Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Queen of Ruin

Book: Queen of Ruin

Here’s my review of the first book, Grace and Fury!

Author: Tracy Banghart

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3/5

Queen of Ruin was the conclusion to the Grace and Fury duology and while it was better than the first book, I still found it a bit lacking.

At the start of the novel, the two sisters, Serina and Nomi, were reeling from the disastrous events that unfolded in the previous book. Serina, while battling her grief and guilt, was trying to lead the women of the Mount Ruin prison to freedom. Whereas, Nomi was struggling with Asa’s betrayal of her trust and wanted to keep her family safe. However, they ended up joining together to fight for the rights of all of the women of their country and wanted to change the ingrained sexist ideologies surrounding women.

I liked the way Serina’s character went from strength to strength. In this book, she truly became a fierce leader and warrior. Nomi’s character development was subtler but she definitely became more confident and sure of herself. I admired them both for their courage to fight against a system that had suppressed women for years and years.

I also liked the other female side characters because they were nuanced and complex but sadly, just like the first book, the male characters were as flat as cheese crackers. Malachi was broody; Val was nice, nice, nice; Renzo was really nice too and Asa was the classic unhinged emotionless villain.

The reason I found it ‘a bit lacking’ was because barely anything happened considering it’s a few hundred page book. I thought there was too much repetitive filler and not as much interesting content.

Queen of Ruin was a quick read with fairly deep themes but all in all not very impressive or original. I’d recommend it to people who enjoyed the first book.

Thank you to Hachette Children’s Group for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Friday Reads · Uncategorized

Friday Reads | The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle


Today I’ll be doing another ‘Friday Reads’ with The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. This book was full of mystery and was utterly unpredictable– it’s definitely one that I’d recommend.

Friday Reads was invented by The Candid Cover and is a merge of:

  • Book Beginnings which is a book meme hosted by Rose City Reader where we share the first sentence(s) of a book.
  • The Friday 56 which is hosted by Freda’s Voice where we share a snippet from page 56 of a book (or 56% on an e-reader).

Bookish Beginnings:

Here are the first sentences of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle:

“I forget everything between footsteps.

‘Anna!’ I finish shouting, snapping my mouth shut in surprise.

My mind has gone blank. I don’t know who Anna is or why I’m calling her name.”

I love these first few sentences because they act as a firm hook to grab the reader’s attention. I remember when I started reading this book I was so confused and had no idea what was going on, which made me curious enough to continue reading!

The Friday 56:

A snippet from 56% of the book:

“A draught greets me at the top of the staircase, twisting and curling in the air, sneaking through the cracked windows and beneath the doors to stir the leaves littering the floor.”

I like how something as simple as a draught is personified in this snippet. It’s amazing how the use of words can create such a vivid reading experience and conjure up worlds in one’s mind.

What are you reading this Friday? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Merciful Crow

Book: The Merciful Crow

Author: Margaret Owen

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Merciful Crow was an intriguing read about a world plagued by prejudice and hierarchy and the people fighting for justice.

The world building was excellent because it was very original and I was gradually fed more information as I read as opposed to a boring info dump at the start of the book. I also loved the magic system and the way it functioned in the novel.

The people were split into twelve castes and each one had a birthright gifted to them by their gods. Each caste was named after a bird. For example, the Phoenix caste (the caste of royalty) had the birthright of fire. However, the lowest caste- the Crows– were born with no birthright and were treated appallingly by the other castes. Hunted and abused by the Oleander gentry, shunned in every town and city, every day was a fight for survival for a Crow.

Crows were the only people who were immune to a highly contagious disease called the Sinners’ Plague which was impossible to survive. Therefore, they were necessary as they served as mercy killers for those who fell ill with the plague and were the only ones who could safely dispose of the bodies. They even wore the scary plague masks that people used to wear during the time of the bubonic plague which I thought was cool. Every time they took away a body they were payed by the town or village by whatever they could afford.

Despite the essential work that Crows did, people were still hostile towards them. This made me feel really sad because if the Crows didn’t take the bodies of the infected away from the town or village and burn them, the disease would spread like wildfire throughout and everyone would die. I couldn’t understand how the other castes could be so cruel and ungrateful to the people who were saving their lives.

