Monday, 31 October 2016

The Summer That Melted Everything [Review & Giveaway!]

Hello there!

Title: The Summer That Melted Everything
Author: Tiffany McDaniels
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Published Date: 26th July 2016
Rating: 5 stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*


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Synopsis: Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil.


Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town.


When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. 


As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. 


While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.
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Review: I became a slave to this book. Not only did I want to consume it in on go but unfortunately couldn’t, instead it had me awake at near 2am when I had to be awake early the next day. I couldn’t put this book down and it messed with my emotions. Going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A contemporary like title, all this talk of a devil and then summer? It sounds like quite a mixture of things. But really, this book is about humanity in my opinion, and what makes someone human. Especially when it comes to involving our actions.


I’ll start with getting to the part I would most want to have explained when it comes to this novel. Yes, there is some religious talk here… but not much. Only what needs to be crossed when it comes to Sal, the little boy, being the literal devil or not. Every now and again Fielding, the main character would ask whether these particular actions would bring you to hell or not. Or what hell is really like. Or what it feels like to be a falling angel. I’m not saying I agreed with all the answers to these questions given – I know I didn’t, but that’s okay because I can still read about it and be intrigued by it – but the answers were incredibly clever. And it made me realise that when it comes to hell, just like heaven, everyone pictures something different. For some reason I just assumed everyone would be thinking of burning and red and pain, but that’s not the case.

But there is much, much, more to this story. In truth, this is about a family which has fears. Fielding has his own personal fears. His mother blatantly has one seeing as she never leaves the house. His older brother, Grand, is idolized in his eyes as an amazing older brother but he also has his own fair share of problems. And all the people in the town of Breathed do too. McDaniels managed to describe the secondary characters wonderfully, and in so much detail that it made me connect to them as main characters as well. But it never drew me away from the main storyline, which meant it was done perfectly.


I must mention that in terms of the characters, the real moral question this novel is raising is who is the real devil? Who or what is the real evil here? There’s someone claiming to be the literal devil themselves. There are the people of the town who come to hate the little boy. There are many other characters who we could say are evil themselves. Sometimes I even disliked Fielding and his choices and it made me question everything. Maybe we get a certain answer to this question and maybe we don’t. I’ll leave you to read about it to figure that one out. But you’ll definitely end up thinking about it.

What can I say about McDaniel’s writing style? This novel is the kind that should go down as a classic. The writing style is just so beautiful, if it were an art piece I would buy it in seconds. It isn’t written in the style of a classic, but it could be held in regard as one. There are literary techniques used and the writing is so gorgeous that it is easy to picture all the scenes she is describing. However, this writing is not difficult to understand in a single moment. It doesn’t distract us from the story at all. So again, I have to applaud McDaniel’s for her amazing balance when creating this novel.


The title to the novel suits inside and out. It’s a historical fiction, set in the past, but it’s got a relevant message for today. Messages, I should say. It’s very much a character driven novel but it’s so good I would recommend it to some plot based readers too. And lastly, I have to say that the ending just made me sad. Things happened to people who didn’t deserve them… and that end sends a resounding message itself. You should definitely read it to find out what I mean.

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Gif Summary: 


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Giveaway: Enter to win a hardcover edition of The Summer That Melted Everything! US entries only.

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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you let yourself stay up late reading from time to time?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Let's Zoom Back in Time...

Hi guys!

So... let's pretend I haven't been a very bad blogger for a long time and sorta disappeared off the side of the earth. Let's just zoom all the way back to September (I know! Pretty much a whole month ago) and tie up some loose ends with an impromptu semi-wrap up post :D

September was a pretty normal month for me. I wanted to cry when I had to go back to school because I had really loved my summer holiday and wanted it to last forever. I did things like make apple crumble and lemon pie on the weekends to cheer myself up. I was very busy with schoolwork... 

Basketball season started. We have training twice a week and a game every weekend now, so a lot of my time goes to that. In September, we didn't win a single game. But we're getting better every time, so that's what matters most right?


I also worked on my university applications and sent them all off. Now I just have to wait with fingers crossed and pray some universities accept me!

I managed to do a workout about 6 times a week as well, which was something I wanted to keep time for even though I started school again. My yoga is going well and I managed to semi master the headstand. I just need to keep my legs together now :D




In September I read my usual six books. Some of those I have reviewed like Haven, Forget Me Not, My Sweet Vidalia and A Shadow Bright and Burning. I also reviewed the fourth one, My Grandmother Asked me To Tell You She's Sorry on my channel. 

