book reviews

Book Review: Copper Sky – Milana Marsenich

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author, via OpenBooks, in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

One hundred years on – the times have changed, as have our struggles… and nothing reminds us of that more than Copper Sky:-


Copper Sky

Goodreads – Copper Sky

The feminine spirit of the West comes alive in early twentieth century Montana.

Set in the Copper Camp of Butte, Montana in 1917, Copper Sky tells the story of two women with opposite lives. Kaly Shane, mired in prostitution, struggles to find a safe home for her unborn child, while Marika Lailich, a Slavic immigrant, dodges a pre-arranged marriage to become a doctor. As their paths cross, and they become unlikely friends, neither knows the family secret that ties them together.

Writing as somebody who has had the stability and privilege of 1st world background, this has naturally had some influence over the way in which I have interpreted the book. Some people may disagree with my comments, but please understand that I write them as generalisations only. In no way am I discrediting anybody else’s opinion or experience just because it is not a majority.

Comparing the lifestyle of these two women is a far cry from that expected and experienced by many others in modern day. That being said, we still have our modern day issues to contend with.

One of the topics Milana brings to the table, in a variety of ways, is the rights of women. This is still a hot topic today, albeit for different reasons. By way of example, one of our local topical debates at the moment is the issue of legalising abortion. My home town is the very place that allowed landowning women to vote from 1881 – some 37 years before the UK even introduced it, yet to get an abortion, women usually travel as they cannot be accessed here!

Anyway, that is a discussion for another time perhaps. The point is this; society has adapted within the past 100 years and thankfully our living and working conditions are not so harsh (for the most part).

Kaly, one of many prostitutes in Butte, has to battle with the reality that she is pregnant. The father, whom Kaly has known since childhood, wants to help her raise the child. Having had a difficult, parentless childhood herself, she faces inner turmoil, wondering what kind of life her child will ever have. Should she raise the child, (most likely into prostitution), or allow the child to be raised in an unsafe foster home? Those are not the only options either, but they are not pretty at all.

Marika has different troubles of her own. Does she respect her father’s wishes and marry the husband he has found for her, or pursue her dreams of training to be a doctor? Marika is a stubborn girl and I admire her mettle, as even in fighting into a profession she has longed to join since girlhood – it is very much a man’s world. Time and again she is not taken seriously, but she keeps trying all the same!

Copper Sky is based around real events and disasters within Butte, Montana. Mining disasters, fires and later civil unrest were frequent occurrences and as Milana correctly highlights – mining is a dangerous profession. Working conditions were less than ideal and many men lost their lives labouring in those mineshafts.

Despite the serious themes of the book, it is not without beauty. Gorgeous, vivid descriptions of the landscape and community reflect the author’s love of her hometown, and the depth of both Kaly’s and Marika’s perspective is absorbing. I was never in any doubt as to whose perspective the narrative was being relayed from due to the contrasting ideas and attitudes of the women.

Whereas Kaly, through hardship and experience has a perhaps pessimistic attitude to life (as can only be expected given everything she has gone through), Marika is youthful, hopeful and has an arguably more naïve innocence about her. Each character is complex; even though Kaly has little hope or stability for her child, she still moderates herself for the health of the baby so doesn’t dismiss having it outright. Marika on the other hand has a fiery temper and wilfulness to be her own person and not be given by one man into the possession of another.

Living in a small community myself, I sense, relate to and love the community spirit that comes together anytime disaster strikes. When it comes to saving lives, all social and economic disparities are set aside, as they should be, in my humble opinion. The author has captured the soul and portrayed both sides of the double-sided coin of life in a way that broadens perspective. It is one thing to know what lengths people will go to and what motivates them, and quite another to experience it by seeing through their eyes.

Rebecca mono

Blog Tours · book reviews

Blog Tour: StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio

I have been looking forward to this post for so long!

Today I get to share my thoughts with you about StoneKing as part of the ongoing Blog Tour. Thank you to Fiery Seas Publishing and Donna for the opportunity to get involved!

Part of the reason this has been some time in the making was that before February, I hadn’t even read any of the earlier books in this series. So… I had some catching up to do! If there is anyone else new to the series and would like to learn a little more about my thoughts for the prior books in the series, Kinglet and Fiskur, you will note I have kindly (and unashamedly) provided links for my self promo for you to take a look at.

Are you sitting comfortably, ready to see where Kristan’s adventure takes us next?




StoneKing by Donna Migliaccio

February 20th, 2018


The Gemeta Stone Book 3

Fiery Seas Publishing, LLC


Book Trailer


They call him StoneKing: the lord of four countries, the vanquisher of the Wichelord Daazna, the man who will restore his people to prosperity and peace.

