Saturday, 29 September 2018

Pride


Hello Readers,

Today I am off to Pride one of the comments I usually get is why and when is straight Pride?

Honestly if you are asking when straight pride is you are part of the problem.

Why I go to Pride?
I went to my first Pride by accident at 6 years old we moved to Brighton on pride weekend and ever since I have been an ally. Mother Goose remembers the conversation vividly me: “mum why are the two men kissing” Mother Goose: “they love each other like mummy and daddy love each other” and that’s all I needed.

On a little bit of a sad note (Both Mother Goose and I cried while I wrote this bit) while we lived in Brighton Mother Goose made friends with David the most wonderful Queen I have ever met and my beautiful Gay uncle after three years of actual sparkle’s and rainbows we moved and 2 weeks later Dave died due to unforeseen circumstances so we go to pride in honour of his memory. David called himself a Queen and even though he left us he still retains his title.

I made Mother Goose cry so I’m going to add this story in to hopefully make her laugh because I know she reads my posts. I was at boarding school and wasn't home for this story but I love the smile on Mother Goose’s face when she retells it. Her and David had gone for an Italian and they had in Mother Goose’s own words and beautiful waiter that came to take their order and she got a little flirtatious so David stepped in and announced quite clearly to the whole restaurant “she’s married and has a kid, I’m single and I want your number” they waiter scurried off with the order and Mother Goose excused herself to go the toilet. When she came back David told her “can we hurry this along I have a date to get to”. While getting her to proofread this post she let slip after 18 years the brilliant detail that she dropped them off or the date at the Queen Victoria pub.

So, after that nice fluffy detail, let's get back to what an ally is an ally a heterosexual person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Why do we still need pride?

A Colorado mother says her 9-year-old son took his life last week because of anti-gay bullying from his classmates. (Aug 28 2018)

12-year-old killed himself after being bullied for coming out as bisexual (March 13 2018)

15-year-old trans boy killed himself after school ‘refused to use his new name’ (Sept 1 2017)

This is why we still need pride!
People need to know its okay to be themselves and its okay to be different


A brief history of Pride
On June 28, 1969, a riot broke out at the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in downtown Manhattan. Police had been known to raid the club from time to time, but on that night, the patrons fought back against police discrimination and the police intended to arrest everyone in the club that night because of their resistance. As they waited for assistance to arrive, a crowd gathered outside the bar, trapping the police inside Soon, patrol wagons arrived to transport the patrons to prison.  A protest broke out, with police and community members clashing through the night, and for the rest of the week. Night after night, more and more protesters returned to Christopher Street, where Stonewall is located, to protest the mistreatment and discrimination they suffered at the hands of the police. Originally, Pride was a political demonstration to voice LGBT demands for equal rights and protections. It wasn’t until 1991 that Pride began to resemble what it is today: a celebration of queer life and sexuality in addition to a political and social demonstration.

Here is a link that shows all the countries where being gay is still a criminal offence

L x

Friday, 28 September 2018

The Confectioner's Guild by Claire Luana


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers
Due to be released: 23rd October 2018

I thought this was a fantastic start to a series and I love the world Claire Luana created. I was expecting a cosy mystery novel but It surprised me in such a wonderful way, it was a deliciously dark YA fantasy that was so immersive. The Confectioner’s Guild seized my interest from the start with the concept of food-based magic, I haven’t really read anything with food-based magic before. I loved the magic system and I can’t wait to learn more about it (hopefully in future books). This book starts with the action there is drawn out wait to get the event that starts the ball rolling I think the party starts in the second chapter. 

The main character Wren is our plucky and brave protagonist, Wren is a very talented confectioner who bakes magic into her desserts (Unbeknown to her). She works for her master at an everyday bakery, baking and decorating beautiful desserts. Wren is working away in the bakery when the right-hand man to the guild master walk in and takes her to the guild where she learns that magic is not only real, but she can manifest in her baking. However, her luck doesn’t last long as she’s accused of murdering the guild master whom she just met mere minutes prior as he ate her enchanted cupcake before he died. In the eyes of the guild, Wren is guilty until proven otherwise which makes her life at the guild hall miserable and she finds herself in the unfortunate position with no family or friends to defend her. Wren is given the chance to prove her innocence before the king's inquisitor arrives in a months’ time before she has to suffer the tortures of the inquisitor. Wren is such a strong and clever and has a magnificent character grow throughout the book.

I find this whole magical and political system that Claire has created in this book is fascinating and well developed the magic system itself revolves around food and nine food and drink related Guilds, which holds an unusually high influence within the country, second only to the royal family. The cast of characters was interesting and all of them have an interesting background that you can’t help but get invested in, as well as the contrast between the different factions built into the political and Guild structure of the books world. I’m looking forward to seeing how the world and conflict develop as it develops in the future.

This book, in my opinion, is unique, right when you think you know without a doubt who the killer is, the evidence points in another direction. I really enjoyed that aspect of a murder mystery in a fantasy world and I want to look more into this genre any suggestions would be great. There is a brilliant mixture of fantasy, mystery and political intrigue to see if Wren would make it out alive.

L x

Monday, 24 September 2018

Trans Teen Survival Guide by Fox Fisher and Owl Fisher publication spotlight



Hello Readers,

This is an updated of my review I post I posted back in June. I’ve been waiting to do a spotlight post  just after the book had been published (Friday 21st) because I honestly think this book needs to get the attention it deserves. Instead of repeating my previous post this is a spotlight post


To buy Trans Teen Survival Guide
The link I am including to buy the book benefits MermaidsMermaids is a charity that works to support gender diverse children and teens, their motto is to 'embrace, empower, educate'.
Buy Trans Teen Survival Guide here: https://t.co/ZqxrwH7C9H

Spotlight
Title: Trans Teen Survival Guide
Authors Names: Fox and Owl Fisher 
Genre: LGBT, Educational, Young Adult
Release Date: 2st September 2018
Publisher: JESSICA KINGSLEY PUBLISHERS
Cover:



Synopsis from Goodreads
Frank, friendly and funny, Trans Teen Survival Guide will leave transgender and non-binary teens informed, empowered and armed with all the tips, confidence and practical advice they need to navigate life as a trans teen. Wondering how to come out to your family and friends, what it's like to go through cross hormonal therapy or how to put on a packer? Trans youth activists Fox and Owl have stepped in to answer everything that trans teens and their families need to know. With a focus on self-care, expression and being proud of your unique identity, the guide is packed full of invaluable advice from people who understand the realities and complexities of growing up trans. Having been there, done that, Fox and Owl are able to honestly chart the course of life as a trans teen, from potentially life-saving advice on dealing with dysphoria or depression, to hilarious real-life awkward trans stories.

Mini review (Full review here)
The book explores what sex, gender, gender orientation and gender expression are, the differences between them, and how there isn't a good or bad way to be a certain gender. The book not only explores what gender is but also how it's viewed in society and how hurtful some of the stereotypes can be. It rightfully (In my opinion) warns trans teens about people who could have ulterior motives and be more obsessed with their genitals are vs their gender (this is honestly a thing and I’m glad it has been addressed).  I appreciate the diversity present throughout the book, as it is informative for trans individuals and is inclusive to anyone who identifies within the trans umbrella identity, such as non-binary individuals.

The books constantly informs the reader that, no matter how they identify and express themselves, they are queer/trans, which is a really important thing. There has been a lot of "discussion" on social media by keyboard warriors in the past few years about how some people are supposedly not queer enough. This micromanaging and negativity are extremely hurtful, and I am glad that they address this in the book.

Fox and Owl remind the reader that having surgery or not is a personal choice and doesn't affect the fact that they ARE trans.

 L x


Friday, 21 September 2018

Confessions of a GP by Doctor Benjamin Daniels


Hello Readers,

This was one of the first audiobooks I got from Audible (It was either this or Miranda Hearts Autobiography) years ago ironically during a hospital stay and couldn't help but compare it to my experience of being there. I honestly think this book was brilliant and was not a disappointment and I find that I go back to it a lot.  You will laugh and cringe and I think it is an amazing insight into the challenges that healthcare professionals have to face. I know I don’t usually contain the synopsis but this one was a little hard to explain so I have included the synopsis from GoodReads.

