Moving Home Hiatus

As some of you may know my husband and I recently bought our first home! This means the time has finally come for me to pull all my books from their shelves all there nooks and crannies and pack them up in to boxes in preparation for the move.

Therefore, while I take time to get them settled into their new home in the dedicated library space!!!! (so unbelievably excited for this), my blog will be on a little bit of a hiatus until the beginning of June.

I am hoping once I have everything organised to to a bit of a library/bookshelf tour and resume my usual posting. June is my birthday month so I am hoping to have some awesome posts up for that!

So for the next two weeks – Happy Reading!

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Review – Ruin and Rising


Title: Ruin and Rising

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series: Shadow and Bone #3

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 42
(see breakdown below)

4 STARS

From Goodreads:

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

My Thoughts

As this is the third in the series and I try not to give spoilers in my reviews there is not much I can say over and above what I have said about both books one and two. I really did enjoy this instalment. While there was a lot of elements similar to the previous books, the continual capture of the main characters, escape with some help, rinse and repeat elements were there in abundance. I actually rather liked a number of these predicaments and they did escape from them in some interesting ways.

I felt we got to connect with Alina a lot more and that she really came into her own over this book. Even Mel grew on me a little. I wish there was more exploration of the Darkling but I have wanted that in every book in this series. The inclusion of other Grisha members was a BIG! Plus in this book, we really got to know them a bit more and I loved that.

This story was satisfying conclusion to the series. The plot twist was predictable but I was so swept up by the writing that I didn’t really care I had saw it coming since book one. I think that is the beauty of Bardugo’s writing it just kind of makes you want more. I love that I know there is more of Nickoli in King of scars and that I can follow this world and learn more about it in Six of Crows. Overall, I really enjoyed this series and can’t wait to keep going in the Grishaverse.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 7

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 7

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 6

PLOT – 7

ENJOYMENT – 8


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Bingoathon TBR

Yes I know that I said that I was going to take it easy this month, and yes I know none of the books below are on my Asian-readathon TBR, but I just cant help myself. I have decided to take part in Bingoathon.

Bingoathon is a readathon created by Ola Quinn, and hosted by Codie from Codie’s book corner and Natasha from My reading is odd. It is an easy going readathon where you can double/triple/quadruple up to complete the challenges. It takes place over this week

12 – 14th May

My TBR

Most of my TBR could count for multiple challenges so I am going to keep it short and sweet as I now have less than a week to complete these all as well as a house to pack up for my move etc. etc.

Seven Blades in Black
Sam Sykes

This is a highly anticipated read for me. It is a grim dark fantasy, filled with dark humour and has a kick ass female MC hell bent on revenge! Mages, a sassy magic Gun and Opera all mixed into one book – sign me up!

Queenslayer
Spellsligner#5
Sebastian De Castell

I have not stopped talking about this book all year and it is finally out, though I am waiting on my signed edition, and I am going to read it asap!

Once and Future
Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

I intended to pick this up during the O.W.Ls in April but i just wasn’t in the mood. I then saw it was selected as the group book and this is the prefect reason to pick it back up again. It is a King Arthur retelling with a tonne of diversity and a gorgeous pink and blue cover, I am really ready to dive in.


Are you participating in Bingoathon? Are you reading the group book?
I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

ARC Review – Crown of Feathers


Title:  Crown of Feathers

Author: Nicki Pau Preto

Series: Crown of Feathers #1

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 37
(see breakdown below)

3.5 STARS

I received a free eARC copy from Black and White Publishing , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From Goodreads:

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

My Thoughts

This was a hard one for me to review, I both adored aspects and others were just a bit meh. The start was difficult to get into, we got so much information at once that it was difficult to get into the story and feel attached to the characters. When we did get deeper into the characters and spent time with them they were fantastic. I loved Veronyka and her perspective was one of my favourites as we really got to explore the magic system with her. I wish there was a little more expansion of the other perspectives to develop the world instead of the info dump.

The story is told from three perspectives, they each give a unique perspective which is great, but the perspective switches got a little tiresome. At the end of each perspective there is a mini cliffhanger but there is such a distance between the perspective switching back that it got kind of frustrating to the point where the pages stopped turning and I lost some of my interest.

While I loved Veronyka’s story I don’t feel it was fully evolved. I was not happy with some of the romantic aspects but that is change in my tastes. The ending was super open-ended and is really didn’t give any answers. It didn’t have a drama of a cliffhanger instead it sort of sputtered out and just left me feeling meh.

While overall, I am intrigued and will happily continue in this world It just wasn’t a 5 star read for me as it left me a little disappointed.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 6

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 6

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING 6

PLOT – 6

ENJOYMENT – 6


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

ARC Review – The Furies


Title: The Furies

Author: Katie Lowe

Release Date: 2/5/2019 

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see breakdown below)

4.5 STARS

I received a free eARC copy from , via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

From GoodreadsIn 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

NOTE: THIS BOOK CONTAINS SCENES DEALING WITH VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC/PARENTAL ABUSE, DRUG USE, ALCOHOLISM, SEX WITH ISSUES REGARDING CONCENT AND SEX SCENES UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS/ALCHOHOL. IF YOU FIND THESE TOPICS UPSETTING THIS MAY NOT BE THE BOOK FOR YOU.

My Thoughts

This was such an atmospheric and twisting read that left you questioning if the events of the book were true or the exaggeration of the narrator. The choice of the narrator is a truely fascinating element of this novel. It is told from the perspective of Violet, our main character, as she reminices back on her teenage experience from 20 years in the future. Violet is now in her 30s looking back to 1998, when she was 16 and was trying to cope with the loss of her father and little sister, dealing with survivors guilt by isolating herself, before being placed at an elite all girls school, where she is determined to make friends and not feel like the outsider.

I enjoyed how unreliable Violets perspective was. Her disillusionment with the run down sea side town in which she grew up was fantastically atmospheric, you could feel the greyness of it all seeping into your imagination. It captured the feeling of being a British teen, stalking the streets, haunting the parks and huddling from the rain in school playgrounds all to be out of the house. It captured the sheer excitement of trying to act older than you are to attend parties in run down, dreary and often sticky flats with your friends. All of this with a voice that is both fond of the memories but also with the knowledge of how stupid teenage you was.

This also all made the ancient institution of the Academy make it stand out as almost magical and mysterious. It lends the element of darkness looming over violet and her group of friends, its historical links to witchcraft proving an inviting and potential escape from the girls troubles. All bolstered by the encouragement of their Art teacher, Annabel, whom teaches them to explore how women were exploited through out the history of art, and to stand strong as promising female artists themselves.

All of this allows the reader to explore Violets memories, the trails of teenage friendship, navigating the world at the edge of adulthood, feeling up against it all by yourself, and focusing all your energy on friendships that may not be healthy. It isn’t afraid to go dark, and violent, twisting and turning but also leaving enough doubt to have you questioning if the events really happened or if it was just Violet, imagining and misremembering events, to provide rational to herself for how she acted during those years. The calm tone of Violet, especially in moments of violence, made me question her sanity and the events as they unfolded. That made my spine tingle, questioning weather the witchcraft was real!

I enjoyed this book, while i wish it touched on some topics a bit more and I wish I got a bit more characterisation for some characters, the inclusion of the relationship with Annabel would have been nice to explore more. As it was told in such a way that we are only getting the unreliable memory of one participant of events, the lack of information about these elements was not fully a detriment to the book. At times the language could be a little flowery, some of the action scenes were confusing and required a re-read to full grasp what had happened and often relied on further elaboration in subsequent pages before I understood why these scenes had played out, but again that was a factor of the interesting narration. It was a creepy book, with parts I am sure most brits will relate to, all of which acted to make the violent and dark areas even more jarring, to me at least.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 8

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 8

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 8

PLOT – 7

ENJOYMENT – 7



I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

April and O.W.L’s Wrap up

We have finished the O.W.L exams for another year! I am Very proud of my house for winning the house cup again! And for everyone for reading 12,641 books and over 4 million pages!

I had an amazing reading month myself. I always find the magical readathons so motivating and the community is fantastically supportive. While I didn’t stick rigourously to my TBR I did manage to complete all 12 prompts passing all my exams. This means I can undertake the N.E.W.Ts for the Alchemy career if I want to! It’s also one book more that I managed to complete during last year! All in all I had an awesome month and it makes me feel better about taking it easy in May while I move house.

WRAP-UP STATS

BOOKS: 14

PAGES: 4,403

(Page count includes Audiobook page numbers)

I am still slowly working my way through and savouring every second of The Priory of the Orange Tree. I am loving it, and will hopefully finish it in May. I have not included those pages above but will include them what I have finished.

GENRES:

It was a mostly fantasy filled month, though a good mix of sub-genres, from urban fantasy, historical fantasy, magical realism etc. I loved having the graphic novels there to turn to when I just wanted a quick read. I might have to increase my collection and look into what my library has in stock to keep a few in my TBR. two out of the 3 graphic novels I read were Fantasy , while the third was contemporary. The short story collections were also fantasy based.

AUDIENCE:

I am still trying to maintain the 50/50 split and I am happy that I managed to keep this month reasonably close. I expected that I would be drawn more towards YA in a readathon month as I find them quicker to get through. But I am happy about the number of General Audience books I finished over the readathon.

FORMAT:

RATINGS:

5 STARS: 4

4.5 STARS: 1

4 STARS: 4

3.5 STARS: 4

3 Stars: 1

WHAT I READ For the O.W.Ls –

CHARMS – AGE LINE: READ A BOOK MARKETED AS GENERAL AUDIANCE/ADULT

Breaking the Lore
Andy Redsmith

4 Stars

This was one of 3 Arcs I read over the month and I really enjoyed it. Filled with bad puns and witty banter it was a perfect start to the readathon for me. I have a full review here.

ANCIENT RUNES – A RETELLING

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
Various
Editied by Ellen Oh and Elise Chapman


3.5 STARS

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is a short story collection full of retellings of East and South Asian mythology and Folklore. It is always difficult to review short story collections

ARITMANCY – A WORK WRITTEN BY MORE THAN ONE creator

Shades of Magic Vol 1: The Steel Prince
V.E. Schwab, Andrea Olimpieri  

4 STARS

I wasn’t really settling into my original choice for this prompt and decided it just wasn’t the book for me at that moment in time therefore when my copy of this finally landed at my door I had pick it up. I felt this was enjoyable but had some real pacing issues compared to other spin off comic series I have read. I will be continuing with the volumes in hopes the full story arc pulls together.

DEFENCE AGAINST THE DARK ARTS – REDUCTO: READ A BOOK BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER R

The Raven’s Tale
Cat Winters


4.5 STARS

My second ARC of the month was this reimagining of the teenage life of Edgar Allen Poe. It was a facinating concept that was exicuted in such a fantastic way. it was deliciously dark and lyrical. Check out my full review.

POTIONS – NEXT INGREDIENT: READ A SEQUEL

Ruin and Rising
Leigh Bardugo

4 Stars

I really enjoyed the closing off of this series. While there were bits and pieces that made me groan, I was still swept away with it all. I just enjoyed this series as a whole and this was a fitting ending to it. I will hopefully have my review up shortly.

TRANSFIGURATION – SPRAYED EDGES OR A RED COVER
3.5 Stars

The Vanishing Stair
Maureen Johnson

This is another change from my original TBR. I just wasnt in the mood for my original pick so I picked up The Vanishing Stair instead. I adored Truly Devious and while this wasn’t as tantalising as the first book in the series it was still really enjoyable and set up some curious aspects for the third book.

ASTRONOMY – WITH THE WORD STAR IN THE TITLE

Stars Above
Marissa Meyer

4 Stars

Again A short story collection is hard to rate but this one was really fun. I love the Lunar chronicles and this was a great way to revisit all the characters. We learn a little more about their back stories, fill in little gaps in the original stories and that last story just hit me in the feels in such a lovely way.

CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES – A LAND ANIMAL ON THE COVER

CharmCaster and Soulbinder
Sebastien De Castell

5 Stars for both

I read both of these this month as part of my Countdown to Queenslayer re-read. I adore this series and as they are re-reads for me a flew through them and I am more that excited for Queenslayer (I am anxiously awaiting my pre-order). I have spoiler filled Thoughts on Re-reading for both Charmcaster and Souldbinder. I counted these as land animal due to the presence of my precious little murder floof the squirrel cat Reichis (if you haven’t read this series you have to as I guarantee you will love this sassy little ball of rage)

DIVINATION – SET IN THE FUTURE

Only Human
Sylvian Neuvel

3.5 Stars

This is the last ARC I had for this month. It was to promote the paperback release here in the UK. I have really enjoyed this series. While, I was left in two minds about the overall ending, and I was wanting more, overall I think I enjoyed this more than some others. I have a full review here.

HERBOLOGY – PLANTS ON THE COVER
3 Stars

Gilded Wolves 
Roshani Chokshi

I was so intrigued by this, but it kind of missed the mark overall. I am intending to write a full review but I feel this was aged down to be YA. It made the teenage characters seem alot older than they were and the ending was just bizarre. But if I read this as the characters being experienced 20 somethings the story started to make more sense and I enjoyed it overall.

HISTORY OF MAGIC – PUBLISHED OVER TEN YEARS AGO
3.5 Stars

Peril at End House
Agatha Christie

There is nothing like a bit of Agatha Christie to get the pages turning during a readathon. This was a solid little Poirot mystery. Not one of the best I have read but still a great page turner, with Christie’s usual sharp twists and great final reveal!

MUGGLE STUDIES – A CONTEMPORTARY

Giant Days Vol#3
John Allison et al.

5 Stars

I don’t read a lot of contemporary but Giant Days is a huge exception for me. I love this graphic novel series. It reminds me so much of my undergrad. I knew a lot of people like these characters and it is very reflective of the British Uni experience. It makes me smile so much and I adore that.

Bonus read –

Mouse Guard – Fall 1152
David Peterson

A medieval Fantasy graphic novel based on a Mouse Society! It is filled with violence and betrayal and war. I would say if you grew up reading the Redwall series by Brian Jacques you will enjoy this. Note this is marketed as a mature graphic novel and despite being about cute mice it covers dark topics and is not suitable for younger audiences.


What a great month! What was your favourite read of the month? Did you manage to pass all the O.W.Ls you were hoping to? Will you be participating in the N.E.W.Ts?


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Top 5 Wednesday – Changing opinions!

It’s been a while since I have done a top five post but I really loved this topic so I just had to do a post! As always Top five wednesdays is the creation of Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and the topics can be found on the Goodreads group.

This weeks topic is:

Bookish things I have changed my mind about


1) Paperbacks

I admit it I used to be a bit of a book snob, I liked all my books to match, in pretty hardback making my shelves a thing of beauty. But as a UK reader of all things SFF I had to get over that really quickly. Most SFF and YA publications go straight to paperback in the UK and I have to admit the covers tend to be stunning. While, I wish UK publishers would embrace, the floppy paperback a bit more readily, my commute has made me love the fantastic portability of paperbacks.

2) Annotating Books

Again I was a bit of a purest, my books had to be pristine things of beauty on my shelves, till i discovered the joy of scribbling all over them. I don’t annotate every book but when I do I really enjoy making notes, using tabs, underline it quotes and just filling it with all my thoughts. It’s great fun to flick back through and see what my opinions were. I am hoping to go back and annotate some of my favourites.

3) DNFing Books

I used to be a real stickler for finishing books weather I enjoyed them or not but recently I realised that life is too short to read bad books, my TBR is far to big to be obsessing over finishing books I am not enjoying. Sometimes I am just not in the mood to read a certain genre, or a particular authors style. I am finally getting round to saying it’s OK to put it down and pick it up later, or to put it down and not finish it at all.

4) Unhauling books

I have also recently started to get rid of books that I am never going to read/re-read. Most of my book collection now comes from my local charity shops and I have no problems in returning them to those shops, if they no longer capture my interest. It’s much better that the book goes to a home it will be read and loved than gathering dust on my shelf, and the charity benefits twice!

5) The gender swap/Undercover Lover trope

We all have read these kind of books, the Mulan retellings where our heroine has to dress up as a boy in order to save the world etc and the first boy she befriends actually falls I love with her despite thinking she is a boy, he is confused by his feelings for her, but when he finds out she is a girl is relieved and instantly is deeply in love with girl her. In my youth I loved this trope. I adore mulan and used to love all the awkward angst filled scenes this trope created. But after reading a couple of books recently that has resurrected this idea I found myself feeling uncomfortable with it. The older I get the less angsty this gets and I have started to find it rather negative towards the LGBT+ community. While we usually read these books from the female persepective, the questioning of the male characters feelings towards their “male” friend now impacts me is being almost homophobic. Usually the male character is not allowed to explore those feelings and usually is relieved to find out the “male” friend is a girl and that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.


What have you changed your mind about, when it comes to all things bookish? Are there any tropes you used to adore and now are iffy about? Have you recently changed a reading habit, revisited a genre etc.etc. I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Thoughts while re-reading – Soulbinder

This is the final instalment of Throught while re-reading as part of my Countdown to Queenslayer series. We did it we made it to the fourth book with Queenslayer arriving in just over a week! I originally read and reviewed this as an ARC, so this time I delved into my finished copy when re-reading this book. It was so great to get to experience the story with the art work and chapter heading in place, as they really are physically beautiful books.

As always, this is a discussion post so there will be spoilers! If you are looking how I felt about it first time a round my Spoiler-free review can be found here. I tend to write these posts while reading so they become a bit of a stream of thought, riding the highs and the lows as they come. I have tried to edit, to remove repetitiveness and to try form coherent sentences but no promises. 

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD

Fool of Shadows
Chapters 1- 16

Why do we always join Kellen just when he is dying/about to die? It seems to be an inevitable fact that when we meet back up with Kellen he will always be in some sort of trouble. This time he is just causally dying in the desert with Reichis dying at his side. To say this is a happy start to the book is an understatement.

It’s just Kellen and Reichis, romours that Ferius has been killed. I hope not she is one of my favourites. While Kellen reaches for her wisdom alot, there is a hole without her. She adds so much to the other books that I think, without her they may lack a little of what makes this series special.

He is 17 in this book so just over a year/ year and a half has passed since the first book, it seems like a longer time period should have passed as he claims it has been six months since he left Ferius after the events at Gitabria. I think he even turned 17 at the start of Charmcaster so he must be getting closer to his 18th birthday?!? The timeline still seems a little quick. The more I think about it Kellen has lead an extremely hectic life in the past couple of years.

Kellen believes he has no luck but I think he is extremely lucky. Ok, he is unlucky enough to get himself into those scrapes and has been on deaths door a number of times but he always makes it out of it especially with the help of Ferius, Nephenia and Reichis. The number of times Kellen is close to death to be rescued by his friends is getting rediculous. I both love that about him, that he is far from “the chosen one”, but that it also makes the moments where he gets to step up all the more sweeter. Unfortunately, this is not one of the occasions, again Kellen’s ass is saved, but they didn’t save my Squirrelcat. Reichis is dying, they joked he was food?!?!Already don’t like these monks.

It’s interesting to separate Kellen completely, from the support team. It sets a very different tone for this book. No more adventures with the trio, Kellen must use what he has learned to fend for himself. I hate that he has been driven to Shalla, but if it saves my fluffy murderer I will allow it. I still think she is being manipulated more than Kellen.

Abby of Shadows
Chapters 17- 29

Oooo we are really getting into the shadow black, also made it to a different continent. We are back in the midst of Castell’s fabulous worldbuilding. I know I keep saying it, but it is the stand out feature of these books! The image of the Abby is curious that black onyx pillars seem very imposing for a group of people that are trying to hide out and live their lives in peace. Surely you would want something a like less conspicuous?

Interesting that Kellens is still very different from those at the Abby. I think that this may all be foreshadowing for future books, his grandmother was up to something, be it sinister or not I am sure it will pan out to some big revelation. The details into each persons use of shadow is fantastic. The fact that there are classes of Shadowblack with different skill sets is kinda cool. That is also affects all nations not just the Jan’Tep also exposes us to a lot more of the diversity in this world and how they reconcile being Shadowblack with what their people believe it to be. I just love how rich and in-depth this whole series is.

I adore how bad Kellen is with women! He has no clue. I also like that he has the teenage boyness despite the danger and all the crap going on he still thinks about getting a girl into bed *eye roll*. These lighter moments are great , De Castell is very good and just finding lighter moments where we are reminded that Kellen is a teenage boy who just wants to do teenage boy stuff. The interactions between Kellen and the Abbot are also great examples of these lighter moments, the Abbot is honest with Kellen particularly highlighting what an asshole Kellen is. And he is right, Ferius has taught Kellen how to hone his skills as a cocky little shit but I do find that endearing more than anything. When I think about how whiney Kellen was in the first book, I much prefer this side of him.

I forgot how different this was without Ferius and Reichis. I love how Kellen recalls so much about them just to feel close to them as while they are not in the story it gives us a link from them and I don’t think I would like the tale so much without them. The revelation that Kellen and Reichis really are bound together, is something I am surprised hasn’t come up earlier. Though they refer to it as partnership Reichis is really Kellen’s familiar? Isn’t he? Kellen appears to be taking on parts of Reichis’ soul – struggling to keep the part of him that is Reichis as bay as submitting to the bloodlust. Is it wrong I find that kind of touching, he is struggling to cope without him? I like it as it means we still get that Reichis sass even though he isn’t really in this book.

It pisses me off how trusting Kellen is, but never of people who may actually be able to help him. He is wary and questioning of them but he trusts Shalla implicitly, when really she has only ever been selfish. I don’t know what it is about Shalla but I just do not like her one bit and don’t see why Kellen hasn’t realised how conniving and power hungry she is. Well he knows those things

Cast of Shadows
Chapters 30 – 39

This one gets so much darker than other books. While it still has lighter elements, the description of the captured people and how dark the Jan’Tep fears can go to creating such horrible torture devices. That they are so ready to betray and kill because they fear. Also the lengths their craving for power drives them. I have to admit that Kellen has become a good con man. Again this is Castell playing with lighter moments in amongst the dark, they are very rapid fire in this section which just makes the action so much more intense. It shuffles you back and forth from tense to giggling that when the really dark moments hit they are impactful

Again Kellen’s trusting nature has put everyone in danger, again his sister is involved. This bit of the plot is getting kind of overdone. I know that most of these have all be Kellen confounding the machinations of his father and his sister (who is only 15), which is the overarching plot of these books but its just getting a tad repetitive and it would be nice to see a move towards the end game of this plot line.

Oh no! Damn it I am crying. Reichis! Oh Kellen! Now I am crying cause he found a family and acceptance. Damn it Castell! He is really going for all the emotions of this one. And of course Kellen has all but killed them by trusting his real family. I do love that despite loosing them, Kellen still keeps hearing the words and support of Ferius and feels Reichis’s spirit. I love that he has realised that they are a part of him, literally in the case of Reichis.

Bridge of Shadows
Chapter 40- 63

Castell has a great at defusing a tense situation. Kellen jumping to conclusions about his attractiveness. I love that Betellios calls him out on it.

Whoo nephenia and ishak!!! Reichis is ALIVE!!!!! But Kellen and Reichis have lost their connection. The fact that Reichis died and kept being revived is heartbreaking.

I am beginning to find Nephenia a little annoying. She acts like Kellen should have information that she hasn’t even told him. She is as stubborn as Shalla not listening to what Kellen has to say. Finally, Kellen gets one over Shalla. it was about time. He is the older sibling you would think he would know his sister’s tricks and games off by heart at this point but he has fallen for them over and over again. Finally, she has fallen for one of his. I really don’t know why I detest her so much I guess Castell has done a really good job of making her incredibly unlikable to me.

Oh Kellen’s shadowblack is so interesting! So detailed and in-depth linked to his questioning nature. But only the right questions. I love the huge emphasis on questioning things in all the books, I like that those that seem to be care for Kellen encourage him to question and challenge. To think seriously about what he is asking to get the answers and information he needs. This totally confirms in my mind that his grandmother had a very specific plan, I hope we found out what that might be soon!

Oh Betellios -also a little bury your gays which is the first time I have been cringy at this series (I know Castell can do this -see my review for his Greatcoats series). I just found out that the two series take place in the same universe. Same world, separated by different continents. I think that is really cool that he explore this amazingly crafted world in both his YA and Adult fiction. I am hoping to continue the greatcoats series soon, after Queenslayer.

Seriously, Castell has to stop killing my darlings to bring them back, part of me loves that trope. But we just don’t get enough time to fully grieve. I would just have liked a bit more trepidation and fear. While, we do loose some major characters in this section, I don’t feel that they were impactful enough to really bring the sadness that the loss of one of the beloved characters would. Then again, I wouldn’t want him to kill of Reichis for real, or Ferius!

I am glad the communication between Kellen and Reichis has been restored. I missed his quick wit! I am worried the amount of trouble he is going to cause especially if he ends up developing his own powers, not just his murderous talents.

Slayer of Shadows
Chapter 64-end

Oh the letter from Ferius!?! My heart. I do love her. I love how much Kellen and her care for eachother. I hope they find her again! This is just a perfect way to close out this story. The fact that Kellen had his time alone to asses himself and finally realise who he wants to be, and what part the others play within that. That combined with the teasing of Reichis. Just an awesome end to the book.

Overall

This one plays with our feelings alot, Kellen’s family grabs the power they have been fighting for but Kellen manages a little victory at least. It’s this book that I finally found my love for Kellen, just as much as Reichis and Ferius. It also is the book that seems to have moved the world building on the most the main plot arc that followed Kellen’s family. I honestly cant wait to see where Queenslayer takes Kellen and Reichis next.



That’s it we have caught up and now just have the long week and a bit long wait for the release of Queenslayer. I will have my review of Queenslayer up this month for those that are interested. Thank you, if you have been reading these ramblings. I hope you enjoyed them and I hope it encouraged some to pick up the series or even dive into re-reading them.

Happy Reading!

May (no where near 10 book) TBR – and my Asian Readathon TBR

April is nearly over and the Magical readathon is drawing to a close so its time for another TBR.

May is going to be an interesting month for me, I am moving house near the end of the month so all my beautiful books are going to be spending the majority of May packed away in boxes. I had therefore intended not to do any readathons and just finish the back catalogue of books on my kindle. That was until I discovered the Asian Readathon and then the Borrow-a-thon announcement was made!

We all know how much I adore the Borrow-a-thon and all my books being packed up in boxes its a perfect time to visit my local library, or browse its digital catalogue. The Borrow-a-thon takes place from the 19th – 26th May and I will have a full TBR up closer to the time.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month so from

May 1st-31st

 CindySandraChloeKav & Ellias are hosting a readathon dedicated to reading books by Asian authors/about Asian characters. 

I have an astonishing amount of books (some of which are borrowed from a friend and I have had for far too long) written by Asian authors/featuring Asian main characters. This is a perfect reason to pick them up and expand my reading horizons.

Reading challenges

There are some low key challenges associated with the readathon. One of which I have already finished and that is to read the Group book. The group book is A Thousand Beginnings and Endings which is a short story collection or retelling of Asian Pacific folklore. I read this in April, it was amazing! So interesting and contained retelling of legends I had perviously encountered and many I had no knowledge of before. I will discuss it more in my April wrap up.

The remaining challenges are

  1. Read an Asian author/MC
  2. Read an comic/graphic novel/manga/kava/etc
  3. Read a translated book
  4. Read a intersectional author
Twist: 

Each book needs to represent a different Asian country! 

Cindy has compiled a fantastic resource filled with potential authors and books you could read. I bet you are bound to find one or two sitting on your TBR shelf.

My Asian Readathon TBR

I am being kind to myself and after the intensity of the OWLs and with the move taking up a lot of my free time. Instead of planning a full TBR I have pulled all the books on Cindy’s list that are sitting unread on my shelves and I will be ‘mood’ reading from them and seeing if I can fit them into the challenges.

