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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June Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing most of the books I read in June- there are a few not in here this time due to me not having enough to say about some for a full review, a DNF and doing blog tour reviews for a couple. Onto the post!


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May Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, I`m going to be reviewing all the books I read in May, of which there were rather a few. Onto the post!


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January Reviews 2019

Hello everybody! Today, it`s time for my January reviews post, and I`m so excited to talk about all of the books I read (barring one for school that I hated which I had to read for Spanish coursework!), as they got my reading year off to a pretty excellent start. Onto the books!


The Secret Starling by Judith Eagle (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I saved this debut mystery-adventure specially so that it could be my first read of the new year, and I`m so glad I did as it got things off to a great start. It is the story of a girl named Clara, who lives with her emotionally negligent uncle, as he abandons her to fend for herself. Then the savvier Peter and his cat Stockwell arrive and it seems like life may actually be better for Clara, but soon they must unravel the mysteries of Clara`s past and save Clara`s deteriorating mansion, and themselves, from dangerous outside forces. Clara is such a classic book heroine, and I think a lot of people will adore her- she has had a really rather horrid childhood, she is bookish and best of all, she is extremely brave throughout all of the situations she faces, no matter how afraid she is. I also adored clever, caring Peter and their friend Amelia Ann, and of course Stockwell. The mystery element is also wonderful. While we learn fairly quickly who is posing a danger (it is very hard to talk about this part of the book without giving spoilers!), this only serves to make the antagonists more menacing, and I loved learning about the motivations behind their actions. I was totally glued to the book as I got further in, and I stayed up ridiculously late to finish it because I was just too worried about the characters and mystified about why things were happening that I simply couldn’t sleep without finding out. The ending and the revelations that come by the conclusion concluded this story so well, and I really love how things end for Clara and Peter. This is a really excellent, gripping story, and if you enjoy MG books in this vein then I`d highly recommend this one. 4.5/5

The Farm Beneath the Water by Helen Peters

I was already really quite ashamed that it had taken me so long to read the sequel to the Secret Hen House Theatre before reading it, and after doing so I was even more so. It follows Hannah and her family as their farm is once again threatened, this time by a reservoir project, and their attempts to save it, as well as the school play Hannah is part of. Both of these elements were really enjoyable to read- the school play was such good fun, and it was so heart-warming and inspiring to see Hannah, her family and her friends stand up for what they believed in and fight for the farm (the head of the reservoir project absolutely boiled my blood, and I think it would be impossible to be rooting for them to succeed). I also really like how this series has a contemporary and classic feel at the same time, and I adore the subtle but super enjoyable humour throughout, particularly in regards to Hannah`s family and their interactions, because each member is hilarious in their own way and I love them all a great deal. This is a really charming, lovely MG contemporary, and I really wish this wasn`t only a duology. 4.5/5

Asha and the Spirit by Jasbinder Bilan (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In her debut novel, Jasbinder Bilan tells the story of a girl named Asha as a moneylender threatens to evict her family and she must set off in search of her father- who very suddenly stopped sending money home from his job in the city- to prevent this. Asha is such a compassionate heroine, and her determination to save her family really endeared me to her, as did her treatment of everyone she encounters- she unfailingly shows kindness, and I thought she was wonderful. I also absolutely loved her friendship with Jeevan, because the closeness of their bond is just so gorgeous to read about. The magical realism aspect was done so well too. Asha feels as if a bird that watches over them is the spirit of her grandmother, and the hope and strength that this provides her with was one of my favourite things about the book- there was one scene near the end that relates to this which made me especially emotional as it is so incredibly powerful. Finally, the writing was just as excellent as all of these other things, and it made the Himalayan setting feel so alive- I could picture every detail of every place that Asha and Jeevan are in throughout the book. This is an absolutely beautiful book all round, and I`m already excited to see what the author does next. 4.5/5

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones

I`ve been meaning to read this Victorian murder mystery for ages, and I`m really glad I finally got to it. It is the story of the titular Wild Boy, who is a performer in a “freak show”, as he is accused of murder alongside acrobat Clarissa Everett, and they must team up to solve their names. I found this really difficult to read in places because the way Wild Boy is treated is so utterly horrendous and unjust, and I felt so much sympathy for him as a character, so I was fully on his side from the very beginning and just wanted his life to get better. Another reason I adored him was that he reminded me a lot of Patrick Jane (one of my absolute favourite fictional detectives) due to his excellent observational skills, and I was also a big fan of feisty Clarissa, who was such a good friend. The mystery was incredibly intriguing and well-paced too, and I was very proud of myself for managing to guess whodunit as it wasn`t obvious (I think it was more luck than any real detecting skill!). If you enjoy a pacy, gripping mystery with lots of adventure and action, I think you`ll like this a lot. I`m looking forward to picking up the second in the series at some point! 4.5/5

