THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?


Title : The Hunting Party
Author : Lucy Foley
Format : ebook
Page Count : 406
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Harper Collins UK
Release Date : January 29, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ 


Micky’s 2 star review

The book club I’m in is pretty awesome and we have been trying to navigate different genres each month. We decided on this thriller and while it isn’t my happy reading place genre-wise, I sometimes really love them, so I am always ready to be surprised. This read was an epic fail, not because of the genre but because of the writing of the characters.

THE HUNTING PARTY had about 13 characters in it, isolated in the highlands of Scotland and it had almost as many POVs. I spent the first 30% of the book, thinking ‘who’s that’, ‘which one is that, again’, ‘who is her husband’. So it was confusing from the off, that did settle somewhat as the story evolved. It was told over about three days and moved back and forth in that timeline, which did work for me.

One of my main issues that led to my dislike of this book was that it focused on a long -term friendship group who went away for NYE and this friendship group were pretty despicable to one another almost across the board. I found it unrealistic that most of the characters were horrible and they had been ‘friends’ for so long and still got together. None of them liked one another, they treated each other so badly and I found it intangible and annoying. I also found the friendship dramarama boring.

I pushed through the book, through the events to the big finale and found that I didn’t care whatsoever about ‘who dunnit’ or these characters. This is one thriller that wasn’t for me. Whatever the genre, I want to relate to and find realism in the characters I’m reading about.

A RED-ROSE CHAIN by Seanan McGuire

Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.


Title : A Red-Rose Chain
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book nine)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 367
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : January 1, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I was clearly as burnt out from reading these books as you probably are from reading my reviews because I started this and didn’t finish it until four days later. I mostly blame a rewatch of Doctor Who but still. I was able to be distracted because too soon into this ninth installment, after the big broohaha from the book before, we were reunited with a villain I knew we’d see again.. just didn’t expect to see so soon after temporarily vanquishing her. And we got a new nasty piece of work as per counterpart in this one, too.

I don’t know, man. I find it really difficult to deal with some of the extremes of this world where there are so many rules, or maybe just a few really important ones, and how so many of the fae just let all these loopholes happen; these nasty loopholes that do so much damage and no one bothers with it. It’s pretty tiresome. This one went in pretty extreme places, too, and I just found it hard to take. Particularly when held up against the same old same old when it comes to Toby & co. Not that they don’t take things seriously when required but it’s just.. again, the stakes. 

Case in point : this elfshot poison that is the pureblood way around murder and instead sends them to sleep for a hundred years. Unless said poisoner has tinkered with the alchemy and it does horrible things while you dream, or slowly kills you over time. Or, if you’re a changeling, kills you dead. But who cares, they don’t count in the eyes of the do-not-kill law. It’s this loophole that I hate (because we’re supposed to, I get it) and just find frustrating to deal with.

I definitely know the problem is me because if I liked, or cared about, the characters, I would find it funny they joke about Toby not being covered in blood during one whole investigation or Tybalt being afraid to leave her side because inevitably something terrible will happen, etc etc. So, yeah. I wish I had quit reviewing this series six books ago because now I feel obligated to see out the last few (thank god only a few more left..) for consistency’s sake. Sorry about that. 

THE WINTER LONG by Seanan McGuire

For once, it seems like the Kingdom of the Mists has reached a point of, if not perfection, at least relative peace. Queen Arden Windermere is getting settled on her family’s throne; no one’s going to war with anyone else; it’s almost like everything is going to be okay. Even October “Toby” Daye is starting to relax her constant vigilance, allowing herself to think about the future, and what it might entail.

And then Simon Torquill comes back, and everything begins to fall apart. In Faerie, nothing stays buried forever. No matter how much you might want it to. 


Title : The Winter Long
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book eight)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 368
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 2, 2014

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

I’ll give McGuire credit with this one. The long game she played to set this up? That deserves a round of applause. And I’m not just saying that because we had some questions answered. The villain of the week? Unexpected. The way so much was foretold and yet, like Toby, the reader was made oblivious? Well done. As for some of the reveals? I’m not surprised things are more complex than they appeared. But I’m surprised by almost everything we learned.

Are all the cards on the table? Hahaha of course not.

I really hope we see some consequences play out in the next book in the sense that some relationships were badly damaged in this one. We have been watching them fray for some time now, and in general I thought one of the two people in question were hella incompetent and I’ve been wanting Toby to break away from that sense of duty she’s been clinging to. As for the other, well. Like so many characters in this world, she’s only been concerned for herself, and I’ve never understand the dynamic, and I think it’s not surprising that if relationships are going to change, they will happen at the same time as they are part and parcel of the same issue. I know, this is so vague, I guarantee if I ever have to refer to this review again even I won’t know what I’m talking about.. but I’m wary of spoilers.

