Book Review: Magisterium: The Silver Mask by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare!

While this is a spoiler-free review for book four, it might contain spoilers for book one, book two and book three so beware!

A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn’t succeed… but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt. 


Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to- and how he lives on. 


But Call has no idea. It is only when he’s broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine’s plan is suddenly in his hands… and he must decide what to do with his power.

I’ve been a fan of this series from the word Go. I think it’s one of, if not the best middle-grade fantasy series and I even re-read the first four books which is pretty unusual for me! Plus, as this was my second read of this book, I’ve started picking up on the little things Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have added as foreshadowing and it just showed how cleverly written they are.

I love the character development that’s happening book-to-book. The kids are kids but they’re slowly growing up at a reasonable rate, and it’s just such a realistic timeline. There’s no jumps to suddenly being a grown-up, like some other books I’ve read. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that the Jasper/Callum friendship is a treat and it continues to be great, they’re kids being kids!

“You’re the only one I can talk to, Call,” said Jasper.
“You mean because I’m chained to this floor and can’t get away?”
“Exactly.”

I really appreciated the addition of queer representation in this book as well. An established character told the story of falling in love and it wasn’t a big thing. It was just a man loving a man and it was so normalised. More of this, please. Although, I still wish there were a few more female characters. It’s really the only thing that lets down the series for me, but we’re talking two female to five or six male characters and I really hoped in my review of the third book that this would even out. It hasn’t, which is a bit disappointing.

Since starting, I’ve always been waiting for these books to go full Harry Potter dark on me, but I’m pleased to say that they haven’t. They keep up their overall optimism and I love them for it. They even balance out the sadness with some comedy which made me laugh out loud.

What’s your favourite middle-grade series? Have you read the Magisterium books?

Book Review: Christmas with the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry!

The ‘Saga’ genre isn’t featured very much in my reading, despite the appeal of the covers with their pretty distinctive style and quantity of them at my local library. So, when I was offered a book in the genre that also focused on two of my big interests in fiction; Christmas and WWII, I was ready to read Christmas with the East End Angels*!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.

Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.
Winnie’s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.
Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.

Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

The books I lean towards are very suspenseful and action-packed so this was a change. It focuses on London post-Blitz and feels very calm and away from the action of war, despite their readiness! With this came a focus on character and feeling that, despite not reading the previous two books in the series, meant that I was emotionally invested. It was so relatable that I felt their grief and even found myself getting a little teary eyed!

It was also quite cheesy. It’s definitely part of the charm of this genre but the dialogue isn’t always super realistic with everyone saying every little positive thing they think out loud. There are lots of declarations about doing what they need to do for the war and keeping calm and carrying on!

This is balanced out by the amount of research and background knowledge that Rosie Hendry obviously has on the time period. It isn’t overdone as some historical fiction is, where the authors are trying to shove every bit of information they have in. Hendry writes like people living at the time with her characters revealing interesting tidbits: like the lack of rationing on sprouts!, in a realistic way that I really appreciated.

Since it is Christmas of the East End Angels, the book covers two Christmases and the year in between. This is a nice way to ease you into the season since I know not everyone is as keen as I am to get their decorations up as soon as the last trick-or-treater has taken their candy. Personally, I would’ve preferred a bit more of a festive vibe, but I have been singing carols since September so I’m not sure I can be trusted…

Are you a fan of the Saga genre? Have you started reading your Christmas themed books yet?

Book Review: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams!

I don’t know if I had ever read adult fantasy written by a woman before this but I never want to go back. All of the problems I have with adult fantasy written by men; token female characters, rape as a plot point, self-inserts and self-congratulatory writing- Jen Williams has none of that. Instead, you get fantasy that feels real, and accessible, and just bloody great.


The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the realm of his storied ancestors falls to pieces – talk about a guilt trip. Better to be amongst the living, where there are taverns full of women and wine.

When eccentric explorer, Lady Vincenza ‘Vintage’ de Grazon, offers him employment, he sees an easy way out. Even when they are joined by a fugitive witch with a tendency to set things on fire, the prospect of facing down monsters and retrieving ancient artefacts is preferable to the abomination he left behind.

But not everyone is willing to let the Eboran empire collapse, and the adventurers are quickly drawn into a tangled conspiracy of magic and war. For the Jure’lia are coming, and the Ninth Rain must fall…

If you like quests for knowledge, daring escapes, dusty castles and monster corpses, have I got a book for you!

The Ninth Rain* doesn’t take itself too seriously. Jen Williams realises the narrative doesn’t have to be doom and gloom all of the time and you don’t have to study up on a thousand years of family trees and maps spanning entire worlds to know what’s going on. She welcomes you in with arms wide open and you’re there for the ride.

Don’t get me wrong though, this is a complex world. There’s dreamwalking, fire-witches, a sea-cult, a race of former immortals that are now dying out, and a vast history with different cities and regions. But it’s written in a way that eases you into it and doesn’t require a cheat-sheet to keep everything straight. You’re in the world and everything you need to know is explained in time. It took me a little while to visualise it, because it had been a while since I had read fantasy, but Ebora is my new fictional home.

The cast of characters is so wonderfully diverse and I love all of them. Queer people, POC, older characters that aren’t cast in the ‘wise elder’ role- you could play diversity bingo with this book but it never feels forced. It’s never shoved in there for the purpose of ticking a box. It’s as natural as, oh I don’t know, living in the real world.

I forced myself to not read the sequel, The Bitter Twins, until I published this review. So if you’re reading this anytime within the week of its posting, I’m probably back in Ebora and wishing away my life for the publication of the third book. I try to keep my reviews balanced but this is a complete rave. Jen Williams skyrocketed to my favourite authors in one book and I regret nothing.

“There is, it seems to me, a certain type of man who is terrified of the idea of a woman weilding power, of any sort; the type of man who is willing to dress up his terror in any sory of trappings to legitimise it.”

Have you read The Ninth Rain?

Books I Read in May!

My laptop is finally fixed so here is my May reading wrap-up, soon to be followed by June and July! May was the month of my last essay for this term of university so I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted. That, and I was hate-reading for the first time in a long time. I’m a big fan of putting a book down if you’re not enjoying it, so why I decided a 800-page monster needed to be finished, I’ll never know. But hey, here are the books I loved and loathed in May.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Y’all, I hated this book. People I know have similar tastes to me kept saying it was great and a slow-burn. So I listened to the whole 32-hour audiobook and y’know what? Hated it.
I understand that this story is from the point-of-view of the main character many years later, and therefore he can be the strongest, handsomest, best-at-everything kind of guy and it’s a narrative choice- but boy, male wish-fulfilment is so boring. So boring.
I also have no interest in a book with such low regard for women. 1/10 of the students at the magic university are women, literally no reason is given for this. Sex workers are “whores” but you should call them ladies because “their lives are hard enough“. A female student is asked to cross her legs by a professor who: “Now the gates of hell are closed” can begin his lecture. This was prompted by her being a few minutes late and nobody says anything.
This was the highest rated book on my Goodreads TBR. What the heck did I miss?!


The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald
I read this for an essay I was writing and it was one of those required reads that I want to come back to in the future because it was a good book, but I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I think I will when I’m not reading under pressure. The language was truly beautiful.
The pine forests were black on the mountainsides, the windows gleamed like lead, and the sky was so low and dark, one expected ink to run out of it at any moment.


The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Finally reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is like showing up to a party late and deciding to just go with it. Everyone else is having fun, jump in and enjoy it. Would I have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t love the movie so much? Who knows. But I saw a lot of comparisons online to the Terry Pratchett-style humour which I didn’t really enjoy, so was glad that the audiobook had me laughing out loud several times.
The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.

The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver
Lincoln Rhyme leaves his New York apartment in this book which I felt was a really interesting choice; the case they investigated was very not-Manhattan and really changed up the feel of the book. Sometimes crime series can get a bit same-y, but not here. Especially because he and Amelia Sachs went to the South, where I have a few friends and therefore find super interesting.
This was also the first time I’ve seen “able-bodied” used in a book, and this came out in 2000. I really like the fact that one main character is a quadriplegic and one has terrible arthritis and chronic pain because it’s really relatable to me as a disabled reader. This book also deals with Rhyme wanting a surgery that could make things better, but more likely not, or worse, or kill him. The way this is dealt with shows both sides of the coin when it comes to treatment and disability; either risking making it worse, or acceptance.
However, a very 2000’s thing was one of the characters being afraid to catch HIV from a gay man who had been shot so… swings and roundabouts?
The best criminalists […] were like talented novelists, who imagined themselves as their characters- and could disappear into someone else’s world.


Can you remember what you read all the way back in May?

Book Review: The Haunting of Mount Cod by Nicky Stratton!

It’s been a while since I dipped my toe into the cozy crime genre. It’s a genre that I truly love but, like romances, it seems to be sold primarily in Ebook form which I can’t read. So when I got an email about a paperback copy of The Haunting of Mount Cod by Nicky Stratton* for the blog tour, you can bet I was waiting by my the letterbox for its arrival.



Lady Laura Boxford lives with her pug, Parker in the retirement complex of Wellworth Lawns, formerly her family home. One day she and her friend Venetia see the ancient actor, Sir Repton Willowby arriving. He’s Venetia’s cousin by marriage and Venetia says he murdered his wife. He lives at the Edwardian pile, Mount Cod and he says he’s being haunted by the ghost of an eighteenth century serving wench called Rosalind.


Laura is convinced he’s a charlatan using the ghost as a ruse for finding a new wife. She determines to get to the bottom of the mystery on account of Venetia’s daughter who stands to inherit Mount Cod. But did Sir Repton murder his wife and is the house haunted?


Something I really appreciated from the get-go was the age of the main characters! It’s very rare to read a book with older characters that aren’t just there to give wise advice to the youth. The Haunting of Mount Cod is not only jam-packed with older people, it’s set in a care home. And Laura, Venetia, Repton- the whole cast are still having adventures, going out and about, solving crime. It made me realise how much I want to read from this different perspective, and how many of my books seem to be unspoken dystopias where everyone disappears at 40.

As for the crime, it did get a little confusing as more and more characters got involved but I was flip-flopping back and forth about who did it and why until the big reveal. And then, of course, everything made sense! That’s the kind of experience I want with any kind of crime novel, cozy or not. I want to know everything the narrator knows and figure it out with them. Laura was the best kind of cozy crime narrator; nosey and determined!

One thing that let the book down for me was the representation. There is Bulgarian maid who leaves words out of her sentences, an “OCD headcase“, and g*psy is used a lot, which isn’t great- but these characters are older and I think its unfortunately a fairly accurate representation of the older generations. It’s a slur that some people don’t see as damaging but since they are portrayed as heavy drinkers and thieves, it’s something to consider. However, a character does describe themselves as Gender Queer which is pretty rare to see, and the female MC calls out a sexist comment made by a man.

Overall, I enjoyed my trip back into cozy crimes and I’m going to have to explore more into the genre as they’re such lighthearted reads that I can fit between the Victorian tomes that fill my reading list right now. If The Haunting of Mount Cod sounds like your kind of read, you can pre-order it for Thursday here! And make sure to check out my fellow blog tour hosts for their opinions and extracts!

“This toing and froing of ideas in her head was like windscreen wipers going full tilt in a snow storm.”

Do you have a favourite cozy crime? What is it?

Book Review: Oblivion by Jennifer L Armentrout!

While pondering my shelves, I realised that despite buying the whole five-book Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, I had never got past the first book. And I liked the first book! But over a year has passed and heck if I can remember the plot details. Luckily for me, Oblivion* exists which is the first book from the male protagonist’s point of view!

I liked it a little less than Oblivion, probably because Daemon as a character is a lot less likeable than Katy and hearing him justify being a jerk to her gets tired after a while. But there’s kind of a terrible but understandable-for-a-teenage-boy-right-now explanation for it all: “I was surrounded by people who looked to me to have all the answers, to protect them, to never show fear. And so I put on a big front and swaggered around like nothing frightened me.” Toxic masculinity ahoy!

There was some weird body shaming as well which was disappointing because one of the things I loved about Obsidian is that Katy managed to be realistically happy with how she looked, for a teenage girl. But here’s Daemon, glad that Katy isn’t “one of those skinny girls [he] hated” and making transphobic comments wishing she looked like “a girl who looked like a dude” to lessen his attraction to her. And I understand that teenage boy-aliens can be garbage but: “all this thinking about my feelings and hers was probably going to give me a period”. Yikes!

The story was basically the same, and it is a good story that’s fun to read. Armentrout is a writer that knows what her story is, who her audience is, and writes it well. But I think that the brooding YA hero is a lot less heroic when you’re reading about why he’s so broody, because rationally it’s just putting on a tough-guy face and being mean, and while I understand that within todays society, it’s not a good look. Give me a nice guy any day.

Overall, I don’t think Oblivian is a must read but I’m glad I got to refresh my mind on the first book without having to re-read. I’d definitely be interested if more authors wrote these types of books, like the gender-swapped Twilight book. I’d love the Aurora Teagarden series from the point-of-view of the police she is constantly solving cases for.

Every time she picked up a book, her entire face transformed into a wide, brilliant smile-

Have you read Oblivion? Or anything by Jennifer L Armentrout?

Book Review: Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir!

When I finished Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen I was convinced. Yes, she was the true Queen. And Anne Boleyn? Nope, I did not like her and never would, she was the villain of the story. Well- obviously Henry VIII is the villain but Anne Boleyn was a minor villain and while not deserving of being beheaded, wasn’t going to get my sympathy. Well, enter Alison Weir and A King’s Obsession! By the end of this, I ended up crying for a Queen long since dead. Again.




It is the spring of 1527. Henry VIII has come to Hever Castle in Kent to pay court to Anne Boleyn. He is desperate to have her. For this mirror of female perfection, he will set aside his Queen and all Cardinal Wolsey’s plans for a dynastic French marriage.

Anne Boleyn is not so sure. She loathes Wolsey for breaking her betrothal to the Earl of Northumberland’s son, Harry Percy, whom she had loved. She does not welcome the King’s advances; she knows that she can never give him her heart.

But hers is an opportunist family. And whether Anne is willing or not, they will risk it all to see their daughter on the throne…


Oh, Anne Boleyn. Did you know that decapitation isn’t an immediate death? I went on a Google deep-dive after this and science has some buck wild thoughts on the matter. I totally cannot un-read some of the details of experiments. But, even before this terrible end, I was feeling sorry for Anne Boleyn. She wants to marry for love, against her father’s wishes, and ends up with just the worst man so that the family can gain points. Reading her whole story from childhood, you connect with her as a character and it feels all the more brutal when she’s treated so badly.

There’s also the blending of contemporary ideas with the thoughts of the time. Anne was surrounded by women leaders and was a strong independent woman who thought that women could rule. She was taught- at least in this fictionalised world- that she had the feminine power to flirt and lead men that way. This endeared me to her and I just wanted her to get a happy ending, goshdarnit. The author’s note goes into feminism in 16th Century Europe and the women leaders Anne served, and it’s so so interesting.

And that Author’s Note. Obviously, any historical fiction is going to be that, fiction. But Weir’s Author’s Note at the end of these books show the detail of research and are often the most interesting part of the read for me- these books are fantastic so this isn’t a slight. I just love reading about how she went about writing. There is much less source material to use when it comes to Anne, in comparison to Katherine, and a lot of the material comes from a hostile source. This just makes the depth of the story all the more impressive.

Alison Weir continues to amaze me. She completely turned my opinion on Anne around, my emotions were all over the place and even with 500+ pages, I always want more when it comes to this series.

she added her name, so that anyone finding the inscription in years to come would know who had written it. By then she would either be famous or forgotten.


Have you read any good books about Anne Boleyn?

Books I Read in February!

February was a weird reading month for me, in that I read a lot but I stopped getting a lot of feelings from reading about half-way through the month. As you can imagine, that kind of pumps the brakes. But this had me testing out a lot of different genres and continuing series, starting new series and jumping around which can be fun.

The Fear Within by J. S. Law*

I really liked the first book in this series; Tenacity. I felt that the female main character was written wonderfully, the plot worked for me and there was LGBT+ representation in a military setting which- yay! The Fear Within was good but didn’t hit all the high spots of Tenacity.
The plot was great and while the links to the first book were a little heavy-handed, I can see where the narrative is going with that overarching plotline while the book deals with a new case. And Dani was as wonderful as she was in book one.
However, I felt like this slipped into gratuitous violence, specifically towards women. The characters talk openly about Feminism and even reference the misogyny rife on Twitter so I don’t think this is the issue. I think it’s just a norm in this genre that women are often victims of physical and sexual assault. But I’m not really sensitive to these kinds of things, so for me to feel uncomfortable- that’s quite a level to reach.
I’ll read the next book, but I’ll definitely be going with my guard up.
“If I want to hear childish, misogynist crap like this I’ll go and speak my mind on Twitter.”
I have to say, I didn’t find the cast of characters that breifly inhabit Blandings Castle as charming as the ones from Something Fresh, which I read in January. But the wit and charm of Wodehouse stay constant and is super refreshing. I can’t think of any modern books that quite manage the same vibe and it’s genuinely calming. When I want a book that isn’t life-and-death, with low stakes but great plot, Wodehouse is my new go-to.
Situated in the middle of one of those districts where London breaks out into a sort of eczema of red brick-
Recently I’ve been un-hauling a lot of the series I read as a teen because I tended towards not-great YA. It turns out that teen-Imogen had some taste after all though because, while I’m pretty sure I only read one of these books, I bought eight of them. And they’re not half bad!
The whole thing is very mid-2000s. You get words like ‘skank‘ and the idea of ‘girl games‘. But even though she sees it as ‘abnormal’, I like having a narrator that loves school and learning. She’s smart and her intelligence is useful in a way that makes her a strong female character without having her take on male sterotypes of strength.
For the second time since starting my Twitter thread of 2017 reads, this was a book I originally gave four-stars and marked down to three while writing my wrap-up and thinking it over. I’ll still read the next one but whether I buy into the whole 15-book series is hanging on that. I don’t want anymore women called skanks, but I do want to dive into more of Rachel Caine.
She resented being scared in a library! Books weren’t supposed to be scary. They were supposed to… help.

Full review coming soon!


I’ve really liked Katherine Clements historical fiction books in the past! The Crimson Ribbon and The Silvered Heart were my first foray into the genre and convinced me to keep giving it a chance. But The Coffin Path is a historical ghost story and maybe historical ghost stories aren’t for me… For example, I didn’t like The Woman in Black by Susan Hill at all. And while I liked this better, it wasn’t something I was reaching for whenever I had a free minute. The setting and vibe were great, super creepy, but I didn’t click with the characters or plot that much.
Although this is set in Yorkshire, my Greater Manchester town got a mention for being rebels against the King. That was pretty neat.

The truth weighs heavy on my. If only my purse did the same.



Oh boy, I cried. I don’t think I’ve read this one since the original release day so it was kind of wild to listen to the audiobook for the first time. Stephen Fry could read the phone book and make it wonderful.
As for the story, I’d say everything was resolved okay but, much like the ending of Lost, I’m not sure I completely get it? But the whole book felt much more densely plotted, full of action and emotion, it didn’t drag like some of the other books in the series. I feel like JKR knew exactly what needed to happen to get from A to B and that was a lot. So it was all packed in.
Overall, I’m glad that I’ve gone from start to finish with this series as an adult. But I have a lot of complicated feelings about the diversity, or lack of, and seperation of author and story can be hard.
There was a brief silence in which the distant sound of Hagrid smashing down a wooden door seemed to reverbarate through the intervening years.


What did you read in February?

Book Review: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller!

I’ve been wanting to read Catch-22 for years and years, long before I even started blogging, but I put it off. However, since one of my reading goals was to stop delaying, I figured Catch-22 was the place to start. It’s been a year since I read it and I’ve finally collected my thoughts up into one handy blog post.

At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.

His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.

It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed out loud as I read. It so rarely happens that I found myself surprised! I listened to the audiobook read by Trevor White and he was a perfect narrator, but even after, when I wrote down all the quotes into my notebook- they all stood out without needing his fantastic narration. I ended up with five pages of quotes when the average book gets half a page!

The timeline does make it a little confusing, especially since I didn’t know going in that it wasn’t chronological. But it really is a very cleverly put together book. I always admire writers who try a non-linear timeline and it worked wonderfully with Catch-22. By the end, I just wanted to pick it right back up again and read knowing what I know now. I’ve managed to avoid this because I generally don’t like re-reading, but the urge is so strong I’ll be surprised if I don’t within the next year.

For me, Catch-22 is a book of comparable situations. I see the current world reflected in Yossarian’s’, as terrifying a thought that may be. The contradictions, the absurdity and the lies. It’s right there in our politics, on the news and on Twitter.

For example, the Illamasqua Anti-Fascism Pledge. That gives me an uncomfortable feeling, even though I’m obviously anti-fascist. And it stuck in my brain until I figured out what it reminded me of. In Catch-22, Captain Black has a Glorious Loyalty Oath Crusade where he makes all his men sign loyalty oaths, many many loyalty oaths before they can get food or equipment. After all, people who are loyal “would not mind signing all the loyalty oaths they have to.” And really, Illamasqua wasn’t asking you to do anything differently if you’re not a fascist. So maybe that’s the stickler, they weren’t really doing anything. They told us what they believe, that we must agree with them or to not buy them. But that feels like a slippery slope…

“And this whole program is voluntary, Milo- don’t forget that. The men don’t need to sign Pitchard and Wren’s loyalty oath if they don’t want to. But we need them to starve to death if they don’t. It’s like Catch-22. Don’t you get it? You’re not against Catch-22, are you?”

Don’t get me wrong though, this is not a perfect book. I struggle with the misogyny and recognising if the book is misogynistic or just the characters. This book hits a couple sore spots for me: female characters not given names, e.g. ‘Nately’s whore’ and ‘Nately’s whore’s sister’, every female character being sexualised, and sexual assault is common. One story of rape is met with disgust, yet even the main character sexually assaults a woman.

Of course, it was written in the 1950’s about the 1940’s and we’re not talking about hugely progressive times although there are books written at the same time that are. Plus, there were no female American pilots in WWII, although there was in other countries, so the main cast being men makes sense. Let’s not forget Colonel Cathcart asking the Chaplain; “-you wouldn’t want your sister to marry an enlisted man, would you?” And being told; “My sister is an enlisted man, sir… She’s a master sergeant in the Marines.”

And this rather interesting view, that I’ve pondered over: “It was a man’s world, and she and everyone younger had every right to blame him and everyone older for every unnatural tragedy that befell them; just as she… was to blame for every man-made misery that landed on her kid sister and all other children behind her. Someone had to do something sometime. Every victim was a culprit, every culprit a victim, and somebody had to stand up sometime and break the lousy chain that was imperilling them all.”

This review might’ve ended up being 99% quotes, but in the end, this book has changed the way I view the world. I finally understand Catch-22 for one thing! And any book that has a plan that looks like this and manages to stick with me for so long, is pretty dang good. I definitely need to re-read it. If you haven’t already got a dusty copy waiting to be picked up like I did, you can pick one up here or I really recommend the audiobook.

“Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed-“

Have you read Catch-22? Are you planning to?

Books I Read in October!

October was a great reading month! I feel like in September, I really managed to get a nice balance of genres that I was reading and although I didn’t quite read as much as May or July, I’m much happier looking at this pile of books! Admittedly, writing about them was a little bit harder because while I read widely, I didn’t always enjoy what I read…

Sleep like a Baby by Charlaine Harris*
I can’t believe I have to go through the pain of saying goodbye to this series again. It was so hard last time and now I’ve had two extra books just to extend the joy and pain. I think next year I’m going to do a full read-through of all ten.
Unsurprisingly, I liked this book. I love the world and the characters and I love stories with babies so it was everything I wanted. It wasn’t quite as gripping as I’ve found past books in this series, I did put it down and pick it up quite a few times whereas I normally read them right through. But I still enjoyed it and it was a good second final to the series. As a final book, it still held its own with a good mystery and one that called back to past books without being predictable.
There was one slip-up about the colour of Aurora’s glasses, which I only noticed because she makes a big deal about matching the colour and shape to her mood. Is there a job for being particular about these things?
When a coroner says you look bad, that’s pretty dire.

Magisterium: The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Full review to come! But seriously, wonderful as always.

Othello by William Shakespeare
Othello was one of the books I had to read for my new university module and I hated it. I’m not a fan of storylines that rely on people not communicating in relationships, and that is really all this is. I love some Shakespeare but this one was a real disappointment. It’s okay to study though, the storyline might not be great but I mean- it’s Shakespeare, the language is always complex.

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I’m starting to feel a little downtrodden when it comes to Gothic horror type books, I didn’t much rate Frankenstein and I didn’t really like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde either. Seriously- one murder? Boring! Told from the point of view of an outsider? Not really that mysterious, just missing all the terrifying details. An analogy for this, that and the other? Too painfully obvious for words.
I wanted a good spook in October and this disappointed all around. I did like that Mr Stevenson knew when to stop though, this was short and… well, it was short.
“-if ever I read Satan’s signature upon a face, it is on that of your new friend.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
I was never a person who said their favourite Harry Potter book was the third one. I was strictly a number one is number one person, but this re-listen was a game-changer for me.
This is so densely plotted without the need for an extra 300+ pages… Seriously, I know the popularity of the Harry Potter books exploded and the plot was growing with the audience but I can’t help but think the next books could’ve done with a ruthless editor to get them to the tightly packed goodness of this book. Hermione taking extra subjects, the whole time-turner section, Black on the loose, Buckbeak on trial, “serious” being said 10x more than past books- so much going on and still managing the magic that is descriptions of Hogwarts and the weather.
And I’m so glad people seemed to feel me on my tweets about how Harry is the least self-aware person ever.
“I’m not going to be murdered,” Harry said out loud.
“That’s the spirit, dear,” said his mirror sleepily.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
Again, I have a Twitter thread on my thoughts which I think sums up my descent into ‘oh no, this isn’t as good as I remember’. Like- seriously, 2/3rds of the tournament for the onlookers is staring at the top of a lake or the wall of a hedge for hours. Wizarding World, why would you bother?
It’s not even the length that turned me off this book, its that I could tell that so much of my enjoyment relied on the fabulous work of Stephen Fry as narrator. When I sat down to actually look at the quotes I liked, without his particular reading, it fell flat for me. The magic was dulled.
I find myself blown away by how much things have changed in YA in the past 17 years since this book has been published. The ableism in this book would’ve been called out in a second; “Loony Lovegood” and “Mad-eye Moody” being quite jarring to hear as a grown-up, Fred and George being slightly less charming when they’re accusing Harry of being “mental”, and many more…
“- If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Finally, I’ve officially read a book by all three Brontë’s this year! And I finally got around to reading the one I actually had to read for university. Now I can officially give my order of the Brontës; Anne, Emily then Charlotte.
Wuthering Heights wasn’t what I expected at all, despite all its notoriety, I didn’t know the storyline at all and spent a good portion waiting for more ghosts to show up. Despite its disappointing lack of ghostly visitors, I did enjoy it by the end. We had some ups and downs together but when all was said and done, I do like a good unlikable character. Although Heathcliff is still a hundred times better than the monstrous Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre. Plus, the writing was truly beautiful.
I’m really looking forward to studying it!
“-Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same-“

What have you been reading lately? Have you read any of these?