Tuesday 30 November 2021



Title: The Violinist Of Auschwitz
Author: Jean-Jacques Felstein
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biographies, Memoirs, History
Release Date: 30th November 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
Arrested in 1943 and deported to Auschwitz, Elsa survived because she had the 'opportunity' to join the women's orchestra. But Elsa kept her story a secret, even from her own family. Indeed, her son would only discover what had happened to his mother many years later, after gradually unearthing her unbelievable story following her premature death, without ever having revealed her secret to anyone.

Jean-Jacques Felstein was determined to reconstruct Elsa's life in Birkenau, and would go in search of other orchestra survivors in Germany, Belgium, Poland, Israel and the United States. The recollections of Hélène, first violin, Violette, third violin, Anita, a cellist, and other musicians, allowed him to rediscover his 20-year-old mother, lost in the heart of hell.

The story unfolds in two intersecting stages: one, contemporary, is that of the investigation, the other is that of Auschwitz and its unimaginable daily life, as told by the musicians. They describe the recitals on which their very survival depended, the incessant rehearsals, the departure in the mornings for the forced labourers to the rhythm of the instruments, the Sunday concerts, and how Mengele pointed out the pieces in the repertoire he wished to listen to in between 'selections'.

In this remarkable book, Jean-Jacques Felstein follows in his mother's footsteps and by telling her story, attempts to free her, and himself, from the pain that had been hidden in their family for so long.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

The cover first attracted me to this book, with its attractive violin, marred by the yellow star the Jewish were made to wear when the Nazis came into power giving a stark contrast for what the instrument is used for making beautiful music. When you really think about it in really simplistic terms the violin epitomises love whereas the yellow star really does symbolise hate.

The book begins with quite a long prologue by the author Jean-Jacques Felstein about his at time problematic relationship with his mother Elsa. Jean-Jacques explains he always felt a distance between them. The very fact that his mothers “before”, her history and what she went through during the Holocaust and her time in Auschwitz-Birkenau was never mentioned to him at all. As a child he grew up knowing not to mention it. His parents were divorced meaning it was rather like he had two lives, the one when he was with his father and then the one, he had when he was with his mother. Jean-Jacques describes seeing the numbers on his mother’s arm and knowing what they represented and that her memories of the tie around her having those numbers was not a good time for his mother to think about, never mind speak about. He also had the knowledge that sometimes a hug & kiss from him to his mother, could chase away her nightmares of her time at Auschwitz-Birkenau, if only for a little while. Jean-Jacques remembers talk of the family members that never made it through the journey his mother, Elsa did. Such as his Aunt Lydia, the one in the old photo’s whose old books he loved and read but was never talked in length about as she was from the time “before” the time in “Auschwitz-Birkenau”.

Unfortunately for Jean-Jacques all this mystery and the sense of tragedy about what had happened to his family, made him very insecure and he had awful nightmares where he searched for his parents in burning buildings and then when his parents separated, he was sent to a children’s home and that is where he first heard the truths and horrors about WW2. Jean-Jacques settled more when he realised, he could leave the children’s home to visit his parents. When visiting his mother, Jean-Jacques would see her in her cosmetic salon, Paris-Beaute in Cologne.

It was during school that Jean-Jacques learnt of the real horrors of the Holocaust. His headteacher read the final chapter of the book, The Last Just by Andre Schwartz-Bart, which told him about the true horrors of the men, women and children that were sent to and killed in gas chambers disguised as a shower room. One of his classmates would talk about “Chvitz” and Jean-Jacques began connecting all the little things he hard learnt, seen and perhaps overheard over the years and his nightmares flared again. The one time his mother Elsa ever really told him anything about the Holocaust was when she took him to see the film “The Diary Of Anne Frank”, she explained to him how Anne had almost died in Bergen-Belsen of Typhus, but that was all she ever told him about the awful time in her own history. The other sort of “nod to before” was when Elsa remarried and went on to have a daughter whom she called Lydia after the mysterious “Aunt Lydia” from the past.

