Author: fantasyst95

Reader Problems Book Tag

I decided to take part in a Reader Problems book tag today as a means of doing something a little but fun! It has been absolutely ages since I have done one of these and I really enjoyed Joleen at Starlight Book Tales’ take on the post!

So, what is my take on these 11 reader problems?

  1. You have 20,000 books in your TBR, how in the world do you decide what to read next?

I try to make an effort to read some of the older books on my TBR first, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I’m quite a balanced reader overall, but if I feel the overwhelming urge to pick up something specific (title or genre) then I will. If I’m in a mood-read state of mind then I’m not going to concentrate on the book I am “supposed to be” reading anyway.


  1. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

It really depends. There’s not loving it and there is REALLY NOT LOVING IT. It’s rare I pick up a book that falls into the latter category, but if sitting down and picking up a certain book feels like a chore then I will really question what I am doing and DNF it.


  1. The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge, do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

I have never really been in this situation before, but I would probably deliberately pick up shorter books or novellas to try and get that count up!! I mean, at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how many books you read, it’s that you enjoy the ones you do. But I totally get it. There’s a degree of pride in being able to say you met that target!


  1. The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?

It’s a slight annoyance but it’s not something that would bug me every day… just once in a while. The best thing to do is try and wait until the series is complete and editions of the book are made to match.


  1. Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

No one really. If everyone likes a book and I don’t then that’s fair game. I’ll express my opinion and I don’t need the validation of others thinking the same to justify myself.

That said, it is highly unlikely you won’t come across someone in the blogosphere that is of the same opinion as you.


  1. You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?

I recently had this with Me Before You at work. The simple answer is ABORT MISSION! Do not read! I save it for when I get home and no-one can laugh or judge me for the puffy red eyes and being a soft shite.


  1. The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

If I really love a book that much there probably isn’t too much I forget. I quite enjoy re-reading books though, as I’ve proven with re-reading almost all books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series over the last year. I’m definitely more likely to re-read than re-cap online.


  1. You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?

I agree with Starlight on this, I’d just say no and suggest a visit to the library. That is what they are there for after all…


  1. You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I would either try a re-read of a book I know I absolutely love or failing that, step away for a little while. Pick up another hobby. I really enjoy crocheting (yes, you read that right…) or playing video games. We all need a break sometimes.


  1. There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read, how many do you end up buying?

It really depends on the format. As a general rule, I try to only buy physical copies of books from authors I love love LOVE. Otherwise, it’s an e-book copy on my kindle. Naturally physical books are more expensive so there would be fewer of these compared to e-books in the scenario.

As it happens, I don’t TEND to read books as soon as they come out…(she says having bought and binge-read The Testaments in a matter of 12 days earlier this month).


  1. After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read how long do they sit on your shelves before you get to them?

A lot of the books can be sat there for a while. Sorry! I have so many books on the TBR and such temptation to take part in blog tours. I wish I had more hours in the day, but I don’t. I just have to keep struggling on and the books will have to keep waiting their turn.

How do you handle these bookish problems? If you think this is a fun tag to take part in then – TAG!! I would love to see your answers!




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Sunday Summary – 22nd September 2019

Hey guys! It’s me again, back with my weekly Sunday Summary post! Have you had a good weekend? I have spent mine catching up with family, and of course, my fair share of reading too.

What did I get up to during the week? Thankfully I had a brief respite from blog tours so I put the time to good use and reviewed my TBR again. This week’s Down the TBR Hole post presented a regular trend for me – a distinct lack of whittling down the reading list. To that end, I have decided that this is going to be my last Down the TBR Hole post… at least for a while. I think the books are too recent to the list and I still want to read them all. The proof is in the pudding really, so in the fullness of time, I might go back to it with a fresh pair of eyes.

I may not have had a review for a blog tour post, but I still have a little backlog of reviews to write. With that in mind, Thursday’s post was a review of a book I adored reading in June this year – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.

On Friday I returned to my regular posts – and I really enjoyed it! My look back at the TBR on Monday wasn’t all that successful I admit. However, taking the opportunity to share my thoughts on Brandon Sanderson’s Warbreaker, and why it’s on my TBR, was the focus of this week’s Shelf Control post.


Books Read

In between drafting blog posts, I have spent the majority of my week reading/savouring/enjoying The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I was unsure how the different narrative style to The Handmaid’s Tale was going to sit with me, but I loved every second of it! I read an article (linked below) in which Atwood stated she was reluctant to try to write another narrative from the perspective of Offred, which totally understand. Thirty-five years on, a lot has happened and it would be very difficult to do. Given the nature of the book, the multiple narratives really complemented each other.

