The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey #blogtour

The Wolf and the Water was so gripping! From the very beginning of the story, I felt as if I was there alongside Kala. It was an AMAZING book.

Shhh…I know it’s late!

Kepos is a city in a valley, and one that hasn’t been very kind to Kala. Her circle has mainly included her parents and her Lissa. And when her father dies, it really changes everything about her life. He was her person, her safe space, and her rock. She struggles without him, but realises very soon after her mother takes a new husband that all is kot as it seemed.

Kala’s story takes us through her trial and struggles to determine the truth about her city and ancestry. It is so well written and beautifully crafted. I’m highly anticipating reading more from Josie Jaffrey in future. There’s a mini-cliffhanger, which leads me to believe their story doesn’t end here…

BLOG TOUR | The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson

The thrilling conclusion to the epic Storm Crow duology that follows a fallen princess as she tries to bring back the magical elemental crows taken from her people, perfect for readers who want fantasy books for teens.

Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.

But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.

As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.


Welcome to The Crow Rider Blog Tour, Wayfaring friends! Firstly, my apologies for the delay in getting this posted – I was unwell and couldn’t manage it before now. I hope you still check out the rest of the bloggers and follow the tour (linked below). Secondly, I must say, this may be my top fantasy duology of 2020 – even if The Storm Crow released last year…. Kalyn Josephson has crafted a beautiful and empowering storyline in Thia’s journey to restore the crows to her home and defeat the monstrous queen who is bent on destroying their way of life. There was so much happening in this book and I Could. Not. Put. It. Down! I really identified with Thia in a way I haven’t in many other fantasy stories. You see, she, alongside several other characters, battles depression and sometimes it gets the better of her, but she never lets it get her down for long. Even when she is mid-journey and has several successes behind her, there are times that sneaky snake coils around her; however, she learns to send it away and reclaim her mind. Though it’s not easy. I haven’t seen very many stories with this rep, and it’s an important one to include as there are so many who suffer with it. The rep throughout the duology is pretty inclusive! I loved reading about all the different characters and their preferences.

Another thing in The Crow Rider I loved is the amount of forgiveness and trust Thia exhibits. She is a kind, yet fierce soul. She, quite obviously, would go to the ends of the earth for those she loves and it makes her a hell of a character. Even all this time after reading her adventure, I am a bit sensitive from it because I loved it that much! I highly recommend you pick this up as soon as you can because it’s equal amounts heartwarming, adventure, and magic. Phenomenal read!


The Important Bits

Title: The Crow Rider

Author: Kalyn Josephson

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: 1st August 2020

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42374300-the-crow-rider 

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crow-Rider-Storm/dp/1492672963  


Author Information

Kalyn Josephson is a fantasy writer living the California Bay Area. She loves books, cats, books with cats, and making up other worlds to live in for a while. THE STORM CROW is her debut novel.

Website: http://kalynjosephson.com 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kalynjospehson  

Instagram: http://instagram.com/kalynmjosephson 


Tour Schedule

Follow the tour ->

Monday 27th July

Kat’s Reading Corner

Laura’s Bookish Corner

Tuesday 28th July

Library of Books and Tea

A Backwards Story

Wednesday 29th July

Northern Plunder

Uptown Oracle

Thursday 30th July

I Am Book Mad

Jazzy Book Reviews

Friday 31st July

Phannie the Ginger Bookworm

The Writer’s Alley

Saturday 1st August

Rambling Mads

Donna’s Book Blog

Sunday 2nd August

The Wayfaring Bibliomaniac

Moonlight Rendezvous

Monday 3rd August

Amy’s Bookish Life

Onemused

Tuesday 4th August

Princess of Ink

Library Looter

Wednesday 5th August

The Reader’s Corner

Paragraphs and Pages

Thursday 6th August

Books with Ben

A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Friday 7th August

The Pewter Wolf

Levicorpvs Blog

Saturday 8th August

Hollibrary Books

Books and Lemon Squash

Sunday 9th August

PowisAmy

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your week! Massive thank you to Faye Rogers for including me in this tour xx

xx Mere – The Wayfaring Bibliomaniac

BLOG TOUR | Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

Happy Sunday, Wayfarers, and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the phenomenal Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran! You may remember me gushing about it a few months ago and it is still one of my absolute favourite reads of the year. I loved it so much I want to do a giveaway today to a lucky reader who will, hopefully, love it as much as myself. Simply enter via the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like to get reading Queen of Coin and Whispers before the end of the giveaway, you can check out your local library or bookseller’s such as Dubray (whom are doing a giveaway of a pin and tote bag, while stocks last), Eason’s, or Amazon.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour @

A City of Books acityofbooks.co.uk

Shan’s Shelves shanshelves.wordpress.com

Pewter Wolf thepewterwolf.blogspot.com

BookLoverx wordsfromareader.com

RoyalBookshelf theroyalbookshelf.wordpress.com

ReadsRainbow readsrainbow.wordpress.com

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your Sunday! Massive thank you to The O’Brien Press for including me in this tour xx

xxMere – The Wayfaring Bibliomaniac

BLOG TOUR | What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

Hello Book Wanderers! Welcome to my stop on this blog tour! I’m really excited to tell you about this book. Things you should know first: it’s about sex trafficking, so massive trigger warning for anything even semi-related. This gives a hard look at the trafficking trade, as well as stereotypes and assumptions that go along with it. Dark and gritty, yet comical and witty, I struggled reading this book (had several cries and a few laughs), but also appreciated the message the author wove into it – we (women) are so much stronger than many people give us credit for. I loved the themes of feminism, strength, and survival – no, not even just survival; more than that – reclamation of life and self after trauma. What Unbreakable Looks Like is graphic and paints a strong picture of life in and after trafficking. It is an unflinching examination of abuse and recovery. Well worth the read, especially because we need change – things like this need to be stopped. There’s a scene in the book where an outsider sees Lex in the life and yet turns away and doesn’t help her! I couldn’t believe it. There is so much broken in the world, but there are good people out there clamouring for change. I, for one, hope against all odds we do see the change we need.


What Unbreakable Looks Like_cover

Lex was taken–trafficked–and now she’s Poppy. Kept in a hotel with other girls, her old life is a distant memory. But when the girls are rescued, she doesn’t quite know how to be Lex again.

After she moves in with her aunt and uncle, for the first time in a long time, she knows what it is to feel truly safe. Except, she doesn’t trust it. Doesn’t trust her new home. Doesn’t trust her new friend. Doesn’t trust her new life. Instead she trusts what she shouldn’t because that’s what feels right. She doesn’t deserve good things.

But when she is sexually assaulted by her so-called boyfriend and his friends, Lex is forced to reckon with what happened to her and that just because she is used to it, doesn’t mean it is okay. She’s thrust into the limelight and realizes she has the power to help others. But first she’ll have to confront the monsters of her past with the help of her family, friends, and a new love.

Kate McLaughlin’s What Unbreakable Looks Like is a gritty, ultimately hopeful novel about human trafficking through the lens of a girl who has escaped the life and learned to trust, not only others, but in herself.


The human body’s a resilient thing. It heals with very little memory of what’s been done to it. Maybe a scar, something tender. It’s the mind that carries all the damage, that remembers all the pain. The mind that gets twisted and broken


chapter one

Clean sheets. That’s what I’m dreaming about when some- thing wakes me up. I groan, swearing. Sleep is the only time I have to myself—the only time I’m free from the motel and the other girls in it. The sound grows louder, people coming up the stairs outside the room.

I force my eyes open. It’s still dark, but there’s always a sliver of light that comes through the window—neon blue from the vacancy sign, and yellow floodlights. Shadows pass, strobing the light. It’s too late for business. If Mitch let us go to bed, it has to be not much before dawn. We’re his nighttime girls.

I took some pills earlier, after the last john left, so maybe I’m imagining things. Mitch came by and gave us all a little “treat.” I’d been greedy. I’m always greedy when it comes to my medicine, and Mitch spoils me. I’m his favorite—he told me.

There are six of us on the second floor of the motel. The manager gave Mitch a deal on the rooms for a cut of his take—and a piece of each of us. I wonder if that’s what this is, the slimy piece of shit coming to get a little somethin’ somethin’ before work.

There’s a crash, followed by a scream. I sit up, head swimming. Fear takes hold, sobering me. I crawl out of bed, stagger to the other one. Ivy is out cold. I shake her shoulder—it’s bony. Too bony. “Wake up. Ivy, wake the fuck up.” How can she sleep with all the screaming?

“Poppy?” She clutches at my hand. “What’s going on?” “I don’t know, but you need to get up and put some clothes on.” She’s naked. I’m in a tank top and my under- wear. I stumble to the dresser we share and pull out a pair of jeans that should have been washed days ago. I tug them on, fastening them low on my hips. I grab a sweater and shove my feet into a pair of sneakers. Behind me, I hear Ivy getting out of bed, the sheets rasping against each other.

More screams. I run—lurch—to the door and try to open it, but the manager locks us in after the johns leave. Most of us have nowhere to go even if we were straight enough to run, but every once in a while a girl tries to take off. They never get far before they turn around and come back on their own. Mitch has that effect on us.

“What is it?” Ivy asks as she stumbles into a pair of jeans.

Her voice is slurred, her eyelids barely open.

“I think it’s the cops,” I say. Either that, or it’s a rival of Mitch’s. I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen to us if that’s the case.

The door to our room flies open. I jump backward, put- ting myself between whoever it is and Ivy. The cops. We stand there watching them like cornered dogs, beaten and meek. We know the drill. Don’t say nothin’.

“Are you girls okay?” a woman cop asks. She’s tall with long, curly hair and dark skin. Beyoncé wishes she were this beautiful.

“We ain’t done nothing wrong,” I tell her. “You can’t arrest us.”

She gives me a funny look. “Honey, we’re not here to arrest you. We’re here to get you out of here.”

“Yeah? Where you gonna take us?” “The hospital, then home, if we can.”  I snort. Home. Yeah right.

She holds out her hand. “Come on. You can’t stay here.” Ivy clings to me as we inch toward the door. As soon  as I cross the threshold, I start to run. Ivy’s feet tangle with mine and we go down, hitting the cement walkway hard.

Ivy grunts. There’s blood on her lips. A male cop hauls her up, carries her away.

“Hey!” I cry.

“Da fuck?” someone yells. I smile at the sound of Daisy’s voice. She’s gonna fuck somebody up. “Get off the floor, you stupid bitch.”

I push up onto my hands. The female cop takes my arm and pulls me up.

“Ow!” My left ankle doesn’t want me to stand on it. “Lean on me,” the cop says, putting her arm around me.

Her hand is on my ribs. I wait for it to creep higher, but it doesn’t.

My foot really hurts. I should have grabbed my pills.

What am I going to do when these wear off?

“What’s your name?” the woman asks as we begin walking. She’s taking a lot of my weight, but she doesn’t seem bothered by it.

“Poppy.”

She smiles a little. “Your real name, sweetie. So we can let your parents know you’re okay.”

I’m not sure my mother would even care. “Alexa,” I tell her. “Alexa Marie.” It doesn’t feel like mine anymore—it belongs to someone else.

“You’re safe now, Alexa. You’re going to be okay.”

I laugh. Who does she think she’s talking to? She don’t know shit. “Bitch,” I say. “We ain’t never going to be okay. Never.”

They say I’m safe. I don’t feel safe. My skin itches and twitches like bugs are crawling underneath it. I’ve left fin- gernail scratches on my arms from trying to get to them— long, raw furrows in my skin that felt so good at the time, but burn like hell.

I’m in the hospital. Why doesn’t Mitch rescue me? Why doesn’t he come take me home? He’s a bad guy, they tell me. I know, but he’s my bad guy. He’s all I got.

“How long have I been here?” I ask the nurse, but she

doesn’t seem to hear me, because she doesn’t answer. It has to have been a while. I don’t feel right. I need my medicine. My clothes are gone. I’m wearing a thin cotton gown that smells weird. I’ve been photographed, poked, and prodded. They swabbed my mouth and got me into stir- rups so they could swab down there too. They said they were going to check me for STIs, and would I consent to a pregnancy test? Sure. If I am pregnant, I want it out of me.

So many tests. So many questions. “You okay, baby?” the nurse asks.

I want to ask her if I fucking look okay. “No,” I say in- stead, scratching.

Her lips form a thin line and she nods, like she under- stands. “I’ll see what we can do to take the edge off.” She leaves the room, but she’s back in a few minutes. She gives me a cup of water and a little paper cup with pills in it. I don’t even ask what they are, I just flush them down my throat and start counting the seconds.

“Give me your arm, honey,” she commands. She has a tube of lotion that she rubs into the scratches and dry patches. It feels good, takes away the sting and itch.

“You’re pale as milk,” she comments. “Skin that delicate needs to be protected.”

I don’t know what to say, so I stay quiet.

“I’ll be back later to put some more on, okay?”

She smiles at me, and tears burn in my eyes. I blink— hard. No one is going to see me weak.

I’m watching cartoons on TV a little while later when another woman comes in. This one’s wearing pants and a blouse and carrying a bag big enough to hold a small child. She has curly blond hair and blue eyes.

“Hello, Alexa,” she says. “My name is Jill. I’m with DCF. Do you know what that is?”

“Yeah,” I reply. They came by to talk to Mom once when I went to school wearing the same clothes three days in a row and didn’t have lunch.

“Good. I work specifically with cases involving human trafficking. Are you aware of what that is?”

Does she think I’m a fucking idiot? Brain damaged, maybe? “It’s when you’re forced into being a ho.”

She inclines her head. “That’s part of it. I’m here because you’ve been identified as a victim of human trafficking.”

I stare at her. She doesn’t seem bothered by my silence.

She walks over and sits in the chair by my bed. I push myself farther up on the pillows.

“Would you be okay if we talk about what happened to you?” she asks me.

“Ain’t nothin’ happened to me,” I respond.

“Mitch Anderson didn’t force you to have sex with strangers for money?”

“I didn’t charge anyone money.” “No. Mitch did that, didn’t he?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Mitch is my boyfriend.”

“That’s what the other girls from the motel called him as well. You don’t mind sharing your boyfriend with them?” I’m silent. I want to tell her I’m his favorite, but I’ve already said too much. I forgot how much trouble Mitch could be in for having sex with young girls.

“Your mother’s boyfriend, Frank, is a friend of Mitch’s, isn’t he?”

“I don’t want to talk about him.” What I want is my pills.

I don’t like the things I’m starting to feel. To think.

Jill gives me a sympathetic look. “Alexa—” “Poppy,” I correct her. “My name is Poppy.”

“Do you really want to be called that?” she asks me.

Yes, but I give her the answer she wants to hear. “No.” I’ll tell her whatever she wants if it makes her go the fuck away. I have to get out of here, but how far will I get in a hos- pital gown with my bare ass sticking out? I want to scream, but when I tried last night, nothing came out. Jill’s still watching me. I want to punch her in the face.

“I want to see Ivy,” I say.

Jill nods. “I’ll see if we can make that happen.”

“You don’t have to see shit. She right down the damn hall.” To prove it, I yell her name at the top of my lungs. “Ivy! Ivy!”

“Poppy!” comes the answering shout. “Poppy!” I grin, so fucking happy to hear her voice.

There’s a knock on the open door. I turn my head and see the woman cop who found me at the motel.

“Detective Willis,” Jill says, giving her a look I recognize from adults I’ve known my whole life. It brands me as “difficult,” an asshole.

The cop smiles at me. A small real one that tells me she’s known too many girls like me.

She ain’t known anyone like me. “Can I come in?” she asks.

Like I can stop her. I nod. I can’t help but stare at her. She’s probably one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. And she’s got this attitude—like she knows how to kill somebody with only two fingers, y’know? She’s strong.

I hate her for it.

She stands beside my bed, watching me like she thinks I might bite—and she’s prepared to take the risk. “How are you feeling?” she asks.

“Like a junkie,” I rasp. I hold up my hand; it trembles.

Detective Willis looks sympathetic, but I wonder if she’s ever felt like this before. “We’re going to get you into a re- hab program for girls who have been trafficked.”

I startle. “I’m not going home?” I don’t care if I see my mother, or Frank, but Mitch won’t know where to find me if I don’t go home.

“What the fuck are y’all not tellin’ me?” I demand. “I’m right fucking here.”

Jill sighs. “Alexa, your mother has given up her parental rights. You can’t go home.”

I look from her to Detective Willis. “She doesn’t want me?”

The cop tries to take my hand. I pull it away. “She knows home is not a good environment for you.”

“Bullshit,” I say. “She just doesn’t want her fucked-up kid back.”

I am not going to cry.

“So, I’m going to be sent to prison, then, huh?” I ask. I won’t be eighteen for almost a year. That makes me a ward of the state. “Where all unwanted kids go?”

“No,” Jill says. “We found someone who very much wants to take you.”

“Who?” I demand.

“Your aunt Krys,” she replies.

I remember Krys—vaguely. We used to spend a lot of time with her when my grandmother was alive, back when I was little and Mom’s drinking wasn’t so bad. I liked her.

I frown.

“She’d like to visit with you, and if you want, you could maybe live with her and her husband in Middletown when you get out of the program.”

“What does she want in return?” I ask. “She get paid to take me?”

Detective Willis doesn’t look surprised at the question. “She doesn’t want anything.”

I snort.

“She told me your mother wouldn’t let her see you when they broke ties. She says she’s missed you.”

My throat is tight. I swallow hard. I’m not the kid Krys knew. I’m not a kid at all. “She’s not going to want me when she sees what a mess I am.”

“Maybe you should let me decide that,” comes a voice from the door. My head whips around so fast, it hurts.

Standing just inside the room is a woman who looks like a younger, sober version of my mother. Softer. She’s tall and slim with bright red hair and blue eyes. She’s wearing a long sweater over leggings with tall boots. She looks like she stepped out of a catalog.

“Aunt Krys?” My voice sounds thin, stupid.

She’s pale, her mouth tight and eyes watery as she nods. “Hi, Lexi-bug.”

I burst into tears.

“Wake up.”

Something pokes me in the face. I groan and push at it, grabbing a skinny finger. My eyes open, blinking against the corridor light shining into my otherwise darkened room.

A familiar face looms over mine. “What time is it?” I ask.

“Time for you to get a Altoid or somethin’,” Ivy replies. “Girl, whadafuck died in your mouth?”

I laugh. “You don’t like my breath, get your face out of it,” I tell her. “What are you doing up? It’s late.”

“Somethin’s goin’ on. The nurses ain’t watching the station. Let’s go.”

Suddenly, I’m wide awake, throwing back the covers. They took my IV out earlier, so I’m not connected to any- thing anymore. I’m not 100 percent, but I’m better than I was, and I’m ready to get the fuck out of this place.


Thank you to Wednesday Books and Meagan for inviting me to join the tour!

BLOG TOUR | The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman

Welcome Wayfarers to my stop on this magical blog tour! I hope you have loved the blogs you’ve visited thus far for the celebration of The Deck of Omens release and enjoy the rest of your journey along with us bloggers and the amazing publisher, Titan Books! As I was lucky enough to land a spot on the tour, I was also awarded with an extract! Keep reading for a juicy read. If you haven’t heard of this story before, be warned it’s the second in a duology! Go read The Devouring Gray first – I loved it. Find my review of this sequel below – Spoiler Alert: 😍..


the-deck-of-omensThe teenagers of Four Paths must save their home.

Though the Beast is seemingly subdued for now, a new threat looms in Four Paths: a corruption seeping from the Gray into the forest. And with the other Founders preoccupied by their tangled alliances and fraying relationships, only May Hawthorne seems to realize the danger. But saving the town she loves means seeking aid from the person her family despises most–her and Justin’s father.

May’s father isn’t the only newcomer in town–Isaac Sullivan’s older brother has also returned, seeking forgiveness for the role he played in Isaac’s troubled past. But Isaac isn’t ready to let go of his family’s history, especially when that history might hold the key that he and Violet Saunders need to destroy the Gray and the monster within it.

Harper Carlisle isn’t ready to forgive, either. Two devastating betrayals have left her isolated from her family and uncertain who to trust. As the corruption becomes impossible to ignore, Harper must learn to control her newfound powers in order to protect Four Paths. But the only people who can help her do that are the ones who have hurt her the most.

With the veil between the Gray and the town growing ever thinner, all of the Founder descendants must put their grievances with one another aside to stop the corruption and kill the Beast once and for all.

But maybe the monster they truly need to slay has never been the Beast… 


I really enjoyed this book – mostly because I loved the town of Four Paths, the writing, the atmosphere.. It was all done so well. Violet and Isaac were my favourite of the founders, if I had to pick from my little children! They were all so relatable, though! May was the only one I truly struggled to get into, but I came around in the end. This story is wonderfully witchy and keeps you guessing right up until the big reveal! I must admit, I was quite shocked by how a few things at the end played out. Amazing story and well worth picking up as soon as you can! Excerpt below ->


Excerpt

He pulled a different notebook out of the stack and flipped it open, tapping on the name scrawled on the title page. Maurice Carlisle. 

“This belonged to Harper’s dad.” 

Isaac nodded. “I wasn’t sure how Harper would take it if she was here, honestly. Us rifling through his things. But you said you wanted to kill the Beast—and I don’t think we’re going to solve a mystery that’s plagued this town for a century and a half by playing nice.” 

“I know we aren’t,” Violet said quietly. “I don’t care. It messed up my family. I want it dead.” 

“So do I,” Isaac said. 

“You read these notes already. And you must have found something, or you wouldn’t have bothered with all this.” 

Isaac met her eyes, and she knew she was right. 

“Here,” he said simply, flipping the notebook open to a bookmarked page. “It’s how the Church of the Four Deities planned the ritual they tried to do on your mom. The one to turn her into a vessel for the Beast.” 

Violet looked down at the page. The words were scratched in messy handwriting. 

The Beast has warned us that it cannot survive in corporeal form in Four Paths without a host. If cut off from the Gray for too long, it will wither and die. We cannot allow this to happen. We must not seal the gate before the transfer of its soul is complete. 

Her throat went dry. This was exactly what they’d been looking for: a weakness. 

“So if we can draw the Beast out,” she said slowly, “the same way the Church did, but cut it off from the Gray…” 

“It’ll die,” Isaac finished. 
“How can we close the Gray, though?”
Isaac raised his hands in the air. “My power extends to the Gray, remember? Any portal it opens, I can disintegrate.” 

Violet winced, remembering how much messing directly with the Gray had seemed to cost Isaac, but nodded. 

“Okay,” she said. “But that doesn’t answer how we would lure it out, does it? We’d need somebody connected to it. Somebody—oh.” 

Suddenly she was back on the night of that ritual again, staring at her mother’s lifeless body lying in the circle of bone. Watching Rosie appear in front of her, in her bedroom, in the Gray, in the spire. 

She couldn’t do that again. Not willingly. Not when it had taken everything she had just to escape with her life. “Absolutely not.” Violet slammed the book shut. “I refuse to be monster bait.” 

“You just said you agreed that we couldn’t play nice,” Isaac said roughly. “And you already drove it out of your head once. I know you can do it again.” 

“This is different,” Violet whispered, thinking of how the Beast had melted the flesh away from Rosie’s face, forced her to watch it decay. “I beat it that one time, yeah. But if it comes back, it’s not going to let me get away so easily. And we don’t even know if this will work. To risk everything like this—it’s reckless.” 

“Maybe it is,” Isaac said. “But if you really want it dead, well, this might be our best chance.” 

“I have to think about this.” Violet snatched up the journal and stuffed it in her bag. “Just give me a little time, okay?” 

Isaac’s face softened. He made no move to get the book back from her, which Violet appreciated. 

“All right. But know this: Nobody’s ever changed things in Four Paths by pulling a punch. They pay for every victory.” 

Violet’s eyes strayed to the founders on the wall, all solemn, all beautiful, all dead. 

“I know,” she said, and then she turned and strode out the door. 


Thank you to Titan Books and Sarah for inviting me to join the tour!

ARC REVIEW | The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Title: THE MIDNIGHT LIE

Author: MARIE RUTKOSKI

Released: 3RD MARCH 2020 by HODDER & STOUGHTON

Genre: YA LGBT HIGH FANTASY


Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.


The Midnight Lie was sent to me by Hodder & Stoughton following my registry of interest in the title, which had no impact on my enjoyment of the story. I discovered it on book Twitter, where I learn about most upcoming titles, and decided I really had to have it as soon as possible. So imagine my excitement when it arrived in my mailbox! AMAZING! I had heard of Marie Rutkoski, but never read her other series. I think I’ll have to remedy that soon, as I loved her craft in this story! Which, as far as I understand, is the same world as The Winner’s Trilogy, but not directly related. Still beautifully written and so engaging.

Nirrim, our heroine, is Special with a capital s, but is classed in this world as Half Kith, which basically equates to less than… The class system is High Kith (the upper class), Middling (self-explanatory), and Half Kith (poverty level), and essentially means exactly what you expect. The two ‘better’ classes take from the Half Kith in order to have full and rich lives. Anyway, Nirrim is completely unreal – I love her. She’s kind and giving and interesting, yet lets those she cares for walk all over her. I really enjoyed her relationships with her ‘sisters’ – Morah and Annim.

Herrath (this world) is an island who has no travelers…until Sid comes seeking adventure. Sid’s meeting with Nirrim is beautiful and unexpected. I love their relationship throughout. Honestly, I’m not going to go into it because I want you to be as beautifully surprised at every step as I was – just hold on to your heart!

Then there are the dickheads who are Raven and Aden… I hated them from the off – liars and manipulators, both. But in any story, we do need our monsters. They are both the characters that hold back the MC and play on their greatest fears or weaknesses, so prepare yourselves… Aden is a gaslighter and Raven abusive. Ugh..

The Midnight Lie deserves all of your attention, friends! It was phenomenally unputdownable, and I loved every minute… I was about 75% through when I realised I needed this to continue and there was clearly not enough story left in this book!! So, for anyone who didn’t know (like me), this is a duology. Buckle up, biblios!


Thank you to Kate @ Hodder & Stoughton for this review copy.

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ARC REVIEW | Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

Title: INFINITY SON

Author: ADAM SILVERA

Releases: 14TH JANUARY 2020 by SIMON & SCHUSTER CHILDREN’S UK

Genre: YA FANTASY


Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.


What a let down…I was so excited for this release and it just fell flat. Was it over-hyped, maybe? Now, I’ve never read Silvera before, but everyone was so excited for this cross-over, and I wasn’t at all impressed. The writing was too young – as in the lingo was very uneducated teenager trying to be cool – which felt very unrealistic, or possibly I was just the wrong reader for this book. The characters felt very forced, as well. The plot was slow and then the ending was an ‘of course that happens’ moment.. Very little was unexpected in Infinity Son. I may read the next one just to find out more (and hope it gets better), but overall I was pretty bored with this story so far.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for this review copy.

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BLOG TOUR | ARC REVIEW | Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Title: TWEET CUTE

Author: EMMA LORD

Releases: 21ST JANUARY 2020 by WEDNESDAY BOOKS

Genre: YA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE


A fresh, irresistible rom-com from debut author Emma Lord about the chances we take, the paths life can lead us on, and how love can be found in the opposite place you expected.

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.


Welcome, Wayfarers, to my stop on the Tweet Cute Blog Tour Train! Friends, are you in for a treat!! Tweet Cute (which I must say is a brilliant play on the term meet cute) was completely adorable and such a feel-good read. I just wanted to stay in their world – well done, Emma!! I was really sad when it ended, but only because there was no more to read. The characters were so engaging, the plot was fresh, and the writing overall was very well done.

If I had to pick one thing I loved most about this story, it would have to be the banter between Pepper and Jack! They’re hilariously funny, snarky, and so real. It feels like they’re my newest friends – and I suppose they are in the way that my favourite characters stay with me. I really identified with Pepper’s struggles with her parents, fitting in, and what comes after. I loved that they discussed what happens after high school and whether they want to go to college, or if there are better things out there for them. It was so refreshing to read a different take on that recurring discussion. College isn’t the be-all and end-all of life; there are other very valid options! I did go to college, but I know loads of people who didn’t and are still quite successful and happy with their lives! So don’t give up!

I really hated Pepper’s mom, though. She’s such a mom-ster! It’s like she has no regard for how much Pepper does for her/the corporate Twitter on top of all of her swim team commitments and school assignments. I had a mom-ster as well, but this is just baffling to me that people can be like this. Even when her motivations come to light (SHOCK ALERT!), I still found it hard to accept. Needless to say, wasn’t a fan of their relationship… And felt for Paige a bit more than expected..

We don’t get a whole lot of Jack’s family aside from his twin, Ethan, but I still loved the relationships there – totally cute! Love Grandma Belly the mostest ❤ The app Jack built, Weazel, is a really interesting idea. I love that he and Pepper connect on it and share so much of themselves while at odds in their real life. Was an adorable concept. Must admit, I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers trope when it’s done well, and this was so good!! I also laughed aloud several times – which made for funny looks from my James!!

Would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a cute read with a bit of depth. I’ve also added Emma Lord to my follow list and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! Read on for an excerpt of one of my favourite parts of the book!


EXCERPT

JACK

“Look.” I glance into the classroom, where Ethan is thoroughly distracted by Stephen and no longer keeping an eye on us. “I may have . . . overreacted.”

Pepper shakes her head. “I told you. I get it. It’s your family.”

“Yeah. But it’s also—well, to be honest, this has been kind of good for business.”

Pepper’s brow furrows, that one little crease returning. “What, the tweets?”

“Yeah.” I scratch the back of my neck, sheepish. “Actually, we had a line out the door yesterday. It was kind of intense.”

“That’s . . . that’s good, right?”

The tone of my voice is clearly not matching up with the words I’m saying, but if I’m being honest, I’m still wary of this whole overnight business boom. And if I’m being honest, I’m even more wary of Pepper. If this really is as much of a family business as she claims it is—to the point where she’s helping run the Twitter handle, when even I know enough about corporate Twitter accounts to know entire teams of experienced people get paid to do that—then she might have had more of a hand in this whole recipe theft thing than she’s letting on.

The fact of the matter is, I can’t trust her. To the point of not knowing whether I can even trust her knowing how our business is doing, or just how badly we need it.

“Yeah, um, I guess.” I try to make it sound noncommittal. My acting skills, much like my breakfast-packing skills, leave much to be desired.

“So . . .”

“So.”

Pepper presses her lips into a thin line, a question in her eyes.

“So, I guess—if your mom really wants you to keep tweeting . . .”

“Wait. Yesterday you were pissed. Two minutes ago you were pissed.”

“I am pissed. You stole from us,” I reiterate. “You stole from an eighty-five-year-old woman.”

“I didn’t—”

“Yeah, yeah, but still. You’re them, and I’m . . . her. It’s like a choose your fighter situation, and we just happen to be the ones up to bat.”

“So you’re saying—you don’t not want me to keep this up?”

“The way I see it, you don’t have to make your mom mad, and we get a few more customers in the door too.”

Pepper takes a breath like she’s going to say something, like she’s going to correct me, but after a moment, she lets it go. Her face can’t quite settle on an expression, toeing the line between dread and relief.

“You’re sure?”

I answer by opening the container she handed me. The smell that immediately wafts out of it should honestly be illegal; it stops kids I’ve never even spoken to in their tracks.

“Are you a witch?” I ask, reaching in and taking a bite of one. It’s like Monster Cake, the Sequel—freaking Christmas in my mouth. I already want more before I’ve even managed to chew. My eyes close as if I’m experiencing an actual drug high—and maybe I am, because I forget myself entirely and say, “This might even be better than our Kitchen Sink Macaroons.”

“Kitchen Sink Macaroons?”

Eyes open again. Yikes. Note to self: dessert is the greatest weapon in Pepper’s arsenal. I swallow my bite so I can answer her.

“It’s kind of well-known, at least in the East Village. It even got in some Hub Seed roundup once. I’d tell you to try some, but you might steal the recipe, so.”

Pepper smiles, then—actually smiles, instead of the little smirk she usually does. It’s not startling, but what it does to me in that moment kind of is.

Before I can examine the unfamiliar lurch in my stomach, the bell rings and knocks the smile right off her face. I follow just behind her, wondering why it suddenly seems too hot in here, like they cranked the air up for December instead of October. I dismiss it by the time I get to my desk—probably just all the Twitter drama and the glory of So Sorry Blondies getting to my head.

“One rule,” she says, as we sit in the last two desks in the back of the room.

I raise my eyebrows at her.

“We don’t take any of it personally.” She leans forward on her desk, leveling with me, her bangs falling into her face. “No more getting mad at each other. Cheese and state.”

“What happens on Twitter stays on Twitter,” I say with a nod of agreement. “Okay, then, second rule: no kid gloves.”

Mrs. Fairchild is giving that stern look over the room that never quite successfully quiets anyone down. Pepper frowns, waiting for me to elaborate.

“I mean—no going easy on each other. If we’re going to play at this, we’re both going to give it our A game, okay? No holding back because we’re . . .”

Friends, I almost say. No, I’m going to say. But then—

“I’d appreciate it if even one of you acknowledged the bell with your silence,” Mrs. Fairchild grumbles.

I turn to Pepper, expecting to find her snapping to attention the way she always does when an adult comes within a hundred feet of disciplining her. But her eyes are still intent on me, like she is sizing something up—like she’s looking forward to something I haven’t anticipated yet.

“All right. No taking it personally. And no holding back.”

She holds her hand out for me to shake again, under the desk so Mrs. Fairchild won’t see it. I smile and shake my head, wondering how someone can be so aggressively seventeen and seventy-five at the same time, and then I take it. Her hand is warm and small in mine, but her grip is surprisingly firm, with a pressure that almost feels like she’s still got her fingers wrapped around mine even after we let go.

I turn back to the whiteboard, a ghost of a smirk on my face. “Let the games begin.”


Early Praise:
Tweet Cute delivers in every possible way: a perfect enemies-to-lovers romance, a whip-smart plotline, and endearingly real characters. I devoured it.” – Francesca Zappia, author of Eliza and Her Monsters

“Sweet and fun! An adorable debut that updates a classic romantic trope with a buzzy twist.” – Jenn Bennett, author of Alex, Approximately and Serious Moonlight

“A witty rom-com reinvention for the Twitter age, Tweet Cute pairs delicious online rivalry with deeply relatable insights on family pressure and growing up. This fresh, funny read had us hitting ‘favorite’ from page one.” – Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest 

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/tweet-cute/

Social Links:  @dilemmalord (Twitter/Instagram)

Thank you to Wednesday Books for this review copy.

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Sunday Selections

Happy Sunday!! I thought it might be fun to write a Sunday Selections post of what I’m reading and upcoming reads for the week ahead, or anything else you may want to add in. This will be pretty informal, but feel free to play along if you like!

WHAT I’M READING

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (eARC – and on the blog tour, so keep an eye out this week!!)

The Deep by River Solomon (review copy) Thank you Kate!!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (review copy)

The Handbook of Applied Dog Behaviour and Training by Stephen R. Lindsay (coursework)

UPCOMING READS

Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna (ARC)

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen (eARC)

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz (eARC)

LATEST READS

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera – 🍾🍾🍾

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran – 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾 (probably gonna be my favourite of 2020)

Is anything here on your list, too? What reads have you loved lately?

I’M BACK, BABY! | ARC REVIEW | Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

Title: QUEEN OF COIN AND WHISPERS

Author: HELEN CORCORAN

Releases: 6TH APRIL 2020 by THE O’BRIEN PRESS

Genre: YA FANTASY – LGBT

TWs: Death, abuse, child death, PTSD


‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’

When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a a new spymaster into the fold…Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.

Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on one another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?

In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other…


I must apologise, wayfarers… It has been an insane few months! But I am back now, so welcome along to the journey once again! The dogs and family are doing well, so I can start reading properly again! Onto the review!


I recently DEVOURED Queen of Coin and Whispers! It’s been on my most anticipated since DeptCon last year and, man, was I blown away! This world is steeped in beauty and political intrigue, which is absolutely engrossing. Helen Corcoran has my heart and allegiance – long may she reign! She entwines the main characters all so perfectly with brilliant supporting characters to round them out. They’re such multi-faceted characters, but what I loved most was that you really got to experience their wonderful side relationships with friends and family members. And the romance!! My damn… Suffice to say, it is well worth the read for that alone – it’s done perfectly and I just loved them together. There’s a scene involving the parents, and that was definitely one of my favourite! Wait until you read it!!

There are so many healthy representations in this novel. M/M, F/F, bisexuality, step-parents, parents being present and involved yet not oppressing, parents refusing to continue allowing their children to be assholes (!!), lady spies, and much more.. Helen included so much in this novel that makes me want to dive back in – I actually woke up this morning hoping to get back into it, then reality crashed down around my ears when I realised I’d already finished the book! However, the ending more than makes up for the fact that there won’t be a sequel! …and I’ll probably read it again once the finished copy comes out in April!! Fair warning now…you won’t want to put it down once you start…

I felt SO MUCH while reading this – laughed, gasped, sadness, and adoration. It’s really refreshing to read a fantasy novel that doesn’t include magic once in awhile, and you know what, I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like this.


Thank you to The O’Brien Press for this review copy.

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