‘Fourth Wing’ – Rebecca Yarros

A 4.5 rating, and while there are elements that I’d have liked to see developed this definitely did live up to the hype.

The story is fairly straightforward. Violet is the daughter of General Sorrengail. The family are riders, and though Violet has trained to be a Scribe – definitely influenced by her father – her mother is determined that her third child will also learn to ride dragons. Violet is not a likely candidate, and from the reaction every one she meets has it is painfully clear that nobody expects her to survive the experience.

Naturally, Violet surprises them all.

From the opening pages, as we see Violet start her trial, I found myself desperate to see how this would pan out. It reads like a lot of books of the genre and relies heavily on the elements you often expect. There’s the old friend/love interest who’s not quite what we think, the brooding lust interest, the plucky friends and the relentless need to show our main character has reserves hitherto untapped. While this felt like an opportunity missed, it keeps you turning the pages and definitely doesn’t hurt in terms of delivering a cracking story.

With it clearly being the opening of a series we know there’s more going on. There were twists here aplenty, some of which you could predict and others that were more subtle. I don’t mind admitting that I was left stunned by the closing section.
YA or New Adult…it’s categorised as both, and this does seem to suffer from trying to appeal to a very broad range of readers. Some of the dialogue had me cringing, but it didn’t stop me enjoying what was taking place. I loved the dragons and want more of them! The closing twist definitely sets up a very intriguing premise and I’m keen to see exactly how Violet’s father features in this tale.

I’ve already pre-ordered book two and think there’ll be more than one or two recommendations of this book taking place!

‘Heart Bones’ – Colleen Hoover

Hearts don’t have bones so they can’t hurt…proving people who think this wrong is, I think, the reason for writers like Hoover, who seem determined to show us the many ways in which loving someone can both heal and hurt in equal measure.

Our main character in this is Beyah Grim. When we first met her she’s living in a trailer park with her mother, a meth addict, and is faced with the pretty unpleasant scene of her mother having overdosed in their living space. Seeing how badly Beyah’s home life has impacted on her is made startlingly clear when she says that dying was probably the one good thing her mother did for her. Only hours after this shocking discovery, Beyah is told she is being evicted from the only home she’s known because her mother didn’t pay rent for the last few months. Her only choice is to phone the father she doesn’t really know.

So Beyah finds herself on a plane headed for Texas, where she is going to stay until she can take up her place in college. As soon as she meets her father at the airport it’s clear that her mother’s addiction has robbed her of the chance to have a relationship with her father, and though he has to take some blame for not pushing for a relationship it’s hard not to feel sorry for people like this who fall through the cracks.

Spending the summer surrounded by money and opportunities is a tough thing for Beyah to accept. She is the proverbial fish out of water, and resists her stepsister Sara’s attempts to fix her up with a friend. What we quickly come to realise is that Beyah has already made quite an impression on this friend…and so starts a summer fling that we predict will end in tears – but I definitely didn’t predict just how emotionally I’d react to it.

This is probably a book that’s good to go into without knowing too much. I feared it would be bleak and yet found myself laughing and enjoying this far more than I predicted. Of course it has moments that will upset you, but at its heart it’s a story about having the courage to stick with those you trust.

‘The Phonebox at the Edge of the World’ – Laura Imai Messina

Scheduled for release in late June 2020, I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this beautifully written, evocative story exploring loss and how we come to accept it before publication.

One of our characters is Yui, a radio broadcaster who lost her mother and daughter in the recent tsunami. She seems emotionally stuck in the aftermath, not sure how to move on from such a loss. Like so many dealing with such unexpected loss, the emotions are complex.

Alongside Yui we have other characters. They are brought together by the existence of Bella Gardia, a remote garden curated by an elderly man, in which there is a disused telephone box. When people speak into the phone they are given the opportunity to talk to their loved ones, to have another moment with those no longer there. Through this opportunity, they begin to come to terms with their grief.

When Yui travels there she finds she does not need to speak into the receiver. For her, the process of visiting the garden and hearing the stories of others is enough. One of the people she meets is Takeshi, a man mourning the death of his wife and trying to work out how to help his daughter who has stopped speaking.

