Book Haul – March 2021

Hey book nerds!

This month I’ve read a whole bunch of children’s books. I don’t know about you but when my life gets super stressful, one of my favourite things to do is get into picture books and other children’s books that don’t have a great deal of serious content. It’s one of my main self care activities; there’s something about the innocence you find inside their pages that makes life feel much more manageable for me when things are overwhelming.

I finally binged the Friday Barnes series, something that’s been on my to do list for a number of years. Although I had a lot of fun with books whose audience is under 10, my Bookish Highlight of the Month was a YA read, The Girls I’ve Been. Millie Bobby Brown has been cast as the lead in the movie and even though I haven’t found a release date for it, I already can’t wait to see it. There’s plenty of action in the book and I loved the main character as well as her friends and sister. The backstories of everyone grabbed me and I found it a compulsive read, one that I definitely want to revisit. There are some content warnings within my review, as well as a link to the author’s site (they provide a more comprehensive list).

Happy reading!

March Reads


Book Mail

The elegant Miss Phryne Fisher returns in this scintillating collection, featuring four brand-new stories.

The Honourable Phryne Fisher – she of the Lulu bob, Cupid’s Bow lips, diamante garters and pearl-handled pistol – is the 1920s’ most elegant and irrepressible sleuth.

Miss Phryne Fisher is up to her stunning green eyes in intriguing crime in each of these entertaining, fun and compulsively readable stories. With the ever-loyal Dot, the ingenious Mr Butler and all of Phryne’s friends and household, the action is as fast as Phryne’s wit and logic.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Imagine if Sherlock Holmes was an eleven-year-old girl! 

When girl detective Friday Barnes solves a bank robbery she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country, Highcrest Academy.

On arrival, Friday is shocked to discover the respectable school is actually a hotbed of crime. She’s soon investigating everything from disappearing homework to the Yeti running around the school swamp. That’s when she’s not dealing with her own problem – Ian Wainscott, the handsomest boy in school, who inexplicably hates Friday and loves nasty pranks.

Can Friday solve Highcrest Academy’s many strange mysteries, including the biggest mystery of all – what’s the point of high school? 


What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does. She will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honoured title: sacrifice. On the day of her foretold death, however, a powerful mage offers her a new fate.

Csorwe leaves her home, her destiny, and her god to become the wizard’s loyal sword-hand – stealing, spying, and killing to help him reclaim his seat of power in the homeland from which he was exiled.

But Csorwe and the wizard will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.


NetGalley

When your best friend is a unicorn, every day is a stroll down the red carpet. Phoebe Howell’s unicorn BFF, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, is happy to provide the celebrity treatment – teaching Phoebe fancy new spells, giving her a ride to school so she doesn’t have to ride the bus, and even negotiating with the tooth fairy on her behalf.

But when Phoebe starts noticing that unicorns have become a trendy fashion statement, she doesn’t feel quite so unique. Fortunately, she’s distracted by adventures including a visit to the unicorn community and a trip to the woods to see her friend Dakota receive an unusual honour at the goblin award ceremony. Unicorn Famous is filled with amusing examples of the extraordinary lengths friends will go to make each other feel special. 


Best-selling author Jerry Pallotta takes a peek at eyes from across the animal kingdom in this hilarious and fact-packed alphabet book.

The eyes have it! Laugh as you learn by staring right into the eyes of familiar animals (is for alligator eye) and not-so-familiar ones (is for zebu eye!). Readers of all ages will be entertained with every page turn. Language learning bonus: each page defines an idiom that includes the word “eye”!


When Batman and Mystery Inc. arrive at the same farm outside of Gotham City, they soon find themselves in for the fright of their lives! Every time an eerie fog rolls in, fearsome farm monsters come out to play. Can the Caped Crusader help Scooby and the gang crack this case of cursed cropland before the creepy creatures carry them away?


There is always hope, even when we cannot seem to seek it within ourselves.

From the best advice you’ll ever get to the joy of crisps, the 101 brilliant contributors to The Book of Hope will help you to find hope whenever you need it most. Award-winning mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin, MBE, and co-editor Britt Pflüger bring together people from all walks of life – actors, musicians, athletes, psychologists and activists – to share what gives them hope.

These 101 key voices in the field of mental health, from the likes of Lemn Sissay, Dame Kelly Holmes, Frank Turner and Zoe Sugg, to Joe Tracini, Elizabeth Day, Hussain Manawer and Joe Wicks, share not only their experiences with anxiety, psychosis, panic attacks and more, but also what helps them when they are feeling low. This joyful collection is a supportive hand to anyone looking to find light on a dark day and shows that, no matter what you may be going through, you are not alone.


Green-growing secrets and powerful magic await you at Misselthwaite Manor, now reimagined in this bewitching graphic novel adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved tale. From Mariah Marsden, author of the critically acclaimed Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel, comes the second installment in this series of retold children’s classics. 

Ten-year-old Mary Lennox arrives at a secluded estate on the Yorkshire moors with a scowl and a chip on her shoulder. First, there’s Martha Sowerby: the too-cheery maid with bothersome questions who seems out of place in the dreary manor. Then there’s the elusive Uncle Craven, Mary’s only remaining family – whom she’s not permitted to see. And finally, there are the mysteries that seem to haunt the run-down place: rumors of a lost garden with a tragic past, and a midnight wail that echoes across the moors at night. 

As Mary begins to explore this new world alongside her ragtag companions – a cocky robin redbreast, a sour-faced gardener, and a boy who can talk to animals – she learns that even the loneliest of hearts can grow roots in rocky soil.

Given new life as a graphic novel in illustrator Hanna Luechtefeld’s whimsical style, The Secret Garden is more enchanting and relevant than ever before. 


The circus has seen better days, but for Bastjan it’s home. He will do anything he can to save it, even if it means participating in a death-defying new act. But when that fails to draw in the crowds, the ringmaster makes a deal with a mysterious man by the name of Dr Bauer.

In exchange for his help, Bauer wants a box that belonged to Bastjan’s mother and came from her birthplace – the faraway island of Melita. Bastjan is desperate to keep his only memento of his mother out of Bauer’s hands. And as he uncovers more about the strange objects contained within, he realises it’s not only the circus that’s in terrible danger…


‘I got this whole-body feeling … it was like a message from future me to present me, telling me that in some way we weren’t just bound to happen, that we had, in some sense, already happened. It felt … inevitable.’

So far, the inevitable hasn’t worked out so well for Aaron Stein. While his friends have gone to college and moved on with their lives, Aaron’s been left behind in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, running a failing bookshop with his dad, Ira. What he needs is a lucky break, the good kind of inevitable.

And then he meets Hannah. Incredible Hannah – magical, musical, brave and clever. Could she be the answer? And could they – their relationship, their meeting – possibly be the inevitable Aaron’s been waiting for?


A poignant, funny, personal exploration of authenticity in work and life by a woman doctor.

