Booking Ahead/Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday PostI’m trying to get back into the habit of doing a round-up of the week just completed and also take a look at my plans for the forthcoming week.  I rather got out of the habit of doing this last year but I would like to reinstate this type of post as I feel it keeps me on track.  So, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post over at Kimberly’s  Caffeinated Reviewer.  Without further ado:

Last week

So this week we decided to do some decorating – which is always a lot nicer in my head when I think about doing these things than the actual reality turns out to be.  My dog, Dude, was not so good this week.  I don’t know whether he’s found something nasty in the garden (something that he probably buried himself and left for ages before returning to) but I quite literally thought he was on his last legs!  Then just as suddenly he was as right as rain and looking at me with that judgemental expression as though it was all my doing.  I was very relieved, he’s an old chap now – 16 in June so he needs to stop his shenanigans.  In bookish news.  I’ve completed two books this week.  I read and enjoyed Witherward by Hannah Matthewson.  This is a YA book and I admit that I don’t pick a lot of YA books up these days as I sometimes find them a struggle.  I’m happy to say that I didn’t have any problems with this one, the world building is really good with two versions of Victorian London, one of them filled with magic, shapeshifters and other fantasy elements.  I also completed Devin Madson’s We Lie With Death, which was also really good, in fact imo even better than book 1.

Next Week

This week I’m continuing with The Black Song which I didn’t have a chance to pick up last week.  I’ll also be continuing with my SPFBO book, A Wind From the Wilderness by Suzannah Rowntree,  I’m about 40% into this one  It isn’t a quick read so far but the writing is lovely and the world building very strong, it has something of a historical feel atm with only light fantasy elements and I’m very interested to see how it develops.

Reviews Posted since last Sunday:

  1. The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse
  2. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Forthcoming Reviews:

  1. Children by Bjorn Larssen
  2. We Lie with Death by Devin Madson
  3. Witherward by Hannah Matthewson

Friday Face Off : A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

A book with ‘Magic’ in the Title

Okay, hope everyone had a good time with this one and didn’t have a difficulty coming up with a book.  I was very tempted to go with one of two books that will be forthcoming reads for me but then, I couldn’t resist going with Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman:

My favourite:  Well, I’m not totally in love with most of these covers.  It comes down to two very similar covers for me:

I like the concept for these but they both have their faults.  I like the darker cover strictly speaking but the title and author disappear a little.  I would prefer the lighter version to not have the yellow box.  I think a combination of the darker background with the yellow font would be preferable.

But, my favourite is:


I’ve updated the list now to include themes for next year.  If you know of an event that’s coming up let me know and I’ll try and include covers that work for the event itself so that you can link up to the Friday Face Off and, as always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.  Also, I would just mention that it’s very possible that some of these might be repeats from previous FFOs although I have tried to invent more ‘open ended’ prompt that can be interpreted differently and also prompts that relate to emotions.  Finally, don’t struggle with any of these, this is meant to be a fun way of highlighting books.  If you can’t come up with a book you think fits for a particular week use a freebie – perhaps a recent read for example:

Next week – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war



5th – March is named for the Roman God of War – a Roman style cover or a cover with a God or Gods or simply a book about war

12th – Middle Grade – choose whatever pleases you

19th – Ruin or derelict, old and worn, could be the book itself, a building, a place

26th – A picture within a picture


2nd – A train or tram – travelling down the track, could be old style, futuristic, overhead, down below.

9th – Cartoonish or graphic

16th – I have to have it – a cover that gave you ‘grabby hands’

23rd – Your current read (if it has covers to compare) or any recent read

30th– A series that you love – highlight all the books in the series


Month of Wyrd and Wonder

7th – A Series where the cover changed midway through – which style do you prefer most

14th – The earliest fantasy you recall reading – or the first fantasy book you really loved, maybe the book that kickstarted your love of fantasy

21st – The Top Hat

28th – The Hood


4th – The nose boop – any animal, or human, with a close up shot.

11th – A cover that annoyed you and why

18th – Out of Perspective, or make you feel a bit dizzy

25th – Upside down, back to front or topsy turvy


2nd – A book with a landscape you’d like to visit

9th – A Wicked Grin

16th – Books with ‘book’ in the title

23rd – A Black Hole – could be in the universe or going deep into the ground

30th – Chaos – maybe too much going on in this one


6th – “They cluck their thick tongues, and shake their heads and suggest, os so very delicately!” – The Motel

13th – A favourite holiday read

20th – Dressed to kill (could be literally someone dressed to kill, or someone dressed up for a big night out

27th – Sunbathing or on the beach

September (RIP event)

3rd – 1920s feel, noir detective

10th – I’m Henry the Eighth I am – let’s look at Kings or other Emperors/rulers

17th – Books with ‘Murder’ in the title

24th – A favourite thriller


1st – A Halloween read

8th – Chills – anything at all that almost makes you too scared to pick up the book (your own pet hate)

15th – Your favourite book of magic

22nd – Books with ‘Queen’ in the title

29th – Must be gothic

November – Sci Fi Month

5th – Your earliest sci-fi read or the first sci-fi you reviewed

12th – A book with ‘star’ in the title

19th – Futuristic vista

26th – A Black Hole – in the universe or going deep into the ground


3rd – Windswept, the classic figure, stood majestically, with wind blowing out in a fetching way

10th – A fairytale retold

17th – Winter Solstice approaching – anything cold and seasonal

24th – All things fire – red hair, red covers, fire breathing dragons, simply fire?

31st – What’s your catnip – if it’s on a cover you have to pick it up

A Slightly Different Review : Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Today is a slightly different format for a review. 

DaugherI recently buddy read Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest with Mayri at the Bookforager blog.  If you haven’t visited Mayri before I heartily recommend you do so, she’s a wonderful blogger and I loved our buddy read, so much so in fact we are already planning our next book.

So, the review today will take the form of our chat back and forth as we progressed through the chapters. I will be posting half our discussion and then you just step over to Mayri’s blog to check out our thoughts on the concluding chapters.

Now, before I start, I would mention that given the nature of our ongoing conversation during the read this post may contain spoilers so if you’re planning on giving this a read you might want to bear that in mind before moving forward:

Chapters 1-4

Lynn : Obviously I’m familiar with this fairytale but I think Marillier is doing an excellent job of fleshing the characters out.  It has a feel of a historical novel almost with the inclusion of war or troubles between the Celts and the Britons and I’m fascinated by the inclusion of Sorcha’s stories – particularly the one about the jewel encrusted goblet that put me in mind of the Arthurian legend about the Holy Grail. I love Sorcha’s storytelling and her gentle ways – it helps to remind me that she’s still a child really which I think I forgot sometimes because she’s so mature in some respects. I’m also really interested to learn what has happened to Simon.

Chapter 4  was emotional wasn’t it? The scene where Sorcha’s garden is destroyed (I was furious) and then the brothers being trapped and changed (it was really quite a strong scene).

What do you make of it so far?  Are you already familiar with the fairytale?

Mayri – Yes, I’m familiar with the fairy story too. Or I was. I’m not sure that I remember the end right, or if I’m mixing it up with another story (something about one of the brothers ending up with a bird’s wing in place of one arm?)

Something I found really interesting when I read Marillier’s Heart’s Blood was how she set it in a specific historical period, and I love that she’s done the same here. It’s the same period, I think. I have to admit, I don’t know much about the history between the Celts and Britons, but I’m really enjoying all the details.

And Sorcha’s stories are fab. I quite like that she’s telling fairytales in a fairytale retelling – that makes me smile.

And yes, like you Lynn, I’m struggling to keep in mind that Sorcha is only 12 years old at the beginning of the story. She is very mature in some ways, already an experienced healer and very patient. I question this decision and am wondering if there’s a reason why Marillier has started the story with her so young. Is there a reason, I wonder.

The destruction of her garden was heart-wrenching! I like (hate!) the tension that’s been building with the introduction of Oonagh, and when she finally showed her true colours and cursed them all the transformation felt both magical and real, if that makes sense? Oonagh feels impossible to defeat right now.

I’m fascinated by these siblings. In a short space of time, Marillier has given us enough information to care about each one of Sorcha’s brothers and be upset at their fate. The relationship between the seven of them was really well written – how important it is to Sorcha, how they each carry a bit of their mother, how they each have different destinies (will the trilogy continue with their stories? I hope so).

Finally (you’ll be glad to hear … I’ve rambled on and on) I appreciated how Marillier made Simon a traumatised character. He may become a hero or a villain, I don’t know, but his terror and pain at being tortured, being really badly damaged in body and soul, made him a lot more interesting than if he’d just bounced back.

Lynn – I loved reading your thoughts.  I also don’t know much about the Celts and Britons to be honest I feel like I should be better read about such things. 

And, yes, fairytales within fairytales – it’s just so cunning and really appeals to readers (myself included) who love that sort of thing in the first place.  I’m such a sucker for fairytales.

Sorcha being 12 is very puzzling, (and in fact as mentioned above I keep forgetting that she is so young) but then I think it’s probably something that will add weight to her years of hardship – not phrasing that very well but it wouldn’t surprise me if she isn’t a good deal older by the time she  completes her ordeal. Maybe 7 years at least?

Mayri – Yes, I’m expecting this too. And seven years has an appropriately fairytale-ish ring to it.

Lynn  – So, are we thinking that Sorcha and Simon will meet again?  I’d like to think so.  At the same time, where did he disappear to? Did the ‘folk’ take him?

Mayri – I really hope they meet again. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t find out what’s happened to Simon and get to see him mended. And if the Folk did take him, will he be OK when we see him again?

Chapter Five

Lynn – This felt like a relatively short chapter but at the same time gave me a few notions to chew on.

I was really interested in a few things and hopefully I’ll remember them all and make sense of my ideas.

Firstly, poor Sorcha.  I don’t think I ever realised just how horrendous the task she’d been set really was.  Not only would I not have the first clue about how to spin and weave but having to do so with a plant that sounds hideous to touch (kind of reminds me of nettles) – how on earth can you make clothes out of such things?  Anyway, I admire her tenacity and am a bit overwhelmed on her behalf about what lies ahead for her. Not to mention I’m almost certain that I would have said something out loud by accident at some point.

This brings me to the second point.  It’s amazing how fairy tales lessen the impacts somehow.  Because they’re short stories you’re told the whole thing within a few pages and not only do the ideas not really have a chance to take root other than in a very fanciful way or perhaps that they’re a story with a message, you never quite understand the severity of what has actually happened during the tale, not to mention the language used in fairytales helps to spin the story in a sort of charming way.  ‘Once upon a time, etc..  I’ve read quite a few fairytale retellings and I think so far this has got to be one of the most hard hitting in that respect.  

Mayri – Yes, yes, yes! They never sound too bad, because of how short they are! I liked this in Heart’s Blood too, that Marillier gave things a bit more weight.

(And heck yes, I’d have spoken accidentally and bodged the whole thing!)

Lynn – I haven’t read Heart’s Blood – was it good?  Is it also a fairytale retelling?

Mayri – Yes, it’s a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s set in the same period, and has the same lovely blend of magic and historical detail as this book does. I heartily recommend it, I enjoyed it a lot (which is probably why I keep going on about it – sorry). 

Lynn – It’s the sign of a good book when you feel the need to shout from the rooftops as often as possible and I will definitely pick up a copy of this one – thanks :D)

Then, just as things were becoming very grim the boys returned for their brief visit and I can only say that I must have been really tense, but not realised, because I could almost feel my shoulders relaxing when they set about doing tasks to help out Sorcha. It also made me realise that she really did draw the short straw.  Of course, they have risks themselves, the possibility of being hunted, for example, but when they change they really do become a swan with very basic instincts, thoughts and feelings whereas Sorcha is living every moment.  In that respect, do you think it’s easier for the boys to not remember themselves when they’re in swan form?  Or do you think they’d prefer to retain their intelligence?

Finally, such a sad parting as the dawn broke and Sorcha was left alone again. Not to mention Finbar gave me a strange sense of foreboding.

Mayri – I agree that Sorcha’s got the short end – the whole thing is so much more of a punishment for her than for them because they lose themselves to a degree. With the exception of Conor perhaps, who seems to keep some of his own mind when he becomes a swan (because how else would we learn what was going on back home? Ha ha).

Finbar’s distance was very worrying, I don’t like the feeling that he is losing himself more than the others.

And then hell’s bells, such a brutal interlude! I’m not sure that rape was needed to make Sorcha’s trials any worse than they already were. Just the threat of being found would have been enough, to my mind, to have her want to move on when the Lady of the Forest says to. 

I question Marillier’s decision to put this in here. 

Lynn – Me too.  I was really struck by the brutality of it tbh.  To be fair, it wasn’t overly long or gratuitous but when I was reading it it felt long.  And it did stay with me -and perhaps that’s really, as conflicted as it seems, a testament to the writing, because it had such a powerful impact.  For me, I couldn’t help wondering why Finbar couldn’t have just encouraged Sorcha to leave the cave – but maybe he isn’t allowed to interfere in the trials she faces?

Mayri – I did feel that the brothers were a bit ineffectual here – but I guess, when you only have one night in which to help there’s a limit to what you can do.

Chapter 7

Lynn – Certainly took my mind off things a little.  Red and his companions.  Firstly the chapter where Red and Sorcha were being attacked and she called for help.  I couldn’t help thinking, when they ran away and ended up on a mudslide, of being put in mind of that film Romancing the Stone where the two characters similarly find themselves on a mudslide. Plus, before that the scene in the water with what I’m assuming were merfolk calling to Sorcha to join them -and then finally the scene in the cave with the folk and Red’s strange denial of it all to himself the morning after – even though he made sure to keep the remains of the candle.

Mayri – (Wow, Romancing the Stone is a movie I haven’t seen in a while! Tempted to dig that out for a rewatch now). As soon as Red, Ben and John showed up I felt the story pick up its pace just a bit. I like how Sorcha keeps thinking of the Britons as these down-to-earth, no-imagination types, like they’re a different species. And then Red goes and proves her right by not accepting the magic that happened right in front of his eyes.

Now head on over to the Bookforager to read our thoughts on the concluding chapters. 


Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : Mastermind: A Theo Cray and Jessica Blackwood Thriller

Every Wednesday I take part in Can’t Wait Wednesday, I’m also hoping to take part in a new meme being hosted by Elza Reads called Wondrous Words Wednesday.  I’ll be combining these into the same posts as they’re both short and sweet.

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : A Theo Cray and Jessica Blackwood Thriller

MastermindA mysterious electrical storm plunges Manhattan into darkness. As a strange, smothering fog rolls in, all communication crashes. In the blink of an eye, the island seems to vanish into a void.

FBI special agent Jessica Blackwood and brilliant scientist Dr. Theo Cray know this isn’t a freak accident. It’s a sinister sleight of hand. Their greatest adversary, a serial killer and cultist known as the Warlock, has escaped during a prison transfer in New York. A depraved master of manipulation, he promised the end of days. He’s making good on it.

One by one, cities across the globe are erupting in chaos as they disappear into the same black holes. Even for two ingenious trackers like Jessica and Theo, there’s still so much to learn about the pattern to the Warlock’s madness. The voids are just a warm-up for something bigger. To discover it—to stop it—Jessica and Theo must descend into the darkest of shadows—and minds.

Expected Publication September 2021


This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads.

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

My word this week is :


My word this week is literally the title of my most recent read which is a thriller with a horror vibe that takes place during a terrible storm high on the mountains in a luxury hotel, that used to be a sanatorium.

A sanatorium (also spelled sanitarium or sanitorium) is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century before the discovery of antibiotics.

To be honest, the word ‘sanatorium’ has always given me an ominous vibe and in my brain I always connected the word with early asylums (which were very unpleasant places by all accounts).  I did a little reading about this and it does appear that some sanitorium were converted to asylums following the introduction of antibiotics for TB – prior to that, it was believed that clean air and a good diet were the best treatment – hence sanatoriums were usually set in remote places where the air was less likely to be polluted.

This got me to thinking about another word:


Now, to me- bedlam is a word that means absolute chaos but in fact it is actually a word that comes from the name of a notorious asylum in London. Definition:

an asylum for the mentally ill
1 : a place, scene, or state of uproar and confusion There was bedlam in the streets after the verdict was announced. 2 or Bedlam : an asylum for the mentally ill. 3 obsolete : madman, lunatic.

If you want to know more check out this history site :

Anyway, this is the book that inspired the thought process:


Top Ten Tuesday: You’re having a laugh


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic :

Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud 

I’ve gone for a mix of five fairly recent reads and five older reads this week.  Here they are:

  1. The Stranger Times by CK McDonnell
  2. Ink and Sigil by Kevin Hearne
  3. Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hostaken and Melissa Prusi
  4. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
  5. Where Gods Fear to Go by Angus Watson (this is the third book – I recommend the entire series – made me lol so much.

  1. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
  2. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  5. The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore

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