Wednesday 29 March 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #181 - Odd & True

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a new weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally, they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week's choice is -

Odd & True - Cat Winters
ISBN - 9781419723100
Publisher - Amulet Books
Release date - September 12th, 2017

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life - permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister - despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances - might, indeed, have magic after all.

I've loved most of Cat Winters's previous books so am looking forward to this one quite a bit, especially as it features a disabled character. Roll on September!

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday #180 - The Dark Intercept

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a new weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally, they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
This week's choice is -

The Dark Intercept - Julia Keller 
ISBN - 9780765387622
Publisher - Tor Teen
Release date - November 7th, 2017

In a radiant world of endless summer, the Intercept keeps the peace. Violet Crowley, the sixteen-year-old daughter of New Earth’s Founding Father, has spent her life in comfort and safety. Her days are easy thanks to the Intercept, a crime-prevention device that monitors and provokes emotion. But when her long-time crush, Danny Mayhew, gets into a dangerous altercation on Old Earth, Violet launches a secret investigation to find out what he's hiding. An investigation that will lead her to question everything she's ever known about Danny, her father, and the power of the Intercept.

Besides loving the cover this sounds like it could be an intriguing mix of sci-fi and crime, not something you frequently find in YA! Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy and hoping it's as good as it sounds/looks.

Monday 20 March 2017

Harper And The Night Forest - Cerrie Burnell

Total fantasy bliss! Magical birds, dark forests, and fairytale cities: there’s no better book to get lost in. Harper is on a mission! Rumours tell of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt hardened hearts. Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realises she faces a dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?

I first came across Cerrie Burnell's Harper books shortly after the first book, Harper And The Scarlet Umbrella, was first released in all its sparkly hardback loveliness. I thought it would be great for the 7-year-old but naturally, I wanted to read it first! I fell in love with Harper and her fantastical bunch of friends so was pleased to see a second book, Harper And The Circus Of Dreams, and a World Book Day special, Harper And The Sea Of Secrets. Needless to say, we're big fans here at the Outsider!

In Harper And The Scarlet Umbrella, all the cats are mysteriously disappearing, including Harper's own cat Midnight. Harper and friends set out to find the missing felines and stumble across a mysterious conductor. In Harper And The Circus Of Dreams, a magical circus appears in the skies, tethered only by birds! Harper And The Sea Of Secrets is all about a magical music festival and the race to find the missing musical instruments before it's too late!

Harper And The Night Forest takes a slightly different direction in that we move into the wonderful world of fairy tales! Just when I thought I couldn't love the Harper books any more Cerrie comes up with the story of the Ice Raven and the Lone Wolf, a wonderfully sad fairy tale about a witch's daughter and a prince separated by the witch through sheer jealousy and left to wander alone forever unless someone can discover the ending to their tale.

I would love to live in Cerrie's imagination, the sheer brilliance of the Night Forest where fairy tales are carved on the trees and the Fairy-Tale Keepers live in a gingerbread cottage, the City of Singing Clocks where there is a clock for each fairy tale set to the time each was started and best of all, each fairy tale comes alive on a year on the date of its creation and the characters themselves roam the Forest. And the food! Rose lemonade, cherry muffins, and salty pretzels sound like my idea of heaven!

Though the book is obviously about Harper, Nate, Liesel, and Ferdie all play a big part in solving the unfinished fairy-tale and in helping the Wild Conductor (not my favorite character but then he's not meant to be!). I love that Nate was the one most influential in helping with the tale of the Ice Raven and the Lone Wolf, along with Smoke, his most beloved wolf. I think Liesel continues to be my favorite character though, described as small, wild, and grubby she shares my sheer joy in fairy tales and agrees that you shouldn't mess with them either... What remains my favorite element throughout, are the wonderful illustrations of Laura Ellen Anderson. She somehow manages to draw the perfect illustrations to match Cerrie's magical words and I hope that Harper's stories carry on being so wonderfully illustrated. Any time she'd love to draw Oscar I'll happily agree!

