Book Review: The Gods of Love: Love is a Strange Magic by Nicola Mostyn


Title: The Gods of Love: Love Is A Strange Magic35824202

Author: Nicola Mostyn

Publisher: Piatkus

Release date: February 1st, 2018

Pages: 320

Meet Frida. Divorce lawyer, cynic and secret descendant of the immortal love god Eros. She’s about to have a really bad day …

When a handsome but clearly delusional man named Dan bursts into Frida’s office and insists that she is fated to save the world, she has him ejected faster than you can say ‘prenup’.

But a creepy meeting, a demon or three and one attempted kidnapping later, Frida is beginning to face the inconvenient truth: Dan is, in fact, The Oracle, the gods of Greek mythology are real and Frida herself appears to be everyone’s only hope.

The world is doomed.

my thoughts

I loved mythology, especially Greek mythology. One of the first long pieces of fiction I wrote myself was an adaptation of Greek myths, so there is a lot about this book that I appreciate on a research level.

Mostyn does herself credit with this debut. It’s a quick and easy read that manages to tell multiple – but similar – stories at the same time. The focus is very heavily on women and women in love and what love means in the modern world. I really enjoyed the idea of Anteros, of anti-love and how the purity of love has been tarnished for humanity. It was an interesting idea to start a story from and even more so to have that story be told from the point of view of a divorce lawyer.

Frida is the unwilling heroine of the story, and it’s interesting to watch her grow as a character from someone suddenly thrown into the world of myth and magic, to someone who could potentially save us all. She feels very real, has normal reactions to events and ultimately, this story is about her finding strength in herself, about her saving herself. Mostyn’s writing style embodies Frida’s personality and voice very well.

It wasn’t perfect though. There were moments that I felt weren’t elaborated enough, whether it be aspects of Frida’s past or big plot revelations. There was a plot twist (no spoilers here, I promise) that felt like it happened in the blink of an eye, and the speed of the revealing kind of made it feel like it wasn’t that important to rest of the narrative but it was.

There were a lot of moments in this book where I felt like I wanted more. I wanted the scene drawn out to fully allow the seriousness of the situation to sink in or to really see Frida’s reaction to what was happening. Maybe it was the constraint of pages but it did mean that there were moments where I felt really unsatisfied, and I didn’t want that from this book.

Ultimately, The Gods of Love is a well-written book with an interesting premise that wasn’t given enough time to shine as much as it could have.





Book Review: The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz


Title: The Word Is Murder

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Publisher: Century

Release Date: 24th August 2017

Pages: 400

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.
A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.
A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.
What do they have in common?

Unexpected death, an unsolved mystery and a trail of bloody clues lie at the heart of Anthony Horowitz’s page-turning new thriller.

my thoughts

The Word Is Murder follows author Anthony Horowitz (the character) as he is tasked to write the story of an unusual murder investigation.

I haven’t read an Anthony Horowitz book since Alex Rider in secondary school and admittedly, I completely forgot that he wrote adult books. But I picked this book, gave it a shot and it was an enjoyable read.

I enjoyed the story and the writing style. Whilst the plot followed a pretty generic point to point replay of most crime fiction books, sticking to the genre and not really standing out all too much in that regard, it was a read that kept me entertained and engaged.

I found the ending satisfactory which is usually the most you want from these genre books – satisfaction.

One of its winning aspects was the character of Anthony – by taking the author’s name as well as aspects of his life, I was often found questioning whether this really was true crime. There were so many points that I would have to stop and question myself or go to google just to find out if someone had really died in this way because the way that Horowitz embedded the story into the real world, into London was so well done.

However, parts of the plot were outlandish and there were some things that you needed to suspend your belief for – particularly how an author would be allowed onto bloody celebrity crime scenes just because a police consultant said it was okay – but in the moment, you rarely noticed.

There were interesting aspects of the story, especially Anthony’s inner voice about the workings of being a writer. He spoke often about the process of writing, about getting a book published and all the challenging parts of that. It was woven around the mystery of the story and I found both that kind of detail engaging and unique in the voice of the main character.