It is after Elsa’s death that Jean-Jacques inherits part of her “pension compensation money” from the government and during an argument with his grandmother utters that her daughter had not rotted in Auschwitz for him to do whatever he felt like with that money! Jean-Jacques was 35 years old when he discovered his mother had been part of the Birkenau Orchestra. In fact, it was being selected for this Orchestra that saved her life, though she truly suffered throughout her imprisonment. Jean-Jacques sets about tracing the other women of the Orchestra and the book goes on to tell the story of the “present” where he is going to meet other survivors some remember his mother better than others but all share their own stories with him. The book goes back to the time “before” as the survivors reveal the daily horrors, humiliation and punishments they endured.

This may sound like the wrong thing to say but I hope you understand, I honestly enjoyed reading this book, despite it being about an horrific period in history. It is so well put together, Jean-Jacques goes to great lengths to explain his at points very distanced relationship with his mother Elsa who coped with what had happened to her and her family by not speaking about it. Different people deal with such gruesome histories in their own particular way, her were to leave it behind her, to not speak of it at all, yet she was so clearly deeply affected by it throughout her life, so much so it impacted her own son too. Its so sad that the way he learnt about the Holocaust was via his headteacher at school and a classmate.

I’ll be honest I had expected Jean-Jacques to just be telling his mothers story, which yes, he does learn about the day-to-day realities of his mother existence in Auschwitz-Birkenau but he also tells the stories of the other members of the Orchestra. The survivor’s individual stories, as well as the collective story of the Orchestra. The survivor’s before the Holocaust, how they ended up in Auschwitz, how they survived, who they lost and how they coped and recreated lives after when they had their freedom back.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that it was a very moving read. I feel it was as much about Jean-Jacques, his mother Elsa, and the other survivors as well as the ins and outs of how the Orchestra was formed and what those women were expected to do, all in equal parts.

Summing up, this book begins as a record of a rather fraught relationship between a boy, then man with his mother. A mother that had been through a horrible time whilst being held prisoner in Auschwitz-Bikenau. His mother Elsa is so traumatised even years and years later that she can never bring herself to speak to her son about what went on there. So, after his mother’s death, he sets himself the task of tracing and contacting the other women that played in the Birkenau Orchestra. Jean-Jacques travels to meet these other strong women who survived who are willing to tell him their own story, as well as what they remember about the Orchestra and his mother Elsa. If you are fascinated about this dark, era of history, then this book is a must read for you, it is so much more than a memoir. 


Friday 26 November 2021



Title: Bear Claimed
Series: Wolf Hollow Shifters
Author: Nikki Jefford
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifter
Release Date: 5th November 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
Love made her crazy. A reckless act of passion sealed her fate.

There is only so much rejection a woman can take. Taryn has lost patience with her brother's best friend. He said he would claim her. Then grief made him ask for more time. She gave him time. And more time.

When the cur falls for another female in the pack, Taryn isn't heartbroken… She is furious! Livid enough to seek out the rugged bear shifter who has been skulking around Wolf Hollow's borders.

He was duped once before. Brutus isn't letting the next female get away so easily.

The wizards stole his ancestors' mountain community then tricked him out of a mate. He and his brothers are going to make the Wolf Hollow shifters sorry for the role they played.

When a spirited she-wolf throws herself, literally, into his arms, Brutus is forced to choose between the feisty beauty he wishes to claim and his duty to avenge his family against the wizards and wolves.

Can a wolf and a bear become true mates? 

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

I always look forward to releases of this series as I have really enjoyed the whole series so far. It’s kind of sad to think there is only one more book after this one.

I love how the cover fits in with the rest of the series with the buff bodies and different colours. It’s back to green with this one, so it made me think of the first book in the series, Wolf Hollow.

