10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

Where has this year gone!! I read a lot of good books this year, partook in lots of book tours, both as a participant and helping run them with the #AusYABloggers. But I also had a lot of moments where I just wanted to give up on this review blog gig. My reading goals for next year, in an attempt to make my way out of this funk and save myself from burn out, is to read less review copies and focus on the books that I’ve purchased over the years because I wanted to read them and then never got the time to.

I accomplished some of the things I had intended to in 2019, but there were three major things I never got to.  1) Lose weight. I’m currently on prescribed pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds and anti-depressants, all as a way to try and help me live with my Arthritis. I would like to get down to as low of a weight as is healthy for my height-age ratio, to try and help ease the strain on my joints. But lets be real, I’ve been trying to lose weight my entire life. So don’t hold your breath for me.  2) Creating a back catalog of my reviews. Currently if you go into the review catalog of this blog I only have this years listed – argh so many old reviews to go through.  3) I never got around to re-editing and submitting a manuscript I had been working on in previous years. So those are my first priority (after my kids and the Camp Quality FunX4) for me in 2020. I will be helping to run (and take part in) two reading challenges, which I believe will help me accomplish my reading goals for next year.

Reading Challenge One: If you are after a easy, fun, social and super chill reading challenge for next year, then take a look at the #AusYABloggers 2020 Reading Challenge There are prizes up for grabs and you only have to read a book a month, that fits that months theme to qualify.

The themes are:
January – New Beginnings
February – Fun in the sun
March – Lost and Found
April – Spookalicious
May – After Dark
June – Coming Out
July – Indigenous Voices
August – Tropes-ahoy
September – Awesome Anthologies
October – Mental Health
November – Glorious Graphics
December – Happy Holidays

Find out more HERE

Reading Challenge Two: If you want to slash your TBR and are an Instagram user then #TBRtrim20 could be for you. This one also has prizes up for grabs and you can totally do both challenges at the same time, I will be! Even doing both you are only committing yourself to reading a minimum of three books a month – obviously you can read MORE if you are able/want to.

I’m really not sure how to wrap this post up – I hope you all have a fantastic festive season and happy new year. I’ve still got one or two more reviews to put up before the 31st. This isn’t suppose to be goodbye from me for the year (hehehe we’ll see). I’m just doing this post now, in case I get too busy with the silly season to do it later.

XOXO Sarah 🙂

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂

Daughter of Rage and Beauty: Review

Daughter of Rage and Beauty
Berserker Academy Book 1
by Amy Pennza
Genre: Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance

The sagas claim you can’t fight fate. I’m determined to prove them wrong. They say your twenties are supposed to be the best years of your life.
Clearly, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Because right now, my life is in shambles. As the daughter of one of the most powerful berserkers in the world, I should be taking my place among the noble guild of berserker assassins. By now, I should have mastered my emotions and conquered my rage—all the better to use it as a weapon when called upon to kill.
But I’m not just Harald Berregaard’s daughter. My mother was a nymph, which makes me a magical mutt. When I was born, my father thought I might possess the best traits from both races.
He was wrong.
Now he’s shipping me off to the Berserker Academy, where the unofficial motto is “graduate or die.”
Nice, huh?
With the stakes this high, I can’t afford to get distracted. Too bad the academy’s headmaster keeps showing up at the most inconvenient moments, reminding me how much I suck at magic. And fighting. And basic conversation.
It doesn’t matter that he does it with a smile. Or that his eyes fire silver when he’s amused . . . or aroused. Hauk Sigridsson has his own problems. He’s not going to be one of mine.
On the other hand, he’s offered me a way to accelerate my studies and make it out of the academy alive. I just have to help him steal a priceless rock and defeat one of the most powerful immortals to have ever lived.
No big deal.
I’m in way over my head, but I’m determined to survive. They say you can’t fight fate. I’m going to show fate exactly what I’m made of.


The story opens with Elin approaching BjØrneskalle Castle, home to the Berserker Academy (think of it as an assassin’s university), in a car with her father. The tension in the story builds as they get nearer and nearer – A fantastic hook in! It had me. I needed to find out what was going to happen and what this Berserker Academy was all about.

Elin is our POV character: She comes across as sweet, yet powerful and was easily likeable. Elin mother was a nymph, so she’s half Fae – She soon finds that this is disliked by some of the other students. For the first half of this book I felt Elin was younger than her 21 years. She had lived a life away from most of the berserkers, being home schooled up until the start of the book. Elin had spent her whole life being put down by her unsupportive hatful father, Harald, and being at the Academy was the first time she was able to live out from under his thumb. But early on I kept thinking she felt younger, and I’ve put this down to the Vampire Academy mixed with Norse mythology vibe that was going on – FYI I was loving that vibe, it just felt more high school than university.

Hauk our love interest: Hauk Sigridsson, the headmaster of BjØrneskalle. I never really got a gage on how old Hauk was. As the reader we surmise that he came into his high position at the Berserker Academy due to his superior fighting skills and his legendary Mother’s supreme warrior reputation, not his age. It is only remarked that age is hard to determine with Mythicals, and that the eyes are the only way to tell. It is said he had young eyes.

Hauk trains one on one with Elin, at first seemly to help her catch up and adjust to academy life. This storyline changes as Haul asks Elin to accompany him on a dangerous quest. A quest that involves traveling into dangerous lands, dealing with deadly Fae, fighting desire and recovering the prized immorality stone.

I must say that I did love that gender did not factor into how good of a warrior you were. The girls and the guys were equally kick ass.

There were events near the end of the book that I didn’t see coming. I actually said Oh Shit out loud at one point. A book hasn’t blindsided me like that in ages – cheers to you Amy Pennza.

The classification: This book is listed as Adult Urban Fantasy Romance. I assumed there would be graphic sex coming at some point and that’s why this was classed as an adult book, rather than New Adult. The sex doesn’t come to later in the book and it is primal, it’s hot and heavy and at one point I stopped and thought – Yes, I can see why she’s made Elin 21 or the whole thing Hauk wouldn’t have worked, and I don’t think I’d have been comfortable reading those scene knowing the character as any younger. I don’t think you necessarily need to be an adult to read this story. 17-year-old me would have loooooved this book. I mean come on, kids these days are watching worse stuff on the internet, at least Hauk and Elin care about each other and aren’t some pool boy and horny housewife combo – that’s all I’m saying.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. The writing flowed well and the fast, yet steady pacing made for a quick and entertaining read. I would happy read more works by Amy Pennza.


About the author: Amy Pennza has been a lawyer, a soldier, and a copywriter. She’s worn combat boots and high heels in the same 24-hour period–and she definitely prefers flip flops. Actually, she prefers going barefoot while writing steamy romances about strong women and alpha men with hearts of gold. After years in Tornado Alley, she now makes her home in the Great Lakes region with her husband, kids, and more baskets than any one person should own. (You can never have enough.)

Find her at her: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Goodreads

Thank you to Silver Dagger Book Tours for my review copy.

Thanks for visiting sarahfairbairn.com 🙂
Until next time, enjoy your shelves 🙂