Classic book Review

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – Classic Book Review

Dickens, C - A Tale of Two Cities (2)🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s quite remarkable that a book can both enthral you and keep you hooked on the plot but at the same time be written in a style that has you nodding off a little on the train, but this one managed it.
This is the first Dickens novel I’ve read and I wasn’t expecting it to be easy but I did struggle. I adjusted to the language eventually but the description of the village of St Antoine, that all I really took from was that it was poor, starving and oppressed was a struggle. I mean why use three words when you can use three pages?

That being said, I really loved the story and just the book. I think this is further amplified by my reason for starting with this particular Dickens novel before the others, which is that it is referenced a lot in The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (which I now need to re-read having read this).

Syndey has most definitely joined the list of my all-time favourite characters and Madame Defarge has joined the list of most hated (I thought she was a brilliant villain, especially since I didn’t even realise she was one until much later) and I definitely plan on reading this again.

Scheduled Media Blackout

Hello everyone!

This is just a quick message to let you know that I’m going into hiding for a bit, a full media blackout, starting tomorrow for the whole week.

Well, it means I’ll be MIA on here, via email and all my social media platforms for a week. No TV, no smart phone, no Kindle (well, maybe my Kindle, because man I need to read some of my ARCs).

Well, I’ve been having a really stressful time of it at the moment, blogging has elleviated it for sure but between work being insanely busy, family life having it’s inevitable ups and downs (although admittedly they’ve been far more frequent and in quicker sucession than usual), running the house, bills and the deadlines for my two year diploma coming to a conclusion – it’s been … a lot.

All these things come with the added effects of too much screen time: making calls, writing texts, emails, essays, reports, surfing the web and scrolling social media. Eliminating screen time is at least something I can control, and it also comes with the added bonus of no work emails.

I’ve booked the week off work and I’m set to dog-sit at my boyfriend’s parents house (they have a bull dog, jack russell and a cockapoo) so my plan is to take a stack of paperbacks, radio on in the background for news and with my brick of a phone present only for emergencys and my daily calls to my Nan, else she’d worry. If I want to write I’ll use pens and paper, old school and scan them in after. I’m weirdly excited, if it weren’t for this blog I think I could easily forgo social media forever anyway.

Well, you don’t need to but I wanted to let you know anyway. I guess this can serve as a warning against excessive screen time since I’ve been having side effects I can’t entirely put down to stress. I’m talking constant headaches, this annoying twitch in my left eye, lack of sleep and hand cramps (from typing though, not the screen). I’m hoping this week helps, I may even make it a more common exercise if it works out well. Maybe a day a month or a day a week? Who knows?

I’ll have my scheduled posts still going up but I won’t be responding to emails, comments or posting any of my own,  though I will catch up with it all when I return from my stay-cation.

Until next time!

State of the ARC #4

The State of the ARC meme was created by Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks. My fourth month, let’s look at the scores on the boards! Current Stats… Well, my feedback ratio and average days after/before release has gone up but that’s because I got some batch/late approvals and finally submitted some overdue reviews and that affected them. […]

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Cline, E - Ready Player One🌟🌟🌟🌟

I ended up really enjoying this book, against my better judgment – it kept me hooked and I found myself picking it up, again and again, wanting to know what happened next. A fun, geeky read for sci-fi fans and video gamers.

Sorrento made a truly hateful villain, impressive since he’s not in the book himself all that much, and even though I could see the OASIS was a poisonous obsession and scarily something I could imagine coming along and ruining our lives in reality I still despised the Sixers (Sux0rz, if you prefer) and what they planned to do. Not because I equated it to the end of the world like the characters clearly did, but because a dying wish is a dying wish and trying to manipulate it the way they wanted to was pretty sucky, to say the least.

Granted it’s far from perfect and a lot of the 80s references went way over my head having been born at the tail end of the nineties but I appreciated the effort the author had clearly put into it, even if it felt like he was just like James Halliday attempting to enshrine and force his obsession with a bygone era on the reader.

There were a few things I didn’t like about it besides this, Wade, for example, I found fickle – he dedicates five years of his life to obsessing over the hunt for the egg and within two seconds he doesn’t care anymore and he’s obsessed with some random girl he stalked as a side hobby? Pick an obsession and stick with it, dude.

