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

41216247._sy475_

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.

Add to Goodreads | Buy a copy

five stars

REVIEW | The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

41216247._sy475_

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.

Add to Goodreads | Buy a copy

five stars

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

41216247._sy475_

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

REVIEW | The Forgotten Girl: A Thriller by Rio Youers

Title: THE FORGOTTEN GIRL

Author: RIO YOUERS

Released: 28TH MAY 2019 by TITAN BOOKS

TWs Graphic violence and body horror. Gore; On the page character death, parental death; Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such; Reference to suicide and suicidal ideation.

Genre: ADULT THRILLER | SCI-FI | HORROR


This was an awesome novel! It more than met my expectations and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve never read Youers before, but after this I’ll definitely be adding him to my list of authors to watch! I am so glad I was able to pick this up.

The plot was so interesting and unique. I can’t say I’ve ever read anything quite like this. There is so much life, and death, in The Forgotten Girl. I found myself thinking about this story even when I wasn’t reading, and there were several times I kicked myself for not bringing it along with me to read in my downtime.

The characters were so real and the writing actually made me feel I was in the room with them dodging bullets and engaging in high speed car chases! Even the secondary characters were so well written and captivating.

It is such a page-turner and I urge you to pick this up as soon as possible! It will surprise you in the best way.


“She possesses a unique and powerful ability. Just like we can erase data from a computer hard drive, Sally can erase memories from a person’s mind.”

Abducted and brutally beaten by a group of thugs, street performer Harvey Anderson is convinced he’s a victim of mistaken identity when they demand to know the location of his girlfriend, Sally Starling. Harvey Anderson has been single for years. 

She dominated my dreams. Sometimes as a lover, more often as a scared, lonely girl running from something that slathered and swooped. I woke with her name on my lips, clutching the empty half of the bed, knowing beyond all doubt that she should have been next to me. 

Aided by his thugs, a sinister man known as “the spider” has tracked Sally to Harvey. He has pursued her for nine years, desperate to possess her remarkable talents. Yet emotion runs deeper than memory, and so Harvey goes looking for a woman he loves but can’t remember, and encounters a danger beyond anything he could ever imagine.


Thank you so much to Lydia Gittens at Titan Books for the review copy!

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

5129emgliyl._sx325_bo1204203200_

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

91cssrmiyvl

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?

41jbr1qwepl._sx329_bo1204203200_

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.