Posted in 2017, Book clubs, Ramblings, Reads of ..., The British Book Challenge, Usborne



HG: Which character, if any, did you relate to?

SMW: It has to be heroine, Storm.  She’s angry and feels abandoned, and I felt that as I wrote her.  But Storm has a big heart and a strong sense of ethics and I hope that comes through.

HG: If you were to enter the trials, what would your motivation be?

SMW: Food!  I will admit to being a complete food lover.  I’m not particularly sporty.  The chances of me completing any of the trials is less than slim, but, if you were waving chocolate at me I would probably have a go.

HG: Comparisons to books like Hunger Games and Jurassic park are inevitable despite your book’s unique storytelling and plot. Are comparisons something you embrace as a writer?

SMW: I am so flattered by those comparisons.  Nowadays people only think of the Jurassic Park film, but the book by Michael Crichton is fabulous, so atmospheric and I hope I’ve captured a little of that in mine.  As for the Hunger Games, I read all those books, I loved the fight-to-the-death element.  So, yes, I’m happy with comparisons!

HG: You are able to write with two distinct voices for both of your main characters; was there a process behind this? 

SMW: No.  I’m very methodical.  I just wrote it in alternate chapters. I found it easy as both characters have very different motivations.

HG: Who would survive longer in the Trials; Katniss Everdeen or Alan Grant?

SMW: Nope!  That’s completely unfair.  You can’t make me choose between them.  Can I go for Chris Pratt’s character in Jurassic World instead please? Owen Grady looks like he could survive just about anything with that twinkling smile.  Can I be controversial though and say I might send a raptor after the heroine…

HG: Going to go all Sherlock on you now. If you were to give your fans three, individual and unrelated, words as clues for the next book, what would they be?

SMW: The title of the next book would have to be one of them: (TO BE REVEALED this weekend on #SundayYA!) It speaks volumes!

The other two I would choose are mystery and surprise.  They’re going to venture into some unexplored territory and get a few shocks along the way!

HG: Normally, this sort of book would have readers clambering for your back catalogue of books. Being your debut novel, everyone will be a little disappointed and be itching for that sequel. What 3 books would you recommend while they wait?

SMW: One I’ve already mentioned Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  Love, love, love it.

The other two are YA.  Warcross by Marie Lu and Invictus by Ryan Graudin.  Read both of these books this year and just loved them.

Sign up for the Usborne YA newsletter here for information about upcoming releases and the extract release for the second Extinction Trials book.

Posted in 2017, Book reviews, Han, Orion, Ramblings, Reads of ...

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Release date: 21.9.2017

Description: Time is running out . . .

Farway McCarthy was born outside of time. With nowhere to call home and nothing to anchor him to the present, Far captains a crew on a dangerous mission into the past.

When he collides with Eliot – a mysterious, secretive girl, whose very appearance raises questions about time itself – Far immediately distrusts her.

But he must take a leap of faith, following Eliot on a race against time, if he is to protect everything he’s ever loved from disappearing forever . . .

Buy here:


Far and Eliot are the most interesting of the group. I don’t find them relatable, but they’re certainly likeable. Far isn’t as much of a hot head as you first expect; he’s Harry Potter but lacking the ignorance of his upbringing.


It’s a wonderful time travelling plot, that doesn’t fall into the trappings that some other books fall into. It has a feeling of the tv show Timeless about it, but it quickly diverts from the individual cases of time travel to a much larger story.


It’s a solid novel, written in third person and doesn’t hold back on the action. It has a delightful way of incorporating swear words that reminds me of Eion Colfer’s Artemis Fowl.

I personally could have done with it being about 100 pages shorter, but I was having to drown out Christmas TV and my father’s chatter so I was pulled out of it a fair bit.

Posted in 2017, ARC, Han, MacMillian Kids UK, Net Galley, Reads of ...

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK Release date: 22.03.18


From Goodreads: Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

Buy it here

My first thoughts

It’s ET meets I am Traitor in this wonderfully thrilling story. I couldn’t put it down.

The Characters

I love Jaya. She is headstrong, wonderfully moral and self assured. This is quite possibly the first LGBTQ+ main character who knows what and who she is and therefore doesn’t divert some of the plot with that exploration. Plus, it’s wonderful to just have a character who happens to be gay and her sexuality have no direct impact upon the plot.

The angel that falls is wonderful and while unable to vocalise her pain, confusion she is able to communicate. I’ll leave the name for you to discover, but it’s a delight and reflective of her innocent charm.

The Plot

The plot is perfectly woven out of a teen thriller nursing an injured angel back to health and a commentary upon religious belief and how we respond to the end of the world.

The sub plot looks at cults that can arise in such situations and the people who join them. It comments upon the challenges people face when drawn in without considering a way out.

It’s a well developed plot that has a balance between humour and tense drama. Something that will keep you up at night; if you start it, you won’t stop till its finished.

The Writing

It’s clear storytelling and third person narrative gives the story a film-like quality. It’s demonstrated best as the action heats up in the later section of the book. It’s a perfect read and I’d gladly welcome a sequel.

Posted in 2017, Book reviews, Han, MacMillian Kids UK, Ramblings, Reads of ...

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz @MacmillanKidsUK @MelissadelaCruz


For fictional characters based upon historical figures, these are all wonderfully crafted and instantly authentic to me. From their social behaviours to their relationships with other characters, it’s how I would expect people of that time to act.

Alex and Eliza are wonderful and I’m drawn to both of them. While there’s initial conflict between them, it’s never dismissed and often referred back to.

I find myself drawn more to Eliza than Alex. I engage with her a little more. However, seeing elements of the story from Alex’s point of view adds tension you would not perhaps get otherwise.


I don’t think I can gush enough about this book. I want to fall into its pages, Potter-style. I love that this book expands upon what is essentially one song within the award-winning play.

It doesn’t skirt around the hardship faced during the time, nor does it romanticise it. However, it adds to the characters, their motivations and the development of the plot.

I love how it ends and where the characters end up. However, It’s left me begging for more.


The writing is truly stunning. It incorporates the past without being too bogged down with heavy language; something, I’m not going to lie, i was worried thats what i was getting myself into.

I loved the two voices presented through an omniscient third person narrative. It gave the book a feeling that it was making a commentary of the letters that were written between the pair.

I cannot wait for the second book, which is due for release on 17th April 2018.

Posted in 2017, Atom, Book reviews, Han, Reads of ...

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press
Release date: 10.10.17


From Goodreads: Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.


Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Buy it here

My first thoughts

Its not a book that people want to read, but it’s a book that everyone needs to read. While there are books that have tread this ground before, they have not brought together the complicity of rape culture in order to educate and inform a reader while delivering an immersive story.
This is a book that I will forever suggest alongside

The Characters

Erin, Grace and Rosina are the trio of girls that are developing their friendships under pressure. Grace feels more like our protagonist, she’s relatable in the fact that we arrive to the story when she does.

Each girl has her own story to tell, her own motivation to make the town listen to them in their mission to reveal the truth about Lucy’s rape. It hits home with each one individually and its different times.

Each of the trio have their time to shine, but it is Erin who I love most. Struggling against her autism diagnosis and her own past, Erin is an insight into the complexity of a condition close to my heart.

The Plot

Its not a comfortable read, but if you’re comfortable you’re missing the point. Much of the action takes place before the novel starts and deals with the fallout within the town.

It’s so shocking how the town responds to the accusation of rape. However, what is most shocking, is the fact that this will happen in many societies. Only a few years ago was a female monk thrown out of her community for being gang raped at the back of a bus while the driver looked on.

There’s an ending that should satisfy all and, most importantly, it will leave you with questions on how you perceive gender equality and rape culture.

The Writing

Amy Reed’s challenging and ground-breaking novel is such a well written jigsaw of a story. It’s engaging and heartbreaking, told with such heart. The story will haunt me for a long time and recalls the spirit of Moxie and the rawness of Asking For It.

Posted in 2017, Book reviews, Han, Hot Key Books, Reads of ...

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks
Release date: 5.9.17


From Goodreads: A funny, moving love story about facing fears hand in hand – one snake/spider/potentially unstable fourth-floor balcony at a time. From acclaimed author of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, Krystal Sutherland.

Esther Solar’s family is . . . unusual. Her father hasn’t left the basement in six years. Her brother is terrified of darkness.

Esther isn’t afraid of anything – because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators are off limits, as are open spaces, crowds, family pets, birds, needles, haircuts, dolls and mirrors.

But when Esther is pickpocketed by her cocky old classmate Jonah Walker, Esther and Jonah become surprising friends. Jonah sets a challenge: every week they must work their way through the world’s fifty most common phobias. Skydiving, horse riding, beekeeping, public speaking, reptile houses – they plan to do it all.

Soon their weekly foray into fear becomes the only thing that keeps them tethered to reality, and to each other. But each is keeping a secret from the other, a secret that threatens to rip them apart.

Buy it here

My first thoughts

I loved this book. It struck such a chord with me it ways I never expected it to. I hated that I started it while I was still working, which meant it became my commuter read, instead of devouring read that it should have been.

The Characters

Esther Solar is a unique and beautiful character who belongs in the wonderful world of Tim Burton. She is charming and delight to have on this journey. As a reader, I feel her pain and her triumphs.

Jonah is a mysterious addition to the narrative. He brings Esther out of her shell and helps her to come to terms with her life. He has his own personal challenge to face too. While it appears to be journeyed without the reader, the bulk of it is felt regardless.

The Plot

Its story is simple in terms of its outset, but is complex in its completion. Esther must complete each one of her fears in order to get her notebook back off Jonah. Having 50 items to be checked off could have become a little tiresome had Krystal chosen to depict every single conquest. Happily, we skip through them in order to progress to the deeper meaning of fears.

By the time the reader gets to the final act, we’re giving some heart wrenching twists that will tear up even the driest of eyes.

The Writing

The book is written in a fresh quirky style that pulls you in from the first sentence and doesn’t let you go, long after you finish reading.

Posted in 2017, Han, Ramblings, Reads of ...

Han’s Queens of Geekdom end of Year Round Up (2017)

This has been inspired/ lovingly stolen from Richard’s (@thehumposhow)  The Humpo Show End of Year Awards [2017]

Favourite Film of the Year
(1) Thor: Ragnarok

(2) IT
(3) Spiderman- Homecoming

Favourite non-2017 Film
(1) The Thing (1982)

(2) Poseidon Adventure (1972)
(3) Hunter for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Favourite Book of the Year
(1) Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

(2) Book of Fire by Mich Kenney
(3) It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Favourite non-2017 Book
(1) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
(2) The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
(3) Replica by Lauren Oliver

Favourite audio Book
(1) Alien: River of Pain by Dirk Maggs and Christopher Golden [narrated by Anna Friel, Philip Glenister, Colin Salmon and Alexander Siddig]

(2) You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day [also narrated by Felicia Day]
(3) Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris [adapted for audio and narrated by Neil Patrick Harris]

Favourite 2017 TV Show
(1) Stranger Things


(2) Rick and Morty
(3) Star Trek: Discovery


Favourite non 2017 Tv Show
(1) White Collar

(2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(3) Private Practice


Favourite Podcasts 2017
(1) The Sunnydale Stacks

(2) Hey, Do You Remember?
(3) The Franchise

Favourite WordPress Bloggers
(1a)  Amy is a woman who I consider a wonderful friend. She never fails to like and comment on my posts; I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her positivity. Her blog is fab and has many guest posts to share the love.
(1b) Hannah, for me comes as a pair with Amy. I feel the three of us bonded over our love of Greys. Again, a brilliant human being who has been there for me so much over the last few months. Her blog is a mix of round ups, readathons and reviews.
(2) Jill is a very supportive reader and has a beautiful blog that looks at YA, graphic novels and best ofs… Jill is currently taking part in Blogmas and is certainly worth a read.
(3)  Kristi Housman’s blog is wonderful, beautiful and contains reviews, monthly book hauls and giveaways.
Favourite Posts from Bloggers

Favourite Posts From Moi
(1) Otherworld Written by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller (  ) This was my first book review and, as a result, rebranded my blog. Not only has it caused my third attempt at breaking into the blog world to be a success, this review got me published on the cover of the book. I’ve never been so happy.
(2) A Greys Anatomy Tag ( ) It was put out there as a bit of fun, but I’m very happy to see that quite a few people have completed it.
(3) Mental Health- The Rabbit Hole and the App that saved me #mentalhealthmatterso ( My first post looking at mental health. I was a bit nervous about the reception of the piece.

Favourite Quotes
(1) “They forgot nothing real can be perfect.”- Otherworld

(2) “A creepy old man cut my hair off!” – Thor Ragnarok
(3) “I may be a pretty shitty boyfriend, but turns out I’m actually a pretty damn good babysitter.” —Steve, Stranger Things Series 2


Twitterers to Follow
(1) Zoe Collins host of the wonderful #nspbookclub, very active blog and vlog. If that wasn’t enough talent, she has added a book subscription box business.
(2) Rachel (@_sectumsemprah) host of #SundayYA
(3) Suze Lavender is worth a follow for the giveaways and access to her blog.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. This isn’t the only post Queens of Geekdom will have over the final month of the year; both myself and Gem will be doing a countdown of our top books of the year and crowing one QoG’s Book of the Year 2017.