I found it ironic that people claimed that Crows had no birthright because being immune to a deadly disease seems like a very precious gift. Furthermore, teeth and bones from other castes held a small amount of power that some Crows were able to harness. For example, a Crow could use a tooth from someone from the Phoenix caste to wield some fire magic. The way I saw it was that people decided to disdain Crows and say that they were cursed by the gods to make themselves feel important and superior because in reality Crows did have abilities that were extremely useful.

Fie was a Crow and a future chieftain and she was bound by a covenant bond to the fugitive prince Jasimir and his too-cunning bodyguard Tav to lead them safely to their allies in return for Jasimir promising to give more rights to the Crows when he became king. They went on a long and bloody quest to save their land from tyranny and bring about justice.

Fie was incredibly stubborn but she had a strong sense of loyalty and responsibility. I liked her because she was never afraid to stand up to those who sought to take away her rights.

At the beginning, I hated Jasimir because he was pompously annoying but his character developed greatly over the book and he went from a petty prince to a just king.

Tav was very resourceful and was good at getting into the good graces of others using his charm. He was also very loyal but after spending most of his life as Jasimir’s bodyguard and body double, he started to wish for a life of his own.

However, the one thing I didn’t understand was why their were no measures in place about how Crows harnessed the birthrights in teeth and bones because if people despised them so much why would they allow them to have so much power.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and I liked how it dealt with themes of loyalty and prejudice. It is a book I would recommend to fans of fantasy bored of the standard tropes.

Thank you to Macmillan for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Goodreads | Twitter

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The Beckoning Shadow

Book: The Beckoning Shadow

Author: Katharyn Blair

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 3/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 3.5/5

The Beckoning Shadow was a novel about the importance of accepting your past instead of running away from it and it was basically what would happen if the X-men were younger and liked cage fighting for fun.

Oddities were humans with special powers and Baselines, without. Wardens were Oddities tasked with eradicating others that were deemed to be threats. Oddities were bedtime stories told to keep children in check, they lurked underground and in the shadows but they didn’t want to hide from the world anymore. They wanted to live in it without fear. Here are some examples of the different types of Oddities and their powers:

  • Harbinger: Makes a person’s deepest fears come true.
  • Demo: Everything their fingertips touch turns to dust.
  • Unraveler: Can undo past events.
  • Ledger: Bind people to unbreakable contracts.
  • Ripper: Can strip an Oddity of their powers.
  • Stoneskin: Can turn their skin as hard as stone.
  • Metalurg: Manipulates metal.
  • Scribe: Can write in ‘umbra ink’ which makes writing invisible unless an Oddity breathes on it.

Vesper was a Harbinger and after a tragic accident involving her powers, she went on the run- leaving her family without a word. She was afraid of her powers that she couldn’t control, she thought she was a monster and everyone was safer if she stayed away. After a while on the run, she found out about the Tournament of the Unraveling and she decided to enter and try to win the prize: one Unraveling and a million dollars. She thought it was her chance to rewrite her past, fix her family, herself and her life. And so, with the help of an MMA fighter called Sam, she trained and competed in the competition of a lifetime. She became a cage fighter, battling with other Oddities for victory.

“I’ve spent so much time… trying to find some way to repair what I am and what I’ve done I didn’t see the damage I was doing.”

Vesper was an interesting character. She was afraid of her powers and blinded by her own fear. It took her a while to realise that the solution wasn’t running away or hiding but finding out how to control her powers so that they would cause no harm. She didn’t need an Unraveling to ‘fix’ her life, she needed to own her actions, learn from them and communicate with those around her.

The reason why I have deducted stars is that I felt very bored at times whilst reading it. The novel was extremely repetitive as Vesper was constantly thinking and saying what felt like the same things about the guilt she carried over her past actions. While I can understand that she was distressed about it, her repetition became annoying after a while.

The Beckoning Shadow was a story about dealing with grief, loss and pain and worth a try if you’re looking for something a bit different to read.

Thank you to Katherine Tegen Books for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Goodreads | Twitter


The Retelling-A-Thon Prompts Are Here!

Last week, I announced that I would be co-hosting the Retelling-A-Thon and this week I am excited to reveal the prompts, as promised. There is a prompt for every day of the week!

Week 1: Mythology

Hosted by Frayed Books

Week 2: Shakespeare

Hosted by The Hermit Librarian

Week 3: Fairy Tales

Hosted by Sereadipity (me!)

