2020 Reading Survey!

2020 Reading Survey!



This was such a fun tag that I did in 2019 so I thought I would do it again for 2020!

Number of books read: 152
Number of rereads: 7
Pages Read: 51,202
Genre you read most: Fantasy

 

1. Best book you read in 2020?
I read so many incredible books in 2020 but the stand out book for me has to be The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. It was such a beautifully written book with such incredible characters. I couldn’t put it down and I cried at the end. I’m already hoping to reread it in 2021.


2. Book you were excited about and thought you were going to love more but didn’t?
I was really excited to read the second book in the Mirage duology and although I did really enjoy it it just didn’t live up to my expectations. It was a lot more focused on political alliances that I was expecting and ended up being a 3.5 star read.


3. Most surprising book you read (in a good or bad way)?
I picked up the first book in the Wayward Children series on a whim, expecting to be a quick and fun read but I absolutely fell in love with this series and ended up binging all five books in the series. I’m completely obsessed with this series and I cannot wait for Across the Green Grass Fields.


4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did)?
I pushed the Washington Poe series on pretty much everyone I know who likes crime thrillers. My whole family are now eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.


5. Best series you started in 2020?
One of the best debuts and absolutely the best series I started in 2020 is The Bone Shard Daughter. I loved every second of this book and I am absolutely desperate for more in this world.


6. Best Sequel?
This is a really hard one because I read quite a few sequels I really loved in 2020 including Aurora Burning and King of Fools but my favourite has got to be the second instalment in Joe Abercrombie’s The Age of Madness trilogy.


7. Best Series Ender?
I finished the Godblind trilogy by Anna Stephens and the final book was incredible. I loved every second and can’t wait to read more books from her in the future.


8. Favourite new author you discovered in 2020?
I’m a little bit late to the party but I started reading books by Kerri Maniscalco in 2020 and I loved them. I read Kingdom of the Wicked first and it was brilliant so I picked up her Stalking Jack the Ripper series. I’m about to pick up book two and I can’t wait!


9. Favourite cover of 2020?
The cover for Orfeia by Joanne Harris is just stunning. All the books in this series are absolutely beautiful!


10. A book you can’t believe it took you so long to pick up?
I can’t believe it took me so long to pick this one up. I loved it so much and this series has cemented Amanda Foody as one of my auto-buy authors.

11. Which book made you cry in 2020?
I absolutely sobbed at Five Feet Apart. I’ve been putting off watching the movie because I’m not sure I’ll make it through without weeping.


12. Most action packed/unputdownable book you read in 2020?
My pick for 2019 was Aurora Rising so I think I will continue the tradition and say Aurora Burning. I absolutely devoured this one and I am obsessed with this series.


13. Book you read in 2020 you’re likely to re-read in 2021?
I loved this book so much and it was one of my favourites of 2020. It’s definitely one I hope to reread in 2021.


14. Best book from outside your comfort zone?
This is Going to Hurt is not really the kind of book I would normally read – I very rarely read non-fiction but this book was so hilarious and so heartbreaking at the same time that I couldn’t put it down.


15. Shortest and longest book you read in 2020?
Shortest was Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin at 33 pages and longest was King of Fools at 656 pages!


16. Book that shocked you most?
The Game was my last read of 2020 and it was such a twisty turny read, definitely plenty of shock twists.


17. Best debut you read?
I read quite a few debuts that were absolutely incredible but I really loved The Year of the Witching. It was such a dark and gripping read and I am so excited to read more from the author.


18. Most vivid world building/setting?
I loved the world that Bex Hogan has created in this series. I’m so annoyed I didn’t get to Venom in 2020 and it’s one of my top priority reads for 2021.


19. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read?
Continuing tradition again, my 2019 pick was The Princess and the Fangirl and my 2020 pick has got to be The Bookish and the Beast. These books are just so cute you can’t help but smile.


