Monthly Archives: December 2017

Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Published in 2017

297 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

My Review:

This was definitely an unexpected pleasure of a book, I didn’t know what to expect but it was such an addictive read, I couldn’t put it down!

The writing was utterly lovely, it was so visual, I felt like I could clearly see everything that I was reading about, and feel Isobel’s emotions, and think her thoughts. Isobel was such a fabulous narrator, I loved her so much and definitely admired her throughout! She was so fierce and didn’t back down! Rook was such a great male lead character, and both he and Isobel had such amazing scenes together, and I adored Rook’s wit, which Imogen just gave him a fun for his money! The story was so unique, I had no idea what would come next, and the ending, the build up (as well) to the ending filled me with chills!

As well as being beautifully visual, the writing and the story, had everything you could ask for, there was mystery, intrigue, romance, suspense, comedy and a hell of a lot of shape shifting! It was pure fantastical magic! Definitely recommend to all!!

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Book Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Published in 2017

385 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

My Review (mini reviews may or may not be back 😅)< em>I really enjoyed this book, Eliza is definitelyone of the most relatable characters ever! It was really exciting getting swept up in her fandom, and everything she created. I definitely admired her and as I mentioned, totally related to her introvertself.

It was refreshing to read a book where the character spends so much time immersed in fandom, and online. And is an introvert, and doesn’t find enjoyment in a lot of everyday things. The writing was brilliant, and I definitely found the story addictive, I wanted to know what would happen with Eliza next. I foundthat there was one thing I was waiting to get revealed though, and how it happened was just so bad, but in apainful way? You couldn’t help but feel for Eliza, and you just wanted to knock some sense into her parents. I’ve personally found that patents don‘t understand fandom, and technology, and I swear Eliza’s parents represent that. I mean they mean well but, their concern was only causing more troubles for Eliza, I felt. Them not understandingthe need for her privacy caused the main rift in this book, and for fear of spoilers, I won’t go into too much detail, but the feelings Eliza experienced in this book towards the end were awful! < em>I loved all the supporting characters though, especially Wally. I thought he and Eliza were ultra cute, but I think a lot of their angst could be solved if she was just honest with him in the first place, but then again, I get why she wasn’t. That just shows Zappia’s great writing, I couldn’t be too angry with Eliza, because I don’t fully blame her secrecy. I’m so conflicted still! 😅 Happy reading 📖

Book Review: Christmas at the Cat Cafe by Melissa Daley

Book 2 in the Cat Cafe series

First published in 2016

305 pages

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Christmas at the Cat Cafe is the wonderfully festive sequel to Melissa Daley’s uplifting tale, Molly and the Cat Cafe. The Costwolds’ town of Stourton-on-the-Hill has its very own cat cafe. Resident cat Molly, and her kittens, live here in feline paradise, while owner Debbie serves the locals home-made goodies. But even in the most idyllic surroundings, things don’t always go to plan… When Debbie’s heartbroken sister Linda arrives at the cafe, Debbie insists she move in. But Linda is not alone, and the cats are devastated with the arrival of Linda’s dog, Beau. Sadly, Beau’s arrival is not the only bombshell – now Molly’s home is also under threat when a rival cat moves in on her turf. With Christmas approaching, Molly is unsettled, barely roused by the promise of tinsel to play with. Fearing for her feline family she hopelessly stares out of the cafe window searching for an answer. Only a Christmas miracle could bring everyone together.

My Review:

Note: as you can see, I had too much fun writing longer reviews, so I feel mini reviews are no more…

Okay, before I start, I must confess, I haven’t read the first book…*crawls behind book stacks*

*pokes head back out*

Okay, so yes, you heard correctly, I actually went into this book not knowing anything about the back story. Why? Because I didn’t know this was a sequel, I had come across this book at the library, swooned at the cuteness that was the cover (I mean, look!) and instantly ordered a copy. I hoped that it would become a new Christmas favourite,

something I’d re read annually.

I was definitely right! This book was such a pleasant surprise!!! Honestly, I didn’t think I’d get all swept up in the emotions of Debbie and her erratic sister, Linda, and all those ridiculously sweet kittens, and Molly! The matriarch of the cat family, I was ridiculously excited by the fact that the book was narrated by her! She conveyed so much emotion throughout the book, I personally had always wondered what it was like to see things through a cat’s eyes, and I feel like this one actually delivered that, and it was fabulous! Below I’ll list what Molly, and Melissa Daley’s lovely writing, conveyed me to see (slight spoilers ahead):

– Cats possess similar emotions to humans, which lets face it, we knew already, but Molly feels jealous of a cat that Linda adopts, and it was so juicy! And bittersweet, Molly was our point of view in the story, therefore we saw things as she did. I was inclined to feel the feline’s jealousy, and wished her family of kittens would interact with her more.

– Sophie, Debbie’s teenage daughter, was bitter about being surrounded by a litter of kittens constantly, and not having much time to herself. Also, her character definitely had the most growth, I think, she honestly came across as a bit of a brat, but I was definitely loving her towards the end.

– Debbie was such an amazing character! She works so hard, and was always so good to not only the cats, but she took in her sister and went along with everything Linda came with. Initially, I couldn’t stand Linda, she was so selfish!! I mean, who brings a dog to stay at their sister’s house when they well know said sister has so many cats! But seeing the dog and cats interact with the kittens was hilarious, those kittens weren’t going to back down, and I love how Molly’s protectiveness of her litter really carried through the book!

– I laughed, I got emotional, and even fearful, and definitely feely throughout this book, it was the perfect festive read! I may well go back and read book one, but I know I’ll be revisiting these lovelies again.

I can’t fault this book, it was purrfect.

Happy reading 📚

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Book 1 in the Passenger Duology

Published in 2016

486 pages

5 out of 5 time travelling stars 🤩

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

In one devastating night, Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles but years from home.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods – a powerful family in the Colonies – and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveller who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to their target, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

My Review:

This book had long been on my TBR, I was excited for when I would read it, and when a friend said he was going to re read it I was like “I’ll read it with you!I often buddy read with this amazing friend, and I know this had long been a favourite of his, and I was definitely hooked from the word go! I loved the writing style, everything flowed so perfectly and flawlessly! At the same time, there was SO much amazing time travel happening, which I freaking loved! It was honestly going in the TARDIS, we were thrust into one era and then right into another! The writing was packed full emotions, I felt like I was going through everything Etta and Nick were! Oh my gosh, both characters are amazing and my heart was with them all the way, through all the emotions, and the plot twists! And I’m adamant that the book felt like an instrumental epic, I could feel the violin undertones throughout! Definitely a memorable read that’ll be going into my all time favourites, cannot wait to read Wayfarer!

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in The Universe by Lauren James

Published in 2017

290 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone .

My Review:

This one definitely caught me unawares, I had it in my TBR for a good while, and then happened to stumble across it at Target unexpectedly, and so I grabbed a copy and quickly became more excited to read it. The cover instantly drew me in and when I started the book, I was instantly hooked, the writing was fast paced, the setting was so vividly captured, I felt like I was there with Romy, who I pretty much instantly adored. I longed to know what would happen next, and I honestly felt like this could’ve been a potential favourite. When ‘J’ entered the story, the intrigue was definitely raised and I was dying for the characters to meet! I love how Romy found solace in one of her favourite tv shows, whilst being alone in space, she was constantly tormented by her demons, whether it be her anxiety, paranoia or general feelings of not being wanted. J had his own angst, and I love how the characters e-mail communications really felt like the two were confiding in one another. And I wanted to know what would happen next!

And then, plot twist.

For me, it practically killed the vibe of J’s character, like really? I get why the author did it, but I felt like it made NO SENSE?! And it came out so suddenly, and I hated how it all made Romy feel. Way to play with all our emotions, I felt like J’s character was unnecessary, after what I read! The ending felt very muddled, but aside from that, I really loved this book!

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: A Familiar Tail by Delia James

Book 1 in A Witch’s Cat Mystery

Published in 2016

324 pages

4 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Magic and meows meet in the first enchanting Witch’s Cat mystery!

Unlucky-in-love artist Annabelle Britton decides that a visit to the seaside town of  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is the perfect way to get over her problems. But when she stumbles upon a smoky gray cat named Alastair, and follows him into a charming cottage, Annabelle finds herself in a whole spellbook full of trouble.

Suddenly saddled with a witch’s wand and a furry familiar, Annabelle soon meets a friendly group of women who use their spells, charms, and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe. But despite their gifts, the witches can’t prevent every wicked deed in town….

Soon, the mystery surrounding Alistair’s former owner, who died under unusual circumstances, grows when another local turns up dead. Armed with magic, friends, and the charmed cat who adopted her more than the other way around, Annabelle sets out to paw through the evidence and uncover a killer.

My Review:

This was definitely a surprising read! I hadn’t even heard of this book until a few days ago, I was in fact browsing the internet, getting a scope for ‘cozy mysteries’ (deciding to read something aside from my dear Agatha Christie), and I was drawn to what seems to an endless plethora of mysteries with cats or dogs in them. I then checked to see if this book was on the shelf at work, The sypnosis having intrigued me, and I promptly found it on the shelf and borrowed it. Starting it that night, I was hooked. The writing was so addictive! I could picture everything, from Anna’s first arrival upon Portsmouth, to the cozy bed and breakfast, and the colourful cast of characters that Anna meets; my favourite being a vanishing cat called Alastair. The author gave all these characters such great personalities, especially Alistair, I love how much Anna and the cheeky cat interacted; but it goes so much deeper! When witchcraft got introduced to the plot, that’s when things were getting insanely good! And the mystery! Truthfully I had no idea where it was going, and I was surprised at the end, I thought it would be something more ‘wow’, but to be honest, I was definitely in the book more for the characters, so it’s all good! I definitely hope to read more books in this series and others similar too!

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: Phoenix Rising (a novel of Anne Boleyn) by Hunter S Jones

90 pages

Published in 2015

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

The last hour of Anne Boleyn’s life…

Court intrigue, revenge and all the secrets of the last hour are revealed as one queen falls and another rises to take her place on destiny’s stage.

A young Anne Boleyn arrives at the court of King Henry VIII. She is to be presented at the Shrovetide pageant, le Château Vert. The young and ambitious Anne has no idea that a chance encounter before the pageant will lead to her capturing the heart of the king. What begins as a distraction becomes his obsession and leads to her destruction.

Love, hate, loyalty and betrayal come together in a single dramatic moment… the execution of a queen. The history of England will be changed for ever.

My Review:

I was initially going to give this four stars based on its length, but then I realised, after I finished it, that it left me speechless! This book was impeccable! Do not be swayed by the length, it was such an emotional read! I mean, it chronicles the final hour of Anne Boleyn, and the way the author captured this, and the fact that she wrote it from different perspectives of player’s in Tudor England? Genius! Definitely a pleasant surprise and a raw read! Will stay with me for some time! I loved reading a chapter from Elizabeth Boleyn’s perspective, (Anne’s mother). I feel like the author captured all these characters, these figures, perfectly!

Pictured above is my personal favourite tv portrayal of Anne Boleyn, Natalie Dormer, from The Tudors 💕

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

This edition published by Vintage in 2002

229 pages

2 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

A mystery story about love, the cosmos and other fictional universes

Sumire is in love with a woman seventeen years her senior. But whereas Miu is glamorous and successful, Sumire is an aspiring writer who dresses in an oversized second-hand coat and heavy boots like a character in a Kerouac novel.

Sumire spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend K about the big questions in life: what is sexual desire, and should she ever tell Miu how she feels for her? Meanwhile K wonders whether he should confess his own unrequited love for Sumire.

Then, a desperate Miu calls from a small Greek island: Sumire has mysteriously vanished…

My Review:

Please excuse the blunt gif below:

Look, don’t get me wrong, I adore Murakami. I buddy read this with a close friend who loves him too, we were mutually excited for this, having pretty much gone crazy in the best way after Murakami’s Kafka on The Shore (which we also read together), and the 1Q84 trilogy, which we loved. Might I add we were both traumatised in the mostly best way after The Strange Library.

This book though, okay, it made us laugh in the most random ways, and never will I not see a carrot or cucumber the same way. And I loved Sumiere, which I thought the book should’ve been ALL about.

The thing is, it wasn’t. It was so confusing! And not in the amazing way some of Murakami’s other books have been, but this left both myself and my friend confused. I can’t even fathom what I read. It made no sense! Nothing connected together, and what happened in this book made NONE OF THE SENSE.

Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

First published by Geoffrey Bles, 1950

This edition (171 pages)

5 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

They open a door and enter a world

NARNIA…the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…the place where the adventure begins.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, no one believes her when she tells of her adventures in the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund and then Peter and Susan discover the Magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. In the blink of an eye, their lives are changed forever.

My Review:

I re read this book initially back in 2015, after many many years! I definitely discovered an old favourite as I started re reading this! I was immersed in the magic of the world of Narnia, I mean, Lucy discovers a magical land in the back of a wardrobe! Who doesn’t dream of this?! I love the Pensieve siblings, my favourite characters being of course Lucy, and surprisingly Edmund; I initially couldn’t stand him, but I definitely think he was regretting his actions early on in the book, and he, along with his siblings, all went through such an amazing growth! Seeing these characters grow, and go through what they went through, was amazing! This book got me in all the nostalgia feels, I had goosebumps at certain scenes, I was excited, happy and horrified throughout! The book will definitely be a comfort read, it was just perfection being surrounded by such familiar and cozy characters! And Aslan! How good to see that big cat again!

The writing, okay, sure it’s a ‘children’s’ book, but it’s really for everyone! It’s a classic for a reason! And I definitely recommend this to all! It was great reading the book as an adult, seeing things through ‘older’ eyes, but it was every bit as magical as I remember! The writing is rather fast paced, and it definitely moves along quickly!

Happy reading! 🙂

Book Review: Hexes for The Modern Age (Contemporary Curses For The People Who Irritate You The Most) by Val Brains

Published in 2017 by Skyhorse Books

154 pages

3 out of 5 stars

Sypnosis from Goodreads:

Let’s face it: most people irritate us. Hexes for the Modern Age is a tongue-in-cheek approach to giving these folks a taste of their own medicine. While inspired by witches’ curses of the past, this is a gift book of 120 funny spells specific to the smartphone-obsessed, overworked, hipster-drenched reality of the present day.

Organized by category–love, work, roommates, traffic, pets, weddings, and so on–each hex is accompanied by an irreverent, Demetri Martin-type line drawing.

Spells include: “May you start turning into your parents way earlier than you expected.” “May all the cords to your electronics become entangled in a massive death coil.” “May a full-size parking space that appears to be open actually be taken up by a tiny Vespa scooter.” “May you always have 3 percent phone battery when you have no idea where you’re going and it’s in the middle of nowhere and there’s no one else around.”

And many, many more!

This little book, with a spell and an illustration on every page, is perfect for anyone who wants some subtle modern-day revenge.

My Review:

I received a copy from Harriet McInerney from NewSouth Books in exchange for an honest review. Please note that this does not impact my thoughts on the book in any way.

I was definitely intrigued initially, truthfully I didn’t know what to expect, but I had a hunch that it would be a laugh. Turns out, I was right. A fair few of these ‘curses’ did make me laugh, the ones listed under the ‘family’ and ‘pet’ section especially. I thought each curse was clever, and definitely applicable in this day and age especially, and I’m definitely going to keep an eye out on what the author comes out with next! I especially loved the little illustrations that accompanied each curse, they definitely added some extra humour into each one.

What didn’t do it for me, however, was that I found them to be repetitive? I felt like I was reading a lot of the same thing? Also, I rarely curse people or want to curse people, so I guess I just didn’t follow the sense of the book? But again that’s just me.

Thanks again to Harriet McInerney for the review copy!

Happy reading 🙂