When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill @bonnierbooks_uk #fantasy #feminism #histfic #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. This was a fabulous book to read and while it is a fantasy story, the Dragons in this book could be seen as a metaphor for the feminism that lies behind it. As a fantasy read I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a metaphorical read, I can see the points that the author is making. (I hope this makes sense!!!) However you read this or take the message, it is a brilliant story. And… I love the cover 😍

My huge thanks to Bonnier Books UK for granting my request to read this e-book via NetGalley.

Learn about the Mass Dragoning of 1955 in which 300,000 women spontaneously transform into dragons…and change the world.

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself. 

MY REVIEW

Ok, so I will admit the title of this book really called to me when I saw it. When Women Were Dragons is a reimagining with a definite fantasy thread, the dragons kind of give it away really!

Set in the 1950s this is a brilliant book that mixes historical with fantasy. Women through the years have transformed into dragons, they are never seen, mentioned or talked about ever again. In 1955 when 1,000s of women worldwide changed were still covered up. No one is allowed to mention the word dragon or anything to do with this event.

The thing is, the women have very little control over this change, some could hold it back and others just went with it.

This is a brilliant story that is about women empowering themselves and making the choice as to how they live their own lives. This is a time when women stay home, cook meals, look after the house, raise the children and have a meal ready on the table for when their husband walks in the door. It is very much a patriarchal society and while this story is set in a small area in the US, it was something that was a worldwide thing.

The focus is on Alex, a young girl who is confused by events that are happening, not just to family and neighbours who have changed, but also the changes in her own body. As a young girl, there are expectations of her and what she is to do with her future. Alex however has other ideas, she wants to go on with her education and go to university. Others think that a piece of paper to say you are clever isn’t much use when you are a mother and wife.

This story is very much about discrimination and there are times I got so angry with the attitudes of some of the characters, this is all credit to the author. I do love a story that makes me go through various emotions and this one definitely did that. Anger, euphoria, happiness, sadness and a sense of justice are just some of them. The way the author portrayed Alex and other women was just so good, the way they carried themselves with eyes down at the ground while all the time wanting to look up and to the future made it quite a powerful read.

This was a brilliant book to read, at times I admit it did get a bit far-fetched, but it still kept up the flow and feel of the story. I think at times I actually forgot some of the characters were dragons!

I adored this book and I did like the mix of fantasy with historical fiction. The concept is such a good one and it really appealed to me. This is a story about empowerment as well as a coming of age story. It does carry a powerful message and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

This Charming Man by C. K. McDonnell @Caimh @Thomassshill @TransworldBooks #crime #mystery #magic #fantasy #bookreview

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

I am delighted to share my review today for This Charming Man by Caimh McDonnell. This is the second book in The Stranger Times series, I adored the first book and this one is just as good. Great for fans of crime/mystery and Magic/fantasy novels.

My huge thanks to Thomas Hill at Transworld Books for sending me a copy of this book and also the first one.

Vampires do not exist. Everyone knows this. So it’s particularly annoying when they start popping up around Manchester . . .

Nobody is pleased about it. Not the Founders, the secret organisation for whom vampires were invented as an allegory, nor the Folk, the magical people hidden in plain sight who only want a quiet life. And definitely not the people of Manchester, because there is nothing more irksome than being murdered by an allegory run amok. Somebody needs to sort this out fast before all Hell really breaks loose – step forward the staff of The Stranger Times.

It’s not like they don’t have enough to be dealing with. Assistant Editor Hannah has come back from getting messily divorced to discover that someone is trying to kidnap a member of their staff and while editor Vincent Banecroft would be delighted to see the back of any of his team, he doesn’t like people touching his stuff – it’s the principle of the thing.

Throw in a precarious plumbing situation, gambling debts, an entirely new way of swearing, and a certain detective inspector with what could be kindly referred to as ‘a lot of baggage’ and it all adds up to another hectic week in the life of the newspaper committed to reporting the truth that nobody else will touch.

This Charming Man is the second book in the critically acclaimed The Stranger Times series.

