To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Author: Alexandra Christo

Genre: YA Fantasy / Dark Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 star

I received a proof of this book with thanks to the publisher Hot Key Books. My thanks goes out to them but this in no way affects my opinion of the book.

To Kill a Kingdom is the dark fantasy debut of Alexandra Christo. It follows the story a prince hunting siren princess and a siren hunter prince. It has sass, it is fierce and the characters are amazing. There is no mention of this literally anywhere I’ve read about this book but it is quite clearly from very early on in the book that this is a very dark The Little Mermaid retelling. The similarities are just too similar for coincidence, but I ADORE this! The Little Mermaid is my favourite fairytale and I love fairytale retellings so the fact made my enjoyment of this book skyrocket.

The characters in this book are just amazing. Each one is so different but all of them have depth and personality. Our MCs Elian (the prince) and Lira (the siren) have such sass and pomp. Elian being a rebellious pirate prince and Lira being fierce and murderous, they’re quite similar in some ways but opposite in others and I loved their clashes – they compliment each other brilliantly. My favourite character by far in the book though was Kye, Elian’s sassy and fashionable thieve bodyguard and best friend. His whole character just wiped me right from the off.

The book is marketed as being perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo, well, I’ve never read any Leigh Bardugo so I can’t speak for that but I have read and enjoyed a good selection of Sarah J Maas and I’d personally say Alexandra Christo’s debut is much better than anything Maas has ever written. Definitely a book that I can see turning into a big hit with readers.

I’d definitely recommend this one!

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The Natural History Of Ghosts by Roger Clarke

Author: Roger Clarke

Genre: Nonfiction / paranormal

Rating: 4/5 star

The Natural History Of Ghosts is a book that tells of the last 500 years of looking for proof of Ghosts. It starts by telling a few tales of true hauntings from centuries past, into the origin of the English ghost story, the Victorian obsession with seances right through to the hit U.K. supernatural show, Most Haunted. It’s an interesting and in depth look at what ghosts are, have been and will yet be. What it is not is a book of true paranormal events and tales nor is it a book with solid proof either way. It’s interesting and enjoyable though.

I went into this book with no prior expectations. I didn’t know if it would be a collection of hauntings or scientific research into ghosts or what it would be. It was a cover but of the tallest order as even the blurb lacked any insight. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found it to be though. All the more due to the mention of The Warrens whom I am slightly obsessed with. There is a great selection of related books in the back of the book recommended as further reading by Clarke himself that I loved. It’s led me to some great books that I can’t wait to delve into.

It’s one I’d recommend.

A day in the life …

A little personal update feels in order because I’ve been MIA over the last fortnight. Things have been mentally exhausting here in the last few weeks and juggling blogging, reviewing, University essays and studying alongside raising my child has been rather overwhelming. I’ve taken some well needed time off from both blogging/reviewing and University in order to recenter and refocus myself and I feel the better for it, I really do.

Stepping back I’ve noticed a lot of things about my blog and bookstagram that didn’t sit right so before my full return to the bookish community of the web I will be having a minor overhaul (and the removal of Goodreads which I have deleted and will no longer be using!). I’ve also noticed that removing the influences and opinions of other bloggers and reviewers I have centred my reading and book purchasing on specific sub-genres and authors that are 100% enjoyable to me without the expectations and disappointment of reading books I’m recommended that turn out terrible and not at all something I’d have picked up myself otherwise. I’ve certainly been enjoying my reading more away from the bookish community so a slight change in my content will also be arising. Yes! I’m going to continue bookstagramming and reviewing but I will be focusing on a select few sub-genres and authors that I personally enjoy rather than books I’m recommended and/or sent at random from publishers. I won’t be taking recommendations from so and so about the last book they read that they insist I will love or trying that author because so and so said they’re amazing and I should try them. Sorry, no. I’m reading purely books I personally want to read whether other readers find them worthy or not. If I want outside opinion I shall be sure to ask for it. 💁🏼‍♀️

I truly enjoy blogging about books and writing reviews and telling people about the wonderful books books I’ve read and hearing about what others are reading but unfortunately, I don’t like the peer pressure of overhyped books and authors and being told repeatedly that I simply must read -insert book or author here- because I will just LOVE them! In 98% of these cases I do not at all like, let alone love them and I don’t feel good having to tell said recommender that actually you don’t know me that well at all. You see what I mean?

The bookish community is getting too full of people more interested in artsy photography than reading and more opinionated about certain books and authors and shunning all else or creating cliques based on certain authors or genres that disclude all who won’t conform. It’s becoming an unfriendly school yard kind of community and upon my full return I aim to rise above such nonsense.

Xxx

Game of Queens by Sarah Gristwood

Author: Sarah Gristwood

Genre: Nonfiction / History

Rating: 5/5 star

SLOW. ROUND. OF. APPLAUSE…

This book. I have not the words to describe the sheer wonderment that is this book.

