The Starless Sea

The Starless Sea, Erin Morgenstern.

I made the decision this year to keep a notebook with the purpose of recording my thoughts and feelings about everything that I’m reading. I wanted to keep track of everything I read, good or bad: making logs as I read so as not to lose track of anything. So often I read something that hasn’t exactly blown me away but has also struck a quiet enjoyment for me. This was one of the first books that I kept track of like this.

The Starless Sea follows Zachary Rawlins, a student who finds a book in the library and becomes utterly entranced by it. It’s contents hold much to be bewildered by, one factor being that it holds a moment of Zachary’s childhood. A memory long ‘tried’ to be forgotten but always fantasised about. Zachary is pulled into a mysterious world of masquerade balls and crowded ballrooms, secret societies and shifty characters, as well as a beguiling place far below the surface of the earth where a myriad of life and fantastical places awaits him.

Occasionally Fate can pull itself together again and Time is always waiting

Morgenstern creates a world unlike any other. Her writing has a magical quality about it, mirrored by no author I have ever encountered. Her language is almost lyrical, singing to her readers imagination. You only have to read my review of her debut novel, The Night Circus to know my profound love of her work. The Starless Sea is equally captivating in its’ settings, characters and beautifully imagery however, there were some things missing for me.

This is what his mother would call a moment with meaning. A moment that changes the moments that follow

While beautiful in so many ways, this book was very much style over substance for me. I felt quite lost through different points where it I couldn’t distinguish a main objective or purpose. There were times when I felt like Morgenstern was just taking us on a tour of this amazing world rather than showing us a clear cut story in this world. I didn’t understand the importance of Zachary in this world or how he fit into this equation. I finished this book with an overall feeling of ‘eh’. I wanted so much more out of the last few sections and really needed more to understand and finish off in a great way. I was left with so many questions: Is Zachary the new keeper? Did The Starless Sea become destroyed because it’s under someone new or has it just been concealed? Or was it actually destroyed? How does Zachary and Dorian return for his mother’s party? Do they really have a life together? So many more questions that I just need answers to and really need to discuss with other readers.

Ultimately, I think that had I not already read The Night Circus then I think I would’ve abandoned this book about two-thirds into it because it just felt aimless in it’s plot. I said to my boyfriend, I felt like I needed more pages to explain the story more. I wouldn’t recommend as a first read to Morgenstern’s works. Having said this, I do just want to add that the Bioshock and gaming references in it had my heart a flutter. They made me love Morgenstern that little bit more.

Let me know what you thought if you’ve read it.

Cheerio for now!

Book Review: Dear Chronic Illness

Dear Chronic Illness, Comprised by Pippa Stacey

Dear Chronic Illness is a collection of letters carefully comprised by Pippa Stacey. The letters are written by individuals to their chronic illnesses and detail what they would say to them if they could.

Now having just said that, you may think this is a variety of letters running through sad health stories while a violin solo plays in the background -No, it’s not. These letters sing to a different beat. Sure, they give their accounts of the challenges living their lives with their condition but they also provide these experience with a light-hearted banter. The type of banter a lot of us adopt when life gets hard and we learn to laugh at certain situations.

Having said this, that’s not to say chronic illness is something to simply be laughed at or not to be taken seriously by others. Sufferers’ have a hard enough time getting our doctors to believe our symptoms let alone family and friends we have around us. However, these letters dance along that borderline of somewhere in between the humorous inner commentaries us sufferers run through day-to-day and letting non-sufferers into the more serious, and eye-opening challenges that we have faced.

It’s a book which will provide new perspectives to friends and families of those with chronic illnesses but also provide a sigh of relief for other sufferers’, who can take comfort in the fact that someone with the same condition as them feels the same way. It’s a huge validation for thoughts and feelings we may be too scared to vocalise for fear of being misinterpreted.

For me personally, I had so many moments where I just quietly smiled at myself, my heart growing warmer that I wasn’t alone in thinking or feeling certain ways about my illness. Below are some quotes and snippets I have pulled from different letters that I personally scribbled a wobbly line under or an oversized circle around to be able to find at a moments notice when I need it again.

