Reviews & Interviews Roundup

Book Review: Dim Stars (2020)
Book Review: The 13th Zodiac (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Annabelle & Aiden (2016)
Children’s Book Review: Lola: The Bracelet of Courage (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Jack the Unicorn (2021)
Children’s Book Review: The Adventures of Addy: The Tale of the Prince and the Dragon (2021)
Children’s Book Review: How to Hug a Cloud (2021)
Children’s Book Review: Bats at the Library (2008)
Author Interview: Eva Seyler
Author Interview: Amy Campbell
Author Interview: L.A. Wasielewski
Author Interview: Pedro Gabriel
Author Interview: L.L. Stephens
Author Interview: A. K. Ritchie
Author Interview: Amy Maltman
Author Interview: Luther Kross
Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

currently reading: check in

a picture of an open book with glasses on it; text says 'currently reading'

I read and reviewed a lot of kid’s books recently (see my review roundup!) and now I’m working my way through three wonderful books: Fear and Fury by Jamie Jackson, The 13th Zodiac by L. Krauch and The Hidden King by E.G. Radcliff. I’m really enjoying all three and I definitely recommend you check them out!

Synopses and links below 🙂

The Hidden King (The Coming of Áed #1) by E.G. RadcliffHidden truths. Hidden power. Hidden destiny.

On the shores of a rusty sea, in the streets of a starving city, a young man named Áed scraps to build a life for himself and the makeshift family he loves. Scarred by a trauma he cannot remember, and haunted by the brutal damage it left behind, he has no idea of the courage his future will demand.

When tragedy strikes, a desperate Áed risks a treacherous, life-changing journey in his last chance to save the only family he has left – but an ancient legacy smoldering within him is about to turn deadly. Neither he – nor a kingdom – will ever be the same.

The 13th Zodiac: Book One (The 13th Zodiac #1) by L. KrauchRunning from his past finally catches up to Jase Raion, an ex-member of the Ashen Guard and the Crown Prince of Chall. After settling on the island of Aria, he receives an unexpected contract: The lost princess of Aria was discovered living in the port town of Brighton, on the outskirts of the island Kingdom.

A trip to the markets in Brighton ends abruptly as Liya Fairaway stumbles into Jase. She vanishes in the busy marketplace when Jase realizes who she is, the lost princess of Aria and the bearer of the 13th Zodiac: Eternity. And his target.

Something ancient pulls them together, a bond that neither can deny. Reluctantly at first, Jase joins Liya and the other Zodiac to end the threat of Soren Raion, the King of Chall.

Time is not on their side, and Fate has other plans.

Fear and Fury (Adventures of a Villain-Leaning Humanoid #1) by Jamie JacksonMeet Megaera, Meg for short. She’s like Deadpool, except for funner.

For a girl with the power of fear the recruitment attempts from both sides are never-ending. A self-described not-a-hero, villain-leaning humanoid, Meg just wants to live her life, work her dead-end job and have everyone else (especially the heroes) leave her alone. But when a bigger fish who can turn superpowers back on their users enters the picture and threatens the person Meg loves the most (herself), she must turn to the last group of people she would admit she needs help from.

Forced to team up with the heroes she despises (but won’t murder, because let’s face it, orange is not the new black), Meg will have to face the choices from her past that she won’t get therapy for. Self-centered, snarky, sarcastic and a little bit dramatic, she’s going to have to save the world, even if that wasn’t her intention. And try not to get shot in the process. Because that shit hurts. 

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water (2020)

The Wolf and the Water by Josie Jaffrey

That was the point, of course: the people of Kepos didn’t understand that there was anywhere else to go. They were hemmed in by the cliffs, the wall and the sea. For as far as they could sail in their little fishing boats, there were only more cliffs and more sea.

Josie Jaffrey’s The Wolf and the Water takes place in a valleyed city inspired by Plato’s account of the island of Atlantis and has a lot of similarities to Ancient Greece. I’m used to reading Jaffrey’s vampires stories, so it was awesome to delve into another of her universes! In terms of genre, TWTW really reminded me of The Winner’s Curse in the sense of it being a fictional historical setting with a focus on the politics, engagements and troubles of city folk and the drama and machinations of those who want to rise higher and higher. Think Spartacus or Agora, with a new adult twist.

In Kepos, the story’s setting, our MC Kala is less than delighted by her mother’s remarriage after her father dies under questionable – at best – circumstances. Her new stepfather is abusive, murderous and disgusting. With the help of her life long friend, confidant and lover Melissa, Kala starts to delve into the mystery of her father and Kepos as a whole.

I adored Kala and Melissa, but Leon was a gem and a half. I just adored his characterisation. Can’t wait to get more of his banter in the next book ♡_♡

I also really appreciated the depth of the world-building in this tale and the detail Jaffrey put into developing the society and mythology. I did have a bit of a hard time keeping track of the names, titles and families, but there’s a helpful diagram at the start with all the family names and lineages.

Overall, I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here! Another Josie Jaffrey must read for sure!

Thank you to the author for an ARC.

Book Review: Untouched (2021)

Untouched by Jayme Bean

Paul once told me that it’s ‘inhospitable for anything other than the creatures that exist in the swamps.’

Untouched follows a small group of researchers as they embark into the Amazon rainforest. Things quickly become dangerous for the group when they realise that there’s more to the forest than they ever could have imagined.

“There are pirates, authorities that aren’t too keen on researchers like ourselves, and I’m sure we’ll come across villages who will be none too pleased to see us bringing foreign trash to their pristine wilderness.”

I’m so impressed by Jayme Bean’s debut novel! The rich imagery and detail is amazingly well actualised and the characters are excellently developed. David and Ben were definitely the highlight for me. OTP FEELS.

‘David could hear the smile in Ben’s voice. Normally, he would be pulling away and trying to avoid anyone being in his personal space, but Ben made him feel almost at ease.’

HEART EYES

This is a wonderful book and I definitely recommend it!

Also, love love love this:

“People say that, but they rarely mean it—bibliophile. They read three or four books a year and think they’re blowing through the library. Me? I feel like my entire life has been nothing but devouring books.”

Book Review: Tales of Solomon Pace (2014)

Tales of Solomon Pace by Alan Scott

‘You forgot who you were talking to. I am Solomon Pace and I heal fast. I am Solomon Pace and my mind is mine to control.’

I haven’t read the other books in the Storm Series yet, but after listening to Tales of Solomon Pace, I’m going to pick up the other books as soon as I can! [Some of the stories herein take place before some of the other books, so it may help to read Echoes of a Storm, etc, first! That said, I didn’t have trouble settling into the different stories of Solomon and it’s left me very intrigued to dive into the series from the start.]

This was a wonderfully narrated collection of tales that draws you straight into Scott’s rich, fantastical world, with a focus on the character of Solomon Pace. You’re told from the onset that Solomon is unforgiving and brutal, but you still want to learn more about him, about why, and follow along for the journey. Scott’s descriptions are so evocative and really set the scene, and the prose is as lush as it is dark.

Interestingly, the book reminds me of a book of fairy tales – the old kind – but unlike most fairy tales there’s a central figure throughout these stories and he’s certainly not the one who needs saving.

He remembered standing on the shoreline, watching it disappear over the horizon and promising himself that he would return one day to his homeland and fulfil his destiny

dun dun dun

The audiobook makes for such easy listening, too. I’m extremely picky with narrators and I really enjoyed this one! I am also absolutely obsessed with the artwork for this book (and the others in the series!). \o/

Thank you to the author for the audiobook!

Book Review: May Day (2020)

May Day by Josie Jaffrey

‘I’m Jack Valentine and I am fucking untouchable.’

I read Josie’s vampire book The Gilded King a while back, and really loved it, so I couldn’t wait to dive into this new vampire series. May Day gives me Veronica Mars meets A Discovery of Witches – with a dash of True Blood – vibes.

The book follows Jack Valentine, a tough-talking, expletive-wielding, gin-slinging vampire detective still mourning the loss of her girlfriend years before. She blames one Killian Drake, and when a murder case in Oxford leads the Seekers – the vampire investigators- to him, Jack is all too happy to pin the death on Drake. Very quickly, however, she realises that nothing is what it seems. Not even Drake.

The characterisations in this story are done so well, and I really enjoyed the dynamics between everyone, especially Jack and Killian. BRING ON BOOK TWO, YO!

Jaffrey paints a vivid world inside our modern one and you can’t help but fall face first into the Silvers and their mysteries!

Buddy read this book with the The Book Trove. We’re hoping to shine some attention on independent books and authors. These books are picked totally at random and selected by vote amongst the group.

Thank you to the author for an ARC.

Book Review: Caught Inside (2016)

Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon

❧ audiobook review

Another Joe Jameson narration and an absolute find. [Other great Jameson narrations I’ve reviewed are: An Honest ManThe Prince of ThornsThe Last Romeo and The Magnificent Sons.]

THIS BOOK IS SUCH CUTE ROMANCE, UGH. ❤❤❤ Luke and Theo are fantastic together and so adorable. They have such good chemistry, it’s insane.

This is a perfect summer romance read! Beaches and new love. And the constant surfing descriptions just made me think of Shelter.

Totally a compliment, FYI. I adored this book so much. Jamie Deacon’s writing is so evocative and lush and lovely.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

This book totally stole my heart. That said, despite how shippable Luke and Theo are, I do feel bad for Zara. She really deserved much better than everyone keeping secrets from her. Giles was such a prick at pretty much every point, although he was a good friend to Theo.

Really hard not to picture Rupert Giles:

But this Giles was decidedly less Watcherly. I got so annoyed at him throughout the book. He’s a good character, though, so there’s that.

One of the things I loved, but found myself shaking my head and laughing at, was how Luke is so DRAMATIC. He ought to get an award for epic overreactions, yet he’s written so well and so sympathetic, that even when he is a DISASTER, you end up rooting for him. I really adored Theo, too, although a lot of his decisions left me so frustrated.

Meredith is definitely a queen ❤

[Audiobook Rec] Caught Inside (2016)

I came across a great audiobook yesterday for anyone who is looking for recommendations. It’s by one of my favourite narrators, Joe Jameson, and is a contemporary lgbt+ romance.

Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon

Luke believes he has his life figured out…and then he meets Theo.

It should have been simple—a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family’s holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn’t interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.

Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara’s cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.

Indie Bites Vol. 2: Mermaids & Mythology OUT NOW!

The stories are free online to download in epub, mobi or pdf format; you can purchase the paperback here and the stories are also being released in podcast!

Book Review: Each Little Universe (2020)

Each Little Universe by Chris Durston

How do you cheer up a star?

I hear girl from the stars and I immediately think Stardust.

Each Little Universe is my first book by Chris Durston, who puts an original spin on the girl from the stars angle in this lovely debut. This book is filled with great quotes, but I’ll just post a few favourites:

So many people were part of his little universe – some still in his orbit, some sailed off elsewhere, and some gone entirely, but all still carried on in some way by the sheer fact that he was still there.

The dialogue and discourse reminded me of novels like Franny and Zooey (or like the movie Before Sunrise), with characters contemplating life with each other, asking big questions.

Fear of the unknown might be the most human of feelings. ♡