There were very specific phrases and sentences that made several identical appearances which were glaringly obvious and slightly annoying to me since they could have been easily replaced by something else – “Get the hell out of Dodge” was used a total of four times in the book, doesn’t sound like much but when it’s only 372 pages long, it’s 3 times too many in my opinion. That, and “I’d never had such an immediate connection with a human being,” I think also tallied 3 or 4, – yeah we get it, you like her a lot. Shut up.

Yet despite all this, I did really like it because though I’m not quite on Wade’s level, I could relate to the general nerdiness even if it was over a lot of things I didn’t follow myself.

(The Rivendell themed mansion sounded a-mazing).

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang – Book Review

Hoang, H - The Kiss QuotientI received a copy of this book from Corvus and Atlantic Books Ltd. Via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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OH MY WORD.

I just cannot get over how much I love this book. I started it yesterday morning on the train and I just couldn’t. Stop. Reading. It. I just couldn’t. And to be clear, not an appropriate book for the workplace. I got absolutely nothing done. But I just couldn’t stop reading and by last night I’d finished it. It was so good.

I think my love was mainly down to Stella (our leading lady), she’s autistic/Asperger’s (both are mentioned in the book but it’s not clearly explained which she is because though they are part of the same spectrum there is something of a difference between the two) and I just couldn’t believe how entirely I related to her[1]. Hers and Michael’s relationship was downright adorable from the start which I feel is a huge accomplishment given it starts through solicitation, for crying out loud.

I liked the alternating perspectives as they were well executed and, it was just too funny at parts, Stella’s mum’s obsession with recommending Tinder was priceless, both mothers, in fact, were fantastic. And Stella’s thought process made me laugh as much as it made absolute sense to me, my two favourite quotes of hers are:

“I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe.”

(Actually the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard and I’m not even that beguiled by Maths.)

“If a woman purchased underclothes for a man, it meant she loved him.”

This is actually true^. 100% fact.

I’m struggling to find fault frankly. It was a fun, light and extremely funny book that has joined the ranks of my all-time favourites and I will most certainly read again. Thank you, Helen Hoang, truly.


[1] This is a quote in particular that stands out in my mind:

“For several stomach-twisting moments, she ran through her list of presocialization reminders: think before you talk (anything and everything can be an insult to someone; when in doubt, say nothing), be nice, sitting on your hands prevents fidgeting and feels good, make eye contact, smile (no teeth, that’s scary), don’t start thinking about work, don’t let yourself talk about work (no one wants to hear about it), please and thank you, apologise with feeling.”

I have a list of stuff I tell myself in my head (before social stuff I’m made to go to even though I hate it) so similar to this, it hurts a little to read.

In the back of the book, Hoang writes how writing Stella helped her discover herself and recommends a bunch of books about autism in women that I am absolutely going to read. It’s been a possibility that has niggled in the back of my mind since my earliest teen years that though it’s highly unlikely I have Asperger’s syndrome I am almost certainly on the autistic spectrum, but before now I never wanted to actually ask the question, I just decided I was me and I was weird but that’s okay because I was always told everyone is a bit weird. But oddly, no matter the outcome of that likely strange conversation with my GP, I feel good about this and I really can’t explain why.

at the moment aurora librialis

At the Moment #1

I saw this post first over at Aurora @ Aurora Librialis‘s blog and thought it was such a cool, neat post idea that I asked Aurora if she would kindly let me steal pay homage to with my own post. At first, I thought would be a good fill-in for weeks I didn’t have anything […]

Classic book Review

Emma by Jane Austen – Classic Book Review

Why the differentiation between book reviews and classic book reviews? I’m so glad you asked. Mainly because all classics are classics for a reason and a full-length review on a book most people know a fair bit about is going to be dull for all involved, these, like biscuits, will be short and sweet.


Austen, J - Emma🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is only the second (and a half) Austen novel I have read, the first being Pride and Prejudice (an all time favourite), the half being an attempt at Mansfield Park that was abandoned because Fanny Price is insufferable. Though I don’t think it was as good as P&P it definitely secured me as a fan of Austen’s work and redeemed the evils of Mansfield Park.

Emma finally learns her lesson which I was very happy about because though there are many faults in her, she’s really not so bad. Mr. Knightly (sigh) may (I admit nothing) have overtaken Mr. Darcy as my favourite of Austen’s characters (so far … maybe) and Mr. Woodhouse is so ridiculous he didn’t even annoy me he just made me laugh. I couldn’t help but compare him to Mr. Bennet and wonder how Emma possibly coped with him, I also for some reason thought that he was a good idea of what Gilderoy Lockhart would be like in retirement.

