A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E.Schwab


I only recently heard about this author for the first time on a writing podcast by Tim Clare  (whose book The Ice House I’ve reviewed and bought a copy of  and The Honours), the interview was interesting and V.E. Schwab’s books sounded amazing. So I had to read them, I bought this from Waterstones.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

My Thoughts

When I started reading this book I was going through a phase of reading a lot of fantasy. And this fantasy world is so different, the magic in the book is so unique. I love it when I read something different, something that stands out.

I was hooked from the start. The characters are brilliant, people I quickly liked and cared about.  Leila is a thief, she has to be to survive but she wants to be a pirate and own her own ship! I love that! (being a Pirates of the carribean fan), she’s quite violent but I love her strength. And she’s entertaining, a character whose story you will want to follow.

Kell is one of the last remaining Antari, he cares so much for his brother. He smuggles objects between the three Londons which is intriguing.

The three Londons?  Red and White London  have magic and Grey London is like an older version of our world with no magic. There is a fourth but it’s sealed. I love the idea. It’s an interesting fantasy world and I want to read more. The settings are so detailed and easy to visualise.

Athos and Astrid the rulers of white London are really chilling characters which I enjoyed as a horror fan. Except their treatment of people is barbaric but they are intriguing and show how much white London has lost it’s magic.

I had so much sympathy for George in grey London.

There’s so much going on in this book, it’s action packed and riveting so you may read this book quicker than you’d like to. I tried to savour it but I couldn’t stop reading, the drip feed of intriguing information made me want to turn the page to find out what’s next.

There are more books in the series, A Gathering of Shadows and Shades of Light which I will be reading!

The one thing that really made me love this book even more: the main problem/conflict was resolved by the end of the book, despite it being part of a series. I loved that because I don’t like it when you get to the end of book one and you have to read the (4/5) books to find out the answer to a burning question. This ended perfectly and with plenty of possibility for the next books shich I really want ot read. I loved it!

I didn’t want to give too much away so apologies if my information may be a bit vague.



Little Creepers by Jessica Walsh

Little Creepers

There was a campaign on Twitter, authors were looking for reviews for their books and this is one of the books I jumped at the chance to review. So I need to say: I recieved this ebook free in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from GoodReads

“Fear isn’t always loud. It doesn’t always scream or announce itself with a loud thud on the closet door. Sometimes it creeps, slithers and crawls.Sometimes it’s waiting in the shadows, whispering as you pass by.These stories may not scare you, but one or two whispers may just burrow into the back of your brain.They may make you shiver at night and consider, for just a moment, that maybe you left the front door unlocked and maybe those were footsteps you heard inside. Little Creepers contains 14 short stories, written by Jessica Walsh, meant to creep and crawl up your spine.”

My thoughts

That synopsis says it all really. I love horror and I don’t read enough of it so I get excited when I read it again and I never realise how much I miss it. Then I read this and it’s so good.

These short stories feature some characters who are scared of mundane things, a fog on a screen, tracks in the snow. But they are described in such a chilling way and quite scary you wonder by the end is this real?

I loved all these stories but here’s a snapshot of my favourites:

Giving In, a short poignant tale that pulls at the heart. it’s quite scary and you can hear the sounds and see the images.

Toothache, my favourite, it’s written in second person and wow! You can feel the pain the character is in.

For Sale, this one was about selling copies of parts of yourself for money, it was very well done. The character was thinking about how her skin (pigment and freckles) and other parts of her body like her toes could be on someone else. Perfectly horrible!

There was a longer story  My Life about this guy who moves into a new place and…. …weird. Nicholas is lonely! 

They’re all great. Short, creepy, tense and riveting.

If you love horror you need to read this! It’s so good. I’ll be reading this again!

If you don’t like horror take note and give this a go for Halloween. (Here’s the link to buy)

The title of this collection is apt, these  stories are Little Creepers!



To finish or not to finish?

It’s not always a simple decision about whether or not you want to finish a book. There’s a lot of decision on twitter about DNF books. If you don’t like them and you know you can’t continue it’s simple. But I have these books that I’m just not sure what to do.


The Raven's Head

I mentioned this in my previous post. I liked the book when I started reading it but I have other books I enjoy more so I’ve put it aside for now.

What’s not to like? I think it may be the viewpoint change that is getting on my nerves. I’m not sure, maybe it’s just the wrong time to read it.

Finish or not? I keep thinking that I’m going to pick it back up again and continue it so I’m leaving on my ‘currently reading’ shelf on GoodReads for now


I bought this book last year. I wanted books set on an island with a magical theme, as research for the novel I’m writing. Sort of. I thought it would give me more info about island life and I could avoid having a similar book.

What’s not to like? I didn’t like the viewpoint changes and to make it worse there were viewpoint changes in the same chapter! They’d just be a new paragraph and this put me off. Surprised as Nora Roberts is a well known writer and popular it seems like a mistake for a new writer not to serperate viewpoint, but maybe I’m wrong. I liked the concept but the style wasn’t gripping me. I liked the characters. I think it was the different viewpoint that put me off, I love reading books with one viewpoint or at least not too many, I prefer the (I think it’s called:) limited viewpoint, where you only see what that one character sees rather than dip in and out of all the characters heads which this one seemed to do (in one scene) because there was no seperation :/

Finish or not?

I’ve taken it off my GoodReads for now and left it. I’ve got a lot of books to read and I’ve realised it’s nothing like the book I’m writing. I might pick it up again, I hate just not finishing them.

Sometimes I’m temped to just give them away but I’ve done that before and then wanted to read them. Or read a book hated it and the second time loved it (The Golden Compass).


I’ve got a book about writing on Netgalley that I’m thinking about not finishing. But it’s Netgalley! I started reading it and it’s good but I just feel like I have a lot of books to read. I almost didn’t bother with Wakenhyrst and thought I should have a fresh start but it’s a book I don’t want to put down.

Mood. Tiredness. Reading other books I prefer. These are the reasons I seem to stop reading specific books. I need to read a certain book and start reading it but then don’t finish others. I also don’t like not finishing books and giving up on them.

What do you think about these books and my decision? What books have you not finished?

Month In Review

Books I read in April

This post could be called BOOKS I DIDN’T FINISH IN APRIL,  I had time off work too so no excuses, I seem to have more books started than books finished:

The Books I Finished

IMG_20190216_111300271.jpgGood OmensIMG_20190411_101807613.jpg

I haven’t got around to writing the reviews for the first two yet. But I enjoyed both of them and was probably focused more on these books in April and they were so good I didn’t want to read anything else. I started reading Catcher In The Rye in March and finished it in April, my previous post was my review.

Books I’ve Started


Dragonfly in Amber is book two of the Outlander series, I love it most of the time I can’t put it down. It’s a library copy. Wakenhyrst is one of the Netgalley books I’ve had since last year that I need to catch up on (and I’ve requested two more with a backlog!)

The Raven's Head

I started reading this too. I was enjoying it but then I was reading A Darker Shade of Magic and I lost interest in this book. This is from my tbr I’ve had it for two years. I just keep finding books I’m enjoying more. This will feature in a post next week about books I haven’t finished yet so I’m not going to say too much here.

Books I Need To Finish :/

Little Creepers

I started this book in March and I have one story left. It really is a creepy book. I got a copy from the author in exchange for a review and I shouldn’t finished it weeks ago but I didn’t want it to end. I’ve also been reading it in work so I usually take longer to read it. Distractions

From Story Idea to Reader

I’ve had this free ebook from Rosemary J. Kind to review also. But I don’t often find the time to listen. I think if I had the physical book I might’ve finished it by now. According to Audible I have four hours left to listen. It’s a really good informative book, I just need to finish it to review.

I did have another book on Netgalley to read to. More on that in my next post.

If I have to review a book then there is more urgency to read it and I feel bad if I don’t review things quickly. I’ve got one more book to read and review and a review to write for a blog tour in May.

I’m meant to be catching up with my books but I just seem to find more, it’s one of those things you know. Bookworms never learn and complain often 🙂 I’ll catch-up. No more Netgalley requests.

Share links to your month in review books and let me know if you’ve enjoyed these.


Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger

IMG_20190411_101807613.jpgCatcher in the rye is one of those books that’s always on must read lists. I remember watching a programme on BBC once (it might’ve been the Big Read in 2003) where celebs talked about their favourite books, this was on there and might’ve encouraged me to read it.

I’ve read a few reviews and the negative ones put me off but I’ve been wanting to read this book for some time and you have to read things to see what you think about them. This year I wanted to start reading the books I’ve been meaning to read for a while (years) and this one is the main one.

I got this copy from the library.

My thoughts

I didn’t expect to start reading this book and be riveted from the beginning. I thought I would hate the style, it’s first person written in the voice of  Holden Caulfield, but it was the style that pulled me in and made me care so much about him. At times I disagreed with his decisions and his behaviour made me want to shout at him, but I tried to understand him rather than judge him. 

I didn’t really think much of the plot, not much happens and I found Holden’s ability to get into bars questionable, surely he wouldn’t look old enough even though the book suggests he does? But I did feel sympathy for him getting kicked out of yet another school.  And through the events of the book you learn a lot about Holden and his mental state as he leaves school and hides out in hotels and clubs. 

I like Holden. He is dealing with something and it could easily get written off as teen angst. He has a way of looking at the world-seeing through the false people which affects him a lot. Maybe he is just growing up but I think he does experience mental health issues which he struggles with. (I’d love to know what others think about this).

I didn’t get the big deal about this book until I got to the end. I realised it wasn’t really written for me. It’s written for a teenager, a young adult, maybe one whose smart and lost their way, maybe struggling with angst or depression.
Saying that if you’ve ever felt lost in life with regards to purpose this could help (I thought I’d written down the quote, need to be more organised). This would be a great gift for a person who fits those descriptions.

I enjoyed this book and get why it’s an important book to read. Especially for younger people. I definitely read it too late but better late than never.

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it? When did you read it?


Series I’ve started…. And haven’t finished

I have this habit of starting a series and never getting around to finishing it. Not because I’m not enjoying them, I seem to always find something else to read.

Series I need to finish

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Amount on books in the series: 3

I’ve read: 2

I love this series, a weird fantasy story about children with peculiar abilties, children who are very old and stay young as they live in time loops where they are protected from the Wights that could harm them.

Earth Haven  series by Sam Kates

The Cleansing (Earth Haven: Book 1) by [Kates, Sam]

Amount of Books: 3

I’ve read: 1

I read the first book and I got sucked into this apocalyptic story, which was partly set in Wales. I haven’t got around to reading the next book with no real excuse as it’s a good start to the series and I need to read more.

The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer


I’ve read the first two of this weird and intriguing series but still haven’t read the third, even though I need to find out what happens next!

Robin Hobb books: The Farseer Trilogy


I started reading Robin Hobb a few years ago, I had never really read much fantasy and seemed to be only finding ones I didn’t like. Then I found Robin Hobb! I started reading and loved her world and characters. I realised after reading Fool’s Assassin that there was an earliar trilogy featuring the childhood of the character so I went back to the begining and started reading The Farseer Trilogy. So far I’ve read book one: Assassin’s Apprentice.

Series I wonder if I’ll ever finish


Morganville vampires

I enjoy reading these books, they’re books you can get through quickly but for some reason I never seem to continue with them.

True Blood books

I’m not a huge fan of the style and I have a lot of them but I keep thinking I’ll get aound to reading them but don’t.

Series I am not in a rush to finish.



I love the Poldark tv series and books, I’ve been watching the series first and then reading the books relating to that series. Sometimes there’s a cross over and it spoils the next series. I’ve got either 6 or 7 books to read but I’m not in a rush to finish, especially considering it’s the last of the tv series this year. I’ll need something to console me.



I read the first book two years ago. I told my mother about it and she watched all the series and read the first five books! I have the second book Dragonfly In Amber to read from the library. I’m not rushing it because I try not to have the series spoiled. However I am hooked and might have to keep reading…. 🙂

And the book series I want to finish but can’t:

I finished A Song Of Ice and Fire books last year, but there’s more to come. And I know that the majority of fans have been waiting for years for the next installment, the tv series caught up and is finishing this year !

 Others worth mentioning:

  • I have one book left of the Inkheart series.
  • I have The Dark Materials series to continue which I’ve bought recently.


Why can’t I finish a series? I can blame my ever expanding to be read list, but I think the problem is I take a break between books to make them last longer or so I don’t get bored (um, why would I?) and then never get around to continuing. I want to finish some though before I decide to start more. I hope I haven’t forgotten any :/

Do you have the same problem?  Which series have to got to finish?

Have you read any of these?

Blog Tour, Cover Reveal

The Haunting Of Alice May by Tony Lee Moral

Thank you Tony for the opportunity to showcase your book on my blog today. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but it’s intriguing:



Alice Parker moves with her Dad and younger sister to the sleepy town of Pacific Grove, to a start a new life after her Mom dies. Little does Alice know the strange and terrifying events to come. When she falls into the bay during a kayaking trip, she is rescued from downing by the mysterious Henry Raphael. Handsome, old fashioned and cordial, he is unlike any other guy she has known before. Intelligent and romantic, he sees straight into her soul. Soon Alice and Henry are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance until she finds out that Henry drowned in the bay 100 years ago. . .

Interview With The Author Tony Lee Moral

Is there anything you can share about The Haunting Of Alice May that’s not in the blurb of the book?

Yes, it’s a story that is incredibly personal to me. I moved to Monterey, California for work shortly after my father died. Re-reading the book I realise that I am very much like Alice the central character, though I have never seen a ghost. But the emotions which Alice goes through are very much like my own – wondering about the afterlife, one’s place in the world, coping with love and loss, while navigating new relationships and a yearning for the past. I think it’s a central human condition to think about the meaning of life and what your individual beliefs are and what happens to us after we die.

-What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

The book is about what it means to be alive and the challenges that comes with young adulthood and trying to understand how one fits into the larger workings of the universe. It’s a meditation on love, loss, growing up and also being alone, which I hope I have written in a suspenseful and entertaining way.

-It says on your website that you’ve also made films. Did a love of film precede the love of writing? How did you discover that you wanted to be a writer? Or have you always wanted to do both. 

I’ve always wanted to do both, so writing and film making for me go hand in hand. To be a great screenwriter, you need an understanding of the visual medium and how you can tell a story through images rather than just relying on talking pictures or dialogue.

-So you’ve written some non-fiction books about Hitchcock’s film. How much was this book inspired by Hitchcock’s films? 

The Haunting of Alice Maywas greatly inspired by Hitchcock’s films, as many of the chapters are written like scenes in films. I was also influenced by a story that Hitchcock always wanted to make but never did called ‘Mary Rose’ about a young woman who disappears on a Scottish island, and appears many years later as a ghost. This is the equivalent of the Henry character in my novel, who seems unchanged while all around him grow old.

-What else inspires your writing?

People and travel. Writers are natural psychologists, so I’ve drawn much inspiration from the people I meet and the places I’ve visited. I’ve been very fortunately to travel around the world in my job as a documentary film maker, so I find people and situations fascinating.

-What are your favourite books? 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald for its elegant prose; Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for its unrequited love and yearning, and The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy for the symbiosis between the characters and nature.

-A lot of writers admit to having the dreaded writers’ block, but do you think it’s a real thing and how do you manage to recover from it?

I think writing is all about rewriting, so if you do have writers block, try and move onto another scene or chapter. The most challenging aspect is to write length which you will spend many hours afterwards rewriting.

-Are you a planner or a pantser? 

I’m a planner but a little spontaneity is definitely good for the soul and keeps life interesting.

-Is there any advice you wish you’d had early on in your writing career? 

Build your author’s platform and cultivate your readership and followers. In today’s social media age, your readers are everything. Nurture them and you will see the fruits of your labour.

Something that maybe you know now but didn’t then?

Stop worrying about tomorrow, but concentrate on the present and the rest will follow. Live life for the moment, which is easier said than done.

Thank you!  🙂

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The Haunting of Alice May ebook is on offer over the Easter Weekend:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

(Please note that these are not affiliated links)