Book Tags · Uncategorized

The Throne of Glass Tag!

Hello my bookish wyverns!

Today I’m doing the Throne of Glass tag which I found on Papertea & Bookflowers. When I discovered this tag I knew I had to do it because Throne of Glass is a series very close to my heart. I’m not too keen on the first two books in the series but I love almost everything from Heir of Fire onwards.

~LYSANDRA~

A book with a cover change you loved

I love both the new UK and US covers for the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I like how the US ones actually show the characters’ faces and they look similar to how I imagine them and I like the rich colours on the new UK covers- especially because I thought the old covers were quite boring.

Image result for us ember in the ashesImage result for us ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashesImage result for ember in the ashes

~ABRAXOS~

A book that’s better on the inside than it looks on the outside

I didn’t like the cover of the edition of Deathless by Catherynne Valente that I read but that didn’t matter because the insides of the book were incredible! It’s such a magical read!

~ERILIA~

A series with great word building

The world building in Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron was phenomenal. It’s so rich, sprawling and multi-faceted it almost felt real. I loved learning about the different types of people, magic and beliefs. You can read my review here.

~RIFTHOLD~

A book that combines genres

The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Alicia Zaloga and Wendy Trimboli combines fantasy with murder mystery and I have to say it worked out fairly well!

~DAMARIS ~

A book based on/inspired by a myth/legend

I will never stop conveying my love for Circe by Madeline Miller, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s a feminist retelling of the Odyssey by Homer and it’s just one of the most beautiful books in existence.

~KALTAIN ROMPIER~

A book with an unexpected twist

The twists at the end of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff are mind-shattering. They were completely unexpected and I was completely shocked. I thought the author was playing some kind of Tric on me (if you’ve read the series, you’ll get the pun).

~ASSASSIN’S KEEP~

A book with an unreliable narrator

I guess The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson has a sort of unreliable narrator, more so in the second book where she’s a mess. But apart from that no other books come to mind.

~ASTERIN BLACKBEAK~

A book that’s got squad goals

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was the first book I thought of when I read this prompt. It’s undeniably the number one book for squad goals. Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina and Matthias are legendary together (I can’t wait to see them in action in the Netflix show)!

Also Throne of Glass itself has a pretty awesome squads. How could you not love the court of Terrasen, the Thirteen or the cadre?

~TERRASEN~

A book that feels like home

The Throne of Glass books definitely feel like home to me because I’ve read them so many times it’s all familiar. Also, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien always gives me fuzzy, homely feeling because again, it’s a book that I’ve read too many times to count and a story I’ve adored since a young age.

~AELIN ASHRYVER GALATHYNIUS~

A book with the power to destroy you

Apart from Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas…. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang doesn’t just have the power to destroy me- it did. It’s the most brilliant but brutal book I’ve ever read.

~MANON BLACKBEAK~ 

A book that intimidated you

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin definitely intimidated me. It’s so thick it’s like a brick! It took a large effort to read it all, but maybe that was just because I pretty much already knew what would happen from watching the TV series. The show is quite similar to the first book and deviates from the novels more later on in the series apparently. But I wouldn’t know because the rest of the book series intimidates me too so I haven’t read them.

~ROWAN WHITETHORN~

A book that makes you swoon

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is a swoon worthy book. All the glamour and glitz and Celine Rousseau and Sébastien Saint Germain…. *faints*.

~CHAOL WESTFALL~ 

A book that challenged you to see things differently

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker challenged me to see the mythology I love from a different perspective. We always talk about the great heroes who slew beasts and fought wars and forget the immense courage of the women in their shadows.

~FLEETFOOT~

A book you received as a gift

I received the The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins as a birthday present once and it was definitely one of the best gifts I’ve ever received because I love the series, especially Catching Fire. And they were the foil editions which are so shiny and beautiful. 

~ELENA~

A book you found right when you needed it

I found A Shifting of Stars by Kathy Kimbray when I needed it because I was hopelessly floundering between disappointing and average books and it was the first good book I had read in a while- it was like a beacon of hope.

So that’s the tag! What do you think of my answers? Do you like the Throne of Glass series? Let me know in the comments!