This book started a trend I also have
N  Further confessions of a GP by Benjamin Daniels
N  Confession of a male nurse by Michael Alexander
N  Doctor’s Notes by Dr Rose Leonard

Synopsis
Benjamin Daniels is angry. He is frustrated, confused, baffled and, quite frequently, very funny. He is also a GP. These are his confessions.
A woman troubled by pornographic dreams about Tom Jones. An 80-year-old man who can't remember why he's come to see the doctor. A woman with a common cold demanding (but not receiving) antibiotics. A man with a sore knee. A young woman who has been trying to conceive for a while but now finds herself pregnant and isn't sure she wants to go through with it. A 7-year-old boy with 'tummy aches' that don't really exist.
These are his patients.
Confessions of a GP is a witty insight into the life of a family doctor. Funny and moving in equal measure it will change the way you look at your GP next time you pop in with the sniffles.

Review
Dr Daniels is a pseudonym for someone working in the NHS who, at time of writing, has been a GP for a few years and actually, despite everything, is loving it. Dr Daniels comes over as a caring but a funny doctor and clearly is still in love with his profession which is great.  This book is written like an autobiography type memoir so if you're not into biographies then give it a miss although you'd missing a great insight into what it's like working as a GP for the NHS. The book details Daniels accounts of being a very junior doctor having been woefully prepared for life as the most junior doctor on the ward.  There’s a good balance between the patients he has encountered and his thoughts on the NHS. His accounts of being on call, often exhausted and racing from one ward to another are hilarious. There are the usual variety of ogre Consultants and ward sisters. Some of the opinions and thought processes might appear a little harsh at first glance, however, Dr Daniels does make the effort to cushion the blow. Daniels discusses practice targets, ten-minute appointment slots and regularly advises us how to get the most out of our GP It is professional and does not scaremonger

The variations between sad, heart-breaking, hilarious and just plain gross!  is quite refreshing, however, Daniels doesn't really allow the reader to wallow in the darker side of the job for too long.  Also, some of what you may read in this book may surprise or infuriate you. It's staggering to know what some people will go to the doctors for and the expectations they have. It reminds you that yes you might be feeling a bit grotty and be grumpy and you had to ring a couple of times to get an appointment or everything is running late but just maybe that’s because the medical team are actually saving lives and dealing with real emergencies. It all about perspective.

I honestly laughed out loud at this book and the sequel. Doctor Daniels shows how difficult it is to get it right on all levels as a General Practitioner. I also thought that this was a wonderful listen while in hospital and it really does change your perspective.

L x

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Giant Days by Non Pratt


Hello Readers,

I picked up Giant Days at YALC this year, I was going to preorder it then I found out that there would be early copies available so picked it up there and got a cute travel mug.

I will be honest from the get-go I haven’t read the graphic novels that this book is based on, however, I was all in! I'm a huge fan of Non Pratt. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't appreciate some references or grasp the characters, but I was wrong! The characters are introduced in a way that doesn’t seem too info-dumpy. The story covers all the basics of Uni life homesickness, new love interests, making friends, evil yoga cults.

Giant Days follows 3 girls who become friends in their first year of university and tackles issues and achievements that everyone can face in University. The setup is perfect, and the plot is just crazy enough to still be believable. I can't remark on whether it's accurate when compared to the graphic novel but I can say at least from my point of view you don't need to have read the graphic novel in order to love this story. This book was unadulterated fun it combines great characters and snappy banter to produce a fabulous reading experience as it is full of mystery and adventure, easy to read and is a humorous book.

As soon as I was introduced to Esther, Daisy and Susan I knew I wanted to get to know them and I found they were easy to relate to. It’s easy to feel every emotion with them as they are trying to navigate their first year of university. Esther is the emo goth girl who is struggling with trying to have fun and taking college seriously she is also dying to make a good impression on a popular goth girl on her course (English with modules in Creative Writing). Daisy is the sweet, innocent girl who has home schooled her entire life and just wants to make friends. feeling lonely she sets out to make friends by joining every single society she can, including a mysterious Yoga group. Susan is going into pre-med and doing fine until she randomly bumps into her ex-best friend, which causes some drama dealing with course stuff and friendship drama I loved how different each of them is, yet they complement each other beautifully.

