House of Hunger Review

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation are all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a strange advertisement in the newspaper, seeking a ‘bloodmaid’. Though she knows little about the far north – where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service – Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery – and there, at the centre of it all is her.

Her name is Countess Lisavet. Loved and feared in equal measure, she presides over this hedonistic court. And she takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, charismatic, seductive – and Marion is eager to please her new mistress.

But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She’ll need to learn the rules of her new home – and fast – or its halls will soon become her grave.

Gleanings Review

There are still countless tales of the Scythedom to tell. Centuries passed between the Thunderhead cradling humanity and Scythe Goddard trying to turn it upside down. For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease, or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control. Neal Shusterman—along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman—returns to the world throughout the timeline of the Arc of a Scythe series. Discover secrets and histories of characters you’ve followed for three volumes and meet new heroes, new foes, and some figures in between.

September 2022 Wrap Up

And my amazing reading year continues! I am so happy with how this year is going!

  • I read 12 books this month
  • Genre: 5 fantasy, 3 mystery, 1 sci-fi, 1 classic, 1 horror and 1 humour.
  • Gender of authors: 6 women and 4 men
  • Race of authors: 5 white authors, 2 asian authors, 2 black author and 1 Latinx author.
  • Age range: 5 adult, 5 YA and 1 middle grade
  • Format: 7 paperback, 2 ebook, 2 hardback and 1 audiobook

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (2 stars)

This was just not it. I was so bored reading this. I felt the author focused so on the most unnecessary things in the narrative. We didn’t get too much of the more interesting part of the story. I just did not enjoy this.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Four Panel Comics by Hiromu Arakawa (3 stars)

This was a fun addition to the Fullmetal Alchemist series.

Post After Post-Mortem by E.C.R Lorac (3 stars)

This was a good murder mystery. I loved the focus on characterisation and I was adamant I had got the murderer right but I was very wrong. I did feel that the beginning was a bit slow and the ending did disappoint me. But I loved the investigation part of the story and the slow un-furling of the truth.

The King is Dead by Benjamin Dean (4 stars)

This was a solid story that I read at the worst time possible. I did not expect the events of the month to pan out the way it did. I loved the exploration of the royal family, the hounding of the paparazzi and the discussion of racism in the UK. So much was discussed in this book and it was done so so very well. I was super engaged in the characters. I do wish the mystery part of the story was stronger. I also didn’t love the culprit behind the events. It was disappointing to me.

The Secret of Haven Point by Lisette Auton (4 stars)

The disability representation in this story made my heart sing. Great characters, great story and a beautiful setting. My favourite part was the discussion of language in this story.

The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito (4 stars)

My first ever Junji Ito manga. What an experience.

  • Weeping Woman Way – 5 stars
  • Madonna – 5 stars
  • The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara – 2 stars
  • Slumber – 3 stars

Lord Peter Wimsey: BBC Radio Drama Collection Vol. 3 (4 stars)

A great ending to what was an absolutely amazing series!

  • Murder Must Advertise – 4.5 stars
  • The Nine Tailors – 3.5 stars
  • Gaudy Night – 5 stars
  • Busman’s Honeymoon – 3 stars

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (4 stars)

Another series I finished this month. Not my favourite of the three but still an amazing instalment. Everything tied up nicely and it was amazing to finally get a perfect picture of the story and the characters. I was a big fan of the ending.

Gleanings by Neal Shusterman (4.5 stars)

It was so great to be back in the Arc of a Scythe universe! Shusterman’s imagination and ingenious were top tier and I love his writing so much. Probably my favourite short story collection to date.

  • The First Swing – 3 stars
  • Formidable – 5 stars
  • Never Work With Animals – 3 stars
  • A Death of Many Colours – 4 stars
  • Unsavoury Row – 5 stars
  • A Martian a Minute – 5 stars
  • The Mortal Canvas – 5 stars
  • Cirri – 4.5 stars
  • Anastasia’s Shadow – 3 stars
  • The Persistence of Memory – 4 stars
  • Meet Cute and Die – 4 stars
  • Perchance to Glean – 2 stars
  • A Dark Curtain Rises – 4 stars

The Queen in the Cave by Julia Sarda (5 stars)

A beautiful picture book I read just in time for the spooky season. Beautiful art and a beautiful story.

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 8 & 9 by Hiromu Arakawa (5 stars)

Another monumental series I finished. I cried so much when this ended as I started this all the way back in 2019. Amazing story, amazing characters, incredible art style. Loved it! I was also able to understand the ending a lot more by reading the manga than when I originally watched the show.

