Book Review: The Rookery by Deborah Hewitt (The Nightjar book 2)

I received an ARC copy of this book from Net Galley, in return for an honest review.


Technically the novel is set in the present day, however, The Rookery is a fantasy world which they travel to using a portal. Most of the story is set in The Rookery, which has magic, a 1920s decor, and is a lot like London but without modern devices.

People have a soul bird. It’s linked to them by a glowing cord that is severed when they die. There are magical houses that specialise in certain types of magic like earth, water, stone, etc.


Alice is the main character. She is completing a number of challenges to earn membership to House Meilaki .

It’s apparent that in book 1 she discovered her parents are not her biological parents. Alice loves them but is keen to find out who her real parents are, especially as powers are inherited. She has Meilaki earth powers, but is concerned she also has powers connected to death. In addition, Alice has the rare ability of being able to see other people’s bird as well as her own.

Alice has a range of friends. Each bring out a different side of her. She’s also dealing with the death of a friend who died in book 1. She blames herself, and can’t forgive Crowly. Crowly is a guy she has romantic feelings for but hates. He isn’t in the book much for the first half but plays an important role towards the end.


The book is written in third POV which isn’t my preference. I struggled at the start to connect with Alice and to get into the story as I hadn’t read book 1. But, I’m pleased I kept reading.

Something strange is going on in The Rookery, and people are dying. It feels like Alice should be doing something about it but she’s going to work, and parties, training for the competition, and keeping quiet about the less public attacks in her room.

But as the magical attacks get bigger, Alice takes action. She realises there’s a connection with her boss and her past. As secrets unravel, Alice is spurred into action and this is where things get really good.

This book has loads of magic and I loved seeing the different powers. The soul birds were new to me and I loved them, and how Alice’s unique gift gives her insight into the motives of others.

It felt a bit like a mystery with fantasy, as the MC collects info, pieces it together, and saves The Rookery. If you enjoy mysteries and fantasy then you’d love this.

Below are affiliate links. Visit my Affiliate Disclosure page for more info.


If you enjoyed this you will like:

Book Review: And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Book Review: Sorceress of Truth by J D Groom

Book Review: Red Blood – Card Holders by Kaitlyn Legaspi

Behind the Book: The Devil’s Own by K.A. Fox

Book Review: Mermaid School

This review is of an ARC copy of Mermaid School by Lucy Courtenay from Net Galley. My review has not been influenced and is my honest thoughts.

For starters, I know I am not the target audience for this book but here are two truths about me:

  1. I love mermaids.
  2. I love books for kids.

This is an early chapter book and doesn’t take long to read. The text is broken up with sketches of what is going on in the story.


The main character is Marnie. She is feeling nervous about her first day at school. Marnie tries to hide who she is to fit in.

Certain teachers assume Marnie will be trouble due to her wild aunt Christabel’s reputation . Her aunt is also a radio celebrity which earns Marnie cool points with some students.

By the end of day one, Marnie has succeeded in making her first friend, Pearl, and her first enemy, Orla.


Marnie’s mum and aunt give her advice on handling Orla. Somehow their advice gets Marnie into trouble. Now Marnie has to muck out the seahorse stables.

Orla’s bad attitude is not making her popular with any of the other mermaids either. During an outburst, Orla reveals what her problem with Marnie is. Orla’s sister is missing in a dangerous storm and wouldn’t have been working there if Christabel had played the demo tape as promised.

Marnie decides she wants to help Orla. She goes to the studio with Pearl to look for the demo tape but can’t find it.


Things get worse. Orla’s sister is found – yay – but, now Orla is missing. Marnie has an idea, and together with Pearl they rescue Orla.

Marnie realises where the missing demo tape is. She finds it. Christabel plays it and offers Orla’s sister a job.

There’s also an extra chapter that reveals a final secret. Shh!


There are lots of fishy puns that reminded me of a YA novel I read called Forgive My Fins. The puns worked better in this MG book due to the age of the characters.

The story gently deals with issues like fitting in, bullying, friendship and being kind. The fantasy setting is brilliant. A lot of thought has gone into the sort of classes a mermaid would have and the way their world operates.

It’s a sweet story and will likely appeal to young girls looking to read their first chapter books.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


If you like this, you will like:

Pop Up Books

Felixstowe Book Festival: Children’s Events (2019)

Childhood Memories of Roald Dahl

An Alice in Wonderland Themed Birthday

Book Review: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

The book I received was an ARC copy through Net Galley. The copy had a few typos but it didn’t detract from how incredible this book is.

The novel deals with some very serious issues; bullying, cyber bullying, mental health, bereavement, and suicide. If these are triggers for you then you should avoid but if not… THIS IS A MUST READ!

The Beginning

The book is told in first person from three characters.

Each chapter starts in italics with Al’s thoughts. But, Al has gone. He’s dead. He commit suicide.

Nathan is the younger brother of Al. Nathan is in shock and blaming himself. Not only did he find the body but he ignored a phone call from Al. In addition, Al’s death doesn’t make sense. Nathan obsesses with wanting answers.

Megan was in Al’s art class. Megan liked Al, he understood her better than her long term best friend, Tara. But, Al isn’t considered popular so she kept their friendship hidden from others. When Al dies she creates a Facebook page to honour him, much to the surprise of Tara.

The Middle

Nathan unlocks Al’s phone and finds texts between Al and a girl, Sophie. He never knew Al had a girlfriend. It looks like they broke up suddenly. He notices Al has drawn her in pictures and tries to contact her to find out more, but can’t get hold of her.

Nathan finds other secrets in Al’s paintings. He believes Al was trying to tell them what happened. There’s a symbol drawn over and over. Nathan’s family encourage his to drop it. But, Nathan can’t let it go. What does the symbol mean?

Megan feels guilty for not being a better friend to Al. His absence forces her to face how Tara isn’t really her friend. Tara is always with her boyfriend Eli who enjoys making fun of Megan. And, Tara isn’t much better.

Megan decides to make a Facebook page in Al’s memory. When she sees Al’s younger brother she let’s him know. The page is positive with people sharing their condolences.

Nathan sees a comment on the page from Lewis saying he’s sorry. Nathan tries to find out what Lewis is sorry for. Lewis used to be Al’s best mate but they stopped hanging out together. Lewis began hanging out with Eli, someone with a very bad reputation. Nathan wants to know why but whenever he tries to speak to Lewis, Eli gets aggressive. This fuels Nathan’s suspicion and anger with Lewis.

The Facebook page starts to attract the wrong attention. People make fun of Al’s appearance and making fun of his suicide. Nathan is upset by the comments and blames Megan for creating the page. Megan deletes the comments and is upset. This wasn’t what she wanted.

When Nathan calms down he apologises to Megan. She’s very understanding. She has a lot of empathy as she lost her dad in a car accident. Al’s death brings some old emotions to the surface for her. She uses her experience to support Nathan through this difficult time. Megan and Nathan begin to bond over grieving for Al.

Al was a talented artist. Megan feels a great loss over Al and decides to put on an Art Gallery with all his work to remember him.

Megan and Tara fall out. Tara doesn’t understand why Megan cares so much about Al and is very rude and insensitive. She only is nice to Megan when she falls out with Eli but as soon as they are back together she drops Megan. Megan is at the point that she no longer cares. She doesn’t need Tara. Tara decides to throw a house party the same day as Al’s funeral.

The End

Nathan does get his answers. Things come to ahead at the funeral and everything unravels. He discovers the reason Lewis is so sorry. He discovers the ugly horrific truth behind the symbol and what drove Al to his end. Nathan goes after revenge and I didn’t see the end coming.

Megan learns through Al to go after what she wants. That she doesn’t have to accept her home town is all she can be and realises she could go to uni.

And, despite the heartbreaking truth, Nathan and Megan get a happily ever after.

Final Thoughts

Wow! You must read this book.

The voices of the characters were so vivid. I could see them as real people. Even Al. These people will stay with me forever.

The story was heartbreaking and expertly written. I had to find out what happened next and sometimes I had to calm down before going to bed. I had no idea how it would end. I was shocked by the revelations but it made sense.

