October Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be sharing my very belated reviews of all the books I read in October (apart from one I read for a blog tour), which were all pretty fantastic, even though I didn’t get through as many as I’d have liked. Onto the post!


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The Conspiracy of Magic by Harriet Whitehorn (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In this thrilling sequel that was somehow even better than the Company’s of Eight, which I enjoyed immensely last year, we follow Cass as she is tasked with protecting the Queen of Minaris as she tours part of their world, and how things go very wrong due to a sinister plot that threatens not just them, but everyone in the Longest World. Cass is amazing, and I love how capable and clever she is, but also the fact that there are moments where she doesn’t quite know how to handle things yet always keeps going until she does. My other favourites in this book was Dacha, who was a new addition and just the absolute sweetest, and Arden, who was very different to what I had been expecting. I also love the world building in these because it’s such an interesting concept and I really like that this showed a completely different side of it to the Company of Eight; given she is with the queen for a lot of it there are some scenes in quite luxury places but we also see more of the darker side in different ways and it’s so well balanced and all so well described that it just forms a really brilliantly written world. The plot itself is pretty impossible to describe without giving anything away, so all I’ll say is that it was incredibly exciting and I thought the twists and shocks in various places were great. I’m very hopeful after the ending that this isnt the last I see of Cass! 4.5/5

Sealed with a Kiss by Rachael Lucas

After really enjoying Wildflower Bay the month before, I was desperate to read more Rachael Lucas, and I enjoyed this one even more. It takes place in Auchenmor, the same place, and is about the love story of Kate- who has just taken on a Girl Friday position on the island after being dumped by her dull as dishwater ex-boyfriend- and Roddy, the island`s Laird. I loved both Kate and Roddy hugely, and the way they complemented each other absolutely perfectly. I also enjoyed getting to see Finn`s backstory, because I already adored him and this just made me like his cheeky, charming ways even more than I did to start off with, and I thought Fiona was an incredibly well written antagonist. She`s Roddy`s ex-girlfriend who tries to sabotage his and Kate`s budding relationship, and I despised her so much I actually had to put the book down for a few minutes to calm down a couple of times. This is so engaging and lovely and full of funny moments, and it was a total joy to read. 5/5

The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll

In her tenth novel, Emma Carroll tells the story of a girl named Fortune, who is sent away to work dressed as a boy amidst the terror of the witch trials, and the adventure that ensues after a tsunami hits and people believe that witchcraft is to blame. I loved Fortune a lot, and the secondary characters were also amazing- I was particularly fond of Susanna, but also really liked Ellis and Jem, and thought Dr Blood was a phenomenal villain (and WHAT a name!). I`ll be honest, I wasn`t quite sure how the plot of this would unfold, but I needn`t have worried because it was a perfectly paced and utterly engaging adventure- it`s a really hard book to talk about without spoilers but I just loved every second of reading it, and Emma`s writing style is still one of my favourites of all time. At this point, there just aren`t sufficiently gushy superlatives to do Emma Carroll justice to be honest; she really is one of the most talented authors writing in middle grade right now, and I can`t see myself ever not picking up a new release by her as soon as I possibly can! 5/5

The Pearl in the Ice by Cathryn Constable (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

This is the story of a girl named Marina, who is deeply frustrated with her life due to the fact fact her father restricts it greatly on account of her being a girl, and what happens when instead of going off to boarding school she stows away on his ship and becomes involved in a rather thrilling adventure. Marina is absolutely amazing, first of all. She is so determined and I loved her outlook on life and the way that she is brave enough to tell the men around her that actually, she’s every bit as good as them and she’ll prove it too. I also had a soft spot for Jones, her closest ally on the ship, and Miss Smith is such a fascinating, multilayered character. The plot was really interesting too, particularly since I could never quite tell which direction things were going to go in at most points! This is definitely my favourite from Cathryn Constable so far, and I look forward to seeing what she does next 4.5/5

Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James

In the second instalment of the Pages and Co series, we see bookwanderers Tilly and Oskar travel to Paris amidst dangerous changes to the running of the Underlibrary, and their adventures in fairytales once they`re there. I still love the idea of this world a lot and I really liked Anna James` take on the fairy tale characters (particularly Rapunzel and Red Riding Hood!), but I didn`t find the bookwandering journeys quite so magical this time, for some reason, and I wasn`t quite as gripped by the pacing. I did really like the events of the climax and ending though, as there were some great reveals and I think they could lead to the third book being fantastic, as the overall series arc is really interesting. Overall, I sadly just didn`t enjoy this quite as much as the first book in the series, but I definitely plan to pick up the third in the trilogy once it`s out next year. 4/5

Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In her fourth book, Amy Wilson tells the story of Stella, who lives with her grandmother in a cottage on the outskirts of the magical forest, who has just decided to enrol in the local school. But of course, this is an Amy Wilson book so there is magic but also dark forces at play, and Stella becomes swept up in discovering who she really is and what she’s capable of when she begins to meet other magical people who live within the forest. Stella is a lovely character who I really enjoyed reading about, her new friends Yan and Zara are really loyal to her and interesting characters in their own right and Stella’s gran’s familiar Peg was the absolute star of the show for me, I loved him! Amy Wilson’s writing style is so distinctively gorgeous and I loved it as much as ever here, and I thought the magic system and the history of this place was intricate and so well explained and exemplified- I felt like I knew it inside out by the end, but still wanted to know even more. I absolutely can’t wait to dive into another of Amy’s worlds whenever her next book is out, because all of them so far have been amazing. 4.5/5

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Like I said when I reviewed This is Going to Hurt back in January, I find it quite difficult to write a lot about non-fiction, but I thoroughly enjoyed this and I`m going to give describing it a decent shot. It`s more entries from former junior doctor Adam Kay`s diaries whilst he worked in the NHS, and this time they`re specifically themed around the festive period. As with the first book, this is incredibly funny for the most part- I`m laughing just remembering some of my favourite anecdotes- but there are also a few points that were so emotional that I cried. It`s an absolutely brilliant read, and I absolutely plan to read whatever Adam Kay decides to release next. 4.5/5

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nirzana Farook (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

This is the story of a girl called Chaya who must go on the run with her friends and Ananda the elephant after stealing the crown jewels, albeit for a very noble purpose, and the revolution she becomes part of in the process. My favourite thing about this was definitely the writing, because it`s fast paced and so exciting; things never let up for a moment and I was totally hooked the whole way through. The style was absolutely beautiful as well, though- it made the Serendib setting so vivid and three-dimensional. Another huge highlight were the characters. Chaya is an amazing heroine with so much bravery and I loved her. I also really liked her friends Neel and Nour, especially Nour, because her dynamic with Chaya was great and it was so fun seeing them go from enemies to friends. Also, I don`t want to give any spoilers since I didn`t really know how instrumental it was to the plot going in, but the revolution plotline is amazing. This is a brilliant adventure, and I`m so excited to pick up whatever Nirzana writes next, because this was fabulous. 4.5/5


Which books did you read in October? Do we have any in common? Are you planning to pick any of these up at some point? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

Blog Tour Review: Invisible in a Bright Light

Hello everybody! Today, I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour for Invisible in a Bright Light, which is Sally Gardner’s first MG book in 14 years. I have to admit I’ve mot actually read I, Coriander but I most definitely want to, particularly given that I read one of her other books just after my brain surgery and therefore have quite special memories of it. Anyway, onto the post!

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August Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be sharing my reviews for the month of August, excluding my rereads of some of the Geek Girl and Murder Most Unladylike books, and one I was on the blog tour for. Onto the post!


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Review: Gruffles and the Killer Sheep Blog Tour

Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to be part of the blog tour for the newest addition to the Ganster School series, Gruffles and the Killer Sheep, with my review! Onto the post!


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Anthology Review: Return to Wonderland

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing the Return to Wonderland, which I read last month and really enjoyed, even though I`ve not read the original book. Onto the post!


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Acorn, Biscuits and Treacle by Peter Bunzl– this is about a boy named Pig, who has his life changed when he rescues three girls from a treacle well. Pig was a lovely protagonist, and I also liked the three sisters. I loved the frog footman too; what a cool character. The reveal at the end was great, as was the ending in general, and I thought this was a super enjoyable way to kick off the anthology.

The Queen of Hearts and the Unwritten Rule by Pamela Butchart– this focuses on the Queen of Hearts, and specifically the tourist industry that has sprouted in Wonderland following Alice`s rather famous trip down the rabbit hole. I really liked the humour of this, particularly the way it gently mocks modern culture. However, I found the constant cap locks really distracting, which unfortunately affected my enjoyment of this quite a bit. I have nothing against cap locks (I do it all the time myself, so I`d be a hypocrite if I did), but I didn`t see the point of them here- it didn`t feel like they were being used for a reason, such as for emphasis.

