Review: Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the Do Not Become Alarmed blog tour.

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (ARC copy)

Title: Do Not Become Alarmed
Author: Maile Meloy
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Viking (6th July 2017)

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety.

One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.

What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

(Blurb taken from

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

DO NOT BECOME ALARMED is the latest book to come from Maile Meloy. It’s a standalone novel that tells the story of a group of tourists who are on a cruise in Central America. Liv and Nora are cousins who decide to take their husbands and children away together to celebrate the holidays. After days spent aboard the ship they start to feel restless so they decide to leave the ship, and take part in one of the activities organised by the cruise liner. Unfortunately a series of small mishaps lead to a larger disaster for the women: their children go missing.

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Illumicrate Unboxing 7 – May 2017

This quarter’s Illumicrate didn’t arrive until the beginning of June, hence why this post is so late. I’m not sure why this quarter was a month late; it just was. If you are interested in signing up for an Illumicrate, the next is due out in August I think, then you can find more details on the website.

Too long, didn’t watch: Overall I was pleased with the box, a little disappointed that it sustained damage whilst in transit.

The contents of the May 2017 Illumicrate. There is a full list below with links where possible.

If you want to see more pictures of the contents of the box then be sure to check out my instagram.

Contents of this quarter’s box:

Review: The Turn by Kim Harrison

The Turn by Kim Harrison (UK edition)

Title: The Turn (The Hollows 0.1)
Author: Kim Harrison
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Piatkus (7th February 2017)

Kim Harrison returns to her beloved Hollows series with the official prequel.

Can science save us when all else fails?

Trisk and her hated rival, Kalamack, have the same goal: save their species from extinction.

Death comes in the guise of hope when a genetically modified tomato created to feed the world combines with the government’s new tactical virus, giving it an unexpected host and a mode of transport. Plague takes the world, giving the paranormal species an uncomfortbale choice: stay hidden and allow humanity to die, or show themselves in a bid to save them.

Trisk and Kal flee across a plague-torn United States to convince leaders of the major paranormal species to save their supposedly weaker kin, but not everyone thinks humanity should be saved.

Kal surreptitiously works against her as Trisk fights the prejudices of two societies to prove not only does humanity have something to offer, but that long-accepted beliefs against women, dark magic and humanity itself might be mistaken; and that love can hold the world together as a new balance is found.

An unmissable story – discover Rachel Morgan’s world as you’ve never seen it before . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

THE TURN is the prequel to Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series, which follows the adventures of Rachel Morgan. THE TURN is set several decades before this series, with Inderlanders (that is witches, weres, vampires, elves, and pixies to name a few) still hidden and unknown by humans. THE TURN follows the story of Trisk a geneticist and dark haired elf, who has been sent out to work with humans because she is dark haired and female. Whilst in the lab she creates a genetically modified tomato, and her hated rival Kalamack is sent to check her work. A plague sweeps the world, and Trisk and her tomato seem to be the cause. With humanity dying, Inderlanders have to make a choice.

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Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (UK edition)

Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns 1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (22nd September 2016)


MIRABELLA, a fierce elemental, can spark hungry flames with the click of a finger.

KATHARINE, a poisoner, is known to be resistant to the deadliest of snake bites.

ARSINOE, a naturalist, is rumoured to have the ability to bloom the reddest of roses.

But becoming the Queen Crowned is not just a matter of royal birth. These three sisters must fight to the death for the throne, and on the night they turn sixteen the battle begins. Only one queen can inherit the crown.


Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

THREE DARK CROWNS is the first novel in Kendare Blake’s latest series. The book tells the story of a set of triplets born on the island of Fennbirn. These triplets are all considered queens, and all three of them have an equal claim to the crown. All three of them possess a coveted magic, though that is where their similarities end. Mirabella can control the elements; Katharine is a poisoner, known to be resistant to the most deadly or toxins; and Arsinoe is a naturalist who can make flowers bloom and call animals to her. Only one of them can claim the crown, and the winner must kill her sisters.

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Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (UK Edition – Zoella Book Club)

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Usborne Publishing (1st June 2016)


Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.