We do already know a little about the central characters of this book, Taryn is giving Chase “space” to get over the loss of his sister, but she is becoming impatient and decides to confront him when she quite literally finds him in a passionate clinch with someone else.
It’s whilst she is still fuming from his betrayal that she first sets eyes on Brutus.

The history with Brutus certainly doesn’t cast him in a favourable light, but then neither do his actions when he see’s a naked Taryn in the river Sakhir. Everything seems to be going wrong for Taryn, first the male she wanted to claim has gone off with someone else. Then her brother leaves to travel with Hailey and Rafael and their small recently formed pack when Taryn feels she needs his support most. After being coerced into dancing at one her best friends claiming ceremony, and things not going how she wanted she rushes off to the river Sakhir and has what she sees as a one off, steamy rendezvous with Brutus. Wolves do have one night/one off sessions with each other before deciding to settle down. However, for bears it is somewhat different, and Brutus sees their steamy night as the beginning of a relationship, in fact he wants nothing more but to claim her as his mate.

Both Brutus and Taryn are keeping their relationship quiet as they know the rest of their pack/family would not approve. For Brutus, his older brothers Rocco, and Cliff will see his relationship as a weakness and a betrayal, as he should be joining in their plan to kidnap wolf pack children to hold hostage and then exchange them for Elsie. Rocco is the main bear that is dead set on getting his revenge on Elsie, the daughter of Lazarus who betrayed the wolves, years before by tricking them out of their homes in Balmar Heights.

For Taryn, it is Elsie, Zackary and Tabor who would be the major oppositions to their relationship as obviously they did not agree with Elsie being mated to Brutus (earlier in the series) despite it being part of a deal arranged by Lazarus. In fact, Zackary had fought with Brutus (both in human form) when they rescued Elsie. Then there’s the rest of the pack to contend with…who, if anyone would support a union between wolf shifter & bear shifter? Coulde they claim each other and live in, or near to Wolf Hollow? Would the Elders Jager and Palmer and the rest of the council approve their mating/claiming ceremony?

So much happens, and changes in this book. Old enemies become good friends, within the pack and across species too. The Bear brothers, Brutus, Rocco and Cliff have to decide whether to forget the past and the old agreements with Lazarus and look to the future. With Rocco set on revenge, so much so he says their father Randall would want them to do whatever it took to serve revenge on Elsie & Tabor, the children of Lazarus. Brutus wanting to move, Cliff finds himself in the middle and soon has to decide which brother he agrees with. I really enjoyed the interaction between Brutus and his sister Brook who is living in a cabin with her homesteader human husband. I bet her father Randall was very vocal with objections to her being with a human!! I thought it was really funny how Brutus knew he had to obey his sister’s rules to sit at her table and eat a meal with her and her human. I would have loved a bit more of Brook and Jake’s story, Oooo, hint…hint…maybe it could be a novella? It would be great to learn more about the bears past from way back in Balmar Height too and his interactions with the devious Lazarus.

I really enjoy all the heritage details of the different races, wolf shifters, bear shifters, witches and wizards. The ancestory of the characters has been carefully worked out and flows so well.

Once I started reading this book, I really struggled to put it down, I ended up reading it in just two reading sessions. The author writes in a way that makes it very easy to see what she is describing, such as the river Sakhir, and the different areas of wolf hollow. I love how she refers to the different pack members families and ancestors before them. There are so many fantastic detailed characters and then even more details of who the friendship cliques are, and why there are rivalries from years before. I enjoyed how some of the old jealousies and challenges between the characters were being forgotten or worked round in this book. I was in the same mind as Taryn in match making and pairing her brother Hudson and Nudara. What more can I say, I love the setting of Wolf Hollow, the different species of shifters and how they relate to each other, both in their own species and across shifter races, the way Brutus already knew and was friends with some of the wolves from the Glenn Meadows pack, yet because of a past slight were almost sworn enemies with the Wolf Hollow Pack. I honestly didn’t want the book to end! Definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that I absolutely love the Taryn and Brutus love story!

Summing up loads of things happened in this book, and I loved it. I can’t believe there is only one book left! It is a fantastic series so far and I am sure the last book will not disappoint.



Thursday 25 November 2021


 Here are the December Releases that I have noticed myself
that I think look and/or sound interesting!

A few of the titles below I have been super lucky to have been able to read an ARC of, others are on my wishlist to buy, and others I simply like the look/sound
of and wanted to share with my blog followers!
 First up is this one. . . check out that cover,
It immediately made me think of Pretty Little Liars!
I don't know if it is just me and my preferences but I didn't seem to find a great deal that I liked the look of and really wanted to read that is being released in December. So this December Release list is shorter than normal. I have seen lots of titles coming next year that I really like the look of and fancy reading so keep an eye out for a post on those!




Friday 19 November 2021


Title: Cursed
Series: Joey Santana Series
Author: Karina Espinosa
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Supernatural
Release Date: 8th October 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
The headlines read: Human Bitten by Werewolf.

Story of my life.

The names Joey Santana and my twenty-fifth birthday didn’t necessarily go as planned. In a world where supernaturals and humans live together, I was attacked and saved by none other than the Alpha of the Los Angeles Pack. But with survival came a price. And I wasn’t sure if I was ready to pay it.

Fast forward and I’m waking up the next morning in some stranger’s house with a half-naked man coming out of a bathroom. Awkward. And it so happens to be the Alpha’s son, Reed Stone. Right off the bat, he knows I’m trouble with a capital T since there haven’t been any humans turned into supes since supernaturals were outed five years ago. But if he thinks I’m going to sit back and take whatever he’s got coming, he’s painfully mistaken. I might have been human, but I now have canines, and I bite.

We’re forced to work together to wade through the supernatural politics and threats that await me. Our personalities clash in a battle of wills for dominance as the two of us grow closer together to solve the biggest mystery of all—why the hell would my father want to kill me?

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

When I heard that this author was bringing out a new series and after reading some of her other titles, I was eager to read this new one. I love the cover, the way it depicts the main character in the book, Joey Santana. It’s good to have an image to go with the person you are reading about. Though having said that upon reading the descriptions about the different characters in the book, I don’t have any issue visualising what they all look like. The image of Joey on the front cover certainly fits my idea of what she would look like too. The genres that this book would fit into are urban fiction, paranormal, fantasy but there are also elements of mystery, thriller and its certainly action-packed, with lots of human vs supernatural politics as well as all the inner politics within the supernatural’s and then the different laws, policies and customs within each individual race. So, there is a lot to learn about the world this book and series is set in.

In the “world” in this book the humans know of the existence of the different supernatural races. In fact, they have known for about five years, so you would think all the different races would have integrated somewhat by now but sadly that is not the case. The largest split is Humans vs Supernatural’s each living in their own areas of Los Angeles. Even the humans seem split with some taking a live and let live attitude, others wanting nothing at all to do with the supernatural races. Then the more extreme humans who join organisations like Human’s United led by Darius Blackburn, a group of people that want to restore order in the favour of the human race again and purify the land they all live on. They consider the supernatural’s to be abominations and want to get rid of them all.

The supernatural races are happy enough living in their own area of Los Angeles and want no trouble nor wish no harm on the vast majority of humans. Each individual type of supernatural has their own section within the supernatural district of Los Angeles. There are a few supernatural’s that prefer to live alone and choose to live in the Long Beach area. This is the area that the “Guild” holds their regular meetings. There is a representative from each type of people. The werewolf representative is the Alpha and is called Mr Elliott Stone, the Witch representative is Cordelia, the Vampire representative, is Cassius the leader of the local clan. The Seelie representative is a seelie called Fiona chosen by the Seelie Queen to sit at the meetings in her place. The Seelie Queen does not leave the seelie realm. The final representative is the one for the humans, and is Mr Norman Wright, who is also a member of Humans United.

It seems that life has kind of been plodding along with the odd flare up between supernaturals, and individual races and humans but nothing major. The latest disturbance to peace is that Senate Representative Marissa Beauchamp is trying to push through a law which would mean all supernaturals would have to be registered. Within this registration would be the name, address and also the supernatural ability listed and kept on record. The humans seem to want to control the supernatural community, perhaps using this law to treat them as second class, citizens or even pets with little to no rights! The talk of this law has been going too and fro for quite some time and it seems to have reached a stalemate, in that if put to a vote the decision could go either way.

Joey Santana, works at Sloane’s Restaurant waiting on tables. Sloane’s Restaurant is frequented by both humans and all the different supernatural’s. In fact Joey gets along with all types of customer, whatever race they are. Joey has made friends over the years with some of the supernaturals and talks to them and serves them just as she does anyone else in the restaurant. Joey is at work tonight despite it being her birthday and after some gentle harassment and persuading has agreed to meet up with her best friend, Kit, who she has known since they were at school together. Joey hasn’t had a great upbringing, never really feeling any love from her parents. In Joeys mind Kit is her family and the only one in the world that loves her, which is why she gets herself so easily talked into meeting him after work despite the fact she will no doubt be super tired. Unfortunately, later that evening Joey is attacked and left in an alley to die. Mr Stone, the Alpha of the Los pack makes a split-second decision and bite’s Joey to save her life. This does save Joey’s life but it also changes it beyond all recognition and it certainly adds fuel to the fire for the Humans United members who want all supernaturals registered. They manage to twist a desperate act of kindness to save a young girls life to the first act of the supernaturals turning humans to form an army, to then wage a war and take over from the humans!! It also reignites the embers of discontent within Elliott Stone’s pack. There are some that do not like Elliott and this action just adds another thing to dislike him for. Elliott has to plead his case, and prove that his perhaps in hindsight rash decision was not premeditated to the Guild. Joey also attends the meetings to explain what happened and why.

There are lots of characters to get to know in this book and I hope we will learn even more about them as series goes on. Of course, I love Joey, a fantastic kick-butt female character, the way she continues to push the boundaries that Elliott Stone asks her to keep to whilst she is in transition. I think Joey ends up seeing Elliott and his wife Lillian as surrogate parents. Then there’s Reed Stone, son of Elliott and Lillian, who finds some of the situations Joey gets herself into amusing where as other times he finds her exasperating. I can see a love triangle forming in this book already or will it be love pentagram as quite a few of male characters in this book seem to have certain feelings for Joey and become rather flirty with her on different occasions within the book. As for female friends, Joey doesn’t seem to have ever had them in her previous “human life,” she didn’t need one, Kit was the only human friend she ever needed or wanted. However, in her new supernatural life she finds a firm friend in the Crows Nest. After going out “to meet new friends” following the instructions from Elliott, she decides to ditch the increasingly irritating Reed, who Elliott tasked with introducing her to people. Joey heads straight to the bar and watches the barmaid interacting with the customers and mixing up different strange looking drinks. It’s not long until Joey and Eugenie are firm friends. The fact that Eugenie is Reed’s ex-girlfriend and their newly formed friendship irritates him is a bonus.

The characters I enjoyed despite them being the bad, troublemaker ones were Darius Blackthorn leader of Humans United and Norman Wright the human representative who sits on the Guild board. I started off strongly disliking Joey’s parents, particularly her father but further into the book, there is a scene that made me feel a little sorry for him. Other characters that I think are ones to watch are the Seelie Queen, and Levi a werewolf who is within Reeds friends circle, and maybe even Ava who is also a werewolf who is besotted with Reed. I already adore and feel attached to Joey and it’s clear to see, even though Joey doesn’t see it right now, that both Kit and Reed have feelings for her and quite possibly love her.

The action begins within the first few pages and doesn’t really stop until the very last page. Then you are left with so many questions and ideas about what may or may not happen next.
I really, truly enjoyed this book a lot, it didn’t take long for me to become totally engrossed. I loved all the sections where Joey is learning about her new life. Despite everything being new and strange, Joey is determined to make the best of her life. Though she is throwing herself into this new way of life she wants to keep her human best friend Kit in her life, despite being warned he may snub her, now she is so longer human. Joey insists Kit will be different, her being a werewolf won’t change their friendship at all. Unfortunately, Kit quickly becomes a target for the people who want to get their hands on Joey. Can Joey and Kit continue to be friends, or would it be safer for Joey to cut all human ties, and immerse herself in her new life. There are so many different aspects of this book, so many different plot lines to follow, it honestly is an amazing read!

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading this book were, Wow! What a fantastic start to another amazing series by Karina Espinosa.

To sum up I can’t wait to read more! 


Friday 12 November 2021



Title: We'll Laugh About This (Someday)
Author: Anna Lind Thomas
Publisher: Nelson Books, Thomas Nelson
Genre: Non-Fiction, Entertainment
Release Date: 14th September 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
A hilarious argument in favor of taking life a smidge less seriously

Popular humor writer Anna Lind Thomas had an epiphany after her essay about a humiliating fart went mega-viral: Everything’s funny . . .eventually. You’ll cry-laugh your way through the many grave offenses she’s endured, like not getting credit for Lady Gaga’s career, an epic financial crisis, and exercising while her children dole out biting critiques about her dimpled thighs.

Anna’s wit, charm, and painful relatability will encourage you to remember that your most humiliating moment may be the best thing to ever happen to you—or at the very least, it’ll make for a really good story.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

I really like the cover of this book. Once you have read the book you realise that it’s a fun representation of the author, and is an apt depiction of women in general trying to do a hundred things at once.

I’ll be totally honest I hadn’t really heard of Anna Lind Thomas before reading this book. I guess some would say well why did I want to read about her and her life? The thing is the book may be about Anna, but, the majority of us will identify with a few or rather quite a lot of the situations she describes. I had fancied reading a non fiction book, and this one has Entertainment listed as a genre too and after reading and loving Tova Leigh’s book, You Did What, I was hoping this one would have some funny stories within it too, and it did. Though all the stories in this book are about incidents that happened to Anna and her family. I easily slipped into the book and really enjoyed the writing style of the book, it really feels like Anna is chatting to you, telling you the stories herself.

I found it both amusing, yet relieving to know that I am not the only person who ends up in fits of giggles at really inopportune, inappropriate moments. A piece of advice when reading the book, be aware it will make you smirk, snicker, giggle and laugh out loud to, so if you’re on public transport be ready for a strange look or two.

I could totally identify with the strong inner need to but the latest technology and items when you have a baby. That overwhelming need that has you crawling out of bed to check your baby is breathing okay at 3am in the morning! I also laughed knowingly at the whole lying about how much something would cost! Not wanting to wear jewellery your other half has given you as you really hate it but at that stage in your relationship you didn’t want or dare to upset his feelings and tell him what you really thought.

I thought this book was a really enjoyable collection of real life stories. It’s written in such a way that you end up feeling that Anna is a good friend and someone you can genuinely identify with, along with recognising and seriously empathising with some of the key events in her life that she share in the book. At first, I had thought these funny stories would be a collection of tales that Anna had gathered from other people as well as her sharing some of her own, but this is all about Anna, her family and things, sometimes unusual things and other times mundane every day things that have happened.

Summing up I really did enjoy this book. It was refreshingly different and I would certainly look at any other book written by this author. 


Monday 8 November 2021



Title: Conquer The Thaw
Series: The Thaw Chronicles
Authors: Tamar Sloan & Heidi Catherine
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Futuristic,
              Climate-change Fiction, Dystopian

Release Date: 8th October 2021

BLURB from Goodreads
Only the strongest will lead

The deadly Tournaments are over. A new leader of the Outlands has been chosen.