The Sensible Hatter by Maz Evans– this sees the Mad Hatter try to be more sensible after people criticise him for his silliness. It`s so entertaining, just as I`d expect from Maz (the writer of the brilliant Who Let the Gods Out quartet), and absolutely hilarious. It also has a really lovely message about how friends should love you for who you are and not who they want you to be.

The Missing Book by Swapna Haddow- I LOVED this one, which was super unexpected for me as I`ve not read from the author before, nor had I even really heard of her. It is about the Mock Turtle and the library he has set up within Wonderland- specifically a book appearing unexpectedly on its Missing Book shelf. The Mock Turtle`s narrative voice is absolutely glorious- he is so vain and yet also utterly lovable, and it just made this ridiculously fun to read. The ending was so clever and unexpected too.

Honour Roll by Patrice Lawrence– this is about a family of hedgehogs who have been (or one day will be) croquet balls for the Queen of Hearts. Honour, who is the hedgehog who narrates our story, was such a sweetheart and I loved reading her diary entries a lot. I was also a big fan of the excellent puns within the family naming system, and the really excellent worldbuilding that explains why hedgehogs are used as the balls.

The Tweedle Twins and the Case of the Colossal Crow by Chris Smith– This is about the Tweedle Twins facing off against some of their biggest fears. I thought the setting was really fun and captured the wackiness you`d expect from Wonderland. I also loved the hilarious relationship between the twins, and the great side characters. It also has a lovely message on the theme of fears.

Ina Out of Wonderland by Robin Stevens– this is set outwith Wonderland, in Oxford University, and even though I`ve never been and don`t know the place very well, I feel kind of like I have and do now because Robin paints such a vivid picture of it. The story itself is so clever and interesting, and I loved it, which is no surprise given that Robin is one of my absolute favourite writers- it`s about Alice`s older sister Ina, who is now “too old” for Wonderland and must find a way to protect Alice from its dangers. Other than the setting that I`ve already mentioned, my favourite part of this was Ina herself. My heart both ached for how abandoned she feels and also burst with love over how wonderful she was- she is so clever and calculating (in a way not unlike the Honourable Daisy Wells…) but for such compassionate reasons. The portrayal of Lewis Carroll is absolutely fascinating as well.

Plum Cakes at Dawn by Lauren St John– This tells the story of a visit the Dormouse makes to the Night Court, where he observes a trial. I really liked the humour and the courtroom setting- I always forget how much I enjoy a good courtroom scene when I`ve not seen or read any in a while! I also really liked the way Lauren St John`s usual environmentally conscious mindset was threaded in in a way that felt very natural.

The Knave of Hearts by Lisa Thompson– I can`t tell you much at all about the plot of this or I`ll give the entire thing away, so it`s about the Knave of Hearts, who is a very unreliable narrator. It`s brilliantly paced with a great reveal, and the narrative voice is super entertaining.

How the Cheshire Cat Got His Smile by Piers Torday– this is the origin story of the Cheshire Cat, who lived with a scientist and his daughter, and it was probably the most disappointing of the anthology for me. I really liked the Cheshire Cat himself, but otherwise I didn`t really find anything else that memorable or enjoyable.

The Caterpillar and the Moth Rumour by Amy Wilson– This is beautiful- Amy Wilson`s trademark lyrical writing works so well for the Caterpillar`s story, which is about him having to confront the past he`s run away to Wonderland to escape. It was so intriguing, and I loved both the build-up and the big reveal. I also loved the way other Wonderland characters were written into this, particularly the Dormouse and the Cheshire Cat. A gorgeous, uplifting end to this anthology.


Have you read this anthology? Which story was your favourite? If you`ve not read it, which do you like the sound of most? I`d love to hear in the comments!

Amy x

July Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing the books in July that I haven`t already told you about elsewhere and don`t have plans to tell you about in separate posts (there was also one I DNF early on that isn’t here), and there are quite a few! Onto the post!


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All that Glitters Blog Tour: Disney Q&A and Review

Hello everybody! Today, I’m part of the All that Glitters blog tour, with a mini Q and A on the theme of Disney with one of its authors Lucy Connell (which is one of my faves!) And also my review of the book. Onto the post!


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