Never has a novel caused me to shake with anger, fear and sadness all at once. OMG! As a writer I want to learn from Danielle’s mastery. As a reader I am desperate for more!

Despite all the sadness and ugliness the novel still has a happy ending. But, there is also a strong message about bullying and suicide. This book should be read in every high schools and discussed. This book could save lives.

Redfae Bookshop is my Affiliate shop link.


If you enjoyed this, you will like:

Book Review: Wiccan Romance – Amelia’s Story by Nicola Hebron

Book Review: The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Book Review: The Practice Boyfriend by Christina Benjamin

Behind the Book: Soul Bearer by Elexis Bell

My To Be Read Pile

Click my link tree to discover more ways to connect with me:

Book Review: Trust Me by Maddie James

The novel is set in the future. Cyan and her mother are hunted because they are the last Caucasian women. They are wanted for science, trafficking, etc. Cyan’s mother was lost, presumed dead, when she was younger during an attack in their home. Cyan has spent most of her life on the run with her dad until he was murdered. Cyan is then on the run getting help from an unlikely companion, her father’s murderer.


The book starts off by showing us this futuristic world. As Cyan’s needs to live off the grid to keep her safe, they actually live a very simple life. Cyan grows up in an extremely sheltered life where her mum is her main companion.

The start of the book is a little disorientating as we jump back and forth in time and between the viewpoints. You best get used to this style of story telling as it is used throughout the book.


I’m not keen on books where the characters are travelling. As Cyan is never safe, she’s always on the move.

Cyan lost her mother when she was young during an attack in the family home. She then spent a number of years raised solely by her dad. Her dad is getting old and struggling to keep her safe so he gets Devin (someone who has hunted them for years to get the bounty) to kill him and take on the role of protecting Cyan. The promise Devin makes to Cyan’s dad forces them together.

It was uncomfortable to read at times. There wasn’t only one rape scene but several, told by different characters and at different times.

At first Cyan doesn’t like Devin, he killed her dad. Devin keeps their relationship strictly business as he worries that if he gets emotionally involved it will cloud his judgement. Cyan learns to depend on Devin for protection and Devin learns to trust Cyan and her premonitions. The romance between them grows and I enjoyed the steamy scene in the barn.

I also liked Cyan’s powers and would have liked to have seen more of this but then she would have been less vulnerable. She gets a vibration feeling when danger is coming and premonitions that cone true. She also has a very destructive power which she used to attack hunters when they hunted her family. All the time in hiding, they never thought to encourage her to practice her powers to use them to keep them safe. So sadly, Cyan can’t use them.

The End

There was a decent end to the book. There were two plot twists and Cyan finally used her powers to save them.

The ending is left open for possibly another book.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this book was not for me. I was provided this book by Net Galley for an honest review.

I wasn’t keen on the constant danger or the idea that being the last woman with blue eyes meant men wanted to rape you. I found it hard to understand and it felt racist at times because men of colour were unable to control their urge and behaved like savage animals. If these are trigger points for you, give this book a miss.

Another gripe was her father’s plan for her survival.  I found it a bit odd – why die. I couldn’t understand why Devin was risking his life for a promise to a dead man he had never really known. I didn’t believe Cyan would willingly go with Devin after seeing him murder her dad, especially as she didn’t know why and only had Devin’s word that it was what her dad wanted.

However, there are also many good points. The book is very well written with lots of showing and the world was brought to life in a natural way that sucked you in. I loved Cyan’s powers and wanted more. I loved the secret behind her necklace and it was a great reveal at the end. The slow burning romance kept me turning the page and I was thrilled when the pair finally got it on.

The author has written plenty of other books and maybe another title would be more my thing but I don’t think I will be in a hurry to read another one unless it comes highly recommended by someone who knows my reading tastes.

Have you read a book by Maddie James? Do you like novels set in the future or characters with powers?

If you liked this post you will enjoy?

Book Review: Who runs the world by Virginia Bergolt

Book Review: The Gender Game by Bella Forrest

Book Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review: Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst

Discover more ways to connect by clicking my link tree.