Review | The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

languageofthornsTitle: The Language of Thorns (2017)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Illustrator: Sara Kipin
Publisher: Orion Children’s Group
Read: 27th – 28th January 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns. Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price. Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, no. 1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans of the Grishverse. This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them beautifully illustrated with art by Sara Kiplin that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.” (Synopsis from the publisher)
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Review | Princess Diaries: Take Two by Meg Cabot

Title: Princess Diaries: Take Two (2001)
Author: Meg Cabot
Narrator: Anne Hathaway
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Read: 10th – 11th January 2018
Genre: young-adult; contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Fourteen-year-old Mia Thermopolis is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that she’s a princess – and heir to the throne of Genovia! But when she announces on national TV that her mum is pregnant by her algebra teacher and plans to marry him, a right-royal fuss results! Because now Mia’s totally out-of-control Grandmere is all set to plan the year’s biggest society wedding, with every A-list celeb invited. But will the bride and groom even turn up? And how can Mia find out the true identity of her mysterious secret admirer?” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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Review | The Fandom by Anna Day

Title: The Fandom (2018)
Author: Anna Day
Publisher: Chicken House
Read: 12th – 15th January 2018
Genre: young-adult; dystopia
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“No story is worth dying for … is it? Violet and her friends love being part of the fandom for The Gallows Dance. But at Comic-Con, they’re somehow catapulted into the story itself – for real. Trapped in a twisted world where they’ve accidentally killed the original hero, Rose, there’s only one way to survive: Violet must fill Rose’s shoes and put the plot back on track… A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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Review | Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Title: Exit West (2017)
Author: Mohsin Hamid
Read: 2nd – 7th September 2017
Genre: fiction; magical realism
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it. Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind – when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world…
(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Title: The Hating Game (2016)
Author: Sally Thorne
Read: 15th September 2017
Genre: contemporary; romance
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job… But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.”
(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Sally Heathcote, Suffragette

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette (2014)
Author: Mary M. Talbot, Bryan Talbot, Kate Charlesworth
Read: 21st December 2015
Genre: graphic novel; historical fiction; feminism
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is an admirable attempt to make what is already a pretty interesting social and historical movement even more interesting and accessible to a wider audience by choosing to frame it by narrating the life of fictional suffragette Sally Heathcote as she moves from orphanage to service in Mrs Pankhurst’s household to being swept up in the militant WSPU organisation. Continue reading

Review: Viper Wine

Title: Viper Wine (2014)

Author: Hermione Eyre
Read: 11th-20th September
Genre: historical fiction (with plenty of glorious anachronism)
Rating: 5/5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Set in 1632 England, Viper Wine follows Venetia Stanley, a noblewoman once considered a beauty by society who is now less that impressed with what the ravages of time do to said infamous beauty. Her husband, Sir Kenelm Digby, doesn’t seem all too concerned by her fading youth, and would rather muse philosophically in the company of his many, many books. Despite her clueless husband’s adoration, Venetia takes her beauty into her own hands, seeking out various suspect lotions and potions like so many of her contemporaries; as part of a society centred around the spectacle of court and above all being seen, Venetia represents a key aspect of early modern England which, in Eyre’s hands, becomes the stuff of a witty, exuberant, and fascinating narrative. Continue reading

Review: The Princess Diaries

91lljdeafpl-_sl1500_Title: The Princess Diaries (2000)

Author: Meg Cabot
Read: 16th July
Genre: Young-adult; humour; romance
Rating: 4/5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

“Lilly says I have an overactive imagination and a pathological need to invent drama in my life.”

Mia Thermopolis is just your average fourteen-year old girl, worried that she’s ugly, worried that her hair is dorky, worried that she’s going to fail Algebra, worried that she’s recently discovered she’s heir to the throne of a small principality called Genovia. Perhaps the last one isn’t so relateable, but the entire strength in Meg Cabot’s famous Princess Diaries series is the journal format which allows readers an intimate insight into the profound (and, let’s face it, not so profound) thoughts of a teenage girl who is just as concerned about her mum dating her teacher as she is about learning the correct way to eat soup.
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Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (2012)

Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Read: 27th-28th June
Genre: Young-adult; contemporary; LGBTQ
Rating: 4.5/5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

I open this review with a confession: I underlined so many quotes in this book. I’m generally not a person who underlines or annotates novels for the simple reason that I’m an English Literature student so any time I do annotate, I’m probably doing required reading. Call me crazy but I like to be able to read leisurely too. But within the space of maybe 20 pages this book just begged me to start underlining it. Why? Because this coming-of-age, relatively simple story, told via the first-person narration of Ari, is beautiful.

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Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

daughterTitle: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (2011)
Author: Laini Taylor
Read: 17th-24th April 2015
Pages: 420
Genre: YA Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Links: Goodreads / Amazon


All I had heard about Daughter of Smoke and Bone before reading it for myself was that it was beautifully written and truly compelling. People weren’t wrong. Continue reading