But there is no peace for Kristan Gemeta. Already weighed down by the cares of his new realm, Kristan carries a secret burden – the knowledge that Daazna is not dead. He isolates himself in his ruined castle in Fandrall, where he struggles to control the destructive Tabi’a power that may be his only hope of defeating the Wichelord once and for all.

And there’s trouble elsewhere in his realm. His Reaches are squabbling in Dyer, Melissa and Nigel are experiencing heartache in Norwinn, and Heather’s command in Hogia is in jeopardy. Unaware of this turmoil, Kristan receives an unexpected gift – one that forces him, his knights, an inexperienced squire and a crafty young shape-shifter into a hazardous winter journey.

StoneKing picks up a short while after Fiskur – Kristan’s anointed Reaches are now governing his realm whilst he returns home to Fandrall to restore his birthright.

Yet the StoneKing himself is as broken as the realm, and as he tries to take the troubles from everyone’s shoulders, will he break under the strain? He is certainly a different man. In Kinglet he is a young, strong, altruistic and stereotypically heroic in character – which couldn’t be any further from the truth now. He is physically weak and mentally tested as he struggles to master his magic, whilst everybody else succeeds in trying his patience. It is hardly surprising when the rocky foundations of control crumble, given that Kristan’s Reaches lack the experience required to rule the realm in his stead.

An unexpected journey as a result of a delegation visit and an even more shocking gift is the only reason that Kristan discovers any of the ongoing turmoil; it only goes to show how tenuous his control is.

I am not going to lie – I loved seeing Kristan fall from grace in Fiskur; not that I would wish the trauma he went through on anyone, but there would have been very little scope for character development if he hadn’t. I’m not a huge fan of tropes, some more than others, and I actually love this series more for breaking the stereotype. Nobody is as perfect as Kinglet painted Kristan to be, so the newfound dark elements of his mind and perspective lend a greater depth to his character. At the moment, his all-in-all expression of negativity creates a lot of conflict and uncertainty, but I cannot help but feel it has some greater part to play later on. Who can say, maybe Daazna created the tumultuous monster that will be his undoing?

I would say it helped a great deal that I have read the previous instalments to the series only a short time ago, but I found StoneKing incredibly easy to pick up. Also, given that by the third book the reader understands the fantasy world built by the author, the pace of the book seemed quicker to me. Whilst the text was still beautifully and vividly descriptive, the need to impart detail and explanation was not so prominent and that enabled us to get on with the action. I am not one for spoilers, so you will just have to pick up the book(s) to find this out for yourself!

The one thing that surprised me about the book was the distinct lack of presence of our main antagonist, Daazna. Instead it appears that Kristan has more than one enemy and maybe their future role could become more significant than we know. Personally, I would have liked to see even one chapter dedicated to Daazna. I want to know his plans!! Even just to serve as a reminder that he is still alive!

Much like in Fiskur, we are introduced to a number of new characters. I love Serle, aforementioned “inexperienced squire”. He is only a child, bless him, but I would go so far as to say he is practically incompetent at being a squire. There were times when he irritated Kristan so much and was so deflated at the whole situation that I just wanted to mother him and tell him it was alright. I also loved Nolle and her cheeky side. Even knowing the wrath she would endure from the StoneKing, she still pushed the boundaries far more than she should have. But then she could, because he needed her Wiche power. Both of these characters made refreshing additions and I hope to see more of them in future books.

I cannot wait to see what the next instalment of the series is and what difficulties Kristan and his friends encounter. Having read the first three books and really enjoyed them, I can hand on heart say that I will be following the series through to the end, whenever that may be.

Buy Links: Amazon  ~  Barnes & NobleKobo  ~  iBooks

Donna Migliaccio About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa& The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.

Social Media: Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

book reviews

Book Review: Living on A Rainbow – Calvin Wade

I downloaded Living on A Rainbow for free from Amazon a little while ago, after reading a sample of the first chapter of the book. I was instantly captivated.

Living on a Rainbow

Goodreads – Living on a Rainbow

‘Living On A Rainbow’ is a story about mental health, bullying, growing up, battling against adversity but most of all it is a story about love. The love between a man and a woman. The love between a boy and his best friend. The love between a mother and her son and the love between a boy and his father.

Harry ‘H’ McCoy is not an ordinary boy and his life is not an ordinary life.

The cover perfectly illustrates where we find our main character, H, at the beginning of the story – stood on the edge of a bridge, both afraid and morbidly fascinated with heights. His best friend Andy at his side, trying to talk him down and convince him that his life isn’t over.

In Living on A Rainbow we re-live H’s rollercoaster life, rewinding the years from that precarious moment on the edge, back through his adulthood and teenage angst to where it all begins – with a happy child in a loving family and the kind of best friend we have all wished for.

