Book Review: The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson

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Read between: 6th-12th January 2020
Format: ebook
Published: 9th January 2020
Publisher: Harper Collins
Synopsis: Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.

Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.

Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the whispering walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.

Rating: Image result for 4.5 stars

Thank you to Harper Collins and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. The book came out on the 9th January.

I wanted to read this book as I am a huge fan of historical fiction and the Tudor period. It did not disappoint. It focuses around Joan Vaux, lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York (later Queen of England as wife of Henry VII). I knew nothing about Joan Vaux so i was intrigued by her story.

It follows Joan through her time as a lady in waiting, to Lady of the Manor, through Elizabeth’s marriage and many children. They had a bond, and it is clear that that bond didn’t diminish when Joan got married herself.

I really liked this book, not only is it written in a voice that I liked but the mix of historical accuracy, along with Joan’s love for the Tower ravens made it an endearing story. There wasn’t a time when I felt that it didn’t fit with the time period.

The only thing I found strange was how well spoken the children were in some stages. I can’t picture four year olds speaking in full English, but maybe being noble, it was different at the time.

This book was right up my street and I loved it. I can’t wait to read more books by Joanna as she clearly researches her books well and doesn’t make the story too over the top.

4.5 stars!

I’d definitely recommend this book.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Ray of Light by Elle Scott

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Read between: 28th December 2019- 5th January 2020
Format: ebook
Published: 17th March 2017
Publisher: DJB
Synopsis: Will her choice lead to peace, or will it lead to destruction?

Abandoned by her mother when she was seven, Nora fears being unloved and unwanted. Now eleven years later, Nora works for Palladium Enterprises, where she is given the secret task to locate and retrieve power orbs. It’s here that she has finally found a “family” in her team-mates.

On a routine mission, she steps into a vault-like room and is frozen in time. Emerging five years into the future, she finds her friends on opposing sides of a war. While Nora struggles with who to trust, she is given a one-of-a-kind orb that transforms her desires into visible energy. She now holds the key to stopping the war.

But first she has a choice to make… Which side will she be on? … And will her choice lead to peace or will it lead to destruction?

One choice can change everything.

Rating: Image result for 3.5 stars

Review:
In a future full of technology, a group of teenagers work for a company on a mission to retrieve orbs. These orbs are extremely powerful- as we find out later in the book.

The book is written from three different point of views, all from female protagonists, Nora, Vivian and Kate. Kate appears later on in book because she is the sister of one of Nora and Viv’s colleagues. However, we do still get an idea what the male characters are feeling, even though it’s through a female gaze.

All the characters had dramatic backstories which gave them strength- but also made their voices incredibly similar.

The time travel element really threw this book in another direction, and it got very far-fetched in places. However, I did enjoy this book. I liked the fact it had a large group of characters.

3.5/5 stars.

 

2019 Reading Round Up

Here is my 2019 reading roundup, using the spreadsheet from Portal in the Pages.

If you go by Goodreads, the total number of books I read was 56, hpwever it doesn’t count comic books, hence why I am using my spreadsheet.

Total Books read: 65
Most books read in: December (14)
Most pages read in:
July (2483)
Most popular genre:
Fiction
Most popular format:
Paperback
Most popular rating:
4 stars
Most read age range:
Adult
Most popular page length: 200-299 pages
Most popular date: 2016-2018

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I read:

-Mostly female authors
-Mostly UK authors
-Mostly white authors
-Mostly European authors

 

December Reads

So I’ve not been keeping track of my reviews again, but work was busy and it’s Christmas, so I’m going to put them all in one post. This post may be long, I apologise!

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Rating: 🎄🎄🎄

I wanted to read Artemis Fowl due to the film coming out next year. It was good, but the chapters felt like they dragged and Artemis was such an arrogant child that I found myself wanting to roll my eyes at him.

I know I’m not the target audience, but I really enjoyed the parts featuring the magical creatures. They’re brilliant creations and we’re so funny!

Especially the dwarf. His personality was great.

Artemis could have learnt a thing or two from him.

I enjoyed it, but I won’t be rushing to continue the series. I may watch the film though.

Paper Girls by Brian.K.Vaughn

Overall rating: 🎄🎄🎄🎄.5

Volume 1- 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Volume 2- 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Volume 3- 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Volume 4- 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄

Paper Girls was a great graphic novel series, I know it’s still ongoing but I read the first four volumes in quick succession and they were great!

I had no idea what to expect and I loved the time travel element, the action, and the LGBTQ representation too.

I’m looking forward to reading the next volume as I can’t wait to see what happens to the girls next.

A cast of badass girls is exactly why you need to read this graphic novel series!

Escape from Pompeii by Jim Eldridge

Rating: 🎄🎄🎄

I read this to think about using it for Year 4in the Spring Term but myself and the other teachers decided against it.

For a children’s book there is an awful lot of death.

There is also inconsistent language, for example, the narrator doesn’t know what ash is, but later on calls it ash.

It could have been better!

3 stars.

Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Freemantle

Rating: 🎄🎄🎄

I love the Tudors, and it was great to finally getting around to this book after I was gifted it, as it focuses on the sixth wife of Henry VIII- Katherine Parr.

She is one queen that I feel people don’t write about, they usually focus on those who lost their heads.

I know it is fiction, but I was entranced by Katherine’s story- from losing her husband and marrying the King, to her Regency, and then to marrying the man she loved and discovering he is not what she thought.

She loved and lost, but she was strong willed and powerful and probably my favourite of the Queens.

She was also the only Queen who was also an author despite the risk and I love that she was able to write during her reign too.

I’d definitely recommend this book if you like Philippa Gregory or Anne Weir because Freemantle’s storytelling is brilliant.

The only reason I gave it three stars is the treatment of women in the novel, even if it is accurate at the time, it was still uncomfortable to read.

The Girls by Emma Cline

Rating: 🎄🎄.5

Moving between the modern day and 1969, we follow Evie Boyd as she looks back on her time as a young teenage girl, as part of a group that could be considered a cult.

Evie’s naivety as part of the group made me feel both sorry for her, and want to get her out of there.

However, during reading it is clear how much being with The Girls made Evie mature, not just sexually (the scene with the musician was hard to read knowing how young she was) but also as a person. So much that she starts stealing from her mother to get attention.

Even though she’s matured, she’s still a child desperate to be liked.

However, this book is inspired by a murder, but that didn’t mean that when that scene came it came as any less of a shock.

It took an extremely dark turn.

2.5 stars.

A Phone Conversation by Emily Martha Sorensen

Rating: 🎄🎄🎄

This is a short story, of an alien boy who tries to ring McDonalds. Instead, he gets the White House.

The president is rightly confused, but has no idea that the boy is extra terrestrial until the end.

It’s really funny. I liked it!

I wish it was longer.

Paulette: French by birth, English by chance by Martin Sorrell

Rating: 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Thank you to Netgalley for letting me read and review this book.

This memoir demonstrates the life of the author’s mother, from her childhood, to her passing, and it’s written in a way that is extremely easy to follow. One thing I took from this book is that despite living in England for a lot of her adult life, Paulette remained true to her French heritage which was lovely to see.

She definitely loved her family, and the added pictures in the book made it feel extremely personal. I never knew Paulette Sorrell, but now I do.

It was very surprising near the end of the book to see places in Somerset that I know well, especially my home town, as I considered whether or not I may have seen Paulette and her family in passing, it made me think about how many places she had seen.

She was lucky to have had such a view of life.

It was nice to hear her words amongst her sons.

4/5 stars!

Thanks for reading.

~Katie

Worst Books of 2019

So, thankfully, my worst books of 2019 is smaller than my favourites! Here are the book that, even if I’ve given them a three star rating, I just don’t see myself re-reading them.

  1. Wilder- the first book in the Guardian series by G.K. Rosa. I didn’t like it, I ended up giving this book two stars because it felt like it was trying to be Buffy but with really annoying characters! February Reviews.
  2. Save Me by Anna Santos. A werewolf becomes and angel and ends up being given a soulmate etc…..it was a typical supernatural YA romance and I hated it. I gave it one star. March and April Reads
  3. My Heart Sings by Jan Auggie Jones- this is the only book I’ve DNFed this year, I gave it 108 pages but couldn’t push myself any further because I just couldn’t gel with the characters. However, the author was really sweet about it on my review on Goodreads so maybe I’ll go back to it….May Reviews
  4. Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII. I love the Tudors, so I really wanted to like this book but unfortunately it didn’t work for me because David Starkey writes from a male perspective. May Reviews
  5. Poor Unfortunate Soul- I wanted this to be an Ursula backstory and it was, sort of, but on the other hand it was disappointing because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. Book Review: Poor Unfortunate Soul by Serena Valentino
  6. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I thought that this was going to be a funny coming of age memoir but it was in fact Dolly just telling the reader about her drunk nights out and many sexual exploits. It got boring. Book Review: Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton.

Those are the books that disappointed me in 2019. If you’ve read any of these books let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading.
~Katie

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Top Books of 2019

So looking back over my reading for the year, I rated quite a lot of books 5 stars (not including the comic books) so I thought I would tell you guys why these ones stood out to me.

1. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell.
This short story was super cute. My review of it can be found here:January Reviews .
I gave it 5 stars, I really enjoyed it.

2. The Pirates Tempting Stowaway by Erica Ridley. This is the first time I’ve stepped into historical romance and I was hooked, it was steamy and fantastic. I read this in January so the review is here: January Reviews

3. Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk. A retelling of the Spartacus story, with a little bit of romance. I flew through this book because I loved it and I’m really excited to pick up the sequel when its released. January Reviews

4. The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank. This is a story about a wedding, and finding love and it was so cute. Definitely one of the top romances I’ve read this year ❤
Review is here: March and April Reads

5. The Honey Bus by Meredith May. This was the first time I had read a memoir, which sparked me reading more this year. It’s beautifully written and reads like fiction. March and April Reads

6. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. I really liked this book from the moment I started reading it, it’s a great middle grade novel with two female main characters who show that opposites really do attract. March and April Reads

7. Misfit by Charli Howard. I got this book from Penguin, but I knew I wanted to read it as it focused on the struggles of having an eating disorder, which is something I know well, being an ED survivor. It was beautiful, and sad, it made me laugh and cry. May Reviews

8. Doctor Who: Autonomy by Daniel Blythe. I don’t really need to explain myself here. Tenth Doctor. Instant favourite. June/July Wrap Up

9. Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard. I admit, I only wanted to read this book because it had a dog on the cover- it was a wonderful story. June/July Wrap Up

10. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.J. Drews. This is a debut novel, and it had some very hard hitting scenes but it was wonderful and I’m glad I got around to reading it this year. My review is here: Book Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G Drews

11. Scythe by Neal Schusterman. Let me tell you, this book is definitely worth the hype! Dystopian and really interesting premise, I loved this book and now that the other books in the trilogy are out I am definitely going to complete the series. September Wrap Up

12. Ross Poldark by Winston Graham. I love historical fiction, and I really liked the Poldark TV series so I wanted to see how the book held up with the image I had from the show. It was great 😀 October Wrap-Up

13. See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. This was a heartwarming story about a child with an obsession with space. There’s more to it than that, but to avoid spoilers, I’d recommend you read it. It was beautiful. Book Review: See you in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

And those are my top books that I read this year.
Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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November Wrap-Up

November was a really good reading month for me. I read four books! I’m surprised I managed it as work has been a lot busier so I’ve had less time.

I made time to read and it paid off.

All of these books I pulled from my TBR jar, so there is quite a variety!

I also managed to review all the books that I read so I am able to share my thoughts about them with you all.

The first books I  finished in November is Storm: Phantom Islanders, its a mix between historical fiction and the supernatural and I was rather suprised how much I actually enjoyed it.
My review is here: Book Review: Storm- Phantom Islanders #1 by Ednah Walters

The second book I read was Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. I’m reading more memoirs and this was one of them but it hasn’t been a favourite. To find out more about my thoughts my review is here: Book Review: Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton.

Thirdly,  my favourite book of the month, was See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. I flew through this book. It was heartfelt and so so lovely. My review is here: Book Review: See you in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. I gave it 5 stars. I loved it!

Finally, the last book I read was one from Illumicrate, and that was Orphanage of the Gods. It was okay, but I felt it could have been so much more. My review is here: Book Review: Orphanage of the Gods by Helen Coggan

I also read two more Doctor Who Comic Books!

Pretty successful reading month I’d say!

Thanks for reading.
~Katie

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