Tag Archives: book review

Flame in the Mist by Reneè Ahdieh. Review 

I want to clear something up with regards to this book. It is not a Milan retelling despite what’s been going around. For one it’s set in Japan not China and for two other than cross dressing it has no similarities at all. Disclaimer: I will be using Mulan Gifs in this review because I can 😉 


Now that’s out of the way, let’s move on to the review. 

I received Flame in the Mist in my May Fairyloot box and instantly fell in love with the cover. I’m a sucker for a beautiful cover and this one is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen! The premise interested me as well, I’ve not read much about Japanese folklore or myths and legends and my entire experience of any kind of Japanese literature is the novels of Haruki Murakami. So I was admittedly very interested to step out into the unknown. 

I’m really glad that I did! Mariko is travelling to the imperial city in a litter when it is attacked, all her samurai and servants are killed and Mariko, convinced it is the work of the infamous renegades, The Black Clan, sets out to find them, infiltrate them and find out why they wanted her dead. I loved the character of Mariko or at least the idea of her, not once was she described as particularly beautiful apart from in the view as a prize for the Emperors son. Instead she is smart, a scholar, a whiz with her mind and with inventions and you know what? That’s really cool and makes a nice change. Lots of books feature smart girls but often the focus is on the fact that they are beautiful and smart. It was nice to see something fresh here. 


I liked all of the characters who all had a lot of story, I’d certainly like to know more of their stories though as it feels a bit like we were fed titbits. This combined with the ending is definitely making me hope for a second novel! 

I also really liked that Mariko didn’t become some fearsome warrior because that would have just been too Mulan inspired for words. In fact she is an individual in her own right completely separate from any other fictional character I’ve read and I loved her the more for it! 


The storyline was well played if a little slow to begin with. It soon picked up the pace and we were treated to folklore, culture, division between rich and poor, man and woman, dark magic and most importantly what I viewed as the moral of the story that the lines between good and evil are not always that well drawn. 

In summary I really liked this book and feel that it is off to a promising start for a series or at least a second book, so fingers crossed there will be one! 

Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Please be aware that this review while not containing spoilers for this book, will contain spoilers for the first book Ink and Bone. 

Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone left off and it’s a great sequel! Jess and friends are still reeling from the events of Ink and Bone, their friend Thomas was killed, their other friend and sort of Jess’ girlfriend; Morgan has been imprisoned in the Iron Tower of the Obscurists and Jess no longer knows who he can trust. Especially when a routine training excercise of his company in the High Garda turns sour. 


This book is another teaser at what the library may contain, what secrets are hidden inside its walls and what the people at the helm will do to protect it. It is a story of friendship and relationships that are stronger than those of blood. In a world full of secrets it’s impossible to know who can be trusted and who would just as soon Knife you in the back. It’s down to Jess and his friends to fight the library to the bitter end. 


I love that this series is all about books, it’s such a great concept and it’s easy to see that it’s taken some inspiration for the onslaught of ebook readers on the market today. I find the premise incredibly engaging and interesting, sometimes the second book in a trilogy can read like a ‘filler’ and be a bit flat but that is not the case with this one at all. I can’t wait for Ash and Quill now. 

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Review 

Oh wow! My hearts still pounding in my chest. What a shocker of a novel! 

I first came across Clare Mackintosh when I read an interview with her in Writers Magazine. I liked the sound of her thriller genre novels and I’ve been waiting to read them for ages. My only regret being that I waited so long! 

I Let You Go is Clare’s debut novel and it focuses on a hit and run incident. There are several perspectives in the novel and I’m going to be a bit shady about the entire plot because there are a couple of massive twists that I do not want to spoil for anyone! 


I really enjoyed this novel, it was a page turner without a doubt. I couldn’t put it down, the storyline gripped me and changed my view of British thriller writing irrevocably. It seemed like everything I thought was true was wrong! There were so many twists and turns that it made my head spin but in a good way! 


I can’t wait to get stuck into Clare’s second novel I See You because if it’s anything as good as this one I’ll find myself literally thrilled! 

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy. Review. 

As most of you know, I’m not a huge fan of the classics but hallelujah I seem to have found an classic author I can actually get on with. 

Thomas Hardy’s novel Far From the Madding Crowd is not a great tome of a book and neither is it a difficult read in terms of language or content. But the messages it gives are big ones. 

Bathsheba Everdeen is a headstrong young woman with no less than three suitors. First there is Gabriel Oak who proposes to her first when he is attempting life as a gentleman farmer, then there is an actual gentleman farmer Mr Boldwood who also proposes marriage and is asked to wait. Finally there is the seductive soldier Frank Troy who is completely unsuitable but hey, everyone likes a bad boy right? 


Literally though, Bathsheba is the worst! She’s so annoying! So conceited, so arrogant, she clearly thinks herself to be stunning and strong and usually I’d love the idea of such an apparent feminist but in this case she doesn’t even come across as a feminist. What she comes across as is selfish and at times just a little bit bloody stupid! 


I did enjoy the novel because the prose is excellent and the storyline well put together. It is not a criticism of the author’s work to say that Bathsheba is what she is, it is more that I think Hardy probably wrote her that way. She could never discover the error of her ways after all if she didn’t make errors in the first place! 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier. Review 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier is, like Rebecca a novel of thrilling mystery and distrust and unexpected twists and turns. 

Philip Ashley has lived with his elder cousin Ambrose since he was small, they have always had each other, their collection of male servants and the love of the people who live around their estate. There has never been the need for a woman in their lives. That is until Ambrose goes to Florence and meets their mysterious cousin Rachel, and marries her. 

When Ambrose dies under suspicious circumstances, Philip is determined to reep revenge on the woman he blames for his death. But when she turns up on his doorstep he finds that his feelings for her are quite different. 

The novel makes you want to scream with frustration at the naïveté of some of the characters, while wanting to bash the heads in of others at the same time. It is equally, if not more darkly gripping than Rebecca. Although it’s left for you to decide if Rachel is guilty or not, I think it was great to see people getting their just desserts in the end for once. Really enjoyed this suspense filled novel of love and betrayal.

Roseblood by AG Howard. Review 

Thank you to the publisher Abrams and Chronicle Books Ltd for my copy of Roseblood in exchange for an honest review. 

‘When the phantom touched me, when his eyes held mine, I felt it. And I still feel it now.’

Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did! There’s always that worry when you receive an RC that you’re not going to like the book. Although Roseblood had been on my tbr I had no idea what to expect. But there was no need for me to worry. Roseblood is an addictive, gripping, fantastic, magical, horrifying tale of dark love, dark friendship and the terrible things that creep behind mirrors. 


Roseblood is a sort of retelling of The Phantom of the Opera but over a century after the events of Gaston Leroux’s novel, made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber theatre production. Rune is sent to an opera school in Paris called Roseblood after the death of her father. She has a brilliant voice but every time she sings, she gets sick, her mother hopes that schooling her voice will help her to become a great opera star. 


But she is haunted by the Phantom boy she discovers in the grounds of the school. At first she is sure that he is the Phantom from the story, sent to her to become her muse. But gradually her suspicion grows that this phantom may be someone or something else. 


This story is mesmerising, gripping from start to finish, the electric feelings between the characters draws you in deeper and deeper as the horrific secrets of the Phantom and his legacy are revealed. 

I really cannot express how much I really enjoyed this book, I had no previous experience of The Phantom of the Opera so I was going into it completely blind as what to expect, but it was everything it promised to be. Creepy on the supernatural side, romantic for the YA side and devilishly delicious throughout! 

Highly recommended to anyone who likes supernatural YA fiction. 

Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour By Alan Titchmarsh. Review 

I’ve always had a (not so) secret love for Alan Titchmarsh’s novel ever since I read Only Dad many years ago. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour is such a lovely little read and very refreshing after the two tomes I’ve read recently! 

Mr Gandy is suddenly (if tragically) released from his unhappy marriage around the same time as he is forced into early retirement. Inspired by a book he finds about 18th century young gentleman going on the Grand Tour (modern day gap year), he decides to embark on a tour of Europe of his own, much to the disgust of his eldest son who views it as him squandering his inheritance. 


What Mr Gandy finds, is not only beautiful hotels, culture filled cities and art, but also friendships and love. Alan Titchmarsh writes surprisingly profound messages about love and life and often gives you a good laugh as you go along! 

I really enjoyed this short novel particularly the travel parts, as I’m in Italy myself at the moment it was great to see Mr Gandy’s views and actually be able to picture them myself!