Tag Archives: rachel caine

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine is the third book in the Great Library series. It follows on from Ink and Bone and Paper and Fire and you can read my review of Paper and Fire here: https://lifehasafunnywayofsneakinguponyou.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/paper-fire-by-rachel-caine-review/

I don’t know why I didn’t do a review of Ink and Bone but anyway, the following review will contain spoilers of the first two books! But none for Ash and Quill. 

Ash and Quill picks up where Paper and Fire left off. I thought it was the final book in a trilogy, however, there are actually going to be 5 books in this series! Yay! Book 3 sees Jess and company arriving in the burner capital Philadelphia after they were betrayed by Jess’ father and brother and transported there. 

This book is a lot more ‘political’ than the first two, we start to see what’s really going on outside the world of the library and how other people outside of the little group of rebels view it. The burners are an interesting if complex group and I’m unsure where it’s been left with them and whether Jess and co will be able to rely on them as friends or face them as foes in the rest of the series. 

What was great about it? – I love the relationship between Jess and Thomas, it’s a real friendship with love between them and I also love that Jess has found a family in his friends after his own have treated him so badly. 

What wasn’t so great? – I’m still not really feeling the relationship between Jess and Morgan. I don’t feel like there are any sparks between them or that I really ship them as a couple. I also found this book was at a much slower pace than the last two although still very interesting. 

I’m excited for what the next two books will bring and to finally find out what the library has been hiding from the world. I think it’s going to be a lot more than just the black archives and the gang are now playing a very dangerous game. 


Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Is there anything this lady can’t write about??? She is literally a powerhouse of enviable literary talent! 

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and Rachel Caine for my ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

I first heard of Rachel Caine when I started reading her Great Library series. So when I had the option to wish for a copy of Stillhouse Lake I figured I’d give it a try even though the genre was completely different. I loved it! I actually think I loved it even more than I did The Great Library series and I love that series! 

Anyway, enough of me gushing. So Stillhouse Lake, it’s a psychological thriller and definitely an adult read. Gina Royal is the perfect all American housewife. 2.5 kids and a picket fence is that what people say? Anyways, she’s happy in her life with her two children and her husband the caring, loving Mel. 

Until her life is destroyed when she discovers that Mel has been masking a secret life as a sadistic serial killer. With Mel now in jail Gina has to form a new life and a new identity for herself and her children to protect them from the backlash and the internet trolls who still believe Gina must have had something to do with it. But it seems like the past is just too hard to run away from. 

Stillhouse Lake is gripping from start to finish, as some of you may already know I try not to read synopsises before reading the novel so it’s more full of surprises! I’m glad I didn’t with this one as every little event was a huge shock for me. Gina, or Gwen as she is with her new identity is an amazing woman who’s gone from a weak willed wife to a warrior mum and she kicks ass! I loved the twists and turns and the ending blew me away, I hope I don’t have long to wait for part 2! 

Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Please be aware that this review while not containing spoilers for this book, will contain spoilers for the first book Ink and Bone. 

Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone left off and it’s a great sequel! Jess and friends are still reeling from the events of Ink and Bone, their friend Thomas was killed, their other friend and sort of Jess’ girlfriend; Morgan has been imprisoned in the Iron Tower of the Obscurists and Jess no longer knows who he can trust. Especially when a routine training excercise of his company in the High Garda turns sour. 

This book is another teaser at what the library may contain, what secrets are hidden inside its walls and what the people at the helm will do to protect it. It is a story of friendship and relationships that are stronger than those of blood. In a world full of secrets it’s impossible to know who can be trusted and who would just as soon Knife you in the back. It’s down to Jess and his friends to fight the library to the bitter end. 

I love that this series is all about books, it’s such a great concept and it’s easy to see that it’s taken some inspiration for the onslaught of ebook readers on the market today. I find the premise incredibly engaging and interesting, sometimes the second book in a trilogy can read like a ‘filler’ and be a bit flat but that is not the case with this one at all. I can’t wait for Ash and Quill now. 

A Year in Books. My top 10 from 2016 

Now, I can’t lie. Having read 215 books this year narrowing it down to my 10 favourites has been pretty tough. Pretty much every book I’ve read this year has been amazing but it wouldn’t be a top 10 if I included all 215! 


Dear Amy is the debut novel from Helen Callaghan. Set in Cambridge, England the main character is schoolteacher Margot Lewis who also runs a ‘Dear Amy’ column in the local paper. When she starts receiving untraceable letters from a teenager who went missing years ago, she becomes more worried when another teenager goes missing. The perfect psychological suspense novel. 

We go forward in time to the 22nd century in Hargus Montgomery’s The Last Relicun. 12% of the population live in ‘museums’ which are places of living history, anything from 1950s America to 12th century France. Terrifyingly realistic and in some cases dangerous the government want the museums to be banned. Outside of the museums in the ‘real world’ people don’t even touch each other anymore and live mostly in VR. A truly fascinating product of an amazing mind. The main character Alex Kane is a young man stuck with the difficult decision of choosing between going to college or moving into a museum. Extremely interesting and in places heartbreaking this is definitely a book that you NEED to read! 


The first of Erika Johansen’s novels about The Tearling a dystopian country founded by humans years after an environmental disaster in today’s western world. An untested young princess has to claim her throne, Kelsea Raleigh has been hidden in the woods with the protectors set for her at birth. Taking the throne is a dangerous game when The Tearling is enslaved to a malevolent Queen from nearby Mortmesne. Power, magic and corruption abound in this amazing YA fantasy. 


The beautiful, bewitching Anemogram by Rebecca Gransden is absolutely mind blowing. There’s no other way to describe it. The Language of the book is rich and deeply detailed but throughout there is a highly disturbing undertone. The child in the book seems otherworldly and the whole thing is so damn confusing that if it wasn’t written so beautifully it would be impossible to like it. But instead it’s become one of my most favoured novels. Recommended for lovers of Peter S Beagle. 


The tag line itself says enough about this one. ‘Two childhood friends, one became a detective one became a killer.’ The Two O’Clock Boy by Mark Hill is easily the best police crime drama I’ve read this year. Ray Drake is a police detective investigating the murder of a family. The story shifts between present day and the past during Drake’s childhood living in a children’s home. The book leads you down many different exciting and chilling pathways to unexpected places. Just when you think you’ve worked it out something completely new is thrown into the mix to add to the shock factor. Incredibly interesting and thought provoking. 


Imagine a world where the great library of Alexandria had never been destroyed. A world where the most important thing is to protect the library and it’s knowledge, a world where protecting the books means not letting anybody except the privileged few actually touch them. Nobody can personally own a book, that’s strictly against the law but alchemy can deliver a book instantly. Jess Brightwell is in an awkward position, he appreciates the value of the library and is honoured to score a place in the library’s service but he’s torn because of his background trading and reading illegal books. A truly magical and bewitching historical rewrite. 

The One is a smart little novel which explores the world of online dating and dating apps in a completely new light. It explores an extraordinary concept. In a world where your DNA can be used to match you with your actual soulmate, what could possibly go wrong? It seems like the perfect world, an end to sexism, racism, homophobia, increased marriage rate and decreased divorce rate. But not everyone is happy; as for every match, 3 other relationships break up. This novel focuses on 5 characters, exploring their very different experiences of match DNA. Exploring the themes of crime, thriller, romance, death, adultery, science and even science fiction. It’s got it all! 


This novel is another historical rewrite (maybe I’m getting a new favourite genre this year).  This time the modern world exists just as it does now but with one major difference; slavery still exists. Only in the south though, the north is full of free states but racism is far worse than today. There are also ‘free’ people of colour who weren’t born into slavery or managed to form a new identity like the protagonist Jim/Victor. Jim isn’t really free though, his freedom comes at a price as he is forced to work as a tracker of escaped slaves. Ironic when he’s an ex slave himself. This novel really delivers leaving the ending open to interpretation which is an amazing skill in an author. 


Not only is Nicola a lovely woman (look out for my interview with her, coming up in February 2017), she writes an amazing book too! The Phantom Tree is like Philippa Gregory meets HG Wells. It has time travel combined with the delights of Tudor England. A real page turner, this book follows Alison Banestre an orphan in the 16th century who ends up at Wolf Hall with her distance relations the Seymours. Time travel and magic ensue as she suddenly finds herself trapped in the 21st century. What really won me over with this novel was Nicola’s ability to write something which could have been cliched and ridiculous and made it the complete opposite. That was the true magic of this story. 


Choosing the best book of the year was really difficult. Like, I’m not kidding I started writing this two weeks before posting and only made it for my New Year’s Eve deadline tonight. It was a tough decision but I had to go with both head and heart and look at the book which truly emotionally wrecked me. Sarah Pinborough’s Behind Her Eyes is an emotional roller coaster of psychological and paranormal suspense. Creepy, weird, fast paced and gripping, in my earlier review I described it as the brain child of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn and I still stand by that. Sarah Pinborough is an amazing story weaver she doesn’t ‘tell’ it or ‘write’ it, she weaves it. I couldn’t put this book down as it threw everything I thought I knew about the plot into complete doubt and turned it on its head. As for the ending it delivered a horrific twist that I seriously never saw coming. A must read for fans of any genre. This one has it all!