Top Ten Tuesday: Love Freebie!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is on the theme of “love”, with no restrictions…so for fun I thought I’d find someone I loved and get ten books THEY loved. As Sean and I had a weekend in Derby where he was unable to escape my wheedling, I took the opportunity to make him my special guest.

me and sean

I bent the rules a little and let him pick full series instead of a books in some cases, because he was angsting about it and let’s face it – we all know that pain.

This, therefore, is Sean’s Top Ten Tuesday – his favourite books (or book series) of all time.

White Wolf – David Gemmell

white wolf

“I was recommended both White Wolf and Legend by David Gemmell by a friend at university – whilst both are brilliant, the character of Skilgannon reminded me a lot of Drizzt Do’Urden from Baldur’s Gate, one of my favourite games I played as a kid. The quality of the character development of Skillgannon from start to finish is amazing, and I would recommend picking it up if you haven’t yet.”

Legend – David Gemmell


“While I grew to prefer Skilgannon as a character (compared to Druss in this book), Legend is still a brilliant book with one of the best battle scenes I have ever read.”

The Empire Trilogy – Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts


“Feist is probably more well known for the Riftwar Saga book Magician than this duet with Wurts. The depth of the individual characters and the world’s political atmosphere is something very akin to Game of Thrones and having a female protagonist is awesome. The experiences Mara goes through from book to book gripped me and I already want to go back and experience them again.”

Gameplayers – Stephen Bowkett

gameplayers 2

(This is the book that I tracked down and bought for Sean for Christmas – find out more about that here! – Kirsty)

“Out of all of the books on the list, Gameplayers is probably the least technically well written – but it still appeals to me, pure because of the nostalgia. I first read the book when I was around the same age as the characters and found myself going through lots of similar experiences that John went through. It also led me to loving RPG games and trying to play Dungeons & Dragons with people when I could. I’m still trying to D&D today!”

Riftwar Saga – Raymond E. Feist


“My grandad Adrian knows of my love of high fantasy and one night in 2005, while my family were visiting, he asked if I had read Raymond E Feist’s Magician. I said no, and that weekend we went out and I got a copy. Before I had travelled home, I had read the entire book, and already bought Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon on Amazon. From there I was hooked on Feist. Whilst Kirsty has issues getting into High Fantasy, i love losing myself in 6 pages picturing the fjord around me.”

(This is one of my biggest bugbears with high fantasy – yes I’m sure that’s a pretty hill and you’ve described it wonderfully and I know that the setting in a lot of stories is a character in its own right but come on.)

The Two Towers – JRR Tolkien

the two towers

“I’ve always favoured the Two Towers in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Events of Helms Deep and since the first book is primarily two chapters of Tom Bombadil and lots of character development and Frodo whining, i found it to be the perfect balance of building up to the events of the third book and having enough context to keep me gripped.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling


“It’s time to admit it, Sirius Black is a man-crush i had throughout Prisoner of Azkaban similar to those man-crushes people supposedly had on Keifer Sutherland when he did 24. Things just kicked off straight from the start in this book, and its always been my favourite in the series.”

Talon of the Silverhawk – Raymond E. Feist


“Talon of the Silverhawk was the final Feist book I really enjoyed – I finished the full Conclave of Shadows saga, but as I got through each book I started to find them harder to read. There are three books that Feist wrote that I’d love to see as a film or series and those are the three in this list. Talon was just sufficiently distancing from the ever present story surrounding Pug and I enjoyed the aspect of how Talon grows from the start of the book.”

The Hunger Games trilogy

hunger games

“The first non-High Fantasy book/series on this list! i picked them up before I had a long weekend from work, and by the time I had to go back all three books were finished. Out of the three, the second book was my favourite. The games like a clock was just such a cool system that I have to give a nod to it.”

The Goosebumps series


“The Goosebumps books my brother’s, but I read them all as I grew up. They are aimed at young teens, so obviously the writing style is focused at that, and they aren’t the type of book I’d be looking to go back and read now as i’m in my mid 20’s (mumble mumble…. 29) but I wanted to capture my full reading history on this list. These were essentially an introduction to reading for me, and they mean a lot to me.


Narnia – C.S Lewis

Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller

Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Luo Guanzhong


In case it’s not obvious, I’m marrying a big fantasy nerd. Thanks Sean!