Although you took my teenage years away, you replaced it with a perspective and outlook on life that’s hard to come by -Ellie Whiting

Without you, M.E., I might never have been lost in the wilderness. Without you, M.E., I might never have found myself there either’ -Elizabeth Guntrip

‘You have taught me that being disabled through chronic illness is not a life sentence to unhappiness, it’s just a quirk- I don’t know many friends that own a floral walking stick or have been steered around shops in a wheelchair, crashed into multiple displays and cried with laughter at it. -Ellie Whiting

…I will say this: I’d like to thank you, M.E., for opening my eyes. Without becoming so poorly, I wouldn’t have seen how many people are silently suffering, and how little support is in place for them. -Pippa Stacey

The hardest thing you took away from me, was my pride. Being in a wheelchair is liberating and allows me some freedom, but it’s not all fun really – I used to be taller than all my friends, and now I sit at bum height. It’s like a sea of bottoms when we go out! -Ellie Whiting (never related to something more)

I went from teenager to doddery grandma in a weird Benjamin Button-esque way; feeling physically ancient despite my biological age of nineteen -Lara Strong

I know it’ll always be there, I’m well aware that my conditions won’t miraculously disappear, but I also never expected it to be as bad as it is. A part of me forgets the torture of a flare-up: the frustration, the anger, the sadness. A flare is like an abyss, as there’s no end in sight at the beginning, it completely consumes me and there are times I’ve wished for death. But there’s always a flicker of hope. -Sarah Alexander

I wouldn’t be running a social enterprise in my Disney pyjamas -Pippa Stacey

I would recommend this read to anyone, not just sufferers’ or family and friends of sufferer’s but literally anyone. This letters provide an insight which is enlightening to say the least, and in all honesty it’s something I can’t quite articulate into words so please just go with your gut and give it a read if your intrigued.

Cheerio for now!

The Dance of the Serpents

The Dance of the Serpents, Oscar de Muriel

5/5 stars!

Ah, another incredible addition to the Frey & McGray Series. The Dance of the Serpents is a delayed follow-up of the events from the second book in the series, A Fever of the Blood. If you’re new around here you can check out my reviews of the previous books here, however I will give a brief overview of how this book relates back to the second.

A Fever of the Blood deals with the Lancashire witches and ends with McGray killing two of those witches who just so happen to be Queen Victoria’s go-to-guys for contacting her late husband. The Dance of the Serpents commences with the prime minister informing the detective duo of this and the Queen’s desire to see them both dead. The calculating prime minister comes up with an ultimatum for them though. He offers them full resources and a few of his chaperoning goons to accompany them in hopes that they can find some of the scattered members of the witch coven; who could potentially fulfil the Queen’s desires in the occult. This quest is no doubt Frey & McGray’s most dangerous yet, with both various witches trying to kill them along the way as well as the Prime minister’s goons sabotaging them at every turn.

Note: spoilers from here on out, proceed with caution.

Overall this book is a wonderful addition to the series. It has everything you would want to a Frey & McGray tale; clever and tense plot twists, complex characters and an intriguing storyline to suck you in. I will say that given how it relates back to the second book, I doubt very much that it could standalone and wouldn’t recommend it to someone without them having experienced A Fever of the Blood.

The storyline was impeccable. I must admit reading Oscar de Muriel’s previous works have trained my eye to scrutinise every twist and turn of his tales, scanning for any clues as to whose responsible but this book just completely side-swipped me. It was intricate and beautifully curated – Muriel truly left nothing to chance.

How could you do this? This book is a relic! It was already ancient when Henry VIII chose his first trollop!

Frey

Frey & McGray make for a hilarious duo. Ever witty, sarcastic and just all-round perfectly contrasted to one another and yet completely in-sync at the same time. The balance between the two characters is just spot on. Every book I feel like I notice shifts in their dynamic and how they’ve become more in tune with one another. Not just them but also their households have this terrific dynamic which is just amazing to behold.

Caroline Aldglass makes a stunning return. She is a key part of the story but also a great addition to the duo. She has such knowledge and wit, challenging the detective duo whilst also assisting them and just all round kicking things up a notch by being a total badass b!tch. There were moments of tension between her and Frey, like a mild, victorian version of Rachel and Ross from the Friends. Ultimately, I loved her in this book and would love to see her become a permanent character in future books.

Other characters I really appreciated were the return of some familiar witches such as Nettle and Oakley. I found it really interesting having the followup with them and seeing how their lives turned out after the chaos at the end of A Fever of the Blood. The prime minister, Lord Salisbury and his goons were the epitome of high-up, elite tw@ts that you really want to opportunity to smack in the gob. I mean, Boss was so irritating to me. I yearned to see him get killed in the most violent of ways. The depiction of Queen Victoria was so humorous to me. Just the whole bratty vibe was spot on for me.

Overall this book was just brilliant. Almost everything was spot on for me… BUT, yes there’s a but. I have a slight issue with the ending. Usually Frey mentions the reports and papers they’ll have to file following the events, and the various inquests, etc but this had none of that. Instead the book comes to a close as Frey has retreated to his Gloucestershire estate to recover from the hectic events. McGray visits him saying he guessed Frey wouldn’t be returning, to which Frey replies no ***GASP/HORROR/SHOCK/BETRAYAL… never ending plethora of mixed emotions***. McGray, touchingly, seemed dejected and I joined him in the mutual feeling. The prospect of no more additions and therefore, no more adventures for the duo is quite a bleak one for me although I am hoping it’s Muriel’s cunning plan to make Frey return with gusto to a sarcastic McGray saying “thought we got rid of ye, dandy”. In my mind that’s how I want things to unravel but if not, I’ll be quite happy with just the promise of more to come. (…as I’m about to schedule this post, Oscar de Muriel has actually made an announcement about the next addition to the series. I won’t go into it but I’ll just leave a lil link here for you).

Now I’ve never actually published my fave of the series in order, despite having discussed it at great length with my unwilling boyfriend; but I think I want to do that here (favourite-least favourite).

  1. Loch of the Dead
  2. The Dance of the Serpents
  3. The Strings of Murder
  4. The Darker Arts
  5. A Fever of the Blood
  6. A Mask of Shadows

I, as you can probably tell, love this series of books. Let me know what you think of them, I’d love to know.

Cheerio for now!

Books I Read In 2020

We all know 2020 sucked (as I write this, England has gone into another national lockdown so I don’t know how well 2021 will go at this point), but I found so much solace in books last year. I particularly loved reading poetry before bed to distract my brain from the various statistics on the evening news. I found quite a few of these reads from others and while I wanted to list all my reads here for my own personal reflection, I also thought some of you might find this list helpful in some way.

I might do some reviews on my favourite reads in the future but I don’t want this post to be too long or overwritten so I have included only a sentence or two alongside these titles below.

*to mark any books that are rereads

Mr Salary, Sally Rooney (Faber Stories): These little Faber editions are so great to grab on the go and stuff in your bag, wherever your headed. I actually read these two whilst on the train to the city -while we could still do things like that.

Intruders, Adrian Tomine (Faber Stories)

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King (Audible): While I do have the copy of this book, I mainly listened to it on audible whilst busying myself with other stuff.

*The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux (Folio Society): Quite honestly the most beautiful edition of this classic, actually any book for that fact, that I have ever come across.

*All the Wrong Questions: “Who Could That Be At This Hour?”, Lemony Snicket (Audible): Having loved A Series of Unfortunate Events as a child, I really wanted to give this new series of books a go. As you can see from below, I got through three of them but haven’t managed the last yet.

Flux, Orion Carloto: Absolutely amazing!

*All the Wrong Questions: “When Did You See Her Last?”, Lemony Snicket (Audible)

Love Looks Pretty on You, Lang Leav: This was my first Lang Leav book that I read and I quite honestly loved every minute it of it. It weren’t my only Leav book of the year but I still need to get my hands on more.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson: This film is one of my all time favourites so reading the screenplay was sooo dreamy!

