REVIEW | A Shroud of Leaves by Rebecca Alexander (Sage Westfield, #2)

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Title: A SHROUD OF LEAVES

Author: REBECCA ALEXANDER

Released: 9TH JULY 2019 by TITAN BOOKS

Genre: MYSTERY, THRILLER, SUSPENSE

TWs: Death, abuse, sexual molestation, animal abuse, alcoholism, familial abuse/dysfunction, child death


“Finely observed, beautifully written” Daily Mail on The Secrets of Life and Death

“The victim had been buried in a carved hollow in the grass and shrouded in fallen leaves…”

Archaeologist Sage Westfield has her first forensics case: investigating the murder of a teenage girl. Hidden by holly leaves, the girl’s body has been discovered on the grounds of a stately home, where another teenage girl went missing twenty years ago – but her body was never found. The police suspect the reclusive owner, Alistair Chorleigh, who was questioned but never charged. But when Sage investigates a nearby burial mound – and uncovers rumours of an ancient curse – she discovers the story of another mysterious disappearance over a hundred years ago. Sage will need both her modern forensics skills and her archaeological knowledge to unearth the devastating truth.


I LOVED THIS BOOK! If I’m really honest, it reminds me of the Bones TV series with Dr. Temperance Brennan, which was always one of my favourite shows. I remember binge watching that because I loved the characters and storyline SO much. This novel had everything from that TV series that I loved about it – banter, drama, thrills, and mystery. Plus, the personal character arc only adds to my interest!

Rebecca Alexander is a supremely talented writer. She has the ability to draw you into the story itself and hold you captive until its conclusion. A Shroud of Leaves is steeped in folk history, psychology, and scientific study. Sage and the rest of the cast are all highly individual and you can nearly feel their various motives, fears, and dreams. Their individual plots all interact so well to create this poignant story about finding the root of the crimes committed covered up by individual stories. I really couldn’t put it down and highly recommend this to anyone who loves murder mysteries or crime thrillers!


Thank you to Titan Books for this review copy.

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five stars

REVIEW | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

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Title: THE KINGDOM

Author: JESS ROTHENBERG

Released: 11TH JULY 2019 by MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY SCI-FI

TWs: Death, allusion to rape/sexual assault, abuse, self harm.


Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule. 

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.


how do you define real anyway?

This tale is told through Ana’s POV, as well as trial testimony and her interview with Dr. Foster. Obviously, she’s been accused of murdering a staff member, which shouldn’t be part of her programming as a half-human, half-android, but it quickly becomes evident that Ana may be more than her programming. The style of the chapter arrangement reminded me a bit of Sadie solely for the way it was constructed. The plots are obviously very different. I loved the alternation between story telling styles because you got details to fill in some gaps and then a bit of intrigue to create more from each bit, which only made your compulsion to keep reading grow by the chapter!

i can control my own ocular lenses. i can control a feature on my own body.

It was very different to books I’ve read this year, but still had some similar themes exploring how we treat other people and women as a commodity rather than being treated as people. Now, in this story, due to the Fantasists being created by The Kingdom(TM)’s scientists, they are considered things rather than proper beings. There is a lot wrong with the Investor’s, guards, and some other staff’s morals regarding how the Fantasists are treated (massive trigger warning for anyone who needs it regarding the mention and allusion to rape). Several of the situations and a lot of the dialogue is basically a discussion on locker room culture and the boys club. Meaning, guards and staff are allowed use the Fantasists whichever way they like and and say terrible, abusive things. Remember that quote, where happily ever after is not just a promise, but a rule? Yeah, they’re programmed to go along with things, even if they don’t like it or agree because your happiness is my happiness… I found myself struggling with some of the more difficult situations Ana faces and her conflict within herself to decide what is right, even when it goes against her programming and how The Kingdom(TM) has told her to behave. There is a lot to break down, but I’m not going to go that far into the analysis. Feel free to message me if you want to discuss, though!

that’s just how guards behave. it has always been this way.

