Saturday 30 October 2021

Book Tour | The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling | prettylittlewriter

'Never mix vodka and witchcraft.' 

I am so incredibly excited to be participating in the book tour for this wonderful witchy rom com! Thank you so much to Isabelle from Headline for allowing me to take part and gifting me this copy!


‘Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones had her heart broken by Rhys Penhallow, and with a little help from her sister and some vodka, she sets a curse upon him. Having used a scented candle to cast the spell, she doesn’t think the curse has worked.

That is until Rhys returns to Graves Glen to charge the towns Ley Lines, and everything he does goes disastrously wrong.

Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.
Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.’

This is such a feel good easy read! It felt like Gilmore Girls collided with Practical Magic, to give us a sexy and hilarious story, set in a quaint and autumnal town, with a little bit of spice! Thank you to Erin Sterling (aka Rachel Hawkins) for writing such a brilliant, seasonal read!


Vivienne is a great main character, very relatable and sweet, with a bit of a sassy side. I really felt for her with her heartbreak, breakups can be very difficult, and I’m certain that I would have cursed a few of my exes if I had the chance!


Rhys was definitely a charmer, and in some ways, I don’t actually think he did anything wrong per say; he wasn’t engaged/in a relationship with anyone else at the time, it was his dad looking to find him a match. However, we wouldn’t have this wonderful story if they hadn’t broken up like they did, so I’m not mad at it! The fact that he is welsh also added to the sexiness of his character, with his welsh pet name for Vivi getting my heart rate up!


I also loved the characters of Gwyn and Elaine, two very badass witches that really do have Vivi’s back when it comes to protecting her and the town.


When the curse started to affect the town upon Rhys’ return, there were some hilarious incidents that occurred, including their pet cat being able to talk! Him screeching ‘TREATS’ constantly was just amazing.


The romance itself was gorgeous, and the sexy scenes certainly got me all hot and bothered whilst reading them (who doesn’t dream of having a Rhys in the bedroom?).


The only reason I’m not rating this a 5 star, is because I felt like the actual danger in the story could have been focused on more, and the ending felt a little anticlimactic (Vivi and Rhys’ relationship seemed to be more important than anything else). However, this did not take anything away from the storyline itself and I still absolutely adored it.


4/5 stars

Friday 22 October 2021

Book Review | Thunderpaws and the Tower of London by Ben Housden | prettylittlewriter

 A witty and hilarious adventure with a fierce feline as our hero. 


'Teufel (alias Thunderpaws) finds himself no longer living the life of luxury by the sea in Devon, but now in residence at the Tower of London. Confused and agitated, as he explores, he finds himself in the midst of a ghostly war, surrounded by irritating ravens, kings and queens both alive and dead, and mischievous ghostly cats. When a magic mouse tells him his destiny is to save the world, Teufel has to figure out who he can trust to help him along the way, and to save the Tower of London from destruction, he has to battle with some unlikely characters.'

This story was a laugh the whole way through. I think it is brilliantly clever and witty how Ben has written from a cat’s perspective; it truly feels like this is how a cat would think and speak if they could. Our protagonist is just hilarious, with bounds of confidence even when he should fall in line, and he is not afraid to stand up to the enemies around him.


The writing is just brilliant, I love how it changes with the story, like when Magnificat changes in size, so does the text, or when Teufel falls down or jumps up, the writing goes in an up or downwards direction. Little elements like this, and the stunning illustrations, help to create this world of Teufel’s very vividly in your head, and also make it that extra bit child friendly.

It is also very historically factual, with details about the tower and those that died there, which in turn, gave me horrible histories vibes! Meeting the likes of King Richard III and Guy Fawkes (to name a few) was exciting and brilliant, with some very interesting conversations between them and our main character!


There are some absolutely hilarious moments throughout, one of my favourites being two cats commandeering a speedboat to escape! I could perfectly imagine it in my mind, which really did make me laugh out loud.


When Ben reached out to me via twitter to ask if I’d be interested in reading his debut novel about a talking cat, I was intrigued but unsure whether it would be too childlike. I’m 27 years old, but absolutely enjoyed every element of it and I am looking forward to seeing what else our Thunderpaws will get up to! Definitely not a story for younger children, but anyone over the age of 9 will enjoy this thoroughly!


Thank you so much Ben for sending me a copy to review, and I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for my new favourite feline!


5/5 stars

Sunday 17 October 2021

Book Tour | The Whistling by Rebecca Netley | prettylittlewriter

 A brilliantly atmospheric and eerie ghost story.

‘Alone in the world, Elspeth Swansome takes the position of nanny to a family on the remote Scottish island of Skelthsea.

Her charge, Mary, hasn't uttered a word since the sudden death of her twin, William - just days after their former nanny disappeared.

No one will speak of what happened to William. Just as no one can explain the hypnotic lullabies sung in empty corridors. Nor the strange dolls that appear in abandoned rooms. Nor the faint whistling that comes in the night . . .

As winter draws in and passage to the mainland becomes impossible, Elspeth finds herself trapped.

But is this house haunted by the ghosts of the past?


I was so incredibly excited when I got the email asking if I would like to participate in the book tour for this highly anticipated novel. I’d had my eye on it for some time, so I jumped at the chance to take part!


The novel starts out with our main character, Elspeth Swansome, arriving at the isolated island of Skelthsea (just off of Scotland) to start a new job as Nanny to a young girl called Mary.

Elspeth discovers upon her arrival that young Mary has been through a lot in recent months, firstly losing her mother, then her previous Nanny Hettie abandoned her and her brother, William, and then poor William also died under strange circumstances.


As Elspeth gets to know Mary, even though Mary is mute and they can only communicate through body language and facial expressions, Elspeth grows very fond of Mary and forms a close bond with her.

Elspeth herself has had loss in her life, after losing her younger sister Clara, whom Mary often reminds her of.


There are many tales from the residents of the island surrounding the house she is living in, and the possible ghosts that live within.


As time goes by, Elspeth starts hearing strange whistling sounds, and footsteps in empty corridors. All is not as it seems at Iskar, and Elspeth is determined to protect Mary at all costs.


This is a wonderful historic ghost story with so many creepy gothic elements that make it a perfect read for spooky season. There is also an element of whodunit, as it is not clear from the offset that the death of William was truly an accident.


I truly felt a connection to Elspeth and Mary, and I so desperately wanted them to both be okay, and for Mary to let Elspeth in so she could protect her. Their relationship was a sweet one, with a true bond between them both.


I was not expecting the twist at the end, I already had a character in mind for the ‘baddie’, but I was wrong.


It took me longer to read this book than I expected, mainly due to the fact I was reading it late at night for all the spooky vibes but ended up almost falling asleep each time!


Netley’s writing is beautiful; she creates vivid imagery of the island and its characters, and the story gives me ‘Haunting of Hill House’ vibes.


Overall, I would highly recommend this spooky tale to anyone who enjoys a slow burn spooky story.


Thanks again to Ella Watkins from Penguin Michael Joseph for allowing me to read early and participate in the tour!

5/5 stars

Thursday 7 October 2021

Book Review | Afterlove by Tanya Byrne | prettylittlewriter

 This is such a beautiful love story, that once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.


'Car headlights.
The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars.
But she made it, she's still here. Or is she?
This New Year's Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can't decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city's dead to await their fate.
But Ash can't forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again... even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive...’

I was hooked on this novel from the very beginning.

The fact that it had some paranormal elements to it drew me in, as I love a good supernatural story, but then when we get into the romance between Ash and Poppy, I just fell in love with their love.

Tanya has done an incredible job writing this beautiful, elegant and epic lesbian love story, and I genuinely think she is one of my new favourite authors.


Ash was such a relatable character, and I really felt a connection to her throughout the novel, with memories of my own teenage loves (albeit mine were not quite as epic as this). Poppy also seemed like such a lovely human being, never judging Ash for their difference in upbringing (Poppy has grown up very wealthy and Ash not so much) and she loves her for who she is completely.


I loved that Tanya separated the novel into two parts; Before, which allowed us to see the development of Ash and Poppy’s relationship, and then, After, which is once Ash has died, making the resulting grief all the more heart-breaking.


The supernatural side of things with the reapers was very clever, something I haven’t read before, and without going into too much detail as it would spoil it, there a certain aspects of being a reaper that create an edge of danger and uncertainty for Ash. The ending was very well established, and almost the perfect ending in my eyes.


The only negative thing I would say about this novel is that I would have liked to see more of Ash’s grief for her family and her best friend. She was very close with her parents and her sister, and we don't see a lot of grief displayed from Ash with the fact that she can never see them again. Obviously, as it’s a love story, the focus was on her relationship with Poppy, but it would have been nice to see more of a grieving process.


I must admit, I have never read a novel with any LGBTQ+ characters or relationships before, so I do not have anything to compare this novel to, except that I felt so much heartache and love for these characters, just as much as all the other love stories I have read before, so I think it is absolutely brilliant. I will definitely be looking to read more from Tanya!

5/5 stars