Monday, 31 March 2014

March wrap up post

I'm pretty happy with March! I posted some reviews & I read a decent amount of books. Here's hoping for a good April.

In March I read:

Banished by Liz de Jager
Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
Loki's Wolves by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Sesame Seade Mysteries: Scam on the Cam by Clementine Beauvais
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
Wide Awake by David Levithan
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira 

Favourite book of March:

Oh I honestly can't pick. I read so many amazing books in March! I can't possibly pick my favourite. But maybe, maybe if I was forced...I would say We Were Liars. But I would also have to say Far From You, Landline, Murder Most get what I'm saying?

Books acquired in March:

Trouble by Non Pratt
The Unbound by Victoria Schwab
Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick
Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin (not pictured)
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (not pictured)
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (not pictured)
If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

The Diviners by Libba Bray
Say Her Name by James Dawson
Boys Don't Knit by Tom Easton
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (not pictured)

Smart by Kim Slater
Dead Man's Cove & The Midnight Picnic by Lauren St John

So...I got a lot of books in March. A lot more than I thought I had. Forgive Me, Leanard Peacock, If You Find Me, A Love Like Blood and Golden Boy were all bought from our charity booksale at work for ridiculously cheap! Cannot resist. The Unbound I bought because I LOVE Victoria Schwab's books SO MUCH. Pure Dead Magic because I had them as a kid & loved them & just wanted to re-own it. Trouble, Two Boys Kissing and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender are all books I read proofs of and loved and so bought when they came out! I'm super excited for Smart and the Laura Marlin mysteries...they sound amaaazing. 

Thoughts on the month:

I'm really pleased with the books I read this month, both because of the number of them and because they were also really, really awesome reads! 

Most excited for in April:

The thing I am most excited for in April isn't a's a challenge!

Laure Eve and her publisher Hot Key Books are challenging us to pick one format to read in... for the whole of April! Now, I do love my Kindle, but I've noticed lately that I've barely been using it. In fact, out of the 30 books I've read so far this year, only 8 of them have been eBooks and 5 of those were titles I read for work. That's pretty bad. So I'm taking up this challenge & reading only eBooks for the whole of April! Click on the button below for more info :)

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How did you do in March? What books (or otherwise) are you excited for in April?

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Release date: 27th March 2014
Publisher: Walker Books
Reason for reading: Received a proof & it sounded intriguing 
Add it on Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis:

Foolish love appears to be a Roux family birthright. And for Ava Lavender, a girl born with the wings of a bird, it is an ominous thing to inherit. In her quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to join her peers, sixteen-year-old Ava ventures into the wider world. But it is a dangerous world for a naive girl...

My thoughts:

I knew immediately that The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender was a very special book. The prose is haunting, whimsical and lyrical, and it just draws you in and before you know it, you’ve read half the book and your bathwater has gone cold (in my case, anyway). The story charts the history of Ava’s family, beginning with her great grandmother and the birth of her maternal grandmother, Emilienne. The narrative dips and weaves and dances about in a mesmeric way, leaving you completely captivated. We’re introduced to many different characters, but the strength and uniqueness of their descriptions makes it easy to keep them distinct.

The whole cast of characters (bar a couple of notable and decidedly dastardly ones) are wonderfully described with the same painstakingly brilliant attention to detail and whimsical twist as the rest of the book. I do have a rather large soft spot for Ava's brother Henry, but it was her grandmother and mother Emilienne and Viviane, that I liked the best. Both have experienced tragedy and both have dealt with it in their own ways. This story is as much about them and their lives and loves as it is about Ava. 

Ava Lavender is full of the sort of magical realism that follows no logic, yet is totally believable. People turn into canaries, into ghosts that haunt the living, and yet at no point does the story seem unrealistic. Instead the magical realism aspect is threaded seamlessly through the narrative, only adding to the quirky and surreal feel of the novel, enhancing it further.

There’s an important message in Ava Lavender and that is that yes, love might make us fools, but that’s something that can be survived. There’s a fair few women in the story that are spurned, damaged and broken by love, yet they endure. They are strong and they fight and they carry on. No matter the choices made by them or by others, choices that affect them adversely, they make the best of what they have and that is a wonderful thing.

TL:DR; The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is mindblowingly good. Full of on-point whimsy, heart-wrenching tragedy and enough sweet moments to offer some hope, it’s a bittersweet tale of love and loss, but it’s also so much more than that. You want to read this book. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer by Elizabeth May
Release date: 26th September 2013
Publisher: Gollancz 
Reason for reading: Historial urbanish fantasy with fae-hunting? Erm, yes
Add it on Goodreads

Goodreads synopsis

One girl's nightmare is this girl's faery tale. 

She's a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title — and drop-dead beauty.

She's a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. She's leading a double life: She has the rare ability to sense the s├Čthichean — the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans — and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She's a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her abilities and her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons — from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols — ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She's a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with the gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother's murder — but she'll have to save the world first.

My thoughts:

The Falconer instantly appealed to me for a couple of reasons. One, I'm a big urban fantasy fan but have only read one other historical UF title which was Grave Mercy. Two, The Falconer sounded a little bit like Grave Mercy. Three, The Falconer sounded a little bit like Grave Mercy crossed with the Fever series with a little bit of steampunk added in, and it totally was. 

Lady Aileana Kameron might be a nobleman's daughter, but lately she's much more at home with her skirts torn to shreds, clutching a deadly crossbow and facing off with a faery than she is dancing at a ball with her many suitors. I really felt for Aileana because not only was she having to fight these faeries that just insisted on showing up at the most inconvenient times but she was having to deal with her mother's death and the fact that practically everyone, even her father, thought her responsible. Regency Britain was not a place where you wanted to cause any controversy, especially as a young, unmarried woman and unfortunately for Aileana, and despite her many attempts to appear reputable, controversy seems to follow her around just as doggedly as the fae she's always fighting.

I loved how we jumped into Aileana's journey a year after her mother's death, after all the initial realisations, explanations and training, it made the whole plot feel more vibrant and was a lot less bogged down by exposition and revelation. The different castes of fae and elements of their lore were explained naturally, as we came across them, which felt really refreshing.  I was a little unsure about the steampunk aspect, as myself and steampunk haven't always gotten along, but it felt super natural, not at all shoehorned in or over explained, which I think can sometimes be a bit of an issue as authors can feel the need to describe every tiny detail of every gadget/outfit/device just to show that it's steampunk. I loved how this element really tied into the plot with Aileana's fae-hunts, and how it added another aspect to her personality with her inventions. Aileana is smart, smart and capable and inventive and I really felt for how she was so constrained, both by society and by herself, as she couldn't make herself give up her need for revenge. She was really easy to like and admire, and I just wanted everything to go right for her.

I loved Derrick as a character, he provided much needed comic relief and it was nice that Aileana had a supportive presence. I was such a fan of Kiaran, as I was always going to be and I loved how that element of the plot unfolded. The big surprise character-wise for me was Gavin. Not the sort of character I'd normally like, but he was so supportive and noble and took everything in his stride and was just so perfect and I...really liked him. 

I felt that after the initial adrenalin burst of the opening few chapters, the pace of the book slowed down and it took me a while to get re-invested in the story, but once I was I absolutely flew through the fast-paced tension-filled final part. The ending was such a cliffhanger, the kind that made me absolutely desperate for the sequel but that also makes the wait for it so, so delicious.  

TL:DR; The Falconer really works as a historical urban fantasy novel, the steampunk elements only enhancing its appeal. With a cast of likable and interesting characters, an enjoyable lack of exposition and a cliffhanger ending that will leave you begging for the sequel, it's perfect for light fantasy fans. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Review: Trouble by Non Pratt

Trouble by Non Pratt
Release date: 06/03/14
Publisher: Walker Books
Reason for reading: received a proof, UK author, intriguing premise, loved the cover
Add it on Goodreads
Buy it: Waterstones | Hive

Goodreads synopsis:

Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? 

Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.


The first thing that struck me about Trouble was how genuine the teenage voices felt. Immediately I could imagine that these characters were real people somewhere, and this was their story. Trouble touches on a lot of things that affect teenagers: sex, unplanned pregnancy, alcohol, reputation, bullying, yet it managed to avoid being an ‘issues’ book. At the heart of it, Trouble is a story about a 15 year old girl that falls pregnant, but for me the shining star of this book was the dynamic between Hannah and Aaron, which unfolds in the most brilliant and organic manner.

Hannah isn’t quite the girl everyone thinks she is, but when she falls pregnant, people aren’t that surprised. She is known for ‘sleeping around’ after all. Aaron is the new boy at school and a bit of an enigma and, for some reason, he offers to pretend to be the father to Hannah’s baby. The amount of personal growth in this novel is pretty outstanding. Both Hannah and Aaron experience a lot over the course of the story, but beyond the things that happen to them is the amount they learn from those things and how they’re changed. By the end of the novel they’re both stronger, better people and that’s accomplished in a way that is painful for everyone involved, but is also incredibly moving, heartfelt and genuine.

The whole cast of secondary characters is wonderfully detailed, from Hannah’s darling little sister to the people that become her true friends to Aaron’s unlikely companion Neville. While Trouble has a lot of seriousness to it, there’s also a lot of humour and completely touching moments, and a lot of those come courtesy of these secondary characters. This might be Hannah and Aaron’s story, but it wouldn’t  be the same without everyone that’s a part of their lives along the way.

Trouble manages to be totally unflinching, yet avoids being cringey. It has one of the most realistic sex scenes I’ve ever read in a book and yet it was not at all uncomfortable to read. Everything about the plot was pitch perfect, from the various reactions to the pregnancy from the people in both Hannah and Aaron’s lives, to the events that unfolded and the twists and turns along the way. There wasn’t a moment that lead me to think “that’s ridiculous” or “she would never say that”.  

TL;DR: Trouble is like a UK combo of a Hannah Harrington novel mixed with a Kody Keplinger one. Full of wit and authenticity, Trouble is a book that really touches on what it means to be a teenager. It’s full of messiness, sadness and anger, but also humour, warmth and charm and it is absolutely wonderful. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

February Wrap Up Post

I didn't do so great in February, but it was a particularly busy month! Here's hoping for a better blogging month in March.

In February I read:

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (reread)
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Favourite book of February:

While The Book Thief was truly, truly amazing, my actual favourite was The Archived. Victoria Schwab's books are so creative and so immersive. I can't wait for the sequel, The Unbound, to arrive! You can read my post of gushy-ness about Victoria here 

Books acquired in February:

The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Loki's Wolves by Melissa Marr and Kelly Armstrong
Vicious by V.E Schwab
Banished by Liz de Jager

Bird by Crystal Chan

I bought The Gospel of Loki and Loki's Wolves with my work discount (we get an insane discount off all other Hachette books from working at Hachette Children's Books) and was clearly having a Loki day (who am I kidding, EVERY day is a Loki day!) The cover for TGoL is SO BEAUTIFUL, I just want to stare at it all day. You *may* remember I bought Vicious last month too...I just could not resist that beautiful American hardback. I also bought Banished, the book I was most excited to read in Feb! Thanks to The Pretty Books for Bird, I hadn't heard about it before I got it, but it sounds great. 

Thoughts on the month:

I am a little disappointed with what I read in February, especially after such a good month in Jan, and one book was a reread. But Feb was pretty busy, I went home for one weekend and had my boyfriend staying for another, which always impacts upon how much I read. I've already finished 2 books in March, so hoping this month'll be slightly better.