As well as themes of mental illness, one of the most important messages in the book is that love for one another is one of the best gifts we have. Relationships form and fracture, as they do naturally throughout life, but we get to see the impact they truly have.

The first couple of chapters really drew me in. I wanted to learn what had happened to make H want to end his life. Then, as we experience H’s life from his childhood, I found the pace slowed. This isn’t a bad thing – it gives you the time to think and relate to his experiences. It grows on you. At the time, I thought the narrative would benefit from being broken down by chapters bringing us back to the present time, but having finished the book, I have changed my mind.

For me, the greatest revelation in the book comes right at the end – it’s how subtle/gradual a decline in mental state is. I will say now that I (luckily) have never experienced mental illness, although I have in my own way been able to relate to H towards the end. External influences are often attributed to stress in life and it isn’t always apparent that our perception or outlook has changed. In the past year I have had difficulty with bad mood swings as a result of a hormone imbalance. It took somebody else having a word with me to make me realise it was more than circumstantial. As far as I knew I was just having a bad time; I had job uncertainty and a close family member was recovering from illness. Naturally, I attributed my bad moods to these things. Having experienced what I have, I can hand-on-heart say that this has been written in a way that I strongly identify with. If anyone was to read this book as a means of understanding mental illness, I would say that this is an accurate representation of one of many mental illnesses out there.

I think Living on A Rainbow is an insightful read and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more. Inevitably, mental illness is a personal experience and differs between us all, so I would also recommend reading it in conjunction with other books of a similar nature in order to build a bigger picture.

Rebecca mono

book reviews

Book Review: The Torcian Chronicles – P J Reed

Hi everybody!

Today I am taking part in a Blog Tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources for The Torcian Chronicles by P J Reed. When I received the invite to get involved, I dived in straight away!

The Torcian Chronicles



Mesham sits dejectedly in a tiny garret above an inn, as the lands of Torcia fall to the magically-enhanced army of the infamous Mivirian Horde. One of the last surviving ancient warlocks of Torcia, Mesham knows he is marked for death.

The Torcian king knocks on Mesham’s door later that evening and offers him the chance of rejuvenation in return for a seemingly impossible mission into the heart of Mivir. Mesham reluctantly agrees, only to realise the evil of Mivir has spread to the very top of the Torcian government.

As Mesham undertakes his quest to complete the mission, he finds himself hunted by his king, by the mighty Torcian warbands, and by the Horde.

But he cannot fail, for the fate of Mesham’s beloved Torcia rests in his hands.

I wanted to love this book – I really did.

When given the opportunity to take part I jumped in immediately, as I felt this would be a book right up my street. Theoretically, it is – fantasy is my favourite genre after all!

There are so many great books to choose from, making competition in the genre fierce. There were elements of the book that reminded me of other writers; the adventure undertaken by Mesham and Shadral struck me as rather Tolkien-esque, as the they stumble from pitfall to pothole and fight their way out of every danger lurking around the corner.

This wasn’t the review I had hoped to be writing; I had high expectations for this book, but unfortunately it just didn’t work for me. The plot has promise and I enjoyed the tale, but I struggled most with the way in which it was written.

The biggest make-or-break factor for me is the narration… and I have no qualms in admitting that I am very particular about it too. Some parts were written really well, but there were several I struggled with too. There are places in which the descriptions are repetitive and would benefit from being more concise. I appreciate fantasy requires world-building, but I feel some paraphrasing of descriptions could have achieved that better.

You may think I am pernickety in mentioning this, but whilst reading the book I picked up on a number of inconsistencies and contradictions in the text. I am really sorry to say it, but this is a pet hate of mine. If I read conflicting information to that I’ve been told already, I’m going to go back and check, and that ultimately breaks the reading flow. That makes reading take longer and it feels less of an enjoyable pastime and more of an exercise in concentration.

I think this has promise to be part of a good series that I am sure many others will love, but it turns out this first instalment just wasn’t my cup of tea.


P J Reed

P.J. Reed – Writer of warlocks and other magical creatures.

P.J. Reed is a writer and poet from England. She holds a BAEd from Canterbury Christ Church University and an MA from Bradford University. She has been widely published in anthologies and collections.

P.J. Reed currently lives in Devon, with a handful of teenagers, one feral cat and a dog called Fizz.

Social Media Links –

Website – 


Facebook –


book reviews

Book Review: Fiskur – Donna Migliaccio

I don’t usually binge read a series, so to read Fiskur immediately after Kinglet isn’t normally the sort of thing I would do. I like to savour a series, *torment* myself a little while about getting around to reading the next book whilst juggling a number of other series’ for which I want to do the EXACT same thing!

