Category Archives: Kirsty rambles on about life, the universe, tv, and everything!

Fireborn by Aisling Fowler – #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour Book Review


About the Book

Lyra. Lucy. Percy. Once in a generation, a hero emerges whose story enthralls readers worldwide.

Fireborn is an epic quest, perfect for fans of the His Dark Materials and The School for Good and Evil series, that will spin readers into a magical world like no other–and introduce them to an unforgettable new heroine named Twelve.

Ember is full of monsters.

Twelve gave up her name and identity to train in the art of hunting them–so she says. The truth is much more deadly: she trains to take revenge on those who took her family from her.

But when Twelve’s new home is attacked, she’ll find herself on an unexpected journey, where her hidden past is inescapably intertwined with her destiny–and the very fate of her world.


About the Author

Aisling was born in 1985 and wishes that she had grown up in a magical, mountainous kingdom, but was actually raised in Surrey on a diet of books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her early ‘adventure’ stories involved surprisingly little action and her first novel (3 pages long) was politely declined by publishers at age 11. After earning a BSc in Biology and working as a support worker and then a nurse, the idea for her debut novel, Fireborn, came to her as she moved back and forth between London and the US. Now based in Hackney, when she is not reading or writing, Aisling loves cooking and plotting adventures (for herself as well as her fictional characters). Fireborn will be published by HarperCollins in 2021.

from https://www.rcwlitagency.com/authors/fowler-aisling/)


What I Thought


Well. What a ride this book was.


When a book is this good it becomes tricky to write a review but here goes.


I love the magic and adventure of middle grade books and this is a world to get immediately engulfed in. Truly a case of starting In Media Res (in the middle of the action) and learning about the world as we read. There are early hints that Twelve is at the Hunting Lodge under false pretences, and based on unfortunate circumstances, and that is solidified in her position as an outsider, as one set apart from her fellow Huntlings, each named for a number until they pass their training and earn their place and the right to choose a new name. In their pledge they agree to forsake their previous lives in order to serve all seven clans in Ember and fight the monsters that threaten them all.


Of course monsters do not always come with fangs and fur but in all manner of guises, amongst those you know and even within yourself. Flashbacks in nightmares unwind the horror in Twelve’s past, but is her anger directed in the right way?


We have wolves, goblins, witches, talking trees, and new and untold horrors. Beware the deathspinners and The Croke!


But on side of light we have stone guardians and squirrels 🐿 as well as unexpected allies who help Twelve and some of her fellow Huntlings survive through the Frozen Forest way before they were ever meant to enter it. But do they all make it?


Warriors and Clans make this setting an imagined prehistoric world with added magic and myths. This was a truly gripping and pacy read and I loved the relationships between the Huntlings. It’s great when there is some animosity in the team, definitely adds to the tension. Twelve is also an internally conflicted character and her backstory is really quite chilling and it comes back to haunt her. Along the way she learns some lessons and even makes some friends because alone is not the way to win a war and it looks like one is coming.


There were some unexpected twists and turns and some things that I guessed at and it’s the mark of good writing when both are satisfying.

I definitely recommend getting your hands on a first edition because I think this is going to be big – 5,6,7…12 big!


Releases 30th September and will no doubt be the start of the next epic adventure series.

Thanks to Dave at The Write Reads and the publisher (Harper Collins Children) for the gifted copy for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out what everyone else thinks – spoiler, they are all loving it too.


#40for2020 Reading Challenge

In the year 2018, the year they turned 40, four friends set up a reading challenge – #40yrs40bks. In 2019 it was #40morebks and now in 2020 it’s #40for2020. As always we are inviting you to join us.

Here are the prompts:

and a spreadsheet for you:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/luu59uu6qw0lvi0/AACLuC70pspArYV9yneBZdIca?dl=0

I still have a few books to go on my 2019 challenge so I’ll do a round up of that when it’s completed. One thing I’ve confirmed this year is that I am very much a mood reader so this time I’m not going to plan out what books I’m going to read and stick rigidly to that but go with the flow.

As ever this is your challenge so interpret the prompts as you like… and Happy New Reading Year 2020.

Who is joining us?

Special Edition Book Pre-Order Process Wishlist

After a few slightly stressful book buying situations recently I thought I’d suggest what I’d most like to see here. I’m aiming to talk generally and not name names although I’m sure those in the know will know what inspired this post.

Anything that is limited edition is likely to leave some people empty handed – be that tickets to events, concerts, collectibles, books etc. FOMO is real.

My main issue around all this links to capitalism though and that there always seem to be people who manage to get hold of those restricted items seemingly with the intention to sell on at a profit. I’ve noticed that there are steps being taken to solve this, limiting sales to one item per customer. Trying to prevent resales for concerts etc but still we have issues and more could be done. (Just to note people that initially buy for themselves and sell on at a later date for various reasons this doesn’t apply).

It’s tricky because I feel hypocritical writing this because I’d love to be able to sit back and go I don’t care I’ll just go on in half an hour to see if there are any left. This is because I am invested in some things – experiences, collectibles, special edition books – especially when they have added prettiness. I’m slightly less bothered about exclusive numbered editions but slap a sprayed edge on something and ooooh.

Here’s what I would love to see happen although I realise some of this is very unlikely to. It’s a wishlist that would require action from different parties.

Publishers to – in advance – list all the pre-order special editions of an upcoming book before they go on sale so that consumers can be fully informed and can choose the edition(s) they most want to purchase (and in which priority). e.g. tell us about all the sprayed edges, bonus chapters, signed, numbered, exclusive covers etc.

The particular books that have inspired by this post have a number of editions that have all been released with some yet to be determined. I know not many of us can afford to get all editions of every book so this leads to either frequent cancelling of orders, or the later high resale prices because people know there was demand so keep duplicates specifically to sell.

Pie in the sky – have one super duper awesome version and allow pre-orders and create this issue to demand (plus extras for people that come to the party later). Wouldn’t that be lovely. But like I said capitalism doesn’t work that way.

Proper notice (Ideally at least a week) on when special editions are going to be available (for this recent book it was less than 24 hours if you count an author announcement and just over an hour if you count the vendor official newsletter e-mail).

An exact time for the release. People do need to plan lives around these things – as much as we love books / other stuff like work, family etc get in the way. Rude! 😉

Clarity over the ordering process. Can you order just by the website or by phone, e-mail etc too. Transparency about how this is managed. Certain amount limited to each ordering process?! Making sure infrastructure is in place to manage this for popular titles because the last thing you want is to turn round and have to cancel orders. That does not a happy customer make.

Vendors having adequate infrastructure to support sales of very popular titles. This would include things like:

Having websites that can be prescheduled to release a listing without need for manual input.

Buying in extra server capacity for these types of releases with queuing systems (e.g. like sites like Cursed Child or Popcultcha have).

If errors go on for longer than an hour postponement to the process is made (again to be re-set at specific announced time) to allow issues to be resolved. I’m sure all our refreshing didn’t help the website crash but equally whilst there was still hope of things being fixed and fear that the books would sell out very quickly if they were we just weren’t going to step back to allow it to be resolved.

Alternatively Vendors could even consider a raffle type process where people could submit pre-order requests over a 24 hour period via different processes (phone, e-mail etc) that they get randomly picked? Those who are unsuccessful are offered alternatives and allowed to cancel if that isn’t suitable.

On numbered issues in particular. That when a numbered issue of the first in a series is purchased that buyers get first and exclusive option of that same numbered edition of sequels in the series.

That we all try to remember that the customer service people we are dealing with, the authors who have no control over this process, and the fellow fans, that are just as excited as us, are all human and that we treat each other with respect. I hope that companies value when their employees have had a tough day and debrief or better yet send them off to happy hour.

Life isn’t fair. There will always be people that will be unsuccessful despite all these steps but there are fairer ways to implement things.

Just my thoughts. My way to process.

What do you think. All pie in the sky? Anything practical in there? Any other ideas?

Happy Special Edition Book Buying People. Tomorrow may the odds be ever in your favour.

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