A Conventicle of Magpies by L.M.R Clarke – ARC Book Review

Title: A Conventicle of Magpies (Bloodskill duology #1)
Author: L.M.R Clarke
Genre: Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Publication Date: 6 January 2021

What would you do to save your loved ones from slavery and a blood-draining serial killer?

Rook is an unapologetic thief determined to do anything to ensure her mother and siblings survive the squalid and dangerous streets of Stamchester.

Rook slips, like a shadow, in and out of the homes of the ruling elite, the Avanish, and steals what she needs. She feels no regret, afterall, the Avanish have enslaved her people, the Saosuíasei, and worse, have now determined the Saosuíasei to be disposable and worthy of nothing other than death. 

However, Rook is not the only shadowy figure in Stamchester, and a far more deadly one haunts the filthy streets, striking fear into Avanish and Saosuíasei alike. A serial killer who drains every ounce of blood from his victims and satisfies the elite’s demand for blood to burn in the magical art of Bloodskill and enhance their own natural, and sometimes unnatural, abilities. 

How can Rook outfox the serial killer and raise her people from the ashes left by the Avanish oppression? 

Well, it’s been a long while since I’ve had the chance to post a review. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! With that said, let’s get to it… 

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this one, as I’ve never read Clarke’s previous novels, so I won’t deny that it was this amazing cover that caught my eye! And I’m glad it did. A Conventicle of Magpies had a little bit of everything: a dynamic plot, diverse characters, and a solid chunk of social commentary to touch on topics of oppression and discrimination—a combination you don’t always find in a YA book. 

Stamchester itself was an interesting setting and was described as a kind of fictional Victorian city made up of Avanish suburbs and Saosuíasei slums—a divide that fuels the main conflict throughout the text. But this certainly isn’t the only conflict. Much of the appeal for this story lies in its fast-paced plot. Each chapter feels like a new challenge that keeps you curious and flipping through those pages. For those who prefer a single central conflict, that’s not what you’re going to get in this book. Between Billy Drainer, the Avanish, and the main character’s own personal struggles, you’re in for a ride!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: characters always make or break a story for me, and Rook was pretty solid. She was a strong and well-rounded female protagonist—a realistic mix of fantasy hero and flawed human—with a talent for using the magic known as Bloodskill. As part of a criminal organisation (The Conventical) known for protecting the Saosuíasei women of Stamchester, Rook managed to be both fierce and compassionate. I really enjoyed reading things from her perspective and seeing how she interacted with those around her.  

Speaking of those around her, there were quite a few side characters in this story as well. While they didn’t always move the plot forward, they were diverse and easy to differentiate and didn’t take away from the story at all, so this wasn’t a problem for me. I also felt that the side characters had a bigger part to play, so hopefully we’ll learn more about them in the second instalment.  

Overall, this was an entertaining read with plenty of mystery to keep you going. The story raises a lot of questions—about Billy Drainer, Bloodskill, Rook’s past and even her future. Some questions are answered, and the rest I look forward to discovering in the sequel. 

4 stars. 

Top 5 Sat: Second Chance Reads

Hey all!

I hope you’re all enjoying the start of your weekend. The topic for this week’s Top 5 Sat meme, created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books, is: Book’s I’d Give a Second Chance.

There have been quite a few books that I’ve put down or DNFd this year and I think some of those probably deserve a second chance. Here are the top five I’ve got my eye on trying again:

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve tried twice to read this story, so perhaps this would be more fitting for a third-time’s-the-charm list, but somehow I still haven’t gotten in to this story. There’s just something about Simon’s narration that bugs me. As well as the fact that the story starts off as if it were in the middle of the book… I just tend to lose interest.

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle – I picked up this book a LONG while ago, maybe a year or so, when it was recently released and relatively hyped. I read SO MANY good reviews about it and was excited to try it myself… until I got bored. My patience these days for pushing through awkward starts to books has become very short, sadly. It’s a bad habit I’ve picked up!

