Book Review, Books

The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry

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DNF

The first book in 2019 that I didn’t manage to finish is The Serpent’s Mark by S.W. Perry.

I am sad and disappointed. If you know me, you will know how I don’t want to leave things unfinished, especially when reading books. I want to finish every book I read, so I can have a thorough opinion and valid comments.

I stopped reading this book at page 75, which is very early days, but I just couldn’t continue because of a few points.

Before I start, I need to mention all the things that attracted me to this book in the first place. I love mysteries, and this book promised conspiracy, murder and espionage in Elizabethan London. It is set in the year 1591, where a doctor is investigated of his questionable practices. This was, by itself a promising start. And if you haven’t seen the beautiful cover already, please do. It’s art to have this book on your shelves.

However, while reading those 75 pages, I haven’t encountered any murder. Conspiracy and espionage maybe, but it is so subtle, that everything else comes in first place, while I am here, flipping pages and desperately waiting for something to happen.

A book that contains a lot of politics and religion in a same chapter is just not the book for me. As a person that moved into the UK, I know a little bit about politics and not much about history politics, but I am also not very interested in it either. Documentaries, yes – but books for pleasure, not quite so much. This book was over-flooding with politics and religion, and it is something I just couldn’t put past me. After deciding to DNF it, I also realized that it was a second book of a series, but can also be read as a standalone.

I wish I enjoyed it, but I just couldn’t. However, if the book seems like something you might enjoy, please go for it, read it, and let me know how it went. We all have different tastes in book – and that’s OKAY! 🙂

Thank you to ReadersFirst, a UK based website that sends me books every month in exchange for my honest reviews. What you do it absolutely amazing!

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Book Review, Books

His Frozen Heart by Georgia Le Carre

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★★★★

His Frozen Heart pulled me into an idyllic winter paradise and made me want to cuddle up with a warm blanket and a hot chocolate in my bed.

This is the most romantic novel by Georgia Le Carre I have read so far. Don’t you worry, the steamy scenes are there too, but for the first time, they are not the main focus of the book.

Cade lives alone on the mountain side. He is there to escape both his reality and his troubled past. When a woman crashes her car and a blizzard is coming up, she needs to spend a few days in his cottage.

Sometimes, you only need a few days with a person to know whether they are right for you. What begins as a lust turns into a deep relationship, full of love and caring.

But with an unexpected twist, I started doubting everything I had read and all the characters involved. With an even more unexpected ending, I felt so disappointed…

When you find out a dark secret that makes you double-check your feelings, you need to talk to the other person. You need to get face to face and bloody talk. No matter your decision, whether you’re going to stay or go. No matter if you have already made your mind, you need to say something. If nothing is said, how can it be a happy ending?

Despite the ending though, and my emotional reaction, this is so far the most thrilling book I read by this author. Unpredictable and satisfying, she did manage to keep me on my toes, and actually managed to get me to care about the characters.

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Books, interviews

Book Author Interview – Katie Lowe

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Hello All!

I have the pleasure to give to you an exclusive interview with KATIE LOWE, the author of The Furies, a book which I love and cherish!

Katie Lowe is a writer living in Worcester, UK. Her debut novel, The Furies has been published by Harperfiction (UK) this May. I have the pleasure to have this amazing short e-interview with Katie, while we discuss who she is, what inspired her to become an author and find out more about her first book.

Who is Katie Lowe?

Well, at the moment, first and foremost, I’m a novelist – spending almost all of my time working on my second book. I’m also about to start my PhD in literature – on the subject of female rage in literary modernism, and contemporary women’s writing – so I’d also say I’m an avid reader!

I live in Worcester, in a lovely little house with my sister, who’s an incredibly talented musician… So I consider myself to be a pretty lucky person, all things considered.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I think in one way or another it’s what I’ve always wanted to be – there’s a photo of on my eighth birthday in front of the typewriter I’d begged my parents for, because even back then, apparently, I took myself very seriously as a writer!

With that said, I always thought I’d write non-fiction – so for a long time, my great dream was to become an academic, or a journalist. It was only when my agent suggested I try my hand at fiction that I even considered I might be able to do it – and even then, I had to work at it for a good four or five years before I figured out how, exactly, fiction works… And that I could have a lot of fun doing it.

What particularly inspired you to write ‘’The Furies’’?


I knew I wanted to write a book about young women – particularly teenage girls – because I remember that period of my own life as being pretty emotionally intense, and full of potential. And the idea of witchcraft as a form of rebellion seemed to me too interesting not to write about. I find it a really powerful idea, personally, to have this history of (often forgotten) women who’ve positioned themselves as outsiders, even in the face of truly terrifying consequences… So I wanted The Furies to, in some way, explore that.

What message do you want to give to your readers through ‘’The Furies’’?

I don’t think there are any characters in the book that are particularly aspirational, or who’d serve in any way as role models – so I’m not sure it’s got an enormously positive message, in that respect. But what I’d love for it to do is to show that women – even, and especially, young women – have real agency, and power, and that they only have to believe in their own ability to harness it to make incredible things happen… Though whether that’s a good thing for the girls in this book, I’ll let your readers decide!

How do you deal with a writer’s block?

To be honest, I’ve never really found writer’s block to be a huge issue – partly because, up until quite literally the last month, I’ve always had to find time to write outside of work, using free minutes here and there… So each time I’ve sat down at my desk, I’ve been desperate to get going.