MY REVIEW

The Stranger Times is the first book in this series that I read and thoroughly enjoyed last year. It is also the name of the newspaper that caters for those with a slightly obscure/different/unique view of the world. This is the sort of paper that will report on alien sightings, mysterious noises in the basement and weird and wonderful goings-on that regularly appear.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise when a Vampire suddenly turns up, but then everyone knows such things don’t exist! I love how the author uses this vampiric occurrence and it is almost tongue in cheek that his reporters don’t quite know what to call a pale, pointy-toothed anomaly. It struck me as funny that the reporters are fine with demons, aliens etc, but not calling a vampire a vampire. Anyhow, I do digress.

The main characters are the same that appeared in the first book, so we have Banecroft the editor, along with Grace, Stella, Ox, Stanley, DI Sturgess, Hannah who gallantly report the news while Banecroft is breathing down their necks, wanting answers and a story to print in his paper.

The bodies are a unique find and they are shrugged off as such, some things are not that easy to hide and it doesn’t take long for things to start to heat up. Tensions are brittle as lack of sleep and deadlines are approaching as well as some interest from someone higher up!

This is a humorous and quirky read that I really adored, it is a great mystery novel and the one-liners, little snide comments and the unrelenting thick-skinned Banecroft just add to the humour. Magic and special powers work alongside many other phenomena in this story and as I immersed myself in this story I found bizarre things as quite normal.

This is one that those of lighter fantasy and humorous fantasy readers will enjoy. It is witty and fun to read. There is mystery and magic, the odd body because even though Vampires do not exist, you need a corpse, don’t you? I would suggest reading the first book as it does bring you in and introduce you to the characters that you will also find in this second book, and it is also a really good read. This Charming Man is a fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Book of Sand by Theo Clare #NetGalley @CENTURYBOOKSUK #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Sand by Theo Clare. This is a good-sized fantasy book that has a dystopian and mystery/ thriller feel to it. It is due for Publication tomorrow and I wish to thank Century Books UK for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

The Book of Sand: the first novel in an epic series created by the late Mo Hayder, one
of the UK’s finest and most inventive storytellers.

SAND. A hostile world of burning sun.

Outlines of several once-busy cities shimmer on the horizon. Now empty of inhabitants, their buildings lie in ruins.

In the distance a group of people – a family – walk towards us.

Ahead lies shelter: a ‘shuck’ the family call home and which they know they must reach before the light fails, as to be out after dark is to invite danger and almost certain death.

To survive in this alien world of shifting sand, they must find an object hidden in or near water. But other families want it too. And they are willing to fight to the death to make it theirs.

It is beginning to rain in Fairfax County, Virginia when McKenzie Strathie wakes up. An ordinary teenage girl living an ordinary life – except that the previous night she found a sand-lizard in her bed, and now she’s beginning to question everything around her, especially who she really is …

Two very different worlds featuring a group of extraordinary characters driven to the very limit of their endurance in a place where only the strongest will survive.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that completely caught me by surprise, I was aware that there were two stories involved here but how they connected was a complete curve ball!

One timeline is a group, or as they refer to themselves, a family who are surviving in an inhospitable desert. Each member has a different background and they have random memories from their previous life.

The second is of a young girl, fascinated by wind and sand. She lives in the US and is looked at as a bit of an oddity, her family don’t understand her and her obsessions.

I really don’t know how to start this review so it may be a little disjointed and most likely very vague! The two storylines don’t seem to have any connectors in them, two completely different worlds and people. One is a world we would recognise, as it has a present-day “normal world” setting. The other is definitely not, think of something like Dune but with scarier creatures that emerge at night and that has a time limit to it.

The two stories are very good in their own right, and it took me a while to realise how unconnected they both are. It is not until a lot later in the book that there is that sudden OMG moment when the author literally drops the bombshell. And it was a massive one that suddenly changed the story.

Given the slower and slightly disjointed storyline at the start of the story, I found something about this that kept me reading. I have seen very different reviews of this and some feel that it does go on a bit long. Others and I am one, think it is perfect. I thought it was a way of the author making sure we really get to know the characters. I also found that it very subtly ramped up the mystery and intrigue and I didn’t realise that until the bombshell moment.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it is a mix of dystopian, fantasy, contemporary and mystery. It is from the pen of Mo Hayder who sadly passed away this year (July 2021) at the age of 59. This book is the first time I had read anything by her and I will be going through the back catalogue.

The Book of Sand is a story that I do think will divide readers, it is one that I found was really intriguing and it was the two separate timelines and the different worlds that really drew me in. The end section does change things a lot and it becomes darker and more dangerous.

I really enjoyed this and I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something engaging, mysterious, dystopian and a little bit different.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mo Hayder

THEO CLARE left school at fifteen. She worked as a barmaid, security guard, filmmaker, hostess in a
Tokyo club, educational administrator and teacher of English as a foreign language in Asia. She had an
MA in film from The American University in Washington, DC and an MA in creative writing from Bath
Spa University, UK. She wrote crime novels under the name Mo Hayder, and her fifth novel Ritual was
nominated for the Barry Award for Best Crime 2009 and was voted Best Book of 2008 by Publishers
Weekly. Gone, her seventh novel, won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and her novel Wolf was nominated
for Best Novel in the 2015 Edgar Awards and is currently being adapted for the BBC. Theo Clare was
diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2020 and passed away in July 2021.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Hanging Tree by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin #childrenfantasy #childrenadventure #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Hanging Tree by Misha Herwin. This is the 4th book in the Letty Parker series and it is aimed at 8-12year olds. It is a gothic style fantasy, magical and mystery series that this grown-up is also very much enjoying.

The Hanging Tree (Adventures of Letty Parker Book 4) by [Misha Herwin]

The power of the Dark Ones is growing once more. Watching from their rooftop perches, the gargoyles and dragons have all the gossip they could ever want. Deadly night eels slither through the city streets. The thief-taker is on the prowl. And Jebediah Hill is arrested for a crime he did not commit. Letty discovers that Jeb, her oldest friend, has been keeping secrets, yet refuses to reveal them even though he knows he will pay a terrible price. Letty Parker and Associates set out on a race to save Jeb from The Hanging Tree.
And time is running out…

Purchase HERE

MY REVIEW

I have been looking forward to seeing what the author has in store for young Letty Parker and her Associates. The associates are a group of misfits in some ways as there is Letty who used to sell pies, Jeb a one time pickpocket and scoundrel who is now legitimate, Hepzibah a well off young lady, Mango a sort of fixer and a go-to guy as well as other recurring characters.

Letty and Associates are a tight-knit group who have come together over the past books and formed a mystery-solving agency set in the dark port city of Bristol. It is not a Victorian-era Bristol you would remember from history, this one has monstrous eels, gargoyles, dragons and The Dark Ones!

The author has taken a slightly darker turn with The Hanging Tree as Jeb has been arrested, at one time this would have been sort of expected but not now and especially when he is innocent, yes he really is! Breaking Jeb out isn’t an option as he would have no way of clearing his name, instead, it is up to Letty and Co to dig and delve into the murkiness and the backstreets in this against the clock mystery.

I do adore these characters and the whole group works together really well. They bring their own special qualities and skills as they track down and solve mysteries. As I mentioned this one is a slightly darker feeling as there is more going on with the Count. He is a Dark One and has a bigger game plan in mind. He is a threat and not everyone can see it yet.

Once again the author has created a wonderfully dark and atmospheric mystery that has such a wonderful setting. This setting has been reimagined, adapted and the author brilliantly describes the sights, sounds and unfortunately the smells! There is adventure around every corner and page, with intriguing twists and I adored it.

This is aimed at 8-12-year-olds but is also a great series for any age even the grown-ups. It is a book and actually a series I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Misha Herwin

Misha Herwin is a writer of books for adults and children.
They vary from time-slip to contemporary women’s fiction, family saga and children’s fantasy adventures.
All her books are set in Bristol, whether real, imaginary or remembered from her childhood. 

Social Media Links – WebsiteTwitter

Here are the previous books in the series

Adventures of Letty Parker

From Book 1: Letty Parker lives by her wits. Estranged from her family, she sells pies on the streets of Bristol. But this is a Bristol full of dark secrets, peopled by gangs, monsters, dragons and gargoyles – and by creatures older than time. When her friend and stepsister disappear, when members of Jeb’s gang vanish, Letty is plunged headlong into a conspiracy where homeless children are being spirited away to a place where a terrible fate awaits them. These are the poor and the lost children of the streets whom no one seems to care about – except for Letty. But what if a rich child went missing? Would the authorities then act? Together, Letty and Jeb hatch a plan…

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

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The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart @AndreaGStewart @OrbitBooks #fantasy #Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart. This is the 2nd book in The Drowning Empire series and I am loving it.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my invite and spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, Orbit Books, via NetGalley.