In 2017, Dr. Suzanne Koven published an essay describing the challenges faced by women doctors, including her own personal struggle with “imposter syndrome” – a long-held, secret belief that she was not smart enough or good enough to be a “real” doctor. Accessed nearly 300,000 times by readers around the world, Koven’s “Letter to a Young Female Physician” has evolved into a work that reflects on her career in medicine, in which women still encounter sexism, pay inequity, and harassment.

Koven tells engaging stories about her pregnancy during a grueling residency in the AIDS era; the illnesses of her son and parents during which her roles as a doctor, mother, and daughter converged; and the twilight of her career during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Letter to a Young Female Physician offers an indelible eyewitness account from a doctor, mother, wife, daughter, teacher, and writer that will encourage readers to embrace their own imperfect selves.


The final book in the acclaimed Darkwood trilogy – a modern fairy tale series to bewitch grown-up fans of Terry Pratchett and younger readers alike.

The tyrannous Huntsmen have declared everyone in one village to be outlaws, since they insist on supporting the magical beings of neighbouring Darkwood. Why won’t they accept that magic is an abomination?

Far from being abominable, the residents of Darkwood are actually very nice when you get to know them, even Snow the White Knight, who can get a bit tetchy when people remind her she’s a Princess.

In order to stop the Huntsmen from wiping out all magical beings, Snow and her friends have to venture into the Badlands of Ashtrie, and seek the support of the Glass Witch – but she has plans of her own, and let’s just say they’re not good ones.


When dreams start bleeding into reality, a social worker is forced to face the mistakes of his past.

A serial killer has found a way to make his land of graveyards a sinister playground to be bent at his sadistic will.

The secrets behind August’s eyes will bring two worlds together, and end in a cataclysm of pain and ruin.


Sasha has one speed – fast. She loves to do lots of things, all at once, as fast as possible. Mr. Sloth has one speed – slow. He loves to do things one at a time, at a nice, easy pace. Can Mr. Sloth’s mindful ways teach Sasha to slow down and enjoy life?

Best-selling author Katy Hudson gently weaves a mindfulness theme into this unlikely friendship tale between an energetic girl and a sloth, encouraging children to stop, breathe, and be present in every moment. 


There is no better place in the world than a library. Especially a library that kids create! A million stories high? Sure. Bathtubs? Absolutely. A full-service sundae bar? Of course. Everything is possible in this library – just like in books! 


Halloween is time to pick pumpkins and carve them into pumpkin heads – jack-o’-lanterns of every shape and size!

Award-winning author and artist Wendell Minor uses simple language and striking autumn settings to celebrate pumpkin heads in this reissue of a Halloween classic.


Prepare for a different kind of bedtime book – a zany, imaginative adventure to send your little froggies off to dreamland. Not since David Weisner’s Tuesday have frogs had so much fun!

Why go to bed when you can play the accordion, dance underwater ballet, and hold burping contests with strange alien lifeforms? For every kid who ever came up with an outlandish excuse for why it can’t be bedtime yet, these froggies’ antics will delight and entertain. Acclaimed illustrator Adam Gustavson’s raucous authorial debut shows parents there’s more than one way to do bedtime.


Stranger Things meets The X-Files in this heart-racing conspiracy thriller as a lonely young woman teams up with a group of fellow outcasts to survive the night in a town overcome by a science experiment gone wrong.

Something sinister lurks beneath the sleepy tourist town of Turner Falls nestled in the hills of central Oregon. A growing spate of mysterious disappearances and frenzied outbursts threaten the town’s idyllic reputation until an inexplicable epidemic of violence spills out over the unsuspecting city.

When the teenage children of several executives from the local biotech firm become ill and hyper-aggressive, the strange signal they can hear starts to spread from person to person, sending anyone who hears it into a murderous rage. Lucy and her outcast friends must fight to survive the night and get the hell out of town, before the loop gets them too.


Book Haul – February 2021

Hey book nerds!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful month. There’s been a lot of rainy days in my neck of the woods so there have been plenty of excuses to stay inside and read. February gifted me three bookish highlights.

Mort the Meek and the Ravens’ Revenge, the first book in a series, will be released in March. Mort is Brutalia’s new Royal Executioner. This is a problem because Mort is a pacifist. The bigger problem is that the first person Mort is supposed to execute is his best friend.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror is the latest in a growing list of translated books that I’ve loved. A group of teenagers who no longer attend school go through their mirrors, wind up in a castle that looks like it belongs in a fairytale and meet the Wolf Queen.

The Haunting of Aveline Jones is also the first book in a series. I got all grabby when I saw its gorgeous cover at the library. There’s creepy childlike scarecrows, a secondhand bookstore and a mystery to be solved.

February Reads


Book Mail

It’s two years later …

Friday steps out of prison, a shell of her former self. She’s still wearing the same brown cardigan, but she swears she’s never solving mysteries again! Who is Friday kidding? She can’t suppress her brilliant deductive mind and is soon drawn back into the intrigues of Highcrest Academy.

Then Uncle Bernie rings, pleading with Friday to fly to Italy and help him protect the Uffizi Gallery from a team of art thieves – and she can’t say ‘no’ to family. Even if it means travelling to the city where Ian, her nemesis/ex-boyfriend is living.

Will Friday be able to protect Italy’s finest artworks? Will Melanie stay awake long enough to help her? And will Ian still be as gorgeous as a Greek god and twice as annoying? 


The king of beasts and the lord of birds, together once more,

will know a third companion, as the days grow dim. 

The Unicorn, the Minotaur and the Griffin are united at last. Surely together they will be unstoppable!

But the Collector is not going to give up without an epic fight, and not all the beasts of legend are on the side of good …

Have Kelly, Minh and Jimmy met their match? Will the prophecy fail just when it looks most like coming true?


Take a journey through the oceans of the world in this beautiful book, made entirely from hand-pressed plants.

Artist Helen Ahpornsiri transforms silky seaweeds, feathery algae and bright coastal blooms into playful penguins, scuttling crabs and schools of silvery sharks. Turn the page to explore each corner of the oceans, from hidden rock pools to the darkest depths. Marvel as plants transform into marvellous creatures, and discover the magic and beauty that lies beneath the waves..


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Some boys go too far. Some boys will break your heart. But one boy can make you whole.

When Grace meets Ian she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses the town golden boy of rape, everyone turns against Grace. They call her a slut and a liar. But … Ian doesn’t. He’s funny and kind with secrets of his own.

But how do you trust the best friend of the boy who raped you? How do you believe in love?

A gut-wrenching, powerful love story told from alternating points of view by the acclaimed author of Send.


In 1978, Laurie Strode survived an encounter with Michael Myers, a masked figure who killed her friends and terrorised the town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night. Myers was later gunned down, apprehended and committed to Smith’s Grove State Hospital. 

For forty years, memories of that nightmarish ordeal have haunted Laurie and now Myers is back once again on Halloween, having escaped a routine transfer, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. This time, Laurie is prepared with years of survival training to protect herself, her daughter Karen and her granddaughter Allyson, a teenager separated from her family and enjoying Halloween festivities.


Some people like to shoot. Some people like to kill. 

Three victims, three bullets, three cities.

