Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

This Wicked Fate

How much would you risk to save the ones you love? Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate?

Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. If she is to locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage. Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Bolstered by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

I preordered this book last Autumn and have been excited about reading this since June when I finished This Poison Heart. When I saw that NetGalley had this, I took a chance and requested an advanced reader copy. I did not expect to get approved but I did and I devoured this book over a weekend because I refused to put it down. I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars. Perhaps 5 stars and a kidney. I absolutely adored this book and struggled to put my thoughts into words. I felt like words just couldn’t possibly convey just how much I utterly enjoyed this book. This Poison Heart was one of my favourite books of 2021 so my expectations of this book were high and they were exceeded!

This book picked up right where This Poison Heart ended. Reading the fall out from the ending of the previous book was utterly heartbreaking. Watching people try to make sense of what had just happened and what they faced really did make me feel as if no time had passed since my last reading. This is because their reactions and fears were so similar to my thoughts at the end of the previous book.

This book gave me many strong female characters, gorgeous family and found family moments, and a pretty epic quest. There were even more strong female characters than in the first book and I enjoyed the relationships between all of the established characters and these new characters (who I also loved). The quest seemed so daunting and I was so excited while following the journey.

Tied throughout the book were pieces of Greek mythology which I’m very into. I really enjoyed the way that mythology and history emerged with the current world. There were hints peppered throughout the book so I got to get really excited by that.

This book was not overly long, it was just a pretty standard paperback. Yet it felt like so many things happened. It felt quite epic!

This book was utterly magical and heartwarming and just glorious. I am such a huge fan of this series and it makes me think I could be interested in plants despite not even being able to keep a cactus alive. I just want more of this world and these characters. I don’t know if there will be more books in this series or if it is now finished but I would definitely read more books set in this world.

I also sobbed so much during the last 20% of the book that I soaked my cardigan because I wasn’t prepared to stop reading to go and get tissues. At one point I declared that I couldn’t see through my feelings because I had tear smudged glasses. I had all the feelings during this book; I was delighted, hopeful, distraught, angry. It was an emotional rollercoaster.

This book was utter perfection and Kalynn Bayron is now one of my autobuy authors as this is the third book that I’ve read by this author and the third 5 star read. I loved this so much

I feel like I may have found my favourite book of 2022. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. I look forward to receiving my physical copy in June, which I bought myself and despite having already read this I know for certain that I will be rereading this series for years and years.

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

Under The Whispering Door

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

I’ve had this book since it was released last year as I preordered it the moment I heard about it. However after reading (and utterly adoring) The House in the Cerulean Sea last year, I was a little nervous about reading this book. I had loved my last TJ Klune so much and I still talk about it regularly, I was worried that I may not enjoy this book as much. I thought I may have set my expectations for TJ Klune too high. I shouldn’t have worried because I absolutely adored this book. This book made me just feel. I gave this book 5 shiny stars and it was my favourite read of January.

Grief and death are always a tough topics to include in book but I think that this book did a great job. With the topic of this book, there was a risk that it could have been a miserable read but it wasn’t. While the book was about death, it was also about hope. I found so many moments of sheer joy in this book. I already want to reread it!

I instantly got that Wallace was a horrible human being with no regard for other people, no empathy, he was such a nasty man. I really loved seeing him soften and realise the mistakes that he’d made and started to treat people like human beings. I think that his growth was just excellent and enjoyable to follow.

I loved Mei instantly! I loved the whole being a new reaper and making mistakes that Wallace would have seen as completely unacceptable. I loved how her relationship with Wallace grew especially after their initially awkward first meet. Her past was so sad but I loved that she used it to help her be a better reaper, I loved how protective she was and her passion towards scones was endearing.

Nelson was so funny! I loved how he played with Wallace and called him on his nonsense behaviour. I loved that he was like a guardian angel kind of ghost, teaching the ways to the newcomers. He made me laugh so much! I absolutely loved his reasons for staying at the tea shop, elderly characters are my secret weakness and I just loved him. He was an amazing grandfather and I’m going to have him as my fictional grandfather.

Hugo was adorable! He was a young man who had experienced pain and tried to use his experience to help others. He was so patient and kind but had his own battles. He just wanted to help and heal everyone even if it caused him pain. TJ Klune really knows how to write character than I love with my entire heart and I just wanted nothing but the best for Hugo!

I liked the hopefulness of this book. I didn’t feel like this was a book about the tea shop between the world of the living and whatever comes after we die, I felt a lot of joy reading this book. This was a very emotional read for me. While reading this I just kept thinking how much the people I’ve lost would have enjoyed a lovely tea shop before passing. As silly as it sounds, that gave me some peace

I ugly sobbed so hard during this book, the last few chapters took so long to read because reading through tears is difficult. I loved the characters so much and this book made me feel! When I say I sobbed, what I mean is that I open mouth sobbed and had to silence my tears with a t-shirt to prevent having to explain to the neighbours that I was hysterically sobbing at a book. This book joins the rank of books that I can’t describe the plot of without my eyes filling up (the list includes Atonement and Goodnight Mister Tom)

I thought that this book was just beautifully written and I was left feeling hopeful with a sort of sense of peace for those that have left us. I cannot even find the words to say how much I loved this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something heartwarming that leaves them feeling full of hope and happiness. However please be aware that this book does include death, suicide, murder, and death of a child so please take care of yourself.

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

Hogfather

Susan had never hung up a stocking . She’d never put a tooth under her pillow in the serious expectation that a dentally inclined fairy would turn up. It wasn’t that her parents didn’t believe in such things. They didn’t need to believe in them. They know they existed. They just wished they didn’t.

There are those who believe and those who don’t. Through the ages, superstition has had its uses. Nowhere more so than in the Discworld where it’s helped to maintain the status quo. Anything that undermines superstition has to be viewed with some caution. There may be consequences, particularly on the last night of the year when the time is turning. When those consequences turn out to be the end of the world, you need to be prepared. You might even want more standing between you and oblivion than a mere slip of a girl – even if she has looked Death in the face on numerous occasions…

This was my first Terry Pratchett and it won’t be my last. This book gave me all the festive whimsy that I was looking for and I gave it 5 stars.

I totally appreciate that it may seem weird to choose the 20th book as my starting block but I was reliably informed that I could jump in at any point in the series and find my way. I did find myself wishing that I’d read another of the death books first as I did find myself to be a little disoriented at first but that may just be due to being new to the entire Discworld…world. This disorientation didn’t last long though.

This book was a wild ride from start to finish! It really read like an epic journey.

There were so many characters and each felt well rounded and interesting in their own way. My introduction to Susan was as a nanny wielding a crowbar, definitely a character I wanted to continue reading about. Death was definitely my favourite character! He was an absolute scamp and just wanted everyone to believe in the Hogfather. I do enjoy a festive read that encourages people to believe in magic and good things. I kept laughing every time Death said ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’.

The world building of this book was just magnificent! My knowledge of the Discworld prior to reading this book was literally based off of a one time play of the Discworld board game (7/8 years ago!). This book really did a great job at explaining the world and I was initially worried that I’d be lost but that wasn’t the case. I really did enjoy Death’s homestead.

This book really did have so many pieces of humour and I laughed so much during this read.

As weird as it sounds, this book really filled me with Christmas warm and fuzzies. It was such a heartwarming and entertaining read. I really enjoyed Death filling in for the Hogfather as the whole concept of a death figure posing as Santa sounded hilarious and it was. This book was surprisingly deep too as I honestly was’t sure what I was getting myself into.

I read a physical copy of this book with the audiobook accompanying me. I felt like that was the perfect way for me to enjoy this book as the narration was just perfect.

I already plan to read this book again, next December as I feel that I’ll get even more out of it in future reads. This book may make it onto my list of books that I reread every December! I’m very excited to find more Terry Pratchett books to read, especially the books with Death and Susan!

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews, Scottish Reads

Duck Feet

‘Duck Feet’ is a coming-of-age novel, set in the mid-noughties in Renfrew and Paisley, Scotland. Dive in and follow the lives of 12-year-old Kirsty Campbell and her friends as they navigate life from first to sixth year at Renfrew Grammar school.

This book is a celebration of working-class life and youth in an ever-changing world. It uses humour to tackle hard-hitting subjects such as drugs, bullying, sexuality, and teenage pregnancy. But moreover, it is a relatable and accessible portrait of figuring out who you are, plunging into the currents of life, and most of all, finding hope.

I was recommended this book from a few friends who told me that I’d love it and I loved it. This was a 5 star read for me

I hoped to experience some nostalgic feelings of my own high school days as my own high school experience was only a few years earlier than Kirsty’s and I did. This was a surprise to me because I went to high school in a small town in The Scottish Borders. I think that anyone who went to high school around the year 2000 would be able to find some nostalgia. Even if you didn’t go to school during that period, I still think you would enjoy this book

I did not know that this book was written entirely in Scots Language! I haven’t read any other contemporary novels in Scots and this was just such a treat and added an extra element of enjoyment to the book. I firmly believe that this book could be enjoyed by someone who wasn’t Scottish.

I loved Kirsty straight away. She was a sweetheart, naïve at times (weren’t we all when we were 12?), a good friend with a good heart. I enjoyed getting to know her and her friends through their high school experiences. I just wanted good things to happen to her.

The characters were so varied and I saw a lot of similarities between them and myself and people I knew in school. I loved so many of the characters. Kirsty of course but also Wullie and Harpreet. It was just so lovely to see each of the characters grow and develop and to see how their relationships changed.

I also loved the way that the more annoying characters were written as I found myself getting annoyed by them along with Kirsty and her friends.

This book covered some very emotional topics and did this really well. The bullying storylines were written very well and felt realistic and covered different types of bullying from throwing chips to physical assault. It was so upsetting to read and my heart broke for the characters experiencing this.

This book included a character who experienced an eating disorder. I received treatment for disordered eating in the same year as one of the characters in this book which I found amusing. That chapter felt so real though, I thought that it was handed really well by the author and this experience felt right for the character. It’s hard to explain why without giving spoilers but the character reacts in a suitable way for that character.

I did not expect the roller coaster of emotions that this book gave me. This book made me laugh so much but and also made me ugly cry. I was convinced that this book gave me a pain in my heart which later turned out to be heartburn. I just found this book to be an absolute joy to read

I have spent a bit of time in Renfrew and the setting of the book felt realistic. I thought that the working class elements felt authentic. I even found myself rooting for Kirsty’s dad and his job hunt.

I feel compelled to recommend this book and pass the recommendation on. I absolutely loved this book, it was heartwarming and charming.

Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews, Uncategorized

Carmilla

This book was so amazing that it was chosen as my favourite book of October aka Caley’s Book Recommendation of the Month That Nobody Asked For

Isolated in a remote mansion in a Central European forest, Laura longs for companionship- until a carriage accident brings another young woman into her life: the secretive and sometimes erratic Carmella. As Carmilla’s actions become more puzzling and volatile, Laura develops bizarre symptoms, and as her health goes into decline, Laura and her father discover something monstrous.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s compelling tale of a young woman’s seduction by a female vampire was a source of influence for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which it predates by over a quarter century.

This book is so super short at 139 pages but so much was included in these pages. I gave this book 5 stars and have added it to my list of books that I want to reread and it’s swooped (flapped it’s vampire wings?) onto my list of favourite classics.

In this book a mysterious stranger comes to stay at the mansion where Laura and her father live. Laura’s loneliness is so apparent throughout the start of the book. She is so dreadfully desperate for companionship. Despite the blurb telling me that Carmilla was a vampire didn’t stop me from rooting for their relationship, I wanted those two to just be happy but vampire novels rarely give the vampire a happy ending. They really should…maybe I shouldn’t have been rooting for the vampire

In this book the ‘big bad’ vampire is a young and beautiful aristocrat who seems so frail. I absolutely adored the vampire being so different to what I expected from a vampire. I do love vampire books so will happily read the classic wealthy vampire dude in a castle books (Dracula is still one of my favourite classics) I just loved the unexpected vampire appearance. It really helped to show how strong she was despite appearing so frail.

This book also had the most perfect description of an orgasm ever: My heart beat faster, my breathing rose and fell rapidly; then came a sobbing that rose into a sense of strangulation and turned into a dreadful convulsion, in which my senses left me and I became unconscious. Oh my! There were some beautifully romantic parts of this book and I really grew invested. The writing in this book was just exquisite and so beautiful. I could have read this book again straight after finishing it.

It’s so hard to believe that this book was first published in 1871 as it didn’t feel dated at all. Despite being so short in length, this book managed to make me feel such strong feelings for the characters, I even shed a little tear (only a little one).

I really enjoy vampire books and books with a strong female lead and this book gave me both. I highly recommend this book to everyone. EVERYONE! It’s glorious. Please read it and then we can talk about it