Swimming Against the Storm by Jess Butterworth (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I don`t think there is any other author who I find it quite as hard to write reviews for their books as I do Jess Butterworth, because everything she has written to date has been so special and masterfully done that it is hard to put that into words. This is the story of Eliza, and her attempt to save the swamp community she lives in from the dangerous rising water levels. Jess`s writing style is absolutely amazing. The description is so well done that I could practically feel the humidity of the Lousiana setting and my arms itching as if the flies were biting me as well as the characters. As well as this, I really loved the way that Eliza`s narrative voice is done, because the way she describes things is very representative of her background, and who she was a person and what mattered to her was clear before she ever explicitly stated them. The pacing is perfection too. The bulk of the book is set in one night, and it is so tense and dramatic to read about as it is incredibly eventful to say the least, yet nothing feels rushed or on the opposite end of things, dragged out. Sentence structure was used incredibly effective to this end also, as short sentences added even further to the fast pace. I also have to mention how much I loved Avery and Eliza, both as individuals with their own loveable, distinctive personalities that are so well conveyed, and their sibling relationship, because while it is complicated at times their love for each other is unwavering and so wonderful. Monsieur Beau Beau definitely continued the tradition of Jess`s books having epic animal characters too, because he was brilliant! I absolutely can`t wait for Jess`s fourth book, because I have no doubt it will be just as spectacular as those that preceded it. 5/5

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

This is the story of Ghost (aka Castle Crenshaw), who is a rather troubled young boy who is struggling to cope with things after a tragic family event before the beginning of the book, and how his life changes when he is recruited into an elite junior track team. Ghost is such a wonderful character, and even though he makes a lot of mistakes, it is impossible not to love him and want him to do well in his both this new endeavour and as a whole. His narrative voice felt so authentic too, and I was absorbed in his story from beginning to end. His relationship with Coach was another thing I really loved, because Coach has such a positive impact on Ghost`s life, and the bond they form is so special. This was also true of the friendship that forms between Ghost and the rest of the new track team members, who are all complex and interesting in their own ways, and have difficult or unusual home situations too. I`m very excited to learn more about them in their own books as the series progresses. This was heart-breaking in places but so heart-warming in others, and I`d highly recommend it if you`re looking for an MG contemporary that`s a bit grittier in tone. 4.5/5

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber

I have been excited about reading this for so long, and I`m so glad that I finally picked it up this month because it didn`t let me down. It is the story of Reiko, a girl still wracked with grief over her sister`s death a few years before the book begins, as she begins a relationship with a boy called Seth that isn`t really right for either of them. Unless I`m just drawing a memory blank, I don`t think I`ve ever read a book with the concept of a romance that is basically doomed from the offset before (which is one of the key parts of this plot), and it was so interesting to watch things unfold in Reiko and Seth`s relationship, particularly at the beginning when things are going reasonably well for them. I definitely didn`t like them as a couple as they just didn`t seem like a good fit, and it was a really strange but fun experience to be rooting for a couple not to get together. As a character on her own, though, I absolutely loved Reiko. She doesn`t always make the right decisions and she is to blame for some of the things that go wrong with Seth, but I felt so much sympathy for her and her heart was very much in the right place, so I was supporting her wholeheartedly throughout, no matter what she did. I also loved Dre, her best friend, and her family, who were incredibly supportive of her and really tried their best to help her navigate her feelings about her sister Mika`s death. I also need to mention Katherine Webber`s writing, because it is stunning and I felt transported to the desert setting as I read this; it is so lush and vivid in the way it describes things, and every emotion Reiko feels is palpable through it too. This is a very strong follow up to an exceptional debut novel, and I cannot wait to read even from Katherine Webber in the future. 4.5/5

Against All Gods by Maz Evans (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I have been a huge fan of this series since it first came out two years ago, and while I am incredibly sad it is ending I don`t think this could have been any better a send-off for Elliot and the Gods. This picks up almost immediately after the end of Beyond the Odyssey and as such I can`t really tell you the synopsis without spoilers, but when we pick up it is safe to say everything is up in flames and Elliot and the Gods must fight a final battle against the Daemon Thanatos in order to save not only themselves, but the entire world. My very favourite thing about this series is the characters, because they are all amazing. Elliot is so incredibly strong, the Gods are the perfect mix of wacky and wonderful, and the villains are exceptionally well done- they manage to feel like very real threats, whether they are mythological or from the real world. I also loved how clear the way everyone has developed since the first book was in this (there is one character in particular who I thought was particularly epic in here that I really hadn`t expected to be so brilliant!). I also love the humour, both in the narrative voice and in the dialogue between the aforementioned amazing characters. Don`t be deceived by the fact that these books are hilarious though, because they also cover some really important topics (most notably the fact that Elliot is a young carer to a mum with dementia) and are incredibly emotional in places. I wept on numerous occasions during this, and even though I cry all the time so am not a good gauge I would recommend even people who don`t shed tears so easily go into all of this series, but especially this final instalment, armed with tissues. This was an emotional rollercoaster in the very best way, and as I said at the beginning, this was the epic finale I knew Maz would deliver for this wonderful series. 5/5

The Curses by Laure Eve

I reviewed the Graces when I very first started blogging and I absolutely loved it, so I couldn`t have been more simultaneously excited to pick up the long-awaited sequel this month. I can`t believe I`m saying this, but I honestly think it was even better than the Graces. This picks up a couple of weeks following the explosive (and extremely spoilery) ending of that book, and it is narrated by Summer Grace, who is the youngest of the siblings (the others are Thalia and Fenrin, if you`re unacquainted) and it focuses on the family and some of their friends trying to undo various very deadly curses that have affected them in the past and are affecting other people in the present. I know that`s very vague, but I think this is definitely one to go into with only a very sparse idea of what will happen, because I loved all the twists and turns and the way it blew my mind. I wasn`t sure what I`d think of Summer`s narration, but I was honestly obsessed with her. She is very rebellious and headstrong, and I had the absolute BEST time seeing the world through her eyes (there is one scene especially that I can`t begin to describe how much I loved- all I`m saying is that I would not want to get on the wrong side of Summer and her siblings…) The other really fun thing about seeing things from Summer`s point of view was that you get much more of an insight into the enigmatic family- who they really are and what they really do- than we do when seeing things from an outsider looking in like we did with River in the Graces. Along the same lines, but also as a separate point, I thought the sibling relationships were fantastic, and their interactions were often hilarious (between this and Summer`s narration, I was laughing a LOT while reading this, even though it gets pretty dark in places). The writing style is also brilliant in the way it creates a sort of otherworldly atmosphere, and it`s just so enjoyable to read. As already alluded to, I also really loved the mystery/intrigue side of things too, and I also adore the subtle and unique magic system. Basically, get onto reading the Graces if you`ve somehow managed not to in the years since it`s been released, and then pick up this. They`re officially among my favourite series I`ve ever read. 5/5

The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In her first foray into the fantasy genre, Fleur Hitchcock tells the story of a boy named Athan Wilde, who must protect the revolutionary flying machine that he and his mentor Mr Chen built together when the latter is murdered by people who will stop at nothing to get it. I must admit I had quite a tricky time getting into the story, but as I got further in it really started to pique my interest, and by the end I was absolutely gripped- and this was especially true when I reached the thrilling climax, which was tense and twisty and wonderful, and is followed by a beautiful yet very bittersweet ending. Other than this section, my favourite thing about this book was the characters. Athan is definitely a character that you`ll root for, and I defy anyone not to adore Beatty. I also really warmed to his mum and Polly over the course of the book, but my dislike of his grandmother remained steadfast. Another phenomenal character outwith Athan`s family was the primary villain, who was absolutely ruthless, and as such created some pretty scary moments throughout. Overall, I thought this was an interesting hybrid of fantasy and thriller, and reading it has reminded me once again that I need to read more of the author`s back catalogue. 4/5

Willow Moss and the Lost Day by Dominique Valente (received for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

In her dazzling debut, Dominque Valente tells the story of a young witch called Willow (who feels very inadequate as her only power is the ability to find lost items), as Starfell`s most famous witch Moreg Vaine arrives one day and unexpectedly asks her for help, because last Tuesday has gone missing and Willow must find it in order to save Starfell. First of all, the worldbuilding in this was amazing. Starfell has a really interesting history and magic system, and I absolutely loved learning about both, as well as seeing so many different subsections of the world and meeting the various different people/creatures who live them in them as Willow travels throughout the land. The dry-witted narration made me laugh a lot as I read, and another feature of the writing style I enjoyed was the sections we got every couple of chapters that hinted at who the antagonist was and what they were doing, which made the mystery aspect of what happened to the lost day even more intriguing and clued me in as to how far the villain would go long before Willow encountered them, which made that part a tense reading experience. I also absolutely adored each and every character (except the baddies, obviously)- Willow was a lovely heroine and I was so fond of her, her companion Oswin is a complete and utter DELIGHT (I can`t even express how much I love him) and the quirky, individual personalities of the supporting cast made all of them so fun to read about. The ending was so unexpected for me and it made me weep, and if her debut is this phenemonal then I couldn`t be more excited to see what Dominique writes next. If you`re a fan of Nevermoor, this is definitely one to keep an eye out for! 5/5

