Thursday 22 September 2022

Book Review (Blog Tour) | The Killing Code by Ellie Marney

Publication Date: 20th September 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Young Adult

Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Book Depository  • Indigo

• IndieBound


Virginia, 1943: World War II is raging in Europe and on the Pacific front when Kit Sutherland is recruited to help the war effort as a codebreaker at Arlington Hall, a former girls’ college now serving as the site of a secret US Signals Intelligence facility in Virginia. But Kit is soon involved in another kind of fight: Government girls are being brutally murdered in Washington DC, and when Kit stumbles onto a bloody homicide scene, she is drawn into the hunt for the killer.
To find the man responsible for the gruesome murders and bring him to justice, Kit joins forces with other female codebreakers at Arlington Hall—gossip queen Dottie Crockford, sharp-tongued intelligence maven Moya Kershaw, and cleverly resourceful Violet DuLac from the segregated codebreaking unit. But as the girls begin to work together and develop friendships—and romance—that they never expected, two things begin to come clear: the murderer they’re hunting is closing in on them…and Kit is hiding a dangerous secret.


My Thoughts


Monday 19 September 2022

Mini Reviews | Elsewhere Girls & The Secret in the Tower

Cat has recently started at a new school on a sports scholarship, and she’s feeling the pressure of early morning training sessions and the need for total commitment. Fanny loves to swim and she lives for racing, but family chores and low expectations for girls make it very hard for her to fit in even the occasional training session.

Cat and Fanny have never met. They both live in the same Sydney suburb, but in different worlds, or at least different times: Cat in current-day Sydney, and Fanny in 1908. But one day, time slips and they swap places.

As each girl lives the other’s life, with all the challenges and confusion it presents, she comes to appreciate and understand herself and the role of swimming in her own life.


Elsewhere Girls by Emily Gale & Nova Weetman was a super quick read, following two girls in different era's who find themselves in each others bodies with the help of a magical stopwatch. I did enjoy this book, like I said it was really fast paced and was an interesting take on the Freaky Friday body swapping trope. 

I definitely enjoyed reading from Cat's perspective the most as she's stuck in Fanny's body in 1908 but the cultural differences made for amusing reading in both perspectives. The two girls trying to figure out the language, chores and ensuring their families don't get suspicious was very entertaining. I also really liked the message this book portrays, highlighting how different life was for young girls 100 years ago. Fanny dreams of going to the Olympics to swim but can't because she's a girl but seeing how things are in Cat's time gives her the motivation to keep following her dream. Likewise, Cat is struggling with her own swimming but an incident in the past gives her a new outlook. 

I did find it a little simplistic at times as well as not feeling overly connected to the characters but I think younger readers will get a lot more out of it. 

1485. Richard III is King of England. Henry Tudor’s invasion looms.

Jack Broom thinks that war and politics have nothing to do with him. He is a simple apothecary’s boy dreaming of becoming a surgeon – until soldiers mistake him for a boy of noble birth.

Narrowly avoiding being dragged to the Tower of London, Jack sets out on a perilous mission to find out who he truly is. With the help of his new friend Alice, he uncovers conspiracies, treason, and the deadly lengths people will go to for power.


Another historical middle grade that I read recently was The Secret in the Tower by Andrew Beattie. I've always been interested in the mystery of The Princes in the Tower AKA the disappearance of Edward and Richard, and the author takes this part of history and creates an exhilarating adventure.  

Jack Broom is a simple apothecary's assistant but through a case of mistaken identity, he finds himself embroiled in a war between kings and by teaming up with a new friend, he sets out to discover his true identity. 

Beattie does a terrific job of transporting the reader back to medieval London, the descriptions are vivid and the real life history is well developed. Jack is an extremely courageous and capable character for someone so young, he really has that hero energy. I also loved Alice, her quick thinking and resourcefulness really came in handy. I love when middle grades delve deeper into parts of history that younger readers might not have been introduced to yet and this is an excellent story to prompt further research into this area of English history. Overall, an exciting, high-stakes mystery full of twists and action that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

Sunday Post (On A Monday?) | 18/09/2022

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

This was my manager's last week at work, her last day was Friday. We had a lovely party with lots of pizza and presents! Very bittersweet but I'm so happy for her to move on to her next adventure. 
This does mean we're now down a staff member and therefore we're probably going to be stretched tight a bit over the next few weeks whilst we look for someone new. 

Yesterday though was my nephew's 3rd birthday! We had a really fun garden party with lots of food, lots of goes on the bouncy castle and a surprise visit from Spiderman (my little brother dressed up as him and my nephew was completely in awe!). My sister even made his birthday cake and it looked amazing!    

Today, I went to an antiques fair with my brother and my dad and found a super cute jewelled owl pin for my sister's birthday and then later on we went to watch See How They Run. 

I finished three books this week! The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente was a whimsical tale that was extremely Alice in Wonderland-esque with lots of odd characters and riddles in there. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would cause at times it was just too much. 

