Rosie Reviews Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince Trilogy by V.E. Schwab

The Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince is V.E. Schwab’s first graphic novel series, about the character of King Maxim from her original Shades of Magic series, starting with A Darker Shade of Magic. This is a prequel series, set long before Maxim ever becomes king, about his completion of the three major feats that earnt him the moniker ‘The Steel Prince.’

With a team comprising of artist Andrea Olimpieri, colourist Enrica Erin Angiolini and letterer Rob Steen (and artist Budi Setiawan in the second volume), V.E. Schwab sets out to bring these stories to life in a format very different to her usual novel.

The series itself is made up of three volumes: The Steel Prince, where Maxim must face down the infamous Pirate Queen; Night of Knives, where he participates in the dangerous, eponymous magic competition and, finally, The Rebel Army, where he must defeat an army set on bringing the monarchy to an end. All volumes take place in the lawless coastal city of Verose, where Maxim takes control of the local guard and must earn his place among them.

Each of the individual volumes are very readable, with action picking up fast yet still finding time for smaller character moments. Unfortunately, with such a small number of pages, it is difficult to give characters their own space and while Maxim came into his own throughout the series, the secondary characters suffered a bit and I couldn’t tell you who they were after a second reread. That being said, I did enjoy the villains, with the Pirate Queen from the first volume being particularly intriguing – I would have liked to learn more about her. While the writing was solid (as one expects from V.E. Schwab), I did feel that the scenes jumped around quite a lot and it could have done with some transitional text to help inform the reader of where things had shifted to, especially where the same characters were involved.

The art for me was a bit of a mix. I loved the covers and all the cover art dotted throughout each bind-up, and I really appreciated how it kept with V.E. Schwab’s branding and the book’s themes of red, black and white as the predominant colours, which made it quite visually cohesive. It didn’t shy away from the bloody violence of the city, and I thought it did a great job at depicting the magic of this world. However, the general panels tended to be quite dark which made it difficult to see, and the fight scenes in particular were difficult to decipher.

For a first endeavour into graphic novels, I would say the overall these were a success – the plots were gripping, they were still very readable despite some of the issues with the transitions and the artwork, and each volume works well as a standalone while also coming together in a well-constructed trilogy. I have my doubts as to how accessible these graphic novels will be to those who aren’t familiar with the Shades of Magic world already from the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, but I have no doubt that those who enjoyed the novel trilogy will also enjoy this trilogy. And, I hear there will be more Shades of Magic books in the future, so there will be those to look forward to as well.

Mini-Reviews: Dead Beat, Death Note Vol. 8, The Shape of Darkness

Death and Darkness by name, death and darkness by nature. Yet, despite a similarity of title and theme, these are three very different books. From a quick-paced murder mystery to a gothic tale of death and the dead, with a short stop-over in the world of manga, it’s been quite a wild ride for reading these last few weeks. Luckily, I thoroughly enjoyed each of these books and they have really helped set the tone as we move into Autumn and get closer to spooky-season.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

Dead Beat by Val McDermid – 4/5

If all you want to do is curl up with a hot drink, a blanket and a crime fiction, then this is the book to you (or any Val McDermid for that matter). In Dead Beat we are introduced to Kate Brannigan, a private investigator whose missing person case leads her to a murder investigation. Like most Val McDermid’s this is a very readable book, and easy to fly through. There is a good mix of characters, and Kate Brannigan makes for a solid lead. The plot kept throwing up red herrings, twists and turns as Kate tries to track down the truth and I did not manage to guess the outcome at all. This seems like it would be a great series for a holiday or just general relaxation. If you like murder mysteries, that is.

Death Note Vol. 8 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4.5/5

The 8th volume of Death Note. It’s hard to believe I’m this far through the series already. After the drama of the last volume, this book feels like a second season – new characters, new conflicts, new stakes. There does feel like there is a hole in this book that the new characters haven’t quite managed to fill, but I am intrigued as to how this change in dynamic will play out. I have enjoyed the secondary characters coming more into the fore and seeing more of the Shinigami. I have no clue how the rest of this series will come together, but I’m looking forward to it.

