Review: A Discovery of Witches

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Written by: Deborah Harkness

Published on: 8 February 2011

Genre: Contemporary fantasy, Romance novel, Alchemy

Blurb: When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.

Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist.

Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

My Review: I should begin by saying that I read this book via apple audio book, and I am so glad that I did! The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda did such a wonderful job!

Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont are fabulous. I adored them both and I particularly revelled in the beautiful language and style of Harkness’ writing – OMG some of those descriptions were exquisite!

From the moment the story began I was seduced by the intelligent and almost hypnotic use of language. This book is not one thing. It is many, many genres and it fits them all beautifully; by far the best thing I have read in a long time.

Diana Bishop is a fierce and brave Historian who is intelligent, athletic…and a witch. I didn’t find her character to be annoying OR bitchy, which can often be the case. The historical aspect of the fiction is woven so beautifully in with the fantasy and supernatural, along with the discrete and sensual romance, that every chapter plays like a reel of film in your mind. I was utterly captivated.

As for Matthew – he is a man of many times and each layer we unfurl offers more and more surprises. At times his need to ‘protect’ Diana means he withholds things and that was a little frustrating, but it is clear why and it plays out successfully.

Sept Tour is a place I long to be and I can’t wait to see if we visit there again in the next book. I don’t want to give too much else away, so I’ll end with this: it was magical!

5 โœจ read!!

Lots of love

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Review: Evermore (Everless #2)

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Written by: Sara Holland

Published on: 31 December 2018

Genre: Fantasy Fiction, YA

Blurb: Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: She is the Alchemist, and Caro – a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood – is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Now Jules must piece together the stories of her past lives to save the person who has captured her heart in this one.

My Review: I read the brilliant Everless early in 2018 whilst on a weekend away to Chester. I devoured the book and thought Holland’s story was fabulous (read the review here). I was really excited to pick Evermore up and was thrilled when my Amazon delivery arrived. The cover is so beautiful and the green of the diamond snake pops against the sky blue of the background. It really is something! Continue reading

Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Written by: Kerri Maniscalo

Published on: 20 September 2016

Genre: Mystery, Young Adult Fiction

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

My Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo is a gripping, fun and witty read that I was so excited to pick up! I had been eyeing this book up for some time before receiving it in my #busymamabookswap in November last year. It has since sat, longingly staring at me from my tbr pile to be read. I am so glad I finally got to it!

It was fun, witty and sexy.

I love thrillers and I find true crime very interesting (in a non-weirdo way). I have seen many films, TV shows and read other books about Ripper so I went into the story with some expectations. I liked that Kerri Maniscalo kept some facts and used creative license with the rest. It was fun, witty and sexy as our main character Audrey discovered the fabulous Sherlock-esque Thomas Cresswell.

Both Audrey and Thomas are fun, strong-willed characters who show us how the gender equilibrium should be and not how the patriarchal society of C19th London was. Audrey is intelligent and thus severe on the inequalities women faced at that time and she was empathetic to the women Jack the Ripper preyed on. I found Maniscalo’s narrative to be affirming and inspiring, especially as this is aimed at a YA audience and so sending the right message to the right readers. At times, Audrey reminded me of an older, C19th Hermione – and I loved that ๐Ÿ™‚

The story was face paced and deliciously dark in places. there were some good twists and I was utterly convinced I knew who it was until I didn’t! Fab and fun.

Giving this book 4/5 stars and looking forward to picking up the next in the series. Hurrah!

Have you read this one? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Love

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Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Screenplay)

Written by: J.K. Rowling.

Published on: 16 November 2018 by Bloomsbury.

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, YA, Screenplay.

Blurb: The powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald was captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most of whom are unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise pure-blood wizards up to rule over all non-magical beings.

In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans, Albus Dumbledore enlists Newt, his former Hogwarts student, who agrees to help once again, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided wizarding world.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwaldย is the second screenplay in a five-film series to be written by J.K. Rowling, author of the internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. Set in 1927, a few months after the events ofย Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and moving from New York to London, Paris and even back to Hogwarts, this story of mystery and magic reveals an extraordinary new chapter in the wizarding world.

My Review: I was so excited to see the movie that I booked tickets in advance, sat back and waited impatiently whilst the nargles whirled around my ears. Continue reading

Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them (Screenplay)

Written by: J.K. Rowling

Published on: 16 November 2016 by Bloomsbury.

Genre: Fantasy, Magic, YA, Screenplay

Blurb: When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone . . .

Inspired by the original Hogwart’s textbook by Newt Scamander,ย Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original screenplayย marks the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, author of the beloved and internationally bestselling Harry Potter books. A feat of imagination and featuring a cast of remarkable characters and magical creatures, this is epic adventure-packed storytelling at its very best. Whether an existing fan or new to the wizarding world, this is a perfect addition for any film lover or reader’s bookshelf.

My Review: Wow! Continue reading

Review: Happier Thinking

My Review:

Lana Grace Riva has condensed some no nonsense, common sense advice into this slim little nugget of a book!

If you’re looking to change your habits or adopt a more positive outlook in life, then this little book is for you. Resetting how we think and behave can seem daunting, but Lana Grace Riva makes it both possible and manageable with this little gem.

The pages are filled with warm, colloquial anecdotes and advisory comments that are common sense ideas you may not have thought through before. The structure is easy say to follow and navigate, as it is organised into handy labelled chapters. You can easily find what you are looking for and because the book is so slim it would be easy to dip back into when you felt the need to review and refresh.

this would be a fab stocking filler!

One of the nice things about the book – especially with Christmas approaching – is that it would make a lovely gift. If there is someone you know who has been dealing with stress, a trauma, a crises, or perhaps someone who is on a health kick or training for a marathon then this would be a fab stocking filler! It’s style and cover are gender and age neutral, too!

Finally – this book is unlike other books I would reach for. ‘Self-help’ or reflection is nit a genre I have ever picked up before, and I honestly don’t know why. I am naturally a reflective and evaluative person, so the book was meta-cognitively right up my street. And as someone who is a champion of kindness, I’ll leave you with this final thought from Lana that I really resonated with: “Happier thinking goes hand in hand with kindness. Kindness to all, including yourself.”Lana Grace Riva, Happier Thinking.

5๐ŸŒŸ from me!

Lots of love,

Bex x

PS. I was gifted this copy in return for an honest review. It was my decision to read and review the copy provided. I loved it!

Review: A Medieval Tale – First Lessons by Lina J. Potter

Genre: time travel/ fantasy

Publisher: Litworld Kindle edition

Published on: 15 April 2018

The Blurb: Being a genius Medical school graduate and a sporty and active girl, Aliya dies suddenly in a car accidentโ€ฆ only to find herself reborn in a completely different body in the middle of a half-ruined castle during Medieval times. While confused and dismayed, Aliya realizes she has been given a second chance in life โ€” so she rolls up her sleeves and gets to work on restoring the castle and her new life.ย 

My Review: This book was unlike any book I have read before. I cannot think of another book I have read where a similar scenario plays out.

This is the opening novel to a popular series and one that certainly piqued my interest.

We are greeted with a fierce and strong female protagonist who has a tricky path to take within the story. We are thrown back in time to a society that is harsh and gritty, especially for women and those who might be vulnerable.

The novel is interesting and our main character raises so interesting questions about one’s own identity and society’s attitude to women, then and now. I was a little thrown by Aliya’s harsh comments about the new body she found herself in (especially being a larger lady myself) and I was unsure whether that was down to translation or the writer’s / characters own attitudes.

In places the structure was jumpy and things tended to just happen without clear cohesive structures, but it didn’t lessen the story’s ideas.

Overall I would give this 3๐ŸŒŸ!

Lots of love

Bex

Ps. I was gifted this copy from @lithuntersph in return for an honest review.

Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Genre: YA, Retelling, Contemporary

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: 18 October 2018

Blurb: Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and prideย in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.ย 

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially canโ€™t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwickโ€™s changing landscape, or lose it all.ย 

In a timely update of Jane Austen’sย Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

My Review: Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that I love Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I was so desperate to love this and to be swept away again, just as I was when I read the original. Give me Mr Darcy! Continue reading

Review: Disorderly by Hazel Grace

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Genre: Romance, Adult Contemporary (kindle)

Publication Date: 20 November 2018

Blurb: Wyatt:

This isnโ€™t what I wanted for my brother and sister, a life of fear and terrorizing nights. To save my siblings, I did the unspeakable, and it cost me the ultimate price.

Now, Iโ€™m going to war with the monster who took it upon themselves to rip my life apart.

Before I can even hit the ground running, Iโ€™m literally struck by a woman with blush colored lips and a body that makes me fall into a haze of lust and desire.

Two things I canโ€™t deal with, especially when I know it could bring the battle right into her backyard.

In the end, it does, because Iโ€™m certain sheโ€™s seducing me for another reason, other than just being with me.

Nova:

I like normal, plain and simple.

So when I arrive in a new town looking to conquer the townspeopleโ€™s tastebuds with my bakery, itโ€™s a dream come true as I watch it to fruition.

It feels normal.

Until this rugged man I ran into by chance keeps running into me time and time again.

Muscles, tattoos and eyes that could devour me whole, Iโ€™m starting to think normal may be just a little too simple for me. because when his hands are on me, all I want to do is close my eyes and relish the way he sets me on fire.

But as quickly as it starts, it all comes crashing down.

He ripped not only my heart out, but my whole soul too.

My Review: Hazel Grace has managed to create something refreshingly different in this novel. Our two main characters – Wyatt and Nova – are driven by their desire for one another and their need for each other. They aren’t looking for relationships, commitment or any kind of complication in their already hectic and damaged lives.

What I liked about this was that BOTH characters are ‘Disorderly’ and somewhat damaged, and so both are equal. There isn’t any ‘upper hand’ involved or any sense of one saving the other.

Wyatt is tall, dark and brooding with a strong sense of purpose and vengeance, whilst Nova is independent and feisty, she knows what she wants and what she doesn’t.

One of my favourite moments was their night at the fair; it was quite sweet and almost child-like.

There are some significant twists in this and I dare not give it away – it felt a little too busy there in the final chapters. But…THAT ending!! What!!

3.5 ๐ŸŒŸ

Love Bex x

PS. Thank you to the lovely Hazel Grace for providing this electronic copy in return for an honest review.

Review: The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

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Genre: YA, Fantasy (kindle)

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Publication Date: 2 October 2018

Blurb: Sometimes the difference between a love story and a horror story is where the ending comes

While Jude fought for power in the Court of Elfhame against the cruel Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn began to fall in love with the trickster, Locke.

Half-apology and half-explanation, it turns out that Taryn has some secrets of her own to reveal.

The Lost Sistersย is a companion e-novella to theย New York Timesย bestselling novelย The Cruel Prince, by master writer Holly Black.

My Review: HOLY SMOKES!

As an already huge fan and lover of The Cruel Prince, I was excited to delve into this novella and return to Elfhame again as I eagerly await the release of The Wicked King. Continue reading