ARC Review // After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

ARC Review // After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott

Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.

Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

I was sent an ARC of After the Eclipse from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Continue reading “ARC Review // After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott”

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Blog Tour – ‘My Favourite Literary Villains’

As soon as I came across Wintersong online, I knew I had to get hold of a copy ASAP. Marketed as being a loose retelling of Labyrinth (one of mine and my husband’s favourite films) aimed at a more mature audience, I couldn’t wait to read this, and was thrilled to not only receive an ARC of it but also be able to be a part of the blog tour! Wintersong was released yesterday and I would highly encourage you all to go and pick up a copy.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you a little insight into the mind of S. Jae-Jones (aka. JJ), author of Wintersong, on a topic close to my heart – favourite literary villains.

{PS. Don’t forget to take a look at the first two posts of the Wintersong blog tour: Day One & Day Two can be found here. If you’d like to follow along, all blogs included in this tour are to the left!}

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I love a good villain; so much so that I love reading books or watching movies told from the villain’s point of view, like The Mists of Avalon or Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. For me, a good literary villain is complex, with motivations that are understandable or even sympathetic enough to be chilling. The following are a few of my favorites:
Melisande Shahrizai from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Legacy series
Melisande is one of my favorite characters full stop. What I love most about her is that she isn’t driven by evil or megalomania; she’s a villain because she likes to play games. The prize she’s set for herself is the throne of Terre d’Ange. Matching wits with Melisande is like playing against a chessmaster; she’s always several moves ahead. Yet despite her cool, calculating mind, she’s rather a good sport, acknowledging when she’s been beaten at her own game. There’s no active malice in Melisande, but she is completely terrifying nonetheless, and I love that about her.
The Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha books
The Darkling could have easily been the tortured romantic hero in a different series. He’s brooding, he’s tortured, he’s vulnerable, and he’s so, so broken. Yet despite all this, he’s still a selfish, horrible person, and I love that Bardugo resists softening the Darkling’s edges to make him a palatable potential love interest for Alina. I love the Darkling because he’s all wrong, and I love that I love he’s all wrong.

Mrs. Coulter from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials
There is a common thread through nearly all my favorite female villains: they are evil in their subtlety and complexity. Mrs. Coulter fascinates me because she’s amoral and completely selfish, yet also charming and charismatic. Even her love for her daughter seems to be an extension of her selfishness. Despite this, despite an entire life lived for power, she commits an act of ultimate selflessness, and this dissonance is what makes Marisa Coulter an amazing villain.
Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter

I will admit that some of my visceral reaction to Dolores Umbridge is personal. I was educated at an all-girls’ school, and for my first three years, I had a very McGonagall-like headmistress (down to the tartan print!). But in my final year, we had a new headmistress when the previous one retired, and this new one was Umbridge-like in every possible way: a toad-like face, affected girlish voice, and a saccharine manner disguising a terrifying authoritarian philosophy. I think we all know an Umbridge, and the fact that she actually exists in the real world in some form or another is the most terrifying thing of all.

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All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen, Liesl feels that her childhood dreams are slipping away. And when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. But with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Published 7th February 2017 from Titan Books


Read my full review of Wintersong here!



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S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including TwitterTumblrFacebookInstagram and her blog. Wintersong is her debut novel.



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love Becky @


This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab


This Savage Song is the story of Kate and August, the heirs to the two men in charge of either half of Verity, a city torn by monsters that are formed from the violent acts of sinners: the Corsai, formed of shadow and feeding on flesh; the Malchai, the blood drinkers who roam the streets; and the rare Sunai, the coal-eyed, human-like soul eaters. Kate and August, through family feuds, should be enemies. This is what happens when their lives collide. 

Disclaimer: 
we were both sent this book by the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are our own.


Becky’s Thoughts:

This Savage Song is definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and it was right up my street. A dark urban fantasy written from two points of view, some amazing badass characters, an ending full of suspense and leaving me needing the sequel already, and on top of that, monsters?! This book was amazing! I feel like I’ve read so many books about vampires, werewolves, fairies, angels and demons, chimaera, even zombies, but monsters seem to be often sadly left out of fiction. I’m officially putting out a call to action for more monster related books to be written. 
Anyway, this book. it was perfectly written and laid out, with the sections being titled as verses, and the idea of the story being a song was prevalent throughout. 
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal.
Sing you a song and steal your soul.

I was so hooked on this book that I was genuinely counting down the minutes until I could carry on reading it whenever I wasn’t able to. I connected with the characters so well, and a relatable character is one of the main necessities in a book in my opinion. 
First, there’s Kate, the daughter of crime lord Callum Harker who runs one half of the city. She was a character who I fell in love with straight away. She distances herself from others and shrouds herself in anger in an attempt to impress her father, but has deeply hidden secrets and problems that she buries. August is the adopted son of Henry Flynn, who runs the other side of the city. August is a monstrous boy who just wants to be normal. I loved both of these characters, as well as their interactions with each other and the way that their friendship developed through the book. They are completely different, but complement each other perfectly, and this development and their journeys, both separately and together, are at the heart of the plot. The story also revolves around the idea of looking at who is truly the monster in the situation; those who are called monsters, or the men who use and control them. 
As I said earlier, this book is so unique and I did thoroughly enjoy it. It’s not even been released yet, and I’m already anticipating the sequel!

Angharad’s thoughts:


+ V.E. Schwab can do no wrong when it comes to writing monsters. She takes the concept of them (which has been done so many times) and turns it on its head. This novel doesn’t only explore monsters vs monsters but more importantly, the roles humans play in showing that not all monsters are monstrous and not all humans are good.

“It hurts,” he whispered.
“What does?” asked Kate.
“Being. Not being. Giving in. Holding out. No matter what I do, it hurts.”
Kate tipped her head back against the tub. “That’s life, August,” she said. “You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

+ I love that at the heart of this story is the friendship between Kate and August. Yes, you heard me, friendship. Whether or not their relationship develops in the sequel remains to be seen but at the moment, I am so happy with their journey as friends. I think authors can forget the strength in friendship. Kate and August are polar opposites (not just because they are different species) and yet they come together to form a mutual trust and a formidable team. They sacrifice a lot for each other and I’m exciting to see where their journey takes them.

“I read somewhere,” said Kate, “that people are made of stardust.”
He dragged his eyes from the sky. “Really?”
“Maybe that’s what your made of. Just like us.”
And despite everything, August smiled.

+ Kate Harker is a wonderfully written character. We meet her as she is burning down her boarding school’s chapel. Yep. After the death of her mother, Kate’s father sent her to six different boarding schools, all of which she purposefully got kicked out of. Her goal is not just to live with her father but to be like her father. Kate commits cruel acts but she has a good heart. She thinks this is the only way to win her father’s approval. She is brave but lonely, automatically isolating herself as she doesn’t want to do anything that will make her father class her as weak. She finds solace with August who doesn’t judge her because she is the daughter of an important (but assholish figure.) 

Kate smiled at the praise, even if it was an act. She’d show him. She could be strong. She could be cunning. She could be cold.

+ August is one of the three monsters in this book. He is a Sunai, a creature that is able to lure victim’s towards them with music only to kill them by feeding on their soul. He sounds scary right? Nope. August is a little golden retriever. He dotes on his adoptive family, wishes he was normal and has a very good heart. I loved his relationship with his sister, Isla (who I want to see a LOT more of in the sequel) and he is proof that not all monsters have a monstrous heart.

I am not a monster, that’s what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t. He hadn’t found a way to make it true.

+ One thing that I loved in this book was the mention of disabilities. Kate has lost her hearing in one ear and that is never mentioned and then forgot about a chapter later. It hinders her a lot but she still pushes on. August, due to the hunger that he often experiences, develops moments of sensory overload. As a person on the autistic spectrum, I too suffer with this and V.E. Schwab described these episodes in perfect detail. People just don’t get it when I can sometimes shout “It’s too loud!” so it’s so refreshing that this is explored. 

August cringed; the overhead lights were too bright, the scraping of chairs too sharp. Everything was heightened, like the volume on his life was turned up but not in an exciting way. Noises were too loud and smells too strong and pain — which he did feel — too sharp.

+ Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I did enjoy Vicious more so that’s why I’ve knocked off half a star. I can’t wait for the sequel so I can lose myself in the world V.E. Schwab has created. If you want a book with a strong friendship, flawed but wonderfully written characters and monstrous worlds, then this is the one for you.


This Savage Song is released on the 7th June in the UK and the 5th July in the US.