At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL is Meredith Russo’s debut novel. It tells the story of Amanda Hardy an eighteen year old who has moved in with her dad for the first time, and is starting a new school. Like everyone else, she just wants to make friends and fit in. Amanda has a secret, one that has caused (and is causing) her a lot of heartache and pain: one that has pushed her and her family to their limits. Amanda used to be called Andrew. The trouble with secrets is that they have a way of getting out, whether you’re ready for them to or not.

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Review: All the Good Things by Clare Fisher (Blog Tour)

This review is part of the All the Good Things blog tour.

All the Good Things by Clare Fisher (cover via

Title: All the Good Things
Author: Clare Fisher
Genre: Contemporary, Crime
Source: The publisher
Publisher: Viking (1st June 2017)

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?

All the Good Things is a story about redemption and hope for fans of Nathan Filer, Stephen Kelman and Emma Healey

(Blurb taken from

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

ALL THE GOOD THINGS is Clare Fisher’s debut novel. The novel is comprised of letter’s written by the story’s protagonist Beth, who is twenty-one years old and is in prison for doing a bad thing. Through the course of the twenty-two letters we gradually learn more about Beth and her life prior to her ending up in prison, we also learn about the bad thing she did to get there. Although I found Beth a hard character to like, I think Fisher does a great job weaving together a narrative that is both compelling and heart breaking, where you find yourself rooting for Beth.

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Review: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: A Darkness Absolute (A City of the Lost Novel/Casey Duncan 2)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Detective Novel, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Sphere (7th February 2017)

The secret town of Rockton is the perfect place to hide. The only problem is – once you’re in, there’s no way out . . .

After a shaky start, Casey Duncan is settling into her role as the town’s much-needed detective. She’s also found love with Sheriff Eric Dalton, a man who appreciates her unconventional ways. But when Casey discovers a young woman trapped in a tiny cave in the mountains, she is soon caught up in a terrifying new case. Someone has been abducting woman and holding them captive deep in the forest. Is he from Rockton, or from the wilderness beyond?

Battered by winter storms and sudden blizzards, the town is cut off from the rest of the world. And as Casey races to find a killer, she becomes his next target . . .

With her gripping new novel, bestselling author Kelley Armstrong has written a heart-stopping, edge-of-the-seat, standalone thriller and a sequel to the highly acclaimed City of the Lost.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

A DARKNESS ABSOLUTE is the second book in Kelley Armstrong’s fantastic The City of the Lost Novels series. This book continues the story of Casey Duncan and her life in Rockton: a secret town in the Canadian wilderness where people with a past go to hide. Casey has settled into life in the town, and as a detective on the town’s police force. She is in a relationship with the town’s sheriff Eric Dalton, something they are both still adjusting to. When Casey finds a young woman trapped in a tiny cave in the mountains, she finds herself caught in a terrifying case where women are abducted and held captive deep in the forest. The question is, does the perpetrator come from Rockton?

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Bout of Books 19 | Sign up & Progress

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

As I’ve left this so late, I’ve decided to combine the sign up and my progress into a single post. If you haven’t already, there’s still time to sign up – I believe sign ups are open until midnight on Tuesday/Wednesday, but go check the blog to make sure.

It’s taken me a while to write this post, so there’s a video of my TBR up on YouTube if you want to check it out:

Or you can just look at the pic below:

My TBR for #BoutofBooks 19

This year my goals, apart from reading the six books above, are to participate in one of the Twitter chats (probably Saturday’s) and complete at least one of the challenges. I’ll be keeping track of my progress below, so be sure to check back if you want to see how I’m doing or just leave a comment to let me know if you’re taking part.

Thanks for stopping by.

My Progress

Day 1: May 8th
Book(s) I’m Reading: The Turn by Kim Harrison [Book Depository]
Number of Pages Read Today: 90
Number of Pages Read Total: 90
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None today.
Challenge I’ve Participated In: #insixwords

My day: A slow start, mostly because I decided late on in the day to actually participate. Happy with the reading I did, and pleased I completed a challenge.

Day 2: May 9th
Book(s) I’m Reading: The Turn by Kim Harrison [Book Depository] and Doing It by Hannah Witton [Book Depository]
Number of Pages Read Today: 318
Number of Pages Read Total: 408
Book(s) I’ve Completed: The Turn by Kim Harrison
Challenge I’ve Participated In: I didn’t take part in today’s challenge.
My day: Well I got a lot of reading done. I’m actually really happy about that. I’m also really happen that I’ve finished The Turn and drafted a review for it.

Day 3: May 10th
Book(s) I’m Reading: Doing It by Hannah Witton [Book Depository], The Song From Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold [Book Depository], Tsubasa World Chronicle volume 2 by CLAMP [Book Depository], Tsubasa World Chronicle volume 3 by CLAMP [Book Depository], and The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK]
Number of Pages Read Today: 762
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,170
Book(s) I’ve Completed:  Doing It by Hannah Witton, The Song From Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold, Tsubasa World Chronicle volume 2 by CLAMP, and Tsubasa World Chronicle volume 3 by CLAMP
Challenge I’ve Participated In: Share Your Shelfie (though not officially)

My day: I don’t even know what to say, other than it was a fantastic day for reading. I read a lot more that I thought I would. I’m kinda proud about it to be honest. It reminded me how amazing reading and books can be. Fingers crossed some of the momentum will carry across into day 4, even if I don’t read as many pages. 🤞

Day 4: May 11th
Book(s) I’m Reading: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK] and an ARC of Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy [Book Depository]
Number of Pages Read Today: 172
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,342
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None today.
Challenge I’ve Participated In: I didn’t take part in today’s challenge.
My day: It was not a good day, but I did manage to get some reading in which I’m proud of. I might not have read as much as I did for day 3, but then I didn’t expect to. I’m pleased with that.

Day 5: May 12th
Book(s) I’m Reading: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK] and an ARC of Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy [Book Depository]
Number of Pages Read Today: 221
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,563
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None today.
Challenge I’ve Participated In: I didn’t participate in today’s challenge.
My day: I didn’t spend a lot of time reading, but I’m happy with what I managed to put in around daily life.

Day 6: May 13th
Book(s) I’m Reading: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK], an ARC of Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy [Book Depository], Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman [Book Depository], and The Raven King by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK]
Number of Pages Read Today: 285
Number of Pages Read Total: 1,848
Book(s) I’ve Completed: The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic, and Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy
Challenge I’ve Participated In: I was tempted to take part in today’s challenge, but in the end I didn’t.
My day: Today might not have been my best reading day, but it was a good day. I had lots of fun taking part in the Twitter chat – it was pure chaos, and all the more fun for it.

Day 7: May 14th
Book(s) I’m Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman [Book Depository], and The Raven King by Nora Sakavic [Amazon UK]
Number of Pages Read Today: 487
Number of Pages Read Total: 2,335
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and The Raven King by Nora Sakavic
Challenge I’ve Participated In: There wasn’t a challenge today.
My day: I ended up reading to the bitter end (and actually a bit over, I didn’t actually check my time until I finished the final book). This Bout of Books has been amazing in terms of the amount of reading I have achieved. Honestly it kind of blows me away.

Deposed by David Barbaree Q&A

Welcome to a post with a bit of a difference. Normally I just post reviews of books that I have read, so it has been a while since I posted a Q&A on my blog. I’d just like to say thank you to David Barbaree for agreeing to do this Q&A and to Emily of Bonnier Zaffre for arranging it. None of the questions or answers in this Q&A have spoilers. I hope you enjoy it.

Deposed by David Barbaree

More gripping than Game of Thrones and more ruthless than House of Cards – this a stunning new thriller of power, treachery and revenge

In a darkened cell, a brutally deposed dictator lies crippled – deprived of his power, his freedom – and his eyes.

On the edge of utter despair, his only companion is the young boy who brings him his meagre rations, a mere child who fears his own shadow. But to one who has held and lost the highest power, one thing alone is crystal clear: even emperors were mere children once.

Ten years later, the new ruler’s son watches uneasily over his father’s empire. Wherever he looks rebellion is festering, and those closest to him have turned traitor once before.

To this city in crisis comes a hugely wealthy senator from the very edge of the empire, a young and angry ward at his heels. He is witty but inscrutable, generous with his time and money to a leader in desperate need of a friend – and he wears a bandage over his blinded eyes.

The fallen emperor’s name is Nero.

But this isn’t his story.


The Flutterby Room (TFR): Hey David, thanks for agreeing to stop by The Flutterby Room for a Q&A. DEPOSED is out on the 4 th May. It’s both your debut novel, and the first book in a trilogy. So my first question is, are you going to be doing anything to celebrate on publication day – or have you already celebrated?