The Word Is Murder was an interesting read if not being all that unique and I would recommend it if you’re interested in the premise or Anthony Horowitz’s writing style.




Book Tour: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp


Before I Let Go was released on January 23rd and has so far completely overwhelmed me with how fantastic it is. A review will be coming shortly with my full reaction to the book, but before that, check out my interview with the author, Marieke Nijkamp, as part of her UK book tour.

Before I Let Go has a real thriller/eerie nature to it. Are you a fan of this genre, and what has inspired you book/TV-wise?

The funny thing is, I’m a scaredy-cat. I stay away from horror films, because they freak me out. I have a way too active imagination. I do love thrillers a lot and I occasionally read horror, because I love the mechanics of it (I’m sorry, I can’t help it, I’m a story nerd). But I won’t do haunted houses, I don’t enjoy horror nights, I’m meh on ghost stories, and I passionately loathe jump scares. So when I write stories that need to be terrifying in some way or another, there’s a constant balance between what the story needs and what I can handle.

Let’s just say with this particular book, I went for a lot of walks in the bright sunlight and slept with the lights on several occasions.

What I was aiming for with Before I Let Go wasn’t just thriller/eerie though. I loved the idea of pushing the boundaries of realism a bit. I called it my Twin Peaks YA from the start, and there’s a strong sense of that too, to be sure.

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp is published by Sourcebooks on 23/01/18.

BeforeILetGo-TwitterBlank-UK copy

happy reading

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Review: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire


Title: Every Heart A Doorway25526296

Author: Seanan McGuire

Publisher: TOR

Release date: April 5th, 2016

Pages: 169

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

my thoughts

See, I love the portal fantasy. I have always enjoyed Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. My favourite book series will always be The Chronicles of Narnia. So when I found out about Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart A Doorway, I knew I had to pick it up.

The first thing I noticed was how immersive McGuire’s writing is. She manages to cram so much detail and beauty and poetry in such little space because this book is tiny. Under 200 pages long. But it still holds so much weight with me and a lot of that is to do with how McGuire chooses to tell this story.

I en2joyed the uniqueness of this world and the worlds that are discovered within. Not just the good and the bad, with such a great compass line that affects how these kids interact with each other. There are insect worlds and worlds of the dead and worlds of candyfloss. And each of those who had visited and returned was deeply affected in noticeable ways, had adjusted to their lives in worlds that aren’t here from how they speak to how they move to how they think and see.

The worlds that are built in this story and the multitude of them were amazing.

The diversity in this book was great to see, especially because they’re all so open with who they are. Nancy has no problem telling these people that she’s asexual. Kade just is a boy, regardless of who he was as “Katie”.

My only criticism was the length. Despite the fact that McGuire managed to tell a beautiful story in a very small space, it might have benefited from another like 50 pages to drag out the climax of the book. The reveal is very quick and the conclusion is even faster. I wanted to have more time to be shocked and surprised by the mysteries end.

But even then, that doesn’t take away how much I enjoyed this book. It definitely inspired me and I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel, Down Among The Sticks And Bones.



Galley Review: S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett


Title: S.T.A.G.S35154365

Author: M.A Bennett

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: August 10th, 2017

Pages: 294

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… 


my thoughts

I was excited for this book from the first moment I heard about it. The very premise was something that pricked my interest. I was able to get a copy of this book signed by M.A Bennett during YALC this July and I impatiently waited for The Reading Quest to start so that I could start this book. As you can tell, there was a lot of build up and a lot of anticipation for this release.

S.T.A.G.S reached all of my expectations.

From the very first line – “I think I might be a murderer” – I was engaged in this story.

It’s written like almost like a memoir, everything told in retrospect which I think adds to the tension and thriller aspects of the story. You know something happened, you know someone died, you know who is responsible – you just don’t know what it is.

Bennett is really good at keeping the tension up throughout the story. The events of the deadly weekend are paralleled against the posh blood sports that take place each day – day 1, huntin’; day 2, shootin’; day 3, fishin’. Details about each bloody hobby are described and then seen acted out by the perpetrators. It’s a great way of adding foreshadowing – and therefore tension – to each arc of the story.