The Broken Earth Trilogy Review

Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

Now Essun must pursue the wreckage of her family through a deadly, dying land. Without sunlight, clean water, or arable land, and with limited stockpiles of supplies, there will be war all across the Stillness: a battle royale of nations not for power or territory, but simply for the basic resources necessary to get through the long dark night. Essun does not care if the world falls apart around her. She’ll break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

The Phantom of the Opera Review

First published in French as a serial in 1909, “The Phantom of the Opera” is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster. 

August 2022 Wrap Up

August is normally my worst reading month. For the last 2 years, I have never had a really good reading streak but finally I have had an August with amazing results!

  • I read 11 books this month
  • Genre: 6 fantasy, 2 mystery, 1 sci-fi, 1 literary fiction, 1 non-fiction
  • Gender of authors: 6 women and 5 men
  • Race of authors: 6 white authors and 5 asian authors
  • Age range: 7 adult and 4 YA
  • Format: 5 paperback, 3 ebook, 2 hardback and 1 audiobook

Death in the Clouds – Agatha Christie (1 star)

This was not it. I knew going into this, it wasn’t her best work but I didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was. Not enough set-up at the beginning for me to care about any of the characters. I guessed the ending early on, and many of the reveals were far-fetched. The only reason I guessed them is due to having read many Christie novels. Also the writing was just boring.

Heatwave – Victor Jestin (2 stars)

Another book which I knew I wasn’t going to love but still decided to give a chance. I am not the biggest literary fiction reader. I prefer a bit more plot over character and this book was one whole book of just following a character around as he processes a death he saw. I was just bored the entire way through it. Thank god it was short.

Murder the Biography – Kate Morgan (3 stars)

This was a super interesting look at how Britain’s murder laws have changed over the years. The cases were captivating and looking at how complicated the laws are and how injustice can happen so easily was dis-heartening to read but good to bring further awareness.

A Touch of Darkness – Scarlett St. Clair (3 stars)

I needed to see what the hype was all about and while I didn’t expect it too blow me away. I did enjoy it more that I thought I would. I fully understand why people love it the way they do. I didn’t feel a big desire to finish the series but I do want to read more of St. Clair’s stuff.

ATLA: The Promise, Part 1 – Gene Luen Yang (3.5 stars)

Super excited to finally get around to reading the ATLA comics. I needed to be back in the ATLA world. I really enjoyed the story but felt the volume itself was a bit too rushed and didn’t have enough content in it. That being said, it was great to see the gaang back together and see Katara and Aang together. I wasn’t sure on their relationship when it was first introduced but I am warming up to them.

The Promised Neverland Vol. 6 – Kaiu Shiraii (4 stars)

Another great installment. Not sure where this story is going but I am enjoying the ride.

Assassination Classroom Vol. 1 – Yusei Matsui (4 stars)

I have been waiting to read this series for ages. This volume did not dissapoint. I love Korosensei and I am looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series goes.

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim (4 stars)

This was a super enjoyable and whimsical story. I loved being lost in the story and watching Shirori going on this powerful and magical journey. I did think the romance was a little bit unbelievable.

Lord Peter Wimsey: BBC Radio Drama Collection Vol. 2 by Dorothy L. Sayers (4 stars)

I love these dramatisations. The cast, the story and the acting is amazing. I will say adapting The Five Red Herrings is hard to do. Too many characters and motive changes etc. and I fully respect the writers for trying to adapt it.

  • The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club – 4 stars
  • Strong Poison – 3.5 stars
  • The Five Red Herrings – 2 stars
  • Have a Carcase – 3.5 stars

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid (4 stars)

I saw so much hype for this story on TikTok and I knew I had to read it. For me, it met the hype, mostly. I loved the romance, the mythology and the villains but I found the story to be super slow paced which hindered my overall enjoyment of the story.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (5 stars)

Great characters, beautiful message, hilarious scenes, amazing romance. It literally has everything. This book was like being wrapped in a warm hug. This book deserves all the hype and love it can get.

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches Review

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos “pretending” to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

The Wolf and the Woodsman Review

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered. But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

July 2022 Wrap Up

Another milestone hit! This month I offically reached my Goodreads Reading Goal but I also have a new number for the amount of books I can read in one month. 13!!!

  • I read 13 books this month
  • Genre: 7 fantasy, 3 mystery, 1 romance, 1 non-fiction, 1 classic and 1 sport.
  • Gender of authors: 8 women and 4 men
  • Race of authors: 7 white authors, 4 asian authors and 1 latina author
  • Age range: 7 adult, 3 YA and 3 middle grade
  • Format: 8 paperback, 3 ebook, 1 hardback and 1 audiobook

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides (2 stars)

Starting, as always, with my lowest rated book first. This book was a solid read for about 80% of the book but the ending was so far-fetched and disappointing that it ended up ruining the rest of the book for me.

Alex Neptune, Dragon Thief by David Owen (2.5 stars)

This was a funny, action-packed story about a boy trying to save a mysterious dragon from an abandoned aquarium. Great mix of mythology as well as a strong save our oceans message. My favourite character was Alex’s sister.

Fairy Tail Vol. 1 by Hiro Mashima (2.5 stars)

I had watched about 50 episodes of the anime and I remember loving it. Sure, they dragged the fights out but the characters were good, the show was fun, why don’t I try the manga? My thoughts with manga are if they don’t grab me in the first volume I will not be continuing the series. This was the case for this volume. It did nothing to garner my attention. It was fine.

The Darkening by Sunya Mara (3 stars)

This was a middle of the road kind of book for me. There were some things that I loved and some things that I didn’t love. I loved the setting, mythology and magic system but I didn’t love the romance element and I felt that the back story and explanation behind the storm that surrounds her city needed alot more development.

Nightlights by Lorena Alvarez Gomez (3.5 stars)

Such an exciting and curious story. I loved the artwork and the main character was amazing. I did wish that the plot of the story was a bit clearer and had a bit more development.

Hicotea by Lorena Alvarez Gomez (4 stars)

This book though, which is the second in the series after Nightlights, was really good. Same incredible artwork but with a more established plot and messaging. Stay curious, keep asking questions.

Haikyu!! Vol. 3 by Haruichi Furudate (4 stars)

Another great instalment. What I love about this series is its deep dive into its characters. I was worried when I started this series that I would just be watching 2D volleyball and that I would get bored. This series is so much more than just the game. I love learning and watching these characters grow and support eachother. It is its strongest element.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (4 stars)

Now, for those who don’t know, I am not much of a classics reader. I stick to crime classics and that’s about it. Well, when I heard there was a really short story that is super popular and a classic I thought I would give it a go. My biggest struggle with classics is the writing style. I find quite a lot them to be too inaccessible and hard to understand, my own personal experience, but that was not the issue with this story. I felt like I was listening to a friend. The story was super good with an amazing ending. More of this please!

Hook, Line and Sinker by Tessa Bailey (4.5 stars)

Tessa Bailey hit the mark once again! I read this in one day! I loved Fox and Hannah’s story, I didn’t think it would match up to Brendan and Piper’s but I think the additional information with the fact they have been friends for some time made it work just so well. I also related to Hannah a lot! I will be reading all of her books from now on!

Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson (4.5 stars)

Everyone needs to stop what they are doing and read this book. An urban fantasy story where 4 witches come together after years seperated when the figure who will bring destruction of the world is located. Super funny, great sense of female empowerment with solid discussions of race, gender and sexuality. Sometimes the writing was a bit cringey but this plot was packed with intense action scenes, great magic and an ending that had me shocked to my core!

Lord Peter Wimsey: BBC Drama Collection Vol. 1 (5 stars)

My first ever foray into audio dramatisations of literary work. Originally adapted for the radio, these performances have now been compiled into 3 volume audiobooks. I loved everything about this! I have always wanted to read the Lord Peter Wimsey series. The story got better with each instalment. My favourite from this collection had to be Unnatural Death the third and final in this volume. The performances were just incredible.

The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson (5 stars)

This book felt like an ode to the golden age of crime fiction. Set in a manor of a famous Agatha Christie-esque author, a fan convention is held to celebrate the author, her work and the announcement of a new movie adaptation. But a murder occurs and it’s up to the three actresses who all played the author’s literary detective over the preceding years to solve the case. This book met my expectations with a great plot, beautiful setting, and amazing characters. My favourite thing about this entire story was the love and friendship that formed between the Three Dahlias.

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (5 stars)

Going into this I was nervous as The Poppy War was one of my fave books last year and I was worried this book would not match up. I did not need to worry at all. A very different story to The Poppy War, I felt it was less dense than the first one. I enjoy watching Rin change and grow throughout the story, she is by far one of the most interesting characters I have ever read. I cannot wait to be emotionally devastated by book 3.