Book Review: The Princess Mutiny by L. J. Surrage (Spoiler-Free!)

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Anastasia Windell is not your average princess. Even as an heir to the Eagen Empire, she craves adventure, fun, and excitement that her life as a royal simply can’t give her.

An arranged marriage to an unhinged Duke and a stubborn father is enough to send Anya over the edge, as she is forced to take her life into her own hands. By staging her escape in disguise, Anastasia makes a bid for freedom and sails to the West Indies, and unintentionally falls under the tutelage of notorious pirate lord Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. She doesn’t know what the Caribbean will hold for her, but she’s willing to bet that even piracy is better than life at the mercy of an abusive and powerful husband.


This is actually the first pirate book that I’ve ever read, and it was an enjoyable read. There were a few things that I didn’t like about it, but then there were things I loved. The characters, for example, they really intrigued me.

The main character, Anya, is a princess. Not your typical princess, however. I loved her! She was strong, ambitious, independent and didn’t take crap from anyone. When she realised she was in a potentially dangerous situation, she went through a lot to get herself out of it and to ensure that she stayed safe. There’s so much I admire about her. She went through so much awful things, some at the hands of those who are meant to love and protect her, and in my opinion, she came out pretty well from it.

George was the absolute worst. I could not stand him. But that was the authors intention, so I just want to mention how well written he is. His actions were despicable. One of the worst villains!

The plot was really interesting. I read most of it over one day when I had nothing to do. However, I felt that some parts were a bit slow-paced, and without spoiling anything, there were certain things that just seemed just a bit too easy for Anya. There are also quite a lot of time jumps in this book. It didn’t bother me, but there were quite a few.

Overall, The Princess Mutiny was a nice read for a day when I had nothing to do, and I liked it. I give it 3.5 stars.





I’d like to thank L. J. Surrage for sending me a copy of The Princess Mutiny in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review and Author Interview – Lord of The Dead by Richard Rippon



A woman’s body has been found on the moors of Northumberland, brutally murdered and dismembered. Northumbria police enlist the help of unconventional psychologist Jon Atherton, a decision complicated by his personal history with lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Kate Prejean.

As Christmas approaches and pressure mounts on the force, Prejean and Atherton’s personal lives begin to unravel as they find themselves the focus of media attention, and that of the killer known only as ‘Son of Geb.’

‘Lord Of The Dead’ is a gripping, startling piece of modern noir fiction.


As regular readers of my reviews will know, I love a good Thriller. Lord of The Dead had most of the things that I like about them, and I finished it within a few days. There was something about this Thriller that stood out from the others I’ve read, and made it a very enjoyable read.

The protagonist, Atherton, is ever so flawed. I’m a sucker for a flawed character. There were certain things that he did that I despised, and he definitely didn’t do himself any favours sometimes. But I did love his determination to discover what was happening, and overall, I liked him. He also had cerebral palsy, which I wanted to mention as it’s a disorder that two people I know have, and therefore hits close to home. Atherton is the first main character in a book I’ve read that is affected by cerebral palsy, and I thought he was represented well.

I liked Kate. Despite her history with Atherton, she was professional and didn’t disregard his advice, which I found admirable, as I’ll sometimes find female characters that are written by male authors can be represented in a way that I find unrealistic, in my opinion. So I applaud Rippon for writing a strong, mature and likeable female character.

I thought the pace of the plot was just right, too, and it kept me wanting more each chapter. The plot, and search for the serial killer, were very interesting to follow, and no matter how hard I tried, or how many theories I came up with, I just could not figure out who the killer was! That made it even better for me.

The killer (who I am going to refer to using ‘They’ as I don’t want to give anything away), who calls them self ‘Son of Geb’ interested me so much! They wasn’t your typical serial killer, and there were definitely a few twists to them that I did not see coming. There was something that happened at the end that was a little cliche, but other than that, the ending was exciting and dramatic!

Overall, I really enjoyed Lord Of The Dead, and I hope to see some more of Atherton and Kate in the future. The only thing that I will mention is there is a bit of infidelity, so if that’s something you don’t want to read about, I’d give this one a miss. However, it really is only sub-plot, and whilst I don’t condone it, it didn’t bother me as I was too focused on who the hell the Son of Geb was!

I give this book 4.5 stars.



Author Interview:

I am lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to interview the author, Richard Rippons, which I was very glad about as there were a few questions I had that I really wanted answers to! I’m also very excited to share this, as it is my first author interview!

1.  Where did the inspiration for Lord of The Dead come from?

I’d become obsessed with the Michael Mann film, Manhunter and the Thomas Harris novel, Red Dragon on which it’s based. It’s the first Hannibal Lecter novel, but as brilliant and fascinating this character is, I was always more interested in Will Graham, the FBI profiler with an affinity to the killers he’s hunting. I was also listening to a lot of Nick Cave, and those dark, brooding songs were also an influence. I wanted to write something that had a noirish feel. Something set in the North East, but not parochial or cosy. Something with a big-world, cinematic feel to it.
2.  If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
“Start now!” Although I enjoyed writing at school, I never felt there was a chance of me making a living as a writer. Instead, I did a science degree and worked in that field. It took a long time for me to realise I’d be happier doing more creative things. I think I should have studied English or maybe Film Studies. However, perhaps when I was younger, I might not have had the patience to write at length, and this is the way it was meant to be.
3. Why do you write about crime?
Good question. Although I like the aforementioned Harris and Val McDermid, I don’t read many crime novels. I do have an interest in real-life serial killers. There’s something fascinating about what drives them to do what they do.
4. What made you want to use social media as a form of communication for the Son of Geb?
I work in social media and spend a lot of time on Twitter. It’s interesting that social media, particularly YouTube and Instagram, is where so many people are finding fame and fortune these days. I though it would be interesting to see how a serial killer might goad the police on Twitter, where the public can also see what he’s writing and develop a following of his own.
5. What was your writing process whilst writing Lord of The Dead?
I wrote mainly on the bus, to and from work. There’s a lot to be said for writers using public transport. It gave me about and hour and a half every day of uninterrupted time to work on it. I’d scribble in notebooks and eventually type it up. It was good, because I’d usually improve on it at that step. Sometimes I’d do longer stints in the shed at the top of the garden. I used Twitter to find experts (a forensics scientist, a historian and someone with cerebral palsy) to help me with various aspects of the book.

(Bit of a spoiler here, but I’m super curious! LOOK AWAY IF YOU’VE NOT READ LORD OF THE DEAD!!!)

6. Why did you have Jon Atherton have an affair with Kate Prejean?
The ‘will they, won’t they?’ aspect always raises tension in a story. At the start of Lord of the Dead, Atherton is enrolled on a police team with Prejean, with whom he’s previously had an adulterous relationship. As the pressure of the case builds, it’s whether or not they’ll give in to that mutual attraction again. 
7. What scene did you find the most difficult to write in Lord of The Dead? Why?
The final couple of chapters were probably the most difficult. I wanted to keep the denouement nice and pacy, and for it to have a nice dramatic payoff, but for it not to feel forced. Solving these problems is part of the fun, but it can feel frustrating at times.
8. If you’re able to talk about it, are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m working on ideas for a sequel to Lord of the Dead. The working title is The Life of the Flesh. I’m also collaborating on a really interesting horror screenplay idea with a couple of friends.
So, there we have it! My first author interview, and a review of Lord of The Dead. You can follow Richard Rippon on:
-Books&Belle xx

Blog Tour: A Pearl For My Mistress by Annabel Fielding (Spoiler-Free!)

Hello everyone! I feel like I have been away for so long, when it’s actually only been around two weeks. I had my mocks, so I thought it best to take a break from blogging to focus on that. But they’re over, and I’m back. Yay!

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A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…


I am lucky enough to be a participant in the blog tour for A Pearl For My Mistress, and I’m going to start off by saying that I haven’t read a historical romance in absolutely ages. I really can’t even remember what the last one was, and A Pearl For My Mistress was the perfect book to get me back into them. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The plot, the characters, the writing, and the relationships were all amazing!

The main character, Hester, was brilliant. She was loyal, and kind, which are both lovely qualities to have. There were definitely a few flaws to her, but if you’ve read my reviews in the past, you’ll know that I enjoy a flawed character. It makes them much more interesting and realistic. I felt that she was a little unambitious. However, I understand that this wouldn’t have been uncommon of a woman in her position at the time period in which this book is set in.

With Lucy, there were things I loved, and things that really bugged me. She’s a grey area for me. She’s Hester’s mistress, but there were clear instances where I felt that she was manipulative toward Hester. This definitely showed the class differences between them, despite the close relationship that had developed between them. What I loved, though, was how ahead of her time she seemed, in my opinion. She was ambitious, power-hungry, and very interesting.

Now, the relationship between Hester and Lucy. I loved that a romantic relationship formed between them, and whilst I did like it, I didn’t like that there was one of them who was clearly ‘superior’ to the other, as I don’t believe that that is healthy in a relationship.

I won’t go into the plot, but I’ll just say that I did enjoy it. It is obvious that a lot of research went into it due to the history included, and I did expect a little more romance, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I got! Fielding’s writing is enjoyable to read, and has a unique style to it that I liked.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I did judge it by it’s cover a bit before reading it, and it wasn’t what I expected at all, but instead it was even better! I give it four out of five stars.


I’d like to thank Annabel Fielding for providing me with a copy ofA Pearl For My Mistress in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review – I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan (Spoiler-Free!)



Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem, who dreams of being a writer, struggles with controlling parents who only care about her studying to be a doctor. Forced to move to a new school in South London after her best friend is shamed in a scandal, Muzna realizes that the bullies will follow her wherever she goes. But deciding to stand and face them instead of fighting her instinct to disappear is harder than it looks when there’s prejudice everywhere you turn. Until the gorgeous and confident Arif shows an interest in her, encouraging Muzna to explore her freedom.

But Arif is hiding his own secrets and, along with his brother Jameel, he begins to influence Muzna with their extreme view of the world. As her new freedom starts to disappear, Muzna is forced to question everything around her and make a terrible choice – keep quiet and betray herself, or speak out and betray her heart?

A stunning new YA voice which questions how far you’ll go to protect what you believe in.


Okay, the first thing that I want to say is that I absolutely loved this book. Everything from the characters to the plot was brilliant, and I read it in a matter of days. I think that this books covers some issues that are very relevant in todays society, such as terrorism and Islamophobia, which I think is very important.

The main character, Muzna Saleem, is a Muslim. This is actually the first book that has featured a Muslim main character I’ve read, and I’m so eager to read more now. Representation in books is something that is desperately, so that is part of the reason that I love this book so much. I really liked Muzna, she was courageous, brave and stood up for what she thought was right, despite certain things trying to influence her to do the opposites.

As I said before, Islamophobia is an issue that is tackled in this book. Whilst I know that this is important to cover as it is something that Muslim’s face in their everyday lives, it just made me so angry to read! There was a particular character that was very open about her racism towards Muslims, and I honestly despised her. It was very relevant though, as people that share her views do exist, unfortunately.

The plot was also very interesting, which lead me to reading the whole book over 2 or 3 days. It was fast-paced, and there were a few time jumps which I liked. Especially the one between 13 year old Muzna and 16 year old Muzna as it showed the differences between how she was then, and how she is now.

The only thing that I wasn’t too keen on is how some of the teenagers speak. I understand that it is set in a certain place, but I just don’t think that teenagers use some of the slang that the author used. I do understand that writing from the perspective from a teenage girl might be difficult when you’re not one, but I just wanted to mention that.

Overall, I really did love this book. It was engaging, tackled important issues and was representative of a group of people who don’t get as much representation as they need. I give it 4.5 stars.






I’d like to thank Macmillan’s Children for sending me a copy of I Am Thunder in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx

Collabs · Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Heart Of Mist by Helen Scheuerer (Spoiler-Free!)

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In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.

Still grieving the death of her guardian and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the Commander of the King’s Army, and summoned to the capital.

But the king isn’t the only one interested in Bleak’s powers.

The leader of an infamous society of warriors, the Valia Kindred, lays claim to her as well, and Bleak finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she anticipated.

Heart of Mist is the gripping first book in The Oremere Chronicles, a fantasy series of epic proportions.


I’m very lucky to be one of the stops of the Heart of Mist blog tour! The first thing that I want to point out about this book is how beautiful the cover is. I know we’re not meant to judge books by their covers, but it was one of the first things that attracted me to it. That, coupled with how good the synopsis sounded, made me want to dive right in.

When I did begin to read, I was not disappointed. The opening is exciting and left me wanting more, and making me have to read on, which is always a good sign when you’re only a couple of pages into a book. The plot is fast-paced, which I liked. I always try and finish a book, but when it takes absolutely ages to get into I do struggle. I felt on edge a lot of the time I was reading this, just because I didn’t know what to expect next!

I do want to mention that there is alcoholism in this book. Bleak, the main character, drinks a lot to cope with her troubles, so if that’s a trigger for you, I would keep it in mind before picking up this book. Personally, I thought that it was an interesting topic to include, and one that is not often seen in YA, so to have an issue like this be a part of the story intrigued me.

Now, onto characters! I liked the main character, Bleak, but she did annoy me at times. She seemed a little whiny to me, and I just didn’t connect with her very much. Like I said, though, I did like her and I respect that she was able to take responsibility for her mistakes when she made them. Fiore, however, I loved! He was brilliant, and the only character that I connected with. There were others that I liked, but Fi was my favourite.

I loved the world that Scheuerer created, and I think that the way she writes is great. The plot kept me interested throughout the whole book and I’m looking forward to the next one. Overall, I give this book 4 stars.


Make sure you join in for the Twitter chat using the hashtag #MistPH for the change to win a Heart of Mist Prize pack.

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Check out That Bookshelf Bitch for more information on Heart of Mist.

There is a giveaway, so check that out!

You can buy the book on Amazon.

Check it out on Goodreads.

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review – Sleeping Beauties by Jo Spain (Spoiler-Free!)

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The inspector frowned and examined the earth under the trees. As he scanned the glade, his stomach lurched. One, two, three, four. Five, counting the mound of earth disturbed under the tent. Somebody had cleared the earth of its natural layer and sown their own flowers.

In five places.

Five graves.

A young woman, Fiona Holland, has gone missing from a small Irish village. A search is mounted, but there are whispers. Fiona had a wild reputation. Was she abducted, or has she run away?

A week later, a gruesome discovery is made in the woods at Ireland’s most scenic beauty spot – the valley of Glendalough. The bodies are all young women who disappeared in recent years. D.I. Tom Reynolds and his team are faced with the toughest case of their careers – a serial killer, who hunts vulnerable women, and holds his victims captive before he ends their lives.

Soon the race is on to find Fiona Holland before it’s too late.


So, at the moment I’m rather annoyed as I have somehow managed to delete the review of this I had previously written, meaning I have to re-write it! I’ll start by saying that this books is one of my favourite reads of 2017. Mystery, good characters, suspense and a good plot. What more can a Thriller-lover want?

The main character, Tom, was brilliant. He’s the type of guy that I wish was real so that I could know him in real life. He’s determined, wise and just a great character. I also really liked Laura and Ray, and how there was a little something going on between them. It also didn’t take the focus away from the main plot, so I applaud Jo Spain for that.

I found the point of view changes really interesting in Sleeping Beauties. Every few chapters, it’d change from Tom’s to the perspective of one of the killers five victims before they were murdered. I thought that this definitely gave Spain an edge and it kept me reading, as I’d refuse to put the book down until I had read just one more chapter from one of the murdered women’s perspective. It was also rather chilling and somewhat heartbreaking to read their final thoughts before they died.

I played my game where I attempt to predict the ending, of course, and although I was somewhat right, there was a very big plot twist that left me gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

So, if you like Thrillers, I’d definitely recommend this one to you. Overall, I give this book 5 stars.


I’d like to thank Quercus Books for sending me a copy of Sleeping Beauties in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review – Doubt The Stars by Maddyson Wilson (Spoiler-Free!)



How far would you go to save the damned?

Celeste Adair lives in a world painted gray. She’s spent the last five years of her life stuck in a mental institution because she told the truth: there was an angel on the roof of her foster home. Since then, she’s been slapped with labels she didn’t deserve and words she didn’t ask for.

Luke Enoch lives in a world painted a fire red. He and his sister, Clover, have been living on the streets of Brooklyn for the last five years, running from the police because Luke has been accused of lighting the house fire that killed their parents. Luke has sacrificed everything to keep Clover safe and will do whatever it takes to make sure she doesn’t suffer the same fate he has.

After waking up from what they thought to be their final breaths, Celeste and Luke find themselves trapped in the year 1392 with a single mission: protect Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers. With the centuries-old war brewing, the only shot they have at keeping Romeo and Juliet alive is keeping them separate. But, when fate (and a trigger-happy prince) steps in, there aren’t many things Celeste and Luke can do to stop all of Verona from falling into war. With the line between good and bad erased, Celeste and Luke will have to risk everything to keep the star-crossed lovers safe–even if it means losing each other.


I loved the idea of this book. I’m a sucker for Shakespeare, so when I read that it would be set within Romeo and Juliet, I was really excited. What I got, however, was not what I was expecting. It was so much more. I really enjoyed it, there were aspects of fantasy, (one of my favourite genres!!) plot twists, and after I had read the first few chapters, I struggled putting it down.

I loved Celeste. I wasn’t sure what I would think of her, but she was a really interesting character, and I think the way she was written was brilliant. She was strong, brave and very determined to accomplish her mission. Considering all the things she had been through in her life, she turned out pretty well. Luke, on the other hand, I was unsure about. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him. He was fiercely loyal and protective over his sister, something I can relate to, being the oldest sibling, but his morals… they weren’t great. I understand why he did the things he did, but it doesn’t mean I have to like them. The relationship between these two characters was also intriguing. I couldn’t tell what was going to happen, they were both very damaged people, so I didn’t know how that would work out, but it didn’t stop me from hoping something would.

Wilson’s writing was also something I wanted to mention. I like the way she writes, and she certainly kept me interested and guessing what was going to happen! There’s also a bit of violence in this book. It’s not at all over done, in fact, I thought it was just the right amount, but if that’s something you don’t like, I’d suggest thinking about it.

Also, be warned this is part of a series! Thank god, because I don’t know if I could cope with not knowing what happens next. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more about Celeste, Luke and the Eon Warriors.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.


I’d like to thank Maddison Wilson for sending me a copy of Doubt The Stars in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx


Blog Tour: A Review Of Search For Maylee by Didi Oviatt (Spoiler-Free!)

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Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt
Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him.

Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will
Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do whatever it takes to either bring Maylee home, or to deliver the justice she deserves.


I’m lucky enough to be one of the stops of the Search For Maylee blog tour, which I was very excited about. The synopsis of the book really intrigued me, so I was happy to be chosen! I usually prefer to read physical copies, but I read Search For Maylee as an e-book. It was a quick read, I enjoyed it enough to read it all in one sitting!

I loved the main character, Autumn’s, determination to find her niece no matter what the costs were. I did think some of the things she did were a bit foolish, but considering the situation that she was in, I guess you can’t blame her. Nobody knows how they would react if something like that happened! Plus, she was a strong, independent woman who didn’t take crap from anyone, which I always love to see in a book! Especially in Thrillers, sometimes you’ll get women being portrayed as the ‘damsel in distress’ which really bugs me, so hats off to Oviatt for creating such an amazing main character here.

I also want to mention Josie. I had a lot of admiration for her character, despite everything that she had been through, she still wanted to provide as much help as possible, which I thought was extremely brave of her.

The main thing that bothered me was the police having to go through Autumn to get find the ‘missing key’ in the case. I feel like they definitely would have found that the same way that Autumn did. So, there is a bit of a plot hole there. However, the overall plot definitely makes up for this. I couldn’t put it down, I had to keep reading to find out what would happen next, and if Maylee would be found, dead or alive. Oviatt’s writing style is engaging and I definitely enjoyed it.

The ending also provided me with closure, which I was glad about. I had no more lingering questions and I thought the author tied it up rather nicely.

Overall, I give this 3.5 stars.


Goodreads Link

Purchase Links: One Two Three

Author Bio

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Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. She’s a suspense novelist, and magazine columnist second. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians(a trilogy to be). Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and bathing in the desert heat plays an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

Suspense Author & Book Blogger

3 Kindle copies of “Search for Maylee” Gifted through Amazon

RR Book Tours Button (2)

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review – Murder At First Sight by Claire Taylor (Spoiler-Free!)



Woken by the horrific image of a young girl being killed, Felicity Lawrence puts it down to nothing but a terrible nightmare.

But when the body of the same girl is found a week later, Felicity feels she has no choice but to contact the police.

Although initially sceptical, police officer Noah Bennett trusts his instincts and hears Felicity out.

Before long, they’re caught in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a sadistic killer who’ll stop at nothing to satisfy his bloodlust.


This was a very quick read for me, it only has 150 pages, and I read it all in one sitting. It was easy to follow, which I liked, some of the time when I’m reading a Thriller, there will be things said that I’ve completely missed, and I’ll have to re-read the chapter, so I liked the simplicity of this one.

Felicity, the main character, seems like the type of girl I’d like to be friends with if she were real. Her determination to save the unknown girl she saw in her dream, despite the danger it put her in, really shows how selfless she was and I find that very admirable. There was a bit of insta-love with her and the police officer, Noah Bennett, which put me off a bit, but I was able to overlook that. Felicity’s relationship with her friend, Ella, was one I liked more. You could tell that they really cared for one another.

There was something different done in this book that I liked. Every couple of chapters, you found yourself reading from the perspective of the killer at different point of his life, which was interesting. I found myself reading on just so I could read another one of these chapters.

If you’ve read my reviews of other Thrillers, you’ll know that I play a little game with myself where I try and predict the ending whilst I’m reading. I did predict the killer quite early on in this book, but I didn’t mind as like I said, it was a quick read, so too many complications would have taken the simplicity of the book away.

The only thing that had me a bit confused was her dreams. I might be mistaken, but I don’t think it was explained why she dreamt what she did, other than her being psychic (which I wasn’t sure if she was joking about?) so that could have been made a bit clearer. I hope to read more about Felicity in the future, as there are a few loose ends and unanswered questions, which I think were intentional!

Overall, this was a fast-paced, enjoyable read, and I give the book 3 stars.


I’d like to thank Claire Taylor for sending me a copy of Murder At First Sight in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx


Book Review – Secondborn by Amy. A Bartol (Spoiler-Free!)



Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.

On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.

Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.

But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?


I’m going to start of by saying that I enjoyed this book. However, it did take me a little longer to get through as the first few chapters of the book didn’t really interest me. I get that it sets the scene and everything, but I was just confused as to where the author was taking the story, and when we would get there! The second half, on the other hand, was brilliant. I read the last 5 chapters or so in one sitting. There’s one big event, and then I was like.. OH, this is where the plot is going, and it all started to make sense and I couldn’t put the book down!

I really liked the main character, Roselle. She had most of the characteristics I like in a person, such as selflessness, kindness and loyalty, and she stood up for what she believed in, despite her status as a second-born. I feel like I could have connected with her more, but I hope to do that in book 2, which I will definitely be reading because I need to know what happens next.

I found the way Bartol wrote familial relationships really chilling. It was brilliant, of course, but I felt so bad for the second-borns who were neglected in favour of their first-born siblings by their parents. There’s just so much hurt and betrayal between families, but I liked how Roselle found her own little family in the other second-borns.

Overall, I really did like this book, disregarding the first few chapters. I give it four out of five stars.


I’d like to thank Amazon Publishing for sending me a copy of Secondborn in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

-Books&Belle xx