Thursday 31 October 2019


Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!

Title: Dorothy In the Land of Monsters 
Series: Oz ReVamped 
Garten Gevedon 
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Publication date: 
October 11th 2019

Synopsis supplied by Xpresso Book Tours
Shifters, Zombies, and Vampires? Oh my!
My name is Dorothy Gale, and I think I might be dead.
When my dog Toto and I got swept up in a twister, we landed in hell. A very colorful hell. Like a rainbow dripping in blood. Now it looks as though this dreadful underworld plagued with vampires, zombies, and shifters will be the site of my eternal damnation.
They say this terrifying land called Oz isn’t hell or purgatory and escape is possible, but first I must survive the journey down the blood-soaked yellow brick road to the only place in Oz where vampires dare not tread—The City of Emeralds. 
With enchanted footwear and the help of my three new friends—a friendly zombie, a massive shifter lion, and a heartless axe murderer of evil night creatures (who also happens to be the hottest guy I’ve ever seen)—Toto and I have a chance to make it to the Vampire Free Zone. When we get there, I must convince the most powerful wizard in this magical land of monsters to send us out of this radiant nightmare and back to the world of the living. They say he’s just as frightening as this monstrous land, that he detests visitors, and even the most horrifying creatures cower in his presence. But I must seek him out. And when I find him, I’ll do whatever it takes to make him send me home.

Gray everywhere. As I stand on the porch of my aunt and uncle’s home, all I can see is the great gray expanse of prairie on every side. No trees, houses, buildings, people, nothing at all breaks the broad sweep of flat gray country that reaches to the edge of the gray sky in every direction. The sun scorched the plowed fields into a dusty, gray mass that expands to the horizon line, the endless gloom broken only by the little black shadows of the fissures running through it like the marbling of a corpse.
Even the grass is dead and gray—the hot sun singed the blades until they were the same lifeless gray color that blankets everything. Years ago, the house was a pristine white, but the torrid summer sun burned and blistered the paint and the heavy winter rains battered it away, and now the house is as weathered and gray as everything else here. It’s fitting for what it’s like to live here in Middle of Nowhere, Kansas. It looks like what it is—bleak, leached of any color, any excitement, anything interesting at all—drained of life. Gray is gray is gray is my life. It surrounds me from all sides, all the time. And it sucks. Thanks a lot, climate change.
I came to live with my Uncle Henry and Aunt Emily on a crappy little farm when my parents died in a car accident. I was thirteen. Because Emily was the only family I had left, she got stuck with me. She could have refused me and left me as a ward of the state, but she was kind enough to take me in. Even though I don’t share the same connection with Emily and Henry that I did with my parents, they’re still family—the only family I have—so, I may complain about this being the middle of nowhere, but it’s better than being in an orphanage or foster care or some group home. Yeah, their place is tiny, and old, but at least it has four walls, a floor, and a roof.
The two-bedroom farmhouse I live in is as weathered and brittle as the farm it’s set on. One story with no attic and no basement, the only feature it has is a cyclone cellar which we’ve had yet to use since I’ve lived here. It may lack color and any of the luxuries most people in America have these days—cable, wifi, consistent hot water to shower with—but I am grateful I have somewhere to live, even if life here is so gray that the grayness proliferates, turning everything in it to a gray as dry as dust.
When Aunt Emily came here to live with Uncle Henry, she was a young, pretty, vivacious woman with golden hair and bright emerald green eyes—or I thought I remembered her that way. Even she’s gray now. Just like it changed this once green land, the sun and wind have changed her, and her once sparkling green eyes are now dim and muted, tinged with a melancholy gray. Living here in this sweltering, ex animate world has stolen her radiance and left her ashen. It’s exhausted the red from her cheeks and lips, and now they’re pallid and gray too. Once she was curvy and a little plump. Now she’s gaunt and never smiles. Can’t blame her for never smiling, living in this dull, gray crap hole.
When I first came to her, Aunt Emily would startle when I laughed. She’d scream and look at me like I was nuts, shocked I could find anything to laugh at in this gray place. Uncomfortable and bored out of my skull, I’d laugh trying to entertain myself, trying not to let the depression get the best of me, but after being here for four years, I get it now—what is there to laugh about when all that’s here is gray?
Uncle Henry never laughs either. Morning to night, all he does is work hard. If he knows what joy is, he doesn’t let on. From his gray beard to his rough boots, Henry is also gray, stern, and solemn. With a permanent stone face, he almost never speaks. It’s like he’s made of hard, gray stone. If he didn’t work so much trying to make this gray land yield something, I’d think he was stone—a gray statue of a man.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s me that’s gray, or the lens I see the world through. Before my parents died, my life was a bright white, like a pristine sheet of paper wishing for a colorful story to grace its surface. Then the black smear of tragedy struck, and it’s as though the thousands of tears I shed diffused the black that blemished my bright whiteness, spreading it over the unsullied parts like watercolor, leaving my world gray. But I don’t think I’m gray. Not yet. I don’t think it has spread to me yet.

—“Dorothy in the Land of Monsters” Oz ReVamped #1
Chapter 1 – The Cyclone, pgs. 1-2

Garten Gevedon lives in New York City with her family. She's a sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal author who loves taking fairy tales and turning them inside out.
 You can visit her online at



Wednesday 30 October 2019


Title: Survive The Conflict
Series: Small Town EMP
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: General Fiction, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Release Date: 12th September 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
The world has descended into a nightmarish hell. Death and destruction reign at every turn. Everywhere Austin Merryman has led his tightknit group of survivors has gone from bad to worse as enemies pursue them for the intelligence he possesses. Yet, his group remains steadfastly together even as the infighting continues.

It’s only when the cryptologist traveling with them finally breaks through the last coded barrier, exposing the full extent of the data on the mysterious USB drive, that their luck finally seems to be turning. So many have already given their lives to secure the information, and now they know why.

Now, a small window of opportunity remains for stopping the New World Order from succeeding in their plans, but Austin and his cohorts will have to move fast. Once again, splitting up may be their only option, but at what cost? And can they really launch the countermeasures that could take down the NWO’s plan for domination?

But when the enemy closes in and lives of his entire group are threatened, Austin will be forced to choose between his family and the ultimate survival of the entire world…

This novel contains violence and scenes with referenced substance abuse


Having read Survive The Chaos and Survive The Aftermath, I had to read this one. In fact, had they all been available together I think I would have read them back to back! The cover fits really well with the rest of the series. The people on the cover could represent either Austin and Amanda or maybe Savannah and Malachi.

The book picks up where the other left off. The group have lost the majority of their prepping possessions along with Ennis’ prepper house.
They are also still mourning the tragic loss of one much loved character (no spoilers here!) especially Savannah who feels more than a little responsible for what happened.
There’s some unsettlement within the group when it is suggested they forget about the overwhelming task of defeating the New World Order and just find themselves a little hideaway and live off the land.

Sarah is still searching the usb stick that Callum gave to Austin and soon discovers a devastating plan that the New Order have. Luckily, she also reveals a way of thwarting that plan. However, it involves the group splitting up into two groups. The difficult decision is made, Austin will lead one team and Amanda will lead the other one. Everything seems settled and though a daunting task, though everyone has their mind set on the end goal of saving the world except one person who turns out to be out just for themselves. A traitor in their midst, the two teams blindly follow their respective plans. Also, to add to this mix of troubles, a guilt- ridden Savannah decides to go it alone. Austin’s first instinct is to head off after his daughter, but it is Malachi that steps up to the plate and reasons with Austin saying Savannah will be more likely to talk to Malachi and he can then persuade her to return to the group.

Favourite characters in this book are again Austin and Amanda, always looking after other people, either in their group or anyone they meet along their arduous journey. I became fond of Malachi again in this book, he shows much more of his caring side. He takes on an adult male’s responsibilities when he goes in search of Savannah and then they both have to grow up rather quickly when they end up caring for a younger child. They both realise all the support and love they have had from their group and how they have been somewhat sheltered from some of the harsher atrocities that are out in the wider now uncivilised world.

I still enjoyed “hating” Zander and the New Order that is still pitting neighbour against neighbour in their fight to take over and remain in charge of the world that is now emerging from the aftermath of the EMP.
I also still disliked Wendell! I was sad at the loss of another character at the ending of the book but it would have been totally unrealistic for these two groups not to have taken any casualties at all in such a dangerous world coupled with their near impossible mission too. In this book we also get to know some of the lesser characters better such as Harlen, Ennis, and Ezra. Gretchen remains a powerful character and by the end of the book I think Tonya has regained some of the strength she had at the beginning of the series.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that I not only loved this book but the whole series! This last book was packed with action, a few of the fantastic characters were lost towards the end of the fighting. Brilliant read! Highly recommend the whole series!

To finally sum up this whole series is brilliant! From reading the first words to the very last I found the series engrossing and really hated having to put the books down! As the series went on, I easily slipped back into the plot as I started each new book.

Tuesday 29 October 2019


Title: Survive The Aftermath
Series: Small Town EMP
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Post Apocalyptic
Release Date: 8th August 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
The New World Order is at hand. 

Civilization has crumbled since the EMP thrust humanity back into the Stone Age, and dangerous factions now scavenge for scarce resources in this terrifying new world. 

Austin Merryman wonders what the future holds for his teenaged daughter, and if the madness surrounding them is even worth surviving. For now, the group is safe in his brother’s prepper house nestled in the Rockies. But the calm can’t last forever. With sixteen people crammed together in the tiny mountain home, tensions are bound to erupt. It doesn’t help that his brother’s lazy friend gets twisted pleasure from stirring up animosity, pitting brother against brother and daughter against father as battle lines are drawn. 

But decisions about who stays and who goes are ripped from their hands as information on the USB drive lays bare pieces of the NWO’s plans. Austin realizes the horrifying truth of why he’s in their sights, as well as the danger he’s brought down on those he loves most. When tragedy again strikes the small group, it will be up to Austin to make the hard choices necessary to ensure their survival. 

Until a dying man utters the single word that changes everything…


As I loved Survive The Chaos, which was book one in this Small Town EMP series I was keeping an eye out for more of the series. The cover of this book fits well with that of the first book, which means that the series have a cohesive look. The genre is post-apocalyptic, which I have to admit is one of my favourite genres to read. There is a “trigger warning” about substance abuse, it is actually alcohol abuse and is only a small part of the book.

The book basically picks up where book one left off. There are some awkward questions and decisions that need to be made, some will be not be popular with the rest of the group but it becomes apparent that someone needs to take the lead and ask these questions. For the time being all sixteen people are safe at Ennis Merryman’s prepper ready house. However, with so many people staying in close proximity, including the revivalist party who originally only wanted to stay temporarily and then continue their journey to Salt Lake, their own home base. The house is seriously overcrowded which means people are starting to irritate each other as well as the food provisions are being reduced at a more rapid rate than they were ever meant to be. Broaching the subject is going to be difficult as though the house and supplies belong to Ennis it is his brother Austin that everyone seems to look at as a leader of the group. Within the revivalists, Tonya seems to be in charge though they are all looking to Malachi to lead the prayers etc stepping into his father shoes as he would have eventually been trained to do.

I have really become attached to some of the characters in this series so far. Savannah is still set on the possibilities of a relationship with Malachi and does things she comes to regret in an attempt to get his attention.

Nash is still one of my favourite characters and is staying at the house and still helping a lot around the place though sadly he seems to become more and more side lined by certain people in the house. Of course, my favourite couple in the book is Austin and Amanda, I hope they survive the series and end up together! A little romantic hope in a post-apocalyptic setting!

A character I thoroughly enjoyed disliking in the last book and became even more so in this book was Wendell. He doesn’t want to take part in any manual tasks and will only do “inventory” of the supplies they have. As time goes on it becomes apparent why he enjoys doing inventory when it is discovered he has been helping himself to large portions of the alcohol. It’s not just that he isn’t very practical, or a bit lazy, he goes out of his way to cause problems in this book, pitting brother against brother at every opportunity. Then when there’s a case of everyone making a stand, he goes away to hide with a bottle of alcohol.

There is the constant threat of the New Order searching for Austin and his family. They desperately want to retrieve the USB, and Austin is as desperate to find out what is on it! With help from Nash they try to decode it, and at one point, Austin has to go in search of a woman his friend Callum said would know what to do with the information.

Some of the revivalists, such as Tonya and Bonnie are still grieving for the loss of their husbands but all make a conscious decision to help out and create a life at Ennis’s house. Despite their religious beliefs they take part in self-defence, and weapons training. They all need to be prepared to fight to protect each other and what they have in the way of food etc.
There is much more to be revealed about the mine where Nash was when the power went out, as well as more to be learnt about the New Order. Sadly, it seems there are small bands of survivors who are often aggressive to outsiders. It seems the New Order are giving out propaganda encouraging survivors to distrust each other.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were, Seriously, looking forward to more of this series!
Lost some brilliant characters in this part of the series!
Will those remaining survive? What is on the USB drive? Will the group ever find somewhere safe to settle? Will *?*?* and the New Order catch up to them?

So, to sum up I looooove this book, its characters and I am seriously looking forward to read more! Grace Hamilton is firmly on my favourite authors list!

Monday 28 October 2019


Title: Survive The Chaos
Series: Small Town EMP
Author: Grace Hamilton
Genre: Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Release Date: 11th July 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
When the lights go out, anarchy reigns supreme. 

After Austin Merryman’s wife died, he and his fourteen-year-old daughter left home to travel the country in an old RV. But the comfort and renewal they sought soon descends into chaos—even before the EMP hits. 

When a message from an old college buddy leads Austin to a bridge in the middle of nowhere, he finds his friend—now an NSA agent—waiting to give him a USB drive. Before the contents can be explained, machine gun fire strafes the bridge, killing Austin’s friend and forcing Austin into the raging river. 

Rescued downstream by a beautiful veterinarian, Austin learns that EMP attacks have thrust the world into eternal darkness—and separated him from the only person he has left: his young, but resourceful, daughter. Now, he’ll move heaven and earth to locate her and make it to his brother’s prepper hideaway in Utah. 

But the post-apocalyptic world is no longer a friendly place. Resources are growing scarce. Factions break out and walls go up. Everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. And Austin’s daughter is caught right in the middle of this splintering society. 

But an even deadlier foe stalks them as they struggle across the landscape. Someone who hasn’t forgotten about the USB drive Austin possesses. 

And they’ll do anything to get it back. 

This novel contains violence.


I have read other series and parts of series by this author so I admit I do look out for her new titles. When I saw this one and read the blurb I immediately knew I had to read it!
The book cover shows a rather desolate scenery with male and female figures on it. The colours used on the cover go with the post apocalyptic theme. Upon reading the book I personally think the male and female figures on the cover are Savannah and Malachi, it would be interesting to know who they author would say they are and what other people think when they have read the book also.

The book begins with 14 year old, Savannah telling her dad, Austin what she considers a white lie, that she is going to the creamery with the girl from the nearby farm whose land their RV is on. Austin is suspicious his daughter may be meeting a boy but gives her time she has to be home by and lets her go off as he has someone to meet too. An old friend, Callum, has contacted him telling him he has a big story for him. Austin used to be famous for his whistle blower articles, though his recent journalism has been much smaller articles about travelling. Since he is now single parent to Savannah since her mother and his wife, Karen died. 

Both characters go off to their “meetings”. Savannah does have ice cream at the creamery with her friend Cassie but soon rushes off to meet Malachi, the boy she has a crush on. Malachi and his family also travel around the country preaching about their beliefs as they are revivalists. Savannah sits through the revivalist meeting trying to look interested as she likes Malachi a lot. It is shortly after the meeting that Malachi’s grandfather Eli collapses. Savannah frantically tries CPR as it seems she is the only one who knows how to. Others amongst the revivalists try to ring 911, but their phones are not working, then they suggest taking Eli to hospital in one of their vehicles but none of them seem to be working. It is then everyone notices that all their modern gadgets have suddenly ceased working. 

Everyone is discovering that their gadgets and modern conveniences have stopped working, from mobile phones, to cars, vans and planes.
Another character, Amanda finds out she has no power and needs to crash land her plane into her newly renovated barn which causes it to burst into flames. It’s whilst Amanda is trying to rig up a way to dampen the ground surrounding the barn to avoid the fire spreading that she comes across Austin. Austin has met his friend Callum who has handed him something important. So important in fact that during the meeting Callum is shot dead, and Austin is shot at and ends up jumping off the bridge into the swollen fast running stream. 

The rest of the book covers how Savannah has a tough decision to make, stay alone in the RV and wait for her dad to return to her or whether to leave her dad a note and travel with the revivalist group and go to her Uncle Ennis and wait for her dad there. 
Austin has equally hard decisions to make, as he has a broken leg and concussion. Lucky for him the woman that helped him get out of the river is a vet so has some knowledge and supplies that are useful and helpful to humans too. 

The book tells the stories of Austin and Savannah’s separate journeys along with some other characters they meet along the way. Both sets of travellers have to avoid those intent on killing and looting anyone that has more than themselves. An extra worry for everyone is the emergence of a group of individuals calling themselves the New Order. Austin is also unaware that the guy that killed his friend Callum and shot at him has reported back to his bosses and there is a new tougher operative on his trail who will use anyone and anything to get what he wants, he also doesn’t care who he has to kill to get what he wants.

Of course, I liked the characters of Austin and Savannah but I also really liked Amanda who has a practical and objective approach to every problem they face, though she can be a little naïve and much too honest and trusting for the world she is now living in. I think it would be great if Austin and Amanda got together in a relationship too.
I loved the character of Ennis, the totally unexperienced prepper who literally has a house protected by steel but doesn’t really have a clue what to do with some of his ‘end of the world’ gadgets. I instantly loved Nash, the young man who finds himself on the doorstep of a house of steel. Nash is a very savvy survivor despite perhaps looking a bit geeky. It could be his knowledge and expertise that secures the survival of whoever he is with.

Characters I enjoyed disliking? Maybe not the one you would choose but I felt irritated by Wendell. The college friend to Ennis who wants to ride out the looting and chaos with his best buddy. Wendell knows the kind of supplies and luxury that Ennis has secured for himself and anyone with him by purchasing all the prepper recommended gadgets.

The one that will instantly fit the ‘hate’ brief is Zander, who I can only describe as a mercenary or hit man. Zander is working for a much larger group of people who you really don’t want to meet up. This organisation is distributing leaflets along with ‘emergency aid” packs. Their intention seems to be to turn neighbour against neighbour, mentioning ‘True Patriots’ and Zander also comments about a group called ‘The New Order’

I have to admit I became quickly exasperated with were the revivalists, particularly Jim and Tonya Loveridge who are Malachi’s parents and who blindly believe they will get home by simply walking and relying on their faith in God to keep them fed and safe. They even take it in their stride so to speak when people turn on them and want to hurt them and kill them for their religious way of life. 

This book is so well written, the pace is great, keeps you reading and you so hate having to put it down for silly things like, eating, sleeping and housework! The book is action packed especially in a certain scene towards the end of the book. Though the book deals with society at it’s worst there are some principled honest caring people left. 

My immediate thought when finishing the book were, Oh wow! What a cliffhanger! Loved it from beginning to end, would read next book now if I could! Brilliant, engrossing, addictive reading. 

Thursday 24 October 2019


Title: The Rabbit Girls
Author: Anna Ellory
Genre: General Fiction, Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing, Amazon Publishing
Release Date: 1st September 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel.
Searching for more clues of her father’s past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed among her mother’s things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.
Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

Amazon UK

This first thing that drew me to the book were the title and cover. The initial image on the cover that made me want to learn more was the feather that prominently features on the blue background. It wasn’t until after I had read the book that I actually noticed the image of the Auschwitz concentration camp in the lower section of the book cover. Once I read the blurb, I knew I wanted to read this book, I seem drawn to stories of holocaust survivors and their families. I guess it’s because I feel that it is important that their stories are told, heard and most importantly remembered too. The genres I saw listed for the book before I read it were General Fiction and Women’s Fiction but after reading the book, I would list Historical Fiction, Holocaust and World War 2 to the listing. This book covers some really serious yet varying subjects from World War 2, the Holocaust, marital infidelity, censorship, domestic violence, obsessive compulsive disorder and self-harm to name just some of them.

The main characters are Miriam and her father Henryk. The book is set in Germany around the time the Berlin Wall is being torn down. Miriam has escaped a rather warped, controlling, relationship with her husband Axel. Miriam has heard her father is dying and has literally fled her marriage where she is subject to domestic violence on a daily basis. Miriam knows its only a matter of time before Axel turns up to retrieve her and unleash his temper and violence on her for having the audacity to run away from him. Miriam is determined to nurse her father in the family home, she never got the chance to even visit her mother when she became ill years earlier. Axel almost prevented her from attending the funeral at all. In fact, she missed part of the funeral only arriving at the wake afterwards and briefly speaking to her father. So, when she is notified that her father, Henryk is actually dying and an opportunity to escape Axel arises she quickly takes it. The way Axel has treated Miriam, she is a scared, very apprehensive, self-doubting woman. To be honest the title being “The Rabbit Girls” is fitting in more than the way it is intended as I would liken the character of Miriam to a timid rabbit. Miriam has her own little rituals and obsessions she has to complete to feel any kind of peace at all. From placing a feather between the door and its frame so she can tell if anyone has opened the front door when she goes out. Though she doesn’t go out much, only when absolutely necessary. The book begins with Miriam caring for her father, Henryk, by washing him and whilst doing so moving his watch strap revealing some numbers tattooed on his arm. Miriam immediately associates this number with the war, yet doesn’t know why her father has this marking as her parents have never spoken about it, or the war to her either when she was a child or an adult. It’s whilst seeking comfort surrounded by the fragrance lingering on the dresses in her mother’s wardrobe that Miriam comes across a bag she hasn’t ever noticed before. The item in the bag is a dress, but not something she would have expected her mother to have in her possession….it is an old, worn, faded striped dress made from rough material. The dress is the uniform worn in concentration camps by women. It’s whilst handling the dress, feeling it’s texture whilst trying to understand why her mother had this uniform yet Miriam had never seen it before or even knew her parents had been in a camp at all during the war that she discovers letters and notes have been sewn into the different and hidden the seams and sections of the dress.

The letters are in both German and French which presents Miriam with a problem as she can read one language and not the other. Miriam takes a rare trip out, briefly leaving her father to go to the library hoping to find a dictionary to help translate the letters or better still find someone who could translate the letters for her. Miriam finds a young man who suggests his mother would be able to translate the letters. 

The book then covers the friendship and trust that Miriam and Eva build slowly with each other. Miriam has a lot to cope with and very little support around her. Naturally Miriam is finding it difficult coping with caring for her father knowing that no matter what she does he is still going to die. When her father calls out the name Frieda which Miriam discovers is the writer of the letters, she is determined to find out what happened to Frieda. Maybe if she is alive her father Henryk, may want to see her before he dies. Miriam also wishes to learn how, and why her father has numbers tattooed on his arm and what he went through during the war. Miriam is curious as to why neither of her parents ever mentioned anything to her. During the book Miriam does have help from Eva with the letter translation but she has interference from her husband Axel. Axel has always played mind games with Miriam, and when he attacks her and no one believes he has raped her, putting the assault down as a domestic dispute Miriam finally decides to make a stand, she wants a divorce. Unfortunately for Miriam Axel is far from finished with her. Making professionals think she is unfit to care for her father, that in fact maybe it would be a good idea is she was placed in a mentally facility herself! Axel turns out to be a very disturbed and wicked, evil man. Some of the things he subjects Miriam too are things that the Nazi’s did to women in concentration camps. Cutting their hair, regular beatings, taking any control over their own bodies or life away. Axel really is as sadistic as the Nazis.

I really admired the character of Frieda, who is initially a student in a class that Professor Henryk is teaching. They have similar ideals and when the Nazis begin restricting what books they are allowed to read and discus, Henryk and Frieda find they are sort of kindred spirits. Their ability to speak different languages means they are able to retain a little privacy when talking. Soon they are meeting up secretly and then not long after having an affair despite Henryk being married. When it becomes apparent that Henryk is in danger of being rounded up as a political prisoner and possibly sent to a camp Frieda begs him to leave Berlin with his wife Emilie, even providing jewellery to pay for their escape. Emilie works as a nurse and is considered “safe” or not a “problem person” by the Nazis whish is why they could both flee relatively easily. Emilie knows of Henryk and Frieda’s affair and gives Henryk an ultimatum but Henryk fails to make any choice in time as he and Frieda both end up as political prisoners in camps. Frieda is first sent to Ravensbruck, then Auschwitz, and Auschwitz-Birkenau, which is where she writes her secret letters to Henryk, not even knowing if he is alive. Henryk is sent straight to Auschwitz and made to give up any ideals or rebelliousness up when he is put to work in one of the crematoria.

This book has so much going on from the story of the letters, revealing what happened in Henryk and Frieda’s past. There is Miriam’s abusive relationship with Axel, where he has made her into someone who self- harms in an attempt to feel in control of something. Axel also interferes with the arrangement where Miriam is caring for her father in is home. He succeeds to the extent of having Henryk removed from Miriam’s care and being placed in a care home/hospice. Though things don’t totally go to Axel’s plan when Henryk is taken ill during the transportation of him to the hospice and has to be rushed to hospital.  Axel is a very violent, strange man who will stop at nothing to get Miriam to do as he bids her to. There is also the fact that the Police do not seem to believe Miriam’s version of events when Axel corners Miriam outside the hospital Henryk is in temporarily and assaults and rapes her. The Police insinuate that the rape is a misunderstanding, that perhaps Axel didn’t know her wishes, or in fact that as Axel has told them she likes spontaneity, and rough outdoor sex!

Eva is another great character in the book that I adored. Eva has her own secrets and past trauma’s to deal with. It is through a chance meeting at the library that sees Eva end up being an important and instrumental person in Miriam’s life. Eva translates the letters from Frieda to Henryk. Eva also talks with Miriam and encourages her to take action against Axel. It is only with the help of Eva that Miriam finds the internal strength to demand a divorce. Eva becomes a true friend to Miriam and even finds someone to help her prove that Miriam is not the mentally disturbed individual that Axel is portraying her as. Then when once again it looks like Axel is gaining the upper hand during an assault on Miriam, it is Eva that comes to her aide. Eva is also a great support to Miriam when she reads the final letter she has translated. Eva attempts to ease Miriam slowly into the frame of mind to accept what the letter seems to suggest.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were that this was an amazing book full of emotion, heartbreak & more. I had so many questions throughout the book, some were answered and some were not, which made the book feel even more realistic as there would have been no records of those at Ravensbruck, Auschwitz & Auschwitz-Birkenau.
To sum up I adored reading this book. The Holocaust is something that provokes strong emotions in me and I feel I have to read these stories, that they deserve to be told, and read, and remembered. I read both fictional books, fictional books based on facts and factual biographic stories of this era. I am not Jewish in my close nor historical heritage that I know of, I just feel drawn to read about this time of history.
I loved the story of the letter being sewn in the dress and do wonder if this was based on any historical facts from the era. Though I have read about Dr Mengele’s experiments and such, I had never heard of the term, or those medically experimented on being called “Rabbit Girls”. I will admit that I had guessed, or rather felt an inkling of a possibility about the fantastic twist that occurs at the end of the book but what an amazing twist it was!! I went through a whole range of emotions reading this book, from anger, sorrow and an affinity with how Axel treats Miriam and the domestic violence and abuse she endures. I was incensed at the male Police Officers that dealt with Miriam being raped by Axel. I felt irritation and resentment at how the “system” treat Miriam as a non- person, and in their opinion, her being uncapable to care for her father Henryk. I totally agreed with Miriam and the fact she was against Henryk being institutionalised and the possibility it would remind him of his time in Auschwitz. I felt horror at how Frieda, the rabbit girls and other women of the camp were handled by the Nazi’s the indignities they were forced to undergo. The way pregnant women and babies were treated. Then there was the shock at what Henryk had to endure during his time at Auschwitz. The once principled, intelligent, well-read Professor reduced to working at the crematoria which is revealed at the latter end of the book along with his nightmare of seeing a familiar face amongst the bodies he was forced to throw in the furnace.

What more can I say, an amazing, emotive read and keep those tissues handy as I can’t believe anyone would not shed a tear or two whilst reading this book.

Monday 21 October 2019


Title: The Chosen
Series: Knights Academy
Author: Emerald Barnes
Genre: Paranormal, Shapeshifters
Publisher: Clean Reads
Release Date: 19th February 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
Still reeling from her grandmother’s death, Myka William’s has been chosen to rule her pack, but she isn’t sure she wants the job. It comes with an unwanted fiancé and vampires who are still hunting them down. Running away has always been her go-to answer, but Myka’s finally found what she’s been looking for—home. Running is no longer an option. 

As the last female alpha in her pack, Myka isn’t allowed to follow her heart, and she has to fight a battle between her heart and head. Will Myka be able to have the happy ending she so desperately wants? 

Along with help from vampires, hybrids, and werewolves she can trust, Myka must learn how to find a way out of her engagement, get the pack to take her seriously, and save her pack from the vicious vampires who want to use them for unspeakable things. 


So far, I have absolutely loved the Knights Academy series, so I knew I had to read this instalment too! The cover is gorgeous and the female on the front does fit the image of Myka that the book gives you when reading it.

This book picks up with a still devastated Myka. Just when she has found Francis, her grandmother the She-Wolf leader of the pack that Myka should have grown up in and known all her life her grandmother is killed by Preston the vampire henchman of Marcus Knight. Marcus, headmaster of the Knight Academy is still after her and other female werewolves of the pack to make a hybrids. They are quite literally sat waiting for him to attack them again. Another problem Myka is facing is the fact she is expected to marry the male werewolf born with the alpha mark, Colin. Myka is basically “going through the motions” in that she has to appear to agree but she knows in her heart will always belong to Brent, her beta in the pack. The vampires are helping the wolves out with security. In fact, Myka has her own personal guard throughout the book consisting of, one werewolf and one vampire. Dragon insists it is the best way to protect the Princess.

There are some amazing emotional sections in this book, between Brent and Myka trying to be together at every opportunity. Brent is the support that Myka needs to get her through mourning the loss of her grandmother.
There are quite a few heart to hearts and poignant moments between Myka and Anna. Anna was both good friend and maid to Francis, so is now the maid looking after Myka.

We don’t see or hear as much about Olivia and Luka in this book, but they are still about and there when Myka needs them.
Milo seems to finally getting over the fact he and Myka are not together, nor will they be. In fact, Milo seems to be ready to move on when his attention is caught by one of the female wolves.

It turns out that Dragon and Brent are right to be on edge and guarding Myka from everyone, when someone in her inner circle attempts to betray her and give her to Marcus Knight and his followers.

Another character that has made it on to my favourites list in this series is Sunni, a young werewolf with a secret who approaches Myka with it, scared if it gets out, she could be made to leave the pack and her aunt. Of course, I still love, Myka, and Olivia, along with the brilliant book boyfriend options of Brent, Milo, Luka and Dragon!

Also mentioned in this book is that more vampires and werewolves are needed to fight against Marcus. Dragon briefly leaves his position as guard to go ask more vampires to join them. Though Dragon never lets Myka down and when she is grave danger he has already anticipated an attack and soon has the situation under control.

I really don’t want to say much more about this book as it’s brilliant and I really do not want to give spoilers. I can honestly say you will not be disappointed by this book.

To sum up, what more can I say I totally adore this series!
When can we have more??

Saturday 19 October 2019


Title: The End And Other Beginnings Stories From The Future 
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Teens, YA, Dystopian, Futuristic
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, Harpercollins
Release Date: 1st October 2019

BLURB from Goodreads
No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.

In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.

With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.

With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.

Goodreads Link


As I loved reading Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was immediately interested in reading this collection of short stories/novellas. I was also interested by the fact that some of the novellas are set in the same world as some of her other series too, in particular her “Carve The Mark” series which I have not read any of as yet.

The cover is green and features what could be doors or frames on it. I don’t like the cover but at the same time I don’t hate it either. The cover would not make me pick it up from a book store shelf to learn more about the book. It would be the authors name that would make me take the book from a shelf to discover more about it.