The first of these simultaneous serial killings occurs in San Francisco, Sergeant Lindsay Boxer’s jurisdiction and reporter Cindy Thomas’s beat. The shooters are precise, as is their target selection. Each one of the men and women down excels at an illegal and deadly activity that is dominating public debate. As the casualty list expands, the fear and fascination with this shooting gallery galvanises the county.

Are the shooter villains or heroes? And who will be next?


Brian Greene takes readers on a breathtaking journey from the big bang to the end of time and invites us to ponder meaning in the face of this unimaginable expanse. He shows us how, from its original orderly state the universe has been moving inexorably toward chaos, and, still, remarkable structures have continually formed: the planets, stars, and galaxies that provide islands in a sea of disorder; biochemical mechanisms, including mutation and selection, animate life; neurons, information, and thought developed into complex consciousness which in turn gave rise to cultures and their timeless myths and creativity.

And he describes, as well, how, in the deep reaches of the future, the nature of the universe will threaten the existence of matter itself. Through a series of nested stories Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Taken together, it is a completely new perspective on our place in the universe and on what it means to be human.


Every family has it secrets. Even the most ordinary tucks things away, out of sight. Things you don’t want to talk about. Sometimes dangerous things. 

Charlie is ten years old. He lives with his mum in an ordinary house, in an ordinary town. He goes to school, he does his homework and watches his mum work harder and harder to keep their little world afloat. An everyday life, outwardly no different to any other. But in every family there are secrets. 

Charlie’s dad went missing three years ago. No one knows where he has gone. The police couldn’t find him. His mum won’t talk about him. 

His dad had told him troubling things about his family’s past, stuff that did not make sense, that was incredible and frightening. 

And now there are strange things happening in the town where he lives. Children are going missing. Taken from houses and parks, from the woods and playing fields. 

Charlie knows the disappearances are linked to his dad and the stories he used to tell him. 

Charlie can see things that other people can’t. 

Strange things that come from dark places. Strange things with an insatiable hunger. 

The Nasties are coming. 

And only Charlie can stop them.


In the darkness of forever, in the cold places beyond the veil, something evil is stirring. 

Charlie Picker, last of the Watchers, is trying to find out what is happening to his friend Pete ‘Bash’ Bashir. Locked in the secure wing of a hospital, in a coma for over a year, the police are waiting for him to wake so they can charge him with the murder of the children who went missing in Therwick. 

Charlie knows what really killed those children. It wasn’t Bash. It wasn’t anything from this earth. It was the Nasties, a species older than time, born outside of our normal universe. Terrible creatures that had made their home here and grew fat on the blood of innocents. Charlie knows the Watchers are meant to kill these creatures, to protect the earth from the horrors that squirm and multiply in the gaps between the universes. 

And he knows that one day the Nasties will return for him. 

As he prepares for that fight, he makes a dangerous mistake. The veil that protects the earth is damaged. Something else finds a way through. 

Charlie finds himself in a desperate race to close the rip, caught between the Nasties and the other foul creatures that roam the darkness of the multiverse. With the help of his friends he must unite the Watchers and prevent the annihilation of the human race. 

Quite a lot to ask of a twelve year old. 


NetGalley

In this second book in the humorous, mystery-solving graphic novel series that’s perfect for fans of Bad Guys, Sherlock Bones and his ragtag team hunt down a swamp monster!

Sherlock Bones’s home, the Natural History Museum, has added an exciting new exhibit, Reef to Shore, that includes a mangrove forest and shallow coral reef habitat, with touch tanks in between. When Sherlock overhears a that a swamp monster has been sighted, he gathers his team to investigate. At first Sherlock Bones suspects Nivlac, a quirky octopus with a talent for camouflage – and tank pranks.

But then, loud bellowing leads Bones and team to the mangroves, where they find a horrifying long-haired green beast! Can they escape the creature – or is it too late for our beloved frogmouth bird skeleton and his ragtag mystery-solving team?


The first in a wickedly funny new series about an aspiring pacifist in a brutal kingdom!

On Brutalia violence is a way of life. Ravenous ravens circle overhead, monstrous grot bears cause chaos and the streets are bulging with brawls. But Mort isn’t like the other islanders – he’s determined to live peacefully. His struggle is made even tougher when the cruel queen appoints Mort as Royal Executioner. No one has challenged the royals and lived to tell the tale. Can Mort keep his head and outwit the queen? 


Book Haul – January 2021

Hey book nerds!

Welcome to It’s Not 2020 Anymore, formerly known as January. I hope you are safe and well.

I’m changing things up a bit this year. Last year I did Book Haul posts weekly but these will now be coming out at the end of each month.

I moved this month so there hasn’t been as much time for reading and moving costs have meant there hasn’t been as much money for books. Hopefully things will begin to settle down soon so I’ll be able to binge read again.

I started a Baby-Sitters Club binge last month (I’ve been planning on reading the entire series for years now) and am hoping to keep chipping away at the bazillion books in the series throughout the year.

Bookish Highlight: Theodora Hendrix and the Monstrous League of Monsters. I borrowed this from the library because I loved the cover. It was an unexpected gem. The main character is a lot of fun, there’s a haunted mansion, monsters and a mystery. And it’s the first in a series so I’ll get to hang out with my favourite characters and explore the mansion again.

End of December Reads:

January Reads


Book Mail

“Welcome to the Hooflands. We’re happy to have you, even if you being here means something’s coming.”

Regan loves, and is loved, though her school-friend situation has become complicated, of late.

When she suddenly finds herself thrust through a doorway that asks her to “Be Sure” before swallowing her whole, Regan must learn to live in a world filled with centaurs, kelpies, and other magical equines – a world that expects its human visitors to step up and be heroes.

But after embracing her time with the herd, Regan discovers that not all forms of heroism are equal, and not all quests are as they seem …


‘Welcome, one and all, to the Robofight Games!’

Last week Ethan was just a teenage kid, lying in hospital with a brain tumour. That was last week.

Now, Ethan has the super-human power to hack any computer system with his mind, and he and Dr Penny are on the run from a corrupt government, and on the hunt for Gemini, the android healer-turned-deadly assassin.

The Robofight Games might be the perfect cover for their mission. Or they might find themselves in even more trouble …

Robot vs robot.
Human vs human.
Country vs country.
Who will cheat, and who will WIN?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

The Women’s Murder Club returns for another thrilling crime investigation. Will their skills be enough to take down a brutal madman?

A brutal madman sprays bullets into a crowd of children leaving a San Francisco church. Miraculously – or was it intentionally? – only one person dies. Then an elderly black woman is hung. Police homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer senses a connection and together with medical examiner Claire, assistant D. A. Jill, and Chronicle reporter Cindy, finds a link that sends a chill through the entire nation. This killer’s motives are unspeakable.


In this debut issue of Weird Whispers we bring you a loose theme of origins. Paul Jessup gives us the first installment in his regular “Surveying the Weird” column, choosing to kick off with a focus on the weird side of winter in “Snow Weirds the World.”


Filled with a colourful and unforgettable cast of literary figures, The House at the End of Hope Street is a charming, whimsical novel of hope and feminine wisdom.

