Book Review: The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

Thursday, 15 December 2022

 The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advance copy of The Last Tale of the Flower Bride to read for an honest review.

The story revolves around the mysterious woman Indigo Maxwell-Castenada her story told through her Bridegroom, he a scholar of myths. They exchanged gifts and stories of the otherworld with one promise he would never pry into Indigos past.

However when Indigos estranged aunt is dying the couple are forced to return to the House of Dreams. Here the Bridegroom is unable to resist delving into her past. In the house lurks the shadows of another girl Azure, Indigos childhood best friend who disappeared. As the house reveals its secrets the Bridegroom will be forced to choose between the fantasy and the reality of his marriage.

The story started off abit hard to get into for me but once I got further into the story I was hooked.

Roshani Chokshi has a poetic and haunting way of writing. This book reads as a gothic fairytale and is beautifully crafted.

I loved the inclusion of all the myths and fairytales shared to explain different elements of the story and I was caught up in the chapters from Azures point of view.

A haunting and fascinating read perfect for lovers of gothic fiction. 

Thanks For Reading! 

Krakow: Krakus Mound

Friday, 2 December 2022

Krakus Mound, Krakow

Looking for the best panoramic view in Krakow? Look no further than the Krakus mound! While this mound is a fair walk around 3km outside of the centre located in the Podgorze district of Krakow Poland.

The history behind this mound is that it is thought to be the resting place of Krakow's mythical founder the legendary King Krakus. The Krakus Mound is one of Krakow's two prehistoric mounds and the oldest man made structure in Krakow.

It was was quite an easy slow incline walk up to the top definitely not a hard walking hike and the views really did pay off. We sat up here for a while snapping a few pictures and then just soaking in the view and living in the moment.

Please enjoy a few of my snapshots from this viewpoint and if you are visiting Krakow anytime soon definitely tick this view point off of your list.

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for Reading!

Paris: Notre Dame

The Notre Dame 

One of the sights I was most looking forward to seeing during my trip to Paris was the Notre Dame. After seeing it in photos online over the years I just knew that I wanted to see this stunning bit of architectural history in person.

The day we were there it was amazingly sunny and incredibly busy we opted to go inside and to also pay for tickets to go up to the top to admire the views over the city. We were incredibly lucky getting tickets for this and managed to get the last few so if you are visiting and want to go up to the towers it is always best to book this in advance particularly during the Summer months. 
The Cathedral and its stained glass windows were stunning to view inside and out, as you can tell this trip was a while ago now and I was devastated by the news that the Cathedral had gone up in flames in the April of last year. This building is certainly one of the first architectural sites I think of when I think of Paris and it is a devastating that the history of the building has been lost.

Here's hoping that the reconstruction saves what is left of this once amazing monument so that future generations can have the chance to see this building in person.
The views from the top of the cathedral were fully worth the cost to go up and once this hopefully reopens in 2024 this is a sight I would eefinitely recommend visiting if you are in Paris.

Below are a few of my images from the top of the Notre Dame.

Thanks for Reading!

Book Review: Unraveller Audiobook by Frances Hardinge

Thursday, 17 November 2022

Unraveller Audiobook by Frances Hardinge

Thank you to Macmillan UK Audio and Netgalley for the audio book of Unraveller for an honest review.

In Kellen and Nettle's world anyone can create a life destroying curse but only one person has the power to unravel them. Not everyone is happy about this and suddenly the two are in a race against time to save themselves and others who have been touched by magic.

An original and creative YA fantasy from Frances Hardinge involving magic, curses and creatures of myth. I loved the idea of the story however the audio book felt overly long which made me loose interest. I think there was just too much crammed into the story. Too many cases of Kellan and Nettle going to different towns meeting new characters learning their stories and unravelling their curses.

As we met so many characters through these many sub-stories I found myself forgetting who was who a bit. Therefore I felt some  of this could have been cut down in the story.

That aside the narration on the audio book was very good and Hardinge's writing as usual was eloquent and captivating.

The story itself was a very creative and original idea and well worth a read or listen. I did enjoy it however I just felt there was a few too many characters and sub-stories added into this title which led to confusion and disinterest as it felt a tad repetitive. Which is why I have rated the title 3 stars. 

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao

Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao

4.5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins for the advance reader copy of this book for an honest review.

Lan spends her night as a song girl in Haak'gong a city transformed by conquerors who invaded her kingdom, killed her mother and outlawed her people's magic. She is searching for anything she can find of the past trying to understand the mark burned into her arm by her mother, her last act before she died.

The mark is mysterious and untranslatable and no one else but Lan can see it. That is until a boy appears at the teahouse and saves her life one night.

Zen is a practitioner of the Last Kingdom who's magic was rumoured to be drawn from demons they communed with.

Zen can see Lan's mark and he recognises that she is a practioner with a powerful hidden ability. The mark isn't anything like he has ever seen but he knows deep in the pine forests that there is a school of practitioning masters who are planning to overthrow the Elantian regime who may have some answers.

Working together both of them have secrets that they hide and both hold great power. Fate has connected them but their destiny remains unwritten.

A fantastic start to a new fantasy series steeped in Chinese folklore. With well crafted characters and well written plot lines full of adventure and magic.

The story was fascinating and addictive until the very end. Lan and Zen are both likeable yet flawed characters both with complex backgrounds.

The aspects of Chinese mythology were woven well within the story and gave great insight into the cultures folklore.

A fantasy novel I would highly recommend reading full of many twists and turns that were not obvious and well crafted!

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston

3.5 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the advance reader copy of Cruel Illusions by Margie Fuston for an honest review. 

Ava has been determined to avenge her mothers death ever since she was murdered by a vampire when she was a child. However no one has seen a vampire in years and she isn't sure she will ever find one until she stumbles across a hidden magic show where the illusions she sees cannot be anything but real. Maybe these magicians can lead her to the vampires that she has been searching for?

The magicians are part of a secret society who have true magic, power which Ava also has in her blood. They want her to join them and in return they will teach her to hunt vampires and help avenge her mother. However to do this and keep the power being offered she must take part in a deadly competition putting on the performance of her life. In this competition illusion and reality blur and the stakes are deadly. 

This book is described as Caraval meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer so I was incredibly excited to read this as Buffy is my favourite TV show and Caraval is one of my favourite book Series. 

You can 100% tell that aspects of this book were inspired by Buffy a girl discovers a power she has and needs help in training. The brooding and moody antagonistic love interest Roman gives Angel vibes. The initial love interest and friend is called Xander and the other trainee in magic who becomes her best friend is called Willow need I say more. 

Alot of the references felt very on the nose and I almost felt the book became a tad predictable because of this homage as some of the side plot lines were very similar to Buffy plots lines and this took away from the story abit for me unfortunately as it was too similar. 

This is a shame as the other aspects in the story were very unique including the whole magic system and how the magicians gain and boost their magic. As well as Ava's quest to avenge her mother and overcome her past trauma. That aside I did really enjoy the writing style and found myself being drawn into the competition and all the magical acts described and fantastical elements described. 

The main love triangle was very similar to Buffy season 1 and it was clear who Ava would end up with following that theme. The twists and reveals did keep me engaged overall and I did enjoy the writing style and the story. 

The many comparisons just made me feel like the book didn't quite hit the mark hence the 3.5 star rating. 

Overall an enjoyable YA fantasy read and a good choice if you still don't want to let go of spooky season. 

Thanks for Reading! 

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