Best Books of 2017



The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

I started off reading a lot this year and January was an incredible month for books. The Call stood out above the others though as a book I couldn’t put down. It creeped me out but had me hungry for more and I’ve been recommending it all year.

Honourable Mentions: Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff and The Yellow Room by Jess Valance



Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy

This was a really raw and powerful book which I, appropriately, read during Eating Disorder Awareness Week. It was difficult to read at times, but in a good way, and the writing and characters were excellent.

Honourable Mentions: Silver Stars by Michael Grant



Naondel by Maria Turtschaninoff

This prequel just blew me away. While I loved Maresi, this one sucked me completely into the world and characters and they felt so real to me: their pain was my pain. It’s not the nicest of stories but it’s powerful and there’s hope there too.

Honourable Mentions: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton


Waiting for Callback by Perdita and Honor Cargill

This was a fun read and I think I really connected with it from my drama days. I can’t wait to read both the sequels next year.

Honouable Mentions: Girlhood by Cat Clarke


The Fallen Children by David Owen

I loved this take on The Cuckoos of Midwich -this is one of those books I wish I’d written and I’ve been recommending it to everyone.

Honourable Mentions: Release by Patrick Ness


When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

This was one of the most hyped books of this year, and with good reason. It was the cutest little romance and I couldn’t help but love Dimple and Rishi.

liHonourable Mentions: Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfiled



And I Darken by Kiersten White

I completely fell in love with this retelling of Vlad the Impaler as a woman. Lada is now one of my favourite anti-heroes and I can’t wait to see how her story ends.

Honourable Mentions: Where Am I Now? True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson


Charlotte Says by Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte is one of my favourite horrors and I was super excited to read this prequel. It was creepy and atmospheric and didn’t disappoint at all.

Honourable Mentions: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough


The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

I raced through this book and loved every second of it. Space, loneliest, distant love – what’s not to like? It’s made me crave more sci-fi YA, especially ones set in space.

Honourable Mentions: No Shame by Anne Cassidy


Monster by Michael Grant

Despite hacing not read the Gone series, I really loved this continuation of that world. Grnat’s writing can be brutal and I love that – will be checking out the Gone series next year for sure!

Honourable Mentions: Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick


Wild Fire  by Anna McKerrow

This was the thrilling end to an amazingly different series. I love the world that it’s set in and loved learning about the different goddesses – and seeing Melz get a happy ending!

Honourable Mentions: Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell


The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Frances Hardinge’s writing makes me marvel and despair: I love reading her books but it makes me feel useless in comparison. She’s just magical with words and I loved this book

Honourable Mentions:  Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

I’ve read some amazing things this year, and am looking forward to doing the same in 2018. I feel like blogging has taken a backseat towards the end of this year as I’ve been focussing on family and writing. While this will probably carry on into next year, I will be making an effort to have at least one post per week.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2018 is wonderful for you all!

Book Review: Wild Fire (Anna McKerrow)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Format: Kindle Edition

Pages: 530

Release Date: November 14th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

The last book in the Greenworld trilogy follows Sadie, Roach’s daughter and Danny’s former girlfriend, as she finds a new identity as the third branded witch along with Danny and Melz. Sadie, a natural healer, is training to be a witch in Tintagel, Cornwall, as well as trying to deal with her own difficult past. Plus, she’s fallen in love with Melz, but Demelza Hawthorne is a tortured soul. Can Sadie’s love bring Melz back into the light, or will she be lost altogether?

Meanwhile, a global network of resistance is forming against the corrupt, dystopian Redworld governments. Sadie travels by accident through the portal to Mount Shasta, home to a Native American tribe, who indicate that they too are holding out against the Redworld. The war for fuel is over, and new solutions have to be found fast. But in Tintagel, Lowenna Hawthorne, Head Witch of the Greenworld, is in denial about the need for change.

In the final dramatic climax to the trilogy, the Greenworld witches have to do something more difficult than they ever have, but saving the world means refusing to be separate anymore. Can they join with others, despite their differences, and usher in a brave new world? Or will the Greenworld disappear altogether?


