The Switch

the switch

Thank you to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills Press for an early edition of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Switch by A.W. Hill and Nathaneal Hill is about a switch; a switch that when used will allow the user to travel into different versions of their own universe. The young protagonist in the story, Jacobus Rose, is unhappy with his teenage life. He wants things to change. With the help of his friend, Connor, they flick a switch and begin their search for a new life. Little do they know how difficult and dangerous this will be. Meeting with more friends and banding together to form a motley crew, the reader follows Jacobus and his friends as they try to get back to their original lives, away from the chaos they find themselves in.

I really wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like this book and I am shocked I did not. I searched other people’s reviews and they are largely positive so I have no idea why I am one of the minority there. I thought the premise of the novel was intriguing and despite not being a fan of sci-fi, I thought I would read this and review. Unfortunately, my experience with this novel has proved that I am probably never going to be interested in sci-fi so I apologise to any sci-fi fans out there.

First of all, the writing divided me. On one hand, the authors are experts at setting the scene. Their descriptions were unique and artful all at once. I could see each universe vividly with no gaps in my knowledge. The post-apocalyptic universes that Jacobus and his friends find themselves stuck in were the best described and I actually wish the whole book could have been set in those interesting universes. However, the authors are not always artful. They fail in their writing in some parts.  Some of the scientific ‘mumbo-jumbo’ was far too convoluted. I understand if you are a sci-fi fan and are used to reading about alternate realities, traveling, multiverses, etc, but as someone choosing this as one of their rare sci-fi picks, I felt lost and excluded from the conversation. I had to stop several times and go back a few pages to figure out what on earth was being said. I still think I missed quite a lot. I feel that things could have been simplified as I felt there was quite a bit of repetition and some questions asked or answers given seemed misplaced and as if they were not necessary.

I did find a few positives to this novel.

1.The plot is so unique. The flick of a switch can transport you to a completely different universe, where you may never have been born or could have been born into a different family or different time. It’s very interesting. I have never heard of anything similar and that is what pulled me in. I would definitely give the book 5 stars for individuality.

2. The characters are great. There are 4-5 members of the motley crew and each have an interesting back story and have a unique bond with each other. All of the characters are likeable and you want to get to know them further, and the reader roots for these characters to find their way back to their original world. There is a small bit of romance as well as great bonding movements throughout which is something I like to see in a young adult novel. It was definitely a redeeming factor in a disappointing novel (in my opinion).

Okay so the part you have all been waiting for, why is this so disappointing? I just feel it is so convoluted in places. Not only do you have to read a couple of pages of multiverse or alternate reality talk and still have to go back and read it again to fully understand, but also the characters switch to so many different universes that you do not actually get a moment to enjoy and appreciate the places the authors are creating. The ‘hive’ post-apocalyptic world could have been discussed for half of the novel and it would have still packed the punch that the authors were looking for but you get a few chapters in this universe and then you are onto another one. Some of the universes were a snooze-fest and I am not going to lie, I used this book a lot as a ‘I am struggling to sleep, this will do the trick’ and you know you are not happy with the book when you cannot keep your eyes open reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I was reading page after page in some parts and was so involved in it but then it would take a boring turn and I’d be gone again.

I do not really have much more that I can say about the novel. Whilst reading it, I was dreading the review process because I did not know what to say or how I could say it. I am actually disappointed in my own review as I just feel I could shrug my shoulders at the book. So I am very sorry for a shoddy review but it definitely reflects my feelings.

My next review will definitely be more interesting (and well-written) as I am going to dive back into the genres that I love and can ramble on for days about!

Thank you again to Netgalley and Curiosity Quills for the early copy and I am sorry it did not work out.

I give this book a generous 2 stars based on the fact I liked the characters and the idea.


Goodreads Book Tag


I have been working on getting a few books read for reviews lately and I am being a bit slow to be honest so I currently have no books (well, no books that I want) to review at the moment so I thought this would be the appropriate time to do the Goodreads Book Tag. I am not sure where this started but it was not started by me so credit to the inventor of this cool tag! Also, I know that you are meant to be tagged to do this but I just felt like doing this so I’ll break the rules a bit (wow, what a rebel..)

I am on Goodreads before any of my other social media sites every day so this is definitely a good tag for me to do! Let’s dive right in!

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

grief cottage

I received an ARC of this from Netgalley and Bloomsbury and I am super grateful that they let me have this book. I was extremely excited to read it but I thought it was very disappointing as it was advertised more as a ghost story than it actually is. My review is already up anyway if anybody would like to read that!

What are you currently reading?

The Switch by A.W. Hill

the switch.png

Another ARC sent to me by Netgalley and Curiosity Quills. This book is definitely different from what I would usually choose but I thought it may be interesting to give it a go. I am 20% in and only started it the other day and I am actually really enjoying it. Some of the technical jargon is lost on me but everything else is pretty interesting and the main character is very likeable which is always a bonus! More on that when I get to reviewing it.

It by Stephen King


I am not someone who reads several different books at the same time but there are so many I want to read at the moment that I found myself picking different ones up. It is a book I have been meaning to pick up for AGES. The thing that has put me off is how long it is but once you’re 200 pages in, the pacing picks up. I am a huge horror fan and I just couldn’t wait to get my paws on something about a horrific, killer clown. Stephen King’s writing style is strange. This is actually my first Stephen King novel but with the movie coming out next month, I thought it would be good to read the story and review for those who are curious about it.

Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture by Joshua Levine


Another thing about my tastes is that I am really interested in fiction and non-fiction about WWI and WWII. It is just a part of history that I am fascinated in and as a Brit, I like to know about the major challenges we and the world faced. I am not far into this book at all. I plan to go see the movie and wanted a bit of an update on the history and how the film was made before I go and see it so I started this and then put it down because I started reading It but I will get more into it soon enough.

We are never meeting in real life by Samantha Irby

We are never.jpg

I saw Jenny Lawson wrote a bit about meeting Irby and how funny she was and I HAD to pick up this book. I loved the cover too and I am a big fan of humorous essays about a woman’s life. I am, again, not very far into this novel and so cannot really judge it yet. I have not found it very funny and I am not a fan of Irby’s writing style yet but as I said, I will not judge and we will wait and see!

What was the last book you marked as TBR? 

The Ballroom by Anna Hope

the ballroom

Another book that I would not usually pick up but I saw a Goodreads friend review it and thought it sounded pretty interesting. Set in the Yorkshire moors (where I am actually from), the story focuses on characters who are based in an asylum. They are separated by sex but are allowed to come together once a month in the grand ballroom. It’s meant to be pretty historical and romantic and I am so not into romances but I will give it ago!

What book do you plan to read next? 

Copycat by Alex Lake


An ARC sent to me by Netgalley and Harper Collins, which I am so, so happy about! It’s a psychological thriller about a stalker, and I am so into that. I don’t want to say too much about it because I must review it once I’ve read it!

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase

black rabbit hall.jpg

I read a book by Eve Chase as an ARC and I am now obsessed with her writing so this is my next stop!

Do you use the star rating system?

Yes I do! I wish it did half stars because sometimes I am very picky about my books but I use the star system on both Goodreads and here. I think it’s the best thing for people to gauge how you really felt about the book.

Are you doing a 2017 Reading Challenge? 

I am! I did not do one last year as my main focus has been on my BA and my MA but this year I decided that it was my time to read what I wanted and I’m really proud of myself. Usually, I read the same genre over and over but I wouldn’t let myself this time. I set myself a goal of 50, just to try it out. I am at 45 books now.

Do you have a wishlist? 

Yeah I do. It’s my ‘real-bookshelf’ or ‘to-own’ list on Goodreads. It’s very small right now but I will add to it soon!

What book do you plan to buy next? 

Since I am moving, I do not want to buy any more books. I am getting a studio apartment and cannot fit everything but when I eventually can, I will probably add to my James Herriot collection.

Do you have any favourite quotes? Share a few.


Who are your favourite authors?

Michelle Paver, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Harper Lee, Ransom Riggs, Jenny Lawson, W. Bruce Cameron, Eve Chase.

Have you joined any groups?

No, I don’t believe so.


Thanks for reading! Review will be up soon!



Grief Cottage

grief cottage

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing PLC for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. It is always appreciated.

Although I was sent an early copy of this, I am not going to lie in my review. I will be brutally honest. Always.

I just didn’t ‘get’ this novel and I did not enjoy it. I was actually disappointed in it. The description of the book and other reviews paint the novel as a ghost story but ghost story, it is not. The novel is more of a coming-of-age, coming-to-terms-with-grief kind of novel. I am always disappointed when books are different from their descriptions or do not fit the genre they have been assigned. I sign up for novels for a reason and if they deviate too far from the description then I am disappointed.

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin is described as a ghost story. Marcus, our eleven year old protagonist moves to a small South Carolina island with his reclusive, painter, great aunt Charlotte after his mother dies suddenly. Marcus becomes  obsessed with Grief Cottage, which the islanders have named as a family went missing there, during a hurricane. Marcus becomes obsessed with this story, visiting the cottage every morning and speaking to the boy whose body was never found. One day, the dead boy reveals himself and along with it, more questions are asked and answered.

Unfortunately, that is where the ghost story ends.

Marcus becomes obsessed with Grief Cottage and does all he can to learn about the house and its deceased inhabitants. Through this research, I thought we would be given some great revelation in the end but all of that falls flat. There was an opportunity for more but as soon as the dead boy reveals himself, the ghost story disappears. I really thought I was in for something haunting and beautiful. Instead, we get a lot of rambling plot points and threads that just seem as if the author is trying to do too much.

It took me SO long to get into this novel also. There isn’t really a plot. Instead, we get a lot of character development and the focus is on all of the developments in Marcus and Aunt Charlotte’s lives. One redeeming factor of this is that Marcus is an amazing character. He is so likeable, you will not believe he is only eleven. He has a certain curiosity that will make you curious too. If it wasn’t for Marcus, I would have stopped reading.

Finally, I have seen a lot of people praise Godwin’s writing style but I really disliked it. She is very good at describing scenes but I’m not into big scenic descriptions. I like excitement and fluidity but Godwin skips chronologically and does not seem to flow, which annoys me.

Unfortunately, this book was not the book I thought I was reading. I have given this 2 stars. I would give it 2.5 just because I liked Marcus but I am just too disappointed in it. Maybe the more I think of it, this will change.


Furiously Happy

download (2).jpg

My goodness, this book is HILARIOUS! I read the majority of this in a day. I turned off my laptop, sat down in bed and read and read and read. When I eventually had to get up to eat or go to the bathroom, I carried my kindle everywhere. I was probably in quite a lot of hazardous situations that day but I truly couldn’t care less. I wanted to absorb and memorise every funny story or thing Jenny Lawson wrote and repeat it all to my long-suffering boyfriend, friends, and family. Unfortunately, a lot of Jenny’s jokes need context and I have the memory of a gnat.

You may notice I say ‘Jenny’ a lot in this review. Usually, I refer to authors as ‘the author’ or by their last name but through this book, Jenny feels more like a friend who helps her readers get through some truly terrible stuff by being completely cooky and crazy. She even addresses the reader and you feel like she is sat telling you a long and hilarious story. I have recommended absolutely everyone this year to read this book, to the point where I am sure everyone wants to ram the book down my throat. Funny thing is though this was a book I put off reading that my best friend urged me to read. She only got me to read it when she let me listen to 2 minutes of the audio book and I was hooked. Sorry, friend – I just have an unnecessary problem with choosing my own things, haha.

Jenny Lawson describes her own work as a “funny book about living with mental illness. It sounds like a terrible combination, but personally, I’m mentally ill and some of the most hysterical people I know are as well. So if you don’t like the book then maybe you’re just not cray enough to enjoy it. Either way, you win”. This book is about making the best of your problems. You may be depressed, anxious, completely downtrodden but in this book, Jenny is “fucking done with sadness, and I don’t know what’s up with the ass of the universe lately but I’ve had it. I AM GOING TO BE FURIOUSLY HAPPY, OUT OF SHEER SPITE”. And that’s how the book came about. Jenny tells us her story of her mental health (and physical health) struggles and makes us laugh along the way.

This book is again, hilarious! I made an ass of myself on the bus. I made an ass of myself in the university I was tutoring in. I also made an ass of myself in work so thanks Jenny for that. It was SO worth it. If you don’t find Jenny endearing, cooky and a ball of sunshine then you may find her antics with her husband and little girl funny. I must admit I love, love, LOVE Jenny but any of her stories that included Victor, her husband, they just got me completely. My friend has actually stated that Victor and Jenny are my partner and I and funny enough, I had been thinking the same thing. Jenny is unique, quirky and as I keep saying, cooky, whilst Victor is sensible and knows when to say no (even if no-one will listen anyway). These mixed make my partner and I (I am the quirky one apparently! Quirky and proud!). Anyway, I think a lot of people can relate. I have seen a few negative reviews about the humour or the issues at hand but they have confessed themselves that they have not suffered with mental health issues and simply found Jenny too ‘silly’.

I will admit that Jenny will not be everyone’s cup of tea but there is something for everyone in this book. You will have to adjust to the kind of crazy humour Jenny has but it is very quick and the message of this book is just fabulous. Also – have you seen the cover? It has a taxidermy raccoon in a furiously happy pose! Who could not love that? This book is so impressive. For some reason, I gave it four stars on Goodreads but as time has passed, I have definitely gained more adoration for it. I think this is a thing that most readers of Jenny will find. Not everyone is going to like Jenny. Her stories are exaggerated and over the top and her comments to her own editor get kind of crazy too but sometimes, you’ve just got to step outside that comfort zone and give it ago. It will be for a lot of people.

I read this book before I read Jenny’s debut novel and still enjoyed it as much as I did when I read the first so do not worry about any order!

Originally had given this book four stars but I have upped it to five stars as it has matured in my brain like a good, stinky cheese!

Blog Update: Chugging my way through IT still (can we appreciate that I am quarter of the way through, woohoo!), I really want that review up as there is hype for the new movie. I am also working through a Bloomsbury novel that is out in August so hopefully will have some interesting blogs for you guys in the weeks to come!

History of Wolves


Blog Update: I will get to writing more recent reviews soon. I am currently reading IT by Stephen King, which is such a large novel that it is taking ages. I have also been sent some books by publishers that I promise to get to soon! Please bear with me!

I must warn you readers, this book is not about wolves. The cover and title are extremely deceiving but I guess it teaches us that old lesson of ‘not judging a book by its cover’. I actually found this book through my love of books about animals and although I found out it was not a book about wolves when I read the blurb, I still picked it up as it did sound like an interesting read.

Emily Fridlund’s debut novel focuses on a young girl named Madeline (who goes by the name of ‘Linda’). Linda lives in a shack with her parents, isolated from other people apart from at school. That is until the Gardner family move in across the lake. On her walks through the woods,  Linda befriends Patra Gardner and her son, Paul. She soon becomes a babysitter for Paul but all does not seem right in the Gardner household.

Meanwhile, another student from Linda’s school takes centre stage, Lily. Lily becomes involved with the history teacher, Mr. Grierson and when he is charged with the possession of child pornography, Linda is affected on an emotional level.

The first thing I will say about this book is that is is weird. It is actually the strangest book I have read this year. Even though I read it a number of months ago, I cannot get my head around it and how I feel about it.

I think the reason I still feel weird about this novel is that it is told through the eyes of Linda, a teenager with an isolated upbringing who lacks social skills and does not react normally to social cues. Fridlund’s writing is so beautiful that you are easily placed into Linda’s world and her unique situation. Linda is bullied and dreams of walking in her classmate, Lily’s ‘beautiful’ shoes. It is only her relationship with Paul that releases her of her issues.

Fridlund is very good at writing the landscape and making you feel as though you are stepping in the woods or in the snow. Her writing haunts you to the bone and you feel uneasy with every step that Linda takes. Unfortunately though, Fridlund adds far too many layers to the story. There are a lot of promising plot points that are not expanded on or tied together at the end. The focus is the main plotline and causes other points to be lost entirely. The story is an incredibly weighty story with a lot of moral dilemmas for the reader to question but I cannot help but wish for more points to have been expanded on.

The story is told in two parts and the first part is exceptional as the reader gets to know the author’s writing style, the landscape, and the world of the teenage narrator. However, the second part is confusing. There is a new timeline and you get lost in Linda’s new life, trying to get away with the situation she became immersed in with the Gardner’s and their son.  I understand it is about her subjective point of view and what she wants to say or what she saw but there is something lost in doing this.

There was a lot more in this story that I wanted to learn but I am not a fan of sequels and I know that this is good as a stand alone book. I gave it three stars. It is a good book and if anything, the description of the landscape and the haunting way Emily Fridlund writes will definitely have you enjoying this book – just note that it is strange.

Thin Air


Michelle Paver is one of my favourite authors and her book, Dark Matter is my favourite ghost story ever. I thought that Dark Matter was too good to be true and that Paver would never write another story like it but here it is! Thin Air is Paver’s second ghost story and it does not disappoint!

Like Dark Matter, Thin Air is advertised as a horror book. I feel as though this novel is more of a mystery/thriller/survival story than a horror as it does not have the same intensity nor the suspense that makes Dark Matter a terrifying and unforgettable ghost story. Despite the novel being placed in the wrong genre, it is still great and provides an interesting mystery that will keep you turning the pages.

Set in the 1930’s, Thin Air tells the story of a team of young men who travel to India to climb the third highest mountain in the world, Kangchenjunga; a mountain that nobody has ever conquered. Stephen Pearse and his brother, Kits, are fascinated by the British hero, Lyell who tried to scale the mountain before but failed, concluding with the death of five men yet only four were buried. The Pearse team literally follows in the footsteps of the 1907 Lyell Expedition but soon uncover the truth of the previous failure in those snowy conditions. Something moves on the mountain and it follows, seeking revenge.

One of the best things about this novel is the atmosphere and the way Paver describes the mountainous world. To the men on the mountain, the air is stifling and suffocating and as the travelers step closer to the summit, the reader feels the same suffocation and realises the danger these men are in. The utter isolation of the team makes one feel alone and tense. My shoulders were very sore after reading this novel as I had been so hunched up with the tension that the characters were feeling.

The characters are all interesting and have their own stories. Stephen, who writes diary entries of the trip, is the most fleshed out character as he is the one that first starts to experience the terror that follows them. His brother, Kits, is also fleshed out a lot as we see his interactions with Stephen more often than other characters. The others all are spoken of and are not just characters in passing, which is good as usually in horror books, there are always a few characters that are never discussed further than their name and relationship with the protagonist.

As I said previously, the book is more of a mystery than a horror. It will keep you reading as you will want to know the truth about the Lyell Expedition. Why doesn’t anybody talk about it? And why have the team been warned against stepping on the mountain? When you do learn the truth, the horror starts to amount to something as the ghosts start to appear. It really is a page turner.

I gave the book 5 stars as I really loved the tension of the book and the plot. It is not better than Dark Matter as a horror but I still enjoyed it just as much as a mystery.

What Does Consent Really Mean?


Thank you to Netgalley and Jessica Kingsley Publishers for an early copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

Before I start my review, Jessica Kingsley Publishers are amazing. They publish books that they know will make a difference. These books range from topics of dyslexia, Asperger’s, gender issues, trans rights, etc,. I think they are amazing, not many publishers dedicate their company to books that help young people deal with social topics.

What Does Consent Really Mean is a graphic novel written by Peter Wallis & Thalia Wallis, illustrated by Joseph Wilkins. As it says on the cover, this book is about consent. The novel follows a group of teenage boys and girls as they discover a classmate has been raped and people are posting hurtful comments online about it. This opens a discussion about rape, consent and if you should say yes or no. It’s a very short graphic novel and I flew through it in about half an hour but the message of the novel is so potent that it is definitely worth the read. Plus, a lot of people in my life – including children and teenagers – tell me that they do not have time to read. 63 pages of a graphic novel do not take long and with a story like this, it is a necessary novel to read.

In recent times, rape and rape culture has become part of our dialogue. We speak about it frequently; on the news, on social media, in person – anywhere and everywhere, you will find you are faced with something that is becoming a widely discussed topic. However, some of the discussions surrounding rape and consent are wrong and do not educate or help people understand. Some media outlets use rape as a tool to get views – some shows and films through it in for the scandal whilst others keep it historically and socially accurate.

What this graphic novel doesn’t do is sensationalize this heinous crime. The reader becomes part of a gang of teenagers and feels like they are listening alongside them as they walk through the park, meet up with boys and ‘share’ a plate of chips. Through this, their discussion of consent begins.

The characters discuss how people do not “deserve it” because they had something “shit” happen and that no-one has a right to force someone to have sex, even if they are drunk (which is how the girl is raped in the first place – she was knocked out drunk and somebody took advantage).

The girls are the main group discussing consent and all are diverse and you can see all of their situations – they are all from different ethnic backgrounds and all have different relationships. The girls learn through their chat with each other that consent is an “enthusiastic yes” and that they should not be pressured by anyone, even if their boyfriend’s make them feel bad. When the boys join the conversation, the discussion turns to expectations and consent among men too.

All of these are valuable lessons to be learned and as they are told through the comic strip it is easier to read and feel immersed in for people who do not want to or have a hard time reading.

This book is not for children as there is small swear words in and it is a difficult topic but I would suggest this for anybody going into high school and further. Men and women need to know what consent is and when it is not okay to do something and through this storytelling with relatable characters and friendly faces everyone can learn something.

I gave this book 5 stars. It is a book that needs to be on shelves and seen by all, especially as the topic of ‘consent’ is still one that seems to be lost in translation for some people.



download (1).jpg

Tonight marks the beginning of Shark week, a week dedicated to the most misunderstood creatures in the sea. To be honest, I had a different review lined up for this evening but I started writing it last night and just was not enthused by it. Maybe you’ll see that review go up tomorrow but I think to mark the beginning of Shark week, I should review one of my guilty pleasure books; MEG by Steve Alten.

So I recently admitted to one of my close friends that one of my guilty pleasures is reading fictional books about gigantic sharks – the trashier the better. One book that was recommended to me earlier in the year by my dad was MEG by Steve Alten and I definitely lapped it up.

First released in 2005, I believe Alten’s MEG is one of those glanced-over novels that people seem to think nothing of – it could possibly be a cover issue or the plot may sound too silly for some but this is a pure treasure if you are wanting something easy, fast-paced, slightly hilarious but equally as tense all in a book.

A quick summary for you:

Jonas Taylor is haunted; haunted by a secret mission which only he survived. The thing that haunts him is the Carcharodon Megladon – a massive ancestor of the great white shark, which is ferocious and deadly. Taylor becomes obsessed with Meg, making a career out of his research and theories, and when an old friend coaxes him to return to the water, Taylor is about to come face to face with the most terrifying creature to ever live.

Sounds pretty cheesy, right? Oh, you are right – this is pretty cheesy in places. One example is when Meg grabs a bloody helicopter from the sky… I had to put the book down for a solid few minutes, trying hard not to laugh but if you can forgive some of these minor cringes then it truly is a gem. I know I am not the only one whose guilty pleasure is big monster novels and that’s why I am writing about this book.

I am not going to lie, the way this novel is written is in no way artistic or beautiful or even entirely skilled. Some of it is quite rushed or just scrappy. However, what do you expect from a novel about a gigantic prehistoric shark? I did not start reading this novel with the idea that this was going to be the most beautifully written book I have ever read. Instead, I went in wanting a gory, tense monster novel and that is what you are given.

In relation to the characters, there is not much to say about them. A few chapters focus on different characters rather than just Jonas. This actually makes the book interesting as some of the characters are journalists, marine biologists, etc, and you get to see what would happen if a megladon really did surface. I actually quite liked the journalists and their news stories but I will just say this, do not get attached to anyone fast as not many people in this novel last past two chapters. I suppose that always keeps you on your toes – I love Game of Thrones so I am well used to a lot of death in my books so this didn’t bother me. I know some people do not like a heap of the core cast being killed off in any novel or series.

Oh yes I forgot –  another note, this actually is a series. I think there are five books (I should have done some research about how many there are before writing this) but I have the second one all set to read. I was not going to read another one because of how cringy it can be but these books are quite addictive. PLUS the first one ends on a cliffhanger so you cannot exactly get away from wondering what happens next!

MEG is a perfect guilty pleasure book. You can easily take it on holiday and look like you’re reading something quite intelligent and you can go to the beach and terrify everyone with the idea of a giant shark in the waters!

I have given this book 3 stars. The reason behind me not giving it more is that I like to reserve 4 star and 5 star ratings for exceptional books that I would pick up again. I would not re-read MEG but I would highly recommend it to other people to read! So for this Shark Week, how about you pick up this horror/thriller?




I must admit that I, like many, am an absolute sucker for a beautiful cover. I have a select collection of ready-to-hold books but where the majority of my books go is my beloved Kindle. Yes, say what you want about reading on a technological device but I travel a lot and move a lot and sometimes books are not practical (sad to say it..). Anyway, I LOVE my carousel on my kindle to be covered with the most gorgeous covers and this was one of them for a while. Not to mention, there is a FOX on the cover – come on, if any of you have any idea, I am a fox lover… well actually, I am really a woodland creature lover but anyway, this book dragged me in with the stunning cover.

However, it was not only the cover that grabbed me. This is a children’s book and is about war. Anybody that knows me knows I am obsessed with anything about the WWI and WWII and I have dedicated my life to studying and working with children’s books so this book seemed the perfect choice for me. Unfortunately, this book was not a winner with me.

The book follows the tale of Pax, the fox and Peter, the boy as they try to find each other after being separated due to the encroaching war. Peter’s father is a harsh, unfeeling man who forces Peter to get rid of Pax in order for Peter to be evacuated. Peter, however, runs away whilst Pax lives in the forest. The tale that ensues is one of man and beast trying to find each other.

Sounds like a tearjerker, right? Wrong.

I don’t believe these critics who argue that because it’s a children’s book, an adult cannot enjoy it. I work with children’s books and enjoy them all, looking at them critically from each angle. So I know I didn’t enjoy this book but it’s not because I am not the intended audience.

Anyway, this book is pretty boring. The chapters alternate between Peter and Pax and to be honest, Peter’s chapters were very difficult to get through. Now, there are a nice few lessons for children to learn from Peter’s struggles and the companionship he finds on his travels however, his chapters felt rushed with no direction. Pax’s, on the other hand, were artistic and creative. Writing in the way she believes a fox would think, confused by the world and the events, Pennypacker has a beautiful way of capturing the forest and the dangerous scenery during the war. The illustrations that debut with this novel are equally as stunning and creative, adding a certain essence to the novel that cannot be found in others.

Character development is low in this story. With Peter, I didn’t care enough about him to want to know his history and struggles. Pax and the other foxes he meets are built on further and the almost-fantasy way that Pennypacker has the foxes tell their story through ‘mind-reading’ definitely paints a picture of the struggles of the creatures. It is strange though when the animals have more character development then the humans. I think Pennypacker would have been a lot smarter to write this book told solely through the eyes of Pax. The reason I say this is that the book had an Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann feel to it and I feel it would have been just as successful if written like that. However, the book has been nominated for awards (possibly won by now) so it must be doing something right (I wrote ‘write’ here first and laughed for a little while about that…).

Finally, the ending is not what you expect. I expected to have my heart wrenched out of my chest, as is what usually happens when I read novels like this, except that did not happen. I must admit there is a shock and a bit of a heart stopping moment in the last 40% of the book but then you just feel unsatisfied with how it is tied up. I kind of wanted more but on Pax’s side, not Peter’s.

Overall, the book is alright. It’s nothing to write home about. It’s interesting and has an amazing message about the destruction of nature at the hands of humans but aside from that, it is just an okay read. I probably would suggest middle-graders and up to read this. It is quite violent in places but I know better books I have read this year and in my childhood that could do the same as this book does. If you are going to read this, read it solely for Pax and the illustrations because they make the book worth it.

I was disappointed in what seemed to be a promising book and for that, I have given it two stars unfortunately, a rating I do not often give.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde / The Wildling Sisters

To clear any confusion, when I was first sent this book it was named The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde and has since gone through a name change so I have posted both covers and both names for those of you who know the novel by each name!

I would like to thank Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and for the chance to read an early release of this novel to review for my blog.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde is told in two timelines. Each chapter alternates between the present day and Summer, 1959 – five years after Audrey Wilde disappeared. In the present day, Jessie, her husband, daughter and stepdaughter move into Applecote Manor, uprooting their busy London lives for a different pace. Jessie struggles with the death of her husband’s first wife, feeling the ghost of her wherever she goes. Not only does she have to deal with this but she must deal with her rebellious stepdaughter, who creates all kinds of issues.

Meanwhile, in 1959, the four Wildling sisters have been uprooted from London to spend the summer with their aunt and uncle at Applecote Manor, where their cousin disappeared. Soon, dark secrets begin to unwind in the hazy summer days, families are tested and there are twists at every turn.

What happened to Audrey Wilde? What is everyone slowly uncovering? What secrets does everyone carry?

This book is AMAZING. 

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde serves as a mystery, thriller, romance, and historical novel all in one. There are twists at every corner and just when you think everything has been revealed, a new twist occurs. It keeps you on edge and unable to stop reading. My heart was in my mouth all the way through and Chase perfectly ends the chapters so that you MUST keep reading or you will burst with anticipation. The storyline is fantastic. It is thrilling and engaging, and whilst the idea of a missing child in these times has been used before, Chase writes the story in such away that it stands out from anything you would have ever read.

Not only is the plot engaging and outstanding but the writing style is truly beautiful. The book has a stunning flow to it and you almost feel as if you are a fifth Wildling sister in the stifling summer of ’59. The writing brings a Gothic feel about the book and brings the timelines to life. You feel exactly as the protagonists feel, sharing their shock, excitement, irritation or horror. The writing makes the book feel haunted and alive, it brings an atmosphere to you that you cannot shake.

In the first few pages, the girls drag a body through the woods and you are immediately sucked in – you MUST know what happened. This feeling is never shaken.

I am utterly stunned by this novel. I loved it so much that it is actually difficult to write this review as I could gush and gush about it but I will never do it the justice it deserves. This book has it all – drama, romance, thrills, character development, beautiful writing. It is released on August the 22nd and I highly recommend everyone to pick it up and read it – you will not be disappointed.

I gush about books often but never quite like this one. I traveled from Devon to London this week and devoured the book on my two 5 hour coach rides. I was absolutely absorbed in Eve Chase’s writing. I have put this book in the top 5 of the year for me and have even gone out and bought Eve Chase’s first novel – Black Rabbit Hall. 

I give it five stars and would give it more if possible.