Monday, 30 January 2017

Guest Post: Our Favorite Villains - Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Can true love's kiss break your heart...? 

The spellbinding sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS by authors and sisters, Katharine and Elizabeth Corr. It's not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She's drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack. But Merry's not the only one whose fairy tale is over. Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they'd be mad not to take it... Some rules were made to be broken, right? 

The darkly magical sequel to THE WITCH'S KISS burns wickedly bright.

Welcome to the last stop on the blog tour to celebrate the publication of The Witch's Tears by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr. The Witch's Tears is the amazing sequel to last year's The Witch's Kiss and you can find my somewhat overdue review here.
Our Favourite Villains
Elizabeth & Katharine Corr

From the Wicked Witch of the West to Lord Voldemort, there are so many delectable villains to frighten us all at bedtime. Here are our five favourites, plus an honourable mention…

Dolores Umbridge – Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (plus subsequent books), JK Rowling

‘Deep down, you know that you deserve to be punished. Don’t you, Mr Potter?’

A bureaucrat and sometime teacher who hates children, sends innocent people to Azkaban and uses words like ‘half-breed’. Oh, and she has a magic blood-sucking quill that leaves physical scars on her victims. Horror cloaked in pink twinsets and fluffy kittens. We think she’s even worse than Lord Voldemort’s more obvious brand of evil if that’s possible.

Count Dracula – Dracula, Bram Stoker

‘It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted in his repletion.’

The original and scariest of vampire villains – Stephanie Meyer’s Volturi have nothing on him. Dracula doesn’t sparkle. What he does do is lock people in his castle as a ‘snack’ for later, drain the blood of his male victims, and turn the female ones into ravenous, teeth-gnashing ‘brides’. The stuff of nightmares.

Jadis, Queen of Charn – The Magician’s Nephew, C S Lewis

‘“Don’t you understand?” said the Queen (still speaking to Digory). “I was the Queen. They were all my people. What else were they there for but to do my will?”’

Most familiar as the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, Jadis is first introduced as the last survivor of the destruction of Charn – destruction which she’d caused. After getting into a fight with her sister, Jadis decides that she’d rather speak the Deplorable Word and wipe out every living thing in the world than lose. Or, you know, compromise. Obviously, all sisters fall out occasionally, but this seems like taking things to extremes. Jadis follows this up by taking over Narnia and plunging it into everlasting winter.

Sebastian – The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare

‘His grin was diabolical. Gone was the stylish boy who’d strolled by the Seine with her and drank hot chocolate and talked about belonging. His eyes were all black, no pupil, like tunnels. “What’s wrong, little sis? You look upset.”’

King of creepy. Sebastian plans to take over / destroy the world by creating an army of zombie-like Dark Shadowhunters. He also wants to restore the strength of Lilith, a greater demon who considers herself his mother. Worst of all, he wants to do all of this with his sister Clary ruling by his side – and he is way too fond of kissing her. Sebastian quotes from the Song of Solomon and takes sibling-marrying Egyptian pharoahs as his role models. Enough said, probably. We were both pretty relieved when Clary finally kills him.

The Other Mother – Coraline, Neil Gaiman

‘“I swear it,” said the other mother. “I swear it on my own mother’s grave.”
“Does she have a grave?” asked Coraline.
“Oh yes,” said the other mother. “I put her in there myself. And when I found her trying to crawl out, I put her back.”’

Someone with buttons instead of eyes would be enough to freak us out even if they were super heroic. The other mother is anything but heroic. She collects children’s souls and wants to kidnap Coraline – and replace her eyes with buttons, too. The other mother creates copies of living things and then discards them. And she’s hard to kill. The thought of her dismembered hand scuttling around the real world is almost more frightening than the whole of her…

Honourable mention: The Child Catcher, from Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang by Ian Fleming

The Child Catcher is not actually in the book: Roald Dahl is credited with creating the character for the 

screenplay. The idea of a child kidnapper is scary enough, but the Child Catcher’s sinister capering and

unfeasibly long nose, plus his trick of trapping his victims by offering them sweets, transform him from scary

to spine-chilling.

Katharine and Elizabeth are sisters living near to each other in Surrey. They’ve both written on and off since childhood. Both read history at university (Cambridge and Warwick) and both worked as professionals in London (accountancy and law). Then they stopped working to raise families, not realising that children are far more demanding than clients or bosses. When they both decided to write novels – fictional people being much easier to deal with than real ones – it was obvious they should do it together. 