I remember finishing Red Witch and being so excited for the next book, and theorising who would be telling the final part of the story. I can now confirm that – hey, I was right, it’s Sadie’s turn!

Sadie is the third branded witch, along with Danny and Melz and this new generation has plenty to deal with. As well as dealing with the fallout of the actions of their parents, the Greenworld is filling with refugees from the Redworld. The war is over there but the troubles are far from solved. To add to all that, Sadie has to deal with massive crush she’s developed on Melz.

I loved seeing Sadie’s story. I don’t think we’ve seen much of her yet, and it was great to get to know a new witch, especially one who wasn’t as born into it as Danny and Melz were. She has a lot of bottled up emotions from her past – the actions of her abusive father, Roach, the terrible act her mother committed in the previous book – and it’s interesting to see how she deals with them as the book progresses.

The situation with the Greenworld and Redworld is fascinating. While at first glance the Greenworld might seem like a protected utopia, it soon becomes clear that separation is not sustainable and another solution will need to be found. Not everyone is open to change though, and Sadie and Melz have to make some tough decisions in the interest of the Greenworld.

I still have a soft spot for Melz and it was great to see a resolution of her story. Hers has definitely been the most complex and emotional across the three books and she’s got a special place in my heart now. I loved the relationship that slowly blossomed between her and Sadie and it was great to see her finally let herself be loved and be happy.

This didn’t go the way I expected to and I was happily surprised with the progression of events. The ending is beautifully hopeful and gave me an embarrassingly gooey feeling inside, without being too twee. This is a fantastic trilogy and I’d really recommend picking it up if you haven’t yet.


Best Books of 2016

It’s been a busy year for me outside of the blog but I’ve still found time to read, which I’m really pleased about. Although I did end up cutting my Goodreads challenge down from 120 books to 100, I do think the initial target was a bit ambitious considering all that’s gone on! Still, I beat that target and am ending the year on 106 books, which is pretty awesome.

For the end of this rollercoaster of a year, I’m picking my favourite book from each month, which is a pretty tough call! So tough, in fact, that I’ve added a couple of books that deserve an honourable mention each month. These are books that I have read this year but not necessarily been released in 2016.



The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

This is easily one of my favourite modern YA fantasy stories. After winning a copy of the first book in a competition in 2015, I was hooked, and was super excited to be part of the blog tour for this book and to get to read it early. I can’t wait for The Scarecrow Queen to come out next year.

Honourable Mentions: Front Lines by Michael Grant, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil



Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

This was an incredible debut with one of my favourite protagonists and a setting that really differed to most of the books I’ve read. I loved the Arabian Nights feel to it and I can’t wait to read the sequel next year.

Honourable Mentions: Forbidden by Tabitha Sazuma, Red Witch by Anna McKerrow



Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

The thing that carried this book was the characters. It’s so rare to see a boy-girl platonic friendship in YA and it was really refreshing to read. It’s also great not to read the same straight, white characters too: this book was really beautiful in its diversity.

Honourable Mentions: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge



Saga by Brian K. Vaughan  Fiona Staples

Easily the best graphic novel I’ve read all year, possibly ever. The Deluxe Edition is beautiful although I hate that I have to wait so long for the next edition. The story, characters and art all weave perfectly together and I just loved this book.

Honouable Mentions: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern



Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

This was brutal book that hurt to read but somehow filled me with hope too. I’ll admit, part of me wished it was a Seed sequel but if I can’t have that then this is the next best thing from Lisa Heathfield!

Honourable Mentions: In the Dark, In the Woods by Eliza Waas



Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I’d seen this book around a lot and had it sat on the shelf for a while before I read it. I regret leaving it so long: it said so many things that I was thinking about femnism and mental health and is a book I really wish had been around when I was a teenager.

Honourable Mentions: Blame by Simon Mayo



The Deviants by C. J. Skuse

This is one of those books that just punches you in the gut and leaves you breathless. As a group of friends reconnect, secrets from their past won’t stay buried and will end in tragedy. The ending hurt me. I’d really recommend it.