All the Wrong Questions: “Shouldn’t You Be in School?”, Lemony Snicket (Audible)

Empty Bottles Full of Stories, r.h. Sin & Robert M. Drake

Pillow Thoughts, Courtney Peppernell: If I could insert the heart eyes emoji here I would. Such a talented writer, I really need to get more of her books.

A Game of Thrones, George. R. R. Martin: After watching the final season of the HBO series, I have been wanting to delve into the books but have been put off by everyone saying how long-winded they are. While I won’t disagree to that last part, I’m so glad that I did take the plunge.

wild embers: poems of rebellion, fire and beauty, Nikita Gill: Another amazinggg poet.

Poems to fix a F**ked Up World, Various Poets: I finally picked this up off my shelf during the original lockdown -great timing, right?

Lullabies, Lang Leav: another amazing book from Leav.

Ten Poems about Tea, Various Poets (Candlestick Press Pamphlets): a great light read. I’d highly recommend any of the pamphlets by Candlestick Press -my personal favourite is The All Night Bookshop.

Sea of Strangers, Lang Leav: …how many times can I use the word ‘amazing’ to describe Lang Leav’s work? I should probably check out a thesaurus by now.

Love Her Wild, Atticus Poetry: a beautiful book, with both black and white photography and poetry. Some of his words really hit home for me.

Beyond Beautiful, Anuschka Rees... have to be honest, wasn’t entirely entranced by this read.

A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin

How to Survive: Lessons For Everyday Life from the Extreme World, John Hudson: not exactly my usual read but actually a really interesting book, recommended by my grandfather Stanley.

Midnight Sun, Stephanie Meyer: This is the book that I have been waiting for since I was thirteen and believe me when I say, it did not disappoint. True, it was a bit longer than I thought it would be -should’ve taken the whole Edward-mind-reading stuff into consideration.

A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin.

Film for Her, Orion Carloto: a beautiful second addition to my Carloto area on my bookshelf.

Christmas Lights, Ten Poems for Dark Winter Nights, Candlestick Press

A Feast for Crows, George R. R. Martin

You Matter, Dhiman: super underrated poetry book.

Burning the Books: A History of Knowledge Under Attack, Richard Ovenden: another recommendation from Grandfather Stan-lo… not actually completed as of yet. I’m currently on the tenth chapter, four more to go so this one can half be on this list and half on the 2021 list.

I always say I am going to commit to the Goodreads challenges but have never quite managed to complete them however, this year I am truly hoping and giving it my best shot. I am hoping to to read three books a month, making it 36 books by the end of 2021. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan but I do have quite a pile of books to get me started.

Did you read any ‘stand-out’ books in 2020? And, what are you hoping to read in 2021?

Cheerio for now!

Book Review: The Loch of the Dead

The Loch of the Dead, Oscar de Muriel

**I just wanted to add a little note here. This is one of the many posts I have had in my draft section since before my hiatus but with the fifth Frey and McGray book, The Darker Arts, being released today, I figured now is the perfect time to get this baby out. Enjoy.

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If you are a long time follower, then you will have already seen my reviews of the previous three books in the series of cases for Frey & McGray, by Oscar de Muriel. If you haven’t read them or even heard of these book, I’d encourage you to head on over here, and give the reviews a read to get the gist of these characters and the genre these books fall into. Now onto the book itself…The Loch of Dead starts with a death threat against an unknowing heir, which leads the inspectors to the remote Loch Maree. Isle Maree, one of the islands perched in the middle of the loch, is known for its ancient burial ground although that is not the only thing the Inspectors should be aware of. The highland area is cut off from the rest of the world, and the few souls who do reside there are strange – causing many questions that need answering. On arrival, and with little time to find a stable footing, the heir’s guardian is brutally murdered which makes everyone a suspect; especially that of the Koloman’s, a mysterious family whom the young heir and detectives must stay with.

