CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER - by Sarah J. Maas

CATWOMAN: SOULSTEALER (DC Icons #3) - Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 2018 - Random House Books.
Genres: Young adult / contemporary / science fiction / retellings
Pages: 384.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence.
Format: eBook.
Source: Borrowed.
When the Bat's away, the Cat will play.
It's time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .

Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking. Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing's undoing.



This was a squad read with two awesome ladies, Di and Uma. Keep an eye out for their reviews!


As most of you know, I have a love hate relationship with the books of Sarah J. Maas. But I was actually super hyped for this one because A) amazing cover and B) DC and Catwoman and superheroes and Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. I mean, heck yes!


Unfortunately, I doubt I'll ever love Maas' writing. It's simply not a style I enjoy. It's extremely repetitive and melodramatic, and here are some examples to prove it: 'and as that hand closed around Maggie's arm, as her rasping inhale of breath, of pain, at the tightness of the grip, filled the apartment, the world, Selina exploded...' 
- 'Selina Kyle blew out a long breath as she lifted her chin and stepped into the sound and the light and the wrath. Let the bloodying begin' 
- 'So Selina loosed a settling breath and beheld the sparkling city as she reclined in the cushioned seat of the car. And finally, at long last, she allowed herself a little smile. Let Gotham City enjoy its final days of summer.'
While I totally understand some people loving that style of writing, it just makes me want to roll my eyes and fling the book across the room.

But I adore Maas' Gotham. The atmosphere crackles with superhero phenomena and mayhem the likes of Harley Quinn and the Joker, and Maas perfectly captures that dark, brutal essence of the city and its underworld. It's grim, it's filthy, and it's a constant writhing snake of evil ready to spring. It's definitely more atmospheric than the Gotham we saw in Marie Lu's Batman Nightwalker. I love it.

In terms of plot, the story is underwhelming. Maas plays it extremely safe and sticks close to risk-free incidents that do little to upset the characters. Basically, the volume could've been turned way up. It's not particularly unique, it's not particularly thrilling - definitely not blockbuster style - and the incidents are so random and disjointed. It's the kind of plot you only understand at the very end when all is revealed, but in this case I didn't even feel like the ending paid off. It didn't quite make all the randomness and vague motivations worth it.
There's also a lot of potential conflict - primarily the relationships between the characters - that is never tapped into or developed. And that ruined the majority of the story for me.


“ This time, someone would come looking. Hopefully, they’d want to play.


Harley Quinn was the only character I loved. Unlike the rest of the cast, she's fully-realised, distinctive, and every bit as twisted and psychotic as we've seen her before. I love that Maas manages to encapsulate Harley's spirit and convey it so effortlessly; from her dialogue to her mannerisms to her fashion sense, she's Harley Quinn through and through. She's also miles more interesting than Selina's character.
I also liked Poison Ivy. However, she could've been fleshed out more.

Luke and Selina are annoying, and believe me, I really tried to like them. Of course they're supermodel gorgeous - Selina's slim, sexy, toned, and Maas even mentions that her legs are waxed; Luke is muscular and all the ladies are after him - but their "personalities" are dull and duller. Luke's character is irritating and boring. He's a broken hot hero, and his relationships with the people around him, including his romance with Selina, are all poorly developed and unconvincing. In addition, the potential in his relationship with Bruce (Batman doesn't ever make an appearance but he's occasionally mentioned ) is wasted. I never felt the urgency Luke was supposedly feeling trying to prove himself to Bruce. It never felt like a big-enough deal, and as a result Luke's motivation for being Batwing fell through.
There's also the "diversity" factor: Luke is black. While I appreciate Maas' effort in that respect, she really should not have bothered because it all comes across extremely forced. It's handled so clumsily.

But at least Luke has some personality. I can't say the same for Selina. She has no distinct character traits or flaws, no quirks, and no dimension. She's Maas' Aelin with less sass and even less development. There's also the fact that Selina is supposedly morally grey, but to me, her dark side never feels convincing enough. Everyone worships at her feet, and by the end she's a martyr who can do no wrong. I'm not denying Maas love for her heroine, but it's actually painful to read when the author so clearly worships the character she's written.