Week 4: Classics

Hosted by JM Bibliolater

Next week, I’ll be posting prompt suggestions for the Fairy Tales categories, until then, you can start constructing your TBRs and share them using the hashtag: #RetellingAThonTBR .

#RetellingAThon · Uncategorized

Retelling-A-Thon is Coming to Town!

Hello my bookish turnips!

I am extremely excited to announce that I will be co-hosting the retelling readathon of the century: the Retelling-A-Thon!

Are you a fan of fairy tales? Obsessed with myth and legend? Then join us for the entire month of August to revisit those timeless tales that will always have a place in our hearts!

The hosts, who came up with this awesome idea, are Tay and Missy from Frayed Books (Twitter, Instagram).

The other co-hosts are:

Go check out and follow their amazing blogs!

The readathon lasts an entire month with a different prompts for every week, however you get to choose which week(s) you participate in. The four categories/teams are: mythology, Shakespeare, fairy tales and classics. They will each have their own week.

Click here to sign up via a Google Form and choose your team!

There is no points system- your only competitor is yourself, the only requirement is to enjoy yourself! Later on, we will post graphics so that you can submit your tbr and final stats. Here is an Epic Reads graphic to give you some inspiration (but remember it’s not limited to YA).

At the end of each week there will be a giveaway for a book related to that week’s theme- more information on that will be on Twitter during the readathon.

We will be releasing the prompts next week so that you can start planning your tbr. Until then, express your overwhelming excitement using this hashtag on social media:


Put on your glass slippers and get ready to go to the ball with Retelling-A-Thon 2019!

What are your favourite retellings? Let me know in the comments!

Goodreads | Twitter

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: King of Scars

Book: King of Scars

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Year Published: 2019

*This review contains spoilers. Proceed with caution.*

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

I missed Nina, Nikolai, Zoya and the rest as if they were real people and reading King of Scars was like meeting old friends again! This was definitely one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it has a lot of promise for what the future of the Grishaverse books will hold. Whilst I was reading it, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of pride because I’ve been with these characters since the beginning and they’ve come so far and endured so many trials and challenges but come out of them stronger and more resilient.

“Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sails and carry you home.”

Note: King of Scars is definitely for fans of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. If you’re not a fan, you probably won’t enjoy it. If you haven’t read the previous Grishaverse books, you probably won’t understand what is happening as there are multiple references to them.

The characters and the relationships between them were all perfect:

  • Nikolai was just as smart, witty and generally awesome as he always has been. His inner battle with the monster inside him was very well done.
  • “He might never be a truly noble man or a truly noble king… But he knew this much: He would not rest until his country could too.”

  • Zoya was AMAZING. She was the most interesting by far and we got to learn so much more about her. She also had the most character progression thoughout the novel. The fancy dragon powers she got from Juris were pretty cool too. She is one of my favourite characters now.
  • “Stop punishing yourself for for being someone with with a heart. To live is to grieve.”

  • At first, I didn’t think Zoya and Nikolai would go together but as the book progressed I could see how much they trust and understand each other so I am now a staunch Zoyalai shipper!
  • I adored Nina. She was just as fabulous as she was in Six of Crows. I felt so sorry for her though especially when she buried Matthias (I almost cried) but I did love how Trassel (Matthias’ wolf) found Nina again! I could tell her emotional wounds were still raw and in this book I could tell she still wasn’t ready to confront those scars, heal them and learn to move on but I really hope she manages to find her peace in the next book.
  • Hanne was an awesome character but I don’t ship her with Nina. I think it’s because I still haven’t gotten over Matthias’ death yet.
  • Yuri was very weird and I can’t believe they trusted him. Why would anyone worship the Darkling? It’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard especially after all the harm he caused.
  • Genya and David were perfection (as always).
  • Isaac was so sweet and he deserved better!

The whole return-of-the-Darkling plot twist was brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I always thought that the ending of Ruin and Rising didn’t feel like the end of the Darkling’s story. I am anticipating in horror what despicable deeds he will do in the next book.

I adored King of Scars yet I gave it four stars. Why? Because I felt like nothing much happened. The plot was very slow and the only interesting things happened in the last 100 pages of the book. Moreover, Nina’s story line and Nikolai’s felt very disconnected and I have no idea how Bardugo will manage to fit in so much into the next book and connect the separate plots.

Overall, I loved this book and I’m so excited for the next chapter in the Grishaverse.

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