Blog Tour: Regency Faerie Tales by Olivia Atwater

Hello there bookish folk! Today I’m bringing you my review of the first three books of the Regency Faerie Tales series by Olivia Atwater, as part of the blog tour organised by Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers. Thank you to Tracy, as well as the author and Orbit Books for the review copies.

Here’s a quick run down if the plots of each book:

The Books:

Half A Soul:

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Ten Thousand Stitches:

Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.

Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is.


The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved – but while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believe that she is capable of doing so.

Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events in London. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail to unravel the mystery. But while Mercy’s own magic is strange and foreboding, she may well pose an even greater danger to Abigail’s heart.

The Author:

Olivia Atwater writes whimsical historical fantasy with a hint of satire. She lives in Montreal, Quebec with her fantastic, prose-inspiring husband and her two cats. When she told her second-grade history teacher that she wanted to work with history someday, she is fairly certain this isn’t what either party had in mind. She has been, at various times, a historical re-enactor, a professional witch at a metaphysical supply store, a web developer, and a vending machine repairperson.

The Review:

Books are such powerful things and the experience of reading can bring so much. In the case of this series, they brought me sheer joy and comfort. These books are the equivalent of being curled up with a cozy blanket and a hot drink by a roaring fire. They were a perfect escape.

Olivia Atwater’s series delivers a well balanced combination of regency romance and light fantasy. We are introduced to various characters in the familiar regency romance landscape who then find themselves drawn in to some mystery or plot involving inhabitants of the adjacent lands of Faerie.

The characters are all likeable, though I will say that Dora and the Lord Sorcier from Half A Soul remained my favourites. We see characters from different books appear in others in the series, and the ways and workings of the faeries had started to take more shape by the end of book 3.

Throughout all of the books, our characters demonstrate the strength of kindness and the importance of sticking up for those in need. It really warms the cockles!! As I said, the books were a real comfort, they are sweet but not overly so.

I’ve seen the series described as “Bridgerton meets Howl’s Moving Castle”. It certainly shares setting elements with Bridgerton but anyone looking for the steaminess of that series should look elsewhere.

I’d really recommend this series to anyone looking for a whimsical, cozy fantasy-romance read. You won’t regret it.

You can follow the rest of the tour below!

WWW Wednesday – 3rd August 2022

Good morning bookish folk. Greetings from sunny Scotland! No, really! We’ve been having some glorious weather here in the Highlands so far, take a look at this…….

The place we’re visiting is somewhere that my parents brought me and my sister when we were kids, and here we all are again, but this time my sister and I have brought OUR kids. It’s been lovely so far AND I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading.

July was a bit of a slow month reading wise, I was just a bit distracted maybe, reading went to the bottom of the list.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little round up of what I’ve been reading, am reading and am planning to read by doing a WWW post.

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words which answers the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What book have you finished recently?
  • What do you think you will read next?

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ten Thousand Stitches by Olivia Atwater on my kindle and listening to the audiobook of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven.

I am loving the narration on HMRC by Nicola Coughlan of Derry Girls and Bridgerton fame. Her voice is just so pleasant to listen to, and her accents are great.

I’m taking part in a blog tour for the Regency Faerie Tales series and TTS is book two. I’ll be posting my review of all three books in the series later this month.

What book have you finished recently?

Half a Soul was the first in the Regency Faerie Tales series and I enjoyed it SO much! I devoured it in a few days.

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift, her debut, was a stand out book for me when it came out and is still a book that sticks in my mind when people ask me what good books I’ve read in the last few years. I’m pleased to say that Love and Other Human Errors was equally as good and I’m hoping to write up a full review for it soon.

What do you think you will read next?

Longshadow will be immediately next to finish off the series for the blog tour but then I’m thinking Isaac and the Egg will be straight after.

Let me know if you’ve read any of the above and your thoughts!

Happy reading folks!

