Review | King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

kingofscarsTitleKing of Scars (2019)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Read: 29th January – 5th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Face your demons… or feed them. Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war – and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

girlsofpaperTitleGirls of Paper and Fire (2018)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Read: 4th – 8th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; LGBTQ
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honour they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gildedwolvesTitleThe Gilded Wolves (2019)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Read: 19th – 23rd January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fiction;
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

darkdayspactTitleThe Dark Days Pact (2017)
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher/Edition: Walker Books
Read: 18th – 26th November 2018
Genre: fantasy; historical fiction; young-adult
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Brighton, July 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is spending the summer season in Brighton, where she will continue her Reclaimer training and prepare for her duties as a fully fledged member of the Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, believes that a Grand Deceiver has arrived in England, and there is no time to lose in preparing Helen to fight it. As she rushes to complete her training, Helen finds herself torn between her loyalty to Carlston and the orders of the Home Office, who wish to use her to further their own agenda. Meanwhile, the Duke of Selburn seems determined to try and protect her, irrespective of the risk to himself. With so much at stake, Helen must make an agonizing choice between duty and devotion.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

iamiamiamTitleI Am, I Am, I Am: A Memoir (2017)
Author: Maggie O’Farrell
Publisher/Edition: Tinder Press
Read: 11th – 15th December 2018
Genre: non-fiction; memoir
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“When Maggie O’Farrell’s daughter was diagnosed with a severe immunology disorder, she found herself writing stories to make sense of how closely with live alongside the possibility of death and the reality of pain. She began to look back at her own life, her own near-fatal illness as a child and the moments through her life where she was forced to look her own mortality in the face. A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. This is a memoir with a difference: seventeen encounters with Maggie at different ages, in different locations, reveal to us a whole life in a series of tense, visceral snapshots.” (Synopsis from Waterstones)

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Review | And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

TitleAnd Then There Were None (1939)
Author: Agatha Christie
Publisher/Edition: HarperCollins
Read: 27th – 28th November 2018
Genre: classics; mystery
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again… and again…” (Synopsis from the author’s website)

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Review | Temeraire by Naomi Novik

temeraireTitleTemeraire (2006)
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 28th November – 9th December 2018
Genre: fantasy; alternate history
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.” (Synopsis from the author’s website)

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Review | Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

wivesanddaughtersTitle: Wives and Daughters (1866)
Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Publisher/Edition: Penguin English Library
Read: 1st – 17th October 2018
Genre: classics
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Seventeen-year-old Molly Gibson worships her widowed father. But when he decides to remarry, Molly’s life is thrown off course by the arrival of her vain, shallow and selfish stepmother. There is some solace in the shape of her new stepsister Cynthia, who is beautiful, sophisticated and irresistible to every man she meets. Soon the girls become close, and Molly finds herself cajoled into becoming a go-between in Cynthia’s love affairs. But in doing so, Molly risks ruining her reputation in the gossiping village of Hollingford – and jeopardizing everything with the man she is secretly in love with.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Review | The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

montecristoTitle: The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Translator: Robin Buss
Publisher/Edition: Penguin Clothbound Classics
Read: 3rd July – 18th August 2018
Genre: classics
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“A beautiful new clothbound edition of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel of wrongful imprisonment, adventure and revenge. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of the Château d’If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and becomes determined not only to escape but to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. A huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s, Dumas was inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment when writing his epic tale of suffering and retribution.”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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Review | Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Title: Scrappy Little Nobody (2016)
Author: Anna Kendrick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Read: 24th – 29th August 2018
Genre: memoir; humour
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.” At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In her autobiographical collection of essays Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations. Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).”
(Synopsis from the publisher)

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