Book Review: The Secret Sunshine Project

Benjamin Dean

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 31st March 2022
spoilers? no


Bea’s family are happy. Like, really happy. Like, kind of gross but also cute happy. So when they visit London Pride together and have the ultimate day out, Bea doesn’t think her family could possibly get any happier. But a year later, a grey cloud is following Bea’s family around. Dad has passed away, and without him around they have no choice but to pack their bags and move to the countryside to live with Gran.

With Bea’s big sister, Riley, taking the news hard, Bea will do anything to cheer her up. So with the help of new friends, The Secret Sunshine Project is formed – Bea’s plan to bring Pride to the countryside and a smile back to Riley’s face. There’s just one teeny tiny problem – the village mayor. A grumpy old woman who’s on a mission to rain on Bea’s parade . . .

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Book Review: The Break Up

Charlotte Barnes

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

published: 25th March 2022
spoilers? no


You don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.

Edi Parcell thought she had life all planned out, so when her childhood sweetheart proposes a three-month break to date other people, she’s shocked. Unexpectedly back on the dating scene after years with the same guy, this is the first opportunity Edi’s had to think about what she really wants from life – and love.

When she meets Winifred, her world is turned upside down. She never expected to have feelings for someone else, but now she’s met Winifred she can’t stop thinking about her. As the months pass, Edi is shocked to realise she’s not sure she wants her old relationship back at all – not now there’s Winifred…

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Book Review: The Justice of Kings

Richard Swan

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 22nd February 2022
spoilers? no


The Justice of Kings, the first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, follows the tale of Sir Konrad Vonvalt, an Emperor’s Justice – a detective, judge and executioner all in one. As he unravels a web of secrets and lies, Vonvalt discovers a plot that might destroy his order once and for all – and bring down the entire Empire. 

As an Emperor’s Justice, Sir Konrad Vonvalt always has the last word. His duty is to uphold the law of the empire using whatever tools he has at his disposal: whether it’s his blade, the arcane secrets passed down from Justice to Justice, or his wealth of knowledge of the laws of the empire. But usually his reputation as one of the most revered—and hated—Justices is enough to get most any job done. 

When Vonvalt investigates the murder of a noblewoman, he finds his authority being challenged like never before. As the simple case becomes more complex and convoluted, he begins to pull at the threads that unravel a conspiracy that could see an end to all Justices, and a beginning to lawless chaos across the empire.

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Book Review: Bluebird

Ciel Pierlot

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 8th February 2022
spoilers? none


Three factions vie for control of the galaxy. Rig, a gunslinging, thieving, rebel with a cause, doesn’t give a damn about them and she hasn’t looked back since abandoning her faction three years ago.

That is, until her former faction sends her a message: return what she stole from them, or they’ll kill her twin sister.

Rig embarks on a journey across the galaxy to save her sister – but for once she’s not alone. She has help from her network of resistance contacts, her taser-wielding librarian girlfriend, and a mysterious bounty hunter.

If Rig fails and her former faction finds what she stole from them, trillions of lives will be lost–including her sister’s. But if she succeeds, she might just pull the whole damn faction system down around their ears. Either way, she’s going to do it with panache and pizzazz.

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Book Review: The Lighthouse

Fran Dorricott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 3rd February 2022
spoilers? no


No one expected them to go there. The question is: will any of them leave?

Six friends travel to a remote island north of the Scottish Highlands for an old school reunion. They’ve rented The Lighthouse – a stunning, now abandoned building that was once notorious for deaths at sea.

On the first evening, someone goes missing. The group search all through the night to no avail. But when the five remaining friends return to the lighthouse early the next morning, they are shocked to find James inside. He’s looks terrified – but won’t say a word about where he’s been.

The party vow to put the strange night behind them and enjoy the rest of their stay, but when more unexplained things begin to occur, tensions escalate. It’s clear James knows something, but nothing will persuade him to give up the secrets of the island. Is he protecting his friends from a terrible truth, or leading them into more danger?

A chilling, gripping and powerfully atmospheric suspense novel with a gothic edge.

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Book Review: Battle of the Linguist Mages

Scotto Moore

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 11th January 2022
spoilers? none


Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of “power morphemes”—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skilfully pronounced.

But Isobel’s reputation makes her the target of a strange resistance movement led by spellcasting anarchists, who may be the only thing stopping the cabal from toppling California over the edge of a terrible transformation, with forty million lives at stake.

Time is short for Isobel to level up and choose a side—because the cabal has attracted much bigger and weirder enemies than the anarchist resistance, emerging from dark and vicious dimensions of reality and heading straight for planet Earth!

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Book Review: The Dark Queens

Shelley Puhak

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 3rd March 2022
spoilers? none


Brunhild was a Visigothic princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet – in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport – these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms for decades, changing the face of Europe.

The two queens commanded armies, developed taxation policies, established infrastructure and negotiated with emperors and popes, all the time fighting a gruelling forty-year civil war with each other. Yet after Brunhild and Fredegund’s deaths, their stories were rewritten, their names consigned to slander and legend.

From the tangled primary evidence of Merovingian sources – the works of the chronicler Gregory of Tours and the Latin poet Venantius Fortunatus – award-winning writer Shelley Puhak weaves a gripping and intricate tale, its characters driven by ambition, lust and jealousy to acts of treachery and murderous violence. The Dark Queens resurrects these two women in all their complexity, painting a richly detailed portrait of a shadowy era and dispelling some of the stubbornest myths about female power.

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On the TBR: 50 Books I Want to Read in 2022

After trying this last year (and pretty much failing with 42 of 50 read as you can see), I figured, hey, hope springs eternal let’s give it another go! Once again, I went through a random number generator to get 50 books off my TBR to attempt to get to this year. Most of these are newer additions to my TBR, so I’m more hopeful of actually getting to them tbh, and I also have already put them into each month’s TBR in this app I use (Read More, it’s an android app), so with luck I won’t forget about them.

But anyway, here’s what I’ve selected!

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50 Books I Wanted to Read in 2021: How Did It Go?

At the start of 2021, with my TBR spiralling out of control, I figured I would make a list of 50 books from it to get to in the year. Of course, this was way too optimistic and I left myself with about 7 to read in the last week of December, then 4 in 2 days, all while working. Unsurprising that I didn’t finish. I also removed a few along the way (sometimes replacing, sometimes not, but don’t ask me what I replaced with because I don’t remember), so really, I probably only read about two thirds of the original list.

But anyway. Here’s a little summary of it all.

The key:
🐝 = favourite
☀️ = 4 or 5 stars, highly recommend
☁️ = 3 or 4 stars, enjoyed/had fun reading
🌧️ = 2 or 3 stars, was alright/not for me but someone else might enjoy
🌩️ = 1 or 2 stars, bored out of my mind/it was awful

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Wrap-up: December 2021

It’s finally 2022, which means this is my final wrap up for 2021 so. Time for some reading stats perhaps? I read 553 books in 2021, with an average rating of 3.3 (according to TheStorygraph and Goodreads, which is impressive, since Goodreads doesn’t allow half stars and I give a fair few of those). So, overall, a good reading year numbers wise: my TBR went down from 620 or so, to 370 (although a lot of this was simply deleting books I hadn’t interest in anymore). But less good in terms of enjoyment? I mean, on the whole, 3.3 means I liked a lot of what I read, just not much more.

But oh well. Maybe 2022 will bring better books!

The key:
🐝 = favourite
🕊️ = reread/rewatch/relisten
☀️ = 4 or 5 stars, highly recommend
☁️ = 3 or 4 stars, enjoyed/had fun reading
🌧️ = 2 or 3 stars, was alright/not for me but someone else might enjoy
🌩️ = 1 or 2 stars, bored out of my mind/it was awful

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