23 Sep 2018

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Series Review / Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman


Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

Published:     2016
Publisher:  Walker Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1-10, Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Source:  Owned


Now this was another set of short stories that I wasn't sure whether I wanted to pick up or not.  As I have mentioned in my review of The Bane Chronicles, short stories and novellas can be a bit of a hit or miss with me.  More often than not, I find that these types of stories, as part of a series or trilogy, can often be unnecessary.  Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, for me, is an essential read for those reading the entire Shadowhunters series right from The Mortal Instruments, through the Infernal Devices and to the Dark Artifices trilogy.   I read and would certainly recommend reading it after reading the Mortal Instruments series, particularly after The City of Heavenly Fire and after reading The Bane Chronicles.  I found that this was the best time in the entire Shadowhunter world to delve into learning more about the character of Simon, which this series of short stories concentrates on.  For me, this was a must read also because of the fact that I absolutely adore Simon.  He is one of my most favourite characters in this world, so far.  

I won't go through each individual story in this review because, to be honest, I loved each and every one of them.  With each story, I learnt more and more about Simon, his past and follow his struggles as he comes to terms with what he has been through.  He certainly has a lot to think about and deal with since he no longer is a vampire.  We also have the added surprise of seeing Magnus and Alec at the Academy in the last story with a new addition that was certainly a surprise for everyone!

A must read for those who are reading the Shadowhunter world books and for those who adores the character Simon!

Continue reading Series Review / Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman

13 Sep 2018

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Series / Book Review - The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices can get to know warlock Magnus Bane like never before in this collection of New York Times bestselling tales, in print for the first time with an exclusive new story and illustrated material.

This collection of eleven short stories illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality, flamboyant style, and sharp wit populate the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.

Originally released one-by-one as e-only short stories by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan, this compilation presents all ten together in print for the first time and includes a never-before-seen eleventh tale, as well as new illustrated material.

Published:     2014
Publisher:  Walker Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1-11, Bane Chronicles

Source:  Owned

MY REVIEWS (may contain spoilers)
(My reviews in orange below)

IN SUMMARY: I loved this series of novellas.  Normally, for me, I don't tend to pick up novellas as the ones I have attempted to pick up before with other series they haven't really added much to the story and I just lost interest.  But, this series of novellas is something different.  Not only does it add more to the story of the Shadowhunter world but it fills in some of the blanks and answers a lot of questions I had when I finished City of Heavenly Fire.  As Magnus Bane is one of my favourite characters in this world, I thoroughly enjoyed following him throughout his past and present.  This series of novellas gives great back story to some of the Shadowhunter world before  the Mortal Instruments series, fills in some blacks from the series and adds more depth to certain characters that were in the Mortal Instruments series and may be yet to come in further books...

Fans of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices know that Magnus Bane is banned from Peru—and now they can find out why. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

There are good reasons Peru is off-limits to Magnus Bane. Follow Magnus’s Peruvian escapades as he drags his fellow warlocks Ragnor Fell and Catarina Loss into trouble, learns several instruments (which he plays shockingly), dances (which he does shockingly), and disgraces his host nation by doing something unspeakable to the Nazca Lines.

Now this series of short stories/novellas I was really excited to start reading.  I cannot tell you how much I adore Magnus Bane.  Funny, witty and very smart.  What more could you ask for in a main character?!?  Peru was something that was mentioned briefly in a previous Mortal Instruments novel and I did wonder whether that would be picked up here.  In this story, it explains various incidents in Peru with, of course, only one that led to Magnus not being able to return to Peru.  This story, for me, sums up his character, personality and morals.  A very entertaining read.  

Magnus Bane has a royal role in the French Revolution—if the angry mobs don’t spoil his spells. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

While in France, immortal warlock Magnus Bane finds himself attempting to rescue the royal family from the horrors of the French Revolution—after being roped into this mess by a most attractive count. Naturally, the daring escape calls for invisible air balloons…

For me, this one was not one of the more interesting stories in this book.  Yes, there were a lot of twists and turns and a very surprising twist and even though it was set and beautifully written in Paris I just, honestly speaking, did not really find a lot interesting about this story.   Yes it had a great plot with really interesting characters, but the first story in this book was a lot better than this one for me. 


