Sunday, January 31, 2021

January Wrap-Up


 This month I actually read the most I've ever read in a month.



Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton - paperback - 3/5 stars - read my review here.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone - paperback - 3/5 stars.


Dangerous Remedy (Dangerous Remedy, #1) by Kat Dunn - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor - audiobook - 3/5 stars.


The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan - audiobook - 3/5 stars.

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1) by Heather Fawcett - hardback - 3/5 stars.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi - audiobook - 4/5 stars.

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart - eARC - 3.5/5 stars - read my review here.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas - audiobook - 3.5/5 stars.

The Pale Dreamer (The Bone Season, #0.5) by Samantha Shannon - ebook - 4/5 stars.

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1) by Samantha Shannon - hardback - 4/5 stars.

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.



Physical books:

NetGalley ARCs:



My January TBR

My Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Henna Wars

Can't-Wait Wednesday - A Vow So Bold and Deadly

My Top Ten Books I Meant To Read in 2020 but Didn't Get Around To

 Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Mask Falling

Ten New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Project

I hosted an excerpt as part of the blog tour for The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes by Francesca Burke





Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) by Kristin Cashore - paperback

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2) by Rick Riordan - audiobook

 What did you read in January?

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Review - Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron



Title: Cinderella Is Dead

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Pages: 400

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Release Date: 6th August 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

 It's 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she's tiny until the night she's sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball are forfeited.

But Sophia doesn't want to be chosen – she's in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia's night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella's tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world. 


Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop



My Review:

 *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley*

Everyone knows the story of how Cinderella fell in love with Prince Charming and lived happily ever after.

Every girl dreams of the night of the royal ball, a compulsory event when girls have the chance to be chosen as a bride by the men attending.

Sophia has been dreading having to go to the ball. In love with her best friend, Erin, Sophia hopes to escape with her so that they can live the life they want instead of the life the king has made for them - a life where women have no control or freedom.

When the night of the ball comes around, everything goes wrong and Sophia finds herself on the run. Hiding in Cinderella's tomb, Sophia meets someone willing to help her.

Can Sophia bring an end to the cruel king's reign?

Going into Cinderella Is Dead, I was really excited to read it as I'd heard lots of good things about it. However, I ended up being disappointed, unfortunately.

Sophia was an okay protagonist, but I never felt like I really connected with her and none of the characters really stood out for me.

At first, I enjoyed what I was reading, but the more I read, the more I found my enjoyment waning. I struggled to stay interested in the plot and I wasn't invested in what was happening. There was one twist I didn't see coming, but the rest of the plot was fairly predictable.

The themes were important and I liked the diversity.

I wasn't a big fan of the romance as I couldn't feel the connection between the characters and it felt a bit rushed to me. However, I did like that it was an F/F romance.

The writing style was what I struggled with the most - I found the dialogue odd and there were a few times where the a line of dialogue drew me out of the book, making it hard to stay immersed.

I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more as I liked the premise. Unfortunately, this was a book where the execution didn't didn't work for me.

Overall, this was an okay but disappointing read.


Friday, January 29, 2021

Blog Tour + Excerpt - The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes by Francesca Burke


 Find the links to other stops on the tour here.




Title: The Princess and the Dragon and Other Stories About Unlikely Heroes

Author: Francesca Burke


Short Blurb: 

On the magical island of the Three Kingdoms, disparaged teenagers quest to save their people from dragons, duplicity and dictatorship. This is a book of fairy tales, but not of happy endings. Don’t expect to fall asleep to sweet dreams when you’re done.


 Longer Blurb:

  Princess Amelia’s home, the Kingdom of Mirrors, is on its knees, ravaged by the cantankerous Sapphire Dragon. She must find a way to rid her country of its unwelcome guest and work out how to restore its fortunes before her parents marry her off to clear the kingdom’s debts. Prince Richard of the Valley of Dreams knows he’s not very heroic… he’d rather read about quests than actually go on one. But when he finds himself travelling to a haunted tower, he discovers a treacherous conspiracy that could rip the Three Kingdoms apart… and learns there might be some heroism tucked up his sleeve after all. Esme Delacroix is a psychic living in Stormhaven, the only part of the Three Kingdoms where magic is taboo. A terrifying vision sends Esme and her friend Violet on a perilous quest that shakes Stormhaven and the Three Kingdoms to its core.


Originally published on the author's Patreon, the novel is now available as an ebook:

Goodreads | Kobo | Amazon






Not all fairy tales have happy endings. Some end with a marriage, which could be a happy ending or a happy beginning, depending on how you look at it. Some end neatly, which could be a happy ending or a sad ending but is more often quite a boring one.Then there is this fairy tale, which ends neither happily nor neatly. 

The island of the Three Kingdoms is tucked away at the edge of nowhere and surrounded by violent sea on all sides. It slightly resembles a crescent moon and greatly resembles the sort of place you find silver-tongued elderly ladies with a tendency to cast enchantments and witty young men with a tendency to embark on valiant quests and declare themselves heroes.There are surprisingly high levels of hygiene and health and safety given the lack of electricity and standardised paperwork.

Several thousand years before the witty men and the hygiene standards, the Three Kingdoms was merely a small, volatile, pocket of ocean. One afternoon the earth sneezed, accidentally spewing out a handful of magical creatures, a variety of poisonous plants and four strains of the common cold. The ocean viewed all these things as the unfortunate natural by-product of a sneeze and made to clear them away, so the earth hastily spat out a spectacular island of mountain ranges and beaches and lush green valleys, offering its exiles a comfortable prison. Magic seeped through the earth and out into the sea, calling out for humans to come and look and stay a while. This was probably where things went wrong.  

The islanders promptly set about harnessing the magic and taming the creatures and figuring out which plants could be eaten if cooked properly.They also named the Three Kingdoms the Three Kingdoms of something, but they kept claiming one another’s thrones via wars or marriages (or a war disguised as a marriage) until specifics faded away and all that remained were three royal families and three tenacious nations, mutually enjoying the eternal bonds of shared history and common culture. 

Well, three royal families and three tenacious nations with a lot of shared history.



 The Princess and the Dragon

Chapter One

The Kingdom of Mirrors, the loudest, southernmost and most magical of the Three Kingdoms, filled the bottom third of the crescent moon with olive trees, fishing boats and about ten thousand mirrors. It was ruled by the Durante line of the House of Stars, whose family tree was dotted with the types of people whose exploits are written into ten-minute songs about burning cities, eccentric fashion sense and enormous acts of courage in the face of fire-breathing dragons. Princess Amelia, the youngest of the Durante family, knew from early childhood that she, too, would one day have to defeat a dragon. 

Nobody initially expected Amelia to facethe dragon in question, partly because she was a girl and partly because she had been born second in line to the throne. Her older brother, Prince Nicholas, was both dashingly handsome and perfectly capable of embarking on such a heroic quest by himself. Unfortunately for Amelia, by the time she reached her teens Prince Nicholas found himself indisposed, so although most people were too polite to mention it, the task of dragon-slaying ultimately fell to her. 

Amelia was fourteen, and in happier stories she would be learning how to dance or dabble in magic. In this story, Amelia was in charge of olive oil production. She was also kingdom treasurer, head of the royal family’s public relations department, occasional fisherwoman and part-time carer to her ailing father, the king. For someone born into a centuries-old dynasty, she spent a lot of time with ancient legal documents and recently gutted fish.




About the Author


Born in Rochford in 1995, Francesca Burke decided at an early age that the worlds inside books and television were infinitely preferable to the real one. Initially put off the idea of being a writer because it requires one to sit alone and ignore people, she now finds sitting alone and ignoring people to be the most satisfying parts of the job. She lives in Southend-on-Sea.


 Author Links: 

 Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Blog | Patreon | Ko-Fi | Website | Stories Blog



Read a Q&A with Francesca here.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Project


 Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.

 This week I'm anticipating . . .

Title: The Project

Author: Courtney Summers

Pages: 352

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: 2nd February 2021


Blurb from Goodreads:

 Lo Denham is used to being on her own. After her parents died, Lo's sister, Bea, joined The Unity Project, leaving Lo in the care of their great aunt. Thanks to its extensive charitable work and community outreach, The Unity Project has won the hearts and minds of most in the Upstate New York region, but Lo knows there's more to the group than meets the eye. She's spent the last six years of her life trying—and failing—to prove it.

