ARC Review – ‘Something To Talk About’ by Meryl Wilsner

TITLE: Something To Talk About
AUTHOR: Meryl Wilsner
GENRE: Contemporary Romance, LGBT+
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: Penguin Random House on May 26th, 2020


A showrunner and her assistant give the world something to talk about when they accidentally fuel a ridiculous rumor in this debut romance.

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Honestly, I requested this because I have a passion for Devil Wears Prada femslash fanfic and I’m weak for an ice queen boss who thaws out over her hyper-competent and irresistibly charming assistant (The Proposal is my fave rom-com because of this exact trope). Something To Talk About isn’t quite what I expected, however, as Jo isn’t the dragon boss lady that I assumed from the description of her in the blurb as aloof and cold. Far from being disappointed, however, this book met my long-held and rarely satisfied desire to see more female mentor/protege dynamics in fiction.

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Book Review – ‘The Guest List’ by Lucy Foley

TITLE: The Guest List
AUTHOR: Lucy Foley
GENRE: Thriller/Suspense
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Harper Collins Publishers on June 2nd, 2020
RRP: $29.99 AUD (paperback)

The Guest List

Blurb from Goodreads:

A wedding celebration turns dark and deadly in this deliciously wicked and atmospheric thriller reminiscent of Agatha Christie from the author of The Hunting Party.

The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?

Lucy Foley is back with another thrilling tale of suspense and murder, once again set in a remote location. This time the scene of the crime is Inis an Amplóra or Cormorant Island, off the coast of Ireland and completely abandoned since the 90s. Until event planner Aoife decides to restore its crumbling folly to host a high society wedding between tv personality Will Slater and magazine owner Julia Keegan, bringing over a huge wedding party to the brooding island covered largely in peat bog and reputedly haunted by ghosts of a massacred religious sect. Everything seems to be going smooth as clockwork until the night of the wedding when one of the party winds up dead…

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Release Day Review – ‘The Austen Girls’ by Lucy Worsley

TITLE: The Austen Girls
AUTHOR: Lucy Worsley
GENRE: Historical YA fiction
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 320 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Bloomsbury Australia on May 19th, 2020
RRP: $15.99 AUD (paperback)



Would she ever find a real-life husband? Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know.

Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor.

But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane. She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing?

The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps?

In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.

Jane Austen still inspires countless stories to this day with dozens of variations upon her classic novels and even stories based on Jane herself! The Austen Girls takes an interesting approach by including Jane as a important secondary character, but focusing on her (real-life) nieces Fanny and Anna dealing with the pressure of making their come-out to society at 16 and starting the husband hunt.

Reading about their struggles makes me feel very lucky that women no longer have to rely on marriage to secure their future and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get married! But in the 1800s, this was of the utmost importance leaving even headstrong Anna to suffer from nerves and flirt with disaster in her race to lock down a husband.

Shy sensitive Fanny is the Austen girl I most related to and rooted for, being the more sensible and responsible of the pair (I have a type, I preferred Elinor to Marianne too). Her quiet friendship with the local vicar even though her parents said nothing more would ever be possible made me hope for her to find her happy ending. I cheered for Fanny as she slowly stretched her wings and tentatively reached for her own goals outside of what she was instructed to desire, with the support of Aunt Jane.

A touching and occasionally bittersweet coming-of-age story with vividly drawn heroines supported by a delightful Jane Austen characterization I haven’t seen before and found utterly charming. Austen lovers or fans of historical novels will enjoy this one!⁣

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.


Disclaimer: Physical copy provided by publisher free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

ARC Review – ‘Dangerous Remedy’ by Kat Duunn

TITLE: Dangerous Remedy
AUTHOR: Kat Dunn
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy, LGBT
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 432 pages
PUBLISHER: by Head of Zeus
RELEASE DATE: ebook available from May 7th, 2020 | hardcover to be released August 6th, 2020

Dangerous Remedy

Blurb from Goodreads:

Camille, a revolutionary’s daughter, leads a band of outcasts – a runaway girl, a deserter, an aristocrat in hiding. As the Battalion des Mortes they cheat death, saving those about to meet a bloody end at the blade of Madame La Guillotine. But their latest rescue is not what she seems. The girl’s no aristocrat, but her dark and disturbing powers means both the Royalists and the Revolutionaries want her. But who and what is she?

In these dangerous days, no one can be trusted, everyone is to be feared. As Camille learns the truth, she’s forced to choose between loyalty to those she loves and the future.

Kat Dunn’s debut novel Dangerous Remedy is a fast-paced historical fantasy romp set in the French Revolution during the Reign of Terror. Left an orphan after her parents were executed, our protagonist Camille leads her battalion in a courageous and noble effort to rescue other prisoners headed for the guillotine and reunite them with their loved ones.

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ARC Review – ‘The Dark Tide’ by Alicia Jasinska

TITLE: The Dark Tide
AUTHOR: Alicia Jasinska
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 304 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Sourcebooks Fire on June 2nd, 2020
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

The Wicked Deep meets A Curse So Dark and Lonely in this gripping, dark fairy-tale fantasy about two girls who must choose between saving themselves, each other, or their sinking island city.

Every year on St. Walpurga’s Eve, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Lina Kirk is convinced her brother is going to be taken this year. To save him, she enlists the help of Thomas Lin, the boy she secretly loves, and the only person to ever escape from the palace. But they draw the queen’s attention, and Thomas is chosen as the sacrifice.

Queen Eva watched her sister die to save the boy she loved. Now as queen, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s willing to sacrifice anyone if it means saving herself and her city.

When Lina offers herself to the queen in exchange for Thomas’s freedom, the two girls await the full moon together. But Lina is not at all what Eva expected, and the queen is nothing like Lina envisioned. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

The Dark Tide is a stunning fantasy YA debut from Australian author Alicia Jasinska and first in the self-titled series set on the moody atmospheric island city of Caldella.

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Book Review – ‘Powers of a Girl: Special Edition (Marvel)’

TITLE: Powers of a Girl: Special Edition (Marvel)
AUTHOR: Lorraine Cink
GENRE: Superhero, Comics
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Scholastic Australia on April 1st, 2020
RRP: $29.99 AUD (hardcover)


This is the Marvel Universe. Where the personalities, powers and straight-up legends of countless heroic women have captivated readers for generations.

This unique book is the perfect start—or addition—to any Marvel fan’s collection! Using her in-depth knowledge and passion for Super Heroes, Lorraine Cink explores the lives of the exceptional and diverse women of the Marvel Universe. Filled with inspirational lessons and clever observations, each section of the book digs into what these relatable women can teach us about growth, bravery and the true meaning of strength. Together with over a hundred original, vibrant and emotive illustrations from the talented Alice X. Zhang, this book balances the responsibility and the fun that comes with being a hero.

I really enjoyed The Story of The Comics (Marvel: Museum), so when I saw an April release which was all about the Marvel ladies, I was pretty excited! Give me all the female superheroes, please and thank you!

This gorgeous special edition is the size of a small child and chock-full of beautiful illustrations of the Marvel women along with snarky, humorous summaries of their individual histories and arcs. I loved the conversational tone used in this comics guide, it’s like chatting with a friend who’s giving you the low-down on all the gossip.

Given that the Marvel comics have been going strong since the 60s and there are literally thousands of issues just about the core characters, not to mention the frequent retconning and restructuring of characters over time as new writers come in and make their own mark, there is a TON of information to whittle down into bite-size chunks that can be more easily digested by newcomers to the comics. The author does an impressive job of teasing out the essential details that give a broad overview of each character featured here, plus fun interesting tidbits that may surprise even comics readers! For instance, long-time fans may be aware that Carol Danvers’ run as the superhero Ms Marvel predated her tenure as Captain Marvel, but the author puts this into cultural context by noting that Carol was created during the Women’s Liberation Movement when the title ‘Ms’ was first being promoted for use as an honorific that doesn’t distinguish women based on their marital status. That’s why it’s so important that she was called Ms Marvel!

The ladies featured here range from the usual suspects like Black Widow and Agent Carter, well-known from movie and tv adaptations, as well as lesser-known characters like Spider-Woman, Kamala Khan as the new Ms Marvel and the quirky Squirrel Girl. I’m starry-eyed over all the amazing female characters showcased here and desperately wishing for Netflix to give all of them an adaptation because I need to binge-watch a series about Nadia the Unstoppable Wasp escaping the Red Room and bonding with Janet Van Dyne or Kate Bishop as the superior Hawkeye! And how great does Moon Girl sound with her freaking t-rex?! ❤

Highly recommend this as a fun and informative read as well as a beautiful addition to your bookshelves.

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.







Disclaimer: Physical copy provided by publisher free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review – ‘Chosen Ones’ by Veronica Roth

TITLE: Chosen Ones
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth
GENRE: Fantasy
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 400 pages (paperback)
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Hachette Australia on April 7th, 2020
RRP: $29.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

The first novel written for an adult audience by the mega-selling author of the Divergent franchise: five twenty-something heroes famous for saving the world when they were teenagers must face even greater demons–and reconsider what it means to be a hero . . . by destiny or by choice.

A decade ago near Chicago, five teenagers defeated the otherworldly enemy known as the Dark One, whose reign of terror brought widespread destruction and death. The seemingly un-extraordinary teens—Sloane, Matt, Ines, Albie, and Esther—had been brought together by a clandestine government agency because one of them was fated to be the “Chosen One,” prophesized to save the world. With the goal achieved, humankind celebrated the victors and began to mourn their lost loved ones.

Ten years later, though the champions remain celebrities, the world has moved forward and a whole, younger generation doesn’t seem to recall the days of endless fear. But Sloane remembers. It’s impossible for her to forget when the paparazzi haunt her every step just as the Dark One still haunts her dreams. Unlike everyone else, she hasn’t moved on; she’s adrift—no direction, no goals, no purpose. On the eve of the Ten Year Celebration of Peace, a new trauma hits the Chosen: the death of one of their own. And when they gather for the funeral at the enshrined site of their triumph, they discover to their horror that the Dark One’s reign never really ended.

The ‘Chosen One’ is a staple trope of the fantasy genre, a well-worn path that many writers have taken before. Refreshingly in Chosen Ones, Veronica Roth veers away from this trend by having her protagonists already defeat the Dark One and focusing on their lives ten years after this momentous event. It’s something that feels completely original to me and breathes new life into this trope by looking at the aftermath long after the dust has settled whereas most books end once the final battle has concluded, leaving us with the presumption that our heroes live Happily Ever After.

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Book Review – ‘The Midnight Lie’ by Marie Rutkoski

TITLE: The Midnight Lie
AUTHOR: Marie Rutkoski
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 400 pages (paperback)
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Hachette Australia on March 10th, 2020
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

Although Marie Rutkoski is a well-established author, I haven’t read any of her prior books and had no idea what I was in for when I started this. Now that I’ve finished The Midnight Lie, I’ve been converted to the status of new fan!

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