Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown - Blog Tour

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published March 2nd 2017 by Viking
ISBN 0241978033 (ISBN13: 9780241978030)


"The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six...

1645. When Alice Hopkins' husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women's names.

To what lengths will Matthew's obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?"

My Review:

I was very excited to receive this book through the post with an invitation to take part in the blog tour. The book was sent wrapped in string with a letter and an envelope filled with herbs which smelt amazing. Instantly I was curious about the story, particularly as I have always been fascinated by the history of witchcraft. So much so, that I studied it in a module while at university, albeit for an earlier period.

The author created a tense atmosphere where Alice has stepped back into a town where suspicions are rising and neighbours are turning on one another. I liked the sense of history and the small details which really built the setting. The details about the witchcraft trials were accurate and horrifying when you think of the things real people went through. 

Unfortunately I found the characters a little bland and this was something that I struggled to move past. The story was slow, however, if you can push past this then the ending is satisfying.

Sadly this book gets 2 out of 5 from me.

The Author:

The Witchfinder’s Sister is the debut novel from Beth Underdown.

If you are interested to find out more and to hear other bloggers' thoughts, please take a look through the blog tour!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

Paperback, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 19th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
With thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for sending me a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.


"'It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?"

My Review

This book has a really interesting concept which made me excited to read it. Seren lives on a spaceship which is heading deep into space, on a 700 year mission, to investigate a mysterious signal which was received on Earth.

Unfortunately, this book fell a little flat for me both in terms of the story and character development. Seren wasn't very likeable and I did not feel like she developed during the course of the novel and was a little annoying. Although I did empathise with her frustrations about the way her life was turning out.

The society on board the ship was interesting, as were the rules that had been put in place to keep the ship running smoothly and the crew healthy. However, the characters weren't very memorable.

I can't really recommend this as the story never sparked to life for me. Therefore I would give it 2 out of 5.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2016 by Penguin
With thanks to Net Galley and Penguin for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


"A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you'd least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile - like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.

Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how - just when we least expect it - we manage to find our way home."

My Review

Told through the eyes of Leon, this is a poignant and moving story of a child struggling to understand why his mother can no longer look after him and why one brother may be wanted and the other not.

This book made me cry at certain moments as Leon's desperation and love for his brother shines through. I thought it was well-written when showing Leon's feelings of confusion and loss and how he views the adults around him.

I liked Leon's relationship with Maureen and with Tufty, although I found it strange that some of the adults didn't think to ask Leon more questions in certain situations.

This is an enjoyable book, set against an interesting time in England. I would give this 3 out of 5.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern

Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Published March 24th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
My thanks to Net Galley and Harper Collins for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.


"Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything."

My Review

This is the Young Adult debut by bestselling author Cecilia Ahern and I thought it was a great leap into the world of dystopian fiction.

I found the concept of the book to be really intriguing in that anyone who does not behave perfectly is deemed to be flawed and is branded for the rest of their lives and treated as second class citizens. I did find it strange that there was a different system for criminals in that they would not be branded and once released from prison could continue their lives as normal, whereas a flawed person - whose crime was maybe bring dishonest or making a mistake at work - would be restricted in every way, from what they could eat to having a curfew and not being allowed to be helped by a "normal" citizen.

Celestine has grown up with this system and is determined to be perfect and to fly under the radar without questioning anything until an incident close to home makes her begin to question everything that she assumed was right before. I really felt for her when she made a split decision which could lead to her being branded as flawed. Her thoughts are sometimes quite selfish, but I imagine that living in a society like that you would need to protect yourself in that way.

This book was fast-paced and I enjoyed the questions that the book raised about morality and courage. I can't wait to read the next book in the series! I would give this book 5 out of 5.

About the Author

Cecelia Ahern wrote her first novel, PS. I Love You when she was twenty-one. It was published in 2004, the number 1 bestseller in Ireland for 19 weeks and sold in over forty countries. The book was adapted as a motion picture directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and released in 2007 in the United States.

Her second book, Where Rainbows End (US title: Love, Rosie or Rosie Dunne) won the German CORINE Award in 2005. She contributed with short stories to charity books and is also the co-creator and producer of the ABC comedy Samantha Who?.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Published April 7th 2016 by MIRA (first published January 29th 2016)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Midas PR for sending it to me.


"When Arthur Pepper discovers a mysterious charm bracelet in his late wife’s wardrobe, he sets off on a journey to discover, charm by charm, her secret life before they met.

Having been married for over 40 years, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper is mourning the loss of his wife. On the anniversary of her death, he finally musters the courage to go through her possessions, and happens upon a charm bracelet that he has never seen before.

What follows is a surprising adventure that takes Arthur from London to Paris and India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met, a journey that leads him to find healing, self-discovery, and love in the most unexpected of places."

My Review

This is a really sweet, charming book, with many funny and poignant moments.

Arthur is a lovely character and I really felt for him as he went on his journey to find out more about the life his wife led before they met. The story behind each of the charms was really interesting and I liked how each one gave clues to lead to the next charm.

I also enjoyed finding out more about his relationship with his children and the way this developed over the course of the book.

Additionally, I liked how Arthur's friendship with his neighbour and her son developed, and how they helped him to see his own worth.

This is a gentle, enjoyable book which I highly recommend. I would give this 4 out of 5.

About the Author

Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. She was inspired to write Arthur Pepper’s story by the memories of her own charm bracelet. She lives near Manchester with her husband and son.