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell (narrated by Sophie Aldred) – 4.5/5

I really enjoy Laura Purcell’s books and this one does not disappoint. In this, Agnes is a struggling silhouette artist who finds herself at the heart of a police investigation when her clients start winding up dead. Desperate for answers, she visits a medium; only the truth she finds might be darker than she ever thought. I love how Laura Purcell blends together reality and the supernatural to create a thrilling gothic tale, a tale completely brought to life by the vocal talents of Sophie Aldred who narrated the audiobook. The plotting and characterisations are on point and the atmosphere really comes through as you’re reading. It was hard not to grow attached to the characters and I loved the big reveal at the end. Perfect for dark, spooky reads with a bit of heart.

Rosie Reviews: Deepwater King

Title: Deepwater King

Author: Claire McKenna

Publisher: HarperCollins

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Netgalley

Review

Deepwater King is the second book in The Monstrous Heart Trilogy. Within its pages is a story of magic, sea monsters and intrigue. Arden is a sanguis, descended from a family who can ignite flame with their blood. After the events of the first book, she embarks on a difficult quest to fulfil a promise and escape the fate that has been planned out for her.

I found the first book confused in what it wanted to be and the story it wanted to tell. Going into this book, the plot felt stronger and more focused, with a clear set of characters. Unfortunately, while Arden is a fairly strong character at the start, she kind of loses the plot about half-way through; her obsession with the love interest, Riven, taking over any personality she might have had. Luckily for the book, the secondary characters, led by the delightful Chalice, make up for it.

We get to see more of the world in this book and learn a bit more of the magic. I’m still not quite sure how the magic system works, but I do feel like the lore is starting to fall into place and fog is lifting. I really enjoy the sea setting complete with sea monsters & isolated islands blended with industrial tones. I did find the way that the author chose to present an example of Arden’s other blood-gift a bit frustrating: more awful men obsessed with and lusting after her, unnecessary sex and yet it served to only confused me more as to how the gift worked.

At about the half-way point, we get to see some other character’s perspectives and these were my favourite parts of the book. I really enjoyed these pages and when the perspectives ended, it felt too soon. I do feel like the author was missing a trick by not focusing on these characters instead and having Arden as a secondary character/sub-plot. It was great seeing more of Bellis and those around her, and the world they’d created for themselves, and how each tried to survive.

There were some good parts of this book, and it does make for entertaining reading. It has an intriguing world and some good characters, but is lacking in places. I feel like the series would probably be enjoyed more by those who like romance-focused fantasy, such as Sarah J Maas’ books rather than V.E. Schwab which is what it’s being compared to. I don’t think it was quite the series for me, but, if the first book was something you enjoyed but weren’t fully sure about, it’s worth giving Deepwater King a go. And, if you loved Monstrous Heart, you are bound to love this book too.

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55697783-deepwater-king

UK Bookshop.org: Deepwater King a book by Claire McKenna. (bookshop.org)

The Book Depository*: https://www.bookdepository.com/Deepwater-King/9780008337179/?a_aid=rosienreads

*I receive a small commission when this link is used to make a purchase

Mini-Reviews: The Bone Shard Daughter, Monstrous Heart, Waistcoats & Weaponry, Other Minds

Some great audiobooks with an ebook thrown in for good measures. These wrap up some of the books I read in August, my month of audiobooks and graphic novels, so the ebook was one of the rare print books I read (although may have contributed a bit to the slight slump I found myself in at one point). A new series which promises to be excellent, a sequel in a delightful series of espionage and supernatural, and lots of underwater creatures in both a fantasy fiction and not-so-fantasy non-fiction.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (narrated by Feodor Chin, Natalie Naudus & Emily Woo Zeller) – 4.5/5

I had heard good things about The Bone Shard Daughter but went in somewhat wary as I usually am with relatively hyped books. As it turned out, I needn’t have been – I enjoyed the whole audiobook, from the characters to the plot and the narration. There are around four main point of views and I really enjoyed how each gave us a different view of the empire and how, despite feeling disparate at the start, tied together as the story progressed. The world-building and magic was well done and I am excited to learn more in the next book, which despite being ready to jump into when I finished this book, was not yet out for me to do so!

Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna – 2.5/5

I picked up this ebook as I had the sequel for review (without realised it was a sequel at first!), and after reading I am very confused as to how to rate it. I loved the world this book was set in, with its coastal setting, mysterious Lyonnes and Southern Isles, not to forget the sea creatures dominating the seas and I found myself completely intrigued by the magic system – various powers all utilised through blood. And yet, it felt like it couldn’t quite work out what it wanted to be. The world-building was lacking despite the strong premise and I couldn’t get behind the two main characters Arden & Riven. Arden was interesting when Riven was not in the picture, but then it all fell down a bit. The secondary characters, however, (Chalice in particular) did make up for a lot of that and I did enjoy the writing of the book. Hopefully the sequel, Deepwater King, will be more solid a story. 

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (narrated by Moira Quirk) – 4/5

I love these books by Gail Carriger – I just know going in that they are going to be a lot of fun, with a lot of heart and some good espionage action. Moira Quirk is a fantastic narrator and is perfect for a character like Sophronia, who is just as much a delight to read with her escapades as she is in the previous books. This book does take the story away from the school, with a train heist, which is a shame as it does mean we see less of other characters, but it also give us a chance to learn more of the world they live in, this time with a focus on the werewolf side. Things are setting up more for the final book, so I am looking forward to reading that, and then all the series and books beyond.

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith (narrated by Peter Noble) – 3.5/5

This is a book about the octopus. What more could you want? It is a detailed look into the world of the octopus, their minds and behaviour, and it is completed fascinating. This book has definitely helped promoted octopuses up the ranks to some of the favourite creatures. They are incredible and I have enjoyed regurgitating some of the fun facts I learnt to any willing (or unwilling) listener. The narration is well done and the writing is completely accessible and complete with some great anecdotes. As with a lot of non-fiction audiobooks, though, it is one that will take a few listens to fully absorb everything. I didn’t manage to take everything in and it was difficult to keep my attention focused.

The Books I Read in August 2021

August, the last true month of summer before weather starts to cool, rain reappears on the horizon, and leaves begin to turn brown. You could picture it as a month for beach novels, cheap holiday fiction to be read while basking in the hot sun, romances and humour. Or it could be a month of daring sword fights, magic spells, princes in disguise… wait that’s the line from Beauty and the Beast. But it’s also a fairly accurate description of my August reading month: princes, espionage, disguise, weaponry, lots of magic. Plus a health addition of a non-fiction book all about the octopus. It did turn out to be more of an audiobook and graphic novel/manga month though, so very little in the way of print novels, still good reads though.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

Audiobook

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (narrated by Feodor Chin, Natalie Naudus & Emily Woo Zeller) – 4.5/5

Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger (narrated by Moira Quirk) – 4/5 (audiobook)

Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith (narrated by Peter Noble) – 3.5/5

eBook

Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna – 3/5

Graphic Novel / Manga

Death Note Vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4/5

Death Note Vol. 7 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4.5/5

Death Note Vol. 8 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4.5/5

The Steel Prince by V.E. Schwab & Andrea Olimpieri – 3.5/5

The Night of Knives by V.E. Schwab & Andrea Olimpieri – 4/5

The Rebel Army by V.E. Schwab & Andrea Olimpieri 4/5

Going into September, I am about half-way through a lot of other books, so my main goal is to try and finish at least some of them, if not all. Coincidentally, a decent proportion of those books and a few others I have high up on my list have a very autumnal colour scheme on the covers (orange, black and yellow). I’m also listening to Laura Purcell’s The Shape of Darkness and very much enjoying it right now. So far, so good. I’ve read some excellent beginnings, now I hope the endings are just as good.

Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

I had completely forgotten about this mid-year reading tag this year, until I stumbled across some videos for it. It’s a post I quite enjoy doing as it gives me a chance to reflect on the books I’ve read, and those I’m looking forward to reading.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021

Definitely Gideon The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. While I initially got off to a wrong start, beginning it again proved to be the best thing I did and the book wormed its way into my heart. Necromancers in space, murder mystery, competition. It contained a lot that I enjoy, but it was really the characters that made the book for me.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021

And, following on from the best book I’ve read, the best sequel has to be Harrow the Ninth, sequel to Gideon. Even more wild and trippy than the first book, I loved this book and still think about this series to this day. Waiting for the third book is painful.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Witchshadow by Susan Dennard, the latest book in the Witchlands series. One of my favourite series, this book promises to take the series to a whole other level.

 Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

This is tricky as it changes quite a lot. I have just finished The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart which I thoroughly enjoyed, so potentially it’s sequel: The Bone Shard Emperor, which is coming out on 11th November.

Biggest disappointment

I’ve been quite lucky in that I’ve not had many major disappointments, but the biggest one was probably The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin. I really enjoyed the beginning, but the second half was a major let down and it didn’t live up to what I was expecting or wanting from the book, sadly.

Biggest surprise

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke was a surprise in that I had no clue what to expect from it, it was very different stylistically to what I usually read and I ended up loving it. Alternately, The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex which I really found captivating to listen to.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Aside from Tamsyn Muir who I have already mentioned, this is surprisingly tricky as I’ve ended up doing quite a lot of rereads or read already known to me authors. Some new to me authors who I have enjoyed are Cari Thomas, Emma Stonex, Carol Ann Lee, Andrea Stewart, Reni K Amayo.

Newest fictional crush

I don’t really get fictional crushes so I’m going to skip this one.

Newest favorite character

Harrow from The Locked Tomb series. I can’t really have those books be all the answers, but second place is Gideon from the same series, so we’re kind of stuck on that front. Oh wait, L from the Death Note series – definitely also a contender.

Book that made you cry

Too many books. Audiobooks seem to make me cry more than print books, but still far too many from each side. Those that come to mind are: Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter by Carol Ann Lee, and The Book of M by Peng Shepherd. I am pretty sure I had to stop The Stone Knife had one point because of the tears it brought.

Book that made you happy

Thankfully, a large number of books I read this year also made me happy. Either from character endings, or just being a really enjoyable book to read. Rereads always make me happy as they’re usually my favourites. Picking up the Shaman King manga earlier this year was great as I loved the anime when I was younger, so had a great time being back with the characters.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Piranesi is gorgeous, both with dust jacket and without (top production team there). I also bought The Mice of Brambly Hedge Celebrate by Jill Barklem – I remember reading these stories when I was much younger and I love the illustrations in them.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I don’t have any that I definitely need to read, aside from the review copies I’ve got. If I could read all the books on my to-read list by the end of the year, I would as I am excited to explore each of them. Alas, time is not on my side so that isn’t possible. I would like catch-up on some of the series I am reading though, such as Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward series, and The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty.

Mini-Reviews: Death Note Volumes 4-7

I am now over half-way through the Death Note manga series, and what a journey it has been so far. The quick-paced volumes, character dynamics and rollercoaster moments have certainly made for an engrossing ride. It has been very easy to fly through the series and I have already finished another four volumes. I have tried to avoid spoilers, but a few may have snuck in, so fair warning.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

Death Note Vol. 4 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 3.5/5

Four volumes in, and I am starting to wonder how the series will be kept fresh for 12. The introduction of new characters does a lot to assist with this, but I was a bit disappointed with this volume. One of the main reasons was Misa’s character – after a brilliant introduction, she just gets more and more annoying, which was such a shame. While a smaller part of this volume, the way L and Light played off of each other was still a delight to read, and the twisty ending was definitely a ‘What?!’ moment. I have no idea what Light has planned, or how this next phase is going to play out.

Death Note Vol. 5 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 3.5/5

After my doubts in volume 4 about story progression, we do see the series take a larger turn in this volume with another Kira, and Light helping L in more depth on the case. I really enjoyed Matsuda having a larger role this book and the addition of a couple more characters to the taskforce, who promise to be pivotal and entertaining in the pages to come. That being said, it does still feel a little like some of the spark has gone from the series, and this may be because this volume (and possibly the previous one) have more of a calmer vibe to them as pieces are being moved into position rather than into action.

