Review: Quality DNA ★★★.5

Quality DNA by [Martin, Beth]

I received a free copy of Quality DNA through BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.

Quality DNA tells the story of a future in which a strict one child policy is enforced in the US. Both parents are sterilised following the birth of their child, and don’t have another opportunity to have a child. When cases of men fathering more than one child become more common, Irene investigates the cause of this unusual trend.

This was a really interesting idea. China has had a one child policy (and a two child policy), so as the population increases a future that restricts the number of children people can have doesn’t seem farfetched, but isn’t something that I’ve come across in other books.

It took me a while to get into this, but once I did I enjoyed it. I thought the science seemed a bit iffy in a couple of places but overall most of it was reasonable.

Although this was described as science-fiction I would probably put it as a crime/mystery. The investigation, and going undercover with the FBI wouldn’t be out of place in any TV crime drama. I enjoyed this part of the plot, while parts of it were complicated, it kept me really interested in the story as I tried to guess what was going on.

I’d recommend this book more to fans of crime mysteries than science fiction fans, but it was an interesting take on a future that I haven’t read in other books.

Reading This Week: 29 April 2019

I’m back in the UK and almost back in Scotland. My holiday was amazing, but very full on so sadly did not leave much time for reading, or any free time in general, so I only managed nine books, including two review copies. Reviews for these will be coming in the next couple of weeks.

I’m back in work this week and have my orchestra concert in two weeks so it’s already looking pretty busy for the next fortnight (in a good way).

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Martian by Andy Weir
For We Are Many by Dennis E Taylor

I haven’t managed to finish either of the readathons I was doing this month yet, so I’m hoping to read Stardust, The Martian and For We Are Many in the next couple of days so that I can at least be done with the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon on time. I still have five books to read for Unsolvedathon so I won’t finish that in April, but I am going to leave the remaining books near the top of my TBR.

Cover of Exile by Glynn Stewart
Cover of THe One by John Marrs
Cover of Ink

I also posted about the Avengers Readathon before my holiday, so I’ll be starting on my TBR list from this. This runs until the middle of May, and only has seven books so hopefully I’ll finish this on time.

I also need to watch Avengers Endgame (probably Thursday) and catch up on Game of Thrones (as soon as I get home) as urgent things on my to do list.

What are you reading this week? If you were doing any readathons have you managed to finish them on time?

Review: Circe ★★★

I’ve seen a lot of reviews raving about Circe and it won a Goodreads Choice Award last year, so when I needed a book about a mythical creature for a readathon, this seemed perfect. This tells the story of Circe, daughter of Helios, her witchcraft, exile, and beyond. Sadly this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

This book didn’t tell us anything new. I love mythology but this didn’t feel like a story connecting me to the characters. I didn’t feel anything towards Circe, and I didn’t feel like there was a connection between the different parts of her story. This book moved through her life without drawing me in. If I’m reading a story, rather than a book of mythology, I want the author to engage me with the characters, but this book didn’t create any new emotions.

I thought the book was fine, but nothing special.

Review: Twisted ★★★★★


1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

Goodreads Blurb

There is a lot of hype around this book and it is well deserved. This book is amazing. I borrowed a copy from the library and I could not put it down. I watch The Orville on Thursday evenings with my housemate and I was annoyed that I had to stop reading. I stayed up late to finish it (always a risky decision with a cat who likes to wake me up to see if he can get breakfast earlier). My only thought when I finished was ‘holy fucking shit’. I bought my own copy on my way to work the next morning, because I had to own this so I could read it again.


I’m not usually a fan of books that start near the end of the story, and then go back to the start of the story, but it worked wonderfully well in this book. This lets the reader make their own assumptions and conclusions, and then changes them multiple times throughout the book. Twisted is an apt title, as this book is full of twists. I hadn’t fully recovered from one before another came along. If you think you’ve figured everything out, you’re wrong.

I didn’t particularly like the characters in this book when I first started reading it, and only slightly more by the end, but I think that’s part of what made this book so good. Steve Cavanagh creates characters that are human and flawed, and that you root for regardless of your feelings towards them. 

The book describes the success of JT LeBeau’s novels being down to the fact that they’re the type of books that when the reader has finished, they immediately tell e they know ‘You need to read this book’, and Twisted creates the same reaction.

I can’t say too much about Twisted without being spoilers, but if you haven’t read it yet, you should get yourself a copy as soon as possible. This is the best book I’ve read so far this year. 

Review: We Were Liars ★★★★

Goodreads Blurb

We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
You decide.