When Katharine’s not writing, she likes playing the harp, learning dead languages and embracing her inner nerd. When Elizabeth’s not writing, she likes sketching, dancing around the kitchen and plotting for more time free of children and cats. They can sometimes be found in one of their local coffee shops, arguing over which character to kill off next.

Find Liz on Twitter @lizcorr_writes and Kate @katharinecorr and find out more about them and their books on their website.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Book Haul #131 - January 2017

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

Well... Apparently I haven't done a book haul post since August 2016! I certainly don't intend to show all the books I've had since then so I'm starting afresh and this is what I've received this month. In a vain effort to cut down on my book buying I'm doing the #ShelfLove challenge this year which means reading more of my own books and cutting down on the books I buy. I'll do my first wrap-up post for this on Tuesday which includes the rule of reading at least 15 of my own books a month. If I do this I'm allowed to buy no more than 3 new books a month. I figure doing it like this I won't get the urge to buy too many, plus I have my regular library book delivery every month to keep me going. Books bought will be in that post!

Physical Review Copies

Girls On Fire - Robin Wasserman
Wintersong - S Jae-Jones
The Witch's Tears - Elizabeth & Katharine Corr
With Fate Conspire - Marie Brennan

Digital Review Copies

The Black Witch - Laurie Forest
The Breakdown - B A Paris
Fir - Sharon Gosling
The Turn - Kim Harrison
Written In Bones - James Oswald

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Witch's Kiss - Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

Sixteen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? 

Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?

When I originally read The Witch's Kiss last year it somehow managed to escape my attention, very nearly to the end of the book, that it was a loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Given how much I love fairy tales this was a great feat indeed!

Merry is a witch but doesn't want to be. She doesn't understand her powers and after nearly inadvertently killing someone she doesn't want to use her powers! Thanks to a string of nightmares, an eccentric grandmother and a mysterious box found in the attic Merry soon realises that there's nothing she can do to avoid what she is. Aided and abetted by her wonderful brother Leo, Merry tries to break the curse that has been passed down through her family for 1500 years before the mysterious King of Hearts and a centuries old wizard can awaken and rise from under the lake where they sleep.

Merry and Leo are two of  my favorite characters. They have such a fantastic brother/sister relationship and I'm quite envious that I never had a brother. Jack was also great, as the tortured King of Hearts and his fight to overcome the centuries old curse, and torn between present-day Merry and his love for his 1500 years ago true love. The Corr sisters have put together a truly intriguing take on Sleeping Beauty, a much darker version, of one of my favorite fairy tales. The writing was spellbinding in places, the description of the lake where most of the action took place was so evocative it feels like you are there with Merry, an onlooker to the fight against the darkness. The blend between fantasy and historical was seamless, taking you from one to the other without feeling disjointed and giving you the time to get to know the characters both from then and now.

If you like tales of fantasy, fairy tales and history woven together to make an entirely readable (and, at times, unputdownable) book then pick up The Witch's Kiss and you won't be disappointed!

The Witch's Kiss - Elizabeth & Katharine Corr
ISBN - 9780008182984
Publisher - Harper Collins Children's 
Release date - June 30th, 2016

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Best of 2016 Giveaway!

Welcome to the Best of 2016 Giveaway Hop hosted by Bookhounds! I read some fantastic books in 2016 by some great authors so you can pick one title from some of the books I've loved this year below. The book will come from the Book Depository and you're eligible to enter as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here. The hop runs from now through to midnight on January 31st, 2017 and simply follow the instructions on the rafflecopter to enter! If you have read all of these (or don't like them...) you can win a book of your choice as long as it was published in 2016.

13 Minutes - Sarah Pinborough
A Perilous Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
A Portable Shelter  - Kirsty Logan
Alice - Christina Henry
The Apprentice Witch - James Nicol
Behind Closed Doors - B A Paris
The Creeper Man - Dawn Kurtagich
Golden Son - Pierce Brown
Luna: New Moon - Ian McDonald
The Marriage Lie - Kimberley Belle
Painkiller - N J Fountain
Poppy Pym & The Double Jinx - Laura Wood
Shadow Magic - Joshua Khan
The Unquiet House - Alison Littlewood
The Whispers Of Wilderwood Hall - Karen McCombie

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

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Waiting On Wednesday #176 - Hekla's Children

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Hekla's Children - James Brogden 
ISBN - 9781785654381
Publisher - Titan Books
Release date - March 7th, 2017

A decade ago, teacher Nathan Brookes saw four of his students walk up a hill and vanish. Only one returned – Olivia – starved, terrified, and with no memory of where she’d been. After a body is found in the same woodland where they disappeared, it is first believed to be one of the missing children but is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior, nothing more than an archaeological curiosity. Yet Nathan starts to have terrifying visions of the students. Then Olivia reappears, half-mad and willing to go to any lengths to return the corpse to the earth. For he is the only thing keeping a terrible evil at bay...

I keep thinking I've read this but I'm certain I'm confusing this with something else entirely, and whatever it is was YA and quite some time ago too. It sounds really familiar but it also sounds quite deliciously creepy so definitely one for the wishlist!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Bookmarked... #27

The return of the (mostly) weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading (now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date) and I have her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons...

We're now 2 weeks into 2017 and so far, so good! I've read some great books so far this year but I'm waiting for my first dud to turn up. The Bird Tribunal, written by Agnes Ravatn and translated by Rosie Hedger, was beautiful and I loved the writing so I shall be on the lookout for more, both by Agnes Ravatn and Orenda Books. I devoured The Invisible Library and loved it, enough to wish I had a paperback copy rather than Kindle but good book buying habits are in progress so not right now... Here's what else I've started, finished, and am still reading.


The Bird Tribunal - Agnes Ravatn
Loved this creepy Swedish psychological suspense novel, beautifully translated!

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman
It's a book about books and a library, what's not to love? Review coming up shortly!


The Girl Who Lied - Sue Fortin
I've actually finished this now. A suspense novel set in Ireland involving two former best friends from school and a secret.

Pantomime - Laura Lam
Oh, I wish I had this pretty cover copy of Pantomime. I still have the original cover when it was released through Strange Chemistry and it's been on my shelves since the day it was released.

The Witch's Kiss - Elizabeth & Katharine Corr
A reread for the blog tour for the second book, I rather like this YA book about a girl who finds out she's a witch.

Still Reading

The Fireman - Joe Hill
Taking my time over this as I said I would, although it's not easy! I'm about 125 pages in and want to dive in but it's not exactly a book you can drop in your bag...

Friday, 13 January 2017

January New Release Giveaway!

Welcome to the January 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on January 31st, 2017. Up for grabs is any new release this month up to the value of $22 from the Book Depository as long as they deliver to your country - find the list of countries here

All you have to do is choose any new release published in December and fill out the rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the linky for lots of other chances to win, thanks for entering and good luck!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Show Your Shelves Some Love Challenge 2017

I thought long and hard about reading challenges for 2017 and came to the conclusion that, for me anyway, they don't really work. I am going to try 1 challenge though and hope that #ShelfLove will work because it's my books that I need to read. The hundreds of books that seem to have multiplied and are in waist-high stacks around the house...

Because I want to read as many of my TBR books as possible I'm going steady with my shelves, with a target of 51+. I managed over 100 in 2016 so I'm really hoping that I can hit at least 125, half of my overall Goodreads target for this year. No pictures of my TBR because it's extremely embarrassing and in about 12 different places but this is my TBR list on Goodreads. And yes, that number really does say 1512. And it's not up to date either. This is why I need help!

I'm not banning myself from buying books this year but I'm going to try and be more selective in what I buy and where I buy from. I'm going to mainly try and stick to Waterstones, mostly because of their reward scheme! I'll use the points at the end of the year to have a book buying binge, or buy presents... If I'm feeling generous!


To grow your TBR pile responsibly and read the books you already own. You have ‘em, now read ‘em!

Your Hosts:

This year’s hosts are the lovely gals over at and Second Run Reviews.

Guidelines for the Shelf Love Challenge 2017

  • Read books that are in your personal library and obtained before January 1, 2017.
  • Responsibly obtain books for your personal library.
    • You may wish to abstain from purchasing books or set a book budget for yourself.
    • You decide the best way to get control of your TBR pile and read the books you already own.
  • Library books (and textbooks) do not count for the challenge. You may use your library to obtain different formats of books you already own and count those towards your goal.

Goals for the Shelf Love Challenge 2017

  • 1-10 books: shake hands with your shelves
  • 11-20 books: pat your shelves on the back
  • 21-30 books: give your shelves a warm friendly hug
  • 31-40 books: regular date night with your shelves
  • 41-50 books: my shelves are now my BFF
  • 51+ books: my shelves and I are going steady
Shelf Love Discussions
  1. December 2016/January 2017: I’m joining in the #ShelfLove Challenge! Tell us your goals for the challenge this year. Will you be going on an all out book buying ban or are you setting a budget? Share pictures of your TBR piles or link up to your GoodReads Shelves. See above!
  2. March/April 2017: Top books that have been on your shelf the longest that you haven’t read
  3. June/July 2017: Mid-year check in post. How are you doing with the challenge? Look back at your January post and let us know how you are doing. Share an updated picture or list of your TBR pile.
  4. September/October 2017: Top Books/Genres You are Addicted To
  5. December 2017/January 2018: End of the Year Check in Post. Look back at your June and January posts and let us know how you did this year. Share an updated picture or list of your TBR pile. Would you do the challenge again in 2018?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Waiting On Wednesday #175 - Wintersong

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Wintersong - S. Jae-Jones
ISBN - 9781785655449
Publisher - Titan
Release date - February 7th, 2017
Find - Goodreads 

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go - for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her - musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

One word about this book! Labyrinth... I've been so impatient to read this book since I first heard about it and thankfully Titan are publishing it here in the UK. Even better? It's not that long a wait.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Dry - Jane Harper

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

The Dry is Jane Harper's debut novel and very much doubt it will be her last. The Dry draws you in from page one and doesn't let go until the very last word of the last page. The Dry is the story of Aaron Falk and his childhood friends, Luke, Ellie, and Gretchen. Ellie was found 20 years ago in the river and, suspected of her murder, Falk and his father leave town. Twenty years later, Falk is back, this time as a police officer in town for the funeral of his best friend, Luke, and his wife and son who were all found shot to death in their farmhouse. The only reason Falk has returned is because Luke's father doesn't believe that Luke could be capable of killing his family and wants Falk to investigate.

Little does Falk know that he's about set a match to a powder keg, quite literally as Kiewarra is suffering from its worst drought ever. The townspeople haven't forgotten about Ellie or Falk's possible involvement in her death and the tension is palpable. Given the terrible state of the town, the suspicious nature of its residents, and their struggle to eke out a living it's not going to be too long before things come to a head.

With a motley cast of characters, you're never quite sure who to believe or who might have pulled the trigger. Was it Luke, desperate to find a way out of his struggle? If so, why did he leave his 13-month-old daughter alive and why can't his father let things rest? What follows is a twisty tale of greed, terror, and betrayal with a good old sting in the tail for an ending - and plenty of mentions of poisonous spiders too...

Jane Harper is definitely an author to watch, The Dry has one of the tightest storylines I've read in a thriller recently and her characters (in which I include the Australian countryside which is so forcefully brought to life you can almost feel the heat rising from the pages) are all multidimensional, complicated humans, each with their own secrets to hide. The best thing about The Dry? I didn't guess why certain things were happening until I was smacked in the face with a hefty dose of obviousness! If Ms. Harper's debut is this good I cannot wait to read her next effort. If you're at all a fan of intelligent, well-written thrillers then read this book and I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

The Dry - Jane Harper
ISBN - 9781408708170
Publisher - Little Brown
Release date - January 12th, 2017

Monday, 9 January 2017

Bookmarked... #26

The return of the (mostly) weekly post letting you all know what I'm reading and have lined up for the week! It's my own version of Sheila at Book Journey's It's Monday What Are You Reading (now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date) and I have her permission to rename it for my own nefarious reasons...

Here we are, at the start of yet another year and hopefully one full of good books and plenty of reading! Here's what I've been reading over the last 7 days.


The Dry - Jane Harper
A great debut thriller, I'm on the blog tour for this and my review will be up tomorrow.

Sleeping Murder - Agatha Christie
One of my favorite books but I'm not a fan of the television adaptations, not even the one with Joan Hickson.

Currently Reading

The Fireman by Joe Hill
I've owned this since the day it came out but have put off reading it. No longer! I am going to take my time over this one.

Up Next

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman
I've been meaning to start this series since book 1 was released. I'm going to at least make a start by reading book 1!

The Witch's Kiss - Katharine & Elizabeth Corr
I'm on the blog tour for the 2nd book in the series so this is a reread for me to refresh my memory.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

My 2016 In Books, According To Goodreads...

Discounting my poor blogging habits (the amount of posting, mostly) 2016 was a pretty good year for reading. I managed to rate 62 books with my highest '5 clock' rating. Even more incredible is the fact that 12 of those are graphic novels!

I am so pleased I managed to read over 100 of my own books, fingers crossed that trend will be continuing this year. I'm also happy that my Kindle reading went down and my library borrowing increased slightly. 2016 was obviously the year of reading physical books!

I started the year with a Kindle cozy mystery freebie,

and finished the year with the cutest children's book I read in 2016 (bought for Emily of course, not me...)

According to Goodreads...

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