Stacking the Shelves | Sequels and ARCs


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme from Tynga’s Reviews where you showcase the books you’ve received or purchased.

This week, I’ve added three books to my TBR and I’m very excited.

First off, I retweeted a publisher’s tweet on Twitter to win an ARC of what sounds like an insanely good dystopian crime thriller and, lo and behold, I won!


Wildfire publishers sent me an ARC of Yesterday by Felicia Yap, due to be released August 2017, as well as a lovely personalised card and a chocolate! Clearly Wildfire understand that the way to my heart is through both books and chocolate. Anyway, check out the synopsis for Yesterday here:

How do you solve a murder when you can only remember yesterday?

There are two types of people in the world. Those who can only remember yesterday, and those who can also recall the day before.

You have just one lifeline to the past: your diary. Each night, you write down the things that matter. Each morning, your diary tells you where you were, who you loved and what you did.

Today, the police are at your door. They say that the body of your husband’s mistress has been found in the River Cam. They think your husband killed her two days ago.

Can you trust the police? Can you trust your husband? Can you trust yourself?

My two other books are Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein:


I am so so so excited for Gemina and it’s been staring at me since I got it. I desperately want to read it but I’ve had so many other books waiting in my TBR for ages that I just don’t know what to do! If you haven’t read Illuminae yet then what have you been doing?! Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. Check out my review here.

Rose Under Fire is another YA WWII novel from Elizabeth Wein. I read Code Name Verity a few years ago and I loved it, especially because Wein writes strong women traversing the horrors of the Second World War. I’ve always found WWI and WWII fiction so interesting and Wein’s books are a definite welcome addition to the genre.


Have you read Rose Under Fire? Or have you even managed to read Gemina? What did you think? Do you like the sound of Yesterday? Let me know in the comments below!



The Willoughby Book Club Unboxing #3


The final package in my three month The Willoughby Book Club subscription arrived yesterday. And let me just say, this last book definitely didn’t disappoint. The people behind The Willoughby Book Club have made great choices the last two months (you can find the posts here and here) and I’ve been really pleased.

So, what did I get this month? It was A Lovely Way To Burn by Louise Welsh.


It’s an apocalyptic/dystopian novel with a murder mystery to boot. Set in a London ravaged by a deadly virus, one woman believes that it wasn’t the virus that killed her husband, but that someone murdered him instead. I think it sounds like a great idea, weaving my favourite genre with crime, and I’m excited to read it.

If you want to check out The Willoughby Book Club, you can find them here. I really do recommend them. They have so many different subscriptions and are great at tailoring books to your preferences. That way, you know you’re going to get a book you’ll like. Also, if they happen to send you a book you already have (which only happens to 1% of customers), they’ll send you a replacement completely free and let you keep the duplicate book so you can give it to a friend.

They’re UK based with free shipping, but do ship elsewhere for a fee. I also think they’re great value for money and really know their stuff when it comes to books! It’s an excellent way of finding new books and authors that you may have overlooked or never heard of.


Do you subscribe to The Willoughby Book Club or any other book subscription boxes? Have you read A Lovely Way To Burn? Want to read it? Let me know in the comments below!


Review: Dark Tides by Chris Ewan

51wtkgftbrlDark Tides by Chris Ewan

Genre: Crime Thriller

Publisher: Faber & Faber

My Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis: When Claire Cooper was eight, her mother disappeared during Hop-tu-naa, the Manx Halloween.

When Claire was eighteen, she and her friends took part in a Hop-tu-naa dare that went terribly wrong.

Now in her early twenties and a police officer, what happened that Hop-tu-naa night has come back to haunt them all, and Claire must confront her deepest fears in order to stop a killer from striking again.

Page Break

My Review

I really wanted to love this. Ewan writes excellent prose and he’s good at suspense, but there’s just something about it that didn’t sit right with me.

I think the main thing is the murderer. I knew who it was pretty early on. I was never 100% sure (Ewan is careful not to give away too many details), but when I thought logically about the story I deduced who was the likeliest suspect. And I was right. But instead of that big feeling of elation when you guess the killer during a TV murder mystery and you turn to your family all smug, I just felt a bit deflated. It was that moment of ‘knew it, now let’s get to the bit where the protagonist defeats the murderer’.

The red herring also didn’t work on me. Actually, I lie, I fell for it a little, but if it had turned out to be the truth I would have been even more unsatisfied.

However, like I said, Ewan is an excellent writer. His prose is sharp and cinematic, his characters fleshed out, and his descriptive language is brilliant; no detail is too small. The setting of the Isle of Man is definitely an excellent choice in terms of a claustrophobic yet rural atmosphere. You get the sense that there aren’t many places for the characters to hide on a small island, juxtaposed with the seemingly empty rural open spaces. My heart was definitely pumping a little faster at the climax of the novel (even if it wasn’t a surprise to me) simply because of Ewan’s effortless writing. There was also one twist that I didn’t see coming that surprised me when it was revealed, so I was pleased with that, but it didn’t matter quite as much when the BIG reveal was so disappointing.

Nevertheless, I haven’t been put off reading any of Ewan’s future work. Just because one crime novel fell a little flat doesn’t mean the others will, especially with his writing style; crime is a difficult and fickle genre. Despite my apparently low rating, I would recommend this book because you might not have a clue who the murderer is and be really surprised by the reveal. However, I wouldn’t entirely bet on it.

Page Break

Have you read Dark Tides or any of Chris Ewan’s other novels? Have you read any crime novels where the killer has been obvious from the start? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)

Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

517ux2php6lThe Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Genre: Historical Mystery, Young Adult

Publisher: Macmillan

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: Faith’s father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree only grows healthy and bears fruit if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter . . .

Page Break

My Review

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding this book. Its own special displays in Waterstones book shops and numerous mentions in blog posts on new anticipated releases. I hadn’t read a good old historical mystery in a while, so I was intrigued by the unique premise of The Lie Tree.

And let me tell you, the hype is well deserved. The eerie mystery of the lie tree; the bleak and claustrophobic island of Vane; Faith’s dysfunctional family. The book had quite a dark tone to it, but it wasn’t sombre. Faith didn’t wallow in her own sorrows, but she wasn’t immune to her emotions either.

She’s maybe a little meek at the beginning, but you can see she has the potential to grow, anger and intelligence carefully concealed beneath the image of the dutiful daughter. When her father dies of a rumoured suicide, Faith’s family is disgraced. The islanders shun them, servants spread malicious gossip, and Faith’s mother seems more concerned with her funeral dress than anything else. The death of her father is just enough to tip Faith over the edge, to reveal the bright spark beneath. And wow, I was really impressed with Faith once she got going.

She’s smart, calculating, even malicious when she needs to be. But you never hate her for it; she’s only mean when others are mean to her. She gives as good as she gets, especially when it comes to her reluctant ally Paul Clay. I loved their dynamic, their retorts. Faith really is a strong heroine, determined to set things right at any cost. She battles against the patriarchal forces trying to keep her from her passion for the natural sciences, even if it means playing the dull-witted daughter to get her way. I really enjoyed Faith as a character and many YA novelists could take some tips from Hardinge on how to craft a female protagonist that is actually strong and witty instead of being argumentative and selfish. She’s not rude for the sake of it, in a bid to seem funny or independent; she uses words to her tactical advantage, but is still ultimately compassionate, a caring sister to her little brother Howard.

The mystery is also one that keeps you guessing. Faith believes her father’s death is in fact a murder, and I had my suspicions from the beginning. They proved to be true, but I was never really sure; Hardinge definitely kept me guessing. All her characters are well-rounded and interesting, the roles they play in the Reverend’s murder tantalisingly ambiguous.

The book was a neat little package. Strong lead, unpredictable mystery, believable fantastical moments. If you haven’t already picked up a copy then I really suggest you do; you won’t regret it.

Page Break

Have you read The Lie Tree? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Caitlin (1)