The other was Fireworks by Angela Carter, which I read on recommendation of my older sister. It was a really nice short story collection and the writing was absolutely beautiful. 




The Dead Man by Nora Gold
One by Sarah Crossan 
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson 
Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath




Thanks for zooming back in time with me for a bit there!

Olivia's Question: What's something you often procrastinate doing?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Iron Cast [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: Iron Cast
Author: Destiny Soria
Publisher: Amulet Books
Published Date: 11th October 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the review copy*


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Synopsis: It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose "afflicted" blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.

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Review: Iron Cast was a novel I was really looking forward to reading as I had heard a lot about it around the book community on both blogs and Instagram alike. I really liked the premise, and I was also looking forward to having some black culture included in the novel too. It’s not every day that both of the main characters in a novel are coloured!

Personally, it took me a little while to warm up to this novel, but once I did I was head over heels in love with it. The two main characters are Ada and Corinne, who are both really tight friends and both have quite the sarcastic attitude to match it. I loved them both. At the beginning I was always confused because I felt like they were pretty similar. Ada and Corinne both seemed to act the same to me and it was hard to see them as individuals… but eventually as I read along I got a better understanding of them both and they became more unique. I learned that Corinne was more the headstrong and confident one, while Ada was more quiet and sensible. Once you see the distinction, the lines won’t blur anymore.

I also really loved the idea of hemopathy in general. Hemopathy means you have certain skills which act a bit like unique powers, except metals like steel and iron are your kryptonite. Also, hemopaths are seen as dangerous and get locked away or abused by the other members of society. Immediately you can see that this novel is going to dive into the theme of social classes, and discrimination. Maybe it wasn’t segregation because of skin colour, or gender, but because of ‘race’ in a way. And this novel managed to cover the theme well. Shouldn’t we be accepting of these minor differences and if the hemopaths are going to be law abiding, then why shouldn’t they live like anyone else? Labeling people as criminal only makes them more likely to enact criminal behaviour.


Of course, these girls did have other issues as well. They’re not only hemopaths, but they’re also female and coloured. I was surprised by how little the author delved into those latter two topics and themes, but Soria had enough going on in this novel that I think the addition of those would have become overwhelming anyway.

Ada’s hemopathic ability is being able to play music and make others feel emotions. Corinne’s is being able to recite poetry and use those words to cause illusions. Coupled together, these two are quite powerful. But what I liked most about their abilities was hoe it showed an appreciation for the arts. More books with art appreciation is always good to me :D


I also think that the secondary characters were developed pretty well. In the second half of the book you really get a feel for those other characters and a dive into their backstory as well. I loved Maddie, Ada’s mother, Charlie and Gabriel especially. I think what struck me most about these other secondary characters were that they were not puppets. They had their own issues, their own choices to make which impacted the story and their own lives. We see how they entwine, but also why they do what they do too.

I felt like there were a lot of betrayals and plot twists that I didn’t see coming at all. It made the second half of the book amazingly good. It was action packed, and it seemed not to end so all I could do was helplessly turn page after page until I had read everything! It was so good in terms of plot line.

I’m not going to say much about this, but the theme of family and what that means and entails was handled spectacularly as well. I loved it.


One little thing I didn’t understand was why the movie was called Iron Cast. The place where this novel is set and centers around is called Cast Iron. I know Iron Cast sounds better, but then just call the café in the book that as well!

In conclusion, I loved it. I didn’t expect to love it quite this much. I’ll definitely be reading whatever this author writes next.

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Gif Summary: 


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you think your family understands more about you than you believe them to?


Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Fear The Drowning Deep [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: Fear the Drowning Deep
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published Date: 11th October 2016
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to SST Tours for the review copy*


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Synopsis: Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.

Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.

Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

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Review: Fear the Drowning Deep was a novel I went into without quite knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the vivid world building and this eerily creepy sea story we have going on in this novel. It was the first of this author, and I really do hope this won’t be the last.

Immediately, the writing style sucked me in. I’m someone who goes on and on about writing style, but to me it really does make a big difference as to whether or not I’ll be able to enjoy the novel. I read this one in the space of only a few sittings because whenever I did sit down to read it; I didn’t want to stop reading. All I wanted to do was keep turning those pages, and I think Marsh’s writing style contributed to that quite a lot.