All in all, I really enjoyed it and even though all the characters annoyed me in some way or other (even Mr. Knightley, in love with her, when she was 13? He would have been 29, I get it was different back then but the reassurance that the love was platonic or familial at that point would have been nice) I was generally really happy with the outcome for everyone.

It could only have been improved if Mrs Elton and her cara sposo , Mr. would ride their barouche-landau over the edge of a cliff.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand – Book Review

Legrand, C - FurybornI received this book from its publisher Sourcebooks Fire via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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I absolutely loved this book! I had heard very mixed views previously but I absolutely adored it, the world building, the narrative, all of it. This is kind of like Throne of Glass meets The Fallen meets Song of Blood and Stone. You know what it means when you have to use three different series to try and cover everything in a book? It means it’s a new and original idea and you’re grasping at straws trying to adequately explain it.

The story is told from the varying perspectives of two awesome, powerful and strong heroines, each fully rounded with fears, flaws and wit and both were great. The varying perspectives also take place in different time periods that would ordinarily confuse me because YA Fantasy novels never seem to strike the balance right but this was more in the way of how Scott Lynch writes his Gentleman Bastard Sequence, each is relevant to the other but makes intriguing and exciting narratives alone too. At the end of every chapter I was itching to continue with that narrative and see what happened but just a few lines into the other and that had me hooked too, it was most conflicting – but in a good way.

I don’t think the two stories separately would have been as interesting but together they were spectacular.

As you probably know I try to be balanced in my reviews so in the spirit if being fair my only issues were Ludivine’s dialogue and the propensity of the majority of the lead characters to try and fix all their problems with sex. Like everything, trauma, adversity, war, depression, guilt – when confronted with anything it felt like Rielle and Eliana’s first port of call to fix it was to get their leg over with whoever they were with. Luckily the men and women in their lives knew them well enough to make them actually face their problems but this response doesn’t alter even at the end and I think it would have been good character development for it to have stopped at the 75% mark.

What was my problem with Ludivine’s dialogue? She’s a question-talker. What’s a question-talker? Well, it’s someone who makes every point by first posing a question to themselves and them answering themselves, often in trains of three. Do I have a problem with this? Yes, because it’s freaking annoying!

It’s something writers usually use to make you find a character annoying, but we were supposed to like Ludivine but every time she spoke I was just like please, shut up.

That aside, this was such a great read and I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

ARC August Read Sleep repeat

ARC August 2018 #1 – Participation Announcement

Hello everyone!

So, as if I didn’t really have enough going on as it is I’ve also decided to take part in this year’s ARC August hosted by the lovely ladies over at Read. Sleep. Repeat. and I’m really looking forward to it!

I had the first week of August booked off as a reading holiday anyways so hopefully, I can get a strong start in. I’ve never taken part in this before but I’m quite excited, it will hold my first readathon and, what I’m most looking forward to, another bookish bingo card!

This will mean in addition to the challenges set for ARC August, I will also be taking part in that month’s Reading Rivalry challenges, the State of the ARC bingo card as well as my own personal goal to be Overdue ARC Free by 2019 (hey, I heard that sarcastic laugh, it’s possible). I know others have far more challenges going on but this is the most challenges I’ve taken on in one go, luckily they all coordinate quite well.

Since Reading Rivalry won’t announce their criteria for a couple of weeks yet, I’m just going to put a pretty wall of doom collage of the ARCs I have on my pile to be read and reviewed, both overdue and upcoming. When I know what they are I’ll try to fit them to as many criteria as possible.



Wish me luck! Are you participating in ARC August too? Let me know in the comments!

the night circus erin morgenstern book review

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Book Review

Morgenstern, E - The Night Circus🌟🌟🌟

This book was not entirely what I expected. Perhaps because my edition is a Penguin Vintage Classic which led me to believe it was written long before 2011 but either way I did enjoy it.

The story centres around a magic ‘competition’ between two competitors, set up by their prospective mentors. Celia Bowen is the first, taught by her father, a famous illusionist, (who is actually a real magician) and the second is Marco Alisdair taught by Celia’s father’s mysterious frenemy, Alexander. It is hard to explain more than this without giving away spoilers really.

Though the language is simple, the imagery was really something else and I did think in a book like this it would have been easy to disrupt the balance between story and description but I thought Morgenstern did it really well overall. I did come out of it wanting to buy a red scarf and head to a circus even though I know these days they are just wacky fun fairs with strange clowns as opposed to this kind of, for lack of a better word, experience.