However, I’ve definitely found myself stuck on plot points, or other technical issues, while writing before – and for me, the best way to keep going is to go and do something else. So, for instance, if I’m stuck on how to move the plot forward, I’ll go back to another part of the book and focus on the description, the dialogue, or something else, and polish it up – and usually while I’m working on that, something will click with the bigger issue, so I can pick up where I left off.

What is the most challenging part when writing a book?


For me, it’s definitely plot. I so admire writers who can put together a really gripping, twisty plot – and it’s what I wanted to learn how to do with The Furies (though I’ll let you decide whether I’ve succeeded!) Writing flowery descriptions and spending time in character’s heads – that, for me, is all a joy – but the mechanics of getting a story from beginning to end in a way that’s believable, and yet unexpected… It’s definitely the biggest challenge, for me – and yet also the most satisfying thing to get right.

What kind of books do you want to read?


Given my PhD topic, this might be a fairly predictable answer – but I love books with complex, angry women – ideally who aren’t particularly likeable, either. I don’t know what that says about me, as a person, but… Here we are.

I also love books that give me an insight into a world, or a situation, that I know nothing about. I think there’s nothing better than closing the last page of a book and feeling like you truly experienced something you’d never have had the opportunity to, otherwise.

What was your favourite read in 2018?

A book that I absolutely adored – by which I mean, kept bringing up in conversation, without any context, and forcing it into the hands of almost-strangers – was Suicide Club by Rachel Heng. It’s an incredibly well-written book, with a brilliant premise – but it’s also deeply bittersweet, and asks a lot of questions about how, and why, we should want to live. I loved it.

Thank you for your time, Katie! It was a pleasure.

If you want to read my thoughts about The Furies, click here.

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Book Review, Books

The Furies by Katie Lowe

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★★★★

A high-school mystery full of suspense. A murder, a questionable friendship and witchcraft. The Furies is a modern take of all witchcraft legends and curses!

When a teenage girl is found dead, sitting on a swing, with no clues of how the death occurred, we are set up to trust no one from the very beginning. The story begins with Violet, who start the story from the very beginning, until finally leading us to how and why this murder happened. She comes to the new school and she becomes friends with an elite group of girls and a secret advanced study group, that focuses on witchcraft and influential witches connected to the school.

From the fist to the last chapter, you can feel the suspense. The story is unique and it certainly kept me on my toes. I had trouble with who the narrator is, and in each chapter it’s Violet, but because it was written in first person and her tone changed, I kept looking for clues as to whether the narrator has changed or not. The names are also not mentioned often, which added a bit of agitation at times.

I loved every part of the book that included witchcraft. There were awful lot of scenes about this, so trust me, I was more than satisfied. From witchcraft history, to a secret society, to performing rituals, The Furies will teleport you in that world.

I liked how the friendships were developed, but I didn’t cheer for them. I could perfectly understand how all girls felt and why they all made certain choices, and that is due to the excellent writing skills Katie has. Furthermore, I felt different emotions for them all, loved them, hated them and pitied them.

It’s worthy to mention that I couldn’t help but be annoyed with Violet, for never saying no, for settling, for being so naive and so needy to be accepted. It couldn’t be helped that I was angry at her for knowing things and choosing to do nothing about it. I felt so angry at the girls, for all the drama caused and for discouraging people around them. I can’t help but feel conflicted with Violet though, because despite everything, she belonged in that group, and with those friends. As wrong as it may sound, she did fit. But with time, she did change and she did find her true self. And her development was the gem that made me really fall in love with this book.

And then it struck me…

After all, I wasn’t mad at Violet. I was mad at all of us that have been in such position and chose the wrong things. I felt upset at all of us, who have changed themselves to fit in a group and forgot who they really are. To all of us, who were too afraid to say no to the popular girls in high-school.

I highly recommend it to all girls in high-school, to all mums and to everyone that loves witchcraft and mystery. You will definitely love this book!

Thank you to Katie Lowe, and the publisher, HarperCollins, for sending me a free hardcover copy in exchange for my honest review.

I had the amazing opportunity to do an Exclusive Interview with Katie – you can check it out HERE.Book Author Interview – Katie Lowe

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Blog Tour, Book Review, Books

BLOG TOUR – I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

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I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney is a book that stays with you after you read it. Dark, twisted and unpredictable until the very last chapter.

In the very beginning, we are met with the unknown. Aimee Sinclair is an actress and when she comes home, she realises her husband is missing. The police suspect she is hiding something. They are right, she does have a secret…

The book switches between two timelines; the first being Aimee today and the second being Aimee’s childhood. We get to enjoy these parallel stories and understand how Aimee’s childhood directly influences her decisions as a grown up.

‘’Sometimes it only takes one person to believe in you, to change your life forever. Sometimes it only takes one person not believing in you to destroy it. Humans are a highly sensitive species.’’

Alice’s writing is brilliant, and when reading the two timelines, you feel the child and you feel the adult. A skill not many writers can perfect.

Aimee’s whole life has been about being a different person. That is why she choose to become an actress. She can change into different people as she wants, and keep her true self hidden somewhere safe. But she didn’t learn this all by herself.

The book will leave things unpredictable until the very end. I had my theories and they kept changing all the time. The moment you feel you are close to the truth, something happens and you are back at the start. I loved it!

I wasn’t disappointed with the ending, but I did feel grossed out and disgusted by a certain someone. At times, some scenes felt like too much, but they were crucial to the story.

If you love dark and twisted psychological thrillers, you will most probably enjoy reading I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney.

Trigger warnings for abuse in all shapes and forms, animal cruelty and childhood trauma.

Thank you to the team at HQ, for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, and for sending me a paperback copy in exchange for an honest review.

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