Harper And The Night Forest - Cerrie Burnell 
ISBN - 9781407172767
Publisher - Scholastic
Release date - March 2nd, 2017

Many thanks to Scholastic for providing me with a copy of Harper And The Night Forest in exchange for a fair & unbiased review!

Cerrie Burnell is a much-loved presenter on Cbeebies. She was named in the Observer’s top ten children’s presenters and also featured in the Guardian’s 2011 list of 100 most inspirational women where she received praise for tackling disability head on. Cerrie divides her time between London and Manchester. Her bestselling picture books Snowflakes and Mermaid, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson, have won critical acclaim. Magical adventure Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella was her first novel for young readers.


When she's not trying to take over the world or fighting sock-stealing monsters, Laura Ellen Anderson is a professional children's book author & illustrator, with an increasing addiction to coffee. She spends every waking hour creating & drawing and would quite like to live on the Moon when humans finally make it possible.  

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Tour Schedule

Monday 20th March

Tuesday 21st March

Wednesday 22nd March

Thursday 23rd March

Friday 24th March

Saturday 25th March

Sunday 26th March

Friday 17 March 2017

Summary Justice - John Fairfax

The last time Tess de Vere saw William Benson she was a law student on work experience. He was a twenty-one year old, led from the dock of the Old Bailey to begin a life sentence for murder. He'd said he was innocent. She'd believed him.

Sixteen years later Tess overhears a couple of hacks mocking a newcomer to the London Bar, a no-hoper with a murder conviction, running his own show from an old fishmonger's in Spitalfields. That night she walks back into Benson's life. The price of his rehabilitation - and access to the Bar - is an admission of guilt to the killing of Paul Harbeton, whose family have vowed revenge. He's an outcast. The government wants to shut him down and no solicitor will instruct him. But he's subsidised by a mystery benefactor and a desperate woman has turned to him for help: Sarah Collingstone, mother of a child with special needs, accused of slaying her wealthy lover. It's a hopeless case and the murder trial, Benson's first, starts in four days. The evidence is overwhelming but like Benson long ago, she swears she's innocent. Tess joins the defence team, determined to help Benson survive. But as Benson follows the twists and turns in the courtroom, Tess embarks upon a secret investigation of her own, determined to uncover the truth behind the death of Paul Harbeton on a lonely night in Soho.

True to life, fast-paced and absolutely compelling, Summary Justice introduces a new series of courtroom dramas featuring two maverick lawyers driven to fight injustice at any cost.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the fabulous page-turner, Summary Justice by John Fairfax. Summary Justice is the first in a new series featuring William Benson and Tess de Vere, one a high flying lawyer and the other with a murder conviction behind him. 

Determined to pursue a career in law Benson comes to the Bar after being released from prison on license and immediately walks into one of the most sensational murder cases of the year. Sarah Collingstone is an innocent woman, accused of killing her boss because everyone thought she was having an affair with him. Benson is sure that he can get a 'not guilty' verdict but he needs help. This is where Tess steps in, even though she hasn't seen Benson in the decade he's spent inside.

This is not your regular run of the mill legal thriller although the first few chapters of the book may seem like it. The emphasis is on the relationships between the multitude of characters which gives especially the story much more depth, although the actual bones of the story make for a page-turning read.

Summary Justice is a great start to the series and I can't wait to read more about both Tess and Benson's journeys in their legal careers and their personal lives. I'm intrigued to see how the connection between the two main characters goes, whether it remains professional or becomes something more. I can also see why this and future books have been optioned for television as it was a truly gripping story with well developed characters.

Summary Justice - John Fairfax
ISBN - 9781408708729
Publisher - LittleBrown UK
Release date - March 2nd, 2017

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Waiting On Can't Wait Wednesday #179 - The Tiger's Daughter

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally, they're books that have yet to be released as well. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

This week's choice is -

The Tiger's Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) - K. Arsenault Rivera
ISBN - 9780765392534
Publisher - Tor
Release date - October 3rd, 2017

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach - but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

Any book that Victoria Schwab blurbs, with these words, is going straight on to my wishlist!

"A love letter to my favorite kind of fantasy - rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth. It is a story of star-crossed loves, of fate and power and passion, and it is simply exquisite."  

Monday 13 March 2017

March New Release Giveaway!

Welcome to the March 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop, hosted by It Starts At Midnight! The hop runs from today through to midnight on March 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 March 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!

Sunday 12 March 2017

Following Ophelia - Sophia Bennett

When Mary Adams sees Millais’ depiction of the tragic Ophelia, a whole new world opens up for her. Determined to find out more about the beautiful girl in the painting, she hears the story of Lizzie Siddal – a girl from a modest background, not unlike her own, who has found fame and fortune against the odds. Mary sets out to become a Pre-Raphaelite muse and reinvents herself as Persephone Lavelle. But as she fights her way to become the new face of London’s glittering art scene, ‘Persephone’ ends up mingling with some of the city’s more nefarious types and is forced to make some impossible choices.

Will Persephone be forced to betray those she loves, and even the person she once was, if she is to achieve her dreams?

I finished Following Ophelia nearly three weeks ago and it's still in my head. I don't often read YA historical fiction, mostly because I can never find anything I like but Following Ophelia by the wonderful Sophia Bennett will be a tough act to follow. I completely and utterly fell in love with Mary, the other characters, the artists, the setting and the history. In short, it was quite simply the perfect book for me to read! 

There's long been an association between art and literature, from Millais and Ophelia to Sophia and Ophelia and Sophia has tapped into this perfectly with such a deft touch. The story may be historical but it reads with a contemporary tone and could easily be talking about today.

Mary is thrown into a completely different way of life when she becomes a servant in a large house in London after working as a seamstress, her employers are both progressive and closed off at the same time. Philip Aitken is wonderful in that he encourages Mary's interest in art and history without wondering why. Meeting artists and other members of the Brotherhood Mary is immersed in yet another completely different world when she meets artist Felix Dawson, deciding that she too can be like Lizzie Siddal and also starting to fall in love for the first time too. Drawn into what could be a dangerous game for a servant at the time Mary becomes Persephone Lavelle, living the life of an artist's model and making the most of the freedom this brings her.

Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold and the harsh realities of being a servant in the nineteenth century soon catch up to our intrepid heroine. Her cousin Harriet, also a servant for a family nearby discovers that promises made are not always promises kept and Mary is cut off from everything (and everyone) that she has come to love. 

Mary is an amazing character, full of life and wanting more for herself than was probably reasonable to expect at the time, not afraid to stand up for herself or others if they need help but powerless to stop both people and events that overtake all the glorious things she has done and seen. Sophia Bennett has written an intriguing glimpse into the world of the Pre-Raphaelites, mixing both fact and fiction to create a page-turning story of a servant and her journey to becoming something more. 

I'm still not entirely sure what it was that made me fall so completely in love with Following Ophelia, Mary, Felix and the amazing group of artists and debutantes that she becomes Persephone with. It could be my own obsession with that time period and the Pre-Raphaelites or that fact that Sophia has managed to take a significant period of time in the art world and make it sound contemporary. Either way, I cannot wait to for the sequel which was very recently announced, Unveiling Venus (love that title and the cover I've seen! Can I read it now please?) and I'm off to buy a paperback copy of the book as the story of Following Ophelia is a keeper.

Following Ophelia - Sophia Bennett
ISBN - 9781847158109
Publisher - Stripes Books
Release date - March 9th, 2017

Friday 3 March 2017

#ShelfLove 2017 - March Check-In

Welcome to March! I'm still slowly but surely training myself to reach for the books that have been on my shelves the longest rather than the shiny new pretties but it's tough going at times, especially when all the shiny new books are published!


  • Read at least 15 of my own books a month - they have to have been on my shelves up to and including December 2016
  • For every 15 books read I'm allowed to buy 3 brand new books
  • For every 20 books donated to either charity or the library, I can buy 2 new books

Progress In February

Read - 22

Own - 15
Kindle -3
Library -4
TBR Challenge - 12
Review - 4
#ShelfLove Target - 23/180

Wishlist - 2628
TBR (Still not accurate) - 1534
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