BOOK REVIEW: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Review from Hayley Shephard)

Simply put, The Invasion of the Tearling was an awesome read.

the-invasion-of-the-tearlingThe book is one giant social commentary and while Erika Johansen’s world is dystopian, it doesn’t follow the standard model. It’s also a must-read novel for all the feminists out there.

Following the standard dystopian model I truly believed the following: this world either exists on an uncharted island or this “better world” is actually a government experiment, and the inhabitants have been made to think otherwise. It never once occurred to me when reading the first book that Kelsea’s sapphires made the journey to this world, which is referred to as ‘the Crossing’, possible. Cheers to Erika Johnson for thinking of something like this. No matter how unusual, I just need something new from time to time.

the-queen-of-the-tearlingI loved how Erika Johansen used the connection between the sapphires and ‘the Crossing’ to convey the importance of our current fight against issues such as like violence against women, equal rights, the power of the privileged and the right not to be persecuted because of who you are and what you believe in. If we don’t look at what is bad in our world now, it continues until it becomes nearly impossible to fix.

And let’s face it, if we could alter time, we would fix parts of the past that still have a destructive presence. No matter how much you try and escape it, time has a way on creeping up on us, even if you have the ability to cross through into a more primitive era. If you’ve read the first book, you know the Tearling isn’t exactly all that crash-hot.

There are a lot of double meanings and hidden messages in The Invasion of the Tearling. But I’ve come to enjoy trying to find out what Erika’s trying to hide. I’ve already come up with theories of my own. I really need the 3rd book to confirm my theories and finally discover who Kelsea’s father is (yes, we still don’t know).

But then again, maybe I am not the only reader who needs answers…

Grab your copy of The Invasion of the Tearling here

the-invasion-of-the-tearlingThe Invasion of the Tearling

The Tearling Trilogy : Book 2

The breathtaking sequel to the international bestseller The Queen Of The Tearling – that was hailed by the Daily Mail as ‘like Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games meets Pulp Fiction’ . . .

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighbouring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion.

But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling – and that of Kelsea’s own soul – may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

In this dazzling sequel to her bestselling debut The Queen Of The Tearling, Erika Johansen brings back favourite characters, including the Mace and the Red Queen, and introduces unforgettable new players, adding exciting layers to her multidimensional tale of magic, mystery and a fierce young heroine.

Grab your copy of The Invasion of the Tearling here

REVIEW: The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn (Review by Hayley Shephard)

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthythe-secrets-of-sir-richard-kenworthy was a fun, engaging read. While at times I was filled with anxiety for the characters I was also laughing really hard at other moments. And trust me, it takes something really special to make me laugh hard.

That’s what I love about regency books and authors today, especially Julia Quinn. The stories reflect humans that are just as strange, endearing and awkward as their modern counterparts. I am not saying that they are more romantic than stories written actually during the era or a contemporary romance, it’s just nice to read.

The heroine, Miss Iris Smythe-Smith, has been forced into marriage with a man called Sir Richard Kenworthy. And he’s a man with a secret. But what is it?

Julia Quinn kept me guessing. She lulled me into a false sense of security. She kept me entertained, and I forgot to search for clues. Not only was the writing so descriptive but the banter, the interplay between the characters, was perfect for two people who are trying to deal with what was before them. So awkward is it at times that I was both bordering on hysterics and wincing, covering my eyes.

What’s the secret? How did Iris find herself in this mess? I guess you’ll just have to read it and find out.

As for me, this book will definitely be re-read.

Grab a copy of The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy here


The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy

by Julia Quinn

From New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn comes the final, dazzling installment of a four-book series featuring the Smythe-Smiths.

Sir Richard Kenworthy has less than a month to find a bride. He knows he can’t be too picky, but when he sees Iris Smythe-Smith hiding behind her cello at her family’s infamous musicale, he thinks he might have struck gold. She’s the type of girl you don’t notice until the second-or third-look, but there’s something about her, something simmering under the surface, and he knows she’s the one.

Iris Smythe-Smith is used to being underestimated. With her pale hair and quiet, sly wit she tends to blend into the background, and she likes it that way. So when Richard Kenworthy demands an introduction, she is suspicious. He flirts, he charms, he gives every impression of a man falling in love, but she can’t quite believe it’s all true. When his proposal of marriage turns into a compromising position that forces the issue, she can’t help thinking that he’s hiding something . . . even as her heart tells her to say yes.

About the Author

During her senior year at Harvard College, Julia Quinn (often known in cyberspace as JQ) realized that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. This depressed her. In fact, the only thing that saved her sanity during this dark, dreary time was the fact that none of her friends knew, either. So she sat down with a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a good book and decided to figure out what to do.

Getting a job seemed too difficult. She wouldn’t mind HAVING a job, but she certainly didn’t know how to get one.

Law school seemed too annoying. Everyone hated lawyers, and Julia liked to be more…

Grab a copy of The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy here


REVIEW: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Review by Hayley Shephard)

the-queen-of-the-tearlingThe book world is abuzz with the publication of The Queen of the Tearling. Likened to Game of Thrones for its epic setting and brutal violence, it has poignant moments that are reminiscent of the era of Queen Elizabeth Ist, and tells the story of a burdened girl in a dystopian world. Is it any wonder why I couldn’t stop reading? And why Emma Watson has chosen to play the lead in the upcoming film, despite hinting that she would steer clear from another big budget adaptation?

Kelsea Glynn is 19, and after the death of her mother, has reached the age whereby she can take the throne, currently occupied by her uncle, who has brought destruction to the land of the Tearling under the influence of a nearby nation. Kelsea was placed away from the reach of evil as an infant and treated in her formative years as a future ruler who needs to survive to see that crown put on her and not her head on the floor. But will Kelsea grow to become the leader she was destined to be?

The book delves deeper into the mindset of someone who has always been beaten down and looked down upon by those who remember her Mother; a vain woman whose rule made Tearling ripe for the taking. Kelsea wants to change the lives of her people but her dreams remain unfulfilled, stopped by those who have only taken oaths to escort her to safety and no further.

Kelsea could be any one of us, but while we don’t have to try and survive and rule at the same time, many of us have to take things on the chin and accept that we can’t have everything we want, especially when it is at the expense of other things in life.

Johansen, Erika2

Author: Erika Johansen

Over the course of the book Kelsea battles against all odds to fight back against the overshadowing country of Mortmesme, which expects large and regular shipments of Tearling men and women of all different ages, a legacy from her Mother’s troubled rule. Kelsea is not strikingly beautiful like her mother, but within her there is a fight she never had. She also has a type of crystal, a crystal that makes her powerful and yet she fears the implications of using it.

Erika Johansen’s writing style is dense, full of riddles and puzzling stories. I was filled with questions. Who is her father? What is this crystal? Who is that ruling bitch from Mortmesme really?

Clearly I already need the second book, so I can start to see Kelsea grow and change into maybe not only a great leader, but a just one.

And I guess Emma Watson feels the same way.

Grab a copy of The Queen of the Tearling here

REVIEW: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Review by Hayley Shephard)

the-cuckoo-s-callingFrom the outset I want to say I’m a HUGE J.K. Rowling fan, but I’ve never really been a fan of crime fiction, and as I started reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I wondered if Rowling would win me over. With the words over-flowing I asked myself whether I would be able to keep track or even remember the many characters who could possibly be attached to the apparent suicide of one model named, Lula Landry.

But as I kept reading I found myself more interested in the story and more eager to follow Detective Cormoran Strike, in his quest to find the killer, which at first even he is sceptical exists.

The abundance of adjectives and verbs helped me to better picture the characters and crime scenes that inhabit this modern-day London, or more specifically, the celebrity obsessed world that we live in and those that covet its riches.jkrowling

After each chapter I drew my own conclusions from the evidence presented to me through the detailed detective work of Cormoran Strike. I got that eerie feeling you get from certain characters and that pity you develop for others. These feelings helped me to group together my three final suspects.

Of my three suspects, one was the killer, so I was certainly proud of myself. But I guess that is what crime novels are all about: they present you with many suspects that you must break-down, but you are still left with a few.

Once again, J.K. Rowling has done it. Post Harry Potter, there’s been a big hole in my life that I needed to fill. Rowling has not only filled it, but crime fiction now has a new fan.

Click here to buy The Cuckoo’s Calling from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

Want a signed copy of J.K. Rowlings’ The Casual Vacancy?

Just buy a copy of J.K. Rowling’s The Cuckoo’s Calling and go in the draw!

Click here to buy The Cuckoo’s Calling from Booktopia,
Australia’s Local Bookstore

King Hall by Scarlett Dawn: A Review by Booktopia’s Hayley Shephard

Booktopia’s Hayley Shephard is one of the most prolific readers. Here she reviews Scarlett Dawn’s new ebook King Hall.

King Hall is a fantasy, full of love, friendship and heartbreak.

Sound familiar? Well it’s not.

The main character Lily Ruckler, is a hybrid: born from a vampire father and a shifter mother. While it’s surprising that these two types of creatures mix in this story, you come to find it is actually taboo – well sort of. The idea of mixing these two completely different creatures, who have long been enemies in the realm of fantasy, is what makes this story so unique and interesting.

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