So instead of a TBR this is more my unread collection of works by Asian Pacific authors. All of these books are currently sitting on my shelves or in my kindle library and its about time I actually read some of them.

Monstress – Marjorie M. Liu (Japanese / Chinese)

Ms. Marvel Vol: 2- G. Willow Wilson (Pakistani-American)

Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan (Chinese-Malaysian English)

Invisible Planets – Various Translated: Ken Liu (Chinese)

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories – Ken Liu (Chinese)

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng (Chinese) – borrowed from a friend (borrow-a-thon TBR)

Little Fires Everywhere – Celeste Ng (Chinese) – borrowed from a friend (borrow-a-thon TBR)

Descendant of the Crane – Joan He (Chinese)

The Library of Fates – Aditi Khorana (Indian)

Shadow of the Fox – Julie Kagawa (Japanese)

Three Dark Crowns –Kendare Blake (Korean)

Shadowsong- S. Jae-Jones (Korean)

The Girl King – Mimi Yu (Korean)

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – Julie C. Dao (Vietnamese)

Circle of Shadows -Evelyn Skye

As you can tell I have a huge amount to choose from I am NOT in any way shape or form going to read all of these, but I will be picking these up around other books on my TBR. As I suspect I will be back to my average 8/9 books for the month I suspect I will be picking ~ 3/4 of these books up over the month.

May Must Reads!!!!

I am still slowly working my way through The Priory of the Orange Tree. I am liking taking my time with this one and not rushing it and I will hopefully finish it in May.

May is the release month for Queenslayer and you can bet your last penny I will be reading this as soon as my pre-order lands on my door step. I have been slowly working my way back through the series with my Countdown to Queenslayer and my final instalment for Soulbinder will be live on Sunday! So I am super excited and super ready for this book!

So while neither of these books fit within any of my readathon prompts I will be reading them.


While this book list might seem huge I really just want to go easy on myself and just read what I want. I might pick up 4/5 of the books I might just read one. I might still be reading The Priory by the time June rolls around who knows I just want to have a chilled out reading month.
My Ten book TBR will be back in June.

Are you attempting the Asian Readathon? Are you looking forward to Queenslayer? Do you think I am crazy and should just stop it with the readathon madness?
I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!

Review – Siege and Storm


Title: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Series: Shadow and Bone #2

E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see breakdown below)

4.5 STARS

From Goodreads:

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this one. It throws us straight back into the action, The Darkling is back with scarier powers, we have privateers and rogue princes. The pace of the action was also great, wherever you would get comfortable in the story something would happen to send it of in another direction. I really enjoyed those turns. I liked that the characters were as thrown of balance as the reader.

I enjoyed the development of the characters too. I adore Nickoli, he has such charm and sass, His machinations carries most of the plot and I am very greateful for that. He really is the best character in this book. He is complex and fun to read about. I liked finally getting to know some of the other Grisha, more than just Alina and the Darkling and a few quips. We get to know Zoya in all her sarcastic beauty and David with his quiet genius.
Alina comes in to her own a little developing more of an actual personality in this book. She plays so well off of Nickoli, the darkness she begins to kindle with her conversations with the Darkling are great. She definaltely has more depth in this book compared to the first.

However, I didn’t enjoy Mal and Alina’s relationship, to me Mal is frustratingly controlling, I like that Alina for the most part didn’t bend to his whims, but her pining for him just isn’t endearing to me. Both Alina and Mal’s need to be self-sacrificing gets a little tiresome, especially as they tend to be followed by one of Mal’s huffs.

What this book did was successfully draw me in to the overarching story arc. I found myself thinking about the characters when I put the book down. I just wanted to continue and finish the story. It left enough loose ends that I just have to continue with the series.

ESCAPE Score

ENDING – 8

STYLE AND PACE OF WRITING – 7

CHARACTERS – 7

ATMOSPHERE AND WORLDBUILDING – 7

PLOT – 8

ENJOYMENT – 8


I would love to chat all things bookish with you! You can comment down below or find me on Twitter or Goodreads!

Happy Reading!