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Category: Book Reviews

Every Thursday, you’ll find a new book review here. On the last Thursday of every month, I also review a book on writing in addition to a novel to help you grow!

Review: Once Upon a Curse by Yasmine Galenorn, Alethea Kontis, Annie Bellet, and 8 Others (Anthology)

“Seventeen magical stories from NY Times and USA Todaybestsellers and award-winning authors that will entice you to the darker side of faerie tales. More Grimm than Disney, in this collection you’ll find twists on Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Rumplestilstskin, The Snow Queen, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland, and Red Riding Hood, plus new tales paying homage to the old traditions.
Shadows cannot exist without light, however, and you’ll find enough happily-ever-afters to lift your spirits in this anthology full of adventure, dark powers, and ultimately the enduring power of true love.

YARROW, STURDY AND BRIGHT by Devon Monk – Sweet music cannot hide a wicked heart…

FAE HORSE by Anthea Sharp – Faerie bargains can grant any desire, but be careful what you wish for.

THE QUEEN OF FROST AND DARKNESS by Christine Pope – Her heart is the only thing colder than a Russian winter….

BONES by Yasmine Galenorn – Sometimes, your most cherished dream can turn out to be a nightmare.

MAGIC AFTER MIDNIGHT by C. Gockel – The Wicked Stepmother is about to meet her match…

DANCE WITH THE DEVIL by Donna Augustine – When the devil makes a deal with a dancer, he gets more than he bargained for.

NO GIFT OF WORDS by Annie Bellet – Never steal from a witch…

THE GRIM BROTHER by Audrey Faye – Not all walks in the wood end well…

BEAUTY INSIDE BEAST by Danielle Monsch – Happily Ever After ain’t guaranteed when Once Upon a Time is here.

FAESCORNED by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson – The Morrigan, Celtic goddess of war and strife, must relive a painful memory that reminds her of what she can never have.

DRAWN TO THE BRINK by Tara Maya – Sajiana’s job is to hunt down monsters brought alive from paintings. She never expected to meet one so handsome… or to need his help.

THE VARIANCE COURT by Alexia Purdy – Anna, a struggling college student, discovers a mysterious ring that turns her quiet life chaotic when the ring’s magic doesn’t do what it’s told.

THE MORRIGAN by Phaedra Weldon – A young man discovers he has leprechaun blood – and is wanted by dark faerie forces.

ALICE by Julia Crane – A twisted tale of Alice and Wonderland. Facing madness and an ominous prophecy, Alice chooses to follow her heart despite knowing her world is about to change forever.

STILL RED by Sabrina Locke – When the Hunters come, can there be any escape?

THE FINAL STRAW by Jennifer Blackstream – To banish a gold-spinning demon, first you must guess his name…

THE UNICORN HUNTER by Alethea Kontis – Only Snow White knows what really happened in the forest…”

What I thought:

Woop woop, friends and familiars! It’s time for the first review of the year! 😀

I wish my bookish year was off to a better start than the three stars I gave this on Goodreads. As is often the case with anthologies, I liked some of these shorts a lot more than others. I don’t know how this is usually handled with anthologies, but it didn’t feel like the whole book was edited by one editor. I’d really enjoy one story, and then the next one would have spelling mistakes, missing words, and other grammar issues. Given that the whole book was advertised as having been written by bestselling authors, I was disappointed with the quality.

Some shorts ended in surprising ways, while others didn’t feel finished. There were a couple which ended so abruptly it felt more like the author had contributed a couple of chapters from her book but hadn’t adjusted them to work as a short story, while others only felt partly concluded with the main enemy still undefeated. And then two were so much longer than the others I almost forgot I was reading an anthology.

The thing most humans didn’t understand was that desperation had to age like a fine wine. If it were served too soon, it wouldn’t yield nearly the same full-bodied taste. But now she was ready.

I recognised most of the originals behind the short stories which I always love, especially when new twists are introduced. I grew up with fairy tales and didn’t realise until last year how much I enjoy a good retelling!

My favourites were Yarrow, Sturdy and Bright; Dance with the Devil; No Gift of Words; The Grim Brother; and Still Red. The rest fell flat for me unfortunately.

I’d recommend this if you’re curious about anthologies or love dark fairy tale re-tellings. And if you find your new favourite author in this book, you’ll be thrilled to find details of other releases at the end of each story.


