I Remember You by Elisabeth De Mariaffi

Author: Elisabeth De Mariaffi

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 2-3/5 stars at DNF

I received this book from the publisher, Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my opinion on the book.

I Remember You is a Thriller set in the time soon after the war. It is an eerie and dramatic story following the life of Heike, a German survivor from the war living in what I assume is some part of the US with her new husband, Eric and small son, Daniel. It has a promising and interesting storyline and a brilliant prologue but after that the book for me went sour.

Firstly, I found the way the dialogue to be written to be very clunky and confusing. There is no use of quotation marks like you usually find in books, instead it it just written in with everything else, only a hyphen at the beginning to mark it as speech but even that is inconsistent.

Secondly, the characters are bizarrely linked and Eric in particular is infuriatingly horrible. The relationship between Heike and her Son is touching and adorable but Heike and literally everyone else seems awkward and bizarre. Eric and Heike have a terrible relationship, Eric is aggressive, spiteful and seemingly very little interested in who is supposed to be his wife and quite ignorant to those of his family. I did not like him AT ALL and this hate severely marred my enjoyment of the book from the off.

I made it about 100-120 pages into the book before I had to give it up for a loss cause. I won’t be giving it another go in the future as I tend to do with books I don’t finish or didn’t fully enjoy. I really cannot get past the weird writing style and horrible horrible characters. The story though, as I say, is really very interesting and I would recommend you pick it up if only for that. My pet peeves may be no mind to you.


Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Author: Edgar Cantero

Genre: Horror/Sci-fi

Rating: 4/5 star

I received this book from the publisher, Titan Books. My thanks go out to them for the copy. This in no way effects my opinion on the book.

Meddling Kids is a bizarre sci-fi horror tale in the vein of Lovecraft. It is a 90’s pop culture paradise and packed with nostalgia and a splash of comedy. As the title would suggest, it has serious Scooby Doo influences but even the mystery machine can’t beat this bunch. The story is (to me) basically Scooby Doo the future years or Scooby Doo all grown up. It follows a group of twenty somethings and a dog as they reunite over shared trauma they obtained while spending their teen years as amateur detectives.

The characters are all amazing and you can really relate them to members of the Scooby gang. Andy is whom I would call the MC, she’s fiercely determined and fiercely in love with Kerri, the perfect mixture of ginger locks and brains. Kerry’s cousin, Nate – a self institutionalising, hallucinating but protective feature of the gang is the only one who can see the last human member of the team, Peter – the jock, whom has committed suicide. Lastly of course there is Tim, son of the original pup of the team but just as fierce and hyperactive. I seriously adore each and every one of them!

As a Lovecraft fan I was blown away but the eerie some-guy-in-a-mask-is-really-grotesque-evil-swamp-demons-of-a-Lovecraft-tale twist on the whole thing. I adored it! I’d heard a few bad reviews about this one from US bloggers and I’m really excited to say that they’re most certainly wrong. This is wonderfully crafted and executed. Almost impossible to put down.

The First Dance by Catherine Law

Author: Catherine Law

Genre: Historical fiction

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I received this book from the publisher via Readers First. My thanks goes out to them for the chance. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

The First Dance by Catherine Law is her fifth book and is a wonderful historical fiction set between the 1920’s and 1930’s. It is a book of star crossed lovers, heartache, loss and love. It seeks to destroy your emotions in a beautiful tidal wave of heartbreak and joy. I absolutely loved it.

I found the characters alarmingly charming. Alexa is a lovely character and following her from childhood to adulthood is a wonderful treat and adds real depth and connection to her. Harvey is equally as wonderful and the same connection is attached to his character and he forms an important part in the story. All the characters are equally as lovable and charming though. What is even better still is the settings of this book!! Beautiful Cornish coast, idyllic London and all those places in between, the environments of the story are just beyond words.

I thing I did notice right from the off was Law’s method of writing – it’s something I wouldn’t have paid much attention to, say a fortnight ago. But after having to study the ways of writing literature for a part of university degree I noticed the glaring “fault” that I found myself warned about in class, that is overly complicating the writing with unnecessary descriptions. It doesn’t, in my opinion, make any changes good or bad to the book at all but Law does have a way of attaching unnecessary tidbits onto her sentences. I find that as the book progressed it happened less and less but the beginning is riddled with them. It’s interesting that having the knowledge that they shouldn’t be there makes me notice lines that I wouldn’t have thought twice about before.