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker – I ADORE Tucker’s writing usually, especially A Simple Wild, but unfortunately this book just didn’t work for me the first time around. I DNFd at around 30% after the second-chance romance trope got a bit too angsty for me. I was expecting more, too much??, perhaps and this one just didn’t capture my interest for long enough. I don’t think I gave it a proper try though.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare – has made this list because I initially started reading this book soon after its release – I had been highly anticipating it – however I soon realised I had forgotten important details of the story and would need to reread the first two books again…. and that’s when I gave up. Those books were long but so, so good. It’s worth the reread to finish off the trilogy. Now I just need to find the right motivation!

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – If you’ve been reading my blog posts over the past year you’ll know I ADORED Graceling. To the extent that it’s in my all-time faves list. But… I couldn’t seem to finish off the final book in the high fantasy series. Perhaps I’ve changed over time? Or maybe Bitterblue just wasn’t for me? Either way I hadn’t been expecting to DNF this book less than half way through. My eternal love for Graceling demands I give this one a second try though!

Top 5 Sat: One Word Titles

It’s Sat again and that means we get to do one of our all-time fav memes: Top 5 Saturday created by the lovely Mandy over at Devouring Books. The topic for this week is: One Word Titles.

Last weekend I spent a LONG time trying to write a post for the previous topic in this meme, books by the sea, and couldn’t seem to find any books on my TBR. Nevertheless this week it seems like the complete opposite has occurred. I had TOO MANY one word books to choose from. Oh well, you can’t win it all, ha.

Motion by Penny Reid – I adore Penny Reid’s writing and really enjoyed the first series in the Hypothesis Trilogies. She always seems to manage creating the perfect balance of witty characters and endless drama (that somehow doesn’t get annoying?). She’s a genius, in my completely biased opinion. If you’re a science geek you’ll love her books too. They’re accurate! It’s like finding a gem in the rough.

Spellhacker by M.K England – This one made it on to my list as it sounds awesome and is surprisingly one word (??). I love books with heist themes and a merry group of law-breaking friends. What more could you want?

Havenfall by Sara Holland – I’m just going to be honest, this one is on my TBR because the cover is so pretty. Yes, I’m shallow like that. In my defence, I’ve also happened to read positive reviews for it. Well, mostly positive.

Faker by Sarah Smith – Oh, the sweet joy that is an enemies-to-lovers. Seriously I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this trope! Emmie and Tate sound so impossibly different. I’m expecting fireworks, drama and built-up sexual tension. I’ve read some mixed reviews for this one but for now I’m remaining hopelessly optimistic!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber – I’ve literally seen this book everywhere for years and haven’t really read any negative reviews for it. The premise sounds adventurous and full of magic. It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy immersed in magic.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman – Book Review

Title: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019

The Toll, the final part in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, is currently running as my ‘Most Disappointing Read of the Year’ purely because I was SO EXCITED for it and SO LET DOWN by the direction it took. The thing is though, it’s brilliant. It’s very well written, refuses to conform to the ‘Chosen One’ trope, expertly creates a dystopian atmosphere and weaves in a strong stance on modern-American politics.

That said, it just wasn’t for me. But please, for the sake of me avoiding feeling like The Grinch who stole Christmas, take note of my opinions and critiques. I’m not saying this was a terrible book. I’m saying it wasn’t what I wanted for the end of this series. There will quite likely be A LOT of readers who adore this book.

The Toll began where Thunderhead left off – with a rise in support for Scythe Goddard’s followers and cracks in the foundation of the respected, ethically-bound Scythedom that had reigned for so long. In its stead rose the new wave of Sycthes – blood-hungry, arrogant and bejewelled in respect to their ostentatious nature. The rise of the ‘modern scythes’ seemed apt to me with the glimpses of human fallibility that had been slowly portrayed to us throughout the previous book, Thunderhead. Scythe had painted the picture of a perfectly organised and constructed world that was immune to the failures of its past – such as unemployment, debt and death. The gradual progression toward a failed society, despite the extreme advancements in modern medicine, seemed like a fitting arc for the end of this trilogy. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all I enjoyed from this book.

My original enjoyment in this series came from the expert creation of the Scythe dystopian world but also the two main characters: Citra and Rowan. I adored them. They were real, they had flaws. While I connected to Rowan easily throughout this book Citra, or rather Anastasia to be more specific, was very hard to connect to. It felt as if her initial naivete had not only disappeared but she had also become cold and hard. Yes, she was essentially a killer and that would have an effect on anybody’s personality but she felt too emotionally removed as a character to be able to connect with as a reader.

Additionally, the lack of interaction between most of the characters in this book really got me down. I understand, and usually quite enjoy, the concept of splitting characters up in anticipation of their reunion, however it felt like almost the entire book had passed before we saw any interaction. The only exception to this was the interaction between Jerico (my new fav) and Anastasia but her attitude stole some of the lustre from this.

The prominence of The Toll in the story’s arc also let me down. Yes, I know it’s the title of the book and I should have been expecting it. However, I don’t think that should have been at the expense of reading about the other characters. The original cast of characters felt very neglected in this and as they had been there from the start it seemed an odd choice to me. I eventually grew fond of The Toll however not enough to make up for the lost story-time with the other characters I had come to expect.

In concern to the structure of the book, the disconnect between all of the characters bled in to my reading experience and made the middle portion of the book feel very long winded and at times unnecessary. The political themes, that I generally enjoy in books, now became cumbersome to the story. It felt like a ramble and quite honestly it took a lot of motivation to finish this book. If the first two books hadn’t been so enjoyable for me I’m sure I’d have DNFd this one. The ending was a nice surprise but did not make up for the marathon that was the middle.

A sad 2.5 stars from me.

The Coffee Book Tag

Hey all!

How is it another month gone already? Seriously, this year is going too fast for me to keep up. COFFEE was my first thought this morning followed quickly by… it’s going to be a two cup morning after testing the freezing outdoor temps. As an Aussie gal winter mornings are just about the coldest it gets.

I was tagged (an embarrassingly long time ago) in this tag by KitKat from KB Book Reviews – AKA one of the sweetest bloggers out there – and knew it was the perfect theme for my morning. I’m not entirely sure who created this tag, so if you know please leave a comment below so that I can acknowledge them!

Side note: If you haven’t checked out KB’s blog before GO THERE NOW. It’s brilliant!


Name a series that’s tough to get into, but has hardcore fans.

I’d have to go with LOTR. Its fans are present far and wide and seem endlessly loyal to the series. Unfortunately, this is just one series I struggled to get in to. I enjoyed the Hobbit but not the trilogy.


Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or festive time of the year.

It would have to be P&P. It seems that I’m not the only one to reread this during the holiday season! I’d also like to add in here: P&P retellings. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavours by Sonali Dev is one retelling I have my eye on. Have you read any noteworthy P&P retellings?


Name your favourite children’s book.

The Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton was my all-time fav read as a child. I remember my mother reading the adventures to me and eventually learning to read it myself. I still go back and read it from time-to-time.


Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

This prompt was probably looking for a more heart-pounding, terror-inducing book but since I’m the wimpiest of wimps I avoid anything ‘too scary’ (AKA most thrillers and horrors). This is as about as scary as it gets for me. I couldn’t put this one down though!


Name a book you see everywhere.

I’ve been seeing Schwab’s books EVERYWHERE lately. She’s an author I have on my TBR but I haven’t tried any of her books/series yet. I’m particularly keen on trying A Darker Shade of Magic as the premise of parallel Londons sounds interesting.


Give a book by an indie author a shout-out.

I’m not content to just give one indie author a shout-out when I’ve recently ADORED these two books by indie-authors. Madeline Ash’s self-published series, Cowboy Princes, is a quirky and oh-so-sweet romance that I cannot recommend enough. Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen also makes this list because it’s a brilliant fantasy filled with merfolk, intrigue and adventure. If you’re unsure JUST READ THEM. I promise they’re worth the try.


Name a book you were expecting more from.

Oh man, these were such disappointments for me. My excitement during the WAIT for the release of these books was very quickly turned around once I started reading them. Undercover Bromance had many of the same elements I loved from the first book in the series but unfortunately an annoying female MC and dragged out investigative side plot let this one down.

The Arc of a Scythe trilogy started out as one of my all-time faves. I still think back fondly on the time I first read Scythe. It completely captured my interest. The Toll however, has been an incredibly hard book to finish. I’m still trying to read it after two months of chipping away at it. I’m now trying to make the hard decision of either continuing to push through or DNFing this.


Name a book or series that’s bitter sweet yet satisfying.

This ending was more bitter than sweet for me. By that I mean: I was utterly destroyed and ugly-cry sobbed. It completely broke my heart and yet… there was some happiness in there too. Everybody deserves the right to their own choices and final decisions. It took me a long while after reading the book to come to terms with that. I finally realised you don’t often have to agree with others’ choices, or even fully understand them, to be supportive of their wishes.


As always, if you choose to participate in this I’d love to see your responses so please link back in to one of my posts.

Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen – 5 STAR Book Review

Title: Beneath Cruel Fathoms (Bitter Sea Trilogy #1)
Author: Anela Deen
Genre: Fantasy / Myth
Publication Date: May 2019

After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls.

As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.


First off, how awesome is this cover?! The author of this book contacted me a while ago for a book review (read: almost a year… yes, my shame is real) and this has sat on my Kindle shelf for months. What’s worse than taking A YEAR to finally read this book? Only being aware NOW of its greatness. How can that be worse? Well, I could have read this book a year ago! I’d be well in to the remainder of the trilogy by now if I’d given it a try when I should have.

Okay, pitiful rant over.

While I adore mermaid characters in MG books, the same can’t often be said for my feelings on their inclusion in the adult/YA fantasy age groups. They usually all follow the same plot line and then things get BORING. That was not the case with this book. Well, there was some predictability and following of the general trend: character finds out mermaids are real + falls for a mermaid + some light myth involved + some light action + HEA (with some challenges to overcome still ) = THE END.

In the case of Beneath Cruel Fathoms all of these features were there BUT (and it’s a significant but) the story wasn’t really about all of that fantasy jazz. I mean sure, it was interesting and I enjoyed how the author incorporated mythology in to this story in a manner that made it feel relatable but the true selling point of this were the characters. If you’re a fantasy-nut though this book will give you everything you’d normally enjoy and then just a little bit more of the good stuff. Because it’s awesome like that.

Leonel and Isaura were the two MCs of this book, told in alternating POV, and they BLEW ME AWAY. Here were two emotionally scarred individuals STILL capable of being courteous to one another and considerate. Don’t even get me started on the trope: [insert character name] is an asshole because they [insert traumatic past] and all of their actions should forever be forgivable in a selfless display of courtesy by [insert victim] that is never returned nor appreciated by said asshole.

Isaura did not hold her past against those who threatened her comfortability but rather appealed to her healer nature: she sought to give them the calm she could not find for herself. It was inspiring to read about and came across as so damn genuine, mature and authentic. She was not without flaws however, these defined her. She did not apologise for them and was unapologetically real. Isaura struggled with her infertility and crumbled marriage. Deen did not sugar coat this and you could tell the emotions involved in building Isaura’s character were authentic, as explained by Deen in her acknowledgements. Deen’s own struggle with infertility gave Isaura’s emotions a depth that was heart-wrenching.

Leonel however, was my favourite character. Deen managed to create a character that had suffered emotional abuse, abandonment and ridicule his entire life for being different but was still capable of being genuinely caring toward others. As the last of the merfolk, a species looked down upon for their association with humans, Leonel’s childhood and adolescence had been rife with bullying and loneliness. Accustomed to the loneliness Leonel strived to protect the Fathoms (ocean) as a Guardian in a manner that was never offered to him. He was capable of emotional growth that was awe-inspiring.

