Review

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Author: Alix E. Harrow
Publication Date: 12th September 2019
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★★★
*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


EVERY STORY OPENS DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with exotic treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. As each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, January discovers a story that might just be the key to unlocking the secrets of her past.


Words can’t describe how much I loved this book, but seeing how this is a book review I guess I’m going to have to try. The story follows January Scaller, who at the age of seven discovers a Door to another world, and then at 17 finds a book describing many of more doors of this kind. The reader follows January through he childhood as a mixed race girl growing up in Vermont under the guardianship of Mr Locke, whom her father works for collecting strange and rare items.

The premise of the book is so interesting and it’s a fun yet emotional read. The characters are all so intriguing with their stories of travels to other worlds, some nice and some not so nice. The book itself created such a nice nostalgic feeling, through the idea of most myths and stories having originated in other worlds and then been spread by those who travelled between. Remember being young and fully believing you were one day going to find the wardrobe to Narnia? That’s the feeling I got from reading this book.

I loved Harrow’s writing style and there were just so many memorable quotes within the book. Harrow also had such a good grasp on dual narrative story telling, and unlike with some other books I never really got confused as to who’s POV I was reading as both narrators had their own distinct style.

The only negative I can really think of was that a number of the plot twists were somewhat predictable but I can’t say that really bothered me to much.

All in all, this book was honestly amazing and I think everyone should read it.


Sorry that this review has gone up kinda late I’ve been busy with work so haven’t has much time to read. Let me know what you thought of The Ten Thousand Doors of January in the comments.

Review

Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Kingdom of Souls
Author: Rena Barron
Series: Kingdom of Souls #1
Publication Date: 3rd September 2019 (US) 19th September (UK)
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆
*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*


Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him. Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.


This books has such a unique and interesting plot focusing on Arrah, the daughter of two extremely powerful witchdoctors who doesn’t have any magic herself. Following the disappearance of a number of children, Arrah trades years of her life to gain magic in an attempt to discover what is going on and who or what is behind it.

The world-building in this book is truly amazing, there’s so many layers of history and mythology with the war between the Orishas and the Demons, and the differences in beliefs between the tribes and the Kingdom. The story definitely took the angle of ‘history is written by the victors’ so it was really exciting to see the difference in what the characters believed happened in the past vs what actually happened. There were so many plot twists in this story that were just so shocking, although I did guess one of them.

I loved the main character Arrah, she’s such a strong and complex character. The characters of Arti and Efia were also so intriguing, from their motivations for the actions to their complex relationships with Arrah. Also had quite a lot of love for Arti’s backstory and how she became the person she was. However I did feel a lot of the side characters needed to be fleshed out and developed a bit more, although I guess that may happen more in the sequels? I also just didn’t really care much for the main romance of the story.

One thing I didn’t really like was the pacing of the story, the first half moved so slowly and then just so much went on in the second half it was hard to work out what was happening at times.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought about Kingdom of Souls in the comments

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is favourite tropes, which has been quite fun to write. This post is going to have a mixture of both plot and character tropes as both are important within stories.


All Myths Are True

Examples: Harry Potter, The Shadowhunter Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Badass Normal

Examples: Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air), Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass), Liam Ironarm (The Song of the Lioness)

Chosen Family

Examples: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, A Court of Thorns and Roses

The Chosen One

Examples: Harry Potter, Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Aelin Ashryver Galathynius (Throne of Glass)

Defrosting Ice Queen

Examples: Cheryl Blossom (Riverdale), Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Valencia Perez (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)

Enemies to Lovers

Examples: Feyre and Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses), Jude and Cardan (The Folk of the Air), Spike and Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Evil Vs Evil

Examples: Cersei and the High Sparrow (Game of Thrones), President Snow and President Coin (The Hunger Games), Regina and Mr Gold (Once Upon a Time)

Fractured Fairytale

Examples: Once Upon a Time, East by Edith Pattou, Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

Villain Protagonist

Examples: Cersei Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, Olivia Pope (Scandal), Elphaba (Wicked by Gregory Maguire)

Wicked Witch

Examples: The Wicked Witch of the West (The Wizard of Oz), The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia), Ursula (The Little Mermaid)


Post a link to your TTT in the comments and let me know your favourite tropes

Review

Review: Blood Born by Renee Lake

Blood Born
Author: Renee Lake
Publication Date: 16th July 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
*Finished copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*


Maddie West is excited about the new adventure’s college life promises. She dreams of rallies, weird roommates and challenging classes. She expects to have fun, play house with her girlfriend and make new lifelong friends. All while keeping an eye on her terminally ill twin brother. What she doesn’t expect is a mystery and tragedy within her first semester. Is there a monster preying upon the people at her college?

Will she betray her friends and succumb to temptation? Can they band together and fight the darkens? Or is the darkness that surrounds her not the enemy…. but her only ally?’

*Trigger warning: this book contains a journal entry depicting sexual assault*


This book is a genderbent modern day retelling of Dracula by Bram Stoker, the story follows Maddie (Mina) as she starts studying at Humboldt State university with her girlfriend Jo (Jonathan), while attending the university they are introduced to professor Valora Dulcara (Dracula).

Despite the interesting and original premise I felt this story just kind of fell flat at times. Many of the side characters just seemed quite interchangeable and all the characters just had such bizarre reactions to things. Like I get that story about a vampire professor isn’t going to be realistic but some of things were just so out there that I truly just didn’t understand the thought process at all.

I think one of my biggest problems with this story is how much the the author seemed to want the reader to root for Maddie and Valora, despite the fact that they are both just terrible people (or vampire in Valora’s case). Maddie’s girlfriend is sexually assaulted and nearly gang raped at one point and it’s just written off as not that bad (a view that isn’t challenged at all within the story itself, I think one of the character’s actually says something like ‘it could have been worse’). Yet Jo lying about liking a book is deemed to be truly terrible and evil.

One thing I did like was the story about Valora and her daughters and I’d rather have just read about that to be honest as opposed the story about Maddie, Valora and Jo.


Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on Blood Born in the comments

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Like to Be Besties With

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is characters I’d like to be besties with. This is such a fun and interesting idea, as I’m sure there a so many different characters everyone loves and I’m so excited to see who other people pick.

*All images in the post have been taken from the relevant fandom wikis*

Tessa Gray (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Tessa’s my favourite character in the Shadowhunter Chronicles (although I haven’t read TDA yet I doubt it’ll really change my opinion. And I hope if she were really we’d be get on well. She likes books, I run a blog about books. She’s taller than average for a woman, I’m taller than average for a woman. She’s immortal, I haven’t died yet so could be immortal, who knows.

Jem Carstairs (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Jem’s just such a nice character, like who wouldn’t want to be friends with him?

Magnus Bane (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Okay so being friends with Magnus just sounds like it would be so much fun. Parties? Check. Glitter? Check. Magic? Check.

Isabelle Lightwood (The Shadowhunter Chronicles)

Isabelle is just so badass and I love her so much. I’d also want to be her friend so I could find someone better for her than Simon cause come on she is way way out of his league.

Morrigan (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

Besties can also mean girlfriends or wives right? Mor’s just such an amazing character and I love her so much.

Azriel (A Court of Thorns and Roses)

I love a good gossip and as a shadowsinger Azriel knows pretty much everyone’s secrets. Also reckon he needs someone to be like ‘look it’s been centuries it’s time to get over Mor. And like Elain is right there dude.’

Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass)

Haven’t finished this series so this might change but I doubt it. Let’s be real we all need someone as ride or die as Manon. Also would like to be her friend to give her advice like ‘girl stop thinking about Dorian when Elide is right there.’ Realising now quite a few of these choices are based on me wanting to tell the characters their choices are wrong.

Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air)

Actually think Jude just needs an actual friend to be like ‘no don’t do that’ or ‘you’re literally queen can’t you just pardon yourself?’ Also she just needs a hug to be honest.

Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)

She’s always the fictional character I get compared to the most so I’d reckon we’d get on quite well.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Hermione was pretty much my first ever favourite character so obviously I’d love to be besties with her.


Let me know what you think of my squad and post a link to your TTT in the comments

Book Tag

Birthday Book Tag

As you can probably tell by the title today’s my birthday!!! Today I’m turning 22 (God I feel so old?). Hopefully going to be getting some books as presents.

I’ve seen this tag on so many blogs (if you know who created it please let me know so I can credit them) and have been waiting for my birthday to come around so I could give it a go.


Count your birth day along your bookshelf and then subtract your birth month. What book does it land on?

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

This is such a good book (if a little predictable at times) and I really enjoyed reading it. Haven’t read the sequel yet so I’m not sure if it continues to be as good, but it is on my Summer TBR so hopefully going to get around to it soon.

If you could spend your birthday with any fictional character who would it be? And why?

Morrigan – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Obviously spending my birthday with one of the Fae would be amazing. And do you know what else would be fun? Drinking wine and going to a gay bar. And with Morrigan I could do both. She’s also my favourite character in the series so that’s also a bonus.

Find a book that takes place in the season you were born

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This one took a little while because I realised I don’t really have any idea what season most of the books I’ve read are set in, obviously if there’s snow I presume it’s Winter but other than that I have no clue. But according to the timeline on the Shadowhunters wiki City of Bones takes place in August. With the rest of the events taking place by the end of the year? Like what a stressful year that was for poor Clary?

Find a book that is the colour of your birth stone

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

My birthstone is peridot which is green, and obviously the go to book for green is the one with a green main character. I do really love this book and its’ sequel Son of a Witch, although I haven’t yet read the rest of the series. They’ve been on my TBR for years so hopefully I’ll get around to them one day.

Is there a series with the same number of books as your age? If so what is it?

If there is a series with 22 books out then I haven’t found it. Both the Tortall universe by Tamora Pierce and the Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare are nearing it though. These series both have upcoming releases so maybe in a couple of years they might catch up with my age.

Pick a book set in a time period, country or world you would like to live in

The Night Court – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Specifically Velaris. Although maybe not during the events of the third book, but other than that it’s shown to be such a nice place to live.


Thanks for reading and I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Let me know in the comments if you agree with my choices, or if you’re my birthday twin I’m always on the lookout for those.

Lists · top ten tuesday · Weekly Posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Redesigns

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s TTT is all about cover redesigns we’ve either loved or hated. I figured the best way to go about this topic is to split it into five and talk about both.


Five Cover Redesigns I’ve Loved

The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

US Edition / UK Hardback Edition

Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury #1) by Tracy Banghart

US Edition / UK Edition

Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

1997 Edition / 1998 Edition

Wild Magic (The Immortals #1) by Tamora Pierce

1997 Edition / 2004 Edition

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

2007 Edition / 2009 Edition


Five Cover Redesigns I’ve Hated

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare

2010 Edition / 2015 Edition

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire

1995 Edition / 2009 Edition

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

2003 Edition / 2010 Edition

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

2018 Edition / 2019 Edition

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

1997 Edition / 2011 Edition


Post a link to your TTT in the comments and let me know which cover redesigns you’ve loved and/or hated

Monthly Wrap-Ups

July Wrap-Up

Can’t quite believe that we’re already going into August, this year has gone by far too quickly. On the whole July has been quite a good month, I went on holiday, started my blog, attended YALC for the first and got a new job. Alongside all of that this month I’ve managed to read 6 books and 3 novellas. Here’s what I’ve read this month.

Books:
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan ★★★★★
The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol ★★★☆☆


Novellas:
The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh ★★★☆☆
The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆
The Mirror and the Maze by Renee Ahdieh ★★★★☆

Pages: 2,467


Hope you’ve all had a good month. Let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments.

Weekly Posts · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday #2

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@TakingOnAWorldofWords and was formerly hosted by MizB@ADailyRhythm. Just answer the three question. It’s open to anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answer. It’s a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments of Sam’s blog.

The Three Rs are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Have been really enjoying this series so far. Started this book yesterday and so far it’s good, hoping it stays that way. I have yet to read a Sarah J. Maas book that I’ve disliked though so I’m hopeful.

Recently Read

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

Enjoyed reading both of these books. My review of Girls of Paper and Fire can be found here, and I’ll have a review of The Shamer’s Daughter up within the next few days.

Reading Next

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, Jack of Thorns by A.K. Faulker or Here There Are Monsters by Amelinda Berube

Not sure which of these I’m going to read first but I’m planning to read all of them soon.


Let me know you’re currently reading and what you’re planning to read next in the comments.

Review

Review: The Shamer’s Daughter by Lene Kaaberbol

The Shamer’s Daughter
Author: Lene Kaaberbol
Series: The Shamer’s Chronicle #1
Publication Date: 4th July 2019 (new edition, original published earlier)
Goodreads | Waterstones | Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆
*Finished copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

The first step into the thrilling middle grade fantasy world of The Shamer Chronicles.

Dina has inherited her mother’s gift: she is a Shamer, able to see a person’s most guilty secrets just by gazing in their eyes. But sometimes her gift feels more like a curse. Nobody seems to want a friend who can see their deepest shame.

But when Dina’s mother is called to Dunark Castle to uncover the truth about a terrible crime, Dina must come to terms with her power, and quickly – or let her mother fall prey to the vicious dragons of Dunark.


This book series leans more toward middle grade than YA, although I think readers of YA could still enjoy it as it’s quite a fun and engaging read. Maybe the later books change a bit but I think this series so far could best be described as Game of Thrones but for children. Mostly because the main character Dina, kind of reminds me of Arya Stark.

This story has such an original premise. The creation of a shamer, someone who can reveal someone’s biggest shame and darkest secrets is such an original idea that I hadn’t seen elsewhere before. The way in which Dina has to learn to deal with both the good and bad sides of this gift makes quite an interesting read.

The story itself was a pretty good read, focusing on Dina and her time at Dunark Castle. Including being bitten by a dragon and uncovering the true perpetrator of a murder. While some of the topics may be somewhat unsuitable for super young readers it should be fine for anyone over the age of ten.

Not sure I’ve I’m going to continue with this series but I’d definitely recommend it for readers in the 9-14 age group.


Thanks for reading and let me know what you think about The Shamer’s Daughter in the comments.