Waiting on Wednesday: The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Barnett

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : The Apothecary’s Curse by Barbara Barnett which sounds incredibly intriguing:

apothThis genre-bending urban fantasy mixes alchemy and genetics as a doctor and an apothecary try to prevent a pharmaceutical company from exploiting the book that made them immortal centuries ago.

In Victorian London, the fates of physician Simon Bell and apothecary Gaelan Erceldoune entwine when Simon gives his wife an elixir created by Gaelan from an ancient manuscript. Meant to cure her cancer, it kills her. Suicidal, Simon swallows the remainder—only to find he cannot die.

Five years later, hearing rumors of a Bedlam inmate with regenerative powers like his own, Simon is shocked to discover it’s Gaelan. The two men conceal their immortality, but the only hope of reversing their condition rests with Gaelan’s missing manuscript.

When modern-day pharmaceutical company Transdiff Genomics unearths diaries describing the torture of Bedlam inmates, the company’s scientists suspect a link between Gaelan and an unnamed inmate. Gaelan and Genomics geneticist Anne Shawe are powerfully drawn to each other, and her family connection to his manuscript leads to a stunning revelation. Will it bring ruin or redemption?

I got you under my skin…


Every Tuesday over at the  The Broke and Bookish we all get to look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  The topic this week is:

 Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them

I’ve broken this down into travel/things to see/do, food and drink, educational.

  1. I’m going to Prague in December this year, I’ve been wanting to visit there for a while but some of the descriptions in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone were so excellent it made me want to visit even more.
  2. A few years ago, and pre blog so unfortunately I can’t at the moment recall the name of the book, I read a book set in Florence, we were due to visit Florence later that year and after reading the descriptions of Sienna we took a day trip – it’s an absolutely beautiful place and I seem to remember the book saying it has a lovely square, which is almost feminine – I completely agree!  It is stunning and reached through the most olde world twisting and turning shop lined streets.
  3. After reading The Undying by Ethan Reid my interest to visit the catacombs in Paris was definitely piqued – and visit the catacombs we did!  What an experience.  I’ve seen the horror film that was filmed down there since going on the tour – not sure if I’d have visited if I’d seen the film first!
  4. Ginger Scald – this sounds like an amazing cocktail doesn’t it – I don’t think I’ve perfected a recipe for this but I’m giving it a go.  Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastard series.
  5. Joanne Harris – Chocolat – no explanation necessary.
  6. Butterbeer – okay, I haven’t tried this – because where would I find it – answers on a postcard please.  J K Rowlings Harry Potter.
  7. Most of the food in Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series – usually delicious sounding Mediterranean food with couscous, olives, almonds, goats cheese, flat breads – yum.
  8. The Shards of Heaven by Michael Livingston – this book, as soon I’d finished reading it made me want to go out and read up about Cleopatra and, more to the point, her daughter Selene.
  9. Masks and Shadows by Stephanie Burgis – this book is based around a number of historical events.  The story really intrigued me and I did go and look up some of the detail – I was also really curious about one of the characters, who was a castrato – and I also went and read up a little about that too.
  10. Witch Light by Susan Fletcher – is a book that I absolutely love and put Susan Fletcher firmly on my author wishlist.  Again, I was really intrigued by the historical events portrayed in the story and went to read up a little more after I’d finished reading.

All is Fair by Emma Newman, #3 Split Worlds, readalong week 4 (final week)


Today is the final week of our readalong of book #3 of Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series, All is Fair.  The schedule is below, all welcome and please be aware of potential spoilers lurking below.

Week 1: Monday 4th July, Chapters 1-6, hosted by Over The Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Monday 11th July, Chapters 7-14, hosted by Hisham El-Far
Week 3: Monday 18th July, Chapters 15-22, hosted by The Illustrated Page
Week 4: Monday 25th July, Chapters 23-End, hosted by x + 1
Straight to the Q&A:
1. Apparently women can’t be Arbiters or Sorcerers. Is this another sign of Nether sexism, or do you think there may be other mysteries at play here? What do you think Rupert will do about it?
Well, given that the only female sorcerer who we’ve made the acquaintance of seems to be living in hiding and has felt the need to go to such dire measures as try to kill all the other sorcerers I’m guessing this springs from sexism within the Nether.  Perhaps she feels really bitter and by killing all the other sorcerers and being the only sorcerer left alive everyone will have no choice but to accept a female – seems a little extreme doesnt it?Obviously we haven’t met the character yet or heard her own reasonings – but let’s be honest, she is responsible for mass murder so far isn’t she, so it doesn’t bode terribly well in terms of her own mental balance!
2. Were you surprised at Max’s choice? What about his deliberate reaching for his emotions? What do you think the future holds for him and the Gargoyle?

Not really, I think both Max and the Gargoyle had reached a conclusion about Ekstrand – I admit that I’d been suspecting him of much more than simply being a bit eccentric and I think I’ve been proved totally wrong in that regard (another wild supposition bites the dust) so it did seem harsh that he had to die like that – but, he also seemed a bit unhinged (perhaps this is something that runs commonly amongst sorcerers!)  I was pleasantly surprised that Max decided to reach out and grasp his own emotions – it was really quite touching (and a bit sad – that part about his mother wondering what had happened to her little boy!)  I think Max and the Gargoyle could have a good future pairing to be honest – Max is clearly still capable of feeling some emotions and with the gargoyle as his companion he has help when he’s in the field.

3. Cathy has had sweeping success in beginning her rebellion. How do you think Londinium – and the Agency – and the Fae – will respond? 

Well, Cathy has certainly gone for it 100%.  I don’t blame her to be honest, I’m not sure that pussy footing around or taking baby steps would work here – in fact she’d probably just find herself with a doll curse or some such other.  The Agency will obviously be livid because this obviously takes from them a very lucrative business, the Londinium crowd – well, there will no doubt be some people who rail against a woman trying to change the rules.  I don’t really think there should be a knock on effect about taking staff away from the agency – the families will still have their staff and just pay them instead of the Agency.  Not sure how the fae will react – part of me wonders why they would be concerned about how the people in the Nether run their domestic affairs – but maybe they like to be in control of this and so Cathy’s actions will seem out of place.  At the back of my mind I can’t help thinking that there has to be an underlying threat of the fae wanting to escape but I’m not sure how that plays into the themes so far.  I predict lot of bother.

4. Will has finally become an ally. Do you think he’s strong enough to stick to it? Do his secrets make him vulnerable?

I think his secrets do make him vulnerable.  Cathy had a little bit of the same and decided to come clean about things which makes her a lot less vulnerable to blackmail for example.  I think Will needs to come clean with Cathy about a number of things – otherwise they’re likely to just come out further down the line.  I still don’t think Will is strong enough to be honest.  He seems to give a little but always hold back, or try to think of the line of least resistance and he comes across as a bit cowardly – he’s always got his eye on damage limitation in terms of the fae or his family and I really don’t see him rushing into the fray.  He just seems a bit lily livered to me.

5. Sam assumes the mantle of Lord Iron – what do you think of his intentions to pick up Leanne’s mission as well? Do you think he will find his deeds tainted just as Amir’s were? What do you make of his reflection that he’s found a way to look at the past such that it’s nobody’s fault?

I’m not quite sure what to make of Sam just yet.  He certainly seems to be getting comfortable making demands already – almost too comfortable in a way – and a little bit too angry to be making reasonable decisions.  Even his letter to Leanne – the way he was coming across.  He seems almost a little bit aggressive and feels like he’s pin balling around and ricocheting from thing to thing.  I think that Amir probably had a good idea about what he was talking about when he said everything he did was tainted.  Maybe Sam can find a way to change that.  We’ll have to see but at the moment I think he needs to take a few of the baby steps I mentioned above.

Late Eclipses (#4 Toby Daye) by Seanan McGuire, readalong week 4 (final week)

lateeclipsesreadalong.pngToday is the final week of our readalong of  Late Eclipses (October Daye #4) ) by Seanan McGuire) arranged by Lisa from Over the Effing Rainbow.  This week is being hosted by hosted by Hisham El-far.  What a great conclusion to the book – so many revelations, so much yet left unsaid, so many reasons to continue reading – not least that I’m loving this series!

The details are over here on Goodreads – the schedule is below.  If you want to join in or jump in with the comments then please do so. Also, a readalong of book No.5 will undoubtedly follow so watch out for further information on that. Without further ado here are the questions and answers with a customary word of warning that spoilers will be lurking below:

Week 1: Saturday 2nd July, Chapters 1 to 9, hosted by Over the Effing Rainbow
Week 2: Saturday 9th July, Chapters 10 to 18, hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog
Week 3: Saturday 16th July, Chapters 19 to 27, hosted by Books By Proxy
Week 4: Saturday 23rd July, Chapters 28 to End, hosted by Hisham El-far
1. If May is no longer Toby’s Fetch – what is she? Any thoughts as to what possible role or direction May might take?

Well, given the connection between Toby and May I think they will become more than friends, almost like sisters.  I hope so anyway.  They already seem to like each other so much – which, come on, pretty unusual to like your fetch and vice versa, but these two get on.  I see May become a solid part of Toby’s life and a great help in future stories.  But truthfully, I have no idea what becomes of a fetch when her role as a fetch is no longer needed – perhaps, given Toby’s lifestyle – she needs a permanent fetch (just in case).

2. If all Fae lines (Daoine Sidhe, Hob, Tylwyth Teg etc) have a purpose as is suggested this week. What are your thoughts on the revelation that Toby is actually Dochas Sidhe? What would such a Fae bring to Faerie’s delicate power balance?

This, I’m not really sure about to be totally honest.  I think I’m still getting my head around what Toby is – clearly she has a great ability with blood.  It makes me wonder if somebody had deliberately ensured that Amandine had a heir – for what purpose I don’t really know, and Amandine went to a lot of trouble to try and hide Toby’s gifts so she clearly know that trouble will be involved.

3. Connor is once again a free and single man. So, age old question – Connor or Tybalt?

For me Tybalt.  For Toby, I’m not sure.  I think she has a massive soft spot for Connor and I think Connor won’t hesitate to step in whereas the relationship with Toby and Tybalt is more one where they seem to be circling each other.  I think Connor will definitely take advantage of that (not in a bad way) but to be the first one to try and capture Toby’s affections – and maybe that will work for a while – but personally I think that Toby and Tybalt have something else going on, its just simmering at the moment but I personally don’t the two of them will be able to deny it much longer.

4. When/Will Toby remind Dugan about her promise? Surely that poor shmuck is already regretting his behavior?

I don’t know – I think maybe Toby won’t remind Dugan – she seems the sort to bury the hatchet.

5. Where next for the Tobyverse? Hopes? Predictions? Wishful thinking? 

Okay, so Amandine is Toby’s mum, and the Luidaeg is Amandine’s sister – making her Toby’s Aunt, and therefore Blind Michael was her uncle?  Does that make Luna her cousin?  Who is her father – is that Sylvester?  This is getting seriously mixed up.  Obviously I could be very wrong about Sylvester but it was just something that was said between Toby and Etienne – ‘imagine having to sacrifice your own daughter’  said Toby.  and Etienne replied ‘ what do you think he did when he stood by and let the Queen’s guard have you?”  Now if this is true it has such ramifications doesn’t it?  Well, if it’s right (and it could be seriously wrong) then doesn’t that mean that Sylvester had a relationship with Amandine who is the sister of Micheal, who is the father of Luna, so therefore Luna and Toby are cousins but Toby is Sylvester’s daughter – no,  I have this seriously wrong!  But, if I don’t have it wrong then surely Luna would be very torn, loving Toby as a cousin but also resenting her because she’s the daughter of her own husband’s relationship with the sister of her own father?  And surely this would make Rayseline very jealous as well.  I don’t know what’s going on.  I seriously think I need to go away and draw a family tree or something because my head has gone!
Okay – so why does the Queen hate Toby.  This isn’t resolved yet by a long stroke of the imagination and I’m just thinking that she must have some strange relationship to all of them as well!  Maybe not – but she really doesn’t like Toby and wants here dead!  Does she feel threatened by her?  I think she will keep trying to find ways to put Toby in danger or just outright have her killed.
What about Simon and Raysel – to be resolved!  I’m sure that they’re not going to slink away though.
And then of course Tybalt….





“I am the Keymaster … Are you the Gatekeeper?”

Posted On 22 July 2016

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 30 responses


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme being hosted by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple and can be found here.  Each week, following a predetermined theme choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.  Simples.   This week the theme is:

Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate

A cover which features a gate or gates

I actually found this tougher than I expected – it seemed at one point that I was constantly reading books with gates on the cover but when I looked at my list I think most of them were ‘pre blog’ so I couldn’t find the titles!  Anyway, I went for a classic this week: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – and wow – there are a lot of covers for this one – I’ve restricted myself to about a tenth of the available ones out there!


It was certainly difficult to choose a favourite from this lot but I’m going to have to go for No.10, No rational reason but I like the style:



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