Non Pratt captures those early days at university so well and highlights the insecurities of freshers and making friends. Non does a fantastic job of capturing the highs and lows of university life: the feeling of being a little lost, missing your home and your old life. All of this plus academic demand can be quite stressful. Woven throughout this tale is the lesson about being yourself and how to tell if someone is a real friend. It's a fun novel, that is humorous and heart-warming. It's the kind of book you want to curl up with a cup of tea and a packet of biscuits.

I would definitely recommend Giant Days for anyone who is going to Uni

L x

Monday, 17 September 2018

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian


Hello Readers,


Ash Princess is a darker book than the typical YA fantasy. As a debut novel I would say Ash Princess is well written and well-paced. Laura Sebastian does a amazing job of painting a picture of Theo’s  (a.k.a. Theodosia, a.k.a Thora) world. Ash Princess sets the tone of the novel right from the first scene brutally recounting Theodosia's memory of her mother's murder and that darkness is embedded into Theo's life ever since. Theo is forced to live with her mother’s murder and her kingdom is overtaken by The Kaiser. It is a fantastic book that drags you into the story and keeps you there the whole way through the book. Having said that I think Laura does a really great job of balancing the darkness of the story. Ash Princess is a dark world it covers some heavy subjects (slavery, murder, torture, etc) and nods at some others that happen off the page (rape).  The stakes feel higher, Theo's problems seem larger, and her risks greater.

Ash Princess is about 16 years old Theo who is the rightful ruler of Astrea or she would’ve been had the Kaiser not invaded and brutally murdered thousands and Enslaving her people. Theo's mother, the Queen, was murdered in front of her eyes when she was 6, the country was conquered, the land was taken and resources pillaged. she’s then humiliated and subjected to torture for 10 years under the “care” of the conquerors. Theo has lived under the thumb of the Kaiser, simply waiting for the day she either loses her life or escapes. They torture her as they want her to completely forget who she is, and in mockery of her heritage. Theo is known as the Ash Princess. Any acts that challenge the Kaiser's rule results in Theo being cruelly punished.

Being Known as the quiet, obedient Lady Thora to the Kalovaxians, shes kept in the palace by the cruel Kaiser as a reminder of the Kalovaxian rule, Theo has put up with all this horror she's done nothing but survive until one of her punishments reminds her of who she was meant to be. Now she wants her revenge for herself, her mother, and her people. She soon finds the backbone to resist and fight back. Theodosia is not alone, there are others who will do anything to remove the violent oppression under which they live. Even while plotting and acts of defiance Theo still remains a very good character

Theo’s character development is really something. Theo suffers from PTSD throughout the book at the start she is very broken but focused on just keeping herself alive. Although Theo is a little indecisive at times, I like how tough and strong she is, even when she feels she isn’t. Rebel leadership takes its toll on Theo, she experiences inner turmoil as to the price and consequences of her actions and decisions. Theo  quickly realises this can’t be it and She is still full of love and compassion despite the atrocities she’s been subjected to. There has to be more and when she finds out she has a few allies close by she starts to plot for a better future. It is not surprising after the life she has led that she should struggle, not to mention that she is young and facing a steep learning curve, and there are expectations of her.

I think this is a good start to a trilogy and that there are some great ideas within this book. Laura has done a fantastic job with both the world and the characters, and this really showed throughout the book. I was really impressed with the world building Laura has made a conscious effort to research  the world she created with almost everything thought out even the intricate details and belief systems. There is a magic system, based on elemental magic, and this added to the story but didn't overpower it, and was also simple enough to understand without too much explanation. Within the kingdom, there are powerful caves with magical gems, although one has to earn the ability to use the gems. The Astrean belief system revolves around gods with the powers of the earth, air, or water, and Astreans. Astreans are loyal to their gods, although the question of why the gods have abandoned them is brought up more than once. We were also given a complex political system with a strong focus on slavery, as well as the racial divide, with the Astreans and Kalovaxians being polar opposites in terms of their descriptions

The ending does two things: it gives readers a nice resolution to the story but also sets things up for the next book in the series. I can’t wait!!

L x

Friday, 14 September 2018

22 Questions

Hello Readers,

So, I realised I haven’t really shared much about myself on my blog and I’m sorry, for the moment reviewing books is making me happy so I will probably continue on that path. That being said I thought I would do a getting to know me post I have combed through the internet in search of questions as well as asking people I know for suggestions. 

My 22 questions
What’s your Favourite Book? I would love to forget and reread the Harry Potter books again but other than that I would say Memoirs of a Geisha
Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? Cuba and Pamplona in Spain
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? New Zealand
What is your nickname? Wednesday Addams
What is your favourite holiday? Halloween and Christmas
Do you have any siblings? Nope
Favourite Animal? Sharks, Elephants and Giraffes
What Sports do you support? Rugby, Swimming, athletics and Olympics
Do you wear glasses?  Yes
Favourite film this year? The Meg
Favourite tv show? American Horror story and Disenchantment
What is your favourite film? The nightmare before Christmas or The Addams family
Any tattoos? 4
Are you a good cook? I would like to think I am
Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? Which one is your favourite? I have and it would be 3rd Twilight, 2nd Hunger Games and 1st Harry Potter
Is this your first blog? Nope my first was more of a ranty one I started it in 2013
Do you have any phobias? Spiders
Favourite musical? Wicked and The Addams Family
Most famous person you’ve met? Princess Diana held me as a baby does that count?
Can you ice skate? I’ve been once and didn’t fall so I’ll be competing in the next winter games
Does your name have a special meaning? I was named after my grandpa
What has been your favourite experience? I can’t pick one
N  YALC
N  LFCC
N  My meet and greet with STEPS I got a group hug
N  Bumping into Bill Nighy
N  Seeing Queen and Adam Lambert, having all phones iPods and everything die when I met Brian May after and just asked for a hug.
N  The Absolutely Fabulous premier

N  Rugby matches live

Hopefully this is a little insight into me if you would like to know anything else please feel free to ask


Bonus fact: I started going grey 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 23
L x 

Out of the Blu by Vitali Vitaliev

Hello Readers,

Thank you, Francesca, for sending me a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers

Out of the Blu is a light-hearted unique alternative universes story with a little bit of fringe science with some funny spaceballzesk sci-fi thrown in. If you liked Neil Gaiman's Coraline and Darren Shan's Demonata, I think you will enjoy this. While the idea of the alternative universe is not exactly new and can be seen as slightly overdone I loved how Vitali, takes on the genre and makes it unique and unlike anything I have read before. Vitali decides on an alternative universe where the couples actually end up in a universe that doesn’t belong to either of them.

Unlike what I have seen in other Sci-fi mediums these people are not highly trained scientists and have absolutely no idea what they're doing I think this made it a little more realistic and I could relate a little more to the characters. the book jumps from hilarious, as everyone’s tries to understand where they are, to the quite serious when they are all trying to work out how the situation was even plausible its wonderful done once the humour of being in the wrong universe wears off.

Then we meet the Ks and the Cs both the couples look and sound alike, they have very similar names and were living similar lives. With The K’s, Viktor is the reader, the highbrow tourist seeking culture, while Katherine is the sun-worshipper, soaking up the beauty of the beach. While The C’s, this is reversed, and Catherine is the one who visits historic ruins while Victor lounges on the seaside. After a turbulent flight, the Cs could not be happier to be back relaxing in the comforts of home. Imagine returning home to find identical Volvo parked in front of your house, and even worse, finding an exact copy of yourself inside. The real fun begins when they try to replicate the circumstances that led to the switching of universes.
One of the funniest parts of the story is how the Ks and the Cs discover the differences between their home and this strange new reality: all the spellings are wrong, for example, “Ambulence” rather than “Ambulance”.  As quickly as possible, they try to find a way to return to their respective realities.

Little shout out for Vitali for doing his research on quantum theory and the mathematical and scientific theories surrounding the science of the “impossible”. Vitali’s writing style is quite explanatory which is helpful given the complex science behind this books and I honestly didn’t mind.

L x






Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Release date: 09 Oct
Spoilers


Beneath the Citadel follows 4 teens who are trying to bring down the empire that enslaved them. With quick thinking, they manage to escape only to find themselves forced to choose whether its better the devil you know or the one you don’t.  Narrated by 6 different characters, all keeping secrets, readers slowly learn of the history of the Citadel, its religious leadership, and the connections between these characters. 

Beneath the Citadel is set in a word where power is derived from prophecy, these prophecies have kept the powerful council in their positions for centuries and led to rebellions for equality, the notion of fate dictates everything about the city of Eldra and how it moves forward in the world. The main conflict is an age-old tale where those with power have no problem committing acts of violence or even orchestrating mass murder in order to keep those dynamics in play and to keep in control.  I love that the pace never really let up and the characters were constantly on their toes, racing against fate to change their lives for good.