Honourable Mentions: The Castle of Inside Out by David Henry Wilson, Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel



What’s a Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne

After reading the first two books in the Spinster Trilogy earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. As soon as I read the synopsis I knew it was going to be awesome. Lottie’s challenge to call out sexism was inspiring to read and got me thinking about sexism I see every day too.

Honourable Mentions: I’ll Be Home for Christmas by lots of awesome UKYA authors



More of Me by Kathryn Evans

After struggling with reading for a bit, this book got me absolutely hooked. I read it at every opportunity and genuinely struggled to put it down. Unlike anything I’ve read before, I’ve been recommending this to everyone.

Honourable Mentions: Eidolon by Sofi Croft, Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery



Caraval by Stephanie Garber

No review for this one as I’ll be publishing it next year, closer to publication. This was a book I heard tons of praise for before I read it, and it certainly delivered. Magical and beautiful and twisting and turning. I loved that I could never tell what was the game and what was real.

Honourable Mentions: The Hypnotist by Laurence Anholt, The Ruins by Scott B. Smith



i love this part by Tillie Walden

November was a bit of a quiet reading month for me so while there wasn’t a lot to choose from, this was an easy pick. It’s different to a lot of things I’ve read: not quite graphic novel or short story, more like an art book with a beautifully sad narrative.

Honourable Mentions: The King of Rats by Melinda Salisbury, Horns by Joe Hill



Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Review coming next year, closer to publication date. I love anything to do with Alice in Wonderland and this really hit the spot. An origin of the Queen of Hearts, it somehow fleshes out this insane, angry character into someone you can actually sympathise with.

Honourable Mentions: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, …And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne (no review for either of these yet, check back next year!)

So there you have it. These are some of my favourite books of the year, but they’re only a selection of all the marvelous things I;ve read this year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to me in books! Happy New Year everyone. Hope you all have a wonderful one x

Book Review: Red Witch (Anna McKerrow)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Quercus Children’s Books

Pages: 416

Release Date: March 10th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Seventeen, heartbroken, powerful; Melz has run away from home, run away from the safety of the Greenworld. In the cities of the Redworld, Melz discovers she’s special, desired. And not just for her magical talents. When Melz meets the young but influential Bran, their attraction is instant and electric. In the Redworld, with Bran by her side, unrestrained by the customs of her former life, Melz knows she can reach her true potential. But the world Bran wants to give Melz is ravaged by war and violence. Oil is running out, and people will do anything to gain control of the remaining resources. Melz may be more powerful than ever, but even great power can be a curse when used against you.


It feels weird writing a review for a book that I was waiting for/really excited for a year ago – I’ve only been blogging for a year so it’s nice to see things coming full circle. Hopefully this time next year I’ll be writing a review for the next installment and marvelling at all the time gone by.

Red Witch picks up where Crow Moon left off, only now we’re following Melz instead of Danny. I loved seeing her side of the story: she’s a great narrator and goes through such a big change throughout the book. At the start she is full of raw emotions, still hurting from the end events of Crow Moon and embarking on her biggest journey ever: into the Red World.

After hearing little snippets about it in the last book, it was great to see the Redworld, especially from a Greenworlders perspective. And vice-versa, it’s great to see what the Redworlders think of the Green World. We start to see a little of these two worlds colliding towards the end of this book, and I’m excited to see how this progresses and resolves in the next book. There’s a lot of similarities between the two that they probably don’t even realise: the way both have been lied to about the other world, and the manipulation of the people by those in power.

I loved every time the Morrigan appeared – she’s a real scene stealer and I just wanted more of her all the time. She’s definitely my favourite of the gods and goddesses and I hope we see more of her again. It’s interesting to see Melz’s relationship with her and how she helps her heal and develop throughout the book. Melz goes from a naive, slightly broken girl at the beginning to becoming more confident with herself, in her mind, body and powers, and I loved her even more by the end of the book.

McKerrow has done it again – the world she’s created is vivid and gritty and magical and her characters just leap off the page. Once again, while the main plot is resolved by the end of the book, there is plenty left open to leave us gagging for the sequel (seriously, do we have to wait another year?!) I’m excited to see how things are going to wrap up, and whose story we’re going to follow next time – I have my theories but I won’t say anything just yet (spoilers!). I guess I’ll just have to patient (and maybe re-read both in the meantime!)


Book Review: Crow Moon (Anna McKerrow)

Publisher: Quercus

Pages: 384

Release Date: March 5th 2015

Summary (From Goodreads):

Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn’t want to follow in his mum’s witchy footsteps.

Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea…

But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?

Wickedness and passion combine in this coming-of-age adventure.


This book has been one of the most talked about releases this year and I was so happy when I finally got my hands on it. And then worried. Because when something’s been built up so much, it’s easy to be disappointed.

Happily, this wasn’t the case with Crow Moon.

The scene setting was perfect: there was no overload of information, but there was enough for you to understand the world: split into two, the Redworld, filled with gangs and fighting over the world’s last scraps of fuel, and the Greenworld, an environmentally friendly community split into covensteads and led by witches.

Danny lives in the Greenworld and his mother is head witch of one of the covensteads. He’s a great character and reads like a very realistic teenage boy (or how I imagine a teenage boy to think and feel at least, having never been one myself). I liked the idea that he wasn’t really sold on Greenworld and witchcraft at the beginning. If he’d been more gung-ho about it I think it would have been less convincing, but the fact that he has doubts and knows the Greenworld is flawed made it all the more believable.

The book is diverse and challenges some cultural ideas on witches – Danny is a male witch, in a world heavily dominated by females. While the Greenworld is supposed to be ‘colour-blind’ Danny still feels singled out because of the colour of his skin, which was another indicator of their less than perfect world and mirrors our own imperfect society.

All of the characters were wonderfully imagined and fleshed out, but one of my favourites was Saba. I was a bit wary of her at first, expecting some kind of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I really enjoyed the flaws in her character and how Danny’s opinion of her hanged throughout the book. Roach is also a great villain because what he’s proposing doesn’t sound like an evil master plan – it actually could make sense, and it’s his way of doing things that really makes him the villain. Melz was another highlight and I really can’t wait to see where her story goes in book two.

While I enjoyed the novel all the way through, it was towards the end when I really started to love it. The unconventional love triangle between Danny-Saba-Tom took a dark turn which I loved and had me yelling at Danny not to do what he was about to. The ending became very sobering at times, but also had some fantastical elements that were really incredible. McKerrow paints beautiful pictures of Devon and Cornwall and her mythology and goddesses are all really well imagined.

As the first book in a series, I think the ending was spot on. While part of the main story line for that book was finished off, giving closure, there’s enough cliffhangers and intrigue to leaving you yearning for the next book. Bring on March 2016 and the sequel!

My Verdict:


Top Five… Witches

After reading the fabulous Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow last week, I’ve decided this week’s post should be about fabulous witches. I’m defining witch as someone who calls them self that, so not necessarily a woman (but also not magical people who call themselves wizards etc). 

Serafina Pekkala 
His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman)
She says some of the most beautiful things in these books, and has a love story that gets more tragic the more you think about it. I can’t imagine staying young and watching my husband and son’s lives pass by as quick as a dream. And even with all that tragedy, she still manages to be one of my favourite characters in the series.

Danny Prentice
Crow Moon (Anna McKerrow)
Probably one of the very few male witches I’ve read about, Danny seems pretty sceptical of his powers and witchcraft in general at first, but he goes on to perform some pretty incredible magic (some of the end scenes are so magical!) and accept himself for the strong witch he is. 

Mildred Hubble
The Worst Witch series (Jill Murphy)
So she may not be the best witch in the world, but she’s probably one of the most lovable. One of the original klutzy protagonists with a heart of gold, Mildred’s antics kept me entertained through reading and watching her TV show (and this very old film that no one seems to mention, but has Tim Curry in and is amazing!)
Hermione Granger
Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
I don’t think you can really do a list like this without slipping Hermione in there somewhere. She’s insanely smart and is constantly proving herself in a world dominated by male wizards and pure bloods. 

The Grand High Witch
The Witches (Roald Dahl)
Oo even now that picture gives me shivers. Maybe she isn’t quite as horrendous in the book as she is in the film, but the Grand High Witch is pretty fearsome and her hatred of children genuinely scared me when I was younger.