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

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!

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!

 

T10T: (First Ten) Books I Ever Reviewed

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.

Topic – (First Ten) Books I Reviewed (These do not have to be formal reviews. A small sentence on a retailer site or Goodreads counts, too! Submitted by Rissi @ Finding Wonderland)

Girl of Myth and Legend (The Chosen Saga, Book One) – May 2016 5/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review

Wow!!! So many emotions upon finishing this book…it’s a very strong piece and not straightforward at all, which made me want to read it all the more. Some parts of the story were a bit confusing, but seemed to be resolved by the end of the novel. Yes, there are stereotypical aspects to the story, but the originality to the majority of the story far outweighs the cliché. There always seem to be so many things happening beyond the immediate issue and the author always keeps you guessing. The strong female character is my favorite part of the novel. It’s nice to see a storyline in which the lead character is not only female, but independent, yet flawed. I love it and truly cannot wait to see what happens in the next novel.

Solace – May 2016 5/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was easy to get into and interesting, but….

This was a very hard read….emotionally, I mean. As someone who knows multiple people who have been to war, I can totally identify with Corina, albeit not to the same extent as her actual experience. The plot is extremely well developed and satisfying, even if it doesn’t turn out to be the perfect ending. There’s conflict and danger and high emotions, and it all comes together in such a way as to leave you feeling as though there might be a silver lining in most outcomes given the right perspective.

Therin Knite is an amazing author and I really look forward to checking out other novels in the future. I would highly recommend Solace and hope to hear your take on it.

The Forgotten – June 2016 3/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

This book was truly a struggle to read for about the first half to three quarters of the story. I simply could not get into it. The writing was very strong (I do like Jennifer’s style), but the story itself was hard to finish due to the explanation and detail she put into it; and I actually read several other books to procrastinate finishing this. I feel that too many aspects were repeated throughout the novel that should have been obvious.

Of course, I’m bound to come across books now and then that I’m not complete enthralled by, but it could have been worse, I suppose. The last bit of the story, when it all starts to come together, was decently interesting and I would consider reading the next novel in the series to find out what happens to Emilie and Will, as well as Kell and Jakob. The characters were the main redeeming quality of the story. Especially the children themselves. Some of the characters were seriously terrible and I wished them ill, which ultimately happened.

The plot was really dark and sad, so I couldn’t get myself very interested in reading. There was quite a lot of fantasy aspects, which was great since fantasy is one of my favorite genres; however, a lot of the fantastical creatures were not well explained and so I could not clearly picture them as I read.

Sivec herself is a pretty good novelist, it seems, and I would definitely consider reading more of her work. This novel, however, was a trial and I cannot highly recommend it.

The Lost Soul – June 2016 4/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

I enjoyed reading this book because it’s not what you would expect and each time you think you’ve gotten it figured out, something changes to throw you a bit. It turns out that, even in fantasy, not everyone is redeemable. Sometimes, there are simply factors that cause people to be lost from us. Yes, this title probably refers the THE ‘lost soul’ of Echena, but I wonder if the author meant it to apply to more than one character in her novel, as many of them are ‘lost’ in one way or another….

The development of the lead character throughout the novel was inspiring. She goes from a 16 year old, sheltered schoolgirl to this independent, strong, and capable lady of the land and leader of what the establishment considers a rebellion. However, it all becomes clearly a battle for human rights once you get into it. I won’t go into much more because that would spoil it! I will say, though, I love her companions and that they are very atypical.

I’m looking forward to reading book 2 in the series: The Oracle. The ending of The Lost Soul sets up a whole lot of action to occur in the next installment.

Marked – June 2016 5/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

I absolutely loved this book!! I got so stuck into it that I read it in just a few hours. And when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about what might happen next… Right up my alley with all the mystical creatures humanised and the lead character being so relatable. Not only is the author wonderful, but she is also hilarious and capable of writing the story of a strong female lead who may need the guidance of her companions in the new world she comes to, but is still more than able to take care of herself and kick some ass when needed.