If you're a Maas fan, you'll probably love this book. At worst you'll just think it's fun. While I had major issues with the characters, writing, and plot, I was definitely entertained.




BATMAN: NIGHTWALKER - Marie Lu

5 Reasons To Read WINDFALL by Jennifer E. Smith


Today I'm sharing 5 reasons why you should read the lovely Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith! Get yourself a copy ASAP because it's a romantic contemporary you can't afford to miss.


I also want to mention something that's for those of you who live in Cape Town (South Africa). From the 17th to the 20th of December, Bargain Books is hosting something amazing. Literally, amazing. For those 4 days you can visit two whole warehouses full of books marked down to ridiculously reasonable prices.
If you live in Cape Town, DO NOT MISS OUT. And hey, if you live elsewhere in the world and wanna fly down for this event, I'm not gonna dissuade you ;) It will be epic! Find out more HERE.











1: Humour

I think humour works best when it stems directly from characters' personalities and interactions, not from ridiculous situations and lines forced onto them. Thankfully, Windfall follows the latter.

The humour is absolutely golden. It'll make you laugh out loud, make you just want to hug the characters, and it'll tickle you till your bones sing. It's delicious.

2: Clean

I enjoy dark books, but sometimes you just need something wholesome - something good, something nice, something positive.  And let's be real, not every teenager drinks, goes to parties, does drugs, or has sex. I love how Smith sees that and represents us. There's little to no swearing, the characters don't sleep around, don't get high, don't get drunk, and they even respect their peers. We need more of that in YA!

I love how clean and wholesome this story is.

3: Perfect Christmasy book

This is the perfect novel to read at Christmas time! The snowy small town setting, the cosy warmth of the friendships, the magical themes of goodness and kindness and love......it's a wonderland of heart and hope.

It truly is the perfect book to read snuggled up in blankets, sipping hot chocolate, sitting in front of the fire. The atmosphere and the story will whisk you away. 

4: Fluffy & feel-good

Windfall is one of those amazing romantic contemporaries that takes the "fluffy" to a whole new level. It may be predictable, but the story is just so magical and absorbing and utterly heartwarming that you find yourself lost between the pages and never wanting to leave. It gives you that impossibly warm and comforting hug you never want to forget. It's beautiful.

5: Precious characters

The characters are darlings. Alice is so strong and kind, Teddy is so sweet and funny, and Leo is so sassy and supportive. Everyone is so well written. I also adore how real all the characters are and how humanly they handle situations - like, say, winning the lottery ;) They're just kids. They act like kids. It feels so authentic.

Speaking of characters, there are also some pretty amazing relationships in this book, as well. Family plays a big part in the story, and I love how messy and imperfect and human all these family dynamics are. It's relatable and realistic.





Have you read Windfall? Did you enjoy it? Does it look like the kind of story you'll like? 

Life Update: The One Where I'm Thankful


I won't be posting Weekly Wrap-Ups anymore, so every now and then I'm going to do a Life Update post instead. Today, in the theme of Thanksgiving, I'm going to share some of the things I'm thankful for.

Besides that, though, I'be had a good weekend. I'm so tired and while school's going well, my sleeping schedule is all over the place. Saturday means I can sleep late, lol.
I'm also hoping to get early nights starting from next week, and then I should feel better during the day.

In other news, I've been re-watching TVD (loving it so so much) and I haven't been reading as much as I should be. Feeling guilty about that :( But I'm in a slump, I guess?

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. Happy weekend!


Family & Friends

I am so grateful I have family and friends who love me, support me, teach me, and accept me. I would be lost without them. To often I take them for granted, and I need to remember how lucky I am.

Blogging Community

Even when I don't feel like posting myself, blog hopping and reading other people's posts always cheers me up. There's also all the friendships I've formed on here; I'm really so grateful for this amazing community.


God

He's my strength and my hope and the One I can always, always, always come to, and He'll be there, no matter how tearful and sinful I am.

Netflix

Ah Netflix. Of course you get a mention. If I wasn't able to watch Netflix, I never would have met TVD, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and - *gasp* - F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Netflix is incredible. Time and time again, it makes my day ;)

Books

Books teach me, thrill me, take me on fantastic journeys and fill me up with adventure, love, knowledge, opinions, and appreciation. I'll always be thankful for books <3





What are you thankful for? 

Hope you're all having an amazing weekend <3

THE ENCHANTED SONATA - by Heather Dixon Wallwork

THE ENCHANTED SONATA - Heather Dixon Wallwork.
Published: October 2018 - The Wallworkshop.
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance / retelling
Pages: N.A.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild violence.
Format: ARC eBook.
Source: Netgalley.


Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker. Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.


This novel had me at The Nutcracker and Pied Piper retelling. Literally screamed my name till I requested it. It looked wonderful.


The writing is a mix of good and bad. Of the good, the descriptions are gorgeous and the humour is on point. Of the bad, there's a lot of telling and many lines and phrases don't make sense; not a case of nonsensical flowery language - rather, it's just simple bad grammar that desperately needs another round of editing. For example, consider these sentences:
- "grasp her bearings"..... is grasp really the right word to use?
- "tight" is used instead of "tightly", and it sounds so awkward.
- "The melody prickled over him, sweat shining on his forehead, on his last bound to the piano, he stumbled and hit the ground at a clatter."...... The punctuation is totally off, and "his last bound" and "hit the ground at a clatter" is a jumbled mess.

The writing style is also very childlike (there are a number of exclamation marks that purposefully seem to stop the sentences from being taken too seriously). But the same time, I think the childlike tone suits the story. It has this whimsical innocence - from the characters to the actual story, it sounds young. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing.


 Killing someone...it broke you inside, didn't it?"

 Music is interesting, isn't it?... Gently played, it can soothe one's soul. It can rouse one to fight in a battle; it can conjure memories of those lost. I could even make someone fall in love with you. Or plunge you into the depths of despair." 


The plot is fun. It's uncomplicated, and it's fast-paced. I also loved the snowy, fairytale setting and atmosphere and I truly commend Dixon for capturing that ethereal, storybook imagination of the original The Nutcracker tale. It sparkles from the very first page.

Above all, however, I really enjoyed the pure loveliness of the novel. It's so sweet, so innocent...so easy. I love how warm-hearted it is. Yes, it could be darker, could be more mature, but sometimes you just need to know that the good guys will be good guys and that they'll defeat the bad guy in the end. Sometimes you just need a good-hearted little heroine who saves the day.  This story gives us that assurance, and personally, I welcomed it.

The characters are nothing outstanding. Clara is very sweet and easy to love, but she's the stereotype of the innocent, naive, angelic heroine. At least she isn't annoying, though. I liked her. I also really liked Alexi and Zizi - they're probably my favourites, although they are definitely flat characters. Nikolai I didn't like. His personality is so inconsistent; as the Nutcracker he's like a totally different person compared to the quiet, noble little human boy we see at the start. I never got a grasp on who he really was. It's like the author was never sure, either. 

I never shipped the romance. Honestly, it seems out of place. I would've preferred Nutcracker and Clara's relationship to remain one of friends, because of the childlike tone of the story and the age of their characters. A romance seems too old for the story.




The Enchanted Sonata is a sweet and inventive tale full of heart. It's pure and lovable, although not particularly written well. 

THE TEMP - by Michelle Frances

THE TEMP - Michelle Frances
Published: November 2018 - Pan Macmillan.
Genres: Adult / thriller / contemporary
Pages: 464.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild violence / mild bad language / sexual innuendos.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wanted: Assistant to provide maternity cover for high-powered TV producer. Must be bright, creative, with killer instincts. 

Emma would do anything to work for the woman who has the job she wants. Carrie is at the top of her game, with a dream career, a baby on the way, and a handsome screenwriter husband. For Emma, with parents who don't understand her ambition and a serious misstep behind her, this temp position might be her last chance.
Carrie has given up more than anyone knows to get to the top of a ruthless business. She won't give up this baby too. But with Emma filling in for her at the office, her perfect life starts to unravel. Her bank account is inexplicably overdrawn, her husband seems strangely distant and colleagues are all too happy to take Emma's creative direction. Carrie finds herself dying to get back to work . . . until a letter left at her door changes everything.


I was expecting to love this book. I hardly even considered the fact that I might be disappointed.


The writing is bad, there's absolutely no point sugar-coating it. It's extremely cheesy, childish, cluttered with overused cliche phrases, and the dialogue is terrible. There is so so so much exposition, as well. It'll induce eye-rolls.

The story and plot are shoddy. There's no originality whatsoever, and everything feels so terribly contrived. The story unfolds around a film production company and with all the pop culture references and celeb name dropping, the author's lack of research is glaringly and painfully obvious. It feels like a cheap, surface-level glimpse at a British television company and business. It never once feels authentic. I couldn't suspend disbelief for a moment.
The plot doesn't do the setting any favours. It's predictable and contrived, and certainly not thrilling or entertaining. The pacing is up and down, too.


A little part of her soul changed its molecular make-up forever, became as hard as a stone and settled in the pit of her stomach.


The characters are annoying stereotypes that I cared zilch for. They are all so boring and uninspired, and there's no depth to their personalities at all. I honestly can't even say what they're each like because their personalities are so poorly formed. Maybe if the point of view had been first person, that might have deepened and fleshed out each person more. But third person does them no favours.
As an additional note, I also feel uncomfortable about how Adrian's character was treated. He's painted as the stereotypical male scumball, but Emma's treatment of him towards the end of the book was awful and inappropriate (she had him handcuffed to the fireplace for days); all because - SPOILER - he stole her film script years ago. Yes, he did wrong, but so did she. She shouldn't have gotten away with it. That made me angry. It also feels like the author was out to get the guy in the story and paint the women as the wounded heroes. Even when Emma and Adrian sleep together, Emma leads the reader to think he forced/pressured her into it, when he clearly, clearly didn't.  It all feels very biased.




The Temp is contrived, superficial, and packed with cliches. To make things worse, the writing is lacking and the characters are pathetic. 

A SIMPLE FAVOUR - by Darcey Bell

A SIMPLE FAVOUR - Darcey Bell.
Published: September 2018 - Pan Macmillan.
Genres: Adult / contemporary / thriller
Pages: 371.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Infrequent bad language / infrequent, explicit sex scenes.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
She’s your best friend. She knows all your secrets. That’s why she’s so dangerous.

It starts with a simple favour—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When glamorous Emily asks Stephanie to pick up her son after school, Stephanie happily says yes. Emily has a life that would make any woman jealous. She is the perfect mother with a dazzling career working for a famous fashion designer in Manhattan. Stephanie, a widow with a son in kindergarten, lonely in their Connecticut suburb, turns to her daily blog for connection and validation. Stephanie imagines Emily to be her new confidante and is shocked when Emily suddenly disappears without a trace, leaving her son and husband with no warning.

Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong. Unable to keep away from the grieving family, she soon finds herself entangled with Sean, Emily’s handsome, reticent British husband. But she can’t ignore the nagging feeling that he’s not being honest with her about Emily’s disappearance. Is Stephanie imagining things? How well did she really know her “best” friend? Stephanie begins to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favour—is as simple as it seems..


I requested this book to read and review because I've been so excited for the movie, and I definitely wanted to read the book before I watched the movie.


Bell's writing is bold, arresting, and razor elegant. There's so much punch to it and I adore the short sentences. However, its real power comes from the strength of the characters' voices, especially Stephanie's. It's written in first person, and the characters' voices are so rich that they make the prose sing. That takes the writing to a whole new level.

In a way, the story is slow. But the intensity is always building and the characters and the writing keep the plot tight. It starts rather unsuspecting, but then the twists start uncoiling and the author starts peeling back the complicated layers of the story. It becomes shocking. The twists get outrageous - yet somehow they work. The tone gets darker and more creepy - but it's utterly bewitching and you can't tear your eyes away because it's so nastily good. If you love gossipy, unpredictable tales of back-stabbing and horrifying scandals, then this novel is for you.

My only issue with the plot is the unsatisfactory ending. It's not enough to ruin the whole story, but it is rushed and mildly frustrating.