Book Review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Hello book lovers. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on a recent release, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, by Gabriella Zevin.

First off, I love the cover for this. It references the very recognisable print “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Japanese artist Hokusai, which is mentioned in the book. Coupled with a retro rainbow coloured font, it really appeals to me.

The book was released in hardback on 14th July 2022 and has been selected for the BBC Radio 2 Book Club. I’d like to thank Vintage for my copy of the book.

The Plot:

In this exhilarating novel by the best-selling author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry two friends–often in love, but never lovers–come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn’t heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won’t protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin’s Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before.

My Thoughts:

I’d never read anything by this author but the premise appealed to me. I’m not a huge gamer, I don’t really have time these days, but most like people, have dabbled with a few games in the past. For Sadie and Sam, gaming is part of who they are. So many of their formative experiences, and certainly key moments in their relationship, have been anchored around games or one type or another.

We see Sadie and Sam as children initially, Sam in hospital after a car accident almost destroys his feet, and Sadie as a visitor to her ill sister. They bond in a common room over a Nintendo. After a falling out, their paths continue to cross over the years until the meeting described in the above blurb. From there, we follow them more closely, as they start collaborating to create games which will change the course of their lives and those around them.

The characters created here were wonderful. Sam and Sadie each have their flaws which only serves to make them feel more real. Its not just Sam and Sadie here though, I really liked the supporting cast, and must give an honorary mention to Marx, who I thought was great. These characters make mistakes, do things that you won’t agree with, love each other generously and more.

I read this pretty slowly, not because I wasn’t enjoying it, but it just felt like a leisurely book to savour. Its the characters you’re reading about here, rather than the plot. I do love a coming of age story.

The concept of starting again is mentioned several times in the book. In a video game, if you die, you can start again, fully formed and ready to go. These characters have to start again a few times after life deals them out some right stinkers. Not quite fully formed and ready to go, but picking up the pieces and trying to put their lives back together. The constant throughout, is love. Not romantic love necessarily, but Sam and Sadie do love each other (though some of their actions may betray that fact on occasion) and the nature of that love is explored throughout the book.

I would really recommend this book, reading it was a really enjoyable experience.

Finally, a big hats off to the marketing team working on this book. I saw the physical proofs on social media and they were BEAUT! There have been some great promotional bits and bobs too, including a version of the game Sadie makes in the book, Emily Blaster, a chance to make your own avatar and an introduction from the author, all of which can be found here: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Blog Tour: The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson

Good Morning! Today I’m bringing you my review of The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson, as part of the blog tour organised by Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers. Thank you to Tracy, as well as the author and Bonnier for the review copy.

Photo by Szymon Shields on

Here’s what its all about:

The Book:

Can one chance meeting change the course of your life?

When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it.

For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her. Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away. More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time.

But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.

The Author:

Freya Sampson is the author of two novels, The Last Chance Library and The Lost Ticket/The Girl on the 88 Bus. She worked in TV as an executive producer and her credits include two documentary series for the BBC about the British Royal Family, and a number of factual and entertainment series.

She studied History at Cambridge University and in 2018 was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize.

She lives in London with her husband, two young children and an antisocial cat.

The Review:

This was such a sweet, enjoyable story, a really cosy read that was a nice break for me in between some more gritty or gory books!

When I started this, I thought I knew how it would all play out but it surprised me, developing in different ways than I expected. The premise is immediately appealing, I was intrigued by the prospect of someone trying to find someone who had clearly left their mark during a short conversation many years ago. I’m sure lots of people have small, at the time seemingly inconsequential interactions with strangers which have ultimately affected them one way or another in a larger way than expected. Frank is our example of that.

He’s such a lovely character, and as the book progresses, it becomes clear that whilst Frank is searching for his girl on the bus, he too has positively impacted the lives of people he has met along his way on that same bus route.

Libby struck me as a fairly naïve character at first, and I have to confess that I found her quite annoying. However, as we get to know more about her and her circumstances, its clear that she has not been treated well by those closest to her in her life. Her family mostly awful, especially her mother! Its good to see Libby develop over the book, growing as a person through her experiences following that day that she first met Frank on the bus and I really grew to like her.

We get to read letters written by a woman to an unknown person, one who was clearly important in her life. We slowly find out more about their lives together and the final revelations of who these people were in context of the story were unexpected but lovely.

All in all, this was a story full of heart, one to warm your cockles when things are looking a bit rubbish.

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour for this lovely book.

Blog Tour: The Vacation by John Marrs

Good Morning! Today I’m bringing you my review of The Vacation by John Marrs, as part of the blog tour organised by Tracy Fenton for Random Things Tours. Thank you to those guys, as well as the author and Pan Macmillan for the review copy.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on

Let’s dive into the premise:

The Book:

The cover for The Vacation

The Vacation is a compulsive holiday-set thriller from John Marrs, the author of The One, now a Netflix Original Series.

How far would you run to escape your past?

Venice Beach, Los Angeles. A paradise on earth.

Tourists flock to the golden coast and the promise of Hollywood.

But for eight strangers at a beach front hostel, there is far more on their mind than an extended vacation.

All of them are running from something. And they all have secrets they’d kill to keep……

Originally published as Welcome to Wherever You Are, this is a re-edited release perfect for fans of T.M. Logan.

The Author:

John Marrs himself

John Marrs is an author and former journalist based in London and Northamptonshire. After spending his career interviewing celebrities from the worlds of television, film and music for numerous national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time author. He is the best selling author of The One, Passengers, The Minders, What Lies Between Us and When You Disappeared.

His links are:





The Review:

I’ve been meaning to pick up a book by this author so took the opportunity to join the blog tour for this re-edited version of a book he’d published under the name “Welcome to Wherever You Are” back in 2015. At the time, it was his second book and was self-published.

John Marrs is very popular in a bookish Facebook group I’m in, THE Book Club (TBC) so he’s been on my radar for a while.

This book is set in a run down hostel in Los Angeles. One of the first things that struck me was that this is a GREAT setting for a book! I stayed in a fairly run down hostel in Hollywood in Los Angeles many moons ago. There were people there from all over the world and from different walks of life. As with the book, the majority of people there were on the younger side, at that interesting time in life between childhood and adulthood, often having a first real taste of freedom and of the larger world. It was a manic, busy place in a less than salubrious part of town, and definitely the kind of place that could be mined for some good stories.

There are eight key characters in the book, all finding themselves at the hostel for very different reasons. The chapters cycle through these characters, in the present day, as well as regularly giving us glimpses into their past, so we can see how they got to where they are now and what has happened to them – some bloody awful stuff for most of them! The first part of the book is mostly us getting to know them all, before we progress and see some action.

There are quite a lot of characters to keep track off but it wasn’t too difficult to keep track and this gets easier as the story progresses. I really liked the almost mystical character of Peyk – he intrigued me and I was itching to know a bit more but I think mystery is part of his charm.

The book is pacey, the chapters are short which keeps you reading, and there is plenty going on with bit by bit reveals to keep things compelling. There a few elements of the plot that stretch the realms of what I was willing to believe, but it was entertaining enough a read for me to buy into it.

I would have liked a liiiiittle more insight into the ultimate fate of some of the characters and I did have a few questions at the end but thought it resolved itself in a predominantly satisfactory way, in some ways heart-breaking but with hope for some of the characters.

I can’t make any comparisons with other books written by the author as this is the first I’ve read, but many reviews I’ve seen suggest that some of his other works improve on this one. Given that this one is such a page-turner, I’ll look forward to picking them up in the future.

This would be a perfect holiday read, though it won’t last you long as its a pretty compelling read so take some more books too!

Check out the rest of the blog tour stops below.

Book Review: The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

Afternoon book lovers. Today, I am somewhat belatedly reviewing The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. I was just drafting another blog post when I found this in the drafts folder and realised I’d never published it! Blogger fail!

Look at that BEAUTIFUL cover. Its amazing.

  • Format: e-ARC
  • Pages: 538
  • Publisher: Orbit

The Book:

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land—at the cost of sacrificing all jinn.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One NightsThe Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp.

Photo by Walid Ahmad on

My Thoughts:

Browsing bookish social media and the email newsletters from The Bookseller, there are occasions where I’ll read a news snippet about a book that has been snapped up by a publisher. These stories are often accompanied by a brief summary about the book and, if they sound good, I’ll pop them on my list of books to look out for. The Stardust Thief was one of these books. Months later, when I saw it pop up on Netgalley, I sent a request straight away, and was delighted to be approved.

I loved this book and reading it has been a great experience. It took me bloody ages to read it, because I was savouring it; I loved spending time in this world and with these characters created by Chelsea Abdullah.

The Stardust Thief is the first part of a trilogy, The Sandsea Trilogy, and is inspired by “A Thousand and One Nights”. I absolutely loved the world that has been built by Abdullah using this inspiration.

Apart from the story itself, this book is going to change the way I read for a while. Whilst reading it, it made me realise that I haven’t read enough fantasy recently. I’ll read most genres, but I feel like fantasy, is the most “me” genre, the one I love the most, the one I go back to all the time and the one where all of my favourites lie. This can be what might be traditionally thought of as “fantasy”, i.e. books like The Stardust Thief that are set in a fantastical world of the author’s making, but also books set in our world but with a fantasy element, like The Time Traveler’s Wife – okay, that might be more of a sci-fi element but you get my meaning!

I have some eARCs to read and other bookish commitments, and there are authors I enjoy who don’t write in this genre who I’ll be picking up in the next few months but I think my free/mood reading time is definitely going to be spent more in the fantasy genre than it has been.

Book Review: The No-Show by Beth O’Leary

Hi Folks!

I am just back from a week’s family holiday in sunny Spain. It was HOT and pretty exhausting, as holidays with young kids can be. Much fun was had by all though.

I am glad to be home though, to cooler weather and a bit of quiet. The place we stayed was pretty busy and, whilst I’ve always been a bit of an introvert, covid lockdowns have made me even more out of my comfort zone around a lot of people.

So I’m back, and I am looking forward to diving back into the world of books. I didn’t have a lot of time to read whilst away, the days of firing through 5 books a week are long gone! I managed to finish this one book though so I thought I’d write a little post-holiday review.

The Book:

The No-Show starts off with three separate women being stood up on Valentine’s Day, one at breakfast, one at lunch, one at a party in the evening. What do they have in common? Well, the stander-upper – Joseph Carter.

Siobhan is a successful and driven woman who lives in Dublin with her best friend Fiona. She has a casual arrangement with Joseph who she meets on the last Friday of every month when she’s in London for work. Events in Siobhan’s past mean that she prefers to keep people at a distance, but she finds herself falling for Joseph, which wasn’t the plan.

Miranda and Carter have been seeing each other a little while when he stands her up for their Valentines lunch. She likes him…but can tell he’s keeping things from her. She tries not to let it bother her, but gradually his secrets come to the surface.

Jane has found comfort in the structure and routine of her life in Winchester after she escaped her former life in London. She and Joseph meet in a local bakery and have so much in common that they instantly become friends. But Jane’s feelings for Joseph grow, just as events in London start to catch up with her.

My thoughts

I read Beth O’Leary’s debut, The Flatshare, not too long after it came out. It was a really charming book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. When Netgalley added audiobooks, The Switch was made available as a ‘Listen Now’ to kick things off, so I listened to that. The talent of the voice actors on that one perhaps enhanced the experience, as I found the plot itself was a little on the dull side. It was still enjoyable though, with the same charm that the previous book had.

I read ‘The Road Trip’ hoping for another dose of the comforting charm and humour from the earlier books but honestly, I was really disappointed. I just didn’t like the characters or invest in their story at all.

So I wasn’t too sure how I’d get on with The No-Show but decided to give it a go anyway.

For me, this is a return to the quality of The Flat-share. I really enjoyed the way O’Leary structured this book, playing around with the reader’s expectations. The characters were sympathetic and I enjoyed seeing how their stories played out. There were some great reveals along the way that, whilst not entirely surprising, still kept the story interesting.

I think this was a perfect book to read on holiday. It was an engaging read; I certainly would have finished it even quicker if I’d had more free time. The switch between the three POVs of Siobhan, Miranda and Jane kept the pace going as we learned a little more about each woman in their respective parts. I was emotionally invested enough to shed a few tears towards the end!

If you enjoyed O’Leary’s previous works, then you’ll no doubt enjoy this too. It’s a romantic drama with some clever plotting that has stood out for me against similar books.

VERDICT: Recommended

TV & Film Tuesday – 7th June 2022: Better Call Saul, Inside No 9 and Belfast

Morning! As well as reading, I do love a good TV series or film too so I thought I’d start a regular little post about what I’m watching or have watched recently.

TV – Better Call Saul Season 6

Holy forking shirtballs. We watched the last episode before the mid season break (episode 7) when we got back from Spain last week and….oh….my. I gasped at the end.

We had a false start with this series a few years ago and didn’t get past the first few episodes of the first season. We picked it up again in 2020 and it’s been brilliant. The acting is fabulous and just the characters! Kim and Lalo are my favourite non-BB characters and the development and motivation of Kim is particularly interesting to me. I can’t wait to see how they wrap this up but now we’ve got to wait until July.

TV – Inside No 9 Series 7

I’ve just finished the last episode of this latest series, Wise Owl. As usual, the series has been dark and twisted. Whilst these later series don’t quite have as many episodes that have stood out to me the way that some of the earlier series did, it’s still a must watch for me and I was glad to see the news that there are at least two more series of Pemberton and Shearsmith craziness to come.

Movie – Belfast

I’ve had this on my radar for a little while and had a voucher code for a free movie rental so decided to give this a go.

This a semi-autobiographical film, partly based on Kenneth Branagh’s life as a young boy in Belfast in the late 60’s. The film is shot primarily from the point of view of Buddy, the youngest boy in a family of four. His father, Da, played by Jamie Dornan, works away in London a lot, leaving Ma, played by Catriona Balfe, to raise Buddy and his older brother Will at a time when violence on the streets was on the rise.

The film is told against the backdrop of The Troubles but is not really about that. More, it focuses on the struggles of the family, both in trying decide whether to stay in Belfast or leave for England or further afield, as well as other problems, such as a worsening debt problem.

The supporting cast is great, and includes Judi Dench and Ciaran Hinds, both of whom were nominated for Oscars for their roles. I think Ciaran Hinds is a brilliant actor, and he stands out here.

The film is shot beautifully, moving from colour in the present day footage that frames the film, as well as at one other point, to black and white for the storyline of Buddy and his family. It also had a great soundtrack, predominantly Van Morrison, though the use of Everlasting Love by The Love Affair towards the end has left it stuck in my head for days!

This is almost a quiet film in a lot of ways. Despite the historically significant setting, we predominantly follow the family through their days, getting to know them and growing to care about their struggles. Its not really a film about The Troubles.

Jude Hill as Buddy was fantastic, we see the relationships with his family and his perspective of what was going on around him, with young heartbreak and innocent understanding demonstrated by the young actor.

I really enjoyed it, worth a watch.

Up Next:

We’re hoping to make a start on Stranger Things series 4 this week, and I’d really like to finish Arcane. Not sure we’ll have time to squeeze a movie in as we’ve got a lot planned but let’s see!