What follows is the tentative blossoming of a new relationship. It ends on a beautifully hopeful note, yet there’s a wistful tone to this that I think will remain with readers. I loved the fact that after reading the story I learned it is based on a real place, and right now that seems a lovely thing to be able to hold onto.


‘The Goblins of Bellwether’ – Molly Ringle

A contemporary romance inspired by Christina Rossetti’s eerie, sensual poem, “Goblin Market.” Four neighbors encounter sinister enchantments and a magical path to love in a small, modern-day Puget Sound town, where a fae realm hides in the woods and waters…

Goblins…having only a passing acquaintance with the subject I am all too aware that my view of goblins might be somewhat stereotyped. I love the Rossetti poem that inspired this, so I was excited to see this on NetGalley.
I have to say that the set-up of the world, and the details of the fae we meet is not quite as developed as I’d have liked. We see a little of the goblin world, but it is a passing focus for much of the novel.

Our story focuses on Kit Sylvain, the latest of his family to have to deal with the consequences of the deal made by one of his ancestors. Kit is given immunity form the goblins’ mischief making, as long as he provides them with a specified amount of gold each month. If he falls short, the innocent around him will suffer. it’s a hard burden to shoulder, and we see just how difficult when two sisters get caught up in the events.

The new adult element of this seemed to be because the characters are in their twenties and they have sex…maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t this a rather typical portrayal of how people at this stage of their lives might act? Focusing on four characters also made me feel I wasn’t really getting enough detail about them/what they were experiencing.

This was an interesting read, but it felt like we were glossing over part of the story that I wanted to know more about. The story was pacy, but there was a part of me that was enjoying the world so much that I wanted more to savour. I feel there could have been little more complexity through making use of the various strands mentioned, or playing with the timeframe of the story further.

Definitely one I’ll recommend to see how others respond to it. Just in case you’re interested: Rossetti’s poem can be found here: 

‘A Court of Wings and Ruin’ – Sarah J. Maas

I have to begin my review, sadly, by criticising a rather large online organisation – whom I use A LOT. They messed up here. I pre-ordered my physical copy of the book to arrive on delivery day…the night before I got an email telling me my copy would arrive at the end of the month! Simply not good enough…and I am eternally grateful to the ebook here, as it saved me!

Anyway, issues with actually getting my hands on a copy aside, this is another of those books that you will love if you like Sarah J. Maas.

Our story begins with Feyre back in the Spring Court playing a very dangerous game as she seeks allies and tries to establish just who to trust. This first part allowed us to see a little more of Feyre and Lucien – which was good – but I did find it a little dull. Stick with it though, as it gets a whole lot more exciting.

The book comes into its own once Feyre returns to the place she considers her home, alongside Rhysand. With people being told about her new role as High Lady we focus more on the political manoeuvrings as battle looms.

A warning for anyone who goes off the loose book recommendations. I’ve seen this marketed as for 11+ – the very graphic sex scenes make perfect sense in terms of the story, but I don’t think they are necessarily suitable for a younger reader (bit more graphic than the Jilly Cooper books I used to nick from my sister).

That aside, the story is epic in scope. We see everything coming together, and I was desperate to read on to find out just what happens. I loved the fact that we see old and new characters here, and Feyre slowly comes to realise that acting out of a need for revenge isn’t always the most effective move. There were moments in the battle that almost had me in tears – definite movie-style tear-jerking moments.

Thankfully, though not everyone makes it and there’s a lot of loose ends to tie up, there’s plenty to keep you satisfied here.


‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ – Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury


Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

While I thoroughly recommend A Court of Thorns and Roses, this is in a league of its own.

Upon her return from Under the Mountain, Feyre is broken. She is fading away, and Tamlin’s desire to protect her becomes stifling. As readers we are keen for her to get her happy ending, but when her marriage to Tamlin is interrupted we wonder how on earth it is going to happen. Bear with it, and you will see how Maas pulls off something more than a little unpredictable.

In the background of Feyre’s personal life we have the story of the King plotting to gain control of the kingdom. War is coming. Lots of characters tell us this, over and over again. Don’t worry, I think we can safely say what the focus is for the next in the series! It’s fair to say that not a whole lot happens but there wasn’t one point where I found myself bored.

This is a huge turn-around from book 1 but it makes perfect sense in light of what we learn in this novel. We spend a lot of time in the Court of Rhysand, and come to learn an awful lot more about him. Rhysand is a deliciously complex character, and there is a definite sense of Maas having fun writing this one. While we come to this novel seeing Rhysand very much as the villain, it’s soon clear that things are never quite as straightforward as we might think.

There will be some readers who will criticise the explicit sexual content in the later stages of the novel. It is a long time coming, but Feyre certainly makes up for lost time!  In the context of the novel it does make sense, and it’s hardly groundbreaking that Feyre gets to have a healthy sex life only once a clear bond is established. My main concern is that it seems this series is being marketed as young adult fiction – typically focusing on readers of 14 and upwards – and I think some parents might appreciate a bit of a heads-up about the graphic sexual content beforehand.

In addition to admiring the shift in focus that we get here, which does hint at a truly interesting next book, I am completely in awe of the ending. At this point I feel there should be a cue for my maniacal cackling and rubbing of hands together in anticipation. I, for one, cannot wait until the next part is out.

‘Confess’ – Colleen Hoover



I’ve not read anything by Colleen Hoover before, and the moment I saw this categorised as ‘romance’ I was twitchy. It is not my go-to genre, and I admit to being reluctant to read this. However, the information given about the plot was enough to convince me to try it, and I’m so glad I did.

The Prologue, where we learn about Auburn’s relationship with Adam, was something of a punch to the gut. It was intense, and I can only imagine that such an ending to the first serious relationship you have would impact enormously on your daily life in the future. To then focus on Auburn five years on, trying to keep herself going, meant I couldn’t help but root for her.

The first meeting between Owen and Auburn was – call me cynical – a bit much. It reminded me why I do not normally read romance novels, but I have to say that I liked the relationship that developed quite naturally between them.

Throughout, I was intrigued by the hints dropped about Owen’s link to Auburn. I had all manner of theories – none of which were remotely accurate.

As we get to know more about Auburn’s life, and those characters mixed up in it, I was desperate for things to work out. Seeing Owen persevere even when it seemed pointless was heart-warming.

I can’t say too much about the ending as it’s probably best to discover it as you read, but I was hooked from just over halfway and couldn’t wait to see what happened. The final confession made me teary, but this was a great experience.

‘The V Girl’ – Mya Roberts

The V Girl



The first thing that has to be said about ‘The V Girl’ is the subject matter is definitely not going to be to everyone’s tastes. It comes with strong recommendations for over-18s only and although I don’t generally agree with this practice, in this case I think it is prudent.

When I first came across this book on NetGalley I was really intrigued as to how the author would manage the subject matter. The fact that it clearly states this is set in an America of the future where rape and sexual slavery is legal means you go into it knowing it will not be anything other than a challenging read.

It was certainly a challenging read for me, for a number of reasons.

When we first meet Lila we are told that she is desperate to lose her virginity before the soldiers come and she runs the risk of being selected and having her virginity forcibly taken from her. Her attempts to achieve this start with an attempted seduction of her best friend, Rey. The way this was described felt very close to a description of the very thing she was trying to avoid.

From there on in we have to contend with Lila’s obsession with the mysterious Prince Alexsey. I understand that this is meant to be the ‘romance’ of this coming-of-age novel, but I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t believe in either character particularly, and found myself frustrated by their relationship and the way it played out.

While I found the writing about the emotional impact of the situations these characters often found themselves in touching, I really did not like the level of detail given. It’s an unflinching look at a very unpleasant subject, but I felt the writer was taking the theme of voyeurism a little too far on so many occasions. This was particularly noticeable in the scenes involving the characters of Duke and Azalea, and the awful account of the Selection towards the end of the book.

My main grip with the novel though is my view that the writer couldn’t decide if she was writing a hard-hitting dystopian novel or an erotic fantasy. The number of times I was stifling giggles at the over-the-top writing regarding Lila and Alexsey’s sexual relationship undercut the impact of the more sombre focus of the remainder of the novel for me.

Having read so many glowing reviews of this novel I’m really wondering what I’ve missed!

A difficult book to rate.