Distraught that her academic career has stalled, Alba is walking through her hometown of Cambridge, England, when she finds herself in front of a house she’s never seen before, 11 Hope Street. A beautiful older woman named Peggy greets her and invites her to stay, on the house’s usual conditions: she has ninety-nine nights to turn her life around. With nothing left to lose, Alba takes a chance and moves in. 

She soon discovers that this is no ordinary house. Past residents have included Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Parker, who, after receiving the assistance they needed, hung around to help newcomers – literally, in talking portraits on the wall. As she escapes into this new world, Alba begins a journey that will heal her wounds – and maybe even save her life. 


Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells – like true love – can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realises she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.


Jude is the owner of a rather special antiques shop in Cambridge. She finds all of the joy in her life matching people with the special something that they are missing, a talisman that will help bring them just what their heart most desires. Although Jude’s life is certainly not overflowing with the love she would wish for … when she ‘inherits’ a niece that she never knew existed, doubling her meagre family overnight, life is set to get a lot less empty and a lot more interesting.

Viola is on a quest for perfection and the top job of Head Chef at one of Cambridge’s most prestigious restaurants to the exclusion of all else. When her path continues to cross that of widower and food historian Mathieu, she starts to see that there’s a lot to life beyond the kitchen that she’s been missing out on.


In a forgotten nook of Cambridge a little shop stands where thousands of sheets of beautiful paper and hundreds of exquisite pens wait for the next person who, with Clara Cohen’s help, will express the love, despair and desire they feel to correspondents alive, estranged or dead. Clara knows better than most the power a letter can have to turn a person’s life around, so when she discovers a cache of wartime love letters, she follows them on the start of on a profound journey of her own.


Amandine Bisset has always had the power to feel the emotions of those around her. It’s a secret she can share only with her friends – all professors, all witches – when they gather for meetings on the college rooftops. Although lately she senses the ties among her colleagues beginning to unravel. If only she had her student Noa’s power to hear the innermost thoughts of others, she might know how to patch things up.

Mathematics professor Kat is struggling with unrequited love, but refuses to cast spells to win anyone’s heart. Her sister, Cosima, is not above using such magic, sprinkling pastries in her bakery with equal parts sugar and enchantment. But when Cosima sets her sights on the love of Kat’s life, she sets off a chain of events that turns each of the witches’ worlds upside down …


In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago.

As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home – wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks – she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie’s descendants, three generations of “Breckenridge women,” each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.


Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil – the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realised existed … until now.


Worshippers stream out of an Midwestern synagogue after sabbath services, unaware that only a hundred yards away, an expert marksman and  avowed racist, antisemite and member of the Ku Klux Klan, patiently awaits, his hunting rifle at the ready. 

 The October 8, 1977 shooting was a forerunner to the tragedies and divisiveness that plague us today. John Douglas, the FBI’s pioneering, first full-time criminal profiler, hunted the shooter – a white supremacist named Joseph Paul Franklin, whose Nazi-inspired beliefs propelled a three-year reign of terror across the United States, targeting African Americans, Jews, and interracial couples. In addition, Franklin bombed the home of Jewish leader Morris Amitay, shot and paralyzed Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, and seriously wounded civil rights leader Vernon Jordan. The fugitive supported his murderous spree robbing banks in five states, from Georgia to Ohio.

 Douglas and his writing partner Mark Olshaker return to this disturbing case that reached the highest levels of the Bureau, which was fearful Franklin would become a presidential assassin x and haunted him for years to come as the threat of copycat domestic terrorist killers increasingly became a reality. Detailing the dogged pursuit of Franklin that employed profiling, psychology and meticulous detective work, Douglas and Olshaker relate how the case was a make-or-break test for the still-experimental behavioural science unit and revealed a new type of, determined, mission-driven serial killer whose only motivation was hate.

A riveting, cautionary tale rooted in history that continues to echo today, The Killer’s Shadow is a terrifying and essential exploration of the criminal personality  in the vile grip of extremism and what happens when rage-filled speech evolves into deadly action and hatred of the “other” is allowed full reign.


This compassionate and insightful guide will demystify mental health issues and help anyone concerned about themselves or loved ones.

Leading psychiatrist Dr Mark Cross, from the acclaimed ABC TV series ‘Changing Minds’, feels strongly that everyone should have easy access to information they can trust about common mental health problems, whether for themselves or to help family or friends. The result is this empowering guide which aims to cut through the myths and taboos about mental health and offer clear, practical help. It covers a wide range of common issues, from bipolar, anxiety, personality and eating disorders, to depression, post-traumatic stress and schizophrenia, and includes how to get help, what treatments are available and how to live successfully with a mental illness. Most importantly, it shows how carers and families can help a loved one through what can be a very challenging time. Since almost half of all Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime, this book is for everyone.


Leon Weissmann is an introverted loner with no control over his life. His only joy is the menagerie of insects, spiders, and scorpions he tends to in his garage.

When he acquires an illegally poached rainforest spider, he unknowingly contracts a rare strain of fungus that enables him to control people, to make them do anything he wants.

As his power grows, Leon begins to abuse it until there are bodies in his wake and a coterie of brainwashed disciples under his influence. But soon Leon suspects that the thing growing inside his head may be the one with the power … It wants to come out. To reproduce. It wants to control everyone.


A collection of three powerfully disturbing novellas by multiple award-winning author, Stephen Graham Jones. 

There are lines that probably shouldn’t be crossed, doors that should stay shut, thoughts that shouldn’t be considered. In these three novellas by Stephen Graham Jones, the dead talk, ancient evil opens its eyes, and that guy across the parking lot, he’s watching you, and has been for a while now. 

Lock the door, tell yourself it’s nothing, turn the radio up. It won’t matter. You’re already three miles past where you meant to stop. 


For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob – a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life – hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world … and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.


Secret Seekers Society and the Beast of Bladenboro follows the young protagonists Hunter Glenn and Elly Ann through an adventure ripe with adversity, paranormal monsters, secret societies, and most haunting of all, a life without their parents. Both siblings suffer emotional struggle from the sudden loss of their parents, as well as their physical journey into a new and strange “home”; an ancient and creepy mansion known only as the Belmonte Estate. The children slowly unravel the secrets of their parents’ true identities, the origin of the strange mansion and their inheritance into an ancient secret society of monster hunters.


NetGalley

From the New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.

1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened – by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they’ve been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line – conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose …

Bestselling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, an unputdownable story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom – and in so doing freed millions more. Elizabeth’s refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day, and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.


Grey’s Anatomy meets One L in this psychiatrist’s charming and poignant memoir about his residency at Harvard.

Adam Stern was a student at a state medical school before being selected to train as a psychiatry resident at one of the most prestigious programs in the country. His new and initially intimidating classmates were high achievers from the Ivy League and other elite universities around the nation. Faculty raved about the group as though the residency program had won the lottery, nicknaming them “The Golden Class,” but would Stern ever prove that he belonged?

