ARC Review | I Want To Know That I Will Be Okay by Deirdre Sullivan

I Want To Know That I Will Be Okay

by Deirdre Sullivan

Adult Fiction, Short Story Collection

Goodreads | Book Depository

In this dark, glittering collection of short stories, Deirdre Sullivan explores the trauma and power that reside in women’s bodies. A teenage girl tries to fit in at a party held in a haunted house, with unexpected and disastrous consequences. A mother and daughter run a thriving online business selling antique dolls, while their customers get more than they bargained for. And after a stillbirth, a young woman discovers that there is something bizarre and wondrous growing inside of her. With empathy and invention, Sullivan effortlessly blends genres in stories that are by turns strange and exquisite. Already established as an award-winning writer for children and young adults, I Want to Know That I Will Be Okay marks her arrival as a captivating new voice in literary fiction. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review!

I always feel so privileged when I get to read something new from Deirdre Sullivan, because her talent with crafting stories and words have the ability to completely immerse myself in these strange, new worlds that come from her uniquely original imagination, and I get to lose myself within these pages full of beautiful prose, thought-provoking subjects and a blend of rich, human emotion.

There is pain, and grief. There is anger, and love. There is hope, and truth. There is fantasy, and reality. The list could go on, but I think the biggest strength that this gorgeous collection of short stories, Sullivan’s first published work of adult fiction, is the way she weaves such vivid and compelling emotions through each story, no matter how short or long they are, no matter how tough and difficult they are.

There are some really amazing and poignant stories in this collection, and although from the surface they might all seem different to each other, Sullivan does an excellent job of weaving a common thread of motherhood and womanhood through each of them, the pain, and hurt and joy that comes with them. Some of my personal favourites are All That You Possess, a story about a mother and her daughter’s imaginary violent friend, Little Lives, after which you will never see porcelain dolls the same again, and Skein, which is one of the shortest stories in the collection but one that had such an incredible impact on me.

I Want To Know That I Will Be Okay is out from Banshee Press in May, and it is now available for pre-order. There’s also an exclusive gorgeous yellow edition that you could pre-order from Kennys but be quick because it’s a limited edition! You’ll not want to miss this extraordinary and harrowing new collection from Deirdre Sullivan, which surely cements her (if she hasn’t already cemented herself with her previous works) as one of Ireland’s greatest writers.

ARC Review | Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan

Savage Her Reply

by Deirdre Sullivan

YA Fantasy, Retelling

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

A dark, feminist retelling of The Children of Lir told in Sullivan’s hypnotic prose. A retelling of the favourite Irish fairytale The Children of Lir. Aife marries Lir, a king with four children by his previous wife. Jealous of his affection for his children, the witch Aife turns them into swans for 900 years. Retold through the voice of Aife, Savage Her Reply is unsettling and dark, feminist and fierce, yet nuanced in its exploration of the guilt of a complex character. Voiced in Sullivan’s trademark rich, lyrical prose as developed in Tangleweed and Brine – the multiple award-winner which established Sullivan as the queen of witchy YA. Another dark & witchy feminist fairytale from the author of Tangleweed and Brine.

Thank you to Nina Douglas and the team at Little Island books for sending me an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!

So recently I had the privilege of receiving an early copy of Deirdre Sullivan’s new book. And that exactly what it is: a privilege. I genuinely feel so lucky to be allowed into the magnificent world she conjures, the pages of her stories, the tenderness and power of her incredible words. If you want to listen to me rave about Savage Her Reply, then you’ve come to the right place.

This has such an intriguing premise from the get-go that I was looking forwards to it as soon as it was announced! It is a retelling of the Irish myth the Children of Lir, but through Aífe’s perspective, who is known as the villain of the well-known story who turned the four children of Lir into swans for 900 years.

God, this novel was so entirely captivating. I finished it in less than one day because it felt like it was a gasp for breath to find out the truth of the story and where it would take me.

Dave Rudden perfectly puts it – “this is Irish folklore as its meant to be told.” Reading this I couldn’t think of a more perfect writer than Sullivan to tackle such a well-known myth and do it so much justice. I loved her own unique spin on the tale by putting Aífe at the forefront and combined with her poetic prose and gorgeous illustrations from Karen Vaughan, this was a match made in heaven.

I also thought it was so clever of Sullivan to write these little interspersing poems in the shape of the Ogham alphabet – a really beautiful nod to the history of the book and its story.

She writes emotion so powerfully and so beautifully that it’s nearly impossible not to get so hooked into the story that you start to feel for the characters so hard. Each of the characters in this book, especially our protagonist, are flawed which makes them even more real. I loved, loved, loved this book. This is absolutely her best work so far. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s out October 1st and you need to read it!

ARC Review: Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan


Perfectly Preventable Deaths

by Deirdre Sullivan

YA Fantasy, Magic Realism, Mystery

Hot Key Books

Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together…

Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains.

As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. Not only foxes, owls and crows, but also supernatural beings who for many generations have congregated here to escape persecution. When Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.

Dark and otherworldly, this is an enthralling story about the bond between sisters and the sacrifices we make for those we care about the most. For fans of Frances Hardinge and Laure Eve. 

Thank you so much to Tina Mories and Hot Key Books for sending me an ARC of this hotly-anticipated novel in exchange for an honest review!

There are authors who write with gorgeous prose. There are authors who are beautiful storytellers. There are authors who conjure incredibly unique and fully-fleshed characters. Deirdre Sullivan is all three.

I know right know for a fact that that I won’t be able to find the words to do this book review justice, but I might as well give it a go.

Deirdre Sullivan has such a unique, and quite frankly, unforgettable voice when it comes to storytelling. Her books are like nothing I’ve ever read before, and her storylines are so fantastically original. Perfectly Preventable Deaths is no different to its older siblings, and I say with complete confidence that is is my favourite Deirdre Sullivan novel.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths follows the story of Madeline and Catlin, two sisters who move to a strange, mysterious town of Ballyfrann after their mother remarries. The main characters in this are so well written and so fully fleshed, along with many other additions such as the mysterious yet wise Mamó, the enigmatic Laurent Delacroix, and the delightful Oona, who was one of my favourites! Maddy and Catlin both have such distinguishable voices and personalities that will follow me for ages! Another quirky thing about this novel is that each chapter is named after a plant, and underneath its meaning is given. I was fascinated by reading about each one, and some of them were so cleverly suited to some of the chapters.

This is perfect for fans of Sarah Maria Griffin and Shirley Jackson, and if you’re looking for a good witchy, mystery, gripping story, I wholeheartedly recommend this fantastic book. It comes out on the 30th of May, and you won’t want to miss it!!

Rating: ★★★★★


Review: Tangleweed & Brine by Deirdre Sullivan

Tangleweed and brine

Author: Deirdre Sullivan

Publisher: Little Island

Release Date: 7th September 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, Magical Realism

Pages: 180

A collection of twelve dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales are given a witchy makeover, not for the faint-hearted, from one of Ireland’s leading writers for young people. You make candles from stubs of other candles. You like light in your room to read. Gillian wants thick warm yellow fabric, soft as butter. Lila prefers cold. All icy blues. Their dresses made to measure. No expense spared. And dancing slippers. One night’s wear and out the door like ash. You can’t even borrow their cast-offs. You wear a pair of boots got from a child. Of sturdy stuff, that keeps the water out and gets you around.

Not only is Deirdre Sullivan one of the nicest people ever, she’s also the author of this incredible book. I was expecting gorgeous prose from her, and I was not disappointed one bit. Her writing is certainly out of this world, and it has this raw, uniqueness to it and it’s a writing style than can be compared to no other. It’s beautiful and exceptional.

Obviously, if you don’t already know, Tangleweed and Brine is a collection of feminist retellings of years-old fairytales. Now I don’t know about you, but I was definitely expecting to be drooling over the ones I’m most familiar with – but it turns out it was the opposite. Some of my favourites were those fairytales that I’d never heard of before this book. Particularly Bluebeard, that was probably my overall favourite for being such an original and grotesque idea.

I basically devoured this in one sitting. It’s addicting, chilling, dark and twisted and utterly unputdownable. I was also lucky enough to attend the launch of this fabulous book (pictures below!) and when Deirdre Sullivan read the opening of Consume or Be Consumed (the retelling of the Little Mermaid), you were able to hear a pindrop. Nobody spoke. There was silence and the author’s voice captured everyone’s attention. It was mesmerising. I’m smiling even thinking about it. Also the illustrations by Karen Vaughan were absolutely gorgeous!