20. One book you didn’t get to in 2020 that is first priority in 2021?
This was one of my most anticipated releases for 2020 and I cannot believe I haven’t read it yet. It’s top priority for 2021.

21. One thing you hope to accomplish in 2021?
Read more of the books I already own instead of always buying new ones.


22. A 2021 release you’ve read already and recommend?
I absolutely devoured The Burning Girls by C J Tudor. It was so so compelling. Full of brilliant characters and twists you won’t see coming.

Book Review: People of Abandoned Character – Clare Whitfield

Book Review: People of Abandoned Character – Clare Whitfield


Release Date:
October 1st 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Marry in haste . . . Murder at leisure?

London, 1888: Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes.

Thomas’s behavior becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets. The gentle caresses she enjoyed on her wedding night are now just a honeyed memory.

When the first woman is murdered in Whitechapel, Susannah’s interest is piqued. But as she follows the reports of the ongoing hunt for the killer, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time Thomas stays out late, another victim is found dead.

Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man they call Jack the Ripper?

Review

People of Abandoned Character is the dark and gripping tale of Susannah, a young nurse who falls head over heels for a young and wealthy surgeon at the hospital where she works. They have a whirlwind romance and are very quickly married. When they return to her husband’s home she quickly finds that everything changes as he becomes more violent and argumentative. He stays out late, disappearing for days at a time and often returns covered in blood. As news reaches Susannah of a serial killer murdering women in Whitechapel, she begins to wonder if perhaps her husband could be involved.

This is such a fascinating tale and one that breathes life into the story of Jack the Ripper. This story is a chilling one and I found it difficult to look away. It starts off quite slow paced as we get to know Susannah and Thomas, before ramping up to a point where I read the last hundred pages in one sitting. I loved the setting of the story and the dark, eerie world of Victorian London really came to life in Whitfield’s writing. There were quite a few twists and turns, with an ending I definitely didn’t see coming. The story keeps you hooked right from the very beginning and makes for an incredibly impressive debut.

I really liked Susannah as a main character and I was rooting for her right from the beginning to survive the horrible situation she was in. There are quite a few stark descriptions of violence and there are some gory moments too that make for uncomfortable reading but overall this is a really gripping historical thriller and I am definitely going to pick up more from this author in the future.

2020 Reading Resolutions: Results!

2020 Reading Resolutions: Results!


I made a post of all of my bookish goals for 2020 at the start of 2020 and it was a really fun way of helping me try and keep on track with my reading. I thought it would be fun to do a little check in post and see how many of those goals I reached.


1. Read 120 books

When I picked this goal I thought if I could read ten books a month this would be pretty manageable. Of course we had the pandemic in 2020 so I was in the house a whole lot more, the things that normally take away from my reading time – visiting my family, gigs and hockey season – didn’t really happen so I smashed the target of 120 and made it to 152 books read in 2020.

2. Read more backlist books
I have always struggled with this one because I get so excited about new releases but I did manage to read 42 backlist titles that I had already owned. This is probably going to be a goal again in 2021 so that I can attempt to get my TBR down a bit!


3. Catalogue and reduce my TBR
I did manage to catalogue my TBR during the summer months and it was a bit of a shock to the system when I saw I had eight hundred unread books. I’ve since had two pretty large unhauls to bring the number down a bit and I’m working on buying less books in 2021.


4. Improve my Netgalley ratio
I TRIED SO HARD. When I wrote the original post my ratio was sitting at 46%. At one point during the summer my ratio was almost at 60% but it has slipped again because I’ve requested things. I’m currently sitting at 53%, which is an improvement on my score in January 2020 but I was hoping it would be at least in the 60s. Another goal I will probably return to this year.


5. Revamp my blog and post more frequently
The Bibliophile Chronicles did get a revamp and I’m really pleased with the results. I might do a similar update later on in 2021. I was posting very frequently during the pandemic but since returning to work over the past few months I’ve been really busy and not posting as frequently. Hoping to pick this up in January!

6. A pound a book
This absolutely did not happen. I spent a small fortune on books in 2020 and honestly I’m not even sorry.

So those are the results of my 2020 reading resolutions! If you made resolutions for 2020 I’d love to know if you hit your targets!

January TBR!

January TBR!


I can’t quite believe 2021 is here already! I’m so excited for all the 2021 releases that are coming out and I’m determined to try and stick to the TBRs I make this year. I’m looking forward to reading so many of these so lets dive in!

1. The Once and Future Queen –  Clara O’Connor
In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, two starcrossed lovers fight to ignite the spark of rebellion…

Londinium, the last stronghold of the Romans left in Britannia, remains in a delicate state of peace with the ancient kingdoms that surround it. As the only daughter of a powerful merchant, Cassandra is betrothed to Marcus, the most eligible bachelor in the city.

But then she meets Devyn, the boy with the strange midnight eyes searching for a girl with magic in her blood.

A boy who will make her believe in soulmates…

When a mysterious sickness starts to leech the life from citizens with Celtic power lying dormant in their veins, the imperial council sets their schemes in motion. And so Cassandra must make a choice: the Code or Chaos, science or sorcery, Marcus or Devyn?

2. The Burning Girls – C J Tudor
500 years ago: eight martyrs were burnt to death
30 years ago: two teenagers vanished without trace
Two months ago: the vicar committed suicide

Welcome to Chapel Croft.

For Rev Jack Brooks and teenage daughter Flo it’s supposed to be a fresh start. New job, new home. But, as Jack knows, the past isn’t easily forgotten.

And in a close-knit community where the residents seem as proud as they are haunted by Chapel Croft’s history, Jack must tread carefully. Ancient superstitions as well as a mistrust of outsiders will be hard to overcome.

Yet right away Jack has more frightening concerns.

Why is Flo plagued by visions of burning girls?
Who’s sending them sinister, threatening messages?
And why did no one mention that the last vicar killed himself?

Chapel Croft’s secrets lie deep and dark as the tomb. Jack wouldn’t touch them if not for Flo – anything to protect Flo.

But the past is catching up with Chapel Croft – and with Jack. For old ghosts with scores to settle will never rest . . .

3. The Heiress – Molly Greeley
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.

4. Last One to Die – Cynthia Murphy
One of Us is Lying meets This Lie Will Kill You but with a chilling supernatural twist that will keep you guessing until the very end . . .

Young, brunette women are being attacked in the city of London.

16-year-old, Irish-born Niamh has just arrived for the summer, and quickly discovers that the girls being attacked look frighteningly similar to her.

Determined to make it through her Drama Course, Niamh is placed at the Victorian Museum to put her drama skills to the test, and there she meets Tommy: he’s kind, fun, attentive, and really hot! . . . Nonetheless, there’s something eerie about the museum.

As the two strands of present-day serial attacker and sinister Victorian history start to collide, Niamh realises that things are not as they seem. Will she be next?


5. Hall of Smoke – H M Long

Hessa is an Eangi: a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War, with the power to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. Banished for disobeying her goddess’s command to murder a traveller, she prays for forgiveness alone on a mountainside.

While she is gone, raiders raze her village and obliterate the Eangi priesthood. Grieving and alone, Hessa – the last Eangi – must find the traveller, atone for her weakness and secure her place with her loved ones in the High Halls. As clans from the north and legionaries from the south tear through her homeland, slaughtering everyone in their path, Hessa strives to win back her goddess’ favour.

Beset by zealot soldiers, deceitful gods, and newly-awakened demons at every turn, Hessa burns her path towards redemption and revenge. But her journey reveals a harrowing truth: the gods are dying and the High Halls of the afterlife are fading. Soon Hessa’s trust in her goddess weakens with every unheeded prayer.

Thrust into a battle between the gods of the Old World and the New, Hessa realizes there is far more on the line than securing a life beyond her own death. Bigger, older powers slumber beneath the surface of her world. And they’re about to wake up.

6. The Island – C L Taylor
Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

So those are the six books I’m hoping to get to in January. I’m hoping to get to a few more over the month but I’m trying to make my TBRs manageable so I complete them each month. I’d love to know what you’re planning to read in January and if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know your thoughts!

Favourite Books of 2020!

Favourite Books of 2020!

2020 was a really fantastic reading year and I ended up reading so many amazing books. I managed to read 152 books in 2020, which is more than I’ve ever read before. I managed to narrow it down to twenty with my number one book of the year being The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. These are in no particular order and I’ve added links to my reviews below in case you want to read my full thoughts on these!

1. The Curator – M. W. Craven
2. The Foundling – Stacey Halls
3. The Unspoken Name – A K Larkwood
4. Wicked As You Wish – Rin Chupeco
5. King of Fools – Amanda Foody
6. Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston
7. Bloodchild – Anna Stephens
8. Hold Back the Tide – Melinda Salisbury
9. Viper – Bex Hogan
10. Dispel Illusion – Mark Lawrence
11. Aurora Burning – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
12. A Conjuring of Assassins – Cate Glass
13. The Corset – Laura Purcell
14. The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson
15. The Trouble With Peace – Joe Abercrombie
16. The Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
17. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab
18. The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow
19. Kingdom of the Wicked – Kerri Maniscalco
20. Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

So those are my favourite books of 2020! I’d love to know what your favourite reads of the year were and if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought!

Book Review: The Split – Sharon J. Bolton

Book Review: The Split – Sharon J. Bolton


Release Date:
April 30th 2020
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 382
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

No matter how far you run, some secrets will always catch up with you…

The remote Antarctic island of South Georgia is about to send off its last boat of the summer – which signifies safety to resident glaciologist Felicity Lloyd.

Felicity lives in fear – fear that her ex-husband Freddie will find her, even out here. She took a job on this isolated island to hide from him, but now that he’s out of prison, having served a term for murder, she knows he won’t give up until he finds her.

But a doctor delving into the background of Felicity and Freddie’s relationship, back in Cambridge, learns that Felicity has been on the edge for a long time. Heading to South Georgia himself to try and get to her first is the only way he can think of to help her.

Review

This is my first time reading a book by Sharon Bolton and I can absolutely say it won’t be the last. This fast paced psychological thriller is a complex tale full of twists and turns with an ending I absolutely didn’t see coming. The Split follows scientist Felicity Lloyd who has taken a job in the remote Antarctic to escape the horrors of her past. She fears that even South Georgia isn’t remote enough to escape her ex-husband Freddie who has recently been released from prison. But Felicity has gaps in her memory and as a doctor begins to unravel the truth of her past, he heads out to Georgia in an attempt to help her.

The Split is a really quick paced book and I couldn’t put this one down. It was so compelling and the short chapters had me turning pages late into the night. It follows two timelines – when Felicity lived in Oxford and the events leading up to her leaving for the Antarctic as well as current day as she feels someone had followed her to South Georgia. I was fascinated by both timelines and couldn’t wait to see how everything connected up. The story if full of twists and turns and pretty much every guess I made was wrong – I love getting to the end of a story and haven’t a completely surprised ending and that’s exactly what happened with The Split.

Felicity is a fascinating protagonist – she’s an unreliable narrator and I was never really sure if what she was seeing was true. Overall I liked Felicity and felt quite sympathetic towards her given she had all these moments of memory loss and no idea what was wrong. I similarly liked Dr Grant who was also an interesting character that I really liked. One of the things I liked most was the setting of South Georgia in the story. The harsh remote landscape really comes to life and combined with the sense of doom that Felicity feels knowing someone might step off one of the ships to look for her really came through in the story. It was an addictive read and one I didn’t want to end.

If you’re looking for a compelling thriller to keep you hooked over the winter this is absolutely a must read. I enjoyed every minute of this and I cannot wait to read more from Sharon J Bolton.

Book Review: Wranglestone – Darren Charlton

Book Review: Wranglestone – Darren Charlton


Series:
Wranglestone #1
Release Date: February 6th 2020
Publisher: Stripes Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book for a bookstagram tour.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared…

In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.

Review

Wranglestone is the action packed, wintry tale of a world in which the Dead have taken over America. A small group of survives have created a community in a national park and they are kept safe from the zombies by the water that surrounds them. When the harsh winter draws in though, there’s nothing to stop the zombies crossing the ice. Peter is one of the youngest members of the community and when he accidentally allows a stranger to enter the community he learns a hard lesson. He’s forced to learn how to wrangle the zombies with Cooper, a boy he’s long had feelings for. But as winter draws closer Peter and Cooper soon learn that there’s more going on in Wranglestone that meets the eye.

I love stories with supernatural creatures and I haven’t read too many zombie stories so this was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. Wranglestone is a fast paced horror tale and one you absolutely cannot look away from. Charlton’s writing style is really easy to get absorbed in and I found myself absolutely racing through this one – particularly in the later half of the book when the action really picked up. I absolutely adored the beautiful setting of this story, the national park was really vivid and came to life in the descriptions. I loved the concept of a community free from the horrors of the dead until the winter freezes the river and they can cross over. It was something I’d never come across before and I’m so intrigued to see where the story goes next.

Wranglestone has some really interesting characters and I really liked our main protagonists Peter and Cooper. The romance is really sweet despite it being very quick to develop. I loved that the two characters were quite opposite – Peter prefers the comfort of his home and Cooper is always out in the wild – but that they fit together so well. There were a few twists in the story that I didn’t see coming and that made for a very exciting finale in this book.

Wranglestone is an exciting debut and one I really enjoyed reading. If you’re a fan of zombie books this is absolutely a must read and I’m definitely counting down the days until the release of book two.

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse – Kate Mascarenhas

Book Review: The Thief on the Winged Horse – Kate Mascarenhas


Release Date: November 12th 2020
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.

Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.

But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime…

Review

The Thief on the Winged Horse is the beautifully told story of the Kendrick Family and their infamous doll shop. The dolls are magic, evoking a feeling or emotion with a single touch. Though the craft was founded by sisters, the secrets of the magic are now known only to the men of the family. Persephone Kendrick is desperate to be a sorcerer, but her family refuses to allow her to learn the craft. When a stranger arrives at the shop claiming to be a long lost relative, Persephone knows this could be her chance to get what she’s always wanted. When one of the most famous Kendrick dolls is stolen, the family are pushed to the limit as they attempt to discover who could have stolen such a precious item.

This is my first time reading a book from Kate Mascarenhas and I completely fell in love. This is such a gorgeous story, full to the brim with lyrical writing and a gripping plot. I absolutely adore magical realism stories but this has got to be one of my favourites. I thought the concept was fascinating and I ended up reading this one almost in one sitting I just didn’t want it to end. I almost wish there was another book because I would love to know more about the Kendrick family and their incredible dolls.

The plot was well executed and it was quite a quick paced story. I was really intrigued by the mystery of the missing doll and attempting to discover who had taken it. I did guess quite early on but that absolutely didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. It was a brilliant story and it was so interesting watching the family dynamics change as the story progressed and Persephone learned the skills she’s always wanted to learn.

While this is my first Kate Mascarenhas book it definitely will not be the last. Her characters were superb and I loved how complex and fascinating they are. Persephone in particular was my favourite. She’s stubborn and determined to learn the skills for crafting the enchantments, even if that means having to stay with her drunken father. Larkin was also a really interesting character and I was constantly questioning his motivations and how truthful he was really being. I similarly really liked Hedwig, who on the surface seems so sweet but had so much more going on. The characters were probably my favourite part about this book, they were vividly described and so gripping to read about.

The Thief on the Winged Horse is one of those books you find yourself thinking about long after you’ve finished read. A beautiful and compelling tale and one fantasy fans will absolutely adore.

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey


Series:
Deluge #1
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Pages: 268
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Some secrets are worth killing for.

The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.

Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.

Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.

With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.

If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.

Review

The Wolf and the Water is the first in an all new series from Josie Jaffrey, set in the ancient city of Kepos. The story follows Kala, a young girl who loses her father in mysterious circumstances. Her mother is remarried to a cruel man looking to gain more power in his position as head of the household. As Kala attempts to investigate the death of her father she uncovers a secret long hidden in the city of Kepos and must do everything she can to keep herself and her loved ones alive.

I’ve previously read Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign series so when I heard she had a new release coming out I was really intrigued. The Wolf and the Water is a fascinating tale and one I absolutely raced through. The story if full to the brim with mythology and the world building is well executed in the story. I was completely hooked on the story and the world that Jaffrey created. The story is a fast paced one and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger making me desperate to find out what’s in store in book two.

The thing that intrigued me most about The Wolf and the Water is the complex characters and their relationships in this story. I really liked our main protagonist Kala – she’s strong willed and determined to survive even if she is cast out from her family. I really liked seeing her relationship develop with Leon, and I really liked Lissa too. Nikos is a brilliant villain and is well depicted as the power hungry stepfather.

The story is full of mystery and it kept me hooked right till the very last page. If you’re looking for a fresh new fantasy with a unique setting and complex characters, this is definitely one to add to your wishlist.

Book Review: Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley

Book Review: Skyward Inn – Aliya Whiteley


Release Date: March 16th 2021
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

This is a place where we can be alone, together.

Skyward Inn, on the moorlands of the Western Protectorate, is removed from modern technology and politics. Theirs is a quiet life – The Protectorate has stood apart from the coalition of world powers that has formed. Instead the inhabitants choose to live simply, many of them farming by day and drinking the local brew at night.

The co-owners of the inn are Jem and Isley. Jem, a veteran of the coalitions’ war on the perfect, peaceful planet of Qita, has a smile for everyone in the bar. Her partner Isley does his cooking in the kitchen and his brewing in the cellar. He’s Qitan, but it’s all right – the locals treat him like one of their own. They think they understand him, but it’s only Jem who knows his homeland well enough to recreate it in the stories she tells him at dawn.

Skyward Inn is Jamaica Inn by way of Ursula Le Guin, bringing the influences, too, of Angela Carter, Michel Faber and Jeff Vandermeer to create a fantastic story of love, belonging, and togetherness. Asking questions of ideas of the individual and the collective, of ownership and historical possession, and of the experience of being human, it is at once timeless and thoroughly of its time.

Review

Skyward Inn is the strange and beautiful story of Jem and Isley – the co-owners of an inn in the moorlands of the Western Protectorate. Their life is a quiet one, away from the modern advancements in technology and politics. We are similarly introduced to Fosse – Jem’s son who lives with his Uncle. All three characters are trying to find acceptance in this world and survive a world of aliens and travel between planets.

Skyward Inn is quite a quiet story. It has some absolutely stunning prose and it pulls you in with its beautiful words and the intricate world building. It’s not an overly big book and I found myself becoming completely lost in the story – I pretty much read the book in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.

Whiteley has created some incredibly fascinating characters all of whom are searching for something. The story focuses on acceptance, community and the idea of belonging. It’s a cleverly executed tale and one that has definitely made me keen to read more from Aliya Whiteley. The relationships in this story were really interesting – particularly the strained relationship between Jem and her son Fosse.

Skyward Inn is a moving and thought provoking tale, completely unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s a clever story and one I can’t recommend highly enough.