Lessons from my mother.

It’s my mum’s birthday today! Normally on these occasions people post some poetic quotes on Facebook, perhaps on top of a picture of a Minion. Or just a paragraph on how much they love their mother. Maybe a card or a text message if they’re not into their social media.

Surprise! My glass heart rejects any overt emotional display, so I’m not going to do that. Aside from the card. I’m not a total animal.

I have a feeling that, having kept her questionably competent daughter alive for 26 years, my mum would prefer if I shared some of the most important (or at least memorable) things that I’ve picked up from her in my lifetime.

In fact, I think she’d like it about as much as she likes cake.


Mummy Mac’s Life Lessons

You have to be able to taste the gin in a gin and tonic

If you’ve ever had a drink mixed by my mother, you’ll know this one first hand. She once complained to the dude giving out samples in Malaga airport because there wasn’t enough gin in her G&T. It was 8am.

I left.

The wine buying priority goes percentage -> price -> anything else

I am frequently caught looking like the world’s biggest jake in the supermarket. If you see someone methodically turning round bottles of Pinot Grigio in the wine aisle, it’s going to be someone in my family. Take your bets on which one!

The horn in the car is not just to alert other drivers to your presence

Let me take this opportunity to apologise to my driving instructor if he reads this, because I have – whether through genetics or social conditioning – adopted my mother’s attitude. Someone cuts you up at a roundabout? Horn. Someone pulls out of a junction a little too close to you? Horn. Someone generally being a dick on the road? Yep. I’ve been in the car with my mother and she’s overtaken someone driving obnoxiously slowly with her hand on the horn the whole way.

Never trust a driver in a flat cap and a Volvo

I think she got this one from her driving instructor. I’ve never actually come across a flat cap wearing Volvo driver, so I can’t vouch for the integrity of their driving, but every time I see someone in a Volvo I automatically double check their headwear. Just in case.

You shouldn’t kill insects when they come into the house

You have to understand what an internal struggle this is. I’m entomophobic to the highest degree. The only insects I can tolerate are flies and occasionally wasps. Anything else turns me into a weeping snotty mess.

My mother has drilled into me that it’s cruel to kill them, which makes me feel an enormous amount of guilt when my first reaction is to get the Dyson, attach the longest selection of cleaning tools I have and suck the offending beastie up. Now I usually get Sean to get rid of them. Or whichever of my friends happens to be coming round.

I’m not entirely sure Mummy Mac’s approach of “trap them carefully under a glass, carry them gently to the upstairs window and lob them out” is any more humane, but I’ll humour her.

The Eighties were the peak of music

If I’m ever looking for a decent playlist with very few songs I’ll need to skip on it, I’m almost definitely going to the 80s. Much like the car horn thing, I’m not sure if this is something I’m genetically engineered to enjoy or if I’ve been carefully trained through years of background music, but now that I’m in my 20s we both love an 80s night.

Unless they play Come On Eileen. I have never seen anyone have a reaction as visceral to a song as my mum does to Come On Eileen.

Happy birthday Mummy Mac – you’ve taught me everything I know to be a slightly functioning adult. Especially when it comes to alcohol.

me and maw

Life update: not dead, ate potatoes.

Remember when I was ill earlier in the week? I’m still ill. At least now I feel like a human being and I’m eating plain cooked pasta and mashed potato like it’s the best thing on the planet. It’s so boring. I crave sauce.

Tomorrow is First Day At New Job Take Two, since I had to call in sick on Tuesday (which should have been my first day) and then push the start date back by a full week, much to my eternal shame. It was, however, a good decision, considering I haven’t eaten any real food for a whole week and spent several days wishing for death.

The most exciting day was Friday (Saturday?) –  I ended up reluctantly going to A&E after seven hours of chest pains that Gaviscon, indigestion tablets, ginger ale, milk, water, ice, painkillers and making myself throw up failed to conquer. I was there for four hours, during which time:

  • I was told I probably had indigestion (I nearly melted away from shame)
  • I spent a lot of time on my own on a trolley, because I told Sean I wouldn’t be long and to just wait for me in the reception. HA.
  • Some absolute rocket was going off his head at everything. The doctors, the fact that he was in hospital, the fact that he had to get a blood test, the fact that the blood test hurt, the fact that his wife (I presume it was his wife?) wouldn’t let him go home…Terry, u ok hun?
  • I had a bunch of tests, and was given my own “personalised bracelet”. This was suspicious, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was deficient in just about everything, so I thought maybe they were going to hard reset me with a drip and send me on my way.


  • Was told that my liver something gall bladder something in my blood test was elevated, and they were going to keep me in for observation.
  • Five minutes later I was told that after speaking to the surgeon (THE SURGEON, I’m thinking in alarm, I thought I had indigestion?) he was happy for me to go home.
  • Five minutes later the surgeon called the nice doctor back and said he wanted to come down and speak to me.
  • Eventually managed to escape after being lined up for a high priority MRI scan at some point to double check I haven’t grown a cheeky wee gallstone in the past three month.

My life is WILD. Imagine what I’ll get up to when I can do things like “stand up” and  “leave the house”.

We’ll find out tomorrow. Hopefully. Please.


I am so miserable, please send me ice lollies.

This week was going to be so good. I had a load of blog posts scheduled, I’d started writing a couple of other things, I’d had a good weekend away in Derby, I was ready for my first day at my new job…

Within a couple of hours of being home on Monday night, I was horizontal turned into the worst stomach bug I have had for about fifteen years. This morning I really wanted someone to come and put me down. It’s horrendous.

I suspect norovirus, but I’m not allowed to confirm with the doctor or mix with the general population. Probably just as well as everyone I see is starting to morph into walking chicken drumsticks, like in a cartoon.

I am SO hungry.

So yeah, I had to push start date of new job back after calling in sick on what should have been my first day. I’ve had to abandon my first week of a concrete streaming schedule because I can hardly stand up and look like death awoken. I haven’t been able to go and visit my granny because I’m Patient Zero. I haven’t eaten for four days, and for someone who’s obsessed with food this is the worst.

The only point of this post is because I’m feeling sorry for myself and I’ve bored Sean to death already by telling him every ten minutes how hungry I am and how miserable I am and how terrible I feel. Normal service will resume soon. In the meantime, please send me ice lollies and anything else that won’t turn me inside out when I eat it. Thank you very much.

The medical care has been top quality, however.


Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

I feel like I’ve mentioned most of these before, which gives you some idea of how miserably extensive my TBR list is. Maybe I’ll get so sick of myself that I’ll do something about it. Advance!

Wing Jones – Katherine Webb

wing jones

The fact that I’m putting this on a TBR list AGAIN brings me skin-crawling shame. I’ve had this since the Edinburgh Book Festival last year and its sprayed edges keep looking at me from the cabinet in the living room. Once I’ve read The Fandom, Wing Jones. I promise.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

Bought Six of Crows before going to Florida last year, got about five pages in on the red eye flight home and fell asleep after a gin and a dose of Kalms. I will read it again without any of these factors in the mix and hopefully stay conscious.

The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon


This is one of my two longest-standing TBR books. I picked this up with Orangeboy and The Hate U Give, read THUG and then never quite got round to starting the other two. Oops.

Orangeboy – Patrice Lawrence


See above.

Les Miserables – Victor Hugo AND The Complete Fiction of HP Lovecraft


Look at the cover of that Lovecraft anthology. Every time I pick it up to read it I end up staring at it instead.

Sean bought me that glorious hardback edition of Les Mis for a birthday present after he saw me eyeing it up. This means it looks really pretty in the bookcase, where it’s been sitting ever since. Multiple people have told me it’s even more of an experience than the musical, so I really have no excuse.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

wuthering heights

I always felt like a horrible English student because I couldn’t stand the “classics”. I found them chronically dry, far too wordy and very difficult to read. In my old age (ha) I’m finding that I too am chronically dry, far too wordy and very difficult to read, and therefore I’m more inclined to give them another go.

Doctor Sax – Jack Kerouac

doctor sax

I don’t even remember buying this, but I loved On The Road (see last week’s TTT) so I’m assuming that was my motivation. Kerouac is one of my favourite writers, so I know this is going to be good…I just wish I didn’t keep forgetting I actually own it.

Tender Is The Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald

tender is the night

Similarly, I’m fairly sure I bought this because I loved The Great Gatsby, but have not read.

I must stop doing this.


Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

am i normal yet

I’ve never read any Holly Bourne books. Grab your pitchforks. Then chase me into a shop and force me to buy it without being distracted by notebooks and shiny covers. Thanks!


Is there a support group for people like me? Cause I think I need one.

Being Excellent.

I thought about this post while I was lying on a trolley in the hall of my local leisure centre, with a tube and a tourniquet. The man next to me called it a “civic duty”.

It’s not a duty. You don’t HAVE to give blood. Some people can’t, for reasons medical or arbitrary. But it is a good thing to do, and I can do it.

I’ve become more aware over the past twelve months of my own incredibly fortunate position. I’m white, able-bodied, financially comfortable. I live in Scotland which is a pretty swell place to be at the moment. I own my own house and drive my own car. I was able to walk away from a job that was damaging my mental health without any financial repercussions. I don’t face any discrimination for my religious beliefs or sexuality. Privilege seems to be a dirty word right now, but I’m not too dumb to recognise my own, and the more I do the more I feel like I have to give something back.

Maybe it is a duty, after all.

If you’re in the same position I am, here are some of the things you can do to be an all-round swell human being.

Give blood

I’ve already said that some people are excluded from this, but if you can, you should. It’s painless, they take a TINY bagful and I’ve never seen anybody pass out dramatically in a sports hall. Worst that’ll happen is you’ll be tired and have a slight headache. Go in the evening and then sleep it off. You’ll save a life.

You can learn more here, or here if you’re in Scotland.

Join the organ donor register

This one is EASY. You don’t even have to do anything except fill in a tiny form and then tell your loved ones that you’ve done it. The rest happens after you die. It might actually be the least amount of effort required to do anything ever. I’ve had naps that were more taxing.

You can learn more here.

Donate to your local food bank

Yes, we shouldn’t have food banks. The sad fact is that we do, and people rely on them. a A lot of supermarkets have donation points and when I go shopping, I like to buy two or three things to throw in. Doesn’t have to be food, and trust me, EVERYBODY buys tins. Go for something else. UHT milk. Toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo. Condiments. Tea and coffee. Biscuits.

And actually, while we’re on the subject:

Donate sanitary products to your local food bank.

Surprise! Food banks don’t just give out food. Period poverty is real, people, and take it from me: those are NOT something you can go without. AT ALL. EVER. They’re not a luxury. Please throw some Always in there. Do it for me.

Support small content creators

So YouTube recently (I suspect in response to the Logan Paul shitshow) changed the goalposts for the criteria YouTubers were required to meet in order to monetise their channels. This means that for a lot of smaller content creators,

A lot of people make videos because they’re passionate about what they’re talking about. A lot do it because they love the community and want to be part of it. But for some it is an income source and one that makes a big difference, so to have that suddenly cut off is a big deal.

So whatever your hobby is, be it books, games, competitive llama grooming, whatever it is, I guarantee that there are a bunch of smaller, hobbyist YouTubers making videos purely for the love. Step outside the big guns and look for some of them. You’ll never find a more enthusiastic, unconditional community.

Review something

I don’t mean start a blog and start waxing lyrical about books. Literally take a minute or two to give a book you loved or a game you played for hours or a really cool artist a review on Amazon, or Goodreads, or Etsy. It’s the easiest (and most valuable) way to give something back to a crea

If you have them on Twitter, drop them a note as well telling them! I’m not even an author and every time someone tells me they look forward to reading my posts I get a warm fuzzy feeling that melts my cynical heart.


What have I missed? What else can I be doing to give something back? Let me know in the comments!

Time to Talk: about triggers.

Today is Time to Talk Day, a day for everyone – not just those who struggle – to talk about mental health. On the table: one of my personal bugbears, trigger warnings.

For a start, if you haven’t already, try this article from The Atlantic that circulated a few years ago. In relation to the increasing use of trigger warnings on content that might be uncomfortable, it claims that:

A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.

To this I say: bollocks.


Let’s get this out of the way first: there is a difference between something being a trigger and something making you uncomfortable. I have a Twitter account, I can’t help but see some amount of trash online every day that makes me very uncomfortable.

I’m not triggered.

Remember when you learned about the First World War in school? Shell shock? Reactions to loud noises? Yup. PTSD. Sexual assault. Violence. Accidents. Anxiety symptoms. Flashbacks. Panic attacks. Triggers.

When I was fourteen years old I had a mental breakdown. Around the same time I watched The Exorcist and my warped, malfunctioning brain led one into the other, crashing down around me, until any reference to the film was enough to give me a serious case of The Anxieties.

Tubular Bells? I’m leaving the room. GIF of creepy girl vomiting that weird green crap all over the priest? Probably going to cry. Even saying the title dried my mouth out faster than a nasty hangover.

imagesEven searching for that picture still makes me vaguely uneasy.

For me, it was relatively easy to avoid anything that was going to trigger this reaction, as it was unlikely I was going to bump into Linda Blair in Tesco shopping for crucifixes and pea soup. But things like sexual assault and violence that are becoming more of a talking point – the #MeToo movement, for example – and it’s becoming increasingly easy to stumble across something that can cause a similar reaction in people who’ve had a traumatic experience.

Trigger warnings are there to give people a warning, an opportunity to prepare themselves, a chance to make sure they’re going to be OK.

They’re not an easy way out, an excuse to coddle a bunch of millennials into avoiding things they think might be difficult, creating a society of easily-offended cotton wool fluffs.


You wouldn’t laugh at someone who served in active combat for suffering from anxiety and flashbacks if a car backfires in their street. If you agree with that but in the same breath accuse a sexual assault survivor of being soft because they want the option to avoid or be aware of something that might cause them distress then you have problems I’m not even sure I can be bothered to unpick.

Putting warnings on things isn’t a sign of a soft society, it’s a sign of an educated one. We know that some things have an adverse reaction on peoples’ physical health, we know that some things have an adverse reaction on peoples’ mental health. It’s like saying “well you shouldn’t have allergy warnings on food”.

I’d like to invite anyone who thinks that to come and look after me when I’ve accidentally eaten something with gluten in it.

You can, of course, argue that some allergies are fatal. Guess what? Bad mental health days are fatal too. Suicide kills more people every day than anaphylaxia. The fact that we aren’t treating them equally as seriously is a sign that that we still have miles to go.


In conclusion, don’t laugh at trigger warnings. Don’t take the piss. Don’t slam your hands on the table and claim you’ve been triggered because you disagree with something. Don’t be an ass. Don’t do it.

Since it’s Time to Talk Day, DO: talk about mental health, ask your friends how they’re doing, share this post if you think I’m making a modicum of sense.

It’s mental health, my dudes. It’s a big deal.


If you want to read an awesome YA book on PTSD and what triggers can actually do, let me point you in the direction of The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson.

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Stock images from Pexels.

Throwback Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Take to a Desert Island

Surprise! I’ve decided that when I’m struggling with a Top Ten Tuesday topic instead of dropping something mediocre (my greatest fear) I’ll go back into the Broke and the Bookish archive and pick a previous topic instead. Won’t find me slacking, no sir.

Since the very first prompt was “Childhood Favourites” and I’m pretty sure I talked about mine not long ago, I’m going for the top ten “Books I’d Take to a Desert Island”. Commence!

On The Road – Jack Kerouac

on the road

If the words in On The Road were a drink, they’d be a good gin, just the right amount of tonic, bit of lime, ice and a sprig of mint. And I’d put my entire face into it forever.

The Singing – Alison Croggon

The Singing

Hello. If we haven’t already met, I’m the one that bangs the Pellinor drum at every opportunity I get.

The Singing is the final book in the series, but it’s my favourite. I finished The Crow on a train and spent some time furiously tagging onto crap WiFi to download The Singing with the last of my student loan money because I couldn’t bear the idea of having to WAIT and go to a BOOKSHOP before I could read it. It was a good decision.

I think I might need a Pellinor anthology just in case.

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

Radio Silence

Radio Silence is the book I wish I’d had in school, when I was struggling with who I was and who I wanted to be. Plus I want to pick Aled up and put him in my pocket.

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson


Laurie Halse Anderson was my introduction to YA, when I was a kid and I read the Wild at Heart series. One of my favourite series when I was younger, and I made A Loud Noise when I realised later – after I’d read Speak – that LHA was the author.

If you haven’t yet read Speak, please read Speak. USYA gets an unfairly bad rap as being Not Realistic and Not Relatable, but Melinda is a character that will get under EVERYONE’S skin regardless of whether you can relate to her trauma or not.

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders

The Outsiders is one of my favourite books of all time. Grubby, gritty, written by a teenage girl, I read the whole thing on the plane back from Florida last year. Essential reading for anyone with even the slightest interest in YA as a genre. Stay gold.

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

the hobbit

I’ve had the full LOTR set of books for like, EVER, and I’ve never managed to get stuck into them (high fantasy generally tends to not be my thing) so being trapped on a desert island with a finite amount of reading material seems like decent encouragement.

Insomnia – Stephen King


The Shining is one of two books that has ever actually terrified me (the other is by Joe Hill, King’s son, so go figure) but I love Insomnia. I’m due a reread as I’ve only tackled it once, but it was lingering sinister…ness rather than outright freaky freaky, and it’s long so it’ll be good for afternoons if there’s sharks or something and I can’t go swimming.

The Disaster Artist

the disaster artist

The Room is the pinnacle of cinema. Nothing will ever compare. Second only to the viewing experience is the book about the making of the film by actor Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell.

Never has a book had me in full on tears of mirth like The Disaster Artist. Definitely watch the film first, but if you enjoy trying not to howl on public transport then this is the book for you.

I keep forgetting that there’s a pretty well rated film adaptation and I didn’t catch it at the cinema, so that’s on my list. Oh hi Mark!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone


As if I’d ever not take a Harry Potter book. If I’m only going to take one, it’s going to be my signed first edition for pure nostalgia. Might be difficult to keep it in good condition on a desert island, though.


What would you take to a desert island? Why are we on a desert island? Does anyone know how to build a boat? Let me know!

Book Review | Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

eleanor oliphant

This is a brief review, but for a good reason: I don’t want you to be reading it. I want you to go out of your house, go to a bookstore, BUY THE BOOK and read it instead. Go. Now.

If you’re still here, I can only assume you’re snowed in, gravely ill or temporarily incapacitated, so sure, read this while you recover.

First of all, don’t be put off by the fact that, for a decent chunk at the beginning of the book Eleanor Oliphant is supremely annoying. It’s immediately obvious that she’s an unreliable narrator, but it’s also immediately obvious that there’s a lot to unpick.

Her interaction with a number of other characters – Raymond (the IT guy at her work), Sammy (the pensioner they help in the street) and her mysterious musician, only serve to highlight the difference between being “Completely Fine” and Eleanor’s idea of Completely Fine. It’s a gut-wrenching, life affirming, thoroughly relatable masterpiece of a journey. I promise you that by the time you get not even halfway through, Miss Oliphant will break your heart, put it back together and then break it again.

Recommended for: anyone with eyes and feelings. Seriously. Read it.

Book Review | Late Night Partners by Fennel Steuert

Good morning folks! This time I’m looking at Late Night Partners by Fennel Steuert. I was provided with a free e-copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review – thanks Fennel!

late night partners

Late Night Partners is an urban fantasy novel set in an American cityscape, centring on Roger (an average guy looking after his paranoid great uncle) and Doris (pictured – a vampire who’s escaped from the slave trade). It’s really very refreshing to not have vampires painted as paler-than-pale Snow White characters that hang around in castles or sparkle a lot.

You know what I’m talking about.

Urban fantasy is in my top genres anyway, so I was already going in strong, but I found it creepy and full of heart. Roger for me was essentially the companion in Doctor Who. taking on the role of the reader in his confusion and eventual resignation as he gets drawn deeper and deeper into the strange new world that so closely resembles his own.

Steuert’s descriptions made the locations so real I could almost taste the dew in the air, and while there’s a lot of really sublime lines, the idea that “in this particular universe, managing to be OK was kind of grand” was my favourite, because come on, who DOESN’T feel like that at the moment.

Put that on my gravestone.

One thing I would have enjoyed is a more in-depth background on some of the characters, namely Mab and Argyll, as I found some of their scenes a little confusing. Mab, Argyll and Doris could definitely have a book each on their pasts and the journey that led them to cross paths with Roger. It’s a rich and sinister background.

Overall, I enjoyed it! Fennel Steuer is also the author of Reality and Me All Capeless, and I’ll definitely be picking that up at some point. If you want to jump into Late Night Partners, the Kindle download link is here.

That’s all for today. PBPR out!