I finished the Testaments yesterday and pretty much straight away I moved on to my next book. Guys… I have finally started reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson! I have only been attempting to read it for nearly two months at this point… Never mind! I am on it now. I’ve taken to it really well too – I have already read 20% of the book in just a little over 24 hours.

In last week’s Sunday Summary, I reported starting Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson. If I am honest, my audiobook progress has been a little slow this week. There were a couple of evenings where I wanted to listen to music on the way home on account of having the concentration span of a gnat. After a long day at work, that’s allowed right?!


Books Discovered

After reading a really interesting review, I have added a book called #Murdertrending to the TBR. It sounds very unusual in terms of plot; that is what has drawn to the book. The fact that it is a little grisly doesn’t deter me in the slightest.


Coming Up…

I plan to start the week by taking part in a bookish tag. I think they are a fun, light-hearted way of telling everyone a little bit about yourself. So, that’s what I am going to do!

This week has been a free one to post as I please, but I am back on the blog tour bandwagon next week! Next week I am sharing my review of Simon Says by Jo Wesley on Wednesday. This book was so good I actually recommended to our Company book club!

Next week heralds the return of First Lines Friday! I enjoy picking an enticing introduction from my books, although I want to carry on reading the book I choose!


Top Blog Posts of the Week


Starlight Book Tales – Book Tag: Reader Problems

The Book Dutchesses – Review of #Murdertrending

The Guardian – Margaret Atwood: Moving Away From Gilead


So, that’s all from me in today’s Sunday Summary post. What have you been reading this week?



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Shelf Control #6 – 20/09/2019

Welcome back to my regular feature post, Shelf Contol and boy, is it good to be bringing this back! I published my last Shelf Control post a month ago. Other blogging commitments meant this was set aside for a short while, but I’ll glad to be bringing this back once again!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies – a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves! Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

I am using Shelf Control to look in further detail at the books I have added to the TBR and then listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. I talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I won’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them.

It’s week six, so let’s look at the next book on the TBR!


Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Warbreaker

This is the story of two sisters, who happen to be princesses. Theirs is a world in which those who die in glory return as gods to live confined to a pantheon in Hallandren’s capital city. A world transformed by a power based on an essence known as breath. Using magic is arduous as breath can only be collected one unit at a time.

My Thoughts…

I think I have established at this point that Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favourite Fantasy authors.

I loved reading the first Mistborn trilogy and the first book of The Stormlight Archives. They are two very different stories with one thing in common – unique magic systems with physical dependency. This is very much apparent in Warbreaker too, judging by the synopsis. I love that Sanderson doesn’t rely on the magic to resolve complicated areas of the plot.

My list of books to read by Sanderson is mounting, so I really need to think about diving into them.

Have you read Warbreaker, any of the books mentioned above, or any others by Brandon Sanderson? Do you have any recommendations for me?




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Book Review: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

Good evening readers and fellow bloggers! I hope you are having a lovely week so far!

In today’s post I am reviewing a book that had been on my TBR for a number of years before I finally picked it up in June – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I read the book within two days, which to my mind speaks volumes about how much I loved it. It has a unique narrative and character perspective, which is the reason I wanted to read it in the first place. For readers unexperienced with Asberger’s Syndrome, it is a real insight into the perception of someone who has it and the difficulties that come along with it.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

Goodreads – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


My Thoughts…

Christopher has such a unique way of looking at life. He doesn’t understand social cues and hates being stuck in a crowd. Despite being a remarkably intelligent young man, who at fifteen is taking his A-Level in Maths, there are elements of his personality that remind you just how endearingly childlike he is.

The neighbour’s dog Wellington is murdered and Christopher’s carefully controlled world spirals into chaos. He resolves that he is going to solve the murder, despite his father’s insistence on keeping his nose out. He finds himself discovering far more than he anticipated and embarks on a journey that pushes his boundaries to the limits.

By the end of the narrative, Christopher has matured in his own way. He still battles with the Asberger’s, but he endures the discomfort and steps outside of his comfort zone in order to uncover the mystery that presents itself in his own life. It’s a difficult experience for him, but he emerges on the other side a wiser boy, better equipped to experience some of the wider world. One step at a time, perhaps, but he has broader horizons.