The theme/setting of the collection is the “future” so I thought futuristic maybe dystopian in genre, which is a genre I usually love. The book has six novellas and they each have their own individual titles, which are, Inertia, The Spinners, Hearken, Vim and Vigor, Armored Ones and The Transformationalist. I did discover that I had already read Hearken elsewhere though I cannot remember where and I still really enjoyed reading it again. I have decided to tell you about just a couple of the stories as I don’t want to reveal too much about the whole fantastic collection.

Inertia is one of my favourite novellas from the collection. The main characters are Claire and Matthew, and it is set in a future that when you are on a life support machine, or dying you can have visitations with your loved ones where you can talk to each other in the dying persons consciousness. Most people stated those they wanted to have last visits with in their wills. It turns out that Matthew has requested Claire to be one of his last visits along with his mother. Claire goes first, though she is surprised about Matthews request as though they were good friends, well best friends but they had drifted apart more recently. Claire is very nervous as it is her first visitation with anyone so she is a little unsure how it all works and what to expect. When Claire gets to the hospital, she is seen by a Doctor Linda Albertson. Claire’s blood pressure and other vitals are checked to make sure she is fit and well enough, then the sympathetic and friendly Doctor hooks her up to the machine, electrodes are touched to her head and an IV needle. Dr Albertson explains the procedure explaining younger people seem to take to it much easier. Claire is having her visit first, then Matthews mother will have hers later but before Matthew undergoes a last surgical attempt to help him. Claire’s visit will be an hour, and she may have to explain how the visitation works to Matthew. They each get to choose and revisit the memories they shared together, to kind of relive them.

The short story then has the pair reliving/reviewing their shared memories and remembering how much they cared for each other and how close they actually were. They seem to be able to get over whatever it was that came between them in real life. Within their memories everything makes more sense. As the visit comes to an end both are at peace with each other and Matthew says something important to Claire, something he said he had wanted to say to her before but was unsure. When the visit is over and Claire is brought back to reality, she realises she still has things she wished she had had the time to say to Matthew but now its over, or is it? Matthew has his visit with his mum then he goes for a last attempt at life surgery.

I really loved this story and the elements within the world and would love more stories set around this technology and the world it exists in.

Hearken was the other novella I also really loved and was fascinated with the world it was set in. Another futuristic world I would love to read much more from. As I said I have read this one before and though it is a rarity that I re-read anything, I re-read this one and still loved it as much.

Being a Hearkener is very rare but it is discovered that the main character, Darya, in this book has the gift. She does not come from a well off or high-class family. She comes from a poor family, just getting by. Her mother is an alcoholic and has been since shortly after her second daughter Darya was born. Khali can remember their mother when she was alcohol free and happy and did things with her family, rather than the reclusive, numbed alcoholic she is now. Khali tries to explain this to Darya but Darya cannot remember her mother prior to being an alcoholic at all. The world they are living in is one that it is in the constant threat of terror attacks. The family have two masks, for to breath in the toxic fumes from the bombs the terrorists set off is a death sentence. It is Darya’s father that accompanies her to be tested to see if she can gain a place to be trained as a Hearkener. They do not have their masks, as, Khali and her mother need them to walk to school. There’s an incident on the way and Darya’s father escapes with her but has inhaled some of the toxic gas. They go home unable to travel on to the building the test is being held at. They will have to make another appointment.
When they finally make it to the building the test is at a woman with the black markings of a Hearkener looks pitifully at Darya’s father. Later when he dies and when Darya is accepted to train as a Hearkener and learns more about it all she realises this woman could hear her father’s death song. Hearkeners have a choice they can choose red, then they will hear people’s life songs. Or they can choose black, which means they will hear people’s death songs. So, what with Darya choose? If her older sister Khali has anything to do with it, she will pick black. Khali wants to hear their mother’s death song and tries all ways to persuade Darya to decide on black. They argue with Darya saying she cannot promise anything and that once she has chosen, she cannot change her decision. Meaning if she chooses black to hear their mother’s death song, she will be a death song Hearkener for the rest of her life.

Again, I really enjoyed this story and loved the characters. It would be great to read more set in this unique world setting too.

I did enjoy the other novella’s too which consisted of The Spinners, Vim And Vigor, Armored Ones which is the novella set in the same world as the Carve The Mark series, and finally The Transformationalists.

I think Vim and Vigor was quite different to the other books, it had a more realistic setting and was more about friendship and dreams for the future rather than being set in a more futuristic/dystopic setting of the other novella’s.

On the whole I really enjoyed reading this collection of novella’s and it reminded me as to how much I had loved reading Divergent, also written by Veronica Roth. I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for any forthcoming title by Veronica Roth hoping she may release some full- length books based in the same worlds and setting as this novella, or even more novella collections to read.

So, to sum up definitely well worth reading! Oooo and I almost forgot there are some brilliant sketch illustrations in the novella collection too!