Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Review

A very happy book birthday to Strange the Dreamer – the first in a new duology by Laini Taylor author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

This has been one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 after reading a sampler last year. The sampler also encouraged me to finally read her first series, which I loved, and I entirely blame, for making me plan a trip to Prague in 2018.

The setting of Strange the Dreamer is entirely fictional so that should save me some money, although I will be needing the follow up in Hardcover too. I got my little grabby hands on a beautiful signed and blue edged copy on Saturday so spent the weekend reading it. I’d already made a mask prop for bookstagram and the story is set in a city called Weep so Sadness was a must for the picture below.



The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

What I Thought

Looking at the reviews on Goodreads it appears Laini Taylor is quite a polarising author, and I’m glad to say  I am fully in the love her camp. Her writing is so beautiful that it made me read more slowly because I didn’t want to miss any words or the images they create. I’m not a very visual reader normally but, I can see her worlds.

We are thrown straight in to a world where people have two hearts and blood and spirit runs through them. I would have liked a pronunciation guide for some of the words because my brain was getting twisted trying to read them but I loved the myth and mystery that that bought.

Much as in her previous series we focus mainly on two points of view, that of Lazlo and the blue skinned goddess, though we do step into the minds of other characters too at times. There was only one point where the POV shifted within a scene unexpectedly. But, it was in a shared scene.

Lazlo is a dreamer and believer, a lover of books and stories, and as a fellow book person I was naturally drawn to him, but I also felt for Sarai, and was compelled by her inner conflict. Gods and Monsters seems to be a common theme in Laini’s work and she doesn’t shy away from exploring the murky side of what makes a Hero or a Villain. Consequently her characters are rich and complex, as well as humorous and human. There’s one character that reminded me of Claudia from Interview with a Vampire and there is more than one heartbreaking relationship explored in this book.

I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil it but this book is magic and you will want to savour it and it will destroy you and … how long do we have to wait until part two?

If you’ve read the book and want to discuss DM me on twitter.

Also over the weekend I read samplers for The Boy on the Bridge by MR Carey and Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh but thankfully only have to wait until May to read them. Lucky really as I’ll be doing Camp NaNo in April.



Letters to Eloise by Emily Williams – Guest Post

Letters to Eloise – The story behind Abelard and Heloise

Letters to Eloise is the heart-wrenching debut epistolary novel by Emily Williams; a love story of misunderstandings, loss, and betrayal but ultimately the incredible bond between mother and child.


Author Emily and her family

Thank you so much for welcoming me onto your blog for my guest post. Today I am going to talk more about the story behind the quotes from ‘Abelard and Heloise’ that are woven through my debut novel Letters to Eloise. I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers so I will leave these out and hopefully tantalise you with a snippet of the story so you’ll want to find out more! Letters to Eloise is my debut love story that was published by Lutino Publications last month.


The blurb …


‘Receiving a hand written letter is something that always puts a smile on my face, no matter who the sender is.’ Flora Tierney.
When post-graduate student Flora falls unexpectedly pregnant during her final year studies she hits a huge predicament; continue a recent affair with her handsome but mysterious lecturer who dazzles her with love letters taken from the ancient tale of ‘Abelard and Heloise’, or chase after the past with her estranged first love?
But will either man be there to support her during the turmoil ahead?

‘Banish me, therefore, for ever from your heart’ – Abelard to Heloise.


The story behind the name Eloise …


When I first started writing Letters to Eloise, I had planned the overview of the plot, and then was in the process of deciding the names of the characters. I have always loved the name ‘Eloise’ and looked it up in a babies name book to find out more. I researched each name in the novel this way to try to fit the names meaning with the characteristics of the character. The meaning of the name Eloise is ‘famous warrior’ and the name is linked with the Germanic name derived from ‘hail’, which means robust and healthy. The name fitted this character perfectly.


Love is incapable of being concealed; a word, a look, nay silence speaks it all. Abelard to Heloise


I read about how the name became famous due to the tragic love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and her tutor Peter Abelard. This lead to my further research into the love story of Abelard and Heloise, and the tragedy of their relationship. I became interested in this true story and bought a book of their letters to read. The website ‘Sacred Texts’ had translations of their letters to each other and this source was invaluable in my research. I would recommend a read. I had never even heard about the ancient tale before, and found myself fascinated.


The relationship was a scandal at the time, due partly to Heloise’s age and Peter Abelard’s position. Tragedy followed their illicit relationship as other people fought to keep them apart. However, by writing letters — for over twenty years — their love continued to burn for each other despite the tragic circumstances. The story is an inspiration, as is their courage and passion, which kept their love alive despite the separation between them. The quotes from their letters to each other fitted parts of the storyline of Letters to Eloise perfectly, so I interwove them into Flora’s letters to her unborn child.

Abelard leaving Helose - 12th century

Abelard leaving Heloise – 12th Century Fotolia illustration -with thanks


Heloise and Abelard is a passionate, true love story and I knew the name Eloise was a perfect fit.


God knows I never sought anything in you except yourself. I wanted simply you, nothing of yours. Heloise to Abelard.


Read Letters to Eloise, which is out now on kindle and in paperback, to find out more about the story of Abelard and Heloise and to follow Flora’s story and her own predicament.


US –

UK –

Follow Emily on twitter @EmilyRMWilliams



Emily has also been kind enough to share some editing tips so pop back on Wednesday to find out more.

In the Eyes of an Angel by Kimberly Livingston – Blog Tour


New Adult is a fairly new fiction ‘genre’ and one that is growing in popularity. Moving on from young adult which explores the lives of teenagers to seeing the lives of young people at university and starting work, and with more adult relationship content. Please find below an extract from chapter one of contemporary romance new adult novel In the Eyes of an Angel by Kimberly Livingston, and check out the other stops on the blog tour to find out more.