This isn’t the type of book I would usually read, but I really enjoyed it. I’d been considering buying if for a while, and I finally bought it, and read the entire thing in one sitting.

We Were Liars tells the story of Cady and her cousins, ‘The Liars’. They spend every summer together. Cady has suffered migraines ever since ‘the accident’ in Summer 15, but none of her family will talk about it. What are they hiding from her?

This book was a very short read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It kept me curious all the way through the book about what had happened. The writing style was unusual, and I wasn’t a huge fan, but overall I liked the tone and pacing of the book. This made me cry when I finished it, something that only a few books have done.

I can’t say too much about this book without being spoilery, but if you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend it.


I’m currently doing two readathons this month, but when I saw the Avengers Readathon I knew I had to do it. I love Marvel and the Avengers. Sadly I’m on holiday when Endgame is released so I’ll have to wait a few days to see it, and miss the midnight showing, but I’m still so excited.

There are different S.H.I.E.L.D. assignments based on different Avengers, and you choose one of the challenges. This readathon runs until May 14. I was torn between Spider-man, as my all time favourite Marvel character, but I love Captain America in the MCU so I went with Cap. Star Spangled Man is my phone’s ringtone. If I have time before the end I might also do Spider-man’s challenges.


The First Avenger: First book in a series

Cover of Ink

In Ink every significant moment in your life is tattooed onto your skin. When a person dies, their skin is removed and turned into a Skin Book.
This sounds really interesting, and the cover is gorgeous. I find that a lot of YA is very similar stories repeated, so I like finding something different.

Red, White and Blue: A book with one of those colours on the cover

Cover of the house wife by Valerie Keogh

The Housewife has all three colours on the cover. This is a psychological thriller that I’ve seen some really good reviews for, so I’m hoping it will measure up to my expectations.

World War II: A book that features a war

Cover of Exile by Glynn Stewart

Exile starts with a rebellion and a war, and then exile. It’s been a while since I last read a space opera so I’m really looking forward to this.

1941: Book released before 2000

The Man in The High Castle - Philip K. Dick

The Man in the High Castle has been on my TBR list for years and I still haven’t read it. This challenge seems like the perfect time to read it.

The Star Spangled Man: Historical fiction


When I read Historical Fiction, I tend to read books set in Ancient Rome/Greece, rather than more modern history. I read The Gates of Rome a few years ago, but I still haven’t finished the series. Hopefully I’ll read all of them this time.

Captain America: A Classic

1984 - George Orwell

I’ve read surprisingly little classic sci-fi. 1984 is another book that has been on my TBR list for years that I still haven’t got around to. Putting it as part of a readathon should mean that I’ll actually read it.

Bucky Barnes: By an author you love


I’ve read three books by John Marrs this year and loved them. I haven’t read The One yet but it has excellent reviews, so hopefully I’ll love it as much as the other three.

Are you taking part in the readathon, or have you read any books on my list? More importantly, will you be going to watch Avengers this week?

Game of Thrones Book Tag

This was posted on TBR and Beyond, originally from Biblio Nyan, and I had to complete it. I’ll be watching Game of Thrones later today and I’m ridiculously excited.

House Lannister Hear Me Roar
Name a book that you originally loved, but upon a re-read realized that it wasn't so great.

This was quite hard, as I don’t re-read books that often, mostly because I have so many new books on my TBR. Like most people of a certain age I loved Twilight when I first read it (in my defence, I was fourteen), but have since realised that it wasn’t a great book.

House Stark
Winter is Coming
Name Your Most Anticipated book release of 2019

Cover of Cari Mora by Thomas Harris

I’m doing my most anticipated book release of 2019, rather than 2017.

I love Hannibal Lecter and Thomas Harris, I’m hoping to re-read the entire series, so I’m incredibly excited for Cari Mora. I haven’t looked at anything surrounding this book, as I don’t want to have too many expectations going in.

house tarGARYEN
Fire and blood
Name a book that you felt completely slayed with fantastic characters, plot, pacing, etc.
Cover of Twisted by Steve Cavanagh

I’ve just finished Twisted and wow. This book was amazing. I borrowed a copy from the library and it was brilliant. I don’t want to say too much but I stayed up late to finish this book, and went out the next morning to buy my own copy. If you like thrillers then you have to read this.

house baratheon
Ours if the fury
Name a book that ended with a cliffhanger than genuinely pissed you off
Cover of Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer

This book didn’t have a cliffhanger, but the ending did piss me off. I read Flashfoward and the idea was really interesting, but I remember being really annoyed when I’d finished. The book seemed to end really suddenly without enough of an explanation.

