Review: Release – Patrick Ness

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Whilst I haven’t read all of Patrick Ness’ rep, I have read A Monster Calls, which I found absolutely hauntingly beautiful (you can read my full review here) and I plan on making my way through all of his books over the next year.

I’m in two minds about this book. One half I loved, the other… I just didn’t really understand it’s relevance.

Release is essentially told from two perspectives. The first, is from a gay teenage boy struggling to overcome a past relationship, and the continuous disapporoval of his highly religious family and their homophobic views. This part, I loved. I found it moving, interesting, and empowering. I really liked Adam as a character, and it was just lovely to read his journey throughout the day, and see him develop and find himself.

The second perspective, I wasn’t a fan of. I can’t say too much without spoiling it for those who haven’t read it, and I don’t want to influence anyone’s opinions, but I found it very confusing. It had a kind of magical realism element to it, which I found interesting and added an extra twist to the writing, but didn’t quite feel like the two parts joined together. It made the narrative feel a bit too disjointed and surreal for my liking, and actually took away some of my enjoyment whilst reading it. I found myself racing through those parts just so I could get back to reading about Adam.

I still found myself hoping that somehow at the end, the two would marry together beautifully, but it just didn’t happen. The two characters meet briefly at the very end, but the event didn’t seem important or pivotal enough to recover that element of the book, and the book was just too short for it to hold great significance.

By the time I actually got into the flow of it, it was over. Maybe a re-read would alter my opinion slightly, but it’s not a top priority for me right now.

It’s a shame, because Adam’s story was a solid 5 stars from me, but the second perspective just let it down in my opinion.

I’d still recommend it because half of it really was wonderful, it’s got a great LGBT rep in its characters, and Ness’ writing is generally just a joy to read.

Please, any of you who have read it, share your opinions below. I’d love to hear what everyone else has to say about the second perspective. ❤️

View Release on Goodreads

Review: A Court of Mist & Fury (ACOTAR #2) – Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


(Contains spoilers to previous instalment. Review is spoiler free, so skip ahead if you need to)

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Just a disclaimer to start, that this book is very much “New Adult” rather than YA. There’s rather a lot of sex, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, just know that it’s in here. Frequently.

This world is just incredible. I’m so absorbed in it, and I have that magical feeling I remember having when I read Harry Potter for the first time. That feeling where all you want to do is be able to live in that world, and be friends with all your favourite characters…

This has officially taken place as one of my favourite ever books. I’ll be wanting to re-read this a few years down the line just to escape to The Court of Dreams once more.

Enough gushing.

The characters in this series, comparing to Throne of Glass, are so much more rounded. They are so much more relatable, even in the fantasy world, and it just makes all the difference in connecting to the plot line. Which, by the way, is incredibly gripping.

This book is 600 pages long. It’s not a short book. But every page had purpose. I didn’t feel like there was a single dry point. The twists and turns kept coming, and the descriptions were beautifully vivid. I have such clear images in my mind of all of the places, characters and creatures, and the relationships are just… yes.

No spoilers here.

But I’m shipping to the end of the world over here (whilst secretly being incredibly jealous…)

And the ending… WHY?!?!

I have to hold off from reading ACOWAR for a few weeks as I have other books I need to read first. I’m torn because I can’t wait to read more, yet I don’t want it to end.

Sarah, why do you break me so?

I also want to add, that I’m sorry some people have been offended in various ways by this book and the rest of the series. I appreciate your points of view, and I want to be clear that me enjoying this book by no means reflects my opinions on those issues.


Processed with VSCO with f2 presetSee also:

Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses

Review: Throne of Glass

View ACOMAF on Goodreads

Review: The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. 

I’ve waited a couple of weeks since reading to write this review, simply because it hit me so hard, and I couldn’t put all of my feeling and opinions into words. I’m still struggling.

The Hate U Give is phenomenal. Better than that. I can’t think of any word that does this book justice, and as Angie Thomas’ debut novel, I’m so excited to see what she writes next.

Everything about this book was just incredible on so many levels. The characters were fully formed, and even minor characters didn’t get forgotten about. I feel like I knew all of these people, which made me care all the more.

Starr was depicted perfectly, in all of her teenage greatness, and I particularly loved her family. All of their individual personalities shone through, and I just wished I could have jumped through the pages to meet them all! The sense of humour was subtle yet effective, and I found every single one of them to be totally genuine. There was no bulls**t here.

I laughed. I cried. I was continuously in a state of awe at how good this was.

Now, to the nitty gritty. The subject matter of this book is so important. Not only does it highlight the terrifying reality of segregation between Black and White, and the horrifying consequences of involvement in drugs and gang culture, but it speaks volumes about the power of speaking up for what you believe in. Supporting each other in times of need.

