The Family Plot – Review & Giveaway

the-family-plot-1Author: Cherie Priest
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Tor Books
Date: 20 September 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy the BookGoodreads

The Family Plot is a haunted house story for the ages-atmospheric, scary, and strange, with a modern gothic sensibility to keep it fresh and interesting-from Cherie Priest, a modern master of supernatural fiction.

Oh hai, if it isn’t the latest release from one of my favourite writers! I didn’t know quite what to expect from The Family Plot since I’m honestly not that well-versed in ghost stories, but I really enjoyed it. The characters are great, the stakes are believable, the ghosts are pretty darn creepy and the mystery behind their need for revenge is very gripping. Also, THAT ENDING!

Check out my review video if you want to hear more of my thoughts on The Family Plot, and enter the giveaway below for a chance to win your own copy. The giveaway is open internationally until midnight on October 24th and the winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.

The review:

The giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


August 2016 Reads

2 stars

Imprudence by Gail Carriger

ImprudenceLady Prudence Akeldama Maccon and her crew fly the Spotted Custard to Egypt to convey Lord & Lady Maccon to the only place they can safely retire. After leaving both of her parents under the influence of the Godbreaker Plague, Prudence continues further inland in search of a secretive pride of werelionesses. Her voyage is complicated by the carnal relationship she shares with her chief engineer, and the tensions it is causing amidst the crew.

The latest novel in Gail Carriger’s steampunky, Victorian urban fantasy universe & by far the most disappointing. I loved parts of this book, but most of the story centered on the elements I enjoyed least, namely Rue & Quesnel’s relationship. I didn’t find him likable or charming at all in the first book & I was hoping he would turn out to be the losing side of a love triangle (look, a character has to be pretty bad for me to hope for a love triangle!) but that wasn’t the case. I hated everything about the way the main relationship was developed. It was obvious, predictable, tropey and sexist. The whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth.

Less slut-shamey plots in which I’m supposed to root for cocky stereotypes of my home country *NAMED AFTER FISH SAUSAGE* and more political intrigue & werewolf/vampire drama. Thank goodness there’s a shorter piece coming about Lyall, Biffy & Lord Akeldama.

5 stars

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the CrownZacharias Wythe is the first black man to be appointed Sorcerer Royal to the Crown of England, and he has more than his fair share of troubles to contend with: from the decline of British magic to opposition from his fellow sorcerers, and a rumour that he murdered his adoptive father. Plus someone is trying to kill him. Meanwhile, Prunella Gentleman, a young mixed-race woman too clever & too magical for her surroundings, resolves to make a new life for herself in London, by way of selling the contents of her late father’s valise of magical treasures.

This story ticked absolutely all of my boxes, with a great balance of action, mystery, magic, romance and politics. I loved the characters, their subtleties & how they interacted with each other, the way that the various mysteries were resolved and the themes explored in the story. Probably my favourite novel I’ve read so far this year.

I did a full review on my Youtube channel, and there’s a giveaway here on the blog.

4 stars

False Hearts by Laura Lam

False HeartsTwin sisters Teama & Tila never had any secrets from each other – how could they, when they spent the first sixteen years of their lives conjoined? Together, they escaped the cult in which they were born, survived a rare medical procedure to separate them & built lives from themselves in San Francisco. One night, Tila comes home to her covered in blood, only to get immediately arrested for the first civilian murder in decades. In order to clear her sister’s name, Taema takes on her identity and her place at the heart of the Ratel, the city’s most dangerous criminal organisation. As Taema delves deeper into an underworld of drugs and violence, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about her twin sister, and the life they’ve led.

The story was tense, with Taema’s uncertainty & anger palpable throughout. The risks Taema took for her sister – going undercover as Tila, entering drug-addled dreams, taking on mob leaders – all felt terrifying, both justified by the necessity of clearing Tila’s name and undermined by the never-ending questions around the possibility of Tila’s guilt. The two strands of the narrative, Taema’s and Tila’s, came together very nicely at the end. I wish there had been more on T & T learning how to live outside of the cult for the first time, but that clearly did not belong in the story. I just like weird cults too much (and there is plenty of that)!

Also, some wonderfully gory violence!

3.5 stars

Nancy Parker’s Diary of Detection by Julia Lee

28504531There’s mystery and mayhem aplenty in this fun middle-grade novel. Our protagonist is Nancy Parker, a maidservant with an overactive imagination and dreams of becoming a detective. When she goes to Seabourne with her new employer, she finds rumours of theft, two other teenage would-be=detectives and heaps of suspicious behaviour.

This was great fun to read and I really enjoyed the three main characters, as well as the writing and formatting style of the passages from Nancy’s Diary. The 1920s setting is great and the subtle explorations of class issues within the narrative gave it some extra depth. The word murder in the tagline is slightly misleading (there is no corpse at all), but the story does include very nefarious deeds being planned and put in motion!

As an adult reader, I found the plot frustrating at times: One mystery is resolved quickly, the other does not emerge until later, but I found the solutions to both fairly predictable. It makes complete sense within the story why the characters don’t jump to the same conclusions as I would though, and I would definitely recommend this book for young readers. My only complaints come from my being outside the target demographic.

I’m planning to give the book to a friend who has two young daughters who I’m sure will love it.

4 stars

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review coming soon!







The Great Harry Potter Re-Read of 2016

Welp, I did it, I re-read the Harry Potter series for the first time in ten years in preparation for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!!

[one_third]4.5 stars
PS[/one_third][one_third]4 stars
CoS[/one_third][one_third_last]5 stars

[one_third]4.5 stars
43509[/one_third][one_third]3.5 stars
444327[/one_third][one_third_last]4 stars

[one_third]3.5 stars
818056[/one_third][one_third]2.5 stars
626F6F78747265616D=7474747474727576707<7473[/one_third][one_third_last] [/one_third_last]

I’m still working on the last few reviews, but you can already check out the playlist below for over an hour of Harry Potter discussions & opinions:

[one_fourth] [/one_fourth][one_half][/one_half][one_fourth_last] [/one_fourth_last]


March 2016 Reads

5 stars

Persuasion by Jane Austen


I love this story now just as much as I did the first time I read it & it remains my favourite Austen. I was struck by how fresh & modern the story – especially some of the dialogue – remains. Of course the issues addressed are timeless (money, love, resentment, hope, regret, loyalty, mortification, jealousy, vanity) but it’s also about more ordinary people, with motives are way more relatable than some of Austen’s other characters.

No need to try & ignore things which would befuddle us now (Edward Ferrars’ loyalty to a years-old engagement), or things which would rightfully make us dislike a character now (Emma’s manipulative streak; Darcy’s objections to the inferiority of Elizabeth’s birth).

I wish there was a bit less reported action and dialogue – as it is some passages made me want to scream “SHOW DON’T TELL” at the book – but it’s a fairly minor complaint compared to how much I love this story!

5 stars

Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell

Witches of Lychford

“A witch, a hippy and a vicar walk into a magic shop” sounds like the setup to something quite silly, but there’s a kindness and a humanity to Cornell’s writing – to the way he portrays the characters, their motivations, the town life – that says these people and their stories are important. The conflicts that drive this story aren’t all end of the world stuff, but everything that happens is serious and important to the specific characters it affects and is treated as such.

I was quite impressed with how much Cornell packed in a novella, especially with several POV characters, who all feel pretty well developed. There’s a twist at the end of the novella that just punched me in the feels, one of those twists that makes complete sense once you read it, but couldn’t have guessed before. It makes me want to re-read the book now that I know what’s in store.

In short, I loved this to bits. It was so very, very British and very warm. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is a Christmas story. As a fan of big, traditional British Christmases, I am there with bells on.

4 stars

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor


Binti was a very engaging protagonist, a smart, capable young woman making a difficult choice and venturing into the unknown. I also really enjoyed the themes of language and translation in this story since those are things I’m interested in and passionate about in general.

The story was very tense and brutal in a way I definitely found effective, but somehow the story didn’t grab me in the same way as it did many SFF bloggers and booktubers I know (and Hugo voters!)

I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t adore it; I was left wanting more, perhaps because of the length of the piece (I’m new to reading novellas, and I’m partial to a big, fat doorstopper). I would definitely read a sequel (it looks like there’s going to be one!), especially something about Binti’s experiences at Oomza Uni.

[one_fourth]2.5 stars
I Call Myself a Feminist[/one_fourth][one_fourth]3.5 stars
Lumberjanes Volume 1[/one_fourth][one_fourth]4 stars
Giant Days Vol 1[/one_fourth][one_fourth_last]4.5 stars
Descender Vol 1[/one_fourth_last]