I really enjoyed the main cast of characters, each of the characters has their own motivations and flaws, which play into the plot and how things come about and so combining those plus a defined prophecy is very intriguing.   As most of the narrators are teenagers their interactions are often teasing, witty, and fun. I loved how each character clearly has their own distinct voice and I made it effortless to tell whose point of view I was reading without having to check. This allows the plot to unfold slowly, as this is a very character-driven novel, and so understanding each of their histories and motivations is key to following the plot. The character development seemed to evolve in a more realistic way so to speak you could effortlessly understand how the characters grew over the course of the story rather than using the cliched 'I'm a child who knows no power' and then suddenly they are the most powerful mage anyone has ever come across. 

This YA fantasy acknowledges character sexuality without making it a central focus point it is mentioned just as casually as their height or hair colour. One character is bisexual! Another is gay! And a third is aromantic asexual. These characters are who they are, and there are no angsty plot points that revolve around them suffering because they're queer. Even when discussing intimate relationships, the non-heterosexual pairing felt natural rather than placed in the book for the “shock factor”.

I felt that Soria really hit the mark in her vision of the city of Eldra. Although there was no map, I could identify each character’s journey through the world. I was fascinated by the world Destiny created and revealed the plot little by little. This book has almost a fairy tale type feel to it where everything you want comes with a price with the details murky at best up until it’s time to pay up. Destiny’s approach to ‘magic’ and abilities not just, prophecies but the kind of magic that can alter memory, unmasks intent, and bonds blood to pure elements at a cost. It is such a wonderful concept.

The theme of magic is great because for the most part in the book it’s more the ability to see just enough into the future but not enough to know that any plans will work out how you expect. A lot of thought went into the small details in this book. The powers people can possess and where those powers came from and the government system made sense. I also think the religion in the book was well explained, it was enjoyable to see how everything intertwined to make a well-rounded tale.


L x
ps no idea what the white bits on my kindle are only appear on the photo

Monday, 10 September 2018

Dark Queen Rising: A Medieval Mystery Series by P. C. Doherty

Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers


Dark Queen Rising is set during the War or the Roses, this novel follows the actions of Christopher Ulswicke, clerk to Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry Tudor (VII). I will admit I am a bit of a Tudor era aficionado and have been fascinated about the time period for years and it was one of the reasons I picked this book.

Margaret Beaumont finds herself the last remaining hope for the House of Lancaster and has to navigate the delicate balance of power, showing no fear whilst trying to maintain her power amongst the conspiratorial court politics. Survival looks to be an issue, let alone rising to power once again. Her son must be concealed and smuggled out of the Country before he is found and executed he has a real claim to the throne that cannot be tolerated by the victors. It falls to Margaret and her clerk, Christopher Urswicke to try and turn a near-hopeless situation to their advantage.

Four bodies are discovered with their throats slit and it's up to Ulswicke to unravel the mystery of who killed them and why they were murdered. In order to save his mistress, Ulswicke must prove her innocence but does anyone actually want to know the truth or is this just another round in the games of power that are taking place?

Personally, I don’t think Paul could have picked a more fascinating character than Margaret Beaufort Countess of Richmond she was widowed at the age of thirteen, a mere three months before the birth of Henry VII, proved herself a master of political conspiracy once the moment was right and in the end got her son the title to the throne of England. The things that she did to both stay alive and stay influential… well, there’s certainly more than one story here and worth taking a nosey.

Christopher Ulswicke also based on a real person, is our detective and an interesting lead. Beaufort uses Christopher Urswicke as a spy and decoy.  He was loyal and employed by Margaret to forward the schemes for securing the English throne for her son, Henry of Richmond, afterwards Henry VII. As much as Christopher is an interesting individual there’s very little information about him on the internet. Throughout the book as his conspiracies progress, Paul does a great job at keeping them deliciously convoluted while never losing the reader as to who is playing who and at what.

I think this book leans slightly more to a historical take on the period rather than a full-blown mystery novel as Paul takes a number of real events and weaves a story around making it an interesting read and worth the time. That’s isn’t to say Paul hasn’t don’t a marvellous job weaves the murders into the conspiracy and political deception, I was completely gripped by the tale.
Some readers might be put off by the pacing of the book. The opening chapter does have a bit of an information dump but it has a lot of useful information about the status of the numerous characters, but it soon settles down into what is for the first half of the book, political intrigue. Paul, in my opinion, is a master at bringing the sights and sounds, the politics to life, there are plenty and intrigue and blood-curdling moments in this book.


L x

Friday, 7 September 2018

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Hello Readers,

I was lucky enough to get a copy of this book for free from Stephanie Perkins back in May through an Instagram competition and I have been dying to share my review. I’ve been good and left it to the month the book is released (September 25).  Trigger warnings, Descriptive animal cruelty, murder, body parts, mutilation, physical and emotional abuse. Also this isn't as spoiler free as I would have liked but I really enjoyed this book and had to sing its praises. 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (The Modern Prometheus for you fellow literary nerds), which just happens to be celebrating its two-hundred-year release this year. It is promisingly creepy and twisted, and I loved every part of it. This book has a dark atmosphere that is oppressive, rain, and muted colours making the tale marvellously dark. Little rant coming not specific to this book but I’ve seen some recent post how a dark book with an obviously darkish title wasn’t all fuzzy kittens and rainbows. THE HINT IS IN THE TITLE!

In this retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein instead of following Victor Frankenstein himself, we follow the story through the eyes of Elizabeth, the girl who grew up alongside him. I loved that the perspective has changed and was told from a strong female protagonist perspective. Elizabeth Lavenza wants to escape her abusive guardian and soon finds herself at the age of five, in the care of the Frankenstein’s. The Frankenstein’s  take Elizabeth home in the hope of finding a lifelong friend for their son Victor.  Victor gets angry and lashes out it's soon clear that Elizabeth is the only one who can calm him, Elizabeth's current life situation has been dependant on her ability to keep Victor happy. As Victor and Elizabeth grow up, they end up bringing Justine into the group after Elizabeth rescues her from an abusive mother, and later Henry, whose parents have become friends with Frankenstein’s. 

After Victor leaves for school, his letters to Elizabeth soon stop; Henry goes to investigate whether Victor is alive and well. When Henry does not contact Elizabeth and is presumed missing similar to Victor, Elizabeth and Justine take the situation into their own hands and set out to investigate what has happened to their friends. As the story unravels, the horrors Victor has been carrying out begin to come to light and could be more terrifying than Elizabeth could have ever imagined. The Dark Descent asks the same question asked in the original Frankenstein story. Who is really the monster? The monster that was created or the man who created him? Characters do not have to be likeable or appealing to be interesting, but then in this tale, they are not meant to be nice and fluffy. I sometimes find as I did in this story the less likeable the character, the more interesting they are and they become crucial to the story.

I immediately fell in love with Elizabeth, the main character. She was immoral, goal-oriented and did everything in her power to get what she wanted. Elizabeth may seem a little selfish to the reader, by trying to manipulate things just remember that in the books time period there was very little a woman of her status could truly control unless she slightly manipulated the situation. The historical bits are mostly accurate, though perhaps Elizabeth does get a bit of leeway in places when she goes out on her own. The moral indecision of Elizabeth becomes more evident during the progression of the book as her sense of self-preservation is so strong and she is not above using the means of a gentler nature to reach her goals.

Kiersten's writing is so atmospheric and close to the original source material without it being a direct copy. I found myself engrossed in the backstories, and the central mystery, while also feeling as though I was standing inside the world of the book.

About a month or two after reading the book I rewatched the Victor Frankenstein film with James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor. I really wanted to read Frankenstein so I read Frankenstein and then reread The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein after and they complemented each other beautifully. I now think this book and the original should be read as a duology, although the books are written by different authors.

A great read for October and you must read this book since it's the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein in 2018!!

 L x

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Mirage (Mirage Book 1) by Somaiya Daud


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review.


