Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews


Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one.

But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.

The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.

Wow! Just…wow! This book was absolutely spectacular.

The characters were so interesting and unpredictable. Samantha was on the outside and seemed pretty content to be on the outside. She had a couple of friends but not in her class. I thought she was a little bit lonely and lost. The bunnies were so creepy! They had their own individual personalities yet functioned more as one singular unit. The bunnies wore twee/cutesy clothing (I own a few garments mentioned in this book. Should I be offended or scared?).

I love a creepy girl gang. This is my favourite trope! The bunnies were almost cult like. They gave and they took away. Just when I felt that they might just be an intense symbiotic group, things escalated pretty dramatically.

I really enjoyed the bleak university setting. A grand and historical campus surrounded by streets filled with danger. This enhanced the isolation that Samantha found herself to be in.

The Smut Salon genuinely had me aghast! I don’t know what I had expected from this book but I hadn’t expected that.

There were points where it wasn’t clear whether events were happening in the reality of the book or just in the characters’ minds. I am a fan of an unreliable narrator where it’s sort of left up to the reader to determine whether things actually happened.

Every single character in this book was dodgy. They were all hiding something and I just loved trying to work out the characters and get to the bottom of what was going on.

I feel like this book had me on edge the entire time! I feel like I just didn’t know what was going to happen next and I kind of loved that.

This was such a hauntingly chilling book. The atmosphere was so creepy, the characters were so interesting, and the plot just kept me guessing! I also loved the subtle nods throughout the book to the film Heathers, which is one of my favourite films! It gave me almost some nostalgia and I just love this sort of dark and creepy book. It reminded me a little of Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth and Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel. Not necessarily in plot but the general vibes and in the way that I loved them all.

Reviews, Vlogs

Reading The Highest and Lowest Rated Books On My TBR

This week I decided to read both the highest and lowest rated books on my unread pile. My never ending and ever growing unread pile!

The highest rated book that I owned (according to Goodreads) was The Ministry of Unladylike Activity by Robin Stevens. Having previously read 4 books by this author, I was excited!

The lowest rated book on my shelf was The Lock In by Phoebe Luckhurst. I got this book in a book-swap and honestly had zero expectations going in as I’d forgotten the plot. I’d also forgotten whether or not my friend who gave me it had enjoyed it. This was a bit of a wildcard read.

I also fell into a bookshop and came out with a wee book haul. I had a whole bunch of reward points and I spent them after some careful consideration.

Coincidentally, they both had gorgeous hardback covers!
Reviews, Scottish Reads

The Wrong Side of Kai

“Vanessa doesn’t believe in serious relationships. Come to think of it, she doesn’t believe in any kind of relationship. But when her casual fling with Harrison ends in the ultimate betrayal, she’s out for revenge.
A leaked video that’s got everyone talking. A mysterious (and hot) new guy at school.
A payback plan. What could go wrong? And what might go right?
The Wrong Side of Kai is a story of broken hearts, forgiveness, trust and vulnerability – and the breathtaking exhilaration of falling in love.”

As the author of this book is from Peterhead which is relatively close to Aberdeen (30 miles), I just expected this book to be set in Scotland. Possibly even set locally! Imagine my surprise and confusion to find that this book took place in Ohio in the USA. It took me a shamefully long amount of time to realise that the book wasn’t set in Scotland. The first hint should have been that the house party was not referred to as an ‘empty’.

I don’t think I would have picked this up had i known it was a US teen drama book. However I did have a good time with this. It was very dramatic and reminded me of so many teen comedies from the 2000s that I enjoyed. I’m particular, it gave me John Tucker Must Die vibes.

The characters were all pretty one dimensional- Vanessa was a party girl who didn’t do relationships, Kai was a bad boy, Chyna was quiet and ridiculously smart, Hunter was an arrogant rich kid. I didn’t like any of the characters, I just felt that I didn’t get to know any of them. There were a few moments where a some character development was hinted at but just felt a little lacking.

The premise of this book was that Hunter leaked an intimate video of Vanessa. Vanessa then embarked on a quest of revenge with Kai. The revenge grew dramatically more and more…illegal. My issue here was why did Vanessa not go to the police? Her dad was a police officer. She had an intimate video leaked without consent and she was underage. That’s two crimes. I know her dad had some issues so she didn’t speak to him but Chyna’s parents? No?

I was very intrigued to know Kai’s reasons for helping Vanessa. I was thinking it may be related to his father’s accident. I found it very unrealistic that Kai would be so willing to break a whole bunch of laws for the reason he did. The revenge felt extremely out of proportion for Kai. For Vanessa, I understood. Personally I’d have been getting him charged and he’d lose his scholarship (rightly so)

The romance in this book was cute. I really enjoyed it and I bought it. I saw those two falling for each other. Predictable? Yes! But also adorable and sweet. I was rooting for those kids!

The level of drama in this book made for a very exciting book while being utterly unrealistic. This was a very fun read and I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. Thai was a very quick read and it was nice to read something by a local author.


Untamed Shore

Baja California, 1979. Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. She’s bored. Terribly bored. Yet her head is filled with dreams of Hollywood films, of romance, of a future beyond the drab town where her only option is to marry and have children.

Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future.

When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. Sharks may be dangerous, but there are worse predators nearby, ready to devour a naïve young woman who is quickly being tangled in a web of deceit.

I am a huge fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, this was my 11th book by this author. I’m a huge fan and I always have a good time with her. I did have a good time with this book.

This took a more noir theme than most of the other books I’ve enjoyed by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. It was giving me similar vibes to Velvet Was the Night. I was excited to enjoy another noir book!

I really enjoyed the characters. I feel like each of the main characters went through a journey and changes/showed their true selves. The wealthy tourists start off being so friendly and welcoming to Viridiana, they invited her to share their home while she worked for them. It seemed as if she was going to have a really enjoyable summer job. So quickly it appeared that there was more to the tourists than met the eye, they weren’t quite the lovely people that they had seemed to be at first. Quickly the woman turned on Viridiana and she was left wondering why. I really enjoyed not knowing who I could trust. I found Viridiana to be a very sympathetic character and I really was rooting for her.

The plot point surrounding the lie that Viridiana told was a little predictable. As in the book really was taking that direction. However the impact of this twist were far less predictable. I found second half of the book to become pretty fast paced and unexpected. Like a whirlwind.

The atmosphere was fantastic. This is one of the things that I love the most about this author. They write books that just ooze atmosphere that complements the vibe of the book. The atmosphere in this book was dark and foreboding. Like something was going to happen. There was a lot of symbolism coming from the sharks and the ocean. It was so clever!

The ending was totally unexpected. I was so sure the book was going to go in a different direction and I’m so happy that it didn’t.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I continue to be a huge fan of this author.

Vlogs, Wrap Ups

January Wrap Up

Here’s my January wrap up! It was a busy wee month for me and I got through 17 books which was way more than I expected

My wrap up vlog 💕

I loved 😻

Before Again – Claire S Duffy*

Killers of a Certain Age – Deanna Raybourn

Legends and Lattes- Travis Baldree

The Woman in the Library- Sulari Gentill

I liked 😺

Only on the Weekends- Dean Atta

Sadie, Call the Polis – Kirkland Ciccone

The Book of Martyrs- Danie Ware, Alec Worley, and Phil Kelly

I found it to be ok

Mayflies – Andrew O’Hagan

The Set Up – Falguni Kothari

Not For Me 😿

Death Checked Out – Leah Dobrinska*
Ghost in Shining Armour- Therese Beharrie*
Ghost Wall – Sarah Moss
House in the Pines- Ana Reyes*
The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey


The Marvellous Land of Oz – L Frank Baum
Sad Cypress – Agatha Christie
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L Frank Baum

Did Not Finish

Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus


Only on the Weekends

Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic–likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father’s job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can’t believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.

But when Mack’s father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It’s awful to be so far away from Karim, and it’s made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.

Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless–and his confidence could just be infectious.

Well this book was absolutely beautifully written! I’ve never read anything by this author before but I had heard great things about Black Flamingo and had actually gone to the library to pick up a copy of that. Unfortunately they didn’t have it but I found this one instead.

This was a tale of young love told through verse. I’ve read a few verse novels and i really enjoy this format.

There were a lot of characters in this book and I did find myself getting a wee bit confused or lost at times. The characters grew so much in this book that I found myself really changing the way that I felt about the main characters. I started liking Mack and feeling suspicious towards Karim (who was referred to as ‘K’ throughout the book).

Mack and K getting together was just so sweet and lovely. It was young love. However, it was so obvious that the two boys were possibly not going to have their ‘walk into the sunset’ moment. Not because of their differences in personality but due to the fact that they wanted different things from each other. Their relationship expectations were so different. Mack wanted to share their love with the world. K wanted to keep their love life private. I wasn’t out and I felt so bad for him as he felt a little bit of pressure.

When Mack moved to Scotland he formed a friendship with Fin and Fin proudly shared their friendship online and basically started to give Mack what they wanted from K.

I just didn’t want any of the characters to get hurt and I was so tense reading this book because I could see that at least one person was going to get hurt.

I felt that the way that Mack treated his friends was pretty authentic based on my own very vague memories of being 15 and having friends in love. It was pretty sad to read at times because Mack seemed to take their friends for granted which was especially sad due to the fact that they’d previously lamented their lack of friends.

I really enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written. It was a very emotional and raw read about young love and a protagonist who just struggled to know what they wanted.


February TBR Goals

This year I started deciding my TBR with the help of my TBR game. This game is still in beta mode while I iron out any issues. This was my second play of the game and it’s still very fun for me.

At least I can hold my intended reads

I’m so excited to see how I get on with these books. Such a mixture of genres! I think February is going to be a very enjoyable reading month…or at least a very varied reading month.

I’m also giddy that I managed to get a book from an active series onto my list. Mainly because I keep forgetting about my series goals. I also managed to get two books from my 23 in 2023 pile. This is month of remembering reading goals!

Scottish Reads, Vlogs

Reading Scottish – January Wrap Up

As it’s almost the end of January, it’s time for me to wrap up all of the Scottish fiction that I’ve read this month. If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll maybe know that I love Scottish fiction and make a conscious effort to read books by Scottish authors every month.

A smaller pile this month, much easier to hold

This month I only read 3 books by Scottish authors. Sort of. I only finished 3 books by Scottish authors because I’m doing a buddy read of Lanark by Alasdair Gray and am only half way through it. So maybe it’s 3.5 books?

This week I’m chatting about;

Lanark by Alasdair Gray

Mayflies by Andrew O’Hagan

Sadie, Call the Polis by Kirkland Ciccone

Before Again by Claire S Duffy*


Reviews, Scottish Reads


Everyone has a Tully Dawson: the friend who defines your life.

In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news.

Check me! Reading another book from my 23 in 2023 pile. This is a level of focus that I will be unlikely to carry on throughout the year but I’m still going to take this an an achievement. I have wanted to read this book for so long, it was on my 2022 to be read pile but I didn’t get to it. I know I put off reading this because I was worried that I just wouldn’t be hydrated enough for all the sobbing I expected.

Well I think I’m going to shock some people by admitting that I didn’t cry. I felt sad but I didn’t cry and I usually cry at everything.

This book was split into two halves- 1986 and modern day.

The first part set was in 1986 during a music festival in Manchester and this part really wasn’t for me. I almost DNF’d this book because I disliked this part of the book so much! We were introduced to the gang and got to witness their excitement at being in Manchester living their dream. I found the characters to be infuriatingly obnoxious and pretentious. It was like when you watch a film and people start dancing and singing in public and you think ‘some people are just trying to eat their dinner in peace/get home from work/enjoy a walk in the park etc’. They were annoying and loud and I really just did not like any of them. I was told to persevere because the book would pay off and I’d regret DNFing.

The second half was much better. The main characters are older but only a little less obnoxious. Tully had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and this half was about him and his plans. This was a tough and very heartbreaking section of the book. It raised some really good questions regarding end of life.

I did like this book but I didn’t love it. I feel like something was missing. Lovable characters. This book would have been absolutely heartbreaking and so powerful if I loved Tully. There was nothing in this book to show me why everyone loved him, I was just told that he was the best. I just needed to see it for myself. I wanted to love this book and I just didn’t.

I know that this book was based on the author’s friend and their life and passing . You can really tell how much the author just loved their friend, that came across.

Reviews, Vlogs

The Woman in the Library

In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.

What a week I have had! I had planned to read and Vlog a specific book but I ended up hating it. Luckily, I was in a position to be able to pick up another book and The Woman in the Library really did deliver! I had planned to take this book to the library but it was closed, however I still had a fantastic experience with this book.

This book definitely deserved a dedicated vlog!

I read this book in under 24 hours. I was just so invested and eager to find out what was going to happen next. This is the first book I’ve selected from my 23 books in 2023 pile and I’m starting strong. I am a huge fan of murder mysteries and feel that this book gave me something extra and really felt fresh and exciting. I utterly adored this book and highly recommend it.