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

I have been meaning to read this book for ages, and I`m so glad that I finally did due to needing to research for an essay I`m planning for my English folio, because it was wonderful. It is a non-fiction book that recounts Adam Kay`s experiences as a junior doctor via the diaries he kept at the time and I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed it- I had heard it was wonderful, but didn`t know whether or not to believe the hype, so let me tell you that it really is worth all of it. For a book that tackles something so important and nails why the NHS funding crisis is so horrific, it manages to be completely hilarious almost all the way through. The wit and humour are tremendous, and I audibly snorted on more occasions than I care to mention. That said, it really packs a punch emotionally too, and there are some incidents that made me very teary indeed. I also enjoyed the informative footnotes (which also contain lots of jokes so it`s worth reading the explanations of medical jargon!) as they aren`t at all jarring or out of place like I feel they are in the majority of books. It`s so hard to review this book because it is someone`s personal experience and as such I can`t talk about characters I loved (though there were many people who feature in the book under pseudonyms who are wonderful) or how much I adored the setting, but I had a wonderful time reading it and would definitely recommend it. I didn`t think it was possible to feel more grateful to the NHS, but somehow this book made my gratitude even greater. 4.5/5


What books did you read in Janaury? Have you read any that I`ve mentioned, or would you like to now? I`d love to hear in the comments now!

Amy x

February Reviews

My reviews of all the books I read in February!

Hello everybody!

Today, I`m going to be sharing my reviews for the books I`ve read in February, and I`ve had a really good reading month despite not reading quite as much as I did in January. Onto the reviews!

Battle of the Beetles by M.G Leonard and illustrated by Karl J Mountford

Had you told me before I started them that I`d be such a fan of this series, I wouldn`t have believed you, but boy, am I a fan of this series. It started wonderfully with Beetle Boy in 2016, upped the ante with Beetle Queen last year, and has now concluded perfectly with Battle of the Beetles. If you`ve been living under a rock and haven`t heard of these books, they`re about a young boy called Darkus stumbling upon some very special beetles and his subsequent involvement in attempting to stop Lucretia Cutter, a scientist/fashion designer with dark intentions, from using them to wreak havoc on the world. The younger characters are as brave, funny and clever as always and guardian Uncle Max is an excellent adult figure, but the one I want to mention most of all is Lucretia Cutter, who is a masterclass in writing a villain. She is absolutely one you love to hate, but at the same time you can see why she is doing some of what she is (though she is of course, still evil, and I do not support her, to clarify!). This was a truly exciting adventure, and I stayed up until the early hours to finish it as I couldn`t go to sleep without knowing the ending. The final scene brought a huge smile to my face, and captured exactly why I love the main quartet of characters and these books so very much. 5/5

The Witch`s Blood by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

Picking up directly from the jaw dropping cliffhanger in book 2, this continues the story of teenage witch Merry as she and her friends/family tackle a new magical problem. First of all, Merry is a wonderful protagonist, and I thought she was even more strong and determined in achieving her aims in this instalment of the series. I loved the way in which her relationship with Finn developed, and I was rooting for them desperately to succeed in their romance despite the difficult situations they were in throughout the book. The secondary characters, most notably Merry`s lovely brother Leo and Finn`s cousin, who was introduced in this book, are also excellent additions to the cast, and I enjoyed the complicated dynamics of Merry`s coven, which is responsible for a lot of the conflict within the book, as well as a deeply horrible villain I don`t want to mention for fear of spoiling someone who hasn`t read the 2nd book yet! The ways in which the contemporary and fantasy elements intersect is really interesting too, and I also thought the magic system was fantastic as it both refers to back to elements we`ve seen in previous books and introduces new ones. I hadn`t expected the ending to go where it did, but it was a brilliant conclusion that`s left me looking forward to whichever of their secret projects Kate and Liz release next. 4.5/5

When the Mountains Roared by Jess Butterworth (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

Given how much I loved Running on the Roof of the World, this book had to meet high expectations, and it most definitely did for me. It tells the story of Ruby, as her family move very suddenly from Australia to India, taking with them a collie dog called Polly and a smuggled kangaroo joey, and stumbling upon a sinister poaching plot on the mountains on their arrival. Ruby was a superb heroine, and I defy anyone not to love her; I thought she was incredibly brave both in her efforts to investigate/halt the poaching operation and in coming to terms with her grief and guilt over her mum`s tragic death prior to the beginning of the book. Another aspect of her I loved was her love for animals, which shone through on every page, as I really related to that feeling. On that note, the animal characters are beyond endearing and lovely, and I loved each and every one, including both of those I`ve mentioned already, a leopard cub, some adorable goats and several others. Another character who I absolutely have to mention is Ruby`s wise, witty and generally wonderful Grandma. Jess`s vivid, stunning prose brings the Indian setting to life in a way that makes you feel as if you`re in the world alongside the characters; experiencing every sense and emotion they are. I cried more than once reading this, and I could barely put it down during the time I spent with it as I just had to learn the fate of the characters as soon as possible. Yet another triumph from an author who is fast becoming an all time favourite of mine.5/5

Squirrel Meets World by Shannon and Dean Hale

In this prequel to the Squirrel Girl comics (which I`ve never read), we see Doreen Green using her powers for the first time as a villain decides to make her their adversary. First of all, while I did have mixed feelings on the books, I did quite enjoy it overall, and it was a fun plot. I loved the chapters narrated by Tippy Toe the squirrel and the worldbuilding of the squirrel community/world was fantastic, I was thrilled to see representation of a character with hearing aids in the form of Ana Sofia and Doreen`s texts where she attempts to seek advice from the Avengers about her budding superhero career with hilarious results that often made me smile. However, I struggled a bit with Doreen as a character, and I found some of the plot quite predictable, which meant I wasn`t always desperate to pick it up again to see what would happen next. I`m unsure if I`ll continue with this series, but even though not everything in this book was to my personal taste, I would still recommend this if you think it sounds like the sort of thing you`ll enjoy. 3.5/5

The Creakers by Tom Fletcher and illustrated by Shane Devries

I`m always wary of celebrity authors, but Tom Fletcher is one of the best I`ve read. His 2nd novel is the story of Lucy, as she wakes up one morning and discovers that all the adults in her town have disappeared, due to the mysterious Creakers. While I didn`t think it was quite as wonderful as in the Christmasaurus, I really enjoyed the worldbuilding, and the fact that the customs of the Creakers are so well explained. I liked the main trio, and thought the concept was fun, and I was rather surprised by one of the twists even though I saw a few others coming. I was also quite shocked by how sweet I found the Creakers (the majority of the time, anyway), which I put down to Shane Devries`s fantastic illustrations of them. A final thing I enjoyed about this was the way in which it`s narrated; by a sort of omniscient 3rd person narrator, who frequently breaks the fourth wall and addresses the reader. I`m looking forward to Tom`s next MG release already. 4/5

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens

As much as I love this series with every fibre of my being, I underestimated just how special it would be to return to the world of Daisy and Hazel. This instalment sees them journey to Hong Kong after a (natural) death in Hazel`s family, and on their return they learn that Hazel now has a brother, which could jeopardise her place in the family, and when he goes missing Hazel is not just the detective but a suspect. It was fascinating to see Hong Kong and be immersed in that culture, and the friendship between Hazel and Daisy is as gloriously complicated as ever. It was incredibly interesting to see Hazel as the one who understands the customs of the country and Daisy as the outsider, and I loved every single scene they share. They both shine as separate characters also; Hazel has developed so much from Murder Most Unladylike, and I feel so very proud of her with how well she handles everything she comes up against, as well as how kind and clever she is and it was lovely to see Daisy support her through her more vulnerable moments while retaining her usual humour and focus on catching the criminals. Finally, I thought the mystery was complex, and I adore the way the Robin drops enough clues to give you an idea of who is responsible, but throws in a twist you aren`t expecting too. This series goes from strength to strength every time, and I`m desperate for book seven already. 5/5

Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers` Club by Robert J Harris

I was very intrigued by the premise of this series, as it focuses not on a younger version of Sherlock Holmes, but instead his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. The story focuses on Artie and his friend Ham as they become embroiled in solving a mystery involving the rather horrible Gravediggers` Club. I found it interesting to learn more about his background and family, even though I`m not sure whether or not he really was a young sleuth. I thought the mystery was interesting and quite complex, and I loved the homages to Sherlock Holmes which pop up throughout. My favourite part of the book was definitely the friendship between Ham and Artie, especially as Ham isn`t a typical sidekick in that he doesn`t always just follow whatever Artie wants to do and stands up for himself, and also as I liked their bickering/banter. I would have liked this to be a little bit longer, but I think it`s a good start to the series and I look forward to reading the next. 4/5

Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall

This is the start of a new series focusing on Flick, the future heiress of the luxury Hotel Royale, as she is grounded just as the world`s most famous popstar arrives for a stay, though that doesn`t stop her for long, of course! I adore concepts like this, and this book was no exception; I found it glamourous, hugely enjoyable and the perfect escapist reading I needed when I read it. The hotel is a phenomenal setting, which I really enjoyed learning more about alongside Flick, as this is her punishment during her grounding, and thought was a great example of contemporary worldbuilding. Flick was a complex character, and it was fascinating to see so many sides of her as I was reading, and her development was wonderfully written. I also loved almost every member of the side cast (except those you`re not meant to), though special mentions must go to “annoying” concierge`s son Cal (who had a fab sense of humour), Flick`s super sweet friend Grace and her stroppy, Instagram superstar daschund Fritz, who was beyond hilarious. It was really cool to see a few people from the It Girl books too. I was so happy to learn I only have a few months to wait on the sequel after finishing this, especially as I think a love triangle of sorts is being foreshadowed in this, and I`m both excited to see how those relationships develop and declare my allegiance ship wise! 5/5

Hounds and Hauntings by Janine Beacham

In her 3rd adventure, Rose and her companions must work to discover what (or who) is committing murders in Yorke in the way a legendary beast called the Barghest was rumoured to. I think Rose is an excellent detective, I loved the more prominent role Orpheus was able to play in this book, and the butlers were as magnificent as ever. It was also great to see some familiar secondary characters from the previous books. The mystery was very intriguing, with a conclusion I didn`t see coming at all, and as things felt much higher stakes I was rather worried about how everything would play out, leaving me glued to the book so I could find out. Something else I adore about these books, alongside all I`ve previously mentioned and the brilliant worldbuilding of Yorke (which is a historical/fantasy blend), is the sense of humour, which I find fabulous. I`m very hopeful this won`t be the last I see of Rose, Orpheus and the Silvercrest Hall butlers, as I think this series is super underrated, but if it is, this was an excellent conclusion. 4.5/5

Movie Night by Lucy Courtenay

Movie Night tells the story of best friends Hannah and Sol (who is in love with Hannah) as they make a New Year`s Resolution to watch a film together every month, and their feelings towards each other begin to change. First of all, I really liked and sympathised with the feelings of both main characters even though I slightly preferred Sol`s chapters, and I thought the supporting cast (especially Sol`s very humorous dads Andrew and Gareth, and his rather hilariously violent cat Nigel) were brilliant. I also enjoyed the dialogue between characters, which was brilliant and felt realistic, and I particularly liked Sol and Hannah`s scenes, as well as those between Lizzie and Hannah I was so pleased with the choices of films, as it not only featured two of my top five favourites, but reminded me of several others I want to see, and introduced me to a few I haven`t heard of that I may now seek out. I found this a bit slow paced in places, but I thought it was a super fun YA contemporary overall, and the ending made my heart happy in the exact way a good romcom does. 4/5

A Witch Alone by James Nicol (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In the long awaited sequel to The Apprentice Witch, James Nicol transports us back to Lull, to catch up with the now fully qualified Arianwyn as she takes on a dangerous secret mission from the High Elder. It was even better than the first book, and Arianwyn is still a brilliant main character. I especially like that we see her make mistakes in her role and her friendship with Salle, as it shows she isn`t perfect, and is a lovely message. The development and new challenges of Arianwyn and Salle`s aforementioned friendship feel realistic, but I love that they`re also always there for each other when they really need it. Other characters I thought were amazing were the feylings and Arianwyn`s lovely moon hare Bob. The plot was engaging and fun, and some scenes were rather intense, and I really felt this had a darker edge than the Apprentice Witch while maintaining the cosy, charming feeling that made me fall in love with that at the same time. After the shocking turn of events towards the end, I`m desperate to get my hands on book 3, and very, very hopeful it won`t be released with as long a gap as this one way. 4.5/5

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson (received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)

In her enchanting debut novel, a reimagining of the Russian Baba Yaga folk tale, Sophie Anderson tells the story of Marinka, who lives in a house with chicken legs with her grandmother Baba Yaga and is destined to become a Guardian and guide the dead through the Gate, but wants to escape that fate and live a normal life. This premise was so original, and I`m not sure whether this is only as I don`t know the folk tale, but some of the revelations that come about in this were so unexpected they made me gasp aloud. The prose of this book is completely stunning, almost poetic, and my heart absolutely broke for Marinka at some points as her first person narration meant I felt as though I was experiencing everything she goes through alongside her, and at times I felt as though I was going to cry (and if I`m honest, I did. More than once). Her animal companions Jack and Benji were so sweet, and I thought the supporting cast, especially the Old Yaga and Benjamin, were wonderful additions. However, my absolute favourite character in this book, which doubles as an incredibly vivid, unusual setting, was the house itself, which I feel has a personality and behaves like a character, and I had a lot of affection toward her. This is such a heartwarming, all round excellent read, and I`d definitely recommend picking up a copy after this is released. 5/5

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Have I convinced you to read any? I`d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl.

Amy xxx

November/December Reviews

Hello everybody!

Today I`m going to be sharing my reviews for November and December. I haven`t read as much as I`d have liked over both, but I have been rereading for most of December so it`s not too bad. Onto the books!

The Fabled Beast Chronicles series by Lari Don

While I initially found this series harder to get into than the Spellchasers trilogy, by just the 2nd book I was absolutely immersed in the story of Helen, a talented fiddler, as her life becomes entwined with the fabled beasts when a centaur turns up at her house and asks her to heal him and their subsequent thrilling adventures. I thought Helen was an amazing heroine; strong, capable and independent, and I loved getting to know the fabled beasts. My particular favourites were Sapphire the dragon and Yann the centaur, but I also enjoyed getting to see more in depth how most of the species lived and their customs through excellent worldbuilding over the course of the quartet. I really hope Lari Don has another middle grade fantasy series of some sort coming soon, as she`s a master of them. 4.5/5

A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan

In her debut novel, Helena Duggan tells the story of Violet as she moves to the unusually perfect town Perfect, and her journey of realising that all is not as it seems. There is a sense of sinister foreboding from the off, and the tension increases gradually until I was absolutely glued to the book towards the end. Alongside the mystery plot of working out what`s gone wrong with the town and who`s behind it, I liked the friendship between Violet and Boy a lot, and them as individuals, and the secondary characters (good and evil alike) jumped off the page. On that note, the worldbuilding was so well done that I felt as if I were actually in Perfect with the characters, and the multi layered backstory was fabulous. I`m not sure where this will go in the sequel, but I`ll definitely be reading to find out. 4.5/5

The Polar Bear Explorers` Club by Alex Bell (illustrated by Tomislav Tomic)

Alex`s first foray into the middle grade genre is, in my eyes, is an example of MG at its very finest. It tells the tale of Stella Starflake Pearl, who longs to be an explorer, as she sets off with her adopted father Felix on her first expedition and ends up separated from the main group along with the three other children of the voyage. I absolutely adored the group dynamics, and each character. Beanie was particularly delightful (he is quite possibly one of my new favourites of all time) but I also liked wolf whisperer Shay (I want to whisper with animals, please), Stella was an excellent leader, and it was so interesting to see how initially hostile Edward developed over the course of their journey. I also fell in love with the different animals and magical creatures the group encounter over the book (except, of course, the baddies) and loved how the book moved from one magical incident to another fluidly and always furthered either the relationships or plot. In case it`s not clear, I was completely obsessed with this book from beginning to end, and I have my fingers very tightly crossed for a sequel (or ten). 5/5

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

While I had expected to adore this book, it didn`t quite live up to my expectations. The writing style wasn`t especially to my taste, and I struggled to get to grips with the overcomplicated mystery plot, which never felt entirely linked to me. However, there were also parts of the book I enjoyed more. I liked the main trio, especially main character Lottie herself, and the friendships they strike up, as well as the unique and interesting system of monarchy, and getting to see both the dangerous and glamourous aspects of this. I also liked the ending, which was genuinely surprising and will probably lead me to pick up the second in the series at some stage after it`s released. 3.5/5

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

I went into this book with no idea of what it was going to be like, except knowing that it focused on Cameron Post as she grew up in a rural area in the 80s and explored her sexuality as a lesbian. I really liked Cameron as a character as I thought she was resilient, sometimes funny in her narration and strong, while also being flawed, and I also liked some of the secondary characters, especially those she meets during the 2nd half of the book after her aunt takes the drastic action alluded to in the blurb. Another thing I found interesting about the book, although it was a minor inclusion, was that Cameron`s aunt has neurofibromatosis (the condition I`m believed to have, albeit not the type it`s suspected I personally have and she experiences it very differently), which I was quite emotional to see represented in a book for the first time. However, there were also several aspects of the book I really struggled with. I found the first half of the book, which is rather long at almost 500 pages, incredibly slow to the point where I was close to DNFing, and I found the prose too “purple”. Overall, this was a book I learnt quite a lot from, but it wasn`t my cup of tea. 3/5

The Ghost Light by Sarah Rubin

I see very little buzz around the Alice Jones mysteries online, but I`ve thoroughly enjoyed both instalments so far. This book tells the story of Alice, who lives in Philadelphia, as she becomes in another mystery, this time involving sabotage and scary accidents at a local theatre. I love what a clever, independent heroine Alice is, and the colourful characters who surround her from her lovely journalist dad to arrogant film stars starring in the seemingly cursed, haunted play. I also thought the conclusion to the mystery was interesting as I only partially guessed the culprit, and there were several surprises. I did, however miss the presence of Sammy from the Impossible Clue, and thought the book felt quite different in tone too, but overall I think these are definetely underrated and I’d like a few more in the series. 4/5

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters

After having this recommended to me, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. I found it initially quite hard to get into and connect with narrator Hannah, but I soon did and was swept up in this contemporary middle grade tale of a girl trying to save her family`s farm from being sold when the landlord bumps up the rent, while also putting on a play. It has the same whimsical, modern classic feel that Natasha Farrant captured in the Bluebell Gadsby series, and it features a large group of siblings. I loved that things weren`t perfect between the family in the slightest but they were still always there for each other and the gentle humour sprinkled throughout the book. I worried desperately about the characters till the end as there were so many twists when I thought they were nearing a happy ending, though I did love the one they eventually got. 4.5/5

Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer

After seeing an excerpt from this book, I knew I wanted to read it, but the reality was very different to what I`d imagined. I didn`t find the book anywhere near as funny as I`d hoped, though I did find the plot of Morgan`s treatment for the hole in her torso interesting. I also liked the romance between her and Holden, as despite it being an odd addition after their initial reaction to one another they shared some lovely moments. Another element of the plot I enjoyed was the way the media treats Morgan, and finally the dysfunctional relationship between Morgan and her mother. I was less keen on the aspects previously mentioned, Morgan`s narrative style and the rather abrupt ending. 3.5/5

Rocking Horse War by Lari Don

After loving both the Spellchasers trilogy and the Fabled Beast Chronicles, I had high expectations for Rocking Horse War and it delivered. While I initially struggled to get into it, and I hadn`t realised for some reason it was set historically, I was very intrigued by Pearl`s story of waking up one morning and discovering her troublesome triplet siblings gone. She becomes tangled up in mysterious magic, and must battle to take the triplets home. I liked Pearl a lot; she was so determined and focused, and never gave up. Another thing I thought was great was that we got to see the impact of the first world war on a family, which isn`t especially common but I find fascinating. Finally, as always, Lari Don`s worldbuilding and magic system was exceptionally well done, particularly as we are learning more about it along with Pearl gradually so it never feels like an infodump despite the small page count. 4.5/5

The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge

This was a lovely read, and I`m so glad I finally picked it up. It tells the story of Albie, whose mum has just died, and his experiment with quantum physics to try and find a universe she`s still in. It was a slice of life style format where we see a few hours in the lives of Albie`s counterparts (my personal favourite of which was Alba) and I found it such an original, clever idea. I also thought that Albie was a really sweet character, and unusually for me I actually grasped most of the science and never found it to overwhelm Albie`s journey. I definitely want to read more from Christopher Edge in 2018. 4.5/5

Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review)

Vashti Hardy`s debut is so incredibly special, and I can`t wait for everyone to be able to read it. It`s about twins Arthur and Maudie as they set off on a skyship adventure and attempt to clear their dad`s name of stealing fuel from another ship on his last expedition. I absolutely loved the twins, and their relationship with one another, and I thought the secondary characters added to the story marvellously. The thought wolves, especially gentle, noble Tuyok were simply incredible, and more than one part of this book left me breathless and in tears because I fell so hard for this world and these characters. Another addition I liked hugely was that it championed STEM, and I was impressed with it tackling disability, a real rarity in fantasy worlds, with Arthur only having one arm. I guessed a twist or two but I still had quite a few surprises, and after the conclusion I`m already desperate for the sequel. 5/5

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher (illustrated by Shane Devries)

I`ll admit I was pretty sceptical going into this, seeing it`s by a celebrity author, but the overwhelming praise in the bookish community and shiny, pretty gold cover convinced me to pick it up, and I`m really glad I did. It`s the story of William Trundle as he faces ableist bullying at school until he receives a magical (and unintentional) Christmas gift from Santa that changes his life. I really liked William as a character, and the way his disability is portrayed, and I also had fun getting to know the multi layered secondary characters. Shane Devries` illustrations were a fantastic addition, and the book zips along at a great pace. My absolute favourite bit of this book, though, was the superb worldbuilding of the North Pole, which made this a truly magical read and I think children would adore it. 4.5/5

Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll (received from the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Having been excited for this book since the day it was announced, I was absolutely thrilled when it came through my door. I was gripped by the story of Magpie, a young orphan/pickpocket living in France as she becomes unexpectedly involved in a bid to become the first country to fly a hot air balloon. Emma Carroll`s writing is as beautiful and lyrical as ever, and never falls down the trap of going too far with this in favour of advancing the plot. I also adored Magpie as a character as she was so brave, clever and really deserving of the happiness she finds by the end, as well as her friend Pierre and the incredibly sweet animals; Coco, Voltaire and Lancelot. I got through this in two sittings despite having very little time to read at the time, as I couldn`t wait to see what would happen next. I`m so excited for Emma`s next book already! 5/5

Thank you so much for reading! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!

Amy xxx

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