Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Sunday, October 11, 2020

DNF Review - Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust



Title: Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Author: Melissa Bashardoust

Pages: 336

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: 7th July 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:


From the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass, this captivating and utterly original Persian-inspired fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch is perfect for fans of Natasha Ngan and Naomi Novik.

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it's not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother's wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she's willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn't afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming . . . human or demon. Princess or monster.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review:

 *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley*

DNF @39%


Princess Soraya lives an isolated life, removed from the rest of the royal court, even apart from her twin, the ruler, and their mother, for most of the year.
Soraya's touch is deadly, so she is hidden away, most of her people unaware of her existence.
Soraya gains an ally in a young man who isn't afraid to be near her and who wants to help her.
Soraya was cursed by a div, so when one is captured and locked in the dungeon she decides to talk to the div and find out if there is a way to get rid of the curse.
Soraya's quest to be free of the curse will strain her relationships with her family and may put Soraya on a path more suited to a monster than a princess . . .

Having heard good things about this book, and being intrigued by the Persian elements, I was looking forward to reading Girl, Serpent, Thorn. However, it unfortunately ended up not being for me.
Soraya was a protagonist who it should have been easy for me to sympathise with, given the way she was treated, but the more I read the less I liked her. I ended up finding Soraya rather frustrating and I couldn't connect with her at all. I actually felt more sorry for her brother, who was busy trying to rule, than I did for Soraya.
In the 39% of the book that I did read, barely anything happened and I struggled to stay interested in the little that did happen.
The writing style wasn't one of my favourites and I feel like it would have been easier for me to relate and connect with Soraya if the novel had been written in first person instead of third person.
In the end, I decided to stop reading because I wasn't enjoying the novel and I was frustrated by Soraya's actions.
This is a novel where the concept was intriguing, but the execution didn't work for me.


Unfortunately, this wasn't for me.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Blog Tour + Favourite Quotes + Review - Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1) by Kerri Maniscalco


 Find the tour schedule here.

Title: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Pages: 448

Publisher: Jimmy Paterson

Release Date: 22nd October 2020


Blurb for the book:

 Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…


Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Pre-Order Incentive

 JIMMY Patterson books is running a pre-order incentive campaign. All who pre-order a hardcover, ebook, or audiobook edition of Kingdom of the Wicked before 11:59pm ET on October 26, 2020 will receive an enamel pin, signed bookplate, and pair of oracle cards. This offer is only available in the US and pre-orders from subscription boxes are not eligible. Upload your receipt, and see the Terms & Conditions and details here.


Favourite Quotes



My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Jimmy Paterson and NetGalley*

Twin sisters Emilia and Vittoria come from a long line of witches. They live among humans with their parents and grandmother, helping out in the family restaurant.

Vittoria has always been the bolder, more confident twin, but when Emilia finds her sister’s body, she vows that she will have vengeance and will do anything, even use dark magic, to get it.

Emilia’s grandmother has always warned her about the Princes of Hell, but when Emilia encounters one of them (Wrath), it seems as if he has a similar goal as Emilia – working out who is behind the murders of several young witches, including Vittoria.

Can Emilia and Wrath work together to stop the killer?

Can Emilia trust Wrath? Or is he keeping dark truths from her?

For some reason, I have never gotten around to reading any of the authors other books, but, knowing how popular they are and how interesting they sound, I jumped at the chance to read an early copy of their new book, and I’m glad I did.

Emilia was a likeable and relatable protagonist, especially as she was more inclined to stay in and read rather than go out to a party (which I found especially relatable). I felt sorry for her when she found Vittoria’s body and I totally understood her need for vengeance – if anything happened to my sister I would be the same. It was interesting to see how Emilia changed and interacted with people on her quest for vengeance.

Wrath was a very intriguing character who I wanted to trust but knew that I probably couldn’t. I especially enjoyed reading his interactions with Emilia and their verbal sparring.

I enjoyed the Sicilian setting and felt that the descriptions of the food definitely helped to create the atmosphere.

Finding out about the different Wicked Princes of Hell was interesting, and I thought that having the seven sins as demons was unique and intriguing. The different magic and witches were also interesting.

The plot was good overall, but I definitely preferred the second half, which was when Wrath came into the storyline more and there was more action. While I did guess some of the twists, there were a few that I didn’t see coming.

The writing style was easy to follow and I would like to read more books by the author.

After the way the book ended, I am very intrigued to see what happens in the sequel, which I am definitely planning to read.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend.



About the Author

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Wicked.


Follow Kerri on Twitter and Instagram where she’s always ready to talk fictional crushes:

Instagram | Twitter

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Review - The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab




 Title: The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue

Author: V.E. Schwab

Pages: 560

Publisher: Titan Books

Release Date: 6th October 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

When Addie La Rue makes a pact with the devil, she trades her soul for immortality. But there's always a price - the devil takes away her place in the world, cursing her to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie flees her tiny home town in 18th-Century France, beginning a journey that takes her across the world, learning to live a life where no one remembers her and everything she owns is lost and broken. Existing only as a muse for artists throughout history, she learns to fall in love anew every single day.

Her only companion on this journey is her dark devil with hypnotic green eyes, who visits her each year on the anniversary of their deal. Alone in the world, Addie has no choice but to confront him, to understand him, maybe to beat him.

Until one day, in a second hand bookshop in Manhattan, Addie meets someone who remembers her. Suddenly thrust back into a real, normal life, Addie realises she can't escape her fate forever.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Titan Books and NetGalley*

It is the 18th Century and Addie LaRue lives in a small French town with her parents.

Addie longs for more than a life of being stuck in the same town, of being a wife and a mother.

So Addie makes a deal with the devil for more time, more time to live. But in doing so, Addie is cursed to be forgotten by everyone.

Addie leaves her home, trying to live her life and work around the curse.

Throughout the years, Addie receives visits from the devil on the anniversary of their deal, and he tries to convince Addie to give in, to surrender.

Then one day, the unthinkable happens, and Addie hears the words "I remember you".

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and I thought it might end up being the first Schwab book to really blow me away, something none of her others have done before. However, I am left feeling undoubtedly disappointed, deflated and underwhelmed. Maybe I let myself be drawn in by the hype too much. Maybe I expected too much. All I know is, while I did enjoy this overall, I have very mixed feelings about Schwab's latest novel.

I liked Addie most of the time and did feel sorry for her - being forgotten by everyone must have been unbearable, and she was very strong to keep going. Despite the length of the novel, I don't feel that I really got to know that much about Addie herself and would have liked to have read more scenes where she was alone instead of there being so many of her with romantic partners, as it felt like I only got to see her in relation to other people and that she didn't get a chance to grow as a person. It was also a little repetitive.

Henry was a character who it was as if I was being told that I should feel sorry for him, and I did, but only a little. I didn't particularly like Henry as a character, and found him a bit annoying at times.

The devil was a bit of a disappointing character and almost seemed two-dimensional. I felt that there should have been a lot more to him, and I didn't buy the way he was with Addie.

I don't feel that I connected with any of characters, which made it hard to care about what happened/be invested in them. However, I did really like Bea and Estele and would like to read more about them. Maybe reading about Addie in her 'mad years' would have helped me connect with her more.

I enjoyed the chapters set pre-2000s a lot more than the ones set in 2013/14, and would have liked there to have been more as I did lose interest a little when things focused on 2013/14.

Given the length of the book, it didn't feel like much actually happened and I have mixed feelings about the ending.

The themes of being remembered and loved were intriguing and thought-provoking, and I liked the representation included in the book.

This was without a doubt some of Schwab's best writing, but, for me, the novel fell short both plot-wise and character-wise.

I am extremely disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more, especially as everyone seems to have loved it.

Overall, this was an enjoyable but mixed read.

Friday, October 2, 2020

October TBR



I seriously can't believe it's October already!

I feel like I've read nowhere near as many books as I planned to.

Here are the books I'm hoping to read in October . . .

Circe by Madeline Miller - this is the Sprayed Edges book choice for October and November, which gives me the perfect excuse to finally pick up this book.