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I have to admit it was incredibly difficult to type the above section without giving away major spoilers and divulging some of the many plot twists. I must also say that, out of the collection of Frey & McGray books, this one included -this has without a doubt been my favourite. The previous elements of the grim Victorian era of the 1800s mixed with the surreal crimes and the hint of humour this duo creates, alongside the folklore element of this book makes for a terrific read. The plot lines are so cleverly interwoven with one another that even though they are there, with so many clues as to who the culprits are, you can never truly pin it on anyone.

As previously mentioned, there are three books in the series preceding this. I think this book could standalone however, I don’t think the reader would experience every part of the book at it’s best. Especially that of Frey & McGray’s relationship, which has evolved leaps and bounds, or that of McGray’s never-ending guest to cure his sister so I would recommend reading the three previous books before this one.

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All-in-all this was an amazing read and I throughly enjoyed every second of it. I would highly recommend it to anyone and if me rambling about it doesn’t make you pick it up, maybe the 100% and five-star reviews on Amazon will.

Have you read this new addition to the series yet?

Cheerio for now!

Book Vs. Film: The Miniaturist

The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton 
This idea, of comparing book and film adaptations, came about when I was watching The Miniaturist over Christmas on the BBC. Having read, and loved The Miniaturist (you can read my review of the book here),  I found myself, as I watched,  mentally preparing a list of similarities and differences between the book and film adaptations. I say film, it was actually spread across a two-part series, with each part being an hour and a half long. 
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Now there were many things I liked about this adaptation but there were also things I really could not tolerate. For instance: 
  • The Miniaturists interactions: in the book the lady sending Nella the miniature items is a passing ship. She’s someone who reappears every so often and then disappears without a trace however, in the programme she has far more of a prominent role within Nella’s life. When Nella finally manages to get a response at The miniaturists shop, in the book, it is an elderly fellow who turns out to be the lady’s father. Between Nella and him they piece together the mystery and Nella gets to hear a bit about this mysterious lady sending her these spine-tingling figures. In the programme, Nella actually explores and finds her way into the living area above the miniaturist’s shop and once she realises the miniaturist lady is there, they have a conversation. I wish I could say that I liked this part of the programme, but to be honest I much prefer the end note to the book -that the miniaturist who has plagued Nella is simply a mystery: and just like throughout the book, she disappears. 
  • Marins Love Life: as with many things about books, I feel as though the book revealed a little more, or maybe even implied more, when it came to Marins love life and even just her personality. Although she definitely opens up more to Nella in the programme, once her secret is revealed, I do think that the book revealed more about her character: which I personally preferred. This is also the case for the character of Otto but you can obviously reveal far more with hundreds of thousands of words in a book than two hour and a half programmes. 

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Having said this, there were also things that I really liked about the adaptation and even a few things I preferred about the programme compared to the book.

  • I loved the setting. It was just dark and cold enough to embody the eerie-ness of the story without coming across too gothic. I also really loved how well they portrayed Amsterdam as a religious setting with the characters devoted to religious ways. I think they covered this element of the story really well which only helped to contrast Johannes lifestyle and the surrealness of the miniaturist and her figures. In a setting like this the miniaturist would no doubt be deemed as practising witchcraft. 
  • The character of Nella came across much stronger in the programme versus the actual book. I can’t put my finger on why or how but even before she finds out about Johannes lifestyle and Marins secret, she appears a strong young woman; even in the strange home environment she’s landed in. 
  • The casting was perfect. I think every cast member involved really relished in their characters role and I think that really brought the characters to life from the book. I also loved the bond the characters had with one another. The friendship between Nella and Cornelia, the respect between Nella and Marin, the thoughtful teamwork between Johannes and Nella: everything just seemed seamless when it came to the casting. 

I could ramble on comparing the book and programme all day long but I think I’ll draw a line there. Like with any adaptation, there is a lot of ground that producers and writers’ neglect to cover simply because they deem it irrelevant or don’t have the time to cover it. Ultimately, I really enjoyed the programme and the way they brought the book to life. 

If you didn’t catch The Miniaturist over the festive season then you can watch it here, on BBC iplayer. It’s not available for much longer so catch it while you can! 

