Category Archives: Reviews
Caitlin Hext’s first shedding ceremony is imminent, but she’s far from prepared to produce a Snakeskin clone. When her skin fails to turn to dust as expected, she must decide whether she wishes the newcomer alive or dead.
Worse still, it transpires that the Hext family may be of central importance to the survival of Charmers, a group of people with the inexplicable power to produce duplicates every seven years and, in the process, rejuvenate. In parallel with reporter Gerry Chafik and government aide Russell Handler, Caitlin must prevent the Great British Posperity Party from establishing a corrupt new world order.
About the Author
Tim Major has authored You Don’t Belong Here, Blighters and Carus & Mitch, The YA novel Machineries of Mercy, the short story collection And the House Lights Dom, and a non-fiction book about the silent crime film, Les Vampires. His shorts have appeared in Interzone, Not One of Us and numerous anthologies including Best of British SF 2017. He is co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s journal, BFS Horizons.
What I Thought
This book has such an intriguing premise. A proportion of the population have been “given” special abilities as Charmers. Every seven years they shed like snakes and rejuvenate their original bodies meaning they live longer than ordinary humans. Usually the skin lasts only a short time before disintegrating into ash. But Caitlin’s skin stays, is clearly displaying human emotion and is taken away by the government…
The very government who have cut the U.K. off from Europe, call themselves The Great British Prosperity Party and appear to be Charmer led. Russell works for one of the ministers and gradually starts to uncover the truth.
Gerry is a journalist who is also working to tell the real story and Caitlin is just trying to come to terms with what being a Charmer means and why much of society is against them. Suspicion and lack of understanding, thinking all Charmers are the same!
A biting social commentary, a mysterious thriller and engaging characters to root for. Tim Major has created something pretty unique. I don’t think we’ll ever look at politics the same way after the last few years and this book contributes to that unease.
Thank you to Lydia at Titan for gifting me a copy of this book for the purposes of an honest review.
Snakeskins is out now.
Based on Sophie Tanner’s true story comes a fresh twist on the traditional love story.
Chloe Usher has just broken up with the love of her life. All her friends urge her to find another man before she disappears down the slippery slope to spinsterhood. After a particularly messy date and several gins, she decides that she doesn’t need an ‘other half’ to complete her and announces that she is going to marry herself. The news goes viral and, in the sober light of day, Chloe finds herself thrust firmly into the public eye to the embarrassment of her friends and family. Planning her wedding solo takes Chloe on a bumpy journey of self-discovery, as she realises why wish away your life waiting for ‘the one’ when YOU are, in fact, the one?
About the Author
Sophie Tanner writes fiction as well as working as a digital PR and content consultant. She lives in sunny Brighton with her bumptious Labrador, Ella, a more romp away from the beach. She loved spending time outdoors in nature and is also a bit of a culture vulture; lapping up the buzzing arts scene. Eternally studious, Sophie enjoys meeting people and having new experiences; she’ll try anything… at least once. Instagram: @thesologamist, website: http://www.imarriedme.co.uk
This novel has a strong personal story, as it was inspired by the author’s own sologamist wedding in 2015! For Sophie, realising that she didn’t need a soul mate in order to be truly happy was her biggest life lesson. She learnt that treating herself with self-compassion and realising that she was enough, just as she was, has made her infinitely happier!
What I Thought
This was a really fun read with an important and empowering message. Whilst I am not likely to commit to marrying myself in a big ceremony (the cost!!) I am definitely on board with the principles behind it – self-compassion and self-love.
The characters felt real and were well observed. I loved the Brighton setting. I also enjoy being a step ahead of the main character and did guess a few things before she worked them out. Just a word of warning always check out abbreviations on online dating sites!!!
As you can expect poor Chloe doesn’t get 100% support behind her venture and the online trolls are matched by some real life ones too. Media attention and a film crew bring additional complications.
As well as the fun there is some serious stuff too and the communication between Chloe and one blog reader was very emotive.
The character Muriel, the older lady Chloe befriends as part of a work’s community charitable engagement was one of my favourites.
This is written in first person and it’s very engaging. Chloe comes across as likeable and very sane in a world where single women are still seen as spinsters and crazy cat ladies.
This is a book fans of Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series can move on to enjoy. I highly recommend it. It’s a feel good feminist read, with great social commentary on a number of issues.
Thanks to Alex from Orion for my gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Published by Trapeze today – 16/5/19.
The following post contains spoilers for the first book in the series – The Fandom.
It’s a year since Violet, Alice and Katie escaped from the dystopian world of The Gallows Dance – Nate’s been stuck in a coma ever since. Violet re-enters The Gallows Dance, determined to bring her brother home. After an argument that threatens to destroy their friendship, Alice stays behind. But when a rogue fanfic writer emerges online – posting dark new chapters set in the world her friends are trapped in – Alice is the only one with the power to save the story…
Anna Day was shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition in 2015 with her novel The Gallows Dance. Combining Anna’s novel with The Big Idea runner-up Angela McCann’s idea resulted in The Fandom, a new novel inspired by the world from Anna’s original story. By day, Anna works as a clinical psychologist and lives in Newcastle with her family.
What I Thought
I was lucky enough to pick up an ARC of The Fandom at YALC and loved it so much I requested to be on the blog tour – you can find my original post here.
So I was very honoured to be contacted by Anna and sent a copy of the second book in the Fandom Duology for review.
Seriously if you’ve ever wished you could enter the world of books you love you will adore this series. It’s fun, romantic and full of friendship and sibling love too.
The Fandom Rising picks up around a year after the first book. Nate is still in a coma and Violet, Alice and Katie are ignoring the elephant in the room – the fact that they went into the world of The Gallows Dance. Everyone has put it down to a freak incident and the girls seem to believe they just dropped into comas too. Almost.
Violet and Alice have published a sequel called The Gallows Song, a Utopia in which Nate is alive and well. But then a fan fiction writer calling himself Fanboy starts using the power of the Fandom to make things dark and dangerous again. Nate is at risk in more than one way and it’s time to hop back and save the day.
I really liked how the female friendships are explored in terms of their complexity – conflict and jealousy as well as being there for each other. Girls aren’t just sunshine and sleepovers, or mean girls. Alice is left behind in the real world as a result and the introduction of the character Danny who helps her is welcomed because she can’t do this alone.
The characters we met in the first book are still in The Gallows Dance world and Violet might regret what they’ve written just a little. Even Utopias have conflict when new characters are introduced.
Like the first this was well paced, full of tension and an excellent mystery. Who is Fanboy and can Alice stop him? The answer may surprise you. Will everyone make it back in one piece?
With timely commentary on the nature of art and who stories belong to I loved diving back into this portal fantasy.
I marginally preferred the first book mainly because of the romance but this was a very satisfying follow up. Not going to lie I now want more and the super exciting news is that the series is in development for TV with Fox 21 Studios and the producer of the Golden Compass. My wishes are that they keep it set in the U.K. 🤞🏻and if they film the opening at LFCC this year I’ll be available to be an extra 😉 – just saying. And maybe they extend the story because there are things I need to see that are hinted at in the very end of book two. I’d be happy with extending this to a trilogy too 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻.
Thank you to Anna and Chicken House who gifted me this copy for the purposes of an honest review.