Magnus Bane leverages his alliances with Downworlders and Shadowhunters on a venture to Victorian London. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

When immortal warlock Magnus Bane attends preliminary peace talks between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders in Victorian London, he is charmed by two very different people: the vampire Camille Belcourt and the young Shadowhunter, Edmund Herondale. Will winning hearts mean choosing sides?

Now this is why I picked up this series of stories.  Not only are we following the magnificent Magnus Bane but we also see more of a background of how he knows Camile Belcourt and Edmund Herondale and learn a bit more of the history of the Shadowhunters before the Mortal Instruments series.    Loved this one.    


In Edwardian London, Magnus Bane discovers old friends and new enemies—including the son of his former comrade Will Herondale. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

Magnus thought he would never return to London, but he is lured by a handsome offer from Tatiana Blackthorn, whose plans—involving her beautiful young ward—are far more sinister than Magnus even suspects. In London at the turn of the century, Magnus finds old friends, and meets a very surprising young man . . . the sixteen-year-old James Herondale.

Yet again, this is one of those stories that I was dying to learn more of from little bits and pieces that were woven into the Mortal Instruments series.  For reasons I won't explain because of spoilers, the Herondale family come into contact with Magnus on a lot of occasions and here we see, yet again, another Herondale. Where you hear of a Herondale in a story, you know it is going to be good.      


 In 1920s Manhattan, Magnus Bane hobnobs with the elite at a glamorous Jazz Age hotspot.

The immortal Magnus Bane is making the most of his time in the Roaring Twenties: He's settled into New York society and is thriving among the fashionable jazz set. And there is nowhere better to see and be seen than the glamorous Hotel Dumort, a glittering new addition to the Manhattan landscape. But a different type of glamour may be at play...

Yet again this is another story I hoped I would learn more about.  Hotel Dumort which was once a very nice hotel but turns into something else completely.   Although I had wished that this would have had a bit more happening in the story, I found it interesting and gave a lot of background to the history of Hotel Dumort.  


 A Manhattan teen—Raphael Santiago—is missing, and Magnus Bane must track him down before it’s too late.

In 1950s New York City, a distraught mother hires Magnus Bane to find her missing son, Raphael. But even if he can be found, is Raphael beyond saving?

Another character that I adore just as much as Magnus, Raphael Santiago.  This is another story that I hoped that I would learn more about.  Raphael has such a great personality it was certainly entertaining to follow his story in this one.   A lot of back story in this one that fills in and gives explanation for certain personality traits that we see in the Mortal Instruments series...


Magnus Bane watches the once-glamorous Hotel Dumort become something else altogether in 1970s New York City.

Fifty years after the Jazz Age rise of the Hotel Dumort, immortal warlock Magnus Bane knows the Manhattan landmark is on the decline. The once-beautiful Hotel Dumort has fallen into a decayed thing, a ruin, as dead as a place can be. But the vampires don't mind...

We are back again to learn a bit more about Hotel Dumort.  I liked this story a lot better than the previous one in this book.   A lot of action in this one and we certainly see a lot more background to the vampires story.      Although not one of my most favourite stories in this book, I certainly found it intriguing to learn more about the vampire 'community. 


Magnus Bane may or may not be dating Alec Lightwood, but he definitely needs to find him the perfect birthday present.

Set in the time between City of Ashes and City of Glass, warlock Magnus Bane is determined to find the best birthday present possible for Alec Lightwood, the Shadowhunter he may or may not be dating. And he’s also got to deal with the demon he’s conjured up for a very irritating client...

LOVED THIS ONE!  Again, this was a story I was hoping to see more of.  One of my most favourite couples so far in this world and I was so happy to see more of them and how they are getting on.   On the one hand we have seen in past stories the Magnus who is the warlock, the Magnus who can come in and save the day but now in this story we are seeing Magnus the sweet 'boyfriend' of Alec.     


Magnus meets Valentine in battle as the Circle attacks the Downworlders of New York City.

In the time of the Uprising, Valentine’s Circle goes after Downworlders in New York...and the Shadowhunters of the Institute must decide whether to join him, or fight with Magnus and his kind. This is the first time Magnus sees Jocelyn, Luke, and Stephen—but not the last. It is not long before Jocelyn seeks him out...

Finally, a story that shows what happened with Valentine and his Circle way before the Mortal Instruments series began.   Apart from the stories with Magnus and Alec, this one is one of my favourites.  This is a great one to read if you want to learn more about the background of Valentine and all the main older characters such as Jocelyn, Luke and Stephen etc.  This story certainly does fill in a few holes  and answer a few of the questions I had about Valentine and his circle.        


 Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood might fall in love—but first they have a first date.

When Magnus Bane, warlock, meets Alec Lightwood, Shadowhunter, sparks fly. And what happens on their first date lights a flame...

Oh yes, another story with Magnus and Alec.  Just when I thought this relationship could not get any better. This was such a cute story following Magnus and Alec dating.  A great little story filled with such a cute romantic story.


The voice mail of Magnus Bane, High Warlock of Brooklyn, in the days following a certain incident in City of Lost Souls.

This was fantastic.  I wasn't sure what I was getting into just reading the heading but it all made sense once I started reading.  This is one that you should definitely read after you have finished The Mortal Instruments series.  From memory, I believe this relates to something that happens at the end of City of Lost Souls.  I have to admit that I did have a good giggle when reading this one.  A great story to finish the book with.  

Continue reading Series / Book Review - The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson

11 Sep 2018

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Series Review / Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know...

Published:     Series began in 2007
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Books 1 to 6, Mortal Instruments
Source:  Owned


Now this was a fun series to read!   I have started this series before, many moons ago, but never got around to continuing with it.  What I liked the most about this series has to be the world building.  As the story goes on from one book to the other, the world just gets bigger and bigger.  Now I have not yet picked up The Shadowhunder's Codex but I have picked up most of the rules with this world, with the Shadowhunters and Downworlders etc.  I was really surprised by a certain plot line that involved Clary and two other individuals which I think crossed a certain moral line but it was very interesting to see that moral line played out.   

That said, there were a couple of things I was not too fond of with this series.  One thing I would have wished there was was more of a cliff hanger ending to each novel.  Yes, they are open ended, leads to the next story and always left me wanting to keep reading but there was never, for me, a shock ending or a shock twist in the story that made me stand up and really pay attention.  The other thing was Clary.  She is meant to be the main character, the one that you want to wish wins the day but I really didn't.  She came across as a stereotypical bad teenager from a bad movie - whiny and always doing what she wants, not thinking about the consequences and irrespective of what anyone else asks her to go.  Yes, that may work out for the best in some cases but I just found this really irritating.  

Despite the couple of problems I had with the series, I took it for what it is just a bit of fun to read and enjoyed it for what it was.  I have to say that there were two characters in this series that really made it for me and that has to be Magnus Bane and Simon, Clary's best friend.  Magnus with his amazingly addictive personality and Simon with his loyalty and flexibility given all the different plot lines he appears in.

Continue reading Series Review / Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

10 Sep 2018


Blog Tour Book Extract / You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

Spine-tingling, chilling, and utterly compulsive, YOU LET ME IN is the stunning new novel from Richard & Judy Book Club author, Lucy Clarke
Nothing has felt right since Elle rented out her house . . .

There’s a new coldness. A shift in the atmosphere. The prickling feeling that someone is watching her every move from the shadows.

Maybe it’s all in Elle’s mind? She’s a writer – her imagination, after all, is her strength. And yet every threat seems personal. As if someone has discovered the secrets that keep her awake at night.

As fear and paranoia close in, Elle’s own home becomes a prison. Someone is unlocking her past – and she’s given them the key…




Pushing open the front door, I’m immediately aware that the air smells different. Something earthy and damp, mixed with the residue of someone else’s cooking.
The wind sucks the door shut, slamming it behind me with a startling clang.
Then silence.
No one to call out to. No one to greet me.
I drop my handbag onto the oak settle beside a pile of neatly stacked post. I glance at the bill resting on top, then look away. I slip off my shoes and walk barefoot into the kitchen.
Sea and sky fill the windows. Even at dusk the light is incredible. Two gulls wheel carelessly on the breeze, and beneath them the sea churns. This is why I fell in love with the house, which was originally a rundown fisherman’s cottage that hadn’t been modernised since the sixties.
I read somewhere that the beauty of a sea view is that it’s always changing, no two days are the same. I remember thinking the statement was pretentious – but actually, it’s true.
Pulling my gaze from the water, I scan the kitchen. The long stretch of granite surface is clean and empty. A note is tucked beneath the corner of a terracotta basil pot. In my sister’s handwriting, I read:
Welcome home! All went well with the Airbnb. Pop over for a glass of wine when you’re settled. Fiona x
I missed her. And Drake. I’ll go over tomorrow, suggest a beach walk, or a pub lunch somewhere with a play area so Drake can roam.
Right now, all I have the energy for is taking a long bath with my book.
I reach into the cupboard for a glass, and as I draw it towards the tap, a movement by my fingertips causes me to drop it, the tumbler smashing into the sink. A thick-legged house spider scurries from the broken pieces to take up a crouching position in the plug hole.
I shiver. There’s just something about the way spiders move – the jerkiness of all those articulated legs. With a sigh, I resign myself to the new task of removing the spider from the house. Catching it in a spare glass, I head for the front door.
The flagstones are freezing as I climb down the steps barefoot, then wince as I pick my way across the gravel to the far end of the driveway. This bugger isn’t getting back in. I set down the glass, then nudge it over with my toe, before hopping back. The spider remains motionless for a few moments. Then, with a flurry of black legs, it scuttles away.