There are a few nitpicks but nothing huge. I found it slightly difficult to follow as the chapters jumped around between cities and dates and years and so on and sometimes in an order that made it confusing who was how old and what had already happened. I got a general grasp by the end but it made the reading slightly less easy.

There is something of an explanation for this large presence of wizards in the 19th century at the very end but it isn’t really an explanation but they ignored it for so long I was barely even curious at that point. I had just accepted they could just do magic because they could do magic and that was that.

Otherwise, I loved Celia and Marco and actually felt that they were well matched really but it would have been better had they had more than 2 (ish) full-length conversations so it was obvious they had gotten to know each other a little bit.

Bailey and the Murray twins were also brilliant and my favourite characters. However, my favourite part of the whole book had to be “You deceitful little slut.” because it just came out of nowhere and I laughed far too much.

I had been warned the ending was disappointing but I had such low expectations going in that I think it balanced it out and I felt it was an okay ending. I wanted to give it 4 stars, but it’s just missing … something. I’m not sure what and I feel like this is a book I could have really loved, but I just didn’t get excited about it as much as I had about other books I’ve read recently. I didn’t have a problem picking it up it just wasn’t more.

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green – Book Review

Green, S - The Smoke ThievesI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟🌟🌟  – Minor spoilers but will not give away the plot.

Somewhere between Throne of Glass & A Song of Ice and Fire, The Smoke Thieves is Game of Thrones through a heavy YA-lense. It’s Game of Thrones-Lite, if you will.

Although I must admit the writing style and execution is not really anywhere near as flawless as George R. R. Martin’s, Green writes a brilliant, if archetypical, fantasy world and some really solid characters. I really, wholeheartedly enjoyed this book because it recalled to me the chaos and intrigue of Martin’s books only with fewer confusing complex layers. It has a similar format of varying perspectives and plot devices/points but with less* cursing and bloody gore and no explicit sexual content.

*I say less because there is some. F-bombs and heads in boxes and the like.

I found the demon hunting and smoke aspect really interesting (I actually wish it had been explored more/been a more central point of the story) and love Gravell and Tash’s relationship and banter. Edyon had some funny moments that had me laughing out loud too and generally I liked how all the characters wove together eventually. I also felt that all the characters at least had a purpose in the story even if they weren’t especially well fleshed out.

I think we may have been able to survive with one less perspective as the story was quite thinly spread but that wasn’t a big deal really. More obstacles on the character’s various journey would have gone a long way to achieving this. I was not a huge fan of either of the love interests – I mean Edyon & March had the edge over Ambrose & Catherine but both just kind of felt like it was happening simply because the other person was there. I’d have bought into two very strong platonic relationships more, or even a platonic one for Ambrose & Catherine that was misunderstood and a hate-love for Edyon and March that had the two of them bonding over never being good enough just because of the circumstances of their births, which is where I thought she was going with it but then she totally just kept saying how good looking they both were. I’m really shipping Catherine’s arranged marriage working out if I’m honest, Prince Tarzan (not his real name but that’s what I called him)  seemed like a cool guy.

I think what was really missing from this, that GoT and other great fantasy has, is doubt about the motivations of the “bad guys”. In GoT, it’s all grey areas and second-guessing and mistrust and tests of loyalty and wanting at least one person on every side to win, even if the others don’t – whereas this was very black and white, but I guess being YA that makes sense and fits the genre but is still a personal preference.

Overall, I liked it and will read the sequel but only because I’m holding out hope for some great character development from our two royals.

WWW Wednesday #16

This is a tag formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words and answers three questions. I’m getting this in late because I really wanted to finish my book so I would have something different to write about this week! What are you currently […]

State of the ARC #3

The State of the ARC meme was created by Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks. My third month and we took another dip I’m afraid … Current Stats… I was so busy with work this month and then – boom! Reading slump. It sucked but it happens. I hate the hot weather! I changed up my tracking this month […]

New Books vs. Used Books

This has recently been brought forward as a topic of discussion for me in the book group I admin and it’s an interesting discussion when you set aside all personal preferences. I’ll be honest, I love all kinds of books indiscriminately, new or used I don’t care as long as they have pages. This non-allegiance, however, […]

Separating Immigrant Children from Parents

I know I’ve been quiet as of late (so very, very busy) but this article is interesting and has catalysed a good discussion in the comments.
I have been avoiding the news lately as I am one to do when things become difficult in my life and I have to shut out some negative influences so I heard about this issue quite late – essentially once Trump had decided to discontinue these actions. I try not to comment on politics as it’s usually controversial but having experienced inordinate levels of stress and trauma growing up and knowing the effect and changes it has had on me then and as an adult in everything from my views on the world to my methods of processing emotions, I cannot even begin to imagine the suffering these children are experiencing and will experience in circumstances that are five, ten, twenty times worse than my own were.
It is more than reassuring that the majority of what I am reading about this particular issue is centred around recognising the long-term effects of childhood trauma (such as this article) as opposed to a way to push political agenda (though, there is some of that out there but you won’t find it on my blog).
Thank you, Diana.

