Friend Request – Laura Marshall

34660765When she receives an unexpected Facebook friend request, Louise’s life is thrown off-kilter. She is a single mother with a successful career, but a friend request from Maria Weston, a classmate who went missing- presumed dead – over twenty-five years ago dredges up unpleasant memories from Louise’s time at school and an awful secret from the night Maria disappeared. As Maria’s messages escalate, Louise reconnects with the people from her past to uncover the events of that terrible night, and discover the true identity of the person behind the messages.

The story switches between past and present, as Louise processes current events and looks back on her time at school. Despite the mixed timelines, the story flows well and is easy to read. It is, essentially, about the effects of bullying and a word of caution against sharing too much personal information on social media. It is an engaging mystery/psychological thriller with very current themes.

I didn’t get on well with any of the characters, but particularly Louise. I found her weak and difficult to support. Unsurprisingly, my inability to relate to or empathise with the main character did hinder my reading experience to some extent. However, despite my lack of connection with the characters, the story was engaging and kept me interested throughout. Friend Request is relevant and intriguing, but I have read better thrillers this year.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

T5W – Series That Got Better



I wanted to start doing some posts other than just reviews, so I’m having a go at a couple of weekly memes. Top 5 Wednesday is a meme run by Thoughts on Tomes and you can find the Goodreads group for it here! This week’s topic is series that got better as they went on. (I’m glad I only have to choose 5 because these are rare).

  1. Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee – I loved these books. I loved Penryn, Raffe, Penryn’s mum, and all the other characters that pop up. The romance was very fun and managed to carry on developing throughout the series without getting annoying. And there are no love triangles!!! (No love triangle in a paranormal YA series? What is this witchcraft?!)
  2. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare – Although this series had some weak points, I did really enjoy them the whole way through and there was some lovely character development (especially with Simon).
  3. Runemarks by Joanne Harris – Sort of not a series because there are only two books, but they’re both just brilliant. Wonderful and interesting characters (based on Norse gods) and a very eventful plot.
  4. The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – The first book was fantastic and, for at least the first 15 books, they just kept getting better. Unfortunately, 20+ books in a series is rather ambitious and they have started to go downhill in more recent instalments.
  5. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien – (Obviously). You just can’t go wrong with a bit of LOTR.

    So that’s my Top 5 series that got better. What series did you love that got better with each book? Let me know if there are any you think I’d enjoy!

The Vorrh – B. Catling

30145285Okay, so usually I try to write my own mini synopsis of the book, but explaining The Vorrh is way too hard so I’m going to take the blurb provided on Goodreads:

Bakelite robots lie broken – their hard shells cracked by human desire – and an inquisitive Cyclops waits for his keeper and guardian, growing in all directions. Beyond the colonial city of Essenwald lies the Vorrh, the forest which sucks souls and wipes minds. There, a writer heads out on a giddy mission to experience otherness, fallen angels observe humanity from afar, and two hunters – one carrying a bow carved from his lover, the other a charmed Lee-Enfield rifle – fight to the end. Thousands of miles away, famed photographer Eadweard Muybridge attempts to capture the ultimate truth, as rifle heiress Sarah Winchester erects a house to protect her from the spirits of her gun’s victims.

I don’t really know how to review this book. It’s a special one, for sure, but one I didn’t totally get. There are a load of different storylines, which was confusing and difficult to see how they all connected – like a whole bunch of voices all speaking at once – and I still don’t fully understand the entire premise of the story. For the first half of the book I didn’t know what was going on, but I powered through and WOW. Despite my lack of understanding, I was completely engrossed. I was able to start seeing connections between the individual plots and felt a real connection with some of the characters. By the last quarter, I couldn’t put it down.

Catling’s writing is so poetic and beautiful – a work of art more than just a story. Although that is in many ways a good thing, it also made the book more difficult to read. None of the phrasing was straightforward, and I had to concentrate quite hard to find the meaning behind the beauty.

I think really my main problem with The Vorrh was that it is so unbelievably stunning and creative (also with some very weird content) that I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. This is more a criticism of my own lack of imagination than Catling’s abilities as an author, and I would definitely recommend at least giving it a try. I get the feeling that this book will be very marmite: you will either love it, or hate it.

Many thanks to Coronet and Bookbridgr for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | Amazon

Sunshine Blogger Award


Thank you Jenaca for the nomination, very sweet of you! Everyone should check out her blog over at Jenacidebybibliophile and also her post for the Sunshine Blogger Award here.



  1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write then 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.


  1. Dogs or Cats or Hamsters and why?

    DOGS. DOGSDOGSDOGS. Always dogs. I have one and she’s adorable, I am not a fan of cats, and I’ve never had much of an opinion on hamsters.
     dog running dogs slow motion alx GIF


  2. If you could live in any period and any place in time when and where would it be?

    I would choose either right here, right now, or the time of cavemen because it strikes me as a much simpler time.


  3. What is the last book you hated and why?

    I don’t hate many books, so probably Fifty Shades of Grey because it’s essentially abuse disguised as a romantic love story. Also TERRIBLY written.


  4. Favourite author and favourite book (not necessarily by the same author)?

    Favourite author is Joanne Harris because she’s super talented and her books are really diverse (she’s got vampires, Norse mythology, French romance, etc, etc). Favourite book is The Call of the Wild by Jack London. I just love it.


  5. What is something you wish people knew about you?

    I wish people knew that I’m actually pretty friendly. And that all employers knew I’d actually be a fantastic employee so HIRE ME.
     cool adventure time awesome creeper im cool and awesome GIF

  6. How long have you been blogging?

    Just over one year.


  7. What is your favourite type of character in a book?

    I love a villain, of course, as long as they’re either really sassy or super evil (think Hades from Disney’s Hercules or President Snow from The Hunger Games). I also love a strong female lead BUT ONLY IF she’s not whiny, irritating, or involved in any love triangles.

     disney cartoon cartoons hercules hades GIF

  8. What is your favourite TV show?

    I love TV so there are a few. To pick just one I’d go with Gossip Girl. gossip girl michelle trachtenberg georgina sparks the world needs gossip girl GIF


  9. What is your favourite holiday? Why?

    Disneyland. 100%. I’ve only been to Paris but I imagine the American ones are also fantastic. Otherwise, somewhere with sunshine, things to see and great food (i.e. Italy).


  10. What 3 famous/fictional people, living or dead, would you want at your fantasy dinner party?

    To be honest I’d probably pick people like Joey Essex, The Rock and Anna Kendrick because I just think we’d have a hilarious time.
     joey GIF


  11. What’s your pet peeve(s)?

    PEOPLE TALKING TO ME WHILE I’M READING. I’m sitting here, minding my own business, reading my book. Please, just leave me alone.

I nominate…

  1. The Introverted Book Nerd
  2. I Should Read That
  3. The Book Raven
  4. Boston Book Reader
  5. Rimpysreads
  6. Linda’s Little Library
  7. Beaucoupbooks
  8. The Bohemian Bookworm
  9. Fantastic Book Dragon
  10. Susanlovesbooks
  11. Keeana’s Korner

I’m not going to write a new list of questions because I’m feeling lazy so, if you want to do the tag, answer than same questions as me!

Enchantress – James Maxwell

22617388.jpgSince childhood, Ella has dreamed of becoming an enchantress. Her brother, Miro, has his own dreams of becoming a bladesinger – one of the world’s greatest swordsmen. While the two set forth to achieve their dreams, a darkness is brewing, taking over the land bit by bit and the siblings find themselves being accelerated forward as Miro is sent to the front and Ella becomes involved in a life-changing adventure. Her actions will determine the fate of her brother, her homeland, and the entire world.

Enchantress is the first book in the Evermen Saga, setting the scene for some very grand adventures. It is long (600+ pages) and very detailed, which makes the world-building and character development excellent. The story-world is well thought out (and there’s a map! I love a map), and bears many similarities to the real world, making it easy to comprehend (issues such as race and social status come into play). There are a lot of different characters, but only a few are known to us in great detail so the number of characters never gets confusing. New characters throughout the book are introduced well and integrated into the story.

I personally loved reading about a main character called Ella (in case you hadn’t realised, that’s my name) and I found her to be a mostly likeable character. Her storyline was particularly interesting and fun to read. Miro’s plot interested me slightly less; there was a lot of detail about his movements on the front line of battle, with full inclusion of general life in war rather than just individual battles. Although I was less into this, the whole thing was still very engrossing.

Enchantress is a very good and well written book, but I have mixed feelings about the series. It almost falls into the YA category, but with some pretty heavy violence, some slightly-more-than-PG sex scenes and references to almost rape pushing it more comfortably out of YA and into adult fantasy. While reading, I wasn’t sure whether I’d bother carrying on to the next instalment, but now, having finished, I’m finding myself very tempted to buy book #2.

Goodreads | Amazon

Death Plays a Part – Vivian Conroy

35221349With her London theatre closed for renovations. Guinevere takes on a summer job at the castle on the Cornish island of Cornisea. What she doesn’t expect is to be witness to a murder with her new boss, Lord Bolingbrook, as the prime suspect. Determined to clear her employer’s name, Guinevere teams up with his son, Oliver, to find the true culprit.

Death Plays a Part is a fun and traditional murder mystery. Guinevere interviews everyone on the island and follows all the clues until she can work out whodunit, how, and why. Conroy’s writing is smooth and enjoyable, with beautiful scenery and endearing characters (special shout out to Guinevere’s dachshund, Dolly). I actually preferred the slick glamour of Conroy’s Lady Alkmene series, but Death Plays a Part is an equally enjoyable, sweet and light read. The laidback atmosphere of a murder in Cornwall is a nice change of pace to the grit and rush of many murder mysteries.

Anyway, who doesn’t love a story with a canine sidekick?

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Everything We Keep – Kerry Lonsdale

29639736Aimee’s fiancé, James, goes missing in a boating accident in Mexico two months before their wedding. In a cruel twist of fate, Aimee finds herself attending James’ funeral on the same day that she should have been walking down the aisle. But when Aimee receives a message suggesting that James isn’t really dead, she begins to uncover a web of secrets that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her life with James. Is he alive? What happened to make him disappear, and why hasn’t he come back? Aimee tries her best to move on with her life, until she eventually heads to Mexico to find out the truth.

Everything We Keep is an interesting mix of mystery and romance. The story behind James’ disappearance is really intriguing and difficult to work out, while the blossoming romance between Aimee and photographer Ian is rather sweet. There were times when I couldn’t tell what direction the story was going in, but it recovered from these weak points successfully. I did find the characters quite bland. Aimee and Ian were both a bit wet and wimpy (although, given the circumstances, that was understandable) and the side characters were a load of nothing, just included to move the story along. The plot was very good though.

Overall, it’s pretty good but never quite gripped me fully.

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

Goodreads | Amazon

Party Girls Die in Pearls – Plum Sykes

34341508It’s 1985 at Christchurch College, Oxford University, when ultra popular Yah-girl India is discovered dead, throat slit, in one of the professor’s rooms. Fresher Ursula lands the opportunity to write about the murder in the university newspaper, and sets out to solve the mystery behind India’s death. With help from fellow fresher, Nancy, and a vast array of eccentric side characters, Ursula digs her way to the bottom of the mystery.

The story is fun. It’s a very detailed murder mystery, but the writing style is quite clunky. It was also a bit too frivolous and frothy for me; I prefer my mysteries to have more grit. Although, there was some quite grizzly detail included about the murder and autopsy. The gruesome aspects being so completely surrounded by froth and glitter was quite confusing. Really, my main negative thought is that the book is too long. For me, it went on a bit and would have been more enjoyable if it was shorter. As it was, I struggled through to the end.

What I did like was the array of amusing characters. There are so many rich, posh and snobby characters, but they were all somehow different and likeable in their own ways. It felt a little like the book was written from the point of view of someone who has never been to public school or Oxford university (I actually don’t know if the author has or not, it’s just the vibe I get), so there are a lot of stereotypical posh characters who are obsessed with glamour and status. Which I found quite narrow-minded but enjoyable all the same.

The mystery aspect was excellent. I did guess (correctly) whodunit pretty early on but not how or why. This didn’t detract at all from the story; it was fun to work out the motives and methods alongside Ursula as the story progressed (and it was nice to find I was right all along).

Final note: although I liked the characters, it frustrated me immensely that no one was able to focus on the fact that their friend had been murdered. A girl turns up dead, and they’re all still obsessed with parties and clothes and dating. Your friend is DEAD and you can only manage to care for 5 minutes at a time.. uh HELLOOOO! What the hell?! But aside from that, good book.

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

Goodreads | Amazon