I love when characters are multidimensional from the beginning and progress throughout their stories. Miss Tingey made all of that happen and more. I did realise within the first couple of chapters that Kayla is not all that she appears, but that really becomes obvious near the end of the novel. There’s always something that doesn’t add up throughout the course of the story; too many coincidences that are obviously not coincidental. Then, when one problem is solved, another arises. And, of course, as the story ends, she has the decision of a lifetime to make…

Will definitely be reading book 2 of the Soulseer series! As a matter of fact, I just downloaded it…

Bury the Living (Revolutionary #1) – July 2016 5/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

I absolutely DEVOURED this book! It was an amazing read – so gripping I actually couldn’t put it down until I was basically falling asleep.. McIsaac made Nora and the rest of the characters in the story come alive for me – I was cheering her on like I would any real person. I felt like I was right alongside her at times. She really makes you love the characters she brings to life for the novel. I was especially into it because it’s one of my favorite topics – Irish history. I find the history so rich and interesting, the fairytale aspect is so enchanting, and for her to combine both the way she did was so appropriate for the time period in which it was set – like adding magic to the real world. Then to make one of the characters an actual person taken from a fairytale? Unreal..

It was in the same realm as Outlander and Exit Unicorns – being a historical fiction – and a good way to fill the gap between those. While I feel it should have been longer and more in depth, that’s probably me being selfish because it didn’t last nearly as long as I wanted it too. I wísh there had been more detail, though, because more of the history could have used explanation – especially for those who know nothing about the time period. I got really into it, but felt it moved along too fast in some instances. I truly cannot wait for the second installation of this series. I believe it could be as good as the other series I mentioned above. I truly hope the next one is longer and more detailed! She’s an amazing author and this is going to be a classic series some day.

Of Fear and Faith (Death and Destiny #1) – August 2016 5/5

ARC provided in exchange for honest review.

Oh my steaming goodness!! This was such a great book… I enjoyed it from start to finish and wanted nothing more than to sit and read my book, damn the reality!

Anyway, a lot of the books I’ve been reading lately have some form of god/goddesses and mythology in them – this was no exception, but, damn, was it amazing! Such an original storyline and I loved the characters created by ND Jones. There was so much complexity to both lead characters and loads of secrets going on! Loved seeing the way they interacted with each other and gave a little while holding back a lot. It was interesting to try to figure out what was happening when the writing went really vague in order to not give it all away too early. I loved the mystery and romance and suspense! Would definitely recommend this to mature readers!

Obsidian (lux #1) – September 2016 5/5

To be completely honest, the moment I found out Obsidian was about aliens I nearly stopped reading. I am simply not a fan of alien novels. Not really my thing. However, since a really good friend recommended this to me, I decided to read at least the first book in the series. I am SO glad I did!! Daemon + Katy FOREVAH!

I am so in love with these two + Dee + a few other characters. This story is rife with love + betrayal + so many difficult stories. Also, I love that she’s a blogger! I totally connect with her character. ❤ She’s so real and complex, but all the characters are multi-dimensional through the story. How else would you be drawn so far into this world of aliens and alternate universes? I also believe that if the bad guys aren’t complex, they’re not realistic at all. So when I find myself truly wishing a character ill, I feel it’s an amazing story.

On of my favorite scenes in this first book is when Katy goes to the neighbor’s house since the kids living there are around her age. She’s simply going to ask directions, but the ulterior motive is to try to become friends with one or both teens. And man, there is some serious chemistry from the first interaction! I’m rooting for them from the beginning.

Armentrout has seriously made me an alien fan with this series, which is really saying something because any time I’ve experienced alien fantasy, I’m bored. This…well, I think aliens are pretty fantastic now! You’re gonna want to at least try the sample, but you’ll be sucked in within the first chapter if you’re anything like me!

Tied (owned #2.5) – November 2016 4/5

<strong>What if your hero was a bad, dark man?</strong>

That’s Charlie in a nutshell. He doesn’t think he’s good enough to be worthy of anything, but oh is he wrong… Vera + Charlie are perfection. My only complaint is this novella was too short!

BOOK LAUNCH | Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

TONIGHT WAS AMAZING!

I got to meet (again) one of my favourite authors. By all accounts, Sarah Maria Griffin is one of the best people on the PLANET and I seriously love her so much! This launch for her second fiction novel was packed full of awesome people and her beautiful pink book, Other Words for Smoke! *go check it out*


The introduction by Sinéad Gleason was so emotional and inspirational. #tinycoven

She really would have sold me on the book if I wasn’t already 100% in for it. This book of family, supernatural, and love has been on my highly anticipated list since last October at DeptCon 4! Plus, who doesn’t love weird books with unconventional characters? I’ve only read a few chapters so far, so can’t really tell you much about the content, but just having it makes me ecstatic!

Isn’t she just stunning? Total role model 🖤🖤🦉🏡 Review to come soon, as I’m sure I’ll absolutely devour this story. Thanks for reading, wayfarers!