Tag Archives: relationship

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! 

Wintersong by S Jae Jones. Review. 

‘She is for the Goblin King now’

I’ve recently become enthralled by novels like Wintersong which take the dark fairytales of Russia, Eastern Europe and in this case Germany and make them into their own. 

Wintersong tells the tale of Liesel, a young German woman with a passion for music. Music she is not allowed to compose or play because a woman is too inferior to do so. Instead she lives through her brother Josef who is about to audition to receive tutelage from a famous music teacher. Liesel is a young woman who is not just plain to look at but perceived as ugly, especially beside her beautiful sister Käthe. The three children have grown up beside the Goblin Grove, listening to their grandmother’s eerie tales of witches, hobgoblins and sprites. But most particularly of the Goblin King himself. Now they are getting older they don’t believe in her stories anymore. That is until Käthe is kidnapped by the King and Liesel has to go to his underground kingdom to bring her back. 


This book is deliciously dark, it tantalises and teases, it is frightening in parts but at the same time grips you with its intesity. It draws you in and seduces you. The Goblin King, dips between two personas as the thing of nightmares and the man of your dream. It is very, very cleverly done! While wanting to stay lost in the world there is a fear that should you do that, you would never escape. 


There is passion in this novel, but of the dark sort. The ones that all girls who don’t believe in themselves, who view ‘beauty on the inside’ as an ugly truth. The novel doesn’t feel very YA it reads more like an adult novel which I did really like. The border of YA and adult fantasy became blurred which is just right for the dark fairytale theme. 


Wintersong has echoes of a more serious version of the film Labyrinth and the combination of this, and the dark fairytales just makes it devilishly decadent. A true work of art of a novel! I can’t wait for the sequel! 

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson. Review 

I’ve loved Milly Johnson’s novels since I picked up a sample of Its Raining Men in Waterstones, Meadowhall a few years ago. I was really excited to receive my copy of The Queen of Wishful Thinking from the publishers Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. 

As usual I really enjoyed the book. This one deals with a lot of sensitive issues, as is expected with the romance/chic-lit genre it focuses on two people who are unhappy and find happiness with each other. But it also deals with the more serious issues of infertility, abortion, infidelity and euthanasia. I also love that there are funny anecdotes at the beginning of several chapters which are extracts from The Daily Trumpet as usual posting hilarious misprints. Being a Yorkshire lass myself I found the one about a 12 year old called Beyoncé-Jane particularly funny, because I know for a fact that there’s probably kids called that in S.Yorks. 

Anyway, back to the storyline; Bonnie is in a loveless marriage with Stephen who controls everything about their lives, to top it off she’s also unhappy in her job, until she unexpectedly lands a job at a new antique store called Pot of Gold and gets more than she bargained for when she falls for her boss Lew. Lew is having problems of his own with his golddigger wife who is fast becoming unrecognisable. Having just recovered from a heart attack, Lew just wants a quiet life. And his feelings for Bonnie are developing as well. 


Alongside the love story, as aforementioned there are lots of other issues going on, but it all comes together very nicely. Milly has a skill of putting together novels which make you equal parts laugh along with the characters and fall apart with them as their world comes crashing down around them and they struggle to pick the pieces up. But friends are on hand, support is there and these friends go to outrageous lengths to protect their own. 


And of course in the end they all get to live happily ever after which is the best part about all of Milly’s novels! 

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! 

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay. Review. 

I read The Bronte Plot last year and really enjoyed it, so it made sense to give The Austen Escape a try, and it did not disappoint. 

Katherine Reay writes novels about American’s who love English Literature. As the title may give away, this one is about all things Jane Austen. 

Mary is an engineer for a start up company called WATT, she loves her job and she’s in love with a colleague Nathan who never seems to look at her that way. On top of that she’s beginning to fear that the new hardcore CEO Karen is going to fire her. Unrequited love and fear of losing her job come to a head when her latest project becomes a failure and she snatches up the opportunity to visit Bath, England with her friend Isabel who is writing her dissertation on Austen’s novels. Cue adults playing dress up at an old regency style house and many shenanigans going down. 


But things take a sinister turn as well and then a very unexpected one. The plot twist is cleverly laid out. One of those that makes you go ‘doh!’ For not realising it was obvious what was going on all along. 

The novel is well written, it’s very light and fun, it’s not by any means a serious book but that doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable. Sometimes light and fun is exactly what a reader needs! I love the play on the historical literature in a modern day setting as well and it’s definitely inspired me further to visit Bath! Another lovely read from author Katherine Reay. 

Review: A Miracle at Macy’s

After a couple of really hard reads, A Miracle at Macy’s was just what I needed. A sugary sweet read absolutely perfect for reading at Christmas. The author has a light and amusing way of writing. The Indian Taxi driver-cum-Comedian Vijay was one of my favourite characters really funny!

A Miracle at Macy’s tells the story of Charlotte, a young woman living in New York with a dog she rescued from the streets. While off having a selfie with Santa’s elves her little dog goes missing and Charlotte is left alone in New York desperate to find the dog who she considers to be her only family, other than a distant Aunt who is too busy organising PR events to have time for Charlotte.

Charlotte’s mission to find her pup leads into a City wide hunt as her aunt pulls all the strings she can along with her sexy but uptight assistant. The police jump on board and the pup becomes an online sensation.

The story is a romance with a twist. What I liked was how you sort of thought it was going to be somebody else that Charlotte fell in love with to begin with but then found yourself surprised when it was the polar opposite!

I loved the character development of Charlotte and how she grew as a person not only finding love but finding herself as well. Hudson’s escapades shed light on a dire situation that any dog owner or lover can identify with. There wasn’t a character in the book who I didn’t like in their own way. I fully agree with Charlotte that Hudson had a master plan to bring her out of herself.

I would definitely read other books by this author. A light, fluffy, funny read with enough humour to stop the premise being sad. A true Rom Com with a few great twists well done!