*only being slightly sarcastic here – can torment be a good thing?

That being said, consecutive reading does have it’s benefits. For starters, I can actually remember what happened in the first book as it is still fresh in my mind. I don’t have to dredge through the four corners of my brain to remember who THAT character is and what they are up to.

For anyone who doesn’t know, I have been catching up with the series in preparation for the ongoing Blog Tour. I will be reviewing StoneKing, the third book of the series, in the penultimate slot of the tour on the 19th March.

If you want to check out my review of where the series begins, you can find that here.


***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by Fiery Seas Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***



Goodreads – Fiskur

With his family’s talisman in his possession, Kristan Gemeta is ready to face the Wichelord Daazna – but he has no inkling of the scope of Daazna’s power, nor the depths of his hatred.

With the recovery of his family’s protective talisman, Kristan Gemeta has found hope, courage – and perhaps even the first stirrings of love. With the aid of Heather Demitt, her band of rebels, a shipload of Northern brigands and the legendary Kentavron, he readies himself to face the Wichelord Daazna. But neither he nor his comrades realize the strength of Daazna’s power and hatred. The Wichelord’s first blow comes from a direction Kristan least expects, with horrific, lasting consequences.

One of the most poignant observations I made in my review of Kinglet was how stereotypically perfect, handsome and charming our protagonist Kristan Gemeta is. In particular, I commented on how much these characteristics are very stereotypical and how I would have liked to see more individuality from Kristan.

I have not been left wanting.

Without saying too much, Kristan seriously “falls from grace” from being the perfect prince. I would go so far as to say I really didn’t expect the level of change we see in our MC, but I love it! After falling off the pedestal, so to speak, we get to see a far more complex and developed side to his character. His newfound cynicism contrasts his former innocent, comparatively childlike self and whilst the circumstances are tragic (still no spoilers), I think it is a step Kristan needs to take in order to grow into his role as the Gemeta and the opposing force to Daazna.

It is often said that in our darkest moments we realise just what we are capable of, and I cannot help but feel this moment is gradually creeping up on Kristan. His newfound mind-set is written remarkably well and Donna clearly has an expert ability to step into her characters shoes in order to convey them perfectly on paper. From joviality to abjectness, no emotion remains unexpressed.

Fiskur features many of the characters we know and love from Kinglet, and each has their role to play. Heather, Kristan’s low-born love interest has refused to conform with the proprieties of being a woman and she earns herself a reputation as a warrior. Obviously I am hugely biased – but I am loving the display of “girl power” here. I want to pull myself up here for even calling it that. Courage and a fierceness of character shouldn’t be defined or characterised by gender. The point I am trying to make is that we get to see this in characters of both genders (although Heather truly is the ladies “champion”) and I am glad to see the inclusion.

Heather and the remaining “rebels” find themselves taking on new responsibilities in the fight against the force of Daazna. I personally really like when books have an element of politics in them; for me, it brings a whole new level of sophistication into recognising the  motives or potential rivals and countering them cleverly to retain control. I hope to see more of this in the next book as it *could* introduce an additional conflict to an increasingly captivating storyline.

*I hope it does now I’ve said that!!


I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fiskur and watching the wider plot of the series unfold. The book seamlessly picked up where we left off yet introduced some unexpected developments to keep us as the reader on our toes. I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot wait to see what StoneKing brings us.

Rebecca mono



book reviews

Book Review: Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio

I first discovered this series when I took part in a Blog Tour back in November for Fiskur, organised by Fiery Seas Publishing. This is the second book in the series and I was gutted that I hadn’t discovered it earlier. If I’d had the time to catch up with the first book and read second for the Blog Tour, I would have done!

Alas, I didn’t. Sometimes, it isn’t meant to be.

My stroke of luck finally came in January, when I contacted Fiery Seas Publishing to express interest in beginning the series. My review request schedule had freed up considerably, so it was the perfect time to enquire. Catherine, an absolute hard-working gem, very kindly sent me both Kinglet and Fiskur to read and review in time for the publishing of the THIRD book of the series (which celebrated it’s publishing date yesterday!)

To have even one book published is a huge accomplishment, so to see the third book of a series published must be absolutely amazing!! Congratulations Donna!!


Go, get you GIF.gif


I have the privilege of reading StoneKing as part of the current blog tour. I’ll be using the penultimate slot of the tour, on the 19th March, to share a review with you… I hope you can join me for that!

Today though, I’m talking about where it all begins:-

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by Fiery Seas Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***



Goodreads – Kinglet

Kristan Gemeta has lost everything: his crown, his kingdom, his courage – even his name.

In the vast wilderness of the Exilwald, he’s known to the other outcasts as Kinglet. As long as Kristan stays hidden, he can elude the bounty hunters, brutal soldiers and terrifying spells of Daazna, the Wichelord who killed his father and destroyed his life.
But when a new band of pursuers comes looking for him, Kristan’s wariness gives way to intrigue. For bounty hunters they’re oddly inept, and a young woman in their company is leaving enigmatic drawings wherever they go. As they plunge deeper into the Exilwald, Kristan follows. He discovers the drawings symbolize the Gemeta Stone, an ancient family talisman seized by Daazna but now in the little band’s possession.

With the Stone’s protection, Kristan might stand a chance against Daazna. He could regain his birthright and his honor. But to obtain the Stone, he must reveal his true identity and risk the one thing he has left…his life.


If asked what my favourite genre is, I would tell you that Fantasy is by far the most entertaining read for me. I have been busy enjoying some different genres for a while, so to come back to a favourite, written so well as this… what can I say? I fell in love straight away!

That being said, I’m not a huge fan of all the tropes in Fantasy. If I’m honest, I think the orphaned child is one that is used time again – I’d go so far as to say a little overused for my taste, but some people like that. There are some other stereotypical elements to Kristan’s character – he is kind, noble and forgiving…. way too forgiving! Oh, he’s handsome too. Did I forget to mention that?! Again, these are typical traits that are very common among our Fantasy leads.

The only author I can think that has completely flipped these traits on their head with their protagonist is Mark Lawrence, in his The Broken Empire series. The protagonist’s character is extremely well developed; his most defining features are his flaws… and believe me, there are many! I found his unique character a refreshing change; there were times I loved to hate him, and then others I couldn’t help but pity him. He stands out from the crowd of fantasy protagonists by stepping away from the norm, which I really appreciated.

As much as Kristan’s character encapsulates a lot of the favourable and stereotypical traits one might expect and we commonly see, that isn’t to say I didn’t like him. I felt an affinity to him from the start, even from his brief spell at the beginning as a youth, always under pressure to adhere to high expectations and trying to understand the world and its workings from an early age. Not to put this across as a negative point (I’m more in favour of calling it a constructive one), I would have liked to see a little more originality to Kristan’s personality.

I really enjoyed the magical element being introduced straight away. We are thrown into the action first and gradually our understanding of the motive is built upon later. With world building in Fantasy, it is very easy to try and ‘info dump’ a lot of background before anything even happens. This is far from the case, and rightly so, because that can ruin a book for me. Bogging a reader down in details is a turn off, but gradually integrating ideas, clues and other information is the best way to move narrative in the right direction. Donna achieves this effortlessly.

Two years after the Gemeta’s flight from his home, his father’s death and the powerful mage responsible for it, a group of rebels leave Fandrall equipped with the magical stone that has been in the Gemeta’s possession for generations. They travel into the unknown Exilwald, his rumoured hiding place and home to a number of unsavoury characters.

The dynamic of our adventurers attempting to find the exiled King changes frequently. Family ties and friendships are tested, as would be expected from a group forced out of their homes with merely the clothes on their back. Whilst not the most companionable character of the group, I actually came to like Colin an awful lot. As head of the group, his predominantly negative attitude stems from his feeling of responsibility to protect.  In a lot of ways he comes across as an antagonist, but truthfully he is a man very much grounded in reality. He’s grumpy, miserable and completely pessimistic about the slim chances of completing the task at hand – a bit like me before my first coffee of the day really…

There are many things I could talk about that I really enjoyed, but to summarise, I’ll say this – it has a fantastic plot and an approachable narrative with a wonderful twist of many elements that make up a classic fantasy.

Rather than reading my positive ramblings, you could be reading this for yourself! Thank you to Donna and Fiery Seas Publishing for the chance to pick up this wonderful start to a new series! I cannot wait to read the next one!

Oh wait, I don’t have to!

Rebecca mono

Donna MigliaccioAmazon  ~  Barnes & NobleKobo  ~  iBooks

About the Author:

Donna Migliaccio is a professional stage actress with credits that include Broadway, National Tours and prominent regional theatres.  She is based in the Washington, DC Metro area, where she co-founded Tony award-winning Signature Theatre and is in demand as an entertainer, teacher and public speaker.  Her award-winning short story, “Yaa& The Coffins,” was featured in Thinkerbeat’s 2015 anthology The Art of Losing.  

Social Media:                    Website        Facebook        Twitter        Pinterest



sunday summary

Sunday Summary – 18th February 2018

This week has been a little less productive on the reading front.

Saying that, it has been an unusual week all-round. It throws me a little off balance when it happens, but it’s safe to say that everything is settling down again now.

