BOOK TOUR: Shadow of the Woods – Duncan Thompson

If you go down to the woods today…

Firstly I would like to thank Panther Publishing and Duncan Thompson for allowing me the opportunity to join in on the blog tour for Shadows of the Woods! It’s my first ever blog tour too, which is extremely exciting, and today is my stop. I hope you enjoy my part of the tour!

Book Description – Taken from Goodreads:

Faceless shadows, a night that will never be the same, and a sinister force. If you go down to the woods tonight, you’re in for a sinister surprise. When a stag party decide to camp in the woods, they soon discover that a malevolent force has them in their sights. As the unknown creeps ever closer, Joe and his friends must survive. To survive, Joe must learn to fight. If he fights, he could lose it all. A rollercoaster ride of blood, sweat and tears, Shadows of the Woods will keep you hooked, all whilst throwing nostalgic homage to slashers of the late seventies and early eighties. A Night Terror that you won’t be forgetting any time soon…

The Author – Duncan Thompson

Duncan is an author of multiple novels. He has spent most of his life in the town of West Yorkshire – and you’ll find that most of his stories are set here too under the guise of ‘Raven’s Peak’. In the 90’s, Duncan became an amateur director, and began creating his own horror movies! Some years later, this is how he came up with his idea of his debut novel ‘Dark Places’. Since then Duncan has written multiple horror/thriller novels, including Shadows of the Woods.


I won’t lie that to begin with, I was pretty apprehensive about this book – but at the same time I was intrigued to say the least, just from the description. From the get go it was straight in with the story. I find with a lot of horrors and thrillers there’s a lot of background building, which is quite unnecessary most of the time. Whereas this was so fast-paced, but not too fast paced that you wouldn’t grasp the story.

From the first chapter you can definitely see Thompson’s film directive skills come in, particularly with the way the beginning of the story is set out. At first I was worried that so much had happened at the beginning that there wouldn’t be enough to the storyline to keep the momentum going – but I was wrong on this! There was so much more to the story about who the ‘Shadows’ were and how they had been summoned. It was very interesting to say the least!

This is definitely a book that I could see as a film, and a particularly jumpy one at that. It definitely has the scare-factor to become a horror, and in some aspects it is your typical horror, especially the opening scene!

I would definitely recommend giving this a read, I highly enjoyed it! And if you’re someone who enjoys thrillers, this will keep you on the edge of your seat for sure!

The Damned – Renee Ahdieh


Published Date – 07/07/2020

This story follows on from Renee Ahdieh’s first book ‘The Beautiful’. Bastein has awoken cursed and immortal. A treaty has been broken, and his life as he knows it, is about to change forever. Celine has paid the highest price though, and attempts a life without Bastien, but her dreams terrorise her and keep her awake at night. But what do they mean? She is also about to learn the truth about herself and her past…

Firstly, thank you to NetGalley & Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read an ARC of The Damned!

I wasn’t too optimistic about reading this book to begin with after not really enjoying ‘The Beautiful’, but I can definitely say I was pleasantly surprised! This book had a lot of what the first lacked, suspense, mystery, and action.

The book begins exactly where the last ended, with Bastien coming back around – and Celine, gone. It’s unclear whether Bastien will survive his transition, and they can only hope!

I just felt like there was so much more to this than ‘The Beautiful’. It was fast paced, and had me keep wanting more and more from it! I enjoyed how the vampire characters were explored more, and that it was more about the vampire side of the story.

There’s a bit of romance in this, but not nearly enough to be considered cringey *cough* TWILIGHT.

I also like how there’s more to Celine’s story in this book too, I felt like in the last she was a little ‘wishy washy’ and quite a flat character. In ‘The Damned’ Celine’s past is explored and things come to light that make sense, and make the story that much more interesting. Especially as it turns out that her bloodline is a known enemy to vampires. And I think this will make it an interesting story for the next book, if there is to be one. There is still a lot of unanswered questions that I’d like answers to, and I feel as though the story could definitely go on, as it was kind of a ‘cliff-hanger’ ending!

Now I’m all for lots of different characters in a book, and I LOVE reading from the perspectives of them, but when reading like ten characters thoughts it gets a bit much. I felt as though sometimes it was unnecessary for certain parts to be included, and at times it got confusing working out who was who, who was good, who was bad…

I do also think that the story perhaps dragged just a little longer than I felt it necessary, but overall I did enjoy the book. And based on this one alone, I look forward to reading the next in the series!

Home Truths – Susan Lewis

How far would you go to keep your family safe?

Angie has everything, a husband, a home, three beautiful children, what more could she ask for? Until one day it all comes crashing down around her, her son Liam gets mixed up with the wrong people and her husband is brutally murdered. The glue keeping their family together was now gone, how would she cope without her adorned husband? And as if things couldn’t get worse, Liam goes missing, one by one everything that Angie loved becomes somewhat of a nightmare. Whilst Angie tries to keep a roof over her and her children’s heads and the debt increasing every day, her daughter is desperate to help her family, whatever it takes and Angie begins living a life she never dreamed she would ever have to do. With all of the bad things going on around Angie, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Is there any way she can climb out of the dark whole that is currently her life?

This was a book that I read as part of Beth’s Book Club last month – check out the link to her website to register to become a member, it’s totally worth it!

I believe that Susan Lewis portrays the life of a broke, single mum quite well if I am honest. Coming from a not so well off family myself, particularly when I was a child, there are definitely parts throughout that resonate with me on a much more personal level. My mum always done what she could to keep a roof over our heads, and whilst we struggled from moving from friends houses, and in and out of hostels it really makes me appreciate the privileged life I now have! So in ways it did really hit home, and as I said I felt like it portrayed this well!

With not knowing much about country drug lines I can’t exactly say whether this is done well, but I will make a point of saying that I don’t feel as though it was explored as much as it could have been! I felt as though the author has tried to talk about so many issues in one novel that each subject almost fell flat, other than Angie and her family’s money problems.

The book also explores child trafficking, but again falls flat with not being explored enough. I feel as though perhaps the author should have focussed on maybe just one issue, or even two at a push. It just felt all very crammed into 400 pages – and because of this, the whole book just didn’t come across as well as I’d have hoped.

I’ll also say that from the blurb of the book, and the description on Amazon, I was expecting a gripping thriller, when really it was more of a contemporary/domestic fiction. So because of this I already went in not particularly enjoying it with thinking it was something that it actually wasn’t. I do feel as though perhaps the blurb/Amazon description should perhaps be amended to suit the genre more. But again, that is just my personal overall opinion!

Have you read this? What did you think?

Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid


At the beginning of the book Emira is approached by a supermarket security officer and is accused of ‘kidnapping’ the white child that she is babysitting, Briar. Following on from this comes a chain of events that change Emira’s life in the long run. After this explosive beginning, Alix her employer, makes it her mission to set things right, and make Emira feel more like family. But does this work? Or does it just make Emira feel more alien to her employer and her family? Emira then meets someone who is from Alix’s past, which brings up what you could call ‘childhood-trauma’ for Alix. Emira comes to a lot of realisations throughout this story, and learns how hard it is to be a black woman living in America and how easy it is for people to be racist without even meaning to!

This was another book club read for the lovely Words, Wine & Wit Book Club – click on the link to be directed to the Facebook page!

There are so so many points that I enjoyed throughout this story, and it’s hard to pinpoint anything bad – especially with it being about a life and culture that realistically, I know absolutely nothing about! Therefore, who would I be to comment on the story of a black woman, written by a black woman, when I am in fact a white woman?

I loved Emira and Briars relationship throughout the book, it was so wholesome, and for me it’s got to be one of the best parts of the book. Their connection was so lovely, Emira was almost like a big sister to Briar with the way Briar looked up to her!

I also found the portrayal of Alix to be done quite well, in that us as white people sometimes are racist without meaning to be. Some of the things that Alix says and does throughout the story are done in such a derogatory way, but she’s also clueless she is doing it, and I think some white people do the same. People do this by acting like they are ‘walking on eggshells’ around people of colour, and it is unnecessary. Alix does this a lot within the book, and like Emira, us as readers can see right through Alix, even when she can’t herself.

Another character that becomes an accessory to racism is Kelly. In my opinion, I do not like him as a character, and didn’t from the minute he was introduced. It is later discovered that Kelly actually fetishizes black women, and only dates them. This is also seen as racism, as black women are made to feel like objects by white men. I personally don’t understand how people fetishize people from their skin colour/ethnicity, because I myself don’t date people for their ethnicity, but rather their personalities. But it is so common nowadays for this to happen, and white women are the same in that some white women will also fetishize black men. This is only touched on lightly with Kelly, so I think I would like to have this delved into a little deeper perhaps.

Overall I highly rate this book to absolutely ANYONE, and I feel as though it’s an important read. I know things now that I most definitely didn’t before reading this, and I think others will feel the same! Lets be sure to educate ourselves consistently and do our bit for all people of colour in the world!

Have you read this? – Let me know your thoughts!

The Beautiful – Renee Ahdieh


Set in 1872, New Orleans, there’s a mysterious killer lurking in the shadows – and wherever Celine goes, chaos follows. Who the killer is, is a mystery to all, and Celine decides it’s best for her to stay well away from her loved ones after her friends are involved in a fatal moment. In the other part of town is Bastien and his family of vampires, and they very much want to know who this killer is, as is causing absolute Mayhem in their town. When Celine and Bastien finally cross paths they do what they can to keep themselves and their families safe. The thing to ask is, is the killer someone closer to home than they thought? Are they right under their noses?

I read this book as I got accepted for The Damned which is the sequel, which I shall be reviewing next so keep your eyes peeled!

This is the first fantasy I have read in a long time after reading thrillers and more contemporary fiction, so it was like reading something I’ve never read before! I enjoyed how the perspectives change between Celine, Bastien and the unknown killer. Getting an inside on the killers mind was very interesting – but also frustrating at the same time as you just want to know who he is! When the murders happen, they are very much blood and gore, but without going into too much detail if you know what I mean? So I would definitely recommend this for younger readers/those of you who enjoy YA fantasy series.

Unfortunately for me there was a few negative points that I feel I should mention in my review – as always I try to keep it entirely honest without the risk of coming across as brutal or harmful! So please do remember these are my views and mine only, there has been no other input on this other than from myself! Just because I only rated it two stars, does not mean you may not rate it five stars yourself! I will always recommend the book regardless – so to any readers, reviews and authors – please do not be disheartened by my reviews – it just means that the book just wasn’t for me!

My main points that I disliked was that I felt that although there were multiple murders throughout, it wasn’t until the final 10% that it really GRIPPED me. There wasn’t much action for me, or at least not enough for me to feel like I should keep going! But for the sake of my review for The Damned I felt like I must, so that I knew how the story continues and whether it connects well with each other!
I also feel like it lacked romance, I expected an all-consuming, passionate romance/love story but that just isn’t what I felt like I got, so I will say I was slightly disappointed in that.

I won’t elaborate too much as I want you to have a read for yourselves and see what you think! I have seen many, many readers who really enjoyed this, so again, please do not be disheartened that it just wasn’t for me! I value all readers and authors and their books – so whilst my reviews may not be what you hoped for, it doesn’t mean I won’t necessarily read any of that authors future work!

Let me know what your thoughts are if you’ve read this!

Supper Club – Lara Williams

‘If you feed a starving woman, what will she turn into?’


Supper club is a novel based on a group of “hungry” women who meet in the night and feast on as much food as their hearts desire.

The book looks at the oppression of women by men, it indicates the saying “women belong in the kitchen” isn’t actually a simple activity. That cooking is a form of art at which Roberta feels very passionate for! So, Roberta and her friend Stevie create the ‘Supper Club’, a secret society for women ‘who are sick of bad men and bad sex’. They wreak havoc in the night when they arrange their Supper Clubs, they raid restaurant bins, and break into venues dancing, eating and drinking the night away. As they put on more and more weight and as their stomachs grow, so does their passion and their ambition for more!

This was a book club read for the Words Wine Wit Book Club for June (I did read it a little while ago, but have been a lil’ slow getting caught up on all of my reviews). When I brought the book, it sounded amazing, interesting and fun! The book is described as feminist and female empowering, but I unfortunately didn’t feel that it came across this way at all.

I felt as though the women were quite degrading to themselves and others. The impression I got from the description of the book that it was about empowerment and friendships, but the friendships were mediocre.

Throughout a lot of the book Roberta and Stevie aren’t actually friends anymore, mostly because Roberta is “all about her boyfriend”, rather than her friends and the Supper Club. So straight away Roberta has turned into one of “those girls” who are more invested in their relationships instead of their friendships. Also, with Stevie, I feel as though she gives up on hers and Roberta’s friendship so easily for someone who was supposedly her best friend.

Furthermore, I feel that it was perhaps oversold as a very empowering and feminist book, instead it was more of an everyday book.

I did feel as though the food descriptions throughout the book were really good and well thought out. It definitely makes you a little hungry whilst reading about some of the amazing food they delve into! A lot of “food for thought” you may say! Let me know if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were!

We Are Bound by Stars – Kesia Lupo


Publish Date – 09/07/2020

We Are Bound by Stars is the follow on to We Are Blood And Thunder, the story follows Livio, who is destined for great things. He is destined for a life he has worked so hard to stay away from, but it is time for him to inherit the family legacy. The story also follows Beatrice, who is one of three sisters, who are all mask-makers. It isn’t until an assassin cause great problems for both Beatrice and Livio, that the two finally meet. There is great tragedy in both of their lives, but can they stop what caused it?

So firstly, thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for allowing me to read the ARC for the above book.

The story has the same kind of feels for me as the last one, although this is a sequel, I think that it can be read without having read We Are Blood and Thunder. I don’t feel as though their is really a link at all between the two, apart from the relations between Constance & Livio. So it isn’t entirely necessary to read the first beforehand, but it does make sense when the character Constance is mentioned.

Again I feel like a lot lacked in the book, there wasn’t much suspense, and I felt like it was also a bit of a chore to finish and it’s not the kind of feeling anyone wants to have with a book. It just didn’t grasp my attention as much as I would have hoped, and it wasn’t a particularly fast paced book either. But also, like the last I felt like the end is incredibly rushed when it could have perhaps been delved into a little more.

I did like the relationship Beatrice has with her sisters in the book, it’s a very love hate kind of relationship, which I can completely relate to, being the oldest of my siblings, we can definitely have that in our household! And also how Beatrice was kind of the ‘black sheep’ out of the three, she wanted freedom, whereas her sisters would much rather prefer to have the easy life they currently had. The life that was CHOSE for them.

I also liked Livio as a character, where at the beginning of the book he is someone else to the world, but at home he is almost royalty and now destined to take over with the death of his cousin coming to light.

Both characters long for freedom but neither can have it, as their futures were already determined long before either were born, and I think that’s the most grasping part of the story for both characters, alongside the tragedy within Beatrice’s life as the book goes on.

It may be because it is a YA/Fantasy that I didn’t particularly enjoy it as much as I would have hoped, therefore I would probably recommend this to anyone below the age of perhaps 16? It’s definitely a book that I would have perhaps been more invested in maybe five or so years ago! I know a lot of my readers enjoy a lot of YA – so perhaps I’m even growing out of it now! Who knows? – I personally hope I haven’t!!!

We Are Blood And Thunder – Kesia Lupo

She who spins the cloud, weaves the storm.


We Are Blood and Thunder focuses on the perspectives of both Lena and Constance. The book is about a large storm cloud that has covered Duke’s Forest for around 6 years, and the Justice has assumed that it is a mage that created the storm cloud spell. Because of this accusation, anyone who is found to be a mage, is basically sentenced to death – so all mages are in hiding! When Lena is being chased by the Justice’s hounds out in the forest, she meets Constance, who points her in the direction of Emris, who is able to help Lena build and develop her magic! Whilst Lena is working on herself, Constance is trying to find the heart of the storm, but what is she really up to?

I quite enjoyed this story, it’s different to what I have read in quite a long time, so it’s nice to pick up a fantasy every once in a while! Unfortunately it just lacked in a lot of areas, I felt that the ending in particular was very rushed and could have been delved into a little deeper! In light of that, I found that parts throughout the story really dragged, and there was a lot of unnecessary information that didn’t particularly add to the story.

I would definitely say that it is more of Young Adult Fantasy novel with the simplistic writing style, but this does make the book easy and quick to read! I would recommend anyone between maybe 11-16 to read this possibly? Obviously this is personal opinion, I didn’t hate the book at all and I did enjoy it! IT just wasn’t an ‘outstanding’ story.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman


Eleanor Oliphant is a girl with the perfect routine, every day, Monday to Friday she works for a company she has ALWAYS worked for. Then on a Friday, she will go to the same shop and ALWAYS buy the same two bottles of vodka, ready for the weekend. Eleanor isn’t a great lover of change, she likes her routine, and she enjoys life by herself. But one night a stranger comes into Eleanor’s life for a brief moment, and everything changes, however, will she cope?

This review has taken me some time to write as I have just been so unsure about it, ever since I finished it! I was really hoping for BIG things with this book, as I know so many of you loved it, but I just didn’t? I found it extremely slow! It wasn’t until the third part of the book until it started picking up a little and even then it just wasn’t a massive page-turner for me. – I know that this will be a very unpopular opinion to many, and it probably doesn’t help that I’ve read so many fast-paced books recently, that it just didn’t catch my attention. I found that I’d read a few pages, and then put it down for a day or two, so it felt like a real chore trying to finish it!

That being said like I mentioned, it does begin to pick up in the third part of the book, which I did quite enjoy and once I got to this part it was much easier to keep going! Rather than putting it down continuously.

I did like the way Honeyman portrays how Eleanor has really struggled for a long time, and she perhaps didn’t really realise it. Especially with her Mum, I found the ending for those two very eye-opening on how people deal with abuse, grief and just battles with their own minds… My own struggles don’t compare to how Eleanor’s are, so it was good to see how other people also deal with their problems too! Eleanor struggled with childhood trauma, alcoholism, grief, and maybe even PTSD. But she hasn’t struggled through these problems for YEARS on her own. She enjoyed the idea of being on her own on the weekends, the book eve mentions that sometimes she would go three or four days without seeing or talking to anyone. Now, this, for anyone, is extremely unhealthy, but she just felt like she had no one to talk to.

I loved the way that Raymond really became quite a big part of Eleanor’s life and helped her get back on her feet when things really went downhill. He is a good example of how a friend should be when their friend is struggling, like making sure they get the help they need!

Eleanor Oliphant wasn’t a bad book at all, it just wasn’t for me at all, but I know that so so many people LOVED it. So I would still encourage others to try and read it too if they get the chance! I know that there have been other books that have been said to be on par with this such as The Cactus by Sarah Haywood and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, both of which are on my TBR list, so I really hope to enjoy those!

Have you read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine? What were your thoughts on it?

Our Stop – Laura Jane Williams

What if you almost missed the love of your life?


Our Stop is a lovely, quick-read romance novel. It follows both of the lives of Nadia and Daniel, who both get the 07:30 train or at least Daniel does… Nadia misses the train at least four days a week out of five, she’s definitely not a morning person! Daniel notices Nadia almost immediately and is contemplating for so long about how to speak to her, so he decides to use a newspaper column feature called ‘Missed Connections’ (I love this idea)! Luckily for Daniel, this is something that Nadia and her friends follow, and when Daniels post is published, Nadia and her friends believe it could be about her! But what are the odds? Is it just a coincidence? Or is it really just fate, bringing two people together?

So this was one of the June books for Beth’s Book Club (click the link to join – you won’t regret it)!!! I really enjoyed it actually. To begin with, it was slightly “eye-rolling material”, as its a very chick-litty, predictable romance. But after a few chapters, I was invested, I just wanted Nadia and Daniel to meet!

I loved the idea of the ‘Missed Connections’ column in the newspaper, and it did seem like quite romantic gesture! Although I don’t think I would ever find myself responding to any if we had it in our local newspaper in Southampton! But the idea of it is pretty genius.

When Elliott first gets introduced into the story after getting stood up by Daniel, I was actually kind of rooting for him. But as his and Nadia’s relationship continues on for a couple of months, he actually becomes very clingy! I mean, we all love a guy who can talk about his feelings and be very open about everything of course… But when you’re with someone who expects you to have ‘fallen in love with him’ within a matter of weeks and wants you to put your all into something that just doesn’t quite feel right… It gives me bad vibes and unfortunately, this was Nadia’s and Elliott’s relationship for me. He seemed lovely, but Nadia just wasn’t for him at all! That much was obvious…

I found it a little similar to The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary if I’m honest with the Missed Connections notes, and continuously missing each other on EVERY occasion possible!

The only reason I’ve knocked a star off is just for a couple of small reasons! The first one being that I found Emma and Gaby’s relationship pretty irrelevant to the story, and there were many other ways that Nadia could have become more separate from them, without this. I just didn’t feel as though it added anything more to the story other than a couple of extra pages. My other point is that I found that the AMOUNT of times Nadia and Daniel missed each other to become a little repetitive and annoying at times. Yes, in the real world people do just miss each other, but this just seemed a little far-fetched.

Also one other point, is that as the chapters changed between different characters perspectives, I do feel as though it could have been written in the first person, as this would have helped give a little more depth into the characters personalities, and would perhaps connect with them more? I felt like I connected with Nadia quite well, but not so much with Daniel, and I do think that had it been written in the first person, this may have helped!

But other than those points, I mostly loved the book and look forward to anymore written by Laura!