Princess of souls had some spirit!

***Received from Netgalley in exchange for review, but I will be as transparent as always***

After the towering success of to kill a kingdom, I foresaw I would fall for a Rupunzel retelling by the same author.

Loosely inspired by said fairy tale, this ensnared some of my interest, but did not quite capture my heart the way I had hoped. 

The thorny matter is that the characterisation was frankly not as cutthroat as her little mermaid counterpart. Instead, we were gifted a rather pleasant heroine, which made her, well, a bit boring. Even though she too was a witch, I rather felt her thunder was stolen by more intriguing villains. 

That said, I was impressed with the world building. Bold and richly devised, it sprung up in my imagination as a verdant creation. I thoroughly enjoyed being swept away to this tricksy land. 

I also found the plot fun. Though I wasn’t sold on the enemies to lovers aspect and wasn’t invested in the characters to love their romance, I did find myself swept up in the action. Pulled along by the powerful prose, I was unable to tear myself away from the book for long. 

Ultimately, this was a rather unique retelling, full of witches and ghoulies and all things foul (ie a light selection from spooky season 😉) yet not the most memorable read. 

Rating: 3½/5 bananas   

And that’s all for now! Have you read this? Are you planning to? Let me know in the comments!

An Unkindness of Magicians Deserves All the Goodwill!

I swear this is severely underrated. I’d heard really mixed reviews, but ultimately loved the sound of it from Murphy Napier’s channel, so I took a chance on it and I’m so glad I did! 

Set in the secret magical underworld of New York, this urban fantasy takes duelling magicians to a whole other level. Pitting magician against magician in a deadly competition for supremacy, we see that there’s more to power than meets the eye.

Darkly intriguing and full of complex world building, an Unkindness of Magicians is unlike anything I’ve read before. With gaspworthy twists and turns, I could never quite decipher which direction the story would go. Every page kept me on the edge of my seat; every new revelation took my breath away.

Howard cleverly layers subplots and storylines, building depth to the characters and their backstories. The shadowy history of magic shifts from the sidelines and takes centre stage. It was hard to tear my eyes away as the narrative unfolded.

Beautifully and sparingly written, I became so immersed in the storytelling and invested in each and every one of the characters. Layering myths and legends, from the Arthurian to the Shakespearean, it felt both familiar and entirely new. This is by far one of the best fantasies I’ve read in a while.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

So, have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Iron Raven Was a Somewhat Steely Start to a Series

***Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but the opinions are all my own***

iron ravenWell I’m going to be very blunt straightaway: this reads more like a series continuation than a series opener. Sure, there are plenty of introductory elements and there is a focus on setup, yet it’s really grounded in all the books in the Iron Fey that have come before. While I actually read the Lost Prince first, then was able to go back and experience the books that came before, I personally don’t think you will get much enjoyment out of this new book without already knowing the characters. Not only is this book banking on nostalgia, it doesn’t do much in the way of helping readers get to know existing characters. Most of the players in this story already have rich backstories and their reintroductions really serve as reminders rather than a catch you up. And as a fan of the series, that didn’t put too much of a dent in my enjoyment, because I already love them so much.

So really, all of this is to say if you like YA fantasy and you haven’t tried the Iron Fey series, I strongly recommend it!


On the plus side, all the things that Kagawa does well are here. I loved the tone, the descriptions, the immersive setting. I fell back into her world easily. While there are hints of developing darkness, that’s mostly overshadowed by the light voice. As a fan of Puck and Kagawa has made the character her own, it was an absolute pleasure to get the story from his perspective. I also appreciated Nyx as a new character and think her past could be potentially interesting. The one big issue I had was that the romance felt rushed and unearned.

Other than that, it was a good read. Not my favourite in the series, but a diverting enough addition.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

So, have you read this or any of the other books in the Iron Fey Series? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

The Afterlife of Holly Chase Captured the Spirit of the Original!

What a fun, YA retelling of the Christmas Carol! I became completely swept up in it! I listened to the audiobook (which unfortunately wasn’t so easy to get hold of in the UK) and just loved it. Erin Spencer really brought the story to life!

It was a particularly voicey story, giving Holly so much character and making her feel like a real-life teen. She very much feels like a modern spin on the Scrooge character. Yes, she has similar weaknesses, but she’s very much her own person. 

