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IBW 2016: Bookshop Crawl

June 23, 2016 in Bookish Posts, Events


As a book fan, you might not really *need* an excuse to go book shopping BUT if ever there was a perfect reason it’s this…


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Yup, it’s time for the BOOKSHOP CRAWL as part of the 10th Independent Bookshop Week celebrations. This Saturday 25th June, is the perfect opportunity to visit & support all of your favourite independent bookshops and treat yourself to some new reads.

Don’t worry if you can’t manage the Crawl on Saturday though, you can participate any time this week. Plus if you take part in any of the challenges (below) you could be in with a chance of winning a book token!


IBW2016 challenges


So there you have it – the perfect excuse to go book shopping this weekend – you’re welcome! It’s also a great way to discover new independent bookshops. Be sure to check out the tag #IBW2016 on Twitter to keep up with all of the Independent Bookshop Week news and recommendations from fellow book-lovers.

For full details on Independent Bookshop Week check out the website.

Also, if you missed it, I did the Independent Bookshop Week Tag a few weeks ago, feel free to check it out and participate yourself.

Top Ten Tuesday #46 – Favourite Releases So Far This Year

June 21, 2016 in Bookish Posts, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. If you’d like to participate too, see here.

Top 10 Tuesday Strupag

This week the topic is…

10 Favourite 2016 Releases So Far This Year

2016 has been a fantastic year for new releases so far. Honestly, I found this hard to narrow down to ten… so there *may* be a couple of sneaky special mentions at the end! I’m going to try and put these in order of release date… seems the best way to do it, I hate picking favourites!

click to goodreads



TRUTHWITCH (The Witchlands #1)

Susan Dennard, January 2016

My rating – 5 stars



Salt To The Sea


Ruta Sepetys, February 2016

My rating – 5 stars



Morning Star

MORNING STAR (Red Rising #3)

Pierce Brown, February 2016

My rating – 5 stars




A GATHERING OF SHADOWS (A Darker Shade of Magic #2)

V.E. Schwab, February 2016

My rating – 5 stars



The Winner's Kiss

THE WINNER’S KISS (The Winner’s Trilogy #3)

Marie Rutkoski, March 2016

 My rating – 5 stars





Jem Lester, April 2016

My rating – 4.5 stars



Tastes Like Fear

TASTES LIKE FEAR (D.I. Marnie Rome #3)

Sarah Hilary, April 2016

My rating – 5 stars




A COURT OF MIST AND FURY (A Court of Thorns & Roses #2)

Sarah J. Maas, May 2016

My rating – 4.5 stars


This Savage Song

THIS SAVAGE SONG (Monsters of Verity #1)

V.E. Schwab, June 2016

My rating – 5 stars




DUSKFALL (The Chaos Queen #1)

Christopher Husberg, June 2016

My rating – 4.5 stars




I’ve been lucky enough to read a few books coming out soon and I absolutely couldn’t make this list without mentioning them. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the blog over the coming weeks.



July 2016

Clear To Lift

July 2016


August 2016


Review: Duskfall

June 20, 2016 in Book Reviews, Fantasy

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: DuskfallDuskfall by Christopher Husberg
Series: The Chaos Queen #1
Published by Titan on 21st June 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Stuck with arrows and close to death, a man is pulled from the icy waters of the Gulf of Nahl.

Winter, a seemingly quiet young fisherman’s daughter, harbours a secret addiction that threatens to destroy her.

A young priestess, Cinzia, must face a long journey home to protect her church from rebellion. A rebellion sparked by her sister.

Three characters on different paths will be brought together by fate on one thrilling and perilous adventure.

Three characters. Three stories. Three paths. All brought together by fate…

I’ve tried about eight different openings to the post, but the above quote is probably the best way to start. Duskfall is a dark fantasy, told from the perspectives of three individuals – a man, Knot, who doesn’t remember his past but seems to have every kind of skill at his disposal, as well as a flair for fighting; a young Tiellan woman, Winter, who, like the rest of her race, spends her life in the shadows of the humans; and a Priestess, Cinzia, whose own sister has been branded a heretic.

Knot has spent the past year of his life with a group of Tiellans, after they rescued him from the verge of death in freezing waters. He doesn’t remember who he is or what he did before. On the day that he marries Winter, a young Tiellan girl, he also has to face his past and so he leaves, abandoning Winter as he fears for her safety. But Winter doesn’t want to be left, and sets off on her own tumultuous journey to find her husband.

As for Cinzia, her sister is said to be rebelling against the Church and is facing dire consequences for doing so. Cinzia hopes to intercede before it comes to that.

As the paths of the three central characters converge, it becomes clear that there are more secrets and a great darkness lurking.

There are some truly fantastic characters in this book, not just our central three, but their acquaintances too. We have a sassy vampire, a protective Goddessguard, a lovestruck friend and a couple of magic-wielding assassins. What more could you want?

I really enjoyed the interaction between many of the characters, particularly Astrid and Knot. I’ll hold my hands up and say that Knot is my favourite though. I love the mystery behind him, his ability to turn his hand to anything and the protectiveness he feels for those around him.

As for the world building – well, to be honest, it’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. There’s so much richness in this world – history, politics, religion, culture. At times, I will admit I felt slightly overwhelmed by it but on the whole, I found myself absorbed by it. Then there’s the magic… well, I won’t go into too much detail here but I liked the magic system, and I feel we still have more to learn about that in the coming books.

I was particularly taken with the way Husberg weaves real life issues within his fantasy world – trust, family ties, addiction and racism are all incorporated into the pages of this novel.

Anything I didn’t like you ask? I would’ve liked a map. I just find it so much easier to visualise, particularly where there is a journey involved as is the case here, when we are provided with a map. That’s about it though!

I was completely consumed by this story from the start. In truth, I would have devoured it far more quickly, if I hadn’t been addicted to watching the Euros! I honestly can’t believe that this is a debut novel and I’m genuinely excited to read on in this series.


Titan are giving away TEN copies over on Goodreads. The giveaway ends in two days so be sure to get your entry in. If you love your dark fantasy, then this is a book you don’t want to miss.



Review: Eat. Sweat. Play.

June 16, 2016 in Book Reviews, Non-Fiction, Other Books, Sport

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Eat. Sweat. Play.EAT. SWEAT. PLAY. by Anna Kessel
Published by Pan Macmillan on 16th June 2016
Genres: Non-Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

What does it mean to be a sporty woman in the 21st century? From the launch of Net-A-Sporter, serving up sports clothing for fashionistas, to the introduction of #plankie as the new Instagram selfie for yoga bunnies; exercise for women has finally gone mainstream.

But if sweating has never been so hot for female celebrities, then why are there still so many obstacles for girls and women when it comes to sport? Why do girls still hate school sports lessons? Why is sport consistently defined as male territory, with TV cameras replicating the male gaze as they search out the most beautiful women in the crowd? Will women ever flock to watch football, rugby and boxing in their millions? Or turn up to the park with friends for a Sunday morning kickabout? How long do we have to wait to see the first multi-millionaire female footballer or basketball player?


Many of you know how much I love watching sport – football, F1, athletics – basically I’ll watch any sport with the exception of cricket.

These days I’m stuck in a situation where I can’t exercise; my illness confines me massively. I do those wee exercises that I can, the ones that the physio has given me. Putting my health to one side though, I’ve never been a very sporty person. I once convinced my maths teacher to give me a test I missed rather than run the cross-country! In fairness, she was pretty happy about it, as it meant she didn’t have to marshall in the rain! I was also an expert in getting out of P.E.

Outside of school though, while I might not classify myself as sporty, I was active. I cycled, I attempted to play football (I was never very good but I loved it) and I spent a significant amount of time as a sheepdog, rounding up sheep on the croft! Looking back, I was definitely active even although I hated P.E.

