Hello everybody! Happy November! It’s one of my favourite months of the year, not least because my birthday is in it, so I’m very excited that there are a few more books being published in it this year than usual (most years there are only about 2 I’m interested in!). Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m doing another review post, the theme this time being either spooky or somehow supernatural books, to fit in with the time of year (I will admit some of them are only loosely connected, but I fancied talking about them so they’re here anyway!). There’s quite a good mix of genres, I think, so hopefully something to suit everyone. Onto the post!
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!
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!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be talking about books that make think of autumn as part of Top Ten Tuesday– fair warning that they’re a super eclectic bunch and some of my reasons are pretty random!
Harry Potter– I know Harry Potter ends up on a lot of these lists, but sorry not sorry. They always begin at back to school time, which is a quintessential part of autumn, and there are usually scenes for Halloween as well. Plenty of autumhal vibes in there to justify its place.
Soulmates– there’s a lot of bad weather in this book on account of the whole finding your soulmate can end the world idea it explores (which is so interesting!) and I think we can all agree that autumn usually brings worsening weather, much as I adore it.
City of Ghosts/Tunnel of Bones– Victoria Schwab’s MG books are about ghost hunting in different citues, and they’re pretty spooky. I ran out of room on last week’s list so it seems only fair to put them as my spooky autumnal vibes spot on this one!
A Pinch of Magic– I didn’t want to include too many witchy books on this because I’ve got tentative plans for next year’s Halloween freebie but I figured one wouldn’t hurt. This is witchy and mysterious and brilliant. Actually, all Michelle Harrison’s books are pretty autumnal in feel. My personal fave is the Other Alice, but I like all of them a lot.
Strange Star– this has rain on the cover and it’s got a ghostly element AND it’s about Frankenstein. Absolute autumnal vibes.
In Darkling Wood– yes, I am putting two Emma Carroll books on here, because it’s my list and I just want to. This is a dual narrative timeline between two intersecting girls in 2015 and 1918, and it’s kind of amazing- there’s this magical element to do with the possible discovery of fairies but also the tackling of some very real issues. The vast majority is set in November, which is a month I am fond of for obvious reasons (if you don’t know me, my birthday is in November).
Jolly Foul Play– yes, I will take any excuse to talk about Murder Most Unladylike, but this is set at Guy Fawkes night, so I’m not even cheating for once!! In this one, the (rather horrid) head girl is murdered and the Detective Society must investigate.
Nevermoor/Wundersmith– I think these mostly remind me of autumn because I read them both in autumn. I’m so sad the 3rd one isn’t out till February, I love my annual visit to Nevermoor to see Morrigan and friends a lot!
The Secret Starling– okay, I know I’m at 11 now but just wanted to give this a quick mention! The cover is pretty autumnal and it’s a mystery set in the 1970s with very creepy villains. Highly recommend!
I’m sure there are loads of others I’ll kick myself later for forgetting, but I’m pretty chuffed with that this list! What books give you autumnal vibes? Do you have any thoughts on the ones I’ve mentioned? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody, and happy Halloween! Today, I’m going to be doing the Halloween book tag, which I found on Katie’s blog. Onto the post!
1. Carving Pumpkins: What Book Would You Carve Up and Light On Fire?
Yerma. Absolutely hated that when I had to read it for school last year.
2. Trick or Treat: Which character is a trick and which is a Treat?
Trick- this is so hard to do without spoiling something! Since Harry Potter is pretty old now, I feel like I can get away with saying I was so shocked about the Moody reveal in book four.
Treat- Wilbur from Geek Girl. What a sweetheart though.
3. Candy Corn: What Book is Always Sweet?
I, Cosmo is the most precious book ever. Read it.
4. Ghosts – Which Character Would You Love to Visit You as a Ghost?
Sirius Black. Love him, always. Would love a chat with him about so many things.
5. Dressing up in Costume – What Character Would You Want to be for a Day?
I did a whole post about this last year! But this year, if I was dressing up I’d want to be Alba from the TV show Cable Girls.
6. Witches & Wizards – What is Your Favourite Harry Potter Moment?
Ooh, this is hard. My favourite comedic moment is the “you don’t have to call me sir, professor” one, my favourite dramatic one is Sirius’s death.
7. Blood & Gore – What Book was So Creepy You Had to Take A Break From it For A While?
Definitely Close Your Pretty Eyes!
What are your Halloween plans? Do you have any thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! Today, as part of Top Ten Tuesday, I’m going to be sharing ten books that I hope to read during autumn. Let’s just ignore the fact I didn’t actually read all the ones on the summer version of this post… shall we? Onto the post!
Invisible in a Bright Light– I have only read one Sally Gardner before and it was maybe 8 years ago or so, so I can’t really remember it, but I’m looking forward to her newest release, which sounds really unusual and interesting.
White Eagles– I loved Elizabeth Wein’s last release from Barrington Stoke, Firebird, and I’m very excited to start this one- by the time you read this, I’m hoping I’ll be partway through at the very least. Like most of her books, this is about female pilots, this time in Poland. Louise has told me I should read the Pearl Thief, so that should also hopefully happen at some point.
The Conspiracy of Magic– this hasn’t actually arrived yet but I have been informed that I am getting one, so I thought I’d pop it on this list anyway. I read the first one in the series at the beginning of 2018 and ADORED it, so I’m very much looking forward to returning to this really cool world with characters and storylines that I love. Also, the cover is stunning, which is always a bonus.
The Somerset Tsuanami– if you know me even remotely, this isn’t going to come as a huge shock. I am OBSESSED with Emma Carroll’s books; I think she is an absolute queen of her genre and just in general, and I am DYING to read this one. It’s about a girl pretending to be a boy who gets accused of witchcraft when a tsuanami hits and I think it could well become one of my favourites from her, although it will have to be truly exceptional to manage that. But this is Emma, so it’s obviously going to be AMAZING.
Sealed with a Kiss– I’m currently reading Wildflower Bay whilst I’m writing this, and so far I’m really enjoying it. Therefore, I really want to read another Rachael Lucas and as this is set in the same place, it seems the best choice. That said, her others sound excellent too and I am fickle, so could well change my mind and go for one of the others. I am VERY glad I took Aimee’s recommendation on Rachael’s books!
Tunnel of Bones– I feel like this has to be read during autumn. I read the first one in November last year, and it was a brilliant time to read about the ghosts of Edinburgh and Cassidy, who can see “beyond the veil” after a near death experience. This one is set in Paris, which is very exciting for me since I’m kind of obsessed with all things French, and I have heard it’s even better, which is promising.
The Turn of the Key– this feels like another one that is just calling out to be read in autumn- it’s a creepy reimagining of the Turn of the Screw and is about a nanny in a high-tech house in Scotland who is writing her story from prison in letters to a lawyer who she hopes will represent her, because she has been (allegedly) falsely accused of murdering one of her charges.
Shadows of Winterspell– this is the new Amy Wilson, and I am a big Amy Wilson fan. I think her books just keep improving too, so it’s always nice to get hold of a new one. Her writing is so lyrical and beautiful that I always get totally swept away in her worlds and stories.
The Switching Hour– everyone I know who has read this says it’s really special, so I’m excited to give it a chance despite it sounding a bit more dystopian than fantasies I tend to love. The promise of an excellent animal companion didn’t hurt either, I’ll not lie.
Skycircus– I’ve been putting this off for nearly a year because I thought it was the last book in the series and I am not yet ready to say goodbye to Malkin, but it’s now been announced that the fourth is due in January and therefore I ideally want to get to this before then. Aother third book in a series I’d quite like to get to in autumn is the Frozen Telescope, because I am fairly sure it’s set at Thanksgiving.
Which books are you hoping to read during autumn? Do we have any in common, or do you have any suggestions about which I should read first? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m going to be telling you about the books out next month that I’m most excited for, of which there are quite a few! Onto the post!
The Girl Who Speaks Bear– I loved Sophie Anderson’s first book the House with Chicken Legs, so I’d have been picking up her second regardless of what it was or was about. Luckily, this sounds excellent as well; it’s the retelling of another lesser known folk tale/myth from Russia and focuses on a girl named Yanka who is swept up in a magical adventure. I think it’s going to be amazing, and an excellent autumnal read especially.
The Haunting of Peligan City– I read and really liked the first in this series in April, and I’m looking forward to going back to its Blade Runner-esque world for more detective-noir goodness. I’m especially excited to learn more of the titular Peligan City’s secrets.
Tilly and the Lost Fairytales– I read the first Pages and Co book last year and thus I am SUPER excited to return to a world where you can quite literally visit your favourite stories. This one sees Tilly and her friend Oskar go to Paris and has a focus on fairytales, and it just sounds totally fabulous. Weather permitting, this will be a perfect under a blanket book.
The Time of Green Magic– I’ve only read one Hilary Mckay to date, and I must admit I wasn’t super keen, but I really like the sound of both this and the Skylarks’ War so plan to read both. This one is about children who become part of a blended family discovering a mysterious creature and having to work out what it is and where it came from, becoming closer to each other in the process. I don’t know much more than that, but it comes highly recommended by Rachael so I’m excited to give it a try.
Tunnel of Bones– I really enjoyed the first in this series- which introduces a girl named Cass who can see ghosts, including her best friend Jacob- last year and this installment is going to see her, Jacob and her paronormal investigator parents take on Paris. I definitely feel like this will be another one I’m going to immensely enjoy snuggling under a blanket with, and I may try and save it for Halloween more successfully this year (last year I held out too long and only read the teensiest bit on actual Halloween!)
The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery– this is one of just two books on this list where I’ve not read from the author before, and I’m very excited about it. Like I said in a recent Top Ten Tuesday post, I quite often enjoy cemetery settings and this sounds like it’ll be a great one- it’s about Flossie, the Turnkey of the cemetery, who is having difficulty fulfilling her task of keeping the souls at rest during World War Two, and a mystery she is drawn into involving a soldier.
The Battle for Perfect– I’m very sad that this might be the last of the Perfect books (which I’ve really enjoyed both of so far), but I’m still excited to read it nonetheless. In this one, a zombie army is threating Town, and Violet and Boy must work to stop them and save their home. I’m sure it’ll be just as gripping and mysterious as its predecessors.
Trouble in New York– I read and really enjoyed Secrets of the Night Train by this author last year, so it’s an absolute no-brainer to pick up this 1960s New York set mystery about a boy named Jamie who is desperate to become a journalist investigating the disappearance of a missing actress. Sylvia Bishop writes really brilliant, interesting characters and settings, and I think this plot will lend itself so well to her writing style.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January– I hadn’t really heard of this until I heard Justine speak about it, but once I did I knew I definitely wanted to pick it up. It’s about a girl named January who lives as the lonely ward of a wealthy man in his house of curiosities, until she one day finds a mysterious book that changes her life and teaches her more about who she is. I love the sound of this premise and I think this is a portal fantasy, which I tend to enjoy.
What are your most anticipated September releases? Have we got any in common, and are you adding any from my list to yours? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Today, I’m going to be talking about my most anticipated releases of November, of which there are only four because there are barely any books out (to the best of my knowledge, anyway!). Onto the post!
Today, I’m going to be talking about some of the books I really like that feature witches, was an idea I got from Jenn’s fab list of October-themed prompts. Onto the post!
The Graces- I read this when it was rainy and stormy outside, and it was the perfect choice of book for that weather. It’s about “River” (which isn’t her real name, hence the quotation) as she becomes involved with the enigmatic Grace siblings, who are rumoured to be witches. It’s so atmospheric and tense and thrilling, and I loved it so much; the narration style of us knowing nothing about River somehow adds even more to the quietly spooky vibe. The last line sent shivers down my spine, and I’m very excited for the sequel the Curses next year. I feel like I’ve been waiting on it forever!
The Apprentice Witch/A Witch Alone- these books are about Arianwyn as she’s sent to be the resident witch on the small island of Lull after failing her exam that would allow her to become a fully fledged witch rather than an apprentice who must continually prove herself in her job, and I adore these books. There are so many amazing magical creatures and I love the magic system and old-fashioned feel of the worldbuilding, and Arianwyn is a fantastic character who shows that even incredibly talented and capable people make mistakes. They’re both full of adventure and excitement and a very cosy feeling, and I’m so sad that A Witch Come True will (probably) be the last time I get to see this world. I’m so excited to see what it’s like at Christmas time in this world though!
The Witch’s Kiss trilogy- these are about teenage Merry as she must use her newly discovered powers to stop Jack, who is possessed by a wizard’s curse, from killing people, while also falling in love with him. The later books see her face different magical enemies, and I really enjoyed them all. They’re full of excellent plots with great villains and interesting mysteries that kept me reading on, the second book has a killer cliffhanger, and there’s a lovely sibling relationship between Merry and her older brother. I’m also a big fan of Finn in books 2 and 3 as he really makes me laugh!
The Witches- this, along with Matilda, is my favourite Roald Dahl book. The witches were pretty terrifying to young me, mainly due to their varied ingenious ways of murdering children, especially the Grand High Witch, and I really enjoyed how brave and adventurous the main character was too. I hate the film version with a passion though.
Witch Girl- this was a very recent read, and I liked it a lot. It’s about a girl called Evangeline, who is the apprentice of her haunt huntress grandmother, and together they defeat malevolent spirits. During the book, they must leave their swamp home and go to New Orleans for an unusual case, and it was so interesting watching it unfold in the rather creepy manor they’re staying in, and I loved how all these little clues I hadn’t picked up on were linked together at the end to explain the mystery throughout. The worldbuilding was great too.
Which witchy books would you recommend to me? Are you a fan of any that I’ve mentioned? I’d love to to hear in the comments below!
Happy Halloween everyone!
To celebrate the occasion, I asked my lovely friend Zoe, of the equally fabulous No Safer Place, who is a huge horror fan (unlike me, who is a huge wuss) to write some horror recommendations. Enjoy!
Over to Zoe 😊
I have loved horror for as long as I can remember. I believe books started this love. My earliest memory of horror is reading Goosebumps and Shivers books when I was around 7/8 and the love only grew from there. Today I thought I’d share my love of horror over the years, starting with my favourite horror book as a child, to my favourite horror book now.
A Ghostly Playmate (Shivers) by M.D. Spenser
So this book was the first horror book I fell in love with. I must have been around 7 when I read it and it terrified me. The idea of moving into a new house, feeling lonely and finding a friendly ghost who wants to be your friend – only to find out she wants you to be her friend forever and she’ll do whatever it takes to get you onto her side…I mean, that’s pretty terrifying. Shivers books are brilliant and if you haven’t read them, pick them up on Amazon!
Night of the Living Dummy (Goosebumps) by R.L Stine
Once I got the taste for horror, I couldn’t stop. Slappy is one of my all time favourite characters. I went to a Goosebumps Alive adult experience recently and I don’t think I’ve ever been as terrified as when I saw Slappy brought to life. Who doesn’t love a good ventriloquist dummy coming to life and trying to kill you? R.L Stine has been one of my favourite authors since I was about 8, and he still is!
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Horror in YA is seriously lacking and this breaks my heart. As a lover of YA and horror, nothing made me happier when I found Alex Bell. I read Frozen Charlotte as part of the Zoella Book Club and completely fell in love. Creepy dolls that come to life and torture you and force you to do some truly horrific things. What’s not to love? The prequel Charlotte Says is even better – and even more brutal!
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
Adult horror. I hadn’t read this until a few months ago. Obviously I’d seen the film, loved the TV series and I really wanted to read the original material. It was so much better than the film (I expected no less) and honestly, some of the detail and description is so graphic, it made me feel physically sick…but isn’t that the best part about horror?
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Does this really need an explanation? Dracula is one of the most stunning books ever written and when I read Dracula, aged 14, it changed horror for me. I had a new found adoration for the genre, particularly for vampires and I still do. There is something about Dracula that is just so bloody (excuse the pun!) beautiful.
What are your favourite horror books? What are you reading this Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!