Earlier this week, it was also my birthday! I had a lovely day despite spending it at work (and working slightly longer to make up some time off I needed) and I was given some lovely gifts! Not all of them were book related, but I got one or two. I love them all!

I was late in posting my review of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, which firstly I attribute to WordPress not working on Monday night, and secondly to my birthday. I had an inkling that I may not manage to get it written by Wednesday, so I hope no-one was too disappointed. If anyone hasn’t taken a look at this review, I would very much appreciate it if you did!

Books Read

I’ve made further progress this week in reading Fiskur by Donna Migliaccio, the second book of The Gemeta Stone series. I read the first book at the beginning of the month, and I will be reading/reviewing the last book as part of a blog tour next month, which I am looking forward to! Although I have made progress, I would have liked to have finished this book this week. A lot of my free time was taken up with other things, so I didn’t get as much reading time as I wanted. Perhaps I’ll be able to finish it if I make a final push on it tonight… I’ll try, at least.

As I said above, I have been working on some other things. A painting, in fact… to go on the wall of my living room. I have been working on it for weeks, to get it finished for my birthday, as I have been gifted the frame for it. I finished painting it last weekend, but I have spent a bit of time this week touching it up and perfecting it, putting the frame together etc. All that remains is for it to go up on the wall!

Whilst I have been working on this, I have taken to listening to audiobooks. With the amount of time I have put into it, I managed to finish this month’s download, The Girl on the Train, last night.

I’ve really enjoyed listening to it overall, as it is a book I don’t think I would have “picked up” otherwise. Paula’s use of the unreliable narrator is cleverly done.

Books Discovered

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm was gifted to me for my birthday, as it was something I had my eye on for a while. I received the hardback edition, as such a classic deserves, and that currently sits proudly on my bookshelf. I can’t wait to take the time to read through the stories.

I became aware of The Long Earth, the first book of the series a little while ago, and knew that I wanted to give it a try. Stephen Baxter is one of my dad’s favourite authors and Terry Pratchett is one of mine, so it’s a no brainer really! When Bookbub notified me that The Long War was on sale, well, it would have been a crime not to…

Coming Up…

I don’t want to commit to too much on the blog this week, as I definitely have some reading to catch up on. Because of that, I’ll be sticking to two posts this week.

On Wednesday, (and this week it WILL be, I promise), I am posting my review of Kinglet by Donna Migliaccio, and I’ll round off the week with a Sunday Summary, as usual.

Hopefully I’ll have a bit more to talk about with you next week.

As a birthday related discussion point – what is the best birthday gift you have received?

book reviews

Book Review: – Dane Cobain

Hi everyone!!

Today, I am getting around to a task that I have should have done months and months and months ago.

I can see why Netgalley becomes addictive and you end up getting behind on reviews. I have only downloaded a few books, but the problem is that there are so many great books out there… prioritising your reading and putting these to the bottom of the list can give you a bad rating…

Not that I know anything about that….. *whistles tunelessly*


SO! In case you hadn’t gathered – I received a copy of this book, for free, from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions stated are my own.

Dane Cobain


Published 11 June 2016 by

Createspace Independent Publishing Platform


Goodreads –



When Dan Roberts starts his new job at, he has no idea what he’s getting into. The site deals in death – its users share their innermost thoughts, which are stored privately until they die. Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences.

But something strange is going on, and the site’s two erratic founders share a dark secret. A secret that people are willing to kill for.


I think there is a part of that blurb that is misleading – “Then, their posts are shared with the world, often with unexpected consequences”. Having read the book – I have absolutely no idea what this is supposed to refer to. Can someone please enlighten me? I can’t recall anything “shocking” published on the site. is a social network designed for users to prepare memorials for after they are gone. Beginning in a small, grubby house and gradually growing into a state-of-the-art office with full security complement, the Company seems to be going from strength to strength, but what is driving this Company forward?

The narrative within the book itself is well presented and there is enough mystery throughout to keep the reader gripped. When Dan starts at the Company, he knows very little about the work he is contributing to; he knows he is working out bugs in code, but not what it does. Other members of staff come and go and as Dan becomes more experienced, he is able to dig deeper using the trust he has gained. The pace at which the story unfolds is good, which helps the story to flow.

If I am completely honest, I didn’t really understand Dan’s motivation to stay with the Company at all. Not only is he working such crazy hours that it affects his relationship, but his employers are also really shifty and mistrusting all the time! I know if that was me, I wouldn’t sit well with it. There are other characters that feel the same way I do, but I struggled to sympathise with Dan for one simple reason – he had plenty of warning signs to get out of that situation sooner. Sure, maybe he did want to get to the bottom of what was going on, but I just couldn’t put myself in his shoes. That’s an entirely personal thing – not a fault of the character himself.

Overall, I rated the book three stars, as whilst the writing and the plot was good, I struggled to relate to the characters telling the story. I also didn’t feel that much depth with characters other than the MC either, which I would have expected since Dan et al spend almost all of the time in the office (yes, anti-social hours and weekends too)!

It was an acceptable read, even if there were parts that weren’t entirely to my liking.

Rebecca mono



book reviews

Book Review: A Mentor and Her Muse – Susan Sage

Today, I am pleased to be bringing you my review of A Mentor and Her Muse, by Susan Sage. I’ll just go ahead and get the unequivocally boring bit done and then we can get on to the fun part of this review:-

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

There – that wasn’t too painful… It’s just good to get those horribly necessary bits out-of-the-way. And now, for the review!


A Mentor and Her Muse

Goodreads – A Mentor and Her Muse

Under the guise of mentor and muse, a frustrated writer and her ambitious teenage protégé take an illicit summer road trip fraught with racial and sexual tension. This is a compelling psychological novel about social norms, artistic ambition, and obsession.

Maggie Barnett works in the media center of a school in Flint, Michigan where she meets Taezha Riverton, an aspiring teenage writer. After discovering that Maggie is also a writer, Taezha turns to her as both mentor and friend.

Alone and childless, it’s not enough for Maggie to take Tae to upscale restaurants and poetry readings; she has a more far-reaching vision. Although Tae’s mother has nothing against Maggie, she is less than thrilled when Maggie proposes to take her daughter on a summer road trip. Permission is never explicitly granted, but shortly after school is out for the summer, Maggie and Tae head for the Southeast.

Tae’s mother insists that Maggie return Tae to Flint, but Maggie instead takes Tae to a remote cabin outside Asheville, North Carolina. Growing evermore emotionally unsound, Maggie clings to the belief that living close to nature is the perfect therapy for her doubts and insecurities. Yet her role as mentor has now been supplanted to that of a drill sergeant, causing Tae to have serious misgivings…


The book’s narrative is exciting, enjoyable and well written, with each chapter, perspective and character voice distinctive from the others. I also appreciate the integration of the racial inequalities and prejudice present within society. 

For me, the most enjoyable part of the book was the dynamic between Maggie and Tae; it is at times close, but in equal measure it can be electric and unpredictable. I found both of these characters to be incredibly relatable, even though they are both drastically different from one another. To master the depth of understanding required to properly articulate both of these characters, as Susan does, is an achievement worthy of recognition.

The differences between Maggie and Tae are set out early on. Maggie, now a fifty-something year old author, was brought up in wealthy and stable household – both of her parents were lawyers. Tae, our teenage protagonist, does not have this level of security at all – in fact, her mother Quintana struggles to pay the rent from month to month and raises a number of children, each demanding different levels of attention. The household is a chaotic comparison to Maggie’s upbringing; Tae, for the most part, shuts herself away in her room. It is from this unstable life that Maggie sweeps Tae away – and they go on a summer road trip! A writer’s retreat, as Maggie calls it.

Maggie assumes the role of mentor on the trip and through various “intimate” moments with Maggie’s thoughts (via her journal), we see the unstable side to her personality. Maggie is more dependent on Tae than perhaps she would like to admit, but her confessions about their relationship and her childhood explain why she wants to give Tae the opportunities she never had. Despite the best of intentions, Maggie is far from the perfect role model. There are concerns raised about the nature of her relationship with Tae, and in general for her welfare. When she discovers they are being followed… this tips her over the edge.

Their relationship is rocky, to say the least, as it transforms from a student/teacher semi-formal dynamic to a much closer one. At times they are on the same page, but gradually we see Tae beginning to write her own life story, and perhaps it was not the one Maggie had intended for her. The journey both Maggie and Tae take together can be interpreted as more important than the destination. The bond that forms between them is unique and the experience is a learning curve. As the trip comes to an end, it is evident that both Maggie and Tae have learned and matured from the experience of being around the other. 

As a reader, you are absorbed into the story right away, experiencing the highs and lows of the trip as if you are tagging along with them! Again, I cannot highly commend Susan enough for her ability to step wholly into the shoes of Maggie or Tae, she keeps their identities definitively separate yet coherently pieces together the road trip from each perspective, with common themes.

Thanks again for the privilege of reading A Mentor and Her Muse – it is an enjoyable and captivating read!

Rebecca mono

book reviews

Book Review: The Fall – Steve Campitelli

Happy Wednesday everyone!

If you checked out my blog post yesterday, an Interview with Steve Campitelli, then thank you very much! If you haven’t read it yet and would like to know a little bit more about this book, please go and check out this post afterwards!