The characters and world were extremely well developed! I loved learning more about this futuristic theme park/fantasy land. The world is rich in detail and I could clearly picture the different scenes in my mind. It is definitely the characters that bring this story to life, though! Their interaction with the world and each other is beautifully written. Jess Rothenberg has worked in YA fantasy for awhile and it shows through very clearly in her own story. This has been one of the most compelling stories I’ve read in a long time and I urge you to give it a try.

sometimes it is hard, not quite knowing what i am.


Thank you to Pan Macmillan for this review copy.

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five stars

REVIEW | The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) by Mary Watson

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Title: THE WICKERLIGHT

Author: MARY WATSON

Released: 30TH MAY 2019 by BLOOMSBURY YA

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY

TWs: Death, talk of divorce, talk of adultery, parental separation, abuse, torture – physical and mental.


Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.


I HAVE BEEN AWAITING THIS SINCE I FINISHED READING THE WREN HUNT LAST YEAR!! Set not long after the close of The Wren Hunt, we find a new family has moved to Kilshamble and one of them has stumbled upon a deadly secret. I love everything that is fantasy and set in Ireland, so it was no surprise that I loved this as much as I did. It was equal parts mystical, dark, and beautiful. Chock full of Irish mysticism with a little South African detail!! I highly enjoyed that Mary Watson utilised her own background to develop the main family in this story.

I adored Mary Watson’s writing style in The Wren Hunt and she did not let us down in The Wickerlight! Her ability to invoke such immediacy for the reader has only improved from The Wren Hunt to now. As I started reading, I was completely lost in the world of judges and augurs once again. The world building and character development is (…out of this world? 🤣) unreal – so freaking good! Mary Watson is a writing ninja and I love her!!

I found The Wickerlight to be slightly more interesting only because we get more into the judges and their community, rather than only focusing on the augurs. It nearly felt like the augurs were the villains in this story, but truly villainy nearly always depends on the narrator, doesn’t it? We readers really get a lot more information about the feud, etc. in this companion. Plus, the mystery of the introductory death adds a bit of excitement and enigma to this world that wasn’t quite there in The Wren Hunt.

I highly recommend you pick this beautiful story up with some gin spritzes and read it as soon as you can! Read The Wren Hunt first, though! They’re connected, even if The Wickerlight isn’t a direct sequel. You’ll love Kilshamble and its inhabitants.


Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for this review copy.

five stars

eARC REVIEW | You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Title: YOU’D BE MINE

Author: ERIN HAHN

Released: 2ND APRIL 2019 by WEDNESDAY BOOKS

Genre: TEENS + YA/CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Rep: POC | TWs: DRUGS, SUICIDE, DEATH, GRIEF, ALCOHOL ABUSE, SUBSTANCE ABUSE

“I wrote this song for a boy. A boy I fell in love with against impossible odds. So this award is for you, Jefferson. If I had to choose my favorite, you’d be mine.”

Oh my goodness, what a super cute story! I really loved Annie and my heart truly went out to Jefferson/Clay. It was so well-written and sweet. I felt it truly captured the modern country music scene, as well. Annie’s backstory is heartbreaking, but not too far off my own childhood. There is so much grief in this novel! Both Annie and Clay are dealing with loss in very different ways (you could actually argue he isn’t truly dealing with it) and trying to cope while also taking on the country music scene and everything that goes along with it.

The alternation of chapters really allows you to get inside both of their stories rather than being entirely one sided. This truly is a story about them both and their intertwining journey to healthy places in themselves. They are truly beautiful together and I love it. Annie worries that her relationship with Clay will end up being as co-dependent as her parents’ marriage. Clay thinks he’s not good enough for Annie, seeing her for what she’s worth. I felt that essentially tells you all you need to know about this story. There’s a lot more to it, but they are so damaged in the beginning. This story shows them allowing each other to grow, amongst several setbacks, and heal from their individual traumas. It tells a story of how people respond very differently to trauma, but, when you have support, you can overcome nearly anything.
My favourite aspect was the theme of being better than your parents were. It reminded me a lot of my own journey. My parents both had their separate issues, but I like to think I’ve overcome my upbringing to become more successful than I could have been if I’d followed either of their paths. I saw a lot of myself in Annie. I also have a parent with a drug problem and it’s hard to live with the thoughts that come with that. It’s very clear the drugs come first and children are an afterthought for those types of people. There’s nothing we (as their children) can do to change it. People have to want help before they’ll get clean. It’s definitely never easy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the addition of song lyrics. Although, I think the duet they sing is Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton (not Dolly Parton – that was a different duet).

I’ve told so many people to add it to their lists, so if you haven’t already, go check it out. I loved this FIVE STAR read.

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Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Thank you so much to Erin Hahn and Wednesday Books via Netgalley for the ARC.

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Sunday Post No. 4 | 31 March 2019

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


Last week on the blog

Once & Future (YA Sci-Fi/Retelling)

Can’t Freaking Wait Wednesday 27/03/19 (meme)

The Tiger at Midnight (YA Fantasy – rescheduled – AGAIN – from last week)

Never-Contented Things (YA Fantasy – and my first ever rant review!)


This week on the blog

Wicked Saints (YA Dark Fantasy)
You’d Be Mine (YA Contemporary)

Can’t Freaking Wait Wednesday 03/04/19 (meme)

Opposite of Always (YA Contemporary)

Audio Round Up (small reviews/wrap-up)


Latest book haul


Netgalley approvals –

  • Waiting for Tom Hanks
  • All We Could Have Been
  • Kingdom of Souls

Physical haul:

Charity Shop –

  • Bonfire
  • An Abundance of Katherines
  • Hollow City
  • Divine by Mistake
  • The Weight of a Thousand Feathers
  • The Bookseller of Kabul
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Dubliners (because of course)
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • Lord Arthur Saville’s Crime
  • The Isle of the Lost
  • Return to the Isle of the Lost

Currently reading and recently finished

Finished listening to Talon (audio) last night at work and realised I have quite a few audiobooks to review, so will be doing an audio wrap up in the coming week. Also read Little Darlings (gasp) and Once & Future (which I loved so much)!


A few final words

So, we’re in Dingle, Co. Kerry this weekend and I am so excited to be here!

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Of course, that means I haven’t gotten too much reading done, unfortunately. It’s definitely worth it, though m, because he proposed!

We’ve also done a fair bit since arriving Friday. We walked to the harbour and visited a few local places on Friday. Then, Saturday went to Dingle Distillery and Oceanworld before finding a pub showing the Manchester United match, since he’s a fan.

It’s James’ birthday Monday, so this is our little weekend away to celebrate. His dad and I also went halves and booked a trip for James’ birthday for the three of us to Dubrovnik in May, which is his big birthday present, but I thought it would be nice to have a romantic weekend away for just the two of us.

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It’s still going to be a difficult weekend, though, because today is Mother’s Day here in Ireland. Our first one without his mam since her passing last year. So, it’s going to be a rough day, but we’ll keep her in our thoughts and celebrate her life today. It’s been a hard 6 months. They say grief is a process, but I wish it would go quicker. I still find myself getting emotional about some things that remind me of her. Though, I don’t think that will ever truly stop.

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Anyway! What are you all looking forward to for the first week of April, Wayfarers?


ARC REVIEW | Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

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Title: ONCE & FUTURE

Author: AMY ROSE CAPETTA & CORI MCCARTHY

Released: 26TH MARCH 2019 by ROCK THE BOAT (UK); (JIMMY PATTERSON – US)

Genre: TEENS + YA/FANTASY SCI-FI

Rep: LGBT+, POC | TWs: SLAVERY, ANIMAL DEATH, ABANDONMENT, RAPE MENTION, DEATH, SUICIDE, WAR THEMES, GENOCIDE.

OH MY GOODNIGHT, I LOVED THIS STORY SO MUCH MORE THAN I EXPECTED I WOULD! I AM CURRENTLY A PILE OF MUSH AND FEELING AND LOVE OVERFLOWING!

Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… HAPPY PUBLICATION, ARI, KAY, LAM, VAL, GWEN, MERLIN, JORDAN, AND MORGANA! I LOVE YOU ALL. And authors and publishing houses, of course! Thank you for giving us this book. You’re amazing.

The novel was written so well. The pace, plot, and characters were perfect for me. The story moved along at a nice speed, keeping me interested in what comes next without feeling overwhelmed by details and everything happening at once. Ari’s quest to defeat the greatest evil in the universe is so fun! Obviously, there is a lot going on at any given point, but the authors balance it all so well. The characters were each unique and complex. Their relationships with each other added that much more depth to the story.

So, Ari is the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, which she discovers once she pulls Excalibur from a tree, and she has to work with Merlin (who has aged backwards into a teenager) and her knights to bring peace to humankind. She goes through so much on this quest (and this is only the first book), but she stays strong the whole way through. She is lost and betrayed, yet handles it all with wit and grace (mostly). Also, can I just say Morgana is so well-written in this story. I loved their interpretation of the villainous enchantress.

One of my favourite parts of the story is when Merlin assumes one characters gender and it becomes a conversation about how he’s from a world where gender was assumed based on physical markers and how, in this futuristic world, you should ask someones pronouns because it’s the accepted thing to do. And clearly a much better way of living life. It’s important to allow people a voice to tell you their pronouns. Honestly, this book opens up a lot of really necessary dialogues and I would recommend everyone read it when they get a chance.

Truly, this was a unique novel. A genderbent Arthurian space odyssey is exactly what I never knew I needed. I love that this was ownvoices and I enjoyed learning more about different perspectives, such as fluidity and ace (among others). It’s really interesting to see those perspectives and try to understand more about them. This represented a wide spectrum of the sexuality/gender spectrum and it was awesome!

This was a FIVE STAR read for me and easily one of my favourite books of the year.


King Arthur as you’ve never imagined! This bold, sizzling YA retells the popular legend with the Once and Future King as a teenage girl — and she has a universe to save.

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

Thank you so much to Rock the Boat (as well as Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy) for the ARC.

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ARC REVIEW | The Truth About Keeping Secrets by Savannah Brown

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Title: THE TRUTH ABOUT KEEPING SECRETS

Author: SAVANNAH BROWN

Released: 7TH MARCH 2019 by PENGUIN

Genre: TEENS + YA CONTEMPORARY/MYSTERY & THRILLER

Rep: POC, LGBT+, MENTAL HEALTH | TWs: DEATH, GRIEF, DOMESTIC ABUSE, MENTION OF SUICIDE, NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY

Savannah Brown has written a gorgeous debut novel with TTAKS (of course she’s a poet!). She explores some deep themes in death, grief, and learning to live with loss, and she does it beautifully and with the respect it deserves. Those of us who have gone through a loss, expected or not, will find solace in Sydney’s story. Grief is messy and variable because everyone experiences it differently, but damn is it hard! I absolutely cried reading this book…

The characters are realistic and unusual – I just loved them entirely. Brown has given us some real gems in this story. Just the right amount of flaw and validity, plus the intriguing storyline. I was hooked from the off! I nearly felt my heart was being dragged out of me with each chapter. Now, the ending I had an idea who did it, but the way she brings it all together is stunning!

My favourite side character has to be Leo, though. He’s just so funny and brings the perfect amount of levity to Sydney’s life exactly when it’s needed.

Totally had to be a FIVE STAR read for me. Have you picked it up yet?


A stunning coming-of-age tale from poet and writer Savannah Brown.

Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around in their small Ohio town.

He is also unexpectedly dead.

Sydney believes the crash was anything but an accident. And when the threatening texts begin, and June Copeland – homecoming queen and golden child – appears at his funeral out of nowhere, she’s sure of it.

But through Sydney’s newfound relationship with June, she’s given a glimpse of a life without the darkness of an unresolved grief and the chance, just maybe, of a fresh start.

Until it’s clear that the secrets won’t go away, and the truth might bring everything crashing down…

Imperfect friendships, the shadow of grief and the sweet pain of romance – this is a poetic, thrilling ode to being human.

Thank you so much to Savannah Brown, Penguin, and DeptCon4 for the ARC.


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