In his memoir, Stern pulls back the curtain on the intense and emotionally challenging lessons he and his fellow doctors learned while studying the human condition, and ultimately, the value of connection. The narrative focuses on these residents, their growth as doctors, and the life choices they make as they try to survive their grueling four-year residency. Rich with drama, insight, and emotion, Stern shares engrossing stories of life on the psychiatric wards, as well as the group’s experiences as they grapple with impostor syndrome and learn about love and loss. Most importantly, as they study how to help distressed patients in search of a better life, they discover the meaning of failure and the preciousness of success. Stern’s growth as a doctor, and as a man, have readers rooting for him and his patients, and ultimately find their own hearts fuller for having taken this journey with him.


Aidan disappeared for six days. Six agonising days of searches and police and questions and constant vigils. Then, just as suddenly as he vanished, Aidan reappears. Where has he been? The story he tells is simply … impossible. But it’s the story Aidan is sticking to.

His brother, Lucas, wants to believe him. But Lucas is aware of what other people, including their parents, are saying: that Aidan is making it all up to disguise the fact that he ran away.

When the kids in school hear Aidan’s story, they taunt him. But still Aidan clings to his story. And as he becomes more of an outcast, Lucas becomes more and more concerned. Being on Aidan’s side would mean believing in the impossible. But how can you believe in the impossible when everything and everybody is telling you not to?


A fizzingly funny, heartfelt middle-grade novel about a resourceful girl, her impractical mother and a kidnapping mystery.

Calla’s mum has never been normal. She’s been known to go out in a lab coat and slippers and often forgets to perform basic tasks because she’s been thinking about ducks. When a job offer arrives to study her beloved birds in the Amazon rainforest, Calla knows her mum has to go. Nervously, she agrees to go to boarding school.

She quickly learns that trouble is afoot in this odd convent school. A mean new headmistress is imposing horrible rules and making everyone eat Brussels sprout cake, and the students are itching to revolt. As Calla makes new friends and gets drawn into their rebellious plot, she keeps waiting for her mum to call. She will, won’t she?

Exuberantly funny and brimming with heart, How to Be Brave is a riotous celebration of the power of resourceful girls, stories and the right biscuit at the right time.


Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city filled with magic.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?


Determined to be the world’s greatest detective, Zaiba is always on the lookout for a crime to solve!

When a new family moves to the village, Zaiba is intrigued to hear about the strange happenings in their home. Things go missing, objects are smashed and unfriendly messages are painted on the walls. There have always been rumours that the house is haunted, but is a ghost really causing all this trouble? Zaiba and her team are convinced that the culprit is very much alive – and won’t stop until they get what they want …

The third book in a fun, fresh and exciting new detective series, for readers not quite ready for Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine, High Rise Mystery and Nancy Drew.


Marjorie Glatt’s life hasn’t been the same ever since she discovered a group of ghosts hiding in her family’s laundromat. Wendell, who died young and now must wander Earth as a ghost with nothing more than a sheet for a body, soon became one of Marjorie’s only friends. But when Marjorie finally gets accepted by the popular kids at school, she begins to worry that if anyone learns about her secret ghost friends, she’ll be labeled as a freak who sees dead people. With Marjorie’s insistence on keeping Wendell’s ghost identity a secret from her new friends, Wendell begins to feel even more invisible than he already is.

Eliza Duncan feels invisible too. She’s an avid photographer, and her zealous interest in finding and photographing ghosts gets her labeled as “different” by all the other kids in school. Constantly feeling on the outside, Eliza begins to feel like a ghost herself. Marjorie must soon come to terms with the price she pays to be accepted by the popular kids. Is it worth losing her friend, Wendell? Is she partially to blame for the bullying Eliza endures?

Delicates tells a powerful story about what it means to fit in, and those left on the outside. It shows what it’s like to feel invisible, and the importance of feeling seen. Above all, it is a story of asking for help when all seems dark, and bringing help and light to those who need it most. 


Once upon a time Ella had wished for more than her life as a lowly maid. 

Now forced to work hard under the unforgiving, lecherous gaze of the man she once called stepfather, Ella’s only refuge is in the books she reads by candlelight, secreted away in the library she isn’t permitted to enter. 

One night, among her beloved books of far-off lands, Ella’s wishes are answered. At the stroke of midnight, a fairy godmother makes her an offer that will change her life: seven wishes, hers to make as she pleases. But each wish comes at a price and Ella must to decide whether it’s one she’s willing to pay it. 

A smouldering, terrifying new spin on Cinderella – perfect for fans of Laura Purcell and Erin Morgenstern.


Book Haul – 29 November to 5 December 2020

Hey book nerds! I hope you’ve had a fantastic week!

My TBR pile has been spending the better part of this week silently judging me. I live with cervical headaches and occipital neuralgia as a result of a car accident ten years ago. This week they both showed up together and they were doozies. So rather than finishing all of the books I wanted to, most of my time was spent keeping my head as still as possible and not thinking because it hurt too much. Hopefully next week I’ll have more reading days.

Also related to the car accident and newly relevant this week is my love of concerts. I used to attend concerts all the time and even followed Tori Amos’ tour around Australia one time. The last concert I managed to attend was in Sydney over five years ago. I remember laying in the grass near the train station opposite the Opera House bawling my eyes out because I was in too much pain to move and I’d been looking forward to the concert so much. I did eventually make it but I had to take so many painkillers to be able to sit upright that the entire concert is a blur.

So, on to why this is relevant now. I never thought I’d be able to attend another concert but thanks to 2020 (I found one good thing about this year for me) there are now online concerts. I got an email this morning telling me about Vienna Teng’s upcoming concert and I can’t wait! While I was signing up for that one I also found out there’s a Patty Griffin one. So I’ll be able to attend two concerts, both for women I never thought I’d have the opportunity to see live, in the next week! If you’re interested in attending either concert with me, you can buy tickets here.

The beach has been amazing this week. I got to watching a storm out at sea and another day I investigated one of the tracks I’ve never been on before. I assumed that once you had made it through the sand dunes you would come to a car park but it was so much more interesting than that. It was like being in another world, one that led to a swamp. I was so impressed!

There were even a few places along the trail where people have left accommodations for faeries. My photos of those didn’t turn out that well so I will make sure to take a better camera with me next time I visit.

Word of the Week: Pyrrhic victory, “a victory or goal achieved at too great a cost” (from Dictionary.com). Okay, so this week’s word is actually two but I learned this phrase this week and it applies to a decision I need to make in the very near future. I really liked this article that explains where this term comes from.

Bookish Highlight of the Week: My signed bookplate for Alix Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches arrived in the mail! I was one of only 100 people worldwide that managed to snag one. On par with my excitement about actually receiving one was the realisation that Alix personally addressed the envelope it came in. There’s something slightly surreal and entirely wonderful about gettIng mail from one of your favourite authors.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

Wolf Girl and her trusty dogs are back for another hackle-raising adventure.

On the run from sinister forces, Gwen rushes head-long into danger. With giant snakes, komodo dragons and a whole new wolf pack to contend with, Wolf Girl will need all her cunning … and all her friends.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Tim and Abi have always been different from their peers. Precociously bright, they spend their evenings in their parents’ attic discussing the macabre and unexplained, zealously rereading books on folklore, hauntings and the supernatural. In particular, they are obsessed with photographs of ghostly apparitions and the mix of terror and delight they provoke in their otherwise boring and safe childhoods.