Today, I get the privilege of sharing my thoughts about the book with you.

***I was very kindly provided with a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. All the opinions stated below are my own ***

The Fall

Goodreads – The Fall

Melbourne, 2052, two years since The Fall.

A wave of infection, the Jackson Virus, has swept the world, leaving in its wake a terrifying apocalyptic wasteland populated by wild cleanskin survivor groups and the ravenous, infected night predators – the jacks. In this nightmare landscape, one of the last remaining sanctuaries is Kulin Wallcom, a community enclosed by a 10-metre wall patrolled by what’s left of the military. The wallcoms are the last remaining bastions of defence and security in a world gone over the edge.

But the people of Kulin can’t stay behind their wall forever.

Recovery expert, John Bradley, is part of a major operation into the wasteland looking to not only ensure the survival of Kulin by bringing back critical supplies from the abandoned Southstone Supermall, but, more crucially, to also locate and extract the only person left who may be able to reverse the tide of infection.

However, the mission faces danger at every turn. It seems to be compromised from the inside, Southstone is thought to be an impossible target overrun with infected, and wasteland survivor bands, led by the psychopathic wasteland leader, the Headhunter, are bent on making sure the operation has to fight each step of the way to get back to the wallcom before nightfall.

Because that’s when the jacks come out.

And they will find you.

Welcome to the world of The Fall.

How would you cope, being thrown into a world overrun with infected?

I sure wouldn’t.

Nothing screams desolation better than the hot, dry, and almost uninhabited Wastelands of Melbourne, Australia – at least, it isn’t inhabited by many humans. Only small, ramshackle communities remain, but not by choice. Infected stalk their prey in the night, looking to feast off human flesh and infect the remaining population. Life for the remaining survivors is not an easy one.

Kulin is not wholly self-sustainable, and when they undertake their most ambitious “pick” yet, will the operation run smoothly? There is a lot to play for and much to gain; personal ambition may threaten the entire operation.

The post-apocalyptic vibe of this book reminded me of another book I enjoyed last year, Bad City by Matt Mayr. I’ve also been listening to The Stand by Stephen King, and whilst this is of a different genre entirely, they have one thing in common – the world as we know it being ripped apart by a deadly virus and civilisation scraping together to start again as best they can.

The narrative is well thought out and constructed in a diarised format, giving each POV an almost personal touch. The text is still written in third person (which admittedly is my favourite), but each chapter clearly states who our perspective is from. There are a sizeable number of POV’s but some of these aren’t extensive contributors to the book. For example Helen, whilst being a significant character in the narrative as a medic in Kulin, only has a small number of chapters to her name. Bearing this in mind, I think these entries have been written in the best way to help the reader keep track.

I understand why certain characters viewpoints were favoured, such as Bradley’s and Skylar’s; however, I would have liked to see a little more contribution from Helen. The other infrequent contributors had less of a part to play in the novel and their mere five minutes of fame is therefore understandable, but maybe as the series progresses we will get to see more of the minor characters.

The book is set with the right pace, allowing events to unfold in their own good time – such meticulous planning cannot be rushed. As the “BIG” operation is planned out, he outlines the everyday lives and hazards of the residents of Kulin, in order to make us understand just how huge a risk they are taking. Inevitably, the first few chapters are necessary to acquaint the reader and in this genre, this is all the more important. The rules are different and they need to be outlined. The first couple of chapters weren’t my favourite, (I didn’t fall in love straight away, but I didn’t dislike them either) but they accurately set the tone for the rest of the book. For me, the narrative picked up when the wheels are set in motion for the planning of the expedition.

I am also glad that Steve isn’t precious about any of the characters – after all, they live in a harsh world! It hardly seems realistic if the main characters somehow live in a protective bubble and manage to dodge all the bullets. Events transpire with the appropriate level of impact, and that is a skill to be admired.

The characters vulnerability makes them relatable to us as a reader. Fear is an emotion we all experience at one time or another – and in expressing our fear many of us let our guard down. Out on the Wasteland, adrenaline runs high. One lapse in concentration can mean death or infection, if not for you, then one of your buddies. Tragedy is only around the corner and it affects everyone in different ways. The diversity of characters, their personal background and their varied approaches to the situation they live in are an asset to the narrative and its development, as well as portraying an all-too-realistic response to this fictional pandemic.

The Fall is an enjoyable, read and makes a perfect introduction to what has the potential to be an excellent series. I think you could read The Fall as a standalone story if you wanted to, as the immediate conflicts are resolved, there are leads that will no doubt be carried forward into the future series and I for one would love to see how these get resolved.

Rebecca mono