 My mother used to say: everyone has secrets. That's why you can never really know anyone else. Or trust anyone. It's why you can never know yourself. Sometimes we even keep secrets from ourselves." 


The characters are the most tantalising anti-heroes. From the first chapter Stephanie's personality is explosive, and as Emily and Sean's point of views are steadily added, they too leap off the page with strong motivations and twisty backstories. Everyone is layered and everyone is hiding something. It's fantastic. In fact, I'd go as far to say the book would have been a flop if the characters hadn't been as strong as they were. They really do make the book. They're so fully realised.

The secondary characters and the relationships are also excellent.  Every person is so effortlessly vivid, and the dynamics between everyone are diverse and utterly scandalous.




A Simple Favour is a sinfully delectable treat of a book.  Gone Girl meets Big Little Lies in a novel where relationships have never been more poisonous, lies more delicious, and agendas more twisted. With bold writing and layered characters, this novel is easily one of my favourites from the year. 

THE SHIP OF THE DEAD - by Rick Riordan

THE SHIP OF THE DEAD (Magnus Chase #3) - Rick Riordan
Published: October 2017 - Disney Hyperion.
Genres: Young adult / mythology / fantasy
Pages: 410.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Fantasy violence.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

My name is Magnus Chase. These days, I'm one of Odin's immortal warriors, but that doesn't stop people trying to kill me all the time. Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. He's put together a crew of giants and zombies to sail Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, in a battle against the Norse gods. If he succeeds, the final battle of Ragnarok will extinguish all the worlds. With help from Percy Jackson and my cousin Annabeth, and with friends by my side, I have to sail across the oceans to reach Naglfar before Midsummer's Day. The only problems are the angry sea gods, hostile giants and evil fire-breathing dragon in the way. But even if we survive the journey I'll need more than just Jack, my talking sword, to beat Loki. I must find a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make me powerful enough to defeat Loki and put him back in chains for good … or destroy me entirely. 


I feel terrible about reviewing this book. It's a total "it's not you, it's me" case. Needless to say, while this book wasn't for me, it could very easily be for you!


The writing is good. I'm honestly indifferent - it didn't make me fall in love, but there's nothing particularly wrong about it. I also didn't find the humour especially great, and I know the "amazing humour" is something people apparently love Riordan for.
The creativity and imagination are astounding. The world is epic, and the fast-paced plot and consistent action keep things entertaining. It's fun.

I liked Mallory and Sam, but none of the characters made an impression on me and I didn't feel myself rooting for any of them. I just wasn't invested. And that really sums up my feelings about this book. It was too much Middle Grade, and it was too blah and tame with meh characters. It's not my type of read at all.




The Ship of the Dead was my first Riordan novel, and I'm sorry to say it'll be my last. It's not a bad book by any means, but it's not for me. The reasons are completely subjective.

For the love of Gothic Literature


Who loves Gothic romance? Years ago I went through a stage of absolutely obsessing over the genre. (I blame The Phantom of the Opera). I read every classic Gothic novel I could get my hands on (literally) and had a dozen Gothic romance ideas for my own books. While I'm not quite as passionate about the topic as I was then, I still love Gothic novels and themes. They're so rich and fascinating.


Today I want to give a shout-out to an amazing post that highlights the main elements of Gothic literature. The ingredients for writing your own Gothic novel, I suppose. Emma has written an excellent post and I can't wait for you guys to check it. Read it HERE.

Below is also an infographic she made. How great is this?! Just looking at it makes me grin like crazy - I love this topic so much.







Are you a fan of Gothic romance? Did you enjoy Emma's post? 

ALL THE HIDDEN TRUTHS - by Clare Askew

ALL THE HIDDEN TRUTHS - Clare Askew.
Published: August 2018 - Hodder & Stoughton.
Genres: Adult / contemporary / thriller
Pages: 352.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence / extremely triggering subject matter, please be warned.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

All the Hidden Truths is the story of a tragic shooting at an Edinburgh college and its aftermath. It is narrated by three women at the heart of the story - the mother of a victim and the mother of the shooter, and DI Helen Birch who is tasked in solving the case. 



Two words: Emotionally unprepared.  knew it would be heavy, but I didn't realise just how heavy. I didn't realise I would be crying - sobbing - on literally every page in this book.


Apparently Askew is known for her poetry, but her prose in this book goes from an awkward expository style to sensitive and incisive language that keeps digging deeper into the story and the characters. Admittedly, I didn't love the first chapter, but after that I was hooked. Her writing style easily grew on me and by the end of the book I was in love.

It goes without saying that this story is difficult to read. It's disturbing, it's utterly heartbreaking, and it hits close to home. But the pacing is perfect, and as you sit sobbing your soul out, the author actually gives you the time to grieve, to come to terms with the characters' losses, and then to breathe and keep going. It's so tenderly and sensitively written that you feel as if you're going on a journey with the characters and you get to deal with the pain just as they do. It's brilliantly handled.

But while I sobbed every second page (it's that emotional) I was also absolutely gripped and riveted by the story. The tension doesn't let up for a moment, and with every line coursing with compassion, you're in for a breathless, terrifying journey. It's like the author grabs your heart in her cold fist and squeezes and squeezes and doesn't let up till days after you've turned the last page. And yet at the same time, empathy is bursting from the pages in waves. It's a scary tale, but also achingly understandingly.

I love how the author grapples with the topic. It makes you think, it makes you question, and while she never delivers a real reason for why Ryan did what he did, she leaves us with perhaps the most painful lesson of all: sometimes we don't get answers. Sometimes we don't get goodbyes. Sometimes, all there is is desperation and agony and us screaming why why why into a void.  I think the following quote captures that sentiment brilliantly.


 It's like I'm fumbling around in this terrible darkness. I'm trying to find a lever, or a switch - something I can press that will flood everything with light, and make it all seem alright again. If I can find that switch, I'll find myself in a brightly lit room, and on the floor in the middle of it will be written the reason - the reason - why my son...why my son killed those thirteen women. The darkness is the question: why, why? And the light switch would give me the answer. 
But I don't think I'll ever find it. I think I'll be staggering around in that darkness for...well, for the rest of my life."  


The characters are exceptional. There's Moira, whose son shot the thirteen women. There's Helen, the detective in charge of handling the case. And there's Ishbel, whose daughter was the first victim. Askew writes each women phenomenally; they're all so well nuanced and vivid. I also loved reading the story from 3 very different perspectives - it was so insightful and interesting. They each brought something different to the story and that took it so much further.




Searing, compassionate, profound, and unflinchingly agonising, All The Hidden Truths is an outstanding novel following three very different women as they grapple to find closure and justice in the centre of an unthinkable and unexplainable tragedy.


SPINNING SILVER - by Naomi Novik

SPINNING SILVER - Naomi Novik
Published: July 2018 - Macmillan.
Genres: Adult / fairytale retelling / fantasy
Pages: 466.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild sexual innuendo.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.


I read this book with the lovely Di from Book Reviews By Di. As always, it was an awesome buddy-read and so wonderful to discuss with her. Go read her review HERE!


The first thing that struck me about this fairytale - even before I started reading - was the originality. I mean, it's a Rumplestiltskin retelling! And I love that! It's so unique and fresh, and I can honestly say that it was unlike anything I've ever read.
I also like Novik's writing. It's different, it does takes a while to get used to her phrasing, but there's a real classic poetry to her prose. She's extremely skilled.

The fantasy world Novik creates is probably the best thing about the novel. You plunge into the icy, darkly magical atmosphere from the first chapter, and coupled with striking, palpable imagery, it's immersive and breathtaking. I loved it.


I am not your subject or your servant, and if you want a cowering mouse for a wife, go find someone else who can turn silver to gold for you.”


But ultimately, the book fell flat. It came down to the characters' points of view and infuriating formatting that made distinguishing between those different points of view nearly impossible. The perspectives changed very few paragraphs, and the only thing to show the change was a paragraph break and a small spinning wheel graphic. I didn't even realise this was supposed to be the separator until about halfway through the story. Even after I knew, the characters voices were impossible to differentiate between because everyone sounded so. freaking. similar.  Literally identical. And point of views kept getting added! I think it was like 6 in total? It was muddled and confusing and it made enjoying the story almost impossible.

If the characters' personalities were vivid and their voices stronger, that would have saved the book.

There's also the plot. The twists are good and the subplots tie together nicely, but it's also overstuffed and when the characters are as they are, it makes everything else extremely muddled. I was bored because most of the time I had no clue what was going on (and yes, it is a slow story as well), and since I couldn't love the characters, I was indifferent. Overall, not a success :(




Spinning Silver is a unique and exquisitely written tale, rich with fairytale lore and stunning imagery. But I found it too slow, too boring, and the characters' point of views distractingly confusing. 

Life Update! I'm back.....I think?!


It's been forever since I ventured onto the blogosphere and even as I type this post, I'm not actually sure if I'll be able to stick around. *Sigh.* My Mac isn't fixed yet, so that's been a pain. It's so frustrating.

But while I'm here, I thought I'd do a life update. It's too late for a October wrap-up, which I missed, and so a general update seems more fitting.

Hope you're all doing well!


A summary of recent life events ;) 


- NaNoWriMo isn't happening for me this month. I decided I was putting too much pressure on myself to get 50k words in about  days ;) That just wasn't looking good. So I took a deep breath and resigned myself to the fact NaNo wasn't gonna happen this month.
However, I plan to start my novel in December. Writing needs to happen either way :)

- Reviews haven't been written, thanks to my stupid Mac, so my backlog is looking rather intimidating. As soon as I'm permanently back, you're gonna be inundated with book reviews. You've been warned ;)

- Netflix is my saviour at the moment. Because I haven't been able to write or blog, I've been reading a ton and watching a lot of Netflix. I'm re-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S (not sure what number rewatch this is...lol), still watching Gilmore Girls for the first time (on season 4 and it's pretty much meh at the moment), and I'm re-watching The Vampire Diaries because I miss those characters so freaking much. How naive and innocent they all were in the first season. *Sob*.

(Except Damon. Duh).

I also watched a new mini series that came to Netflix, called Bodyguard. It's nothing outstanding, but still a decent political action drama.

- I handed in my CV to my local dvd store. I asked them about a job a while ago and they didn't have anything. Then recently, they put a sign up asking for people in emergencies (since they already have a full staff), so I stuffed myself pull of anxiety pills (not kidding) and handed in my CV. It was a nerve-wracking, but at least it's done. Now just to wait and see if anything comes of it.

- I re-designed my blog! It's been a long time coming (my previous template has been giving trouble in forever) and I'm still not 100% satisfied (are we ever?), but it's an improvement from my last one, I think. Please let me know what you think?!

- My mental health has been really bad these last few weeks. It was the MacBook situation, I think, and the CV thing, and altogether I've been feeling extremely low and un-motivated and anxious. Social media has really affected me, too.  As much as I love it, it can also be so toxic.

- Blog-hopping will happen. I promise. I miss everyone's blogs so freaking much and I am desperate to come round and comment. It might take a while, but I will get to you!

- Bookmail! These are books that I acquired either from publishers, or bought myself, or won in giveaways :)





How have you been? What are you reading and watching? How's your November been so far? How's NaNoWriMo going?

Life Update - ft. Indefinite Hiatus!

Hey all, just popping on here quickly to explain my sudden disappearance from the blogosphere! My MacBook has been taken to be repaired and so I haven’t been able to blog or have access to any of my designs and resources etc etc. I’m writing this post from my phone, which is kinda difficult lol ;)

I hope to be back soon. I have so many reviews to write, not to mention a monthly wrap up, and I am dying to blog hop again and comment on all your posts! Fingers crossed I’ll be back soon.

It doesn’t help that NaNoWriMo began on Thursday and I haven’t been able to write a word yet either 🙈 Scrivener and my outline etc are on my MacBook :( IT IS FRUSTRATING TO SAY THE LEAST.

My mental health has been trash recently too. A part of me thinks this hiatus is a good thing because of all of that, so I guess I should try use the time to chill a bit. Well, try.


Anyway, just wanted to let you guys know! Hope you’re having an awesome weekend :)




P.S. I’m also planning a major blog redesign and I’m gonna change my theme too, when I get back... Stay tuned 😁😁