I’ve always been self-conscious though. I’ve never been to a gym – just the thought of it makes me feel ill!


Anyway, why am I sharing this with you? Well, I recently received an email about a book “written for anyone who has given up on sport, or perhaps were made to feel that they would never be ‘sporty’ in the first place”, and I was immediately interested. It sounded fascinating and I can tell you that it really is!

Eat. Sweat. Play. is written by sport’s journalist Anna Kessel. I’ve actually sat here for a while now wondering how best to summarise this book because it encompasses so much that it’s hard to narrow it down! Ok, so, basically, it’s a look at women in sport. Not just the professionals, but you and me too.

Anna looks at the reasons many girls dislike P.E., the reason why as teenagers we may have lost interest in sport and why that is still affecting us as adults today.

She encourages us not to worry about how we look or what others might think, and to MOVE. To enjoy that movement, to embrace it.


Something I’ve always wondered but never voiced is how professional female athletes cope with periods. Kessel discusses this, openly and honestly. She talks to athletes and even doctors with regards to how periods could affect performance. She answers all those questions I’ve often wondered about but never been brave enough to ask.


Kessel continues a look at the female body while discussing exercise throughout pregnancy. She shares her own experiences and draws upon the expertise of others.

But what happens after you’ve had your baby? How do you exercise then? She explores this in detail with suggestions as well as input from other Mums.


One of the areas I found most interesting was her discussion of being a role model as a parent. If your kids see you being ‘active’, they’ll see it as normal and do the same. This made me think of a friend of ours who keeps fit, plays sports and is a Mum. Her three-year-old daughter plays in the house, pretending that she’s going to Metafit class like her Mummy. It truly does have an impact, but until now it’s not something I’d ever really thought about.


Kessel is encouraging and honest. She includes not only her own experiences, including her own heartache, but those of others to motivate us to move.


A further area of great interest to me was her discussions on women’s sport as well as women working within sport. Sport itself is still largely very male dominated, and Kessel shares her own experiences of working in the industry – something I personally found fascinating, given my engineering background.

She also looks at the way top sportswomen are perceived, why they are judged differently from men and how the world of women’s sport is different from men’s in a multitude of ways – finance, medical knowledge, the media, support.


I found this to be a thoroughly eye-opening read. I can’t tell you how much I learned. This is a book you will want to talk about. I genuinely ended up discussing many of the issues in this book with my husband.  It’s also a book that will encourage you to have a better relationship with sport and fitness as a whole.


Top Ten Tuesday #45 – Most Anticipated Releases For Second Half of 2016

June 14, 2016 in Bookish Posts, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. If you’d like to participate too, see here.

Top 10 Tuesday Strupag

This week the topic is…

10 Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half of 2016

2016 has been a fantastic year for new releases so far. Here are some of the titles I can’t wait for in the second half of the year. I’ve actually been lucky enough to read two of them already (Nevernight & Clear To Lift) but I couldn’t not include them in this list!


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1  Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. First book in The Nevernight Chronicle. I’ve been lucky enough to read it already and it is BRILLIANT!

Out 11th August 2016.

2 Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. The second book in the Six of Crows duology.

Out 20th September 2016.

3 Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. The fifth book in the Throne of Glass series.

Out 6th September 2016.

4 Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor. The first book in the Strange The Dreamer series.

Out 29th September 2016

5 Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

Out 8th November 2016

bottom row numbered


6 Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The second book in The Illuminae Files series.

Out 13th October 2016.

7 Clear To Lift by Anne A. Wilson.  I’ve already read and LOVED this book!

Out 12th July 2016

8 Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.

Out 20th September 2016

9 The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch. The fourth book in the Gentleman Bastard series.

Out 22nd September 2016 **squeeeeeee**

10 The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. The third & final book in The Queen of the Tearling trilogy.

Out 1st December 2016

What are your most anticipated released for the remainder of 2016?