The novel is quite slow moving, which may bother some people. It’s a slow and steady story, that gets brewing right from the beginning but takes its time in letting the plot really kick in. It doesn’t mean that there is no suspense – there definitely is. It’s just the kind that happens over a few pages and makes you all the more eager to get to the end. The novel slowly adds in factors which raise the suspense. Oh, and most novels only have one issue that the protagonist needs to overcome, or one monster for them to defeat. Well, not this novel. There’s more than one, which just adds all the more to the story!

Manx (the place where the novel is set) made me originally think of an old age Ireland in the past. I wasn’t quite on point but I wasn’t too far away either. It’s set on the Isle of Man, in the past, during the time where no one wore shoes and fishing was the big deal. The author mentions in her note that if there was anywhere where music would happen, it would be there. I’ve never been blessed with the chance to visit the Isle of Man yet but one day I would like to. The descriptions made me imagine the sea salt in the air and the close-knit community of the island easily. There’s no way for me to better put the atmosphere and the setting of the novel as anything except I truly felt as if I was there!


The characters had me feeling a little mixed. The main character, Bridey, was done incredibly well. I could feel her raw energy and how much she cared about her friends. At first, she’s worried about her appearances to other people and during the course of the novel she starts to value her friendships and family more than that. Fynn is the mysterious boy who turns up on the island without any memory of his past or who he was. He was so caring and gentle that I couldn’t do anything but like his character. But as for the rest – the secondary characters and the family – I did like them well enough, but there wasn’t as much depth as I would have wanted to experience in a cast of secondary characters.

Sometimes the novel was a little too bizarre for me… and that means it was so strange that I couldn’t fully comprehend it as realistic. Even if that ‘realistic’ is in terms of a magical or paranormal world. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it does to me. I tried :D


Anyway, this book was still a really good read. I kept turning pages and after not having read for a while, it was good to be so absorbed in a book as I was in this one. ^.^

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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you like the ocean? Why/why not?

Olivia-Savannah x

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Dead Man [Book Review]

 Hello there!

Title: The Dead Man
Author: Nora Gold
Publisher: Inanna Publications & Education
Published Date: 5th May 2016
Rating: 5 Stars


*Thank you to the author for the review copy*


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Synopsis: The Dead Man is a compelling novel about a woman who is obsessed. Eve, a composer of sacred music and a music therapist, is well aware of the saying, "Physician, heal thyself," but she just can't seem to do this. For some unknown reason, she -- a sensible, intelligent professional -- can't recover from a brief relationship she had five years ago with a world-famous music critic named Jake. This obsession with Jake is a mystery to Eve's friends, and also to her. In an attempt to solve this mystery, she "returns to the scene of the crime" Israel, where Jake still lives, and where they first fell in love. There she revisits all their old haunts and struggles to complete the song cycle she started composing five years ago about Jake but hasn't been able to finish. Gradually the dark mystery behind their complex relationship begins to unravel. Eve discovers the forgotten childhood memories, losses, and desires that are encapsulated in her connection to Jake. And then, inspired by all the music she hears around her (including the singing of birds, the crying of babies, and the honking of cars), she succeeds in finally completing her song cycle and setting her obsession to rest. This novel, filled with music, dealing with themes of love, grief, early loss, and the power of art, will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever loved and lost, and will continue to resound and echo for a long time afterward.

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Review: The Dead Man was an incredible read which I consumed in just three days. Sometimes, there’s a book which just comes to you at the perfect moment, and this was the book I needed. I needed a break from YA, and something a bit more adult and a bit more grounded in reality.

What this book really did for me was reawaken my passion for writing. But that’s not what the protagonist, Eve, has a passion for. Eve has a passion for composing music and lives to continue working on this in her life. She listens to music, hears it as she walks along the street and writes it whenever she feels inspired. From reading the book you gather how immersed she is in the musical world, and it strongly reminded me of what it means to truly love what you are passionate about. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that with reading and writing, but this book managed to make me find it again. I can’t wait to be fully immersed in my own passion again.


This novel is also grounded in culture. The protagonist of the novel is Jewish, and the entire story is occurring while she is in Israel. Some of the descriptions we get of the country are beautiful, and I did get to know quite a bit about Judaism – a religion I admit I don’t know much about. Although there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of it in the novel, it still was present enough for it to set a tone to the novel.

