Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik – Review


Synopsis Logo

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

My Rating Logo5 star logo

Intoxicating, Captivating, Enchanting, Magical, A Shining Star In The Fantasy World.

My Thoughts

I knew I would like Spinning Silver after loving Uprooted so much, but this book was even better! I didn’t think Naomi’s writing could captivate me even more so, but it was utterly mesmerizing.

The moment I opened the book I was a goner and quickly sinking into the delightfully enchanting writing. I swear Naomi has some sort of magical power that enables her to pull the reader deep into the story and immediately fall in love, she’s a sorceress I tell you and her talent for storytelling is something else.

The story is told from various characters point of view, which I really enjoyed. I’m not usually a fan of multiple POV’s, but this way I could see how certain events affected each character and what their side of the story was. I especially liked how the chapters worked – they were usually told in the present and then the next part would show how that certain event came to be – they melded together well and gave a unique and magical reading experience.

My favourite character has to be Miryem. She watches as her father gets taken for a ride as a money-lender and decides to take his place. She becomes rather cold to the situation, which is ironic given what happens, but she’s had enough in all honesty and I think she’s very brave and becomes even braver as the story progresses. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t let people walk all over her and I wish I had a bit more of her in myself.

I enjoyed the other characters very much too and Wanda and her family definitely stuck out to me, especially little Stepon. Miryem’s parents are really quite lovable too, with their huge hearts and kind words, I want nothing but a happy life for those two.

The Staryk King reminded me very much of The Goblin King from Wintersong, who you should know by now I absolutely fell in love with! So the Staryk King definitely has a place in my heart, however cold he may be. There’s reasoning behind the bad deeds of the Staryk people (which I won’t say because of spoilers) and we eventually see what really lies within his kingdom.

I really enjoyed the subtle take on the Rumpelstiltskin fairytale. I mean she’s not exactly stealing babies, but it was definitely there and weaved magically into the story. I found all of the European folklore very interesting throughout the book and often found myself looking up names and items to try and locate where the story was set. I believe Russia is a good guess.

This story was everything I wanted and so so much more! I can’t possibly put into words how much I adore it and will forever treasure it on my shelves. This story is high fantasy at its finest and will completely enchant whom ever reads it.

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I’d like to thank Jamie at Tor Books ( Macmillan) for sending this book my way in return of an honest review (you rock!).

Find the book

Spinning Silver is due to release TOMORROW on July 12th 2018

Book Depository






We Other – Sue Bentley – Spotlight & Giveaway

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Hey guys!

I’ve teamed up with Rachel’s Random Resources once again to bring you this spotlight post. I was supposed to review the book for the blog tour, but I’ve been very stressed at home and didn’t manage to read it, so I’m shouting about it instead!

We Other is a dark fantasy, mixed with fairytale, romance and horror elements. This book can’t really be defined by its genres, as it has elements from so many, so should blend together to give a unique reading experience.

Here’s the synopsis.

Synopsis Logo

Jess Morgan’s life has always been chaotic. When a startling new reality cannot be denied, it’s clear that everything she believed about herself is a lie. She is linked to a world where humans – ‘hot-bloods – are disposable entertainment. Life on a run-down estate – her single mum’s alcoholism and violent boyfriend – become the least of her worries. Drawn into a new world of a rich darkness, she finds herself torn between love, family and a growing sense of a new, powerful identity.

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About The Author

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Sue Bentley discovered a love of books at an early age. She worked for Northamptonshire Libraries for many years, while teaching herself the craft of writing. She is the author of the worldwide bestselling Magic Kitten, Magic Puppy, Magic Ponies, Magic Bunny series for age 5-9 years. She also writes for children and adults under various pen names. A lover of English Folklore, her books often contain elements of the otherworld and the darkness within the everyday. Her books have been translated into around 20 languages. We Other is her first book for Young Adults.

Find out more about the author:


Buy Links

Amazon UK

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We Other blog tour giveaway

Sue is hosting an amazing giveaway! Win a signed copy of We Other and a personal letter (open internationally). Enter through the Raffecopter link HERE – a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions* –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Ace Of Shades Book Tag – #Doves Edition

1. Ace of Shades takes place in the very mysterious, very dangerous City of Sin. Name a fictional city with a personality of it’s own! (2).jpg

Hey guys. I’ve really missed taking part in book tags recently, so I’m coming back with a very special tag!

I’m super excited to be part of the Shadow Gang for Amanda Foody’s Ace Of Shades! My gang is the ruthless assassins known as the Doves, it’s also the BEST gang of them all. Min and Katie created this awesome tag and I’m so excited to do it!

I made my own graphics for this, as I thought it would be more fun!


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100% Velaris from A Court Of Mist & Fury by S.J Maas. Velaris is full of beauty and also known as the City Of Starlight. It’s a hidden city that’s kept safe by many spells and the sacrifice of its own Lord. It’s not on any map or in any book and is a treasure to behold.


Renegades GR

Nova and her villainous gang from Renegades by Marissa Meyer. They are technically  the criminals/villains of the story, but for a good reason. I love Nova and the Anarchists gang and am so excited for Arch Enemies to be released this year!



You don’t necessarily play with your life in Caraval, but you play a very tricky little game. You don’t know who is real or who is lying or how to win, it does have a dark side too and it’s one of my favourite books ever! Legendary will be just that, LEGENDARY!



There are a few that I’m waiting on, but Arch Enemies is on my mind a lot! The ending of Renegades blew me away and I desperately need more! November can’t come quick enough.


snow like ashes.jpg

I’ve only read Snow Like Ashes and I enjoyed it up until a certain point. Then it just really started to annoy me and the MC was very naive and certain things just weren’t realistic for me, so I never read the next and don’t plan to.


Photo by Anna Shoemaker

The ever beautiful and alluring Rhysand from ACOTAR series. Rhys first comes across as a complete A-hole, but he’s a sweetheart and must be protected at all costs! I will fight you!


Photo by Garth Glazier

Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series. Oh I just love this blood thirsty witch! She’s such a good baddy, so bad that it’s good, you see?


the beast in an animal

My last read was The Beast Is An Animal. Alys is pretty resilient for what she’s been through and what she endures, so I think I’d be ok. She’s loyal and doesn’t want to leave anyone behind, plus she could just use her special talent to interrogate people.

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I really enjoyed this one! Definitely need to do more tags!

Ace Of Shades is out in April in the US and May here in the UK. You can pre-order Ace and get your exclusive swag here.

Until next time ❣


Author Interview – With D.H Nevins

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Hey guys!

Welcome to my first ever author interview – AHHH! You should all know by now how much I adore Danielle and her brilliant Wormwood series. She isn’t only one talented writer but also an incredible person and friend. She holds a special place in my heart and this is why I really wanted my first interview to be all about her and to shine a light on her brilliance!

Danielle was more than happy to oblige (because she’s awesome) and answered my questions with as much depth and heart as I was hoping for.


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It's here... Angel of Shadow, January 13, 2018

First of all, thank you so much for this terrific honour, Sarah! I’m truly touched that you invited me to do this author interview. Your first one!!! Okay, here goes…

✾ Your Wormwood series is about angels sent down to eradicate humans. What made you choose angels?

My original idea was aliens, but my husband talked me out of going that route because it was too common. He was right! So I tried to think about other ways the world could end and started researching old stories and folklore about the apocalypse. I ended up being intrigued by religious mythologies about the end of the world and loosely based Wormwood on a melding of these stories. The three main influences are Christian, Hindu and Babylonian. Angels are drawn from the Christian stories. Kali is from Hindu scripture, while Tiamat and Merodach are Babylonian.

✾ How do you come to the decision of axing off a character?

Not easily. I spend a lot of time developing my characters, and it’s painful to pull the plug on them. Sometimes I do it for realism (in a harsh world like the one I’ve created, death is necessary for the story to be believable), and sometimes a certain death is an essential puzzle piece within a grander picture.

✾ Tiamat is an unusual name, where did it come from?

Tiamat is the name of the monster of chaos from ancient Babylonian mythology.

✾ Who is your favourite out of all the Nephilim?

Tiamat. Absolutely Tiamat!

✾ How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

None. If I don’t love the idea enough to finish it, then I won’t start it.

✾ What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do most of my research online, but I also contact experts, and I do “field” research. I spent about 6 months collecting information and writing notes before I wrote a single word of Wormwood. I also continued research after I began writing. I’ll look up anything—from background stories about names to the stages of decay after a person dies (yeah, it’s nasty, but necessary). I also do hands-on research, which is my favourite. The absolute best was when I spent a day learning about crossbows. Shooting bolts into targets was so much fun!

✾ How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

I don’t think my writing process really changed after completing book 1. Because I don’t have much time to write, it took me about 5 years to finish Wormwood. I had most of my routines figured out by the time I finished.

✾ What did you edit ‘out’ of Wormwood or Angel of Shadow?

I’ve made quite a few cuts, but the most notable ones are a prologue from Wormwood (Tiamat’s birth and later, his mother’s death), and an entire chapter about Bram from Angel of Shadow. It wasn’t easy to cut them, but Tiamat’s prologue gave too much away about him when I wanted readers to be unsure about trusting his character, and Bram’s chapter never quite fit into the story properly. I loved both of these, however, so I’ll be putting them to good use. I’ll be offering Bram’s chapter to readers on my newsletter list. As for Tiamat’s prologue, I’m considering using that in Wormwood’s prequel, Monster.

✾ Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad reviews?

I read every word of every review and take it all to heart. So a good review can be inspirational and motivating to me. But a bad one…? Well, what human being would be unmoved by someone publicly trashing their work? It’s soul crushing. I’m very fortunate that I haven’t had many bad reviews, but like any author, it’s happened. After being devastated by a particularly nasty one, a friend gave me some great advice. She had me look up bad reviews on some of my favourite authors—writers who I thought were brilliant. That gave me perspective. A bad review still hurts, but now I remind myself that not every book is for every person. So that helps. As for good reviews, well, they’re like oxygen. They fuel my writing and drive me to deliver the best possible story to my readers. In fact, it was due to the enthusiasm from readers and reviewers (like Sarah here!) that gave me the inspiration I needed to dig in and finish Angel of Shadow.

✾ What is your writing Kryptonite?

Anything! I will wander off and do house work, rewire the electricity and learn to speak Spanish when I should be sitting down to write. Seriously! I’m so bad. Distractions and a need for perseverance both prove to be my biggest writing hurdles.

✾ If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


✾ What advice do you have for new writers?

If you’re going to do anything, do it well. Polish your work. Send it off to some beta readers for feedback and then revise. Polish it again. Send it to be edited and then fix what you need to. Don’t ever self-publish or query a sub-par manuscript. An agent or publishing house won’t give you a second chance. Join some author groups (Facebook is a great place) to make connections and hear advice. And finally, enjoy the process. Writing can be hard work, but remind yourself to love what you’re doing. Love your characters. Love your story. That will make all the difference in the world.

✾ Will Tiamat and Kali get a happily ever after ..? (this one is just for me ☺)

Ah, Sarah!!! You know I can’t say!  But… maybe I can hint that you’ll be happy with the outcome of the trilogy. Very happy. I promise I won’t let my readers down. I hope that will do for now! ☺

Congratulations on conducting your first author interview, Sarah! It was an absolute pleasure and an honour to be a part of it. Thank you so much for asking me!!!

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Thank you so much Danielle for answering my questions with sincerity and passion! You know I love you! ❤

Don’t forget to check out Angel Of Shadow and the first in the series Wormwood is still FREE!

I hope you enjoyed my very first author interview guys!

Until next time ❣


The Confession – Jo Spain – Review

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Synopsis Logo

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

My Rating Logo
5 star logo

Intense psychological thriller. Jaw dropping secrets. One huge confession.

My Thoughts

I literally just put the book down and I’m writing this! I cannot stress enough how f#cking epic this book is!! I am utterly shocked to the core and have literal goosebumps! Ok. Breathe. Let me try to express myself more coherently.

I first went into this book thinking it would be a simple murder mystery. The blurb – ‘you find out who did it on the very first page, on the last page you’ll find out why’ – had me all kinds of intrigued and instantly made me rethink. This isn’t your every day murder mystery, this is truly something else!

From the first line I was hooked. ‘It’s the first drop of my husband’s blood hitting the television screen that will haunt me in the weeks to come – a perfect diagonal splash, each droplet descending like a vivid red tear’ – If that’s the opening line then what would I find lurking in this book?! A whole load of twisted sh#t let me tell you! This isn’t just a murder, this is people’s lives falling apart before your very eyes. Dysfunctional families that aren’t what they seem, unless you look closer and find the truth behind the lies.

As I got deeper and deeper into the book, I learned all manner of dirty little secrets and corrupt goings on. You wouldn’t find this much dirt in a graveyard. The more you dug, the more you found, it just kept coming and I was insatiable, I honestly couldn’t get enough. I was falling deeper into the rabbit hole and couldn’t find my way out! I craved that finale so much, but I didn’t want it to end.

Each time I thought I had it, I knew the secret, I knew the reason why, but I didn’t, it hurtled away from me every time and turned into something else. The amount of twists and turns that I was assaulted by – you honestly would have mistaken me for being in a maze. By the end I was completely gone, THAT ENDING!! God it was so freaking good!!

The characters were incredible. You thought you knew them and had sympathy for their situation and then found out something new and it all changed. The author literally dissected them in front of me! It was all very devious and calculated.

The story was so intense. I was on the edge of my seat most of the time and left with my mouth hanging open at the end of a chapter. The amount of gasps and oooh’s that left my lips was insane. I cried at one point and then felt so much rage the next.

It was utterly gripping and superbly written. If you love a good thriller and are prepared to be shook then I implore you to pick it up!

Just a footnote, there are mentions of alcoholism, self harm and abuse in this book, so just be aware. 

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*I want to thank Jo Spain and Quercus publishing for sending this book my way in return for an honest review*

I hope you enjoyed my review! If you pick up The Confession, please do let me know what you think! I’d honestly love to know.

Find out more about the author and book HERE.


The Beautiful Ones – Silvia Moreno Garcia – Arc Review & Excerpt

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Book logoSynopsis

Antonina Beaulieu is in the glittering city of Loisail for her first Grand Season, where she will attend balls and mingle among high society in hopes of landing a suitable husband. But Antonina is telekinetic, and strange events in her past have made her the subject of malicious gossip and hardly a sought-after bride. Now, under the tutelage of her cousin’s wife, she is finally ready to shed the past and learn the proper ways of society.

But Antonina, who prefers her family’s country home to the glamorous ballrooms of the wealthy, finds it increasingly difficult to conform to society’s ideals for women, especially when she falls under the spell of the dazzling telekinetic performer Hector Auvray. As their romance blossoms, and he teaches her how to hone and control her telekinetic gift, she can’t help but feel a marriage proposal is imminent. Little does Antonina know that Hector and those closest to her are hiding a devastating secret that will crush her world and force her to confront who she really is and what she’s willing to sacrifice.

Book logoMy Rating

A sumptuous nineteenth century read, full of melodrama, misplaced love and heartbreak.

Book logoMy Thoughts

This book isn’t my usual type of read. Unless it’s Shakespeare, I’m not that into historically themed books. I find many different time periods quite interesting, but they can be tedious to read, especially if they’re written poorly. This wasn’t the case with The Beautiful Ones, it was written beautifully, conforming to the time periods style of writing but also discernible.

The Beautiful Ones appears to be set in nineteenth century France, with stunning world building and elegant writing. What intrigued me most about this book was the hint of magic that was involved, this is what influenced me to request it. I enjoyed learning about the telekinetic powers that both Hector and Nina possessed, but it wasn’t enough for me personally. I expected there to be more action involving the powers, but they were merely a snippet of the book, so I was a little disappointed with that.

The book concentrated more on the relationships and romantic side of the story. I am an avid romance fan, so while this pleased me, I didn’t expect the book to be fixated on it and wanted a bit more oomph to the story.

The main three characters were particularly diverse. Nina is such a sweet girl and I was fond of reading her side of the story the most. She is a country girl at heart and doesn’t relish the life of a prim and proper lady, I found her refreshing! I have mixed feelings about Hector, although he is a gentleman, I don’t like the intentions behind his relationship with Nina and wanted to smack him profusely at the beginning! He does however have his reasons, which involves heartbreak, so I do sympathize. Valerie is one of the most vile characters I have ever had the misfortune to read about. She is a vain, malicious, corrupt little worm and should be eradicated from the world! I haven’t despised a character so much in a very long time, bravo Silvia for creating such a superbly wicked creature.

If you know me, then you are aware of my absolute HATE for love triangles! However this is what made the story tick, I despised it but I also couldn’t stop reading it. There is even a square at some point which just irritated me all the more. I don’t like triangles, or squares and don’t get me started on pentagons, just abolish the shapes ok?!

Don’t get me wrong, I did very much enjoy this book! I read it in a day which says a lot, but it was missing that spark, the life force that just didn’t seep through the pages for me. If you enjoy historically themed romance books with just a hint of magic, then you’ll really appreciate what The Beautiful Ones has to offer.


*I want to thank Thomas Dunne Books and Netgalley for sending the book my way in return for an honest review*

Find the book on Goodreads and find out about the author Silvia Moreno Garcia.

WAIT! If you liked the sound of The Beautiful Ones, then keep reading for an excerpt of Chapter one!

Chapter 1
Hector was like a castaway who had washed up on a room of velvet
curtains and marble floors. The revelers might as well have been wild
animals ready to tear off a chunk of his flesh.
He felt utterly lost, alien and alone.
As Hector watched from a corner of the room, ladies and gentlemen
partnered to dance, women fanned themselves and smiled, and men
greeted each other with a tilt of the head.
He had attended many glittering balls, but none in this city. He knew
no one here except for Étienne and Luc, and he was waiting with breathless
expectation for the arrival of Valérie Beaulieu.
The first thing he’d done upon disembarking was to make discreet
inquiries about the whereabouts of the lady. He was glad to discover she
was in Loisail and, moreover, that she would be at the ball thrown by
the De Villiers. He had no direct connection to the De Villiers—or
hardly anyone else in Loisail, for that matter, having spent the past ten
years abroad—but he did know Étienne Lémy, who was able to secure
him an invitation.
Hector had dressed according to the weight of the occasion in a new
double-breasted black dress coat, white shirt, and a white bow tie. White
gloves and mother-of-pearl studs completed the ensemble. In his
excitement, he arrived unfashionably early, not wishing to miss Valérie,
and after greeting his host had positioned himself strategically so that he
could watch every elegant guest who entered the vast ballroom. But Hector
had not been long at his post when he heard a couple of ladies commenting
that Mrs. Beaulieu had been taken ill and would not be in attendance,
which came as a shock to the women since Valérie Beaulieu’s missing
the opening of the season seemed unthinkable.
All his plans in tatters, the whole reason for his attendance at the ball
suddenly vanishing, Hector did not know what to do with himself. Unable
to stand the music and the noise, he escaped to the library, which
was gloriously empty, its furniture decorated with a profusion of brass
inlays, the bookcases primly protected with glass doors. The only reasonable
course of action at this point was to wait there until he could
perform a proper exit without seeming rude. He could not possibly retire
until nine o’clock.
Hector consulted his watch, and after deliberating, he decided he’d
brush up on his history. He wound up flipping through the pages of a
book without touching them, having dragged a chair closer to him with
a motion of his left hand, his talent at work. He did not read a single line,
too troubled by thoughts of Valérie Beaulieu to make heads or tails of the
When they last saw each other, they’d both been nineteen, nothing
but children, really. But he’d loved her. She had been beautiful, sophisticated,
captivating. A perverse part of him hoped that time had somewhat
washed away the colors from her face, but in his heart he knew
this was impossible and that Valérie Beaulieu must remain as he remembered
her: the most devastating woman in the room.
And he would not be seeing her that night.
The clock on the wall struck nine and the door opened. In walked a
young woman in a blue pastel silk and velvet dress with appliquéd flowers
along the bodice and skirt, the sleeves rather puffed out, as was in
She closed the door, taking several steps into the room before she
raised her head and caught sight of him. “Sir,” she said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t
realize there was anybody here.”
“It’s no matter,” he replied, closing the book with his hands rather
than with his mind; he reserved displays of his talent for the stage. He
did not add anything else. He was hardly in the mood for polite conversation.
The De Villiers prided themselves on attracting the cream of the
crop to their functions—the Beautiful Ones, rather than the New People.
The barons of barely minted empires of telegraph wires and fresh steel
could socialize elsewhere. Hector had been offered an invitation, proof
of Étienne’s charm and his connections, but he knew he was, at best, a
novelty for these aristocrats; at worst, an intruder. He did not wish to
befriend any of them and threw the young woman a frosty look. The
girl did not take his cue.
She looked at him carefully, her lips curving into a smile as she moved
closer. “I know you. You are Hector Auvray.”
“Pardon me, were we introduced?” he asked, frowning. He was sure
he had not seen this girl before. He had been presented to the hosts,
and Étienne had pointed out a few people, but not her.
“I recognize your face from the posters around town. You are performing
at the Royal. Phantasmagoric: Feats of Wonder, isn’t it? I was hoping
to meet you,” she said.
“Oh?” he replied, a noncommittal sound, even if his interest had been
piqued. Few aristocrats would admit to knowing the name of a vulgar
entertainer. Instead, they nodded their heads politely and either assumed
or pretended he was a slightly more elevated type of person.
“What were you reading?” she asked, pointing at the book he was
clutching between his hands.
“History. Miss—”
“Nina,” she said, stretching out her hand. “Antonina, really, but I
rather hate it. I’m named after a witch of a great-aunt, the most awful
wretch who ever lived. Well, not quite, but I resent the association, and
therefore it is Nina.”
“Hector, though you already know that part.” He shook her hand.
“It’s probably best if we exit this room now. A bachelor such as myself,
a young lady such as yourself—we wouldn’t want to cause a scandal.”
Truly, he wanted only to get rid of her and could not have cared what
anyone thought. If the girl wished to walk around the house without an
escort, then let it be. He had come to speak to one woman and one
woman alone. If she was not there, then Hector would wallow in his
velvet misery.
“I can’t possibly leave now,” she replied.
“Why not?” he asked, annoyed.
She did not notice his tone of voice or did not care. Instead, she took
off the dance card dangling by her wrist and held it up for him to look at.
“If I go out there now, Didier Dompierre is going to ask me for a
dance, and if you’d ever danced with Didier, you would know he is the
most terrible dancer. I have been told he’ll put his name down for two
dances, and you must be aware a lady cannot refuse a dance from a
gentleman. It would be uncivil.”
Hector did not understand why a man might want to corral this particular
girl for two dances in a row. She was not an enviable beauty—
somewhat run-of-the-mill, to be frank—and her square jaw, black hair, and
thin lips were rather unstylish. She possessed eyes of a pretty shade of
hazel, though, and her dress was very fine; perhaps that was enough for
a young chap with poor dance skills such as this Didier Dompierre.
“Then your thought is to spend the rest of the evening here, avoiding
“Not the rest of the evening, but, say, a half an hour, and by then he
will have found some other girl he can stomp on,” she replied, sitting in
the chair in front of him and stretching her legs.
“This does not seem the best-conceived plan.”
“It is a plan, which is what matters. Whom are you hiding from?”
she asked. If she were another woman, this might have been mistaken
for an attempt at flirting. Valérie would have taken the opportunity to
lace her voice with honey, but the girl was plain and spoke plainly.
“I am not hiding from anyone,” he said.
“Do you make it a habit to go to balls, then, and creep into the library
to brush up on your history?”
“Do you talk to all men in this manner?” he replied, growing more
curious than irritated.
She toyed with her dance card, putting it again on her wrist, and gave
him a mortified look. “I apologize. This is only the second dance I’ve
attended, and I can see it will end catastrophically already.”
“This is the second party of the De Villiers’ you’ve attended?” he
“The second party in the city I’ve ever attended, and this is the beginning
of the Grand Season, the true test of a lady’s mettle. You must
not think me a complete fool. I went to a couple of dances in Monti-
pouret, but it was different. Small affairs. Loisail is large and there are
many people and the rules are dif­ferent.”
He was talking to a country girl, for clearly the designation of
“woman” would have been misplaced on her. Worse than that, a country
rube. But Hector could not help but feel more sympathy than
distaste. He had, after all, been a country nothing at one time and less
polished than this girl.
He smiled despite himself, to assuage her. “No doubt you’ll learn
them soon. You seem quick-witted.”
“Thank you,” she replied, appearing rather pleased with his words.
She looked at him curiously and another smile crossed her face. “I
must confess, I know more about you than your name from looking at
the posters. I read about you in The Gazette for Physical Research. Alexander
Nicolay has been investigating your telekinetic abilities.”
“Are you a fan of The Gazette?” he asked, surprised that she’d be informed
about Nicolay’s research. He’d bumped into the man a couple of
years back. He was attempting to measure and classify all psychokinetic
talents and convinced Hector to let him take his pulse while he manipulated
objects with the force of his mind. It was the sort of thing people
did not think to bring up in casual conversation.
“Not particularly. But I am interested in the phenomena. They say
you are one of the great psychokinetics of our era.”
“I’m a decent performer,” he replied.
“Modest, too.”
She was a curious girl, and now he reassessed her again. Not an aristocrat
and not a country rube and—what exactly? He didn’t like it when
he couldn’t classify people.
He gestured toward the door. “Shall I escort you to the ballroom?”
She looked down at her dance card, carefully running her fingers
around its edge. “Yes. If you feel inclined, you might partner with me
for a dance. I would be really thankful. I was not exaggerating when I
said Didier Dompierre is the worst dancer you’ve ever seen. Is that a terrible
request? It’s not, is it?”
He was somewhat amused by the question and her tone of voice, and
though the girl’s nervous energy at first did not sit too well with him, he
had to admit he felt a bit relieved by her intrusion. He was full to bursting
with thoughts of Valérie and could do with a few minutes more of
light chatter. It would also satisfy the practical necessity of actually showing
himself at the ball, which he ought to do at one point. He could not
spend every single minute in the library. He could wallow later, in the
privacy of his apartment.
“One dance.”
She took his arm before he offered it to her as they exited the library,
which was presumptuous.
The owners of the house had placed mirrors on the walls of the corridor
that led to the ballroom, an ostentatious touch, but this was a new
trend that was sweeping the capital and soon the nation. Whatever took
the fancy of Loisail would take the fancy of the whole of Levrene; this
was a known fact.
The ballroom was huge, with tall gilded mirrors reflecting the attendees,
magnifying the space: the party seemed to go on forever. Above them
hung monstrous chandeliers that sparkled with all their might, and all
around them there were ladies with their shoulders bare, in their fine silks,
while the gentlemen stood sober and proud, creating a glorious rainbow
of colors, from the restrained browns of the matriarchs to the pale
pinks of the unmarried women.
Hector carefully took hold of Antonina’s hand and they joined the
dance. He did not consider himself an excellent dancer, though he could
manage. His partner fared poorly, but gave the feeling of being entertained.
“Do you know Loisail well, Mr. Auvray? Or is this your first time
here? It wouldn’t be, would it?”
“I don’t know it well, no. I’ve spent only a few days in Loisail before
my move here.”
“How do you find it? Is it dif­ferent from the cities where you’ve
lived?” she asked.
He thought of the myriad countries and stages where he’d toured.
To be back in his country of birth, in Levrene, was to be back home,
though not due to a quirk of geography but because this was where Valérie
resided. Here, in Loisail, even if she was hidden away at this moment.
She existed and colored the city for him, lit it brighter than the elegant
iron lampposts.
“Interesting. I have yet to form a strong opinion of it,” he said politely.
“Then you intend to remain for a while?”
“I will be performing for a few months here, yes. As to whether I
intend to make it my permanent base of operations, we shall see. And
He did not expect her to launch into a complete and honest answer.
A touch of coquetry, the outline of a smile, those would have been suitable.
This had been Valérie’s way.
The girl clutched his hand excitedly. “I’ll most definitely be here
until the summer. I am spending all of the spring with my cousin. My
mother thinks a time in the city would do me good. Where are you lodging?
My cousin’s house is in Saint Illare.”
“I think you’ve asked another bold question,” he informed her.
“Is it, really?”
Her words were candid and he found himself amused by the naivety.
Rather than schooling her with a scowl and a clipped yes, which normally
suited him magnificently, he gave her a proper answer.
“To the east. Boniface. Not as smart as your cousin’s house, I would
wager,” he said.
“Boniface. Is that so you can remain near the theater?”
“I’m sure it’s smart enough. Boniface.”
As the dance ended, a young man moved in their direction, his eyes
on Antonina. Hector was going to incline his head and release the girl,
but on contemplating the look of pure panic that crossed her face, he did
his best to suppress a chuckle and instead asked her for a second dance.
She accepted and told him the man who had been moving toward them
was poor Didier. In the end, he danced a total of three dances with Nina,
but since two of the three were lively stevkas, they did not speak more
than a few words.
After he had thanked her for the dances and strolled away, Étienne
Lémy and his little brother, Luc, wandered over. Étienne was Hector’s age
and Luc a handful of years younger, though looking at them, people always
swore they were twins, so alike were they, both possessing the same
blond hair and stylish mustache. They furthered the illusion that evening
by wearing matching gray vests.
“There you are, you devil. I couldn’t find you anywhere,” Étienne
said, clasping his shoulder. “For a moment I thought you’d left.”


Book Blog Newbie Tag

TagI'm It

Since I’m new to the blogging world, I thought it would be fitting to involve myself in the Newbie Tag. I was tagged by my lovely fellow book blogger Dora at Berries and Books.


Line Breaker

Q1. Why did you start this blog?

I’ve always had a massive love for books and also writing. So I decided that I wanted to write about them and share my passion with my bookish friends.

Q2. What are some fun and unique things you can bring to book blogging?

This is an interesting question. I enjoy taking fun and lively pictures of books and bookish things to make them captivating to the eye.

Q3. What are you most excited about this new blog?

I’m really excited to just share my love of books with people who are just as in love with them as me and hopefully make some friends along the way.

Q4. Why do you love reading?

Reading transports me to another world, where I can explore magical kingdoms and fall in love with a prince (or vampire – but I’m not too picky). Sometimes we need a little time away from our ordinary lives and reading for me is the perfect way to escape.

Q5. What book or series got you into reading?

I definitely left my adolescent heart with J.K Rowling. The Harry Potter series is my first love and will forever hold a place in my heart. I also loved the Darkside series by Tom Becker and Goosebumps.

Q6. What questions would you ask your favourite authors?

How do you think up such amazing ideas?
What goes into the writing process?
What inspired you to start writing?

Q7. What challenges do you think starting a blog will be the hardest to overcome?

I think overcoming the fear that no one will like your blog is a huge one! Finding the time to keep up with new posts. Initially growing your blog by making new connections.

Q8. When did you start reading?

My mum always read to me as a small child and I began reading properly myself when I was about 8 or 9. Me and my mum would go to the library every week and check out two books each, those were the days.

Q9. Where do you read?

Anywhere and everywhere! Usually on the sofa with a blanket and hot chocolate – yum!

Q10. What kind of books do you like to read?

YA, Fantasy, Romance, Horror, I can be tempted by a good thriller too.

Line Breaker

I tag my wonderful book friends: