Features · Literary Lists

Literacy Lists: Fairies

With the release of ‘The Queen Of Nothing’ this month I immediately knew that my topic had to be fairies this time around. It was a list that I found easy enough to make – I have a few fairy books that I treasure and quite a few more on my TBR. In fact I actually think that I’ll probably revisit this topic in the future as there are still so many fantastic sounding books about the fae out there! And, thanks to my addiction to them, I feel as if I want to read them all.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Most people tend to instantly think of Holly Black when they hear the word ‘fairy’ but for me there are two queens of the fae & Melissa Marr is the other one. Wicked Lovely is the book that got me into fairy in the first place; the mixture of beauty and danger, desire and fear within these books is spot on for it’s subject matter. This is also one series that I definitely plan on re-reading soon; firstly because I love it and it’s way overdue a re-read and secondly because… a new prequel novel is in the works!!!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

This is another series that I’ve read, adored and hope to re-read soon. I love the mix of characters involved in this story; some of them so easily stole my heart and made me smile. Another factor that I adore with these books is the way that technology infects the magical world; it’s ingenious and I love it!

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Yes another series that I’ve read (when it comes to the fae I feel that maybe I’m more up to date than usual?) besides the very last book which I plan to get to, after yet another re-read, soon. I adore these books for so many reasons. The main one I suppose is the central character because who doesn’t love reading about Artemis Fowl and his somewhat villainous exploits? A criminal mastermind makes a superb central character. And the fairies in this series are quite unique once again. There’s also a spin off series that released earlier this month and a movie coming next year. So if you haven’t already read this sadly overlooked series I suggest you give it a go now!

The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black

The first book on this list that I still need to read (to save me repeating this fact I’ll point out now that all the remaining books, other than the last one are on my TBR still) but I definitely plan to soon. It’s written for a younger audience than most on here but I just know that I need to read everything that Holly Black has written about fairies at least once. Plus I’ve seen the movie and, from what I remember, I actually quite enjoyed it.

The Various by Steve Augarde

I brought this book when I found it in a charity shop for two simple reasons; number one) it’s about the fae & number two) it had received a Smarties award which immediately made me think of Harry Potter. So yes I definitely need to get on with this book soon and I’m really looking forward to seeing exactly what it turns out like.

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Firstly the cover for this book is absolutely stunning! Secondly the story within it sounds amazing. The fairies within it sound like exactly the sort that I get intoxicated by and I just adore the reasons for them coveting creative individuals. I need to read this one ASAP too! I think at this rate I should just have a fairy inspired reading month?

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Earlier this year I brought all three books in this series so I really hope that I enjoy them as much as I expect to. The setting -Edinburgh 1844 in high society is enough to entice me on it’s own. Throw in fairies – who are murderous to boot – and I’m 100% sold. This book sounds amazing and I can not wait to read it.

The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope

I first learnt about this book when reading a Goodreads interview with Holly Black (if you’re interested the link is here). When she described it as having ‘one of the best faerie queens I’ve ever read’ I just knew that I had to read it. This book also gets bonus points for being set during Tudor times and mentioning Mary Tudor. I love that time period after all so combine that with fairies and I am naturally going to be excited.

A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I NEED to read these books ASAP; Sarah J. Maas and the world of the fae sounds like a match made in heaven. I honestly feel like these books are made for me so how on earth have I not picked them up yet? I fully intend to by the end of the year – fingers crossed – as I love, love, LOVE, the sound of these and have heard some fantastic things about them.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

So obviously this book was going to be on this list somewhere, the subject matter is in honor of the third one’s release after all. I guess it then goes without saying that I adore this book. The characters, the take on the fae and the world are all phenomenal. I love Jude and Cardan so, so much. There are others in this series that have gotten under my skin so badly thanks to their actions and just… honestly this is a perfect take on the fae. It blends beauty and brutality so brilliantly and just… I CAN NOT WAIT TO GET ON WITH BOOK THREE!!!

So there you have it, ten fae books that I’ve either read already and loved or am desperate to read. I’m definitely revisiting this topic in the future as there are some other truly amazing sounding ones that I haven’t had a chance to mention yet.

What are you favourite books about the fae? Do you love them as much as me? Are they a favourite supernatural being of yours or is something else? As always let me know in the comments as I’d love the chance to chat with you. And please do share any fae recommendations that you have; my TBR may be massive but it will always have more space for fairies.

Reviews

Book Review: Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

‘Then Natalie saw the very last thing she was expecting to see here, in The Kiln, in Shanamore.
     A picture of her own face smiling up at her.’

‘Rewind’ is my second Catherine Ryan Howard book but it certainly won’t be my last based on my experience with her work so far. This book was tremendously well written and pretty hard to put down due to its twisty, compelling plot. What really stood out to me in this book though was the characters.

There was quite a variety of people in this book – more than I’d expected, in fact, before picking the novel up – and each and every one of them felt real. In some of these cases this was actually pretty disturbing considering what the people in question were like. There were a number of creepy and unsettling characters in this book and that, in itself, was enough to keep me guessing. Several people had the potential to be the killer who’d been captured on tape and each of them had some sort of motive too. It honestly was a little bit unnerving how realistically written some of these people were but it wasn’t just the more disturbing individuals who felt fleshed out and believable, everybody in this book did. The central character was well written with an interesting backstory and the same applies to the reporter involved too. I honestly didn’t feel like there was a weak character in the book which definitely added to the story.

Considering the unusual way that ‘Rewind’ is written I’m not sure if some people would struggle slightly although if this is the case, and you do feel a little lost when starting the book, I honestly would urge you to carry on. There are a fair few points of view to follow, in varying timelines, but each of them is vital to the story and just incredibly well written. The odd timeline involved really works for the story that is told and I really enjoyed it. It allowed for twists and turns from several points in time to be revealed at various places throughout the story. The way that social media is portrayed in this book was also quite unsettling at times. It felt spot on, considering Natalie’s background, but it really highlighted some of the dangers of sharing too much of yourself online.

As a whole everything came together really well and was tied up wonderfully. I did guess who the killer was but at the same time I wasn’t entirely confident in my guess. I had several theories and there were quite a few big reveals along the way so this didn’t particularly take away from the overall enjoyment of the novel for me. The one thing that did lessen my enjoyment slightly however is a slight continuity error towards the end. There were two, technically, but one was pretty minor and I would have overlooked. The second of these, though, didn’t really impact upon the overall story or change the fact that everything came together well but it did grate on me slightly. It basically comes down to someone claiming not to have a phone and then, several pages later, stating that they do have one. In the circumstances of the conversation it did irritate me that this wasn’t picked up on; especially as, to avoid such an error, all that had to be said instead in the first conversation was that they didn’t have their phone with them (and I did go back to check that I wasn’t mistaken about this not being the case). Still as I said this didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story too much, hence the still high rating.

Overall I’d definitely recommend this book for its compelling storyline and incredibly well written characters. It was a very hard book to put down pretty much from page one and I can’t wait to see what the author writes next; whatever it is I’m sure I’ll be reading it.

Check out Rewind on Goodreads here.

Trigger Warnings:Violent/Graphic Murder Scene, Pedophilia and Stalking.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Features · Places To Visit

Five Places To Visit At Halloween

Sorry that this post is late after my illness then connectivity issues last month. As it was written up I thought I may as well still post it however.

As it’s Halloween this month I thought it was only fitting to make my list all about attractions that are perfect to visit at this time of year. I have to admit that there are two on here that I’m pretty sure I’d freak out at and wouldn’t handle very well (looking into them they sound terrifying!) but I decided to keep them on this list as they certainly fit in with this month’s theme.

Once again all of the images here are of semi-related gifs, rather than the actual places but each of the titles links to the locations mentioned so you can learn plenty more by clicking on them and also see what the places in question look like.

Muncaster Castle

What could make a better Halloween destination than a haunted castle? There are quite a lot to choose from if you wish to visit one but, in this post, I’m going to focus on Muncaster Castle as it has an array of attractions that could appeal to a mixture of people and is said to be one of Britain’s most haunted castles.

Firstly, of course, there’s the castle itself which has a lot of ghostly rumors surrounding it. A lot of these tales revolve around Tom Fool – a spirit who is said to play tricks on family, staff and visitors. It’s also said that footsteps can be heard in corridors, door handles turn, a woman sings and that a child can frequently be heard crying towards the window end of the Tapestry Room. There’s also a fair few stories that mention the ‘Muncaster Boggle’ or White Lady – a ghost that is said to haunt the gardens and roadways around Muncaster. So this is one castle that certainly has its fair share of ghostly tales. And, at Halloween, you can even go on a special theatrical tour.

Also in the castle at Halloween they have a lot of information about witches on offer – including mentions of spells, potions, charms and folklore. Because who doesn’t love learning about witches?

Then there are the grounds that are surely nice to visit at any time of year with their 77 acres of woodlands and gardens.

They have a ‘Monster Cabaret’ which features entertainment, including fire juggling shows after dark.

There’s a Hawk & Owl Centre which sometimes offers different shows.

Lantern making and other crafts are on offer (some for a price).

And they have their own scary maze to venture into too.

Other haunted castles include: Chillingham Castle, Croft Castle & Warkworth Castle but honestly there are loads. If you search for ‘haunted castles’ on Google you can find plenty, a fair few detailing exactly who the ghosts are suspected of being.

The London Dungeons

Okay so I’ve wanted to visit the London Dungeons for a while but honestly? I’m too much of a wimp to go there. I also don’t think I’d cope well with some of the guest interaction involved (I have social anxiety and if I was called upon as an unwilling volunteer I’d definitely want to flee). Scratch that looking it up for this post I definitely don’t think I’d cope but it’s staying on this list because honestly? It does sound like the perfect Halloween attraction.

The London Dungeons is an attraction with 19 live shows and 2 rides including the Tyrant Boat Ride (a water ride where you join Anne Boleyn on her final journey to the Tower Of London), shows involving Mrs Lovett & Sweeney Todd and a whole lot of other shows and information about figures including Guy Fawkes and Jack The Ripper and events such as the Great Fire Of London and the plague.

And exclusively for Halloween they have ‘Hide and Seek’; a new seasonal show where you can come eye to eye with one of London’s most infamous characters.

The London Bridge Experience & Tombs

This is another attraction that I don’t think I could cope with but needs to be mentioned on a list all about places to visit at Halloween. Read on and I’m sure you’ll discover why.

Okay so this is from The 100, not Boudica, but it was the closest I could find when I failed to find any gifs of her. That said there is a show that features Boudica called ‘Barbarian Rising’.

During the London Bridge Experience you can learn a lot of history and hear a fair few tales of terror. The bridge itself has seen everything from murder and intrigue to collapse, fire and so much more. Figures featured in this experience are Queen Boudica’s Iceni tribe, Jack The Ripper, Ben Crouch and The Keeper Of The Heads…based on history can you figure out what he does? There’s the Chapel of Thomas Becket to pass through before arriving on the shop lined streets of London Bridge – just as the Great Fire of London takes hold. After that it’s onto The Tombs… The tombs have been crowned the UK’s scariest attraction and really, what says Halloween better than that? It’s a scare maze with walls that drip blood and house an array of unspeakable horrors including evil clowns, nesting spiders and a manic butcher.

Afterwards – if you need a sweet treat to get your nerve back – there’s a Creams Cafe to visit serving treats such as crepes, waffles, gelato and milkshakes.

Longleat

As far as I’m concerned Longleat is the perfect place to visit at any time of year. The safari with its big cats, giraffes, zebras, elephant, rhinos, monkeys (if you’re brave enough to take your car through their enclosure) and so much more is just amazing. I adore the Jungle Cruise and the chance that it brings to see the sea lions. Then there’s a vast range of other animals to see too ranging from otters, meerkats and red pandas to the recent addition of koalas and a whole host of other creatures too. There’s also a maze, if you enjoy getting lost within them. And, of course, the house.

At Halloween, for an additional charge, you have the opportunity to join in with one of Longleat’s ghost tours and take a trip through unseen cellars, up into attics and down dark corridors. You’ll get a chance to hear stories of the Grey Lady who is said to wander the house in search of her murdered lover. It’s an experience involving live actors and comes with this warning:

‘You’ll hear all about Longleat’s ghostly residents but be careful not to disturb the dead… Who knows what might happen if you do.’

As well as the house tours there are a range of activities for younger visitors – like pumpkin carving – and giant pumpkins dotted around. There’s also an opportunity to see a parliament of owls in their daily displays.

As stated above I’d love to visit Longleat at any time of year but I’m actually really intrigued by their ghost tours. It’s a chance to see rooms that you never normally enter and hear chilling tales at the same time.

Disneyworld & Universal Studios

Is there really any better way to celebrate Halloween than by taking a trip to Hogwarts of all places? The chances of me getting to do so are practically non existant but I just had to include these attractions on this list. The main thing that draws me to this place is the Wizarding World which I would just love to visit. There’s Hogwarts, Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade to explore; there’s a chance to go on a few themed rides and to enter the places that you read about in the books and saw on screen. Locations include Gringotts, Honeydukes (because who doesn’t want sweets at this time of year?) Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Ollivanders to name just a few. You also have a chance to take a trip on the Hogwarts Express. And just yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes; I’d so love to visit here for this side of things alone.

Yet there’s more at the Universal and Disney parks than just the Wizarding side of things. Between all of their many parks there is one hell of a lot to see and do. Obviously there are a lot of rollercoasters and other fantastically themed rides, some of which I just know I’d adore. There are rides that inspired movies and rides that are based on films. Jungle Cruise comes out next year based on one of their rides too. There’s lots of Marvel themed attractions and a couple of Jurassic Park ones to explore. There’s also a water park and various different shows. And animals; I just love seeing them so obviously I notice when they’re listed on an attraction’s website.

For Halloween specifically Disney has some added extras including its own Halloween parade and a show featuring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from Hocus Pocus! (Looking this up may have been a mistake as now I’m desperate to go there).

Universal Orlando says it ‘takes fear to the max’ with its Halloween Horror Nights. This year the 80s return along with some of the biggest frights of the era. There are 10(!) haunted houses to make your way through and five different scare zones. Not to mention the live entertainment that takes place as well. Some of their haunted houses include one featuring horror classics: Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman; a Ghostbusters one and even a Stranger Things one. I still need to watch the show (I know, I have no idea how I haven’t started it yet) but I imagine that a lot of people would love the chance to visit it.


Have you been to any of the places mentioned here? Do you want to – at Halloween or at any other time of year. What do you like to do at this time of year? Let me know in the comments.

Tags

Book Blogging Firsts Tag

Hey (: yes it’s another tag, this time all about my blogging firsts. Thank you so much to Lauren @ Twenty Seven Letters for tagging me to do this tag. Make sure you check out her answers, along with the rest of her wonderful page.

I haven’t been blogging very long at all – only for a couple of months now– so in some ways I guess you could argue that it’s too soon to be doing a tag like this. As it’s all about blogging firsts my answers aren’t exactly going to change though and, even after this short time, I’m quite looking forward to looking back at my blogging experiences.

First blog name and design?

My names stayed the same so it is, and always has been, Bewitching Books, Ravenous Reads. I guess in some ways the name was one of the hardest parts to start with because how on earth do you come up with a blog name? Or a book name for that matter; I have no idea how authors come up with those! I started off by trying to think of what it should be about which was simple enough: books and reading. Then I started trying to think of alliteration involving both of those because, when in doubt, turn to alliteration :L I really liked the sound of both bewitching books and ravenous reads but wasn’t sure which to pick. I toyed with the idea of adding a few more words in with either but then ultimately decided that I was happiest with them together because for me books are bewitching and what’s better than a read that makes you dive into it’s pages ravenously?

As for my design… well it hasn’t had a chance to change yet either. I use the ‘Button’ theme on WordPress and got my background from Toptal Subtle Patterns . I’ve tried to use a couple of vectors as page breaks too and would love to edit some as blog post headers some time but I have to say that they’re a total nightmare to edit for me. The recommended program causes my computer to freeze and they don’t open correctly in my version of Photoshop so yes, it’s challenging. Plus my editing skills are abysmal.

First blog post?

My first blog post was my book review for The Cruel Prince which I’ll mention in slightly more detail in the next question since that’s focused on reviews.

My first non-review post was Quarterly Catch Up: First Edition which is a bit of a monster of a post length wise. It starts with my top ten books which I wanted to read last year but still need to hurry up and get on with! It’s then got the release posts for the first three months of the year which basically explains the length. Then it finishes with a few of the slightly older books that I most want to read and the series that I’m desperate to re-read or finish. So basically it’s a lot of book lists rolled into one.

I feel like technically my first post was Most Anticipated Reads 2019 though. That’s the post that made me want to start blogging and the page that I worked on first. I made the mistake of posting it as a page rather than a post though.

First book review?

As I said above my first blog post was actually a review but I thought I’d save the details for this question. I saw Readers First mentioned in a book that I was reading and was very tempted to try it out but continually put it off, I guess because the idea of writing a review seemed daunting? Then, when I checked one day, I saw that The Cruel Prince was coming up as a potential book to receive a copy of and that changed everything. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year so I absolutely had to try and get a copy. Then when I found out I was going to receive one I was literally jumping for joy. So The Cruel Prince ended up being the first book that I ever reviewed and is the reason that I joined Goodreads, rather than just browsing it without having an actual account. It’s also the first that I posted on here because I started the year off with The Folk Of The Air series as The Wicked King had just came out.

You can read my review for it here.

First meme participated in?

Although I’ve seen some pretty amazing ones I haven’t actually participated in one yet. There are definitely some that I’m tempted to try out – I just can’t seem to decide which one to go for tbh. One day, hopefully, I’ll take part in one. I love seeing other people’s posts about the ones they’re involved in after all. Eventually I think I will try out the ABC Book Challenge but I think that’s classified as more of a challenge/tag? The Friday Face off is another that I’m tempted to take part in though; I love comparing all of the different covers of the same book that are out there.

First discussion post?

My first discussion post is: Is It Unusual To Prefer Reading Reviews Of Books That You’ve Read?. I feel like the title is pretty self explanatory as to what it’s about. I wrote it partially as a discussion but also partially as an explanation since I always feel a little guilty if I don’t read every review that I see. Sometime I have reasons not to do so though which are explained in that post. So yes the explanation part of it was a big reason for posting that particular post but I wanted it for it’s discussion elements too as I was genuinely curious as to whether anyone else felt the same as me?

First book blog I followed?

So I was going to say that I wasn’t 100% sure as I was looking at several people’s blogs at roughly the same time when I first started out. I think that the blogs that I’m following are listed in order though so I’m fairly confident that the first book blog that I followed is Spines That Shine. I loved reading the reviews that I found on there and I’ve also got to say that their Bookstagram photographs are gorgeous! There are some absolutely fabulous book reviews over on that blog so you should definitely check it out if you haven’t done so already.

First follower?

Does this mean overall or follower who is a book blogger as the last question wanted one of those? My first two followers seemed to happen pretty much together. The first was Lucid Being – Ash who’s page is full of absolutely stunning pictures, followed very closely by Ailish Sinclair who has a couple of fascinating sounding books coming out so you should definitely check their pages out to learn more. The first book blogger to follow me is the same as I mentioned in the previous question Spines That Shine.

First book I read because of other bloggers?

Is it bad to say that I haven’t got any books that fit this question yet? I’ve added plenty of books to my TBR since starting because of other bloggers but so far haven’t had a chance to read any of them yet. So, as I don’t have a true example, I’m going to make a guess at what my first book based on a blogger will be. And that is either Red, White & Royal Blue or The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo. Since starting out I’ve seen so much hype about those two books that I’m definitely going to have to check them out. I just haven’t done so yet as I’ve been struggling a little with reading plus there are so many other books that I’m already desperate to read too.


So those are my blogging firsts; hopefully I’ll get the two that I haven’t truly done yet sorted out soon as well.

Once again thank you so much to Lauren for tagging me in this post, I really appreciate it and I loved reading your answers. I especially enjoyed the background story to your blog name!

I Tag:
Emma @ AFCTL
Madison @ Madison’s Inkwell
& Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books

Obviously, as always, there is absolutely no pressure to do this tag; I’m just rather curious about your blogging background stories. If anyone else wants to do this tag then go ahead. Or share some of your own answers in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Reviews

Book Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

If she’d been a social butterfly, they would have said she liked to drink away her pain. If she’d been a straight-A student, they would have said she’d been eaten alive by her perfectionism. There were always excuses for why girls died.

Before starting Ninth House I wasn’t sure how much magic to expect from the novel. I knew that it mentioned secret societies and occult activities but I wasn’t entirely sure where these would go; whether the magic would be something that you could see or ritualistic; whether the main character would believe in such things or not. So to pick up this book and receive a world where there were many different societies, each specializing in different types of magic, and where ghosts walked the earth was a rather pleasant surprise. The magical and mystical worked superbly within the pages of Ninth House and I absolutely adored the world that Leigh Bardugo created. Academia blended with the supernatural so seamlessly that it felt like a world that truly could exist. The writing was brilliant too although I will admit that at the start of the novel there were quite a lot of references that I couldn’t place and as a result it did take me a little while to get into the flow of the story. Once I was hooked it was hard to put this book down though.

The characters in this book were wonderfully well thought out and developed. Alex was a bit hard to relate to at times, perhaps due to how she hid her true self away, but I definitely felt for her given everything that she’d endured over the years. I loved the way that she wanted to stand up for ‘girls like her’. All of her past – everything that made her the person that she is today – was just terrifically well thought out and detailed too. My favourite character was definitely Darlington; somehow over the course of the novel I came to love his character so much. And with time I came to enjoy Dawes character too, along with several other surprising individuals. The villains from this book deserve a mention too because they were just superb. Like the other characters they were well written with fleshed out motivations and, when shared, interesting back stories.

The story itself was incredibly well plotted and thought out. Everything came together in a way that I wouldn’t have seen coming and kept me guessing from page one. As stated above once I was hooked it was hard to put this book down and that’s so true – once the story got going this book was utterly compelling. The plot, the characters, the magic… everything just came together so wonderfully. I loved learning about Lethe and the other houses; I love reading snippets of their history too. This book is incredibly dark at times though too so please bare that in mind and, if you have any triggers, I’d definitely recommend checking out the trigger warnings.

Altogether I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ninth House and found myself glued to its pages, wanting to unravel exactly what was going on. After the ending I definitely can’t wait for book two to come out, I have a feeling that with it’s possible setting it’ll be even more addictive than the first book in the series. So yes I recommend this book if you’re looking for a dark, atmospheric mystery with a surprisingly varied cast of characters.

Check out Ninth House on Goodreads here.

I’m aware that some people may find these warnings potentially spoiling so click the link below if you want to know them in advance. Also sorry if I missed any; I have tried to at least include the ones that majorly stood out to me.

Trigger Warnings:Sexual Assault, Rape (including of a minor), Drug Use, Overdoses, Consumption Of Bodily Fluids, Death, Murder, Drowning & Extreme Violence/Gore.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Tags

The Summer Bucket List Tag

It’s time for another tag and I’ve got to say that  initially this one couldn’t be any more perfectly timed in all honesty. Firstly I was tagged bang in the middle of a heatwave (although now it’s pretty much constant rain) and secondly it follows on perfectly from my last tag as well since that one was all about spring cleaning. Now it’s Fall  but I still love this tag so, finally, here it is.

Thank you so, so much Emma @ AFCTL for tagging me to do this post. If you haven’t done so already you should definitely check out her wonderful page, along with her fantastic answers to this set of prompts. Continue reading “The Summer Bucket List Tag”

Features · Monthly Book Releases

My Most Anticipated November Releases:

Hello and welcome to my most anticipated releases of November. I’m back to my usual top five this month after picking ten over the last two release heavy months.

Queen Of Nothing comes out soon and I literally can not wait for it! My top five are always the first books in new series or standalones but if that wasn’t the case it would definitely feature at the top of this page. I prefer to keep all sequels separate however. But anyway, on to this month’s book releases.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Be careful of the dark, dark wood . . .

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago. 

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. 

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Queen Of The Conquered by Kacen Callender

Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people—and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.

When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.

Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

The Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

November Sequels:

Hero by Michael Grant
Song Of The Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
Tears Of Frost by Bree Barton
Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan
Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf
Supernova by Marissa Meyer
Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
Deadly Little Scandals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Realm Of Ash by Tasha Suri
The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
The Queen Of Nothing by Holly Black
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson

Other November Releases That I’m Looking Forward To:

Sisters Of Shadow And Light by Sara B. Larson
Songs From The Deep by Kelly Powell
A Constellation Of Roses by Miranda Asebedo
Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas
Poppy Redfern And The Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen
Across A Broken Shore by Amy Trueblood
A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price
The How & The Why by Cynthia Hand
Every Stolen Breath by Kimberly Gabriel
Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner
Crown Of Oblivion by Julie Eshbaugh
Coral by Sara Ella
Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
Day Zero by Kelly deVos
Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian

As I said above Queen Of Nothing is the sequel that I’m most excited about and I can not wait to read it!!! Unfortunately that is the only series mentioned here that I’ve started so far. I do plan to read GOPAF soon though and, as I keep hearing about Scythe everywhere, hopefully I can get that series read fairly soon. I’d also love to start Julie C. Dao’s series too and… Well most of them tbh.

What are your most anticipated November releases? Have you read any of them yet; if so which would you most recommend? Let me know and, of course, I hope you all enjoy your reading.

Features · Literary Lists

Literacy Lists: Witches

Firstly fingers crossed that I’m back now. They do still seem to have people working on various things in the road on and off though so if I run into any further connectivity issues I’ll keep you all in the loop.

So it’s October and I couldn’t think of a better theme for this month than witches. Admittedly I could also have gone for vampires, especially as The Beautiful has just came out, or scary stories in general but I’m in the mood for a witchy list and am always on the lookout for new suggestions of stories that features them. Here’s ten of the ones that immediately spring to mind for me; if you know any others then I’d love to hear them.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales Of Witchery by Various Authors

What better way to start off this list than with a collection of new witchy tales? These stories include works by authors that I’ve enjoyed in the past as well as others whose books are on my TBR. Plus the stories in it sound so intriguing. How could I not want to read a book that states that ‘Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.’

A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This book has been on my TBR forever so I’m determined to finally get on with it soon. I tried watching the show but couldn’t fully get into it but I found the characters and world interesting enough that, despite my experience, it only heightened my desire to pick up these books. Witches, vampires & daemons; how have I not read this already?

Witches Of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

I’m that terrible reader (at least lately) whose seen the show but not read the book in this case. I adored the television series however so obviously I want to pick up this book. With witches in it who can resurrect people from the dead, see the future and cure most any heartache this sounds like an interesting read even if the show hadn’t brought it to my attention however.

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I found this within it’s Goodreads description: ‘For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife and a wicked scar.’ How could I not want to read it after that? A world where witches are hunted and burned though; where there’s an ancient war between the witches and the church; where a witch ends up married to a witch hunter… I need to read this!!

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

This sounds like such a thrilling book (and I own a copy of it, along with two others in the series). A world where a genetically engineered virus killed half of the world’s human population and exposed creatures of dreams and nightmares that had lived in secret until then. A witch whose used to confronting criminal vampires, dark witches and homicidal werewolves. A main character whose marked for death unless she can appease her former employers… I need to get on with this one soon!

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Okay so I don’t think this book actually contains witches but I’m pretty sure that they come into the series in later books. At least that’s what I’ve been led to conclude based on the show and, as I haven’t yet read book one, I felt that this had to be the one that I mentioned. If this series is anything like it’s television adaptation I’m just going to absolutely adore it’s witches. They left me addicted to the show and just… someone please tell me they’re similar whenever they appear?

Black Witch by Laurie Forest

This is another book that I own and still need to read! It sounds fantastic though and just like the sort of book that I could fall for. The granddaughter of a famous witch who saved her people is utterly devoid of power. It doesn’t take her long after being given the opportunity to attend a prestigious school to find out that it’s a very dangerous place for her. Just my sort of book! Plus the quote on the cover – what dark power is it in her veins? Another I need to pick up ASAP

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

The time-span of this book sounds incredible; there’s such a range of times and places mentioned in the blurb and just… wow it sounds good. I need to know more about this creation that causes it’s creator’s own destruction and torments each of her descendants in turn. I fully intend to read this sometime; although I must confess that if Goodreads is correct then I find it’s size slightly daunting :L

The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston

Part historical romance, part modern fantasy – I’m sure this book will be interesting to say the least. I love the sound of both timelines and can’t wait to learn more about Gideon. A warlock with the power to make someone immortal who then goes on to hunt her across time… simply put it sounds brilliant.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

This book definitely has different witchy vibes than most here but I couldn’t make a book about witches without including this series, could I? It’s easily one of my all time favorite series and I love everything about it so much. The world, the characters, the magic, the danger… everything.


So those are some of the witchy books that I love the sound of. Hopefully I’ll get some of them read soon and naturally I’ve already read the Harry Potter series on numerous occasions. Have you read any of these books? Do you have any other suggestions of witchy reads for me? Or even shows and films… I generally end up enjoying most things featuring witches. Let me know in the comments section below (:

Reviews

Book Review: Hex Life by Various Authors

These are tales of wickedness… stories of evil and cunning, written by today’s women you should fear. Includes tales from Kelley Armstong, Rachel Caine and Sherrilyn Kenyon, writing in their own bestselling universes.

Hex Life: Wicked New Tales of Witchery will take the classic tropes of tales of witchcraft and infuse them with fresh, feminist perspective and present-day concerns–even if they’re set in the past. These witches might be monstrous, or they might be heroes, depending on their own definitions. Even the kind hostess with the candy cottage thought of herself as the hero of her own story. After all, a woman’s gotta eat.

Bring out your dread.

‘They remember their own fathers warning them to stay out of the woods or the witch would eat them up, build herself a bed with the bones.
She has killed those who cross her.
She has scared men to death.
If you’re out in the woods at night and you hear her song, it’ll be the last sound you ever know.
But the stories, they’re all half-truths.’

Although a little different than I originally expected it to be (a lot more of the stories in this collection were chilling than I’d anticipated) Hex Life is probably the best anthology that I’ve picked up so far. To be fair I do generally enjoy short story collections but this one really stood out to me as a particularly good one. Normally with these sorts of collections it’s easy to pick out the tales that you loved best and the ones that underwhelmed you but in this one every story stood surprisingly strongly. I honestly don’t think there was a bad one within the whole bunch. There were naturally some that I liked better than others still but picking out favourites in this collection is incredibly hard.

Firstly each and every one of the stories in Hex Life are incredibly well written; most of them creating spectacular atmospheres that easily reel the reader in. The settings and types of stories vary greatly – something that makes them quite hard to compare – and all of them left me wanting to check out more of the various author’s works. The range of characters and events in this collection is fantastic. And, as stated above, the chills were a lot greater than I’d initially anticipated. Some of the stories in this collection crept under my skin and deeply unsettled me, playing on my mind hours after finishing them. One had the sort of fierce, feminist heroine that I’d been expecting; another left me quite pleased overall with the warmer route that it took yet still managed to send slight shivers down my spine at times. Others tackled important issues superbly such as racism and homophobia.

Every story within this book is worth a read and, as I’ve already said, picking favourites is incredibly hard but here’s my best attempt at choosing exactly that. Widows’ Walk was a fantastic short story that warmed my heart at places and left me with chills in others. Black Magic Momma is set within Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld and I seriously need to get on and read those books! I adored her take on witches and can’t wait to read more within the world. The Night Nurse is probably the story that disturbed me the most; seriously it was creepy and definitely lingered on my mind afterwards. The Deer Wife was strangely haunting and beautifully written. Bless Your Heart merged baking, magic and vengeance wonderfully and had a wonderfully compelling tone. This Skin, despite being just ten pages long, disturbed me deeply and left me guessing. I honestly can not believe what the author accomplished in so few pages! And The Nekrolog covered events that I don’t know that much about but left a fantastic supernatural twist on them and was just wonderfully written once again.

Those are only some of my favourites though as the collection contained so much more. I enjoyed visiting Morganville once again for instance and there were two other chilling tales that particularly stood out to me. One set in the woods with some majorly disturbing vibes and another involving a figure that I’ve heard of elsewhere which once more was wonderfully written with an incredibly haunting vibe.

Overall I definitely recommend this anthology and will hopefully be checking out more of the various authors’ works in the future. Just as a warning though this collection is a fairly creepy one; there are stories here that truly unnerved me. Several of the stories also involved a bit of gore and others had some very strong language included.  So please do take that into account although I do still recommend this book; it’s just such a fantastic mix of haunting tales by some incredible writers.

Check out Hex Life on Goodreads here.

I strive to keep my reviews completely spoiler free but if anyone wants to discuss anything about the book in more detail (or just give me an excuse to gush about it) then feel free to contact me in the comment section below.

Uncategorized

Another Quick Update – Won’t Be Back Until At Least November /:

Ive tried to catch up on comments and other people’s posts over the last few days and found some fantastic new blogs thanks to the wonderful Sophie.

I won’t be back properly, and posting, until at least November though. This is incredibly frustrating as I have several October posts saved in my drafts as well as a lot of tags.

Originally BT said they’d come and fix my phoneline on the 21st of October. Nobody did so and when it was chased up it had suddenly changed to 31st with no apology and false explanations. I’m not surprised. This happened once in the past and whenever it was chased up they had the nerve to claim it was being worked on at the time when, believe it or not, I can tell whether or not someone’s outside digging up the pavement. Needless to say I find the whole situation – the lies in particular – appalling but there’s nothing I can do about it. I just wanted to say that I think the way that BT treats people is absolutely disgusting yet they constantly get away with it as all phone providers rent their lines from them.

Sorry if that got a little ranty but I wanted to share, somewhere, how appalling I think the way they treat people is. Taking a month to fix a phone line isn’t acceptable and lying when it’s chased up is disgusting.

Anyway sorry again for my absence from my blog. Hopefully it’ll get fixed on the 31st but I sincerely doubt it tbh. I was going to schedule some posts but they still need some last minute editing and I’d rather wait and format them properly than post them as they are. So sorry for the lack of posts for now. Hopefully it won’t be too far into November before my internet connection is fixed.

I’ll try to check in on my blog and check out everybody else’s posts fairly regularly but it won’t be as often as usual thanks to my limited data. I’ll let you all know once I’ve got the internet back and am fully active once more.