David Barbaree (DB): Hi Becki. Thanks for having me.

It was exciting to land an agent and a publishing deal. But I think the biggest thrill was when I held the hardcopy in my hands. It finally felt real. After I’d admired it from every angle, my wife and I opened a bottle of wine to celebrate.

TFR: How would you describe DEPOSED in ten words?

DB: Fallen emperor, blinded and left for dead, seeks his revenge.

TFR: From the blurb we know that DEPOSED is set in Ancient Rome, was there anything in particular that drew you to that empire rather than Greece or Sparta?

DB: I’ve always been fascinated by ancient and medieval history. My love of Roman history in particular was cemented about ten years ago when I read John Julius Norwich’s series on the Byzantine Empire, which covers the later period of the Roman Empire. I worked backwards from there, to the earlier Imperial period and then the Republic. I’m not sure what it is about Rome that’s captured my attention. I’ve heard it said that it’s the combination of Rome’s similarities to our own time and the stark differences; how it’s both familiar and very foreign. I think that’s true. And everything is grander in Ancient Rome, the battles, the politics, the personalities. Also, the eight-year old in me will always love a good sword fight.

TFR: Nero is perhaps one of the more famous Roman Emperors, and although the blurb says DEPOSED isn’t his story, he was obviously a starting point for you. What drew you to him?

DB: I wanted to tell the story of a tyrant who, after he was deposed, blinded and left for dead, seeks his revenge. I’ve always loved the brutal protagonist the audience will reluctantly cheer for, like Walter White. Nero fit the bill. But he also had an artistic sensibility that didn’t really match the stories of the bloodthirsty hedonist. I think this made Nero more complicated and interesting than the commonly held view allows, and a compelling protagonist.

TFR: As this is an alternate history, was there a lot of research involved writing DEPOSED?

DB: You could call DEPOSED an alternative history. But I went to great lengths to exploit gaps in the historical record so that the story could be true. Obviously, it didn’t happen the way the book depicts, but the gaps were useful to me as a novelist. For example, the historical record from Vespasian’s reign (the emperor who eventually succeeded Nero) is sparse at best. I wanted the story to be not necessarily true but possible. So I spent a lot of time researching the period, and I did my best to make it an accurate, compelling recreation of Ancient Rome.

TFR: How long did it take you to write DEPOSED – was it something you just sat down and churned out, or did the idea come to you gradually?

DB: It took about 6 years in total. But at first I didn’t work on it fulltime. It began as a hobby. I’d re-write the opening chapters again and again, teaching myself to write. At the same time, I would research the period. Eventually it grew into an obsession. I wrote the last half of the book over about a three month span.

TFR: You’re a lawyer, a busy job by all accounts; did you find it difficult to find them time to write?

DB: Yes. But I found I could carve time out in the mornings before work. I didn’t mind getting up early because I enjoyed writing.

TFR: And my final question is what are you reading right now?

DB: I’m just finishing up Conclave by Robert Harris, which I’d highly recommend. It’s both a thriller and a fascinating procedural on how Pope’s are elected. Harris is exceptional at pacing a novel.

David Barbaree is a lawyer and a graduate of the Curtis Brown Creative Writing School. He lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter. His  debut novel DEPOSED is out on May 4th 2017. You can pre-order it on Amazon UK, Foyles or The Book Depository. Or add it to your Goodreads shelf.

Review: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Title: Etched in Bone (A Novel of The Others 5)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (9th March2017)

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to the world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shape-shifters and vampires far more powerful than they are . . .

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders – a primitive and lethal form of the Others – the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them noew know to fear both the no-man’s-land beyond their borders and the darkness . . .

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relativelt unscathed, though Simon Wolfguard, it’s wolf-shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can  have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will end: with her standing beside a grave . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

ETCHED IN BONE is the fifth book in Anne Bishop’s brilliant The Others series. This book continues the story of Meg Corbyn and the inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard after the events of the previous four books. With the others having taken action against the humans who threatened them, the humans who survived their anger are still struggling to find the balance that may guarantee their survival. The Lakeside Courtyard may have escaped this turbulence relatively unscathed, but all the residents are aware of how fragile the peace is. When Lieutenant Montgomery’s brother turns up, the Courtyard is thrown into chaos.

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