Andrea Stewart returns with The Bone Shard Emperor, the second instalment of this unmissable, action-packed, magic-laced fantasy epic.

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.  

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the northeast of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.  

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.  

But can she trust them?

MY REVIEW

Following on from the first book, The Bone Shard Emperor follows Lin, now the Emperor as she tries to unite the Islands. Trying to break the mistrust of the last Emperor and show that she does in fact care about the people is going to be hard for Lin. She does however have Jovis by her side, someone the people look up to him and tell the songs of his smuggling days.

If you have not yet read the first book then I do highly recommend doing so before going into this book. The main characters, the basic premise for the series and of course the events all follow through to this second book.

The islands and their people are worried, some of the islands have sunk, there are rumours of constructs attacking villages and even more worrying is that mentions of the Alanga returning are starting to take hold. Governors and people of the Islands believe Lin to be like her father, the old Emperor, cruel, aloof, and never having time for them. Lin starts as she means to go on, but it is definitely an uphill battle. Return the bone shards to their owners is only part of the process, bringing unity is going to take something more.

I really enjoyed this second book, it felt similar to the previous but more detailed. I found this contained more history, background stories, and legend. The author added more details to her characters and brought the main ones more into play.

I enjoyed the way the author built on the mistrust between several characters and also on the whole within the islands. No one is quite sure how much each other can be trusted, and this adds to the intrigue of the story overall. This did feel slower, and at times I did wonder where it was going, but still very addictive. The pacing may have started a little slower, but my goodness did it speed up as it progressed.

The way the author has created the imagery within the story is fab, especially when it comes to Mephi and Thrana, the bone shard magic and of course the Alanga. Add into this as to why the islands are drowning, why the constructs are attacking and it all builds a magical fantasy empire full of secrets. It makes for an entertaining, absorbing and brilliant read full of adventure and action in the later stages. While this second book has brought Lin to the forefront and has repaired some of the trust that had been lost, there is obviously a lot more to be done.

This book is a fabulous second in the series, while it cements the characters, it also introduces new ones and adds more dimensions, questions and intrigue. This is a series I am absolutely loving and I cannot wait to see what happens next. There are so many possibilities and the author has left some tantalising hints.

If you are a fan of fantasy then this is a brilliant book, as I mentioned this is one you do really need in order. I adored everything about it and I would definitely recommend it. Addictive, magical, vivid imagery, good character development and completely addictive reading.

Check out the other stops on the Tour

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Midnight In Everwood by M.A Kuzniar @HQstories #fantasy #MidnightInEverwood #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a gorgeous story, Midnight In Everwwod by M.A Kuzniar. Also, I would like to wish the author a very Happy Publication Day for such a wonderful book.

I virtually attended an online event and saw an interview with this author. I immediately knew that this was a book I wanted to read and so immediately popped it on my wishlist. The amazing folks at HQ Stories sent me a surprise copy through the post!

A spell-binding retelling of The Nutcracker, filled with enchanted toys, decadent balls, fierce feminine friendships and a forbidden romance. For fans of The ToymakersCaraval and The Bear and the Nightingale.

There’s nothing Marietta Stelle loves more than ballet, but after Christmas, her dreams will be over as she is obligated to take her place in Edwardian society. While she is chafing against such suffocating traditions, a mysterious man purchases the neighbouring townhouse. Dr Drosselmeier is a charming but calculating figure who wins over the rest of the Stelle family with his enchanting toys and wondrous mechanisms.

When Drosselmeier constructs an elaborate set for Marietta’s final ballet performance, she discovers it carries a magic all of its own. On the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, she is transported to a snowy forest, where she encounters danger at every turn: ice giants, shadow goblins and the shrieking mist all lurk amidst the firs and frozen waterfalls and ice cliffs. After being rescued by the butterscotch-eyed captain of the king’s guard, she is escorted to the frozen sugar palace. At once, Marietta is enchanted by this glittering world of glamorous gowns, gingerbread houses, miniature reindeer and the most delicious confectionary.

But all is not as it seems and Marietta is soon trapped in the sumptuous palace by the sadistic King Gelum, who claims her as his own. She is confined to a gilded prison with his other pets; Dellara, whose words are as sharp as her teeth, and Pirlipata, a princess from another land. Marietta must forge an alliance with the two women to carve a way free from this sugar-coated but treacherous world and back home to follow her dreams. Yet in a hedonistic world brimming with rebellion and a forbidden romance that risks everything, such a path will never be easy.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

MY REVIEW

This is a retelling of the Nutcracker story, I am always a little dubious when it comes to retellings. The story of the Nutcracker always reminds me of Christmas, especially Christmas Eve, it is a fantasy, magical fairy tale that I adore. So, did Midnight in Everwood live up to my expectations? It most definitely did!

Straight from the outset, this book felt right, Marietta is a young girl who lives a life of privilege. Her parents have allowed her to attend ballet classes, but it has been known that this will not be something that they will support her in. She is, after all, a young woman with responsibilities, who needs to marry into the right position that will allow her parents to live in the upper echelons of society.

There is a newcomer to the neighbourhood, a mysterious and enigmatic man, an inventor of toys and mechanical creations of wonder. Mr Drosselmeier is enchanted by Marietta and he wants her to become his wife. Through one of his creations, she is transported into another world, where she is trapped.

I absolutely adored everything about this story, it has a gorgeous magical feel to it with wonderful descriptions that gradually built a vivid image in my mind as I read the story. Everwood is all glittery, sugary sweet with magic. All this glamour and glitz is a front, there are whispers, rumours and hints that all is not as it should be within this wonderland. The King is tyrannical, overbearing and greedy.

The story of the Nutcracker is one I love, there are hints of the original story and I could see the inspiration in this version. If you have not read the Nutcracker, well, it really doesn’t matter as this is a retelling of the story.

The author uses Marietta so well in this version, a strong upright young woman who has dreams of a future. She does not want to be wed to someone who will dictate to her or see her as a possession. She does not want to become a pawn for her parents to rise up through the ranks of society.

This is a wonderfully magical story. It is an adult fairy tale, a fantasy and I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be, and dare I say a bit more as well. I would very definitely recommend this one.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Map Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford @verdandiweaves @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #yafiction #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Map Maker’s Daughter by Caroline Dunford. This is a Young Adult fantasy read that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of the book.

Sharra’s world is a terrifying place.

Violent seismic ‘Shifts’ and outbreaks of an all-consuming black fire radically alter landscapes on an increasingly frequent basis. Only the Map Makers can predict where the Shift will fall, and Sharra, daughter to one of the most famous Map Makers, yearns to join their ranks and break a cultural taboo which forbids female cartographers. Sharra’s father, Lord Milton, is one of the few to challenge the current order, but his shadowy past limits his political reach and his second wife, Lady Ivory, is determined to manipulate him to ensure a privileged future for herself and her daughter, Jayne.

The main obstacle standing in Ivory’s way is Sharra.

MY REVIEW…

This is a wonderful Young Adult Fantasy book that follows the adventures of Sharra, she is the daughter of a mapmaker. Their role is to warn the world when the earth shift. When shifts happen danger and death follow.

Sharra is not like most girls her age, she’s a bit of a tom-boy, gets into trouble and is interested in the skill of map-making. This skill isn’t just your average map-making, it is a skill that literally can move mountains. Girls and women do not possess this skill, but then Sharra’s mother had the skill so it can happen.

This is a really enjoyable fantasy story, it has some magical intrigue to it and it is easy to follow. I would say that this is more a lighter fantasy book and it would work very well for younger readers. There is enough description to keep the plotline flowing and plenty of mystery and intrigue to keep the attention. I soon found myself caught up in this book and quite unable to leave it until I had finished it.

The character of Shanna is an interesting one, she has a stepmother who is always on at her, a father who is trying his best and also the stereotype of what society expects of a young woman of her position. This gives several elements that make for interesting reading. Add into this the danger that Shanna is in from those who want to have more of a hold over the map-making skills and it makes for a good action-adventure story.

I really enjoyed this, it is a good Young Adult Fantasy that I read in one sitting, I did find it wrapped up a little quick for me, and I could have quite easily read another 50 pages or so. I also think there is the potential here for another follow on book and if that is the case I would definitely be picking that one up. This is a fantasy, coming of age type story and one I would happily recommend. 

About the Author…

Caroline lives for stories. Reading them. Telling them, Watching them. She can’t get enough of them. She can hypnotise people and she sings well in the shower. She enjoys cooking, but hates housework, and has managed to convince everyone who knows her that she doesn’t understand washing up. So much so that when friends visit some of them do it for her. Fortunately she also has a dishwasher. She always feels she didn’t make enough of her teenage years, and hopes that at least the teenagers in her books do!

Visit Caroline at – Facebook Instagram TwitterWebsite

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid #20booksofsummer #1 #fantasy @DelReyUK #NetGalley #readingchallenge #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Wolf and The Woodsman by Ava Reid. This is the first of the books I read in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

This book is a fantasy that has a folk tale, fairy tale feel to it. Let me show you more…

A dark, evocative and unforgettable fantasy debut steeped in Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Katherine Arden.

‘Rooted in history and myth, The Wolf and the Woodsman is a stunning debut . . . It will twine like a dark forest around your heart.’Samantha Shannon, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Priory of the Orange Tree
______________________________________
Stories don’t have to be true to be real…

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. 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 the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

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.

My Review…

I do like books that have elements of mythology and history in them. This one has Hungarian history and Jewish mythology woven into the story. I am not familiar with either, so I found a story that had a grown-up, or more adult style fairy tale feel to it.

Evike is a wolf girl but not like the others in her village. She does not have one of the magical abilities of the other though. This leads her to feel like an outcast or loner. She is bullied and not made to feel like she belongs. AS she doesn’t have the powers, she is not as valuable and therefore becomes the obvious choice to send to the King.

Gaspar is a woodsman, he is also the Kings son. He is another character who doesn’t really fit, he has mixed blood, and some see him as not being fit to be the next king.

Over the course of the story, the author gradually builds on her characters beliefs, thoughts and views. Being different or belonging to a different culture is something that is a strong theme in this story. Evike is a pagan and looked down upon. Gaspar is a follower of the Holy Order of Woodsmen. Their differences are shown, but they gradually become to understand each other. Bloodlines, faith, beliefs and cultures are something that the author has worked in so well. She shows different sides and viewpoints as well as extremes.

Being a book that deals with magical abilities, it puts this in a fantasy genre, but in some respects, it also falls into a coming of age for Evike. I was quite sad when I finished this book, I found it captivating as the two main characters travelled. Exciting as they met knew creatures and people. Addictive when it came to the dynamics and power struggles.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and it lived up to my expectations. I would definitely recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post a alike or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas @Cari_Threads #Threadneedle @RandomTTours @HarperVoyagerUK #urbanfantasy #NetGalley #debutauthor #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. I adored this book so much and I would like to thank Anne at Random Things Tours and Harper Voyager UK for my spot on the tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.


Until she meets Effie and Attis.


They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.


But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along.
Is her magic a gift…or a curse?


Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and
based in traditional witchcraft.

My Review…

Wow-what an amazing book this was. I had such high hopes for this book as I was really in the mood for a witchy fantasy type story and this is what I got and so much more.

Anna has been warned about the dangers of magic and its use. Rather than risking the danger, it would be better if Anna had her magic bound, in other words, has it blocked so she cannot use it. Anna sort of goes along with this until she discovers that she is not alone in this magical world. That others have powers and that they do use them. They are not all of the same opinions as Anna’s guardian and Aunt. I have to say, thank goodness they don’t share her opinion.

Mysterious deaths are reported in the paper, with a range of far-fetched sounding rumours. I mean there are no switches, it is a myth, right? Well, as far as the author, Anna and her friends are concerned there are witches, they are not myths, they are just good at hiding themselves.

I adored everything about this book apart from one thing… it ended and I have to wait for more! This was such an easy book to get caught up in, the story of Anna and her Aunt is at times brutal. The author really does have a great way of expressing the term “tough love”, there is more to this than first meets the eye though. Safety, fear and danger have a large part to play.

I do like how the author brings a group of misfits together and how she uses them to good effect to deal with being a teen and the problems that come with it. In some respect, this is a story about a group of teens who are dealing with life, school and the whole rebel thing but this group has a little more up their sleeves than your average teen.

I also like how the way the author gave various traits and characteristics to the group but then challenges their characters. I am not revealing how this occurs, while it isn’t exactly a major part of the story it does show the progress that the group makes as a whole.

This is a coming of age story, it is about learning lessons in life and that actions have consequences. Yes, it is a young adult read that I do think that age group of readers would love, but also the older readers. I did at times feel a hint of A Discovery of Witches, as Anna learns more about the magic and (I love that series of books btw).

This is a wonderful fantasy book that mixes magic with a world of today. It is simply a brilliant book and as I read it over a couple of days I was hooked, addicted and didn’t want it to end. It really didn’t feel like a book over 500 pages long. It is one I would definitely recommend and I am eager to see more in this exciting new series. 

About the Author…

Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’
Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at
The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and
quickly realized she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative
agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books.
She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with
all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the
appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.

A Note from the Author…

I remember the old family stories about my Great Aunt Mary. A fiercely independent, enigmatic woman who was said to be a witch. Perhaps it was these early stories seeping into my subconscious, perhaps it was devouring The Worst Witch, or growing up in rural Wales surrounded by myth and fairy tales, or maybe it was just me, but from a young age I developed a fascination for all things witches and magic.
But let’s not forget that the witch’s hut always sits outside of the village for a reason. In my research, I became just as obsessed with magic’s opposite forces – repression, fear, suspicion and prejudice. After all, if my Great Aunt Mary had been alive a few centuries earlier she may well have been burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts became an area of fascination for me and the more I read the more outraged I became – how powerful, outspoken women and men, or people of the pagan faith, or simply outsiders, have time and time again been suppressed, silenced and extinguished from society. How the power structure of the day meant that it was near impossible for them to have a voice and to defend themselves.
Why was it such people terrified those in power? Why were we not taught more about this dark period
of history? Why did the themes feel like they still resonated so strongly today?
I explore these tensions in Threadneedle- the freedoms of magic set against a fear of witches and feminine
power; schoolgirls forced to take on the injustices of the world one spell at a time.
The sheer joy of writing the book came in bringing these tensions into the modern world and particularly
into the London setting we think we know. Ultimately, this is where the heart of the story lies: in feminine power and sisterhood, bringing together
an unlikely set of outsiders, who together must navigate their way through the light and dark of being
a young woman in today’s world. A world that is more complex than ever and yet still plagued by many
of the same issues that my Great Aunt Mary would have faced, and all the witches who came before her.

Check out the other stops on the tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Malice by Heather Walter @penguinrandom #NetGalley #Fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Malice by Heather Walter. This is a fab read and my thanks to Random House UK for approving my request to read this e-book via NetGalley.

I love the cover for this book!

The princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty, true love is more complicated than a simple fairy tale. 

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again.

Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—

I am the villain.

My Review…

I really enjoyed this re-telling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It is the story of Alyce, or as she is nicknamed Malyce! She is a Vila, known as a Dark Grace. The Grace’s are the fairy’s if you like, and are admired, revered and people visit it them for the charms they make. Alyce doesn’t make charms like wisdom, beauty, intellect, she makes curses such as warts, forgetfulness and other inconveniences.

The story is how the “wicked witch” in the tale of Sleeping Beauty comes into being. The author has taken Alyce and adapted her story giving this young woman a backstory. Alyce does not fit in, she is considered an abomination and is bullied and looked down upon. All she wants is to be like the other Grace’s but her skin is dry, her hair lank, her blood green and is so different from the others. The Grace’s make charms for money, it gives them a purpose and a way of making a living and people do come to see Alyce as well.

The story takes a route that sees a friendship form, it unlikely and also frowned upon. Alyce discovers more about her villa heritage and how she is different from the other Grace’s. The author has then expanded on this difference in several ways and gradually bring Alyce up to the story we know concerning Princess Aurora becoming the Sleeping Beauty.

I found this to be a really enjoyable story and it did have a teen or young adult feel to it, and for me, this made it an easy book to read but one that did have a really captivating storyline. After finishing the story I did think that it felt right. There was a good amount of information, some history and also a general feel of Alyce being bullied and almost forced into becoming what she does.

While it is aimed at a teen or young adult market I really enjoyed escaping into this fantasy novel. It was interesting and I really enjoyed the route the author chose. One I would recommend if you are looking for a bit of escapism and also for returning to a childhood classic.

Malice is due for Publication on 13th April 2021

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx