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Review: Defender

November 28, 2016 in Book Reviews, Dystopian, Thriller

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: DefenderDefender by G.X. Todd
Series: The Voices #1
Published by Headline on 12th January 2017
Genres: Dystopian
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

In a world where long drinks are in short supply, a stranger listens to the voice in his head telling him to buy a lemonade from the girl sitting on a dusty road.

The moment locks them together.

Here and now it's dangerous to listen to your inner voice. Those who do, keep it quiet.

These voices have purpose.

And when Pilgrim meets Lacey, there is a reason. He just doesn't know it yet.

Defender pulls you on a wild ride to a place where the voices in your head will save or slaughter you.

It’s our world, but not as we know it. It’s been seven years since the voices made themselves known and the population of the world dwindled. Now those that are left fighting to survive.

Pilgrim is a loner. He has survived, fought when he had to, done what needed to be done. However, meeting Lacey, a strong, surprising teenager, changes all that. He finds himself helping the girl to try to find her family and the two of them embark on an eventful, dramatic, action-packed road trip of sorts.

Going into this book I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if it would be my kind of read, but let me tell you – IT IS BRILLIANT!

Yes it’s dark, violent and bloody. Yes there’s gore, guns and grief. But there’s also friendship, loyalty, fantastic characters and writing that will keep you hooked from the outset.

I was trying to explain to my husband what I was reading; The Walking Dead minus the zombies was where I began, but honestly this book is so much more than that. It’s clever, multi-layered and mysterious. I feel we’ve just touched the surface of this dystopian world and I can’t wait to read on and learn more.

I mentioned the characters – they are what makes this book for me. Their interactions, banter and humour had me captivated. The progression of their relationships did likewise. I truly cared about our central characters and consequently felt I was embarking on their dangerous journey with them.

There’s so much more I want to say, I *need* to talk to someone who has read this book! The fact that this is a debut novel blows my mind! I’m reeling myself in here though as I refuse to be the source of spoilers! Let me just say though that I finished this book over a month ago and I’m STILL thinking about it.

I feel that this is a series to really be excited about.  Clearly, I’m not the only one as Goldsboro Books have DEFENDER as their December book of the month (an excellent way to get the book a month early)! They have an exclusive sprayed edges limited edition with only 700 copies available. Want to know how much I loved this book? I’ve ordered the special edition. Yup, it’s that good!



Review: The Fate of the Tearling

November 24, 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: The Fate of the TearlingThe Fate Of The Tearling by Erika Johansen
Series: The Queen of the Tearling #3
Published by Bantam Press on 1st December 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has transformed from a gawky teenager into a powerful monarch.

As she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, the headstrong, visionary leader has also transformed her realm. In her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies - including the evil Red Queen, her fiercest rival, who has set her armies against the Tear.

To protect her people from a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable - she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy, and named the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

Now the endgame begins and the fate of Queen Kelsea - and the Tearling itself - will finally be revealed . . .

I’ve been really looking forward to reading the final book in this trilogy. It’s one of my most anticipated books of the year and WOW it felt like a long wait!

If you haven’t yet read the first two books in this series then pop over and check out my reviews (The Queen of the Tearling review, The Invasion of the Tearling review) and stop reading this now.

I’m determined to write this without spoilers, so here we go…

When we left Kelsea in The Invasion Of The Tearling she had effectively surrendered herself to the Red Queen and rendered her Queen’s Guard helpless to do anything about it. She had legally appointed the Mace as Regent and the Arvath was becoming increasingly problematic.

For me, The Invasion of the Tearling generated more questions than it answered as we suddenly found ourselves meeting the Pre-Crossing Lily. I’m pleased to say that The Fate Of The Tearling does provide answers! In fact, we learn a lot about the history of The Tearling, through Kelsea’s visions of Katie. There are also answers with regards to The Fetch, the sapphires and Row. Honestly, I really enjoyed the way Johansen weaved this story, allowing us to see the history through Katie’s eyes and the current state of the world through Kelsea’s.

I have to say that on the whole I really enjoyed this book BUT I wasn’t a fan of the ending. No spoilers, no more details, but I suppose it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. That said, I always try to respect an author’s decisions and I can completely see why the ending is as it is, but I was just a little disappointed, flat even.

Yet the rest of the book, the history, action, characters and those long sought-after answers more than made up for the ending, which hopefully clarifies the 4 star rating.

I genuinely can’t wait to hear how other readers feel about this book. On the whole it’s a great read that rounds off the series well, full of answers, but those last pages – I might just forget they exist.


Book Club: Spotlight on Abrams & Chronicle

November 21, 2016 in Book Club, Bookish Posts, Publisher Spotlight

It’s the second day of our publisher spotlight series and today we are looking at Abrams & Chronicle, who kindly sent over a box of books for the book club.




I want to start by mentioning a book released in September that I’ve actually read myself.


Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee & Susan McClelland is the story of a young North Korean boy’s (Sungu Lee’s) survival in the country, and his eventual escape. I won’t go into too much detail as I have a full review here but I will say that this is an extremely eye-opening read and I definitely recommend it. In fact, I’m about to make my husband read it!

I frequently talk about my love of science; as an engineer I think it’s so important to capture the minds of children so that they aren’t afraid of science and technology, or even maths! So, the Abrams Books for Young Readers title Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts is a title that immediately caught my attention.


Aimed at the 4-8 age range, this the type of book I wish we had when we were young! It joins the series that include Rosie Revere,Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect. I fully intend to buy copies as Christmas gifts!

Talking of Christmas, another recent release that would make a fantastic gift is 642 Big Things To Write About: Young Writer’s Edition.


