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07 April 2019

Sleep by CL Taylor *AD Gifted

Avon Books sent me a free review copy of Sleep by C.L. Taylor.

Sleep by C.L. Taylor is one of those books that will keep you reading long past your bed time. I was quickly dragged in to the story and couldn't stop reading.

Sleep by CL Taylor coverAdd to Goodreads button
All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…


Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Guilt, blame, isolation, recovery, mystery.


Sleep starts with a bang and a crash. It's a fast paced read that I couldn't put down, and I loved how invested in the story I was. I pretty much read it in a single sitting.

I loved the secrets in the story - it meant I was never entirely sure about who to trust and what to believe, and I kept wondering about all of the motives. The pressure of the setting was amazing - everything felt very insulated and heightened. I loved the atmosphere of the island and the hotel.

Anna was a fantastic character, I felt like I admired her quite a bit. I liked her resilience, her drive, the way she was always fighting and doing her best.

I really enjoyed the ending, how everything came to a head. I was correct with my guess, although I didn't quite imagine the why! I liked that I was challenged a bit and that it wasn't super-predictable.

No. It doesn't hurt there. It hurts here, in here, inside my head.

03 April 2019

The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews

I am absolutely delighted to share a guest post from the amazing CG Drews, a blogger I greatly admire for their ridiculously funny posts and discussions, and an author who knows how to break my heart into a million tiny pieces.

The Boy Who Steals Houses is out tomorrow and trust me, you need it in your life. It's dark and complicated and so full of love, and it will probably break you a little so have tissues at the ready.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by CG Drews cover

5 Key Inspirations For The Boy Who Steals Houses

My stories always begin with a collection of wishes and schemes, of puzzle pieces that I need to sort through until they fit together. I don’t get hit with a full book idea at once. For me, it’s more like a being handed a collection of oddly shaped keys and shown a row of crooked, smudgy doors – and then I’m left cramming keys into locks until I get that magical click and my story begins to take shape.

It took me a few months to fit all the keys into their rightful locks before I was ready to write The Boy Who Steals Houses. Today I’m going to share five pieces of inspiration that sparked the story. (And, yes, you have to let me have this key metaphor because my protagonist, Sam, is a collector of keys…so it works ok. Let’s do this.)

“He puts his wishes into small metal keys and tucks them in his pocket to keep him breathing.” – The Boy Who Steals Houses

1. Goldilocks retelling.

I’m wildly fond of writing retellings, because you get a bare bone framework as a starting place, but you also have limitless possibilities on how to twist the classic tale into your own. I knew my version of Goldilocks would be genderbent + in a modern contemporary setting.

2. I wanted a story with siblings.

Sibling stories are pretty much my favourite things to read (and write). I have a large collection of siblings myself (five of them, to be exact) so writing the dynamics and shenanigans of big families comes naturally to me. When I started putting together The Boy Who Steals Houses, I wanted to have two brothers with a very intense but complicated relationship. Sam and Avery absolutely need each other…but they also fight. A lot. And just in case two starring brothers isn’t enough – let me introduce you to the De Lainey family, who end up absorbing Sam into their lives. They have seven kids and are loud and messy and catastrophically loveable.

3. A little bit of thieving…

Because the original Goldilocks was a bit of a thief. She just kind of walked into a house and ate all their food?! The audacity. With Sam, I made him into an apologetic thief – one who hates his life, but is powerless to stop the cycle that drives him to steal.

4. Food counts as inspiration, right?!

If you looked over my original outline you would see zero notes about writing lots of food into this book. And yet there are so many caramel brownies. Like…so so many. My true confession?! I was home alone for the weekend I was drafting and cooking is Not Fun when you’d rather be writing. I kind of existed on brownies. (Shh, no judgement. I am not sorry.) So, yes, I literally wrote about brownies because I was eating them. The imagination is, um, strong with this one?

5. Finding your place in the world.

A key (ha! I cannot stop using this word) theme I wanted to explore was: searching. Sam is searching for a place to fit in the world. He’s searching for a home, but more than that – he’s searching for a family. He loves his brother Avery so fiercely, but Sam is the one who props them up and keeps them going. He wants to collapse into someone else’s arms and be held up, just for a whisper of a moment, and this book is about if he can find that. And if he finds it, can he keep it, when he has left a trail of bloody sins in his wake?

02 April 2019

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke *AD Gifted

Bantam Press sent me a free review copy of Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke.

Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke was such a fun read, I read pretty much the whole thing in a single sitting and didn't want to put it down. This book is super romantic, full of fun, and it feels slightly epic in scope.

Star Crossed by Minnie DarkeAdd to Goodreads button
Destiny doesn't happen by accident . . .

When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her teenage crush Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by chance. Or it could be written in the stars.

Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star - and Nick, she now learns, relies on the magazine's astrology column to guide him in life.

Looking for a way to get Nick’s attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to the horoscope for Aquarius before it goes to print.

After all, it’s only the stars. What could possibly go wrong...?


Source: Review Copy

5 Word Review: Astrology, friendship, deception, connections, love.

I quite liked the way that the story played with astrology and lent so much sway to it. The story did have a bit of a written-in-the-stars feel, especially with the way so many smaller stories converged.

I loved Justine. Her character is so steadfast and hardworking, eagle-eyed and smart. I really loved her duplicity and the way that once she knew she wanted to get closer to Nick she started to engineer it. It didn't come across as manipulation in the story, which it so easily could have done.

The writing is gorgeous and full of description. I would say that it's almost overly flowery at times, but it suits the story so well that it doesn't seem fair. It's lyrical, vibrant, and rich. When I was reading Star-Crossed I felt more like I was watching something play out rather than reading it, and it meant that I finished it quite quickly.

Star-Crossed is deeply romantic, almost like a rom-com, so full of love and misunderstandings and unexpected yet fun consequences.