Continue reading Blog Tour Book Extract / You Let Me In by Lucy Clarke

5 Sep 2018

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Book Review / The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst -- and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

Published:    9th September 2014
Publisher:   Scholastic Press
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 1, Magisterium

Source:  Owned


I have read this before but I wanted to pick up and read this again so I can continue on to the other books in this series.   We follow Callum in this story as he starts attending the Magisterium, against his father's wishes.  Right from the beginning, you can tell that Callum is not your normal pupil and that there's more to him than meets the eye.

This was such a fun read.  I enjoyed following Callum and his friends as they start at the Magisterium, learn a few things and have to overcome some obstacles.   That said, I found this story to be very predictable with no surprises, which I would have loved to have seen.   Even though this story was really fun to read I really don't feel the pull to continue on with this story, so I am going to leave it here for this series. 

Continue reading Book Review / The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

26 Aug 2018


The Seven Day Mental Diet updated by Jacueline Garwood

In 1935, eminent New Thought leader, Emmet Fox, wrote The Seven Day Mental Diet. He promised that, by refusing to let negative thoughts take root in your mind, you could change your life in only one week. 

Jacqueline Garwood, author of Future Pull, Partner with the Universe to Create the Life of Your Dreams, has updated this classic for the 21st century. This small book maintains the key message that Emmet Fox first gave the world--that you are what you think--but adds seven guidng principles to aid you in putting it into practice.
The seven guiding principles are the distilled wisdom of individuals who have been able to succeed in the Seven Day Mental Diet challenge. As Emmet Fox said, "It is simple, but it isn't easy." Changing your default attitude from negative to positive takes commitment, discipline, and persistence, but it is definitely worth it. 

The Seven Day Mental Diet, updated for the 21st century will show you how to become a conscious thinker, monitor and replace negative thoughts with positive, and use reframing to deal with difficult situations. You'll learn now to change your thoughts by moving your body and how to 'act as if' until you truly are what you want to become. 

In today's non-stop environment of negativity, perhaps there is nothing more important than fostering a perspective of positivity. You are what you think, and so is everything else. It's up to you to change yourself and ultimately to change the world. Take the challenge.

Published:    2011
Publisher:  Sun Moon and Compass
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone
Source:  Owned


I will first say that I am writing this review about 3 weeks after finishing this book.  Not because I found it difficult to review but I wanted to give this concept a go and try it for a period of time to see if this method was for me.  I picked this up because it intrigued me and I wanted to give it a go.  I have tried various different concepts which focused on anything other than the way you think about this.  This book made me think and that's a good thing.

Although, for me, it is a slow process it is working and making  a difference for me.  This is one of those books that you should read and then delve back into time and time ago for motivation.  Although I have a long way to go, I am continuing to give this a go and is working very well for me so far. 

Continue reading The Seven Day Mental Diet updated by Jacueline Garwood

12 Aug 2018


Book Review / Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

Published:     26th December 2017
Publisher:  Harper Teen
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand Alone

Source:  Library


Whenever I am in the mood for a light easy and fun read, I always look to Kasie West and have not been disappointed before.  Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this story as much as I have done her previous novels.  Yes, it was fun and light hearted but I did have a few issues with the plot line.

In this story, we story we follow Abby who has a very hard home life.  Her father is serving abroad and her mother suffers from what I believe to be either extreme anxiety or agoraphobia.  Abby's best friend Lacey is going away for the summer with her parents where they have banned all communication devices, so Abby turns to Connor to hang out with over the summer.  She makes a list of things that she wants to accomplish over the summer. 