House martell
Unbowed, unbent, unbroken
Name a book that has been on your TBR since the dawn of time
Cover of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I’ve owned this book for ten years now and still haven’t read it. It sounds great, but I’d have to be in the right frame of mind to read it, and it’s so huge (page number and the awkward size of the paperback) that it always puts me off. Eventually I will actually read it.

house bolton
Our blades are sharp
Name the most graphic or disturbing book that you've ever read
Cover of Pet Sematary by Stephen King

I read Pet Sematary earlier this month and that is definitely the most disturbing book I’ve read that I enjoyed. It’s creepy and unsettling, but an amazing book.

However Shadow Man is probably the most graphic and disturbing book I’ve ever read, but I didn’t enjoy this. I usually love horror and gore but parts of this went too far just to be shocking.

house tyrell
Growing Strong
Name a book that gets better and better with every re-read

This was quite a hard choice. Unsurprisingly I was torn between Good Omens and The War of the Worlds as books that I absolutely love and get better every time I read them. I decided to go with Good Omens as my first instinct, but I adore both of these books.

I’m not tagging anyone in this post, but if you watch Game of Thrones, then please do it. I’d love to know what books you choose, and get some more for my TBR list.

Reading This Week: 15 April 2019

I didn’t read as much as I would have liked last week. I only finished three books, so most of the books I was planning to read last week I will instead read this week.

I still have The Lights to read this week, as well as Quality DNA and Eighteen Below, all of which I’m hoping to review this month.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 31936826.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 35478092.jpg

I also have The Chalk Man to start, and Cruel Acts to finish from last week, and I really want to start The Hunting Party.

After this I’m going to make my way through my TBR lists for the O.W.L.s readathon and the Unsolvedathon. I’m only working 2.5 days this week, before I finish for my holiday. I’m getting the train down to my parents on Thursday, and we’re flying out on Saturday. The flights and layover total 18 hours so hopefully I’ll have a lot of reading time. I have hundred of unread books on my kindle, and some audiobooks downloaded so I can spend as much time as possible reading.

Finally here’s a picture of my baby boy Dominick ready for Game of Thrones. I’m in Scotland so we get it on Mondays, and I’ll be watching it as soon as my housemate gets in tonight.

Review: As Old As Time

As Old As Time is another book in the series of Disney retellings. In this retelling Belle’s mother is the enchantress who cursed the beast. How will Belle cope with this knowledge and save the inhabitants of the castle?

Given that I really didn’t enjoy A Whole New World, I wasn’t sure whether I still wanted to read this book, but I had listed it as one of the books for my O.W.L.s magical readathon, and they’re quick reads so I went ahead. I enjoyed this much more than A Whole New World.

This book alternates chapters between the story of Belle, and the story of her mother, Rosalind, explaining how she came to curse the Beast, and what happened to magic in the kingdom.

In the early chapters of this book we learn that magic was prevalent in the kingdom, but soon became feared and hated, and all of the les charmantes disappeared. Unlike A Whole New World this book does explore more of the characters back stories and develops them in a different way than the film. I was much more interested in how this was going to be resolved.

This book did lose points for using censi instead of the correct plural of censuses, but if you’re not a statistician and a giant nerd you can probably get past it.

My rating: 2.5 stars, it was enjoyable, but still nothing special.

Review: A Whole New World

As Old As Time is the first in a series of retellings of Disney classics. In this version Aladdin never summoned the Genie, instead Jafar uses his first two wishes to become the Sultan and the world’s most powerful sorcerer. Aladdin and Jasmine must then work together with the Street Rats and people of Agrabah to defeat Jafar before he makes his final wish and becomes unstoppable.

I wanted to like this book. I love retellings in which we find out more about characters we think we now, particularly ones explore those characters motivations and back story to present them in a different light. That doesn’t happen in this book. Jafar is a one-dimensional villain Aladdin is still the hero.

The first 25% of the book is exactly the same as the Disney film, even using some of the same lines. The story doesn’t get much any better after this, following the stereotypical let’s overthrow the government/dictator storyline, but with none of the depth that makes us care about the characters.

If you want a retelling of Aladdin focussing on Jafar’s story I would recommend watching Starkid’s Twisted on youtube. This is a moving and hillarious retelling of Aladdin with a misunderstood Jafar. Otherwise just watch the Disney film.