To hold onto power and seize the riches that lie in Askala, the new Commander must earn respect and build an army. But how can control be taken when everything has fallen apart?

In a harsh world of lies, secrets and brutal betrayals, challenges will be made and rules will be broken. The Commander will need to discover if the real war is against the dying planet or if it’s against the people themselves.

A new war has begun. Askala is the prize. Only the strongest will lead.

Goodreads Link

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Once again, I love the cover as it fits so well with the rest of the series, and birds do feature in rather important roles throughout the books. I bet these books look absolutely amazing on a bookshelf together. The different colours used on the covers making them stand out and have individual looks to each book, yet the use of the birds being cohesive and linking the whole series of books.

It really felt like I easily slipped back into this harsh world and quickly remembered the different groups/tribes with their own individual customs, ways of life and different living conditions & environments. Each set of twins have been separated thinking the other person that is literally their other half has tragically died.

Lexis and Gray are together wandering the outlands in search of a place to settle either just the two of them or perhaps with a friendly group of likeminded people. Sadly, things do not go to plan, in fact they decline rapidly and just when it looks like death is near for Gray, Lexis has no option but to strike a deal with the Never people without thinking it through nor settling on terms of repayment for their help. Lexis and Gray are then divided, with Lexis being held in the women’s part of the Never camp and Gray recovering from the awful partial price he has paid for the Never’s help. You could say the Never people have certainly “hobbled” Gray, making sure he is in no fit state to attempt escape without paying off his debt by working for the /never people. The only reason Lexis hasn’t had the same damage done to her as she managed to fight off those doing the deed and made it quite clear she wouldn’t be leaving without Gray anyway. It’s whilst working off their debt that Lexis meets a young girl whom she befriends and discovers is called Shale. Lexis is horrified to discover Shale has had the same maiming done to her as Gray has. In fact, as the book goes on it is Shale who helps Gray discover how to move about, learn to work and survive despite his injury. In the Never camp if you do not work and do your share you forfeit your ration of food and water.

Raze and Winter, or rather Grace as she is now calling herself are also fleeing Cy where the Tournaments were held. I loved the explanations behind the name change, although it did confuse me a little until I got used to it. Winter herself wants to honour her dead sister, whom she looked up to, and still dearly misses. Another perhaps more poetic description of the name change is that Winter is a season, one that no longer exists. It is also put across that Winter was a naïve, inexperienced young girl who arrived at the Tournaments. People thought Winter & Gray would leave the Tournaments when given the opportunity but they refused. Then the other contestants thought Winter & Gray would be amongst the first to die. All the other contestants in the Tournaments had more fighting experience, they were much more prepared for what was to come and what they would have to do to survive and have a chance of winning the Tournaments. Despite these odds Grace & Gray adapted as the Tournaments were under way and Winter/Grace changed into a strong leader. A leader who wants to unite the Outlands and work together rather than rule with violence as Evrest wants to do.

Evrest is determined that he alone is the true leader, the new Commander Of The Outlands. He will be the one to lead an army on Askala and secure the bounty that is there for himself. Rather than physically fight him at the moment, which Grace knows would most probably end in the certain death of an already badly injured Raze and probably her own too as she is in no shape after the Tournaments despite winning to endure another fight right now. Grace needs the support of the other races/tribes, she needs them to follow her as well as needing their help to get herself and Raze away from a still bloodthirsty Evrest and his loyal followers. Evrest doesn’t even care about his own children, they are merely people in his way that he needs to dispose of. Grace, the others along with Raze flee from the immediate area when threatened by Evrest and his men. Then Grace forms a kind of council, consisting of a representative from each race of people. This council that is formed will be the ones voting on the important decisions ahead. There’s Feather, from the People of Never who Grace coerces and cajoles into carrying Raze who is so badly injured is unable to walk. In return, Grace promises Feather that he will be her second in command, much to the People of Rust candidate’s irritation as he had earmarked that job for himself. Scoria, the only other female representative other than the new commander herself stands for the People of Cragg, Grace represents the People Of Fairbanks or “the Ghosts” as they were once known. Finally, the last member is Raze who will represent the People of Cy. The other representatives aren’t entirely happy with that, more or less saying that Raze is injured and will likely die, and that they would be better to just leave him behind.

