Review: Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron

Recommendations, Review
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Title: Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron
Author: Anthology
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: Oct 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads

A stellar cast of acclaimed fantasy writers weave spellbinding tales that bring the world of witches to life. Boasting over 70 awards between them, including a Newbery Medal, five Hugo Awards and a Carnegie Medal, authors including Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix and Holly Black delve into the realms of magic to explore all things witchy… From familiars that talk, to covens that offer dark secrets to explore, these are tales to tickle the hair on the back of your neck and send shivers down your spine.

Introduction: Looking Under the Hat”, Jonathan Strahan
“Stray Magic”, Diana Peterfreund
“Payment Due”, Frances Hardinge
“A Handful of Ashes”, Garth Nix
“Little Gods”, Holly Black
“Barrio Girls”, Charles de Lint
“Felidis”, Tanith Lee
“Witch Work”, Neil Gaiman (poem)
“The Education of a Witch”, Ellen Klages
“The Threefold World”, Ellen Kushner
“The Witch in the Wood”, Delia Sherman
“Which Witch”, Patricia A. McKillip
“The Carved Forest”, Tim Pratt
“Burning Castles”, M. Rickert
“The Stone Witch”, Isobelle Carmody
“Andersen’s Witch”, Jane Yolen
“B Is for Bigfoot”, Jim Butcher
“Great-Grandmother in the Cellar”, Peter S. Beagle
“Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow”, Margo Lanagan


Under My Hat is a collection of short stories all featuring WITCHES!!!! Most are set in the present day making them very realistic!!!! Each story is unique, picking out different themes revolving around witches and even delving into the history of witches.

There are so many great stories in this one collection, although my personal favourite was A Handful of Ashes.

A highly recommended witch themed read.


Review: The Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

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Messenger of Fear

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Title: Messenger of Fear
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication Date: 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . .


I didn’t have any idea what to expect from Messenger of Fear. When it comes to Michael Grant I usually expect violence and deaths, mature content, insane characters and a roller coaster ride of emotions. 

The first 1/3 of this book I felt unsure about where the story was heading, it was quite misleading. I did enjoy the story right from the start and was intrigued by the mysterious boy, the Messenger of Fear.

The story took off in the typical Michael Grant style I love  – bloody, gory, shocking and extreme!!!!!

The character of the Messenger of Fear was mysterious and interesting, a broken soul, and I wanted to know everything about him. Mara, the Messenger’s Apprentice,  was even more mysterious though because as we know next to nothing about her, even though the story is from her point of view. 

Besides the Messenger’s wicked games and his harsh judgment that leads to exciting and often fearful events. The story also made me curious about discovering the background details to Mara’s story. I wanted to  find out why she was the Messenger’s apprentice. These details add to the compelling nature of the plot, it induces you to rush through the book to the point it keeps you up all night in anticipation of uncovering the details you so desperately crave.

I will say Mara’s story comes with an awesome twist!

Even though Messenger and Mara have their shadowy pasts and I wanted to uncover their secrets get behind that, It was all the other characters we get to read about, which I really cared about or caused certain feels. I can imagine that after the end with its surprising revelation, I’m going to care more about Mara in the next book though.

This book The Messenger of Fear is not just a story about Fear and thrill shock value to make this story as exciting as possible. It also deals with interesting and important themes such as bullying. Bullying is a large part of this story and even though I’ve read multiple books about bullying before and have seen it happen in real life, it still made me speechless to see what people are capable of, what they do to other people to feel better, to deal with their own problems. In my opinion, Michael Grant did a great job of dealing with this topic, sending the right message and showing all the different perspectives of the people involved.

The other theme that I think is very interesting within the narrative is that of guilt and bad behaviour in general. It’s about people who drive other people into doing things but will never be judged for it, never be convicted for what they did. I enjoyed reading about this a lot, being in Mara’s head and thinking about these kinds of things.

Messenger of Fear is a dark story that though could have been even darker in my opinion. It’s a great start of a new series though and I hope that the next books will have even more characters that have to play the Messenger’s wicked games.

Review: Escape by Jeff Povey

Escape Jef Povey

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Title: Escape 
Series: Realms #3
Author: Jeff Povey
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens UK
Publication Date: 23 March 2017
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Get ready for another page-turning adventure as the gripping trilogy from Jeff Povey draws to a close!


Escape is the third book in the ‘Shift’ series, and it just blows you away with epic but relatable characters, and awesome action, all set in a slightly different take on a modern-day city. The story is told from two perspectives, both from the point of view of Reva, your average school teenager in a really tricky situation.

One part of the story continues the tale of the gang stuck in the alternate earth with their terrifyingly evil doppelgangers, trying to find their way back to their own universe using Revs’ fathers’ plans. The other is Rev’s story in the upsetting universe she finds herself in, trying to make friends and escape, changing the world slightly. How do these stories link together? Will they ever find their way home? Find out in this wicked story which will stay with you even after the final page.

My favourite character has got to be GG as he is so fabulous, with a witty sense of humour and great fashion sense. My favourite part is towards the end- specifically the chapter ‘Reunion’ but I won’t spoil it for you!

The narration from Rev’s perspective was good, but I think that either 3rd person or switching points of view between the gang could’ve been more exciting. The plot was really intense and thrilling, but I was majorly confused at the different stories told in alternating chapters, as I just found it hard to understand. I loved the multi-universe concept for the series- I found it really interesting and it almost seemed realistic!

Jeff Povey creates such awesome, relatable characters teenagers my age can really relate with, and his modern-day setting near London was really easy to visualise. Everything made sense, and the ending was awesome. The last page made me laugh out loud!

I would recommend this book to any lovers of the Gone series or the Zeroes series. I would love to read more of Jeff Povey’s books and cannot wait to see what he has in store next!

Review: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics


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Title: Daughters Unto Devils
Author: Amy Lukavics
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: Oct 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Sometimes I believe the baby will never stop crying.

Sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner fears she is losing her mind. When her family move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, Amanda hopes she can leave her haunting memories behind: of her sickly Ma giving birth to a terribly afflicted baby; of the cabin fever that claimed Amanda’s sanity; of the boy who she has been meeting in secret…

But the Verners arrive on the prairie to find their new home soaked in blood. So much blood. And Amanda has heard stories – about men becoming unhinged and killing their families, about the land being tainted by wickedness. With guilty secrets weighing down on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or within her soul…


When reading the synopsis of this book I automatically fell in love, I am such a lover of horror books! Usually I wouldn’t read books that were set in a historical period, but this book I mainly enjoyed.

The story follows the Verner family and one daughter in particular. Amanda is a 16 year old girl who has been scarred from the events of last winter, when her mother fell ill and gave birth to her deaf and blind baby sister, Hannah. But something else happened to Amanda last winter, and throughout the story Amy Lukavics gives us details about what happened to Amanda to leave her in the state she is currently in.

The Verner family decides to move from the small cabin in the mountains the family shared to a bigger one in the prairie,  forcing Amanda to leave the boy behind she has been meeting in secret, and try to leave behind the memory of last winter. But when the family arrive to their dream cabin, they are horrified to find that inside the cabin is covered with blood. The thoughts of the cabin and the memories of last winter cause Amanda to be scared of her own sanity, worrying that one day she might hurt the ones she love, especially Hannah, who she has been secretly praying for her death.

Before reading the book, I decided to read a few reviews. This isn’t normally what I would do, but since Daughters Unto Devils isn’t the type of book I would normally read, I decided to see what other people thought about it. The reviews that I read were very positive, giving me a positive attitude when starting the book.

I didn’t particularly like the book at the start, it had a few adult themes, and already not being the type of book I would read, my optimism started to fade. But, after reading on I began to enjoy it, and by the end I was completely hooked.

Some parts of the book were predictable, but that didn’t stop excitement. Amy Lukavics drew you in with curiosity by slowly giving you clues as to what really happened to Amanda last winter that claimed her sanity, making her a danger to her family. When I finally found out what happened to Amanda, it didn’t exactly make my jaw drop but did put together all the clues that Amy Lukavics dropped throughout the story.

I loved all the characters, all of their personalities and relationships were explained well and thankfully there were no pointless characters, all of them contributed well to the storyline.

Adding onto my previous comment about relationships, one part of the book I especially liked was the relationship between Amanda and her younger sister, Emily. The relationships adds texture to the story, and a feeling of comfort to see two sisters become so close. Family is very important to me, and to see a sisterly bond so strong in a book makes me warm even more  to the story.

Amy Lukavics is an extremely skilled writer, I would definitely read another book of hers. Although one problem that ran throughout the story was the description of events, and the way she set the scenes. The scenes were described well, and I always knew what was going on, yet there still was something missing from scenes that really had potential to make my jaw drop and haunt me even when I put the book down. For example, when Amanda and her family found that their dream cabin was drenched with blood, the scene really had the potential to be a thrilling horror scene, yet Amy Lukavics didn’t use her writing skills to make the scene stand out as a key horror scene. She could have chosen key objects, thoughts or feelings and use these to build up the tension and drama of the scene.

Considering all of these factors, I would give Daughters Unto Devils a star rating of ⅗, I absolutely loved it, but there still were a few things that could have been written slightly differently. I would definitely recommend this book to friends, especially fellow horror lovers like myself, despite the description problems, this book is still a thriller and I am not surprised that many people have enjoyed it.

Review: A Hollow in the Hills by Ruth Frances Long


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Title: A Hollow in the Hills
Series: Dubh Linn #2
Author: Ruth Frances Long
Publisher: O’Brien Press
Publication Date: Sept 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The sequel to A Crack in Everything. When an ancient and forbidden power is unleashed, Izzy, who is still coming to terms with her newfound powers, must prevent a war from engulfing Dublin and the fae realm of Dubh Linn. But by refusing to sacrifice Jinx – fae warrior and her ‘not-really-ex’ – Izzy sets in motion a chain of events which will see them hunted across the city and into the hills where she’ll face the greatest challenge of all.


I absolutely love anything to do with angels, demons, or anything supernatural! I was so excited to start this book, but I struggled to really get into the story as I hadn’t read the first book.

A Hollow In The Hills follows on from the first book of the series, A Crack In Everything. Following the events of the previous summer, it is set in late October in Dublin. The story is told in the third person, yet still through the eyes of three people, Izzy, Jinx, and Dylan.

In the first book Izzy is told about another world hidden within Dublin called Dubh Linn, home to Fae and Fae warriors like Jinx and that she has hidden powers as her father is a Grigori and her birth mother is the powerful matriarch of a hollow .

In A Hollow In The Hills, Izzy is still coming to terms with her power, and is quickly faced with the task of stopping a war between Demons, Angels, The Dead, and Holly, a previous matriarch that turned evil.

As I hadn’t read the first book, I found this book really difficult to get into and to understand what was happening. As soon as I started the book, I was faced with so many names of creatures and of places such as Sidhe and Eochaid (which after realising there was a pronunciation dictionary at the back of the book, I  had been pronouncing them wrong the whole time). After a few chapters, I started to piece together what happened before October, and soon understood what was happening. But I still just couldn’t get into the story. I’m not sure why, looking back on the characters and the story it doesn’t seem that bad, but I just got bored throughout the book and felt as if it dragged on in some places.

The descriptive writing was good, I could easily picture what the characters and scenes looked like. I knew exactly how the main characters felt and Ruth Frances Long really drew you in and made you feel as if you were in the characters shoes.

I loved all the characters and their personalities. My favorite character was Silver, I love how she was shy to such an important role yet soon became a powerful matriarch and became courageous and brave. I love how she was portrayed, her personality, and she would do anything for the ones she loves.

The only character I found pointless was Clodagh. As much as she was a nice character, I found that she didn’t contribute anything to the storyline and when she was first involved in the fae world, she was annoying and dragged the story on too much as she had to know everything that had happened.

As a star rating I would give this book a 3, as much as I loved the story line and the characters, I still found the book dragged on and was really difficult to get into the story. I probably would recommend this book to a friend, as long as they read the first book first.  

Review: Panther by David Owen

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Title: Panther
Author: David Owen
Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: May 2016
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he?s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.


‘Can you control a beast you can’t see?’ reads the inscription on the front cover of ‘Panther‘, a  phrase that perfectly captures the mystery, distress and futility of this book. Written by David Owen, a previous sufferer of depression, it is easy to see why such a brutally honest book on the illness as this would earn a place on the Telegraph’s ‘ Best Young Adult Books of 2015’ list, and rightfully so.

The story intimately follows the life of Derrick, a teenage boy who, as well as dealing with his own problems and insecurities, feels his sister’s depression has caused a sense of entrapment in the family household. The tension becomes unbearable to the point of disarray at a time when family stability is vital in order for Charlotte, Derrick’s sister, to complete her exams in the hope of reaching University. It seems this hope is disappearing as Charlotte’s depression continues to manifest. However, a potential solution has arisen. Recent sightings of a black Panther in the area give Derrick the opportunity to not only escape the despair that is such a burden, but, to capture the ‘beast’ that has caused this misery.

For a contemporary piece, I feel this is not a typical narrative as it does not have the pace and excitement of many modern novels. Instead, ‘Panther‘ uses atmosphere to develop the storyline. Through the use of this method, the reader can sense the depression getting progressively worse. Likewise, the reader senses the effect  of Charlotte’s illness on all members of the family, allowing them to sympathise more with the characters. I thought this was very cleverly done and is what sets this book apart from similar novels, many of which draw upon clichés and feel detached or unsentimental.

Despite character development being slow, by the end of the book I felt I had gained insight into Derrick’s life and found I could relate to him. I could understand why he made certain decisions and why capturing the ‘beast’ was so important for him. On the contrary, however, secondary characters such as Hadley and Tamoor appeared inconsistent both in personality and attitude. It would have made more sense to exclude these characters, emphasising the confinement that Derrick feels is bound by his sister’s illness. They do not detract from the quality of the story, but, equally, they do not seem to fit in harmoniously with the surrounding story.

Overall, the book was a poignant read although teetering on the verge of harrowing. The plot was cleverly assembled and coherently written. Normally, I would not consider reading a book of this ilk, nonetheless I can appreciate the quality and complex construction of the story which makes it an enjoyable read. Undoubtedly, ‘Panther‘ will receive much recognition in the Young Adult category.

Recommended age: 14+

Review: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

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Title: The Iron Trial
Series: Magisterium #1
Author: Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: Sept 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial. Not Callum Hunt. Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst — but fails at failing. Now he must enter the Magisterium. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.


The Iron Trail is a brilliant, enthralling story which I, for one, could not put down!

It is set in the Magisterium, a magical, underground place where masters of magic train their apprentices in the arts of magic. The plot follows the story of Callum Hunt, a boy with a permanent leg injury, who has grown up being told that magic is never to be trusted. However, when the time came for him to take the test, he even fails at failing. Is magic all that bad? Callum finds out on a journey that will stay with you long after the last page, and make you long for more…

My favourite character is Tamara, because I could empathise with her quite well, and she is very clever, witty, and shrouded in mystery. My favourite part is quite far through the book, so I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say, I was laughing for a while. The third person perspective was brilliant, as you could clearly understand what was going on, and I think  a first person point of view from Callum would get really confusing.
Holly Black and Cassandra Clare are both amazing authors. I love the way they created such complex characters, that I could really visualise as people, and the way they wrote about the Magisterium itself, was really quite stunning. Everything made sense, and I loved the ending, which was really unexpected, but entertaining all the same.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed any of Holly Black or Cassandra Clare’s books, or readers of Harry Potter. I hope you really enjoy this wonderful book, and I look forward to seeing the next in the series.

Review: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

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Title: Extraordinary Means 
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

A bitter-sweet, coming-of-age novel that’s perfect for fans of John Green and Stephen Chbosky.

When he’s sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over.
But when he meets Sadie and her friends – a group of eccentric troublemakers – he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn’t have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.

Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about true friendships, ill-fated love and the rare miracle of second chances.


Extraordinary Means chronicles the lives of two teenagers, Lane and Sadie, who fall in love at Latham
House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from incurable tuberculosis. The novel illustrates
how Lane, an overachieving, conscientious student, encounters Sadie a girl he met years
ago who has completely transformed from a shy to fearless and intriguing. Lane is
compelled by Sadie’s group of eccentric, unusual friends and as Lane becomes one of them
he learns the secrets of Latham and a relationship blossoms between them on the brink of
cure to their fatal disease.

The novel adopts an interesting structure as it alternates from Lane’s point of view to
Sadie’s. In this way, we are given insight to the mind’s of both main characters and we thusly
see, through this structural device, how each of them become more integral to the other
person’s lives. Like an unfolding diary, this alternating point of view adds a freshness and
originality to a familiar story and themes. In terms of the characterisation of Lane, he is
depicted to be a very introverted character at the beginning and we see his desire to do well
in school. Yet, as Lane’s relationship with Sadie developes he opens up and Schneider is
able to delve into his opinions more. Sadie is an interesting figure as we see from Lane’s
depiction of her in the past how she has grown and how this illness and being at Latham has
shaped her. The dual narrative allows for the focus of the book to be on their relationship
and I enjoyed the fact had they previously met as this showed how impressions can change
and paths can cross in unusual and unexpected ways and Schneider addresses this later in
the book as he touched upon the seemingly smallest of events can lead to a chain events
that can dramatically shape one’s life. If I were to criticise one aspect of the narrative choice
it would be that sometimes Lane and Sadie were not delineated enough and so it was
possible to lose track of who was narrating chapter it was, but, overall it was an effective
narrative vehicle for this story.

As for the minor characters the most notable are Micheal and Nick. The character of
Nick I found was developed with sensitivity and the look into how he coped with his illness
added another layer to the story. Micheal’s role is of a particular importance in the novel and
without revealing any plot points I will say that his storyline took me by surprise and was
handled in a touching manner that illustrated the fragility of life.

The setting of Latham house was a key feature in the novel as it was integral to the
illustration of how their disease had isolated them from the rest of the world. The beautiful
exterior which was accurately portrayed through Schneider’s imagery contrasted the
physical pain their disease caused for them. However, the insular Latham house allowed for
Lane and Sadie’s love to truly develop which became the focus point of the novel and added
the necessary elements of romance to an otherwise tragic portrayal of those suffering from
an illness.

The plot was fairly straightforward and was lacked any confusing subplots as the
author’s focus was mainly on the love between Sadie and Lane. Schneider was able to
convey the plot with ease and depict these two lovers trapped by their illness and the
ever-present threat of death. The introduction of the cure I felt was a little rushed and felt too
fictional at times, however, the “cure” was used more to examine ideas of death and life
which allowed the author to look into the impermanence of life and how this affected the
characters. Similarly, I particularly liked the author’s ability to use medical ideas and
practises and show them through the eyes of the main characters as this allowed for me as
a reader to empathise with Lane and Sadie. The ending choice was bold and effective as it
underscored the severity of their diseases and their precarious love. Moreover, it ended on a
pensive thought of choosing one’s own path in life with an interesting extended metaphor
that encapsulated the author’s concluding message.

Extraordinary Means can seen as a romance novel with elements of dark comedy.
Schneider presents us with many themes such as the innocence of first love, the
vulnerability of life, friendship and suffering. Schneider also touches upon some existential
questions such as the nature and purpose of pain, the influence of the past, the nature of
love and the possibility of second chances. These ideas are handled with maturity and are a
way of introducing teenager readers to more complex themes and questions.

Overall, Extraordinary Means is poignant look at the effect an illness can have on a
teenager but also the power of first love. The themes are dealt with elegantly and the
relationship between our two protagonists is real and heartfelt. Schneider’s writing style in
unpretentious and is great for those who are interested in character driven novels as
opposed to plot or world building. However, I would parenthesis this by saying that there is
some explicit language and scenes that should be for mature readers due to their sexual
content. In conclusion I would recommend this novel to those who enjoy the likes of John
Green, Stephen Chbosky or even Ernest Hemingway as there are parallels between their
work and this novel. It will make you cry, laugh and consider how we perceive illness and
disease today.

Review: Monster by CJ Skuse

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Title: Monster
Author: CJ Skuse
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: Oct 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.


Skuse’s Monster black mass stalks surreptitiously across the Bathory School for girls playing fields from the outset. Its staring yellow eyes are gripping and unnerving. The little old man with his collection tin at the Bathory Museum keeps the intensity moving with his legendary stories of the victims of the beast- its evil!

Skuse’s fast paced mystery twists and turns, keeping the reader guessing until the end. Is the monster based on superstition and spooky scaremongering, or do the Bathory girls really have something to be terrified of?

When central character Nash (Natasha) thought that the race to become Head Girl would be her greatest challenge, her brother’s disappearance in the drug cartel country of rainforest Colombia leads her to be confined at the school over the Christmas period, with a group of misfits in the same position. Nash’s ally, Maggie provides the humour, becoming well known for her pranks and expletives! Clashes with rich teen Clarice, whose parents own the fifth largest racing stables in the world, and the ‘blonde assassin’ Dianna, become more pronounced in typical teenage manner, as the challenges and frustrations unfold, until they recognise that team work is paramount, if they wish to survive!

Set in the idyllic, but isolated landscaped gardens of Bathory School, the hidey holes, secret doorways and passages, and Hogwartey-style Houses provide a wonderful backdrop for the teenage girls- until Nash points out that there are ‘real’ things out there that they need to worry about. Suffocated by menacing snowstorms, a life sentenced convict on the run, a matron who has disappeared, Nash reveals, ‘There are your monsters!’

Skuse’s mystery becomes a psychologically dangerous thriller, with a graphic spine-chilling climax- it is unexpected, unpredictable and life changing- but is it over?

Review: Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis

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Title: Crow Mountain
Author: Lucy Inglis
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: Sept 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

While on holiday in Montana, Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, the two of them take shelter in a mountain cabin where Hope makes a strange discovery. More than a hundred years earlier, another English girl met a similar fate. Her rescuer: a horse-trader called Nate.

In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined.


Crow Mountain is the perfect combination of romance and adventure, the chapters alternate between the story of Emily and Nate, who live in 19th Century Montana and Cal and Hope, who live in 21st century Montana. Emily is from London and making the long journey to get married but is involved in an accident, only to be  rescued by Nate. Hope is on holiday in Montana and stays with the Crow family where she meets Cal. Cal and Hope discover the diary of Emily and as the reader finds out about the life of Emily and Nate, Cal and Hope find out at the same time. They begin to realise that the events are interlinked and history is repeating itself- but can Cal and Emily cheat fate?

Despite the constant flipping back and forth between the time periods Crow Mountain did not prove a difficult book to follow, Lucy Inglis ended each ‘chapter’ leaving me with a sense of anticipation and suspense.

The book is aimed primarily at teenagers as it does contain some adult themes and expletives.  However, not only is the story line interesting and engaging but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the descriptions of the scenes and characters which I thought were just perfect.

I thought Lucy Inglis established the characters very well and the detailed descriptions made them seem quite relatable.  The book incorporates quite a lot of spoken dialogue this made it appear more realistic and added to the excitement and suspense.

My favourite aspect about the book was that it followed a very unique story line and it was not predictable, I think this really kept me engaged. The ending of the book particularly surprised me as I did not expect it to follow this sort of conclusion. I am still unsure about how I feel about the ending of the book, personally, perhaps I would have liked to have seen a more positive outcome. Although, if the outcome where different than the message of the book would not be as fitting.

If I were to be critical of the book the story line featured many different elements personally, I think certain aspects where a little unnecessary and I would have preferred a more simplistic approach with a couple less twists and turns. For this reason I preferred the ‘chapters’ on Nate and Emily as their story line appeared more plausible.

I would like to read other books by this author as I thought the characterisation and descriptions were excellent. I would give the book a 3 out of 5 as I think the way in which the events were entwined was a very unique story line. However, I did feel that there were certain part of the book that were slightly too long-winded. I would recommend this book as I also thought the overall message of the book was heartwarming and gave it a nice touch.