A Hodge-Podge of a Month

I have been reading a lot lately. Perhaps it’s a bit of escapism, perhaps it’s because I went on holiday, or perhaps it because I have a pile of unread books screaming at me.

I would love to review all of them, but I’m going to focus on the four that really caught my imagination. That makes it hard to theme this review because they really are a hodgepodge of tales.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Libba Bray’s The Diviners was one of those serendipitous purchases. You know the ones—you’re stuck somewhere and have to kill some time you you quickly pick a book from the nearest bookshop, and then—bam, you’re lost forever.

I have to admit the cover caught my eye, then the fact that it was set in 1920’s New York, and the lead character was a bad-girl flapper. Add in a dash of supernatural mystery, and I was sold.

But this book was so much more than that. Although Evie O’Neill, a young girl banished from her Ohio home to live with her bachelor uncle in New York, is a great main character, she is almost over-shadowed by the other cast members.

There’s Will, her uncle, who runs the the Museum of American Folklore , Superstition, and the Occult along with his assistant Jericho; Sam the pickpocket; Henry the pianist; Theta the Ziefield girl, Mary the unionist; and Memphis the poet. They all have their own backstories and reasons for being in New York. Together this strange group of people are drawn together aster adopted home faces a serial killer who appears to have supernatural powers.

Sometimes the plot seems convoluted, and it is difficult to keep up with all the players, but the mystery is engrossing and just when it starts getting a little slow, Evie jumps is with her sassy attitude and moves the story along.

The Diviners is a great read for people love who their supernatural mystery tied up with a little colourful history. I loved it so much I had to pull myself out of book two to write this review.

The Harp of Kings: A Warrior Bards Novel 1 By Juliet Marillier

I adore Juliet Marillier’s writing (big fan-girl here). Her Blackthorn and Grim Series was one of my favourites and so I was a bit nervous starting her new series. I was worried I would be disappointed because surely it could not be as great as Blackthorn and Grim, but I have to say The Warrior Bard Series might actually be better.

The story is told through the eyes of three trainee warriors: Loibhan the fiery redhead who also plays the flute and sings, her brother the harpist Brun and the surly son of nobility, Dau.

The three are sent on an undercover, secret mission to find the lost Harp of Kings which must be played at a coronation before a new King is accepted—and his coronation date is already set. As they search for the harp the three find themselves facing a cruel prince regent, horrific attacks from birdlike creatures known as the Crow Folk, druids who are hiding something, and otherworld influences that are clouding everything.

With its Celtic touches, strong characters, magic and intrigue, this book is difficult to put down for anyone who loves a great fantasy read. I finished book two in the series, Dance With Fate yesterday and cannot wait for book three to come out.

What Abigail Did That Summer By Ben Aronovich

I make no secret about the fact I love the Rivers of London Series. London is one of my favourite cites, and I enjoy the thought that there are magical powers simmering beneath the surface of the historic city.

I have listened to all the main books in the series on audible, and often embarrass myself by chuckling in public. The stories are essentially mysteries that have to be solved, usually by the lead character, PC Grant, who is a member of The Folly—the police division that deals with all things supernatural. Peter Grant is a likeable bloke, but has to deal with an array of human and magical characters that are so quirky and funny, yet so well imagined, they never cease to make me smile (or laugh out loud).

My husband also loves these books, and so I bought him the recently released novella to take away on holiday, and I’m so pleased I did. Having put up with Jim’s chuckles and comments of “this book is so great”, I was so grateful when he finished reading it and I could finally pick it up.

Abigail, Peter Grant’s sort of niece, is a character I am really down to, and I’m so happy she has been she had been given her own story. This intrepid, funny, bright, smart, sassy girl managed to stumble on her own mystery—one of disappearing and reappearing teenagers in her local area and she sets out to solve it, but not on her own. She is joined by a friend and a group of talking foxes.

This fast paced, fun tale is a great read for all fantasy lovers, and is definitely PG rated so can be shared by the whole family. And I dare you to read it without having at least one laugh out loud moment.

The History Keepers: The Storm Begins By Damian Dibbens

I picked up this book in an Audible 2 for 1 deal, and really only chose it as a best of the rest, and I had to make the most of that deal. This book actually turned out to be better than the book I originally wanted to buy.

Jake Djones finds himself kidnapped on the way home form school by people who tell him they will help him find his parents, who he hadn’t even realised were missing.

When he wakes up, Jake finds himself with people who call themselves The History Keepers. They are a special group who can travel through time and work to keep the world in balance. Jake is surprised to find his parents hadn’t gone to a sales conference as they told him, but had gone on a mission for the History Keepers to save the world and had disappeared.

What follows is a real adventure story in a modern day Famous Five / Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew style as Jake stows away and goes back in time to help find his parents, along with the beautiful of fearless and beautiful Topaz, Charlie the science nerd and Nathan the pompous and vain hero. While they are looking for his parents they stumble on a plot to derail history by the fearsome Prince Zeldt (who I could not help but picture as a Ming the Merciless character oops is that showing my age?) and put in place a plan to stop him.

I would be lying if I said this was one of the best books that I had listened to, but it really was a lot of fun. It is obviously aimed at younger-to-mid-teen readers, so the story was fast paced and there is a little bit of explaining some of the historical facts many adults might already know, but the characters were great and the story engaging.

If you or your children enjoy a goo mystery, then I say why not put this on in the car when you have a long journey and keep everyone entertained!

And that’s me for this month.


When a Book Just Wows You

This month I was luck to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. There are the books I want to share with you.

Many thing in my life this month have not gone to plan this month. So it isn’t surprising this was not the review I was going to write for September, but it is the review that was clamouring to be written. This month I was lucky to be transported to my happy place two books that really “wowed” me. You know the type; the books you just can’t put down until they’re finished. Then, when you reach the end, you’re sad because there’s nothing left to read. These are the books I want to share with you.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I reviewed on of Matt Haig’s books last month. I really enjoy his quirky story lines. even so, I did not expect to be so blown away by The Midnight Library.

The blurb starts off , “Between Life and Death There is a Library”, and went on to tell of Nora Seed who is stuck in that moment between life and death where she had the opportunity to live her life if she had made different decisions at different points in time. I was hooked. I brought it, and I couldn’t put it down.

Nora is disappointed in herself and always believed she could have lived a better life, been a better person, if only she had made the most of the opportunities she had squandered. In the Midnight Library she is able to see the lives she has missed out on.

It’s funny, because Nora is not the most likeable person as a main character in a book, to be honest she comes across as a bit of a loser, and that is because that is how she portrays herself. Her lonely life is one where she is isolated and focuses on the regrets she has for not taking chances.

I started off feeling sorry for her, but as I lived through her other lives where she took different paths, I understand her more, and began rooting for her—hoping she would find a life where she was truely happy.

This is a great piece of story writing, growing from a really interesting concept, but what I loved about this book (apart from my inability to put it down), was all the thinking I did after I had finished. It had me mulling over how little we realise the impact we have on the lives of those around us, and also how often we interpret our relationships with others from our own perspective, especially when we are depressed.

Although this is not truely a Teen/YA book, it is one I believe many older teens would benefit from reading, as it might actually help them understand what some of their friends are dealing with. And I defiantly recommend it for parents, just because it is a great read.

Buy A Midnight Library from Amazon

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle 2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So I finished The Midnight Library and moved on to the next book in my kindle, Aurora Burning. This is the second book in the series, I reviewed an Amie Kaufman co-write some time ago, and I have read more of her books in the meantime, including Aurora Rising, the first book in the Aurora Cycle. I loved the book but didn’t get round to reviewing it, and I am not going to make the same mistake with Aurora Burning.

I have been waiting patiently for the second book in the series to come out. The only problem was, in the meantime I had forgotten how much I loved the characters, and how fast paced the actions is, and how you get caught up in the story then you find it is three am on a school night and its only three hours until you have to get up. I curse you Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

By far my favourite character in this book is the super brain Zila. She is slowly coming our of her shell and learning to have a sense of humour. Still, Finn’s sarcasm and surprising heroism is quite cool. Then again, super-sexy Scarlett shows there is more to her than meets the eye, and her brother Tyler—if I was a boy I would want to be him, the all round hero. Though, if I think about it, Aurora now has super-powers, and a super-cool boyfriend who adores her in Kal. And Kal, the war machine is a super-being, who wouldn’t want to be him? So many great characters, and every time the chapter changes to a new point of view I want to be that one.

In Aurora Rising a crew of military misfits rescue a girl lost in space, thence across a scary hive mind wanting to take over the galaxy. In this book they are trying to find the weapon Aurora, the girl they rescued, has been told she must use to to save the universe. In the mean time, Kal’s family life starts to get in the way and places them all in peril.

This book is almost non-stop action, but still manages to expand on the characters backstories, and take us through a political minefield that is not as straightforward as it seems. When I finally did finish the book, I was unable to sleep, wanting to know what happens next, and imagining all sorts of scenarios.

I have it now, I want to be Amie Kaufman or Jay Kristoff. I mean who doesn’t want to be a writer who produces mesmerising books? Scfi fans will really enjoy this offering, but so will those who like a little romance, or action adventure books. So many people will like this book it is probably a waste of time my writing a review as you’re probably all read it, and like me are waiting with baited breath for the next book in the series.

Buy Aurora Burning from Amazon

Looking for More Book Ideas? See Below.

Available Until 16 October
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Time Travel Adventures

Stephen Hawkins wrote, ‘If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?’. Realistically we know time travel isn’t feasible, but we love to imagine that it is.

Stephen Hawkins wrote, ‘If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?‘. Realistically we know time travel isn’t feasible—yet, but we love to imagine that it is. At the moment my family is watching the final series of The Agents of Shield, which has the main characters going back through time, and with the release of my second Time Guardians book I have been rather obsessed with reading other books in the genre.

This week I am reviewing two Jodi Taylor novels; one perhaps more adult focussed, but one that YA readers will enjoy. The third isn’t strictly a Time Travel book, but it is a unique look at history and time through the eyes of someone who lived through it

Just One Damned Thing After Another – Jodi Taylor

My perfect job growing up would have been travelling back in time, experiencing history and writing about it. Unfortunately we all grow up and realise our dream jobs are not achievable—or are they. What I attracted me to Just One Damn Thing after Another, apart from the title, was historian Madeleine Maxwell (Max) applying for a job at The St. Mary’s institute, not realising they are actually able to take here into the past so she can see history happen. My dream job!

Not only did Jodi Taylor’s concept excite me, but her characters captured my heart. Max is brave and foolhardy, Leon Farrell is forever practical, and Tim Petersen is dashing and just the person you would want to go on mad-cap adventures wth. They, along with a cast of more than interesting characters, carry a great story line back in history, causing chaos and mayhem wherever they go—but, of course, it’s never their fault. While the team is busy recording history, there is another team bent on destroying St. Mary’s at all costs.

I loved the premise, the characters and the story line of this entire series. Some of the content is best for older YA readers, but if you enjoy a good laugh thrown in with a touch of history, then this is the read for you.

Buy Just One Damned Thing After Another (Chronicles of St. Mary’s) from Amazon

Doing Time by Jodi Taylor

When you have mayhem running through the timeline there is always a risk time could collapse, that is unless you have Time Police. In Jodi Taylor’s universe, the Time Police are almost as bad as the bad guys and are St. Mary’s natural enemies. So you can imagine Madeleine Maxwell is not too happy to find her son has joined them as a cadet.

His St.Mary’s origins make him an outcast. Along with two other recruits with equally unusual backgrounds no one else wants—Jane and Luke, Matthew must help form a team to pass his final test before becoming a Time Policeman. Of course they not only have to over-come their own handicaps, but they must also survive a political situation that is bigger than all of them.

This is a fantastic YA coming of age read in a Time Travel environment which has all of the craziness of the St. Mary’s Chronicles, without the adult content. The three main characters are quirky, and I think most people would find at least one they identify with, but my favourite is Jane. Unassuming, she is the quiet achiever no one should underestimate—she just doesn’t know it yet.

I listened to this book on audible and Zara Ramm as narrator really made the story. Perhaps this is one to consider for your next road trip.

Buy Doing Time: Time Police, Book 1 from Amazon

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

So, straight up, this book isn’t about time travel, but it sort of is. Told in the present, Tom Hazard has returned to London years after having left—many, many, years after, and it has brought back memories from his first visit there after his mother had been drowned … as witch.

Moving back to London has awakened his memories of not only losing his nothing, but the one great love of his life who he was forced to abandon when people began to notice he didn’t age. When he left his wife, he also left his daughter, who he has been searching for ever since.

Tom is one of the long lived. So he may look like any man in his forties, but he is more than 400 years old. Helped by the Albatross Society he has been able to blend in by moving from country to country, meeting some of history’s great and good. They have only one rule—don’t fall in love and don’t make connections. This has been easy to follow until now. Back in London he finds himself slowly connecting again with the world, and this places him in danger.

This book was initially difficult to get get into because of the way it jumped between past and present, but I stuck with it and was rewarded with an amazing read. The concept of a person surviving through centuries of history, but not really living after his twenties was a twist that really made me think about the benefits of long life. When Tom begins to awaken he also begins to question whether survival is enough.

Such a great read, but really for the older YA readers.

Buy How to Stop Time from Amazon

Some More Time Travel Offerings

This hasn’t been The Bookbubble’s first dip into reviewing time travel books. If you are interested, I also review A Wish After Midnight and Sam reviewed The 1,000 Year Old Boy.

If you are looking for some YA Time Travel Reads, why not have a look at some of these. My book the Swagman the first book in The Guardians of Time Series is included.


Listen … Do You Want to Hear a Secret

Like many people, recent events around the world have has changed the way I think about things, and in a lot of ways has changed the way I think full stop. In fact my mind has been whirring so much the activities I usually do to clam myself stopped being calming, until I found a solution—audio books!

Like many people, recent events around the world have has changed the way I think about things, and in a lot of ways has changed the way I think full stop. In fact my mind has been whirring so much the activities I usually do to calm myself stopped working, until I found a solution—audio books!

My intake of audio books has doubled over the last few months, and I thought I would share some of my favourites with you. I think I have said in the past that choosing the audio book option means you not only have to be captured by the story, but the narrater must also connect with you. I recommend always checking a sample before buying. If you don’t like my favourite reads in audiobook format I encourage you to buy the books instead.

Fall of the Gas-lit Empire by Rod Duncan

By now you will have realised I am a sucker for a kick-ass female heroine and an amazing new world, and in this series Rod Duncan has managed to capture both. In a victorian-style world that sees women as possessions, Elizabeth Barnabus lives a double life. She is herself, but also takes on the guise of her own brother to make a living as a detective and thus remain independent.

Everything is going well until she takes on the case of an aristocrat who has disappeared. In her attempts to resolve the mystery she must face her own past as well as the Patent Court, the most feared body in the land, placing herself in extreme danger.

Elizabeth is a strong, resourceful, well rounded character who you will find yourself willing to come out on top. The other characters you meet as this story unfolds are equally compelling and interesting. The England they live in is both recognisable, but completely different, not the least because the development of all machinery is strictly controlled by the Patent Court.

To top it off Gemma Whelan, the narrator does a great job in moving the story along and keeping the listener interested. If you enjoying losing yourself in another world, or simply like a good mystery, then I recommend this series to teens, young adults and adults.

Buy The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire: The Complete Series from Amazon

The Night Raven by Sarah Painter

My next two books are set in modern day London, but show a side of London you may never have encountered. When she was young Lydia’s father left the family business so he could raise his daughter in the suburbs. Not a bad choice given the family business did not always operate not he right side of the law, and were happy enough to use their unique powers to assist in their activities.

Without powers of her own, a grown up Lydia has escaped to Scotland, only to be forced home when her work as a private investigator placed her in a difficult situation. Her uncle offers her a flat free of rent, well not quite free because he wants her to help find a missing cousin. Trying to lay low, avoid the family business and deal with a rather interesting flat-mate, Lydia finds herself slowly drawn into the world her parents tried to keep her from.

I bought this audio book in one of audibles frequent 2 for 1 sales as the second option simply because I loved listening to the narrator Kate Rawson. I have now listened to all three books in the series and have the fourth on pre-order. The Night Raven is fast paced, the characters interesting and believable. In spite of the introduction of magic and powers to modern day London each book in the series presents a good old mystery story with all its wrong turns and dead ends.

Crow Investigations is a good mystery series, an a fun read/listen, but what makes it stand out for me is you are taken on Lydia’s journey. While investigating her mysteries she reconnects with members of her family, attempts to reconcile their business activity with her growing affection for a member of the police force, as well as dealing with some unsettlingly abilities that come come to light. This book is definitely for oder teens and young adults, and people who love Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series will enjoy these books.

Buy The Night Raven: Crow Investigations, Book 1 from Amazon

London Falling by Paul Cornell

I blame my enjoyment of the Ben Aaronvich’s River’s of London Series for choosing to start The Shadow Police series. Like those books we are introduced to a force of people dealing with the magical and mystical side of London’s inhabitants. It all starts with a suspect who mysteriously dies in custody having been brought in at the end of a long running undercover sting.

Two of the undercover agents, the analyst assigned to the operation, and a Detective Inspector are tasked with looking into the death. By applying traditional police methods they uncover supernatural forces at work that require more to bring them to justice than they have to offer. Facing what appear to be unsurmountable odds, they must stop this force before more deaths occur.

This is a gritty series, something of a cross between The Rivers of London and a Guy Ritchie movie. The team, Quill, Ross, Sefton and Costain are all flawed and searching for something missing in their lives, yet together they make the perfect unit for investigating surreal happenings. The London they find themselves working in is scary and at the same time fascinating, and it will test their resolve to bring their suspects to justice.

Damien Lynch narrates the whole series and really brings the characters to life. Each book in the series can be read on its own, but together they form an overarching story about policing the supernatural in London. they only down side to getting hooked on this series is only three of the five book series have been published, and there is not date for the last two books to be released. This series is definitely for Young Adults only, and is worth a read for those who enjoy the grittier side of supernatural crime solving.

Buy London Falling: The Shadow Police, Book One from Amazon
Looking for a new read, why not try here

Adult Reads for Young Adults

I used to read Leon Uris books when I was at High School. Anyone who has read one of his books knows the content would definitely not be described as Young Adult friendly in today’s market.

While I am not advocating all teenagers read adult books, there are some who are mature enough to deal with adult themes. In today’s blog I have two offerings I think might be of interest to the more mature teenagers.

I used to read Leon Uris books when I was at High School. Anyone who has read one of his books knows the content would definitely not be described as Young Adult friendly in today’s market.

While I am not advocating all teenagers read adult books, there are some who are mature enough to deal with adult themes. In today’s blog I have two offerings I think might be of interest to the more mature teenagers.

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series was my obsession over the Christmas break. Set in post-WWI England, our heroine is found setting up her own private investigation agency. Her first case starts out as a typical case of infidelity, but turns into something much more as Maisie ends up investigating The Retreat – a place where soldiers disfigured by the war can live in peace.

I love a good cosy mystery, and the Maisie Dobbs books are great examples of the genre. What sets them apart is the way Maisie approaches her investigations. Although she has forensic training suitable to the times, she also studied psychology and meditation, and this gives her a unique way of dealing with the situations she finds herself in.

Another thing setting these books apart is Maisie is representative of the between-wars women in Britain. Having carried out important work during the first world war while men fought, they are now again expected to return to the role of wife and mother – inspite of the fact many will never find a partner and are more than capable of working outside of the home.

The final thing giving these books a unique perspective is Maisie’s ability to span social classes, and at the same time comment on the British class system. In the first book of the series this is an integral theme as we not only work on solving the mystery, but also learn of how Maisie moved from serving girl to investigator.

While having its own unique perspective, like other books in this genre it had a strong story line and unique characters. Billie, Maisie’s assistant, and Frankie Dobbs, her father, are two of my favourites. And then there is the best friend, Priscilla – to avoid spoilers, that is all I will say about her.

Why do I think mature young adults will love these books? There appear to be a number of books around about the great wars at the moment, and I think this series in particular deals with a lot of the history and social change at the time, without being heavy handed. Many of the barriers Maisie faces are the same ones we face today, and I believe many girls will enjoy how she over-comes them, and cheer her on. But really, I think they will like them because they are good stories.

Mini-spoiler, and a word of warning – Maisie was a nurse in the war the book talks openly about trench warfare and the mental and physical wounds all those involved in the war came home with. Because of this I only recommend it for Young Adults who are able to cope with reading about this. If in doubt, please read the book first.

Buy Maisie Dobbs from The Book Depository

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

by reviewer Sam

Altered Carbon is a sci-fi mystery novel written by Richard Morgan. 

In the year 2384 death is no longer a problem for the human race as the human consciousness can be transported from body to body via a device called a stack. An envoy (extreme military group) Takeshi Kovachs is woken up 200 years after his death and is hired to solve the murder of a billionaire.

Altered Carbon, although a long book, is a startling journey through a dystopian cityscape and down rabbit hole after rabbit hole of leads and revenge. The story is told by Takeshi, who I really like because of his cynical outlook on life and his sheer badassery.

I wanted to read this book because I saw the trailer for the Netflix show and through it looked interesting so my mother bought me the book and I read it for about a month and it was all I read, now you might be thinking that’s not really something to note but for me it is because I usually read five to ten books at a time now I don’t know why exactly it caught my attention I think it was the combination of sci-fi and mystery that caught my eye and I enjoyed it.

Altered Carbon is a good book because it moves the story along slowly and then just speeds up nearing the end as as it moves to the conclusion.

I would recommend this book for ages 14 and over as most of the content is for older audiences.  There are themes in the book that I would not recommend for children maybe less mature 13 to 14 year olds. It has two graphic descriptive sex scenes and there is some graphic violence. I generally skip over these when I am reading. None of this really detracts from the story but the sex doesn’t add to it. On another slight change there are some more mature themes like the morals of resleeveing and a few others situations dotted throughout the book.

Buy Altered Carbon from The Book Depository

Love Kindle? Love YA Fantasy? Check these out? Promo is for March 2020

Books for Christmas

Since I started my book blog I have done a Top Ten for Christmas. I am running a little later this year so I have gone with books you should be able to buy at any bookshop, I am choosing one book I have reviewed and loved along with another I choose off the shelf of a bookshop as if I were buying as gift (as with all good book gifts I have had a read before passing it on).

Since I started my book blog I have done a Top Ten for Christmas. I am running a little later this year so I have gone with books you should be able to buy at any bookshop. For each category I am choosing one book I have reviewed and loved along with another I chose off the shelf of a bookshop as if I were buying a gift (as with all good book gifts I have had a read before passing it on).

I am concentrating three categories – Picture Books, Tweens and Young Adults, with a bonus choice from reviewer Sam to give us an insight into that hard-to-buy-for-group.

Picture Books

The Dinkey Donkey by Craig Smith and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

A couple of weeks ago I asked reviewer Sam what books he remembered from his childhood, and his immediate response was Where the Wild Things Are. This tale of the naughty child running wild who in the end returns home to his family is loved by all children, and is a great, timeless gift for Christmas.

When searching the bookstore for a new Christmas gift I could not go past The Dinkey Donkey. I loved the Wonkey Donkey and its silly sounding rhymes, and we still quote bits from it every now and then. Now we can update our stale sayings with the extremely loveable Dinkey Donkey, who is a more than just a pretty face. Not only does this book have the same rhyming build up as the original, but it teaches children to look past the cute donkey to see all that she is. This is a must for children of all ages.

Books for Tweens

The Girl The Dog and the Writer in Rome by Katrina Nannestad and The Golden Unicorn by Anh Do

When I first reviewed Katrina Nannestad’s book about a young girl solving a mystery in the streets of Rome I was captivated. If I were buying a book for a tween this would still be my recommendation because it is funny, has a great plot and lovely characters. It is children’s writing at its best. Since Rome, Freja has travelled to Provence and Lucerne and continued her adventures. Plenty of gift giving options with this series.

I picked up Ahn Do’s Unicorn because it looked like such a departure from his previous books, and it is. Right from the first chapter you are taken into a new world created by the villainous Soul Collector, and once you are in there it is hard to get out. The language and writing is great for tweens, and Chris Wahl’s illustrations make this book accessible for your older reluctant readers, and also for advanced early readers. However, it is the story that carries this book, and once your reader is finished you will be pleased to find book two in the series is already out.

Young Adults

Passenger by Alexander Bracken and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzie Lee

There are many great titles I could have chosen for this section, but because we are so close to Christmas I have gone with books you can buy off the self. When you have your readers have their Christmas dollars I hope you will look at some of the reviews I have done of independently published books and give some of them a chance. I also have a link to some free reads below.

However, as the time to Christmas draws closer I have gone with two off the shelf books with an historic twist for young adult readers. And yes, perhaps they lend towards the female readers, but I think Sam may have taken care of the boys in the next section.

Passenger is a great book that takes the reader through time with the lead character Victoria as she finds she suddenly finds she is enmeshed in a war between factions of time travellers. This is a great, fast paced story, which continues in Wayfarer, the second book in the series (fortunately for avid readers). The characters are strong, likeable and flawed. The jumps through history give this book a twist I love, and it is a great read for all those romantics out there.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was a surprise for me. I loved the title, and so picked it up to read the first chapter. I know reason says you should not choose books this way, but sometimes it works. I couldn’t put it down once I started, in fact I would have finished it there and then in the shop if I had not bee pulled away. Our main character Felicity is not your common eighteenth century female. She is focussed on becoming a doctor in a work who sees other roles for her. As she follows her dreams she is thrown into adventure and learns the true meaning of friendship. This book is a great great for lovers of; history, strong female leads; adventure and a good story.

Teenage and Young Adult Boys

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Boys are notoriously difficult to buy for, so I have a special section for them, written by reviewer Sam, who has shared two books I have seen him read more than once this year.

Hello fellow readers today I would like to tell you about two books I believe you should buy for the holidays.

Ready Player One is a book about a future where humanity lives in a virtual world called the oasis. This world is full of 80s pop-culture and different places to explore but when the death of it’s creator arrives a secret is revealed, that hidden in the oasis is an easter egg that will give whoever finds it complete control of the oasis and 3 trillion US dollars. You follow the story of Wade Watts as he hunts for the egg. I would recommend this book for ages 13 to 18. 

Scythe is a book about a futuristic world in which death is no longer a problem, overpopulation however has become an extremely apparent side effect of a world without death so the scythes were formed they kill people based off charts from when humans would die. This story follows scythe apprentices Rowan and citra through their journey of becoming a scythe. I would recommend this book for ages 12 to 16.

 Happy Christmas shopping, and happy holiday reading form all of us at The Bookbubble. Hope to see you in January when I will share my Christmas Holiday reads.

Looking for Some Free Reads for Christmas – look no further

Newsletter Book Finds

Welcome back to my new and, hopefully, improved blog. Today I want to share two series of books with you – one about modern fairies and a gas lamp fantasy series.

A while ago I wrote a blog about ways to find books not available in most bookshops. One of those options was to sign up for newsletters from writers or writher’s groups to find out what they are releasing, and also for bargains. One of the newsletters I subscribe to is YA Fantasy Books – because I write in this area, but also because I read a lot of books in this genre and I am always looking out for a good read.

The Clockwork Alchemist by Sara C. Roethle

A while ago I found I found two gems I want to share with you today. The first is a completely new series: The Thief’s Apprentice by Sara C. Roethle.

One of the first things that captured my interest was this book’s genre – a Gaslamp fantasy. I have been reading boos for a long time and I had never heard of it. Turns out it is an historic fantasy set in a Victorian or Edwardian time that generally has a love story component.

The second thing that piqued my interest was this is a book about a clockwork girl and a thief; I mean a love story about an automaton and a bad boy, that has to be interesting – right? And it was

The story is fast paced. Ahern steals an alchemy book on contract from a dead man, but is caught by the owner’s clockwork daughter, Liliana. The book is in turn stolen from Ahren, and he and Liliana work together to get it back. Sounds simple, but what they find is everyone wants to know why Liliana is different from other clockwork automatons, and they are prepared to do almost anything to find out.

The core of this book is an action/adventure love story with a twist, but it is also much deeper because it gets you questioning what make a person who they are, and it manages to do this without detracting from the story line. I also love that the Liliana is a sassy, proactive character who is not merely a sidekick to the males. There are also some kick-ass girl baddies too.

This book was such a good read I immediately had to buy book two then three in the series, reading them over the course of a week. Obviously fantasy lovers from 12 upwards will enjoy these books, and the romance is is subtle enough that boys will still enjoy the read. I also think anyone who loves a good adventure might enjoy this series.

This book is available as a ebook on amazon and can also be purchased from Booktopia.

Purchase The Thief’s Apprentice Series from Booktopia

Enchanting the Fey by Rebecca Bosevski

A while ago I reviewed Enchanting the Fey, and I really enjoyed the book. I always meant to finish the series, but got a little sidetracked. Then a special deal came up in the YA Fantasy Books newsletter for the release of the the book package and I could not resist.

I spent a weekend lost with Desmoree, who has found she is a fairy even though she had no idea fairies existed. I journeyed with her to fantastical realms where she works with a series of other great characters to save her world, and ours.

Usually I am not a fairy type of girl, I lean to more historic fantasy, but I really enjoyed this series because of the great characters and the themes the books cover. Although we are dealing with magical realms, this is essentially a story about good versus evil, and embracing diversity. It also advocates the ideal if we stand together we can overcome anything.

There are a few clean sex scenes in this book, so I would recommend for 16+, although to be honest younger readers will probably skip over those bits because they will not be interested. Obviously those fantasy readers who enjoy getting lost in a fairy kingdom will love this, and I would also suggest it for girls who love strong female leads and are happy to try something new.

The series is available on amazon, so pop on and have a look. The books are available individually of you want to dip a toe in, but the four book series is great value.

YA Fantasy Books

If you like fantasy books then I recommend subscribing to the YA Fantasy Books newsletter. At the moment if you do you get the Memory’s Wake trilogy by S. A. Fenech for free. Plus go into the monthly draw to win a reader mystery box. YA Fantasy Books delivers eBook deals to your inbox every week. Subscribe today to discover your next great adventure. https://dl.bookfunnel.com/eiy8jvwm74

Firstlife – Life from a new Perspective

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Imagine this life is just preparation for real life, or Secondlife. Imagine your second life will be spent in one of two realms – Troika or Myriad – and each of those realms are trying to sign you. Imagine me not being able to walk past a book this intriguing…

As you can well believe I spend a lot of time browsing in bookshops and libraries. One of my favourite pastimes is read the back of books and trying to find one that intrigues me, and Firstlife was one of those books. As soon as I read the back I knew I could not leave the bookshop without it, and I was nor disappointed.

Tenley Lockwood is a special human. On her birth her light shone so brightly both of the second life realms want to sign her secondlife. Her parents have promised her to Myriad, but Tenley is unsure. To assist her in making her decision her parents have sent her to Prynne Asylum, but for thirteen months she has refused to choose.

Gena Showalter has written an engrossing story with a twist on the age old heaven and hell/good versus evil theme. As representatives from the two realms try to convince Tenley to sign with them the story moves from the Asylum to America with a  few sidesteps into the realms, and uses an love triangle to create additional tensions. As she tries to come to a decision about her second life, Tenley fights for her right to have a Firstlife, questions love and friendship and also questions herself.

If this book has a downside it is the violence. Of course it deals with death, because how else to do get to the second life? And of course if the second life is what really matters violence and pain in the firstlife is more acceptable – or is it?  Because of the level of violence I would recommend this book as definitely being for Young Adult aged readers, not just children reading at that level.

And I really would recommend it. I could not put it down. I loved Tenley as a character. She is strong but flawed, and no matter what happens to her she retains her essential goodness. I loved the world Gena Showalter has created, and the story line is hard to pull yourself out of. In fact I fell asleep trying to get through the last few chapters, and when I awoke I had to finish the book before doing anything else.

I am so pleased that book two in this series has already been released. I had best put aside a weekend, because I won’t want any interruptions.



Buy Firstlife from Amazon

Rivers of London – Happy Father’s Day

Rivers of London

by Ben Aaronovitch

Today is Father’s Day, and we have a special review by Jim (Mr Bookbubble), who recently read a book that inspired him into a series, and he wanted to share it on this day when dad’s are king.

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is the story of Metropolitan Police Officer, Peter Grant, who, when following up on a murder investigation, come to the attention of Britain’s last Wizard. Inspector Nightingale opens Peter’s eyes to a whole new under-world in London including; Gods and Goddesses, vampires and spirits, and something that is causing chaos in his beloved city.

The mix of crime, drama and intrigue alongside the supernatural and magic really drew me to this book, along with Inspector Nightingale, the Head of the Magical Unit. I really liked his character because he quirkily dressed and as English gentleman, drove a jag and showed that older men can still be active. His back story was hinted at in this book and I cannot wait to read about in in future books.

My favourite  action in the book was when Inspector Nightingale was chasing the main protagonist through the streets of London and back through time. I was intrigued at how London changed as they ran, back until there was no London.

This is a book that Young Adult readers will enjoy, but there is some violence and that younger readers may find disturbing or frightening. This was such a good read, I am now on book two.


Buy Rivers of London from Booktopia




The Lily and The Rose – Flower Power!

The Lily and The Rose

by Jackie French

I love it when an author surprised you, and this week I was surprised by Jackie French’s book The Lily and The Rose. I love Jackie’s picture and tween books, and have reviewed a few of them. But her Young Adult series, Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies, really captured my heart and imagination.

In The Lily and The Rose,the second book in the series,  Sophie Higgs is an Australian heiress who has been through a war and found independence by running hospitals on the front line. When women are asked to return to their former role in society after the war Sophie feels there should be more to her life than the assigned the role of wife and mother. The book essentially tells of her journey to do just that. The book starts in England, but before she leaves Europe for her beloved Australia she needs to deal with her three suitors and her help a friend in need. Once home, she carves a new life for herself, but is forced back to Europe to finally face her true love.

On the surface this book may seem just another historical romance, but it is so much more than that as Sophie struggles to be independent, but also find the true meaning of love. In addition, this book looks at the developing role of women after the war as men try to wrest back their control of society. It also discusses the developing role of Australia in Europe as the traditional colonial nations try to reestablish their hold on the world. And it does this to the backdrop of the lull between the first and second world wars.

Sophie is a likeable character. We forgive her her entitled attitude to life because she is so big of heart and wants to do her best by others. Also, of she were not a wealthy heiress, she would not have been privy to all the political action of 1920’s London and Sydney, and the book would have been so much less without this historic background.

Although this book can be read by younger readers, Sophie is in her early twenties and I suspect much of the content will be of more interest to Young Adult readers of 18 plus. This story is well written and difficult to leave once you start. It can be read stand alone as I did, but it may have you wanting to go back and read the prequel Miss Lily’s Lovely Ladies. I know I will be.



Buy The Lily and The Rose from Booktopia

Buy The Lily and The Rose from The Bookdepository