I tag: Noura, Star, Celaena Renee, Gabriela, Hâf … and anyone else who wants to do this tag!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Not the Chosen One: Review of Fate of the Fallen

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

Book: Fate of the Fallen

Year Published: 2019

Author: Kel Kade

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

Fate of the Fallen was a fantasy book that subverted the ‘chosen one’ trope and managed to strike a balance between end-of-the-world bleakness and light-heartedness. At the start, the writing and plot felt a bit immature but the story strengthened as it progressed and more characters were introduced.

Aaslo was a forester (a person tasked with caring for the forests) and all he wanted was to save the trees– but he ended up trying to save the world. One fateful day, his friend and brother in all things, Mathias, discovered he was chosen. According to prophecy, he was the only one capable of saving the world from evil. It wasn’t that much of a surprise, he was skilled and much loved by all, so of course he was destined for greatness… right? Wrong. When he met his untimely end, the very distraught Aaslo decided to take up Mathias’ mantle and give their world a fighting chance.

When there wasn’t a ‘chosen one’ anymore, everyone gave up and prepared for doom. Aaslo, however, thought if he was fated to die he might as well do so fighting for the greater good– not hiding away. Generally, I thought that was a good message because in real life so many things don’t go to plan but it’s not an excuse to give up but more of a reason to move forward with resilience, tenacity and hope for the future- like Aaslo.

As a character, Aaslo was solemn and serious but also extremely genuine in a likeable way- there was not an ounce of deception in him. Some of the other characters were quite endearing too, most notably the two thieves Peck and Mory and an ex-mage called Teza. However, there were a few different points of view, some of which I didn’t care about at all (like that of the reaper called Myropa) which made my progression through the book quite forced at times.

The plot was just… a lot. I think if it just focused on Aaslo it would have been fine but the meddling gods kept making appearances and they made the plot more confusing. There was magic, mages, prophecies, fae, zombies and a dragon arm (yes, just an arm) and while it sounds fun, it would have been more fun if the plot was better developed and there was less of what felt like seemingly unnecessary filler.

In conclusion, Fate of the Fallen was a rather humorous read that had a nice twist on a well-known trope. It wasn’t spectacular but would make a refreshing read for someone tired of the same old, same old.

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Review: Steel Crow Saga

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

Book: Steel Crow Saga

Author: Paul Krueger

Year Published: 2019

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

Steel Crow Saga was an Asian-inspired standalone fantasy (also influenced by anime) with intricate world building and a well developed cast of characters that captured my heart. It was truly an unforgettable and worthwhile read.

Many fantasy novels focus on the events leading up to and during a great war but this book was all about the aftermath of a war. The countries Sanbuna, Shang and Dahal had revolted against the colonising power of Tomoda but there was still a long way to go to establish peace.

That’s where our characters came in. Tala, a Sanbuna soldier, was tasked with escorting Prince Jimuro to Tomoda so that he could claim his throne. But a Shang princess and detective called Xiulan and a thief from Jeongson called Lee were trying to find and capture Jimuro so that Xiulan could prove to her father her worthiness to rule. However, all four characters ended up uniting under the same goal to defeat a terrible threat to them all.

I loved this novel’s original approach to magic. The people of Shang and Sanbuna had the ability to Shadepact, creating a soul bond with an animal which can then be called by their name to do a person’s bidding. However, the people of Tomoda could Metalpact which as the name suggests involves manipulating metal. Finally, in Dahal they were able to use Hexbolts which involved firing powerful bolts of energy. These various forms of magic were used creatively, for good and to gain control. For example, the Jeongsanese were not allowed to Shadepact as a means of subjugation.

Tala was haunted by the desperate actions of her past that led her to shadepact with her brother to save his life, gravely defying the laws of magic. Her relationship with her brother portrayed the complex layers of loyalty, hate but most of all love between them emotively. Tala had to help the very person she felt represented the pain and suffering her people had experienced, her worst enemy- Jimuro. But as the story developed she realised a person is more than what they represent and without forgiveness to others and herself there would be no hope for future peace.

Jimuro had one of the best development arcs I’ve ever read and was definitely my favourite character. He gradually understood the damage his country had caused and put aside some of his deepest beliefs to become the ruler not just best for his people, but for all. His relationship with Tala was perfect as they went from enemies to trusted friends (to hopefully more). By learning about and accepting each other they helped bridge a rift carved by years of fighting and hatred.

