Book Review: The Betrayals


Bridget Collins

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 12th November 2020
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

If everything in your life was based on a lie
Would you risk it all to tell the truth?

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.

Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…

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Book Review: Body Language


A. K. Turner

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 26th November 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

THE DEAD CAN TALK – WE JUST NEED TO LISTEN . . .

Camden mortuary assistant Cassie Raven has pretty much seen it all. But this is the first time she’s come face to face with someone she knows on the slab. Someone she cared about. Her friend and mentor, Mrs E.

Deeply intuitive and convinced that she can pick up the last thoughts of the dead, Cassie senses that there must be more to the ruling of an accidental death. Is her grief making her see things that aren’t there, or is her intuition right, and there’s something more sinister to her friend’s death than the ME thinks? Harbouring an innate distrust of the police, Cassie sets out to investigate and deliver justice to the woman who saved her life.

For fans of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series and Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan, Cassie Raven is the edgy new forensic sleuth on the block.

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Book Review: I Hope You’re Listening


Tom Ryan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 6th October 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.

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Book Review: The Country Village Christmas Show


Cathy Lake

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

published: 29th October 2020
spoilers? nope

Goodreads

A feel-good, festive read to keep you cosy this winter. For fans of Heidi Swain, Sarah Morgan and The Archers.

Recently divorced, the family home sold and her son all grown-up, Clare is at a crossroads. She’s dedicated her whole adult life to her family, and now it’s time she did something for herself.

In the lead up to Christmas, Clare decides that a bit of time in the countryside might be just what she needs, so she moves back to Little Bramble, the village she grew up in. But living with her mum for the first time in years – and not to mention Goliath the Great Dane – can be challenging.

When Clare finds herself running the village Christmas show, it feels like she has purpose in her life again. Bringing together people from all sides of the community, and all walks of life, will Clare manage to pull off a festive feat like no other? And will she find the new start in life – and possibly love – that she’s been looking for?

The Country Village Christmas Show is the perfect romantic read to get cosy with this winter.

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Book Review: Burning Roses


S. L. Huang

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 29th September 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

A gorgeous fairy tale of love and family, of demons and lost gods, for fans of Zen Cho and JY Yang.

When Rosa (aka Red Riding Hood) and Hou Yi the Archer join forces to stop the deadly sunbirds from ravaging the countryside, their quest will take the two women, now blessed and burdened with the hindsight of age, into a reckoning of sacrifices made and mistakes mourned, of choices and family and the quest for immortality.

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Book Review: The Testimony of Alys Twist


Suzannah Dunn

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 24th September 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Arrested by her sister for treason, who in her household can Elizabeth trust?

1553: deeply-divided England rejoices as the rightful heir, Mary Tudor, sweeps to power on a tide of populist goodwill. But the people should have been careful what they wished for: Mary’s mission is to turn back time to an England of old. Within weeks there is widespread rebellion in favour of her heir, her half-sister, princess Elizabeth, who is everything that Mary isn’t. From now on, Elizabeth will have to use her considerable guile just to stay alive.

Orphan Alys Twist has come a long way – further than she ever dared hope – to work as a laundress at the royal Wardrobe. There she meets Bel, daughter of the Queen’s tailor, and seems to have arrived at her own happy ending.

But in a world where appearance is everything, a laundress is in a unique position to see the truth of people’s lives, and Alys is pressed into service as a spy in the errant princess’s household. Alys herself, though, is hardly whiter than white, and when the princess is arrested she must make a dangerous choice.

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Book Review: The Lady Upstairs


Halley Sutton

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 17th November 2020
spoilers? tried to be vague

Goodreads

A modern-day noir featuring a twisty cat-and-mouse chase, this dark debut thriller tells the story of a a woman who makes a living taking down terrible men…then finds herself in over her head and with blood on her hands. The only way out? Pull off one final con.

Jo’s job is blackmailing the most lecherous men in Los Angeles–handsy Hollywood producers, adulterous actors, corrupt cops. Sure, she likes the money she’s making, which comes in handy for the debt she is paying off, but it’s also a chance to take back power for the women of the city. Eager to prove herself to her coworker Lou and their enigmatic boss, known only as the Lady Upstairs, Jo takes on bigger and riskier jobs.

When one of her targets is murdered, both the Lady Upstairs and the LAPD have Jo in their sights. Desperate to escape the consequences of her failed job, she decides to take on just one more sting–bringing down a rising political star. It’s her biggest con yet–and she will do it behind the Lady’s back, freeing both herself and Lou. But Jo soon learns that Lou and the Lady have secrets of their own, and that no woman is safe when there is a life-changing payout on the line.

A delicious debut thriller crackling with wit and an unforgettable feminist voice, The Lady Upstairs is a chilling and endlessly surprising take on female revenge.

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Book Review: Master of Poisons


Andrea Hairston

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 8th September 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Award-winning author Andrea Hairston weaves together African folktales and postcolonial literature into unforgettable fantasy in Master of Poisons

The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.

Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.

Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.

Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston’s characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.

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On the TBR: September (#SapphicSeptember)

It has been a long while since I did a TBR for myself, but I feel like the #SapphicSeptember readathon is the perfect reason to do so. It basically involves this bingo card, so I have included a read for every square (barring the group read square, because I didn’t really get along with Crier’s War, so I don’t plan to read Iron Heart, and the age group you don’t usually read since I don’t have one).

Whether I get to them all is another matter, but we shall see. I’ve also only picked books that I either already own or can access on Scribd, so it’ll be a somewhat interesting selection, but hopefully I’ve picked books I’ll like.

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Best of: August 2020

Somehow, August feels as though it has lasted forever. And yet, here we are, already in September. This month, I challenged myself (with Michelle) to finish all the unread ARCs I had. And guess what? I actually succeeded in it! As of right now, I have 100% feedback on Netgalley and no ARCs to review on Edelweiss.

It feels a bit strange, to be honest.

In September, I’m going to be doing #SapphicSeptember, so watch out for my TBR post, going up soon!

But anyway. August. As ever, swings and roundabouts, but I also did a lot of rereading. I mean, until this year, I would have said I very rarely reread books. And then 2020 came along and I seem to be rereading more often than not. Seven of the 20 books I’d recommend here are rereads so… (Though, please, do not talk to me about that one romance I’ve read 3 times so far this year.)

Total books: 49

Novels: 35
Nonfiction: 1
Classics: 1
Novellas: 4
Plays: 1
Poetry: 6
Short story collections: 1

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