I also finished House of Fiction by Phyllis Richardson (which took me an age to get through), a non-fiction that explores literary houses and the real life houses that the authors drew inspiration from. I sped through The Garden of Lost Secrets by A.M. Howell yesterday morning and thought it was a fast-paced historical mystery for middle grade readers, the mystery felt a little too low stakes for me at times but still a fun read.  

I'm currently reading:
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus which is interesting just not one I'm reaching for very much. 
The Secret in the Tower by Andrew Beattie, another historical middle grade that draws on the mystery surrounding the Princes in the Tower, super fun and very close to finishing. 
★ I've just started The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder which is so fun already and I'm loving the treasure hunting aspect of it.  

I did go and watch See How They Run today, a really classic whodunnit surrounding the Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap and starring Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell. I thought it was really well done, I didn't guess the murderer and it was surprisingly funny! I loved all the 50's costumes as well! 

I haven't made much progress with either ER or SurrealEstate, only watching bits here and there and not fully finishing the episode. I'm too busy at the minute!

Whilst I haven't been watching the actual series, I have loved listening to the soundtrack of season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. It's taking me back to my original Disney Channel days - SO much nostalgia. I especially love the cover of What Do You Know About Love from the Frozen musical.      

• Mini Reviews of some Netgalley ARCs
• Top Ten Tuesday - Books on My Fall TBR
• WWW Wednesday 
• The Killing Code by Ellie Marney (Book Review/Blog Tour) 

Let me know what you've been up to this week with a comment, whether it's reading, watching or just life, I'd love to know! Happy Reading!

Thursday 8 September 2022

August 2022 Reading Wrap Up

I'm pleased to say that August was a much better month for me with 9 books read (plus a DNF), it helped that I had a week off and a bank holiday weekend too. I enjoyed pretty much all of what I read so a fairly successful month. 


I liked this Japanese Cinderella inspired story about a young girl desperate to escape her cruel stepfamily and flee her town but finds herself befriending a dragon and a witch which sends her on a journey to save her land. It definitely felt magical and I enjoyed the characters and the fairytale feel of it but I felt that there should have been more focus on the dragons and less on the endless list of chores Alliana had to complete. You can read my full review here

Despite the mixed reviews, I enjoyed this contemporary novella about a young woman's spiral amidst her job of reviewing disturbing content for a social media platform. I was really captivated by the toxic workplace environment and the way that information spread across the internet can be so influential. I found the situation fascinating and disturbing in equal measure. I can understand why this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea but I was gripped and read it one sitting. 

Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey 

This was a much slower mystery then I was anticipating, revolving around a mother who's teenager goes missing on holiday but shows up after four days refusing to talk about what happened to her. I was expecting a dark mystery/thriller but this was a lot more literary, with a strong focus on the relationship between mother and daughter. I did find the characters extremely authentic in the way they spoke and acted and found the mystery of what happened to Lana intriguing. I think the beginning was really strong but parts of the middle tended to slow the pacing down. The strong writing helps to keep this from feeling dull and the ending left me surprised but satisfied.  

On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

One of my favourites of the month was this Irish YA set during the heatwave of 1976 and following a group of teenagers who discover a dolphin has taken up residence near their town's beach. I think it helped that I read this during a heatwave, I speeded through this book whilst sat outside in my garden baking under the sun! The writing is beautiful and vivid, it paints such a strong picture of life in 70's Ireland. I loved the direction the plot went in with the combination of the romance, the rivalry between two towns and the resulting tragedy. A really underrated gem of a book. 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson     

Morgan Matson remains my go to for YA contemporary books. This is my fifth book by Matson and whilst it's probably my least favourite, it was still really fun and enjoyable. Her books are perfect summer reads and this one about a disgraced politicians daughter finding herself walking dogs for a summer job and falling in love a long the way is extremely adorable. I loved Andie's friendship group a lot as well as her rebuilding her relationship with her dad. I didn't adore the romance in here (although it was pretty sweet at times) and I also felt it was just too long at over 500 pages with lots of unnecessary chapters.   

Who is Tom Ditto? by Danny Wallace

A random library borrow about a man who's girlfriend disappears and he discovers she had an extremely odd hobby of following strangers in order to inject more excitement and spontaneity into her life. Through a group of people who share this interest he finds himself with new friends and a new outlook on life. This was one of those fine reads. Interesting plot, some comedic lines and easy to get through. I liked what it said about taking control of your life and not just doing the same thing every day, that you need to actually live. It didn't leave much of a lasting impression though. 

The Ghost of Gosswater by Lucy Strange      

An historical mystery middle grade that hit that spooky spot. Set in the late 19th century, a young girl is ejected from her family home after the death of her father but discovers that she wasn't his daughter at all. Now sent to live with her real father, she encounters a ghostly presence which brings up questions about her true family and the secrets they were keeping. An atmospheric read with an intrepid main character in Aggie. So many elements that I loved particularly the gothic mansion and the cemetery situated on a misty island!  

Beguiled by Cyla Panin

I really wanted to enjoy this one more then I did because I can't resist a fairytale-esque story especially when it involves wishes gone terribly wrong. When Ella's loom breaks she makes a request to the Bean-Nighe by the river for help and at first it feels to good to be true. She's making beautiful fabric and has become involved with a handsome, mysterious man. But the more she weaves, the more she finds that she may have bargained away more then she initially thought. I really liked this premise and I thought Ella was a strong, independent character who grows so much throughout the book. I struggled with the execution though as it felt sluggish at times and the overall arc was too obvious. You can read my full review here

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien    

It's annoying that I DNF'd the audiobook of this one in the end because I got almost 65% in but considering this is a 23 hour long audiobook, I still had a long way to go! Andy Serkis is an immensely talented narrator who really brought the story to life but it just wasn't holding my attention. It was just too long and there's way too many songs for my liking! This is a re-read so maybe I'll just stick to the physical books in future.    

Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson 

I completely adored this paranormal/fantasy middle grade about a girl who can see death who teams up with a boy to discover who killed his parents and who is now hunting him down. This was wonderfully magical, I mean the setting is a sentient inn that delivers luggage and holds grudges! There's also a family with psychic abilities and a pet jabberwocky disguised as a cat! It was so much fun with an exciting plot and loveable characters. I cannot wait for the sequel! You can read my full review here.  

What did you read in August? Have you read any of these? Leave a comment below. Happy Reading!    


Wednesday 7 September 2022

WWW Wednesday | 07/09/2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words that highlights three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you'll read next?

What did you recently finish reading?

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney was such a fun read! I love that this was an historical mystery set during World War II about female codebreakers hunting a serial killer. The premise works really well, the mystery is well done and I loved the group of girls who use their skills to track down the murderer. Look out for my review closer to the release date. 

What are you currently reading?

It's taking me a while to get through House of Fiction by Phyliss Richardson. It's a chunky non-fiction about famous literary houses and where the author's got their inspiration from. The content is fairly interesting but it is slow and therefore I'm not reaching for it as much as I should be. Hoping to get the majority of it read this weekend. 

I picked up The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente on Monday and was immediately intrigued by the whimsical (and slightly odd) writing style. It feels very Alice in Wonderland and whilst I'm only around 50 pages in, I am excited to continue. 

I've taken a pause with listening to audiobooks on my commute for the minute and instead I've been getting my Kindle out on the train. I've started Elsewhere Girls by Emily Gale & Nova Weetman as it's a Netgalley book that I chose at random from the read now section. Two aspiring swimmers, one from present-day Sydney and the other from 1908, find they've swapped lives and must contend with the challenges of trying to get home. I like body-swapping books and hopefully this is also a fun read.

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm hoping to start on Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus in the next few days. This had a ton of buzz recently so looking forward to this one. 

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
Have you read any of these? What were your thoughts? What are you currently reading and hoping to pick up next? Leave a comment or link your own WWW Wednesdays below for me to check out!

Sunday 4 September 2022

Sunday Post | 04/09/2022

The Sunday Post is a blog news meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead. Join in weekly, bi-weekly or for a monthly wrap up. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

Look at me joining in with a new meme! I wanted a little weekly wrap up post that includes what I've been up to/watching/listening to as well as books and I thought this was the perfect post to do that. I'll still be trying to post WWW Wednesday's more regularly but this is another fun post to do.  

Saturday 3 September 2022

On My Radar | September 2022

These posts are dangerous. I've already bought six books this month (blame the 99p Kindle deals for that) so I don't need anymore books, OK? Anyway, here's books that I really, really want...


Thursday 1 September 2022

Book Review (Blog Tour) | Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson

Publication Date: 6th September 2022 by Delacorte
Format: Netgalley ARC
Target Audience: Middle Grade

Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • Book Depository  • Indigo

• IndieBound


Thirteen-year-old Annabella Ballinkay has never been normal, even by her psychic family's standards. Every generation uses their abilities to help run the Ravenfall Inn, a sprawling, magical B&B at the crossroads of the human world and the Otherworld. But it's hard to contribute when your only power is foreseeing death.

So when fourteen-year-old Colin Pierce arrives at Ravenfall searching for his missing older brother and the supernatural creature who killed their parents, Anna jumps at the chance to help. But the mysteries tied to Colin go much deeper than either of them expects. . . .

As the two team up to find answers, they unearth Colin's family's secret past and discover that Colin has powers beyond his imagination. And now the supernatural creature, one with eerie origins in Celtic mythology, is coming after him. If Anna and Colin can't stop the creature by Halloween night, the veil to the Otherworld could be ripped open--which would spell destruction for their world as they know it.


My Thoughts

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