Posted in Review

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong | ARC REVIEW

Content warnings: blood, violence, murder, weapon use, needles, description of human experimentation, descriptions of war, descriptions of head injury.

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but I was already intending on buying this book. Specifically the pretty Waterstones edition with the pink foil cover.


Foul Lady Fortune is the first book in Chloe Gong’s new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai. It is a speculative historical thriller inspired by Shakespeare’s As You Like It and can also be pitched as a Chinese period drama meets a Marvel movie. The author says you can read this book without reading the original These Violent Delights duology as all the events that have already happened are explained in the text, but I think not reading those books first will negatively affect your reading experience.

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Posted in C.G. Drews, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Reading, Review

Best Reads of the Year (So Far)

I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve read so far this year, and I’ve been making reviews for the advanced copies and did the Mid-Year Book Tag for YouTube, but I wanted to spend a little more time talking about my favourite reads of the year so far and collect those thoughts in one place. I did a video version of this last year for what I believed to be the best books of the year (so far), but since then I’ve accepted that some of the books I love to read may not necessarily be the best of books. This list will be in no particular order, just vaguely chronological, so let’s begin!

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Posted in Review

Unraveller by Frances Hardinge | ARC REVIEW

This is the first book this year that I’ve rated five stars and not had a single doubt about that rating. I finally dipped into reading Frances Hardinge this year after years of having her on my shelves and I regret that I didn’t start sooner. I received an advanced ebook copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, but I already preordered a copy of this and I will be rereading it the second it arrives.

In a world where anyone can create a life-destroying curse, Kellen has the power to unravel them. He doesn’t fully understand his talent but helps those transformed maliciously – including Nettle, who recovered from entrapment in bird form and is now his constant companion and closest ally. But Kellen has also been cursed, and unless he and Nettle can remove his curse, Kellen is in danger of unravelling everything – and everyone – around him.

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Posted in Emily Lloyd-Jones, Review

The Drowned Woods by Emily Lloyd-Jones [ARC REVIEW]

She could not slay her own fears. But as for the men who’d made her afraid – they could bleed.

The Drowned Woods is another book that I’ve fallen completely in love with due to it hitting so many of my niche interests. A water diviner girl (the last of her kind), a fae-cursed boy, a chaotic-good heir to a thieves guild, and a corgi who may or may not be a spy. Along with three other characters, they’re on a quest to destroy a magical well that keeps the prince’s lands safe. It’s a story about folklores and magic and heists. It’s wonderful.

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Posted in Review

The Worlds We Leave Behind by A.F. Harrold [ARC REVIEW]

The Worlds We Leave Behind is a story about friendship, retribution, and finding the strength to face down monsters, aimed at younger readers who enjoyed Stranger Things.

Enraged at how unfair life is, Hex runs into the woods and finds himself in a strange clearing that can’t possibly exist where a strange old woman offers him a deal: she’ll rid the world of those who wronged him. All he has to do is accept and they’ll be forgotten, forever. But what Hex doesn’t know is that someone else has been offered the same deal. When Hex’s best friend Tommo wakes up the next day, half-whispered memories make him think that something-or someone-is missing from his life. He sets out to find a way to put the world back the way it was, or find a way to make a new world that could be better for them all.

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Posted in Paper Forests, Writing

The Soundtrack to My Book

This is an idea I’ve been considering for a while, but I’ve seen that Rainbow Rowell has done annotated playlists for Eleanor & Park and Wayward Son, so I’ve been convinced to do one for myself.

I’m not usually someone who listens to music while writing – I’m so easily distracted that I need full silence – but I make these book playlists as a soundtrack to the finished story, like a soundtrack to a film. Most songs are picked because they sound a way that fits a scene in my head. Some are picked because they have specific lyrics that fit perfectly to the characters. In this post, I’m going to try and explain some of my choices. It’s a shortened version of the playlist, but still a long post.

Let’s begin!

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Posted in Reading, Review

Gallant by V.E. Schwab [REVIEW]

“Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.”

Do you ever finish reading a book and think “oh that was a Me type of story”? Gallant was one of those for me. I finished reading and wanted to fold myself into the pages and stay there, and I really appreciate stumbling across those kinds of books rather than genuine perfect five star reads. I will say now that I did give this book five stars, but it was for those reasons and the fact that the book hit so many of my niche interests rather than the quality of the story and writing. An honest rating would be closer to 3.5 stars so I am going to take that into consideration for this review.

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Posted in Review

The Songs You’ve Never Heard [ARC REVIEW]

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is a love letter to music and, in some ways, to friendship. The story delves into a surface-level representation of the music industry and Meg’s pop star brother, but the focus is on her passion for songwriting and making a name for herself outside of her brother’s shadow.

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Posted in C.G. Drews, Review

The Kings of Nowhere by C.G. Drews [REVIEW]

The Kings of Nowhere is the currently Patreon exclusive sequel to The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews, an author and a book that own my entire heart. They stole it, if you must.

This book was as close as you can get to unputdownable for a book that was published a few chapters at a time each Friday. It takes place soon after the events of The Boy Who Steals Houses and is dual narrated by Avery Lou and Jeremy De Lainey, showing Avery’s transition from a life of burglary and car theft to a life of homey chaos in the butter-yellow house. However, he feels like he’s drowning without Sam and is determined to sabotage his time with his new family and get locked up with his brother instead.

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The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh [ARC REVIEW]

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, however I do acknowledge that I am behind schedule and the book has already been released.

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a feminist retelling of the Korean myth of Shim Cheong, a tale that I knew nothing about before picking up this book but now I am in awe of. The book opens with Mina – our protagonist – volunteering (or maybe sacrificing) herself as the Sea God’s bride to spare her brother and the girl he loves. She is swept away to the Spirit Realm, setting out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the storms that leave entire villages in despair once and for all. However, she doesn’t have much time: a human cannot survive for long in the Spirit Realm, and there are many people who will do anything to stop the Sea God from waking.

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