First of all, I wasn't really comfortable with the message of this book.  To be able to get ahead in anything, you have to change who you are.  You have Abby who does not do well at an art show because it shows no heart so she things that  if she changes who she is she will get better.  This is just my opinion, but no one should change who they are to be able to achieve success in whatever they want to achieve.  I believe that you just need to learn more about yourself and apply that to whatever you do.  Being yourself is the best thing you have to offer anything or anyone and  you should not have to change yourself to make things better.  Maybe improve your skills or learn more or experience more but never change yourself.  Now, this may have been a misread statement by me, but that is just the impression I got from this story and that point really stuck to me throughout reading this book.

Also, this book was very predictable.  I would have loved to have seen a bit more surprising twists and turns but everything I had already anticipated and I was just watching the events play out.  Honestly, if I had read this book 10 years ago when I was a lot younger than I am now I think I would have loved this book more than I have now.

This was a fun read but I had quite a few problems with the story.

Continue reading Book Review / Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

5 Aug 2018

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Book Review / Madman Walking by L.F. Robertson

Appellate lawyer Janet Moodie is called in to work on a post-conviction investigation on a sordid murder-for-hire case. The client is uncooperative, likely schizophrenic, although he's never let a psychiatrist near him long enough to get a diagnosis. 

Convicted of arranging the shooting of a drug dealer, under orders from the Aryan Brotherhood, Howard Henley is not an easy case, and even on death row he doesn't seem to understand the severity of his situation. It is up to Janet to discover just what was done and by whom, and to determine whether to risk putting her client on trial again...

Published:     15th May 2018
Publisher:  Titan Books
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Book 2, Janet Moodie
Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


After reading and thoroughly enjoying this author's first book in this series (Two Lost Boys), I was really excited about digging into this book.  Yes, this is book 2 in a series but I will say that I don't think there is a need to read these in order if you wanted to pick this book up independently and not pick up the first book first.

In this story, we follow Janet Moodie who is a lawyer who after the death of her husband retreats to a 'cabin in the wilderness'  but doesn't cut off all life on the outside world as she continues to work as a lawyer and take on clients.  She then receives a call from an old lawyer friend who wants her to be the second lawyer in a case that he has picked up.  At first, this looks like a guy who is on death row and deserves to be but as we follow Janet and her fellow lawyer investigate this things are not what they seem.  Obviously, there is a lot that I could say but won't because of spoilers but what I will say was that this story was full of twists and turns and I had plenty of suspects going through the story.   For me, the best part of this story was finding out more about the legal system and processes when someone is on death row.

If I had to be picky, I would have loved to have had a bit more surprise and twists and turns that were out of the blue but that doesn't mean that I didn't really enjoy this story as much as I did.  I can't wait to pick up the next book in this series, or the next book from this author...

Continue reading Book Review / Madman Walking by L.F. Robertson

29 Jul 2018

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Book Review / A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.

Published:     5th July 2018
Publisher:  Scholastic
Goodreads :  Click here
Series or Stand-Alone:  Stand-Alone

Source:  Review Copy from Publisher


This was such a beautiful novel I just did not want to put it down, even when I had finished the last page!  This story has the perfect mix of interesting character development, gently woven plot lines and some very interesting dramatic twists and turns along the way.

What I loved about this story was all of the above!  If I had to pick a certain part that I loved the most, I would have to choose the characters, their development and their relationships with each other.  You  have Lou who is the main character who has almost accepted that she would spend the rest of her life in the village she has always lived.  She would marry and have a family and follow in the footsteps of many women that have come before her.  Lou is different, she has dreams of more.  She is a writer and has so much more to give.  When she is able to, she steals away to an 'abandoned' mansion in the village where she sits and reads for most of the day until one day per peace is shattered as the family who owns the mansion comes back for the summer.  In particular, you have a  a brother and sister (the Cardews) who quite clearly are the opposite of each other but equally love each other dearly.  Lou befriends the family and the friends they bring along with them and we follow Lou as she has a somewhat blissful summer with these new friends of her.

A very relaxing story that is filled with interesting characters and wonderful romances.  Such a beautiful book that I would not hesitate to recommend and certainly read time and time again. 

Continue reading Book Review / A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood