Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney

I was not expecting much from this book, but I definitely was not disappointed. Feeney creates the perfect atmosphere a private, isolated island on Halloween in the middle of a storm. This book was perfectly written with the intricate plot and prose which kept me gripped at every moment.

“Don’t spend all of your ambition on other peoples dreams.”

Daisy was diagnosed with a heart condition when she was little and since then she has not been allowed to do anything a normal child could do growing up. When the family is brought together on Halloween night for Nana’s birthday only for her eighty clocks to strike midnight and a scream to echo round the house. A creepy message on the wall and Nana dead on the floor with secrets about the family written in the poem.

The atmosphere in this book was perfect with the mysterious island and the storm. It gave a cozy atmosphere that you could just sit and read for hours. It makes it the perfect book for this autumn on a rainy day. Seaglass house is also beautiful with its unique design, the eighty clocks on the wall and the crazy colour pallets.

“Daisy Darker’s family were as dark as dark can be, when one of them died all of them lied and pretended not to see…”

This was definitely a mystery that gave the impression of a locked room mystery. The metaphors and the lyrical writing were beautiful but what really gripped me was the small poems about the family at the endings of the chapters. Each one was so interesting to read and only added to the mystery of the story. The atmosphere is perfectly written and the vintage elements such as the VHS tapes and the clocks on the walls makes this feel extremely homely.

This followed a dual timeline with half taking part in Daisy’s childhood and the other half taking part in the present. I preferred the childhood perspective which captured my attention a lot more and the twist really took me by surprise. At some points the present storyline seemed to follow the same plotline and became a little repetitive but otherwise was really interesting to see the family dynamics throughout.

Daisy Darker was definitely filled with twists and turns some of which were unfortunately predictable however, a lot of them I did not see coming. The ending was definitely a shock and whilst it could have been explained a little bit less, I did enjoy how the entire story was brought together, both the past and the present narrative.

The characters in this are flawed and imperfect bit fascinating to read about. They are really dysfunctional and unlikable, but they captivate you. This is a very character driven book which really explored the characters backgrounds extensively which made me feel as though I personally knew the characters. Especially the Nan who was amazing with her palm reading and her pink and purple clothing which I loved so much.

Alice Feeney is an author that I have not read before, but I will definitely be checking her backlog of books because I loved this one so much. I ended up giving it four stars simply for the fact that the childhood point of view kept my attention so much more than the present. It was so much fun and so perfect for the autumn time.

Thank you for NetGalley for providing me with this copy in return for a review.

When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord

I have not read anything by Emma Lord before however when I heard that this book was a theatre kids dream, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. This is a Mamma Mia retelling however the genders of the parents are reversed. My face ached by the end of this book from smiling so much from this little book of sunshine. If you want a Mamma Mia meets Glee (because Millie is nothing if not dramatic and only what Rachel Berry dreams she could be).

“What were the last seventeen years of aggressive jazz hands and late nights watching bootleg Lea Salonga videos and openly weeping to the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack for if not this?”

Millie Price is the stereotypical theatre kid who lives with her dad and her club owner aunt however when her dad decides to stop her from going to a prestige drama school, she decides to take things into her own hands. By reaching out to her mother who gave her away when she was born. Her best friend Teddy, a geocacher who can reach any information in seconds, finds her three potential mothers. When Millie decides she wants to speak to all of them she embarks on a summer full of theatre and plenty of drama.

Everything about this book made me smile but the dad and daughter relationship made this book for me. The relationship between Millie and her dad was heart-warming especially when they both begin to accept their relationship and watching them strengthen their relationship.

“She’s also single-handedly responsible for putting baritone heartthrob Baron Levait on the map.”

The musical theatre references were amazing, and I loved how they were referenced throughout this book. Also, the actor Baron Levait was such a subtle nod to the theatre industry, and I loved what his character brought to the book. I wish I had highlighted how many musicals were mentioned because it was like seeing myself in book format. This is Broadway in a book, and I need more.  

I loved this book because Millie felt so relatable. Her moods and dreams of going to a drama school made me so happy to see her develop throughout this book as a person and as an actor. Millie has so many questions that she needs answering and she’s struggling to find them showing her feeling lost.