Camille Ryan is in her final year at Southern State University. Working as a bartender in a local establishment in order to support herself, she knows from her mother’s experience with her alcoholic father not to depend on anyone. That is until travelling businessman Rick Pantanelli decides to visit her bar. He is a handsome, well-off, successful professional and her senior by a full 17 years.

Camille is used to doing everything she is expected to do. But when she meets Rick she is swept away by his good looks, his charm and his ability to take care of her. Rick is used to getting what he wants. But when he meets Camille he is swept away by her beauty and her inner fragility. He finds himself believing he can take care of her. Is this belief strong enough to make him a better man?


Kimberly Livingston visited Disneyland for the first time as a young girl. Since then the magic has infused into her blood and she remains an avid Disney fan! She lives in Colorado with her own Prince Charming. In the Eyes of an Angel is Kimberly Livingston’s first published novel.  On A Run is her second novel.  Please connect on  twitter @KLnovels


Thursday morning’s alarm went off. Camille for a moment could not think of what day it was or why there was that noise in her ear. She then realized the day, the time, and the fact that she had to get up to review her notes prior to taking her exam so she could pass. Dragging herself from her bed she crossed the ice cold floor of her dungeon-like room.

Camille shared a six-bedroom Victorian home near campus with five other girls; strangers, for the most part. She had moved in with some friends last summer, just having broken up with the guy she lived with and forced to find a new residence. After only a semester the friends all moved to different apartments. Camille couldn’t afford the security and rent deposits to move again so stayed, thinking that for another year it couldn’t be too bad. She was wrong. Luckily, she had the bedroom in the basement, which, though dark, was the largest. The basement had its own outside entrance and the bedroom door could lock. There was a bathroom just outside the room that the other girls rarely used because it was down the stairs and only a three quarter bath. Camille quit going upstairs altogether; even to visit the one cupboard that was technically “hers” in the kitchen. More often than not she found that when she put any groceries in the cupboard they would be gone by the time she wanted them. The same went for the refrigerator, which was disgustingly covered in food spills and generally only contained cases of beer, sour milk, and left over margaritas. Camille had bought herself a small refrigerator and microwave for her bedroom and kept what few snacks she had there.

This morning, Camille unsteadily stumbled to the door, which she unlocked with the key and went to shower. She had begun to rehearse what she remembered from the text but found herself thinking of other things instead. Standing in the shower Camille’s mind flitted with thoughts of her living situation; her lack of money; her future; her job; then just as subconsciously of the Chivas that ordered the night before. She smiled a rare smile
these days. She thought about his out of place looks in the bar. Too well dressed, too put together, too fine. Oh so fine.

The shower was getting cold. Someone upstairs must have begun to shower, stealing her hot water. Camille turned off the faucet and dried off. It was just as well, she was going to run out of time to study if she didn’t hurry.

Camille drove the four blocks to class today instead of walking, partly because she had to go to work right after her final hour and partly because of the cold. She thanked the parking lot gods for leaving her a space closer to her class than her house and went into the building. It was going to be a sunnier day today and she felt better for it.

Camille slipped into her seat at the back of the room next to her friend Jennifer.

“God, you look like shit !” Jen greeted her. “Did the girls have another party last night?”

Camille’s roommates were not in college due to scholarships. They did not even appear to be going for any particular reason other than to socialize late into each evening. The loud parties were infamous with many other non-scholarship receiving youth glad to be away from their parents’ watchful eyes, if not their wallets.

“Thanks, hi to you too. No, I had a late night at work. I didn’t get home until after three.”

“My god girl, how do you do it?”

“Pure necessity!” Camille replied, which was the truth of it. Her life, at the moment, seemed to be made up of necessities. She worked and she studied to stay in school and she went to school because…… because she hoped that someday it would get her to a point where “necessity” was no longer a word in her vocabulary.

Camille had picked a degree that seemed secure; one that would always provide her a job regardless of the economy, one that didn’t rely on too many other people. Accounting suited Camille’s ideals perfectly, she thought. She liked numbers. They were reliable, predictable, quiet. Camille always had difficulty telling people her major. Invariably she would get the comment, “You don’t look like an accountant.” She never knew what that meant. What did an accountant look like? Camille had no idea that what she looked like to others was a dancer, or a famous actress not yet discovered, or an angel. In fact, Camille had no thoughts as to her own beauty, inner or outward. This innocence was what made her so darn attractive. Somehow, she managed not to notice men looking at her. She kept to herself and always had. Perhaps it was a protective barrier she kept around herself to keep herself from getting hurt.

Camille had had only a few relationships in her life. After high school, she met someone early in her freshman year at the University. He was older than her by ten years and what some would call a professional student: always in school, never graduating. He had changed majors so many times he could hardly remember what they all were. He lived off of student loans, and as long as he stayed in school he didn’t have to pay them back. Camille was invited to move in with him soon after they began to date. She did so because half the rent was cheaper than paying for the dorms. He seemed like the “right one” to her. After a while, though, she realized that she was just helping him to pay for his way of life. He drank, which began to become more noticeable, and Camille was fairly sure he was unfaithful, though she never had evidence. While at first he had seemed romantic, she soon found that he was the type to forget her birthday, forget her at all it seemed. After going home for the summer of her sophomore year, she broke up with him. She did it over the phone. She did it from home. He kept pleading with her not to leave, and when she
arrived at the airport he was there with flowers and candy waiting. Too little too late.

If this sounds like your type of read you can find it on amazon kindle.


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