Just like that, she defeated the gods. Not with indifference and irreverence, but with resolve founded on compassion. Why had he ever believed strength came from a hardened heart? Determination and emotion were bound to each other. Victory could never be reached by the hand that knew nothing of grace.

Leonel and Isaura’s character development during their budding relationship was engaging and so sweet to read BUT GET THIS: I would have been happy even if they didn’t stay together. Their individual growth and support of one another was simply beautiful and I would have been so, so emotionally satisfied if Anela did the bittersweet ending thing. Don’t worry though, there’s a HEA in this that was perfectly steeped in reality as opposed to overdone mush.

I won’t swear we’ll never argue. I will not say you’ll only know happiness each day. Life is too full and too wide for such claims. But I will swear to always stand by you. I will swear my heart is yours.

*Cue sobbing moment*

You just need to read this book. Okay? Okay.

Obviously = 5 STARS.

Top Ten Tuesday – Reasons Why I Love Middle Grade Books

It’s TOP TEN TUESDAY TIME. As ever, I’m so thankful to Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl for this delightful meme and topic this week.

Middle grade has been my go-to reading over the past month (with a dash of romantic fiction added in there). In a time when anxiety is high (mine is from currently moving house which is a CHORE) middle grade books allow me the perfect, calming escape (REASON #1).


The lack of romance. Yes, I know. I actually said (or is it technically typed?) that. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a die hard rom-com fan but occasionally it’s nice to have a genre that isn’t focused on squeezing in romantic plots in the background (or as the WHOLE plot, as is the case in romance). That’s not to say there aren’t MG books with romance but it’s less common I find.


The friendships! It’s so sweet to read about a band of misfit BFFs taking on the Wicked Witch of the West [or insert alternative villain here]. The wholesome innocence of it is beautiful, especially in contrast to my current living situation which means FRIENDS ARE SO FAR AWAY. It makes me melancholy and eager to see them again!


The fantasy kicks ass. Not quite literally (although I’m sure there’s at least one example of this somewhere…) but in the sense that there ARE NO RULES. Their creativity and imagination is sometimes far more vivid than YA or adult fantasy: genres that tend to lean toward ‘the realm of possibility’ with their fantastical ideas. Whereas some MG fantasy books just GO BANANAS in terms of realism and flying pigs go by in the next chapter. Who doesn’t want a healthy does of whimsy like this in their life?


They’re shorter. There are times when I want to sit down to a beastly tomb and spend 15 hours of my life compelled by the pages (Kingdom of Ash)… and then there are times when I want to sit on the couch, be lazy, pick up a book and finish it before I feel the urge to get back up again. MG novels tend to be at least 100 pages shorter than your average adult novel and this can come in handy when you’re in the mood for a quick escape.


PICTURES. Okay, so MG books don’t actually have pictures in them but the COVERS are SO CUTE majority of the time. If you don’t believe me check out these MG books below. Who could resist picking these up off the shelf???!! Yes, they’re all mermaid related. Because mermaids are cool like that.


ARCs. My luck with MG ARCs is generally far better than with YA or adult novels. Maybe it’s just me? I could be overly critical of YA and adult books and lenient on MG? Regardless of the reason, my track record with higher star ratings and enjoyment is definitely higher in MG than in any other genre. They’re just so FEEL GOOD. I can’t help but be happy and give a happiness-induced high rating!


The series DON’T LET YOU DOWN. At least in Rick Riordan’s case. And isn’t he kinda the King of Greek myth fantasy for MG? I feel like he is (in my completely biased opinion due to a love of Percy J). I’ve had some bad luck lately with bad sequels and endings to series (looking at you Neal Shusterman…) and having a genre where the sequel is generally as good as the first is a win-win in my book!


They cover some deep topics. With a host of books in MG being dedicated to the fantastic there isn’t often a highlight on the OTHER books for this age group. One of my favourite topics, quite often covered, is that of immigrating as a child and adjusting to a new culture. This is something I experienced as a child and being able to relate to characters going through the same thing gets me all teared up! It’s such a hard thing to handle when you’re young (especially if you’re the kid with the weird accent) and these books tackle the subject so well. I wish I’d had them as a child so that I could have read and related to this back then. It would have certainly helped with the discomfort of being ‘The New Girl’ in a very strange new school.


THEY’RE ADDICTIVELY FUN AND FUNNY. I’ll admit that I can be quite the staid reader. You’d probably think I looked dead bored if you chanced a peek at me reading (when in reality I’m so engrossed that my awareness of the surroundings just disappears). Like resting b*tch face, my resting reading face leaves a lot to be desired. That’s why MG is so fun to read. I genuinely find myself laughing out loud and talking to my invisible neighbour (I’m calling him George for the time being) about how amazing/brilliant/funny/ [insert adjective here] the characters are.

The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts – MG ARC Book Review

Title: The Witches of Willow Cove
Author: Josh Roberts
Genre: Fantasy / Middle Grade
Publication Date: 26 May 2020

Six teenage witches. One mysterious stranger. A secret that could destroy them all.

It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.

Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town–and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.

But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?

The Witches of Willow Cove was a journey of magic, friendship and mysterious disappearances. Roberts’ writing was reminiscent of J.K Rowlings in Harry Potter (BIG statement… but let me explain) in regards to building young adult characters that had a bravery, curiosity and maturity that defied their years (but was also believable).

While the cover and synopsis of this story seemed to hint at a darker theme, the sudden disappearance of characters throughout the book made me uncomfortable. It seemed as if integral members of the community had suddenly gone missing… and no one noticed. Usually the disappearance of a character in a small town is easily noticed and is followed up with a sense of panic. The lack of this had me uneasy as a reader. Roberts created a foreboding atmosphere without having to resort to dramatic means.

The main characters in this story, Abby and Robby (yes, the synopsis only states Abby as the MC but it felt like they were equally as important) had a youthful friendship that brought back a feeling of sentiment for me. Their ‘BFF’ label was an innocent sort that hadn’t been tested with conflict. This book’s exploration of their friendship amidst a sea of secrets and lies was fascinating to read. I enjoyed following their friendship as it cracked under pressure and then slowly built again to become something able to stand the test of time. Roberts expertly dealt with youth-like emotions in a way that was relatable for an adult reader. Oftentimes the emotional arc of an MG story can feel a bit angsty or become frustrating to follow but that wasn’t the case with The Witches of Willow Cove.

The only downside to this story was its predictability. There were aspects of the plot I predicted from a mile away and yet there remained a few events toward the end that had me smiling in surprise. As this is pitched for a younger audience it’s to be expected that some predictability is present.

I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

4.5 Stars

*ARC kindly provided by Owl Hollow Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Books As First Dates Tag

We were tagged in this fun and romantic bookish tag by Alice over at Love For Words. Alice created this tag herself and we ADORE it. What’s better than a ‘first date’ with a good book? Especially if the book turn in to a series. It’s a one way street to a long-term reading commitment!

If you haven’t checked out Alice’s blog yet please do! One of our favourite posts of hers is a review on The Lunar Chronicles. It’s insightful, detailed and a fun read. Check it out!

The Rules

↠ Link back to the original tag.
↠ Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
↠ Tag 5+ bloggers.
↠ Have fun!


A book/series you’ve read and enjoyed, but can’t bring yourself to read again

After falling in love with Urban YA Fantasy from reading City of Bones, the Vampire Academy series was the next up on my list of obsessions. Seriously, I remember flying through these books and eagerly awaiting the release of the final instalment in the series. That said, I tried to re-read these books last year and NOPE. I got one chapter in and promptly gave up! I think my reading tastes may have changed somewhat…


A book/series someone recommended to you that turned out to be different from what you had expected

I first read this after Nen recommended it and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I connected with the characters and enjoyed this story. I wasn’t expecting that as this was initially a book I had actively avoided. I tend to avoid Tolkien stories due to their complexity and frankly all of the hype surrounding them (I lived in NZ and there ALWAYS seemed to be a fan nearby extolling its virtues).


A book whose sequel you immediately had to read

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading a novel by Sarina Bowen you’ll understand why I NEEDED the sequel to Bittersweet IMMEDIATELY after having finished reading it. Griff and Audrey’s romance was oh, so sweet and I couldn’t wait to read more romances set in an apple orchard.


A book/series that should be adapted to the screen

Who wouldn’t want to watch this??!!??!!??


A book that made you go ahhhh and ohhhh.

Wait For It is my favourite Zapata novel (which is saying A LOT as she’s my fav romance author). There’s just something about the slow, realistic and intense relationship that builds up between Diana and Dallas. Seriously, I can’t even count how many times I’ve reread this story!


A book full of colors

I’m assuming this prompt means colours on the cover? I couldn’t think of a more colourful cover than this!


A book that was a rollercoaster

Did anyone else read the Uglies series when they were younger? This was a first for me in regards to reading dystopian and I was hooked! Not only did this deliver in action and pace (reminiscent of a rollercoaster), Uglies also made me think A LOT about society’s pressure of being aesthetically beautiful. It was an intense read as a teen!


A book whose food descriptions made you feel all *heart eyes*

Acevedo’s writing (and recipes) in this book were a foodie delight! While I preferred The Poet X over this story (and CANNOT WAIT for Clap When You Land), Emoni’s recipes certainly made this book mouthwateringly fun to read!


A book that taught you valuable stuff

The Secret Life of Bees was a novel I had to read for English class when I was in high school and it had a profound impact on my reading choices and understanding of the world. This was the first book I had read that truly made me think. Not just about the racial and prejudicial issues explored in the book but also about the small choices we make everyday and their effect on others. Be it positive or negative. This is a book I think everyone should read at least once.


Wolfsong by TJ Klune – 5 Star Book Review

Title: Wolfsong
Author: TJ Klune
GenreFantasy / LGBT
Publication Date: June 2016

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane. (Goodreads).

THIS BOOK. It took my by surprise and then proceeded to steal an entire weekend. A situation I was happy to abide by!

First off, this book is long. Like, much longer than I was expecting and yet the story flowed with great pace and character development. The sheer amount of events in this was a tad bit overwhelming (in a good way!) and every page felt necessary. Which isn’t always the case for books of this length (600+ pages).

The story follows Ox, bless his kind heart, and his encounters with the Bennett Pack of wolf shifters. Ox’s steadfastness and kindness truly captured my heart. He was the pure definition of a protective, gentle giant.

I have to be honest, for majority of the story I actually forgot that this was going to be a romance. While I adored Joe, the young individual Ox meets, I mostly enjoyed the growth of Ox and Joe as friends over the years. Klune managed to expertly convey their growth as individuals, friends, family and finaly mates. I adore the fated-mates trope but find that it usually involves insta-love. That wasn’t the case for this book. This was pure gold slow-burn.

While I was initially a bit uncertain of the romantic undertones in this story due to Joe’s age when Ox first meets him, Klune handled this so well. Almost a decade passes over the length of this book and the character development is astounding. By the end, Ox and Joe feel incredibly mature as characters and nothing untoward happens until that point to make you uncomfortable as a reader.

What made this book a soaring 5 Star read was the side characters. They came to life in this book and felt unique. Klune kept things unique and original which I really enjoyed.

I say this book stole my weekend but in reality I read, devoured and LOVED the sequels Ravensong and Heartsong as well. I CANNOT WAIT for Brothersong in October, 2020.

5 Stars.