I was actually gifted 642 Things To Write a few years ago and I love it! Although being me, I can bring myself to actually write in the book itself!! Just me?

Sticking with the theme of words, I had seen this book mentioned online and instantly added it to my own wishlist.


Other-Wordly by Yee-Lum Mak and Kelsey Garrity-Riley is an illustrated collection of beautiful words from around the world, such as “tsundoku (noun, Japanese) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands”. *ahem*

Finally, we come to a book that isn’t out until 10th January 2017 but I absolutely HAD to mention – RoseBlood by A.G.Howard.


It’s a Phantom of the Opera-inspired retelling. Aside from that, I know nothing! However, I was kindly sent an ARC so I will be reading and reviewing it soon!

I could spend all day listing beautiful books from Abrams & Chronicle. I highly recommend checking out their own website to discover the wide range of imprints they have. Many of their books will make for excellent Christmas presents!

Once again, thank you Abrams & Chronicle for helping us getting our Book Club started – we REALLY appreciate it!

Book Club: Spotlight on Macmillan Children’s Books

November 17, 2016 in Book Club, Bookish Posts, Current Giveaways, Publisher Spotlight

Welcome to the first in my publisher spotlight series! So many publishers were incredibly generous in helping us set up our Book Club for the young people of the island, and so I want to say thank you by shining a spotlight on the publishers, some of their recent and future releases!


Today we turn the spotlight to the wonderful people over at Macmillan Children’s Books. Macmillan are the publishers of Julia Donaldson’s books. Julia has been so supportive and vocal on the issue of the loss of our school librarians. She’s helped to bring the matter onto the national stage, and I know as a community we are so grateful to her. So Macmillan Children’s Books seems a great place to start!

First of all, I HAVE to draw your attention to Heartless by Marissa Meyer.


I’m a huge fan of her Lunar Chronicles series so I was so excited when I heard that Macmillan would be publishing this in the UK next year. Marissa Meyer is known for her exquisite fairytale retellings and in Heartless she ventures into Wonderland to look at the Queen of Hearts. More specifically, Marissa tells us the story of Catherine Pinkerton, a sweet girl who loves to bake, who will ultimately become the terrifying Queen of Hearts! I’ve been lucky enough to read an Advance Reader Copy of this book and I can tell you that it’s fantastic. In fact, I will be reviewing it on the blog soon. Heartless is out in the UK on the 9th February 2017 and it’s definitely a book to add to your 2017 Wish List!

Continuing with the retelling theme, Macmillan will be publishing E. K. Johnston’s next book Kingdom of Sleep next month.


You may be familiar with E. K. Johnston for her book A Thousand Nights which was a retelling of Arabian Nights. This time, Johnston has drawn inspiration from Sleeping Beauty to tell the tale of a princess who must break a curse to save her people. Mark the 15th December 2016 in your diaries for this one.

Another book currently on my TBR which I hope to review soon is Welcome to Nowhere by multi-award-winning author Elizabeth Laird.


It is the story of 12 year old Omar and his family who are forced to flee their home in Syria in search of safety. I don’t know much more, but I suspect this will be a very important and timely read. It’s out on 12th January 2017.

What about some books you can get your hands on right now?

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin hit the shelves in September and with a 4.02 star average on Goodreads it’s safe to say this another book that I want to read soon!


It’s one of the book in our Book Club collection and I’m really looking forward to hearing what the group think about it. Suzy’s best friend Franny drowns one summer at the beach, and Suzy struggles to comes to terms with it. She becomes convinced that her strong swimmer best friend actually died of a rare jellyfish sting and crafts a plan to prove her theory.

Finally, if fantasy is more of your thing, Macmillan have published the first book in a new series from Kendare Blake, Three Dark Crowns.


One of the Book Club girls is reading this right now and I cannot wait to find out her thoughts on it! The synopsis sounds brilliant!

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomach-ache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of beasts.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose . . . it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

So there we have it, 5 new and upcoming releases from Macmillan Children’s Books to keep you busy over the next few months! Once again, we’d like to thank Macmillan Children’s Books for their generosity and support – it means the world to us!


BUT WAIT! Before you go, I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of one of these books. I’ll be purchasing / pre-ordering a paperback copy of the winner’s choice myself, however on this occasion the giveaway is open to UK only (sorry international friends, there will be an international giveaway later this week).

To enter, simply use the rafflecopter entry form below


a Rafflecopter giveaway


I’d love to hear your recommendations from Macmillan!

Have you read any of these books? We’d love to hear your thoughts.


Book Club: A Long Overdue Post

November 16, 2016 in Book Club, Bookish Posts

This post (and the subsequent ones) have been a long time coming. In all honesty, I’ve been wanting to write them so much but my health has not been so good so they’ve taken me a long time to pull together. I can only apologise for that.

Some of you may remember that I put out a plea for help back in September to help us get our Book Club for young people up and running. We received an overwhelming response and I did write a thank you post at the time. Well, it’s beyond time for an update. The Book Club has started and it’s been fantastic so far! The kids are brilliant, so enthusiastic, insightful and supportive of one another. They are also INCREDIBLY grateful to all of the fantastic publishers who sent them so many beautiful books.


So I’ve decided to put together a series of posts spotlighting the publishers and companies who have been so instrumental in helping us getting our book club off the ground. I can’t articulate how grateful we all are or how much this means to our wee group who meet on Wednesday afternoons for books, biscuits and a blether.

In a world that is currently so full of negativity, hate and distrust, I feel it’s particularly important to share the positive, the kind and the selfless. So I hope you’ll join me over the coming posts as I share the love – and give away a book or two!