Death Note Vol. 6 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4/5

While I was worried that, with the last two volumes, the series had lost some of the novelty and enjoyment levels, this volume does reduce those worries. I thoroughly enjoyed the build up of action in this book, and the climactic scene in the last few chapters. I like that it feels as if things are falling into place for Light’s plans, despite having no idea what that plan is and being very confused over it most of the time. It was also good seeing some of the side characters taking more of a central role and, while that did mean a decrease in the L/Light dynamic (which is my favourite part of the series), it was refreshing seeing more of the other characters.

Death Note Vol. 7 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 4.5/5

After this volume, I had to take a breather. It is an absolute game-changer with one of the most shocking scenes I’ve experienced yet in this series. It does feel like an odd choice in chapters to include – almost as if it included a season finale and then the beginning of a second series. Despite that, this volume did feel like a return to the enjoyment levels of the first few volumes. I was on the edge of my seat for a lot of it and did end up re-reading parts just to experience them again (and help me process). I am very intrigued as to where volume 8 will take me as it feels like everything has changed.

Mini-Reviews: The Starless Sea, Princess Floralinda & The Forty-Flight Tower, Where the Crawdads Sing, A Natural History of Dragons

When you’re on holiday, you want adventure, mystery, magic and intrigue. These four books provided me with all that and more on my two-week break. From hidden libraries to searching for dragons, there was plenty to keep my imagination going and for me to discover. It’s hard to say which was my favourite from the below as they each brought their own strengths. The Starless Sea is a beautifully written book with an insanely imaginative world while Princess Floralinda … brings together two quirky characters in a fun twist on a fairy-tale. Natural History of Dragons gives us an upper-class woman’s quest to fulfil her dream of researching dragons while Where the Crawdads Sing tells of a girl who is a natural naturalist as she’s pulled out of her quiet life and accused of murder. Lots of worlds and stories to explore.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – 4/5

When Zachary comes across a mysterious book in the library, the last thing he expects is a chapter about himself. Soon he finds himself on a journey to find out the secrets of the book, a cultish society and a magical library. The writing in this book is gorgeous and delightful to read, while the structure adds its own charm: interspersing the main story with fairy-tale-esque stories that tie in to the books within the book. It does lose a bit of heart in the second half as the focus moves away from the core characters to the world of the library and mysteries within, causing a loss of characterisation as a result, and the ending did take a couple of re-reads. Still, it was a lovely book to sink into.

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir (narrated by Moira Quirk) – 3.5/5

Trapped at the top of a forty-flight tower, each floor home to a vicious creature, Princess Floralinda waits for a prince to come and save her, but when the princes stop coming, it’s up to Floralinda to save herself. This was an entertaining, humorous story, more so once Cobweb the garden fairy makes an appearance. There are some repetitive moments, and I did find Floralinda deciding Cobweb should be female a little off-putting along with how the story ended. I did, however, enjoy Floralinda’s development throughout the book, and her various creature encounters. It was a fun, quick listen, ideal for anyone in the mood for some light-hearted daring.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – 4/5

Kya grew up alone on the marsh, cultivating a interest in the natural world. When a popular local dies in mysterious circumstances on the marsh, suspicion turns to Kya, the strange ‘Marsh Girl’. The book tells Kya’s tale in two timelines: her life growing up, and then the murder investigation. Kya instantly worms her way into your heart as you read of her younger years and seeing her interactions with the wildlife of the march compared with the people of town was interesting to see. While the ending was relatively predictable, it was done in a satisfying way and I did like seeing how the story built up to it. The book itself does take on a new layer after reading following on the discover that the author is associated with a murder in Zambia.

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (narrated by Kate Reading) – 3/5

Written as a memoir by the main character, Lady Isabella Trent, this book covers her early years as a dragon naturalist, from her childhood all the way to her first expedition to research dragons in the wild. The book itself is a gentle, relaxing tale. There are elements of danger and tense moment, but even those fit the tone of an elderly Victorian-esque scientist recounting her past. I listened to most of this in the car and, as a result, did miss parts due to falling asleep (I wasn’t driving), but even then it was relatively easy to get back into and figure out what was occurring when those moments did happen. It was an interesting book to listen to, and a concept that works well, although I did find the main character a touch irritating in places and I’m not sure if I would continue on with the series.

