Blog Tour: Sanctuary – V.V. James

I’m very excited to be part of the tour for Sanctuary by V.V. James today! This is a fun detective/fantasy crossover, featuring murder and witches, which I very much enjoyed. Thanks for reading my review, and please remember to go and visit the other stops on the tour (tour schedule is available at the bottom of this post).


Every town has its secrets. Sanctuary is built on them.

46189758._SY475_.jpgDaniel’s death looked like an accident: An alcohol-fuelled tragedy with no one to blame. But his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch, and they’d been fighting before he died. When someone accuses her of murder by witchcraft, the investigation into Daniel’s death takes a much more sinister turn. Was it really an accident? Was it revenge? Or – in this town of secrets – something much darker?

I really loved the general theme of this book: a detective novel involving witches, and the plot is very good. Sanctuary is proper detective mystery with a fun supernatural element. I enjoyed the way that witchcraft was a built-in feature of this world, without needed any other supernatural features to enforce it. Witches are a known and (somewhat) accepted people in this book, living openly alongside regular people, but they do suffer from discrimination just the same as any minority group does in the real world. I thought it was very effective to include discrimination in this way.

There are quite a mixed bag of characters. Because the plot is reasonably complex, we don’t get to see too deeply into most of the characters. The ones that we do get to know in more depth are quite different from one another. I liked Maggie, the detective. She was a compassionate character who was determined to do her job and get fair results. I also quite liked Sarah, Sanctuary’s resident witch, because it was easy to understand why she made the decisions she made, to protect her daughter. Abigail, however, I didn’t like at all. It felt like I was supposed to be able to sympathise with her, having just lost her son, but I couldn’t. She came across as nasty and vindictive, even outside of the events that followed the death of her son. On the whole, I think Abigail was the only part of this book that I didn’t much like.

Last, but not least, I absolutely adore that cover.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon


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Blog Tour: The Moments – Natalie Winter

Today is my day on the tour for The Moments by Natalie Winter! I enjoyed this book so much, so I’m very pleased to be able to share my review. Remember to check out the other stops on the tour as well! (More info is available at the bottom of this post). Thanks for stopping by!


Life is made up of countless moments. Moments that make us who we are. But what if they don’t unfold the way they’re supposed to…?

hbg-title-9781409184850-15Matthew and Myrtle both feel like they’ve never found the person they’re destined to be with. They both make their way through life trying to find the happiness they desire, but never feeling like they’ve truly found where they belong. But they’re meant to be together, if only they can find each other.

The Moments follows the respective lives of Matthew and Myrtle, all the way from birth into old age. Their stories are told in a series of moments, which was a style that I truly loved. The snapshot-style of story telling meant that the plot progressed at a good speed without lingering too long on any particular periods, which really kept the pace up and stopped the book from ever getting boring.

The central thinking-point of the book is whether happiness can be missed by missing the right moment – like getting on the wrong bus or using the wrong gardening company – or will happiness find you eventually? It’s a really intriguing concept, which is explored beautifully through the choices Myrtle and Matthew make throughout their lives.

Myrtle and Matthew are very good lead characters. They were both a little bit annoying in their own ways, but likeable enough and well developed. I had mixed feelings about the rest of the characters in the book, because some of them were pretty hard work, and most of the good ones has some very negative moments. However, this did help to make them feel like real people.

Overall, The Moments is a very readable and pretty emotional story about relationships, missed opportunities and the moments that determine our lives.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon


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Love, Unscripted – Owen Nicholls

44590494._SY475_When film projectionist Nick meets Ellie at a party for the 2008 presidential election, he’s sure that he has finally found a love like in the movies. But after four picture-perfect years together, Ellie has moved out and Nick is left trying to figure out where it all went wrong.

This was a very sweet story, following the build up and break down of Nick and Ellie’s relationship. The story is told through two simultaneous time-frames, with chapters alternating between the night Nick and Ellie first met, and then in the months following their break up. There are also a few ‘intermissions’ in which Nick reveals the truth about the break down of their relationship, which I felt was a very effective way of telling the story.

I liked Nick’s narrative voice. He is a mostly likeable and very flawed character, making him believable with realistic thoughts and actions. The plot is true to life and quite raw at times. You can really believe that these could be real people in the real world.