Although the detective-princess Xiulan was razor-sharp smart, all she really knew about the world was what she had read in books. She was driven by a consuming desire to prove her right to power, especially to her siblings who had always put her down. Her journey was one of acknowledging her own talents as well as weaknesses and learning how to use them for the good of her people. Lee was used to leaving people behind before they left her and she had to overcome her deep-seated suspicion of people to form a connection with Xiulan. Their relationship was dynamic and endearing but they also had to deal with issues surrounding trust that remained unresolved at the end.

I loved the intricate world building that fully immersed me in the differing cultures, customs, foods, etiquettes, beliefs and lifestyles of the various places. Furthermore, the harmony it achieved between magic and technology was unparalleled. At its core, this book was about the importance of overcoming differences and not allowing past traumas to fester in order to achieve peace. It was about the importance of the coloniser accepting responsibility and the advent of change through decolonisation.

For a fantasy, every aspect of Steel Crow Saga felt so real from the many layered characters to the detailed world. I don’t re-read novels often, but I’m very sure I’ll have to re-read this one soon. It’s a book I feel like I could get lost in a thousand times and always discover something new.


At the start of the review, I briefly mentioned the influences of anime in the book. I don’t know much about anime but if that is something you want to know more about, Petrik’s review is great and talks about it in great detail.

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Review: The Monster

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

Book: The Monster

Series: The Masquerade #2

Author: Seth Dickinson

Year Published: 2019

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

The Monster (the sequel to The Traitor) was another sprawling geopolitical fantasy full of twists and scheming. It wasn’t as mind-shatteringly brilliant for me as the first book but it was still very intriguing and well worth reading.

This book started exactly where the previous one ended. We met the main character Baru again and got more insight into her motivations. Then the story took a wildly unpredictable turn involving a quest for immortality, new characters, new points of view and general chaos (in a good way). The Traitor focused on Baru’s machinations to gain power and destroy the empire from within but The Monster was bigger than that. Baru had the power now and she using it to achieve her goal whilst trying to outmanoeuvre the manipulations of everyone else.

Baru’s cool, indifferent façade shattered away and we got to see her more vulnerable than ever before. For much of the book she was completely lost, reeling from grief and feeling horror at the destructive consequences of her actions- but only after she’d done them. She didn’t know how to handle the moral cost of taking down an empire. She knew what she wanted to achieve and told herself that she didn’t care about whoever ended up as collateral. It was hard to tell if she truly thought her actions were for the greater good or if she saw herself as a monster, just like everyone else. The Empire had nothing to hold over her and therefore found her terrifying– and rightly so. But as her control over herself and her situation slipped it became increasingly difficult to tell if she was the puppeteer or the puppet.

I think the most impressive aspect of this book was how much it expanded on its world. We are told all about the federation of Oriati Mbo which had completely different politics, beliefs and culture to the Empire of Masks. However, all the new variables added to the story made the plot go a little out of control as if it was frantically trying to arrange everything for the next book.

This series is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It’s so unashamedly brutal, daring and clever and in its own odd way, it works. Overall, The Monster was a gripping read and although some parts felt too outlandish and unnecessary I still have high hopes for the next book in the series.

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Blog Tours · Interviews · Uncategorized

Sereadipity Interviews… Apaay! (Below Blog Tour)

Hello my booksicles!

I’m so glad to be participating in the Below blog tour hosted by the FFBC as I read an early copy of Below last year and it truly was one of the most phenomenal books I have ever read. You can read the review here. Today I’m doing something a bit different as instead of interviewing an author, I’m interviewing the main character of the book, Apaay! Basically, I asked the questions and the author answered them from the point of view of Apaay which is exciting because who doesn’t wish they could directly ask questions to their favourite book characters.


About the book:

  • Book: Below
  • Author: Alexandria Warwick
  • Publisher: Wolf Publishing
  • Release date: February 4th 2020
  • Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Synopsis:

From the author of The Demon Race comes a YA dark fantasy series inspired
by Inuit mythology.

In the heart of the frigid North, there lives a demon known as the Face Stealer. Eyes,
nose, mouth—nothing and no one is safe. Once he returns to his lair, or wherever it
is he dwells, no one ever sees those faces again.