This was also the first novel I’ve ever read about an obsession with a relationship. It was entirely new to me, and I have to admit it is what intrigued me most about this book. What deepens this obsession is that Eve was ‘the other woman’ as we say these days, and was fully conscious of the fact that Jake had a marriage as they had their affair. It astonishes me that she can’t let it go, and what she does in her mind. Gradually throughout the novel, more hints and clues are revealed as to while she feels this way. When every piece of the puzzle has been put together, it wasn’t quite the mind blowing revelation I expected. But I wasn’t disappointed either because this answer was realistic and so plausible it was hard for me to think that the ‘mystery’ behind her obsession could have been anything else. I should’ve known.


I do think that some will find how much she goes on and on about Jake annoying or too repetitious. It didn’t go that way for me because there was meaning behind every recount of old memories and every time he was mentioned. But maybe this stylistically, isn’t for everyone, and I feel that’s why it’s worth me mentioning in this review.

I loved Gold’s writing style. It was beautiful. This novel is truly a piece of literature. Maybe because I was reading between my essay writing as steady breaks, but my literature analysis mode was on and I could see so much clever symbolism inserted when she connects small everyday life to happenings of more weight. Reading this, I could see how clever the author had been in everything they had written, and it made me appreciate the novel even more. I think I would even enjoy analyzing this book.



The ending wrapped up beautifully. The imagery, the meaning, the title and the music – everything made sense all at once. And once I’d turned the last page I had this ultimate feeling of satisfaction. Of course, I am eager to read more works by Nora Gold. A fantastic book I highly recommend.

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Gif Summary: 


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

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New Video: My September book haul!


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Olivia’s Question: Have you ever been in a relationship (friendship counts!) that you knew was unhealthy?


Olivia-Savannah x

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Dragon of the Month Club [Review & Giveaway!]


Hello there!

Title: The Dragon of the Month Club
Author: Iain Reading
Publisher: Self-published
Published Date: 18th December 2014
Rating: 4 Stars

*Thank you to the publisher and author for the review copy*


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Synopsis: The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club - The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons - not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler's messy bedroom. Traveling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature's most memorable stories - from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes's London - the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

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Review: The Dragon of the Month Club was a fun and creative read I really enjoyed. Two children going on an adventure and conjuring dragons along the way to help them – as well as all the good and bad people they encounter – truly made magic believable to me in this story.


The first thing I want to clarify, is that this novel read more like a middle grade or upper middle grade novel to me than a young adult novel. It’s the kind which is suitable for any age though – and I’m sure an adult will be able to take just as much enjoyment and life lessons from this one as a child.


I especially loved the adventure Tyler and Ayana embarked on. Imagine getting sucked into a world which is made up of books. You have fiction books, such as the collection of Sherlock Holmes (and yes they do go to Victorian London in that part!), and sci-fi deserts with giant sandworms and people who filter their urine to get water. There’s so much to it! It’s all so creative and different and none of the characters in each place were the same. I loved that variety.

The two characters that did stay the same were Tyler and Ayana. Tyler feels for Ayana so much an is someone incredibly practical when it comes to working with their hands and getting jobs done that way. I could really admire him for that, and how quiet and shy he was. He’s such a sweetheart deep down, and sometimes that shines through his character too.

Then we have Ayana, who is more of a fire-cracker kind of girl. She’s well aware of Tyler’s feelings from time to time, and at others she seems completely aloof. I love how she is working on becoming all the more brave and getting over her past hurts. Because she has so many. Her father walked out on her and her mother, and she’s getting bullied at school. Tyler is one of her only friends. So you can see how getting sucked into a world made up of book settings wasn’t so bad for her in the beginning.


We also have to talk about the dragons. I LOVE all kinds of dragons, and this book certainly has a lot as it’s all about the different types. The dragons were all unique and funky, and had their own advantages and advantages. I loved how they clarified that the dragons were friends and not slaves to their commands and wants. I also really liked that none of the obstacles they faced were easy because of the dragons … the dragons were more so a helping factor with their own talents too.

Oh, and lastly that cliffhanger at the end! So suspenseful! Not cool! It’s smack bam in the middle of the tension. I just know I need to get my hands on book two as soon as possible!

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Gif Summary: 


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Giveaway: Enter to win a paperback copy of The Dragon of the Month Club, open internationally!

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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What type of dragon would you make if you could make it from anything?

Olivia-Savannah x