Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

Book Review: The White Hare – Michael Fishwick

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Release Date:
March 9th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2..5/5

Synopsis

A beautifully written coming-of-age novel from an acclaimed literary voice.

A lost boy. A dead girl, and one who is left behind.

Robbie doesn’t want anything more to do with death, but life in a village full of whispers and secrets can’t make things the way they were.

When the white hare appears, magical and fleet in the silvery moonlight, she leads them all into a legend, a chase, a hunt. But who is the hunter and who the hunted?

In The White Hare, Michael Fishwick deftly mingles a coming-of-age story with mystery, myth and summer hauntings.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-17T225218.697This book is a quick and interesting read that touches on that difficult topic of grief. The book follows Robbie, a young boy who’s dealing with the death of his mother and the remarriage of his father. The book is a short one – under two hundred pages and most likely you’ll get caught in this fascinating story and read it in one sitting.

The White Hare is a bit of a strange book, it is at times eerie, and I wasn’t always 100% sure what was going on, or where the plot was heading. I enjoyed the mixture of folklore, magic and realism, but I did feel like the ending left me with quite a few questions. That being said, it is a lovely read, watching the characters grow as they deal with the grief of losing their loved ones – Robbie’s friend Mags is dealing with a death also.

I really liked the characters in The White Hare – Robbie who acts out because he misses his mum, best friend Mags who knows more than anyone else about the white hare myth, and Robbie’s dad who’s just trying to do his best. They are very realistic characters, each trying to deal with their grief in the best way they know how.

I loved the idea of the white hare legend – which I won’t say too much about so as not to spoil the story – but I would have loved to know more about this myth and where it all started. I thought The White Hare had a really nice satisfactory ending, and overall the book is a good read. If you’re stuck in doors on a wintery Sunday this month, The White Hare is that perfect magical and heartwarming read to get caught up in.
3 stars

February Wrap Up!

February Wrap Up!

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February was a great month and I managed to read fifteen books despite it being the shortest month of the year. It was a pretty mixed lot with some books I really loved and a few I was more than a little disappointed by. I’m not going to go too much into them because there’s quite a few books to get through!

book cover - 2019-03-17T114531.3091. The Calling – Cate Tiernan
This is the seventh book in the Sweep/Wicca series and I’ve been having such a good time revisiting this series. I’m so pleased that I still love them as much as I did when I read them the first time. It’s such a fun and addictive series and I really enjoyed this instalment as Morgan and the gang travel to New York and unravel secrets from her past. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T114313.4972. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is a series I haven’t revisited since I first read it as a teenager so I thought it might be fun to listen to the audiobook version. After struggling with the narrator in the edition I was listening to I found another on Scribd and I really enjoyed it. It was great to revisit a book I really loved and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. (4/5 stars)

vassa3. Vassa In the Night – Sarah Porter
This was a fairyloot book quite a long time ago and I recently heard someone talk about it because it’s a reimagining of the story of Baba Yaga. I love the cover design and thought it would be a great atmospheric read but it really wasn’t for me. I struggled with the writing style, I didn’t like the characters and I found the plot a bit chaotic. (2/5 stars)

4. Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom – P. M. Freestonebook cover (39)
Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom is the first in an all new fantasy series in which the magic system is made up through scent. It was a brilliant read and one of my favourites of the month. It ended on such a cliff hanger and I’m dying to read book two. You can check out my review here, and my guest post from P. M. Freestone here! (5/5 stars)

book cover25. The Familiars – Stacy Halls
I love historical fiction that focuses on witches and I ended up completely devouring this book in one day. It was a dark and beautiful told story based on real events in history. It’s a book I still think about even though I finished it a while ago. I ranted a bit about how much I enjoyed this book here, so you can check that out if you want to know more. (4.5/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113810.1376. Queenie – Alice Munro
This was a short piece of fiction about a young girl who goes to stay with her sister that ran away with their neighbour. It really delves into the relationship between Queenie and her husband and was quite an emotional and powerful read. It’s a really quick read and it’s definitely one that makes you think about the nature of relationships.(3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113823.2377. And Of Clay We Created – Isabelle Allende
This was another piece of short fiction based on the real events of a volcanic eruption that happened in Columbia in 1985. 23,000 people died and the story follows the media outpouring about a little girl trapped in a mudslide caused by the eruption. It’s a very heart wrenching piece and it really made me think. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sand8. Blood and Sand – C. V. Wyk
This was another book that I got in a subscription box and was really intrigued about this gender bent re-imagining of Spartacus.  I found this book quite difficult to rate because I wanted to love it, I loved the idea and I enjoyed the plot but it was much more romance focused than I had hoped it would be. I wanted Attia to spend more time reclaiming her home than developing her romance with Xanthus. I still want to continue the series but I was a little disappointed overall. (3.5/5 stars)

9. The Last – Hanna Jamesonbook cover (38)
This was a fascinating look at a world in which nuclear bombs have caused the end of the world, but what happens when a group of people staying in a hotel survive? It was quite slow paced and definitely more of a character driven book but it was a really fresh perspective on this type of tale. (4/5 stars)

bosdfsr10. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
This YA debut is a beautiful story about grief, loss and forgiving yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. It was set in a remote boarding school in the snowy Swiss alps and I fell in love with the characters, the story and the setting. If you’re looking for a gripping and moving tale this is definitely one to try. You check out my full review here! (4.5/5 stars)

12. Master of Sorrows – Justin Callmos
This is the first in an all new fantasy series that I completely fell in love with. It has so many things that I love, the magical academy trope plenty of action and adventure and it was just such an exciting read. This is a series I will definitely be continuing. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here! (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (40)13. The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano
Quite a long time ago I read Wither by Lauren DeStefano and I loved it. The Glass Spare has been on my TBR for quite a long time so I finally decided to pick it up and I did have quite high expectations because I loved her previous series. I struggled a little with this one because I found the pacing a bit off and it felt a little repetitive. I did still enjoy it and will look to read the next book in the series, but it won’t be a priority. (3/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.47714. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
Thrillers are something that I don’t read an awful lot of but have found myself rather enjoying them recently. I read One Of Us Is Lying last year and did quite enjoy it so I decided to pick Two Can Keep A Secret up. While I did really enjoy this it didn’t really feel like anything new (in fact it reminded me quite a lot of the TV series Riverdale), but if you like twisty and fun thrillers this is definitely one to pick up. (4/5 stars)

book cover - 2019-03-17T113618.75215. Rogue Protocol – Martha Wells
This is the third instalment in The Murderbot Diaries series. These novellas are fun and fast reads, following the adventures of Murderbot as he tries to uncover mysteries and not get caught in the process. I’ve had mixed feelings about this series because some of the books have been a little slow but overall I really enjoyed this third instalment. (3/5 stars)

So those are the books I read in February! Let me know some of the books you read in February below!

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

Book Review: A Pocketful of Crows – Joanne M. Harris

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Release Date:
19th October 2017
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 240
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Beautifully illustrated by Bonnie Helen Hawkins, this is a stunning and original modern fairytale.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-14T052617.195I was so excited to read this little beauty because I loved The Gospel of Loki and have always wanted to read more of Joanne Harris’s books. The story follows a young woman who lives in the woods, She has magical powers which she loses when she falls in love with a local lord’s son. Based on The Child Ballads, this book is beautifully written in a lyrical and poetic style.

The book is a short one and can probably be read in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down, The story is fairy tale like in nature, but in many ways more dark and twisted. The story is full to the brim with magic and folklore, and makes for a breath taking read. The story is told in the space of a year, encompassing birth and death, love and revenge. It might only be a couple of hundred pages long but it contains a lot within those beautiful pages. I’d love to see Joanne Harris write more of these beautiful stories.

If you’ve read any of her other books, you are bound to love A Pocketful of Crows. The book is also beautifully designed, which made me fall in love with it even more. If you’re looking for a book that will capture your imagination and leave you wanting more, A Pocketful of Crows is definitely the book you need.
4 stars

What’s On My Netgalley Shelf?

What’s On My Netgalley Shelf?

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Welcome to a new feature on The Bibliophile Chronicles! One of my reading goals for 2018 was to try and get my Netgalley ratio in a better state as currently I’m not anywhere near the recommended 80%. I struggle with ebooks as I sometimes get migraines when reading from screens but that doesn’t stop me from seeing books I’m dying to review and requesting them.

I thought I could do a feature every few months about what’s on my Netgalley shelf and hopefully hold myself accountable a bit more. My current feedback ratio is 48% so the next instalment of this feature should be an improvement on that. I’m just going to mention some of the books on my shelf and if anyone has read any of them definitely let me know what you thought so I can get reading them!

Current Stats:
Feedback Ratio – 48% 
Approved – 90
Feedback Sent – 41
To Read – 43

1. Ash Princess & Lady Smoke – Laura Sebastian
Yes I have requested both Ash Princess and Lady Smoke and I haven’t gotten around to either of them yet. I even now have a physical copy of Ash Princess and still haven’t read it yet so please if you’ve read it let me know if I should make this a priority!

book cover - 2019-03-11T210645.722Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

2. Last Bus To Everland – Sophie Cameron
I read Sophie Cameron’s Out of the Blue and gave it five stars so when this popped up I immediately requested a copy. If it’s anything like her first book I know I’m going to love it.

book cover - 2019-03-11T210746.085Brody Fair feels like nobody gets him: not his overworked parents, not his genius older brother, and definitely not the girls in the projects set on making his life miserable. Then he meets Nico, an art student who takes Brody to Everland, a “knock-off Narnia” that opens its door at 11:21pm each Thursday for Nico and his band of present-day misfits and miscreants.

Here Brody finds his tribe and a weekly respite from a world where he feels out of place. But when the doors to Everland begin to disappear, Brody is forced to make a decision: He can say goodbye to Everland and to Nico, or stay there and risk never seeing his family again. 

3. Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly
I absolutely love retellings so this really drew my attention. It also has such a stunning cover!

book cover - 2019-03-11T210836.240Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe … which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

Evoking the darker, older versions of the Cinderella story, bestselling author Jennifer Donnelly shows us that ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and uses her trademark wit and wisdom to send an overlooked character on a journey toward empowerment, redemption, and a new definition of beauty.

4. The Furies – Katie Lowe
This was getting lots of attention on Twitter and I love books with culty/witchy vibes so I was really excited to read this but I just haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

5. Dracul – Darce Stoker and J. D. Barker
Dracula is one of my all time favourite books so anything relating to Bram Stoker’s classic is pretty much a must read for me. I was really fascinated with the idea of this book but haven’t really heard much about it so far.

book cover - 2019-03-11T211247.937Dracul reveals not only the true origins of Dracula himself, but also of his creator, Bram Stoker . . . and of the elusive, enigmatic woman who connects them.

It is 1868, and a 22-year-old Bram Stoker has locked himself inside an abbey’s tower to face off against a vile and ungodly beast. He is armed with mirrors and crucifixes and holy water and a gun – and is kept company by a bottle of plum brandy. His fervent prayer is that he will survive this one night – a night that will prove to be the longest of his life.

Desperate to leave a record of what he has witnessed, the young man scribbles out the events that brought him to this point – and tells an extraordinary tale of childhood illness, a mysterious nanny, and stories once thought to be fables now proven true.

So those are some of the books currently on my Netgalley shelf. Let me know which ones I should be getting to and what your Netgalley feedback ratio is like!

Book Review: The Bloodprint – Ausma Zehnat Khan

Book Review: The Bloodprint – Ausma Zehnat Khan

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Series:
The Khorasan Archives #1
Release Date: October 19th 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis

Celebrated crime author Ausma Zehanat Khan takes her first foray into fantasy with this stunning new quadrilogy which sees female scholar and warrior Arian risk everything in a totalitarian society to reclaim the legacy of her people.

In the lands of Candour, the Talisman threaten the authority of the Council with their growing indoctrination of the masses based on their rigid, oppressive interpretation of the Claim; a text orally transmitted from generation to generation, which they have appropriated in order to gain power. Tasked by the Council to fight this is Arian, aided by companion Sinnia and young boy Wafa, who must find the Bloodprint, legendary manuscript the Claim is based on, in order to stop the Talisman and re-establish the truth.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-10T231702.583The Bloodprint is the first in a new series by crime author Ausma Zehanat Khan. I confess I’ve always wanted to read The Unquiet Dead and haven’t quiet gotten around to buying a copy (that has since been rectified). Going into The Bloodprint I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but from the get go I was absolutely hooked, and I loved this book from beginning to end.

This book is steeped in blood and action – there is plenty of fast-paced plot to keep the fantasy fan happy, but The Bloodprint is so much more than that. With women living in a male dominated world – they are treated like slaves and not allowed to speak unless permitted by their husbands – is in many ways relevant to today’s media.

One of things I did love most about this book was the immense detail that Ausma put in. The book is very finely crafted, with the history and mythology really bringing the book to life. I’d love to spend an hour picking Ausma’s brain to find out where all these fascinating ideas came from. Her research must have taken a really long time to complete, and it really adds to this excellent story. The Claim is similarly a really fascinating aspect of this book. A magic that celebrates the written word is not something that I’ve come across before, and I really loved this unique concept.

Characters can make or break a book, and The Bloodprint is no exception. Our two main characters Arian and Sinnia are fabulous. Warrior women fighting to break slave trains and save the land from Talisman rule, their sense of companionship and friendship is a wonderful aspect of this book. I also similarly loved Wafa, the young child that Arian and Sinnia rescue. There is also a romantic element of the book (which I won’t say too much about so as not to ruin anything) but it is not in your face, and adds to the story without taking over.

There;s also plenty of mystery, and the reader is left with more than a few questions (I needed book two yesterday). There’s also a few shock twists a long the way, and not everything is as it seems. It really strikes home that in a world fraught with danger, who can you really trust? Each person is often out to further their own gains. I must also say that the cover design is gorgeous, my proof copy is beautiful but I cannot wait to go and buy a finished one for my favourites shelf. This is a truly superb read, and definitely sits in the top of my favourite books ever.
5 stars

Book Review: Even the Darkest Stars – Heather Fawcett

Book Review: Even the Darkest Stars – Heather Fawcett

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Series:
Even the Darkest Stars #1
Release Date: September 5th 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Pages: 437
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis

Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.

But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.

The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.

Review

book cover - 2019-03-07T202448.361This book really caught me eye with that stunning cover and after reading the blurb I was desperate to dive in. I enjoyed this book so much and am just itching to read the sequel. It was so full of magic and has such a beautiful setting that you can’t help but fall in love with it.

The story is told from the point of view of Kazmin, a young girl who dreams of being an explorer. She accompanies famous explorer River Shara on his expedition to the summit of the most dangerous mountain, Raksha. Her sister Lusha is also attempting the summit and Kamzin has to not only survive the climb but protect her sister too. I love Kamzin, I thought she was a great protagonist. She’s full of determination and just a bit stubborn but her and River make a great team and I really enjoyed watching her grow as she fought the dangers of the mountain. Kamzin also has a pet dragon which I would pretty much do anything to have in real life so how could you not love her.

The world building in Even the Darkest Stars is wonderful too. There’s plenty of magic and adventure and the world is steeped in plenty of history and myth. The book is pretty quickly paced and I found myself racing to the end to find out what happens. There’s more than a few mysteries and plot twists along the way and you’re bounding to be dying for book two when you finish. This was completely unlike any other YA fantasy I’ve ever read and I definitely applaud the originality of the plot.

Like most YA there’s also a splash of romance but it isn’t over the top and doesn’t detract from the adventure and the mystery. If you’re looking for a fun and exciting read, Even the Darkest Stars is sure to be a hit!
5 stars

Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

Blog Tour: Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley

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Release Date:
1st March 2019
Publisher: Uclan Publishing
Pages: 424
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors into different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world . . . and only he can save it.

The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out . . .

Review

hjMonsters in the Mirror is a fun and fast paced adventure full of charming characters and exciting action. The story follows Darwen Arkwright, a young boy forced to move from England to Atlanta. As he struggles to find his place and understand his new life he discovers he has the ability to step through mirrors into completely different worlds. As he makes friends in this new world, he learns that a dark power is threatening to destroy it. Monsters in the Mirror is the first in an all new series and I’m already looking forward to reading the next instalment!

I really enjoyed my time reading Monsters in the Mirror. Darwen is the perfect protagonist – he’s dealing with his world being turned upside down as well as attempting to balance his normal life with his new found abilities. I liked seeing things from his perspective, particularly as he dealt with missing things from his life in England and made new friends and experiences in Atlanta. Darwen is surrounded by a whole host of interesting secondary characters that felt well fleshed out. There are some really interesting baddies in the story too which I adored.

I loved A. J. Hartley’s writing style and it was really easy to fall into this magical world that was full to the brim with excitement and adventure. The story is well plotted and touches on a variety of themes like friendship, finding your place and good overcoming evil.

Monsters in the Mirror is an exciting, well told story with memorable characters and a gorgeous cover. This is the perfect middle grade read and if you’re a fan of books like Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, this should definitely be your next read!
4 stars
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