20 Books of Summer

I do love a good reading challenge, especially ones focused on reading the books you’ve already got. So when I saw 20 Book of Summer, hosted by, I knew it was one for me!

The books……

These are the books I’ve decided to try and read for the challenge. I’ve gone for the full 20, to be assessed as we go. I might swap books around, probably if I get some new approvals from Netgalley, but these are the ones planned for now.

Here they are in list format:

  • The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson*
  • The Setup by Lizzy Dent
  • Cold Reckoning by Russ Thomas
  • Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander
  • Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
  • Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
  • The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
  • Someone In Time by Various Authors
  • Ithaca by Claire North
  • Psalms for the End of the World by Cole Haddon
  • The Vacation by John Marrs*
  • The Fall of Babel by Josiah Bancroft
  • Swashbucklers by Dan Hanks
  • Five Minds by Guy Morpuss
  • You and Me On Vacation by Emily Henry
  • The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
  • The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly

I am booked for blog tours on the two starred books too so watch out for posts on those.

I’m hoping to try and make sure I have a little time for reading each day, which I usually do, but also to try and reduce doomscrolling and read instead!

I’ll update as I go…..wish me luck!

Timey Wimey……Stuff #2: Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel

Hello there bookish folks. I’m reviewing / gushing about Sea of Tranquility today, and trying to put down some coherent thoughts about why I loved this book so! I’m also making this my second in a series of themed posts that I started aaaaaages ago with the intention of doing on a regular basis. That sort of didn’t happen but lets see how it goes from here!

I’ll get my thank yous out of the way first of all. Thank you to Pan MacMillan for granting my request on Netgalley to read this and to the author for writing it!

I requested a copy of this book based purely on my enjoyment of the author’s previous works. I had thoroughly enjoyed those, particularly Station Eleven so seeing her latest pop up was an instant add to the TBR for me, before I even read the premise.

So that premise, what is it? Well, the official synopsis is as follows:

The award-winning author of Station Eleven returns with a story of time travel that precisely captures the reality of our current moment . . .

In 1912, eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew crosses the Atlantic, exiled from English polite society. In British Columbia, he enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and for a split second all is darkness, the notes of a violin echoing unnaturally through the air. The experience shocks him to his core.

Two centuries later Olive Llewelyn, a famous writer, is traveling all over Earth, far away from her home in the second moon colony. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.

When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the black-skied Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in time, he uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an aristocrat driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel is a novel that investigates the idea of parallel worlds and possibilities, that plays with the very line along which time should run. Perceptive and poignant about art, and love, and what we must do to survive, it is incredibly compelling.

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I love anything time travel related, across all media so was really intrigued to see what Mandel was going to do here. Oh how I LOVED it!

The plot is great, little points mentioned earlier in the book are tied back to bring it all together in a truly satisfying manner. I loved the way it played out.

The story seemed to me to be told in an almost dreamlike way, with settings on the moon, in Canada in the early 1900s and on both the current and future Earth. The book reminded me of David Mitchell’s works in a lot of ways, particularly Cloud Atlas. I think this is probably due to the differing time periods, with ties between each, and the way Sea of Tranquillity includes call-backs to Mandel’s previous works. I am a big fan of David Mitchell so this works for me. They both write in our world but with a touch of fantasy to it.

The actual method of time travel is only really touched upon lightly and comes courtesy of the Time Institute, located on the moon. Its not really about the “how” in this book, but about the effect had on the people we read about.

There are quite a few mentions of pandemics and no doubt part of the character Olive’s experiences are based on those of Mandel, who of course wrote about pandemics before they were something we all knew so well.

Mandel’s writing is beautiful, her characters well formed and settings well described. I love her writing and will continue to read anything she puts out. This book is hopeful and beautiful and I think its my favourite of her works that I’ve read so far. This was an absolute stand out for me this year, it lingered with me for days afterwards and I feel like its a book I’ll re-read in the future.