When a man shows up at the magazine Lo works for claiming The Unity Project killed his son, Lo sees the perfect opportunity to expose the group and reunite with Bea once and for all. When her investigation puts her in the direct path of its leader, Lev Warren and as Lo delves deeper into The Project, the lives of its members it upends everything she thought she knew about her sister, herself, cults, and the world around her—to the point she can no longer tell what's real or true. Lo never thought she could afford to believe in Lev Warren . . . but now she doesn't know if she can afford not to.


Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

 I really enjoyed the author's last book, Sadie, and this one sounds like it's going to be just as good if not better. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020


Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week the topic is 
New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020


 I read quite a few books by new-to-me authors in 2020, so here are my ten picks . . . 



1. Margaret Rogerson

(Sorcery of Thorns)

This was one of my favourite reads of 2020 and I definitely want to read more books by the author.

Read my review here.



2. Alix E. Harrow

(The Ten Thousand Doors of January)

Read my review here.



3. H.G. Parry

(The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep)

I really enjoyed this one and liked that it's set in New Zealand, which was where I was when I read it.

4. June Hur

(The Silence of Bones)

I really liked the mystery element and the setting of 1800s Korea (then Joseon).

Read my review here.

5. Beth O'Leary

 (The Flatshare)

Contemporary novels are hit or miss for me, but I really enjoyed this. I especially liked the mentions of crochet as I started crocheting last year. The romance was lovely and I liked both Tiffy and Leon.

6. Kester Grant

(The Court of Miracles (A Court of Miracles, #1))

 This was an interesting take on Les Mis and I really liked the themes of family and friendship.

Read my review here.



7. Erin Morgenstern

(The Night Circus)

I had been putting off reading this for so long because of the hype, but I finally got to it in 2020. While I did enjoy this I wasn't blown away, but I am interested in reading more by the author.

8. Christina Lauren


This is another book that had been on my TBR for a long time. I have mixed feelings about this book - I liked the diversity and Tanner's relationship with his parents, but I was not a fan of the romance and there wasn't much plot.

9. Sherry Thomas

(The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan)

I wasn't sure what to expect from this, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. I liked the politics, history, representation and themes in this.

10. Leah Johnson

(You Should See Me in a Crown)

I listened to the audiobook for this and enjoyed it. I would definitely read more books by the author.

What new-to-you authors did you read books by last year?


Friday, January 22, 2021

Review - The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart



 Title: The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1)

Author: Andrea Stewart

Pages: 416

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: 8th September 2020


Blurb fron Goodreads:

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne.

The emperor's reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.

Lin is the emperor's daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright - and save her people.

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop


My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Little, Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley*


Lin is the daughter of the ageing, reclusive Emperor who uses bone shard magic to create constructs (animal-like creatures) that he uses in the place of humans to maintain his rule.

Despite being the Emperor's daughter, she has to prove that she is worthy to be named his heir, but a childhood illness that resulted in Lin losing her memories keeps the Emperor from choosing her.

As islands begin to fall to revolution and the Emperor's hold slips, will Lin be able to claim her rightful place of heir?

How far is Lin willing to go to become Emperor?


I love a good fantasy book and the premise of The Bone Shard Daughter instantly caught my attention.

The book is told from the perspectives of five characters, but the main two are Lin, the Emperor's daughter, and Jovis, a smuggler-turned-reluctant-hero. There weren't any perspectives that I didn't enjoy, but I did find Lin and Jovis's chapters the most interesting. I really liked both Lin and Jovis and it was enjoyable to read how they coped in different situations.

My favourite character was Mephi, a kind of otter/cat-like creature who was so adorable.

The setting of the islands of the Empire was interesting and I thought it was unique that the islands migrated. The mystery of the Alanga, the previous rulers of the Empire, was very intriguing.

The bone shard magic was really intriguing and I enjoyed finding out more about it. The constructs were quite a horrifying concept, as were the festivals where people had shards of bone taken from their skulls.

There weren't any parts of the book that I didn't enjoy, but the last third or so was definitely my favourite bit. This was due to the plot coming together and the action starting to happen, and this was also the only part of the book where I started to feel gripped. There were some good twists, although I did guess one, but only a few chapters before it was revealed.

The writing style was easy to follow and I'm definitely interested in reading more books by the author.

I am very much looking forward to the sequel, which I will certainly be reading.

Overall, this was an enjoyable, unique read.