But when Tim and Abi decide to fake a photo of a ghost to frighten an unpopular school friend, they set in motion a deadly and terrifying chain of events that neither of them could have predicted, and are forced to confront the possibility that what began as a callous prank might well have taken on a malevolent life of its own.


Book Haul – 15 to 21 November 2020

It was my Mum’s birthday this week and the book I preordered for her, which was released six days before her birthday, hasn’t been posted yet. Thanks, 2020! I told her it looks as though she’ll be getting it for Christmas instead, but this is me we’re talking about. I’m likely to give it to her straight out of the letterbox, whatever date it arrives.

I ended up having a non-fiction week, covering some heavy topics. After tackling domestic abuse and sexual assault, I made it to the Holocaust. So it’s fairly likely you’ll be seeing some children’s book reviews from me next week.

There have been so many gorgeous beach days this week so I went for as many walks as possible. Strangely enough, on three beach walks in the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen Santa. While they’re probably work Christmas parties I’m seeing, with Santa and a bunch of adults hanging out near the sand dunes, I’m not ruling out any possibilities. If you’d like to give me your wish list, I’ll be sure to pass it along. 😜

Our ravens brought their baby to meet me for the first time and it was so cute! I’ve seen our magpies’ baby in a tree across the road but it hasn’t made it into our yard yet. Our noisy miner babies are all feeding themselves now, although they still squark to be fed whenever an adult is nearby. I haven’t seen any kookaburra, currawong or butcher bird babies this season but they may just be fashionably late.

Word of the Week: Komorebi, “the Japanese expression for the sunlight as it filters through the trees, is made up of the kanji characters for tree (木), shine through (漏れ), and sun (日).” (quote and image from Culture Trip)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: For the third week in a row, Jess Hill’s See What You Made Me Do was my bookish highlight. I finally finished it and can say with confidence that it’s the best book about domestic abuse I’ve ever read. I also found out this week that there’s going to be a related three part SBS documentary airing in Australia in 2021. Although I know for sure it’s going to be brutal watching, with heartbreaking stories and likely some ugly crying from me, I am really looking forward to it. Anyway, I promise to find a new bookish highlight next week but you should really read Jess’ book.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

Despite its humble origins, there is no more challenging or physically dangerous teen sport in the world than cheerleading. Cheerleaders are seriously injured and even killed at a higher rate than other high school sports. Their stunts are performed in skimpy uniforms without the benefit of proper safety equipment … and yet they love them, glittery eyeshadow, spirit bows, and all.

And then there are the Fighting Pumpkins, who take that injury rate as a challenge. Students of Johnson’s Crossing High School, they answer to a higher calling than the pyramid and the basket toss, pursuing the pep rally that is rising up against mysteries and monsters, kicking gods with the pointed toes of professional athletes chasing a collegiate career.

Meet Jude, half-vampire squad leader; Laurie, who can compel anyone to do as she asks; Heather, occasionally recreationally dead; Marti, strong enough to provide a foundation for any stunt; Colleen, who knows the rule book so well she may as well have written it; and Steph, who may or may not be the goddess of the harvest. The rest of the squad is ready to support them, and braced for the chaos of the big game, which may have a big body count. Prepare to jump high, yell loud, and look pretty with the Fighting Pumpkins, those glorious girls in the orange and green, whose high kicks could still be enough to save the world.

And if they’re not, it isn’t going to be for lack of trying.

Dying with Her Cheer Pants On includes three stories appearing for the first time anywhere: “Tryouts,” “Trial by Fire,” and “Compete Me.”


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

I didn’t buy any Kindle books this week. How is that even possible?! Oh, wait. Does it count if you had to buy the Kindle version of your book mail so you don’t accidentally hurt your signed, limited edition copy? Because if it does, I may have bought one Kindle book this week.

NetGalley

A Turtle’s Guide to Introversion is a delightful illustrated gift book that celebrates the wonderful qualities of introverts through the everyday adventures of a turtle.

Being an introvert comes with numerous advantages and the occasional woe, and no animal knows that better than the humble turtle hiding in its shell. This book celebrates introverts and their many wonderful, often-underrated qualities. 

Perfect for introverts and extroverts who are secretly introverts. And for those who likes turtles.


Book Haul – 8 to 14 November 2020

I hope you had a better reading week than I did. I only finished one book, just like last week. I’ve still been reading each day but my ability to concentrate has diminished greatly recently. Here’s hoping next week will be more productive.

Word of the Week: panacea, “a remedy for all disease or ills; cure-all”. (from Collins Dictionary)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: For the second week, my bookish highlight has been Jess Hill’s See What You Made Me Do. I’ve almost finished it and I’ve learned so much. I want everyone to read this one.

Recent Read:


Book Mail

An original young adult novel of the Alien universe.

Olivia and her twin sister Viola have been dragged around the universe for as long as they can remember. Their parents, both xenobiologists, are always in high demand for their research into obscure alien biology.

Just settled on a new colony world, they discover an alien threat unlike anything they’ve ever seen. And suddenly the sisters’ world is ripped apart.

On the run from terrifying aliens, Olivia’s knowledge of xenobiology and determination to protect her sister are her only weapons as the colony collapses into chaos. But then a shocking family secret bursts open – one that’s as horrifying to Olivia as the aliens surrounding them.

The creatures infiltrate the rich wildlife on this virgin colony world – and quickly start adapting. Olivia’s going to have to adapt, too, if she’s going to survive …


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

A recurrent, unidentifiable noise in her apartment. A memo to her boss that’s replaced by obscene insults. Amanda – a successful architect in a happy marriage – finds her life going off kilter by degrees. She starts smoking again, and one night for no reason, without even the knowledge that she’s doing it, she burns her husband with a cigarette. At night she dreams of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth on the shore of a blood-red sea.

The new voice in Amanda’s head, the one that tells her to steal things and talk to strange men in bars, is strange and frightening, and Amanda struggles to wrest back control of her life. Is she possessed by a demon, or is she simply insane? 


The first body is a mystery. She’s young. She’s beautiful. And her corpse, laid out in the office of Boston medical examiner Kat Novak, betrays no secrets – except for a notebook clutched in one stiff hand, seven numbers scrawled inside. 

The next body is a warning. When a second victim is discovered, Kat begins to fear that a serial killer is stalking the city streets: a shadowy madman without mercy or apparent motive. The police are skeptical. The mayor won’t listen. And Kat’s chief suspect is one of the city’s most prominent citizens. 

The final body … might be hers. With the death toll rising, Kat races to expose a deadly conspiracy and the brutal killer at its heart – a killer who will stalk her from the dangerous streets of the inner city to the corridors of power. Because he’s closer than she ever dreamt. And every move she makes could be her very last.


Book Haul – 1 to 8 October 2020

I started writing a short story this afternoon! I’ve only written about 1,000 words so far and I doubt this particular story will ever see the light of day, but it’s woken something up in me.

