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15 January 2021

Book Beginnings: The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna book cover

Today is the Ritual of Purity.
I got The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna in a Fairyloot box last year, and it's gorgeous.

The cover of mine is covered in gold foil, it is so so shiny. Book magpie that I am, I am in love.

Right at the front is a small box stating that The Gilded Ones includes scenes of violence which some readers may find distressing. I appreciate the content warning so much but to go a little more in-depth, warnings include violence, death, genocide, rape, torture, confinement, racism, misogyny, religious bigotry and gore. And I'm not even finished the book yet.

The first line gives nothing away, but it does hint at some religious fervour, or at least a heavily religious society. All at once I am intrigued and my guard is up - the concept of purity is something that grinds my gears. As you get in to the first chapter you end up absolutely riveted.

More memories, all so sudden and powerful, my body trembles from the force of them.
This is from page 56 in my finished paperback copy.

The Gilded Ones is incredibly fast paced, and it's a book I struggle to put down. So much has happened in just 56 pages, it truly is incredible.

This is a hard read, but it is also excellent.

What are you reading this week?

13 January 2021

Audiobook Review: Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

I can't remember when I bought my audiobook copy of Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina, but I know it was a fair few years ago.

For whatever reason, it's been languishing on my Audible shelf, un-listened-to. Which is surprising, as I have a great love of speculative fiction, and Steampunk in particular. It is the first book in The Magnificent Devices Series.

Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina cover The Magnificent Devices series

She wants to be an engineer, but her parents – and society – will never allow it.

Until riots break out in steampunk London and she seizes her chance…

It’s 1889, and Lady Claire Trevelyan is expected to do nothing more with her life than catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, her talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the laboratory, where her experiments have an embarrassing habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine despite the fact that everyone knows the world runs on steam, Claire finds herself out in the street with nothing to her name but her steam landau and her second best hat.

But the embarrassments of her old life might be the talents that save her now… If she can stay alive long enough to barter her skills for a street gang’s protection. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the London underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices… A double life Claire must keep secret if she is to achieve her dream and become the assistant to a world-renowned scientist …

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Adventure, steampunk, family, friendship, society.

Content Warnings: Suicide.

First and foremost, this book is an excellent adventure. It's a proper Steampunk romp, lots of fun to experience, and with a well-fleshed out world. The story itself isn't long, but it is the first in a series and sets up the world magnificently.

Fiona Hardingham does an amazing job narrating the story - the voices and intonation she puts on is perfect.

I love how this world is still full of political intrigue and societal restraints. As much as technologies have advanced, the rights of women have not, and Claire rallies against it. I love her headstrong actions, her sense of adventure, her desire to learn more. She's inquisitive and bright and this is evidenced right from the start in a pretty explosive way. And as everything unfolds her whole world changes.

I quite enjoyed the familial dramas, although one was tragically heart-breaking. Claire's mother wants what she thinks is best for her, but it does mean that she and Claire butt heads quite a lot. With society as it is in the book, it's understandable and at times I was a little exasperated with Claire. Her mother does love her, really, and she's trying her best under terrible circumstances.

I was quite sad that Claire found herself so alone and a little lost. But it was where the adventure truly kicked off, where things got so dire that they had to change. It's where Claire properly came into herself her sharp mind and tenacity took centre stage.

Lady of Devices was such a fun a read, and I will absolutely continue with the Magnificent Devices series.

Girls should certainly be heard. It is their voices the world is missing.


11 January 2021

Book Review: The Heiress’s Pregnancy Surprise by Donna Alward *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free digital review copy of The Heiress’s Pregnancy Surprise by Donna Alward ahead of the blog tour.

But honestly, I would have picked this up regardless of the blog tour - I love a bodyguard romance and it has been so long since I read one.

The Heiress’s Pregnancy Surprise by Donna Alward cover mills and book

A VIP assignment...

An unexpected consequence!

Ex-SAS officer Jacob Wolfe's latest job, as aristocrat Charlotte Pemberton's bodyguard, is pushing him to his limits.

Never one to step over the line, he's determined to ignore their intense connection.

Until a single dance leads to a forbidden kiss... and Jacob is tempted to break all his rules.

But their resulting night together has an unexpected consequence...

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Source: Review Copy | Blog Tour

5 Word Review: Family, obsession, danger, love, responsibility.

You know when you're just about shouting at your book KISSSSSS. NOW KISS? Yup, this book. 

I love the chemistry sparkling between the characters, I love the dual perspective, I love the vibrant settings. I felt at home in the world, loved the fashion and the colour. 

Charlotte is headstrong and confident, but not wihh out insecurities. It was lovely to see her grow and bloom under the influence of Jacob. Jacob is very much bound by his own code of honour, and haunted by his past. He has layers which were excellently explored, slowly peeled away. 

One thing I didn't like much about this story was that Charlotte kept throwing Jacob's past with Jacinta back at him. It hurt to read, and it felt out of character for Charlotte, even with her past experiences and the walls she has up. 

The beginning of this book was a much faster pace than I am used to for romances, and it was excellent. I was gripped and couldn't bear to put it down, and I ended up so invested in the story, and in Charlotte and Jacob.

10 January 2021

Six for Sunday: Bookish Wins of 2020

I'm joining in with Steph at A Little But A Lot's Six for Sunday feature! It's a weekly feature that gets you thinking and sharing.

The theme this month is all about books, and this week the prompt is Bookish Wins of 2020. I actually found this prompt quite hard because 2020 was a shit show if I'm honest, but it was also really rewarding once I figured out my six wins. It was like... Yeah, I did do something.

Six for Sunday: Bookish Wins of 2020

Six Bookish Wins of 2020

I read Priory of the Orange Tree
This gets a win all of its own, because it is A Beast of a book at over 800 pages, and it took me a fair while to get through. I read it for my first Series Crackdown in February,

I Unhauled 100 Books
During the spring/summer I set a little table up at the top of the front garden with a box of books for people to take for free - I needed to un-haul books, libraries were closed, it was a success.

I Chased Happy Endings
I read So Much Romance in 2020, and I loved it. I love the joy of happy endings so much that continuing to read lots of Romance has made it into my Bookish Resolutions for 2021.

I read House of Earth and Blood (twice)
This is another book that I picked up due to Series Crackdown, although this time in August, and it is another Beast of a book at over 800 pages. Only this time I managed to read it twice, because I wanted to break my heart repeatedly.

I Found Bookish Podcasts
I found some amazing bookish podcasts to listen to! My favourite is Literally Gagging, although I now hear their voices reading the sex scenes in romance books every so often which is less than ideal but also quite hilarious.

My Nephew is a Reader
He's currently reading about four years ahead of his classmates and I couldn't be more proud! I'm struggling to keep up with what to buy for him, but it means I'm reading a lot more kid lit too which is very fun.

What was your bookish win of 2020?

09 January 2021

Medieval-A-Thon TBR

Medieval-a-thon is a month long readathon hosted by Holly Hearts Books.

The aim of the readathon is to increase your nobility with every book you read You start as a prisoner with nothing, and then build yourself up the ranking with each book you read. You also read books to fulfil prompts for different professions.

I am extra excited because I have commissioned some more pieces of my character from Franki!

Medieval-A-Thon TBR

First off, for every book you read your rank increases. 


Medieval-A-Thon rank

Profession Prompts

I think that the prompts are excellent, there is truly something for everyone. I decided pretty quickly which profession I wanted to go for, as the prompts fit some books I already intended to read this year.

Blacksmith Profession

  • Read a book with gold, silver, or bronze in the title or cover
  • A book you're scared to read
  • A book with a weapon on the cover
  • A hardcover
  • A series finale

Medieval-A-Thon Prompts - Choose your Profession - Blacksmith

So there are the prompts for the Blacksmith Profession. But what will I be reading?

Medieval-A-Thon TBR

Like everyone else, I am starting out as a prisoner, with nothing to my name. I'm hoping to get to at least princess rank, anything beyond that is a massive bonus.

  • Read a Book with Gold, Dilver, or Bronze in the Title or Cover
    • The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
      I got a copy in a Fairyloot box last year, and I wanted to hold off until closer to publication before I picked it up. Now it's time! And the cover is gorgeous, covered in gold foiling.
  • A Book You're Scared to Read
    • Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
      This book has been languishing on my TBR since my pre-order arrived. I've just been a bit scared to pick it up because I know it will be a difficult read.
  • A Book with a Weapon on the Cover
    • The Poppy War by RF Kuang
      There's a bow on the cover, and I have been meaning to reread this book for a while. I know it's going to be hard, I've been there before.
  • A Hardcover
    • The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang
      When I originally finished The Poppy War I wanted the next one immediately. Unfortunately I had read a review copy and had ages to go. And then when The Dragon Republic came out I wasn't in the right headspace. Now it's time.
  • A Series Finale
    • The Burning God by RF Kuang
      I have very specifically put this on my TBR to make sure that I finish this series. One of my Bookish Resolutions for 2021 is to finish more series.

There we have it! Just this profession will let me hit my goal, but I am hoping to read a few more for this readathon. I am not counting any Romance books towards my goal, as I have a separate year long challenge for Romance books going on in the background.

What's on your TBR for the next month?


08 January 2021

Book Beginnings: Lore by Alexandra Bracken *AD Gifted

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading Lore by Alexandra Bracken (free copy).

Lore by Alexandra Bracken cover

He woke to the feeling of rough ground beneath him and the stench of mortal blood.
I was sent a free finished copy of Lore by Alexandra Bracken.

The cover is beautiful, it's mostly black and white except for the barest colour in one eye and the gold foil on the lettering. It's very striking.

I like this first line. We're plunged into the action straight away and immediately I want to read more of the story. I want to know who "he" is, why he is on the ground, and why he can smell blood. This story starts with blood and violence and gore, and I was not expecting it.

"Bind you fate to mine," the goddess said again, offering her bloodied hand. "Your heart... it aches for it..."
This is from page 56 in my finished paperback copy.

Oh boy I am desperate to get to here. So much blood in these snippets. As I type, I'm only on chapter three, but this book is surprisingly dark.

What are you reading this week?

06 January 2021

Five Favourite Quotes: A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

I have read this book at least four times now, and while I can never quite find the words for a review (does that happen to you too when you love a book?) I thought it was finally time to at least share my favourite quotes from A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr.

Today I'm sharing my five favourite quotes from this gorgeous fantasy, and hoping I will inspire you to read it.

A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr favourite quotes

Today I'm sharing my five favourite quotes from the first book in the duology.

I have learned that it is possible to stand in the open air with the wind on my face and still suffocate.
Now my father is dead, I am the only swan here. 
And I do not fly.
'History books don't lie, my lady.' 
I want to point out that surely that depends on who is writing them.
I want him to die, I suppose. I've had it planned out for long enough: how I would kill him if I ever found him.
I fear war is coming, whatever we do.


Just sharing these quotes has me itching to pick up A Throne of Swans again (again, again)! Luckily the second book A Crown of Talons releases soon.