Overall, this book was a fast-paced, drama filled book which left me wanting more and to be Millie Price. It was fun whilst covering serious issues accompanied by Broadway references and hilarious friendship moments. This book was undeniably a five out of five for me just because I loved every moment of this book and I want more of these books to exist. I definitely recommend picking this one up for some light-hearted musical fun.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to read and review.

Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

A multi-perspective narrative spanning generations in modern China, this book is haunting and powerful. This story is honest and heart wrenching with striking writing. I can not believe that this is a debut novel; Fu did an amazing job of detailing the details of the war. The writing is detailed escaping you to a place with her words and her beautiful imagery can make you imagine that you are there.

“It belongs only to itself, the notes tumbling into his ears like waterfalls, drenching him in their urgent beauty.”

Peach Blossom Spring spans 70 years starting with Meilin in China after she is displaced by the war with her child Renshu. After they spend years fleeing the war Renshu moves to America with nothing but a few papers the first time being apart from his mum since the war began. As his life in America grows so does his family but once his child Lily starts asking questions about his part the lines between his American life and his Chinese life starts to cross.

This book is built on its characters. Meilin is a beautiful soul even after everything that happens to her in this book. Her determination and devotion to her son is unmatched and inspiring to read about. Renshu is confused about his past which causes his conflicting feelings surrounding that of his mother and his history. The conflict between him and his daughter is so hard to read knowing that Renshu knows he is protecting his daughter only for her to be so troubled by his past. The characters are so compelling to read from and creates a vivid story which at times makes you believe that these characters are real.

During this book I felt as though I learnt so many things despite it being a non fiction book. Finding out about the war and everything that happened to the people involved was heartbreaking to read about. It allowed them to show the various outcomes from being lost to the war to not surving the journeys they had to take as well as the unspoken deaths in the books.  Seeing how many people were impacted by this war and seeing how long the impacts have lasted through this being a multigenerational narrative was hard to take in at times. After reading the authors note and discovering that this book is semi-biographical by honouring her fathers’ stories of the war makes this book even more heart wrenching. At times I struggled to follow it however this is due to my own unawareness on this war and now I want to know more.

“I guess the thing about Peach Blossom Spring is that if you are fortunate enough to find it, you are also unfortunate because you have to decide what to do. Do you stay, and forego all else? Or do you return home, with the understanding that you’ll never find it again? Is it a blessing? Or is it a curse?”

My favourite thing about this book was the beautiful fables woven into the story and teaches through the narrative such as the Peach Blossom Spring story. It adds a sense of place and discovery to the book and made me consider each of the lessons throughout.

This book was beautiful and I gave it a four stars because it just instantly transported me to a world I never knew existed. Learning all of this information about the war was heartbreaking but so informative. I am excited to see what Mellissa Fu brings out next and I think everyone should read this if only to learn about a war in which most people don’t know what happened in.

The Woman In The Library by Sulari Gentill

‘Already watching my inbox for your next. Yours, Leo.’

I had heard so many mixed things surrounding this book that I knew I had to see what I thought of it and I am so glad I did. This book was so hard to put down and I was so invested in every second of it. It was a book inside a book inside a book which was difficult to wrap my head around at first but a couple of chapters in I was hooked on every second. As much as I was invested in the book my favourite part of this was the letters in between each chapter and I could not figure out where they were going.

‘And so we go to the Map Room to found a friendship, and I have my first coffee with a killer.’

This follows Hannah Tigone who is a mystery writer and her beta reader who is corresponding with her. The book features Hannah’s book and Leo’s responses to each chapter. In Hannah’s book it follows Winfred a writer who is in the library writing her newest novel when she hears a scream. On the table is Cain, Marigold, and Whit. As they work to figure out what happened they begin to realise everything is not as it seems.

My favourite part of the book was definitely the multimedia aspect of having both the letters and the novel going on. Each one surprised me more and I wasn’t sure where either of them were going. Leo was so interesting to read about. I especially found it interesting how Hannah’s responses were not included which just added to the mystery of the story.

Even though I did guess the ending of the novel part of the story it was still fun to figure out how it got to that part. All the characters were so interesting, and I loved Marigold so much. She was so fun and fresh to read about and was so unapologetically strange. At times I found Winifred a little hard to read from her perspective mainly due to the obsession she had with Cain despite his questionable choices, but I still loved them both as a whole.

Overall, this book was so interesting, and I had no idea where either of the mysteries was going so it kept my attention the entire way through. I gave this book a five star because I thought it was so interesting and this would be the perfect autumn cosy read. The whole multimedia aspect of the book was definitely my favourite part and I really hope I can find more like this in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this copy!

Witch 13 by Patrick R. Delaney

I wanted a scary book and this gave me everything I could have wanted and more. This is the perfect atmospheric horror which the author perfectly depicts and makes you feel as though you are living through the horror with the characters. Even though I was reading this book in daylight on my commute to work I still felt myself getting goosebumps and I would love to reread this in the dark.

‘The woman didn’t move; she was still, like one of those Halloween witches people put on their porch to scare away kids like her.’

This follows Sheriff Sterling two weeks before Christmas just before shes about to leave her job hopefully quietly. However incidents begin occurring all over town including a truck crashing blocking the towns entrance, a boy going missing from a supermarket and her deputy is missing. When Sterling is called to the city hall she comes across a scene that is so unbelievable that she can not even explain it to the rest of her team. When she finds a woman on the scene she immediately knows something is wrong but she does not know quite how bad things are about to get.

I loved Sterling despite her flaws and her bad decisions she makes her choices based on the experiences and how someone in that moment would react to that situation. She felt very real to me and her relationships with those around her was so flawed but extremely realistic in terms of a workplace.

The witch also plays off the characters weaknesses in the book which was really interesting to read about. It showed how no matter how perfect you seem everyone has a past and the witch likes to depict that in such a horrific way it made me feel so interested yet so uncomfortable with how it played out.

This book is how I love witches to be portrayed rather than the more recent development of the ‘good witch’ and finding a horror book about witches is so hard to find recently. The violence of the witch was not over the top gory but still made you feel creeped out by the situations and the entire thing made you feel hopeless. I really enjoyed that you knew the book was not going to have a resolved ending as the witch made the entire situation feel despairing.

The illustrations throughout this book also made it even more interesting and added an interesting element which helped visualise certain situations throughout the book. I think more books need illustrations especially in the way these used black and white just added to the eeriness of the book.  

I ended up rating this book four stars which is a really high rating for me in a horror. It had everything I could want; witches, a creepy atmosphere and illustrations which is always a bonus in books. I really want to get to Delaneys other works around Halloween and see if I like them as much as I liked this one.

Thank you to Netgalley for this review copy!

You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao

This book was one of my most anticipated books last year and it did not disappoint. Although the premise seemed extremely heart-breaking this was a book was heart-warming and this book did everything it promised to do and more. It made my heart ache for all the characters involved within the story, and it made me want to live my life to the fullest.

Julie and Sam have their lives planned out; move away from their town, spend the summer in Japan and then aspire to follow their careers as a writer and musician. Then Sam unexpectedly dies. When she skips the funeral, throws his things out and tries to erase him from her life. When she decides to ring his phone desperate to hear his voice, she does not expect him to pick the phone up.

This novel is not very plot driven however, the characters and the writing make the main part of the book. The writing is beautiful and lyrical and really reflects the feeling of grief throughout. Julie’s self-narrative of tackling her way through her grief throughout and her character came across so believable. Although in some situations she came across as unlikeable, I think that was a accurate portrayal of how people struggle through their grief and how everyone deals with their problems in their own way. Seeing her develop and transform throughout the book and to watch her heal was both beautiful and heart-breaking.

However, another character that’s grief truly was heart-breaking was Mika. Mika makes the reader emphasize with her pain and you just want to hug her because its so painful losing someone that close to you. I feel like Julie felt like the pain was her own, but Sam’s family is also struggling, and it was so important that the book showed the way one person can impact so many people’s lives.

The dual narrative added to the heart-breaking aspect of the story because you got to see how Sam and Julie was and their interactions before Sam’s death. Their relationship was filled out fully within the book because you got to see them at the prime of their relationship and how it developed to that point rather than the reader having to imagine what their relationship was.

This book showed a huge development of the characters, and it was beautiful to see other relationships develop throughout not just the two main character. You hear all the characters and that is beautiful in itself. Even though you do not get to see as much as I wanted, I feel as though Sam’s character was my favourite and I felt connected to him through the beautiful writing of his character.

This book ended up being a four and a half stars for me. I cried, I laughed, I felt every emotion because it all felt very real to me. The cover is beautiful and sums up the story perfectly. I will definitely be picking up more by Dustin Thao in the future.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this in exchange for a review!

Lucy’s Coming For You by Ashley Beegan

This was a book that I read last year and when I requested it I was not expecting much to come of it. I saw on NetGalley that it was pushed as a thriller and thought the concept sounded really interesting. I did not expect to love it as much as I did.

‘Lucy Clarke? There is no Lucy Clarke on this ward’

When a girl goes missing from a locked hospital ward Summer Thomas, an advocate for the patients, questions everything especially when it turns out that no one will admit Lucy ever existed. However, as she starts to look into the disappearance it turns out that there is so much more than what meets the eye. Especially when she finds out not only is she searching for Lucy. But Lucy is looking for her too.  

This book had me on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the book and what helped that along is that all the characters in this book are likeable. You could feel all her emotions as if you were living alongside her; the fear, the anxiety, the constantly looking over your shoulder. DI Swanson is the lead detective, and it is really interesting to see the two characters develop over the course of these books.

Lucy’s coming for you kept me entertained the entire way through and was such a quick and easy read which made it that much more enjoyable. What really made this book interesting was the plot twist. You can not see it coming no matter how much you look into this book, and it blew my mind the entire time. This is my definition of an amazing psychological thriller as it keeps you guessing as well as making you worried about how the plot is going to play out.

This book was such an amazing debut novel which resulted in me giving it four stars. The great twists, the ending and the characters all made this such an enjoyable read. I will be continuing with the series as and when it comes out.

Thank you to NetGalley for the copy of this book!

The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh

Axie Oh has created the most beautiful Korean mythology with this novel and it made my heart so full to be able to read this. I was so excited to receive this as it is one of my most anticipated reads of the year! This cover captured me as soon as it was released and the words on the inside matched the beauty of the outside. 

‘The myths of my people say only a true bride of the Sea God can bring an end to his insatiable wrath’

This follows Mina a young girl from a small village who sacrifices herself to be the next Sea God’s bride to try to save her family from the storms that have continued for generations. She is taken to the spirt world only to find the Sea God in an enchanted sleep. Mina attempts to wake the Sea God only to find there are many who would rather the Sea God did not wake.

‘Behind me, spread out like a painter’s canvas is the Sea God’s city’

The first thing that caught my attention was the irresistible imagery created by Axie Oh’s writing style. Every word on the page is so wonderfully thought out and creates a magical atmosphere that captures this world perfectly. From the market stalls to the different Houses I felt like I could picture them all through all the language used. My personal favourite part was when Mina first enters the city of souls and the markets full of celebration so the colours are so bright and vibrant.

The mythology in this book in so interesting to read about and keeps expanding the more you get into the book. I would really love to read the original story that this book was based upon in the future as I have heard that is beautiful as well.

Mina’s friendships within the Sea God’s city are so cute to see develop and expand as the novel goes on however Mina and Namgi are perfect. Their jokes and playfulness as well as their protectiveness over each other made my heart so happy. It develops so much throughout the novel that it feels like you love them more and more the further in you go.

But the thing I loved most about this book is the romance. It is such a slow burner however; it keeps you wanting more the entire time. The whole book has you wanting them to end up together yet unsure of whether they would or not.

Overall, this book has been one of my favourites of the year so far and I can not wait to see what Axie Oh comes up with next. I did end up rating this one five stars because I loved Mina, Namgi and Shin so much and the writing style reminded me why I love reading so much.

Thank you to NetGalley for this review copy!

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy Review

I was so excited to receive this review copy after reading The Deal last year. Elle Kennedy’s books are so easy to read and always leave me with such a happy feeling after I’ve read them. This one especially gave me such a cosy and calm feeling after reading. The beach setting and the animal aspect of this book as well as the romance which left me craving more from the couple. This had all the best aspects of The Deal with the perfect location and the perfect guy added in.

This follows Mackenzie who has her entire life figured out; a perfect boyfriend, her career planned out and parents who expect the most. All she wants to do is focus on her business, but her parents are insisting that she gets a degree first. Cooper hates the prep school students that fill his beach for most of the year. When Cooper is dared to get close to Mac, he soon realizes that she is not like every other ‘clone’ that he’s ever met.

The romance in this book made the book for me. Although some parts of the book was predictable I loved how easy this romance was to read. There were some really cute moments between Mac and Cooper which left me smiling a little to myself. Cooper is everything you need in a book guy the tattoos, his personality and his vibes were perfect as well as the way he defends Mac against his friends made me so happy.

I loved the side characters in this book especially Evan. He was so calming and such a good energy in the book. Especially when him and Daisy are together it is the cutest thing ever. Although this book worked really well as a standalone, I would love to see a book based around Evan and him finding someone. Also, I would love to see his relationship with his brother and explore his feelings around his mum as well as his childhood. Mac and Evans friendship was so adorable to see develop throughout, and I would love to see this more in another book.

The one thing that I did not enjoy in this book was the ending. Everything felt really abrupt about the ending with the events that occurred at the end of the book. There felt like there was a lot of unresolved issue in the end and I would like to see these wrapped up in the next book. A lot of the characters have unresolved business so hopefully this will all be addressed.

Overall, this book was a cute, easy, fast read that I could enjoy on my way to work in a morning that I did not have to pay much attention too. I ended up giving it 3.5 stars because there were some things I loved about this book and some things that I did not enjoy as much. I had some issues with the ending and a couple of the events in the book but overall, it was such a fun book. Cooper and Mac are adorable, and Evan has my heart. I will continue with the series as I think this is the perfect beach read for summer and I can not wait to see where the series goes.

Only A Monster by Vanessa Len Review

This book exceeded all and more of my expectations. Vanessa Len creates a rich and intriguing world which sucks you in from the first sentence. It features some of the most iconic tropes and makes them her own to create a beautiful and exciting story. This first book in a new trilogy is perfect for fans of This Savage Song and is mixed with a little time travel.

Following a world where Monsters exist with human appearances where their power is to travel through time by touching the back of a human’s neck and stealing part of their lifespans. When Joan Chang-Hunt discovers that she is a monster after a horrific event she is forced to ally with Aaron Oliver who is part of a century long feud with the Hunt family. Whilst being hunted by the prophesised hero they are forced to flee to the 1990’s Joan is forced to figure out whether she wants to be part of the world of monsters or not.

One of my favourite parts of this story was the time travel aspect. Len creates a solid structure for her time travel rules as soon as it is introduced making it so easy to understand which shows how much research went into this book. It was so interesting to see the various time eras that the duo travel to and seeing how they changed their clothing and how they interacted with the various people throughout. Len allows you to question the morality of what the monsters do to access their powers yet makes you want to still want them to succeed. It made me want to go and roam around the back streets of London in nineties clothes and explore the back alleys.

The other thing I loved about this book was the romance. I know who I was rooting for and it definitely wasn’t who Joan was rooting for. Aaron Oliver has my heart through and through. The way he grows as a person and learns throughout his experiences throughout the book was so interesting and so lovely to experience. Joan and his relationship growth was the perfect enemies to friends to almost something had me rooting for them the entire time.

This book was everything I wanted and made me fall back in love with the YA genre. The characters, the world building, the romance was all perfection and is perfect to bring you out of the reading slump you may be in. With all of my favourite tropes wrapped in a perfect story with loveable characters I would recommend this book to everyone. The ending left me heartbroken and I can not wait for the rest of the trilogy to be released!