Game of Queens is a nonfiction book on the women who made 16th century Europe. It includes all the greatest queens and ladies from throughout the 16th century as well as some lesser known and less talked about figures. It is truly amazing.

The book reads as a continuous reading starting at the beginning of the 16th century and working its way through the women of power at the time and their links to each other and what was happening meanwhile – slowly working its way through all the shakers and movers until we end with the death of Mary Queen of Scots in Fotheringhay. The way it is written and presented makes it an impossible book to put down and very entertaining besides.

I was particularly enraptured by the Parts about Mary Tudor, Queen of France, Catherine De Medici, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and of course Mary Queen of Scots but I found the entire book inspiring and enjoyable. Each and everyone of these women are a treasure. I couldn’t recommend this book enough! Certainly one of the best books I’ve read in a while and definitely my favourite read of the year so far.

February and March in Books

February and March 2018 for me are dedicated to nonfiction and women authors. Every February Ekho (EKho’s Blog) holds their annual nonfiction February which I am honoured again to take part in with stack one ☝️I shall be adding Game of Queens to this TBR once it arrives and also perhaps La Reine Blanche: Mary Tudor a Life in Letters which comes out later in February.

I am also joining Sara (@sarasreadingdiary on IG) for a two month long Read For Women challenge to celebrate international woman’s day and the day U.K. women got the vote. The second stack ☝️ will be my TBR for that, including several books about Catherine De Medici with are yet to arrive and potentially the Veronica Speedwell books 1-3!

As you can see, both stacks have a main focus on history and women of medieval history to be more precise. I have an adoration for history (especially medieval to early modern!) and history books and historical fiction are big loves for me due to this. I have recently discovered historical fantasy fiction which is a bizarre and amazing thing that I hope to read more of in the future! So send recs if you have them?

During these two months I’ll only be accepting review copies for history books (nonfiction) and historical fiction and I also shall not be reviewing any other genre of book during this time. I hope that’s cool with everyone, I’m sorry if not – this is what is happening.

So, that’s it. Just wanted to share updates. I rarely post anything but reviews here and sometimes I feel bad for that and these little updates are born. Enjoy!

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah M Griffin

Author: Sarah Marie Griffin

Genre: Sci-fi fantasy/dystopian

Rating: 500000/5 star

I received this proof from the publisher, Titan Books, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way effects my opinion on the book.

Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Marie Griffin was one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I was so so thrilled when the lovely ladies at Titan Books offered me a proof for review. It is a debut by a charming Irish author in the vein of Frankenstein and the Borderlands video game series. It is absolutely AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT. I could not put it down.

The book is set in Black Water City, a small place cut off from the rest of the world that may or may not be there after what is called in the book The Turn. Basically, without spoiling anything it’s a city full of survivors in an apocalyptic world trying to rebuild their city. The city is made up of recrafted buildings and spare parts and the people themselves are fixed together with robotic augmentations. This in my mind was so Borderlands-chic and as a big fan of the comic/video game series it made me love this book even more!

The characters are a bizarre and diverse bunch but each and everyone is (mostly) loveable. Nell Crane is our MC and she is bright and fierce and a little bit of a hermit – I loved her! Then we have Ruby – her best friend that is kind of a bizarre but not entirely nice person, Oliver – the handsome and kind hearted boy who is madly in love with her and a wide array of other divine characters. I seriously loved them all! Especially Nell, Oliver and Rua.

I really couldn’t recommend this perfect book enough! It completely exceeded all of my expectations and after finishing it I immediately wanted to read it again. Certainly a favourite read of 2018.

Reading challenges and readathons – oh my!

So, as you know I am taking part this year in @theunreafshelf’s The Unread Shelf Project 2018. The idea is to read all (or a set amount) of the books already on your unread shelf before buying or reading anything else! Of course there’s no set rules – you make your own goals and rules because everyone is different. For me I want to get the whole lot read (I believed it was 71 books but after realising all my Pratchett’s weren’t saved on GR I had to recount and the number is actually 89!) before 2019! At the very least I want to get my unread books under 10 books and keep it that way. I’m allowing myself to purchase books only for the remainder of January because there’s so so many sales on and there are a few series I want to read all together and only have a book or two but from February 1st I am officially on a book buying ban! After I’ve read ten unread books I may place one £10-20 order at any chosen books store but I am also being very strict with my book buying this year and only certain authors and genres are allowed until I’ve read all 89 books.

Anyway, I’m going on a tangent here… the thing I wanted to point out is that during February and March my friend Sara @sarasreadingdiary is holding a Read for Women readathon in celebration of International Woman’s day and the day UK women got the vote. Any genre, any length, as many or as few as you like – but read women authors! I’m excited to take part but my TBR isn’t decided yet as their are still a lot of Male authors I want to read right now.

The stack pictured is my immediate TBR in which consists mainly of review copies I need to get through ASAP. Some I can coincide with Read for Women and all can work with The Unread Shelf Project so That’s always good to know.