 
Did you watch The Miniaturist? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 

Magazines 2.0

In my last post on Magazines, here, I mentioned that there were three other magazines I really wanted to write about however, I didn’t want to make that post too long so- here we are. Now there are three magazines, however, one of them has recently announced they will not be printing issues anymore but rather remain an online publication; maintaining the themes they covered in their printed issues but rather just publishing through an online outlet. So, what are my chosen magazines?

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The Messy Heads
I mean, this should come as no surprise. My post, Inspire Me Lately, was very Messy Heads inspired. I have briefly mentioned this before but The Messy Heads are so raw and authentic in terms of their content. Not just their written pieces but their photography, layout, and contributors too. Everything is so carefully curated but also so incredibly personal and inspiring to behold. When you flip through the magazine you get a sense that this isn’t a publication that is following trends or trying to live up to a standard set by society but rather a collection of individuals forging their own paths and creating lives to their own tune. It’s a magazine that always grounds me and set me back to my own beat. It reminds me of who I am and what truly matters to me, and any magazine that can have that effect on me is welcome with open arms.

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The Local Wolves
This nifty mag is based in Long Beach, California, however, it is available both in print and online so you can always get your hands on it. It’s centred around creative minds within the world of arts, culture, and entertainment; and introduced me to such a range of innovative individuals I otherwise would never have heard of. It used to have my ultimate girl crush, Orion Carloto, as its’ resident columnist which used to keep my heart swooning but the magazine is still soaring without her beautiful words. I tend to read this mag online, although I do have a few issues in my possession: in particular, girl crushes whom I love. I, of course, have Orion Carloto’s cover issue, then Estee Lalonde, and The Fashion Citizen. If you are a creative or even have an interest in the creative arts or culture in general then I would definitely recommend giving this a read. The Local Wolves website has a link to follow to read online.

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Betty
Now sadly, this is the amazing magazine which is no longer being published. However, fear not -they are still going to produce the same amazing content on their website. I only got my hands on two of their annual issues and I absolutely love each of them, however, it is really sad that I won’t be adding any other issues to my shelf. I know it’s wasteful to collect magazines but when they are as beautifully curated as this –I simply can’t stop myself! Betty magazine covers a range of topics but most of all only write about things that its editors like. They relish in embracing and celebrating who they are, as well as encouraging their readers to do the same. The mag, like the website, is full of how-to guides, beauty, lookbooks, food recipes, and, my personal favourite, their travel content: which doesn’t just cover foreign places and cities but also areas in England which you wouldn’t usually be drawn to but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t like it there. Betty is definitely the type of mag for the creative individual, looking for something unique to read.

Have you ever read any of these magazines? What do you think of them? 
Cheerio for now!

Book Review: A Mask of Shadows

A Mask of Shadows, Oscar De Muriel  
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First of all, I’d like to say that if you are not familiar with any of the previous Frey & McGray cases then you can read my reviews for them here; where I have reviewed both The Strings of Murder and A Fever of the Blood
 
A Mask of Shadows starts in London 1889, before moving onto the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. A bout of terror haunts the acclaimed production of Macbeth, as well as their beloved celebrities, Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, along with other actors, seamstresses, and stage hands. In the opening chapter, set in London, the first chilling event happens. As the actors’ soak in their final applause, hell ensues with the screeching cry of a Banshee and a gruesome message, smeared across the stage sets, prophesizing someone’s death. The tale takes place a short time after A Fever of the Blood and so, our narrator brings up his superstitions once more as he and McGray are assigned this case, shortly after the Macbeth cast and production arrive in the City. What follows are numerous plot twists, along with a long list of suspects within the play, behind the scenes and even onlookers and relatives who could all have a motive to kill or even reasons to be killed themselves.

As I stated in my review of A Fever of the Blood, you never know what to expect when you have already read and loved the original book. For me, I loved both the previous books, the first being my favourite, so before reading this book I wondered if maybe the author had peaked (like some do) or whether the characters were starting the die out. Having read it, I can say neither of those points is true. The storyline and characters were very well thought out, although I did think that there were a little too many names and characters involved at times which got a little overwhelming for me reading it. I also think that the end was left a little open which usually I wouldn’t mind but in this case, there were so many questions that were unanswered which left it all rather loose and deflating for me. 