Myths of the Mirror

This child was not removed from her mother at the border, but her cries demonstrate the stress these children are under even without being separated from their parents. Time Magazine cover.

This isn’t a political blog. and yet there are times when it’s vital to speak out and use whatever platforms we have available. This is such a time.

The US is in the midst of a moral crisis as the Trump Administration continues a border policy that results in the systematic abuse of immigrant children. Many Americans, of both parties and of all faiths and walks of life, are horrified, and we are doing what we can to support these children and their families by sharing our outrage, time, talent, and treasure.

There are some people who insist that these children are just fine. And physically, that may be true. But that comment conveys a lack of understanding about…

View original post 633 more words

WWW Wednesday #14

This is a tag formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words and answers three questions. I’m dragging with my reading this month but hopefully, I’ve just made a change that will fix that … What are you currently reading? I gave up on The […]

Heavenward by Olga Gibbs – Book Review

Gibbs, O - HeavenwardI received a physical review copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Overall I really enjoyed this book – it’s choc-ful of potential to be something big, it just needs a teeny bit of a tweak.

I love anything to the backdrop of angels and a new perspective of celestial lore and stories so this was right up my street. It’s not like Clare’s Shadowhunters though, do not be fooled. Where her characters are descended from Angels, these are angels. It’s a little like Twilight but with angels and a less ridiculous adaption of the beings at that. Just to clarify – from me that is a compliment. I really liked the Twilight books, back in the day and much like with those books, I ship the other guy. This book I would say could entertain a slightly more mature audience than Twilight due to some of the subject matter. But enough about Twilight because aside from a paranormal love triangle, that is fairly where the similarities end.

Ariel, our fearless heroine, is just that. Whilst being both frank and honest with her situation she takes all in her stride and the more you learn about her past the more you have to admire her strength. She is not anyone’s fool and hates to play the damsel in distress. My kind of girl. I’ll admit she accepted the truth slightly faster than would have, but then I’ve never been confronted by a guy with wings sprouting out of his back, so yeah. I love the general message behind the story which I think should really be projected more in YA. My one issue with her is how easily she attaches to people, Tabby, Sam. It felt too … trusting, like she fell into love too easily and the rest of her character traits wouldn’t stand for it, you know?

did have a few nitpicks, it is true. But reflecting on them I feel most would be remedied by a professional editor. This is by no means a detrimental comment! I know from past reading that the first books in phenomenon series like Harry Potter and the aforementioned Twilight in their original incarnations were not what we all know and love today. Even in their published forms, the books in those series improve as time goes on. This would help with the main issue of spelling and grammatical errors but then again it is a review copy, so there are allowances to be made. It would also help with the cover which could be really very much a lot better and really does not do the book justice.

I think the real issue I had was that I wanted a lot more of it. The pacing was quick which is often good but at the same time, a 100 or so additional pages to expand and linger on certain parts would have really elevated it even more so.

My only problems that weren’t simply a matter of editing and are purely down to my personal preference were Sam and some the Americanisms that found their way in there every now and then. I really didn’t like Sam, I’m afraid. I just found him really cringey at points and a bit annoying and sometimes creepy. I really liked Rafe. So much. That’s my team right there. #TeamRafe all the way for sure. Sam? I did not get that, at all.

The Americanisms were infrequent, to be honest, and were only little things but little things like ‘feds’ and things I know Brtish teenagers wouldn’t really say (that I know of, I mean I am 19 and have lived in Northern/Midland England my whole life but I don’t pretend to be the authority on what the ‘kids’ say). Speaking of kids, I was a little ambiguous on how old the characters were meant to be, they acted very much like the age of American high school students but were evidently attending UK high school where they only go to age 16 and at the upper end of the school you take GCSEs for 2 years and they take up a pretty prominent part of your school life at that point but weren’t mentioned even in passing leading me to believe Ariel at least must be younger than 14/15 but she seemed a lot older? It’s not a massive issue of course as not many people would even notice that but just something I saw.