Have you read Once Upon a Curse? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Origins of the Never by C. J. Rutherford (Tales of the Neverwar, #0.5)

“A prequel to The Tales of the Neverwar series, with dragons, elves and faeries.

Set thousands of years before the Tales of the Neverwar, an epic fantasy through space, time, and reality.
Teralia. A world of light and beauty, holding the core of magic that infuses the universe. A land of Faerie magic and Ancient Dragons.
Here, two friends, closer than brothers, are destined to become the mightiest among the immortal Elven race.
One will fall, ensnared by an ancient evil thought destroyed eons ago.
The other will face a desperate choice to save a doomed world.
Ultimately, only one can prevail.”

What I thought:

This is my last review for 2017, but it’s a good one, friends.

I could have sworn I read once that authors should never combine sci-fi and high fantasy in one book. Something about asking your readers to believe in too much at once? Well, friends, Origins of the Never has magic and fairies and alternate realities and dragons and distant planets and let me tell ya, it works! Whoever said they can’t co-exist peacefully (or not so peacefully–this is about a war) didn’t read this novella.

The Glade held the magic. In the mountains to the north of the Citadel lay the source, the spring of magical energy that infused this world; and through the Never, the void which linked all reality, it passed into the universe.

(Personal note: YAAASSS!)

If we strip it right down, this novella is a love story turned dark. One man loves his best friend’s girl, and seeing them together slowly drives him mad until he raises a zombie army and enslaves all dragons. There were some parts I would have liked Rutherford to expand a little more, but this is only a novella, and it sets up one epic battle of light against dark! I’m hoping to learn more about those parts in Book 1, Souls of the Never.

There was a tiny amount of POV switching and as I already pointed out, I’d have loved more info a few times, but other than that? Yeah, this was good.

Honestly, friends, I usually cut indie books some slack. I’m not a monster. It’s hard publishing your first book yourself without the expertise of an agent and big publishing house behind you telling you what to do and making some decisions for you. I don’t think this needs any slack-cutting, though. I’m expecting big things from the rest of this series. Don’t disappoint me, Rutherford! Fan in the making here!

Gawd, I need more books like this. I can see, maybe, why having both genres in one book might be too much for some readers, but I loved it and have already added the first book in this series to my reading list. If you can think of any others, recommend away. This girl’s ready for more epic sci-fi! <3


Have you read Origins of the Never? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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My Favourite Books of 2017

Welcome to another round of favourite reads!

Last week, I looked back on my favourite indie books of 2017, but today I’m showing off the awesome traditionally published books I devoured these past eleven months <3 Get ready for the goodness!*  And, of course, the last review of the year is still scheduled for later, too 🙂

I was originally going to select 10 very special books for this list but it was impossible to cut seven, so here are my favourite 17 😀

* much of it is magical goodness, too, which makes this list even better

The Night Circus

I can’t imagine a better start to my year <3 This was magical, and perfect for December/January. If you haven’t read this yet, it’s an easy recommendation for the cold months ahead! I don’t usually re-read books for time reasons*, but this might be a yearly winter read <3

* and, yes, my tbr list threatening to crush me might have something to do with it, too

Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, & Ruin and Rising

How could I not read these after Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom? This trilogy was my reward for finishing NaNo last year, and they were my first reads this year (since I technically started The Night Circus in December 2016*). I loved them for so many reasons, but the Russian mythology was my personal highlight <3

* Wow, that seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I loved how whimsical and magical and different this was. Auri is one of my favourite characters in Rothfuss’s books, so having this little novella entirely from her POV was amazing. If you can forget for a moment what a book is supposed to be* and embrace Auri’s mind, this is perfection. The illustrations** were a lovely touch, too.

* like filled with dialogue and character development
** It’s just occurred to me that I’ve read a few books with pwetty illustrations this year… Read on and see 😉

The Caves of Steel

This was so much better than expected, and I can’t wait to read more sci-fi now. I’m holding off until I start writing my own sci-fi WIP*, but this was a fantastic introduction for me.

* this may just be next year’s NaNo project… I was so tempted this year, guys! SO TEMPTED

Equal Rites

I didn’t read anywhere near as many Discworld novels this year as I wanted to*, but out of the few I did manage to read Equal Rites is my favourite. I love Granny Weatherwax and hope to see her around in future novels. I thought Mort would take the lead but now I think it’ll be difficult for another one to come close.

We’ll see, 2018. We’ll see.

* my goal was ten and I read *counts down on her fingers* three. #fail

An Ember in the Ashes & A Torch Against the Night

Oddly enough, I’m not sure what to say other than that I really enjoyed these and am looking forward to Book 3! They’d been on my tbr list for a while and were just as good as I hoped they’d be.

Although, I’m a little annoyed that Book 2 is larger than Book 1. It looks weird on my shelf. #bookwormproblems

Our Dark Duet

I’m always torn about Schwab’s books. I like them and definitely get the hype, but at the same time they just don’t excite me. I liked this, but I also didn’t struggle to put it aside for the day. But, as I said, I definitely get the hype, which is why it’s on this list despite me being torn 🙂 And I did love the opening and those little chapters where Kate tried to control her sanity. Those won it for me.

The Final Empire

Originally, I was going to treat myself to the other books in this series as a reward for winning NaNo this year, but then I failed miserably *awkward cough* They’re on the list for my next book haul, whenever that’ll be. It’s a masterclass of fantasy writing and I feel like I should read it again, notebook and pen by my side so I can take notes.

Illuminae & Gemina

I don’t know what to say other than ouch, my feelings, and DAMN, these looked pretty on the inside! Illuminae and Gemina re-defined what a book is with their one-word pages, stunning illustrations of space ships and explosions and blood soaking through pages and letters and emails and final goodbyes and gah, just read them yourself!

Dracula

I’d never read this before October, but am so happy I’ve done it now <3 It’s not often you read a book that invented a genre! And I’ve got the stunning cloth-bound edition, so it’s pretty on my shelf, too*.

* It’s important to have priorities, friends and familiars.

Nevernight & Godsgrave

If it wasn’t for Illuminae, Nevernight would easily be my favourite book this year. But then Illuminae came and made decisions hard.

I feel like this series is the most grown-up epic fantasy I’ll ever read, but that might just be all the bloody details, sex, and heavy swearing talking. Definitely my kind of book 😛

The Language of Thorns

This is the most beautiful book I’ve bought all year. If you haven’t seen my review for it yet I recommend you take a look since I showed off the illustrations which grow with the short stories. It was beautiful inside and out, and the short stories made me feel nostalgic. If you love dark fairy tales, this is a must-read!

You can find the reviews for all of these on this blog, too, if you’d like to know more 🙂

Tomorrow, I’ll have one last post before I go on my Christmas break, but then that’s it for 2017! Can you believe how fast it’s gone? I’m excited to see what amazing reads are waiting for me in 2018*. If you’re here for my bookish posts like this one, and don’t care for my general updates, I wish you a merry Christmas, lovely holidays, and a happy new year now <3 I’ll see you in 2018, friends and familiars!

* BRING IT ON, OBSIDIO

What were your favourite reads this year? Did you love any of these as much as I did? Make a tea, take some cookies, and talk books to me!


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Review: Heralding by Faith Rivens (Iníonaofa Chronicles #2) (ARC)

“Life was simple for Eléonore when her biggest concerns were hunting demons, stacking shelves, and pulling off the single mother gig.

But that was before the night at the Citadelle two months ago. The night when she killed an Elder sorcerer. The night she discovered her own destructive powers.

Now Eléonore’s life is defined by questions of will…

Will her dangerous powers and Iníonaofa heritage ever be explained to her?
Will her son’s father make a reappearance in her life?
Will her son discover the terrible truth of her nighttime hunts?
Will the demon who offered her protection come for her due?

With chaos brewing in Daemoniar—the demon realm—and a tyrannical group on the rise, one thing is for certain…

Eléonore’s about to stumble into a whole new hellhole of trouble.”

What I thought:

I was thrilled when I was offered an ARC of Heralding. I loved the prequel novella Eléonore, and have been looking forward to Heralding ever since last year December. So. Worth. The Wait!

Survive. That was always the goal of each year. Live and prepare for another. Protect Étienne. I had stopped worrying about my own future a long time ago. Life was a day by day thing, not something to hope or wish for.

One of the many highlights for me was the relationship Eléonore has with her son, Étienne. She’s torn between knowing she needs to tell him about his heritage sooner or later, but she also wants to protect him from her world for as long as possible. Any Mum will understand her decisions and reservations, and will love the strong bond they have. Nothing matters to her as much as protecting her child, but as her two worlds–her domestic one with Étienne and her job as a kick-ass demon hunter–come ever closer to colliding, keeping Étienne safe isn’t so easy anymore. Especially when Étienne shows signs and everything gets a little more complicated.

As much as I loved the mother-son relationship, I just wanted Eléonore to make up with Raphael. It’s clear she still loves him (and he certainly makes no secret of his own feelings), and I feel bad for the guy, you know? His only crime is that he fathered a son who may or may not have magic, and Eléonore’s desire to protect Étienne from her life of demons and dark magic is so strong she doesn’t even let poor Raph near him for fear Étienne will get pulled into her world too soon. Eléonore loves Raphael, and there’s nothing she wants more than a normal life with her son and the man she loves, but as any mother will know, her baby comes first, always. Raph is an understanding champion through it all, even when he comes close to Étienne. Bless him, that must have hurt 🙁

A tugging sensation began in my fingers. It spread through my whole body as Raphael pulled me from the fabric of our reality and into the one than ran between time and space. The dimension we travelled was black and filled with grey shapes without any distinguishable forms. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d trespassed through it.

Honestly, I want what Eléonore wants–for them to be together and have a happy ending as a family.

(Gawd, all my notes are about their relationship! Why am I so bad at this? Other things happened?)

Besides their family dynamics, the side characters were excellent, too. Everyone needs a friend like Rosalie–caring, loyal, and always there for Eléonore–and even though Kerryn got a lot of hate dislike? for being a demon, she’s one of my favourite characters. This book has a lot of sass, but the banter between Kerryn and Eléonore adds most of it.

Oh, also, there’s a war coming between demons and the Iníonaofa. Eléonore is only just starting to understand her powers and there aren’t many other Iníonaofa, so I can’t wait to see how everything is going to clash in the next book.

Maybe he would think I was some kind of hero. Maybe that was worse than the truth.

If you’re a fan of kick-ass heroines in an urban fantasy setting, then this is the book for you! Better yet, if you grew up with Buffy and loved her, you’ll love Eléonore, too. This is a very easy recommendation indeed!


Have you read Eléonore, Book 1 in this series? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.”

What I thought:

Okay, so, there are beautiful books, and then there’s The Language of Thorns. The short stories are fantastic, and the illustrations? The illustrations are everything! The illustrations bring the short stories to life!

There’s a new illustration for each short story, and they become more intricate as the stories progress. They start as small drawings, then slowly crawl up along the sides of the pages, meet in the middle, and end in one final image at the end of each story. It’s right up there alongside Illuminae in terms of prettiness <3

There are different kinds of magic. Some call for rare herbs or complicated incantations. Some demand blood. Other magic is more mysterious still, the kind that fits one voice to another, one being to another, when moments before they were as good as strangers.

It was also quite nostalgic for me because I grew up with these kinds of stories and I loved seeing how some of them have influenced Bardugo here, like The Little Mermaid and Hansel and Gretel. It took me right back to the bedtime stories I grew up with.

And because I can’t adequately describe how beautiful the illustrations are, here are some more pictures to show off their gorgeousness properly:

They start small…
…slowly grow around the words…
DETAIL

HOW PRETTY IS THAT! <3 <3 <3

None of these ended quite like I expected and that just added to their beauty. Some have a happy ending but most don’t and that’s one of the many things I loved about this. There’s deceit, lies, betrayal, backstabbing, selfishness, and a whole lot of magic!

This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tales.

If you love a dark fairytale you’ll appreciate these. While all of these short stories take place in the Grishaverse, it’s not necessary to have read the Grisha trilogy or Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom. I think I appreciated this book all the more because I’d read the others first, but I’d still have loved it if I hadn’t. There’s something timeless about it, and if you’re a sucker for gorgeous illustrations it’s a must-read!


Have you read The Language of Thorns? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

“A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache.” –Library Journal *

What I thought:

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I tend to prefer my theory books humorous. While this one wasn’t that, it didn’t suffer from a lack of jokes. The tone was conversational rather than serious do-this-do-that instructions, which made it quite enjoyable for me. And I took so many notes! I’m surprised my notebook app didn’t crash.

When you use two words, a weak verb and an adverb, to do the work of one strong verb, you dilute your writing and rob it of its potential power.

There are end-of-chapter exercises and answers at the end, but one of my favourite parts is that Browne and King acknowledge their answers aren’t correct because fiction isn’t about right or wrong but rather effective and ineffective, and because of that everyone is going to get different results, some better than their own. More often than not, theory books make it sound like their way is the only way, and I loved that this one said the exact opposite.

The surest sign that you are achieving literary sophistication is when your writing begins to seem effortless.

If you’re a writer at any stage of your career you’ll find this book useful. I highly recommend you read it and buy your own copy, too, because you will want to come back to it often!

* Is anyone else annoyed by the blurbs on theory books? They’re either longer than the actual review or so short you can’t really call them blurbs -.-

Have you read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

“Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.”

What I thought:

My books look up to this series so much! <3 Choosing quotes to go with this review was hard. I’d throw the whole book at you if I could.

(There’s a lot of gushing ahead, by the way. In case you hadn’t guessed.)

Let’s start at the beginning. Everyone loves a map in a fantasy book, right? Well, Godsgrave has THREE! And they’re all gorgeous! I was tempted to share pictures just this once, just to show you how pretty they are, but this review is going to be long enough already. So just take my word for it, maybe?

Two passengers met in a dirty alley, in a little city by the sea.

The first was small, thin as whispers, cut in the shape of a cat. It had worn the seeming for over seven years now. It could barely remember the thing it had been before. A fraction of a deeper darkness, with only enough awareness to crawl from the black beneath Godsgrave’s skin and seek another like itself.

There are a lot of capitals in my notes for this review, and it’s mostly Mister Kindly’s and Eclipse’s fault. I love them SO MUCH! I love their banter, I love their sarcasm, I love how they care about Mia in their own ways, and I love that they’re there at all. More books need familiars. Or shadow familiars. Or shadow familiars with sarcasm. *takes notes* This books has a lot of the latter. It’s so good, friends.

The dark humour (and yes, the sarcasm – did I mention it has some of that?) was one of the many things that sold me on Nevernight, and Godsgrave has plenty more. It actually starts with a quick recap of who everyone is before the story itself begins, and I read that even though there was no way I forgot just because it put all the smiles on my face. I feel like the dark humour is the soul of this series.

She’d named him Mister Kindly. It fitted well enough. But somewhere deep inside, the cat who was not a cat knew that was not his name.

I know the footnotes in Nevernight aren’t everyone’s thing, but they’re back and I read every. single. one of them. I’m a sucker for lore and this series has so much of it. It was fascinating for me to read everything that’s related to the world but not necessarily to the story.

The relationships in this were excellent, and while there were some surprises it was the relationship between Mia and Mercurio especially that broke me. It was so special, friends <3 Really I’m lying, though, they all broke me. But Mia and Mercurio had a moment near the end and it stood out to me.

Looking out over the mezzanine to the endless shelves below, the girl couldn’t help but smile. She’d grown up inside books. No matter how dark life became, shutting out the hurt was as easy as opening a cover. A child of murdered parents and a failed rebellion, she’d still walked in the boots of scholars and warriors, queens and conquerors.

I accidentally read the last word in the book when I was only around halfway through (no, don’t go spoil it, don’t let me tempt you) but I’d seen it coming so I wasn’t shocked or felt like I’d ruined anything. And then I read the rest of the last page when I actually finished the book and wow, I don’t I don’t know what to think now! Looks like I’ll be pre-ordering Book 3!

There’s a lot of heavy swearing, gory blood shed, and sex in Godsgrave. I love that it doesn’t shy away from any detail, but it might not be your thing if you’re not into graphic detail and strong language. Otherwise, I’m recommending this series and insist you read it now if you haven’t already! It’s taken its place on my Forever Shelf alongside Nevernight, and I can’t wait to add the next one.


Have you read Godsgrave? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

Sign up for my newsletter for updates on my books and recommendations to help you grow as a writer:

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Review: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

“Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.”

What I thought:

Fair warning, friends – there’s a big spoiler lower down. If you’ve read this book ignore my warning, but if you’ve yet to read it you may want to skip it. I’ve marked it accordingly so you can’t miss it 🙂

I find reviewing classics difficult. Raise your hands if you don’t know anything about Frankenstein? No one? My point exactly! I always worry a classic will be hard to read, but this was easy to get into and I enjoyed it–right up until the end which was anti-climactic and left me feeling let down. The spoiler explains why, but I do recommend you skip it if you haven’t read the book yet. Unless you don’t mind spoilers, of course 🙂

Frankenstein is about a young man obsessed with the need to create something he believed would be an end to all sickness, but who was so repulsed with the result that he rejected it. Things escalated from there, and his creation sought to destroy his life and everyone he loved. It’s a reminder that just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

And that’s the plot in a nutshell, really! 🙂

I felt sorry for the monster. Rejected by the man who created him, all he wants is to be accepted and loved rather than feared and rejected by the rest of society. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. It’s what everyone wants, after all, but not only does Frankenstein reject the monster, he also gives him hope just to shatter it later. Anyone would be angry after that, right?

Now, look away if you don’t want the ending spoiled:

SPOILER The whole plot builds toward this epic fight between creator and creation. Frankenstein himself wonders several times how he can possibly win since his creation is so much stronger and faster, he only knows that he has to defeat his creation. So, when Frankenstein dies of sickness and exhaustion at the end of the book without even facing his creation one last time, I felt somewhat let down. The monster itself sails out to sea never to be seen again. Nothing gets resolved. If you’re a writer and have wondered why anything you foreshadow needs to be realised, here’s an excellent example. SPOILER END

So, while I enjoyed the book, I was also disappointed with the end. It’s incredible that Shelley wrote it when she was a teenager, but I still feel like I was robbed of this one thing she promised.


Have you read Frankenstein? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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Review: Daughters of the Oak by Becky Wright

“1646 – The English Civil War. The Royalists of King Charles I, and Cromwell’s Parliamentarians, battle, both eager to lay claim to a tattered country, where life has become cheap and death trivial.

Though, for the lowly commoner, a greater, far more devious, war rages. It threatens the souls of the weak, timid and needy. Seeking refuge in the Lord’s word, God fearing folk employ the skills of one man, the Witchfinder. His success speaks of his talent, to seek out, punish and rid the countryside of Witches, the Devil’s Whores.

2016 – A paranormal team are called to investigate, as poltergeist activity brings terror to one family. Under the cover of darkness, in silent suburbia, an endless night of battle against evil ensues, until finally, a new day dawns.

Lies, secrets, and treachery, it seems, are never forgotten.
Welcome to Manningtree…”

What I thought:

I read The Manningtree Account earlier this year and was very intrigued by the story Wright tells, all the more so because it’s based on actual history. I was really excited to read the extended edition, and definitely not just because I got a signed copy <3 *purrs*

There were several new parts in Daughters of the Oak. The new beginning adds interesting background info to the three women haunting the present, and the new last chapter adds a chilling ending to the book. The way the final chapter ends makes me think that there might be a chilling spin-off in the future!

While I was interested in the new backstory and learning what ultimately led to the haunting, I enjoyed the chapters in the present more. Great care was taken in imitating the language of the time which made it sound more authentic, but it also made it harder for me to get into the story.

Usually, horror and I don’t get on, but this wasn’t outright terrifying as much as it was disturbing and a little unsettling. It worked really well for the story and meant that I could read it without losing any sleep, which is a miracle given how easily I scare 😛

If you’d like to know more about the history involved, Wright includes a short lesson on the years she’s drawn from at the back. Knowing this book is based on actual events made it more chilling for me and I appreciated the insight at the end.

The only thing I’d say is that it could have done with fewer commas. There were far too many, and as an author and editor myself the overuse was annoying me a bit.

If you’re a fan of horror and books set in our history but can’t usually cope with the genre like me, then I recommend you try this one!


Have you read Daughters of the Oak? Get some cookies, drop me a comment and let’s get this book club going!

I don’t review books professionally. These reviews are mainly a small summary and my opinion on books I’ve loved, they are not intended to be anything more. All ‘reviews’ include a picture, title and name of author linking to the book’s Goodreads listing, the blurb from the back of the book and my non-professional verdict.

For all other book reviews, please take a look here.

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