When tragedy strikes, Apaay embarks on a perilous journey to find her sister’s face—
yet becomes trapped in a labyrinth ruled by a sinister girl named Yuki. The girl offers
Apaay a deal: find her sister’s face hidden within the labyrinth, and she will be set
free. But the labyrinth, and those who inhabit it, is not as it seems.

Especially Numiak: darkly beautiful, powerful, whose motives are not yet clear.
With time slipping, Apaay is determined to escape the deadly labyrinth with her
sister’s face in hand. But in Yuki’s harsh world, Apaay will need all her strength to
survive.

Yuki only plays the games she wins.

Book links:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo


Interview:

How are you so strong, Apaay? What keeps you going through hardship?

I don’t see myself as strong, really. In my mind, there is one choice: do, or do not. If I do not spear a seal, then we do not eat. If I do not get Eska’s face back, then our family will never be whole. The North teaches my people that a certain resilience is necessary to endure. Ice cracks, but water flows. As well, there is a saying among the Analak: The night is long, but the sun will soon greet you.

What is one thing you wish you told or did with your sister before her face was stolen?

I wished I could have apologized for snapping at her on the ice. If I hadn’t done so, her face might never have been stolen.

After you left to find your sister’s face, what did you miss most about your home?

I missed my family more than anything. In truth, they are my home. Being in their presence is enough for me, most days.

What is your greatest fear and your greatest dream?

My greatest fear is dark water. I was named after my maternal grandmother, whose name-soul I was given at my birth. When my grandmother was a child, she fell through the ice and nearly drowned. Thus, her fear of dark water was passed onto me during the naming ceremony.

As for my greatest dream . . . I wish I had an answer for you. Before the labyrinth, I wished to lead the summer hunt, and for my people to see me as worthy of the task. Now, it would be enough for Eska’s face to be returned to her, and for my family to be together again.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before you set out to find your sister’s face, what would it be?

The in-between will play tricks on the mind. Trust no one.


About the author:

Alexandria Warwick is the #1 fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She is the author
of The Demon Race and the upcoming North series.

Links:

Goodreads | Website | Instagram


Click here to see the whole blog tour schedule

Click here to enter the giveaway

Thank you so much to the FFBC and Alexandria Warwick for letting me interview Apaay!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Blood Heir

Book: Blood Heir

Author: Amélie Wen Zhao

Year published: 2019

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

Blood Heir was a dark retelling of ‘Anastasia’ full of action and determination. It contained some important themes and multi-faceted characters and although at times it felt a bit repetitive I still enjoyed it very much.

Anastacya ‘Ana’ Mikhailov was the crown princess of the Cyrillan Empire– a hostile place for Affinites (people with magical abilities). As a child, Ana discovered her blood Affinity (being able to control people’s blood) when she accidentally killed a group of people and ever since she lived her life locked away, feeling like a monster. After being framed for her father’s murder, Ana was thought to be dead but she actually went on the run to prove her innocence and enlisted the aid of a crime lord named Ramson Quicktongue to track down the real murderer.

“Show them what you are, my little monster”

Affinites, were trafficked into Cyrillia on the promise of good opportunities and jobs but then indentured into forced labour with no escape. Although Ana had been on the run for months before finding Ramson, she was incredibly naïve surrounding the corruption in her lands until he made her face the truth. Being an Affinite herself, Ana’s journey of acknowledging and understanding the rife slavery and suffering was essential for her character development and also for making her a better and more just princess. Slavery wasn’t just a problem in history but a massive issue today all over the world and tackling it, even in a fantasy setting, is so important because more people need to become aware of it, just like Ana.

“It’s up to us to fight our battles in this world”

Although Ana and Ramson seemed like complete opposites at first glance, they were actually really similar. They both carried rage towards the world and pasts full of injustice that shaped their lives and actions. They both saw the bad and good in each other and accepted it and went from deep mistrust to caring for each other dearly. Ana thought there was always a chance to make the right decision despite previous actions and as Ramson was losing himself in a snarl of expectations and ambitions she helped him find a way out. And while Ana realised that nothing can truly be completely good or completely bad she also realised that her monstrous power had the potential for good too.