My favourite thing about this edition to the casebooks were the characters we already know from the previous editions i.e. Frey & McGray, Elgie, the family of Freys, Madam Katrina, etc. I always love seeing the progression of Frey & McGrays’ relationship and so, reading this book I loved watching them become more and more so friends rather than colleagues who just put up with one another. I must say, I also adore the Victorian era these books are set in. It gives the books a grimmer vibe to them which I really enjoy. 
 
The next edition of the Frey & McGray cases is The Loch of the Dead, which will be released next year on the 5th April. You can pre-order it here.

Have you read A Mask of Shadows or any of the accompanying books? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 
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My Thoughts of the Hunger Games

I finally read the Hunger Games series…
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…and so, I feel it’s only right that I let you lovely lot know what I thought of it just as I would any other books. 
 
First, let me start by explaining why it has taken me this long to read the books and become engulfed within Panem and its’ Districts. Honestly, it never appealed to me all that much. I know many would gasp in shock at me saying that (including my boyfriends mum) but it never did. I was in my early/mid teens when the Twilight saga was being adapted to movies and so, that was the jam for me, my friends and really my generation as a whole. Up until the movie adaption of The Hunger Games was released, I had never heard of the books and because the books had never worked their way onto my recommended reads on Amazon, I didn’t think it was the right read for me. 
 
Right about now you’re probably wondering what or why I suddenly wanted to read it. Over time many people and fellow students have recommended me reading it having heard that the majority of books I read are fictional series’, generally around the genres of sci-fi or fantasy. I don’t know why that is, maybe I just love committing to a series and truly experiencing a fictional world over the course of a few books. But regardless of it being recommended many a time, I never seriously thought about it until my boyfriend told me that it’s his mother’s favourite series. He lent me his copies of the first two books, The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire, and then a few weekends later we came across a copy of Mockingjay at a boot fair which we picked up for £1. I quickly had the trilogy and was free to read away. 
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What did I think of the books? 
The Hunger Games: was, in my opinion, very good. I feel like there were plenty of plot twists for me to keep reading and I constantly wanted to know more, however, I did get a little confused and, because of that, distracted by all the names of the tributes involved. That was the only negative thing I found with the book. 
 
Catching Fire: was my favourite out the three books. I felt like I had got to grips with the world of Panem, the Capitol, and the Districts, but I had also come to picture certain characters in my mind and felt more familiar with them by this book. 
 
Mockingjay: this was my least favourite out of the trilogy. I felt like there were too many plot twists with this book and far too many characters to keep track of. However, *Spoiler -I did like how it ended with Alma Coin being shot instead of President Snow. I also really loved how Katniss and Haymitch became more like companions than fellow victors by this third book. 
 
If you haven’t heard, let alone read, The Hunger Games books then I can only assume that you’ve been living under a rock for the past 5-10 years; and so, I’ll leave the Amazon link right here for you to read up on the book descriptions and what goes down. Just so you know, there are three books in the series. 
 
Have you read the trilogy? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 

 

Book Review: A Fever of the Blood

A Fever of the Blood, Oscar de Muriel 
 In this second case of Frey and McGrays, what starts as a simple inquest into a patient escape and a nurses death at an asylum ensues into a manhunt far beyond their jurisdiction of Edinburgh and down to Pendle Hill, home of the Lancashire Witches. The pair becomes intwined in the dangerous world of black magic which makes for an avalanche of plot twists and adrenaline-packed scenes which keep you turning the pages.

A Fever of the Blood was an amazing read. I was apprehensive before reading this because I loved The Strings of Murder so much however, it pulled through and made for a great read. I will always love the contrast between Frey and McGray, and in my opinion, their relationship is really what gives the story that extra ‘something-something‘ for me.

The next book in this series is A Mask of Shadows, which I already have on my window ledge waiting to crack open. If you haven’t already read my review of the first book, The Strings of Murder, then you can do so here. Stay tuned for what I think of the next book. 

Have you ever read any of these books, what did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 
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