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - I really want to read this before the Netflix adaptation with Lily James and Armie Hammer comes out.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust - I've heard good things about this and and have a NetGalley ARC that it's taken me far too long to get to.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab - this is one of my most anticipated reads of 2020 and I'm currently 41% of the way through.

What books are you planning to read in October?


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September Wrap-Up



I didn't end up reading as many books as usual this month, mainly due to reading a book that was nearly 900 pages long. But I still managed to read a few books.



Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1) by Veronica Roth - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.

A Deadly Edication (Scholomance, #1) by Naomi Novik - eARC - 3.5/5 stars - read my review here.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini - physical copy - 3/5 stars - read my review here.

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1) by Kerri Maniscalco - eARC - 3.5/5 stars - review to come as part of the blog tour.



I got way more books than I meant to this month. Isn't that always the way?

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) and Fire (Graceling Realm, #2) by Kristin Cashore are books that I got from a friend's unhaul pile.

I was sent a copy of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini from the publisher.

I got Saga Volume 1 in a trade.

And the other ones I bought - A Snowfall of Silver being a pre-order, the Daevabad Trilogy are the FairyLoot copies which are stunning.

I also got the September FairyLoot book which I won't spoil here uncase anyone still hasn't got theirs.

What books did you read and haul in September?


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Review - A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) by Naomi Novik


Title: A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1)

Author: Naomi Novik

Pages: 336

Publisher: Cornerstone Digital

Release Date: 29th September 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

Enter a school of magic unlike any you have ever encountered.

There are no teachers, no holidays, friendships are purely strategic, and the odds of survival are never equal.

Once you’re inside, there are only two ways out: you graduate or you die.

El Higgins is uniquely prepared for the school’s many dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out untold millions – never mind easily destroy the countless monsters that prowl the school.

Except, she might accidentally kill all the other students, too. So El is trying her hardest not to use it... that is, unless she has no other choice.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone and NetGalley*

Galadriel 'El' Higgins attends a school for magic where there are no teachers, but there is an infestation of creatures that try to eat the students.

El doesn't have any friends, partly due to her prickly attitude, which is a problem if she wants to survive graduation. Which she does. El needs to make an alliance with some of the other students in order to make it through the infested graduation hall, something many students die attempting to do each year.

El is a powerful - evil sorceress powerful according to a prophecy - but can she control that power and use it to survive?

I nearly DNF'd this book after the very first chapter as it was pretty much a huge info-dump. However, I continued reading and I'm glad that I did.

El was a good protagonist and I liked her most of the time, but there were a couple of occasions when her prickly demeanour did grate on my nerves a little bit. However, I thought the way she acted was understandable given what she'd been through. I enjoyed reading El's interactions with other characters, especially Orion.

Orion Lake was treated as the school hero because he kept saving people from the student-killing monsters and it was interesting to find out more about him.

The setting of the school was interesting, especially the idea of there being no teachers and the students essentially being left to fend for themselves. I really liked the idea of some books disappearing for years at a time and having to tell them how special etc they are to make sure they stay with you.

The magic was intriguing, especially needing to have energy - mana (light) or malia (dark) - to be able to do spells. I liked that to get mana you had to do things like push ups and crochet.

The info-dumps were definitely my least favourite thing about the book - there were some in odd places and some that felt overly long (see the first chapter). There also wasn't really that much that actually happened plot-wise. This book definitely focuses on the relationships between the students, which was probably due to it being the first book in the series, and while I did enjoy getting to know the intricacies of school-life, I would have liked a bit more plot.

I liked the diversity at the school. El herself was half-Indian, half-British.

There was a hint of romance, which was just the right amount for me. I think any more wouldn't have worked.

The writing style was easy enough to follow, but most of the time it did feel like I was being told things rather than shown them.

I am planning to continue with the series, mainly because of the cliffhanger at the end of the book which has me very intrigued to see what happens next.

This may not have been a gripping, on-the-edge-of-my-seat read for me, but it was instead a book that slowly lured me in and kept me entertained.

This may not be a perfect book, but it was an enjoyable read overall.