All that being said, and I did like the book, it kept me hooked on the plot and awoke the fan art girl inside of me all over again to the point I’m going to put my pen to paper once more (huzzah!). I shall most certainly read the next book.

Trigger warning: This book does contain some graphic scenes of violence and alludes to, with a brief flashback to, a time of sexual and emotional abuse that some readers may find upsetting.

WWW Wednesday #13

This is a tag formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words and answers three questions. I was at a festival this weekend so I haven’t got much reading done but I have inched slightly forward. What are you currently reading? I finally started The […]

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – Book Review

Shallcross, L - The Beast's HeartI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

I really enjoyed this book, and I hadn’t expected to. Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favourite Disney movies (not exactly rare, I know but still Mulan and now Anastasia, since Disney bought Fox, are my ultimate favourites) and I have never read any of its retellings and thought this one was artfully done.

The setting and description are beautiful and I really liked how the prose was written like it really was the Beast’s inner monologue and not just the parts required from the movement of the story. We got self-reflection and memories and it was brilliant. And yet, it was all still important and it still felt as though we uncovered something relevant with each revelation. I would usually prefer dual or multiple perspectives but I think the single perspective works best for this as we really are getting the Beast’s entire and unabridged version of events.

This book also feels like its actually set in France which, with the exception of the odd ‘bonjour’ or mention of French food, most adaptions don’t feel that way. It felt authentic. The magic aspect I quite enjoyed also, as well as Isabeau’s family’s story arc – though I’m not sure how much of this derives from the original story having never read it.

This retelling also slightly redeems the previous issues this story has arising from terms like Stockholm Syndrome and what really qualifies as valid consent (ish, I’ll get more to that though I don’t dispute the validity in this case). I’m not certain how old Isabeau is meant to be in the story but she feels like a fully-fledged adult.

I had to knock a star off for a few minor points I wasn’t so hot on, but none of them were major issues.

Firstly, Isabeau. I think she benefits greatly from the preconceived idea of ‘Belle’ (AKA Beauty) being independent, intelligent, brave and well-read as she doesn’t exhibit a great many of these features and the ones she does, it’s not a lot and whilst I grant the main focus of the book is the Beast himself it would have been nice to see more layers of her personality.

Secondly, the proposals. It got a bit much over time and is what I’m referring to when I say about consent. It’s really more of an issue of how many times should a question be asked before the person being asked is simply worn into submission.

There are a lot of proposals in this book, too many to count and whilst the Beast understands why this is an issue:

“And my occasional proposals began to distress her once again.”

“Indeed, the only thing preventing us from being perfectly comfortable together was my obstinate insistence on proposing to her every few days.”

And, laments over it at length and grieves the upset it causes her, he doesn’t stop. Again, this could be taken from the original tale, and when they do eventually agree to marry it’s not to one of his incessant proposals and it’s doesn’t come across as pushy or forceful in the book … it’s still annoying to read, even if I get why he has to do it.

Overall, I think those who loved the live-action remake will love this as well and those who love the original tale and the Disney film (though you won’t find Cogsworth or Lumiere) will love this book too and I did really enjoy it overall.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – Book Review

Foody, A - Ace of ShadesI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟🌟🌟 .5

Generally, I enjoyed Ace of Shades. My first encounter with Amanda Foody and a page-turner for sure, the world is brilliant and well-built from the start. I have a weakness for fictional grim, gritty cities full of brilliant con artists (I’m looking at you Scott Lynch, you and Locke Lamora). Of course, this is a purely fictional fascination as I am quite aware I’m too soft to survive such cities, in particular, the City of Sin …

I really liked the Las Vegas-inspired world with distinct dystopian overtones and the world building was truly brilliant. The tentative peace of a recently established republic leaps off the page and the blood and split talent aspect was original to me too. The use of the word ‘missy’ for some reason made me think all the characters spoke with Dickensian London accents (because I’m weird) but that added some entertainment value too. Levi felt very much like the Artful Dodger but with poorer decision-making skills.

I took issue with a few things in the book. Enne’s character development practically hits warp speed going from dainty-lady-like wallflower-ballerina to black-lipstick-wearing-card-playing femme fatale. I mean I’m two years older than Enne and am definitely stronger and more hardened than the little, sheltered girl that entered the book and I feel like my reactions to the events in this book would significantly more than they did her. It felt a tad unrealistic, but then books.

The other aspect was the love interest. On the one hand I kind of get it, because the two of them are trapped together in a way no one else can understand and it’s easier to grow close that way – I do get that. But at the same time, I wish this genre would just for once understand and appreciate the value of a deep and meaningful platonic relationship between two people of the opposite sex. I think that could have worked in this book. I just hope they don’t fall into the old cliche of their seconds getting together because ughhh.

I couldn’t put the book down though, so that says something and I would quite like to read the sequel – would recommend!

Trigger warning: <spoiler>there is no graphic scenes of sexual violence but one mildly disturbing scene with a character who is evidently a pedophile though nothing happens it’s creepy and may affect sensitive audience members.

WWW Wednesday #12

This is a tag formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words. What are you currently reading?   I am currently reading Heavenward by Olga Gibbs – this is a physical ARC I received from the author and I’m enjoying it so far […]

Secret Book Exchange #3 – May 18

As mentioned in my last post, Secret Book Exchange is a Facebook group I’m an admin of that organises book exchanges every month – however, things have changed recently. With a new name and hopes of becoming something more of a book club, I present to you: We chose this name (which we know we share with […]

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon – Book Review

Menon, S - From Twinkle, With LoveI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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So many good books recently! So I really enjoyed this too, it was a fun, light summer-y read like When Dimple Met Rishi and honestly, that says a lot because this is really not my genre but I’m trying to branch out.

If you liked WDMR you’ll probably like this too, but I actually preferred From Twinkle, With Love. I love me an adorkable romance, mainly because I relate to that. That’s me and my boyfriend really – we’re not gooey romantic, we’re nerds and we talk about superheroes and play video games and make fun of our friends who are gooey couples (not that there’s anything wrong with that, they usually don’t even notice us). I liked Twinkle and related to her feelings about not coming from a well-off family and the inadequacy teenage girl brains can’t fight off. I adored Sahil. I mean that guy is a legend.

I mean, is it kind of annoying that Twinkle can’t let go of Neil and can’t see what is right in front of her face? Of course, but it adds to the story and to be honest is a pretty accurate representation of a teenage girls transition to adult feelings. All of it was a pretty good representation in fact, and I always love the gentle but undeniable feminist undertones to Menon’s stories. They are great and should be heard by the audience these books are aimed at.

My only drawback is that the book is mostly presented through journal entries which I don’t like in general, though it is handled well in this case. I loved the text conversations between Sahil, Skid, and Aaron – they were freaking hilarious. Group chat goals.

10/10 would recommend.

WWW Wednesday #11

This is a tag formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World of Words. So last month I read a lot of books, hopefully, I can keep up my momentum this month! What are you currently reading?   I am currently reading The Beast’s Heart by […]

State of the ARC #2

The State of the ARC meme was created by Evelina @ AvalinahsBooks. So, it’s my second month and last month I didn’t do so good so I really worked hard to try and turn it around so … how did I do? Current Stats… So this month has been so unbelievably busy … but I managed […]

Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet by Crystal S. Chan – Book Review

Chan, C. S - Manga Classics Romeo and JulietI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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So this is the fourth Manga Classic I’ve read and needless to say I’m officially a fan. My method with this series is to review the adaption more than the story because really you can’t review it as a story since its based off another book (that I’ve likely read and therefore reviewed).

Since I have not actually read Romeo and Juliet I can’t exactly do that but I happen to know this book is taken word for word from the OG so I don’t actually think it matters and – unpopular opinion coming your way – I genuinely think this could be a good alternative to reading the original. HEAR ME OUT.

Shakespeare never intended his plays to actually be read, he intended them to be seen and experienced. Reading Shakespeare is hard and sometimes dull for leisure purposes. I mean sure, you can get the gist of the language after some practice but I found this method of enjoying it so much better. I have read a few of the Bard’s plays and I honestly don’t find them even remotely fun to do so. I love watching the plays, every actor interprets and presents the character differently and it’s so good to watch and the acting and context makes understanding second nature. But, plays don’t come along that often, least of all really good ones, and manga is a perfect graphic substitute because the style is so expressive and hyperbolic – like good actors in a Shakespeare play should be.

really enjoyed this book, the art was beautiful. I mean, stunning really. Of course, I knew what was coming the whole time because it’s Romeo and Juliet but still loved it all the same. The only nitpick I’d have is maybe more clearly labeling characters as it can be tricky to keep track of them all.

If you enjoy Shakespeare anyway or want to get into it but are hesitant because of the language – read this, it’s great.

Phi Alpha Pi by Sara Marks – Book Review

Marks, S - Phi Alpha PiI received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

🌟🌟 .75

I did enjoy the book, I just felt like it could have been executed better.

The premise of this book is a Pride and Prejudice retelling in a modern American setting of sororities and fraternities. I adore Pride and Prejudice, it is one of my all-time favourite novels so when I first read the synopsis I was intrigued for several reasons. Firstly, P&P is very quintessentially British as are the characters, and thought seeing American interpretations would be interesting and (due to limited knowledge in the area and a few American movies) my idea of sororities centres a great deal around debutantes and socialites and I actually thought to apply the P&P story to that sounded all kinds of awesome and original.

Well, my idea was a little off but what I got was pretty awesome and original too! The bare bones of the original story are present and fleshed out with a great summer, feel-good romance that most P&P fans (with an open mind) can enjoy. I liked how Lizbeth was translated to modern day, complete with feminist bad-assery, and how other key characters from the original story do too – Wickham a fraudster and identity thief? Inspired! Darcy, explained as an introvert with social anxiety? So clever!

There is enough of the original in there to make it as un-put-downable as the original for me but, since it is a retelling I have to compare it to the original.

Whilst I have nothing against adaption for the purpose of modernisation there are almost always some aspects of classics that are important to maintain unless they’re changed in a specific way. I also have a thing about retellings containing the original material as a piece of media in the book, as in, in this book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is a book that exists. This creates a weird irony from the outset of any novel as the events mirror the book which is either addressed by a) referring to it constantly which is annoying and strange or b) mentioning it once and then inexplicably never again. Phi Alpha Pi uses the latter which is the lesser of two evils but in all honestly I wish they just wouldn’t at all. And that’s not specific to this book, but for all classic retellings. Just leave it out. (admittedly, Austenland by Shannon Hale actually handles it surprisingly well but I’d say it’s an exception).

In Phi Alpha Pi the Bennett sisters aren’t really sisters (well, they’re sorority sisters) which would be fine except they all have their own additional families and siblings that I felt were unnecessary plot devices that could have been substituted by actual P&P characters. But I also felt that removing the blood bond also jeopardizes some of the actual plot points. Lydia’s life choices, for example, I don’t doubt sorority sisters are close but Lizbeth’s constant judgment and commentary of the other sisters’ actions especially Lydia’s just feels rude and like overstepping. Opinions like that are best asked for and when it’s your family those concerns are expected and you’re entitled to shove them in a person’s face. Just some gal you’ve known for a few years at school? Um, rude? What’s it to you? Imean, it wasn’t a huge deal but it’s similar with Dr Bennett (the Mr Bennett archetype). His advice and counsel means more as Lizzy’s father, not her teacher.

The second is Lizzy’s social standing. Lizzy’s stalwart and satirical resolve against a marriage based on financial advantage means that much more when she is set to inherit nothing because it means she is quite literally happy to choose to be placed at a disadvantage before she jeopardises her beliefs and marry for money. Making her wealthy takes something away from that, even if I suppose it accentuates she’s really choosing Darcy for love since she doesn’t need his money?

There’s the two pivotal scenes in Darcy and Lizzy’ relationship: the slight and the proposal. I found the flip in the severity of these two scenes very amusing – the slight is actually not very much of a slight at all. Barely even a passing comment – ‘Not my type’ and a general (and kind of accurate) comment on people who aren’t Lizzy is so not on par with ‘tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me’ and an unfounded assumption coupled with the belief his company is a gift. Where, by comparison, “You are an aggressive, unconnected nobody who holds everyone up to ridiculously high expectations and acts like you’re entitled to everyone’s respect.” – but please love me back, is pretty darn brutal. I actually found this quite funny – in fact, I may have said “Ooooooh, snap” out loud.

The writing style was actually pretty good but the one thing that really sticks out in my mind is Marks’ constant remarking on what people are wearing, to the point that I dedicated a highlighter colour to every time this happened in the exact same format/phrasing on my kindle. The grand total? 20 and it’s not a long book. Unless there was something symbolic about Darcy’s penchant for Chucks that I missed.

I liked it, it was a fun read but I’m not likely to read it again, to be honest. It was a fun way to relive P&P in a new way for a weekend but in terms of retellings/adaptions, it’s not the best but also not the worst.

Can anyone recommend a P&P retelling with the setting of debutantes by any chance? I need to read that book.