgalley for the ARC.

five stars

ARC REVIEW | To Best The Boys by Mary Weber

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Title: TO BEST THE BOYS

Author: MARY WEBER

Released: 19H MARCH 2019 BY THOMAS NELSON

Genre: TEENS + YA FANTASY

Rep: Dyslexia, Autism, Downs Syndrome, Women in Science | TWs: Death, Near Death Experiences, Grief, Parent Illness

Initially, this story comes off very outdated being set in a world where women have duties to the home, family, and sometimes socially, and men are the breadwinners nearly exclusively – going to college to be trained in something or doing other work, such as fishing. We have Rhen, who is a woman scientist and flies in the face of everything her society takes as normal, so obviously she’s a bit of an outsider. But she’s so cool! She thinks differently and it takes her so far!

Rhen’s mother is sick from an illness, which has no cure so Rhen and her father are doing research to try and find the cure. She gets samples from dead bodies to study and experiment with, which I found highly fascinating. Rhen is extremely unconventional. When the letter for the competition arrives, Rhen starts to get ideas about how to get funding, or even support, for their research into the illness and upcoming cure  – leading her to enter the competition herself! Her cousin, Seleni, is her companion in nearly everything, yet very opposite in her future goals. I enjoyed that recognition that women don’t all have to strive for great things to be fulfilled in life. Seleni just wants to be a wife and mother someday, but she is all for supporting Rhen in her dreams! We all need ladies like that in our lives – or just people in general! Find you people who lift you up!

I quite liked a lot of the side characters. Beryll was lovable, even if he was a bit of a flop. Lute was a bit standoffish – for good reason – but has a heart of gold (one of my favourites). Rhen’s parents are so great and made my heart soar. And Mr. Holm himself was quite surprising, and very modern!

The story was a lot of fun, but the pacing was a bit slow at times. Sometimes I felt I wanted more (action or detail, depending on the scene) and it kind of felt like part of the build up was just filler and could have been handled better. That really didn’t detract much from me loving the characters and how the story happened. It was unique and fun, and I would recommend it – if only for the important conversations about standing up for what you believe in and not having to fit in to what society expects of you. Even if you only pick it up for the labyrinth aspect, I hope you take away some of the important points Weber makes in this story.


Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.

In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.

With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

Thank you so much to Mary Weber and Thomas Nelson via BookLookBloggers.com for the Review Copy.

four stars

Can’t Freakin’ Wait Wednesday 24/04/19

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings and was based on Waiting on Wednesday’s, which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She created it to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released, but that’s not always the case. I happen to have pile upon piles of books I am excited to read, so thought this would be a fun meme in which to partake!

I AM SO HERE FOR ALL THE DIVERSITY WE’RE SEEING THIS YEAR AND I AM LOVING IT ALL!!

First of all, that cover is utterly stunning and intriguing. Even if I didn’t read the synopsis, I’d want it purely on #CoverCrush reasons. It’s so colourful and eye-catching! Secondly, I read the following blurb – “Ground breaking and immersive paranormal YA that evokes all the beauty, richness, and diversity of the ancient cultures, faiths, and languages of the Silk Road. There’s an effortless beauty in the kaleidoscopic descriptions of food, fashion, practices, and faiths; Azad’s language is so evocative, you can almost taste and smell the riches of the night bazaar. A fiercely feminist take on Islamic culture, it’s an assured and outside-the-box debut that deals with larger themes — such as tolerance and women’s rights — while functioning as a thrilling action adventure with touches of heart-stirring romance. Prepare to be swept up.” — Rebecca Lim, bestselling author of Mercy and The Astrologer’s Daughter – so the question really becomes, why wouldn’t I want to pick this up? It literally ticks all of my boxes! Fantasy? Tick. Feminist? Tick. Diversity? Tick. And so much more! Obviously, I haven’t read this yet, but I’m dying to get it and am sure will have a raving review for you all very shortly after it releases! 

Have you read this yet or is it on your TBR? What do you think of the description?

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Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.