I really liked Greer’s voice. I enjoyed the moments of uncertainty that she felt, I liked all the movie references because that was something that was distinctly her and gives her a fantastic voice that you can follow with ease.

All the characters really were charismatic and entertaining in their own way. From the ‘Medievals’, blond and beautiful, to Shafeen, who wants to find out the secrets and save those he cares about, to Nel, who just wants to fit in. Each of them have you questioning intentions or feeling empathy deep in your chest for these feelings of inadequacy.

There’s a lot of focus on the modern world vs the old, and the social commentary that comes with that is incredibly interesting to read. Positives and negatives are both raised, the romanticisation of the past repeatedly challenged. In the end, this questioning is something that sets the characters and the world that S.T.A.G.S inhabited apart from everything else.

And as for the plot twist, well, let’s say – M.A. Bennett, is there going to be a sequel?



Galley Review: Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber


Title: Are You Sleeping30753570

Author: Kathleen Barber

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: August 1st, 2017

Pages: 336

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

my thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. I read it in about two days – it was really hard to put down.

Barber’s writing is immersive and entertaining, balancing fantastic dialogue with just the right about of delving into the emotional journey of our protagonist, Jo, and snippets of modern media – reddit threads, twitter feeds and, the most important, podcast transcripts. All these elements blend together really well, flow seamlessly from one section to the other.

I really enjoyed reading the podcast transcripts and experiencing this murder mystery through the eyes of those outside of the family, especially when these characters crossover with the main body of the story.

It also questioned the sudden popularity of these kinds of shows. Admittedly, I enjoy sitting down and binge watching and passing judgment as an armchair detective, but reading this almost made me feel guilty. It’s strange how, because it seems like a world away, you don’t connect that this has happened to real people, in the real world who are likely still suffering from it. The raising of this moral dilemma and of society’s fascination with crime and murder is definitely an interesting part of the story that I wasn’t expecting to come away thinking about.

As for characters, I really enjoyed reading about Jo and Lanie. As the story is set in present times, Barber focuses a lot on the past, on the twins relationship with each other and how it changed, how they grew apart and why. There so much strain and tension, so much hatred and reading about them reconnecting, trying to find common ground after everything was a really sweet part of the reading experience.

I liked Aunt A and her desperate attempt to keep everyone together, and Ellen with her unexpected loving relationships and caring attitude, and Caleb who is just a darling, so supportive and understanding of everything that’s happening.

In terms of the actual murder mystery, I enjoyed the twists and turns and personally, I fell for the red herring hook line and sinker. I honestly didn’t suspect the outcome at all and that’s a real credit to this story and Barber’s ability to weave doubts into the narrative.

Are You Sleeping is a really enjoyable murder mystery that uses our modern love of true crime investigations in a way I haven’t seen in other crime novels. Barber focuses on the victim’s family and the fall out of a murder and you genuinely feel for every character in this book.

For all you true crime fans out there, this is definitely a book for you.





Blog Tour/Book Blitz: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

So this is the release week of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee, a book that I’ve been excitedly waiting for since I found out about it months ago. I haven’t had a chance to read it as of yet, but if you’ve seen my weekly wrap up post, you’ll know I’ll be starting it soon.
Until then, I thought I could at least participate in the book blitz and encourage as many of you as possible to pick up this book and get reading!

About The Book

Author: F.C. Yee
Pub. Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon | Barnes&Noble
Synopsis: The struggle to get into a top-tier college consumes sixteen-year-old Genie Lo’s every waking thought. But when her sleepy Bay Area town comes under siege from hell-spawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are suddenly and forcefully rearranged.

Her only guide to the demonic chaos breaking out around her is Quentin Sun, a beguiling, maddening new transfer student from overseas. Quentin assures Genie she is strong enough to fight these monsters, for she unknowingly harbours an inner power that can level the very gates of Heaven.