“All Affinities are a double-edged sword. One must simply learn to wield it.”

The descriptions of places and foods were stunningly detailed– almost real. However, I did want to know more about how Affinities work, especially Ana’s blood affinity, because the book didn’t offer much explanation. I also wanted more of Linn, she was a character who came late in the book even though she was an important character and I really liked her and I hope she is more prominent in the next book.

Overall, Blood Heir was a book that dealt with dark themes but was also fun and action-packed. It almost gave me Grishaverse vibes and is suited to fans of YA fantasy who want something a little bit deeper. I have high hopes for the next book in the series and I can’t wait to read it.

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

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#SixforSunday · Uncategorized

#SixforSunday: Bookish Habits

Hello my booksicles!

It’s been so long since I’ve done a #SixforSunday but I’ve decided to bring them back! For those who are unfamiliar, #SixforSunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot and this week’s theme is, ‘six bookish habits’.

I think some of my habits in relation to books have changed over time. For example, I used to always fold over the corner of my page to mark my place in a book but now I use a bookmark because I don’t like creasing the pages anymore. Today however, I’ll be listing six of my bookish habits that have never changed:

1) Reading the last page/ line of a book before I’ve finished it:

Sometimes I just need to know how a book will end or an indication that everything will be alright so I skim the last page or glance at the last line. Normally I don’t spoil too much for myself because I have no idea what’s happening on the last page anyway. Another thing I do, especially in books with multiple points of view, is skip forward a few chapters to check if a certain character is alright because I don’t have the patience to wait several chapters before finding out.

2) Taking the jackets off hardcovers whilst I’m reading them:

The jacket really irritates me when I read a hardcover because it keeps getting in the way and slipping around so normally I just take it off to save me the trouble of constantly adjusting it. Once I’m finished reading the book, I put the jacket back on.

3) Reading before going to sleep:

I like reading before I go to sleep but unlike some people it doesn’t help me to relax, it’s just one of the only times I find time to read so I take advantage of it.

4) Constantly adding books to a never-ending tbr (to be read) list:

I think most people take the idea of a tbr as a list of books they will definitely read at some point or at least try to. However I take it more as a list of books that seem interesting and that I think I will like but if I never get around to reading them, it’s alright. And I know I probably won’t get around to reading most of them because I keep adding more and more intriguing books all the time but I don’t mind and the fact that my tbr is ridiculously long doesn’t stress me out in the slightest. I enjoy finding out about different books regardless if I’ll ever read them.

5) Taking every opportunity to go to a bookshop:

No matter where I go or what I’m doing I can’t resist going into every bookshop I see. Bookshops are my happy place.

6) Reading by mood:

I can’t stick to a rigid tbr because I like to read whatever I feel like reading in that moment. If I’m not in the mood to read a book, I won’t feel motivated to pick it up and will probably spend much longer than usual reading it.


What are your bookish habits? Let me know in the comments!

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Uncategorized

ONE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY!!!

Hello my booksicles!

Today is my one year blogoversary! That means I’ve officially been book blogging for a whole, entire YEAR and what a year it’s been! My precious blog baby is one year old and I feel so proud of how far it has come. This time last year, I was full of trepidation. I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect or whether anyone would bother reading my posts. All I knew was that I was going to give it my all and hope for the best. This time last year, I took the plunge and posted my first post titled, ‘Welcome to Sereadipity!‘ and I’m so very glad I did.

So, this post is partly for celebration, partly for setting goals for the blogging year ahead but mostly for saying thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged Sereadipity, to everyone who has followed, liked, commented on or even just read one of my posts. I can’t properly convey the extent of my appreciation in words. Thank you to all the lovely bookish people I have connected with this year- you have made my blogging experience such a joy. The book community has been so wholesome and welcoming and it’s wonderful to see so many people out there who share a passion for reading. I remember a time when I didn’t know a single person who loved books as much as me and now I know hundreds. This blog, these words, would mean nothing without you. My gratitude is as boundless as the stars for every one of you.

Stats:

  • 1 year
  • 616 blog followers
  • 133 posts
  • 75,000 words
  • 58 book reviews
  • 392 Twitter followers
  • 1,225 Goodreads friends

The Best Bits:

  • I know arcs don’t determine a blogger’s worth but it’s still exciting and rewarding to receive, read and review them! When I received my first digital arc I was over the moon but I was thrilled beyond belief when I received my first physical review copy of a book (it was The Demon World by Sally Green). Some of my favourite review copies I’ve received this year are Descendant of the Crane, The Dragon Republic, Below, Darkdawn, The Beautiful and Kingdom of Souls!
  • I’ve gotten onto the mailing lists of two much-loved publishers of mine.
  • I’ve interviewed some lovely authors like Rin Chupeco and Coco Ma.
  • I co-hosted the Retelling-A-Thon readathon with three other amazing book bloggers, which was a lot of fun.
  • Technically not blog related but I MET JAY KRISTOFF *high-pitched shrieking*.
  • I’ve participated in 7 blog tours!
  • I created the Bookish Adventure Book Tag!
  • I hosted The Book Character Awards!
  • I beta read an absolutely amazingly mind-blowing manuscript.
  • I was a part of this NBC news article where I mentioned my thoughts on diversity in The Beautiful.
  • But honestly? My main highlight has been making it through this year. It wasn’t always easy, there have been highs and low, but I’m still here and I’m still blogging and I feel like that’s a remarkable feat in itself.

Goals:

  • Next year, I definitely need to request less arcs! I made the classic newbie blogger mistake of requesting more than I can manage and I want to have time to read other books as well.
  • I want to write more discussion posts, I like writing them and I don’t do it enough.
  • I would like to do more interviews, guest posts and general collaborations with other bloggers. If anyone has any collaborative posting ideas… send me an email!
  • I need to blog more consistently, I started of really well and then it went a bit awry later on in the year.
  • And I need to continue to enjoy blogging and sharing my all-encompassing passion for books with others!

 

Favourite Posts:

This has been a wild, amazing, beautiful, crazy year and I’m excited for the year ahead, so for the last time:

THANK YOU!!!

And also:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEREADIPITY!

 

…and on that note, I’m signing off to snuggle up and watch The Witcher!

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Mrs P’s Book of Secrets

Book: Mrs P’s Book of Secrets

Author: Lorna Gray

Year Published: 2019

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

Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was a historical novel set in 1946 about the effects of war, grief, loss and how traces of the past always remain in the present. It wasn’t perfect but it still had some interesting themes and was a gentle read for the frosty winter months.

The story was about a woman called Lucy Peuse or Mrs P. who lost her husband in World War II and was struggling to find her feet. She decided to return home to her aunt and uncle and join the small family publishing business, which was barely coping with the paper rationing, to try to help. She ended up getting drawn into the intrigue surrounding the new editor Robert, a former prisoner of war, and the mystery of the Ashbrook family, who they were publishing a book about.

Lucy constantly pretended to be fine, even when she wasn’t, and she didn’t always realise it. The loss of her husband had almost numbed her to herself but gradually the love of those around her made her come to terms with her feelings and rediscover her who she was. She developed a profound connection to the past and learnt the importance of keeping the memories of those who had passed away alive. She was always seen as more vulnerable and insecure by others simply because she was a widow but despite the way she was treated at times, she proved to be perfectly capable of looking after herself. It was nice seeing her and Robert open up to each other and find some peace.

Lucy was an intriguing and complex character although it was quite hard to understand her motivations at times. She was the type of person to obsess over every word said to her and infer hidden meanings that simply weren’t there, sometimes creating an impression of awkwardness. The writing was long and rambling to reflect her way of thinking but the large sections of narration in between dialogue and her confusing train of thoughts did get quite annoying as it felt like the effect was needlessly overdone. What was well done however, was the portrayal of her grapple with her lingering grief and how she was afraid of recalling her husband’s memory because it would just serve as a reminder of how when she lost him, she felt like she lost herself too.

Throughout the story, plot threads were picked up and dropped seemingly randomly so it was hard to see what its purpose was until the end. It seems the main messages were about how the scars of war can be deep and enduring but can also bring people together and about the importance of learning about and from the past whilst looking to the future. But most of all it was about how things that are meant to happen always do, but sometimes in a very roundabout way.

Overall, Mrs P’s Book of Secrets was a pleasant story that was a welcome change from what I usually read, even though it had its flaws.

Thank you to One More Chapter for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions exchanged are my own. I received this book as a part of the author’s #30daysofbookblogs event.

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Reviews · Uncategorized

Wicked, Wonderful Witchery: Review of Hex Life

Book: Hex Life

Editors: Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering

Year Published: 2019

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Hex Life was an anthology of wicked and wonderful witchcraft. It played around with the stereotypes surrounding witches and each story was unique and magical. I liked some stories more than others but I think that there is something for everyone as it had a broad scope of styles and takes on the theme of witches..

(1) An Invitation to a Burning by Kat Howard, 4 stars: One of the shortest stories in the anthology that took the idea of witch burning and turned it into something powerful, uniting and about moving on from the past.

(2) Widows’ Walk by Angela Slatter, 4 stars: Completely inverts the usual tropes surrounding widows and had themes of domestic abuse. It was about a group of widows who try to help young girls with family problems.

(3) Black Magic Momma: An Otherworld Story by Kelley Armstrong, 4 stars: This one was about a witch who dealt in black market trading of magical objects while trying to keep her daughter safe. I liked the way that women supported each other in this story. It was a part of the Women of the Otherworld series, which I am not familiar with.

(4) The Night Nurse by Sarah Langan, 1 star: Dark, depressing, weird. I didn’t like it at all. It felt all over the place and I think the ending was supposed to be shocking but by then I just wanted it to be over.

(5) The Memories of Trees by Mary SanGiovanni, 3 stars: This was a dystopian with themes of nature retaliating against technology.

(6) Home: A Morganville Vampires Story by Rachel Caine, 4 stars: I found this story quite funny. It had some eccentric characters and vampires not knowing what to do with a baby. There a touch of madness and magic mixed in with the mundane and it was about the long-lasting effects of heartbreak and grief. It was a part of The Morganville Vampires series which I am also not familiar with.

(7) The Deer Wife by Jennifer McMahon, 3.5 stars: This was a sort of witchy romance story and it was quite sweet.

(8) The Dancer by Kristin Dearborn, 3.5 stars: It had people with superpowers, an extremely twisted and creepy family and a very obscure yet haunting ending.

(9) Bless Your Heart by Hillary Monahan, 4.5 stars: This was about a mother whose son was getting bullied because he was gay and who decided to put an end to it. It was very gruesome but I couldn’t help cheering on her revenge. Also the mother’s narration was quite humorous with a lot of ranting.

(10) The Debt by Ania Ahlborn, 5 stars: It had Baba Yaga in it so obviously it was amazing. The ending was unexpected in its cruelty and betrayal and I felt for the protagonist, a young girl called Karolin.

(11) Toil & Trouble: A Dark-hunter Hellchaser Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Madaug Kenyon, 2 stars: This one also felt quite random and all over the place, I didn’t feel like it had a strong sense of story. It started off catching my interest and went downhill from there.

(12)  Last Stop On Route Nine by Tananarive Due, 4.5 stars: This one was scary, like a horror movie. It also had themes of racism, a ghost and people getting lost.

(13) Where Relics Go To Dream and Die by Rachel Autumn Deering, 2 stars: I don’t know what this story was trying to achieve but I just found it disturbing and weird. I mean it was well written but that isn’t enough.

(14) This Skin by Amber Benson, 4.5 stars: This one was also disturbing but in more of a good way. It was a very creepy story about a young girl who murders and gets away with it.

(15) Haint Me Too by Chesya Burke, 3.5 stars: It was about a girl called Shea whose family was sharecropping and who resorts to more magical means to help her family. It was a bit confusing but also interesting.

(16) The Nekrolog by Helen Marshall, 3 stars: It was too long and rambling, it definitely should have been way shorter. Parts were intriguing but I was mainly bored.

(17)  Gold Among The Black by Alma Katsu, 3 stars: It was a bit like a fairy tale but it was also quite predictable and average.

(18) How To Become A Witch-Queen by Theodora Goss, 5 stars: My favourite story of the anthology. It was a retelling of Snow White about what happened to her years after the ending of the fairy tale. It had clever use of the second person and a gripping plot with themes of female empowerment. I want to read other works by this author now!

Overall, Hex Life had a range of stories for a range of tastes and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes stories about magic and witches.

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

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