Overall, I was completely taken away by this book. It’s beautiful.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Genre: Classic / Children’s Literature

Rating: 5/5 stars

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was one of my grandma’s favourite books and one she read to me when I was very small. I haven’t since that time ever read this book until now and it felt like the first time though some details I still remembered fondly. It’s a beautiful book about loneliness, love, friendship and nature and I felt so connected with the things that mattered to my grandma whilst reading it. I can certainly see why she loved it so much and for so long. It’s certainly going to be one that sticks with me for while.

The characters are quite bizarre. Some dislikable and horrid and others soft and sweet. But as the book progresses even the most detested of characters becomes lovable and sweet. The MC Mary would in most instances come across as a horrible person but I actually liked her from the offset – feeling sorry for her and understanding why she acted how she did. The characters I started out disliking where Mrs Medlock, Mr Craven and Colin. But as each character developed and the story unfolded I found I loved all three of them.

I always find writing reviews for books that have been given classic status a challenge because most people have read the book – surely! So what can I say that they haven’t heard, felt or thought themselves? But in the case of The Secret Garden I feel I need to share my thoughts even if it’s just for myself. Overall, if you haven’t read it then you should!

Victorian Literature Fest 2018

Starting March 1st through 31st I will be hosting the #viclitfest via my bookstagram account on instagram. It is a month dedicated entirely to reading Victorian literature (and the occasional nonfiction about the Victorian era) and I am very excited about all the hype it has received. There are very simple reading challenges involved:

  1. A book you’ve yet to read
  2. A book by a male author
  3. A book by a female author
  4. A book by an author using a pen name
  5. (Bonus challenge) Joining me in a casual readalong of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

There will be a giveaway for all participants with the winner receiving a Macmillan collectors library classic of their choice and extras. All participants will be automatically entered to this and the winner will be drawn on the final week.

I’m very excited about this and hope to see many selections and authors being read. It’s going to be fun!

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Genre: Historical fiction/Mystery

Rating: 5/5 stars 🤩

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

A Curious Beginning is book one of the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn. It is set in Victorian England and follows Veronica and Stoker – two unlikely companions – as they strive to uncover why they’re mutually entangled in the murder of baron. There is witticisms, feminism and sexual tension to ensue.

I have to say this book BLEW me right out of the water. I wasn’t expecting it to be anything overly amazing but I was very very pleasantly surprised. I could not put this book down. It kept me up all night, not able to bare the thought of not knowing. I am pleased to say this book has officially made this a new favourite series for me. I absolutely adore the characters. Veronica and Stoker are both clever, unusual, fierce and exciting. They’re lovable and charming. They compliment each other perfectly as literary companions and I could not get enough.

There are so many twists and turns in this book that I literally had no idea where the mystery was going. Every time I thought I’d sussed it it shot off in another direction. It proved a real edge of your seat adventure. Could not recommend it enough !

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Author: Alexandra Christo

Genre: YA Fantasy / Dark Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 star

I received a proof of this book with thanks to the publisher Hot Key Books. My thanks goes out to them but this in no way affects my opinion of the book.

To Kill a Kingdom is the dark fantasy debut of Alexandra Christo. It follows the story a prince hunting siren princess and a siren hunter prince. It has sass, it is fierce and the characters are amazing. There is no mention of this literally anywhere I’ve read about this book but it is quite clearly from very early on in the book that this is a very dark The Little Mermaid retelling. The similarities are just too similar for coincidence, but I ADORE this! The Little Mermaid is my favourite fairytale and I love fairytale retellings so the fact made my enjoyment of this book skyrocket.

The characters in this book are just amazing. Each one is so different but all of them have depth and personality. Our MCs Elian (the prince) and Lira (the siren) have such sass and pomp. Elian being a rebellious pirate prince and Lira being fierce and murderous, they’re quite similar in some ways but opposite in others and I loved their clashes – they compliment each other brilliantly. My favourite character by far in the book though was Kye, Elian’s sassy and fashionable thieve bodyguard and best friend. His whole character just wiped me right from the off.

The book is marketed as being perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo, well, I’ve never read any Leigh Bardugo so I can’t speak for that but I have read and enjoyed a good selection of Sarah J Maas and I’d personally say Alexandra Christo’s debut is much better than anything Maas has ever written. Definitely a book that I can see turning into a big hit with readers.

I’d definitely recommend this one!