What else happened in February:

I discovered Veronica Mars and Battlestar Galactica, both of which I LOVE. I went to see The Book Thief at the cinema (honestly, I wasn't that impressed). I became re-addicted to Irn Bru, I looked round the Victoria and Albert Museum. I helped at the launch party for one of our biggest books of the year, Rock War and I staffed events at the Imagine Festival! It's been a busy month. 

Most excited for in March: There's two, this month, one at the beginning and one at the end, both debuts and both from Walker Books! Trouble by Non Pratt and The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton are too very different but very, very awesome books. I loved them & I can't wait for you all to love them too!

How did you do in February? What are you looking forward to in March?

Monday, 24 February 2014

Cover reveal: The Illusionists by Laure Eve!

Today I am super excited to share the cover of The Illusionists by Laure Eve! Fearsome Dreamer was one of my favourite books of 2013 (and the cover was one of my favourites, too), so to share the cover for the sequel is *pretty* awesome. it is!

A shocking new world. A dangerous choice. Two futures preparing to collide...

Having left White behind her in Angle Tar, Rue is trying to make sense of her new and unfamiliar life in World. Its culture is as baffling as is it thrilling to her, and Rue quickly realises World's fascination with technology can have intoxicating and deadly consequences. 

She is also desperately lonely. And so is White. Somehow, their longing for each other is crossing into their dreams, dreams that begin to take increasingly strange turns as they appear to give Rue echoes of the future. Then the dreams reveal the advent of something truly monstrous, and with it the realisation that Rue and White will be instrumental in bringing about the most incredible and devastating change in both World and Angle Tar. 

But in a world where Life is a virtual reality, where friends can become enemies overnight and where dreams, the future, and the past are somehow merging together, their greatest challenge of all may be to survive.


The Illusionists will be released on 3rd July 2014. Add it on Goodreads


Do you love it? I think the colours are amazing, and Rue looks so fiercely determined! and I kinda want her outfit. The art on both this and the Fearsome Dreamer cover is amazing (hello crazily talented artist Kali Ciesmier). Let me know what you think in the comments!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

In which I rave about Victoria Schwab

If you pay any attention at all to me on Twitter, you'll know that recently, I read a couple of books by Victoria Schwab and as a result, I now class her as one of my favourite authors. I thought that instead of (or maybe as well as) reviewing her books, I'd just write a long, gushy post about why she and her books are so awesome, and why you should read them.

I first discovered Victoria Schwab in 2011, when I read an eGalley of The Near Witch (review here). I loved it, and was sad that it wasn't going to be published in the UK! I then saw that Victoria was releasing a second book, The Archived, which I thought sounded amaaaazing. But, by that point, I had made it a general rule to not buy US hardbacks of a book I hadn't read and so, with no UK publisher, despite all the temptation, I didn't buy it.

Naturally then, I was THRILLED when I saw Vicious had found a UK home with Tor! *Excellent*, I would finally get to re-experience a Victoria Schwab book. I once again resisted all temptation to buy the US hardback, despite preferring the cover and despite being almost-100% sure I would love it. I ended up borrowing it off my friend Daphne and yes, I loved it. I bought a UK copy. And a US hardcover. And I bought The Archived (IN HARDBACK), thus breaking one of my only book-buying rules. And it was so worth it. The Archived was everything I expected and more. 

Victoria's books are so unique, so imaginative. They fit in genres, but they defy convention. They remind me of books by Maggie Stiefvater; with beautiful, elegant prose that seems both natural and yet so carefully cultivated, characters that you're convinced must exist, somewhere, because they're so full of life, and plotlines that aren't driven by trends or fads, but are a result of the stories spilling out of an incredibly talented individual. 

Every single book is different, in terms of the characters in it and the plotline of it, but they're bound together by a ribbon of creativity and atmosphere; all her books feel the same. I don't mean they make you feel the same way, they just...feel the same. Different from anything else, absorbing, imaginative, genuine. 

Victoria is one of those rare authors I've found where her books are, somehow, larger than the sum of their parts. Yes, the books are about what the blurb says they're about, but no blurb could ever capture the sheer magical nature of these books, nor the captivating experience they provide. I absolutely urge you to pick up any of Victoria Schwab's books, and I defy you not to enjoy it. 

Monday, 3 February 2014

January wrap up post

My first wrap up post of 2014! I haven't done one of these in a fact, I've neglected my blog a little bit lately. I'm gonna work on that :)

In January I read:

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Balefire: A Chalice of Wind by Cate Tiernan
Balefire: A  Circle of Ashes by Cate Tiernan
Balefire: A Feather of Stone by Cate Tiernan
Balefire: A Necklace of Water by Cate Tiernan
Dead Silent by Sharon Jones*
Tease by Amanda Maciel*
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger*
Sesame Seade Mysteries: Gargoyles Gone AWOL by Clementine Beauvais*
Vicious by Victoria Schwab
Rock War by Robert Muchamore*

Favourite book of January:

Vicious by Victoria Schwab. I loved this book SO much. It was intricate and beautifully written and so ambiguous. I absolutely adored it. It's a new favourite of mine.

Books acquired in January:

Vicious by Victoria Schwab
The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

eBooks bought:
Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr 

I actually first borrowed Vicious off Daphne, but I loved it so much I had to buy my own copy (I also bought the US hardback, but it hasn't arrived yet). As I also loved The Near Witch when I read it a few years ago, I decided to splurge and get the hardback of The Archived as well. 

Waterstones had 20% off this weekend, so Stacey, Daphne and I went to the Gower St store (which is lovely and very maze-like) and I bought a paperback of Fangirl (to match my US hardback) and a copy of The Fiery Heart which I've been looking forward to reading for months, this is the first time I've seen it in a bookshop! Technically I bought these on the first day of Feb, but included  them in this wrap up anyway.

The only Kindle book I bought this month was Taste of Darkness, which I managed to grab for 99p. Was pretty pleased as I really like this series! I was thrilled to get my hands on this beautiful vintage-inspired edition of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which the wonderful Casey bought for me as a gift. 

Thoughts on the month:

I'm really pleased with how many books I read this month and what those books were. It's been an insanely busy month at work, but I still managed 12 books! 5 of those were books from work, of which I'm trying to read more. I absolutely loved them, and the more books of ours I read, the prouder I am to work for Hachette Children's. I can't wait for Dead Silent, Tease and Rock War to publish for everyone to be able to read them as well! I also read the Balefire series which I've been meaning to read for YEARS, and Lola which would have been my favourite book of the month if it weren't for Vicious

Most excited for in February: Banished by Liz de Jager. I've been anticipating this book for months, I adore Urban Fantasy and Liz is a totally awesome person. I cannot wait to read it. 

How did you do this month, and what are you most excited for in February?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

My Best Books of 2013

I can't believe we're in 2014! I'm a little late with this, but here it is nonetheless. My favourite 10 books of 2013:

I love Maggie Stiefvater's books and this is no exception. There was so much character development in the second instalment of the The Raven Cycle, especially on Ronan's part, and it was told with Maggie's characteristic beautiful style. Cannot wait to see where this series goes.

I was a bit late to the Grisha party, only reading Shadow & Bone this year, ahead of the release of the sequel, but both books definitely deserve their place on my list. I love the Russian-inspired feel and, of course, The Darkling (and let's not lie, Sturmhond). Totally addictive reading.

I'm a little ashamed to admit I haven't read many of Neil Gaiman's books. I found The Graveyard Book to be totally unexpected: weird, whimsical, yet oddly touching. I got a little lump in my throat at the end and, embarrassingly, I was on the tube at the time.

The Kate Daniels series is one I've been aware of for many years but only read, twice actually, this year. I don't know why I waited so long because it is perfect for me, urban fantasy at it's best with a kick-arse female protagonist, a hostile, magic-filled world and the slowest of slow-burning romances. 

A real surprise for me, I genuinely didn't expect to like this book much, I read it purely because every single one of my favourite authors has, at some point or another, recommended it on Twitter. I was immediately drawn in and totally bowled over by this stunning and emotional read. 

This list is full of surprises. Full of the books I didn't think I'd even like and then ended up loving. Maybe they're more memorable somehow, or maybe they're all just awesome. Geek Girl is one of those awesome book series; it's just so completely appealing. It's funny (genuinely, really funny) with likeable, memorable characters and a perfect level of emotional depth. The blogosphere has completely embraced Holly Smale and her books and so have I.

The 1950s New Orleans setting really appealed to me and it was gritty and atmospheric and absolutely perfect for this emotional mystery, full of interesting characters.

 Yet another surprise. I don't think I can express to you how much I am addicted to this series. I've made bloggers read it. I've made my boyfriend read it. I feel like sometimes, it's all I talk about. It's a masterpiece of middle grade fiction. Please, go and read them. No, seriously, READ THEM. 

One of the few 2013 debut novels I read, but definitely one of the best books I read last year. Magical and melodious with complex and interesting characters in a complex and interesting world. Fearsome Dreamer is a favourite amongst my favourites 

2013 was the year of Rainbow Rowell.While Attachments had been out a few years and E&P was released in the UK last year, 2013 is the year that RR really exploded in popularity. I read all three of Rainbow's books last year, and I just feel awed and the amount of emotion she managed to pack into all her books: from bittersweet young love, to fond nostalgia, you will literally experience everything ever with Rainbow's books. If you haven't already, I urge you to read them. All of them.  

What were your best books of 2013?

Monday, 16 December 2013

Three mini reviews: The Dream Thieves, The Pirate's Wish, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater 
Release date: 5th September 2013
Publisher: Scholastic 

Goodreads synopsis:

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. 

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. 

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

My thoughts:

The Dream Thieves was everything I could have hoped for in a sequel to The Raven Boys, one of my favourite Maggie Stiefvater books. Brimming full of character development, plot development and Maggie’s characteristically lovely prose, The Dream Thieves was an absolute delight to read. Whilst I was drawn to Gansey, I do have a soft spot for Ronan so I loved the focus on his story in this book, which revealed things about him that had previously been very well hidden and which totally tugged at my heartstrings. I loved to see the development of the Gansey/Blue element, and was unnerved yet intrigued by the emergence of a darker side to sweet boy Adam. The Dream Thieves is a book that invokes every emotion along the spectrum and left me desperate for more. 


Release date: 18th June 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Goodreads synopsis:

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword and their wits. But Naji has unseen enemies, and Ananna must face the wrath of the Pirate Confederation.

Together, they must travel afar, defeat their foes and break the mother of all curses. With all this going on, falling in love would be such a bad idea... All of this and much, much more await, in the swashbuckling sequel to The Assassin's Curse.

My thoughts:

I waited a very long time to read The Pirate’s Wish, despite really enjoying The Assassin’s Curse. Mostly because I couldn’t find it in any bookshop anywhere! Then I saw it in my library one day, and I ran over and snatched it up (no, I literally did) and I read it that day. It was exactly what I’d hoped for. I love how Ananna and Naji are real people: they get moody and sulky and have little bursts of anger and jealousy and all those other messy emotions. I loved what happened with the three impossible tasks and how the ended was so normal, despite this being a fantasy world of pirates and assassins and kingdoms. I liked how it wasn’t fairy-tale, it was real life. Also big shout out to the manticore, who totally stole the show.


Release date: (this edition) 2nd August 2013
Publisher: (this edition) Vintage Children's Classics

Goodreads synopsis:

Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?

My thoughts:

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase felt very Dahl-esque even though (I’m pretty sure) it was published before Dahl. Full of brave, intrepid and determined kids and with the adults split into kind and helpful, or dastardly and villainous, and that slightly whimsically old-fashioned narrative style, I was completely charmed. The beautiful cover totally helped with that. Full of peril, misfortune and down-right injustice but with a blissfully lovely ending, The Wolves off Willoughby Chase is a perfect children’s book.