Blog Tour + Review: Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.
A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Thank you to Penguin for having me as part of this blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

To be completely blunt, I wasn’t 100 percent sure this was going to be a book I enjoyed. I have read some brilliant adult contemporaries in the past few years, but I’ve also read a few I didn’t enjoy at all. And this sounded in some ways similar to the one’s I didn’t enjoy as much, so naturally I was a little hesitant. However, I am very happy to say I absolutely loved this book. It was bold and beautiful and confident without being abrasive or brash – striking a perfect balance that I just didn’t expect.

We follow Nina Dean, who I found to be a likable character from the second page, when she visited Hampstead Ladies Pond (I love outdoor swimming so I loved this instantly). I always find I enjoy books so much more when I actually like the main character and want the best for them – and I really did with Nina. She felt honest and relatable, a real and imperfect character with her own troubles and mistakes.

Maybe friendship is being the guardian of another person’s hope.

I found the pacing slow at first, but after around 150 pages I couldn’t put this book down and finished it the following day. The plot really picks up and I just wanted to know what happened to Nina and those around her. The writing was absolutely brilliant and may be my favourite part of the book as a whole – it was easy to read but had some real depth and honest discussions I loved reading.

There was something in the writing that just made me feel so connected to Nina, it made me cry (and I mean tears running down my cheeks!) but also made me laugh. It is so rare I find a book that makes me properly laugh, but this one did. It made me chuckle over and over again, and I applaud the writing for that! It also made my heart drop and brought a sick feeling to my stomach when certain things happened in Nina’s life that I just felt so emotional over.

I also love how this book was feminist without being men-hating. I have read books before that felt like they crossed that line and I didn’t appreciate it – Ghosts, however, appreciates both sides of a story and brings in both successful and unsuccessful relationships. It was the balance I really wanted from this book. The relationships felt so real and were another reason I felt so connected to Nina, especially the difficult relationship with her parents (it was a scene between her and her mum that made me cry).

Leave it with me and I’ll look after it for a while , if it feels too heavy for now.

This book was a really pleasant surprise and there is honestly so much to love about it. Despite the slow start I found it so engaging and brilliantly written. An emotional but funny and uplifting read all at the same time!

4.5 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour + Review: The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Seventeen-year-old Margot Allan was a respectable vicar’s daughter and madly in love with her fiance Harry. But when Harry was reported Missing in Action from the Western Front, and Margot realised she was expecting his child, there was only one solution she and her family could think of in order to keep that respectability. She gave up James, her baby son, to be adopted by her parents and brought up as her younger brother.
Now two years later the whole family is gathering at the Vicarage for Christmas. It’s heartbreaking for Margot being so close to James but unable to tell him who he really is. But on top of that, Harry is also back in the village. Released from captivity in Germany and recuperated from illness, he’s come home and wants answers. Why has Margot seemingly broken off their engagement and not replied to his letters? Margot knows she owes him an explanation. But can she really tell him the truth about James? 

Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Anderson Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t usually pick up historical fiction but this one actually really intrigued me and I ended up almost requesting a copy through work. And then a beautiful parcel turned up on my doorstep, with a copy of this book, which also included parcels and envelopes to unwrap at certain pages. It was such a delightful thing to be a part of, thank you to everyone involved!

This book felt weirdly nostalgic, especially for having absolutely no reason to be nostalgic for 1919. It was nostalgic for that feeling of Christmas as a little kid, being excited for the Christmas tree and decorations and the sweets shop in the village. It was absolutely charming and utterly heartwarming.

I absolutely flew through this in just a couple of days, it’s a real page turner and the plot is so fast, I really enjoyed reading it. The book is set in the lead up to Christmas, and it has a real wintery, Christmassy feeling to it. My favourite thing about this book was probably how descriptive everything was, from the little interactions between Margot and her family, to the village at Christmas, to Christmas Day, to the grand New Years Ball at the end. It was all so beautifully written and absorbing.

Overall, this book was fairly simple and predictable. But it’s fun and charming and has just enough emotion to keep you engaged with Margot’s story. I quite enjoyed it and it definitely got me into the Christmas spirit!

3.5 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour + Review: A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Imogen should be nice to her little sister Marie. She should be nice to her mum’s boyfriend too. And she certainly shouldn’t follow a strange silver moth through a door in a tree.
But then… who does what they’re told?
Followed by Marie, Imogen finds herself falling into a magical kingdom where the two sisters are swept up in a thrilling race against time – helped by the spoiled prince of the kingdom, a dancing bear, a very grumpy hunter… and even the stars above them.

Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours and Harper Collins for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was so much fun! I don’t read much middle grade, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this. It follows the story of two sisters who find a hidden door to a world. It had such Narnia vibes which I loved and felt perfect for Autumn.

The characters were great and I thought they were very well written. We had so many people to be introduced to: the sisters, Miro and the rest of the royal family in this mystical land, and their enemies, the skret. The skret felt like such cool monsters but I adored how they ended up being so much more – having their own story which was interwoven with the land and the royal family themselves. The two sisters were such lovely characters and it felt so bittersweet to leave them at the end of the story.

Some of my favourite parts of the book were the parts travelling across the land, which sounded beautiful and fantastical. I loved the tree-houses and the castle itself, with the rich descriptions working well alongside Riddell’s beautiful drawings. I loved the adventure aspect, with the plot being so fun and entertaining as they discovered more and more about the world.

My only slight complaint is this book seemed quite long (especially for a middle grade!) and the plot did lose me slightly at times. Other than that, this is definitely worth a read and I can see a younger me loving it!

4 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour + Review: Far From Perfect (#2) by Holly Smale


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Faith Valentine has it all – fame, money and extraordinary beauty. But what she wants more than anything is a quiet life away from the cameras. Except nobody ever asks Faith what she wants, and her family’s expectations are crushing her.
The world thinks she’s perfect, but is there is more to perfection than meets the eye?

Thank you to Harper Collins and Kaleidoscopic Tours for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than expected, it was such a pleasant surprise. Having not read any of Smale’s books, not even the first book in this series, I had no idea how I would feel about this one. However, as this book follows Faith, the sister of the protagonist in the first book, I understood the story perfectly and didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

As soon as I picked this up I knew it would be a quick and easy one to get through. I thought I’d just read 50 pages at most, but ended up reading 100 in one go and finishing it in just over 24 hours! I couldn’t tell you the last time I read a 400+ page book in that short amount of time, but this was pretty addictive.

I found the story really interesting as it’s something I wouldn’t usually pick up. Faith’s life is controlled by the media, social media and her fame, which seemed like an important topic to portray to what will likely be a younger audience. The plot was highly entertaining (which is why I couldn’t put the book down!) but also felt unrealistic to me, which I couldn’t help but feel irritated by.

I liked the cast of characters for the most part, especially Faith’s dysfunctional family. However, there were points in which I felt topics could have been handled better (for example, her mother had a problem in which help was never seen as an option, whereas she seemingly needed professional help). Scarlett was a fun character but I just found something off about her that I couldn’t click with.

This book is definitely aimed at a younger audience than me, and I can see a younger me really enjoying it. It was incredibly entertaining and fun, with a fast paced plot which kept me on my toes. Although I found it frustrating at times, a younger me would have likely looked past the few problems I saw and enjoyed it even more!

3.5 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour + Review: Lot by Bryan Washington

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In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys.
This boy and his family experience the tumult of living in the margins, the heartbreak of ghosts, and the braveries of the human heart. The stories of others living and thriving and dying across Houston’s myriad neighborhoods are woven throughout to reveal a young woman’s affair detonating across an apartment complex, a rag-tag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, and a reluctant chupacabra.

Thank you to Darkroom Tours and the publisher, Atlantic Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

What a poignant and raw, emotional collection of voices. Lot is a short story assembly championing Black and Latinx working class voices, discussing racism, poverty, family, friendship and relationships. The stories felt strong, powerful and honest, really packing a punch.

All of the narrators were men, which I found really interesting but I actually really enjoyed. I thought this was a great way to highlight toxic masculinity and the spotlight men can be put under in certain situations, and how harmful this can be. I felt really grateful for how this was portrayed in the narration.

Your eyes will show you what they want to

This book felt alive, the narrators were brutal and had me gasping at times, and I felt like I was breathing alongside the men I was reading about, living their stories alongside them. It really captured me. I liked the short story aspect, and the narrators changing occasionally kept me on my toes, however I did enjoy coming back to the same narrator. I thought it was really inventive to read about the same stories of people in the same neighbourhood.

My biggest problem with this book was the lack of connection to the narrators. I’m unsure whether this was due to the short stories meaning we spent a fairly short amount of time with them, or something to do with not knowing their names or a lot about their lives, only seeing rough snippets and not much more. But the lack of connection ended up meaning a lot to me and changed my viewpoint of the book a lot.

or whatever they think you should see.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book despite feeling distant from the characters themselves. It felt hard hitting and important, and it was unfortunate I felt like I was almost listening to these stories underwater – I just wish I could have felt more connected to them.

3 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour + Review: Supper Club by Lara Williams

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Twenty-nine year old Roberta has spent her whole life hungry – until the day she invents Supper Club.
Supper Club is a secret society for hungry women. Women who are sick of bad men and bad sex, of hinted expectations to talk less, take less, be less. So they gather after dark and feast until they are sick. They drink and dance and roar. And, month by month, their bodies expand.
At the centre of the Supper Club stands Roberta – cynical yet anxious, precocious and lost. She is seeking the answer to a simple question: if you feed a starving woman, what will she grow into?
This is a story about the hunger that never goes away. And it is a story about the people who make us what we are – who lead us astray and ultimately save us. You look hungry. Join the club.

Thank you to Penguin for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was not what I was expecting at all. It was raw, honest and in-your-face. It is full of rage and passion and hunger. It is disturbing and kind of brilliant, all at once. It reflects a starvation I think all women feel at some point or another in their lives – the need to fill a space we are made to feel we are not allowed to fill.

But in the way that hunger is presented, it transcends into darkness I was not prepared for. It is written full of anger, bluntly discussing rape, self harm and abuse in a way that made me feel almost repulsed. In the middle of a conversation it will bring in the most point blank feelings and thoughts that will jar you out of any sense of connection with the book.

The line between pleasure and revulsion can seem so very thin,

Supper Club follows Roberta through her life at university and 10 years later in an unsatisfying office job with an intern, Stevie. Stevie and Roberta end up living together and start supper club, an answer to their feelings as women of being made to feel small and non-threatening to the world around them. Supper club begins as a gathering of women, and evolves into something bigger and more criminal, with dumpster diving and breaking into venues. These are all an assertion of anger, a way to stand up and say women can take over whatever space they believe they can.

The book is peppered with descriptions of food. Even though these threw me a little when they spoke about meat in a certain way (as a vegan, this became jarring in itself), they were all around beautiful and they reflected the story quite well in the sense of growth, of ever changing and becoming something beautiful.

The plot was interesting and I thought it was paced well, the flashbacks between university and current day were long enough to not confuse the reader, and explained what had made Roberta so angry, the relationships and interactions that left imprints on her for the rest of her life.

Despite this, I still didn’t quite click with Roberta as a main character. Sometimes I related to her, and other times she came across as a selfish brat. I felt like the men in her later life were often dismissed and not sympathised with because of the men she had dealt with in her university years. It almost felt like a pure hate-letter to men in general at points, which just plainly goes against any moral feelings I have. What I felt was missing in Supper Club was the realisation that in fact Roberta and these women were fighting problems they had with society, and not with men.

if it even exists at all.

The problems I had with the book stemmed mainly from being shocked by the content, so if you are deciding to pick it up, I would recommend it with a harsh warning of the jarring scenes. The execution was actually, I found, quite excellent, the writing passionate and beautiful. Just be prepared to be disturbed, forced to be introspective and constantly question your role as a woman in the modern age.

3 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour & Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Thank you to Penguin Viking for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles. There are 216 passengers aboard: among them a Wall Street millionaire; a young woman taking a pregnancy test in the airplane toilet; a soldier returning from Afghanistan; and two beleaguered parents moving across the country with their adolescent sons. When the plane suddenly crashes in a field in Colorado, the younger of these boys, 12-year-old Edward Adler, is the sole survivor.
Dear Edward recounts the stories of the passengers aboard that flight as it hurtles toward its fateful end, and depicts Edward’s life in the crash’s aftermath as he tries to make sense of the loss of his family, the strangeness of his sudden fame, and the meaning of his survival. As Edward comes of age against the backdrop of sudden tragedy, he must confront one of life’s most profound questions: how do we make the most of the time we are given?

I’m not one to pick up books like this, but when I found out about it at a Penguin event I was drawn in instantly. It sounded thrilling, fascinating and intriguing. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found this book so quick and easy to get through. The chapters are short and change POV between Eddie after the plane crash and the time on the plane before it actually crashed. The plane chapters cover more than just Eddie and his family, and instead focuses on a select number of people around the plane.

There was no reason for what happened to you, Eddie. You could have died; you just didn’t. It was dumb luck.

I feel like this way of storytelling intertwined with Edward’s emotional story and him trying to find himself after losing his entire family and living with his aunt and uncle was beautiful, and made us feel closer to the other characters on the plane when the time came for us to sympathise with them.

I feel like the only big let down for me was I expected more to be uncovered. The book actually never really discusses why Edward was the only one on the plane to survive, despite him questioning it. I guess I would have enjoyed it more as a thriller with a deeper level of intrigue.

Nobody chose you for anything. Which means, truly, that you can do anything.

This book is very character driven, but I enjoyed that. Even the small conversations Eddie has with other people in the story meant a lot to me, and seeing him come of age and grow with his difficult circumstances appealed to me. A part of the story I particularly loved was Edward deciding to go vegan for his brother, who made the decision to be vegan just before the plane crash. Another aspect of the book I really related to was both of the boys being home schooled, as I was home schooled for all of my high school years. I could really see how it enabled Edward to make decisions differently to other children his age.

Dear Edward wasn’t perfect or without it’s problems, but overall I enjoyed it greatly. It was a touching, emotional coming-of-age story that left me with goosebumps as I finished the final sentence.

4 out of 5 stars

About the Author

Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College’s MFA program, New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Dear Edward was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fifteen international publishers.
Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.


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Blog Tour & Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Hello readers! I was lucky enough to be selected by Source Books Fire through Midas Public Relations to take part in this blog tour. It was such an exciting tour to be a part of and I’m really grateful for the ARC copy they sent me in exchange for this honest review. Thank you again, Source Books Fire!

I’m finishing up this tour alongside DMCI Reads and The Library Looter. Go check them out!


Goodreads | Amazon

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

I fell in love with this book the moment I saw it. I mean, the beautiful cover is a pretty good start, right? As soon as I started reading, I felt somehow comforted, in the sense I just knew I was going to enjoy this one.

It felt so lovely to read a good fantasy. I recently read The Last Namsara, and even though I liked it, The Storm Crow just seemed to add the things I missed in that one. For a start, the world was beautiful and so well described – I felt enveloped in the rich, lush description of the lands and kingdoms. The writing was poetic and lovely.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the first chapter. It was full of action and intrigue, and kept me intrigued for the lulls and slower parts. And unfortunately, the only downside for me was that this book did lull. Although the writing was great, the pacing unfortunately wasn’t. The action was very sporadic and I felt left for the majority of the book without any. Part of me understands due to Thia’s mental health, and the slow plot did make me sympathise with her personal struggles.

But that’s where my complaints end – I adored everything else about The Storm Crow. Thia resonated deeply with me in a way characters in fantasy don’t usually. I find with fantasy there can be some disconnect if the characters seem unattainable or unrealistic. With Thia, things are different. She struggles openly with grief and depression, and the way this was discussed felt so important. She was still a badass, passionate and heroic woman, but she was also struggling and surviving day by day. It made her so much more real.

My love for the characters doesn’t end there. This book had a great cast of side characters too, and I loved them all for their own roles. Thia’s relationship with her sister felt well written, and so did her friendship with Kiva, who I loved. Her friendship with Caylus and difficult friendship with her husband-to-be also offered interesting, dynamic relationships I became quickly invested in. And I can’t write this review without giving a shoutout to a villain I absolutely loved to hate, Razal.

The whole crow element to this book is something I’ve not really seen before in YA, and I loved it. Having such a strong connection to the magic and animals gave the story a whole different dynamic and focus, rather than just the politics. Instead, the story flickered between politics and magic and Thia’s passionate love for the crows, which kept me on my toes and interested.

Overall, this book encompassed me in such a love for a rich world, diverse (in all ways), lovable characters, magic and passionate writing. All in all, the only reason this didn’t quite get 5 full stars from me is unfortunately the pacing – everything else was there and I loved it.

5 out of 5 stars


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Blog Tour: My Name Is Leon

Thank you to Penguin Random House for letting me take part in this tour!

So readers, I am proud and happy to welcome you to my very first blog tour. Hopefully it is the first of many! Before we start, I received a copy of this book from the publishing company for review, but all of my opinions are my own.


A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum..

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book about adoption/fostering, and I was a little apprehensive as it’s been so long. But I actually really enjoyed this one!

The plot…is steady, easy to follow and flows very well.

The characters…are touching. I loved Leon – and that the book was from his POV. His tender love for his family runs throughout this novel and it shines through to make this book what it is.

The writing…is amazing! I know I would struggle to write from a child’s viewpoint, but Kit De Waal really pulls it off.

Something I liked…this book…it really makes you feel for the characters. They are young, and therefore I felt so much sympathy for them – more I think than if it was in the POV of an adult.

Something I disliked…honestly, I can’t pick out anything. In it’s own right, this book is amazing. It’s not something I’d usually choose, but I’m very glad to have read it!

My thoughts…My Name Is Leon gives you everything you could ever want from a book. It’s emotional, extremely touching and it makes you think. I’d definitely recommend it!

My rating is…

☽ ☽ ☽ ☽
4 out of 5 moons


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