Keeping it light, funny and also surprisingly heartrending, this becomes more than a straight-up retelling. It has similar notes, but strikes a different chord. It weaves in some complex family relationships and a delightful romance. I appreciated the way it intertwined the original and multiple Scrooge stories. I also particularly liked how each individual backstory made me sympathise with the Scrooge characters. And because I’m me, some of those stories made me sob.

And by the end, I felt like I was squeezed into a great big hug. No, it’s not the perfect happily ever after, yet the twist was exactly what was needed… which, again, made me all emotional. But then I do get all sappy about a good redemption story. And by golly, this is a good redemption story!

Rating: 5/5 bananas


So, have you read this book? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! And *Merry Christmas* everyone!!

Ten Thousand Doors of January Opened up a Wondrous World of Storytelling

ten thousand doors of januaryWhat a wildly impressive story! After seeing an amazing review on the Witty and Sarcastic Book Club, I simply knew I had to check it out… and I wasn’t disappointed! Exquisitely rendered, the world building was so stunning, I instantly got lost in whole other worlds.

And it was just this that made the book such a marvel. The narrative voice captivated me from the start. With astounding skill, Harrow draws you into her unusually layered tale. Stories are layered within stories, doors lead to more doors, until I found myself transported far beyond my bedroom.

I did like the way this drew on different time periods and cultural events in an unusual fashion. Yes, this deals with hard historical events, lending something of a modern touch to it- yet it does so in somewhat of a unique way that I still felt the authenticity within the fantasy.

Gripping and entertaining throughout, there were surprises hiding in plain sight. And even if I thought I had a handle on the twists, the story would then turn in another direction and take me on a new adventure. Not letting up for a second, I was delighted by the journey it took.

Best of all, the distinct characters felt grounded in reality and the relationships were beautifully done. Both the romance and the family dynamics were handled in an unbelievably sweet way.

In the end, this book was an absolute pleasure to read.

Rating: 5/5 bananas


So, if you’re looking for something a little special to check out this January, why not treat yourself to this? And if you have read it- what did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Untangling This Mortal Coil

this mortal coilPutting together a life-threatening virus, a YA heroine with the skills to fix said virus and adding a few emotional spanners into the works is nothing new. And yet in This Mortal Coil it makes for a refreshingly different story.

Thrown into the off-kilter world instantly by an elegantly surreal opening, this seemingly simple plot is transformed by expert writing and interesting twists. Not only is the world building believable, the post-apocalyptic apparition we’re presented with carries the reader far beyond the bounds of our reality.

With an intricate design and turns in every direction, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. I especially liked the conflicts between characters brewing behind the scenes. None of the relationships were straightforward and that made for some interesting developments.

The one thing I wasn’t in love with was the protagonist and I sadly struggled to connect to her. Funnily enough however, my trouble investing in her actually made a whole lot of sense by the narrative’s final twist and her character arc ended up being the best thing about the book! I swear I never could have seen that coming!

Ultimately, this was one helluva wild ride and I’m curious about where it’s heading!

Rating: 4/5 bananas


So have you read this? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

Wicked King was SO COOL!

wicked kingOh wow it was great to be back in this world and with these characters. Jude was a *total* badass in this book; Cardan had even more swagger than in Cruel Prince. And her fractious relationship with Cardan was *everything*! There was so much tension between them and that rippled out into the rest of the narrative. I was completely won over by their romance in this book- forgive me if I squeal, cos I am on this ship!!

There were lots of antagonists as well- which didn’t hurt 😉 Tarryn, in particular, was still a self-centred biatch- who openly says that she sees herself as a hero- so good to know nothing’s changed (also called it).

What was really fab though was the way Black expanded the world building in this story. I *loved* the use of the Undersea and its impact on the plot left me gasping. Plus, *hello Severin of Fairfield*- yes, I spotted you there, straight out of The Darkest Part of the Forest (I may have died when Black got all self-referential there 😉)

And, of course, like its predecessor, Wicked King was addictive and impossible to put down (so yeah, blame my lack of notes for the fact this review is a little watered down 😉). I will say that the pace in the first half was a bit slower, however it certainly picked up and the last hundred pages were a whirlwind of emotions. There was a veritable tsunami of *machinations* and *political intrigue*. I am curious- nay, DESPERATE- to see where it goes! I want book 3, like, yesterday!

4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

And since it’s such chaos in the faerie realm right now, I’ve decided to do everyone a favour and crown myself queen:

royal orangutan

So have you read any of the books in this series? Do you plan to? Did you love them as much as I did? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Brightly Burning was a Blast!

brightly burningI picked this book up for two reasons: 1) I follow the author, Alexa Donne, on Youtube cos her videos are fantastic and 2) it has a sexy concept: Jane Eyre in space- yes please! And I’m happy to say this ended up being an addictive, rompy romance, full of humour and plenty of fun.

As a retelling, this was brilliantly executed. Sure, if you know the story, you’ll get most of the plot points, but equally if you like the original, you’ll get a kick out of this. While there were some points that weren’t totally for me- highlight for spoiler: sorry, George should have stayed dead, bringing him back gave me whiplash– however the tempo  generally worked well and the main twist was stellar!

What I especially appreciated was how Donne got the creep factor down. That gothic vibe in space really succeeded for me and made it stand out from regular YA sci fi. Using more sci fi tropes to achieve this was very cool.

The characters did what they were supposed to. I particularly liked Stella and Hugo- though perhaps this is cos I like their original counterparts so much 😉 Honestly, aspects like this made me feel like it’s hard to see where one story ends and the other begins. The two books are so well blended that I felt a little like I was rereading Jane Eyre, without actually having to put in the time commitment 😉

Ultimately, this does exactly what it says on the tin and I very much enjoyed it for that:

Rating: 4/5 bananas


So have you read this? Do you plan to? And are you a Jane Eyre fan? Do you like the idea of putting this story in space? Let me know in the comments!

By Jove! I had fun with Iron Gold!

*Some spoilers for the first 3 books*

iron goldHe’s done it again! Pierce Brown has delivered another brilliant instalment in the Red Rising saga. After the events of Red Rising, I wasn’t certain what direction the series would take- but Brown allayed all my fears by exploring the question: what happens after the revolution? The ensuing plot enters into this discussion in a fascinating way, opening up both sides of the debate, and making me want to challenge old heroes and embrace new ones.

Thankfully, the characters were as memorable as ever. Initially I only wanted to spend time with the original cast and it did take me a little time to warm to some of the new characters- however I eventually came round to each and every one of them.

Obviously, Pierce Brown’s writing is simply out of this world as well. With as drama and pathos as the previous instalments, he successfully explores the human costs of war. It’s also jam-packed with action. Though it didn’t feel as tidy in structure as I remember from the first two books, it came very close to living up to its predecessors. Time and again, the gladiatorial conquests seem to turn to the audience and ask: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

are you not entertained

Yes, yes I really am. I can happily say I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

Have you read this series? And have you checked this out? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!


Breaking News: Evelyn Hugo is a KNOCKOUT!

the orangutan times

seven husbands of evelyn hugoSexy, layered and infinitely complex, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is not for the faint of heart! Orangutan Librarian reports.

Opening in the style of Citizen Kane, an article allegedly reveals “all” the sordid affairs of Hugo’s life- but don’t be fooled. Beneath the reports darker truths lie. With multiple voices- each flawlessly executed- the reality behind the rumours is uncovered in time.

And, of course, it’s all about Evelyn: compelling, deceitful and enigmatic- it’s no wonder Monique is in awe of her at the start. Naturally, she’s not a particularly moral person by my book, and there were times when I had serious problems with her, however one cannot deny that she makes herself Seen. What’s especially brilliant about her characterisation is how the author lifts her up to stardom and then brings her down to our level- much like a tabloid journalist.

It’s certainly sensational enough. With some serious emotional turmoil, the drama and intensity is there throughout- I didn’t want to put it down! As a mystery romance, it has all the hallmarks of a thrilling, twisty tale. I will admit, I did guess the first revelation- yet not the second. Oh boy, that second one was a shocker, making for a great ending.

Most of all, there was a sense of fun to the story. Believe me darlings, I was loving the tone 😉 I adored watching the relationships unfold and I teared up when the love of her life was revealed- it was simply a beautiful moment.

I’m afraid it wasn’t all plain sailing. I had some, shall we say, philosophical differences with some stances… but I am very rarely in the mood to get into politics on my blog (I can direct you to my thoughts on the matter here and here). Plus, I have way too much respect for this effortlessly *fabulous* book to be heavily critical of my personal niggling issues. Easily, this book got:

4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

So have you read this book? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!