With everything that has happened recently in the news, there hasn’t been a need so great for us to find our voices, join together, and find the sense of community that this novel paints so beautifully.

I couldn’t stop turning the pages reading this. I would have read it in one sitting had I of had the opportunity. I wanted to continue reading about Starr’s life and see where life takes her next.

As soon as I finished this book I was sure to put it in my bag and pass it on to my sister. This book is one I want to share with everyone, and shout about it to every person I pass on the street.

If you haven’t read it yet, please do, because I cannot recommend it enough.

The best book I’ve read this year.

Seriously, read it now…

View The Hate U Give on Goodreads

The Big Summer Book Swap!

IMG_0989Guys, I’m so so excited for this…

I’ve always loved book swaps, I find it so lovely to write to a fellow book lover and send them a book that you think they’ll love. And most of the time, you get to keep in touch with those people and create a great bookish friend!

Oh, and you also receive the same in return, but from a completely different person… 2 bookish friends, yay!

I’ve seen a lot of people on twitter wanting to do an international book swap, so I figured why not host one?!

Anyone can participate, and there’s no limits. All I ask is that you send a great book and a personal letter to the person you are allocated. You can send more if you want to, but remember, it’s the thought that counts – the more personal, the better.

If you’d rather not send internationally, that’s okay too. When you fill out the form, there is the option to send within your country of residence, I know international postage can be expensive.

I hope that you’ll all be as excited as I am for this little project! Book swapping is such great fun!

There do, however, have to be rules:

  1. If you enter, please make sure that you do send something out. It’s not fair if one person is left without receiving something after they’ve put lots of time and effort into their gift. If you don’t intend to send, don’t enter.
  2. All books must be sent by the 1st July. That gives enough time for everyone to receive their gift. I go away from the 15th, so chasing people up after then will make my life extremely difficult…
  3. You only have to send out 1 book, and a letter to your person. You may, if you wish, include other bookish items, but do not expect to receive the same in return – I have added an option for this on the entry form.
  4. Please ensure the books are either new, or in as good as new condition. Please don’t send old battered books that have been thrown in a river and then your dog chewed. If you wouldn’t want to receive it, don’t send it. You can get really good prices from online sites such as The Book Depository and Wordery – both of these sites offer free shipping.
  5. Please don’t post directly from an online store. This isn’t very personal and shows a lack of care and thought. Unless you have specific reasons, in which case, please notify me in advance.
  6. LASTLY. This is just a fun little thing to spread some summertime cheer. Fill the form out as accurately and detailed as you can. It gives your buddy more to work with so you can receive something tailored exactly to your tastes.

I hope you’ll all join me on this.

If you enter, please share the link and image on you blog/twitter etc so more people can see it and join in!

You can also use the hashtag #BigSummerBookSwap to chat to others taking part.

Please fill out the form below by no later than 10th June. I’ll then get all people paired up with details sent within 7 days from then, giving you 3 weeks to buy your book, write your letter, and post it out in plenty of time. Please bear in mind international shipping will take longer, so the quicker you can ship, the better!

Form not showing up? ENTER HERE


Top 5 Releases I’m Looking Forward To This Month…

Already this year has seen some EPIC book releases, such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Release by Patrick Ness, and the highly anticipated A Court of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas.

But there’s still more to come!

Here are just a selection of titles that you should look out for this month:

Flame In The Mist (Flame In The Mist, #1) by Renee Ahdieh – May 16th 2017

23308087The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires. 

Goodreads describes this one as “Mulan meets Throne of Glass”… you need say no more, I’m sold.

It also has an awesomely diverse cast! Woo!

“TOMORROW, tomorrow, it comes out tomorrow!” – those are the lyrics, right?

Alex Bedder musical abedder broadway annie GIF

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2) by Cassandra Clare – May 23rd 2017

30312891Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Confession: I haven’t read any Cassandra Clare… but I OWN them all, which means that I’m excited to own this one, so my set remains complete. #bookhoarderproblems

I will read them. One day. I hope.

I know that loads of you guys are super hyped about this one though, which is why it’s on my list!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – May 30th 2017

When Dimple Met RishiA laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Quite possibly the longest Goodreads synopsis, ever…

I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book from the lucky people who’ve already read it, and I’m super excited to get my hands on it!

It sounds soooo cute, and it’s a diverse read – couldn’t get any better!

This is one of the few contemporaries on this list, most are fantasy (sorry) so I’m looking forward to the contrast in genre from what I’ve been reading lately too.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – May 30th 2017

One of Us Is LyingOne of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I’m not usually one for thriller/mystery genres, but this sounds so interesting!

Karen M. McManus is also going to be at YALC this year. I’m away, so can’t go, but for those of you lucky cherubs with tickets, keep your eyes out for this!

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2) by V.E Schwab – June 13th 2017

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human, no matter how much he once yearned for it. He’s a monster with a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

I know, I know, this is technically June, but it’s less than a month until it’s released so I figured I wasn’t quite cheating by including it!

I’m yet to read This Savage Song, but as soon as this comes out, I’ll be binge reading them both!

I love Schwab’s writing, so really looking forward to jumping into this world.


There are so many more great releases coming out this year, and I’ve already started making lists of books I can’t wait to get a hold of over the next coming months! But these are just my top 5 for May (+1 June…), and I’ll definitely be buying them pretty close to their release dates, if not straight away!

 kids book fantasy read books GIF


Oh my poor, poor TBR I’m so sorry…

GUEST POST: “Why Writers Need Writers” by Claire Savage

Hey guys! I’ve got something a little different for you today.

The lovely Claire Savage, author of Magical Masquerade, a brand new Children’s book, has written an amazing piece for us on how author solidarity can make all the difference to you becoming a more confident writer!

So for any of you wanting to write, this is a great read for you. Get in touch with other authors, and, I guess, just talk about writing – you’re all in the same boat, and having someone to talk to with your writer worries is always going to be useful.

“Why Writers Need Writers”

By Claire Savage 

Displaying Headshot_BBF.jpgHuge thanks to Joanne for inviting me to write a guest post on her blog as I start the promo for my debut children’s novel, Magical Masquerade. I self-published via CreateSpace at the end of April, after finally deciding to just go for it and, while I thought I was going to blog about that journey and SP, I realised I wanted to focus on something else instead – other writers.

You can read about my SP journey over on my own blog if you like, but what I haven’t really talked about enough, I think, is how important other writers have been to me throughout this. I’ve gone to various writing workshops and short courses over the years, which I’ve really enjoyed, but I’ve never been a dedicated member of a writing group which meets every week to share and critique their work. I prefer to write by myself at home, meeting up with fellow scribblers only at festivals, one-off events and over coffee.

However, in the past couple of years I’ve enjoyed a whole new connection with writers in Northern Ireland – where I live – and in particular, with women writers. And, while I’m still not part of a writing group which meets religiously every week, I am part of a country-wide writing community which talks every day online. It’s called Women Aloud NI.

Set up by Jane Talbot, who hails from Wiltshire but now lives on the North Coast near myself, Women Aloud NI aims to increase the profile of women’s writing in Northern Ireland. As part of that, there’s a website, a Facebook page, a Facebook group, a Twitter account and so on. On International Women’s Day (March 8), Jane organises read-a-thons, mass readings and the like across the country, and this year, also took us to Dublin to the Irish Writers Centre. There, we collaborated with women writers from the ROI, reading our work and celebrating each other’s achievements in an event called WomenXBorders.

I should mention that Women Aloud NI has just won three prizes at the 2017 Saboteur Awards in London – one of our members, Freya Clements, won Best Reviewer, while Women Aloud NI itself scooped the Wildcard category and Best Collaborative Work for the WomenXBorders initiative.

To be part of Women Aloud NI you have only to be a woman writer living in/from Northern Ireland. And, since it came into being in 2015, I’ve realised just how much support from other writers counts when you’re trying to carve out some sort of writing career.

Whether you write for yourself as a hobby or want to publish, it’s important to have someone in your corner encouraging you, advising you and just being there to talk to. Other writers, I find, are the people who really ‘get’ why you want/need to write, and are best placed for advising on any number of book-related matters. Everyone has different experiences and in a writing community, there’s always someone who can help.

In the past two years, I’ve benefited from being able to read my work in public at various events thanks to Women Aloud NI. Waterstones Coleraine, the Irish Writers’ Centre in Dublin and No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast are just three of multiple venues which have hosted our readings to date. I also enjoyed taking part in my first writers’ panel discussion this year, chatting about SP at the WomenXBorders event.

I’ve received support and incredibly useful advice from Jane about the publishing process and what happens afterwards – indeed, it was she who suggested I pitch to the Belfast Book Festival to launch my book there this year. I did, they said yes, and I’m now having my book launch on June 17. If it hadn’t been for Jane suggesting it though, I’d never have approached them, as I didn’t think they would consider me!

With both traditionally and self-published authors – and also, those who don’t publish their work – in the Women Aloud NI community, you learn all sorts of things from all sorts of people. There’s the business of writing (i.e. finance/marketing), general writing tips and advice; information about upcoming events/competitions journals seeking submissions. There’s also meet-ups, coffee and cake on occasion, and just by being part of Women Aloud NI, you feel more supported and confident as a writer. Together, we shout louder, and people take notice.

It’s still early days for Women Aloud NI but the longer it goes on, the more value I see in being part of such a community. When I decided to self-publish my novel, there was already a group of people there willing to support and encourage me in that. They were all in the one place online and have been great in helping me spread the word about the book.

I think that writers need writers in many ways (with published work they also need readers, of course, but that’s a whole other blog post!), and building up a strong local network is invaluable. I now know so many more writers than I did previously in Northern Ireland and it certainly makes all the difference to me as an author…

Claire blogs at:

Magical Masquerade is now available from Amazon:

Women Aloud NI website:

Thanks Claire!

I know that this group is specific to Northern Ireland, but I’m sure there are similar organisations around the world – or why not set up your own?

Sometimes it can just be as simple as dropping a tweet to your friend who also writes, or you can take a leap and email your favourite author. Lots of YA authors in particular are on twitter, and I’m sure would be happy to answer any little niggling questions and give tips and tricks.

dfw-cs-mm-cover-largeI also just want to say that Claire’s book sounds AWESOME. I can’t wait to read it – who doesn’t love a book full of magic?!

And how awesome is that cover?! It reminds me of little magic wizardy gnomes in the forest.

Mini Gandalf perhaps?

Regardless, it looks freaking great.

Review: A Court of Thorns & Roses (ACOTAR) – Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.


Because my god, she’s done it again…

I want to start off by saying that Throne of Glass is probably my favourite fantasy series after Harry Potter. I love it. So freaking much. But for some reason, I just never got around to reading her second series.


With the release of A Court of Wings And Ruin last week, I decided it was finally time to pull this book off my shelf after buying it an entire year ago. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the first in the trilogy, and follows Feyre, a human, as she is taken to the Fae realm of Prythian as punishment for killing a wolf. But not just any ordinary wolf, oh no…

I’ll stop there, I don’t want to give away spoilers for those of you who, like me, are slow of the bat for reading this.

So anyway, as her journey unfolds, there are dramas, there are romances (but not the “love at first sight” trope, thank god, because I can’t be dealing with that crap… no, none of that), and there are terrifying creatures. Seriously, I would not want to run into any of those on a stroll through the forest.

Maas just has this way of describing demon creature things that paints a picture so vivid, it’s as though they could jump out at you in the comfort of your reading nook at any possible minute, and I think that’s my favourite thing about her writing. It’s her ability to create a world so vivid that you just get totally wrapped up in it and CANT PUT DOWN THE FREAKING BOOK until you’ve devoured it in just a few hours…

Dare I say it, I think I may prefer this, so far, to Throne of Glass. Which really is saying something.

I’m not going to lie, it does have it’s issues. There is a hint of a slightly abusive relationship within the plot. I use “slightly” because it’s not so much physical abuse, but rather a very assertive male character who loses his temper when the female doesn’t do as she’s told… But I mean, that happens in real life, so people losing their minds over it and saying that it’s “problematic” need to take a step back and realise that this happens in real life, and therefore should be written about. If every problematic issue was erased from all books then our attention wouldn’t be drawn towards it. It’s the same as pretending it doesn’t exist, which is equally as bad. Obviously, there comes a point when it does become too much of a serious issue in a book, if it’s unnecessary to be in there, but I don’t feel like this is the case here.

There is also, however, a definitive lack of diversity amongst the characters. All of the characters seem to be white and straight, and I am aware that some people have found it offensive and have been hurt by various things within this series, and generally feel un-represented in any of Maas’ works. For this I apologise – I feel bad for loving it despite all of this! But I do… I’m sorry.

I felt like the characters in this series are already more well rounded that those in TOG, although I have to say, Feyre’s family annoyed the hell out of me! Her sisters in the opening chapters are so shallow it’s unreal, and her DAD?! Well, let’s just say I’m glad he’s not mine. I can’t believe how little he cares for his children, especially after their mother died. I get it, people grieve in different ways, but he’s practically abandoned his children to wallow in his own self pity.

That aside, I really bloody loved this book. The relationships were cute, Feyre is just the right amount feisty yet also caring and loyal, Tamlin and Lucien (besides being my future husbands) have their hidden demons which make them incredibly interesting as well as being bloody sexy… And there are twists and turns aplenty!

I can’t wait to get stuck into ACOMAF this weekend – I’ve heard it’s even better?!

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View A Court of Thorns and Roses on Goodreads