As usual, though, the sea witch as just a serious badass and I love her.

I’m still not rounding up on this book, though, because even though I just can’t stop reading this series, and I enjoy an aspect or two of the experience, overall I just don’t love cast and there is so much repetition (made worse by the binge, I’m sure). For all the good of some of the overall plotting, everything is really hard earned, few things are followed up on by the characters even when they are strung along with breadcrumbs, and that is forever frustrating; particularly when this is a common occurence, number one, but made even worse by a character who was once a private investigator and, like, investigates shit. Again, I mentioned before in one review or another, it’s hard to root for a character who is made to be woefully unintelligent in a lot of ways. Sure, she usually figures things out in the nick of time when she’s in the mess, but on the whole? Nope. 

Additionally, this series would be greatly improved by some sexytimes. I’m just putting it out there.

My last note? For those keeping track, we had an August added to the months-as-names list. No one is surprised, though, are they?

THE LONELY FAJITA by Abigail Mann

Lonely Fajita: a person who is suddenly and unwillingly single.

It’s Elissa’s birthday, but her boyfriend doesn’t seem to care much – and she’s accidentally scheduled herself a cervical smear instead of birthday drinks.

Then there’s her borderline-psychotic boss, the fact she’s not making but losing money at her internship, and her sinking feeling she might not really be in love.

At least you can’t be lonely if you’re not alone. Right?

But Elissa’s just-good-enough existence is about to change, with single life, redundancy and homelessness all on the horizon. Signing up to live with an elderly person in return for free bed and board suddenly looks like her best option.

Elissa has no idea that Annie will turn out to be a woman of secrets and swearwords, and that living with her is about to shake up everything Elissa thought her twenties should be…


Title : The Lonely Fajita
Author : Abigail Mann
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Publisher : One More Chapter
Release Date : May 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

THE LONELY FAJITA was just the real world (pre-pandemic) lighter read that I was seeking and it had a narrative banter-style that I really appreciated. Elissa, the protagonist was a bit of a disaster, navigating life without a real rudder and struggling to find her way.

It took things in her life going south to give Elissa the kick she needed to take her life by the scruff of it’s neck and make things happen. However, Elissa’s idea of taking control, was not mine. The best thing to come out of this storyline was the Elder Care element and I loved Annie; especially Elissa and Annie together. They were gold on the page.

This was a gentle, meandering story with many funny moments and great dialogue. However, whilst Elissa was amusing and likeable, I didn’t fully connect with her as a character. I wanted to get deeper into her psyche, I wanted to know why she was so inactive and lacking in confidence but I came away not knowing this, just thinking she was nice but superficial.

THE LONELY FAJITA is perfect for a light afternoon or weekend read and I’m sure many will laugh at moments in this book, just like I did.

Thank you to One More Chapter for the early review copy.

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT by Seanan McGuire

Things are starting to look up for October “Toby” Daye. She’s training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling down…at least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby’s efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets–and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there’s the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne….

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists–and they’ll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are.


Title : Chimes at Midnight
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book seven)
Format : eBook
Page Count : 369
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 3, 2013

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Plot-wise, this has maybe been the best of the bunch in this series.. so far. In the sense that I am satisfied with the turn things took and the resulting direction we’re now headed in. Does that mean I had a good time, had fun, am excited about this series again? No, nope, and maybe. 

The usual suspects (aka the things that annoy me about this series) were very much still present. But with the magnitude and schemery (it’s a word) going on, we had less time to dwell on them or even encourage them. This, in addition to the plot, make for big pluses.

A few new characters have opened up additional pathways into the ‘mystery of October’s heritage’ journey and I’m maybe into it? She’s achieved Super Special Snowflake status a dozen times over and I’m definitely more interested in her mother’s history, and how that ties in with the sea witch (shoutout to my girl!), but you can’t have one without the other, so. I’ll allow it. <– she says, as if she has any choice

I don’t have much more to say, I think this is the shortest of all my reviews, and the least ranty, but maybe that’s a sign. Maybe the tide is turning where we might see some higher ratings soon. Ever hopeful. Ever stubborn. Ever reading this series..

BLACK TANGLED HEART by Samantha Young

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.


Title : Black Tangled Heart
Author : Samantha Young
Series : Play On #3
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : May 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

BLACK TANGLED HEART was a story of two parts and I love it when a book moves through time frames for the characters. The first part of this book gave me Kissing Booth vibes with the two MCs Jane and Jamie. The young love and connection between these two was desperate and passionate but also brushed with the sweetness of first love.

But this was much more than a love story, it was a story of families and their flaws. Jane was an unofficial family member of the McKenna siblings but she loved them and was loved by them. The side stories of Skye and Lorna were both painful to read.

When things went downhill in this story, all the characters were carried with it and life was transformed in a bad way. When time jumped it was fascinating to catch up with the new realities. I didn’t always care for some of the drama, nor was the Hollywood backdrop my favourite but I did like the suspenseful developments of the story.

It was difficult to look away from the intensity of Jamie and Jane’s connection and that carried this story through for me. This was a solid continuation of the Play On series, not my favourite, but I’d still love to read more in this series.

Thank you to the author for an early review copy.

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND by Elizabeth Acevedo

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance-and Papi’s secrets-the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Yahaira and Camino are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive.

In a dual narrative novel in verse that brims with both grief and love, award-winning and bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.


Title : Clap When You Land
Author : Elizabeth Acevado
Format : eARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : May 5, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

CLAP WHEN YOU LAND is a compelling and poignant story of loss, deceit, finding lost relationships and coming of age. This book hit me in the feels almost straight away and kept me emotionally connected to the characters and story all the way through.

This captivating story is told from the POV of two teens Camiro and Yahaira who were 16, going on 17. They lived in New York and the Dominican Republic respectively and their lives were a complete contrast both financially but also in terms of freedom, access and prejudice. The story was told in normal narrative with elements of beautiful poetic prose. These aspects weren’t choppy, they wove beautifully into the unfurling story.

I am beautiful like a dark-skinned girl that is right here.
I’ve always preferred playing black on the chess board.
Always advancing, conquering my offending other side.

I really was gripped by life in the Dominican Republic and how Camino conducted herself, her life and her relationships. I admired her as a character so much. When Camino and Yahaira finally connected, it was a lot, brimming over on the page.

This is one of those books that you just have to read. You will lose yourself and emerge the other side affected. This is a book I will remember and as an already fan of Elizabeth Acevedo, I can confirm that this is my favourite of her books yet.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for the early review copy.

ASHES OF HONOR by Seanan McGuire

It’s been almost a year since October “Toby” Daye averted a war, gave up a county, and suffered personal losses that have left her wishing for a good day’s sleep. She’s tried to focus on her responsibilities—training Quentin, upholding her position as Sylvester’s knight, and paying the bills—but she can’t help feeling like her world is crumbling around her, and her increasingly reckless behavior is beginning to worry even her staunchest supporters.

To make matters worse, Toby’s just been asked to find another missing child…only this time it’s the changeling daughter of her fellow knight, Etienne, who didn’t even know he was a father until the girl went missing. Her name is Chelsea. She’s a teleporter, like her father. She’s also the kind of changeling the old stories warn about, the ones with all the strength and none of the control. She’s opening doors that were never meant to be opened, releasing dangers that were sealed away centuries before—and there’s a good chance she could destroy Faerie if she isn’t stopped.

Now Toby must find Chelsea before time runs out, racing against an unknown deadline and through unknown worlds as she and her allies try to avert disaster. But danger is also stirring in the Court of Cats, and Tybalt may need Toby’s help with the biggest challenge he’s ever faced.

Toby thought the last year was bad. She has no idea. 


Title : Ashes of Honor
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book six)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 363
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 4, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I highly doubt anyone will be reading these reviews anymore because I’m becoming somewhat predictable. I’m saying nothing new and living through the same disappointments and clinging to the same small, itty bitty, hopes. It’s like a weird Groundhog Day.

Though there are some differences in details, I might as well just say “see previous reviews” but I mean.. there are differences. Like, the ship I was shipping? It has sailed. And I want to be happy but lolz, I’m not? I won’t say I wasn’t moved a bit by some of the confessions and big reveal moments but I’m going to reserve judgment until we get a whole book of them being coupley. There was too much of the maiming, running around, “we’ll talk later”s, etc, to revel in the moment. Also for all that I had settled into a slowburn for this.. things kinda went two time speed on busting out a certain phrase. At least on Toby’s part.

I’ve stood by and watched you throw yourself against the walls of the world, because I hoped the impact might shake the sense back into you.” <– this was a nice moment but the quote makes me laugh out of context because the second part of this. what a mood.

As for the mystery of the week? Snooze. Toby takes a case, Toby goes up against a strident terrible person being terrible even as Toby tries to help, Toby drinks a lot of coffee (always and forever), Toby talks about wanting coffee, Toby hates her own blood, Toby drinks her own blood, Toby loses lots of blood, Toby lets go of a breath she didn’t know she was holding (second time in six books.. not bad overall but my brain, it bleeds).. over and over. It’s the worst procedural ever. There is no sense of stake in anything because Toby nearly dies multiple times in each book and the only thing that seems to change is who is being unreasonably rude to her, what new information is revealed that Toby will just go on to ignore, who she’s into, and.. well, that’s it.

That said, I would die for Raj and the Sea Witch. Protect them at all costs. 

I don’t know how McGuire can occasionally write amazing characters like the Sea Witch (so far Raj is just adorable, not complex) and then have so many others that are either one dimensional or inconsistent or both. Some of the shine has even come off the King of Cats for me as I found him way more interesting before his motivations were revealed. It made him more interesting, gave him an edge. I want that back. Additionally, the flip between all the formal talk and then the modern slangs for almost every character who bothers with the formal stuff (I’m not counting the regular modern speakers who dip into formality when the occasion calls for it) drives me nuts. It was particularly bad in this one. Also there were some missed moments on continuity in editing in this one that made me cringe in sympathy because yikes that’s never fun.

So, yes, for those playing the home game : yet another October Daye read. Yet another two star rating. Yet another “maybe next time..” I’ll like/love/enjoy, etc. 

THE SWITCH by Beth O’Leary

Eileen is sick of being 79.
Leena’s tired of life in her twenties.
Maybe it’s time they swapped places…

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen.

Once Leena learns of Eileen’s romantic predicament, she proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire. But with gossiping neighbours and difficult family dynamics to navigate up north, and trendy London flatmates and online dating to contend with in the city, stepping into one another’s shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected.

Leena learns that a long-distance relationship isn’t as romantic as she hoped it would be, and then there is the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – school teacher, who keeps showing up to outdo her efforts to impress the local villagers. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, but is her perfect match nearer home than she first thought?


Title : The Switch
Author : Beth O’Leary
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Quercus
Release Date : April 30, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

THE SWITCH grabbed my attention from the first few pages with characters that were interesting from the start. In fact, the first 20% of this read was so strong, getting you on board with ‘the switch’.

Told in alternating POVs between Leena, a 20-something ambitious professional and Eileen, her 79 year old grandmother, these two swap residences. I did wonder how into Eileen’s POVs I would get, but honestly she was truly engaging and incredibly fun. The Yorkshire Dales versus London contexts were a fun contrast.

I would describe the storyline as cutely predictable and generally enjoyable. The characters in the dales were a little bit like ‘The Vicar of Dibley’, an eclectic mix and sometimes a bit stuffy. I did sometimes want to crank things up a bit. Meanwhile, Eileen in London was funny and her storyline was adorable. There were some serious tones to the story and while that was in the background, it brought somber notes to the characters and made them real.

The culmination and wrap up rushed to a sprint at the end but it made for a satisfying ending to this light and funny book.

Thank you to Quercus Books for the early review copy.

THE EDUCATION OF IVY EDWARDS by Hannah Tovey

Ivy Edwards is thirty-one years old, funny, shameless, and a bit of a romantic. She’s also currently trying not to cry in the office toilet.

Partly because she’s just run out of money for fags. A bit because her mum continues to annoy her. Definitely not because she’s just been dumped by her fiancé.

With her London life in shambles and her family miles away in the Welsh valleys, Ivy doesn’t actually feel like she belongs anywhere.

At least, she has her friends – and a bottle of vodka.

Embarking on a journey of singlehood, Ivy is about to discover that sometimes, having your life fall apart can be surprisingly fun.

Sometimes, heartbreak can be the best education . . .

The Education of Ivy Edwards is perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, Holly Bourne’s How Do You Like Me Now?, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag.


Title : The Education of Ivy Edwards
Author : Hannah Tovey
Format : Ebook
Page Count : 336
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : May 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 – 4 stars

THE EDUCATION OF IVY EDWARDS was months of a journey in Ivy’s life as she navigated some of the biggest life changes imaginable. Ivy was a thirty-something protagonist that was incredibly real, irritations to boot. The story started with a relationship break up and tracked her slow demise across the months of grief and trying to cope.

The narrative for Ivy’s life was witty, with inner monologue that kept you chuckling and endeared you to her, just when you were most irritated with her. Ivy was all about friendships and family and she leaned on them a lot in this time period.

I sat down at my desk and closed my eyes. I can do this, I thought. I am an adult, I have a degree and I frequently make my own packed lunches.

I struggled somewhat with Ivy’s self-destructive streak and the friendships that came along with that, such as Dan and Rob. Her reliance on alcohol and drugs was frustrating but probably realistic of that 30-something professional, working in the big smoke and spiraling down, looking for a crutch.

As the story reached it’s culmination, I held my breath because I thought the journey might be for nothing, that Ivy had learnt nothing. I was satisfied however with the end.

If you’re looking for something real, less cookie-cutter and more sitting on gutter drunk, reciting your woes, then this is the read for you. It felt fresh and the writing was fun and willing to ‘go there’ with difficult topics and taboos.

Thank you to Piatkus Books for the early review copy.