I truly admire the writing styles of Tamar & Heidi together it really is totally seamless and I don’t honestly think you could pick out who wrote what section/character without them telling you. I enjoy the descriptions within the book, they help you visualise what is being described. One particular description that stood out for me was the way Grace describe curtains and describes what they were used for to Raze. Raze cannot seem to comprehend that people were once bothered about having curtains a certain colour. Grace explains people cared about such things as they did not have real things to care about such as survival.

I liked a lot of the characters in this part of the series. Of course, I continued to care and like the older characters of Winter, now called Grace and Raze. Grace’s determination to protect Raze when he is injured and would surely die if left alone. It’s even clearer in this book that they have deeper feelings for each other. Just like the other half of their twins, Gray and Lexis who also have strong feelings that are growing ever deeper for each other.

One newly introduced character in this book is Shale, who was stolen from her own people, the people of Cragg, she has suffered the same maiming at the hands of the Never as Gray has but being younger has adapted. When she is put to work with Lexis, she discovers that there are people who still care, that there’s still kindness in the world. Shale helps them and when they make a break for freedom, they take her with them.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the bad guys in this book, who were the people of the Never and what they do to poor Lexis and Gray. They think it is totally acceptable to maim someone so they cannot run away. We discover more about Brik, from Fairbanks like Gray & Winter/Grace, and my instincts about him in the earlier books are proven to be right.
There is even another “race”/group of people introduced to us in this book, they are the
people of Treasure Island, who end up giving us an inkling as to what the spin off series that Tamar & Heidi are doing may contain. My thoughts and feelings on the people of Treasure Island were mixed and I am still a bit undecided, on the surface they seem extremely welcoming, but it soon became apparent that they have a hidden agenda! There is one section in the book where they almost re-discover each other, that their twins are in fact alive. They quite literally pass each other whilst struggling with the acidic ocean and unpredictable weather. There are also lots of revelations in this book, turning up a few surprises as to different characters that are in fact half siblings, sharing the same awful father.

The only negatives were Winter changing her name to Grace, though when explained it did make sense, it just took a little getting used to. I also wasn’t keen on the word “factions” being used, to me the term is so heavily associated with Divergent, rather like the word “districts” would be quickly linked to the Hunger Games. I would have preferred calling the “factions” tribes to avoid any association with other books. I honestly think this series stands strong alongside books such as Divergent and The Hunger Games. If The Thaw Chronicles were ever made into movies or a TV show I would most definitely be glued to it. Though in my opinion whoever made it a movie or TV show would have to involve Tamar & Heidi to keep it true to their vision and the books.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing reading the books were “Oh wow! What a brilliant ending to an amazing, adventurous, action-packed book. These characters really have been on an arduous and dangerous journey that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading about.

Summing up I have loved all of The Thaw Chronicles, I can’t quite believe it’s the end! Though, is it? I mean I am so looking forward to the other spin off and discovering more about the man who started everything off. The man who owned the Oasis and those that decided to apply to go along with him on his ship Oasis. 

Sunday 7 November 2021


Here are some November Releases that I have noticed myself
that I think look and/or sound interesting!

I am a little later than usual with my monthly book post on new releases but here are 
few of the titles that I have been super lucky to have been able to read an ARC of, 
others are on my wishlist to buy, and others I simply like the look/sound of and 
wanted to share with my blog followers!