Genie will have to dig deep within herself to summon the otherworldly strength
that Quentin keeps talking about. But as she does, she finds the secret of her
true nature is entwined with his, in a way she could never have imagined…


Now, I’d done my best to describe this guy to the police. They pressed me hard for details, as apparently this wasn’t the first group mugging in recent weeks.
But I’d let Officers Davis and Rodriguez down. Nice eyes and a winning smile weren’t much to go by. I was too frazzled to notice anything before, which meant this was my first decent look at the boy without the influence of adrenaline.
So a couple of things.
One: He was short. Like, really short for a guy. I felt bad that my brain went there first, but he wasn’t even as tall as Mrs. Nanda.
Two: He was totally okay, physically. I didn’t see how anyone could be up and about after that beating, but here he was, bruised and unblemished. I felt relieved and disturbed at the same time to see there wasn’t a scratch on him.
And his mint condition just made Point Three even more obvious.
He was . . . yeesh.
Nothing good could come of our new classmate being that handsome. It was destructive. Twisted. Weaponized. He had the cheekbones and sharp jawline of a pop star, but his thick eyebrows and wild, unkempt hair lent him an air of natural ruggedness that some pampered singer could never achieve in a million years of makeup.
“Argh, my ovaries,” Yunie mumbled. She wasn’t alone, judging by the soft intakes of breath coming from around the room.
“Arrived from where?” said Mrs. Nanda.
Quentin looked at her in amusement. “China?”
“Yes, but where in, though?” said Mrs. Nanda, trying her best to convey that she was sensitive to the regional differences. Fujianese, Taishanese, Beijingren—she’d taught them all.
He just shrugged. “The stones,” he said.
“You mean the mountains, sweetie?” said Rachel Li, batting her eyelashes at him from the front row.
“No! I don’t misspeak.”
The class giggled at his English. But none of it was incorrect, technically speaking.
“Tell us a little about yourself,” Mrs. Nanda said.
Quentin puffed out his chest. The white button-down shirt and black pants of our school’s uniform for boys made most of them look like limo drivers. But on him, the cheap stitching just made it clearer that he was extremely well-muscled underneath.
“I am the greatest of my kind,” he said. “In this world I have no equal. I am known to thousands in faraway lands, and everyone I meet can’t help but declare me king!”
There was a moment of silence and sputtering before guffaws broke out.
“Well . . . um . . . we are all high achievers here at SF Prep,” said Mrs. Nanda as politely as she could. “I’m sure you’ll fit right in?”
Quentin surveyed the cramped beige classroom with a cool squint. To him, the other twenty-two laughing students were merely peons on whom his important message had been lost.
“Enough wasting of time,” he snapped. “I came to these petty halls only to reclaim what is mine.”
Before anyone could stop him, he hopped onto Rachel’s desk and stepped over her to the next one, like she wasn’t even there.
“Hey! Quentin!” Mrs. Nanda said, frantically waving her hands. “Get down now!”
The new student ignored her, stalking down the column of desks. Toward mine.
Everyone in his way leaned to the side to avoid getting kicked. They were all too flabbergasted to do anything but serve as his counterweights.
He stopped on my desk and crouched down, looking me in the eye. His gaze pinned me to my seat. I couldn’t turn away. He was so close our noses were almost touching. He smelled like wine and peaches.
“You!” he said.
“What?” I squeaked.
Quentin gave me a grin that was utterly feral. He tilted his head as if to whisper, but spoke loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You belong to me.”

About The Author

F. C. Yee grew up in New Jersey and went to school in New England, but has called the San Francisco Bay Area home ever since he beat a friend at a board game and shouted “That’s how we do it in NorCal, baby!” Outside of writing, he practices capoeira, a Brazilian form of martial arts, and has a day job mostly involving




5 winners will receive Genie Lo prize packs—complete with a finished copy of the book and a special Genie Lo horoscope (that doubles as a bookmark!), US Only.

click here to be redirected to the Rafflecopter giveaway!


Thank you for reading! What do you think about The Epic Crush of Genie Lo? Are you excited for it, or have you read it all ready? Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

happy reading

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