In terms of the narrative, I think a very fine balance was achieved to complement the personality of Christopher. The overall cohesiveness of the narrative reflects Christopher’s older and more developed side. He is able to write about a subject with clear ideas and without wandering too far astray. His recollection of events and conversations is remarkable too. There are times, particularly with Christopher is under stress, that his literacy regresses a little. The sentences can become simpler and more childlike in their focus.

One quote from the book has stuck with me because it is completely true: –


Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.


I love Mark Haddon’s portrayal of such a unique character. As a reader, you cannot help but will Christopher on when he is struggling. We take every step of the journey with him and watch him grow into the young man he is due to become. His faultless logic on topics allows us to see things from a completely different and refreshing point of view.

I loved the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time! It is definitely a book I will revisit and read again.




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down the tbr hole

Down the TBR Hole #25

Hi guys! It’s time for another review of the TBR in today’s Down the TBR Hole post! Down the TBR Hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story. The idea is to review the books on your TBR to decide if you still want to read them. The rules are as follows: –

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Today I’ll be checking out the next ten books on the list – are you ready?


The Court of Broken Knives – Anna Smith Spark

The Court of Broken Knives

Goodreads – The Court of Broken Knives

They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.


I added this book to the TBR on the 24th June 2018, and I kid you not, nearly a year on to the day (23rd June 2019), I bought my copy through Amazon. Freaky! I think it was on offer at the time, and I had read a review that reminded me of it.

This is a definite keeper, that’s for sure!

Verdict: Keep


The Mage Wars – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Wars

Goodreads – The Mage Wars

Set around three thousand years before the rest of the Valdemar series, this is the ancient history of Velgarth and the story of Skandranon Rashkae, a gryphon with gleaming ebony feathers, keen magesight and acute intelligence. He is the fulfillment of all that the Mage of Silence, the human sorcerer called Urtho, intended to achieve when he created these magical beings to be his champions, the defenders of his realm – a verdant plain long coveted by the evil mage Ma’ar.

Together with Amberdrake, a Healer of body, mind and spirit, Skandranon will defend his nation from his evil counterparts created by Ma’ar, the makaar. The glorious city of White Gryphon will rise from the ashes, but it will take careful negotiation, spying and terrible war against the mysterious Black Kings to secure the stronghold. Even then, the elite guard force, the Silver Gryphons, will discover a greater terror lurking in the forests beyond the city walls…

The Mage Wars omnibus follows Skandranon and his lifelong friend, Amberdrake, and their children, as they seek to establish and defend a Kingdom of peace and tranquillity.


These next few books are actually quite easy, as I own them all. They are sat on my bookshelf in the spare room begging to be picked up. I bought them all together, having read a little about them via Goodreads.

Verdict: Keep


The Mage Storms – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Storms

Goodreads – The Mage Storms

Karse and Valdemar have long been enemy kingdoms, until they are forced into an uneasy alliance to defend their lands from the armies of Eastern Empire, which is ruled by a monarch whose magical tactics may be beyond any sorcery known to the Western kingdoms. Forced to combat this dire foe, the Companions of Valdemar may, at last, have to reveal secrets which they have kept hidden for centuries… even from their beloved Heralds.


As above. I really want to try these epic fantasy novels.

Verdict: Keep


The Mage Winds – Mercedes Lackey

The Mage Winds

Goodreads – The Mage Winds

Long ago, high magic was lost to Valdemar when the last Herald-Mage gave his life to protect his kingdom from destruction by dark sorceries. But now the protective barrier over Valdemar is crumbling, and with the realm imperilled, Princess Elspeth, Herald and heir to the throne, has gone on a desperate quest in search of a mentor who can teach her to wield her fledgling mage-powers and help her to defend her threatened kingdom.

Winds of fate
With the realm at risk, Elspeth, herald and heir to the throne, abandons her home to find a mentor who can awaken her untrained mage abilities.

Winds of change
Princess Elspeth journeys to the Vale of the Tayledras Clan to seek Mage training among the powerful Hawkbrother Adepts, only to find that she and renegade adept Darkwind must confront the malevolent magic of Ancar of Hardorn.

Winds of fury
Herald-Princess Elspeth and her beloved partner, Darkwind the adept, return to Valdemar to confront the evil and powerful Ancar, who once again is threatening her homeland.


… Yeah, and again. As above. No point adding unnecessary wordage here.

Verdict: Keep


The Dragonbone Chair – Tad Williams

Goodreads – The Dragonbone Chair

A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard.

Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.

After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!


There’s definitely a fantasy theme running here so far! I can’t help but think that there are a lot of clichés in this one, based on the synopsis. I don’t mind the odd one, but stories that use the same ones all the time get repetitive. It sounds very similar to something I have read before, so I think I am going to pass on this one.

Verdict: Go


Auschwitz – Laurence Rees

Goodreads – Auschwitz

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of the largest mass murder in human history. Yet its story is not fully known. In Auschwitz, Laurence Rees reveals new insights from more than 100 original interviews with Auschwitz survivors and Nazi perpetrators who speak on the record for the first time. Their testimonies provide a portrait of the inner workings of the camp in unrivalled detail—from the techniques of mass murder, to the politics and gossip mill that turned between guards and prisoners, to the on-camp brothel in which the lines between those guards and prisoners became surprisingly blurred.

Rees examines the strategic decisions that led the Nazi leadership to prescribe Auschwitz as its primary site for the extinction of Europe’s Jews—their “Final Solution.” He concludes that many of the horrors that were perpetrated in Auschwitz were driven not just by ideological inevitability but as a “practical” response to a war in the East that had begun to go wrong for Germany. A terrible immoral pragmatism characterizes many of the decisions that determined what happened at Auschwitz. Thus the story of the camp becomes a morality tale, too, in which evil is shown to proceed in a series of deft, almost noiseless incremental steps until it produces the overwhelming horror of the industrial scale slaughter that was inflicted in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.


As awful as it sounds, I have a bit of a morbid fascination with the events and atrocities of World War II and Nazi Germany. I love other books on the same subject, like The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Code Name Verity. Auschwitz, in contrast to the other books just named, is a non-fiction account. I’m trying to get myself to read more non-fiction (and failing right now)… but this is one to pick up at a later date.

Verdict: Keep


The Woman Who Would Be King: Hatshepsut’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

Goodreads – The Woman Who Would Be King

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt’s throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king.

At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt’s second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.


It’s rare that one non-fiction book graces the TBR, but two in a row?! It’s unheard of. I’m keeping this book on the TBR too; I didn’t even know there were female pharaohs! I’d like to learn a little more about her, and Egyptian culture. It’s a break from my usual reading and allows me to expand my history knowledge.

Verdict: Keep


Henry VIII – Abigail Archer

Goodreads – Henry VIII

Henry VIII ruled England from 1509 to 1547. As a young man, he was fond of sports and hunting, and was said to be uncommonly handsome. Standing more than six feet tall, he loomed large in the lives and minds of his subjects as he navigated his country through the tricky diplomatic and military hazards of the sixteenth century. A man of enormous appetites, Henry conducted affairs with many women, married six, and executed two. His infatuation with Anne Boleyn set in motion a chain of events that reshaped the church in England and eroded the dominance of Rome. But the popular image of Henry as a crude tyrant, dispatching courtiers, enemies, and wives with gusto, obscures a more nuanced and fascinating character.

He was a true Renaissance king who presided over one of Europe’s greatest courts and nudged Western civilization onto a new course. Here, from Abigail Archer, author of The New York Times bestseller Elizabeth I, is the story of Henry VIII.


Three non-fiction books in a row? I must have been conscious of the fact that I don’t read many and trying to rectify that. They are all history as well, which is fair enough. I enjoy history – at least they are all different in time period. The Tudor period is up there with WW2 on my list of favourite subjects.

Verdict: Keep


Playing With Matches – Lee Strauss

Goodreads – Playing With Matches

Heinz Schultz’s word could send a man to prison. Though only a youth of fifteen, he was strong, tall, and blond. The boys in his Deutsches Jungvolk unit esteemed him and feared him.

And they wanted to be just like him.
Emil Radle wanted to be just like him.

A dedicated member of Hitler Youth, Emil was loyal to the Fuehrer before family, a champion for the cause and a fan of the famous Luftwaffe Airforce.

Emil’s friends Moritz and Johann discover a shortwave radio and everything changes. Now they listen to the forbidden BBC broadcast of news reports that tell both sides. Now they know the truth.

The boys along with Johann’s sister Katharina, band together to write out the reports and covertly distribute flyers through their city. It’s an act of high treason that could have them arrested–or worse.

As the war progresses, so does Emil’s affection for Katharina. He’d do anything to have a normal life and to stay in Passau by her side. But when Germany’s losses become immense, even their greatest resistance can’t prevent the boys from being sent to the Eastern Front.


How quickly we swing back to History and WW2… but at least we are back in historical fiction territory. I am on familiar ground again! I simultaneously added this to the TBR and bought the e-book from Amazon. That’s how convinced I was that this was a keeper. I think I saw this advertised on Bookbub when it was on offer. I stand by my decision to buy it there and then.

Verdict: Keep


Keep You Safe – Rona Halsall

Goodreads – Keep You Safe

What if trying to protect your child only put them in danger?

Natalie is desperate to find her little boy. It has been more than three years since she saw Harry. Three long years in prison for a crime she knows she didn’t commit.

But her husband believed the police, and took their son.

Who has gone to such great lengths to destroy Natalie’s life? Everyone she once trusted – friends, family, everyone close to her – what secrets do they hide?

If Natalie finds the truth, will she get Harry back, or lose him forever?

A totally gripping psychological thriller– perfect for fans of Big Little Lies, The Girl on the Train and C.L Taylor.



Rona Halsall’s Keep You Safe is staying on the list for a couple of reasons. Not only does it sound like a fantastic thriller/mystery novel, but Rona is a local author! I feature a lot of books on my blog, but as yet, nothing from anyone living on our little Island. I’m excited to be able to read this and share my thoughts on it.

Verdict: Keep

Only one book struck off the list again. At this point, I don’t think I’ll be striking many more off the list. They are all reasonably recent additions.

Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my choices?

As always, I would love to hear from you!




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Sunday Summary – 15th September 2019

Welcome back to my weekly Sunday Summary post! I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief writing this post. I’ve taken part in no less than three blog tours this week. However, it really makes a difference being able to write without thinking about it too hard. I always deliberate over those posts so much to make sure I get them just right. My Sunday Summary posts are a lot more relaxed – just me in full and free flow.

To give myself that time I needed to prepare my blog tour posts, I skipped my usual Monday/Tuesday post. Therefore, my first post of the week was Wednesday’s review of Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams, as part of the blog tour. There was no rest for the wicked, as shortly following that I published another review for the blog tour of The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine on Friday. Yesterday’s blog tour post was a little more relaxed, as I shared a promotional post for Faeries of Saizia by Tonya L. Chaves. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to read this as well as Ring Fenced and The Beltane Choice, but I’m glad I got to feature the book on Reviewsfeed all the same.

I had the best day of the week on Tuesday! Regular readers will probably have an idea of how excited I was for the publication of The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I was no-doubt annoying all my work colleagues on Tuesday morning going on about it (and how I had subconsciously dressed in the cover’s colours). I skipped down to Waterstones to collect my pre-order… to be told that won the only signed copy of the book received at our store! If I was annoying in the morning I must have been intolerable all afternoon…


Books Read

With the blog tour post being imminently due, my first priority read of the week was to finish the last 30% of Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. I finished the book on Monday and immediately started drafting my review.

On Monday night I began the next book on the TBR, Simon Says by Jo Wesley. I’ve spent most of the week reading the book, dipping in and out of it around work, furious typing sessions in the evening and A. N Other book (no prizes for guessing which…). I finished it earlier today and wow! I am so glad I signed up for the blog tour for this book too! My review isn’t due for about a week and a half yet, but I will tell you this now; it is my second favourite read of the year (so far!).

So the next book is obviously going to be The Testaments. I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave it alone, although there were times when I picked up Simon Says over it. Yes, friends, it was THAT good. I still managed to read nearly 25% of The Testaments though. It has my sole focus now, so I can’t see it taking much longer to read…

This time last week I was unsure as to whether I would still be telling you I had a little longer left on Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or not. I managed to push myself, however, and finished this audiobook on Friday! Hurrah! I did actually start the next one on my list earlier today, in anticipation for…guess what, another blog tour! That’s not until next month though, so I have plenty of time to listen to Visions of Zarua by Suzanne Rogerson.


Books Discovered

I have a couple of additions to the TBR this week. The first is a recommendation from Claire at work, so also recommended last weeks’ addition of The Island. This week she was telling me about a series she has started, the first book being The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley.

The second book added to my TBR is Friends Life These by Sarah Alderson. I found this on Bookbub and I like the synopsis. The idea that the image people portray on social media isn’t realistic is absolutely true.


Coming Up…

I am free of blog tours so I have full creative license with my blog content next week! I’m not letting up on the book reviews though, as I still have a list of them I need to review. To break up some of my content, I’ll save that post for Thursday.

On Tuesday, I am going to tackle the ever-growing TBR with another Down the TBR Hole post. I’ll take a look at the next ten books on the list and decide whether to keep them or not. It’s getting to the stage where the additions are recent, and by that, I mean about a year ago. I’m not binning off half as many books as I did at the beginning, but never mind. I have to try.

On Friday I am getting back into the swing of the fortnightly posts. This week is the turn of Shelf Control, so I’ll be looking back at one of the earliest additions to the TBR and letting you know why I’m excited to read it!


Top Blog Posts of the Week

Owl Be Sat Reading – Book Tag: Inside and Out

Bibliophagist Reviews – Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my TBR That I’m Avoiding Reading & Why

Made Up Book Review: #BlogTour #BookReview The Fourth Victim by John Mead

Feed the Crime – Reviewing Endgame by Daniel Cole…


What have you been up to this week?



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Blog Tour: Faeries of Saizia – Tonya L Chaves

I don’t typically post on a Saturday, but this week has had a shakeup of routine. Today I am sharing my third blog tour post of the week! Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to read and review Faeries of Saizia as well as the other two books I have toured with this week. I do want to share the details with you however, as this may appeal to some of my readership as it does me!

The synopsis appeals to me as I love fantasy novels. Faeries of Saizia is full of magical creatures and an epic adventure shared by two best friends. Other reviewers of the book have described it as appropriate for middle-grade readers and upwards.

Would you like to find out more?


Faeries of Saizia

Goodreads – Faeries of Saizia

Zäria and Avery, two teenage faeries seeking adventure, get more than they bargained for when they start spying on the elves of Eerie Hollow. They discover why the elves are making delectable chocolates in the forest only to be captured by their adversary, Thordon who threatens them into taking on a quest. They run into more trouble while crossing through The Perilous Forest when they meet a witch with her own agenda. Their only hope is to locate an ancient faerie sanctuary they’ve only heard of in legend. Secrets are revealed about Zäria’s parents, which leaves her conflicted and forced to make some tough choices. Just when the fae think their troubles are over, the kingdom of Saizia is in danger of being destroyed. Will Zäria and Avery be able to get help on time? How will they defeat the evil Thordon? Inspired by the author’s children, Faeries of Saizia is a unique story that will instill a love for reading, love for nature, and belief in life’s endless possibilities.


Purchase Links –   Lulu Press     Amazon UK     Amazon US


Author Bio

Tonya is from a small town in the Central Valley of California. She studied early childhood education and worked in daycare and preschool for a few years until having children of her own. During a brief time of being a stay at home mom, she picked up the hobby of quilting which she still enjoys today. For the past fourteen years, Tonya has been working in the insurance industry as a licensed agent. While juggling a full-time job, being a wife and mother of three, quilting, and crafting, she somehow managed to write a book; adding author to her collection of titles. Faeries of Saizia is her first published work.

Social Media Links –





Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Today’s review of The Beltane Choice is the second blog tour post of the week! The Beltane Choice was the first book I picked up this month, despite not being the first tour date. I was in the mood for historical fiction, so why not? I knew I had plenty of time.

As always, I would like to take the chance to say a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. She has just celebrated her second year of starting up her blog tour business – so congratulations are in order too!


The Beltane Choice – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – The Beltane Choice

AD 71 Northern Roman Britain

Lorcan of the Brigantes knows that unity of the northern tribes is essential when the Ancient Roman legions advance northwards to Brigantia. Yet, everything comes at a price. Using his captive, Nara, as a political bargain with the Selgovae comes with impossible stipulations. Battle at Whorl – Iron Age tribes against the Romans – is inevitable.

Will Nara have her Beltane choice?

The adventures of the Garrigill Clan begin…


Purchase Link –


My Thoughts…

I signed up to the blog tour for The Beltane Choice as a means of exploring a new period of British History. It isn’t something I have studied extensively. Most of my school history lessons revolved around the World Wars, the Cold War and American History. The ‘oldest’ British history I have read to date goes back to the Viking invasion of Britain, which occurs several hundred years after the events of this series. The year is AD71; Nara and Lorcan are brought together by chance on the road, but little do they know they each have a larger part to play in the face of a new threat – Roman invaders.

One of the most significant elements of the book is the relationship that develops between Lorcan and Nara. It’s pivotal to the plot and the wider series, on the whole, so I’m not going to mark it down for that. It wasn’t my favourite aspect, however. It’s in no way a criticism – it’s relevant and appropriate. I am just not a lover of romantic fiction and I would say the novel is as much romantic fiction as it is historical fiction.

I enjoyed the overall development of the story. The goal of uniting small tribes to face the threat posed by the Romans is clear from the start, yet far from an easy task for the characters to accomplish. Lorcan, a messenger and effectively a mediator, must travel to new and dangerous lands. It is on one such trip that he discovers Nara in her plight. He takes her captive and brings her back to his tribe, where he learns her identity and the role she must play to give them a chance at survival.

I like how the chapters are broken down by location in order to help us keep track of what is happening when. The narrative takes place in various locations across modern-day Northern England, as a lot of travel takes place. Some chapters switch perspective and location from Nara to Lorcan, although this isn’t common. As and when it occurs, the transition flows. Each character is quite distinctive from the other and easy to identify so settling into the new perspective is seamless.

The Beltane Choice and the events within have established the wider plotline to be explored in the remainder of the series. I can’t wait to see where events take us in the later books; how will the Selgovae and Garrigill tribes meet the Roman threat? I’m already signed up to take part in the blog tours for the later books as well, so I don’t have too long to wait…


Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of The Beltane Choice to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Author Bio –

Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course)

A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.


Social Media Links –



Facebook: &


Amazon Author page



Blog Tour Book Review: Ring Fenced – Zach Abrams

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Ring Fenced everyone! I hope you are as excited as I am for this post. I have not long finished reading this book, and I completed it from start to finish in less than two days. Does that give you an idea of what kind of review this is going to be? It should!

As always, let’s begin by saying a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour. Also, thank you to Zach Abrams for a copy of Ring Fenced as well!


Ring Fenced

Goodreads – Ring Fenced

Sex. Money. Power. Control. Benjamin wants it all.

He is Bennie, a loving husband and father; Benjie, a beloved son. He climbs the ladder as Ben, a corporate banker, and rakes in money as a bestselling author. And when he wants to escape it all, Benjamin styles himself as Jamie — the lover of a beautiful musician.

His life, in a word, is perfect. But after years of keeping his separate personae a secret, cracks begin to appear in the façade.

When an unexpected series of events topples Benjamin’s carefully crafted world, his separate lives collide with dire consequences.


Purchase Links – Amazon      Next Chapter     Amazon US     Amazon UK

Ring Fenced is on an Amazon Countdown Promotion – selling at 99c /99p from 11-15 Sept 2019


My Thoughts…

I started reading Ring Fenced on Saturday and was sucked into the story right away. Benjamin / Ben / Bennie / Benjie / Jamie are all aliases for one man living very different lives simultaneously. He has a penchant for control and has successfully managed to keep each of his lives apart – until now. Extraneous events in each life drag him out of his safely established routine… and that’s where it all starts to go wrong.

Benjamin is not a likeable character. He’s competitive, manipulative and sordid in equal measure. When he is not Benjie, (oppressed by his parents, siblings and the expectations of their religion) or family-man Bennie, a darker side emerges. By night, Benjamin is an erotic writer for a website he helped to build in his early adult years. When the stories aren’t enough he takes on the persona of Jamie to live out his fantasies with other women.

He is a character you love to dislike. I looked forward to watching his life fall apart. It is no less than he deserves.

The writing style and pace of the novel are very easy to slip into. Ring Fenced is really easy to read as a result; it’s one of those books you can either pick up and put down at leisure or lose a lot of time in. At 228 pages, it’s also comparatively shorter than other books I have read recently. That works in its favour though. There is sufficient detail to invest in Ben’s various aliases and lives and explain his choices, without extraneous, irrelevant information that could drag the narrative down.

Ring Fenced is Zach Abrams debut novel, which amazes me! The novel demonstrates all the skill and prowess of a well-crafted, established author. He balances character development and execution of the plot in a way that complements each other brilliantly. After reading Ring Fenced, I would definitely pick up any of a number of novels Zach Abrams has published since.


Author Bio –

Having the background of a successful career in commerce and finance, Zach Abrams has spent many years writing reports, letters and presentations and it’s only fairly recently he started writing novels. “It’s a more honourable type of fiction,” he declares.

Writer of the Alex Warren Murder Mystery series, set in Scotland, Zach has also written the psychological thriller ‘Ring Fenced’ and the financial thriller ‘Source’, as well as collaborating with Elly Grant on a book of short stories.

Zach is currently producing a non-fiction series to help small businesses -using the collective title ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The first, ‘So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord’ is already available.

Social Media Links –

Website :
Twitter: @authorway


Sunday Summary – 8th September 2019

We’re at the end of another week already – so it’s time for my weekly Sunday Summary wrap up! The week was dragging… up until the weekend that is. Isn’t that always the way?

I began the week by sharing my Reading List for the month! With a book untouched from last month’s TBR and no less than three books still to be read for upcoming blog tours… it’s a busy one! In between all that, I am very excited about reading The Testaments, which is being published next week!

On Wednesday I set aside some of the older outstanding reviews and instead reviewed a recent read. After reading a previous book co-authored by him, Seeker, I gladly accepted a copy of Kau D’Varza from David Noë. I really enjoyed delving into the ChaosNova universe again.

On Friday I took a break from the usual Shelf Control post to take part in a book birthday blitz tour of The Fourth Victim by John Mead. As part of the tour, I reviewed the crime fiction novel. In order to make my life a little easier, I thought on and read this last month. What sets The Fourth Victim is its unusual main character Jenny – a sufferer of Dissociative Identity Disorder.


Books Read

I have spent the majority of the week reading The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine. As of last week’s Sunday Summary post I was 22% through the book. Midweek I felt pretty confident with how I was doing, but it ended up taking me a little longer to read than I wanted. I enjoyed the book overall, but I had a few moments with it. There are elements within that are necessary to the story, but I didn’t love it 100%. I persevered and I’m glad I did because I liked the wider historical fiction setting and novel. I finished reading The Beltane Choice yesterday morning.

As I have a blog tour post scheduled before that of The Beltane Choice, my next priority is to read Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams. I’ve fared a lot better with this book; the urgency of having the blog tour post due next week has spurred me along all the more I think. I started reading this yesterday afternoon and as of right now, I am 70% through the book already. If I push myself, I think I can have this read by the end of the night and be ready to move on to my next blog tour read. Thankfully I have a bit more breathing room before that post is due.

I am back to car-sharing in the mornings now, so progress on Six of Crows has slowed. That said, I have just less than five hours left of the book. If I listen to it in the car on the way home every day, I could have this finished in a couple of weeks. I have the scope to listen to them a little more at home (i.e. in the morning getting ready), so maybe I’ll give that a try again and see how I get on. Maybe this time next week I’ll be telling you I’ve finished it…


Books Discovered

I have a confession to make. I’ve added quite a few books to the TBR this week.

I’ve gotten involved with a bookish group of people that work at different offices of my company through our equivalent of a social media platform. In addition to discovering my interest in reading this month’s ‘Book of the Month’, When She Was Bad by Tammy Cohen. It’s an office-based thriller and I think it has the potential to be a great read. I am going to see how my reading goes over the next few days to see if adding this to the TBR is feasible or not so I can take part in the conversation this month. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t… I can always read it later. I’d like to try though.

Last week I put out a poll so we could all get to know each other’s reading habits and preferences. We ended up talking about our bias towards fiction novels and our knowledge of history. A colleague mentioned that she keeps meaning to pick up her copy of 50 Things You Need to Know About British History by Hugh Williams. I decided that I want to as well, as my lack of knowledge of British History is pretty embarrassing.

Outside of the book club, my colleague Claire recommended a book she read on holiday to me. The Island by Victoria Hislop is a historical fiction novel about a woman discovering her family history and her ties to Spinalonga – a former leper colony.

This is a real historical fiction week, as my last addition to the TBR is Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. The book is due to be published on the 1st October and having loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz, adding her new book to the TBR is a no-brainer!


Coming Up…

Next week is the busiest of this month, with no less than three blog tour posts coming your way.

In order to get myself organised with everything, I’ll forego my usual Monday/Tuesday post. Instead, my first post of the week will be shared on Wednesday. That post will be my review of my current read, Ring Fenced by Zach Abrams.

I’ll be skipping my fortnightly Shelf Control post again this week as I am due to take part in the blog tour for The Beltane Choice on Friday.

It’s not typical for me to post on a Saturday either, but I really wanted to take part in the blog tour for Faeries of Saizia by Tonya Chaves. If I didn’t have two blog tours already then I would have signed up to review this book. However, it is what it is, so I’m publishing a promo post to tell you all about it instead.


Top Blog Posts of the Week


Duffy the Writer – Tidelands: Latest book by Philippa Gregory

The Lone Read Blog – Favorite Books of 2019

Bibliophagist Reviews – Weekly Update




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