I also really enjoyed the ending of this book. Nick went through a lot of personal growth throughout the story and this was told really effectively. I won’t say too much, to avoid spoilers, but I thoroughly appreciated the ambiguity of the ending and that the author didn’t feel the need to spell it out explicitly.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton

40717567._SY475_.jpgThis coming-of-age drama follows the life of Eli Bell, growing up in Brisbane with his mute brother, drug-dealing stepfather and notorious criminal babysitter. Life doesn’t seem too bad, until Eli’s stepfather vanishes, his mother gets arrested and he and his brother have to go and live with their drunk father. And the complications don’t stop there.

The plot of Boy Swallows Universe was a bit intense and slow to develop for me. I actually considered DNF-ing it a few times. The book isn’t bad at all; it’s interesting and well-written with unique and likeable characters, but it did feel very long and slow and it took me a really long time to get into it.

However, I’m glad I stuck with it, because Eli Bell was one of my all-time favourite book characters. He had a truly fantastic narrative voice, managing to be funny, relatable and extremely likeable throughout the book. There were also a lot of other excellent characters. Augustus (Eli’s brother) was very interesting with some unexpected complexities, and I completely adored Caitlyn Spies and Slim. Eli’s relationship with Brisbane’s most notorious criminal was one of the most endearing things I’ve ever read.

This novel is full of life, love and surprises. It’s worth the effort.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

The Gods of Love – Nicola Mostyn

38333559._SY475_When a strange man bursts into Frida’s office claiming that she is a descendent of Eros, the god of love, and destined to save the world, Frida has him removed by security and laughs the whole thing off. But after a weird meeting and an attempted kidnapping, Frida starts to think that maybe the man calling himself the Oracle was telling the truth.

Usually, I love any book based on mythology, but this one really wasn’t that great. I think it was the comparison to Bridget Jones and Neil Gaiman that got me: it’s really nothing like either. Granted, The Gods of Love would fall under the same genre as Bridget Jones, being a typical comedy/romance novel with a feisty female lead, but it simply doesn’t have Jones’ heart and wit. The comparison to Gaiman honestly makes no sense to me whatsoever. So it has some gods and some mythology in it; it takes a lot more than that to be anything at all like one of Gaiman’s books.

That being said, there’s nothing wrong with what it is, once the false comparisons are removed. As far as books of this genre go, this one certainly wasn’t bad, but it could have been so much better.

The story is fun and fast-paced, with a good amount of magic and fantasy thrown in there. Despite love being a prominent theme throughout the book, the romantic element between the characters is quite slow-build and not overdone. I liked that the story wasn’t all about the relationship between Dan and Frida, largely because I struggled to feel the chemistry between them a lot of the time. It rather felt like they were forced together for the sake of having a romantic story-line in a book about love.

Frida herself, I didn’t love. She was clearly supposed to be a strong, kick-ass female, but to be honest I found her a little bit annoying.

The Gods of Love is a light and decent enough read. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t special.

Goodreads | Amazon

Almost Adults – Ali Pantony

45863509._SY475_Mackie, Edele, Alex and Nat are four best friends, desperately trying to navigate their 20s together. With breakups, new jobs, new relationships and major decisions, growing up can get messy, but at least they have each other.

As a 24-year-old woman, Almost Adults is one of the most relatable books I’ve read. It is funny and charming, and a very accurate representation of female friendship, with a lot of emphasis on the importance of having people you can rely on in your lowest moments.

The story follows all four women, as they each try to get through their own individual dramas. Nat, dealing with a breakup and learning to live on her own; Edele, trying to find a job and move out of her mum’s house; Mackie, deciding whether she’s ready to make a big move for her career; and Alex, watching the breakdown of her best friend’s relationship and becoming convinced that her own boyfriend is cheating on her. These are very realistic problems and the girls all have believable personalities, so it felt like I could have been reading about real people.

My one criticism would be that the girls didn’t have distinct voices. Although each clearly had their own narrative features to make it clear whose perspective each chapter was written from, the actual voices sounded the same across the whole book. I would have liked for the girls to have had more individual voices to distinguish between them, rather than just narrative methods such as lists, etc.

I would definitely recommend this book to all 20-something women looking for an enjoyable read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

War of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

44780383._SY475_Following on from the events in book #2, Reign of Mist, tensions are running high across the realm. Bleak and Casimir are searching for the one thing that might give them an advantage over Ines, while the others are preparing for battle.

The Oremere Chronicles has been one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. It has everything: magic, action, humour, spunky characters, giant wild cats, friendship, betrayal, epic battles, a little bit of romance, fantastic world building and great plot development.

There are so many strong female characters. These books are very feminist and filled to the brim with powerful women, but the male characters aren’t pushed to the side or forgotten. Every single character brings something significant to the story, and they all have unique, memorable personalities despite there being so many different characters. I could go on for hours about each character individually, but my best advice would be to read the book and fall in love with them yourself.

There is a teeny bit of romance, but that is very much a minor element in the plot. It was actually a cross between very enjoyable and quite frustrating because I shipped everyone in this book. Especially Bleak – I shipped her with almost every other character: Dash, Bren, Fiore, Cazimir, Henri, even Swinton once or twice. To be honest, I think I’d have been happy with any outcome on that front.

Being the third and final part of the trilogy, the story comes to an eventful – and at times traumatic – climax. I won’t spoil it, but prepare to weep in between moments of triumph.

Overall, this series was truly excellent. I loved every second of all three books, and War of Mist did not let the series down at all. It might even have been my favourite. I can’t wait to see what Helen Scheuerer comes up with next.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

No One Home – Tim Weaver

42960047On Halloween night, the nine residents of Black Gale get together for a dinner party. The next morning, the whole village has vanished. There are no bodies, no clues and no evidence, so the families of the disappeared residents hire an investigator, David Raker, to find out what happened. But is Raker looking for nine missing people, or nine dead bodies?

No One Home is the tenth David Raker book, but it works perfectly well as a standalone novel.

The premise of this book was so intriguing, I was really excited to start reading it, but I lost interest very quickly. I actually almost DNF’d this book a couple of times, but I don’t like not finishing books so I stuck with it in the hopes that it would grow on me. Unfortunately, it didn’t. I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons why I didn’t enjoy this story. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the writing, and the plot was sound and should have been exciting. But I just wasn’t drawn in. I didn’t feel any kind of connection at all with Raker or any of the other characters. After a certain point, I even stopped being interested in finding out what happened to the residents of Black Gale.

It’s probably worth a shot – it has very high ratings from other readers. This one just wasn’t for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Reign of Mist – Helen Scheuerer

39216289.jpgIn book #2 of The Oremere Chronicles, it is all kicking off. As more people learn the truth behind the deadly mist and King Arden’s treachery, war is brewing. Scattered across continents, Bleak and her friends are forced to choose sides, forge their own alliances and prepare themselves for the battles ahead.

I adored book #1 in this series, Heart of Mist, so I was really excited to get straight on with reading book #2. It didn’t disappoint.

At the start of the book, all our main players are separated and spread out across the continents. This meant there were a few different threads to follow simultaneously. Initially, I was concerned that this would make the story too complicated (and one of my favourite things about this series has been the relationships between characters, so splitting them up was not so good), but fortunately the whole gang was reunited fairly quickly and all my concerns were dispelled.

The plot progresses much quicker in this book. There are a lot of characters to follow and a lot of politics to cover, but none of it felt rushed or lacking in detail. The pacing was pretty much spot on to keep the story moving and maintain excitement. The story really comes to life through Scheuerer’s brilliant writing, fantastic characters and strong world-building.

I haven’t enjoyed a YA fantasy series this much in so long.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Naturally Tan – Tan France

41223314Naturally Tan is a funny, sassy and touching memoir from Tan France, star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, in which he tells his origin story alongside fashion guidance and general life advice.

As a gay, South Asian Brit – one of the few people of colour growing up South Yorkshire at the time – Tan has a perspective on life which isn’t often shared in the media or in popular culture. Although there is, as you’d expect, some unpleasant (to put it mildly) racial abuse, Tan’s natural charm and humour shines through the writing, which keeps some serious topics light without trivialising them at all.

I really loved the way this book is written. The style is super conversational, and it genuinely feels like Tan is speaking directly to the reader. His stories about growing up, trying out every job under the sun, and meeting the love of his life are interesting and well told, and I absolutely loved the inclusion of Public Service Announcements and ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ about style and dating. Naturally Tan also has some really cute chapter illustrations which add a little touch of detail to really help make it a special book.

I knew next-to-nothing about Tan before picking up this book. I found him funny on Queer Eye, but I never would have said I was a fan. I am now.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon