“Dear You, the body you’re wearing used to be mine”// Review of “The Rook” by Daniel O’Malley

Title: The Rook (Chequy Files #1)
Author: Daniel O’Malley
Genre: Supernatural/mystery
Date Read: 16/09/2016 – 20/10/2016
Rating: ★★★


therookcoverThis book came highly recommended to me by fellow public service friends and colleagues, who touted its basis as “a supernatural public service”. And while it certainly was that, I did find that after a while, there was too much bureaucracy and not enough real action to hold my interest overall.

Myfanwy Thomas wakes in the rain surrounded by dead bodies, with no memories but a note in her pocket telling her who she used to be. She learns she is a Rook in a secret organisation known as the Chequy, which protects the people of the United Kingdom from supernatural threat. As Myfanwy tries to navigate the Chequy based on the notes that her predecessor left her, as well as trying to work out who is trying to kill her and who might have infiltrated the organisation.

Myfanwy is an interesting character in and of herself. While she has no memories of who she used to be, she still develops a fairly solid personality. The letters her past self left for her provide information about the organisation and other figures within. There was also evidence of a conspiracy that past!Myfanwy chronicled for memory-less-Myfanwy to continue investigating. Sometimes these were a bit too info-dumpy, but other times they fit well into the narrative.

The Chequy itself is set up very well, though to be honest, I did not find it easy to differentiate between most the characters, and the revelation at the end about who the traitor was didn’t mean much because I couldn’t remember who that person was.

While the author is Australian, he spent a significant amount of time living in America, and a lot of Americanisms snuck through, which was annoying in a book set in London. The language switched between “ass” and “arse” and the Brits were putting cream in their tea while talking on their cells. Little things, but they pulled me out of the story. I would also say that I got a much more sci-fi vibe from the whole thing than supernatural, so I was sort of put off by expecting one genre and getting another.

To be fair, I probably didn’t do the book many favours by reading in between other ones. It was borrowed by a friend and so it got put aside for library books and ARCs that had closer deadlines. It is possible that if I had read it over a shorter amount of time, I might have had a better experience. As it is, I probably won’t worry about reading the sequel.

Sunday Summary – October 09, 2016


amcftverysmallHi all!

First of all, a quick reminder that A More Complicated Fairytale is free in the Kindle store until the end of Monday. Here’s the link!

Is it terrible that  I’ve been so on-the-go this weekend that I forgot to mention it earlier, despite the promo starting yesterday morning? Oh, well. There are already a few downloads, so it hasn’t been completely wasted.

This week in writing

writingthumbThis week has been a bit of mixed bag, due to other commitments eating into my writing time. Fortunately, they are one-off commitments and shouldn’t bother me again. I am at the point where I’m not sure where else to go with my Operation Sugarplum outline, and I figure I will just start writing and figure out a bit later how to get to the end. I’m going to write some character profiles first, so that I have small details like eye and hair colours recorded somewhere, then I’m going to start writing. Eeeee!

This week in reading

readingthumbI finally finished The Rook by Daniel O’Malley this week! It had its good parts, but ultimately, I didn’t think it was that great. I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so I could tick “a book that’s becoming a movie this year” off my reading challenge.  I’ve just started the Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer, which is a non-fiction account of manuscript librarians who risked their lives to save priceless manuscripts from Al-Quada.

This week in blogging

blogginthumbAgain, due to time constraints, I haven’t managed to visit other blogs much this week, though I have posted all my regular posts. I’m hoping I might have time tonight to at least return comments.

This week in health and fitness

fitnessthumbAccording to my WiiFit, I lost 900g this week! Which was a surprise, since my eating wasn’t the healthiest this week. I returned to the gym yesterday for the first time in several weeks, and made up for only getting 8k steps on Friday by getting 17k yesterday. I also got my bike repaired, and I’m looking forward to riding to work again, and I’ve got a nice, full fruit bowl to make use of this week.

Other highlights this week

highlightsthumbRichard Roxburgh, the actor known for movies such as Moulin Rouge, as well as the TV show, Rake, has recently released a children’s book and he did a talk at the National Library on Tuesday. He is very charming, and his talk was thoroughly entertaining. It was also fun to have a quick one-on-one chat with him as he signed my book afterwards.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back to doing these posts propoerly with goal-setting and stuff next week. Bye for now!

~ Emily



Book Review: “The Pickpocket” by Celine Jeanjean

Title: The Pickpocket (Viper and the Urchin prequel)
Author: Celine Jeanjean
Genre: Steampunk
Date Read: 26/09/2016 – 29/09/2016
Rating: ★★★


This is a fairly short review, as the book itself is also very short. As the cover says, this is the origin story for Rory, the central character in Celine Jeanjean’s Viper and the Urchin series.

Rory is seven  or eight years old and begging for scraps of food when she meets Daria, a teenager who teaches her to pick pockets. To Rory, Daria seems perfect, but she soon discovers not all is as it seems with Daria, and what she discovers will set her course for the next several years of her life.

Once again, the world-building of Damsport is fantastic. Jeanjean puts a lot of time into little details such as the bazaar, and the rooftop where Rory hides the money she saves up, and sleeps.

I wanted to give little Rory so many hugs. She just seemed so small and pathetic, and the way she changed for the better when Daria comes into her life made me smile so much. Daria was a great character, too; she was all bravado and heroics at first, and it was easy to see why Rory latched onto her, but her issues and scars were constructed really well and I felt so sad for her by the end.

While this story could probably stand alone without having read The Bloodless Assassin and The Black Orchid, I would probably recommend reading those first, as there are little nods to characters and aspects of Rory’s life in those books throughout this one. And really, if you haven’t already read those two books, why not? They’re awesome!

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 19 October, 2016

A quick announcement, before I get onto today’s blog hops. The Kindle edition of my novel, A More Complicated Fairytale, will be free this weekend. The GoodReads page is here, if you feel inclined to add it to your TBR, and I’ll do another post here when the promo goes live, as well as remind you on my Facebook page. Just so’s you know.😉 And now, on with the show!

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.


What have you recently finished reading?

realbookthiefcoverIt’s been a terrible reading week for me this week, and unfortunately, the only thing I finished was The Real Book Thief: (How To Steal an Author’s Work and Nearly Get Away With It) by Ingrid Black, which is the story of how the duo behind Ingrid Black discovered that their books were being plagiarised and published on Kindle under another author’s name. It was interesting also reading the reviews from people who had been friends with Joanne Clancy (the name the plagiarist published under) through social media and had reviewed the books, and seeing how betrayed they felt when this all came out.

I also posted my review of Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now: Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame this week.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverStill going with The Rook! But I’m on the downhill run now. It’s got a bit more interesting again. I am kind of tempted to ignore all responsibiliities for tonight and finish it, but if I do that, I will have no curry to take for lunch tomorrow, and that would make me sad.

badasslibrarianscoverI’ll include these as well, even though I’m only up to about page 6 on each of them: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about some archivists who protected priceless manuscripts from destruction by Al Quaeda, and Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh (yes, the actor). Richard did a talk at work last night and I got my book signed. We stood in line for an hour so I started reading the book in the queue.

I’m also beta reading for two members of my writing group, which is fun!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ifantasticbeastscover picked up Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander/J. K. Rowling from the library today. I’ve realised that I need to get a bit of a wriggle on with some of my reading challenges this year, and this is nice and short and fits the “a book that’s becoming a movie this year” prompt. And evne though it’s not like it’s the type of book where you read the book first to know the plot going into the movie, the movie does come out soon, so it’ll be good to have this under my belt.

What are you reading this week?🙂

The other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. This scene follows on from last week’s. General Bauer is the he in question at the start of this.  Nine sentences, which I got by adding the digits of 2016 together.

He looks down at me and he’s all smugness and smarm. I feel sick. But I don’t look away.

“We’ve got a surprise for you, haven’t we, gentlemen?”

I look around, and realise there are two men standing at his shoulders. They aren’t soldiers. They’re not his minions. They’re wearing the robes of the Aligar Mages, a group of magicians who swore to protect my family until I came of age and was trained in my powers. They look guilty.

That’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

“You’re going to fuck up, but most of the time, that’s all right.” // Review of “Where Am I Now?: Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame” by Mara Wilson

Title: Where Am I Now? Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame
Author: Mara Wilson
Genre: Memoir
Date Read: 09/10/2016 – 11/11/2016
Rating: ★★★★


You may know Mara Wilson from such movies as Matilda and Mrs Doubtfire. She was Hollywood’s darling during the early 1990s, but faded into obscurity when she hit puberty and was no longer “cute enough”. Nowadays, she’s an NYU graduate and writer, with an awesome Twitter account. In this collection of essays, she’s warm and honest and nerdy, and makes you feel like she could be your best friend.

Where Am I Now? covers a variety of topics, from when Mara first learned about sex, to losing her mother to cancer, to being diagnosed with OCD at the age of twelve after struggling with it for four years. There are also more light-hearted topics, like her couple of years spent in show choirs, and how she got up the courage to share a “sexy” story with her writing group, despite fears of anyone seeing a story like that.

A lot of the essays have been honed through her writing groups and the style is so easy to read, I flew through the chapters. I should have been doing uni work but the book kept calling me back. The chapter about Matilda, written in the format of a letter to the character, made me tear up more than once, as did the chapter on her reaction to the death of Robin Williams, whom she describes as one of the few adult actors who never talked down to her on film sets. I related to so much of what Mara wrote about, even if I didn’t have exactly the same experiences.

This review is on the shorter side, but I really feel like I’ve covered everything. It’s well-written, honest, will make you smile and cry in equal measure. Basically, you should read it.

Find me on:
GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

#WIPpet Wedneday – 12 October, 2012 (except it’s Thursday)

wednesdaybannerOh look! I’m finally back. It’s 9am on Thursday but that is irrelevant. I’ve missed you guys a lot. Between uni work and editing though, I’ve had no time to share much and also haven’t had many new words to share, either. In fact, I almost wasn’t going to join in this week, but I had really wanted to return after my holidays, so I found a way.

A week before I went away, I was pondering a way to give Clara some magical powers in Operation: Sugarplum so that she could help with the final battle, rather than just be a passive observer. Then suddenly I was hit with all sorts of ideas on how to expand the story into something bigger and better. I’ve been brainstorming it a bit and have a bit of an outline, and I’m maybe-sort-of-perhaps considering doing NaNo to get the words down. Maybe. Endings are my weak point and this one has a clear end point, so that’s a good start.

This is a little bit of something that I wrote to get inside Clara’s head a bit. Um, yeah, so Clara is now a princess. Max is no longer a prince. Everything is topsy-turvy! But it actually relates to the original Nutcracker story so much better this way, so I’m happy the idea finally struck.  Anyway. So this is back story. I am probably going to write some more of it, so you might see some more next week. It’s related to the date because I wrote it yesterday, which was Wednesday.😛 It’s basically a first drafty flash fiction thing, so don’t judge it too harshly.😉

My father was the King until a week ago. Until a man named Josef Bauer and his men decided to rob him of his throne. I don’t know what has happened to my parents. I don’t think they ever joined me in prison. They weren’t useful to General Bauer, but I am. The eldest child of each reigning monarch develops an ability to perform magic powerful enough to defend the Kingdom. When the direct line holds, there can be up to three people with this power, more than enough to protect the people.

But my father wasn’t the firstborn of the King before him. His brother was. And his brother died of a fever long before the magic ever manifested. My father was the only other heir, but whatever higher being grants us these powers didn’t extend its gifts to him. It waited until I was old enough, and then granted them to me. It would have worked out all right, if General Bauer hadn’t come along.

If you’ve stumbled across this post completely by accident and are wondering what’s going on, WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where writers come together to share excerpts from their WIPs that somehow relate to the date. Please feel free to join up with us. The link up is here.

I’m going to run away, as I’m finishing this up about five minutes before I need to go to a meeting, but I will visit your blogs over the next few days. Love to all.

~ Emily


The NetGalley Book Tag

Thank you to Inge at The Belgian Reviewer for tagging me in this! I had this in my drafts folder and figured I needed to find time to finish it, only to discover it was sitting there, finished and ready to be posted! So I’m sorry it’s taken me so long!


  • Link back to the tag’s creator (Kourtni Reads)
  • Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
  • Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
  • Tag a few people to do this too

Auto-Approved: Who’s one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they’re about?

I don’t know if I actually have any authors like this? I tend to have series loyalty more so than author loyalty. Liking one book by an author won’t necessarily entice me to read another one.

Request: What makes you want to request a book that you see on NetGalley?

Usually the cover strikes a cord with me first, then if the description also intrigues me, I will request it.

Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?

I send feedback to the publisher on every book I read, even if I don’t do a blog post about it. If I DNF it or it’s only an excerpt, I probably won’t blog about it, but I will send my thoughts back. I like keeping my ratio as close to 100% as possible.

Badges: If you could create your own badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?

I… don’t know. Maybe for preferred genres so that publishers can see the things you read most frequently?

Wish for It: What’s one book that you are absolutely dying to read?

I really want to read The Midnight Watch: a Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer, but I’m holding out while I work through the books that I own. This is a book about how the Californian was nearby when the Titanic was sinking and could have saved a whole lot of lives, but basically ignored the distress signals. Afterwards, the captain and the nightwatchman tried to cover it up, but the truth eventually came out .

2016 NetGalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?

The last ARC I reviewed was The Life Assistance Agency by Thomas Hocknell. My review is here. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan. The last non-ARC I reviewed was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and you can read that one here.

Tags!: I tag Claire and Yvo (please feel free to ignore if you’ve already done it/feel disinclined) and anyone else who fancies doing it.