Rosie Reviews: Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

Title: Threadneedle

Author: Cari Thomas

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Genre: Fantasy

Source: NetGalley

Review

Anna has been brought up to believe magic is a curse, something that should be suppressed and bound, but its temptation is strong and when the wild and carefree Effie joins her school, Anna might just get a taste of the magic she’d spent so long trying to resist.

This was a book that had all in the ingredients for a perfect reading spell. From the cast of characters to the story and, of course, the magic. While I can see Anna being frustrating for some, I particularly enjoyed her character arc as she battled between ‘no-one’ persona she’d cultivated to appease her aunt, and the personality that had been hidden away. I felt the book did a good job of exploring her doubts and divided loyalties between her friends and her aunt, the woman who raised her.

I particularly enjoyed how to book balanced the various relationships within the story, from the family aspect to the friendships and then the romantic elements. It was refreshing to see the friendships be the primary focal point, despite the romance being particularly relevant for the main plot, and coming away from the book those are the elements I remember the strongest. The group of friends was fun to read in how they came together and played off each other.

My favourite part of the book was the magic. The way it was depicted and how it was treated in the lore of the book caught my imagination. That there were different languages of magic, from the knots of the binders to the plant work of Rowan’s family, made for interesting and varied uses within the book and it was fun thinking of what kind of magic language I would use. Given that the series title appears to be ‘The Language of Magic’ according to Goodreads, this seems to be a concept that will be picked up and explored more in later books, which I am there for.

Overall, this was a solid read. I enjoyed the development and seeing how it played out, as well as integrating the magic and over-arching plot with a group of high-school girls having fun while on a journey of self-discovery within a school setting. It did have its slow moments. It also didn’t shy away from depicting abuse and the darker side of magic either, which could potentially be disturbing for some readers. Even so, this book was very much my cup of tea and I am intrigued for where it will go from here.

Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51867529-threadneedle

UK Bookshop.org: Threadneedle (bookshop.org)

The Book Depository*:  https://www.bookdepository.com/Threadneedle-Cari-Thomas/9780008407001/?a_aid=rosienreads

*I receive a small commission when this link is used to make a purchase

The Books I Read in July 2021

For someone who had two holidays in July, I really didn’t read as much as I thought I would. In fact, I probably read the same amount as if I had spent the whole month working, which is very bizarre for me. In my defense, those holidays were filled with other fun and relaxing things, and I still managed to read some very good books. Which is a good distraction from the recent news that I will have to wait until Autumn 2022 for the next Locked Tomb book and then another year after that for the finale! I’m not sure how I will wait that long, but needs must (although I am very excited that we’re now getting another book in that world.)

Anyways, onto the books I read. My favourite book of the month was Threadneedle by Cari Thomas and there’ll be a full-length review of that coming soon. Otherwise, I don’t think there were any major disappointments (aside from discovering the secret history of Delia Owens in the last few days…) I’m nearing the mid-way point of the Death Note series and these just keep throwing twist after twist at me, while I have struggled to get into my audiobooks recently which reduced my enjoyment of those I did listen to sadly.

As ever, the way I read is as follows:

1-Unable to Finish ; 2-Did not enjoy ; 3-Liked ; 4-Really Liked ; 5-Loved

Audiobook

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir (narrated by Moira Quirk) – 3.5/5

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (narrated by Kate Reading) – 3/5

Ebook

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas – 4.5/5

Graphic Novel/Manga

Death Note Vol. 4 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 3.5/5

Death Note Vol. 5 by Tsugumi Ohba & Takeshi Obata – 3.5/5

Hardback

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern – 4/5

Paperback

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – 4/5

Going into August, I have am listening to and very much enjoying (which is good for my audiobook slump) The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. I am also reading Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna and leisurely working my way through A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. Each very different, but that is kind of what I enjoy so I’ll always have something to match my mood. I have a lot of other projects occurring this month, so I may not be able to fit in as much reading as I would like, but who knows? I’m sure there will be plenty of moments for cosy reading as we head into Autumn.