Mirage is Somaiya Daud’s debut novel, the book is a gripping tale of lies, cruelty, political conspiracies, colonialism and rebellion. The book is set in a fabulously detailed world with plenty of cultural detail that is Moroccan inspired, I honestly loved reading the Moroccan inspired traditions and familial heritage. The beautiful poetry, and the way Somaiya seamlessly fuses science fiction and fantasy together at times it felt a little more like a fantasy novel, with a timeless quality to the setting, just as you let fall into the fantasy bubble then a Droid comes along to remind everyone it is sci-fi after all. The way the traditions, heritage and sci-fi elements are beautifully intertwined is a magnificent unique twist! Unlike anything have read before.

On a serious note, cultural destruction is a very prominent theme throughout this book. Mirage follows Amani, a young girl growing up in a poverty-stricken village on a planet called Cadiz, the daughter planet of Andala.  The day of Amani’s Majority Night, a spiritual blessing into the life of adulthood, she is kidnapped by imperial droids and taken to the palace of King Mathis to serve as the body double for Princess Maram.  Amani is forced to shed her old identity and receives rigorous lessons on Princess Maram’s personality and mannerisms.  Amani is in way over her head she is living under constant threat of assassination, the physical and emotional abuse from the Royals, along with studying the Vathek, history, ancestry, and customs. However, despite the horrors of this new life, Amani finds comfort in poetry and Idris, Princess Maram’s fiancĂ©. She risks her life every day for a brutal princess and is forced to fool all of the Vathek royalty into thinking that she is in fact Maram.

There is a whole cast of gorgeous characters, I’m going to focus on Maram and Amani.

Maram
When we first meet Maram, she is undeniably cruel. But then as the story progresses, we start to see a different side to her. A sad and lonely woman, broken and moulded by what people have done to her, starts to emerge. Maram is much, much more complicated, and far darker character, especially at first, Maram is so hated that her life is in jeopardy every time she makes public appearances, therefore Amani takes Maram place during functions. I loved the character development between her and Amani is beautiful and timid. Maram is torn between what her father wants her to be, and what her dead mother wished her to be.

Amani
Amani is a likeable character who sees the good in the other characters despite their cultural and political differences. Amani has a rough time, but I admired the way she handled the changes.  She is genuinely a good protagonist and narrator for the story. She’s not rash or foolish or recklessly brave for no reason. She’s smart and compassionate, but she’s not entirely perfect either. She understands her situation in the palace and does not unnecessarily risk her life to do something stupidly heroic.

Mirage is an intriguing book the collapse of right and wrong progresses further as the story continues. We find we don’t know whose side we’re on anymore, or what the precise cost of peace is. The book moves slowly building the flame of rebellion and tension perfectly.  Somaiya enhances the story every so often by adding poetry into very heartfelt moments, encouraged by beautiful prose. I love the strong female characters, love, hope, sci-fi (I wasn’t expecting so many Sci-Fi elements but it was such a pleasant surprise), fantasy and explores another culture so wonderfully. This book was all-in-all a beautiful debut and I can’t wait to read the next in the series!

L x

Monday, 3 September 2018

Book Box Club August 18

Hello readers,

I’m so excited I got my Book Box Club box (I’m not sponsored - I think I have to say that) The theme for Augusts box was Tech Tribes and I honestly, I loved the box. The theme for next month is… Into the Wild


I shouldn’t have to say this but spoilers

What was inside the box?
The bookish goodies
N  BB8 magnetic bookmark by Rachel Norline Art
N  a pair of robot sock by Joe Cool to keep you cosy while you read.
N  a Lunar Chronicles coaster by the box company
N  Invent the Future Mug mug features artwork by Alicia Jo
N  an Ada Lovelace sticker by Victorian Store
N  A Jinx Necklace by Book Box Club

Bookmarks
N  One with Jinx artwork
N  A special bookmark from C.K Robertson.

Extracts from 
N  Are we all Lemmings & Snowflakes by Holly Bourne
N  Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles

The book
Jinxed
I saw some of the publicity stuff for this book at YALC and put it on my list to buy so like last months this was a brilliant box for me.

Synopsis
Lacey Chu has big dreams of working for the company behind the 'baku' - a customizable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion for its user. The only problem is, she's just been rejected from Profectus Academy - the elite academy for cutting-edge tech.

Then Lacey meets Jinx... Jinx is an incredibly advanced cat baku who opens up a world that Lacey never new existed, including entry into the hallowed halls of Profectus. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his coded. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet.

He seems ... real.


Love L x