I haven’t really attempted any creative writing (although there are plenty of worlds that live in my imagination) for many years decades. It was a time of putting pen to paper and I felt like a real writer because I’d bought myself a typewriter.

It may not be much in the scheme of things but it feels like possibilities exist tonight that didn’t this morning. And in 2020, that’s exciting!

I don’t know if you ever fell in geeky love with Reid from Criminal Minds like I may have but even if you didn’t I want to tell you about a TV series I binged this week. It’s called Prodigal Son and Malcolm, the main character, is pretty much how I imagine Reid would have turned out if his father was a serial killer. Malcolm’s father is a serial killer, he’s a profiler and he’s haunted by the flashbacks he has of the girl in the box, the girl who everyone tells him never existed. This could be my favourite new series of the year!

Word of the Week: antimony (from dictionary.com)

  1. opposition between one law, principle, rule, etc., and another.
  2. Philosophy. a contradiction between two statements, both apparently obtained by correct reasoning.

Highlight of the Week: Okay, so I’m still getting my head around this but earlier this week my blog reached a milestone that I wasn’t expecting to happen so soon. Over 1,000 visitors have dropped by. Whether you’ve found yourself here by accident or you’ve visited more than once, please know that I appreciate you.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

FIVE friends go to a cabin.

FOUR of them are hiding secrets.

THREE years of history bind them.

TWO are doomed from the start.

ONE person wants to end this.

NO ONE IS SAFE.

Are you ready to play?


Amber knew she’d been given an incredible power, but was it a freak accident, or was there something she was supposed to do with it?

Controlling her new ability might be the hardest thing Amber has ever done. Especially when she is running for her life.

Who is her mysterious enemy? What connection does he have to Amber’s past? And, most importantly, does Amber have what it takes to truly become … Skydragon?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes – not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now – “Scythe Lucifer” – a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realising she cannot do this alone – or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead – the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding finale to Neal Shusterman’s internationally bestselling trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.


A powerful source of healing for teen girls and young women who have experienced sexual abuse, Invisible Girls offers survivors agency and hope in an era when too many girls have suffered alone The statistics are staggering.

One in four girls will experience sexual abuse by the time she is sixteen, and 48 percent of all rapes involve a young woman under the age of eighteen. It’s not surprising then, that in a society where sexual abuse of young women is rampant, many women never share their stories. They remain hidden and invisible.

In her pioneering work with young survivors through the last thirty years, Dr. Patti Feuereisen has helped teen girls and young women to find their voices, begin healing, and become visible.

In this revised second edition, Dr. Patti’s gentle guidance and the girls’ powerful stories continue to create an encouraging message: Remarkable healing is possible if girls learn to share their stories in their teens and early twenties. With a new introduction, new chapters, and updated resources, this new edition of Invisible Girls has even more to offer girls, young women, and those who care about them.


According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon – both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle – are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist …


If you trust her you’ll never make it home …

Avery is an exceptional child. Everything he does is precise, from the way he washes his face in the morning, to the way he completes his homework – without complaint, without fuss, without prompt.

Zib is also an exceptional child, because all children are, in their own way. But where everything Avery does and is can be measured, nothing Zib does can possibly be predicted, except for the fact that she can always be relied upon to be unpredictable.

They live on the same street.

They live in different worlds.

On an unplanned detour from home to school one morning, Avery and Zib find themselves climbing over a stone wall into the Up and Under – an impossible land filled with mystery, adventure and the strangest creatures.

And they must find themselves and each other if they are to also find their way out and back to their own lives.


A new anthology bringing together five great new and established writers to explore the world of Mary Shelley’s all-time classic, Frankenstein.

“My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell.” 

Victor Frankenstein was the first to unlock the key to life, but he would not be the last. Through two centuries of scientific enquiry and relentless advancement, five more minds found the secret, and five more creatures were made. Five more stories ended in tragedy.

From the 1840’s to the modern day, from the race to publish the first anatomy to the desperate search for weapons to win the Second World War, telling the stories of the creatures that never were.


NetGalley

“When I was in school, everyone got to a certain age where they became interested in talking about only one thing: boys, girls and sex. Me though? I was only interested in comics.”

Growing up, Rebecca assumes sex is just a scary new thing they will ‘grow into’ as they gets older, but when they leaves school, starts working, and does grow up, they starts to wonder why they doesn’t want to have sex with other people.

In this brave, hilarious and empowering graphic memoir, we follow Rebecca as they navigate a culture obsessed with sex – from being bullied at school and trying to fit in with friends, to forcing themself into relationships and experiencing anxiety and OCD – before coming to understand and embrace their asexual identity.

Giving unparalleled insight into asexuality and asexual relationships, How To Be Ace shows the importance of learning to be happy and proud of who you are.


Book Haul – 18 to 30 September 2020

The weirdest thing happened last week. No new books found their way into my life. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Sure, I have more than enough books to last me for decades already but I always find excuses to adopt more. So there was no need for a book haul post last week. Happily I’ve made some new bookish friends this week.

Word of the Week: nascent, “(especially of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight: Book mail! The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida arrived yesterday and I’m loving it! I found a Maya Angelou quote today that seems appropriate given what I have read so far.

Recent Reads:


Book Mail

Miwako Sumida is dead.

Now those closest to her try to piece together the fragments of her life. Ryusei, who has always loved her, follows Miwako’s trail to a remote Japanese village. Chie, Miwako’s best friend, was the only person to know her true identity – but is now the time to reveal it? Meanwhile, Fumi, Ryusei’s sister, is harbouring her own haunting secret.

Together, they realise that the young woman they thought they knew had more going on behind her seemingly perfect façade than they could ever have dreamed.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind. 


NetGalley

Illumen Hall is an elite boarding school. Tragedy strikes when the body of a student is discovered at their exclusive summer party – on her back is an elaborate tattoo of a magpie.

When new girl Audrey arrives the following term, running from her own secrets back home in America, she is thrown into solving the case. Despite her best efforts to avoid any drama, her new roommate Ivy was close to the murdered girl, and the two of them can’t help but get pulled in.

The two can’t stand each other, but as they are drawn deeper into the mystery of this strange and terrible murder, they will discover that something dangerous is at the heart of their superficially perfect school.

Welcome to The Magpie Society.


Like any student about to start university, Laurie Katz was excited to see what the year would bring. Little did she know that just three weeks into her first term, her life would come crashing down around her. What had started as a fun night out with friends ended with Laurie, alone with a terrible secret: she had been raped.

Traumatized and confused, she set out to get justice against her attacker. But when the authorities at her university dismissed her case, and warned her that she could be expelled, she was left unsure where to turn. It seemed as though things couldn’t get worse, then her attacker filed his own case.

Laurie’s story is a brave and honest reminder of the injustice still felt in society around sexual abuse. Laurie offers readers her advice, and provides them with the hope that they too can overcome a similar trauma.


Book Haul – 11 to 17 September 2020

Book mail!! A book I won in a giveaway arrived this week. I also had a book nerd dream come true this morning. I received a message from a publisher saying they wanted to send a book that’s on my TBR pile to me and asked if I wanted it. Um, is that a trick question? Of course I want more book mail! Woohoo!

The raven I met last week has gotten a lot braver and has brought a friend to meet me. The first two baby noisy miners of the season have also visited. I can’t believe how brave these birds are. Within 24 hours of them seeing me for the first time they were coming into the front yard with the adults. One of them has even come within six feet of me.

I’m not sure how much reading I’m going to get done in the next two weeks. I order heaps of stuff from my local library. The only problem is that the DVD’s always seem to arrive all at once. Tomorrow I need to collect 11 movies and 8 seasons of various TV series. DVD’s only get a two week loan at my library, which is not usually a problem. This time? It’s going to be a marathon!

Quote I’m loving at the moment: “She overcame everything that was meant to destroy her.”

Word of the Week: frisson, “a sudden feeling of excitement or fear, especially when you think that something is about to happen” (from Cambridge Dictionary)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: Just like last week, this week’s bookish highlight was Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches. I finished reading it a couple of days ago and can now say with absolute certainty that it’s my favourite book of 2020. I may love other books before the end of the year (and hope I love them all) but I can’t imagine loving anything more than I love the three Eastwood sisters.

This week I read:


Book Mail

I wake up, and for a few precious seconds I don’t realise there’s anything wrong.

The rumble of tyres on bitumen, and the hiss of air conditioning. The murmur of voices. The smell of air freshener. The cool vibration of glass against my forehead.

A girl wakes up on a self-driving bus. She has no memory of how she got there or who she is. Her nametag reads CECILY. The six other people on the bus are just like her: no memories, only nametags. There’s a screen on each seatback that gives them instructions. A series of tests begin, with simulations projected onto the front window of the bus. The passengers must each choose an outcome; majority wins. But as the testing progresses, deadly secrets are revealed, and the stakes get higher and higher. Soon Cecily is no longer just fighting for her freedom – she’s fighting for her life.


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn’t right at the Sun Down, and before long she’s determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden


Randall Woodfield had it all. He was an award-winning student and star athlete. He was drafted for pro football by the Green Bay Packers, and chosen by Playgirl as a centerfold candidate. Working in the swinging West Coast bar scene, he had his pick of willing sexual prospects. 

But Randall Woodfield wanted more than just sex. An appetite for unspeakable violent acts led him to cruise the I-5 highway through California, Oregon, and Washington, leaving a trail of victims along the way. As the list of his victims grew to a total of at least 44, the police faced the awesome challenge of catching and convicting a suspect who seemed to handsome and appealing to have committed such ugly crimes – crimes that filled every woman within his striking range with feat and horror …


In the sequel to the New York Times best-selling novel Hope Never Dies, Obama and Biden reprise their roles as BFFs-turned-detectives as they chase Obama’s stolen cell phone through the streets of Chicago – and right into a vast conspiracy.

Following a long but successful book tour, Joe Biden has one more stop before he can return home: Chicago. His old pal Barack Obama has invited him to meet a wealthy benefactor whose endorsement could turn the tide for Joe if he decides to run for president.

The two friends barely have time to catch up before another mystery lands in their laps: Obama’s prized Blackberry is stolen. When their number-one suspect winds up full of lead on the South Side, the police are content to write it off as just another gangland shooting. But Joe and Obama smell a rat …

Set against the backdrop of a raucous city on St. Patrick’s Day, Joe and Obama race to find the shooter, only to uncover a vast conspiracy that goes deeper than the waters of Lake Michigan – which is exactly where they’ll spend the rest of their retirement if they’re not careful. 


Book Haul – 7 to 13 August 2020

I binged a little on books this week. There have been quite a few Kindle books I’ve been drooling over for months but had been waiting for them to go on sale. A bad day early in the week was all it took for me to give in to the urge to let books make it all better. Books make everything better! I did restrain myself a bit, only buying the three most urgent reads on my list. The others were on sale so don’t count. Don’t you just love my book logic?

I also got some book mail – a preorder and one that I won a few weeks ago.

I’ve been watching Looking for Alaska and have been surprised by my lack of connection to the characters. I wish this was Dr. Hyde’s story instead of Alaska’s. I’m one of those people who finds something to cry about in almost every movie or TV series I watch. This series though? Not a hint of a tear. Weird …

Word of the Week: inimitable. “So good or unusual as to be impossible to copy; unique.” (from lexico.com)

Bookish Highlight of the Week: The Midnight Library. It’s been on my radar since pre-COVID so, by my calculations, about 287 years. I’m about a quarter of the way through it and I’m having trouble deciding whether I want to forgo sleep to finish it in one sitting or slow down and savour it.

This week I reviewed:

Until next time, happy reading!


Book Mail

The fair is in town! Nelson and Kenny want to go on ALL the rides! But after testing Grandma’s new invention, they’re suddenly TOO SMALL to go anywhere!

Luckily, Nelson and Kenny have a plan to get TALLER again … way, WAAAAY TALLER!


A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments …

Back on Earth, Twiggy is a street kid with a missing dad. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.

Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal that will tear the friends apart … forever?


Kindle Black Hole of Good Intentions

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place – and realising that family is yours. 


A decadent rock star. A deeply religious radio host. A disgraced scientist. And a teenage girl who may be the world’s last hope.

Shana wakes up one morning to discover her little sister in the grip of a strange malady. She appears to be sleepwalking. She cannot talk and cannot be woken up. And she is heading with inexorable determination to a destination that only she knows. But Shana and her sister are not alone. Soon they are joined by a flock of sleepwalkers from across America, on the same mysterious journey. And like Shana, there are other “shepherds” who follow the flock to protect their friends and family on the long dark road ahead.

For on their journey, they will discover an America convulsed with terror and violence, where this apocalyptic epidemic proves less dangerous than the fear of it. As the rest of society collapses all around them – and an ultraviolent militia threatens to exterminate them – the fate of the sleepwalkers depends on unravelling the mystery behind the epidemic. The terrifying secret will either tear the nation apart – or bring the survivors together to remake a shattered world.


A powerful debut novel of a refuge in Brooklyn for women in trouble – and the one woman who will risk all to protect them.

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned. 

Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves … all of them know what it’s like to be broken by men.

Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it serves – confront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.


Kaylan’s life as she knew it is over. Again.

Hunted by the guards of Edriast and their ruthless captain, Kaylan is forced to flee into a world she’s never seen, armed with a power she never wanted. With her brother Elias by her side, she escapes to the distant city of Stynos, where rumour has it a possible ally is waiting … An ally who might help Kaylan control the violent magic that’s become her burden to bear.

But Kaylan can’t hide forever – not from the forces that surround her, or from the darkness inside herself. Rebel leader Bellamy seeks her help to destroy a regime; Captain Thorn pursues her with a vengeance; and as her power grows, her inner demons begin to seep through the cracks …

Kaylan may be strong, but is she strong enough to resist the Relic? 


In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing – a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organising books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materialising as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell … and Earth.


‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices … Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’ 

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.